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John Beresford
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John specialises in commercial law and has experience of a wide variety of matters including contractual disputes, breach of fiduciary duty claims, commercial fraud, joint venture disputes, shareholder disputes, tracing claims, agency disputes, breach of confidence claims and financial services regulation. John’s clients include financial institutions, entrepreneurs, foreign investors, start-up ventures, utility providers, construction professionals, and a variety of publicly listed companies. John has appeared in levels of tribunal up to and including the Court of Appeal.

John also has a substantial property practice which encompasses commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, leasehold management matters, secured lender claims and various other matters heard in the First Tier Tribunal.

Recent and current instructions include:

  • Holyoake v Candy [2017] EWHC 3397 (Ch): John acted for the Claimants in their £132 million claim against the Candy Brothers & others arising out of a property development gone wrong (led by Roger Stewart QC of 4 New Square Chambers). The 9 week trial of this matter (which featured in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2017) was heard in the Chancery Division and judgment was handed down in December 2017.
  • R v J: John was instructed in the Queen’s Bench Division by a high-end fashion label to defend a £3m claim for statutory compensation under the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (led by David Lewis). This matter settled on favourable terms.
  • B v S: John is currently instructed in Queen’s Bench Division proceedings on behalf of a start-up drinks company defending allegations that it has wrongfully terminated an exclusive distribution agreement.
  • John acted successfully for an entrepreneur in seeking an order for pre-action disclosure against a publicly listed real estate services company. This matter received coverage in the Guardian, the Times and the Financial Times.
  • M v B: John is currently instructed by a social housing landlord in a possession claim where the tenants are raising a number of Equality Act 2010, Human Rights Act 1998 and public law defences. The 5 day trial of this matter is listed for 2019.

John graduated from the University of Oxford with a Double First in Jurisprudence where he received numerous university and college prizes including the Gibbs Prize (Proxime Accessit) for the best university performance in Contract, Tort, Trusts and Land law.

Commercial Litigation

John has experience of a wide range of commercial disputes acting as both junior and sole counsel. As a sole advocate, John

John’s commercial practice encompasses contractual disputes, civil fraud, banking and finance, partnership and shareholder disputes, international trade, personal and proprietary restitution, joint venture disputes, breach of fiduciary duty claims, tracing claims and the economic torts.

Recent work

  • Holyoake v Candy [2018] EWHC 502 (Ch): On whether an unsuccessful claimant was liable to pay indemnity costs.
  • Holyoake v Candy [2017] EWHC 384 (Ch):: On an application pursuant to section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 seeking an order that a litigant disclose its third party funders.
  • Holyoake v Candy [2017] EWHC 387 (Ch): On the scope of the collateral waiver principle following the disclosure of privileged material to rebut an allegation of late fabrication.
  • Advising a property developer in relation to a potential Pallant v Morgan / proprietary estoppel claim (led by Nigel Jones QC).
  • Advising a multinational clothing brand on the enforceability of an arbitration award in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Advising a foreign national on a prospective claim against a London embassy relating to unpaid professional fees. This matter involved issues of sovereign immunity arising under the Sovereign Immunity Act 1978.
  • Drafting a statement of case in relation to a contractual dispute heard in the Dubai International Arbitration Centre.
  • Blackett v GE Money Limited: Successfully appearing at a strike out/summary judgment application hearing on behalf of a bank facing allegations that it acted in breach of contract and financial services regulations. This matter raised issues as to the scope of Section 138D of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
  • Asif Hakim Adil v Frontline Development Partners Limited[2014] DIFC CFI 015: Advising a government advisory firm based in the Dubai International Financial Centre as to the application of Article 18 of the DIFC Employment Law.
  • Drafting written submissions in relation to a discrete procedural point arising under the Court Rules of the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (heard before Chief Justice Michael Hwang SC).
  • O’Brien v Landmark Global UK Ltd & BPost International BV: Advising and appearing at various interlocutory hearings on behalf of a subsidiary of a global logistics company facing allegations that it acted in breach of a consultancy agreement. This ongoing maters gives rise to issues relating to restrictive covenants and the scope of the res judicata principle
  • Advising in relation to a prospective tracing claim arising from a fraud perpetrated across multiple jurisdictions. This ongoing matter involves complex issues of private international law and proprietary restitution.
  • CW Publishing Limited v Simpsons Limited: Successfully appearing at trial on behalf of an SME resisting a claim by a publisher for unpaid fees. The primary issue before the court was whether a binding contract had been entered into between the parties.
  • D Hammond Limited v Bromilow: Successfully appearing at trial on behalf of an engineering contractor seeking recovery of unpaid fees in the context of a dispute between two former shareholders.
  • National Westminster Bank Plc v Ramzan: Drafting pleadings on behalf of a bank pursuing a subrogated claim against a residential borrower arising out of a fraud committed by a third party.
  • Advising and drafting pleadings on behalf of a building surveyor facing allegations of professional negligence.
  • Advising and drafting pleadings on behalf of an architect facing allegations of professional negligence.
  • Drafting pleadings on behalf of a contractor pursuing a claim against a specialist sub-contractor for unpaid fees.

In addition to the above, during pupillage John gained experience of the following commercial matters:

  • A $300m claim brought by a US based vulture fund against the Republic of Argentina in the UK courts raising novel issues relating to sovereign immunity in relation to the enforcement of foreign judgment debts against states.
  • An interest rate swap misselling claim brought by a private investor against a major bank.
  • A professional negligence and dishonest assistance claim brought against a major bank arising out of a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by a third party.
  • An arbitration in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre arising out of an alleged fraud committed against a publicly listed company by one of its directors.
  • An unfair prejudice petition pursued by a minority shareholder of a hedge fund incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
  • An application to pursue a derivative claim on behalf of a publicly listed company.

Commercial Landlord & Tenant

John has experience of commercial landlord and tenant disputes.

Recent work:

  • Appearing on behalf of commercial landlords in possessions claims based on forfeiture of long leases.
  • Cousins v Alhasan & British Developments Limited: Appearing on behalf of landlords seeking injunctions to obtain access to their tenanted properties for the purposes of carrying out inspections and works.
  • Appearing at a hearing for a Party Wall injunction.
  • Successfully appearing at trial on behalf a landlord on the question of the reasonableness of service charges.
  • Drafting pleadings in numerous disrepair claims.

Housing (Social & Privately Rented)

John handles a wide variety of residential landlord and tenant disputes. He acts for most of the major social housing landlords in London and particularly enjoys possession claims where the tenant has raised Equality Act 2010, Human Rights Act 1998 and public law defences.

Recent work:

  • Appearing in countless possession claims concerning ASTs, assured tenancies, secure tenancies and Rent Act tenancies facing a broad range of issues including tenancy deposit schemes, the service of notices and counterclaims for disrepair.
  • Successfully obtaining numerous anti-social behaviour injunctions under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This includes matters which have made it to trial.
  • Appearing on behalf of residential landlords in possessions claims based on forfeiture of long leases.
  • Appearing on behalf of landlords seeking injunctions to obtain access to their tenanted properties for the purposes of carrying out inspections and works.
  • Drafting pleadings in numerous disrepair claims.
  • Drafting witness statements in respect of an adverse possession claim in the First-tier Tribunal.
  • Appearing in numerous committal hearings arising from breach of anti-social behaviour injunctions.

Real Property & Mortgages

John welcomes instructions in relation to real property disputes and also mortgage work.

Recent work:

  • Drafting a claim on behalf of a mortgage lender seeking an order from the court directing the Registrar of HM Land Registry to rectify the register.
  • Appearing on behalf of estate trustees in possession claims where the occupier has issued a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Professional associations

  • Commercial Bar Association
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • The London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • TECBAR

Publications

  • Contributing author to Construction All Risks Insurance (2nd Edition, 2016, Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Contributing author to Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance (2nd Edition, 2017, Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Contributing author to Insurance Broking Practice and the Law (CMS Cameron McKenna)

Qualifications

  • BA (Jurisprudence) – Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford (Double First)
  • BPTC – BPP Law School (Very Competent)
  • Shelford Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Gibbs Prize, University of Oxford
  • Lord Mansfield Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • College Scholarship, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
  • Isaiah Berlin Prize, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
  • The Citigroup Scholarship, University of Oxford
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