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Mark O’Grady
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Mark has a busy commercial practice covering not only commercial disputes of all kinds but also insolvency, construction and property litigation together with professional negligence, company law and contentious probate.

Before coming to the Bar, Mark had a successful career in corporate finance, which included working as an analyst for JP Morgan in its UK Mergers and Acquisitions team.  As a result, his expertise far exceeds his year of call (2016).

Outside work, Mark is keen on cycling, running and cooking.  He was previously a keen traveller – something he hopes to be able to do in the near future.

Commercial Litigation

Mark handles a wide range of commercial disputes.   He has particular expertise in banking and finance disputes (see separate tab).

Recent work has included:

  • Successfully represented a defendant removals company, OIS Removals Ltd (“OIS”) in a claim brought against it by the National Guild of Removers and Storers (“the NGRS”). The NGRS abandoned its claim at the outset of trial, and instead relied on an admission in the Defence for the entering of judgment against OIS for a sum that exceeded an earlier Part 36 offer.  The NGRS asked the court to award it upwards of £70,000 in costs against OIS as a result. Despite having beaten their own Part 36 offer, Mark successfully argued that the judge should disapply the usual cost consequences of Part 36.  Mark was successful in having the court award costs of some £19,000 against the NGRS (with no costs being awarded in  favour of the NGRS).  The NGRS then unsuccessfully appealed that decision, abandoning their appeal the day before the appeal hearing.
  • In a High Court action, successfully represented a claimant company in an action for breach of restrictive covenants of a former employee who set up a business in competition with his former employer. Mark was instructed for the duration of the claim, which settled shortly before trial.
  • Represented a defendant company for breach of contract in connection with a contract for exhibition space at a national medical convention.
  • Mark was instructed by the Defendant as sole counsel in a two-day multi-track case.  The matter concerned a commercial dispute between two catering businesses.  The claim was substantially defeated, with the Defendant being ordered to pay just £1,340 of the total sum claimed.  Mark also successfully negotiated a settlement on costs that resulted in the Claimant paying a net sum to the Defendant in respect of his costs since the Defendant was, overall, the successful party.
  • Advised a franchisee in connection with a claim for damages resulting from alleged breaches of contract on their part, brought by the franchisor.

Companies, Joint Ventures & Partnerships

Mark has particular expertise in company law related matters, providing both advisory work and advocacy.  He also handles cases involving joint venture and partnership disputes.

Recent work:

  • Mark advised the shareholders of a leasehold management company which was set up to manage a block of 22 flats above commercial premises. Each leaseholder owned one share in the company. The freeholder of the block was a multi-national pub management company. Mark advised the leaseholders (and then later, the company) to effect the removal of the two directors and concerning breach of statutory duty on their part in failing to exercise reasonable care and skill, by causing significant wasted expense.

Banking & Finance

Mark’s background in the finance industry makes him an obvious choice for banking and finance related disputes.

Recent work:

  • Barbara Marczak v Amarjit Singh-Mann: Mark successfully represented the Claimant in a five-day multi-track action concerning disputed personal loans made to the Defendant totalling £110,000. Although all the alleged loans were proven, £60,000 of the total debt was extinguished by virtue of the Defendant’s prior bankruptcy and the operation of s.281(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986. Mark was also successful in getting the Claimant her costs on an indemnity basis for the period until four months before trial, and costs on the standard basis thereafter. The Defendant was awarded no costs on account of his conduct throughout the litigation.

Commercial Landlord & Tenant

Mark has considerable experience in commercial property litigation, which has included:

  • Advising commercial landlords in respect of a range of different forfeiture proceedings.
  • Breach of user covenants.
  • Renewals under the 1954 Act.
  • Liability of guarantors.
  • Determination of commercial leases.

Real Property & Mortgages

Mark has a varied real property practice, which includes:

  • Breach of user covenants.
  • Trusts of land and co-ownership disputes.
  • Beneficial interests in possession.
  • Nuisance/neighbour disputes.
  • Charging order applications.
  • Applications for an order for sale.

Leasehold & Leasehold Management

Mark has experience of many leasehold issues such as service charge disputes, forfeiture and breach of covenant.

Recent work:

  • Elizabeth Davies & Others v Victoria Apartments (Prestatyn) Ltd: This case concerned a residential service charge dispute.  A group of leaseholders were dissatisfied with the block management company’s expenditure of c.£40,000 on non-structurally supportive scaffold, which was said to have been erected to prevent the potential collapse of the block.  Mark successfully represented the leaseholders at tribunal in arguing that all but £7,014 of the expense was unreasonable in amount and unreasonably incurred, and therefore could not be lawfully charged to leaseholders.  Mark appeared against Counsel of 25 years call.
  • Advised the leaseholders of a block of 22 flats above commercial premises on how to remove the two incumbent directors of their RTM company. The directors had been appointed by the freeholder, a major brewer.  Mark also advised on alleged breaches of statutory duty by the same directors in causing significant wasted expense, as well as possible negligence on the part of the building’s managing agent in not following statutory consultation regulations.  As a result, the leaseholders, who initially had a claim against an insolvent company, were able to recover a large proportion of their losses from the directors, together with costs.

Housing (Social & Privately Rented)

Mark has acted for a variety of private landlords as well as social housing providers.  He has extensive experience of all matters relating to:

  • Possession claims on the basis of both rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.
  • Anti-social behaviour injunctions (and applications for committal on the basis of their breach).
  • Disrepair issues, and how they are likely to affect possession proceedings.

Construction Litigation

Mark handles a variety of construction related disputes including adjudications, Party Wall Act disputes, and claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972.

Recent work:

  • Representing a respondent employer in adjudication proceedings relating to a pay-less dispute.
  • Represented a claimant in proceedings concerning defective refurbishment of residential premises. The claim successfully settled pre-trial.
  • Representing a respondent house builder in adjudication proceedings concerning a pay-less notice in relation to a development of six homes.
  • Representing a homeowner in connection with a claim for the negligent installation of a conservatory.
  • Representing leaseholders at the Welsh Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in connection with wasted expense on scaffolding totalling some £40,000.

Insolvency

Mark is experienced in a wide range of insolvency related issues.  He regularly appears at winding-up and bankruptcy petitions on behalf of both petitioning creditors and debtors.

Recent work:

  • Barbara Marczak v Amarjit Singh-Mann: Mark successfully represented the Claimant in a five-day multi-track action concerning disputed personal loans. The court found that all the alleged loans were proven, however £60,000 of the total debt was extinguished by virtue of the Defendant’s prior bankruptcy and the operation of s.281(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Advising in relation to a leasehold dispute involving an insolvent management company.
  • Providing advice to a private school in connection with various debtors, including drafting statutory demands and connected bankruptcy petitions.

Professional Liability

Mark regularly advises on professional negligence claims, be they related to his commercial, construction, property or other practice areas.  In particular, Mark has advised in connection with professional negligence on the part of solicitors in relation to:

  • Probate matters, including the drafting of wills and applications for rectification.
  • Leasehold extensions.
  • Wasted costs.

His recent work in this area includes:

  • Seed Enterprise Investment Relief: Mark was instructed to advise a technology start-up concerning the alleged negligence of their accountants in failing to register properly for Seed Enterprise Investment Relief, which denied the investors personal tax reliefs. The claim settled shortly after issue.
  • Advising on possible negligence of solicitors in drawing up a will.
  • Advising on possible negligence of solicitors in their failure to properly advise in relation the potential for rectification of a will.

Contentious Probate & Inheritance Act Claims

Mark undertakes private client work, largely in relation to contentious probate matters.

He is experienced in claims for and against personal representatives, as well as by disappointed beneficiaries.   Mark is frequently instructed in actions to remove executors and trustees, as well as claims involving the validity of testamentary documents.

Recent work:

  • Contentious probate claim involving possible testamentary incapacity as regards the deceased’s will as well as the validity of the transfer of the family home to a third party.
  • Advice on the merits of making an out of time application under s20 Administration of Justice Act 1982 for rectification of a will.  Mark also advised on a related professional negligence claim against the client’s solicitors.

International

Mark has acted for a number of international clients, including in connection with insolvency proceedings brought by foreign clients against UK companies.

Mark’s previous career gives him extensive international commercial experience, which makes him well suited to understanding the needs of international clients.

Professional Associations

Property Bar Association
Financial Services Lawyers Association

Qualifications

  • BPTC (Very Competent), BPP London 2016
  • GDL (Commendation), BPP London 2015
  • MRes War Studies (Distinction), King’s College London 2010
  • MA Intelligence & International Security (Distinction), King’s College London 2009
  • BA (Hons) Politics (First Class), Durham 2006

 

 

 

 

Scholarships

  • Lord Denning Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Hardwicke Entrance Award (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Wolfson Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
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