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Stephen Lennard
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  • Stephen’s practice is firmly focused on business, his clients more often – though by no means exclusively – being corporate rather than individual. Within that broad commercial context, he concentrates on employment, property and professional liability work, in both the contentious and non-contentious fields.

Described in the Legal 500 as a “very reliable all rounder, he is always accessible to clients who appreciate his friendliness and his clear, commercial approach. He is very happy to conduct work on a public access basis when it is appropriate.

Stephen is also a part time judge, sitting as a Recorder in the civil and criminal jurisdictions of County and Crown Courts.

Commercial Litigation

Stephen is a business lawyer well-versed in commercial and trading disputes of all kinds.

He has particular experience of claims involving sales of goods, supply of services, transport, commercial agents, business sales and transfers, estate agency, computer software, electronics distributors and power utilities.

He regularly appears in the High Court and the County Court on commercial matters.

Recent work

  • Advised whether the Estate Agents Act was engaged in relation to commission payments on various European transactions exceeding £20m in value.
  • Acted on breach of warranty claims in a substantial business sale in the defence industry sector.
  • Advised a care homes business on a staff supply dispute.
  • Advising a statutory undertaker in long running disputes with the local highway authority.

Employment & Executive Disputes

Stephen has a wide-ranging employment practice covering contentious disputes in the High Court such as injunction claims based on post-termination restraints, as well as EAT appeals and ET claims. He has considerable experience of contentious TUPE issues around the consultation and information obligations in substantial cases and also SPCs in the private and public sector. He is frequently engaged in advisory work on employment contracts and redundancies.

With his considerable experience, he has advised and successfully represented a wide range of corporate clients, including FTSE/AIM listed businesses as well as SMEs, local authorities and other not-for-profit organisations. He has extensive experience of unfair dismissal and discrimination claims of all types. Several of his cases have attracted media attention – including the defence of one client who sacked her nanny – by phone live on television.

Notable recent case

Enterprise Management Services v Connect-Up [2012] IRLR 190 EAT: a key leading case on service provision change and TUPE concerning activities and fragmentation following a 10 day Pre Hearing Review.

Related activities

Stephen writes articles regularly on employment topics, including restrictive covenants, and has appeared at the Etihad Stadium (not on the pitch) in Manchester addressing a Professional Negligence conference on employment issues. For the sake of balance, he has also recently spoken at Old Trafford at a TUPE conference. He presents seminars on various employment issues both in Hardwicke and also externally to clients.

As an adjunct to his employment practice, Stephen also handles professional disciplinary cases with recent appearances before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and RICS Disciplinary Board. He regularly acts as the Legal Adviser to the Ethics/Disciplinary Panel of a member organisation of the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

Property Professionals

Stephen’s has experience over many years of negligence and allied claims against valuers/surveyors and property professionals.

Recent Work

  • Acted in an architect’s negligence case on planning submissions for a substantial south coast development
  • Advised on claim against surveyor following unsuccessful rent review arbitration

Financial Professionals, Insolvency Professionals, Directors & Officers

Stephen has acted for and advised most of the leading banks and mortgage providers in both commercial and residential lending cases. These include Lloyds TSB (as it then was) HBOS (in many of its then guises – Halifax plc, HMSL, Banque National de Paris and Bank of Scotland) Barclays Bank, Britannia Building Society, Bank of Ireland, Bradford and Bingley, Citibank, Northern Rock and The Bank of Wales.

His expertise is however by no means limited to secured lending claims, having also advised and acted in cases concerning accountants and IFAs,. He now also regularly advises a leading insurance claims manager on professional negligence matters.

Recent Work

  • Advising accountants on a negligence claim against their former solicitor.
  • Acted for an IFA defending a claim of negligence by a disappointed beneficiary of a will executed by the IFA’s client.

Commercial Landlord & Tenant

Stephen’s practice covers all aspects of the subject, including assignments, dilapidation claims, rent reviews and breaches of covenant.

Recent work

  • Advised a listed pub chain on terms of surrender of two substantial leases
  • Advised on a break clause for a major retailer
  • Advised the founding partners of a firm of solicitors on their personal liabilities following assignment
  • Acted on dilapidations claim in a Surrey retail park
  • Advised on reverse premiums in the pub/club sector
  • Considered whether a mortgagee’s consents to surrender have became unconditional
  • Advised whether a previous assignor was bound by the terms of a sub-tenancy when compelled to accept an overriding lease
  • Considered for a firm of solicitors, as tenant, when the relevant date for valuation on a rent review for their offices should be determined
  • Advised on insurance rents in the leisure industry
  • Acted on breach of user covenants by a hotel

Real Property & Mortgages

Real property is a key area of Stephen’s property practice. He advises generally and has acted in relation to mortgages, beneficial interests, subrogation, equitable remedies, vendor/purchaser disputes, misrepresentation, boundary disputes and easements.

Recent work

  • Acted in lengthy Chancery Division trust claim in a dispute over substantial development land running over 45 years
  • Acted in a heated beneficial interests dispute between brother and sister over the family home with the added complication of a deaf Defendant – 4 signers in attendance to interpret
  • Acted on an easements dispute over car parking in Surrey
  • Acted in a rectification claim involving trespass in a prestigious residential estate in Surrey – including probably the first award of damages for harassment made in the Chancery Division
  • Acted on a business rates claim for a warehousing facility in Nottingham

Professional associations

  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • Employment Law Bar Association
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

Qualifications

  • LLB – Manchester
  • Dip Crim – Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge
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