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Our clerks’ room is open between:

8.30am – 6.30pm

Outside of these hours and in cases of urgency, please contact
Paul Bunting on 07971 843023 or
Darren Madle on 07769 714399.

Clerk contacts

Richard Sheehan

Deputy Senior Clerk

020 7420 9503
Oliver Ventura

First Junior Clerk

020 7420 9505
Aron Hanks

Second Junior Clerk

020 7420 9506
Archie Conners

Third Junior Clerk

020 7420 9507

Our clerks’ room is open between:

8.30am – 6.30pm

Outside of these hours and in cases of urgency, please contact
Paul Bunting on 07971 843023 or
Darren Madle on 07769 714399.

Clerk contacts

Richard Sheehan

Deputy Senior Clerk

020 7420 9503
Oliver Ventura

First Junior Clerk

020 7420 9505
Aron Hanks

Second Junior Clerk

020 7420 9506
Archie Conners

Third Junior Clerk

020 7420 9507

James
Sandham

Call: 2003

Tel: 0207 420 9500

About

James is leading junior with extensive experience of property, chancery and commercial disputes which concern land and trusts.  The directories describe him as a “creative” barrister who “provides a very good strategic perspective in difficult cases” with an “ability to think outside the box” (Legal 500:  2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024).  He has acted in many of the leading cases, most recently, the landmark decisions of the Supreme Court in Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd & Anor v Williams & Anor [2023] UKSC 6 and Bradley and Others v Abacus Land 4 Limited [2024] UKUT 120 (LC) in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).  In addition to his appellate practice, James is an experienced trial lawyer and was successful in the widely reported decision in Benton and Others v Paes and Others, Central London County Court, 17 July 2023 in which a group of freeholders were successful in their bid to fend off a dishonest attempt to appropriate their land.  James has also been at the forefront of the cladding crisis, acting and advising the myriad of parties affected, including on new rights and obligations introduced by the Building Safety Act 2022.

James is also a pupil master, a member of the Lincoln’s Inn Mentoring Scheme, and has contributed to various publications and journals.

James has advised and acted in service charge disputes for more than 15 years, including defective cladding since 2017 for freeholders, contractors, managing agents and leaseholders.   He has acted in many of the leading cases decided under the 1985, 1987, and 2002 Acts (now amended by the BSA 2022), including the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court.  In late 2017, that work centred on the means by which the remedial costs were recovered and apportioned between the myriad of concerned parties.  However, since the Government’s recent intervention, his practice now tends to be concerned with the implications of the Building Safety Act 2022 which contains measures that are intended to improve the safety of buildings, particularly those deemed to be higher-risk buildings.

Typically, that work includes the BSA 2022’s amendments to the LTA 1985 and LTA 1987, such as:

  • The building safety provisions implied into certain leases under the LTA 1985: 112 of the BSA 2022.
  • Liability for the cost of taking building safety measures under the LTA 1985, including the ongoing costs incurred once a higher-risk building is occupied, assessing building safety risks, and providing information to tenants and others: s.112 of the BSA 2022.
  • The building safety information that must be provided under LTA 1987: 113 of the BSA 2022.
  • Liability for the cost of remedying construction defects that pose a building safety risk, including the removal of dangerous cladding: s.116 to 125 of, and Schedule 8 to, the BSA 2022.
  • The extended limitation periods, including those under the DPA 1972, as amended by the BSA 2022.

Reported cases (1985, 1987, 2002 Acts):

Williams & Anor v Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd & Anor [2023] UKSC 6; [2023] 2 W.L.R. 484  | [2023] 2 All E.R. 797 | [2023] 2 WLUK 95 | [2023] H.L.R. 20  | [2023] L. & T.R. 13 | [2023] 2 P. & C.R. DG9 (The Supreme Court discussed the effect of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.27A(6) on a contractual provision in a residential lease which allowed a landlord to change a tenant’s share of service charge costs.)

Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd & Anor v Williams & Anor [2021] EWCA Civ 27 | [2021] 1 W.L.R. 2061  | [2021] 1 WLUK 127 | [2022] H.L.R. 2  | [2021] L. & T.R. 22  | [2021] 1 P. & C.R. DG23 (A clause in a residential lease purporting to provide for a determination of apportionment of service charges by the landlord was void, pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.27A(6). Under s.27A(1), the task of making that determination transferred from the landlord to the First-tier Tribunal, meaning that it was open to the landlord or the tenant to refer the question of a different percentage to the FTT.)

Leibel v Baird CHI/29UC/HMF/2020/0035 (4 May 2021) (rule 13 costs application.)

Opara v Olasemo [2020] UKUT 96 (LC) | [2020] 3 WLUK 439 | [2020] L.L.R. 527 | [2020] 2 P. & C.R. DG13 (When considering a tenant’s application for a rent repayment order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 s.40, the First-tier Tribunal had erred in failing to find that the landlord had committed the offences of unlawful eviction or of managing a house in multiple occupation without a licence. Both offences had been proved to the criminal standard of proof and the condition precedent for making such an order had therefore been satisfied.)

Stemp v 6 Ladbroke Gardens Management Ltd [2018] UKUT 375 (LC) | [2018] 10 WLUK 602 | [2019] H.L.R. 18  | [2019] L. & T.R. 10  | [2019] 1 P. & C.R. DG19 (It was possible for a landlord, during the period in which he was prevented from exercising his right of re-entry by the Housing Act 1996 s.81, to waive the right to forfeit a lease for non-payment of service charges.)

Corvan (Properties) Ltd v Abdel-Mahmoud [2018] EWCA Civ 1102 | [2018] 5 WLUK 254 | [2018] H.L.R. 36  | [2019] 1 P. & C.R. 3  | [2018] L. & T.R. 25 (A management agreement, which had a contract period of one year which would continue thereafter until terminated, was an agreement for a term of more than 12 months and therefore a qualifying long-term agreement under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.20ZA.)

London Borough of Islington v Dyer [2017] EWCA Civ 150; [2017] P.T.S.R. 731; [2017] H.L.R. 20; [2017] 2 P. & C.R. DG6; Times, May 3, 2017 (A notice served by a landlord on a tenant for the purposes of the Housing Act 1996 s.128 could be comprised in more than one document. There was no reason why an accompanying information leaflet should not be treated as part of the notice if the reasonable recipient would have understood that the documents were intended to be read together.)

Primeview Developments Limited v (1) Mr R Ahmed and Dr M H Javaid (2) Mrs Jumbo (3) Mr Frade (4) Mrs Kelly [2017] UKUT 0057 (LC), [2017] 3 WLUK 164 (Administration charges – costs orders under rule 13, Property Chamber Rules 2013 and s.20C, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, whether appellant unreasonable to refuse mediation)

Firstport Property Services Limited v Ahmet [2017] UKUT 0036 (LC) (Lessee’s obligation to pay proportion of estate costs by reference to formula – whether lessee’s proportion should be calculated by reference to 13 dwellings built on land sold to another developer as well as the 218 dwellings built on the retained land, both sites together constituting a single residential estate – whether the estate costs payable by the lessee should include the costs associated solely with the land sold as well as the retained land)

Corvan v Mahmoud [2017] UKUT 228 (LC) (definition of a Qualifying Long Term Agreement for the purposes of s.20ZA. Currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal).

Norwich CC v Redford [2015] UKUT 30 (LC) (Apportionment; Flats; Lighting; Local authorities’ powers and duties; Rateable value; Service charges)

Begum v Birmingham CC [2015] EWCA Civ 386; [2015] CP Rep 32; [2015] 3 Costs LO 387; [2015] HLR 33 (Amendments; Breach of statutory duty; Costs; Defects; Local authorities’ liabilities; Local authority housing; Sale of property; Statements of case)

Queensbridge Investments Limited v Leaseholders of Flat 2 and 3, 135 Ladbroke Grove, London, W11 1PN Upper Tribunal, (permission) LRX/70/2015 and LRX/156/2016 (s.168 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002; waiver of covenant prohibiting sub-letting; ostensible authority of managing agents)

Ergun v Smith and Anor [2014] EWHC 4919 (Fresh evidence in the form of the correct lease was admitted in proceedings where applications for permission to appeal an order relating to a property had already been refused. Although the correct document could have been obtained and produced earlier, it would have an important influence on the outcome of the case and the overriding objective was properly satisfied.)

Eaglesham Properties Limited v Leaseholders of Flats 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 12 Drysdale Dwellings LRX/19/2014 (Appointment of a manager, jurisdiction to determine the proper construction of orders, entitlement to recover monies equivalent to service charges from the freehold owner of flats not let on long leases)

London Borough of Brent v Cheryl Tudor [2013] EWCA Civ.157; [2013] HLR 20; [2013] 1 P & CR DG23 (Possession; under occupying; ground 16; whether reasonably required to accommodate the successor secure tenant and her family

Begum v Birmingham CC [2013], TCC, Dec 18, 2013 (Sale of land; duty to disclose structural defects known to the freeholder at the time of sale; liability, damages and rescission arising out of misrepresentation and a breach of the statutory)

Aaron Burchell v Raj Properties Ltd [2013] UKUT 443 (LC); [2014] L & TR 3; [2013] 3 EGLR 62; [2013] 43 EG 127 (CS) (leasehold enfranchisement; “terms of acquisition”: s.48(1), Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993; restrictions on dispositions; meaning of “change”:  s.57(6)(b))

Rossman v The Crown Estate Commissioners LON/00BK/LVL/2011/0013 (Lease variations; satisfactory provision; computation; equitable forbearance; estoppel)

Kingsmere RTM Company Ltd v Anstone Properties Ltd CHI/00ML/LRM/2011/0017 (RTM; multiple blocks; ultra vires; articles of  association)

James acts in commercial and residential disputes, including service charges, right to manage, lease renewals, lease variations, lease extensions, rights of first refusal, forfeiture, 1954 Act renewals, dilapidation, break clauses, breaches of covenant, rent reviews, and validity of notices. In addition to LBI v Dyer (validity of notices), James acted in Burchell v Raj Properties Ltd [2013] UKUT 443 (LC) (construction of user covenants), and Corvan (the approach to the construction of qualified long term agreements).

All aspects of property and related issues, including co-ownership and beneficial interests, trusts of land, rectification, misrepresentation, fraud, undue influence, land registration, adverse possession, restrictive covenants, easements, rights of way, trespass, and nuisance.  James recently acted in the appeal against the decision in Malik (Deceased) v Shiekh [2018] EWHC 973 (Ch); [2018] 4 W.L.R. 86 in which Mr Justice Fancourt considered the scope of presumed undue influence and the validity of restrictions in “family assets” cases.

Construction: 

James’ practice includes construction and party wall disputes and he acted in the recent decision of Rapose v Viridian HA Limited [2017], TCC, Jan 5, 2017 concerning the validity of the third surveyor’s award and Begum v Birmingham CC [2013], TCC, Dec 18, 2013 which concerned the duty to disclose structural defects known to the freeholder at the time of sale.

Planning: 

James acts in planning disputes, for example, R (on the application of Bishops Stortford Civic Federation) v (1) East Hertfordshire District Council (2) Anley Trustees Limited and Maison Anley Property Nominee Limited [2014] EWHC 348 in which the High Court heard a challenge to the lawfulness of a £105m development scheme.  James recently acted in R (on the application of Pearce and ors) v Purbeck District Council and ors [2017] in which the Court of Appeal considered whether to grant permission on the question of whether “need” was correctly assessed by the committee when deciding to grant permission to development an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Dorset coast.

All aspects of property and related issues, including co-ownership and beneficial interests, trusts of land, rectification, misrepresentation, fraud, undue influence, land registration, adverse possession, restrictive covenants, easements, rights of way, trespass, and nuisance.  James recently acted in the appeal against the decision in Malik (Deceased) v Shiekh [2018] EWHC 973 (Ch); [2018] 4 W.L.R. 86 in which Mr Justice Fancourt considered the scope of presumed undue influence and the validity of restrictions in “family assets” cases.

Benton and Others v Paes and Others, Central London County Court, 17 July 2023, Recorder Green.  Reported in The Times, The Telegraph, US Times, and various others.

Williams & Anor v Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd & Anor [2023] UKSC 6; [2023] 2 W.L.R. 484  | [2023] 2 All E.R. 797 | [2023] 2 WLUK 95 | [2023] H.L.R. 20  | [2023] L. & T.R. 13 | [2023] 2 P. & C.R. DG9 (The Supreme Court discussed the effect of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.27A(6) on a contractual provision in a residential lease which allowed a landlord to change a tenant’s share of service charge costs.)

Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd & Anor v Williams & Anor [2021] EWCA Civ 27 | [2021] 1 W.L.R. 2061  | [2021] 1 WLUK 127 | [2022] H.L.R. 2  | [2021] L. & T.R. 22  | [2021] 1 P. & C.R. DG23 (A clause in a residential lease purporting to provide for a determination of apportionment of service charges by the landlord was void, pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.27A(6). Under s.27A(1), the task of making that determination transferred from the landlord to the First-tier Tribunal, meaning that it was open to the landlord or the tenant to refer the question of a different percentage to the FTT.)

Leibel v Baird CHI/29UC/HMF/2020/0035 (4 May 2021) (An application for a rent repayment order in respect of an unlicensed property. Unusually, it also featured a successful rule 13 costs application by the tenant.)

London Borough of Hackney & Anor v Powlesland & Ors [2020] EWHC 2102 (Ch) | [2020] 6 WLUK 504 (Protestors who had occupied highway land to prevent the felling of a tree. Interim injunctive relief was granted against persons unknown to prevent them from hindering the removal of the tree as there was a strong possibility that they would attempt to prevent the contractors from felling the tree and were likely to carry out unlawful acts in the process.)

Opara v Olasemo [2020] UKUT 96 (LC) | [2020] 3 WLUK 439 | [2020] L.L.R. 527 | [2020] 2 P. & C.R. DG13 (When considering a tenant’s application for a rent repayment order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 s.40, the First-tier Tribunal had erred in failing to find that the landlord had committed the offences of unlawful eviction or of managing a house in multiple occupation without a licence. Both offences had been proved to the criminal standard of proof and the condition precedent for making such an order had therefore been satisfied.)

Stemp v 6 Ladbroke Gardens Management Ltd [2018] UKUT 375 (LC) | [2018] 10 WLUK 602 | [2019] H.L.R. 18  | [2019] L. & T.R. 10  | [2019] 1 P. & C.R. DG19 (It was possible for a landlord, during the period in which he was prevented from exercising his right of re-entry by the Housing Act 1996 s.81, to waive the right to forfeit a lease for non-payment of service charges.)

Images (Gants Hill) Management Co Ltd v Rynew Property Management Ltd, Queen’s Bench Division [2018] 6 WLUK 375, 20 Jun 2018 (A High Court claim for delivery up of documents pertaining to a property management agreement was struck out where the claimant had counterclaimed for essentially the same remedy in respect of the same dispute in ongoing county court proceedings brought by the defendant, in which discovery was imminent. The costs of the instant claim were out of all proportion to what it sought to achieve.)

Corvan (Properties) Ltd v Abdel-Mahmoud [2018] EWCA Civ 1102 | [2018] 5 WLUK 254 | [2018] H.L.R. 36  | [2019] 1 P. & C.R. 3  | [2018] L. & T.R. 25 (A management agreement, which had a contract period of one year which would continue thereafter until terminated, was an agreement for a term of more than 12 months and therefore a qualifying long-term agreement under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.20ZA.)

Malik (Deceased) v Shiekh [2018] EWHC 973 (Ch); [2018] 4 W.L.R. 86 (A transaction was proved to have been tainted by undue influence and was set aside. A presumption of undue influence was not confined to cases where trust and confidence was reposed, either financially or generally, but extended to cases where there was evidence of dependence or vulnerability)

Armstrong v Ashfield DC [2018] EWCA Civ 873 | [2018] 4 WLUK 426 | [2018] H.L.R. 29  | [2018] 2 P. & C.R. DG12. (A provision in a suspended possession order, providing for the order’s automatic discharge after one year, was predicated on the tenant complying with the conditions of suspension and the absence of any action by the landlord in that time. Since the landlord had asserted a breach of the order’s conditions and applied for a warrant of possession before the discharge date, the order was not discharged on that date, and the trial judge had been entitled to order the warrant for possession despite the trial occurring after that date.)

London Borough of Islington v Dyer [2017] EWCA Civ 150; [2017] P.T.S.R. 731; [2017] H.L.R. 20; [2017] 2 P. & C.R. DG6; Times, May 3, 2017 (A notice served by a landlord on a tenant for the purposes of the Housing Act 1996 s.128 could be comprised in more than one document. There was no reason why an accompanying information leaflet should not be treated as part of the notice if the reasonable recipient would have understood that the documents were intended to be read together.)

Primeview Developments Limited v (1) Mr R Ahmed and Dr M H Javaid (2) Mrs Jumbo (3) Mr Frade (4) Mrs Kelly [2017] UKUT 0057 (LC), [2017] 3 WLUK 164 (Administration charges – costs orders under rule 13, Property Chamber Rules 2013 and s.20C, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, whether appellant unreasonable to refuse mediation)

Firstport Property Services Limited v Ahmet [2017] UKUT 0036 (LC) (Lessee’s obligation to pay proportion of estate costs by reference to formula – whether lessee’s proportion should be calculated by reference to 13 dwellings built on land sold to another developer as well as the 218 dwellings built on the retained land, both sites together constituting a single residential estate – whether the estate costs payable by the lessee should include the costs associated solely with the land sold as well as the retained land)

R (on the application of Pearce and ors) v Purbeck District Council and ors [2017] Court of Appeal, C1/2016/4022. Planning appeal (permission); development of an AONB, whether the question of “need” correctly assessed by the Committee (on appeal, Court of Appeal).

Rapose v Viridian HA Limited [2017], TCC, Jan 5, 2017 (Party Walls, validity of the third surveyor’s award) (on appeal, Court of Appeal).

Corvan v Mahmoud [2017] UKUT 228 (LC) (definition of a Qulifying Long Term Agreement for the purposes of s.20ZA. Currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal).

Norwich CC v Redford [2015] UKUT 30 (LC) (Apportionment; Flats; Lighting; Local authorities’ powers and duties; Rateable value; Service charges)

Begum v Birmingham CC [2015] EWCA Civ 386; [2015] CP Rep 32; [2015] 3 Costs LO 387; [2015] HLR 33 (Amendments; Breach of statutory duty; Costs; Defects; Local authorities’ liabilities; Local authority housing; Sale of property; Statements of case)

Queensbridge Investments Limited v Leaseholders of Flat 2 and 3, 135 Ladbroke Grove, London, W11 1PN Upper Tribunal, (permission) LRX/70/2015 and LRX/156/2016 (s.168 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002; waiver of covenant prohibiting sub-letting; ostensible authority of managing agents)

R (on the application of Bishops Stortford Civic Federation) v (1) East Hertfordshire District Council (2) Anley Trustees Limited and Maison Anley Property Nominee Limited [2014] EWHC 348 (Admin); [2014] PTSR 1035; [2014] BLGR 161; [2014] JPL 852; [2014] ACD 104 (Judicial review; £105m redevelopment; whether the decision was impugned by irrelevant and prejudicial remarks made by a member of the Executive)

Ergun v Smith and Anor [2014] EWHC 4919 (Fresh evidence in the form of the correct lease was admitted in proceedings where applications for permission to appeal an order relating to a property had already been refused. Although the correct document could have been obtained and produced earlier, it would have an important influence on the outcome of the case and the overriding objective was properly satisfied.)

Eaglesham Properties Limited v Leaseholders of Flats 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 12 Drysdale Dwellings LRX/19/2014 (Appointment of a manager, jurisdiction to determine the proper construction of orders, entitlement to recover monies equivalent to service charges from the freehold owner of flats not let on long leases)

London Borough of Brent v Cheryl Tudor [2013] EWCA Civ.157; [2013] HLR 20; [2013] 1 P & CR DG23 (Possession; under occupying; ground 16; whether reasonably required to accommodate the successor secure tenant and her family

Begum v Birmingham CC [2013], TCC, Dec 18, 2013 (Sale of land; duty to disclose structural defects known to the freeholder at the time of sale; liability, damages and rescission arising out of misrepresentation and a breach of the statutory)

Aaron Burchell v Raj Properties Ltd [2013] UKUT 443 (LC); [2014] L & TR 3; [2013] 3 EGLR 62; [2013] 43 EG 127 (CS) (leasehold enfranchisement; “terms of acquisition”: s.48(1), Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993; restrictions on dispositions; meaning of “change”:  s.57(6)(b))

Anas v Arora [2012] EWCA Civ 102 and [2012] EWHC 1488 (QB) (possession; refusal of a stay of execution; academic appeals; civil restraint orders)

Brasilian Point Ltd v In Shops Ltd and another [2012] All ER 17 (forfeiture; commercial lease; terms of relief;  arrears uncertain; unjust enrichment).

Rossman v The Crown Estate Commissioners LON/00BK/LVL/2011/0013 (Lease variations; satisfactory provision; computation; equitable forbearance; estoppel)

Kingsmere RTM Company Ltd v Anstone Properties Ltd CHI/00ML/LRM/2011/0017 (RTM; multiple blocks; ultra vires; articles of   association)

Vernon v Spoudeas and Rosenthal [2010] EWCA Civ 666 (A judge’s decision not to grant a party relief from his non-compliance with an unless order, and to strike out his claim, was vitiated by his failure to give a reasoned judgment.)

Pupil Master, Lincoln’s Inn (2013)

Qualified for Direct Professional Access (2010)

Tenancy (2006)

Pupillage (2004)

LLM (Commercial) (2003)

BVC, Inns of Court School of Law (2002) (“Very Competent”)

LLB

Lord Wandsworth College

Ecole Europeenne de Bergen

  • Chancery Bar Associaition
  • Property Bar Association
  • COMBAR
  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Bar Council Professional and Public Access scheme

Please see James’ Privacy Notice here.

ICO Registration Number: Z9297160

Registered Name: James Andrew Sandham

VAT Number: 872678280