Paul Wilmshurst

Overview

Paul Wilmshurst is a specialist in disputes involving land and property, including landlord & tenant. He is particularly active in the law relating to village greens (recently appearing in a 17-day public inquiry), commons, public rights of way, easements, boundaries, nuisance (including trees). Paul also has broader experience of other areas of the law derived from his time spent in a common law chambers on the Western Circuit and period as the Fox Scholar at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto where he assisted with large commercial disputes.

“He’s a rising star of that chambers, who is fully in command of all the legal issues and has a broad grasp of the subject.” Chambers and Partners 2017

“He is particularly adept at cases relating to land development issues. He is articulate and able to convey legal points in a very clear way. Added to this he has a warm personality that definitely helps in our cases” Chambers and Partners 2016

Paul is a member of the ChBa, the PBA and an Associate Member of The Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management. He regularly contributes to legal journals and gives seminars. Some further details of particular areas are provided below.

Village greens and commons

“9 Stone Buildings has the best barristers who are at the forefront of thinking on town and village green applications.” Chambers and Partners 2017

Paul has a wealth of experience representing both objecting landowners and applicants at public inquiries concerning new town / village green applications. He is also regularly appointed to sit as an Inspector by numerous registration authorities. Altogether he has acted in some 25 public inquiries (of which 11 have involved leading counsel).

Paul has been involved in a number of court cases concerning village greens

  • St John’s College, Cambridge v Cambridge County Council [2017] EWHC 1753 (Admin) (known as “Meadow Triangle”) Paul successfully represented Cambridge County Council, against leading counsel, in this High Court challenge. The judgment of Sir Ross Cranston concerns issues inter alia of when an application can be adjudged to be duly made and establishes that a registration authority is entitled to give an applicant more than one opportunity to correct a defective application. View decision.
  • R (Fellowes) v Powys County Council (2014) – refusal to appoint Inspector to preside over non-statutory village green inquiry. View case report.
  • R (Burrows) v The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead & Anor[2014] EWHC 389 (Admin) (21 February 2014) – challenge on legal test for contentious user after 9 day village green inquiry. View decision.
  • R (Newhaven Port & Properties) v The Secretary State for the Environment– submission in support of permission to appeal made to Supreme Court on behalf of Intervenor on “retrospective” application of s.15(7)(b) of the Commons Act 2006.
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  • R (Halliday Properties Ltd) v Portsmouth City Council (2012) – involved (as led junior) in drafting of a challenge under s.14 of the Commons Registration Act 1965 based on res judicata and “lack of spread.”

Examples of previous and ongoing work includes:

  • Land in Somerset (as Inspector) (ongoing)
  • “Whitstable Beach”, Kent (17 days) (ongoing)
  • “The Downs at Herne Bay” (ongoing)
  • Westward Ho!, Devon (as Inspector) (ongoing)
  • “Fletton Field”, Northamptonshire (5 days) (2016-17) (ongoing)
  • “Top Field”, Hampshire (6 days) (2016)
  • “Withy Bed”, Bath and North East Somerset (2016)
  • Land south of Oxford Meadow, Essex (2015) (3 days)
  • Maes Glas, Cardigan, Wales (2014) (1 day)
  • “Woodcray”, Wokingham (2014) (7 days)
  • The Knowle, Devon (as Inspector) (2014)
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  • Land at Cae Prior, Wales (2014)
  • The Green, Tytherington, South Gloucestershire (2014)
  • Land at Frenchay, South Gloucestershire (as Inspector) (2014)
  • Land to the West of Friern Barnet Library (1 day) (2014)
  • Falmouth Avenue, Gloucestershire
  • Shephall View Rec, Stevenage (2014)
  • The Glades and Italianate Gardens, Bromley (as Inspector – 3 days) (2013)
  • Land at Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough (2013)
  • Brewery Field, Somerset (as Inspector – 1 days) (2013)
  • Herts & Essex School Playing Field (7 days) (2013)
  • Catshill, Worcestershire (1 day) (2012)
  • Land at Oaktree Avenue, South Gloucestershire (2012)
  • Ash Hill Woods, Devon (as Inspector – 3 days) (2012)
  • Thamesfield, Wraysbury (9 days) (2012)
  • Port Solent, Portsmouth (3 days) (2012)
  • St. George’s Field, Headstone, Harrow (4 days) (2012)
  • The Kayles, Old Ferry Drive, Windsor, Wraysbury (4 days) (2011)
  • The Triangle, Tichbourne Way, Gosport, Hampshire (5 days) (2010)

Commons issues covered include de-registration & exchange, landowner rights, commoner’s rights, permitted works and enforcement. This work includes dealing with Metropolitan Commons or those covered by applicable schemes). Recent work includes submission to South Gloucestershire Council on behalf of a landowner who had submitted an application to de-register and exchange.

Public rights of way

Paul is experienced in appearing before at public inquiries held by the Planning Inspectorate into matter relating to public rights of way (including footpaths and bridleways). Recent work includes successfully representing a landowner at a 5-day public inquiry to oppose the compulsory creation of a bridleway under s.53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981: see (Public Bridleway No. 47, Parish of Wooburn) Public Path Creation Order 2014 FPS/P0430/6/1 Decision dated 30 December 2016.

Paul has regularly advised landowners and public authorities on the existence of public rights of way together with issues relating to them. He also contributes to “Waymark” magazine.

Paul accepts direct access instructions in this area of practice and has found that it is particularly well-suited to this approach.

Boundaries and Easements (Private Rights of Way)

Paul has found that early advice and drafting clear statements of case can often make the difference in boundary and easement cases. Recent work includes:

  • Appearing in the High Court to oppose an interim injunction sought in connection with a right of way that had been compulsorily acquired.
  • A 7-day boundary dispute trial at Mayors & City County Court (combined with a harassment claim) where submissions were successfully made that the court should not follow the view of either expert surveyor, both of whom had advised there was a trespass.
  • Seminar 2016: “Boundary agreements of the most informal nature – how to spot the killer blow in boundary disputes.
  • A 4-day boundary dispute in the County Court at Brighton.
  • A 4-day boundary dispute in the High Court
  • A 3 day rights dispute about an easement in the Property Chamber (1st Tier Tribunal)

Paul is able to deploy his extensive experience of village greens to easement cases where, for example, the issue of user as of right arises.

Landlord & Tenant

Paul is regularly advising in relation to all aspect of business tenancies, including contested forfeiture and renewal. He was recently (2016) instructed in a complex 12 day-trial concerning a business tenancy which was settled after mediation and further negotiation.

Recent work also includes a 5-day trial at the Central London County Court in which a claim of unjust enrichment was successfully pursued in connection to a void lease in circumstances where substantial amounts of work had been carried out on an Curry House in Brick Lane before the landlord forcibly took back possession relying on a supposed breach of agreement. An appeal to the Court of Appeal will be heard in March 2017.

He is also very willing to take on cases (often on a CFA or similar basis) concerning residential and/or social tenancies in which there is an important point of law at stake or which are particularly deserving.

Other Property Matters

Other areas covered include disputes about the ownership of property (including co-habitation disputes). Paul has trial experience in this field having appeared at a 5-day trial at the concerning a constructive trust of a property.

Paul also deals with case involving nuisance (including statutory nuisance – where he has appeared for local authorities) and has a special interest in the law relating to trees.

Property “Crime” and Enforcement

Paul has appeared in a number of criminal cases which are related to property where he is able to deploy his property law experience:

  • He successfully defended a proprietor of a “Shisha Bar” against a prosecution for alleged offences under the Health Act 2006. The acquittal was upheld after the prosecutor appealed to the High Court: London Borough of Newham v Iqbal [2016] EWHC 720 (Admin) (01 March 2016)
  • He has appeared in Tree Preservation Order prosecution cases.
  • Appeals to PINS against planning enforcement.

Commercial law / Commercial Chancery

During Paul’s time at McCarthy Tetrault LLP, Toronto he assisted his supervisors on cases including i) the Nortel Networks litigation concerning indemnification and advance of costs from insurers under Directors & Officers policies and ii) a class action concerned with an alleged anti-competitive conspiracy in the chemicals market. Paul is familiar with the use of jurisprudence from the USA.

Public / Direct Access

Paul is also Public Access qualified, accepting instructions from individuals and businesses where appropriate.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Paul represents clients at mediations and has co-written ‘Preparing to “Win” the Mediation’, Sharpening the Sword II: Tactics and Strategies for Lock n’ Load Litigation (OBA 2008), with Thomas Heintzman QC. Paul is willing to sit or act as an Arbitrator in appropriate disputes in much the same way that he has regularly acted as an Inspector at non-statutory public inquiries. Paul is also willing to give early neutral evaluations to assist parties resolve disputes.

Publications & Seminars

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General background

Paul studied History at Durham University before being called to the Bar. He is a former Harold G Fox Scholar and spent a year working at McCarthy Tetrault LLP, Toronto, Canada. Paul also spent a year a Parliamentary Assistant in the European Parliament in Brussels.


Paul Wilmshurst is an independent self-employed barrister registered with the Bar Standards Board of England (ref. no 52448); whose practice is governed by the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales which code can be found at www.barstandardsboard.org.uk; has full professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Limited (ref BM 2930/065) (details of the world-wide cover are provided at www.barmutual.co.uk); is registered for VAT (reg. no. 996 532 9592); and can be contacted during chambers opening hours by telephone at 02074045055 or by e-mail at clerks@9stonebuildings.com.