Paul Wilmshurst is ranked by the Legal 500 as a leading junior in Property Litigation and Agriculture and by Chambers and Partners as a leading individual in Agriculture and Rural Affairs. His practice embraces all aspects of land law.
Firstly, Paul deals with the full range of property litigation between individuals and businesses. For example: easements, boundary disputes, commercial landlord and tenant, agricultural tenancies, disputes over ownership, proprietary estoppel, trusts of land, unjust enrichment, manorial rights, profits à prendre, covenants and nuisance. He is an experienced trial advocate.
Secondly, Paul is particularly active and well-known for acting in cases which concern public rights over land or which have administrative law aspects. For example, town/village greens, commons, public rights of way, public open space, foreshore rights, and environmental cases. Paul is the author of the Village Green and Commons chapters of the Encyclopaedia of Forms & Precedents. He is a very experienced public inquiry advocate (recently appearing in an 18 day case) and has appeared in notable court proceedings.
Recent directory recommendations have included:
“He is able to articulate the complexities of the case with ease.” Legal 500 (2019)
“A respected junior focusing on public law claims related to property. He regularly handles rights of way disputes, including village green applications and common land designations.” Chambers and Partners (2019)
“He is persistent in his cross-examination while maintaining a polite and friendly approach.” Chambers and Partners (2018)
“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)
Paul regularly contributes to legal journals and gives seminars (details of which appear below).
Boundaries and Easements
Paul has found that early advice and drafting clear statements of case can often make the difference in boundary and easement cases. In respect of easements, he is able to deploy his extensive experience of village green and public rights of way cases where ,for example, the issue of user “as of right” arises. Recent representative work includes:
- A 3 day boundary dispute (combined with a claim under the Party Wall etc Act 1996) at the Mayors & City County Court.
- 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. Reported in: The Sun; The Times; The Express; The Daily Mail
- 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)
- Appearing in the High Court to oppose an interim injunction sought in connection with a private right of way that had been compulsorily acquired.
Disputes over ownership
Paul regularly advises and appears in proceedings concerning the ownership of property (including co-habitation disputes). Representative work in this field is a a 5-day trial in the County Court concerning an alleged constructive trust of a property.
Paul regularly deals with cases involving nuisance and is presently involved in a number of matters coming on for trial involving for example nuisance concerning water damage occasioned by major alterations to topography of neighbouring land and building works. Paul also represented Bournemouth Borough Council in proceedings concerning an alleged statutory nuisance relating to flies emanating from a water purification plant.
Other rights over land
Paul deal with shooting rights and other profits.
“He’s very adaptable and will take on things other people wouldn’t. Village green law means you’ve got to engage directly with the clients, and he’s very good at that – they like him.” Chambers and Partners 2019
“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 26 public inquiries (of which 12 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  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 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.
- 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: “The Downs at Herne Bay” (ongoing) (2018); “The Community Green” at the Vandyke Gardens Estate, Leighton Buzzard (3 days) (2018); “Rokeby Playing Fields” (4 days) 2017); “Land in Somerset (as Inspector) (7 days) (2017); “Whitstable Beach”, Kent (18 days) (ongoing); Westward Ho!, Devon (as Inspector) (4 days) (2017); “Fletton Field”, Northamptonshire (5 days) (2016-17); “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); 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 local action groups, landowners and public authorities on the existence of public rights of way together with issues relating to them. He is an Associate Member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way also contributes to “Waymark” magazine.
Paul is regularly advising and appearing in relation to all aspect of business tenancies, including contested forfeiture and renewal. Representative work 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 business 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.
- A complex case concerning a business tenancy, listed for a 12 day trial, which was settled after mediation and further negotiation.
Paul has also appeared in a number of criminal cases relating to commercial property. 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  EWHC 720 (Admin) (01 March 2016. He has also defended and prosecuted in cases concerning Tree Preservation Orders. Paul has represented clients before the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) in appeals against enforcement concerning change of use and has some general planning law experience.
Paul is 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.
Paul regularly 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.
The vast majority of Paul’s work is by referral from a solicitor. However, in suitable cases he accepts instructions directly from members of the public, businesses and other organisations. Please call 0207 404 5055 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements with Paul’s clerks.
Initial specialist advice and analysis can normally be given. In some cases Paul will be able to continue deal with matters by himself but in others and where in the best interests of the client he is able to advise on bringing in suitable solicitors, paralegals, experts and other professionals in order to build a team to progress the case. Overall, it is likely that notable savings of cost can be made by utilising Direct Access approach.
Recent successful Direct Access proceedings that Paul has been involved in for example have involved property issues such as boundary disputes and rights of way. For more information Direct Access generally please see here.
“He is able to articulate the complexities of the case with ease.” Ranked as a “leading junior” in Property Litigation and Agriculture.Legal 500 (2019)
“A respected junior…” “He is persistent in his cross-examination while maintaining a polite and friendly approach.” Chambers and Partners (2018)
“He regularly handles rights of way disputes, including village green applications and common land designations.” Chambers and Partners (2018)
“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)
“9 Stone Buildings has the best barristers who are at the forefront of thinking on town and village green applications.” 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)
- R (St. John’s College, Cambridge) v Cambridgeshire County Council  WLR 469 - Procedural issues in village green cases considered
- London Borough of Newham v Iqbal  EWHC 720 (Admin) - High Court upholds acquittal of Shisha Bar owner.
- Registration of greens—the significance of signs (R (on the application of Cotham School) v Bristol City Council) Lexis PSL (May 2018)
- Procedural error in determining TVG application without public inquiry (April 2016)
- Case Note on Goodman, Waymark Magazine (Autumn 2015).
- Case Note on Newhaven Port and Properties, Waymark Magazine (Spring 2015).
- Vehicular access routes over commons, L.G.L. 2015, Mar 13
- User “as of right” when the definitive map and statement is wrong, L.G.L. 2015, Feb 27
- Boundaries: trees on Westlaw “Insight” (2014)
- Supreme Court clarifies when property can be registered as village green (May 2014)
- Town and village greens – a practical handbook, 2 edn (with Vivian Chapman QC)
- ‘The Newhaven village green case – access to beaches’, Local Government Lawyer, (April 2013)
- ‘Registering town and village greens: the biggest cases of 2012’, Local Government Lawyer (March 2013)
- ‘The Paddico case in the High Court’, Rights of Way Law Review, 2011, Oct(15.3), 195-201
- ‘Diggers at dawn’ with William Webster, Solicitors Journal, 2011, 155(36), 10-11.
- ‘Competitive Threat?’ with William Webster, Local Government Lawyer (March 2011) [repayment of VAT on local authority off-street parking]
- ‘Common Ground’ with William Webster’, Solicitors Journal 2011, 155(8), 11
- ‘The shifting sands of town village green law’, The Barrister (October 2010)
- ‘Not easy being Green’ with William Webster, Solicitors Journal. 2010, 154(12), 6
- ‘A piece of the action’, Solicitors Journal, 2009, 153(27).[article concerning UK class actions under CPR 19.6]
- ‘Class actions, the regulatory state and the duty of the court to justice’, The Barrister, 2010, (43), 28-29
Paul studied History at Durham University before being awarded a Benefactor’s Scholarship and being called to the Bar by Middle Temple in October 2007. Upon being called to the Bar Paul was awarded the Harold G Fox Scholarship and spent a year working at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto, Canada. He then spent a further year as a Parliamentary Assistant in the European Parliament, Brussels before commencing his pupillage on the Western Circuit.
Paul is a member of the Chancery Bar Association, the Property Bar Association, the Institute of Art and Law, Middle Temple, ad Lincoln’s Inn (“ad eundem”) and an Associate Member of The Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management.
Paul is also Public Access qualified, accepting instructions from individuals and businesses where appropriate.
Paul is regularly appointed as Inspector by commons registration authorities to hold public inquiries into village green applications under the Commons Act 2006.
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 email@example.com.