Call 2004 (Gray’s Inn, Beddingfield Scholar)
Qualifications University of Bristol, LLB (Hons); University of the West of England, Bar Vocational Course
Professional Memberships Chancery Bar Association, The Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (STEP), Association of Contentious Trust And Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), Agricultural Law Association
Christopher is a member of the Agricultural Law Association and has extensive expertise in a wide variety of agricultural issues.
- Acting for farmers / suppliers in connection with the sale and supply of seed and animal feed
- Farm and agricultural land sales and purchases
- Options and overage agreements
- Farm tenancies and agricultural holdings
- Trusts and succession disputes/planning
- Farming partnerships
- Profits a prendre including in particular fishing, shooting and grazing
- Water and drainage rights
- Public and private rights of way
- Boundary disputes
Recent cases include:
- Grimes v Trustees of the Essex Farmers & Union Hunt (2015) – A trial in connection with a farm business tenancy, which the defendant claimed to have terminated and then re-let to a third party. The claimant argued that the lease had not been validly terminated and claimed lost profits.
- Countrywide Farms PLC v Goldstone Eggs (2013) – Successfully representing a national feed supplier in defence to a claim for the supply of defective poultry feed.
- United Oilseeds v North (2014) – A successful claim by a rapeseed oil cooperative for unpaid invoices and in the process defeating a counterclaim alleging that the winter rapeseed failed through inherent defect rendering it not fit for purpose as a winter hardy variety, involving expert agronomist evidence.
- On going proceedings defending a national feed supplier in a claim for damage caused to a dairy herd and resultant drop in milk production.
- Oatley v Oatley & Powney  EWHC 1956 (Ch) – Acting for the beneficiaries of a large family farming concern held in trust, where the trustees sought to rectify the trust settlement.
- Hopkins v Bowden, (ChD, Cardiff) – Acting for the claimant who sought declarations and injunctive relief in connection with a right of way to a farm, which he purchased at auction (2013); proceedings settled successfully at trial.
- Wolfe v Davies, (ChD, Cardiff) – Acting for the defendant in connection with disputed fishing rights over her farm, which bounded the River Towy; proceedings settled (2013).
Christopher acts for businesses in cases concerning all aspects of commercial and contract disputes, including sale of goods and services, restraint of trade, insolvency and applications for interim relief. Recent examples of Christopher’s work include:
- Acting for a company and its directors resisting a freezing order.
- Acting for a company served with a search order.
- A successful claim by the receiver of a partnership seeking substantial rent arrears under a commercial lease and defending a counterclaim alleging breach of a director’s fiduciary duties in respect of the historic rent reviews and seeking compensation for tenant’s improvements.
- A successful claim by a rapeseed oil cooperative for unpaid invoices and in the process defeating a counterclaim alleging that the winter rapeseed failed through inherent defect rendering it not fit for purpose as a winter hardy variety.
- Hinch v Castlehouse Care Home (2013) – acted for the vendors of a care home business where it was alleged that there had been misrepresentations and/or breaches of warranty in the sale of the shares, who sued for unpaid retention monies.
- “Easy to work with, accurate and efficient.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery law (2016)
- “Christopher is practical, commercial and approachable.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking and insolvency (2015)
- “A rising star who gives good advice on a cost-effective level” Legal 500, commercial, banking and insolvency (2014)
- “Christopher has huge potential.” Legal 500, commercial, insolvency and property (2013)
Christopher has experience in a variety of construction and engineering matters. He acts for both builders and property owners in disputes concerning either failure to pay or alleged defective work. Examples of his experience include:
- Commercial property and residential developments
- Defective works and other contractual disputes
- Surveyors negligence
- Defective design
- Defective construction
- Mundic Block and pre-fabricated concrete construction in residential buildings
Christopher regularly advises on and appears in cases involving the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the property and affairs jurisdiction of the Court of Protection. He has a particular expertise in statutory will and statutory gift applications, and contested deputyship appointments. In 2012 he appeared in Re JC; D v JC  WTLR 1211.
Christopher regularly acts for and advises partners in cases which include disputes over dissolution, accounts and breach of duty. Christopher has a particular expertise in acting for partners of farming partnerships, legal and accountancy firms. Recently Christopher has advised and represented a receiver and manager appointed to deal with the complex property holding and letting arrangements of a partnership where the partners gave vying accounts.
Christopher advises in all those areas of professional negligence ancillary to his above areas of expertise, in particular:
- Solicitors: conveyancing, wills and tax planning
- Surveyors and accountants
Christopher has extensive expertise in a wide variety of property issues.
- Easements: rights of way, rights of support, rights to light and water rights
- Disputed ownership of land, adverse possession and boundary disputes
- Mobile homes
- Restrictive covenants
- Sale of land: disputed title, misrepresentation, conditional contracts, overage
- Torts relating to land
- Hopkins v Bowden, (ChD, Cardiff) – acting for the claimant who sought declarations and injunctive relief in connection with a right of way to a farm, which he purchased at auction (2013).
- Wolfe v Davies, (ChD, Cardiff) – acting for the defendant in connection with disputed fishing rights over her land which bounded the River Towy; proceedings settled (2013).
- Bradley v Heslin, (ChD, Liverpool) – three day trial before Mr Justice Norris in connection with a claimed prescriptive easement to close a gate across a driveway, adverse possession and proprietary estoppel (May, 2014).
Landlord & Tenant
- Principally commercial and agricultural leases but also residential
- Lease construction
- 1954 Act renewals
- Rent reviews
- Dilapidations claims
- Breaches of covenant, particularly covenants against assignment
- Service charge disputes: Christopher advises on and appears in matters before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
- Leasehold enfranchisement
- Michael Gerrard (Receiver & Manager of the S & H Partnership) v Venicrest (North Eastern) Limited (ChD, Birmingham) – successfully represented the Receiver &
Manager of the S & H Partnership in seven day trial before HHJ Purle QC in respect of a claim against a 1954 Act protected tenant for rent arrears. The defendant counterclaimed for damages, a declaration of its beneficial interest in the subject property, damages for derogation from grant of a lease, trespass, an account for rent received from another tenant, damages for the value of improvements to the reversion undertaken during the term pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 and for a declaration that its director breached his fiduciary duties in agreeing to rent reviews and any rent received thereafter was held on trust for it (2012).
- “Exceptionally good at trial presentation and cross-examination of witnesses.” Legal 500, Property (2016)
- “Christopher is a skilled chancery practitioner with an enviable reputation in real estate litigation. ‘He’s very sharp, very good on his feet and he always has time for the client.’ ‘He’s an excellent court practitioner.’ ” Chambers UK, Real Estate Litigation (2016)
- “Christopher is extremely approachable, patient and professional.” Legal 500, Property (2015)
- “Christopher stands out for his commercial land and landlord and tenants practice but particularly for his great client handing skills. He has a great deal of empathy with clients and is prepared at all times to go the extra yard. Clients and peers agree that he puts client care and satisfaction above all else.” Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2015
- “Christopher is a chancery specialist with considerable real estate expertise. He frequently advises on wills, trusts and landlord and tenant matters. ‘He is a regular recommendation for clients looking for commercial and practical advice on property dispute matters.’ ‘He is very thorough in the examination of paperwork and comes up with realistic solutions.'” Chambers UK, Real Estate Litigation (2015)
Christopher regularly advises in cases involving the division of assets between cohabitees, disputed wills and the administration of estates. In addition his practice includes disputes involving:
- Co-ownership and trusts of land
- Claims under Trusts of Land & Appointment of Trustees Act 1996
- Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
- Validity of wills
- Construction of wills
- Contentious probate
- Administration of estates and trusts
- IHT and CGT
- Post-death variations, disclaimers and appointments out of trusts
- Applications under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958
- Rectification and trustee mistake claims
- Court of Protection
- Reverter of Sites Act 1987
- Oatley & Ors v Oatley & Powney, LTL 15/4/2014, AC9401521 Ch D Asplin J – a three day trial before Mrs Justice Asplin defending the trustees’ application to rectify a lifetime settlement of shares in a farming business (2014).
- James & The Co-Operative Trust Corporation v Owen, James & James (ChD, Cardiff) – trial before Mr Justice Morgan where the claimants sought orders for the construction of the trusts set up by the deceased’s will, and for directions in the future administration of the estate. Section 21 Administration of Justice Act 1982 was considered and it was held that the various gateways to the admission of extrinsic evidence to assist the construction of the will were not triggered. It was declared that the deceased’s former home was left to her trustees subject to a right of occupation in favour of her son, rather than the life interest that he claimed (2014).
- “Easy to work with, accurate and efficient.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery law (2016)
- “Christopher is a well-regarded junior with a diverse chancery practice who is primarily known for his strong reputation in trust matters. He is also experienced in probate and property disputes. ‘He has excellent knowledge of all matters relating to trusts.’ ” Chambers UK, Chancery (2016)
- “Christopher manages a broad chancery practice which is largely focused on matters pertaining to trust litigation and advice. He is also frequently instructed on questions on probate and property disputes. ‘He is just extremely popular. There are some barristers who can connect with clients and solicitors really well, and some really don’t. He gets on extremely well with people and does extremely well.’ ‘He’s very good with clients, very reassuring. He inspires confidence. When he’s before a judge, he’s very presentable and clear and cogent in his argument.’ ” Chambers UK, Chancery (2015)
Christopher is a chancery and commercial specialist with particular emphasis on trust litigation and advice, contentious and non-contentious probate applications, real property litigation (particularly in relation to easements, restrictive covenants and contracts for the sale of land) and commercial and agricultural landlord and tenant disputes. He also regularly advises on professional negligence claims, particularly in relation to claim against solicitors, accountants and tax consultants in relation to negligent conveyancing and tax advice.
Christopher is consistently recommended as a leading junior in Chambers UK and Legal 500.
“Exceptionally good at trial presentation and cross-examination of witnesses.” Legal 500, Property (2016)
“He is a well-regarded junior with a diverse chancery practice who is primarily known for his strong reputation in trust matters. He is also experienced in probate and property disputes. ‘He has excellent knowledge of all matters relating to trusts.’ ”
Chambers UK, Chancery (2016)
“Christopher is a skilled chancery practitioner with an enviable reputation in real estate litigation. ‘He’s very sharp, very good on his feet and he always has time for the client.’ ‘He’s an excellent court practitioner.’ ” Chambers UK, Real Estate Litigation (2016)
Christopher is also listed as one out of only four leading juniors as ‘most highly regarded’ in real estate in the Who’s Who Legal Bar Awards 2015.
“He stands out for his commercial land and landlord and tenants practice but particularly for his great client handing skills. He has a great deal of empathy with clients and is prepared at all times to go the extra yard. Clients and peers agree that he puts client care and satisfaction above all else.” Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2015