John Sharples

John Sharples

Call 1992 (Middle Temple)
Qualifications BA (Oxon) 1st Class 1986, LLM (Cantab) 1987, LLM (University of Pennsylvania) 1988, Thouron Scholar (University of Pennsylvania) 1987-8, Attorney-at-Law New York State 1991, Queen Mother’s Scholar 1992, Sachs Prize & Campbell-Foster Prize 1993 (all Middle Temple)
Professional Memberships Member of Chancery Bar Association, Secretary of the Western Chancery & Commercial Bar Association


John became a fully-qualified mediator in early 2015 and now acts as both a Mediator and as a representative at mediations, specialising in property, private client and related areas.  He also lectures on aspects of mediation law and practice to solicitors in the South West and Wales.  John is the Head of Property at St John’s Chambers and a barrister with nearly 25 years experience, almost entirely in the areas of property and private client.

John has a good success rate for achieving settlements at mediation.  His style is friendly but direct and incisive.  The qualities he most values in the mediation process are judgment, common sense and practicality.  He regards mediation as an assisted negotiation.  He looks to help the participants identify at an early stage what they wish to – and realistically can – achieve from the process and is keen to explore ways in which they can do so.  He applies his knowledge and expertise to help them evaluate their own case, where appropriate, and identify their real interests in order to achieve a principled and pragmatic solution.

He has been described as “very easy to deal with… very down to earth” and “particularly user-friendly and wise as can be” (Chambers UK 2015) and has been praised for his “commercial acumen” (Legal 500, 2015), attributes he brings to mediations.

John’s recent mediations have included disputed commercial lease renewals, relief from forfeiture, rights of way, Inheritance Act claims and probate disputes.


Ancillary to the other areas of expertise, particularly solicitors’ negligence.

  • Principally commercial, including contracts for the sale of land and disputes relating to land development (title problems, conditional contracts, restrictive covenants and overage clauses)
  • Easements (rights of way, rights to light and water rights)
  • Nuisance and trespass
  • Boundaries
  • Mortgages

Landlord and Tenant

  • Principally commercial property but also agricultural and residential
  • Commercial lease construction
  • 1954 Act renewals
  • Rent reviews
  • Dilapidations claims
  • Breaches of covenant, particularly covenants against as signment
  • Possession, including Housing Association possession actions


  • “Pre-eminent junior with an outstanding reputation for his property disputes practice. John is very well versed in handling a variety of complex cases, and takes instructions from landowners, public authorities and private clients, amongst others. ‘He combines formidable intellect with being very down to earth, very user-friendly and very approachable. He provides a terrific service.’ ‘He has great people skills but is also an intelligent and tenacious advocate. That’s a rare combination, he’s a real pleasure to work with and good on his feet in court.’ ” Chambers UK, Real Estate Litigation (2017)
  • “John is excellent in court, and his attention to detail and knowledge of papers is admirable.” Legal 500, Property (2016)
  • “John is widely admired for his prowess in property disputes. He leads the set’s property group and has a vast knowledge of real property. He is often a first port of call for clients with disputes on land licences. ‘He’s technically brilliant, never rattled and he always goes to the heart of the issue.’ ‘He always gives his own view of what the likely outcome of a certain situation will be.’ ” Chambers UK, Real Estate Litigation (2016)
  • “John is a leading chancery practitioner on the Western Circuit and a specialist in land licensing matters. Known as an expert in his field, he frequently represents large landowners and developers as well as public authorities. ‘John offers a wonderful blend of being both incredibly clever and down-to-earth. He is straight-talking, approachable and good with clients.’ ” Chambers UK, Chancery (2016)
  • Co-ownership and trusts of land
  • Claims under Trusts of Land & Appointment of Trustees Act 1996
  • Construction of wills
  • Contentious probate
  • Administration of estates and trusts
  • Claims under the Inheritance Act


Practice Overview

John specialises in all areas of real property. He is frequently instructed on behalf of major land developers and owners, national house builders and large public authorities as well as private clients. John has recently written a book on Land Licences, printed by Jordans Publishing in which Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, writes the foreword. John is a contributor to the New Law Journal, a member of the ALA and regularly tweets on the subjects of Property and Private Client Law, giving updates and news on cases, legislation, regulation and market developments. Follow him on Twitter @sharples_john.


Before joining the Bar, John practised as an attorney-at-law in a Wall Street law firm from 1989 to 1991. His practice there included contentious take-overs and major litigation for international banks, insurance companies and brokerage houses.

Recent recommendations                     

  • “An exceptional barrister both in terms of his judgement and his people skills and as good as any senior junior in the country”Chambers UK, Chancery (2017)
  • “Brilliant at property problems.” “Well respected in his field and a very effective advocate.” “Very bright and good to deal with.”Chambers UK, Real Estate Litigation (2017)
  • “John is excellent in court, and his attention to detail and knowledge of papers is admirable.” Legal 500, Property (2016)