Leslie Blohm QC


Leslie Blohm QC

Joint Deputy Head of Chambers / Head of Commercial & Chancery Practice Group Call 1982 (Lincoln’s Inn) (QC 2006)
Qualifications MA (Oxon), Hardwicke and Jenkins Scholar of Lincolns Inn (1982) Professional Memberships Member of Chancery Bar Association, PEBA, Property Bar Association.
Judicial Office Recorder 2003, Deputy High Court Judge (Chancery) 2008

Expertise


Leslie has many years experience advising and appearing in disputes relating to local government administration,  contracts, as well as the judicial review of:

  • inspectors’ decisions reached under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981;
  • the decisions of registration authorities under the Commons Act 2006;
  • decisions made by local planning authorities;
  • decisions of licensing authorities.

Reported cases include:

Recommendations

  • “Leslie is noted for his expertise in judicial reviews concerning property-related decisions and offers unique expertise in challenging local authorities over licensing fees.” Chambers UK, Administrative & Public Law (2016)
  • “Leslie anchors his public law practice around his wider areas of specialism, including chancery and commercial, property and agricultural matters. He is particularly interested in issues relating to the village green law.” Chambers UK, Administrative & Public Law (2015)
  • “Leslie is very thorough and isn’t to be dissuaded. ‘He will argue and develop his points, and he always offers a good legal argument.’ ” Chambers UK, Administrative & Public Law (2014) 

Leslie has over thirty years experience advising farmers, farming partnerships and companies in respect of contracts for the sale and purchase of land; rights over and restrictive of land; tenancies (both under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995) and partnership and succession disputes. He has a special interest in rights of common, together with town and village green law.

He is a member of the Agricultural Law Association and is recommended (Band 1) in Chambers UK (2016) for Agriculture. He also sits as a Town and Village Green inspector.

Reported cases:

  • Davies v Davies [2014] EWCA Civ 568 – daughter’s entitlement to succeed to family farm by application of proprietary estoppel.
  • R v Bristol City Council & Vence plc oao SDR [2012] EWHC 859 (Admin) – judicial review of a decision to register part only of land as a Town or Village Green.
  • Drake v Fripp [2011] EWCA Civ 1279 – boundary dispute between fence and Cornish Hedge.
  • Mason v Boscawen [2009] 1 All ER 1006 – effect of variation in level of VAT chargeable on rent payable under AHA 86 tenancy.
  • Collins v Spofforth & Others & Probus Garden Estate (2008) SW1/1057;1058 – ALT – succession to AHA tenancy; consent to operation of Case G notice.
  • Besley v John [2003] EWCA Civ. 1737 – extent of rights ancillary to grazing rights of common.
  • Bettison v Langton [2001] UKHL 24 – assignability of grazing rights in gross where quantified by number.

Recommendations

  • “Leslie maintains a formidable reputation in rural property law on the Western circuit. He is widely praised for his strength in village greens and proprietary estoppel cases concerning farms. ‘He wows clients and has an amazing gift to explain the most complicated issues in an easy and understandable manner. Very decent guy to get on with.’ ‘He’s a good man – he’s able, he’s pleasant, and he’s a quintessentially good barrister.’ ” Chambers UK, Agricultural & Rural Affairs (2017)
  • “Leslie brings a wealth of experience in estate planning, rights of way and village greens. Appears in all courts including the House of Lords and Supreme Court. ‘He is the leader in his field by some distance and incredibly approachable, flexible and commercial in planning the case’s strategy.’ ‘What really makes him stand out is his intellectual and technical ability.'” Chambers UK, Agricultural & Rural Affairs (2016)

Leslie advises and appears in cases concerning all aspects of commercial and contractual disputes including sale of goods and franchising and distribution agreements, including applications for interlocutory relief in Freezing and Anton Piller form.

 Reported Cases

  • D.L.Barrett & Sons v Bristol City Council [2011] EWCA Civ. 734 – alleged misfeasance in public office; whether inclusion of building contractor on Council’s statutory list of approved contractors gave rise to an implied contractual relationship between council and contractor, and therefore imposed an obligation not to remove from the list without good cause; whether Council obliged to pay damages by reason of an act unlawful in public law.
  •  Roberts v Gill [2010] 2 WLR1227 – entitlement of party to amend capacity in which he sues so as to make a claim in a derivative capacity after the expiry of the Limitation Period (UK Supreme Court).
  • Trustees of Stokes Pension Fund v Western Power Distribution [2005] 1 WLR 3595 – costs: effect of offer to settle) (CA).

Recommendations 

  • “A superb lawyer who receives glowing feedback for his work across a whole spectrum of commercial issues such as partnership disputes, as well as real estate, agricultural and chancery matters. Instructing solicitors repeatedly commend his ‘user-friendly’ approach to cases, adding that ‘he brings an element of calm.’ ‘One of the cleverest people I have ever come across, his knowledge of the law is vast, he can grasp complicated situations very quickly indeed, he’s outstandingly good on his feet and he’s the person to turn to in times of great need.’ ‘We certainly see him as one of our foremost options in Bristol; he is very good at breaking things down and creating clarity out of confusion, taking a difficult concept and boiling it down to the nuts and bolts.’ ‘There’s no stiffness in working with him, he’s very approachable, he tries to make it as easy as possible for the instructing solicitors. I do like working with him.’ “ Chambers UK, Commercial Dispute Resolution (2017)
  • “Leslie’s calmness and gravitas puts clients at ease.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery Law (2016)
  • ” ‘Leslie is particularly good at making even the most complex matter understandable; he appears totally unflappable and stead even when faced with impossible deadlines.’ ‘He is a formidable QC. He has a huge amount of gravitas, is a good communicator, and having been on both sides he can handle the court very impressively.’ “Chambers UK, Commercial Dispute Resolution (2016)
  • “Leslie’s careful and considered approach makes him an outstanding advocate.” Legal 500, Commercial, Banking and Insolvency (2015)
  • “Leslie is joint deputy head of chambers and head of the chancery and commercial practice group. He is noted for handling disputes with a property flavour, including development and overage agreements, town and village green applications, and commercial landlord and tenant disputes. ‘He is a standout in terms of both advice and advocacy.'” Chambers UK, Commercial Dispute Resolution (2015)

 

Solicitors – property & conveyancing (including mortgage lending).

Leslie has extensive expertise in a wide variety of property issues, acting for a range of clients from private individuals to substantial corporations. He regularly acts in relation to property disputes often involving overlaps with other specialist areas of law such as partnership, insolvency and company law.

Specific areas of expertise

  • Sale of land
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Mortgages
  • License
  • Easements
  • Commons & village greens
  • Torts relating to land

Landlord and Tenant

  • Rent Reviews
  • Dilapidations Claims
  • Commercial Lease Construction

Cases include:

  • Brumwell v Powys County Council [2012] P&CR D46 (CA) – whether an occupancy agreement relating to a manager’s use of a caravan site fell into Part II Landlord and Tenant Act 1957.
  • Drake v Fripp [2012] IP & CR 69 (CA) – tree construction of large apparently mis-stated boundary and claim for rectification of land registry plans.
  • Odey v Barber [2008] Ch 175 (Siller J) – whether an unrequested permission can prevent a right of way advising by prescription.

Recommendations

“Leading silk who wins plaudits from peers and solicitors alike for his exceptional property practice. He heads the set’s commercial and chancery group and has particular expertise in town and village greens work. ‘He is excellent with clients, good on the paperwork, very thorough and excellent in his advice.’ ‘He has an amazing way of explaining the most complicated issues in an easy and understandable manner.’ ‘Shows calmness under pressure and has good analytical skills.’ ” Chambers UK, Read Estate Litigation (2017)

“The quality of his advice sets him apart.” Legal 500, Property (2016)

“Leslie always gives good, clear advice. He’s extremely intelligent and always gives opinions in good time. ‘He has a huge amount of gravitas, is a good communicator and is very impressive in court.’ ” Chambers UK, Read Estate Litigation (2016)

“Leslie’s practice covers easements, restrictive covenants, and landlord and tenant matters, among other areas.” Legal 500, Property (2015)

“Leslie has a highly proficient property practice focused on contracts and financial disputes. Over the past year, his practice has served top-end building developers and he continues to impress in the private client arena.” Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2015

“Leslie heads the set’s chancery and commercial department and has extensive experience in farming and development projects. He enjoys a stellar reputation on the Western Circuit for his property practice. ‘He certainly brings a wealth of experience of how judges approach cases. His style of advocacy is very measured and solid; he’s a man of substance.’ ‘He is excellent and extremely intelligent, and always gives clear advice in good time.'” Chambers UK, Real Estate Litigation (2015)

Leslie is also recommended for his expertise in the Who’s Who UK Bar: Real Estate 2016. He “is admired for his ‘deep understanding’ of contracts for the sale of land, development and overage agreements, commercial landlord and tenant disputes and town and village green applications.”

Leslie has appeared in landmark decisions in the High Court and the Court of Appeal concerning the effect and imposition of Value Added Tax.

Cases include:

  • Mason v Boscawen [2009] 1 All ER 1006 – VAT payable on rent is rent under Agricultural Holdings Act 1986.

Leslie is an expert in town and village greens and appears before Inquiries and sits as an informal inspector advising registration authorities on applications to register land as a village green.

Recent inquiries include:

  • Bushfield Down (2013) as inspector for Hampshire County Council
  • Bristol City Council and the Filwood Park inquiry (2011) relating to development land in South Bristol (acting as landowner) in the Castle Park  inquiry (2009) relating to the proposed registration of land intended for development in central Bristol
  • BANES (as inspector) in three inquiries (Newbridge, Kaynton Mead and Rudmore Park) in 2011.
  • Croydon Borough Council (as inspector) in Grove Gardens inquiry in 2011.
  • Cardiff City Council (as Inspector) in the Rumney Recreation Fields Inquiry (2010).
  • Gloucester County Council (acting as Inspector) in the Lake 104 Inquiry, Fairford (2009).
  • Mudstone LLP as landowner/developer in the continuing Wishings Field Inquiry, Torquay.
  • York City Council as landowner and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as developer in the Derwenthorpe village green inquiry (2008), land proposed for the largest social housing development at the time in the United Kingdom.

Reported cases include:

Recommendations

  • ” ‘Leslie is the leader in his field by some distance and incredibly approachable, flexible and commercial in planning the case’s strategy.’ ‘What really makes him stand out is his intellectual and technical ability.’ ” Chambers UK, Agricultural & Rural Affairs (2016)
  • “Leslie is a hugely respected advocate with a wide-ranging property and chancery practice. He has a particular interest in commons and village green cases, and sits as a village green inspector. He also acts for farmers and landowners in both succession and development disputes. ‘He produces fiendishly clever advice presented in a readily understandable fashion.'” Chambers UK, Agriculture & Rural Affairs (2015)

Leslie has over 25 years experience conducting contentious probate litigation, comprising:

  • disputes as to the validity of wills;
  • the proper administration of estates and will trusts;
  • Inheritance Act claims;
  • claims in respect of estates arising from informal agreements and proprietary estoppel.

He has also lectured on these topics to both regional firms and local Law Societies.

Cases include:

  • Davies v Davies [2014] EWCA Civ. 568 – (the ‘Cowshed Cinderella’ case) successfully representing farmer’s daughter both in the High Court and on appeal in her claim to an entitlement to or interest in the family pedigree Holstein/Friesian diary farm resulting from years of underpaid work, by reason of proprietary estoppel.
  • Webster v Ashcroft & Others [2013] EWHC 1316 (ch) – acting for executors and beneficiaries to successfully defend challenges to a will based on undue influence and proprietary estoppel.
  • Re B P deceased – on-going; acting for next of kin of deceased by blood, challenging will benefiting widow, who it is alleged procured the murder of the deceased in Ukraine.
  • Bradbury & Ors v Taylor & Anor [2012] EWCA Civ. 2008 – acting for estate in appeal from Judge’s decision to award deceased’s godson a listed building by reason of proprietary estoppel.

Recommendations

  • “Leslie is an experienced chancery practitioner with experience appearing in front of the highest courts. His practice encompasses property and commercial litigation, as well as probate, Inheritance Act disputes and village green work. ‘He is a cut above – a brilliant advocate and an exceptionally clever man. He is easy to get along with, supportive and practical.’ ” Chambers UK, Chancery (2017)
  • “Leslie’s calmness and gravitas puts clients at ease.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery Law (2016)
  • ” ‘Leslie is brilliant in the courtroom, authoritative, and in counsel with clients he’s brilliant.’ ‘He is cool under fire.’ ” Chambers UK, Chancery (2016)
  • “Leslie has a strong hand, and speaks fairly. He’s not stuffy. Judges respect his authority, and he doesn’t pull punches in his cross-examinations. He’s rather firm and vigorous. He doesn’t let a point go if he thinks he’s got something. ‘I find his style of advocacy very measured and solid. He doesn’t go in for theatrics. He’s a man of substance.’ ” Chambers UK, Chancery (2015)
  • “Leslie is an extremely thorough and steady advocate who really gets his clients’ comments across.” Chambers UK, Chancery (2014)

Practice Overview

Leslie has been a member of chambers since 1984, and is now one of the Western Circuit’s leading commercial and chancery practitioners, both in advisory work and in litigation in all Courts from the most local up to and including the House of Lords and the Supreme Court.

Leslie deals with commercial disputes and problems, and in particular those with a property element including contracts for the sale of land, development and overage agreements, commercial landlord and tenant disputes and Town and Village Green applications. Leslie also acts in probate disputes, Inheritance Act claims and trust litigation. He has appeared for and against local authorities in planning disputes and in associated high-profile Judicial Reviews of administrative actions.

He is regularly instructed by Registration Authorities to sit as an inspector on Village Green inquiries.

BLS_Award2015_Barrister_WINNER resizedLeslie has been named Barrister of the Year 2015/2016 by The Bristol Law Society. He has also been shortlisted ‘Silk of the Year’ by Legal 500, and is described by his peers as:

“Leslie brings a wealth of experience of how judges approach cases. His style of advocacy is very measured and solid; he’s a man of substance.” Chambers UK, Real Estate Litigation (2015)

Leslie has been ranked in the ‘Chambers 100 UK Bar’, ranking the top 100 silks practising at the Bar of England and Wales.

He has achieved this recognition by being ranked in Bands 1 and 2 of his specialist areas of practice in The Chambers UK Bar Guide.Chambers UK 100 Bar logo

“Leslie is one of the leading practitioners on the Western Circuit. His practice covers a wide range of commercial disputes, and he is particularly highly regarded for his expertise on property-related litigation. Peers describe him as a practitioner who ‘communicates with the clients in a manner which puts them at their ease and enables him to guide them to the most beneficial solution, no matter how complex the legal issues involved.’ ” Chambers 100 UK Bar

Leslie is recommended in Who’s Who UK Bar: Real Estate 2017 for his real estate expertise.

Leslie is also recommended for his expertise in the Who’s Who UK Bar: Real Estate 2016. He “is admired for his ‘deep understanding’ of contracts for the sale of land, development and overage agreements, commercial landlord and tenant disputes and town and village green applications.”

He was appointed a Recorder (2003) and a Deputy High Court Judge (Chancery) (2008), and is a Deputy Head of St John’s Chambers, the Chairman of the Western Chancery Bar Association, and a member of the Editorial Board of The Conveyancer and Property Lawyer.