John is a pre-eminent junior with an outstanding reputation for his property disputes practice. ‘He is wholly in his own league. His expertise is phenomenal and there is no safer pair of hands for any property or chancery case.’

Chambers UK 2024, Real Estate Litigation

John is very well versed in handling a variety of complex cases, and is frequently instructed on behalf of estates, developers, public authorities as well as private clients. He is ranked as a Star individual in Chambers UK for real estate litigation, as well as being one of Legal 500’s leading individuals.

Chambers UK describe him as “… an exceptional barrister both in terms of his judgement and his people skills and as good as any senior junior in the country.” He has a First Class Law degree from Oxford University and Masters of Law degrees from Cambridge University and the University of Pennsylvania. He was formerly an Attorney in New York.

John’s practice covers the whole area of real estate but his particular specialisms include the following:

Conveyancing disputes

  • Contracts for the sale of land, for example, title problems, interpretation, termination, etc.
  • HM Land Registry practice
  • Options/rights of pre-emption
  • Overage clauses
  • Mortgages

General land disputes

  • Rights of way, rights to light, water rights and profits
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Boundaries
  • Party walls
  • Adverse possession
  • Proprietary estoppel
  • Nuisance (including tree roots, flooding and subsidence)

Landlord and Tenant

  • Principally commercial property but also agricultural and residential
  • Lease construction
  • Rent reviews
  • Service charge disputes
  • Dilapidations
  • Break notices
  • Assignments and sublettings
  • 1954 Act renewals
  • Forfeiture

John has written a book on Land Licences, (Jordans Publishing) in which Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury writes the foreword. He is a contributor to the New Law Journal, a member of the Chancery Bar Association and Agricultural Law Association, and regularly tweets on property law, giving updates and news on cases, legislation, regulation and market developments. Follow him on Twitter @sharples_john.

Directory Quotes

John is a first-rate barrister. His advice is always clear, concise, and thorough. He is exceptional on his feet and also in dealing with clients. His broad, yet in-depth knowledge allow him to deal with the most complex of matters with ease. ‘He is my go-to barrister on important cases, and with clients he’s got an excellent manner and they trust him.’ “

Chambers UK 2024, Real Estate Litigation

John is outstanding on commercial property matters. He has vast knowledge, which he employs with great thoroughness.”

The Legal 500 2024, Property and Construction

John has a superb ability to identify and crystallise the issues and apply the law to them. He is thorough and decisive in his work and utterly reliable in this field.”

The Legal 500 2023, Property and Construction

John is a pre-eminent junior with an outstanding reputation for his property disputes practice. ‘John is a strong advocate, who is very user-friendly and down to earth. He delivers clear advice and is more than capable of dealing with very niche and technical matters.’ “

Chambers UK 2023, Real Estate Litigation

John is incredibly approachable, user-friendly and client-friendly. He is able to set out technical legal points clearly, concisely and in plain English. He is also a very good trial advocate and never seems flustered; he is clam, collected and measured in his delivery. John is brilliant and a first choice in any complex and important property dispute.”

Chambers UK 2022, Real Estate Litigation

He has brilliant social and analytical skills. Quick both in terms of intellect and turnaround time. Solicitors wish he was able to clone himself. “


John has a very commercial approach and a nice manner about him. He’s an excellent advocate and a good fighter who is well respected and in demand.”


Quality of advice and down to earth people skills; John is without a doubt one of the leading property litigation counsel in the country, who just happens to be based in Bristol.”

Legal 500 2021, Property

Seminars & Events

  • Qualifications & awards:

    • 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
    • Member of the Agricultural Law Association
    • Secretary of the Western Chancery & Commercial Bar Association
  • Additional information:

    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.

  • John Sharples is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please read here.