Partner and Head of Real Estate Litigation
"Paul Tomkins is described favourably by sources as an 'extremely bright lateral thinker'. He has a strong landlord and tenant practice covering contested lease renewals and possession claims."
(Chambers & Partners, 2018)
Paul has extensive experience in dealing with all Real Estate Litigation issues, including contested and uncontested lease renewals, dilapidations claims, break clause issues, service charge disputes and easement and covenant matters.
Paul ensures that he and his team understands their clients’ specific business needs – so that they do not simply offer the client a list of legal options, but a practical solution tailored to the clients’ specific business requirements. Paul’s focus is on the expense, time and risk of litigation and does not “get lost” in interesting legal points with no commercial impact.
Real Estate Litigation
- Advising a land owner where following the purchase of a property, it discovered the remains of equipment used as the set for the Robot Wars TV series in an unlocked building on site. The land owner ordered the removal of the equipment and destruction of it. The owner of the set brought a claim against our client for around £300,000 which it said was the value of a replacement set. Our client defeated the claim in the High Court on the basis it had made enquiries and was reasonably entitled to conclude no one was interested in the goods. Robot Arenas Ltd v Waterfield.
- An application to the Court made by a landlord against a tenant company in administration (our client) where the tenant had granted a third party licence to occupy the premises without the landlord’s consent. The landlord applied for the Court’s permission to commence proceedings to determine the licence. The administrators were successful in the Court of Appeal in resisting the landlord’s application. Sunberry Properties Ltd v Innovate Logistics (in Administration)
Paul regularly provides dependable and strategic advice to clients in the retail sector on their Real Estate Litigation issues, including the termination and renewal of business leases, dilapidations disputes and advice regarding break rights. His advice has a highly practical focus to ensure that retailers can swiftly deal with any disputes that arise.
- Acting for a retailer whose landlord opposed the grant of a new tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, on the basis of an intention to carry out substantial works of construction. Court proceedings were issued. Our client’s position was that the works the landlord intended to carry out were not substantial works of construction. A trial was listed, but in the week before the trial, the landlord agreed to grant our client a new lease.
- Acting for Aldi in connection with an application for an injunction made by its tenant, Iceland, where Iceland was seeking to prevent Aldi from carrying out an extension to its supermarket in Cambridge. We provided both legal and commercial advice throughout and pushed the matter on such that we got to a full trial within 6 weeks at which the High Court dismissed Iceland’s application. Iceland Foods Ltd v Aldi Stores Ltd.
- Acting for a retailer on a dilapidations dispute. The landlord’s claim was in excess of £1 million and had issued court proceedings. We worked closely with the client and their building surveyor and the matter was compromised at a without prejudice roundtable meeting for around 20% of the value of the initial claim.
- Advising a retailer on the acquisition of a portfolio of over 100 convenience stores and newsagents across the Midlands, North West, Yorkshire, South West and Wales. We advised on a number of property litigation issues throughout the transaction, including landlord’s unreasonably refusing/delaying granting their consent to assignments, ongoing and prospective lease renewals and dilapidations disputes.
- Property Litigation Association
“Freeths’ clients highlight the ‘consistently effective and well-informed’ advice provided by the property litigation practice, which acts on a range of issues for landowners, landlords and tenants….Paul Tomkins is recommended.”(The Legal 500 )
“All I can say is that as a solicitor dealing with contentious property matters I am glad that Paul works for us rather than against us! Over a number of cases I have found Paul to be responsive, knowledgeable and excellent value for money. His achievements in some cases have been far in excess of both hopes and expectations. Paul is dedicated to seeing the best outcomes for his client, with evidence of his knowledge of law balanced well with a strong commercial acumen. With a likeable character, I look forward to many years working together.”(Darren Nelson-Hall, Co-operative Estates)
“Having Paul Tomkins on your side is invaluable, he brings astuteness, clarity of thought and awareness of client needs second to none. Paul is an exemplary lawyer who has a friendly and attentive approach that is matched by his superb technical knowledge of the law. His tenacity to achieve a positive outcome and solid logic are strengths you will appreciate representing you.”(Nigel Channer, Head of Legal Services, Corby Borough Council)
“Paul Tomkins has an open, down to earth commercial approach. For me, one of Paul’s greatest strengths is that he is always contactable, quick to respond and pro-active.”(Daniel Gwynn, Head of Legal Services (Property), Travis Perkins)
“Clients enthuse that Paul Tomkins ‘demonstrates an impressively quick grasp of the key issues, combined with a thorough knowledge of the law,’ adding that ‘he is very technically strong and excellent on his feet.’ “
“‘Experienced and intelligent’ practice head Paul Tomkins, who has an ‘open, down-to-earth commercial approach’.”(The Legal 500, 2017)
Paul Tomkins “has a calm and considered approach”.(The Legal 500, 2019)
Paul Tomkins is commended for his work in landlord and tenant disputes, particularly in relation to social housing. Market sources describe him as “a quick lateral thinker and problem solver who always gives very clear instructions.”(Chambers & Partners, 2019)
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
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Contact: 03301 001 014