Michael is a very experienced property litigator with a calm and professional manner which puts clients at ease. He is intellectually sharp with great attention to detail, but never forgets that people are at the heart of all disputes and treats his clients with kindness and empathy.
Michael’s primary practice is property litigation, particularly landlord and tenant and construction cases. He also has experience in in contract litigation, insolvency, professional liability and judicial review proceedings.
In addition to his litigation practice, Michael is a qualified mediator and adjudicator. His commercial and legal expertise combined with his pragmatic people skills make him a great choice for resolving complex disputes. As Head of Chambers, he has many years' experience of managing people and dealing with their differing needs and personalities, and he brings that experience to his mediation practice.
Michael is Head of Chambers and a Bencher of Middle Temple.
Property and construction
Michael has extensive experience acting for landlords and tenants in commercial and residential property cases, with clients ranging from large housebuilders to local authorities and individuals. His recent cases involve dispositions of freehold and leasehold interests, possession, rent arrears, disrepair, dilapidations, and service charges. He has recently been successful in a claim against a guarantor under a commercial lease in respect of the lessee's rent, insurance rent, and repairing obligations.
He has considerable experience of acting in boundary dispute cases enabling warring neighbours to achieve satisfactory outcomes. He advises on complex restrictive covenants, and has successfully appeared in Land Tribunal applications to resist the modification and discharge of such covenants.
In construction cases, Michael has experience of conducting TCC and other building litigation covering a wide range of disputes from major construction developments to domestic dwellings and industrial workplaces. His experience of construction and property cases provides a solid basis for handling professional negligence claims against surveyors, valuers, architects, and solicitors, in local and international transactions.
Michael is a qualified mediator and has recently been involved in mediations relating to commercial and residential property. He is very well suited to mediating property disputes because of his depth of knowledge of the law in this area.
Business, commercial and insolvency
Michael is experienced at advising businesses in a wide range of disputes. His qualifications as a mediator and adjudicator mean that he is ideally placed to advise on the strategy to be adopted in each case, bearing in mind the legal position, commercial reputation and relationships and the cost and timescale of litigation. Michael has a particular specialism in advising on franchise agreements.
Michael also has experience of insolvency cases acting for companies and individuals. He accepts instructions from creditors and debtors to advise on insolvency proceedings as well as other litigation which may arise (for example dealing with antecedent transactions and recovery).
Michael is a qualified mediator who mediates disputes relating to his specialist practice areas, as well as those in other areas of law. He has an aptitude for getting parties to work together to find a resolution to tricky cases. He is able to work with multiple parties, and to use his time effectively to move everyone towards a resolution of the dispute.
Michael has been on the TECBAR list of approved mediators since 2013 and is particularly well suited to mediations involving property, business and insolvency disputes.
Given his mediator training, he has a substantial advantage in preparing and presenting cases for mediation. He is trained in advanced mediation advocacy and appreciates the different skills required for mediation as opposed to court.
Michael has been a TECBAR Adjudicator since 1998, and is well placed to adjudicate construction disputes and to advise on the performance and enforcement of adjudications. He is a popular choice for ADR relating to property disputes and has recently acted for a company in an international arbitration relating to Covid-19 issues.
Michael is well versed in advising on insurance contracts, and is familiar with the standard terms used by insurers. He advises insurance companies on the terms of cover and whether they should indemnify particular incidents. He is also able to advise those who may wish to challenge their insurers on the failure to indemnify.
Michael has acted for public authorities and interested parties in judicial review of the acts and omissions of public bodies particularly in relation to his property specialism. He is also experienced at dealing with licensing decisions, and attempts to challenge those through judicial review. Recent cases have involved judicial reviews in homelessness, planning and other areas, and tribunal cases relating to HMOs.
To instruct Michael, please contact Greg Piner.
- LL.B. (Hons) Bristol University
- Accredited Mediator
- TECBAR Adjudicator
- The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple (Master of the Bench)
- Society of Construction Law
- Professional Negligence Bar Association
GT Ltd v P&K : claim against a guarantor under a commercial lease in respect of the lessee's rent, insurance rent, and repairing obligations. Successful on all points and awarded full costs.
Sparling v Norman & Anor (Rev 1)  EWCA Civ 1152: Represented the appellant in a complex boundary dispute
Travelers Insurance Co Ltd v Advani  EWHC 623: Acted in a claim for an indemnity by insurers arising out of fraud committed during the course of employment
Francis v London Borough of Southwark  EWCA Civ 1418: Claim for breach of the right to buy legislation
R (Copyright Canary City Ltd) v Thames Magistrates' Court  EWHC 2185 (Admin): Successfully defeated an application for judicial review of a licensing decision
LP/31/2006: Acted in an application under section 84 of the Law of Property Act 1925
LON/AJ/HPO/2009/0008: Acted in an appeal against a prohibition notice under para 7(1) of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 2004