Call: 1994

John Clargo

Direct access
“Exceptional at providing clear, commercial innovative advice; a very effective advocate” Legal 500

Practice overview

John’s practice is primarily based on advice and representation in relation to the law of property, dealing regularly with owners of freehold and leasehold interests in land.

He also handles professional negligence litigation in relation to property professionals as well as commercial insolvency and general contractual disputes, where his property expertise gives him the edge.

An extremely capable and experienced advocate”, the legal directories recommend him not only as “the quality of his work is excellent” but also because he is “very easy to deal with” and “highly approachable”.

In a previous life John was a civil servant working in matters concerning defence and foreign affairs.

Areas of expertise

  • Property
    • Commercial landlord & tenant

      Commercial landlord & tenant

      John regularly deals with all aspects of commercial landlord and tenant work, covering the construction, assignment, termination and renewal of leases and the enforcement of leasehold covenants.

      Recent examples of work

      • advice in respect of ability to recover cost of estate-wide improvements from tenants
      • trial in respect of unreasonable refusal of consent to alterations
      • trial in respect of Jervis v Harris clause
      • advice in respect of claims for unlawful alterations
      • business lease renewal trials
      • trials relating to forfeiture of commercial leases and relief therefrom
      • advice on ownership of tenancies subject to agricultural occupation
    • Development & planning

      Development & planning

      John regularly deals with conditional sale agreements, options, overage provisions, easements and restrictive covenants:

      Recent examples of work:

      • interference with rights of way by proposed development;
      • restrictive covenants inhibiting development;
      • options to purchase development land
      • overage provisions in respect of development land
      • condition precedent in agreement for lease
    • Housing (social & privately rented)

      Housing (social & privately rented)

      John has experience of short-term tenancies and housing cases (including some homelessness) as well as cases involving non-tenant occupiers of land (licensees and squatters).

      Recent examples of work:

      • advice in respect of ability to recover cost of estate-wide improvements from tenants
      • trial in respect of unreasonable refusal of consent to alterations
      • advice in respect of claims for unlawful alterations
      • forfeiture of leases following FTT determination
      • Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs v Meier & Ors [2009] UKSC 11; [2009] 1 W.L.R. 2780; [2010] P.T.S.R. 321; [2010] 1 All E.R. 855; [2010] H.L.R. 15; [2010] 2 P. & C.R. 6; [2010] 1 E.G.L.R. 169; [2009] 49 E.G. 70 (C.S.); (2009) 153(46) S.J.L.B. 34; [2010] N.P.C. 3; Times, December 4, 2009 (House of Lords & Supreme Court) (Possession orders in respect of land not occupied by squatters; injunctions against persons unknown).
      • St Ermin’s Property Co Ltd. v Draper [2004] EWHC 697, White Book § 39.37.2 (High Court) (Setting aside judgment; failure to attend trial; absence of medical certificate).
      • Courtney Lodge Management Ltd v Blake [2004] EWCA Civ 975; [2005] 1 P. & C.R. 17; [2005] L. & T.R. 2; (2004) 101(31) L.S.G. 26; (2004) 148 S.J.L.B. 908; Times, July 15, 2004 (Court of Appeal) (Forfeiture of leases; difference of meaning between ‘permit’ and ‘suffer’.
    • Leasehold & leasehold management

      Leasehold & leasehold management

      John handles a wide variety of leasehold work including the construction, assignment, termination and renewal of leases. He also has experience of enfranchisement (including of places of worship) and the enforcement of covenants.

      Recent examples of work:

      • advice in respect of ability to recover cost of estate-wide improvements from tenants
      • trial in respect of unreasonable refusal of consent to alterations
      • advice in respect of claims for unlawful alterations
      • trials relating to forfeiture leases and relief therefrom
      • St Ermin’s Property Co Ltd. v Draper [2004] EWHC 697, White Book § 39.37.2 (High Court) (Setting aside judgment; failure to attend trial; absence of medical certificate).
      • Courtney Lodge Management Ltd v Blake [2004] EWCA Civ 975; [2005] 1 P. & C.R. 17; [2005] L. & T.R. 2; (2004) 101(31) L.S.G. 26; (2004) 148 S.J.L.B. 908; Times, July 15, 2004 (Court of Appeal) (Forfeiture of leases; difference of meaning between ‘permit’ and ‘suffer’.
    • Real property & mortgages

      Real property & mortgages

      John deals with easements, restrictive covenants, conveyancing and registration issues, boundaries, adverse possession, mortgages (including LPA receiverships – acting for both banks and receivers), trusts (including cohabitant TOLATA cases), options and overage agreements and nuisance cases.

      Among the more unusual matters John has dealt with are riparian rights, river bed licences and insurance claims under the Riot Damages Act 1886.

      Recent examples of work:

      • Nuisance arising from the presence of Japanese Knotweed on land
      • dispute in respect of reserved easements said to arise on a transfer of part
      • application for injunctive relief in respect of development across right of way
      • claims for undue influence
      • mediated settlement of claim for damages in lieu of injunction in respect of development across right of way and encroachment across boundary
      • advice on a lease of a right of way to a quarry
      • advice in respect of Place of Worship (Enfranchisement) Act 1920
      • advice in respect of equitable charge arising by reason of vendor’s lien
      • a number of trials relating to residential and agricultural boundaries
      • Hayling v Harper [2003] EWCA Civ 1147; [2004] 1 P. & C.R. 35; [2003] 3 E.G.L.R. 5; [2003] 39 E.G. 117 (Court of Appeal) (Easements prescriptive acquisition)
      • Twinsectra Ltd v Yardley & Ors [1999] Lloyd’s Rep. Bank. 438; [2000] Lloyd’s Rep. P.N. 239; [2000] W.T.L.R. 527 (Court of Appeal)  (Trusts; breach of trusts; knowing receipt; knowing assistance; dishonesty)
  • Legal professionals

    Legal professionals

    John’s experience in property law (including landlord and tenant law) means he is well-placed to deal with negligence claims involving professionals practising in those areas.

    Recent examples of work:

    • advice in respect of delay in registering purchaser’s title to freehold land
    • advice in respect of missed deadlines in lease renewal proceedings
    • advice in respect of failure to ensure benefit of easements noted on register
    • advice in respect of conduct of application to register title
    • advice in respect of failure to advise on development restrictions.
  • Commercial litigation

    Commercial litigation

    John handles a wide variety of general commercial litigation, often where there is a property element

    Recent examples of such work:

    • advice and representation in respect of breach of sale of floristry business and allied lending of money
    • advice in respect of recovery of moneys owed to major clearing banks
    • Murthy & Anor  v Sivajothi & Ors [1999] 1 W.L.R. 467; [1999] 1 All E.R. 721; [1999] I.L.Pr. 320; Times, November 11, 1998; Independent, November 11, 1998 (Court of Appeal)(Conflict of laws; enforcement of foreign judgments.
  • Insolvency & restructuring
    • Corporate insolvency

      Corporate insolvency

      John handles corporate (and personal) insolvency work usually in property-related matters.

      Recent examples of such work: 

      • representing subjects of IVAs opposing supervisor’s petitions for bankruptcy (including the obtaining of costs order against supervisor personally)
      • advising in respect of threatened petition based on guarantor’s obligations under unregistered lease
      • advising and appearing for LPA receivers in respect of application to note impliedly reserved easements over secured land
    • Personal insolvency

      Personal insolvency

      John handles personal (and corporate) insolvency work usually in property-related matters.

      Recent examples of such work:

      • representing subjects of IVAs opposing supervisor’s petitions for bankruptcy (including the obtaining of costs order against supervisor personally)
      • advising in respect of threatened petition based on guarantor’s obligations under unregistered lease
      • advising and appearing for LPA receivers in respect of application to note impliedly reserved easements over secured land
    • Property insolvency

      Property insolvency

      Please see John’s corporate and personal insolvency entries.

Recognition

“Exceptional at providing clear, commercial innovative advice; a very effective advocate”Legal 500
“A calm and measured advocate with a great grasp of the facts”Legal 500
“His depth of experience and expertise mean he is extremely useful to have as part of a legal team.”Legal 500

Directory recommendations

John is recommended in both Chambers UK and Legal 500 for Property/Real Estate Litigation. He is also recommended for Commercial Dispute Resolution in Chambers UK.

  • “He is very good at seeing through a problem and pinpointing exactly what the crux of the matter is, before thinking outside the box for solutions or answers.” “He is a particularly thorough and knowledgeable barrister who demonstrates an impressive ability to cross-examine and persuade the judge of the cogency of his arguments.” (Chambers UK)
  • “He is a particularly thorough and knowledgeable barrister.” “Sophisticated and persuasive advocate.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Provides clear and practical advice.” “He is very commercial and sensible and turns work around quickly.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Good at looking at things laterally and holistically. He’s easy to talk to and very user-friendly. His range of expertise on property matters seems endless. Excellent under pressure and a good courtroom advocate.” (Chambers UK)
  • “He delivers succinct and relevant advice for the client. He’s very pragmatic and approachable, and keeps an eye on the end result. He’s an excellent advocate.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Very bright. His written work is always of an excellent calibre and he is accessible to clients.” (Chambers UK) 
  • A calm and measured advocate with a great grasp of the facts.” (Legal 500)
  • His depth of experience and expertise mean he is extremely useful to have as part of a legal team.” (Legal 500)
  • “Very commercial and thinks outside the box.” (Legal 500)
  • A tenacious advocate with strong technical skills.” (Legal 500)
  • “A first-rate advocate, who is well liked by clients.” (Legal 500)
  • “His ability to handle figures and details are a particular strength.” (Chambers UK)

Professional associations

  • Property Bar Association
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association

Publications

Contributor to Risk & Negligence in Property Transactions (The Law Society) – publication late 2018.

Qualifications

  • MA (Oxon)
  • Post-graduate certificate in Law
  • Postgraduate certificate in Russian

Languages

German
French
Russian

Insights

Supreme Court grasps the nettle(bed) and gives lesson on sale of school land

01/07/2021

Don’t lose your way! 3 misunderstood aspects of the law of rights of way

31/03/2021

John Clargo featured in Ashton & Reid on Clubs and Associations (3rd Edition)

12/02/2021

Ashton & Reid on Clubs and Associations (3rd Edition)

12/02/2021

Limitation May Prove a Nuisance in Japanese Knotweed Claims

30/11/2020

Client conflict

23/05/2019

And now for something completely different: Canary Wharf (BP4) T1 Ltd and others v European Medicines Agency [2019] EWHC 335 (Ch)

12/03/2019

Risk & Negligence in Property Transactions

28/01/2019

Hardwicke MIPIM Team 2019

25/01/2019

Book publication: ‘Risk and Negligence in Property Transactions’, edited by John de Waal QC

22/10/2018

Past events

#HardwickeBrew – Property – Twelve Tails of Christmas

10/12/2020

Hardwicke Franchising Day – Business as Usual?

24/09/2020

#HardwickeBrew – Property – Boundary Disputes (Part 2)

23/07/2020

#HardwickeBrew – Property – Boundary Disputes – “It started with (A chat over the garden fence)”. The chorus continues “I never thought it would come to this”

25/06/2020

#HardwickeBrew – Property – Insolvency issues

23/04/2020

Knotweed: Law & Practice (Rerun)

28/11/2018

Knotweed: Law & Practice

06/09/2018

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