Social Housing - London (Bar)
Arden Chambers is a "lean, mean fighting machine," whose barristers regularly act on the most important cases, usually, though not exclusively, for landlords or local authorities. A notable highlight for the set was representing the local authority in LB Camden v Stafford, a leading case on introductory tenancies and review decisions. Sources praise the set, saying that "there are no obvious shortcomings there. I'd always be confident with a barrister from Arden on my side."
Client service: "They have a massively efficient clerking team." "They're in a lovely building now and they do great evening seminars."
Andrew Arden QC
Maintains his reputation as a stalwart of the Housing Bar. This seasoned practitioner has vast experience of the area and has represented countless local authorities throughout his long career. Sources say of him that he's "a colossus, a barrister with a tremendous and well-deserved reputation."
Expertise: "He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of housing law" and "provides authoritative advice on difficult technical areas." "He gave us helpful advice on legal structures for proposed housing schemes and their compliance with statutory regimes."
Recent work: He acted on the aforementioned LB Camden v Stafford, as well as other key cases such as Dacorum DC v Simms and LB Camden v Sharif.
Continues to receive praise for his work in this sector. His practice covers, amongst other things, sizeable building disputes, service charge issues, security of tenure and sheltered housing. He is further described as being "extremely good on local government and public law issues."
Expertise: "A consummate court advocate who combines an imposing presence with a good deal of practical knowledge." He is "a go-to barrister for appeals and higher court housing work."
Recent work: Acted on the judicial review R (Chatting) v Viridian Housing and LB Wandsworth. Also appeared in Ker v Optima Community Association, where human rights issues and contractual arrangements arising from the HomeBuy scheme were examined on appeal.
A star individual who is lauded for his advocacy skills, the quality of his written work and his knowledge of the sector. Identified as "phenomenal," he is a favourite amongst both peers and instructing solicitors. He acts for a spectrum of clients including local authorities, registered providers, tenants and the homeless.
Expertise: "He's great for technical issues and is academically one of the strongest." "He has excellent skills in court and is fantastic at cross-examination."
Recent work: He represented the leaseholders in LB Southwark v Leaseholders of Southwark, and acted for the local authority in Rochdale MBC v Dixon.
A founding member of the set who is noted for his expertise in judicial review and human rights matters, particularly where proportionality is in issue.
Expertise: "He's grounded, approachable and good fun;" also "incisive, knowledgeable and great on policy issues."
Recent work: He acted for the local authority in Corby BC v Scott and Birmingham CC v Lloyd, both of which were significant Court of Appeal cases.
Moves up to the top tier having established an impressive reputation in the sector. "He is extremely quick, bright and able - for tricky points of law, he's superb," enthused one source. He is greatly commended for his witness-handling abilities and his work in the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
Expertise: "Has an unrivalled level of knowledge and expertise on anything to do with service charges." "He brings real energy and drive - he's unstoppable!"
Recent work: Has acted for tenants facing eviction following participation or alleged participation in the London 2011 riots, one notable case being LB Wandsworth v De La Calva. Also represented the local authority that acquired a caravan park where warring families of Travellers had stationed their vehicles, in re Houndsfield Lane Caravan Site.
Toby Vanhegan is identified as "a thorn in the side of local authorities" and demonstrates experience in homelessness, immigration and asylum, and EU free movement law in the context of the housing sector. He is described as "innovative and charming."
Expertise: "He has superb knowledge of some tricky areas of the law." "He's managed to fuse immigration knowledge with a niche housing practice and has become an expert in eligibility."
Recent work: Represented the appellant in Bubb v Wandsworth LBC, a case dealing with the ability of the court to find facts in judicial review of homelessness proceedings. This case is destined to go to the ECHR.
William Okoya receives notable praise for the calibre of his work. His practice includes work for public landlords and tenants.
Expertise: Sources acknowledge his ability at client and witness-handling. "He has the edge in understanding how clients operate," according to interviewees.
Noted for her success in antisocial behaviour matters, possession and homelessness cases.
Expertise: "Approachable and available, she provides detailed skeletons and is prepared to discuss things off the cuff. She knows the law well and has a great rapport with the judges."
Recent work: Regularly advises Birmingham City Council on antisocial behaviour issues and represented it in Birmingham City Council v Khan.
A seasoned practitioner who has worked for many local authorities. Has handled numerous housing and local government cases, including many dealing with homelessness issues.
Expertise: "She acted on an antisocial behaviour case where she really rose to overcome unexpected challenges." "She is a smooth operator in court."
Recent work: Recent case highlights include Thompson v Roberts and Haripaul v LB Lewisham.
Enters the table this year. Has a raft of housing expertise and good local government matters.
Expertise: Although "a thoroughly nice opponent," commentators say that "if you're against him you'll be in a scrap." He is "affable in his approach and has great insight."
Recent work: Recently, he was successful in representing the local authority in Sharif v Camden LBC, a case looking at whether one family could be housed in two adjacent flats.
Sam Madge-Wyld. Sources are quick to praisis the up-and-comer for his cool head and case management as well as his enthusiasm and energy. His practice includes a range of homelessness matters and community care issues.
Expertise: "An acute legal brain and a practical approach to problem solving" mark him out.
"He has great client care skills and is willing to go to court at the drop of a hat."
Recent work: He acted for the local authority in Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea v Barber.
His practice spans landlord and tenant matters, public law matters generally and cases before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. He is considered a go-to junior with instructing solicitors underscoring client care skills: "He really understands their objective and legal position."
Expertise: "He's terribly knowledgeable about housing policy and legislation."
Recent work: Recent highlights include being second junior counsel in the Supreme Court case of Hounslow v Powell.
A favourite of lay-clients and instructing solicitors, she is "great on complex human rights cases - she'll take a difficult case and turn it around."
Expertise: Approachable, smart and tenacious, she performs well, even against senior opposition. She is "a workaholic and an excellent advocate."
Recent work: She recently acted for the housing association in the rent arrears case Octavia Housing v Winter.
Cornerstone Barristers is a robust presence in this sector, and caters for a range of clients, although it is particularly known for representing local authorities and housing associations. Its impressive team received a boost this year when two of its number, Ashley Underwood and Kelvin Rutledge, were appointed to silk. Barristers at the set have acted on leading cases including Solihull v Hickin and Powell v LB Hounslow. Sources say: "Regardless of the query I have I always get an excellent, prompt service, and sound advice is given each and every time."
Client service: "Their clerks are absolutely amazing - they remember who we are. They really understand the urgency of a matter and give us the personal care and attention we need."
Bryan McGuire QC
Persistently identified as a key practitioner in this field, he has acted on several major housing cases over a distinguished career. He has "a standout practice on the landlord side," and has additional expertise relating to community care and adult social services work.
Expertise: "You never fear that he'll do badly," say those that use him, whilst his peers comment that he's "a tough but fair opponent."
Recent work: He recently acted successfully for the local authority in Solihull v Hickin, which looked at whether common law succession rules apply to secure tenancies.
Ranjit Bhose QC
Received unanimous praise from peers, solicitors and clients. His practice covers, inter alia, housing finance, racial harassment and antisocial behaviour cases. Skills frequently lauded include eloquence, rigour and charm.
Expertise: "He's brilliant, clever, calm and keeps his eye on the ball," enthused one client.
His "charm and skill as an advocate is beyond anything I've ever seen."
Recent work: He recently acted against the local authority in NM v Islington LBC, a test case dealing with local authority obligations regarding the housing of prisoners.
Ashley Underwood QC
A seasoned practitioner, who has considerable skill in housing, human rights and public inquiries. He is strongly recommended for his appellate work.
Expertise: "A very incisive, bright lawyer who is quick on his feet and impossibly sharp-witted."
Recent work: Recent highlights include the case of Hounslow v Powell.
Kelvin Rutledge QC
Took silk in 2013 and has broad expertise in both community care and social housing.
Expertise: "Exceptionally well prepared," he is "a lawyer whose written arguments set him up to be completely unflappable."
"Accessible, down-to-earth and responsive," he "provides timely, robust and clear advice on very complicated cases."
Recent work: Acted in Powell v LB Hounslow in the County and Supreme Court, and represented the local authority in Konodyba v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, a case regarding EU free movement and the entitlement to social housing.
Has comprehensive housing expertise, and also significant experience in general public law and community care cases. He is noted for his work in judicial review.
Expertise: Praised for his creativity and pragmatism, he "brings a fresh perspective and is extremely thorough." "He knows the client and fully appreciates the difficulties that social housing providers face - particularly the limited financial means of local authorities and RSLs."
Recent work: He represented the local authority in Hackney LBC v Occupy London, which looked at the movement's presence in Hackney parks.
Experienced at handling significant cases, he tackles a practice strong on human rights, possession order and sheltered accommodation cases, and that is further bolstered with local government and property experience.
Expertise: "A quick, accurate and methodical advocate," "he'll think of every angle and has a mind that works at lightning speed." "He's excellent at human rights points - he can really cleverly develop that area of law."
Recent work: Represented the local authority in Richmond upon Thames LBC v Kubicek, an appeal against a case management order.
His practice covers social housing, planning and public law, and he has appeared on a number of significant cases in these sectors.
Expertise: "Fantastic on his feet," he's "an exceptional advocate, who is a very decent character who puts his case forward so well."
Recent work: Recent cases include Thurrock Borough Council v Aaron West and Lalita Bisala v Guinness South.
Held in high regard by many in the housing sector. He has a broad practice which spans employment, local government and judicial review, in addition to the various housing matters he undertakes. Sources agree that he is well placed to address his clients' needs.
Expertise: "He's always an effective opponent - he's practical and sensible."
Recent work: He recently acted for the local authority in LB Enfield v Bektas Aksu, a case involving a possession order made in respect of commercial premises.
Well liked by local authorities and has experience working on cases involving antisocial behaviour, possession proceedings and homelessness. She has particular expertise when it comes to the Equality Act and is good on cases with elements of community care.
Expertise: "Very practical and very easy to communicate with, she knows when to be aggressive and when to cool down."
Recent work: She recently appeared in the Court of Appeal in Liam Allen v LB Croydon, an antisocial behaviour case, where she represented the local authority.
Noted for her expertise on homelessness matters, particularly on cases including aspects of EU law and eligibility.
Expertise: "The speed at which she cuts through the eligibility minefield is amazing." "Accessible and responsive, she provides solid, sensible and pragmatic advice."
Recent work: Acted on the County Court appeal of Konodyba v RB Kensington and Chelsea, which concerned the eligibility of an accession country EEA national for homelessness assistance.
"Bright and pleasant," she has a practice that covers community care and local government cases, alongside housing matters. She is particularly noted for her knowledge of EU rights in the housing context.
Expertise: "A very likeable, down-to-earth lawyer who is very good with EU rights."
Recent work: Recent case highlights include her work on R (G) v LB Southwark and Hillingdon v Hardie.
Has a wealth of experience in housing, community care and property matters and has appeared on significant cases involving succession and human rights in housing.
Expertise: "An exceptionally bright advocate with a great analytical mind who can turn around instructions speedily." "Is extremely thorough with her paperwork, has an enviable array of skills and produces excellent paperwork." She "fights hard and fiercely for her clients."
Recent work: She was led by Bryan McGuire QC in the case of Solihull v Hickin.
While she has a broad practice spanning many aspects of public law, she largely focuses on housing and has recently gained experience acting on matters involving local authority obligations in respect of Travellers.
Expertise: "She adds a lot when she comes in on a case - she really gives it special thought."
"She is accessible, approachable and has a ready grasp of clients' needs."
Recent work: She has recently handled a number of disrepair and homelessness cases.
The team at Garden Court Chambers is frequently seen acting against local authorities or housing providers. It boasts a deep bench of barristers with a broad range of experience and expertise in the social housing sector. Members have been seen acting on a variety of prominent cases such as Solihull v Hickin, Camden v Stafford and Reading Borough Council v Holt. As one commentator stated: "It's the leading housing law chambers for tenants - the individuals here are always pushing the boundaries."
Client service: "You always get a gold standard service."
Jan Luba QC
Widely considered to represent the pinnacle of expertise in housing. "Watching him is like a master class," says one interviewee. Over an accomplished career, he has accrued huge experience handling the full gamut of housing matters.
Expertise: "He is currently at the top of his game and is, frankly, brilliant." "One of the leading advocates of his generation."
Recent work: Represented the tenants in both Solihull v Hickin and Camden v Stafford.
Stephen Knafler QC
Noted as a top QC for social welfare cases and administrative and public law generally. Expertise: An exceptionally talented barrister," he is praised for having a broad practice and is acknowledged as someone who is diligent in his approach and communicates well with judges.
Recent work: He acted for the appellant in R (SL) v Westminster CC, a case involving the obligation to house an asylum seeker with mental health problems.
A favourite of instructing solicitors, she has worked on a number of cases that have become leading authorities in social housing law. She regularly acts for vulnerable parties and is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor.
Expertise: "She's very thorough, absolutely brilliant with clients and has a lot of gravitas. She knows the subject extremely well and is a highly specialised housing lawyer."
Recent work: Acted for the tenant in Lappin v Surace and Affinity Sutton v Leeves.
"Bright and articulate," he has extensive knowledge of the eligibility of EU nationals to housing rights.
Expertise: "He's really stepped up as a leading junior on EU-related housing cases." "He's consistently turning out quality Court of Appeal and European work." Sources praise him for his ability to convey complex arguments in a concise, clear and persuasive manner.
Recent work: He acted on the test case of Pryce v Southwark, involving the housing rights of unlawfully present family members of EU citizens.
While he has a broad practice in housing matters, he has particular expertise in defending vulnerable clients facing allegations of antisocial behaviour.
Expertise: "He's absolutely brilliant at working with challenging or emotive clients." He is "an extremely approachable and thorough practitioner with an excellent client manner."
Recent work: Acted in LB Hackney v Sheehan and Whitefriars Housing Society Ltd v Steane, appearing in both cases for tenants facing possession orders.
A seasoned barrister with experience of an array of housing cases including homelessness and possession claims.
Expertise: "He's a pleasure to be against, and he always chooses the best arguments for his clients." "He's not easily flustered - he's a safe pair of hands."
Recent work: Acted for the tenants in Lambeth LBC v McDonald, which involved a possession order relating to a short-life tenancy.
Experienced in cases concerning a range of housing issues including homelessness, disrepair and security of tenure. "He's really taking up the mantle in social housing," say those that use him.
Expertise: "A civil and eloquent opponent," he is commended for being "particularly clever."
Recent work: Fitzpatrick's "conspicuous professional skill and charm" was highlighted by the judge in Bakare v London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.
Has particular expertise in housing law where mental capacity is in issue, but acts on a wide range of housing matters generally.
Expertise: "Detailed yet pragmatic," "she'll exhaust every argument and is always robust in court."
Recent work: In 2012, Harris acted on behalf of a number of highly vulnerable clients in respect of their housing needs.
Consistently highlighted by other lawyers as a key housing barrister. He demonstrates a wealth of experience and has handled numerous injunctions, unlawful evictions and possession cases.
Expertise: Sources point to his approachability, meticulous nature and excellent people skills. "He has significant experience on very challenging cases," and is "really impressive when under fire."
Recent work: Paget acted for a secure tenant in the unlawful eviction case Loveridge v Lambeth BC and for the tenant in R (George) v Hammersmith & Fulham LBC.
Lauded by instructing solicitors, he works on a range of matters in this field, but is particularly noted for his work on issues relating to Travellers.
Expertise: "Excellent on his feet and great in his written work. He'll take novel arguments to their conclusion."
"Often a first choice," according to interviewees, she has a broad practice that incorporates housing and community care, although she is particularly noted for her expertise in acting for tenants on disrepair matters.
Expertise: Sources praise her "thorough and sensible" approach. "She's a great advocate on disrepair cases and has an in-depth knowledge from the tenants' point of view."
Recent work: In addition to disrepair cases, she has recently represented tenants fighting possession claims.
"A really decent opponent," according to peers, she has a practice that covers a variety of housing matters. She's also particularly focused on cases involving the Court of Protection or mental health matters.
Expertise: "Popular with clients and someone with excellent advocacy skills." She "has a great understanding of how a case develops - she's tactically astute."
Recent work: Highlights include acting on Severnside v Devi, Davies, Peart, Drayton, a case involving possession orders arising from antisocial behaviour.
Has worked on a range of housing cases including those involving Equality Act, immigration and domestic violence issues.
Expertise: Instructing solicitors particularly note her attention to detail: "She'll explore every possible angle when looking at legal processes."
Recent work: She recently acted for the tenant in Toumi v Westminster City Council, which dealt with the appropriateness of housing offered to a single mother.
Doughty Street Chambers is renowned for its top-quality work in public law issues; social housing being no exception. It boasts a team of high-profile housing lawyers practising from London and Manchester, most of whom have over a decade's experience. Barristers from Doughty Street usually act for tenants in housing cases. Their recent high-profile cases include Ofogba v LB Southwark and Konodyba v Kensington & Chelsea RLBC. Sources consistently praise them for their diligence and expertise.
Client service: "The clerking is always helpful, responsive and flexible."
Martin Westgate QC
Negotiates a broad practice, and has gained experience acting on a range of housing cases over a distinguished career. He is particularly strong on cases involving complicated asylum and immigration issues.
Expertise: "A barrister with an incredibly powerful legal mind," he is "a thoughtful lawyer who will think everything through."
Recent work: He acted for the tenants in Ofogba v LB Southwark and Konodyba v Kensington & Chelsea.
The "charming and incredibly bright" Burton enters Band 1 of the rankings following unanimous praise from peers in this sector. "At the heart of a lot of progressive cases," he has appeared on a number of key housing cases involving an array of issues.
Expertise: "A tenacious yet sensible barrister," who is particularly well regarded for his ability to work with clients.
Recent work: He successfully represented the claimant in R (Almeida) v LB Kensington and Chelsea, which dealt with the ability of EEA nationals to claim housing and healthcare in the United Kingdom.
Has a broad practice covering various judicial reviews, Children Act allocations and statutory appeals under the Housing Act. "She's a first choice for cases with complicated facts or difficult clients."
Expertise: "Magnificent at dealing with vulnerable clients," she is a barrister whose "tenacity, persistence and direct manner" were much commented upon. "If she's got a point, you're stuffed," say opponents, who further commented on her "thoroughness, energy and dedication."
Recent work: Appeared in British Waterways Marina v Pleass, defending a claim for possession in relation to a marina berth.
Acts for both tenants and social landlords including local authorities. He is particularly noted for his expertise in homelessness.
Expertise: Sources applaud his intelligence and flexible and approachable manner. "He's very amenable and has great experience of working for local authorities."
Recent work: He recently represented the tenant in Murray v Westminster CC and acted for the local authority in S v Plymouth CC.
Manages a broad practice in this sector and often handles Article 8 ECHR cases and housing stock transfers.
Expertise: He receives praise for his written work in particular and is considered "bright and knowledgeable."
Recent work: He was recently led by Martin Westgate QC in Konodyba v Kensington & Chelsea RLBC.
A recent arrival to Doughty Street, this grounded practitioner is praised for his expertise on a range of housing work, particularly residential leasehold and disrepair matters. Sources say he is "a charming opponent" and "always accessible and happy to advise."
Expertise: He is "succinct, understandable and will fight a corner hard and well."
Instructing solicitors say he is "engaging, adaptable, appropriate and effective."
Recent work: Highlights include those involving the Equality Act in antisocial behaviour possession orders.
"Charismatic and charming," he has a practice that spans housing law and community care and is particularly noted for his expertise in cases with a mental health element.
Expertise: "He impressed in a joint community care/housing matter where his knowledge and experience were very useful in liaising between the parties and representing the client's best interests."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Poplar HARCA v Bitumba.
Has a broad practice in public law which takes in housing law and community care. She is well regarded for her work involving the provision of accommodation to vulnerable adults and children.
Expertise: "She is incisive and always supports the instructing solicitor. She works in a fully inclusive and approachable way."
Recent work: She was involved on the key test case of R (SL) v LB Westminster, acting for an intervener.
Enters the table this year, and is hailed for "doing brilliant work at the coal face." He is best known for his work for law centres and particularly vulnerable tenants.
Expertise: Sources strongly commend his written advocacy and identify him as a "straightforward, responsive and understanding" practitioner.
Following a series of prominent arrivals, Five Paper has increased its presence and strength in the social housing market. The boosted team is praised for its breadth of experience and is considered to be "one of the forerunners in the sector." Its members represent "real quality and are available and approachable." They have recently featured in significant housing cases such as LB Southwark v Ofogba and Camden v Stafford.
Client service: "The clerks at Five Paper are a cut above; they're extremely user-friendly and always go the extra mile."
The "understated yet charismatic" Gallivan enters the top band this year following a volley of praise. He is noted for his niche expertise in complex local authority finance cases and on social housing matters generally.
Expertise: "He brings empathy and proportionality, and a great deal of panache."
Peers stress his "sensible and flexible approach," and identify him as "a very forensic advocate."
Recent work: Recently represented the local authority in the Court of Appeal in Islington BC v Doner.
A "refreshing and exciting" practitioner who is considered a formidable opponent by seasoned peers. Her practice spans homelessness and disrepair appeals, although she has recently been engaged on cases involving enfranchisement and service charge issues. Expertise: "Passionate and well prepared." "She has the ability to home in on the relevant and to discard the chaff. She analyses and solves problems well."
Recent work: Appeared in the Court of Appeal case of Camden v Stafford, acting for the tenant.
"A heavyweight barrister for landlords," who has great breadth and depth of experience. His practice is varied and includes possession claims, house in multiple occupation matters and questions of discharging duties in respect of homelessness cases.
Expertise: "Hands-on, pragmatic and reliable," he is "an extremely polished advocate with great experience in all areas of housing and property law."
Recent work: He represented the local authority in Southend-on-Sea BC v Armour, an appeal against the dismissal of a possession claim involving an Article 8 defence.
Has great experience acting for local authorities and housing providers on the full spread of housing matters.
Expertise: "Cool and collected," she is "very calm in difficult situations and easy to deal with."
"She has a knack for getting the right result and her knowledge is first-class."
Recent work: Beecham has recently acted on a number of complex cases for local authorities including an appeal involving the treatment of duties arising under the Children Act in possession proceedings.
He is singled out for his technical and procedural knowledge and his expertise on disrepair matters.
Expertise: Lauded for possessing "the perfect mix of subtlety and aggression," he is an experienced barrister who takes a solution-oriented approach. "Whether employed as a precise instrument or as a blunt one, he's terrific."
Recent work: Recently represented the local authority in Lane v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in the High Court.
A favourite of lay clients and instructing solicitors, she regularly acts for housing providers and local authorities on matters involving secured tenants and long leases.
Expertise: A "frighteningly efficient" barrister who has the ability to find "practical solutions to complicated problems." "Not only is she a specialist in the field of housing law but she totally understands how the social housing sector operates."
Recent work: Achieved possession orders following antisocial behaviour in the cases of Hyde Housing Association v Spruhan and Yarlington HA v Ayling.
Frequently acts for social landlords, including registered providers and local authorities in respect of possession claims and antisocial behaviour.
Expertise: A meticulous practitioner praised by sources for being consistently well prepared and great with clients. "He's someone we turn to in a time of crisis. His presence is calming and reassuring and leads to success."
Recent work: Successfully achieved an injunction and possession claim against squatters in a vacant leisure centre in London Borough of Barking & Dagenham v Persons Unknown.
Her broad practice covers many aspects of housing including security of tenure and succession rights, service charge disputes and antisocial behaviour.
Expertise: Offers "excellent analytical skills, and has a calm, approachable and collected manner." "Great on mental health and Equality Act cases, she's careful and considered when handling witnesses or vulnerable tenants."
Recent work: Work highlights have included acting on a range of cases involving mental health issues. She has recently appeared in a number of judicial reviews and tenancy succession cases.
The set boasts a number of key practitioners widely commended by peers and clients. Members are friendly and down to earth and are noted for their work for tenants and applicants in judicial review. They shepherd a growing practice that has caught the eye of instructing solicitors. Key cases recently undertaken by the set include prominent Supreme Court case Solihull MBC v Hickin.
Client service: "The clerks are fantastic - they are one of the reasons I keep going back to the set."
Applauded for his ability in complex homelessness cases, where he displays his impressive knowledge of relevant case law.
Expertise: Consistently praised by other lawyers for his sharp legal mind, he is known for his creativity and use of novel arguments. "He really understands the interplay between housing law and the traditional principles of land law."
Recent work: He acted on Ali & Others v Birmingham City Council & Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, a case currently pending before the ECHR.
Has expertise in many areas of housing law, but is particularly highlighted for his ability on disrepair, leasehold and Leasehold Valuation Tribunal matters in particular. He has recently acted on a number of reported cases and is identified as a barrister with authority and stage presence in court.
Expertise: "A very robust, brave barrister with a huge knowledge of leasehold law."
Recent work: Nicol is highly praised by those in the sector for his work in the Supreme Court on Solihull MBC v Hickin.
Widely acknowledged as a key practitioner acting for tenants on a variety of housing matters.
Expertise: He is noted for his realism, pragmatism and the measured advice he gives. Sources also say he is someone who can think outside the box and resolve unusual or complicated problems. "He's quietly spoken but very steely in court."
Recent work: He recently acted for the tenants in Sharif v Camden LBC, a case discussing whether housing a large family in multiple units within the same building was permissible.
A purveyor of "sound and practical advice," who is strong on his paperwork. His housing practice covers many cases with human rights aspects. He has significant expertise in cases where there is a social security element.
Expertise: "He is a calm presence and brings an analytical mind to bear." "He makes clear, concise, worthwhile arguments and is really effective."
Recent work: He was junior counsel in Hounslow LBC v Powell at the Supreme Court in 2011.
Hardwicke boasts a number of barristers who are solicitor and client favourites in this sector. Though the team is smaller than some, it regularly handles complex or high-profile cases. Recent highlights include Sims v Dacorum Borough Council and Byrne v Poplar Housing. Members here generally focus on acting for housing providers and local authorities.
Client service: "The clerks are brilliant - they're always accessible and extremely personable."
An experienced housing barrister, who is particularly popular with clients, many of whom ask for him by name. He regularly acts for landlords on matters involving human rights defences.
Expertise: "A tremendous combination of skill, knowledge and personality. He's genuinely likeable and never ruffled." Opponents describe him as "reasonable and measured, yet deadly."
Recent work: He has acted on a number of recent significant cases including both the Sims and Byrne judgments mentioned above.
Head of Hardwicke's social housing team, he has a strong landlord and tenant practice and is noted for his ability in handling Equality Act defences.
Expertise: "Reliable, intelligent and attentive, he's really meticulous."
Recent work: Underwood worked alongside Andy Lane on the Sims case and defended the local authority in R (George) v LB Hammersmith & Fulham.
Frequently acts for social landlords and is noted for her work in obtaining antisocial behaviour injunctions.
Expertise: Solicitors particularly enjoy working with her and commend her rapport with clients. "She's totally committed, energetic and forward-thinking and has natural empathy with clients."
Recent work: She recently acted on Southern Housing v Sarah Ings, which involved an antisocial behaviour injunction complicated by a shared lease for a part-privately owned property.
A client favourite, who is praised for his pragmatic approach and deep understanding of the housing officer's role. He is noted for his experience in antisocial behaviour matters and work before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
Expertise: "An excellent trial advocate," he is admired by those who instruct him as "he is always on hand to offer advice and guidance when there are knotty issues to confront."
Has significant expertise working on matters involving vulnerable tenants and often appears in the Court of Protection.
Expertise: "A really robust, no-nonsense, likeable barrister who will cut through side issues and get straight to the point." She is great with lay clients and has a keen eye for detail.
Recent work: She recently appeared in Gallichan v Gallichan which involved possession proceedings brought against a daughter by the mother's appointed financial deputy.
Zia Bhaloo QC of Enterprise Chambers
A key housing barrister with great knowledge of property law. She frequently acts for housing providers and is often instructed by leading housing firms.
Expertise: "Incredibly bright," she is "great technical counsel for difficult housing law issues."
Richard Drabble QC of Landmark Chambers
Has a broad public law practice which takes in social security and immigration cases as well as social housing matters. "He's a commanding barrister in many fields."
Expertise: Praised for his "experience and intellect," he is "a seasoned advocate with a strong background in public law. A first choice for many clients."
Recent work: Drabble continues to receive praise for his work on seminal social housing cases such as Pinnock v Manchester CC and R (Yemshaw) v Hounslow LBC.
Nathalie Lieven QC of Landmark Chambers
Received unanimous praise from lawyers in the social housing sector. She is noted for her work on high-profile cases and appears on significant housing cases before the Supreme Court.
Expertise: "Enormously bright and extremely proficient," she is "an absolute joy to work with and a breath of fresh air."
Recent work: She recently appeared for the tenant in Sharif v London Borough of Camden in the Supreme Court.
Sally Blackmore of Ely Place Chambers
A former member of Arden Chambers, she receives praise for her work in social housing and real estate litigation, and is particularly strong on the landlord side.
Expertise: Sources praise her sensible and amiable approach. "She's such a thorough and pleasant opponent," say peers.
Kerry Bretherton of Tanfield Chambers
A tenacious barrister noted for her large following. Her strong property practice has recently focused on complex social housing issues, and she has represented both tenants and landlords. She has experience working on matters involving equality and diversity, and eligibility.
Expertise: "Very knowledgeable and approachable," "she's really at the top of her game in the Court of Appeal."
Recent work: Bretherton acted for the tenants in Obiorah v London Borough of Lewisham, and McDonald & McDonald (By LPA receivers) v McDonald.
Rebecca Cattermole of Tanfield Chambers
"A fantastic opponent," according to peers, who has recently focused on representing clients in the private sector. She has particular expertise of handling dilapidation and antisocial behaviour cases.
Expertise: "Bright, thorough and extremely reliable."
Recent work: Successfully represented the housing provider in Amicus Horizon Limited v The Estate of Judy Mabbott (deceased) (1) and Brand (2) in the Court of Appeal, a case discussing the relationship between co-habitees in social housing.