Our people

930 professionals at Knights service 12,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.

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Kate Clarke

Partner
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Kate Clarke

Partner

Kate is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution team.

Kate advises commercial and private clients in respect of all litigation matters, including construction and real estate litigation, commercial and contractual disputes, intellectual property including copyright, passing off and trade marks, defamation, professional negligence claims, insolvency and misfeasance claims, partnership and company law including shareholder disputes and injunctions.  She also manages adjudications, arbitrations, mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Kate acts for businesses all over the country in industries as diverse as sports promotion and property development, construction and technology.  Kate works regularly in the High Court in London, Birmingham and Manchester and within the county courts and Technology and Construction Courts.

Recent examples of how Kate has helped clients include:

  • safeguarding a director's interest in a £40 million claim against the bank for interest rate swaps when the company went into liquidation;
  • successfully defending a property developer in a claim for damages when they demolished a building;
  • getting defamatory content about the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard removed from the internet following a dispute regarding a promotional tour to Poland; and
  • successfully bringing a £300,000 breach of contract claim in respect of a joint venture to provide Tesco with hand car washing services.
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Graeme Dixon

Partner
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Graeme Dixon

Partner

Graeme is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution team.

Graeme advises on disputes arising out of commercial property sale and purchase agreements, conditional contracts and options, deeds of variation and development agreements.  He also advises on commercial property boundary disputes, rights to light claims, party wall issues, easements and restrictive covenants, and rights of way issues.

Graeme has extensive experience in landlord and tenant disputes, including those arising out of lease renewals, rent reviews, repair obligations, dilapidation claims, rent arrears, forfeiture and possession proceedings, and applications to assign a lease or alter premises.  Wherever possible he will try to keep disputes out of court and he regularly helps clients to engage in mediation, adjudication and expert determination.

Graeme acts for PLCs, SMEs, local authorities, charities and private individuals.  He has broad sector experience, and particular knowledge of licensed premises.

Recent examples of how Graeme has helped clients include:

  • securing compensation and the right to regain possession of commercial premises for a tenant unlawfully evicted by their landlord;
  • recovering £500,000 for a company whose infrastructure was damaged when a utilities pipe collapsed causing hazardous material to escape requiring an extensive cleanup;
  • successfully forfeiting the lease of a public house on behalf of a landlord whose tenant had agreed to an unlawful assignment; and
  • negotiating concessions on land use for a charitable organisation in return for their agreement to a £1 billion mixed use development encompassing part of their land.
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Simeon Fenn

Partner
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Simeon Fenn

Partner

Simeon is a Partner in the Property Litigation team.

Simeon advises in contentious real property matters including adverse possession, restrictive covenants, rights of way and rights to light, trespass and nuisance, access to neighbouring land, party walls and dangerous buildings.

Simeon deals with landlord and tenant disputes arising from lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, commercial dilapidations and residential housing repair claims, lease termination and possession proceedings, rent reviews and leasehold enfranchisement.

Simeon advises on agricultural property matters, primarily acting for landowners who wish to secure possession of occupied farm buildings under protected or assured agricultural occupancy agreements.

Simeon often settles disputes through negotiation and mediation and manages court proceedings to keep costs and liability exposure within acceptable bounds.

Simeon also provides training on the management and resolution of property disputes, primarily for corporate management teams and professional bodies including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Simeon’s clients include corporate occupiers, institutional and private investors and national developers, primarily anchored in the retail sector.  Currently his clients include McDonald’s Restaurants Limited, Arcadia Group, The Body Shop International Limited, Mothercare UK Limited, PD Hook Group, Topland Group, Finastra, Animal and Nuffield College.

Recent examples of how Simeon has helped clients include:

  • securing possession of a tenanted building owned by an Oxford College by serving a carefully timed break notice to extinguish rights of renewal;
  • achieving a reduction of nearly £200,000 in the settlement of a highly contentious claim for dilapidations, loss of rent and additional business rates on behalf of a commercial occupier; and
  • negotiating the immediate suspension of landlord works causing interference with power supplies and telephone connections to a retail client’s tenanted premises and preventing them from fulfilling customer orders overseas.
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Helen Hill

Partner
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Helen Hill

Partner

Helen is a Partner in the Property Litigation and Telecommunications teams.

Helen advises on commercial property disputes, including the resolution of dilapidations claims, contested business lease renewals, lease termination through forfeiture, disputes arising out of options and overage agreements, breach of contract or covenant claims.

Helen is experienced in telecommunications law and the resolution of disputes concerning telecommunications leases, mast removal or projects to make way for proposed developments.

Helen acts on behalf of landlords, tenants, landowners, developers and private and corporate investors.

Recent examples of how Helen has helped clients include:

  • securing the removal of a telecommunications mast from a site earmarked for redevelopment in central London, despite the mast operator having extensive security of tenure rights under the provisions of the Electronic Communications Code;
  • settling a professional negligence claim for a commercial tenant over the incompetent drafting of a rent review provision in their lease which exposed them to an additional rent liability of £1.5 million, having previously persuaded the landlord to renegotiate the provision in order to mitigate the tenant’s loss;
  • clearing a tenanted multi-million-pound redevelopment site by serving lease termination notices which triggered discussions with tenants around early surrender and the grant of new fixed term lettings in order to give the developer certainty as to when vacant possession could be achieved;
  • successfully defending a £500,000 terminal dilapidations claim for a commercial tenant by discrediting evidence produced by the landlord’s expert during the course of court proceedings which led to the claim being withdrawn; and
  • securing a five year extension to an option agreement for a national housebuilder in the face of stiff opposition from the landowner who wanted the option to expire at the end of its original term so they could sell to someone who would unlock its development value sooner.
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Richard Jones

Partner
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Richard Jones

Partner

Richard is a Partner in the Property Litigation team.

Richard advises on all types of property disputes including possession claims (commercial and residential), lease interpretation, lease renewals and extensions, land ownership, boundary disputes, duplication, rights of way and boundaries, and rent reviews.

Richard also practises in licensing law, assisting clients seeking applications for new licences and licence variations.

Richard's clients include individuals, small businesses and corporates such as Prudential Assurance, Hanson, and Paddy Power

Recent examples of how Richard has helped clients include:

  • enabling a cricket club to continue enjoying land used for over a century by confirming title through adverse possession at the Court of Appeal: Mitchell v Watkinson, [2013] All ER (D) 343 (Jul);
  • ensuring Power Leisure Bookmakers paid only the market rent for premises at lease renewal, by demonstrating the rent on premises offered for comparison by the landlord was not typical; and
  • enabling a mining company to retain their lease on a mothballed cement works by demonstrating occupation and an ongoing business.
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Katy Kirk

Partner
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Katy Kirk

Partner

Katy is a Partner in the Property Litigation team.

Katy advises our retail clients’ internal estate teams and their professional advisors on all contentious property issues, portfolio management and enforcement of lease obligations including lease renewals, break options, exit management, dilapidations, rent reviews, possession and access issues.

Katy specialises in dealing with  complex landlord and tenant matters . She provides advice on strategy and risk management issues for clients with complex corporate group structures, particularly on how to best structure, retain and protect security of tenure of leasehold estates, with a particular emphasis on redevelopment of business premises.  She also focuses on contentious real estate claims such as specific performance of development contracts, right of way issue and restrictive covenants.

Katy has particular expertise in dealing with Central London (Oxford Street and surrounding area) lease renewals for retail clients.  Where a landlord opposes a lease renewal, such as for redevelopment, she is skilled at using the 1954 Act to negotiate the best possible outcome for tenants in terms of exit arrangements and compensation.

Katy’s tenant clients include McDonald’s Restaurants , the Arcadia Group, , The Body Shop, Moss Bros, MEPC, , Whittard, Mothercare and the Early Learning Centre.

Recent examples of how Katy has helped clients include:

  • negotiating optimal compensation for a tenant who was forced to vacate West End premises after one of the leading Central London landowners opposed their lease renewal;
  • successfully settling a claim against a developer who failed to complete the development of a mixed-use project in East London; and
  • successfully establishing in the High Court that there was no right of way through our client’s industrial estate for the public to access Great Tew Estate - Leven Holdings Limited v Johnston and others [2018] EWHC223(CH).
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Martyn Liberson

Partner
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Martyn Liberson

Partner

Martyn is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution team.

Martyn advises on commercial property disputes, including those which concern rights of renewal, the exercise of a contractual break, breach of covenant claims, compliance with alienation provisions, non-payment of rent, landlord or tenant insolvency, rights to forfeit and claim relief, and high value or complex contested schedules of dilapidations.

Martyn also deals with property disputes arising from commercial contracts, professional negligence claims, commercial and residential land sales, rights of way, right to light and easements.

Martyn acts for property owners, commercial landlords and tenants, commercial developers, secured lenders and corporate trusts throughout the UK.

Martyn’s clients include some of the UK’s largest private companies, government departments, professional services firms, landed estates and high-net-worth individuals.

Recent examples of how Martyn has helped clients include:

  • securing an injunction to prevent trespass by squatters of 48 railway arches in Bethnal Green, enabling the owner to carry out improvements which previously frequent incidences of trespass were threating to derail;
  • enforcing an order for sale for the Secretary of State on a £70,000 debt which was secured against a North London property valued at £5 million;
  • using mediation to settle a £1 million professional negligence claim against a firm of surveyors that had misvalued a development site against which our client, a secured lender, had loaned a substantial sum of money;
  • securing a £300,000 payout, and continued rights of occupation for an agreed period of time, on behalf of the tenant of a factory who had faced an aggressive claim for possession from their landlord who had agreed to sell the property on with vacant possession; and
  • securing a specific performance order from the High Court on behalf of a college of further education in order to force a financial institution to complete on an agreed land deal in which a site owned by the college was to be acquired.

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Rachael McConaghie

Partner
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Rachael McConaghie

Partner

Rachael is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution team.

Rachael advises and represents clients on all aspects of disputes involving land and property, ranging from landlord and tenant disputes, forfeiture, and service charge disputes, to negligence claims, agricultural disputes, trespass and co-ownership issues.  Her practice involves analysing title and boundary issues and identifying the third parties, such as a lender or landlord, who need to be dealt with.

Rachael frequently works with her real estate and planning colleagues to achieve the best results for clients. Speed is of the essence for many clients, particularly those in retail whose commercial needs require instantaneous advice and results.

Mediation is at the forefront of Rachael’s practice, particularly in family disputes involving trusts where issues need to be settled in a non-litigious way where possible.

Rachael acts for both residential and commercial clients nationally, including those with significant agricultural interests, and international clients with UK property portfolios who have complex property disputes in the UK. Rachael’s clients include national retail chains, landlords, parish councils, families and individuals.

Recent examples of how Rachael has helped clients include:

  • successfully recovering monies for a retail tenant following an overcharge of service charges by the landlord without due reference to the lease, and securing an agreement to vary the lease to ensure more tenant friendly covenants;
  • preventing a trespass and ongoing obstruction over a corporate client’s right of way;
  • successfully resolving a co-ownership dispute between family members by mediation over multiple properties where one of the parties sought orders for sale; and
  • acting for a client and obtaining an injunction to remove an extension built by the adjoining owner in breach of a restrictive covenant not to build; and
  • successfully acting for a Borough Council as Landlord in connection with a highly contested lease renewal claim to enable redevelopment of land worth in excess of £20 million which also included remedying various planning and title issues.
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Jessica Neyt

Partner
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Jessica Neyt

Partner

Jessica is a Partner in the Property Litigation team.

She advises on contentious property matters including commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, breaches of covenants, injunctions, possession claims, rent review and land ownership disputes. Clients include individuals and blue-chip companies such as Prudential Assurance and Paddy Power.

Jessica also resolves will, trust and inheritance disputes relating to the validity and construction of wills, trusts and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.  She acts for families, beneficiaries, executors and trustees.

Recent examples of how Jessica has helped clients include:

  • ensuring that an illegitimate child, whose father committed suicide and excluded her from the will, benefited from a share of his estate;
  • enabling the owner to sell a valuable London property following a long dispute with freeholders; and
  • enabling the Prudential Assurance to undertake a large volume of contentious and non-contentious lease renewals by advising on dilapidations claims, lease consents and repossession claims.
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Alex Payne

Partner
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Alex Payne

Partner

Alex is a Partner in the Property Litigation team.

Advising on contentious matters for commercial owners and occupiers and residential property portfolio holders, he deals with business lease renewals, service charge disputes, dilapidation claims, break clause issues, alienation provisions, commercial rent recovery, forfeiture proceedings and tenant-related insolvency.

Alex also advises on the enforcement and variation of restrictive covenants, the grant and extinguishment of easements, professional negligence claims against property specialists, including architects, surveyors and engineers, and the eviction of squatters and other types of possession proceedings.

Alex deals with claims before the County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and First-Tier Property Tribunals, as well as resolving disputes through mediation and arbitration.

Alex’s clients include property companies, institutional owners and occupiers, high street retailers, banks and financial services businesses, institutional owners and occupiers, developers, landlords and tenants, and private clients with extensive property interests.

Recent examples of how Alex has helped clients include:

  • securing the swift eviction of a large group of travellers from a car park at a major UK attraction, with possession obtained via accelerated court proceedings within 24 hours of the travellers arriving;
  • enabling a well-known ladies fashion business to stay in their current premises for a further two years and receive a substantial compensation package to facilitate their relocation after a disputed lease renewal claim; and
  • settling a dilapidations bill for just £150,000 after receiving a claim of a £500,000 on behalf of a tenant restaurant and then assisting them to recoup this sum in full from their sub-tenant.
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Richard Robinson

Partner
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Richard Robinson

Partner

Richard is a Partner in the Property Litigation team.

Richard works with commercial property owners, investors, developers, landlords and tenants helping them to manage the risks associated with property ownership or occupation.

Richard advises clients on matters relating to forfeiture, service charges, possession proceedings, lease renewals, rent reviews, restrictive covenants, easements, nuisance claims, boundary disputes, adverse possession, trespass, site clearance, redevelopment and property related telecommunications matters.

Richard has specialist expertise in complex interim and terminal dilapidations claims, particularly those involving diminution valuation issues. He has secured significant seven-figure sums for landlords and defended high value dilapidations claims, through court action or alternative dispute resolution, and he often presents on this topic to the RICS.

Richard also has significant experience of acting for telecommunications Site Providers in the removal of mobile phone masts from land to make way for redevelopment projects and advises upon matters relating to the Old and New Electronic Communications Code.

Richard acts for housebuilders and developers in disputes arising during promotion and site assembly and after construction, such as in regard to grants, options, overage and clawback provisions – successfully securing sizeable payments for his clients.

He works with commercial property owners, investors, developers, landlords and tenants funds, business park owners, REITs, national retailers and national housebuilders. Clients include Barratt David Wilson Homes, Airea PLC, Yorkshire Water and Keyland Developments.

Recent examples of how Richard has helped clients include:

  • securing vacant possession of a significant retail property in central Leeds to facilitate its onward redevelopment into a boutique hotel;
  • ensuring that over 100 off-plan purchasers had to complete their purchases of central Leeds residential apartments after a downturn in the market, thereby securing the developer’s return on its investment;
  • removing telecommunications equipment from the top of a block of student accommodation in Stratford, London, to facilitate its onward redevelopment as luxury residential accommodation;
  • securing a payment of £2.1 million for the the landlord of an 11-storey office block in a dilapidations dispute; and
  • securing £1.1 million for a landlord of open storage land in a dilapidations dispute.
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Jeremy Steele

Partner
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Jeremy Steele

Partner

Jeremy is a Partner in the Property Litigation team.

Jeremy advises on all contentious aspects of commercial property and has extensive experience of all aspects of property asset management, covering lease renewals, arrears recovery, service charges, dilapidations and rent reviews.

Jeremy is also experienced in disputes arising out of neighbouring developments, with particular expertise in dealing with rights to light, and in advising lenders on contentious issues relating to their security over property.

Jeremy acts for lenders, landowners, investment clients, developers, retailers and utilities companies.

Recent examples of how Jeremy has helped clients include:

  • successfully coordinating multi-jurisdictional litigation for a foreign Bank in the UK, Portugal and USA to mitigate losses due to bank fraud carried out by a former bank customer;
  • formulating effective strategy for right to light and building oversail issues for a leisure operator’s flagship hotel developments;
  • successfully coordinating all contentious property asset management work for a local authority’s pension fund, including lease renewals, arrears recovery and rent reviews; and
  • achieving a successful outcome for a property investment company in the contested rent review on a high profile commercial building.