Our people

700 professionals at Knights service 10,000 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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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.

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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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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Helen Close

Senior Associate
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Helen Close

Senior Associate

Helen is a Senior Associate in the Property Litigation team.

Helen advises on complex and high value property disputes, primarily for landlords and tenants experiencing problems with dilapidations, rent reviews, covenant compliance, break clauses and lease forfeiture.  She also advises on professional negligence claims arising out of property work and breach of contract claims related to property matters.

Helen’s practice encompasses strategic advice on the management of large property portfolios, risk management of issues giving rise to single or multiple claims, support in achieving out of court resolution through mediation, arbitration, adjudication and expert determination and representation in court and tribunal proceedings.

Helen acts for national retailers, property investors, charities and not for profit organisations, commercial landlords and tenants and high net worth private individuals.  Her clients include Arcadia Group, McDonald’s, The Body Shop, Moss Bros and Oxfam.

Recent examples of how Helen has helped clients include:

  • securing a new lease of premises for Oxfam, together with payment of their legal costs following the settlement of court proceedings brought against the charity’s landlord to prevent them imposing an unreasonable development break clause;
  • successfully defending a property developer against a multi-million pound personal guarantee claim issued by a lender and securing a court order for payment of their costs on an indemnity basis in Jewson Holdings Ltd v Clydesdale Bank [2012];
  • successfully prosecuting a reflective losses claim on behalf of shareholders whose shares in a property development company had been devalued as a result of the company’s actions in Perry v Day [2004] ALL ER (D) 327; and
  • securing a declaration from the court that consent to a tenant subletting had been unreasonably refused by the landlord and ought to have been given, in Blockbuster Entertainment Ltd v Leakcliff Properties Ltd [1997] EGLR 28.
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Elizabeth Corcoran

Senior Associate
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Elizabeth Corcoran

Senior Associate

Elizabeth is a Senior Associate in the Property Litigation team.

Elizabeth deals with all types of property dispute resolution.  She acts for private clients in disputes over family property, and for investors, developers, landlords and tenants in commercial property disputes relating to break notices, forfeiture, insolvent and defaulting tenants, rent arrears, eviction of squatters, and dilapidations.

Elizabeth's particular expertise is in land disputes involving adverse possession, trespass and boundaries, prescriptive and proprietary rights issues such as drainage and access.

Elizabeth acts for private individuals and corporate clients in County Court and High Court matters as well as the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).

Recent examples of how Elizabeth has helped clients include:

• negotiating a cost effective settlement between siblings in a dispute over the sale of an inherited family home;

• assisting householders on a new development to obtain ownership of a courtyard and access rights when the developer company which owned the land was dissolved; and

• ensuring a landowner could confirm adverse possession of a parcel of land by demonstrating over fifty years' continuous occupation and use.

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Lauren Forrester

Senior Associate
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Lauren Forrester

Senior Associate

Lauren is a Senior Associate in the Property Litigation team.

She works with the team on all aspects of property based litigation and contentious probate matters acting for claimants, defendants and executors/trustees. Her clients include a number of large blue chip companies and household names.

Lauren also advises clients in relation to licensing law and has dealt with numerous applications for new licences and licence variations.

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Clare McKay

Senior Associate
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Clare McKay

Senior Associate

Clare is a Senior Associate in the Property Litigation team.

Clare advises commercial landlords and tenants on a range of contentious property matters, including lease renewals, lease exits, lease breaks, service charge disputes, rent recovery, forfeiture, dilapidations and sub-tenant repair liabilities.  She is experienced in resolving disputes around renewals, rights of occupation for tenants with questionable status, enforcement of lease covenants, privity claims following lease assignment, trespass by adjoining property owners and lease disclaimer following tenant insolvency.

Clare also advises residential landlords and tenants on disputes arising out of long leases, including rent arrears and possession claims, rights of enfranchisement, service charge disputes and related management issues referable to the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber.

In addition, she advises agricultural landowners on the termination of agricultural tenancies for farm managers and agricultural workers.

Clare’s clients include well-known retailers Arcadia Group, Body Shop, Moss Bros, Mothercare and The Early Learning Centre, McDonald’s, Oxfam, privately owned property and investment group Topland, fund specialists Rockspring Property Investment Managers and a number of business park owners.

Recent examples of how Clare has helped clients include:

  • compelling our client’s landlord to enforce restrictive covenants which obliged a neighbouring tenant to stop restricting access to trade premises by changing their parking habits and delivery schedule;
  • facilitating the relocation of a client’s headquarters by terminating their head lease, together with two sub-leases and ten licences, to ensure vacant possession;
  • guiding a national retailer through the settlement of a large dilapidations claim which arose several years after they vacated a leasehold property and for which they had shared liability due to a series of sub-leases; and
  • negotiating the disclaimer of a lease with the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of a national retailer whose sub-tenant had collapsed into insolvency and left the retailer exposed to significant rent and rates liability.
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Lucy Walsh

Senior Associate
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Lucy Walsh

Senior Associate

Lucy is a Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution team.

She advises on residential and commercial property disputes, predominantly for property owners and institutional lenders.

Lucy’s residential work covers service charge disputes, statutory lease variations, applications for lease extension or collective enfranchisement, forfeiture of long leases, possession proceedings for assured shorthold and secure tenancies, the recovery of shared ownership property, leasehold right to manage claims, as well as rights of first refusal on property disposals.

Lucy’s commercial work focuses on the renewal of business tenancies, dilapidations claims, consent to assign, sublet or carry out alterations, forfeiture proceedings and the recovery of rent, service charges and other property-related debts.

Lucy’s clients include local authorities, social housing providers, institutional lenders, property investment and management companies and high-net-worth individuals with property portfolios.

Recent examples of how Lucy has helped clients include:

  • negotiating the surrender of a diverse range of residential and commercial leases for a registered social housing provider who required vacant possession of a mixed use site to facilitate a planned redevelopment at short notice;
  • supporting an institutional lender in exploring options for the recovery of a mortgage debt where the lender’s previous solicitor had failed to register the mortgage as a secured charge and the property had since been sold on; and
  • facilitating the relocation of a well-known retailer to smaller premises within a shopping centre in a deal which enabled the centre owners to stop the retailer from leaving and to secure a new tenant for the unit they had vacated.
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Hannah Carter

Associate
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Hannah Carter

Associate

Hannah is an Associate in the Dispute Resolution team.

Hannah advises on the resolution of property disputes.  Her main focus is on commercial property where she advises on hostile and non-hostile lease renewals, dilapidation claims, the exercise of break clauses, the recovery of commercial rent arrears, forfeiture and possession proceedings and the disposal of tenant goods following lease termination.

Hannah advises on boundary disputes, trespass and nuisance claims and property and construction cases involving alleged professional negligence.  Her residential work tends to be for clients with a mixed commercial and residential portfolio and includes leasehold enfranchisement and rights to manage claims brought by long leaseholders.

Hannah acts for a broad range of clients, including national landlord and tenant retailers, private individuals, commercial investors, developers, charities and pension funds.  The majority of her work is in the retail sector.

Recent examples of how Hannah has helped clients include:

  • successfully challenging the validity of a counter notice served by a landlord in response to our tenant client’s request for a new lease of a key store;
  • managing a substantial portfolio of commercial properties, on behalf of a mix of landlord and tenant clients to ensure that applications to renew leases were done according to the strict statutory renewal procedure;
  • negotiating the settlement of court proceedings brought against our retail client arising out of an unpaid contractor’s invoice which was disputed due to defective works.

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Kelly Smith

Solicitor
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Kelly Smith

Solicitor

Kelly is a Solicitor in the Property Litigation team.

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Jonathan Warlow

Solicitor
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Jonathan Warlow

Solicitor

Jonathan is a Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution and Property Litigation teams.