12 November 2018

PLA Autumn Training Day

On Thursday 8th November, members of the Forsters’ Property Litigation team (plus one ringer) attended the Property Litigation Association’s Autumn Training Day. Held at the Royal Society of Medicine, there was a good turnout of the country’s finest property litigators gathered to hear talks on a wide range of topics.

The day kicked off with a speech from Claer Barrett, Personal Finance Editor for the Financial Times. Claer discussed the various changes in the market, focusing on the rise of the tech sector, and the continuing decline of large department stores and high street shopping as the online retail sector grows in strength. Claer described the real estate sector as being more like a black cab than an uber, arguing that it needs to embrace technology and innovation in order to keep pace with a rapidly changing market. Claer pointed to the continued rise of work-share environments, such as WeWork, changing the way in which companies use space, and reflected that the property industry needs to adapt accordingly.

This was followed by an engaging talk from Tiffany Scott QC of Wilberforce Chambers on the topic of proprietary estoppel. Tiffany discussed whether equity can step in to provide a remedy for informal agreements relating to the purchase and development of land, and gave an overview of a number of recent cases.

Following a tea and biscuit break, the Forsters team were suitably refreshed to embark upon the second round of talks. Plowman Craven and Wilberforce Chambers gave a thought-provoking discussion on drone technology, highlighting the number of ways in which drones are saving time and money in connection with property surveys and mapping. As a result of the increased usage of drones, the law covering drone regulation is rapidly developing and is as yet untested in the courts. This is clearly an area to keep an eye on for future developments.

After a break for lunch, and a spot of networking, it was back to the final round of talks covering litigants in person, top tips to get the best from your counsel, an insolvency update and an overview of the proposed land registration reforms. The final talks of the day were on damages and property rights, delivered by Amanda Tipples QC of Maitland Chambers, and the increased emphasis in the courts on literalism in contractual construction, which was given by David Holland QC of Landmark Chambers.

One of the highlights of the day was a series of interactive audience polls which revealed, amongst others, that 8% of the audience had changed the way they would vote since the referendum on Brexit, that the vast majority of the audience would choose wine as their favourite tipple (with gin coming in a disappointing third place), and that only 15% of the audience would abolish the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 - perhaps evidence of the property litigators protecting a key source of their work stream...

Louise is a Knowledge Development Lawyer in our Commercial Real Estate team.

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