Clifford Darton

Call date: 1988

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Areas of Practice



BA (Oxon)  Lincoln College, Oxford.

Experience & Expertise

Described as a “razor-sharp intellect”, “a force to be reckoned with” and “one of those rare advocates who is as strong on his feet as in drafting advice and pleadings” Clifford Darton has been regularly recommended in the Legal 500 for his commercial, property and environmental work and has appeared in over 30 reported cases in these and associated fields. Commercial: He acts in most types of commercial and insolvency litigation including Pre-emptive remedies, Minority Shareholder Actions, claims against Directors for breach of duty, claims for Unjust Enrichment or for Breach of Fiduciary duties, Shareholder Disputes, Partnership Disputes, claims under the Commercial Agents Directive, Directors’ Disqualifications, actions for Breach of Confidence and Database Rights and proceedings to enforce Restraint of Trade Covenants.  He is particularly sought after in claims arising out of guarantees and indemnities having appeared in the landmark case of Johnson v. Davis (1999) Ch.117 CA. Property and Chancery: With a background in chancery work Clifford deals with almost all aspects of real and leasehold property but particularly mortgages, restrictive covenants, easements, claims in proprietary estoppel and disputes arising out of the sale of land.  He continues to practice in some areas of more traditional chancery work such as Probate Disputes, Inheritance Act claims and Co-ownership of property disputes. Environmental and Construction: Following his long association with the water industry (see Raglan H.A v. Southampton C.C & Southern Water (2008 2 AER CA) and with claims arising out of damage to sewers and associated pipes, Clifford has in more recent years acted in a number of disputes before the Technology and Construction Court and in claims against construction professionals.  He has considerable experience of those parts of environmental legislation that affect the waste and water industry including its criminal provisions.

Current & Recent Work

Clifford’s current workload includes the following cases:

Acting for the Claimant in a $6 million shareholders’ dispute between Belarusian nationals in which the jurisdiction of the English courts has now been successfully established.

Acting for various commercial mortgagors in cases concerned with the payment of undisclosed commissions to brokers and sections 140A and 140B of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 following his success in CFB Ltd v. Atkins (2013) EWCA Civ 1101

Responding to an appeal in Re a Company (No.3113 of 2014) in a case concerned with the enforcement of a £1.2 million debt due under interim certificates which had been issued in accordance with section 111(1) of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.

The bringing and defending of various claims for damages for nuisance, negligence and breach of statutory duty caused by flooding or the discharge of effluent.

A minority shareholder’s action in relation to one of the UK’s largest distributors of “canned music”.

Arbitration proceedings concerning the adoption (vesting) of various surface water sewers in Greenhithe, Kent.

Acting for a Hong Kong registered company in its claim to ownership of the entire share capital of an English media company and for rectification of the company’s register following a successful defence to a claim for summary judgment; see Intellimedia Systems Ltd v. Doyle (2013) EWHC 4143.

Defending several Crown Court prosecutions brought by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 in respect of coastal pollution.

Claims for solicitors’ negligence arising out of their failure to properly advise as the existence or effect of restrictive covenants and easements when they were acting on the purchase of development land.

Reported Cases:

Company and Commercial:

Intellimedia Systems Ltd v. Doyle (2013) EWHC 4143 (Successfully defended an application for summary judgment in a claim for shares and for the rectification of a Company’s register of members)

Morse v. Eaglemoss Publications (2013) EWHC 1507 (Four day trial in the Chancery Division of claim for misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty)

Beals Mortgage & Financial Planning LLP v. First Global Financial Services (2012) EWHC 3761 (Acted on behalf of the successful claimant in 20 day action for damages and an injunction for breach of confidentiality and database rights)

Costello v. MacDonald & Otrs (2011) EWCA Civ 930 CA (Claim in restitution for unjust enrichment against the directors of a building company).

Alan Philips Associates Ltd v. Dowling (2007) BLR 151 CA (Third party costs order against a company director)

County Garages (Birmingham) Ltd v. Manton (2007) EWCA Civ 950 (six week trial in Birmingham Mercantile Court of a claim for rectification of a Shareholders Agreement and attendant damages).

Johnson v EBS Trustees (2002) Lloyd’s Rep. 309 CA (Abuse of confidence and rescission for breach of fiduciary duties on the part of a solicitor trustee). In the Matter of Simon Box Diamonds (2002), LTL 25/6/2002 Ch.D (Appeal against a director’s disqualification).

Greene King Plc v. Stanley (2002) B.P.I.R 491 CA (Guarantees, IVA’s and undue influence). Stimpson v. Smith (1999) Ch 340 CA (The rights of contribution between co-sureties on settlement with their joint creditor).

Johnson v. Davis (1998) 3 WLR 1299 CA (Whether an IVA under Insolvency Act 1986 released a co-debtor).

Chancery and Property:

CFB Ltd v. Atkins (2013) EWCA Civ 1101 (the payment of undisclosed commission to mortgage brokers and relief under Section 140A and 140B of the Consumer Credit Act 1974)

Dibble v. Pfluger (2010) 1 FLR 659 CA (constructive trust and the application of the dicta in Oxley v. Hiscock).

MacDonald & Bannigan v. Frost (2009) EWHC 2276 Ch D (Birmingham) (Proprietary estoppel and succession).

Walters v. Smee (2008) EWHC 2902 Ch (Testamentary disposition and undue influence).

Jones v. Cleanthi (2007) 1 WLR 1604 CA (The statutory extinguishment of an easement under the provisions of the Housing Act 1985).

Lane v. O’Brien (2004) EWHC 303  QBD (Calculation of Wrotham Park damages for breach of covenant)

Horn v. Phillips (2004) EWCA Civ, 1877 CA (The exclusion of extrinsic evidence in a boundary dispute where the terms of the conveyance were clear).

West Sussex Properties Ltd v. Chichester District Council (2000) AER (D) 887 CA (Rescission in equity for mutual mistake and equitable relief).

Crewe Services & Investment Corporation v. Silk (1998) 2 EGLR 1 CA (assessment of damages for diminution in the value of a lessor’s reversion during the continuance of a lease).

Contract, Construction and Environmental:

R v Southern Water Services Ltd (2014) EWCA Crim 120 (sentencing guidelines for offences under Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010)

City Basements Ltd v Nordic Construction UK Ltd (2014)LTL 14/4/2014 (Ramsey J) (challenge to the enforcement of an adjudicator’s award on the grounds of “no dispute”)

CRJ Services Ltd v. Lanstar Ltd (2011) EWHC 972 TCC (Enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision where issues raised as to natural justice and agency).

Woodlands Oak Ltd v. Conwell (2011) EWCA Civ 254 CA (The extent of an employer’s duty to mitigate his losses in a building dispute and the decision in Pearce & High v Baxter).

Raglan Housing Association v. Southampton C.C & Southern Water Services (2008) 2 AER 44 CA (The definition of a watercourse).

Rose v. Dodd (2006) 1 AER 464 CA (The termination of a contract of employment following the  Law Society’s intervention in a solicitor’s practice under Section 35 of the Solicitors Act 1974).

Sajid v. Sussex Muslim Society (2002) IRLR 113 CA (Res judicata and issue estoppels where a claim for wrongful dismissal is brought in a County Court following the withdrawal of an earlier claim to an Employment Tribunal).

Directory Comments

“He is suave, sophisticated and someone with a razor-sharp intellect.”
Chambers UK 2017 - Real Estate
“One of those rare advocates who is as strong on his feet as in drafting advice and pleadings”
Legal 500 2012 Property, planning and environment
“[a] fresh eye for detail”
Legal 500 2012 Commercial and Chancery
“a razor sharp intellect”
Legal 500 2011
“a force to be reckoned with, mixing steely court room poise with oodles of charm”
Legal 500 2010
“mixing charm with steel as the circumstances require”
Legal 500 2009

Professional Memberships

Chancery Bar Association

Property Bar Association

Sussex Bar Mess

Additional Information

Clifford regularly provides seminars in chambers and in-house for solicitors.  He has lectured widely as part of the CLT Lecture Programme and provided a number of CPD online podcasts. His most recent article on the subject of flooding claims entitled “In Deep Water” was published in the New Law Journal N.L.J. in March of this year; see (2014) Vol.164 No.7597.