Call date: 1992
Areas of Practice
Experience & Expertise
Russell is one of the founding member of Ely Place Chambers. Russell is approachable and has a pragmatic approach to all matters that he deals with founded on a careful and forensic analysis of the facts and law. He provides a realistic, frank and commercial assessment of claims combined with robust written and oral advocacy appropriately tailored to the situation whether this is in Court proceedings, Arbitration, Expert Determination or Mediation.
Russell brings 20 years of experience as an advocate and since founding Ely Place he has developed a unique practice. His primary areas of specialism and expertise now are in three distinct and truly diverse areas:
- He is a specialist in Property Law and in Landlord and Tenant claims and claims arising from such matters;
- He is regularly instructed to appear at Coroner’s Inquests appearing for any interested party including families of the deceased, police and on behalf of public and private healthcare providers.
- He acts in commercial and contractual disputes including Company, Shareholder and Partnership Disputes.
Arising from such matters Russell’s expertise includes acting in numerous professional and clinical negligence claims, personal injury claims. He also acts for local authorities and healthcare trusts in consent and treatment cases including “best interest” applications and Deprivation of Liberty Issues arising under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and under the Court’s inherent jurisdiction.
Current & Recent Work
Russell is currently engaged in a significant number of cases for housing developers in claims seeking damages against purchasers who bought properties “off plan” immediately prior to the recession and who were then unable to obtain finance and complete due to the crash in property prices. Many of these cases are now approaching trial and involve numerous allegations of misrepresentation and/ or lack of authority on the part of solicitors acting for the purchasers.
He has also assisted bridging finance companies in a number of cases involving fraudulent transactions with funds being obtained by fraudsters and secured on properties owned by others. He has recently successfully assisted in the recovery of seven-figure sums loaned pursuant to such fraudulent transactions from solicitors acting for the fraudulent mortgagor. He has also been involved in cases before the Courts (including the Court of Appeal) and the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry in relation to the availability of rectification of the Land Register and for indemnity pursuant to the Land Registration Act 2002 by reason of such frauds.
Examples of other cases representative of Russell’s day to day practice and experience include:
- Numerous Inquests for NHS Trusts including extremely sensitive issues, drug errors, equipment alteration and use.
- Inquests touching the deaths of residents in care homes and other private healthcare facilities.
- Death in custody inquests representing both police forces and medical staff involved in events leading to death of prison inmates or people detained by the police.
- Russell has also been involved in high profile inquests including acting for West Mercia Police between 2001 and 2003 at the Inquests into the deaths of Errol and Jason McGowan both found hanging in Telford and the death of Kebba Jobe this being the first inquest concerning death during contact with the police subject to investigation by the IPCC.
Russell has acted in extremely sensitive cases concerning treatment of babies, children and vulnerable adults both under the inherent jurisdiction of the court and under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. An example of one such case involving press coverage may be found by following the following links:
- Bringing and Defending claims to set aside mortgages by reason of fraud / undue influence.
- Various forfeiture claims acting on behalf of Landlords and Tenants – including arguments of waiver, construction of leases and injunctions to prevent unlawful forfeitures.
- Claims to rectify leases / property sale agreements / trust documents.
- Boundary Disputes including one involving a dispute between wealthy neighbours which attracted the attention of a number of national newspapers and which included claims for interference with easements, adverse possession, malicious falsehood, assault and malicious prosecution.
- Adverse possession issues including a claim by a multinational company to a strip of land forming part of a commercial unit but which was never included in the legal title and which had a significant impact on the development potential and value of the land.
- Claim for nuisance and trespass by a neighbour by entering onto clients land and dumping potentially contaminated “spoil” so as to increase the level of their own garden and causing landslip and decrease in value of property.
- Professional Negligence claims against solicitors and surveyors in property transactions in relation to terms and value of properties, effect / validity of restrictive covenants and breach of authority.
- Contested Business Lease Renewals including seeking significant changes to terms of original leases which prevented the making of planning applications / alterations in order to allow for the replacement of old dilapidated outbuildings with new structures.
- Challenging Rent review arbitrations / agreements and the correct basis of the calculation of revised rents.
- Claims to ownership of land by way of implied constructive or resulting trusts or the enforcement of express trust agreements.
- Leasehold Enfranchisement claims by tenants and negligence arising by reason of failure to properly assign such rights.
- Service charge recovery by landlords of large residential developments through the Courts and the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
- Drafting a commercial lease agreement for a firm of solicitors.
Commercial / Chancery
- Termination of franchise agreements by a Pizza Chain and issues as to validity of determination and related property issues.
- Successfully opposing injunction applications by disappointed franchisee upon termination of franchise agreement.
- Partnership Disputes including disputes as to the existence of a partnership, property ownership, tracing partnership funds and assets.
- Claims to enforce liens claimed by solicitors.
- Representing an innocent trustee in a claim involving fraudulent disposition and use of trust funds by a co-trustee including a counterclaim against solicitors for negligent advice in relation to the administration of the trust.
Current and Recent Work
- Guy -v- Barclays Bank Plc  EWCA Civ 1396,  1WLR 681. Attempt to re-open appeal concerning rectification of Land Register consequential upon a fraudulent sale and subsequent charge. Although this was ultimately unsuccessful the underlying arguments as to the availability of rectification in such circumstances remain contentious and of importance.
- Bromley Park Garden Estates –v- Mallen & Maunder Taylor  EWHC 609 Attempt to re-open a rent review Arbitration by reason of procedural irregularity.
- Samad –v- Thompson  EWHC 2809 (Ch) Constructive trust to enforce oral agreement that legal owner would hold whole of beneficial interest for another.
- Norwich City Council –v- Famuyiwa  EWCA Civ 1770 Appeal against Judge’s refusal to make a possession order against a nuisance tenant despite allowing a late amendment post judgment and granting an injunction preventing such nuisance.
- Ravenocean –v- Gardner  NPC 44 Appeal concerning oral contract for the sale of a plot of land – enforceability – Proprietary Estoppel.
- Tasci –v- Pekalp (2001) ICR 633 – The Times 17/1/2001 Breach of Duty –training for foreign staff falsely claiming experience in order to obtain employment .
- Bessa Plus plc –v- Lancaster (1998) 30 HLR 48 Assured Tenancy Rent Possession – entitlement to reject cheques tendered by a third party.
Property Bar Association
Professional Negligence Bar Association
Personal Injury Bar Association
Russell regularly provides seminars in chambers and in-house for solicitors and has lectured at Housing Law Conferences for CLT and other providers.
Russell has also previously lectured students training for ILEX qualifications