John Randall QC
Call: 1978 Silk: 1995
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Real Estate Profile

John has advised and appeared for a number of national house builders and regional property developers over many years, and since the collapse of Lehman Brothers property has become the largest single area of his practice. In addition to his reported cases, John has advised and acted in a substantial number of cases concerning the enforceability or otherwise of contracts for the sale of development land entered into at pre-GFC values, with purchase consideration between £5M and £30M at stake – all of which were resolved without reaching trial.

John has also acted in a number of applications for judicial review with a property law background, including claims against the British Coal Corporation (arising out of its decision to sell land to one developer rather than another), and against the Secretary of State's decision making on planning appeals (including R v SSE ex parte Centre 21 Ltd - 4 cases, one of which resulted in a highly unusual mandatory order against the Secretary of State).

John was the first silk practising from chambers outside London to be recommended for Real Estate Litigation in the Chambers & Partners UK Guide (2012), and has been so recommended in every year since.  He is also recommended for Real Estate in the 2017 Who’s Who and for Property in the 2016 Legal 500.  John is an Adjunct Professor at the University of New South Wales law school in Sydney, where he has taught since 2004, teaching courses in Advanced Contract, Legal History and Principles and Practice of Advocacy.  He is also a frequent speaker at legal seminars in the United Kingdom.

John enjoys sport, in particular rugby union (being a keen follower of the Leicester Tigers) and international cricket, travel and music.


  • What-the-Directories-Say

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    • The Chambers UK 2019 Bar Guide describes John as:

      • "Excellent, thorough and very responsive.", "He brings commerciality to a dispute and has the creativity and inspiration to look at it from different angles.", "Not only is he very clever but he's also very commercial. He doesn't talk down to you, and you can have a really good discussion with him to find the best and most commercial way forward.", "Excellent lawyer.", "His main strength is his wide-ranging commercial expertise. He is inspired in his commercial pragmatism. He doesn't just give you a technical answer, he thinks around the issue, brings commerciality to a dispute, and has the creativity and inspiration to look at different angles.", "A bright and organised lateral thinker.", "He has the most phenomenal brain and works incredibly hard." and "He is knowledgeable, responsible and proactive, offering sound advice and innovative ways to approach matters."

      The Legal 500 2019 Bar Guide describes John as:

      • “His balanced advocacy style commands judges’ attention.”and “He rigorously dissects the key issues in a case and provides top quality advice.”

      Who's Who Legal: UK Bar 2018, states:

      • “John Randall QC is a highly experienced barrister in both the chancery and commercial fields with a deep knowledge of company and partnership law.” 
      • “John Randall is known for his ‘user-friendly’ approach and is highly regarded by market sources for his ‘technical excellence’ in professional negligence matters.” 
      • “John Randall QC is a standout name in the real estate space where he ‘inspires confidence’ in clients who consider him ‘simply the best.’”

      In previous years:

      • "He has a fantastic brain and is also phenomenally hard working. His written advocacy is methodical, precise and complete."
      • "He's just a clever guy and very user-friendly." "He's brilliant. He's got the ability to explain complex points in plain English, which is extremely useful from a client perspective." "He is excellent at commercial disputes and very client-friendly."
      • "He brings confidence to his cases. He earns the client's trust."
      • "Extremely knowledgeable, commercially minded, detailed and able to digest and then distil complicated concepts into persuasive and powerful submissions."
      • "He is technically brilliant and very client-focused. He can explain difficult concepts to lay clients." "He is very sharp and focused and a very effective cross-examiner."
      • "A brilliant advocate and strategist who is very personable and easy to work with." "Intelligent and possesses keen commercial awareness."
      • "A ferociously intelligent silk.’ ‘An authority on property disputes."
      • "A ferociously intelligent silk."
      • "An authority on property disputes."
      • "An extremely talented silk."
      • "John Randall QC gains recognition for his 'great attention to detail and analytical legal mind'. One solicitor notes, 'I needed the best silk in Birmingham and that’s John.'” Who's Who Legal: UK Bar 2017
      • “A leading silk on the Midland Circuit with a very strong commercial chancery practice. Handles a wide range of commercial disputes and property matters.” Chambers UK 2017
      • "Hugely intelligent and good with clients, John manages to combine an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law with a first-rate appreciation of strategy and excellent eye for detail." Chambers UK 2017
      • An accomplished commercial practitioner who "undoubtedly" retains his status as "the best senior silk in Birmingham," according to market sources. He frequently represents financial institutions and corporations in complex commercial and chancery disputes, including breach of contract, breach of director duties and disagreements arising from corporate sales and refinancings. Chambers UK 2017
      • "He's very approachable, client-friendly, and exudes a sense of reassurance." Chambers UK 2017
      • “An accomplished chancery and commercial silk with a reputation for excellence in company law matters. He is noted for his experience in high-value and lengthy trials.” Chambers UK 2017
      • “A multi-talented silk with an established track record in the partnership arena, who is  particularly good at representing parties in disputes involving partnerships or quasi-partnerships in the real estate sector. He is an expert at providing advice to clients on how best to avoid litigation and keep out of the courtroom, but once in court, he proves to be a formidable advocate.” Chambers UK 2017  
      • "One of the great commercial silks outside London and often active on partnership cases: I'm always happy to work with him." Chambers UK 2017
      • "The pre-eminent chancery silk on the Midland circuit. He has a broad practice which encompasses commercial disputes, insolvency matters and property litigation. The leading commercial disputes silk on the Midland Circuit. His broad practice ranges from commercial contract disputes to professional negligence work." Chambers UK 2016
      • "A user-friendly barrister with a great bedside manner who inspires client confidence and provides very clear opinions." "He is one of the standout silks in Birmingham. He seems to be able to deal with anything and be knowledgeable in so many areas." "You would use him for top, multimillion-pound stuff because he is at the top of his game." - Chambers UK 2015
      • "He gets to grips with complex matters very quickly." Legal 500 2014
      • “A ‘fearsome intellect’ and .. ‘very penetrating in his insight’.” Chambers UK 2013
      • “Highly recommended. Outside of London there are very few practitioners who regularly handle top-end real estate cases. Randall is one such.” Chambers UK 2012

  • Recent-Experience

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    • John’s experience in recent years includes successful appellate cases concerning:

      • Easements over a golf course and other sports and leisure facilities in favour of a time-share resort (Regency Villas v Diamond Resorts)
      • Grounds for opposition to renewal of business tenancies, ‘other reason connected with the use or management of the holding’, previous litigation between landlord and tenant (Horne and Meredith Properties v Cox)
      • Adverse Possession over part of a city centre pavement outside a well-known night club, which had not been adopted as public highway, and the admission of fresh evidence on appeal (Balevents v Sartori)
      • The operation of section 2, Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 – the previous leading Court of Appeal case of Tootal was explained, and several subsequent first instance cases were disapproved (Keay v Morris Homes)
      • The true nature and extent of commoners’ rights of grazing, registered under Commons Registration Act 1965 (Hall v Harris)
      • Proprietary estoppel where the claimant was already party to a declaration of trust in the instrument of acquisition (Clarke v Meadus)
      • Rights of light and the Prescription Act 1832 (Salvage Wharf v G&S Brough)
      • The construction and fulfilment of a condition precedent to a valuable put option agreement (Bovis Homes v Persimmon Homes)

  • Reported-Cases

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      • Regency Villas v Diamond Resorts [2017] Times LR June 1st (CA), [2016] 4 WLR (Ch D) – Easements, golf course, other sports and leisure facilities, time sharing
      • Bryant Homes Southern v Stein Management [2017] 1 P&CR 6 (Ch D) – Development agreements, restrictive covenants, benefit, release and enforcement of covenants
      • Horne and Meredith Properties v Cox [2014] 2 P & CR 18 (CA) - Business tenancies, grounds for opposition to renewal, ‘other reason connected with the use or management of the holding’, previous litigation between landlord and tenant
      • Keay v Morris Homes [2012] 1 WLR 2855 (CA) - Operation of section 2, Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989
      • Clarke v Meadus [2011] 1 P&CR DG18 (Ch D) - Proprietary estoppel, where the claimant was already party to an express declaration of trust in the purchase deed
      • Wickens v Cheval Property [2011] 1 P&CR DG9 (Ch D) - Obligations concerning, and passing of risk in, fixtures and fittings in contract for the sale of land
      • Salvage Wharf v G&S Brough [2010] Ch 11 (CA) - Rights of light and the Prescription Act 1832
      • Bovis Homes v Persimmon Homes [2010] NPC 108 (CA) - Construction and fulfillment of a condition precedent to a valuable put option
      • Commission for the New Towns v JJ Gallagher [2003] 2 P&CR 3 (Ch D) - Highways, presumptions, Inclosure Acts, rights of way
      • Griffiths v WE & DT Cave (1999) 78 P&CR 8 (CA) - Options, valuation, open market value
      • IDC Group v Clark (1993) 65 P&CR 179 (CA) – Easement, licence, right of escape in the event of fire

  • Specialist-Areas

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  • Publications

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      • ‘Criminal Convictions and the Civil Courts’ (with Matthew Dyson) [2015] Cambridge Law Journal 78
      • ‘England’s Splendid Isolation’ in Comparing Tort and Crime (ed. Dyson), 2015 (Cambridge University Press) (with Matthew Dyson)
      • ‘Express Termination Clauses in Contracts’ [2014] Cambridge Law Journal 113
      • ‘When Louisa Carlill Caught the ‘Flu (Carlill v The Carbolic Smoke Ball Company)’ in Cases that Changed our Lives: Volume 2 (eds McDougall and Wilson), 2014 (LexisNexis Butterworths, London)
      • ‘Detinue, Trover & Conversion’ in Historical Foundations of Australian Law – Volume II, Commercial Common Law (eds.) Gleeson, Watson and Peden, 2013 (Federation Press, Sydney) (with Brendan Edgeworth)
      • ‘Caparo v Dickman – Legal Celebrity or Jurisprudential Substance’, in Cases that Changed our Lives (ed McDougall), 2010 (LexisNexis Butterworths, London)
      • ‘Proprietary estoppel and the common intention constructive trust – Strange bedfellows or a match in the making?’ (2010) 4 Journal of Equity 171
      • The Tort of Conversion (with Sarah Green), 2009 (Hart Publishing, Oxford) – finalist in the triennial Inner Temple Book Prize (2011)
      • ‘Rethinking the Economic Torts’ (with Prof Simon Deakin) (2009) 72 Modern Law Review 519

  • Qualifications-and-Appointments

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      • Jesus College, Cambridge: B.A. (Hons) 2:1 – 1977 (MA - 1981)
      • Barrister of New South Wales – 1979
      • Barrister & Solicitor of Western Australia - 2001
      • Deputy High Court Judge - Chancery & Queen’s Bench Divisions 2000 to 2016
      • Recorder - Crown & County Courts (Assistant Recorder 1996; Recorder 1999 to 2016)
      • External examiner, Bar Professional Training Course 2008 to 2015
      • Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales 2013 (Visiting Fellow 2004)
      • Senior Fellow, University of Melbourne 2013 to 2017
      • Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn 2003
      • Member, Legal Services Consultative Panel 2000 to 2009

  • Professional-Associations

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      • International Bar Association
      • Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR)
      • Chancery Bar Association
      • Midland Chancery and Commercial Bar Association (MCCBA)

Related News

John Randall QC included in the Top 100 QCs at the UK Bar

St Philips Commercial is delighted to announce that John Randall QC has been included in the inaugural edition of "The Chambers 100 UK Bar". The newly launched list of the top 100 QCs at the UK Bar looks at all…

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Commercial Silks Week Success

Over 200 Commercial and Insolvency solicitors from across the Midlands converged on St Philips Chambers to attend a series of seminars given by the Commercial Group's four Queen's Counsel. 'Silks Week' showcased John Randall QC, Avtar Khangure QC, Lance Ashworth…

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Midlands Commercial Silk shortlisted for top legal book prize

John Randall QC of St Philips Barristers Chambers, was one of the finalists in the prestigious Inner Temple Book Prize 2011. The Prize, established in 2008 as part of the Inner Temple's celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the…

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Further Information

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