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Real Estate & Planning Disputes

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Whether you are a developer, landlord, contractor or occupier, when a real estate project or transaction becomes contentious, you need legal advice from a disputes team that understands the issues peculiar to the sector.

Our Real Estate Disputes Team is one of the largest specialist teams in the UK. Servicing clients from 6 locations in London, Bristol, Sheffield, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, the team focuses exclusively on real estate issues. Working as an embedded part of the wider real estate group, the team gives clients the benefit of experience acting for the full spectrum of property holders across the widest range of disputes.

Our clients include landlords, tenants, infrastructure providers, corporate occupiers, institutional funds and insolvency practitioners, and the team has expertise in mixed-use and residential property issues, as well as commercial property: from real estate related insolvency to leasehold enfranchisement.

Our case went to court and we won. An outstanding result for our fund and for the industry at large…CMS did an exceptional job.

Global investment firm

Whatever the complexity or type of dispute, our starting point is always to listen to you. Our approach and solutions are designed around your priorities: preserving the value of your investments and relationships, minimising costs, and achieving a speedy resolution. We’re particularly committed to helping you keep control of your costs, providing upfront fee estimates and, in certain cases, undertaking fixed fee work.

As a team, heading to the court room is not our aim. Litigation should be a last resort. We pride ourselves on achieving commercial solutions for our clients, whether that is by mediation, arbitration or litigation. 

Highlights of our experience in Real Estate & Planning in the UK
A corporate occupier on a corporate occupier on a dispute arising under a property outsourcing agreement. The dispute was referred to arbitration and we achieved a result that will save our client millions...
Law-Now: Real Estate & Planning Disputes
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Advising the Board


CMS International Construction Study 2024
In recent years, construction and engineering businesses have faced a whole storm of headwinds. CMS, in partnership with YouGov, asked in-house lawyers about the biggest challenges of managing disputes in this environment - and how those challenges can be met.   Sixty-second summaryThe evolving nature of construction risk will see changes to standard contracts and negotiation positions. It may also bring more disputes, particularly where those changes lag behind project realities. Fewer than half the businesses we surveyed reported that the in-house legal or contract management team is always consulted at the start of a project to identify areas of risk and to establish appropriate risk management strategies. Most in-house lawyers believe their businesses could improve the way in which risk is managed during projects - often in a number of important ways. Despite the potential benefits, only 17% of the in-house lawyers we surveyed are using AI in disputes or contract management. Some say they will never use it. Most in-house lawyers believe their businesses have a lot of scope to improve the way that project risks are managed. AI has the potential to be a game-changer in this area by optimising processes, planning, scheduling and other elements of case management and by revolutionising the way a business handles its portfolio of contracts. 
Taking the long view Even in challenging times, real estate investors continue to have a strong degree of confidence in the future of the sector.
Protection from protests
Protest on the streets, protest online, even litigation used as a vehicle for protest. Protestors targeting a business may be standing in a crowd, holding a placard or shouting slogans. But they may also be behind a computer screen or pursuing a claim against the business through the courts. They may even be working inside the business, preparing to compromise its systems or leak confidential information. Whether they are activists, employees or customers, all these protestors may present a substantial challenge and a real threat to businesses, in areas including its security, reputation and bottom line. 
Risk Essentials: Season of Protest
Protests are everywhere. There are protests on the streets and outside business premises. There are protests online. Your workforce is protesting. Even litigation is being used as a means of protest...
Repurposing Real Estate: The future of the world's towns and cities
A radical rethink for global property – and where we live, work and play As the real estate world emerges from the pandemic it is clear that all around us the urban landscape is changing. Many properties are obsolete but also have exciting futures with new uses. Our town centres and cities are undergoing fundamental change – which all adds up to a world focused on Repurposing Real Estate. Now in its tenth year, our Real Estate Thought Leadership series has covered topics such as the rise of international investment in the UK, the growth of tech, the future of the office, the rapid rise of industrial & logistics and the arrival of build-to-rent as a major asset class. This year, with the Government having published its Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill, we focus on the future of towns and cities not only in the UK but in a series of key global investment hubs: Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. After two years of lockdowns, working, shopping and socialising at home, a debate is raging about the future of town and city centres. Will they recover? How will they look in ten years? Will urbanisation go into reverse? And what does this mean for the real estate world?In `Repurposing Real Estate’ we provide the first answers having polled more than 300 leading industry professionals and almost 15,000 global consumers. The results are fascinating: almost a third of real estate is earmarked for conversion – with retail and offices to housing the most popular choices. Consumers want more green and open space, having spent too long confined to their own homes. But the good news is that investors, having come through the pandemic, are still confident in real estate as an asset class. The big changes will be in what property they invest in, meaning the places we live, work and play in may be very different in the years to come.
Privilege: What you need to know
Privilege is an important, and complex, issue that arises in contexts ranging from investigations and expert reports, to multi-party litigation and settlement negotiations, as well as day-to-day com­mu­nic­a­tions...
Disputes digest
Welcome to our Spring edition of Disputes Digest. In this edition, we look back at 2016 and summarise the key litigation and arbitration cases of 2016 for corporate counsel to be aware of. We also...
Disputes digest
Welcome to the fourth edition of Disputes Digest, featuring commentary and analysis on the latest developments in dispute resolution across the UK and beyond. Over the summer, the debate over the legal...
Disputes Digest - current legal issues affecting the market
This edition contains updates and commentary on a range of issues, including articles on the High Court’s ‘Financial List’ which is now up and running, current trends in pensions litigation, key...