Cornerstone Barristers

Social Housing Department

London (Bar)
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A powerhouse outfit, Cornerstone Barristers attracts praise from clients and peers alike for its track record in the social housing sector. The set advises on the full range of social housing issues, with sources confirming it is a "one-stop shop for landlords." Its members appear in courts of all levels, right up to the Supreme Court, in housing cases such as homelessness appeals, possession proceedings and anti-social behaviour injunctions.

Client service: "The clerking service is accommodating and very friendly. The service provided by the clerks is consistently prompt." "The clerks will always try and accommodate you if there is something urgent." Elliot Langdorf is the senior clerk.

Andrew Lane
Talented advocate who is praised for his unwaveringly dedicated approach, regardless of whether he is handling high-profile cases in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court or more routine County Court possession claims. His practice encompasses all areas of social housing law, including welfare reform, housing fraud and advisory work for registered providers. He is further known for his strength in handling disrepair claims. Lane also has a growing policy practice and is able to assist housing associations draft allocation and rent reduction schemes.
Strengths: "He really puts people at their ease and, beneath that, he is a steely market-leading expert." "He has exceptional people skills and is a great advocate for the lay client."
Recent work: Acted for The Guinness Partnership in a possession claim against a tenant who had sublet his property.

Catherine Rowlands
Predominantly advocates on behalf of local authorities and housing associations. She offers expertise across all areas of housing law, and regularly handles cases relating to succession disputes, possession claims and unlawful eviction. Interviewees are particularly quick to highlight her tenacity in court. She is also a notable expert on homelessness law, and has acted in multiple major cases regarding the law in this area. 
Strengths: "She is very thorough and her arguments are well thought out. She is approachable and easy to deal with."
Recent work: Acted for the London Borough of Islington in a claim for judicial review of its decisions in relation to advice and assistance to a person found not to be in priority need.

David Lintott
Known particularly for his expertise in homelessness matters, he regularly makes successful presentations before the Court of Appeal. His broad client base includes a number of local authorities. Lintott also shows strength in possession proceedings and anti-social behaviour order applications.
Strengths: "He is very astute, knowledgeable and dependable. His level of experience and application of the law are exemplary." "He has incredibly good client care skills." "He is very good on his feet."
Recent work: Represented the London Borough of Waltham Forest in a homelessness appeal which concerned the meaning of 'significantly more vulnerable than ordinarily vulnerable', the test applied when a local authority determines priority housing need.

Dean Underwood
Housing and administrative specialist who is praised for his "excellent" advocacy and adept representation of local authorities and social landlords at all levels of court and tribunal. His areas of particular expertise include possession proceedings, homelessness challenges and disrepair claims.
Strengths: "Knowledgeable and seasoned practitioner who is incredibly hard-working." "A favourite with clients." "Very prompt at providing advice and an excellent advocate in court."
Recent work: Acted for Southern Housing Group in an appeal which concerned a claim to repossess premises let on a probationary tenancy and an allegation that the group had breached its probationary tenancy policies.

Jennifer Oscroft
Specialises in defending local housing authorities and social landlords against public law challenges, offering particularly valuable insight into the housing implications of the Public Sector Equality Duty. She frequently appears in highly significant cases, often before the Supreme Court. Her social housing practice is complemented by her significant expertise in community care and immigration eligibility matters.
Strengths: "A tremendous barrister. She is always thorough and well prepared, and her advocacy is outstanding."
Recent work: Acted for the London Borough of Lewisham to defend a homelessness appeal against its decision that a tenant was ineligible for homelessness assistance because of her immigration status.

Jon Holbrook
Routinely represents local authority landlords and housing associations in a broad range of housing disputes, including matters relating to community care, the Court of Protection and public law. He is also sought after by housing associations to advise them on housing policy.
Strengths: "He is very thorough and very focused."

Kelvin Rutledge QC
Highly experienced silk with a particular focus on matters concerning local government. He offers respected expertise in a range of cases, such as those involving homelessness allocation schemes and outer borough placements. He also makes frequent appearances before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Rutledge complements his housing expertise with an impressive community care practice, and is able to act in a range of cases where the two spheres intersect. He also regularly provides counsel to local authority clients on issues of policy.
Strengths: "He is very knowledgeable about his subject matter and he always performs."
Recent work: Acted for the London Borough of Hillingdon in two challenges to the client’s ten-year residency requirement for joining the housing waiting list.

Kuljit Bhogal
Considered an expert in areas such as anti-social behaviour, public defence and the Equality Act. She is frequently sought out by housing clients for her insight and advice on major policy matters. Her impressive client base includes local authorities and housing associations. Bhogal's broad practice also encompasses community care and Court of Protection work.
Strengths: "She has a very good manner in court and is good at getting across the right point."
Recent work: Represented London Borough of Croydon in an appeal of a possession order made following the appellant's failure to comply with a debarring order.

Matt Hutchings QC
Highly regarded, passionate advocate with a broad housing practice. He is known for his adept representation of local authorities, tenants and homeless applicants before all levels of court. 
Strengths: "Excellent." "A strong advocate. He is very hard-working."

Michael Paget
Offers top-quality advice to an array of clients, including local authorities and housing associations. He is also highly regarded for his direct access and pro bono work on behalf of tenants. Interviewees particularly note his adroit handling of homelessness applications and leasehold disputes, and highlight him for his work where housing and community care matters intersect. He is also known for his ability to handle unlawful evictions and complex disrepair claims.
Strengths: "A pleasant and effective opponent."
Recent work: Acted for Hackney LBC in an appeal regarding whether a director of a property company was entitled to housing benefit.

Ranjit Bhose QC
Well-respected silk with a broad housing practice that encompasses possession actions, housing finance and large-scale regeneration schemes for local authority and housing association clients. He is particularly commended for his expertise in complex leaseholder issues and service charges. Bhose also regularly advises local authorities and associations on fire safety issues, and frequently appears at all levels of court, including the Upper Tribunal and Supreme Court.
Strengths: "His level of preparation is absolutely phenomenal. If you need a true heavyweight, Ranjit is the one to go to."
Recent work: Acted for Metropolitan Housing Trust in a case which considered the circumstances under which a housing association can be held to have harassed its tenants.

Riccardo Calzavara
A rising star in housing law with a growing reputation for his ability to handle complex possession proceedings. He is also frequently instructed in anti-social behaviour cases, disrepair claims and homelessness appeals. His impressive practice has seen him make several appearances in the High Court and Court of Appeal, often in leading cases.
Strengths: "He has the drive, determination and extreme intellect to go far in social housing." "He is very efficient, knowledgeable, personable and reliable."
Recent work: Acted in an appeal concerning whether a local authority's failure to consider the best interests of children vitiated its decision to bring possession proceedings against a family with young children.

Ryan Kohli
Talented junior who receives regular instructions in anti-social behaviour injunctions, homelessness appeals and possession claims. He is notable for acting in cases where the Equality Act and public law defences are raised. Kohli is highly experienced at tribunal level and has served as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal. His broad practice also sees him advising on fire safety and leasehold disputes.
Strengths: "His technical knowledge and detail to issues is outstanding." "He knows the area inside out."
Recent work: Represented Paragon Housing Association in a Court of Appeal case in which it was decided that disability discrimination considerations cannot be re-raised at the enforcement of a possession claim unless the defendant's circumstances have materially changed.

Wayne Beglan
Junior with a growing reputation for his local government and social housing practice. He routinely undertakes housing work on behalf of local authorities and registered providers, and offers notable expertise across the areas of planning, regeneration and procurement. Beglan has considerable experience of appearing before the High Court and appellate courts, and is noted for his experience of judicial review procedures.
Strengths: "He is a formidable advocate and I wouldn't want to be on the other side of his cross-examination." "He is really to the point and gives robust advice."
Recent work: Successfully represented Waverley Borough Council in three conjoined High Court claims seeking to challenge the housing figures in the Waverley local plan and to quash the allocation of a new village for around 2,600 homes.