Felicity Thomas

Felicity Thomas

“I am glad Felicity is on our side.”

Client, 2017

“Very thorough all the issues get covered.”

Client, 2017

"No nonsense advice with a clear rationale."

Client, 2017

"An asset to our business."

Client, 2017

"The “go-to” who wins the unwinnable cases."

Client, 2018

"The only legal advice we trust implicitly."

Client, 2018

“Felicity is an exceptional advocate; dedicated, knowledgeable and committed to her clients.”

Client, 2017

Practice Overview

Felicity specialises in land, property (encompassing housing) and planning. Undertaking work in both public and private sectors, she is known for her affability, technical expertise and fearlessness.

She undertakes work for local government, Registered Providers, private developers, private and commercial landlords and interest groups throughout the country. Having come to the Bar from a career in housing, she has developed extensive breadth and depth of advocacy experience in the Senior Courts, including the Court of Appeal and the High Court, county courts, all levels of the Residential Property Chamber and at public hearings and inquiries. Her experience ranges from appearing as advocate in trials, substantive hearings, procedural applications, public inquiries and appeals as well as sitting as Inspector in Village Green public inquiries.

In planning, Felicity has particular experience in all aspects of enforcement, s287 injunctions and appeals for parties at all levels from householders and developers to the Planning Authority. She has also acted for Rule 6 parties in planning appeals and is mindful of the need to work to fixed budgets. Her advisory work is broad; most recently including the impact of listing as an asset of community value, DMMO inquiries, tree preservation orders, enforcement appeals, certificates of lawfulness and siting of mobile homes in the green belt.

In real estate she advises and represents at all levels. Recently this has involved her in cases concerning historical estate rent-charges for a commercial client, contested boundaries of estates, repairing covenants in commercial tenancies, major dilapidations in commercial property, construction disputes, service charges and the perennial problems of management and administration charges. She has advised on thorny policy issues for Registered Providers such as the correct approach to short lets of leasehold property (AirBnB) and whether local authorities are liable to pay disabled facilities grants in care homes. This year has also included interpreting easements and covenants, advice on building on common land, de-registration of a village green and appeals against the Traffic Commissioner.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Felicity frequently acts for clients in both private and commercial mediation.

Recent relevant experience includes:

  • Acting for commercial clients in mediation relating historic rent charges and a disputed deed of transfer
  • Acting for client in mediation of a long running mortgage dispute and securing their long term occupation of their property
  • Advising a Registered Provider on mediation of a construction dispute
  • Acting for clients in mediations relating to boundary disputes and nuisance claims

Property

Felicity is a property specialist. She acts for the full range of clients from individuals to large companies across the private and public sectors. She regularly appears in both the First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal of the Lands Chamber on leasehold, compensation and contested land matters.

Her practice includes:

  • Commercial landlord and tenant
  • Planning
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Real property
  • Residential landlord and tenant

Real Property

Recent relevant experience includes:

  • Advising on contested easements and covenants
  • Discharge of restrictive covenants in the Upper Tribunal
  • Defending adverse possession claim in the Upper Tribunal
  • Advising on prospects of success in applications for village greens
  • Advising on prospect of rectification of the register to remove a village green
  • 5 day public inquiry into application to modify the definitive map to upgrade footpath to bridleway involving detailed analysis of historic use

Commercial Property

Recent relevant experience includes:

  • Advice on dilapidations in commercial property
  • Advice on removal of restrictive covenants
  • First Tier Tribunal representation of Freeholders responding to s27 claims
  • Recovery of service charges including representation at First Tier Tribunal

Planning

Recent relevant experience includes:

  • 10 day public inquiry acting for Rule 6 party resisting development of a care home within a retirement village
  • 2 day planning enforcement appeal concerning immunity from enforcement
  • Advice on applications for and appeals against refusal of lawful development certificates
  • Advice on permitted development rights
  • 10 day planning inquiry in appeal against refusal by LPA to allow development in historic landscape
  • 1 day DMMO inquiry on footpath and whether any particular width can be recorded
  • 4 day planning enforcement appeal for removal of mobile home from national park land
  • 2 day planning enforcement appeal for removal of mobile home from green belt land
  • Applications for injunctions to stop continuing planning breaches

Housing

Recent relevant experience includes:

  • Acting for private landlords in recovering possession
  • Acting for public authorities and Registered Providers in trial of contested possession, anti- social behaviour and injunctions
  • Advising private landlords on the increasing complexity of possession notices and procedures
  • Advice and representation in boundary disputes
  • Homelessness appeals; advice and representation

Residential Landlord & Tenant

Recent relevant experience includes:

  • Applications for removal of squatters
  • Applications for injunctions and removal of travellers from private land
  • Acting for landlords to recover possession
  • Defending vulnerable social tenants on possession and injunction claims

Local Government

Felicity is frequently instructed by Local Authorities on matters related to planning, land and property. She understands the constraints that the use of public resources imposes on her clients and the need to take a pragmatic approach to resolving disputes. She advises at all levels including giving presentations to councillors where the legalities of decision making need to be made more accessible.

Recent experience includes:

  • Advising on adverse possession of local authority land and acting in the Upper Tribunal to defend claim
  • 10 day planning inquiry in appeal against refusal by LPA to allow development in historic landscape
  • 1 day DMMO inquiry on footpath and whether any particular width can be recorded
  • 4 day planning enforcement appeal for removal of mobile home from national park land
  • 2 day planning enforcement appeal for removal of mobile home from green belt land
  • Advice on development of public buildings on common land
  • Advice on enforcement against unauthorised use of common land
  • Advice on removal of restrictive covenants on public land
  • Applications for removal of travellers from LA land
  • Applications for removal of squatters from public buildings
  • 3 day planning inquiry in called-in application for housing site on land within strategic gap and contrary to the neighbourhood plan where authority housing land supply less than 2 years
  • 2 day planning enforcement appeal against unauthorised dwelling in green belt
  • Advice on listing of assets of community value and associated appeals
  • Advice on planning issues arising where there are temporary structures, annexes in gardens and mobile homes
  • 1 day Traffic Commissioner appeals in the Upper Tribunal
  • Advice on quantum of compensation likely to be awarded by Upper Tribunal for damage to private house from roots of protected tree
  • Applications for injunctions to stop continuing planning breaches
  • Homelessness appeals advice and representation
  • Advice in relation to planning and homelessness judicial review