Barrister Profile  

John Robson Call: 1974
  • ADR
  • Finance & Procurement
  • Public Access
  • Real Property
  • Residential and Commercial Landlord & Tenant
  • Wills Trusts and Probate


John has been involved in Chancery matters since his pupillage and has evolved with the law. Knowledge of historical legal developments is an attribute which is necessarily connected to easier identification and solution to problems. His practice embraces what traditionally have been labelled ‘Chancery matters’, including property law and commercial disputes since pupillage in 1975, and he therefore has considerable knowledge and expertise of these areas.

He has appeared in a number of Court of Appeal decisions involving banking and mortgages (Royal Bank of Scotland plc v Etridge (No.2) (1999) 31 HLR 575, CA), proprietary estoppel and constructive trusts (George v Hazell, 2007, CA), adverse possession of land, construction disputes (Collins (Contractors) Ltd v Baltic Quay Management (1994) Ltd [2004] EWCA Civ 1757), planning (particularly Inquiries), landlord & tenant (Blanway Investments Ltd v Lynch (1993) 27 HLR 378, CA), bankruptcy (Bank of Baroda v Dhillon (1998) 30 HLR 845, CA), orders for sale, overriding interests and s.30 Law of Property Act 1925, property distribution on breakdown of relationships, and Probate actions (embracing capacity, Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claims, proprietary estoppel and constructive trusts.

He understands the need for ‘team effort’ with his instructing solicitor and for clear and careful explanations of options open to a client in considering what instructions to give.

John regularly lectures on Chancery-related topics in which he practices (including the Land Registration Act 2002 and equitable principles).

John undertakes work through the Public Access scheme.


Areas of Practice

Finance & Procurement

John has dealt with a number of consumer finance problems ranging from Consumer Credit through to mortgages. He was involved with one of the conjoined appeals in Royal Bank of Scotland v Etridge (undue influence, representations following on from Barclays Bank v O’Brien).

Wills Trusts and Probate

John has an interest in and ongoing cases involving challenges to Wills (execution, validity and undue influence). He argues these cases in all the Courts and some of his cases have been reported. An important area here is also in the application of the Inheritance Act 1975 and the recent Supreme Court decision in Ilott v The Blue Cross decided in March 2017.

Residential and Commercial Landlord & Tenant

John’s expertise relates principally to the operation of the legislation as it relates to business premises. Sometimes it is necessary to move quickly and John is quick to identify whether protective measures are needed.

Real Property

John regularly advises and represents clients who challenge boundaries, make claims for adverse possession, problems with title and the like. He has lectured widely on the application of the Land Registration Act 2002 and is often consulted on ‘conveyances that have gone wrong.’


John is a great advocate of the importance of mediation and alternate dispute resolution. The incidence of costs (emotional and financial)  in all the areas in which he practices is an important consideration to be borne in mind. His success rate in mediations is high.

Public Access

John accepts instructions directly from members of the public and is authorised by the Bar Council to do so.

Noteworthy Cases

Agarwala v Agarwala [2013] EWCA Civ 1763; [2014] 2 FLR 1069 – constructive trust, burden of proof, presumptions where one registered proprietor.

Suri v Sohal [2012] EWCA Civ 1064 – proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts, judge’s assessment of witnesses, demeanour and credibility, reasons to be given by a judge.

Wahab v Khan [2011] EWHC 908 (Ch) – probate, costs unpaid from previous proceedings, principles re strike out, CPR 3.4

Ashby v Kilduff [2010] EWHC 2034 (Ch); [2010] 3 FCR 80 – gay relationship, constructive trust of property, proprietary estoppel)

Brittain v Haghighat [2009] EWHC 934 (Ch) – exceptional circumstances regarding sale of home on application by trustee in bankruptcy, s.15 TLATA 1996

Baker v Baker [2008] EWHC 937 (Ch) – probate, estoppel and Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Collins (Contractors) Ltd v Baltic Quay Management (1994) Ltd [2004] EWCA Civ 1757 – the effect of an arbitration clause on court proceedings

Royal Bank of Scotland plc v Etridge (No.2) (1999) 31 HLR 575, CA – application of the principle in Barclays Bank plc v O’Brien [1995] 1 All ER 438, CA, laches, acquiescence and estoppel

Bank of Baroda v Dhillon (1998) 30 HLR 845, CA – order for sale, overriding interests and s.30 Law of Property Act 1925

R v Newham LBC ex p Kaur (1997) 29 HLR 776, QB – housing benefit backdating

Parkes v Legal Aid Board [1997] 1 WLR 1547, CA – operation of legal aid charge and s.30 Law of Property Act 1925

Hunter v Babbage [1994] 2 FLR 806, Ch – operation of s.36 Law of Property Act 1925, joint tenancy in Probate dispute

Re G (Welfare report: disclosure) [1993] 2 FLR 293, CA – dealt with principles of natural justice

Blanway Investments v Lynch (1993) 25 HLR 378, CA – covenant seeking to restrict occupation of rented flat to directors

R v Shoreditch CC Bailiffs ex p Madeiras (1988) The Times, 24th February, CA – liberty of the subject

Collins v Collins [1987] 1 FLR 226, CA – relationship between legal aid & s.25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973

Wright v Jess [1987] 1 WLR 1076, CA – liberty of the subject

Re C (evidence on child abuse) [1987] 1 FLR 321 – widely applied in Cleveland scandal

Miles v Clovis: Attorney General’s Ref No.4 (1979) 69 Cr. App. R. 280 – death knell of the 1836 ‘sus’ laws



First-tier Tribunal Judge in the Tribunal Service (1993)

Fellow of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (1992)

Property Bar Association (former Committee member)

Planning and Environmental Bar Association

Approved assessor for the Bar