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David Schmitz

David Schmitz has a wealth of experience in most areas of Chancery and Commercial practice, and this background makes him particularly adept at dealing with complex problems that require knowledge of several fields. To take a recent example, he has advised a national charity, with a large property portfolio, on how to get in the title to the freehold and leasehold interests of a property, where the titles are unregistered, the trusts pre-date TLATA and the ownership of both interests is vested in an associated company which has been dissolved.

His practice has an emphasis on property litigation and on professional negligence cases involving property, but he also deals with private client work, in particular pensions and charities, and with cases of insolvency, undue influence and cohabitation.

He is a qualified mediator.

He is working, when time permits, on a book on Art and the Law, and has prepared draft chapters on copyright, ownership, interference with ownership, claims by and against states, claims arising out of crimes and other acts of states, and liability for misattribution.

From 2010 to 2014 he was a borough councillor in Haringey, London and served on the planning committee for three years.


David undertakes all manner of property work (including landlord and tenant). He advises and represents developers, as well as persons who have been caught up in cohabitation and undue influence disputes, where his experience goes back to Grant v Edwards [1986] Ch 629 and CIBC v Pitt [1994] AC 200). He has also done many cases of professional negligence relating to property transactions (please see below).

Recent Highlights

  • An ongoing arbitration concerning a joint venture agreement that relates to the mismanagement of a commercial estate.
  • Advising about the consequences of the purported grant of a right to erect advertisements.
  • Negotiating with a landlord, on behalf of a non-residential tenant of property in a block of flats, about the extent of the tenant’s liability to make contributions through its service charge, both generally, and in particular with regard to the removal and replacement of defective cladding.
  • A claim against the Land Registry for compensation for removing the registration of the proprietor, upon a purported sale by a trustee in bankruptcy, where the proprietor was not the bankrupt, but whereinstead the bankrupt was a namesake of the proprietor.
  • A dispute between a leaseholder and a freeholder as to the ownership of the roof and the space above, where the freeholder wished to add another storey.
  • A claim for breach of a contract of sale for part of an estate, where one of the joint sellers was subject to an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Reported Cases

  • Brightlingsea Haven Ltd v Morris [2009] 2 P & CR 169: Whether a caravan site owner was precluded by proprietary estoppel from ending periodic tenancies by notice; whether the structures in question were caravans for the purposes of the relevant legislation.
  • HSBC Trust Co v Quinn [2007] All ER (D) 125 (Jul): Standard of proof where proprietary estoppel is alleged against deceased person; what is necessary in order to evidence an intention that a document should take effect as a deed.
  • Ledger-Beadell v Peach [2007] 2 FLR 210: Claim against one cohabitant by the parents of the other for repayment of monies provided to buy a house for the couple. Claimants alleged monies were advanced as a loan; claim defended on basis that monies were subject to presumption of advancement or alternatively that they were held subject to constructive trust.
  • Abidogun v Frolan Health Care Ltd – [2001] All ER (D) 305 (Oct): Established the principle that a forfeiture, caused by a tenant’s denial of the landlord’s title, is capable of relief and that it cannot be acted upon unless a S 146 LPA notice is served.
  • CIBC Mortgages plc v Pitt [1994] 1 AC 200: Decided at the same time as Barclay’s Bank v O’Brien [1994] 1 AC 180; it considered, in a case where an entry into a mortgage had been induced by undue influence comprising actual pressure upon the victim, what it was necessary to prove in order to establish such undue influence. It further considered when a mortgagee should be deemed to have been on notice of the undue influence, so as to deprive the mortgagee from being able to enforce the mortgage against the victim.
  • Grant v Edwards [1986] Ch 638: Constructive trusts; co-ownership of house by co-habiting couple; significance of registered proprietor’s statements to cohabitant of his reasons for not putting property into joint names.


  • BA, Syracuse University (USA)

Associations & Memberships

  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • Property Bar Association


“Trust disputes – claims in negligence against trustees for their administration of the trust.” Lexis PSL Private Client (2019, 2022)

“Student Lettings, Frustration and the Pandemic” Legalease March 2021 (available on the Ten Old Square website).

Atkin’s Court Forms Vol 37 (1) – Specific Performance (2015) (2020)

“Neighbourhood Watch” (the effect of Coventry v Lawrence on nuisance claims where there have been changes in the locality)”: Property Law Journal Dec. 2017 and Jan. 2018

“Threat to Independence (Charities and Gagging Clauses)” Legalease April and May 2014

“An Unresolved Question – “Whether the Will Must Be Present when the Testator Acknowledges his Signature”: Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal Sept. 2013

Speaking Engagements

David delivers talks at Ten Old Square seminars as well as in-house seminars for chambers clients.

Edwards v Aurora Leasing Ltd. [2021] EWHC96 (CH): The circumstances where a trustee in bankruptcy can recover a payment or a preference that is made by a bankrupt between the presentation of the bankruptcy petition and the making of the bankruptcy order, and the surprising contrast with the situation with regard to payments or preferences made before the petition, or with regard to payments or preferences made by a company. Ten Old Square blog post (2021). Available on Ten Old Square website.

Business and Property Court Pilot Scheme on Disclosure: Pre action to Close of Statements of Case and e-Disclosure (2019)

Fire Safety and Cladding in Blocks of Flats: Liability and Prevention (2018) A wide-ranging review of the relevant common law and statutes.

“Digging the Dirt on Basements” (2017). A survey of the issues arising out of excavations of basements.

“Powers and Duties of Mortgagees, Receivers and Administrators in the Management and Sale of Property” 2016.

For more information and advice

Call: +44 (0)20 7405 0758


Pricing Policy

Unless otherwise agreed my Clerk will calculate my fees based on my current hourly rate. My rates are reviewed annually and details can be obtained from my Clerk. Once a rate is set for any particular case the hourly rate will only ever be adjusted with express agreement between my Clerks and those instructing me.All fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate where applicable.

Social links

David Schmitz is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is governed by the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales. He is regulated by The Bar Standards Board [Bar Ref 16939] and is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/024] to provide legal services, please refer to the BMIF website for full details of the world-wide cover provided. He is registered for VAT under the reference 446971904.

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