Much of Paul Stafford’s practice has focused on long and complex disputes, often with a multi-jurisdictional element, of a chancery and commercial nature. These include property and trusts of land, ecclesiastical law, professional negligence, and building and civil engineering (particularly those involving local government). His early career as a Junior Research Fellow and Lecturer in History at Oxford University has helped him develop an expertise in manorial rights in the context of modern land registration. His pupillage at the Bar’s leading construction sets gave him experience of the TCC where he has often appeared. Professional regulation, particularly the dishonesty of solicitors, is another specialist area.
Paul Stafford has significant experience of the contentious and non-contentious aspects of chancery commercial practice over many years. His contentious work has included disputes involving banks, guarantees and indemnities, corporate insolvency, cause of action assignment and VAT fraud. He acted for Names in the closing phases of the long-running Lloyds litigation, and for HMRC in a large carousel fraud case. Examples of his non-contentious work include the drafting of management buy-out and shareholders’ agreements for a major professional services company; advising on the duties of trustees in relation to building contracts; advising on sensitive pre-merger issues following the merger of two large firms of solicitors.
Fundamental to commercial chancery work is contractual interpretation, which is also central to what is normally regarded as the different and distinct area of construction law. Throughout his time at Ten Old Square, Paul has received instructions in relation to very substantial building and civil engineering cases. These have ranged from advising trustees of a major London hospital in connection with their duties under a building contract to acting for government, at local authority level and overseas, in major arbitration and/or litigation with a multi-jurisdictional element. Due to the sums involved, these cases have often involved representation in the appellate courts.
- Amey LG Ltd v Cumbria County Council  EWHC 2856 (TCC), Judge Stephen Davies – Final Account dispute on local government highways maintenance contract.
- Estor Ltd v Multifit (UK) Ltd (No.1) (2009) 126 Con LR 40; and (No.2)  CILL 2800, Akenhead J – Adjudication: practice and procedure; test to identify parties to contract.
- Harris v The Society of Lloyds  EWHC 1433 (Comm), David Steel J – Names and Re-insurance to close.
- AG for the Falkland Islands v Gordon Forbes Construction (Falklands) Ltd  BLR 280, Supreme Court of the Falkland Islands – Meaning of clause 53 of FIDIC Conditions of Contract for Works of Civil Engineering Construction.
- Saigol v Cranley Mansion Ltd (No.3)  72 Con LR 54, CA – Effect on claimant’s damages of compromised claim against another defendant.
- Clive Brooks & Co Ltd v Baynard  TLR 269, CA – Cause of action assignment by insolvent construction company in breach of security for costs order.
- Fairview New Homes plc v Government Row Residents Association Ltd  EGCS 92 (Ch D), Scott V-C – Developers and user of private right of way.
- Saigol v Cranley Mansion Ltd (No.2)  EGCS 81, CA – Cause of action assignment by co-defendant.
- Inverugie Investments Ltd v Hackett  1 WLR 713, PC – Measure of damages for trespass to commercial property.
- MA (First Class Hons in Modern History): Christ Church, Oxford
- D. Phil (on the Mediterranean origins of the Second World War): St Antony’s College, Oxford
- Diploma in Law: City University, London
- Holker Scholar, Gray’s Inn
- Karmel Prize in Chancery law, Gray’s Inn
- Former Legal Member (and occasional Chairman) of the Disciplinary Committee, the Admissions and Licensing Committee and the Appeals Committee of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
- Former elected Member of the Bar Council
- Member of the Bar Council Remuneration Committee
- Legal Member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Conservative Party
Associations & Memberships
- Chancery Bar Association
Paul Stafford is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is governed by the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales. He is registered with The Bar Standards Board [Bar Ref 22796] and is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/020] 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 524130883.