Vivian Chapman QC



Mr Vivian Chapman QC

Call: 1970 Lincoln’s Inn
Door Tenant

Vivian Chapman’s practice encompasses a wide range of chancery and civil areas. He has a particular expertise in property litigation and advice. He was called to the bar in 1970 after taking a double first in law at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2006. He is head of chambers at 9, Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn. He has appeared in numerous reported cases.

He has a special interest in and is an acknowledged expert on the law relating to commons and greens and was described

  • by Lord Hoffmann in R. v Oxfordshire County Council ex p Sunningwell PC [2000] AC 335, as “a barrister with great experience in this branch of the law”,
  • by Lightman J. in Oxfordshire County Council v Oxford City Council [2004] 2 WLR 1291, [2004] EWHC 12 (Ch.) as “a senior barrister with wide experience in this field” and
  • by Lord Hoffmann in Oxfordshire County Council v Oxford City Council & Robinson [2006] 2 AC 674, [2006] UKHL 25 as “a member of the Bar expert in the law of commons and greens”.

He has taken part as Inspector or counsel in over 40 public inquiries into village green applications.

Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession (2008 Edition) recommend him as a Leading QC in two practice areas, and state:

Traditional Chancery: ” The “extremely learned” Vivian Chapman QC is among a handful of genuine experts on laws relating to rights of way. A new Act of Parliament relating to commons seems set to keep his advice much sought after.

Agriculture and Rural Affairs: Vivian Chapman QC of 9 Stone Buildings is distinguished for commons and village greens work, impressing clients with “his outstanding preparation.” Local authorities enlist his rare expertise on inquiries into applications to register new town or village greens

He is recommended as a Leading Silk in Property Litigation by the Legal 500 in its current 2007 Edition.

Recent reported cases include:

  • Fraser v Canterbury Diocesan Board of Finance (No 2) [2006] 1 All ER 315 (House of Lords. School Sites Acts) View Decision
  • Sangster v Biddulphs (a firm) [2005] PNLR 33 (Partnership- professional negligence)
  • R (Richards) v Pembrokeshire County Council [2005] BLGR 105, [2003] EWHC 2532 (Admin) (Court of Appeal: judicial review: ECHR art 6 & 1st Protocol art. 1)
  • Crest Nicholson Residential (South) Ltd v McAllister [2004] 1 WLR 2409, [2004] EWCA Civ 410 (Court of Appeal: restrictive covenants)
  • Massey v Boulden [2003] 2 All ER 87, [2002] EWCA Civ 1634 (Court of Appeal: rights of way)
  • Padgham v Rochelle [2003] WTLR 71, [2002] WTLR 1483 (undue influence)
  • Bettison v Langton [2002] 1 AC 27, [2001] UKHL 24 (House of Lords: rights of common)
  • Carapeto v Good [2002] WTLR 801, 1305 & 1311 (probate)
  • Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association Ltd [2001] 1 AC 27 (House of Lords: landlord and tenant)
  • Fraser v Canterbury Diocesan Board of Finance (No. 1) [2001] Ch 669 (Court of Appeal: Schools Sites Acts)
  • Barclays Bank Trust Co Ltd v McDougall (2001) 2 WTLR 23 (trusts: construction of settlement)
  • R v National Assembly of Wales ex p Robinson (2000) 80 P&CR 348 (public rights of way: deletion from definitive map)
  • Price Meats Ltd v Barclays Bank plc [2000] 2 All ER (Comm.) 346 (Banking: constructive notice of forgery)

He has been appointed to act as Inspector in numerous non statutory inquiries relating to applications to register new town or village greens by many local authorities, including:

  • Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
  • Bradford City Council
  • Bristol City Council
  • Cardiff City Council
  • Cornwall County Council
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Denbighshire County Council
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Reading Borough Council
  • Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council
  • Shropshire County Council
  • Slough Borough Council
  • Staffordshire County Council
  • West Sussex County Council

He is a bencher of Lincoln’s Inn and a Recorder, in which capacity he regularly sits as a part time judge.

He is General Editor of “Chancery Litigation Handbook” Jordans (2005). He has also written numerous articles.

He regularly speaks on property law and litigation at conferences and seminars.

He is married to Sheila, a retired consultant paediatrician, and has two daughters, Alex (who is a ski instructor in France) and Vicky (who is a postgraduate theology student at Cambridge) and a dog (Abbie). His leisure interests include the theatre, opera, walking and skiing. He and his wife have completed walking in stages the whole of the South West Coastal Path from Poole in Dorset to Minehead in Somerset (about 630 miles) and are now well into their next challenge: the Pennine Way.


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