Barrister Profile


Year of Call: 1999

Main Areas of Practice

Commercial Law
Land Law
Professional Negligence


Since being called to the Bar in 1999 Keith has acquired expertise in the areas of:

Fundamental to Keith’s approach is understanding what the client hopes to achieve from the litigation. This ability to identify the client’s needs will help to tailor how litigation is conducted with a view to achieving the best outcome for the client.


Keith has a wide ranging Chancery practice which centres primarily on mortgagee actions but also includes Wills and Trusts, Probate and Administration of Estates, Real Property, Adverse Possession, Boundary Disputes and disputes relating to easements. He receives instruction in respect of disputes concerning ownership of property, disputed transfers of property and in cases involving specific performance. He appears regularly in the Chancery Court and has extensive knowledge of the practice and procedure adopted in said Court. In the main his lay clients include all of the major banks operating in Northern Ireland and other financial institutions with interests in Northern Ireland.

Commercial, Construction and Professional Negligence:

Keith is retained regularly in respect of contractual disputes, guarantees and all matters concerning the sale and supply of goods. He routinely attends the Commercial Court in respect of disputes on behalf of employers, contractors and sub-contractors, including disputes referred to arbitration from the Commercial Court. He has developed a particular interest in the area of professional negligence, against Architects, Solicitors, Insurance Brokers, Surveyors and Accountants. This experience is based mainly in acting against these professionals, although he has been retained to act on behalf of professional legal advisers. Involvement in disputes has concerned both domestic and non-domestic law, multi-jurisdictional disputes and multi-party disputes.


Chairman of the Valuation and Lands Tribunal. As Chairman of the Tribunal I sit, along with an expert and lay member for the purposes of determining, inter alia, Rating Appeals.


Allen, Andrew v Burke Construction Limited 2010 NICh 9; 2011 [NIJB] 62 Insolvency; statutory demand; setting aside statutory demand; company issuing statutory demand against applicant; whether debt disputed on substantial grounds.

Coleraine Football and Sports Club; in re (company insolvency) 2005 NICh 4; 2006 [NI] 159 Corporate insolvency; Administration Order, companies’ business affairs being poorly conducted for a number of years; whether test for likelihood of administration order achieving specified purposes was on balance of probabilities; whether Administration Order or Winding Up Order should be made.

Gervin, Francis v Cavanagh, John t/a Rosewood Holdings & others [2008] NICh 6 Civil procedure; Unless Order grounds for extension of time.

Lee, Gigi & others v News Group Newspapers Limited & others [2010] NIQB 106 Right to privacy; defendants intending to publish article about intimate relationship between first and second plaintiffs; whether publication of article would infringe plaintiff’s reasonable expectation of private life; whether general public interest existed in publication of article; Human Rights 1998, Section 12.

McCaughan, Lesley v Belwood Homes Limited [2011] NIMaster 11 Stay of proceedings; specific performance; buildings; agreements; arbitration, application by defendant for a stay pursuant to Section 9 of the Arbitration Act 1996 of plaintiff’s action for specific performance of a building agreement; whether court can only refuse a stay under Section 9 if satisfied that the arbitration agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed.

Craigavon Borough Council v Western Brand Chickens Limited & others [2010] NIQB 133 Food safety; commercial dispute; whether the 2nd named defendant was liable contractually or in negligence; whether proven on balance that 2nd named defendant’s was liable.

Pen Finance Limited v Laird, Leona & others[2008] NICh 15 Land registration; folio search; repossession; standard of care; professional negligence.

Hayes, Alistair Nigel v McGuigan, Marlyn & others (No 2) [2011] NICh 25 Boundary dispute; rectification; adverse possession; whether Plaintiff had satisfied the court that rectification was justifiable; whether rectification the appropriate remedy.

McCallion Brothers Ltd v Fisher, Graham & Northern Ireland Housing Executive & Clanmill Housing Association Ltd [2012] NICh 5 Civil procedure; joinder of third party; plaintiff seeking to join his solicitors to action relating to purchase of real property; plaintiff agreeing to purchase of premises from first defendant and making payment after searches failing to disclose that title to property had passed to second defendant; whether plaintiff’s claim against first defendant and his solicitors was in respect of same damage.

Santander (UK) PLC v Parker, Anthony [2012] NICh 6 Appeal from order of Master granting Santander (UK) PLC order for possession of property against occupant and owner on foot of mortgage deed; evidence; whether appeal should be allowed

Santander v S1 and S2 [2012] NICh 16 Mortgage; possession proceedings; mortgage deed; validity; requirements of being signed in presence of witness who attests signature and delivered as a deed; whether fact of presence of witness attesting deed needs to be recited in document; whether mortgage deed had to be delivered to mortgagee; whether lack of date and adequate description of property rendered deed void for uncertainty.

Banks, John & another v Geddis, Martin & another [2012] NIQB 57; [2014] NIJB 206 Contract; sale of land; leasehold; restrictive covenant; delay; repudiation; discharge of contractual promises; agreement to buy property and secure removal of restrictive covenant against further building on site made subject to conditions; solicitors for both parties failing to conduct proceedings with reasonable competence and expedition; whether conditions strictly subject to times specified; whether time of essence to perform obligation arising under agreement; whether delay sufficiently unreasonable as to amount to repudiation.

Banks, John & another v Geddis, Martin & another; in re costs [2012] NIQB 87; [2014] NIJB 213 Costs; wasted costs; costs incurred unreasonably or improperly; vendor’s and purchaser’s solicitors failing to remove restrictive covenant within time limit stipulated in contract of sale; vendor bringing action for recovery of payment of purchase money retained by purchaser; whether power to make wasted costs order arising in absence of gross negligence or serious dereliction of duty; whether solicitors’ conducts in failing to expeditiously remove covenant unreasonable or incompetent.

Melbourne Mortgages Limited v Berry, Gerard [2013] NIMaster 3 Mortgage; fraud; reciprocal fraud; defendant mortgagor exaggerating his income in loan application; lender, plaintiff’s predecessor in title, making undisclosed additional payment to defendant’s mortgage broker; defendant claiming mortgage was unfair credit agreement in application to set aside possession order on his home; whether court should re-open credit agreement where both lender and borrower guilty of deceit; whether commercial lender having higher degree of culpability than individual borrower.

Bank of Scotland v Doherty, Sean & another [2013] NIQB 135 Practice; time limit; order for possession; pplication for belated appeal out of time; relevant principles on which court will exercise discretion to extend time; whether court to grant extension of time.

Fernhill Properties (NI) Ltd v Scullion, Robert [2014] NICh 4 Building; construction; contract; time of performance; rescission; plaintiff and defendant entering into building agreement to build apartment; builder unable to complete as promised; purchaser defendant’s solicitor serving notice of rescission on plaintiff’s solicitors; plaintiff not accepting notice; whether delay outside builder’s control; whether notice to complete valid and effective.

The Mortgage Business Plc and Bank of Scotland Plc (t/a Birmingham Midshires) v Thomas Taggart and Sons [2014] NICh 14 Solicitors; conveyancing; solicitor acting for both mortgagors and mortgagee; properties sold after mortgagors had fallen into arrears and mortgagee failing to recover full value of loans; mortgage deed giving mortgagee power of attorney by way of security and allowing mortgagee to instruct third parties to disclose documents relating to property; mortgagee instructing solicitor to deliver files held concerning correspondence between solicitor and mortgagee and solicitor and mortgagors; whether exercise of power of attorney ‘by way of security’ confined to matters concerning good title or extended to matters concerning value of property.

Finlay, Karin v Cullen, Phillip & another [2014] NICh 17 Easement; creation of easement; claim to right of way by prescription; plaintiff seeking declaration that premises enjoying right of way at all times and for all purposes over portion of Defendants’ premises ; plaintiff seeking injunction and damages for interruption – Title deeds to premises expressly limiting right of way to one on foot from rear of premises.

Coutts and Company & another v Collins, John & others [2014] NICh 24 Practice and procedure; interlocutory injunction; plaintiffs seeking order restraining defendants from obstructing and/or preventing plaintiffs from entering property; plaintiffs further seeking order restraining defendants from interfering with plaintiffs constructing and operating wind turbines on Mountain; whether planning permission lapsed; whether court to grant injunction pending trial of action.

Hamilton and Dixon Group SIPP v Hastings and Company (Solicitors) [2014] NICh 27 Solicitors; disclosure of solicitor’s files; conveyancing file; plaintiff solicitors acting for trust; plaintiff seeking delivery of all papers including original papers relating to property transaction without authority of fellow trustees; defendant solicitor declining to accede to request; plaintiff applying to amend relief sought; whether Court to grant leave to amend relief sought; whether Defendant to pay Plaintiff’s costs.

Trunk Flooring Ltd v HSBC Asset Finance (UK) Ltd [2015] NIQB 23 Arbitration; contract including arbitration clause; plaintiff bringing High Court proceedings against defendant for breach of contract; defendant applying for stay of proceedings and referral of dispute to arbitration; parties to dispute dissatisfied with amount required to pay as fees in respect of arbitration; ICC deciding claims considered withdrawn; whether parties abandoning arbitration agreement; whether arbitration agreement becoming inoperative; whether court to remove stay on proceedings.

HM Principal Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government v Praxis Care & others [2015] NICh 5 Estoppel; proprietary estoppel; identifiable interest in property; plaintiff granting licence to defendant to occupy buildings and grounds forming part of its lands; defendant expending large sums on upgrading buildings; parties failing to agree to grant of lease and plaintiff bringing action to recover possession following expiry of licence; whether it was unconscionable for plaintiff not to grant lease

AIB Group (UK) Plc v Donnelly, Stephen as personal representative of Donnelly, Peter [2015] NIMaster 13 Mortgage; action for possession; mortgage secured on dwelling house purchased from NIHE under tenant discount scheme; mortgage regulated by FCA; defendant unable to keep up with repayments; defendant resisting possession order; whether mortgage agreement exempt and outside court’s power to make orders in relation to unfair relationships; whether repayment terms clearly set out in mortgage documentation.

The Official Receiver v Julie-Ann Urey [2015] NICh 11 Divorce; financial relief; property adjustment order; order requiring husband to transfer his interest in property to wife following decree nisi; bankruptcy order subsequently made against husband before decree absolute made; whether property adjustment order effecting transfer of any proprietary interest to wife before decree made absolute.

Purcell Bros Ltd v Star Viking (The Owners, Charterers and all Persons Claiming to be Interested in the Motor Vessel) [2015] NIQB 70 Admiralty; application for appraisal and sale of vessel; vessel arrested seven months ago and remaining under arrest; defendant selling vessel shortly after arrest without informing buyer that it was under arrest or plaintiff or the court of the sale; defendant continuing to meet majority of costs of vessel while under arrest; arbitration of dispute between plaintiff and defendant due to commence in three months and likely to be protracted; majority of net proceeds of sale expended on purchase of cattle; whether defendant attempting to divert assets to avoid plaintiff’s claim; whether court should order appraisal and sale of vessel.

Santander (UK) Plc v Parker, Anthony [2015] NICA 41 Possession; action for possession; respondent bank advancing monies to Appellant for purchase of premises; appellant defaulting on repayment thereby entitling Respondent to possession; bank refusing promissory note offered by Appellant; judge making Order refusing stay on possession of Appellant’s dwelling house; judge dismissing appeal against Order; whether court to stay order for possession.

Ulster Bank Ltd v McQuaid, Terence [2015] NIQB 79 Banking; repayment of monies; liability; claim for repayment of monies due to Plaintiff bank on foot of lending facilities advanced to defendant; sum allegedly owing arising as result of transfer made by plaintiff from funds of defendant to account operated by defendant’s son; defendant contending transfer not authorised and facility letter on which plaintiff relying not agreed to nor signed by defendant; whether court to order judgment for plaintiff against defendant; whether court to make order as to costs against defendant.

Trunk Flooring Ltd v HSBC Asset Finance (UK) Ltd [2015] NICA 68 Arbitration’ arbitration agreement; stay of court proceedings; respondent engaging in arbitration process and bringing counterclaim; parties objecting to level of fees required by arbitration tribunal; tribunal deciding that claims were withdrawn, without prejudice to their reintroduction; respondent seeking removal of stay; whether parties abandoning arbitration agreement.

Tom Keenan & Scott Murray as Administrators of Brickkiln Waste Ltd v Thomas McGlinchey [2015] NICh 15 Contempt of court; civil contempt; committal; court ordering defendant to deliver up schedule of assets following hearing at which defendant’s legal representatives stated that there was no defence; plaintiffs failing to effect requisite personal service of order on defendant; plaintiffs seeking order for defendant’s committal to prison; whether court should dispense with requirement for personal service’; whether court should commit defendant to prison for continued contempt.

Barclays Bank Plc (t/a The Woolwich) v Boyd, Cregan & another [2015] NICh 16 Mortgages; mortgagees; stay of court proceedings; discretion of the court; repayments; repossession.