Contact details

Sophie Schultz

T: +44 20 7809 2257 M: +44 7584 390 465 Email Sophie | Vcard Office: London


Property litigation

Property litigation

Property litigation

Property litigation

Sophie Schultz Partner

Contact details

Sophie Schultz

Sophie Schultz

T: +44 20 7809 2257 M: +44 7584 390 465 Email Sophie | Vcard Office: London

A specialist property litigator with over 14 years' experience, Sophie helps clients navigate the complexities of property law and resolve disputes quickly and cost-effectively. She advises property investors, developers, lenders, corporate occupiers and individuals on every manner of property dispute. Sophie has a particular expertise in rights of light.
  • Profile
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She is renowned for her legal knowledge and ability to get to the bottom of a tricky issue.  Sources quoted in Chambers UK have praised her "phenomenal" knowledge (2015) and described her as a "walking brain" (2014) that is "able to tie the opposition up in knots" (2011).

Sophie has acted on a wide range of landlord and tenant claims. She also has extensive experience in the development sphere, advising both developers and neighbours on issues such as nuisance claims, rights of light claims and injunctions. Other experience includes adverse possession, boundaries, easements, insolvency-related issues, joint ventures, leasehold enfranchisement, professional negligence, residential property and sale and purchase disputes.

Sophie aims to resolve disputes without court proceedings wherever possible.  Often straightforward 'without prejudice negotiations' are most effective but she also has experience of mediation, arbitration and expert determination where needed. Sophie gives practical and effective advice and deploys a range of strategies. Clients express their appreciation of having her in their corner to fight their side.

Sophie also advises on risk management, for example the existence and implications of a split reversion and how to structure a development title to avoid enfranchisement risk. She is a solicitor advocate and member of the Property Litigation Association. Sophie has written for Property Week, Estates Gazette, Landlord & Tenant Review and FM World. 

"Fiercely intelligent, hugely knowledgeable and has great instincts in litigation."
The Legal 500 UK 2019

  • Real estate litigation
  • Landlord and tenant

Failure to construct premises in accordance with Agreement for Lease

Acting for a major institutional fund, Sophie secured a successful settlement of multi-million pound litigation relating to a counter-party’s failure to construct premises on which the fund was taking a lease in accordance with the specification attached to the agreement for lease.

Rights of light - developers

Sophie provides comprehensive advice to developers from the initial stages onwards on evaluating and managing rights of light risk including acquisition report, advice on insurance options, using legal arguments to cut down claims, and working with surveyors to secure releases.

Rights of light – adjoining owners

Acting for adjoining owners, Sophie has secured substantial compensation settlements for a range of institutional investors, public bodies and individuals, adapting tactics (from correspondence/negotiations to court proceedings) according to circumstances and the client's aims and budget.

Construction nuisance – adjoining owners

Sophie successfully obtained a number of interim injunctions for a FTSE 250 company to prevent demolition nuisance which was seriously affecting their entire business. The proceedings were highly contested and conducted under significant time pressure.

Defending trespass claim – developer

Sophie successfully defended a developer in a claim for an injunction for trespass relating to scaffolding - Apexmaster Ltd v URC Thames North Trust [2018] 2 WLUK 584. The case is of general significance because it emphasised the need for there to be some give and take between neighbours during construction works and the importance of reasonable behaviour.  Her tactics were such that despite having admitted trespass, her client was awarded costs on the indemnity basis.

Restrictive covenants

Sophie has advised developers on the options available to deal with restrictive covenants and acted for neighbours in using such covenants to object to development.

Sale and purchase dispute

Sophie successfully represented a client in highly-contested court proceedings to force a seller to complete a sale agreement before a fast-approaching longstop date. By applying pressure at the interim stage, a timely and cost-effective settlement was achieved without full trial.

Professional negligence

Acting on a multi-million pound professional negligence claim relating to valuer’s negligence. 

More: Real estate litigation

Contested lease renewal proceedings

Sophie regularly advises landlords on vacant possession strategies to enable redevelopment, adopting different strategies according to the nature of the tenancy and the redevelopment’s impact on each one, and looking for angles to enable possession to be obtained as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Acting for a tenant, Sophie has recently been successful in exploiting the S’Franses judgment (that a landlord has to have a genuine intention to carry out works beyond merely getting the tenant out) to enable her client to secure a new lease.

Enforcing covenants

Forfeiture and specific performance proceedings to enforce tenant covenants.

Service charge disputes

Acting for a major institutional landlord, Sophie secured favourable settlement of an unpaid service charge dispute going back many years, involving evaluation of the tenant's counterclaim for provision of inadequate air conditioning services.

Tenant insolvency

Acting for the administrators of a high street retail chain, Sophie resisted attempts by landlords to forfeit leases, advised on the surrender of other leases and assessed the company's rights and liabilities regarding numerous other different types of commercial and residential property.

More recently, Sophie has advised a number of landlords on tenant CVAs.

More: Landlord and tenant


Property litigation

Property litigation

Property litigation

Property litigation

Latest news & insights

01 Jul 2019

From Insights

CVAs – What you need to know when your tenant proposes a CVA

There have been a wave of CVAs recently; Debenhams, Arcadia, Homebase, Outdoor Concepts to name a few. So what do you need to do when the CVA proposal hits?


27 Apr 2017

From News

Stephenson Harwood promotes four to partnership

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has promoted three lawyers to partner and one lawyer to local partner, effective 1 May 2017.


© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.