Dev Desai
Partner, Dispute Resolution


T: +44 20 7814 8000
D: +44 20 3314 6308
M: +44 7917 215038


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Summary Open

Dev Desai is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution Group, based in London. He specialises in real estate litigation, advising in relation to landlord and tenant disputes, representing developers in the removal of legal obstacles to their projects and assisting financial institutions to enforce security against land. He also has extensive experience advising on property-related insolvency, specialist telecommunications matters and professional negligence actions.  Dev’s clients benefit from his background as an e-commerce entrepreneur and his experience working in a regulated industry while a manager at Network Rail.

Dev has received extensive recognition from leading legal directories which have praised his “pragmatic and effective advice” (Legal 500 UK) and commended “the personal touch that makes his clients feel valued” and his “very down to earth style” (Chambers UK). He is also an editor and contributing author of Butterworths’ Property Insolvency.

Experience Open

    Dev’s experience includes:
    • Acting for a leading renewable energy company to successfully resolve restrictive covenant and easement disputes arising out of the route of its onshore conduits.
    • Successfully defending a tenant against landlord’s dilapidations claims and an Environment Agency’s regulatory action concerning alleged groundwater contamination.
    • Representing administrators of a retail chain in negotiations and assignment disputes with landlords.
    • Acting for a developer landlord to secure vacant possession of parts of multi-let office premises for a development and advising it in relation to its works programme in relation to the remainder of the premises.
    • Successful appeal of a rent review arbitration: Metropolitan Properties v Atmore Investments [2008].
    • Acting for an institutional landlord in relation to assignments of leases as part of a tenant’s corporate restructuring.
    • Advising a telecommunications operator and infrastructure manager in a variety of disputes arising out of network expansion and upgrades and the Electronic Communications Code.
    • Acting for a major international conglomerate in relation to disputes concerning UK leasehold premises acquired for executives.
    • Representing a ‘Big 4’ accountancy firm in relation to dilapidations, VP, sublease and other landlord and tenant disputes in relation to its offices.
    • Defeating an injunction application against proposed development of retail estate by pension fund client.
    • Securing possession of land occupied by travellers.
    • Advising a landlord in relation to Rights of First Refusal and threatened enfranchisement by tenants of a central London residential block.
    • Opposition to listing of potential development site as an asset of community value.

Education Open

  • 2002 – 2003: College of Law (London), LPC
  • 2001 – 2002: Nottingham Trent University, Management Diploma
  • 1999: MCSE (Systems Engineer, Microsoft-Certified)
  • 1996 – 1999: University of London: Queen Mary College, LLB Honours

Author/Speaker/Awards Open

  • Butterworths’ Property Insolvency (2015), Editor and Contributing Author
  • “Rewiring the regulatory regime for electronic communications”, LexisNexis (2015)
  • “Landlords could be liable for discriminatory agent practices”, Mortgage Solutions (2013)
  • “Out of Pocket”, Estates Gazette (2013)
  • Dechert Company Law Award

Membership of Professional Societies Open

  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • Property Litigation Association

Employment Record Open

  • 2016 – present: Watson Farley & Williams, Partner
  • 2004 – 2016: Pinsent Masons (formerly McGrigors LLP), Trainee, Solicitor and Senior Associate
  • 2003 – 2004: Kennedys Solicitors, Litigation and Arbitration Legal Assistant / Paralegal
  • 2001 – 2002: Network Rail, Account Manager
  • 2000 – 2001: Network Rail, Graduate Management Trainee
  • 1999 – 2001: E-mortalise Ltd, Director

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