Paul Tapsell

I have been practicing from Chambers in Canterbury since 1992 covering a range of areas of work, principally involving “civil” disputes, i.e. issues between individuals, businesses and local authorities.

As well as providing representation in Court, Direct Access instructions allow me to advise you in conferences, correspond with the other side in efforts to avoid matters going to court, prepare Letters before Claim, pleadings (e.g. the Particulars of Claim, Defence, Statement of Case, etc.) and witness statements and attend mediation.

I pride myself on providing pragmatic, effective and sound advice, and will assist and support you through what may be an unfamiliar process and for you – with the aim of reduce the associated stress.


Housing and planning disputes form the mainstay of his practice and he is a popular choice of counsel for advising local authorities. He is also noted for his expertise in boundary disputes. Recent work: Advised in Ashford Borough Council v Brunger, a possession action involving a substantial counterclaim alleging illegal eviction.Chambers and Partners 2016

Expertise: “He’s got a good bearing in court, and a very convincing manner.” “He is very approachable, and he can pick up and run with any matter he is instructed on. He is a very persistent advocate.” Chambers and Partners 2015.



Property and Land Law

I can assist you with problems including;

• Neighbourhood issues, e.g. boundary disputes, disputes about rights of way, or adverse possession claims,
• claims under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 about interests in or joint ownership of land or property,
• whether restrictive covenants, e.g. against building on or a particular use of land, are enforceable

I act for landlords or tenants in cases involving commercial and residential property including rent arrears, service charge disputes and disrepair claims, in the County Court or at the Property Tribunal dealing.

Paul Tapsell's Property and Land Law Cases

Compromise agreement avoids substantial Court costs

Paul acted on a direct access basis for the association of leaseholder/chalet owners in a holiday park subject to restrictions on when the chalets could be used (for ‘holiday use only’ for 37 weeks per annum. The chalet owners sought a variation of their leases to allow year-round holiday use, which was opposed by the Continue reading

Possession Order, rent arrears and costs awarded

Paul acted, on a direct access basis, for a landlord who had been duped into signing duplicate tenancy agreements for a father and daughter who had then run up arrears of rent over an eighteen-month period. Previous proceedings seeking possession had failed as a result of issues arising from the duplicate agreements and the tenant’s Continue reading

Articles by Paul Tapsell

Paul Tapsell's Testimonials for Property and Land Law

“…The service from both our Barrister and the Clerks was not only excellent but pleasant also…”

Mr and Mrs K Instructing Paul Tapsell – September 16

Probate & Inheritance

I assist clients involved in disputes arising from the Administration of Estates e.g. claims against Executors where a Will has failed to make adequate provision for dependents, or where there is an issue of the deceased’s capacity at the time of making the Will, or where no Will has been made.

I can also advise you where issues arise about the exercise of a Power of Attorney or there is a dispute about the financial or care arrangements for an individual who is unable to make decisions for themselves.


I can help in a variety of employment situations, dealing with issues like unfair dismissal, redundancy, discrimination and Transfers of Undertakings (for example when one company and/or its employees are taken over by another), and can act for either employers or employees. I can also assist with workplace mediations and disciplinary or grievance processes and procedures.

Paul Tapsell's Employment Cases

Supporting an equal pay claim

Paul was instructed under the Direct Access scheme to assist in the preliminary stages and advise on an ‘as and when needed basis’ in connection with a claim for equal pay arising from a female Financial Director employed for substantially less than her male comparator, and for unpaid overtime in excess of £10,000. In order Continue reading

Articles by Paul Tapsell

Early Conciliation

In my last article I looked at some of the procedural hurdles which need to be dealt with when considering making a claim to the Employment Tribunal; in this article I will consider the Early Conciliation process which all claimants need to undertake before they can make a claim. Early Conciliation The purpose of Early Continue reading

Planning & Rating

I represent people involved in planning disputes, planning applications, inquiries and hearings, and have particular knowledge of issues involving properties with Listed Building status, and the environmental impact of new developments.

I also advise individuals (and local authorities) in licensing matters.

Condemnation & Cash Forfeiture

I act for clients, individuals and businesses, in ‘customs’ cases involving HMRC or the Border Force seizures of cash, or goods like tobacco and alcohol.

I have extensive experience of these cash seizure and forfeiture proceedings as well as condemnation cases where it’s decided whether or not seized goods or cash will be returned.

Paul Tapsell's Condemnation & Cash Forfeiture Cases

Complex issues around vehicle condemnation

Paul acted for a Polish courier company who had a van and trailer seized because their “groupage” load contained 100,000 cigarettes concealed in copper immersion-heater tanks. The client was clearly being used by a sophisticated smuggling operation (the tanks needed to be X-rayed and taken apart to find and access the cigarettes), but issues were Continue reading

Cash seizure on leaving the UK

Paul represented the Home Office in a case concerning a cash seizure of approximately £40,000 from foreign nationals leaving the UK through Dover Docks. The concealed and undeclared cash was claimed to be the profits of online gambling and/or foreign property transactions. However, the lack of sufficient audit trail or evidence of currency exchange suggested Continue reading

Articles by Paul Tapsell

No Laughing Matter

I recently dealt with a case involving an appeal against a condemnation order made by the Magistrates Court in connection with the importation of two pallets of cannisters of nitrous oxide (about 48,000 8g cannisters); while the cannisters have a legitimate use in connection with food preparation and catering they are also widely used for Continue reading

Challenging Customs’ Seizures – Condemnation or Restoration

When “Customs” (usually the Border Force or HMRC) seize an individual’s or a company’s goods and/or vehicles using their powers under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, for example under section 49 where goods are subject to excise duty, or a prohibition or restriction or section 141 where “any ship, aircraft, vehicle, animal, container Continue reading

Re-opening Civil Matters in the Magistrates Court – Traffic jams can leave you car-less or homeless

Sometimes cases are a bit like buses and the same unusual legal points appear in several cases in close succession; I have just had two cases where the Magistrates Court has been asked to review its own Civil Orders depriving individuals of, respectively, their car and their home. The first case involved condemnation proceedings following Continue reading

Paul Tapsell's Testimonials for Condemnation & Cash Forfeiture

….Our counsel, Paul Tapsell, was second to none… well done and thanks for all your work on this… great result…

Mrs M from a firm of solicitors instructing Paul Tapsell – February 15