Paul Tapsell

I have extensive experience of the range of cases heard in local Courts and Tribunals, and specialise in Local Government, Planning, Employment and Land Law (especially boundary disputes and Landlord and Tenant issues).

My clients are also individuals and businesses in cases involving HMRC or the Border Force seizing 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.

If you have a dispute to do with land, e.g. boundary disputes between neighbouring properties, claims under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, I have acted in a wide range of such cases. I also act either for landlords or tenants in cases involving commercial and residential property.

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 can also represent you in an employment situation – dealing with issues like unfair dismissal, redundancy, discrimination and Transfers of Undertakings (for example when one company is taken over by another), and can act for either employers or employees.

My reputation is for objective, pragmatic and realistic advice and I’m pleased to have been ranked by Chambers and Partners for 4 years as a leader in my fields of work:

“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.



Condemnation & Cash Forfeiture

I regularly appear in Magistrates and Crown Court representing clients whose cash, goods (alcohol or tobacco) and vehicles travelling to or from the continent have been seized by Customs officers. Many of my cases have involved foreign nationals so I am also experienced in working with clients whose first language is not English and need to work through an interpreter.

In addition I am often instructed in confiscation hearings arising from Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) Orders made after conviction.

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

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

Planning & Rating

I act for individuals, developers and Local Authorities involved in planning disputes, and can provide you with initial advice for planning applications, acting on your behalf in planning inquiries and hearings, and help you with appeals to enforcement proceedings (in either the criminal courts or as part of civil proceedings for injunctions and/or damages) in the High Court or County Court.

Should your case involve a Listed Building or environmental impact of a development I have experience in consulting and instructing specialists in these areas.

Property and Land Law

I support clients with a wide range of disputes arising from interests in land, e.g. boundary disputes between neighbouring properties, claims under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, etc. Boundary issues can be peculiarly stressful, and I aim to take a pragmatic, common sense approach which helps you explore alternative ways of resolving your issues before resorting to court action.

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant I can act for you in a wide range of residential or commercial disputes, including possession actions, lease renewal negotiations and service charge challenges. My extensive experience of the range of Courts and Tribunals which deal with such matters enables me to provide you with sound advice and representation at every stage of proceedings.

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


I deal with matters including unfair dismissal, redundancy, discrimination (by reason of sex, race, disability, etc.) and Transfers of Undertakings, representing employers and employees. I can provide advisory services for work-place disputes at an early stage to help ensure that litigation can be avoided. If proceedings are issued, I can ensure that suitable evidence is obtained to support your position, or help you to reach a suitable compromise settlement.

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

Making a Tribunal Claim

Employment Tribunals were originally set up in the 1960s as a forum for employers and employees to settle disputes quickly, easily and cheaply between themselves without the need to involve lawyers; sadly, like so many dreams from those simpler times, those sensible ideals have disappeared under the weight of fifty years of reality, political interference, Continue reading