Call: 1990    
Gerard van Tonder  

Practice Overview


Gerard's practice, which is mainly contentious, focuses on litigation and dispute resolution, relating to business (whether conducted through companies, partnerships, or by individuals) and property. He is appreciated by clients for his thorough preparation, willingness to provide clear practical advice, robust negotiation skills, and forceful advocacy. He enjoys working as part of a litigation team and recognises the benefits of collaboration. 

Gerard strongly supports ADR and has represented many clients at mediations where compromises were agreed in seemingly intractable disputes. 

Gerard is also qualified to accept Public Access instructions and does so in appropriate matters.

  • Commercial Litigation
    • Gerard ‘s commercial chancery practice includes civil fraud claims,  breach of warranty claims arising from share sale agreements, partnership disputes, claims for the enforcement of restrictive covenants in share sale and employment contracts, claims against directors of companies and mis-selling claims against financial institutions.  He is also instructed in professional liability claims arising from mis-selling.

      Gerard was instructed in Williams v Natural Life Health Foods Ltd [1998] 1 W.L.R. 830 which is a leading decision on the personal liability of company directors.

      Gerard’s current or recent cases include the following:

      • a long-running claim for breaches of warranties given in a share sale agreement;
      • a claim for the rectification of a commercial agreement;
      • and claims between former partners in solicitors’ partnerships;
      • and a mis-selling claim against a bank on an interest rate swap agreement.
  • Company
    • Gerard’s company and insolvency practice includes shareholder disputes, claims about the beneficial ownership of property in the context of corporate or personal insolvencies, misfeasance claims, breach of duty claims and preference claims.  He is also instructed in professional liability claims arising from insolvency proceedings.

      Gerard was instructed in Williams v Natural Life Health Foods Ltd [1998] 1 W.L.R. 830 which is a leading decision on the personal liability of company directors.

      Gerard’s current or recent cases include the following:

      • claims against liquidators for misfeasance;
      • a preference claim;
      • a shareholder dispute arising from a company sale and reorganisation;
      • advising a company incorporated by private statute on the amendment of its articles of association;
      • and a claim against a director for breaches of duties owed to the company.
  • Insolvency
    • Gerard’s company and insolvency practice includes shareholder disputes, claims about the beneficial ownership of property in the context of corporate or personal insolvencies, misfeasance claims, breach of duty claims and preference claims.  He is also instructed in professional liability claims arising from insolvency proceedings.

      Gerard was instructed in Williams v Natural Life Health Foods Ltd [1998] 1 W.L.R. 830 which is a leading decision on the personal liability of company directors.

      Gerard’s current or recent cases include the following:

      • claims against liquidators for misfeasance;
      • a preference claim;
      • a shareholder dispute arising from a company sale and reorganisation;
      • advising a company incorporated by private statute on the amendment of its articles of association;
      • and a claim against a director for breaches of duties owed to the company.
  • Property
    • Gerard’s property practice includes disputes about title, adverse possession, easements, landlord and tenant (commercial and residential), leasehold enfranchisement, mortgages, restrictive covenants, compulsory purchase and overage.  He is also instructed in professional liability claims arising from property transactions.

      Gerard regularly appears in the tribunals and courts  at all levels and  his most recent appearance in the Court  of Appeal was in the matter of Dwyer v Westminster City Council [2014] EWCA Civ 153; [2014] 2 P & CR 7 where he successfully resisted an appeal and succeeded with a cross appeal concerning the abandonment of a right of way. 

      Gerard also appeared in Pattle and another v Secretary of State for Transport [2009] UKUT 141 (LC) which is a significant decision concerning the entitlement to compensation for  compulsory purchase.

      Gerard’s current or recent cases include the following:

      • a complex dispute in the Chancery Division about the use and occupation of  substantial commercial property in Central London over a number of years;
      • a dispute about the beneficial ownership of land which required expert evidence to be obtained about the state of foreign company law;
      • two disputes about right to light claims affecting property developments in Central London; and
      • a professional liability claim by a mortgagee alleging negligent drafting and/or failure to advise.
  • Additional Information

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