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Staff profile: Kathryn Shirley

Position:  Associate Solicitor in the Commercial Department.  

Time at Gullands:

I joined the Commercial Property Team at Gullands in February 2022.

Main responsibilities and duties:  

I act for a variety of clients, from landowners and companies to landlords and tenants. I deal with acquisitions and disposals of agricultural land and commercial premises, new leases and renewal leases, licenses to assign and leasehold extensions.

What is the best part of the job:   

I enjoy establishing good business relationships and interacting with a diverse range of clients, as well as working collaboratively with other professionals so as to deliver practical and workable solutions. I thrive on the challenges that certain aspects of commercial property can bring, and receiving positive feedback from clients at the close of a transaction is very rewarding.

If you were not in this job, what would you be doing:     

I have always enjoyed amateur dramatics from a young age, and I might have explored this avenue professionally, had I not decided to pursue a career in law instead.


What changes would you like to see happen in the law in the next 10-20 years:

I would hope to see a reform to the law surrounding positive covenants. There are some specific mechanisms to enforce positive covenants on subsequent owners, including a continuous chain of indemnity covenants, applying the “benefit and burden” principle, and reservation of a so-called rent charge, but these can be problematic. Case law has also revealed the difficulty of interpreting positive covenants as well as some areas of ambiguity.  The Law Commission had previously recommended the introduction of a new legal interest in land, a “land obligation”.  This would mean that all future covenants, both positive and restrictive, would take effect as land obligations. Importantly, these land obligations would bind successors in title and would also be registrable.  The Law Commission’s recent Annual Report has, however, put forward recommendations which are in the process of awaiting implementation. 

What do you like doing in your spare time:   

I enjoy long walks in the countryside, yoga and learning Spanish when time permits.