David specialises in business and property work across the Northern Circuit. He is regularly listed in the Legal 500 including: “exceptional ability to interpret the law “(2022), “Quick, alert, knowledgeable, available, focused and infinitely patient”(2021), “His knowledge of commercial law is first class” (2018).
He undertakes a broad range of business and property work. He is also experienced working as a junior to KCs and as part of a team on larger or more complex matters (including with juniors). Practice areas include:
Business / chancery and commercial
David acts in all types of contract litigation including sale of goods and services, domestic construction, professional negligence of lawyers, accountants and other professionals, insurance and banking contracts. This has recently included business interruption insurance arising out of the pandemic. He has also acted for clients in company and partnership disputes, including obtaining and defending urgent injunctions, and commercial wrongs such as passing off and breach of confidence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust. He is especially strong in cases of legal complexity, including areas such as restitution, breach of fiduciary duty and complex corporate and trust matters. He is also skilled at mobilising clients quickly to bring or defend urgent injunction applications.
Clients include acting for firms of solicitors in disputed fee cases and partnership issues, acting for a large biotech company in a confidential arbitration (led by Clive Freedman QC), local authorities including Manchester City Council, large companies including British Nuclear Fuels, and a variety of corporate and private clients.
Recent cases include breach of confidence, commercial contract disputes, partnership cases, professional negligence, commercial fraud, recovery of care home fees, supply of telecoms services, shareholder disputes fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, personal guarantees, liens, assignments, franchises, and commercial arbitration.
David also undertakes drafting commercial contracts including standard terms of business, substantial and bespoke property contracts, shareholders agreements and other corporate documentation, leases, conveyances and property contracts. Drafting standard terms of business has included advising on provisions required to comply with consumer protection and similar legislation, in some cases dealing with challenges from trading standards.
David acts in a variety of property cases, including land and conveyancing disputes such as registration, rights of way and boundaries; landlord and tenant cases, residential and commercial; insolvency; and equity and trusts, including co-ownership. He appears in the Chancery Division of the High Court, the County Court and the First-Tier Property Tribunal.
Recent cases include acting for a zoo which was repossessed by its landlord and obtaining an urgent injunction, commercial companies and partnerships, agricultural landowners and partnerships, private clients with neighbour disputes, families with succession disputes, co-owners with property disputes, such as boundary disputes and rights of way.
David can advise on a wide range of succession matters, including regularly advising on Inheritance Act cases and family provision, wills and probate, capacity, undue influence and issues arising with estate property. As well as litigation, David frequently acts to help parties to settle disputes at mediation and has acted as arbitrator in estate matters.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
David is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and has acted as an arbitrator, as well as published on arbitration law. Recent arbitrations include landlord and tenant, commercial contracts and estate and will issues. David is also an accredited mediator (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) and a member of the Association of Northern Mediators. He is an experienced advocate in both mediation and arbitration with a strong record of settling cases. Both for mediation and arbitration, David welcomes creative approaches to ADR, including paper-only arbitration, and conducting ADR at fixed rates for modest-value claims.
David is also accredited to take public access clients.
Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd v Zoo Investment Co Ltd
(2021, HHJ Eyre QC sitting in the High Court)
Successfully obtaining urgent injunction to prevent re-entry by landlord. Continuing to act in the case including with a leader (Mark Wonnacott KC) on a further successful injunction application.
Awan v Awan
(2021, Judge Rodger QC on appeal in the Upper Tribunal)
Successful land registration claim including complex allegations of fraud relating to a family dispute, included consideration of interaction with ongoing criminal proceedings and extremely difficult evidential issues and then successfully opposing appeal.
Latimer Lee Ltd v Riaz Ahmad
(2020, Mr Recorder Wells in the County Court)
Lengthy and complex claim for professional fees and addressing counterclaim for professional negligence, including dealing with ad hoc allegations of false documentation.
Nawaz v Birchfields
(2019, HHJ Hodge QC sitting in the High Court)
Multi-million pound claim for professional negligence against solicitors including difficult questions about causation.
Direct Accident Management Ltd v Jon Mitchell Marketing Ltd & others, Legend Legal  7 WLUK 818
(2019, HHJ Eyre QC sitting in the High Court)
Breach of confidence relating to clients of a claims management firms, acting for two firms of solicitors. David obtained summary judgment for D4 on the basis of lack of evidence of knowledge of any breach of confidence, even if that was established at trial.
Wild v Wild (2018) EWHC 2197 (Ch),  All ER (D) 04 (Sep)
(2018, HHJ Eyre QC sitting in the High Court)
Dispute about a family farming partnership, won at trial on whether the farm and other assets were part of the partnership, raised issues of partnership accounting.
Selected older cases
Lavin v Hawayek (2017)
Setting aside default judgment in a partnership dispute, which raised issues concerning service in the US and the detailed rules about the timing of service
Hitchen v Hitchen (2012)
Series of successful contempt of court applications in support of a family farming partnership dispute. Also acted in the arbitration of the dispute itself.
Acacia Securities Ltd v Sukhram (2011)
Obtaining an interim freezing injunction for director’s breach of fiduciary duty
Waterfall v HSBC (2008) LTL 13/1/2009
Claim for professional negligence in provision of financial services
Coupers Partnerships Ltd v Basarik (2007, CA)  EWCA Civ 40
Contractual interpretation of a ratings agency contract and the condition upon which fee is due, consideration of standard terms and whether there can be an oral variation.
Parker v Snyder (2004-5, HC)
Successful defence of a civil fraud claim against company directors, led by Clive Freedman QC
T&N v Royal Sun Alliance (2003, HC, CA)  EWHC 1016 (Ch)
Asbestos insurance case; successful case management appeal in the Court of Appeal, led by Christopher Moger QC and Jeffrey Terry, and acted for insurer at trial.
Also acted in substantial commercial arbitrations which can’t be named for reasons of confidentiality, including as a junior to leading commercial silk (now Judge of the QBD) Sir Clive Freedman in particular regarding biotech contracts, other commercial contracts and partnership disputes.
Human Rights in the UK: An Introduction to the Human Rights Act 1998
David Hoffman and John Rowe QC (Pearson, 4th edition 2013).
“The authors have combined meticulous scholarship with an enviable ability to express matters, however complex, in clear and understandable terms” (Lord Saville of Newdigate, Foreword to 2nd Edition)
Contents includes an introduction to the theory of human rights, the background of the Act and how it came to be passed and the constitutional context so that the discussion is accessible to the student starting on their legal study or the non-lawyer. The book then examines the way in which the Act works in practice, and remedies available under it. The book goes on to discuss the particular rights embodied in the Act, giving each right separate and detailed consideration, drawing upon case law from both the UK and Europe. Finally, the issue of terrorism is considered in more detail bringing current and controversial debate to the fore.
The Impact of the UK Human Rights Act on Private Law
(editor; published: Cambridge 2011)
‘The chief glory of [the book] lies in its 12 substantive chapters on specific aspects of private law … David Hoffman gives himself three modest pages at the end to reflect on the book’s contents, expressing the hope as he says ‘that the discussion’ in it ‘can assist’ in the effective reception of the HRA into private law … He should be proud of what he has achieved here: a superb partnership between academics and practitioners, a volume very well presented by Cambridge – and an important contribution to legal understanding of the HRA.’ Conor Gearty, Public Law.
Contents includes a full discussion of the theory and debate on horizontal effect and considers how theory matches up with case law; the limits of the Act for private law; and its impact on key areas including privacy, defamation, negligence, nuisance, property, commercial law and employment. Contains a practical critique of the areas discussed, which will be of academic interest to theorists and of practical benefit to lawyers and judges who wish to understand how the academic debates can be brought to bear in particular cases.
chapter co-written with Clive Freedman QC in ‘Civil Appeals’ edited by Michael Burton J, (Sweet & Maxwell, 2nd edition 2013)
‘Current Law’ annotations for
Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001- co-authored, responsible for material on regimes for nuclear security and security for dangerous substances
Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005
Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and Terrorism Act 2006
Journal of Professional Negligence Bloomsbury Professional JPN (2018) vol 34 p. 52.
David has been published in the new issue of the Journal of Professional Negligence with a book review of Professor Jane Wright’s “Tort Law and Human Rights” (2nd edition).