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Niraj Modha

Barrister & Arbitrator

Year of call: 2010

"As far as barristers go, Niraj is one of the most approachable. He is measured, technically astute and very highly respected and regarded by his peers." The Legal 500 2023

Niraj is a property, commercial, and construction law specialist. His cases frequently involve issues relating to and crossing over with: contested interests in land; civil fraud; insolvency; professional negligence; disputes between shareholders, partners, and joint venturers; and construction claims relating to infrastructure projects. He acts for a range of clients including property developers, landowners, investors, local authorities, contractors, employers, and multinational conglomerates.

Niraj appears as sole counsel in trials and application hearings in the Business and Property Courts (Chancery and King’s Bench Divisions) and in the appellate courts. He also acts as counsel in international arbitration proceedings (both institutional and ad hoc) and represents clients at mediation.

Niraj accepts appointments as an arbitrator. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of several panels including the CIArb Business Arbitration Scheme and the Law Society President’s Panel. Niraj has been appointed as an arbitrator on more than 30 occasions. He is a contributor to Pleading in Arbitration: A Practitioner's Guide and Arbitrator's Handbook, and frequently speaks at arbitration conferences and events.

Areas of expertise

Property and Real Estate Litigation

“A highly intelligent and careful junior with strong specialist knowledge. Ultra-responsive though very busy. I would not hesitate to recommend him for any property related dispute.” The Legal 500 (2022)

Niraj acts for property investors, developers, large estates, housing associations, management companies, residents’ associations, and commercial tenants. He accepts instructions in all aspects of real property and in commercial landlord and tenant disputes.

Niraj’s current cases in the High Court (Property, Trusts and Probate List), County Court, First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), and Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) include claims for prescriptive rights, adverse possession, encroachment by tenants, boundary declarations and collective enfranchisement.

Cases of note:

  • Re: Royal Hotel Kettering (ongoing) - claim for injunctive relief, specific performance, and substantial damages following alleged unlawful eviction and the failure to complete on a contract for the sale of property. Five-day trial in the Business and Property Courts in Birmingham in 2025. 
  • Ajmera v Rowanmoor Trustees Limited & ors (compromised at trial) - claim against sellers following the exchange of contracts for the sale of development property, where prior to completion the registered title plan was significantly altered. Five-day trial in the Business and Property Courts in London in April 2024.
  • Continental Coachworks v H 22 Ltd (ongoing) - claim for prescriptive rights, injunctive relief, and damages relating to property in West London. Four-day trial in CLCC in 2024.
  • Re: Hamilton Terrace (ongoing) - claim for encroachment or alternatively adverse possession of loft space in a converted house. Two-day trial in CLCC in 2024. 
  • Confidential (ongoing) - advice and claim for the modification of easements relating to the use of land subject to restrictive covenants. 
  • Chedington Event Ltd v Brake & Brake [2024] EHWC 11 (Ch) - consequentials judgment. Order for costs on the indemnity basis and payment on account. Judgment.
  • Chedington Events Ltd v Brake & Brake [2023] EWHC 2804 (Ch) - assesssment of damages for trespass following a trial on quantum. Successful at trial, permission to appeal refused by the Court of Appeal. Judgment.
  • Chug v Dhaliwal [2023] EWHC 804 (Ch) - appeal concerning the validity of a Section 146 notice and the refusal of relief from forfeiture. Judgment.
  • Leon v Kensington Mortgage Company Limited & The Mayor and Burgesses of the City of Westminster [2023] EWHC 121 (Ch) - a creditor's entitlement to subrogation following the dissolution of a co-creditor, and whether a lease can be properly regarded as 'security'. Judgment.
  • Zaman v Zaman (unreported, 2023) - opposing a challenge to an express declaration of trust following the transfer of property. Successful at trial (Brentford) and on appeal (CLCC). 
  • Axnoller Events Ltd v Brake v Brake [2022] EWHC 1162 (Ch) - indemnity costs following trial and interim payment on account of costs. Judgment.
  • Axnoller Events Ltd v Brake v Brake [2022] EWHC 622 (Ch) - (un)availability of postponement or a stay in respect of a possession order made in proceedings for trespass. Judgment on postponement and Judgment on stay.
  • Axnoller Events Ltd v Brake v Brake [2022] EWHC 365 (Ch) - Claim for possession of a 100-acre estate partly occupied by former employees. Led by Edwin Johnson QC. Successful at trial, permission to appeal refused by the Court of Appeal. Judgment.
  • Dollis Hill Traders v Ali & Hussain - occupation of commercial property pursuant to a document labelled a ‘licence’ created a tenancy protected under Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Successful at three-day trial in CLCC, permission to appeal refused.
  • Re: Free Trade Wharf, London - tribunal proceedings concerning the payability by leaseholders of mixed-use developments of service charge in respect of works to a jetty and wharf on the River Thames. Judgment.

Niraj's recent advisory work includes the following matters:

  • Beneficial interests and orders for sale in relation to trust land valued at £5m+
  • Section 106 agreements and clawback of contributions.
  • Commercial lease renewals and opposition on ground (f) in respect of London property.
  • The exercise of a break clause in respect of a lease of a London hotel. 
  • The availability of injunctive relief and damages following the unlawful eviction of commercial tenants from various London properties.
  • Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Niraj frequently appears as sole counsel in the High Court in commercial and company law matters. He is familiar with a range of interim applications, including applications for freezing orders, security for costs, specific disclosure, strike out, and summary judgment. He has appeared successfully in the Circuit Commercial Court, the Business List, and the Insolvency and Companies List, frequently against silks and senior juniors.

Niraj’s practice also encompasses applications for interim payments, default judgment, and issues relating to the enforcement of foreign judgments.

Cases of note:

  • Re: ADL (ongoing)  unfair prejudice petition relating to the operation and management of a restaurant, and the property from which it trades. 
  • Re: AGM & Re: Lane (ongoing) – unfair prejudice petition and claim relating to the contested shareholding in a company. 
  • Re: Princip Street (ongoing)  claim for breach of contract and fiduciary duty, alternatively restitution for unjust enrichment and in debt, relating to a joint venture for the redevelopment of land in Birmingham.
  • Al-Ahmary v Zekaria (ongoing) - claim in deceit and for breach of contract relating to joint ventures for the acquisition and development of property valued at £5m. 
  • Re: Strand Plaza (ongoing) - claim against solicitors in professional negligence following the failed purchase of off-plan leasehold properties in Liverpool. 
  • Various claimants v Post Office Limited (2023) - entitlement to damages following he overturning of wrongful convictions arising out of the Horizon scandal. Advice and early neutral evaluation. 
  • Sahranavard v Hedges Law & Sahranavard (2023) - claim in negligence and for breach of trust against solicitors and for dishonest assistance against a transferor of land and assets. Compromised. 
  • Re: Northern Powerhouse Developments & Carlauren Group (various) - acted for purchasers/leaseholders in insolvency proceedings relating to the collapse of several property investment schemes. 
  • Confidential (Circuit Commercial Court) - claim in restitution/for repudiation of a contract following delays in the production, delivery, and installation of equipment at the claimant's premises (£1m+). Compromised.
  • Re: SSI (2022) - claim for declaratory relief and damages for breach of a shareholders' agreement, articles of association, and fiduciary duties, together with a claim in deceit and misrepresentation for damages and an account of profits relating to the alleged misappropriation of shares in two private companies. Compromised. 
  • Homes of England v Horsham Holdings (various) - entitlement to interim injunctive relief in favour of a minority shareholder during the course of an unfair prejudice petition. Judgment.
  • Homes of England v Nick Sellman (Holdings) Limited & Bromham Road Development LLP [2020] EWHC 936 (Ch) - correct test on an application by a member of an LLP to bring a derivative action. Judgment.
  • Confidential (Circuit Commercial Court) - claim in restitution/for repudiation of a contract following delays in the production, delivery, and installation of equipment at the claimant’s premises (£1m+).
  • Confidential (Commercial Court) - claim by marine surveyor for damages following de-accreditation by an institution responsible for the inspection and audit of the transport and storage of chemicals at sea.
  • Schettini v Silvestri [2019] EWCA Civ 349 - correct approach to challenging a cross-undertaking. Judgment.
  • Leon v Her Majesty's Attorney General & others [2018] EWHC 3026 (Ch); [2019] Bus LR 618 - entitlement to a vesting order following the dissolution of a company and disclaimer by the Crown. Subject to two appeals. Judgment.
  • Eastenders Cash and Carry plc & First Stop Wholesale Limited v Commissioners for Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue [2014] UKSC 34; [2015] 1 AC 1101 - Customs' officers’ powers to detain goods under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 where reasonable grounds to suspect duty had not been paid and further enquiries were required to be made. Judgment.


Niraj's recent advisory work includes the following matters: 

  • Interpretation and operation of a suite of joint venture agreements relating to development property, led by Paul Darling KC. 
  • Insurance claims and remedies against the underwriter/broker following damage to commercial property in London. 

Construction, Engineering and Infrastructure Disputes

Niraj advises and represents contractors, local authorities, developers, and project financiers in disputes arising out of construction and engineering projects. Much of Niraj’s work is advisory in nature, determined by arbitration or adjudication proceedings, or compromised on terms. Niraj is familiar with all major standard form contracts including JCT, FIDIC, RIBA, NEC, and ICE.

Cases of note:

  • Confidential arbitration (ADCCAC, UAE) - claim and counterclaim relating to a major infrastructure project, with a combined value of more than AED 8 billion ($2bn). Member of a multi-counsel team led by Adam Robb KC on behalf of the contractor. 
  • Confidential arbitration (ICC, London) - claim and counterclaim for delay and disruption relating to an energy project in South America with a combined value of $6m, on behalf of the employer. 
  • Confidential (Dispute Avoidance Board) - dispute relating to sums due under a PFI project agreement between an NHS Trust and a main contractor on behalf of the contractor.
  • Confidential adjudication - claim by a major contractor for delay and disruption to a construction project involving issues of force majeure and changes in law during the Covid pandemic (£20m+), on behalf of the contractor.
  • Confidential arbitration (ad hoc, London) - domestic construction arbitration between a landowner and developer of luxury pre-fabricated homes (£2m). 
  • Confidential (adjudication) - disputes arising out of an EPC contract involving questions of force majeure and liquidated damages.

Niraj's recent advisory work includes the following matters: 

  • Repudiation and the availability of liquidated damages in relation to a building renovation project
  • Property damage and building safety defects at properties in Wales and central London. 

International Arbitration

Niraj practises as counsel in international commercial and construction arbitration. He has experience with court-related arbitration applications including the challenge of awards under ss67-69 Arbitration Act 1996. Niraj's international practice has a focus on India and MENA (particularly the UAE and East Africa). 

Cases of note:

  • Confidential (ICC, London) - claims and counterclaims relating to the delayed construction of an industrial plant ($350m), on behalf of the contractor.
  • Confidential (ongoing) - arbitration claim relating to the setting aside of a Psak Din of the Beth Din.
  • Confidential (ICC, Paris) - arbitration proceedings between an East African government and a European contractor engaged in a road-building project. Claims for an extension of time and costs ($30m).
  • Confidential (AAA, New York) - claim by an Asian telecommunications provider against an African mobile telecommunications company under a master services agreement for the provisions of telecommunications software, hardware, and services ($3m).
  • Confidential (CIArb, London) - software licensing dispute between licensor and reseller (£1m).
  • Confidential (Hunt Arbitration Service, London) - franchising dispute relating to an online trading platform.
  • Confidential (LCIA, London) - claim by engineering consultancy firm for payment in debt or damages for breach of contract following the provision of design and planning services for a brewery.


Niraj accepts nominations for appointment as arbitrator in all commercial and construction arbitration proceedings. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. In recent years, he has spoken at the ICC Young Arbitrators Forum (YAF), India ADR Week, Dubai Arbitration Week, an event organised by the Society of Construction Law, and at universities and colleges. He has also produced and presented podcasts and webinars on current issues in arbitration.

Niraj has been appointed as arbitrator in more than 30 disputes within the past three years in areas as diverse as financial claims, consumer travel disputes, software/licensing and crypto claims, and disputes between leaseholders.


Niraj is ranked in The Legal 500 in Property and Real Estate Litigation:

  • "As far as barristers go, Niraj is one of the most approachable. He is measured, technically astute and very highly respected and regarded by his peers." The Legal 500 (2023)
  • “A highly intelligent and careful junior with strong specialist knowledge. Ultra-responsive though very busy. I would not hesitate to recommend him for any property related dispute.” The Legal 500 (2022)
  • “User-friendly and a strong team player.” The Legal 500 (2022)
  • “His attention to detail is superb and he has an ability to grasp difficult and detailed facts quickly. Ability to remain calm under pressure.” The Legal 500 (2021)
  • “Whilst always meticulously prepared, he is also extremely good on his feet.” The Legal 500 (2020)