Nicholas Roberts, Legal Adviser

Nick Roberts’ input to the FPRA has been enormous since he first began to work for the association in 1999, and his commitment much appreciated. From about the age of 11 he knew that he wanted to be a lawyer, possibly because he had an older cousin who was one. He read Law at Downing College Cambridge, studied for his Law Society exams at Guildford, and was then a trainee with a firm of solicitors in the Isle of Wight. He worked for the same firm for a few years after qualifying, and then moved across the water to Southampton, where he set up his own practice.

After several years he felt he needed a change of direction, and so whilst in practice he studied part-time for an LL.M. at Southampton University. This led to some part-time teaching of Law, which he enjoyed, and he decided he needed to think about a change of direction. For a couple of busy years his portfolio career included:

– part-time legal practice as a solicitor

– working for FPRA for one day per week at the former office near Old Street

– teaching at Southampton University

– teaching for the Open University; and

– studying for a part-time PhD.

He then decided to concentrate on teaching, and in 2001 was appointed as a full-time lecturer in property law at Oxford Brookes University. He continued to act as a legal adviser for FPRA on a part-time basis from home.

In 2008 he eventually completed his PhD at Southampton University. His research and dissertation compared Commonhold tenure with the position where flats are owned leasehold, with the freehold owned by a Residents’ Management Company. He contributed to a loose-leaf practitioners’ work on commonhold which was published in 2004. The lack of take-up of commonhold meant that it was not updated after 2006.

In 2009 he left Brookes and took up a post as Principal Teaching Fellow (later Associate Professor) in the Law School at the University of Reading. His students there included not only undergraduates in the Law School but also those in Real Estate (Property Law), and the Henley Business School (Company Law). One of his roles at Reading was to make opportunities for law students to engage in “pro bono work”; giving voluntary legal advice in the local community. He also wrote articles on Property property Law for legal journals, and prepared the bulletins – updates on recent cases – for two legal reference works.

In 2018 he took leave of absence from the University of Reading and worked for two years as a lawyer with the Law Commission. Whilst there he was part of the team working on leasehold reform, engaged mainly on the consultation and report on the reinvigoration of commonhold. He retired from full-time work in 2020, but continues to undertake part-time work for FPRA.

He lives in Reading. He is a keen member of two choral societies there, and since retirement he has taken on the roles of Treasurer to one, and independent financial examiner to the other! He is a keen concert-goer, and likes visiting National Trust properties, and other houses and gardens.