Nicholas Roberts, Legal Adviser

Nick Roberts’ input to the FPRA has been enormous 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 in 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. He says that he welcomes the insight this gives him into the real life problems suffered by leaseholders, and it is good to be able to draw on this in teaching. He mainly answers members’ questions, but sometimes prepares submissions on FPRA’s behalf for government consultations.

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.

In 2009 he left Brookes and took up a post as Principal Teaching Fellow in the Law School at the University of Reading. His students there include 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 is to make opportunities for law students to engage in “pro bono work”; giving voluntary legal advice in the local community. He also writes articles on Property Law for legal journals, and contributes on Commonhold to two legal reference works.

He still lives in Southampton, and work and commuting do not leave much time for hobbies. He and his partner of 27 years do, however, like to spend time with friends, going to concerts and the cinema, and occasionally to the opera. On summer weekends they often visit National Trust properties and other houses and gardens.