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property and estates in higher education

Higher education building

Your estate plays a vital role in the identity of your university and the ability to utilise the space to deliver efficiencies, whilst ensuring the best possible ‘destination experience’ for students, staff, business and the wider community is critical.

We have a dedicated education-focused real estate team that combines technical excellence with a deep understanding of the challenges facing real estate teams in higher education institutes (HEIs) borne out of our experience of working with our clients.

What we offer

  • Expert advice on all aspects of estate management including acquisition and disposals of freehold and leasehold land, renewal leases, rent reviews, breaks and dilapidations support on major projects relating to the redevelopment and regeneration of your estate, joint ventures, financing and strategic planning to help optimise investment and income generation.
  • Exclusive access to our in-house, interactive property portfolio manager system, allowing 24-hour access to all your property portfolio documents along with automated reminders of key dates such as rent reviews, break clauses or lease termination dates.
  • Specialist advice including funding and project finance, construction, corporate and commercial, environmental law, housing, planning and compulsory purchase orders, procurement, state aid, sustainability and energy efficiency and tax.
  • Dispute resolution experts to help you identify risk and manage all your disputes, adopting a practical solutions-based approach from lease renewals and tenant default issues to high value and complex claims.

Why choose Browne Jacobson?

As an approved Business Partner of the Association of University Directors of Estates, our dedicated education real estate team have first-hand, in-house experience working in HEIs and are well placed to advise you on how to make the most of your estate. For more information on how we can help your institution please contact Dominic Swift.

recent experience

  • Advised on the setting up and development of BioCity in Nottingham, one of the most successful spin out operations in the UK.

  • Acted for University College Birmingham in the acquisition of a major city centre site for the development of new facilities.

  • Acted for a London-based university in connection with the preparation of suites of documents for their works programmes, including Joint Contracts Tribunal and New Engineering Contract ‘3’ forms and bespoke appointments and framework agreements.

  • Acted for the University of Leicester on their district heating scheme dealing with the commercial agreements and the property and construction aspects of the scheme.

  • Advised an HEI on disposal of a major city centre site including complex issues surrounding the rights of tenants.

  • Acted for a university to bring a successful arbitration against a main contractor for negligence and breach of contract in the design and construction of student accommodation.

what the directories say...



Outstanding real estate practice with significant development expertise, acting for a broad range of clients. Particularly adept at handling matters in the education and public sectors.

Chambers 2020


Its market-leading reputation is underlined by its breadth of expertise.

Legal 500 2020

what our clients say....



They are professional, knowledgeable and always give their view when presenting information. They set it out in a way that allows you to make a quick decision.

focus on...

Legal updates

be connected newsletter for higher education - January 2021

In this edition we provide you with the latest in legal updates, news and insight from the higher education sector.

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Legal updates

Higher education digital transformation

The last 12 months have seen radical changes in how universities deliver learning to students, this online revolution has sadly been forced upon us by a pandemic, but many universities were already on this digital journey.

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Legal updates

What happens after a death by suicide?

Student suicide is a major factor with nearly one in four young people experiencing suicidal feelings at least once in their lives and one in 20 trying to take their own life. Although great efforts have been made by the higher education (HE) sector to tackle mental health issues for young people and identify outward signs of distress, the statistics are still troubling.

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Legal updates

The new procurement regime

The Cabinet Office published its much-anticipated Green Paper on 15 December 2020. The proposals are out to consultation until 10 March 2021, We have been running a series of webinars and working groups, looking at the proposals in more detail and how different groups are affected.

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