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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?

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...

Ask the experts: managing people and health and safety matters during a pandemic

Human resource teams in higher education institutions continue to deal with the challenges brought about by coronavirus. In this on-demand video, our experts help you at this critical time to answer the questions that really matter to you.

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Legal updates

be connected newsletter for higher education - October 2020

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

The Electronic Communications Code – Is the tide turning in favour of landowners?

Mention telecoms masts to most estate teams and you will immediately see that they are not their favourite topic and recently negotiations have been made more difficult by virtue of the rights the telecoms providers have under the new Electronic Communications Code.

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Legal updates

Could your new Covid-19 related intellectual property (IP) be commandeered by the Crown?

Universities across the nation have been working valiantly to produce a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, otherwise known as Covid-19, in addition to working tirelessly on new testing options. It is easy in these times to forget that universities may still own valuable intellectual property (IP) created in these efforts.

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