Who? Rodger Burnett, director and founder of boutique litigation firm Charles Lyndon, London.
Why is he in the news? Represented Robin Waistell, who successfully sued Network Rail after Japanese knotweed got into the foundations of his home in Maesteg, south Wales.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Mr Waistell had hoped to sell his property and return to Spain to live. But he discovered over 600 square metres of knotweed on the railway embankment to the back of his bungalow, so no lender would lend against his property. This, in effect, meant he was unable to sell so he had no option other than to issue legal proceedings.
‘Network Rail constantly referred to this as its ‘test case’ and fought bitterly hard for four years. Hopefully, now it has lost, Network Rail will start to take its responsibilities to neighbours seriously and put in place effective treatment programmes so others do not have to suffer. Mr Waistell has effectively been a prisoner in his own home for the last four years. Now the knotweed will be effectively treated, his property will hopefully be restored to its full market value and he can get on with his life.’
Dealing with the media: ‘On the whole it has been a very positive, if time-consuming, experience; and it has helped place Charles Lyndon on the legal map. However, journalists obviously have their own objectives and, notwithstanding the fact that I tried to tailor soundbites to particular audiences, I have been misquoted on occasions to improve the appeal of the story to a particular newspaper’s readership.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘After five years in the army I became a lawyer to earn some reasonable money. However, I remain in the law to continue to grow my firm and to assist other lawyers to fulfil their potential.’
Career high: ‘Setting up my own law firm and helping other lawyers build their own practices – and helping a 70-year-old guy from Maesteg take on and defeat a corporate giant.’
Career low: ‘Getting the work/life balance so badly wrong and working late nights on many occasions at the start of my career as a solicitor.’