Duncan M L Murphy Partner

Speaks:  English

Qualified: 1997 - Solicitor of England & Wales

Primary phone: +44 (0)121 393 0494

Fax: +44 (0)870 904 1099

Email: duncan.murphy@gowlingwlg.com

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Primary office:  Birmingham

Duncan M L Murphy

Duncan Murphy is a partner with 25 years' experience of working with some of the top PLC and private house-builders, leading registered providers and landowner clients. You can trust him to provide you with proactive advice that will give you a competitive advantage in your negotiations.

Duncan immerses himself personally in transactions where planning has been obtained (with varying degrees of conditionality being negotiated, price variations, overages, deferments), as well as providing strategic advice on matters ranging from short-form options to large equalised, multi-landowner, phased draw-down options – his longest to date being for 114 years!

Duncan enjoys unpicking problematic sites and negotiating solutions that meet the objectives of his clients. Having spent several years in a wider commercial development and investment role, he has in-depth, first-hand knowledge of the practicalities of the sector, which is particularly useful when advising on mixed use schemes.

Duncan's client partner role and extensive experience also enable him to advise clients on wider matters, from options through purchase to plot sales, and whether it involves HCA or other regulators.

What really interests him is the dynamism of the housing market, not least the substantial changes we've seen over the last 15 years.

The government has acknowledged that it needs to enable first-time buyers to afford to buy, but that they also need to keep mortgages and such funding sources efficient. This has started to unlock significant pent-up demand led by population growth and other socio-economic factors. All house-builders are working hard to deliver a supply of new houses to meet that growing demand. This combination of factors has led to some fascinating changes in a short space of time.

Duncan is very proud of the long-serving and experienced team he works with. They are able to handle the bigger transactions such as portfolio deals, bond issues and due diligence on other house-builders. They also have the resources to be able to grow in knowledge and provide expert customer care in these areas.

Having offices in London and Birmingham, and living in the Midlands, means Duncan is often anywhere in England and Wales. His priority is finding ways to save his clients time and money. He works flexibly with their needs in mind and is on hand to talk things through in person if needed.


Duncan has successfully negotiated a 2,500 unit purchase from four landowners. This complicated project included several phased payments, overages, underage's and a contemporaneous sale to another house-builder to assist cash flow for the client. This was a real challenge that demanded a lot of plate spinning, but we managed to complete it on time, to our client's immense satisfaction.

He also completed a large transaction during the same tough economic period, selling 146 units to a fund in four weeks, from start to exchange and completion, which also made for some very happy clients.

Duncan successfully worked on property agreements for the delivery of a new university campus in Northampton. This also conversely involved the redevelopment of the old campus for his house-builder clients. Deadlines were tight, with only two weeks to complete to avoid a CPO being confirmed against the client, but he did it!

He also managed a portfolio acquisition for a client from another house-builder and collaboration agreements between house-builders on two separate, large-scale schemes. If they are granted planning permission, these schemes will each deliver in excess of 4,000 new homes, which is an exciting prospect.

The importance of successfully delivering larger schemes is critical and Duncan is personally working on several schemes in excess of 2,000 units.


PLC and Private house-builders, registered providers and a few larger landowners. Arsenal Football Club.


  • Negotiating for PLC and private house-builder clients agreements to acquire or dispose of a significant number of plots each year. This includes major settlements (over 2,500 units), through to building licence deals and overages.
  • Author of the Gowling WLG precedents on overages, options and licence deals.
  • Working with Arsenal Football Club on all property aspects of its £400m redevelopment of Highbury, including international sales, bulk sales to funds and long term maintenance, ground rent and service charge structuring.
  • Advising landowners on resolutions for complicated title, covenant, overage and sale issues to enable successful deals on large transactions.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2019

    • Rankings & Awards
      Chambers (UK) 2020 - Real estate: West Midlands - Band 2
  • 2018

    • Rankings & Awards
      Chambers UK 2019 (Real Estate: Midlands) - Band 2
  • 2016

    • Career
      Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, partner
  • 2014

    • Career
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, partner
  • 2006

    • Career
      Wragge & Co, partner
  • 1997

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Qualified, Solicitor of England & Wales
    • Career
      Wragge & Co LLP
  • 1995

    • Career
  • 1991

    • Education
      University of Birmingham, LLB (Hons) Law and Business