09 January 2024

A welcome message from new PLA Chair, Mark Reading

A welcome message from new PLA Chair, Mark Reading

I began in post as the new Chair of the PLA at the end of November and as we begin 2024, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself and share some exciting plans the PLA has in store for the coming year. 
Before I do so, I would first like to show my sincere appreciation for our outgoing Chair, Maples Teesdale’s Dellah Gilbert. Dellah is an incredible leader who has shown a deep commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – both for the PLA and within her own firm. It has been a pleasure working alongside Dellah and over the coming year I look forward to progressing all the positive and much-needed initiatives she has instigated.

One area the PLA will be taking forward with aplomb this year is the potential reform of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. The Law Commission is expected to publish a consultation imminently, to which the PLA will formally respond, informed by the detailed insights you provided us with in our last survey on the topic.
I am committed – as I am sure you all are too – to ensuring that property legislation works and is effective for everyone. As a professional community of over 1,600 members, the PLA is in an unparalleled position to represent a broad diversity of views and I look forward to ensuring your voices are heard. 
I would love to hear your views on the key trends, issues and challenges facing the property litigation industry in 2024, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any comments or questions. My door remains open to all members and the work of the PLA is strengthened and enriched by your insights: constructive feedback is very much welcomed!
I am also thrilled that the beginning of my term as Chair coincides with the launch of the PLA’s EDI Committee. As an openly gay man who was the first in their family to go to university, I know how important visibility and role models can be. 
The Committee will be Chaired by Chhavie Kapoor of Mishcon de Reya, who I know will do an excellent job in helping the association become more representative of our members’ firms as well as the wider communities we serve. Chhavie is absolutely the right person for the job, bringing a wealth of experience with her and she has the full backing of the Executive in implementing her mandate to place EDI at the heart of the PLA’s activities.

I also have an excellent vice-chair in Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Partner, Rebecca Campbell, whose views and values around making the property industry more progressive and inclusive very much align with my own.

The PLA's Executive Committee is committed to re-energising in-person events this year to ensure that the collegiate, collaborative spirit of the association continues to develop and thrive – so keep an eye on our events page for some interesting things to get involved with. 

January can be a particular time for stress and issues relating to mental health, so I also encourage you to take a look at our member Wellbeing resources and keep an eye out for more of our popular Wellbeing Speed Mentoring events over the coming year.

I’ll conclude with a brief introduction to help you get to know me a bit better: having trained and practised at Nabarro, I’ve subsequently spent more than a decade coming through the ranks at Mishcon, where I’m now a Partner in the firm's Real Estate Dispute Resolution group and practise in all areas of commercial and residential property law. 
Passionate about creating an inclusive legal framework that works for everyone, I’ve been involved in the PLA’s work for about ten years, having co-founded and Chaired the Junior PLA, and been a member of the Executive and Marketing Committees, where I oversaw a complete overhaul and rebrand of the PLA website.

My deep-rooted history with the PLA means I’m coming to the role of Chair with a complete 360-degree overview as to how the association has worked over the past 10 years: where real progress has already been made and the areas where further effort and reflection are still required.

I am proud to be your Chair and it is a role I take very seriously: the Association has offered me a great deal over the years and I am committed to paying this forward to our current and future members.

I look forward to working alongside you during what I hope will be a productive, progressive and exciting year ahead.

Mark Reading
Chair of the PLA