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About



Thanks for stopping by!

Digging the Dirt is a mixture of news, comment and guides, mostly about things currently going on in property and environmental law which catch my eye. 

It's not a comprehensive legal update site, or a replacement for that nice lawyer you like to pay lots of money to – it’s more of a magazine, a bit random, definitely not to be relied upon (use your nice lawyer for that) but most importantly -  free! 

I do this largely for the fun of it, and because it helps me keep up to date, so you won't see any irritating adverts (or at least not until I get any decent offers!). 

Mostly I try and keep the posts brief; I reckon I've got you for about a minute, if I'm lucky.

I've been around property law for over 20 years, but I certainly don't think I've got all the answers - and if I've made any howlers, let me know (preferably in a nice way!).

I do this all by myself - I don't have legions of fact checkers - so like I say, don't rely on it for anything important (for more of this lawyer-like exclusion of responsibility, check the disclaimer at the foot of the page!).

It's a blog too, so the posts will go out of date pretty quickly - I don't have time to go back and update everything. You can check the date on the top of any post to see how old it is and use the labels cloud to find out if there's a more up to date one.

Why Digging the Dirt?

I worked for some years in the London office of an American law firm. I discovered whilst I worked there that in the US attorneys who specialise in “real estate” law are often called “dirt lawyers”, which amused me.

Digging the Dirt has in the past been mentioned in the UK Blawg Roundup #6 , UK Blawg Roundup #8 and UK Blawg Review #10.

It was even mentioned in the long ago (in blogging terms) days of 2011 by the Guardian, in its review of legal blogging – The Death of Blogging? Not for #Law Blogs.

An extract from one of my posts about squatters appeared in the London Evening Standard in 2012.

And in a more bizarre claim to fame, Digging the Dirt also appears in footnotes to Wikipedia entries about the 13th Century Italian jurist, Accursius and his Latin phrase cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos.


Being an obsessive photographer, I try to use photographs I've taken myself as much as possible on this blog to illustrate the posts (some of them fill space at the bottom of this page). You can view more of my photos on my flickr page (where I exist as Xmural) - have a look if you're interested.

Where I don't have a suitable photo of my own or if I'm short of inspiration, I use photos offered under the Creative Commons licence on flickr, attributing the photographer whenever I do so. Thanks to all who have made their photographs available in this way.


About me

I qualified as a solicitor in England & Wales in 1990 and have over 23 years experience in commercial property law and, more recently, environmental law and sustainability. 

For several years I was a partner in the London office of a regional firm and prior to that I worked as an associate in two large City firms. 

Based in London, I'm now a consultant at specialist property law firm Stepien Lake LLP.

You can find a brief summary of my background and professional experience by clicking on the “View my complete profile” tab opposite and by visiting my profile on LinkedIn.

I occasionally get requests but sorry, I'm unable to advise anyone individually on any specific matters or problems directly through this blog – please see the disclaimer at the foot of this page for more about that - and I don't respond to anonymous enquiries.

I've also been getting a lot of spam recently, so I've had to go back to vetting comments before they're published, which is a pity. I'll publish any comments though that aren't spam or abusive.

If you'd like to contact me to enquire whether I can help you in a professional capacity (I'd be delighted), you can use the form at the bottom of this page. 

You can follow me on twitter @JonDickins.