The combination of Crossrail, the Olympics and Wood Wharf means there is no shortage of dynamic property matters (and mandates) in the making. But while 2005 has seen exponential levels of activity across the commercial property market, this has contrasted with a decided lack of controversial technical issues – unusually for property lawyers.

The obvious exceptions are how the introduction of prescribed clauses will affect commercial property leases from 2006, and the impact that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 will have on the Land Registry following last month’s lifting of qualified exemptions.

The sector also eagerly awaits the Chancellor’s pronouncements in his pre-budget speech next month, when he is expected to reveal his plans for `seeding relief’ between Unit Trusts and Stamp Duty Land Tax.

This special report also weighs up the warning served to tenants by the judgments against Tesco and Homebase regarding underleases in breach of the headlease. Things are also heating up in the Middle East, as almost every firm scrambles to enter the Gulf region. Look out for our separate Middle East special report starting on page 34, which examines the drivers behind the unparalleled and exponential growth occurring in the Gulf region as a result of the booming projects, natural resources and power sectors.