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Who Represents Who

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'One of the best regional firms in construction',¬†Birketts LLP's construction practice is ‚Äėvery commercial and is always prepared to offer options‚Äė.¬†Andrew Rush¬†in Ipswich leads the practice and is praised for his 'no-nonsense approach'; he recently handled a contentious matter for a well-known housebuilder arising from defects in a property. Leading light Ruth Sunaway¬†is 'a standout lawyer in construction - she manages to strike the right balance between attack and commercial sense'. In Cambridge, Stefan Harris-Wright¬†¬†and associate Rory Abel¬†¬†are ‚Äėvery responsive and easy to deal with; they take control of situations and are not afraid to take difficult decisions and have difficult conversations'. Harris-Wright advised¬†Inspired Impact House Limited on the construction of 235 apartments at a site in Croydon. Senior associates¬†Oli Worth¬†and Josh Ripman¬†¬†and associate Hanna McNab¬†¬†are 'on course for very successful careers', according to counsel. Construction dispute resolution executive¬†Dan Leno¬†is 'well-known, respected and continues to attract good work'.

The East Anglian offices of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP are home to key members of the firm's national construction team including Dominic Lacey in Ipswich. Lacey leads the firm's national transport practice and plays a key role in complex infrastructure projects on behalf of developers. He recently acted for the Government of Rwanda in an $800m project to develop a greenfield airport, which required a novel, two-stage FIDIC engineering, procurement and construction contract. He also assisted Legal & General Senior Living Limited with construction aspects of its £40m development of two senior living villages in Warwick and Cheshire. Principal associate Tom Douglas is an expert in complex drafting and infrastructure procurement for projects in the transport sector. He worked closely with Lacey on a project for Brunel University London, which involved framework agreements to cover all aspects of the client's construction and engineering work. For the same client, they handled the procurement of an architect for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art learning and teaching centre at the centre of its Uxbridge campus. Litigator and principal associate Catherine Andrews is recommended for contentious matters. Principal associate Patrick Cooney plays a key role in the firm's relationship with High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, which the practice supports in the development of UK rail infrastructure. Clients also recommend associate Lauren Topper.

Mills & Reeve LLP¬†is ‚Äėa very knowledgeable law firm that is very approachable and is always looking out for the client‚Äôs best interests'. ‚ÄėThe legal and industry knowledge and the manner in which the team provide advice and strategy for resolution cannot be faulted‚Äė. Litigator and practice head Stuart Thompson¬†¬†is ‚Äėvery committed to his clients‚Äė¬†and is ‚Äėable to quickly define the key elements of a dispute and is incisive when it comes to the negotiation of settlements or committing to litigation'. He assisted University of Cambridge on the¬†procurement of its new ¬£300m Cavendish III laboratory, which included the drafting of all construction contracts, consultant appointments and negotiations with contractors. He also advised Urban&Civic on several projects including the 5,000-home development at Alconbury Weald and the 6,200-home RadioStation Rugby project.¬†The deep bench of principal associates includes the¬†'extremely diligent' Alexandra Pike¬†¬†who is ‚Äėpassionate and works closely with clients to build strong relationships‚Äė, and whom clients praise for her ‚Äėstrong industry awareness and technical knowledge and her adaptable and flexible approach', Alison Garrett¬† who¬†is recommended for project management and contentious matters; and¬†Robert Weatherley¬†who frequently handles projects in the education, healthcare, commercial and retail sectors.¬†Consultant¬†Peter Rout¬†is also recommended.

Greenwoods GRM is known for 'fantastic response times from obvious experts in all aspects of construction, especially high-end matters, with useful and practical information at their fingertips, good client relationships and in-depth knowledge of the industry and law'. It provides 'a well-rounded and competitively priced value-added service to clients'. Howard Crossman, who has more than 25 years' experience in big-ticket construction matters and advises leading UK contractors, leads the practice and works between the London and Peterborough offices. He 'provides excellent attentive service both in disputes and non-contentious matters'. 'He beats everyone else hands down and is the man you want for construction disputes', remarks one client. Associate Katrina Bretten is also recommended. She recently advised motor dealer group Marshall of Cambridge on drafting, negotiating and implementing a suite of construction documents for new, multimillion-pound motor dealerships for key brands in Ipswich, Exeter, Greenham and Lincoln.

Hewitsons handles high-profile projects that encompass commercial, residential and infrastructure projects such as the Northstowe project in Cambridgeshire for the Homes & Communities Agency, which is now known as Homes England. This multimillion-pound project will see the creation of 10,000 new-build homes and will see Northstowe become the largest new town since the development of Milton Keynes. The work included drafting the NEC3 contract for a tender for the highways and infrastructure contractor for the development of Northstowe, and assisting with detailed and complex contract negotiations. The practice is now led from Milton Keynes by Tim Richards but the Cambridge office has experienced construction lawyers in managing partner Colin Jones and legal director Lorna Carter, who have worked together for more than 20 years. Carter led the Northstowe project. She also worked with Jones on behalf of the UK's largest family-owned business, Marshall Group Properties, on an £80m development project that will see the creation of 1,300 homes, a primary school, shopping centre, replacement petrol filling station, playing fields, allotments and open space infrastructure. Another key project for Carter was a £25m project for St Andrew’s Healthcare to expand its mental health facilities at a site in Birmingham.

Prettys Solicitors LLP in Ipswich has a relatively large construction team for its size, with highly experienced practice head Peter Blake handling contentious matters and senior associate Rebecca Palmer excelling in non-contentious work for large contractors. Clients remark on the 'always friendly and helpful' lawyers who deliver 'a prompt and informed service'. Associate Ian Seeley moved to Ellisons Solicitors, but the firm recruited solicitor Michael Booth to round out the practice. Among the firm's many highlights was Palmer's work for Suffolk-based architects firm Barefoot & Gilles on construction law issues including the drafting of bespoke documentation. Palmer assisted building contractor Quinn Construction Services with the drafting of bespoke terms and conditions for all future projects, and helped civil engineering companyA&F Pilbeam Construction Limited with a wide range of legal issues. Consultant Chris Harrall is also recommended.

Associate Sarah Duncan leads the practice at Ashtons Legal in Ipswich, which joins the ranking this year. Clients report that she is 'very knowledgeable and thorough in her advice'. She recently acted for a large UK real estate firm in a multimillion-pound project, which included a review of building contracts, consultant’s appointments and warranties. Duncan and commercial property partner Ron Clare have 'a good level of knowledge and competence, and are assertive when required'.

The construction practice at Buckles Solicitors LLP is led from Nottingham by James Coppinger, who also spends time in the London and Peterborough offices. Coppinger is on the Technology and Construction Solicitors’ Association (TeCSA) accredited adjudication panel and has been appointed as adjudicator on a number of disputes. In the Peterborough office, experienced litigator James Maxey plays a key role in contentious construction matters. Coppinger handled construction due diligence for a multimillion-pound financing facility provided by a major lender. With Maxey, he recently acted in a multimillion-pound adjudication arising from non-payment and final account valuation matters arising from a major rail development. The firm's diverse client base includes housebuilders Hill Partnerships Limited and Longhurst Group Limited, Hertfordshire-based property developer Taylor French Developments Limited, retirement property developer Keystone Developments Limited, and North Hertfordshire Homes Limited.

JG Poole & Co. LLP is a specialist higher education firm that focuses mainly on student accommodation projects. Senior partner Jason Poole recently added significant construction expertise to the practice with the hire of Katherine Souter from Mills & Reeve LLP, who specialises in construction, public procurement and state aid. At her previous firm she worked on a £50m project in East Anglia for the construction of a new university science teaching building, and handled a £47m project to create a new care campus in Stanmore. She is currently working on a major refurbishment project in central London for a building that will include office and restaurant space.

At Rogers and Norton 'responses are always timely, with succinct answers that get to the heart of the matter being considered without waffle'. Vastly experienced litigator Peter Hastings provides 'prompt service at a reasonable cost' and construction disputes account for a significant proportion of his broader litigation practice. He recently acted for a construction consultant in a £3m claim for alleged breach of contract and duty; he advised a similar client on a £1.1m claim for alleged breach of contract and duty in relation to design issues and contract management; and represented a contractor in a £2m claim for unpaid monies following the substantial conversion of a property in London. Other highlights included assisting a contractor with matters arising from the construction of a doctors' surgery, and advising a construction industry professional on a consultancy contract for a £6.5m project.

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Legal Developments in East Anglia for Construction

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer ‚Ä©

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.‚Ä©
    - Falcon Chambers

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