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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in North West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Simon Ellis heads the excellent team at Aaron & Partners LLP, which includes David Harries, who has extensive experience advising on rural diversification schemes, with an emphasis on renewable energy schemes; and Richard Forrester, who regularly advises landlords and tenants on all aspects of the Agricultural Holdings Act. The practice routinely acts for a range of landlords and tenants on the grant of farm business tenancies and acts for landowners on the development of agricultural land. In addition, the private client team is well placed to assist farmers and rural landowners with inheritance tax and other financial planning issues. Key clients include DΕ΅r Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water), John Holford Charity, Chester Diocesan Board of Finance and Denbighshire County Council.

Brabners LLP fields a β€˜very competent team that provides excellent levels of service and always tries to find the best solution for clients’. The firm’s sizeable team is headed by Rupert Jackson, who has β€˜excellent all-round knowledge, which he provides in a pragmatic way’. He is ably assisted by Charles Hansford, who advises on all aspects of agricultural law and the management of landed estates, with an emphasis in mines, minerals and third party rights. The group has a wealth of experience in land management and landed estates and acts for individuals, trusts and corporations. Highlights included advising on the purchase of a fully functioning 2,000-acre agricultural estate that included a main house and a let farm that had the potential for office development.

Hibberts LLP has an β€˜extremely knowledgeable team that provides an excellent service and has a very good reputation in this area’. Edward Nutting heads the department and has β€˜a fantastic following’. He is adept at advising on various issues surrounding business structures for farming businesses in addition to estate and succession planning. He also has a particular focus on the creation of trusts to protect assets as well as land law issues relating to sports and manorial rights. He is also skilled at handling the many other issues that affect farmers such as drainage, the sale of minerals and advice on mortgaging the land. Consultant David Young is in the β€˜premier league of agricultural lawyers’ and is particularly strong on partnerships, trusts and tax planning. The team regularly advises on a number of significant dairy/mixed farm sales and purchases with vacant possessions and sitting tenants, in addition to other issues such as rent reviews, grazing agreements, wayleaves and above-ground installations. The team is well equipped to handle the full array of agricultural matters and also routinely advises on issues surrounding the Common Agricultural Policy and single farm payments.

Amanda Freeman heads the team at Myerson Solicitors LLP and is known for her β€˜great manner with clients and for communicating very well and clearly’. She is vastly experienced at advising on succession and estate planning matters such as agricultural property relief and business property relief. Other key figures within the team include the β€˜very pragmatic and experienced’ Jane Tenquist, who handles matrimonial issues for farming families. The practice acts for farming partnerships, families and individuals on a wide range of agricultural issues, and has been advising landlord and tenants on complex issues under the Agricultural Holdings Act. Actin in conjunction with specialist surveyors, the team has been heavily involved in advising on the various matters that are arising from the impact of the proposed HS2 on its agricultural clients.

The rural team at Napthens LLP advises on the full spectrum of personal and commercial issues with Andrew Holden at the helm. Holden specialises in land and agricultural property transactions, including agricultural tenancies and sales by auction and tender. He regularly handles sales, purchases and re-mortgages of land of all values, and is known for his work on numerous renewable energy projects for developers and landowners.

Butcher & Barlow LLP’s practice is headed by Mike Bracegirdle and includes the β€˜excellent’ Jonathan Aldersley, who has particular expertise in company formations/shareholders agreements for farmers. The team has built up a reputation for its work advising landowners on the sale of agricultural land for residential development in Cheshire East and has a specialist team that deals with the full spectrum of agricultural matters, from farm and estate succession planning to rights agreements relating to mineral extraction. The group is also adept at advising on other issues that affect agricultural property, such as restrictive covenants and clawbacks.

JWK Solicitors advises on a broad range of agricultural issues, from farm tenancies and grazing licences to environmental and welfare issues. The team is well equipped to handle complex and high-value matters, often with a cross-border dimension; recent work includes acting for a client on the probate of a landed estate which was complicated by the fact that there was a discretionary trust. Anthony Collinson is recommended

SAS Daniels LLP has six experienced partners in the team, including Helen Gowin and James Goddard. In addition to property, commercial, litigation and private client advice, the team is also able to handle construction, food law and all aspects of relevant laws and legislation affecting farmers. The skilled team routinely advises on surrendering tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act, easements for landowners and on agricultural tenancies. Another niche area of expertise lies in advising on renewable energy schemes between landowners and developers.

Slater and Gordon’s team acts for large landed estates in the sale and purchase of farm businesses and associated land and buildings. It is also skilled at advising on agricultural tenancy agreements. The group frequently acts for landowners in energy and utility transactions (including wind farms, telecommunications leases and utility easements). Paul Makinson and Stephen Lunt are recommended.


Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Charities and not-for-profit clients in North West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Brabners LLP’s β€˜extremely responsive team is known for its terrific grasp of charity law and its knowledge of how the Commission and other relevant third parties operate; it is undoubtedly the best firm around for charity and not-for profits work’. The β€˜calm, highly responsive and personable’ Stephen Claus heads the team and has considerable niche expertise in ecclesiastical law; he is β€˜a leading charity lawyer in Liverpool if not the region’. Associate Graeme Hughes is also singled out for considerable praise and brings a β€˜wealth of knowledge to each matter coupled with his sound and measured advice’. The β€˜very professional’ Angela Clearkin advises on property related matters and β€˜works very hard for clients often in very demanding circumstances and tight timeframes’. The β€˜patient and very organised team’ advises clients such as the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation on all of its charity law matters and is currently advising the trustees of the Petty Pool Trust on its incorporation as a charitable company limited by guarantee. In addition it continues to advise the North West Air Ambulance on various matters including a constitutional review of its Articles of Association and its involvement in agreements with commercial organisations. In yet another highlight it provided advice to the trustees of the Wayne Rooney Foundation on all its arrangements relating to Wayne Rooney’s testimonial game and other events.

DWF advises on complex charity law issues including governance and constitutional matters. It also advises charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations on a broad range of issues such as state aid, employment and assistance when its clients need to resort to court. Chris Gee and Chris King are both specialist litigators who advise its charity clients on various matters. Key clients include Future Directions CIC, Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Pharmacist Support and Manchester Grammar School. Highlights included advising Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services on several constitutional matters and other issues such as its use of investment funds.

The β€˜efficient team’ at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP provides β€˜first-class advice’. Under the leadership of the β€˜excellent’ Graham Wood the team advises on all aspects of charities and not-for-profits matters, including issues as diverse as the establishment of new charitable trusts, companies and other entities, charity governance and constitutional issues in addition to contested legacies and gift aid advice. Wood also acts for leading sports personalities in establishing charities. Highlights included advising the Stoller Charitable Trust on a substantial donation to the Robert Parfett Building at Maggie’s Cancer Centre. The team also continues to act for DanceSyndrome which is a charity that is aimed at establishing the learning disabled to lead and participate in dance classes.

Pannone Corporate LLP operates a cross-departmental charities and not-for profits unit that provides advice on a wide variety of issues to a large number of charitable and other social enterprise clients. Steven Grant is a key contact. Gareth Birch regularly acts for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Blackpool and North Lancashire branch. He deals with issues such as the acquisition and disposal of retail units and also dealt with the sale of a development site held by the RSPCA nationally which necessitated the rectification of several serious title issues. Other major clients include Anxiety UK, Helicopter Emergency Services Equipment CIO and Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust.

Key figures at Addleshaw Goddard include Yorke Eaton, who has a wide range of experience advising charities on a host of issues including the establishment and registration of new entities, governance and trustee issues in addition to charity land transactions and restructuring issues. Yorke also regularly advises entrepreneurs on the establishment of private charitable trusts. The department also has a track record advising on Charity Commission investigations and inquiries and recently defended a number of 1975 Act claims made against charities in their capacity as residuary beneficiaries of estates. Named clients include National Coal Mining Museum and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Michael Young heads the department at Hibberts LLP, which specialises in complex charity and unregistered conveyancing matters.

Hill Dickinson LLP advises large, medium and small charities, not for profit organisations and social enterprises on a wide range of constitutional, governance, group structuring, fundraising, trading and compliance issues. Mark Fitzgibbon has a strong profile in the North West third sector community and Sean Williams advises private clients on tax efficient philanthropy (such as the creation and administration of private charitable trusts). Williams also advises established charities on governance and compliance matters. Significant clients include Big Life Group, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, People’s Trust (Greece), Amnesty (UK) Group and BHA for Equality (formerly known as BHA).

Mills & Reeve LLP provides β€˜comprehensive advice and is professional and knowledgeable’. Paul Knight heads the charities side of the cross-disciplinary team in Manchester. For construction-related matters, Catherine Kay is β€˜quick at responding’. It is the British Council’s sole English law advisers. In 2016 it advised Nesta on numerous matters such as the FinTech challenge prize contract. The team drafted and negotiated the agreement setting out the terms on which eight banks agreed to support the Fintech challenge prize process – the scheme was administrated by Nesta. Other key clients include the Royal Northern College of Music and the Higher Education Academy.


Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Simon Morris - Brabners LLP
    • Jonny Scholes - Pannone Corporate LLP

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in North West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Mills & Reeve LLP is a β€˜strong firm that has a high profile in the region and regularly attracts a steady flow of good-quality instructions’. Key figures include the β€˜careful, authoritative and intelligent’ Simon Pedley, who has β€˜plenty of experience and a great legal brain’. It is a national firm with a strong private client offering and a specialist contentious trust and probate team that regularly acts for high net-worth-individuals. The team deals with disputes concerning the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act and related claims over lifetime transactions. In addition it acts for a number of charities involved in contested legacy matters. Simon Pedley led the advice to the main beneficiary of the penultimate will of the late Eva Burns in proceedings against his brother, the beneficiary under the last will, concerning the deceased’s alleged lack of capacity when she made her will. The case was the first time in many years that the Court of Appeal looked at both testamentary capacity/ want of knowledge and approval in the same case. The team is also skilled at handling trust disputes both for onshore and offshore individuals and institutions.

Pannone Corporate LLP has a β€˜strong reputation in the market; it provides an excellent service and has a very responsive team that handles high-value and complex work’. Nicola Marchant heads the team and is known for her β€˜strong client skills and clear advice; she quickly establishes an excellent rapport with clients and combines a good academic knowledge with a very personable manner’. Clients also appreciate her STEP accreditation. Senior associate Jonny Scholes is β€˜extremely knowledgeable’ and has developed a broad range of experience in acting in disputes for executors, beneficiaries and trustees. The team continues to handle high-value estates/trusts matters for clients nationally and for clients based abroad. It has been busy wuth Inheritance Act claims and has an increasing focus on capacity claims both in the context of will drafting and life time gifts.

At Addleshaw GoddardYorke Eaton specialises in dealing with complex trust issues and advises trustees on their duties and liabilities, in particular where business assets are involved. He has extensive contentious trusts and estates experience and routinely acts in high-value and complex disputes concerning family trusts and landed estates. The practice also leverages expertise of other departments, including its professional negligence, partnership and civil fraud units; as a result it is well placed to handle cross-border trust litigation. It also has a growing practice acting for charities in the defence of substantial claims under the 1975 Act. Highlights included defending the son of the deceased in one of the largest 1975 Act claims ever to go to trial, which involved an estate valued at approximately Β£10m.

Senior associate Simon Morris at Brabners LLP is β€˜a first-class lawyer who has a very sound grasp of very complex and convoluted facts, together with a good knowledge of the law’. Morris has been acting for executors in contested claims in excess of Β£5m against an estate, and has been advising the executors in relation to various breaches of contract, misrepresentation, constructive trust and promissory estoppel issues against the estate. The β€˜very professional and efficient’ Paul Lunt has been advising the executors in relation to competing inheritance act claims where the property is jointly owned between a co-habiting partner of the deceased and the minor dependent against the beneficial interest claims of the estate.

The β€˜extremely helpful’ Chris Gee and associate Daniel Williams are both singled out for praise at DWF as having a β€˜very good grasp of the law and are very good at providing support to clients’. The team provides a β€˜good all-round service’ that covers complex litigation and mediation relating to wills, probate, powers of attorney and Inheritance Act cases. In addition it is skilled at advising professional trustees and trust companies on the administration of trusts and on fraud cases involving trusts. Chris King is also recommended. The group continues to act for a Jersey trust in relation to a Β£10m professional negligence claim.

Mark Deverell and Christine Thornley are the key contacts at Gorvins Solicitors. The strong private client practice, which regularly works with its litigation, corporate and commercial teams, advises on issues surrounding fraudulent will cases, invalid wills where there are issues of mental capacity at the time of writing the will, problems with executors and trustees, as well as on issues affecting the property and assets of the estate where these assets had been given away before death. Senior associate Michael Smoult is another key figure.

The β€˜vastly experienced and pragmatic’ Andrew Weinberg heads the team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP, which β€˜demonstrates a high level of skill and competency’. Other recommended individuals in the team include the β€˜very knowledgeable’ Graham Wood and Cyril Rose. Rose routinely advises clients requiring assistance in the preparation of Halachic wills and has handled disputed wills and estates matters in addition to 1975 Act claims. Clients of the practice are predominantly owner-managed businesses and their owners, family businesses and very high-net-worth individuals.

Helen Thompson leads the β€˜knowledgeable and experienced’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP, which includes Adam Maher, who has been acting for family members wishing to contest wills under the Inheritance Act or for reasons of capacity or undue influence. The β€˜responsive, effective and pragmatic’ Ben Wilson is also recommended. In a complex matter the team advised on a claim by beneficiaries against a firm of solicitors concerning the negligent drafting of wills. The combined value of the estates is in excess of Β£1.7m.

Shoosmiths LLP recently recruited the β€˜first-class’ Adam Draper from the Sheffield office of Irwin Mitchell; he is rated for his β€˜good practical judgement and tactical awareness, and is excellent at handling clients in highly emotional situations’. The team is currently acting for the claimants in a claim concerning the interpretation/rectification of a will, which involved a professional negligence claim against the firm of solicitors that drafted the will.

Slater Heelis LLP has a β€˜well-established’ team under the leadership of Helen Brown, who is an β€˜experienced and tough litigator with excellent client-care skills’. The practice mainly advises high-net-worth individuals, executors and trustees on matters such as invalid wills, undue influence and promissory/proprietary estoppel. It also advises on complex trusts, insolvent estates and the removal of trustees.

Aaron & Partners LLP provides β€˜thorough advice’. The well-regarded Clive Pointon heads the team, which includes the β€˜very able’ James Wallace, who has been promoted to partner.


Family

Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Family clients in North West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

The β€˜very knowledgeable and pragmatic’ Helen Marriott heads the β€˜excellent team’ at Brabners LLP. Marriott is β€˜very intelligent and really understands accounting issues; she is unfazed by the most complex matters and does not waste time and money on irrelevant issues’. As an arbitrator she adopts a β€˜very balanced approach to all matters and has a wonderful ability to cut to the chase’. She is experienced in Schedule 1 Children Act cases involving the settlement of property, school fees and maintenance, and is skilled at advising on private children matters including international relocation cases in the High Court. Joanne Radcliff, who is a collaborative law practitioner, is a β€˜very safe pair of hands and does not get bogged down in detail; she can see the wood from the trees’. The β€˜very careful and considerate’ Katherine Livesey is also recommended. Family clients include business owners, sports and media personalities, lottery winners, land and estate owners, and beneficiaries of trusts. Other areas of expertise include acting for parents in private law children matters where there are complicated issues of alcohol/drug addiction, allegations of abuse or where a change of residence is required.

DWF attracts praise for its β€˜strength in depth, which enables it to manage and produce good results in cases at all levels’. The β€˜amazing’ David Pickering is β€˜hugely experienced and commercial’ and Elspeth Kinder is an β€˜outstanding lawyer who quickly grasps all aspects of the case and offers clear advice’. Beverley Jones has β€˜great intuition and inspires loyalty and hard work from her team’. Senior solicitor Richard Rigg’s β€˜preparation is thorough and exhaustive; he is determined to get the best result for his clients’ and β€˜meticulous’ director Gareth Curtis β€˜handles his clients very well’. The team advises on all aspects of separation and divorce, and is adept at handling complex financial proceedings where there are substantial onshore and offshore assets. It is also recommended for its work on complex children matters such as residence and contact, and is also well equipped to advise and represent grandparents. The group is regularly instructed by high-net-worth individuals to preserve their wealth through pre-and-post-nuptial agreements. The practice acts for a significant number of very wealthy clients with assets of up to Β£600m and beyond.

Irwin Mitchell has a β€˜modern outlook and is very professional; it has good-quality partners and associates and a real team spirit permeates the department from the top down’. The leading light is the β€˜immensely hardworking’ Ros Bever who is in a β€˜league of her own; she is a real class act and her advice and business acumen are always spot on’. Bever is a resolution-accredited specialist who is experienced in complex financial and children matters with a focus on ultra-high-net-worth individuals in addition to pre-and-post-nuptial agreements often involving international assets. Nathaniel Groarke is also singled out for considerable praise; he is β€˜extremely conscientious, supportive of his clients and has impeccable judgement’. He has extensive experience of cases involving assets held in overseas trusts and international pre-nuptial agreements in addition to complex private children work often with an international component. Jenna Lucas is also an β€˜excellent associate’.

JMW Solicitors LLP continues to be β€˜at the top of its game’. The β€˜personable’ Michael Chapman is the new head of department; he joined from Ward Hadaway and is β€˜very commercial, with a strong reputation in the market’. Cara Nuttal joined from Slater and Gordon and receives praise for her β€˜real eye for detail and a real passion for her clients’ case, striving to always achieve the best results possible’. Nuttall is β€˜everything that a demanding private law client requires: intelligent, experienced and completely committed’. Senior associate Holly Tootill is β€˜knowledgeable, approachable and has excellent people skills’. The team is particularly strong on matrimonial finance cases, Schedule 1 claims and on pre-and-post-nuptial agreements. It regularly acts for high-profile business owners, entrepreneurs, property developers, footballers, legal professionals and sports stars. Beth Wilkins joined Hall Brown Family Law.

Mills & Reeve LLP is a β€˜remarkable practice that is grasping the changes across the family market and has ensured that its practice offers what the clients wants and needs’. Alison Bull is singled out as being β€˜just superb at diffusing conflicts; she is very astute and technically brilliant and is a top-drawer family lawyer and mediator with an excellent manner with clients’. Also recommended are the β€˜very efficient’ Nigel Shepherd and senior associate Rose-Marie Drury, and principal associate Andrew Moore, who is a collaborative lawyer who β€˜works very hard for his clients’. The Manchester team has three mediators, five collaborative lawyers and one arbitrator and advises on the full spectrum of family law issues. It is best known for acting for high-net-worth clients from a wide range of backgrounds, often on matters where there are substantial assets in other jurisdictions. Its children law practice continues to grow and it has been advising on cases involving surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology.

Slater and Gordon has a β€˜very well-organised team with many approachable and friendly lawyers and staff’. The β€˜phenomenal’ Amanda McAlister heads the team, which includes the β€˜calm and intelligent’ Sarah Thompson, who is adept at handling financial remedy cases, and Georgina Chase, who is recommended for financial settlements. The β€˜knowledgeable and pragmatic’ Vicki McLynn β€˜cuts to the chase on childcare cases’ and Nick Hodson is β€˜very strong on care matters’. Paul Webb is a β€˜very thorough lawyer whose gentle yet firm approach puts even the most difficult and demanding clients at ease’. Fiona Wood is praised for her knowledge and ability to β€˜achieve the best outcome for her clients; she is a high-quality litigator and an effective negotiator’ on financial remedy cases. Chester-based Roland Humphreys β€˜brings a completely reassuring manner and in-depth preparation to each and every case; he has the ability to negotiate the high emotions engaged in family work and to drill down to the core issues’. The team has a particular specialism in children law and acts for ultra-high-net-worth individuals such as professional sports people, entertainers and their spouses, as well as a number of union members. Andrew Newbury is now at Hall Brown Family Law.

Weightmans LLP fields a β€˜technically very strong, very professional and sensible team that fights hard for its clients while also being very collegiate and supportive’. Carole Atkinson is β€˜the consummate family lawyer, with superb experience and an unrelenting eye for any weaknesses in the opponent’s arguments’. Fiona Davidson is a β€˜first-class solicitor who attracts high-value financial remedy work; her preparation for each case is second to none’. Emma Collins has a β€˜very wide range of experience that enables her to deliver practical advice’ and the β€˜extremely thorough, sensible and knowledgeable’ Fiona Turner is also recommended, as is associate Rachel Lim, who is praised for her β€˜confidence, clarity and professionalism’. Solicitor Matthew Taylor is praised for his β€˜sensible approach’. The β€˜excellent’ team acts for high-net-worth individuals regionally and nationally and has also been attracting a steady flow of international work, with an emphasis on pre-and-post-nuptial agreements, the treatment of inherited wealth and in onshore and an offshore trusts. Other key areas of focus for the practice include advising on cohabitation issues.

The β€˜outstanding’ Richard Barge heads the department at Aaron & Partners LLP. Barge is praised for his β€˜exceptional knowledge’ and has a particular expertise in advising on pre-and-post-nuptial agreements. He acts almost exclusively for business owners/shareholders or their spouses, and is experienced at handling cases where the assets and wealth are held offshore, within trusts or within complex pensions schemes or company structures. He is also skilled at dealing with cases involving farming/agricultural issues. Lorraine Saunders advises on all aspects of matrimonial and family law issues including medium-to-high-net-worth financial cases, divorce, children issues, cohabitation disputes and pre-nuptial agreements.

The large team at Farleys Solicitors LLP is praised for its β€˜very good advice and clear and fast communication’. Antonia Love is β€˜really caring, commercially minded, pragmatic and excellent at putting herself in her clients’ shoes’. Love is experienced at advising on financial remedies after divorce and regularly represents high-net-worth individuals, footballers and business owners. Tony Rebello is described as being β€˜very knowledgeable in both public and private children’s law matters’. The skilled team advises on all aspects of family and relationship breakdowns such as domestic abuse and forced marriages, with particular expertise in children matters including complex Schedule 1 Children Act applications. The group acts for clients on a privately funded basis in addition to acting in public law matters and supporting vulnerable members of society through legal aid.

Hall Brown Family Law is β€˜already making big waves in the legal community in Manchester and is the firm to watch for the future’. The firm fields a team of β€˜first-class lawyers who are approachable and truly excellent for high-value matrimonial finance cases’; according to some, it is β€˜among the best for matrimonial finance outside of London’. The β€˜very reassuring’ Sam Hall β€˜makes clients feel very comfortable and is clearly very knowledgeable with heaps of experience’. Other key figures include James Brown, Andrew Newbury, who is β€˜well known locally and nationally and is immensely experienced’, and Beth Wilkins, who joined from JMW Solicitors LLP and has β€˜an unparalleled level of knowledge and expertise in matrimonial finance’. It is currently representing Stacy Giggs the wife of Ryan Giggs in the high-profile divorce and related financial proceedings. Its caseload ranges in value from Β£5m to Β£50m and often involves complicated business structures and trusts, as well as assets across multiple jurisdictions.

Hill Dickinson LLP is known for β€˜taking on the most difficult and complex cases and achieving excellent results for its clients’. Joanne Raisbeck heads the family team and β€˜produces work to a very high standard and is very sensitive and respectful to her clients’. Director Tricia Cottrell attracts praise for her β€˜high standards of service’ and chartered legal executive Sarah McCarthy is β€˜thorough and down to earth’. Raisbeck regularly acts for media, sports and business owners where there are family business issues, overseas assets or complex family trust arrangements in play. The team advises on a broad range of family law matters with particular experience in areas such as financial remedies on divorce/dissolution, unmarried couples’ agreements and cohabitation disputes in addition to Schedule 1 Children Act applications.

Headed by the β€˜pragmatic’ James Maguire, James Maguire & Co is a niche firm that handles a wide range of high-value and complex international work, including child abduction/relocation cases, matters where there are substantial offshore assets, and on the enforcement of foreign orders. The skilled team frequently advises professional sports people as well as high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The team is acting for the mother under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 in relation to the financial provision for her children. The assets and trusts involved in the case exceed Β£25m.

Laytons has a β€˜strong reputation in the market’. The β€˜empathetic’ Christine Barker heads the team and is praised for her β€˜no-nonsense and straight-talking approach’. She is ably assisted by the β€˜very experienced’ Liz Bottrill, who β€˜fights her clients’ corner but also adopts a sensible approach during negotiations’. The team advises on the full spectrum of issues including divorce, financial settlements, children issues and cohabitation disputes. It represents high-net-worth individuals and high-profile figures in the North West such as television celebrities, sports personalities, entrepreneurs and wealthy local figures and their spouses.

Myerson Solicitors LLP is β€˜committed to providing a highly professional and humanistic family law service’. The β€˜calm, bright and measured’ Jane Tenquist heads the team and is β€˜thorough and persistent in seeking to always get the full picture and to know the full extent of financial disclosure, so that she can fully assist her clients in the most complex financial cases’. Senior solicitor Nichola Bright is β€˜intelligent and totally committed to her clients; she does not shirk from giving advice that is not always welcome to her clients but clients trust her judgement totally’. The β€˜strong team’ is adept at resolving high-value financial arrangements and has increasingly been advising on pre-nuptial agreements which have involved complicated multi-jurisdictional issues. In addition the team is well regarded for its work on contested children cases, where it is praised for its β€˜focus on achieving the best possible outcome for the children’.

Key figures at SAS Daniels LLP include the β€˜thorough’ Shelley Chesworth and Denise Woodward, who is β€˜very committed to working to resolve disputes in the best possible way for clients’. Also recommended are Angela Moores, who has a Resolution accreditation for high value/complex financial settlements on divorce; and David Moores, who has particular expertise in difficult financial and property matters and also regularly deals with complex children cases. Nicola McInnes is now at Gorvins Solicitors.

Slater Heelis LLP is a β€˜reputable and well-established firm that provides practical and well-thought-through advice’. The β€˜excellent’ Mark Heptinstall heads the department and is β€˜very sensitive to clients’ needs and expectations’. Also recommended are newly promoted partner Phillip Rhodes and consultant Kim Aucott, who is β€˜capable and brilliant at finding practical solutions’. The team was joined by associate Patricia Robinson from Slater and Gordon; she is β€˜knowledgeable, commercial and superb at cutting to the chase’. It advises on the full spectrum of family law issues, from matrimonial finance and Schedule 1 Children Act cases to disputes under the Inheritance Act. It also advises on wealth protection.

At Gorvins Solicitors, new recruit Nicola McInnes β€˜leaves no stone unturned and is a very dedicated practitioner with considerable wit and charm’. Clients also single out her β€˜meticulous attention to detail’. Senior associate Nicola Fraser is also recommended. The team regularly represents business owners, directors, doctors and other professionals in addition to having considerable strength in police divorce. The group is adept at advising on a myriad of issues from divorce and separation to financial remedy orders, private children disputes, co-habitation and pre-nuptial agreements. Sally Leaman has left the firm.

The β€˜efficient team’ at Linder Myers is led by Tony Broadley and attracts praise for its β€˜prompt responses’. The practice, which acts for high-net-worth individuals in England and Wales, includes a qualified arbitrator, a collaborative law specialist and two children panel members, and has a particular strength in childcare proceedings as well as regularly advising on cross-jurisdictional family matters. It also advises on financial settlements involving complex police pension schemes and acts for more than 20 police federations in England and Wales.

MSB Solicitors has an β€˜extremely strong family department’ that handles all areas of family law β€˜to a high standard’. It is active in both public and private law matters, including those related to children, divorce, finance and domestic violence. For some β€˜the firm is now almost on a par with the leading London-based child abduction firms and is quickly developing into a leading firm for international family law work in the North West’. Emma Carey is an β€˜excellent leader; she has superb knowledge of the law and is also very sensitive and insightful, which is of huge importance for her vulnerable clients’. Emma Palmer β€˜pulls out all the stops for her clients and is excellent at child abduction and care proceedings’. Kirsty Leather has a β€˜great brain and has taken to international child abduction work very quickly’. For children law matters, Sarah Achilles is β€˜always friendly, approachable and very much puts clients at ease’.

Ward Hadaway has β€˜a strong and dedicated family department that deals with children and money cases extremely well’. Head of team Martin Karran is a β€˜strong advocate with a wealth of experience; He has the ability to gain his clients’ trust but also maintains a realistic view of proceedings, ensuring that clients remain focused on all the relevant issues’. The department is best known for acting for business owners, entrepreneurs and high-profile individuals, and for drafting high-value pre-nuptial agreements in addition to handling complex and long-running private children law cases. Michael Chapman is now at JMW Solicitors LLP.

Watson Ramsbottom is β€˜particularly strong in the fields of domestic abuse, stalking and harassment’; for some say it is a β€˜leading firm nationally for domestic abuse’. Rachel Horman β€˜cares passionately about her clients and victims in general’. The team advises on domestic violence, forced marriage, Children Act cases and childcare issues in particular. It has also established a reputation for its work on cases involving stalking, harassment and cyberstalking. It is also skilled at advising on other issues such as cohabitation and divorce.

Elizabeth Hassall Family Law is a boutique firm with a particular emphasis on matrimonial finance, and is highly rated for its client care; β€˜each and every client is offered a Rolls Royce service’. Elizabeth Hassall is β€˜a terrific lawyer, always calm and sensible and very good at keeping on top of every detail; she has a well-earned reputation as being sharp and extremely effective while also being very fair’. Hassall advises high-net-worth individuals in the aftermath of marriage breakdown or where cohabiting couples are separating, and has considerable experience of high-value pre-nuptial agreements. Clients include wealthy individuals, senior directors and executives who are based both locally and nationally.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP’s team is praised for its β€˜calm approach and its dedication to protecting the clients’ best interests’. Head of department Katie McCann is β€˜professional and forceful (without being pushy) and is very knowledgeable; she has the knack of dialling into the key points and understanding the bigger picture’. Her primary focus is on financial matters. Michael Gregory is well equipped to advise on the law affecting those in alternative family structures, including surrogacy and fertility law issues.

The team at Nexus Solicitors Limited provides an β€˜exceptional service’ under the leadership of director Janet Fleming, who is described as being β€˜patient, knowledgeable and very professional’. She deals with all aspects of private family law, from financial settlements following the breakdown of relationships to disputes over arrangements for children, as well as issues between same sex couples. She is also skilled at advising on pre-and-post-nuptial agreements and has acquired particular expertise in dealing with the division of pensions on divorce. Clients include international business people, local celebrities and leading figures in the health, finance and public service sectors.

Shoosmiths LLP’s team is led by β€˜very knowledgeable’ senior associate Christopher Longbottom. The group advises on the financial issues arising from relationship breakdown and is skilled at handling cases with an international element.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP has a β€˜large and strong team’ that is led by Mike Devlin, who runs a β€˜tight, efficient and client-focused ship’. Devlin has a β€˜good reputation for his knowledge and skill in the area of care and children work in particular’. Donna Roberts is a β€˜very capable lawyer whose knowledge and case management is second to none’. Gwyneth John is β€˜competent and experienced; she does not make false promises but does her very best to achieve realistic aims’. Andrew Mountain is β€˜very reliable and efficient and can diffuse tensions in difficult situations; he has the confidence to challenge without ever being confrontational’. Anna White β€˜really fights her clients’ corner but is also good at challenging her clients when needed’. The team is particularly well known for its representation of children, parents, couples, guardians and local authorities in all aspects of family and children law.

Vardags is β€˜very much one to watch in Manchester’. Emma Gill is β€˜already very busy and has a razor-sharp eye for detail’. She is β€˜incredibly energetic, remarkably driven and client-focused, and is building up a strong team around her’. Among them is senior associate Naomi Rainey, who β€˜treads the fine line between being compassionate and professional very well’. Gill is particularly experienced at dealing with issues surrounding share valuations, option schemes, trust and other issues where there are properties abroad. Rainey has specific experience of advising on family businesses, pre-acquired assets and inherited wealth. The team is particularly skilled at advising on divorce and matrimonial finance in addition to Schedule 1 applications and disputes around care arrangements for children.

BPS Family Law LLP has β€˜its clients’ interests at heart, but also remains very professional and level-headed. It covers the pros and cons of each situation in detail and the client always has a clear understanding of each issue and the next course of action.’ The β€˜very dedicated and hardworking’ Caroline Swain is praised for her β€˜professionalism, compassion, common sense and calming influence’. The team advises on the full spectrum of family law issues.

The β€˜proactive and hardworking’ Rachel Cryan heads the department at Butcher & Barlow LLP and has a β€˜sharp legal mind, as well as being focused and sensitive to the needs of families and children’. Caroline Cockill-Guy (an accredited mediator) is an β€˜extremely experienced family lawyer who is excellent with vulnerable clients and can provide firm and realistic advice when needed’. Angela Gleave is a β€˜skilled and forceful advocate’ and the β€˜patient’ Kevan Hankinson (a trained mediator) has β€˜excellent knowledge and experience’. The team handles the full array of family issues and also has legal aid contracts to carry out family legal aid work at seven offices. Helen Oakes is a collaborative lawyer.

Tom Price heads the team at Hibberts LLP, which advises on the full spectrum of family law matters primarily in South Cheshire and North Shropshire. The group is particularly experienced in property and financial matters and regularly handles complex matters on behalf of its agricultural client base where partnership, land, assets and family trust issues need to be considered. The team is also skilled at advising on Children Act matters and care proceedings.

β€˜Sensible but firm’ associate Charlotte Beck heads the team at KBL Solicitors LLP. Beck provides β€˜measured and holistic advice and guidance; she is particularly skilled in finances’. The team is well equipped to deal with complex financial issues, including joint businesses, division of pensions and property issues both in a national and international context.

Pauline McNamara is the key figure at PMC Family Law, an β€˜exciting new start-up’ that is already a β€˜well-respected firm’ and praised for its β€˜sensitive approach and ability to attain good results for its clients’. McNamara is praised for her β€˜no-nonsense approach; she is a strong, concise and precise advocate’. Associates John Owens and Caroline Hamilton are β€˜establishing themselves in the market place’.

At Simpson Millar LLP, associate Kate Donohue Jones is β€˜brilliant; her preparation is thorough and she provides great support to her clients’. The team represents a broad range of clients in divorce and financial remedies and also acts for victims of domestic violence who are unable to fund private proceedings. It also regularly acts in complex private children cases where there are allegations of abuse and implacable hostility.

Nastassia Burton at Stowe Family Law LLP β€˜knows exactly how to achieve the best results for clients – she is a strong all-rounder’. The β€˜calm and professional’ Kate Rayner is also recommended. The team advises on all areas of relationship breakdown particularly in complex high-value cases involving divorce, cohabitee disputes and children issues.


Personal tax, trusts and probate

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Addleshaw Goddard has a β€˜hardworking team’ led by the β€˜extremely knowledgeable’ Yorke Eaton, who is β€˜as comfortable dealing with landed multi-generational families as he is with serial entrepreneurs; he builds strong relationships with clients’. He is well regarded for his capital tax planning advice to entrepreneurs, ultra and high-net-worth individuals and their families. Managing associate Christopher Noel β€˜quietly gets on and impresses clients’. The team regularly advises on complex trust issues and is increasingly working with international individuals and trustees of offshore trusts on a myriad of issues such as UK residence, domicile and tax issues. The team continues to act for a variety of banks, trust companies and large corporate/institutional clients and has recently acquired some new and large commercial clients.

Duncan Bailey is a key member of the strong team at Brabners LLP which includes newly promoted partner Louise Scholes, who is experienced in court of protection work and acts as a professional deputy. Mark Feeny is recommended for his work on tax planning and trusts in addition to wills and estates. The team continues to act for inter-generational families and regularly advises high-net-worth individuals on complex estate planning issues, wills, trusts, family investment companies and Court of Protection matters. The team was joined by the β€˜knowledgeable, clear, articulate and personable’ Steven Appleton from Laytons. Richard Bate is now at Weightmans LLP.

Sean Williams heads the team at Hill Dickinson LLP with a β€˜sound common sense approach that is backed up by good legal knowledge’. He is recommended for his work on capital tax planning for UK-domiciled and non-UK-domiciled clients in addition to other areas such as succession planning for owner-managed businesses. Other members of the β€˜experienced and responsive team’ include Fionnuala Kenny, who is skilled at advising wealthy clients on trusts and succession matters; and Paul Baker, who is recognised for his work on offshore tax planning and is adept at advising on domicile and residency issues in particular. The team also works with various high-profile people in the retail, politics, entertainment and sports arenas on matters such as asset protection in a matrimonial context, and routinely works with the family team on pre-and-post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements.

Hugh Jones Solicitors has an β€˜immensely experienced team’ that is described as β€˜one of, if not the premier legal practices dealing with Court of Protection work and acting for those with compromised mental capacity in England and Wales’. Hugh Jones is β€˜able to get to grips with complicated issues quickly and painlessly’, and Carol McBride is β€˜equally at ease whether discussing sensitive matters with fellow professionals, family members or others who are involved in the life of disabled parties’. The firm β€˜combines the personal touch with real in-depth knowledge and expertise’. Other key members of the team are Rachel Dobson and solicitor Thomas Young, who is an β€˜up-and-coming star in the world of Court of Protection’. Solicitor Fiona Ludkin is also β€˜competent, flexible and very professional’.

Graham Wood heads the team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP. He attracts praise for the β€˜considerable lengths he is willing to go to find a realistic solution and is excellent at explaining complex matters well in a way that is understood by all the parties’. The β€˜conscientious’ Paul Bricknell (a senior associate) provides β€˜sound advice’. Associate David Chambers has a β€˜good β€˜bedside manner’ that enables him to support and guide vulnerable clients’. The team predominantly advises business owners and their families, and is experienced at advising clients on the disclosure of undisclosed funds held in offshore locations. The team has also recently undertaken some complex trust structure work for a number of property structures with values between Β£10m and Β£70m.

Mills & Reeve LLP fields a β€˜first-class, very helpful and very knowledgeable team’. Tony Hall has a β€˜knack of explaining complex issues in an easily digestible format for advisers and clients alike’. The β€˜outstanding’ Zahra Siddiqui is β€˜very knowledgeable and develops an excellent rapport with her clients; she quickly understands their needs and finds appropriate solutions for them’. Deborah Clark is recommended for her work on family investment companies, and senior associate Charlotte Shaughnessy has a β€˜wide range of experience and cares a lot about her clients’. The team provides wealth and estate planning advice for high-net-worth clients and regularly advises on complex estates and trusts as well as on the establishment of family investment companies.

Aaron & Partners LLP provides an β€˜excellent service with very quick turnaround times and clear advice’. Clients appreciate the β€˜continuity of personnel and the fact that the team is not large – this enhances rather than detracts from the relationship’. Clive Pointon, who is a Court of Protection deputy, is β€˜clear, incisive, realistic, good-humoured and patient’. James Wallace also provides β€˜excellent support’ and is especially recommended for his work on disputes involving wills, trusts and estates. The team regularly deals with complex financial situations for high-net-worth clients and has been busy assisting a number of business owners with high-level capital tax planning.

At DWF the β€˜level of knowledge and expertise is excellent, giving clients complete confidence that they are getting the right advice’. Paul Davies is a key member of the team and consultant Alan Sturrock is β€˜very caring and explains matters very well’. Senior solicitor Nicola Birchby is β€˜most efficient and exceedingly helpful’ and associate Rebecca Clarke β€˜gives clients complete confidence that they are in good hands’. The practice advises on the full gamut of private client work but has a particular focus on supporting business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth families with assets in the UK and overseas.

The β€˜excellent’ Christine Thornley at Gorvins Solicitors leads a β€˜responsive and incisive’ team that β€˜quickly absorbs the facts, presents solutions and then provides advice that is tailored to each client’s circumstances’. The β€˜knowledgeable, personable and friendly’ Valerie Brown β€˜deals with queries very promptly’ and β€˜excellent’ associate Tasoula Addison is β€˜empathetic and reliable’. It expertise encompasses providing advice on wills, trusts, lasting powers of attorney, in addition to estate planning and administration, to a range of clients from the local community. It has been busy advising on trust planning issues for families with disabled children as well as protecting clients with dementia.

At JMW Solicitors LLPElaine Roche leads a β€˜strong’ team that routinely advises family business owners and landed gentry on inheritance tax and succession planning, as well as on the application of agricultural and business property reliefs from inheritance tax. It deals with complex estate and trust administration work (as well as acting as professional executors and trustees) and frequently advises on cross-jurisdictional matters. It is also skilled at advising on multimillion-pound Court of Protection orders, statutory wills, mental capacity issues and lasting powers of attorney. Senior associate Paul Gotch is β€˜reassuring and always tries to bring matters to a swift conclusion’.

Laytons’ β€˜excellent team explains matters without a trace of pomposity’. Liz Braude is praised for her β€˜professionalism, knowledge and clear advice’. It acts for a number of the region’s wealthiest individuals including business owners, entrepreneurs and board-level FTSE directors. Steven Appleton joined Brabners LLP.

The team at Linder Myers is adept at handling the full array of trusts and estates work and regularly advises on tax planning and estate matters for farmers and landowners, in addition to handling issues affecting the elderly. Andrew Cusworth is experienced in advising on tax planning, wills and trusts. He is also a panel deputy in the Court of Protection and acts as a litigation friend for individuals with impaired mental capacity, in addition to being a trustee of a number of charitable trusts.

Myerson Solicitors LLP has a β€˜professional and effective team that is always well prepared’. Amanda Freeman heads the practice and has a β€˜great depth of knowledge; she has dealt with some very difficult and challenging situationsand has good back up within the team’. Senior solicitor Clara Staunton is β€˜very thorough and very approachable, and is keen to help and to understand clients’ needs’. Bik-ki Irving is also recommended. The team advises on a wide spectrum of issues for high-net-worth individuals and families, incliuding inheritance tax mitigation and advising on complex family structures, trusts and estates.

SAS Daniels LLP has a β€˜very knowledgeable, competent and professional team that looks to understand each client’s specific needs and provide solutions accordingly’. Helen Kelly, who heads the trusts team, is β€˜extremely knowledgeable and provides clients with the confidence that she will do an excellent job for them’. Justine Clowes heads the private client team and has a particular expertise in mental capacity work, care funding advice and older client issues. The practice advises on the administration of complex and high-value estates involving foreign assets or agricultural/business property. In addition it is adept at advising on wealth planning for a variety of clients such as the preparation of wills for parents of children with learning difficulties.

Slater and Gordon has a β€˜client-focused team’ that is headed by the β€˜technically excellent’ James Beresford, who is β€˜great with clients’. Associate Simon Egan is also singled out for praise as a β€˜diligent lawyer who genuinely cares for his clients’. The Chester-based team is renowned for its expertise in dealing with long-term tax planning and trusts for landed and farming families, while the Manchester-based team is known for advising parents with disabled children. The group works in conjunction with its Court of Protection department in helping clients with a disability and also works frequently with the personal injury and clinical negligence departments. The practice also provides a wills service for large trade unions.

Weightmans LLP has a β€˜great base of private wealth clients’. Senior associate James Knowles is β€˜very approachable and knowledgeable and is willing to go that extra mile for his clients’. Knowles advises wealthy clients on estate and inheritance tax planning issues, business succession planning and domicile issues. He has a particular focus on will planning and lifetime planning, in addition to advising on lasting powers of attorney. He also frequently deals with deputyship applications. The team has a key focus on advising business owners on how to structure their wealth through wills, lifetime trusts, and cross-option or other such arrangements. Carole Atkinson is a key member of the department, which was joined by Richard Bate from Brabners LLP. Paul Horton left the practice to join Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Forbes Solicitors has a β€˜client-focused team’ that is led by associate Patricia Prescott, who is β€˜compassionate when dealing with vulnerable clients’. The team advises on wills, personal tax, probate, trusts and estates, as well as tax and business succession planning. It regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals such as landowners and farmers.

Hibberts LLP has a β€˜switched-on team particularly on agricultural property issues’ under the leadership of Anne Walley. It advises wealthy clients from both landed and commercial backgrounds on all aspects of probate and Court of Protection work. The department also handles complex trust matters and personal lifetime income tax affairs. The practice is also recommended for its work on contentious matters.

JWK Solicitors’ β€˜efficient team’ includes director Sarah Murphy, who advises on probate matters and is noted for her specialism in elder client work; β€˜she provides a caring service to the local community’. Murphy successfully represented a client at court without counsel in a rare application to the Court of Protection for a personal welfare deputyship order for an adult incapacitated person.

MLP Law LLP is β€˜highly competent and is able to deal with a variety of complex cases in wills, probate and estate planning’. Lesley Sullivan and solicitor Rachel Eley are both β€˜very personable and have a good working knowledge of the various estate planning issues that clients face. They clearly explain everything in layman’s language’. The team’s recent workload includes handling complex estates and drafting deeds of variation to mitigate inheritance tax.

Napthens LLP is β€˜very strong in this area and has an excellent and efficient team’. Practice head Kathryn Harwood has a β€˜vast amount of experience and technical ability, combined with a good understanding of what her clients need’. Solicitor Melissa Taylor has an β€˜excellent knowledge of agricultural law and is great with the firm’s farming clients’. The department is divided into specialist teams such as wills and estate planning, court of protection and probate.


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