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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > North > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Katherine Pretswell-Walker - Cartmell Shepherd

The ‚Äėfriendly, approachable and understanding' Cartmell Shepherd¬†specialises in agriculture and property. The firm provides a practical agricultural background and a particular expertise in tenancy matters. Director Jonathan Carroll¬†leads the team, and has notable experience in contentious and non-contentious matters, including tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act. The team includes director Mark Jackson, who specialises in the sale and acquisition of farms, estates and forestry, and solicitor Katherine Pretswell-Walker, who deals with a range of agricultural law and tenancy matters.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Carroll

Other key lawyers:Mark Jackson; Katherine Pretswell-Walker


'Experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic advisors, who deliver consistently high-quality advice in a clear and concise manner.'

'A long established farming practice that has a great reputation in agriculture, not only in Cumbria but the length of Britain.'

'New partners young, dynamic and accessible.'

Key Clients

HSBC Bank plc

Carlisle Diocese

Durham Diocese

Persimmon Plc

Work highlights

  • Represented a family trust in connection with a significant acquisition of commercial forestry.
  • Purchase of significant and historic lake district agricultural holding.
  • Advising on ongoing property and private client matters in relation to a significant and complex estate in the Lake District.
  • Ongoing representation for a landlord in a contested agricultural succession case involving complex and novel points of law.  The matter will be decided by the tribunal at a final hearing in spring 2019.
  • Represented a land owing family on the complex disposal of land for the construction of a new school site involving various option arrangements, s.106 issues and complex negotiation with multiple parties.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP¬†specialises in advising private estate owners and other landowning organisations. The ‚Äėbreadth of practice areas covered marks it out‚Äô as well as its advice to a number of public authorities and quasi-public bodies. Simon Kirkup¬†leads the practice and his clients include private landowners as well as major landowning charities and PLCs. Also notable in the team is managing associate Charlotte Patterson-Ryan, who ‚Äėcombines strong technical knowledge in the areas of landlords and tenants, with excellent professional skills,‚Äô which makes her ‚Äėstand out as a go-to adviser‚Äô.

Practice head(s):Simon Kirkup

Other key lawyers:Charlotte Patterson-Ryan


'Sound, swift advice and service.'

'The firm has such a wide variety of expertise all under one roof , including legal advice on farming, property management and family trust law.'

'Very solid breadth of practice and strong professionalism.'

'Extremely client focused.' 

'Simon Kirkup provides well-reasoned thoughtful advice.'

'Despite having a heavy work load, Simon Kirkup is always accessible for advic.e'

'Charlotte Patterson-Ryan is always efficient and speedy.'

'Charlotte Patterson-Ryan's capacity to turn around work is phenomenal, and she is extremely straightforward to work with.'

Key Clients

National Trust

Grainger PLC

Church Commissioners

English Heritage

Burnetts¬†has a broad range of specialisms in the sector, including banking work, sale and purchase of farms, agricultural tenancies, strategic planning and dispute resolution. The practice provides ‚Äėspecific farming knowledge and farming backgrounds‚Äô. Richard Miller¬†is head of the property team, and leading the agri-business team is Joanne McKenzie, who is a specialist in agricultural tenancy matters and the implications of the Agricultural Holdings Act.

Practice head(s):Joanne McKenzie; Richard Miller


'The members of the team respond promptly.'

'All work and advice was clear and appropriately described.'

'A friendly and proactive approach.'

Key Clients

Lloyds Bank PLC

Thomas Armstrong (Aggregates) Limited

Mitchell’s Auction Company

H&H Group PLC

Clydesdale Bank PLC

Hopes Auction Company Limited

Warrendale Farms Limited

InvestAcc Pension Trustees Limited

Friends of the Lake District

The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC

Work highlights

  • Provided advice to The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC on complex deals. Involved ownership structures with trust arrangements, Settled Land Act tenants, company borrowers and non-UK entities where legal opinions are required.
  • Completed numerous refinancing matters for Lloyds Bank PLC in the agriculture sector with a wide range of financial values.
  • Purchase of agricultural land by the SIPP and the related tenancy back to the seller; Acting for InvestAcc and its members on sales and purchases of agricultural land and properties across England with associated tenancy and other matters.
  • This was a complicated matter involving the reorganisation of both agricultural and commercial property, a partnership agreement over two generations and a re-mortgaging exercise.
  • The accurate registration of a land holding and associated litigation issues and dealing with all succession matters, including the putting in place of the client’s will and LPA.

A member firm of the Country Landowners Association, Hay & Kilner is known for acting in the surrender of AHA tenancies and the grant of new farm business tenancies, as well as drafting contract farming agreements for modern farming practices. The practice is also experienced in the sale and purchase of land and advising in respect of mineral rights. Alison Hall, head of the rural team, has particular expertise in agricultural matters and landed estates. Martin Soloman specialises in commercial disputes, notably in representing landowning and farming clients in property and land disputes. Richard Freeman-Wallace focuses on commercial property and regularly acts for landowners and developers.

Practice head(s):Alison Hall; Richard Freeman-Wallace; Martin Soloman

Work highlights

  • Acting for a variety of land owners in the North East on the recommendation of a long established and highly respected firm of chartered surveyors and land agents in the North East. The matter involves grants of options and conditional sales.

Traditionally farming focused, Latimer Hinks Solicitors has experience in areas ranging from advice to landed estate owners and succession planning, to leasing of mineral rights and sales and purchases of farms and agricultural land. Agricultural law specialist Anne Elliott leads the team that includes Elizabeth Armstrong, who focuses on the private client side, notably estate planning, and the administration of estates and trusts where agricultural land is involved with complex claims.

Practice head(s):Anne Elliott

Other key lawyers:Elizabeth Armstrong

Ward Hadaway acts for private landowners, farmers, rural businesses, banks and rural-based organisations. The team has a broad range of expertise. Neil Robson has experience of land use and planning aspects of agriculture; Stefan Bainbridge advises clients in all aspects of rural property, as well as in relation to the exploitation of mineral reserves; Alex Cox specialises in property transactional work, with a particular focus on mines and minerals; and Andrew Facer deals with trust and asset protection issues for landowners.

Practice head(s):Neil Robson; Stefan Bainbridge; Alex Cox; Andrew Facer

Key Clients

Northumberland National Park Authority

University of Newcastle

Barclays Bank plc

The Banks Group

Woodland Trust

Welbeck Estates

Canal & River Trust

Land Trust

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd's traditional client base is prominent local landed estates, in matters including sales, purchases, manorial and mineral rights, and commercial property work. Expert in residential and commercial conveyancing Tony Gibson leads the practice. The team includes Harry Chrisp, who is particularly experienced in the acquisition and sale of farms and estates, as welll as farmers Michael Macgregor and Derwent Gibson, who provide insight into the issues facing farmers and landowners. In addition, Kath Monteith joined from Kidd & Spoor Harper in 2019 and specialises in private client work, with a notable interest in intestate estates and looking after elderly clients.

Practice head(s):Tony Gibson

Other key lawyers:Harry Chrisp; Kath Monteith


'A very long established firm with old fashioned values and practices. Their law is sound and innovative.'

'Good regional firm with a breadth of team and skill sets. Partners have a real understanding of the rural matters and how to get things over the line.'

'Very affordable and reasonable charges makes the skills of this team stand out.'

'Chris Sheppard is innovative and open to a client's interested opinion.'

'Harry Chrisp is a practical and sensible person who gets to know the detail and is focused on getting things done and completed.'

Key Clients

The Church Commissioners of England & Wales

Sunderland Association Football Club

Shoreswood Farms Ltd

J Bradburn & Co Ltd

Sir Richard & Lady Renwick

Sir Christopher & Lady Bland

Hexham and Northern Marts Limited

Hyslop family

Work highlights

  • Advised Hexham and Northern Marts on the urchase of land on the environs of Hexham and a farm near Riding Mill.

The agriculture and estates team at Sintons LLP works with a range of clients in the sector. Work includes acting on the acquisition and disposal of large farming ventures, agricultural holdings and the registration of portfolios of mines and minerals, as well as advising offshore trusts holding UK farms. Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association, Tom Wills leads the practice that includes Paul Liddle, who has particular experience acting for developers and landowners in the energy, waste and renewables sectors.

Practice head(s):Tom Wills

Other key lawyers:Paul Liddle


'The range of expertise within Sintons gives great and expectations are usually exceeded.'

'A pleasure to deal with.'

'Tom Wills always has a full grasp of the issues and hence is able to do what is required with minimal fuss. He always comes across as extremely competent and confident.'

Key Clients

Lloyds Bank

Ken Beattie/Morpeth Town Football Club

Willie Richardson

Dinning Farms Limited

Michael Tweedie

Ravensworth Estate

Cussins North East Limited

Ashbourne Trust

Tony and Carolyn Brookes

Lord Ravensworth

Work highlights

  • Represented Lloyds Bank in the taking of security over a working farm for £2.5 million.
  • Acted on the Lease of Craik Park, Morpeth Football Club’s home stadium.
  • Represented significant Cumbrian landowners, Willie Richardson, on family, probate matters, development, land acquisition and estate management.
  • Acting for Dinning Farms Limited in farm purchases and development infrastructure options and general farm and family legal advisors.
  • Advised Michael Tweedie on significant complex farm purchase for circa £2.5 million with additional sales of arable land and paddocks.

BHP Law specialises in acting for farming and landowning clients in high-value matters. Practice head Peter Blackett has particular experience in the commercial area, advising rural and farming clients on a range of matters, including commercial property transactions for major land owners and property developers across the region.

Practice head(s):Peter Blackett

The ‚Äėfast and always competent‚Äô Iain Nicholson & Co¬†specialises in private client work and agriculture for clients in the North East and other parts of the UK. Iain Nicholson¬†leads the experienced team that includes 'extremely quick'¬†Victoria Stevenson, who has significant private client and agricultural property experience, and 'reliable'¬†Peter Dakin, who has particular expertise in property transactions.

Practice head(s):Iain Nicholson

Other key lawyers:Victoria Stevenson; Peter Dakin


'Excellent knowledge and experience of trust work.'

'Excellent personal service, it gives us peace of mind.'

'Iain and all his Staff are always so helpful and so well informed and they respond at once.'

Jacksons Law acts for farmers, growers and distributors, dealing with a range of commercial and personal matters. Adrienne Patterson specialises in agricultural law and employment matters, including agricultural tenancies, farming subsidies and the Agricultural Wages Order. Also notable in the team is Simon Catterall, who provides advice to the northern farming community and is well-regarded in National Farmers Union. Nicola Neilson recently joined the firm as head of agricultural property.

Practice head(s):Adrienne Patterson

Other key lawyers:Simon Catterall

Muckle LLP's practice works across a range of matters in the agricultural and estates area, including acting for landed estates in their rural portfolio management, dealing with historic property ownership issues and agricultural property disputes. David Towns leads the team and has a particular focus on landed estate management, sporting rights and minerals rights. His team includes senior associate Elizabeth Earle, who has experience acting for a range of private individuals, trusts and charities, notably in estate management and rural property work.

Practice head(s):David Towns

Other key lawyers:Elizabeth Earle


'A genuine specialism and expertise in agriculture and manorial rights, as well as mines and minerals.'

'Client-focused and solution-oriented people in the agricultural team, with a strong regional profile for minerals knowledge.'

'Background knowledge, clear thinking, accurate analysis and clear advice.'

'David Towns is a go-to partner for minerals advice, and knowledge surrounding manorial rights.'

'Elizabeth Earle is a highly competent practitioner in non-contentious landlord and tenant matters, who is able to find the straightforward and effective solution to a legal problem.'

Key Clients

Lonsdale Settled Estates

The Boughton Estates

Muncaster Castle Estate

Northumberland Estates

Allendale Estates

O’Brien Aggregate Marsden

Viscount Lowther’s Trust

Work highlights

  • Private ownership of minerals in respect of a proposed, new deep coal mine site in Cumbria. The firm acts for a local landed estate in respect of arrangements with the mine operator.
  • Acting for the Allendale Estate U Fund in respect of its manorial rights and minerals interests in Northumberland and Yorkshire.
  • Acting for a local farmer in a nuisance to property dispute caused by deliberate channelling of water.
  • Advising a landowner farmer on documentation relating to an underground conveyor system for a proposed new deep coal mine.
  • Advising a freehold quarry owner in North East England. Part of the title was unregistered due to missing or never completed documents.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine specialises in the administration of estates, as well as advising on in-hand farming and forestry, agricultural tenancies and mineral extraction. Practice head Helen Dexter is experienced in the administration of estates, trusts and succession planning for farming clients. Her team includes associate Andrew Beattie, who is an agricultural property specialist, and solicitor Jessica Morton, who arrived from Sintons LLP in 2018, and has expertise in succession and inheritance tax planning, as well as complex estate administration, for farmers and landowners.

Practice head(s):Helen Dexter

Other key lawyers:Andrew Beattie; Jessica Morton

Key Clients

Ian Brewis

Mark Shotton

Andrew Thompson

Philip Hodgson

John Brydon

John & Geoff Suddes

Work highlights

  • Advising the Hodgson Family on the sale of an 80 acre strategic development site to facilitate residential and leisure development to the west of Darlington in County Durham.
  • Advisinf John and Geoffrey Suddes on the sale of Hill House Farm, Middleton on Leven, Yarm which was a mixed-use arable and poultry farm.
  • Advising JO Brewis & Sons Limited on the sale of development land for various different residential developments.
  • Advising Michael Andrew Thompson on the acquisition of East Murton Farm, Wingate, County Durham. The purchase of an arable farm including agricultural buildings and a residential property.
  • Advising Joanna Farrell on the sale of the East Whitton Lodge Farm, East Witton, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, which was a  sheep farm with agricultural buildings and residential premises.

Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Muckle LLP¬†provides a full range of services to charity clients nationwide, including advising on corporate governance, fundraising, mergers, employment, property and tax issues. The firm is particularly well known in the sports and education sectors. The ‚Äėoutstanding advocate in charity law and business‚Äô John Devine¬†leads the practice and specialises in sports and finding innovative solutions to legal issues for high-profile clients.

Practice head(s):John Devine


'Due to Muckle's size they are able to tap into a wealth of specialists.'

'The practice has a real understanding of the operating environment and takes the time to get to the root of issues rather than looking for a quick fix.'

'Whatever the task Muckle engages with the appropriate resources efficiently and effectively.'

'John Devine has deep knowledge of and empathy with the charitable sector.'

'George Festing always takes care to really understand all the elements of an issue.'

Key Clients

The Great North Air Ambulance Service

The Alnwick Garden Trust

The Greggs Foundation (official affiliated charity of Greggs PLC)

The Premier League Charitable Fund

North Music Trust (The Sage Gateshead music venue)

Chelsea FC Foundation

British Airways' Concorde Club

The Auckland Castle Trust

Tyneside Cinema

St Cuthbert’s Care (incorporating The Alan Shearer Foundation)

Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF)

Newcastle University Students' Union

Mental Health Concern (Concern Group)

QPR in the Community Trust

parkrun Global

Work highlights

  • Advise The Auckland Castle Trust to preserve the castle as a visitor attraction in Bishop Auckland. Work includes advising on the incorporation of a project-related trading subsidiary including appropriate legal structures, different types of trading, governance issues and property issues.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP¬†is known for its work for education, healthcare and religious charities, as well as particular expertise in transactional matters. The ‚Äėsolicitor par excellence‚Äô Emma Moody¬†leads the practice and is ‚Äėenergised and positive‚Äô as well as ‚Äėwell networked‚Äô in the area. Her team includes managing associate Samantha Pritchard, who specialises in advising on the complex area where charity law and public law coincide, offering ‚Äėclear and reassuring advice.'

Practice head(s):Emma Moody

Other key lawyers:Samantha Pritchard


'Positive, confident engagement and the team takes the time to understand the business.'

'Very quick to respond and support, providing a full service.'

'Highly recommended, if clients want a job done well, go to Womble Bond Dickinson.'

'This is a niche area of law and the firm has a depth of knowledge and experience that seems to outweigh its competitors.'

'Emma Moody is extraordinarily committed to the client. She is also very accessible and very straightforward to deal with.'

'Sally Cooper is very professional and client focused.'

'Samantha Pritchard deals with challenging and difficult situations with ease. She has developed a novel governance model that is practical and reflects instructions exactly.'

Key Clients

Crisis UK

Newcastle City Council

British Mountaineering Council

Ampleforth Abbey and St Laurence Education Trust

Gateshead College

Charity Commission – Cardiff Sixth Form College (now Cardiff Educational Endowment Fund)

East Durham College

Bauer Radio Cash for Kids Charities

Zedra Trust Company

Durham University Students' Union

Northumberland County Council

Leeman Road Millenium Green Trust

Wakefield Grammar School Foundation

Percy Hedley Foundation


Mental Health Matters

Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School

St John of God Hospitaller Services

William Leech Foundation

Church Marketplace for Roman Catholic Dioceses

Work highlights

  • Advised Crisis UK on a review of its governance arrangements resulting in the adoption of new Articles of Association which better reflected its current working practices.
  • Supporting Newcastle City Council in transferring the city's parks to a newly created charity called Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust.
  • Instructed (after competitive tender) to support a specialist governance committee to undertake a constitutional review to address some structural issues at the British Mountaineering Council.
  • Emma Moody was appointed by the Charity Commission as interim manager for St Laurence Education Trust, as well as the Ampleforth Abbey Trust, with responsibility for safeguarding following concerns about the adequacy and effectiveness of safeguarding at Ampleforth.
  • The Charity Commission opened an investigation into Cardiff Sixth Form College, identified serious regulatory concerns and appointed Emma Moody as Interim Manager of the charity to the exclusion of all current and former trustees in November 2016.

Full-service firm Sintons LLP is best known for its work with religious organisations. The firm also specialises in advising private clients on the formation and administration of charitable funds. Experienced commercial lawyer Amanda Maskery leads the team that includes Laura Peace, who has expertise in ecclesiastical property transactions, faculty work and church sharing agreements.

Practice head(s):Amanda Maskery


'Sintons is a highly efficient and effective law firm.'

'Sintons is excellent. Good quality advice and work, delivered on time and with reasonable costs. Highly recommended.'

'Paul Liddle handles requests with professionalism.'

Key Clients

Church of England – Newcastle Diocese and Carlisle Diocese

United Reform Church (Northern Province)

Family Gateway Trust

Charlotte Straker Project

North of England Civic Trust

The Auckland  Project

Eleven Arches

North East Council on Addictions

Church Commissioners for England

Methodist Church Managing Trustees

Work highlights

  • Representing Family Gateway in saving Howdon Community Centre from closure by North Tyneside Council.
  • Advising The Cyrenians Limited (operating as Changing Lives) on an agreement for loan from funds operated by The Big Issue to fund capital requirements for the provision of accommodation for entrenched rough sleepers.
  • Full-service provision to The Auckland Project and related charity, Eleven Arches (responsible for the spectacle “Kynren”).

Ward Hadaway provides a charities property practice and a charity employment practice, with experience advising registered and exempt charities and social enterprise clients on a range of issues, including governance, grant making, mergers and legacy management. The firm also acts for public, corporate and private sector clients in dealings with charities and social enterprises. Practice head Fiona Wharton has experience representing registered and exempt charities, as well as trading subsidiaries. The team also includes Gaynor Jackson, who specialises in advising charities on contentious and non-contentious matters related to trust and estate issues.

Practice head(s):Fiona Wharton

Other key lawyers:Gaynor Jackson

Key Clients

We Love Manchester Emergency Fund

Newcastle University

CISV International

Sherburn House Charity

Changing Lives

Finchale College

Virgin Money Foundation

Sir James Knott Trust

Newcastle University Development Trust

County Durham Community Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustee board of Virgin Money Foundation on governance issues, trustee's roles and responsibilities.
  • Advised Newcastle University on the permanent loan of the personal and business archive from Sir Terry Farrell, the well-known architect, to the University, on contractual and charity law matters.
  • Advised on the sale of the existing Finchale Training College site.  Provided advice on disposal of permanent endowment assets including liaison with the Charity Commission as well as general property and related advice.
  • Advising Sherburn House Charity on its incorporation, which is one of the oldest registered charities in England and has substantial permanent endowment assets.
  • Advised University of Newcastle Development Trust on the legal arrangements for new investment management arrangements, obligations and framework for the Trust.

Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Lucy Gray - Hay & Kilner

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Emma Saunders - Sintons LLP

The ‚Äėvery bright‚Äô Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP¬†practice¬†acts for individuals, trustees, insurance companies and charities across the UK and overseas. The experienced national team is led by Neil Long¬†from London and has three full members of the Association of Contentious Trust And Probate Specialists, as well as being a member of the Association of Corporate Trustees. Notable is managing associate Richard Pike, who is ‚Äėa very canny litigator‚Äô specialising in advising corporate trustees, private individuals and insurers on the full range of contentious trust, estate and tax issues.

Practice head(s):Neil Long

Other key lawyers:Richard Pike


'The team has experience of high value disputes which further lends credibility to its reputation.'

'Exceptionally knowledgeable but also a pleasure to work with.'

'Helpful, kind, pragmatic and sensible.'

'Richard Pike provides measured advice. He remains composed and focused when time is short.'

'Richard Pike knows the law inside out and will analyse the legal position very carefully. He is clever and able to think up imaginative solutions to complicated issues.'

'Neil Long is absolutely charming!'

'Solicitor Rosie Taylor is polite, very pleasant and easy to deal with.'

Key Clients

Zedra (UK) Trusts Limited

Doreen Thompson

Work highlights

  • Instructed to advise Zedra's in-house trust company on a range of contentious trust and probate issues that they have encountered in the course of administering a book of trusteeships and executorships that Zedra took on following the acquisition of a major bank's in-house trust company.
  • Representing Doreen Thompson in a deeply contentious proprietary estoppel claim brought by the Defendant's son.

Known for dealing with complex disputes, Hay & Kilner specialises in agricultural matters, including challenging and defending the validity of wills and codicils, Inheritance Act 1975 claims, and jurisdictional issues relating to estate and trust assets. Lucy Gray is an associate member of the Association of Contentious Trust And Probate Specialists and has a particular expertise in trusts and estates involving agricultural land and assets. She leads the team with Martin Soloman, who focuses on complex probate and trust disputes, acting for farming families and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):Lucy Gray; Martin Soloman


'It is well established within Newcastle upon Tyne and has the requisite skills, knowledge and contact's in the field of trusts and probate.'

'Martin Soloman is extremely well versed in law and has an extensive collection of professionals in other areas to call upon when the need arises.'

'Lucy Gray is trustworthy, knowledgable, capable, compassionate, measured and willing to fight the clients corner.'

Work highlights

  • Advising the client in relation to issued claims under the Inheritance Act and for proprietary estoppel.
  • Will challenge, potential removal of executrix, and claims under Inheritance Act and proprietary estoppel.
  • Defending proceedings for removal of trustees, including issues of sham trust created by settlor.
  • Claims against Executors and Trustees arising from mismanagement of estate and resulting discretionary trust.
  • Statutory Will application.

Ward Hadaway acts in a range of contentious trusts, estate and probate matters. Commercial litigator Martin Woodford has a particular focus on high value disputes involving financial mis-selling, as well as in pension and trust disputes. Also notable is consultant Gaynor Jackson, who advises high-net-worth individuals in relation to wills, capital tax planning, trusts and estate matters. In addition, Jackson works with charities in relation to trust and estate issues.

Other key lawyers:Martin Woodford; Gaynor Jackson

A well established wills and probate team at Archers Law LLP feeds into the contentious practice, which was boosted by the arrival of team leader Kenton Bazeley, who joined from Tilly Bailey & Irvine in 2018 and specialises in litigation. Angela Torrance is also a key name for the firm in this area, notably in contested probate and wills disputes.

Practice head(s):Kenton Bazeley

Burnetts contentious trusts and probate practice acts in a range of matter from running Inheritance Act claims and advising executors on contentious administrations, to representing parties challenging wills and making application to court to remove difficult executors. James Johnston is head of disputes and his team includes senior associate Johnny Coulthard and consultant Patricia Hall, who have particular experience and expertise in high value cases, notably with a commercial element.

Practice head(s):James Johnston

Other key lawyers:Johnny Coulthard; Patricia Hall

Work highlights

  • Acted for Mr Thorpe in his successful claim in the case of Culliford & Anor. v. Thorpe [2018] EWHC 426 (Ch).

Specialising in litigation, Sintons LLP¬†has two full members of the Association of Contentious Trust And Probate Specialists. Led by Angus Ashman, the team‚Äôs areas of expertise include Inheritance Act claims, administration disputes, constructive trust disputes, proprietary estoppel claims and court of protection disputes. Also notable is the ‚Äėmeasured and robust‚Äô senior associate Emma Saunders, who is a particular expert in contentious probate and is known for her ‚Äėhonesty, transparency and commitment to her clients‚Äô.

Practice head(s):Angus Ashman

Other key lawyers:Emma Saunders


'They are a go to practice and aggressive in getting the right results.' 

'The team is responsive and committed to its clients and they don't see their clients as fees but as people.'

'The team is very solid and great value for money.'

Work highlights

  • Representing client with mental health illness in challenge to late father’s multi-million estate.
  • Representing a cohabiting partner in a proprietary estoppel and Inheritance Act claim against her late partner’s cross-border estate.
  • Cross-border dispute concerning burial and domicile of the Deceased.
  • Claim against solicitors for negligent will drafting leading to a loss of the family home.
  • Representing client in defence of Part 64 application brought by court-appointed administrator of estate.

Court of protection specialist Tilly Bailey & Irvine has notable experience in trust creation and administration, as well as providing a dedicated investment management department. Nicola Dalzell leads the team and her expertise includes wills, administration of complex estates, protection of assets and estate planning. She can call on Carolyn Tilly who focuses on wills, probate, trusts and tax, with a particular interest in elderly client matters and the creation of trusts.

Practice head(s):Nicola Dalzell

Other key lawyers:Carolyn Tilly

Work highlights

  • Strategic succession planning for an individual & family with around several million pounds moved outside of the estate over a 15-year period.
  • Administered farming estate comprising of agricultural property relief.
  • Instructed to assist in the administration of a multi-million pound estate. Instructed to deal specifically with land and deeds left to a Cathedral.
  • Administered taxable estate of the client incorporating house, land and portfolio.


Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Finance expert Lucy Mead leads the David Gray Solicitors LLP practice that has expertise in female genital mutilation cases, guardianship issues and dispute resolution. The firm undertakes the bulk of its own advocacy and is involved in an increasing number of complex financial cases. The experienced team is made up of resolution accredited specialists, members of the Law Society’s Children Law Accredited Scheme and Higher Rights Advocates. This includes Mary Shaw, who is a specialist lawyer in the areas of advanced financial provision and private children law, and managing partner Elspeth Thomson. Also recommended are Claire Hunter and solicitor Sukhi Patter.

Practice head(s):Lucy Mead

Other key lawyers:Mary Shaw; Elspeth Thomson; Claire Hunter; Lesley Monkhouse; Sukhi Patter


'Sound, sensible advice delivered at an early stage with high levels of client care.'

'Elspeth Thomson is very good.'

'Claire Hunter and Lucy Mead are a safe pair of hands.'

'Lesley Monkhouse stands out for her sensible and practical approach.'

Work highlights

  • Represented a mother who was alleged to have harmed her baby.
  • Represented children in an application by the Local Authority for Care Orders following the death of their sibling in suspicious circumstances.
  • Represented children in a care case.
  • Represented a young mother accused of harming her baby.
  • Advising a 17 year old pregnant girl who was terminally ill.

Boutique family law firm Major Family Law¬† ‚Äėprovides a dedicated and thorough service to clients with family law problems.‚Äô The ‚Äėimperturbable' managing director Joanne Major¬†leads the practice and is ‚Äėan expert at helping individuals deal with the difficulties of divorce and the financial settlement.‚Äô Her team includes the ‚Äėtenacious‚Äô director Anna Hunter, who specialises in complex children work; director Lucinda Connell, who is ‚Äėa skilled advocate,‚Äô active in multi-jurisdictional children's cases; consultant Jonathan Dunkley, whose expertise lies in complex finance matters; and solicitor Sam Carter, whose particular focus is advising clients in complex children law issues.

Practice head(s):Joanne Major

Other key lawyers:Anna Hunter; Lucinda Connell; Jonathan Dunkley; Sam Carter


'The team is approachable, friendly and emphatic whilst remaining professional.'

'The team's strength is the great leadership driven from the top by the MD Joanne Major.'

'Visiting the office is a joy - the professionalism of all staff who provide a very sympathetic and courteous service does make some of the difficult subject matter you are there to discuss far less traumatic.'

'The team at Major Family Law is very client centric.'

'All those who have dealt with the firm have been hugely impressed by the combination of expertise, forthrightness and emotional intelligence the team shows.'

'They are all exceptionally good at what they do - and understand the importance of the whole client experience.'

'Major Family Law is a boutique family law firm, providing the highest quality family law services in the North East.'

'Joanne Major always provides a very trusting guiding hand, she has a real talent in explaining some very complex areas of divorce law.'

'Anna Hunter is an intelligent and objective, but determined solicitor, who can achieve the best outcome without breaking the bank.'

'Joanne Major is a brilliant family lawyer, with all the skills and empathy one would expect. She understands entrepreneurs and business people, and how the business world functions - essential in reaching workable settlements for divorcing business people.'

'Anna Hunter is a specialist in children proceedings, specialising in multi-jurisdictional disputes.' 

'Lucinda Connell is an expert in high-value cases, often involving overseas assets.' 

'Sam Carter has quickly acquired a reputation as an exceptionally good advocate, particularly in children law matters where social services are involved.'

'Jonathan Dunkley is a highly experienced practitioner and a tough negotiator when required.'


Boutique family law firm Silk Family Law¬†specialises in high-net-worth individuals, particularly in the agricultural and farming sector. The team has national reach and includes in-house barrister Ian Kennerley, who is ‚Äėtrusted to always act in the client's best interest'; Kim Fellowes, who is ‚Äėa dream to work with professionally‚Äô; and Margaret Simpson, whose ‚Äėattention to detail is her secret weapon‚Äô. Also notable are the 'professional, thorough and competent‚Äô Wayne Lynn¬†and experienced associate Siobhan Jeffers, who is a resolution accredited specialist in advanced financial provision and children work.

Other key lawyers:Ian Kennerley; Margaret Simpson; Kim Fellowes; Wayne Lynn; Siobhan Jeffers


'They are strong in the area in which they practice and recommended for clients who need a heavy-weight firm in their corner.'

'The reputation of Silk in the local area of Newcastle is second to none. As a specialist family law firm, it can focus on one area of law which gives it an edge over other law firms.'

'Silk Family Law are streaks ahead in providing first class matrimonial finance legal advice in the north of England.'

'They handle complex disputes at competitive pricing.'

'The team's strength lies in the fact they have Ian Kennerley as their in-house Barrister.'

'Very professional, thorough, approachable and able.'

'Wayne Lynn is professional, pleasant, approachable and very sensible. Clients are in very safe hands.'

'Kim Fellowes is very well respected in the North East and further afield. She is extremely dedicated, hard working, tenacious and diligent, with the absolute best interest of the clients at the heart of everything she does.'

'Kim Fellowes is someone you want on your side.'

'Margaret Simpson is efficient, up on the detail, and client focused.'

'Wayne Lynn embodies everything a respected solicitor should be.'


The Cumbria focused practice of Burnetts specialises in farming and business clients, notably in financial, childcare and guardianship matters. The firm is known for handling complex family law issues, including cross-border matters and multi-million pound divorces involving farm business partnerships and assets. Simon Mortimer leads the team and is an accredited resolution specialist as well as a trained collaborative lawyer. He can call on the expertise of Amy Fallows who focuses on complex financial work and childcare cases.

Practice head(s):Simon Mortimer

Other key lawyers:Amy Fallows


'Burnetts is excellent in its delegation of activities.'

'Simon Mortimer is outstanding.'

'Simon Mortimer's approach is always carefully measured and non-judgmental. He instills a high-level of trust, which is very important when you are in unfamiliar territory.'

Work highlights

  • Advised wife in divorce and complicated partnership dispute.
  • Acting for a father to obtain a declaration of parentage without DNA testing.
  • Acting for husband living in UAE seeking contact with child in UK.
  • Acting for husband who owned a substantial business and taking case on at late stage with imminent hearing approaching.

Specialising in divorce and financial provision matters, Hay & Kilner also has experience in private and public law children cases, as well as providing the expertise to resolve family disputes by traditional negotiations, mediation and collaborative process. Qualified mediator Nicola Matthews leads the team with Rob Hart, who is regularly instructed by children’s guardians. Also notable in the team are associates Kerry Sutherland and Leanne Sutherland, who are members of the Law Society Children Panel and deal with complex children cases.

Practice head(s):Nicola Matthews; Rob Hart

Other key lawyers:Kerry Sutherland; Leanne Sutherland


'Competent, reliable and cost effective.'

'All the team members are very committed to the best outcomes of their client.'

'They work in consultation with their clients.'

Particularly experienced in high-net-worth individuals, Sintons LLP also has expertise with unusual family law cases, including those related to the Hague Convention and international financial cases. Practice head Steven Freeman specialises in high-net-worth financial remedy matters and his team was boosted by the arrivals of consultant Elizabeth Gallagher, who joined from Macks solicitors, and solicitor Louisa Bestford, who arrived from Jacksons Law; both are collaboratively trained.

Practice head(s):Steven Freeman

Other key lawyers:Elizabeth Gallagher; Louisa Bestford

Swinburne Maddison¬†specialises in collaborative law and complex financial matters for wealthy clients. The firm also provides a range of dispute resolution services. Chartered legal executive Kath Hill¬†is the ‚Äėwell-respected and experienced‚Äô practice head and is an accredited mediator and collaborative lawyer. Her team includes solicitor Allan Devine, who has a particular focus on criminal and public law children matters on behalf of parents, and solicitor Catherine Lowther, who has expertise in relationship breakdown as well as public and private law children matters.

Practice head(s):Kath Hill

Other key lawyers:Allan Devine; Catherine Lowther


'The team's strength is most definitely its welcoming, friendly and calm demeanour.'

'Professional throughout.'

'A very friendly, approachable and knowledgeable firm, one of the best in Durham.'

Work highlights

  • Acting in relation to a pension claim brought against the client 16 years after divorce.

Ward Hadaway is known for complex, high value cases and has experience in traditional areas including relationship breakdown, as well as children disputes and safeguarding children work for the NHS, academies and private clients. The practice is led by children and safeguarding specialist Jonathan Flower and matrimonial expert Sarah Crilly. Also notable in the team is associate Louise Cannell-Mirza, who has particular expertise in childcare.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Flower; Sarah Crilly

Other key lawyers:Louise Cannell-Mirza


'The service is reliable, consistent, professional at all times, and the solicitors always keep clients informed.'

'Ward Hadaway provides first class service.'

'The knowledge and lengthy experience of the solicitors within the firm is excellent, and their case management is excellent.'

'This practice has lawyers who are committed and will go the extra mile. the lawyers are committed to representing the needs of their clients and have the ability to represent clients effectively.'

'Louise Cannell-Mirza is a very good childcare specialist.'

The range of expertise at Beecham Peacock includes domestic abuse, finance and divorce cases. Charlotte Talbot and Sophia Yau Rosher lead the team that was strengthened by the arrival of Vanessa Reed, from Sunderland City Council.

Practice head(s):Charlotte Talbot; Sophia Yau Rosher

Other key lawyers:Newcastle

BHP Law covers all aspects of family and childcare work but is particularly well-regarded for care proceedings cases. Practice head Andrea Hewitson is a resolution accredited solicitor, a member of the Law Society Family Panel and is a fully qualified collaborative lawyer. Her team was boosted by the arrival of associate Amanda Adeola, who joined from Macks Solicitors in 2018 and is a resolution accredited solicitor as well as having Higher Rights of Audience.

Practice head(s):Andrea Hewitson

Other key lawyers:Amanda Adeola


'Everyone at BHP Law were fantastic, especially Amanda Adeola.'

'Helpful and supportive through every step of the case.'

'Amanda Adeola is a credit to the firm. Nothing was ever too much trouble for her.'

EMG Solicitors has experience in finance, divorce and children cases. Resolution accredited associate Julia Middleton leads the practice with the 'calm, confident and compassionate' associate Natalia Lalas, who has a particular expertise in the niche area of surrogacy. The team also has a notable specialism in complex capacity matters.

Practice head(s):Julia Middleton; Natalia Lalas


'Good, friendly and very accessible staff treat clients with respect and understanding.'

'The manner in which the firm deals with the client is fantastic.'

'EMG is forward thinking, highly professional and has a reputation for excellence as a leader in its field.'

Work highlights

  • Represented client as Litigation Friend for mother in divorce and financial proceedings.
  • Represented client in quasi collaborative divorce and financial case.
  • Advising on complex child case with client with brain injured child with capacity issues.
  • Complex financial remedy case involving numerous assets, businesses and pensions.
  • Complex financial case also involving children. This case also involved international assets and issues to do with religious faith.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP specialises in acting for high-net-worth individuals in divorce and financial matters, as well as prenuptial agreements and private children work. Consultant Lyn Rutherford leads the practice and can call on the expertise of associate Emily Cannell, who has experience in a range of complex cases from divorce and financial issues to private law children matters.

Practice head(s):Lyn Rutherford

Other key lawyers:Emily Cannell;

Known for private finance family law, Tilly Bailey & Irvine specialises in high-net-worth clients, particularly from the farming sector. Brian Farrell leads the team and is a member of the Law Society Family Law Accreditation scheme. His areas of expertise is divorce and financial remedies relating to farming and business. Also notable is associate Shamin Ali, who has experience in child arrangements matters.

Practice head(s):Brian Farrell

Other key lawyers:Shamin Ali


'An expanding high street practice.'

'Shamin Ali is an up and coming family solicitor with a practical, result-orientated approach to litigation.'

Work highlights

  • Divorce and finances involving a business and farming interests  which have been built up during the course of the marriage but not wholly attributable to the husband.  Wife not involving in such interests.
  • Consideration of parties’ respective contributions in where this is a short marriage with no children.
  • Exceptionally acrimonious case which has involved divorce, financial remedy orders, commercial litigation and child arrangements,
  • Applications for interim maintenance and extension of term of maintenance.

Vardags is a matrimonial and family law firm specialising in high-net-worth and complex cases, particularly involving an international element. Led by director Sarah Ward, the team has notable expertise in high-value financial matters and complex Children Act proceedings.

Practice head(s):Sarah Ward

Work highlights

  • Representing financially weaker husband of a wife who had inherited a significant estate from her late parents.
  • Representing the mother of a young child in relation to ongoing children proceedings against an alleged coercive and controlling father.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

David Dale¬†and Helen Tavroges¬†lead the Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP¬†team. The range of expertise and strength in depth includes private wealth and capital tax planning specialist George Lyall;¬†court of protection and inheritance tax expert Deborah Jude; and managing associate Emily Pike, who has particular experience in advising on succession planning for business owners and shareholders. Also notable are the ‚Äėclient focused and dynamic‚Äô associates¬†Fiona McLaughlin¬†and Katie Gosling.

Practice head(s):David Dale; Helen Tavroges

Other key lawyers:George Lyall; Deborah Jude; Susan Maxey; Neil Braithwaite; Emily Pike; Katie Gosling; Fiona McLaughlin


'The level of expertise and availability of specialist individuals within the team is second to none.'

'A go-to private client team with a great mixture of expertise, they are efficient and work collaboratively.'

'George Lyall has proven to strike the perfect balance between professional advice and personal support.'

'What makes this team stand-out is the calm competent way in which they manage family wealth and landed assets in complex situations, and instil trust in clients.'

'The team is committed, invested in getting the right outcome, and comes across as mature in its approach.'

'Emily Pike is highly efficient and fast becoming a trusted practitioner in this area.'

The ‚Äėhighly skilled‚Äô and ‚Äėextremely responsive‚Äô EMG Solicitors¬†is known for estate administration, court of protection and complex cases involving capacity. The ‚Äėapproachable, friendly and professional‚Äô team is led by directors Jemma Morland¬†and Samantha Edward, who can call on the expertise of managing director Emma Gaudern, a court of protection specialist. Also notable in this area is associate Andrea Ingledew.

Practice head(s):Jemma Morland; Samantha Edward

Other key lawyers:Emma Gaudern; Andrea Ingledew


'The team provides sound advice and puts customers at the front of everything it does.'

'The knowledge is second to none.'

'EMG has a caring, family first attitude which is a win win scenario. The team are extremely professional and committed to fulfilling client needs and wishes.'

Hay & Kilner focuses on agricultural clients and high-net-worth individuals, with particular expertise in entrepreneur tax advice and succession panning. Practice head Alison Hall specialises in agricultural property relief and business property relief, as well as advising on Inheritance Act cases. Her team includes Alice Clewes, an expert in succession planning for business clients and high-net-worth individuals; and STEP qualified associate Richard Marshall.

Practice head(s):Alison Hall

Other key lawyers:Alice Clewes; Richard Marshall


'Ready to engage with fellow professionals to deliver team driven result for the client.'

'Recognition of the expertise that other professionals can bring to table to compliment their own expertise.'

'Alison Hall has a down to earth approach with clients, exceptional empathy, applying focused expertise and knowledge to deliver clients objectives.'

Ward Hadaway provides a broad range of advice to clients including corporate trustees, national charities, entrepreneurs and landowners. Practice head Andrew Facer has expertise in acting for entrepreneurial and landed clients, notably in succession planning through trusts and wills. His team includes Gaynor Jackson, who advises charities in relation to trust and estate issues.

Practice head(s):Andrew Facer

Other key lawyers:Gaynor Jackson

The commercially focused practice of DWF is led by private capital and high-net-worth individuals specialist Jon Gould. His team has notable experience in tax and corporate advice, as well as complex, cross-border probates and asset protection. Associate Laura Murphy has particular expertise in wills and administration of estate work.

Practice head(s):Jon Gould

Other key lawyers:Laura Murphy

Work highlights

  • Complex administration of estate involving significant business, international and Lloyds syndicate assets.
  • Complex lifetime tax and succession planning for international business and real estate families.
  • Complex Private client legal and tax advice for business owners; families and real estate clients.
  • Bespoke legal and tax advice in transferring shares into a lifetime Trust.
  • Lifetime IHT planning for ultra-high net worth client with business and international assets.

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd is known as a strong agricultural practice but also acts for a range of clients, providing wills and probate services as well as advising high net worth individuals and landed estates on complex trust and succession planning. Anthony Gibson leads the experienced team that includes Harry Chrisp, who specialises in dealing with large agricultural estates; Chris Sheppard, who was promoted to partner in 2019; and new addition Kath Monteith, who joined from Kidd & Spoor Harper in 2019.

Practice head(s):Anthony Gibson

Other key lawyers:Harry Chrisp; Chris Sheppard; Derwent Gibson; Kath Monteith

Key Clients

Shoreswood Farms

J Bradburn & Co

Sir Richard & Lady Renwick

Sir Christopher & Lady Bland

Hyslop family

Acting for farmers and agricultural clients, Latimer Hinks Solicitors is known for succession planning work as well as its in-house trust and tax department. Anne Elliott is head of the firm’s private client group; Elizabeth Armstrong leads the tax and trusts team; Natalie Palmer is the court of protection head; and Andrew Way’s specialisms include tax planning, wills, probate and capacity related work.

Practice head(s):Anne Elliott; Andrew Way; Elizabeth Armstrong; Natalie Palmer

Other key lawyers:Daniel Williams


'A huge depth of experience and track record in delivering good customer outcomes.'

'The Latimer Hinks team are peerless in their expertise in private client work.'

'Immense strength in depth with a range of talented lawyers. The partners and junior lawyers are approachable, knowledgeable and go the extra mile in ensuring that clients come first.'

Sintons LLP’s practice is led by Paul Nickalls, who has particular expertise in trusts, tax and succession planning. The team specialises in high net worth clients, tax planning and asset protection, with notable experience in complex and cross-border probates. Senior associate Paul Collingwood is an expert in administering complex estates, as well as advising trustees.

Practice head(s):Paul Nickalls

Other key lawyers:Paul Collingwood


'Sintons has built a team of highly experienced practitioners.'

'Sintons are professional at all times. All the staff are polite and pleasant, they are quick to respond to queries.'

'Paul Nickalls and Paul Collingwood are excellent practioners. They have significant experience, but are also very personable.'

Tilly Bailey & Irvine focuses on bespoke advice to businesses, high-net-worth individuals and trusts. Practice head Nicola Dalzell’s expertise includes wills, estates, inheritance tax planning and mental capacity work. She can call on the experience of managing partner Carolyn Tilly, who has a particular specialism in elderly client matters and the creation of trusts. Also notable is STEP qualified solicitor Jessica Morton, who joined the team from Sintons LLP in 2018.

Practice head(s):Nicola Dalzell

Other key lawyers:Carolyn Tilly; Helen Dexter; Martin Brown; Annaliese Barber; Jessica Morton


'They provide a comprehensive service.'

'The firm's great strength is that it's a multi location practice yet maintains it's local and personal touch.'

'The communication with the team and smiling faces from when you first enter the door makes them an absolute pleasure to deal with.'

Work highlights

  • Strategic succession planning for family with several million pounds moved outside of the estate over a 15-year period.
  • Administered farming estate comprising of agricultural property relief.
  • Instructed to assist in the administration of a multi-million pound estate.  Instructed to deal specifically with land and deeds.
  • Administered taxable estate of client incorporating house, land and portfolio.

Helen Biglin¬†and Karen Pratt¬†lead the team at BHP Law¬†known for ‚Äėfriendliness, approachability, availability, efficiency and transparency‚Äô. The wills, trusts and probate group acts for individuals, companies and trustees on a range of matters, from the preparation of basic wills to the establishment and administration of trusts. The practice also provides experience in agricultural and commercial estate planning and complex capacity cases. In addition, the firm‚Äôs court of protection offering was boosted by the arrival of Stephen Williams, who joined from¬†Switalskis Solicitors¬†in 2018.

Practice head(s):Helen Biglin; Karen Pratt

Other key lawyers:James McMillan; Stephen Williams


'The firm delivers efficient, prompt service and has a very good reputation in this area.'

'A very personal service with a high level of care and attention paid to clients needs, as well as a specialty in the area, combined with competence and experience.'

'BHP delivers good advise in a common sense approach.'

Work highlights

  • Quick succession deaths of both clients leaving a taxable estate consisting of unusual assets including a small yacht and antique motorcycles.
  • Advice pertaining to Estate Duty claims, business property relief, family deed of trust and subsequent amendments relating to land in Cumbria.
  • Advice provided in respect of formation of a Family Investment Company and associated estate planning needs such as Commercial Lasting Powers of Attorney and will planning.
  • Inheritance tax and succession advice provided relating to assets held in England and rental property portfolio held in Poland.
  • Client transferred from another firm following initial appointment.  Related to IHT advice, trust planning and a gifting application to the Court of Protection on behalf of client for her incapacitated husband.

Burnetts has extensive experience of advising clients with farming assets, as well as in complex and multi-jurisdictional estate planning. Led by Rachael Stephenson, the team also specialises in the creation and management of trusts. Associate Timothy Boardman joined in 2018 from Cartmell Shepherd and brings experience in wills, powers of attorney, estates and trusts.

Practice head(s):Rachael Stephenson

Other key lawyers:Martyn Wrightson; Timothy Boardman; Tracy Stainton


'The Burnetts team offer an excellent professional service with areas of specialism not offered by other local firms.'

'Burnetts has a private client team that has exceptional knowledge and experience, which has provides a high quality service.' 

'The solicitors all very approachable, dynamic and forward thinking.'

Cartmell Shepherd acts for private clients and charitable trusts, focusing on tax and estate planning advice for agricultural and landed estates. Deborah Flynn leads the team that also has expertise in court of protection work. Consultant Diana Armstrong and managing director and contentious probate team head Peter Stafford are notable in this area.

Practice head(s):Deborah Flynn

Other key lawyers:Diana Armstrong; Peter Stafford

Iain Nicholson & Co specialises in private client work and agriculture, particularly in matters relating to property and wealth planning. Director Iain Nicholson has extensive experience advising high-net-worth individuals on wills, probates, taxation and property; fellow director Peter Dakin is a member of STEP and has notable expertise in inheritance tax as well as property.

Practice head(s):Iain Nicholson

Other key lawyers:Peter Dakin; Victoria Stevenson; Lauren Wilson

Work highlights

  • Probate and administration of substantial estates of husband and wife who died in quick succession
  • Probate and administration of substantial dutiable estate.
  • Acting in connection with complex and high value estate. Complicated issues involving question of Deceased’s domicile.
  • General advice in relation to Will with Inheritance Tax implications and charitable bequests.

Wills, trusts and probate specialist Louise Miller is practice head at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP. She leads a team that was strengthened by the arrival of STEP qualified Solicitor Lydia McCaslin, who joined in 2018 from Alderson Law. The firm has particular experience with high-net-worth individuals and complex estates, as well as seeing an increase in court of protection and trust work.

Practice head(s):Louise Miller

Other key lawyers:Lydia McCaslin; Pat Mellish; Victoria Richer


'Extremely professional and very personable, Mincoffs has excelled in its service.'

'The solicitors are friendly and knowledgeable.'

'By far the friendliest, most helpful and down to earth firm, it is extremely professional and reliable.'

Work highlights

  • Represented client in the administration of the estate.
  • Acting on behalf of the Administrator of the estate of the deceased who died intestate.
  • Multi-million-pound estate involving complex business structures, lifetime giving, foreign property, minor beneficiaries and Variation of the Will by Court Order.
  • The clients instructed the firm to prepare Wills and Powers of Attorney, whilst they were in the process of liquidating their company in Sweden and, awaiting monies due to them from the liquidated company in the sum of several million pounds.

Keith Hately leads the Muckle LLP practice known for representing business owners, company directors and senior executives, as well as wealthy individuals and their families. Expert in personal estate planning for business clients Julie Garbutt joined as a senior associate from Sintons LLP in 2018. The team was further strengthened by the arrivals of agriculture, estates and property specialists David Towns and senior associate Elizabeth Earle from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2018.

Practice head(s):Keith Hately

Other key lawyers:Julie Garbutt; David Towns; Elizabeth Earle


'The firm has a continual dedication to providing their clients with top quality advice and a proven commitment to client focused service of the highest level.'

'Where issues require other forms of legal expertise the firm's comprehensive coverage of all aspects of law is incredibly useful.'

'The Muckle team is well-established and focuses on its core business strengths within the local marketplace.'

'The individuals are always professional, knowledgeable and willing to work collaboratively on client matters to ensure an appropriate outcome.'

'Keith Hately and Julie Garbutt use their vast combined experience to understand the needs and viewpoints of business owners and always respond well and intelligently to individual client requirements.'

'Keith Hately has proven himself time and again to be the go-to trusts and probate lawyer in Newcastle. He has wide ranging technical knowledge, coupled with a genuine and heart felt determination to look after his clients and ensure that they receive appropriate advice.'

'Keith Hately is considered a very safe pair of hands for clients and is able to flex his style to work successfully with a range of personalities.'

'Julie Garbutt is a class act with clients and her straightforward, no nonsense approach always goes down well and ensures good results.'

The ‚Äėfriendly, efficient and always very helpful‚Äô Swinburne Maddison¬†is led by John Davison, who has particular expertise in wills, trusts and inheritance tax planning. He leads a team of ‚ÄėSTEP qualified and highly client focused‚Äô practitioners, including Anna Stephenson, who was promoted to managing associate in 2018. Known for its work in the farming and professional agriculture communities, the firm represents a range of clients from elderly and high-net-worth individuals to national UK charities.

Practice head(s):John Davison

Other key lawyers:Anna Stephenson; Jennifer Purvis; Nadine Walton; Kelly Richardson


'Personal, friendly face to face service.'

'Staff are proactive, not reactive. They are efficient, knowledgeable and give information with understanding and composure, making it easy to understand.'

'Swinburne Maddison has clearly considered every aspect of how its practice is run, as a result, every member of the practice team is welcoming, helpful and understanding.'

Work highlights

  • Advising on the succession and tax planning issues pertinent to the gift of a shareholdingworth several million in a prominent local, family company.
  • Analysing, critiquing and ‘rectifying’ the succession and testamentary planning undertaken on behalf of the clients by third party, unregulated advisors to date.
  • Assistance relevant to administration of the estate of the deceased, who left a poorly-drawn Will and difficult family circumstances.
  • Advising on the lifetime and testamentary planning options for a wealthy, unmarried individual with substantial property interests and a net estate worth several million.
  • Administration of a complex, testate estate in which the valuable residuary estate was divided between numerous beneficiaries, 20% of which were charitable (and therefore ‘exempt’ from inheritance tax) and 80% were non-exempt individuals.

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