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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Bond Dickinson LLP’s team acts for over 100 landed estates in the UK and is led by Simon Kirkup whose clients include The National Trust, English Heritage, The Church Commissioners and Grainger plc. Recent work includes acting for a well-known Cumbrian estate on its reorganisation. Andrew Farquharson acts on the sale and purchase of farms, estates and rural property portfolios.

Cartmell Shepherd’s team has particular strength in acting for landlords in connection with wind, solar PV and hydro schemes, and also acts for HSBC on transactions in relation to farms and agricultural land. Jonathan Carroll heads the team and acts on contentious and non-contentious matters, including tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act.

Richard Miller heads the practice at Burnetts, which has completed several multimillion-pound farm transactions throughout 2015. The team’s strengths encompass advising on renewable energy projects, assisting with the structuring of agribusinesses, and drafting agricultural tenancy agreements. The ‘efficient, speedy and tenacious’ Diane Barnes ‘is absolutely thorough in her investigations, and has excellent interpersonal skills’.

At Hay & Kilner, department head Alison Hall advises on farm successions and assists with drafting farming partnership agreements, and Richard Freeman-Wallace advises on farm business tenancies and conditional contracts, as well as negotiating options for the disposal or acquisition of land for residential development.

Key figures at Jacksons Law include the ‘highly knowledgeable’ Jane Armitage, who ‘is excellent on behalf of farmers and landowners’, and Toby Joel, who is a contentious equine specialist. Practice head Adrienne Patterson is also recommended.

Ward Hadaway’s clients include Woodland Trust, Welbeck Estates, Northumberland National Park Authority and the University of Newcastle. Alex Cox advises rural land owners and farmers on property transactions and Neil Robson has significant experience of land use and planning aspects. Christopher Hewitt has retired.

BHP Law’s Darlington office has developed a strong foothold among agricultural clients. The well-regarded Peter Blackett continues to advise farmers and landowners on land and farm developments, planning and environmental issues, and farm partition arrangements. The team recently assisted with the purchase of land in North Yorkshire.

At Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd, David Bawn, Harry Chrisp and Tony Gibson advised various large landowners and estates on their mineral and manorial rights. In another highlight Chrisp acted for the Marquess of Linlithgow on the £1.5m purchase of forestland in Wales.

Highlights for Iain Nicholson & Co included negotiating an insurance claim following a farmhouse burning down and advising the same client on a potential farm sale. Peter Dakin acted on the sale of agricultural land to a national building company to facilitate housing development.

At Latimer Hinks Solicitors, Anne Elliott’s agricultural expertise includes succession planning and inheritance tax planning for farm owners. Other key individuals include Neil Stevenson, who specialises in renewable energy projects, and consultant Tim Haggie, who advises on property transactions for high-net-worth individuals, and assists with mineral options and leases.

Tom Wills leads Sintons LLP’s practice, which attracts praise for its ‘high-quality advice relating to rural landlord and tenant issues’. Wills specialises in agricultural tenancies, farm holdings, purchases and disposals, and in renewable development projects.

Charities and not-for-profit

Emma Moody leads Bond Dickinson LLP’s team, which acts for a range of high-profile clients including Masonic Samaritan Fund, Bowes Museum, Addaction, the British Association of Oral Surgeons and Gateshead College. Associate Samantha Pritchard assisted with the establishment of the Virgin Money Foundation, which included implementing appropriate governance arrangements.

Clients highlight Muckle LLP’s track record in structuring and forming charitable foundations and its wide-ranging knowledge of charitable law issues. ‘Exceptionally efficient’ practice head John Devine attracts praise for his ‘reassuringly personal service’.

At Ward Hadaway, Fiona Wharton (who was promoted to partner in June 2015) advises charities, and their trading subsidiaries, and social enterprises on organisational structuring and restructuring issues, mergers, compliance, fundraising, governance and trustee responsibilities. Gaynor Jackson is a standout figure in the field.

Hay & Kilner’s client base includes local and national charities such as the British Blood Transfusion Society, the Foundation of Light, Abbeyfield Newcastle upon Tyne Society and the Biscuit Factory Foundation. Team head Jonathan Waters is noted for his advice on structuring charitable trusts, charity mergers, and on disagreements between business partners.

At Sintons LLP, team head Amanda Maskery recently advised a high-profile local client on the establishment of a charitable foundation including its registration with the Charity Commission.

Contentious trusts and probate

Bond Dickinson LLP’s Newcastle office attracts praise for providing ‘a quality of service that rivals competitors across the region and in London’. Key individuals in Newcastle include Jonathan Grogan, whose key strengths are his ‘thoughtful and client-friendly approach’, and practice head Neil Long, who has considerable experience acting on validity and capacity disputes, advising on construction and interpretation issues, representing clients in trustee and beneficiary disputes, and handling contested Court of Protection applications.

At Hay & Kilner, Martin Soloman acted for the beneficiary of a deceased party who had entered into various complex property arrangements with his partner (who is also now deceased) and where a trustee has been involved in the management of significant assets.

At Ward Hadaway, Julie Huntingdon and Gaynor Jackson are leading the team in a claim for provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which involved examining the extent to which a spouse’s health should affect their claim for provision which goes beyond maintenance. Samantha Lowe left the practice in 2015.

Cartmell Shepherd’s team is led by Peter Stafford who is ‘very easy to deal with and explains things in easily understandable terms’. Senior associate Stephanie Johnson recently acted for a daughter in a dispute with her sister who jointly held lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs over their parents who were both in care.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s recent cases include acting for the daughter of the deceased who was the sole beneficiary of her mother’s estate in a claim brought by her brother in which he challenged the validity of the will due to the deceased’s alleged lack of testamentary capacity. Debra Burton heads the team.


Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

A highly professional firm’, David Gray Solicitors LLP attracts considerable praise for its ‘outstanding level of efficient and effective service’, and for its strength in representing clients from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds; ‘the team works closely with community resources and translators and goes the extra mile when assisting clients who have cognitive impairment and mental health difficulties’. Children specialist Lucy Mead took over as team head from Mary Shaw, who now focuses on mediation. Other key individuals include Lesley Monkhouse (who is praised for her skills with parents from disadvantaged backgrounds), Nicky Hunter and Elspeth Thomson.

Clients of Silk Family Law consistently praise the firm’s ‘excellent, proactive, commercial, and effective’ 12 fee-earner team, which includes Margaret Simpson, a collaborative lawyer who regularly acts for farming and landowner clients, and partner and qualified barrister Ian Kennerley. Kim Fellowes focuses on complex financial issues involving trusts, pensions and pre-acquired marital wealth. Wayne Lynn was promoted to the partnership and specialises in cohabitee disputes and the drafting of cohabitation agreements, and pre and post-nuptial arrangements.

Ward Hadaway’s team is headed by Jonathan Flower, ‘an extremely able family lawyer who applies meticulous attention to detail combined with a good deal of common sense’. Flower acted on behalf of two Nigerian children in High Court proceedings, which included issues of female genital mutilation. Other key figures include Teresa Davidson, who handles complex cases where parents move within or outside of the jurisdiction, Louise Cannell-Mirza, who focuses on complex care proceedings and child protection work in the health and education sectors, and associate Julia Middleton, who is a collaborative lawyer with children expertise.

The family practice at Burnetts is led by Simon Mortimer, who has extensive experience in multimillion-pound divorces involving farm business partnerships and assets. Amy Fallows focuses on childcare cases, regularly acting for grandparents; her knowledge includes special guardianship orders, child arrangements orders, child relocation and problems with contact.

Cartmell Shepherd’s team is led by Julian Nelson, who stands out for her ‘exemplary professional insight, which she couples with a welcoming and reassuring approach’. Nelson regularly represents solicitors, and is assisted by Caroline Smith, who has expertise in complicated private children’s matters and cohabitation cases. Mediator and collaborative lawyer David Kendrew joined in February 2016 as a consultant from Bendles.

Hay & Kilner acted for the husband in a financial provision dispute involving substantial assets including four properties and other investments amounting to £4m. The Nicola Matthews leads the team and focuses on high-value divorce and financial provision cases, and Rob Hart specialises in public law children cases.

Key individuals at Major Family Law include founding partner Joanne Major, who is noted for her ‘combination of technical knowledge and common sense’; finance specialist Jonathan Dunkley, who ‘is a brilliant tactician’; and Anna Hunter, who specialises in children proceedings and ‘establishes a very good rapport with the client’. Hunter’s recent instructions include acting for a mother seeking to remove a child from the jurisdiction, and a TOLATA case where the claimant was seeking to claim interest in the client’s property. Rebecca Savage acted for a wife in financial remedy proceedings which involved assets of over £5m.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s practice is led by Lyn Rutherford; he has substantial experience in complicated high-net-worth financial cases. Recent work includes acting for the wife in financial and divorce proceedings, which involved issues of champerty and wasted costs.

At Sintons LLP, newly appointed team head and matrimonial specialist Steve Freeman recently negotiated a financial settlement worth over £6m on behalf of a high-net-worth client.

Andrea Hewitson leads BHP Law’s practice, which recently welcomed Gemma Holmes from Meikles; she is noted for her experience in financial disputes arising from relationship breakdowns. Consultant Terry Hamer has children expertise and Hewitson is a collaborative lawyer.

Clients rate the ‘excellent level of service’ provided by Beecham Peacock, which includes the ‘very helpful and approachable’ Charlotte Talbot and Sophia Yau-Rosher, who heads the team and ‘has a no-nonsense approach’ that her high-net-worth clients appreciate.

EMG Solicitors’ practice specialises in surrogacy issues. Key individuals include Court of Protection specialist Emma Gaudern, who heads the team, and Natalia Lalas, who is noted for her civil partnership expertise.

Swinburne Maddison’s team is led by Kath Hill ‘who reaches the best agreement for clients and will fight their corner if necessary’. Recent highlights include acting for the wife in a collaborative divorce process featuring gender reassignment issues.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Helen Tavroges and David Dale lead Bond Dickinson LLP’s team, which recently advised the trustees and owner of a landed estate worth over £100m in relation to ongoing trust, taxation and heritage property issues regarding the historic house inhabited by the estate owner. Deborah Jude is recommended.

Hay & Kilner’s expertise spans inheritance tax and estate planning for agricultural clients, acting for large landed estates, and assisting with succession planning. Kirsten Cook leads the team, which includes Alison Hall, who recently advised clients on the creation of a settlement for grandchildren and on the creation of a family charitable trust.

Sintons LLP’s practice stands out for its approach to assisting vulnerable clients, including the elderly or injured. Team head Paul Nickalls assists with drafting wills and administering estates, and also provides advice on IHT and Court of Protection matters.

Clients rate Ward Hadaway for its ‘very personal and friendly level of service’, with Gaynor Jackson singled out for her ‘empathy, clear explanations, and great bedside manner’. Practice head Andrew Facer acts for entrepreneurial and landed clients with an emphasis on complex succession structures involving companies, partnerships, foreign property, and pension funds. He also provides advice on employee benefit trusts.

DWF’s clients highlight the ‘superior level of service’ provided by the team, which is led by Jon Gould, whose ‘knowledge of private client law is second to none’. Gould is advising on a complex estate involving a farming partnership worth approximately £1.5m.

For some, EMG Solicitors fields ‘the premier independent Court of Protection practice in the North East’. Emma Gaudern leads the team and is rated for her ‘personable approach, her experience and for the confidence she commands from all quarters’. Jemma Morland is developing niche expertise in the financial aspects of the 2014 Care Act.

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd acted for the executors of an estate including the termination of a life interest trust and dealing with the free estate valued in excess of £7m. The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ David Bawn is recommended for his ‘outstanding grasp of the law and wealth of experience’.

Iain Nicholson & Co’s responsive practice is led by Iain Nicholson, who is highly experienced in advising high-net-worth clients on wills, probates, taxation and property matters. Peter Dakin’s recent work includes advising on estate documentation for the development of private housing in Northumberland.

Latimer Hinks Solicitors’ practice is led by Anne Elliott, who focuses on wealth preservation for high-net-worth clients including preparing wills and trusts, tax planning, succession planning and related capital gains tax planning. Elizabeth Armstrongis great at building client trust, which will not only help the client now but over many years’.

BHP Law is known for acting for high-net-worth individuals with large estates. Helen Biglin specialises in acting for elderly clients protecting their assets, lasting powers of attorney and IHT issues. Karen Pratt is a go-to person for Court of Protection work and Peter Blackett acts for country landowners and farming families.

Burnetts fields a team with ‘real strength in-depth, exceptional interpersonal skills and a confident, competent approach’. Martyn Wrightson, Emma Baker and Sharon Fleming are the key contacts.

Joanna Jeeves leads Cartmell Shepherd’s team, which specialises in acting for the elderly in relation to Court of Protection matters. All senior members of the team are STEP qualified.

At Mincoffs Solicitors LLPPatricia Mellish has expertise in family trusts, wills, estate planning, lifetime trusts, administration of estates and enduring and lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection work. Helen Robinson joined in 2015.

Muckle LLP’s team is led by Keith Hately, who focuses on advising business owners with family wealth and succession planning.

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