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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 lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Mark Jackson - Cartmell Shepherd

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in North 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


Working in close conjunction with the firm’s private client and litigation teams, Cartmell Shepherd has a strong profile for transactional work and tenancy matters, most notably those governed by the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, and ‘inspires confidence with its knowledge and friendly manner’. The ‘very efficient and thoughtful’ team also receives praise for its ‘fantastic level of service’. Director and team head Jonathan Carroll is praised for his ‘no-nonsense approach and fantastic knowledge of agricultural law’; he advised the Archer family on the acquisition of two separate agricultural holdings in Cheshire for £3m, and assisted a client with the purchase of agricultural land which included advising on tax planning arrangements. On the contentious front, Carroll and ‘thorough’ associate Mark Jackson, who is also a ‘good communicator’, advised a client on a contentious succession application. Associate Katherine Pretswell-Walker regularly handles matters relating to mineral and sporting rights, overage and claw-back agreements and renewable energy. Clients include HSBC Bank and various farming families and agriculture businesses.

The ‘professional’ team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP ‘provides an excellent level of service’ to an impressive client roster that includes various private estate owners and other landowning organisations as well as public authorities and historic property management and conservation bodies such as The National Trust, English Heritage and Church Commissioners. Recent work includes advising various clients on property transactions, agricultural tenancy issues and mineral and wind farm option leases. Simon Kirkup heads the team and has ‘substantial experience and expertise as well as good client-handling skills’. Legal director Andrew Farquharson is also recommended.

Praised for its ‘instant replies’ and ‘excellent level of service’, Burnetts covers a broad spread of agriculture sector work and is particularly well equipped to guide clients through sales and purchases of farms alongside refinance, agricultural tenancy and planning matters. ‘Approachable and level-headed’ team head Richard Miller, who stands out for his ‘strong commercial focus and excellent client-handling skills’, assisted Warrendale Farms with the purchase of RG & H Shepherd and Priory Pullets, including handling all aspects of agricultural and commercial property due diligence. Miller also continues to advise HSBC Bank on a number of refinancing matters in the agricultural sector, including the re-mortgage of an existing holding to fund the purchase of a farm. ‘Professional and personable’ senior associate Diane Barnes has ‘extensive and detailed knowledge’ and ‘provides sound and timely advice’. Associate Megan Richardson is also recommended.

Hay & Kilner is highly active in commercial and corporate agricultural sector work, regularly advising on the sale and purchase of farms and partnership agreements. The team is also experienced in matters relating to succession, mineral rights and land development. Team head Alison Hall advised a client on the potential restructuring of a farming partnership prior to its sale, and continues to advise a client on its rights to the estate of a deceased farmer. Hall also acted for the administrators in the administration of an agricultural estate, which involved agricultural property relief and business property relief matters, and acted for the widow and son of a deceased farmer in contentious probate matters concerning the ownership of assets. Other key individuals include senior associate John Luke, commercial property expert Richard Freeman-Wallace and Lucy Gray.

Latimer Hinks Solicitors provides a broad range of services with a specialism in non-contentious work spanning sales and purchases of agricultural property and succession planning matters, including wills, trusts and inheritance tax, alongside renewable energy project work and mineral-related options and leases. Nicola Neilson is regularly called upon to advise on renewable energy transactions in addition to handling matters pertaining to leases of agricultural property. Anne Elliott’s and Elizabeth Armstrong’s strength lies in assisting landowning clients including farmers and individuals with succession and inheritance tax planning, while Armstrong’s expertise also spans the administration of estates and trusts where agricultural land is involved. Neil Stevenson has notable experience in agricultural property and renewable energy work, which includes development and acquisition funding matters. Adam Wood is another key individual.

Assisting clients with transactions and planning matters constitutes a key portion of Ward Hadaway’s workload. The ‘recommended’ team is led by Neil Robson, who is best known for his experience in advising various estates clients on land use and planning matters; he continues to advise the Northumberland National Park Authority on various issues pertaining to The Sill, a landscape discovery centre situated on the Roman Wall in a world heritage site in Northumberland. This instruction includes transactional advice and assistance with the planning application for the centre. Other key individuals include transactional property expert Alex Cox, rural property and mineral reserves specialist Stefan Bainbridge and main contact for trust and asset protection issues Andrew Facer.

Gibson & Co assists landed families and estates, high-net-worth individuals and family businesses with the acquisition and sale of farms and estates - an area of particular expertise for Harry Chrisp - in addition to handling a range of succession planning matters. In recent work, Chrisp advised a client on the sale of a historic landed estate. David Bawn has notable expertise in capital tax planning and the administration of high-value estates but also deals with agricultural property issues, while team head and senior partner Tony Gibson is best known for his experience in trusts and probate work. Derwent Gibson  and Michael Macgregor are also key members of the practice.

In an illustration of Jacksons Law's strength in disputes, Toby Joel acted for a landowner in a number of disputes with a neighbouring landowner pertaining to pheasant shooting activities, and represented a different landowner in a claim against the local authority following the client suffering crop losses after repeated flooding due to damaged and inadequate drainage on public land. On the non-contentious side, the team handles various agricultural tenancy and agricultural property matters including the sale and acquisition of farms. Recently, the practice advised a partnership on acquiring the freehold interest in approximately 50 acres of land. Adrienne Patterson heads the team, which includes key individuals Simon Catterall and Inderjit Gill.

Sintons LLP acts for a broad client base - including estates, landowners, farming enterprises, private clients, banks and investors - on the acquisition and disposal of farming ventures, agricultural holdings and development projects, as well as the registration of mines and minerals portfolios. ‘Approachable and knowledgeable’ team head Tom Wills has ‘the ability to tackle complex deals’; he acted for new client Dinning Farms in a farm swap, and advised a different client on the refinancing of 360 acres of land in County Durham, which included a grade II listed farmhouse, three holiday cottages, a range of agricultural buildings and a medieval settlement. Paul Liddle assisted The Banks Group with a number of agricultural matters including opencast coal and wind farm developments. Alan Dawson is another key member of the team and has a focus on tax planning and trust work.

Acting for various farming and landowning clients, BHP Law routinely advises on agricultural transactions alongside lease, tenancy and property development matters. Helen Biglin has particular expertise in agricultural trust and estate planning issues including inheritance tax, while Peter Blackett is the key contact for agricultural property tenancies and leases, the agricultural development of wind farms and the purchase and sale of farms. Associate Mark Clayton is another name to note.

The ‘very experienced and helpful’ team at Iain Nicholson & Co provides a ‘good, prompt and personal service’ and is considered as ‘a very good choice for small businesses’. In recent work, the recommended Peter Dakin advised a client on the purchase of agricultural land for development, and assisted a different client with the purchase of land with equestrian use. The ‘highly experienced’ Iain Nicholson is ‘very dedicated and genuinely interested in helping his clients’, who also appreciate his ‘patience and clear explanations’.

At Tilly Bailey & Irvine, the team led by Helen Dexter provides farmers, landowners, investors and property developers with succession planning advice and assistance with the sale and purchase of land and farms, agricultural tenancies and the sale and purchase of mineral and sporting rights. Dexter continues to administer the estates of several deceased landowning farmers, and associate Andrew Beattie assisted J.O. Brewis & Sons with the sale of a mixed farming estate.

Charities and not-for-profit

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Charities and not-for-profit clients in North 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


The ‘excellent’ team at Muckle LLP handles the full remit of charity sector work including corporate governance, fundraising, employment, property, regulatory and tax matters, and is particularly rated for its strength in the community sports sector. This specialist expertise is reflected in the team’s client roster, which includes various professional and amateur sports clubs alongside national sports governing bodies. Advising education sector clients on charity law and governance matters constitutes another key element of the practice, which is led by the ‘exceptional’ John Devine. He continues to advise parkrun Global and its subsidiaries on various matters, and, in 2017, he assisted the client with its corporate restructuring and registration with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Joanne Davison advised Auckland Castle Trust on various trading, governance and property issues in order to preserve the castle as a visitor attraction. Other clients include Alnwick Garden Trust, the Football Association and Children’s Heart Unit Fund.

With particular expertise in the education, health and religious charity sectors, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is noted for its ‘excellent level of service’, providing clients with ‘timely and detailed advice’ on strategic, governance and operational charity law matters. This includes assistance with registrations with the Charity Commission and preparing governing documents for the establishment of a charity as well as advice on regulatory compliance and charitable trust matters. ‘Outstanding’ team head Emma Moody ‘is always prepared to go the extra mile’; she advised Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums on its governance structure, the establishment of a strategic board and the set-up of a trading company as a joint venture to enable the client to develop new revenue streams. In other work, Moody assisted Gateshead College with a review of the college’s complaints system, and continues to provide the Roman Catholic charity Saint John of God Hospitaller Services with on-going strategic advice. ‘Knowledgeable’ managing associate Samantha Pritchard is another key member of the team and praised for her ‘common sense approach’.

Sintons LLP provides a broad range of commercial services to various charity sector players with a focus on education, medical research and public sector work. The practice also acts for a number of religious institutions. Team head Amanda Maskery assisted Family Gateway with Charity Commission approval proceedings required to extend its remit to a national level as well as rebranding matters. Corporate and commercial partner Adrian Dye advised Newcastle Eagles Community Foundation on planning and funding issues pertaining to the client’s development of a new baseball stadium and community facility. Other key individuals include Alan Dawson and Laura Peace. Auckland Castle Trust, Newcastle Diocese and Carlisle Diocese are also clients.

Ward Hadaway acts for an extensive roster of registered and exempt charities as well as social enterprises including Alnwick Garden Trust, County Durham Community Foundation, Newcastle Rugby Foundation and the Land Trust. Much of the team’s work pertains to governance, trading, fundraising and restructuring issues, while various other matters are dealt with in co-operation with the relevant department. In recent work, IP team head Alex Shiel advised Changing Lives on various charity and governance matters alongside employment and property issues, and assisted Newcastle University with charity law, commercial and IP issues. Vindolanda Trust retained the team to advise on a grant of approximately £1.3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to expand the client’s existing museum at the ancient Roman fort. The practice is jointly led by Colin Hewitt and Fiona Wharton and also includes consultant Gaynor Jackson.

Hay & Kilner advises charity sector clients on governance matters and business structures alongside property, employment and corporate matters. Managing partner and team head Jonathan Waters assisted the British Blood Transfusion Society and the Circle of Women with various governance issues. In another highlight, the team acted for Foundation of Light - Sunderland Association Football Club’s registered charity - on a number of employment law matters including reorganisations, redundancies and grievances. Consultant Martin Soloman and senior associate John Luke are key members of the team.

Contentious trusts and probate

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in North 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


At Ward Hadaway, commercial litigator Martin Woodford is well versed in acting for trustees and beneficiaries in claims relating to fund investments and claims against third party advisors, as well as handling contentious breach of trust matters pertaining to trust funds. Julie Huntingdon handles a wide range of contentious trusts and probate matters such as claims involving capacity challenges to wills and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. She frequently acts for charities as does Gaynor Jackson, who handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious trust and estate issues. Associate Joe Kelley ‘offers an extremely good service’; he focuses on breach of trust cases and challenges to wills based on testamentary capacity issues.

Considered by many as the ‘clear market leader in the North East’, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has ‘considerable expertise and experience in trusts and probate matters’ which makes the team of ‘effective litigators’ a ‘safe pair of hands’. It is regularly called on by individuals and trustees as well as landowners and landed estate clients. The ‘clever, hardworking and empathetic’ Neil Long heads the team from London and is also noted as being ‘imaginative, innovative and determined’. In Newcastle, ‘excellent litigator’ and managing associate Richard Pike is ‘very strategic in litigation’ and ‘fights hard for his clients’. Clients also benefit from his ‘very realistic assessments’ and regard him as being ‘unfailingly courteous while at the same time maintaining a firm stance for his client’; attributes which make him ‘extraordinarily adept at handling substantial cases without losing the personal touch’.

Hay & Kilner works in close co-operation with the non-contentious trusts and tax team when handling contentious trusts and probate matters which frequently pertain to disputes in the agriculture sector. Consultant and team head Martin Soloman continues to act for a farmer’s widow in contentious matters pertaining to his will and ownership interests, and has been acting for a client in a dispute with his sister over the assets of their mother’s estate. Lucy Gray acted for a client in pursuing various claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. In non-contentious work, the team including Rodney Jones works closely with private client practice head Alison Hall.

The team at Cartmell Shepherd has a ‘good reputation’ and is led by the ‘very experienced and approachable’ Peter Stafford, who ‘has a great way of explaining complicated issues in a straightforward way’; his expertise encompasses Inheritance Act claims, disputes over the validity of wills and the removal of executors and trustees. The team also has a niche specialism in issues arising from NHS continuing healthcare assessments and other care-related matters, with health and social care team head Stephanie Johnson the key figure for those matters. In recent work, Stafford acted for an executor in a dispute with his sister over their mother’s estate consisting of one property, approximately 48 acres of land and various chattels.

Sintons LLP ‘handles matters quickly and sensitively’, with clients, including individuals, charities, professionals and corporate bodies, also benefitting from the practice's close co-operation with the firm’s robust private client and dispute resolution teams, leading to regular instructions on will and constructive trusts disputes alongside Inheritance Act claims. Team head and firm chairman Alan Dawson is the main contact alongside head of dispute resolution Angus Ashman, who ‘always keeps clients fully informed’. The team increased its bench strength by adding ‘very knowledgeable’ senior associate Emma Saunders from Russell-Cooke and solicitor Jonathan Grogan from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP; Saunders ‘keeps an eye on the detail of the matter while at the same time keeping the big picture and the client’s best interests in mind’ and is also praised as ‘leaving no stone unturned when preparing a case’. ‘Good and very approachable’ senior associate Julie Garbutt ‘puts clients at ease quickly’.

Working in conjunction with the firm’s private client team, Tilly Bailey & Irvine covers the full spectrum of contentious trust and probate work, including Inheritance Act disputes, financial claims and executor and trustees removals. Solicitor Gemma Smith is the main contact after former team head and commercial litigator Kenton Bazeley left the firm to join Archers Law LLP in 2018. In recent work, Smith represented the executor of an estate in a claim based on the Inheritance Act 1975 brought by a lodger who lived with the deceased prior his death and refused to vacate. Associate Debra Burton is now at Shakespeare Martineau LLP.


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 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


The ‘excellent’ team at David Gray Solicitors LLP has a longstanding reputation in family law, and is able to leverage the firm's crime, immigration and housing expertise to handle the full range of family law matters. ‘Calm and informative’ team head Lucy Mead is frequently called upon to deal with financial matters, while Lesley Monkhouse specialises in cases concerning children and handles issues pertaining to non-accidental injuries, forced marriage and matters featuring international elements. ‘Highly professional’ managing partner Elspeth Thomson ‘handles matters sympathetically’ and stands out for her expertise in adoption law including adoptions with a foreign element, while the recommended Mary Shaw focuses on divorce-related finance matters. Solicitor Claire Hunter is also recommended; she is well versed in dealing with public law children issues and financial separation matters including sexual abuse and exploitation.

The ‘extremely good and close-knit team’ at Silk Family Law is praised as being ‘informative, sympathetic and highly knowledgeable’ which makes it well equipped to guide business owners, landowners, farmers, sports personalities, celebrities and politicians through a wide range of family law matters. Key areas of expertise include high-value finance cases arising out of divorce and separation, particularly those involving landed estates, businesses and trusts, as well as children law issues. The ‘truly gifted’ Kim Fellowes ‘lives and breathes her work’ and ‘changes lives on a daily basis’; clients particularly appreciate her ‘realistic advice’ and ‘detailed and thorough work’. The ‘friendly and sympathetic’ Margaret Simpson ‘gets straight to the point’, ‘understands the wider picture in which family law issues occur’ and has ‘exceptional knowledge of business and taxation matters’. Also recommended are Wayne Lynn, who is a ‘safe pair of hands’, and Ian Kennerley.

Ward Hadaway’s ‘impressive and hugely professional family law department’ is ‘diligent’, ‘provides quality advice’ and ‘stands out for its excellent case preparation and client care’. It is led by the ‘experienced, dedicated and diligent’ Jonathan Flower, who is ‘very experienced in representing children of all ages’, ‘leaving no stone unturned to achieve the best outcome for vulnerable children and adolescents’. Flower, who also handles high-value divorce settlements, is supported by Sarah Crilly, whose ‘calming influence’ ‘takes away all of the client’s anxieties’; she is ‘easy to communicate with’ and provides ‘thorough advice’ and ‘very good assistance with matters involving financial remedies’. Other key individuals include associate Cassandra Spenceley, who ‘delivers sound advice in an understandable and approachable manner’, and associate Louise Cannell-Mirza, who is noted for her ‘excellent case preparations’. Solicitor Hollie Morgan is a ‘promising newcomer’.

Burnetts provides ‘swift and timely’ advice and ‘always seeks to de-escalate tensions and trouble’. Much of its workload pertains to high-value divorce proceedings where the team benefits from Simon Mortimer’s expertise in financial, pension and agricultural assets and farm business partnerships; he is a ‘calm and experienced operator of the highest integrity’ and noted as being ‘incredibly reassuring and supportive’. Recently, he advised a wife in financial remedy proceedings following her divorce, seeking a share of her former husband’s interest in a valuable international company. The ‘outstanding’ Amy Fallows is praised for her ‘professional approach’ and ‘straight-forward and pragmatic advice’; she regularly advises on Special Guardianship and Child Arrangements Orders alongside grandparent and relocation issues, and acted for an aunt and uncle on the application for special guardianship for their nephew following care order proceedings in Scotland.

Hay & Kilner specialises in high-value financial provision cases alongside private and public law children matters. Specialised in the former, ‘extremely sensible, practical and professional’ team head and ‘safe pair of hands’ Nicola Matthews is ‘always well prepared’ and ‘maintains a good rapport with clients’. She acted for a husband in divorce and financial provision proceedings involving three family homes, rental property and investment portfolios alongside two companies, pensions and trust assets, and, in a separate matter, she acted for a wife in divorce and financial settlement proceedings which included £8m from the sale of two farms. Rob Hart acts for children, guardians and parents and works closely with associate Kerry Sutherland, whose work frequently involves allegations of non-accidental injuries, while also dealing with financial provision, domestic abuse and forced marriage cases. Hart recently represented a parent in a serious fatal baby injury case.

Boutique family law firm Major Family Law provides a broad range of services including assistance with high-net-worth finance, cohabitation, child law and domestic abuse matters as well as advice on issues containing international elements. ‘Extremely dynamic’ managing director Joanne Major  and consultant Jonathan Dunkley routinely deal with various financial aspects arising from divorce, while director Anna Hunter has specialist expertise in child-related work including relocation matters. Solicitor Rebecca Savage is recommended.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP focuses on divorce and separation proceedings featuring complex and high-net-worth financial matters - an area of particular expertise for team head and consultant Lyn Rutherford and associate Emily Cannell. The team also handles various child-related issues including domestic abuse and arrangements for contact.

Steve Freeman heads an ‘excellent’ team at Sintons LLP and is ‘renowned for giving sensible, no-nonsense advice whether it is to settle or contest’. Regular instructions include high-net-worth financial remedy cases, Children Act applications and child relocation matters. Associate Louise Masters is another name to note. She acted for a client in financial remedy proceedings with matrimonial assets in various countries, and handled an appeal in Children Act proceedings on a final order, while also having collaborative law expertise. Clients include senior executives, solicitors and professional sports players.

Swinburne Maddison’s ‘very good’ team is ‘highly professional’ and works in close co-operation with the firm’s wills and trusts, property and commercial teams. ‘Extremely knowledgeable’ associate Kath Hill, who is also an ‘excellent mediator’, heads the team and ‘always tries to diffuse a difficult situation’. She is ‘very professional and direct in her approach but also communicates with kindness and with an understanding of the distress the client is facing when seeking her services’. Based in an university town, the team’s client roster includes a number of academics alongside senior executives and NHS staff and is frequently retained to advise on financial matters involving pensions, companies and overseas property matters. Other instructions frequently pertain to children law issues with an international element. Recently, the practice acted for a wife in divorce proceedings involving pre-marriage property ownership matters, and represented a father in resisting an application to enforce a Child Arrangement Order. Hill is also experienced in collaborative law.

Key individuals of the ‘reliable and diligent’ team at Beecham Peacock include Sophia Yau-Rosher, who ‘gives appropriate advice with due sensitivity’ and ‘assimilates complex information quickly and astutely’, and Charlotte Talbot, who ‘represents vulnerable parents with patience’ and is ‘able to deliver sound and realistic advice compassionately’. The practice covers various family law matters including childcare cases.

BHP Law covers a wide range of family and childcare work with consultant Terry Hamer being the main contact for the latter. Regular instructions include divorce proceedings and civil partnership disputes, including those involving various financial aspects, prenuptial agreements, care proceedings and adoptions. Gemma Holmes focuses on family law matters involving financial disputes. Team head Andrea Hewitson is experienced in collaborative law. Michael Harrison retired.

At Cartmell Shepherd, the team is led by Julian Nelson, who is well versed in dealing with various issues arising from divorces and the dissolution of civil partnerships such as childcare matters and financial issues, while also handling farming-related cases. She works closely with consultant David Kendrew, who has specialist expertise in collaborative law and mediation.

EMG Solicitors ‘provides an excellent service to private clients seeking advice and representation in all family law matters ranging from financial remedies, child arrangements orders and injunctions through to parental orders in surrogacy cases’. ‘Experienced’ associate and collaborative lawyer Natalia Lalas ‘combines the ability to represent the client’s case well in court with an emphasis on achieving a resolution by agreement where appropriate’; she is also noted for her ‘clear communication style’ and ‘focused advice’. Lalas specialises in divorce and finance work and has a niche in civil partnership and international surrogacy issues, while managing director Emma Gaudern and director Jemma Morland are the main contacts for Court of Protection mandates, and ‘good’ associate Julia Middleton has child law work at her core.

Vardags handles high-value financial matters as part of divorce and separation proceedings as well as Children Act matters. ‘Very knowledgeable and patient’ director and team head Susanne Shah is ‘very clear when explaining issues’; she combines family law expertise with specialist knowledge in immigration law, making her well equipped to advise clients on family law matters with an international element.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  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 Personal tax, trusts and probate clients in North 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


Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s team acts for families and high-net-worth individuals on a wide range of succession and estate planning matters, including capital gains and inheritance tax issues, the establishment and reorganisation of private and charitable trusts, investment restructuring and trading structures as well as the administration of high-value probates, inheritance tax relief claims and trustee work. Helen Tavroges, who jointly heads the team with David Dale, is frequently called upon by high-net-worth individuals and has particular expertise in matters affecting the elderly. George Lyall and legal director Deborah Jude are other key members of the team, as is managing associate Emily Pike.

‘Nothing is too much trouble’ for the ‘client-focused and professional’ team at EMG Solicitors, which is ‘very easy to deal with’ and noted for its ‘prompt and clear communication style’. Managing director Emma Gaudern heads the team and is regularly called upon by high-net-worth individuals to assist with wills, trusts, probate and inheritance tax planning matters. Other key individuals include ‘knowledgeable, friendly and patient’ director Jemma Morland, who specialises in Court of Protection work, and the ‘very efficient and professional’ Samantha Edward. Edward is ‘easy to work with’ and ‘has an exceptional client manner; she is friendly and down-to-earth, yet very knowledgeable, practical and thorough’. She also attracts praise as being ‘very resourceful’ and ‘providing a range of options as to how the client’s objectives might best be achieved’.

Clients can trust the highly respected team’ at Hay & Kilner ‘to do a very good job’. The ‘very competent, skilled and friendly’ private client team is led by the ‘extremely knowledgeable and experienced’ Alison Hall, who, according to clients, ‘is an authority on many aspects of inheritance tax and particularly good at dealing with agricultural issues’, while also having an ‘excellent understanding of trusts’. In recent work, she assisted the executor of a large agricultural estate with an application for a succession to an agricultural holdings act tenancy. The ‘very personable’ Alice Clewes, who ‘provides tailored, easy-to-follow and practical advice’, assisted a client with life interest trust matters, and advised a testator on a will and estate planning issues including personal company shares, residential property with agricultural land and a life interest in an overseas settlement. Senior associate John Luke is another key member of the team.

With a focus on tax planning and asset protection, the ‘professional, efficient and friendly’ team at Sintons LLP advises high-net-worth clients, farmers and rural businesses on wills, trusts and the administration of estates, often involving other jurisdictions. Team head Paul Nickalls handles a number of estate administration matters involving companies, agricultural property and foreign assets. He is noted as ‘being excellent with clients’ and ‘responding immediately and taking action without delay’. Other key individuals include Alan Dawson, senior associate Julie Garbutt, who also acts for doctors and dentists, and ‘very caring and responsive’associate Paul Collingwood.

At Ward Hadaway, team head Andrew Facer is well versed in guiding high-net-worth individuals, most notably entrepreneurial and landed clients, through a wide range of succession planning issues including trusts and wills, and has particular expertise in advising on succession structures involving companies, partnerships, foreign property, pension funds and land ownership. He also handles employee benefit trusts matters and works closely with consultant Gaynor Jackson, whose expertise includes assisting national and international charities with contentious and non-contentious trust and estate issues.

Clients benefit from DWF’s close co-operation with its corporate and tax departments which enables the ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team to advise business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth families on various tax and succession planning vehicles including those with international elements. Other areas of expertise include the preparation of wills, lasting powers of attorney and estate and trust administration mandates as well as probate matters involving business and agricultural assets. Team head Jon Gould ‘provides an excellent service’ and is particularly noted for his ‘first-class manner with clients’ and for ‘taking particular care to understand his clients’ needs in a very empathetic way’. He advised two high-net-worth families on tax-efficient wills, lifetime trusts and lasting power of attorney matters alongside the possible set-up of a family investment company, and handled the administration of an estate involving complex property ownership, pension and insurance matters.

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd has carved out a strong practice acting in the rural private client sphere, providing agricultural estate clients and high-net-worth individuals with wills and probate assistance alongside trust and succession planning advice. The ‘friendly and professional’ team includes the ‘very responsive and committed’ David Bawn, who is singled out for his ‘superb knowledge’ in capital tax planning matters and the administration of high-value estates; the ‘very efficient’ Harry Chrisp, who handles the administration of estates but also prepares wills; and senior partner Toby Gibson, who is noted for his focus on trusts and probate work. Together with Bawn, Gibson acted as trustee for the M R Finn Will Trust which included assistance with various tax and property issues.

Iain Nicholson & Co’s ‘very helpful, well-informed and dedicated’ team is led by ‘good communicator’ Iain Nicholson, who ‘provides an excellent personal service which gives the client peace of mind’. He handles wills, probate, inheritance tax and capital gains tax matters as well as property-related instructions. Peter Dakin and Victoria Stevenson are other key members of the team.

The ‘highly approachable and knowledgeable’ practice at Latimer Hinks Solicitors provides ‘high-quality’ advice utilising its ‘excellent spread of knowledge’. The team fields a number of ‘technically excellent partners who understand their clients’ needs’, including ‘very bright and conscientious’ head of tax and trusts Elizabeth Armstrong, who has the ‘rare talent of balancing difficult technical work with good humour and an approachable manner’, while ‘always staying on top of things’; and ‘very knowledgeable and hugely experienced’ private client practice head Anne Elliot, who ‘goes the extra mile for clients’. The practice acts for agricultural and business families as well as individuals on inheritance tax and asset protection planning matters, the preparation of tax-efficient wills, trusts and property-related issues. Other key individuals include Andrew Way and Natalie Palmer. Solicitor Jennifer Quayle is also recommended.

BHP Law regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals to advise on estate administration, tax planning and trust matters, often involving various assets, business and land issues alongside tax structures. Helen Biglin jointly heads the team with Karen Pratt and is adept at handling the administration of estates involving farming assets and claims for agricultural relief, in addition to having experience in insolvent estates as well as elderly client issues such as matters pertaining to the protection of assets. Pratt is the main contact for Court of Protection mandates, while Peter Blackett frequently acts as executor and trustee and is regularly called upon by regional agricultural clients and company directors to handle wills and inheritance tax work.

Described by clients as a ‘breath of fresh air’, Burnetts has notable expertise advising clients with farming assets on the creation and management of trusts but the team also drafts wills, handles lasting powers of attorney mandates and administers estates. Senior associate and team head Rachael Stephenson is dedicated to trusts and estate planning work: recently, she acted in matters concerning the client’s estate which consisted of a landed estate in Cumbria, a property in London, various investments and an extensive collection of personal chattels. Other key individuals include Martyn Wrightson, who advises on wills, inheritance tax and trusts, and managing partner and Court of Protection expert Nick Gutteridge. ‘Very responsive’ solicitor Tracy Stainton is ‘very focused and professional’ and provides ‘considered, balanced and pragmatic advice’, while also receiving praise for her ‘willingness to always go the extra mile for her clients’.

Routinely working in conjunction with the firm’s agricultural property team, Cartmell Shepherd provides private clients and charitable trusts with tax and estate planning advice with a focus on agricultural and landed estates, including those involving foreign assets, while also handling Court of Protection mandates for elderly clients. Deborah Flynn heads the team, which includes consultant Diana Armstrong and managing director and contentious probate team head Peter Stafford.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s ‘very professional’ team ‘listens carefully’ and provides ‘sound advice’ to high-net-worth business owners. Associate solicitor Louise Miller heads the practice and puts her emphasis on high-net-worth estate administration work; recently, she handled an estate involving shareholdings and overseas assets, and assisted several clients with discretionary trust, lifetime tax planning and land tax refund matters. When dealing with matters involving the restructuring of family businesses, the practice frequently calls upon its colleagues in the corporate department.

Swinburne Maddison’s ‘professional and thorough’ team attracts praise for its ‘good blend of experience and compassion’ and its ‘problem-solving and no-nonsense approach, delivering regular positive results’. The team’s expertise spans the administration of estates, lifetime planning matters and all aspects of trusts and lasting powers of attorney as well as Court of Protection applications. ‘Considered and diplomatic’ managing partner John Davison heads the team and ‘always provides a personal but professional service’. He has ‘expansive knowledge of trusts, wills and inheritance tax’ and is noted as ‘giving the client confidence with his calm and measured manner’. Solicitor Jennifer Purvis is ‘very efficient and sensitive to client circumstances’, while solicitor Anna Stephenson and associate Mark Collin are also recommended.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine handles a wide range of probate and trusts-related mandates and specialises in wills, the administration of estates, inheritance tax planning and Court of Protection work. Nicola Dalzell heads the wills, probate, trusts and tax department team and advises individuals and business owners on the full spectrum of private client work, while managing partner and head of private client services Carolyn Tilly is frequently involved in elderly client matters and the creation of trusts. Martin Brown, who handles various contentious and non-contentious matters, and Helen Dexter  are also key individuals; Dexter is particularly experienced in high-net-worth estate administration.

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