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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 > Real estate > Social housing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

DWF's practice advises a number of registered providers of social housing (RPs) and local government on matters including the sale of units on the open market and mixed use schemes. The group is on panels for, most notably, Homes England and Places for People Group. Lee Pickett, deputy head of the housing team, leads on social housing work and specialises in development, regeneration and investment, with clients including local authorities and RPs.

Practice head(s):Lee Pickett

Other key lawyers:Kelly Pearson; Phil Dunn


'Accessible, responsive and very receptive to queries'

Key Clients

Homes England

Places for People Group

Riverside Group

Together Housing Group

Stockton Borough Council

Darlington Borough Council

Sunderland City Council

Work highlights

  • Represented Homes England in its innovative disposal of three sites for new homes under its pilot Accelerated Construction and Delivery programme.
  • Represented Home Group in high value grant supported acquisitions of 'off the shelf' units from various housebuilders to be sold on shared ownership terms.
  • Acted for Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust on the voluntary first registration of the extensive parcels of land on which its 2,500 homes are located which had not to date been registered at the Land Registry.

Social housing is a real area of expertise for Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, which advises a wide variety of stakeholders, including large-scale voluntary transfer housing associations, councils and arms-length management organisations on the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious matters. The team is also on the panel for Homes England. Residential property specialist Nigel Emmerson leads the team.

Practice head(s):Nigel Emmerson

Other key lawyers:David Hambler; Samantha Pritchard; Tracy Walsh; Simon Rowland; James Wilders

Key Clients

Places for People Homes

Karbon Homes

Accent Housing Group

Bernicia Group

Derwent Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advising Karbon Homes in relation to its ongoing development programme, including the acquisitions of sites, development agreements and the acquisition of units from house builders fulfilling their section 106 obligations.
  • Acting for Bernicia Group on a range of tenancy management issues including claims to possession, injunctions to tackle anti-social behaviour, committals for breach and defending housing disrepair claims.
  • Advised Places for People, one of the largest property management, development, regeneration companies and leisure companies in the UK, on a members' agreement to incorporate and govern its joint venture with Surrey County Council.

Based across Leeds and Newcastle, the social housing team at Ward Hadaway handles housing management litigation; volume housing disrepair claims for local authorities and housing associations; planning advice; funding, acquisition, sale and shared ownership of social housing; and disposals by RPs. The Newcastle team is co-led by Julia Thomson and Colin Hewitt, while John Murray heads the department nationally.

Practice head(s):Julia Thomson; Colin Hewitt

Other key lawyers:Helen O'Neill


'A solid team which provides sound advice on social housing development structures and property related transactions'

'Julia Thomson is a trusted expert, providing extensive knowledge of real property. She has a great understanding of the social housing property and development market'

'The practice delivers on time and to budget'

Key Clients

Livin Housing

Thirteen Group

Byker Community Trust

Home Group

Mosscare St Vincent's

County Durham Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Mosscare St Vincent's Housing Group Limited on a loan consolidation exercise with Orchardbrook.
  • Acted for Livin Housing Limited on its acquisition of affordable homes throughout 2018; including s.106 acquisitions and land-led development. This has necessitated planning advice and land assembly.
  • Acted for Impact Housing Association in connection with its combination with The Riverside Group.

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