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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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Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx clients in South East 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 commercial property practice at Dentons is praised for its 'very high level of service; the team is attentive, responsive, solution minded, and works to reduce red tape and delays by picking up the phone to talk through and resolve issues.' Led by Roland Gray, the practice has wide-ranging expertise covering work for developers and housebuilders including Taylor Wimpey; infrastructure and regeneration projects for clients such as Network Rail; assisting retail clients such as Sainsbury's and John Lewis Partnership with portfolio management matters. Recent highlights include acting for a consortium of local authorities in the northern Home Counties on the proposed development of a number of new garden communities. In an illustration of the practice's real estate finance expertise, Robert Wyatt acted for Standard Chartered Bank on the £41m financing of a super-prime residential property in London. Other key figures include Greg Rigby, who acts for retailers and property investors, as well as handling railway property matters. Chris Denny retired from private practice in 2017.

EMW Law LLP has wide-ranging expertise covering property finance, investment, development, and occupier mandates in sectors including healthcare, telecommunications and education. On the development front, David Danskin advised Claymore Phoenix on the pre-letting and forward funding of a retail park in Leighton Buzzard, which involved handling the planning and construction aspects, as well as the development funding agreement. In other highlights, Danskin acted for a landowner on the sale of a 240-unit residential development site, and Joe Soul acted for Milton Keynes YMCA on the redevelopment of an existing YMCA supported living accommodation in central Milton Keynes. Stephen Kay heads the real estate team and has an extensive track record advising corporate occupiers on their acquisitions and disposals. Social housing expert Caroline Hayward is also recommended.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) attracts praise for its 'excellent resources, flexible mindset and good value for money'. Headed by Bill Bidder, the sizeable team handles the full range of commercial property matters, with a particularly strong reputation for residential development and regeneration work, where it acts for major developers and housebuilders including Barratt Homes, Persimmon and Bellway. It also has a growing hotel-sector workload. Recent highlights include advising Lands improvement on the disposal of three development parcels, acting for Thrive Homes on the acquisition and development of a former industrial site in Hemel Hempstead, and acting for Optima on the sale and development of a new industrial/warehouse scheme on a town centre brownfield site. Juliusz Wodzianski and Susan Mawson are also recommended, as is Christian Le Gouais, whose 'tenacity, attention to detail and commerciality sets him out from other lawyers'.

Shoosmiths LLP fields a team of 'very commercially minded' real estate experts headed in Milton Keynes by Steve Wiltshire, who is 'a very experienced practitioner able to hone in on relevant issues to conclude a transaction in a timely manner'. The practice's expertise spans the full range of commercial property matters, including handling acquisitions and disposals on behalf of investors; advising on corporate occupancy matters such as HQ relocations for clients including Hewlett Packard Enterprises; advising housebuilders and developers such as Wilson Bowden at every step of the commercial development lifecycle; and handling property finance matters for borrowers and lenders. It is also noted for its strong retail and leisure credentials, as well as its work on residential development matters. Recent highlights include acting for Frontier Estates on the acquisition of care home sites in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, the subsequent pre-letting arrangements for the lease of the homes, and the sale of the sites to Aviva. Wiltshire led on that deal alongside Catherine Williams, who also acted for easyHotel UK on the expansion of its portfolio through the acquisition of leasehold interests in newly developed sites. Lisa Williams stands out for her track record advising on the acquisition and development of mobile home parks, holiday parks and inland marinas.

B P Collins LLP's commercial property practice is noted for providing 'city-quality advice' and for 'adding value to every part of a transaction'. The firm has a particular focus on retail and leisure work, as well as residential development, mining and environmental matters. The practice's workload is predominantly focused around the Thames Valley, although it also handles mandates nationwide for clients such as Lacoste. Other clients include Biffa Group and developer City and Provincial Properties. Alison Taylor heads the practice and has an extensive track record in portfolio management, acquisitions and disposals, and commercial lease transactions. The 'efficient and knowledgeable' Maria Mowberry is also recommended.

Clients of Blaser Mills Law rate the commercial property practice for its 'prompt, knowledgeable advice and reasonable fee structure'. Clients include investors, developers, banks and hoteliers, for which the practice handles the full range of contentious and non-contentious property matters. Development work has been a particular growth area for the team; recent highlights include advising construction company Ardmore on a £7m commercial development in Coventry, which involved acquiring the development site, the development of the site into 14 separate commercial units and subsequent sale of the units, and finalising and completing the compulsory purchase order over part of the site. The team also has niche expertise in property issues related to professional dentist practices. The 'very knowledgeable' David Kemp heads the commercial property practice and stands out for his ability to 'deal with matters not only with his "legal hat on" but also with a commercial perspective in mind'. Louise Benning heads the real estate development team and is also recommended.

Debenhams Ottaway acts for local, national and multinational clients (including Fujitsu, AXA UK and Svenska Handelsbanken) on a wide variety of commercial property matters, from landlord and tenant issues to secured lending, property development and sales and purchases of owner occupied and investment property. The real estate practice has a strong focus on secured lending matters, where it acts for a number of banks on commercial property financings. It also has a strong reputation in the hospitality, charities and ecclesiastical sectors. Recent highlights include advising Cosmic Securities on the purchase of a portfolio of five properties, which involved the parallel completion of subsales agreed between exchange and completion; acting for Fujitsu General on the renewal of the lease of its UK headquarters; and acting for Cupcake Clothing on its purchase of new headquarters in St Albans. Ruth Boulton heads the practice, which includes Jonathan Foy, senior associate Neil Mercer, and associate Sandra Moore, who joined the firm in 2017.

Clients remain 'very pleased with the speed and efficiency of the service received' by the practice at Freeths LLP, which particularly stands out for its track record in the drinks, hospitality and leisure sectors. Clients in these arenas include the Casual Dining Group, which owns brands such as Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, and Burger King UK, which the firm recently assisted with a due diligence exercise on its existing portfolio of sites related to private equity firm Bridgepoint becoming the UK master franchisee for the fast food chain and its acquisition of one of the UK's largest Burger King franchisees. It is also highly active in the logistics space, with the team acting for new client FedEx on its real estate requirements following its acquisition of TNT in the UK. Other recent highlights include acting for London Luton Airport Operations on retail and concession agreements related to the airport's £110m expansion plans, and advising Advanced Computer Software Group on its lease of new office space in Birmingham. Valerie Warman heads the practice and has extensive experience acting for corporate occupiers and landlords. Hospitality group head Leo skinner and Shashi Chambers, who is noted for his expertise in matters related to airports and logistics businesses, are also recommended.

SA Law LLP attracts praise for its 'very professional service and good depth of knowledge' of commercial property matters. The practice's expertise runs the gamut of real estate work, from residential and commercial development to real estate finance and lease enfranchisement matters. Clients include lenders such as Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC, as well as retail and healthcare sector companies. On the real estate finance front, Gary Dunger advised Portman Finance on the £1.1m funding provided to a special purpose vehicle of a developer for the purposes of purposes of purchasing a brownfield former factor site in Hastings intended for regeneration. Other recent highlights include advising Tulsesense on the acquisition of a property portfolio and a number of other acquisitions from various vendors, and advising Eurochange on its portfolio expansion. The team is jointly headed by Steve Kenneford, who has more than 30 years' experience handling residential property matters, and Terence Ritchie, who has particular expertise in real estate finance.

Sherrards Solicitors LLP fields a 'well-organised, efficient and knowledgeable' commercial property practice that provides 'sensible, down-to-earth advice that takes into account the technicalities and practicalities alike'. It is particularly noted for its expertise in the retail and food outlet, franchising, leisure and healthcare sectors, and handles the full range of development work, from acquisition, planning and construction to sales, lettings and ongoing management. Retail clients include Gift Universe, for which the practice handled approximately 30 temporary lettings for the client's "pop-up" shops. In an illustration of its growing property finance workload, practice head Terry Fendt advised Handelsbanken on a £1.1m refinancing of a mixed-use premises in London. Fendt and recently promoted partner Stephanie Kierans are singled out for their 'commercial and proactive approach'. The practice was strengthened by the recruitment of Caroline Vernon from CMS and Victoria Mundy from McGuireWoods London LLP.

At Taylor Walton LLP, Angela Thomas heads a sizeable commercial property team with wide-ranging expertise encompassing development work, property finance, and real estate acquisition and disposal mandates. The retail sector is a growth area for the practice, which acts for clients including independent toy retailer The Entertainer (Amersham) and recruitment agency Brook Street. It also has a strong focus on the charity sector, with clients including Barnardo's. In a recent highlight, the practice acted for Capita on the real estate aspects of the sale of its fund administration business. Thomas has more than 30 years' experience in investment acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management, financing and commercial development matters.Dermot Carey and Michael Kelly are also recommended.

VWV's commercial property practice acts for property developers on residential, commercial and mixed-use developments, as well as advising landowners, investors, corporate occupiers and lenders on a range of real estate mandates. Recent highlights include advising e-commerce solutions provider, Salmon, on a pre-let of new office premises in Watford; acting for Imagination Technologies on a sale and leaseback transaction of the client's headquarters in King's Langley; and acting for Laxton Properties on a proposed development involving 36 dwellings and social housing. David Marsden handles property development matters for clients such as Nationcrest. Also recommended are finance specialist Joe Kwok and David Power, who jointly heads the property development team with Marsden.

Woodfines LLP fields a 'highly professional outfit' that provides 'an excellent service' to its real estate clients, which include lenders, property developers and investors. The firm continued to add to its commercial property team through lateral recruitments, most recently bringing on board senior associate Suzanne Folbigg from Shoosmiths LLP, who has a strong track record handling landlord and tenant work in the retail and leisure sectors. She joins a team with wide-ranging expertise encompassing property finance, acquisitions and disposals, and development work. Practice head Sylvia Goulding acted for Parrott Development on the proposed acquisition of a development site where construction had begun but the contractor had gone bust. On the landlord and tenant front, Suzanna Stephenson acted for recruitment agency G Force Logistics on a new lease of its premises. Other key figures include Brian Bennett, Charlotte Benjamin, and senior associates Michael Roche and Veena Sharma.

Crane & Staples attracts praise for its 'extremely meticulous and knowledgeable approach - cases are dealt with in a timely and adept manner and the team provides peace of mind that a case is in the best hands'. Bonnie Twiggs is singled out for her 'breadth of experience, excellent knowledge of her field, and professional, pragmatic approach'. The practice handles a range of commercial and residential property matters for developers, investors, landlords and tenants. Recent highlights include acting for the developer on the sale of land for development; handling the acquisition of a mixed-use property which involved two residential properties, two commercial units on 10-year leases; and advising on the sale of a former ambulance station. Christopher Brewis is also recommended.

Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP's commercial property practice handles the full range of real estate transactions, form acquisitions and disposals to financing real estate transactions and handling landlord and tenant matters. Working closely with its construction team, the practice also handles all aspects of commercial property development. Darren Millis heads the practice, which includes Richard Willis, who regularly advises on real estate acquisitions, disposals and commercial occupier mandates.

The 'professional and helpful' team at Hewitsons is praised for its 'quick and efficient responses, pragmatic advice' and for its willingness to 'keep clients regularly appraised of progress'. The practice acts for a range of clients, including SMEs, property funds, institutional investors and private trusts on a variety of real estate transactions, including property financing. It also has a strong reputation for public sector regeneration work, covering town centre regeneration and brownfield site development work. Recent highlights include advising Bedford College on the transfer of all the assets (including a portfolio of 12 properties) from Tresham College to the client following Tresham College's dissolution; acting for Homes England on the sale of a brownfield site in central Milton Keynes' business district; and handled the transfer of a portfolio of seven investment properties from a partnership to a new company, as well as the refinancing of the portfolio by Svenska Handelsbanken. Clients single out practice head David Wells, for his 'technical knowledge of property law'. Also recommended are Yvette Morgan, who regularly acts for developers and public sector entities on housing and mixed-use developments, and Tim Richards, whose track record covers contentious and non-contentious construction and procurement issues.

Clients are 'very happy' with the service received by the commercial property team at Howes Percival LLP, which established its commercial property team in Milton Keynes with the recruitment of Lisa Mantle in 2017 from Brecher LLP. Mantle brings an extensive track record in property finance, development work, and commercial property acquisitions and disposals. The practice has quickly established itself as a go-to firm for portfolio secured lending and refinancing, and for landlord and tenant work. Clients include Oakmayne Properties and Dukelease Properties.

Rachael Spalton heads the commercial property practice at Longmores Solicitors LLP, which acts for public and private sector clients, including landowners, developers, investors and corporate occupiers, on a range of real estate matters, from acquisitions and disposals to leasehold mandates. Recent highlights include advising on the £5m sale and refinancing of a freehold property with an existing sublease to an energy company, which involved a complex deed of variation and complimentary deeds of easement; and acting for a construction company on the sale of a subsidiary self storage company, including five storage sites.Stephen Stewart is also recommended.

Machins Solicitors LLP's commercial property team provides advice that is 'always to the point and commercially focused', with a level of service that is 'superior to many Magic Circle and City firms'. Nick Ginger ('one of the most commercially aware and pragmatic lawyers you can work with') heads the practice and has extensive experience handling freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, sales of development land and leasehold work.

Nockolds Solicitors attracts praise for its 'very good level of service, expertise and value for money; it compares very well to other firms practising in this area'. The real estate practice acts for local and regional developers, as well as retailers, restaurant owners and property investors, with an emphasis on handling acquisitions and disposals of sites for commercial and residential development. Michael Talbot heads the practice and focuses on high-value residential development mandates. Other key figures include Michael Shapiro, Andrew Fernandes, Elena Nicolaou, whose expertise covers regeneration and development projects, and Lucy Riley, who handles lease enfranchisement matters on behalf of landlords and tenants.

Tees Law is praised for its 'very high level of service' and for fielding a commercial property team that 'knows and understand the client's business'. Clients include institutional investors, corporate occupiers, private individuals and developers, for which the practice provides a comprehensive service covering site acquisitions, commercial property sales and purchases, real estate financing, and landlord and tenant work. On the development front, practice head David Miller led a team acting for a consortium of developers and private landowners on the sale of land with the benefit of planning permission for a large number of residential housing units as well as schooling and commercial property. Other key figures include Govan Bramley, who has an extensive track record in housing developments, and associate Bilyana Munic, who is singled out for her 'good knowledge and understanding of the client's business'.

Commercial property: Essex

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Essex clients in South East 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


Birketts LLP has an 'excellent' commercial property department whose 'standard of work and competence is superior to that of other firms'. In development projects, the team advises developers and investors on matters from planning and construction to selling and leasing the property, while also negotiating site acquisitions, option agreements, landowner agreements and conditional purchases for housebuilders, as well as engaging in transactional and contractual landlord and tenant matters. Additional focus areas include investment and portfolio management, and banking and property finance. Practice head Grace Kerr specialises in transactions and the representation of landowners in agreement and joint venture negotiations, while legal director Steven Kay acts for national housebuilders. Clients further recommend 'very experienced, knowledgeable and efficient' legal director Duncan Williamson, who deals with development and financing. Senior associate Matthew Grindley and legal director Johanna Cope are other names to note.

The commercial property team at Ellisons Solicitors is renowned for realising transactions involving plots of land, as well as advising investors and engaging in secured lending work. Recent highlights include team lead Philip Roberts' representation of a logistics company in its £20,000 acquisition of 300,000 square feet of land and the related negotiation of a development agreement for the construction of a new logistics centre in Peterborough. Roberts also acted for an investment fund regarding its purchase of an investment property and fixed assets for £10.5m from a company based in the British Virgin Islands. Senior partner Guy Longhurst and partners Andrew Miranda and Kevin Wilsher are other key members of the team. Property finance partner Ross Wiltshire and development and strategic land expert Tim Bacon both joined from Prettys Solicitors LLP in spring 2017.

The 'very knowledgeable and responsive' team of 'customer-focused firm' Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP is 'one of the top commercial property practices in Colchester', 'provides an excellent professional service' and 'retains its ownership of customers'. It is best known for its transactional, promotion and option agreements, refinancing, planning, development and leasing expertise covering the healthcare, farming, investment and finance sectors, as well as ports, freight forwarding and haulage. The practice has strong relationships with Royal Bank of Scotland, Svenska Handelsbanken, New Hall School Trust and the Royal Association for Deaf people, while Barclays Bank and NatWest Business Centre were recently added to the client portfolio. 'Trustworthy' department lead Ellen Petersen-Clark and 'professional' leasehold expert Louise Smith are recommended, while Chelmsford-based partner Chris Jones, solicitor Beena Amin and transaction-focused solicitor Leon Pascal are other names to note. Planning consultant Sharon Stone assists with site appraisals and planning applications in a non-legal capacity.

The 'pragmatic, punctual and proactive' commercial property department of Wortley Byers LLP is 'very perceptive of clients' needs' and 'sets a high standard' through 'first-class industry knowledge', a 'very progressive business view' and 'detailed, comprehensive advice of exceptional quality'. Development, finance and secured lending, landlord and tenant, and property management and funding matters, as well as investment acquisitions, comprise the range of services.  The practice has long-standing relationships with Stonebond Properties, MCC Developments and William Thompson Homes, while being retained on several banking panels. Beresfords Group, Ingleton Wood and Hitachi Kokusai Electric in Germany instructed the team for the first time in 2017. Clients recommend 'strong negotiator and excellent leader' Jane Winfield, whose 'knowledge of property law is second to none', 'friendly, approachable and hardworking' partner Aaron Cane, 'insightful and responsive' solicitor David Grainger and 'indispensable' conveyancing specialist Tom Moulsdale. Associate Laura Harrison is another key member of the team.

The 'extremely strong, knowledgeable and responsive' firm Birkett Long LLP 'is well recognised for its commercial property work' and has a 'keen interest in supporting local clients and their businesses'. Special expertise exists in development and construction, investment and secured lending matters, while the majority of clients come from the education, healthcare, public and environmental sectors. Key examples are London Southend Airport, University of Essex, Healthcare Homes, Flakt Woods and Braintree District Council. Navigator Terminals Thames and Herald Property Investments instructed the department for the first time in 2017, and the team was also appointed to the Lloyds Banking Group commercial banking pass-through panel. 'Outstanding' partner Emma Wraight advised E Wall as seller of a tenanted industrial site to Bellway for development. Also recommended are 'no-nonsense' partner David Rayner and 'knowledgeable and communicative' associate Daniel Sturman. Melanie Bache heads the overall practice.

The 'highly responsive, knowledgeable, pragmatic and practical' commercial property department at 'dynamic and modern firm' Holmes & Hills is considered to be 'excellent in all respects' and 'among the best practices to deal with', 'offering sound advice which is always up to date on recent developments in the law'. Transactions of land, development agreements and site assembly matters form strong focus areas within the team. The active client base includes Epic Properties, Larch Housing Association, Modena Homes and Wilkin & Sons. 'Straightforward and diligent' partner Rebecca Mason leads the practice, while 'practical and fair' consultant and 'very good communicator' Michael Wright is 'always an excellent source of advice'. 'Bright and efficient' associate Wendy Martin, who 'picks up new situations very quickly', also functions as the key contact regarding commercial landlord and tenant matters. 'Helpful' senior solicitor Philippa Jerram 'handles all work in a professional, speedy manner' and is especially recommended for commercial conveyancing cases and agricultural property transactions. Former property executive Christopher Seymour and solicitor Callum Hall joined from Suffolk Life in January 2018 and Castle Point Borough Council in July 2017, respectively. The department also works together with a separate new build plot team which was formed in 2017.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors' commercial property practice is best known for its work on investment and management, acquisition and development, secured lending, licensing and planning matters for corporate, individual and public sector clients. Its portfolio comprises VolkerWessels, FE Good Properties and Handelsbanken, among other clients. Team lead Nicholas Evans, partner Jonathan Clark and associate Hannah Collins are the key individuals. During 2017, Collins handled matters relating to plot of land sales, nursing home purchases and leasehold acquisitions, while Evans advised on master lease and management structures within a property conversion.

BTMK Solicitors' commercial property team offers 'an excellent all-round service' with 'clear and thorough advice' and 'good response times'. Its range of expertise covers transactions, property management advice, landlord and tenant disputes, and commercial leases, as well as right to light matters. 'Efficient and knowledgeable' partner Lee Emptage represented Brelfin in the £1.2m acquisition and refinancing of a mixed-use property, and also assisted a high-net-worth individual with the refinance of his £3m property portfolio with Handelsbanken. M & R Bowman, Sandhurst New Homes, Venture Capital Associates and South Essex College are all active clients. Clients further recommend partner Ian Powell, whose 'commercial property knowledge is second to none', and solicitor Beau Borg. Partner Sean Callaghan is another key contact for transactions.

The three-partner commercial property team at Jefferies Essex LLP delivers an 'outstanding level of service' and 'has the depth of expertise to deal with a wide range of issues', including transactions, leases and developments in the hotel, factory, shopping centre, public house and office sectors. Transaction partner Mark Hidveghy functions as team lead, while Katrina Holland is recommended for her 'attention to detail and unrelenting dedication to complete the task'. Partner Amelia Hayes, 'professional' consultant Alan Gershlick and solicitor Callie Tuplin make up the rest of the core team.

Meaby & Co's 'excellent' commercial property practice covers sales and acquisition, development, option agreements, and leasing and financing matters concerning industrial sites and retail, office, leisure and entertainment properties. Partner Nicky Cleightonhills, who 'combines professionalism, intelligence and strategic flexibility', is the main contact in Chigwell.

The commercial property practice at Mullis & Peake LLP in Romford handles leasing, transactions, commercial mortgages, and landlord and tenant and land development matters in its representation of companies, developers, institutions, national housebuilders and individuals. The client portfolio includes Rainham Steel, Handelsbanken and Persimmon. Senior associate and head of commercial Joanne Wood and partner Andrew Fidler are the main practitioners, while solicitor Shelley Fitzpatrick specialises in lease extensions and enfranchisement. Chairman and corporate partner Peter Connell also assists with property transactions. In March 2018, solicitor Rachel Crapnell left for Bircham Dyson Bell.

The 'efficient' commercial property team at Palmers is 'quick to respond, knowledgeable in every aspect, thorough and commercially astute'. Expertise exists in the education, construction and engineering, insolvency, industrial, and logistics sectors, as well as in advising portfolio and pension scheme landlords. In 2017, the practice handled many grants and extensions of leases, transactions and promotion-of-land agreements. 'Competent and knowledgeable' Carey Jacobs serves as team lead, while 'detailed' associate Maisie Yau, who 'is a real asset on complex, multi-layered transactions', is also recommended. Solicitor Paul Oldershaw joined from Leathes Prior  in June 2017, bringing experience in the supermarket sector.

Transactions, landlord and tenant matters, option agreements, joint ventures, developments, investments, finance security and mortgaging are some of the areas that Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP's commercial property team engages in. Recent highlights include Mark Deans' representation of an investor during the £8m refinancing of two commercial freehold sites through a separate lender, as well as the advice provided to different clients concerning the ten-year renewal of two leases applying to adjoining industrial units. Partners Sam Robinson  and Wendy Cole, who are based in Westcliff-on-Sea, and assistant solicitor Katherine Butler in Billericay are other names to note.

The 'easily approachable, pragmatic and professional' commercial property practice at 'legally savvy and forward-thinking firm' Pinney Talfourd LLP 'always provides high-quality, clear advice and a broad, comforting level of service in a timely manner', which is supported by 'extensive industry knowledge' and a 'meticulous, efficient and proactive approach'. Its range of services covers freehold and leasehold transactions, landlord and tenant matters, and finance and lending work, as well as site developments. 'Knowledgeable, considerate and prompt' partner Julien Pritchard, who 'has a business-focused approach', and 'practical, thorough and straight-to-the-point' senior associate Keeley Miller are the main practitioners. Solicitor Benjamin Hersom joined from Whiskers in March 2018.

Tees Law's 'outstanding and professional' commercial property team focuses on areas including the drafting of promotion and option agreements and overage deeds, as well as lease renewals, landlord and tenant matters and site developments. Recent highlights include the representation of a local consortium in the completion of a £10m promotion agreement, as well as the assistance provided to a local developer regarding the acquisition of a former garage site. Partner and 'exemplary professional' Mark Carter in Saffron Walden and the 'efficient' Chelmsford-based Graeme Atkinson are the key individuals, supported by assistant solicitor Aldene Derrick. Assistant solicitor Daniel Fairs joined the Chelmsford office from Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP in October 2017.

The 'impressive, efficient, attentive-to-detail and competent' commercial property department at Thompson Smith and Puxon, 'one of the best firms in Colchester', 'runs a tight ship' and 'is fully up to speed with the law, but also well versed in the current property industry practice, demonstrating good judgement and pragmatism during negotiations'. Development site and agricultural land transactions, strategic land planning, lease work and enfranchisement matters represent the team's core areas of activity. 'Vastly knowledgeable' Stephen Firmin, who is recommended for his 'professional approach', heads the practice, and 'effective and sensible' Kerry Addison was promoted to partner in March 2017. 'Knowledgeable and helpful' solicitor Mark Rowlands is the third key member of the team.

Commercial property: Hampshire

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Hampshire
  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 Commercial property: Hampshire clients in South East 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


Blake Morgan LLP acts for house builders and asset managers and acts for an impressive number of clients in the retail, public and charities sectors. Regional regeneration programmes, landlord and tenant issues, and property finance are other areas of expertise. The team is acting for Metro Bank on a range of freehold and leasehold acquisitions and counts Berkeley Homes, Bellway Homes, Costa Coffee and Premier Inns among its clients. Sean Palka leads the team; Chris Dolan focuses on residential developments; and Oliver Sowton's expertise spans commercial developments and landlord and tenant matters, particularly in the retail and leisure sectors. Dan Curtis and Alan Harlow are other key practitioners. John Russell and Andy Peck have retired.

The team at Moore Blatch LLP covers all aspects of land development and commercial and residential property encompassing property finance, investments and landlord and tenant transactions. In one highlight, it advised Churchill Retirement Living on numerous contracts, which were conditional on planning and options for site acquisitions. It also acted for a private investor on the letting of a prime West End retail and office development property, a matter which included the letting of the offices as the London headquarters of a global fashion brand and subsequently selling the property to a foreign investor. Mike Wilson is the head of real estate and Martin Duck leads on land development work. Other highly regarded practitioners include Julian Parkes, Luc Algar and Richard Hughes, who is based in the London office and joined in November 2017 from Boodle Hatfield LLP, is noted for his ''tenacity'.

'The overall level of service is excellent' at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP and the team provides 'practical advice with the right amount of hands-on assistance'. It has a strong regional presence while also serving national and international clients, which include Associated British Ports, B&Q, Babcock International Group and the University of Southampton. Its expertise spans regeneration projects, leasehold issues, property finance as well as a real estate funds practice. Recent work includes acting for Historic England on the lease of its new headquarters at Cannon Bridge House and it continues to assist Fareham Borough Council on the delivery of the Welborne Garden Village, a project to build 6,000 homes as well as community and commercial structures. Practice head Tim Burbidge and Katherine Eddon 'provide valuable practical support'. Other noted lawyers include Anthony Alderman, 'who is extremely responsive, thorough and pragmatic', Alistair Walton and Tim Baily. Managing associate Stephen Baker joined from CMS in June 2018.

The sizeable team at Clarke Willmott LLP, which is led by Peter Swinburn, was bolstered by the arrival of Jin Takhar, who joined from Paris Smith LLP and  Joseph Campbell, who joined from Coffin Mew LLP. The group handles the full spectrum of real estate matters, including acquisitions and acquisition finance, disposals, property portfolio management, landlord and tenant issues, and planning. It is acting for Fat Face on the management of the client's portfolio, which includes acquisitions, disposals and lease matters. The team also assisted Snowfall Services, a BVI corporation, with the time-pressured acquisition of Caswell Science Park for £13m. Other clients include Lloyds Bank, HSBC Bank, Regis Plc and London & Cambridge Properties. Andrew Cooper is also noted.

Coffin Mew LLP handles property development projects, property investment work and landlord and tenant matters for an impressive range of clients. It often works in conjunction with its corporate and insolvency teams and is also acting increasingly for rural estates and farms. Recent work includes assisting the Roquebrook Group on the acquisition of sites for mixed-use, commercial and residential development in London, which involved obtaining planning permission as well as advising on securing funding from a number of lenders and private equity investors. The team is also acting for a farm owner on the sale of land to a national  house builder for the construction of 450 houses and other infrastructure, a matter which has involved public consultations. Nick Leavey is the experienced practice head and Amanda Read and Peter Fellows are other key names. David Thomas and Malcolm Poynter joined the team in March 2017 following the firm's merger with Charles Lucas & Marshall.

Lester Aldridge LLP's team's 'knowledge and advice on real world issues that can impact projects is incredible' according to one client. The team has notable expertise advising on issues pertaining to house building, investments, portfolio management and finance, especially in the telecoms, hotels, ports and marinas, and healthcare sectors. It is acting for CHG holdings on the development of a Travelodge in Somerset, work that includes advising on the site acquisition, planning and construction as well as assisting with a forward-funding agreement. The group also acted for Lewis Investment Fund on the acquisition of a large retail investment. McCarthy & Stone, Captiva Homes, Monzo Bank, Big Yellow and Bargate Homes are also among its clients. Practice head Matthew Barrow is highlighted 'for his extreme legal dexterity when dealing with complicated projects and for always having a solution to issues encountered with transactions'. Roger Woolley, Suki Samra and Mark Benham are other key partners. Laura Anne Burgess and Nicola Sutton are also noted.

Paris Smith LLP's team stands out for its 'commercial and pragmatic approach' and 'its response times' and 'attention to detail'. Mark Howarth heads a team that handles the gamut of real estate, planning and finance matters. Joanne Spittles is valued for her 'clear, concise and prompt responses'; Edward Watson, who specialises in property finance, was promoted to the partnership; and associates Lisa Busby and Sean Hogan are  'excellent'. In one highlight, the team advised Bargate Homes on innovative deal structures pertaining to a number of developments valued at more than £50m. It also acted for the former owners of Linton Fuel Oils on the sale of a site to Taylor Wimpey, which had a conditional planning agreement for the construction of over 100 new homes and a commercial space. Jin Takhar joined Clarke Willmott LLP.

Joanne McGuinness, who heads the team at Shoosmiths LLP, has expertise in a range of real estate transactions including the property elements of corporate matters. Clients include corporate occupiers, including those in the retail, leisure and industrial sectors. Senior associate Cara Beveridge, who has a focus on all aspect of residential developments and related finance, and associate Jessica Ready, who is experienced in advising developers and commercial landlords and tenants, are other key names.

At Trethowans LLP, Garry Treagust jointly heads the team with Paul Longman, who focuses on property finance. The group acted for Rowanmoor Trustees on the purchase of three commercial units, which involved a complicated restructuring of the legal title, as well as handling leasing matters and borrowing issues involving several parties, including a pension fund. Other work includes assisting with residential developments, landlord and tenant matters, and related restructuring work. The team was bolstered by the arrival of Biddy Walker , who joined from Irwin Mitchell, Juliet Biddle, who joined from Bevan Brittan LLP and Madeleine Tovey, who was a new arrival from Macfarlanes LLP. Other key practitioners include Elizabeth Bryson and Caroline Probert.

The team at Dutton Gregory  stands out for its ability to assist clients with 'understanding any technical issues which arise and helping to resolve the legal problems all the way to a conclusion'. It has expertise in the care home, charity, retail, hotel, leisure and telecoms sectors and advises on portfolio management, residential developments, sales and purchases, and leasehold matters. Alan Sydney heads a team, which includes Richard Brown and Denise Bull, who provide 'clear and concise advice'. The group acted for a care home operator on the acquisition of a residential care home by share purchase, which included advising on security issues and planning matters. It also acts for Countrywide Estate Agents on a range of leasehold property management issues.

David Fanchi is the key name in Irwin Mitchell's team, which provides 'a very practical view on legal matters to help progress a transaction', and is especially experienced in financing matters. The group also includes Philip Gray and Robert Stangroom. Stangroom, who joined in May 2017 from Shoosmiths LLP, was part of a team that advised Seaward Properties on the acquisition, development, financing and sale of affordable housing plots to a registered social housing provider. Gray was part of a team that assisted Micheldever Tyre Services with the property aspects of the acquisitions by way of share purchases of five companies and the grant of new leases.

Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex clients in South East 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


Helen Archibald leads on commercial property work and Clare Andrews focuses on residential property at Barlow Robbins LLP. The group is valued for 'providing top quality advice and in-depth local knowledge combined with the professionalism of a top London firm' and is also 'excellent at handling complex property or planning litigation'. Jo Farr is a key name in the Guildford office for commercial property work, senior associate Daisy Waldren 'provides an outstanding service' and senior associate Victoria McDonagh is another key name. Bekki Pritchard is also noted for 'handling everything exceptionally'. The practice undertakes commercial landlord and tenant matters, acquisitions and sales, and secured lending work for clients such as Svenska Handelsbanken, Soaro Developments, the Halebourne Group and Caran Developments.

Brachers¬†fields 'a¬†first-class team' and department head Sarah Gaines¬†is noted for her handling of contentious issues and her¬†‚Äėcan-do attitude'.¬†William Butler, who has a focus on the health and education sectors,¬†applies 'methodical patience to complex land issues'. The team has comprehensive expertise in all aspects of real estate including¬†planning, environment, construction, property finance and litigation. A multi-disciplinary team acted for¬†Sea Street Development on a complex ¬£20m project involving the¬†purchase of disused land from Canterbury City Council for a mixed-use development, which also involved planning permissions and which faced considerable resistance from local residents.¬†Ash Jilani,¬†Sarah Webster¬†and Emma Andersen¬†are other noted practitioners.

Clyde & Co LLP's team is able to draw on the firm's network to handle all aspects of advisory and contentious real estate across commercial, residential and mixed-use projects for national and international clients. It counts plcs such as Grainger and Helical among its clients as well as  Frogmore Property Group,  Aurora Group and Portsmouth City Council. The team acted for Spelthorne Borough Council on the £47m development of the world business centre 4 at Heathrow, which included handling the acquisition of the building, due diligence on the existing title, construction and planning arrangements. as well as a pre-let agreement. Adam Taylor-Smith and Martin Quicke jointly head the department. John Pearce, Will Deeprose and Choisanne Man are other key practitioners

Cripps LLP's team includes 'specialists in each area who are able to jump in when needed'. Mike Scott is noted for 'his great knowledge of the industry', Kate Robinson is 'super responsive, very technically knowledgeable and has amazing attention to detail' and Jason Towell  is 'calm and pragmatic'.Stephen Hedley, Richard Blackman and Glenn Miller are other key practitioners. The team handles all facets of real estate work from planning, funding and construction to refinancing and sales. Clients include investment companies, pension funds, private equity houses and REITs, as well as developers and occupiers. It is advising Liberty Property Trust UK on a mixed-use development near Horsham in a project that is valued in excess of £200m; the development is intended to provide a new sustainable community.

The 'excellent' team at Mundays LLP, which is led by Michael Nixon, provides 'a London quality of service at a provincial cost and offers a superb service'. The team  is a popular choice due to its expertise in commercial, residential and retail matters and related financing. It is particularly active in the hotel and leisure sectors and in recent work is advising a real estate developer on all aspects of the development of a 300-room hotel complex. The team is also assisting well-known clients with mandates including secured lending linked to properties in the UK and commercial lease renewals. Kevin Healy and Victor Barker are 'particularly strong in all aspects of development site acquisitions, sales, and in negotiating complex agreements with land owners and other parties' and Gemma James' broad expertise includes conventional and Islamic finance. Gavin Partridge, who made partner in August 2017, has broad expertise in the property space, including in landlord and tenant matters. Stephen Morris has retired.

Stevens & Bolton LLP's team 'has a broad range of skills, a lot of depth and provides well-balanced, practical advice'. Its clients include developers such as Lynton Developments and Equinox Living and corporate occupiers including BOC/Linde Group, Emirates and Kia Motors UK. In one highlight, it acted for Antares Underwriting Services on the development of its new London headquarters, including the grant of a 15-year lease. Head of department Andrew Steele, Howard Lupton, Daryl Rivero and Bethan Dodd are key names. The 'exceptional' Alex Watt and Alice Donzelot are 'great as a team' and Ian Craig joined the firm as a partner in 2017 from CMS.

Thomson Snell & Passmore fields a substantial team that handles the gamut of real estate work from property portfolio management, developments and, increasingly, related finance matters. New funding clients include Charity Bank, Aldermore Bank,  Paratus AMC and Oak North Property Finance. In one highlights, it assisted A A Homes & Housing with the refinancing of five properties with an aggregate value in excess of £70m and it acted for Brakes Bros on a range of matters concerned with managing its property portfolio including new leases, acquisitions, disposals and dilapidation issues. Practice head Richard Ellard and Sarah Easton are key contacts, together with Joanne Wright, Matthew Grogan and senior associate Laura Keatley.

Based in the firm's Maidstone and Crawley offices, the team at asb law LLP is led by Jonathan Cavell, who has notable experience advising on house building and developments. The group handles all areas of the buying, selling and leasing of property and related finance matters, as well as handling issues related to occupiers, landlords and tenants. In recent work, it acted for Castle Property Group on the acquisition of an office building where the site was  subject to restrictive covenants. It also advised Canon Europe on a complex lease renewal with an annual rent of £2.7m. Chris Worthington, Nigel Wigin, Ian Greenfield and associate Sarah Ovenden are other key practitioners.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's team is led by Ingrid Saffin following her arrival in July 2017 from Mundays LLP; Saffin provides 'quick, definitive advice that the client can understand, together with options for moving the matter forward'. Other key practitioners in the team include David Haines and Claire Timmings, who collectively provide 'a first-class service'. Retail and leisure, charities, healthcare and energy are key sector strengths; recent work includes acting for CareTech Holdings on the acquisition of Selborne Care and the team continues to assist Wagamama with portfolio management including disposals, leasing and subletting matters. Debra Kent retired.

DMH Stallard LLP fields a substantial team from its various offices in the region and counts builders and developers, investors and banks among its clients. The team's recent work includes advising Chartwell Land & New Homes on the acquisition of land for development, which included the negotiation of options and resolving various title issues. It is also acting for a number of corporate and individual landowners on a large mixed-use commercial and residential development that could provide up to 500 homes and which involves complex contractual and planning issues. Key senior members of the team include practice head Tina George, Nick Pentecost, who heads the real estate development team, Cathy Searle who is based in the Guildford office, Anne Milne, whose work includes various real estate-related financing,  Charles Pfister and Ben Price.

Led by practice head Tim Hardesty, the team at Herrington Carmichael LLP has 'an intelligent and business-like manner' and 'always provides a first-class service that is excellent value for money'. It acts for an impressive roster of residential builders and investors as well as broader commercial property clients. The group's recent work includes the purchase of development sites for substantial house building, commercial borrowing mandates, and handling the acquisition of an office leasehold for an overseas client. Mark Izquierdo stands out for his 'outstanding expertise  combined with a fine legal brain and an uncompromising level of business and commercial acumen' and Daniel York, who leads on landlord and tenant and secured lending work, is 'a good leader'. Other key team members include Claire McSorley and new hire associate Terri Warren, who joined from Perrins Solicitors LLP and has many years experience in social housing and acquisitions work.

The team at Penningtons Manches Cooper 'works seamlessly and incredibly hard on all instructions' according to one client. It handles a range of work including the acquisition of sites for substantial developments in the retail, hotel and industrial space, and also has lending and refinancing expertise. Clients include developers, landowners, landlords and tenants, including Barrington Brown Partnership, Flight Centre (UK), Rainham Steel Investments and Seybourne Estates. Department head Mike Busby and associate Sam Davies are 'outstanding solicitors with excellent communication skills'; the 'excellent' Tim Davies and Tony Burns are also key names, together with senior associate Graham Dixon. Jamie Lynch and Amanda Bolland joined the team from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Gowling WLG respectively.

TWM Solicitors LLP's team provides an 'excellent all-round' service on a comprehensive range of real estate transactions, especially commercial and residential developments, leasing matters and finance. It acts for developer, investor and individual clients, including Hurley Partners, Shilton, Lucas Design & Construction, Lodgecrest and Asprey Homes. Practice head Adrian Price  has expertise in areas including development projects, acquisitions and disposals, and finance and securities work. Other key practitioners include Epsom-based Anne Fowler, 'who can always be relied upon to provide a thorough analysis of a problem and constructive advice'; managing partner Matthew Truelove; Wimbledon-based Claire Campbell; and the 'very intelligent and street-wise' David Stockley. The team expanded with several new hires including Rosy Kidd and associate Gurkiran Notay, who both joined from Stevens & Bolton LLP.

Adams & Remers' team has expertise in a broad range of matters across commercial and residential developments, and landlord and tenant issues. The group is especially known for its commercial property work for pensions funds. It also has an established expertise in the care home sector where recent work includes acting for the seller on the disposal of a number of care homes, which was complicated by various title and access issues and an extended completion date. The group also assisted a care home operator, whose portfolio of care homes is worth some tens of millions, on the refinancing of 11 properties. Department head Katherine Haslam has broad expertise in the area but a noted specialism in agricultural and commercial rural estates work. Other key practitioners include highly experienced senior partner Robin Illingworth, who has experience in healthcare, agriculture and estates, and residential development matters, and Joanna Clark.

According to a client Boys & Maughan provides a very good service from its Canterbury, Margate and other offices in the South East. It counts Brede Hotels, Kentish Projects, Avante Care & Support and Manyweathers Properties as clients and handles land and property acquisitions and sales and leasing mandates involving all types of real estate assets. In recent work, the group is acting for a development company on the acquisition of land linked to a  construction project concerning commercial and residential units, and is assisting another client on a land purchase that involves a leaseback of the purchased land and an overage agreement. Complex development work is a focus for team head Robert Moulsdale and Robert Ailsby is also recommended.

According to one client, Downs Solicitors LLP's team's 'service and ability to respond has been excellent'. The group handles commercial property work encompassing sales, purchases and landlord and tenant matters involving  properties including offices, industrial and retail sites. Working in conjunction with the firm's corporate department, the team acted for a resident-owned management company on the grant to a developer of an option to purchase part of the grounds of a freehold site. Practice head Andrew Peach  is 'brilliant' and 'exceptionally able and helpful' and Heather Kershaw, who was promoted to senior associate in July 2017, stands out for her 'tenacity and client management skills'.

Furley Page Solicitors' team provides 'an excellent level of service on all aspects and is always available to offer sound advice'. It has a strong sector focus on education and healthcare, with specialisms in residential, commercial, mixed-use and student accommodation developments, as well as landlord and tenant issues and lending matters. Practice head Jeremy Licence is well-regarded. Andrew Gough and Liz Brady, who 'has a good in-depth knowledge of property law that is conveyed in a client-friendly way', are other key names.

According to one client, Hart Brown's team 'compares very favourably with other firms in the area'. Its workload includes substantial and complex commercial and industrial acquisitions, sales and leasehold matters for investors, developers, residents' associations and individuals. In recent work, the group is advising the owner of a large industrial site on a mixed-use development that is intended to be developed in stages and which involves complex planning issues. Practice head Roderick Campbell provides 'practical and pragmatic advice' and is 'a first-class communicator'. John Guthrie, who impresses with his 'speed of service and attention to detail', and associate Tamzin Mandelli are other names to note.

The team at Irwin Mitchell, which is based across the firm's Gatwick and Chichester offices, has a 'commercial' approach and is 'sensible on key points'. The group handles complex development projects and land acquisitions including brown and greenfield sites, as well as advising on financing, construction and planning matters. In one recent highlight, it advised Seaward Properties on the acquisition, development, financing and sale of affordable housing plots to a registered social housing provider. Tina Webster is a key contact in the Chichester office and Gatwick-based Balbit Thandi 'is always available to speak and strives to do the best for the client'. The 'pragmatic and efficient' Guy Sackett focuses on residential and mixed-use development matters and urban regeneration projects, and senior associate Brian Dowling is another name to note.

At Morrisons Solicitors LLP, 'the level of service is exceptional' and the team provides 'value for money'. Practice head Edward Moseley has 'a broad depth of knowledge of his subject area' and is ably assisted by senior associates Tanuja Sellahewa and Protima Sikdar-Wood. The team handles the gamut of real estate matters, including investment, development and landlord and tenant work, as well as acting for lenders. In highlight work, it advised on a high-value commercial tenancy agreement and in another matter assisted with the refinancing of a development site.

The team at PDT Solicitors is 'excellent in all respects'. It handles work for developers and builders, commercial landlords, housing associations and landowners and has a niche healthcare focus acting for pharmacies. Managing partner James Clewlow heads the team; he and Emma Van Klaveren are 'easy to work with and provide vital advice and support'. Jane Bowden and Craig Burton are the other names to note. The team is advising on the acquisition of residential development land via a joint venture, which involves a development agreement as well as planning and land acquisition agreements. It is also advising Horsham Football Club on the sale of part of its existing sports ground and acquisition of a new ground for the construction of a replacement football ground.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP's team provides 'a similar level of service to City firms but with more sensible fees'. The team is headed by David Ashton, who is highlighted for his combination of 'property knowledge and commercial acumen', and whose expertise spans development, investment and commercial lease work. Managing partner Richard Cripps has broad expertise in development and investment work and Oliver Bussell specialises in planning law as well as broad commercial property matters. Property portfolio management expert William Keating is another noted practitioner. Nick Fagg joined Cripps LLP.

Thackray Williams LLP's team 'is very responsive' and has 'good depth and breadth of knowledge'. It advises on a variety of land development, leasehold and conveyancing matters for commercial, retail and residential clients. Yildiz Betez is experienced in all aspects of commercial conveyancing and land development and Vikki Herbert leads on leasehold matters. David Fearon's expertise lies in advising developers and includes trusts and pension-based property issues and the 'knowledgeable and commercially astute' Paula Irvine is also a key member of the team. 

Warners Solicitors' clients range from banks and construction companies to family-owned farming businesses, estate owners and charitable institutions. The team advises on all aspects of site development, property investment portfolio work, planning permission and finance matters. In recent work, it is advising the independent record label Rough Trade on negotiating the lease of a new store as well as assisting with planning permission and a license to make alterations. Angela Robinson, who is based in Tonbridge, and Sevenoaks-based Mark Davis jointly head the practice. Angela Rowe, who acts for lenders and borrowers on secured lending, and Steve Colville are other names to note.

Whitehead Monckton handles the full range of real estate mandates, including acquisitions and disposals, options and promotion agreements, planning and property-related disputes. Robert Coombe, who heads the department, handles a range of commercial and residential property work including joint ventures and lending work. Dan Cowley's expertise includes commercial landlord and tenant leasing transactions and Vicky Stoodley is especially well regarded for her planning expertise.

Coole Bevis LLP was established following the 2016 merger of Coole & Haddock and Woolley Bevis Diplock. The sizeable and experienced group 'can be relied on with complete confidence', stands out for its 'expertise and ability to deal thoroughly and effectively with matters' and has 'a strong team ethos and excellent client care skills'. Practice head Oliver Maxwell-Jones has 'extensive knowledge of landlord and tenant issues'. Rebecca Turnbull-Simpson is noted for 'being able to quickly formulate effective strategies to resolve complex and often contentious issues' and Carol Blakey, Nicola Hunt and Carina Moss stand out for their 'client focus and for going the extra mile when required'. The team handles the spectrum of real estate mandates and acts for property developers and investors, lenders, landlords and pension funds. It acted for Royal Docks Management Authority on complex negotiations with several stakeholders involving easements and landlord and tenant issues.

The Guildford-based team of Laytons LLP, which is headed by Andrew Li, is 'very proactive' and has 'good industry knowledge'. Ian Cook and David McClenaghan are highlighted for their in-depth knowledge of residential building projects. The team advises local and national developers on residential and mixed-use developments and also assists with landlord and tenant and planning issues. In recent work, it is advising a developer on a project involving the construction of 2,000 homes, together with retail and community facilities.

Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 clients in South East 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 ‚Äėprofessional, hard-working team‚Äô at Boyes Turner¬†‚Äėgoes that extra step to meet client needs‚Äô, providing a ‚Äėten out of ten service on all counts‚Äô. Commercial practice head Nick Carter¬†handles commercial property transactions for clients operating in many sectors, including media, telecoms, life sciences and retail. Carter recently led a team advising Verifone on the relocation of its headquarters. The development group is led by William Nassau-Lake¬†(‚Äėexcellent knowledge and understanding‚Äô) and Derek Ching¬†(‚Äėexceptional; he can deal with the most complex contractual issue and offer advice that is clear and easy to understand for the professional and the layman‚Äô), with clients of note including Fruition Properties, Spitfire Bespoke Homes and Antler Homes. ‚ÄėHighly recommended‚Äô Mark Appleton¬†holds a niche specialism in advising offshore trust companies on UK property transactions and was recently instructed by Curatus Trust Company (Mauritius) in connection with the sale of a substantial waterside site in London for around ¬£60m to an overseas developer. At senior associate level, Rachel Duncan¬†is noted for her experience in secured lending transactions and acting for foreign businesses setting up in the UK, while Bob Daniel¬†and Sarah Webb¬†are other names of note.

Ruth Leadbitter¬†heads the team at Blake Morgan LLP,¬†which is recommended for ‚Äėa great overall level of service and knowledge‚Äô and providing advice ‚Äėwith a commercial view in mind‚Äô. The healthcare, science and technology, energy, central and local government, and development sectors are particularly important for the practice. Leadbitter is particularly experienced in the public sector and acts for clients from the healthcare and local, central and devolved government sectors, with one ongoing matter seeing her advise Harwell Innovation Centre on the continuing development of its science park. Andrew Miscampbell¬†is known for his experience in the healthcare and renewable energy sectors, with key clients including Barclays Bank and MedicX/Octopus. Michael Ward¬†advises numerous medical practices on all aspects of surgery development and assists healthcare developers with the provision of care home facilities, while senior associate Deryn Bassett¬†is well regarded for her expertise in the energy sector, particularly with respect to coal and gas power projects. Paul Brame¬†left the team to join Pitmans LLP.

The ‚Äėefficient and responsive‚Äô Clarkslegal LLP¬†'punches above its weight‚Äô and offers a ‚Äėgood value for money‚Äô service. Rachel Krol¬†heads the department, which services significant projects and transactions and is particularly strong in the education, healthcare, motor retail, and hotels and leisure sectors. The practice possesses niche expertise in specialist public, procurement, charity and property finance matters, including advising on Islamic finance issues. Krol divides her time between the firm‚Äôs London and Reading offices and works for a wide variety of clients, including FTSE 100 companies,¬†large retailers and property developers, in connection with acquisitions and disposals, investment, development and planning. Richard Higgs¬†is a specialist in infrastructure, healthcare and real estate finance matters, while Simon Berry¬†advises property companies and wealthy investors on acquisitions and disposals and leasehold arrangements and Simon Ralphs¬†is strong for franchising arrangements in the food and restaurant sector. Clients of the practice include Lafarge UK Pension Trustees, Crown Packaging Manufacturing UK and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Marcus Francis heads the team at Field Seymour Parkes LLP, which acts for a range of occupier corporate clients including Panasonic, Honda, Mencap and Sally Hair & Beauty, as well as lenders including Santander, Natwest, Lloyds and Handelsbanken. Francis acted for United Therapeutics Europe on the sale of Unither House in Chertsey to Runnymede Borough Council for £6.35m, which completed in August 2017. The team’s partners each have their own specialisms: Dean Bickford] focuses on investment and landlord and tenant mandates, farming and estates practice head James Burgess has been advising on property acquisitions and disposals, and Nick Winslet's expertise includes high-value lettings, development and secured lending work. The team has expanded in recent times with the hire of senior associate Anna Zatouroff from Stitt & Co and associates Gaye King and Hazel Eccles from CMS and Freeths LLP respectively.

Freeths LLP's¬†real estate team provides ‚Äėexcellent service including prompt responses and well-considered, clear advice‚Äô, with specialisms including work for educational institutions, clients in the drinks, hospitality and leisure sectors, transport and logistics companies, and developers, among others. Recent areas of growth for the practice have included projects in the healthcare sector for product providers and nursing homes, construction projects relating to office agreements and industrial schemes, and property support on M&A transactions. Patrick Whetter¬†and director¬†Adrian White¬†jointly head the Oxford real estate team; senior associates Desh Patel¬†and Anna Power¬†and 'personable but straight to the point' associate Laura Hodgson¬†are other important team members.

Comprising ‚Äėexperts in their field‚Äô, BrookStreet des Roches'¬†team ‚Äėreally understands property‚Äô and is seen as a market leader in the retail and pharmaceuticals sectors, as well as being strong for property investment, development and joint venture work and land development and promotion. Rosie Gibb¬†heads the retail and leisure sector service offering and specialises in technical and high-profile landlord and tenant work, particularly for clients with complex group structures and property holdings. Gibb and associate Amy Brown¬†acted for Parkwood TopShop Athletic, a joint venture between Topshop and popstar Beyonc√© Knowles, on the acquisition of office space within a newly redeveloped premises to house the ‚ÄėIvy Park‚Äô sportswear brand. Head of team Martin Billings¬†specialises in property investment, development and asset management work. Billings and associate Ariella Rubenchik¬†assisted MEPC with the variation of a planning agreement at its business and technology park Milton Park. Jamie Barton, promoted to partnership level in April 2017, is noted for his work in the retail sector, servicing big-name clients including Arcadia, The Body Shop, McDonald‚Äôs Restaurants and Moss Bros. Charlie Seaward, Justin Winterbottom¬†and Sarah Wildsmith¬†are also noted as key practice members.

The 'first-class' Osborne Clarke¬†‚Äėbrings a London perspective and resource to the region‚Äô, with ‚Äėan excellent and good value for money service‚Äô. Head of department Rebecca Tuffs¬†handles all aspects of commercial property work, with a particular focus on servicing real estate finance and investment work. Tuffs and associate James Law¬†acted for Halo Insurance Services on the acquisition of a new office location in Uxbridge and the negotiation of an agreement for lease conditional on the completion of the landlord‚Äôs works, as well as handling QinetiQ‚Äôs disposal of a complex legacy site in Weymouth. Elizabeth Sturgess¬†(‚Äėhighly intelligent, focused and with a sound commercial approach‚Äô) focuses on house building instructions, acting for high-profile clients including market-leading house builders, landowners and funds. Associate director Andrew Annette¬†specialises in residential development and is currently acting for Rectory Homes on its executive development at Fitzgerald Park in Binfield, Bracknell.

Penningtons Manches Cooper is strong for work in the retail and leisure sector, large-scale development projects, and education and environmental and planning law, with a client base including multinational corporates, universities and entrepreneur developers such as Frontier Estates, Fitness First and Berendsen UK. Richard Smith] heads the team and leads the environmental and planning law group. Smith advised St Peter's College, Oxford, on the purchase of several properties on New Inn Hall Street and acted for the European Space Agency on its acquisition of a new office at Harwell Science Campus. Simon Knott has assisted White Stuff with the acquisition, disposal and day-to-day management of various high-street stores and warehousing centres.

Shoosmiths LLP specialises in handling high-value, complex real estate transactions, with a focus in recent times on telecoms, development and corporate occupancy instructions. Clients of note include McKay Securities, Calor Gas and Allegro MicroSystems. Alan Corcoran, the head of the firm’s southern real estate offering, led a team advising Mattel group companies as tenant and guarantor in respect of the relocation of its main UK distribution hub to a new facility in Leicester. Head of the Reading real estate team Nathan Rees acts for major property investors on large-scale acquisitions and disposals, as well as asset management for property owners and occupiers. Rees recently advised Mabey Hire on the relocation of one of its key southern distribution depots to a larger site, with support from associate Nick Dalgleish and tax partner Daniel Kennedy. Senior associate Marcus Devanny has extensive experience of acting for institutional investors, property funds and corporate entities in the acquisition and disposal of freehold and leasehold properties and large portfolios.

‚ÄėThe level of service is always great‚Äô at Pitmans LLP, which has a ‚Äėfocused, personal and commercial‚Äô approach and is ‚Äėexcellent value for money‚Äô. The real estate practice is seen as a market leader for residential development work, with the team acting on CALA Homes‚Äô acquisition of various residential sites with an aggregate value above ¬£100m and other substantial projects for Bewley Homes and Montreaux Developments. Practice head Delphine Mehouas' expertise includes contracts and options, strategic land purchase, collaboration agreements and joint ventures; she recently acted for Vanderbilt Thames Valley on the purchase of land in Dunsford with the benefit of planning permission for 42 dwellings. On the commercial side, Mehouas also acted for Waylands Automotive on the negotiation of a 20-year lease with Volvo for a new dealership in Reading with two car showrooms. Other key members of the team include Paul Brame,¬† Sarah Potter, Marcus McCluggage¬†and 'commercial lawyer with a can-do attitude' Paul Murray.

The 'excellent' Blandy & Blandy LLP¬†team is ‚Äėresponsive, commercial and prepared to roll up their sleeves‚Äô, with a strong reputation for development work, secured lending and transactional advice. Representative clients include Svenska Handelsbanken, Cove Construction and Asset Advantage. Team head Jane Gunnell¬†handled Austin Fraser‚Äôs entry into a ten-year lease agreement for Reading‚Äôs newly refurbished landmark Thames Tower and advised the University of Reading on a number of sale transactions and the re-negotiation of documentation relating to previously completed transactions. Departmental manager Katja Wigham¬†has provided advice on the purchase of two freehold properties as part of a corporate transaction in the waste management sector and is noted for her expertise in advising charities and educational institutions. The ‚Äėcommercial, responsive and flexible‚Äô John Dingle¬†is ‚Äėa pleasure to work with‚Äô, and is recommended for healthcare sector matters and secured lending.

Stephen Baker¬†heads the 'very responsive, commercially minded' practice at CMS.¬†Baker regularly advises institutional investors and funds including Capital & Regional, Kennedy Wilson and Capreon on their acquisitions, disposals and management issues, as well as acting on behalf of corporate occupier clients in their office, industrial and retail property deals. Highlights included assisting Catalent Pharma Solutions with the disposal of two large industrial sites at Deeside Industrial Estate and advising Capital & Regional in connection with its largest letting at Kingfisher Shopping Centre since its acquisition. Baker is recommended as being ‚Äėparticularly good at breaking down complex contractual provisions and issues into easy to understand points‚Äô. Senior associate Will Bird¬†is noted for his work dealing with a wide variety of commercial property investment and management transactions. After publication, Baker left to join Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP¬†in Southampton in June 2018.

The ‚Äėhighly competent, professional and commercial‚Äô Gardner Leader LLP¬†provides a ‚Äėsuperb overall level of service‚Äô for property matters. Practice head Greg Humphreys¬†(recommended for ‚Äėhis patience in explaining the pros and cons of clients‚Äô options and ways forward‚Äô) is acting for developer Rivar on the sale of 32 residential flats and the ancillary creation of a management company and leases thereto. Development specialist Suki Hardy¬†(‚Äėrelentlessly protects clients‚Äô interests and continuously demonstrates her knowledge and expertise‚Äô) acted for Rivar in relation to a section 106 planning agreement for a substantial development of 157 dwellings. Richard Buckeridge¬†handled the sale of two day nurseries and of an eye surgery in Harley Street. The team enlarged with the hire of associate Nadeem Ahmed¬†from Browns Solicitors.

Brethertons LLP handles transactional, development and freehold matters, along with other work. Practice head Tom Lawrence assists clients with leasehold and freehold sales and purchases, landlord and tenant matters, and option and promotion agreements, while also supporting the corporate team with the property aspects of M&A transactions. Associate Angela Guess has niche expertise in option and promotion agreement casework and renewable energy matters. Solicitor Kelly Earle recently joined the practice, bringing her experience of matters in the healthcare sector.

At Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors, Tim Read acted for timber, building and fencing supplier Lawsons in respect of the sale of one of the client’s depots for development as a student accommodation site, as well as advising Just Eat on its London and Bristol property leases. Other clients of note for the practice include Country Estates and Darcliffe Homes. Ian Graham heads the department, with other significant figures including Chris Baggs and senior associates Lewis Djemal and Jonathan Foulds.

‚ÄėExcellent‚Äô boutique firm Plainlaw solicitors¬†is adept in commercial matters and includes the likes of Spectris, XL Catlin and Oxford BioMedica on its client list. The practice handles all types of commercial property transactions, from sale and purchase arrangements to complex refinancing and development work. The ‚Äėextremely diligent and pragmatic‚Äô Philip Horn¬†heads the department and acted for Comland Industrial and Commercial Properties in connection with sale of Mercury Park to Threadneedle Pensions. Other highlights included Brendan Rolle-Rowan¬†acting for Stanley Black & Decker on the sale of its existing warehousing and logistics facility to Exeter Property Group and Stephen Stratton¬†handling significant projects for Clarendon Enterprise Centre.

The Oxford office's property team at Royds Withy King¬†is headed by senior associate Julie Acock,¬†who ‚Äėprovides an excellent service‚Äô, with ‚Äėtimely, cost-effective and practical advice‚Äô. The practice is strong for development projects, with recent highlights including advice on option agreements for landowners, the development of a new surgery for a doctor‚Äôs practice, and acting for a developer on the acquisition and development of a scheme of 22 new homes. Acock specialises in the retail and leisure sectors, and also acts for several major banks on commercial lending matters. Paul Daniels¬†has been involved in large transactions including mixed-use developments and care home acquisitions and re-financings. Andrew Chalk¬†has a niche area of expertise in rural and equestrian property transactions including the sale, purchase and letting of training establishments, studs and farmland conversion.

The 'experienced team' at Spratt Endicott¬†‚Äėprovides a high level of service, with sound, thorough advice‚Äô; it provides ‚Äėexcellent value for money and advice which is as good as one would get from a major London firm‚Äô. ‚ÄėExcellent lawyer‚Äô Andrew Woods]¬†heads the practice and possesses expertise in dealing with development and strategic land transactions. Woods is noted for his ‚Äėdepth of knowledge, advice and ability to see transactions through to completion, getting good results but not creating animosity‚Äô. Director Howard Meakin¬†is noted for his experience in residential and commercial development projects and landlord and tenant matters, while at associate level Graham Roberts¬†and Andrew Querelle¬†are noted.


Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Construction clients in South East 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


'Excellent on all counts', Blake Morgan LLP's construction practice has 'knowledge and experience of construction law that is second to none; advice provided is always appropriate and specific to the needs of the client, and the team has great strength-in-depth'. It acts for public and private sector purchaser and contractors across a number of sectors, including retail and leisure, energy, health, local and national government, banking and education. Non-contentious highlights included acting for Bouygues UK on the reconfiguration of its contracting supply chain following its acquisition mod Leadbetter Construction and Denne Construction, and advising Victoria Quay Estate on the proposed development of a 400-berth marina in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, which involved negotiating a suite of construction consultation appointments along with other construction issues arising from the ongoing development. On the disputes side, the practice is acting for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in a series of issues and disputes arising from the Pennine Reach project, which formed part of the transport infrastructure improvements as part of the Northern Powerhouse, including the termination of the original contractor and issues relating to alleged defamatory statements. Richard Wade heads the team, which includes James Bessey, Catherine Melis and Jessica Tresham.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's construction practice provides a service that is 'nothing short of excellent; the lawyers are entirely knowledgeable and prompt in all of their dealings, and produce work of great quality'. Its clients span a range of industry sectors, including healthcare, where it acts for clients such as Caring Homes Group; transport, where it regularly handles cross-border mandates; energy, where it acts for the Energy Technologies Institute; and education, among other areas. In an illustration of its multi-jurisdictional workload, practice head David Savage is acting for the Bahrain government's Ministry of Transport & Telecommunications on the procurement strategy for a $1bn redevelopment of Bahrain airport. Other recent highlights include advising Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre on the design and construction of a replacement slipway to mitigate the effects of the Thames Tideway Tunnel works; and assisting Caring Homes Group with ongoing advice on the client's care home portfolio, including its recent acquisition of a 60-bed care home in Surrey. Senior associate Andrew Keeley is 'superb; his breadth of knowledge, calm under pressure, ability to crystallise the nub of disputes and communication skills puts clients at ease'. Also recommended are Kate Knox, who specialises in non-contentious construction and engineering law, and Fiona Thomson, whose expertise covers retail, office, hotel and residential accommodation developments.

Clarkslegal LLP's clients highlight the 'extensive knowledge' provided by the construction team, which comprises 'knowledgeable and helpful lawyers who work with clients to achieve their end goal; care is taken to ensure that instructions are clear and that the level of advice is commensurate with clients' requirements'. The practice acts for suppliers and purchasers, including contractors such as B Mackin Construction and Optimum, on the full range of major projects work, from procurement and project contracts tender drafting and procedures, and joint venture structures, to dispute resolution. On the contentious side, the practice acted for Blanchard Wells in a claim against its concrete supplier arising from the supply of incorrect concrete mix in breach of specifications for an important construction contract at Leatherhead Golf Club. Non-contentious highlights included advising Sunglen Properties on a joint development that will provide accommodation for 186 students, and assisting a specialist design and build catering contractor on a review of the proposed terms of contracts for a number of multimillion-pound projects. The 'very pragmatic' David Rintoul heads the practice; he is rate for 'caring a great deal about both his clients and providing an excellent service'. He leads a team that includes Ruth Wilkinson, who joined in 2017 from CMS and 'gives sensible, pragmatic advice'; Stephen James, 'an excellent litigator' who provides 'clear and easily digestible advice'; and Hannah Mycock-Overell, who is 'very switched on and commercial'.

Dentons provides 'an exceptional level of service', with clients citing the firm's 'in-depth industry knowledge and good experience in most sectors'. It is highly active in construction disputes, where it acts for contractors such as Vinci Construction and Galliford Try. On the non-contentious front the practice is regularly called on to advise on major projects in the commercial, retail, leisure, rail, energy and high-end residential arenas.  In a recent highlight Jane Miles (who is 'able to come up with innovative ways to deal with difficult issues') acted for Taylor Wimpey on the construction aspects of the redevelopment of a 6.25-acre development site, which was acquired from Royal Mail and has planning permission for 681 residential units as well as retail, office space and public space. Other highlights included advising Kier on the development and letting of a multi-phased, multi-tenanted retail, leisure and trade development in Reading, which has involved advising on the procurement methods and the phasing of building contracts; and advising Great Western Developments on the construction aspects of the project to transform the former Royal Mail sorting and post office site adjacent to Paddington Station. On the contentious front, Gurbinder Grewal (who is praised for his 'intimate knowledge of the details of the case and timely, appropriate advice') is acting for Geofirma Soils Engineering in £30m multi-party court proceedings relating to the defective design and construction of a warehouse in Cheshire. Grewal jointly heads the contentious practice with Akin Akinbode, who has an extensive track record in engineering and construction disputes.  Esther McDermott ('a pleasure to work with') is also recommended.

Sheridan Gold LLP fields 'excellent lawyers' with 'extensive experience in construction law'. Clients particularly single out the 'significant partner input, which is often not provided in the bigger firms'. The firm acts for national and international contractors and sub-contractors, as well as developers on a range of construction and engineering matters. Jonathan Gold and Peter Sheridan are 'intellectually savvy, analytical and have broad experience'. Gold has more than 18 years' experience in construction matters, and Sheridan more than 25 years' experience in construction and engineering disputes.Jane Ryland is also recommended.

Stevens & Bolton LLP fields an 'excellent' team of construction specialists that provide advice that is 'second to none'. Clients single out practice head Stephen Rockhill his training as a chartered engineer, giving him 'a unique ability in drafting and negotiating contract and warranty documents, as well as an unrivalled understanding of the practicalities of the construction process'. His track record covers contentious and non-contentious procurement and contractual construction matters. Other key figures include Michael Frisby, who handles disputes in a range of sectors including manufacturing, IT and insurance; Claire Perry, who handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters; and Kimberley Eyssell, who joined in 2017 from Kennedys and who has notable expertise rail-related disputes. Eyssell recently acted for Michael J Lonsdale in a series of adjudications concerning sums due to a sub-consultant, and represented specialist cladding sub-contractor Century Facades in a dispute against Vision Homes. On the non-contentious side Rockhill is advising the Institute for Cancer Research on a large laboratory at its Sutton site, which involved ensuring the construction documentation took into account issues the client had experienced on previous projects. Ben Willis joined the team in 2018 from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP.

Cripps LLP fields a 'professional and well-resourced' construction practice that handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious construction matters, with an emphasis on regeneration and urban renewal projects. In an illustration of its track record in major regeneration projects, the practice is continuing to act for Slough Borough Council on the £1bn regeneration of Slough, which involves a £27m library, an £8m football stadium for Slough Town FC, and most recently four new leisure centres, the refurbishment of a number of schools and several housing and infrastructure developments. Other highlights included assisting the English National Ballet with the relocation of its headquarters to London City Island, which involved negotiating the construction documents relating to the fit-out of the new HQ; and acting for Kato Kagaku Co on the refurbishment of the Aldwych Quarter in London, for which Andrew Harbourne led the team handling the completion of the appointment and construction documentation for the work on the north west wing in 2017. James Lee heads the practice and is 'a great construction lawyer who offers practical and commercial advice in a timely manner, and achieves a good balance between protecting the client's interests and commercial acceptability'. Contentious construction expert Nitej Davda is also recommended.

Hewitsons acts for developers, contractors and consultants on a range of commercial, residential and infrastructure projects, with an emphasis on the education sector. In an illustration of is track record in education sector related construction mandates, practice head Tim Richards was part of a team advising Mansfield College, Oxford on a teaching and student accommodation project, which involved handling all the construction documentation, and acted for the Woolf Institute on a project to develop a new HQ at Westminster College, Cambridge. Other recent highlights include advising MK Gallery on the expansion of its exhibition space to accommodate a range of new facilities including a cinema, performances and events, historical and contemporary exhibitions and a café. Colin Jones and Lorna Carter are also recommended.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) fields a team of 'extremely well-qualified, very professional, highly knowledgeable and courteous' construction specialists who provide 'exceptional advice and outstanding value for money'. Clients include major housebuilders, contractors and mixed-use developers on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters, with notable strength in commercial real estate and the engineering sector. On the contentious front, practice head Paul Brampton ('very formidable and clear thinking') acted for O'Loughlin Leisure in a dispute concerning construction cost overruns, allocation of sale proceeds, and alleged defects brought against the development company, with which the client entered into a joint venture agreement to sell and develop leisure facilities in South London into apartments and commercial premises. Non-contentious highlights included advising Heathrow Top on the conversion and extension of an existing office building in Heathrow to deliver a 244-bedroom Marriott hotel, and assisting with Aviva Insurance on the redevelopment of St Helen's Square in the City of London, the third largest open space in the City. Steven Hayward has wide-ranging expertise in contentious and non-contentious construction matters and is recommended alongside consultant Ross Humphries.

Irwin Mitchell is rated for its 'responsiveness and strength in depth'. The construction practice has a particularly strong profile in the education sector, and regularly acts for developers, contractors and consultants, as well as owners of residential property in London and of country estates on issues arising from construction projects. In an illustration of the growth in non-contentious work in 2017, the practice acted for developers Artisan Real Estate on the preparation and negotiation of professional appointments for proposed residential developments in Woolwich and Swanley. In a mandate demonstrating its education-sector credentials, the practice advised Lambeth College on all aspects of the proposed development of its campus in Vauxhall. The firm is also noted for its strength in construction disputes, and recently acted for Structure Consulting in adjudications and subsequent High Court litigation concerning claims for payment in respect of a project for the design and construction of a Lebanese food production and training kitchen facility. Practice head Mark Clinton ('a pleasure to work with') has more than 30 years' experience in construction issues. Sarah Evans and Izabela Arnold are also recommended.

Pitmans LLP handles a mix of non-contentious and contentious work for a range of clients including developers and housebuilders. It has a particular focus on marine engineering where it acts for ferry operators such as Red Funnel Group, as well as owners and operators of marinas on the south coast. It also regularly handles hotel refurbishment, valuation and refinancing mandates. Non-contentious highlights included assisting CVD diamond producer Element Six, part of the DeBeers Group, with upgrades and extensions to its existing facilities, and acting for CALA Homes on the refurbishment of its head office. On the disputes front, the practice acted for the Bookworth Group in claims brought by a series of residential developments, successfully representing Anglo-Malaysian architectural practice Space-Q Studio in adjudication proceedings in relation to a waste energy plant in Peterborough, and negotiating a favourable settlement on behalf of contractor Inside Out Developments related to a payment dispute. Practice head David Gwillim has more than 30 years' experience in construction law.

Birkett Long LLP acts for contractors, sub-contractors, surveyors, engineers, architects and developers on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, from drafting bespoke construction contracts, handling  consultants' appointments and collateral warranties, and advising on development agreements and options to purchase land, to adjudications, mediations, arbitration and litigation. Recent highlights include acting for Orchard Barns Kindergarten and its pension fund on the conversion of its barn into a day nursery. On the disputes front the practice acted for C&W Industrial Roofing Services in an adjudication relating to an unpaid valuation. It also acted for a bank on the financing for the conversion of a former petrol station site to a residential development. Peter Allen heads the practice and has wide-ranging expertise in construction contracts. Keith Songhurst regularly acts for local authorities, property developers, and construction and engineering companies on construction disputes. David Rayner, Justin Stock and Martin Hopkins are also recommended.

Clients consider Birketts LLP to field 'a City-quality construction team at regional prices - its lawyers are very friendly, hardworking and know how to get the best result for the client'. Andrew Rush (who has 'a no-nonsense approach and is very well liked') heads the practice, which includes Ruth Sunaway ('a standout construction lawyer who strikes the right balance between attack and commercial sense'). Rush and Sunaway have extensive track records handling litigation, arbitration and adjudication for, with Sunaway regularly acting in high-value claims before the Technology and Construction Court. Recent work includes defending Wilson Properties in an adjudication commenced by Hutton Construction. Senior associate Carolyn Porter handles a range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters.

EMW Law LLP's construction practice combines 'good legal advice with a practical approach and in-depth industry knowledge'. Clients include developers, housebuilders, social housing providers, contractors and consultants, which the practice advises on a range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters. Recent highlights include advising 21 Construction on contract terms for for several projects in and around London, with values ranging from £3m to £15m, assisting Adobe Systems Europe with drafting and negotiating the building contract and consultation appointments for fit out and refurbishment works related to the lease of two floors of the White Collar Building in London, and acting for Scania on the design and construction of a new headquarters in Milton Keynes. Practice head Michael Chilton is 'a safe pair of hands with a great deal of industry knowledge and a calm manner'. Derryn Rolfe is also recommended.

BrookStreet des Roches fields a construction and engineering team that is 'extremely knowledgeable of the relevant law and has a deep understanding of clients' business needs, enabling it to anticipate their needs and flag key points very early in negotiations'. The practice handles a range of work related to commercial property developments, from procurement issues, construction contracts and professional appointments to construction disputes. It is continuing to provide ongoing advice to MEPC Silverstone GP on a development project adjacent to Silverstone race track, most recently acting on the construction of a campus made of fourteen industrial units at the park totalling 125,000 sq ft. Other recent work includes acting for Arcadia Group on a garment handling process plant to be installed in a new warehouse building in Northamptonshire; acting for a client on professional appointments for a large mixed-use development in Battersea in London; and acting for the tenant, 3M, on office and laboratory leases, which involved handling agreements lease, landlord and tenant works. The 'very responsive' Joe Bellhouse heads the team and is 'an extremely reliable source of technically sound, commercially sensible advice'.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's practice in Southampton is best known for handling non-contentious mandates for the firm's national clients. Recent highlights include advising contractor Faithdean on a variety of contracts the client is planning to enter into with developers for a number of schemes, primarily in London. Simon Lewis leads the team nationally, which also acts for developers pension funds, education establishments and railway infrastructure companies. In another key mandate, the team advised longstanding client B&Q on construction issues related to its property portfolio, as well as assisting the client on framework agreements with construction suppliers. Ben Willis joined Stevens & Bolton LLP in 2018.

Brachers has a track record handling contentious and non-contentious construction matters for developers and contractors. Michael Janney left the firm in 2017.

Howes Percival LLP acts for developers, institutional landowners, banks, occupiers, contractors and consultants on a range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters. Recent highlights include assisting Barwood Capital with drafting a bespoke suite of construction documents to be used on a series of future developments; acting for Ford Retail on construction issues related to the refurbishment of the client's existing leasehold dealership in Epsom; and drafting and negotiating all construction documentation on behalf of Welcome Break Group in relation to the procurement of Fleet Service Station. Philippa Hebbard heads the practice and is noted for her non-contentious expertise.

Mundays LLP's track record includes advising developers, tenants, lenders and contractors throughout the project lifecycle, and maintains a strong client base of corporate and high net-worth clients across the South East region. Pippa Beesley joined Bevan Brittan LLP in 2017.

The construction team at Palmers 'punches well above its weight' and has a strong track record in high-value, complex disputes. Recent work includes acting for Pole 2 Pole Scaffolding in an arbitration brought against Squibb Group concerning a contract for the supply, erecting and dismantling of scaffolding, and acting for Camway Contracts in three disputes relating to works carried out under a JCT minor works building contract. Practice head Adam Davis is 'a true construction specialist with the ability to get to the heart of a case quickly'.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP handles a variety of contentious and non-contentious construction work for developers, sub-contractors and construction companies, including issues arising from contested payment applications and defects claims. Francis Wallace heads the practice and has a longstanding track record in construction disputes, often involving an international dimension. Associate Alistair Rustemeyer is noted for his marine sector expertise.

Thomson Snell & Passmore attracts praise for its 'in-depth knowledge of the construction industry'. The practice acts for developers, funders, contractors, sub-contractors and professional consultants on the full spectrum of construction matters, with an emphasis on on high-value, multi-party disputes. Recent work includes acting for a European aparthotel company on a major refurbishment of its London aparthotel, which involved drafting all relevant construction documentation, as well as handling a dispute with the contractor. Chris Whittington heads the construction practice and has a 30-year track record advising on procurement methods and negotiating building and engineering contracts, as well as construction disputes. Recently promoted partner Chris Kirby-Turner has a particular focus on professional negligence claims against designers and contractors.


Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Environment clients in South East 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


B P Collins LLP fields an environmental law team that is 'very strong indeed', with clients singling out practice head Alex Zachary as 'very thorough and will stick to his guns where required'. The cross-practice team has extensive experience in all stages of the waste cycle, acting for clients in waste management, renewables and efficiency, as well as for waste-to-energy clients involved in renewable energy projects. In an illustration of the practice's track record in the waste management sector, Craig Williams acted for PB Donoghue in a £3m claim for damages arising from or JV/management/licence agreements made with an ex-HGV driver. Other recent highlights include advising Biffa on the acquisition of Amber Engineering, a waste management business in south Wales, and assisting the same client with updated terms for its project involving the collection and disposal of garden waste. Also recommended are David Smellie, who regularly handles commercial contracts and corporate transactions related to the waste management and renewables sectors, and Alison Taylor, who handles high-value commercial lease transactions for environmental clients.

Blandy & Blandy LLP fields a 'proactive, professional' team of environmental law specialists headed by Karen Jones, who is singled out for her 'extensive knowledge of planning and environmental law'. The practice's expertise covers a range of environmental law expertise, including handling environmental impact assessments; issues related to contaminated land and environmental permitting applications; advising on SPA impact on development proposals; and conducting environmental due diligence. Recent work includes acting for University of Reading on environmental issues in relation to a development in Oxfordshire, including EIA scoping and works in connection with local footpath improvements; and providing ongoing advice to R Collard on the extension to existing waste recycling facilities in Hampshire, including the creation of an ecological compensation area offsite. Simon Dimmick is also recommended.

DMH Stallard LLP's clients are quick to praise the environment practice's 'consistently excellent legal work and support, and very good client management skills'. It has an excellent track track record in the renewables and waste sectors, where it regularly handles planning matters. The practice is also highly active in environmental litigation, with the team often called on to defend against prosecutions by the Environment Agency as well as handling judicial reviews on behalf of claimants and defendants. Other areas of expertise include advising on environmental, planning and health and safety aspects of corporate transactions, conducting environmental impact assessments, sustainable drainage and flooding matters, and acting for a number of residential developers on water infrastructure agreements. In an illustration of its track record handling nuisance matters, the practice acted for Neils Steels in lodging and appeal against a statutory nuisance abatement notice in respect of noise emanating from the client's premises on an industrial estate, which involved brokering meetings with the environmental health officer to discuss mitigating measures, resulting in the withdrawal of the notice. It is also acting for a client in the waste sector in an investigation by the Environment Agency into alleged breaches of an environmental permit relating to one of its sites. Heidi Copland heads the practice and is 'a skilled litigator who thinks both tactically and strategically; she provides crisp, clear instructions and works well with clients and advocates'.  Chloe Karamian is 'a rising star, with an excellent analytical mind that is already head and shoulders above many of her peers'.

Richard Smith heads the practice at Penningtons Manches Cooper, which handles the full range of environmental law matters including consummated land liabilities, legal compliance, planning policy and the Habitats Directive.

In addition to carrying out environmental impact assessments and due diligence, and handling warranties and indemnities arising from commercial transactions, Stevens & Bolton LLP also has a strong track record carrying out  carrying out cutting-edge environmental governance projects for the European Commission. Recent highlights include assisting WWF-UK with envronmental issues related to its offshore oil and gas operations, acting for Joffe & Associés on the environmental law implications of tis acquisition of a manufacturing site in the UK, and representing XL Catlin in various claims concerning environmental liabilities in insurance and general liability policies. Valerie Fogleman heads the practice and provides training to judges and prosecutors across the EU in environmental law. Catherine Davey retired from the practice.

Brachers is a regular fixture in environmental prosecutions and enforcement, as well as statutory nuisance cases, including claims under s.82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. On the non-contentious front, the practice acts for developers and planning authorities in environmental impact assessments, and for landowners and purchasers on contaminated land issues. Other areas of expertise include advising on environmental issues related to corporate transactions, including warranties and indemnities related to potential environmental liabilities. Lee May heads the practice.

Cripps LLP's planning team handles environmental law matters and is 'highly regarded by fellow professionals'. Jason Towell has a longstanding track record advising housebuilders and land promoters on environmental law issues relating to their high-profile developments. Areas of expertise include environmental impact assessments, contaminated land issues and judicial reviews.

Shoosmiths LLP acts for national and international clients across a range of sectors, with a particular emphasis on real estate, oil and gas, and waste management. The practice's workload covers the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters, from environmental due diligence and drafting warranties and indemnities on corporate transactions, to civil and criminal environmental matters including nuisance claims and prosecutions by environmental regulators. Recent highlights include acting for Altitude (Ascot) in a successful appeal agains the refusal to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of a waste processing plant for residential use. The practice also advised Lingfield Properties on the sale of a strategic site at the former Didcot power station to the Diageo Pension Trust, and assisted St Modwen Developments with the environmental aspects of the development and sale of  a £30m railway rolling stock manufacturing facility in South Wales to a Spanish infrastructure company. Charles Arrand heads the practice, which includes compliance and criminal defence specialist Philip Ryan.


Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Blake Morgan LLP attracts praise for providing 'practical advice based on an in-depth understanding and appreciation of legislative issues'. The planning practice acts for a growing number of large corporate clients, including global food producer Kerry Foods, and has a particularly strong reputation for handling judicial review work. Recent highlights include acting for Kerry Ingredients in negotiating an agreement with Network Rail related to a compulsory purchase order affecting land adjacent to and forming part of the manufacturing area operated by Kerry, resulting in the withdrawal of objections to the order by Kerry. It also acted for Vale of White Horse District Council on s106 agreements related to two major housing developments, and assisting BT offshoot Telereal Services with residential unit scheme in Ealing which was the subject of a complex s106 agreement involving connection to a borough-wide heating source network. Guthrie McGruer heads the practice.

Blandy & Blandy LLP's planning team provides 'clear and accurate advice' and 'more than holds its own against City planning teams'. It is regularly involved in strategic planning projects across Reading, where it handles planning strategy and development issues for several landowner clients, including planning appeals, public inquiries and environmental law matters. Recent highlights include advising longstanding client the University of Reading on negotiating a s106 agreement and contractual arrangements taking into account infrastructure delivery obligations for a site at Didcot which will contain up to 1,880 homes, two new primary schools, a secondary school and a neighbourhood centre. It is also acting for Fairfield Parish Council on planning strategy related to various matters, including s106 agreements and advice on village green potential. The practice is headed by the 'resilient' Karen Jones and includes Simon Dimmick, who attracts praise for his 'vast experience'. Associate Victoria Charlesson is 'a rising star in planning law who gives calm, considered advice on complex issues'.

Cripps LLP is particularly noted for its advice to housebuilders and affordable housing providers, although its expertise extends to handling planning issues related to major projects in the retail, leisure and renewable energy sectors. In an illustration of its work on the housebuilding front, practice head Jason Towell acted for Liberty Property Trust a s106 agreement for a new sustainable community in North Horsham, includes 2,750 new homes, a business park in excess of 45,000 sq metres, and retail and community facilities. Other recent highlights include acting for Persimmon Homes and Bovis Homes on the planning strategy and s106 agreement  for a major urban development for 400 dwellings, and assisting Wates Development with securing planning permission for an urban extension of 750 dwellings at Basingstoke. Beth Gascoyne is also recommended.

DMH Stallard LLP's planning team is 'a leader in its field; it provides a high-quality service combined with good commercial sense'. Its expertise covers the full spectrum of planning advice, from site promotion, planning applications and appeals, through to s106 agreements, planning litigation and enforcement. On the contentious front, practice head Heidi Copland ('tactically astute and knows what will work and won't') acted for Angmering Parish Council in two judicial review challenges in the High Court: the first related to the treatment of a neighbourhood plan by the district council, and the second concerned a non-material amendment planning permission, which raised an important point of law as to what can constitute a "non-material amendment". Other recent highlights include acting for Hollamby Estates on planning issues related to a strategic housing allocation on land within the client's ownership, including an appeal against non determination called in by the Secretary of State; advising Liberty Property Trust on the promotion of a 246-hectare site through the Horsham District Planning Framework, including participation in examination hearings; and acting for Reside Developments on the submission of co-joined applications for a new 3G football ground for Horsham Football Club and enabling development of 58 new houses on the club's existing ground. Chloe Karamian has 'an excellent analytical mind, and is a quick and accurate legal researcher'.

Irwin Mitchell's planning practice acts for clients nationwide on a range of matters, with an emphasis on mixed-use regeneration schemes involving brownfield land. Recent highlights include acting on a flagship regeneration scheme in Croydon, which will involve 794 residential units, as well as 35,000 sq metres of office space, retail, a swimming pool, gym and a public viewing deck; acting for Chippenham Properties and Langley Properties on the development of a former industrial site to include a research and development park and up to 400 new homes; and handling planning issues for the redevelopment of a former industrial site severely damaged by flooding in 2009, which involves major new flood defences, up to 416 dwellings, a creative workspace hub, a medical centre, and a footbridge over the River Ouse. Carl Dyer heads the practice and has an extensive track record in securing planning approval for mixed-use development. Senior associate Nicola Gooch is also recommended.

Shoosmiths LLP fields a team that is 'in the top rank of planning solicitors', and is many clients' 'go-to firm for planning matters'. Headed by Kirsten Hewson ('insightful, proactive and always delivers'), the practice handles public and private sector planning matters for clients including Stonegate Developments, Grainger and the Ministry of Defence. Recent highlights include advising Altitude (Ascot) on a successful appeal against refusal of planning permission for residential development in the Green Belt; continuing to act for Grainger on the Aldershot army town redevelopment, most recently involving a variation to the s106 agreement and advice on the delivery of infrastructure; and acting for Buckland Capital on the promotion planning application for 6,000 residential units at Welborne in Hampshire, which will be one of 14 sites allocated as a garden village in England. Matthew Stimson has 'a wealth of knowledge and is professional in his approach'. Paul Weeks is also recommended.

Clients of Pitmans LLP's planning team are quick to praise it as 'excellent on all fronts'. The practice has an extensive track record handling s106 agreements, providing strategic planning advice on major sites, and acting in judicial review proceedings. Recent work includes acting for Highwood Land on the renegotiation of a s106 agreement for a 700-unit development including affordable housing, local retail, a primary school, community facilities, and a care home, among other facilities; and advising for Redrow Homes on a definitive map modification order application to downgrade the status of an ancient highway to prohibit vehicular use, which if successful would result in serious issues surrounding access for the client when building out the development. Christina Daniels heads the team and is praised for her 'clear communication and knowledge of planning matters'. Daniels is assisted by senior associate Lorna Bowry, who has more than 20 years' experience in regeneration work.

Clarke Willmott LLP has a strong track record advising commercial developers, housebuilders, social housing providers, local planning authorities and food retailers on planning issues arising from development projects, including drafting and negotiating s106 agreements, acting in judicial reviews and handling planning and highways agreements. On the housebuilder front, practice head Neil Baker (who splits his time between the Southampton and Bristol offices) acted for Persimmon on a s106 agreement for a 520-dwelling extension to a new neighbourhood in Andover, and acted for New Forest District Council an a planning agreement for a new residential development of 70 units at Fordingbridge, which involved requirements for part of the land to be used as public open space and strategic alternative natural greenspace. Also recommended are Karen Howe, who is noted for her expertise in highways and public rights of way issues, and Anne Jones, whose sector expertise covers housing, retail, hotel and leisure, minerals and waste.

Holmes & Hills is 'a strong regional player that punches above its weight  and is very well resourced'. Work for local authorities forms a substantial proportion of the planning team's workload, although it also provides a comprehensive service to regional and national landowners and developers. In an illustration of its local authority workload, Michael Harman successfully defended Tendring District Council in an appeal against the issue of an enforcement notice as a result of the refusal of two applications for a certificate of lawful existing use or development. Other highlights included advising an individual in a modification of a restrictive covenant in order to allow the client planning permission for the construction of a mansion and two executive homes on a site located in the Essex Suffolk borders. Practice head Steven Hopkins is 'first-rate; he is experienced, highly capable and has extensive planning knowledge'. David Whipps is 'excellent with clients has a deep understanding of planning policy and law'.

Whitehead Monckton has wide-ranging expertise of contentious and non-contentious construction matters for a strong developer client base, where it acts for housebuilders and regional developers on large-scale residential and mixed-use development schemes. Other areas of expertise include agriculture and farming, and retail, where it acts for regional supermarket chain Jempsons on planning issues related to its expansion programme. Recent highlights include advising FD Attwood & Partners on a successful appeal against refusal to grant permission for a 450-unit residential scheme including affordable housing, estate roads and open space, which has involved issues relating to access over woodland; and advising Park Lane Group on two applications for outline permission for residential development. Vicky Stoodley heads the practice and has a strong track record handling complex s106 agreements.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors fields 'a very good all-round planning practice' that provides 'excellent industry knowledge and advice that is focused and appropriate to the matters at hand'. Salvatore Amico ('very smart and clearly building a great practice') and the 'excellent' Rob Jameson act for local authorities, private individuals, property developers, planning consultants and landowners on planning applications and appeals, s106 agreements, and enforcement cases. Recent work includes acting for Maldon District Council on a s106 agreement for a development of more than 1,000 houses, which involved complex management provisions and the delivery of highway amendments; advising a religious trust on planning issues related to a site with development potential, including preparing a strategy for the client taking into consideration the site and the local plan and NPPF policies; and representing a group of concerned residents in opposition to plans for gravel extraction in Bengeo, north of Hertford, arguing that the quarry will affect the water system.

EMW Law LLP handles the full range of planning issues, including representing clients in appeals and examinations. Recent highlights include acting for Marlborough Oasis on a planning application for a mixed-use development for more than 5,000 new dwellings, of which the parcel relating to the client's land comprises 1,500 new dwellings; advising Grand Union Housing Group on planning due diligence related to the group's acquisition of a number of affordable housing sites in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, which involved negotiating variations to several existing s106 planning obligations; and acting for Scania on a s106 agreement for a project to design and construct a new headquarters in Milton Keynes. Marco Mauro heads the practice and has a longstanding track record acting for developers, landowners, investors, financial institutions, occupiers and high-net-worth individuals.

BrookStreet des Roches attracts praise for its 'commercial, pragmatic approach', with practice head Nigel Hewitson singled out for his 'excellent grasp of planning law combined with an understanding of the commercial realities, meaning clients get pragmatic, commercially sensible solutions'. In keeping with the firm's historic strength in real estate matters, the planning practice acts for landowners, promoters and developers in mixed-use developments, and is noted for its strength in the holiday and leisure sector, as well as the retail sector, where it acts for national operators. Recent highlights include acting for Dartmouth Park Estates on planning issues related to a 300-plus unit housing development and, in an illustration of its track record acting for caravan park operators, acted for HH Country Park on planning enforcement action taken by Broadland District Council against one of the operator's sites alleging that caravans intended for holiday use were being occupied as permanent residences.

Lester Aldridge LLP's planning practice regularly acts for developers on a variety of matters, from obtaining planning consents to negotiating infrastructure agreements and advising on the impact of the Community Infrastructure Levy. It also acts for housebuilders and has particular expertise in the ports and marinas and care sectors. Recent highlights on the housbuilder front include advising a consortium of retirement housebuilders in a challenge to the Mayor of London's decision to publish supplementary planning guidance on affordable housing which would have the effect of causing a lack of retirement housing development in London. The practice is also acting for CHG Development on a proposed hotel development, which involved a stopping up application for a parcel of highway land and negotiating with the local planning authority to drop certain issues raised by the authority on the basis that they were not material planning considerations. In an illustration of its ports and marinas sector expertise, it advised a harbour authority on the extent of its permitted development rights under Part 18 of the GDPO, on the basis of powers granted under historic harbour legislation, for the purposes of a new mooring facility. Tom Alder heads the practice and has a wide-ranging track record in contentious and non-contentious planning issues.

Stevens & Bolton LLP provides 'high-quality, client-focused advice', with clients singling out property litigation specialist Helen Wheddon, who 'doesn't miss a beat - she is excellent at making sure her consultants and counsel are up to speed'. The firm recruited the 'excellent' Paul Grant from Coffin Mew LLP to head the practice following the departure of Catherine Davey; Grant has wide-ranging expertise handling planning issues related to sports and leisure developments, as well as major road schemes and judicial review matters. Other areas of expertise for the practice include advising on planning and highway issues, applications for planning permission and appeals, and enforcement matters including stop notices and enforcement appeals.

Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Property litigation clients in South East 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


According to some, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is 'streets ahead' for property litigation; its lawyers are 'of the highest quality and also very approachable, with great knowledge and connections both internally and externally'. Peter Levaggi heads the practice and is 'an exceptional lawyer who combines amazing business acumen and knowledge with deep empathy'. In an illustration of his strength in property insolvency matters, he is acting for the liquidator of Strobe 2 in a claim against the company's former directors arising from losses suffered by the landlords of a number of commercial premises originally let to the company's subsidiaries. Levaggi's other key mandates included acting for the National Crime Agency in the repossession of property from a notorious criminal, which involved working with various statutory agencies and county enforcement to recover property pursuant to a confiscation order; and acting in the settlement of directors' liabilities following the failure of legal expenses funder and claims manager Zuko Legal. David Haines ('an analytical, practical lawyer who plays the long game in a dispute and has a great rapport with clients') is noted for his expertise in commercial landlord and tenant matters; he recently acted for M&P Enterprises in an appeal against a claim for an order terminating the tenancy of hotel premises in London. Richard Flenley has been highly active for property owners on HS2-related work.

'A leading firm in property litigation in the South East', Cripps LLP provides 'sophisticated , commercial advice and effectively fights for its clients' interests where necessary'. The 13-lawyer team acts for a prominent client base of developers, property investors, occupiers, central and local government authorities and infrastructure companies on the full range of property disputes. Recent work includes acting for the Crown Prosecution Service on the operation of an option to break a lease of premises in the Home Counties, which involved negotiations to settle repairing liabilities sufficiently early to avoid the need to undertake works, detailed consideration of items to be removed from the premises and liaison with surveyors. The practice also defended a developer against a breach of covenant preventing the use of a former public house as anything other than a public house, and acted for an insurer in eight rights to light claims with a combined insurable value of more than £150m involving residential tower blocks in London. Miles Paffard heads the practice and is recommended alongside Mike Scott, who is noted for his 'clear advice and commercial attitude to disputes', and Nitej Davda, who is 'accessible, committed and solution focused',

'One of the go-to firms for big-ticket, complex litigation', Dentons' property disputes practice provides 'prompt, proactive advice' and whose 'support in helping clients to negotiate complex and litigious situations gives them the utmost confidence'. The practice acts for a number of blue-chip clients across a diverse range of sectors, including retail, hotels and leisure, and infrastructure. Recent work includes acting for Riverland (Newark) in a lease rectification claim against a large supermarket retailer tenant; representing UBS as mortgagor in contested possession proceedings concerning a high-value property in Regent's Park, London, following the owner's default on a multimillion-pound interest loan; and acting for an investment fund in a lease dispute with one of its tenants, a global telecoms operator, for a property in Manchester. The practice is also highly active in business rate cases, and is acting for Sainsbury's Supermarkets in appeals before the Court of Appeal relating to the rateable value of ATMs in Sainsbury's stores nationwide. Practice head Bryan Johnston 'runs a tight ship and is an extremely astute tactician'. Also recommended are recently promoted partner David Payton, whose 'commercial acumen is second to none'; Kirstin Dunn, who has been highly active in business rating cases; and Gemma Hunter-Barnes, who joined the firm in May 2017 from B P Collins LLP, whose 'commercial approach to problem-solving makes her a very safe pair of hands'.

DMH Stallard LLP's property litigation team has firmly established itself as 'a leading player in the South East and more than able to compete with London outfits'. The practice has a deep and varied arsenal of property litigation specialists, with notable expertise in business ratings cases and property-related professional negligence cases.In an illustration of its track record in business ratings, cases, the practice acted for Cardtronics Europe before the Court of Appeal in an appeal against a determination that external facing ATMs should be separately assessed for business rates purposes from the premises in which they are situated. The practice also acted for the freehold owner of an industrial estate in potential remedies against the waste occupier of part of the site following the occupier's prosecution by the Environment Agency after it was found to be operating in breach of planning requirements. Emily Wood heads the property litigation practice, which was further strengthened by the merger in 2017 with Rawlison Butler, which brought on the 'brilliant' Vanessa Joll, who is 'extremely client focused, easy to work with and hugely effective'. Other key figures include real estate head Tina George, who has particular strength in collective enfranchisement cases; and senior associate Kristine Ng, who is 'a star in the making'.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) handles the full range of property-related disputes, with an emphasis on terminal dilapidations clients, for a client base comprising retailers, housebuilders, commercial developers and corporates with large property portfolios. In an illustration of its High Court litigation workload, the practice acted for the purchasers of high-value residential houseboats and moorings in a dispute against the vendor for breach of contract and misrepresentation in which the clients successfully recovered all sums paid for the houseboats, as well as interest and costs. Other recent work includes acting for the landlord in a dispute concerning a residential service charge in respect of 39 disputed items, in which the practice defended 38 of the items before the First Tier Tribunal and successfully overturned the remaining issue at the Upper Lands Tribunal; and obtaining injunctive relief on behalf of Riverdale Developments requiring another developer to remove works from an area of land at the entrance to the client's new residential development which was subject to covenants. Jon Mowbray heads the practice and has been heavily involved in acting for commercial and residential property owners in HS2-related issues. He is recommended alongside Andrew Olins, who has particular expertise in handling issues relating to restrictive covenants.

Mundays LLP provides 'a great level of service', with clients singling out 'the forensic detail in which the claims are approached and the dynamic nature in which the team responds to claims changing direction' as particular strengths. The practice acts for a large roster of housebuilder and developer clients, as well as a number of retailers such as TM Lewin, on the full range of real estate and construction issues. Recent work includes disputes relating to rights of way, rights of light, adverse possession, boundary issues and restrictive covenants. Recommended are James Picknell, who has 'an unparalleled attention to detail, remains focused on the overall strategy and keeps clients fully informed at all times'; and Nick Martyn, whose expertise includes insolvency-related property issues. Stephen Morris has retired.

Shoosmiths LLP provides 'excellent overall service, is attentive to clients' needs, and is always striving to add value'. The property litigation practice's expertise spans the full spectrum of disputes, with particular strength in waterways based property litigations, agricultural law issues, leasehold enfranchisement, and disputes on behalf of landlords and developers. It is also noted for its expertise in the retail, telecoms and travel and leisure sectors. On the retail front, the practice acted for IKEA Properties Investments in a high-profile trespass incident of more than 10 caravans of travellers on the client's car park at its store in Tottenham. Other recent work includes acting for Nissan Motor Manufacturing on an authorised guarantee agreement, which the client entered into following the assignment of a lease in 2015 due to the failure of the assignee to pay rent, which involved negotiating an agreement with the landlord to reduce the impact on the client; acting for a social housing provider on the termination of a telecoms lease; and acting for the Canal & River Trust in a Court of Appeal concerning injunctive relief entitling the trust to remove a boat from its inland waterway, which the boat owner argued breached Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The practice is headed by 'experienced litigator' Zoe Wright, who is recommended alongside Simon Pestell, for his specialist expertise in rights of light matters, and Lucy Barry, 'an excellent senior advocate who is very good in court'.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides 'a high-quality service' acts for a number of well-known public and private sector clients, including retail clients such as B&Q, Footlocker and Specsavers; institutional landlords such as Addington Capital and Rockspring; and financial institutions such as Old Mutual. Recent work includes acting for an institutional investor client in several emergency injunction applications brought by tenants seeking reinstatement in their premises following their lawful eviction. Mark Barley heads the team in Southampton and has an extensive track record in contentious property issues, including niche areas such as foreshore and mooring for The Crown Estate. Managing associate Vicki Young is also recommended.

Boyes Turner's property litigation practice has an extensive track record handling complex real estate disputes, including handling challenges to planning and compulsory purchase order decisions, collective enfranchisement and right to manage clients. Clients include well-known corporates such as LG Electronics and Guardian News & Media. Recent work includes acting for a commercial tenant on the exercise of a break clause, which involved advising on the conditions to be met in order to validly exercise the break; representing the commercial landlord of an industrial estate in a dilapidations claim made against a tenant who vacated the estate leaving the premises in a state of disrepair; and acting for a housebuilding company in a boundary dispute concerning the status of a plan which was attached to the transfer deed and the conduct of the parties in erecting boundary features which did not match the transfer plan. Russell May heads the group and handles the full spectrum of property disputes, including landlord and tenant issues, restrictive covenants and leasehold enfranchisement. Associate Katie Rampton is also recommended.

Blake Morgan LLP fields a team of 'very professional, client-oriented and focused' construction specialists who provide 'swift and positive outcomes'. The leisure and retail sector is a key area of focus for the practice, which acts for national brands such as Costa Coffee on commercial landlord and tenant issues related to its national portfolio of stores. Other key clients include the Peabody Trust, which the practice advises on the recovery of rent arrears, premises repossessions and dilapidations; Canary Wharf Group, for which it handles contentious issues arising from the client's retail portfolio; and Portsmouth Diocesan Trust, for which the practice handles rights of way, property damage and boundary disputes. Helen Dickie heads the practice, which includes Rachel Gimson and Claire Hitchman, who are noted for their 'professionalism and great communication skills'.

Brachers fields a 'very professional' property litigation team that is appreciated by clients for its 'broad industry knowledge and experience'. The practice continues to act for NHS trusts, public bodies and local councils, as well as commercial clients on a range of property-related matters, including a recent workload of development disputes. Michael Oatham heads the team, which includes Allis Beasley, who is 'very good at quickly identifying the crux of an issue and providing sound tactical advice with regard to the relevant risks and their weightings'. James Millis handles a range of property disputes, and is continuing to act for a number of tenants of the New Covent Garden Flower Market in court proceedings related to their move to an interim site during a multimillion-pound redevelopment of the site.

Spread across the firm's Oxford and Milton Keynes offices, Freeths LLP fields an 'excellent' property litigation practice that provides 'well thought out advice and very well drafted representations'. Its expertise covers contentious agricultural property matters, acting for developers and landowners in contentious option, development and overage agreements, and leasehold enfranchisement and extension claims. The practice is particularly well known for its work in the licensed leisure sector, where it acts for pub owners and developers, as well as nightclub and hotel owners. Recent work includes acting for Hawthorne Leisure, the owner of the former Barn Owl public house in Northampton which was converted into a Co-operative convenience store in 2017, in an action brought by Northampton Borough Council to enforce a restrictive covenant against the client to restrain use of the property as a convenience store. In an illustration of its track record in agricultural matters, the practice acted for the landowners in rebutting claims by a grazier and family friend that they had an oral tenancy of land dating from 1992 and therefore subject to protection under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. Other highlights included acting for Wadham College, Oxford in securing the surrender of the lease from the tenant and evicting squatters of on of the college's buildings. Clare Bellis heads the Oxford team, while heading up the Milton Keynes contingent is Mark Brown, who 'always brings new ideas to challenging situations'.

Furley Page Solicitors provides 'an extremely high level of service' to a range of commercial property investors and developers, as well as landowners in the agriculture and education sectors. David Hall heads the practice and has a longstanding track record acting for commercial on issues concerning business lease renewals, tenant default and insolvency, building dilapidation cases and adverse possession claims. Other key figures include Jeremy Ferris, who has 'considerable experience and expertise, and always provides high-quality advice in a clear, concise manner'. Ferris recently acted for the tenant of a lease which was subject to a rent review in 2012 and for which the client had the benefit of a break clause exercisable within 6 months of the 2012 review. The tenant lost the benefit of the break clause when the landlord sought to implement the review in 2016 when the lease had ended; Ferris successfully argued that the landlord was estopped from implementing the review.

The property litigation team at BrookStreet des Roches is 'a pleasure to work with', providing 'well-informed, conscientious advice that takes into account clients' needs and anticipates how they would wish to proceed in a given situation'. The practice is particularly singled out for its retail sector expertise, where clients include Arcadia Group and McDonald's, among other prominent retail brands. It also acts for a sizeable roster of investment clients, as well as high-net-worth individuals and charities clients. The practice is acting for Arcadia Group and The Body Shop International in a number of high-value central London lease renewals, which involves handling oppositions to the renewals on the grounds of redevelopment. It also acts for The Beaming Smile Company in a professional negligence claim against the client's former solicitor concerning two commercial lease renewals. Katy Kirk heads the practice and is 'very proactive and highly motivated'. Philip Shaw is also recommended.

Penningtons Manches Cooper's property litigation team 'works seamlessly together and incredibly hard, tailoring advice and commercial suggestions according to clients' requirements'. The practice is highly active for tenants on issues arising from their real estate portfolios, and regularly acts for institutional investors in high-value contested lease renewal matters involving redevelopments of retail premises; universities and colleges in the management of its student and commercial lettings; and acting for start-ups and spin-off companies in the life sciences and biotechnology sectors. Key figures include John Morrison, who manages the Thames Valley team and has a strong focus on dilapidation claims, lease renewal and break notices, as well as service charge and boundary disputes and professional negligence disputes.

Stevens & Bolton LLP's property litigation team is 'a pleasure to deal with', thanks in part to its 'total commitment and availability, and its cool guidance when the pressure is on'. The practice continues to handle a growing workload  for developer and investor clients, as well as acting for a wide roster of corporate occupiers. Recent work includes acting for a corporate trust as freeholder of commercial properties in London in rights of light claims arising from a proposed redevelopment with a new tower building of a substantial neighbouring site at Leadenhall Island; and defending a private client against proceedings for possession of land brought on grounds of trespass. Helen Wheddon heads the practice; her 'extensive knowledge of property law acts as a reassuring hand on the client's shoulder'.

Brethertons LLP is considered 'among the best firms for leasehold disputes', with the property litigation practice singled out for providing 'exceptional responsiveness and support'. It handles a range of residential and commercial leasehold and enfranchisement matters, including claims for possession of properties let under residential and commercial tenancies; forfeiture of residential and commercial leases; and breach of covenant claims. Roger Hardwick ('incredibly adept at handling complex leasehold disputes') acted for Miltonland in disputing a claim to acquire the right to manage a block of 168 apartments in Harrow. He also acted for the leaseholders of 53 flats in a Grade II listed complex in London in challenges to service charges dating back to 2007 and concerning costs in excess of £12m. Other key figures include senior associate Sioban Calcott, who has particular expertise in cases concerning disputed service charges, and associate Sharan Dhadda, who demonstrates 'a real mastery of the facts and a keen eye for detail'.

Clyde & Co LLP's property litigation team provides 'a consistently strong level of service, with practical and relevant support that reflects the business needs of any institution'. Notwithstanding the departure of Tim Foley to Fladgate LLP, the cross-office team continues to handle work for a range of investors, developers, occupiers and retailers, often involving cross-border elements. Keith Conway, aided by Armel Elaudais (who is praised for her 'clear, balanced and concise advice'), acted for B&Q in a claim against its landlord and building contractor over the defective construction of the car park and walkway within a large retail park, which involved substantial remedial works to be carried out by the landlord and its contractor to rectify the defects. Conway and Elaudais also acted for Wincanton in a dilapidations claim made against the client by its former landlord following the termination of a lease of large warehouse premises.

Clients of Brighton-based solicitors Dean Wilson LLP are 'thoroughly impressed with the service received' from the property litigation team, which is 'always a phone call away and deals with queries immediately'. The practice's expertise covers a range of landlord and tenant disputes, and professional negligence claims arising from property-related matters, although it is perhaps best know for its track record in enfranchisement and lease extensions. Recent work includes acting for the owners of a house in a dispute over a shared driveway, and acting for the landlord in connection with dangerous goods abandoned on the client's premises following the administration of the tenant company. Claire Whiteman heads the team, which includes Gabrielle Moffatt, who attracts praise for her 'very detailed knowledge of property law'.

EMW Law LLP's property litigation practice is headed by Charles Clay, who attracts praise for his 'very deep knowledge of the law and excellent client skills'. He leads a team that acts for a sizeable roster of institutional investors with large commercial property portfolios, as well as corporate occupier clients such as Santander and telecoms infrastructure companies. The practice's expertise encompasses contested lease renewals, dilapidation claims and rent review disputes. Other key figures include Karen Young, who regularly handles high-value disputed lease renewal and dilapidation cases, and Sean Fitzgerald, who acts in landlord and tenant disputes.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP's property litigation team acts for a range of charities and housing associations, property asset management companies, funders, property developers, investment companies and commercial landlords, for which it handles the full spectrum of property disputes. Recent work includes acting for the successful respondents in a case involving the sale of a property and an option agreement entitling the clients to buy back part of the property, which the applicants applied to cancel the notice that had been registered over the title to protect the option. Practice head Joe Lott has a growing workload acting for landlords and tenants in lease extension and enfranchisement claims.

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP's property litigation expertise covers dilapidation claims, lease renewals, breach of covenants, and rights of way and boundary disputes, among other matters. Key clients include Hargreaves Properties, which the practice acted for in a claim for loss of damages arising from freehold land transferred to the defendant who subsequently erected wooden fencing enclosing part of an amenity area and took other steps in breach of the transfer. In another key mandate, the practice successfully defended Southern Water Services against allegations of negligence leading to flooding of a number of properties on the south coast. Helen Bell has an extensive track record handling complex dilapidation claims, landlord and tenant disputes, and rights of way matters. Dean Orgill is also recommended.

Moore Blatch LLP fields a 'strong, dedicated' property litigation team that provides 'efficient, personal and professional' service to clients including care home developers, residential developers and landlords. In addition to handling the full range of commercial landlord and tenant matters, the practice has notable strength in acting in repossession litigation for mortgage lenders, and recently acted for Commercial First Business in mortgage recovery proceedings involving six mortgages totalling £1.2m. Other recent work includes acting for Sidha Investments in a case concerning a fraudulent sale of property, which involved a claim to The Land Registry to indemnify the client under Schedule 8 of the Land Registration Act 2002 for losses incurred as a result of rectification of the title. Asset recovery specialist Sarah Watley 'works in partnership with the client to ensure she adds value to the relationship'. Chris Marsden joined the firm from Lester Aldridge LLP and is 'incredibly likeable'.

Pitmans LLP acts for a number of the region's leading property developers, and also handles landlord and tenant litigation, insolvency-related disputes, and construction litigation. The practice recently represented the applicants in an application for the registration of land based upon adverse possession, which was opposed by the adjoining owners. Key figures include practice head David Williams, who regularly handles lease renewal claims, dilapidations litigation, and possession applications; Phil Smith.

Blandy & Blandy LLP provides 'an excellent service at a fair cost' and 'places its clients best interest as its first priority'. The practice has a particular focus on lease extension and enfranchisement matters, where it acts for landlords and tenants in First Tier Tribunal cases. Recent work includes acting for a national charity with a residential property portfolio in residential possession proceedings related to a property let by the client's former property agents with the charity's approval or authority; and acting for a tenant of commercial premises in court proceedings issued by the landlord who opposed the tenant's right to a new tenancy on redevelopment grounds. Philip D’Arcy heads the practice, which includes 'very experienced' senior associate Jessica Irwin, who 'deals with matters in a timely manner, keeps the client updated and clearly knows her stuff'.

Blaser Mills Law boosted its property litigation credentials with the recruitment of Alex Wyatt, who joined the firm in September 2017 from Devonshires Solicitors LLP and is 'extremely knowledgeable, friendly and approachable'. He joins a team with expertise in handling property disputes across a range of sectors, including logistics and healthcare, for property developers, funds and high-net-worth individuals. The practice recently acted for Stratford Developments in a claim brought by the seller of a development site alleging that the client was in breach of an overage agreement, which was successfully settled at arbitration. Practice head Alka Kharbanda is also recommended alongside Sangita Manek, who has a strong focus on insolvency issues.

Dutton Gregory LLP's Robert Bolwell is 'unsurpassed in his client-handling skills; he is able to instil a sense of great confidence in lay clients and can explain complex legal issues in terms easily understood by the layman.' The practice acts for letting agents nationwide, including Countrywide Estate Agents, for which it handles rights of action under commercial leases where a tenant is in arrears. The practice also acted for publicans seeking relief from forfeiture, further to a possession order for arrears and breach of tie arrangements. Louise James and Gina Peters are also recommended.

Gardner Leader LLP's clients find the firm's property litigation 'very enjoyable to work with' and rate its 'high-quality, commercial property litigation advice'. In an illustration of its growing reputation in the market, the team was recently appointed to the panel of a national building society to handle all property-related claims, including mortgage repossessions, and has experienced an increase in the number of instructions concerning adverse possession claims. The practice is acting for clients with an interest pursuant to an option to purchase land that is subject to a restrictive covenant preventing building on the land in question. Key figures include Alastair Goggins, who is 'a commercially savvy and effective litigator', and the 'pragmatic, dogged and determined' Michele Di Gioia.

Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP's 'excellent' property litigation practice handles a range of disputes, including lease renewal proceedings, planning disputes, rent and service charge recovery, forfeiture actions and applications for relief, and rights of way disputes. Key figures include Kenneth Stangoe, who 'delivers a response to each query that is beyond compare in its accuracy and completeness', and Mairead McErlean, whose expertise covers the full spectrum of property litigation on behalf of landlords and tenants.

Herrington Carmichael LLP acts for landlords, tenants, developers and investors in a range of property litigation matters. Key figures include Frances Tierney, who has an extensive track record acting for landowners, property developers and investors in property-related disputes at all court levels, and Robert Syms who joined in June 2017 and brings with him expertise in lease termination issues, dilapidation claims, disputes over breach of lease terms and and enforcement of restrictive covenants.

Laytons LLP fields 'an excellent team' that 'shines in every respect'. The firm's merger with Silverman Sherliker in August 2017 significantly enhanced the practice, which is particularly known for its work for pharmaceuticals companies, in addition to acting for a number of the UK's largest private sector housebuilders. Recent work includes acting for a retired architect in a claim against St John's College, Oxford concerning boundaries and drainage easements. The 'thoughtful and thorough' Simon Foster has 'an excellent manner with clients, and instills confidence'.

Pinney Talfourd LLP is 'a growing local firm that delivers a large number of skillsets at a reasonable price point'. The practice is headed by Stephen Eccles, who is praised for his 'very detailed approach to transactions and ability to deliver the correct results every time, in the required timeframe'. Clients include Connells Group, for which it handles all of the client's lease renewal work, and developers such as Etcetera Construction Services and Abbey Developments.

Thomson Snell & Passmore has an extensive track record in commercial landlord and tenant work, and acts for funders, developers and landowners, among other clients. Recent work includes acting for Huatford in securing a declaration that its landlord was unreasonably withholding consent to an application for change of use. Mark Steggles is the key contact.

VWV provides 'practical advice' to educational establishments, public sector organisations, religious institutions, investors and developers. The practice handles the full range of property-related disputes, from dilapidations and evictions to overage disputes. Recent work includes acting for the lender in a high-value mortgage recovery claim, acting for the tenant in a lease renewal of commercial premises in London's West End, which has involved issues regarding change of use, and acting for a charity as tenant in challenging a landlord's opposition of the renewal of two leases. Laura Seaman heads the practice and provides 'clear, professional advice'.

Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Batchelors has firmly established itself as 'a top-ranked firm in social housing, and rightly so; the firm fields a team of leading practitioners that provides the highest quality of customer service'. Its expertise encompasses high-value acquisition and development of affordable housing, as well as handling high-profile and complex anti-social behaviour, tenancy fraud, leasehold and shared ownership, and tenancy review matters. The practice was bolstered in 2017 by the recruitment of Melinda Dix, who joined from Bovis Homes' in-house legal team in October 2017 and housing litigation specialist Sevim Devlin, who joined from Housing Law Services in September 2017, in addition to the establishment of a dedicated plot sales and shared ownership team. Recent work includes acting for Swan Housing Association in obtaining a without notice injunction against a son who was the main carer of a resident in an elderly pensions sheltered scheme in order to address drunken and anti-social behaviour affecting other tenants. Thaine Wilson heads the practice and is 'a wonderful leader, very hardworking and completely and impressively at ease with this area of law'. Also recommended are Andrew Harmer; the 'extremely knowledgeable' Gavinder Ryait, who 'has a real tactical eye for the best way forward for her clients'; Leo Stevens, who is 'able to advise on a variety of areas and always responds quickly'; Anne Nurse, who provides 'clear, accurate advice on complex site acquisition matters'; Mary Martil, who heads the leasehold management team; and Nick McKnight.

Capsticks LLP is 'an extremely impressive and conscientious firm', with its social housing team singled out for providing 'excellent drafting skills,  professional advocacy and a focus on resolving issues in the most cost-effective was possible'. The sizeable practice handles the full spectrum of social housing matters, from procurement and planning to housing management, development and regeneration, and is noted for its niche in healthcare.  Recent highlights include acting for a registered provider in a scheme to acquire 48 affordable units over several phases, acting for four landlords on a project to address the issue of hoarding by residents, and acting for Sovereign Housing in obtaining a without notice injunction including an exclusion order against a tenant's partner. Practice head Michael Owen is 'extremely knowledgeable with an affable character guaranteed to make any training session a pleasure'. He is recommended alongside Jennifer Bennett, the 'very proactive' Kevin Steele, and Mike Regan, who specialises in large-scale stock transfers between registered providers and leases in the supported housing sector.

Penningtons Manches Cooper has a longstanding track record acting for housing associations and local authorities covering the full range of social housing advice, from home ownership matters to securitisation, portfolio management and acquisition and development work. The practice is continuing to expand its client base, with Network Housing, Winchester City Council and Shoreditch Housing Association all new clients for 2017. Recent highlights include acting for Southern Housing Group on ongoing issues arising from the Bow River Village development, including the acquisition of two adjacent development sites for a total consideration of £31m; acting for Thames Valley Housing Association on the review of its shared ownership lease and sales guides, which involved reducing the timescales between the issue of sales contract packages to exchange of contracts; and assisting Paragon Asra Housing with title reviews to assess their mortgageability, potential value related restrictions and any compliance concerns. Linda Storey heads the team and acts for clients including Metropolitan Housing Trust. Also recommended are Andrew Casstles, who specialises in property development and regeneration, construction and procurement specialist Peter Massey, and Eugene Wojciechowski, who focuses on employment matters.

Blake Morgan LLP attracts praise for its 'responsive, thorough service and sound knowledge in the area'. The practice is active across the full spectrum of social housing work, including advising on housing led regeneration, complex mixed-use, mixed-tenure developments, employment issues, and governance matters. In an illustration of its ability to handle construction matters, Richard Wade acted for Peabody Trust in obtaining an urgent without notice prohibitive injunction arising from an adjoining owner demolishing its property in contravention of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Kate Silverman took over as head of the practice following John Russell's retirement in April 2017.

Specialist social housing firm Housing Law Services  provides 'an outstanding service' to a client base comprising registered providers. Key figures include Tim Crook, who has particular strength in property litigation, Julie Allen, who has more than 20 years' experience acting for social landlords in housing management issues, and Lawrence Talbot, who is 'always willing to help, and delivers his service with a smile'. Allen led the team acting for Sovereign Housing Association in possession proceedings against mother and daughter tenants who were involved in drug dealing at the property, while Crook acted for Optivo in defending a claim by private property owners alleging they had been granted an easement in respect of parking in one of their car parks due to prescription.

Judge & Priestley LLP attracts praise for its 'outstanding overall level of service; all of its solicitors have many years of experience and excellent breadth of knowledge between them'. Areas of expertise encompass housing management litigation, including matters relating to possession, neighbour disputes, disrepair and anti-social behaviour; leasehold management, where it acts for a number of local authorities on leasehold and service charge issues; and housing development, where it acts for a number of registered social landlords and charities. In an illustration of its track record acting for London local authorities, the practice acted for the London Borough of Lambeth in obtaining an injunction order against a leaseholder for breach of lease, and acted for the same client in forfeiture proceedings for outstanding service charge arrears and costs. Key figures include Nitika Singh, who heads the practice and has wide-ranging experience in property litigation; Pamela Bachu, who is noted for her 'can-do attitude and and responsiveness'; and Mark Oakley, who is singled out for his 'understanding of the practical applications of the work clients undertake'.

Perrin Myddleton fields 'very knowledgeable solicitors who take ownership of matters, deliver on time and go the extra mile'. The practice acts for a sizeable roster of regional housing associations and local authorities on a wide range of social housing matters, including advising on joint ventures, strategic agreements and flagship developments. On the development front, the practice acted for Origin Housing on a large-scale residential development consisting of the redevelopment of the former Queen Elizabeth II Hospital site in Welwyn Garden City. In an illustration of its work for local authorities, Simon Braun acted for London Borough of Havering in an action for possession on the grounds the tenants were not occupying the flat in question as their only or principal home. Other key figures include Frederick Perrin, who heads the practice has more than 40 years' experience acting in commercial property and social housing development acquisitions and commercial leasing; and Sanjeev Shah, who handles development acquisitions, site assembly work and development funding.

Clarke Willmott LLP fields a social housing team that is noted for its 'good depth of knowledge and expertise'. The practice provides a holistic service to social landlords, covering property acquisitions and disposals and housing management disputes. Tim Miles  acted for Isle of Wight Council on the acquisition of 12 units for use as assisted housing for long-term disabilities, which was complicated by the fact that the land being developed was owned by the council and was being developed as a joint venture with a national housing developer. In another key mandate, Sarah Orchard acted for United Communities in obtaining a possession order of a social rented property on the grounds that the tenant attempted to start a fire within his kitchen. Other key figures in the Southampton team include Lisa Guelfi and Anne Jones.

Cripps LLP advises registered providers, housebuilders and affordable housing divisions on the full range of social housing matters,  including site acquisitions, development and funding, regeneration schemes and shared ownership leases. Andrew Harbourne is the key contact.

DMH Stallard LLP's social housing practice has established 'a well-deserved reputation for quality of service and approachability'. Its expertise spans the full spectrum of housing management services, from possession claims and anti-social behaviour matters, to disrepair claims and public law and policy advice. It also provides acquisition, regeneration and development advice to clients including registered providers and local authorities. Emily Wood acted for a local authority client in a claim for possession of a three-bedroom house following the death of the tenant, but which was occupied by the tenant's daughter and her adult son. Other key mandates included acting for Orbit Group on the acquisition of the affordable housing element on a mixed joint venture scheme, and acting for Golding Homes on the acquisition and construction of affordable housing dwellings as part of a larger housing development site. Tina George is also recommended.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors attracts praise for its 'robust practical approach to case management and client management'. The sizeable housing law team regularly acts for social tenants in defending against possession and unlawful eviction cases, with housing law specialists who are 'at the top of their game'. Key figures include Manjinder Kaur Atwal, whose expertise encompasses landlord and tenant disputes, housing disrepair, homelessness, and bringing reviews and appeals relating to local authority housing decisions.

EMW Law LLP's social housing team has a particular focus on acting for housing associations on development and acquisition matters. Recent highlights include advising Aragon Housing Association on its acquisition of 17 affordable housing units from a large national developer, and acting for Howard Cottage on its purchase of 19 affordable units in three phases, both of which involved s106 agreements. The practice also acted for Watford Community Housing Trust on the purchase of a brownfield site to be developed into two blocks of residential flats. Caroline Hayward leads the social housing team, which includesJoe Soul, who handles healthcare related social housing matters; and construction specialist Michael Chilton.

The social housing department at Marsons Solicitors handles the full range of housing and asset management policy and procedure for registered providers with large mixed tenure estates such as the Riverside Group, Hexagon Housing Association and Network Housing Group. Bernadette Reid heads the practice and handles housing litigation and management matters, including anti-social behaviour, in addition to advising on tenancy agreements and housing management policies.

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