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FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

GEORGE HOUSE, ST JOHN'S SQUARE, WOLVERHAMPTON, WV2 4BZ, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 01902 578000
Fax:
Fax 01902 311886
DX:
702433 WOLVERHAMPTON-5
Email:
Web:
www.fbcmb.co.uk

West Midlands: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the West Midlands - ranked: tier 2

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP reported a strong increase in transactional work in 2016, and the team was busy on a number of multimillion-pound deals for its target audience of SMEs in the manufacturing sector. Another area of focus is the health sector, where newly promoted partner David Preece undertakes a range of corporate and commercial mandates for veterinary and dental practices. Practice head James Sage and Kam Johal are leading figures in the firm’s Wolverhampton office, and in Shrewsbury Stuart Rea is ‘technically good and comes across well with clients’. Rea’s caseload extends to the agricultural sector, where he has experience advising on significant cross-border acquisitions.

Leading individuals

James Sage - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

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West Midlands: Crime, fraud and licensing

Licensing
Licensing - ranked: tier 3

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s licensing team in Wolverhampton operates as part of the wider litigation department and works closely with the firm’s corporate and commercial property practices. Charlotte Clode heads the team and advises on all aspects of licensing law, including contested applications and variation licences; she is supported by senior solicitor Elisabeth Glover. Recent highlights included advising a higher education provider in obtaining a new licence for city centre premises, and representing a client with regards to a police application for the revocation of premises licences following a violent incident at the client’s establishment. Other clients include a business start-up whose commercial proposition involved remote gambling, and charities whose fundraising activities include a gambling element.

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West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands - ranked: tier 1

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton, Bridgnorth, Telford)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP is, for one client, ‘the leading firm in Wolverhampton, the Black Country and Shropshire in the area of commercial litigation’ and, in 2016, the team was involved in a number of significant cases in the higher courts. Practice head Guy Birkett, who is ‘very experienced, technically strong and commercial in approach’, successfully defended a competition law claim brought against a group of regional veterinary practices relating to collusion and anti-competitive practices surrounding the delivery of government testing work. In another favourable result, Birkett, who is ‘particularly good on company law disputes’, acted for Maximus Group in the Court of Appeal in a shareholder dispute in which the independence of an expert’s determination was challenged. The ‘very diligent and sensibleCharlotte Clode, who made partner in 2016, assisted Birkett with a £9m claim in the High Court defending the director of an Isle of Man investment fund, who was being sued by investors in the scheme. Other names to note are the ‘experienced and astuteGareth Ruddock, who focuses on insolvency law, and Shrewsbury-based

Leading individuals

Guy Birkett - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

Next generation lawyers

Charlotte Clode - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 3

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s practice has a strong insolvency aspect, with practice head Gareth Ruddock acting for insolvency practitioners in the collection of book debts for insolvent companies and obtaining orders for possession and sale of bankrupt’s property. The team is also well versed in assisting corporates such as Carillion and RVB Investments with recovery work, and recently secured new commercial clients in the telecoms and real estate sectors. Other avenues of work include debt enforcement following the sale of residential and commercial property within the UK, and dealing with interpleader claims. Debt recovery manager Emma Northall and litigation executive Victoria Murray are also names to note.

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West Midlands: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 4

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury)

At FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, commercial litigator Gareth Ruddock has strong experience acting in contentious matters, including cases involving allegations of wrongful trading, fraud and breach of duty, as well as officeholder claims under the Insolvency Act 1986. Recent examples of Ruddock’s work include representing a client in a contested court administration application dealing with validity of debenture and ability to appoint an administrator, and handling antecedent claims against directors with cross-jurisdictional property assets. Corporate specialist James Sage focuses on non-contentious matters and, together with Ruddock, advised an invoice factoring business on the restructuring of the company and the recovery of assets.

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West Midlands: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 4

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s ‘extremely professional and responsive’ employment lawyers ‘have a strong reputation as a team that can get the job done’; particular areas of focus include tribunal work, TUPE advice and senior contract management for manufacturing and private school clients. The ‘professional, knowledgeable, empathetic and timelyTracy Worthington and Julia Fitzsimmons, who joined from George Green LLP in July 2016, lead the team, which acted for a large manufacturing group in connection with a complex matter concerning a high-value employee taking a significant period of time off work due to extreme stress and being sectioned under the Mental Health Act – this matter was eventually resolved through a settlement agreement. The team also acted for a local manufacturer in a constructive dismissal claim by a longstanding employee. Non-contentious highlights included advising a company based in the Netherlands on the reorganisation of its UK operations, which involved redundancy proceedings and settlement agreements, especially with the senior executives.

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West Midlands: Insurance

Personal injury: claimant
Personal injury: claimant - ranked: tier 2

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton)

Key figures at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP incluyde Wolverhampton-based clinical negligence department head Tim Gray and Susan Todhunter, who leads the firm’s multi-track team and handles complex, high-value catastrophic injury claims. Other key names include associates Adam Wilson, who joined the firm in 2016, and Gurvinder Bhati, who leads the employers’ liability team and has substantial experience in handling CRPS cases.

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West Midlands: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 1

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Shrewsbury)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s ‘professional and efficient’ eight-partner agricultural team is headed by the highly rated Steven Corfield and has handled matters involving partnership restructurings, succession planning and retirement disputes. On the contentious side, family law specialist Elizabeth Cleverley represented a wife in a dispute with her husband regarding valuation evidence and questions of liquidity, while associate Suzanne Tucker assisted Brian Aikman with a partnership retirement dispute revolving around the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1986. Non-contentious highlights for Sarah Baugh included advising on the maximisation of inheritance tax relief on a substantial farming estate, and handling the documentation and negotiation of an option to lease of an energy barn. Tom Devey advised on the acquisition of a dairy farm. The practice’s Telford office was recently strengthened by the arrival of employment specialist Julia Fitzsimmons from George Green LLP, and solicitor Anna Russell joined the Shrewsbury office from Mortimers Solicitors.

Leading individuals

Steven Corfield - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

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Charities and not-for-profit
Charities and not-for-profit - ranked: tier 3

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Shrewsbury)

The charities and not-for-profit sector continues to be a key focus area for FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, with clients singling out Stuart Rea in Shrewsbury for his ‘depth of knowledge on charitable legislation’. He leads the team, which includes associate David Raymont, who acted for two registered faith charities on property matters and various Albermarle and Cy-pres schemes. Other highlights included advising a children’s hospice on the merger of part of its business into the mainline charity following changes to corporation tax and gift aid rules, and acting on behalf of an education trust and its trustees in connection with a new charity commission scheme. The practice also advised on the setting up of a new charity and on the incorporation process for an estate management association.

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton)

Key figures at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP include the Wolverhampton-based Craig Ridge, who heads the contentious trusts and probate practice and has a strong specialism in high-value and complex multi-party probate claims. In recent work, the team handled a trust deed rectification matter, which involved professional negligence proceedings; the removal of a personal representative on the grounds of breach of fiduciary duty; and a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975. Associate Kimberly Mears handles Inheritance Act matters and is recommended alongside family partner Philip Cowell and STEP practitioner Margaret Rowe, both based in Telford.

Leading individuals

Craig Ridge - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

Next generation lawyers

Kimberly Mears - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

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Family: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
Family: Elsewhere in the West Midlands - ranked: tier 1

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Shrewsbury)

The family team at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP handles complex, high-net-worth divorce matters, and expanded its offering with the recruitment of associates Sarah Millington from Hatchers Solicitors LLP and Harbinder Gosal from QualitySolicitors Davisons in the Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton offices respectively. The Telford-based Anne Thomson handles pre-nuptial agreements and recently represented a client in the Court of Appeal, while associate Joanne Vernon leads the firm’s child law practice and acted for the wife of a high-profile individual with regards to the relocation of their children. Philip Cowell and Elizabeth Cleverley, who has strong experience in acting for farming clients, are also recommended.

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Personal tax, trusts and probate
Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s ‘excellent’ team ‘stands head and shoulders above the competition’, according to one client. Deputyship expert Julie Burn heads the practice in Wolverhampton, which has niche expertise in areas such as community care and Court of Protection. The ‘knowledgeable, professional, reliable and trustworthyAndrew Vernon focuses on high-value tax and estate planning for clients in the rural and renewable energy sectors. Margaret Rowe in Telford handled several international estate management matters involving significant business, property and cash assets, while Wolverhampton-based solicitor Will Jones led the advice on a client’s surrender of life interest in a property. Craig Ridge and Philip Cowell, based in Wolverhampton and Telford, respectively are also recommended.

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West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands - ranked: tier 2

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Wolverhampton, Telford, Bridgnorth)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s sizeable practice acts for a range of clients, from owner-managed businesses, SMEs and PLCs through to investment clients, non-profit organisations and developers and retailers; the practice also handles a steady stream of property work for a major religious organisation client. In 2016, the team advised on a mix of high-value investment and development work, and also assisted with the re-mortgage of a substantial property portfolio. Key players include Telford-based Stephen Burke, who has specialist knowledge of the property aspects of franchising, Wolverhampton-based Andrew Wynne, who works predominantly with SME manufacturing clients, and Shrewsbury-based associate David Raymont, who is acting for WMC Retail Partners in the multimillion-pound development of Cornish Market World in St Austell. David Grove, who heads the department from Wolverhampton, has ‘some very good clients and punches well above his weight’; Grove continued to serve key client St Modwen Properties on a number of matters, including the development of a new mixed-use commercial centre in Worcester.

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 2

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Telford)

According to one client, because FBC Manby Bowdler LLPacts for local authorities as well as developers and landowners, there is a depth of understanding and an independence of thought that gives the best chance of achieving a desired outcome’. The practice handles a full range of development matters, including development proposals and advising on the strategy for promotion of land, as well as planning enforcement measures and judicial review. One particular area of expertise is agricultural proposals, where the team advises on the technical problems of Class Q barn conversions, farm diversification and farm redevelopment work. Key players include senior partner Niall Blackie, who ‘has long experience of providing thoughtful and focused advice’, and is commended for his advocacy both in relation to planning appeals as well as public inquiries; and ‘careful but pragmatic’ associate Suzanne Tucker, who wins praise for her ability to negotiate s106 agreements. Blackie provided successful representation in an appeal allowing planning for an isolated home in open countryside.

Leading individuals

Niall Blackie - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

Next generation lawyers

Suzanne Tucker - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 6

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP (Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton)

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s practice focuses on commercial property disputes for corporates and, in 2016, was active in a broad range of matters, including the recovery of possession from unlawful occupiers and squatters, and disputes arising from the Party Wall Act. The team also regularly acts for institutional lenders and local landed estates in disputes arising from agricultural land. Shrewsbury-based Brian Aikman, who heads the team, and Wolverhampton-based Gareth Ruddock are the main contacts.

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