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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Work 01865 722106
Fax 01865 201012
155710 Oxford 13

South East: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

The team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is highly rated by the market. National corporate head Simon Bickerdike, the 'commercially-minded' David Kendall  and associate Hannah McIlwraith assist regional and international clients on high-value acquisitions, MBOs and joint ventures. They also handle private equity-funded transactions and the firm also offers multi-discipline expertise, especially in IP. The practice was enhanced in April 2019 with the hire of Seb Orton from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

Practice head(s):Simon Bickerdike

Other key lawyers:David Kendall; Hannah McIlwraith


'Great all-round advice.'

'David Kendall is an outstanding adviser. He's someone you want on your side. He has the intelligence, people skills and legal knowledge that make him an essential partner for our business.'

Key Clients

Q88 UK

Blue Oil Energy

Rough Guides Limited

Elixirr Partners

Barfoots of Botley Limited

Tata Consultancy Services

The Hub Pharmacy

DC Studios

Total Solutions (Southern)

Artemis Venue Services

Work highlights

  • Advised this Indian public company on its £10m investment in UK electrical vehicle manufacturer Tevva Motors.
  • Advised on the acquisition of Pelham House in East Sussex and its joint venture with Downing.
  • Acted for Paul Bateman and Luke Hersee on their management buy-out of Total Solutions (Southern) Limited (t/a Total Rail Solutions). The MBO was backed by private equity firm Rutland Partners.
  • Working with a Hong Kong firm, advised this Hong Kong-listed client on a multi-million-pound investment in UK mixed reality company Holovis.
  • Working with an Indian firm, assisted this multinational IT service and consulting company on the acquisition of W12 Studios, an award-winning digital design studio based in London.

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Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a strong track record in international M&A and venture capital  transactions and offers 'very practical and helpful advice' to major clients in the life sciences, technology and renewable energy sectors. Oxford-based partners Will Axtell and James Went specialises in M&A, fundraisings and AIM capital markets. In Reading Rob Hayes acts on behalf of investors and investee companies in mid-market M&A and venture capital transactions.

Practice head(s):Will Axtell

Other key lawyers:James Went; Rob Hayes


'Pennington Manches team possess an excellent combination of technical expertise and commercial understanding'

'The team at Penningtons Manches combined undoubted legal expertise with emotional intelligence'.

'Will Axtell is a quick thinker who took the time to understand the business and the deal. He is a truly fantastic lawyer with tremendous skills and experience in the business'.

Key Clients

Business Growth Fund

Oxford University Press

Enterprise Therapeutics

Ethical Property Company

Touchstone Innovations Plc

Work highlights

  • Assisted Enterprise Therapeutics on the closing of a circa £29m series B funding round.
  • Advised MedPharm on a growth equity investment from private equity firm Ampersand Capital Partners.
  • Acted on behalf of the majority shareholder on the disposal of their interests to FTSE-100 listed utilities company, Severn Trent Plc, in a transactions totalling £120m.
  • Represented Oxford Vacmedix on its Series A financing round of approximately £9m with a consortium of South Korean and Chinese investors.
Leading individuals

Will Axtell - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Next Generation Partners

James Went - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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South East: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP handles complex and large-scale commercial litigation and also conducts investigation and enforcement work. The Oxford-based team headed by Julie Bond continue to be active in major disputes in the energy, education and retail sectors, and also leverage additional expertise from the London office in representing individuals and corporations in complex commercial proceedings. Senior associate Emma Davies a name to note for financial litigation and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):Julie Bond

Other key lawyers:Emma Davies

Leading individuals

Julie Bond - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Next Generation Partners

Emma Davies - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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South East: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Banking and finance work at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP includes advising lenders and borrowers on finance agreements as well as support with both contentious and regulatory matters. The team specialises in complex advice on finance agency provisions, handling transactions which often involve overseas jurisdictions. On the contentious side, the practice is well versed in claims based on interest rate swap misselling and LIBOR rigging. Sector specialism on the borrower’s side includes healthcare, retail and social housing. Helen Drayton  and John Chater, who was made partner in April 2019, are recommended, while Angela Stallard joined from EMW Law LLP in May 2018.

Other key lawyers:Helen Drayton; John Chater; Angela Stallard


'Strong-performing, commercially aware firm with diverse areas of expertise across multiple disciplines. Competitive fee provision.'

'There is a depth of expertise which we have found lacking in many other firms.'

'The practice is responsive and provides constantly good service.'

'Helen Drayton is an excellent corporate banking partner who provides commercial advice and strong support.'

'John Chater is very responsive and has a very commercial approach'.

Key Clients

HSBC UK Bank plc

AIB Group (UK) plc

Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ)

Link ASI Limited and Link Corporate Trustees (UK) Limited

PRS Operations Limited

Ethical Property Company Limited

UK Estates Limited

Higher Drive Nursing Home (Holdings) Limited

Cherry Wood Grange Chelmsford Limited

ABI Developments 3 Limited

Work highlights

  • Negotiated the LMA-based facility agreement for Ethical Property Company, the borrower, as well as the other finance documents for the transaction.
  • Advised on finance provided by HSBC by way of a £15m revolving credit facility with a £10m accordion.
  • Acted for the lending bank AIB Group in respect of a new facility agreement for an existing borrower who is well known in the construction industry.
  • Drafted and negotiated an amendment and restatement of the term loan facility agreement for PRS Operations, the lender, as well as the other finance documents for the transaction (group security documents, subordination arrangements).
  • Advised on the finance of care home Cherry Wood Grange Chelmsford provided by Barclays Bank PLC.
Next Generation Partners

John Chater - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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South East: Human resources

Employment: Hampshire
Employment: Hampshire - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a strong reputation of acting on the employer side; clients include regional businesses, as well as industry associations and the UK subsidiaries of European, US and Indian companies. The firm recently assisted clients with a number of sensitive matters, including whistleblowing cases, international employment contracts and senior executive departures. The employment team is led by David Bickford, who has experience of defending complex employment tribunal claims, outsourcing (including all TUPE issues), and advising on employment policies and procedures. Gemma Woodhouse is also recommended.

Practice head(s):David Bickford

Other key lawyers:Chris Syder; Gemma Woodhouse; Katie Glendinning


'The team had an excellent understanding of our business and the complexity of the issues we faced.'

'We were given the full range of options with all routes and risks made completely clear'.

'Gemma Woodhouse and Katie Glendinning were incredibly receptive to our ideas but also made us aware of alternative options'.


Key Clients

The AA

Local Pensions Partnership


Twentieth Century Fox International

23.5 Degrees

Specialist Lending

The Licensed Trade Charity

Industrial Cleaning Equipment

Shrewsbury House School Trust

Not Just Cleaning

Marine Stewardship Council

Wellington College

Link Asset Services


DeNave India

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP


Bouygues UK

Rutland Group

ES Holdings 2011

Work highlights

  • Assisted Local Pensions Partnership with whistleblowing claims brought against in by an aggressive claimant which involved a subject access request under the GDPR.
  • Assisted Corel with managing the process to effect the removal of a long-serving senior HR professional from the business, subject to a settlement agreement.
  • Asssisted Denave India with regard to its senior management restructure in the UK.
  • Support Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Limited’s London HR team by providing legal training and advising on absence management, redundancies and poor performance management.
  • Assisted Industrial Cleaning Equipment with sensitive post-acquisition senior-level staff changes.

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Employment: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Employment: Kent, Surrey, Sussex - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

At Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, Michael Cole, who is well respected in the market, offers clients a wealth of experience in discrimination cases, TUPE, business reorganisations and various workplace disputes. Working alongside senior associate Liz Cardy, he advises on unfair dismissal claims, settlement agreements, grievance  and redundancy procedures.

Practice head(s):Michael Cole

Other key lawyers:Liz Cardy


'The team is always fast to respond to questions with excellent answers that any non-legal professional can understand and act upon.'

'Their knowledge on any given subject is strong and they are well managed in keeping costs to a minimum  whilst providing sound advice.'


Key Clients

EET Europarts

Maintel Europe

IPM Facilities


Grand Prix Legends

The Recruitment Consultancy Ltd/Surrey HR Forum

Gilamor Stephens



Sapienza Consulting

Finance and Leasing Association

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on a contentious TUPE transfer involving more than 30 employees employed at over 20 sites.
  • Advising on restructuring at a senior level.
  • Dealing with a group grievance and various discrimination claims.
  • Acting on a particularly contentious restrictive covenant issue.
  • Providing bespoke training services to a local group of HR professionals.
Leading individuals

Michael Cole - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's Oxford and Reading offices demonstrate 'first-class expertise' in employment law, particularly in relation to data protection/GDPR, advocacy in Employment Tribunals and senior executive disputes, among other HR issues. Daff Richardson and Eugene Wojciechowski are the lead partners in Oxford and Reading respectively.

Practice head(s):Daff Richardson; Eugene Wojciechowski


'The most commercial and business orientated employment law team I have come across. Daff and Eugene work with you, understanding the business challenges faced, to arrive at relevant and valued recommendations.'

'Eugene Wojciechowski has a natural business instinct and works hard to understand the context we work in. He provides confidence to our managers and gives a balanced view. He and his team provide exceptional customer service, and are contactable at any time.'

Key Clients

The City & Guilds of London Institute

M20 Property Group

Unicarriers UK Limited

One Housing Group

Charter Court Financial Services Group

Work highlights

  • Represented the employer  in respect of a race discrimination Employment Tribunal claim raised by a manager.
  • Advised City & Guilds on a significant restructure of part of its business including providing training for managers.
  • Advising a national not-for profit organisation on TUPE risks following the take over of services provided by a previous panel contractor member which had gone into liquidation.
  • Advised a leading national charity in relation to repeated data subject access requests made by a former employee.

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Pensions - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a strong reputation as one of 'the most pre-eminent pension practices in the South East'. Led by Maria Riccio, the practice works across all sectors with an emphasis on charities, insurance and private wealth. It provides transnational support and training, as well as handling contentious matters such as pensions fraud. The firm also advises private clients in pension disputes with their schemes or employers, in particular involving the operation of Small Self-Administered Schemes, Self Invested Personal Pensions and the payment of death benefits. Clare Coley and Verity Cruse are also of note.

Practice head(s):Maria Riccio

Other key lawyers:Clare Coley; Verity Cruse


'Maria Riccio combines expertise and clarity of thought in her subject with the ability to explain to those that do not know or understand pensions what the issues are. She has good ideas about how to overcome problems and does not sit on the fence - she gives advice. Maria is clear in her analysis of the risks which is a big help with our decision making.'

'Maria Riccio is fantastic- she really understands the issues and puts the client at the heart of what she is doing. Her advice is always pragmatic. If there is a pensions issue she is always the first choice.'

'Maria Riccio is one of the few pension lawyers with in depth experience in advising trustees and employers.'

Key Clients

Trustees of the Hovertravel Pension and Assurance Scheme

London & Caledonian Trustees

Trustees of the Teachers Assurance Group Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Imtech and Infra Traffic Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Appointed to be sole legal advisers to the ELIM trustees.
  • Following a large transfer under TUPE, the practice advised on historical DB pension rights which are deemed to have transferred under contract, specifically relating to redundancy. The advice relates to how those rights can be compensated in the event of redundancy.
  • Assisted with drafting a number of scheme documents as well as dealing with a number of scheme policies for the purpose of GDPR.
Leading individuals

Maria Riccio - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Next Generation Partners

Clare Coley - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Rising stars

Verity Cruse - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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South East: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant
Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's clinical negligence department has 'serious legal firepower'. The practice, which is led in Guildford by Philippa Luscombe, handles a range of matters relating to brain and spinal injuries, as well as cerebral palsy. In addition, the 'tenacious and tactically shrewd' Alison Johnson has expertise in obstetric cases. Alison Appelboam Meadows, who leads the practice in Basingstoke, also heads up the firm’s cerebral palsy team. Other core members of the team include Stephanie Code in Guildford and senior associate Emma Beeson, who is noted as 'a star of the future.'

Practice head(s):Philippa Luscombe

Other key lawyers:Alison Appelboam Meadows; Alison Johnson; Emma Beeson; Elise Bevan; Lucie Prothero


'The firm provides extremely insightful and intelligent analysis of the issues that affect its clients. There is great attention to evidentiary detail and practice appears to be principled and ethical.'

'Alison Appelboam Meadows is a delight to work with and embodies all of the qualities that make Penngintons a standout firm. She is vastly experienced and knowledgeable, but not in the least bit self-satisfied or stuffy. She is brilliant with clients and opponents alike.'

'Alison Johnson seems to have a magical touch when it comes to negotiating fantastic settlements on behalf of her clients which reflects her charm and skill.'

Work highlights

  • Acting for a client who experienced a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of cauda equina syndrome.
  • Pursued a claim for negligent management of a client following a knee injury sustained at home.
  • Pursued claim against an otorhinolaryngologist, in relation to the initial management of a client’s throat cancer in 2010.
Next Generation Partners

Alison Johnson - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is 'highly rated and respected' and advises across the spectrum of personal injury matters, with expertise in road traffic accidents, employers’ liability and public liability claims. Practice head and 'skilled lawyer' Philippa Luscombe has expertise in brain injury matters.

Practice head(s):Philippa Luscombe

Other key lawyers:Elise Bevan; Lucie Prothero


'Philippa Luscombe is a truly standout practitioner who combines good judgement and sharp legal instincts with a caring and committed approach to her clients. Lucky them!'

'Alison Appelboam Meadows instills confidence. She is a very able all-around lawyer who is bright, intelligent, articulate and charming.'

'The team has talented and experienced lawyers who handle PI and clinical negligence claims of the utmost severity and complexity.'

Work highlights

  • Involved in a highly contested breach of duty by a hospital in risk assessment and care of vulnerable patients leading to catastrophic fall from height.
  • Handling a road traffic accident claim on behalf of a cyclist who sustained a serious head injury.

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South East: Private client

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

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP acts for charitable organisations such as educational institutions and membership organisations, disability charities and registered social landlords. It counts house-hold names such as Make-a-Wish Foundation UK and City & Guilds of London Institute among its recent clients. The multi-disciplinary practice advises on a broad range of matters including governance, corporate and commercial, real estate, public law, legacy disputes and employment matters. Henrietta Mason, Daff Richardson and Hilary Aldred are the key contacts. Practice head Alison Talbot  departed to Winckworth Sherwood LLP in December 2018.

Practice head(s):Henrietta Mason

Other key lawyers:Daff Richardson; Hilary Aldred

Key Clients

World Obesity Federation

Leonard Cheshire Disability

Marine Stewardship Council

Wellington College

Marshal Beresford Fund

Work highlights

  • Representing faith based organisation in a Charity Commission investigation.
  • Advised Make-A-Wish on a fundraising promotion with a major film producer and a large e-commerce platform to coincide with a film release.

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's contentious trusts and probate work is managed by the firm's private client team, which has a strong record of representing clients in matters involving multiple claims or assets spread across several jurisdictions. Practice head Michael Cash covers the full range of disputes, which includes contentious applications in the Court of Protection. Henrietta Mason is another name to note.

Practice head(s):Michael Cash

Other key lawyers:Henrietta Mason

Key Clients

Administrator for the estate of Nizam of Hyderabad

Nora Greenslade


Work highlights

  • Acting for the administrator of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad’s estate in the long running dispute over £35m held by National Westminster Bank that was deposited in 1948.
  • Acting on behalf of five US family members in an international trust and estate dispute.
  • Instructed by a client on the appeal of a life-affecting High Court decision.
  • Acting for the taxpayer in a large IHT case against HMRC.
  • Acting in a complex high value estate involving multiple claims, competing interests and delicate family dynamics.

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Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's clients include high-net-worth individuals with more than £10m in assets.  Its comprehensive expertise spans financial and children matters together with tax, property and reputation management. Veronica Gilmour handles complex financial issues often with challenging jurisdictional complications and is also an expert on foreign pensions. Rachel Donald is an expert on pre-nuptial agreements and where company assets are involved and Lee Henderson has experience of surrogacy cases.

Practice head(s):Veronica Gilmour

Other key lawyers:Rachel Donald; Laura Naser; Laura Hughes; Lee Henderson


'Pennington's Guildford office offers the quality of representation of a central London practice. There are very few other 'Rolls Royce' practices outside of the country's big cities.'

'This is one of the top firms with offices outside London.  The family lawyers in the Guildford office provide London-quality service and expertise.'

'Veronica Gilmour is not only a highly experienced and accomplished lawyer but she genuinely cares about her clients. She is warm and personable and every client I have referred to her has reported how comfortable they feel working with her.'

'Laura Hughes is a senior associate with the full skill set one would hope for in a solicitor. She is a good lawyer and strategist, but also able to cope with strong personalities.'

'Associate Lee Henderson  is an exceptional lawyer and has that rare ability to be able to give his clients clear and difficult advice but in a way that makes them feel entirely supported by him.  He has incredible energy and his sense of needing justice for his clients makes him always go the extra mile.  He is one to watch for sure.'

Work highlights

  • Advising on a high-value, extremely complex international matter regarding the share of future income.  
  • An application for a child arrangements order following the breakdown of a surrogacy agreement.
  • Advising in financial proceedings involving a contested pre-nuptial agreement where wealth was located on- and off-shore.
Leading individuals

Veronica Gilmour - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Next Generation Partners

Rachel Donald - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP’s areas of expertise include divorce proceedings and negotiating children arrangements, often with an international element. It is also know for its handling of international surrogacy, trusts of land and the Appointment of Trustees Act, Children Act  and Hague Convention applications. Jane Mitchell handles complex financial and children matters with a specialisation in international trusts and company arrangements. Kerry Fretwell in Reading and Ruth James in Oxford are the other key partners. Associates Bethan Thomas and Stuart Webber are also of note.

Practice head(s):Kerry Fretwell, Jane Mitchell

Other key lawyers:Ruth James; Bethan Thomas; Stuart Webber


The Oxford and Reading offices are full of quality lawyers, always giving clear and accurate advice in a way that clients understand. ‘

Jane Mitchell is a lawyer that is head and shoulders above her peers. Jane displays a good manner and charm both of which appear to shield a real steel core. Jane is unafraid of highly contentious litigation and has shown nothing but patience, diligence and resolute determination. She is a really impressive lawyer.’

I am very impressed with Kerry Fretwell. She is very experienced and knows how to manage clients’ expectations well, she also clearly explained my legal position and gave me the confidence and knowledge to move forward.’

Leading individuals

Jane Mitchell - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Kerry Fretwell - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Rising stars

Bethan Thomas - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex - ranked: tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

At Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, Liz Garvey is trusted for her handling of high- value estates which involve assets in both the UK and abroad and, with notable associate Hannah Gearey, also deals with complex probate cases and Court of Protection applications. Senior associate Cecelia Ward is dual qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor. Elizabeth Nicholas is also recommended. Director Adrian Moss manages the accounting and tax compliance service.

Practice head(s):Liz Garvey

Other key lawyers:Hannah Gearey; Cecelia Ward; Elizabeth Nicholas


'Penningtons take the time to get to know the individuals they work with and are very keen to support our charity with their knowledge and expertise.'

'They are very personable and able to relate to clients easily, putting them at ease. They also have in-house tax advisers who are capable of explaining complex matters in relatively simple terms.'

'Hannah Gearey is very relatable, caring and extremely competent. I am yet to meet someone as efficient and timely in her field when it comes to client work.'

'Adrian Moss has an ability to explain complex tax matters very effectively, which makes clients feel at ease and like we actually know what is going on.'

'Liz Garvey and Hannah Gearey are prompt to respond, compassionate in their interactions with beneficiaries and very good at building up trust and therefore a positive working relationship with them, often at a very difficult time for the individuals concerned.'

Work highlights

  • Advising executors on the protection of a vulnerable beneficiary in a delicate situation involving substantial UK and offshore assets.
  • Advising the executors of a complex and high value estate on trust and tax matters.
  • Advising the trustee on the handling and response to highly technical HMRC enquiries.
  • Unusually complex IHT planning for a married couple with different nationalities, residence and domicile  statuses.
  • High-value probate work to maximise Enterprise Investment Scheme and Business Property Relief.
Rising stars

Hannah Gearey - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Caroline Van Zyl heads up the private client practice at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP Oxford office where she primarily assists high-net-worth individuals and families with succession and tax planning, often with an international element. Louise Lewis is the key contact for individuals seeking advice on philanthropic donations; advising on trusts for tax planning purposes. She is also experienced in digital estate planning.

Practice head(s):Caroline Van Zyl

Other key lawyers:Louise Lewis


'Caroline is very knowledgeable on trusts and administration of commercial property. It was very reassuring to know that every aspect of administration of the entire estate could be dealt with under one roof.’

Caroline van Zyl has given me expert advice in intelligible prose and clearly explained any potential hazards which may come up further down the line. A splendid person to work with.

'Louise Lewis is very sensible and hard-working. She is forthright but polite, and performs with excellence. '

Next Generation Partners

Caroline Van Zyl - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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South East: Public sector

Education - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

At Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, the education team is particularly notable for its work with higher education clients, with a strong focus on governance and compliance issues. The multi-disciplinary team also advises education clients on employment, real estate, and commercial issues, as well as providing training and data protection advice. Practice head Daff Richardson specialises in education disputes and governance issues. Alison Talbot departed the firm for Winckworth Sherwood LLP in December 2018.

Practice head(s):Daff Richardson


'The team have very strong expertise in both education and employment law, which makes them ideally placed to assist on crossover topics.'

'The level of service and the responsiveness is excellent, especially if a partner is aware that something needs urgent attention.'

'Daff Richardson is committed, client-focused, knows the context within which we're working, and is a pleasure to work.'

'The advice provided is pragmatic as well as being accurate.'


Key Clients

Merton College, Oxford

City and Guilds of London Institute

Oxford Brookes University

Oxford University Press

St Peter’s College

Somerville College

University of Surrey

Stanford University


Work highlights

  • Advising a higher education institution in relation to an employment matter involving the termination of employment of a member of its academic staff.
  • Advised a higher education institution on its obligations towards a visiting scholar, who sought specific working arrangements on account of disabilities.
  • Advised City & Guilds of London Institute on a significant restructure of part of its business including providing training for managers.
  • Advised a client on two subject access requests made on behalf of an unsuccessful candidate for admission.
Leading individuals

Daff Richardson - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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South East: Real estate

Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP attracts regional and national clients thanks to its end-to-end expertise that includes planning, construction, property litigation and  finance. It also has an impressive range of panel appointments. The range of work encompasses developments including social housing, student accommodation, retail, leisure and industrial projects as well as high-value landlord and tenant work. The 'outstanding' Mike Busby leads the team and senior associate Sam Davies is also highlighted for his client-centric approach.

Practice head(s):Mike Busby

Other key lawyers:Tim Davies; Tony Burns; Sam Davies; Graham Dixon


'They are commercial aware, practical and  willing to support our business.'

'The team is a set of incredibly hard-working, personable professionals that consistently provide top-notch advice and representation whilst understanding the client's position beyond just the singular transaction.'

'Mike Busby is always quick to respond and takes an interest in and understands our business.'

'Mike Busby is an outstanding asset to the firm. His extensive expertise is readily available at all times. He encourages and develops his team to ensure they can also provide us with the best service on all instructions and billing is completely transparent.'

'Sam Davies works incredibly hard on many, often complicated instructions, ensuring documents are reviewed promptly and contain specific client-friendly clauses.'

'Sam Davies has a calm and matter of fact approach.'


Key Clients

Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust

Future Street (Plymouth)

The Cube (Runcorn)

Flight Centre (UK)

PRS Operations

NoCo Hotels

Antony Collier

Steven and Simon Hunt (landowners)

Higher Drive Nursing Homes (Holdings)

Work highlights

  • Assisting on the c.£10m development of a site for an 80-bed care home with staff accommodation. The matter involved a challenge to the use of the site and a complex structure of leases, subleases and linked guarantees/NHS block contracts.
  • Advised on the proposed purchase of a site in Plymouth conditional on obtaining planning for a residential middle market, later living development of  more than 250 beds.  
  • Acting for the purchaser of a multi-million pound industrial unit  and acting on the subsequent sale.

  • Drafted and negotiated an amendment and restatement of the term loan facility agreement for the lender, a matter valued at around £21m.
Leading individuals

Mike Busby - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's real estate team is 'one of the best in the Thames Valley'. The practice is known for its strength in handling complex and high value development projects in residential, education and leisure sectors where it counts Frontier Estates , The University of Oxford and Fitness First as active clients. The team also advises on property tax, environmental issues and planning law. Richard Smith heads the group and is the key figure for large-scale developments and environmental law; other key partner, Simon Knott focuses on acquisitions, disposals, letting and finance. Associate Laura Gorman is a name to note for commercial developments, student accommodation schemes and care homes, as is Catherine Bradshaw,  who focuses on acting on behalf of registered providers.

Practice head(s):Richard Smith

Other key lawyers:Richard Smith; Simon Knott; Laura Gorman; Catherine Bradshaw


'Consistent high performance across a wide variety of engagements.'

'Richard Smith is simply excellent, and has a wealth of experience in commercial property acquisitions. '

Key Clients

EDF Energy

St Peter’s College, Oxford

European Space Agency

Fitness First

White Stuff

Work highlights

  • Advised a developer on the acquisition and mixed debt and equity funding of a brownfield site at Guildford Plaza, Guildford, Surrey for £14m.
  • Acting for the European Space Agency on a lease for the construction of a new research laboratory for space exploration at Harwell Science Campus in Oxfordshire.
  • Advising a nanotechnology life science company in connection with the construction of its new clean room manufacturing building at Harwell Science Campus, Oxfordshire.
  • Advising a developer on a housing development collaboration agreement with Nottingham City Council, as co-owner, in respect of planning permission and marketing of a large brownfield housing scheme in Nottingham on an old industrial manufacturing site.
Rising stars

Laura Gorman - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Environment - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Led by Richard Smith, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's team acts for clients active in industries such as engineering, energy, chemical production, manufacturing and waste management. The scope of its experience includes environmental due diligence, warranties and indemnities, as well as advice on the full range of commercial transactions and contentious issues. Water pollution, hazardous waste and landfill are among other areas of specialisation.

Practice head(s):Richard Smith

Leading individuals

Richard Smith - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's real estate litigation group is 'approachable, clear and always willing to help'; it shows 'persistence in the face of difficult and rare problems'. Team head John Morrison advises on both commercial and residential property disputes, and has a notable specialism in contentious matters involving the education sector. The practice regularly handles lease renewals, terminations and dilapidations cases, and generates work from both private clients and corporate entities.

Practice head(s):John Morrison


'The firm responds quickly and always provides a clear explanation of the situation in a straightforward and professional manner'.

'Knowledgeable, clear in their advice and highly responsive'.

'John Morrison finds answers as opposed to telling you about problems'.

'John Morrison is a pleasure to work with; he always gives sound advice in a simple and pragmatic manner'.

'Unlike some in the legal profession, John Morrison never comes across as condescending and is always professional'.

Key Clients

Berendsen UK Limited

Flight Centre (UK) Limited

White Stuff Limited

Frontier Estates Limited

Somerville College, University of Oxford

Verco Office Furniture Limited

White Oak Transport Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the owners of a factory/distribution site on the removal of travellers from their adjoining development site, where their occupation posed significant health and safety risks.
  • Advised commercial landlord White Oak Transport Services Limited on repeated forfeitures of units on its industrial estate, which included defeating a counterclaim for damages for loss of profits based on an allegation of unlawful forfeiture.
  • Acting for a leading hotel developer in defending threats by neighbouring owners and occupiers to injunct a multi-million pound hotel extension on the basis of interference with rights of way.
  • Representing a trust as landlord of an extensive country estate in relation to applications by its tenant for licence to carry out unusual and ambitious alterations and simultaneously to assign the farm business tenancy in conjunction with the sale of the adjoining stately home.
  • Acting for a group of private residents opposing an application to the Upper Tribunal for modification of restrictive covenants to permit the development of a large residential care home on a prestigious and high-value residential estate.
Leading individuals

John Morrison - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Linda Storey heads up Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's 'knowledgeable' social housing team, whose work covers securitisation. portfolio and asset management, commercial property, housing management and development/acquisitions, among other areas. In addition to Storey, employment expert Eugene Wojciechowski, Andrew Casstles and Peter Massey are other recommended partners. Associate Charlotte D’Avola is another notable individual.

Practice head(s):Linda Storey

Other key lawyers:Eugene Wojciechowski; Andrew Casstles; Peter Massey; Charlotte D’Avola


'The team are approachable and always clear in explaining the subject of discussion'.

'Knowledgeable, provide comprehensible advice and always respond promptly'.


Key Clients

London & Quadrant



Hightown Housing Association


Metropolitan Thames Valley


Bromford Housing Group



Work highlights

  • Acted for Hightown Housing Association on the variation of its facility agreement with Lloyds.
  • Advised Aldwyck Housing Group on the forward-funding purchase, development and sale of 11 shared ownership houses on a new housing estate.
  • Advised Metropolitan Thames Valley on the forward-funding acquisition and development of 58 affordable residential units by way of phased freehold block transfers and individual flat leases from a national developer.
  • The firm was one of three firms dealing with the significant security requirements for Peabody’s recently listed own name bond.
Leading individuals

Linda Storey - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Rising stars

Charlotte D'Avola - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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South East: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Data protection and IT transactions specialist Joanne Vengadesan heads the team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, which is known for its work with the firm's corporate team on technology transactions in combination with its  abilities on IT contracts and its cross-border capabilities. The highly regarded Vengadesan has a 'solid background in technology matters' and technology transfer specialist Nicola McConville is another key figure within the team.

Practice head(s):Joanne Vengadesan

Other key lawyers:Will Axtell; Nicola McConville; Oliver Kidd


'The lawyers at Penningtons Manches are responsive, committed and very well focused.'

'I appreciate that the partners are personally available and directly handle the paperwork.'

'Joanne Vengadesan has a solid background in technology matters. She is smart and always responsive when needed, so teaming with her is always a pleasant experience.'

Key Clients


Senseye Limited

Alemba Limited

IRIS Software

Touchstone Innovations

Halma plc

Rezatec Limited

Royal Selangor

Support Revolution

Conidia Bioscience Limited

Work highlights

  • Provided international contract and documentation advice to a provider of innovative software maintenance solutions.
  • Acting for BluepointLondon during major negotiations relating to public vehicle charging points.
  • Advised Royal Selangor on a consumer-facing website, including distance selling rules for e-commerce and other website requirements, terms, and conditions.
  • Drafted an evaluation agreement for use of the Facesoft Platform and the privacy policy.
  • Primary legal advisor to Bluecity, including a landmark transaction with Gatwick Airport.
Leading individuals

Joanne Vengadesan - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Rising stars

Oliver Kidd - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's IP team has strong sector experience in life sciences and technology, handling a range of contentious and non-contentious cases for clients including patent and know-how licencing. The team is also noted for its work on software licencing and data protection where Joanne Vengadesan is the key contact. Practice head Chris Shelley is notable for his work with universities and their spin-out companies, while senior associate Holly Strube is also a key team member.

Practice head(s):Chris Shelley

Other key lawyers:Joanne Vengadesan; Gavin Stenton; Holly Strube; Victoria Wright

Key Clients

Walker Greenbank plc

Astro Lighting Holdings Limited

STG Aerospace

Oxford Gene Technology


Lomare Technologies

Oxford VacMedix

Oxford Genetics

King’s College London

King’s Commercialisation Institute

Swansea University

Grey Wolf Therapeutics Limited

Richemont International (Alfred Dunhill, Vacheron Constantin, Mont Blanc)

Oxford University Press

Kandy Therapeutics


Oxford Brain Diagnostics

BioMe Oxford

Conidia Bioscience Limited



Thatcham Research

Gray Plant Mooty

Duane Morris

Miller Nash Graham & Dunn

Bharat Forge

Barfoots of Botley Ltd

Tata Advanced Systems

Fenn Night Vision Limited

Senseye Limited

First Law P.C.

Thames Valley Housing Association Ltd

RM Education Ltd

The Consortium for Purchasing and Distribution Ltd

CAB International

Norbar Torque Tools Ltd

Compass Box Delicious Whisky Ltd

All Saints Retail Ltd

Hudson Shoe Agencies Ltd

Needle & Thread Design Holdings Ltd

Tech London Advocates/Global Tech Advocates

Work highlights

  • Represented All Saints Retail in connection with a range of contentious trade mark, design right and copyright matters, frequently with an international dimension.
  • Instructed by Korean trade mark specialists regarding registration and enforcement of UK trade mark portfolios for K-Pop band BTS.
  • Advising STG Aerospace on infringement of intellectual property rights and the IP aspects of a range of commercial agreements.
  • Assisted several of this leading US law firm’s high-profile clients with UK trade mark registration and enforcement matters.
  • Represented the client in respect of all its contentious trade mark and associated matters, and its global trade mark filing and maintenance activities.
Leading individuals

Chris Shelley - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Joanne Vengadesan - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Rising stars

Holly Strube - Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

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Further information on Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP in other jurisdictions.

East Anglia

Offices in Cambridge


Offices in London

South East

Offices in Basingstoke, Oxford, Reading, and Guildford

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