The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Mills & Reeve LLP

Work 0344 880 2666
122891 CAMBRIDGE 4

Nick Finlayson-Brown

Work 01223 222278
Mills & Reeve LLP

Work Department

Real estate and Head of China Desk


Partner. A real estate lawyer with 20 years of experience in the sector helping a diverse range of UK and overseas clients in connection with property investment, development and management across the private, institutional, corporate and public sectors acting for pension funds, property investors, offshore investors and sovereign wealth funds, high net worth individuals, developers, local authorities and government agencies. This includes dealing with a wide range of clients with a variety of complex requirements and structures. Projects include acting for overseas property investors in connection with the acquisition, management and development of prime London real estate and national property portfolios (including the West End and the City), acting for one client on the acquisition of a multi-tenanted landmark Docklands property investment for £180m; advising in connection with the regeneration of a 24 acre brownfield site in the centre of Cambridge and the promotion of a similar sized site on the outskirts of Cambridge; at a national level, acting on the acquisition of an airfield with commercial and agricultural estates, which will be promoted (in part) for residential development. Another example includes advising a client in connection with the defence of a compulsory purchase of part of their headquarters in a prime London location. This ten-year project culminated in the client achieving a settlement substantially higher than they had expected and the completion of an ancillary land-swap, sale and leaseback of part. In addition, they received a grant of a series of easements that together have unlocked a wider area of their site for redevelopment.  Current projects include the procurement of development partners for 3 brownfield regeneration projects in central London in and around King’s Cross, Docklands and Victoria Embankment.

As head of the firm’s China Desk, working with Chinese state-owned enterprises, private companies and multipliers in connection with direct investment from China into the UK and Europe and also working with lawyers in China to provide a trusted network of advisers to clients seeking to invest in the PRC.  Current projects include advising Chinese entities on the acquisition of student accommodation, schools, investment in real estate development projects in Docklands and more generally facilitating M&A projects, listings and infrastructure projects.


Trainee solicitor Allen & Overy 1991-93; senior solicitor 1993-2001; associate Mills & Reeve 2001-02; partner Mills & Reeve 2003.




Sawston Village College, Cambridge; University of York (BA Philosophy); College of Law, Lancaster Gate, London (CPE; LSF).


Music, reading, walking and gardening.

East Anglia: Private client

Charities and not-for-profit

Within: Charities and not-for-profit

Mills & Reeve LLP is known for 'very prompt response times and it can be relied on to meet deadlines and produce high-quality and considered input that balances depth of expertise and pragmatism'. Practice head Neil Burton 'rates very highly and is very helpful'. With senior associate and charity law specialist Mark Ashton he assisted Francis Crick Institute with setting up a trading subsidiary, as well as advising on endowments and fundraising. Sarah Seed leads a charity fundraising group that handles high-value bond issues and smaller schemes for schools and other charities. Caroline Dean and principal associate Lucy Whipps are recommended for property matters and clients praise their 'excellent experience and ability to ensure that transactions are progressed as expediently as possible'. Dean provided early-stage advice to John Innes Centre on a proposed £250m building at Norwich Research Park. Principal associate Dona Ardeman in the corporate team is 'a valuable partner - very able, thorough, pragmatic and responsive'. 'Very approachable and clear' principal associate Patrick Gass in Cambridge is recommended for employment law matters. He worked with partner Nicola Brown on a commercial agreement for an international science and education charity. Contested legacy specialists David Catchpole and Lucy Howard, and property partner Nick Finlayson-Brown are among the other lawyers who contribute to the practice.

[back to top]

East Anglia: Real estate

Commercial property: Cambridge

Within: Leading individuals

Nick Finlayson-Brown - Mills & Reeve LLP

Within: Commercial property: Cambridge

Mills & Reeve LLP‚Äės has ‚Äėcommercial and responsive lawyers‚Äô that¬†represent 'good value for money in relation to London-based practices'. Planning partner¬†Beverley Firth¬†is national head of the firm‚Äôs real estate practice, which has an extremely talented bench. 'Strong property partner'¬†Christine de Ferrars Green¬†is ‚Äėalways available to try and help manage her team and assist with all matters‚Äė.¬†Nick Finlayson-Brown¬†has more than 20 years' experience in real estate matters and his role as head of the firm's China team sees him handle many cross-border property matters. He is 'entirely commercial in his approach and provides excellent service and advice'. Partner¬†Charles Staveley¬†leads the firm's real estate investment sector group, which advises institutional pension funds, management houses, property companies, onshore and offshore investors. He assisted HPG Gonville Ltd with the ¬£6.5m purchase of properties and their lease back to Cambridge Education Group.¬†Vincenzo Maggio¬†focuses on investment work and landlord and tenant matters with an emphasis on science parks. He acted for Babraham Institute on a review of its multimillion-pound portfolio. Also recommended are¬†Michelle Cookson, who specialises in complex investment and development projects; real estate finance specialist¬†Tim Allsop, who is¬†is ‚Äėexcellent ‚Äď detailed, commercial and very responsive on more complicated matters‚Äė; and senior associate¬†Tom Nash, who¬†is praised for ‚Äėhis clarity of thought, expression and delivery, which are invaluable‚Äė.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to