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Ashfords LLP

ASHFORD HOUSE, GRENADIER ROAD, EXETER, EX1 3LH, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 01392 337000
DX:
150000 EXETER 24
Email:
Web:
www.ashfords.co.uk

South West: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Bristol
Corporate and commercial: Bristol - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP is well placed to leverage the South West’s position as a tech and start-up hub; the firm's corporate team is accordingly one of the most active in  the UK venture capital space by deal volume. Headed by Andrew Betteridge, the corporate team stands out for its experience in M&A, MBOs, corporate restructurings and other corporate governance exercises demand extensive cross-border experience. Indeed, Betteridge advised Dynmark International and its sister company Donky Networks on the £11m sale of its entire issued share capital – included Dynmark’s Polish and US subisidiaries – to DotDigital Group plc. Chris Dyson leads the firm’s technology sector team and is noted for ‘blending excellent commercial acumen and legal expertise’. Dyson acted for multiple funders including Atlas Venture Funds VIII and Xange Private Equity in a £20m series D investment round for Currency Cloud Group. Additionally, Rory Suggett has assisted growth companies and private investors in numerous fundraising rounds. The department made two major lateral hires in 2017, bringing in corporate tax expert Nicola Manclark from Burges Salmon LLP, and Andrew Braithwaite who specialises in IP and tech and joined from Thrings LLP.

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Corporate and commercial: The West Country
Corporate and commercial: The West Country - ranked: tier 1

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP is widely recognised for its presence in the European venture capital space and, in terms of deal volume, has been identified as one of the most active corporate teams in the UK. The firm’s ‘top-class’ lawyers have experience in a wide variety of corporate matters and are especially well known in the region for their capital markets and private equity work. Louise Workman assisted a UK-based specialist equipment manufacturer with the establishment of a multimillion-pound joint venture in an Asian jurisdiction. Workman was also involved in the complex restructuring of a listed company’s subsidiaries, which included a capital reduction, asset transfers and a winding up exercise. The ‘very professional’ Stuart Mathews advised the shareholders of W.C. Rowe (Falmouth) on the sale of the company’s entire issued share capital to Iberia Industry Capital Group. Specialising in corporate finance, Rebecca Dury is instructed by high-street lenders and corporate borrowers and regularly handles the financing aspects of the group’s corporate transactional mandates. Further, the team advised Rawle Gammon & Baker Holdings on its purchase of Tec Build Services’ infrastructure, business and other assets. C&C Group plc is another of the department’s key clients.

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

By one client’s reckoning, Ashfords LLP is ‘on par with some of the best’ in the South West. The team is known for advising individual shareholders on exit transactions, capital gains and income tax liabilities, and also supports the firm’s M&A activity and property work. Department head Angus Bauer assisted an energy management group with the tax structuring of the establishment of tax-efficient holding and operating companies in a European jurisdiction. Further, Bauer provided comprehensive tax advice a local authority in relation to a number of investment property acquisitions. After joining the team from Burges Salmon LLP in 2017, Nicola Manclark advised Dynmark International on the sale of its entire issued share capital - including Polish and US subsidiaries - to DotDigital Group. Clare Werry has experience of the tax aspects of corporate reorganisations.

Leading individuals

Angus Bauer - Ashfords LLP

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EU and competition
EU and competition - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Acting primarily for local authorities and public sector companies, Ashfords LLP’s dedicated state aid practice has expertise in state aid funding structures for significant local infrastructure and services projects. Department head Elizabeth Gibson provides ongoing state aid advice to clients such as North Yorkshire County Council. Additionally, Gibson is advising Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council on the state aid aspects of a £67m project to provide enhanced broadband services to rural areas. The department head has also provided state aid advice to the Council of the Isles of Scilly in relation to various energy projects. Lucy Woods is an active senior associate in the department, with experience in state aid and public procurement.

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South West: Crime, fraud and licensing

Crime: fraud
Crime: fraud - ranked: tier 1

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP  ‘displays a personal touch’ with ‘high-calibre representation.’ The practice acts for public and private sector clients, both prosecuting and defending fraud cases. It has experience in prosecuting rogue trader frauds, money laundering and trading standards cases for local authorities. It has also previously defended cases involving boiler room fraud, blackmail, bribery, companies under investigation by HMRC and cases brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the Crown Court. Senior associate Jeremy Asher heads the team and is noted for his ‘wealth of experience, commercial and proactive approach, and excellent client care.’ He is an expert in European Distribution Fraud and has acted for many international victims of fraud.

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Crime: general
Crime: general - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP's team prosecutes and defends cases, and has extensive experience of road traffic offences, in particular dealing with speeding, drink driving and cases involving death or injury caused by dangerous driving.  Jeremy Asher heads the team and works closely with the dispute resolution team, and also investigators and the police to ensure convictions are secured. Recent work includes representing CC Construction in a dispute after carrying out noisy building work at the home of Robbie Williams, in contravention of a notice imposed by the local authority. The fine, which had the potential to be unlimited, was settled at £3000 after a guilty plea.

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South West: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Bristol
Commercial litigation: Bristol - ranked: tier 4

Ashfords LLP

The litigation team in Ashfords LLP’s Bristol office has experience in the areas of financial services, tech, retail and professional services. The department is headed by Rory Mac Neice, who is acting for the Environment Agency in relation to claims brought by 25 separate parties regarding a significant flood event. Mac Neice has also handled various regulatory and professional services disputes, which included advising a former partner at a leading law firm on an investigation and subsequent charges made against the client by the SRA. The team is also representing Comoros-based Inter Iles Air in a dispute concerning the lease of a regional airliner airframe. Additional contacts include senior associate Chris Freeman and associate Fiona Ladič.

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Commercial litigation: The West Country
Commercial litigation: The West Country - ranked: tier 1

Ashfords LLP

The dispute resolution group at Ashfords LLP is made up of ‘skilled, hardworking practitioners, who will go the extra mile for their clients’. The team is often involved in complex, cross-disciplinary disputes and has particular experience in shareholder and director disputes, financial services claims, commercial contract and franchising disputes, and professional negligence. Andrew Perkins is representing a regional property developer and principal shareholder in a multi-party claim brought by a former shareholder concerning a capital reduction demerger transaction; the case also involves claims against the tax and legal advisers, who advised on the transaction. Jason Squire acted for a group providing pension products to high-net-worth individuals in relation to a dispute with a member of one of the pension schemes regarding the trustees’ duty to preserve assets. Other key figures include Antony Lee , legal director Stephen Walker  and Charles Hattersley, the last of whom successfully represented Ward Associates in a matter concerning the client’s liability in relation to a £1.6m judgment.

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP has ‘an impressive insolvency team, which puts it in a particularly good position to enforce debts through insolvency proceedings’. Acting for banks, professional services firms, insolvency practitioners, local authorities and a range of SMEs, the department is headed by the ‘professional and friendly’ legal director Katie Farmer, who specialises in insolvency and recoveries from foreign jurisdictions. Farmer was recently instructed by a creditor to obtain and serve a bankruptcy order to an imprisoned debtor concerning a six-figure sum owed to the client. Solicitor Gruffydd Davies advised a Belgian law firm on the enforcement options for Belgian judgments in favour of Belgian companies against Libyan bank-assets located in England and Wales. The team has also handled bankruptcy and recovery proceedings for a large London borough.

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South West: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Providing ‘timely, practical and partner-led advice’, Ashfords LLP is instructed by regional borrowers and household-name lenders in real estate development and acquisition finance transactions. The ‘highly experienced’ Rebecca Dury leads the banking group and acts for Exeter Finance in connection with its loan provisions to various borrowers, primarily for the purpose of property acquisitions and development. Dury also assisted a regional house builder with a refinancing exercise with a well-known domestic bank. ‘An engaging and proactive communicator’, James Heath advised Lloyds Bank on the multimillion-pound facilities for the purchase of two commercial sites in Oxford and Banbury by a prominent investment company. Additional lender clients include HSBC Bank, Santander and RBS, which the team advised on the provision of various acquisition finance and refinance facilities in 2017. Solicitor Jonathan Hyde is also recommended.

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

‘Punching well above its weight’, Ashfords LLP’s financial assurance team advises on SRA and professional services regulations in relation to company and personal insolvencies, and has particular experience in legal firm insolvency mandates. Samantha Palmer  (now no longer with Ashfords) acted for the administrators of QSP Residual Recoveries on the professional risk and regulatory issues relating to the administration of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin. Practice head David Pomeroy advised the administrators of Almond Solicitors on the sale of the distressed firm to Aticus Law. Further, Alan Bennett assisted the liquidator of PKF Francis Clark with a world-wide freezing order and summary judgment. Pomeroy also has experience defending individuals in statutory demand proceedings, and Bennett assisted an engineering company with a winding-up petition. Legal director Katie Farmer is another key contact.

Leading individuals

David Pomeroy - Ashfords LLP

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South West: Human resources

Employment: Bristol
Employment: Bristol - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP  has a national and international client base, working for commercial clients such as ARAG, Bluebird Care, Connect44, Teleglobal Consulting, PGA, Greenleaf Corporation (Greenleaf Europe BV) and New Directions Holdings. It is experienced in dealing with complex Employment Tribunal claims and High Court litigation and is regarded for its experience in the private healthcare and retail sectors. It also has a track record enforcing and defending restrictive covenant claims and assisting clients with drafting employment contracts, staff handbooks and policy documents. Practice head Stephen Moore provides ongoing advice to a number of McDonald’s franchises on Employment Tribunal claims, disciplinary procedures, union activity, and immigration matters . He also advises Post Office on TUPE, employment matters and negotiating settlement agreements. Associate Kim Wright deals with discrimination claims, breach of contract, TUPE, restrictive covenant claims, holiday pay and business sales and acquisitions.

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Employment: The West Country
Employment: The West Country - ranked: tier 1

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP Exeter advises local, national and international clients on issues related to TUPE, local government pension schemes, collective redundancy consultation processes, termination of senior executives, and settlement agreements. It also handles insolvency-related employment issues and tribunal litigation. Clients include The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, foe which it providing advice on contentious issues such as whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, discrimination, and representation at employment tribunals, as well as non-contentious matters. It also acts for Hello Fresh, a food and recipe box distributor, on TUPE issues, senior employee performance and exits, disciplinary action and service agreements. Recent work includes advising catering company Somerset Larder on a severance package for a managing director. The London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Richmond and The Roald Dahl Literary Estate are additional clients Stephen Moore heads the team, which includes Charles Pallot, who has expertise in TUPE, redundancy consultation processes and managing senior employee relationships; senior associate Kirsty Cooke, who specialises in complex tribunal litigation, staff management issues and insolvency matters; legal director Su Apps, who handles industrial relations matters; and  senior associate Chloe Ricciardi, (now no longer with Ashfords) who handled discrimination and whistleblowing litigation.

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP provides advice to large corporations, small businesses and individuals who face prosecution. It has experience advising on fatalities, inquests, compliance and risk exposure reduction. The team provides support from the time an incident has occurred, through to trial and sentencing if applicable. Head of team Richard Voke is ‘excellent, has great judgment, is efficient and effective’, he also has ‘the unique insight of a former HSE inspector and prosecutor’. The team is supported by an in-house business regulatory consultancy which provides advice on gap analysis, risk assessments, and audit services.

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Immigration
Immigration - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP & Exeter

Ashfords LLP & Exeter advises on a full range of immigration issues including recruitment and employment issues for foreign nationals and non-contentious immigration issues for high-net worth individuals such as obtaining Tier 1 visas. It advises regional, national and international clients in applying for Tier 2 sponsorship and obtaining Tier 2 visas for overseas workers to work in the UK and also intra-company transfers. It also advises on employment-related immigration issues in corporate transactions as part of due diligence and post-acquisition. Another area of expertise is advising private individuals on applying for spousal visas. Senior associate Kirsty Cooke heads the team, she led in advising Techstars London on obtaining a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. She also advised The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust on all immigration issues including sponsor obligations, liaising with UKVI, documentation retention, and carrying out right to work checks. Clients include Penhaligon’s, Rathlin Energy and Teneo.

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South West: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant
Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP represents claimants in cases involving antenatal complications, child death, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, delay in diagnosis, dental negligence and negligent eye surgeries. It often operates under conditional fee agreements. Practice head Jason Squire ‘fights his client’s corner all the way’ and is ‘disarmingly tough whilst also warm and engaging’. He is supported by associate Clare Boucher, who specialises in negligent antennal care, child birth issues and gynaecological issues. Recent work includes acting in a dental negligence claim against a private dentist, in which the claimant suffered pain and required significant dental rectification work. It also settled a negligence claim against an NHS hospital for leaving medical gauze inside a patient’s perineum after the birth of her daughter.

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Personal injury: claimant
Personal injury: claimant - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

The ‘exceptionally good’ practice at Ashfords LLP handles a range of claims including personal injury, road traffic accidents, accidents abroad, accidents involving animals, aviation accidents, employers, public and product liability, occupational and industrial disease and fatal accidents. Stephen Walker  heads the practice and specialises in high-value personal injury and Court of Protection cases. Flora Wood  is ‘highly professional’ and ‘applies herself assiduously to obtain the best possible outcome for the client’. Elizabeth Johnson is ‘very experienced’ and ‘a sensible and effective negotiator’. Jason Squire  is also recommended.

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Personal injury: defendant
Personal injury: defendant - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

‘Very thorough in its approach to all cases’, Ashfords LLP's practice handles high-value defendant work involving catastrophic injuries, road traffic accidents, fatal accidents and product liability. It also provides advice to clients on how to use the Ministry of Justice claims portal. Department head Flora Wood is ‘highly professional’ and ‘applies herself assiduously to obtain the best possible outcome for the client’. She is supported by associate Liz Johnson, who is ‘friendly, approachable and efficient’ and ‘a sensible and effective negotiator’. The firm recently acted for Cornish Mutual in a case involving a brain injury sustained from a motoring accident; a settlement was reached which drastically reduced the initial claim value. The team provides ‘a slick and efficient service’ and is ‘experienced, willing and tactically very aware’.

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Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP provides advice on a broad range of professional negligence issues, specialising in claims related to banking, bloodstock, construction, solicitors, accountants and financial advisers. It acts for banks in claims against surveyors, solicitors and project managers in relation to overvaluations, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. In construction the firm advises claims in relation to negligent design, cost advice and project management. It also advises on claims against solicitors including cases of negligent breach of confidence and failure to advise clients. Recent highlights include representing Riva Properties in a high-profile case against a leading architect who failed to design a five-star hotel at Heathrow airport within budget, the matter was valued at £3.6m. Other Clients include Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank and Exeter City Council. Rory MacNeice heads the team and is ‘a natural litigator with a flair for strategy’ who ‘approaches claims with a balanced blend of commerciality and pragmatism’. Victoria Bonnet  handles property-related claims.

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South West: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP is an ‘excellent "all-round" law firm': clients have ‘the highest praise for the whole team' and for the 'quality and speed of service'. The team specialises in property transfers, making arrangements for succession planning, and advising on farm-based energy projects. Head of the practice Darren Blackburn 'gets the fundamentals right: fast turnaround, friendly and helpful manner, client availability – all excellent’. Blackburn specialises in the sale, purchase and letting of farms, farmland and large residential properties. Head of the firm's energy and waste team Ruth Murray has significant experience advising agricultural landowners, developers and contractors on energy infrastructure projects in relation to a range of issues, including power purchase agreements, off-take agreements, maintenance contracts and major commercial project agreements, including EPC contracts. Robert Horsey advises on agricultural landlord and tenant disputes, proprietary estoppel claims, and related agricultural disputes. Tom Biddick provides constructive estate planning and succession advice for farmers, and is described by clients as an ‘excellent lead’. Associate Jonathan Croley advises on energy projects (particularly in anaerobic digestion and biomass projects), operation and maintenance contracts and feedstock contracts.

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Charities and not-for-profit
Charities and not-for-profit - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

John Toth and Kerry Morgan-Gould head up the Ashfords LLP charity practice, which acts for many significant national charities. London-based Toth is ‘particularly patient, as well as being experienced and supportive’, and specialises in non-contentious work. Tiverton-based Morgan-Gould, who was promoted to partner in September 2017, advises on claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 and on legacy administration issues. Associate Lara Moore, who is also recommended, has a focus on advising charities with coastal interests and assets on all aspects of maritime licencing and regulation.

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Clients can expect ‘excellent service’ from Ashfords LLP. Department head Robert Horsey and Kerry Morgan-Gould are ‘extremely knowledgeable in the area of contentious probate’, dealing with matters ‘timeously and with precision and expertise’. Horsey advises private individuals, charities and trust corporations in relation to all matters arising out of contentious wills, trusts and estates, specialising in contentious Court of Protection matters. Both partners are ‘courteous and have the ability to put one at ease with the knowledge that his or her matter will be dealt with professionally and expertly’.

Next generation lawyers

Barny Croft - Ashfords LLP

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Family
Family - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP is ‘one of the leading firms in the South West’, providing ‘a very good and competent family section’. The team specialise in divorce and financial matters arising from relationship breakdowns, particularly for high-net-worth individuals. Head of practice at the Exeter office Zoe Porter - previously a partner at Michelmores LLP - has a client list including high-profile celebrities and handles cases with international elements. Porter’s equal in the Taunton office, Jayne Turner, is ‘sensible, client focused and knowledgeable’, and has expertise in cases involving high-value pensions. Both partners are ‘very competent lawyers and have an excellent knowledge of family law and practice’.

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

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP is ‘a well-respected firm that has kept in touch with the personal touch that is so necessary for private client work’. Head of trusts and estates Michael Alden has a focus on heritage property and works of art; he recently advised a £40m estate on the inheritance tax aspects of long-term succession planning, and assisted the estate of a UK-domiciled individual with US-based excluded trusts where the domicile had changed since the creation of the US trusts. Tom Biddick is ‘entirely professional but client friendly’, heading up the Tiverton-based team. Specialising in estate planning for farmers and landed individuals dealing with agricultural property relief and business property relief queries, Biddick also represents the firm on the Camelot panel, regularly acting for lottery winners. The firm also has an established practice supporting clients with long-term care needs; formerly led by associate Andrew Carrigan, the firm advises clients and their representatives on options to plan for and fund long term care, supporting them through assessments, best interests meetings and applications for continuing care funding. Sarah Mansbridge joined the team as associate from Stephens Scown LLP in 2018, as did Georgina Carter from Everys as assistant solicitor.

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South West: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy
Energy - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP stands out for its formidable anaerobic digestion practice, which is ‘as good as any City firm’. Practice head Ruth Murray is often involved in significant waste-to-energy development projects; her recent highlights included advising Bromham Biogas on the £10m development of a farm-based gas-to-grid anaerobic digestion plant. Similarly, Clare Brewer acted for a contractor on its bid for a European municipal waste project. Working alongside the firm’s property department, Murray is acting for a landowning client in connection with FAB Link’s electrical interconnector between France and the UK via Alderney. Additionally, the team, which includes Brian Farrell, has experience in waste and energy-related disputes. Farrell is representing a waste management company in relation to the termination of a momentous UK project. Mark Northey is another key figure in the department.

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Project finance and PFI
Project finance and PFI - ranked: tier 1

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP acts for a range of public and private sector clients on contentious and non-contentious project financing mandates in the waste, renewable energy, transport and IT infrastructure sectors. Department head Ruth Murray acted for a prominent private equity house in connection with the liquidation of the operator and project sponsor of nine anaerobic digestion SPVs funded by the client; this included restructuring the shareholding and operating mechanisms for each SPV, as well as establishing a new operating entity. A cross-departmental team including Elizabeth Gibson and associate Jonathan Croley assisted Swindon Borough Council with the procurement of domiciliary care services in the borough. Further, Clare Brewer is instructed by a central government department in relation to a headline infrastructure project of national significance. In the contentious space, Brian Farrell is advising a major service provider in a massive multi-party dispute concerning a particular PFI project. Additional clients include CoGen, VINCI Construction and North Yorkshire County Council.

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South West: Public sector

Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises unitary, county and district councils on issues such as procurement, state aid, real estate, planning, employment, governance, construction law, outsourcing and joint ventures, housing management and regulatory matters. Elizabeth Gibson heads the team and led on advising CORMAC Solutions and Cornwall Council on a highways joint venture with Nottinghamshire County Council. Other highlights included advising Exeter City Council on the procurement of a design team for its Passivhaus leisure facility and bus station, and advising Cornwall Council on the appointment of three framework agreements covering major and minor works and consultants for construction and mechanical and electrical works. Sian Gibbon heads the property litigation team and undertakes work for social housing clients. Also recommended are employment specialist Charles Pallot, Lucy Woods], who advises on European procurement rules and state aid, and Graham Cridland. Other clients include London Borough of Brent, Wandsworth Borough Council, Historic England and Devon County Council.

Next generation lawyers

Lucy Woods - Ashfords LLP

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South West: Real estate

Commercial property: The West Country
Commercial property: The West Country - ranked: tier 1

Ashfords LLP

With expertise in the residential, renewable energy and healthcare sectors, Ashfords LLP is ‘the team clients go to when they need major development work done’. Brian Hegarty advised Willow Green Developments on the acquisition of a 49-acre mixed-use development site, and continues to assist the client with a long-term development strategy, including funding and site disposals. Andrew Rothwell and Tim Heal are also recommended contacts in the development practice. In the energy space, Hegarty advised Hooton Bio Power on the property aspects of a brownfield waste-to-energy project. Andrew MacMillan-Scott, who specialises in investment property, advised Torbay Council on its £29.6m acquisition of a newly constructed logistics building. James Heath handles strategic residential site acquisitions for various companies in the Burrington Estates Group, and also has experience in secured lending transactions. Additional clients include David Wilson Homes and MJL Cornwall.

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

The construction group at Ashfords LLP has extensive experience in utilities, waste and renewable energy projects, and also has an active construction disputes practice. Patrick Blake, who leads the non-contentious practice, advised a UK construction company on contractual issues regarding a London hotel regeneration. Blake is also acting for an engineering company in a headline national energy project. Senior associate Catherine Welch was instructed by Torbay Council to handle the construction due diligence for three potential project acquisitions, and Mark Manning advised Cornwall Council on the establishment of a framework for its entire capital works projects. On the contentious side, Stephen Homer represented Riva Properties in claims against Foster + Partners regarding the design of the first five-star hotel at Heathrow Airport. Homer also acted for Exeter City Council in a professional negligence claim against Allies & Morrison concerning the refurbishment of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

With strengths in the waste, agriculture and construction sectors, the environment team at Ashfords LLP is best known for defending corporates in Environment Agency investigations and enforcement actions. Recognised for his ‘pragmatic approach to regulatory negotiations’, senior associate Jeremy Asher  has represented agricultural groups, large utilities providers, haulage companies and individuals against the Environment Agency in various matters including pollution and breach of environmental permits. Asher also assisted a harbour company with a private prosecution concerning an oil spill in the client’s harbour. Further, Jack Baumgardt is defending an individual in connection with a chemical spill and subsequent ground water contamination. On the non-contentious side, Voke is advising a major transportation company on a strategic plan to address traffic pollution in a large domestic metropolitan area. CCC Construction is among the departments clients.

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP is instructed by public sector bodies and housing developers in relation to large regeneration schemes in London and the South West. Of particular note, department head Graham Cridland is assisting the London Borough of Brent with the planning agreements for the £1.7bn Wembley Park Development, which is, at the time of publication, the UK’s largest ongoing build-to-rent scheme. The team also has niche expertise in costal planning. Indeed, David Richardson and senior associate Lara Moore are advising Hastings Harbour Quarter on the planning aspects of a major costal regeneration project at Hastings. In the contentious space, legal director Duncan Moors is acting for Wandsworth Borough Council in relation to the planning application for a mixed-use space, which was called-in by the Mayor of London. Additional key clients include Exeter Estates, the London Borough of Croydon and Bovis Homes.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP handles a range of strategic and contentious real estate issues, but is perhaps best known for advising public and private sector clients on landlord and tenant matters and complex development disputes. Department head Sian Gibbon has attracted praise from clients and peers alike; she assisted the construction arm of a national residential developer with obtaining orders for possession of a development site and the subsequent removal of various equipment from the site. Gibbon also advised a commercial occupier on a disputed lease renewal at a prominent London location, and assisted a water utility company with an interim possession order for a site that had been occupied by travellers. Rob Nicholson successfully represented CDS (Superstores International) in a claim of misrepresentation brought against one of the client’s landlords following the discovery of asbestos in a commercial property. Senior associate James Hemsley and solicitor Sophie Michaelides joined the team from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP.

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP  handles property transactions and joint venture agreements for housing associations and local authorities, but is particularly strong in social housing-related litigation. Indeed, the ‘unflappable’ Sian Gibbon has acted for registered providers and local authorities in a range of property disputes. In the non-contentious space, Michael Gay advises Knightstone Housing Association on lease-hold flat and house disposals in accordance with certain Housing and Communities Agency standards. Additionally, Tim Heal has acted for housing associations in a litany of housing unit acquisitions. Specialising in public procurement, Elizabeth Gibson is advising a London borough on the establishment of a corporate group for the development of social and market housing. Similarly, Gibson assisted Exeter City Council with the establishment of a wholly-owned housing company for the development of social and affordable housing. Sovereign Housing Association, TGP and London Borough of Croydon are also among the team’s clients.

Leading individuals

Paul Butterworth - Ashfords LLP

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South West: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises a range of clients on data protection, payment services technology, distributed ledger technology, software development, SaaS products, technology-related mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, start-up advice and advice around cryptocurrencies. It also advises on patent drafting, filing and prosecution internationally. Chris Dyson heads the team and focuses on technology investment and acquisition, he led on advising Internal Results in preparation for its sale to Madison Logic, this involved diligence, licensing and data protection issues. Chris Coughlan specialises in technology matters, software licensing and large technology infrastructure projects. He led on advising Creditcall with regards to payment solutions services, payment gateway services and Europay, MasterCard and Visa kernels. Garry Mackay deals with non-contentious IT services, Mark Lomas deals with IP law, IT transactions and technology law. Suzie Miles focuses on IT transformation, IT outsourcing and software licensing. Andy Braithwaite joined as partner from Thrings LLP . Clients include Xylem, eMoov, Pennon Group, Post Office, Touchstone Innovations and Altus.

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Media and entertainment
Media and entertainment - ranked: tier 3

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises clients on TV production contracts, publishing agreements, advertising and marketing advice, rights clearance, pre-publication advice, rights exploitation and contentious issues. The firm advised Ginsters on advertising, terms and conditions, data protection issues and brand licensing arrangements in relation to a promotional campaign. It also drafted and negotiated a location agreement for HelloFresh when the company appeared in the BBC TV show The Apprentice. Tom Phipps heads the team supported by London-based associate Hannah Batten . Other clients include Historic England and The Roald Dahl Story Company.

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Sport
Sport - ranked: tier 2

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP is adept at handling commercial agreements, merchandising, endorsement agreements, sports-related tax, brand management and protection, regulation, governance, corporate transactions and disputes. Rory Mac Neice heads the team and specialises in bloodstock issues and regulation. Recent highlights include advising Exeter City Football Club on the development of new student accommodation and the development of new stadium facilities including two new stands, this involved successful defence of a judicial review brought by the local neighbourhood forum. Another highlight includes advising on the sale of Lovell Rugby to Sports Direct. Joanne Saye advises on contractual and leasing issues involving race horses. Andy Braithwaite specialises in advising sport governing bodies and sport property owners on event agreements, sponsorship, supplier arrangements and brand protection. Clients include The Professional Jockeys Association, The Racecourse Association, The British Show Horse Association, The British Harness Racing Club and Exeter City FC.

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South West: Transport

Shipping
Shipping - ranked: tier 1

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises on the full range of shipping and marine law. Key client sectors include the fishing industry, ship owners, port and harbour authorities, and national and international banks. Areas of expertise include shipping-related injuries and fatal accidents, high-value demurrage, shipbuilding, ship sale, purchase disputes, international arrests and cargo claims. It also advises on non-contentious issues such as fleet purchases. Highlights include acting for the owners of the the Bugaled Breizh a French fishing vessel that sank in 2004 with the loss of all five crew members, an inquest will take place in 2018 and the matter is estimated to be worth between £10m and £15m. Another highlight includes advising Hastings Harbour Quarter in relation to a coastal regeneration project with a gross development value of £500m. A further highlight includes acting for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with regards to its marine licensing requirements for all of is existing infrastructure in the UK, this involves 10 year regional multi-site marine licenses. Charles Hattersley heads the marine team and specialises in marine and transport litigation. Senior associate Lara Moore specialises in marine regulation. Ieuan Jones is also recommended. Clients include Exe Shipping, Offshore Marine Management, Waterdance, Shoreham Port Authority and Tor Bay Harbour Authority.

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London

Offices in London

South West

Offices in Bristol, Taunton, Tiverton, Exeter, and Plymouth

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