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Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge
Corporate and commercial: Cambridge - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

James Allen at Birketts LLP leads a practice that clients describe as 'very commercial, always coming up with pragmatic solutions to problems'. The corporate practice works as a single unit across the firm's four regional offices, with Cambridge a key hub for the firm's regional, national and cross-border work. Corporate finance specialist Allen works closely with M&A and technology sector specialist Quentin Golder, corporate partner Adrian Seagers, whose skills include VC finance and private equity deals, and rising star Nick Burt.

Practice head(s):James Allen

Other key lawyers:Quentin Golder; Adrian Seagers; Nick Burt


"The team focuses on the important issues and doesn't get bogged down in issues which don't really affect their client."

"The individuals are very approachable, reactive, and efficient."

"The firm has a very strong local team that is well embedded into the local business community and engages a lot with that community. The practice has grown quickly and the firm has recruited a strong team."

"James Allen gives very practical and sensible advice. Because he provides a pragmatic approach and does not seek to point score, transactions progress smoothly and positions do not become entrenched."

Key Clients

Scientific Digital Imaging plc


Sygnis AG

John Henry Group

Time GB Group Ltd

Royale Parks Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Plasgran on its £34.5m sale.
  • Advised the shareholders of sale of NotSoSecure Global group on its sale to Claranet Group.
  • Advised the shareholders of Frimstone Ltd, a family owned business in Downham Market, which operates from 10 premises and has over 70 years’ experience in mineral extraction, recycling and restoration projects in the East Anglian region, on its sale to Mick George Ltd.
  • Advised on all legal aspects of the acquisition of learndirect’s eAssessment business. Under the deal, PSI, which has its international headquarters in California, will take over learndirect’s UK test centre network, technology and call centre along with all associated staff.
  • Advised on all legal aspects of the sale of Innova Systems UK Limited, a software training and support provider, to Visiativ SA (a French listed entity).
Leading individuals

James Allen - Birketts LLP

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Nick Burt - Birketts LLP

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Corporate and commercial: Ipswich
Corporate and commercial: Ipswich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has by far the largest corporate and commercial practice in Suffolk and the team in Ipswich works as part of a single practice across the firm's four offices. Clients praise the 'speed of response, the personal engagement and the understanding of clients' business. from a commercially-minded team'. Senior partner James Austin and corporate finance expert Mark Henry are leading lights in the market. The practice's client base comprises a local businesses and national enterprises covering all sectors in a broad array of industry sectors.

Practice head(s):James Austin; Mark Henry; Mark Gipson

Other key lawyers:Alexandra Nelson; Emma Bysouth; Sarah Lewis; Andrew Tubb


"The team works extremely well together involving other areas of the firm where appropriate. They all go out of their way to ensure that a solution is found to some very difficult situations."

"Mark Henry, Alexandra Nelson and Emma Bysouth all work extremely well in the corporate team. They work very hard in finding solutions and are very responsive to our needs. They have handled two acquisitions this year in incredibly short timescales and both had their challenges but they were very commercial in their approach, enabling us to complete within timescales."

"Mark Henry is incredibly dedicated and hard working."

"Mark Gipson always makes himself available and provides sound advice."

"The firm is approachable and has a high level of engagement. It feels like Birketts is on our side and is supportive."

"Sarah Lewis is diligent, approachable and a pleasure to deal with."

"The breadth of knowledge, industry expertise and available services is exceptionally comprehensive. Due to this, we have never required the assistance of another firm."

"Sarah Lewis is our primary contact and I cannot be more complimentary about the service she provides and the way in which she conducts herself. She always makes herself available, is easy to work with and is a consummate professional."

"The breadth and depth of expertise and client support is benchmark. The Birketts team has supported three business transactions in the past 12 months and each engagement was tailored to the specific requirements of the deal, resourced accordingly and competitively priced."

"I was impressed by the high standards, both set and achieved, as well as team's flexibility to ensure I was seldom on the critical path for long."

"Once initial contact with Birketts was established with Mark Henry, Alexandra Nelson became the lead on each transaction from start to finish. Given these transactions are rarely uneventful and would occasionally deviate from plan, I welcomed the legal counsel provided by Alexandra and the flawless, professional approach to ensuring all matters were resolved in a positive manner."

"Emma Bysouth provided exceptional support to each transaction and demonstrated outstanding professionalism throughout."

"I have always found Birketts to be very efficient, down-to-earth and approachable."

"Very few firms have offered the same very high standard service that Birketts has always provided."

"During the last few years I have worked very closely with James Austin and Sarah Lewis and they have always delivered on there promises. They are very competent and very approachable."

"The leading mid-market law firm for M&A in East Anglia. Birketts is able to draw on a vast depth and breadth of experience to help its clients unlock the tricky world of M&A transactions."

"Mark Henry and his team set the bar for high-quality delivery. He and Emma Bysouth consistently go the extra mile to exceed client expectations and deliver exceptional results."

"The firm has a really strong team with lots of depth compared to most regional practices."

"Mark Henry is always a very strong lawyer and dependable in a tight spot."

Key Clients

Silk Industries Limited

Jas Bowman & Sons Limited

Notcutts Limited

Muntons Plc

Thurlow Nunn Holdings Plc

Nationwide Metal Recycling Limited

Green Label Foods Limited

Autumn Foods Holdings Limited

Morrison Freight Limited

Tex Holdings Plc

Perivan Limited

Marshall Wolfe Limited

Gressingham Foods

Bruni Erben

Work highlights

  • Birketts represented Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries Limited in its acquisition of the property, goodwill and assets of Wyevale Sudbury.
  • Represented the shareholders of H.Erben Holdings Limited in their disposal of H.Erben Holdings Limited to Berlin Packaging.
  • Represented Gressingham in its purchase of J.F Edwards (Smithfield) Limited.
Leading individuals

James Austin - Birketts LLP

Mark Henry - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Alexandra Nelson - Birketts LLP

Andrew Tubb - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Emma Bysouth - Birketts LLP

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Corporate and commercial: Norwich
Corporate and commercial: Norwich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has 'good listeners who are professional, reflective, straightforward and clear in their advice'. The firm has an outstanding reputation for corporate and transactional work, particularly in the Norwich market, and practice head Adrian Possener is a specialist in transactional work including public company matters, IPO’s and bond issues. Greg Allan focuses on complex reorganisations and restructures, and he has an excellent track record in the healthcare sector, having advised numerous care home providers on acquisitions, group restructures and funding arrangements.

Practice head(s):Adrian Possener

Other key lawyers:Greg Allan; Joe Yexley


"The firm provides good customer service and quick turnaround, and is always receptive and professional."

"The corporate team is great at managing expectations and ensuring that clear and concise information is passed to us. A pragmatic approach is taken to ensure matters can easily be resolved."

"Greg Allan and Joe Yexley are particularly good. Greg is outstanding at listening to our needs and working to the timeframes required. He is always available and happy. Joe is exceptionally thorough and we never have any concerns that things will be missed."

Key Clients

Servest Group

Black Swan Care Group

Tobar Group

Orbital Media & Advertising Limited

Evoke Systems Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Servest in its acquisition of Aktrion Holdings.
  • Acquisition of Grossman Group.  Advising Tobar Group Trading Limited on share acquisition of wholesale distributor as part of group expansion.
  • Acted for the founders and sellers of R A Howarth (Engineering) Ltd to Milltech Precision Engineering Ltd.
  • Advised 2SD Ltd reagrding the management on their MBO of Alicat Workboats from Gardline.
  • Sale of group of veterinary practices and reorganisation.
Leading individuals

Adrian Possener - Birketts LLP

Greg Allan - Birketts LLP

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a dedicated practice for corporate tax and employee incentives. Karl Pocock leads on tax matters and has more than 16 years' experience in this field. He frequently advises on the tax implications of M&A transactions and also advises corporate and real estate clients on tax structuring. Lisa Hayward has more than ten years' experience in assisting employers and business owners with employee incentives schemes. Senior associate John Kahn is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Karl Pocock; Lisa Hayward

Other key lawyers:John Kahn

Key Clients

Shareholders of Servest

Brafe Engineering Limited

Cambridgeshire County Council

Granarolo UK Limited

Shareholders of Innova Systems UK Limited

Shareholder of H Erben Limited

PSI Services (UK) Limited

Ventrica Limited

Shareholders of AllClear Holdings Limited

Shareholders of Plasgran Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing the shareholders of Servest in relation to various tax aspects of the merger of Servest with Atalian Group.
  • Advising Brafe Engineering Limited in respect of the introduction of an employee ownership trust.
  • Represented Cambridgeshire County Council on the acquisition of its first investment property.
  • Represented Granarolo UK Limited on its acquisition of Midland Food Group.
  • Represented the Shareholders of Innova Systems UK Limited when the company was sold to Visiativ SA.
Leading individuals

Karl Pocock - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Lisa Hayward - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

John Kahn - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Crime, fraud and licensing

Crime: fraud
Crime: fraud - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a highly experienced senior team that focuses on regulatory matters and the defence of fraud cases. Barrister Laura Thomas leads the firm's regulatory and corporate defence practice and focuses predominantly on financial crime. Fellow barrister Matthew Gowen has more than 20 years' experience at the criminal Bar and he frequently represents clients at the Crown Court. Senior associates Philippa Dyer, who leads the firm's dawn raids practice, and Julie Gowland are ones to watch.

Practice head(s):Laura Thomas

Other key lawyers:Matthew Gowen; Julie Gowland; Philippa Dyer


Matthew Gowen acted in court for us and got us the result. Without his expert knowledge, we may not have been successful."

Key Clients

Muntons Malts PLC

Killik & Co

Work highlights

  • Advised the company in relation to duress from third parties to ensure that it complied with the precedent and duties to protect customers as required by the FCA.
  • Settlement negotiations with HMRC for a client accused of fraudulent malpractice.
  • Advised a client in relation to a prosecution by Trading Standards and the application to dismiss in the Crown Court was successful.
  • Advised a client in relation to alleged fraudulent trading of an investment brokerage.
Leading individuals

Laura Thomas - Birketts LLP

Matthew Gowen - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Julie Gowland - Birketts LLP

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Crime: general
Crime: general - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP

The regulatory and corporate defence practice at Birketts LLP is known for its broad range of high-value work and its the high quality of its advocacy. Led by barrister Laura Thomas, the practice represents companies and individuals prosecuted nationwide by the CPS, the HSE, local authorities, the RSPCA, DVSA, the FSA and the Environment Agency. Defending national motor groups, companies and individuals in road transport and traffic-related crime is a key part of its workload, as are Trading Standards cases and financial crime. Barrister Matthew Gowen and senior associates Philippa Dyer and Julie Gowland are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Laura Thomas

Other key lawyers:Matthew Gowen

Leading individuals

Laura Thomas - Birketts LLP

Matthew Gowen - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Julie Gowland - Birketts LLP

Philippa Dyer - Birketts LLP

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Licensing - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Senior associate Julie Gowland leads the licensing practice at Birketts LLP, which has a strong regional client base and delivers licensing services through all of its four offices. The firm's clients include breweries, hotel chains, nightclubs, racecourses, events operators, bingo hall chains, churches and concert promoters. Barrister Laura Thomas, who leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice, provides support to the licensing department.

Practice head(s):Julie Gowland

Other key lawyers:Laura Thomas

Key Clients

Patisserie Valerie (Patisserie Holdings)

Gastro Pubs Limited trading as Middletons Steakhouse & Grill

Notcutts Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Patisserie Valerie in relation to all licensing queries across its nationwide business.
  • Advising the client in relation to all licensing matters across the business, including drafting and submitting new premises licence applications.
  • Advising the client in relation to all licensing queries across its nationwide business.
Leading individuals

Julie Gowland - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Cambridge
Commercial litigation: Cambridge - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

At Birketts LLP in Cambridge, 'the team is very well connected with the local community' and practice head Laurence Weeks 'gives good practical advice and is very responsive'. Weeks and rising star senior associate Maria-Christina Peyman are 'exceptional at dealing with clients' needs'. Clients also recommend rising star senior associate Sara Sayer and associate Naomi Westcott. The firm handles commercial litigation in all its forms but has niche expertise in sectors such as shipping, education, public law, judicial review, procurement law, defence, and transport.

Practice head(s):Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:Maria-Christina Peyman; Sara Sayer; Naomi Westcott


"They are always easy to deal with, sympathetic to client needs and commercially aware."

"Laurence Weeks is an exceptional negotiator and strategist, ensuring that before litigation starts the end goal is thought out."

"Maria Peyman is a very cool head under pressure."

Leading individuals

Laurence Weeks - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Maria-Christina Peyman - Birketts LLP

Naomi Westcott - Birketts LLP

Sara Sayer - Birketts LLP

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Commercial litigation: Ipswich
Commercial litigation: Ipswich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has the leading commercial litigation practice in Ipswich, which handles a wide range of issues including tortious and contractual claims, commercial fraud, shareholder's disputes, breach of restrictive covenant agreements, intellectual property, product liability, partnership disputes, and claims arising from sale or purchase of companies or shares.  Among its clients are local, national and international private companies, PLCs, individuals and professional partnerships across a wide spectrum of industry sectors including energy, media and finance. Matthew Atkins and rising star Emma Albins are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):Matthew Atkins


"Matthew Atkins cuts through the bulk to get straight to the heart of the matter and is commercially minded."

Leading individuals

Matthew Atkins - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Emma Albins - Birketts LLP

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Commercial litigation: Norwich
Commercial litigation: Norwich - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has two standout practitioners in Max Roessler and consultant Paul Matthews, who lead a practice that handles high-value and complex cases across East Anglia and further afield. Both advise on a broad range of commercial and corporate disputes, professional negligence, insolvency and traditional chancery work. Senior associate Robert Tiffen has notable expertise in franchising cases and works closely with the firm's non-contentious franchise specialists.

Practice head(s):Paul Matthews; Max Roessler

Other key lawyers:Robert Tiffen

Leading individuals

Max Roessler - Birketts LLP

Paul Matthews - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Robert Tiffen - Birketts LLP

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP acts for local and national private companies, professional partnerships and major Plcs in wide range of industry sectors including shipping and construction. It has one of the largest practices in the region with 40-year veteran of debt recovery Robert Howard, litigation partner Matthew Atkins, associate Emma Albins and two debt recovery assistants. Though based in Ipswich, the 'extremely responsive and well organised' practice delivers services through all four of the firm's regional offices.

Practice head(s):Robert Howard

Other key lawyers:Matthew Atkins; Emma Albins


"The practice has a very commercial approach and is excellent at sticking to budgets and providing accurate and up-to-date advice."

"Matthew Atkins is first-class, on top of detail, very commercial in his approach, and has a wealth of experience as a litigator."

"Emma Albins has a great eye for detail and is a careful litigator. She is on top of detail and any approach is well thought through."

Leading individuals

Robert Howard - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Emma Albins - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

The banking and finance practice at Birketts LLP provides 'detailed knowledge, practical solutions and clear advice'. One client describes it as 'a regional firm working at a national firm level - the lawyers are quick, commercial, know the law and make sensible suggestions'. Mark Henry in Ispwich leads the practice, in which banking partner James Allen is a stand-out name. Other recommended names include Greg Allan, Alex Schaafsma and Andrew Tubb. The firm is regarded as one of the leading regional players for corporate and development finance, property and agricultural finance and invoice discounting.

Practice head(s):Mark Henry

Other key lawyers:James Allen; Greg Allan; Alex Schaafsma; Andrew Tubb; Lottie Fletcher


"Birketts is a law firm we regard very highly, and its finance and banking team is considered a very strong element of the business. Its capabilities are very diverse and its track record for concluding deals is very good."

"All the individuals we interact with are highly competent, knowledgeable and work tirelessly to deliver quality solutions on time."

"Lottie Fletcher is prompt in responding to us, manages our cases well and to agreed timescales. She is also available for any queries which may simply require a short conversation on the telephone."

"They always get the job done regardless of timescales.  They are professional and diligent."

"Hardworking, professional and approachable - even for a general query."

"The Norwich team is highly capable and professional. Nothing is too much trouble and they often find the time to talk me through the work they are doing."

"Lottie Fletcher is amazing. She has high integrity and the quality of work is always top-class."

"The firm has a broad range of knowledge and skills that give it the expertise in all legal matters."

Key Clients

Clydesdale Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc


Lloyds Banking Group (including Bank of Scotland)

National Westminster Bank plc / Royal Bank of Scotland

Santander plc

Metro Bank plc

One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Ipswich Building Society

Work highlights

  • Represented HSBC UK Bank plc in its funding of a Management Buy Out (MBO).
  • Represented HSBC Bank plc in advising on a demerger by its listed plc customer.
  • Acting for Lloyds Bank plc on restructuring education sector loans.
  • Represented HSBC UK Bank plc in refinancing a building sector group.
Leading individuals

James Allen - Birketts LLP

Mark Henry - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Greg Allan - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Alex Schaafsma - Birketts LLP

Andrew Tubb - Birketts LLP

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

In the Cambridge office of Birketts LLP, Laurence Weeks leads a restructuring and insolvency practice that operates through all four of the firm's regional offices, and is a market leader in both litigation and non-contentious matters. Weeks has more than 15 years' experience and is also a fellow and council member of R3, the Association of Business Recovery Professionals. The firm counts many of the region's leading IPs among its clients, who also call upon corporate partner Greg Allan for advice on restructurings. Senior associate Maria Peyman is one to watch for the future.

Practice head(s):Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:Greg Allan; Maria Peyman


"We worked on a good project during the year whereby we sold a £10m business in a distressed scenario, with bank approval. Greg Allan was the lead adviser in this case and did a great job."

Key Clients

Price Bailey as liquidators of Colonial Capital (in liquidation)

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

McTear Wiliams & Wood

Privilege Finance

Ensors LLP

Price Waterhouse Coopers

FRP Advisory LLP

Bulley Davey

Peters Elworthy & Moore

Chantrey Vellacott

Work highlights

  • Acted for Price Bailey as liquidators of Colonial Capital in recovery of company assets.
  • Acted for a haulage company based in Essex on the purchase of a significant insolvent business.
  • Acted for a haulage company based in Essex on securing a Validation Order to facilitate re-financing.
  • Providing conduct advice to Price Bailey, the Administrators.
  • Advising Price Bailey, Administrators, on conduct including disposal.
Leading individuals

Laurence Weeks - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Maria Peyman - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP operates a single employment practice across its four offices, three of which are in East Anglia. The group is led from Norwich by Jeanette Wheeler with key partners Abigail Trencher and Catherine Johnson in Cambridge and Ipswich respectively. Matthew Newnham is highly regarded for his work in Employment Tribunal matters, TUPE transfers and mass redundancies. The firm has a dedicated investigations and employee relations consultant, who leads its HR consultancy and investigations service, and a raft of talented associates who are key to work on both contentious and non-contentious matters for employer clients in sectors including food, agriculture, energy, education, transport and health.

Practice head(s):Jeanette Wheeler

Other key lawyers:Abigail Trencher; Catherine Johnson; Matthew Newnham; Sonya O'Reilly; Katie Harris-Wright; Tom Sharpe; Sam Greenhalgh; Lorna Townsend; Laura Brown


"Birketts takes the time to really understand the business and how we operate, which makes a big difference when liaising with them about cases and the reasons behind these."

"I've worked with Katie Harris-Wright and Josie Beal for a number of years now and the professionalism and consistency of their work is brilliant. I trust both of them with any case that opens and to me that is what sets them apart."

"Birketts responds quickly, and Tom Sharpe and Abigail Trencher are very supportive with difficult case management."

"Catherine Johnson and Sonya O'Reilly are both exceptional. They are accessible and quickly pick up the context within which their advice is being requested. As well as being excellent lawyers, they are also highly commercial and provide business advice as opposed to just legal opinion."

Key Clients

Procam CP Limited

Flagship Housing Limited

Sapientia Education Trust

Kettle Foods Limited

Trinity Hall (University of Cambridge)

Just Eat plc

Servest Group

Bernard Matthews Limited (now part of 2 Sisters Group)

CITB (Construction Industry Training Board)

The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundations

Petrogas Group UK Limited

Leading individuals

Abigail Trencher - Birketts LLP

Jeanette Wheeler - Birketts LLP

Matthew Newnham - Birketts LLP

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

The regulatory and corporate defence practice at Birketts LLP has extensive cross-industry experience in serious health and safety defence including disasters and multiple fatalities. Practice head Laura Thomas and legal director Matthew Gowen are barristers and the firm employs three consultants who are all former HSE Inspectors. Senior associates Julie Gowland and Philippa Dyer also advise companies and individuals on HSE matters. The firm also provides a full compliance assessment service.

Practice head(s):Laura Thomas

Other key lawyers:Matthew Gowen; Philippa Dyer; Julie Gowland


"The firm has a tremendous team approach and a very cohesive group of people. It identifies and manages expectations very well and really gets to know its clients' culture and aspirations."

"Matthew Gowen has represented us very effectively and in court is a gifted and natural orator and performer. He displays great calm and control and has that steely determination to succeed."

Work highlights

  • Instructed by a manufacturing company on the day of a tragic fatal explosion to assist with the accident investigation.
  • Instructed by an entertainment company following a fatality onsite.
  • Instructed by a business to advise and represent them following a fatality onsite.
  • Instructed by a charity to investigate an accident which occurred at a public event managed by the client.
  • Instructed to conduct an accident investigation by an international business following allegations of a fatal electrocution.
Leading individuals

Laura Thomas - Birketts LLP

Matthew Gowen - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Julie Gowland - Birketts LLP

Philippa Dyer - Birketts LLP

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Immigration - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

The immigration practice at Birketts LLP is 'second to none', according to one client. Specialist senior associate Clare Hedges leads the immigration group, which has support from paralegals in Norwich and Cambridge, and also calls on the services of a consultant from the Chelmsford office. The firm is particularly well known for all types of Tier 2 and 5 visas, including the more unusual Ministers of Religion visas, and it frequently advises on the prevention of illegal working.

Practice head(s):Clare Hedges


"Clare Hedges was very patient, walking us step by step through the process, advising and supporting our application for a visa."

"Simply put, it's the people who make the difference. Birketts clearly work hard to make sure their team is knowledgeable, professional and friendly. Its approach is incredibly reassuring and really leaves you with complete confidence in the advice they give."

"Clare Hedges is our 'go-to' person for all things immigration. What she doesn't know simply isn't worth knowing. I get fast, informative and reliable advice in a straightforward and usable way."

"From personal experience I find the firm very professional, and helpful."

"I found Clare Hedges and Dasha Ball very helpful and professional. They helped me obtain my British Citizenship, and they explained very clearly which documents I had to provide in order to obtain Citizenship."

"What impressed me most was the way in which they explained what was needed. They did it in a way which was easy to understand."

"I find them to be friendly, approachable and to have a very diverse skillset which means that no matter what the question, there will likely be an expert in the team that can help."

"More recently I have worked closely with Clare Hedges, who combines her extensive knowledge of immigration law with her passion for helping SMEs and their HR managers to navigate the challenges of every day business."

"Clare Hedges has the ability to communicate her wealth of knowledge in a straightforward way that the lay person can clearly understand. She does this effortlessly and tells great stories along the way!"

Key Clients

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of All Souls

Brangaene Limited

Church of England Central Services

Cobb Europe Limited

Derivco Ipswich Limited

Embelton UK Limited

Inspectorate International

Jagex Limited

Just Eat

London Diocesan Fund

McCormick UK Limited

Mediterranean Shipping Company (UK) Limited


Owlstone Medical Limited


Scientific Digital Imaging

TTP Group plc

TTP Labtech Limited

World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC)

Work highlights

  • Advisers for McCormick UK Limited acting as level 1 user to manage their sponsor licence and help them recruit and retain Tier 2 sponsored workers.
  • Advised a private individual on the successful renewal of a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa plus dependants.
  • Following its spin-out from TTP Group, we advised TTP Labtech on a new sponsor licence application, ensuring they could retain key sponsored workers and recruit migrants as required in future.
  • We are the retained immigration advisers for Just Eat acting as level 1 user to manage their sponsor licence and recruit and retain Tier 2 sponsored workers.
  • Advised a parish on successful Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa applications for a US national and his family.
Rising stars

Clare Hedges - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Insurance

Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a claimant professional negligence practice that handles claims against solicitors, accountants and other professionals on behalf of clients across the UK. It also has a niche focus on negligent probate advice. Max Roessler in Norwich handles numerous claims against solicitors, the majority of which concern negligent property and transactional advice. Laurence Weeks is the lead partner in Cambridge, where senior associate Sara Sayer frequently defends defends colleges, universities and schools in actions brought against them for negligence.

Practice head(s):Max Roessler; Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:Sara Sayer


"The firm has competent and able litigators who we would expect to be proficient in professional negligence actions."

Leading individuals

Max Roessler - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

'This is one of the best agricultural law practices in the UK, they have strength in depth and really know their stuff', says a client of Birketts LLP. Another remarks that the firm is 'a dominant force within the East Anglian agricultural legal sector and is now highly regarded as one of the region's leading firms'. Practice head Jack Royall, Neil Sparrow and Christopher Coupland in Norwich, Rachel McKillop-Wilkin in Cambridge and James Dinwiddy in Ipswich are key practitioners in one of the largest agricultural practices in England. The firm acts for private families, banks, utility companies, charities, the Environment Agency and local authority clients across the UK, and handles ecclesiastical and agricultural property work for three of the main East Anglian diocese offices.

Practice head(s):Jack Royall

Other key lawyers:Neil Sparrow; Christopher Coupland; Rachel McKillop-Wilkin; James Dinwiddy; Ruth Morris; Stuart Jones; Sophia Key; Ruth Lambillion; Daisy Darrell


"Chris Coupland has unrivalled industry knowledge and provides excellent client care. Practical solutions are provided in clear layman's language."

"Rachel McKillop-Wilkin and Ruth Lambillion are both a pleasure to work with. They have excellent legal knowledge, give sensible advice, take a commercial approach and are cost effective."

"The agriculture team I deal with led by James Dinwiddy is competent, efficient and is always available to address any issue. Despite the longstanding relationship between us and Birketts, there is no sense of complacency in the service provided."

"A very engaging team who clearly work well as a group to ensure a smooth process."

"Chris Coupland is very knowledgeable and a calm, safe pair of hands who manages the process and clients extremely well."

"Daisy Darrell is extremely amenable and has always proved to be efficient when we have worked with her. She also makes a real point of networking within the wider property sector, something that has been well received by our business."

"Pre-eminent in its field with a strong and large team. The dominant rural property lawyers in East Anglia."

"User-friendly and proactive. It seems unfair to pick out individuals as they have so many strong operators. Jack Royall, Chris Coupland and Sophia Key know about getting a deal done and have great client understanding."

"With a depth of strength and support, they provide expertise in all agricultural matters."

"A strong, proactive and cohesive young team providing excellent support and delivering a first-class and efficient service with an ability to get transactions completed without creating unnecessary obstacles or delays."

"They are personable and approachable."

"They are commercial, affordable and give 'no-nonsense', timely advice."

"Rachel Mckillop-Wilkin and Ruth Lambillion are simply a delight to deal with. They are fantastic communicators, they really take time to understand what their clients want and deliver on promises."

"The private client and agriculture and estate teams are well known in the local area and have a wealth of experience and expertise."

"Personable, knowledgeable and willing to help."

Work highlights

  • Helped Lloyds Bank Plc to facilitate their customer’s purchase of a £6,500,000 farm supported by £10,800,000 additional security.
  • Advised Suffolk Wildlife Trust on the purchase of further land at Carlton Marshes with lottery funding (purchase price £2,087,700).
Leading individuals

Christopher Coupland - Birketts LLP

Jack Royall - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Rachel McKillop-Wilkin - Birketts LLP

Sophia Key - Birketts LLP

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Charities and not-for-profit
Charities and not-for-profit - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

The charities and social enterprise practice at Birketts LLP has in-depth expertise in the sector thanks to a multi-disciplinary team led by non-contentious charity law specialist Liz Brownsell in Ipswich and Cambridge-based litigator and regulatory expert Sara Sayer, who are both senior associates. The firm's broad offering includes niche expertise in areas such as Retail Gift Aid, GDPR, fundraising law and regulation, ecclesiastical law, public procurement, state aid and immigration. It has a large roster of national charity clients. Another name to note is Erika Clarke, who advises on a wide range of non-contentious issues.

Practice head(s):Liz Brownsell; Sara Sayer

Other key lawyers:Erika Clarke; Kitty Rosser; Edward Bouckley; Paul Palik; Karl Pocock; Louisa Saunders


"The firm is approachable with a deep knowledge of their subject area."

"Birketts is the first firm of solicitors I have experienced that truly put their clients first. I am constantly urged by my contacts to consider whether or not the charity really needs certain services and when it is deemed appropriate, I am offered the best solution for the task."

"I am never given a one-size-fits-all solution and each engagement is dealt with on its merits and I get a specialist solicitor for each area."

"All my contacts are extremely knowledgable and yet have a client approach that makes them down to earth and really easy to discuss things with. I never feel like I have asked anything silly and this means a lot."

"I have extensive contact with Edward Bouckley, Liz Brownsell and Kitty Rosser and cannot fault any of their expertise or their customer service."

Key Clients

All Souls, Langham Place

Amnesty International Charity Limited

Amnesty International Limited

Amnesty International UK Section Charitable Trust

British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS)

Central Hardship and Relief Trust (CHART)

Charity Retail Association

Church of England Central Services

East Anglia’s Children's Hospices

Hospice UK

Institute of Fundraising

London Diocesan Fund

Makeshift Foundation



SEETEC / Your Ambition

SNU Trust

Stroke Association

Tennis for Free

Trust for London

Walking With The Wounded

World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Work highlights

  • Advised Walking With The Wounded in relation to its collaboration with Help for Heroes for this year’s Walking Home for Christmas campaign.
  • Advising our client in respect of its contractual arrangements with its chosen provider in respect of its annual fundraising raffles.
  • Advised on the formation and registration of Makeshift Foundation, which is a charity established for urban regeneration and social inclusion in London.
  • Instructed by Charity Retail Association to draft a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to GDPR requirements for charity shops, focusing in particular on how to comply with the legal requirements when operating the retail Gift Aid scheme.
  • Advising BASICS on updating its governance arrangements, incorporation and restructuring the group to simplify and streamline current arrangements.
Rising stars

Erika Clarke - Birketts LLP

Liz Brownsell - Birketts LLP

Sara Sayer - Birketts LLP

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

Birketts LLP

The private wealth disputes practice at Birketts LLP handles contentious trusts and probate matters, which include actions under the Inheritance Act 1975, challenges to the validity of wills, the rights of adopted and illegitimate children, disputes arising from powers of attorney and financial abuse of the vulnerable, and TOLATA claims. Commercial litigation partner Paul Matthews leads the practice, in which ACTAPS member Bernadette Baker is a leading light.

Practice head(s):Paul Matthews

Other key lawyers:Bernadette Baker

Leading individuals

Bernadette Baker - Birketts LLP

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Family - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP is well known for its mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and litigation expertise in family law matters for high-net-worth clients in East Anglia and beyond. Ipswich-based practice head Oliver Gravell saw the practice in Norwich grow with the hire of associates Lisa Cornish and Denise Findlay from Hansells. Newly promoted partner Katie Beaven in Norwich is best-known for complex and high-net-worth financial settlements and Children Act matters. Senior associates Roopa Ahluwalia  and Elisabeth Sneade are the key contacts in Cambridge.

Practice head(s):Oliver Gravell

Other key lawyers:Katie Beaven; Lisa Cornish; Roopa Ahluwalia; Elisabeth Sneade; Deborah Lloyd; Denise Findlay; Ginny Colman


'Very professional. I was represented by Lisa Cornish who is calm and knowledgeable. My ex-husband's solicitor was very unprofessional and Lisa remained cool at all times.'

Work highlights

  • Dealing with assets in excess of £2m and a complicated family trust structure whereby trustees were eventually made third-party interveners.
  • Acting for a partner with Ernst and Young.
  • Advising wife where assets were principally in her name in trust format.
  • Advising husband in financial dispute where there were unvested share options and total assets of approximately £1.5m.
  • Client came from using Russell Cooke and was unhappy that the millionaire's defence had been used within a Schedule 1 Children Act claim.
Leading individuals

Oliver Gravell - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Katie Beaven - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Lisa Cornish - Birketts LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP handles the full range of private client work including complex probate and estate administration, trust creation, administration, variation and dissolution, tax matters, wills and succession planning, lifetime tax planning, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. The practice led by the 'approachable, sympathetic, efficient, competent' Caroline Stenner frequently works with the firm's family business and agriculture departments to provide an integrated service to business and farming families. One client describes the firm as 'very responsive, with the ability to turn matters around within a short time scale if required'. Rachel Winter is a rising star.

Practice head(s):Caroline Stenner

Other key lawyers:Rachel Winter; Robert Willoughby


'A friendly, caring and diligent firm.'

'A very proactive team not afraid to say they need to go and find out something. I have found this very different and less arrogant than other firms.'

'Caroline Stenner is user-friendly and personable. She is extremely experienced and sensible and very good with clients, showing both empathy and pragmatism.'

'A very collaborative way of working to ensure that clients get the desired results.'

'Rachel Winter's key strengths are her technical ability and her ability to communicate complex matters to clients. She shows a willingness to work to find a solution, and to work collaboratively with other professionals to ensure excellent client service, high responsiveness and quick turnaround times.'

'Caroline Stenner is a delight to deal with. She has excellent technical skills combined with a personality that places clients at ease.'

Leading individuals

Caroline Stenner - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Rachel Winter - Birketts LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a strong probate, estate and trust administration practice that provides 'friendly, approachable and personal service'. The practice led by Louise Long, who deals with multimillion-pound estates with complex family and tax issues, expanded significantly in 2018 with the recruitment of a solicitor and two tax executives. Senior associate Richard Guy is a rising star who has ten years' experience in advising business owners, farmers and high-net-worth individuals as well as retirees and the elderly.

Practice head(s):Louise Long

Other key lawyers:Richard Guy


'The firm is highly competent in its field and speaks to the client in their language.'

'Richard Guy takes a practical approach to his work and is very good at explaining things to clients in a way they understand.'

'Clients always speak highly of Louise Long. It is always a great relief when you find out that Louise is a client's solicitor.'

'Birketts has grown quite rapidly over the last few years, but has remained client-focused. The individuals are always on hand to provide guidance and support.'

Work highlights

  • Advised a family in relation to wills taking into account the family business structure.
  • Advising a client in relation to existing trusts of land and the impact on his new will.
  • Representing a family and its family business in respect of its ongoing tax issues.
  • Advising a married couple living in two jurisdictions in respect of wills and inheritance tax.
  • Advising a married couple in order to dismantle an existing complete trust structure which was entered into several years ago.
Leading individuals

Louise Long - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Richard Guy - Birketts LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP runs an integrated wills and advisory practice across its four regional offices and the Norwich team, led by Lorna Spear, plays a central role. It advises on all aspects of private client law including lifetime tax planning, wills and succession planning, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. The firm's diverse client base includes farming families, landed estates, business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals. Veteran senior associate and ACTAPS member Margaret Smith is highly recommended.

Practice head(s):Lorna Spear

Other key lawyers:Margaret Smith


"We were pretty well wholly dependent on the advice and guidance we received from Birketts as the solicitors involved. Margaret Smith, the senior associate who dealt with the case, was both a tower of strength and a sure guide from the start."

"Margaret Smith saw clearly what needed to be done, guided us through it, and inspired confidence. I always found our meetings reassuring, practical and helpful. Moreover, she was kind and sensitive."

"I have absolutely no regrets about how we, as friends, dealt with this situation, with Margaret Smith's guidance, support and help."

Work highlights

  • Dealt with the complete restructuring of the trusts and partnerships of a landed estate.
  • Dealing with the administration of a £7m family estate and advising on a variation of the will to mitigate tax.
  • Advised on the restructuring of a £20m farming estate.
Leading individuals

Lorna Spear - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Public sector

Education - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a multi-disciplinary practice that works in every part of the education sector including pre-schools and nurseries, preparatory and independent schools, academies and academy trusts, and FE and HE colleges. Employment partner Abigail Trencher leads the practice and calls on specialists in construction, planning, property, commercial law, litigation, student issues, charities and governance. Other key lawyers include Katherine Herbert for strategic land transactions, charities specialist Erika Clarke and employment partners Catherine Johnson and Matthew Newnham. Senior associate Liz Brownsell  leads the academies group.

Practice head(s):Abigail Trencher

Other key lawyers:Kath Herbert; Catherine Johnson; Erika Clarke; Matthew Newnham; Liz Brownsell


"The team is very responsive to our needs and can be relied upon to give summary advice or in more depth where required."

"They are knowledgeable in our field and can draw on experience with other similar organisations. This gives me confidence that my issues are understood and that the advice is appropriate."

"I find Birketts very accessible and for a relatively large firm it engages and brings in the range of services it provides very well."

"They give the impression that they are keen to be a part of my wider team and consequently I treat them as such. I trust the advice I am given which is clear, relevant and fairly billed."

"I have worked with a number of legal firms in the sector and I have been impressed with the attention Birketts give to the client. There is a personal approach and a good understanding of the context within which legal advice is being provided."

Key Clients

Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Ipswich School

Royal Hospital School

The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundation

College of West Anglia

Sapientia Education Trust

Hartpury College

Kelvedon Academy Trust

Believe Engage Succeed Trust

Apollo Academies Trust

Easton & Otley College

Work highlights

  • Acting for Jesus College Developments (Oxford) Limited in connection with the demolition of an existing building and the construction of others.
  • Advised Believe Engage Succeed Trust on the academy conversion of a pupil referral unit, converter special school and sponsored converter special school to join the newly formed multi-academy trust.
Leading individuals

Abigail Trencher - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Matthew Newnham - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Liz Brownsell - Birketts LLP

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Health - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has developed a reputation as as a leading healthcare firm in the region and clients in the sector frequently call upon its corporate, employment, property, litigation and public law departments. Richard Eaton, who is a former non-executive director of an acute hospital trust, leads the practice. Public law expert Sara Sayer also plays a key role in the practice, which acts for NHS trusts, CCGs, primary care providers, and suppliers and manufacturers in the healthcare industry. The firm also has a dedicated care homes team.

Practice head(s):Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:Sara Sayer; Erika Clarke; Jeanette Wheeler; Matthew Newnham


"They are accessible and visible and understand the peculiarities of our business and the people we employ and engage with."

"They are able to operate at a level that is appropriate to the situation and work with us to achieve the best possible solution. They operate with honesty and integrity."

Key Clients

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Property Services

Black Swan Care Group

The Belgravia Foundation

Orbital Media & Advertising Limited

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East Anglia: Real estate

Commercial property: Cambridge
Commercial property: Cambridge - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

The commercial property practice of Birketts LLP in Cambridge climbs the ranking this year. It handles the full range of work but has a key focus on strategic land development, for which lead partner Katherine Herbert has a national reputation, as well as real estate investment for property funds and high-net-worth individuals. Herbert and senior associate Claudia Haisman-Green handle major strategic land schemes for landowners all over the UK. Partner Gavin Acheson and newly hired senior associate Gemma Goddard from Slaughter and May deal with real estate investment work Senior associate Deborah Marshall focuses on residential and commercial development matters.

Practice head(s):Katherine Herbert

Other key lawyers:Gavin Acheson; Claudia Haisman-Green; Liz Lacey; Deborah Marshall; Gemma Goddard; Nick Pickersgill; Isabel Wightman-Cooper; Emma Medina-Wallace; Dwight Patten


"The team at Birketts is very efficient and works well together to support each other as well as us. This is important to us so that we know that someone is always available to deal with an issue."

"The lawyers are all knowledgable but one of their big strengths is their ability to be commercial as well to see through some of the finer details to get results."

"Katherine Herbert, the partner in charge of the team, has dealt with our work for more than 20 years, so she has the background knowledge to pass on to her younger team. Katherine has always impressed us with her knowledge and ability and although she does not need to deal with our day to day work anymore, having her in the backgorund to be called on if needed is valuable."

"I would like to highlight Deborah Marshall and Sarah Willis for their standout performances. Both have proved themselves to be outstanding in delivering good service to us on both the smaller landlord and tenant jobs and the bigger land deals."

"Deborah Marshall and Sarah Willis are efficient in responding to calls and emails and get documentation drafted quickly and to a high standard."

"Sarah Willis has proved to be good at working well with other professionals including our architect, with whom she has liaised on my instruction regarding Land Registry issues."

"Katherine Herbert has an encyclopedic knowledge of our holdings and the mechanics of our agreements with business partners."

"Deborah Marshall has built a strong knowledge of our holdings over the last three years and has an excellent eye for detail, and her due diligence is second to none."

"The firm has strength in depth, and is efficient and responsive to clients' time imperatives."

"The team is always available, accessible, responsive, confident and determined to get the job done in the client's best interests."

"I have used several other leading firms of similar size in the past, but the expertise at Birketts far exceeds those others."

"Katherine Herbert runs a very professional team. We have been impressed by those appointed by Katherine to help us, in particular we have had Emma Medina-Wallace. Both Katherine and Emma are first-rate in meetings and in quality of drafting."

"The team has shown a good understanding of us, as an organisation, and has dealt professionally and promptly with a wide range of different property transactions for us."

"The team is always willing to pick up on queries, and has given us comfort that we have been in safe hands. They have used their local knowledge and legal expertise to steer us competently through myriad complex transactions."

"Personal engagement helps to make you feel valued as a client, and that your needs are of utmost importance to them, which is not always the case with every firm. Deborah Marshall has been a good example of those standout qualities."

Key Clients

Grovemere Property Limited

Pemberton Trustees

Ely North Consortium

Cambridgeshire County Council

Hopkins Homes Limited

Leighton Buzzard Golf Club

Amadeus Capital Partners Limited

Needingworth Limited

Pro Cam CP/Europe Limited

Rapid Solutions (International) Limited

Royale Parks Ltd

The Bell Educational Services Ltd

Larkfleet Limited

World Medicine Limited

Jesus College Oxford

Inspired Asset Management

IW Group Services (UK) Limited

Jockey Club Racecourses Limited

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Work highlights

  • Advising on a £140m acquisition of a portfolio of 30 UK industrial estates.
  • Acting for Enterprise Residential Development Limited on all aspects of its residential development site acquisitions and subsequent plot sales.
  • Acting for landowners in the £16.5m sale of part of a site.
  • Acting for Royale Parks Limited in connection with a £200m financing by ICG-Longbow of an existing portfolio of 22 properties and the simultaneous acquisition of seven properties.
  • Represented client on the strategic acquisition of new headquarters premises conditional on completion by the landlord of the construction of the premises.
Leading individuals

Gavin Acheson - Birketts LLP

Katherine Herbert - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Claudia Haisman-Green - Birketts LLP

Deborah Marshall - Birketts LLP

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Commercial property: Ipswich
Commercial property: Ipswich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP plays a central role in the firm's commercial property practice, which services clients through four regional offices. Chris Schwer leads the firm-wide practice, which handles developer work, strategic land transactions, institutional investment, property finance, and transactions in the utilities sector. It has specific expertise in the retail, residential development, automotive, charity and ecclesiastical sectors. Chris Barker handles strategic land and major development projects; Paul Squire, who joined from Ashurst, and Stuart Raven act for  corporate, investor, owner/occupier and developer clients; and Oliver Crichton advises on commercial property investments through self-invested personal pensions and small self-administered schemes.

Practice head(s):Chris Schwer

Other key lawyers:Chris Barker; Stuart Raven; Oliver Crichton; Paul Squire; Vicki Chilton; Stacy Aspden; Julie Hoy; Keith Andrews; Pam Dawson; Louisa Saunders


"The technical expertise is excellent and the team is proactive and diligent in all matters."

"Chris Schwer is a true leader and exceptional lawyer."

"Paul Squire is new to Birketts but is a fantastic addition to the team."

"James Robinson has an unbelievable legal mind that allows him to assess all our situations and deliver clear and professional advice."

"Julie Hoy is a very efficient and professional lawyer who delivers superb work for our business."

"Stacy Aspden is always proactive in advice and on top of all matters - very clear in explanations of technical legal points."

"Birketts consistently delivers a high standard of work. The team all communicate thoroughly and efficiently, keeping us up to date with each case as it progresses. The whole team is well practised and knowledgeable, and we know we can rely on them."

"Sam Froud goes above and beyond, his turnaround time is incredible and there isn't anything that is too much to ask from him."

"The Birketts commercial property team is the absolute leader in its field. It has strength and depth in its knowledge and the professionalism it delivers is second to none."

"The key partners allow us to be able to make sure all aspects of our business can have quick and considered advice at a price which is fair. The team are always approachable and their network of specialist teams means that all scenarios can be dealt with."

"Keith Andrews has always been approachable, efficient and knowledgeable; he always follows up in a timely manner."

"All of the lawyers are absolute leaders in their fields and behind them is a superb team of associates, assistants and admin staff."

"Birketts combines high-quality advice with full service capability and backup, commercial acumen and pragmatism, partner accessibility, responsiveness, and understanding of clients' business and aims."

"They may have a regional approach in terms of geography but they are more than a match for the large London firms in terms of approach and capability."

"Stuart Raven has looked after our real estate business for many years and I personally have had the pleasure of dealing with him for three. He understands in depth our way of working and our commercial objectives, and tailors his approach to fit in with our needs."

"Stuart Raven combines a very high level of professional knowledge and ability with a pragmatic and commercial approach to get things done. He is very accessible and responsive, and has an ability to communicate complex matters simply."

Key Clients

Westbrook Capital

M7 Real Estate

BUUK Infrastructure Limited

Power On Connections Limited

GTC Limited

The Electricity Network Company Limited

Independent Power Networks Limited

GTC Pipelines Limited

Leading individuals

Chris Schwer - Birketts LLP

Oliver Crichton - Birketts LLP

Stuart Raven - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Vicki Chilton - Birketts LLP

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Commercial property: Norwich
Commercial property: Norwich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a large portfolio of both regional and national commercial property work in the areas of development, strategic land, investment/portfolio management, acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters, and real estate finance. Lead partner Melissa Loucas is a key adviser to clients in the automotive and retail sectors. Leading light Robert Gibbs handles high-value regeneration and strategic land projects. Bhargav Trivedi  specialises in development and strategic land deals for landowners and developers. In 2018, the firm hired legal director Cameron Barlow from US law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; he works with key clients Westbrook Partners and M7 Real Estate. Senior associate Elizabeth Lee leads on buy-to-let and commercial mortgage matters for a challenger bank.

Practice head(s):Melissa Loucas

Other key lawyers:Robert Gibbs; Bhargav Trivedi; Cameron Barlow; Elizabeth Lee; Joseph Yexley; Greg McCurday


"The firm provides very prompt service and replies to queries. All the advantages of a mega-firm, but at provincial rates."

"Birketts has many types of expertise available and the team definitely goes over and above to achieve quick results when it is needed."

"I have worked very closely with Melissa Loucas and I only have good things to say about her. Our organisation was under a considerable amount of pressure to achieve multiple contracts and Melissa handled the pressure and kept to all deadlines we had."

"I feel as though they are working in our business as they understand everything we do and hit all deadlines. It is a proactive firm that offers sound professional advice but is also commercial."

"Bhargav Trivedi is always available to answer questions. He turns around matters far quicker than his peers."

"Melissa Loucas has put a fantastic team together and each one of them is fully aligned with our timelines and deliver each time. They offer sound professional advice but all of them are commercial with it."

"I have dealt with property teams before in other firms but none come near to Birketts."

"The firm is easy to deal with, accessible, practical and straightforward, yet with the expertise and reach to rival any big firm."

"Melissa Loucas and her team give clear, succinct and straightforward advice and are consistently outcome-focused, adopting a commercial approach where appropriate."

"The firm is highly knowledgeable and easy to approach to talk through cases as required."

"Bhargav Trivedi is straightforward to deal with, coming up with appropriate solutions to ensure cases complete in an appropriate way."

"Greg McCurday is methodical and flexible. He is efficient in the way he responds to enquiries, providing an indication of cost and completing the task. He is a helpful reference point for any queries relating to property."

Key Clients

Wallblock Projects

Cambridgeshire County Council

Westbrook Partners

M7 Real Estate Ltd

Interbay Funding Ltd

Surplus Property Solutions Limited

MH Star UK Limited

Lloyds Banking Group

Partners of Norwich Research Park

Norwich Airport Limited

Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

National Westminster Bank plc

Norwich & Waveney Enterprise Services

NFC Homes Ltd


Newbury New Homes

Norfolk County Developments

Dewing Properties


Santander UK

Work highlights

  • Acting for Surplus Property Solutions Limited (SPS) in the management and disposal of surplus property portfolio of 27+ supermarket/former supermarket premises across the country.
  • Represented MH Star UK Limited on a 15-year lease of a 123,000 sq ft warehouse premises in Doncaster.
  • Advised Stokke on its flagship store in the new £600m retail extension at Westfield London White City, Europe's largest shopping centre.
  • Advising Cambridgeshire County Council on purchase of 251-bed purpose built student accommodation property in Cambridge for £38m; this was CCC’s first investment property acquisition.
  • Advising PSI Services (UK) Limited, one of the largest assessment providers in the world, on its property portfolio following its acquisition of the assets of LearnDirect’s e-assessment business in the UK.
Leading individuals

Melissa Loucas - Birketts LLP

Robert Gibbs - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Cameron Barlow - Birketts LLP

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Construction - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP deals with all aspects of construction work for mainstream commercial lenders, developers, contractors, professionals, suppliers and sub-contractors. The practice is led by Andrew Rush who works in both the Ipswich and Chelmsford offices, but the key partner in Ipswich is Ruth Sunaway who handles contentious construction matters for employers, main contractors, sub-contractors and professionals. Stefan Harris-Wright in Cambridge handles non-contentious matters for both public and private sector clients, and real estate finance transactions up to £150m in value for both for borrowers and lenders. Senior associates Katrina Bretten and Oli Worth  in Cambridge and Josh Ripman in Ipswich play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):Andrew Rush

Other key lawyers:Ruth Sunaway; Katrina Bretten; Stefan Harris-Wright; Oli Worth; Josh Ripman; Rory Abel

Key Clients

Inspired Clapham Limited

Kilnbridge Construction Services

Grove Business Park Limited

Future Biogas Systems

McGee Civil Engineering Limited

Balicrest Limited

Wharfside Regeneration (In Adminstration) Ipswich Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Inspired on funding, property and construction work with a gross development value of £20m.
  • Application for an order for strike out of the Particulars of Claim following the service of a Request for Further Information by the First and Second Defendants.
  • Advice on industry specific terms of contracts, bonds, warranties and guarantees for a multimillion-pound nuclear power project.
  • Advising on construction documents for the £40m redevelopment of a 32-acre business park.
  • We acted for this Anaerobic Digestion (AD) developer in relation to the suite of contracts for a significant upgrade to an existing AD plant in Doncaster.
Leading individuals

Andrew Rush - Birketts LLP

Ruth Sunaway - Birketts LLP

Stefan Harris-Wright - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Josh Ripman - Birketts LLP

Katrina Bretten - Birketts LLP

Oli Worth - Birketts LLP

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Environment & planning
Environment & planning - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP undertakes large-scale projects across East Anglia and the Thames Gateway region for both both the private and public sector clients, among which are minerals and waste companies, local authorities, Parish Councils, strategic developers and numerous regional and national housebuilders. Tom Newcombe in Cambridge leads the practice, in which Ipswich-based Richard Eaton and barristers Laura Thomas and Matthew Gowen handle contentious environmental matters. The recruitment of legal directors Kali Yau from DAC Beachcroft LLP and Rosalind Nuttall from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP further extends the firm's capacity in planning reviews and applications, and large scale mixed-use and residential developments for developers and landowners.

Practice head(s):Tom Newcombe; Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:Laura Thomas; Matthew Gowen; Kali Yau; Rosalind Nuttall; Nicola Doole; Chloe Glason


"Tom Newcombe is an excellent lawyer. He instructed me in a complicated and highly topical judicial review challenge to a grant of planning permission, which we won in the High Court and is shortly to be heard in the Court of Appeal. He is extremely organised and can quickly get to the heart of complicated legal matters."

Key Clients

Hopkins Homes

Countryside Properties UK Limited

Enterprise Property Group

Crest Nicholson (Eastern)

Hill Residential


Generator Group


Babergh District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

Notcutts Limited



NFC Homes

London Trocadero LLP

Chater Homes

Churchmanor Estates

Mersea Homes

AJ Lee Developments

Air Studios

Strongroom Studios

Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Orwell Homes Limited

Pigeon Investment management

Work highlights

  • Acting for the lead developers in the regeneration of Beam Park - the former Ford Factory Site at Dagenham.
  • Acting for the lead developers in the development of Ipswich Garden Suburb.
  • Acting for the lead developers in the regeneration of Rochester Riverside.
  • Acting for Hopkins Homes in relation to planning matters on sites across East Anglia.
  • Represented client in a successful judicial review of a decision of East Herts DC as local planning authority.
Leading individuals

Tom Newcombe - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Chloe Glason - Birketts LLP

Nicola Doole - Birketts LLP

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has an 11-lawyer property litigation practice that operates across its four offices, though Ipswich and Norwich are the main hubs. It handles the full range of contentious property cases but has in-depth expertise in Telecoms Code property matters, rights to light, leasehold enfranchisement, town and village green matters and commercial landlord and tenant work. Practice head Richard Eaton and partner James Robinson are the key contacts in Ipswich and they act for a national client base that includes local authorities and leading developers. In Norwich, John Scannell and senior associate Simon Woodhead are the key practitioners along with Charlotte Wormstone.  Alice Harris  and Laura Tanguay are recognised as Rising Stars.

Practice head(s):Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:James Robinson; John Scannell; Simon Woodhead; Charlotte Wormstone; Alice Harris; Laura Tanguay


"Birketts in fast, efficient, intelligent and reasonable, and it gives clear and practical advice. The team understands what in-house lawyers need and how to deliver it."

"I know quite a few property litigators and James Robinson is the best, by a long way."

"The team make its clients feel able to question any part of the decision process without feeling intimidated."

"Laura Tanguay listened to my concerns and gave direction and advice when asked for."

"Birketts LLP is in a league of its own. They are extremely efficient and constantly available. They have an innate knowledge and ability to cut quickly to the solution and a 'can-do' attitude which, in my experience, beats all competition."

"Laura Tanguay has the ability to instantly reassure a client with her good judgment, knowledge and experience. She impressed me with her understanding of property law and brought a complicated situation to a swift conclusion."

"I have worked with the property litigation team at Birketts for many years and consider it to be one of the best in the region. Its strengths are its technical knowledge, strategic acumen and commercial common sense. They are also very pleasant to work with."

"John Scannell is a robust and savvy litigator. He fights hard for his clients and generally gets good results. He is a great team player and a pleasure to work with."

"Simon Woodhead is extremely clever and great for legally and factually complex cases."

"It has a really knowledgeable team and strong local connections but also reaches beyond East Anglia; it holds its own against larger or London-based firms and provides very good value for money."

"James Robinson is a star - really knowledgeable, tenacious, very practical and good at getting things done. As well as general property litigation, he is a telecoms specialist."

Richard Eaton is a really strong property litigator, very experienced, and Laura Tanguay is still quite junior is knowledgeable and tough."

"Charlotte Wormstone is really good with clients and good to work with."

Key Clients

Harwich International Port

Surplus Property Solutions

Strongroom Limited

Norwich Airport Limited

Mavrastar Limited

Broadland Housing Association

Bury Investments LLP

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk

Port of Boston Limited

Hopkins Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Claimant in matter concerning interpretation of contracts arising out of a dispute between neighbours following a complicated land acquisition arrangement; an important case on the interpretation of contracts generally and has significant implications to the clients in relation to their business use of the land in question.
  • Represented Mr Tucker seeking and obtaining Village Green status for the working quay of Mistley in Essex, an important matter because it determines whether or not the working port and popular quayside of Mistley may remain accessible for public access and recreation for the local inhabitants for recreation as they have done for centuries.
  • Represented Ropemaker Properties Limited and Churchmanor Estates Company plc, as landlord, in enforcement of terms of agreement for lease on high-value restaurant premises in Essex where tenant failed to comply with its contractual obligations.
  • We are currently acting for a private client in relation to an appeal against a stop notice which prohibited our client from carrying out his shooting business on agricultural land, and on land which is subject to SSSI status.
  • Advising high profile higher education body acting in capacity as landowner of significant land holding for residential redevelopment in expert determination over option agreement.
Leading individuals

James Robinson - Birketts LLP

John Scannell - Birketts LLP

Richard Eaton - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Charlotte Wormstone - Birketts LLP

Simon Woodhead - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Alice Harris - Birketts LLP

Laura Tanguay - Birketts LLP

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP is a leading provider of advised to social housing clients in the Eastern region and it frequently handles affordable housing development, housing management, funding, employment matters, regulatory issues, shared ownership and right to buy sales, as well as open market sales. In 2018, Peter Goddard's group saw an uptick in work for housebuilders in setting up their own for-profit Registered Providers. The multi-disciplinary practice acts for many of the country's leading social housing providers. Senior associate Emily Groom and associate Sarah Fish are recommended as rising stars.

Practice head(s):Peter Goddard

Other key lawyers:John Scannell; Emily Groom; Sarah Fish

Key Clients

Orbit Group Limited

Flagship Housing Group Limited

Broadland Housing Group Limited

CHP (Chelmer Housing Partnership Limited)

Victory Housing Trust

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Swan Housing Association Limited

Cambridge Housing Society Limited

Axiom Housing Association Limited

Havebury Housing Partnership

Suffolk Housing Society

YMCA (Essex) Limited

Greenfields Community Housing Limited

Work highlights

  • Land acquisition to develop industrial site to provide affordable housing in the area.
  • Land acquisition and development of former industrial site for the provision of social housing in the area.
  • We acted for this client - the largest regional housebuilder in East Anglia - in connection with establishing its own for-profit Registered Provider.
  • Carrying out due diligence work and full review of housing stock.
  • Acquisition of the 72 unit allocation of affordable housing on a large s106 scheme in South Essex from a National Housebuilder to be completed across 10 phases.
Leading individuals

Peter Goddard - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Emily Groom - Birketts LLP

Sarah Fish - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP

The Birketts LLP IT practice operates out of all four of the firm's offices and acts for clients both in East Anglia and further afield. It is part of the technology practice led from Cambridge by Quentin Golder, which acts for clients ranging from small owner-managed businesses through to large listed companies in the financial services, social media, security software and aerospace industries. Golder specialises in IT and IP matters for companies involved in the digital economy. Corporate partner Mark Gipson in Ipswich, senior associate Paul Palik in Norwich, who handles IT matters including SaaS and software licensing transactions, and Kitty Rosser are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Quentin Golder

Other key lawyers:Mark Gipson; Paul Palik; Kitty Rosser

Key Clients

BullGuard Ltd

Apolitical Ltd

PSI International Ltd

S16 Ltd

Blancco Technology Group plc

Kalibrate Technology Group plc

Farthest Gate Ltd

Ista Energy Ltd

Pie Mapping Ltd

Bose Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for BullGuard on all IT and commercial matters; recent work includes implementation of a white label VPN SaaS platform.
  • Acting on multiple contracts for the supply of metering and billing/data services.
  • Acting for Apolitical on all legal matters relating to the provision of their online platform.
  • Acting for the Company, and its UK Subsidiary, in relation to multiple contracts involving the provision of online assessment and examination services, both within the UK and abroad, primarily to the public sector, on a SaaS basis.
  • Acting for the Company in relation to negotiation and drafting of the terms relating to the development and implementation of digital interactive experiences for customers (involving both hardware and software) as part of the development of a flagship Regent Street store.
Leading individuals

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Kitty Rosser - Birketts LLP

Paul Palik - Birketts LLP

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP

'They understand our business, tailor their advice and weigh up the commercial risks', says a client of Birketts LLP, which provides 'a readily available, efficient service'. Legal director Nellie Jackson in Ipswich leads the practice and has nearly 20 years' experience in trade mark and brand protection matters. Senior associate Maria-Christina Peyman in Cambridge takes the lead on contentious IP matters and has particular expertise is in civil disputes at the IPEC and the High Court involving copyright, trade marks and passing off, as well as trade mark registry disputes and Company Name Tribunal applications.

Practice head(s):Nellie Jackson; Maria-Christina Peyman


"Nellie Jackson is a standout leader of the IP team at Birketts. She is responsive, commercial, helpful and knowledgeable, often going above and beyond."

"The team is very solutions-oriented. They understand the needs of business and work with us to help us reach our objectives."

"Nellie Jackson has been fantastic to deal with throughout. She is a strong and prompt communicator and is an excellent listener - she spends time understanding our situation and needs and provides advice tailored to that."

"Nelli Jackson is always pragmatic and positive."

"Nellie Jackson is commercial, pragmatic and a pleasure to deal with. I highly recommend her."

Key Clients

Greene King Plc

UKTV Media Ltd

Elektron Technology Plc

Caterham Cars Ltd

Servest Group Ltd

Orchard Toys Ltd

CPL Aromas Ltd

Inspectorate International Ltd

Muntons Plc

Tobar Group Trading Limited

Ipswich School

Escape Hunt IP Limited

Doidge Limited

Hayman Group Ltd

Perivan Limited

Monty’s Bakehouse UK Ltd

Sanctuary Personnel Limited

Jewers Doors Ltd

Monarch Water Ltd

Inskin Media Ltd

BlackLane GmbH

Arc Informatics

UltraSoc Technologies Ltd

Skalene Ltd

C4 Carbides Ltd


Work highlights

  • Worldwide Trade Mark Portfolio Management, noting an allegation of trade mark infringement and passing off by way of an example matter.
  • UK and EU Trade Mark Portfolio Management, noting a UK trade mark opposition proceeding as an example matter.
  • Management of worldwide IP portfolio for the Hayman Group (including Hayman Distillers, Burlington Drinks and Haymankimia), noting a UK and EU trade mark opposition proceeding as an example matter.
  • Management of UK/EU trade mark portfolio and contentious IP matters, including design rights, noting an EU trade mark opposition by way of an example matter, and High Court proceedings brought by Rubik’s.
  • Representing Clayton Horsnell and its director in defending an infringement of trade marks and database rights claim brought by Distinctive Wholesale Limited.
Next Generation Partners

Nellie Jackson - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Maria-Christina Peyman - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Transport

Transport and shipping
Transport and shipping - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has the region's leading shipping practice, which is led by Nicholas Woo who handles all aspects of dry shipping. Leading light Henry Adams handles shipping, transport and marine insurance work, which includes charterparty disputes and cargo claims. Shipping, transport and international trade expert Alex Davey is also recommended. Barrister Laura Thomas leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice and specialises in road transport matters. She acts for commercial vehicle operators including road haulage companies and vocational drivers. Up-and-coming partner Lisa Wortley and senior associate Sarah Holsgrove are also recommended for shipping matters.

Practice head(s):Nicholas Woo; Laura Thomas

Other key lawyers:Henry Adams; Alex Davey; Lisa Wortley; Sarah Holsgrove


"Our company have had the privilege of working with Birketts for five years now, mostly on different types of claims in all aspects of shipping and international trade law. In the very first engagement, through the smart handling, skilled analysis of facts, and most importantly, through delivering this analysis to the counterparty in a clear way, we got a quite successful settlement and a very good result."

"We have been highly satisfied with the quality of the work. We would rate the overall level of their service as excellent. The client's concerns and questions have been handled with the utmost respect and due patience."

"Careful attention is commonly given to each and every detail in each and every case. Their advice is always carefully crafted and well-reasoned."

"Alex Davey is a highly motivated and responsible lawyer who handles matters in a very professional and competent way and, most importantly, he listens to the client."

"Alex Davey's relationship skills and winning personality are obvious strengths. He engages easily with people and makes himself available to assist with the issues which are brought to his attention."

"Lisa Wortley is extremely strong in handling claims. She has no hesitations and no doubts, she just softly hammers the opponents in the battle."

"Sarah Holsgrove is intelligent and clever, with ability to bring sound clarification and judgement to the twisted issues. This is something that some lawyers are, unfortunately, missing."

"The team at Birketts exists of highly professional trained solicitors with a profound knowledge on English maritime law."

"The team is always ready to give advice in a timely fashion, meeting the sometimes urgent requirements of the client."

"The team strives for solutions which are for the benefit of the client from both a legal and an economic aspect."

"Alex Davey certainly stands out - his ad hoc knowledge of maritime law is excellent. He is a highly skilled negotiator who looks to find realistic resolutions which serve the interests of his clients. One can be assured that the legal opinions rendered by him will almost certainly materialise in reality."

Key Clients

West of England

Tradhol Inernacional

Allianz Global & Specialty France

AXA Corporate Solutions Assurances (France)

Filhet-Allard Maritime

SIACI Saint Honoré

Work highlights

  • Represented Seatrade Group NV in a claim for damages for detention involving a dispute as to the meaning of "always accessible".
  • A claim for general average contribution arising out of the BI JIANG’s loss of her propeller in the South China Sea in 2009.
  • Acting for Navigators Insurance Company and the Master and crew of the vessel MALAVIYA TWENTY in respect of outstanding wages that were due to the crew following the insolvency of the owners of the vessel.
  • We act for the Spanish insurers of 300 containers which suffered damage and/or which are due to contribute to salvage costs in relation to a fire on board the containership "MAERSK HONAM” in March 2018.
  • General Average dispute and damage to cargo relating to flooding of engine room of the vessel “KOZA” off Sierra Leone in suspicious circumstances.
Leading individuals

Alex Davey - Birketts LLP

Henry Adams - Birketts LLP

Nicholas Woo - Birketts LLP

Next Generation Partners

Lisa Wortley - Birketts LLP

Rising stars

Sarah Holsgrove - Birketts LLP

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Further information on Birketts LLP

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

East Anglia

Offices in Norwich, Ipswich, and Cambridge


South East

Offices in Chelmsford

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