The Legal 500

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SOMERFIELD HOUSE, 59 LONDON ROAD, MAIDSTONE, KENT, ME16 8JH, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 01622 690691
Fax:
Fax 01622 681430
DX:
4806 MAIDSTONE-1
Email:
Web:
www.brachers.co.uk

South East: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex - ranked: tier 2

Brachers

Brachers assists clients on high-value acquisitions and financing deals as well as complex commercial transactions and contracts in a host of different sectors, with a roster of clients featuring major banks and other financial institutions. James Bullock has led on many of the largest, regional acquisitions and Erol Huseyin has a track record in energy and industrial projects.

Practice head(s):James Bullock; Erol Huseyin

Other key lawyers:Matthew Simmonds; Tim Turner

Key Clients

HSBC Bank

Watchfinder.co.uk

APC Technology Group Plc

DMC Capital Partners

Cosan SA

UK Medical Limited

Tennant Metallurgical

Mabanaft UK

Broad Oak Motor Group

Hadlow College

Work highlights

  • Advised the founder shareholders of the British Assessment Bureau on the sale of the company to an MBO team supported by August Equity.
  • Advised on the sale of the business and assets of theTenbloc business and advised the  shareholders of sister company, TM (Technology), on the share sale of TM (Technology). The sales were simultaneously completed and were sold to Norwegian multinational Elkem ASA.
  • Advised APC Technology Group Plc on its third acquisition of the year;  Aspen Electronics, which also involved a share placing on AIM.
  • Brachers LLP’s corporate team advised the investors on their debt and equity investment into the client company.  
  • Advised on the acquisition of various pharmaceutical licences from Kinedexe UK in relation to both the UK and Europe.  

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South East: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex - ranked: tier 4

Brachers

Michael Oatham at Brachers has expertise in high-value commercial disputes, especially contractual disputes, shareholder and directors' duties and professional negligence. The litigation team works with the recoveries and collections team, spearheaded by Robert Thompson, which is known for its debt recovery and insolvency-related work.

Practice head(s):Michael Oatham

Other key lawyers:Robert Thompson

Key Clients

Schindler Ltd

Alan Firmin Ltd

Systems Technology

Cory Environmental

Beadles Group

Donovan Brothers Ltd

Netbox Digital Ltd

Homeleigh Timber

Haynes Bros Ltd

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Successfully defending an application for final injunction to restrain the Trust for holding a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct following an interim injunction in June 2018.
  • A professional negligence claim in the legal profession.

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1

Brachers

Brachers acts for a mix of owner-managed enterprises, SMEs and blue-chip corporations in the financial services, utilities, construction, vehicle finance and health sectors. The firm has particular expertise in financial services, where it advises on credit recoveries and provides portfolio management services. Robert Thompson and Graham Wallis are the key partners in the collections and recoveries group.

Practice head(s):Graham Wallis

Other key lawyers:Graham Wallis; Robert Thompson

Leading individuals

Graham Wallis - Brachers

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South East: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3

Brachers

Brachers’s corporate, banking and finance practice is well known in the region for its position on HSBC’s national corporate lending panel, advising the bank on revolving credit facilities and other complex matters. The teams also assists clients with acquisition finance, refinancing and debt restructuring. James Bullock heads the practice. Matthew Simmonds is another name to note.

Practice head(s):James Bullock

Other key lawyers:Matthew Simmonds

Key Clients

HSBC Bank PLC

Santander

Lloyds TSB

Natwest

Premier Ground Rents

Work highlights

  • Advised HSBC Bank and HSBC Finance on its new lending facilities provided to the Kit for Kids Group.
  • Advised three private individuals on their debt and equity investment into Hammer Horror Film Studio.
  • Advised HSBC Bank on its funding of the acquisition of a majority shareholding in one of the UK’s largest Domino’s Pizza franchises.
  • Advised HSBC Bank on its funding of the acquisition of shares and redemption of loan votes in GSRG Holding.
  • Advised HSBC Bank on its funding of the acquisition of shares in the Data Pricing Hub.

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 3

Brachers

The insolvency team at Brachers LLP's Maidstone office is led by Michael Oatham who has over 20 years' experience working for insolvency practitioners. Under his leadership, the team offers the full suite of pre and post appointment services to insolvency practitioners and employs its own in-house insolvency practitioner, Tim Mayner, who specialises in bankruptcy appointments and connected assets recoveries.

Practice head(s):Michael Oatham

Key Clients

Mazars LLP

KPMG

Grant Thornton

Baker Tilly

BDO

Bretts Business Recovery

CCW Recovery Services

MHA MacIntyre Hudson

Kreston Reeves

Wilkins Kennedy

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South East: Human resources

Employment: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Employment: Kent, Surrey, Sussex - ranked: tier 2

Brachers

Brachers provides an all-round service to its healthcare, leisure and  manufacturer clients and has a notable list of automotive and aerospace industry clients. It operates a specialist human resources consultancy, Kent HR, in addition to handling Tribunal and High Court litigation. Team head Catherine Daw provides the healthcare expertise in addition to serving clients in areas such as aerospace and Antonio Fletcher, who is part of the agricultural team, handles restructures, TUPE transfers and employee disputes. Fellow partner Colin Smith has similarly broad expertise including collective redundancy programmes.

Practice head(s):Catherine Daw

Other key lawyers:Colin Smith; Antonio Fletcher

Key Clients

Hadlow College

Hamton Environmental

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Moove/Cosan/Comma Oil

Global Sign

Plumpton College

Royal British Legion Industries

Plumpton College

Aliaxis Group

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented the client in a high-profile, High Court action based on the national doctors’ disciplinary process.  
  • Represented a NHS Trust in relation to a substantial claim for disability and sex discrimination.
  • Advised in connection with a subject access request and support in dealing with a complaint to the Information Commissioner.
  • Advice on a large-scale collective redundancy process involving over 300 employees.
  • Advice on the departure of senior directors with cross border implications.

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 3

Brachers

At Brachers, the highly experienced Lee May utilises his in-house experience to defend local authorities against prosecutions by health and safety executives. Also recommended is John Sheath, who has significant experience in providing specialist advice in inquests, corporate manslaughter, risk management and governance.

Practice head(s):Lee May

Other key lawyers:John Sheath

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South East: Insurance

Clinical negligence: defendant
Clinical negligence: defendant - ranked: tier 1

Brachers

Brachers has a reputable team, known for its diligent work for professional health services, where the firm holds a number of long-standing clients. Led by Maidstone-based Scott Alexander, the group has been handling high-value specialist claims and has recently undertaken advisory work for two general practitioner clients. John Sheath has over three decades of healthcare law experience under his belt and represents doctors and medical staff.

Practice head(s):Scott Alexander

Other key lawyers:Harriet Humphrey

Key Clients

The Medical Defence Union

The Dental Defence Union

Specsavers Optical Group

Medway Maritime NHS Foundation Trust

Leading individuals

Scott Alexander - Brachers

Rising stars

Harriet Humphrey - Brachers

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South East: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 2

Brachers

Brachers’ agricultural and rural team is well versed a wide range of matters, acting for landowners and farming families in relation to development opportunities on their land, supporting charities within the rural community and handling commercial  and property disputes including boundary issues.  The department is well known for assisting educational and research institutions in the agricultural and rural sector. Sarah Webster heads the practice. Christopher Eriksson-Lee and Deborah Cain are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):Sarah Webster

Other key lawyers:Christopher Eriksson-Lee; Deborah Cain

Key Clients

Hadlow College

East Malling Trust

Kent County Agricultural Society

Alan Firmin Limited

Kent Farmers Benevolent Society

Plumpton College

Work highlights

  • Pro bono work for a charitable trust to support Kent farmers.
  • Estate planning, administration of trusts and property transactions (including agricultural tenancies) for a Kent-based family business with significant agricultural and commercial property interests.
  • Acting for the trustees of a settlement with a significant agricultural land estate in relation to private client estate planning and property matters.
  • Strategic estate planning advice in view of residential development opportunities and diversification on a significant landed estate.
  • Succession planning including land transfers for a client with a 1000 acre agricultural holding to ensure eligibility for agricultural Property Relief.

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

Brachers

At Brachers’s cross-departmental Maidstone office, Sarah Gaines advises a range of charities on real estate transactions while Christopher Eriksson-Lee is the lead figure for regulatory and compliance matters. Antonio Fletcher who was made partner in May 2018, handles employment and data protection-related matters.

Practice head(s):Sarah Gaines

Other key lawyers:Christopher Eriksson-Lee; Antonio Fletcher

Testimonials

'Dedicated, professional and personalised service. Always approachable and with an excellent knowledge of the charity sector and the peculiarities that are faced within the sector. '

'Clients value Brachers' personalised service coupled with the professional attitude and knowledge. They are keen to work with the client which provides a different dynamic and will always look for ways of working together to ensure we all offer the best service possible. Emma Andersen and Sarah Gaines  provide excellent support, advice and guidance.'

Key Clients

William Barrows Charity

Charities Aid Foundation Bank

Royal British Legion Industries

Kent County Agricultural Society

Heart of Kent Hospice

Work highlights

  • Advised Charities Aid Foundation Bank Limited in connection with various secured lending transactions for property development.
  • Assisted East Malling Trust with real estate and restructuring matters.
  • Acted for Kent County Agricultural Society in the sale of interests in land conditional on planning.

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

Brachers

Other than a steady flow a will validity disputes, Inheritance Act claims, applications to remove executors and claims against trustees, Brachers also handles a number of propriety estoppel cases in the context of farming families. The firm saw a recent increase in  undue influence claims brought by executors or beneficiaries. Deborah Cain, who leads the contentious trusts and estates team, boasts ten years of exclusive practice in this area.

Practice head(s):Deborah Cain

Work highlights

  • Brachers successfully acted for Party A claiming reasonable financial provision from and estate valued at over £22 million.
  • Client A is one of a number of farming clients represented by our Contested Trusts and Estates Team advancing a proprietary estoppel claim in respect of farmland promised to the client by his Deceased parents. The case also includes a claim that the Deceased’s wills were invalid.
  • Acting for the adult children of one partner to a second marriage claiming the wills made were mutual and as such the testators were prevented from making a new will on the first death. The doctrine of mutual wills is a developing are of law and increasingly common in the case of second marriages.
  • Claim against the estate of a Deceased person to recover assets procured by the Deceased by the exercise of undue influence during her lifetime.
  • Defending a claim for breach of trust/fiduciary duty on behalf of trustees.

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Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex - ranked: tier 2

Brachers

The Brachers team is highly respected for the quality and scope of its work which ranges from financial cases involving commercial or agricultural assets and trust structures to nuptial agreements and co-habitation issues. The team offers mediation and arbitration expertise and handles challenging family disputes involving children and other relatives including grandparents. Mark Leeson is a skilled mediator and Mei-Ling McNab's broad practice includes a focus on the agricultural sector.

Practice head(s):Mark Leeson; Mei-Ling McNab

Other key lawyers:Sophie Read

Testimonials

'One of the good regional firms with the ability to retain high-quality lawyers'.

Work highlights

  • Represented a mother who applied for a Child Arrangements Order that the children live with her and for a Prohibited Steps Order preventing the father from removing the children from her care. Serious allegations of abuse were made and the court found in favour of the mother.
  • Acting for a wife on contentious divorce and financial proceedings involving high-value assets and young children. The values of  assets, including a business and overseas properties are being contested and two FDAs have taken place.
  • Acting for a parent in a reported case concerning a child arrangement order, where there are allegations of historic abuse and past criminal proceedings.  Cafcass has been involved concerning safeguarding checks and the matter has been reserved to the High Court.

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

Brachers

Brachers assists with all aspects of succession and tax planning, the administration of estates and probate. It acts for landed estates, agriculture and business owners throughout the South East often acting for generations of the same family.  It can deal with complex trusts and disputes over inheritances, executors or trustees. Christopher Eriksson-Lee is a director of Brachers Trust Corporation and is also a deputy in the Court of Protection. His broad expertise includes capital taxes planning. Alexandra Gordon  includes wills preparation, trust creations and lasting powers of attorney.

Practice head(s):Christopher Eriksson-Lee

Other key lawyers:Alexandra Gordon; Justine Sloover

Next Generation Partners

Alexandra Gordon - Brachers

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South East: Public sector

Education
Education - ranked: tier 2

Brachers

Brachers acts for a wide range of schools and further education colleges, including specialist institutions such as SEN schools. The team includes lawyers from several departments across the firm, particularly the employment, corporate and commercial and commercial property groups. Bill Butler heads the team and is a key contact for real estate matters, including the real estate aspects of academy conversions. Head of employment Catherine Daw is also a key figure in the multidisciplinary practice.

Practice head(s):Bill Butler

Other key lawyers: Catherine Daw

Key Clients

Bromley College

Orpington College

London Skills for Growth (SfG)

Canterbury College

Hadlow College

West Kent and Ashford College

Plumpton College

New Horizons Federation (x 3 academies)

Loose Primary School

Coxheath Primary School

Vale View Primary School

Work highlights

  • Advised Hadlow Group on a phased re-organisation of the estate involving disposal of assets to release capital for investment and further acquisition.
  • Advised Canterbury College in its merger with East Kent College, resulting in the creation of the new EKC Group.

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Health
Health - ranked: tier 1

Brachers

Brachers is known for its work with NHS trusts, particularly regarding inquests. John Sheath is the key contact for inquests and claims, often representing trusts and other providers without counsel. The firm also offers a substantial primary care practice, advising on new developments, as well as issues surrounding retirements in the single-handed GP sector. Commercial property specialist Ash Jilani leads the primary care team and Catherine Daw  heads the employment offering.

Practice head(s):John Sheath; Catherine Daw; Ash Jilani

Key Clients

Medway NHS FT

East Kent University  NHS FT

Sussex Partnership NHS FT

Sussex Community NHS FT

Maidstone &Tunbridge Wells NHS T

East Kent Medical Services Ltd

2Gether Solutions Services Ltd

Benenden Hospitals Trust

KIMS Hospitals

Work highlights

  • Assisted Medway NHS Foundation Trust on a complex inquest concerning neonatal death.
  • Represented Medway NHS Foundation Trust in an inquest without counsel where the family had alleged that the contrast dye in a CT scan had killed their relative but the Coroner was persuaded that the patient had died following a necessary medical procedure.
  • Represented a Trust in relation to a claim relating to legionella’s disease as a result of infection sustained while the complainant was an inpatient.
  • Acting for Carisbrooke Surgery in a new primary care development, involving co-location with another practice.
  • Representing a major operator of multiple primary care sites in the acquisition of GP practices.
Leading individuals

John Sheath - Brachers

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South East: Real estate

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

Brachers

'Professional, pragmatic and comprehensive advice' is the hallmark of the Brachers team. It advises on the full scope of real estate matters including related finance in combination with sector expertise in areas such as education, primary care , charities, agriculture and energy. The 'exceptional' Sarah Gaines heads the charities sector work and the 'high-calibre' Bill Butler specialises in the health and education sectors. Ash Jilani  heads the primary care sector and has dealt with a number of new developments in that area. Sarah Webster's focus is on agriculture.

Practice head(s):Sarah Gaines

Other key lawyers:Bill Butler; Ash Jilani; Sarah Webster

Testimonials

'It provides a strong level of expertise across the real estate sector and is adept at involving and coordinating individual experts when needs arise.'

'Sarah Gaines provides an exceptional combination of professionalism and pragmatism with an ability to think outside the box and to deliver solutions to complex issues.'

'William Butler's advice is very sound. Bill is a lawyer who knows his subject and does not hesitate to lead negotiations towards desired outcomes, knowing when to compromise and when to hold firm.'

 

Key Clients

Alan Firmin Limited

Durtnell Group

CAF Bank

Dover District Council

Daunt Books

Hadlow Group

Bethesda Medical Practice

Plumpton College

Orpington College

London and South East Colleges

Work highlights

  • Acted on all the aspects of the formalisation of a merger between Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College.
  • Acted for a consortium development for the provision of a relief road and 16,000 new houses, a matter valued at £1bn.
  • Acted for the landowner in the sale of a piece of agricultural land to a developer, conditional upon the developer obtaining planning permission for residential dwellings, a deal valued at £1.2m.
  • Advised on a number of secured lending transactions for a charity to facilitate a  property development.    
  • Assisted the client in respect of a new surgery development.
Leading individuals

Sarah Gaines - Brachers

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 4

Brachers

Brachers' construction and engineering team generates a regular flow of work from employers, contractors, banks, developers, consultants and insurers. It advises on issues arising at all stages of projects, ranging from inception to completion. The scope of its expertise includes procurement routes, construction and engineering contracts, and dispute resolution. Michael Oatham is a key contact.

Practice head(s):Michael Oatham

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Brachers

Brachers's property litigation group is active across landlord and tenant disputes, ownership and rights over land issues and contentious environmental matters. Allis Beasley is sought out in particularly high value and complex cases. Another name to note is James Milis, who advises a wide range of clients including charities, educational institutions and corporates. Michael Oatham leads the team.

Practice head(s):Michael Oatham

Other key lawyers:Allis Beasley; James Millis

Testimonials

'The firm is responsive, easy to deal with, and has the breadth of experience to assist with most issues'.

'Clients are treated equally and sympathetically'.

'A highly efficient and dedicated team; I trust them to get the work done and always feel that I am in safe hands'.

'Allis Beasley and Emma Anderson are personable, responsive and really great to work with; I have complete faith in their advice'.

'Allis Beasley attracts a good client base and establishes a solid working relationship with both her clients and counsel; she is extremely pleasant to deal with'.

'Jame Millis is an excellent member of the team; he demonstrates utmost professionalism, attention to detail and commitment to the task at hand'.

Key Clients

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Hadlow College

West Kent & Ashford College

Alan Firmin Limited

Sevenoaks District Council

Benenden Hospital

East Malling Trust

James Baird (Home Farm) Limited

East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Work highlights

  • Representing a landowner in a multimillion pound dispute relating to contractual obligations to maintain sea defences.
  • Representing multiple tenants in the redevelopment of their marketplace.
  • Assisted a client with a disputed overage payment which had to be resolved so that land could be sold to a developer.
  • Represented a trust in an action for foreclosure of land pursuant to a legal charge.
  • Representing a company in its claim to remain on land and fulfil their environmental aftercare statutory obligations, and to continue receiving income from an electricity generating power station.
Leading individuals

Allis Beasley - Brachers

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Legal Developments in the UK

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