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London: Corporate and commercial

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m
M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m - ranked: tier 2

Druces LLP

Druces LLP is active in corporate M&A across a broad range of sectors, with particular notice to the healthcare and technology sectors. Here, the team helps clients with business start-ups, fundraisings, acquisitions, disposals and mergers for both private and public companies. Following the firm's merger with London-based Ronaldsons, the team was bolstered through new arrivals to the corporate and property departments, and significantly increased its representation of AIM-listed clients. The 'extremely professional' Christopher Axford is a specialist in health sector transactions, and has extensive experience in acting in regulated environments.

Practice head(s):Christopher Axford

Other key lawyers:Toby Stroh


'Druces are strong and very competent. They understand the realities of small business. Capable of delivering solutions in real time and without the dreaded clock-watching prevalent in the legal profession'

'We generally deal with Chris Axford and find his team very competent. Their knowledge and due diligence is extremely good and they have completed transactions in a timely manner'

'Chris Axford is very responsive and explains issues clearly, while also being extremely professional and  making us feel very valued'

'David Bennett is a standout commercial lawyer. Provides succinct and focused advice on all commercial areas. He has the gravitas and experience for all levels of M&A'

Key Clients

Montreux Healthcare Fund Plc.

appScatter Group Plc

Summit Therapeutics Plc

Oxtem Limited

The Pickstock Group

Exclusive Care Group

Emerald Fund of Funds

Bank of London and the Middle East Plc

Napier Capital Partners

Legendary Investments Plc

Glenstone Property Group

Kufflink Bridging Solutions Limited


Deloittes Legal (Italy)

Dentons Pension Management Limited

Sigmaroc Plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Montreux Healthcare Fund in relation to its acquisition of Active Assistance (UK) Group, a support provider for individuals with complex neurological conditions.
  • Acted for AIM-quoted appScatter Group in relation to its ca. £13.5m acquisition of Priori Data GmbH, a German operator of an app analytics platform.
  • Represented the shareholders of Clear Investments (UK) Limited in a share sale to a private equity fund, and subsequent reinvestment of a proportion of the proceeds,
  • Acted for appScatter Group in its ca. £2.24m acquisition of Abilott, a provider of digital security solutions to gaming operators.
  • Advised buy-and-build construction materials group SigmaRoc in its ca. £31.38m acquisition of CCP Building Products, a construction company in the Liverpool and Manchester area.

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London: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 7

Druces LLP

Druces LLP's 'team is very hardworking, organised and committed to getting the right results for clients'. The disputes practice covers high-value cross-border matters, banking and finance, claimant-side professional negligence,  claims against directors, shareholder and partnership issues, mining, oil and gas, and property and insolvency. Julian Johnstone, Charles Spragge  and Neil Hayter are experienced advisers, and Rachel Brown is a highly regarded senior associate.

Practice head(s):Julian Johnstone; Charles Spragge

Other key lawyers:Neil Hayter; Rachel Brown


'Clients always get a truly balanced view and the lawyers provide good value and a sensible approach'.

'Charles Spragge is a real asset, who is sensible and sensitive in his handling of clients'.

'Julian Johnstone is a bright, lateral-thinking litigator, who is sensible, robust and realistic'.

'Senior associate Rachel Brown is always fast to respond, and honest and balanced in her advice - even if clients don't like it'.

Key Clients

Fondation Ion Basgan

Credit Europe Bank

Onur Air Tasimacilik

Haier Appliances

Vistra (UK)

Orexim Trading


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London: Finance

Emerging markets
Emerging markets - ranked: tier 4

Druces LLP

The banking and capital markets practice at¬†Druces LLP¬†act for a growing number of banks¬†located or active in emerging markets, notably Turkey, India, China and Latin America. Among these are Bank of China, ICICI Bank, Credit Europe Bank, Denizbank and the Bank of London and the Middle East. The firm joins the ranking this year and its work for banks in 2018 included a¬†$40m receivables financing involving two Latin American jurisdictions, and the ‚ā¨75m refinancing of a floating power plant in Turkey. A key focus for the practice, led by¬†an experienced finance and disputes Charles Spragge,¬†is the¬†mining and minerals sector, in which the firm handles equity capital raising for early stage exploration companies through to the issue of listed debt to fund the acquisition of operating assets.

Practice head(s):Charles Spragge

Other key lawyers:Simon Pullen; Christopher Axford; Dominic Traynor; Stephen Ronaldson; David Smith

Key Clients

Credit Europe Bank

Denizbank , Turkey

ICICI Bank, India

Bank of London and The Middle East

Alexander Mining PLC

Kibo Energy PLC

Savannah Resources PLC

Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Advised AIM-listed Savannah Resources PLC on its joint venture with Rio Tinto on the Mutamba-Jangamo mineral sands project in Mozambique.
  • Advised AIM-listed Cadle Arc on its acquisition of the Mowana Copper Mine in Botswana.
  • Advised Kibo Energy on the disposal of subsidiary company, Kibo Nickel Ltd, (responsible for running Haneti Nickel Project in Tanzania).
  • Advising a major Turkish bank on a $75m marine refinancing.
  • Representing an Indian bank on a £16.5m working capital facility for an Indian group of corporate borrowers.

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Islamic finance
Islamic finance - ranked: tier 3

Druces LLP

Druces LLP's banking and property finance lawyers advise a number of Islamic banking institutions in real estate and acquisition finance transactions. Headed by Christopher Axford, the group also acts for Middle Eastern investors in property investment deals. It recently enhanced its Middle East-facing private client practice with the recruitment of Matthew Duncan from Kingsley Napley LLP. Duncan acts as a consultant in the team and is one of the market's only English qualified lawyers who is authorised to advise on estate planning in the DIFC in Dubai.

Practice head(s):Christopher Axford

Other key lawyers:Suzanne Middleton-Lindsley; Nicholas Brent; Simon Pullen


'The team is commercial and professional in its approach, clearly cares for its clients and takes pride in its work.'

'A solid team offering timely and commercial advice.'

Key Clients

Bank of London and The Middle East plc

British Arab Commercial Bank plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Bank of London and The Middle East on the terms of over 15 transactions; both real estate finance transactions and acquisition finance deals.

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London: Human resources

Immigration: business - ranked: tier 6

Druces LLP

The team at Druces LLP works closely with the firm's private client, tax and international wealth team, as well as the corporate team to advise on Tier 1 and Tier 2 work, covering entrepreneurs, investors, exceptional talent and companies bringing skilled migrants into the UK. It also advises on spousal visas, commonwealth ancestral visas and sole representatives of overseas companies, as well as citizenship, registration and naturalisation.

Practice head(s):Charles Avens; Graeme Kirk


'A fast service and comprehensive advice.'

'Charles Avens is very approachable and professional.'

'Charles Avens is very helpful and dedicated.'

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London: Private client

Charities and not-for-profit
Charities and not-for-profit - ranked: tier 4

Druces LLP

The charities group at Druces LLP is drawn from lawyers across a range of disciplines, bringing together specialisms in taxation, employment and other areas, who together have expertise in charity law. Richard Monkcom is at the helm. The group has a particular focus on advising clients on constitutional issues, commercial and publishing agreements as well as the taxation of the not-for-profit sector. It acts for more than 50 charities with sector strength in animal, medical, religious and educational. The team is also skilled at acting for charities where an estate with charitable beneficiaries is disputed. Helen Freely is well-regarded and often advises charities when they are just starting off.

Practice head(s):Richard Monkcom

Other key lawyers:Helen Freely


'The team is excellent. The response time to any question is almost immediate. The team helps its client to ask the correct questions and to explore the different options available'.

'It is absolutely dedicated to its clients and will go to great lengths to service them. This earns it enormous respect'.

'Helen Freely is an excellent solicitor. She is always available, efficient, knowledgeable and wise in her dealings with me as a client'.

Key Clients

Dogs Trust

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 4

Druces LLP

Helen Freely leads the team at Druces LLP  that advises entrepreneurs, City individuals, fund managers and other finance high-net-worth individuals. The team is skilled at advising on a broad range of matters involving wills, trusts and estates, and acts for individuals, beneficiaries, executors and trustees as well as charities in resolving, defending or bringing actions. One of the particular recent highlights for the contentious probate team was advising on an application to the court for a judicial trustee to be appointed in a particularly complex estate.

Practice head(s):Helen Freely

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Personal tax, trusts and probate
Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 3

Druces LLP

Druces LLP is known for delivering traditional private client services across UK capital taxes, estate planning and probate. It also provides an international advisory service for non-UK domiciled clients, both resident and non-resident in the UK. The team provides structuring advice on international tax optimisation and asset protection and has experience of advising on non-standard structures and asset classes such as depositary receipts. Richard Monkcom and Robert Macro are the names to note.  Neil Morris and Helen Freely are also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):Richard Monkcom; Robert Macro

Other key lawyers:Neil Morris; Helen Freely

Key Clients

Directors UK

Vistra UK

Kleinwort Hambros

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London: Projects, energy and natural resources

Mining and minerals
Mining and minerals - ranked: tier 5

Druces LLP

The corporate finance lawyers at Druces LLP handle transactions for mining companies which range from equity capital raising for early stage exploration companies, through to the issue of listed debt to fund the acquisition of operating assets, and substantial takeovers. The group also handles disputes and bilateral investment treaty arbitration, while the tax team advises on international structures. The offering was significantly bolstered by the firm's merger with Ronaldsons in 2018 which added Dominic Traynor and Stephen Ronaldson to its broader corporate practice. Associate Jack Kemmish also joined from Kerman & Co .

Practice head(s):Dominic Traynor

Other key lawyers:Stephen Ronaldson


'The Druces lawyers are down to earth and just get on with things. They have a very wide range of skills but as a medium-sized team are willing to admit where they may have a gap in knowledge or experience. It is very refreshing.'

'Druces provides a full range of relevant advisory services. Clients frequently instruct them for M&A, fundraising, share option schemes, Market Abuse Regulations, HR contracts, major supplier contracts, company secretarial and general corporate advice.'

'Dominic Traynor has experience of both advising and being part on the board of directors for natural resources companies.'

'Dominic Traynor is very knowledgeable on corporate and governance matters. He is particularly commercially savvy and has good knowledge of the sectors he supports. He is good at finding solutions to problems and is very personable and reliable.'

Key Clients

Alexander Mining PLC

Amedeo Resources

Goldplat PLC

Greatland Gold PLC

Katoro Gold PLC

Kibo Energy PLC

Red Rock Resources PLC

Regency Mines PLC

Rockfire Resources PLC

SigmaRoc PLC

Savannah Resources PLC

Thor Mining PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised AIM-listed Savannah Resources PLC on its £11.5m fundraising.
  • Advising SigmaRoc on the £15m acquisition of CCP Building Products.
  • Represented Cradle Arc plc in a £5.5m fundraising, acquisition of a copper mine in Botswana and re-admission to AIM.
  • Handled the disposal of Kibo Nickel to Standard-listed Opera Investments plc and its subsequent de-listing from the Standard List and admission to AIM.
  • Advised Amedeo Resources PLC on the production of a circular and announcements seeking shareholder approval for the company delisting from AIM.

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London: Real estate

Commercial property: corporate occupiers
Commercial property: corporate occupiers - ranked: tier 4

Druces LLP

Druces LLP¬†has a ‚Äėhardworking, diligent and thorough property team‚Äô which represents high-profile clients on HQ occupations and specialises in acting for overseas entities on the acquisition of HQ space with a development aspect. Practice head Nicholas Brent¬†is praised for his ‚Äėclear advice and guidance‚Äô and is a specialist across the board in commercial property. His team also possesses experience in relation to portfolio management, syndicated property investments and institutional property investments.

Practice head(s):Nicholas Brent

Other key lawyers:Suzanne Middleton Lindsley


'They are always briefed on organisational needs and handle questions in a clear and friendly manner.'

'Nicholas Brent has been incredibly supportive, providing clear advice and guidance. He has an in-depth understanding of my organisation and the environment in which we work which has proved invaluable in helping us deal with complex situations. He is accessible and responsive and able to explain options clearly and concisely.'

'Responsiveness, accessibility, and good practical down to earth advice. When you go to a firm like Druces, they treat you like an equal.The advice is clear, bespoke and commercial and in negotiations, they are firm but not into grandstanding or point-scoring. Transparency on fees is also helpful in ensuring value for money for clients.'

'Adrian Footer is consistently on the ball with good sound technical advice; very approachable and commercial. Sarah Dahabiyeh is also very approachable, thorough and methodical, with good attention to detail.'

'A very hardworking, diligent and thorough property team with a high level of analytical skills and legal knowledge. A good level of communication between the team and client with a partner always up to date with the transaction. The team has specialist knowledge on setting up property syndicates'.

'Suzanne Middleton Lindsley has proved to be very diligent in her approach to property purchases - she is supported by a strong team but nevertheless remains involved in each transaction and is always available when required for high level and strategic advice.'

'Competence and promptitude'.

'Karen Chapman is consistently excellent. Her approach is commercial and pragmatic, yet strong where and when required.'

Key Clients

Conde Nast Publications Ltd

Equinix UK Limited

Philips Auctioneers

Dogs Trust

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Property finance
Property finance - ranked: tier 6

Druces LLP

Druces LLP is noted for its niche specialisms in sharia-compliant transactions and syndicated property investment, and also handles conventional investment and development finance. The firm's client base includes property funds, bridging companies, corporates and high-net-worth individuals, as well as a number of overseas banks. Christopher Axford leads the team, which also includes Suzanne Middleton Lindsley and Samantha Hook, who joined from Howard Kennedy LLP in May 2019.

Practice head(s):Christopher Axford

Other key lawyers:Suzanne Middleton Lindsley; Samantha Hook


'Druces stands out for its partner-led service, clear ownership and accountability on transactions, and speed of execution'.

'The team is hands-on, pragmatic and focused on execution'.

Key Clients

Bank of London and the Middle East plc

Metro Bank plc

Ratcliffes/Syndicates D&A

Alpha Bridging Solutions (now known as Kuflink)

British Arab Commercial Bank

Secure Trust Bank

Arbuthnot Latham

Marshall Bridging Fund

Bank Julius Baer, Guernsey

Denizbank, Turkey

ICICI Bank India

Bank of China (UK)

C.Hoare & Co

Work highlights

  • Advising Bank of London and The Middle East plc on a series of development financings.
  • Advising various property syndicate structures on investment financing.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 4

Druces LLP

'Combining sound strategic advice with good technical knowledge and clear guidance on the options available', Druces LLP acts for an extensive roster of commercial property joint ventures and commercial property developers alongside occupiers and landlords of commercial property. The group handles the full remit of commercial and high-value residential property matters with typical instructions pertaining to contentious landlord and tenant relations, property finance matters and disputes arising from commercial property insolvencies and property developments. The 'bright, realistic and sensible' Julian Johnstone heads the practice and 'is a pleasure to work with'.

Practice head(s):Julian Johnstone


'The team will fight tooth and nail to secure the best outcome for the client while managing expectations and not sugarcoating issues.'

'Julian Johnstone has a no-nonsense approach that gets straight to the heart of a matter and examines issues thoroughly.'

'Julian Johnstone has a deep technical knowledge, which, combined with his vast experience produces advice, which is both clever and pragmatic.'

'The team's real strength is the ability to translate sound legal knowledge into commercial and practical solutions.'

'Competent, expert knowledge expedited to the highest standard.'

Key Clients

Aquila Developments


Conde Nast Publications

Dogs Trust

Dunmoore Group

Enstar Capital

Gatwick Airport

Henderson Global Investors

Ratcliffes Surveyors

Topland Group

Urban Evolution

Yours Clothing

Work highlights

  • Represented Dunmoore Group in property disputes arising out of its commercial property portfolio, including a dispute rent review claim.
  • Assisted D&A Syndicates with the recovery of possession of a New Look store following the retailer entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), while also advising the syndicate investor clients on the termination of leases over a number of properties.
  • Defending Brooking against a multi-party claim under the Defective Premises Act arising out of an alleged faulty heating system and subsequent flood at a property development several years after completion of the development by the client.

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Legal Developments by:
Druces LLP

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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