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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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A leader in the field regionally’, Ashtons Legalhas a local knowledgebase without rival in the area and is part of that rare breed of law firms delivering first-rate service without excessive fees’. The firm advises on the full range of specialist agriculture and estates’ business and land matters for local and national clients, ranging from those owning small holdings through to national institutions, Cambridge colleges, charities, friendly societies and large landed estates. Farming expert and team head Jonathan Long is a ‘reassuring adviser’ with 35 years’ experience at the firm and is ‘knowledgeable, technically sound, thorough and calm under pressure’. Veteran agricultural lawyer Jeanette Dennis is ‘commercially minded, meticulous and very astute’. Simon Cunningham, who advises on land sales and alternative energy projects, and associate Rebecca Gatens are also recommended as ‘personable, conscientious and reliable’. Clients also recommend ‘approachable and responsive’ associate Joanne Sandwell, who specialises in property and renewable energy deals and ‘gives good advice at reasonable cost on agricultural tenancy matters’. Sandwell acted for a limited farming company based in Derbyshire on agricultural tenancy matters, which included dilapidation claims and potential purchase of the freehold from an absentee landlord. The team also advised a landed estate on option agreements and transfer of land matters in relation to a housing development that required the use of land for connected infrastructure. In another highlight, the firm advised on the £5.5m first registration of a 500-acre plot, some of which is to be purchased by Highways England in connection with the development of the A14 motorway.

Foremost in Norfolk’ according to one client, Birketts LLP has a strong regional presence across its four offices, from which it serves a diverse client base across England and Wales. Its broad practice encompasses ecclesiastical law, public access issues, aggregates extraction and management, renewable energy projects, structuring family successions and taxation, as well as mainstream agricultural and property law advice linked to sales, purchases, tenancies, options and development. Team head Jack Royall (who ‘can be relied upon for sound advice’) and estate planner Neil Sparrow are noted for their ‘experience and calm, considered approach; they are good listeners with the ability to make things happen’. They draw on a range of experts across the firm, including property lawyers James Dinwiddy and senior associate Rachel McKillop-Wilkin; Nigel Farthing in Ipswich, who handles issues relating to public rights of way, Commons and Town and Village Greens and related contentious issues; Stuart Jones, who advises landowners and mineral operators on the development and management of mineral deposits and also handles large renewable energy projects; and Christopher Coupland, who leads the firm’s agricultural banking team as well as advising on property matters. Senior associate Sophia Key is among the team’s rising stars. The firm’s highlights included advising Suffolk Wildlife Trust on the purchase of 385 acres of arable and pastureland to extend its nature reserve near Lowestoft. The firm also counts Barclays Bank and Norwich Diocesan Board of Finance Limited among its clients.

Clients receive ‘excellent and efficient advice’ from NFU-panel firm Hewitsons, which has ‘a 360-degree approach to rural matters’. The firm’s cross-office team is led from Cambridge by the ‘exceptionalDenise Wilkinson, Charles Stevens and consultant Charles Hewitson and acts for clients nationwide, from mixed estates to major producers of cereal, potatoes, herbs, vegetables and livestock, as well as some of the largest conservation landowners in the UK. Wilkinson is also regarded as a leading expert in the renewables sector and frequently advises on the development of solar, wind and hydroelectric projects. The team also calls on regulatory specialist Deborah Sharples, who has extensive experience in agricultural health and safety matters, as well as livestock rearing and environmental law. Lucinda Brown stands out for her knowledge of contentious farming trust matters. Corporate partner James Lawrence frequently advises on contractual matters for anaerobic digestion projects. The firm’s extensive roster of clients includes The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), The Great Wilsey Estate, The Tissington Estate, Long Melford Estate and Great Wilbraham Estate. The firm recently advised one beneficiary of a multimillion-pound estate on the division of assets that included a mixed-use area and two farms. The team is also acting for the owners of a large estate on the negotiation of a solar option and the development of an anaerobic digestion plant. Robert McLellan joined Keystone Law.

Howes Percival LLP is ‘first class; the advice is always clear and good value for money, and the breadth of knowledge across every discipline ensures the delivery of excellent results even in complicated transactions’. The firm acts primarily for substantial landowners, trusts and partnerships, covering property deals, estate management, development land transactions and tax structuring matters. Team head Catherine Scott (who is ‘excellent with farming properties’) and Stuart Maggs are highly recommended for complex land sales; clients praise Scott as ‘a good communicator with deep knowledge of agricultural law and an ability to resolve issues and get deals done’. The team also includes partners Richard Lovett, who excels in trusts and estate matters, and Jonathan Wortley, who has more than 30 years’ experience acting for high-net-worth individuals and estates in trusts, probate and property matters. Consultant Jeremy Heal is recommended for work on estates. and associate Katharine Danks stands out for her in-depth knowledge of trusts, taxation, land law, agricultural holdings, town and country planning and the Common Agricultural Policy. The firm’s clients include The Cholmondeley Estates – Houghton Hall in Norfolk and Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire – and The Holkham Estate in Norfolk. Recent highlights include advising trustees and executors on the preparation for sale of a £6m estate that included complex tenancy agreements, leases, fishing rights, grazing rights and livery agreements; and advising on the purchase of an 800-acre grazing and shooting estate in North Yorkshire, which involved a complex investigation into issues of contamination and physical hazards from ironstone mining, ancient burial grounds, wind farm development and water supply.

Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘very proficient and has genuine specialists’. Head of agribusiness Michael Aubrey (who can ‘provide a strategic overview of any legal issue facing an estate’) and agricultural property specialist Amanda Tagg, who also has extensive experience in renewable energy projects, are ‘among the best in the region’. Tim Ryan is a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association and often leads on diversification projects for farmers, landowners and estate owners, often involving complex consortium, promotion and option agreements. The firm has a deep bench of expertise that includes senior associate Dawn Chapman, who specialises in the sale and purchase of farms and estates; senior associate Denis Costello, who deals with rural property matters, with particular expertise in minerals and waste management work; associate Louisa Butcher, who helps clients of the agribusiness team with property matters including tenancies, covenants and easements; associate Nichola Ross, who handles agricultural lending and advice to family farming businesses; principal associate Jane Peel, who advises landed estates on renewable energy projects and farm tenancies; and principal associate Nicola Dernie, who also handles property matters. The firm’s highlights included advising Fengrain Limited on the grant of a 25-years underlease for three grain silos, and acting for the trustee landowners of the Kirton Estate on negotiations for an option for cabling easement for a large section of the estate. The firm also counts Oxford University Endowment Management, Trinity College Cambridge and Farmcare Limited among its clients.

Taylor Vinters is ‘professional and reliable, with a wealth of experience and energy to get the work done’. The firm is well known for its Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy work, which includes surrenders, re-grants and restructuring. It also handles large, complex and high-value farm transactions, which in 2016 accounted for deals with a combined value in excess of £100m; succession and tax planning; farming partnerships; and renewable energy developments for both landowners and developers. Adrian Horwood-Smart has particular expertise in strategic and complex tax issues. Rupert Melville-Ross is ‘well known and respected in his industry and among his clients for his pragmatic approach; he never fails to deliver’. He deals mainly with high-value property transactions. Newly promoted partner Andrew Williamson is an expert on Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies and also advises on partnerships and landed estate succession planning. The firm’s recent highlights include advising a private client farmer in north Norfolk on the £5m off-market sale of 400 acres in a deal that had complex holdover requirements, and acting for a well-known racehorse trainer in Newmarket on the £4.8m off-market purchase of one of the most well-known training yards in the region in a deal that required advice on corporate structuring and banking issues. The firm’s extensive list of active clients includes Jockey Club Group, US-based landholding charity AgReserves Limited, G’s Marketing, a multinational salad and vegetable producer, large-scale commercial farming company J E Piccaver & Co, and Tompsett Burgess Growers, the UK’s largest producer of carrots.

Barker Goteleenever drags its heels and is proactive in getting all matters progressed as soon as possible’. Toby Pound’s team has extensive knowledge of Common Agricultural Policy reforms and has built a strong reputation for land transactions for farmers and landowners across the UK. Pound has 38 years’ experience and is head of the firm’s property team, which mainly handles the sale and purchase of farms and large estates, complex tenancy issues and property-related diversification schemes. Andrew Nicholson has specialised in agricultural law for 25 years and deals with a wide range of issues affecting farmers and landowners, including rights required for cabling to be laid through their land in conjunction with the supply of energy from substantial offshore wind farms. The team’s recent work includes the purchase of a 303-acre site at Ashbocking, the sale of several sites in Suffolk and beyond for major residential development projects, the purchase of a site in Rendlesham for residential development, and the purchase of land in Tamworth for industrial development.

Greene & Greene is ‘large enough to offer comprehensive expertise and resources, but small enough to provide a personal service’. Its agricultural and rural business team has an established client base of landowners and agents, and it has steadily developed a reputation as one of the key advisors for the Newmarket horseracing community having acted in high-profile transactions for clients in the equestrian industry. Rural property partner Jonathan Mathers is ‘efficient, highly experienced and practical – a "go-to" lawyer’. Clients note that the team provides ‘a good personal service and not too much complex legal speak’. Corporate partner Neil Walmsley regularly advises on the sale, acquisition or restructuring or rural businesses. Selene Holden is recommended principally for employment matters but her practice encompasses agricultural issues such as family succession disputes, licences for power lines, land contamination matters and land diversification projects. Agricultural Law Association member, litigator and senior solicitor Andrea Nicholls is also recommended. The firm recently acted for the seller of a well-known Newmarket stud farm.

Hunt & Coombs LLP is ‘a good-quality, traditional, reliable and well-respected firm’. Highly experienced property partner Anna Spriggs leads the team and has been involved in numerous sales and purchases relating to ecclesiastical and agricultural properties. Estates specialist Peter Izod also has extensive experience with agricultural land sales. Commercial consultant Paul Tate is well versed in land development deals. The firm’s recent caseload includes numerous property transactions for local farmers and landowners. It also has specialist expertise in advising landed estates and has recently been involved in the refinancing of such estates for a combined value in excess of £10m. The team recently advised on a proposed multimillion-pound residential development on a 200-acre agricultural land site that involved in-depth negotiation with prospective developers. Another key matter saw Spriggs advise on an option agreement for a proposed new greenfield housing and commercial development. She also acted for an agricultural body in a collaboration agreement with a landowner that involved sensitive issues around safeguarding land.

Leathes Prior has a longstanding reputation as a key adviser to land-owning and agricultural clients on tax, trusts and estates matters, with team head William Riley standing out for his property and trusts expertise. In 2016, property litigator Darren Bowen, who is a member of the Agricultural Law Association and the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, advised several agricultural clients on complex probate disputes involving agricultural assets. Regulatory expert Tim Cary is also called upon by the firm’s agricultural clients to advise on health and safety matters and compliance issues. The team’s key clients include The Great Hospital, as well as a large number of established local farming families and estates such as Lynford Hall, Caistor Hall and Holkham Estate. The firm’s recent highlights include advising the 5,000-acre Somerleyton Estate on property matters such as trespass, forfeiture of mixed commercial and residential premises, breach of covenants and termination of agricultural and farm business tenancies. It also acted for the trustees of a 165-acre agricultural estate on a dispute over ownership of the land.

Roythornes Solicitorsexcels in property matters and estate planning’. Julie Robinson leads a team of ‘farming experts’ based in Spalding and Newmarket, where the firm is ‘right in the midst of the agricultural industry’. Consultant Graham Smith is regarded as one of the region’s leading experts in agricultural law and related tax issues; despite retiring from the partnership, he still plays a vital role in the firm’s Newmarket team. Jonathan Williams in Peterborough stands out for his experience in property deals in the agricultural sector and has more than 30 years’ experience. Associate Kirsten Rimmer now splits her time between Spalding and Peterborough and acts for a client base that covers East Anglia and Kent. She is a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association and is highly experienced in commercial and agricultural property matters. The firm’s highlights included advising on a freehold farmland purchase involving 34 different titles, with sub-agreements under which a family-owned company occupied the land and a third-party contractor undertook the farming operations. It also acted on the purchase of freehold reversions by two separate Agricultural Holdings Act tenants from the same landlord, and on a review of horse lettings across more than 200 acres of agricultural land to ensure regulatory compliance.

Clients are ‘very confident in the ability’ of Steeles Law, which provides ‘good advice and has good knowledge of the local area’. The team is ‘extremely responsive, helpful and comprehensive in its work’ and draws upon the firm’s strengths in commercial property, private client and company commercial matters. Its workload consists largely of agricultural property sales, purchases, easements, farm business tenancies and Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies. Karen Bacon, an associate and head of wills, probate and tax who often handles farming partnership matters and agricultural land sales, ‘has impressive knowledge of this area of law and is always helpful and approachable’. She is especially well versed in inheritance tax and succession planning matters for the local farming community in Norfolk. Nigel Lubbock has more than 40 years’ experience of agricultural partnerships and commercial matters. Bacon and property partner Michael Fahy recently acted on the partition of a farming estate and the preparation for sale of land plots, which involved complex issues regarding right of access over estate roads.

Tees Law is ‘an efficient and organised firm’ that provides ‘knowledgeable and prompt service’. The firm, which is a member of the National Farmers’ Union’s legal panel, has a multi-disciplinary team that provides advice on estate and succession planning, land development, diversification projects, employment, dispute resolution, restructuring and the sale and acquisition of commercial enterprises. The ‘very diligentCatherine Mowat leads the team and specialises in wills, trusts, tax and probate matters. ‘Highly attentive’ property partner James Dowson is also recommended. The firm recently acted for a well-known local agricultural producer on the preparation of a bespoke set of terms and conditions for its grain storage facilities and laboratory testing services. Another highlight saw Mowat and Dowson act for the owners of a 27-acre site on the formation of a promotion agreement with a regional developer with a view to a potential multimillion-pound land sale. The matter involved a complex structure of trusts and ownership rights. Dowson also assisted agricultural tenants with the surrender and re-grant of a significant Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy at a North Essex estate.

Blocks has a standout practitioner in managing partner Gerry Field, who is a member of the Agricultural Law Association and regularly acts for agricultural clients on acquisitions and development projects. His practice increasingly encompasses advising farmers and landowners on energy projects and the sale of development land. In 2016, he advised on the negotiation of promotion agreements with developers for the large-scale development of agricultural land; assisted with the £4m sale of agricultural land for development purposes; advising on estate planning involving the use of trusts to minimise capital gains tax and inheritance tax for farmers with land with development potential; and assisting landowners with leases and easements related to energy schemes.

The agricultural and rural affairs team at Buckles Solicitors LLP regularly advises on agricultural land acquisitions and sales, and on single farm payment issues. It is also able to draw on the firm’s wider property, tax, trust, wealth preservation, family and corporate practices, enabling to it provide a holistic service to clients. Property partner Michael Blank is a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association. Michael Rabbett handles a broad mix of agricultural, commercial and residential property matters ranging from simple land sales to farm business tenancies and diversification matters such as wind farm and communication mast leases, mineral extraction and landfill. Clients praise his ‘efficiency and professional service’. The firm’s recent transactions include a multimillion-pound financing arrangement for a prominent family farming business that included lease surrender and re-grant issues.

At Butcher Andrews, property specialists Chris Hoxley and Anne Kirby advise local farmers and landowners throughout East Anglia. Hoxley acts for a number of farming clients in diversification projects and farm tenancy matters, and Kirby acts for landowners on property transactions and leasehold aspects of agricultural property, including the leasing of land for wind turbine and solar park developments. She also handles commercial letting issues, farming partnerships, wayleave agreements, and shooting and sporting leases. Highlights included assisting Genatec Limited and its associated company Strellas Lane Wind Energy Limited with taking options on agricultural land for potential green energy developments. Kirby also acted for the company as the owner of farmland in the grant of options and entering into the lease of a solar farm array.

Fraser Dawbarnscarries a lot of respect locally and provides a consistently good level of care and attention in all areas’. Head of commercial development Daniel Ball ‘has a clear depth of knowledge’ and clients praise his ‘efficient and high-quality work’. Private client head Harleen Hanson recently advised on the administration of a £2.5m farming estate, while Ball acted on a £1.4m farm purchase and the finance of 500 acres in farm holdings to fund the acquisition.


Bloodstock

Index of tables

  1. Bloodstock
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Mark Edmondson - Edmondson Hall

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Bloodstock clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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From its office in Newmarket, Edmondson Hall provides specialist advice on all aspects of equine and bloodstock law. Its lawyers handle the full range of work, from contentious matters to the sale or purchase of horses, foal share and syndication agreements. Its client base includes professional jockeys; show jumping, dressage and three-day event competitors; owners; trainers; bloodstock agents; insurance agents; veterinary practices; and stud farms. Mark Edmondson is chair of the Newmarket Festival and has a track record of advice on matters relating to Frankel, the unbeaten racehorse that earned the reputation of world’s best thoroughbred. He is a leading lawyer for the sale and purchase of stallions. Litigator Deborah Hargreaves is well known for her track record in equine disputes. Consultant and former British Horseracing Authority director Justin Wadham has more than 30 years’ experience in the bloodstock industry.


Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Charities and not-for-profit clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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The service from Birketts LLP is ‘genuinely excellent, prompt and well informed’. The specialist charities and social enterprise team has ‘superb expert knowledge’ and works cross-office, bringing together capabilities from practices such as employment, property, corporate and dispute resolution. Team head and senior associate Sara Sayer is ‘first rate – clever, knowledgeable and personable’. Legal director Erika Clarke has ‘in-depth knowledge of the charity sector and a sensible approach’. Clients also pick out agricultural specialist and legal director Stuart Jones; ecclesiastical law specialist James Hall, who works as a diocesan registrar and ‘has extensive knowledge of church law’; and senior corporate associate Liz Brownsell, who joined from Blake Morgan LLP and who ‘has in-depth knowledge of charity law’. Senior associate Clare Hedges is recommended for employment and immigration matters. The team acted for a health and hospice charity on transactions involving the acquisition of leasehold properties for charity shops and the development of a new site for a purpose-built hospice. Its long list of clients includes the Diocese of Norwich, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, East Anglia Children’s Hospice and the London Diocesan Fund.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is ‘clearly knowledgeable in the sector and is always commercial, approachable and good value for money’. Clients praise Glynne Stanfield, head of the firm’s UK governance and external relations practice and head of international education group, who works from the Cambridge and London offices. Principal associate Stephen O’Reilly acts for a wide client base of charities operating in the health, social care, education and scientific research sectors. He assists clients with the establishment and registration of new charities, releasing permanent endowment restrictions, completing charity mergers, corresponding with the Charity Commission and advising charities on governance issues, such as payments to charity trustees. Senior associate Sasha Willmott advises charities on employment matters. The firm hired associate Elen Griffiths from Farrer & Co to assist clients with charity law and governance matters. The team recently acted for The Alan Turing Institute on a multimillion-pound agreement with HSBC to enable its data scientists to carry out long-term research into economic data. The firm also advised the National Land Based College on its registration as a charity with the Charity Commission and assisted the Further Education Trust for Leadership with its provision of a grant to fund a research position at University College London. The firm’s clients include the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Turning Point and the Medical Research Council.

The level of service is second to none’ at Hewitsons, which impresses with its willingness to ‘leave no stone unturned’. The firm acts for more than 400 charities, educational organisations and social enterprises, and is known for its deep sector knowledge and its specialist expertise, which includes a complete grant making, governance and administration service for grant-making charities. ‘Very thoughtful and responsive’ team head Chris Knight and solicitor Martyn Robinson are ‘polite, reassuring and easy to talk to’. Robinson specialises in charity governance and regulation. Clients also praise the work of highly experienced rural and property partner Denise Wilkinson, who advises land-owning charities such as the RSPB and Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, estate planner Bernadette O’Reilly, planning and environment specialist Deborah Sharples and construction expert Colin Jones. Knight and Robinson recently advised tourism destination management organisation Visit Cambridge and Beyond on its spinout from Cambridge City Council and on the establishment of its governance arrangements. The team also acted for Paradise Wildlife Park Limited on the transfer of charitable assets, activities and income streams to associated charity The Zoological Society of Hertfordshire. The firm’s extensive list of charity clients includes the Canal and River Trust, The Rothschild Foundation, United Church Schools Trust, the Henry Moore Foundation and Riders for Health.

Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘excellent across the board and stands out for its responsiveness, gravitas, experience and knowledge’. Part of the firm’s sizeable national charities practice, a strong core of this ‘knowledgeable, understanding and direct’ multidisciplinary team resides in its Cambridge and Norwich offices. Neil Burton leads the team and is known for being ‘approachable and able to grasp issues quickly’. He continues to be a key adviser to clients such as Kidney Cancer UK and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Other key figures include David Catchpole, who leads the firm’s legacies practice, Sarah Seed, who has a thriving charity fundraising practice, senior associate and charity law specialist Mark Ashton, and associate Harriet Edwards, who handles philanthropy matters including high-value gifts to charities. The firm can also call on the expertise of property partner Caroline Dean, HR specialist Nicola Brown and associate Patrick Gass in the employment team. Burton advised The Federation of European Biochemical Societies on potential liabilities arising from the cancellation of its annual congress in Turkey in light of the country’s political unrest. The matter involved complex insurance implications and regulatory issues. Other highlights included acting for an overseas alumnus of a Cambridge College who established a special structure to leave a property legacy to the college.

Spread across its three offices, Stone King LLP has a leading charities practice that acts for more than 200 organisations in the sector including the Royal Horticultural Society, British Heart Foundation, Stroke Association, RSPCA and Alzheimer’s Society. The firm’s charity and social enterprise sector group works on a national basis and Robert Meakin in the Cambridge office is a key player in its countrywide practice. He has more than 25 years’ experience in charities law and canon law. He has a particular interest in faith charities. He is a trustee of four faith charities including ACAT and his local diocese. His recent highlights include advising The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East on governance issues and an inquiry by the Charity Commission following allegations against trustee Canon Andrew White. He also acted for Hospice Aid UK in a high-profile Charity Commission inquiry that led to a High Court challenge of the Charity Commission’s powers not to make directions.

Clients of Taylor Vinters are ‘very pleased with the thorough service and thoughtful advice’. The firm has a strong multidisciplinary team that acts for numerous charities in the scientific research, healthcare and education sectors, as well as for professional membership bodies. The firm also operates a highly regarded international counsel model for the management of staff across multiple jurisdictions, enabling it to assist multinational charities. Caroline Eade leads the firm-wide charities practice and acts as lead lawyer on projects requiring specialist charity law and governance expertise. Clients note that she is ‘excellent to work with – quick, sharp-witted and experienced’. Employment and governance expert Christine Berry is also highly recommended. She works closely with executive boards, bursars, trustees and governing bodies, dealing with high-level strategic, operational and HR issues. Associate Emma Millar has become an integral part of the charities team and deals with matters that combine charity governance with commercial arrangements. Eade advised the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket on its launch as a centre for education about the horseracing industry. She also led advice to international aid charity SOS Children’s Villages on charity and commercial matters including corporate fundraising agreements. The firm’s client list also includes the Royal Society of Chemistry, Teenage Cancer Trust, the Workers’ Educational Association and Papworth Trust.

Greenwoods Solicitors LLP has a particularly strong presence among independent schools operating as charities. The team frequently advises on reorganisations, partnerships, joint ventures, mergers, employment matters, data protection and changes to constitutional documents. Head of the employment and employee benefits team John Macaulay, corporate and commercial team head David Woods, regulatory team leader Kathryn Gilbertson and commercial property partners Karin Horsley and Stephen Illingworth are all recommended. In addition to its work for educational institutions, the firm’s other clients include public land trustee Nene Park Trust, leading national charity Barnardo’s and animal welfare charity the RSPCA. The team recently advised a leading name in the UK charity sector, which has a large workforce across the country, on changes to its negotiated pay structure.

Howes Percival LLP is ‘an exceptional firm with a great focus on ensuring satisfactory client outcomes’. Team head Catherine Scott is particularly adept at dealing with land transactions and has experience acting as the trustee of a large grant-making charity with endowed and investment property. Richard Lovett advises clients on all aspects of charity law including formation and registration, mergers, joint ventures, land sales and development projects. He is trustee of two grant-making charities. Corporate and commercial partner Nathan Horton is also recommended. He recently acted for an education charity on a proposed merger and property sale valued at more than £2m, with Lovett handling charity law and compliance matters. Further highlights for the team included advising on the formation of a new educational charity for an agricultural body, assisting trustees of a charity with significant land assets on managing its property investments, and acting for a sports club on its conversion to charity status. Clients include Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, Theatre Royal (Norwich) Trust and Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.

Hunt & Coombs LLP’s team comprises experts from across its many practice areas and is led by Diocesan Registrar Anna Spriggs and Paddy Appleton, who is ‘exceptionally helpful and answers any question speedily’. Appleton’s clients note that ‘his advice is invaluable and the rest of the team is also extremely professional and helpful’. The firm is the regional leader for advice to ecclesiastical charities throughout Northamptonshire, Rutland and the Peterborough Diocese, and it acts for numerous churches. Spriggs and Lynne Ayres are trustees of Peterborough Cathedral Development and Preservation Trust. Henry Anstey is trustee of many charities including The Leprosy Mission. The team also acts for several schools and other educational establishments in the region, which often call on its strong commercial property team. Peter Izod is known for his work for local parish councils and education charities.

At Leathes Prior, ‘the service is of the highest standard’ and the firm’s ‘efficient and quick service makes it extremely easy to work with’. Corporate partner Paul Warman leads the team; clients remark that he is ‘always available and provides answers very promptly, showing a good understanding of clients’ structure and methodology’. Senior partner and trusts experts William Riley, employment specialist Dan Chapman, litigator Darren Bowen and estate planning solicitor Tessa Bonser are other key figures within the charities team. Clients praise the firm’s subscription-based Employmentor service, which provides access to legal materials and advice on HR matters and in which associate Sarah Appleton plays a key role. Commercial property solicitor Cara Keen is a regular advisor to OPEN Youth Trust. The firm’s recent highlights include advising the Foundation for Environmental Education on its worldwide branding strategy. Other clients include Active Norfolk, Healthwatch Norfolk and The Great Hospital.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors in Norwich launched its new charities team in 2016, building on its existing reputation for advising clients in the sector. Neale Grearson leads the team and brings together specialist commercial and property lawyers including senior partner Hugh Berridge, ‘pleasant, helpful and efficient’ solicitor Jade Tinney and consultants Michael Olmer and Chris King. The firm’s client base includes a wide variety of local and national charities, charitable trusts and associations and in 2016 it won contracts to provide legal services for The Benjamin Foundation and Norfolk Samaritans. The team also acted for the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, which trades as Rethink Mental Illness, on property matters such as lease renewal. Hoveton Parish Council and Community Action Norfolk are also clients of the firm.

Steeles Law provides ‘excellent, timely and affordable service’ and clients report that the team is ‘very efficient and knowledgeable’. Real estate partner Michael Fahy leads the team; in 2016 he provided property advice to charities such as the Church Commissioners for England, The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and numerous academies. Also recommended are corporate partners Nigel Lubbock and Richard Bailey, and employment specialist Oliver Brabbins. The firm’s recent highlights include advising Lambeth Accord on the letting arrangements for a building in London that operates as a serviced office for disability charities.


Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Birketts LLP is one of a small number of firms with a dedicated contentious trusts and probate practitioner in senior associate Bernadette Baker, who is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS). Commercial litigation partner Paul Matthews leads the practice from Norwich and is ‘proactive, well prepared and a strong advocate for his clients’. Associate Susannah Catchpole is also recommended for contentious probate, trust, commercial and agricultural matters. Baker and Natalie Carman acted for a woman who created an interest in possession trust with minors as beneficiaries and was, therefore, subject to IHT liabilities. At trial the team successfully determined that the claim met the conditions required to enable rectification of the trust to avoid tax. Another key matter saw Baker bring a claim for breach of trust on behalf of a child of a deceased woman who had created a discretionary trust over a joint life investment bond.

Greene & Greene is ‘excellent; it provides first-class advice that always meets clients’ needs and is highly professional even in extremely difficult matters’. ACTAPS member, consultant and family lawyer Kate Chandler and solicitor Ben Foxhave a thorough understanding of probate law and invaluable expertise in the field of highly pressurised litigation’. Fox is also described as ‘knowledgeable, professional and extremely good at his job; he knows how to be sympathetic to the human cost of contentious matters’. Head of the private client department, STEP member and chartered tax adviser Wayne Perrin is also recommended. Chandler and Fox worked together on many high-value contentious matters, including the successful removal of an executor from an estate valued at more than £5m. They also provided advice to a cohabitee on a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 concerning a multimillion-pound estate, and acted in a challenge to the validity of a will on the grounds of want of knowledge and approval.

Hewitsons has a team of three fee earners who are all ACTAPS members and who cover the full spectrum of disputes in this area, often for high-net-worth individuals and charities. The firm not only has a strong track record of success at trial in reported cases, but also stands out for its skills in mediation. Lucinda Brown is ‘a consistently excellent practitioner; her judgement is always wise and she is an absolute pleasure to work with’. Counsel praises her ‘thoroughness, practicality, excellent knowledge of the law and genuine understanding of what the case means to the client’. Solicitor Kate Harris is also recommended. Brown pursued claims for breach of trust on behalf of a lifetime tenant of a trust against his father regarding assets that include major land holdings in Suffolk. The father was removed as trustee by consent and further claims relating to the son’s retirement from the family farming partnership were settled at mediation. Brown also defended a high-net-worth individual in a claim for financial provision from a multimillion-pound estate.

The team at Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘very professional and competent, giving excellent support to its clients’. The firm handles disputes concerning the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and related claims concerning lifetime transactions. It also acts for a number of charities involved in contested legacy matters. ACTAPS member David Catchpole focuses exclusively on contentious trust and probate matters and is ‘thorough and persistent; he keeps clients well informed’. Senior associate Lucy Howard is ‘very supportive and constructive in her advice’. The team recently acted for the husband and son of a deceased woman who left a large part of her estate to relatives with whom she did not have a close relationship. The clients are challenging the validity of the will on the grounds that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity. In another key matter, the team defended a claim concerning a will that left property to a client whose relatives allege undue influence over the deceased.

Ashtons Legal invested in its contentious trusts and probate team in 2016 with the recruitment of solicitor Bee Belby, who joined from Pitmans LLP and adds specialist experience in Agricultural Holdings Act disputes. The team is led by the ‘cool, calm and collected’ Polly Stephenson, who ‘can handle the most difficult situations and clients’, and Rob Adam; they attract praise for ‘always knowing when the strength of the other is better suited to a given situation’. In a key case they acted for a claimant who brought a case against her brother who, while acting as attorney, took a large sum from his late father during his lifetime; Stephenson helped her client apply for a freezing order and move to have her brother removed as an executor. An application for committal for breach of order is now ongoing. Another complex matter involved advising executors on actions against a fellow executor who had taken money from a deceased man while acting as his carer.

Clients of Buckles Solicitors LLPwould unhesitatingly recommend the firm to others’, and the team ‘deals with matters in a professional way, quickly resolving any queries clients may have’. Mediator Paul Branch has 30 years’ litigation experience; he ‘never gives up and always shows empathy, honesty and consideration for clients’. ‘Helpful, professional and determined’ senior solicitor Alex Burch deals primarily with contentious trusts and probate, continuing healthcare claims and care home fee disputes. In 2016, the firm handled two Inheritance Act claims relating to high-value estates, one valued at more than £6.5m and the other at £1.8m. In one standout case the team advised the daughter of the deceased on the rectification of a will.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors provides ‘excellent service and respects timescales and costs’. Managing partner Tammy Parnell leads the team and is ‘very understanding and approachable, giving a personal service and answering clients’ questions quickly and efficiently’. She expanded the team to include newly qualified solicitor Thomas Keene and consultants Michael Olmer – who has more than 15 years’ litigation experience – and Philip Lumb, who has in-depth knowledge of European and international wills and trusts law. Recent work includes acting on behalf of two executors alleging substantial theft, abuse and neglect and undue influence against beneficiaries of an estate.

Leathes Prior’s specialist team ‘compares very well with the main competition in Norfolk’. The team focuses on contentious probate, property litigation and agricultural disputes and is led by litigator Darren Bowen who is ‘incisive, clear-thinking and a strong advocate for his clients, but always open to practical ideas for settlement’. He is assisted by solicitors Sabina Haag and Calum Paterson, who are praised for their efficiency and technical expertise. The team acted for the wife of a deceased man who was the executrix and sole beneficiary of a multimillion-pound estate in a dispute with her husband’s brother and sister regarding the estate’s entitlement in respect of business partnerships in which they were involved. Bowen also defended a man against claims made against his late parents’ estates in which siblings claimed he exerted undue influence to benefit from shares in a family business.

Tees Law is ‘excellent, always responding fast to queries with good, robust advice’. Senior associate, ACTAPS member and higher court advocate Sara Stabler ‘provides assurance and ultimately achieves very satisfactory resolutions’. Her broad litigation practice increasingly focuses on contentious trust and probate matters for which and clients describe her as ‘passionate about the ability to steer a client in times of extreme stress and emotional instability’. Solicitor Pheobe Street now devotes her practice to this area of law to support Stabler. In 2016, the team acted on behalf of the claimants in a long-running probate dispute between residuary beneficiaries. The case led to the honouring of the deceased’s wishes despite attempts by the defendant who had frustrated a mediation agreement and was ultimately subject to enforcement proceedings and penal notices.

At Fosters, partner Chris Fielding has a niche contentious probate practice representing personal representatives, beneficiaries and potential claimants against estates. In 2016, he advised beneficiaries in a complex dispute with the personal representative of an estate valued at more than £1m that necessitated the issue of High Court action and is currently proceeding in the Chancery Division. He also acted for the executor and residuary beneficiary of an estate valued in the region of £500,000 in relation to an Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975 claim where the matter settled substantially in the client’s favour at mediation.

Steeles Law is known for being ‘approachable, thorough and efficient’. Head of wills, probate and tax Karen Bacon has the support of barrister Tom Bailey’s dispute resolution team, which regularly deals with contentious probate matters. Bailey advised the executor of the estate of a deceased traveller in a claim brought by the deceased’s long-term partner, which involved assets in Jersey and Turkey.


Family

Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLP has a highly respected practice that represents high-net-worth individuals in East Anglia, London and beyond. It has twelve fee-earners across its four offices, all of whom are members of Resolution; their caseloads often include matters involving complex jurisdictional claims concerning finances and children. Oliver Gravell has more than 25 years’ experience and leads a team that includes experienced senior associates Katie Beaven, who acts in matters with complex financial arrangements including divorce, separation, and nuptial agreements, and who represents clients both in court and in arbitration proceedings; and the extremely organised and efficientRoopa Ahluwalia, who is noted for her ‘excellent feel for the law relating to children and for her great manner with clients’. Senior associate Juliet Harvey joined from Greene & Greene and sits on the national committee of Resolution. Solicitor Lisa Churchill is well regarded for financial and Children Act matters. Ahluwalia recently helped a client with a pre-nuptial agreement involving £6m in assets, which was drafted so close to the date of the wedding by the client’s husband-to-be that it had to be reworked as a post-nuptial agreement.

Cambridge Family Law Practice has a ‘first-rate’ team of six partners who are collaboratively trained and regularly conduct their own advocacy. Tricia Ashton and child law arbitrator Simon Bethel are ‘highly rated practitioners’. Sue Vartyhandles both clients and the other side really well’. Gail Marchant-Daisley is widely regarded as one of the region’s most experienced family lawyers and Adam Moghadas is chair of the Cambridge and West Suffolk branch of Resolution. Accredited family mediator Suzy Ashworth operates a mediation consultancy as part of her practice. The firm regularly acts for entrepreneurs, business people, academics, landowners, solicitors, barristers and investment bankers. In a key matter for 2016, the practice handled an international matrimonial case that involved assets in excess of £300m. Natalie Sutherland joined in September 2017.

Mills & Reeve LLPsits at the top of the league as one of the go-to firms for heavy and complex family cases’. Clients describe the ‘Rolls Royce service’ provided by the practice as ‘top tier in terms of client care, out-of-court resolution and contentious litigation’. Nick Stone in Norwich leads the team and is ‘first class; he is highly regarded as one of the best matrimonial lawyers in East Anglia, a stickler for procedure who gives clients sound advice’. Caitlin Jenkins leads the Cambridge team and ‘combines robust technical knowledge with excellent people skills’. The team’s third partner is Roger Bamber, who works from the London and Cambridge offices and has particular expertise in complex financial matters involving business owners. The firm also has a strong team of associates in ‘formidable litigator’ George Sprague, who is ‘incredibly thorough and dependable, smart and practical, and has a lovely bedside manner’; Hannah Wilson, who is ‘highly rated for her collaborative work’; and Frances Bailey, who ‘has a very personable manner, can provide difficult advice when needed, and prepares matters meticulously’. Barristers also praise family law executive Christine Bensley as ‘very experienced, comprehensive and impeccable in her instructions to counsel’. The team recently acted for a husband in divorce proceedings in the High Court, which involved assets valued at more than £50m.

Taylor Vinters is ‘at the top of the tree for family law in Cambridge; it offers unparalleled advice to clients’. ‘Simply brilliant’ head of department Jackie Wells is ‘a tough and effective negotiator with a sensitive but no-nonsense approach’. Clients value her ‘ability to make people feel comfortable discussing personal issues and blends personal warmth with professional acumen’. Her caseload comprises complex and high-value matters, often with an international element, and she acts predominantly for entrepreneurs, City professionals, landowners and business owners. Senior associate Alexandra Gooden is ‘clearly a rising star, thorough in her preparation with a knack for spotting problems and avoiding them’. Clients praise her work in highly contentious matters relating to children and highlight her ‘calm and reassuring manner as well as the realistic and honest advice she provides, which comes from being tactically astute; she brings uncommon intellectual rigour to emotive proceedings’. Senior associate Sylvia Haigh is also recommended for her advice to professionals in relation to both divorce and pre-marital agreements.

Ashtons Legal provides a ‘straightforward, prompt and knowledgeable service’. The team ‘has the breadth of expertise and personal skills to go the extra mile in its clients’ best interests’. The firm regularly acts for clients with substantial assets, including significant land and trust holdings. ‘Superb, incisive and down to earth’ head of family law Stephen Williams can be counted on for ‘extremely helpful advice’. Clients describe him as ‘calm, intelligent, supportive and insightful’. He has 20 years’ experience and is known for his work with clients in the agricultural industry and in children cases. He is a member of the Family Panel, the Children Panel, The Advanced Family Panel, Re-unite and Resolution and is a trained collaborative lawyer. Mary Pearce specialises in the financial aspects of breakdowns in marriages or cohabitation arrangement and frequently acts for the firm’s commercial clients in family matters. Consultant Brenda Head and ‘kind, prompt’ solicitor Katy Williamson (who ‘will make an outstanding solicitor’) are among the recommended lawyers in the team of eight fee earners. In a key matter for 2016, the team acted in a high-profile separation in which the asset pool was valued at more than £100m and consisted of land, trusts and investments.

Buckles Solicitors LLP has ‘a highly effective family department’ that includes vastly experienced partners in Lyn Brisley and Roger Gurney. ‘Highly deserving of her reputation as a leading family lawyer in the region’, team head Brisley ‘gives straightforward and pragmatic advice based on a very good knowledge of the law and legal practice; clients like her and appreciate her down-to-earth approach’. Gurney is ‘very personable, gives sensible advice, shows empathy to his clients at a difficult time in their lives and fights their corner every inch of the way’. Gurney and Brisley have strong support from associates Donna Sandall, who is known for her ‘attention to detail and excellent client skills’, and Helen Saggers; and solicitor Anika Aston. The firm is best known for dealing with complex financial matters invoving trusts, international cases and agricultural matters involving complex land ownership and farming business interests. Among the firm’s recent cases was the separation of two highly paid professionals with assets valued at almost £50m.

I cannot recommend the firm highly enough’, says a client of Butcher Andrews, which has ‘lawyers who are extremely knowledgeable and outstanding in their areas of expertise’. Adney Payne (who is ‘the firm’s star and rainmaker’), Julia Buckingham and legal executive Jean Curtis ‘provide exceptional service to clients and achieve the best conclusion for their clients without resorting to antagonism or aggression’. Clients note that Buckingham is ‘careful, diligent and very good with clients, providing emotional support as well as legal advice’. Both partners conduct their own advocacy before the county and magistrates courts. The firm is handling a growing number of high-net-worth cases for clients based in East Anglia and London.

Gotelee Solicitorshas an outstanding grasp of the situation facing clients and always produces the right responses’. The firm is widely regarded as having one of the best family law practices in Ipswich and clients thoroughly recommend trained mediator and team head Helen Stuart. She has more than 20 years’ experience in high-net-worth divorce cases, often involving family-run businesses as the primary asset. She sits part-time as a Deputy District Judge in East Anglia and is a regyular fixture at the Divorce Unit in Bury St Edmunds, which processes divorce petitions for the South East of England. Collaboratively trained Jane Fowles, who works in both the Ipswich and Hadleigh offices, is well known for her sensitive approach to divorce, financial and children disputes. Ivana Radovic is a trained mediator and secretary of both the local Resolution Group and the Suffolk & North Essex Law Society. Legal executive Samantha Markham in the firm’s Felixstowe office is also recommended. The team recently obtained a Without Notice Prohibited Steps Order to prevent the removal of a child, and is currently involved in an ongoing case in Chelmsford and the High Court in London concerning children who are subject to child protection concerns.

An approachable, busy firm with bucketloads of experience’, Hunt & Coombs LLPhas an excellent reputation, especially in the areas of child protection and high-value matrimonial matters’. Denis White (who has ‘impeccable judgement and a wisdom judges respect’), Edward Owen and team head Farhana Buttall have excellent in-depth knowledge of their areas of law’. They are all collaboratively trained and do the majority of their own advocacy. Butt is praised for her ‘determination, business awareness, interpersonal skills and loyalty to clients’. Clients also recommend senior solicitor Louise Ballantyne, who is a member of the Law Society Children Panel and is ‘greatly respected among guardians’, and solicitors Sophie Scotcher, who is ‘part of a driven children matters team with a reassuring manner’, and Giuseppe Pingerna, who is ‘clear and informative’. The team also has the support of in-house counsel Davide Corbino. A key matter for the team was its work for a wife in a divorce with a complex portfolio of assets valued at £8m.

Prettys is ‘an excellent firm with friendly, reliable and well-respected lawyers who offer an excellent service’. Collaborative lawyer and team head Georgie Hall has more than 20 years’ experience and is widely regarded as one of the best family lawyers in Ipswich. The ‘approachable and straightforward’ Georgina Rayment, who has more than ten years’ experience as a family law specialist and mediator, ‘has a very good manne;, sympathetic but firm and confident in her advice’. Matthew Clemence rejoined the firm as a senior associate having spent eight years at Edmondson Hall. Solicitor and mediator Victoria Mayhew is also recommended. The firm operates an innovative dispute resolution service called Talking Works that is predominantly used for family law matters. It aims to identify the best method for resolving a dispute and includes mediation services. One of Hall’s recent cases saw her represent a retired woman in divorce proceedings concerning more than £20m in assets including a £1.25m home for the occupation of which both parties had applied for injunctive relief.

Woolley & Co, Solicitors is ‘a professional firm that knows how to identify the issues, advise well and prepare cases for court’. The team comprises a network of 23 experienced partners working across the UK, of which four are located in East Anglia. The ‘pragmatic, conscientious and persistent’ Karen Agnew-Griffith in Thetford is ‘very personable, always completely in charge of her cases and ready to work tirelessly for her clients’. ‘Excellent family lawyer’ Tamara Glanvill in St Neots is known for her ‘knowledge, good judgment and reasoned advice’. Nick Wiseman in Great Yarmouth is ‘very proactive and intuitive, which is a key strength in family law’. Abby Smith in St Neots is ‘amazing – very strong and knowledgeable in family law, delivering clear communication and strong advice’. Recent cases include a high-value ancillary relief matter that involved issues of coercive control, and a case concerning a post-nuptial agreement with complex jurisdictional issues.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors continues to build its reputation as a prominent family law practice in Norfolk and is best known for its work in divorce, financial relief Children Act, unmarried couple and Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TLATA) matters. Neale Grearson is co-founder of the Norfolk Collaborative Law Group and has more than 25 years’ experience. He mainly handles financial arrangements surrounding divorce and separation but also handles arrangements for children post-divorce. One recent case involved assets valued at more than £10m. Solicitor Caroline Mitchell works from the Norwich and North Walsham offices and is now a committee member of the Norfolk Resolution Group. She undertakes all aspects of family work, from divorce and civil partnership dissolution to advising unmarried couples on property rights upon separation. She also assists with emergency applications such as injunctions. Managing partner Tammy Parnell is a qualified collaborative lawyer and often handles TLATA applications. Consultant Caroline Ashmole is also recommended.

FM Family Law is known for its ‘user-friendly, cost-effective and supportive approach’. The firm has been operating as a specialist family law practice for six years and, having started with just one partner in qualified mediator Fiona McLeman, has grown to four lawyers working from two offices in Cambridge and Norwich. Key figures in Cambridge include McLeman, who has 20 years’ experience and is a trustee of Relate Cambridge, and senior associate Christina Hale. Hale is a family mediator and serves as the Young Resolution representative on the Cambridge & West Suffolk Resolution committee and on the committee of Cambridge & Ely Children’s Contact Centre. Newly promoted partner Sue Bailey and solicitor Rebecca Calthorpe work in Norwich. Bailey is a committee member of the Norfolk and Norwich branch of Resolution and is a committee member of the Norfolk and Norwich Law Society.

The team at Fosters in Norwich has highly experienced practitioners in partners Iain McClay and Lucy Simpson, who jointly head the practice; senior associate Clare Sharpe; and solicitor Helen Barnes. McClay has 25 years’ experience of family law and specialises in the financial side of divorce. He also advises on pre-nuptial agreements and is a qualified mediator and head of the practice’s mediation team. Simpson has a wide range of expertise, including knowledge of financial matters, deeds of trust, private law cases for children, international cases and special guardianship orders.

Hegarty LLP’s team ‘has an excellent breadth of knowledge and experience to cover every aspect of family law, in particular complex financial remedies and children cases’. The firm has a six-lawyer practice in its three offices in Peterborough, Stamford and Oakham , which handles high-value financial matters as well as a broad palette of cases involving divorce, pre-nuptial agreements, parental responsibility agreements, children’s issues, domestic violence and change of name deeds. The team is led by the ‘charming’ Carl Russell, who has 42 years’ experience and brings to bear his ‘experience, wisdom and abundant common sense’. Associate Chris Brown ‘takes on hard work with an air of ease and charm’. Legal executive Lesley Knight is recommended for domestic violence and Children Act matters. Highly experienced and collaboratively trained solicitor Jane Tatlock handles high-value private cases. One recent case involved the division of multimillion-pound assets and the sale of a limited company.

Kerseys Solicitors is ‘very reliable, professional and proficient, and its lawyers are well organised, helpful and clearly have full knowledge of their cases’. The firm has two experienced partners in Elaine Webb (who ‘can be fully relied upon to run a case appropriately and efficiently; she is excellent in court and advocates effectively on behalf of her clients’) and Clare Thomas (who is ‘very knowledgeable’). Clients of Resolution member Thomas praise her ‘excellent negotiation skills and her ability to keep cool and calm in stressful situations’. Consultant and accredited mediator Rosemary Carter is also recommended. The team has a number of talented up-and-coming lawyers in associate Janet Raeburn and ‘extremely courteous, conscientious, kind and accessible’ solicitor Victoria Cole, who is ‘very diligent and meticulous’. Thomas recently completed a complex divorce matter involving a husband with a high-profile job who lived in Europe. A financial settlement was reached fifteen years after the initial breakdown of the marriage.

Leathes Prior delivers ‘exemplary service and clear and accurate advice’. The firm advises on all aspects of private family law including divorce, financial remedy, private children matters, nuptial agreements, cohabitation disputes and non-molestation and occupation orders. Its financial relief cases often involve large incomes and pensions, interests in limited companies and assets derived from inheritance, trusts or bonuses. Partner Alisdair Douglas leads the team and has almost 20 years’ experience in family law. He is an advanced member of the Family Law Panel, an accredited Resolution specialist in the areas of advanced financial provision and private children law, and a member of the Good Divorce Group in Norfolk. Associate Simon Willis is ‘superb – he is always clear, on time and makes clients feel valued’. The team also comprises legal executive Laura Savage and trainee Carla Morphett. Recent work includes acting for a husband on a divorce involving assets valued at £6m.

Slater and Gordon launched its family team in Cambridge in September 2016, adding to the firm’s national practice. Caroline Watson, who is predominantly based in Milton Keynes but spends a significant amount of time in the local office, leads a team that has experience in international cases as well as complex financial and children matters. ‘Straight-talking, concise and empathetic’ senior associate Grace Brass, who joined from Tees Law, is president of the Cambridgeshire & District Law Society and is a member of the Law Society’s Family Committee. She recently undertook advocacy in a children matter before the High Court. Associate Marc Etherington regularly undertakes his own advocacy and is known for representing clients in complex cases involving divorce, finances, cohabitation, children and applications under the Family Law Act. One of his recent cases involved a client who separated from his wife, with whom he had two children, and who had been served with a non-molestation order due to incidents of domestic violence.

Clients of Steeles Lawwould not hesitate to recommend the firm’ and note that ‘the client service is second to none; all of the advice is professional and to the point, as well as fair and clear’. The firm has a strong reputation in divorce and high-net-worth financial remedy cases; pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and cohabitation agreements; matters involving same-sex couples; and Children Act proceedings including applications for child arrangements orders. The firm’s strong agricultural links see it act in many cases involving farms and family businesses. Associate and head of team Amanda Owens shows ‘empathy without sympathy and is fair but firm’; ‘her wonderful, kind personality gives clients reassurance’. Emma Alfieri ‘always works for the best interests of her clients’ and has ‘brilliant communication skills and clear judgement’. In a recent case Owens acted for the wife divorcing her husband after more than 20 years, in which she obtained a favourable settlement for her client in regard to maintenance payments.

Tees Law has ‘a client-focused and pragmatic approach that ensures good client service’. ‘Pragmatic, sensible and candid’ associate Elisabeth Sneade leads the Cambridge team and ‘serves as an effective advocate for her clients’. She was joined by associate Deborah Hargreaves and a paralegal following the firm’s merger with Irena Spence & Co. Simon Gummer returned to his former firm Edmondson Hall and Grace Brass joined Slater and Gordon. Despite the recent changes in the team the firm retains a strong reputation in Cambridge for mediation, collaborative law and litigation. Sneade recently assisted a nationally renowned sculptor and artist with the negotiation of a financial agreement after separation from his wife. She avoided contested proceedings and negotiated a modest lump sum as settlement.

Vardags opened its new Cambridge office in August 2016, and its ‘excellent team’ is establishing itself as a strong competitor to firms in the area. The firm is ‘involved in matrimonial disputes at the highest level and its group of specialist lawyers apply an impressive level of analysis and thought into its representations’. ‘Extremely sensible family lawyerArron Bortoft is ‘incredibly energetic, detailed and conscientious, but has a fantastic, user-friendly rapport with his clients’. He recently acted for the wife of a successful entrepreneur whose assets are valued in the hundred of millions of pounds and include substantial business holdings in the UK and overseas. The matter is currently being heard in the High Court. He is also acting in the high-profile case Quan v Bray, which raises issues around whether a trust was a nuptial settlement when it was set up.

Cozens-Hardy LLP attracts praise for its ‘in-depth local knowledge’. The collaboratively trained Jane Anderson is ‘a leading divorce lawyer in the area with a reputation for being approachable and fair with sound judgement and a clear legal mind’. The firm has a 40-year track record in Norwich and maintains a solid reputation for both private and public law children cases. Iain White, Sandra Nunn and collaboratively trained Jane Anderson are highly recommended. Anderson regularly handles high-net-worth divorce and ancillary matters. The team is a member of Resolution and the Law Society Family Panel, and has a Legal Aid Agency contract for public law children’s advocacy.

Fraser Dawbarns is ‘rated very highly indeed on everything from the simplest small money cases through to the most complex financial cases; it has a client-focused approach and the team combines a high level of expertise with the ability to provide realistic and sensible advice’. The firm is seen as the ‘the leading practice in West Norfolk, combining the expertise of a large firm with the personality of a small firm’. The ‘very approachable’ Deborah Allen leads the team and is a highly experienced financial remedy lawyer for high-value and farming cases’ who ‘not only has a no nonsense approach, but also a sense of humour’. Melinda Smith is recommended for her ‘great client manner and efficient style’. The firm’s recent matters include a case involving complex and technical pension issues successfully argued on behalf of client who held the pension, and a high-net-worth matter involving pensions and assets abroad that raised issues of jurisdiction.

Greene & Greene has a highly capable family team and is seen as one of the leading practices based in the Bury St Edmunds area. Stuart Hughes leads the team has a reputation as a robust litigator who also excels settling matrimonial matters amicably through constructive negotiation. Hughes is qualified as a mediator and is assisted by collaboratively trained solicitors Melanie Pilmer - and Emily Woodhouse. Pilmer specialises in resolving complex financial disputes that often involve business assets. Consultant Kate Chandler supports the team with her experience in divorce and Inheritance Act matters. Hughes and Pilmer recently achieved a favourable settlement for a husband by arguing that assets valued at £5m were entirely non-matrimonial and the claims of his wife were limited to needs, enabling a negotiated settlement without court proceedings. Juliet Harvey joined Birketts LLP in Ipswich.

Howes Percival LLP is ‘exceptionally good; clients feel reassured about their cases’. Collaborative lawyer and team head Amy Walpole ‘keeps clients thoroughly informed and is absolutely straightforward and honest in her advice’. Walpole established the family practice in the Norwich office three years ago and has seen it go from strength to strength. In 2016 her caseload included complex divorces that involved inherited wealth, trusts, final salary pensions and issues of undue influence. She also advised on a significant TLATA matter. The team acted for a respondent husband and local business owner in divorce matters and financial proceedings that involved assets exceeding £9m, in which it successfully ringfenced all of his business assets.

Irwin Mitchellhas quickly become one of the big players locally’, and its ‘outstanding’ practice delivers ‘a stellar service to clients’. The ‘approachable and friendlyAlison Fernandes, who leads the teams in the Cambridge and Sheffield offices, ‘has strong judgement and a good command of the different areas of law that overlap in family cases; her best characteristics are arguably her warmth and her ability to deal deftly with vulnerable clients’. Fernandes focuses mainly on medium-to-high-net-worth financial disputes and complex private children cases, and Cambridge-based assistant Shereen Chohan handles private children and injunction work. The team works closely with the firm’s personal injury, Court of Protection and private client teams to provide specialist advice in cases involving multimillion-pound personal injury settlements on divorce.

Rogers and Norton is ‘very good indeed. The ‘personable, professional and efficient’ team comprises two senior solicitors and one trainee; the ‘consultative and supportive’ Kerry Rowell leads on family law matters from the Norwich office and is ‘a credit to the firm’, and Averil Ballam in Attleborough is a key part of the ‘strong, professional and knowledgeable team’. Both Ballam and Rowell have more than 15 years’ experience and have built up the practice’s reputation as one of the best in Norfolk. Among the matters Rowell handled in 2016 was a divorce in which the assets involved exceeded £5m in value and included a large property portfolio, pension investments and discretionary trusts. She also acted in several cases relating to final salary pension assets, one of which concerned two ITV final salary schemes with compound accrual valued at more than £750,000.

At Woodfines LLP, collaborative lawyer and experienced mediator Clare Pilsworth has more than 20 years’ experience in family law. She is a member of the Family Mediation Council and has the Law Society’s Family Law Accreditation. Pilsworth works alongside Resolution-accredited chartered legal executive Jackie Jessiman, who specialises in advanced financial provision and cohabitation law. In one key matter from 2016 the team acted in divorce and financial remedy proceedings involving a marriage of more than 20 years. After separation, the husband developed a severe brain condition that led to a stroke and permanent disability. The proceedings included payments from critical illness policies and resulted in a clean break order for the husband.

Barker Gotelee’s team consists of one partner and two solicitors. Resolution member Nicola Furmston leads the team and has 25 years’ experience in family law and mediation. She regularly handles divorce, civil partnership annulments, financial settlements, arrangements for children, pre-marriage and civil partnership financial planning and cohabitation agreements. Solicitor Josephine Hayes and Amanda Erskine are also recommended.

At Blocks, partner Demelza Butler is ‘fantastic – professional, friendly and knowledgeable enough to look at a situation from many perspectives’. She has 13 years’ experience, is a member of Resolution and ‘is in tune with how difficult it is to go through a divorce, which makes it easy to talk to her’. Her recent work includes advising on a long-running farming case that is currently at the litigation stage and involves complex legal structures including a trust settled a number of years before the marriage. She also handled a case relating to a very short marriage where the parties are nearing retirement, raising legal principles concerning pre-acquired assets.

Edmondson Hall’s specialist family law team has undergone some changes: Matthew Clemence re-joined Prettys in Ipswich, while the highly respected Simon Gummer returned after seven years at Tees Law in Cambridge. Gummer has 40 years’ experience in family law that includes issues relating to children, International child abduction, pre-nuptial agreements, land trust issues between separating couples and high-net-worth financial relief claims within divorce proceedings.

At Spire Solicitors LLP, Richard Bevan specialises in all aspects of public and private child care law and is very highly regarded in the local community around Norwich. He also handles numerous cases of domestic violence. Litigator Sarb Gosal is head of the family team and a member of Resolution. Collaborative lawyer Amanda Maruca specialises in divorce, separation, cohabitee disputes, domestic abuse advice and financial provision. Legal executive Karen Fox has 30 years’ experience in family law.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Leading individuals (region-wide)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Ashtons Legal has a ‘highly professional and knowledgeable’ team in Cambridge that includes Jennie Pratt, who has a highly respected high-net-worth estate planning practice and whose ‘calm manner and ability to explain complex matters in a way clients understand’ is greatly valued. She has 25 years’ experience acting for clients with complex estates that often include overseas assets. Other key figures include Lynn Wicks, a lifetime planning specialist with a strong niche in continuing care, statutory wills and other Solicitors for the Elderly matters. The team is also strong at associate level thanks to highly experienced Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) members Christina Duck and Gillian Brasher. Among the numerous complex matters the team has recently handled was the matter of a family in which parents and children died intestate. The case involved careful negotiation with extended family members to decide on their rights to administer the £1m estate.

The team at Birketts LLP is ‘excellent, swift to respond and provides knowledgeable advice at a reasonable cost’. Its practice covers the full range of trusts, tax, succession planning and probate matters but it has notable areas of specialist expertise that include advice to trustees and beneficiaries of domestic and offshore trusts; trust management and accountancy; wills and lifetime planning for business executives and landowners; Court of Protection matters; and inheritance tax (IHT) and capital gains tax advice. Team head Caroline Stenner, who provides ‘clear advice’, and senior associate Catherine Bacon both ‘understand the issues and compare very well indeed to other practitioners in the region’. Associate Rachel Winter is recommended for her Court of Protection work and her advice to business executives. The team’s recent work included advising a board of trustees on their duties in administering a trust valued at more than £100m.

The level of service is fantastic’ at Hewitsons, whose private client team works across all four of its offices. Key figures in Cambridge include team head Daniel Curtis; the ‘helpful and friendlyElizabeth Davies, who is ‘well informed, always quick to respond and provides top-notch service’; the ‘attentive, personable and professionalBernadette O’Reilly, who is ‘very knowledgeable on trusts’, especially those involving international assets; and solicitor Katherine Hague, who ‘excels in all financial matters’. Vastly experienced associates Emma Satterly and Kelly Wardell are recommended for tax planning, trusts and Court or Protection matters. The firm is well known for its administration of trusts and has a strong client base of landed estates, owners of heritage property and high-net-worth individuals. The team recently acted for the trustees of a trust valued at more than £20m in complex tax and succession planning matters.

For some, Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘the leading firm in the area for private client matters’. Team head Chris Belcher is praised for his ‘pragmatic approach to problem solving, client rapport and knowledge of tax matters’. He is also praised for his ‘excellent technical knowledge and ability to explain complicated issues to clients’. The firm regularly advises ultra-high-net-worth clients, often with an international dimension to their needs. Senior associate Alex Hunt ‘understands clients’ needs quickly and provides appropriate advice, making an effort to ensure it is practical and easy to understand’. Senior associate Kimberly Sayward is also recommended for her work on setting up corporate structures for UK investors and her tax advice to trustees and business owners. The firm recently advised a high-profile sportsman on all aspects of his private client and commercial affairs, which included the setting up of trusts in the UK and overseas to take advantage of his non-domiciled status.

Taylor Vinters is ‘an excellent alternative to large London private client firms – it provides a great service at a very reasonable price’, according to clients. The ‘extremely responsive’ James Packer ‘adopts a commercial approach and is very user-friendly’ in dealing with tax, trust and estate matters for business executives and other high-net-worth individuals. The team also calls on the considerable experience of rural partner Adrian Horwood-Smart to advise on strategic planning for farming clients and large landed estates, and Mike Bell, who regularly advises high-net-worth non-domiciled investor clients on private real estate investments and asset protection matters. Senior associate Emma Parsons is regarded as a rising star for estate planning, wills, powers of attorney and trusts. The firm runs a popular in-house estate planning surgery for City professionals. Among the firm’s recent work was the preparation of a deathbed will for a client with a high-value estate that included substantial assets both in the UK and overseas.

The ‘formidable team’ at Greenwoods Solicitors LLP is ‘consistently excellent, very efficient, and clear and concise in its advice’. Director and head of the private client team Tim Addinell is now based predominantly in Cambridge and ‘provides top-quality advice’ on wills, estates and trusts, predominantly for high-net-worth individuals. ‘Knowledgeable and friendly’ STEP-qualified senior solicitor Clare Threlfall ‘is a real problem solver; she is always prepared to go the extra mile for her clients’. The team’s recent work includes organising a life interest trust – for which Addinel is a trustee – for the disabled daughter of a deceased man to ensure an adequate flow of income. Addinel also advised on a multimillion-pound trust matter related to a clinical negligence claim.

Tees Lawhas a friendly approach to clients and its advice is always clear and concise’. The firm is best known for its expertise in the administration of complex and high-value estates, including those with agricultural and international elements. The ‘highly experiencedCatherine Mowat, who has 17 years’ experience in private client matters, is ‘a tower of strength, a good listener and a wise counsellor’. She leads a team of four lawyers that was joined in 2016 by STEP-qualified senior associate James Marsh from Tees Law. He is best known for trusts, tax planning and elderly client matters. Clients also recommend Angela Sewell for advice on financial matters including IHT and trust administration. Mowat is the executor of a multimillion-pound estate with assets in the UK and Switzerland, which had to be restructured to minimise IHT liability.

Woodfines LLP has a ‘refreshingly approachable and friendly’ team that includes one of the region’s most experienced practitioners in Alun Butler, who ‘always gets positive responses and meets clients’ needs’. In 2016, he advised numerous owner-managed businesses on tax-efficient structures and private trusts to enable senior employees to maximise IHT and capital gains relief. The ‘cost-effective and efficientKarl Dembicki receives high praise for his specialist advice to vulnerable and elderly clients. He was recently instructed by Professor Simon Baron Cohen to handle the administration of the estate of his late wife.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Leading individuals (region-wide)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

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Clients of Barker Gotelee note the firm’s ability to provide ‘prompt and concise advice’ and highlight the ‘excellent support and attention to detail’ provided by associate Ann-Marie Matthews, who joined from Nicholsons Solicitors LLP. Senior partner James Skellorn leads a team of seven fee earners and is praised for ‘his knowledge, clarity and integrity’. The firm advises mainly family businesses, many of which operate in the farming industry and clients remark that ‘its lawyers work as a team to ensure clients are not kept waiting for answers’. ‘Professional and compassionate’ trust manager Peter Gooch and ‘friendly and personable’ solicitor Gail Frankland are also picked out for praise. The firm acted as executor of an estate exceeding £1m in value that required careful administration to meet IHT liabilities but avoid additional capital gains tax after it increased substantially in value.

Birketts LLP is ‘a proven leader in this practice area locally’. Its team provides expert advice on the full range of private client matters including complex trust and probate issues, the administration of landed estates and high-value trusts, wills, succession planning and powers of attorney. Its client base includes not only family business and high-net-worth individuals in Suffolk, but also non-doms with substantial assets in the UK. Louise Long leads the probate team and is well known for her advice on IHT matters, often involving multimillion-pound estates. Charles Boscawen has in-depth knowledge of tax, trusts and property relief matters. Senior associate Richard Guy, who joined from Prettys, attracts praise for his ‘considered, pragmatic advice’. Partner and agricultural specialist Nigel Farthing provides valuable support to the private client team. Boscawen advised the executors of the estate of a deceased man with substantial farming and property assets in the UK and overseas.

Gotelee Solicitors has a strong private client practice that includes STEP member Peter Crix, who has over 30 years’ experience in tax and estate planning and recently took on the role of senior partner at the firm; and Karina Holland, who was promoted to associate in 2016 and specialises in high-value estates, trusts and tax planning matters. Crix continues to act as trustee of a number of substantial trusts including a landed estate in Yorkshire, a portfolio of residential properties in London and a multimillion-pound fund for a disabled beneficiary. He is also acting as trustee of a will trust that owns a farm in Suffolk including land that was subject to a family dispute settled at mediation.

Kerseys Solicitorstreats clients very well’ and provides ‘advice that is well thought out and practical’. The team is led by the ‘efficient and knowledgeable’ Peter Awad, who ‘deals with any problem in a calm and measured manner’, and includes partners Geoffrey Sutton and Leila Murray; consultant Nigel John Bonham-Carter; and ‘kind, considerate and helpful’ solicitor Tharani Thangavel, who is ‘extremely professional and sensitive to the needs of clients’. The team is best known for drafting wills and powers of attorney, applications to the Court of Protection, and the administration of high-value estates, often involving complex IHT issues. Sutton recently advised on the administration of a taxable estate with complex cross-border and business property relief components.

Clients receive ‘excellent service from everyone involved’ at ‘friendly local firmPrettys, whose ‘approachable, friendly and welcoming’ team attracts praise for providing ‘detailed, considered and very client-focused advice’. Partner and head of department Zoe Hodge is ‘diligent, thorough and determined to get the best result’. The team has five fee-earners in Ipswich including 30-year veteran solicitor Nigel George who ‘gives good, considered responses and always acts in the client’s best interests’. He enjoys a well-deserved reputation for his knowledge of private client matters, particularly for the elderly and those with mental capacity issues. Typical of the firm’s caseload was Hodge’s work on a personal injury trust valued at more than £4m, which included the management of a difficult relationship between the trustee and the beneficiary. Richard Guy joined Birketts LLP.

Ashtons Legal has two highly capable associates handling all aspects of private client work including the drafting of wills, administration of estates, preparation of trust documents and powers of attorney. The ‘helpful and approachable’ Janette Wand and the ‘extremely efficient’ Louise Cardwell are ‘very professional, have excellent knowledge and show great attention to detail’. Wand advised on a complex estate valued at more than £1m, which included historical non-matured investments that required restructuring to limit IHT liabilities. Cardwell handled probate matters for a £1m estate that involved substantial investigation to uncover its true value.

At Ellisons Solicitors, the ‘unflappable’ Ian Reed ‘has extensive experience and there is seldom a situation he has not encountered; his knowledge of Court of Protection work is among the best in the region’. Clients also praise the ‘invaluable’ trusts expertise of legal executive Jennie Kingham.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Leading individuals (region-wide)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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For some, Howes Percival LLP’s team is ‘head and shoulders above the rest; the lawyers are understanding, proactive, supportive and technically superb, and provide innovative solutions’. Specialist agricultural lawyer Catherine Scott leads the team and handles complex estate and tax planning matters for clients in the rural sector. The ‘highly intelligentStuart Maggs provides ‘detailed advice’ on strategic planning, management and tax minimisation. The ‘proactiveRichard Lovett is known for his ‘thought-provoking analysis’ and clients describe him as ‘an exceptionally safe pair of hands; he has all the expertise necessary to provide first-class advice’. STEP-accredited Tom Lawrence advises on a wide range of complex and technical wills, tax and trust matters. Jonathan Wortley has 37 years’ experience in private client and property matters and regularly advises high-net-worth individuals and non-doms on issues such as offshore tax planning. The team’s highlights from 2016 included the splitting and winding up of a complex trust that required the sale of numerous properties, and tax planning for the sale of land for development, which was carried out to tight timeframes.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s private wealth practice attracts praise for its ‘refreshing approach to tax planning’ and for its ability to handle the full range of private client work for a regional, national and international client base. Virginia Edgecombe leads the team and specialises in complex and high-value probate matters, as well as advising business owners and landowners on issues such as asset protection and tax planning. The firm’s senior partner Justin Ripman acts for numerous landed estates in East Anglia and across the UK, providing advice on strategy and complex tax planning matters such as heritage property and development land consortia and structuring trusts. Clients are ‘always happy to recommend top private client lawyer’ Gregory Laming, who advises wealthy individuals in the UK and abroad. He is rated for his ‘lateral approach to coming up with excellent solutions that many other lawyers would not see’. Associate Lauren Parker is recommended for her advice to landed estates and high-net-worth individuals. ‘Extremely bright and extremely personable’ associate Elizabeth Field advises landowners and entrepreneurs on wills, family trusts and capital tax planning. Last year, the team acted for the trustees of a multimillion-pound landed estate on tax structures for agricultural and business property relief as well as conditional exemptions for heritage property.

Birketts LLP is ‘extremely good, providing fast responses and sound advice that is cost-effective and practical’. The team is led from Chelmsford by Tim Galloway and provides an integrated private client service across its four offices. In Norwich, highly experienced partners Lorna Spear and agricultural trust expert Jack Royall are ‘knowledgeable, approachable and friendly’. Also based in Norwich, Neil Sparrow has an excellent reputation for advising high-net-worth clients and landed estates on complex tax and trust matters. Senior associate Margaret Smith, who regularly acts for agricultural clients on will, probate and tax matters, is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly. The team’s client base encompasses landed estates, farming families, wealthy individuals, business owners, landowners, trustees and estate beneficiaries across East Anglia and beyond. Recent highlights include advising an estate valued at more than £100m, which includes large agricultural land holdings and many complex trusts. The work encompassed a restructuring of assets and a review of the trusts to mitigate tax obligations.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitorshas a friendly and highly experienced team of skilled negotiators who see the problem in the round and think well beyond the legal factors’. It has one of the largest teams in Norfolk, with nine practitioners, all of whom are members of the Dementia Friends initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society. ‘Top-quality private client lawyer’ and Court of Protection deputy Lin Whitehead heads the team; she has 19 years’ experience and has been instrumental in building the firm’s reputation as ‘the go-to firm for all things related to dementia’. Ben Lowe handles all aspects of private client work including wills, probate and estate administration, complex trusts and inheritance tax planning for 16 years. Clients also recommend ‘very knowledgeable’ solicitors Jennifer Nash and Lauren Abbs, who are ‘excellent at client care’. In 2016, Whitehead advised an elderly client with dementia on a statutory will application, as his previous will had not made sufficient financial provision for his wife. The matter included an in-depth investigation to identify previously unknown land assets in Norfolk.

Clients of Fosters are ‘delighted with the level of service and specialist advice’. STEP-qualified senior associate Trina Worden is ‘friendly, professional, extremely efficient, approachable and knowledgeable’, and is rated for her ‘concern for and sensitivity toward each client’s situation’. Rachel Chiarotti relocated from Bungay to Norwich and is praised as ‘very approachable, pleasant, friendly, conscientious, efficient and patient with people who know little about legal and financial affairs’. Stephen Green leads the personal injury and clinical negligence team but is also head of wills, trusts and probate. He regularly acts as deputy and attorney for clients unable to manage their own affairs and as professional executor and trustee for clients’ estates. Among the team’s significant work was the preparation of a will for an elderly lady in ill health who excluded her extended family as beneficiaries, and the drafting of a new will to include a disabled person’s trust to ensure that a family member with learning difficulties would be provided with suitable financial provision.

Steeles Law’s team attracts praise for its ‘well-informed, professional service’ and ‘immediate, helpful and clear responses’. The firm has a team of six fee earners in Norwich led by associate Karen Bacon who is ‘trustworthy, straightforward and has an invaluable knack of explaining legal issues sensibly and calmly’. Clients note that ‘she demonstrates a high level of expertise on probate and agricultural matters, and her advice has always been faultless’. Clients also recommend associate Amy Taylor and ‘reliable, knowledgeable’ solicitor Ruth Pyatt, whose ‘clear advice always makes clients feel comfortable’. ‘Calm, reassuring and communicative’ legal executive Angela Ireland and paralegal Katherine Bearman are ‘efficient in all respects, offering advice in a personal and sympathetic manner’. The firm’s caseload from 2016 included advising on the will of a client who was recovering from a severe form of cancer that left him with difficulty communicating his wishes.

Ashtons Legal has a strong private client practice spanning its East Anglia office network. Solicitor Louisa Bradberry joined from Greene & Greene to add experience in grants of probate, estate administration, wills and powers of attorney. The firm’s work in 2016 included advising on the administration of an estate with more than £1m in assets, assisting a client with IHT and business property relief matters for a multimillion-pound portfolio of assets, and handling the structuring and ownership of business assets to optimise the tax position and succession planning for a family with high-value business interests. Robert Chalmers, who is a STEP member and chartered tax advisor of 20 years’ standing, retired from the partnership but remains active as a consultant.

Cozens-Hardy LLP’s private client practice attracts praise for its ‘professional, knowledgeable, helpful and efficient’ service. STEP-accredited principal Michelle Collins (who ‘explains matters with great care and understanding, giving clients confidence’) leads a team of nine practitioners handling a wide range of tax and inheritance matters for individuals based in Norfolk, London and Europe.

At Leathes Prior, STEP-accredited William Riley acts as executor for numerous high-value and complex estates and serves as a professional deputy for many individuals. Newly promoted partner Tessa Bonser is now a qualified member of STEP and leads the firm’s trusts work. Newly promoted associate Barrie Barker, who has more than 30 years’ experience in private client matters, focuses on wills and estate administration. Solicitor Claire Woolliscroft mainly handles Court of Protection matters. Riley and Woolliscroft maintain the trust accounts of a £2m discretionary trust of which Riley is the professional trustee. Bonser recently advised on the winding up of a trust based in the Isle of Man.

Clients are ‘completely satisfied’ with the work of the team at Rogers and Norton and single out senior solicitor Louisa Shailes and legal executive Wenke Lie-Critchley, who jointly head the department. They regularly advise on the management of numerous Norfolk estates and handle complex will drafting, as well as advising on tax planning strategies, the formation of trusts, the administration of high-net-worth estates and specialist applications to the Court of Protection for clients in East Anglia and overseas. Solicitor Laura Rumsey is a STEP Affiliate, a Dementia Friend and a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and the Action on Elder Abuse Adult Safeguarding Network. Recent work includes handling the administration of numerous personal injury trusts for clients who received compensation from litigation.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Peterborough

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Peterborough
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Leading individuals (region-wide)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Buckles Solicitors LLP has one of the largest private client teams in Peterborough, with clients singling out the ‘practical, knowledgeable and personableDuncan Jackson, who works between Peterborough and the firm’s London office. Other key figures include head of department Stephen Duffy, who specialises in care home fees matters, including planning to protect assets and resolving disputes with local authorities; STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly member Charles Applegate, who has nearly 40 years’ experience in wills, probate and tax planning; and Sallyann Short, whose previous experience includes work as an independent financial adviser and who is widely respected for her understanding of IHT, wills, trusts and estate administration. Legal executive and head of probate Beverley Diamond is also recommended. The team advised a client on business relief matters for a multimillion-pound estate in order to limit IHT liabilities; acted for a couple with a multimillion-pound portfolio of assets on how to restructure existing LLP and limited companies to maximise business property relief; and advised married executives from Europe working in London on tax-efficient planning for a high-value estate.

Greenwoods Solicitors LLP is known for providing ‘a personal service that is thorough and cost-effective’. Clients highlight associates Kerri Pellington-Woodrow, who ‘always makes absolutely certain that the right thing is done’, and Suzanne Evans, ‘an empathetic practitioner who offers clear and practical advice’. Pellington-Woodrow’s broad practice covers the full range of private client work including advice to lay deputies, making applications to the Court of Protection and acting on behalf of clients who lack mental capacity. Evans regularly advises on wills, trusts and powers of attorney, and helps many elderly and vulnerable clients with retirement planning issues. Consultant Trevor George, who joined the firm from Shoosmiths LLP in Northampton, has 40 years’ experience in tax matters. Among the team’s many highlight last year was the management of the UK portion of the estate of a wealthy individual based abroad, which included complex IHT and cross-border issues.

Hegarty LLP’s ‘friendly and knowledgeable’ team provides ‘excellent service in a timely manner’. The probate team deals with complex and high-value estates that often include overseas assets, and the firm is also active in estate planning for high-net-worth individuals with substantial agricultural and business assets. ‘Responsible, reliable and cautiously pragmatic’ department head Greg Baker is ‘very good at complex trusts, wills and probate cases’. Clients also recommend STEP-accredited associate Jo Wild and solicitor Emma Carter; both are ‘approachable, thorough and have a strong depth of knowledge’. The firm’s ongoing matters include estate planning for a multimillion-pound estate using trust arrangements to minimise IHT liability, advising on wills and estate planning for a high-value estate to ensure the continuation of a private business registered in the Channel Islands, and handling complex matters for an estate with holdings in private companies and investment properties.

Hunt & Coombs LLP has ‘one of the best private client offerings in Cambridgeshire’, according to one client. The firm excels in the areas of tax planning and will preparation, where it acts for high-net-worth individuals and families, and also handles the winding up of estates of all sizes and degrees of complexity. Henry Anstey is ‘straightforward, transparent on fees, trustworthy and fights hard for his clients’. He has 25 years’ experience and is noted for being ‘very knowledgeable on long-term care issues and complex wills and estates’. Senior solicitor John Wright and solicitor Andrea Harrod, along with two chartered legal executives, complete the team. The firm’s caseload from 2016 included estate and tax planning for an estate exceeding £1m in value, handling a complex estate that included a gift and loan trust, and organising enduring power of attorney for a client with substantial investment and property assets.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Elsewhere in East Anglia

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Elsewhere in East Anglia
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Leading individuals (region-wide)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate: Elsewhere in East Anglia clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Ashtons Legal’s team is particularly well known for estate planning and administration, particularly where substantial UK or overseas assets are involved or where there are business interests. In the Bury St Edmunds office Alan Brown provides ‘service that is consistently first class; he can quickly laser in on the heart of the issue and is a good listener’. Matthew Cameron is ‘professional and well informed’ in matters involving French law and is head of the firm’s French legal services division. Also recommended are Court of Protection specialist Adrian Mundell, Alison Budge who advises on high-value family trusts, and ‘very personable’ associate Elizabeth Dunn. Brown handled many high-value and complex matters in 2016, including carving out part of a multimillion-pound trust fund to take advantage of the opportunity to create a transitional serial interest following changes in IHT law. He also advised a client with substantial assets in London and France on structuring a will to leave a large part of the estate to beneficiaries other than his wife.

One of the leading practices in the region’, Greene & Greene has a team of ‘well-qualified and trained experts’ whose ‘overall service is comprehensive and efficient’. From its base in Bury St Edmunds The eight-lawyer team acts for clients across East Anglia and includes three qualified chartered tax advisers, including partner and STEP member Wayne Perrin, who is ‘proactive in his advice and clear in his explanations’; and ‘friendly and extremely diligent’ solicitor Nigel Scase, who has ‘the ability to find innovative, alternative solutions’. Partner Jonathan Mathers handles property and private client matters, and is ‘approachable, professional and sensitive to clients’ needs’. Estate and trust solicitor Martine Swaep also garners praise. Key matters from 2016 included advising a high-net-worth individual on her entitlement under her deceased husband’s will.

the overall level of service is excellent’ at Fosters, which has offices across East Anglia. Laura van Ree in Wymondham jointly heads the private client team along with Stephen Green in Norwich. Solicitor Nick Flower works between the Bungay and Lowestoft offices. The firm regularly provides advice on private client matters through clinics run by Age UK Norfolk and Age UK Suffolk. Key matters included arranging lasting power of attorney (LPA) for a couple with an aunt aged 107 and a mother aged 97; handling an intestate estate following the sudden death of a young man who had no spouse, civil partner or children; and handling a complex will that had not been updated for many years and for which the both the first appointed and replacement executors had died.

Hunt & Coombs LLP is one of the leading firms in Peterborough for private client matters, although its team is based across the region. Head of probate Paddy Appleton (whose service is ‘second to none; he makes complicated matters easy to understand’) works from the Oundle office and is one of the region’s most experienced practitioners. Peter Izodis well versed in matters concerning probate, trusts, wills and care of the elderly. Legal executive Anne Dickens in St Neots is also recommended. Last year, Appleton advised on the management of an estate with assets in foreign jurisdictions including the US that involved complex matters around venture capital trusts, enterprise investment schemes and tax matters.

An ideal choice for wills and probate work in north NorfolkButcher Andrews has ‘a small but strong team with good knowledge of the law and a good understanding of planning issues and tax implications, which are backed up with an efficient approach that delivers in a timely fashion’. The ‘helpful and approachableSimon Underwood leads a team that includes a newly qualified solicitor in Sarah Parker, who trained at Mills & Reeve LLP in Norwich, legal executive Cindy Grand and a trainee probate executive. The firm handles the estates of many high-net-worth individuals, many of whom own substantial commercial and agricultural property. In 2016, the firm dealt with an estate that included a diverse range of property including an antique motor car, train carriage and penny farthings that were put up for sale at auction. Underwood also handled complex claims for business property relief on the home of a deceased client.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitorshas an excellent team of lawyers’ across its office network. The team is headquartered in Norwich but its Sheringham, Brooke and North Walsham offices also house significant expertise in private client matters. Legal executives Lesley Ward – who regularly provides advice through the networks of Norfolk Community Legal Services and AgeUK Norfolk – and Susan Dawe ‘have excellent client skills’. They are also part of the Dementia Friends initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society. Dawe holds power of attorney for numerous clients and manages discretionary trusts for minors and vulnerable beneficiaries. Ward specialises in work for elderly clients. Consultant solicitor Caroline Ashmole and solicitor Kerri-Anne Watson are also recommended.

At Fraser Dawbarns, the ‘friendly and understanding’ Harleen Hanson is ‘outstanding; she always gives sound and comprehensive advice and has a very wide knowledge of matters such as inheritance tax’. Sarah Lamb in Wisbech is ‘very capable, committed and caring about the matter and the client’. Also recommended are Kieren Cross in March and Tony Barratt in Downham Market. Highlights for the team included a complex deputyship matter involving significant assets and the alleged fraudulent obtaining and dissipation of funds by family members that resulted in police prosecution. The firm also handled the administration of a £4.5m estate that included a family business, and the management of a £1m estate that included a gallery business.

Gotelee Solicitors fields a strong private client offering from its headquarters in Ipswich as well as across its expanding network of offices in Suffolk. Matthew Boast in Felixstowe has more than 20 years’ experience in private client matters including wills, probate, trusts and powers of attorney. Key figures in the Melton office include partner Nicola Weldon, who has 14 years’ experience advising on high-value trusts and estates; associate Lindsay Duckworth, who specialises in elderly client matters; and solicitor Sophie Grabham, who handles numerous probate and intestacy matters. Weldon’s key matters included IHT advice for many high-net-worth individuals and the management of complex business arrangements in numerous substantial estates.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP has two partners focused on private client matters in Robert Nicholson, who provides advice on trust and tax planning for a number of high-net-worth individuals, particularly farming clients with assets that include development land, and Ella Nicholson, whose broad practice encompasses wills, tax planning, trusts, probate, powers of attorney and care fee planning. Ann-Marie Matthews joined Barker Gotelee in Ipswich but it continues to be a major player in the Lowestoft area.

In the Attleborough office of Spire Solicitors LLP, Carl Heywood is respected for his work on both property and private client matters, which include wills, probate and powers of attorney. His clients include many of the surrounding region’s farming families. Sophie Harvey in Aylsham handles will drafting, estate administration, Court of Protection work and estate planning. She recently achieved the STEP Advanced Certification in will preparation. Jo Tinson in Watton is also recommended.



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