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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Anglia > Real estate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Commercial property: Cambridge

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Cambridge
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

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

Practice head(s):Katherine Herbert

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Clients

Grovemere Property Limited

Pemberton Trustees

Ely North Consortium

Cambridgeshire County Council

Hopkins Homes Limited

Leighton Buzzard Golf Club

Amadeus Capital Partners Limited

Needingworth Limited

Pro Cam CP/Europe Limited

Rapid Solutions (International) Limited

Royale Parks Ltd

The Bell Educational Services Ltd

Larkfleet Limited

World Medicine Limited

Jesus College Oxford

Inspired Asset Management

IW Group Services (UK) Limited

Jockey Club Racecourses Limited

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Work highlights

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

The Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP real estate practice acts for an impressive list of national and international clients in the regional, London and international markets. Among its clients are private and public sector developers, land promoters, corporate and institutional occupiers, as well as institutional, private and offshore investors. The firm's broad offering includes market-leading knowledge of property matters in the transport, hotel, education and senior living sectors.  Dominic Morris, who focuses on development and regeneration projects, and Clare Whitaker, who handles investment and occupier matters, lead the practice.

Practice head(s):Dominic Morris; Clare Whitaker

Other key lawyers:Jamie Cawthorn; Geoff Street; Claire Morgan; Megan D’Souza-Mathew

Key Clients

Signature Senior Lifestyle

Audley Group

Dacorum Borough Council

Legal & General Senior Living

Mayfield Villages

Taylor Wimpey

Homes England


Mace Developments

Legal & General UK Property Fund

Work highlights

  • Eversheds Sutherland acted on all aspects of Mayfield’s first acquisition of a retirement village site in Watford, Hertfordshire which will deliver 253 homes for the over 55s.
  • Advising Audley on a £125m refinancing deal with HSBC and Bank Leumi (UK).
  • Advising Signature on all legal aspects of acquisition, development and funding of its care homes including its current relationship with Welltower Inc and Revera Inc who provide financing backing to Signature.
  • Acting on the disposal of a town centre site in Hemel Hempstead to Hill Residential for residential development in a scheme comprising 200 residential units and a 6,000 sq ft convenience store.
  • Acting for Mace Developments on its appointment by Stevenage Borough Council as developer for the council’s SG1 regeneration project in Stevenage town centre.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a large commercial property practice that handles regional, national and international property transactions for blue-chip clients. It has a nationally recognised specialist real estate finance team, led from Cambridge by Charles Staveley, who acts for institutional pension funds, management houses, property companies, and onshore and offshore investors. Key partner Vincenzo Maggio handles investment work and landlord and tenant matters, particularly those involving science parks. The firm's development work in the higher education sector is led by partner Michelle Cookson, while Christine De Ferrars Green handles large development projects for clients such as Urban&Civic and Keepmoat Homes. Nick Finlayson-Brown, who is now head of the Cambridge office, Richard Noble and Tim Allsop are also key partners in the practice.

Practice head(s):Beverley Firth

Other key lawyers:Charles Staveley; Vincenzo Maggio; Michelle Cookson; Christine de Ferrars Green; Nick Finlayson-Brown; Richard Noble; Tim Allsop; Amanda Tagg; Joanna Davies; Laura Ludlow; Sarah Cooke; Nick Harris; Tom Nash; Christopher Pike

Key Clients

Floreat Real Estate

St John’s College, Cambridge

Railways Pension Fund

University of Cambridge


Marshall Group Properties

Howard Group

The University of Northampton


Autolus Limited

Pigeon Group

O&H Properties

Hillview Group

Family Mosaic

Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Axis Land Partnerships Limited

Hill Residential

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Keepmoat Homes

Ipswich Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advising  on a series of development land transactions and finance arrangements for commercial development at the Enterprise Campus and residential development within the first neighbourhood at Alconbury Weald, which will provide at least 5,000 new homes and 3m square feet of commercial space.
  • Advising the University of Cambridge on its proposals for the Old Press/ Mill Lane site, which is a compelling project and once in a generation opportunity to be involved in reshaping and regenerating two city blocks in the heart of Cambridge.
  • Working together with St John's College Cambridge, Turnstone Estates and Savills on the speculative development and letting of a new office building comprising 63,704 sq ft  Grade A office and R&D space at the Maurice Wilkes Building on St John’s Innovation Park in Cambridge.
  • Supported biopharmaceutical company Autolus Limited with its move into the BBC's former offices in White City (known as MediaWorks), having previously acted for them on their existing premises at Forest House which forms part of Imperial College's "ThinkSpace" campus.
  • Instructed by investment manager Floreat Real Estate on the acquisition by a BVI fund of two office buildings in Bristol and Cardiff for a price in excess of £30m via the purchase of a Jersey registered holding company and on the acquisition financing from Investec Bank.

Ashtons Legal has 'an excellent team of lawyers who provide excellent proactive advice', according to one client. The commercial property practice is led from Ipswich but the Cambridge office houses substantial expertise in partner Magnus McManus, senior associates Charlotte Vallins, Sophie McCadney and Rhian Brook, and associate Jenny Lewis. Together, they act for numerous Cambridge colleges in high-value property transactions. The practice also handles work for a leading regional estate agent, advises on major property development projects across the region, and assists a leading regional lender with high-profile matters.

Other key lawyers:Magnus McManus; Charlotte Vallins; Sophie McCadney; Rhian Brook; Jenny Lewis


"They are readily approachable and deal with matters promptly and professionally."

"Their knowledge and experience is second to none."

Key Clients

Emmanuel College

Savills (UK) Limited


Flip Out Limited

Castlemeadow Group

Abel Homes


This Land Development Limited

Beaumont City LLP

Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust

Work highlights

  • Handling the £32.5m purchase of a mixed-use (retail and office) multi-let building in central Cambridge for a Cambridge College.
  • Advising Emmanuel College on the £2.85m auction sale of the freehold reversion of a mixed use (retail/office/residential), multi-let parade of shops in Sutton Coldfield – eventually sold by private treaty prior to the auction.
  • The Cambridge commercial property team advises Savills (UK) Limited on its entire England and Wales occupied portfolio.
  • Acting on various property development matters for Castlemeadow Group, including the £16.4m purchase of a former chemical depot.
  • Ashtons Legal acts for Abel Homes on all of their residential development projects from the initial strategic land acquisition (option agreements, conditional contracts, easements) to planning stages and financing the site, dealing with their infrastructure agreements/other matters that arise in the course of development and then eventually selling the plots.

BDB Pitmans opened its Cambridge office in 2017, with real estate the core practice; the merger of legacy firms Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans in 2018 gave the office a key role in the firm-wide real estate practice, which has a national focus. Lead partner Simon Burson handles acquisitions, disposals and the day-to-day management of the property portfolios for clients such as Eskmuir Properties and Cording Real Estate Group. Senior associate Katy Klingopulos handles residential and commercial development projects for landowners and developers.

Practice head(s):Simon Burson

Other key lawyers:Katy Klingopulos

Key Clients

Eskmuir Securities Limited

Frasers Riverside Quarter Limited

Bioregional Homes Limited


Foundation for Language and Educational Centres (Eurocentres)

Cording Real Estate Group

Kurt Geiger Limited

Guilden Morden Community Pub Limited

Turnbull & Asser Limited

Merrill Corporate Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Eskmuir Securities Limited in the £3.3m acquisition of additional land (5.81 acres) adjacent to the existing retail park at Sweet Briar Retail Park, Norwich to facilitate a 71,000 sq ft extension for uses within Class 1, B1, B2 and B8 plus gym.
  • Acted on the £28m sale of 93 residential units in Block 6B Riverside Quarter, Wandsworth, London to Optivo, a registered provider of social housing.
  • Acted for FIH Group Plc. on the purchase of Units 7-14, East 10 Enterprise Park, Leyton, London from H. Young & Co. Limited for £18.5m including advising on due diligence and contract documentation.
  • Acting for the Foundation for Language and Educational Centres in a cross-border matter involving the £28m sale of two language schools in London and Cambridge to the same buyer.
  • Acted for Cording Real Estate Group on the sale of Lineside Industrial Estate in Sussex to Legal & General LGIM Real Assets for £21m.

Hewitsons frequently handles large and complex projects, particularly in the leisure and residential sectors. It also advises technology and biotechnology companies on matters such as science park lettings, and has significant expertise in strategic land deals. Practice head James Simpson has a strong reputation for complex development and strategic land transactions and Graeme Sampson handles complex mixed-use development projects for developers, landowners and institutions. Both are supported by rising star senior associate Ceri Riddell. Partner Susanne Hinde manages a separate team that handles landlord and tenant and investment matters.

Practice head(s):James Simpson

Other key lawyers:Graeme Sampson; Susanne Hinde; Ceri Riddell

Key Clients

Homes England

The Howard Group

Hill Residential Limited

Turnstone Estates Group

The Chesterford Group

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Swiss Laundry Ltd

Anglian Country Inns

HTS Estates Limited

Lloyds Bank Plc


Work highlights

  • Acted for Hill Residential Limited in their complex joint venture arrangements with Marshall Group relating to the delivery of infrastructure and 500 homes on the first phase of a £22m development at the Wing Development, a landmark development of up to 1,300 homes for the city of Cambridge.
  • Continuing to act for Hill Residential in connection with a number of flagship transactions at the University of Cambridge’s North-West Cambridge development site.
  • Acted for the landowners on the £30m sale of the first phase, comprising approximately 900 houses, of a  site for which planning has been obtained for a residential development of approximately 2,500 units together with primary schools, local centres (including retail and employment uses), open space and landscaping.
  • Acting on a planned programme of disposals of over half a dozen properties together with the subsequent acquisition (and related funding) of several properties.
  • Continuing to advise ambitious not for profit Open Innovation Bioscience Park in relation to all lettings in the Incubator and Accelerator Buildings as well as various licences to occupy, licence for alterations (sometimes affecting common infrastructure) and wayleave agreement (Code Agreement); instructions in relation to the expansion of the park are imminent.

Howes Percival LLP has a broad commercial property practice that handles high-value residential development projects for clients such as Hill Residential and commercial development work for the likes of Turnstone Estates, as well as the management of real estate investment portfolios and property finance transactions for major lenders. The firm has niche expertise in key sectors such as tourism, leisure, education, technology and the public sector. It has a group of highly experienced partners in practice head Jonathan Greenhalgh, 30-year market veteran Steven Beach and strategic land specialist Michaela Henson. Director Will Stokes is a rising star.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Greenhalgh

Other key lawyers:Steven Beach; Michaela Henson; Will Stokes; Helen Stewart


"Overall, the firm has a strong team with good sector specialists. I have found them to be good and approachable."

"Will Stokes is sensible, approachable and tends to keep us in the picture through the process."

Key Clients

Cambridge University Endowment Fund

Hill Residential Limited

Turnstone Estates Limited

Greene King Plc

Girton College, Cambridge

East Cambs Trading Company Limited

Abcam Plc

Ely Cathedral

Artisan (UK) Developments Ltd

Newcore Capital Management LLP

Luton Hoo Estate

Work highlights

  • Sale of graduate accommodation site and children's nursery for a Cambridge College.
  • Assisting Raspberry Pi with their office relocation to two sites within Cambridge, including taking space at a new-build office at St John’s Innovation Park.
  • Acting for the occupational tenant on its letting of a new headquarters building at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
  • Acting for the seller in the £20m disposal of an investment hotel property in Bath.
  • Acting for a national housebuilder acquiring a site for the development of up to 98 dwellings

'The team is always pleased to help and has a friendly whilst very professional approach', remarks a client of Taylor Vinters who praises its 'willingness to find innovative solutions'. The firm advises a diverse range of international and domestic clients in the region, in London and across the UK, ranging from innovative and entrepreneurial businesses to individuals and charities. The key strengths of the practice, led by Helen Mutucumarana and James Slinger, lie in investment acquisitions and leasing, energy transactions, strategic land promotions, joint venture and collaboration agreements, complex development work, and landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):Helen Mutucumarana; James Slinger

Other key lawyers:Elliot Wilson; Becky Woodcock; Kevin Fehmi


"I have worked with Taylor Vinters for the past five years and in that time the team has remained constant which is a hugely important factor. I have complete confidence in assistance and help every time I email or call and despite my relatively poor legal knowledge, am given the time and patience required to help."

"All work has been dealt with professionally and in a friendly manner. Helen Mutucumarana and Elliot Wilson are a pleasure to work with."

"Helen Mutucumarana is always there to assist, regardless whether the work is a multimillion-pound acquisition or an explanation of a basic legal term. I have full trust in her advice and work. She is very professional and a lovely person."

Key Clients

Jockey Club Estates

Melbourn Science Park Limited

Babraham Research Campus

Elgin Energy Limited

Clearstone Energy Limited

Freeline Therapeutics Limited

GCR CamProp

Work highlights

  • Advised Prowler.IO Ltd on the lease of 72 Hills Road, Cambridge followed by subsequent sublets.
  • Acting on behalf of gas power station generation company Clearstone Energy Ltd on the leasehold acquisition of sites across the UK for the installation of generation equipment and connection to the National Grid (between 20MW and 40MW).
  • Advising on construction, development, leasing and planning matters to assist Melbourn Science Park Limited with its expansion plans.
  • Acting for Babraham Research Campus on its property management issues and also on its larger development transactions, including  advising on occupational lettings to enterprising biotech and life science companies.

Greenwoods GRM handles high-value work for clients in the development, investment, financial, education and food sectors. Kelly Peck leads the Cambridge practice and works closely with Karin Horsley, who works mainly from the Peterbourough office. Peck continued to build the firm's presence in the market in 2018, through her strong connections with agents, surveyors and other professional referrers. She is supported by associate Neville Drummond who has 20 years' experience in commercial and residential property transactions, and who handles landlord and tenants matters.

Practice head(s):Kelly Peck

Other key lawyers:Karin Horsley; Neville Drummond; Ellen Cole


"The firm provides rapid response, is to the point and there is no wasting of time. It is good value for money and has experienced and knowledgeable people."

"Neville Drummond is calm and has a good sense of humour."

"They are very professional, experienced, intellectual and knowledgeable. Compared to other firms, Greenwoods takes a very friendly and down-to-earth approach to ensure its clients fully understand the advice."

"I have worked with Kelly Peck over the years and there has never been a task too large or too difficult or too complicated for her. She uses her knowledge, experience, logical thinking and commercial accruement to get the job done within the timescale, regardless of how tight it is."

"Our situation was quite complex and required a lot of liaison, both nationally and internationally. Greenwoods took all these issues on and even managed to complete the process ahead of schedule. It is absolutely remarkable in the way that it took the pressure off us as its clients in a very pressurised situation."

"From the very outset we were reassured that this was a task Greenwoods could take on and were willing to lead and steer us through all the ups and downs along the way. We found the commitment, expertise and professionalism of Kelly Peck crucial in this process."

"Greenwoods provides a very responsive and professional service ensuring you understand the issues and providing the most appropriate advice on how to proceed."

"Kelly Peck is a helpful, responsive and attentive member of the Greenwoods team."

Key Clients

Cambridge Academy of English

Fairline Yachts


Robin Nichols

Qualitest Group UK

Robinson Manufacturing

LC Landlords Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Cambridge Academy of English, an institution in the top 2% of all UK English language schools, on complex property matters.
  • Supporting the expansion plans of Fairline Yachts Ltd, a British manufacturer of luxury motor yachts.
  • Retainer for OpenArch Properties Limited, a leading property rental specialist within the Cambridgeshire area.
  • Dealing with secured borrowing against a multi-let building in central London to raise project finance for the development of an exciting new mixed-use development scheme in Holborn, London for this international client.
  • A large, multimillion-pound deal acting for the landowner, selling a site for development.

The 'proactive, thorough and diligent' Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's real estate team in Cambridge acts for a range of clients across many sectors including global banks, developers, housing associations, science parks, colleges and high-net-worth families. The lawyers are 'extremely thorough and professional in everything they do', and one client remarks that lead partner Sarah Coates is 'highly accessible and knowledgeable; she has a great eye for detail and is excellent in her appraisal of risks'. Coates has particular expertise in the acquisition and set-up of residential development sites, development finance secured lending and refinance work, and landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):Sarah Coates

Other key lawyers:Helen Drayton; Giorgia Clements; Becky Lund


"The team has good in-depth knowledge within its field and and is always positive and easy to deal with. We find that they are always on hand to assist with any questions we may have and we happily recommend our clients to them."

"Sarah Coates in particular has a good in-depth understanding of the property industry, site set up and legal issues."

"Becky Lund is also becoming a key part of the Penningtons team and her knowledge continues to grow with the support of Sarah Coates."

"I have complete faith in Sarah Coates. She totally understands any concerns and will address them. She seems to have excellent knowledge in the field and definitely fights our corner."

"The support team are also very thorough and always helpful."

Key Clients

This Land Limited

Murfet Group

Vindis Group

Friar’s Pride Limited

James Dolan Limited

Cytocell Limited


Max Barney Estate

Blues Property Limited

Cambridge Commodities Limited

Work highlights

  • Penningtons Manches acted on behalf of This Land Limited on the acquisition of a portfolio of Cambridgeshire-based development sites with a total purchase price of circa £17m.
  • Penningtons Manches acted for Cambridge Commodities Limited in connection with the £10m sale and leaseback of its main operational site in Ely to London Metric PLC.
  • Penningtons Manches acted for the borrower in a substantial refinancing of a mixed-use development in Newmarket.
  • Penningtons Manches acted for HSBC Bank PLC on the restructuring of a multi-let commercial property.

The real estate practice at Tees Law undertakes strategic promotion and option agreements for landowners and developers, site acquisition by purchase or option for residential developers, site set up, infrastructure agreements and plot sales, as well as high-value agricultural land transactions and residential enfranchisement work. Its recent strategic promotion and option agreement work has seen the practice active in sites in Suffolk, Cambridge, Essex and Hertfordshire. It has also handled residential development  work in Ware, Welwyn Garden City, Bury St Edmunds and central Cambridge. James Dowson is the key partner.

Practice head(s):James Dowson

Other key lawyers:Alexander Waples


"The firm is very focused on the housebuilding sector and understands the commercial drivers for its clients."

"James Dowson is proactive, knowledgeable and extremely client-focused."

"We have used James Dowson for the last ten years in transacting property and business acquisitions. We can only confirm that he completes these matters quickly and efficiently."

"Alexander Waples is easy to deal with and his advice is clear and concise. We felt that our interests in two transactions in areas unfamiliar to us were well protected."

"The practice makes the effort to truly understand my business to be able to offer the most relevant and appropriate advice."

"Alexander Waples is very responsive, proactive and commercial - a brilliant combination to have. What is more, he exhibits this not in rare moments of brilliance, but consistently. Having such reliable professional support gives us a genuine competitive edge."

Work highlights

  • Acting for STAN Developments in the purchase of a series of large, agricultural buildings by way of conditional contract dependant on planning for conversion to residential units, with complicated sales provisions for tax mitigation.

Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Butcher Andrews has offices in Fakenham and Holt, and practice head and residential development specialist Chris Hoxley works between both locations, though the firm services clients not only in North Norfolk but across the whole of East Anglia. Hoxley acts for smaller and regional house builders in all of their projects including options, conditional contracts, site assembly and plot sales. Helen Hemingray, who joined from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, handles property matters for local businesses, large estates, local farming families and a listed company.

Practice head(s):Chris Hoxley

Other key lawyers:Helen Hemingray


"The firm has a very professional, approachable and knowledgeable team. It is excellent at responding quickly to issues and keeping you informed."

"Chris Hoxley is able to provide an excellent service. He is knowledgeable and very efficient and we have every confidence in him and his team and have no hesitation in recommending them."

"Chris Hoxley is an outstanding solicitor who is always keen to help and explains things in a plain and simple manner."

"The team is extremely welcoming and friendly, demonstrating exceptional client care."

"Helen Hemingray is the best solicitor I have dealt with, being incredibly organised, very responsive and going over and above what is required."

"Communication is kind, friendly, understanding and efficient. The practice has a proactive nature with forward thinking initiative."

"Good rapport and an individual service, tailored to the client and requirements."

Key Clients

Anglian Windows Limited

East Anglian Property Limited

Vello Ltd

The Holkham Estate

Astris Homes East Anglia Limited

Derek Foreman House Builders Ltd

Grocott & Murfit Ltd


Fakenham Properties Limited

Work highlights

  • Chris Hoxley acted for Anglian Windows on the purchase of 59 Hurricane Way, Norwich Airport Industrial Estate from New Prestige LLP.
  • Chris Hoxley advised Anglian Windows on a number of commercial lease renewals and new leases.
  • Chris Hoxley advised Vello Limited on its purchase of 85 Hall Road, Norwich and adjoining land from Anglian Water.
  • Chris Hoxley advised Holkham Estate on its redevelopment and sale of a number of high-value barn conversions on the North Norfolk coast.
  • Chris Hoxley advised Grocott & Murfit Ltd on the purchase, development and onward sale of Bridge Water Barn, Wighton (near Wells next the sea), Norfolk.

Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds frequently handles multimillion-pound transactions and climbs the ranking this year. It works on transactions across East Anglia and further afield, and one client remarks that the firm has 'in-depth knowledge of dealing with commercial property transactions with prompt attention and timely responses'. Practice head Neil Grigg handles transactions involving pension funds and energy projects. Associates Julia Routledge, Helen Hendry  and Julia Cardy are all rising stars. Tim Mendes da Costa handles high-value transactions across the UK.

Practice head(s):Neil Grigg

Other key lawyers:Julia Routledge; Julia Cardy; Jonathan Mathers; Helen Hendry; Tim Mendes da Costa


"The service is second to none, I have used many solicitors in my town and none come close to Greene & Greene. The solicitors are experts in their field and the advice is direct and to the point."

"The firm is good for development work and commercial conveyancing."

"Neil Grigg is particularly skilled and widely respected by all who deal with him."

"Neil Grigg is direct, efficient and knows his stuff - I find his advice useful and succinct, and he is very good at getting things moving."

"Julia Cardy, who I cannot fault, understands the commercial rental sector and exactly where I am coming from when we discuss matters. Her accuracy and attention to detail has been excellent."

Key Clients

MSD (Merck, Sharp & Dohme Ltd)

Treatt Plc

AFT Fluorotec Limited

Nexus Underwriting Management Ltd

The Vitec Group plc

Masterlord Estates Ltd

Phico Therapeutics Ltd

HPB Management Ltd

Brightwell Estates Ltd

Astex Therapeutics Limited

Work highlights

  • Two separate matters at two separate locations in London for Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD): the acquisition of lab space at London Bio Science Innovation Centre (part of Royal Veterinary College) and the Crick Institute for research facilities.
  • The £12.5m disposal by J. D & R. J Baker Farms Limited of a ten-acre development site based upon two sites of adopted highway.
  • Corporate support to Vitec Plc in relation to the £9m acquisition of premises and business in Gloucester.
  • Acting for Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited in a complicated subletting at office premises in Maidenhead - letting to Maersk Shipping.
  • The £5.5m purchase of complex agricultural/commercial/residential land.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP has an office in Lowestoft and, working closely with its Norwich office, acts for clients from the east of Norwich, across the Broads, and along the Suffolk coast and Waveney Valley to Southwold. The firm counts large regional employers and numerous local businesses among its clients for property development work. Mark Rymarz leads the practice, in which corporate partner Joseph Long also plays a key role. Ben Blower acts for developers and high-net-worth individuals in property transactions.

Practice head(s):Mark Rymarz

Other key lawyers:Joseph Long; Ben Blower; Jennifer Lee


"The firm provides good service, good value and great knowledge of our issues. Communication is regular and open."

"Ben Blower and Mark Rymarz have always provided a knowledgeable, practical and efficient service."

"The partners are all accessible, and the staff are well trained, knowledgeable and polite."

The Bury St Edmunds office of Ashtons Legal plays a pivotal role in the firm's region-wide commercial property practice, which acts for numerous Cambridge colleges and large estate agents, and handles portfolio management for major landowners. The firm's leading franchising practice also generates significant property matters. Ron Clare, who also handles finance and banking work, is the key local partner. He is also the lead lawyer for property matters for the firm's clients in the care home sector.

Other key lawyers:Ron Clare; Katie Noble


"The Ashtons Legal team across both the Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds offices provides an exceptionally comprehensive legal service on a number of matters. Their responses are timely, considered and invaluable to our business."

"My contact at Ashtons Legal was associate Katie Noble, and she was efficient, helpful and prepared to go that extra mile to ensure that the advice she gave was clear, that the paperwork was assessed and processed quickly, and that the office move went smoothly."

"Katie Noble was friendly, professional and gave clear advice throughout. This meant that the process of moving my business out of the premises where it had been based since it was formed twenty years ago into a new office unit went smoothly and that I didn't need to worry."

"They communicate well within the firm, which is essential if anyone is out of the office or a colleague is better suited for a particular task. It ensures that clients aren't kept waiting unnecessarily."

"Katie Noble is exceptional and very thorough which is what I value the most. I know that she has my best interests in mind and I trust her wholeheartedly to act on my behalf."

Key Clients

Emmanuel College

Savills (UK) Limited


Flip Out Limited

Castlemeadow Group

Abel Homes


This Land Development Limited

Beaumont City LLP

Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust

Work highlights

  • Handling for Abel Homes Limited the £1.34m sale of 14 affordable housing plots forming part of a larger development at Mattishall, Norfolk.

'The team is knowledgeable in its field and provides sound advice', remarks a client of Fraser Dawbarns, which handled a range of high-value transactions across the region in 2018. Partner Daniel Ball in King's Lynn and solicitor Jenny Rushmer are the key contacts. In 2018, Ball assisted a client in the retail sector with the opening of new stores in Huntingdon and Biggleswade, while Rushmer acted for a consortium of landowners in a a proposed multimillion-pound development. Consultant Eileanora Ni-Charthaig is building the firm's local presence around its new office in Ely.

Practice head(s):Daniel Ball; Jenny Rushmer

Other key lawyers:Eileanora Ni-Charthaig; Carla Goodyear


"Jenny Rushmer has a sound understanding of commercial and agricultural property law and gives clients solid advice based on her practical understanding of the industry. She understands how the agricultural industry operates."

"Carla Goodyear has been my solicitor for many years; I have followed her from firm to firm as she has climbed the ladder of her career. She is very able to carry out my work and will go out of her way to get my work done quickly and professionally. I can not speak more highly of her."

Work highlights

  • Represented a rapidly growing company in relation to the opening of three new franchise stores in large established shopping centres.
  • Expansion of company’s retail presence with new store openings, including assisting with the surrender of an existing lease and associated complications.
  • Managed the sale of a retail business as a going concern which included asset purchase agreements, complex pre-emption and settlement agreements and associated planning matters.
  • Advising on financing and title issues under tight timeframes on property worth in excess of £850,000.
  • A complex refinancing operation involving multiple assets, multiple charges, secured and unsecured debentures, and novations.

The commercial property practice at Fosters is led from Norwich but solicitor Jane Moir, who joined from Sprake & Kingsley LLP Solicitors in Bungay, now works from the firm's Lowestoft office. Moir has many years' experience in acting on high-value transactions including the sale of land to developers, promotion agreements, option agreements, conditional contracts and overage agreements. She also has a specialism in local government work, following eight years in an in-house role for Waveney District Council, and has frequently acted for large estates.

Other key lawyers:Jane Moir

Spire Solicitors LLP has a network of seven offices in Norfolk and has a strong commercial property practice in Attleborough. The firm handles option agreements, residential or commercial estate development, planning obligations, overage, landlords, asset management and tenants. In 2018, practice head Colin Wright handled several land sales with planning consent for large-scale residential development. Associate Howard Bailey handles complex and high-value lease and investment transactions. Legal executive Rebecca Allen in Dereham also handles commercial and agricultural property matters.

Practice head(s):Colin Wright

Other key lawyers:Howard Bailey; Rebecca Allen


"The team is extremely easy to deal with. They are professional yet deal with you in a very down-to-earth manner."

"They take a realistic and practical view in terms of billing and payments. They are not expensive considering the level of service."

"It has a very personal touch and high-quality understanding of property and town planning matters."

"In my view, it is high on the list of solicitors operating across East Anglia."

"Spire provides careful but sound advice and is not afraid to explore suggestions."

"The practice is straightforward, effective and efficient."

"Friendly, approachable and pragmatic, they are always prepared to listen and then give appropriate advice to suit the situation."

"We used Howard Bailey to assist us in terminating a break clause and he was always professional, approachable and carried out the work in a timely and professional manner."

Commercial property: Ipswich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Ipswich
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

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

Practice head(s):Chris Schwer

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Clients

Westbrook Capital

M7 Real Estate

BUUK Infrastructure Limited

Power On Connections Limited

GTC Limited

The Electricity Network Company Limited

Independent Power Networks Limited

GTC Pipelines Limited

Ashtons Legal has a large commercial property practice that operates across all of the firm's offices in East Anglia. James Griffiths is the lead partner in Ipswich for a practice that counts numerous Cambridge colleges, a regional estate agent, a major regional lender, large landowners and housebuilders, and substantial agricultural businesses among its clients. Griffiths leads the firm's portfolio management and property development work, as well as its support for the firm's leading franchising practice.

Practice head(s):James Griffiths

Other key lawyers:Simon Burnip; Alexandra Chater; Kimberly King


"The firm has good knowledge and is able to provide valuable insight into how to progress swiftly and efficiently."

"The firm provided good communication and quick responses to questions, and genuinely looked out for our interests in reviewing contracts."

"Ashtons is a strong regional and national firm which from my direct experience offers a comprehensive range of services and quality of staff, several of whom are exceptional and a pleasure to deal with. I find Ashtons personable, proactive and responsive."

"James Griffiths has always been a standout member for me with commitment, diligence and a depth of knowledge as well as a personal touch, whether working with him directly or in his oversight of his team."

"Over the last year, I have worked regularly over a diverse range of real estate matters with Alexandra Chater whom I would recommend to anyone. She is committed, diligent and proactive and also has a real commercial touch, enabling matters to sensibly progress where other firms may allow matters to stall or fail."

"A friendly, professional, and highly accessible local firm with the strength in depth to provide a comprehensive service across many sectors."

"I like its pragmatism and professionalism. Too often, lawyers only point out the risks and the reasons why not to do something. James Griffiths is excellent at also pointing out the solutions and the reasons for taking a particular course of action."

"James Griffiths has an acute awareness of the commercial realities of his recommendations, which is a key aspect of why he is my preferred legal adviser."

"The team has a very personal approach. We know that when we call to discuss something we can always talk through a situation amicably and proactively."

"You never feel like you are going 'into battle'. We value their honest approach to tackling every scenario."

Key Clients

Emmanuel College

Savills (UK) Limited


Flip Out Limited

Castlemeadow Group

Abel Homes


This Land Development Limited

Beaumont City LLP

Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust

Work highlights

  • The Ashtons Legal real estate team act for Flip Out Limited on all of its property related matters, working closely with the franchising team to ensure all property documents dovetail with the franchise agreements.

Gotelee Solicitors has a strong transport and logistics practice that generates a significant amount of commercial property work, and the recruitment of solicitor Alex Butler-Zagni from Steed & Steed extends the firm's reach into the agricultural sector. The practice, led by Martin Whitworth, also handles planning, regulatory matters, occupation arrangements and contracts for mobile home park owners. Associate Emma Cracknell advises occupiers, investors, developers, funders and pension schemes on a broad range of commercial property transactions.

Practice head(s):Martin Whitworth

Other key lawyers:Alex Butler-Zagni; Annalise Shelcott; Emma Cracknell

Kerseys Solicitors LLP acts for a diverse roster of clients ranging from small property investors to large, nationwide clients with substantial property portfolios. Kimat Singh and Jane Riley are the key partners in a practice that advises a large independent retailer in respect of its multimillion-pound investment property portfolio, which recently included the letting of office business park space, and also a multi-site nursing home group with a multimillion-pound occupational property and investment property real estate portfolio. The practice also counts a London developer and a national garden centre company among its clients.

Practice head(s):Kimat Singh

Other key lawyers:Jane Riley; Bere Allen; Adrian Green; Mehmet Duzgan

The commercial property practice at Barker Gotelee is led by managing partner Andrew Nicholson and focuses on development projects that require site assembly and subsequent plot sale, promotion agreements, option agreements, overage agreements and conditional contracts. The firm also handles projects involving the transmission of electricity generated offshore to the National Grid and other renewable energy projects, and has specialist expertise in secured lending.

Practice head(s):Andrew Nicholson

Other key lawyers:Christopher Green; Luke Cain; Fenella Eddell; Miles Coates; Sam Read

Key Clients

Cambridge Commercial Property Limited

Oxlade & Bond Ltd

Town & Country Turf Ltd

Doozee Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Cambridge Commercial Property Limited on the purchase of an investment property for £300,000.
  • Acted for the purchaser of an investment property for £415,000.
  • Acted for Town & Country Turf Ltd in negotiating a 15-year lease with an annual rent of £59,000 plus VAT.
  • Acted for Oxlade & Bond Ltd in negotiating a ten-year lease and rent deposit deed for a unit on a new build development in Suffolk.
  • Acted for Doozee Limited in negotiating a licence to underlet, deed of variation and underlease for a unit on a business park in Suffolk.

Blocks is among the providers of legal services representation to Norwich & Peterborough Building Society, which is the main commercial lender among mutual societies. In 2018, the firm handled a growing caseload of property work for rural businesses, particularly light industrial farm unit lettings, as well as the sale and purchase of pubs, hotels and restaurants. Andrew Fleming is the key partner and he has more than 30 years' experience in the local market.

Practice head(s):Andrew Fleming

Other key lawyers:Gerry Field

Commercial property: Norwich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Norwich
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

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

Practice head(s):Melissa Loucas

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Clients

Wallblock Projects

Cambridgeshire County Council

Westbrook Partners

M7 Real Estate Ltd

Interbay Funding Ltd

Surplus Property Solutions Limited

MH Star UK Limited

Lloyds Banking Group

Partners of Norwich Research Park

Norwich Airport Limited

Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

National Westminster Bank plc

Norwich & Waveney Enterprise Services

NFC Homes Ltd


Newbury New Homes

Norfolk County Developments

Dewing Properties


Santander UK

Work highlights

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

At Howes Percival LLP 'capable individuals make up the team, which provides good response times'. The 'very thorough and diligent' Joanna Nicholls, firm chair and and practice head Tessa Haskey and development specialist Tracey Hughes are the key partners. Their work encompasses residential development for clients including Bloor Homes, commercial development for major developers and local authorities, the management of portfolio investments, and property finance in sectors such as energy, leisure, automotive, healthcare and education. Nicola Curle is recommended for projects in the education sector.

Practice head(s):Tessa Haskey; Tracey Hughes; Joanna Nicholls

Other key lawyers:Nicola Curle; Tom Skinner

Key Clients

Ford Retail Limited

Lothbury Broadland Unit Trust and Lothbury Property Trust Company Limited

Persimmon Homes Limited (Persimmon Anglia, Essex & North London


Hughes Electrical Limited

Norwich University of the Arts

The Trustees of the Holkham Central Estate

Bloor Homes Limited

Big Sky Developments Limited

Braintree District Council

Citygate Developments Limited

Heritage Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Braintree District Council in the £6m acquisition of Horizon 120 commercial development site.
  • Acting for Ford Retail on property elements of a £21.6m strategic site disposal project.
  • Acting for Persimmon on acquisition of a 187-plot residential scheme on conditional basis.
  • Acting for Ford Retail Limited on a capital project for dealership redevelopment requiring an umbrella agreement providing for licence for alterations, landlord contribution to works, construction warranties, lease extension by way of reversionary lease, and rent review variations.
  • Acquiring site for Norwich University of the Arts for educational facilities and student accommodation development.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a large real estate practice that handles regional, national and international work. Its work encompasses development projects, landlord and tenant matters, real estate aspects of corporate transactions, investments and finance, and major projects in the renewable energy and utilities sectors. Caroline Dean, who focuses on development work for landowners, and Carina Cobbold, who specialises in mixed-use development sites, joint venture agreements, corporate real estate and large-scale projects, are the lead partners. Associate Lisa-Marie Kennedy, Anna Aldous and Zoe Cooke are rising stars in the practice.

Practice head(s):Caroline Dean; Carina Cobbold

Other key lawyers:Lisa-Marie Kennedy; Zoe Cooke; Anna Aldous


'Mills & Reeve have served our group well over a number of years and have always been ready able and willing to serve our business. One strength is they seek to understand our business requirements and question our understanding of our instructions. Consistency of staff and key people is also very important and saves time and cost to us both. We have used other firms of solicitors, but have found that Mills & Reeve caters for our needs better than others.'

'Carina Cobbold is a stand out partner who has acted for our group for many years. Her level of knowledge and understanding are excellent, but her methodical explanation of complex concepts within deals is second to none. This approach does filter down into her team. Anna Aldous shares many of the same qualities.'

Key Clients

Anglia Innovation Partners LLP (Norwich Research Park)

Archant Group

Asco UK Limited

Brown Family (Holt)

Central Trust

Cinnamon Collection Limited

City College Norwich

Clifford Estate Company Limited

Colman Family Trust

Countrywide Legal Indemnities Limited

Department of Health

Diocese of East Anglia

Easton & Otley College

Family Mosaic (to be called Peabody Developments Limited)

Fitzmaurice Holdings Limited

Giraffe Concepts Limited

Group Lotus plc

John Innes Centre

John Wood Group plc

Joseph King Group

The Kilverstone Trust

Land Registry


Midwich Limited

Norwich City Football Club plc

Norwich Preservation Trust

Norwich School

Nurse Plus & Carer Plus (UK) Limited

Oasis Dental Care Limited

Ortona Group

Quadram Institute

Randall & Quilter Investments Limited

Repton Developments Limited (owned by Norfolk County Council)

Serruys Property Company Limited

Southwold Town Council

St Edmunds Society

Timewell Properties Limited

The Forum Trust

University of East Anglia

University of Suffolk

Upton Trust (Red Lodge, Suffolk)

WR & PJ Tann

Work highlights

  • Acting for a consortium of landowners in Norfolk on a landowners agreement, cross-options and promotion and option agreement with a master developer which is also to be the housebuilder for 50% of the site.
  • Instructed by a developer group in respect of their emerging site work, which comprises promotion and option agreements with various landowners (in the absence of a consortium agreement), which seek to achieve consistent objectives across all landowners, equalisation as to value, use, proceeds and costs, with tranche drawdown and synchronised approvals in the promotion agreements and in some cases with the option of the landowners participating by way of a joint venture entity.
  • Instructed on the St James development site which is split into two zones and under the current masterplan, once fully developed, will comprise nine large multi-storey/occupant commercial units, 400 residential units, gym, hotel, riverside walk, footbridge and parking.
  • Acting in a £31m corporate acquisition involving the purchase of shares to secure an underlying property investment portfolio comprising 15 operating fuel filling stations and five ancillary residential properties.
  • The negotiation of a development agreement for lease, lease, full suite of building warranties and appointments and a licence for alterations for T K Maxx lifestyle store.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors has a 'very knowledgeable, pragmatic and highly efficient' commercial property practice. The firm climbs the table having expanded its practice with the recruitment of junior lawyers to deal with a growing workload for new practice head Sarah Garlish, who joined from Hatch Brenner LLP. Consultant Hugh Berridge and lead corporate partner Jade Tinney also play key roles in the practice, which acts for businesses, individuals and charities in the full spectrum of property matters.

Practice head(s):Sarah Garlish

Other key lawyers:Hugh Berridge; Jade Tinney; Jack Shreeve

In early 2019, Fosters recruited Paul Oldershaw from Palmers in Essex as its new head of commercial property; he has extensive experience in the Norwich market from his time with Leathes Prior. Oldershaw handles development work and landlord and tenant matters in sectors such as retail and healthcare. Rachel Appleton has 18 years' experience and plays a central role in the practice. In 2018, her work included high-value deals in the franchise sector and major residential development projects.

Practice head(s):Paul Oldershaw

Other key lawyers:Rachel Appleton


"We primarily deal with Rachel Appleton and have developed a very good working relationship. Rachel is always very professional and approachable."

Spire Solicitors LLP has a large commercial property team operating across its office network in Norfolk. It is led from Attleborough by Colin Wright but the Norwich office houses newly recruited partner Protima Sikdar-Wood who joined from Morrisons Solicitors LLP in London. Her practice encompasses secured lending, investment transactions, development projects and property transactions for charity clients. Partner Tim Chiverton is noted for landlord and tenant matters. Solicitor Benedict Keane is vastly experienced in property matters, notably for clients in the licensed trade.

Other key lawyers:Protima Sikdar-Wood; Benedict Keane; Tim Chiverton; Annette Collen; Lauren Toynton


"The firm is always quick to respond with clear, concise and practical advice."

"Annette Collen is very responsive and understands the dynamics within our business."

Ashtons Legal joins the ranking this year having formed its commercial property practice in Norwich in early 2019. The firm hired Sally Challinor from an independent legal consultancy but she was formerly a director at Howes Percival LLP. The practice has quickly generated a flow of local work including a large lease deal in the sports and leisure sector and the sale of land to a major retail chain. One client praises the firm's 'clear and concise thinking and balanced views on complex technical and business issues, and its knowledgeable and understanding approach'.

Practice head(s):Sally Challinor

Other key lawyers:Victoria Harnett; Hannah Arnold


"The knowledge shown by each member of staff on their given subject is excellent. It has been incredibly important to build up a good working relationship with key members of staff and to see that the different teams work exceptionally well together."

"All members of staff have provided a fast and efficient service."

"The firm has excellent knowledge in a fast moving and technically advanced sector."

Rogers and Norton has a growing caseload of development work, notably in projects converting former commercial space in Norwich to residential use. Practice head Bruce Faulkner recently handled the £3.9m acquisition of a large nightclub for conversion to apartments, and the £1.2m acquisition of a hotel for conversion into residential units. Richard Etheridge, who frequently handles property matters for GP surgeries, also plays a role in the practice.

Practice head(s):Bruce Faulkner

Other key lawyers:Richard Etheridge; Michele Walters; Kerry Dilks; Yvonne Benner

Work highlights

  • Joint venture agreement for development of property and the purchase of a large nightclub for conversion to apartments.
  • The purchase of a hotel for conversion to apartments.

The commercial property group at Steeles Law is led from London but the Norwich office plays a pivotal role in a practice that acts for developers, investors, landlords, tenants and landowners, in sectors such as retail, commercial and residential development, charities, education and agriculture. In Norwich, Simon Button, who was previously head of commercial property at Fosters, joined the practice in 2018. Button's broad caseload includes work for multi-academy trusts and McDonald’s franchisees.

Practice head(s):Michael Fahy

Other key lawyers:Simon Button; Lisha Gorsia


"The team is very knowledgeable and always very helpful and attentive to your needs."

"I found them a joy to be dealing with and highly recommend them to other people."

"Lisha Gorsia is very helpful. She has no arrogance or self-importance."

Key Clients

Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy

Secker & Sons (Norwich) Limited

Consortium Multi-Academy Trust

Rightforsuccess Trust

Longfield Hall Trust Limited

Blofield Nurseries Limited

H Irwin Limited

W B A Gaze & Son

The Castle Partnership

Equitix Holdings Limited

Commercial property: Peterborough

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Peterborough
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Buckles Solicitors LLP handles all aspects of commercial property and the securitisation of property finance, including development site acquisition and disposal, the administration of property portfolios, landlord and tenant issues, agricultural land transactions, diversification issues such as wind farm and communication mast leases, mineral extraction and landfill development. The property practice, led by social housing and commercial development expert Michael Rabbett, also supports the energy and natural resources practice, and the firm's construction and engineering group. Leading light Colleen Gostick is a specialist in retail and industrial development.

Practice head(s):Michael Rabbett

Other key lawyers:Colleen Gostick; Chris Mundell; Michael Blank


"We work closely with a number of local firms but have historically received a consistently high level of service from Buckles, which hasn't always been the case with other firms."

"Colleen Gostick, Michael Blank and Michael Rabbett provide a high level of service and understand exactly what it is the bank requires from its instructions. Importantly for us, the individuals we use are commercially aware of how any particular facet of a transaction can or may impact on the bank and flags it with us accordingly."

"Colleen Gostick is quick to respond, concise with advice and is always available at short notice. I find her approach very client-orientated and focused."

"I enjoy working with Michael Blank as he always offers balanced and clear advice in a calm and thoughtful manner."

"The firm is strong in the commercial property field and is one of the leading firms for specialist commercial property advice."

"The key issue is speed of response and speed in getting deals across the line which is most important. I know they will deal with matters quickly and are always quick to respond."

"The firm shows responsiveness, pragmatism, cooperation and the ability to work to defined timelines."

"Colleen Gostick epitomises the firm's ethos and is ably supported by Michael Blank and Michael Rabbett."

Work highlights

  • Acted for Devonshire Metro Limited on the development and pre-let of a large industrial unit in Peterborough and the letting of a neighbouring industrial unit before selling both as investment properties to Mayfair Capital, a London based property fund.
  • Acted for Devonshire Metro Limited in securing vacant possession of a large listed high street property in High Wycombe from the administrators of Pound World and acquiring trade fixtures and fittings; new lease to Pound Stretcher, including tenant trade fixtures and fittings.
  • A share acquisition for Venues Management Limited of a hotel business funded by a simultaneous sale and leaseback of the freehold property owned by the target company to/from a third party.
  • A £1.6m site acquisition of 20 affordable units on a larger scheme of development.
  • Option agreement for strategic development site; the site was of particular importance to the client in order to safeguard the objective of providing social housing in line with government targets into the next decade.

Greenwoods GRM handles high-value work for clients in the development, investment, financial, education, charitable and food sectors. The firm's portfolio clients include a local property company with more than 100 properties, a major motor dealer with a national portfolio, a nationwide charity, a white goods manufacturer, and a publishing company. Karin Horsley leads the practice, supported by partners Samantha East and Stephen Illingworth. Horsley handles high-value transactions for both UK and overseas clients; East focuses on secured lending in the property sector; and Illingworth frequently acts for developers.

Practice head(s):Samantha East; Karin Horsley

Other key lawyers:Stephen Illingworth; May Ozga; Ann-Marie Clow


"The practice offers a very good service and would be rated as better than other practices we have used."

"David Woods is very accomplished and skilled and appears to understand the client's business very well."

"Samantha East has always made an effort to be available and responds very quickly with excellent advice."

"Reda Paul dealt very efficiently with a transfer of property for me and, although our interactions were via email or phone, they were conducted with courtesy just as I would expect."

Key Clients


Fengate Developments


Japan H.L Ltd

St John Ambulance

Agellus Hotels

RE Evan Farms

Nene Park Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising the founders of Barracudas, the UK’s largest operator of activity day camps for children, in obtaining significant development capital investment.
  • Supported Fengate Developments in the sale of property to Meadow Foods, including a huge plot of land adjacent to its manufacturing site to create new production facilities.
  • Acting in a £1m share sale of Priden (UK) Limited with significant property elements; the transaction involved ten freehold properties and two leasehold properties.
  • Acting for a housing developer acquiring a site for residential development.

Hunt & Coombs LLP handles high-value real estate work for businesses, charities and other organisations, as well as individuals. The practice is geared towards landed estates, private clients, institutional lenders, not-for-profit entities, developers and statutory bodies. Practice head Anna Spriggs deals with the sale and acquisition of church, charity and development land, as well as leasehold and freehold commercial sales and purchases. Legal executive Sarah Morris handles landlord and tenant matters, as well as advising both lenders and borrowers on property finance.

Practice head(s):Anna Spriggs

Other key lawyers:Sarah Morris; Olivia Chalmers


"The firm is easy to reach and pleasant to deal with."

Key Clients

The Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance


The Chapter of Peterborough Cathedral

East of England Agricultural Society

The IS Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Various matters for longstanding client The Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance, including: complex covenant releases and reverter provision, statutory vesting procedures, disposal of parsonages and land for development, disposal and management of glebe land, commercial leases and licences for church and/or education use – including acquisition of new church sites, promotion agreements, collaboration and option agreements on a number of sites all well in excess of £1m.
  • Acquisition of a number of furniture stores on major retail sites for AHF Ltd.
  • Promotion agreement for garden village development.
  • Triggering of an option agreement for a major development.
  • Purchase of a grade II listed property.

Hegarty LLP is highly respected for transactions involving rural land, which include investments, construction and development projects, acquisitions and disposals. The firm also handles a broad range of commercial property work under the guidance of practice head and senior partner Richard Hegarty, who has more than 40 years' experience. Partner Joy Plummer, who is a member of the Agricultural Law Association, is recommended for matters such as sales and acquisitions, landlord and tenant matters, and land law.

Practice head(s):Richard Hegarty

Other key lawyers:Joy Plummer

Taylor Rose TTKW acts for local developers and lending institutions and in the ten years it has been in Peterborough, the firm has built a growing portfolio of high-value work. Partner Nick Scutt leads the practice and has more than 30 years' experience in commercial property. Among his clients are investors, private and corporate developers, occupiers and their pension or other trust schemes within the real estate sector. Associate Navead Yousaf is the key contact for major lender Santander UK plc.

Practice head(s):Nick Scutt

Other key lawyers:Navead Yousaf

Key Clients

Brightfield Group

Regional Developments Ltd

Moda Handbag Ltd

Rotary Building Services Ltd

Priestgate Estates Ltd


Work highlights

  • Represented Priestgate Estates Ltd in the £6.5m sale of 50 off-plan apartments.
  • Represented Rotary Building Services Ltd in the £2.8m sale of eight off-plan apartments.
  • Represented Borehole Solutions Ltd in the transfer of its commercial units to its SIPP.
  • Advising landlords from small single properties to extensive portfolios on addressing and resolving those ultimately crucial little details.
  • Assisting established client Moda Handbag Limited with acquiring city centre premises comprising apartments.


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

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

Practice head(s):Andrew Rush

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

Key Clients

Inspired Clapham Limited

Kilnbridge Construction Services

Grove Business Park Limited

Future Biogas Systems

McGee Civil Engineering Limited

Balicrest Limited

Wharfside Regeneration (In Adminstration) Ipswich Limited

Work highlights

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

The construction and engineering practice at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in Cambridge is led by Dominic Lacey, who is also head of the firm's international transport group. In 2018, leading a firm-wide team, he acted for the Government of Rwanda in the funding and construction of New Bugesara Airport. Alongside his international work, he also handles UK matters, which recently included a £125m portfolio of senior living development. The firm has a deep bench of rising star associates handling high-value matters, including Tom Douglas, Catherine Andrews, Ed Freeman and Patrick Cooney.

Practice head(s):Dominic Lacey

Other key lawyers:Tom Douglas; Catherine Andrews; Ed Freeman; Patrick Cooney

Key Clients

Brunel University London

Signature Senior Lifestyle Limited

Legal & General

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

Department for Transport

Transport for London

Highways England

Audley Court Limited

Lancaster plc Limited

Dacorum Borough Council

Work highlights

  • In additional to working on circa 7 live developments sites, we worked with Audley on the re-financing of 15 multi-phase sites to bring them within a new £125m revolving credit facility.
  • Having previously acted for the Government of Rwanda to conclude the un-funded project agreements for an unsolicited bid by Mota Engil for the New Bugesara Airport, we were retained again to participate in the negotiation of funding arrangements and conditions with incoming banks and equity investors, led by the African Development Bank.

  • Working with new client Peabody to rationalise its existing multi-contract housing stock maintenance contracts.
  • Leading on negotiation of ARM contracts appointing Contractors and Professional Team for new ARM offices in Tokyo, South Korea, France and UK.
  • Developing new suite of construction contracts for Jardine Motors Group adapted to reflect specialist needs of the business.

The projects and construction practice at Mills & Reeve LLP in Cambridge is the largest in the region and handles a diverse range of large projects in sectors such as education, waste-to-energy, infrastructure, healthcare, food and agri-business. Among its clients are major contractors, local authorities and leading developers. The group handles the full range of procurement and state aid matters, contract negotiation and drafting, review of technical documents, project management and dispute resolution. Stuart Thompson leads the practice, in which principal associates Alison Garrett for disputes and Alexandra Pike and Robert Weatherley for  non-contentious matters stand out.

Practice head(s):Stuart Thompson

Other key lawyers:Alexandra Pike; Alison Garrett; Robert Weatherley; Gary Rushworth; Emma Nash


'Mills & Reeve are currently assisting us with a complex construction matter. They have been innovative in their ideas to problem-solving and also persistent in resolving matters.'

'Stuart Thompson is innovative with his ideas and is able to communicate complex matters in a simplistic form to assist client understanding. He is engaging and keen to ensure matters are progressed.'

Key Clients

University of Cambridge

Urban & Civic

Knapp Limited


North West Cambridge

Howard Group


Marshall Group



Work highlights

  • We were the lead legal adviser for the University and worked with it on the procurement of a number of its new developments within the Region.
  • We are lead adviser on significant projects across the region including: 5,000 new homes, commercial space and four schools at Alconbury Weald; 6,200 new homes, 4 schools and 8 GP surgeries at RadioStation Rugby; 6,500 new homes and 600 new units of care home use at Waterbeach.
  • We are the sole provider of legal advice to Knapp UK Limited, which designs, installs and commissions automation systems for the food, pharmaceutical and clothing industry.
  • Injunction issued against the issue of Practical Completion of the development pending a decision on whether room sizes within the development were smaller than anticipated and if so, whether this would amount to a breach of contract capable of preventing practical completion.
  • Acting on Phase II of the Eddington development in Cambridge, which will result in the construction of over 1000 homes and new academic and commercial facilities.

'The service I received was absolutely first-class and, in my experience, almost without equal', remarks a client of Greenwoods GRM. The construction practice is led by leading light Howard Crossman who is mainly based in London but also works from the Peterborough office. Crossman frequently works on large international projects. The firm recruited standout construction partner Lorna Carter from Hewitsons to take the lead on both contentious and non-contentious matters in the Cambridge office. Solicitor Sarah Lidgett in Peterborough handles construction disputes and has a niche focus on construction health and safety matters.

Practice head(s):Howard Crossman

Other key lawyers:Lorna Carter; Sarah Lidgett


"The construction team is led by Howard Crossman who provides hands-on, value-added services to all of his clients. He is friendly, prompt and courteous. He is also meticulous and pays great attention to detail."

"Sarah Lidgett is very organised and efficient. The day I went to court for the injunction, Sarah and the barrister made sure I was fully aware of proceedings. I found Sarah to be very capable and easy to approach."

"I had a dedicated partner who is available, responsive and exceptionally able, and who discusses matters on a level that is capable of being understood by foreign nationals."

"The firm is a truly exceptional service provider. The responses are well thought out, very timely and in some cases almost instantaneous."

"Sarah Lidgett is friendly, has a positive approach and provides quick responses."

"I would commend this firm for its speed in dealing with issues. Many solicitors I have encountered before seem to take ages to action letters and report back. Greenwoods is very efficient."

"We have been working with Howard Crossman, who we have found very efficient and easy to deal with. We feel confident with the advice he gives and comfortable that he understands our predicament and gives careful consideration before embarking on that advice."

Key Clients

Morrison Utility Services Ltd

Woods Hardwick Ltd

Jackson Coles Ltd

Cladding UK Ltd

D Brown Building Contractors

Leverton Brothers Ltd

Work highlights

  • A major post-Grenfell cladding dispute.
  • Providing support for a multi-billion dollar international construction and engineering consulting group, comprised of over 18,500 staff members through various subsidiaries assisting clients in over 100 countries around the world.
  • Complex Technology and Construction High Court litigation matter.
  • Drafting and negotiating construction documents for the College on substantial project.
  • Supporting a joint venture alliance of the largest Utility and Maintenance Contractors in the UK.

Hewitsons has a highly experienced construction group that works across its London, Milton Keynes and Cambridge offices. In Cambridge, managing partner Colin Jones is the standout practitioner who frequently handles complex and high-value matters for developers, contractors, design and construction professionals, construction product manufacturers, funders and occupiers. He is supported by solicitor Sardeep Gill who handles both contentious and non-contentious matters. The firm has a long-standing reputation for work on UK-wide construction projects, and its recent work includes projects for Oxbridge colleges and Homes England.

Other key lawyers:Colin Jones; Sardeep Gill

Key Clients

SKAKO Concrete A/S

British Institute of Interior Design

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Apprise Property Limited

The Howard Group


Homes England

City & Country Group PLC

The Injured Jockey’s Fund

Work highlights

  • The firm was instructed by a Scandinavian manufacturer on a multimillion-pound cross-jurisdictional  development project involving a concrete production plant facility in central London.
  • The firm recently advised RSPB on the multimillion-pound development of solar energy installations at 14 of its UK sites including the preparation of a bespoke framework agreement for negotiation with selected suppliers.
  • The firm advised Apprise Property Limited in drafting and negotiating the construction documentation for a development which will facilitate the supply of a required increase in residential housing within the  St Albans region.
  • Engaged in advising on the appointments of a £6m state-of-the-art rehabilitation and fitness centre.
  • Recently acted for one of Kent’s most prominent contractors on a public procurement dispute against a contracting authority in relation to a tender outcome.

JG Poole & Co. LLP in Ely provides 'clear and concise advice that is delivered in a timely manner'. Clients also praise lead partner Katherine Souter as 'very hands-on and reactive - she shows attention to detail and understanding the client's needs'. The construction, public procurement and state aid practice is key part of the firm's niche offering to higher education clients, and it acts for developers, contractors and their clients in high-value projects across the UK. Consultant Christopher Coveney, who was previously at Norton Rose Fulbright, joined the firm in 2018.

Practice head(s):Katherine Souter

Other key lawyers:Christopher Coveney


"JG Poole is willing to work with us collaboratively to find the solution which best fits our needs."

"Katherine Souter is excellent, she has real in-depth knowledge of construction legal frameworks, contract law and good practice, giving very good advice and how to ensure value for money options are implemented."

"Nothing has been too much trouble and it is a real pleasure to work with Katherine Souter, who is a n asset to the firm."

Key Clients

University of East Anglia

University of Hertfordshire

Canterbury Christ Church University

Buckinghamshire New University

London Metropolitan University

Colchester Institute

Paragon Land & Estates Ltd

University of Essex

Harper Adams University

University of Brighton

Varsity Consulting Ltd

University of Brighton

Work highlights

  • Advised Canterbury Christ Church University on the public procurement exercise and construction procurement of its new £47m teaching and social learning space.
  • Preparing and negotiating a JCT standard building contract for a new University building in Canterbury.
  • Advising the UEA on the procurement of a new consultant register starting 2019.
  • Construction procurement advice and strategy in relation to a new £50m capital project for new University teaching building.
  • Construction advice on a JCT based design & build procurement of two new office development sites with a combined value of £20m.

Ashtons Legal focuses on non-contentious construction work, supporting the property team with their development and finance work, as well as drafting building contracts and other professional team documents for large-scale projects involving. The firm has particular expertise in the education and charity sectors. Senior associate Sarah Duncan leads the practice and has significant experience in drafting and advising on procurement, building and development contracts.

Practice head(s):Sarah Duncan

'The firm works with us ensuring they push deals through, and they keep us up-to-date and informed', remarks a client of Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough. The construction and engineering practice is led from Nottingham by James Coppinger but the Peterborough office plays a key role through litigator James Maxey, who handles contentious matters for clients in the firm's key sectors of social housing, student accommodation, engineering and renewable energy. The firm continues to deal with the national student accommodation development programme for the Empiric group of companies, which involves numerous sites throughout the UK.

Practice head(s):James Coppinger

Other key lawyers:James Maxey

Key Clients

Empiric Student Property Limited

Longhurst Group Limited (and the Blue Skies Consortium)

Keystone Developments (LG) Limited (and the Keystone Alliance)

Hill Partnerships Limited

Settle Group and Rowan Homes (NHH) Limited

Work highlights

  • We have advised on the procurement of new schemes in Manchester, Bristol, Falmouth and Canterbury, together with refurbishment schemes in Cardiff, Exeter and Bristol in relation to (a) consultant appointments, (b) the building contract, (c) guarantees and (d) collateral warranties.
  • Advising on the OJEU compliant procurement of a four-year framework agreement for the appointment of contractors for the Consortium’s ongoing housing development programme covering the East and West Midlands, South Yorkshire and East Anglia.
  • Advising on the OJEU compliant procurement of a four-year framework agreement for the appointment of consultants for the Consortium’s ongoing housing development programme covering the East and West Midlands, South Yorkshire and East Anglia.
  • Advising on the OJEU compliant procurement of a four-year framework agreement for responsive repairs to existing housing stock amounting to over 10,000 units across the East Midlands.

The construction and engineering practice at Greene & Greene is led by litigators Rob Adam and Michael Batty, who frequently handle contentious matters for main contractors and sub-contractors as part of their broad dispute resolution practices. In 2018, the firm hired solicitor Sarah Western from Birketts LLP who has a background in litigation but is now working as a specialist in both contentious and non-contentious construction matters for developers, main contractors and sub-contractors. Real estate partner Neil Grigg also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):Rob Adam; Michael Batty

Other key lawyers:Sarah Western; Neil Grigg


"The solicitors at Greene & Greene are all exceptional and I would not contemplate using any other firm. They are always well informed, technically excellent, commercially minded and have consistently given me excellent advice."

"Sarah Western is great to work with - she is very professional, personable and knows her stuff."

"Sarah Western was extremely helpful when she assisted me with a dispute. The action taken resulted in us getting an outcome that surpassed our expectations."

"Sarah Western advised us on all of the outcomes, so we were able to weigh up our options, which meant we were able to make an informed decision when it came to taking action."

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented a project manager in an action for specific performance.
  • Acting on behalf of a client regarding substantial structural defects to factory premises.
  • Advising client in respect of potential obligations and liabilities under construction contracts.
  • Acting for a sub-contractor in several adjudications against a main contractor in respect of disputed Final Accounts.
  • Acting for a developer in respect of a claim for defective soil contamination works undertaken by a main contractor.

Howes Percival LLP joins the rankings having hired two construction specialists. Director Simon Franklin in Cambridge joined from Teacher Stern LLP and he handle all aspects of non-contentious construction law including strategic procurement. He has extensive experience in working with developers and housebuilders on projects including student accommodation, hospitals, retail developments and urban regeneration schemes. Solicitor Emma Raspin in Norwich joined from Cozens-Hardy LLP and her recent work includes dealing with all construction issues relating to the sale of a multimillion-pound property portfolio.

Practice head(s):Simon Franklin

Other key lawyers:Emma Raspin

Key Clients

Ford Retail Limited (Trust Ford)

Fleur Developments Limited

Carislease Limited

Alaris Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a property development company in respect of its £11m portfolio sale to a registered provider.
  • The Firm is the main supplier to Ford Retail Limited of property and construction legal work and we have advised and continue to advise the Group Property Manager on a number of projects, including the construction/refurbishment of showroom/service facilities at Bristol, Staines and Weston Super Mare.
  • The team acted for this award winning house builder in preparing a bespoke suite of construction documents, consisting of professional appointments, sub-contracts and collateral warranties.
  • Advising a developer client on the termination of a contractor and the engagement of a replacement as well as ongoing strategic contractual management advice.
  • Represented leading medical research and development company in connection with the construction of new laboratory building.

Leathes Prior in Norwich joins the ranking thanks to the growing workload of specialist partner David Richards, who has taken the lead on construction matters now that senior litigator Mike Barlow is focusing purely on commercial litigation. Richards handles construction projects around Norwich, across East Anglia and in London. The firm predominantly acts for builders and developers of residential developments, and provides a subscription-based retainer scheme for contractors. Clients praise the firm's 'diversity, commitment to deliver, communication, speed of response and ability to converse in a manner the layman can understand'.

Practice head(s):David Richards


"Every member of the team at Leathes Prior is extremely professional and helpful. It would be very hard to seek criticism."

"David Richards, in particular, has helped enormously with several projects."

Work highlights

  • Leathes Prior represented a construction company in a dispute over the final account for a £1m project.
  • Leathes Prior represented a construction company in a claim against a developer based in the Isle of Man.
  • Leathes Prior represented a regional housing developer on claims against it on an estate of 19 houses.
  • Leathes Prior represented another regional housing developer a claim brought by a high value property-owner.
  • Leathes Prior acts for several contractors on an innovative retainer basis, dealing with contract review and early resolution of disputes

The construction practice at Prettys Solicitors LLP is led by experienced litigator Peter Blake who handles contentious matters for large contractors. Non-contentious matters are handled by rising star senior associate Rebecca Palmer, who advises clients from all sectors of the industry on procurement strategy and implementation, project management, contract administration and the drafting and negotiation of standard form and bespoke construction contracts.

Practice head(s):Peter Blake

Other key lawyers:Rebecca Palmer

Environment & planning

Index of tables

  1. Environment & planning
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

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

Practice head(s):Tom Newcombe; Richard Eaton

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


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

Key Clients

Hopkins Homes

Countryside Properties UK Limited

Enterprise Property Group

Crest Nicholson (Eastern)

Hill Residential


Generator Group


Babergh District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

Notcutts Limited



NFC Homes

London Trocadero LLP

Chater Homes

Churchmanor Estates

Mersea Homes

AJ Lee Developments

Air Studios

Strongroom Studios

Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Orwell Homes Limited

Pigeon Investment management

Work highlights

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

Hewitsons in Cambridge handles large-scale development projects, including residential and mixed-use urban expansions, and acts for Homes England in substantial regeneration projects. The firm regularly undertakes work in connection with judicial reviews and other legal challenges in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal, and it undertakes its own advocacy at public inquiries, hearings and in Magistrates Courts. Leading light Deborah Sharples is the key partner and has a large client base of landowners, farmers, investment owners and landed estates across the UK. Associate Gemma Dudley has more than 15 years' experience in planning and compulsory purchase matters.

Practice head(s):Deborah Sharples

Other key lawyers:Gemma Dudley; Emma Bowman


"Hewitsons is an impressive practice - client-focused, efficient and effective. The firm punches well above its weight."

"Deborah Sharples is a pleasure to work with - quick to respond, diligent, reliable and meticulous in her attention to detail."

"The firm is excellent all round. The work is always to a very high standard and within deadlines. The lawyers understand developers' needs and perspective and give well researched, practical, clear and insightful legal advice."

"Excellent value for money - market-leading advice without market-leading rates."

"Excellent in-depth knowledge of planning law and practice from a highly commercial firm."

"Fantastic value for money - the firm provides first-class advice at a fraction of the cost of London and bigger firms."

"Gemma Dudley provides excellent advice on all matters. She is an exceptional planning lawyer with impressive knowledge of legislation, case law and its implications."

"Clear, thoughtful advice which delivers practical solutions to often complex issues. The advice is always presented logically and clearly."

"Gemma Dudley is quick to grasp the issues and always sees the bigger picture. First-class and always first choice. The best planning advice in Cambridge."

"Emma Bowman is very bright and capable and is flourishing under Gemma Dudley's guidance."

"My experiences of Hewitsons is of an engaging and welcoming law firm that is always happy to assist. The planning team is highly professional and consistently provides prompt and well-considered advice. The advice provided is rarely ambiguous."

"Gemma Dudley and Deborah Sharples are highly competent and, of equal importance, friendly and approachable."

"Gemma Dudley has established working experience and relationships with equivalent local authority practitioners and the value of this cannot be under estimated when seeking to expedite a legal agreement with such parties."

"The firm provides a very high level of client care and great attention to detail."

"Deborah Sharples is friendly and a good team player with high professional standards and in-depth knowledge."

"The practice has a broad yet comprehensive range of expertise, and I appreciate Deborah Sharples' dedication and commitment, communicating openly and honestly and working in partnership with the client."

Key Clients

Homes England

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

The Greensand Trust

Andersons Assets Ltd

Beyond Storage Leicester Limited

Dene Homes Ltd

Duxford Developments Ltd

Girton College, Cambridge

Downing College, Cambridge

Pembroke College, Cambridge

Fitzwilliam College Cambridge

Henry Fairley and Sons Limited

JCAM Commercial Real Estate Property VII Limited

Gibson Developments Ltd

Great Oakley Farms Ltd

Galliers Homes Limited

Campbell Melhuish and Buchanan Ltd

James Davenport

Bedstone Growers

Bedfordia Farms Limited

GCR Camprop Eight Ltd

Hill Residential Limited

Howard Group Limited

Oastlodge Limited

Arndale Properties Limited

Flogas Britain Limited

Foster Property Developments Limited

Hay Farms Ltd

Work highlights

  • General advice in relation to the proposed multimillion-pound development of a former military site for housing led mixed-use and ecological mitigation.
  • Negotiation of Section 106 Agreement for a multimillion-pound development of 527 houses in the green belt.
  • Successfully acting as advocate at the public inquiry in relation to a planning application for 30 houses & negotiation of s106 Agreement.
  • Drafting and negotiating a s106 Agreement for a development of 227 dwellings in Wisbech.
  • Advising and representing a poultry farmer who was served with an abatement notice alleging a fly nuisance from his poultry houses.

Howes Percival LLP in Norwich is regularly instructed to act in the negotiation of complex planning obligations and, in 2018, these included a number of planning obligations related to substantial urban extensions, as well as numerous successful planning appeals. Paul Wootton leads the planning practice and is also head of the firm's development sector group. He primarily advises on large-scale residential development schemes. Newly promoted director Jay Mehta frequently assists developers, promoters and local planning authorities with the defence of judicial review challenges. The environmental practice is led form Leicester but solicitor Phillippa Summerlee in Norwich handles contentious matters.

Practice head(s):Paul Wootton

Other key lawyers:Jay Mehta; Jamie Childs


"The firm has first-rate understanding of planning law and practice combined with a commercial approach and very high standards of client care."

"Jay Mehta has high standards of client care and willingness to provide advice in a timely manner. He has excellent knowledge of planning case law and practice, which he combines with a high level of commercial understanding and professional approach."

"A commercially astute team of leading lawyers in their field, which has a unique ability of interpreting the law, whilst understanding the commercial objectives of a project in its application."

"The firm provides proactive and pragmatic advice when you most need it during the various stages of the planning process."

"A critical friend, often an integral part of our project teams. The Howes Percival planning team seriously punches above its weight when compared to many other practices."

"Paul Wootton is an outstanding lawyer in his field - approachable, pragmatic and well respected in the market place. Jay Mehta is a shining star."

Key Clients

Persimmon Homes

Bloor Homes

Pigeon Group

Endurance Estates


Bovis Homes

Breckland District Council

This Land Limited

East Cambs Trading Co Limited T/A Palace Green Homes

Big Sky Developments Limited


Anglia Maltings (Holdings) Limited

Fleur Developments Limited

CK Properties Developments Limited

Ford Retail Limited

Work highlights

  • Providing strategic and on-going planning law advice to Breckland District Council in connection with a sustainable urban extension of 4,000 dwellings.
  • Howes Percival continue to be chosen by the Persimmon regions operating in the area to advise on a number of complicated development projects.
  • Howes Percival continues to support Pigeon Group on major development projects throughout the eastern region.
  • Howes Percival continues to be Endurance Estate’s planning law advisors of choice in connection with the promotion of a range of large-scale residential development projects.
  • Howes Percival are advising on This Land Ltd’s flagship development project of 650 units at Burwell and are providing planning law advice on a range of other development projects.

The Cambridge office of Mills & Reeve LLP handles substantial and high-profile national and, increasingly, international projects for investors, institutional and local authority funds, national developers, strategic land owners, major corporates, and education and healthcare providers. Peter Seaborn, who handles the promotion of high-profile projects, and Beverley Firth, who has a national reputation for her work on new settlements and strategic land, are the lead partners. They lead a deep bench of talent that includes principal associate Caroline Bywater, who joined from RPC in 2018; senior associates Howard Felstead and Saskia Molekamp who handle residential development and estates matters; and rising star associate Jack Barnes Robinson.

Practice head(s):Peter Seaborn

Other key lawyers:Beverley Firth; Caroline Bywater; Howard Felstead; Saskia Molekamp; Jack Barnes Robinson

Key Clients


Countryside Properties

O&H Group

Marshall Group Properties Ltd


University of Cambridge

Trinity College

Taylor Wimpey

South Kesteven District Council

Dunsfold Airport Ltd

Work highlights

  • We are advising the promoters on the promotion of an urban extension to Cambridge comprising 1,200 dwellings and other commercial and community uses.
  • We are advising on the promotion of Dunsfold Park, a new settlement in Surrey, which included helping the client defend the grant of planning permission in the High Court in light of third party challenges.
  • Our client has been selected by the MOD to be the developer of its land holdings on this new settlement, which will bring forward approximately 11,000 homes for the Cambridge area.
  • We are advising Trinity College on major redevelopment proposals to the Cambridge Science Park comprising the permission of new office accommodation.
  • We are advising on the promotion of a residential led 2,300 unit urban extension to St Neots.

'The firm demonstrates a winning combination of expert knowledge with practical application to complex situations', remarks a client of Ashtons Legal. Consultant Bob McGeady no longer resides in the region but is a vital part of the planning team led by Cambridge-based partner Amy Richardson who joined from Howes Percival LLP in 2018. The firm frequently acts for local authorities, local residents, Parish Councils, developers and private landowners in matters including planning appeals and inquiries, planning agreements and applications, Certificates of Lawfulness, judicial reviews, affordable housing requirements and environmental impact assessments.

Practice head(s):Bob McGeady; Amy Richardson


"Even the most urgent requests are responded to with characteristic efficiency and effectiveness. Ashtons Legal stands out for its expertise and depth of knowledge."

"Bob McGeady has an encyclopaedic knowledge of planning and property law - he stands out for his expertise both in negotiations and contentious disputes."

"Ashtons Legal has successfully dealt with two of three planning issues relating to one of my neighbours. The office is friendly, efficient and has truly dedicated staff."

"Excellent support is provided to its consultant Bob McGeady. Ashtons Legal's expertise is comprehensive and it has specialists in a vast array of fields."

"I have used Ashtons Legal for many years and in its handling of the planning issues with my neighbour, I consider it to be outstanding."

"I am indebted to Bob McGeady. I am a layman to planning, but Bob has guided me through its intricate maze. Without him I shudder at the thought of where I would have been. He has worked in local government and understands how it works."

"Bob McGeady's knowledge is deep. He is tenacious. He is extremely interested in his subject and obviously derives much satisfaction from it. He has frequently corrected my local authority planning department on information it has given out and related conclusions it has reached."

"Bob McGeady's communication style is clear and to the point and on many occasions he has allayed my worries and fears. He is brilliant and a huge credit to Ashtons Legal."

Key Clients

Ryedale District Council

Norfolk Land Developments

Arbora Homes

MS OAKES Limited

Brandon Town Council

Spixworth Parish Council

Jonathan Green

Lisa Mc Alpine

Godbold Turner Partnership

Godolphin Management Company Limited

E W Pepper Limited

Cambridge Housing Society Limited

Work highlights

  • Following the departure of the council’s planning lawyer, we were approached to take on all their section 106 agreement and advisory work arising therefrom.
  • This matter began as a standard section 106 agreement and rapidly developed into a complex matter and in particular how the local authority should go about its decision-making.
  • Ashtons Legal currently does all the work for Arbora on section 106 agreements.
  • An appeal against refusal of planning permission followed by a public inquiry.
  • Ashtons Legal has been providing advice and support to a Town Council on the procurement and development of a new cemetery.

The regulatory practice at Greenwoods GRM advises national companies, property developers, SMEs and private individuals on environmental compliance matters. Lead partner Kathryn Gilbertson is a committee member for the Eastern Region of the UK Environmental Lawyers Association (UKELA), and has an outstanding reputation for regulatory and business defence matters nationwide. The firm's work covers the full range of matters from noise complaints to the handling and disposal of hazardous chemicals.

Practice head(s):Kathryn Gilbertson

Key Clients

Dacorum Council

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service

Principal Hayley Hotels

McColl’s Retail Group PLC


Crown Golf

Gerda Security


Unite Students

Work highlights

  • Providing advice and assistance following a series of noise complaints.
  • Advice and guidance on the interpretation of the various Asbestos Regulations and how these impact on the recycling of plasterboard.

Andrew Bryce & Co in Cambridge has a well-established reputation as a high-quality environmental law practice that focuses on environmental, planning and health and safety issues in the waste, oil and gas, nuclear and industrial sectors. Name partner Andrew Bryce, who was a founder member of the UK Environmental Law Association and remains an honorary life member, has specialised in this area since the early 1980s.

Practice head(s):Andrew Bryce

The planning practice at Buckles Solicitors LLP works closely with the firm's commercial property and construction groups to provide a one-stop service for project development. Led by senior solicitor Brendon Lee, the practice has a strong social housing focus and works with numerous registered providers, including Longhurst Group Limited and North Hertfordshire Homes Limited. Its work includes pre-judicial planning work for both applicants and objectors, judicial and statutory reviews, compulsory acquisitions, restrictive covenants advice and environmental law.

Practice head(s):Brendon Lee

Other key lawyers:Lauren Godfrey

Key Clients

North Hertfordshire Homes Limited

Longhurst Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the housing association on the planning application, including (in particular) the section 106 agreement and highway access issues.
  • Advising the housing association on the planning application including, (in particular) the section 106 agreement, section 104 agreement and the section 38/278 agreement.

At niche environmental and public law practice Richard Buxton in Cambridge, name partner and solicitor advocate Richard Buxton has nearly 30 years' experience and his track record includes establishing basic principles relating to the classification of Special Protection Areas for birds, and proving the unlawfulness of the government's regulation of night flying at Heathrow airport.

Practice head(s):Richard Buxton

Other key lawyers:Paul Stookes; Adrienne Copithorne; Lisa Foster; Caroline Chilvers

Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

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

Practice head(s):Richard Eaton

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Clients

Harwich International Port

Surplus Property Solutions

Strongroom Limited

Norwich Airport Limited

Mavrastar Limited

Broadland Housing Association

Bury Investments LLP

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk

Port of Boston Limited

Hopkins Homes Limited

Work highlights

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

Hewitsons in Cambridge has 'a very strong regional team providing London quality work without having to pay for the overheads of a City firm'. One client notes that practice head Natalie Minott 'has City grade experience and skills'. The firm handles both commercial and residential property disputes, including matters for high-net-worth individuals, corporates and rural landowners. In 2018, the firm saw a growing caseload disputes arising from leasehold enfranchisement, collective enfranchisement and the right of first refusal, and in work for corporate clients relating to the Landlord and Tenant 1954 Act. Kate Church and Kate Harris are noted as Rising Stars.

Practice head(s):Natalie Minott

Other key lawyers:Kate Harris; Kate Church; Barbara Judkins


"Natalie Minott is the stand out individual at the firm in this area. As well as possessing great legal skills, she is exceptionally good with difficult clients."

"The firm has broad and deep experience of all types of real estate litigation. It is proactive and responsive."

"Natalie Minott has excellent client handling skills, and is very collaborative and firm in her views."

"The technical legal knowledge seems second to none and is allied with the knowhow to maximise this expertise to the client's benefit."

"Barbara Judkins was very professional, efficient and thorough in acting for us. She took particular care in understanding the detail of our case. Refreshingly these days, she was ready to recommend a course of action to us and to set out all the matters that required our consideration."

"Barbara Judkins proved invaluable in fighting my corner for me in a very personable and effective style."

Key Clients

Homes England


Fish ‘n’chick’n

Work highlights

  • Further advising charities on pre-emption rights, construction of price mechanism and restrictive covenants; matter includes consideration of  terms of agreement as to property vesting in the NHS and retained by the charities  under the National Health Service (Apportionment and Transfer) Regulations 1948 and construction issues arising.
  • Three way dispute regarding the management of a residential ManCo.
  • Complex 1954 Act dispute at a high value London property, acting for the Landlord.
  • Right of way dispute reliant upon an unseen 1865 Deed of grant.
  • Adverse possession claim concerning an area of land over which client had obtained planning permission and within client's physical possession registered to neighbour.

Howes Percival LLP has 'one of the best practices in the region and the team is highly experienced in all areas of contentious commercial, residential and agricultural property work'. Simon Murphy and rising star associate Leanne Davis in Cambridge manage large property portfolios and act for both landlords and tenants in contentious matters. They also advise technology and biomedical clients on dilapidations liabilities, including the biochemical and radioactive decontamination of buildings. In Norwich, Jamie Kidd and William Trow focus on land and development issues, which include a growing caseload of leasehold and freehold enfranchisement disputes.

Practice head(s):Simon Murphy; Jamie Kidd

Other key lawyers:Leanne Davis; William Trow


"This practice has the broad spread of skills required today to provide suitable support for problems concerning the property and probate sectors."

"The advice given has been consistent, considered and professional over a period of almost five years, in challenging and unusual circumstances. Suitable extra expertise in other fields or counsel is sensibly utilised as required."

"Jamie Kidd has consistently supported the Administrators for the estate with considered opinions, actions and gentle humour. We have benefited from his extensive knowledge of the the relevant law and case law and from his cautious approach to the possible criminal, devious and blocking aspects of the other party's approach."

"Jamie Kidd is a very sensible and effective litigator. He never loses sight of the client's objectives and has a great record of securing successful outcomes, often without the need to go to trial."

"Bill Trow is bright, efficient and pleasant to work with."

Key Clients

Co-Operative Group Limited

Greene King Plc

Cambridge University Endowment Fund

Norwich University of the Arts

Ministry of Defence

Cholmondeley Estate

Norwich Cathedral

Classical Property Services Limited


Hughes Electrical

Anglia Leisure

Richardsons Leisure

Work highlights

  • Providing landlord and tenant advice to this significant fund – including leasehold enfranchisement, high value central London lease extensions, forfeiture, possession, interpretation of leases and debt collection.
  • Representing a property owner in connection with rights of way dispute over commercial land; the matter is important because if rights established this will lead to significant interference with client’s business interests.
  • We provide ongoing estate management advice in relation to the entirety of the client’s retail portfolio to include advice on dilapidations, break notices and title issues.
  • Acting for commercial occupier and defending high-value commercial dilapidations claim currently proceeding to trial in High Court.
  • Dealing with a contested application for the assignment of lease; proceedings have been issued, and the Landlord has served a Jervis -v- Harris (wants of repair) notice, which is contested.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a national real estate disputes practice that operates through all of its UK offices but is led from Norwich by leading light Richard Hanson. In 2018, the firm hired another standout partner in Richard New, formerly of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, who is an expert in the field of business rates and handles multimillion-pound cases for major lenders and blue-chip corporates. One client describes New as 'very impressive and knowledgeable'. James Hordern, who handled a £16m dispute for an agricultural investment company, and Julian Steed are highly recommended.

Practice head(s):Richard Hanson

Other key lawyers:Richard New; James Hordern; Julian Steed

Key Clients

Countrywide Legal Indemnities Limited

Railways Pension Nominees Limited

Orchard Street Special Funds

Liberty Corporate Capital Ltd

Praxis (Holdings) Limited

Lend Lease

Urban & Civic Group

O & H Properties Ltd

South Kensington Estate

Hill Residential

Work highlights

  • An ongoing arbitration relating to the operation of heat supplied by biomass boilers, which are held under tenancy agreements and supply heat to poultry sheds operated by the landlord; the dispute involves complex questions in connection with the interpretation of the leases, the incorporation of relevant implied terms and technical issues relating to the functioning of the machinery.
  • Defence of a private prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court for noise nuisance brought under s82 of the Environmental Protection Act; the alleged noise nuisance arises out of the demolition of a car park at Audley Square, Mayfair.

  • Act for the landowner in an application to register land as a town and village green.
  • The dispute concerned an option to purchase land belonging to the client; the land was earmarked for future use by the client (a small company which had recently been acquired wholesale by the major petrol retailer, also a client) in connection with its own petrol and retail sales operations on a major trunk road.
  • Acting to obtain possession of the main administrative building occupied by protestors during a key end of term set of events and obtaining possession orders and arranging vacation of the site.

The property disputes team at Ashtons Legal, which is led by senior associate Nigel Maguire who is a solicitor advocate and member of the Property Litigation Association, acts for 12 Cambridge colleges. It also has a strong practice in portfolio management, including landlord and tenant matters, for grant-making trusts and other landlords. Its market-leading franchising group also generates significant amounts of disputes. The firm also  provides strategic advice to developers in regard to adverse claims and interests, restrictive covenants, adverse possession and easement claims.

Practice head(s):Nigel Maguire

Other key lawyers:Jessica Byrne


'The team has a broad experience of property matters from conveyancing to property litigation. They hold your hand through every step of the process. They are extremely diligent. They also have a specialty in agricultural property which is key for us as we are a specialist lender to agriculture.'

'Nigel Maguire is one of the strongest lawyers with regard to agricultural property litigation. He has a broad knowledge of agricultural assets from land and basic wheeled assets to more complex renewable energy project assets. He is detail oriented and runs an litigation process flawlessly.'

Key Clients

Cambridge Building Society

Savills PLC

Christ’s College, Cambridge

Churchill College, Cambridge

Clare College, Cambridge

Clare Hall, Cambridge

Corpus Christi, Cambridge

Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Hughes Hall, Cambridge

Jesus College, Cambridge Magdalene College, Cambridge

Newnham College, Cambridge

Pembroke College, Cambridge

St Catherine’s College, Cambridge

Wolfson College, Cambridge

Kings College, Cambridge

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of a bank in relation to a secured loan facility of £1.3m entered for the development of an anaerobic digestion plant in Herefordshire and following the failure of the borrower and its guarantors to make repayments due under the loan agreements.
  • We act for land owners in respect of a dispute with another land owner over the sale of jointly-owned development land to a national housebuilder relating to the legal meaning and effect of complex development and related agreements.
  • The Cambridge Commercial Property team advises Savills (UK) Limited on its entire England and Wales occupied portfolio, largely in relation to landlord and tenant matters, break notices, lease renewals, dilapidation claims, property management in relation to sub-tenants and under-tenants.
  • The Property Litigation team act for Flip Out Limited on all of its property related matters, we work closely with the Ashtons Franchising team and Ashtons Legal Commercial Property team to ensure a full service when problems arise in relation to the Flip Out leasehold portfolio.
  • Complex breach of mortgage case following fraud of borrower (wife) and borrower’s husband to secure property in wife’s sole name.

Buckles Solicitors LLP handles a wide range of commercial and residential landlord and tenant issues, from terminating tenancies through to break notice disputes and dilapidation claims. Practice head Paul Branch is an ACTAPS member and frequently handles property disputes with trust elements. Through partner Chris Mundell and associate Rob Wallwork, the firm has both significant experience in contentious matters in the retail sector. Through the firm's partnership with European law firm CastaldiPartners, the firm acts for a growing roster of European clients in the retail sector.

Practice head(s):Paul Branch

Other key lawyers:Chris Mundell; Rob Wallwork; Nick Porter

Key Clients

Virgin Active Limited

Virgin Active Health Clubs Limited

National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners

Stamford Storage (HG) Limited

Shield Engineering (Syston) Limited

Work highlights

  • Various matters for this national organisation, including a dispute with Braintree District Council regarding whether land was statutory allotment land.
  • Reviewing historical right of way liaising with beneficiary covenant agreeing a Deed of Variation regarding future contribution towards maintenance, also recovering historical costs for use and maintenance.
  • A £100,000 delapidation claim.

The Cambridge office of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP plays a key role in the firm's national property litigation practice. The departure of key partner Richard New to Mills & Reeve LLP leaves principal associate Samuel Maw as the key contact. The firm is highly regarded for matters involving business rates, on which it advises blue-chip clients in the retail and online sectors. The firm also represents major UK lenders and property developers.

The property litigation practice at Greene & Greene is 'responsive, knowledgeable and decisive in giving advice, and it has all areas of expertise under one roof'. Rob Adam took over as head of the dispute resolution practice in late 2018 and his practice frequently includes contentious property matters exceeding £1m in value. Experienced mediator Michael Batty also handles high-value and complex matters and one client describes him as 'really impressive in terms of dealing with commercial matters swiftly and effectively'.

Practice head(s):Rob Adam; Michael Batty

Other key lawyers:Ben Fox; Sarah Western


"I find this practice a breath of fresh air in comparison to other firms that I have worked with in the past. They work as a team, are professional, think about and ask intelligent, relevant questions."

"They listen, are easy to communicate with and instructions are always followed accurately and with prompt attention."

"My recent, very satisfactory experience with Greene & Greene has been as a result of the work carried out by Rob Adam. A matter which dragged on for a considerable period of time was resolved once he became involved. I found him that he dealt with matters in a timely and efficient manner, keeping me informed as matters progressed."

"Wayne Perrin and Rob Adam combine to provide a strong team in complex, agricultural and trust law cases."

Work highlights

  • Successfully challenging on behalf of a Client the applicability of section 106 obligations to a property.
  • Advising trust in relation to rights concerning occupation of high value trust property, Landlord and Tenant and agricultural land issues.
  • Representing a land owning client faced with the prospect of an adjoining property development in relation to the potential enforcement of a restrictive covenant and property boundaries.
  • Advised tenant in connection with notices served pursuant to the Agricultural Holdings Act in connection with a valuable farming estate.
  • Acting for landowner in dispute concerning the closure of a railway crossing that threatened to block access to our client’s farm and destroy the land value.

Greenwoods GRM in Peterborough acts for clients across East Anglia, as well as a growing number from London, handling contentious matters for both landowners and occupiers. The firm has also developed a niche in property guardianship cases, which in 2018 saw the firm acts in a high-profile case at the High Court. Caroline Gumbrell plays a key role in the practice but is now a consultant, so Michelle Cox took over the leadership of the practice. Rising star Kirstie Goulder takes the lead on property guardianship matters. Associate Amy Castleman is also one to watch.

Practice head(s):Michelle Cox

Other key lawyers:Caroline Gumbrell; Kirstie Goulder; Amy Castleman

Key Clients

Norwich Livestock Market Ltd

Middle Level Commissioners

Work highlights

  • Opposition to Adverse Possession Application of land belonging to MLC.
  • In an important landmark case for the local agriculture sector, Greenwoods GRM LLP was pleased to advise Norwich Livestock Market Limited on the Judicial Review of Norwich City Council’s decision to surrender its lease, and ultimately all its propriety interests in the land Norwich Livestock Market occupies.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP joins the ranking having recruited the 'really experienced and very good' Andrea Nicholls from Greene & Greene. Nicholls' main focus is real estate litigation and she works closely with commercial property partner Sarah Coates to advise on agricultural and rural property disputes, including both tenancy disputes and cases concerning the property held by a farming partnership as a partnership asset; freehold property disputes; rights of way; restrictive covenants; overage agreements and disputes regarding options; commercial leasehold disputes; forfeiture; rent arrears recovery; lease renewal proceedings; and break notices.

Other key lawyers:Andrea Nicholls

Work highlights

  • Obtaining an interim injunction to prevent the diversion of a private right of way to a residential property by the neighbouring quarry.

  • Opposed a lease renewal under s25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 on grounds of development based solely upon a feasibility plan.
  • Negotiating the purchase of shares from a family member to allow the farming company to continue to farm.

Taylor Vinters frequently acts for domestic and international technology businesses in contentious property matters, including cases arising from the use of chemicals. It has a large roster of clients in the agricultural and not-for-profit sectors and advises numerous high-net-worth individuals and landowners. The practice led by litigation partner Luke Hibbert also handles property disputes arising from insolvencies for both landlords and tenants. Associate Beth Price is a rising star who acts for large landowners and in complex landlord and tenant issues and easement disputes.

Practice head(s):Luke Hibbert

Other key lawyers:Beth Price; Jamie Short; Alexandra Thornton-Reid; Jessica Boxford


"I have always found the quality of instruction from the team at Taylor Vinters to be exceptional."

"Luke Hibbert is a skilful tactician in litigation - he knows his clients and their priorities well and, whilst remaining realistic, is determined in achieving the best possible outcome for them."

"I would recommend Beth Price and Alexandra Thornton-Reid as talented junior litigators with a good eye for the detail."

Work highlights

  • Advising a nationwide estate agent and property consultant in respect of agricultural and tenancy matters for its large landed and farming clients, particularly in respect of estate management and obtaining possession of estate properties.
  • Acting for a well-known high-end clothing retailer in resolving a dispute with its landlord regarding its prestigious London premises.
  • Acting for a specialist commercial finance provider to resolve property issues arising from the insolvency of its mortgagers.
  • Advice in relation to occupation of property on an estate by an ex-estate worker.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors is a prominent firm for property litigation in North Norfolk. It is a key player in Norwich and around its offices in North Walsham and Sheringham. Head of litigation Mark Kermez in Norwich is the key partner and handles contentious property matters as part of his broader practice, as do Philip Lumb and consultant Michael Olmer. The firm advises on a wide range disputes between businesses and individuals, as well as consumer rights cases and restrictive covenants.

Practice head(s):Mark Kermez

Other key lawyers:Philip Lumb; Michael Olmer

Head of litigation Chris Fielding in Norwich took over responsibility ofthe property disputes practice at Fosters following the retirement of Adrian Newborough in 2018. The firm continues to act for claimants and defendants in a range of property disputes, often acting for private residential landlords on a wide range of disputes via the Eastern Landlords Association. Assistant solicitor Alice Trainor focuses predominantly on landlord and tenant disputes.

Practice head(s):Chris Fielding

Other key lawyers:Alice Trainor


"They are always there to help and advise on a wide range of matters and provide us with an invaluable service. Whatever the subject matter there is a specialist on the team to assist."

"Chris Fielding and Alice Trainor are approachable, professional and always there to help and advise."

Work highlights

  • Advising an emerging Norwich City Centre business locked into a complex dispute, one in which the client is alleging multiple breaches of lease against a corporate Landlord seeking forfeiture. In addition to relief advice, we have predicated a substantial claim in damages, valued in excess of £1m.
  • Advising the Landlord of a successful business on a complex dispute with neighbouring businesses (spanning a number of decades) over both the interpretation and extent of express rights of way and prescriptive rights acquired by commercial traffic.
  • Negotiating a six-figure settlement agreement for tenants facing eviction from commercial and residential tenancies, one that featured proprietary estoppel.
  • Representing a central London-based lessee in conflict with a hostile freeholder determined to undermine access, sub-letting potential, and renovations.

Gotelee Solicitors provides property litigation services through four offices in Suffolk and across the county it saw a growing caseload of matters in 2018. The practice led by partner Rachel Cronin handles lease renewals and matters under the Landlord and Tenant 1954 Act, dilapidation claims, breaches of lease terms, and failure of landlord to take possession at end of a contracted out lease. ACTAPS member Cronin frequently handles cases involving trusts, including complex TOLATA claims. Legal executive Laura Read is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Rachel Cronin

Other key lawyers:Laura Read

Work highlights

  • Successfully opposed a TOLATA claim to a 50% interest in property.
  • Defending possession of four business premises by landlord.
  • Advising client on lease venues licence, Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.
  • TOLATA action to force sale eight years after end of relationship.

Legal executive Lesley Milne is a member of the Property Litigation Association and leads the practice at Hunt & Coombs LLP in Peterborough, with the support of commercial property partner Anna Spriggs. The practice is highly regarded in the local market for its work on restrictive covenants in respect of both residential and commercial property, lease renewal matters for both landlords and tenants, property-related trust disputes, TOLATA claims, dilapidations and possession claims, and matters relating to boundaries and rights of way. 'The team was refreshingly straightforward, with no legal jargon that went over our heads', remarks a client.

Practice head(s):Lesley Milne; Anna Spriggs

Other key lawyers:Nina Bhatti


"Lesley Milne was very friendly, approachable and spoke in simple terms that put us at ease from the outset. We now wouldn't look anywhere else for our needs."

Key Clients

GAP Home Improvements Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing the client in a Part 20 claim brought by one of its clients.
  • Advising the client in respect of a claim being brought by a building company for alleged non-payment.
  • Representing a builder in relation to issuing a claim against a company for damages caused to their customer's property as a result of unsafe scaffolding.
  • Representing the client in a claim by a builder for the balance cost of work done.

'She is very knowledgeable, very easy to talk to and always available', says a client of associate Kate Barnes who leads the practice at Kerseys Solicitors LLP in Ipswich. Barnes now leads the firm's dispute resolution group following the retirement of Anthony Wooding, and property litigation makes up a significant proportion of her workload. She has a  100% success rate in acting for landlords in repossession cases. The firm frequently acts for commercial land owners, residential landlords and private property owners in complex cases.

Practice head(s):Kate Barnes

Other key lawyers:Karen Williams

Work highlights

  • Representing the Executors in gaining possession of the deceased's home from one of the children of the deceased.
  • Continued advice in defending claim for return of interim payment made under Compulsory Payment Order.
  • Advised client on options and strategy for non-paying commercial tenant.
  • Represented Defendants in County Court claims by freeholder for unpaid service charges.
  • Represented client in resolution of long-running problem with maintenance of neighbouring property.

Leathes Prior has  strong commercial and residential property practices, which work closely with the firm's litigation group to handle property disputes in Norfolk and across East Anglia. Darren Bowen handles a diverse range of contentious property issues, including trusts of land, boundary disputes, easements, covenants, and landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):Darren Bowen

Other key lawyers:Sabina Haag

Steeles Law joins the ranking having brought in associates Rachel Sims, former senior counsel for the real estate litigation group at Aviva, and Damian Pitts, previously at Pinney Talfourd LLP, to bolster its litigation practice. Sims has a strong track record in tenant insolvency matters, dilapidations claims, forfeiture matters and contested break options. Pitts has frequently represented commercial landlords in claims for forfeiture and dilapidations, and for both commercial landlords and tenants in business tenancy renewal claims.

Practice head(s):Rachel Sims; Damian Pitts

Key Clients

Glenny LLP

Work highlights

  • Right of way dispute for individual client in rural Norfolk.
  • Right of access dispute over agricultural land in South Norfolk.
  • Recovery of rent arrears on behalf of property portfolio owner in the Isle of Man.
  • Right of way dispute on behalf of Diss-based resident.
  • Advice to market trader regarding Council contract review.

Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

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

Practice head(s):Peter Goddard

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

Key Clients

Orbit Group Limited

Flagship Housing Group Limited

Broadland Housing Group Limited

CHP (Chelmer Housing Partnership Limited)

Victory Housing Trust

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Swan Housing Association Limited

Cambridge Housing Society Limited

Axiom Housing Association Limited

Havebury Housing Partnership

Suffolk Housing Society

YMCA (Essex) Limited

Greenfields Community Housing Limited

Work highlights

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

Spire Solicitors LLP has a long-standing reputation as a leader in the social housing sector which it maintains despite the retirement of leading light Kevin Oelrichs. Estelle Corner, whose previous experience includes a stint in the commercial property department of Baker McKenzie, now leads the practice, which focuses on site acquisition, development, planning, infrastructure agreements, property portfolio transfers and securities matters for for social landlords. It also handles corporate transactions, dispute resolution and private client matters for clients in this sector.

Practice head(s):Estelle Corner

Other key lawyers:Sally Rackham

Buckles Solicitors LLP is the leading firm in Peterborough for social housing matters. It acts for a wide range of Registered Providers across East Anglia, the West Midlands, and the East Midlands. Gail Sykes leads a practice that currently acts for more than 65 social housing providers in diverse matters including anti-social behaviour claims and possession disputes in the High Court, as well as planning, construction and property matters.

Practice head(s):Gail Sykes

Other key lawyers:James Coppinger; Michael Rabbett


"The Buckles team is very prompt in replying to us and providing exactly what we have asked for. The advice we receive is practical, easy to understand and very knowledgeable."

Key Clients

Cambridge Housing Society

Cross Keys Homes Ltd

Papworth Trust

Hundred Houses Society

Waterloo Housing / The Platform Group

The Longhurst Group

Saffron Housing Trust

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council

Suffolk Housing Society

South Kesteven District Council

Work highlights

  • Acting for this Registered Provider of Social Housing in relation to the enforcement of a warrant for possession, in which the defendant tenant’s legal team have sought to argue procedural irregularities on the part of the housing association.
  • Emergency injunction proceedings against a paedophile who had sexually assaulted a neighbour’s granddaughter.
  • Acting for Papworth Trust, in a case relating to possession proceedings under s21 of the Housing Act 1988 and the requirement to provide a gas safety certificate at the outset of the tenancy in circumstances where the gas boiler serving the property (a flat) subject to the possession proceedings was not situated in the property.
  • Successfully defending this housing provider against a claim of disability discrimination brought against them by one of their tenants regarding the allocation of housing to him and a failure to make reasonable adaptations to the property.
  • Acting for this Local Authority in several closure order cases, in which the properties concerned were associated with serious anti-social behaviour in a specific housing estate within the ownership of the authority and these successful claims have significantly reduced anti-social behaviour issues in the area.

Howes Percival LLP has a multi-disciplinary social housing team led by experienced housing management lawyer  Simon Murphy, who draws upon the expertise of property litigator Jamie Kidd, property development partner Michaela Henson and a large pool of conveyancing, planning and construction talent. The firm has strong relationships with all of the East Anglian Registered Providers operating in Cambridge and frequently handles golden brick agreements, development purchases and site assembly matters.

Practice head(s):Simon Murphy

Other key lawyers:Jamie Kidd; Michaela Henson; Clare Best; Scott Smith; Helen Stewart; Bill Trow

Key Clients

Hundred Houses Society Limited

The Papworth Trust

Flagship Housing Group Limited

East Cambs Trading Company Limited

Luminus Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Hundred Houses Society Limited in taking a long lease of land from Cambridge City Council for redevelopment of the site.
  • Acting on the purchase of a site for new homes to be developed in conjunction with a Community Land Trust.
  • Sale of shared ownership dwellings and staircasing of Shared Ownership dwellings.

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