Firms To Watch: Professional discipline

CM Murray LLP is continuing to build up its practice following the 2021 hire of Andrew Pavlovic; his track record includes acting for the SRA in complex disciplinary proceedings before the SDT, as well as subsequent High Court appeals. He is described as 'a calming influence on any case he works on'... providing 'clear, thoughtful and commercially astute advice'.
Specialising in the defence of healthcare professionals, Keystone Law‘s professional discipline practice is co-led by healthcare litigation specialist Tracy Sell-Peters; and fitness to practise expert Andrea James, who are recent partner hires from DWF and Brabners LLP, respectively.

Firms in the Spotlight Professional discipline

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Ronald Fletcher Baker has an established track record of success in even the most complex cases. Litigation and Dispute Resolution has been a focus of the firm since its inception in 1948, and our highly experienced team is widely recognised for its skill in this area. The firm deals with a broad range of commercial …

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Professional discipline in London

Blake Morgan LLP

Fielding one of the largest teams in the country, Blake Morgan LLP is best known for its representation of professional regulators (and those they regulate), particularly in relation to healthcare, education, accountancy and engineering. A longstanding professional discipline specialist, Bradley Albuery in Southampton is regulatory group head; Reading and London-based Clare Strickland leads the Health and Care Professions Council's regulatory advice; and Graham Miles in Cardiff is a client relationship partner for the Teaching Regulation Agency, Education Workforce Council, and Social Care Wales. At legal director level, Antonia Dowgray is the operations manager for the General Pharmaceutical Council, and Nursing and Midwifery Council; and Alison Wood, Sarah Price and Lisa Clark are experienced associates. In May 2023, Delme Griffiths, who is experienced in acting for (and against) professional regulators, and professional discipline expert James Danks were made partners; while former regulatory business group head Nick Leale joined Armstrong Teesdale.

Practice head(s):

Bradley Albuery

Other key lawyers:

Clare Strickland; Graham Miles; Antonia Dowgray; Alison Wood; Sarah Price; Lisa Clark; Delme Griffiths; James Danks

Key clients

Health & Care Professions Council

Nursing & Midwifery Council

General Pharmaceutical Council

NHS England

Social Care Wales

Teaching Regulation Authority

Education Workforce Council (Wales)

Architects Registration Board

Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Security Industry Authority

Royal Institute of British Architects

Association of Accounting Technicians

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Work highlights

  • Assisted a regulator with the review and revision of its approach to fitness to practise work.
  • Assisted a healthcare regulator with investigating hundreds of fitness to practise allegations.
  • Provided legal advice to independent panels that consider whether to prohibit individuals from practising.

Capsticks LLP

Fielding 'practitioners who are extremely experienced in professional discipline', Capsticks LLP‘s regulatory division is consistently mandated by statutory regulators, in relation to the preparation and presentation of professional disciplinary cases. Mark Whiting is 'hugely experienced'; James Penry-Davey heads the firm's regulatory division; Kate Steele presents professional disciplinary cases for several regulators; Nimi Bruce is 'a strong advocate'; Nicole Curtis focuses on healthcare, veterinary and equine matters; and Mark Rogers is the firm's relationship partner for its work with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The next line of practitioners features Ian Brook, who routinely advises the SRA; Keziah Pearson, who 'possesses excellent judgement'; and recently-elevated partners Anna Holdsworth and Jenny Wood. John Tippett-Cooper, Victoria Sheppard-Jones and Cameron Scott are experienced legal directors, while Louisa AtkinDavid Collins and Louise Culleton, along with Hannah Pilkington, Adelita Thursby-Pelham, Katrina Angliss and Louise Wilshire are active principal associates.

Practice head(s):

Mark Whiting; James Penry-Davey

Other key lawyers:

Kate Steele; Nimi Bruce; Nicole Curtis; Mark Rogers; Ian Brook; Keziah Pearson; Anna Holdsworth; Jenny Wood; John Tippett-Cooper; Victoria Sheppard-Jones; Cameron Scott; Louisa Atkin; David Collins; Louise Culleton; Hannah Pilkington; Adelita Thursby-Pelham; Katrina Angliss; Louise Wilshire; Louise Ravenscroft; Sophie Sharpe


Practitioners who are extremely experienced in professional discipline. This experience has been acquired through work at a range of different bodies – consequently they are able to advise clients to a high level.’

‘The written and preparatory work undertaken by the lawyers at the firm tends to be amongst the most thorough that clients come across. The lawyers are also very easy to work with.’

Mark Whiting is hugely experienced in the sector – he blends commerciality with an ability to meet the needs of regulatory clients.

‘Nicole Curtis is a standout advocate – her advice is accurate, timely, and sets outs the risks and opportunities in the clearest of terms.’

‘Kate Steele is a very capable lawyer and relationship manager. Her advice is incisive, pragmatic and provided with clarity.’

‘Keziah Pearson possesses excellent judgement when it comes to case management.’

‘Capsticks does a brilliant job when representing the SRA. This reflects its all-round expertise in regulatory law.’

‘Nimi Bruce is a strong advocate who is committed to her work.’

Key clients

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Social Work England

Teaching Regulation Agency

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Farriers Registration Council

General Dental Council

General Osteopathic Council

Bar Standards Board

General Chiropractic Council

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Health and Care Professions Council

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for Social Work England in regulatory proceedings against Mr Ottu, who was alleged to have entered into a sexual relationship with a vulnerable service user.
  • Acted for the TRA in high- profile proceedings against Ms Dean, in relation to the latter’s sexual relationship with a pupil some 10 years previously.
  • Acted for the SRA in Mr El Diwany’s unsuccessful appeal to the High Court against the SRA’s refusal to restore him to the roll.

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co‘s regulatory and disciplinary teams specialise in the defence of financial, legal and healthcare professionals. Claire Petts is global healthcare head; Fergal Cathie is 'experienced in all aspects of the regulation of solicitors'; Richard Harrison leads the global lawyers’ liability, disciplinary, regulatory and investigations group; Sarah Clover is an expert in lawyers’ professional liability; Niya Phiri is 'an excellent strategist'; and James Preece defends professionals in disciplinary proceedings. Also highly rated, James Roberts leads the accountants' liability, regulatory and disciplinary offering, while Tim Crockford and of counsel Andrew Forsyth are 'both excellent'. Other names to note are Penrose Foss, recently-promoted partner Sam Holden, consultant Judith Duffin, legal directors Jonathan Lawrence and Michael Clark, and senior associates Padideh Dolatshahi and Stephen Hooper. The firm recently merged with BLM, which added partners Jane Lang and Adam Weston, director Lee Biddle, and associate Ewan Bright. Former partner Joanna Bower departed during 2022.

Practice head(s):

Fergal Cathie; James Roberts; Claire Petts; Adam Weston; Jane Lang

Other key lawyers:

Richard Harrison; Sarah Clover; Niya Phiri; James Preece; Tim Crockford; Andrew Forsyth; Penrose Foss; Sam Holden; Judith Duffin; Jonathan Lawrence; Michael Clark; Padideh Dolatshahi; Stephen Hooper; Lee Biddle; Ewan Bright; Anne Kentish; Rowena Lewis; Katie Costello; Simon Turner; Rebecca Gowling; Laura Smith; Colette Finnieston; Laurel Forde; Elizabeth Moore


‘Excellent team, packed full of expertise and drive.’

‘James Preece has exceptional judgement in his handling of disciplinary and regulatory matters, particularly for barristers and solicitors, and deals with sensitive issues with the utmost delicacy.’

‘Tim Crockford and Andrew Forsyth are both excellent.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for an anaesthetist in criminal proceedings for gross negligence manslaughter against four consultant anaesthetists in the Isle of Man, following the death of a patient.
  • Represented Mr Raggatt KC at disciplinary proceedings brought by the Bar Standards Board, which involved an allegation that he had advised not to disclose surveillance material in a criminal trial.


With 'a long and distinguished track record in professional discipline', Hempsons‘ national regulatory, crime and professional discipline team comprises specialists in the health and social care sectors, as well as police, sport and corporate executives. In London, Tania Francis is 'a safe pair of hands for all kinds of professional discipline cases'; Adam Smith predominantly acts in regulatory defence work; Surjit Dubb‘s wide-ranging expertise also incorporates professional discipline matters; and senior consultant Simon Eastwood has longstanding experience in defending healthcare professionals. Over in Manchester, Anne Ball is an experienced healthcare lawyer; Katherine Sheldrick defends healthcare practitioners under investigation; and James Rowley 'always acts in clients' best interests'. Also highly regarded is Harrogate-based Hannah Stephenson, who acts in healthcare-related defence matters; and at associate level, London's Robert Newbould assists with criminal, regulatory and disciplinary allegations, while Julie Hesketh is 'extremely supportive'. Former partner Sharon Cooney departed the firm in March 2023.

Practice head(s):

Tania Francis; Katherine Sheldrick

Other key lawyers:

Adam Smith; Surjit Dubb; Simon Eastwood; Anne Ball; James Rowley; Hannah Stephenson; Robert Newbould;Julie Hesketh


‘Tania Francis is extremely good and a safe pair of hands for all kinds of professional discipline cases.’

‘Katherine Sheldrick is brilliant. A wonderful intellect coupled with great experience.’

‘Adam Smith is an absolute star. He is very clever, very good with clients, and has an excellent eye for detail and impeccable judgement.’

Key clients

United Kingdom Haemophilia Centre Doctors’ Organisation

Work highlights

  • Advised UKHCDO, one of the Core Participants in the Infected Blood Inquiry,  established to examine the circumstances in which certain people treated by national health services in the UK were given infected blood and infected blood products.

Kingsley Napley LLP

Kingsley Napley LLP is consistently sought out by regulators for prosecution work. It is also well known for defending law firms, accountancy practices and regulated professionals. Regulatory head Nicola Hill routinely advises the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC); Julie Norris is 'excellent, intelligent and tough'; Julie Matheson focuses on the accountancy, audit and built environment sectors; Shannett Thompson 'picks up on cases' every detail'; and Iain Miller's experience incorporates disciplinary proceedings. Also highly rated, Melinka Berridge represents leading national regulators; Hannah Eales is 'a standout practitioner'; and recently-elevated Jessica Clay advises on a range of SRA-related matters. At senior associate level, Charlotte Judd routinely defends accountants and accountancy firms; Kathryn Sheridan represents regulatory bodies presenting hearings before their practice committees; Sarah Atkinson leads investigations on behalf of both the Architects Registration Board and (HCPC); and Clare Hastie is experienced in investigating and preparing fitness to practise cases.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Hill

Other key lawyers:

Julie Norris; Julie Matheson; Shannett Thompson; Iain Miller; Melinka Berridge; Hannah Eales; Jessica Clay; Charlotte Judd; Kathryn Sheridan; Sarah Atkinson; Clare Hastie


‘The team has intricate knowledge of disciplinary committees’ procedures, and is able to rely on this experience when it comes to advising clients.’

‘Julie Matheson and Kathryn Sheridan are both very experienced in the field and provide sound legal advice. Clients especially appreciate their commitment and dedication to providing a personal service.’

‘Very experienced in regulatory matters, particularly in presenting. They take a sensible but firm approach to cases.’

‘Hannah Eales is a standout practitioner. Excellent advocate.’

‘Jessica Clay is smart and thinks on her feet, but she also reflects on things and comes up with well thought-out ways to move forward.’

Iain Miller has a huge amount of experience that clients can draw on.

‘Julie Norris – excellent, intelligent and tough. Always on top of her brief and fully understands the legal framework and nuances of the work she does.’

‘Shannett Thompson is extraordinarily smart, and picks up on cases’ every detail. Manages client expectations very well whilst fighting extremely hard for them.’

Key clients

General Dental Council

Architects Registration Board

Education Workforce Council of Wales

Architects Registration Board

Slater & Gordon UK

Work highlights

  • Acted for Slater & Gordon in relation to an investigation by the SRA into historic regulatory breaches that had been reported to the SRA.

Weightmans LLP

Recently merged with RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP, Weightmans LLP is ‘without a doubt the leader in this field‘. The practice is highly experienced in representing healthcare professionals, and has enviable expertise in solicitor and legal services-related regulation. The team additionally acts in matters concerning architects and accountants. Richard Jolly is national health sector lead, while William Childs, Sam Flew, Anne Green and Simon Gomersall are also health sector specialists. Likewise highly rated, Susanna Heleyrepresents clients before the Solicitors Tribunal methodologically and effectively‘; Ian Sadler acts for medical defence organisations and healthcare professionals; Nigel West‘s ‘success rate is excellent‘; Alistair Hewitt is experienced in a range of disciplinary investigations; and Michaela Nicholas defends doctors, dentists, nurses and podiatrists before their regulatory bodies. Healthcare expert Stewart Duffy is an active legal director, while Alex Leslie and Richard Privett are experienced consultants. The ‘very competentTom Thurlow is a partner since May 2023.

Practice head(s):

Sam Flew; Nigel West; Susanna Heley; Tom Thurlow

Other key lawyers:

Richard Jolly; William Childs; Anne Green; Simon Gomersall; Ian Sadler; Alistair Hewitt; Michaela Nicholas; Mickaela Fox; Michelle Garlick; Stewart Duffy; Alex Leslie; Richard Privett; Tom Thurlow; Ricardo Bassani; Mike Scherp; Richard Palmer; Sadie O’Reilly;


‘The practice is unique in that it specialises in the area of regulatory law, especially involving solicitors in practice. ‘

‘The practice has the necessary expertise in dealing with matters effectively and efficiently. Clients can be assured they will achieve the desired result. In addition the firm offers value for money.’

‘Recommended to any solicitor who has a professional conduct issue with the SRA.’

‘Nigel West is a leading author of books on solicitors’ disciplinary law and his success rate is excellent.’

Susanna Heley is an excellent advocate. She represents clients before the Solicitors Tribunal methodologically and effectively. Any solicitor with a disciplinary issue is recommended to hire her services.

‘The go-to firm for healthcare professional discipline defence. Without a doubt the leader in this field, with vast experience and an excellent team of committed and knowledgeable lawyers.’

‘Standout partners include Sam Flew, Mike Scherp and Ian Sadler, who are all excellent lawyers and a pleasure to work with. They have unrivalled knowledge and provide an excellent service to clients.’

‘Tom Thurlow is very competent in managing a diverse team and keeping the clients focused on the issues, while William Childs is brilliant with tricky cases and awkward clients.’

Key clients

Assent Building Control

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Turner Architects

Work highlights

  • Secured an expunging of a previous disciplinary record.
  • Secured a complete exoneration of an architect before the Architects Registration Board.
  • Succeeded in significant unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claim that was brought by a doctor who was dismissed for systematically falsifying patient records.


CMS‘ 'highly responsive and cohesive' professional discipline and regulatory practice has a strong reputation for prosecuting individuals on behalf of regulators, such as the GOC and GPhC. The team also routinely acts for individual registrants before the GMC. In recent work, the practice acted for the GPHC in investigations into complaints made against several Registrants for sexual misconduct, inappropriate prescribing of controlled drugs, theft, dishonesty, and mismanagement of medication (among others) The group is co-led by Manchester-based Rachel Cooper, who leads the firm's GOC and GPhC prosecution work, and is 'the standout driving force behind this team'; and Yvonne Screene, who defends MDU members in high-profile cases. Also in Manchester, of counsel Katie Clarke and senior associate Natasha Ricioppo both prosecute cases for the GPhC, in addition to defending MDU members in disciplinary cases.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Cooper; Yvonne Screene

Other key lawyers:

Katie Clarke; Natasha Ricioppo; Nicole Ellerby


The team is highly responsive and cohesive, full of bright young individuals who work well together.

It takes an innovative approach to joint ventures, working seamlessly with Counsels’ chambers to provide a one-stop service to clients.

What makes the practice unique is its leader Rachel Cooper. A dynamic tour de force lawyer. Leading a team by example whilst providing excellent support and encouragement.

Key clients

General Optical Council

Medical Defence Union


General Pharmaceutical Council

Medical Protection Society


Work highlights

  • Acting for the Medical Defence Union in proceedings brought by the General Medical against two senior doctors, arising from their role in the management of Ian Paterson (now-disgraced breast surgeon currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for intentionally harming patients).
  • Acting for a physiotherapist in Health and Care Professions Council proceedings, in relation to multiple alleged incidents of dishonesty during a telephone assessment.
  • Acting on behalf of the General Pharmaceutical Council, investigating complaints made against numerous Registrants.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

'As approachable and hardworking a team as it is possible to imagine', DAC Beachcroft LLP houses specialists in professional disciplinary work concerning accountants, lawyers, surveyors and medical practitioners. Richard Highley's broad practice includes acting for accountants in investigations involving leading accountancy firms; and splitting their time between Newport and Bristol, Claire Hughes-Willliams and Tom Bedford both regularly represent solicitors in disciplinary proceedings, while Catrin Davies 'gives compassionate and realistic advice'. Bristol-based Louise Wiltshire regularly represents healthcare professionals before their professional regulators; and Manchester's Christopher Briggs assists medical practitioners with proceedings brought by the GMC. Within the associate ranks, Tessa Davies' track record includes representing healthcare professionals during investigations by professional regulatory bodies, while Christian Carr routinely appears before various Fitness to Practise tribunals.

Practice head(s):

Richard Highley; Claire Hughes-Willliams; Louise Wiltshire

Other key lawyers:

Catrin Davies; Tom Bedford; Christopher Briggs; Tessa Davies; Christian Carr


‘The DACB professional discipline team strikes a fantastic balance between empathy for the client’s position and hard-nosed legal advice that enables disciplinary claims to be resolved in the best manner.’

‘As approachable and hardworking a team as it is possible to imagine.’

‘Clare Hughes-Williams is a leader in this field – her market knowledge, contacts and experience are second to none, and she is able to deal with prosecutors in a way which few of her competitors can match.’

Key clients


Work highlights

  • Advising Travelers on SRA- alleged accounts rules’ breaches.


The sizeable professional discipline team at Fieldfisher represents over 40 regulators from the healthcare, sports, surveying, police, finance, and legal services sectors. The team additionally acts for higher education institutions that provide study courses on the regulated professions. The 'outstanding' regulatory group co-head Sarah Ellson is particularly focused on healthcare and life sciences-related matters, while Matthew Lohn is experienced in advising regulators on their registration and discipline functions. At associate level, senior Frankie Everitt is experienced in professional regulatory cases; Olivia Rogers acts for regulatory bodies, as well as businesses that operate within regulated sectors; and regulatory solicitor Chloe Williams focuses on the healthcare, life sciences and legal services segments. In a boost to the team, barrister Martin Sleight joined the firm in December 2022 as senior associate, his career including working at the GMC as a senior lawyer on regulatory reform.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Ellson

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Lohn; Frankie Everitt; Olivia Rogers; Chloe Williams; Martin Sleight


‘Sarah Ellson is outstanding – very smart, knowledgeable, and with great judgment.’

Key clients

General Medical Council

Solicitors Regulation Authority

General Dental Council

Teaching Regulation Agency

Council for Licensed Conveyancers

General Optical Council

Taxation Disciplinary Board

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

Bar Standards Board

Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA)

Work highlights

  • Advising the new Creative Industry Independent Standards Authority on the establishment of a new body and its investigative powers and procedures.
  • Assisting the Council for Licensed Conveyancers with its disciplinary hearings.
  • Acting for the General Medical Council on an ongoing basis.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Focused on high-profile and sensitive matters, the majority of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s professional disciplinary instructions concern the financial, accountancy (particularly large-scale cases) and legal sectors. Clients additionally benefit from the practice's ability to leverage the firm's enviable public law credentials. Heading up the practice, Andrew Lidbetter's wide-ranging expertise incorporates accountancy, vets, and nursing and midwifery; fellow-solicitor advocate Nusrat Zar‘s experience includes acting for several accountancy regulators; and Will Glassey  specialises in representing professional firms and individual professionals in professional negligence claims, regulatory investigations and disciplinary actions. The next line of key practitioners features of counsel Jasveer Randhawa, whose public and administrative law disputes practice incorporates disciplinary proceedings; and associate Henry Saunders, who regularly works alongside Glassey on solicitor-related disciplinary matters.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Lidbetter

Other key lawyers:

Nusrat Zar; Will Glassey; Jasveer Randhawa; Henry Saunders


‘Will Glassey and Henry Saunders are extremely responsive and able to give chapter and verse on the law, as well as sound practical advice.’

‘Will Glassey and Henry Saunders – great experience in handling matters that are well publicised but need to be handled very delicately.’

Work highlights

  • Advised an accountancy firm in relation to a disciplinary investigation conducted by the Financial Reporting Council.

Russell-Cooke LLP

'At the forefront of regulatory law and professional discipline for at least the last 30 years', Russell-Cooke LLP is consistently instructed by the SRA, particularly in relation to insurance disputes and the Compensation Fund; and the team routinely advises major city firms and individual partners on misconduct allegations. The practice also acts for the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, along with several other professional bodies. The track record of senior partner John Gould includes several high-profile disciplinary proceedings; Matt Bosworth is 'hugely experienced'; and Michael Stacey specialises in regulatory advice and litigation, in relation to legal services, architects, accountants, and charity trustees. The second line of key advisers includes consultant and former partner, Peter Cadman, who is regularly mandated by regulatory bodies and individual members of professions; legal counsel and barrister Tom Bradford, who also maintains a professional discipline practice; and the 'extremely hardworking' senior associate Sheetul Sowdagur.

Practice head(s):

John Gould; Matt Bosworth

Other key lawyers:

Michael Stacey; Peter Cadman; Tom Bradford; Sheetul Sowdagur


‘Fantastic team – vast experience, pragmatic and down-to-earth.’

‘Michael Stacey is incredibly experienced, and with excellent judgment and a good manner with clients.’

‘A broad base of experience, prosecuting and defending in front of a wealth of different regulators (and sports bodies), and with the nous and experience to transition seamlessly if the matters become criminal or there are civil proceedings that spin off.’

‘John Gould brings vast amount of experience, wisdom and intellect to bear on cases.’

‘Matt Bosworth – 24 hour availability and tough as nails when he needs to be, and charming when that’s the best tack. Hugely experienced with a client base many rivals would give their right arm for.’

‘The firm is prepared to adapt fee strategies to meet the needs of the client, and has extensive marketing strategies which leads it to acquire new business with ease.’

‘Sheetul Sowdagur is extremely hardworking, makes herself available, and is client focused.’

‘The team has been at the forefront of regulatory law and professional discipline for at least the last 30 years.’

Key clients

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

CILEx Regulation

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Work highlights

  • Challenged the sanction placed on a doctor’s practice via a High Court Appeal.
  • Defended a solicitor accused by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of breaching his duties as certificate provider for a lasting power of attorney.
  • Successfully defended CILEX Regulation in judicial review proceedings.

Bates Wells

Bates Wells‘ professional discipline practice routinely acts for statutory regulator, Social Work England, as well as representative bodies (Royal Colleges and Institutes); and membership organisations with professional discipline functions, such as the Market Research Society, College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists, and the Royal Astronomical Society. At senior associate level, Amrita Hurst is an experienced public law lawyer, while Alistair Williams acts for statutory regulators and membership bodies with disciplinary functions. Former practice leader Melanie Carter departed the firm for Bevan Brittan LLP in July 2022 and Claire Whittle for DLA Piper.

Other key lawyers:

Amrita Hurst; Alistair Williams; Harry Campbell


‘Very well researched on any area of law.’

‘The BW team has the specific knowledge and experience needed to deal with regulatory and disciplinary issues in the complex and somewhat specialised area of public sector audit and accountancy.’

‘Team members have very thorough knowledge of the issues and are capable of dealing with them in a practical way.’

‘Fast turnaround with good guidance that takes into account current law and precedence.’

‘Alistair Williams is very thorough and capable.’

Key clients

Council of the Inns of Court

Social Work England

Market Research Society

Architects Registration Board

College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists

Royal Astronomical Society

Work highlights

  • Acting for Social Work England in a range of matters, including statutory appeals in the High Court, judicial reviews, and appeals in the Court of Appeal.
  • Advised Market Research Society on its disciplinary and complaints procedures.
  • Advising the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) on a range of matters, including a vexatious complainant who targeted CORST staff with abusive messages.

Bevan Brittan LLP

With 'real depth of experience in acting for public regulatory bodies and membership groups', Bevan Brittan LLP's professional discipline practice covers a great range of professionals from the legal, financial services and healthcare sectors. The team is jointly led by the 'enormously experienced' and longstanding public and regulatory law specialist, Melanie Carter, a July 2022 partner hire from Bates Wells; and former Capsticks LLP partner Daniel Purcell, whose recent track record includes advising a university on Fitness to Practice procedures for misconduct allegations involving a medical student.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Carter; Daniel Purcell

Other key lawyers:

Jonathon Lodwick; Sarah Court-Brown


‘Fantastically experienced, but human, team of hardworking people.’

‘A range of expertise across various disciplines that gives Bevan Brittan an edge, coupled with some particular expertise in certain areas (audit, solicitors and social care)’

‘Melanie Carter – enormously experienced and a force to be reckoned with.’

‘Melanie Carter is an exceptionally experienced and able lawyer.’

‘Daniel Purcell – hugely experienced and particularly good at the bigger picture.’

‘Daniel Purcell is vastly experienced.’

‘Excellent blend of experience of public law and legal services, which enables them to deal with cases at the interface.’

‘Among the leaders in the field, with real depth of experience in acting for public regulatory bodies and membership groups.’

Key clients

Independent Standards Authority (Compliance Officer)

Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

International Psychoanalytical Association

Grant Thornton

Institute of Psychoanalysis

Work highlights

  • Advised the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives on its role as Approved Regulator.
  • Acted for the International Psychoanalytical Association, in relation to its constitutional and disciplinary work.
  • Acted for the Compliance Officer of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, in relation to investigations into MPs’ expenses.

Blackfords LLP

Blackfords LLP is particularly focused on health and social care-related matters. The team's track record also includes acting for solicitors accused of criminal offences, as well as representing serving police and MoD police personnel in misconduct proceedings. Another growing area is acting for football professionals facing sexual abuse allegations of a historic nature. Gary Rubin, solicitor advocate Jennifer Richardson and senior litigation executive Jo Kaucher 'all produce high-quality work'; Trevor Francis' practice also incorporates professional disciplinary hearings; and Gary Bloxsome's caseload covers disciplinary investigations featuring potential criminal issues. Cardiff-based director Philip Williams is 'a driving force in professional discipline'.

Practice head(s):

Gary Rubin

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Richardson; Jo Kaucher; Trevor Francis; Gary Bloxsome; Philip Williams


‘Gary Rubin and Jo Kaucher are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in this area. They both work very hard and are always available to discuss issues.’

‘Gary Rubin and Jo Kaucher are always available to communicate with, and both have a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise in the field of both criminal and police misconduct. Both are a credit to Blackfords LLP, showing empathy when needed, supporting the needs of clients through difficult times.’

‘Gary Rubin, Jo Kaucher and Jennifer Richardson all produce high-quality work.’

‘Philip Williams is a driving force in professional discipline. A star player.’

They always prepare the cases well, work collaboratively with Counsel, and respond quickly to enquiries.

‘Compared to other firms, Blackfords has an impressive diversity of expertise and relations with specialist barristers, and is in an enviable position to provide clients with advice and assistance across multiple disciplines.’

‘The Blackfords team is one of the best in the industry and always provides a great product.’

‘Gary Bloxsome is widely regarded as one of the best in this area – Jennifer Richardson is also very good.’

Work highlights

  • Handling a series of instructions on behalf of clients serving in the Ministry of Defence Police and the Metropolitan Police, which involve gross misconduct allegations.
  • Acting on behalf of a paramedic, where concerns had been raised regarding his fitness to practise after he was arrested by the Wiltshire Police on suspicion of two sexual assault allegations against two female service users.
  • Acting for various dentists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, in relation to fitness to practise and misconduct allegations.


Providing 'really high-quality representation to professionals', DWF represents clients in professional disciplinary matters from the legal, medical, actuarial, accountancy and financial services professions. A 2022 partner recruit from BLMRosie Shapiro is 'an intelligent, thoughtful and pragmatic partner'; Euros Jones is a corporate crime expert; Simon Mason in Bristol handles professional negligence claims against professionals; Harriet Quiney defends claims against financial professionals; and Leeds-based Matthew Reynolds focuses on defence-side work for solicitors and accountants. At associate level, both Charlotte Ellis in Manchester and Emma Henderson defend healthcare professionals. Richard Burger  and Tracy Sell-Peters recently departed for WilmerHale and Keystone Law, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Rosie Shapiro; Euros Jones; Simon Mason; Harriet Quiney; Matthew Reynolds

Other key lawyers:

Laura Menary; Charlotte Ellis; Emma Henderson


‘Large team with good links across other jurisdictions and across the UK. Wide range of practice areas. Good reputation within the market.’

‘A collaborative team, with no fear of seeking assistance from more experienced members. Refreshingly open with clients.’

‘Rosie Shapiro is an intelligent, thoughtful and pragmatic partner.’

Key clients

Medical Protection Society



CFC underwriting

Markel Legal Expenses Insurers

Work highlights

  • Acting for a high-profile Consultant haematologist in the Infected Blood Inquiry.
  • Acted for The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, in relation to an Inquiry into the abuse of patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital between December 1999 and June 2021.

Gordons Partnership 2020 Limited

The epitome of excellence and professional experience‘, Gordons Partnership 2020 Limited is consistently mandated by medical defence organisations on high-profile matters, particularly in relation to doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists. Richard Creamer is a highly experienced regulatory practitioner; Charles Atkins acts for doctors and dentists in professional conduct matters; Iain Pickering represents doctors, nurses and midwives before their professional bodies; and recently-promoted partner Susan Hunneyball has significant experience in advising healthcare and social care clients. Within the associate pool, Lily Rose Lloyd is ‘always on top of the brief‘, while Brendan Costello also acts in healthcare disciplinary matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Creamer; Charles Atkins; Iain Pickering; Susan Hunneyball

Other key lawyers:

Lily Rose-Lloyd; Brendan Costello; Roy Donnelly


‘Good quality instructions and an understanding of the client’s needs.’

‘Susan Hunneyball is an industry leader. She has an unfaltering commitment to every one of her cases, which remains unwavering whatever the size or complexity of the case.’

‘Richard Creamer is a standout practitioner who combines in-depth knowledge, empathy, availability, value for money and tenacity.’

‘In a market where most doctors have some form of insurance or indemnity cover, Gordons provides a high level of service to privately-funded doctors and understands the added challenges associated with a privately-funded client facing disciplinary proceedings.

‘Lily Rose-Lloyd is very efficient and always on top of the brief.’

Clients trust them to deal with direct access clients properly and to a high standard.

‘Brendan Costello is a standout associate, who is responsive, and understands the needs of counsel and how to help them best serve the client.’

‘Gordons Partnership is the epitome of excellence and professional experience. The team’s experience in professional discipline is unparalleled. There is no other team that has this level of experience, dedication, and such a tailored approach to each client.’

Key clients

National Pharmacy Association

Keoghs LLP

Keoghs LLP‘s professional discipline team has longstanding experience in representing professionals before their disciplinary bodies. In healthcare, the practice covers doctors, dentists, nurses, psychologists and opticians, while its veterinary-related expertise includes surgeons, and registered nurses and farriers. It also acts for construction and legal sector professionals, along with FCA-regulated professionals (insurance brokers and financial advisers). Ruth Lawrence, who focuses on veterinary and construction professionals, is national professional and financial risks team leader; veterinary defence head Sarah Naylor 'has a firm grasp of the law'; Sian Davies is healthcare group head; and Jason Howarth represents medical practitioners at regulatory hearings.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Lawrence; Sian Davies

Other key lawyers:

Sian Davies; Jason Howarth; Graham Taylor; Gary Thwaites


‘Keoghs has extremely close ties with their professional clients at the Veterinary Defence Society, which enables them to deliver an outstanding service to their lay clients (veterinary surgeons), when facing disciplinary proceedings.’

‘Sarah Naylor is an extremely thorough and highly capable solicitor who ensures that every aspect of the case is well prepared in order to present the client’s case in the best way possible.’

‘Sarah Naylor is calm under pressure and very professional. She has a firm grasp of the law and the tactical issues in a case, and is an excellent team-player.’

Key clients

Veterinary Defence Society



Murdochs Solicitors

Predominantly focused on defending solicitors (and other legal professionals) facing regulatory investigations and disciplinary proceedings, Murdochs Solicitors' 'specialist knowledge and extensive experience are exceptional'. The practice of senior partner Andrew Blatt, whose 'advice is very sound and to the point', covers SRA investigations, SDT proceedings, and complex partnership disputes featuring misconduct issues; and senior consultant Robert Forman is 'a leader in his field of Solicitors Professional Standards and Regulations'. At director level, Nicholas Trevette also has significant experience in handling SRA investigations.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Blatt

Other key lawyers:

Robert Forman; Nicholas Trevette


‘The team’s specialist knowledge and extensive experience are exceptional.’

‘The detailed and thorough work they put into their cases always pays off.’

‘Absolute specialists in this field.’

‘Clients regard both Andrew Blatt and Robert Forman as extensions to their teams. They are straight-talking but work collaboratively with clients to ensure the best possible outcome.’

‘Andrew Blatt is extremely helpful, knowledgeable and understanding. Whilst being very sympathetic, his advice is very sound and to the point.’

Robert Forman is a leader in his field of Solicitors Professional Standards and Regulations, in particular his expertise in professional discipline and regulation. He has very personable qualities, putting the client at ease especially when they face vulnerable situations in relation to conduct and ethics, or regulation issues.’

‘Nicholas Trevette is a first port of call for any enquiries in this field. A highly experienced professional who knows this area inside out and who gives outstanding service to his clients.’

‘Nicholas Trevette’s advice is always exceptionally well considered. He is outstanding.’

Richard Nelson LLP

Richard Nelson LLP covers a broad range of professional disciplines, including legal, accountancy, education and medical. In Nottingham, the 'very experienced and knowledgeable' senior partner Richard Nelson is a widely-recognised SRA expert, while Marie Dancer specialises in defending healthcare and education professionals in fitness to practise investigations. Over in Cardiff, Steve Roberts is a 'great case manager', who predominantly acts for solicitors being investigated by the SRA. Also key to the group, senior legal assistant Victoria Rees and senior legal adviser Sarah Jane Varley (both also in Nottingham) handle a broad range of cases for healthcare professionals and teachers.

Practice head(s):

Richard Nelson; Marie Dancer; Steve Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Steve Roberts; Victoria Rees; Sarah Jane Varley


‘A bespoke practice that treats clients with real respect and care, whilst offering robust and sage advice.’

The professional discipline team at the firm is excellent.

‘Richard Nelson LLP’s team members work in a thorough, effective and collaborative way, both together and with counsel. The consistently excellent results they achieve for their clients is a reflection of significant experience in this field.’

‘Richard Nelson handles serious and complicated SRA cases for defendant solicitor clients, and is very experienced and knowledgeable.’

Marie Dancer – very experienced, excellent client care, and specialises in defending disciplinary and regulatory cases.

‘Steve Roberts – a great case manager and tactician who has a great understanding of clients and manages the most difficult with aplomb.’

‘Steve Roberts goes the extra mile (or more) for his clients. Good advice that is given firmly and with a clear understanding of the client’s needs.’

Victoria Rees – excellent client care, very efficient, and good to deal with.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP

Stephensons Solicitors LLP‘s 'very bright and hardworking' professional discipline team predominantly focuses on defence-side work involving the legal services, accountancy, healthcare, education, and financial services sectors. The Wigan-based practice has notable expertise in defending cases of dishonesty and sexual misconduct, and additionally handles cases concerning practitioners' mental health. Carl Johnson, who 'particularly impresses', routinely defends doctors against GMC investigations, as well as at MPTS hearings, and in NHS England Performers List proceedings; and Laura Hannah focuses on defending care providers against Care Quality Commission regulatory action. Senior associate Chloe Parish is the firm's lead lawyer for Ofsted matters.

Practice head(s):

Carl Johnson

Other key lawyers:

Laura Hannah; Chloe Parish


‘The team as a whole is extremely professional, while friendly and down to earth.’

‘Instructions to counsel, bundles and witness statements are always well prepared.’

‘The team is very conscious of the need to carry out work at proportionate costs (in the interests of clients).’

Brett Wilson LLP

'Brilliant boutique firm' Brett Wilson LLP routinely defends doctors, dentists and architects, along with solicitors and law firms, in disciplinary proceedings that are brought by their regulator. Founding partner Nick Brett, who 'gives spotless legal advice', is highly rated for his defence work on behalf of professionals undergoing disciplinary processes.

Practice head(s):

Nick Brett


‘Brilliant boutique firm – dedicated and they get brilliant results.’

‘Experience with solicitors based in the Middle East, which is extremely helpful.’

Nick Brett is excellent. His advice is spot on, he is very present, available, and gives incredible advice.’

‘Nick Brett guides clients very well, and his advice is just accurate and brilliant.’

‘Nick Brett is incredibly commercial, quick, available and honest.’

‘Nick Brett tells clients what their position is, creates a defence strategy, and is always incredibly calm. But mostly, he gives spotless legal advice, protecting clients’ position really well.’

‘Nick Brett is very experienced in his areas of expertise. In particular, his ability to advise on both regulatory and criminal issues is incredibly helpful on matters where issues from both areas are potentially engaged.’

‘Nick Brett is very responsive and makes clients feel like they are at the top of his priority list. He provides prompt, direct and honest advice.’

Cole Khan Solicitors LLP

Established in May 2021 by 'hugely experienced' former Irwin Mitchell partners Emilie Cole and Shazia Khan, professional discipline and employment legal practice Cole Khan Solicitors LLP is 'an amazing firm'. The practice has significant expertise in dealing with regulators, in relation to the legal and financial services, education, and accountancy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Shazia Khan; Emilie Cole


‘This is a boutique firm that undertakes high-profile, cutting edge cases.’

‘An amazing firm founded by two extremely proficient, dynamic female lawyers.’

‘Personal touch – very client focused, efficient and effective, and trying to achieve the best outcome.’

‘The principles Shazia Khan and Emilie Cole are hugely experienced.’

‘Shazia Khan is a tenacious solicitor who always goes the extra mile for her clients.

‘Shazia Khan is a formidable, a gifted lawyer.’

Emilie Cole is diligent and engaging.

Emilie Cole is technically very strong and with a calm presence.

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Rachel Meade in a Fitness to Practice investigation by Social Work England.
  • Defended Dr Omer Karim against the General Medical Council’s appeal against a successful race discrimination claim.
  • Appointed as panel solicitors of a large national regulator.

Constantine Law Limited

Constantine Law Limited acts for both firms and individuals facing professional disciplinary investigations. The team is particularly active in relation to finance, legal, accountancy, actuaries, healthcare, and insolvency practitioners. ‘One of the standout lawyers of her generation‘, Sarah Wallace is a corporate crime, professional discipline and financial services investigations expert.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Wallace

Other key lawyers:

Jemma Sherwood-Roberts


‘Sarah Wallace is highly professional, knowledgeable about her field, competent, and very conscientious.’

‘Sarah Wallace – one of the standout lawyers of her generation. Anyone with a professional discipline issue needs Sarah on their team.’

‘Top-quality advice and support received at good-value hourly rates.’

‘Technical delivery is excellent.’

‘All work is handled directly by partners who are available at short notice (within reason).’

‘Highly supportive in very stressful situations, and pragmatic and practical with the advice given.’

‘Effective and value-for-money lawyers who are fully engaged in the problem, the background, and the objectives of the individual they are supporting.’

‘Excellent, tight-knit team with top-notch partners in every area.’

Hickman & Rose

Most of Hickman & Rose's professional discipline cases involve the SRA, FCA and FRC, as well as medical professionals' regulators. Andrew Katzen is 'a genuine expert'; Claire Wallace defends individuals against regulatory bodies' investigations; Ross Dixon has 'great instincts'; and name partner Ben Rose defends clients against professional misconduct accusations.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Katzen

Other key lawyers:

Claire Wallace; Ross Dixon; Ben Rose; Christopher Houssemayne du Boulay; Emily Sheils; Tom Bushnell


‘Andrew Katzen has an excellent grasp of the relevant regulatory landscapes in which he works, both in terms of legal knowledge and in terms of understanding the market and regulatory developments.’

‘Andrew Katzen is a genuine expert in the field.’

‘Very knowledgeable in relation to SRA investigations.’

‘A first-class team that is packed with experience.’

‘Emily Sheils and Andrew Katzen are excellent in this field.’

‘Ross Dixon – great instincts, and wonderful at dealing with matters featuring US legal issues.’

‘Ben Rose – experienced hands.’

‘Claire Wallace is conscientious.’

Key clients

Mr X

Carlo Palombo

Work highlights

  • Acting for an individual at the RDC (and at the Upper Tribunal), who was accused by the FCA of financial market manipulation.
  • Made submissions that concluded an FRC misconduct investigation into the former CFO of a global Plc, which concerned an alleged £50m-plus overstatement in the company’s financial accounts.
  • Successfully argued that an FRC investigation against an accountant was an abuse of process and not in the public interest.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Solicitor disciplinary work is a key area for Howard Kennedy LLP, which routinely acts for solicitors and law firms in SRA investigations and prosecutions; while Bar disciplinary work is a growth area for the firm. Ian Ryan is 'a legend', and Joel Leigh is particularly active in defence-side barrister matters.

Practice head(s):

Ian Ryan

Other key lawyers:

Joel Leigh; Jennifer Harper


‘Knows this area of law inside out.’

‘Ian Ryan is a legend with a big heart.’

Legal Risk LLP

Legal Risk LLP represents law firms, and their insurers and regulators, in professional disciplinary issues. In Liverpool, Frank Maher's 'advice is always pragmatic', while Sue Mawdsley consistently advises law firms and other professional services firms. Oxford-based Francis Dingwall represents law firms and individuals in SRA investigations and SDT proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Frank Maher; Sue Mawdsley; Francis Dingwall


‘Specialist knowledge of professional discipline matters, the advice is clear, provided quickly, and comprehensive.’

‘Sue Mawdsley and Frank Maher are real experts in their areas, balancing deep subject matter expertise with a broad understanding of market practice and an appreciation of the practical implications of their advice – go-to advisers in this area.’

‘Frank Maher is exceptional, he knows his field, and appreciates the importance of providing timely, sensible and practical advice.’


Particularly well known for football-related disciplinary and regulatory matters, McCormicks also handles SRA investigations, SDT defence matters and NPA work. Peter McCormick OBE is a widely-respected sports expert; Peter Minnikin‘s workload incorporates disciplinary work involving medical practitioners; and litigation head David Birks is a 2022 hire from Newtons Solicitors Limited.

Practice head(s):

Peter McCormick OBE; Peter Minnikin

Other key lawyers:

David Birks


Very commercial, pragmatic and practical.

Peter McCormick OBE is an outstanding lawyer in this field.

Key clients

National Pharmacy Association

The Premier League

Professional Game Match Officials

Leeds United FC

Sport Resolutions (UK)

Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Solicitors Indemnity Fund

Liverpool FC



Wycombe Wanderers FC

Alec Graham

Work highlights

  • Represents solicitors and firms of solicitors that are the subject of investigations and/or subsequent prosecutions by the SRA.
  • Acts for the National Pharmacy Association in disciplinary proceedings.
  • Acts for the Premier League in professional disciplinary matters.


RPC‘s 'professional discipline team has the resources and skills to handle the biggest cases'. The team advises on the regulatory aspects of legal services, insolvency practitioners, architects and accountants. Graham Reid 'stands out', while Robert Morris provides additional partner-level support. Senior associate Emma Wherry specialises in construction-related professional discipline.

Practice head(s):

Graham Reid; Robert Morris

Other key lawyers:

Emma Wherry; Davina Given; Ben Goodier; Eleanor Kilner; Tom Wild


‘Graham Reid stands out head and shoulders above his peers.’

‘Eleanor Kilner comes across as very capable, driven, and yet approachable.’

‘RPC’s professional discipline team has the resources and skills to handle the biggest cases in this field.’

‘Fee earners with the knowledge and understanding to provide high-quality representation that is informed by a good appreciation of the underlying dispute.’

‘Emma Wherry – clever and on top of the detail, but also exceptionally good at working out what needs to be done and identifying the best person to do it. Her project management of cases is fantastic, and the clients really like her.’

‘Davina Given is immensely hardworking and on top of the minute details of every case. She is unflappable, calm and has a fantastic demeanour with clients.’

‘A lot of bench strength and really deep understanding of the relevant issues in solicitors’ negligence and regulatory enforcement cases.’

‘Tom Wild is a standout senior associate who combines deep technical expertise with a client-friendly approach. He sees the points others miss and can untangle the knottiest legal problems.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a former KPMG employee, who was investigated by the FRC regarding allegations that he (and others) misled the FRC in relation to information provided for the FRC’s review of KPMG’s final audit of Carillion.