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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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Commercial property: elsewhere in the North West

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: elsewhere in the North West
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: elsewhere in the North West clients in North West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


The Preston-based team at Brabners LLP is commended for its ‘personal approach’ and for its experience across retail, leisure, agricultural and landed estates matters. Sofology, Betterbathrooms (UK), and National Football Museum are clients.  Team head Ross Shine  is experienced in out of town retail, leisure and development mandates. Other key figures include Charles Hansford and associate Helen Ryan, who are ‘able to come up with solutions to problems presented’. Hansford is active in mines and minerals, agricultural and landed estates work.

Gorvins Solicitors is active across landlord and tenant, estate management work, property acquisitions and disposals, funding and development agreements, and also advises on secure lending, real estate restructuring and distressed property disposals. It advised Peel Media on the lease of three floors at Blue Tower, MediaCityUK to Kellogg Company and advised JWH Capital on the £18m acquisition of 140 apartments and reversionary interest in Liverpool Tower. The team also advised FO Developments on the £9m acquisition of a development site and the £7m sub-sale of part to Redrow Homes. Ourspace, Nong Lau Property and Wood Restaurant Group are also clients. Managing partner Martin Hoare leads the commercial property department and specialises in commercial and residential development and investment matters. Claire Beaumont and Samantha Marcus are key members of the team, as is consultant Colin Mellor.

Specialist commercial property outfit Land Law LLP offers a ‘bespoke service’ and is commended for its ‘efficient, friendly and professional’ approach. The team handles property-related transactions, disputes, banking and finance work. Sarah Bonwick acted for a landowner client on the sale of a site to David Wilson Homes; and Paul Grundy advised DeTrafford Estates Group on several matters including the purchase of a site at Great Jackson Street in Manchester for redevelopment and in connection with the site assembly for the No1 Castlefield development in Manchester city centre. Managing partner Angus Whyte is ‘very knowledgeable, pragmatic and intelligent; and he quickly knows what is important’ and Helen Davidson is ‘brilliant’. Associate partner Nicola Jackson  joined in 2017 from Myerson Solicitors LLP and Jenny Clarke  was recently promoted to partner. Hans Scheiwiller is now a consultant and Andrea Lawrence has retired.

The ‘very professional’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP is ‘exceptional’ across development matters and property management mandates for a range of private property companies and investor clients. Jeremy Lee advised Fortis Developments on the acquisition and development agreements for several sites including Furness Quay in Salford Quays, Bridgewater Point, Bridgewater Gate, Bridgewater Wharf and Adelphi Wharf in Salford. Andrew Chapman, who is ‘hugely knowledgeable and practical; and even when working with experienced developers he can still bring a new angle to a deal, coming up with solutions that are helpful, timely and full of business acumen’, advised Mosley Street Ventures on the leasing of the remaining floors and ground floor commercial units of 2 St Peter’s Square, Manchester. Mark Gillies is ‘diligent and timely’ and advised Cheshire Concrete Products Group on the acquisition of a quarry business in North Wales. Deputy department head Joanne Perritt’s ‘thorough knowledge and experience shines through’, and department head Richard Lloyd is ‘brilliant’.

Napthens LLP’s provides ‘pragmatic and commercially-led legal advice’ and ‘demonstrates an ethos of putting the client at the front and centre of everything it does and it has a willingness to innovate’. Its expertise spans acquisitions and disposals, leasing, landlord and tenant issues, property finance and investment, development and licensing mandates. The ‘focused and enthusiastic’ Martin Beardsworth in Preston advised The Standen Estate on the residential development of a site in The Ribble Valley, Lancashire, which includes planning permission for 1040 new homes, a new school as well as commercial and retail development; and advised Baxter Homes and Baxter Construction on the purchase of part of Bowgreave House Farm in Garstang.  Blackburn-based David Hill, who ‘always gets deals over the line’, advises N&V Properties on a range of real estate mandates. Paul Hardy in Blackpool advised Create Developments (Land and Property) on the purchase of land for residential development in the village of Inskip near Blackpool. In Preston; department head James Allison, who also operates out of the Kendal office, is a ‘no-nonsense lawyer who has an ability to see through the noise of a transaction’; John Lomax, who’s ‘attention to detail, coupled with his in-depth of understanding of the key commercial principles, enables him to provide balanced and well-considered advice’; Marc Appleton; and Stephen Bell, who was recently promoted to partner; are recommended as is Blackpool-based Martin Long.

Aaron & Partners LLP's expertise spans ecclesiastical property and charity land and management; renewable energy and waste management, landed estates and agriculture. It also handles development, investment and secured lending work and is experienced in the retail, leisure and utilities sectors. Team head Simon Ellis is leading advice for Dŵr Cymru Cyfyngedig on the proposed extension of a water treatment works, which involves development over common land outside the Snowdonia National Park, and advised the University of Chester on the £2.2m freehold purchase of the former Land Registry building in Birkenhead. Elsewhere, Trish Randles is instructed by Galliers Properties on a range of matters. Senior associates Lisa Moncur and Iwan Williams , who is ‘commercially astute and has a broad spectrum of knowledge across all commercial property matters’, are also noted.

DTM Legal LLP provides a ‘partner-led service’, is ‘efficient, professional and is always available’ according to clients who also praise its ‘ability to explain difficult legal issues in a way that is understandable to the layman’. Highlights included advising a developer client on the refinance of a London hotel, which is let to Premier Inn. Commercial property head Anna Duffy is noted for her experience in property disputes and Sally Pilott is also a key member of the team that was recently bolstered by the arrival of Paul Makinson and Stephen Lunt from Slater and Gordon. Associates Michael Wright and Sue Elias, who specialises in residential conveyancing, are also recommended.

The ‘pro-active’ department at Forbes Solicitors is active on pension fund commercial property transactions and is instructed on the development of commercial and residential property sites. The retail, health and sports sectors are a focus of the team which spans its Blackburn and Preston offices. Team head Adam Bromley has the ‘ability to understand the issues and delivers commercial solutions which are explained in an easy to understand manner’ and Tim Hollingsworth is ‘very experienced’, particularly on development, purchases, leasing and securitisation matters. Stuart Shorthouse specialises in the sale, purchase and lease of commercial property and Richard Clithero is active on high-value transactions and secured lending. Clients include WEC Group, Taylor Patterson (Pensions), Lawrence Hunt & Co, Paul Heathcote, GPC SIPP, Burnley Football Club and Blackburn Rovers Football Club.

Hillyer McKeown LLP ’s Chester and Birkenhead offices work closely with its Liverpool office to advise on real estate finance mandates, as well as acquisitions and disposals. It advised The Contact Company on the refinance of a flagship building at the Tower Wharf Development in Birkenhead and advised One Planet Adventure on the acquisition of an outdoor pursuits centre. It also advised Anselmians Rugby Union Football Club on the construction of new clubhouse, the sale of land for residential development and the construction of a youth service facility.  Ian Millington is regularly instructed by owner-managed businesses, SMEs, charities and pension trustees on commercial lending, development, acquisitions and disposals work, as well as landlord and tenant mandates, and SSAS and SIPP transactions. David Wright  acts for local and national building clients on development projects. Senior partner Philip McKeown is active on acquisitions and disposals, commercial lending, site acquisition, redevelopment and plot disposals. Caroline Jones heads the residential and commercial property teams.

SAS Daniels LLP provides a ‘proficient and professional’ service and is noted for its experience in development work in the residential sector. The team also acts for landowner clients on promotion agreements and land disposals. Agriculture and estates work is also a mainstay of the practice, as are leisure, renewable energy and education-sector mandates. Stockport-based James Clarke, who is ‘always methodical and thoughtful in his approach’, heads the team with Nigel Read in Macclesfield. In Chester Andrew Clark has expertise in development, leasing and portfolio management matters; and senior associates James Goddard, who handles agricultural mandates, and Stewart Smith are also recommended. Also in Stockport; Neil Powell is a ‘very accomplished and commercially minded lawyer’; and Roger Allsup leads on construction and engineering work. Macclesfield-based associate Steven Percy  ‘takes a common-sense approach’.

Slater Heelis LLP is regularly instructed by investor clients on property transactions. It also handles a range of high-profile landlord and tenant matters and is noted for its residential development expertise. The team advised Gino D’Acampo Worldwide Restaurants on the lease for a new restaurant in Liverpool and is advising PJ Livesey Holdings on the let of part of a development to a retailer. It also advised a property investor on the sale of a block of flats  in Manchester and advised a property investor on the acquisition of a mixed-use building in Covent Garden. In Sale, consultant solicitor Edward Michell heads the residential property team; senior partner Mike Fox handles complex landlord and tenant matters and advises on site acquisitions and disposals; Zara Banday is noted for residential property matters; Hannah Al-Shaghana is active across acquisitions and disposals, secured lending and landlord and tenant matters; and Olajide Jay Lafinhan  was recently promoted to partner. Timperley-based Stephen Locke is also noted for residential property work.

Blackstone Solicitors Limited delivers ‘speedy’ responses and is ‘very able’ across development, site acquisitions and leasing matters. It advised Dencourt on a range of matters relating to a hive-up and development funding for the construction of a six-storey building student accommodation development, advised Quasar Real Estate Limited and UK Properties on the sale of industrial units in Crewe and advised Xtravagant Ltd on the purchase of multi-tenanted office building. On the residential front, Qualis Residential Developments, The House Maker and Knight Knox are clients. Team head Nick Jackson is ‘very switched-on’, Michelle Rothburn ‘takes a pragmatic approach and acts extremely diligently’ and residential property head David Walton is ‘very knowledgeable and commercially savvy’.

The ‘efficient’ team at Butcher & Barlow LLP is active across land acquisitions, planning and development matters in the commercial and residential sectors, public house sales and purchases, and commercial refinancing mandates. It advised on the £7.25m acquisition of Holmes Chapel Business Park on behalf of the Trustees of the Booth Charities. Fords of Winsford, Liberty SIPP and Throstles Nest Developments are also clients. Sandbach-based John Hyatt heads the team and is ‘clear and concise with his advice’. In Northwich, commercial team head Jonathan Aldersley is praised for his ‘ability to provide strategic solutions’ and  Dianne Mooney is also recommended. Bury-based James Hodgson’s ‘knowledge, attention to detail and patience is impressive’ and  Mark Fletcher in Leigh is also a key member of the team.

At Chafes Hague Lambert LLP, the’ demonstration of knowledge and business acumen is first rate’ and the team is ‘always trying to find the best route to solve a problem’. The team regularly acts for landlords and tenants on commercial lease work and disputes; and it also handles commercial property investment sales and purchases; commercial and residential development acquisitions; and secured lending and re-mortgaging transactions. It advised the trustees of the Fleming Group SIPP and Investique Ltd on their joint acquisition of a new-build office building on the outskirts of Wilmslow. Svenska Handelsbanken AB is also a client. In Wilmslow, department head Daniel Woodcock is ‘first-rate’, while Andrew Pettitt in Knutsford and consultant solicitor Mike Travis, who is based in the firm’s New Mills office, are also noted.

Farleys Solicitors LLP is active across the acquisition and disposal of commercial property, residential and commercial development, estate management and property finance matters. Blackburn-based  Tom O’Neill heads the team, which also includes Manchester-based + Ian Liddle, who is ‘straight-talking, honest and efficient’, and recently promoted partner Stephen Greenwood in Preston.

The ‘excellent’ team at FDR Law acts for commercial and residential developers, retail and leisure operators, corporate occupiers and investors, and is also regularly instructed by public sector clients and is experienced in education sector matters. It advised Network Space on the £41.2m sale of a property portfolio, which included 18 industrial sites across the North of England, to Threadneedle Pensions. Langtree Property Partners and Daresbury SIC are also clients. Stephen Woodall heads the team, which features the ‘brilliant’ Kirsty Tinsley-Fenney and John King.

Hibberts LLP is regularly instructed by local landlords and tenants commercial leases, surrenders and lease extensions. It is also active on commercial property transactions and has advised on a number of promotion agreements and option agreements. It also operates closely with the firm’s corporate department to advise on real estate matters linked with corporate transactions. Carolyn Brooksbank is the department head.

Jolliffe & Co LLP is instructed by investor and developer clients on real estate transactions and also handles landlord and tenant matters and the team advises clients across the charity, industrial, mineral, retail, pensions, utilities and public sectors. Estate management, environment and agriculture are also specialist areas for the team. The team also works closely with the firm’s corporate department and it regularly provides real estate advice in relation to corporate transactions. James Harris leads the team, which includes consultant Guy Morris and Joseph Fletcher-Hunt, who was recently promoted to associate solicitor. Huw Thomas has joined Capital Law LLP in Cardiff and William Ngan recently joined HRC Law LLP.

JWK Solicitors handles a range of property transactions and has advised on acquisitions of commercial sites and land exchanges between local authorities and private developers. It has also advised on high-value leasing matters and handles dilapidations work. Lancaster-based Peter Bujakowski leads the team.

Commercial property: Liverpool

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Liverpool
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Liverpool clients in North West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


The ‘strong’ team at DLA Piper UK LLP  is ‘quick to respond’ and is praised for its ‘considerable resources’. The team has an extensive track record in investment work and is also active on high-value and complex development work. North West department head Mark Beardwood, who is ‘authoritative and possesses great ingenuity’, is leading a team in advising Cheshire West & Chester Council on the £300m Chester Northgate mixed-use development and is advising longstanding client Liverpool Football Club on a £100m transaction relating to the development of a new training complex in Knowsley. Philip Rooney and Richard Thompson, who is ‘pro-active, engaged and commercial’, advised Universities Superannuation Scheme on the acquisition of all the units in the PINE Unit Trusts, two Jersey Property Unit Trusts holding a portfolio of 32 children's nurseries and a school, for £95m, from private equity investors. Rooney also advised Picton Property Income Group on the £23.15m acquisition of a multi-let office building in Bristol. Alison Mills, who is ‘exceptionally efficient, commercial and easy to deal with’, acted for Downing Developments in relation to the property aspects of European Property Investors Special Opportunities IV's acquisition of a 90 per cent stake which is worth £439m, in its joint venture, which owns a portfolio of six student halls of residence across the UK. Legal director Richard Ascroft and senior associate Hannah Cheminais are also key members of the department.

Brabners LLP is active across commercial development and investment work, residential development and property management mandates. Iain Gamble led advice for The Peel Group on the conditional land sale and development agreement for a new football stadium for Everton Football Club. Helen Brown advised New Capital Knowsley on the letting of a warehouse to Amazon UK and on the onward investment sale to a fund, and advised Arnold Clark Automobiles on the acquisition of development sites for the construction of new dealerships in Wakefield and Doncaster. Richard Roberts and retail team head Neil McBurney advised McColl’s Retail Group Plc on the acquisition of 298 trading stores from The Co-operative Group. Head of residential development Chris Parkinson advised Ainscough Strategic Land on the £15m sale of two sites to a housebuilder. Department head Jeff Gillbanks predominantly acts for developers, senior associate Kevin Manley is noted for his retail sector and property management expertise, and associate Luke Taylor has focus on development and investment work. Consultant Sandy Gill is also recommended. Paul Firth joined as regional head of real estate in June 2018 from Irwin Mitchell.

Hill Dickinson LLP acts for a number of investors and developers and is active across the retail, leisure, transport, logistics and public sectors. Real estate finance is also a key area of expertise. Martyn McDonald acts for property owners and investors and advised Chainbid on the £2.7m sale Commerce Park Industrial Estate in Birkenhead; and Claire Cosgrove is noted for her retail sector expertise and advised The Co-operative Group on a number of lease arrangements. Graham Archibald advised Greenwich Leisure as anchor tenant on the development of a new ice rink in Cambridge; and Alex McCann, who is regularly instructed by property investors, developers and occupiers, is advising developer client Elliot Group on several matters, which includes the development of three residential towers in Liverpool, and the £2.5m acquisition of the PSS building in Liverpool. Elsewhere, former team head David Swaffield, who has retired from the partnership and is now a legal director, led advice for Peel Land and Property on the continued development of Port Salford, which included completing a lease to Rhenus Logistics. Legal director Tony Houghton is also recommended.  Manchester-based Jim Purves is national head of property and construction.

Weightmans LLP is commended for its public sector expertise and the team regularly handles city centre and town centre regeneration projects. It is also active on residential projects and has particular expertise across the retail and education sectors. +Clive Bleasdale is experienced in city centre regeneration projects, leads the local government real estate group, and advised Denbighshire County Council on several real estate-related matters. Matthew Williamson advised Bibby Distribution on the sale, assignment and leaseback of a freehold and leasehold 160,000 sq ft warehouse. Christopher Grady specialises in residential development and advised a national housebuilder on its proposed purchase of a site in Chelford, Cheshire. Royal Mail Group, Bruntwood, Pure Leisure Group and Peel Holdings are also clients. National head of property operations David Tabinor is experienced in volume real estate instructions and Janice Weatherly heads the real estate education practice. Associates Thomas Starkey, who is a social housing specialist, Frank La Rocca, who heads the national plot sales team, Susan McGorian, and Jonathan McMaster, are also key figures.

The ‘practical’ and ‘efficient’ team at DWF advises on investment and development matters and also has real estate finance and asset management expertise. The retail, leisure, office, industrial and residential sectors are key areas of focus and the team advised Evoke Creative on its lease, acquiring 30,000 sq ft of Redsun's £5.5m Power Station development in Bromborough. Roubaix Group and NewRiver REIT are also key clients. The ‘brilliant’ Abigail Dry is experienced in retail-related real estate work and Julie Simms leads on asset management matters. Senior associates Neil Lacey, who is experienced in real estate development work, and Helen Thomas, who handles a range of property investment and management work and is experienced in education sector matters, are also recommended. Former team head Andrew Nichol joined Freeths LLP in 2018 as managing partner of its new Liverpool office with Luke Hopkins.

Bermans is active across property finance and development transactions and also handles a range of landlord and tenant matters. The hotel and leisure sectors are key areas of focus for the team. It advised Acton Conservation on the acquisition of a site in Acton and advised Park House Bradford on the  acquisition of Park House Bradford. It also acted for Liverpool Edge (Myrtle Street) in connection with the grant of leases at a student development in Liverpool and advised Lloyds Banking Group on the  refinancing of a development site. Fergal O’Cleirigh heads the property and construction department, which also features Guy Pattison and senior associate Claire Morris.

Commercial property: Manchester

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Manchester
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Manchester clients in North West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


The ‘impressive’ team at Addleshaw Goddard provides ‘excellent service from partner level through to the paralegals’ and is ‘a key choice in Manchester for the top real estate transactions’; Stephen Kinsey continues to advise Bruntwood in relation to the Circle Square development in Manchester; and department head Peter Kershaw acted for Standard Life on the £70.7m acquisition of 33 Foley Street in London’s Fitzrovia, from Kier Property and acted for Corestate Capital Holdings on the £48m purchase of the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool from Royal London. Kershaw also led advice for Hermes Investment Management on the largest ever office pre-let in Leeds for a new regional government hub. Legal directors; Michael Corbett, who is experienced in the retail sector, Lucy Butterworth, Julie Hodkinson, who is experienced in renewable energy projects, railway property and projects specialist Robin Warburton, and Brian Ghatan, who is ‘especially skilled at navigating complex refinancing transactions’, are key members of the department, as are the ‘pragmatic’ Catherine Fearnhead and Vicky Niescier, who has ‘incredible knowledge and is extremely professional’. The team was significantly bolstered in 2018 by the hire of a six-partner team from Irwin Mitchell, which includes Anita Weightman, (former head of department at Irwin Mitchell), Paul Barnard, Patrick Duffy, real estate litigator Chris Perrin, Tony Weightman and planning lawyer Emily Williams. Colette Withey left the firm to join Ernst & Young.

CMS is regularly instructed on major real estate development and urban regeneration projects in Manchester, across the region and nationally. Department head Mark Haywood, who is active across real estate investment and development mandates and is noted for his expertise in forward funding structures, income strip and annuity leases, and Monica Brij, who specialises in development schemes and large-scale investment transactions for institutional and private investors, are advising Mayfield Development Partnership on an urban regeneration and development project to develop the former site of the Mayfield Rail Depot in Manchester city centre. Haywood and Brij also advised the Far East Consortium £1bn Northern Gateway scheme in Manchester, which is designed to deliver up to 10,000 homes in North Manchester. Brij is leading advice for joint venture vehicle, Ask Real Estate and Patrizia UK, on the regeneration of Gateshead Quays in Newcastle and Peter Winnard advised FQ Developments on the funding of the £750m residential development at Owen Street, Manchester, and is advising Select Property Group, which is operating in joint-venture with Bruntwood, on the development of Circle Square, Manchester. Other key figures include Nathan Jansen, who advises on the disposal, acquisition and development of mixed-use, retail and industrial schemes as well as primary care centres in the healthcare sector; energy, projects and construction team head Chris Hallam; senior associate Tanya Francis; and Nigel Lewis , who recently joined from Gowling WLG and heads the infrastructure, construction and energy disputes team.

DWF delivers an ‘excellent service’ and is regularly instructed by major corporate occupiers and lenders, as well as regional and national developers and investors on transactions in the region and nationally. The retail, hotel and leisure sectors are key areas of specialism for the team and it has secured a three-year panel appointment as Whitbread's sole provider of real estate work for its Premier Inn, hub by Premier Inn, Restaurant and Costa brands. David Frankland is acting for Coplan Estates on its appointment as developer on a major mixed-used development scheme in Woking. Naveen Gupta continues to advise the adidas group on its property legal requirements, which included advising on a new flagship concept store in Westfield White City Shopping Centre, London. Catherine Haslam, who is experienced in advising on real estate issues in the telecoms sector, is advising EE on its agreements for the installation of electronic communications apparatus in a number of airports in the UK. Paul Inman heads the firm’s real estate teams in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, with Anita Gupta, who has a ‘very wide range of property knowledge and a very commercial attitude to risk’, leading the Manchester-based team. Christina Suddes, who is active on a range of commercial real estate mandates and David Walton, who is a member of the firm’s corporate occupiers group, are also recommended, as are senior associates Robin Sharp and Rachel Lawler.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is ‘strong on process and procedure and it picks up and allocates matters quickly’. The team regularly advises on complex, high-value, urban regeneration and development projects in Manchester, the north west region and across the UK; it continues to act for Manchester Airport Group and Airport City Limited Partnership on the Airport City development and is advising Airport City Limited Partnership on the forward funding and development of two hotels; and is also advising Mayfield Partnership, alongside colleagues in London, on the real estate, planning and site assembly aspects of the Mayfield regeneration scheme in Manchester. Michael Buchanan continues to lead advice for English Cities Fund on the £650m regeneration of Salford Central, recently advising on the land assembly, structuring, construction, pre-let and forward funding of the next phase of office development at 2 New Bailey Square and the development and construction of the four-storey Riverside House office on the River Irwell. Legal director Joanna Sowerby advised The Carlyle Group on the £60m investment sale of the landmark building, known as the Soapworks, at Salford Quays to Greater Manchester Pension Fund.  The ‘excellent’ Phillip Tunney  acts for a number of industrial clients in relation to their property holdings and is also experienced in mineral sector property mandates and Ian Barker is ‘fantastic’. Legal director Tracy Gibson, principal associates Elizabeth Cartwright, Roy Barry and Jayne Speers, and senior associate Lindsey Clark, are also key members of the department, which is led by the ‘outstanding’ Nancy Brown, who specialises in all aspects of corporate real estate, acting for clients in the financial services, healthcare, retail and logistics sectors.

The team at Shoosmiths LLP is ‘commercial and acts with speed and accuracy’ and delivers ‘the highest level of service’ for real estate mandates in the region. Key work includes advising Allied London on several matters including; the development of The Factory, a flagship cultural venue which will be owned by Manchester City Council and operated by MIF as the home of Manchester International Festival; the redevelopment of the former Granada Studios in Manchester City Centre; and the sale of its interest in No.1 Spinningfields, Manchester. It also advised Select Property Group on the purchase of a development site adjoining a railway to be developed as a mixed-use scheme. Northern real estate team head Vaqas Farooq is commended for his ‘knowledge, drive and contacts’, and Andrew Pattinson  heads the Manchester real estate team where; Penny Cranston has a focus on development work including student and residential accommodation mandates; Daniel Hargreaves has ‘excellent knowledge, organisations skills and delivers a personal service’; Daniel Monaghan is ‘always available and has a very pragmatic approach’; Paul Gidman is experienced across development, investment and strategic land work; and recently promoted partner Ruth Clare ‘at times appears super-human in her ability to manage complex and contentious lease negotiations while under extreme deadlines’.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s ‘responsive and commercial’ department is ‘very thorough’ and specialises in large scale asset management work, fund management, property finance, residential and commercial developments. Team head Alison Key led advice for Hermes Real Estate Investment Management on the £322.5m sale of three of its major retail outlet centres to Land Securities and also led advice for Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, as administering authority for the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, on the purchase of the Morgan Quarter, Cardiff. Peter Williams handles property finance and corporate occupier work and advised Property Alliance Group on the £9.5m acquisition of two office buildings in Leeds. Adrian Wallbank acts for property developers, owners and occupiers, and has particular experience in the retail sector, and worked alongside colleagues in the firm’s national network of offices, in advising Royal London on the launch of its new UK property fund.  Legal directors Liz Donnelly, Rachael Reynolds, who was recently promoted and Leanne Murray, who heads the residential development team, are also recommended, as is senior associate Nick Molloy. Nick Beko joined gunnercooke LLP in 2017.

The ‘highly regarded’ team at DLA Piper UK LLP is active across a range of development, investment and property finance mandates for developers, pension funds, and public sector clients. North West department head Mark Beardwood advised London Borough of Southwark Pension Fund on the £10.2m acquisition of 74-80 North End, a mixed retail and office block in Croydon, London; and led John Lewis Partnership Pensions Trust on the £22.5m acquisition of a purpose-built hotel in Durham. Tom Kelsall advised E.H. Booth & Co on the income strip sale and leaseback of a portfolio of 14 freehold stores and acted for HS2 Ltd on the £130m acquisition of 132-142 Hampstead Road in London, which is a strategic site outside of Euston station which will form part of the new Euston Hub for HS2. Robert Arnison  delivers an ‘excellent service’ and advised Capital & Centric on the redevelopment of the listed Crusader Mill building in Manchester and advised on the associated new build of 220 apartments for private sale. Arnison also advised Prospect (GB) on the investment sale of three office buildings and an office and industrial site. Greater Manchester Pension Venture Fund, Balfour Beatty Investments and Barings Real Estate Advisors are also clients. Legal director Paul Burney is experienced in investment transactions and associate Andrew Walker is also noted.

Gateley Plc is active across real estate management, property finance, investment, development, regeneration and residential development mandates. The retail, sport, care home and renewable energy spheres are key areas of focus. Dean Copley, who heads the team with Darren Hughes, advised Logik Developments (Upper Brook Street) on the acquisition of a site on Upper Brook Street in Manchester for a student accommodation development, through a joint venture agreement with McLaren Developments. Jon Mason advised Glossop Land on the redevelopment of a site in Glossop for residential property and advised Vassilis on the sale of the retail phase of its mixed-use development at the former Radclyffe School site in Ordsall. Rod Waldie advised GlobalChina Capital (1) on the acquisition of a large development site in Bordesley, Birmingham. Gareth Atkinson, who is experienced in development work and Andrew Ward are also noted. Lidl UK is also a key client.

Hill Dickinson LLP’s ‘knowledge is second to none’ and its ‘response times are very fast’. Property investment and real estate finance matters are key strengths, and the team is noted for its experience in the retail, transport and logistics sectors. It also acts for a number of friendly societies. National head of construction and property Jim Purves advised DHL on a number of matters including the site acquisition for a warehouse development at Central Park, Avonmouth, and on the re-gearing of the leases for the NHS England warehouse distribution network. Purves also advised Rhenus Logistics on lease and construction and planning matters relating its new depot at Port Salford. Michael Blakey advised Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society on the £3.2m acquisition of a 62-bed hotel in Huddersfield from CRT Property Investments and advised Oliver Valves on the £33.5m sale of 17 acres of land at Parkgate, Knutsford to Chancerygate (Uxbridge). Jonathan Dover advised Selbourne Group on the development of a Kids Allowed nursery in Altrincham and Darren Hamer advised M20 Property Group on the £17m sale of six office buildings to Seneca Property Investments. Chris Johnston is ‘dynamic, focused and driven’ and senior associates David Herbert and Alison Batchelor are also recommended.

The ‘highly recommended’ team at JMW Solicitors LLP regularly acts for property developers, investors, corporate clients with property assets, healthcare, retail clients and lenders on a range of real estate matters including investment asset management, secured lending, investment disposals, acquisitions and major residential developments. Ian Gordon  advised Dransfield Properties on the redevelopment of a site in Gainsborough to deliver a new 56-room hotel and a restaurant and Tom Cressey advised Tattu Manchester on the lease of a large unit in Leeds. Key contacts among the ‘sizeable’ team include; Peter Chape, who regularly acts for developer clients; +Thomas Pearson, who is active on healthcare, student and residential development mandates; consultant Stephen Goodman; Majid Mahmood, who is experienced in residential developments; Claire Hamilton, who advises on property finance and commercial investment matters; recently promoted partners Paul Burton and Andrew Stone; and property finance specialist Warren Martin. Gordon heads the team alongside Ruth McCarthy who joined the team in 2017 from Berg. Consultant Samantha Blackburn also joined the team in 2017 from Slater and Gordon. Former team head Jim Banfi is now a consultant.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP attracts praised for its ‘detailed understanding of the client, ensuring that its advice is practical and relevant’. The real estate team acts for key regional and national clients on large and complex real estate transactions. Highlights included advising Crewe Assets on the sale of a BAE Systems-occupied manufacturing warehouse near Crewe to a consortium of Korean institutional investors for £56m, advising Stoke Properties on the sale of a retail warehouse for £22.65m, and advising Bretton Properties on the £17.5m acquisition of Peterborough retail park The Bretton Centre, from Aviva Investors Pensions. The team also advised Persimmon Homes Lancashire on the £5m purchase of a key regeneration site. Department head Nick Nyunt, who is ‘a fount of commercial and technical knowledge, and delivers his expertise consistently in a strong and unwavering manner’, leads on development and portfolio work, as well as acquisitions and disposals, with Adam Hymes. Hymes also heads the residential development team. Managing partner Steve Eccleston  ‘always finds the source of any contention and offers sound and focused guidance in reaching practical solutions’ and handles a range of real estate work, which includes advising on holding structures and debt structuring. Also recommended are David Haffner, who heads the syndicated investment structures team; Martin Davies, who leads the property management team; senior associate Steve Jackson, who recently joined from Southerns and handles landlord and tenant work; Christopher Hardy, who leads the investment and funding team; David Moroney, who specialises in commercial property purchases; Stephen Lopeman; and consultant Tony Fitzmaurice.

The team at Mills & Reeve LLP delivers an ‘excellent level of service’ and was significantly bolstered in 2018 by the arrival of Mike Edge, Rachel Pitman and senior associate Alexandra Murphy from Pinsent Masons LLP. The team is instructed on local, national and international property projects and acts for developers, strategic land owners, major corporates, and education and health and care provider clients. Recent highlights included advising Marick Capital and Mill Lane Estates on the £33m sale of a Hampton by Hilton hotel at London’s Royal Docks and advising Marick Capital, Topland Group and Mill Lane Estates on the £30m sale of the Holiday Inn Express at The Trafford Centre, Manchester. Advising Pilgrim Technology on the sale of the former Leyland DAF test track site near Leyland, Lancashire, and advising Eden Point Developments on the £3.2m purchase of Eden Point, Cheadle, were also key matters for the department. Team head Caroline Hanratty is ‘brilliant’ and specialises in development mandates with expertise in the hotel and residential sectors. Principal associate Jennifer Lewis is active in the education and health sectors and is praised for her ‘excellent and timely advice’. Consultants Keith Davidson, who specialises in contaminated land issues, and Anne Fairhurst are also recommended, as is senior associate Graham Collier. Louise Robinson has joined Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP delivers ‘timely advice, which demonstrates an impressive breadth of commercial awareness and technical knowledge’ on complex real estate development and regeneration projects and is also noted for its real estate finance experience. Highlights include advising Manchester City Council on the Northern Gateway Project, for significant development in north Manchester which includes the provision of 10,000 new homes; and advising ASF European Holdings on its bid to acquire and develop Albert Island, a 25-acre site overlooking London City airport, as a marina and trade hub with ancillary development. Phillip Birchall has ‘good technical knowledge’, recently promoted partner Helen Robinson is ‘brilliant’ and senior associate Matthew Rowlands is also recommended. Jonathan Brocklehurst has relocated from the firm’s Leeds office to head the department, as former department head Mike Edge and Rachel Pitman have recently left the firm to join Mills & Reeve LLP.

Squire Patton Boggs is regularly instructed on development and regeneration mandates across the chemicals, sport, transport, infrastructure and leisure sectors, and also handles real estate finance matters. The team advised Warrington Borough Council on its £211m acquisition of a business park and advised Watkin Jones on the forward funding sale of a portfolio of six student development schemes to a new Luxembourg-based investment fund, set up by Generation Estates and Europa Capital. The team also acted for Watkin Jones on the development of a mixed-use scheme in Bournemouth. HB Villages, Create Developments, Bell Developments and Unique Boutique Hotels are also clients of the team, which is headed by Mark Gaffney, who handles a range of property development and regeneration matters, and advises on property joint ventures, public sector funding, leasing, management and portfolio transactions. Jonathan Brooke regularly advises developer clients on strategic land acquisitions and assembly matters and Mark Barker specialises in development work, and has a particular emphasis on complex and strategic regeneration projects. Nick Helm, who joined in 2017 from DLA Piper UK LLP is a member of the firm's infrastructure team and regularly advises on project finance and PPP mandates.

Praised for its ‘technical knowledge’, the team at TLT handles real estate mandates for clients across the leisure, retail, energy, housing, TMT, financial services and public sectors; and advises New World Trading Company (UK) on its ongoing acquisition programme including the acquisition of new sites at Mediacity Salford Quays, Park Street Bristol and Church Street, Cardiff. It also advises Lookers on site acquisition ‎and development projects as well as disposals and asset management, acted for Athena Healthcare on the acquisition, development, finance and occupational letting of a portfolio of luxury care homes, and advised Total Fitness Health Clubs on the £3.2m sale and leaseback of the Total Fitness Health Clubs in Bolton to Pemberstone Group. Landmark Investments Group and Pets at Home are also clients. Andy Bell is the national head of financial services for real estate and acts for banks and other financial services clients on real estate finance and real estate recoveries work. Patrick Sheehan advises on a range of property finance, acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant, development and LPA receivership matters. Matthew Forrest handles property litigation mandates, while Daniel Sweeney, +John Hyde, who joined in 2017 from Weightmans LLP, and legal directors Philip Moran and Fay Wilshaw are also noted.

BLM’s ‘responsive’ team is active across commercial, residential and public sector development and regeneration. The team has particular expertise in housing work and is advising Smiths Dock, a joint venture between Urban Splash and Places for People, on the scheme to transform the former North Shields shipyard. The team is also advising FICM on the redevelopment of land for a mixed-use site at Trinity Way, Manchester, advises retailer Schuh on a number of lease transactions, and advised an associated company of BTS on the negotiation of a contract, conditional on planning permission, for the acquisition of a derelict warehouse in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. Department heads Stephen Lintott and Stephen Crook joined the firm in 2017 from Slater and Gordon, as did Tessa Leonard and Mark Alexander.

Brabners LLP acts for well-known retailers, lenders, occupiers and developers on a range of development, investment, property management, real estate finance, housing and regeneration mandates. The team regularly supports on corporate transactions and advised Bridgestone UK on the property aspects relating to the sale of Kingsway Tyres; and also advised the shareholders of Pentagon Motor Group on the property aspects relating of the £28m sale of Pentagon Motor Group to Motus Corporation. Advising Forshaw Land and Property on the £39m on the acquisition of a site for development in Manchester is another key highlight. Matthew O’Brien heads the department which includes Peter Barlow, who is noted for housing and regeneration work, and senior associate Cathy McFadden. Russel Forward heads the real estate finance team. Paul Firth joined as regional head of real estate in June 2018 from Irwin Mitchell.

Browne Jacobson LLP is noted for its expertise in advising clients in the health, education, corporate and public sectors on a range of real estate-related instructions. The team advised Homes England on the regeneration of a 43-acre former brownfield site at Northfleet Embankment on the Thames. The team also acts for a number of schools on their conversion to academies, which involves a range of real estate-related issues. Guildford Borough Council, YHA (England and Wales), Renold and Burnley Council are clients. Recently promoted partner Dominic Buckley heads the team, which includes Victoria Thourgood, who is experienced in advising on health and social care-related real estate matters.

Clyde & Co LLP is active on commercial development and regeneration mandates throughout the region and advised Mayfield Development Partnership on the site acquisition and lettings relating to the regeneration of the former Mayfield railway station in Manchester city centre. It also advised Wilton Estates on the sale of land for the regeneration of areas at Hareshill in Rochdale. The energy sector is also a key area of focus for the team and it advised AGE Energy on the purchase of 11 sites for gas peaking plants. Stelios Coutsavlis !Manchester , who leads the team with construction and engineering specialist Steven Cannon !Manchester, advises on development, regeneration and energy projects. Senior associate Alison Barton!Manchester is also recommended. Liam Buckley left the team in 2017 to join Fieldfisher.

Specialist real estate firm Davitt Jones Bould delivers an ‘excellent service’. The team acts for Highways England on land acquisitions of relating to plots near roads and properties for CPOs. It also advised West Yorkshire Legal Framework on the sale of a former office and farm for Kirklees Council and is instructed by DEFRA on a range of matters, which included the £13m disposal of a large lab complex to Capita. Senior partner Madeleine Davitt, who splits her time across the firm’s Manchester, Taunton and London offices, ‘deals with any client issues efficiently and effectively’. Emma Gormley and Philippa Hipwell operate across the firm’s Manchester and London offices, and Anita Gargye is also recommended.

Fieldfisher is active across a range of development, investment, energy, asset management and property finance mandates and key work included advising Berkshire Assets (West London) on the £120m acquisition of a key development site in Brentford; acting for McGoff Group on the development of 368 apartments in Salford; advising The Co-operative Group in a joint venture with Manchester City Council regarding strategic development site Angel Meadows in Manchester; and advising Russells Ltd, by its SPV JDH (Manchester), on the purchase, development and sale of a city centre site for a 4 star hotel in Manchester. Liam Buckley, who joined from Clyde & Co LLP in 2017, heads the team, which includes; Krista Powell, who recently joined from Freeman Fisher LLP; Stephen Evans-Jones, who heads the real estate finance practice; Matthew Dobson, who focuses on development and real estate finance; and Leo Rossiter, who is active across energy projects, property investments and asset management. Senior associates Sam Mason and Michelle Howell are also recommended.

Irwin Mitchell is experienced across high-value investment transactions across the public and private sectors including residential developments and work within the leisure, warehousing and distribution sectors. The team is also noted for its expertise in landlord and tenant matters. Recent highlights include advising Ask Real Estate on the £15m acquisition of land at Churchill Way, Macclesfield. Department head Roy Beckett has ‘pragmatic excellence’ and specialises in real estate development and investment transactional work, and corporate real estate occupier work. Senior associates; Emma Tonge, who is ‘first-class’, handles landlord and tenant transactions and property management work and is experienced in the acquisition and disposal of both investment and development sites; and Vanessa Rickard, are also recommended. Former department head Anita Weightman joined Addleshaw Goddard in 2018 alongside Paul Barnard, Tony Weightman and Patrick Duffy.

The ‘quick and knowledgeable’ team at Nexus Solicitors Limited is active across the retail and food sectors and regularly handles development work as well as landlord and tenant instructions. The team advised on the acquisition and transfer of 258 Subway stores in 2017, and also acts for clients such as Swinton Group, Johnson Cleaners UK and Sayers The Bakers on portfolio management work. Des O’Driscoll heads the team, which includes Paul McGladdery and associate Sarah Malkin, who recently joined from JMW Solicitors LLP.

Slater Heelis LLP is commended for its ‘quick response times’ and for its ‘in-depth knowledge’. The team is noted for its experience in residential and mixed-use projects and it also handles real estate finance matters, particularly in relation to security requirements and commercial funding. The team advised a property investor on the sale of a block of flats in Manchester and advised a dairy producer on the acquisition of land for the development of a proposed cheese production facility. Anne Irwin specialises in residential and leisure developments and led advice for P J Livesey Group in relation to the development of a former South Manchester teaching campus into a mixed-use site; and also advised P J Livesey Group, working in partnership with Bruntwood, on a mixed-use development in West Didsbury. Simon Maddox  is noted for his retail sector expertise and associate Victoria Wright  ‘provides a service that is tailored to her clients’ needs’. Will Henson and Edward Michell head the team.

The ‘highly rated’ team at Turner Parkinson LLP is experienced in residential investment matters and advised Artisan Investment Group on the sale of two multi-let listed buildings in Manchester. The team also advised Ground Rents Income Fund (GRIF) on the £3m purchase of a portfolio of residential apartment blocks from Muse Developments and acted for Seven Capital on the £36.5m acquisition of Eastwood House, Chelmsford. Department head Paul Bibby handles a range of commercial real estate mandates and has particular experience in commercial and residential development, complex portfolio ground rent acquisitions and property finance. Jonathan Kay is regularly engaged on matters relating to property funds in the student accommodation, ground rent and private rented sectors. Associate James Robinson joined in 2017 from BLP Manchester.

Weightmans LLP is noted for its experience in complex investment, development and regeneration matters for public and private sector clients.  The team advised Concept Property UK on an industrial investment acquisition at Gelderd Lane West in Leeds, and advised The Co-operative Group on the disposal of properties with planning consent for mixed residential and commercial uses. It also advised In The Style Fashion on a new warehouse premises to enable the relocation of its head office and acted for The Council of the Borough of Milton Keynes on the development of multiple new school provisions. Head of built environment, Karl Jackson, specialises in city centre regeneration and development matters, acting for public and private sector clients; Andrea Steventon handles property development and regeneration work, as well as investment acquisitions and disposals; and Steven Silver is experienced on multiple site acquisition and disposal projects for major retailers. In 2017, John Hyde left the firm to join TLT and Varun Maharaj moved to an in-house role.

Freeths LLP handles a range of investment and transactional mandates in the real estate sector. The team includes Ian Tempest, who is noted for his public sector expertise, and Stephen Lewis, who is regularly instructed on site acquisitions and sales, and also has retail sector expertise. Paul Calladine has joined gunnercooke LLP .

Kennedys, which merged with Berg in 2017, is instructed on a range of commercial real estate projects and is also active on for real estate finance, landlord and tenant and development work. It is advising Airport City Limited Partnership on a range of real estate, construction and development matters relating to the Airport City development at Manchester Airport, and is advising an international development company on the redevelopment of Bolton town centre. It is also advising an international development company on the site assembly and development agreements to facilitate the £60m construction and pre-sale of a hotel in Liverpool city centre. Bury Council also instructed the team on the procurement, and negotiation, of a development agreement for a 13-acre business park. Senior associate Darren Ashworth is recommended. Ruth McCarthy  recently joined JMW Solicitors LLP.

Pannone Corporate LLP is regularly instructed by developers and corporate occupiers on a range of matters including land acquisition and disposals, landlord and tenant issues, sale and leaseback transactions, development and funding agreements, compulsory purchase, development and regeneration projects, and real estate finance. Team head James Wynne advised Revolution Bars Group on a pre-let agreement and lease in relation to a former library site at Temple Street in Birmingham and advised Junkyard Golf Club (Manchester) on a pre-let agreement and lease a venue at Home, a mixed-use development at First Street Manchester.  Wynne is also advising GTV (Crowley) on the purchase of Park Moss Farm, a grade II Listed collection of buildings earmarked for residential development and sale. Senior associate Gareth Birch and director Garry King, who joined in 2017 from Shoosmiths LLP, are also key members of the department.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is noted for its work across sales, purchases, and asset management, and real estate finance and regularly acts for developers, local and central government, regulators, financiers and occupiers. Matthew Holbrook, who is ‘always available to deal with matters however trivial’ and specialises in landlord and tenant matters and asset management, advises St Helens Council on management matters relating to the Church Square Shopping Centre; advised Bank of London and Middle East on the £24.5m purchase and refinancing of an large industrial site; and advised Southway Housing Trust on the £3.3m purchase of its head office on Princess Road in Manchester. Amanda Stubbs advises on environmental, health and safety matters in relation to major development projects and senior associate Anna Metham specialises in landlord and tenant matters and asset management. Manchester team head Suzanne Benson specialises in major projects.

HRC Law LLP’s ‘very efficient and thorough’ team is regularly instructed by retail sector clients on portfolio management matters and is also engaged by childcare sector clients on acquisitions and disposals. The leisure and warehousing sectors are also key areas of focus and the team is also instructed on property investments and real estate finance mandates. Highlights included advising THE Chinese Buffet on their purchase of a flagship restaurant site in Speke. Bench, DOMU Brands, Nicce Ltd, Kids Planet Day Nurseries and Chemicare UK are also clients. Team head Helen Marsh is ‘very dedicated and very commercial’ and is ‘good at keeping clients informed of progress’.


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Addleshaw Goddard provides a service that is ‘consistently of a high standard’ and handles local, national and international healthcare, infrastructure, regeneration and development construction projects and disputes. The team is advising Manchester Airport on the construction contracts required to support Phase 1 of its £1bn transformation programme at Manchester Airport, and is advising Omega Warrington on the £1bn development of a 575 acre site near Warrington, which involves a 25 year development partnership between Omega Warrington and the Homes and Communities Agency, supported by Warrington Borough Council. The team is also advising the House of Commons on its £160m Northern Estate Programme, which involves the adaption and conservation of a number of historic buildings in Westminster, and acts for Moda Living on several residential and mixed-used schemes in: Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. National construction, engineering and environment group head Nancy McGuire is ‘superb’ and head of contentious construction Jonathan Tattersall is ‘very reliable, gives quick responses, and delivers good strategic advice’. Legal director Steve Ormand specialises in non-contentious construction and engineering mandates and managing associate Philip Withey, who is ‘very knowledgeable and experienced, provides good clear advice and support, and is dedicated and responsive’, handles in construction and engineering disputes, with a particular emphasis on PFI projects. The team was recently bolstered by the arrival of an eight-strong team from DWF, which includes Paul O’Kane (former national head of construction at DWF) and Paul Barge (former North West construction head at DWF).

Pinsent Masons LLP handles a range of UK and international construction projects, with focus on the nuclear, energy and infrastructure sectors, and it has ‘strength-in-depth in relation to the construction disputes’. Transactional, construction and projects team head Graham Alty, who has a ‘wealth of knowledge’, is advising Sellafield on relation to more than £10bn in projects at its nuclear decommissioning site in Cumbria and is leading advice for the Ministry of Justice on its £1.3bn Prison Estate Transformation Programme (PETP), under which it intends to procure the design and construction of up to four new prisons in England and Wales, and on the procurement of a long-term framework arrangement for up to £3bn of construction works. Construction advisory and disputes head Michael Hopkins represented Connect Plus (M25) on a £87.5m dispute with its Highways England Company relating to the meaning and operation of the payment mechanism in a DBFO contract. Mark Job leads the transactional construction team and is advising Yapı Merkezi İnşaat ve Sanayi as EPC contractor for a $1.7bn railway project in Ethiopia.Anthony Bradley is a ‘very bright, technical lawyer’ who ‘inspires confidence’ and legal director Siân Hughes and recently promoted partner Katherine Sneddon are ‘adept at identifying the best strategy for achieving client aims and delivering on that strategy’. Legal directors Ian Fairclough and Nick Kippax, who is ‘bright, conscientious, very good with clients and is a good case manager’, are also noted as are senior associates Andrew Batty, who is ‘a very good technical lawyer’ and Jo Falencka. Legal directors Arwyn Jones from CMS and Steve Ovenden from Foot Anstey recently joined the department.

DLA Piper UK LLP has ‘good industry knowledge, good strength-in-depth’ and is ‘tenacious’. It is active across a spectrum of national and international construction-related disputes and projects. Key work included representing Severfield (UK) on a final account claim against contractor, Duro Felguera UK, in relation to the Carrington Combined Cycle Gas Technology Power Station Project.  The team also acted for Downing Group in relation to European Property Investors Special Opportunities IV (EPISO 4)’s acquisition of a 90% stake, worth £439m, in a joint venture, which owns a portfolio of six student halls of residence, and is advising Cheshire West & Chester Council on the proposed £300m Chester Northgate mixed-use development. United Utilities Water, Unilever, and Sellafield are also clients. In Manchester, Paul Giles heads the UK contentious construction team, which includes; David Moss, who also operates from the Leeds office; Alison Fagan, who is experienced in PPP and PFI disputes; senior associates Robin Jack , Anthony Willis, and Naithan McBride, who splits his time between Manchester and Leeds; and associate Jenny Barnett, who was recently recruited from Pinsent Masons LLP. Legal director Elspeth Christie in Liverpool heads the non-contentious team, which includes Manchester-based consultant Nigel Proctor.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is regularly engaged on a range of contentious and non-contentious construction work and the team is noted for its procurement expertise. The infrastructure, energy, transport and real estate sectors are key areas of expertise for the department. The team advised Network Rail Infrastructure on a the electrification and upgrade of the Transpennine Route from Manchester Victoria to Leeds and York and is instructed by Manchester City Council on its £330m project to refurbish Manchester Town Hall.  It is also advising National Grid on the construction of a sub-sea electricity cable connecting the Shetland Islands with the Scottish mainland electricity transmission network.  Simon Chamberlain is head of construction and engineering in the North and is experienced in contentious and non-contentious construction matters. Chris Pickens advises on the procurement of infrastructure projects and recently promoted partner Gregory Buckley handles construction and engineering disputes. Lucy Frith has joined Clyde & Co LLP.

Gateley Plc's sizeable construction practice handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, with notable expertise in bond and surety work.  Working with the firm’s planning and banking teams, it is advising QBE Insurance (Europe) on a project concerning the PCW Property Group, the Crown and Thames Water in relation to two section 106 agreements for planning permission, and one section 185 agreement for sewage diversion at Park Crescent, Westminster, London. It also advised Coventry Parkside Developments on a 12-storey student accommodation scheme in Coventry; advised Bournemouth Football Club on the construction contracts relating to its new training facilities. Department head Karen Spencer is noted for her expertise in surety law and construction disputes, Emlyn Hudson handles contentious and non-contentious matters and is noted for defending complex bond claims. Recently promoted partner Hayley Sullivan heads the non-contentious construction practice and leads the national construction banking team. Associate Gemma Wilson is also recommended.

Hill Dickinson LLP is active across transactional matters and disputes, with expertise across the energy, industrial, renewables, transport infrastructure, insurance, retail, and further education sectors. Highlights for the team include representing FAST Consortium, a joint venture contractor, on several contentious matters; advising FCC Elliott DAC on its involvement in major PFI scheme for the construction of a hospital; advising a major port authority on a dispute with its designers and project managers for a port infrastructure project; and advising Ion Projects on the construction of a £40m mixed-use scheme. X1 Developments, FirstGroup and Peel Group are also clients. In Liverpool; Alan Pugh heads the construction and engineering team, and David Chinn leads the business services department, which includes the ‘reliable, sensible and practical’ David Oram,  Tricia Morrison, legal director Brian Quinn, consultants Ronald Farrell and Nick Connor, and senior associate Phillip Gazzola, who recently joined from Systech Solicitors. In Manchester, senior consultant Edward Davies, Michael Woolley, and associate David Banks, who joined from Napthens LLP, are key contacts.

Squire Patton Boggs is praised for its ‘excellent industry knowledge and legal expertise’ and handles contentious and non-contentious construction and engineering matters. The team advises on large infrastructure projects, regeneration schemes and is noted for its energy and hospitality and leisure sector expertise. Contentious construction and engineering specialist Sean McCay is ‘very articulate, with an ability to explain very complicated legal matters in a way that is easy to understand’ and is ‘an excellent tactician with a calm, reassuring and authoritative manner that secures results’. Julian Scott is active on projects and non-contentious construction matters and is experienced in projects across the energy, leisure, hospitality and retail sectors. Nick Helm, who recently joined from DLA Piper UK LLP, is active across infrastructure project finance and PFI and PPP schemes.

Noted for its ‘commercial and practical’ approach, Brabners LLP's team is active across power, port infrastructure, commercial development, retail, logistics and student accommodation projects. It also handles a raft of contentious construction mandates. The team advised Viridor Waste Management on the $230m procurement of a waste to energy power plant at Avonmouth near Bristol; advised Cityheart on the £24m development of new student accommodation in Gloucester; acted for Glenbrook SQ on the £40m development of a private sector rented accommodation scheme at Salford Quays; and advised Flintrock on the development of a new distribution centre in Knowsley; and advised T J Morris in connection with 21 new stores and the upgrade of its head office in Liverpool. Ian Hardman, who is ‘an experienced and commercially astute construction lawyer’ and the ‘very experienced’ Barry Goodall are based across the Manchester and Liverpool offices. Liverpool-based senior associate Eleanor Stirrett is ‘very approachable and knowledgeable, and has a good handle on the requirements of the client’.

CMS is active across a number of high-profile local and national development projects, and is regularly instructed on construction disputes, and contentious PFI cases. Headline work included advising Select Property Group on the £750m Circle Square mixed-use development in Manchester; advising Renaker on the construction of four residential towers at Owen Street in Manchester; acting for Public Health England on procurement and construction matters relating to a new circa laboratory and public health campus in Harlow, Essex; and advising U+I, as part of a joint venture with The Mayfield Partnership, on a development project at the former Mayfield railway station in Manchester. Acting for Ipsen Pharma on the development of two of its three international hubs in Slough and in Wrexham and advising Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council on the procurement of a development management organisation for the Glass Works Retail and Leisure Development, which is related to the its Better Barnsley urban regeneration scheme, are also key highlights for the team. Chris Hallam heads the energy, projects and construction group and Nigel Lewis, who joined in 2017 from Gowling WLG, leads the infrastructure, construction and energy disputes practice. Associates David Turner and Elizabeth Ormesher are also noted. Arwyn Jones recently joined Pinsent Masons LLP.

DWF handles non-contentious and contentious construction matters and is noted for its experience in local and national construction projects, with expertise in public sector mandates as well as experience in energy, education, student accommodation and hotels sector matters. Homes & Communities Agency, Alumno Developments, Warrington Borough Council and AMC Mining are clients. Manchester-based David Vayro, who joined from Trowers & Hamlins LLP in 2018, heads the construction and infrastructure team and specialises in procurement matters as well as construction disputes. Associates Gemma Wilson, who joined from Gateley Plc and Ragene Raithatha, are also key members of the team. Leeds-based Andrew Symms leads the national team and is experienced in energy-related mandates. Former international head of construction and infrastructure for the firm, Paul O\'Kane has joined Addleshaw Goddard, as has former North West department head Paul Barge and  Chris Henshaw .

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is active across the waste, education, health and housing sectors, acting for public and private clients. The team advised Amey on an EPC contract for an energy-from-waste facility on the Isle of Wight and advised the London Housing Consortium on their model framework agreement to primarily procure a £1.5bn programme of new build housing projects in Scotland. The team also advises the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) on a number of construction projects. Your Housing Group, Eastern Procurement and Places for People Group are also key clients. Katie Saunders is ‘very experienced and responsive’ and handles non-contentious work, specialising in advising housing providers on asset management programmes, and the maintenance and improvement of their housing stock; and also advises on complex housing, care accommodation and regeneration projects. Senior associate Tom Holroyd is noted for his waste sector expertise and associate Jo Davies is also recommended. Former team head David Vayro  joined DWF in 2018.

Weightmans LLP is highly commended for its ‘strong’ expertise in construction disputes, and the team is increasingly instructed on significant regional construction projects; the team is advising Ask Real Estate on the second phase of the £40m Greengate Embankment Development on the Manchester and Salford border; advised Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council on the contract documents for a highways project at Junction 10 of the M6 in the West Midlands, in partnership with Highways England; and advised Southside Regeneration on a £140m private rented sector scheme in Manchester. The team is also advising Manchester Metropolitan University on the development of an International Screen School. In Manchester, department head Colette Morgan-Ford, who joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2017, and David Rogers, who has a ‘wealth of experience in construction law’, handle construction disputes; John Cleaveley is instructed on contentious and non-contentious mandates; and Liverpool-based associate Tom Collins is also noted for his experience in construction disputes.

Clyde & Co LLP is particularly noted for its expertise in contentious construction cases and is advising The University of Manchester on a dispute with its contractor in relation to the design and construction of the National Graphene Institute. Sisk, Amey, Costain and Anchor Trust are also clients. Legal director Lucy Frith, who specialises in construction and engineering disputes and has particular expertise in the energy and infrastructure sectors, recently joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. The practice bolstered its non-contentious expertise with the arrival of consultant + Julie Morrissy from Keystone Law in 2018. Steven Cannon heads the department.

DAC Beachcroft LLP is active across contentious construction, insurance claims, contracts and leases, procurement and transactional work. On the contentious side, the team is representing The Co-operative Group on disputes with Johnson Construction on 12 sites across the UK, is acting for McLaren Construction on a final account and payment dispute with a leading developer and is acting for CPD Powerline on claims for payment for power gird work on multiple sites in Northern Ireland. Non-contentious highlights include advising Cheshire West and Chester District Council on major construction and property retail development works with a developer and retailer in Cheshire and advising The Co-operative Group on the transfer of lease and contract documentation relating to a distribution warehouse at Rugby Valley Park. Consultant Phillip Fry heads the team and specialises in construction disputes and regional senior partner Ian McConkey handles professional indemnity claims on behalf of construction professionals. Harald Loeffler and senior associate Claire Randall-Smith are also key members of the team.

Freeths LLP is active across a range of construction and engineering disputes and procurement work. The team is regularly instructed by large, Spanish EPC contractors in relation to their UK projects and continues to defend Duro Felguera on a £4m claim brought by Severfield in relation to works carried out at the Carrington Power Station. The team is also defending Trokel in a £2m claim brought by a Stadco. Cape plc, De Trafford Estates, Select Property Group and Styles & Wood are also clients. Senior associates Jennie Jones, who is active on contentious and non-contentious work, and Pandora Lougheed, who joined in 2018 from DWF, are also recommended as is consultant David Lorenzo. Department head James Driver handles complex construction and engineering disputes.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘brilliant’ construction department delivers an ‘outstanding service’ and is active across non-contentious construction work and is regularly instructed by contractors and developers on local and national projects. The team has particular experience in the arts sector and houses in-depth expertise in heritage buildings; it is advising The Hallé on the appointment of the design team for the stage 2 works at St Peter’s, a former church in Manchester; and is also advising Contact Theatre on its redevelopment. The team also handles high-end London-based mixed-use and residential developments and is advising Cheval Group on the redevelopment of 55-91 Knightsbridge. The education and health sectors are also a key area of focus and clients also include Royal Northern College of Music, LTE Group and L. Rowlands (Retail). Team head Catherine Kay ‘makes complex legal issues and terminology understandable for those who do not have a legal background’ and her ‘tenacity and expert knowledge on contracting is invaluable’. Associate James Badger is also recommended.

The Stockport-based team at SAS Daniels LLP acts for employers, contractors, sub-contractors and professionals on both construction contracts and disputes. The team is experienced across mandates in the education, retail, commercial property developments, residential developments, care homes and public sectors. Team head Roger Allsup is noted for his contentious construction experience and is considered an ‘expert in the field who works very hard for his clients’, and James Clarke regularly handles acquisitions for developers and advises landowners on disposals.

DTM Legal LLP handles a range of contentious and non-contentious construction mandates and represented Dee Tech Services on disputes that against the international owner and operator of a chemical production plant. Anwyl Construction, Foundation Piling and Clancy Consulting are also clients. Liverpool-based Jim Morris heads the team, where associate Richard Harris is also based. Associate Guy Thomas in Chester is also recommended.

At Kuit Steinart Levy LLP the ‘service is always first-class and this creates confidence that legal matters are being dealt with efficiently and effectively’. The team handles a range of construction matters relating to development work, and advises on bonds and guarantees, construction contracts, appointments and warranties, disputes and procurement. It advises The Ambassador Theatre Group on refurbishment and renovation works required within their theatres across the UK and advised Bretton Properties on the construction elements of its acquisition of Peterborough retail park The Bretton Centre. It also advised Beech Construction Partnership on phase 1 of its Westpoint development at Old Trafford, Manchester. Senior associate Benjamin Connor heads the team.

Pannone Corporate LLP is engaged by developer clients on the procurement of projects across the UK, and also advises tenants, purchasers and funders on the construction of developments. It is advising Transport for Greater Manchester on the procurement of the Metrolink light rail system, is acting for Urban Splash on the construction documentation for the £4m redevelopment of the Brownsfield Mill in Ancoats, Manchester, and is advising High Peak Developments in relation to the construction of a new build retail warehouse unit in Whaley Bridge, High Peak. Renaker Build is also a key client. Director Gareth Jessop  is  recommended. Kevin Connell recently joined gunnercooke LLP and Neil Armstrong  joined Myerson Solicitors LLP to head its team in 2018.

The ‘excellent’ department at Slater Heelis LLP  is regularly instructed on contentious and non-contentious construction mandates and is particularly experienced in developments in the real estate, education and energy sectors. The team provided DBD with contractual advice regarding tenders for the provision of professional services in the nuclear energy sector and advised Kids Allowed Ltd on the drafting and negotiation of contract documentation relating to the construction of a new nursery in Greater Manchester. Grŵp Cynefin instructs the team for contractual advice to this in relation to residential development sites and the team also advised Novo Property Solutions Ltd on the drafting and negotiation of a professional services agreement for a residential development. Consultant Kenneth Salmon is an ‘excellent construction lawyer with great experience’ and associate Matthew Grellier heads the team.

Planning and environment

Index of tables

  1. Planning and environment
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s expertise spans complex planning and environmental matters, and the team is particularly noted for its experience in compulsory purchase and regeneration schemes, residential schemes, energy and retail sector developments are areas of expertise for the team. It was instructed by London & Continental Railways to resist a potential compulsory purchase of part of its Axis site in Birmingham for a highway improvement scheme and also advised the client on the redevelopment of the site. The team also acted for The London Borough of Barnet on compulsory purchase, planning and highways matters relating to the £4bn redevelopment of the Brent Cross shopping centre and the regeneration of Cricklewood in London; advised developer, Bluemantle Group, on the regeneration of the former Loco Works site at Horwich, Bolton; and advised new client Ørsted in connection with the implementation of two development consent orders to facilitate the delivery of the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The ‘highly recommended’ Richard Lloyd is active across planning, compulsory purchase and highways law, with particular expertise in large regeneration schemes involving compulsory purchase; and heads the compulsory purchase group. Michelle Moss regularly handles high-profile compulsory purchase mandates as does principal associate Matthew Collings. Senior associate Fiona Barker is experienced on infrastructure schemes and advises on the land assembly aspects of Development Consent Orders. Elizabeth Shepherd is ‘very experienced’ and is noted for her specialist chemicals expertise, and heads the environment team, which also features principal associate Catherine Henney and legal director Jane Southworth.

The planning team at Pinsent Masons LLP delivers ‘commercial advice’ and is regularly instructed on planning, development, energy and infrastructure matters, and the environment team handles contentious and non-contentious work across the utilities, waste, chemicals and advanced manufacturing sectors. Department head Mike Pocock is a ‘stand-out planning lawyer’ and is acting for for Land and Lakes Ltd on the development of over 600 acres on the Isle of Anglesey to deliver a site comprising of leisure facilities, residential homes and temporary accommodation for 3500 construction workers to serve the neighbouring Wylfa New Building Nuclear Power Station; is advising HIMOR (Carrington) on the redevelopment of the former Shell refinery at Carrington; is advising United Utilities on its £300m Thirlmere Pipeline Project across West Cumbria, linking Thirlmere reservoir to the rest of its regional network; and is continuing to advise the University of Sheffield on the expansion of its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. Senior associate Melanie Grimshaw is ‘brilliant’ and associate Elizabeth Nuttall is ‘very commercial, with good attention to detail’. Legal director Claire Gregory heads the environmental team and is experienced across UK, EU and international environmental law and policy, with an emphasis on contentious environmental matters. Gregory is acting for various subsidiaries of the Casey Group on Environment Agency enforcement actions relating to its waste division.

Clyde & Co LLP’s ‘specialist’ team is ‘outstanding’ across the full range of environmental matters; and the team is regularly instructed on environmental issues in relation to corporate and property transactions, emission trading schemes, renewable energy, climate change, contaminated land, nature and habitat conservation, oil spills, rig fires and explosions, environmental crime, planning and licencing, asbestos, air pollution, environmental taxes, and waste management. Rod Hunt, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable’, and Chris Morrison, who is ‘able to mix client-care with attention to his cases’, head the department. Jason Bleasdale is experienced in environmental issues related to the insurance sector. Legal director Helen Simm, who is an ‘experienced litigator’ recently joined from Slater and Gordon, as did senior associate Anna Willetts, who has ‘a very deep knowledge of environmental regulation’.

Shoosmiths LLP’s ‘first-rate’ planning department handles a broad range of complex planning matters for public and private clients, with expertise covering all aspects of the consenting process for residential, commercial, mixed-use and renewable energy schemes, and the team is also active on highways advice and advice in relation to compulsory acquisition, compensation and urban regeneration. The team regularly advises Vastint on its UK development sites and has recently advised on strategic sites they have acquired in Leeds and Cardiff. It is also acting for Peel Holdings on a range of matters including; the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, the planning policy document which will underpin the delivery of development across the Greater Manchester area; and the complex s106 agreement for the Trafford Waters scheme. Ainscough Strategic Land instructs the team on a residential-led development scheme in Swindon and the team is also advising the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames on the £850m regeneration of the Cambridge Road Estate in Kingston.  Kathryn Jump and Lisa Tye ‘give practical and clear advice; and clients are left in no doubt as to the strengths and weaknesses of their case’. Senior associate Samantha Grange is also a key member of the team.

Weightmans LLP’s planning and environment team is active across infrastructure and energy projects, with particular expertise in compulsory purchase. The retail and waste sectors are key areas of focus and he team is also noted for its experience in contentious environmental matters. Bolton Council instructed the team on the Rivington Chase development, a regeneration project of heavily contaminated brownfield land; advised Broad Environmental Services on its waste packaging, collection, transport and export operations, and on the construction of a new energy from waste facility in Wales; and acted for landowner Anglesey Aluminium Metal on the re-development of its former Aluminium works near Holyhead. Simon Colvin, who heads the environment team and is also head of the utilities sector, specialises in UK, EU and international environmental law and policy; he is 'commercial, responsive and has a good grasp of business needs and excellent knowledge of environmental law'. Planning head Lee Gordon, who splits his time across the Manchester and Leeds offices, has experience in the promotion of major residential and infrastructure projects acting on behalf of both public and private sector clients, and is experienced in compulsory purchase orders. Planning lawyer Bob Pritchard, who also splits his time between Manchester and Leeds, joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, advises public sector clients on large and complex schemes. Consultant Ray Clarke handles planning, environment and health and safety matters; associate Julie Goulbourne defends clients subject to environmental investigations and prosecutions by the Environment Agency and other environmental regulators; and associate Gillian Hulme advises on environmental risk and liability in relation to corporate and property transactions.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP’s planning team is regularly instructed on large developments across the UK and advises on complex mixed-use and residential-led development schemes, new settlements and urban extensions, waterside schemes and energy planning. The team is experienced across compulsory purchase, environmental town and village greens, assets of community value and highway issues. It is advising developer Peel Holdings on the £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme; is advising the London Borough of Wandsworth on the £2bn Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area (VNEB), which includes Battersea Power Station, New Covent Garden Market, One Nine Elms, Embassy Gardens, Market Towers, and the Northern Line Extension; and is also acting for Redrow Homes on the development of Sutton New Hall Farm, Ellesmere Port. Advising Wandsworth Borough Council on the planning matters relating to its estate regeneration across the borough, which includes the first phase of the York Winstanley regeneration, is another key highlight. Department head Colette McCormack handles a range of contentious and non-contentious planning and environmental mandates and senior associate Joanne Hannah is ‘excellent’.

Aaron & Partners LLP is regularly instructed on planning and environmental matters in relation to energy and utilities schemes and retail developments as well as mineral acquisition, mineral site allocations, and waste management developments. It is regularly instructed on planning challenges and is adept at advising on Welsh planning law. The team advised Aldi Stores UK on several matters including the development of new stores in Chester and Whitchurch; advised Bryn Blaen Wind Farm on the development of six wind turbines in Powys; acted for Rhoscrowther Wind Farm on its appeal of against the decision of Pembrokeshire County Council to refuse planning permission for a five turbine wind farm at Milford Haven; and is advising Mynydd y Gwynt on its appeal against the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse consent for a 27 wind turbine wind farm. The ‘brilliant’ David Harries heads the team and is experienced in energy projects, and David Delaney is experienced in planning and compulsory purchase matters. Consultant Richard Forrester specialises in mines, minerals and waste planning matters as well as complex land, agricultural issues, and environmental licencing and regulation. Senior associate Keith McKinney is ‘exceptional’ and is experienced in  environmental crime and energy-related matters; with expertise in advising on consent for renewable energy developments.

The Manchester-based environment team at Addleshaw Goddard works closely with its Leeds office to advise on planning matters. The environment team is regularly instructed on the environmental aspects of national and international real estate, corporate and finance transactions, and also advises on compliance with regulatory regimes as well as producer responsibility, waste, and climate change issues. The retail, manufacturing, waste, real estate and energy sectors are key areas of expertise.  Legal director Michelle Headridge heads the environment team, which includes managing associate  Joanne Holbrook, who recently joined from Fieldfisher. Leeds-based Glenn Sharpe, joined the team from DWF and is an experienced planning lawyer with particular expertise in highways, energy, aviation, minerals and waste-related mandates, led advice for NATS (En Route) on its objection to two proposed wind farms in Scotland.

Brabners LLP renders planning and environmental advice to large corporate clients and the team ‘continues to expand its market share in environmental enforcement work’ and is ‘tenacious in defence of its clients accused of environmental offences’. The team is regularly instructed by large student led developers; residential developers, social housing developers and social landlords and is active on corporate and real estate transactional work, contentious planning and environmental matters. It is also noted for its experience in the marine and waste sectors. Planning and environment team head Claire Petricca-Riding is ‘thorough and has a great tactical overview of her client’s position which means that she gets the best for them, both in and out of court’. Director of planning Kevin Halewood is experienced in town planning and highways matters.

DLA Piper UK LLP handles planning, highways, compulsory purchase and other regulated consent issues relating to regeneration, infrastructure and energy projects. The team continues to advise Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds on the planning and highways aspects of its plans to expand its academy facilities in Kirkby and to co-locate the first team training ground; and is advising Cheshire West and Chester Council on its town centre regeneration programme, Chester Northgate, which includes advice on site assembly by compulsory purchase orders, planning and listed building consents and highway matters. The team is advising Liverpool City Council and Sefton Borough Council on a suite of consents required to facilitate the dualling of the A565, which includes four compulsory purchase orders and a side roads order; and is advising Liverpool City Council on its City Centre Connectivity Programme. The team has also been instructed by Highways England to promote a number of new highway and highway improvement schemes as part of its RIS1 Project, which includes projects on the M62 and A1 and a new a dual carriageway road on the north side of Liverpool. Senior associate Sophie Stewart is ‘commercial; gives well-considered, strategic advice; is pro-active in managing consultants to ensure that the team effort is co-ordinated and gets to where it needs to be; and is excellent at client care’. Leeds-based Andrew Batterton heads the development and infrastructure planning teams in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.

Dyne Solicitors Limited is a ‘leading niche firm’ for regulatory matters and environmental law. It regularly represents numerous business owners and directors on environmental regulatory breaches, with waste management a key area of expertise. Managing director John Dyne is ‘passionate about his clients, providing excellent client care without losing objectivity; he has an excellent grasp of this area of law and is always willing to engage in legal debate to try and find the best outcome for his clients, which he is able to do with skill and great flare because of his wealth of experience in this area’. Deborah Bond is noted for contentious matters and Jonathon Bell has a ‘thorough understanding of waste management law; he is solution-focused and an excellent communicator’.

Specialist environmental outfit ELM Law is commended for its ‘depth of knowledge in environmental matters’. The firm handles a range of brownfield development projects, as well as providing advice in the environmental industries and assisting with transactional matters. The team advised Inland Homes on environmental issues in connection with a former gas works at in High Wycombe. Seven Capital is also a key client.

Gateley Plc’s planning team is regularly instructed on matters relating to retail, residential, energy, infrastructure, hotel, educational and health-related developments. The team is also experienced in minerals and town centre redevelopment schemes and is regularly instructed by housebuilder clients. National head of planning Andrew Piatt has an ‘inquiring and original mind’ and specialises in planning, highways, compulsory purchase, compensation and local government law, legal director Mark Iveson handles large scale infrastructure, residential and retail projects and is experienced compulsory purchase work and associate Susan Ehlinger has a clear, analytical and sound approach to problems and always delivers advice on time’.

Irwin Mitchell’s ‘impressive’ team is instructed on an array of contentious and non-contentious planning mandates and represented Gladman Developments an appeal against the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse its application to build 180 new homes on farmland near Coleford, and represented Hallam Land on its appeal against the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse permission for 225 homes and a 60-bed care centre in Hampshire. It also represented St Modwen Developments on its challenge against the refusal of its proposals for  510 homes at Melton Park near North Ferriby, along with a care home and other facilities. On the non-contentuous side, the team advised Eric Wright Group and its development arm, Maple Grove Developments, on the planning elements surrounding a development agreement with Lancashire County Council for a retail and leisure site at Cuerden at the end of the M65 motorway. Emily Williams  ‘delivers a quick service and always provides thoughtful, considered advice that actually reflects the client’s objectives’. National planning head Carl Dyer operates across the firm’s Manchester, Gatwick and London offices.

Squire Patton Boggs works closely with its national and international network of offices to advise on planning and environment matters. The environment team is regularly instructed on non-contentious advisory work and regulatory defence work and is noted for its experience across environmental permitting, fracking and contaminated land. Manchester managing partner Rob Elvin  leads the contentious environment team, which includes director Gary Lewis, who handles environmental and health and safety litigation, and associate Laura Clare.  The national planning team is led by Leeds-based Richard Glover.

The planning team at TLT’s ‘response times are exceptional’ and it is regularly instructed on major infrastructure and regeneration projects. The team is advising Muse Developments, as the developer partner to Warrington Borough Council, on the £108m regeneration of the Time Square area of Warrington Town Centre. Cheshire East Council and Warrington Borough Council are also clients. Associate Debbie Reynolds is ‘technically superb and delivers excellent practical and commercial advice’; she is ‘clear and strategic in her assessment, and her advice plays a pivotal role in driving partnerships forward to deliver desired outcomes’.

Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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


Addleshaw Goddard’s ‘efficient’ team has a ‘no-nonsense approach’ and handles a full range of property disputes, with particular expertise in development work, rights of light disputes and site clearance matters. Contentious landlord and tenant issues, professional negligence disputes and property related insolvency are also areas of expertise and the team’s client base includes institutional investors, high-profile tenants, developers and financial institutions. The team represents First Investments Real Estate Management on a range of issues relating to its Mapeley Gamma portfolio and advises Corby, the owner of the Corby Town Centre Shopping Centre, on all estate management issues including lease renewals, break notices, dilapidations, insolvency and general property management. Manchester City Council instructed the team on a contested forfeiture action and is representing receiver clients on the complex disposal of a freehold and long leasehold property which is subject to a significant number of long residential tenancies. Charles Jagger has a ‘wealth of experience’, Legal director Andy Feehan handles general real estate disputes in addition to in project work and managing associate Patricia Loveis ‘very clever, dedicated, and is always thinking about cases from the client’s perspective’. Chris Perrin recently joined from Irwin Mitchell.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ department handles a full range of property litigation work, which includes lease termination and renewals, breach of covenant, rent reviews, dilapidations, rights of light and insolvency. It is also regularly engaged to manage large property portfolios; and has ‘excellent knowledge of the law, and the particular nuances which apply, particularly to the large scale infrastructure projects on which it excels’ and the team is ‘extremely well resourced and is therefore able to move very swiftly to put together impressive court materials and deal with litigation against a large number of respondents at short notice’. Manchester Airport Group, The Co-operative Bank and WM Morrison Supermarkets are clients. Department head David McGuirk is a ‘very experienced and knowledgeable litigator, with impressive commercial acumen; he has great instincts and is able to provide practical solutions to problems’. James Batham  is global head of retail and innovation and regularly acts for retail occupiers and developers, principal associate Gemma Staples has particular expertise in the retail and telecommunications sectors and senior associate Alex Wright is ‘calm and extremely personable, whilst providing robust and clear strategy and direction’.

Hill Dickinson LLP is regularly instructed on complex property disputes for a wide client base, and has particular expertise in the retail, utility, insurance, education, transport and logistics sectors. The team represented Signature Care Homes on a £2m dispute examining the enforceability of restrictive covenants and represented A&P Falmouth and Mersey Docks & Harbour Company in a case regarding an application to modify commercial restrictive covenants at Falmouth Docks. Greene King, Liverpool City Council and DHL Supply Chain are also clients. Right to light and mines and minerals expert Kevin Lee is a ‘very astute and clever litigator’ and heads the team with the ‘brilliant’ Ralph Bullivant who is active on contentious lease renewals, high-value dilapidation claims and contentious break clauses. Consultant Craig Walker is regularly instructed by energy and utility providers and property investors; legal director Phil Parker acts for retail, transport and logistics clients and the ‘excellent’ Julia Stansfield, who is also a legal director, regularly acts for insurers; and senior associate Helen Evans has experience in protest camp evictions for energy companies operating in the fracking industry.

Based across its Liverpool and Manchester offices, the ‘commercial’ team at DLA Piper UK LLP is regularly instructed by property investors and acts for pension funds and for institutional investors. Telecoms, complex dilapidations cases and portfolio management work are also key strengths of the team. It represented London Borough of Southwark Pension Fund on a range of matters relating to the proposed conversion of a multi-tenanted office block in London and represented Anglesey Mining on its opposition to an application for a prescriptive right of way across. It is also acting for St James's Place UK on an ongoing £1.3m dilapidations claim against Siemens and is advising Heineken UK on a case involving rights to light. Department head Martin Griffiths and senior associate Rachael Jones are ‘very knowledgeable and are good at explaining all the options’.

DWF’s ‘extremely professional’ department delivers ‘fast response times’ and handles residential and commercial landlord and tenant matters and highly complex property disputes. It is noted for its ‘in-depth experience’ in telecoms work, rights to light cases and regularly acts for lenders on the enforcement of their security. Team head Alan Walker ‘consistently delivers exceptionally high-quality advice’ and ‘focuses on effective and efficient solutions’; and is leading advice for United Utilities on a £5m vacant possession matter, is advising St Ives on a contested lease matter and is advising EE on operational issues and the renewal of agreements regulating to the construction and operation of rooftop and in-building technical sites at airports across the UK. Jeremy Steele is active on rights of light disputes and property-related banking disputes and acts for Premier Inn in relation to rights of light and neighbour issues at a number of its hotel developments. Director Helena Davies, who handles commercial leasehold work, telecoms matters, boundary disputes, adverse possession, and private nuisance claims, is ‘passionate about her work’ and senior associate Joanne Hadley is ‘proficient in her knowledge on commercial service charges’. Graeme Dixon  joined Knights Professional Services Limited in April 2018.

Pinsent Masons LLP acts for investors, developers and occupiers on landlord and tenant disputes and development-related matters. The team has particular expertise across vacant possession strategies, rights to light, residential tenants’ rights, non-domestic business rates, electronic communications, protestors, student accommodation and agricultural matters. The team is advising Leeds City Council on the construction of a substantial vacant possession strategy in order to enable the development of a new East Leeds Orbital Road; represented DDK Estates on professional negligence claim against its former solicitors, arising from the drafting of a conditional land sale agreement; and is advising on vacant possession matters in relation to the redevelopment of the Merseyway Shopping Centre. The team is also acting for a number of London boroughs in relation to the regeneration of housing stock. The University of Manchester and Asda are also clients. Senior associate Stuart McCann is active across infrastructure, retail, financial services and development matters, and has particular experience in the application of non-domestic business rates and is also experienced in agricultural law. Senior associate Paul Pinder joined the team in 2018 from CMS and associate Patricia Mellody joined in 2017 from Land Law LLP. Former team head Nicola Buchanan is now a now a practice development lawyer and Birmingham-based Alicia Foo heads the team.

Brabners LLP is active across commercial, residential and agricultural property disputes, with expertise across landlord and tenant and dilapidations cases, boundary disputes, restrictive covenants, easements, professional negligence claims, enfranchisement and party wall disputes. The team regularly acts for retail sector clients. Key matters included advising ABF Properties in a matter brought against a tenant for failure to keep premises in good repair and defended Fothergill Polycom on a claim brought by its former landlord in relation to alleged dilapidations and contaminated land. It also represented Commercial Property Ltd on a case involving non-domestic rates. Recently promoted partner Andrew Rogers heads the team in Liverpool, where associate Hannah Carter is also based. Jeff Lewis leads the Manchester-based team and Stuart Irons leads the team in Preston.

DAC Beachcroft LLP  is regularly instructed by institutional investors, shopping centre owners, property funds and REITs on in disputes relating to complex development and regeneration projects, rent reviews and asset management work. The team advised a national shopping centre owner on lease termination proceedings and defended Royal London Mutual Insurance Society on a breach of covenant claim. It also advised St Helens Borough Council on the implementation of and compensation issues around the compulsory purchase of land at Newton-le-Willows Station. Royal Mail Group, Lend Lease and Land Securities are also clients. Lesley Hughes and recently promoted legal director Rachael Reynolds head the team, which includes associate Simon Kelly has joined Birketts LLP.

Pannone Corporate LLP is active across portfolio management and professional negligence cases and acts for a range of developer, public sector and private clients. The team is representing Diamond Resorts (Europe) in a case involving one of its resorts in Kent, which has been brought by over 600 individuals alleging they have acquired rights to use sports and leisure facilities for free, and that these rights exist as easements. Conviviality Retail Group, ISS Group, DB Cargo Rail (UK) and Homes 4 U Group are also clients. Team head David Brown is ‘excellent’ and Martin Pennington is ‘first-class’. Seán Hackett and Suzanne Carr recently left the firm to join Myerson Solicitors LLP.

The ‘impressive’ department at Shoosmiths LLP is regularly instructed on matters involving development projects in the region and across the UK and is noted for its experience in rights to light cases. The team is also active on portfolio management, advising on a raft of dilapidations, lease renewals and rent review matters. It advised Lendlease Residential (North West) on development constraints at a residential development site in Manchester city centre, advised James Hall and Company (Property) on a restrictive covenant case and advised Watkin Jones and Son on a drainage dispute and acted for Marston’s in relation on its dilapidations liabilities relating to the termination of its interest in 66 public houses across the UK. Department head Wayne Nash advises on development constraints, such as rights of light, and leasehold compliance matters. Senior associate Kirsty Black delivers an ‘exceptional service and provides sound and concise advice’ and is experienced in restrictive covenant cases and Richard Symonds is ‘great with clients’ and gives advice that is ‘clear and to the point’. Associate Sophie Tracey is also a key member of the team.

TLT is active on landlord and tenant disputes, rent reviews and lease renewals and contractual disputes, portfolio management and acts for commercial landlords and tenants, public sector bodies, housing associations, property developers, investors, financial institutions and insolvency practitioners. The team handles complex property litigation and title rectification work for of major clearing banks and other financial service providers such as Nationwide Building Society and Lloyds Banking Group. It advised Greene King on a dispute relating to an agreement for a lease and advised Pets at Home on a dispute regarding the deflection of the floor slab at its central distribution centre. It also acts for Nationwide Building Society on property litigation and management matters relating to its high street branch portfolio. Iceland Foods, Landwood Commercial (Manchester) and WHSmith Retail Holdings are clients. Recently promoted partner Matthew Forrest and James Chadwick, who provides property litigation, title rectification and recoveries advice to financial service clients, are key members of the team.

Weightmans LLP acts for a number of clients with significant asset portfolios on property management matters and is instructed on matters relating to the collection of rent and arrears. The team advises AS Watson Group on a range of property litigation matters in England and Wales including lease renewals and dilapidations cases. It is also advising a private property investor on a terminal dilapidations claim against the Secretary of State for Employment. Liverpool-based Sian Evans leads the social housing and real estate litigation teams, where associate John Darnell , who 'combines in-depth legal knowledge with commercial judgement and commonsense' is also based. In Manchester, associate Peter Hall is also recommended. The Co-operative Group, Royal Mail Group, Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Council Pension Fund are also clients.

Niche outfit J B Leitch Ltd has ‘unparalleled expertise in service charge and ground rent recovery, forfeiture and breaches of covenant’ and it provides an ‘excellent service’ to clients who praise its ‘timely responses’. It advises institutional landlords of residential and mixed-use developments, and residential management companies on a range of matters from volume debt recovery to service charge and ground rent debt claims, tribunal matters and appeals, forfeiture, breach of lease and right to manage cases. Estates and Management, Homeground Management, Freehold Managers, FirstPort, Trinity Estates and Residential Management Group are clients. Director Jonathan Leitch is recommended alongside legal director  Philip Parkinson , who is ‘really commercial and tactical in litigation’ and has ‘an excellent depth of technical knowledge which combines well with his pragmatism; his advice is concise and outcome focused’. Rob Denman leads the real estate team.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP handles complex commercial and residential property disputes for property agents, public and private companies and LPA receivers. It handles enforcement for landlords and tenants and the retail, leisure, healthcare and education sectors are key areas of expertise. It advised Pix Pinto Bars on a leaseholder dispute and advised Stoke Properties 1 and Stoke Properties 2 on a dispute regarding a distressed retail warehouse occupied by B&Q. Land Securities, Persimmon Homes, Property Alliance Group and Cantt Pak are also clients. David Jones acts for a range of property developers, energy companies, construction contractors and property entrepreneurs, and associates Phillip Warburton and Rebecca Jones, who recently joined from Pinsent Masons LLP, are also recommended. Senior associate Benjamin Connor heads the construction team and Andrew Weinberg heads the litigation team.

The ‘exceptional’ team at niche firm Land Law LLP advises on an array of property litigation mandates and is particularly experienced across landlord and tenant work. Key cases included acting for a landlord client on a rent review dispute and advising the owner of a significant industrial unit on a lease termination and a dilapidations claim. Jen Morris heads the team which includes consultant Steven Jennings who has ‘vast experience’, and associate partner Karen Taylor.

Squire Patton Boggs is experienced across complex title issues, adverse possession claims, easement disputes, break clauses and vacant possession mandates and it advised Preston City Council on vacant possession relating to the redevelopment of an indoor market and advised Quintain (Wembley Retail Park) on a complex forfeiture case. The team also continued to represent Luxfer Group on a long-running lease renewal matter. Director Helen Hoath provides advice ‘in a timely and well-structured manner’.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is instructed by a range of commercial clients, local authorities, government bodies and housing associations and has particular expertise across portfolio management, rights of light issues and development-related disputes. The team acted for Midland Heart in dilapidations proceedings relating to office premises in Birmingham. It also advises West Midlands Authorities Pension Fund Property Portfolio on a range of matters such as landlord and tenant proceedings and dilapidations claims; and recently acted for two group companies of the fund in disputed lease renewal proceedings. Interserve is also a key client. Team head Guy Willetts is active across rights of light claims, property management issues, landlord and tenant matters and disputes concerning development agreements. Lynn James specialises in leasehold management for public and private sector landlords, leaseholders, management companies, managing agents and financial institutions.

The Preston-based team at Forbes Solicitors is instructed by an array of public and private sector clients, including developers investors and housing associations, on a range of disputes involving landlord and tenant matters, negligence, and trespass cases. Robin Stephens heads the team.

Gorvins Solicitors is experienced across residential and commercial property disputes and handles an array of landlord and tenant disputes such as dilapidation claims, contested lease renewals, restrictive covenants, service charge disputes and possession claims. It also handles boundary disputes, easement claims, trespass, nuisance squatter actions. The team acted for Hamilton Heath on several matters involving lease renewal and dilapidations claims. Guy Lightowler leads the team and senior associate Danielle Clements is also recommended.

The ‘timely and experienced’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP advises property owners, landlords and tenants on a range of commercial and residential property disputes such as dilapidations, forfeiture of leases and relief from forfeiture, rights of way, Land Registry issues, service charge issues negligence issues and property covenants. Philip J Davies (Holdings), Taskers and Fortis Developments are clients. Tim Norman heads the team, which features Jeremy Lee and senior solicitor Laura Pile, and was recently bolstered by the arrival of senior solicitors Seàn Hackett and Suzanne Carr from Pannone Corporate LLP.

Nexus Solicitors Limited acts for landlords, managing agents and tenants on tenancy renewals, dilapidations, service charge disputes, and rectification, break notices, breaches of covenant and forfeiture cases. The team is advising 30 leaseholders in relation to disrepair, misrepresentation, and forfeiture issues relating to a large development in Barrow-in-Furness. Director Debbie Whiteley is an ‘expert on dilapidations issues’ and is ‘pro-active, responsive and efficient’.

Butcher & Barlow LLP is active across commercial landlord and tenant matters and complex land disputes such as restrictive covenants, boundary disputes and registration issues. It is also noted for its agricultural sector experience. Alex Sandland, who is ‘very tenacious and fights hard on behalf of his clients’,  heads the team, which also includes associates James Holton, who joined in 2017 from Slater and Gordon, and Catherine Gregson, who is ‘client friendly, and is able to get to grips with cases well and run them in the best interests of the client’.

Niche firm KK Thompson Solicitors handles property litigation for commercial landlords, investment companies and high-net-worth individuals and is a ‘small firm of hard-working lawyers who go the extra mile and have a strong grasp of the law’ and clients commend the team for its ability to ‘communicate well and in a timely fashion’ and ‘offer very practical advice alongside the legal work they perform’. The team acts for Roubaix Group on property portfolio management issues such as lease renewal proceedings, break option advice, rent and service charge recovery, interpretation of lease terms, tenant insolvency and dilapidations. It also acts for Maryland Securities Group, Taylor Business Park, Roger Hannah and Co and new client Poplar Services Printers. Karl Thompson is ‘professional and extremely knowledgeable’ and Kate Thompson is ‘very responsive and her advice is clear and concise’ and is ‘highly skilled in property matters such as dealing with landlord and tenant issues and dilapidations disputes’; and ‘together they are a formidable team’.

Slater Heelis LLP  acts for owner-managed businesses,  property investors, development companies, management companies, individuals and entrepreneurs on dilapidations claims, enfranchisements and boundary and easement disputes. In Manchester associate solicitors Daniel Stern, Tom Christie and Daniel Wise are recommended. Sale-based Helen Brown heads the team.

Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Josephine Morton - Brabners LLP
    • Kirsty Varley - Croftons Solicitors LLP
    • Matthew Wilson - Clarke Willmott LLP

Who Represents Who

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Brabners LLP is singled out as ‘one of the leading firms for social housing’ and offers a full service to social housing providers with expertise across property and development, governance, housing management, corporate finance, banking, charities, construction and construction disputes, employment, pensions, commercial contracts and health and safety work. Transaction highlights include acting for Helena Partnership on the acquisition of 294 units in St Helens and West Lancashire from Arena Housing Group and Manchester and District Housing Association; and advising Liverpool Mutual Homes on the £20m acquisition of land in a back to back transaction with developer, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Trustees for a 100 unit extra care facility and 70 affordable homes. To further demonstrate the team’s ‘in-depth knowledge of the sector’; it successfully obtained an access injunction for Liverpool Mutual Homes against a tenant pursuing a housing disrepair claim but failing to allow access for repairs to be completed; acted for Derwent & Solway Housing Association in respect of its amalgamation with Two Castles Housing Association to form Castles & Coasts Housing Association; and advised The Riverside Group on the formulation of its Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Procedure for use in supported housing. Alistair Fletcher is ‘brilliant’ and heads the housing and regeneration department and Ian Alderson leads the housing management team; both are ‘expert and incisive’. Rupert Gill leads on corporate, governance and regulatory work in the housing and regeneration sector; Angela Clearkin is experienced on land acquisitions and sales; Peter Barlow specialises in development and regeneration work; senior associate Josephine Morton and associate Catherine Fearon have an ‘excellent reputation for high-quality, realistic advice and high-quality case preparation’. Consultant Suzanne Gregson is also recommended as is senior associate Lisa Robotham who co-heads the home ownership team.

The ‘quality’ team at specialist housing and regeneration firm Croftons Solicitors LLP is active across governance and regulation, development, housing and leasehold management, employment and procurement. Head of governance and regulation Jo Loake has a ‘breadth of knowledge on governance and regulatory issues’ and led advice for The Regenda Group on its corporate structure, in relation to commercial subsidiaries and adding of new group members. Property head Arthur Chapman advised Adactus Housing Group on the £8m purchase of part of a social club site in Ellesmere Port for a mixed tenure affordable housing development. The ‘experienced and responsive’ Julie Loggenberg handles property and development matters and continues to advise The Regenda Group on a £21m complex land purchase for a flagship development as part of Peel Holdings’ Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme. Melanie Dirom  leads the ‘excellent’ housing management team and senior associate Kirsty Varley regularly advises on anti-social behaviour and gang-related activity. Managing partner Simon Leighton is also noted as is Bob Agnew who heads the commercial property team and associate solicitor Danielle Gatcliffe who heads the residential conveyancing team. Associate Bhaven Chauhan recently joined from Addleshaw Goddard.

Forbes Solicitors attracts praise for its ‘broad range of knowledge around employment and culture within the social housing sector, and it brings that understanding into the advice it gives’. The team handles an array of mandates for housing associations and is active across litigation, property, corporate, leasehold, development, employment, procurement and governance matters. Together Housing, Guinness Partnership, Riverside, Trafford Housing Trust, Community Gateway, Shoreline and Boston Mayflower are clients. Key figures include ‘very experienced’ housing litigation team head Stuart Penswick; the ‘brilliant’ Lucy Worrall, who heads the housing and regeneration property team; Lachlan McLean, who heads the complex case and leasehold team; employment head Jonathan Holden, who has a ‘certain presence that provides assurance to the client’s decision-making process’; and housing management team head Shirley Faragher, who has a ‘vast amount of technical knowledge’. Also recommended are Tim Hollingsworth, who handles transactional work; And commercial head Daniel Milnes. Key associates include Jennifer Hankinson, who was recently promoted, and specialises in housing and regeneration property law; Sam Gorrell , who assists clients on anti-social behaviour and other breaches of tenancy; the ‘professional and approachable’ Sarah Rogers; and Lucie Cocker, who specialises in housing and asset management. Sarah Mansfield is also recommended.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s team handles a range of social housing mandates which includes regulatory, governance, joint ventures, investment and funding work and it is noted for its experience on large development and regeneration projects. Highlights included advising on the establishment of Bamboo Estates, a joint venture by Magenta Living and Torus 62, to let residential property on the open market; assisting ForViva with a borrowing and refinancing deal, which included acting as UK counsel on its debut US private placement and advising on the refinancing of the group's existing bank facilities; acting for Southway Housing Trust on the purchase of its head office on Princess Road in Manchester; and advising Two Castles Housing Association on its amalgamation with another registered provider. The team is also advising the Homes and Communities Agency on the Help to Buy equity loan programme. Housing and regeneration head Suzanne Benson specialises in major projects such as strategic land acquisitions, joint ventures and regeneration, and also advises on the development of homeownership products. Mike Gaskell is active on constitutional, governance and regulatory matters. Also recommended are Janet Winrow , who leads on major regeneration schemes; Adrian Bode , who specialises in complex social housing property transactions; Richard St John Williams, who acts for registered providers, local authorities, and private sector clients on affordable housing sector mandates; Lynn James, who handles property litigation; Melanie Comer, who heads the real estate finance security team; and senior associate Tom Wainwright , who specialises in governance, corporate and contracts work. Kate Bouchier has joined Manchester City Council.

The ‘professional’ team at BLM ‘responds quickly’ and represents social landlords in housing management and litigation and is particularly noted for its experience in tackling anti-social behaviour. Cases involving disrepair and housing fraud are also key strengths, and the team is increasingly acting on complex development projects and funding. The ‘knowledgeable’ Matthew Hyam heads the housing management and litigation team and acted for The Riverside Group on a possession case; defended Clarion Housing Group on a case involving allegations of disrepair, breach of human rights, personal injury, disability and racial discrimination; and was instructed by Wolverhampton Homes on a closure order following a referral from social services in relation to the exploitation of a vulnerable tenant. Halton Housing Trust and Sanctuary Housing Association are also clients. The arrival of Stephen Lintott and a team from Slater and Gordon, has enhanced the firm’s ability to handle property transactions and development projects.

Clarke Willmott LLP acts for a range of social landlords, including registered providers and local authorities, on housing management, and is experienced in tackling anti-social behaviour, advising on tenancy and leasehold disputes and complex disrepair claims, as well as tenancy agreements and policy matters. It advised Paragon Asra Housing on possession proceedings against a tenant who was suspected of sub-letting their property; advised Adactus Housing on a dispute with a managing agent as to regarding fire safety obligations; and advised South Liverpool Homes on an injunction and claim for possession. Stafford & Rural Homes, South Staffordshire Housing Association and Equity Housing are also clients. Key figures include Lindsay Felstead, who is national head of housing management, and associate Matthew Wilson.

Pinsent Masons LLP is regularly instructed by landowners, residential developers, local authorities, funders, grant givers and contractors on large-scale housing transactions and the team regularly advises on strategic joint ventures in the sector. The team advised Manchester City Council on the Northern Gateway Project, which will deliver 10,000 new homes, which includes a significant proportion of social housing, and advised Matrix Homes, a joint venture between Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, on a new housing investment fund. It acts for Homes England on several projects and is advising it on several sites in the region for the delivery of new homes and affordable housing. Recently promoted partner Helen Robinson regularly advises on complex housing regeneration schemes and planning specialist Michael Pocock is also recommended. Senior associate Ann Draper specialises in residential development schemes and Nicola Buchanan is now a practical development lawyer. Senior associate Paul Pinder recently joined from CMS .

Weightmans LLP’s expertise spans housing management, employment, development projects and employment matters. The team is advising Open Solutions (OSUK) on housing management issues and acquisitions and dispositions, and is acting for City West Housing Trust on new leasehold premises in connection with the appointment of City West to manage Cheshire West and Cheshire Council’s housing stock in the Ellesmere Port area. The team is also advising clients such as One Vision Housing and Halton Housing Trust on its acquisition and development programme, and acted for Liverpool Mutual Homes on injunction proceedings against a tenant. Department head and property litigator Sian Evans focuses on housing management and is 'very knowledgeable and cuts through difficult matters with sound and commercial advice'. Associate Thomas Starkey heads the real estate division of the social housing practice and acts for social housing and local authority clients in development and regeneration work in addition to home ownership, landlord and tenant and securitisation matters. Also recommended are Gary Jones, who advises on corporate governance and commercial matters; Jane Marshall, who handles pensions and employment work and associates; Lee Rogers, who handles employment matters; Dei Harries  specialises in pensions work; and Tom Collins, who advises on construction matters for clients in the social housing sector.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP has a ‘pragmatic approach’ and delivers ‘timely advice’. It acts for registered providers and is noted for its niche expertise in advising clients in the supported living and sheltered housing sector. The team is also active across property acquisitions and disposals, finance, dispute resolution, regulatory, housing management, debt collection and commercial work. The team advises South Liverpool Homes on re-sales of leasehold property and development agreements, advised Kirklees Council on the disposal of land for residential development to a registered provider of social housing, and advises Fairhome Group on the delivery of supported living schemes. David Baybut leads the team, which includes Kate Bullen, who specialises in commercial property and residential development; Louise Hebborn, who handles disputes; Alistair Gregory, who leads on debt collection matters; employment specialist Philip Richardson; and Chris Graves , who is experienced in supported living developments.

The ‘extremely professional and customer focused’ team at specialist outfit Knox Ellis Solicitors demonstrates an ‘in-depth knowledge of the social housing sector’ and it acts for registered providers and local authorities on a range of leasehold and housing management, estate and asset management, anti-social behaviour matters. Eastlands Homes Partnership, Wirral Partnership Homes, New Progress Housing Association and Irwell Valley Housing Association are clients. Tom Knox has an ‘eye for detail and engages well with clients’ and Sarah Ellis provides ‘clear and user-friendly advice, even on the most complex cases’; together they ‘leave no stone unturned in achieving positive outcomes’. Senior associate  Ian Larkins  is ‘professional, knowledgeable and confident’. Associate solicitors Emma O’Hare and Louise Murphy recently joined from Keoghs, Nicholls, Lindsell & Harris LLP Solicitors. Andrew Pearson joined Blackpool Borough Council.

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