Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

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.
Click here for more details

United Kingdom > North > Real estate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Commercial property: elsewhere in the North

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Sean Logue - Baines Wilson LLP
    • Geoff Skeoch - Jacksons Law
    • Christopher Todd - Archers Law LLP
    • Simon Wake - Endeavour Partnership LLP

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: elsewhere in the North clients in North 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


A ‘leading firm in the North East’, Archers Law LLP fields a ‘very knowledgeable, professional and personal’ team that ‘listens to the client’s full situation and reviews all documentation thoroughly before providing advice’. Its expertise covers the full spectrum of commercial property work, from commercial property transactions and development projects to development agreements, conditional contracts and overage arrangements, landlord and tenant matters and property finance transactions. The team is led by executive associate Rachel List, who is noted for her ‘personal approach’, and includes recommended managing partner Christopher Todd, who specialises in commercial property development work. Clients include various public and private companies, public sector bodies and charities.

Baines Wilson LLP’s ‘strong’ team is considered to be ‘one of the best in the Carlisle and Cumbria area’. It receives praise for its ‘extensive knowledge’ and ‘good turn-around times’ as well as its ‘prompt, accurate and commercially astute advice’ and ‘excellent attention to detail’. The group provides a broad range of services with a specialism in development projects, while also receiving a steady flow of instructions pertaining to commercial property acquisitions, secured lending transactions and landlord and tenant matters. ‘Excellent communicator’ and team head Sean Logue is praised as being ‘commercially minded’ and ‘efficient’; he acts for several developers and works closely with ‘experienced’ associate Lynne McFaul, who ‘provides sensible and practical solutions’ for commercial property transactions. The ‘commercially focused’ Duncan Harty ‘gets things resolved’ and is another key individual of the team alongside the recommended Laura Barnfield; her sector expertise spans housing, industrial, energy, education, health and retail.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Burnetts ‘provides pragmatic advice’ and is ‘easy to deal with’. It handles a wide range of commercial property work but is best known for its real estate finance and planning development expertise, with an emphasis on the leisure, tourism, education and energy sectors. The ‘extremely good’ and ‘very professional’ Robbie Mather advised the Thomas Armstrong Group on multiple site purchases and estate set-ups, and Helen Hayward continues to assist the H&H Group with leasehold matters pertaining to a new Carlisle-based estate agency building and the development of the Rosehill industrial site. She also advised InvestAcc Pension Trustees on property portfolio transfers. Richard Miller heads the team.

Endeavour Partnership LLP is ‘impressively responsive’ and handles the full range of property, development, leisure and property finance transactions. Simon Wake heads the team and frequently acts for developers, owners of licensed premises and primary healthcare providers. He continues to advise a developer on the development of a large-scale visitor attraction in North Yorkshire. In other significant work, he advised a client on a development and lease agreement for the region’s first indoor snow centre. Jamie Brown is rated for his ‘very good knowledge of industrial property’, in addition to handling agricultural and renewable energy-related work. He is well equipped to guide clients through high-value transactions and has recently been involved in the development of one of North Yorkshire’s largest holiday parks, assisting the client with infrastructure agreements and site acquisitions. Solicitor Amie Leyden is noted for her expertise in franchisee landlord and tenant matters.

Cartmell Shepherd has a ‘vast team of professionals’, whose ‘excellent business acumen and industry knowledge’ translates into ‘sound advice’. Clients also appreciate the team’s ‘very good communication’ and experience in transactional work, which is a key area of expertise for the team. It is complemented by the team’s experience in managing property portfolios on behalf of large country estates. ‘Very experienced, responsive and personable’ associate and head of residential property Elizabeth Crouch has ‘excellent negotiation skills’ and handles commercial leases and refinancing work. She is an ‘excellent communicator who always responds in a timely and efficient manner’ and ‘works tirelessly to achieve the very best outcome for her clients’. Crouch assisted a bakery business with various lease matters, and advised a client on a commercial and residential leasehold conversion. Other significant work for the team included advising a client on the purchase of several leasehold industrial units, and advising a developer on the acquisition of a new site for residential and commercial development. Associate Mike Little heads the team, which includes associate Andrew Marquis.

Jacksons Law's ‘highly responsive and knowledgeable’ team provides a‘very good level of service’. Much of its work focuses on the acquisition of investment properties and the management of these portfolios, but the team also handles various landlord and tenant matters and has particular expertise in the energy sector and in work concerning industrial sites. ‘Experienced, approachable and responsive’ managing partner Jane Armitage acted for the landlord Scott Brothers Enterprises in lease matters concerning the use of an energy-from-waste plant, which involved various environmental issues to safeguard the client from clean-up costs at the end of the lease. Erica Turner  advised Eaglescliffe Golf Club on the grant of a conditional option to a developer; the option concerned the subsequent sale of golf club land to construct housing in exchange for the transfer of additional land to the client to construct a new golf course. Senior partner Geoff Skeoch heads the team, which includes associate John Bewick, whose ‘attention to detail is first class’. Associate Rebecca Dawson joined Mincoffs Solicitors LLP in July 2017.

Providing an ‘exceptional level of service’, Latimer Hinks Solicitors' ‘extremely knowledgeable, efficient and diligent’ team ‘deals with small details with professional expertise’ and also receives praise for its ‘unswerving commitment to its clients’ and ‘very good advice’, which ‘always highlights the risks and benefits’. The practice advises on transactions and land development matters alongside landlord and tenant issues involving commercial, residential and agricultural properties. Neil Stevenson specialises in the sale, acquisition and letting of commercial, retail and industrial premises with a focus on the agriculture and renewable energy sectors, while Nicola Neilson complements this offering with her expertise in secured lending. ‘Extremely good’ investment acquisition and disposal specialist Adam Wood has ‘extensive knowledge’ in landed estates and mineral leases and provides ‘honest advice’, and Martin Williamson is noted for his ‘critical eye for detail’.

The ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team at Swinburne Maddison provides a ‘fast, efficient and personal service’, offers ‘very good value for money’, and ‘takes a pragmatic approach’. The team has significant expertise in development work, leading to a steady flow of instructions from developers and landowners, and also handles lease matters in addition to the sale and acquisition of commercial premises. Practice head Victoria Walton assisted Moordale (North East) with the financing of a development site in Coxhoe, while the ‘very knowledgeable and experienced’ Simon Robinson advised Southlands Management on a collaboration agreement with a northern local authority concerning the development of land for residential use. Other key individuals include the ‘very professional and concise’ Kate Stephenson, Philip Robson and solicitor Chris Ross, who is ‘very good at handling self-build plot sales and land registration issues’. Durham Cathedral is a client.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine is singled out for its ‘commercially minded, forward-thinking and approachable’ team, which is now led by Gareth Jones following Martin Levinson’s move to a consultant position. Handling the full spectrum of commercial property work, the practice is adept at advising lenders and borrowers on real estate matters, assisting landlords and tenants with the acquisition and disposal of investment properties, and dealing with property transactions for self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) and small self-administered schemes (SSASs). ‘Hard negotiator’ and ‘very professional’ associate Andrew Beattie, who also stands out for his ‘incredible attention to detail’, advised J.O. Brewis & Sons on matters pertaining to the sale of a substantial mixed farming estate consisting of two farms, development land and residential properties. Senior associate Sara Garnett assisted Swale Valley Construction with completing the acquisition of two development sites and exchanging contracts for a third site which was conditional upon planning permission being granted. Joanne Cowie is another key member of the team.

Commercial property: Newcastle

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Newcastle
  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: Newcastle clients in North 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


Praised for its ‘commercial and pragmatic advice’, the ‘highly responsive’ team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has a strong profile for private rented sector matters, build to rent projects and commercial work, and acts for an impressive client roster which includes national housebuilders and financial institutions alongside energy, education and transport sector clients. Barbara Painter advised Teesside University on the acquisition of a site in Darlington from the Homes and Communities Agency for the construction of a National Horizons Centre, while the ‘very good’ Michael Brown assisted the Beamish Museum with lease matters. He also advised Standard Life Aberdeen and Curtis Banks on several transactional, lease and landlord licence matters, and handled various acquisitions of commercial property portfolios in the West Midlands and the North East for Buccleuch Property. Acting for several major national developers and investment clients, Tom Willows advised Bellway’s Durham division on various site acquisitions throughout County Durham and Teesside totalling approximately 350 residential units. Other key figures include national real estate team head John Ralph, Nigel Emmerson, who heads the public and private housing and residential investment sector team, and regeneration and residential development project expert Ian Ward. Managing associate John Booth is also recommended. Duncan Fisher moved to DAC Beachcroft LLP in February 2018.

DWF regularly handles investment and property portfolio management matters, regeneration and development projects as well as landlord and tenant issues. Team head Adam Heather acted for Newcastle-based property group Hanro on the purchase of a number of investment properties in and around the North East, and advised Arch Commercial Enterprise on the redevelopment of Ashington town centre including a new leisure centre, supermarket, petrol filling station and bus station. In other development work, senior associate Mark Tait assisted Northumberland Estates with the development of a new motor retail facility at Vroom Car Retail, North Tyneside, which included various lease matters. Other key individuals include national housing specialist Lee Pickett and housing litigation expert Jonathan Smith.

Muckle LLP is a ‘truly modern law firm’ that ‘is respectful but not constrained by the conventions of a traditional commercial law firm which can needlessly delay progress’. The ‘exceptionally commercial’ team ‘is genuinely committed to helping businesses in the region’ and provides a ‘high-quality, friendly and efficient service’ as well as ‘practical solutions’. Key areas of expertise include real estate transactions, portfolio management, joint ventures and real estate finance, where it works in conjunction with the firm’s banking and finance team. Will McKay acted for McAleer & Rushe in a forward funding transaction concerning the sale of a major Newcastle city centre development, and the ‘highly professional, experienced and technically excellent’ Gail Bennett, (who is praised for her ‘straight-forward, no-nonsense approach’) advised the housing association Home Group on portfolio funding matters with Lloyds, HSBC and Bank of Tokyo. In another highlight, James Armstrong assisted Sunderland Music, Arts & Culture Trust with the acquisition of a site within Sunderland’s cultural quarter from Sunderland City Council. Jonathan Combe heads the team, which includes Libbie Henderson, who joined from Watson Burton LLP in December 2017.

Sintons LLP's ‘strong, diligent and attentive’ team has considerable clout in the real estate arena, covering a broad range of matters such as transactions, real estate finance and portfolio management as well as landlord and tenant issues and development work. Much of its work concerns the healthcare, sport, hospitality, energy and agricultural sectors but with Laura Peace the team also has niche expertise in ecclesiastical property law. Team head Mark Dobbin advised housing developer Cussins on the purchase of a site from North Tyneside Council and the Homes and Community Agency. Also focusing on transactional work, Alok Loomba acted for the Sansec Developments Group in the acquisition of a development site. Other key members of the team include consultant and residential development expert Alan Harkness, healthcare sector specialist Victoria Armstrong and development and investment project partner Paul Liddle. Senior associate Catherine Davies is ‘excellent’ and ‘will always find a solution’, and senior associate David Ferguson joined the team from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in January 2018.

At Ward Hadaway, public sector property head Karen Andrews acted for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust on the acquisition of a greenfield site for the proposed development of mental health facilities, and Alex Cox advised Northumberland Estates on the acquisition of Quayside House in Newcastle. Simon Errington advised Union Retail Properties on lease and building contracts for a hotel development, and Neil Smith assisted the Foundation of Light with its development of a sports and education facility, which included occupational and infrastructure leases, funding issues and licences. Heather Markham and head of development Lesley Fairclough are other key individuals of Neil Robson’s team. Fairclough assisted various national housebuilders with plot sales and part-exchange acquisitions.

Hay & Kilner is noted for its strength advising housebuilders alongside commercial and residential developers on property transactions, portfolio management issues and lease-related matters. In the transactional space, team head Nicola Tiffen continues to act for the family-run development business Anvil Homes as well as its shareholders and pension fund on various property transactions. In portfolio-related work, Richard Freeman-Wallace assisted a client with the refinancing of a portfolio of residential investment properties.

Short Richardson & Forth’s ‘very good’ team ‘offers cost-effective solutions’ and is rated for its strength in advising on commercial property leases, as well as handling property investment matters. ‘Very practical’ team head Paul Earnshaw advised a client on the sale of a portfolio consisting of seven industrial properties, which involved various title and access issues, while solicitor Claire Devapal assisted Wordie Properties with renewal lease matters for its Manor View House in Newcastle. Peter Hall is another key member of the team.

Clients rate the ‘highly competent, friendly and approachable’ team at Watson Burton LLP for its ‘good response times, experience and professionalism’. It regularly deals with the sale, purchase and financing of large portfolios and is now led by ‘safe pair of hands’ Naren Deen, who is also noted as being ‘careful and thorough’ and having ‘excellent communication skills’, following the move of former team head Libbie Henderson to Muckle LLP in December 2017. Deen joined the firm in summer 2017 from Samuel Phillips Law Firm and has particular expertise in investment and secured lending-related work, routinely acting on the acquisition and disposal of commercial property investment assets. Recently, he advised the Bellway Group on the acquisition of four sites. In other work, the practice assisted Atkins with various letting documents. Solicitor Richard Phillips is ‘extremely knowledgeable, proactive and responsive’ and ‘always takes the time to explain complex matters in an easily understandable way’.

DAC Beachcroft LLP increased its bench strength by adding Duncan Fisher from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in February 2018; he heads the team and acts for a broad client base, including landowners, developers, housebuilders, property investors and public sector bodies, in various matters pertaining to transactions and land developments. He works closely with senior associate Nicola Fairbairn, who acted for Newcastle Building Society in its £15m acquisition of an investment property.

The team at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP is led by Ryan Bannon, who is experienced in providing developers, investors, commercial occupiers and retailers with advice on various transactional matters, including leasehold issues. Recommended associate Rebecca Dawson joined the team from Jacksons Law in July 2017.


Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Construction clients in North 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


DAC Beachcroft LLP's ‘excellent’ and ‘commercially minded’ team ‘inspires confidence’ with its ‘prompt and effective advice’, and for its ability to ‘deliver expert advice within extremely challenging time frames and on particularly complex projects’. The team handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious construction work for an equally diverse client base consisting of housebuilders, insurance companies, public sector clients, contractors and renewable energy companies. On the non-contentious side, James Harrison (who ‘provides sound and practical advice in a user-friendly manner’) routinely assists clients with all forms of build contracts, supply chain contracts and ancillary documentation; he recently advised the LTE Group on a number of projects including the refurbishment of existing buildings, a new build at its existing Openshaw campus site and a campus development. Warren Kemp (an ‘excellent adviser and litigator’) is the main contact for contentious work. Roddy Gordon and Stephen McLellan are other key members of the team.

Assisting public and private sector clients with contentious and non-contentious construction matters, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP ‘provides solutions and does not just explain the law’. The ‘knowledgeable and prompt’ practice is a regular fixture on key projects and has particular expertise in the educational, chemicals and energy sectors, while also being ‘a pleasure to work with’. Team head and litigation expert Simon Lewis and ‘superb’ project specialist Ian Atkinson continue to advise the Education and Skills Funding Agency on its £10bn refurbishment programme concerning the delivery of new and refurbished schools across the country. Atkinson, who is also noted as being ‘incredibly knowledgeable and pragmatic’, is advising Newcastle City Council on the refurbishment of a prominent city centre building, which included various construction and procurement matters, while Simon Rowland continues to assist the Beamish Museum with the delivery of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded construction programme for its ongoing Remaking Beamish project. Rowland is also advising the Cleveland Fire Authority on its £20m Capital Build Programme to deliver a new HQ and four fire stations. Recommended managing associate Andrew Clough has a focus on contentious work.

Singled out for its ‘incredibly prompt response times’, the ‘very good’ team at Muckle LLP provides ‘pragmatic advice’ on contentious and non-contentious construction and engineering project work. The ‘very knowledgeable and responsive’ Lucilla Waugh has been assisting the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with various matters pertaining to its Newcastle Science Central development, including acquisition, development and infrastructure works agreements, pre-construction services agreements and the design and construction documentation for two further projects at the site. Keith Bishop heads the practice, which includes consultant Rob Langley, who specialises in contentious work, and ‘very helpful and responsive’ associate Adam Aston, who is rated as being ‘very concise and clear in all communication’. Senior associate Mark Smith joined DAC Beachcroft LLP in June 2017.

Ward Hadaway has extensive expertise in advising public sector bodies, businesses and individuals on construction and engineering projects and disputes. Clients routinely instruct team head Tim Craig to assist with procurement issues, project structures and the drafting and negotiation of building and engineering contracts. He also acts in disputes, including adjudication, which is an area of expertise he shares with dispute resolution specialist Paul Reekie, who is experienced in litigation, mediation, arbitration and adjudication. Associate Alan Ross is another key individual.

Sintons LLP assists construction industry stakeholders, including developers, contractors, funders and consultants, with various contentious and non-contentious matters, with particular expertise in healthcare development work. On the non-contentious side, team head Alex Rayner, who was promoted to the partnership in February 2018, advised Jerram Falkus Construction Auckland Castle Trust (ACT) on various development projects including the restoration and refurbishment of its existing castle, the development of a Spanish Gallery and a new restaurant in the walled garden. Real estate partner Alok Loomba assisted Henson Healthcare with contractual matters pertaining to the design and construction of a new 66-bed care home in North Yorkshire. In the contentious sector, Graeme Ritzema is adept at handling adjudication enforcement proceedings and advising clients on construction and engineering disputes; he works closely with associate Kevin Anderson, who represents a number of contractors.

Watson Burton LLP’s ‘understanding and proactive approach to construction cases is exemplary’. The ‘client-focused’ practice provides ‘honest, timely and succinct advice’ as well as ‘good value for money’. With an emphasis on contentious work, Sarah Wilson acted for Sunderland City Council in a claim against the main contractor appointed to design and build a flagship leisure complex; the claim concerned a number of construction defects, water ingress and condensations issues. Clients praise Wilson, who jointly heads the practice with David Spires, for her ‘robust, direct and reliable advice’ and describe her as someone ‘you would want to have on your side in contentious matters’ as she ‘always finds the best path for resolving issues’. Spires is ‘very personable’ and a ‘pleasure to work with’ and also singled out as ‘managing cases efficiently and proactively’; he is best known for his expertise in handling Construction Act adjudication cases. ‘Very capable, approachable and responsive’ associate Bal Manak is the main contact for non-contentious matters. Other key individuals include indemnity and construction claim expert Anne-Marie Knight and Richard Palmer, who specialises in professional negligence work in the construction sector.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ‘offers valuable insights and pragmatic solutions’ and is ‘very effective at drilling down into the evidence to build the case from the ground up’, while also being a ‘pleasure to work with’. With contentious construction work at its core and particular sector expertise in energy and infrastructure, ‘very experienced and strategic’ team head Mary Anne Roff acted for the Sisk Group in a series of disputes concerning the construction of two power plants in the UK.

The ‘extremely professional’ team at Hay & Kilner demonstrates ‘great business acumen’ when dealing with various contentious and non-contentious construction matters and ‘gives the client great comfort in an otherwise stressful situation’. The practice is led by consultant Martin Soloman and includes ‘caring, approachable and understanding’ associate Jan Rzedzian, who attracts praise for his ‘depth of knowledge’ and ‘good advice’, and ‘very experienced’ associate Graham Sutton. Rzedzian acted for a care home operator in a dispute over the design and construction of a 70-bed care home, and Soloman assisted a client with contractual matters pertaining to a tunnelling project.


Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Environment clients in North 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


Providing an ‘excellent level of service’, the ‘very professional’ team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is well equipped to advise on environmental compliance, enforcement prosecutions, market development and business risk management alongside transactions. Team head Stuart Wardlaw is noted for his particular expertise advising clients in the chemical, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, waste management and oil and gas sectors; he assisted the shareholders of Chemoxy International with the sale of a majority stake in the company to the French trade buyer Novacap. ‘Very knowledgeable’ associate Ruth Wintersgill handles contentious mandates.

Ward Hadaway handles environmental and waste management issues alongside transactional and development instructions concerning opencast, quarry and landfill operations as well as energy-from-waste and effluent treatment works. Recently, the team advised a client on the restoration of a former colliery site by the use of inert waste as infill. ‘Very good’ team head Neil Robson, who is also rated as being ‘calm and good with clients’, acts for various public and private sector clients including waste contractors John Warren (Animal By-Products) and Emerald Biogas, as well as Northumberland National Park and various housebuilders. Other key individuals include head of licensing and regulation Stephen Graham, who handles environmental litigation alongside health and safety and regulatory compliance mandates, planning expert Robin Atkin and commercial partner Colin Hewitt.

At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, team head Tim Hill specialises in defending clients in pollution and waste offences, challenges to statutory notices and packaging waste claims, among other criminal and regulatory matters. Hill is also well versed in guiding chemical and energy sector clients through competent authority inspections and investigations, and on the non-contentious side assists clients with compliance matters.

Sitting within the firm’s energy department, the team at Sintons LLP advises on matters pertaining to wind farms, surface mines, biofuel, landfills and energy-to-waste projects. Clients consider key contact Karen Simms  as a ‘safe pair of hands’ and ‘experienced litigator’, who ‘has deep knowledge of environmental regulation’ and ‘prepares her instructions well’. Paul Liddle is another key member of the team.


Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Planning clients in North 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


Ward Hadaway’s ‘excellent knowledge and level of service’ translates into a steady of flow of contentious and non-contentious instructions, which frequently play into the team’s key strength of assisting national housebuilders with residential development matters. Recently, Robin Atkin, who jointly heads the team with Neil Robson, advised the North West division of the Barratt Group and David Wilson Homes on a number of Section 106 agreements and their implications for the planning and development of 2854 homes. Atkin also excels in village green and highway matters, and acted for St Modwen Developments in defence of a village green application concerning the client’s proposed residential and leisure development. In other work, he advised Story Homes on matters pertaining to a diversion of a public footpath running across a development site in Crawcrook. Associate and commercial and transactional planning law expert Nick Gholkar assisted two landowners with the application for mineral extracting and auger mining at Druridge Bay on the Northumberland coast, and advised Darlington Borough Council - in its capacity as landowner - on a garden village development near Darlington town centre. West Cumbria Mining instructed Kamran Hyder to assist with the planning application for the development of an existing surface mine entrance for a new metallurgical coal mine.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s ‘first-rate’ planning team provides a ‘consistently excellent and efficient service in all aspects of planning combined with a very personable approach’. ‘Highly regarded’ and ‘exceptionally meticulous’ managing associate Stephen Dagg is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and has a ‘wealth of expertise with specific emphasis on highway and transport-related matters’. Clients also praise his ‘exceptional attention to detail’ and the ‘ability to get results for the client’. Associate Antonia Murillo is also ‘highly recommended’, particularly for planning litigation, and noted as ‘combining her extensive knowledge with a commercial perspective’, while ‘extremely personable’ associate Kate Ashworth is ‘highly committed and goes the extra mile to get results’. Claire Brook heads the team from Leeds following Frank Orr’s departure in July 2017. Recently, she advised Bellway Homes on various developments and subsidence issues requiring negotiations with the Coal Authority and the local planning authority.

Property litigation

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Property litigation clients in North 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


Ward Hadaway is ‘one of the best property litigation teams in the North East’. It is rated as being ‘professional and friendly’, providing ‘accurate and realistic advice’ and ‘effectively fighting its clients’ interests’. Acting for commercial and public sector clients, team head Sharon Mathieson, who divides her time between Newcastle and Leeds, represented a local authority in court proceedings that sought to limit the use of land previously designated as a village green, and acted for the tenant in a dispute with the landlord over a lease renewal for a large industrial site. In other significant work, she represented a landowner in a dispute with an adjoining landowner pertaining to ownership issues for a significant area of land along the edge of a waterway. Clients also single out associate Jeremy Hardy, who has a ‘reassuring presence’ and ‘a good commercial sense’. He is also‘astute at finding solutions to difficult legal positions’ and ‘consistently obtains good results’, while associate Victoria Lowrie is noted as being ‘tenacious and knowledgeable’. Associate Simon Thirtle is another key individual of the team.

Considered by clients as ‘one of the strongest regional firms with the reach and expertise of a national firm’, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP covers the gamut of contentious property work with ‘great accuracy’, including commercial, residential and agricultural property disputes, and frequently acts for landlords, tenants, developers and investors. Noted for her expertise in handling commercial property disputes, team head Jen Smurthwaite, who divides her time between Newcastle and Leeds, acted for a large transport operator in its pursuit of a dilapidation claim arising from two commercial leases. Managing associate David Hambler advised Standard Life Trustee Company on various property disputes across its self-invested personal pension plan (SIPP) portfolio. This included recovering unpaid rent and handling forfeiture matters and a dispute with freeholders concerning consents for alterations by a sub-tenant. He also acted for a developer in a dispute with the adjoining landowner. Other clients include Airwave Solutions, the Bernicia Group and Akelius.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s ‘very prompt, proactive and knowledgeable’ team provides ‘good advice’ and acts for commercial and individual clients such as property investors, developers, national retailers, licensed establishments and estate agents. Recently, the team handled various disputes between neighbours, residential possession claims, breach of lease covenants and dilapidation matters, among others. ‘Outstanding’ associate Susan Roberts, who ‘always has a plan of action and is keen not to waste funds’, heads the team, which includes associate Robyn Shepherd and dispute resolution team head Stewart Irvine. Clients include the Lugano Group and the Cairn Group.

Noted for its ‘very good commercial awareness’, the ‘strong team’ at Muckle LLP also receives praise for its ‘excellent level of service’ and ‘sound advice’, which is designed to ‘guide clients through very complex and challenging cases’. Acting for commercial and residential landlords and tenants, the practice covers dilapidation, property insolvency and possession claims alongside break notices, lease renewals and rent reviews, among other matters. Charlotte McMurchie heads the team and is ‘particularly impressive in landlord and tenant disputes’, while her ‘sound commercial focus’ ‘enables her to cope with challenging situations’ and translates into ‘sensible and practical advice’. She acted for Bernicia Housing in an application for an anti-social behaviour injunction against a tenant, and advised the housing association Gentoo Group on housing disrepair allegations brought by a tenant. ‘Professional’ associate Jennifer Pearson is particularly experienced in residential freehold and leasehold disputes as well as social housing issues, and is rated by clients as ‘providing timely advice’.

Sintons LLP is ‘very efficient’ in providing ‘extremely quick and effective responses’. The practice is ‘friendly and easy to work with’ and handles a wide range of commercial and residential property matters with a specialism in charities and trusts. Regular instructions include contested lease renewals, dilapidation and possession claims alongside the interpretation of covenants and various landlord and tenant matters. Team head Angus Ashman acted for a client in seeking an injunction against the owner of a neighbouring property, who was preventing the client’s use of an express easement, and pursued a dilapidation claim for a different client against the occupier of commercial premises. Graeme Ritzema and associate Aimee Hubbard are recommended. Clients include YMCA Newcastle upon Tyne, the JGW Patterson Foundation, the regional travel agent Dawson & Sanderson and Hadrian Estates, a provider of residential leased accommodation.

Swinburne Maddison demonstrates ‘great breadth and depth’ in the real estate sector, working closely with the firm’s commercial property department. The team has a focus on acting for registered providers but also counts various private individuals, commercial entities and local authorities within its client base. ‘Vigorous and consistently professional’ team head David Low continues to act for a local authority in defence against various claims of housing disrepair, and, in a different matter, he assisted a tenant and business owner with contentious lease renewal matters arising from repairing obligations under the terms of the original lease. He also acted on land registry matters and possession claims following the client’s application to the Land Registry to rectify the title of a significant parcel of farmland, and assisted a different client with an application for possession as a result of breach of tenancy and anti-social behaviour. Jonathan Moreland is another name to note.

The ‘professional and very approachable’ team at Watson Burton LLP is ‘swift at dealing with enquiries’ and ‘particularly good at handling dilapidation matters’. Clients also appreciate its ‘sensible and commercial advice’ as well as its ‘ability to assimilate and process large quantities of information leading to focused overviews’. Commercial litigator Christopher Graham now heads the team following Gavin Winter’s move to Gateley Plc in October 2017. Graham acted for a client in a rent review dispute, and, in a different matter, he acted for an assignee of a lease to a substation in a dispute over land access. Commercial litigator Anthony Rance advised a client on a high-value terminal dilapidation claim. Other recommended individuals include ‘very friendly, approachable and professional’ solicitor Mark Egner, whose ‘thoughtful approach gives clients confidence’, and ‘extremely approachable, tenacious and determined’ associate Jill Dalkin, whose ‘particular strength is her professionalism and her ability to manage large volumes of data and documents and retain a focus on the key legal points’.

Social housing

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Social housing clients in North 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 team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is ‘exceptionally well prepared’ and noted for its ‘outstanding attention to detail’. Clients include traditional and LSVT housing associations, councils, arm’s-length management organisations (ALMOs), charities, for-profit providers and affordable housing providers, for which it handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious social housing matters. Team head Nigel Emmerson has been advising Karbon Homes, one of the largest housing associations in the North East, on its ongoing development programme, which included assisting with the acquisition of sites, development agreements and the acquisition of units from housebuilders in order to fulfil section 106 obligations. Other highlights included advising Byker Community Trust, a charity and registered social housing provider, on data sharing arrangements with the entities that provide various tenancy management services to the client, and acting for Rentplus UK on five acquisitions. Emmerson also advised Places for People (PfP) on a Walker Riverside regeneration project-related acquisition, which included assistance with development, option, nominations and section 106 agreements, while ‘very knowledgeable’ managing associate and property litigation specialist David Hambler (‘who gives off an air of understated confidence’) acted for the Bernicia Group on various tenancy management issues including possession claims and injunctions to tackle anti-social behaviour, as well as advising the client on shared ownership leases. Associate and property management transactions expert Ian Hellawell and Leeds-based associate Jennifer Robinson are also key members of the team.

DWF covers a broad range of social housing work: on the non-contentious side, team head Lee Pickett specialises in development, regeneration and investment matters, and senior associate Kelly Pearson is routinely called upon to advise on social housing finance issues, while Jonathan Smith, who made partner in November 2017, is the main contact for housing litigation; he is adept at handling rent review and dilapidation disputes as well as disputes relating to development land. Pickett advised Bernicia Homes on the acquisition of a development site for the proposed construction of 11 dwellings, and regularly assists the Riverside Group with development agreements including procurement issues and development risk assessments. South Tyneside Homes Ventures instructed the team to advise on its property development programme which included, among other matters, a golden brick structured development agreement with Bellway Homes and grant funding advice. In litigation, Smith defended the Manningham Housing Association against a claim for breach of public law obligations following an application for possession of a property, and assisted Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust with obtaining an emergency anti-social behaviour injunction against one of its tenants.

Muckle LLP's ‘extremely well-prepared’ team stands out for its ‘excellent client care’ and ‘considered and practical advice’. Clients include registered providers and other organisations, for which the team handles a wide range of real estate and development matters, including governance and regulatory issues in addition to transactional advice and housing litigation. ‘Extremely approachable, attentive’ team head Russell Hall continues to advise the Gentoo Group on several transactions including a scheme at Broomhill in Houghton-le-Spring. Hall also acts alongside the ‘very approachable’ Charlotte McMurchie for Karbon Homes and Bernicia Homes on various contentious and non-contentious housing management issues, including anti-social behaviour injunctions and possessions, gas access actions and housing disrepair management. Other names to note are Will McKay, ‘good listener’ and senior associate Nicola Nutley, who is ‘always helpful in raising other relevant issues that might also benefit the client’, and ‘practical and approachable’ associate Jennifer Pearson. The North Star Housing Group, Prince Bishop Homes and YMCA North Tyneside are also clients.

Ward Hadaway’s broad expertise covers advice on property, employment and housing management matters, as well as regulatory and debt recovery issues and banking and corporate structures. Helen O’Neill assisted Inclusion Housing with five projects with Civitas Social Housing, a real estate investment trust dedicated to investing in social homes in England and Wales, which included various transactions and leases. Byker Community Trust instructed the team to assist with construction and procurement issues pertaining to the district heating system serving the grade II listed Byker estate. Other clients include the Home Group, livin Housing and the Mosscare St Vincent’s Housing Group. Leeds-based John Murray heads the team, which also includes Julia Thomson and Colin Hewitt.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

In partnership with...

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to