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



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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.

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