Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP > Bournemouth, England > Firm Profile

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 1

Praised as ‘one of the strongest litigation teams in Bournemouth, boasting a wealth of expertise and knowledge’, Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP has a strong track record in contractual disputes, defamation claims and professional negligence proceedings, in addition to property litigation, banking cases, injunction applications and gambling disputes. Lauren Day, who has ‘encyclopedic knowledge’ of property litigation and probate claims, jointly leads the team alongside William Fox Bregman, who is ‘highly knowledgeable in banking and financial services litigation’. Paul Kanolik specialises in betting and gambling disputes, while Victoria Riddleston is ‘a formidable force’ in contentious trust and probate matters, and senior associate Caroline Palacio ‘has a real depth of knowledge in insolvency matters’.

Practice head(s):

Lauren Day; William Fox Bregman

Other key lawyers:

Paul Kanolik; Victoria Riddleston; Caroline Palacio; Conor Maher; Florence Newton


‘Caroline Palacio has a real depth of knowledge in insolvency matters and, as a result, has a substantial and repeat following from a wide range of insolvency practitioners.’ 

Victoria Riddleston is a formidable force in litigation matters, particularly probate disputes.’ 

‘Ellis Jones are one of the strongest litigation teams in Bournemouth, boasting a wealth of expertise and knowledge across all sub-specialities.’ 

‘William Fox Bregman is highly knowledgeable in banking and financial services litigation and is also client friendly and easy to work with.’ 

‘Lauren Day has an encyclopedic knowledge of commercial litigation.’ 

‘Conor Maher is extremely good with clients and has a tireless work ethic.’ 

‘Florence Newton works primarily in property disputes and can navigate complex legal and factual disputes with ease and focus.’ 

‘Paul Kanolik adopts a firm and realistic approach to difficult gambling cases.’ 

Work highlights

  • Instructed by applicant, Robert Spedding, in a successful Judicial Review application within the reported case of R (Spedding) v Wilsthore Council [2022] EWHC 347 (Admin).

Employment > Employment: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 2

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP fields a team of employment lawyers capable of assisting both employees and employers with a range of matters. The practice receives instruction from clients operating across the gamut of industry sectors, including hospitality, healthcare, education and charity. Kate Brooks heads up the practice; she regularly handles employment tribunal litigation and works closely with the firm’s commercial property team to assist with the employment law aspects of corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Kate Brooks

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Bennett


‘There was a dedicated partner/junior team working on the case I was instructed in, who were contactable and reachable at all reasonable times and dealt with everything in a professional, prompt and sensible manner. The team were live to the issues in the case and receptive to my advice.’

‘I felt the client had a great level of dedication and support in relation to the case.’

‘Kate Brooks and Rebecca Bennett were both dedicated to the case and supportive to the client. They were extremely accessible in terms of keeping in touch and in contact, and dealt with everything which arose promptly, professionally and sensibly.’

Key clients

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Skechers USA Ltd

Old Dairy Farm Nursery

Glow Green Limited

Christchurch Housing Association

Dorset Wildlife Trust

Quantum Marketing UK Limited

Eco Sustainable Solutions

Ecosafe Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Skechers USA on employment and HR matters on a retainer basis.
  • Advised the Old Dairy Farm Nursery on issues relating to its launch, namely the preparation of all employment contracts for directors, managers and bank staff, and assisted with the development of company policies.
  • Successfully represented Glow Green in a claim for automatic unfair dismissal.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Drawing on its offices in Bournemouth and London, the team at Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP is well regarded by clients for its ‘extremely knowledgeable and proficient' approach in contentious probate claims. In particular, the practice specialises in disputes concerning the validity of wills, trusts, and proprietary estoppel claims. Lauren Day, who leads the team, regularly works on complex trusts and wills disputes. Other key figures within the practice include Victoria Riddleston, who is noted for her ability to advise clients on a wide range of disputes, including claims under the Inheritance Act 1975. Daniel Flynn joined the team from Moore Barlow in February 2023, while Luke Foot joined from Lester Aldridge LLP the following month.

Practice head(s):

Lauren Day

Other key lawyers:


‘Victoria Riddleston is a true professional in her area of business. Her calm, professional and reassuring manner is second to none. The advice she gives is precise and fills me with gratitude that she is assisting me. I am kept up-to-date when relevant, and she always delivers what she says she will.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable and proficient in dealing with complex, contentious probate claims.’

‘Lauren Day has been absolutely exceptional throughout a long and challenging case.’

‘Victoria Riddleston has been an immense support. She is someone who truly believes in and has a passion for what she does.’

‘The team undertakes complex and multi-faceted matters which cover more than one practice area, such as contentious probate with a Court of Protection element.’

‘Victoria Riddleston is thorough, attends to detail, and has a real grasp of the complexities of contentious probate and Court of Protection matters. Her advice is pragmatic and sensible, taking into account the particularities of the individual case. She is a pleasure to work with and does her utmost to achieve excellent results for her clients.’

Work highlights

Private client > Family Tier 2

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP‘s family and fertility department draws high praise from clients, who describe it as the ‘go-to firm on the south coast and a big player in London’. The team coves the full spectrum of family law issues, including pensions, foreign assets, pre-nuptial agreements, and international child abduction disputes. Both Deborah Leask and Sean McNally lead the practice. Leask has over 30 years of experience dealing with all aspects of family law, with a specific focus on complex financial disputes. McNally, meanwhile, is recommended for his expertise in complex contentious financial cases. Other names to note include Katie Taft, who focuses on international relocation of children matters.    

Practice head(s):

Deborah Leask; Sean McNally

Other key lawyers:

Katie Taft; Ian Butterworth; Georgina Emerson


‘Complete professionalism from the most senior partner to the most junior associate. Ellis Jones are clearly a tight knit, effective and very happy team.’

‘Sean McNally’s wealth of experience is reassuring to clients and he offers pragmatic advice. Deborah Leask has a fantastic ability to forensically dissect complex issues and only focus on what is relevant. Lauren Harley has a great reassuring manner with clients and is a very safe pair of hands.’

‘Ellis Jones are trailblazers in family law in the South West. They are exceptionally talented in terms of both legal knowledge, procedure, but also with case management. The family team are all extremely adept in getting to the heart of the issues quickly and providing clients with excellent advice that ensures they are able to achieve a quick and effective resolution or alternatively a well prepared case for court.’

‘Ellis Jones have a formidable reputation in the Dorset area. They provide robust advice and representation reflecting in the high quality of work produced.’

Katie Taft is a practitioner whose career has simply excelled far beyond her years. She is able to deliver clear, sensible advice while leaving no stone unturned.’

‘The go-to firm on the south coast and a big player in London. The team is smart, hugely experienced and very able. They are friendly and calming but, at the same time, really get their heads down and push for their clients.’

‘Ellis Jones have very good strength in depth in the provision of financial remedy on divorce work and are particularly boosted by the presence of team head Deborah Leask in their ranks. Ian Butterworth also provides a good layer of junior partner contribution to the team’s reputation.’

One of the best regarded and experienced family teams on the south coast.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a father (F) in a complex private children matter; F made an urgent application for a PSO (prevent the children being removed from Dorset), SIO (the children to be returned to Dorset) and CAO for shared care of the children.
  • Acted for the respondent father in international child abduction proceedings in the High Court of Justice.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

The team at Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP has been praised for their ‘thoughtful, incisive, friendly – but tough – advice.’ The practice has expertise in will writing, estate planning, estate administration, and is highly regarded for its trust expertise. Department head Carla Brown is noted for her extensive experience in advising high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on estate and tax planning. Beverley Randall joined the team from Laceys in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Carla Brown

Other key lawyers:

Andy Kirby; Christopher Pemberton


‘The consistency, professional confidence and competence of individuals of all levels from support administrators, juniors to partners is what impresses, retains me and increases the volume of work I instruct. All matters relating to wills, probate, trusts, conveyancing, taxation, estate planning have been addressed and executed with professional diligence and delivered in timely manner without errors or redundant work.’

‘Careful, polite in depth analysis.’

‘Thoughtful, incisive, friendly – but tough – advice.’

‘The personal tax, trusts and probate team have the technical knowledge to met all personal and private client needs. They have the advantage of having a local presence and have exceptional expertise in the area.’

‘Carla Brown is exceptional in her knowledge and client care. She is not afraid to tackle complex technical and family matters. I would never hesitate to recommend Carla to my clients.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a businessman and his family and network of advisers to provide holistic estate and inheritance tax planning advice.
  • Advised on the administration of a large estate for a long-standing client, leading to multiple other matters for the children.
  • Acted in case of apparent financial abuse by carer, involving prolific spending on client’s debit card in the three months pre-death, as well as safeguarding issues due to suspected physical neglect.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 3

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP is engaged by clients on a number of corporate transactions and commercial matters, including joint ventures and MBOs. Neil Cook leads the practice and has a particular specialism in the acquisition and disposal of care homes for regional and national clients, in addition to his broad expertise in the financial services sector. Hugh Craig retired in April 2022.

Practice head(s):

Neil Cook

Other key lawyers:

Wayne Spolander


‘The Ellis Jones team are very personable, regardless of the nature of the type of work to be undertaken. All matters are dealt with quickly and with full transparency regarding progress.’

‘Wayne Spolander stands out, he is exceptional. Extremely proficient with his attention to detail, descriptions and translations of meanings and consequence of matters involved.’

‘Good, straightforward advice.’

‘Neil Cook is good to deal with, commercially minded and with sound advice.’

‘The personal service of the staff and partners make it feel like a more friendly service than I have experienced with other law firms.’

Key clients

Luxurycare Group Limited

W. H. White Limited (WHE)

Canford Renewable Energy Limited (CRE)

Muston Capital Limited

The Buyer of H.P. Transport (Garages) Limited

The MBO team purchasing Jade-Aden limited

The Seller of Little Brook House Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Luxurycare Group on its purchase of Kingsman House and refinance of £19m of debt and a major corporate restructuring.
  • Advised Linda Scott on the sale of Little Brook House, a specialist dementia care business, for £2.5m.
  • Advised W. H. White Limited on a restructuring of its group of operating companies.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 4

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP‘s ‘well-resourced’ property litigation department sits within the firm’s dispute resolution team and is active in matters ranging from business lease renewals and restrictive covenant disputes through to property insolvency litigation. Practice head Lauren Day is well placed to advise on contractual disputes on behalf of property developer clients. Conor Maher and Florence Newton are further key contacts in the Bournemouth-based team.

Practice head(s):

Lauren Day

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm has excellent coverage for the property sector, including the complete process of purchase, development, conveyancing and management of property.’

‘The teams are well resourced, with a good mix of partners and more junior fee earners. They work well together and you get the impression that it is a happy ship.’

‘Lauren Day is excellent. She combines great subject matter knowledge, with a natural ease of delivery. Her advice is communicated in straightforward terms.’

‘The team has a strong land practice, dealing frequently with freehold covenants, easements and disputes over boundaries.’

‘Most of Ellis Jones’ work is of a local nature, but that also puts them in a particularly strong position when it comes to litigating over the meaning of freehold covenants that are commonly imposed in the area.’

Florence Newton is a junior of member of staff having qualified relatively recently. She is confident, great with clients and has a good grasp of property law in particular.’

‘Florence Newton is an exceptional and diligent solicitor.’


Key clients

Robert Spedding

Work highlights

  • Represented an individual in a highly successful judicial review application within the reported case of R (Spedding) v Wilsthore Council [2022].

The firm: Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP is a leading independent law firm located in Dorset and Hampshire in the South of England and in London. The firm offers a wide range of services to individuals and businesses, with a focus on SME and owner managed businesses.

Ellis Jones prides itself on delivering excellence and professionalism with personality. They have been recognised in The Times Best Law Firms 2020 and are ranked year on year in The Legal 500 and listed in the Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide.

Principal areas of work
Commercial litigation: Ellis Jones Solicitors’ commercial litigation team has a wealth of experience advising businesses and individuals on a wide range of disputes. Its national reputation and wide-ranging referral network sees it act for SMEs, charities and individuals across a range of complex and high-value disputes.

Comprising of 19 lawyers, the team incorporates dispute resolution (Tier 1 The Legal 500 2022), banking and finance litigation, and contentious insolvency. It is headed by partners William Fox Bregman, Lauren Day (Leading Individual The Legal 500 2022),  Paul Kanolik (Key Lawyer The Legal 500 2022) who has niche experience in bringing claims against betting companies, and senior associate Caroline Palacio, who has a wealth of experience in insolvency matters.

The team’s banking and finance offering has recovered in excess of £60m for clients since it was established in 2012 and the Firm has recovered over £3.8m from various betting operators in relation to gambling disputes over the last two years.

Family: The family department (Tier 2 The Legal 500 2022) is the largest team of family mediators/collaborative lawyers in Dorset, committed to achieving accreditation by Resolution (a national family lawyers’ association) through rigorous testing on legal, strategic and procedural knowledge. Partner Sean McNally is a collaborative lawyer and trained mediator with experience in handling a wide range of family law matters. Both Deborah Leask and Ian Butterworth are accredited specialists in complex high value financial cases and Deborah is also an accredited specialist in pensions.

Katie Taft and Claudie Paddick are accredited in the field of Child Abduction and Children Law and act for parents across the world in international child abduction. They are included on the highly specialist ICACU panel. Katie is also recognised by the charity “Reunite” as an expert in this field. Ian sits as a Deputy District Judge and is a member of the Resolution specialist accreditation committee which oversees the accreditation scheme nationwide.

Business services: The Ellis Jones business services team (Tier 3 The Legal 500 2022) offers technical and practical advice in corporate and general commercial work with a dedicated employment law team (Tier 2 The Legal 500 2022) led by partner Kate Brooks. Offering a solid blend of HR and traditional employment law services and is particularly regarded for work involving education and charity employers, as well as LGBT clients in discrimination cases. Specialist sectors include healthcare, E-commerce, IT, FCA regulated clients, academies and charities.

Neil Cook (partner and head of department) is dual qualified, having been admitted as a US Attorney in New York and as a result deals with International transactions. Neil has also owned a care home and is able to provide specialist advice to the healthcare sector. The team have worked with clients overseas in many jurisdictions.

Wills, trusts and probate: Partner, Carla Brown, heads the wills, trusts and probate department (Tier 3 The Legal 500 2022), highly regarded for its trust practice in particular, whilst also maintaining a very strong reputation for will writing, estate planning and estate administration. Carla was noted as “a master of her craft as a private client lawyer.”

The department handles a diverse range of needs to fit the requirements of high-net-worth individuals. Partner, Chris Pemberton, was noted in The Legal 500 2022 for his work with farmers and landed estates. Also within the department we have private client consultant, Andy Kirby, who specialises in estate and tax planning for HNW & UHNW clients referred almost exclusively from a large network of SJP and other financial advisers. Richard Smith joined the firm as a partner in 2021 and has a wide range of expertise including, wills, administration of estate, lasting powers of attorney.

Contentious trusts and probate: Awarded Tier 2 in The Legal 500 2022, the team’s work includes Inheritance Act claims, disputes concerning the validity of wills, estate and trust disputes, and proprietary estoppel claims. Lauren Day and Victoria Riddleston have been named as key lawyers in The Legal 500 (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022), and Victoria has been named as an Associate to Watch in Chambers & Partners High Net Worth Guide for the last three years (2019, 2020 and 2021).  The Contentious Trusts and Probate team has four specialist lawyers, with the quality and expertise of the team being described as “second to none”.

Property: Ellis Jones are experts in both commercial and residential property. The commercial property team (Tier 3 The Legal 500 2022) offer specialist advice in residential and commercial redevelopment, as well as property acquisitions and management. Partner Tim Sharpley has expertise in restrictive covenants and acts for a wide range of clients from management companies and land owners to large regional house builders with multi-million pound projects.

Partner Matthew Clake was recognised in The Legal 500  2022 for approaching his volume of work with “humour, professionalism and innovation” and is highly regarded for his technical knowledge and proactive approach.

Partner Richard Tombs has 30 years experience covering most aspects of commercial and residential property legal work. The firm also has expert residential conveyancing lawyers who offer a first class service and specialise in all types of residential freehold and leasehold sales and purchases, ranging from first-time buyers to multi-million pound transactions.

Personal injury: This highly qualified team deal with accident at work claims, road traffic and cycling claims, military personnel claims and clinical negligence. Partner and head of department David McWilliam has over 20 years experience in the field and sits on the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel illustrating his expertise.

Further niche services comprise crime, insolvency, regulatory law, LGBT+ services, sports law, intellectual property, betting, gambling and gaming, and fertility law including surrogacy (domestic and international), this service is one that very few law firms provide both nationally and internationally.

  • Managing partner: Nigel Smith
  • Number of partners: 19
  • Number of fee-earners:  67
Department Name Email Telephone
Managing Partner Nigel Smith nigel.smith@ellisjones.co.uk 01202 525333
Dispute Resolution Lauren Day lauren.day@ellisjones.co.uk 01202 525333
Banking & Finance Litigation William Fox Bregman william.foxbregman@ellisjones.co.uk 01202 525333
Partners : 19
Fee Earners : 67
Motor Accident Solicitors Society
Association of Tax Technicians
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)