Firm Profile > Gardner Leader LLP > Maidenhead, England

Gardner Leader LLP

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 1

Gardner Leader LLP's 'care and consideration of clients in distressing circumstances is second to none'. With a full service private client team, much of the work is multi-jurisdictional, including advising on domicile and other international estate planning issues. Practice head Jolyon Barton manages large estates, often on behalf of high profile public figures, preparing wills, LPAs and discretionary trusts. Robert Jobson operates a broad practice and acts as a trustee for complex high-value family trusts. Penny Wright advises the elderly and those with capacity issues. Senior associate Niamh Minihane leads the Inheritance Protection team in the Maidenhead office.

Practice head(s):


Solicitors who add value rather than process instructions of clients. They always challenge preconceived ideas of what steps should be taken.’

‘On the basis that technical knowledge is a given, it is Jo Barton’s bedside manner that sets him apart. His style is very calm and reassuring, which is appreciated. He deals with the legal and emotional aspects exceptionally well.’

They balance human care and empathy with providing the very best advice, adapted to each client’s need, their background and stage of life. I particularly respect the team and the practice for becoming Dementia Friends.’

Penny Wright has a caring, calmness to her whole demeanour, which acts to dissipate high emotion and bring focus to client meetings in a kind manner. She acts to advise, but also support clients emotionally to reach decisions most appropriate to them.’

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Gardner Leader LLP advises charitable trusts, royal charter companies, community benefit societies both nationally and in the Newbury area. It also advises start-ups, independent schools, and faith-based charities on charity formation and registration, regulatory compliance, dispute resolution, and Charities Act compliance. Practice head Alastair Goggins regularly acts in contentious matters involving trust disputes including validity, financial provision, and the removal of trustees. Diane Yarrow advises on constitutional and governance issues, mergers and restructurings. Penny Wright advises charities on compliance with the requirements of the Charities Act. Richard Buckeridge also comes recommended.

Practice head(s):


‘Joined-up thinking and team-working.’

‘The whole team functions smoothly and efficiently, from the reception area through to the partners. They are friendly, responsive and efficient, offering sound advice and support.

‘This firm always behaves in a professional but friendly manner. They have a range of staff who have expertise in the many varied aspects of life’s problems.’

‘Penny Wright is exceptional in her manner, knowledge and efficiency. She is proactive and looks at problems from every angle before offering advice, which is invariably accurate. She listens and summarises problems very coherently.’

Key clients

British Skin Foundation

Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) Ltd

Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

Gardner Leader LLP provides 'legal expertise far above its station', advising a mix of private and corporate clients in corporate and commercial disputes as well as civil fraud. 'No-nonsense litigator' Chris Felton focuses on complex, multi jurisdiction litigation and international arbitration at a commercial and interstate level. Michelle Di Gioia advises on shareholder and director disputes. Alastair Goggins leads the disputes team, while Maidenhead-based senior associate Michael Axe is recommended. Noor Kadhim joined the firm in 2019 and brings rare expertise in contentious art law.  

Practice head(s):


The personal touch of having a small practice which is transparent and quick to respond.

Chris Felton is a match for any City litigator.’

The team is very committed to the cases in which they are instructed. Somehow they always find the time to fully deal with and concentrate on the matters at hand. Cases are dealt with in a cost-conscious manner, regardless of the quantum involved.’

Michelle Di Gioia – great communicator and tactician with excellent clients

Chris Felton is an inventive and knowledgeable partner, who at all times is on top of his case.’

They punch above their weight in terms of the quality of work they undertake and their responsiveness is second to none.’

Michael Axe has an excellent knowledge of franchising, he also has a very commercial outlook and can match the legal aspects of the case with the requirements of the business.’


Key clients

Managed Legal Solutions Limited

Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

Gardner Leader LLP advises on complex acquisitions and financing arrangements, investments, joint ventures, commercial leasing and extensive development projects from its Newbury and Maidenhead offices. In Newbury, Greg Humphreys leads the team and has particular experience in advice relating to property transactions for restaurant businesses; Suki Hardy's experience encompasses acquisitions, disposals, leasing and development of land. In Maidenhead, Richard Buckeridge is 'honest, respectful and understanding' in advising on sales and purchases, property investment and management, leases and property-related commercial contracts. Joanna Bullard is also recommended.

Practice head(s):


The team at Gardner Leader were quick to understand the issues and highly pro-active and efficient throughout the whole sale process. They instilled a sense of confidence that they were always on the case and acting in my best interests.’

Good team support given in a number of areas relating to the sale of business and farmland, with in-house specialists advising on complicated issues.’

Greg Humphreys’ is was excellent to deal with and handles all matters very quickly, with clear communication throughout. He is very knowledgeable and uses his vast experience to find the most suitable solutions.

Key clients

Rivar Limited

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

The team at Gardner Leader LLP has a track record of work advising clients on the validity of wills for multimillion-pound estates, Court of Protection matters, and matters involving negligent executors, especially in regards to appearances in the High Court. Practice leader Alastair Goggins , a 'stand-out legal and tactical analyst', is an expert in contentious matters involving will and trust disputes, estoppel claims, and the removal of executors and trustees.

Practice head(s):


Gardner Leader is a growing regional practice with a strong contentious trust and probate practice led by Alastair Goggins. He is an experienced and empathetic lawyer who knows the area well.’

Alastair Goggins is friendly and professional, a great communicator, and I admire his moral principles. He makes time for clients and he says it as it is.’

Alistair Goggins is a very impressive litigator. His analytical skills are extremely good. He is calm under pressure, gives measured and sound advice to clients. This is a department that punches far above its weight and matches many central London firms in its service.’

Alistair Goggins is a stand-out legal and tactical analyst.

‘Gardner Leader has an extremely good contentious trust and probate team, headed by the excellent and very experienced Alastair Goggins. The team combines a thorough knowledge of the relevant law (in a highly technical area) with a good feel for the practical and commercial realities of a case. Their client handling is excellent. They have dealt with some very interesting and high profile cases in recent years. They also benefit from being one specialist team within a larger firm, which gives clients ready access to expert advice in other relevant areas such as property and corporate law.’

Alastair Goggins is a first-class lawyer, with a wealth of experience. He has a detailed knowledge of the technical law, an excellent feel for negotiation and litigation tactics and he gives good clear advice based on the commercial realities of the client’s situation. He is confident and efficient, and has a very good relationship with his clients.’

There is strength and depth to each team. All members of the team are friendly and approachable and experts in their field.

Alastair Goggins has great experience in inheritance dispute work. He is approachable and respectful of his clients and guides them well through the legal process.’

Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

The 'professional and diligent' team at Gardner Leader LLP offers the full breadth of family law advice on issues including divorce, pre/post nuptial agreements, public and private children law matters and Schedule 1  Children's Act mandates. Seona Myerscough leads the practices and is a 'great ally' to her clients;  she has a particular specialism in acting for adolescents and young people within the care process.  Newly-promoted partner Simon Fisher  has considerable experience in mid to high net value financial matters, often involving complex assets and international elements. Jenny Buchanan  is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘Committed to providing constructive support to those going through the difficult time of divorce or separation.

‘Simon Fisher has been outstanding. He has guided me through the entire process. It has not been easy at all, with hidden assets and  property outside of jurisdiction but he has been exemplary in his approach and has treated my family and myself with great respect and sensitivity. I have recommended him to family and friends who have been given the same impeccable service.’

The team were friendly, approachable and demonstrated good communication between departments. I needed both the family law and conveyancing departments to act on my behalf. I felt assured that these departments worked well together and alongside each other.

‘Seona Myerscough is highly professional and sensitive to the underlying issues that often affect parents within public law proceedings. She can therefore be clear about expectations, while remaining respectful of families.

‘No matter the work, they are open, honest, able to look at the longer term goals and guide appropriately with tact. The communication across the firm and out to clients is first rate whatever the situation.

‘Simon Fisher offers a unique blend of pro-active and empathetic support and is not afraid to think outside the box to find constructive proposals, which are equitable and sustainable. Simon is committed to achieving this in a non-confrontational manner and always mindful of the needs of his clients.

Health and safety Tier 2

Gardner Leader LLP 's health & safety team advises high-profile corporate clients on a full range of compliance, risk management and litigation matters. The team regularly advises on regulatory issues, as well as acting for clients in investigations and prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive. Practice head Michelle Di Gioia is one of the preeminent names in the region, and advises a number of  longstanding construction and manufacturing clients on a full range of issues.

Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant Tier 3

Gardner Leader LLP's clinical negligence practice advises on the full spectrum of matters for clients, with specialisms in fatalities and inquests work, led by litigator Alistair Goggins. The team also includes senior associate Andrew Shipp, who has over twenty years of experience acting in personal injury matters and is recommended for claims involving mental health injuries in the workplace.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Property litigation Tier 3

Increasingly acting for commercial landlords, Gardner Leader LLP's property litigation team specialises in mortgage repossession claims. The wider litigation team is led by Alastair Goggins, while Michelle Di Gioia heads up the property litigation sub-group. Notable recent work includes defending a respondent in the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber in a case of adverse possession.

Other key lawyers:


Gardner Leader is a strong and growing regional firm with several property litigation specialists amongst its number. The solicitors there are friendly, well-informed and efficient.

I have worked frequently with Alastair Goggins, Michelle di Gioia and Andrew Shipp in Gardner Leader’s property disputes team. All of them are first-rate, good lawyers and commercially savvy and a pleasure to work with.

Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 4

Gardner Leader LLP operates in a 'commercial and uncomplicated manner', advising start-ups, owner-managed businesses and investors. Greg Humphreys leads the team and is experienced in matters involving retail, industrial, licensed, leisure and office premises, supported by Diane Yarrow and Derek Rodgers.

Practice head(s):


A very well balanced and complementary range of specialities. They always respond very promptly and are good at anticipating issues before they arise.’

Diane Yarrow is the partner I recommend most. She embodies the qualities I need to ensure my clients will be in excellent hands.’

Having worked with a large number of legal firms over my career, what sets Gardner Leader apart from most is the commercial and uncomplicated manner in which they communicate.’

Diane Yarrow is a great lawyer and easy to work with on transactions. She takes the time to understand the requirements of the transaction and works to get the outcome that both parties desire whilst protecting her own particular client.’

The team is organised, communicates effectively and knows a good network of third parties to help with advice.’

Key clients

Pomroy & Hine Limited

J & J Carter Limited

Team Technologies Limited

One SightSolutions Limited

Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) Limited

Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 4

Gardner Leader LLP assists with all employment matters, including complex litigation and senior executive exits. Senior associate Julie Taylor  is the sole practitioner and specialises in discrimination claims and technical TUPE disputes. Former co-lead Michelle Morgan  departed for Shoosmiths LLP in 2019

Practice head(s):


Julie Taylor responded quickly to our needs and supported us throughout. She was reassuring and understanding, listened with care and empathy and delivered the information and advice we needed. She was at all times totally professional and I would have no hesitation in approaching Julie again for advice, and probably will!

The emphasis is on being personal. They have worked hard to make a connection with local businesses. There is a high level of care and attention and you feel that the team wants to help you.’

I am always impressed by the standard of service and communication provided by the employment team. I have worked with Julie Taylor for a number of years on a variety of employment matters. I particularly value that Julie always responds promptly to my enquiries and trust her to provide her advice in the context of the bigger picture.’

Very thorough and you can always trust that they take the time to understand the situation before providing practical and realistic advice.’



Corporate and commercial: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 1

Swindon firm Clark Holt was recently acquired by Gardner Leader LLP. The corporate team is led by Philip Humphreys, specialising in M&A, management buy-outs (MBOs) and reorganisations, as well as shareholders’ agreements. The group advises a mixture of regional, national and international clients, with Joe Lewis able to draw on experience in listings and fundraisings.

Practice head(s):


Professional, honest, pragmatic firm who deliver.’

A small but highly specialised team focused on their core areas of corporate transactions and commercial matters.’

The team is partner led, providing a truly personal and bespoke service to clients.’

The key partners provide a wealth of expertise from many years working within the legal sector. Key contacts on the corporate side include Philip Humphreys, James Thorpe and Joe Lewis. The partners are all highly responsive to client needs and really take time to understand the commercial aspects and drivers.’

Key clients

Absolute Antibody

ACORD Solutions Group


Amberjack Global

Argentum Apothecary


Business West


Cordell Health

Ford Fuels

Gorilla Spirits

Gurr Johns

IDP Connect

IDT Biologika

Imperial Business Systems

JNP Group

Jonas Computing (UK)

KAM Project Consultants



Michel Roux Snr

MRG Systems

Orangebox Group

Outsource UK


Saietta Group

Seak Global

Solverboard (Ignition DG)

Strategic Maintenance Planning

Venture Harbour

Gardner Leader LLP offers the full range of legal support giving clients trust, value and peace of mind with specialist teams across commercial, residential property, family, dispute resolution and inheritance protection. Gardner Leader has been at the heart of the Berkshire community for over 120 years, with offices across the Thames Valley area. Typical clients are individuals and businesses across and beyond Thames Valley ranging from first time buyers and start-ups to venture capital funds, charities and PLCs.

In 2017, Gardner Leader were proud to be the winner of The Maidenhead & Windsor Business Awards Best SME award and shortlisted for Fast growing business award. They were also shortlisted for The Law Society’s Excellence Award for Law Management, The LawNet Law Firm of the Year Award and Team of the Year Award (Litigation) and were runner-up in The British Legal Technology Team of the Year.

Practice areas
Corporate and commercial: Giving support to businesses in the region and beyond, with corporate commercial matters including mergers and acquisitions, restructuring and reorganisation, lending and refinancing and commercial contracts.

Commercial property:The team assist with the full range of commercial property issues and act for a wide variety of national and independent clients on matters including site acquisitions for development, re-financing work and acquisitions and disposals of shops, offices and factories.

Employment: The firm act for individuals and businesses, including representing employees in the employment tribunal and in negotiating settlements. They also work with employers to update contracts and policies, manage HR issues, such as redundancy exercises, performance management, grievance and disciplinary procedures.

Dispute resolution: Gardner Leader represent a wide range of clients from individuals to large organisations in litigious matters and aim to make the process as smooth as possible, whilst achieving the best outcome for their client. Litigation might be around a commercial, property or personal dispute or perhaps in relation to probate issues brought by beneficiaries including family members or charitable beneficiaries.

Managing risk and reputation: Whether due to planned events or unforeseen crisis such as a health and safety incident, clients may on occasion require an adviser to help mitigate against adverse outcomes. The team recognise the value of reputation and work proactively to ensure reputation remains protected. Reputational risk may also be required if an employee has been accused of a criminal offence, and in this regard we are able to offer expertise, reputation and discretion.

Family: Experts in taking clients through often what is a difficult time and tenacious in pursuit of clients’ interests, the team give peace of mind that everything will be done to get the best outcome. The team can advise in relation to pre-nuptial and co-habitating agreements and deal with cases involving complex assets and overseas interests/parties.

Inheritance protection: Whether you are considering making your own Will, need advice on assisting a relative in making one, or are currently dealing with an Estate of a deceased loved one, the legal considerations and processes involved can be complex and daunting. Gardner Leader can give you the information and support you need, offering specialist help.

Residential property: The team enjoy working with clients to achieve timely completions, whilst ensuring all issues have been checked and addressed. The team train others on topics such as top tips for first time buyers and tips for those buying property to let.

Department Name Email Telephone
Corporate Commercial Greg Humphreys 01635 508181
Dispute Resolution Alastair Goggins 01635 508127
Personal tax, trusts and probate Jolyon Barton 01635 508143
Charities and not-for-profit Alastair Goggins 01635 508127
International Arbitration Chris Felton 01635 508128
Commercial Litigation Chris Felton 01635 508128
Commercial Property Greg Humphreys 01635 508181
Contentious trusts and probate Alastair Goggins 01635 508127
Property Litigation Michelle Di Gioia 01635 508141
Health and Safety Michelle Di Gioia 01635 508141
Employment Julie Taylor 01635 508181
Crime Stephen Bennett 01628 502886
Family Seona Myerscough 01635 508192
Photo Name Position Profile
 Michael Axe  photo Michael Axe Michael Axe is a Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution Team based…
 Stephen Bennett  photo Stephen Bennett Stephen is a Consultant based in the Maidenhead office. With a strong…
 Richard Buckeridge  photo Richard Buckeridge Richard is the former senior partner of Heath Buckeridge Solicitors Limited which…
 Stephanie Buckeridge  photo Stephanie Buckeridge Stephanie is a Senior Associate at Gardner Leader. She is based in…
 Hannah Davies  photo Hannah Davies Hannah Davies is a Senior Associate in our Corporate & Commercial Team.…
 Simon Fisher  photo Simon Fisher
 Shipla Khanum  photo Shipla Khanum Shipla Khanum is a Solicitor in the Corporate & Commercial Team. Shipla…
 Hilary Messer  photo Hilary Messer Hilary Messer is a Senior Associate at Gardner Leader in the Dispute…
 Niamh Minihane  photo Niamh Minihane Niamh is a Partner at Gardner Leader in the Inheritance Protection Team.…
 Kathryn Tarry  photo Kathryn Tarry Kathryn joined Gardner Leader in December 2013 as a Consultant.  She began…
 Diane Yarrow  photo Diane Yarrow Diane is a Partner at Gardner Leader in the Commercial team. She…
Number of partners : 30
Number of other qualified solicitors : 38

CLIENT: Verified client
TESTIMONIAL: We were very happy with the service provided by Michelle. She had a professional approach and a good understanding of our requirements and expectations with a productive approach. (Michelle Di Gioia, Partner, Property Litigation & Health and Safety)

CLIENT: Verified client
TESTIMONIAL: Thanks to your reassurance, hard work and expertise. I am more than happy with the way things have worked out. (Alastair Goggins, Partner, Dispute Resolution, Contentious trusts and probate & Charities and not-for-profit)

CLIENT: Verified client
TESTIMONIAL: Your honesty, integrity and compassion have been outstanding throughout such a difficult case. (Alastair Goggins, Partner, Dispute Resolution, Contentious trusts and probate & Charities and not-for-profit)

CLIENT: Verified client
TESTIMONIAL: Both Gardner Leader in general and Julie are very efficient, I feel when dealing with you, we are coming to seasoned professionals who do things properly and am reassured that we have a serious law firm stood behind us. (Julie Taylor, Partner, Employment)

CLIENT: Verified client
TESTIMONIAL: Gardner Leader continues to provide reassuring advice in whatever category we require at the time. Thank you! (Jolyon Barton, Partner, Personal tax, trusts and probate)

CLIENT: Arash Peyami
TESTIMONIAL: Your professionalism and ability to communicate in a language we understand is unparalleled. (Diane Yarrow, Partner, Corporate Commercial)

At Gardner Leader, we are proud of the diversity that runs through the firm and we value the importance of it, both internally and externally. The firm recently undertook a diversity survey to understand the breadth of people that are employed at Gardner Leader. We are very proud that 78% of the employees are female whilst also boasting a wide age range with a strong mix of junior and senior level employees.

As such, the firm continually look to the future, hiring paralegals, trainee solicitors and graduates on a regular basis, helping them to further develop their careers in the legal sector.

Gardner Leader have been at the heart of Berkshire for over 125 years and supporting the community has always been important. We are proud to regularly support our local community in many different events and festivals, such as Thatcham Summer Festival, Newbury Spring Festival and Henley Royal Regatta.

We are also very proud of the charity work the firm and its employees are involved in throughout the financial year. A firm-wide vote is taken place every spring to select a ‘charity of the year’ from charities which have been nominated by employees. Annual charities supported since 2014 include Naomi House, Newbury District Cancer Care Trust, Bloodwise, Swings and Smiles and Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Running throughout our financial year from July, employees have been involved in many different fundraising activities, including: clothing and toy donations, Bake Off-style competitions, silent auctions and, most recently, a group of employees completed a sponsored skydive, as well as many other activities. Since 2014, employees and clients of Gardner Leader have raised in excess of £30,000.00.

This spring, the firm selected Thames Valley Air Ambulance as our next ‘charity of the year’. Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team are working on upcoming fundraising events, including one employee
running the London Marathon.

We are also proud that five of our Partners are Trustees for local and national charities, with many more employees involved in charities on a personal level.
Gardner Leader also has an Environmental Group that looks at ways we can further improve the firm’s impact on the environment. Employees are encouraged to go paperless wherever possible and striving to source ethical office products and suppliers. Once again, work we have done with our local community is very important to the firm as we endeavour to support local environmental initiatives whenever we can.

CLIENT: Verified Client
TESTIMONIAL: “As a ‘blended’ family we have been in the unenviable position of needing a significant amount of legal advice regarding family matters. Having used other firms in the past, both my husband and I have chosen to rely on Gardner Leader, in particular on Stephanie Buckeridge, to advise and lead on these matters. The firm has represented us for a number of years and we could not be more impressed or thankful for the personalised support we have received. In every case we have achieved an outcome which truly reflects the best interests of our (combined) four children.”

Stephanie Buckeridge
Senior Associate, Family

CLIENT: Verified Client
TESTIMONIAL: “I needed some advice regarding how to process the estate of a friend who passed away without a next of kin and Lucy Butcher in their Probate team was so helpful and supportive. She explained the options available and how to proceed. I would highly recommend Gardner Leader.”

Lucy Butcher
Senior Associate, Personal Tax, Trusts And Probate

CLIENT: Verified Client
TESTIMONIAL: “I found everyone involved very friendly and helpful I understood the legal jargon because it was explained in layman terms and could always communicate with everyone with no trouble.”

Alastair Goggins
Partner, Contentious Trusts and Probate

CLIENT: Verified Client
TESTIMONIAL: “Andrew was very good at explaining the legal issues to us and helping us manage our expectations during a very stressful time.”

Andrew Shipp
Partner, Commercial Litigation

CLIENT: Verified Client
TESTIMONIAL: “Excellent service from Penny Wright. Thorough and efficient, would happily recommend again.”

Penny Wright,
Partner, Personal Tax, Trusts And Probate & Charity

CLIENT: Verified Client
TESTIMONIAL: “Simon, magnificently supported by Kerry, made a potentially difficult situation very straightforward, even though the delays within the court system caused by the pandemic.”

Simon Fisher,
Partner, Family