Firm Profile > Gardner Leader LLP > Maidenhead, England

Gardner Leader LLP

Health and safety Tier 1

Headed by Michelle Di Gioia, the team at Gardner Leader LLP handles all matters related to health and safety, including compliance, risk management and litigation. The full-service practice is well placed to advise on regulatory issues as well representing client in investigations and prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executives. The team is particularly experienced in handling risks and health and safety offences in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Di Gioia

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Gardner Leader LLP’s expertise covers charity formations and registrations, governance and constitutional advice, corporate and commercial matters, regulatory and Charity Act compliance. From the Newbury office, Alastair Goggins leads a team which includes Penny Wright and Maidenhead-based Diane Yarrow who are experienced in all areas of charity law and have a strong focus on contentious probate, regulatory compliance and trading and commercial activities.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Goggins

Other key lawyers:


‘The team at Gardner Leader are head and shoulders above the other Berkshire-based firms in terms of response and track record in handling issues related to charity law.’

‘We found Gardner Leader to be efficient, knowledgeable, polite and understanding at all times. The partner responds to queries promptly, is patient in explaining things to us, and has taken the time to understand our needs.’

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

The dispute resolution practice at Gardner Leader LLP 'punches well above its weight' and regularly acts in multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation for a mix of private and corporate clients. Key figures include Michelle Di Gioia and senior associates Hilary Messer and Violetta M. Falla. Practice head Chris Felton is 'a safe pair of hands'.

Practice head(s):

Chris Felton

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Managed Legal Solutions

Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership

Swynson Limited

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

Gardner Leader LLP acts for a mix of developers, landlords and tenants in commercial, residential, retail and mixed-use developments. Practice head Greg Humphreys has notable expertise handling commercial transactions within the food and drink sector, while Suki Hardy is particularly active on acquisitions, dispositions, leasing and developments.  Richard Buckeridge is a name to note in Maidenhead.

Practice head(s):

Greg Humphreys


‘Gardner Leader have a wide range of knowledge and capabilities. They are always quick to respond and provide concise and straightforward advice’.

The team are recommended for their ability to respond quickly with a depth of experience and enthusiasm. Excellent local knowledge and pragmatic advice provided by all advisers.

Greg Humphreys handles all matters in a very professional way and is very engaged and knowledgeable.’

Suki Hardy is wholly engaged and extremely pragmatic.’

Richard Buckeridge acts promptly and efficiently. His advice and knowledge has been extremely helpful.


Key clients

Newbury Building Society

Pomroy & Hine Limited

J & J Carter Limited

Rivar Ltd

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Gardner Leader LLP's team 'combines friendliness with astuteness and a sensible approach to dispute resolution'. The group is sought out for advice on High Court and Court of Protection cases, with disputes involving capacity-related issues being a notable area of growth. Another hallmark of the team is its strong record of defending not-for-profit entities as beneficiaries of legacies or residual beneficiaries of estates. Practice head Alastair Goggins is 'exceptional in his honesty'.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Goggins


What makes the team different is the way it interacts with the client; no problem is too silly or remote and the lawyers work hard to find a balanced solution. They also have excellent communication skills in this regard‘.

From the point of view of a charity client, this is an extremely good firm to work with as it is able to address the particular needs of the sector‘.

Gardner Leader has a strong and efficient private client team; it has been involved in a number of high-profile and technically complex contentious probate and trust cases‘.

The team members combine technical legal ability with commercial common sense and they work hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for their clients‘.

This is a specialist team within a substantial firm which has broad expertise in numerous areas, from family to corporate law, which ensures that clients receive comprehensive advice on all aspects of their case‘.

The team is exceptionally honest and diligent in its work and remains unphased and calm in the face of ‘dirty tactics’ sometimes used by other firms‘.

The team listens to its clients and take their thoughts on board, but will still provide an honest and balanced opinion, explaining clearly and logically why they may have a different view as to the best course of action‘.

Alastair Goggins applies a reasoned approach to his cases; clients respond really well to him as he navigates them through complex issues and explains things carefully to them so they can make informed decisions on their case‘.

As someone from the charity sector, I am always grateful for how socially conscious the team are and how they are open to giving an initial steer to charity clients pro bono‘.

The stand-out member of the team is Alastair Goggins‘.

Alastair is a highly experienced and technically accomplished lawyer. He has a detailed knowledge of relevant law, provides practical and commercially sound advice and is a very effective litigator. In addition, he has a relaxed and friendly approach which puts clients at ease‘.

I had the absolute pleasure of working with Alastair Goggins, who was exceptionally sensitive to my situation and extremely supportive of my family and the challenges we faced‘.

Alastair’s approach to my case was always utterly professional, even when faced with some very difficult challenges that arose from the actions of the counterparty‘.

Alastair always managed to put my mind at rest and sensitively acknowledged the emotional distress that my family were going through‘.

Alastair Goggins was determined to ensure justice was served; his diligence, tenacity, honesty and integrity throughout the process was the key factor in winning the case‘.

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

Gardner Leader LLP has a ‘solid reputation’ for divorce, financial settlements and matrimonial work. Jenny Buchanan and department head Seona Myerscough’s practice spans the core aspects of family law and financial matters; Myerscough is especially well-known for her experience in matters concerning children within the care process and child arrangement cases. Suzy Hamshaw and Simon Fisher are also a names to note for divorce proceedings, preparation of pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements.

Practice head(s):

Seona Myerscough


Suzy and Jenny are a formidable team – they are exceptionally professional whilst being empathetic and patient. ‘

The team are meticulous about matching clients’ needs with the right path to desired outcomes, such as mediation, court applications, ADR or conciliation meaning better client satisfaction.’

Seona Myerscough – I value her professionalism and ability to remain balanced and calm during very complex proceedings. Gives good balanced advice.’

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

Gardner Leader LLP’s ‘vastly experienced’ private client team have notable strengths in helping high-net-worth clients in tax planning, often with a cross-border element and utilising its experience negotiating with HM Revenue & Customs. Other areas of expertise include inheritance tax, international estate planning and powers of attorney and Court of Protection work. Jolyon Barton's practice spans inheritance tax and capital gains tax mitigation, wills drafting, trusts and their use in tax planning, administration of estates and lasting powers of attorney. Robert Jobson is noted for his skills in establishing and administering trusts, while Penny Wright is recommended for tax planning, wills, incapacity and probate issues. Richard Mead and Kathryn Tarry are also of note for estate planning and administration. Senior associate Niamh Minihane specialises in will drafting and related inheritance tax planning.

Practice head(s):

Jolyon Barton


The private client team has a good reputation and gives a good, personal service to its clients.’

Penny Wright always offers good, sympathetic service often in situations that require sensitivity- she makes every client feel understood and cared about.’

Jo Barton, Robert Jobson and Richard Mead in the private client team are highly recommended. They are all vastly experienced, give a personal service and are excellent at communicating with their clients in a way they can understand without diluting any technical issues.’

Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 3

Gardner Leader LLP's 'sensible and practical' clinical negligence group covers the full range of medical negligence matters, with a particular emphasis on fatalities and inquest claims. Practice head Alastair Goggins, who is noted for his 'whip-sharp advice', has expertise in maternal and infant birth complications and injuries. Senior associate Andrew Shipp handles complex claims involving mental health.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Goggins

Other key lawyers:


‘Alastair Goggins is very efficient, very competent, very knowledgeable, and has good judgment and charming people skills.’

‘Alastair Goggins reflects the strengths of his team, delivering cogent advice and practical solutions that put the client first.’

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

Gardner Leader LLP handles a broad range of corporate and commercial matters on behalf of start-ups, owner-managed businesses and investors. Recent matters include advising on cross-border sales and acquisitions, shareholder agreements and commercial arrangements.  Greg Humphreys, Diane Yarrow and recent hire Michal Freeman-Shor are the main advisers.

Practice head(s):

Greg Humphreys

Other key lawyers:


‘Gardner Leader are always very responsive and understanding of issues presented to them.’

The corporate team are responsive, smart, thorough and go the extra mile for their clients.

Diane Yarrow takes the time to understand the client’s business, products and customers with a genuine desire to uphold the clients values and ethics.’

Key clients

Henley Women’s Regatta Limited

Individual shareholders of Easy2Name Limited

Sight Solutions Limited

Team Technology Limited

Individual shareholders of Bright Bricks Limited

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

Gardner Leader LLP offers cross-departmental expertise and support in all areas of employment. The group has a strong focus on contentious matters, acting on behalf of senior executives and employers in negotiating settlement agreements and Tribunal representation. The practice is lead by senior associates Julie Taylor and Michelle Morgan.

Practice head(s):

Julie Taylor, Michelle Morgan


Visible and supportive presence in the local community. Excellent customer service, friendly, expert and approachable team.’

Julie Taylor consistently provides expert, pragmatic advice and an excellent, responsive service.

Property litigation Tier 4

The practitioners in Gardner Leader LLP's property litigation group demonstrate a 'high degree of competence and understanding'. It has recently had a notable increase in mandates from large companies, trusts and town councils. First Tier Tribunal claims and adverse possession claims are other areas of growth. The team also specialises in mortgage repossession work. Alastair Goggins heads up the broader litigation team. Michelle Di Gioia leads on the property litigation front.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Goggins; Michelle Di Gioia


Gardner Leader is a local firm with a national outlook; it is very well respected‘.

The team was easily accessible and always exhibited a timely responsiveness to case developments; its knowledge of statute and case law was truly impressive‘.

Key clients

Natures Way Foods Limited

Swynson Limited

Division One Limited

Rivar Limited

Lettings & Property Management Company

Mid Thames Area Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and friends Trust Limited

Real Estate Manager and Investor

Managed Legal Solutions

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 in Newbury, Thatcham and Maidenhead. 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.

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.

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
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
 Stephen Bennett  photo Stephen Bennett
 Richard Buckeridge  photo Richard Buckeridge
 Stephanie Buckeridge  photo Stephanie Buckeridge
 Hannah Davies  photo Hannah Davies
 Simon Fisher  photo Simon Fisher
 Noor Kadhim  photo Noor Kadhim
 Shipla Khanum  photo Shipla Khanum
 Hilary Messer  photo Hilary Messer
 Niamh Minihane  photo Niamh Minihane
 Kathryn Tarry  photo Kathryn Tarry
 Diane Yarrow  photo Diane Yarrow
Number of partners : 20
Number of other qualified solicitors : 31