Wollens > Torquay, England > Firm Profile

At Harbourside
67 The Terrace

Crime, fraud and licensing > Licensing Tier 2

At Wollens, contentious and advisory licensing matters are handled by Chris Hart and Jon Dunkley, respectively; the latter undertakes full advocacy services relating to licensing applications before both local authorities and courts. The firm is particularly well established across the Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset regions. The team is also noted for its significant experience of making successful applications within cumulative impact areas.

Practice head(s):

Chris Hart

Other key lawyers:


‘They can tailor advice and expertise to the relevant sector. All options were discussed and advice offered before making the successful applications.’

‘Chris Hart and his team made the the whole process seamless, straightforward, and kept us informed as the applications were submitted. They understood what we wanted to achieve with the licences and offered clear advice throughout.’

‘Engagement was excellent at every point from enquiry to completion. We have recommended other business contacts to instruct them for their licensing requirements.’

‘Wollens were very professional – knew exactly what we needed and got on with it.’

‘Matters are dealt with speedily and efficiently and there is always someone on hand to talk to if we have any concerns or questions. The advice is always spot on.’

‘Chris Hart is contactable at almost any time of the day or night and comes back very quickly. He is professional and approachable and nothing is too much trouble.’

Key clients

Burrington Estates Winslade Park Ltd

Rockfish Ltd

Bootleggers Bar Ltd

THAT Torquay Hotel Ltd

Torquay Coastal Drinks Ltd

Harbour 16

Work highlights

  • Advising Burrington Estates Winslade Park on its licensing application for the grounds to be used as a festival venue.
  • Successful assisted Hilton Hotel with an urgent application for variation to an existing premises licence in order to extend its licensed area to include additional function, events and hospitality spaces.
  • Assisting Torquay Coastal Drinks with a premises licence for a new gin distillery in the centre of Torquay.

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

Counting M&A, restructuring and franchising deals among its key areas of strength, Wollens sports a broad corporate and commercial practice and is particularly sought after by clients in the hospitality sector. Jon Dunkley leads the team and is noted for his regulatory expertise, while Dominic Hollingsworth regularly advises on asset acquisitions and disposals. State aid and public sector transactions form part of Hayley Green‘s portfolio; she also assists clients with compliance assessments and funding agreements.

Practice head(s):

Jon Dunkley

Other key lawyers:

Dominic Hollingsworth; Daniel Gresswell; Hayley Green; Emma Reed


‘They are a forward-thinking firm.’

‘Dominic Hollingsworth is a corporate solicitor that every firm would like to have working at their practice.’

‘Hayley Green is fantastic, offers a great personal, individual approach and treatment to the client. Very knowledgeable, professional and helpful on every occasion.’

‘The team are very versatile and able to take on all aspects of our work. The team we deal with are an all female team, which we like in terms of diversity, headed up by partner Emma Reed who is excellent.’

‘They are approachable, knowledgeable, have great strength in depth and offer a strong client service.’

‘Emma Reed is an exceptional partner.’

‘Dominic Hollingsworth is very knowledgeable, provides challenge, and always looks for the best solution for clients.’

‘Emma Reed always goes above and beyond, providing creative solutions with clarity in difficult circumstances.’

Key clients

Pickwell Manor Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Pickwell Manor on the asset purchase of Ravendere retreats, a luxury holiday home in North Devon.
  • Acted for the shareholders in the $20.8m sale of an international company where the shareholders were in different international locations.
  • Acted for a UK holiday agency in its £10m acquisition of a major competitor.

Employment > Employment: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 3

The team at Wollens handles both contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Restrictive covenants, regulatory and complianceissues, employment tribunal cases, and unfair dismissal claims all form part of the core workload. Jon Dunkley leads the practice, and is well versed in a breadth of contentious and non-contentious employment law issues, as well as general HR advice.

Practice head(s):

Jon Dunkley


‘The Wollens employment team are highly responsive and able to promptly dissect each issue into its core parts, allowing clients to cost effectively focus their efforts to achieve the best legal outcome.’

‘Jon Dunkley is an exceptional operator in his area; immediately putting clients at ease with his phenomenal employment knowledge and ability to find pragmatic solutions to the case in hand.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a local business on restrictive covenants and confidential information in relation to a team of six senior employees joining from another practice.
  • Advised a national online organisation following the announcement that it was making up to 50 redundancies.
  • Defended a local authority against an employment claim brought about by a former employee who had been dismissed for gross misconduct and was representing themselves.

Insurance > Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 3

With a ‘growing reputation nationally’, Wollens sports a clinical negligence practice that is noted for its expertise in delayed diagnosis and surgical error claims including those stemming from cosmetic surgeries, and necrotising fasciitis. Head of dispute resolution Simon Bean leads the team together with the ‘helpful and supportive’ Elizabeth Larner.

Practice head(s):

Simon Bean; Elizabeth Larner

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Pinnegar


‘Wollens’ clinical negligence practice have a growing reputation nationally, having proved themselves as leaders in the field in the South West.’

‘Elizabeth Larner is the solicitor I’ve been dealing with and I’m very lucky to have her acting for me. She has kept me informed at every stage.’

‘Makes a difficult time easier to deal with. Great support.’

‘Catherine Pinnegar is so supportive. Nothing is too much and she is extremely helpful. Very understanding to my situation.’

‘Catherine Pinnegar has been outstanding with her approach to my claim.’

‘Elizabeth Larner has been particularly helpful and supportive in guiding me through this process.’

‘Elizabeth Larner and Catherine Pinnegar are the-go to clinical negligence specialists in their area.’

‘The team has demonstrated excellence in the claimant clinical negligence market. They have an impressive level of expertise in this field. They are able to progress complex cases through to very good outcomes for their clients.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a living claimant who had a liver cancer on a CT scan which was not then followed up, and thus once this was diagnosed the prognosis was terminal and the claim has been pleaded on a Fatal Accidents Act basis, to include funeral costs, a bereavement award, and a dependency claim.
  • Representing a claimant who underwent a routine knee replacement, during which the surgeon negligently punctured her popliteal artery causing significant permanent vascular injuries.
  • Acting for a claimant who was consented for a liposuction and thigh lift procedure, but on the day of the procedure was told that the procedure was going to be split into two separate surgeries resulting in a poor cosmetic outcome for the claimant, leaving her with physical deformity and psychological injury.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

‘Friendly, approachable, quick, knowledgeable’, the team at Wollens advises clients on a broad spectrum of matters, including estate administration, inheritance tax, trusts, succession planning, and contentious probate. The team’s expertise also extends to care and capacity work, which includes Court of Protection cases and matters concerning powers of attorney. The practice is jointly led by Katrina Vollentine, praised for her 'great strategic and practical insight'; the 'technically superb' Christopher Linton; and the 'extremely experienced and knowledgeable' Karen Miller.    

Practice head(s):

Katrina Vollentine; Christopher Linton; Karen Miller

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte McGregor; Alex Jenkins; Edward Lee


‘All the individuals at the firm with whom I have interacted have time to listen and understand. They make an effort to address the needs of clients – whether in the context of home visits or working with time differences with overseas clients. At all times, the client comes first. The firm should be very proud of their team.’

‘Katrina Vollentine is a really committed individual, completely wedded to her client’s interests, with great strategic and practical insight.’

‘An excellent team with real strength in depth with some excellent high-value work: not to be underestimated!’

‘Christopher Linton is technically superb with a terrific work ethic, and he is always a pleasure to deal with. Katrina Vollentine is likewise technically superb, highly efficient and a real pleasure to work alongside. Wollens has some extremely prestigious work for high-net-worth clients, and I regard the team as perhaps the best, west of Taunton.’

‘Wollens provide specialist advice to clients who are under the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection. They have the best interests of their clients at heart, which includes dealing with matters efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. They are approachable and have empathy for even the most difficult of clients. Just a genuinely lovely group of people, that are also great at their jobs. A leading private client practice in the South West.’

‘Karen Miller is extremely experienced and knowledgeable of her field of practice but also of the local market in Devon. Karen’s extremely approachable nature and ease with which to deal with the firm has impressed the mutual clients who I have referred for legal work.’

‘Friendly, approachable, quick, knowledgeable, transparent on fees, high quality service.’

‘Christopher Linton is fantastic at what he does on private client matters, and the praise that we receive from clients for recommending him speaks volumes. His knowledge, questioning mind, delivery and execution skills are as good as I have seen.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for the executors and trustees in a cross-border £40m+ matter involving the high-value sale of a private company, overseas assets, Inheritance Act claims, complex family protection issues and third party lawyers.
  • Advised the family of an author who passed away unexpectedly, without a will but with a complicated estate, leaving a spouse and minor child to inherit the estate and sort out the assets. This matter has a value of £1.2m.
  • Acted in a £50m+ matter involving wills and general planning for high-net-worth clients involving land issues, overseas assets and a young family with new additions and need to protect interests.

Real estate > Commercial property: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 3

The ‘highly responsive’ team at Wollens is a popular choice for clients from the hospitality and leisure sector, as well as charities. Torquay-based practice head Ashley Bevans – ‘as good as they come’ –  has noteworthy experience of handling sales and purchases of licensed premises. Emma Reed is praised for her ‘accurate, articulate, and knowledgeable' approach to negotiations. Simon Wilson and Hayley Green are further key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Bevans

Other key lawyers:


‘The team is highly responsive to communications and gives a personable yet professional service.’

‘Emma Reed has been our main contact and is accurate, articulate, and knowledgeable during negotiations.’

‘ Ashley Bevans’ advice is always proportionate, practical and pragmatic.’

‘Ashley Bevans is as good as they come.’

‘Hayley Green is amazing. Very knowledgeable, helpful and offers perfect personal, individual treatment.’

‘The team are able to work on multiple transactions at once. I deal with an all-female team of solictors and paralegals which is good to see!’

‘Emma Reed is a very safe and trusted pair of hands.’

‘The team works very well together to find solutions for their clients.’

Key clients

RSPCA North Wiltshire and Newbury Branch

Breakwater Bistro Limited

Rockfish Ltd Salcombe

Work highlights

  • Acted for the vendor in the complex £2.1m disposal of a prominent food and drinks premises with ancillary recreational premises, as a going concern.
  • Acting for occupational architect tenant in connection with the £750k purchase and lease back of their premises.
  • Acting for landlord client in grant of a lease of commercial premises and site following a tax restructure and consideration of £2.7m.

Private client > Family Tier 4

Fielding a deep bench of partners and associates, Wollens is lauded for its ‘consistent high level of service to local people' as well as for its 'specialist knowledge and understanding of the region and its culture’. The team acts for both private individuals and on legal aid cases, regularly advising on family law issues pertaining to divorce, child protection, guardianship orders and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. In particular, the team is especially well versed in children law issues, where it is hailed as ‘an absolute leader in the field of children public law’ by some clients. Rebecca Procter, who heads the practice, is noted for her expertise in complex matrimonial finance work.  

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Procter

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Carter; David Kendall; Deborah Baker; Elizabeth Foster; Cate Jewell; Sabina Smith; Victoria Harle


‘This team is unusual as although there are more than one office in the area it focuses in providing a consistent high level of service to local people and having specialist knowledge and understanding of the region and its culture.’

‘Rachel Carter is in my view the best child care lawyer in the country with a nationwide practice.’

‘An absolute leader in the field of children public law. The go-to firm in England relation to this area of law.’

‘Rachel Carter and Victoria Harle are the stand out Solicitors at this firm. They have unlimited knowledge of this area of law and are efficient, thorough and talented.’

‘The family team are highly experienced and specialised, providing exceptional service, top quality advice, representation and support to their clients.’

‘Rachel Carter has a national reputation for representing parents who have been accused of causing injury to their children. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience coupled with incredibly expertise in this field. She works closely with other members of her team to ensure her clients are always afforded with the very best representation available.’

‘All team members are very professional and respectful in their dealings with clients and other legal representatives. The team has a wide breadth of experience.’

‘Very friendly and approachable team. You are dealing with one person who knows your case, not a different person each time. Accessible to non-English speakers – they use professional and accredited interpreters and translators which makes them stand out from the other legal firms in the area.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a mother wrongly accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome in a complex ten-day hearing, in which the case was ultimately thrown out and the mother reunited with her children.
  • Represented a client in multi-jurisdictional court proceedings including over £10m in business assets and overseas properties.
  • Assisted a client in a substantial post-nuptial litigation involving a complex range of assets including film and book royalties.

Wollens are one of the largest independant law firms in the region, employing over 140 people with exceptional specialists across private client matters as well as company and commercial law.

Wollens has offices located in South Devon, Exeter and North Devon.

The firm: Being in business for over 150 years can bring very different perspectives for any company but for Wollens , it brings a combination of years of knowledge and experience, alongside energy and progression.

Identifying and taking advantage of growth opportunities, Wollens has substantially developed over the last few years into a strong regional practice with a mix of geographic expansion, through mergers and acquisitions plus organic growth of departments and development of new services.

The firm is probably unique in that its growth has been significant in the region . There are five key departments across all offices  property, family, private client (wills, probate & mental capacity), corporate & commercial and dispute resolution.

Experiencing the success of awards is something the firm has enjoyed with recent recognition at the Devon & Somerset Law Society Excellence awards where it was awarded Law Firm of the Year (£3m+ turnover).

Types of work undertaken
Private property: the work undertaken is very wide-ranging and includes house sale and purchase; business sale and purchase; commercial or residential leases; acquisition of development sites and their subsequent plot sales; first-time buyers; mortgages and re-mortgages; auction sales; and commercial and residential landlord and tenant.

Wills, probate and private client: the expertise of Wollens  private client lawyers has long been recognised by clients and other professionals. Most of its lawyers are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), and also list the Charity Law Association, Solicitors for the Elderly, the Law Society’s Private Client Section and the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Practitioners among their professional memberships.

Family law: the team comprises experienced lawyers in all aspects of family work, who have helped many clients through the difficult and emotional process of relationship breakdown with a sensible, sensitive and pragmatic approach. The finance and children teams have specialist negotiation, mediation and collaborative law skills, as well as experienced court room lawyers.

Disputes and litigation: Wollens offers dispute resolution in a wide range of commercial fields, including contractual disputes concerning land, accident and personal injury claims, and landlord and tenant matters. It also covers professional negligence; consumer problems; building disputes; housing; planning; copyright and patents; licensing; and contentious wills and trusts.

Childcare: Wollens team helps clients understand their rights and ensures they are properly represented in court as well as in negotiations with social services where there are concerns about a child. Its specialist lawyers cover all aspects of care work including serious sexual abuse, non-accidental injury and learning disabilities.

Clinical negligence: the firms specialist lawyers have significant amount of combined experience.  The team offers expert advice and responds sensitively to circumstances. It deals with all types of clinical negligence claims, including in particular healthcare-associated infections, including MRSA, MSSA and necrotising fasciitis; orthopaedic injury; incorrect diagnosis, delayed diagnosis and failure to refer; surgical errors; fatal claims; surgical amputation; dental errors; cosmetic surgery; and still birth.

Licensing and gaming: the firm has significant experience within the tourism and leisure industry, and its licensing practice extends throughout the South West. The licensing team has been recognised nationally for its expertise and quality of service, undertaking premises licence applications; personal licence applications; variation applications; review hearings; appeals; and gaming permit applications.

Leisure and tourism: tourism is the South Wests main industry and Wollens has specialist expertise in advising those involved in all forms of leisure and tourism. Its experience is such that it routinely advises hoteliers, restaurateurs, retailers, publicans, nightclubs and tourist attractions on all aspects of their business, including property; licensing; employment; commercial and partnership.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chief executive Chris Hart Chris.Hart@wollens.co.uk 01803 225141
Head of Department - Private client, Personal Tax and Probate - Katrina Vollentine Katrina.Vollentine@wollens.co.uk 01803 225181
Head of Department - Family Rebecca Procter Rebecca.Procter@wollens.co.uk 01803 225158
Partner - Residential Property, New Build David Eastman David.Eastman@wollens.co.uk 01271 341000
Clinical Negligence Elizabeth Larner Elizabeth.Larner@wollens.co.uk 01803 225135
Licensing and Gaming Chris Hart Chris.Hart@wollens.co.uk 01803 225141
Head of Department - Commercial and Employment Law Jon Dunkley Jon.Dunkley@wollens.co.uk 01271 342268
Family team - Child Care Rachel Carter Rachel.Carter@wollens.co.uk 01803 396637
Head of Department - Residential conveyancing Judith Manser judith.manser@wollens.co.uk 01271 340496
Head of Department - Dispute Resolution Simon Bean simon.bean@wollens.co.uk 01803 225123
Partner - Private Client - Probate and Estate Management Christopher Linton christopher.linton@wollens.co.uk 01803 225127
Partner - Private Client - Wills and Trusts Karen Miller karen.miller@wollens.co.uk 01271 342268
Head of Department - Commercial Property Ashley Bevans ashley.bevans@wollens.co.uk 01803 225122
Partner - Corporate and Commercial Dominic Hollingsworth dominichollingsworth@wollens.co.uk 01803 225130
Partner - Corporate and Commercial Daniel Gresswell daniel.gresswell@wollens.co.uk 01392 539190
Partner - Corporate and Commercial Hayley Green hayley.green@wollens.co.uk 01271 342268
Partner - Corporate and Commercial Emma Reed emma.reed@wollens.co.uk 01392 539207
Photo Name Position Profile
Deborah Baker photo Mrs Deborah Baker Partner in the Family Department
Simon Bean photo Mr Simon Bean Head of the Dispute Resolution Department
Ashley Bevans photo Mr Ashley Bevans Partner and Head of Commercial Property
Cheryl Bolt photo Miss Cheryl Bolt Associate Solicitor in the Commercial Property Department
Thomas Calder photo Mr Thomas Calder Associate Solicitor in the Private Client Department
Rachel Carter photo Mrs Rachel Carter Head of the Family Department and Childcare
Liz Crawford photo Mrs Liz Crawford Solicitor in the Private Client department specialising in estate administration
Jonathan Dickson photo Mr Jonathan Dickson Partner in the Private Client Department
Jon Dunkley photo Mr Jon Dunkley Head of Commercial Department
Marco Floreale photo Mr Marco Floreale Head of Sports Law Division
Hayley Green photo Miss Hayley Green Associate Solicitor in the Commercial Department.
Victoria Harle photo Mrs Victoria Harle Family Law Executive in the Childcare and Family Department
Chris  Hart  photo Mr Chris Hart Chief Executive also specialising in and actively dealing with Licensing and Gambling…
Cate Jewell photo Mrs Cate Jewell Family Law Executive specialising in Childcare.
David Kendall photo Mr David Kendall Partner in the Family Department specialising in Care.
Elizabeth Larner photo Mrs Elizabeth Larner Associate Solicitor in the Clinical Negligence Department
Edward Lee photo Mr Edward Lee Partner in the Private Client Department specialising in Care and Capacity.
Kennedy Lugg photo Miss Kennedy Lugg Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution Department
Katie Masefield photo Miss Katie Masefield Solicitor in the Private Client Department
Lydia Murray photo Miss Lydia Murray Solicitor in the Family Department
Catherine Pinnegar photo Mrs Catherine Pinnegar Solicitor in the Clinical Negligence Department
Rebecca Procter photo Mrs Rebecca Procter Solicitor in the Family Department specialising in Divorce and Separation
Craig Smith photo Mr Craig Smith Associate Solicitor in the Contentious Probate Department
Hannah Venn-Munns photo Miss Hannah Venn-Munns Associate Solicitor specialising in Civil and Property Litigation
Katrina Vollentine photo Katrina Vollentine Partner in the Private Client Department
Paula Wakeling-Basham photo Miss Paula Wakeling-Basham Residential Property and Development Associate
Number of UK partners : 22
Number of other UK fee-earners : 65