Firm Profile > Freeths LLP > Oxford, England

Freeths LLP

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Freeths LLP has a dedicated team of specialist lawyers that assist clients with the full gamut of agricultural law matters, including agricultural property,  tax, trusts and wills, agricultural dispute resolution, corporate and commercial, environmental law and specialist agricultural advice in employment, family and personal injury law. The team is also supported by the wider firm’s construction and planning experts. Iain Davis is practice head. Samantha Leigh, Sarah DuffyBalvinder Jaj and Laura Czapski are also recommended.


They can provide a good range of services particularly for farmers and other rural landowners. Wide range of skills but also access to specialist advice as required‘.

They were all a delight to work with and always highly professional. They did the work extremely well and promptly‘.

Very knowledgeable across a wide range of subjects. Always willing to discuss issues. Overall very friendly and professional, which gives us and our clients confidence‘.

First class team of rural property legal specialists capable of handling complex deals and transactions, and securing the best result for clients‘.

Iain Davis is exceptionally knowledgeable and capable, does not waste time but cracks on with work and gets things done quickly to a very high standard‘.

Throughout all transactions I have completed with Samantha Leigh, Samantha has been the perfect combination of calm, professionalism, dedication and alacrity. Where Samantha really excels, in my opinion, is to quickly understand what the most important aspects in the transaction to the key parties, as well as quickly identifying other aspects that may cause issue further down the line and providing a solution‘.

Iain Davis is assisted most brilliantly by Laura Czapski I can happily make mention of their fantastic individual contributions to my transaction. Their professional expertise combined with good manners and common sense is an unbeatable recipe for success!

Samantha Leigh is very knowledgeable, she always engages with us and clients to make sure she is aware of all issues and can advise accordingly‘.

Sarah Duffy is simply fantastic, she is super speedy, commercial, great at communicating and knows the law inside out. She is great with clients and other professionals alike, she cuts to the key points and looks to do a deal‘.

Balvinder Jaj was a complete rock, who gave us confidence throughout this stressful process. He was calm and resolute, handled everything in a timely fashion and was invariably available‘.

Laura Czapski is a proactive problem solver with an eye for detail and the ability to secure the best deal for clients‘.

Key clients

Sir Edward Dashwood (West Wycombe Estate, Buckinghamshire; Picton and Slebech Estates, Pembrokeshire; Golden Grove Estate, Carmarthenshire).

The Carington Estate, Buckinghamshire

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (estates in Suffolk and Devon)

Trinity College, Oxford

Swanbourne Estate, Buckinghamshire

The Blenheim Estate

Wadham College, Oxford

BBOWT (Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust)

Tarmac Group of Companies-

Robert George Thorne

Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 1

The 'very strong and extremely well-organised' clinical negligence practice at Freeths LLP is often involved in the region's highest-value cases concerning brain, spine and other injuries of maximum severity. Led by Carolyn Lowe, whom clients 'rate very highly', the team also has expertise in birth injury, stillbirth and neonatal death cases. Senior associate Catherine Bell is 'effective, tenacious and caring', and focuses on gynaecological claims including multiparty group actions.


‘Freeths is a wonderful firm to work with. The firm has strength in depth, with a first-rate team handling the most catastrophic claims with compassion, knowledge, pragmatism, and humanity. They are all you could want if you were a client at your most vulnerable.’

Carolyn Lowe has huge experience of dealing with catastrophic injury claims. She’s wonderfully approachable and has a level of knowledge that is second-to-none. Extremely committed, a superb team player and great to have to fight your corner.’

Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 1

Freeths LLP acts for a range of corporate client, developers and landlords in connection with acquisitions, disposals, asset management and promotional agreements. The practice is particularly experienced in advising educational institutions, charities and healthcare sector clients. Patrick Whetter leads on commercial property transactions; Adrian White handles development and construction projects for corporate and charity sector clients.  Senior associate Laura Hodgson's practice covers investment property development , commercial landlord and tenant matters and real estate finance. Senior associate Desh Patel is another name to note.


The practice offers a wide range of expertise and when required different members of the team work well together. They can offer all the legal advice required by a wide range of rural clients which include landowners, farmers as owner occupiers and agriculture tenants.’

The team impress with their ability to be flexible and deal in a prompt, informed and proactive way‘.

Adrian White has excellent knowledge and superb all round advice in connection with development land transactions including promotion agreements.’

Key clients

Oxford University Press

Lloyds Bank

Resmed UK Ltd

NSF Safety & Quality Limited


Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Freeths LLP's contentious trusts and probate team is 'helpful, clear and professional', according to one client, and it garners praise from many others. It works closely with the firm's private client, tax and property teams to provide cross-practice expertise. The group, which is led by Sarah Foster, is best known for advising beneficiaries, executors, trustees and individuals left out of wills on challenges to will validity, trust disputes and Inheritance Act claims. Other areas of expertise include proprietary estoppel claims and Court of Protection matters. Senior associate Sally Goodger acts for both individuals and charities in a broad range of claims.


The professionals at Freeths were calm and understanding. They did not rush me or make false promises but thoroughly explained the process to me, listened well, spoke confidently and left me feeling positive‘.

The team were really knowledgeable and approachable. When I didn’t quite understand the legal technicalities, they didn’t mind going repeating the explanation and articulating it in a way I could understand‘.

There is a depth of experience and expertise across the practice group‘.

Although not based in London, in some ways the firm provides a better service than could be expected from a City firm‘.

In complex cases, individuals are on hand across a range of areas so you get a  broader picture of options and strategies‘.

Freeths is a very well-established private client firm, particularly for the resolution of trusts and probate disputes‘.

Sally Goodger was fantastic. Despite the complexities of my situation, she remained calm and professional throughout. I could not have asked for a better person to deal with my case; she kept me informed at every step and never made assumptions or judged me‘.

Sally Goodger at Freeths was great to work with and helped us settle two contested estates‘.

Sarah Foster, Nigel Roots and Jane Maitland are stand-out partners; they have vast knowledge and experience acting for a range of clients and disputes in this area and are backed up by a fantastic team of associates‘.

We worked almost exclusively with Sally Goodger. The work was done efficiently and I was kept informed of progress throughout with clear explanations of all legal matters; the outcome was succseful‘.

Nigel Roots and Sarah foster both have their eye on the ball and are really good at explaining legal technicalities‘.

Sally Goodger was exceptional; not only was she approachable and knowledgeable, but also focused, direct and straightforward in explaining the state of things. She cut through all the noise and emotion and honed in on the core issues, but remained compassionate‘.

Sally Goodger is an excellent lawyer who provides clear and sensible advice and remains calm under pressure. Sarah Foster and Paul Brown are also fantastic‘.

Key clients

Denise Taulbut, Sharon Moran and Paul McKay (as executors of the estate of Pauline Wippell).

Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 1

Freeths LLP provides commercial and strategic advice to a wide range of clients, focusing on mergers, acquisitions, disposals, shareholder arrangements and joint ventures. The Milton Keynes office has a dedicated drinks, hospitality and leisure team  which offers sector-specific, in-depth expertise to national operators. Managing partner Jonathan Hambleton heads the practice. James Cowell, who specialises in the healthcare and renewables sectors, is another name to note.

Key clients

BLC Leather Technology Centre

Blackstar Amplification

The Restaurant Group, inc key pub brand, Brunning & Price

Metro Supply Chain Inc, Canadian logistics

Milton Keynes Security Services

Business Growth Fund (BGF)

4 See Ltd

Charles Wells, pub company

London Luton Airport

AFI Group, powered access equipment

Frosts Garden Centres

Nebula Systems, Telematics

Butcombe Brewery

Childbase Partnership

Uniglass UK

Brakspear, pub operator

Longleat Hotels

Newnorth, printers

Sealed Air, packaging

Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 1

Freeths LLP handles the full spectrum of family law matters including high- value financial cases involving farming assets, businesses, trusts, pensions and jurisdictional issues. The practice has a specialty in the area of fertility law and surrogacy. Key figures in the Oxford office include head of the national family practice, Rachael Oakes and Claire Colbert who specialises in financial matters and arrangements for children. The practice retains strong expertise in niche areas, such as Gemma Nicholls-Webber for divorce proceedings involving farming and agricultural issues; Tom Burgess for matters concerning IVF and surrogacy, and Joanne Thomas for financial remedy cases involving pre/post acquired assets, such as inheritances.


The family team go several extra miles for their clients- they always make themselves available, clearly explain the issues and suggest reasonable alternatives.

A very professional firm who provide strong, practical advice and manage cases efficiently. They are always available to discuss the best options for their clients.’

‘Excellent family law team based in Oxford. Rachel Oakes and Claire Colbert are highly recommended.’


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

Freeths LLP provides ‘excellent’ and ‘well-balance’ assistance to a wide range of clients including high-net-worth individuals, estate owners and family businesses. Areas of expertise include complex contentious and non-contentious probate and trust work, Court of Protection and wealth planning, often with a cross-border element. Nigel Roots and Jane Maitland are particularly well known for their work in managing complex inter-generational wealth structures for private individuals. Sarah Foster represents individuals, executors/trustees and charities in disputes arising out of wills, estates and trusts. Lisa Mark-Bell is also recommended for the management of trusts.

Professional negligence Tier 1

Freeths LLP's professional negligence practice is led by Duncan Crine and handles a wide range of high-value and complex matters for both claimants and defendants across a wide pool of industry sectors. Recent work highlights include acting for a director of a large drinks company in a shareholder dispute. Other key figures include managing partner Sarah Foster, who has particular expertise in trust and probate-related professional negligence matters, and William Richmond-Coggan, who joined the firm from Pitmans LLP.


‘Duncan Crine is a wise head, able to use his experience to great effect in the trickier moments in a case.’

‘The team has top quality people who have the same high level of experience in this sector as many at larger firms, and get stuck into every case. Warm, professional with a wide breadth of knowledge.’

‘The team is organized, pragmatic and client focused.’

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Freeths LLP advises local and national charities on a broad range of issues such as commercial and corporate negotiations, real estate compliance, aspects of GDPR on fundraising efforts and partnership arrangements. Nigel Roots is the key advisor for tax and trust planning, trust management and charity law. Sarah Foster acts on contentious matters and Lesley Pollock advises on real estate matters. Sarah Bownman joined Shoosmiths LLP in February 2018, Robert Nieri departed to Brabners LLP in September 2018.

Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Freeths LLP has a nationwide reputation for its experience in the drinks and leisure sectors. Logistics is another key area, with Luton airport as a longstanding client. The team is well versed in complex multi-party disputes, working side by side with the property litigation team in Milton Keynes and relying on the support of a large pool of litigators at the national level. Simon Hobbs heads the practice.

Key clients

London Luton Airport

TNT / Fedex

ID Medical Ltd

Hologic Group

Diversey Ltd

Sealed Air Ltd

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

Duncan Crine leads the dispute resolution practice at Freeths LLP which offers 'excellent partner-led litigation services at reasonable rates'. The firm is experienced in representing private and corporate clients as claimants and respondents  in complex shareholder, contractual and commercial disputes in the technology, retail, construction, logistics and education sectors. The practice strengthened its disputes offering with the addition of 'first-rate litigator' Will Richmond-Coggan from BDB Pitmans in January 2019.

Key clients


Adestra Limited


Masternaut Group

Virtual Alliance Limited

Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Freeths LLP’s real estate department has a team dedicated exclusively to the drinks, hospitality and leisure sectors, which is headed by Leo Skinner. The team is also well known for its expertise in transport and logistics, as well as for its work in developments and development finance. Practice co-head Valerie Warman and Shashi Chambers are other key contacts.


High-level knowledge, responsiveness and efficiency‘.

I am always impressed by the speed of response and willingness to immediately help even at extremely short notice‘.

Professional, expert, concise and commercial‘.


Key clients

TNT (UK) Limited

London Luton Airport

Casual Dining Group

Milton Keynes Parks Trust

Fedex Group of Companies

Advanced Software

Childbase Partnership

APCOA Parking

Burger King UK

Dawson Group Plc

Charles Wells

SMC Pneumatics UK

Jardines UK Ltd

Bristol Airport international  airport

Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

Freeths LLP is 'always one step ahead' and provides 'excellent' support to SME and family owned businesses in the engineering, logistics, food and education sectors. Leon Arnold, Tom Walker and Malin Svanberg Larsson are the key corporate partners; commercial lawyer Rebecca Howlett is recommended for commercial contracts.


The corporate team at Freeths  is always one step ahead of their larger competitors. They are well prepared and always put the client first‘.

Leon Arnold and his team are exceptional.

Key clients

Integrity Print Limited

Complete Childcare Limited

The Adolf Würth Group

Santova Limited

NSF Safety and Quality UK Limited

Travis Perkins PLC

Personal injury: claimant Tier 2

The personal injury team at Freeths LLP is led by Oxford-based Julie Nichols and handles a wide range of road traffic accidents and public liability claims. Senior associate Irvin Thobourne has over two decades of experience in personal injury matters and is adept at advising on workplace accidents. Associate Amy Barnett is another name to note.

Personal injury: defendant Tier 2

Freeths LLP's personal injury team undertakes a broad range of work for its strong corporate client base, with a particular expertise in the automotive sector. Led by Paul Chadder (who is noted for his 'clarity and superb client service') the group is renowned for handling high-value and high-profile public liability, employers liability, and industrial injury matters. Associate Matthew Bacon is recommended for his expertise in industrial disease claims.


‘Paul Chadder takes a very hands-on role in his caseload, and the client gets far more partner-led input than might be true of comparable firms.’

‘Matthew Bacon has an excellent eye for detail, and is robust in his approach both to negotiations and trial.’

‘This is a small but dedicated team that is tightly run and well managed; there is detailed attention to cases in a way that larger firms often find difficult.’

Key clients


Axis Capital



Jaguar Land Rover

Faraday Underwriting

Starstone Underwriting

Armour Risk Management

Sompo International

Vesuvius UK

Property litigation Tier 2

Freeths LLP's Milton Keynes team has a strategic focus on the licensed leisure sector, and mostly acts for pub owners, brewers, pub operators, nightclubs and hotel owners. Mark Brown undertakes a wide range of real estate disputes and has specialist expertise in challenging Assets of Community Value/ advising on the Pubs Code. In Oxford, the group focuses on contentious agricultural work with landed estates forming much of the client base. Clare Bellis' professional negligence expertise on property matters 'adds an extra dimension to the firm's capabilities'


Associate Rosalyn Shephard was excellent; she provided first-class advice‘.

A small team with expert knowledge and a wealth of hands-on experience of all possible stages of a dispute‘.

Clare Bellis is a great lawyer and very easy to deal with‘.

Key clients

Greene King plc

The Restaurant Group plc

Shepherd Neame

Casual Dining Group

Milton Keynes Parks Trust

Fuller Smith & Turner

Savills UK

Hall & Woodhouse

Punch Taverns

Fedex / TNT

Tarmac Group of Companies

Oxford University Press  

GEFCO UK Limited

Wadham College, Oxford

Sir Edward Dashwood

The Blenheim Estate

NSF Safety and Quality Limited

Masternaut Group of Companies

The Carington Estate

Resmed UK

Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 3

The employment team at Freeths LLP is well known in the Milton Keynes area and beyond for its sector expertise, which focuses in particular on education, food and drinks, logistics and telecoms. The practice is notable for its expertise in business immigration work and employment tribunal representations. Christopher Sing is the practice head.

Key clients

Chesterfield College

London Luton Airport Operations

T-Systems – part of Deutsche Telekom

Derby College

Landau Forte Charitable Trust

Musto Limited

Helly Hansen (UK) Limited

Niftylift Limited

Sports & Leisure Management (‘Everyone Active’ brand)

Lyreco UK Limited

Oxford Brookes University

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

Freeths LLP 's Milton Keynes-based insolvency team  is particularly known for advising in relation to restructurings and insolvencies in the drinks and hospitality industries, in addition to advising across other industry sectors. Partners are often instructed by insolvency practitioners to advise on the disposal of assets of national pub chains, or by existing operators to purchase the assets of those in administration. The team is led by Simon Hobbs who has expertise in a broad range of contentious and non-contentious corporate and personal insolvency matters.


‘Simon Hobbs is very approachable and well-liked. He is a good litigator and I have personal experience of the insolvency side of his work, which is excellent.’

Key clients


BRI (UK) Ltd




Opus Restructuring & Recovery LLP

Wilkins Kennedy

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

Freeths LLP has notable expertise in the education and food and drink sectors. The practice also advises on TUPE, business immigration and advocacy in tribunal litigation. Mark Emery is the key practitioner.

Key clients

Integrity Print Limited

Zooplus Services Limited

Aricent International (UK) Ltd

Freeths is a national law firm with a great reputation for delivering high-quality advice and results for its clients. Clients talk about trusting the Freeths team to do the right thing, and like their strong ethics, integrity and entrepreneurial spirit.

The firm: With 13 offices in the UK the firm has excellent geographic reach and connectivity. This firmly establishes Freeths as one of the leading national law firms in the UK. A snapshot of clients includes: Aldi, RBS, Tarmac, BDW Group, Ladbrokes Coral, Travis Perkins, Fresenius Medical Care, Santander, Capita, Bellway Homes Limited, Whitbread Group PLC, Centre Parcs, Poundland, Nottingham University and Experian.

Freeths has won a host of regional and national accolades in recent years, including Best Companies for 2019, and is ranked 57th in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work For 2019. It also won ‘Firm of the Year’ in the UK Diversity Legal Awards 2017. The Legal 500’s UK rankings for 2019 also put Freeths as a top-tier firm in no less than 24 categories, we have 24 Leading Elite Lawyers and 164 Recommended Lawyers. Of those 164, 13 are recommended as Next Generation Lawyers. Freeths has also been awarded silver standard in Investors in People and Legal Technology Awards and nominations. The firm is committed to the regional communities in which it is based and actively supports a number of causes, both nationally and regionally.

The firm’s approach is rooted in knowing and understanding its clients and building value. Freeths’ core values ensure it is committed to: delivering results by taking ownership of the situation in order to provide practical and often bespoke solutions; building trust and long-term relationships, working closely with clients and sharing risk when appropriate; and thinking differently, with the firm offering real insight and innovative solutions to legal and commercial issues, and to the way in which these are delivered to help its clients get a step ahead.

Clients of Freeths are particularly impressed with its efforts to partner closely with them to reduce their legal spend by analysing the root cause and then up-skilling the client’s team.

Types of work undertaken: The firm works with major international and UK corporations, FTSE/AIM companies, regional businesses, institutions, public bodies and high-net-worth individuals. It works across all areas of practice, including corporate, commercial, HR, pensions, property (developers, institutional lenders, investors, housing associations, and commercial landlords and tenants), planning, environmental, tax, dispute resolution, intellectual property, EC law and corporate defence.

Freeths’ private client team has an excellent reputation for advising individuals on every aspect of their life, from wealth generation and preservation through to acquisitions and disposals of property, future planning (wills and probate), family and childcare matters, personal injury, clinical negligence, andhelping people who lack capacity due to an accident, old age, mental illness or learning difficulties.

Key sector specialisms include stand-out experience in the drinks and hospitality sector, retail, food, franchise, transport, renewable energy, property, healthcare and public sector.

The private client team at Freeths’ Oxford office is well known in agriculture, bloodstock and rural affairs, as well as the charities sector.

Other offices: Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, and Stoke.


Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman Colin Flanagan
Chief executive Peter Smith
Corporate and commercial Karl Jansen
Construction Chris Holwell
Dispute resolution Philippa Dempster
Employment Julian Middleton
Real estate Darren Williamson
Private client Nigel Cullen
Private client Jane Goulding
Photo Name Position Profile
 Leon Arnold  photo Leon Arnold
 Matthew Bacon  photo Matthew Bacon
 Catherine Bell  photo Catherine Bell
 Clare Bellis  photo Clare Bellis
 Claire Bendle  photo Claire Bendle
 Paul Brown  photo Paul Brown
 Katherine Burge  photo Katherine Burge
 Tom Burgess  photo Tom Burgess
 Paul Chadder  photo Paul Chadder
 Claire Colbert  photo Claire Colbert
 Melissa Coleman  photo Melissa Coleman
 Duncan Crine  photo Duncan Crine
 Laura Czapski  photo Laura Czapski
 Andrew Dashwood-Begg  photo Andrew Dashwood-Begg
 Iain Davis  photo Iain Davis
 Charlotte Digby  photo Charlotte Digby
 Natasha Dobson  photo Natasha Dobson
 Sarah Duffy  photo Sarah Duffy
 Joanne Edwards  photo Joanne Edwards
 Mark Emery  photo Mark Emery
 Lynne Foster  photo Lynne Foster
 Sarah Foster  photo Sarah Foster
 Sally Goodger  photo Sally Goodger
 Patricia Grout  photo Patricia Grout
 Laura Hodgson  photo Laura Hodgson
 Rebecca Howlett  photo Rebecca Howlett
 Balvinder Jaj  photo Balvinder Jaj
 Samantha Leigh  photo Samantha Leigh
 Louise Lewis  photo Louise Lewis
 Carolyn Lowe  photo Carolyn Lowe
 Jane Maitland  photo Jane Maitland
 Lisa Mark-Bell  photo Lisa Mark-Bell
 Gemma Nicholls-Webber  photo Gemma Nicholls-Webber
 Rachael Oakes  photo Rachael Oakes
 Desh Patel  photo Desh Patel
 Lesley Pollock  photo Lesley Pollock
 Anna Power  photo Anna Power
 Grace Quinn  photo Grace Quinn
 Will Richmond-Coggan  photo Will Richmond-Coggan
 Nigel Roots  photo Nigel Roots
 Malcolm Sadler  photo Malcolm Sadler
 Lauren Shaw  photo Lauren Shaw
 Rosalyn Shephard  photo Rosalyn Shephard
 Kirsty Southgate  photo Kirsty Southgate
 Malin Svanberg Larsson  photo Malin Svanberg Larsson
 Helen Taylor  photo Helen Taylor
 Irvin Thobourne  photo Irvin Thobourne
 Joanne Thomas  photo Joanne Thomas
 Tom Walker  photo Tom Walker
 Patrick Whetter  photo Patrick Whetter
 Adrian White  photo Adrian White
 Melanie Williams  photo Melanie Williams
 Rachel Wos  photo Rachel Wos
Number of UK partners : 206
Number of other UK fee-earners : 546