Machins Solicitors LLP > Luton, England > Firm Profile

Machins Solicitors LLP
28 Dunstable Road

Private client > Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 1

Based in Luton, Machins Solicitors LLP's public law family team represents parents, extended family members and friends in care proceedings and handles complex cases involving non-accidental injuries and abuse. Largely operating from the Berkhamsted office, the private law family team has considerable experience in advising high-net-worth and overseas clients on complex Child Act proceedings. Practice co-leader Kathryn Ainsworth handles cases involving businesses or complex financial arrangements, while co-leader Sarah Ashby specialises in complex child care cases. Richard Phillips is experienced in high-net-worth divorces often involving child arrangement issues.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Ainsworth; Sarah Ashby

Other key lawyers:


‘A highly experienced and skilled team in respect of representing parents and children in care proceedings. The team at Machins stand out from their competitors in respect of their outstanding service to their clients.’ 

‘Machins is a very personable and hard working family team. Their approach towards instruction of counsel is fair and their involvement of counsel in case management is superb; and, such ensures the delivery of the best quality legal services for the lay and professional client.’ 

‘Sarah Ashby is extremely knowledgeable, has superb judgement and fights hard for her clients to achieve the best possible outcomes. She is an excellent advocate and is well respect by her colleagues, clients, contemporaries and judges. She is an absolute pleasure to work with.’

‘Kathryn Ainsworth leads by example. She truly rises above all the unimportant stuff and gets to the crux of the issues of a case in a heart beat. Her client skills are also second to none.’

‘Both Kathryn Ainsworth and Richard Phillips are sensible, practical and constructive solicitors to have on the other side of a case.’

‘Richard Phillips is a standout mediator. It is not uncommon for family law clients to dislike mediation but Richard always manages to keep clients in the process and on board.’

‘Machins Solicitors have a phenomenally professional approach, their service is expedient and diligent. Their key capability is being able to provide a high quality service whilst doing so in an approachable and flexible manner.’ 

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

The corporate and commercial team at Machins Solicitors LLP advises a wide range of clients, from start-ups and small businesses to multinational companies, and has expertise in aviation and aviation finance, GDPR and intellectual property. Based in Luton, practice co-leader Mark Pelopida advises on complex contractual negotiations, aircraft lease and aircraft finance transactions, including transactions with a multi-jurisdictional element. Practice co-leader Jon Alvarez has expertise in M&A, IT-related contracts and private equity investments, while Sarah Liddiard specialises in data protection matters. Sing Li is also recommended by clients.

Practice head(s):

Mark Pelopida; Jon Alvarez

Other key lawyers:


‘Machins are very responsive, approachable solicitors and provide clear concise responses to our queries. They always provide what we need in good time and are a pleasure to work with.’ 

‘Mark Pelopida has a wealth of experience that he can draw upon to make transactions run more smoothly. He takes a very realistic commercial view and is not afraid to give the right advice even when it is difficult to hear. He is always available and worked well into the evening and at weekends to make sure our transaction succeeded.’ 

‘The team as a whole are always on hand to help with all legal needs, treating every issue with the care and attention you would hope a member of your own team would do so. Taking time to respond out of hours as well, if putting your mind at ease helps the cause.’

‘Jon Alvarez is easy to work with. He takes a commercial approach to contracts and gets the job done painlessly.’ 

‘Sing Li has provided practical advice to guide us through the options and explained fully the pros and cons. The quality and timeliness of his responses and work is very good.’ 

‘A strong team across the board and in depth. Technically strong with very fast response times. They are friendly, approachable and provide good practical advice. The level of service provided did not drop during the Covid-19 lockdown.’ 

Employment > Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Based in Luton, Machins Solicitors LLP has particular expertise in the transport, aviation and manufacturing sectors, as well as recruitment, technology and finance. The team acts for employer clients in the private and public sectors on matters including redundancy and restructuring, settlement agreements, GDPR and discrimination cases, particularly in relation to sex and disability. Practice co-leader Jackie Cuneen advises corporate clients on TUPE transfers, contract indemnities, exit provisions and redundancy programmes. Practice co-leader David Rushmere is experienced in handling employment tribunals claims, and Faith Widdowson is recommended by clients.

Practice head(s):

Jackie Cuneen; David Rushmere

Other key lawyers:


‘The employment team at Machins Solicitors is an exceptional team and a credit to the practice. The service was efficient right from the first contact, appointments were made in a timely way and the support staff understood the urgency.’ 

‘Jackie Cuneen is able, and provides options in relation to solutions with a clear measure of the risk associated with the choices available in complex cases. She does so with a strong understanding of our business, culture, and a great sense of perspective making often difficult situations simpler to navigate. To top that, she is personable and easy to work with and I would recommend her and her team to others.’ 

‘Faith Widdowson has always given excellent advice and support, very practical. David Rushmere has also been very helpful with employment law queries. Both solicitors show their knowledge and expertise in employment law and more importantly, the implementation of it.’ 

‘Jackie Cuneen is an excellent member of the team, providing valuable assistance.’ 

‘Very approachable and easy to contact team. Confident in answers given. Balanced view on matters between employee/employer. Concise information given and straight forward approach to challenging situations.’ 

‘David Rushmere has been extremely attentive to our business needs. He has always sought to get to know the business, to fully understand it, before giving his expert opinion and guidance. His business insight and guidance means that he often exceeds his brief in order to build a long term partnership/ relationship.’ 

‘Faith Widdowson provides technical knowledge and understanding of employment law. Her advice is valuable. She gets involved in every step of the case and prepares the case in advance.’ 

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Machins Solicitors LLP advises high-profile clients including music artists, footballers, MPs and high-net-worth individuals on a range of private client matters, including estate administrations, inheritance tax planning issues and complex wills. Nic Pestell heads up the private client team in Luton, and handles trusts and tax planning matters, as well as wills and trust structures. As head of the team in Berkhamsted, newly promoted partner Nicki Denton-Masih deals with Court of Protection applications, complex wills and the administration of estates.

Practice head(s):

Nic Pestell; Nicki Denton-Masih


‘The team at Machins are approachable and although they are often dealing with potentially difficult situations, they respond to clients professionally but also sensitively and with understanding.’

‘Nic Pestell always communicates well, is approachable and delivers services efficiently.’

‘The team exude confidence in what they do and the advice they offer.’

‘Throughout the transaction, although having to work remotely, Nicki Denton-Masih managed to communicate with me exceptionally well both in writing, whether by post or email, and by telephone where some discussion was desirable.’

‘My family and myself have dealt with Machins for many years and have used many of their professional departments. The service you receive is professional but also very personal to your requirements.’

‘Friendly, efficient and supportive.’ 

Transport > Aviation Tier 2

Machins Solicitors LLP undertakes a significant amount of work for clients such as airlines, institutional investors and private individuals. Active in both domestic and cross-border mandates, the team handles the financing, leasing, charter, acquisition and disposal of aircraft (private and commercial), helicopters and engines. In addition, aviation disputes are another area of strength. Mark Pelopida is recommended.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 3

Based in Luton, the 'very strong' team at Machins Solicitors LLP deals with shareholder and partnership disputes, as well as a range of other commercial litigation, frequently utilising alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. Practice head Neil O’Callaghan has particular expertise in dealing with contentious insolvency work and handles contract and product liability claims. Janice Young specialises in property litigation matters, while Holly Baker deals with commercial and property disputes.

Practice head(s):

Neil O’Callaghan

Other key lawyers:


‘Neil O’Callaghan leads a very strong team of commercial litigators who punch above their weight. Always a pleasure to deal with and great with clients for whom they go above and beyond in securing good commercial resolutions to disputes.’ 

‘Janice Young stands out as providing clear and sensible advice to her clients.’ 

‘Friendly and approachable, willing to go the extra mile where possible. Holly Baker is our main contact – she is personable, which certainly helps when stress levels and costs can escalate in circumstances. The team are knowledgeable and from experience appear to have their clients’ best interests at heart.’

‘Janice Young is exceptionally knowledgeable in her field and on hand to provide additional guidance where required.’ 

‘Holly Baker is a junior solicitor with the confidence and competence of a solicitor with far more years of experience. She is efficient and intelligent, and protects her clients’ interests fearlessly.’

‘A strong team with an excellent track record of commercial real estate litigation.’

‘Janice Young is highly professional but her caring approach does stand out. I believe it is her attention to detail and the law, whilst seeking out and dealing with the nuances of the case, made her an exceptional individual. She also has the ability to deal with matters to achieve the quickest resolution whilst maintaining strength and efficiency.’ 

Real estate > Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 4

Machins Solicitors LLP advises property and corporate investors, charities and banks on a range of commercial property matters including freehold and leasehold acquisitions, estate development work and auction transactions. Based in Luton, practice co-head Simeon Clipstone specialises in property asset-based business sales and purchases, as well as landlord and tenant matters. Fellow co-head Santokh Singh focuses on acquisitions of sites for mixed-use developments. Nick Ginger is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Simeon Clipstone; Santokh Singh

Other key lawyers:


‘I have found Nick Ginger to be most thorough in all aspects of commercial leasing and conveyancing. Always available to deal with matters, however minor they may be.’

‘Receive rapid, relevant responses from Simeon Clipstone and I am kept up to date on everything. Possible issues are identified and handled without being aware of them.’

‘Nick Ginger is very experienced, but also extremely commercial.’

Machins Solicitors is widely recognised as one of the region’s leading commercial firms. Progressive and well run, it has a reputation for being reliable, cost effective and highly professional.

The firm: Machins Solicitors has carried on business under the name of Machins since 1920 and can trace its roots back to a law firm that had opened for business in the late 1800s.  This year the firm is celebrating its centenary year.

With offices in Luton and Berkhamsted, it has a strong geographic reach, acting for clients not only in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire but also Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, the Thames Valley Corridor, London and internationally.  It has a growing team with expert lawyers offering a full range of business and individual legal services (aside from criminal).

Within the individual services sector, it has specialist niches in family and child care issues, as well as wills, trusts and probate, dispute resolution, employment and immigration. The firm works closely with highly respected counsel, actuaries, accountants, independent financial advisors, mediators and business valuers.

Within the commercial sector, our practice areas cover legal services from company and corporate law, employment law and commercial property law through to dispute resolution, immigration and debt recovery services.

Types of work undertaken
Company commercial: Machins Solicitors has built up a strong commercial team with experts advising across a spectrum of disciplines, providing help to businesses, directors, institutions, societies, owners and managers. Over recent years, the department has seen a sustained growth both in the scope and the value of the work undertaken. Work includes all areas of acquisitions and mergers, joint ventures, contractual and compliance issues and intellectual property acting for a range of clients from sole traders to multinational companies.

Commercial property: The commercial property team continues to grow through its wide range of transactions providing advice to property owners, developers, investors, lenders and tenants. The firm’s reputation is built on sound practical judgement and experience acquired over decades. It acts for large property companies, sole traders, and local, national and international businesses. It is able to help with the full range of commercial property issues including property litigation, enfranchisement and lease extensions, site acquisition development and disposals, and agricultural holdings and farm tenancies as well as landlord and tenant issues and business lease renewals.

Employment:  In addition to advising a growing core employer client base on  business as usual employment matters and high-net-worth individual clients on their exit packages, the team is kept busy both in relation to litigation and corporate transactional matters, business advisory and dispute resolution advising on a number of injunctive disputes, multi-jurisdiction Employment Tribunal claims and TUPE transactions. The team also has particular expertise in relation to discrimination cases, specifically disability discrimination.

Immigration: Our specialist team has expertise across all aspects of UK immigration law and knows all the relevant procedures, policies and criteria assisting individual and business clients from asylum seekers to investors and entrepreneurs from the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Private client: With a team of six lawyers, the private client department continues to attract high-net-worth clients, many of whom are London-based. The department advises on wills, probate, contested probate, establishing trusts and trust management, tax planning and cross-border estates, deputyships and powers of attorney.

Family (private law): Machins has a family (private law) team in Luton and Berkhamsted who are all qualified solicitors performing to a high standard of excellence. Acting for clients throughout the UK and abroad, this growing department specialises in dealing with cases involving private high-net-worth individuals, particularly those with their own businesses, TV executives and bankers as well as work ranging from fixed-fee divorce, cohabitation agreements, pre- and post-nuptial agreements through to helping clients with complex private Children Act proceedings, mediation and collaborative law.

Family (public law): the team, based in Luton, excels in public law children proceedings and holds a legal aid franchise which enables the team to provide legal advice and representation in relation to public family law including applications for special guardianship orders and adoption including international adoption.

Debt recovery: the debt recovery department has 40 years’ experience specifically in the fields of motor finance and property management.

Commercial litigation: Machins’ commercial litigation team is well respected for specialist niches particularly in relation to shareholder disputes, insolvency and property litigation as well as standard contractual litigation of a commercial nature. It is widely recognised as one of the leading litigation firms in the region.


Managing Partner & Head of Company Commercial Department Mark
Company Commercial Jon
Commercial Property Nick
Commercial Property Santokh
Commercial Property Simeon
Civil litigation & Debt Collection Neil O'
Employment Jackie
Employment David
Head of Family Department (Private Law) Kathryn Ainsworth (private family law)
Family Paul Owen (private family)
Public Law Sarah Ashby (public family law)
Private Client Nic
Private Client Nicki
Residential Conveyancing Dipak
Number of UK partners : 14
Number of other UK fee-earners : 40

People are at the heart of our business and core to its future sustainability. We are committed to encouraging workforce diversity and inclusion and aim to be an employer of choice, maintaining a high reputation of employee care and consideration.

Machins Solicitors LLP believes our success is a direct result of the experience and quality of our employees. We are, therefore, committed to focusing our employment procedures and practices on maximising the potential of each individual. We believe this is best achieved by developing our employees’ talents, whilst recognising their differences. By treating people fairly and equally and by accepting and embracing their diversity, we can also improve our market competitiveness, enhance our corporate social responsibility and create an inclusive and positive working environment for all employees.

It is the policy of the Firm that no person acting on our behalf shall discriminate in any situation against another individual or group, directly or indirectly, because of age, sex, disability, gender re‐assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, paternity, race, religion and belief and sexual orientation. Machins Solicitors LLP also endorses the principle that the workforce at each location should reflect, as far as is reasonably possible, the community within which it operates. These principles apply to recruitment selection, training, promotion, transfer, pay and benefits and performance appraisal procedures, in addition to all terms and conditions of employment.

Our aims are as follows:-

  • To ensure equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and community
  • To offer fair treatment in every aspect of working life in Machins Solicitors LLP, from our written procedures through to every decision made
  • To promote a culture where each employee and colleague is treated with respect and dignity and recognises the value that a diverse workforce can bring

Machins Solicitors LLP also has a growing corporate social responsibility programme within Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. We ensure our local community, charity and pro-bono legal work; as well our environmental practices are a core part of our firm-wide business strategy.

We have strong links with local charities, schools and universities and strive to ensure our partners and staff work in partnership to share their expertise and knowledge. We are proud of the role our people play within the local community. Our ongoing partnerships and community programmes ensure we are dedicated to deploying our skills and experience to provide valuable and vital services which in turn promote more access to justice and social inclusion.