Firm Profile > Machins Solicitors LLP > Luton, England

Machins Solicitors LLP
28 Dunstable Road

Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 1

The family practice at Machins Solicitors LLP is split between the public and the private law teams. The public law team is based in Luton and headed by Liz Oldham. Expertise covers all aspects of children law, including representation of parents, extended family members and friends in care proceedings and other public law matters and applications for special guardianship orders and adoptions. The private law team, headed by Kathryn Ainsworth from the Berkhamsted office, specialises in cases involving high-net-worth individuals, business owners and international clients. Complex private Children Act proceedings are another area of strength. Associate Sarah Ashby and senior consultant Richard Phillips are other key contacts.


Without doubt Machins now have one of the leading family teams in the Home Counties north west of London‘.

They work hard for their clients and take a pragmatic approach‘.

They are a very committed firm and treat each case with individual care and attention, going above and beyond for their clients‘.

They get instructed in some of the most interesting and serious care cases‘.

Machins Family Team has always been reliable. The more junior members of the team appear to be well supervised and the more senior member’s have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share‘.

Great service, great people, great firm!

Liz Oldham is extremely dedicated and experienced and one of the best solicitors in the area‘.

Kathryn Ainsworth is simply superb. Her judgment is second to none, leaving her clients with realistic expectations from their first contact with her‘.

Kathryn Ainsworth leads the team by example. She delivers superb advice, always goes the extra mile for the client and is on top of her game. A real star!

Richard Phillips has impressed me. He gives sensible and practical advice. He has great empathy and never loses sight of the human side of the work we do‘.




Aviation Tier 2

Machins Solicitors LLP acts for both regional and national aviation sector clients. The group has a strong corporate and commercial offering and is capable of handling small and large-scale aircraft acquisitions, as well as leasing and financing matters. It also has specialist expertise in escrow agreements in the context of aviation transactions. M&A expert Mark Pelopida is the department head.

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

The corporate and commercial practice at Machins Solicitors LLP has been growing over the last few years and at the same time works closelywith the employment, commercial property and litigation departments. The team specialises in aviation and aviation finance, but also offers transactional and day-to-day advice to small businesses, start-ups, multinational companies and PLCs. The practice is jointly headed by Mark Pelopida and Jon Alvarez.


Machins are very quick and efficient in their response and advice‘.

The advice I receive is highly valuable to my business‘.

I find Mark Pelopida very personable and efficient, making himself available at weekends and out-of-work hours to ensure that whatever we are working on gets completed on time‘.

Down to earth people. Very pragmatic. Solution-focused‘.

Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

The employment team at Machins Solicitors LLP has a track record in dealing with resolving disputes and advising on the employment issues connected with corporate transactions. Acting mainly for employers, but increasingly also for individuals, the practice has traditionally strong links with the transport, aviation and manufacturing sectors. The team specialises in discrimination matters, specifically, disability discrimination. Jackie Cuneen and Jacqueline Webb jointly lead the team, with the latter as acting head of practice.


A team of specialists within their individual fields and the ability to deal with a range of issues “in-house” in a consistently professional and efficient fashion.

Professionals with extensive knowledge and the ability to work with the lay man. Efficient and timely responses to all matters.

The Machins employment team is one of the few firms in the Home Counties which can genuinely claim to offer a “City quality” service outside of London.

Jacqueline Webb is tactically astute and incredibly driven in litigation. The mere fact that she is acting for a client improves their chances of success.


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

The private client team at Machins Solicitors LLP caters for a client portfolio which includes Premiership footballers, stars from the music and performing arts industries, high-net-worth business clients and a number of MPs. Practice head Nic Pestell is based in Luton, as is associate Nicki Denton-Masih. The practice is also active in the new Berkhamsted office and is able to offer a full range of services to clients located in the Greater London area.


They care, they don’t pretend to, they really do put clients first‘.

All of the individuals I have dealings within Machins act with the utmost professionalism whilst at the same time being personable and approachable‘.

The personnel are all very friendly, but give sensible pragmatic advice‘.

They can provide solutions quickly and suggest alternatives where appropriate‘.

Nic Pestel cares greatly about helping without unsettling his probate clients‘.

Nic has always proved to be knowledgeable, professional and approachable‘.

Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 3

Machins Solicitors LLP’s commercial litigation practice is based in Luton and is headed by Neil O’Callaghan. The team members regularly work in the High Court, Court of Appeal, County Courts, First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber and Upper Tribunal. Areas of expertise include insolvency, property litigation and contentious probate. Senior assistant solicitor Janice Young is another key contact.


Strong local practice, excellent value for money‘.

The team has great capability‘.

Neil O’Callaghan is very calm and sensible, and a very experienced litigator‘.

Janice Young is well qualified and very helpful‘.

Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 4

Machins Solicitors LLP deals with small to mid-sized property portfolios (up to £50m) and advises a wide range of clients, including individual property investors, charities and banks. The team has in-depth expertise in property and estate development work, auction transactions, freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals of development land. The practice is headed by Santokh Singh. Nick Ginger is another key contact.


The team have a long-standing knowledge of our business and the commercial property activities related to them‘.

We love to work with Santokh Singh‘.

Nick has advised us on various transactions and issues over the years, and is aware of the commercial sensitivities involved, as well as the legal requirements to be considered‘.

Debt recovery Tier 4

Machins Solicitors LLP has specialist debt collection expertise in the areas of recovery of service and management charges on behalf of landlords and agents, consumer finance and business debts. Neil O’Callaghan is also able to assist with payment monitoring, tracing absent debtors and enforcement measures.

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 LLP 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.

Following the success of its 2012 merger with Sumner & Tabor in 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 and immigration) with offices in Luton, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead.

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

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.

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.

Aviation: The firm has a long history of providing advice in this niche area, having acted in relation to acquisitions/disposals, leases and related issues for over 40 years.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner & Head of Company Commercial Department Mark Pelopida
Company commercial Jon Alvarez
Commercial property Nick Ginger
Commercial Property Santokh Singh
Civil litigation & Debt Collection Neil O'Callaghan
Employment Jackie Cuneen
Head of Family Department (Private Law) Kathryn Ainsworth (private family law)
Family Paul Owen (private family)
Head of Family Department (Public Law) Liz Oldham (public family law)
Private Client Nic Pestell
Residential Conveyancing Dipak Odedra
Photo Name Position Profile
 Jon Alvarez  photo Jon Alvarez
 Jackie Cuneen  photo Jackie Cuneen
 Nick Ginger  photo Nick Ginger
 Liz Oldham  photo Liz Oldham
 Neil O’Callaghan  photo Neil O’Callaghan
 Mark Pelopida  photo Mark Pelopida
 Nic Pestell  photo Nic Pestell
 Santokh Singh  photo Santokh Singh
Number of UK partners : 11
Number of other UK fee-earners : 33

Machins Solicitors LLP has a growing corporate social responsibility programme within Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. 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 have a wide-ranging portfolio of activities through internal and external fund raising events, donation programmes and free legal advice consultations ensuring our social and ethical focus is deeply embedded within our culture. Our CSR programme has four key areas:


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. To demonstrate this we offer

  • Free 30 minute legal advice clinics on divorce & separation at Berkhamsted & Hemel Hempstead offices.
  • Free 30 minute legal advice clinics on making a will and the administration of estates at our Berkhamsted & Hemel offices.
  • We provide advisors to Berkhamsted, Rickmansworth, Ampthill and Hemel Hempstead CAB for family law issues once a month.
  • Participation in the “Make a Will Month” for the Hospice of St Francis.
  • Sponsorship to local junior football team and cricket teams, Berkhamsted Half Marathon and other local community events.
  • We participate in careers fairs at local schools and universities.


We are committed supporting local charities. We actively encourage all staff to participate in supporting events for these charities throughout the year as well as helping the charities through business networking and fund raising within the offices. This is important work which provides our offices with opportunities for team building alongside raising valuable funds for the following charities and helps our partners and staff to retain a connection with our local community:-

  • The Level Trust Luton.
  • Hospice of St Francis Berkhamsted.
  • Keech Hospice Luton.


Every business decision has an environmental impact and we strive continuously to reduce our environmental footprint.

As a practice we remain committed to a programme of management, improvement and consideration of our direct and indirect impacts which mark our efforts to improve the world in which we live. We review our purchasing policies to ensure, so far as possible, that we obtain competitively priced goods and services while at the same time seeking to ensure that these goods and services are from sources which have not jeopardised human rights, safety or the environment.


People are at the heart of our business and core to the future sustainability of the business. 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.

Our staff retention rate is something we are proud of and remain committed to maintaining. We recognise that as an employer we have a responsibility to treat our employees, clients, professional contacts and suppliers with respect, integrity and trust.