Harrison Drury & Co > Preston, England > Firm Profile

Harrison Drury & Co

Crime, fraud and licensing > Licensing Tier 2

With the arrival of practice head Malcolm Ireland in 2021 and associate Samantha Faud who joined in May 2022 from Napthens LLP, Harrison Drury & Co made a significant push into the North’s licensing sector. Already having  an established reputation in the region, clients praise the team as a ‘very friendly and helpful team who go the extra mile to provide a very unique and quality service.’ While the group handles, most notably, all aspects of alcohol and entertainment licensing, it is also adept in servicing a diverse client roster, including from the corporate and commercial property sectors.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Ireland

Other key lawyers:


‘Malcom Ireland, of whom I have the highest regard, leads one of the best hospitality licensing teams. It is a go-to firm.’

‘Malcolm Ireland is always meticulous in his instructions and his preparation for cases. He is easy to talk with and great for discussing tactics. He takes a practical and sensible approach to hospitality and licensing cases. I also work with Samantha Faud, of whom I also have the highest regard.’

‘Knowledge of licensing and hospitality is second-to-none in the area. All of the team appear excellent in this field but, in particular, Malcolm Ireland is the go-to person for specific advice or information. Openness to resolve issues by differing methods and approaches is recognised and appreciated.’

‘A very friendly and helpful team who go the extra mile to provide a very unique and quality service. We have worked with Harrison Drury on many complex licensing cases and they come with amazing advice and well-thought-out action plans to help with our needs.’

‘I consider Malcolm Ireland to be the best in his field. We have worked with him for many years on anything licensing related. His attention to detail, commitment to providing the best advice, and his excitation of cases is second-to-none. He has helped us with very complex licensing cases with great success.’

‘This is a close-knit team which brings with it a vast amount of industry experience relevant to our needs.’

‘Malcolm Ireland is unparalleled locally for his licensing work. The work and engagement of his team is also exceptional.’

‘My personal experience of Harrison Drury & Co relates to licensing matters under the Licensing Act 2003. What I can say with absolute certainty is that MalcolmIreland, Samantha Faud, and the rest of the team are exceptionally knowledgeable in this field. I firmly feel that they are innovative and prepared, thorough, very conscious of attention to detail, and tireless in their effort for the customer.’

Key clients

Admiral Taverns Limited

Daniel Thwaites Plc

Inglenook Inns & Taverns Limited

Timothy Taylor & Co Limited

Blind Tiger Inns Limited

Bowland Inns & Hotels Limited

Dandara Living Management Limited

E A Wallace Limited

Henco (International) Limited

Tiki Tiger Limited

Seven Bro7hers Brewery

85 Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Daniel Thwaites Plc in analysing and fulfilling the licensing requirements of their ongoing refurbishment programme.
  • Acting against a local authority in a contested and complex appeal relating to a review decision, which resulted in onerous conditions that had been placed on the licence being successfully removed.
  • Acting for a client in obtaining a licence for a three-day festival for up to 10,000 people in the grounds of a stately home.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the North West Tier 2

Harrison Drury & Co , which operates from five NW offices including Preston and Lancaster, offers the full spectrum of services in commercial disputes matters from contractual disputes to shareholder disputes and director misfeasance. The practice is regularly called upon to advise in sports disputes and disciplinary matters. Practice head Sean Gibbs acts in relation to enforcement of intellectual property and reputational rights. Nick Booth works on breach of duty claims and contractual disputes. Helen Griffin is experienced in working with SMEs while Matthew Astley works on employment-related contentious cases.

Practice head(s):

Sean Gibbs

Other key lawyers:


‘Harrison Drury were very efficient to work with and clearly had a good rapport with their client.’

‘Nick Booth was first rate.’

‘First class attention to detail and to the practical realities of litigation. Thorough and committed to getting the best for the client. Remarkable people skills, an attribute lacking in so many firms, but not in this team.’

‘Sean Gibbs and Helen Griffin excel in both knowledge of the law and going the extra mile for the client. Both are fantastic communicators.’

‘Having engaged the services of Harrison Drury on a professional negligence case, I have found them to be highly efficient, extremely knowledgeable and very professional approach at all times. I would not hesitate to recommend them.’

‘The team are great to work with and come up with solutions based on each individual case.’

‘Each one of the professionals we have dealt with are exceptional in their line of work and the advice they give is exceptional.’

‘The team boasts an extraordinary capability rarely seen outside of the large city practices to take on board and strategize on large complex problems and has an ability to understand a business’s practices with ease.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for two Defendants on a substantial case with numerous parties relating to, amongst other things, allegations of misappropriated funds and secret profits in the total amount of £4.6 million.
  • Acted on an emergency basis to consider contractual terms of a booking agreement.
  • Acted on a high net worth family shareholder dispute for five companies.

Real estate > Commercial property: elsewhere in the North West Tier 2

The north west offering at Harrison Drury & Co has a strong reputation for its ability to advise on the full spectrum of commercial property matters. It advises its array of key clients on matters which span industry sectors, from renewable energy and agriculture – the latter of which is an area of expertise of the ‘exceptionally helpful’ Kendal-based Naomi Fell – to travel, leisure and hospitality. Its workload is consistently of high value and the team also has cross-border capabilities. Preston-based Colin Fenny‘s area of expertise is litigation. Specialist in landlord and tenant-related issues and commercial developments in the renewable sector Simon England is at the helm of the practice from the Clitheroe office. Lancaster office head Hannah Hughes is a noteworthy team member.

Practice head(s):

Simon England

Other key lawyers:

Naomi Fell; Hannah Hughes; Nicola Beneduce; Amanda Marwood; Lara Watts; Colin Fenny; Wendy Newbury; Danielle Leeming; Lucy Beachell; Jackie Bate


‘Wendy Newbury is very professional and always makes sure she is looking after your interests.’

‘Simon England and Hannah Hughes both provide a clear and efficient service together.’

‘Lucy Beachell consistently delivers in terms of getting matters over the line and possesses an uncanny knack for eliciting responses from the most unresponsive of individuals.’

‘Simon England and Lara Watts have persevered through some very frustrating times and delays to achieve a satisfactory outcome in the end.’

‘Notable individuals are Jackie Bate in conveyancing and Naomi Fell in corporate property matters have been exceptionally helpful, and I could not speak more highly of the firm.’

‘They have knowledge of the sector and the institution. Work is conducted with humour and legal jargon is broken down so that even I can understand it! One individual that stands out is Danielle Leeming. They are approachable, personable, and make you feel able to ask questions.’

‘Amanda Marwood is exceptionally professional whilst making her clients feel comfortable and relaxed. She is very approachable, open and treats us with equality. Amanda is happy to take the time and care to discuss the basic principles of items in technical agreements.’

‘Nicola Beneduce handles work in a very professional manner.’

Key clients

PJM Property Investments Limited/MM Acquisions Limited

Cumberland Buildings Society

James Alpe Developments

Westholme Care Home Limited

Applethwaite Homes

Preston North End

Wilson & Co Properties

Derbyshire Projects Ltd

Oxbury Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising a not-for-profit in a large-scale development project aimed at addressing the shortage of social housing and lack of energy-efficient sustainable homes.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the North West Tier 4

The corporate and commercial practice at Harrison Drury & Co is experienced across a number of sectors, including professional services, manufacturing, hospitality, retail, and not-for-profit. The team’s services include M&A, shareholder agreements, corporate governance matters and management buy-outs. Mark Traynor recently joined as North West corporate head from TLT; he handles both M&A and private equity deals. David Edwards is head of regulatory and compliance team; he works alongside Nick Booth, a seasoned commercial litigator, and Lancaster corporate head Jack Stephenson, whose client base includes software companies, manufacturers, petrochemical companies and sports clubs. The firm also recently opened a Manchester office led by Richard Life, who joined from TLT in December 2023.

Practice head(s):

Mark Traynor; Nick Booth; Jack Stephenson; David Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Kerry Southworth; Timothy Grover; Rick Life


‘Jack Stephenson takes a pragmatic and sensible approach to the way he works on a transaction, which ultimately saves the client time and money at the same time as protecting the client’s best interest. I trust Jack to look after any client of mine and actively encourage them to use Jack’s services.’

‘Great team.’

‘Very approachable.’

‘The team are super efficient, I deal with solicitors every day and Harrison Drury go above and beyond, leaving nothing to chance. I have no reservations in recommending them. Clients to whom I have introduced the firm have since gone on to use them on a permanent basis.’

‘The corporate and commercial services team at Harrison Drury provide an excellent, down to earth and easily accessible service which is rare to find. They provide good common sense commercial advice at frankly a fraction of the cost of their competitors.’

‘Jack Stephenson has a very approachable and calm manner and is able to easily guide businesses through difficult commercial documents and provide good pragmatic advice.’

‘Their transparency, responsiveness and legal knowledge sets them apart.’

‘The team are extremely responsive, you get to know the whole team so if someone is away you know there will be another friendly face that can assist. They are able to explain matters to clients in a really user-friendly manner, avoiding legal jargon.’

Key clients

Rawcliffe Hall Caravan Park

Walker Fire

Edward Best and Paul Council

Work highlights

  • Acted for Rawcliffe Hall Caravan Park on the sale of the business and assets, including transfer of all the property and employees.
  • Advised a local SME on a share purchase of a portable toilet company.
  • Advised Walker Fire on the acquisition of shares in Southern Fire Protection Ltd and the acquisition of shares in Detector Alarms Ltd.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 4

Harrison Drury & Co‘s Preston-based team is headed by James Robbins who is described as one of the best insolvency lawyers in the north west’. It advises its growing client list across a range of industry sectors on matters including acquisitions of liquidated companies; advising in the administration and sale of businesses and their assets; and related disputes therein.

Practice head(s):

James Robbins

Other key lawyers:

Peter Barlow


‘James Robbins has a unique mix of specialisms in insolvency and dispute resolution. James is approachable, knowledgeable and very competent; he made himself available at short notice and helped us to reach an apt solution. I would not hesitate to recommend James.’

‘A small but helpful team who are always willing to assist.’

‘James Robbins is one of the best insolvency lawyers in the north west. Always willing to assist.’

‘James Robbins is an excellent operator. He takes time to understand the needs of the case, working parameters and desired outcomes. A response is then clearly tailored to these specific circumstances and he provides clear advice and commentary on the prospects of success.’

‘James Robbins is a reliable lawyer.’

‘Such a wealth of knowledge both of legalities and real world processes.’

‘Always friendly, happy to explain things and to ensure the client understands what’s happening next before proceeding.’

Key clients

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Begbies Traynor

Marshall Peters

Leonard Curtis Recovery Limited

FRP Advisory

Opus Business Advisory Group

Credit Limits International

Simply Corporate

Work highlights

  • Advising Opus Business Advisory as the administrator of three companies on the sale of the businesses and assets to companies operated by a celebrity clothing designer.
  • Instructed by a local authority to provide specialist advice to assist with a dispute between one of their key service providers.
  • Acting on behalf of a leading property management firm on the acquisition of a business park from a company liquidated in the Isle of Man.

Private client > Family Tier 4

Having added a Lytham-based offering to its already established three office presence in the North West, Harrison Drury & Co ensures it is regularly sought out by clients in the local market for a range of family matters. The team has been highly active in Children Act proceedings, many of which involving criminal accusations and cross-border aspects. Drawing a wide round of client praise, team head John Osborne excels at complex financial remedy cases, especially when they concern pensions, trusts and foreign property, and was also possessing niche expertise in IVF cases. Janine Hutson has a broad practice encompassing financial remedy, wealth protection, and children mandates, while the ‘outstanding’ Rebecca Patience has been active in complex safeguarding cases. Emma Panchal joined the team in April 2023 from Coupe Bradbury.

Practice head(s):

John Osborne


‘The family team at this firm conduct financial remedies cases including the preparation of pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements. They are experienced in big money cases including those involving farms and generational wealth.’

‘I have been instructed by Rebecca Patience from this firm. She is an excellent solicitor with a keen eye for detail. I have always felt fully supported by her to ensure the best outcome for the lay client. She gives realistic advice and listens to the client.’

‘The advice I received was clear, uncluttered and made sense. The service was at all times courteous, prompt and my questions were answered clearly every time. Emails were replied to promptly.’

‘I dealt almost exclusively with John Osborne who was great; he handled all situations that we encountered calmly and always saw a clear way through. I cannot recommend him and his team enough.’

‘From the first meeting I had with Harrison Drury & Co I was impressed with their approach. This was in regard to a divorce matter. They were extremely factual but at the same time very understanding of the situation, which was refreshing. As their work progressed they have always been organised in their approach, sending and receiving paperwork, their billing and breakdown of bills.’

‘The Team at Harrison Drury seem committed to find the best outcome for the children, with a child-centric approach being at the core. They are informative to the client, but also respectful of the other side, even in the face of unprofessional behaviour and their standards remain high even under the greatest of pressure, handling requests calmly and sensitively.’

‘Rebecca Patience, my solicitor, has been nothing short of outstanding and should be highly commended for her approach, demeanour and conduct. She is professional, understanding, and incredibly thorough. Knowing now what I do about her, I could not have wished for a more suitable solicitor.’

‘They have a wealth of experience and local knowledge. The team is very collegiate and supportive of one another. They provide a first class service to their clients.’

Work highlights

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 4

The Preston-based practice at Harrison Drury & Co, formed of ‘capable, professional and experienced lawyers’ is headed up by ‘high-quality lawyer’ Colin Fenny. It is experienced in acting for developers, commercial landlords and tenants, and landowners namely, on significant disputes and on the management of portfolios. The team advises its clients on matters including breaches of covenant, dilapidation and the range of rental issues, which is Alex Walmsley‘s area of specialism.

Practice head(s):

Colin Fenny

Other key lawyers:

Alex Walmsley; Joseph Mitchell; Zoe Taylor; Simon England


‘The team has expertise and enough people to cover detailed and urgent matters. We have worked together on a large landlord and tenant case including an urgent injunction at the outset which was well-prepared by the firm and has so far been very successful.’

‘Alex Walmsley and Joseph Mitchell both have a good understanding of the law and an ability to consider matters both in terms of the merits and tactically.’

‘Capable, professional and experienced lawyers who are easy to communicate with from the outset of any case. Client relations are clearly paramount to the organisation.’

‘Zoe Taylor is always responsive. It is totally refreshing not to have to chase and worry to elicit a response from the person looking after my interests. Colin Fenny is equally as approachable and engages directly as required.’

‘A very capable and down to earth team with excellent links to regional clients.’

‘Colin Fenny is a high-quality lawyer with good legal knowledge who is also excellent tactically.’

‘Harrison Drury in my opinion, is very much a ‘people centric’ business. Their team is very approachable, friendly and knowledgeable which engenders excellent collaborative and effective team working.’

‘I receive pragmatic and sound commercial advice presented in a friendly, plain-speaking manner from Harrison Drury’s individuals, namely Simon England.’

Key clients

Cumbria Zoo

Work highlights

  • Advising Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd on an unlawful forfeiture and relief from forfeiture claim.
  • Advising a significant landowner in relation to a mines and minerals lease.
  • Advising private clients on a Council application for committal to prison for breach of an injunction order regarding a planning enforcement notice.

Harrison Drury is a leading and award winning regional law firm that dates its heritage back to 1901. We have offices across Lancashire and the South Lakes and provide sector specific legal services to businesses and their owners across this region and beyond.

Over the last ten years Harrison Drury has established itself as the employer of choice within the legal sector and has grown at a pace unrivalled by other firms within the county. Attracting experts who are passionate at delivering outstanding legal services has helped our business to stand out from an otherwise competitive market.

Harrison Drury is proud to be home to one of largest commercial property teams in Lancashire and Cumbria with many decades of experience acting for business owners, developers, funders, landlords and tenants.

The firm’s corporate and commercial teams are well versed in handling business transactions, whether it is one-off sale or purchase, or a multi-million group merger. The team also has experience in dealing with a broad spectrum of contracts within with the hospitality and leisure sector, from trading contracts to ownership and management agreements.

Harrison Drury’s team of family and private client solicitors have a strong track record of success in cases that involve high net worth individuals with complex asset structures, such as business owners, sports people and professionals.

Department Name Email Telephone
John Chesworth john.chesworth@harrison-drury.com 01772 208070
Marketing and Business Development Megan Normoyle megan.normoyle@harrison-drury.com 01772 395115
Commercial Property Simon England simon.england@harrison-drury.com 07968 195550
Commercial Dispute Resolution Nick Booth nick.booth@harrison-drury.com 01772 429025
Residential Property Duncan Rawlinson duncan.rawlinson@harrison-drury.com 01995 676289
Private Client Clare Fleming clare.fleming@harrison-drury.com 01772 428536
Regulatory David Edwards david.edwards@harrison-drury.com 01772 208507
Property Dispute Resolution Colin Fenny colin.fenny@harrison-drury.com 01772 208071
Commercial Dispute Resolution Sean Gibbs sean.gibbs@harrison-drury.com 01772 429024
Family Law John Osborne john.osborne@harrison-drury.com 01539 751979
Employment Law Roger Spence roger.spence@harrison-drury.com 01772 374731
Corporate and Commercial Jack Stephenson jack.stephenson@harrison-drury.com 01524 544 237
Insolvency James Robbins james.robbins@harrison-drury.com 01772 208503
Licensing Malcolm Ireland malcolm.ireland@harrison-drury.com 01200 401131
Photo Name Position Profile
Nick Booth photo Nick Booth Partner
Simon England photo Simon England Partner
Naomi Fell photo Naomi Fell Partner
Colin Fenny photo Colin Fenny Partner and Head of Property Dispute Resolution
Sean Gibbs photo Sean Gibbs Partner
Helen Griffin photo Helen Griffin Senior Associate Solicitor
Amanda  Marwood photo Amanda Marwood Partner
James Robbins photo James Robbins Partner
Kerry Southworth photo Kerry Southworth Associate Solicitor
Jack Stephenson photo Jack Stephenson Partner
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