Firm Profile > Bates Wells > London, England

Bates Wells

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Bates Wells has a large and dedicated charities practice that handles the full array of matters. The first-class team has recently been advising on various safeguarding matters as well as on some of the most complex and high-profile matters for household name organisations. The department also continues to advise many important charities on highly confidential pre-investigation compliance cases as well as investigations by the Charity Commission. The well-regarded Philip Kirkpatrick heads the charities and social enterprises department which includes: Rosamund McCarthy, who has a high profile in the charity sector acting for top 100 charities on governance and complex regulatory matters; Lawrence Simanowitz, who has a strong presence in the environment sector; newly-promoted senior partner Stephanie Biden, who is 'thorough, hardworking and efficient'; Thea Longley, who covers start-ups, constitutional advice (including restructuring), and governance reviews; Abbie Rumbold, who specialises in establishing charities created as spin-outs from the public sector; 'bright and astute' Laura Soley, who leads the firm’s expert trusts and legacies group; Erica Crump, who leads the culture and creative cross-departmental team; senior associate Pippa Garland; and associate Lucy RhodesLouise Haran, Victoria Schneider and Mathew Healey were all promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Philip Kirkpatrick


BWB team combines flawless technical knowledge of charity law with superb interpersonal relationships. The lawyers are the lead experts who also understand the power and importance of knowing their clients and their needs intimately‘.

BWB has a truly stellar reputation and happily is able to live up to this. The name is constantly mentioned when discussing leading practitioners in the space, and the individuals making up the team are all recognised in their own right for the work they do and the advice they give‘.

‘Philip Kirkpatrick has provided us with fast, professional, intelligent and responsive advice and is supported by an excellent team‘.

Rosamund McCarthy is without a doubt the best there is. She combines her expertise with compassion and an unrelenting focus on the specific needs of her clients. And this never falters despite being under extreme pressure‘.

Thea Longley is really, really well-respected‘.

Abbie Rumbold- I found her friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. Most importantly, she was able to break down complex information and positions so it was understandable‘.

Stephanie Biden is thorough, hardworking and efficient. She provided well-considered and imaginative advice and support’.

Luke Fletcher is genuinely excellent –  he is pragmatic and reasoned and a particularly likeable guy too‘.

Laura Soley is bright and astute, but also brings pragmatism and a strategic approach in providing her legal advice and in working with us to find solutions – often against challenging deadlines and policy contexts‘.

Laurence Simanowitz and Erica Crump adopt a constructive, pragmatic and problem-solving approach‘.

Key clients

BBC Children in Need


Comic Relief

World Animal Protection

National Federation of Women’s Institutes

Christian Aid

Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex



Scout Association

Education: schools Tier 1

Bates Wells' 'highly responsive, knowledgeable and solution-orientated' education team is led by Caraline Johnson, who has over two decades of experience in the sector. The team's main strengths lie in the restructuring of the state school landscape into academies, the development of multi-academy trusts and contentious matters such as discrimination claims. The firm also offers cross-departmental expertise in areas such as charity law and commercial law to national and international clients. Key names to note include employment lawyer William Garnett, public law specialist Emma Dowden-Teale and Paul Jennings, who is recommended for his expertise in discrimination law.

Practice head(s):

Caraline Johnson

Other key lawyers:

William Garnett; Paul Jennings; Emma Dowden-Teale; Jean Tsang; Megan Read; Louise Rea


‘William Garnett provides superb support and service, which is highly practical and solution orientated. He always goes the extra mile to ensure that his customers get the desired outcome.’

Key clients

Sky School

Mulberry Schools Trust

Abbots Bromley School

The city of London Corporation and the City of London Academies Trust

Bellevue Place Education Trust

Catch22 Multi-Academy Trust

The Urdang Academy

Core Education Trust, Birmingham (formerly Park View Educational Trust, one of the ‘Trojan Horse’ schools)

Cobham Free School

Electoral Tier 1

Bates Wells is considered a 'go-to' firm for electoral and campaigning laws, and practice co-head Simon Steeden is highlighted for his all-round expertise and ability to guide clients through the legalities of running campaigns and the make up of new political groups. Rosamund McCarthy co-heads the elections, politics and campaigning team, and her work has included advising the designated lead campaign group for a remain vote in the EU referendum. Melanie Carter heads the public and regulatory group, advising on areas such as electoral law rules relating to non-party campaigning and acting for a candidate for the London mayoral elections. Associate Jessica Collings' work takes in electoral law and lobbying regulations, where she also handles contentious work, investigations and judicial reviews. The team also advises on the interface between digital campaigning and the current electoral law system.

Practice head(s):

Simon Steeden; Rosamund McCarthy

Other key lawyers:


The Bates Wells team is widely acknowledged as being the go-to firm for public sector and charity law issues. Their expertise and knowledge is reliable and this is because of their vast experience in this area.’

Simon Steeden is a real expert on campaigning and electoral law in the UK. Simon has done  a lot of pro bono work too and did not hesitate to lend his expertise to the broader social sector by leading a team to produce a series of campaigning guides to help activists understand how to run campaigns legally.

Key clients

Green Party for England and Wales


38 Degrees


Compliance Officer for the Independent

Standards Authority

Thomson Reuters

Unbound Philanthropy

Student Union of Bournemouth University

Professional discipline Tier 1

At Bates Wells, 'the attention to detail is quite exceptional, yet the practice manages to work collaboratively and pleasantly'. It recently hired Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's former professional discipline team, including partners Nicole Curtis and Geoffrey Hudson (now consultant), as well as consultant Katrina Wingfield and associate Neil Wilks. Curtis and Wilks recently represented Farriers Registration Council in disciplinary proceedings, including in relation to animal cruelty. The professional discipline practice has particular strength in acting for representative bodies that have professional discipline functions, as well as statutory regulators, and it covers the health and social care, accountancy, veterinary and equine-related professions. Melanie Carter is a former GOC deputy registrar; also key to the group are Emma Dowden-Teale and senior associate Claire Whittle.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Carter; Nicole Curtis


The practice has this year acquired the regulation team of Penningtons Manches, which has consistently provided a partner-accessible, partner-hands-on, user-friendly, efficient, proactive and knowledgeable service to its clients‘.

The team always makes itself available – even when under pressure – to talk through the options, risks and best approach, and it always makes clients feel included and consulted’.

Nicole Curtis and Geoffrey Hudson have a wealth of experience in the field of professional regulation, enabling them to identify what is important in a case and exactly how all the elements of a case should be managed‘.

Melanie Carter and senior associate Claire Whittle are both extremely astute; they mix legal ability with superb client care‘.

Key clients

General Dental Council

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Farriers Registration Council

General Osteopathic Council

Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Insolvency Practitioners Association

Royal Institute of British Architects

General Optical Council

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

British Association of Social Workers

The Compliance Officer of Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

The Institute of Psychoanalysis

Royal College of Nursing

British Psychotherapy Federation

The British Society for Rheumatology

The Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals

Market Research Society

Administrative and public law Tier 2

Melanie Carter leads the rapidly growing team at Bates Wells, which has a considerable breadth of expertise across the field of administrative and public law. Of particular note is the team’s experience with public law in the third sector, with Carter and Emma Dowden-Teale advising a number of household names on statutory inquiries and engagements with the Charity Commission. The firm has an established inquiries practice, with Claire Whittle advising a number of non-departmental public bodies on their engagements with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. The team often appears on both sides of judicial review challenges, and regular defence instructions are received by regulatory bodies such as the Advertising Standards Authority; Rupert Earle is currently defending this client against a challenge to its ruling on misleading advertising of broadband technology. The team's extensive list of claimant work includes applications against the NHS and the British Standards Institute and other regulators in the charity, education and healthcare sectors. Notable additions to the team include a number of public law practitioners from Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, DAC Beachcroft LLP and Hogan Lovells International LLP.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Carter


A class act in public law that provides intellectual strength and a high quality of service

A team of intelligent and efficient communicators

The team applies very strong strategic thinking to each case

Melanie Carter has many years of public law experience and is an acknowledged leader in the field

Alistair Williams is calmness and efficiency personified

Melanie Carter is a fantastic lawyer and her experience is second to none. She is incredibly client focused and committed to delivering a good service, which flows through to the rest of the team

Melanie Carter is a star in the field. She is bright, approachable and very well regarded

Emma Dowden-Teale, Claire Whittle and Joanna Howard are efficient, proactive, approachable and friendly

Emma Dowden-Teale has strategic judgement beyond her years

Melanie Carter combines an encyclopedic knowledge of public law with an approach rounded in the practicalities and realities of judicial review

Key clients

National Audit Office

Wales Audit Office

Advertising Standards Authority

British Council

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Single Source Regulations Office (regulating the defence industry)

Airport Coordination Limited

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Compliance Officer

Council of the Inns of Court (regulating barristers)

Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Office of the Senior Traffic Commissioner (Tribunal, licensing and enforcement functions)

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

General Dental Council

General Osteopathic Council

Farriers Registration Council

Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council

General Optical Council

Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments Ltd

London Pensions Fund Authority

Education: institutions Tier 2

Bates Wells assists education sector clients with a wide range of matters, from regulatory issues and procurement to post-merger work. Led by Caraline Johnson, the team has brought its cross-departmental expertise to bear in advising on mergers between further education bodies. William Garnett, who leads the employment and discrimination team, is recommended for representing senior executives. Other core team members include regulatory department partner Emma Dowden-Teale and employment head Lucy Mclynn.

Practice head(s):

Caraline Johnson

Other key lawyers:


‘This is a highly responsive, knowledgeable and solution-orientated team, offering a highly personalised service across a broad range of services.’

Key clients


Unified Seevic Palmer’s College

West Herts College

NDC Asia Limited

Fashion Retail Academy

Amateur Swimming Association

Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx)

Trinity College

Barking and Dagenham College

Employment: senior executives Tier 2

Bates Wells has recently taken on an increasing amount of work for its enviable roster of charity and not-for-profit clients, advising them on safeguarding and incident reporting in the context of the #MeToo movement and rising scrutiny on the conduct of charity staff. Led by Lucy McLynn, the London-based practice has also has significant expertise in the investigations space, the education sector and issues arising from data privacy and GDPR regulations, where it represents organisations and individuals alike. In recent highlights, a team led by Paul Jennings successfully argued that two Uber drivers were entitled to 'worker' status, in a high-profile case with major implications for the gig economy. William Garnett leads the senior executives practice and is the name to note for boardroom disputes. Jennings has strong experience in litigation and test cases and recently made equity partner.

Practice head(s):

Lucy McLynn

Other key lawyers:


‘The team has the ability to think both creatively and pragmatically around an issue and provides an excellent service, however large or small your organisation, and how large or small the matter.’

‘Excellent knowledge and advice, given in a pragmatic and helpful way. Quick understanding of the circumstances of a case. Very good at crafting an argument in a convincing way and thinking outside of the box.

‘The team takes time to get to know the client, to be able to provide tailored and commercially relevant advice.’

‘Personalised care and support from start to finish.’

‘Lucy McLynn is excellent; extremely knowledgeable and skilled, whilst also being pragmatic, supportive, and the ultimate professional.’

‘Paul Seath is excellent – he provides timely advice; always pragmatic and clear.’

‘William Garnett has an honest, no-nonsense approach, spelling out the impact clearly on the different options. He is truly passionate about your case.’

Key clients

Chima Mbubaegbu

James Farrar

Yaseen Aslam

Jagruti Rajput

Christopher Gascoigne

Media and entertainment (including media finance) Tier 2

Bates Wells has 'strength-in-depth and commercial nous combined with the highest standards of legal and technical know-how'. The team is noted for its 'extensive' advertising and marketing expertise, where Rupert Earle is regularly instructed by the Advertising Standards Authority, as well as the Committee of Advertising Practice, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice and the Direct Marketing Association. The team is also experienced in challenging regulators and defending regulatory investigations and prosecutions. Data protection, IP, privacy and freedom of information work are also notable strengths of the team. Elsewhere, the firm is also home to a dedicated culture and creative team, where Erica Crump is recommended. Here, the team is instructed by number of cultural and arts organisations on commercial, contracts, IP, charity and governance matters.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Earle; Erica Crump

Other key lawyers:

Molly Waiting; Tom Pratt


The team is very understanding and personable.

Tom Pratt takes his time to explain situations and advises in the most helpful way possible.

Erica Crump has a particularly pragmatic yet rigorous approach and makes the client feel like an essential part of the team.

The team is very responsive and flexible, with high levels of skill and finesse in approaching complex issues and ensuring swift resolutions.

The team is reassuring and supportive.

The team is professional, expert, efficient and a pleasure to work with.

The partners are always available and the junior staff are of a very high quality as well.

Erica Crump runs an excellent team; she cuts though and simplifies complex issues.

Key clients

Science Museum Group

British Film Institute

Old Vic Theatre Trust

Royal Albert Hall

The Art Fund

South London Gallery

Booker Prize Foundation

Advertising Standards Authority

Committee of Advertising Practice

Arts Council England

Brand management Tier 3

Bates Wells' wide-ranging expertise spans advising on advertising regulatory issues, prize draws and promotions, copy clearance, and privacy and data protection matters, and it is 'one of the few firms' with a 'tremendous amount of expertise in the third sector'. Rupert Earle, a 'well-respected figure in the advertising and marketing space', leads the practice, which also includes Mathew Healey, who was promoted to partner in April 2019 as head of trade marks, covering portfolio management, registration and enforcement matters in the UK and internationally. Senior associate Catharina Waller assists with international re-branding programmes and soft IP issues.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Earle


Mathew Healey and Rupert Earle make a phenomenal team: both are valued advisers as well as being practical, responsive and commercially minded.’

The entire team provide outstanding advice, expertise and dedication. It feels like Rupert Earle and his team are an integral part of the brand

Rupert Earle is a brilliant mind, strategic and calm under pressure. He knows the industry inside out as a regulator and we are able to count on his team at Bates Wells to consistently provide excellent service and results.’

Key clients

Advertising Standards Authority Limited

Committee of Advertising Practice

WaterAid International

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (‘Sightsavers’)

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Local government Tier 3

The team at Bates Wells is well know for its specialisms in advising local government auditors and advising in relation to mutuals. It has advised on audits in relation to over 40 local authorities, including on some high-profile cases such as the budget deficit of Northamptonshire Council. It advises public sector mutuals and spin-out organisations who are using such vehicles to provide key public services. Abbie Rumbold and Melanie Carter are the experts in these areas, together with Emma Dowden-Teale and Augustus Della-Porta, who also bring charity/social enterprise and social care expertise.

Practice head(s):

Abbie Rumbold; Melanie Carter


The team has expertise and wide experience in a specialised field of local audit law, covering all aspects of Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the associated regulations. I find that the staff at BWB understand what we need from them and provide us with advice rather than replaying to us what we have told them.’

Key clients

National Audit Office

Public Sector Audit Appointments

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Wales Audit Office


Buckinghamshire County Council and

Buckinghamshire Music Trust

Buckinghamshire Learning Trust

Greater London Authority

Canterbury City Council and

the Marlowe Trust

Everybody Sport & Recreation

Hertfordshire County Council

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 3

Bates Wells handles M&A across across the infrastructure, technology and financial services sectors, working with venture capitalists and corporate clients. The firm has benefited from the growth of the 'impact economy' and has a strategic focus on the not for profit sector, advising clients on strategic M&A matters to serve this purpose. Although the team's predominant focus is on the domestic market, it has acted on matters with a US scope. Mark Tasker is a 'brilliant operator', and heads up the corporate and commercial department, with a particular focus on financial services and TMT sector transactions. Associate Matthew Gearing is noted by clients as 'one to watch', and handles corporate finance, investment and transactional matters.

Practice head(s):

Mark Tasker

Other key lawyers:

David Davies; Matthew Gearing


A strong commercial team led by an excellent partner in Mark Tasker

The corporate team at BWB is a very slick operation. There are no weak links and they all seem to operate with huge commitment and enthusiasm

Mark Tasker is a brilliant operator and clients love him.’

‘David Davies is an excellent lawyer and very good at working out complex matters.’

‘Matt Gearing is one to watch – he shoulders a huge workload and provides an excellent service to clients in managing deals. He is also bright and calm under pressure

Key clients

FM Conway Limited

P2i Ltd

Elecosoft plc

FairFX Group plc

Global Innovation Fund

Call Assist Limited

Trinity College London

HCT Group


Activate Solutions Group Limited

Reputation management Tier 3

Bates Wells' defamation practice represents clients on both sides of reputation disputes. Campaigning groups and student unions are on the firm's client roster as are national politicians and foreign royalty. Department head Rupert Earle has worked on a number of ground-breaking cases throughout his career and senior associate Alex de Jongh focuses his practice on advising campaigning groups on the defamatory risks in their material. The firm also boasts social media expertise and regularly undertakes defamation cases involving online harassment, data protection and freedom of information.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Earle

Other key lawyers:

Alex de Jongh; Jessica Collings

Key clients

Times Newspapers Limited

National Union of Students

Muslim Charities Forum

Church Times


38 Degrees


Faber & Faber

Canongate Books Limited

Royal Albert Hall

Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 4

Bates Wells' ‘proactive and thoughtful’ commercial property team has an ‘excellent understanding of the charities sector’ and also has particular expertise in the education, social enterprise and high street brand industries. Practice head Anthony Cartmell handles the full range of commercial property transactions, and his team has been bolstered by the arrival of Malcolm Headley from Gowling WLG. His arrival supplements the department’s already strong corporate occupier offering where it excels on leasing, leaseback, disposals and acquisitions. Elsewhere, Karli Hiscock, a specialist in HQ and retail premises acquisitions, recently made partner.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Cartmell; Mark Traynor

Other key lawyers:


‘They have an excellent understanding of the charity sector and the risk management factor for trustees so their advice is tailored accordingly. They are pragmatic and do not take unnecessary points on drafting issues.’

‘Karli Hiscock and Tom Allen are the stand-out individuals. Their understanding of the charity sector makes transactions run pretty smoothly. They keep us well-informed of progress.’

‘Jamie Huard has a thorough grasp of our complex issues and is able to think beyond the immediate question and propose robust solutions.’

Key clients

Dogs Trust

EEF Limited

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT)

Alzheimer’s Society

British Film Institute (BFI)

FM Conway Limited

Jane Street Europe Limited

Dartington Hall Trust

Royal British Legion

Westway Trust

Medical Protection Society

Sons of Divine Providence


The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution Care Company

The Marlowe Trust

Girls Not Brides

Architects Benevolent Society

Dogs Trust Trustee Limited

Sport Tier 4

Bates Wells acts for national governing bodies, sports charities, community amateur sports clubs and grassroots clubs, providing advice spanning governance, safeguarding, grant making, copyright infringement, data protection and charity incorporation in the sports sector. Jane Lougher advises sports charities on making grants and loans to improve grassroots facilities and develop larger multisport community facilities, while the 'exceptional' Thea Longley stands out for her strength on the governance side, where she acts for governing bodies across a range of sports, including cricket and rugby. Associate Lucas Atkin advises a range of sports clients on data protection issues.

Practice head(s):

Thea Longley


“The sports team at Bates Wells Braithwaite have excellent knowledge of charity and not for profit sector.”

‘The team are passionate about third sector and deliver on challenging topics with empathy.’

‘Thea Longley is exceptional’

‘Thea Longley delivers consistently in a principled and professional way. Thea and her team are excellent in doing what is asked of them, and not looking to enforce or charge where not necessary – proportional and professional support.’

Key clients

Football Foundation

England and Wales Cricket Board

Rugby Football Union

Lawn Tennis Association

London Sport

England Hockey

Commonwealth Games Federation

Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Amateur Swimming Association

Premier League Charitable Fund

Commercial contracts Tier 5

Combining ‘legal expertise with business understanding, common sense and a good dose of humour,Bates Wells advises on a range of commercial contract matters, specialising in data supply agreements and e-commerce advice, as well as cross-border issues. The 'knowledgeable, approachable and quick to solve complex issues' Richard Marke leads the team and is known as ‘an excellent lawyer, calm and collected when dealing with complicated matters'. Also notable is ‘invaluable’ associate Anna Przewoznik, who has expertise in commercial contracts, intellectual property, information technology and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Marke

Other key lawyers:


‘The corporate and commercial team is very personal in a professional way’

‘The team is familiar with the business they advise in and their approach is hands-on and prompt’

‘They respond quickly and professionally with sound and practical advice’

‘The attention to detail and the promptness of responses are outstanding’

‘The associates are exceptional’

‘You will get a fantastic high-quality service at a time span and rate that is kept well in sight’

‘The speed at which the team turns around work is remarkable’

‘The practice as a whole was able to handle all our legal requirements and the interdepartmental communication they have seems to be wonderfully set up’

‘Responsive, flexible, commercial and the appropriate amount of risk adverse’

‘The team put the client first and give practical advice on how to resolve an issue or dispute – sometimes that means not taking the legal route but taking instead a more commercial or hands-on approach to achieve the same outcome’

‘Richard Marke is very creative in his advice. He is pleasant to work with and always very responsive. He is known for his international network’

‘Anna Przewoznik is very detail focused but not at the exclusion of the bigger picture. She takes the time to understand the business, the contract requirements and the client’s place in the wider machine and thus is able to tailor contracts’

Key clients

118 Group


Perkbox Limited

Thomson Local

Alight Solutions

Positec Power Tools


Rail Europe



Employment: employers Tier 5

Bates Wells has recently taken on an increasing amount of work for its enviable roster of charity and not-for-profit clients, advising them on safeguarding and incident reporting in the context of the #MeToo movement and rising scrutiny on the conduct of charity staff. Led by Lucy McLynn, the London-based practice has also has significant expertise in the investigations space, the education sector and issues arising from data privacy and GDPR regulations, where it represents organisations and individuals alike. In recent highlights, a team led by Paul Jennings successfully argued that two Uber drivers were entitled to 'worker' status, in a high-profile case with major implications for the gig economy. William Garnett leads the senior executives practice and is the name to note for boardroom disputes. Jennings has strong experience in litigation and test cases and recently made equity partner.

Practice head(s):

Lucy McLynn

Other key lawyers:


‘The team has the ability to think both creatively and pragmatically around an issue and provides an excellent service, however large or small your organisation, and how large or small the matter.’

‘Excellent knowledge and advice, given in a pragmatic and helpful way. Quick understanding of the circumstances of a case. Very good at crafting an argument in a convincing way and thinking outside of the box.

‘The team takes time to get to know the client, to be able to provide tailored and commercially relevant advice.’

‘Personalised care and support from start to finish.’

‘Lucy McLynn is excellent; extremely knowledgeable and skilled, whilst also being pragmatic, supportive, and the ultimate professional.’

‘Paul Seath is excellent – he provides timely advice; always pragmatic and clear.’

‘William Garnett has an honest, no-nonsense approach, spelling out the impact clearly on the different options. He is truly passionate about your case.’

Key clients

Financial Ombudsman Service

College of Policing

Science Museum Group

Royal College of Psychiatrists


British Red Cross




Sutherland Global Services


Bates Wells' immigration team is 'outstanding'; it 'offers a very high level of service' and it is 'particularly good at providing holistic advice'. For business immigration, the team - which is led by Chetal Patel and features the 'eminent' Philip Trott - is instructed by major businesses and charities, and it is also experienced in handling immigration matters for high-net-worth individuals and well-known celebrities. In an example of its charity sector experience, the team advises Climate Policy Initiative on the recruitment of sponsored workers and on sponsor licence obligations and duties. The firm also advises on a raft of personal immigration matters, where Tim Barnden heads the team. Here, the team regularly advises on complex personal immigration matters, and handles cases which engage Article 8 of the ECHR, the right to private and family life. It also handles asylum and other protection claims for individuals and charities. Barnden is noted for his experience in handling applications by couples and families, LGBT applicants, and handles refugee cases. Senior associate Katie Dilger handles a range of personal immigration instructions and is 'attentive and responsive at all turns'.

Practice head(s):

Chetal Patel; Tim Barnden

Other key lawyers:

Philip Trott; Aisha Choudhry; Katie Dilger; Matthew James


Philip Trott is a stand-out partner; he is incredibly knowledgeable and is very good at understanding the needs of the business and advising accordingly.

Chetal Patel expertly, promptly and pleasantly deals with all enquiries.

If you are serious about UK immigration, you have to have Philip Trott on your team.

The team has a deep understanding of the requirements of the immigration rules and guidelines, as well as practical experience on how the Home Office assesses cases and responds.

Chetal Patel is extremely helpful, efficient and supportive.

The team are almost instantly responsive and it has a focus on client service.

The lawyers are very competent, well-disposed and responsible.

Matthew James’ work ethic and attention-to-detail is excellent; he is highly professional and pleasant to deal with.

Katie Dilger is very efficient at grasping the complexity of a situation.

Tim Barnden is committed to doing his best for his clients.

Key clients

Climate Policy Initiative

Endemol Shine UK

Girl Effect

Nicolas Pople Architects

Triratna Preceptors’ College Trust

Hillsong Church London

The Alan Turing Institute

Carrhae Capital LLP

Infopro Digital

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Bates Wells Braithwaite is a unique firm, combining a strong commercial and charity practice with a general emphasis on public interest work, media, education and working with mission-led businesses. The firm is renowned for its expertise in advising charities. The firm also has great strength in the areas of corporate law and employment law, as well as real estate, immigration, litigation, and public and regulatory law (with a particular emphasis on administrative law). The firm prides itself on its diversity of practice areas, its clientele and its staff.

The firm: Founded in 1970, BWB is based in London, with clients across the UK and internationally. BWP’s alternative business structure means that in addition to its legal services BWB provides advisory and impact advice, as well as a compliance and financial regulatory services consultancy. BWB is proud to be the first UK law firm to achieve B Corporation certification, underlining its commitment to its people, the environment and doing socially valuable work.

Bates Wells Braithwaite has a significant international practice across all specialisations, reflecting the international scope of many of the firm’s clients.

Types of work undertaken: The charity and social enterprise team is recognised as one of the leading charity law practices in the country. It acts for numerous household names, international charities and NGOs. It has particular expertise in obtaining charitable status for innovative organisations and for initiatives within the sector. As well as having initiated the idea of the Community Interest Company, the firm has been responsible through the years for many books, articles and other publications. Particularly notable has been the department’s cutting-edge advice on social enterprise; its close liaison with the Cabinet Office on social impact bonds; its innovative work in advising charities and the government on the developing area of mutualisation; and the consolidation of its role as a market leader in the field of social finance.

The corporate/commercial team has expanded significantly in recent years and undertakes work for a wide range of businesses. The team has developed considerable expertise in M&A, joint ventures, management buyouts, commercial contracts and partnership advice. This team has a strong presence in the technology sector and specialises in the small to mid-cap market, acting for many AIM listings.

The employment team advises both employers and employees on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law, including dismissals and redundancies, restrictive covenants, TUPE, service agreements and injunctions. The team has particular interest and expertise in all areas of discrimination. The team undertakes most representative work in-house, both in the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It also offers a full range of employment training services.

The extensively experienced public and regulatory law team acts for regulators, charities, not-for-profit and private sector organisations. The team has a particular focus on work with educational establishments and central and local government (including audit). It also acts for businesses, campaign groups and individuals who wish to challenge the decisions of public authorities.

The firm’s education team is fast becoming a market leader, advising the full spectrum of schools, higher and further educational institutions, regulators and professional bodies.

The immigration team handles all aspects of immigration and nationality law, including work permits, highly-skilled migrant applications, residency, asylum work and human rights.

The litigation team is broad-based, with particular specialisations in commercial litigation, property litigation, administrative law, civil liberty law, social work law, intellectual property law, insolvency and defamation. The media disputes team recently represented The Times in a ground breaking Supreme Court appeal, in which the judge established a common law right to information from public authorities where it is in the public interest for such information to be released.

The real estate team handles all types of commercial property work with related specialist expertise in financing and borrowing, planning and construction, and insolvency work, both for property companies, and also a wide range of businesses and individuals, both as landlords and tenants.

The sports team acts for regulatory and governing bodies, amateur and professional sports teams, sports charities and individual sportsmen and women. A broad variety of work ranges from the establishment of the Football Foundation to advising leading international athletes on their immigration status.

The culture and creative team advises a wide range of arts organisations and venues across the creative industries, from theatre, dance and opera, to artists and companies in the digital sphere.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Martin Bunch
Advertising and marketing law Rupert Earle
Charity and social enterprise Philip Kirkpatrick
Corporate and commercial Mark Tasker
Culture and creative Lawrence Simanowitz
Dispute resolution Robert Oakley
Education Caraline Johnson
Employment Lucy McLynn
Environment Simon Steeden
Faith-based organisations Stephanie Biden
Finance Luke Fletcher
Health and social care Abbie Rumbold
Immigration Tim Barnden
Insolvency Malcolm Robson
IP/IT and information law Lawrence Simanowitz
Legacies and probate disputes Robert Oakley
Litigation Robert Oakley
Media disputes Rupert Earle
Public and regulatory law Melanie Carter
Public services and mutuals Abbie Rumbold
Real estate Anthony Cartmell
Real estate disputes Lesley Robinson
Social finance Luke Fletcher
Sports Thea Longley
Trade associations and membership bodies Thea Longley
Trade marks Lawrence Simanowitz
Photo Name Position Profile
 Tim Barnden  photo Tim Barnden Tim is a Partner in the Immigration Department advising clients across the…
 Stephanie Biden  photo Stephanie Biden Partner. Advises on establishing new charities and social enterprises, and assists charities…
 Martin Bunch  photo Martin Bunch Managing partner dealing with employment law; CEDR accredited mediator.
 Stephen Callender  photo Stephen Callender Stephen has extensive experience of advising issuers, nomads, brokers and financial advisers…
 Melanie Carter  photo Melanie Carter Head of public and regulatory department. Melanie has been a specialist in…
 Anthony Cartmell  photo Anthony Cartmell Partner and head of real estate department
 Erica Crump  photo Erica Crump Erica is a Partner and has been with BWB since 2006. Her…
 David Davies  photo David Davies Partner covering all aspects of small to mid-cap corporate work, including private…
 Emma Dowden-Teale  photo Emma Dowden-Teale Emma advises on all aspects of regulatory and public law, both contentious…
 Rupert Earle  photo Rupert Earle Public law: numerous cases for the Advertising Standards Authority, including Sainsburys v…
 Luke Fletcher  photo Luke Fletcher Partner. Luke specialises in charity law and social enterprise. As well as…
 Pippa Garland  photo Pippa Garland Pippa has experience of working with a wide range of charities and…
 William Garnett  photo William Garnett Partner leading the employment team (12 lawyers of which four are partners).…
 Martin Gunson  photo Martin Gunson Real estate and related finance partner dealing with all aspects of commercial…
 Mathew Healey  photo Mathew Healey Mat is a chartered trade mark attorney and heads up our IP…
 Karli Hiscock  photo Karli Hiscock Karli has over 10 years’ experience in all aspects of commercial property…
 Paul Jennings  photo Paul Jennings Paul is a specialist employment and discrimination lawyer. He advises employers and…
 Caraline Johnson  photo Caraline Johnson Caraline has over 20 years’ experience in education law and has worked…
 Patrick Keown  photo Patrick Keown Partner
 Philip Kirkpatrick  photo Philip Kirkpatrick Deputy managing partner and joint head of charity and social enterprise team,…
 Thea Longley  photo Thea Longley Partner in the charity and social enterprise team and head of the…
 Richard Marke  photo Richard Marke Partner, commercial team. Richard has a broad range of commercial contract and…
 Rosamund Mccarthy  photo Rosamund Mccarthy Partner. Areas of expertise include: charity registrations (local, national and international); philanthropy…
 Lucy Mclynn  photo Lucy Mclynn Contentious employment work with particular emphasis on discrimination and status issues; reported…
 Robert Oakley  photo Robert Oakley Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution / Litigation Department. Case load includes…
 Chetal Patel  photo Chetal Patel Chetal advises individuals on securing leave to enter and remain in the…
 Tom Pratt  photo Tom Pratt Tom provides a wide range of contractual, commercial and governance advice to…
 Lesley Robinson  photo Lesley Robinson Partner and head of property dispute resolution main areas of practice: property…
 Malcolm Robson  photo Malcolm Robson Partner specialising in commercial litigation, arbitration and mediation, including general corporate litigation,…
 Abbie Rumbold  photo Abbie Rumbold Partner in charity and social enterprise team. Recent work includes: Spin-out of…
 Paul Seath  photo Paul Seath Contentious and non-contentious employment work, including transactional advice. Particular interest in disability…
 Lawrence Simanowitz  photo Lawrence Simanowitz Specialist in advising UK and international charities, arts and media organisations, not-for-profits…
 Laura Soley  photo Laura Soley Partner in the charity and social enterprise team and head of the…
 Simon Steeden  photo Simon Steeden Partner in charity and social enterprise department. Provide corporate and commercial, financial,…
 Mark Tasker  photo Mark Tasker Partner and head of corporate and commercial team. Specialist in corporate finance,…
 Mark Traynor  photo Mark Traynor Partner in the property team acting for commercial, charity and private clients…
 Philip Trott  photo Philip Trott Partner in charge of the immigration team; primary areas of practice relate…
 Molly Waiting  photo Molly Waiting Molly joined the Corporate and Commercial team after completing her training contract…
 Claire Whittle  photo Claire Whittle Claire has experience in a wide range of public and regulatory work. …
Number of UK partners : 39
Number of other UK fee-earners : 111

The Lex 100 Verdict

Bates Wells is revered for its 'focus on social impact'. Trainees report meeting 'down-to- earth, approachable and normal people' during the recruitment process, which assured them that 'they could really fit in' at the firm. There is a 'unique level of charity law work' on offer at Bates Wells and respondents appreciated being given 'high levels of responsibility early on', going so far as to say they 'started doing work that actually mattered from very early on into the first seat'. 'Assisting on an urgent, high-profile court case that also went to the Court of Appeal' was a clear highlight for one trainee. Indeed, 'a high level and range of work' and 'lots of client contact' is the norm. Sometimes this can lead to 'being insanely busy for a couple of weeks and feeling like you're not working to the best of your capabilities'. Generally, though, the work/life balance is good at Bates Wells. A 'friendly, non-elitist culture' pervades, where 'senior staff are more approachable' than at some other firms. As the firm grows, there is increasing 'difficulty getting to know new joiners', which irked some recruits. Exacerbating the situation, 'social events aren't always so well attended'. Perhaps unsurprisingly, pro bono is a 'core part of our charity offering', including 'lots of volunteering and outreach opportunities with schools and students, which feels like a nice way to get involved in the firm and give back'. If a firm whose 'ethos and charity law work' appeals to you, consider Bates Wells.