Firm Profile > Payne Hicks Beach > London , London

Payne Hicks Beach

Family Tier 1

With effect from 1 June 2019 Philip McGuirk and Rebecca Cockcroft now head the family law team at Payne Hicks Beach. The team is well known for its ability to advise a wide range of clients whether they be wealthy individuals, ‘Magic Circle’ lawyers or hedge fund managers and their spouses. It continues to act in a variety of high-profile cases and regularly appears in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. It is adept at advising on a myriad of issues from Part 111 claims, through to pre and post nuptial agreements and complex issues when children are removed from their home jurisdiction. Other names to note include Ian Airey who sits as a deputy district judge in the Principal Registry of the Family Division and Baroness Fiona Shackleton who has been described as a ‘legendary figure who needs no introduction’.

Agriculture and estates Tier 2

Payne Hicks Beach works with the owners of over 50 landed estates ranging in size from 750 acres to over 30,000 acres. Some of these estates include houses and grounds that are open to the public. The team routinely advises on diverse issues such as the buying and selling of farmland across the country through to advising on the protection of mineral rights. Other work highlights include advising on diversification schemes and alternative energy systems as well as succession planning and the tax issues surrounding agricultural/business property relief and entrepreneurs’ relief. Simon Blackburn joined from Macfarlanes LLP. Robert Brodrick is also recommended for his work on tax and estate planning.

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Payne Hicks Beach advises some of the UK’s oldest and largest estates and also has a particular focus on advising wealthy clients from Russia, Africa and the Middle East. The team’s reputation is growing in the international sphere and it has recently acted in substantial trust disputes in places as diverse as Jersey, the Bahamas, BVI, Liechtenstein and Gibraltar. Richard Manyon heads the team that is also skilled at representing wealthy beneficiaries in major litigation such as challenging the validity of wills and mental capacity issues. The 'incredibly capableAne Vernon is also recommended.

Education: individuals Tier 2

Payne Hicks Beach handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious education matters, led by newly promoted partner and 'standout player in this field' Ane Vernon, who is noted for her litigation experience. Vernon and Dominic Crossley are skilled in handling time-critical and sensitive matters such as admissions and exclusions for a range of private individual clients.

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Payne Hicks Beach advises wealthy clients from the UK and overseas and many of its clients feature in the Sunday Times Rich List, Forbes 400 and the Arabian Business Rich List. It does a mix of international and domestic work with continued instructions from Scandinavia and the Middle East. It routinely advises non-domiciled families on tax changes and is experienced in advising some of the UK’s oldest and largest estates. Other areas of strength lie in advising on the tax aspects of pre-and post-nuptial agreements and the structuring of divorce settlements. Alastair Murdie has now retired and Rosamond McDowell is the new head of department.

Reputation management Tier 2

The 'terrific litigators and good tactitians' at Payne Hicks Beach take pride in handling sensitive reputation issues in an extraordinarily discrete way. The team is led by the 'incredibly knowledgeableHanna BashaLucas Moore and 'pin-sharpDominic Crossley and is well-known for advising on reputational attacks, commercial claims of confidence, as well as pre-publication issues and pursuing urgent interim injunctions. Apart from high-net-worth individuals, politicians and sportspeople, the firm's client list also includes private equity firms and executives. The 'diligent and creative' associate Andrew Willan is a name to note for libel, privacy and harassment claims.

Residential property Tier 2

With a roster of clients including ultra high-net-worth individuals, landowners, estates, trusts and private companies, Payne Hicks Beach 's 'knowledgeable and practical' team handle high volumes work, including funding, disposals, and buyback agreements, in addition to sales and acquisitions which require advice on tax structuring. Practice head Andrew Berry acts for investors, landowners and developers across the UK, Middle East and Scandinavia, and recently advised a Danish developer on the acquisition of an 18th century manor house in an off-market transaction which was complicated by the need to manage the demands of third parties claiming an interest in the land.

Employment: senior executives Tier 3

Payne Hicks Beach has a strong track record on 'a wide variety of interesting and challenging cases'. The employment team acts for senior executives in the banking, insurance, media, advertising and fashion industries, and also acts for high-net-worth individuals on matters relating to discrimination, defamation, ill health and pay. The team advises on complex contractual, whistleblowing and discrimination issues that are often high-value. The employment team is headed by Peter McRoberts, who acts for a range of employers and professional bodies and charities on employment-related disputes.

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 3

The corporate and  M&A team at Payne Hicks Beach  caters for a wide range of clients, with the owner-managed market remaining steadily active. While the retail sector has been less busy over the past year, the firm continues to handle significant transactions in the technology sector, among others. Cross-border work is facilitated through established foreign desks in the London office, including Scandinavia, Asia and the Middle East. Jonathan Gatward leads the corporate department, while Nick Sayers is head of the M&A practice; Gatward is primarily focused on the private market, with Sayers working across both public and private markets.

Art and cultural property Tier 4

Payne Hicks Beach has particular expertise in advising on tax, title and bailment issues for private owners of art and heritage land and buildings as well as advising on the planning laws that are applicable to these heritage fixtures. Other areas of expertise lie in the administration of high-value private art collections, issues surrounding public access/conditional exemption issues in addition to the resolution of title disputes. James Bacon heads the team and is vastly experienced in heritage property taxation. Bacon has niche expertise in the use of maintenance fund settlements for land and his clients include the owners of substantial art collections and landed estates. Alastair Murdie has now retired.

Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 4

In the development space, Payne Hicks Beach is particularly recommended for large-scale residential and commercial projects including promotion and forward funding agreements, land sales and funding arrangements. It represents a number of international clients, primarily from the Middle and Far East, France and Scandinavia, on the acquisition of development sites and investments including high-value residential properties. The firm also specialises in acting for bluechip occupiers with large portfolios on the management of hotel, retail, restaurant, warehousing and office premises. Andrew Berry heads the team which was recently bolstered by the arrival of Simon Blackburn from Macfarlanes LLP, an expert in the landed estates team.

Commercial property: investment Tier 4

In the development space, Payne Hicks Beach is particularly recommended for large-scale residential and commercial projects including promotion and forward funding agreements, land sales and funding arrangements. It represents a number of international clients, primarily from the Middle and Far East, France and Scandinavia, on the acquisition of development sites and investments including high-value residential properties. The firm also specialises in acting for bluechip occupiers with large portfolios on the management of hotel, retail, restaurant, warehousing and office premises. Andrew Berry heads the team which was recently bolstered by the arrival of Simon Blackburn from Macfarlanes LLP, an expert in the landed estates team.

Partnership Tier 4

The group at Payne Hicks Beach is comprised of lawyers from the firm's personal tax, financial services, corporate, employment and dispute resolution department and advises clients on the full life-cycle of partnerships, LLPs and LPs, including structuring, set-up, administration and dissolution. The group also draws on its expertise in private wealth to advise on the use of partnerships as investment vehicles. Jonathan Gatward leads the team and is supported by corporate lawyer Marcia Kidd.

Commercial litigation Tier 5

Payne Hicks Beach's 'team is responsive, knowledgeable and really gets into the detail of a case, considering all angles from which it can be approached'. The disputes practice covers finance, professional negligence, commercial litigation in the motor industry, breach of warranty claims, marine law, property-related commercial matters, reputation management and judicial review. Dominic Crossley became head of the dispute resolution department in 2018, replacing Stephen King, who is now consultant. Richard Manyon is also highly rated, commercial litigation partner Lucas Moore was hired from Jones Day, and Ane Vernon was made partner.

Commercial property: development Tier 5

In the development space, Payne Hicks Beach is particularly recommended for large-scale residential and commercial projects including promotion and forward funding agreements, land sales and funding arrangements. It represents a number of international clients, primarily from the Middle and Far East, France and Scandinavia, on the acquisition of development sites and investments including high-value residential properties. The firm also specialises in acting for bluechip occupiers with large portfolios on the management of hotel, retail, restaurant, warehousing and office premises. Andrew Berry heads the team which was recently bolstered by the arrival of Simon Blackburn from Macfarlanes LLP, an expert in the landed estates team.

Property litigation Tier 5

With a focus on Prime Central London residential property work, the team at Payne Hicks Beach, which is now led by Matthew Spring following former practice head Andrew Tugwell's move to Keystone Law in October 2018, receives regular instructions from high-net-worth individuals, including family offices, and investors. Much of its work pertains to leasehold enfranchisement, property developments and landlord and tenant relationships but the practice is also adept at handling commercial property instructions.

Sport Tier 5

Payne Hicks Beach's clients are primarily drawn from the areas of sailing, equine, football, boxing and health,with practice head Jonathan Gatward's expertise covering a broad range of areas, including copyright, distribution, product promotion and general corporate work. Partner Hanna Basha and associate Nick Grant both specialise in sensitive disputes, usually concerning privacy, data protection, breach of confidence, defamation or harassment. In a recent highlight they represented boxing promoter Frank Warren in his successful claim against boxer Ricky Burns and his manager Alex Morrison.


Payne Hicks Beach's citizenship and immigration department is 'always client-focused and is commercially oriented to deliver the best possible result'. It stands out for its ability to advise ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals on Tier 1 investor and entrepreneur applications. It is also adept at advising overseas companies on establishment in the UK and handles sponsor licence issues for businesses, particularly in the fashion, financial services and not-for-profit sectors. With skills in handling complex instructions, often with a human rights element, the team has recently been involved in several complex judicial review challenges. Team head Kathryn Bradbury gives 'clear and realistic advice; she is hugely organised and is never flustered'.

Payne Hicks Beach is a specialist Lincoln’s Inn-based firm established in 1730 providing a full range of legal services to domestic and international private and commercial clients.

The firm: Payne Hicks Beach is particularly well known for its reputation and skill in ultra-high-net-worth family and private client law and is regarded as one of the very best of the small number of firms in the UK who provide these specialist services at the highest level. Additionally, the firm has top-ranked capability in certain areas of commercial law as well as privacy and media law and citizenship and immigration. This commanding position is complemented by an excellent reputation for being forward-thinking in its specialist areas, providing high-quality advice in the areas of contentious trusts and dispute resolution, employment, residential and commercial property and landed estates and agriculture.

Much of the firm’s work has an international flavour arising in particular from the US, Scandinavia, Middle East, Far East, Russia, Africa, Switzerland and other European countries. It acts for individuals and businesses: UK individuals, international clients, landed estate owners, entrepreneurs, trustees, fiduciaries and family offices, family businesses, private and listed companies, charities and schools, financial institutions and professional practices. Work can be handled in French, Italian, German, Danish and Arabic.

Types of work undertaken: Payne Hicks Beach has ten key practice areas: private client, family, corporate, employment, dispute resolution, privacy and media law, property, property litigation, landed estates and agriculture and citizenship and immigration.

The private client practice is recognised as one of the best in the UK. Its areas of expertise are very wide-ranging from domestic and international tax, trust and estate planning, family offices, US/UK work, heritage property and agricultural work, property development, taxation, probate and trust administration. The team acts for individuals, families, estates, trusts, family businesses, educational establishments, museums and charities with the aim to build long term relationships with clients and families that often span several generations. Whilst many clients are based in the UK, a significant number are overseas or have overseas interests and the team advises on a variety of offshore and international matters.

The family law department has unmatched expertise in all areas of family and matrimonial law, including Part III claims (where divorces take place abroad, and financial matters are resolved in the UK), pre- and post-nuptial agreements, the treatment of pre-acquired and inherited wealth, and the complex issues involved when children are removed from the home jurisdiction and implications of the Civil Partnership Act.  Family law is an increasingly complex area on which the team is renowned for its unrivalled experience guiding clients through difficult and emotional times.  Members of the department belong to Resolution, the SRA’s Family Law Accreditation Scheme and The International Academy of Family Lawyers.

The corporate department advises on the full range of corporate and business law. The team provides commercial and pragmatic advice on acquisitions and mergers, new issues, management buy-outs, banking, competition law, intellectual property, family office and governance, sponsorship, marketing and sale of goods, and partnership matters.  Clients include high-net-worth individuals, business owners, private and publically listed companies, international groups, family offices and private equity and sovereign wealth funds across a wide range of different industries and sectors. The team has significant experience in acting for wealthy individuals in relation to their corporate law and business requirements, complementing the firm’s leading position for private client and family work.

The employment department advises employers and senior employees on all contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including their rights and obligations and the conduct of tribunals and other hearings. It is known for advising on complex contractual whistleblowing or discrimination issues that are often very high value or of significant public interest for senior individuals, and for employers across a wide cross-section of industries.

The dispute resolution department handles a broad range of work including domestic and international contentious trusts and estates, Inheritance Act claims, finance disputes including banking, shareholders and insolvency, commercial disputes in general and specifically in the motor industry professional negligence, breach of warranty, intellectual property, landlord and tenant, loan instrument disputes and town and country planning. There is particular expertise in representing clients before high-profile public and regulatory inquiries and Judicial Reviews. Other areas of work include marine and construction contracts, sailing-related issues, partnership disputes, and property disputes.  With niche practices in sports, education and entertainment.  Every day life and commercial dealings can lead to unwelcome disputes and, as experts, the team makes sense and resolves all types of complex problems.

The privacy and media department specialises in managing and protecting client reputations through its extensive experience and intimate understanding of how the media and other publishers work. The team’s work encompasses a wide range of clients and circumstances and is well known advising on: significant reputational attacks, unwanted media/social media attention faced by high net worth individuals, libel, privacy, harassment, GDPR and Data Protection Act issues, pre-publication issues for publishers, litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings, phone hacking claims for claimants, online-publication, cyber-stalking and Norwich Pharmacal applications, urgent interim-injunctions and claims for breach of confidence. The partners in the team are well-recognised commentators on the development of the law in these areas.

The property department advises on all aspects of property transactions, environmental issues, leases, secured lending, management of investment property and development work including joint ventures and planning agreements. It is well known for its expertise dealing with prime residential property transactions often involving international investors from the US, Scandinavia, Europe and Middle and Far East, farm, forestry and renewable energy projects, and agricultural property and landed estates.

The citizenship and immigration department advises on the full range of UK immigration applications, providing services from initial entry to the UK, all the way through to British citizenship. The team is best known for advising: high net worth individuals in connection with UK Tier 1 Investor and Entrepreneur applications, overseas companies establishing a branch or subsidiary in the UK under the Representative of an Overseas Business Route, Sponsor Licence revocations for companies and on complex applications for EEA nationals and their family members.  In the ever-changing world of immigration, the team understands the importance of staying abreast of the continual changes in immigration rules and policy.

The landed estates and agriculture team has a depth of experience which enables them to provide a seamless and wide ranging service to landowners.  Payne Hicks Beach is one of the few London firms that remain fully committed to an agricultural practice. The team advises on key factors such as tax, finance, investment, succession and the structuring of property ownership.  Specialist advice includes: buying and selling of farmland across the country, first registrations of large tracts of land, protection from trespass and the protection of mineral rights, diversification and development schemes (for example in relation to alternative energy systems), the difficult process of generational change and succession planning for landed estates including major trust and farming business reorganisations; and tax matters such as maximising agricultural/business property relief and entrepreneurs’ relief.

The property litigation team combines its in-depth knowledge of the property sector with top level dispute resolution skills to resolve disputes concerning property.  The team provides specialist advice and support to both commercial and individual clients dealing with lease renewals, notices and rent reviews, service charge and dilapidation disputes, boundary and covenant disputes, planning issues and judicial review, and the arbitration or adjudication of construction disputes.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chair Robert Brodrick 020 7465 4300
Director of Management Virginia Farquharson 020 7465 4327
Citizenship and Immigration Kathryn Bradbury 020 7465 4300
Corporate Jonathan Gatward 020 7465 4300
Dispute Resolution Dominic Crossley 020 7465 4300
Employment Peter McRoberts 020 7465 4300
Family Rebecca Cockcroft 020 7465 4300
Family Philip McGuirk 020 7465 4300
Landed Estates and Agriculture Simon Blackburn 020 7465 4300
Privacy and Media Law Dominic Crossley 020 7465 4300
Private Client Rosamond McDowell 020 7465 4347
Property Andrew Berry 020 7465 4300
Property Litigation Matthew Spring 020 7465 4300
Photo Name Position Profile
 Ian Airey  photo Ian Airey
 James Bacon  photo James Bacon
 Hanna Basha  photo Hanna Basha
 Simon Beccle  photo Simon Beccle
 Andrew Berry  photo Andrew Berry
 Frederick Bjørn  photo Frederick Bjørn
 Simon Blackburn  photo Simon Blackburn
 Matthew Booth  photo Matthew Booth
 Kathryn Bradbury  photo Kathryn Bradbury
 Robert Brodrick  photo Robert Brodrick
 Fiona Brown  photo Fiona Brown
 Camellia Buckmaster  photo Camellia Buckmaster
 Rebecca Cockcroft  photo Rebecca Cockcroft
 Ian Connell  photo Ian Connell
 Catherine Costley  photo Catherine Costley
 Dominic Crossley  photo Dominic Crossley
 Basil Dixon  photo Basil Dixon
 Justin Dunlop  photo Justin Dunlop
 Melissa Ellis  photo Melissa Ellis
 Emily Foy  photo Emily Foy
 Jonathan Gatward  photo Jonathan Gatward
 Nick Grant  photo Nick Grant
 Emilie Helm  photo Emilie Helm
 Charlotte Henshall  photo Charlotte Henshall
 Victoria Hingston  photo Victoria Hingston
 Stephen King  photo Stephen King
 Klara Kronbergs  photo Klara Kronbergs
 Jeremy Lowe  photo Jeremy Lowe
 Nick Manners  photo Nick Manners
 Richard Manyon  photo Richard Manyon
 Rosamond McDowell  photo Rosamond McDowell
 Philip McGuirk  photo Philip McGuirk
 Peter McRoberts  photo Peter McRoberts
 Daisy Minns Shearer  photo Daisy Minns Shearer
 Lucas Moore  photo Lucas Moore
 Katie Parkes  photo Katie Parkes
 Ben Parry-Smith  photo Ben Parry-Smith
 Dean Ryan  photo Dean Ryan
 Isabella Savill  photo Isabella Savill
 Nick Sayers  photo Nick Sayers
 Luke Scarratt  photo Luke Scarratt
Baroness Fiona Shackleton  photo Baroness Fiona Shackleton
 Charlotte Skea-Strachan  photo Charlotte Skea-Strachan
 Christopher Sly  photo Christopher Sly
 Matthew Spring  photo Matthew Spring
 Richard Stapylton-Smith  photo Richard Stapylton-Smith
 Emily Stoneham  photo Emily Stoneham
 Isobel Symonds  photo Isobel Symonds
 Howard Taylor  photo Howard Taylor
 Paige Tompkins  photo Paige Tompkins
 Andrew Tose  photo Andrew Tose
 Ane Vernon  photo Ane Vernon
 Chris Weaver  photo Chris Weaver
 Andrew Willan  photo Andrew Willan
 Andrea Yiakoumetti  photo Andrea Yiakoumetti
 Maria Ludovica (Vicky) de’Sanna  photo Maria Ludovica (Vicky) de’Sanna
Number of UK partners : 27
Number of other UK fee-earners : 90

Contentious Trusts & Probate:

  • Labrouche v Frey
  • Cornet v Wood
  • Drozdov v Ritsema van Eck
  • Case of JB [2018]
  • Blacker v Yerbury
  • AAZ v BBZ [2016]


  • Owens v Owens [2018]
  • Kerman v Akhmedova [2018]
  • Versteegh v Versteegh [2018]
  • ABX and SBX and DX [2018]
  • Hayat Youssef Alireza v Hossam Youssef Ibrahim Radwan and Others [2017]
  • Owens v Owens [2017];
  • Work v Gray [2017]
  • Ecclestone v Stunt;
  • R v K [2018] EWFC 59
  • AAZ v BBZ [2016] EWHC 3234 (Fam)
  • AAZ v BBZ & Ors [2016] EWHC 3361 (Fam)
  • AAZ v BBZ & Ors [2016] EWHC 3349 (Fam)
  • NR v AB [2016] EWHC 277 (Fam)
  • FY v (1) MY and (2) KLM (Children) (by their Guardian) 2016 EWFC 16 (Fam)
  • Re R (Children) [2016] CA (Civ Div)
  • Robertson v Robertson [2016] EWHC 613 (Fam)
  • Work v Gray (Phase II : Computation and Distribution) [2016] EWHC 562
  • Work v Gray [2015] EWHC 834 (Fam)
  • Chai v Khoo (aka Peng) [2014]

Defamation & Reputation Management:

  • The Leveson Inquiry (all of the 53 “Core Participant Victims”)
  • Max Mosley’s ground breaking privacy claim against News Group Newspapers Limited and his application in the European Court of Human Rights and claim against Google.
  • Other privacy cases include phone hacking claims for compensation and injunction applications.


Payne Hicks Beach successfully represented The London Oratory School in the widely publicised Judicial Review claim against the Schools Adjudicator, which also involved the Secretary of State for Education. The case attracted national media coverage and widespread public debate concerning faith schools in the UK.