Firm Profile > BDB Pitmans > London , London

BDB Pitmans
50 BROADWAY
LONDON
SW1H 0BL
London

Infrastructure (parliamentary) Tier 1

As one of the 'very top planning law practices in the country', BDB Pitmans fields a 'talented group of partners and associates' who have 'huge depth of expertise in this area'. Its four parliamentary agents - Angus Walker, Nick EvansNick Brown and David Mundy - are active in the promotion and opposition of major infrastructure projects in the transport, water, airports and energy areas; legislative drafting; and as advocates in inquiries and before parliamentary committees. Sarah Clark is likewise experienced in infrastructure planning, public inquiry work and securing compulsory purchase powers.

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

The charities group at BDB Pitmans is led by Penny Chapman and encompasses a core team of charity law specialists who are ably supported by other departments at the firm. The broad practice is adept at dealing with a myriad of complex issues, from reputation management matters, through to philanthropy and legacy disputes. Jonathan Brinsden has considerable expertise in a number of specialised areas including cross-border transactions, social impact investment, charity sector collaborations with the private sector, as well as NHS charity regulation. Simon Weil advises on philanthropy and the resolution of potentially contentious issues arising out of wills, trusts and the co-ownership of property for charities and individuals. Nicola Evans is also recommended.

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

The vast majority of work undertaken by BDB Pitmans is settled before formal court proceedings, however in 2018 it was involved in two reported cases. Dual-qualified Geoffrey Kertesz heads the department and is regularly instructed in high-value matters that involve an interplay between trusts, probate and divorce, and is adept at handling matters that span the Chancery and family divisions. The team handles all types of private onshore and offshore wealth disputes advising on contested wills and trusts, charity legacies and inheritance tax claims. Key clients include individuals, families, trustees, beneficiaries and charities. Legal Director Lorraine Jeffery is one to watch.

Employment: senior executives Tier 2

BDB Pitmans has a strong offering for both employers and senior executives, and has solid expertise in acting for clients drawn from the charity sector. The team handles a broad range of employment law matters, including TUPE issues, contracts, service agreements, redundancies, constructive dismissals and discrimination claims. Jesper Christensen leads the practice. Caroline Yarrow, Brian Gegg and senior associate Ian Wasserman are also key contacts.

Local government Tier 2

BDB Pitmans (Bircham Dyson Bell merged with Pitmans in late 2018) has an impressive national practice, especially in areas of transport, regeneration projects and clean air/emissions matters. Mark Challis heads the department and David Mundy leads the practice area - he is a Roll A Parliamentary Agent and his expertise spans development schemes, public procurement and state aid and broad administrative law matters. Also a Roll A Parliamentary Agent, Nick Evans advises on major  infrastructure projects in the transport, energy, water and waste sectors. Angus Walker also has a focus on these sectors and 'stand outTom Henderson handles infrastructure planning. Senior associate Rahul Bijlani  is noted; he acted for Transport for London on numerous extensions and variations of London's congestion charging regime.

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 2

Following a merger with legacy Bircham Dyson Bell, the newly formed BDB Pitmans now counts 12 partners in its London corporate/M&A  team. The practice handles both public and private work, predominantly for smaller and mid-market clients, although some much larger clients are noted. The firm retains a strong private wealth team, which collaborates with the corporate M&A team to bring work for private individuals, including entrepreneurs. Nick McCarthy is the key name to note, and his large sector breadth means he acts for private equity firms, large listed clients and private companies, including some high-profile retail businesses.

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

BDB Pitmans is best known for its advice on complex estate planning and succession issues, often involving assets in multiple jurisdictions, as well as for its work on trusts and other wealth-holding vehicles for international families. The team is  well-regarded for its advice to owners of agricultural land and landed estates as well as philanthropists. In addition, the team of trust and tax managers is thriving. Simon Weil heads the department.

Planning Tier 2

BDB Pitmans has a strong reputation as a leading firm in the field of infrastructure planning, and advising on DCO and Transport and Works Act Order applications for major projects across the UK. Particularly noteworthy ongoing work includes the full suite of advice to Transport for London regarding the Crossrail 2 project and the DCO application for the £5.3bn+ Lower Thames Crossing project for Highways England. Angus Walker also advises on NSIPs in the airport and oil and gas sectors. On the development side, practice head Mark Challis advises a number of local authorities on their CPO applications for high-value regeneration programmes, as well as handling contentious issues such as planning objections by way of public inquiry. The sizeable nine-partner team also includes Sarah Clark, who notably is acting alongside Challis on a £3bn+ line extension project for Transport for London.

Residential property Tier 2

Following its merger in December 2018, BDB Pitmans has increased its historic strength in all types of leasehold matters, including acquisitions and enfranchisements, which are handled alongside a consistent stream of high value residential property transactions, acting for buyers and sellers in prime central London locations such as Chelsea, Belgravia and Knightsbridge. Further expertise is displayed by the practice in property development and estate acquisitions. Practice head Hema Anand frequently acts for high net worth individuals buying and selling residential property in London, providing particular expertise in relation to tax structuring and the complex areas of Right to Manage and Right of First Refusal. Former senior partner John Stephenson leads on leasehold enfranchisement work.

Administrative and public law Tier 3

The administrative and public law practice at BDB Pitmans has a strong track record for public inquiry work, with Matthew Smith representing a number of individuals involved the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the London Bridge Inquests and the Westminster Bridge Inquests. The team’s client roster recently expanded, bringing in a number of key local councils acting as interested parties in a judicial review concerning local government reform. Other judicial review challenges are regularly acted on in the fields of planning and climate change, with a highlight being an ongoing instruction by the Committee on Climate Change against the central government. Procurement advice is covered by David Mundy, with the landmine clearance charity HALO being a significant client.

Court of protection Tier 3

The Court of Protection team at BDB Pitmans is led by Alastair Collett and comprises a mix of non-contentious and litigation lawyers who practise in this area alongside other connected areas, such as care of the elderly and will and trust disputes. The department is best known for managing capacity issues for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The team has substantial experience in contested Court of Protection cases as well as in bringing and defending objections to enduring/lasting powers of attorney. Simon Weil and Geoffrey Kertesz are the other names to note.

Education: schools Tier 3

Penny Chapman oversees the education and charities team at BDB Pitmans, which provides 'consistently good advice' to its national clients on all areas of education law, combined with its charity law expertise. The team has handled mergers and restructurings, regulatory work and real estate matters over the past 12 months and has seen a strengthening of its client base, with several independent schools joining the roster. The practice takes a cross-departmental, with real estate group head Jonathan Fewster advising schools on property matters. Senior associates Alice Unwin and Harriet Ainsworth are also key members of the team.

Rail Tier 3

BDB Pitmans focuses on planning and authorisation work in the rail sector; it advises on the planning aspects of large-scale infrastructure projects in heavy and light rail; and it has 'deep experience in the field'. The firm's Parliamentary Agents advise on the promotion and opposition of railway bills and it has a dedicated public affairs practice. The team continues to act for a wide range of parties affected by HS2 Phases One and Two, including statutory bodies and undertakers, local authorities, utility companies, private organisations, individual landowners and rural businesses.

Art and cultural property Tier 4

BDB Pitmans is best known for providing tax and structuring advice to the owners of art and cultural property. The experienced team frequently advises trustees and individuals who own assets that are subject to historic conditional exemptions from estate duty and inheritance tax. The group has also been busy advising on all the issues that arise from the sale and purchase of art as well as issues of provenance, artefact recovery in addition to agency agreements, contracts and IP issues. Susan Johnson and Hugo Smith co-head the team.

Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 4

Jonathan Fewster’s team at BDB Pitmans is a ‘well-rounded group, offering excellent advice and a hands-on attitude’. The firm, which is a result of the recent merger of Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans Law, is particularly reputed for its corporate occupier work which ranges from asset management to acquisitions and leasing arrangements. Development and investment matters are also a particular focus including day-to-day portfolio management, acquisitions and disposals. Also forming the caseload is landlord and tenant work, construction, property finance, planning and enfranchisement work along with a range of matters in the charities and not-for-profit sector such as leasing and constitutional restructuring.

Commercial property: development Tier 4

Jonathan Fewster’s team at BDB Pitmans is a ‘well-rounded group, offering excellent advice and a hands-on attitude’. The firm, which is a result of the recent merger of Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans Law, is particularly reputed for its corporate occupier work which ranges from asset management to acquisitions and leasing arrangements. Development and investment matters are also a particular focus including day-to-day portfolio management, acquisitions and disposals. Also forming the caseload is landlord and tenant work, construction, property finance, planning and enfranchisement work along with a range of matters in the charities and not-for-profit sector such as leasing and constitutional restructuring.

Family Tier 5

Siân Jones heads the team at BDB Pitmans and advises many high-profile international couples on pre-nuptial, cohabitation and pre-civil partnership agreements. The busy team was pleased to add David Thompson to its ranks from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. It is highly regarded for its work on complex international disputes and works closely with its private wealth team and its agriculture and rural property teams. Lisa Bolgar Smith, David Thompson, John Darnton and Isobel Mundy are all mediators and Mundy is qualified to have direct consultation with children. The team is one to watch.

Pensions (non-contentious) Tier 5

Christopher Netiatis is the primary contact for the pensions offering at BDB Pitmans. His specialisms include scheme reorganisations and mergers, design and benefit changes, scheme closures, derisking exercises and rectification applications.

Property litigation Tier 5

Following the merger between Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans, the firm now operates under the name BDB Pitmans. Its property litigation team is jointly led by the 'approachable and knowledgeableSimon Painter and Neil Emerson and is best known for its high-end residential property work, which frequently involves unlawful alterations and noise nuisance claims as well as enfranchisement disputes but the practice also handles commercial property issues including those involving an insolvency element.

Employment: employers Tier 6

BDB Pitmans has a strong offering for both employers and senior executives, and has solid expertise in acting for clients drawn from the charity sector. The team handles a broad range of employment law matters, including TUPE issues, contracts, service agreements, redundancies, constructive dismissals and discrimination claims. Jesper Christensen leads the practice. Caroline Yarrow, Brian Gegg and senior associate Ian Wasserman are also key contacts.

Commercial litigation Tier 8

In late 2018, Pitmans LLP merged with Bircham Dyson Bell to become BDB Pitmans. The commercial litigation practice covers shareholder disputes, financial litigation and complex IT litigation. Geoffrey Kertesz is litigation head and Sinéad Lester heads the commercial litigation team. Also highly regarded are Richard Langley, Donna Goldsworthy, David Archer and Neil Emerson.

Immigration

BDB Pitmans advises large corporates and SME clients on a broad range of immigration matters, including sponsorship duties, right to work checks and applications. The team also advises entrepreneurs, investors and their families on visas and relocation to the UK. The team is also engaged on immigration work relating to acquisitions, disposals, reorganisations and outsourcing. Its client base spans the professional services, hospitality, medical and charity sectors. The team also acts for individuals and private clients on a broad range of immigration matters and can offer estate and tax planning advice as part of its service.

BDB Pitmans was established in 2018 following a merger between legacy firms Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) and Pitmans Law.

Bringing together over 300 years of legal expertise across 5 locations – Cambridge, London City, London Westminster, Reading and Southampton.

Our priority is to achieve outstanding outcomes for our clients. We listen to you and your business objectives or life goals so that we provide not only excellent technical advice, but a complete solution. We work for you to understand the challenges you face, and aim to not just meet expectations, but to exceed them.

Our focus is building longstanding and mutually beneficial client relationships on a foundation of trust and genuine partnership.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK 

Agriculture:

The firm has a strong practice in acting for individuals and institutions engaged in farming and the ownership of agricultural land and landed estates.

Charities & Not-for-Profit:

In the third sector, the firm’s award-winning charities and not-for-profit team remains a leader in its field, acting for both UK and international charity clients. The team has vast experience of working both with and within the charities sector. Acting for over 450 national and international charities (and a wide range of other civil society organisations and social enterprises), the team has specialist expertise in particularly complex or unusual matters. In addition to the core team, there are charities and social enterprise specialists across departments including real estate, intellectual property, employment, corporate and commercial, public affairs and dispute resolution.

Contentious Trusts & Estates:

Work is largely international and the team handles a wide range of trustee difficulties from issues with HMRC, beneficiary disputes, investment losses, administrative difficulties, and allegations of corrupt purposes.

Corporate & Commercial Services:

The partner-led corporate team offers advice at every stage of a business’s lifecycle, helping them to protect their assets and achieve their long-term strategy. They have particular expertise in takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, Main Market and AIM listings, corporate finance and capital reorganisations / restructurings.

Development Planning:

The development planning team at BDB Pitmans are very experienced in acting for house builders and other developers on various projects, including affordable housing schemes. They also deal with judicial review proceedings, as well as village green, highways CIL work, planning appeals and planning prosecutions. They also advise on dealing with Assets of Community Value.

Restructuring and Insolvency:

The team has a comprehensive network of banks, financiers, brokers and insolvency professionals to work quickly and effectively to resolve both stressed and distressed situations. We advise on business contingency and exit planning, business restructuring and turnaround strategy, acquisition of distressed business advice, debt and asset recovery, debt reconstruction and consolidation, directors duties and retained board advisory and disqualification proceedings, insolvency and Company Act offences and regulatory advice, liquidations, receiverships, administrations, voluntary arrangements and bankruptcies and pensions restructuring.

Employment:

The firm’s large specialist employment team acts for employers across a number of sectors, as well as acting for individuals. Work undertaken covers all types of employment advice, with particular expertise in dealing with complex business restructuring, transfers under TUPE and COSOP and defending large value and complex tribunal claims. The team also has a significant practice advising senior executives on high value exit packages, team moves and restrictive covenant issues.

Family:

The family team is recognised for advising high net worth clients with international assets, often involving associated disputes over jurisdiction for divorce cases or family trusts. The team also includes a number of qualified mediators and trained collaborative lawyers.

Government & Infrastructure:

The market-leading team work on some of the biggest and most important infrastructure and regeneration projects in the UK and advise on a wide range of planning, environmental, compulsory purchase, real estate, regulatory / public law, public affairs and parliamentary issues. Clients include Luton Airport, National Grid, Crown Commercial Service, Transport for London, Peel Group, National Audit Office, London Resort Holdings Company, Transport for Greater Manchester, Health and Care Professions Council and Midlands Connect. The team also includes four Roll A Parliamentary Agents.

Intellectual Property:

The IP team has specialist expertise in: managing brands for charities, not-for profits and social enterprises; certification and collective marks for trade and professional associations and regulators; Protected Geographical Indicators (PGIs) and Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs); patents in standards; designs.

Litigation:

Property litigation continues to be a key practice area for the firm and includes large scale construction disputes. The team also has in-depth experience of litigating for central Government, acting for defendant public bodies that are subject to judicial review. In addition, the firm has a dedicated commercial litigation practice specialising in financial product mis-selling.

Pensions:

Our pensions team offers a comprehensive range of services for employers and trustees. We advise on due diligence, pensions warranties and agreements, clearance applications, documenting arrangements, contingent assets, de-risking, buy-outs and buy-ins, risk insurance, administration and investment management agreements. We also have advised on GDPR guidance for pension scheme trustees, governance: legal and regulatory compliance, employer and trustee powers and duties. The  team also includes litigators advising on contentious proceedings, pension scheme claims, professional negligence claims and also the specialist area of Unions pensions.

Private Wealth:

The private wealth team is one of the largest in the UK, offering a full service to individuals, families and trustees with an expanding global reach. The team is well-known for its expertise in UK and international tax and estate planning, UK and offshore trusts, wills, probate and the administration of estates, heritage and rural estates work, mental incapacity and Court of Protection work, high value residential property transactions and leasehold enfranchisement, contentious trusts work, immigration law and family office services.

Real Estate:

The team’s residential practice is a leader in leasehold enfranchisement, having successfully served the first ever collective enfranchisement claim notice on the day the 1993 Act came into force in 1994. The commercial real estate practice covers all areas including site acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management, tenant advice work, development schemes, construction, obtaining rights over land and security work.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Andrew Smith
Senior Partner Helen Ratcliffe
Agricultural Law Patrick Lynam
Charities Penny Chapman
Contentious Trusts & Estates Geoffrey Kertesz
Development Planning Christina Daniels
Restructuring and Insolvency Suzanne Brooker
Employment Jesper Christensen
Family Siân Jones
Family Matthew Heyworth
Government & Infrastructure Mark Challis
IP Dennis Lee
Litigation Richard Langley
Pensions Chris Netiatis
Private Wealth Simon Weil
Private Wealth Matthew Heyworth
Real Estate Jonathan Fewster
Number of partners: : 80
Solicitors: : 170