Firm Profile > Muckle LLP > Newcastle upon Tyne , England

Muckle LLP

Banking and finance Tier 1

Muckle LLP provides the spectrum of services to banks, financial institutions, corporates and individuals, as borrowers and lenders, seeking banking, finance and fundraising advice. Key areas of expertise for the team include refinancing, acquisition finance, turnarounds and debt restructuring. The 'reliableLouise Duffy leads the team, which includes senior associate Nicola Nutley, who is developing a niche in healthcare funding and funding into the registered provider and education sectors.

Leading individuals

Rising stars


Louise Duffy is an excellent role model for the team and has a great level of experience

Nicola Nutley is a technical expert who can always be relied on to do an excellent job

The team is very practical, helpful and always provides excellent client service

Key clients

HSBC UK Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc/Bank of Scotland plc

Santander UK plc

Home Group

Newcastle Building Society

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Muckle LLP provides a full range of services to charity clients nationwide, including advising on corporate governance, fundraising, mergers, employment, property and tax issues. The firm is particularly well known in the sports and education sectors. The ‘outstanding advocate in charity law and businessJohn Devine leads the practice and specialises in sports and finding innovative solutions to legal issues for high-profile clients.

Leading individuals


‘Due to Muckle’s size they are able to tap into a wealth of specialists.’

‘The practice has a real understanding of the operating environment and takes the time to get to the root of issues rather than looking for a quick fix.’

‘Whatever the task Muckle engages with the appropriate resources efficiently and effectively.’

‘John Devine has deep knowledge of and empathy with the charitable sector.’

‘George Festing always takes care to really understand all the elements of an issue.’

Key clients

The Great North Air Ambulance Service

The Alnwick Garden Trust

The Greggs Foundation (official affiliated charity of Greggs PLC)

The Premier League Charitable Fund

North Music Trust (The Sage Gateshead music venue)

Chelsea FC Foundation

British Airways’ Concorde Club

The Auckland Castle Trust

Tyneside Cinema

St Cuthbert’s Care (incorporating The Alan Shearer Foundation)

Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF)

Newcastle University Students’ Union

Mental Health Concern (Concern Group)

QPR in the Community Trust

parkrun Global

Commercial litigation: Newcastle Tier 1

Newcastle heavyweight Muckle LLP provides a wide variety of dispute resolution services, drawing on the firm's wider expertise in IT and technology, shipping and the construction sector. The team has also developed an active international arbitration practice, acting for a range clients across Europe. Practice head Susan Howe specialises in financial asset tracing and freezing orders, often acting in complex multi-party and cross-jurisdictional litigation.

Leading individuals

Next Generation Partners


What makes Muckle really special is that they understand that ultimately, any dispute resolution process has to achieve a commercial outcome for the client

Susan Howe is an extremely bright and creative litigator and is very commercially astute

Their dynamism and tenacity compare very favourably with litigation departments across the country

Key clients

Celtic Aerospace Ventures

Caribbean Premier League

NG Bailey Group

Mr Jeff Winn/Winn Solicitors Limited/On-Hire

Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)

Commercial property: Newcastle Tier 1

Muckle LLP is the go-to firm for real estate clients in the education and sport sectors, alongside its more general real estate offering; and was appointed to the Crown Commercial Service panel in 2018, cementing its reputation with public sector clients. The group is instructed on transactions, portfolio management and joint ventures. Jonathan Combe leads the team, which includes David Towns (who joined from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2018) and transactional lawyer Gail Bennett.

Leading individuals

Next Generation Partners


Excellent, pragmatic and knowledgeable service and good understanding of real estate in the North East of England

Jonathan Combe and James Armstrong in particular provide an exceptional service in term of advice, accuracy and speed of response

The diversity of expertise in the firm means that, as a collective, they can cover a wide spectrum of legal advice and disciplines

Key clients

McAleer & Rushe Group

Home Group

Newcastle University

Mandale Group

Arriva plc

Corporate and commercial: Newcastle Tier 1

Muckle LLP is noted for its strong regional presence, upon which it has built outstanding corporate and commercial teams, under the leadership of the 'knowledgeable, pragmatic and strategic' Andrew Davison. The corporate practice focuses on M&A and private equity, both of which are specialisms for Anthony Evans. In 2018, the commercial group benefitted from the arrival of consultant Robin Adams, who joined from  Collingwood Legal. Adam Rayner focuses on corporate finance and company law matters.

Next Generation Partners


Client focused team’

Able to deliver clear and concise professional advice’

Anthony Evan has fierce intelligence and foresees how events will develop

Key clients

LDC Private Equity

CriSeren Foods Limited

Fairstone Group Limited

Newcells Biotech Limited

NVM Private Equity

The Naked Deli Ltd

Debt recovery Tier 1

The team at Newcastle powerhouse Muckle LLP handles debt recovery matters alongside local and national enforcement officers and insolvency practitioners, utilising a state-of-the-art debt collection case management system which allows clients to track the progress of their matters. The team is led by Beverley Oliver, who is an expert in procedures for both commercial and consumer debts. The firm's panel appointments include the National Higher Education Procurement Consortia and the Crown Commercial Service. Kelly Jordan, who was promoted to partner in 2018, is another key name.

Leading individuals

Next Generation Partners


Beverley Oliver is fantastic to work with; she deals with matters quickly and in a no-nonsense manner

The collection team responds very quickly to queries and use multiple methods of chasing the customer offering regular updates’

Always helpful

Key clients

Soil Environmental Services

Smith Marston

Anglia Telecom Centres


CC Recovery Solutions

Education Tier 1

Muckle LLP has experience across the sector, acting for HE and FE institutions nationally, as well as multiple MATS, academy trusts and independent schools in the region. Tony McPhillips leads the practice and focuses on multi academy trusts, colleges and universities. Also notable in the team is Joanne Davison, who specialises in academies work.

Leading individuals


‘Muckle has a responsive, commercial and proactive approach’

‘The firm has developed relationships with key stakeholders such as local authorities in the region and the department for education which means they understand how to progress matters in the most appropriate way in the sector’

Key clients

Newcastle College Group

Tyne Coast College

Bishop Auckland College

Newcastle University

University of Northumbria

Sunderland University


Sedbergh School

Dame Allan’s Schools

Three Rivers Trust

Emmanuel Schools Foundation

River Tees MAT

East Durham College

Park View MAT

Balmoral MAT

Valour MAT

Southmoor MAT


Durham Diocesan MAT

Tyne Coast Academy Trust

Hadrian Learning Trust

Kenton MAT


Pele MAT

Balmoral MAT

1590 Trust


Intellectual property Tier 1

The ‘user-friendly and responsiveMuckle LLP IP practice specialises in tech, media, sport and charity, in contentious and non-contentious matters. Alex Craig leads the team and has experience advising on a range of non-contentious IP matters. He can call on the expertise of George Festing, who focuses on contentious IP, and associate Jill Dovey, who has a particular specialism in the technology area.

Leading individuals

Rising stars


‘City quality lawyers based in the North East’

‘The approach taken by the team is very commercial and provides a good cross-team mix across the different aspects of the sector’

‘Strong individuals that work together well as a team and provide a pro-active rather than reactive service wherever possible’

‘Alex Craig is an excellent commercial lawyer. Clear, concise and a true expert’

‘Associate Jill Dovey is an excellent data lawyer who is all any company needs’

‘Anthony Evans provides a knowledgeable focus to the corporate aspects of any transaction, displaying a no-nonsense approach to document negotiation’

‘George Festing is commercial, smooth and analytical’

‘Giles McCourt is proactive and advises on relevant changes, and their implications for the client when required’

Key clients

Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)

Robert Barton (re Iron Maiden)

Parkrun Limited

England Athletics

Caribbean Premier League

Zytronic Displays Limited

QPR in the Community Trust

Liverpool FC Foundation

Media and entertainment Tier 1

Muckle LLP specialises in music and sport matters, notably image rights. The firm advises on high-value matters for clients in the entertainment industry ranging from Premier League footballers and football clubs, to international music artists. The ‘excellent’ practice head George Festing is ‘the ideal person to speak to in a crisis’. His team includes John Devine, who is an expert in sports matters.


‘There is a strong understanding of the industry and of the rather unique relationships and complexities that go with it’

‘They maintain a highly professional approach with clients’

‘An out of London firm that has in-depth music litigation knowledge’

‘Muckle always has someone who can assist, no matter the issue’

‘George Festing is a calm and considered lawyer offering sensible, commercial advice’

‘Tony McPhillips has the ability to get things done’

Key clients

Performing Right Society Ltd (PRS)

Caribbean Premier League Limited

North Music Trust

Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)

Robert Barton (Iron Maiden)

Tyneside Cinema

England Athletics Limited

Magnetic North East

Durham County Cricket Club

Sunderland AFC

The Football Association

The Northumbrian Pipers Society

Sport Tier 1

Muckle LLP has expertise in club structures, tax status and complex facilities projects, as well as a particular speciality in contentious regulatory and football related matters. John Devine leads the team and works exclusively for clients in the sports sector, handling commercial IP issues, advertising and image rights. He is experienced in advising professional clubs, footballers, rugby players, boxers and intermediaries on a range of matters.

Leading individuals

Key clients

The Football Association

England Athletics

parkrun Global

The Caribbean Premier League

Chelsea FC Foundation

The EFL Trust

The Premier League Charitable Fund

Sport England

Newcastle United Football Club

Durham County Cricket Club

The Rugby Players’ Association

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust

Construction Tier 2

The focus at Muckle LLP is construction and engineering projects, serviced by a team well-versed in contentious and non-contentious work. The team is led by Public Private Partnership and joint venture expert Lucilla Waugh, whose clients include public sector procurers and private sector contractors. 'Extremely knowledgeable' senior associate Adam Aston leads on a number of projects.

Rising stars


Very knowledgeable construction team that have a clear understanding of the frequently used construction contracts and, as a result, are able to provide clear explanations of how the contracts work and the effect of amendment

Adam Aston is always well prepared and grasps quickly the risks associated with projects

Pragmatic advice in very complex areas with a problem solving approach

Key clients

The University of Newcastle

Jersey Electricity plc

Mandale Group

McAleer and Rushe

Clouston Group

Employment Tier 2

Chris Maddock leads the team at Muckle LLP that includes Tony McPhillips, who is particularly well-known for his national sports related employment practice, and solicitor Roland Fairlamb, who joined from Swinburne Maddison in 2018. The firm has a range of expertise in the area, from executive appointments and terminations to inquiries and investigations, as well as offering bespoke employment law training. The team acts for employers in major commercial fields, notably educational institutions, sporting organisations and charities.

Leading individuals


‘The team demonstrate a specialised understanding of the education sector, particularly regarding multi academy trusts’

‘They provide a blend of HR, governance and commercial expertise’

‘Solution are pragmatic and well thought out’

‘Jill Donabie has exceptional employment and education knowledge’

Key clients

Sunderland Association Football Club

NG Bailey

The Football Association

Newcastle Building Society

Bishop Auckland College

Bonnier Publishing Group

Education Development Trust

Durham Cricket CIC

Silentnight Group

Hill & Smith

Energy Tier 2

Muckle LLP's practice has experience in a range of energy sectors spanning oil and gas, nuclear and renewables. The multi-disciplinary team is led by 'tower of strength' Andrew Davison, who is most noted for his work on the corporate aspects of energy projects and has an active transactional practice. Development work is handled by Libbie Henderson, who specialises in energy, waste and minerals, drawing on a strong background in land-based wind, solar and nuclear energy projects.


Muckle has an unfailing knack of making you feel like their most important client as soon as you walk through their door

First class, professional legal and business advice, to how to gain the oxygen of publicity necessary for strong business growth

Andrew Davison is a tower of strength; with impressive legal and business knowledge and an understanding of the energy sector combined to bring about a relationship of trust and results

Key clients

EDMI Europe


Port of Tyne

Guernsey Electricity

Penultimate Power UK

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Muckle LLP's team is frequently instructed by insolvency practitioners on coplex pre-pack administrations, in addition to advising businesses in distress and secured lenders on debt recovery. The multi-disciplinary team combines restructuring and insolvency specialists with experts in other areas, such as real estate, employment, and banking and finance. Practice head Kelly Jordan focuses on transactional corporate recovery work.


The team is extremely knowledgeable in the insolvency and corporate recovery side of work

Very pro-active with their assessment of any issues that may arise

Accessible and experienced in their field

Key clients

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

RMT Accountants & Business Advisors Limited

FRP Advisory LLP

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Baldwins Restructuring & Insolvency LLP

Leather Matthews Restructuring LLP

Northpoint Associates Limited

Handelsbanken plc


KRE (North East) Limited

O’Brien Aggregates Marsden Limited

IT and telecoms Tier 2

Muckle LLP specialises in non-contentious commercial arrangements as well as contractual structures and documentation for technology procurements. Practice head Alex Craig is particularly experienced in IT and trade mark work. His team includes George Festing, who has a contentious IT and IP background, and associate Jill Dovey, who has in-house technology and data experience.

Rising stars

Key clients

Fairstone Group Limited

Intelligent Services Group

LDC Private Equity

Pivotal Networks Limited and Specialist IT Services Group Limited

Newcastle United Foundation

Troo Limited

XQ Digital Resilience Limited

England Athletics

Mercia Fund Managers

Transforming Training with Technology Limited

Property litigation Tier 2

Muckle LLP's property litigators are situated within the wider real estate team, assisting firm-wide and standalone clients on a variety of property disputes, with a strong focus on the residential and social housing sectors. The group is led by Charlotte McMurchie, who counts a number of regional housing associations as clients. In 2018, the team was joined by associate Sarah Barratt from Hay & Kilner, while Russell Hall left for an in-house position.


Charlotte McMurchie is sensible practical advice and sound commercial focus

The balance in the team is excellent with Charlotte and her very capable team always on hand to provide the practical and legal advice in a cost effective manner

Jennifer Pearson is always on-hand to give the best advice in a concise and swift manner

Key clients

Grainger plc

Castles & Coasts Housing Association

North Tyneside Council

Residential Management Group (RMG)

The Football Association

Diocese of Durham & Newcastle

Agriculture and estates Tier 4

Muckle LLP's practice works across a range of matters in the agricultural and estates area, including acting for landed estates in their rural portfolio management, dealing with historic property ownership issues and agricultural property disputes. David Towns leads the team and has a particular focus on landed estate management, sporting rights and minerals rights. His team includes senior associate Elizabeth Earle, who has experience acting for a range of private individuals, trusts and charities, notably in estate management and rural property work.


‘A genuine specialism and expertise in agriculture and manorial rights, as well as mines and minerals.’

‘Client-focused and solution-oriented people in the agricultural team, with a strong regional profile for minerals knowledge.’

‘Background knowledge, clear thinking, accurate analysis and clear advice.’

‘David Towns is a go-to partner for minerals advice, and knowledge surrounding manorial rights.’

‘Elizabeth Earle is a highly competent practitioner in non-contentious landlord and tenant matters, who is able to find the straightforward and effective solution to a legal problem.’

Key clients

Lonsdale Settled Estates

The Boughton Estates

Muncaster Castle Estate

Northumberland Estates

Allendale Estates

O’Brien Aggregate Marsden

Viscount Lowther’s Trust

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 4

Keith Hately leads the Muckle LLP practice known for representing business owners, company directors and senior executives, as well as wealthy individuals and their families. Expert in personal estate planning for business clients Julie Garbutt joined as a senior associate from Sintons LLP in 2018. The team was further strengthened by the arrivals of agriculture, estates and property specialists David Towns and senior associate Elizabeth Earle from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2018.


‘The firm has a continual dedication to providing their clients with top quality advice and a proven commitment to client focused service of the highest level.’

‘Where issues require other forms of legal expertise the firm’s comprehensive coverage of all aspects of law is incredibly useful.’

‘The Muckle team is well-established and focuses on its core business strengths within the local marketplace.’

‘The individuals are always professional, knowledgeable and willing to work collaboratively on client matters to ensure an appropriate outcome.’

‘Keith Hately and Julie Garbutt use their vast combined experience to understand the needs and viewpoints of business owners and always respond well and intelligently to individual client requirements.’

‘Keith Hately has proven himself time and again to be the go-to trusts and probate lawyer in Newcastle. He has wide ranging technical knowledge, coupled with a genuine and heart felt determination to look after his clients and ensure that they receive appropriate advice.’

‘Keith Hately is considered a very safe pair of hands for clients and is able to flex his style to work successfully with a range of personalities.’

‘Julie Garbutt is a class act with clients and her straightforward, no nonsense approach always goes down well and ensures good results.’

Muckle LLP is the North East’s leading independent law firm for businesses. The firm has specialists in every major area of commercial law looking after a vast range of clients, from small businesses to PLCs and global organisations.

The firm: Over the past 100 years, since Robert Muckle formed the partner-led practice in 1920, Muckle LLP has developed a national reputation as a highly responsive North East law firm, with lawyers who are leaders in their field.

Being independent allows the firm to spend time getting to know clients properly and provide a genuinely personal experience. It helps it to be flexible and do whatever it takes to support businesses. Muckle is also committed to supporting its local community and has given 1% of profits to local charitable causes each year for over 15 years.

Clients find the firm easy to do business with and say it reacts to their needs quickly. This is why having all of its specialist lawyers based at one site is key, allowing for rapid response, especially on complex issues that involve different departments.

Muckle LLP’s client base now ranges from small businesses to PLCs, international corporates to FTSE 100 companies, and includes such names as McAleer & Rushe, the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, NCG, Port of Tyne, Clouston Group, Fairstone Group, Kitwave, the Caribbean Premier League and the English Football Association.

Being proactive and responding quickly has helped the firm become one of the most prolific dealmakers in the North East. It was also crowned Corporate and Commercial Regional Law Firm of the Year at The Legal 500 UK Awards 2017, where judges were impressed by its ability to handle UK-wide transactions from its North East base.

Types of work undertaken: Muckle LLP has specialist lawyers and dedicated teams for all key areas of commercial law, including banking and finance, corporate finance, real estate, real estate dispute resolution, dispute resolution, commercial, construction and engineering, employment, restructuring and insolvency, charities and social enterprise, education, energy, financial institutions, insurance, manufacturing, social housing, sports and private client.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Jason Wainwright
Senior partner Hugh Welch
Banking and restructuring Louise Duffy
Commercial Alex Craig
Construction and engineering Lucilla Waugh
Corporate Andrew Davison
Dispute resolution Susan Howe
Education Tony McPhillips
Employment Chris Maddock
Real estate Jonathan Combe
Real estate dispute resolution Charlotte McMurchie
Sports and charities John Devine
Number of UK partners : 33
Number of other UK fee-earners : 70

The Lex 100 Verdict

With a 'commitment to the north east' Muckle stood out to many applicants for its location. The firm boasts fantastic CSR opportunities, such as 'helping local causes' and participating in 'community days', and encourages trainees to engage in pro bono work. Muckle even gives employees 'two paid days' leave a year to dedicate to volunteering'. Many enjoyed working 'with a brilliant team' and found that 'everyone is approachable' as 'you are actively encouraged to speak to other members of staff no matter what their role'. This pleased newbies as they receive 'more supervision and support' than peers at comparable firms, which shows that 'the firm really invests in you'. Furthermore, the office is 'big enough to do a wide range of work but small enough so that you get to know everyone', making it 'a really social firm'. Muckle is a Lex 100 Winner for social life and job satisfaction. Less enjoyable for trainees were 'the occasional long hours' but, overall, new recruits were eager to adopt a 'hands-on approach' to tasks they were given. Highlights included 'attending a mediation' and being exposed to 'large corporate deals', making recruits feel trusted especially as 'some tasks are ordinarily beyond that of a trainee', earning Muckle more Lex 100 Winner medals for living up to expectations, client contact and quality of work. Generally, respondents were impressed with the firm's ability to 'attract good clients' whilst still 'being known to look after its employees and having a reputation as a 'different' law firm'. If a firm which prides itself on its 'commitment and investment in employees' sounds appealing, apply to Muckle.