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Tees Law

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East Anglia: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge
Corporate and commercial: Cambridge - ranked: tier 3

Tees Law

Senior associate Sarah Ilic leads the corporate and commercial practice at Tees Law, which frequently handles high-value and complex share and asset acquisitions involving complicated deferred consideration proposals particularly in the property, haulage and family-owned business sectors. She also handles corporate reconstructions and reorganisations for professional services groups, and commercial matters including confidentiality, data protection, franchising, distribution and joint venture agreements.

Practice head(s):Sarah Ilic

Work highlights

  • Represented a property developer in its £62.5m refinancing of its property portfolio.
  • Advised on the £1.25m purchase of the goodwill, business and assets of a specialist timber provider.
  • Handled the sale of high-end leisure facility.
  • Represented a client in relation to the demerger of an offshore fiduciary business.
  • Acted for a client on the unwinding of two software as a service technology joint ventures.
Rising stars

Sarah Ilic - Tees Law

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East Anglia: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Cambridge
Commercial litigation: Cambridge - ranked: tier 3

Tees Law

Tees Law has become a prominent presence in the Cambridge market since its local litigation practice was founded in 2012. Senior associate and Higher Court advocate Sara Stabler leads the practice, about which counsel remarks that 'their conduct is always highly professional and measured'. Though the 'truly excellent' Stabler predominantly handles contentious trusts and probate matters, her commercial litigation work also includes complex contractual disputes.

Practice head(s):Sara Stabler


'The commercial litigation team is comprehensively excellent. Their instructions are always precise and thorough, and they provide counsel with a complete and proper understanding of the case.'

'Sara Stabler is a standout lawyer. I am always impressed by her instructions and understanding of a case, and her judgement on litigation strategy is stellar.'

Work highlights

  • A dispute surrounding the shares and assets of a company following the sudden death of one of its directors.
  • A complex contract dispute involving issues of insolvency, incorporation of terms and conditions, and whether clauses are penalty/unfair contract clauses.
  • An unusual contract dispute where the loss complained of was caused by ex-employees setting up in competition.
  • Advised Vetspeed Ltd on a contractual claim for damages on multiple contracts.
  • A dispute relating to an option agreement.

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East Anglia: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant
Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 1

Tees Law

'In my opinion, it is the best of the best by a long way', remarks a client of Tees Law, who notes that its lawyers are 'personal, caring and very thorough'. The firm has one of the largest, most well-established and experienced practices in the region. It handles high-value and complex matters arising from, inter alia, adult and child brain injury, fatalities, delays in cancer diagnosis, gynaecology, orthopaedic surgery, dental and plastic surgery. Practice head Janine Collier and new hire from Slater and Gordon Tim Deeming, who is 'a master tactician', are the key partners. Senior associate and APIL senior litigator Adam Copeland is also recommended. Paul Taylor moved to Richard Buxton to practice environmental law.

Practice head(s):Janine Collier

Other key lawyers:Tim Deeming; Adam Copeland


"I have been dealing with Tees for approximately 35 years and have found them to be very professional in all aspects of law. They employ the best people in their field and, to date, I have not been let down."

"A very friendly and committed team that leaves no stone unturned in investigating cases and gets good results in difficult and unusual cases."

"Janine Collier is a really dedicated, very intelligent and excellent lawyer who leads a very good team."

"From the very beginning they took me through the process thoroughly step by step. The firm's biggest strength is that they never give up and they did battle well for us."

"Another of their strengths is bringing the best medical experts to the table. Tees kept me confidant at all times."

"Tim Deeming is someone I was proud to have represent me."

"Tees draws on its vast experience to bring the very best medical experts to the table. I had confidence in the team and was highly delighted with the substantial settlement."

"I feel our case has been dealt with very efficiently and everyone we have worked with has shown compassion and empathy during a very difficult time for us."

"Janine Collier has been wonderful to work with, she has kept us informed throughout the process and is always happy to answer queries via email or phone. We feel she has completely supported us and we feel very lucky to have her on our side."

"The key individuals we deal with at Tees are always at the end of the phone or email. We receive updates by phone regularly, without prompting, and have always had any queries answered immediately."

"Janine Collier's advice has been invaluable and we have felt extremely comfortable and confident in her and her team from the start."

Work highlights

  • Janine Collier and David Jacobs secured £3.5m for the widow and children of a City worker who died following routine surgery at a private London hospital.
  • Janine Collier and Vanessa Thompson secured £2.87m for a lady who suffered a severe brain injury after four GPs failed to act on abnormal blood test results and refer to hospital, delaying treatment for high sodium levels.
  • Adam Copeland and Isobel Foenander secured a provisional damages award of £450,000 for a 17-month delay in diagnosing breast cancer in a 23-year-old lady.
  • Adam Copeland and Isobel Foenander achieved £400,000 compensation for a man who suffered a nerve injury during acromioclavicular joint reconstruction surgery.
  • Janine Collier secured £140,000 and significant non-monetary relief in a claim against a Hospital Trust for failure to properly manage subglottic stenosis.
Leading individuals

Janine Collier - Tees Law

Tim Deeming - Tees Law

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East Anglia: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 2

Tees Law

The rural practice at Tees Law brings together lawyers from a wide range of practice areas including private client and property to advise clients ranging from small family farms to rural estates and large agricultural businesses. Catherine Mowat leads the practice that handles succession planning, land development, diversification projects, employment, company and partnership formation, dispute resolution, restructuring, and sales and acquisitions of commercial enterprises. The firm is on the legal panel of the National Farmers Union. Another key name to note is the 'extremely efficient' Alex Waples.

Practice head(s):Catherine Mowat

Other key lawyers:James Dowson; Alex Waples; Rebecca Quick


"There are individuals with good areas of knowledge in a good spread of business areas. The practice is easily contacted and connects quickly to the relevant person."

"Alex Waples particularly efficient, he replies to emails quickly and acknowledges every email he gets. This has made working with Alex at Tees a real pleasure over the past couple of years."

Work highlights

  • Inheritance tax review and planning advice for rural landowner taking into account available agricultural reliefs and opportunities.
  • Represented client in agreement to unlock value in harvestable forest land.
  • Comprehensive advice and service offering to farming client, combining cross-departmental co-operation to achieve client’s diversification and estate planning strategy.
  • Sale of agricultural land, pursuant to a Promotion Agreement.
  • Assisted clients with structuring Wills and Powers of Attorney to ensure suitable succession for farming business.
Rising stars

Alex Waples - Tees Law

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

Tees Law

Established in 2012, the Cambridge contentious trusts and probate practice at Tees Law is led by ACTAPS member and highly respected litigator Sara Stabler , who has 20 years' experience in this field and is a Higher Court Advocate who regularly progresses claims without input from counsel. Her caseload frequently includes multi-party actions and claims involving several different disciplines, including a recent inheritance claim against an estate where one of the parties is a company, which involved issues relating to trusts, contentious probate claims, company law, constitution issues and tax.

Practice head(s):Sara Stabler

Other key lawyers:Katie Hayes


'From the mediation I conducted for this firm's client I found the lawyer handling the matter to be very competent and professional.'

'I worked with Sara Stabler in a difficult probate mediation. I found her sensitive to her clients' needs, focused and alert to the difficulties in managing the dispute.'

'Sara Stabler worked hard to reach a conclusion for her client's benefit and had a good professional relationship with the other lawyers involved.'

Work highlights

  • A multi-party, multi-discipline case involving a claim issued by the deceased’s first wife, on behalf of their disabled child.
  • Acting for a son who had been excluded from his mother’s estate by his brother.
  • A complicated constructive trust dispute between children of the deceased and deceased’s widow in respect of a high-value estate.
  • Advising an estate which had been administered as an intestate estate, but where subsequently a will was discovered.
  • TLATA claim to determine the beneficial interests in two properties.
Leading individuals

Sara Stabler - Tees Law

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Family - ranked: tier 3

Tees Law

'To use a sporting analogy, the firm covers every blade of grass for its clients and no stone is left unturned in attempting to achieve a positive result', says a client of Tees Law in Cambridge. Partner Clare Pilsworth joined from Woodfines LLP to lead the practice. Collaboratively trained associate Deborah Hargreaves is a rising star in complex and sensitive cases involving children and financial matters.

Practice head(s):Clare Pilsworth

Other key lawyers:Deborah Hargreaves; David Redfern


'The team worked seamlessly, with a single lead point of contact, which gave continuity and reassurance at a time of significant stress. The approach was always measured and objective, making it easy to ask for advice and to understand the various options.'

'I have worked with Clare Pilsworth on a number of high-value and complicated matrimonial finance cases. She is an excellent lawyer with great technical abilities and has a common sense approach in all her matters. She works extremely hard on behalf for all her clients in what are often very long drawn-out difficult cases.'

'What made them stand out was the fact that they were able to guide and lead through their legal expertise without being patronising. They acted in a way that helped defuse possible conflict whilst making me feel supported.'

'Deborah Hargreaves genuinely strives to help her clients. She is kind, compassionate and clear-headed in the advice she provides.'

'I was enormously impressed by the level of forethought and strategic planning which goes into their cases.'

'The team has a high level of knowledge and gives clear and realistic advice to its clients. Well organised and easy to work with.'

'Tees has an approachable and client-friendly team.'

'An excellent local firm that wouldn't be out of place operating in the City of London.'

'David Redfern is a partner of great experience and a supreme strategic thinker.'

Work highlights

  • A family dispute over the proceeds of a sale of a property.
  • A complex claim for financial provision under Schedule 1 of the Children Act, acting for a respondent father.
  • Collaborative law case nearing conclusion by lodging agreed minute of consent.
  • Acting for a non-biological father in respect of his application for contact and parental responsibility for twin children born to his wife, who was his girlfriend at the time of IVF treatment with donor sperm. Applying for parental order.
  • Acting for a father in Children Act proceedings to obtain a child arrangements order setting out the basis on which the children would live and spend time with the two parents.
Rising stars

Deborah Hargreaves - Tees Law

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge - ranked: tier 2

Tees Law

One client describes the practice at Tees Law as 'hardworking, efficient and dedicated, making sure that their clients get the best advice and best value for money'. The practice had its busiest year since arriving in Cambridge in 2008, and it has built up a strong client base for the administration of complex and high-value estates, including those with agricultural and international elements. Catherine Mowat is a leading light in the market for wills, powers of attorney and succession planning for rural clients and high-net-worth individuals, and James Marsh and Angela Sewell are rising stars.

Practice head(s):Catherine Mowat

Other key lawyers:James Marsh; Angela Sewell


'Tees may be largely based in East Anglia but the professionalism and breadth of experience would not be out of place in a City firm.'

'For the last 20 years Catherine Mowat has handled all my family's private client, tax planning and trust affairs. She has dealt with both my parents' estates. Over that period she has provided clear, accurate and efficient advice, cutting through the shifting fog of legislation, but not at the expenses of personal warmth.'

'James Marsh is an effective communicator explaining exactly what is needed and in what timescale meaning that clients' expectations are met and managed. He is well supported by his team.'

'Angela Sewell offers the best advice for clients in achieving their objectives.'

'The team was incredibly understanding and bespoke in its approach.'

'Matters are handled with great dignity and professionalism. Nothing is too much trouble and they went well beyond the call of duty to exceed expectations.'

'James Marsh has simply been outstanding. From the moment of instruction to concluding a case, he is always attentive, knowledgeable and highly professional – whilst remaining approachable.'

'Dedicated team members dealing with the process from start to end. Excellent communication skills throughout the process. Always prompt in replying to issues.'

'James Marsh and paralegal Courtney Searle are able to conduct business at a level and timely manner that I can understand and converse with. They have conducted themselves in a very professional way at the same time as being understanding of why processes have to be followed.'

'Each solicitor is specialised in their field which gives you confidence and satisfaction. We were recommended many years ago and have always made them our first choice.'

'We have every confidence in Catherine Mowat as she has dealt with all our private and personal matters for many years during very difficult times and will continue to contact her should we have any problems.'

Work highlights

  • Angela Sewell advised on the estate of a deceased man who died domiciled in Spain and left only a Spanish will which did not appoint executors.
  • Strategic estate planning following death of client to maximise claims for inheritance tax relief and ensure distribution of assets in line with differing family objectives.
  • Instructed to extract grant of letters of administration required in order to issue proceedings in a negligence claim.
  • Advice to executors on complex issues in an estate valued in excess of £3m.
  • James Marsh advised a well-known farming client with a multimillion-pound estate on how best to structure a will in order to ensure the client's wishes regarding the farming business and assets can be implemented.
Leading individuals

Catherine Mowat - Tees Law

Rising stars

Angela Sewell - Tees Law

James Marsh - Tees Law

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East Anglia: Real estate

Commercial property: Cambridge
Commercial property: Cambridge - ranked: tier 3

Tees Law

The real estate practice at Tees Law undertakes strategic promotion and option agreements for landowners and developers, site acquisition by purchase or option for residential developers, site set up, infrastructure agreements and plot sales, as well as high-value agricultural land transactions and residential enfranchisement work. Its recent strategic promotion and option agreement work has seen the practice active in sites in Suffolk, Cambridge, Essex and Hertfordshire. It has also handled residential development  work in Ware, Welwyn Garden City, Bury St Edmunds and central Cambridge. James Dowson is the key partner.

Practice head(s):James Dowson

Other key lawyers:Alexander Waples


"The firm is very focused on the housebuilding sector and understands the commercial drivers for its clients."

"James Dowson is proactive, knowledgeable and extremely client-focused."

"We have used James Dowson for the last ten years in transacting property and business acquisitions. We can only confirm that he completes these matters quickly and efficiently."

"Alexander Waples is easy to deal with and his advice is clear and concise. We felt that our interests in two transactions in areas unfamiliar to us were well protected."

"The practice makes the effort to truly understand my business to be able to offer the most relevant and appropriate advice."

"Alexander Waples is very responsive, proactive and commercial - a brilliant combination to have. What is more, he exhibits this not in rare moments of brilliance, but consistently. Having such reliable professional support gives us a genuine competitive edge."

Work highlights

  • Acting for STAN Developments in the purchase of a series of large, agricultural buildings by way of conditional contract dependant on planning for conversion to residential units, with complicated sales provisions for tax mitigation.

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