Stone King LLP > Bristol, England > Firm Profile

Stone King LLP
Broad Quay House

Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 1

Fielding a team consisting entirely of solicitor-advocates, Stone King LLP is well placed to act on a broad criminal caseload - including matters relating to serious fraud, VAT and accounting fraud – across the full range of first instance and appellate courts. ‘First classMatthew Graham leads the national offering, and has particular expertise in working with those experiencing mental health issues. Andrew Banks, whose practice spans not only criminal defence work but also private prosecutions and civil proceedings, including standalone Proceeds of Crime Act applications, is singled out as ‘a confident, charismatic and understanding professional‘.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Graham

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Banks; Nicholas Wragg; Angus McWilliams


‘Right from the beginning, I have felt supported and understood by the team at Stone King LLP. The depth of knowledge, empathy and recommendations made by them have given me full confidence to place my trust in them for my safety and future. Dealing with a particularly emotive case, they have gone the extra mile to support me emotionally and have been available around the clock for any needs, concerns or reassurances I have required. I cannot recommend them highly enough and will be utilising them again for future issues.’

‘I have worked directly and exclusively with Andrew Banks – a confident, charismatic and understanding professional, I have worked with him now for a year on a particularly complex case. We have developed both a professional and personal rapport and I always find him to be on the ball and engaging. He has demonstrated exceptional patience and kindness throughout our working relationship. I have found his work to be faultless and some of the best I have experienced in the many experience I have had with different solicitors. I would recommend him without hesitation and have done so since working with him.’

‘My solicitor treated me as a person, was clear with my options and always treated me fairly.’

‘Just such a great team of people.’

‘They all worked hard for me. Angus McWilliams was just excellent and was so very good at everything he did.’

‘Stone King LLP offer a considered team around the client approach. Of note and worthy of special mention is the way in which they work collaboratively with each other and external organisations, to ensure the betterment of the overall professional care delivery.’

‘Stone King LLP is in a position to provide a bespoke service. They have excellent client care and consistently demonstrate meticulous case preparation.’

‘Matthew Graham and Angus Williams – both are exceptional in their case preparation and client care. It is my experience that lay clients are left feeling as though theirs is the only case that matters; nothing is too much trouble. First class.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a company in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
  • Represented a client in a Court of Appeal case relating to sentencing for online offences.
  • Representing an educational establishment in an inquest.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Stone King LLP fields an 'outstanding' team which consistently acts for a stellar roster of charities on regulatory and contentious legacy matters. The team is well-placed to act for a diverse mix of clients, including faith charities, almshouses, social enterprises and education-related non-profits. The team is led by Tim Rutherford, a key port of call for Roman Catholic religious orders and the Diocese, whose expertise is notably concentrated in the resolution of governance issues. Alexandra Steffensen is noted for her expertise in governance, conflict management, and restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Tim Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Steffensen; Dan Harris; Luke Watson; Alexandra Weatherdon; Alice O’Mahony


‘I found Stone King utterly refreshing. Their collaborative approach, made it possible for me to get the outcome I wanted whilst being compliant, this is very different to having to mold my ideas to fit a model with other firms.’

‘They are outstanding in their expertise, approachability, efficiency, and support.’

‘Their knowledge of the charity sector is excellent. We worked very closely with Tim Rutherford and Alice O’Mahony and they are a superb team.’

‘They have a real understanding of religious organisations and can offer support for a variety of matters that wouldn’t occur for many secular organisations.’

Key clients

The Almshouse Association

Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust

Vulcan to the Sky Trust

Mary Feilding Guild

Sisters of the Holy Cross Charitable Trust

The Coldstream Guards Regimental Lieutenant-Colonel’s Fund

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Penn & Widow Smith Almshouses

United St Saviour’s Charity

Congregation of Our Lady, Canonesses of St. Augustine CIO

Franciscan Missionaries of Mary

Work highlights

  • Modernised and updated the Almshouse Association’s key handbook and template policies, which provide essential guidance for almshouse operation, to ensure that they remain fully up to date and the go-to resource for members.
  • Carried out a rationalisation of the Diocese’s complex charity trust structure, consolidating subsidiary charities and dealing with the transition to a corporate (CIO) structure, including dealing with the new CIO’s registration in the Channel Islands which are within the Diocese.
  • Advised on the complexities of dealing with a failed appeal, ensuring that a cost effective solution was taken to contacting donors.

Public sector > Education Tier 1

Stone King LLP is turned to by a broad range of educational institutions on issues such as academy conversions and transfers, procurement and operational pupil issues. Latterly, the team is advising a growing number of schools on their commercial agreements. The Bath-based team is chaired by Helen Tucker, for whom school groups is a fixture of her practice focus. Her colleague Michael Brotherton handles a growing number of matters pertaining to the Equality Act 2010 while Ciara Campfield advises across schools, further and higher education mandates. Elizabeth Fortin is well versed in matters related to students with education health and care plans.

Practice head(s):

Helen Tucker


‘Ciara Campfield is super supportive and passionate about colleges.’

‘The ongoing teamwork and support provided is second to none.’

‘Experts in their respective fields. Great customer service and understanding of the sector.’

‘This big-hitting education specialist firm still manages to retain the personal touch when dealing with clients.  Their experience in the sector is very reassuring to our organisation, particularly when it is involved in significant change.’

‘Professional, pragmatic and responsive.’

‘There is a calmness to their approach that is reassuring, particularly when legislation around our sector can change dramatically and with little warning. Other firms can appear overly corporate and therefore somehow distanced from the topic.’

‘Excellent advice. Great communication. Timely responses. Approachable lawyers who provide information in an accessible way.’

Key clients

Autism Partnership Leeds

Abbey Multi Academy Trust

Active Learning Trust

Ashlyns School

Beaconsfield High School

Beth Jacob Grammar School

Bristol Steiner School

Challoner’s High School

Chester Diocesan Academy Trust

City of Rochester School

Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust

Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust

Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust

Downside School

Dunottar School


Futura Learning Partnership

Future Academies

Greenshaw Learning Trust

Guildford High School

Immanuel College

King Edwards’s School Bath

Kingswood School

Leigh Academies Trust

Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership

Monkton Combe School

Oasis Community Learning


PACE Academy Trust

Palladian Academy Trust

Peterborough Diocese Education Trust

Prep Schools Trust

Princethorpe Foundation

Prior Park College

Sheiling School

Shiplake School

Sixth Form Colleges’ Association

St John’s Beaumont School

St Columba’s College

The College of Richard Collyer

The Girls’ Day School Trust

The Partnership Trust

Thorpe Hall School

United Church Schools Trust

West Suffolk College, part of Eastern Colleges Group

Wright Robinson College

Wycombe Abbey School

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Co-led by Stephen Ravenscroft and Hannah Kubie, Stone King LLP has an enviable reputation in the market for its work on a broad range of issues from crisis management work to advising on innovative charity formations and registrations. It has a strong national offering, and is particularly well regarded for its work with education-related charities and faith charities. Julian Blake is another important member of the ‘friendly and responsive‘ department. Rosamund McCarthy Etherington is a leading charity lawyer who works across many sectors, and has a keen interest in governance, while Ann Phillips is another known name in the market who has a wealth of experience in diverse areas, and has advised many long-established charities on complex trusts and endowments. Lee Coley has a broad practice that predominantly focuses on ecclesiastical law and charity law affecting the Church of England. Chris Jones joined the team from Harris & Harris.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Ravenscroft; Hannah Kubie

Other key lawyers:

Julian Blake; Rosamund McCarthy Etherington; Ann Phillips; Chris Jones; Lee Coley; Reema Mathur; Nicole Reed; Frances Godden


‘Stone King offers first class legal and management expertise at all levels, combining exceptional expertise in sectors, leading solicitors across a wide range of specialist fields, regional teams as centres of excellence nationwide and client care second to none making the firm a first choice for my clients’.

‘Responsive team. Support us over a variety of different areas, including government contracting, commercial activities, HE/employment law, IP and charity governance. Committed to the charity’s success’.

‘Stephen Ravenscroft – Responses to claims have been handled with judgement, care and sensitivity, and have seen the firm working successfully and very constructively with trustees of the trust and gallery’. 

‘The specialist support and advice provided by Lee Coley and more recently by Frances Godden is excellent. This is particularly in respect of land and trust matters. Lee Coley is measured and considered and provides clear advice and guidance that supports me to make effective decisions’.

‘Julian Blake is the most committed, probably the most able and in my view the best charity and social enterprise solicitor. He provides exceptional client care and support and consistently achieves effective solutions whatever the complexities’.

‘Stone King has exceptional expertise in the field of social enterprises and the wider social economy. They are highly skilled and experienced and value driven which makes them stand out from lawyers in other firms. Key people working in this area that really stand out include Julian Blake, Hannah Kubie and Nicole Reed’.

‘In my experience of Stone King, their depth of knowledge – both legal and practical within the charity sector is fantastic. Their ability to make the law accessible but also ‘put themselves in the shoes’ of their charity clients is so valuable. They are consistently strong listeners, pragmatic whilst guiding you within the law’.

‘Ann Phillips has been a great source of strength, expertise and legal brain. Equally Julian Blake. Efficient, focused, rounded and informed in their advice. Their work is pre-emptive, thoughtful and acknowledges the operating environment of their client’’.

Key clients


National Union of Students

Higher Education Statistics Agency

Reach Foundation

Oasis Charitable Trust

Baker Dearing Educational Trust

Northern Roots (Oldham)

Community Leisure UK

Trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund

Alzheimer’s Society

De La Salle Brothers

Diocese and Bishop of Bristol

Work highlights

  • Advising Mermaids on its engagement with the Charity Commission and governance matters.
  • Advising the National Union of Students in relation to allegations of antisemitism.
  • Advising the Higher Education Statistics agency on its merger with Jisc, creating a sector body capable of generating ‘real time’ data on educational outcomes to inform improvements in educational provision.

Public sector > Education: schools Tier 1

Stone King LLP offers its roster of state school, faith school, multi academy trust, and independent school clients across England first-rate advice on admissions policies, especially in connection with safeguarding and equality matters. The team is also active on contracting and commercial issues, having advised on a number of mergers and academy conversions as well as on the establishment of new schools in the UK and abroad. The multidisciplinary team is jointly led by four lawyers based across the UK. Roger Inman, who is based in Cambridge, is a trusted advisor on school governance matters, especially with respect to SEN policies. London-based lawyer Graham Burns is reputed for his work on PFI school conversions and transfers, while Tom Morrison, who practices from Bath, is a safeguarding expert, and Leeds further education specialist Tom Morrison advises MATs on their governance and structuring policies. The practice heads are further supported by London-based lawyers Laura Berman, an admissions and safeguarding specialist, Lee Coley, who maintains close relations with a number of faith schools, and Stephen Ravenscroft, who is trusted to handle mergers and academy conversions.

Practice head(s):

Roger Inman; Graham Burns; Helen Tucker; Tom Morrison

Key clients


Astrea Academy Trust

Future Academies

Greenshaw Learning Trust

Hoddesdon School Trust

Ivy Learning Trust

Leigh Academies Trust

The Kemnals Academy Trust

Oasis Charitable Trust

Middlesex Learning Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised The Kemnals Academies Trust on their admission arrangements to ensure that these are robust and legally secure.
  • Advised a collective group of 55 academy trusts on a successful collective class action which resulted in a major concession by Education Software Solutions and positively affected 70% of the academies in the country who contract with ESS, and which in addition led to a positive intervention by the CMA.
  • Advised Oasis Charitable Trust on the establishment of the UK’s first secure school in Medway.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Stone King LLP‘s charities offering is headed up in Leeds by Tom Murdoch, who is pioneer of the ‘Charitable Journalism Project’. The team has a wide range of strength in charity law, handling work spanning faith charity matters to Charity Commission investigations, and works with clients both nationally and within the local community. Additionally, the team has an active involvement with the Charity Law Association.

Practice head(s):

Tom Murdoch

Other key lawyers:

Samuel Dowgill


‘I have been privileged to work with a number of people from Stone King. I have found them to be assiduous, helpful, insightful, constructive and – very importantly – always good listeners.’

‘I have worked with one individual in particular at Stone King (Tom Murdoch). He has gone out of his way to support, encourage, inform, structure, enable and ensure success in the projects that we have been working on together (gaining charitable status for local news organisations). I cannot speak highly enough of Tom, who demonstrates both a deep knowledge of the law and the ability to apply it exceptionally well on behalf of his clients (in this case the charitable body on whose board I sit).’

‘They have taken time to understand our issues and tailored their approach to our circumstances. Stone King have also been clear with their advice and challenged us when appropriate.’

‘Both Tom Murdoch and Sam Dowgill have been approachable, listen well and respond in a timely way.’

‘The firm uses a good thoughtful and consultative approach in its client interactions.’

‘Tom Murdoch has provided very sound advice that reflects his understanding of the practical realities of running a charity. He has continued to provide pragmatic advice.’

Key clients

Interim Managers of the Kantor Foundations

The Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Association of Tax Technicians

Old School Building Company (formerly Community Arts Umbrella)

Butterfly Conservation

A S Hornby Educational Trust

CASEwork Services CIC

Charitable Journalism Project

Spitalfields Historic Building Trust

Eastern Colleges Group

The Marist Fathers (Society of Mary) CIO

Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust

Work highlights

  • Appointed by the Charity Commission as Interim Managers of the Kantor Charitable Foundations, responsible for operating the charities in place of the previous trustee body.
  • Advising The Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Association of Tax Technicians on a wide range of governance and operational matters.
  • Assisting the Bradford-based Community Arts Umbrella, now known as Old School Building Company, with the transfer and redevelopment of a community centre.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 2

The ‘commercially focused and pragmatic team’ at Stone King LLP is noted for its ‘expertise in property and commercial litigation, with a roster of institutional clients, particularly in the charity and education sectors’. Also noted for its experience across the retail, engineering and construction, IT and transport industries, the practice’s caseload includes contractual disputes, negligence claims, procurement proceedings and defamation mandates. Praised as ‘calm and level-headed in the midst of fast-moving litigation’, team leader Tony Pidgeon focuses on real estate disputes, including dilapidations claims, forfeiture issues, possession of land and trespasser claims, among others.

Practice head(s):

Tony Pidgeon

Other key lawyers:

Dan Carter


‘Established expertise in property and general commercial litigation, with a roster of institutional clients, in particular in the charitable and educational sectors.’

‘Tony Pidgeon is personable with clients, calm and level-headed in the midst of fast-moving litigation and able to quickly assemble a team of solicitors and counsel to deal with disputes.’

‘Small but commercially focused and pragmatic team of specialists.’

Key clients

National Heritage Memorial Fund

Work highlights

  • Defended a claim brought against a client for breach of contract arising out of a ‘hire agreement’ for a modular building.

Employment > Employment: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 2

Stone King LLP fields a highly regarded employment team, which is well placed to advise clients from a range of industry sectors, as well as assisting private clients. Jean Boyle heads up the team, with a primary focus on the education and not-for-profit sectors. Peter Woodhouse is the firm’s key contact for clients from the charity sector.

Practice head(s):

Jean Boyle

Other key lawyers:

Peter Woodhouse; James Barratt; Amy Berry


‘They continually demonstrate a high level of detailed knowledge of the charity sector and specialist knowledge of issues relating to the Church of England.’

‘James Barratt – has guided us successfully over the last 12 months on a very complex legal matter. His availability, support and speed of response have been consistently excellent. He makes us feel like we are his only client, although we know that we are not. He is quick to grasp the core issues and explain to us the position and our optionsm and the risks associated with the various options, in a simple and clear manner.’

‘All the staff at Stone King listen very carefully to the needs of the business so they get a clear understanding of what the client outcomes and expectations are. The invoicing is clear and has all of the detail on it that you would expect.’

‘My main contact is Peter Woodhouse – he is very approachable and picks up very quickly what it is that is needed.’

‘The team takes the time to understand the business in order to provide tailored support.’

‘James Barrett provides the legal knowledge and the personal reassurance which is so often greatly needed.’

‘Intense focus on the client’s needs, excellent teamwork, awareness of how to work cost effectively, the right advice for each task. Helpful cross-department collaboration.’

‘The employment law team has excellent and detailed knowledge.’

Private client > Family Tier 2

A diverse roster of clients – ranging from entrepreneurs and business owners to celebrities – turn to the team at Stone King LLP for its expertise in financial, cohabitation and children cases. In particular, the practice is noted for its commitment to alternative dispute resolution and non-court dispute resolution procedures. The practice is led by Tracey Smith, a highly experienced family lawyer who deals with all aspects of business issues and trust arrangements, both domestically and internationally. Drawing superlative praise for her 'extremely efficient, reassuringly knowledgeable' approach, Caroline Fell‘s expertise is concentrated in complex financial matters.  

Practice head(s):

Tracey Smith

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Fell; Daniela Nickols; Rebecca Eels


‘No praise is too high for Caroline Fell. She is extremely efficient, reassuringly knowledgeable in all her advice, and very on the ball. Everything has been done remarkably quickly and she has been good at chasing the solicitor on the other side as well. I have been most fortunate in having her act for me and she has caused me to transfer all my affairs to Stone King.’

‘Rebecca Eels displays exceptional client care and delivers detailed briefs to counsel. Extremely experienced, which means clients trust her advice. Content to give robust advice when required.’

‘Caroline Fell is a stand-out partner. She is a calm, capable and knowledgeable lawyer who has a wonderful manner with clients. I recommend her both as a solicitor and as a mediator. She is technical and also pragmatic. Rebecca Eels is a stand-out partner who I recommend particularly for child inclusive mediation work. She is brilliant with clients.’

‘Caroline Fell is a real star – composed and able – always looks to settle if she can.’

‘Caring, innovative solutions, cost effective, well respected.’

‘Tracey Smith is very knowledgeable but not afraid to see assistance when warranted.’

‘The family department have a competent team which is able to provide excellent child inclusive mediation.’

‘Both Rebecca Eels and Caroline Fells provide effective and empathetic support in family matters.’

Work highlights

Real estate > Commercial property: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 2

Large enough to be reassuring and small enough to be personal‘, Stone King LLP acts across a broad range of commercial property matters for a core roster of charity, education, faith, and business clients. Practice head Caroline Taylor advises both charity and non-charity clients on issues such as site assembly and joint venture agreements. Joanne Burton leads the education property team, while Hugh Pearce brings his knowledge of ecclesiastical law to bear on his work across a number of Diocesan property portfolios.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Hugh Pearce; Joanne Burton; Tim Rutherford


‘Large enough to be reassuring and small enough to be collaborative and personal.’

‘ I have been immensely assured by the speed of support, competence and clear direction provided by Hugh Pearce.’

‘The workload is managed very carefully by a single partner, who then brings in the relevant expertise as required.’

‘I feel that we can throw anything their way.’

‘Hugh Pearce has good knowledge of what is relevant and what is not relevant.’

‘I have dealt with Caroline Taylor and Tim Rutherford, both of whom have given entirely satisfactory service and been extremely helpful.’

Key clients

North Lambeth Parish

Whitehill Chase Foundation

Royal Osteoporosis Society

Fairfield House CIC

Ormiston Academies Trust

Ivy Learning Trust

Bristol Diocese

Work highlights

  • Advising Fairfield House CIC on a community asset transfer from the Local Council and Lease in order to protect the historic house of HIM Haile Selassie I.
  • Advising on a series of academy conversions involving dealing with third party consents and a number of subleases of nurseries and pre-schools.
  • Advising and supporting the Diocese across their property portfolio, including churches, glebe, parsonage, corporate and trust property, as well as advising on school sites.

Employment > Immigration Tier 2

Stone King LLP‘s Cambridge-based specialist immigration team focuses predominantly on workforce shortages, and on assisting teachers in obtaining Skilled Worker visas with a view to them coming to the UK to work in both mainstream and independent schools. The firm also assists independent schools with student and child student sponsor licences. The practice led by partner Julie Moktadir also acts for clients in the charity sector, as well as assisting private individuals with, inter alia, partner visa applications. Moktadir recently advised Taiwanese bubble tea company T4 UK in its obtaining of four Skilled Worker Visas for Taiwanese nationals.

Practice head(s):

Julie Moktadir


‘We are very happy with the service Stone King provided.’

Key clients

T4 Franchise UK Limited

International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)

Global Overview Europa Limited

Tenzo Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted T4 UK with applying for a sponsorship licence and obtaining four Skilled Worker Visas for Taiwanese nationals who are specialists in this niche sector.
  • Assisted a company in obtaining a sponsor licence under the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker routes.
  • Assisted a growing restaurant analytics business with applying for a sponsorship licence due to the shortage workers with specialist skills within the UK.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Capable of working on international disputes - drawing on the firm’s dedicated cross-border trusts and estates team - the practice at Stone King LLP covers a wide array of contentious probate and trust claims, with particular expertise in the third sector. The team is jointly chaired by Daniel Harris and Luke Watson; Harris heads up the firm's specialist international and cross-border unit, while Watson has over 20 years of experience in dispute resolution, with extensive experience of working and advising both charities and trustees.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Harris; Luke Watson


‘Stone King have an excellent reputation in estates and trusts litigation generally and particularly for international estates and trusts and charities including education providers.’

‘Luke Watson has years of experience as an estates and trusts specialist. He has first-rate knowledge and tactical awareness. A safe pair of hands.’

‘Dan’s specialist knowledge is quite exceptional, and his authentic charm and charisma inspire confidence.’

‘The go-to firm in the charity sector when it comes to international estates and dealing with anything cross-border. Get to grips with complicated matters quickly and efficiently.’

‘A clear understanding of a charity’s needs, not only with legal advice, but the implications for both trustees and managing potential PR issues. Fees are competitive and the depth of knowledge ensures that all elements of an issue and considered.’

‘Dan Harris is a remarkable solicitor whose expertise on multi jurisdictional probate matters is invaluable in ensuring that a charity will receive its full entitlement from countries throughout the world.’

‘Stone King has a fantastic reputation for contentious trust and probate, and attract first-rate work. A leader in their field, they combine genuine expertise with strength in depth.’

‘Luke Watson is a top-rate lawyer and I cannot speak highly enough of him. A delight to work with and superb with clients.’

Work highlights

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

‘Practical, timely and approachable’, Stone King LLP is experienced in various private client matters, including estate planning, care services for the old and vulnerable, cross-border succession and probate advice, and bespoke capital tax planning. The team is led by Kathryn Layzell, who specialises in older client advice and care funding. Andrew Mortimer is praised for his 'calm, measured approach'.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Layzell

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Mortimer; Daniel Harris; Alison Allen; Kerry Rogers; Charlotte Macdonald; Raquel Ugalde; Emma Seaton


‘Practical, timely and approachable.’

‘Intelligent and practical.’

‘Andrew Mortimer adopts a calm, measured, no-nonsense approach and has been a pleasure to deal with.’

Work highlights

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 3

Stone King LLP‘s Cambridge office provides general corporate, M&A and commercial support to businesses, especially impact ventures, as well as social enterprises, education institutions and charities. There is an increasingly international element to the firm’s work, notably in M&A transactions in the independent school sector. Practice head Miguel Pereira, who works in both the London and Cambridge offices, is the key partner for such matters, while Tamsin Eastwood also handles deals in the financial services sector.

Practice head(s):

Miguel Pereira

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Triodos Bank UK Limited

Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA)

Work highlights

  • Advised on the provision of a multimillion pound loan to a community land trust for a redevelopment project set to create affordable housing and community space in south London.
  • Advised HESA on its merger with Jisc, one of the sector’s most complex mergers of recent times, which was the culmination of several years of planning.

Public sector > Education Tier 3

Stone King LLP is singled out by clients for its ‘unrivalled understanding of and empathy with the further education sector’, and is able to assist with issues spanning operational, transactional, commercial, property, construction, HR, immigration and employment law. Leeds-based Tom Morrison acts as the national practice head, and is responsible for developing the firm’s education work across the north of the country, an area in which Jamie Otter is likewise active. At the senior associate level, Louise Castle is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tom Morrison

Other key lawyers:


‘The team at Stone King clearly care about the FE sector, they regularly support networks and events that we hold for our members and their input is always well received.

‘Jamie Otter is extremely knowledgeable, such that we followed him to Stone King from his previous employment. Jamie has a sensible, down-to-earth approach that enables us to move forward.’

‘The team works hard to support clients and provides the specialist legal advice that is needed. Staff are approachable and committed to supporting clients.’

‘The Stone King LLP education practice is wholly unique. The practitioners I have worked with are extremely knowledgeable about the FE sector, have years of experience, work closely with me and my team to support us in making the right decisions and are extremely responsive.’

‘Tom Morrison is knowledgeable about the sector, experienced, responsive and easy to work with. In addition, Tom is extremely well-networked, connecting me with other experts both within Stone King and in other relevant organisations, and is able to very quickly get to the centre of an issue.’

‘The service is excellent. All the people we have dealt with have been knowledgeable and helpful, and all advice has been relevant, concise and high quality. Response time is very good, and we would recommend the service to anyone.’

‘Jamie Otter has been a fantastic support. He is very approachable, supportive, knowledgeable and ethical.’

‘The practice has an unrivalled understanding of and empathy with the further education sector, working with providers, funders, sector bodies and regulators. They seek practical, innovative solutions.’

Key clients

Luminate Education Group

United Learning Trust

The Co-operative Academies Trust

Heart of Yorkshire Education Group

The Sheffield College

Astrea Academy Trust

Red Kite Learning Trust

Altus Education Partnership

Rainbow Education Multi Academy Trust

Venn Academy Trust

Exceed Academies Trust


Northern College

The Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) CIO

Nottingham College

Shipley College

David Ross Education Trust

Abbey Multi Academy Trust

Ethos Academy Trust

West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

Learning Accord Multi Academy Trust

The Challenge Multi Academy Trust

TEC Partnership

Work highlights

  • Advised St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Academy Trust on the transfer of schools from St Margaret Clitheroe Catholic Academy Trust, thereby doubling the size of the Trust.
  • Advising Luminate Education Group on the full range of commercial and legal matters, including arrangements for students on sports courses to train with high-profile sports clubs and agreements with suppliers of software and online services.
  • Assisting Co-operative Academies Trust with two academy transfer projects.

Employment > Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 5

Stone King LLP has a major sector focus in education, but also undertakes some work for charities and businesses across the transport and hospitality sectors. Craig Vincent similarly specialises in education. Former group head Polly O’Malley departed to Browne Jacobson LLP in 2024.

Practice head(s):

Jean Boyle

Other key lawyers:


What stands out from colleagues at Stone King is that the advice is pragmatic and empathetic: the legal position is made clear and the probabilities attached to risks are spelled out in a way that supports, rather than unduly constrains, management decisions.’

The team has a good depth of employment law expertise in the education sector and have given us helpful and pragmatic support and advice through a number of very complex cases over the last couple of years.

Stone King have a strong team of experts and were able to appoint a partner with the specific specialism to support us with novel and targeted advice for a complex and unusual situation.’

Excellent range of skills and expertise to cover all situations.

Perfect professional individuals that work with high values and integrity.’

Stone King is a national leader in charity and education law and has won independent praise for the high-quality legal advice it offers to businesses and individuals across the UK.

The firm: Stone King has offices in Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, London and Manchester.

It continues to see growth across its charity, business, education and private client divisions and now employs over 220 people, including 49 partners and 116 fee-earners.

The firm’s sector-leading education team advises over 1,000 maintained and independent schools nationally and has been at the forefront of the academies programme.

Within the third sector, Stone King acts for hundreds of leading charity and not-for-profit organisations across the UK, including many educational establishments and religious groups.

The firm also offers a broad range of commercial legal advice to a wide variety of organisations, from family-run businesses to international companies.

In addition, Stone King has gained independent recognition for its expert advice to individuals and families, particularly on issues relating to care funding and family mediation.

Types of work undertaken
Charity and social enterprise: Stone King’s sector expertise includes advice on the formation and registration of new charities, Charity Commission investigations and review visits, charity mergers, establishing trading subsidiaries, and duties and liabilities of trustees. The firm also specialises in modernising and restructuring charity constitutions, governance and compliance issues, legacy disputes, corporate sponsorship and fundraising.

Education: the firm’s sector-leading work for educational institutions includes academy creation and conversions, governor training, corporate and regulatory issues, student disputes and issues arising from negligence in relation to the provision of education. It also specialises in employment matters including TUPE, the establishment of relevant employment contractual documents and advice on the appointment process.

Employment and HR: Stone King advises clients on a wide range of employment matters including those arising from a business sale, purchase or organisational change, TUPE, changing terms and conditions, restructuring, redundancy, dismissal and discrimination. The firm also provides representation at employment tribunals and HR support.

Commercial property: the firm specialises in commercial, charitable, educational and social housing work, providing expert advice on all aspects of planning and environmental law.

Construction: Stone King’s work covers a range of projects, from refurbishment works in existing facilities to large-scale new developments. This includes legal advice on construction procurement, building contracts and preparing bespoke schedules of amendments to standard forms, consultants appointments, letters of intent, collateral warranties, funding agreements, and PFI/PPP documentation.

Corporate and commercial: the firm advises on a wide range of commercial matters including business start-ups, administration and compliance, director duties and liabilities, IT, IP, shareholder and joint venture agreements.

Dispute resolution: Stone King’s expertise encompasses contentious work involving litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution.

Transport: the firm offers specialist advice on all aspects of road transport legislation, including public inquiries, appeals to the Transport Tribunal, tachograph and drivers’ hours regulation, construction and use regulations and the bus service operators grant.

Trusts and estates: Stone King provides bespoke advice to individuals on wills, trusts and tax planning, including advice on overseas assets. In addition the team is developing a strong reputation in providing specialist advice to clients in later life and their families and carers, particularly issues relating to care funding.

Family law and mediation: the firm’s expertise includes advice on divorce and separation, mediation, cohabitation, civil partnership, prenuptial agreements and cases involving children.

Residential property: Stone King specialises in local and national sales and purchases, transfers of equity, shared ownership, new-build purchases, residential leases and remortgages.

Court and regulatory: Stone King handles all manner of crime, including white-collar crime and fraud. The firm also specialises in regulatory defence in matters such as environmental, consumer protection and health and safety issues.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chair Alison Allen
Chair of the Management Board Roger Inman
Number of UK partners : 49
Number of other UK fee-earners : 116