Stone King LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Stone King LLP
BOUNDARY HOUSE
91 CHARTERHOUSE STREET
LONDON
EC1M 6HR
England

Public sector > Education: schools Tier 1

Stone King LLP  operates across the board on education matters, representing more than 2,000 state schools and 300 multi-academy trusts, with work including advising PFI schools in converting to academies. The team is led by four partners: Graham Burns, who works primarily with academies and high-profile mergers; Tom Morrison, who focuses on college-sponsored MAT structuring with Roger Inman; and Helen Tucker. Laura Berman is prominent in advising on discrimination claims against schools, particularly in reference to transgender issues.

Practice head(s):

Roger Inman; Graham Burns; Helen Tucker; Tom Morrison

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team are swift to respond and the breadth of experience and how they collaborate with the other teams at Stone King means that advice is always available for the non-standard queries. They have really got to know us well meaning that their advice comes with good understanding of our ways of working.’

‘Laura Berman is responsive, solution focused and takes time to talk through options – it’s a pleasure to work with her.’

‘Strong knowledge of the education sector, including; academy conversion process, documents and contacts; PFI arrangements for schools; legislation affecting the operation and responsibilities of schools; land arrangements, management of leases and licences and process for securing ESFA consent when needed.’

‘The legal team have worked together well to meet our needs in a timely way. There is good use of Teams meetings so as to have conversations with multiple people at once which is helpful. Our conference with counsel worked well this way.’

‘I have found the individuals I have worked with to have good understanding and empathy about our context which they bring to bear when discussing our case. This helps because staff who work in schools generally have very limited experience of working with the law in a complex way and sometimes struggle intellectually to focus on the legal issues rather than the wider people/children context.’

‘We have used this firm in relation to conversion of PFI schools into a Multi-Academy Trust, their knowledge and experience in this area has been extremely beneficial. The team working with us are always at the end of the phone or email to answer any question (big or small) that I may have. Communication is clear.’

‘I have worked closely with both Graham Burns and Nicola Andrews. They are extremely good at keeping me informed of what is happening with our individual cases and pushing them forward. They explain things in a way a person without a legal background can understand, their knowledge of PFI is exceptional.’

Key clients

Ark Schools

Future Academies

Learning in Harmony

Leigh Academies Trust

River Learning Trust

Greenshaw Learning Trust

Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust

Kent Special Educational Needs Trust

Ivy Learning Trust

The Kemnal Academies Trust

Leo Academy Trust

The Beckmead Trust

Endeavour MAT

Whitefield Academy Trust

Academies Enterprise Trust

London South East Education Group

Stanmore College

Repton

Eton

Dulwich Prep London

Felsted School

Wycombe Abbey School

United Church Schools Trust

St George’s School, Windsor Castle

Guildford High School

Wellington School, Somerset

Work highlights

  • Advised the Chelmsford Learning Partnership in connection with a disability discrimination claim lodged on behalf of a student with an EHCP due to join the school in Year 7. The student suffers from autism. Our robust defence of the claim led the claimant to withdraw.
  • Advised a collective group of over 55 academy trusts (over 400 schools) in a successful collective action which resulted in a major concession by ESS and positively affected 70% of the academies in the country who contract with ESS (approximately 5000 academies).
  • Advised Oasis Charitable Trust in relation to the establishment of the UK’s first secure school in Medway. The Secure School policy is led by the Ministry of Justice, working in conjunction with the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Social Care, as well as NHS England.

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

Stone King LLP has a highly reputable practice in the charity sector. Its team advise a vast range of clients, including faith charities, almshouses, education-related charities and social enterprises. The practice is led by Tim Rutherford; he is well versed in the handling of governance matters and focuses mainly on advising Roman Catholic religious orders and Diocese. Alexandra Steffensen is noted for her expertise in governance and restructuring, as well as for her experience overseeing engagement with the Charity Commission.

Practice head(s):

Tim Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Harris; Luke Watson; Alexandra Steffensen; Alexandra Weatherdon

Testimonials

‘Stone King led us through the whole process in a professional and knowledgable way. All our questions and queries were dealt with and the solutions conveyed to us in an understandable way.’

‘The charity team are clearly specialists in their field and very approachable. ‘

‘Stone King demonstrated a good knowledge of charity law and Charity Commission practice and were able to provide practical, timely and effective advice.’

‘Tim Rutherford demonstrated the ability to think laterally to devise solutions. He has always responded in a timely manner.’

‘We find Tim Rutherford very good; he is very clear in his instructions and presents very well in face to face meetings and on Zoom.’

‘We were listened to very carefully and with respect. Options have been explained, with pros and cons, and we have been guided accordingly.’

‘I was very pleased with the way the team worked together as a unit, their expertise in our particular problem, and their communication with us.’

‘The particular partner I dealt with was a delight, highly competent, and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

The Archdiocese of Cardiff

Institute of Our Lady of Mercy

Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries

The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty

PGA European Tour

Congregation of the Sisters of St Anne

Belmont Abbey

Irish Guards

Wimborne Grammar School Foundation – Church Branch

Diocese of Bristol

Work highlights

  • Advised Archdiocese of Cardiff on the strategic review of tis workings and governance.  
  • Advised Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty on its plans to carry out an extensive refurbishment of its almshouse.
  • Advised Irish Guards on an in-depth review of its charities and funds and devised a new, simplified, structure.

Public sector > Education Tier 1

At Stone King LLP, the education sector comprises the firm’s largest practice area, which is reflected in the number of schools, colleges and trusts the team acts for. The ‘constructive, knowledgeable, and professional’  Helen Tucker spearheads the Bath-based practice and brings to bear strong expertise in the independent schools sector, while Michael Brotherton is specialised in the contentious operational areas of state funded schools and is often sought out for discrimination claims against educational institutions. Commercial and procurement matters fall into the portfolio of Ciara Campfield, who has also been a main driver behind the practice’s growing activity in the further education sector.

Practice head(s):

Helen Tucker

Other key lawyers:

Michael Brotherton; Ciara Campfield; Elizabeth Fortin

Testimonials

‘Incredibly responsive, practical, hard working and pragmatic. The team, led by Helen Tucker, is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Helen Tucker – a quietly unassuming leader who swiftly analyses complex situations and proposes and executes solutions effectively and cost effectively.’

‘Stone King support our trust with a team of education experts covering all areas of the business. They respond to queries in good time and can provide quick advice or in depth support as needed.’

‘The firm has an outstanding knowledge of the education sector and works closely with key sector representative bodies. The firm is regarded as part of the sector.’

‘An outstanding knowledge of the sector and highly regarded by boards and management in the sector.’

‘The team at Stone King is excellent – invariably helpful, with rapid, detailed and helpful responses to a fast-evolving policy landscape. The expertise of individuals can always be relied upon and their creative and informative support is greatly appreciated.’

‘We have appreciated particularly the relationship with Ciara Campfield and Michael Brotherton.’

‘Stone King have always been responsive and pragmatic in their approach and advice. Their expertise and experience in the education sector have been invaluable.’

Key clients

Futura Learning Partnership

Clevedon Multi Academy Trust

University of Birmingham School

The Partnership Trust

Palladian Trust

Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership

Corinium Education Trust

Equa Multi Academy Trust

Gatehouse Green Learning Trust

Athelstan Trust

Wellington School, Somerset

Bruton School for Girls

Prior Park Schools

Felsted School

Wycombe Abbey School

United Church Schools Trust

St George’s School, Windsor Castle

Oakhill College

Dulwich Prep School

Work highlights

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

    The team at Stone King LLP is co-headed by Tim Rutherford in Bath and Tom Murdoch  in Leeds. The team boasts extensive expertise with regards to charitable status, social enterprise, faith charities, education-related charities, almshouses and cross-border legacies and deals. Its clients range from household name charities to local community organisations. In addition, the team works towards public sector innovation as well as training and development in the charity field. Significantly, ‘exceptional partner’ Murdoch has pioneered the landmark ‘Charitable Journalism Project’.

    Practice head(s):

    Tim Rutherford; Tom Murdoch

    Other key lawyers:

    Samuel Dowgill

    Testimonials

    ‘Specialist knowledge and expertise.’

    ‘Tom Murdoch has been particularly helpful in enabling us to steer through one delicate situation and one innovative situation. He is extremely approachable but also deeply knowledgeable.’

    ‘Proactive support provided. Keenness to really understand our business and ways of working to enable better support.’

    ‘Very helpful and responsive team, where the partner works hard to build up a depth of knowledge about clients, which hones the advice given. The advice is always high quality and relevant to the issue. The consistent and personal service is the element we really appreciate, which is supported by the specialists across the wider firm.’

    ‘Tom Murdoch is an exceptional partner to our charity, always very helpful and on point with his advice and constructive contributions to our discussions on knotty and complex matters. He is a joy to work with.’

    ‘Great knowledge, teamwork and support provided to the client.’

    Key clients

    Charitable Journalism Project

    Blue Marine Foundation

    Education & Training Foundation

    Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust

    The Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) CIO

    Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust

    Work highlights

    • Advising on the Charitable Journalism Project as it works with public interest news organisations seeking to take advantage of charitable status.
    • Advised the Blue Marine Foundation on its work supporting the designation of a marine protected area over Ascension Island’s offshore waters, the second largest marine protected area in the Atlantic.
    • Advised on a wide range of Education & Training Foundation matters, including charity law and governance; commercial/corporate; IP; information law; property and employment.

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

    Stone King LLP has a varied practice which encompasses advising clients on regulatory and criminal prosecutions, as well as on inquests and inquiries. The group continues to be recognised for its work in safeguarding, where it draws on the wider firm’s experience in the education and charity sectors to advise clients in these areas on matters involving allegations of sexual crimes. Andrew Banks is particularly known for his work in the education sector, while Matthew Graham leads the firm’s national criminal law team and is noted for his experience representing individuals experiencing mental health issues. Senior associate Nicholas Wragg focuses on cases involving alleged sexual offences.

    Practice head(s):

    Matthew Graham

    Other key lawyers:

    Testimonials

    ‘This team has knowledge of the niche area of sexual offences and indecent images law and also the psychological needs of clients, moreso than I have come across before. They organise professional development conferences and make these accessible to the legal field and wider professionals, inviting guest speakers who are highly regarded in the field. This innovative practice and knowledge really stands out.’

    ‘Matthew Graham has led on innovation in terms of a psychological assessment pathway/contacts for his clients to consider, as well as promoting wider awareness of the risk reduction and support needs of people with indecent images offences including adults and young people.’

    ‘Myself and clients have found all staff across the business, to be welcoming, knowledgable and professional in their approach. There is no such thing as a silly question.’

    ‘I was cared for by Andrew Banks, particularly attentive and supportive. His service occurred right in the middle of Covid lockdown, but he made things work constructively and fruitfully. He accompanied me to interview most helpfully.’

    Work highlights

      Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

      Stephen Ravenscroft heads a ‘strong team’ at Stone King LLP that is ‘very caring and friendly’. Its charity and social enterprise sector group also operates on a national basis through its various regional offices. Julian Blake is a key figure who combines charity law expertise with sustainable business and best practice employee and community engagement. Lee Coley has a broad practice that focuses predominantly on ecclesiastical and charity law that affects the Church of England. Hannah Kubie and Reema Mathur are among the other known names at the firm that was pleased to add Rosamund McCarthy Etherington to the practice, who joined from Bates Wells.

      Practice head(s):

      Stephen Ravenscroft

      Testimonials

      ‘The team has provided a great service; bringing discernment and wisdom which have assisted the wider remit of legal advice. The lawyers have provided prompt responses to enquiries and helpful assistance and guidance, and sought to cascade knowledge and good practice as part of the shared provision and aim of deepening learning and understanding’.

      ‘Lee Coley has continued to provide a great service, supported by a responsive and helpful team, and has made a positive contribution to the life of our work’.

      ‘In my view Stone King is renowned across the whole charity and social enterprise sector including all phases of education from pre-school to colleges and universities for the high quality of its people, national support through teams in London and the regions, excellence in client care and full range of outstanding specialist solicitors to support clients’.

      ‘Julian Blake is one of the top charity and social enterprise solicitors in Britain today, renowned for his first-class legal brain, deep personal commitment to the sector and outstanding care for clients’.

      ‘I believe Julian Blake is an outstanding public benefit lawyer. He has effectively encouraged flexibility in how the procurement regulations are interpreted and pioneered the use of the innovation partnership procedure for social purposes and the development of social value imperatives Other partners such as Hannah Kubbie complement Julian’s skills’.

      ‘Knowledgeable and courteous. Always willing to tackle a thorny issue with great poise. They are very candid and honest and don’t tell us what we want to hear (rather what we need to hear) to protect our Charity’s legal risk. Hannah Kubie is exceptional’.

      ‘All of the partners at Stone King are personable and expert in their field. Of particular note is Reema Mathur who has provided expert advice on setting up a charity from scratch and continued to advise on ongoing matters as our income is now into seven-figures.’

      ‘Advice always provided promptly, well presented, concise and easy to follow. Good team working, so if you are referred to another team member on a particular matter, because it is their field of expertise, they are fully apprised of the issue in hand and your organisation when you speak to them’.

      Key clients

      Northern Roots

      BV FutureGen Foundation

      St John’s College School, Cambridge

      Catch22

      Save the Children International

      London South East Colleges

      Corporation of Trinity House

      Diocese of Leicester

      Sacred Heart Sisters 1983 Charitable Fund

      Watts Gallery

      Treloar Trust

      Work highlights

      • Advising on the implementation of the community development project for the UK’s largest urban farm and an eco-park in the centre of Oldham, including securing registration of the charity with the Charity Commission.
      • Advised Britishvolt on the establishment and registration with the Charity Commission of the BV FutureGen Foundation to power future employment in the North East.
      • Advising on a novel and complex demerger of the independent school, St John’s College School, from a higher education institution, St John’s College, Cambridge.

      Employment > Immigration Tier 2

      Stone King LLP‘s specialist immigration team ‘explains potential options and outcomes in a way a layperson could understand without being patronising‘. Through a focus on workforce shortages and in-depth knowledge of the education sector, the firm frequently assists teachers to obtain Skilled Worker visas to work in the UK. Partner Julie Moktadir is ‘absolutely fantastic, clearly has a lot of experience and is able to break down complicated legal concepts into straightforward explanations and offer appropriate advice‘. She assisted software development company Optibrium Limited with obtaining sponsorship licence and visa for a Tier 2 worker, despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

      Practice head(s):

      Julie Moktadir

      Other key lawyers:

      Emily Ball

      Testimonials

      ‘At all times I felt informed, heard and in good hands – a completely different experience to other firms I initially reached out to. Stone King were knowledgable, efficient and compassionate. The team working on my case explained potential options and outcomes in a way a lay person could understand without being patronising. They were with me through every step of the process. Everything happened as they said it would, including the estimated cost.’

      Given her impressive reputation, I was stunned to be able to reach Julie Moktadir by phone and brief her on the situation without having to wait weeks. Everything happened as Julie said it would. Julie was also a huge source of strength during what was a very stressful time: her expertise, determination, clear thinking and excellent communication was incredibly reassuring.’

      ‘The process went smoothly from start the finish. The team handled my visa application from start to finish – I felt as if I only had to show up and get my photo taken!’

      ‘I worked primarily with Emily Ball and Julie Moktadir – both incredibly efficient and very helpful in guiding me through the process.’

      ‘As a charity, our needs are slightly different from commercial businesses. Stone King had not only the immigration expertise but also understood our needs and restrictions as a charity and were therefore able to offer us advise that was tailored to our needs as an organisation rather than just giving generic advice applicable to the average business.’

      ‘Julie Moktadir was absolutely fantastic in advising us on our options. She clearly has a lot of experience and was able to break down complicated legal concepts into straight forward, easy to understand explanations and offer the appropriate advice. Pleasure to work with, couldn’t do enough to help us. We wouldn’t hesitate to use her again.’

      ‘From the beginning, the team made sure they understood what our needs were and clearly explained what we need to minimize the risk of errors or unnecessary work due to miscommunication. Even though it was a relatively small case, the response time was good and the deliverable was high quality.’

      ‘The partner took time to explain the whole process and set our expectations. We felt assured that they understood our needs and know what they can and cannnot help. The associate we worked with had remarkable attention to detail and she thoroughly reviewing & checking the required documents.’

      Key clients

      Optibrium Limited

      Kingswood School

      T4 UK Franchise Limited

      Society of the Catholic Medical Missionaries

      Swedish Church in London

      Tenzo Limited

      Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary CIO

      People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation

      Public sector Tier 2

      The Cambridge office of Stone King LLP is a key pillar in the firm's national network and is known for the team's 'availability and speed of response, its willingness to offer practical advice when areas are grey or unclear, and its thoroughness'. The firm has more than 30 years’ experience advising state funded schools and colleges, as well as centuries of experience acting for independent schools, having been founded in 1850. Education is the firm's largest practice and it counts Unity Schools Partnership and West Suffolk College among its clients. Roger Inman leads the firm's education sector group, working closely with colleagues in Bath and Leeds, and he is 'keen to respond quickly and thoroughly'. Immigration specialist Julie Moktadir is also recommended.

      Practice head(s):

      Roger Inman

      Other key lawyers:

      Testimonials

      ‘Personal service with a dedicated link person. The training sessions, both on-line and virtual, are useful and ensure we are kept up-to-date with the latest guidance. We know that if ask for support, someone will contact us within 24 hours. The professional partnerships that Stone King have in place with other organisations ensure we have the highest level of support.’

      ‘Availability and speed of response. Knowledge of the school and the independent school sector.’

      ‘Willingness to offer practical advice when areas are grey or unclear.’

      ‘Relationship management is excellent. Thoroughness.’

      ‘Keen to respond quickly and thoroughly. We have a great relationship.’

      Key clients

      United Learning

      United Church Schools Trust

      Unity Schools Partnership

      Astrea

      West Suffolk College

      Anglian Learning

      CAM Trust

      Active Learning Trust

      Peterborough Diocesan Education Trust

      Unity Education Trust

      Inspiration Trust

      Felsted School

      Wycombe Abbey School

      The Chelmsford Learning Partnership

      Bedford College

      Work highlights

      • Advised an Academy Trust on defending a claim of alleged Disability Discrimination in the First tier Tribunal regarding a key topic for Education in 2021: how to assess students for qualifications, especially using evidence created by the Student at home.
      • Advised various multi-phase education groups on governance structures that can optimise the operation of further education-led multi-phase education groups comprising colleges, schools and higher education providers.
      • Provided intensive support to Chelmsford Learning Partnership in defending all stages of upholding Permanent Exclusion involving particular violent facts and complex evidence.

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

      Stone King LLP’s ‘young and dynamic litigation team’ attracts praise for ‘always going the extra mile’ for its clients, with particular knowledge of the education and charity sectors; the group has recently handled several high-profile cases relating to schools. Other areas of expertise span the retail, real estate, construction, IT and transport industries and breach of contract claims, negligence issues and contractual litigation. Property litigator Tony Pidgeon leads the group, which works closely with colleagues in the firm’s London office.

      Practice head(s):

      Tony Pidgeon

      Testimonials

      ‘They have a young and dynamic litigation team, headed by Tony Pidgeon. Particular expertise in property and commercial disputes. Very efficient in setting up intra-firm teams in order to efficiently handle any substantial dispute.’

      ‘Tony Pidgeon – Personable and unflappable. Excellent lawyer, and commercially astute.’

      ‘A very clear well understood knowledge of us as a client.’

      ‘Always go the extra mile.’

      Key clients

      National Heritage Memorial Fund

      Work highlights

      • Successfully 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

      In addition to its sizeable team, Stone King LLP has a HR consultancy service that extends across its five offices. Its expertise encompasses business, charity, educational and private client related matters. The team is led by Peter Woodhouse; he has vast experience advocating before the Employment Tribunal. T  

      Practice head(s):

      Peter Woodhouse

      Other key lawyers:

      Jean Boyle; Amy Berry; James Barratt

      Testimonials

      ‘There is a vast amount of specialist skills and these are drawn from the wider team as and when you need them.’

      ‘They are quick to respond and have provided excellent support.’

      ‘James Barratt is quick to respond, pragmatic and spot on.’

      ‘The team meet the needs of the individual in a flexible and understanding manner – always pragmatic and supportive of the need of the business.’

      ‘They are supportive and helpful at all times.’

      ‘Peter Woodhouse stands out for leading the team. He very quickly gets to grips with the issue at hand and provides direction and solutions very quickly. His knowledge in HR and transport is excellent.’

      ‘Excellent communication, incredibly professional service.’

      ‘Peter Woodhouse goes above and beyond in responding to queries and providing advice to achieve the outcome we were looking for. ‘

      Work highlights

        Private client > Family Tier 2

        Stone King LLP has expertise in family matters concerning cohabitation, child law and finance. It has particular strength in ADR and negotiation procedures. Tracey Smith leads the practice; her expertise encompasses financial matters arising from divorce. She has over 25 years’ experience in family law. Caroline Fell is noted for her expertise in high-value cross-border financial matters.

        Practice head(s):

        Tracey Smith

        Other key lawyers:

        Meg Moss; Caroline Fell; Daniela Nickols; Rebecca Eels

        Testimonials

        ‘The whole team at Stone King were of immense support and assistance throughout a challenging legal process. I cannot thank them enough!’

        ‘All the support staff were very helpful and understanding in stressful times. Very clear understanding of the divorce law to keep the client on track in emotional times. Very difficult communications with the opposing team.’

        ‘They were understanding that this was a very difficult time and that they put the needs and emotions of us as a family very much at the forefront.’

        ‘Polite and helpful in dealing with clients. Prompt follow up on queries.’

        ‘I have found Caroline Fell excellent in all my dealings with her. She offers a sympathetic ear but remains considered in her advice and thorough in checking documents.’

        ‘Reliable, excellent advice. Really felt they were working with me and for me in my best interests with professional, yet caring advice.’

        ‘The quality if the work, preparation and client care is exceptionally high.’

        Work highlights

          Public sector > Education Tier 2

          The team at Stone King LLP is considered to be ‘professional yet approachable and always willing to go the extra mile.‘ Instructions come particularly from state schools, independent schools, as well as FE colleges and HE institutions. The group provides support in operational, transactional, property, construction, HR, immigration and employment law matters. Practice head Tom Morrison has than 20 years of experience in the field, Polly O’Malley covers employment queries, and senior associate Louise Castle handles PFI arrangements and academy restructures.

          Practice head(s):

          Tom Morrison

          Other key lawyers:

          Polly O’Malley; Jamie Otter; Craig Vincent; Louise Castle

          Testimonials

          ‘Their knowledge and understanding of the sector is exceptional. In addition, they really take the time to get to know the organisation and the individuals within it.’

          ‘Professional yet approachable and always willing to go the extra mile.’

          ‘The team respond promptly and with a deep level of expertise in our sector. They have got to know us as an organisation and understand our aspirations and challenges.’

          ‘The knowledge, teamwork, support and communication provided to the client stands out.’

          ‘Very personal approach and makes my organisation feel that we have our own legal department.’

          ‘Jamie Otter and Polly O’Malley have been exceptional with our trust.’

          Key clients

          Luminate Education Group

          United Learning Trust

          The Co-operative Academies Trust

          Wakefield College

          The Sheffield College

          Astrea Academy Trust

          Red Kite Learning Trust

          Altus Education Partnership

          Rainbow Education Multi Academy Trust

          Venn Academy Trust

          Exceed Academies Trust

          NCG

          Northern College

          The Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) CIO

          Nottingham College

          Shipley College

          David Ross Education Trust

          Abbey MAT

          Ethos Academy Trust

          West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

          Work highlights

          • Advised on the creation of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, a progressive new college group spanning Wakefield, Selby and Castleford.
          • Appointed by Luminate Education Group to advise on all commercial general and legal matters – including in support of its regional education strategy.
          • Acted for Polaris Multi Academy Trust on the creation of its Multi Academy Trust and subsequent transfer of a three school multi academy trust into the newly formed entity.

          Public sector > Education: institutions

          Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 3

          Stone King LLP ‘always provides prompt, commercial advice‘. The firm is best known for its work on transactions in the education and charity sectors, though it also has extensive experience in industries such as marketing and communications, software, technology, professional services, retail and financial services. Practice head Miguel Pereira works in both the London and Cambridge offices. Key partner Tamsin Eastwood supported Wakefield College in its merger with Selby College, which included advice on due diligence, transactional issues and the protection of the college’s brands. Clients praise her ‘availability, flexibility of approach and sensitivity to the financial pressures facing a start-up‘.

          Practice head(s):

          Miguel Pereira

          Other key lawyers:

          Testimonials

          ‘A deep understanding of the issues facing tech start-ups, both legal and practical. Expertise in IP as well as contracts. Flexibility in approach and sensitivity to cost. Great network, putting us in touch with experts in other domains such as company valuations and tax credits.’

          ‘Greatly valued Tamsin Eastwood’s support in our contract negotiations, in particular her availability, flexibility of approach and sensitivity to the financial pressures facing a start-up.’

          ‘We have received good responsive service and, most importantly, Stone King demonstrates an understanding of the need to balance normal lawyering with the particular requirements of social impact investing.’

          ‘Tamsin Eastwood was very responsive and great at explaining legal concepts to non-lawyers. There were a number of complexities in the transaction that needed to be thought through and she very deftly guided us through those. Tamsin is extremely knowledgeable and this, combined with her experience, meant she was able to smooth the transaction process by building a good working relationship with counsel on the other side and quickly conceding points when appropriate.’

          ‘Prompt, commercial advice always provided. Always very approachable.’

          Key clients

          Wakefield College Further Education Corporation

          Employment Tier 3

          Stone King LLP‘s Cambridge office is a key hub in its firm-wide employment law practice, which is led from Bath. It has ‘an extremely helpful team, very knowledgable and it has  been incredibly supportive‘, remarks a client. Legal executive Julianna Barker is the key practitioner and she ‘provides excellent support‘. The firm focuses predominantly on the needs of clients in the charity and education sectors, which include senior exits, whistleblowing claims, misconduct investigations and cases concerning discrimination. Partner Tim Tyndall moved to Keystone Law.

          Practice head(s):

          Peter Woodhouse

          Other key lawyers:

          Testimonials

          ‘Extremely helpful team, very knowledgable and have been incrediably supportive with the various employment law challenges that we have faced.’

          ‘I have worked closely with Julianna Barker in the Cambridge office and she provided excellent support in a couple of recent employment cases.

          Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

          Stone King LLP has an array of specialist expertise, including international and cross-border succession and probate advice, estate planning, care funding, UK and foreign will drafting and private family trust management. Kathryn Layzell, an expert in older client care, leads the practice.

          Practice head(s):

          Kathryn Layzell

          Other key lawyers:

          Alison Allen; Daniel Harris; Andrew Mortimer; Kerry Rogers; Charlotte Macdonald

          Testimonials

          ‘I have always found the team to be helpful, caring and knowledgeable. I never have hesitation in recommending them to people that need advice.’

          ‘Alison Allen is a consummate professional and very knowledgeable. She is excellent with clients with a gentle and caring manner.’

          Kathryn Layzell is also excellent with clients and maintains the careful caring approach of the team as a whole.’

          ‘Very empathetic and experienced in dealing with trust and tax matters.’

          ‘Andrew Mortimer is very empathetic and experienced in dealing with trust and tax matters.’

          Work highlights

            Real estate > Commercial property: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 3

            The ‘precise, insightful and competent’ team at Stone King LLP advises clients on commercial property matters including acquisitions, leasing, landlord and tenant work, and dispute resolution. The firm is particularly active in the charity and education sectors alongside its corporate work. Caroline Taylor leads the team and regularly assists companies and non-faith charities with their property requirements. Hugh Pearce covers a broad range of real estate matters with a particular focus on advising charities, while Joanne Burton specialises in the education sector.

            Practice head(s):

            Caroline Taylor

            Other key lawyers:

            Hugh Pearce; Joanne Burton

            Testimonials

            ‘Very comprehensive all-round professional coverage, combined with approachable and knowledgeable staff.’

            ‘Joanne Burton was excellent in her considered advice, balancing wider strategy against specific points. She was vital in getting a complex legal situation resolved.’

            ‘Hugh Pearce is extremely helpful and supportive, looking for the best value for the client. The support from partners in other departments is offered on a timely basis to provide support when required.’

            ‘Over our years of engagement with the team, from inception to completion of required legal assistance on individual projects, my experience of the team has been very positive: precise, insightful and competent in often very complex cases, dealing not only with presenting issues but also with implications in broader contexts.’

            ‘Team members that we have worked with have been thorough with an eye not only to completion but even to perfection. At each stage of legal processes, it is reassuring to know that we are in competent, well-trained and experienced hands. Hugh Pearce has been particularly valued in this respect.’

            ‘All staff/partners that we deal with are accessible and responsive. They are all team players who interact well with clients and their other advisors – there is no game playing/ point scoring that you sometimes experience.’

            ‘Stone King seem to be able to deal with all different types of issues that we throw their way without any problem.’

            ‘Very professional and provide sound advice which we have full confidence in. Always quick to acknowledge and come back whenever.’

            Key clients

            South East Surrey Schools Education Trust

            Church of England Diocese of Bristol

            Prep Schools Trust

            Yate Town Council

            Wakefield College

            Congregation of Our Lady, Canonesses of St Augustine CIO

            Whitehill Chase Foundation

            Belmont Abbey

            The Carmelite Charitable Trust

            Work highlights

            • Advising South East Surrey Schools Education Trust on a range of agreements and land transactions in connection with the development of a new school sports hall and the creation of a new free school.
            • Advising Belmont Abbey on the incorporation of the existing charitable trusts into charitable incorporated organisations, including transfer of all of the properties into the newly formed charities.
            • Advising Whitehill Chase Foundation on the sale of the charity’s main headquarters.

            Real estate > Property litigation Tier 4

            With particular strengths in the charity and education sector, Stone King LLP supports clients in issues arising out of breach of covenant and lease claims, rights of way and boundary, urgent possession, and management company and service charges, amongst others. ‘Efficient and astute’ Tony Pidgeon is the team lead, acting for educational bodies, national charities and corporations in a wide range of property dispute matters.

            Practice head(s):

            Tony Pidgeon

            Testimonials

            ‘Dynamic and responsive team with a very loyal and established local following of charities, business and high net-worth individuals.’

            ‘Able to adapt to client needs by setting up teams able to manage small property disputes (such as boundary or easement litigation) up to large scale litigation including covenants affecting significant developments.’

            ‘Tony Pidgeon – An excellent lawyer. Efficient and astute. Very friendly and personable with it.’

            Key clients

            National Heritage Memorial Fund

            The Governing Body of Christ the King College

            Work highlights

            • Successfully defended a claim brought against the Governing Body of Christ the King College for breach of a lease agreement arising out of a ‘hire agreement’ for a modular building.
            • Successfully defended a claim brought against the client by a professional sports club for a declaration that a restrictive covenant preventing development of a new multi-seater stadium is unenforceable.

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

            The employment team at Stone King LLP ‘will always go the extra mile ‘ for clients. It has a strong specialism in the education sector and has particular experience in advising trustees on CEO exits as well as cases involving sexual harassment, whistleblowing and TUPE. Polly O’Malley and head of HR consultancy services Craig Vincent are the key practitioners. 

            Practice head(s):

            Peter Woodhouse

            Other key lawyers:

            Testimonials

            ‘The team respond promptly and with a deep level of expertise.’

            ‘Polly O’Malley is our key contact and she really takes time to develop our partnership. We feel we are treated as individuals.’

            ‘The team provides a wide range technical support that is aimed at supporting us in delivering strategic objectives and operational priorities.’

            ‘The team really understands us and will always go the extra mile to ensure we receive the required technical advice to the highest standard and within the prescribed timescales and delivering a value for money service.’

            ‘We find their approach refreshingly open and direct and it is always very clear and concise.’

            Work highlights

              Private client > Contentious trusts and probate

              Stone King LLP draws on its market-leading charities expertise to effectively advise clients in that sector on legacy disputes and other contentious probate matters.

              Yorkshire and the Humber > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

              East Anglia > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge

              Stone King LLP ‘always provides prompt, commercial advice‘. The firm is best known for its work on transactions in the education and charity sectors, though it also has extensive experience in industries such as marketing and communications, software, technology, professional services, retail and financial services. Practice head Miguel Pereira works in both the London and Cambridge offices. Key partner Tamsin Eastwood supported Wakefield College in its merger with Selby College, which included advice on due diligence, transactional issues and the protection of the college’s brands. Clients praise her ‘availability, flexibility of approach and sensitivity to the financial pressures facing a start-up‘.

              Practice head(s):

              Miguel Pereira

              Other key lawyers:

              Testimonials

              ‘A deep understanding of the issues facing tech start-ups, both legal and practical. Expertise in IP as well as contracts. Flexibility in approach and sensitivity to cost. Great network, putting us in touch with experts in other domains such as company valuations and tax credits.’

              ‘Greatly valued Tamsin Eastwood’s support in our contract negotiations, in particular her availability, flexibility of approach and sensitivity to the financial pressures facing a start-up.’

              ‘We have received good responsive service and, most importantly, Stone King demonstrates an understanding of the need to balance normal lawyering with the particular requirements of social impact investing.’

              ‘Tamsin Eastwood was very responsive and great at explaining legal concepts to non-lawyers. There were a number of complexities in the transaction that needed to be thought through and she very deftly guided us through those. Tamsin is extremely knowledgeable and this, combined with her experience, meant she was able to smooth the transaction process by building a good working relationship with counsel on the other side and quickly conceding points when appropriate.’

              ‘Prompt, commercial advice always provided. Always very approachable.’

              Key clients

              Wakefield College Further Education Corporation

              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 and London.

              It continues to see growth across its charity, business, education and private client divisions and now employs over 200 people, including 42 partners and 118 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.

              DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
              Chairman Alison Allen
              Managing partner Steven Greenwood
              PhotoNamePositionProfile
              Julian Blake photo Julian BlakeJulian has specialised, for over 30 years: in Social Enterprise; Charity; Responsible…
              Graham Burns photo Graham BurnsGraham is the Head of education team and his particular skills include…
              Hannah Kubie photo Hannah KubieHannah is a Partner specialising in charity law and governance and social…
              Rosamund McCarthy Etherington photo Rosamund McCarthy EtheringtonFor more than 25 years, Rosamund has utilised the law to create,…
              Tom Murdoch photo Tom Murdoch  Tom acts for a wide variety of charities and social enterprises…
              Miguel Pereira photo Miguel PereiraMiguel joined the firm as a partner in May 2014 having been…
              Ann Phillips photo Ann PhillipsAnn Phillips is a former Chairman of Stone King, and now works…
              Stephen Ravenscroft photo Stephen RavenscroftStephen is a Partner and has specialised in charity and not-for-profit law…
              Tim Rutherford photo Tim RutherfordTim Rutherford is a partner and Head of the firm’s Charity &…
              Number of UK partners : 42
              Number of other UK fee-earners : 118
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