Firm Profile > Ward Hadaway LLP > Leeds, England

Ward Hadaway LLP

Social housing Tier 2

John Murray, who leads the Leeds-based group at Ward Hadaway, has over 31 years of experience in the social housing sector. He is often instructed by local authorities and registered providers in disrepair claims and leasehold disputes. He also advises on property disposals, tenure issues and anti-social behaviour.

Practice head(s):

John Murray


‘The service we receive from Ward Hadaway provides us with great legal services that are speedy, proactive and value for money. We have used the practice for several land and property transactions and planning services. Information is provided in a timely manner in easy to understand formats describing any risks to the organisation.’

Key clients

Livin Housing

Thirteen Group

South Lakes Housing

Yorkshire Housing

Byker Community Trust

Home Group

Mosscare St Vincent’s

Gentoo Group


Believe Housing Limited

Banking and finance Tier 3

Ward Hadaway is particularly adept at real estate, development finance and peer-to-peer lending transactions. Practice head Mark Smith regularly acts for UK and non-UK banks, peer-to-peer lending platforms and borrowers on a range of financing and banking matters. David Pridmore and Lucinda Peters are recommended for property finance advice.

Practice head(s):

Mark Smith

Other key lawyers:

David Pridmore; Lucinda Peters

Key clients

Bank of China

Epta Development Corporation a Canadian Real Estate Developer

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

South Yorkshire Pensions Authority


Barclays Bank

Northumberland Estates Limited

Royal Bank of Scotland Group

Clydesdale Bank

Brown Shipley

Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 3

Ward Hadaway is recognised for its portfolio of regional and national housebuilders and residential developers, such as Barratts and Strata Homes. It also has a growing specialism acting for land owning charity trusts on acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management and redevelopment. Local authority, utilities and corporate occupier-related property work are also key areas of activity. Kevin Weston and Andrew Pliener jointly lead the team, which includes Jonathan Dickson, David Pridmore and Simon Hellewell.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Weston; Andrew Pliener

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Dickson; David Pridmore; Simon Hellewell


‘Top practice for partner direct availability and willingness to talk matters through in a considered and objective way.’

Key clients

Canal & River Trust

Land Restoration Trust

Keepmoat Homes Limited

Allied London

Banks Property Limited

BDW Trading Limited (trading as Barratt Homes)

Wakefield Council

Strata Homes Limited

Kirklees Council

OCS Group (UK)

Springfield Healthcare

All Work and Social Leeds Dock Limited (wholly owned subsidiary of Allied London)

Eshton Investments Limited and Eshton Developments Limited

Camstead Limited

Yelcon Limited

Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 3

Ward Hadaway’s employment practice advises local and national clients operating across the healthcare, transport and public sectors. Overseen by national head of the group Harmajinder Hayre, the team is experienced in handling TUPE, restructurings and trade union negotiations, and advising on grievance policies. Edward Nuttman has a track record in successfully defending Employment Tribunal claims for leading transport sector clients, while Flora Mewies heads up the business immigration group.

Practice head(s):

Harmajinder Hayre

Other key lawyers:

Edward Nuttman; Flora Mewies;


‘We have developed an excellent working relationship with Ward Hadaway over the past 3 to 4 years. They understand how we operate as a company and the many challenges facing us. They are always available to give guidance advice and assistance even at very short notice. We have found the guidance given by Ward Hadaway to be sound, professional and focused on our needs.’

‘WH have dealt with a number of contentious employment matters for us in an efficient and responsive way.’

‘Harmajninder Hayre and his team are all responsive and accessible -they have dealt with a number of ET claims effectively.’

‘Always found the teams to be very helpful and there is always someone contactable within the team.’

‘Industry knowledge so there is a connection with the types of employment law issues we face (Edward Nuttman).’

Key clients

RATP London



Weir Mineral PLC (FTSE 250)

Turner & Townsend

StageCoach North East

Grosvenor Integrated Services Limited

Paccor UK

Harron Homes

Yorkshire Housing Limited

IT and telecoms Tier 3

Ward Hadaway has notabel experience handling both contentious and non-contentious work for both public and private sector IT and telecoms clients. The group, led by Bill Goodwin, advises on large-scale projects, international deals for IT suppliers, and complex software licensing negotiations. Alex Shiel is the primary IP/IT contact for commercial agreements, technology licences, and disputes. Data protection matters are dealt with by Judy Baker.

Practice head(s):

Bill Goodwin

Other key lawyers:

Alex Shiel; Judy Baker

Key clients




Sterling Technology







Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

Ward Hadaway LLP's private client team handles the full range of issues linked to wills & probate, inheritance tax, estate planning and lasting powers of attorney. In addition, the offering's expertise extends to probate matters involving high value estates with complex business and property interests. Andrew Facer and Andrew Evans lead the practice and are respective experts in succession planning and asset protection.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Facer; Andrew Evans

Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Tier 4

At Ward Hadaway, the corporate practice has expanded its offering with the arrival of Jonathan Pollard from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP and has a proven track record advising on private equity matters and investment deals. The team includes key practitioners Adrian Ballam who handles acquisitions, disposals, and corporate finance transactions, whilst James Nightingale acts for large corporates and SMEs on reorganisations and restructurings.

Other key lawyers:

James Nightingale; Jonathan Pollard; Adrian Ballam


‘The advice and support is always practical, measured and commercially-focused. Excellent client services and accessibility and always deliver on a promise. Collaborates and communicates well with other law practices. ’

‘Responsiveness and value for money. Jonathan Pollard could not be more available, and his pragmatic and general advice and views outside the strictly legal (eg in commercial and operational terms) is always hugely appreciated.’

‘Their team is led by James Nightingale, partner, who leads on all matters. This ensures a professional and highly competent service which understands our legal requirements. They understand how we like to do business and James and all of his team are very personable and give excellent service. ’

‘James Nightingale’s personable style and attention to detail has been invaluable.’

The firm’s collegiate approach to fees is also welcome and greatly appreciated as the client, where best value is achieved for both parties.’

Key clients

Allied London

RFM Group

Solingen Private Equity Limited

CNG (Group) Limited

BGF Investments LP

Mercia Technologies

SHG (Care Villages) Limited

Thermon Group Holdings, Inc

Evifile Limited

Ansys, Inc.

Epta Developments Corporation

Suncrop Produce Limited

Family: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Tier 4

At Ward Hadaway LLP, the family team continues to handles high value divorces, with work including multi-jurisdictional cases where assets are held as far afield as France, Germany, Greece, Spain, the Cayman Islands and Turkey. Led by Steven Petrie, the team also includes the 'excellent' Andrea Dyer who is recognised for her expertise in financial issues and children's law.

Practice head(s):

Steven Petrie

Other key lawyers:

Andrea Dyer


‘Andrea Dyer’s service has been impeccable. Right from the beginning she made it very clear she was available for advice at any time during what was a particularly stressful and distressing time. She explains everything in detail more than once when needed. She knows what needs to be done and how to do it and she gets it done.’

‘Very experienced in private family finance and medium to high net worth work.’

‘Andrea Dyer is an excellent family lawyer.’

Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 5

Ward Hadaway's dispute resolution team handles a range of corporate and commercial litigation for its impressive roster of local, national and international clients. Newcastle-based Peter Hornsey leads the commercial litigation group, while the 'tenacious' Ian McCombie heads up the Leeds team. Following the arrival of Stephen Lewis and associate Neil Armitage in 2019, the group has continued to grow with the addition of the 'deeply knowledgeable and pragmatic' Emma Digby, who joined from Knights plc (formerly Shulmans).

Practice head(s):

Peter Hornsey; Ian McCombie

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Lewis; Neil Armitage; Natasha Taylor; Harmajinder Hayre; Emma Digby


‘Particularly good interpersonal skills and direct speedy contact creates calm and a sense of client comfort.’

‘They offer unparalleled legal knowledge and advice to clients at critical moments during disputes providing practical effective solutions including unparalleled litigation expertise.’

‘Ian McCombie is tenacious and protective and always provides a potentially positive solution or outcome, no matter the circumstances. He is also quick to respond and turns around drafting very promptly.’

‘The partner I know well, Ian McCombie, and his number two Natasha Taylor, are outstanding in terms of client service and overall ability and dedication.’

‘Emma Digby is a force amongst litigators in the region; she is dedicated, deeply knowledgeable and pragmatic, providing unparalleled legal support for her commercial clients at times of greatest uncertainty for them. She brings her expertise to life by offering practical and effective solutions to complex problems. It is a privilege to be able to work with her – highly recommended!’

‘Very human approach and, yet confident, professional service that can be relied upon.’

‘Ian McCombie and Harmajinder Hayre – very personable service. Their immediate availability at short notice and attending to projects, even during the weekend, is commendable!’

Key clients

IDT Financial Services Limited (Gibraltar)

A cohort of sub-postmasters who are pursuing claims against Post Office Limited

Big Lemon CiC

RAS Capital No1 Limited

Calibre Search Limited

DataArt Technology UK Ltd

City West Commercials Limited

Intellectual property Tier 5

Ward Hadaway's IP group has 'excellent legal knowledge' and is led by Bill Goodwin. The team acts for start-ups, SMEs, and entrepreneurial clients across Leeds and Manchester on sponsorship matters, trade mark portfolios, and global brand protection work. Commercial contact expert Rebecca Whisker supports the workload by advising on IP protection and exploitation issues.

Practice head(s):

Bill Goodwin

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Whisker


‘Ultimately, we use legal professionals to help us navigate complexities and achieve commercially sensible results. Ward Hadaway simply do this extremely well. They highlight the options and aren’t afraid to make a recommendation, which is perhaps the most valuable to us as a client. The individuals are thorough and take a real interest in our business, which puts them in a much better position to advise actions that work in the context of our overall objectives.’

‘We value the relationships greatly. Bill Goodwin has taken an active interest in our business from a very early stage and has been a real part of helping us shape our IP portfolio from the outset. We consult with him on any new branding or potential IP acquisitions, because the nature of the relationship is collaborative. His honest and actionable feedback is incredibly useful and helps us avoid potential pitfalls.’

‘A very strong team with excellent legal knowledge.’

‘I work with Bill Goodwin. Bill has helped me with a number of trade mark and patent issues. I am always impressed by Bill’s rapid response and practical solutions. He has excellent legal knowledge and is good value.’

Key clients










Banking and finance Tier 1

The ‘efficient and always responsive’ team at Ward Hadaway is a dominant force acting on the side of various lenders on acquisition finance, property development and project finance mandates. Aiming at ensuring a more comprehensive offering for more challenging transactions across the region, the practice routinely pairs up with colleagues in Leeds and Manchester. Highly regarded Imogen Holland heads up the banking and finance group across all three offices. In particular, the team draws on the expertise of the firm’s specialists in disciplines such as construction, planning, tax, competition and energy law; the efficiency of this cooperation is reflected in the wide range of its sector-specific strengths which span real estate investment, property development, renewable energy, charities, leisure, healthcare and manufacturing, among others. Simon Errington has over two decades of secured lending experience under his belt. Julie Harrison retired from the partnership in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Imogen Holland

Other key lawyers:

Simon Errington


‘They are excellent. Efficient and always responsive.’

‘Imogen Holland is best in class.’

‘Commercial approach. Good knowledge of the local market and relationships across the North East.’

‘We mainly work with Imogen Holland. It is the personal touch that makes a difference. Being able to talk things through and be comfortable and confident to ask questions and know you are being advised appropriately.’

‘The team is excellent technically, very approachable and comes up with commercial solutions. They take a pragmatic approach in order to get a deal done. In particular, Imogen Holland and Richard Butts are exceptional examples of this.’

‘The team at Ward Hadaway are unique in the sense that they create a sense of trust and loyalty. Having worked with them as our solicitors for 13 years, we have never had a cause for concern. Especially during the very difficult circumstance for our industry over the last 12 months, they have given sound advice and guidance throughout, going above and beyond to give us comfort, both emotionally and financially.’

‘Imogen Holland and her colleagues Richard Butts and Clare French are permanently available to our queries. Often working into the twilight hours to ensure that we as their client are satisfied and on track. Their approach is aligned with ours and the relationships that have formed over the years ensure that an in-depth understanding of our requirements are considered at every juncture.’

Key clients

Royal Bank of Scotland plc / National Westminster Bank plc

Santander UK plc

Lloyds Bank plc

AIB Group (UK) plc

FW Capital Limited / Development Bank of Wales plc

The Council of the City of Newcastle

North East LEP

OakNorth Bank plc

Inn Collection Group

Bank of China (UK) Limited

BGF Investment LP

Commercial litigation: Newcastle Tier 1

Ward Hadaway’s ‘expertise and ability to handle complex, multi-party litigation is really impressive’. Led by ‘seriously impressive team leaderPeter Hornsey, the commercial litigation department utilises its ‘top-to-bottom talent’ to handle a full scope of disputes arising in relation to corporate transactions, breaches of contract, professional negligence and other tortious claims, insurance and financial law issues, among other matters. Robert Glassford has a wealth of experience acting for public sector clients. A key contact for financial sector work, Martin Woodford is dual-qualified as a barrister and solicitor. Legal director Lucy Cleghorn and managing associate Joe Kelley are rising stars in the team.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hornsey

Other key lawyers:

Robert Glassford; Martin Woodford; Tim Toomey; Lucy Cleghorn; Joe Kelley


‘The team have top-to-bottom talent. Their client care, especially over the past 12 months, has been great. I have been really impressed with the way in which cases have been kept on track and there has been continuous client engagement. The expertise and ability to handle complex, multi-party litigation is really impressive. Additionally, there is real focus on achieving the clients’ objectives and an eye on strategy.’

‘Peter Hornsey is a seriously impressive team leader and a cool head at all times. Such breadth of experience that clients know they’re in safe hands.’

‘Lucy Cleghorn must be a rising star. Great client management coupled with an extremely good eye for detail. Really thoughtful litigator.’

‘No matter what I need or when I need it, the team at Ward Hadaway is always willing to assist.’

‘Robert Glassford is a very good lawyer, experienced, strong analytically, balanced and measured. Joe Kelley is hardworking, practical and calm. Tim Toomey and Russell Ward have a sound judgment and maintain good relationships with clients. Lucy Cleghorn is practical.’

‘My main contact is with Tim Toomey whom I have dealt for a few years now. Tim’s clear and direct approach to insurance disputes, together with his extensive knowledge, mean that I am confident of recommending him while also being fully comfortable that the advice being given is sound.’

‘Russell Ward is particularly effective at developing relationships with clients to ensure mutual trust and understanding. Strong litigator who is willing to put in the extra hours to ensure good results for his clients.’

‘Joe Kelley and Robert Glassford are both very thoughtful and responsive. They are great with clients but also have great tactical nous. For high-value commercial litigation, particularly in the North East, I wouldn’t recommend anyone else.’

Key clients

The Banks Group Limited

Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Providence Bonds Investor Action Group

Inclusion Housing C.I.C

Manna Pro Products LLC

NH International (Caribbean) Ltd

Independent Utility Advice Limited

Story Homes Limited

Commercial property: Newcastle Tier 1

Ward Hadaway is recognised for its strengths across a wide range of industries, including mining and minerals, housing, logistics, leisure, energy, and the public sector, to name just a few. The team is active in high-value investment and corporate finance transactions where property is involved. In addition, the past year resulted in an increase of instructions from the department’s enviable housebuilder clientbase. Commercial property development work is also a forte for the group; property development specialist Lesley Fairclough often takes the lead on mandates in this space. Fairclough shares leadership of the department with planning specialist Robin Atkin. Clients laud Heather Markham as ‘balanced, commercial and hugely knowledgeable’.

Practice head(s):

Robin Atkin; Lesley Fairclough

Other key lawyers:

Alex Cox; Alex Wright; Simon Errington; Heather Markham; Sophie Bohill; Saji Bratch; Nick Gholkar; Neil Smith; Nick Winney


‘Understanding of a client’s requirements, including following client brief, general communication and reporting to the client.

‘Heather Markham is balanced, commercial and hugely knowledgeable. Heather has an excellent understanding of our business.’

‘Neil Smith – detailed and precise. Neil is able to present complex information in a clear and concise format.’

‘WH’s team is part of our team and acts as such. Our success is their success and vica versa. Both teams are aware of each others’ strengths and weaknesses and accommodate them.’

‘Simon Errington and his team have worked virtually non-stop on transactions on our behalf over the past 12 months. The effort which they have taken to understand not only our requirements but also those of our funders has meant that they have been able to provide accurate and timely advice throughout. Without this early effort to know the team, undoubtedly, the chosen approach may have been different.’

‘Ward Hadaway truly provide a one to one service, attention to detail and ensuring everything is clear and concise. Nothing ever feels difficult, always willing to go the extra mile and certainly obtainable at all hours. They are always accessible, make more of an effort keeping clients updated rather than being chased and the documentation provided in relation to transactions is vital for referencing after the event.’

‘The individuals I work with at this practice are engaging, professional and attentive, they are always available to discuss matters at great length and conscientious in everything they produce. I have far more confidence in the advice provided than have encountered with other practices; they also make themselves available for a simply discussion, matters outside of the scope for general advice. Irrespective of knowing they have multiple clients and dealings, you always feel that the right time is allocated to your particular matter, something again which is not obtained elsewhere. Sophie Bohill and Julia Thomson are my main contacts at this practice; the above comments specifically relate to my sometimes daily interactions with these ladies who are genuinely amazing and work well outside the normal 9-5.’

‘A good attention to detail, with risks and solutions clearly articulated. Very tenacious in protecting their clients position with clear well, reasoned advice.’

Key clients

Keepmoat Homes Limited

BDW Trading Limited

Newcastle International Airport Limited

Bannatyne Group

Inn Collection Group

Aldi Stores

The Northumberland Estates

Story Homes Limited

Gleeson Homes

Port of Tyne Authority

Corporate and commercial: Newcastle Tier 1

Ward Hadaway’s corporate department is led by Robert Thompson and works seamlessly alongside the firm’s specialists in Leeds and Manchester. The full-service practice advises both public and private clients on M&A transactions and corporate reorganisations; it is a particularly suitable destination for instructions in the healthcare, waste and recruitment sectors. Katherine Hay-Heddle advises a mix of serial acquirers, large companies, start-ups and private equity houses. Further, Colin Hewitt heads up the firm’s dedicated commercial team, which specialises in the transport, energy and independent healthcare industries. The group has in-depth expertise in outsourcing agreements, with Damien Charlton being among the key contacts in this regard. Other key team members include M&A expert Tom Pollard and recently promoted managing associate Clare French.

Practice head(s):

Robert Thompson; Colin Hewitt

Other key lawyers:

Tom Pollard; Damien Charlton; Clare French; Matthew Cormack; Phil Tompkins; Steven Roper; Richard Butts; James Nightingale


‘Firstly, beyond the core legal experience and knowledge Ward Hadaway’s corporate and commercial team build a firm understanding of their client and their business, this is key to understand the risk and reward appetite in any transaction. Second is their strong partner-led focus, always on the end of phone or in person literally 24 hours a day. Finally, their breadth and depth in all legal matters makes them a standout group.’

‘Robert Thompson is a standout, highly regarded corporate partner with exceptional pedigree and experience within the international M&A market.’

‘Largest Northern practice with an invaluable team skill set. An approachable, trustworthy and well-respected corporate team which delivers for their clients time and time again.’

‘Clare French is an exceptional lawyer providing exceptional support and leadership during the hard yards of a deal.’

‘Katherine Hay-Heddle is a respected, established and client-centric partner keep point on the key aspects for the project.’

‘The commercial team at Ward Hadaway has a broad range of expertise, providing a one-stop-shop for large corporate clients, for everything from GDPR queries, pensions issues to consumer matters. Their responsiveness is what sets them apart. Ward Hadaway are always keen and willing to help.’

‘Matthew Cormack is an excellent all-round lawyer. He has a wealth of experience in a wide-range of matters from corporate transactions through to consumer law issues. He is extremely responsive and it is clear he cares about his clients’ issues and objectives. Phil Tompkins is a great advisor on all things data and GDPR-related. He cuts through the technical detail of data protection legislation and gives practical, commercially focussed advice on how to manage data protection and breaches.’

‘They are sensible, grounded, approachable, friendly, intelligent. Steven Roper’s knowledge of a few of our client contracts (and the behaviour of these clients) is excellent. The advice we receive takes into consideration the whole picture and any possible implications we may need to be aware of. We also engage Judy Baker regularly in relation to data privacy advice and she is extremely professional and has a wealth of knowledge.’

Key clients

Enerpac Tool Group


Paragon Group


Newcastle international Airport


North East Finance

Northern Powergrid

PD Ports

Your Homes Newcastle

Newcastle City Council

Port of Tyne

Total Capital Partners LLP

The Bannatyne Group

Northumberland Estates

Conviction Investment Partners



ScS Group Plc

Mercia Asset Management Plc

Inn Collection Group

Walwick Estate Group

Corporate tax Tier 1

Ward Hadaway is highly experienced in handling the tax aspects of corporate reorganisations, acquisitions and disposals, and private equity deals. In addition, practice head Paul Christian is an expert employee benefits, including employee share incentives. The department also regularly handles tax issues in conjunction with the firm’s private client team, especially on trusts law issues.

Practice head(s):

Paul Christian

Key clients

Inn Collection Group

Bannatyne Group Plc

Northumberland Estates


Total Capital Partners LLP

Employment Tier 1

At Ward Hadaway, the diverse workload is divided according to industry expertise, allowing the firm to provide sector-specific advice on the full range of employment matters from pre-dismissal to litigation stage. Paul Scope and Jamie Gamble oversee HR Protect, a fixed-price package of unlimited advice and insurance popular with SMEs in the North East which, according to one client, 'offers extra reassurance'. Graham Vials takes the lead on employment work with a nexus to education, advising hundreds of schools and academies nationally. Stuart Craig is the key contact for matters at the intersection of employment and healthcare. The firm also fields recommended practitioners Roisin Patton and Gillian Chinhengo.

Practice head(s):

Paul Scope; Jamie Gamble

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Craig; Graham Vials; Roisin Patton; Gillian Chinhengo


‘The team have been incredibly supportive and pro-active and the linked insurance package offers extra reassurance (without numerous exclusions or caveats). They are experienced and always willing to discuss context and find the right solution for each situation without being overly risk averse.’

‘Graham Vials is exceptional and is the partner we would always go to in the event of a complex or sensitive matter. He is always pragmatic, responsive and understands the importance of context and related matters when giving advice.’

‘The Ward Hadaway team provide practical and realistic advice in relation to HR issues. They listen to the needs of the business and provide cost effective solutions to address these issues.’

‘Gillian Chinhengo has worked with our company for a number of years. She understands the business and how we address HR issues. She is able to grasp the issues quickly and provides excellent advice and guidance. She is always approachable and we enjoy working with her.’

‘Good understanding about the issues being faced currently and good at creating and maintaining relationships.’

‘Our key contact is Graham Vials, who us always willing to respond to the myriad of issues we raise and always available to listen and guide.’

‘The team are very knowledgeable and efficient giving timely, practicable and useful advice and guidance. We also receive lots of pro-active information so we can keep abreast of what is coming up in employment law.’

‘Gillian Chinhengo is like an extension of our team, she understands our business and can offer support that fits perfectly. She also has a fabulous way of really getting to the heart of the matter and offering solution-based advice that helps navigate our way through often thorny and challenging issues.’

Key clients

Newcastle United Football Company Ltd

Durham County Cricket Club

Newcastle Rugby Limited (Newcastle Falcons)

Story Homes Ltd

Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Limited

City of York Council

North East Ambulance Service

Home Group Limited


Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Energy Tier 1

The energy team at Ward Hadaway includes specialists in commercial, corporate, finance and property law; this multi-disciplinary approach allows it to handle a full scope of energy sector mandates. The department excels in infrastructure project development and supply chain issues. Additional sector-specific expertise includes the mining and biogas industries, as well as the public sector. Further, clients praise the group’s ‘first-class renewables development experience’; practice head Mark Whitehead stands out for his credentials in the renewables as well as the conventional energy industry.

Practice head(s):

Mark Whitehead

Other key lawyers:

Alex Wright; Imogen Holland; Matt Cormack


‘Ward Hadaway’s team take a pragmatic and innovative approach to managing project finance transactions, and this has been particularly pertinent over the last 12 months. I have always felt that what sets the WH energy team out is their approach to finding solutions to commercial issues, rather than simply taking a standard position. Ultimately, the advice offered is always sound, but I feel deals have progressed where they may not have thanks to the pragmatism and resourcefulness of the team.’

‘Principal partners I have worked with are Mark Whitehead and Matt Cormack. Both Matt and Mark are involved in all aspects of our relationship and transactions, and are extremely hands on. Having this level of senior involvement really helps progress the matters at hand. Both Matt and Mark are adept at focusing in on the key issues and providing diligent advice in a manner that benefits both their clients, but also the progress of the particular transaction as a whole.’

‘Unique mix of developer, manufacturer and finance clients and contacts added to a nexus of local government and wider public sector clients and network. Expertise in driving collaborations between utilities and manufacturing sectors. First-class renewables development experience.’

‘I was fortunate to have support from staff on key projects from an early stage with time allowed/afforded to establish momentum with results driven approaches. I was coached through more complex new ventures and this helped to build high levels of trust.’

Key clients

Lower Drayton Biogas

Blaise Biogas

Wardley Biogas

Contract Natural Gas


Pacifica Group

Newcastle International Airport

O-Power Limited

EOS Developments

Health Tier 1

Ward Hadaway stands out for its 'excellent team working across multiple specialist areas' and its 'detailed knowledge of the sector'. Experts in the group include Jeffrey Keeble, who has a wealth of experience defending the NHS in clinical negligence and personal injury cases; Nicola Richardson, who is the supervising partner on inquest cases; Melanie Pears, who is picked out as the 'éminence grise of PFI'; Stuart Craig, who leads on matters at the intersection of healthcare and employment law; and Saji Bratch, who handles work with a nexus to property issues. Liz Hackett and Robert Rushton are also much lauded by clients.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Keeble; Nicola Richardson; Melanie Pears; Stuart Craig; Saji Bratch

Other key lawyers:

Robert Rushton; Liz Hackett


‘A very committed and skilled team, who are excellent at communicating and providing appropriate advice and risk mitigation. Extremely thorough approach, with detailed knowledge of the sector, especially within the PFI sector.’

‘Liz Hackett is the standard by which all others are set. Her depth of knowledge is unrivalled. She is straightforward, tenacious, has excellent judgment and is trusted by judges and coroners. She always brings her A game to court.’

‘Melanie Pears is the éminence grise of PFI. There is nothing she does not know about these fiendishly complex contracts.’

‘The team work cohesively and attentively. The level of support is excellent and they are proactive and responsive in all scenarios.’

‘Very personable and knowledgeable, with a mixed skill set that compliments the team make-up. Thoroughness in every aspect of the work, including the construction element when that was required in dealing with a very complicated project around PFI and a termination of the agreement.’

‘Robert Rushton is 100% committed to the needs of his client and offers practical and clear advice.’

‘Excellent team working across multiple specialist areas. A really helpful and attentive service that goes the extra mile. A very well networked and aware team who connect us into wider knowledge and networks expertly.’

‘Very professional and competent with a personal service.’

Key clients

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Bexley CCG

NHS North Cumbria CCG

County Durham and Darlington Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Greenwich CCG

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Carlisle CCG

Hartlepool CCG

South Tees CCG

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Sunderland CCG

Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

The full-service insolvency department at Ward Hadaway is ‘not only technically excellent, but also approachable and very commercial’. The group is well-versed in advisory insolvency work; its transactional strength is mirrored in the expertise of practice head Jane Garvin. The practice also often draws on the capabilities of the firm’s dedicated international debt collection and creditor services teams; Steven Petrie stands out for his expertise in debt collection and personal insolvency. Associate Laura Keegan is also noted for her contentious insolvency work and her prior work experience as an insolvency practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Jane Garvin

Other key lawyers:

Steven Petrie; Laura Keegan


‘The team at Ward Hadaway acts very effectively and successfully for both office holders and directors, adapting their approach to each. They are not only technically excellent, but also approachable and very commercial. This team was quick to adapt effectively to remote working to best advance their clients.’

‘Laura Keegan is an excellent practitioner and rising star. She is very commercial, identifies and drives forward the best points commercially and legally for a client, is a very effective negotiator and brings her clients with her through demanding litigation. She is adept at explaining complex points to clients in an accessible manner and brings a positive approach to litigation.’

‘Very high-calibre technical knowledge. Larger team, which makes the team good for more complex cases. Good backup below partner level, particularly when it comes to Laura Keegan.’

‘Jane Garvin and Steven Petrie are partners who collectively cover all aspects of both corporate and personal insolvency.’

‘The team has delivered solutions time and time again. This advice is often delivered in stressful environments where emotions are high and the team has always approached the challenges in a practical and common sense manner, allowing swift progress and understanding for those experiencing the world of insolvency (often for the first time).’

‘I have worked with Jane Garvin over many years. Jane responds quickly with straightforward practical advice, even in stressful environments, allowing the directors to understand and become more comfortable with the challenges and their actions quickly.’

Key clients



Begbies Traynor

Grant Thornton

Manolete Partners Plc

Kennway Francis

Asertis Ltd

Intellectual property Tier 1

Ward Hadaway's team is best known for the support it provides to high growth technology start-ups, entrepreneurs and creative people, advising them from the early stages of their businesses and assisting with the development and exploitation of their intellectual property. The group has particular expertise advising spin-out companies from the university sector. Additionally, it regularly assists its larger clients with complex research and development, international technology licensing and collaboration deals. Trade mark matters are another field of focus for the firm, which handles both advisory work - including registration and portfolio management - and disputes in this area. The key contacts are Alex ShielJudy Baker and Bill Goodwin.

Practice head(s):

Alex Shiel; Bill Goodwin; Judy Baker

Key clients

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

ScS Sofas

Tech Nation

Newcastle International Airport

Newcastle Building Society

Keepmoat Homes

Soil Machine Dynamics

Stent Tek Limited

Connect Health Limited

Eden Parfums

IT and telecoms Tier 1

Its work on behalf of IT companies in different jurisdictions, including continental Europe and the US, gives the team at Ward Hadaway a broad perspective which it can leverage when advising technology providers and customers from both the public and private sectors. Privacy issues are one of the core strengths of the practice, and the group’s ‘in-depth knowledge of all legal issues, in particular with regards to data protection and GDPR makes them unique‘; Judy Baker is the key contact for this type of work. Other areas of expertise include IT procurement and outsourcing projects, which are handled chiefly by Alex Shiel, and contentious work, which Tim Toomey leads on. Colin Hewitt heads up the offering.

Practice head(s):

Colin Hewitt

Other key lawyers:

Judy Baker; Alex Shiel; Tim Toomey


‘Their in-depth knowledge of all legal issues, in particular with regards to data protection and GDPR makes them unique. I have full confidence and faith in all the advice I receive from them.’

‘Judy Baker has exceptional knowledge on GDPR and issues around GDPR. She is excellent at communicating everything in layman’s terms when required. I was also particularly impressed with how quickly she grasped how the technological side of our company works and how GDPR could impact that. She is also excellent at making her point when discussing any GDPR issues or disputes with our clients.’

‘We work with Tim Toomey regularly and he is responsive, commercial and provides good value for money and expertise in IT and IP claims.’

‘Judy Baker provided an ongoing update about the ongoing impact of Schrems II, which was very helpful.’

Key clients

A Share & Sons Ltd t/a ScS

ACT! Software Ltd

Bannatyne Fitness Ltd

CISV International Ltd

City Electrical Factors Ltd

Communisis UK Ltd


Isagenix International LLC

NBS Enterprises Ltd

North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Northern Powergrid

One on One Sherpa LLC dba Sherpa

Performance Horizon Group t/a Partnerize

Sage Global Services Ltd

Technology Services Ltd t/a TSG

The eaga Trust

True Potential Group Ltd

University of Newcastle

Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant Tier 1

High value birth injury claims are a core focus for noted practitioners Jeffrey Keeble and Nicola Richardson at Ward Hadaway; both also act as nominated partners for key client NHS Resolution and are 'interested in building relationships with the Trust's claim team and the clinicians involved'. Keeble and Richardson are capably supported by Gillian Muir, who brings 17 years of experience working on the claimant side to her current role; Robert Rushton, who has expertise in Court of Protection work; and Lisa Evans, who is an active member of the urgent response team (which advises on consent, confidentiality, capacity and mental health issues). Associate Andreja Begus Harrison is singled out as a 'great fighter'.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Keeble; Nicola Richardson

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Muir; Robert Rushton; Lisa Evans; Andreja Begus Harrison


‘Always fantastic, detailed and insightful. A clearly efficient organisation, approachable people, good relationships with the NHS Trusts they work for and NHSR.’

‘Ward Hadaway offer a friendly service; they are interested in building relationships with the Trust’s claim team and the clinicians involved in litigation. They are happy to meet with clinicians in person which helps in supporting them through the claims process.’

‘Robert Rushton puts the work in himself rather than simply passing to others, and is always available and approachable. Gillian Muir is good with experts and has excellent instincts. Andreja Begus Harrison is a great fighter and really knows her cases well.’

‘The claims knowledge within the team is extensive and all those involved in working on claims ensure that the Trust is kept up to date with developments in the claim.’


Key clients

NHS Resolution

Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

North-East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Planning and environment Tier 1

Ward Hadaway houses a first-class practice consisting of legal specialists, chartered town planners and technicians, all of whom undertake a full scope of planning work for clients based in the North East. While the practice is highly experienced in both public and private sector matters, its strength lies in the residential development space, where it acts for large housebuilder clients. Robin Atkin and Kamran Hyder share leadership of the department; the duo has significant credentials in highways-related issues, among others. Nick Gholkar is a go-to adviser for transactions with a planning element.

Practice head(s):

Robin Atkin; Kamran Hyder

Other key lawyers:

Nick Gholkar; Frank Orr

Key clients

West Cumbria Mining

Coolmore Land Limited

BDW Trading Limited

Karbon Homes

Newcastle International Airport

Quayside West

Kirklees Council

Darlington Borough Council

Banks Limited

Property litigation Tier 1

Ward Hadaway houses a dedicated full-service property litigation group, which represents landlords and tenants in high-value dilapidation claims, commercial lease disputes and contentious property portfolio management matters. The practice specialises in the representation of NHS trusts across the country; it routinely handles claims relating to hospital sites, leases and trespass, among others. Another area of focus of the team lies in acting for developers and land owners on issues pertaining to the interpretation of property and development contracts. Practice head Sharon Mathieson manages the team’s day-to-day relationship with key clients the like of Canal & River Trust. Legal director Jeremy Hardy has niche expertise in agricultural land disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sharon Mathieson

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Hardy

Key clients


Canal & River Trust

Virgin Money


Newcastle Airport

Allied London

County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Pulman Skoda

Port of Tyne Authority

Construction Tier 2

Ward Hadaway’s construction practice is ‘very reliable, accurate, diligent and fast-working’. The groups brings together notable non-contentious expertise in commercial property development, with a particular emphasis on hotel, leisure and retail projects, among others. Project-related work in the public sector is also a forte for the team; it acts for local authorities, education and health sector clients, with department head Tim Craig being a go-to adviser in this space. Clients also recommend associates Alan Ross and Neil Williamson.

Practice head(s):

Tim Craig

Other key lawyers:

Paul Reekie; Alan Ross; Neil Williamson


‘The team at Ward Hadaway are well experienced in construction law and as such I have great confidence when dealing with them and seeking their advice and support with any issues. What I believe makes their practice stand out against other firms is that they get to know the business they are working with and understand the culture; they aim to ensure that their advice and support is tailored to achieve the desired outcome.’

‘In terms of innovation, Ward Hadaway were at the forefront of supporting my business through the really difficult initial period of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pragmatic view and approach they helped us to take with a number of our clients was key in securing a favourable outcome in very trying circumstances.’

‘The majority of the work Ward Hadaway have carried out for my business has been carried out by Alan Ross. Alan’s approach to working with my business has been exceptional. Alan has taken time to understand my business and the areas of the sector we operate in, whilst offering sound legal advice. His support has ensured that consideration is given to the culture of my business and how we aim to be perceived in the market place. I value Alan’s support and advice as I genuinely believe he has a good grasp of what is going on in the industry and the potential impact of changing legislation and working practices on my business. Alan’s professionalism and working manner are excellent, he is happy to explain things in a way that makes sense regardless of your knowledge of legal terminology.’

‘Neil Williamson has always provided us with an excellent service – very professional, knowledgeable, with the minimum of fuss and bother to the client. I would certainly recommend Neil on all construction contract matters.’

‘Very reliable, accurate, diligent and fast-working.’

‘The individuals we have dealt with are extremely reliable, professional and always willing to go the extra mile, especially during the pandemic, to ensure an excellent service. We value their expertise, knowledge and friendly approach.’

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Ward Hadaway offers experts from the firm's private client and litigation departments. Co-practice head Martin Woodford  focuses particularly on high value claims and has unrivalled expertise working at the interface between professional negligence and contentious trusts. Woodford's counterpart, Gaynor Jackson, is known nationally for her expertise in acting for charities, particularly on the early stages of both contested legacies and claims under the 1975 Act. Noted associate Joe Kelley regularly handles testamentary capacity challenges, and is actively expanding his Court of Protection disputes practice.

Practice head(s):

Martin Woodford; Gaynor Jackson

Other key lawyers:

Joe Kelley


‘Gaynor Jackson is open, helpful, extremely knowledgeable and someone I trust 100%. I would hands down recommend her and her team.’

‘Joe Kelley is extremely bright and switched on, legally very knowledgeable, immensely impressive grasp of detail and ability to think through every possible implication at every stage of the case. A client could not be in safer hands. Very approachable and will often answer communications outside standard business hours.’

‘A well-established, reliable firm which is well-known in the north east. A safe pair of hands: excellent lawyers and range of knowledge, good availability.’

‘Very receptive to the needs of clients, and flexible in meeting the needs of clients (ie, willing to discuss issues outside regular working hours, due to limitations related to Covid-19 use innovative ways of communicating).’

‘I know that I can email or call Gaynor Jones and she will always be willing and able to help. There are never any capacity issues, and she is professional and prompt and always, always detailed. The team Gaynor has around her is well managed and seem to work in the same way.’

Debt recovery Tier 2

Ward Hadaway’s team uses the firm’s extensive network of debt collection agencies, trace specialists and lawyers to handle debt recovery not only in the region, but also at national and international level. The practice places a particular emphasis on commercial debt recovery work and is gaining additional ground in the construction sector. Steven Petrie and Jane Garvin share leadership of the wider corporate recovery and insolvency group, while recently promoted managing associate Vicki Alexander heads up the debt recovery team.

Practice head(s):

Steven Petrie; Jane Garvin; Vicki Alexander

Key clients

Cemex UK Operations Limited

London Borough of Bexley

Education Tier 2

The education team at Ward Hadaway remains extremely active, and currently counts over 30 academy trusts and over 300 schools as clients. Aside from its strong reputation for assisting with the full range of issues associated with academy conversions, the firm is noted for the wide range of services that it provides, both contentious and advisory; areas of particular expertise include those at the intersection with employment, data protection and property issues. Graham Vials and Tim Care are the key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Graham Vials 

Other key lawyers:

Tim Care

Key clients

Durham School

North East Learning Trust

Delta Academies Trust

Co-operative Academies Trust

WISE Academies

The Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Learning Trust

Gosforth Schools Federation

Impact Education MAT

De Ferrers Academy Trust

Northern Education Trust

Family Tier 2

Ward Hadaway consists of two equally experienced and specialised sub-teams; Jonathan Flower heads up the children and safeguarding practice while Sarah Crilly takes the lead on relationship breakdown work. Complex litigation, including domestic and international relocation, cases involving injuries to children and adoption issues, is regularly handled by Flower, with the assistance of recommended associate Louise Cannell-Mirza and managing associate Simon Dakers (a recent arrival from Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP). On the matrimonial side, multi-jurisdictional divorce proceedings continue to make up the bulk of the work. Hollie Morgan is much lauded by clients, and is singled out as 'a credit to her team'.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Flower; Sarah Crilly

Other key lawyers:

Louise Cannell-Mirza; Hollie Morgan; Simon Dakers


‘I believe firmly matters pertaining to Family Law are in their very nature personal and so in this regard I wanted to find a firm and team of people that I felt had my best interests at heart. I must say I most definitely found that in Ward Hadaway. From the initial consultation, I was given confidence and felt assured my case would be dealt with well. I received fantastic advice on the most appropriate way to proceed, likely costs were all made clear from the onset. Communication was timely and well written. I have been most impressed with particularly Sarah Crilly and Hollie Morgan.’

‘Hollie Morgan was really helpful and approachable for me to ask lots of questions about the process and possible options available. As everything was dealt with via remotely, I found it helpful to talk with Hollie about the situation and what the available options and possible outcomes were. Hollie was supportive, helpful, gave the legal implications and outlined the process for me. I was able to double check legal jargon that I didn’t quite understand and she was helpful in meeting my needs and requirements. Provided comprehensive legal advice in a supportive manner.’

‘After having spoken to several local firms, I had been recommended Sarah Crilly by a close friend and after speaking with Sarah Crilly initially I must say I was taken aback by her professionalism, integrity, honesty and sensitivity. I have every confidence in her abilities, on a personal note I must say she really helped me in a difficult time and l would unreservedly recommend her to anyone who is need of legal advice or services. I’d like to highlight the great work also by Hollie Morgan who oversaw the majority of my divorce proceedings, she is a credit to her team, highly professional and attentive to detail, had excellent communication skills and I wish her all the best.’

Licensing Tier 2

Although the team at Ward Hadaway continues to do the bulk of its licensing work across the North East, the group also has a well-established national presence, and receives instructions from notable supermarket chains, hotel groups, clubs, restaurants, sporting venues and breweries. The firm has extensive experience of handling contested applications and successfully securing licences right across the country. Renowned practice head Richard Arnot is supported by consultant Stephen Graham; the latter is available to provide guidance, advice and representation to organisations and individuals subject to investigation, review or prosecution by regulatory authorities.

Practice head(s):

Richard Arnot

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Graham

Key clients

Co-operative Food Group Ltd

TGI Friday

Iceland Foodstores

Inn Collection Group

Dominvs Hotel Group

Mal Maison Hotel Group

Hotel Du Vin Hotel Group

Lane 7 Ltd

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Corporate trustees, national charities, entrepreneurs and landowners regularly instruct the team of specialists in tax, trust and estate matters at Ward Hadaway. Practice head Andrew Facer is noted for his significant track record advising landed clients on succession structures, and his experience in dealing with employee benefit trusts work. Consultant Gaynor Jackson is a recognised expert when it comes to assisting the third sector with trust and estate issues. Other areas of strength for the practice include international estate administration and Court of Protection applications.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Facer

Other key lawyers:

Gaynor Jackson


‘Multi-talented team that works together well to ensure great client outcomes.’

‘They go the extra mile for clients in terms of the personal touch and that counts for a huge amount.’

Social housing Tier 2

Ward Hadaway focuses on contentious and non-contentious work for a varied client portfolio consisting of housing associations, national and regional registered providers, and local authorities. The team’s recent workload demonstrates its ability to act on a multi-disciplinary basis, particularly in relation to property transactions and finance issues. The practice places an emphasis on planning law matters relating to social housing; Kamran Hyder has a wealth of experience in this regard. Julia Thomson sits at the helm of the department, which often works in conjunction with the Leeds-based team led by John Murray. Helen O’Neill departed to Gateley Plc in the spring of 2021.

Practice head(s):

Julia Thomson

Other key lawyers:

Kamran Hyder; Paul Scope; John Murray; Colin Hewitt


‘Ward Hadaway provides us with great legal services that are speedy and proactive. We have used the practice for several land and property transactions and planning services. Information is provided in a timely manner in easy to understand formats describing any risks to the organisation.’

‘Julia Thomson is always readily available and happy to pick up tasks whenever required. Her sensible, fast approach is a key quality that serves well for repeat business. Julia fully explains all legal issues in detail and in easily understandable language.’

Key clients

Livin Housing

Thirteen Group

South Lakes Housing

Yorkshire Housing

Byker Community Trust

Home Group

Mosscare St Vincent’s

Gentoo Group


Believe Housing Limited

Agriculture and estates Tier 3

Ward Hadaway is home to a number of dedicated specialists from various key departments within the firm, who are well placed to assist private landowners, farmers, banks operating in the sector and other rural businesses. Alex Cox and Stefan Bainbridge are key contacts for property work, with the former focusing particularly on transactional issues while the latter has extensive experience in relation to the exploitation of mineral reserves. Highly respected practitioner Andrew Facer takes the lead on succession planning matters.

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Facer; Stefan Bainbridge; Alex Cox

Key clients

The Banks Group

Barclays Bank plc

Canal & River Trust

Land Trust

University of Newcastle

Northumberland National Park Authority

Court of protection Tier 3

Robert Rushton leads a large and dedicated health team at Ward Hadaway  that acts for over 60 NHS organisations. It has considerable experience in court of protection cases. The group has particular expertise in issues such as applications in relation to providing, withdrawing or withholding treatment for both adults and children as well as serious medical treatment cases. It is also adept at advising on residence issues and care packages in addition to general mental health and mental capacity issues.

Practice head(s):

Robert Rushton

Other key lawyers:

Fameeda Shafiq ; Victoria Parker


‘The team is extremely responsive and provides a high level of support and advice to help navigate the legal aspects of the care work that we are involved in‘.

‘Knowledgeable, insightful and client friendly. Robert Rushton- Always very aware of the client’s needs, there to assist in every situation with his calm, supportive and pragmatic approach‘.

‘Fameed Shafiq- thorough, diligent, personable and insightful’.

The team has been excellent in being able to respond to last minute requests for assistance or to attend Hearings at short notice The individuals are always helpful, friendly and knowledgeable in what they do. They are able to respond with professionalism and integrity at all times. Fameeda is fantastic – she is understanding of the pressures on both sides and has also been fabulous in providing informal supervision when things become pressured between clients. Fameeda is so approachable and will advocate on my behalf as required. Victoria – extremely supportive‘.

Highly professional with a personal touch. Robert Rushton‘.

Ward Hadaway is very thorough and answers any queries immediately or in a timely manner. The lawyers are very helpful and approachable and give direction when needed. Staff are very friendly and approachable and competent’.

‘I have always had a professional and timely response to enquiries. It has a very individual and personal approach yet was professional and caring‘.

This firm does a lot of work for CCGs and can be trusted to provide comprehensive, knowledgeable instructions which go straight to the heart of the matter. The lawyers are clearly committed to their clients and will often go above and beyond to ensure that their clients are satisfied. Most of my work has come from Robert Rushton, Partner. I understand that he is actively expanding the team and takes a very hands-on approach. He is very easy to work with. I would recommend him to others without hesitation‘.

Key clients

NHS North Cumbria CCG

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

NHS South Tees CCG

NHS South Tyneside CCG

County Durham and Darlington NSH Foundation Trust

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Gateshead Health NSH Foundation Trust

Hartlepool and Stockton-On-Tees CCG

South East London CCG

Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

North East Commissioning Services

Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group

Family Tier 3

Ward Hadaway's family law practice has developed substantially since a team of lawyers from Laytons LLP joined the firm in April 2020. Under the leadership of Christine Barker and Liz Bottrill, the team has built a practice handling complex financial and Children Act proceedings, such as matters involving assets that are overseas or that are difficult to value. The team is also active in the areas of prenuptial and cohabitation agreements, while Bottrill has a specialism in the growing area of surrogacy and fertility law.

Practice head(s):

Christine Barker; Liz Bottrill

Other key lawyers:

David Burrows


‘Liz Bottrill has good knowledge, experience and expertise combined with personal warmth.’

‘Always available with very experienced senior lawyers.’

‘Christine Barker is very approachable and knowledgeable.’

‘A fantastic and personalised service that’s supported by an appropriate use of technology without the process ever feeling automated. The people are all approachable, polite and easy to work with as well as being experts in the respective fields.’

‘Liz Bottrill has been our relationship lead since outset and continues to be our trusted source of legal guidance for all matters family related. Her polite but direct approach is appreciated by all that deal with her, and her ability to share complex explanations for legal matters in layman’s terms.’

Commercial litigation: Manchester Tier 4

Ward Hadaway LLP's 'dynamic' commercial disputes team has a breadth of experience in corporate and contractual litigation and ADR. Newcastle-based Peter Hornsey leads the team, which in Manchester includes 'strategic powerhouse' Nichola Evans, who has particular experience in the insurance, public and health sectors. Managing associate Melissa Munday joined from boutique firm Transport Law Ltd, adding particular expertise in the transport and cargo sectors.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hornsey

Other key lawyers:

Nichola Evans; Melissa Munday


‘A thorough and in-depth understanding of their practice areas. A flexibility that enables them to be readily available to meet the unexpected challenges that often occur in litigation.’

‘The Manchester team are dynamic. They have excellent client management whilst, at the same time, maintaining great relationships with counsel and experts to ensure that the litigation team are joined up throughout. The team are affable and down-to-earth with a broad and growing practice.’

‘Nichola Evans – vastly experienced in her field, a strategic powerhouse with fantastic client handling skills. Has a knack of being able to translate a complex and often challenging legal situation into a strong negotiating position.’

‘Nichola Evans – Approachable, amiable, extremely knowledgeable in legal and tactical matters.’

Melissa Munday – Dedicated and hardworking. Able to familiarise herself with complex matters quickly.

‘Nicola Evans is a standout partner, particularly in fraud work. Very easy to get on with and with a first class legal brain. Melissa Munday is an excellent associate.’

Key clients

Styled by Susie Limited

Corporate and commercial: Manchester Tier 5

Led by Sean FitzGerald, the team at Ward Hadaway primarily advises manager-owned businesses in the recruitment and life sciences sectors, as well as private equity funds, on M&A and growth investment, prioritising work with emerging companies and early-stage investments. The firm also advises transactional clients on wider regulatory and tax considerations.

Practice head(s):

Sean FitzGerald

Key clients

Techstream Group

Management/Sellers of Cloudstream, Xcede and Etonwood

Key Capital Partners

CMO Group

JSA Services

Syntor Fine Chemicals (Holdings) Limited

Venturi Holdings Limited

Kingdom Services Group Limited

The Brecks Company Limited

WHCO Halmed Limited

Ward Hadaway LLP is a full-service commercial law firm, providing legal advice to clients in both the private and public sectors as well as to individuals. It is one of the UK’s top 100 law firms and a major player in the North of England, with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm: Ward Hadaway was formed in 1988 in Newcastle and expanded considerably in the North East over the next 20 years before opening its Leeds office in 2008 and its Manchester office in 2012, giving it a true pan-Northern network.

The firm is well respected and ambitious, with a reputation for innovative thinking and hiring lawyers who combine technical know-how with commercial acumen. Its track record for investing in talented young lawyers and developing their careers is particularly impressive, as demonstrated by the fact that many of its partners trained with the firm.

Ward Hadaway LLP has continued to invest in all its practice areas and across its office network. In October 2016, it expanded its operation in Yorkshire with a move to new office premises at Wellington Place in Leeds, one of the city’s most prestigious new commercial developments. It will continue to invest in operations and look to drive further growth, particularly in Leeds and Manchester, as it aims to provide more services to clients and help them face the challenges of the future, such as Brexit and the rapidly changing landscape across the UK private and public sectors.

As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the firm has invested significant time and resource ensuring that our clients receive the same high service standards they are used to.  This includes development of a COVID-19 hub on our website to provide clients with up to date information on all topics relating to the pandemic. We have also invested heavily in technology to allow our teams to easily transition to home working.

Types of work undertaken: In the private sector, Ward Hadaway LLP works with a wide range of regional, national and international companies across the North and the UK, from start-ups and owner-managed businesses to PLCs and global operators. In the public sector, it provides legal support to more than 70 NHS organisations across England, as well as local government bodies including councils and public/private partnerships, with nationally recognised expertise in areas such as procurement, property and finance.

For individuals, the firm provides a full range of services to enable people to plan for the future and deal with the present.

It is particularly well known for:

Corporate: the experienced team covers all types of corporate transactions, with specialists in private equity and venture capital investments, acquisitions and disposals and IPOs. It is particularly well-regarded for its work with owner-managed businesses. It has specialist expertise in debt finance and tax, enabling it to provide a fully rounded service to clients.

Commercial: the commercial team is known for its innovative work, particularly around the interface between the private and public sectors. It has specialist expert-led units in areas including procurement, intellectual property, IT, competition including state aid and pensions. It has advised on a number of major outsourcing exercises in the private sector and provides a full range of support for businesses and entrepreneurs, including joint ventures, international trade and commercial agreements.

Built environment: the firm provides the full range of property services from site identification and planning through finance, development and construction, to completion and onward sales. It is one of the foremost legal providers to the UK’s leading house builders, as well as advising commercial developers, major national retail chains and property investors. It also has specialist teams advising on public sector property issues and providing services to the social housing sector.

Employment: the firm has a hugely experienced team with a reputation for high quality work and client-focused, accessible advice. It looks after a broad spectrum of employers across every sector, including: trading businesses ranging from SMEs to major national and international plcs; schools and academies; social housing; local Government; NHS Trusts and other healthcare providers and charities.

Litigation: renowned for its expertise in the healthcare sector, Ward Hadaway is one of only eight law firms in the country appointed by NHS Resolution to provide legal advice on both defending clinical negligence and on regulatory, health and disciplinary matters. Its commercial litigation reputation is formidable with experts covering all types of disputes, while its employment team is one of the largest in the North of England and is trusted by major national employers in the private and public sectors.

Private client: the firm serves clients from entrepreneurs and business owners to family estates, providing a full range of personal legal services, including wills and trusts, estate and succession planning, contested trusts and estates, and charity advice. It has been acclaimed as a ‘go-to’ firm for high-net-worth individuals and professionals on issues such as pre-nuptial agreements, divorces and separations, and also provides expert, sensitive advice on children and family law issues.

Offices: Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing Partner Martin Hulls
Commercial Colin Hewitt
Commercial Dispute Resolution Steven Petrie
Corporate Robert Thompson
Health & Regulatory Nicola Richardson
Housing Lesley Fairclough
Private client Andrew Facer
Real Estate Robin Atkin
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Jonathan Dickson  photo Mr Jonathan Dickson Partner
Ms Andrea Dyer  photo Ms Andrea Dyer Partner 
Mr Andrew Evans  photo Mr Andrew Evans Partner
Mr Bill Goodwin  photo Mr Bill Goodwin Partner
Mr Brian Green  photo Mr Brian Green Consultant
Mr Harmajinder Hayre  photo Mr Harmajinder Hayre Partner, Head of Employment
Mr Simon Hellewell  photo Mr Simon Hellewell Partner
Ms Flora Mewies  photo Ms Flora Mewies Partner
Mr John Murray  photo Mr John Murray Partner, Head of Social Housing
Mr Edward Nuttman  photo Mr Edward Nuttman Partner
Mr Andrew Pliener  photo Mr Andrew Pliener Partner
Mr David Pridmore  photo Mr David Pridmore Partner
Mr Mark Smith  photo Mr Mark Smith Partner
Mr Simon Thirtle  photo Mr Simon Thirtle Associate
Mr Kevin Weston  photo Mr Kevin Weston Partner, Head of Property Services (Leeds)
Number of UK partners : 85+
Number of other UK fee-earners : 190+