Firm Profile > Bishop & Sewell LLP > London, England

Bishop & Sewell LLP

Family Tier 5

Bishop & Sewell LLP handles the full range of private family work, from complex nuptial agreements to financial claims on divorce where there are complicated trust, business and international aspects. It also advises on schedule 1 claims and continues to successfully develop its ‘forming families’ specialism, which includes surrogacy and fertility law work. The team under the leadership of Louise Barretto has developed considerable expertise in advising on financial and children matters where there is a party exhibiting narcissistic traits.

Practice head(s):


‘First-rate family law department. It has a real strength in dealing with complex international surrogacy cases

Philip Rutter is bright, insightful and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. He is a pleasure to work with. He will fight his client’s corner to achieve a fair outcome, and he will not take stupid points. His focus is always on finding a solution

‘Philip Rutter is bright, hardworking, thorough and quick to respond to any queries in a succinct and focused way

Philip Rutter is an excellent family lawyer. Clients who instruct him certainly strike gold – he is not only knowledgeable but he has a no-nonsense and pragmatic approach to cases. He cuts through the often unnecessary arguments to find solutions for his clients’

David Hodgson’s professionalism in his work continued to impress me as he was very knowledgeable in the field, very organised and has always responded promptly to my replies

‘David Hodgson was really hardworking

David Hodgson provides a good degree of emotional support and good management of the client’s expectations

Victoria Maxwell is exceptional. She is a natural in  dealing with complex international surrogacy cases. I often forget that she is only a few years’ PQE, as she has the experience and knowledge of partner, without being over-confident


Bishop & Sewell LLP focuses on human rights and family matters. The practice is strong in public law cases, appeals (including private life appeals) and complex nationality cases, with a great deal of experience in permanent residence applications for EU citizens. Other areas of expertise are international surrogacy and inter-country adoption; the team also advises local authorities on immigration issues involving children in care. The practice is led by senior associate Mariam Khaliq.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘I was incredibly pleased with the level of service provided by Bishop & Sewell I felt like a valued client and was kept up-to-date with the progress throughout the whole process.’

‘The team will not leave a stone unturned. They take the time to listen to you and advise you appropriately. They were very honest and open with me. They took my case regardless of its complexity. They are a joy to work with.’

‘Karma Hickman was assigned to my complex case. Having her manage my case was, by far, the best experience I have had working with solicitors over the course of many years. She has shown an exception level of professionalism, attention to detail and efficiency. She was great at managing expectations and keeping the lines of communication open at all times. What was also important to me personally, was the level of empathy and understanding that she demonstrated towards my situation. It has been a genuine pleasure working with her.’

‘Karma Hickman is an exceptional lawyer. She is very passionate about her job and always ready to go the extra mile for her clients. She shows compassion to her clients; she makes you feel comfortable and always gives her clients the support they needed to keep going even though the going is tough.’

Based in central London, Bishop & Sewell has a reputation for excellence in fields including landlord & tenant, residential & commercial property, private client, employment, corporate & commercial work, family law, forming families, immigration and litigation & dispute resolution.

The firm: We were established in 1979 and moved to our current location in 2010. In 2017 we merged with boutique London practice, Fisher Meredith. The firm acts for entrepreneurs, investors and small to medium-sized businesses, together with individuals and families.

We believe that a good solicitor is approachable, innovative and open, helping to identify attainable goals and the best strategy to reach them. As a result we have built enduring relationships and continue to act for a number of our original clients. We are commercially minded and each specialist area is partner-led to ensure delivery of a client-focused, highly personalised service. Within each practice area works a team of talented lawyers with a passion for being the best at what they do. The practice has expanded steadily and as well as serving clients in London and the South East, we are increasingly instructed by clients nationwide and internationally.

Types of work undertaken
Property: advising on property law is at the heart of Bishop & Sewell. Founded on property work, we take pride in simplifying the complex property process, providing services covering every aspect – from landlord & tenant, purchase and sale, development and financing, to rental and enfranchisement. Our advice aims to add value to owners, occupiers, investors and developers of both commercial and residential property.

Family and divorce: constructive advice is offered in all areas of family law including matters with international aspects. Wherever possible, the firm seeks to resolve issues outside the courts, but if necessary conducts court proceedings vigorously. Expertise includes divorce or civil partnership dissolution, separation agreements, children issues, financial aspects, domestic violence and child abduction. A specialist team advises on all aspects (including international) of fertility, surrogacy and adoption.

Corporate and commercial: for business clients, a range of company and commercial services are provided including commercial contracts, data protection and competition law, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions and shareholder arrangements.

Immigration: a team with expertise in dealing with all aspects of immigration and nationality law for businesses and private individuals, as well as asylum cases.

Employment: services for employers include tribunal or court action as well as contracts, partnership agreements and share schemes. Employment services for individuals include all aspects of unfair dismissal and redundancy.

Litigation and dispute resolution: commercial dispute resolution services range from breaches of contract to insolvency, and professional negligence to banking recovery. Company secretarial services are a specialism and expertise is provided in all aspects of insolvency and taxation. The firm also has expertise in landlord and tenant and other property disputes as well as personal disputes.

Private client: trusts, tax and estates legal services are primary areas of expertise at the firm, including giving advice on the most effective way to transfer property. The firm assists in setting up will trusts and helping with their administration, as well as the application of inheritance tax. Services cover all aspects of will drafting, tax advice, winding up and administration of estates, deeds of family arrangements, powers of attorney, and creation and administration of trusts in the UK and offshore.

International Bishop & Sewell are also members of PRAGMA, a leading international network of lawyers and consulting firms, which enables the firm to provide a platform for its clients to access high quality legal professionals worldwide. PRAGMA was established in 2001 and has member firms in Europe, Asia, North and South America.

Department Name Email Telephone
Founding Partner & Head of Residential Property Stephen Bishop
Head of Commercial Property Nick Potter
Residential Property & Team Leader Ossie Swaine
Senior Partner Mark Chick
Managing Partner - Strategy Implementation Michael Kashis
Landlord & Tenant Chris Macartney
Corporate & Commercial David Little
Head of of Litigation & Dispute Resolution Karen Bright
Residential Property & Team Leader Julienne Coffey
Residential Property Dipak Vaghela
Family & Divorce Philip Rutter
Litigation & Dispute Resolution & Head of International Law Stephanie Thomas
Head of Family & Divorce Louise Barretto
Family & Divorce David Hodgson
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Lee Stafford
Head of Private Client Helen Langworthy
Head of Immigration Mariam Khaliq
Residential Property Paul Barnes
Head of Employment Rhian Radia
Private Client & Head of Tax Gina Fairfax
Immigration Karma Hickman
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Ian Pope
Corporate & Commercial Jeremy Sivyer
Family & Divorce Victoria Maxwell
Photo Name Position Profile
 Paul Barnes  photo Paul Barnes Paul is a Partner and joined Bishop & Sewell in 2019 and…
 Louise Barretto  photo Louise Barretto Head of Family & Divorce specialising in family law, particularly complex financial…
 Stephen Bishop  photo Stephen Bishop Stephen is Managing Partner and leads Bishop & Sewell LLP’s residential property…
 Karen Bright  photo Karen Bright Karen leads Bishop & Sewell LLP’s dispute resolution and insolvency teams. Her…
 Mark Chick  photo Mark Chick Mark heads up the landlord and property team, and is recognised as…
 Julienne Coffey  photo Julienne Coffey Julienne is a partner in the residential property team, with expertise in…
 Gina Fairfax  photo Gina Fairfax Gina Fairfax is Head of Tax and joined Bishop & Sewell in…
 Karma Hickman  photo Karma Hickman Karma is an Associate Solicitor in our Immigration department, where she undertakes…
 David Hodgson  photo David Hodgson Partner, deals with all aspects of family law, including domestic violence, cohabitation…
 Michael Kashis  photo Michael Kashis Managing Partner – Strategy Implementation & Head of Corporate & Commercial
 Mariam Khaliq  photo Mariam Khaliq Head of Immigration – Mariam has been practising Immigration law since 2007.…
 Helen Langworthy  photo Helen Langworthy Partner and Head of Private Client
 David Little  photo David Little Partner
 Chris Macartney  photo Chris Macartney His particular area of specialism is in leasehold reform matters. He is…
 Ian Pope  photo Ian Pope Consultant Solicitor
 Nick Potter  photo Nick Potter Nick heads up the business and commercial property team. Nick has gained…
 Rhian Radia  photo Rhian Radia Partner & Head of Employment
 Philip Rutter  photo Philip Rutter Partner
 Jeremy Sivyer  photo Jeremy Sivyer Consultant Solicitor
 Lee Stafford  photo Lee Stafford Partner, advising individuals and businesses, on a variety of disputes. Particular specialism in…
 Ossie Swaine  photo Ossie Swaine Ossie is a partner and team leader in the residential property team,…
 Dipak Vaghela  photo Dipak Vaghela Partner, dealing with all aspects of residential work ranging from sales and…
Number of Partners : 21
Number of Fee-earners : 60
Chinese (Mandarin)
Law Society
Chambers & Partners

Bishop and Sewell LLP is committed to avoiding discrimination in its dealings with all its clients, members and employees and all third parties that have dealings with the firm. We are committed to promoting diversity in our professional activity and committed to equality of opportunity and upholding the principles of equality and, wherever possible exceeding the statutory requirements. The firm offers an excellent service supplied by a talented and diverse team. We recruit, retain, reward and develop our team without reference to their background, gender, marital status, ethnic origin, age, religion, belief, sexual orientation, or any disability.

We regularly conduct a diversity survey and the results of the 2019 survey are available to view on the firm’s website. Louise Barretto is the current Diversity Manager and has overall responsibility for the avoidance of discrimination and equality and diversity policy and its application across the firm.

When we start our recruitment process each applicant is invited to complete an equal opportunities form which is used in monitoring the diversity of the firm. The information on this form isl be held separately from the main application form and processed anonymously. It is not taken into account at any stage during the recruitment process.

CLIENT: Family & Divorce Client
TESTIMONIAL: “I really appreciate all of your help – I’ve really been impressed with your responsiveness and felt very comfortable with your guidance and great work.”

CLIENT: Corporate & Commercial Client
TESTIMONIAL: “Thank you for bringing about the best conclusion for us in our company share sale. Thank you also for your contactability and support out of hours, which was particularly helpful, and your straight forward communication skills.”

CLIENT: Corporate & Commercial Client
TESTIMONIAL: “David Little is very thorough – he covers every angle. He works very efficiently and keeps us well-informed on progress, interpreting the law for us, so we understand what’s happening.”

CLIENT: Landlord & Tenant Client
TESTIMONIAL: “For leasehold enfranchisement look no further than Chris Macartney at Bishop and Sewell. Combining common sense with commercial acumen, he maintains relationships amongst all shapes and sizes of central London landlords and tenants. Well respected by other professional advisors, he delivers transactional outcomes with a quiet efficiency. Chris is uniquely experienced and connected in the niche field of Crown Estate work.”

CLIENT: Litigation and Dispute Resolution Client
TESTIMONIAL: “I’d also like to take a minute to thank you on behalf of my wife and I for your diligence and sound advice, it has certainly put our minds at rest that we are proceeding in the correct manner and I am extremely glad that we engaged B&S & yourself in particular and would not hesitate to engage you again either on this or unrelating matters. You’ve provided a great service to us – thank you.”

CLIENT: Employment Client
TESTIMONIAL: “The employment team at Bishop and Sewell removed the need for me to deal with my employer directly which would have been very difficult in the circumstances. My exit was made as stress free a process as possible due in no small part to the team’s level-headed, diligent and professional

CLIENT: Employment Client
TESTIMONIAL: “I feel Rhian understood the matter at hand and was eager to get me the best possible deal. I did not receive as much attentiveness when I approached other firms.”

CLIENT: Family & Divorce Client
TESTIMONIAL: “The professionalism and level of service that I received from your firm is exemplary. I must say a big thank you to you and your team for being able to bring matters to a close. I would also like to say a big thank you for achieving outcomes better than I had anticipated, both with regard to the children and furthermore financially.”

CLIENT: Family & Divorce Client Gemma
TESTIMONIAL: “You have helped me tremendously, your advice and professionalism second to none! You have eased my stress and given my sanity back at a very desperate time, I felt, for once someone was on my side and felt protected- I thank you for that.”

CLIENT: Immigration Client
TESTIMONIAL: Mariam Khaliq and the firm have been more than helpful and made the process for my Visa as swift and easy going as it can be. Mariam has been extremely supportive and sincere, never compromising her high quality of work. I am so pleased with the work of her and her team, this is the only firm I would recommend to anyone!

CLIENT: Immigration Client
TESTIMONIAL: Best experience ever. We used their immigration department and couldn’t be more pleased with their services. Mariam Khaliq was our angel in the whole process and we are so delighted with her professional knowledge and her hard work team. Highly recommended.

CLIENT: Residential Client
TESTIMONIAL: “Stephen has dealt with every house transaction of mine, two of which were somewhat complicated, and he couldn’t have performed better at any time.”

CLIENT: Immigration Client
TESTIMONIAL: I wholeheartedly recommend Mariam Khaliq and her team. Mariam is an outstanding professional, able to understand the client’s needs and to support with solid advice and high quality services.

CLIENT: Hugh Livingstone
TESTIMONIAL: Both David Little and Charlie Davidson were extremely helpful and responsive. Had an excellent experience dealing with them in quite a complicated transaction. My thanks to them both.

CLIENT: Commercial Landlord Client
TESTIMONIAL: “Mark and team did a great job that exceeded any expectations.”