Firm Profile > Birkett Long LLP > Colchester, England

Birkett Long LLP
1 Amphora Place
Sheepen Road

Commercial litigation: Essex Tier 1

The substantive commercial litigation team at Birkett Long LLP, which is jointly led by Keith Songhurst in Chelmsford and Kevin Sullivan in Colchester, handles disputes relating to intellectual property, insolvency and public procurement. The team has handled multimillion-pound High Court property cases, acting for a range of clients drawn from sectors such as higher education, healthcare and tech, which call on the firm to assist with issues such as winding-up petitions and breaches of warranty. Peter Allen advises clients on contract infractions, professional negligence and shareholder disputes.

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A strong regional litigation firm that is cost-effective‘.

Key clients

Valeo Group of Companies

Flakt Woods Limited

Colchester Institute

Connells / Sequence Estate Agency Group

BEW Electrical Distributors Limited

Wernick Hire Limited / Wernick Group

Countrywide Estate Agents

Navigator Terminals Thames BV Ltd

Teledyne e2v Limited

University of Essex

North Essex Signs Limited

Healthcare Homes Group Limited

Nesa Tech Limited

Commercial property: Essex Tier 1

The commercial property offering at Birkett Long LLP benefits from the combined expertise of co-leads Emma Wraight and Simon Green. The team covers areas such as security work, landlord/tenant disputes and banking matters. In addition, it has consolidated a solid reputation in relation to healthcare and education (specifically academy conversions) where it has a substantive client list. The firm also covers leasing matters, notably in relation to the industrial, retail and office sectors. Melanie Bache is recommended for complex and high-value work. For cases incorporating development land issues (including conditional sale contracts, option agreements and s106), Justin Stock is the name to note.      

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The importance of local knowledge cannot be overstated, and Birkett Long’s long history in this part of Essex is key. Everyone we have dealt with over many years, whether in the matter of drawing up wills and dealing with estates, to buying and selling houses, to complex promotion agreements regarding the sale of land for building has been highly professional and efficient as well as pleasant and courteous and a pleasure to deal with‘.

They offer a personal, friendly service where they understand the customers requirements and set out in easy terms for the customer the process, timelines and costs involved. They are easy and readily available to take to and they keep you informed of the process‘.

Extremely responsive, courteous and helpful in all respects. The partner is always available for an informal conversation which you don’t always get with alternative firms. Very transparent with billing, seeking permission to proceed when early estimates are exceeded‘.

Emma Wraight is very helpful, professional and fair‘.

Melanie Bache is very easy to get hold of, seems to give priority to our work, is friendly and relaxed and most importantly has a way of summarising potential issues in a practical way‘.

They are very approachable, and very easy to communicate with. Always available. Simon Green is particularly helpful‘.

Key clients

Southdowns Village Limited

Lloyds Bank Plc

Minchenden Limited

Shareholders of Cognitran Limited

Employment: Essex Tier 1

Julie Temple, who leads the employment team at Birkett Long LLP, has a strong record of representing individuals in unfair discrimination cases, helping clients to avoiding costly tribunals where possible. More broadly, the practice handles non-contentious advisory support and is notable for covering education sector matters and related union issues. The firm also has strong links with HR recruitment businesses and regularly advises clients on the changing  legal landscape. Reggie Lloyd has a particular interest in race, disability and sex discrimination cases and handles related contractual disputes. Charlotte Holman and Martin Hopkins are additional names to note.

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The teams high level of service and attention to detail was just amazing‘.

The team know each other very well. It makes for a great working environment. They’re efficient, practical and excellent at what they do‘.

Exceptionally strong employment team, well connected with the local community, strong charitable links, expert advice without all of the unnecessary stuff nonsense‘.

Due to their exemplary, high quality professional service we are confident about placing our absolute trust in Birkett Long. They provide expert legal knowledge and expertise in a manner which is timely, efficient and clear. The team are approachable, engaging and committed to both their profession and maintaining open and honest relationships‘.

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Julie Temple for a number of years. Julie consistently provides a professional, extremely knowledgeable, personalised and tailored service which always meets our needs in an efficient, well documented and informative manner. Nothing ever seems too much trouble for Julie. The time she has taken to get to know us as an organisation has been invaluable. She is calm and inquisitive to ensure coverage of all angles in any situation; this control makes you feel like you are always in good hands. Julie is meticulous and takes the time to ensure that, as a client, we completely discuss and understand the advice and guidance given‘.

I’ve worked with Reggie Lloyd for a long time now. He is incredibly responsive and efficient, even when juggling multiple matters at the same time. He is very good with clients and able to relay to them the practicalities of the litigation process‘.

My go to solicitor was Charlotte Holman, Charlotte was not only extremely well trained, but her approach to handling me as her client was nothing short of fantastic. Nothing was ever any issue for Charlotte, out of hours telephone calls returned out of hours, professionalism, hard working, supportive would be the words to sum up Charlotte’s approach to her work and clients‘.

Julie Temple and Martin Hopkins are both fantastic, passionate, dedicated, real subject matter experts that deliver credible, concise practical solutions‘.

Key clients

Pinnacle Housing Limited

Imperial London Hotels Ltd

TLC Inns Ltd

Hills Prospect PLC

IT Solutions Services Ltd

Colchester Institute

Writtle University College

Praxis 42

Family: Essex Tier 1

The 'tenacious and courteous' Philip Hoddell (Colchester) and the 'committed and highly knowledgeable' Lisa Collins (Chelmsford and Basildon) are in charge of the family team at Birkett Long LLP. Spanning three offices, it features counsel who are all trained and accredited Resolution members. The team has a dedicated sector practice focusing on divorce, while also covering the financial aspects of family breakdown as well as related private child issues. With notable expertise in these traditional areas, it also out carries out an increasing amount of work for cohabitees under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act. Associate solicitor Muntech Kaur is recommended.

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The team is very efficient, responding immediately to either my questions or when new information becomes available. I felt I could completely trust them and was happy to be guided by them. I never had to chase anything up. They were totally on the ball. I felt totally confident in leaving the whole thing in their hands and that it would work out well. I never felt that my case was one of many (which it obviously would have been) but that every detail was attended to as soon as it could be‘.

Everyone was very welcoming at the firm. It was easy to make appointments to see my solicitor, there was clear communication among staff‘.

We have always found all of the solicitors and support staff exceptionally professional and helpful – we deal with hundreds of law firms and Birkett Long LLP really stand out.’

From personal experience I would simply say that Birkett Long deliver. From the outset the advice, the proposed fees and the timescales were all set out clearly from the start and were billed accordingly. Consequently the bills were all paid upon presentation.The team were all very approachable and I always felt that throughout the whole process that I was being very well supported indeed‘.

Philip Hoddell is tenacious, courteous, approachable and gets things done. He stands up for his clients without being contentious‘.

Engaging Philip Hoddell was the best decision I made regarding obtaining a divorce. He was so completely professional – dependable, responsible and hard working. He spoke with clarity, and was unemotive yet caring, kind and sympathetic. Because of his knowledge and experience he didn’t give me questions I was ill advised to answer, but confidently explained the path we should take. His responses to questions were immediate and he always maintained a cool calm approach to everything‘.

Lisa Collins: unwavering commitment and dedication to providing clients with an outstanding service. Responsive and contactable. Achieves excellent rapport with her clients which instils their complete confidence in her ability to represent them‘.

I cannot speak too highly of Lisa Collins. She has all the usual attributes of a top class solicitor, professional, committed, extremely capable, highly knowledgeable and a good communicator. But the level of support, empathy and understanding that we received from Lisa is what sets her apart‘.

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex Tier 1

Emma Clarke  and Ben Parmenter, both of who are Solicitors for the Elderly members, are joined by wills expert Claire Read in heading Birkett Long LLP's personal tax, trusts and probate team. Notable for its expertise in long-term care planning, the firm also handles trust administration, as well as issues relating to non-disclosure of income, capital gains tax and estate planning (with an emphasis on high-net-worth individuals and farming dynasties). In particular, its bespoke approach is recognised for employing 'forensic grade' analysis, drawing on in-house specialisms in all areas of tax law. Colchester-based Amanda Smallcombe is another key name to note.

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Professional and knowledgeable‘.

We have always found the firm very knowledgeable, competent and pleasant to deal with. They always go out of their way to explain everything to you and check your understanding‘.

Very strong product knowledge in probate. Team members support each other so that a helpful contact is always available‘.

Everything is explained in great detail – they are most pleasant, affable and helpful‘.

Having worked with Claire Reed since 2008, I have always found her to be very knowledgeable in relation to my specific legal requirements. She is a very pleasant and well mannered lady, with a strong personality. She will go that little bit extra, to ensure you have complete faith and understanding of the legal minefield‘.

Claire Read offers a very personal, friendly, knowledgeable and efficient service, in which I have total confidence‘.

Have worked with Claire Read. She is very well informed about our issues, very helpful in suggesting and explaining things to improve our situation. Also, she is incredibly approachable and sympathetic – you feel you can ask her anything and get an understanding response‘.

Emma Clarke has been the constant for me ; she has been very understanding, flexible and amenable. I was touched that she personally attended my aunt’s funeral having worked with her for a few years following my uncle’s death‘.

Agriculture and estates Tier 2

The team at Birkett Long LLP advises landowners across the Essex and Suffolk regions on a wide range of matters, such as succession and tax planning, proprietary estoppel disputes and estate administration. Practice leader Caroline Dowding is experienced in matters such as succession planning, trusts, and partnership agreements. Associate Emma Coke is known for her work in complex farm and equestrian sales and acquisitions

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Queries are dealt with speedily and sympathetically. I have always been very satisfied with their work.’

Emma Coke has always dealt with my problems with great efficiency. We have an excellent working relationship.’

The team clearly care about the individuals they are working for and think about practical, personal matters, as well as the legal aspects. They keep other third party advisers informed of progress so that they all can all be seen as one team working in the best interest of the client.’

Caroline Dowding is very personable, showing a caring and understanding nature, which alongside her experience and professionalism is a true asset to any team. 

I have always found Birkett & Long to be very professional and approachable. It really helps to know that Birkett & Long can call on advice from such a large team of professionals covering a wide range of expertise. I was recommended Birkett & Long because my need for advice was both family and business law, and I am very pleased with their advice so far.’

They are proactive with advice and regular work. They are transparent with fees and always helpful.’

Caroline Dowding is very personable; she replies promptly to any enquiries, and is knowledgeable about her subjects.’

Corporate and commercial: Essex Tier 2

The corporate and commercial team at Birkett Long LLP handles transactions of all sizes, including the buying and selling of companies, joint venture agreements, share restructuring and the preparation of commercial agreements. In addition, it provides assistance with corporate finance, tax and accounting matters. Respected for its work in healthcare, the firm also has experience in banking, manufacturing, construction and not-for-profit. David Wisbey excels in the automotive, and technology sectors while team team lead Tracey Dickens specialises in partnerships and LLPs. Tim Field is recommended.

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I have built up a strong working relationship with the Birkett Long team over a 25 year period and find them to be an extremely professional and friendly practice who fit in with our approach to our own clients‘.

The practice is able to provide high level ‘City’ grade advice with a more manageable charge out rate for its fee earners. Birkett Long have high calibre individuals across a broad range of legal areas, including HR, making them a very strong one-stop shop law firm. I have found the responsiveness of the individuals engaged to be exceptional‘.

The differentiating factor which resulted in our choosing Birkett Long ahead of other potential legal advisers was their ability to be objective and realistic whilst at the same time maintaining an appropriate level of emotion in  personal communication‘.

Professionalism and consistent quality of service‘.

I have worked with Tracey Dickens and Tim Field who have both exhibited the qualities that get the job done. My main work has been with Tim and I have put clients to him because he represented them well

David Wisbey has an extremely deep and broad knowledge of all corporate law matters. He always surpasses expectations in the delivery of his service. His responsiveness sand practical approach to corporate law matters makes him stand out among his peers’. 

Tim has a great ability to listen carefully, to analyse critically, and most significantly, to ask the kind of penetrating relevant questions which encourage and enable one, as the client, to see and understand the subject from a variety of angles. This results in a much better comprehension of and appreciation for the legal advice provided‘.

Tracey Dickens, proved tough in negotiations with our purchaser in representing our interests and would often come up with innovative solutions to help with any impasses. Tim Field involved himself closely in our business and kept the Directors on track in a complex transaction, he was available 24/7 and remained calm throughout the process. The fact the agreed sale price for the business was the original offer price is testimony to the efforts of Tracey and Tim‘.

Key clients

Altitude Aviation Limited

Colchester Institute

Colchester Royal Grammar School

CVR Global LLP

Flakt Woods Limited

Healthcare Homes Group Limited

Navigator Terminals Limited and Subsidiaries

I & C Limited

Navigator Terminals North Tees Limited

Navigator Terminals Seal Sands Limited

Project Etopia Limited

Project Etopia UK Limited

Runwood Homes Limited

Simarco International Limited

University of Essex


Wilkin & Sons Limited

Writtle University College

Public sector Tier 2

The standout healthcare practice at Birkett Long LLP is now led by Tim Field and handles a steady stream of M&A matters for long-standing clients including GP practices, dentists and care homes. Former practice head Tracey Dickens leads the commercial and corporate finance group and provides multidisciplinary advice to healthcare clients. The group is also able to leverage its real estate and dispute resolution practices.

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Key clients

Healthcare Homes Limited

Healthcare Homes Group Limited

Manorcourt Care (Norfolk) Limited

Runwood Homes Limited

St Helena Hospice

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

The team at Birkett Long LLP has experience advising local, national, and international clients on all areas of inheritance disputes, such as will disputes, estoppel trusts, and claims for breach of trust, amongst others. Additionally, it handles a growing amount of contentious Court of Protection work, as well as alternative dispute resolution. 'Tough, wise and pragmatic' practice head Amanda Smallcombe specialises in will, trust, and inheritance disputes. Solicitor Rachel Leech focuses on contested probate and Court of Protection matters.

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‘Amanda Smallcombe  provides clear and client-friendly advice and legal analysis.’

‘I have been so impressed with the quality of the team and their legal work, and in the emotional support offered to families.’

‘Amanda Smallcombe  has vast experience in this field; having worked in a few areas of the law, she has dedicated her career to this field and in my opinion leads the way in this area of law.’

‘Fantastic case management skills and organisation. A team of tenacious litigators with a wealth of knowledge in contentious probate matters.’

‘Amanda Smallcombe continues to be practical, empathetic and knowledgeable in resolving disputes in her clients’ best interests.’

‘Rachel Leech is a superb associate, huge work rate, calm, efficient, tough but kind.’

‘Amanda Smallcombe is a brilliant lawyer; tough, wise and pragmatic.’

‘Amanda Smallcombe is conscientious and responsible. She is approachable and likeable, and also knowledgeable and sensible.’

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

Birkett Long LLP has a proven track record of contentious insolvency work, and is particularly known for its representation of directors facing disqualification. In 2019, the firm handled a variety of matters, including acting for liquidators against directors for misfeasance, securing the appointment of liquidators, and advising on potential civil recovery claims against directors. From its Colchester office, the firm services clients throughout Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. The team is led by the 'incredibly diligent and savvy' Kevin Sullivan, and handles referrals from many Essex-based accountancy firms and insolvency practitioners.

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‘City of London expertise with regional prices and approachability, led by the very diligent and knowledgeable partner Kevin Sullivan.’

‘Kevin Sullivan is an incredibly diligent and savvy partner heading up the insolvency department. Able to see the argument from all sides, he gives sound commercial advice.’

‘We work with other law firms too, but I would rank Birkett Long the highest.’

‘We work with Kevin Sullivan and Tracy England on insolvency work mainly – very prompt response time & efficient. Good clear advice.’

‘My experience was very satisfactory. The partner I spoke with gave an initial consultation but did not push me for further involvement as felt I did not require further advice at that time. When a situation escalated the partner made himself immediately available and worked into the evening on a time-sensitive matter.’

Key clients

MHA Larking Gowen

FRP Advisory

Price Bailey

Moore Kingston Smith

CVR Global

Bretts Business Recovery

LB Insolvency Solutions

DKF Insolvency

Welcome to Birkett Long solicitors
With offices in Chelmsford, Basildon, Colchester and London, Birkett Long is focused on people – our clients, our employees, our business partners and those in our local communities.

Our specialist lawyers work in dedicated teams to offer clients the full range of legal advice, whether it’s in business or at home.

at home
We’ll guide you through what can be a complex maze of procedures and rules without using legal jargon, allowing you to rest assured that your legal matter has been dealt with by experts. You will be kept informed every step of the way. We are upfront and honest about both progress and fees, so that there are no surprises.

in business
At Birkett Long, we understand that every business is different. It doesn’t matter if you are an international enterprise, a local firm or a new company just setting up, we know you need the best possible advice so that important decisions are straightforward and cost effective. We want to help you achieve your objectives. We will invest time to work through every step as you build your business, advising on day to day legal issues, structure, business protection and property transactions, or simply being there when things don’t go the way you anticipated. Our aim is to maximise our contribution to the financial success of your business!

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing Partner Martin Hopkins 01206217300
Photo Name Position Profile
 Melanie Bache  photo Melanie Bache Partner, Head of Property DepartmentSpecialises in Commercial Real EstateAll types of commercial…
 Emma Coke  photo Emma Coke Senior Associate Solicitor in the rural division of the Real Estate team…
 Shelley Cumbers  photo Shelley Cumbers Solicitor
 Tracey Dickens  photo Tracey Dickens Tracey is a Partner with Birkett Long LLP advising on all aspects…
 Caroline Dowding  photo Caroline Dowding PARTNER, HEAD OF AGRICULTURE AND ESTATES
 Tracy England  photo Tracy England Senior Associate, Solicitor
 David Feakins  photo David Feakins Solicitor
 Kurt Goddard  photo Kurt Goddard PARTNER, CHAIRMAN OF BIRKETT LONG LLP
 Emma Harper  photo Emma Harper Senior Associate Chartered Legal Executive
 Martin Hopkins  photo Martin Hopkins Managing Partner,  specialising in employment law since qualification as a solicitor in…
 Megan Hutchings  photo Megan Hutchings Solicitor
 Emma Jenkins  photo Emma Jenkins Associate Sollicitor 
 Karen Johnson  photo Karen Johnson Karen is a Family Law Solicitor with specialist accreditations in Domestic Abuse…
 Jemma Jones  photo Jemma Jones
 Rachel Leech  photo Rachel Leech Associate Solicitor within Birkett Long’s Court of Protection and Inhiertance Dispute team. …
 Adrian Livesley  photo Adrian Livesley Consultant
 Reggie Lloyd  photo Reggie Lloyd Associate Solicitor, Reggie’s specialisms include employment law and employment law related civil…
 Katie Lockwood  photo Katie Lockwood Solicitor
 Mel Loxley  photo Mel Loxley PartnerTraining Principal
 Helena Oxley  photo Helena Oxley
 Ben Parmenter  photo Ben Parmenter Partner and Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate 
 Jasmin Patel  photo Jasmin Patel
 Jonathan Perlmutter  photo Jonathan Perlmutter Head of Intellectual Property
 Amanda Smallcombe  photo Amanda Smallcombe PARTNER, HEAD OF COURT OF PROTECTION TEAM
 Kevin Sullivan  photo Kevin Sullivan PARTNER, HEAD OF INSOLVENCY TEAM
 Sian Taylor  photo Sian Taylor SolicitorSpecialises in Commercial Real EstateAll types of commercial real estate work undertaken…
 Julie Temple  photo Julie Temple Head of BLHR & Employment
 Joanna Tollworthy  photo Joanna Tollworthy Associate Solicitor

CLIENT: Mr E Castle
TESTIMONIAL: On both occasions, probate and conveyancing, I have had excellent service. I felt that all the people I dealt with were very professional, friendly and attentive and I got immediate updates on everything I needed to know.

CLIENT: Mr D Johnson
TESTIMONIAL: Wills are sensitive and the service we received was excellent in terms of listening and understanding our needs.

CLIENT: Mr Dale Harris
TESTIMONIAL: I was blown away by your knowledge and professionalism which has been unwavering throughout this process. I cannot thank you enough for your caring attitude which put us both at rest and made us feel we were in totally safe hands and that our wishes would be completely and correctly covered in the wills prepared by yourself.

CLIENT: Mr Jonathan Gregory
TESTIMONIAL: I am truly pleased, and know that only because of your kind patience with me and diligent approach to matters did we achieve success.

CLIENT: Anonymous
TESTIMONIAL: Philip, having many years’ experience, handled my challenging divorce case in an extremely professional, concise, calm and very supportive manner. Philip was very reassuring and, along with his attributes above, this gave me strength during this very difficult time. So important. We had a mutual trust with regard to a big element of my case, this paid off… Thank you Philip.

CLIENT: Anonymous
TESTIMONIAL: The Birkett Long team helped us in our claim for compensation from two UK banks over a period of more than 12 months. Their advice was sensible and cohesive, their fees very reasonable and ultimately they helped facilitate compensation awards totalling almost £100k via the Financial Ombudsman.

CLIENT: I&C Limited
TESTIMONIAL: Once again you have provided exemplary and expedient service, we cannot thank you enough for the speed you dealt with the recent variation to the finance agreements.

CLIENT: CJ’s Decorating – Painting Solutions
TESTIMONIAL: Thank you so much for your assistance, patience and time spent obtaining payment on my behalf which as you know I spent months trying on my own to no avail, it has been great to work with you and thank you for keeping us informed the whole way through the process, I would not hesitate to use your services again or recommend you to others.

CLIENT: P & A Scott
TESTIMONIAL: Thank you so much for all your time and effort, expertise and professionalism dealing with us over the last few years… you have been an absolute star and have delivered good results for us.

CLIENT: Mr Nick Adams
TESTIMONIAL: Perdeep Grewal worked for me on a Private Nuisance matter. From the start, I was impressed with the level of persistence and commitment to make my situation better. From our first conversation to successful completion of the issue, the advice was clear. I was impressed by Perdeep’s professional expertise and careful approach to deal with the situation and the way that the intended outcome was quickly achieved.

CLIENT: Mr Roy Kibble
TESTIMONIAL: May I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks for all that you have done for me. Given the distance and my illness you have been wonderfully compassionate whilst, at the same time, being fantastically professional in all areas of my case. As a great deal of work is being done to raise awareness of mental illness I feel that it would be helpful for others to know that they can use your services with confidence whatever their condition.