Firm Profile > Birkett Long LLP > Chelmsford, England

Birkett Long LLP
Faviell House
1 Coval Wells

Commercial litigation: Essex Tier 1

The 'pragmatic and sensible' commercial litigation team at Birkett Long LLP advises on a wide range of commercial litigation, negligence, and IP matters across a variety of industry sectors. The firm provides 'sensible and realistic advice' to its corporate clients and is routinely instructed on high-value and complex dispute claims. Chelmsford-based Peter Allen and Keith Songhurst are recommended for their deep insight in contractual disputes and property litigation respectively.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Sullivan; Keith Songhurst

Other key lawyers:


‘Keith Songhurst is very amiable and has consistently given clear well-thought-out advice, which has resulted in matters being satisfactorily resolved.

Peter Allen has provided excellent advice and counsel in a number of commercial disputes; he is quick to understand the commerciality of the situation and control the process to an efficient conclusion and resolution.’

Key clients

Valeo Group of Companies

Flakt Woods

BEW Electrical Distributors

Colchester Institute

Wernick Hire

Countrywide Estate Agents

Navigator Terminals Thames

Employment: Essex Tier 1

The Colchester employment practice at Birkett Long LLP is led by the 'exceptional' Martin Hopkins and skilfully handles a wide range of employment matters including representing employers in significant employment tribunal cases - a particular area of focus for Hopkins. Julie Temple rejoined the team at the beginning of this year from niche employment firm Quantrills Solicitors. Her expertise includes advising higher education institutions and large companies on matters including GDPR compliance and gender-pay reporting. Reggie Lloyd handles employment related litigation and represents both claimants and respondents.

Practice head(s):

Martin Hopkins; Julie Temple

Other key lawyers:


The team at Birkett Long has a calmness in their approach. Their advice is concise, to the point and takes account of any risk. You know you’re in good hands.’

Very honest, very capable – I can’t rate them highly enough.

Key clients

Pinnacle Housing

Imperial London Hotels

Hills Prospect

Ixion Holdings

Runwood Homes

IT Solutions Services

Wilkin & Sons

Family: Essex Tier 1

The family team at Birkett Long LLP has broad expertise in skillfully handling high-value and often complex divorce, child arrangement matters, and financial remedy proceedings. The team is led by the 'committed and drivenLisa Collins. Recent work highlights include a cross-border property development matter which was headed by Colchester-based head, Philip Hoddell, who is noted for his 'sharp focus'. Basildon-based Muntech Kaur  is commended for her 'fantastic advice'. Solicitor Lucy Birch joined the team this year from Pinney Talfourd LLP.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Collins, Philip Hodell

Other key lawyers:


The team is strategic, pragmatic and – most importantly – honest and straightforward about the legal risks, costs and related issues.

Philip Hoddell provides very calm, straight-talking, business-like advice. He brings gravitas and commands confidence.’

The team inspires confidence due to their knowledgeable and extremely reputable practice.

Birkett Long is a remarkable practice, which has gone from strength to strength.

Health Tier 1

Birkett Long LLP provides a multi-disciplinary service to a range of health care clients and the team includes members of the firm's commercial property and corporate teams alongside others. The firm has a particularly strong presence in the care home space, providing a full service to sector clients. Practice head Tracey Dickens specialises in advising healthcare clients on corporate and commercial matters, making the firm a key presence in Essex for healthcare clients.

Practice head(s):

Tracey Dickens

Key clients

Healthcare Homes Limited

Healthcare Homes Group Limited

Manorcourt Care (Norfolk) Limited

Runwood Homes Limited

St Helena Hospice

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex Tier 1

The five-partner team at leading regional firm Birkett Long LLP provides clients with a wide and far-reaching service that covers all aspects of wills, tax, trust creation, and international trust advice. Working across three offices, the cross-practice team works together to deliver an 'excellent and efficient service'. Emma Clarke , who oversees the South Essex wills, trusts & probate practice, is regularly engaged in high-value matters and international advisory work. Other core members include private client head Claire Read, newly-made up partner Ben Parmenter who heads the wills, trusts & probate team in Colchester, and the 'diligent' Amanda Smallcombe , who provides expertise on contested trust and probate work.

Practice head(s):

Claire Read; Emma Clarke; Ben Parmenter

Other key lawyers:


Birkett Long provide a practical approach to this sensitive work and ensure great attention to detail. They are prepared to go the extra mile to assist their clients.’

Amanda Smallcombe delivers outstanding care to her clients and is a delight to work with. A strong and very intelligent solicitor.

Agriculture and estates Tier 2

The team at Birkett Long LLP has a broad and deep expertise in agriculture and estate-related matters, including succession tax planning, trust creation, administration and winding up of trusts, property transactions, fishing rights and grazing licences. It also advises on partnership agreements and corporate structures and nuisance and negligence claims. Caroline Dowding heads the practice. Associates Emma Coke and Katie Gibson-Green are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Dowding

Other key lawyers:


A sound knowledge of clients’ affairs and prepared to advise on all matters relevant to the client  – bringing in specialists for detailed work‘.

For a regional practice Birkett Long has one of the largest and best known private client departments in the Essex area‘.

Fantastic all-round team which have superb technical knowledge but more importantly offer a great service and know the importance of maintaining the client relationship with the clients we recommend‘.

I always feel they act in my best interests when they are dealing with any matter – large or small. I feel I am treated like an individual that matters and the attention to detail is excellent‘.

Caroline Dowding is approachable, empathetic, supportive, and explains things in a way the lay person can understand‘.

Emma Coke is outstanding in her diligence and gives excellent advice. She always deals with matters swiftly‘.

Katie Gibson-Green is a real asset to the practice‘.

Both Emma Coke and Caroline Dowding have been very kind and patient – always explaining things in great detail if I do not understand. I trust both of them implicitly and feel I am a valued client – not something I have felt with other firms of solicitors before‘.

Commercial property: Essex Tier 2

Birkett Long LLP's commercial property team offers advice on the full spectrum of real estate matters, spanning across three offices in Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester. Practice head Melanie Bache undertakes complex work for financial institutions which she has built a longstanding rapport with, advising on matters include security arrangements. Chelmsford based partners Justin Stock and Emma Wraight are recommended for their particular focus on high-value residential development work.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Bache

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Navigator Terminals

Suffolk Life Annuities

London Southend Airport Company Limited

Wilkin & Sons Limited

University of Essex

London Gateway Port Ltd

The Institute of Customer Service

Countrywide Estate Agents

The Committee for the Royal British Legion

The Chelmsford Diocesan Board of Finance

Colchester Institute

Kent Blaxill and Co Limited

Healthcare Homes Group

Flakt Woods Limited

Harwich Haven Authority

Cliffords Limited

Stockplace Investments Limited

Writtle College

Lambert Smith Hampton Group

Farleigh Hospice

M&D Building Services Ltd

Stonechart Property Limited

Belvedere Developments Limited

Witham RUFC

Club 50 Plus

Fig Tree Restaurant

Cairns & Co

Eagle Wharf Marina Limited

Corporate and commercial: Essex Tier 2

Birkett Long LLP's corporate and commercial practice is led by Tracey Dickens, who 'stands out' for her corporate finance work, national and international transactional experience and restructuring matters. The team has expertise in a range of sectors including banking, healthcare, intellectual property, and education. The 'impressive' David Wisbey advises investors and businesses on corporate finance, M&A and commercial law. Tim Field is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tracey Dickens

Other key lawyers:


‘Tracey Dickens and her team are outstanding. They are knowledgeable, responsive and above all, pragmatic which is just what we need from our legal advisers.’

‘The team is a pleasure to work with. They are responsive, competent, well-organised and deliver their services efficiently.’

Tracey Dickens, David Wisbey and Peter Allen give a first-class service. They have a knowledgeable and pragmatic approach that focuses on getting things done.’

Key clients

Healthcare Homes

Wilkin & Sons

National Westminster Bank

Navigator Terminals North Tees

St Helena Hospice

Colchester Institute

CVR Global LLP

Navigator Terminals Seal Sands

Coast Digital

Fläkt Woods

I & C Limited

Runwood Homes

Colchester Royal Grammar School

University of Essex

Colchester Royal Grammar School


Writtle University College

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Birkett Long LLP handles the full range of inheritance disputes, which includes will disputes, Inheritance Act claims, proprietary estoppel claims, and cases involving breaches of trust and undue influence. Illustrative of its international reach, the firm has recently acted for clients based in Australia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the US. Practice head Amanda Smallcombe is recommended for contested wills and probate disputes.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Smallcombe


Everyone that helped on my case was very efficient and helpful; this is an excellent firm for dealing with disputed wills‘.

I do not hesitate to recommend cases to Amanda Smallcombe; she always demonstrates enormous pragmatism and empathy and is willing to explore methods of resolution that are not always obvious‘.

The team members complement each other and work well as a unit to deliver results for the client. Their responsiveness under time constraints is excellent‘.

Birkett Long takes a practical approach and demonstrates great attention to detail. The team is prepared to go the extra mile to assist its clients and work well with fellow professionals‘.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

With particular expertise  in contentious recovery work, the insolvency practice at Birkett Long LLP 's Colchester office has built a reputation in the region acting for both companies and individuals in nil-asset recovery actions. The team is also known as a 'directors friend', specialising in  defending directors facing proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. Led by Kevin Sullivan, who has 20 years' experience in the field of contentious insolvency law, the team works for directors, partners, sole traders, creditors, debtors and bankrupts and their spouses, on a wide-range of corporate and personal insolvency-related issues.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Sullivan


‘Extremely prompt response, very practical & good commercial advice. Excellent value for money.’

‘Kevin Sullivan is a fantastic lawyer who has guided me through some very difficult decisions and still continues to do so.’

Key clients

CVR Global LLP

Larking Gowen

McTear, Williams & Wood Ltd

Kingston Smith & Partners LLP

FRP Advisory LLP

LB Insolvency Solutions Ltd

DKF Insolvency Ltd

Bretts Business Recovery Ltd

Personal injury: claimant Tier 3

Birkett Long LLP handles a range of multi-track personal injury matters from employer liability to fatality claims. Key figures in the practice group include Chelmsford-based Nadina Edmondson and Colchester-based Tracy England, who are leading the high-value matters related to work accidents and occupational disease claims.

Practice head(s):

Nadina Edmondson; Tracy England


‘This is a team of professional and friendly partners and staff that take time to understand your specific requirements and tailor the advice

Construction Tier 4

The construction practice at Birkett Long LLP assists a wide range of commercial clients, including developers, employers, contractors, subcontractors and consultants. The group drafts contracts and represents clients in adjudications and litigation. Peter Allen is the team head.

Practice head(s):

Peter Allen

Education Tier 4

Birkett Long LLP is a prominent name in Essex for education cases. It offers a multidisciplinary team including employment, commercial, and disputes lawyers, as well as education and charity law specialists. The firm is particularly notable for its work on academy conversions, as well as the combination of academies into multi-academy trusts. Thomas Emmett is the key education contact following Stephen Avila's departure to GoodyBurrett LLP.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Emmett

Key clients

St Mary’s School Colchester

Heather Partnership

Writtle University College

University of Essex

Mildmay Junior School

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
 Peter Allen  photo Peter Allen Partner and Head of the Commercial Department and Head of the Construction…
 Suzanne Bradbury  photo Suzanne Bradbury
 Emma Clarke  photo Emma Clarke Solicitor, Team leader and Partner of the South Essex Wills, Trust and…
Ms Francesca Cozens  photo Ms Francesca Cozens Associate Solicitor
 Nadina Edmondson  photo Nadina Edmondson Associate Solicitor
 Jessica Elwell  photo Jessica Elwell Solicitor
 Katie Gibson-Green  photo Katie Gibson-Green Associate Solicitor
 Perdeep Grewal  photo Perdeep Grewal Solicitor
   Lisa Collins  photo   Lisa Collins ASSOCIATE SOLICITOR
 Alan Massenhove  photo Alan Massenhove Consultant Solicitor
 Yolande Millar  photo Yolande Millar
 Tim Ogle  photo Tim Ogle Partner
 Justin Stock  photo Justin Stock Partner
 Daniel Sturman  photo Daniel Sturman Associate SolicitorDaniel negotiates and drafts option agreements, promotion agreements,conditional contracts, overage agreements,…
 David Wisbey  photo David Wisbey Partner
 Emma Wraight  photo Emma Wraight Solicitor, Partner and Team Leader of a Commercial Real Estate Team Previous…

The Firm is committed to ensuring that all Members, employees, job applicants and others to whom this Policy applies (see below) are treated fairly and to:

  • promoting equal opportunities throughout employment including terms and conditions of employment and in recruitment, training, promotion, placement, transfer and dismissal;
  • to eliminating discrimination in the workplace whether because of sex, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, race, colour, national, or ethnic origin, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, pregnancy or maternity;
  • promoting a good and harmonious working environment in which all persons are treated with respect,
  • fulfilling all our legal obligations under the equality legislation and associated codes of practice; and
  • promoting diversity in the work force.

The Firm shall apply this policy in accordance with all relevant statutory obligations and codes of practice.

Application of this policy.

This policy applies equally to Members, employees, workers, job applicants, clients, contractors, suppliers and other third parties, for example barristers. The policy applies to all aspects of the Firm’s relationship with staff and to relations between staff at all levels. This includes job advertisements, recruitment and selection, training and development, opportunities for promotion, conditions of service, pay and benefits, conduct at work, disciplinary and grievance procedures and termination of employment. Whilst the Managing Partner has overall responsibility for this policy, the Head of HR has responsibility for ensuring that this policy is effectively implemented, every individual (whether employed or not) has a personal responsibility to ensure that this policy is properly observed and fully complied with.

Any act of discrimination will be treated very seriously by the Firm and should be reported to the Head of HR.

Any act of discrimination or other breach of this policy constitutes a disciplinary offence in respect of which the offender may, in appropriate circumstances, be summarily dismissed. Details of how such disciplinary issues are dealt with are set out in the Firm’s Disciplinary Policy.

Recruitment and Selection.

The Firm aims to ensure that no job applicant suffers discrimination because of any of the protected characteristics referred to below. Our recruitment procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure that individuals are treated on the basis of merit and ability. Job selection criteria are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are relevant to the job and are not disproportionate. Shortlisting of candidates is done by more than one person where possible.

Job adverts should avoid stereotyping or using wording that may discourage groups with a particular characteristic from applying.

With limited exceptions (details available from HR) applicants should not be asked about health or disability before a job offer is made.

Applicants should not be asked about matters related to a protected characteristic without the consent of HR.

Monitoring and Review of this Policy.

The Firm will monitor diversity in accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requirements and every member of the workforce will be asked to complete a questionnaire.

A survey, compiled by the SRA, will be circulated as required by them to all members and staff for completion. Completion is voluntary and we have a high response rate. The results are collected, collated, reported and published in compliance with the SRA guidelines. The results of the survey are collated by an external provider. The report is published under the Management Information section of the Intranet.

On application forms, completed by candidates who attend for interview, there are designated fields for people to “self-identify”. This information is not currently collated but is available from the completed forms.

This policy is communicated via the Firm’s induction procedure and reviewed by the partners at the AGM each year. The Firm will continue to review the effectiveness of this policy to ensure it is achieving its objectives. Staff are invited to comment on this policy and suggest ways in which it might be improved by contacting the Head of HR.


The Firm does not discriminate against anyone because of the following:

  • sex
  • race, colour, national or ethnic origin or nationality
  • disability
  • religion or belief
  • age
  • marital or civil partnership status
  • sexual orientation
  • gender reassignment
  • pregnancy or maternity

These are called “protected characteristics”. It is not permitted for anyone to be treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic.

It is also prohibited to treat an individual less favourably because they are engaged on a fixed-term or part-time contract.

No individual shall be placed at a disadvantage by any provision, criterion or practice operated by the Firm which cannot be justified and that adversely affects that individual because of a protected characteristic.

Any kind of discrimination that is based upon a perception of an individual’s protected characteristic, even if that perception is incorrect, is not permitted.


All individuals, to whom this applies, see above, have the right to work in an environment that is free from any form of harassment.

Harassment is unwanted and offensive conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Harassment can take any form, including physical contact, jokes, offensive language, gossip, slander, posters, graffiti, obscene gestures, offensive emails, screen savers, and/or intrusion by pestering, spying and stalking.

Meaning of disability.

For the purposes of this statement and ensuring equality of opportunity, disability means a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term effect upon a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Reasonable Adjustments.

Such adjustments as are reasonable will be made to ensure that a disabled individual is not treated less favourably or otherwise discriminated against in any way.

If you suffer from or suspect that you might suffer from a disability please advise the Head of HR so that the Firm can consider if adjustments can be made to ensure that you are not disadvantaged and if you have any suggestions in this respect the Firm will be happy to consider and discuss these with you.

Adjustments that could be considered and which might be made include:

  • provision of training;
  • reduction of working hours;
  • reallocation of duties;
  • adjustments to the Firm premises; and/or
  • provision of specialist equipment; and
  • introduction of flexible hours;
  • change in role undertaken;
  • provision of supervision

This list is not exhaustive.

Complaints of Discrimination.

If you believe you may have been discriminated against or have been subject to acts of harassment, you are encouraged to raise the matter in the first instance with your Team Leader or make a complaint through the Firm’s Grievance Procedure which is set out in your contract of employment.

Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated. Staff who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably as a result. False allegations which are found to have been made in bad faith will, however, be dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure.

Any member of staff who is found to have committed an act of discrimination or harassment will be subject to disciplinary action. Such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and, as such, may result in summary dismissal. We take a strict approach to serious breaches of this policy.

Any workers, job applicants, clients, contractors, suppliers and other third parties who wish to make a complaint should do so by contacting the Managing Partner.

Any complaint received will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

Positive Discrimination.

The Firm may, in certain limited circumstances, take positive action to address any inequality or imbalance that is discovered as part of the Firm’s monitoring of this policy.


Staff training needs will be identified through regular staff appraisals. All staff will be given appropriate access to training to enable them to progress within the organisation and all promotion decisions will be made on the basis of merit.

Requests for training should be directed to the Head of HR.

The Firm will ensure that all managers and supervisors are provided with appropriate equal opportunities training.

Personal Liability.

Individuals should be aware that they may be personally and legally liable for their actions in certain circumstances if they are found to have committed acts of discrimination.

Whilst the provisions of this policy are non-contractual, you are obliged to abide by its terms and to observe the principles that are set out within it. Please see your Contract of Employment for the Firm’s grievance procedure. The Firm reserves the right to change the terms of this policy upon written notification to you.