MSB Solicitors Ltd > Liverpool, England > Firm Profile

MSB Solicitors Ltd
L13 1DA

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: fraud Tier 1

Liverpool-based MSB Solicitors Ltd defends clients in a broad range of serious fraud, criminal and regulatory cases. The practice is particularly well known for its experience in excise prosecutions and advising on proceeds of crime issues. Paul Gallagher heads up the team, and Sean Sexton is noted for his work representing individuals who are the subject of major criminal investigations by HMRC. Jeremy Asher predominantly represents clients seeking to bring private prosecutions.

Practice head(s):

Paul Gallagher

Other key lawyers:

Sean Sexton; Andrew Pearson; Jeremy Asher

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general Tier 1

Merseyside-based MSB Solicitors handles a wide range of criminal defence work and is particularly known for defending excise prosecutions and handling POCA proceedings; it also has a growing private prosecutions team. Practice head Paul Gallagher has an excellent track record in defending clients charged with serious offences including murder and drug importation conspiracies. Sean Sexton, who is noted for his 'incredible intellect and strong tactical awareness', focuses on advising individuals subject to criminal investigations by HMRC, while Andrew Pearson is widely recognised for his specialism in representing clients who are on the autistic spectrum.

Practice head(s):

Paul Gallagher


‘MSB have a highly dedicated approach to criminal work.’

‘Paul Gallagher’s attention to detail and client care are exceptional.’

‘It is unusual for a regional firm to have such a strong nationwide reputation for fraud and white collar business crime. However, in my view, this reputation is totally merited. MSB has an enviable track record of getting results in these sorts of cases.’

‘Outstanding firm that epitomises everything that the top law firms offer.’

‘Sean Sexton is an outstanding lawyer and is brilliant with clients. His handling of complex and large cases is not just down to experience, but due to an incredible intellect and strong tactical awareness. His client skills are second to none. He makes every client feel that they are well looked after and goes that extra mile to make them feel comfortable.’

Private client > Family Tier 1

MSB Solicitors Ltd stands out for its work in complex financial proceedings as well as extremely challenging children matters, such as cases involving abuse and abductions. The team is adept at advising clients on high-value matters, including disputes over cross-border assets. Pauline McNamara is noted for her work in financial disputes related to divorces and pre-nuptual agreements, while Emma Palmer handles cases involving children and abuse claims. In addition to its private work, the team has a strong legal aid practice. Emma Carey is another key contact in the team.

Practice head(s):

Emma Palmer; Pauline McNamara

Other key lawyers:


‘The Family law team headed by Emma Palmer consists of excellent lawyers and support staff all of whom are demonstrably committed to delivering the best service to the clients in the most time efficient manner.’

‘The private client family team have a considerable presence in the Merseyside area brought about by their experience , expertise and extensive connections. This enables them to punch above their weight obtaining very high quality client work, which they deal with very efficiently and as necessary aggressively, yet with compassion and understanding for their client throughout.’

‘They are forward thinking and proactive with clients and connections and have a great presence in Liverpool. They collaborate well between teams in house so cross sell services inside and outside of the business really well. I feel this is because they are well connected as partners and a boutique practice.’

‘Emma Palmer is an excellent lawyer willing to go the extra mile for her clients. Thanks to her great efforts, my application under the Hague Abduction Convention was settled days after the directions hearing and a voluntary return of my daughter to me was secured.’

‘Pauline McNamara shows a superb blend of aggressively fighting her client’s corner whilst empathetically understanding their problems and needs.She is a formidable adversary with a strong following throughout Merseyside and Cheshire. She has also built a very able support team around her.’

‘Pauline McNamara is a force to be reckoned with, her attitude and follow up with clients and introductions/driving clients understanding is top class. ‘

‘I am particularly impressed with Head of Family Emma Palmer. Her knowledge of complex issues such as honour based violence, forced marriage and inter jurisdictional matters are excellent and she is regularly sought out by children’s guardians in Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester when dealing with these cases.’

Work highlights

  • Advised mother on application to vary and prevent enforcement of a French appeal order.
  • Advised Husband in a complex, multi-jurisdictional finances case including applications for emergency finance orders.
  • Advised mother in care proceedings involving allegations of satanic sexual abuse and parental alienation.

Real estate > Social housing Tier 3

MSB Solicitors Ltd resulted from the merger between MSB Law LLP and Knox Ellis Solicitors in February 2020, with the amalgamated entity now being well-positioned to provide a wide range of services to social housing clients. The firm has a specialist social housing and regeneration team, which works closely with practitioners that focus on areas such as corporate, employment, commercial property, residential property and commercial litigation. Newly promoted partner Louise Murphy, who has taken on the role as the head of the practice, garners praise for providing ‘an excellent service’. She works with solicitor Andrew Moore (the head of anti-social behaviour and leasehold) and senior associate Phillip Coburn (the head of market rents). Consultant Tom Knox continues to contribute his vast experience in this space.

Practice head(s):

Louise Murphy; Andrew Moore; Phillip Coburn

Other key lawyers:


‘We use MSB because they are quick, reliable and helpful. They always go over and above and are available when needed.’

‘Vast amount of knowledge, confident and relentless.’

‘At present I primarily deal with Louise Murphy and I find her extremely knowledgeable and helpful. She is always on hand to give advice whether it is a case she is working with or if you need quick advice.’

‘I would like to single out Louise Murphy at MSB who has been a great support to us over a few years and has really stepped up during the last 12 months with advice, guidance and legal support on various housing issues. We have been able to look at various options in cases and Louise has kept us fully up to speed with legal changes over the last 12 months.’

‘The team are always very helpful and deliver work in a timely fashion.’

‘We have a high level of trust and confidence in how MSB work and crucially with their legal advice and support.’

Key clients

Arcon Housing Association Limited

Bamboo Lettings

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

Brighter Futures

Central Housing Investment Consortium (CHIC)

City South Manchester Housing Trust

Community Gateway Housing

Connect Housing

Eastlands Homes

Eden Housing Association

Impact Housing Association Limited

Irwell Valley Housing Association Limited

Magenta Living

One Manchester

Parkway Green Housing Trust

Peaks and Plains Housing Trust Limited

Plus Dane Housing

Progress Housing Association Limited

Regenda Homes

South Derbyshire District Council

South Yorkshire Housing Association Limited

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Trafford Housing Trust

The Riverside Group Limited

Unity Housing Association Limited

Weaver Vale Housing Trust

Westfield Housing Association

Willow Park Housing Trust

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group

Yorkshire Housing

Work highlights

  • Successfully defending One Manchester in a disrepair claim brought against them and obtaining a judgement on a counterclaim, plus costs.
  • Successfully bringing a ‘Hybrid Injunction’ for breach of tenancy and anti-social behaviour on behalf of our client Trafford Housing Trust.
  • Successfully representing our client Irwell Valley Housing Association as an Interested Person at an Inquest into the death of a tenant.

Real estate > Commercial property: Liverpool Tier 4

The MSB Solicitors team covers a range of residential development work, while also regularly handling real estate finance matters and acting for clients in an around Liverpool in the leisure and hospitality sectors. Neil Kelly is head of commercial property at the firm - he has a broad practice which includes advising on development site acquisitions, commercial lease transactions and property management work. Brad Armstrong plays an important role in the team, focusing on housing and regeneration activity, while Darren Barwick acts for private bridging finance companies and national lenders.

Practice head(s):

Neil Kelly

Other key lawyers:


‘Extremely commercially minded and solutions driven.’

‘We are always assigned a first class team of partners and solicitors who progress our work knowledgeably and in a timely fashion. Fees are always sensible.’

‘Brad Armstrong has excellent commercial and strategic acumen. Extremely good knowledge of our sector and the people involved in the sector.’

Key clients

X1 Developments

Legacie Developments

Fortis Developments

Oakwood Group

Young Homes

Penny Lane Builders Limited

Redwood Bank Ltd

Gemini Finance Ltd

White Rhino Capital

Community Housing (UK) Limited

Liver Property Group

Work highlights

  • Advised X1 Developments on a complex development site at Media City, Salford which will ultimately comprise circa 1300 residential apartments, commercial and outdoor amenity space developed across four phases. The purchase including an acquisition finance loan.
  • Advised lender in a portfolio refinance containing 24 properties with a combined value of £5m. The deal involved 3 separate loans to subsidiary companies with the parent company entering into corporate guarantees for each loan and the cross collateralization of the various assets of the borrower client to gain comfort on the strength of the borrowers position.
  • Acquisition of land for residential development and completion of development finance loan.


MSB Solicitors  is a leading full service law firm in Liverpool. From its inception in 1988 MSB has grown steadily and organically to a firm of 14 partners and 130 fee earners and support staff.  We are a progressive, award winning and expanding firm with talented lawyers and a can do attitude. We are committed to client care and ensuring all clients get the very best service. As a full service law firm we pride ourselves on being able to liaise with lawyers in other departments to ensure our clients’ legal needs are fully met.

MSB Solicitors provides quality driven, cost effective legal advice across all sectors for people and their businesses in the North West and beyond. We know our region best and we know how to grow a small business from our own experiences over the last 30 years.

We are committed to our corporate social responsibility. Our determination to give back to our community is key to the development of our business and is at the core of MSB.

Recent awards:

NWPAs Best Property Law Firm 2017 & 2018

Liverpool Law Society Family Law Award 2017

Family Law Awards – Family Law Firm of the Year 2018 (North)

Echo Regional Business Awards – Corporate Social Responsibility Award 2018


National Shortlists:

British LGBT Awards – Corporate Ally shortlist 2018

Law Society Excellence Awards: Medium firm of the year 2018 – shortlisted. Woman lawyer of the year 2018 – Emma Carey, Shortlisted

Family Law Awards 2018 – Associate of the Year,  Wendy Eves – shortlisted

Areas of work undertaken:

FAMILY: Emma Carey is head of our family department, her profile can be viewed separately above. Our  family department has received both regional and national awards in recognition of our expertise in this area. The department undertakes private work and has a legal aid franchise, we are therefore able to meet our clients’ needs irrespective of any change in circumstance. We have approximately 20 fee earners in our family department including 2 in-house advocates allowing us to providing a seamless service from initial instruction to conclusion of any case.

Our  client base in international. We are the only firm in the North West to be on the International Child Abduction panel and are one of only five firms outside London to have Resolution accredited experts in forced marriage and honour based violence issues.  We are proud to have accredited experts in child abduction, cohabitation disputes, financial relief, domestic abuse and children disputes. We have 4 solicitors on the Law Society’s Children Panel.

Our family work includes: divorce and financial relief,  cohabitation disputes,  children disputes,  protective orders,  surrogacy and adoption.


CRIME:  Sean Sexton is the head of our crime department and is named as a leading lawyer – his profile is available to view above. MSB has been the highest ranked firm in Liverpool for the last three years for both fraud and general crime. We have a long track record of protecting the reputations of our clients and their businesses. We have been very successful in preventing regulatory investigations becoming criminal prosecutions. Our objective is to win the case without having to go to court. We operate a 24 hour help line .


RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY: Our multi-award winning residential property department is the largest in Merseyside. We have a committed team of thirty people specialising in the sale and purchase of thousands of properties each year.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY: We have a specialist department which acts for large developers who are changing the skylines of Liverpool and Manchester. We advise the hospitality sector and represent well known hotels, restaurants and bars.

COMMERCIAL LITIGATION: Our experts in Commercial Litigation have acted in many of the most challenging cases in the Liverpool city region in recent years. We specialise in acting for charities with litigation issues.

EMPLOYMENT/DEBT RECOVERY: We have dedicated departments to support small to medium sized businesses within the Liverpool city region.

WILLS & PROBATE:  We have a dedicated private client team dealing with wills & probate matters.

Managing Partner Emma 2819040
Senior Partner Sean 2819040
Fee earners/support staff : 130
Partners : 14