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Burges Salmon LLP

Living Wage
Work 0117 939 2000
Fax 0117 902 4400
Bristol, London

Colin Ligman

Work 0117 902 2789
Burges Salmon LLP

Work Department

Real Estate.


Specialist in real estate finance issues. Acts for senior debt lenders on development finance and investment finance for commercial real estate. Also acts for lenders and their fixed charge received and administration as head of the Burges Salmon real estate insolvency team. Many years’ experience both in structuring and securing loan facilities, and also acting on fixed charge receiverships and administrations involving the sale of significant commercial property assets, such as investment properties, partially completed development sites and nursing homes. Clients include Lloyds, RBS, Nationwide, Santander, HSBC and Barclays, several niche property lenders and a wide cross-section of the national receivers and administrators.


Trained Slee Anderson & Pidgeon, Western Australia; qualified as barrister and solicitor 1995 Western Australia; joined Burges Salmon 1999 and requalified as solicitor in England and Wales 2000; partner 2006; Head of Real Estate Department 2014.


Active member NARA, R3, Insolvency Lawyers Association.


Attended Busselton Senior High School, Western Australia; Murdoch University, Perth (1994 LLB).


DIY, gardening.

London: Real estate

Commercial property

Within: Commercial property

The team at Burges Salmon LLP provides ‘technically sound and commercially astute advice’ and is ‘able to leverage and smoothly coordinate its vast experience in supporting disciplines, such as tax, which are integral to a real estate deal’. Of particular note, Philip Beer is advising the GLA on its development arrangements with ABP for the creation of a new business district at Royal Albert Dock. The team also has a longstanding reputation in Bristol, where Ross Polkinghorne is acting for Change Real Estate in relation to the 600,000 ft urban regeneration project at Redcliffe Quarter. Richard Read leads the firm’s real estate investment practice and has been involved in a number of portfolio transactions and major asset management mandates in the hotel and leisure sector. Cross-departmental head Richard Clark advised Aerium Finance on the £51m acquisition from Legal & General of units in a JPUT owning property in Cardiff; this matter was funded through conventional and Islamic finance structures. Colin Ligman heads the broader real estate group, which includes senior associate Drew Nesbitt, who is ‘instrumental in strategic investment and letting transactions’.

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Property finance

Within: Property finance

The 'very strong' team at Burges Salmon LLP acts predominantly for lenders, including traditional clearing banks such as HSBC, RBS and Lloyds and, increasingly, new lenders such as Gravis Partners, Temporis Capital, ICG Longbow and Helaba; it is noted for its specialisms in student accommodation, hotels, healthcare and housing, among other sectors. Practice heads Richard Leeming and Paul Browne acted for HSBC in relation to the £162m refinancing of Harbour Hotels, and Leeming and Sally Jupp - who 'both focus on client commercial advice and relationship development to ensure a completely immersed service delivery model' - advised the same client on the provision of an £80m revolving credit facility to a joint venture between Kier Living and a housing association for the acquisition and development of various residential property sites. The team also acted for Helaba on the financing of Embankment GP's acquisition of an office building in Manchester.Colin Ligman, Rachael Ruane and senior associates Katie Allen and Alastair Rattray are also noted.

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South West: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Within: Insolvency and corporate recovery

Burges Salmon LLP’s corporate restructuring and insolvency team is ‘definitely a market leader outside of London’ and ‘can compete alongside most City firms’. Headed by the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ Andrew Eaton, the department regularly handles international debt restructurings and is often involved in US-facing matters by way of its transatlantic restructuring and insolvency group. Eaton acted for Agent Provocateur and 17 of its international subsidiaries on the global bankruptcy and restructuring of its international business; this involved multiple wind-downs and a Chapter 11 process in the US. Eaton also advised a government department in relation to a distressed statutory service provider. Patrick Cook is providing English law advice to an Italian law firm in relation to the insolvency of an Italian client with an English subsidiary. Colin Ligman and James Sutherland are key figures in the real estate restructuring group. Senior associate Emily Scaife is noted as ‘a great up-and-coming restructuring lawyer’. Additional clients include PricewaterhouseCoopers, BDO, and Nationwide Building Society.

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South West: Real estate

Commercial property: Bristol

Within: Commercial property: Bristol

Burges Salmon LLP is widely regarded as one of ‘the best legal firms in the region’ and ‘compares very well to the more expensive Magic Circle firms’. The team, which is split into specialist sub-groups, is regularly involved in major development projects, strategic land deals and procurement, infrastructure property mandates and investment transactions. Richard Clark heads the cross-department real estate sector group and advised Aerium Finance on its acquisition of units in a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT), which was financed by Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and an ultra-high-net-worth shari’ah investor. The development practice is headed by the ‘invaluable’ Ross Polkinghorne, who is advising Change Real Estate on all real estate aspects of the £200m mixed-use regeneration project at Redcliff Quarter in Bristol. Similarly, Philip Beer is acting for the Greater London Authority in relation to its development partner arrangements with a Chinese developer for the £1.7bn regeneration project at Royal Albert Dock in east London. Richard Read, who leads the property investment group, assisted Virgin Active with the disposal of 16 health and racquet clubs to David Lloyd Leisure. Colin Ligman heads the wider real estate department, which includes Euan Bremner and senior associate Drew Nesbitt.

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Legal Developments by:
Burges Salmon LLP

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

    - Burges Salmon LLP

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