Firm Profile > Butcher & Barlow LLP > Northwich, England

Butcher & Barlow LLP

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Receiving instructions from agricultural and rural enterprises from across Lancashire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Shropshire and North Wales, the Chesire team at Butcher & Barlow LLP handles a variety of matters in this space. It has particular expertise in advising landowners on the sale of agricultural land for residential development, business structure reviews, succession planning issues and the administration of substantial farming estates. The team, headed by Mike Bracegirdle, who has an 'unrivalled expert knowledge of all things agriculture', is also instructed by both landed estates and landowning charities regarding agricultural holding tenancies and farm business tenancies.

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‘There is a spread of specialisms within the firm and the firm has efficiency in dealing with issues. Prompt response to e-mails and correspondence and in-depth knowledge of the subject matter of the particular case in hand.’ 

‘It is unusual for a law firm still to be a family business in its fourth generation. This is a great asset compared with most other firms. The team is very stable because of this.’

‘Mike Bracegirdle has an unrivalled expert knowledge of all things agriculture. He comes from a farming background too.’

‘Butcher & Barlow are an approachable firm of solicitors. They understand their clients’ objectives, and advocate on that basis.’

‘Graham Gigg is very well known in the agricultural sector and is considered to be a trusted adviser. He is extremely approachable and has a great depth of knowledge of the law.’

‘We have used Butcher & Barlow on various projects from property sales and purchases, legal disputes and personal cases, they work very well as a team and always bounce suggestions off other colleagues, they can keep to tight deadlines when needed and are normally available out of hours which is very rare in this industry.’ 

‘Mike Bracegirdle has a wide range of knowledge of the agricultural and rural property sector; he is very well known in the area and always has a solution to a problem.’ 

‘Mike Bracegirdle is very professional and knowledgeable in his field, and offers a very personal service.’ 

‘You are confident from the first conversation you have with a member of their team that they understand your requirements and will deliver a first-class service that can often exceed your expectation.’ 

‘Mike Bracegirdle has been not only our solicitor, but also a mentor and a huge support during what has been a trying time over a number of years. He has personal knowledge of the farming life and its peculiar challenges and has been able to advise us with a wide appreciation of our situation and needs for now and the future.’ 

‘Mike Bracegirdle is very approachable, with an good attitude, but does not compromise on detail. Never any doubt that he is working in the best way for me as a client.’

Key clients

Booth Charities

Commercial property: elsewhere in the North West Tier 2

Butcher & Barlow LLP possesses a 'strong team based across a number of offices' which is 'proactive in drawing on the experience' of other team members. Zoë Paton-Crockett leads the practice. She has advised on major transactions for developer clients, acting as the firm's principal contact in this sphere. Jonathan Aldersley handles the property aspects of commercial refinancing and commercial transactions. Daniel Woodcock has 'vast experience' in commercial leases and property investment work. Andy MacKenzie is 'accommodating and knowledgeable' and is 'always seeking to go the extra mile.' 

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‘Strong team based across a number of offices where they are proactive in drawing on their colleagues’ experience across the firm. Genuinely partner-led service.’

‘The team at Butcher & Barlow are very dynamic and have individual strengths resulting in a comprehensive offering. They are quick to refer out for advice to their excellent network of fellow professionals to the benefit of their clients.’

‘Jonathan Aldersley is the partner who is in charge of our account – this he accomplishes with great dedication, efficiency, knowledge and skill.’

‘Daniel Woodcock has vast experience and a very considered approach.’

‘Zoe Paton-Crockett is an exceptional partner. She oversees matters with great efficiency.’

‘Zoe Paton Crockett is calm and knowledgeable, doesn’t overcomplicate things and delivers information in plain English to clients.’

Key clients

Branley Estates Limited

Dappa Homes Limited

Branley Homes Limited

Podium Property Developments (North) Limited

Renew Land Developments Limited

New Keys Properties Limited

Muller Property Group

Mancunian Spring Company

Fifield Glyn Limited

Handelsbanken plc (Manchester, Trinity Way)

Trustees of the Booth Charities

Joseph Holt Ltd

Hollands Country Clothing Limited

Elcroft Filey Limited

J&S Accessories

Cheshire Peaks & Plains Housing Trust Limited

Hulme Trust Estates

Foden Enterprises

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the North West Tier 2

Butcher & Barlow LLP can be relied upon ‘for a wide range of legal matters’ including share transactions, commercial agreements, reviews of company structures, high-value transactions and asset sales and purchases. Justin Kelly, acclaimed as ‘truly professional with great knowledge’, provides experience in acting for clients from industries such as construction, car hypermarkets, plastics and healthcare; he recently replaced Jonathan Aldersley as practice head.

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‘Wide range of legal matters can be catered for. Company buyouts, litigation, disputes, employment & HR.’

‘I found dealing with Jonathan Aldersley regarding a partner buyout, easy and straightforward, with easy explanations in layman terms.’

‘I have worked Butcher Barlow for 20 years on a business and personal level. They cover every aspect of law. One-stop shop & excellent at what they provide from advice to costing. I have always felt secure with them. I trust them with my life and I don’t say that lightly.’

‘Justin Kelly has always supported me through tough times in my business career. He is down to earth, speaks my language although extremely professional.’

‘Justin Kelly was the partner who conducted my deal. Prior to this I did not know him, but right from the start his approach was totally professional, with a great knowledge of the key issue involved in the deal.’

Key clients

Joseph Holt

Higham & Higham

Glashen Services

Aeroco Group Limited

Alextra Accountants

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Led by the 'very approachable and compassionate' Christopher Hopkins, the team at Butcher & Barlow LLP specialises in agricultural work, advising farmers and landowners on a range of estate planning matters. It also undertakes work for other business owners and high-net-worth clients including trust administrations, preparation of wills, power of attorney issues, Court of Protection work and matters arising from the general administration of estates. The firm’s commercial lawyers often act in close collaboration with the team, which also includes solicitor Jessica Shore.

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‘Unique practice with personal, professional responsive service. Trustworthy in everything that they do with effective pragmatic advice.’ 

‘Professional with tailored advice specific to their clients’ situation. Stand out partner is Jim Whitaker, who in particular is so dedicated to his clients. Direct, frank, accurate views on any situation. This partner has been so helpful to us.’ 

‘All staff I have dealt with have been extremely professional, but at the same time human and considerate.’ 

‘I have dealt mainly with Chris Hopkins, who has always been excellent.’

‘A well organised and well managed team that undertake their work professionally and with excellent client communication skills.’ 

‘The quality of the team is very much a reflection of the main private client partner – Chris Hopkins. These are the same qualities that Chris provides when advising clients that we refer to him. Without exception, the feedback is always extremely positive.’ 

‘Chris Hopkins was excellent. He made sensible suggestions which we had not thought about and made the whole experience and process as straightforward and smooth as possible.’ 

‘Extremely flexible and accommodating.’

‘Personal, caring, efficient service – which you do not find with most solicitors nowadays; nothing was too much trouble.’ 

‘Chris Hopkins is very approachable and compassionate, making you feel like you are not just a client. Great communication skills.’ 

‘Very personalised service, with staff who are more than willing to go above and beyond the expectations of their clients.’

‘I have been incredibly impressed by the willingness of individuals at this practice to advise and act swiftly upon their clients’ requests.’

Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the North West Tier 3

The disputes lawyers at Butcher & Barlow LLP are praised for their ‘exceptional tenacity and exemplary client care skills’. Alexander Sandland, an ’excellent litigator’ oversees the department, which has core strengths in commercial and contractual matters. In addition to its commercial litigation offering, the firm has recently developed dedicated teams for property litigation and contentious probate and also handles a number of construction disputes. Professional negligence and disputed agricultural claims are also prevalent among the workload.

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‘The team at Butcher & Barlow have exceptional tenacity and exemplary client care skills. They are excellent litigators with a keen eye to detail and ADR. I would not hesitate in recommending their services for any dispute resolution requirements.’

‘Alex Sandland and Catherine Gregson are both excellent litigators. Not only do they strenuously support their clients and the claims brought by them or against them, they also make every effort to ensure that all avenues of settlement are explored. They maintain an incomparable professionalism in an area of law that is notoriously litigious, whilst ensuring the costs incurred remain entirely proportionate to the issues addressed.’

Key clients

Joseph Holt Ltd

Junction Properties

Airtech Limited

Fords of Winsford

Dutton Contractors Limited

Branley Homes Limited

NLH Sameday Limited

Thomas Property Group

Longton Estates Limited

MCUK Fitouts

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

At Butcher & Barlow LLP, executors, beneficiaries, trustees and others challenging the validity of wills and trusts are represented in complex disputes, particularly claims which arise under the Inheritance Act. Sandbach-based Samuel Dale, who handles both contentious and non-contentious work, leads the team, which regularly acts for high-net-worth clients.

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‘In my view, there is a clear teamwork ethos, and high standards are expected across the department.’ 

‘Anthony Higham is a seasoned litigator who quickly grips the issues and underlying risks and benefits of the client position. In my view, his experience inspires real confidence, and I am sure that it will have the same effect on clients.’

Family Tier 4

The key name to note in Butcher & Barlow LLP's private law family group is team head Kevan Hankinson, who deals with a variety of financial remedy and complex children matters. Legal aid and care department head Rachel Cryan is another key member of the team, which advises high-net-worth clients, negotiates settlements and conducts advocacy.

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‘This is a small family team with very thoughtful hardworking lawyers.’ 

‘With regard to family law, B&B are a full-service firm providing highly experienced legal advice and representation across public law, private law and financial disputes. They have a wide breadth of experience in private client work. They are responsive to the needs of clients and the needs of a case often at very short notice.’ 

‘Butcher and Barlow provide excellent customer service, whether that’s when you liaise with just one area of specialism or you’re working with them across multiple areas.’ 

‘Kevan Hankinson and his team are outstanding. His knowledge is incredible but, more than anything, he’s human and always goes the extra mile to ensure you are fully looked after.’ 

‘I think their strengths are delivering a high level of customer service by getting to know their clients on a personal level, making them feel at ease, being transparent and honest, understanding each case to be able to guide accordingly, nothing was too much trouble for any member of the team.’ 

‘Butcher and Barlow’s family team is uniquely attuned to each client’s needs. They are demonstrably committed to achieving the best possible outcomes in each case and show genuine concern for the client at each stage of the process.’ 

‘Helen Oakes is a joy to work with. She is attentive, kind, intuitive and a truly dedicated lawyer – just the person a client would naturally turn to for guidance through their personal disputes. Helen is just as dedicated and equipped in complex care proceedings as she is in financial matters, and works with the same resolve and commitment with clients from all walks of life.’ 

Property litigation Tier 5

Butcher & Barlow LLP is praised for providing 'timely, efficient and clear professional advice.' The team is led by Alexander Sandland and James Holton. Sandland  has experience in agricultural and land and title disputes. Holton is noted for his 'substantial experience beyond his years' acting on a range of property litigation matters including lease renewals and terminations, landlord and tenant notices, forfeiture and dilapidations.


‘We have found Butcher & Barlow to be professional and caring. They are attentive and understand our needs.’

‘Timely, efficient and clear professional advice.’

‘Extremely client and solutions focused. Commercially minded. Outcome driven. Approachable and friendly.’

‘James Holton  has substantial experience, beyond his years. He is a commercially minded specialist property litigator.’

‘James Holton was exceptional in his attention to detail and efficiency – he advised us at all times and kept us in the loop with everything always.’

‘Jonathan Aldersley; Zoe Paton-Crockett are stand out advisers who know their stuff and give great service.’

‘Andy MacKenzie is an exceptional, client-focused lawyer.’

Key clients

The Trustees of the Booth Charities

Joseph Holt Limited

Renew Land Developments Limited

Black & White Developments

Land Recovery Limited

GB Properties

Apex Construction and Design

Brighouse Farmers

Junction Property Limited

Glashen Services Limited

Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant

Anthony Higham heads the clinical negligence and personal injury team at Butcher & Barlow LLP. The practice has significant experience in dental negligence, road traffic accidents and employers’ liability claims. Other key areas of work include cerebral palsy, brain injury and other birth trauma claims, industrial disease claims, medical misdiagnosis and cosmetic surgery claims.

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‘The team combines specialist experience and an approachable and down-to-earth manner with keen insight, intellect and robust negotiating skills.’

‘Butcher & Barlow is able to offer specialist lawyers in both personal injury and clinical negligence as part of a full-service law firm and who are spread over several local offices. In serious and catastrophic personal injury and clinical negligence claims, the facility to have a lawyer “on your doorstep” really matters to those clients and is a key part of delivering a specialist service.’

‘Anthony Higham deals with the most serious claims, based on 30 years experience.’

The Firm of Butcher & Barlow has a rich heritage having practised in Bury for over 130 years, passing from Father to Son through four generations. The Firm prides itself on maintaining the same name, standards and identity that it had when it was first formed. The Firm remains focused on building long-term personal relationships with its clients.

The Firm:

Butcher & Barlow is law firm providing a broad range of personal and commercial services to its clients. With 10 offices across the North West the Firm has doubled in size in the last 10 years now boasting 29 Partners and over 40 additional fee earners.

The Firm has its roots on the High Street but has always had a strong commercial client base. In 2014 Butcher & Barlow opened a dedicated commercial and agricultural office on Gadbrook Park, Northwich. Having their key commercial teams under one roof, including corporate, property, agriculture and dispute resolution support, means that the Gadbrook Park office has the breadth and depth of experience, and is perfectly placed, to navigate and advise on complex and high value transactions at rates lower than City Centre practices due to lower overheads.

The Firm’s commercial function is supported by a network of specialists across the branch offices who work collaboratively with the teams at the Gadbrook Park office. This means the Firm has the knowledge, the staffing and resources to deliver legal services which match those of city practices whilst maintaining the personable and approachable attitude the Firm is known for.   The Firm’s commercial clients include regional construction companies, commercial landlords, manufacturing companies and builders’ merchants.

Whilst the Firm is based within the North West, the reputation it has established has meant that work has been undertaken for individuals based elsewhere in the UK, utilising technology to ensure that service standards remain at the high level the Firm is renowned for.

Types of work undertaken: 

Corporate and Commercial: headed by Justin Kelly, the department’s expertise includes mergers and acquisitions, asset finance and secured lending, shareholder agreements and review of commercial documents. The department has a particular expertise in advising charities such as The Hulme Trust Estates and Booth Charities on management and administration, and property and investments. Particular experience has been built up in respect of the sale and purchases of companies in the care home sector as well as those involving the brewery industry and is able to provide advice on licensing matters. Justin Kelly specialises in advising businesses on employment issues.

Commercial Property: the team is led by Partner Zoë Paton-Crockett. The department is noted for its expertise in land acquisition, planning and development in the commercial and residential sectors, public house sales and purchases, commercial re-financing and commercial property and self-invested personal pensions.

Agriculture: the Agriculture team is based at the dedicated Gadbrook Park office and is led by Mike Bracegirdle. Working with Partners Graham Gigg, a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association (and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and honorary legal officer of both the Agricultural Chaplaincy in Cheshire and the Cheshire Agricultural Society), John Hyatt, Rebecca Jepson and James Hodgson, the team can advise individuals and business on a range of matters such as land development, agricultural tenancies, succession issues and business structure. The department acts for a number of landed estates in relation to agricultural holdings and tenancies and farm business tenancies.

Private Client: Chris Hopkins is the Department Head of the private client team and also an accredited member of STEP. The team provides a full range of private client services, including preparation of Wills and trusts, succession planning, administration of estates and trusts, Court of Protection applications, and Powers of Attorney. Partners of the Firm also act as trustees and are involved in the management of a number of trust funds totalling several million pounds which have been operating for many years. The department holds niche expertise in agricultural work and is able to offer a bespoke service in relation to estate planning for farmers. The team undertakes work on behalf of business owners and high net worth clients, frequently working in combination with the Corporate and Commercial department to offer clients wide ranging and well-rounded advice.

Dispute Resolution: headed by Alex Sandland, the team advises both individuals and businesses on land and property disputes, corporate and partnership disputes, adjudication, construction matters and contentious probate issues. Alex had success in the Court of Appeal with the reported case of Winterburn v Bennett [2016] EWCA Civ 482. Members of the team also cover all areas of personal injury claims and professional negligence actions.

Family: the Firm has an experienced family law team headed by Kevan Hankinson, and is made up of Solicitors who are members and accredited specialists of recognised family law associations including Resolution, the Law Society’s Children Panel and the Advanced Family Panel. The Firm has a collaboratively trained Lawyer in Helen Oakes and accredited mediator in Caroline Cockill-Guy. The Firm boasts a highly regarded team specialising in high value and complex divorce and financial matters. The team is well equipped to deal with all children and financial issues arising from a relationship, including pre- and post-nuptial settlements, businesses and inheritance disputes. The Firm has legal aid contracts to carry out family legal aid work at six offices and holds the specialist quality mark.

Residential property: as an accredited member of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme the Firm provides high quality residential property services to a wide range of clients.

The firm also has five Notary Publics who are impartial legal experts with a wealth of varied experience within this distinct facet of the legal profession.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Charles Barlow 01270 762521
Managing Partner Anthony Higham 0161 764 4062
Partner Jonathan Aldersley 01606 334309
Partner and Head of Private client Chris Hopkins 0161 764 4062
Partner and Head of Agriculture Michael Bracegirdle 01606 334309
Partner John Hyatt 01270 762 521
Partner and Head of Corporate and Commercial Justin Kelly 0161 439 8228
Partner and Head of Family (public) Rachel Cryan 01942 883 669
Partner and Head of Residential Lynsey Stuchfield 01928 576 056
Partner Jim Whitaker 01928 576 056
Partner Robert Morris 0161 439 8228
Partner Philip Thompson 0161 773 2969
Partner Graham Gigg 01606 334309
Partner and Head of Family (private) Kevan Hankinson 0161 773 2969
Partner Caroline Cockill-Guy 01606 47523
Partner Claire Jackson 01942 674 144
Partner Angela Gleave 01270 762 521
Marketing Partner Amy Norman 01606 334309
Partner and Head of Litigation Alex Sandland 01606 334309
Partner James Hodgson 0161 764 4062
Partner Gregory Porter 01606 47523
Partner Philip Jennings 01928 733 871
Partner Samuel Dale 01270 762 521
Partner Rebecca Jepson 01606 334309
Partner Adam Shawcross 01942 674 144
Partner and Head of Commercial Property Zoë Paton-Crockett 01606 334309
Partner Andrew Mackenzie 01928 576 056
Partner Daniel Woodcock 01606 334 309
Partner Nicola Wingfield 0161 439 8228
Photo Name Position Profile
Mrs Caroline Cockill-Guy  photo Mrs Caroline Cockill-Guy Partner
Mr Greg Porter  photo Mr Greg Porter Partner
Number of UK partners : 29
Number of other UK fee-earners : 43