Firm Profile > Butcher & Barlow LLP > Bury, England

Butcher & Barlow LLP

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Butcher & Barlow LLP's agricultural team provides a broad range of legal services, working in tandem with property, corporate and litigation colleagues based in the same office. The practice, which has particular expertise in succession planning and the sale of agricultural land for residential development, is headed up by the hugely experienced Mike Bracegirdle, who set up the Gadbrook Park office in 2014, since when it has enjoyed a year-on-year fee revenue increase of 20%.

Practice head(s):

Mike Bracegirdle


‘Excellent to communicate with – if you do not understand anything, they explain; if you have concerns, they sort them out. They get on with the job, so much so you are made to feel like you are their only client, which is what everyone wants.’

‘Breadth of knowledge. Attention to detail. Local. Contactable.’

‘The agricultural team gets to understand you and your farming business. They work closely with other agri professionals in order to help you with a variety of your business needs.’

‘Very proactive in their approach to clients and getting matters satisfactorily completed.’

‘A very knowledgeable, professional & approachable practice. Above all, very efficient in their execution of tasks in comparison to other firms.’

‘The firm is effective in providing clear and helpful legal advice.’

‘The business has a strong reputation within the marketplace which continues to grow given their ability to deliver a cost-effective service.’

‘Specific areas of strength include communication, planning and organising and delivering work ahead of schedule deadlines.’

‘Very professional in dealing with questions – open, honest and always made us feel informed’

‘The team has a vast knowledge of a lot of different areas – they have very experienced solicitors who always pass their full knowledge to younger members of staff in the practice,’

‘Partners have experience and the ability to resolve issues and work to tight deadlines.’

‘Everything Mike Bracegirdle does for us is to the highest standard; done thoroughly but in the quickest time possible – we know he is working 100% for us. He treats you as an individual, not like any other client. He keeps you up to date without you even having to ask, so you know he is always doing his best for you.’

‘It has been a joy to work with Zoe Paton-Crockett on a number of matters. Zoe is knowledgeable and always thorough and thoughtful’

‘Mike Bracegirdle does not wait for things to happen and is not afraid to pick up the telephone to make sure cases are progressed.’

‘Jonathan Aldersley has great attention to detail and makes sure that matters are completed expeditiously.’

‘Mike Bracegirdle’s approachable nature and straightforward attitude have always stood out to me. The efficient manner in which he deals with queries is faultless.’

‘The team is professional and well-prepared, making for an excellent working relationship and for a high standard of service for the client or clients.’

‘John Hyatt and Graham Gigg both provide an extremely high level of service and professionalism.’

‘Mike Bracegirdle always goes the extra mile to get things sorted – he has a vast knowledge of agricultural property and always knows the best ways to deal with matters.’

‘Graham Gigg is a well liked, charismatic individual that clients like to deal with.’

Key clients

Booth Charities

Commercial property: elsewhere in the North West Tier 2

Butcher & Barlow LLP handles land acquisitions and is experienced in commercial and residential development. Jonathan Aldersley is experienced in the sale and purchase of public houses and also handles commercial refinancing. John Hyatt and Rebecca Jepson handle transactions in the agricultural sector, and James Hodgson advises on commercial leases and investment property work. The team welcomed the 'experiencedDaniel Woodcock from Chafes Hague Lambert LLP in 2019.  Recently promoted partner Zoë Paton-Crockett, who is experienced in land promotion and advises on the acquisition and sale of land for commercial and residential development, heads the team.

Practice head(s):

Zoë Paton-Crockett


John Hyatt is able to efficiently complete deals without it seeming like a long winded process.

James Hodgson is meticulous in his work and is commercially aware to ensure that a deal can be done.

Jonathan Aldersley is very efficient, knowledgeable and responds quickly.

The team has a wealth of knowledge and experience and is able to effectively and efficiently handle complex property negotiations.

The team is very knowledgeable, capable and pragmatic.

Key clients

Joseph Holt

Trustees of the Booth Charities

Svenska Handelsbanken

Renew Land Developments

Muller Property Group

Fords of Winsford

Pioneer Design and Build

Black & White Developments

Stretton Property Group

Staffordshire Waste

Land Recovery

Llanfaelog Rhosneigr

Orchard Green Developments

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

The team at Butcher & Barlow LLP undertakes a high volume of work for business owners and high-net-worth individuals on a range of matters including wills, powers of attorney, Court of Protection and general administration of estates. The firm also has particular expertise in agricultural work, offering a bespoke service in estate planning for farmers. Practice head Christopher Hopkins, who has an 'impressive depth of knowledge', leads the team which includes the 'competent and tenacious' Jessica Shore and 'exceptionally reliable' Jim Whitaker.

Practice head(s):

Chris Hopkins

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm was very efficient and prompt.’

‘The team are extremely approachable with excellent communication skills.  They are able to explain very technical issues in a clear succinct way.’

‘Jessica Shore’s competence and tenacity to achieve a successful result was outstanding.’

‘The team has been professional, friendly, informative and caring. The support team have been efficient, speedy with responses, and readily available.’

‘Chris Hopkins’ depth and breadth of knowledge was impressive and his manner friendly and professional.’

‘Jim Whitaker is extremely efficient and exceptionally reliable.’

Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 3

Butcher & Barlow LLP is 'able to combine local knowledge with the resources of a large firm through its series of offices' across the north west. Anthony Higham leads the team, which handles a diverse and complex clinical negligence caseload including birth injuries, cosmetic surgery claims, pregnancy and gynaecology injuries as well as surgical compensation claims. Adam Shawcross, who goes 'above and beyond', Samuel Dale and Andrew Mackenzie were all promoted to partner in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Higham

Other key lawyers:

Gregory Porter; Adam Shawcross; Samuel Dale


‘Within the claimant market they are able to be very hands on with their clients, being able to see them face-to-face on short notice.

Managing partner Anthony Higham is extremely experienced, an excellent negotiator and practically minded as well as being very bright.’

‘Andrew MacKenzie, Adam Shawcross and Samuel Dale all bring an excellent mixture of intellectual ability with the same down-to-earth approach to dealing with clients and their claims which generally produces well-run, successful and well-managed claims.

I can’t praise Anthony Higham and Adam Shawcross highly enough for the way they dealt with my case on a professional level, but at the same time showing empathy and compassion for the traumatic experience myself and my family were going through.

Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the North West Tier 3

Butcher & Barlow LLP advises its roster of clients on commercial, contractual and property disputes, while other areas of expertise include estate inheritance, insolvency, construction, negligence and agricultural claims. Gadbrook Park-based Alexander Sandland and Bury-based Anthony Higham head the team. Andrew Mackenzie was promoted to the partnership in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Sandland; Anthony Higham

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Mackenzie; Catherine Gregson; James Holton; Victoria Philipson


Very client focused and responsive’.

Alex Sandland is a commercially realistic litigator’.

Catherine Gregson is a through and efficient case manager’.

Clear and concise in their advice provided to clients, they provide advice that is balanced and assist clients in making decisions regarding litigation’.

Approachable and open to listening to alternative points made by parties’.

Catherine Gregson is approachable and provides succinct advice to clients’.

Key clients

Joseph Holt Ltd

Junction Properties

Conveyor Services Limited

Fords Of Winsford

Apex Construction and Design

GB Properties

Leslie and Michelle Manning

Thomas Properties

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Butcher & Barlow LLP offers the full spectrum of services to high-net-worth clients, covering all types of disputes in this area, advising executors, beneficiaries, trustees and others challenging the validity of wills. The team is headed up by Sandbach-based Samuel Dale, who handles both contentious and non-contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Samuel Dale


‘Very helpful and approachable.’

‘High quality service with all the benefits of a high street practice.’

‘A firm which combines the local touch with a strong team across its offices.’

‘Butcher and Barlow has great strength in this area with a number of excellent practitioners in trusts and probate work. They bring together the expertise of a larger firm with the personal service of a family solicitor and take trouble to ensure that all client needs are met.’

‘Strong partners, typically raised up through the ranks, with an impressive knowledge of clients’ backgrounds and legal needs.’

‘Samuel Dale is attentive to detail and not afraid run difficult arguments to successful conclusions.’

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the North West Tier 3

Butcher & Barlow LLP 'provides the complete spectrum of legal services'. It advises on various corporate and commercial matters including share options, shareholder agreements, commercial agreements and partnership agreements. The team is headed by Gadbrook Park-based Jonathan Aldersley who specialises in enterprise management incentive (EMI) schemes. Andrew MacKenzie, Adam Shawcross and Rebecca Jepson were promoted to partner in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Aldersley

Other key lawyers:

James Hodgson; Andrew Mackenzie; Adam Shawcross; Rebecca Jepson; Rachel Martin


A local/regional firm with the capability of much larger city firms‘.

Jonathan Aldersley is very efficient in his delivery’.

A very diverse law firm which provides the complete spectrum of legal services’.


Key clients

Joseph Holt

Higham & Higham

Conveyor Networks Ltd

Booth Charities

Fifield Glynn

SPS Viking limited

Property litigation Tier 5

Butcher & Barlow LLP's property litigation team handles commercial landlord and tenant matters, and complex land disputes involving restrictive covenants, boundary disputes and registration issues. The team particularly stands out for its agricultural sector expertise and its clients include developers, investors, institutional lenders, professional services firms, landed estates and agricultural occupiers. Department head Alex Sandland is very 'supportive and very determined; he is a tough cookie, and is great to have on your side'. Associates James Holton, who is a landlord and tenant specialist, and Catherine Gregson are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Alex Sandland

Other key lawyers:


Alex Sandland and James Holton are commercial and easy to work with

The team is highly knowledgeable, approachable, friendly and commercially minded

The team operates pragmatically and in a way that always maintains focus on reaching an amicable resolution to the dispute wherever possible

James Holton is highly skilled in keeping the client regularly informed; he is approachable, yet assured in his administration

Key clients

The Trustees of the Booth Charities

Joseph Holt

Renew Land Developments

Black & White Developments

Land Recovery

GB Properties

Apex Construction and Design

Brighouse Farmers

Junction Property

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
Mr Anthony Higham  photo Mr Anthony Higham Equity Partner and Notary Public
Mr James Hodgson  photo Mr James Hodgson Partner
Mr Christopher Hopkins  photo Mr Christopher Hopkins Equity Partner and Head of Private Client
Number of UK partners : 29
Number of other UK fee-earners : 43