Crane & Staples LLP > Welwyn Garden City, England > Firm Profile

Crane & Staples LLP

Private client > Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Located in Welwyn Garden City, Crane & Staples LLP advises on all aspects of family law, servicing both private and public clients. The team handles high-net-worth divorces and children cases, including abduction, domestic abuse and complex care issues involving non-accidental and serious injuries. Practice leader Danielle Peters is an advocate in private children cases and advises on complicated divorces involving high-value pensions and assets. Sharon Montgomery utilises her dispute resolution expertise in financial cases involving pension issues, nuptial agreements and child arrangements. Attia Hussain deals with complex children matters, specialising in cases involving older children.

Practice head(s):

Danielle Peters

Other key lawyers:


‘The team at Crane & Staples offers sensible and pragmatic advice to their clients. They have experience in a range of family issues, and are quick to identify the keys issues and try and resolve disputes as amicably and cost effectively as possible.’ 

‘Danielle Peters is extremely bright, talented and effective.’

‘Sharon Montgomery is an experienced and effective negotiator with commercial acumen.’

‘Attia Hussain is a diligent and hardworking individual whose representation of young clients is second to none in the area. Her case preparation is detailed, carefully analysed and well prepared.’ 

‘Sharon Montgomery is a very experienced practitioner. Sharon offers very good advice, is realistic in managing the client’s expectations and is wholly committed to delivering a thorough and comprehensive service to the client.’ 

‘Attia Hussain is an excellent and committed Children Panel lawyer with a specific expertise in representing young people directly in the family courts. She is passionate and committed.’ 

‘The family team consists of solicitors extremely committed to their clients. They are able to act swiftly with emergency matters and provide excellent client care. They are equipped with the necessary technology for remote working. They conduct a wide range of family work and therefore are equipped to deal with most family clients who need their assistance. They are also very friendly and approachable.’ 

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Based in central Hertfordshire, Crane & Staples LLP provides advice to long-standing local clients on a spectrum of matters including complex tax issues, the preparation of wills and the administration of estates often involving overseas assets. Head of the wills and probate department David Bird has experience in administrating high-value estates and complex cases involving tax issues. Samantha Webb handles inheritance tax issues, will preparations and complex estate administration matters. Other key members of the team include senior associate Tahir Nisar and associate Georgina Donnellan.

Practice head(s):

David Bird


‘The perfect mix of personable, helpful and understanding solicitors who are also superbly accurate and efficient at what they do.’

‘Tahir Nisar understood our needs and guided us through the process with patience and understanding.’

‘Head of department David Bird has a remarkably sure touch, capable of ensuring the best results for his clients in a complex and difficult field.’

‘Georgina Donnellan was readily contactable and most helpful in ensuring that all requests were dealt with in time, either by herself or other colleagues, as necessary.’

‘Fantastic personal touch and trustworthy services.’

‘Samantha Webb was very knowledgeable and personable. We felt she was trustworthy and efficient in her job.’

‘Tahir Nisar was always available to respond promptly to questions and reassurances regarding the probate process. He met all expectations and delivered a first class, timely service.’

Work highlights

  • Acted in the administration of an estate valued at £6.7m, where the key assets included various limited companies.    
  • Acted in a matter regarding the gifting of a reversionary interest of a Trust, which resulted in Inheritance Tax savings of £60k.
  • Acted in the administration of a taxable estate valued at £1.7m with assets in the US.

Real estate > Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 4

Crane & Staples LLP is known for assisting local families and individuals with conveyancing issues, as well as acting for local property developers, landowners and care homes on real estate and property development matters. Led by Bonnie Twiggs, the team has experience in commercial refinancings, acquisitions and disposals, as well as the sale and purchase of residential property and agriculture land. Christopher Brewis specialises in high-value property matters, while Manish Patel handles care home transactions and commercial office work and leases.

Practice head(s):

Bonnie Twiggs

Other key lawyers:


‘Bonnie Twiggs has an excellent approach to her work. She is professional, while at the same time offers a pragmatic approach to more complicated matters which is vital, especially in the commercial arena. She has excellent knowledge of her field. Her work is consistently to a high standard and we know that we will never find mistakes in her documentation.’

‘Christopher Brewis is very attentive, thorough and perseveres when inevitable difficulties arise and always finds a suitable solution in those situations.’ 

‘The main strengths of Crane & Staples is the calibre of the team and the fact that they are totally reliable, prompt in their responses and always give measured, informed advice. Enabling you to feel confident and secure in all transactions. They are acting on your behalf and you always feel you are their main priority.’ 

‘Manish Patel is a particularly diligent, outstanding individual who strives on customer service and excellence.’

‘Bonnie Twiggs is quick to respond, good knowledge of specialist areas, personable and calm.’ 

‘Christopher Brewis has excellent technical knowledge and attention to detail. Professional, efficient and a calm manner.’ 

Key clients

Simmons (Bakers) Limited

Hatfield Trading Limited

Isabel Hospice

Netherdown (Herts) Limited

Peter Alexander Investments Limited

Park Securities Limited

RBL Field House Care Limited

Renshaw UK Limited

W Austin & Sons

Transport Planning Associates

Willowcity Estates

Meadow Holdings Limited

Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel

Yeoman Estates

Lawson Hobbs

Work highlights

  • Acted for a property developer regarding the option to purchase a development site, subject to planning, with an estimated development value of £8m.
  • Acted for a corporate client in connection with the acquisition of new business premises valued at £4m.
  • Acted on the purchase of a residential care home business, together with freehold premises using commercial financing, with a potential value of £10m.

Crane & Staples was established in 1938 in the heart of Welwyn Garden City. We position ourselves as: ‘Professional solicitors delivering a specialist service to the local community’.

Our seven partners are passionate about their business. They are dynamic and forward thinking, embrace challenge and change and make significant investment in both their team and technology to drive the business. The total team numbers 35 and includes 23 lawyers.

We pride ourselves on both our legal expertise and understanding our clients’ needs across a diverse and complicated range of areas such as commercial, employment and property law, significant lifetime events such as divorce and family law, and sensitive areas of later life planning and bereavement.

Nearly 98% of our work comes from happy clients who return to us, from their recommendations to family and friends, or from professional referrals. We pay no introducer fees.

As a firm, Crane & Staples is extremely well established and connected in Welwyn Hatfield having an excellent reputation with individuals, families and businesses. We have always been a proactive firm within the local and business community and the last 12 months have been no exception.

We aim to provide our clients with legal expertise in a professional way at every point of contact; to deliver an outstanding level of client care, advise, guide and reassure our clients through the times that matter and exceed their expectations.

Quality in all aspects of the business is fundamental to our philosophy. We were the second law firm in Hertfordshire to achieve the Lexcel legal quality mark, whose standards we will have consistently achieved over the past 17 years, including this year.

Family Sharon Montgomery
Family Danielle Peters
Private Client David Bird
Private Client Samantha Webb
Property Bonnie Twiggs
Property Christopher Brewis
Employment and Dispute Resolution Michael Scutt
Mr David Bird  photo Mr David Bird Partner and Head of Private Client Department, specialising in Tax planning, estate…
Mr Christopher Brewis  photo Mr Christopher Brewis Partner and Head of Residential Property, specialising in all aspects of residential…
Mrs Heather Charles-Wall  photo Mrs Heather Charles-Wall Residential Conveyancer specialising in all aspects of residential conveyancing, plot sales and purchases.
Mrs Sian Churchill  photo Mrs Sian Churchill Solicitor, specialising in Children Law and Domestic Abuse, passionate about providing vulnerable clients…
Miss Sara Dobson  photo Miss Sara Dobson NQ Solicitor specialising in Family Law and Residential and Commercial Property.
Miss Georgina Donnellan  photo Miss Georgina Donnellan Solicitor specialising in Wills, Trusts, Probate, Inheritance Tax and Estate Planning, Powers…
Mr Malcolm Hemmings-Portas  photo Mr Malcolm Hemmings-Portas Associate with broad experience dealing with a range of aspects of Commercial…
Ms Attia Hussain  photo Ms Attia Hussain Senior Associate, Advocate (Higher Courts Civil Proceedings), Family and Children Law Specialist…
Mrs Janet Martland  photo Mrs Janet Martland Solicitor specialising in Family and Children Law, in particular representing parents and…
Mrs Sharon Montgomery  photo Mrs Sharon Montgomery Partner, dealing with problems or issues that result from the breakdown of…
Mr Tahir Nisar  photo Mr Tahir Nisar Senior Associate specialising in Estate Administration, preparation of Wills and LPAs, Court…
Mr Manish Patel  photo Mr Manish Patel Senior Associate specialising in all aspects of residential and commercial conveyancing, including…
Mrs Danielle Peters  photo Mrs Danielle Peters Head of Family Department and Partner, specialising in all issues on relationship…
Mr Michael Scutt  photo Mr Michael Scutt Partner and Head of Department specialising in employment law for both small…
Miss Katie Smits  photo Miss Katie Smits NQ solicitor specialising in Wills, Trusts, Probate and Residential and Commercial Property.
Mrs Vasoula Televantos  photo Mrs Vasoula Televantos Associate Solicitor, providing advice in all aspects of residential property, acting for both…
Mrs Bonnie Twiggs  photo Mrs Bonnie Twiggs Partner and Head of Commercial Department, specialising in all aspects of residential…
Mrs Samantha Webb  photo Mrs Samantha Webb Partner with a breadth of experience in Private Client work, including Court…
Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP)
Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE)
Law Society

TESTIMONIAL: We have been very happy with the service from Crane and Staples. They have been supportive, efficient and provide a personal touch that makes them a bit different from the competition.

TESTIMONIAL: You and your colleagues have helped ensure that the process has been smooth and stress free and we are extremely appreciative of your support.

TESTIMONIAL: Very professional and efficient at all times. We were very happy with the service and would happily promote you to friends and family.

TESTIMONIAL: I deal with a lot of solicitors due to FTSE 100 / Big Four employment and the service from Crane & Staples was as good as, or better than all the large City firms. Will definitely use again and recommend.

TESTIMONIAL: This was the first time I had used a Solicitor in my life, due to their expertise, tenacity and support a horrendous situation was made bearable and had a huge positive impact on my family’s life. I would recommend Crane & Staples Solicitors and their professional links wholeheartedly specifically Danielle Peters.

TESTIMONIAL: The Residential Property Team at C&S looked after my interests extremely diligently over the past year and more in both my buying and selling processes – courteous, pleasant and highly responsive, I have no hesitation in recommending C&S!

TESTIMONIAL: The best team I’ve had the pleasure of using in years. 10 out of 10!

TESTIMONIAL: Thank you for your excellent service and the empathy you have shown towards us during this difficult situation.

TESTIMONIAL: Bonnie helped me with the Ground Rent Review Assistance Scheme – kept me up to date on progress, super responsive and very good value. Highly recommended.

TESTIMONIAL: Tahir Nasir dealt with my mother’s estate in a very professional and efficient manner. Have used Crane and Staples a number of times and would not hesitate will use them again as required.

TESTIMONIAL: Sincere thanks for providing our company with reliable assistance and excellent service which allows us to fulfil commitments, deadlines and high expectations for our valued clients throughout the year.

TESTIMONIAL: Recently sold and bought house in pandemic using Crane & Staples for conveyancing. I have used them previously for transferring the title on my property and will continue to use them, even though living many miles from Welwyn Garden City! I was extremely impressed by the high level of service I received from Tom Axon. He was very efficient and professional throughout and kept me well informed at each stage during the process. I would highly recommend Tom and Crane & Staples for their excellent work.

TESTIMONIAL: My family and I recently used Crane and Staples to help with a legal matter concerning a property. They were extremely professional and proactive, and I would definitely advise others to use their services.

TESTIMONIAL: May I take the opportunity to thank you for your excellent service which has been friendly, efficient, and attentive to our needs. We have much appreciated your advice.

TESTIMONIAL: I would not only like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your professional handling of my situation but also your kind and compassionate approach during this time. The patience and ease with which you explained the legal system made it easy for me to understand throughout the whole process. Thank you again and I would certainly recommend your services.

TESTIMONIAL: I would highly recommend this company for conveyancing work and we have also found them to be very helpful with wills and power of attorney.

TESTIMONIAL: I want to say a big thank you to you. Thank you for all the work that you do to safeguard children. Wow, my grandchildren are so lucky to have you as the appointed guardian solicitor with all your knowledge. Also, thank you for helping me understand the court proceedings. I am really grateful.

TESTIMONIAL: I thought the service was excellent. The advice received was clear and concise and took the stress out of what had been a very stressful experience, I was able to make confident decisions and bring the matter to a speedy resolution.

TESTIMONIAL: I recently worked with Miss Smits and Mr Patel regarding a house purchase. They both provided a professional and efficient service and ensured all my queries were answered in a timely manner. The entire process was completed with ease and I would most definitely use them again.

TESTIMONIAL: I received truly excellent service from Michael Scutt at Crane & Staples. He was extremely professional but also personable, explaining everything to me in terms I could easily understand. I really felt like he was on my side. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking for an excellent law firm. Thank you, Michael and the C&S team!

TESTIMONIAL: I needed an employment law specialist quickly and Crane and Staples stepped up to the mark with practical and pragmatic advise.

TESTIMONIAL: I have used Crane and Staples solicitors for over 30 Years. Recently I had to employ them to administer an estate and produce mine and my wife’s wills. They did both with total professionalism and courtesy, it was a trying and difficult time for us as a family and they understood this. The charges were reasonable. But most important the service was excellent and second to none, we were kept informed every step of the way. I will continue to use Crane and Staples as my preferred solicitor in the future.

TESTIMONIAL: I have to say that I think you have been absolutely superb on both my transactions and I do get asked all the time, being a solicitor myself, for conveyancing and property recommendations so you should be top of my list!

TESTIMONIAL: I have known Michael Scutt, a Solicitor at Crane & Staples, for over 20 years! and it is my pleasure to be able to say that he is a total gentleman and very proficient and professional at ALL that he does within the Litigation fields that he specializes in.

TESTIMONIAL: I cannot recommend Tom Axon highly enough. We began to relocate in February and have never found ourselves wanting for guidance or information. All parties involved with either purchasing or selling our house have also remarked on his efficiency, clarity and attention to detail. Tom supported us during the current pandemic when other firms seemed to have shut down. We are very aware of how lucky we have been with Crane & Staples and have been more than delighted with the expertise Tom has shown. We will continue to use Crane & Staples in the future and will ask specifically for Tom.

TESTIMONIAL: I am writing to thank you very much for the efficient manner in which you handled my sale. I am particularly grateful for the patient way you listened and gave me the benefit of your experience and advice. I was always able to feel that I had somebody ‘on my side’ with whom I could share my thoughts and that was of great value to me.

TESTIMONIAL: Highly recommend this company especially Attia Hussain thoroughly helpful compassionate and consideration in my case at a very emotional stressful time for me but Attia kept me calm and focused thanks Attia Hussain for all your help.

TESTIMONIAL: Heather Charles-Wall and her team carried out most efficiently and dealt with all our queries. Tracey Fenner handled many of the queries we raised and dealt with them quickly by email or telephone.

TESTIMONIAL: Great service, very happy with the outcome. Smooth, polite and felt that my needs and concerns were being met at all times. We are very pleased with your service.

TESTIMONIAL: Georgina’s knowledge and expertise in the areas of Wills, Probate and LPAs is outstanding. At all times, Georgina is professional and polite, yet personable too. From our first meeting to our last appointment (over nearly a year), Georgina was always prepared, helpful and efficient. I can highly commend her legal services. Georgina’s achievement of the Hertfordshire Law Society’s ‘Junior Lawyer of the Year’ Award Winner 2019 is very well deserved.

TESTIMONIAL: From all my dealings with conveyancing solicitors, there is only one person who consistently excels. Manish Patel always provides good communication, integrity, research, and judgement when called upon. He is the most proactive solicitor I have ever dealt with. Highly recommended.

TESTIMONIAL: First class responsive, supportive & professional service from start to finish of dealings with Mr Nisar – highly recommended.

TESTIMONIAL: Fantastic from day one. Tom and his team just dealt with everything, my move was hassle free, very professional service, I have absolutely no hesitation recommending Crane and Staples to friends or relatives, actually you want an easy move, give them a call.

TESTIMONIAL: Excellent solicitors have really helped me through the darkest time in my life. Great people and do their job spectacularly! Very happy and very confident with these fighting my corner.

TESTIMONIAL: Crane and Staples were fantastic in handling our first home purchase. Tom Axon and Sara Dobson were brilliant, answering emails in a timely manner and always on hand with spot on advice. Thank you for making the process so easy!

TESTIMONIAL: Chris Brewis and Tracey Fenner provided a FIRST-CLASS SERVICE – attentive to detail, careful, professional, knowledgeable, friendly and supportive, and above all they understood the transaction, its important points and its risks. They made sure it was carried out successfully.

TESTIMONIAL: Chris Brewis and his team were 100% excellent in dealing with matters. Fantastic service and a pleasure to work with and deal with. Keep up the good work!

TESTIMONIAL: Amazing, friendly staff.

Crane & Staples LLP is committed to promoting equality and diversity and eliminating discrimination in its own policies, practices and procedures and in those areas in which it has influence. The Firm has joined the Law Society Equality & Diversity Section and hopes soon to be signing the Charter. Our Equality and Diversity Policy is available on request.

Our Commitment to Diversity

Crane & Staples LLP champions diversity in the workplace.

We employ the most ambitious staff members and are keen to nurture developing talent. We adhere to a diversity policy to ensure we never discriminate based on gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability or social background. This applies to clients and contacts as well as our own staff and hiring practices.

Many of our employees come from local state schools. We also have strong links with the University of Hertfordshire and frequently recruit students and graduates from this university, many of whom join us as assistants and trainees and progress to more senior positions in the firm.

Four of our seven partners are women and 68% of all our lawyers are women, exceeding the national average of 48%. We are passionate about encouraging women in the legal profession and some of our team are involved in women-only networking groups and the Women in Family Law Group.

Additionally, members of the BAME community are represented across the firm and all three of our Senior Associates are from BAME backgrounds. Both Manish Patel and Attia Hussain were finalists at the national Asian Legal Awards in 2019 and four of our staff are members of the Society of Asian Lawyers.

We are proud to employ a multi-generational workforce, utilising the skills, talents and experience of all our employees. Our lawyers have a combined experience of over 350 years and all members of the team benefit from their breadth of knowledge and expertise. We were delighted that Georgina Donnellan won Hertfordshire Law Society’s Junior Lawyer of the Year in 2019. Many of our junior staff are members of the Hertfordshire Junior Lawyers Division.

Our role in the community

Over eighty years, we have cemented an excellent reputation with local individuals, families and businesses.

Some of our activities from the last year include:

· Supporting charitable causes like the Great Legal Bake, the Great Legal Walk and Mental Health Awareness Week;

· Sponsorship of local business events such as the Best Business Women Awards;

· Regularly volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Response to the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic presented lots of challenge and we wanted to do our best to help our clients and businesses in the community.

We ensured we were always available to clients when they needed us, by promoting online contact methods and social media, and implementing a 24/7 telephone service.

We regularly attended online meetings hosted by the Welwyn Garden City Business Improvement District and local council, so we were aware of the procedures in our town centre and could offer our help.

We are also part of the Hertfordshire Covid-19 Business Support Group.

Please contact our Equality and Diversity Partner, Sharon Montgomery, if you require more information.