Firm Profile > Ashtons Legal > Norwich NR7, England

Ashtons Legal

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

The well-established agriculture and estates practice at Ashtons Legal has three vastly experienced partners handling the affairs of farm businesses and landed estates. Practice head Jonathan Long, rural property expert Simon Cunningham and Jeanette Dennis, who has 29 years' experience in farming and estate management matters, are the key contacts. Their client base ranges from local to national owners and occupiers of small farms through to regional and national institutions covering thousands of acres, including several Cambridge Colleges.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Long

Other key lawyers:


“I have dealt with both Simon Cunningham and Jeanette Dennis and their knowledge and attention to detail has been first-class when assisting with bank security work ensuring our interests are protected.”

Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 1

At Ashtons Legal, injury services represent a core part of the firm's strategy and its large practice has a stellar track record in the highest-value and most complex cases of physical and psychological injury. Sandra Patton leads the medical injury team, which includes leading practitioners Tom Cook, who specialises in cerebral palsy and other complex and high-value birth or neonatal injury claims, and APIL senior litigator Sharon Allison, whose skills include advocacy at inquests. Rising star associates Ben Ward and Julie Crossley are also recommended.

Personal injury: claimant Tier 1

Ashtons Legal has a truly regional practice with experienced practitioners in many of its offices. Head of personal injury Richard Foyster leads the practice from the Ipswich office, where senior associate and APIL Senior Litigator Tom Ranson has more than 20 years' experience. In the Thetford office, key partner Hannah Clarke, senior associate Siobhan Thacker and highly regarded associate Mick Upton, who joined from Slater and Gordon, are the key contacts. Partner Michael Wangermann in Bury St Edmunds also plays a pivotal role in the practice. The firm is known for the quality of its client care, delivered partly through dedicated client liaison managers, and its stellar track record in complex cases involving, inter alia, serious brain injury, particularly in children, spinal injury, amputation and industrial disease.

Practice head(s):

Richard Foyster


‘An experienced asbestos disease team in a region that perhaps lacks depth in this area.’

‘Phoebe Osborne is very experienced in asbestos claims and very conscientious – she will go the extra mile.’

Personal tax, trusts and probate: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 1

Ashtons Legal's lifetime planning practice handles complex multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning and probate, notably for the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire professional, academic and agricultural communities. STEP member, deputy CEO and firm-wide head of individual services Alan Brown is the key partner in Bury St Edmunds and he is best known for his capital tax planning work, which includes acting for clients with foreign assets and non-UK domiciles. Matthew Cameron heads the firm’s French legal services team from Bury St Edmunds.

Practice head(s):

Alan Brown; Lynn Wicks

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Cameron; Chris Cumberbatch


‘The firm has many lawyers specialising in different fields so someone is always at hand to help with advice.’

‘Faye Stolls was quietly efficient throughout my dealings with wills and power of attorney, always answering questions diligently. I would certainly consult her again.’

Banking and finance Tier 2

Ashtons Legal focuses predominantly on advising lenders and is on numerous bank panels, though it is steadily extending its reach among major borrowers. The firm is 'a good regional practice with customer-facing partners and associates who are very capable and supportive'. Practice head Ron Clare is 'a man of high integrity'. The practice has specialist knowledge of secured lending, agricultural finance and corporate finance, with typical loan values between £2m and £12m. It has a strong client base in the industrial, retail warehousing, leisure and care homes sectors.

Practice head(s):

Ron Clare

Other key lawyers:

Jeanette Dennis; Geoff Hazlewood; Mark Watson


“Excellent communication and a common sense approach to transactions, as well as the ability to explain complicated transactions in understandable terms. Mark Watson, Ron Clare and David Sloman are personable and have successfully undertaken work for us within tight timescales.

“Mark Watson and Ron Clare are excellent solicitors who we have enjoyed working with on a number of transactions. Their technical skills are as good, if not better, than other firms.”

“A well-established professional banking arm of the wider solicitors practice. The main banking partner that we deal with tends to deal specifically on bank-related matters and hence there is no chance of conflicts of interest arising.”

“Ron Clare is very thorough and tends to keep us abreast of matters through the deal.”

“Geoff Hazlewood and his team and others such as Ron Clare are excellent. They are practical, very commercial and ensure risks are understood, but dealt with in a practical fashion that ensures deals actually get done.”

“Everyone at Ashtons works together as a team, so if there is a property element to the work, there is seamless liaison between the different areas.”

“The Bury St Edmunds team led by Ron Clare is excellent. It definitely has a ‘can-do’ attitude to get deals done.”

“Ron Clare is proactive and provides excellent commercial views.”

Key clients

NatWest Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc

Handelsbanken plc

Santander UK plc

Clydesdale Bank plc

Cambridge Building Society

Commercial litigation: Cambridge Tier 2

The commercial litigation practice at Ashtons Legal works through all of the firm's East Anglia offices but is led from Cambridge by highly experienced practice head Michael Frape. A qualified mediator, he handles complex and high-value commercial disputes for both public companies and private individuals, notably shareholder disputes, directors’ duties cases, warranty claims, partnership disputes, contractual matters and professional negligence claims. The firm counts Cambridge colleges, housebuilders, property developers and a major regional lender among its clients.

Practice head(s):

Michael Frape

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Maguire; Jessica Byrne


‘Always keen to understand what the business is trying to achieve and will invariably approach an assignment with enthusiasm and energy.’

‘The team make you feel like your business success is very important to them. Often they project themselves as being on your side.’

Key clients

The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Commercial litigation: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 2

Ashtons Legal in Bury St Edmunds has a very experienced consultant in Mark Merriam and a talented associate in Annabel Mayer who work closely with the firm's larger litigation teams in Cambridge and Norwich. Mayer, who handles property litigation and debt recovery alongside business disptues, handled a number of contract disputes in 2018 with values in excess of £1m. One client describes the practice as 'knowledgeable, pragmatic and very easy to deal with'.

Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 2

Ashtons Legal has 'an excellent team of lawyers who provide excellent proactive advice', according to one client. The commercial property practice is led from Ipswich but the Cambridge office houses substantial expertise in partner Magnus McManus, senior associates Charlotte Vallins, Sophie McCadney and Rhian Brook, and associate Jenny Lewis. Together, they act for numerous Cambridge colleges in high-value property transactions. The practice also handles work for a leading regional estate agent, advises on major property development projects across the region, and assists a leading regional lender with high-profile matters.

Commercial property: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 2

The Bury St Edmunds office of Ashtons Legal plays a pivotal role in the firm's region-wide commercial property practice, which acts for numerous Cambridge colleges and large estate agents, and handles portfolio management for major landowners. The firm's leading franchising practice also generates significant property matters. Ron Clare, who also handles finance and banking work, is the key local partner. He is also the lead lawyer for property matters for the firm's clients in the care home sector.

Commercial property: Ipswich Tier 2

Ashtons Legal has a large commercial property practice that operates across all of the firm's offices in East Anglia. James Griffiths is the lead partner in Ipswich for a practice that counts numerous Cambridge colleges, a regional estate agent, a major regional lender, large landowners and housebuilders, and substantial agricultural businesses among its clients. Griffiths leads the firm's portfolio management and property development work, as well as its support for the firm's leading franchising practice.

Practice head(s):

James Griffiths

Other key lawyers:

Simon Burnip; Alexandra Chater; Kimberly King


“The firm has good knowledge and is able to provide valuable insight into how to progress swiftly and efficiently.”

“The firm provided good communication and quick responses to questions, and genuinely looked out for our interests in reviewing contracts.”

“Ashtons is a strong regional and national firm which from my direct experience offers a comprehensive range of services and quality of staff, several of whom are exceptional and a pleasure to deal with. I find Ashtons personable, proactive and responsive.”

“James Griffiths has always been a standout member for me with commitment, diligence and a depth of knowledge as well as a personal touch, whether working with him directly or in his oversight of his team.”

“Over the last year, I have worked regularly over a diverse range of real estate matters with Alexandra Chater whom I would recommend to anyone. She is committed, diligent and proactive and also has a real commercial touch, enabling matters to sensibly progress where other firms may allow matters to stall or fail.”

“A friendly, professional, and highly accessible local firm with the strength in depth to provide a comprehensive service across many sectors.”

“I like its pragmatism and professionalism. Too often, lawyers only point out the risks and the reasons why not to do something. James Griffiths is excellent at also pointing out the solutions and the reasons for taking a particular course of action.”

“James Griffiths has an acute awareness of the commercial realities of his recommendations, which is a key aspect of why he is my preferred legal adviser.”

“The team has a very personal approach. We know that when we call to discuss something we can always talk through a situation amicably and proactively.”

“You never feel like you are going ‘into battle’. We value their honest approach to tackling every scenario.”

Key clients

Emmanuel College

Savills (UK) Limited


Flip Out Limited

Castlemeadow Group

Abel Homes


This Land Development Limited

Beaumont City LLP

Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 2

At Ashtons Legal, the corporate practice works as a single unit across all of the firm's regional offices, but key partner Geoff Hazlewood leads the practice from both Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. He is specialises in banking, M&A deals and transactions in the  care home sector. He draws on the expertise of partners across the office network who handle franchising matters, technology sector transactions and deals for veterinary practices.

Practice head(s):

Geoff Hazlewood

Key clients

Cosworth Group


TaxAssist Group

Signs Express

Comm-Tech Voice and Data / Conrad Global Group

Stow Healthcare Group Ltd (Formerly k/a Stowlangtoft Healthcare Group Ltd)

Medical Management Systems Ltd

Cambridge Building Society

Barenbrug UK Ltd

Recroot Ltd


Corporate and commercial: Ipswich Tier 2

Ashtons Legal now has two highly respected partners based full-time in its Ipswich office. Practice head Geoff Hazlewood and the vastly experienced Paul Whittingham both specialise in M&A transactions, with notable expertise in the care homes and veterinary sectors. The practice is handling a growing stream of high-value and complex transactions, and calls upon the firms highly regarded franchising and technology practices to assist franchised businesses and high-growth companies throughout East Anglia.

Practice head(s):

Geoff Hazlewood

Other key lawyers:


‘We have found Geoff Hazlewood and his team to be excellent. They are practical, very commercial and ensure risks are understood, but dealt with in a practical fashion that ensures deals actually get done.’

‘As a client, you feel reassured that Geoff has taken full ownership and will ensure everything is done well across the board.’

‘Geoff Hazlewood has excellent knowledge and always applies a very practical and commercial approach to all situations. This means work gets completed in a cost effective and timely fashion with minimal stress.’

‘A quality team who work well together and have a practical and very commercial approach. They don’t get into unnecessary detail, they focus on what matters to get a deal done as appropriate for the client’s attitude to risk. They’e also a very personable bunch.’

‘Geoff Hazlewood is consistently solid and dependable with excellent knowledge and a very commercial and sensible approach to his work.’

‘Paul Whittingham is a fountain of knowledge and excellent in front of clients and very reliable.’

‘Craig Fiddaman is a star of the future with an excellent attitude, very practical and clearly singing off the same hymn sheet as the other partners and lawyers in the tea and across the firm.’

‘They are down to earth; they have a practical nature with excellent knowledge and with a commercial approach, which means they’re a first choice team but with very strong individuals you can rely on.’

Key clients

Cosworth Group


TaxAssist Group

Signs Express

Comm-Tech Voice and Data / Conrad Global Group

Stow Healthcare Group Ltd (Formerly k/a Stowlangtoft Healthcare Group Ltd)

Medical Management Systems Ltd

Cambridge Building Society

Barenbrug UK Ltd

Recroot Ltd

Corporate and commercial: Norwich Tier 2

At Ashtons Legal, key partner James Tarling acts for a broad range of local businesses in corporate transactions, and has a specialist focus innovative high-growth technology companies. He is highly regarded for his advice on issues such as GDPR and regulatory compliance. The firm has a leading franchising practice in which John Chambers and Damian Humphrey are the driving forces. They act for both UK and overseas clients, and the firm is an adviser to around 15% of all domestic franchise networks.

Employment Tier 2

Ashtons Legal's employment practice is particularly strong in key industry sectors such as education, manufacturing, food and beverage, road transport, healthcare, and oil and gas. The firm also has a new HR consultancy for employer clients. It acts for employees in regard to transfers and terminations. The practice has an impressive client base that includes numerous Cambridge Colleges, as well as large regional and national businesses. Practice head Ross Strowger and partners Claire Sleep and Colin Makin are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Ross Strowger

Other key lawyers:


“It has an experienced litigation team, particularly in the field of TUPE.”

“I have worked with Colin Makin on a number of complex and high-value claims. He is highly efficient and and a tough litigator.”

“Claire Sleep and Carrie March respond to my requests very quickly with clear and easily understood advice. Some lawyers respond using very legalistic words that are hard to actually understand and I don’t find that with Claire and Carrie. I value their assistance enormously. They are extremely professional and practical.”

“Claire Sleep and Carrie March are approachable, professional, easily understood and quick to respond.”

“The firm provides straightforward, pragmatic and commercially-focused advice.”

“Colin Makin is my ‘go-to’ source of advice for employment matters. He is always a pleasure to deal with and gives robust, commercially sound advice.”

“The firm is always available and quick to respond with excellent succinct advice. It is a firm that grasps the commercial reality of the situation and offers pragmatic sensible advice

“Ross Strowger has an excellent understanding of the issues and always understands what we as the client want to achieve.”

“Jessica Piper has excellent depth of knowledge and delivers sound, pragmatic advice and always within the time frames that she promises.”

Key clients

Cosworth Group

Glenny LLP

Anglian Windows Limited t/a Anglian Home Improvements

Marshall Thermo King Limited t/a Marshall Fleet Solutions

Greene King PLC

Kettle Foods Limited

The Cambridge Building Society

Moores Refrigeration Controlled Transport Limited t/a MRCT

The Perse School

Clare College

OPPO Digital

Caremark Limited

Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust

Kudos Residential Limited (Hunters Estate Agents Franchisee)

Pretoria Energy Company Holdings Limited

Clarkes of Walsham

Environment & planning Tier 2

'The firm demonstrates a winning combination of expert knowledge with practical application to complex situations', remarks a client of Ashtons Legal. Consultant Bob McGeady no longer resides in the region but is a vital part of the planning team led by Cambridge-based partner Amy Richardson who joined from Howes Percival LLP in 2018. The firm frequently acts for local authorities, local residents, Parish Councils, developers and private landowners in matters including planning appeals and inquiries, planning agreements and applications, Certificates of Lawfulness, judicial reviews, affordable housing requirements and environmental impact assessments.

Practice head(s):

Bob McGeady; Amy Richardson


“Even the most urgent requests are responded to with characteristic efficiency and effectiveness. Ashtons Legal stands out for its expertise and depth of knowledge.”

“Bob McGeady has an encyclopaedic knowledge of planning and property law – he stands out for his expertise both in negotiations and contentious disputes.”

“Ashtons Legal has successfully dealt with two of three planning issues relating to one of my neighbours. The office is friendly, efficient and has truly dedicated staff.”

“Excellent support is provided to its consultant Bob McGeady. Ashtons Legal’s expertise is comprehensive and it has specialists in a vast array of fields.”

“I have used Ashtons Legal for many years and in its handling of the planning issues with my neighbour, I consider it to be outstanding.”

“I am indebted to Bob McGeady. I am a layman to planning, but Bob has guided me through its intricate maze. Without him I shudder at the thought of where I would have been. He has worked in local government and understands how it works.”

“Bob McGeady’s knowledge is deep. He is tenacious. He is extremely interested in his subject and obviously derives much satisfaction from it. He has frequently corrected my local authority planning department on information it has given out and related conclusions it has reached.”

“Bob McGeady’s communication style is clear and to the point and on many occasions he has allayed my worries and fears. He is brilliant and a huge credit to Ashtons Legal.”

Key clients

Ryedale District Council

Norfolk Land Developments

Arbora Homes

MS OAKES Limited

Brandon Town Council

Spixworth Parish Council

Jonathan Green

Lisa Mc Alpine

Godbold Turner Partnership

Godolphin Management Company Limited

E W Pepper Limited

Cambridge Housing Society Limited

Family Tier 2

Ashtons Legal has significant expertise in advising clients with very substantial assets and significant land and trust assets on family law matters, for which it is regarded as one of the best in East Anglia. Practice head Stephen Williams in Ipswich frequently handles family law matters with an international element for high-net-worth individuals, particularly those in the agricultural sector. Mary Pearce in Bury St Edmunds specialises in the financial aspects of breakdowns of marriages or cohabitation arrangements. Francesca Easter is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Williams

Other key lawyers:


‘Responsive, understanding and practical.’

‘This team is very professional, helpful and polite. They work well together. Communication between myself and the solicitor was excellent and I was regularly updated. If the solicitor was on leave then the secretary would update me. The atmosphere was good and staff seemed happy. At any level, they were all professional. They are knowledgeable.’

‘They are probably the market leaders in the area with considerable experience in the field and knowledge of how to put together a team with the expertise to deal with any case.’

‘Stephen Williams is practical and understanding; he has sound legal knowledge, is good with clients and manages the team well.’

‘Stephen Williams is exceptional with clients; clear, sensible and robust.’

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge Tier 2

Ashtons Legal handles complex multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning and probate matters, with a niche in French legal affairs. Among its clients are professionals, academics and agricultural families in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. It is also well known for its capability in the niche area of Vulnerable Client support and its Court of Protection case management team. Lynn Wicks leads the lifetime planning department and specialises in work for vulnerable and elderly clients. Jennie Pratt is a leading light for advice on wealth management and tax planning. Christina Duck is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Lynn Wicks

Other key lawyers:

Jennie Pratt; Christina Duck; Jack Burroughs


‘I think Ashtons Legal deliver tremendous strength in depth as a firm.’

‘I have always found the Cambridge team to be focused, efficient and very willing to assist. In all my dealings, I am kept fully informed as to the specific progress and the reasons for any delays.’

‘I have complete confidence in the team, and am more than happy to entrust my clients to them for their specialist knowledge and advice.’

‘Lynn Wicks and Jennie Pratt are also excellent, dealing with matters with clarity and knowledge and ensuring that client matters run smoothly at all times. With a working relationship of this nature, this level of reassurance is extremely comforting, giving me the confidence that all matters are being dealt with professionally and efficiently.’

‘Jennie Pratt’s knowledge and expertise is a given, and her empathetic bedside manner with clients enhances her approach. She is able to put over complex concepts simply putting clients at their ease. I can mirror the comments for Christina Duck.’

‘Lynn Wicks’ expertise is a given but her experience of later life care and her understanding and empathetic approach enhances the value of her advice and helps when delivering difficult news.’

‘The level of care and expertise and standards of dealing with clients are excellent and consistent. This compares with other firms where there is often a small number of leaders who can “leave behind” colleagues.’

‘Solicitor Jack Burroughs advised on estate planning and probate issues for mutual clients who are US citizens domiciled in the UK. It is a pleasure working with Jack and I believe we have both broadened our knowledge base as it relates to each country’s estate practice laws.’

‘I have always been impressed with paralegal Johanna Morrish – her communication is always prompt, timely and effective, and she is excellent at keeping me informed, acting as liaison with the partners and keeping everything moving.’

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich Tier 2

Ashtons Legal handles complex multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning and probate, with a particular niche in French legal affairs. Senior associates Janette Wand and Louise Cardwell are the key practitioners in Ipswich and they work closely with the deep bench of private client lawyers in the firm's other offices to advise on tax, estate planning, trusts, powers of attorney and probate. Both are members of STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly.

Property litigation Tier 2

The property disputes team at Ashtons Legal, which is led by senior associate Nigel Maguire who is a solicitor advocate and member of the Property Litigation Association, acts for 12 Cambridge colleges. It also has a strong practice in portfolio management, including landlord and tenant matters, for grant-making trusts and other landlords. Its market-leading franchising group also generates significant amounts of disputes. The firm also  provides strategic advice to developers in regard to adverse claims and interests, restrictive covenants, adverse possession and easement claims.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Maguire

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Byrne


‘The team has a broad experience of property matters from conveyancing to property litigation. They hold your hand through every step of the process. They are extremely diligent. They also have a specialty in agricultural property which is key for us as we are a specialist lender to agriculture.’

‘Nigel Maguire is one of the strongest lawyers with regard to agricultural property litigation. He has a broad knowledge of agricultural assets from land and basic wheeled assets to more complex renewable energy project assets. He is detail oriented and runs an litigation process flawlessly.’

Key clients

Cambridge Building Society

Savills PLC

Christ’s College, Cambridge

Churchill College, Cambridge

Clare College, Cambridge

Clare Hall, Cambridge

Corpus Christi, Cambridge

Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Hughes Hall, Cambridge

Jesus College, Cambridge Magdalene College, Cambridge

Newnham College, Cambridge

Pembroke College, Cambridge

St Catherine’s College, Cambridge

Wolfson College, Cambridge

Kings College, Cambridge

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Transport and shipping Tier 2

Two years ago, Ashtons Legal formed its regulatory practice, which focuses on road transport matters. It supports clients with both regulatory compliance and enforcement actions, as well as disciplinary matters. Among its clients are public listed companies, a major utility seeking niche advice, a national food and drink company, and a large construction company. Practice head Tim Ridyard is currently in a major truck cartel case, concerning the pricing of vehicles over a 14-year period. The practice also handles day-to-day advice on matters including trading standards, taxi licensing, data protection and police investigations. Specialist regulatory and road transport solicitor Tim Norris is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tim Ridyard

Other key lawyers:


“Ashtons Legal provides a professional and tailor-made service which recognises your individual legal requirements.”

“Both Tim Ridyard and Tim Norris have a great depth of knowledge, enabling them to offer sound advice and legal direction.”

“The firm has a knowledgeable team that is experienced within the industry.”

“Tim Norris has provided valuable advice in areas pertaining to our industry, offering practical advice with a friendly approachable manner.”

Key clients


Severn Trent

Moores Refrigeration Controlled Transport (MRCT)

Thomas Ridley & Son Ltd (Thomas Ridley Food Service)

Whites Transport Services Ltd

GMA Warehousing & Distribution Ltd

R Turner (Haulage) Ltd

Debach Enterprises

Panther Taxis

Goff Petroleum


Severn Trent

Commercial litigation: Norwich Tier 3

Ashtons Legal joins the rankings having recruited respected partner and barrister Tom Bailey from Steeles Law in 2018. Bailey acts for clients in the public, private and commercial sectors including local authorities and charities, and has a strong track record in heavyweight civil and commercial litigation from County Court level through to the Court of Appeal. He works closely as part of a four-partner practice across all of the firm's regional offices, which counts among its clients numerous Cambridge colleges and a leading regional building society.

Commercial property: Norwich Tier 3

Ashtons Legal joins the ranking this year having formed its commercial property practice in Norwich in early 2019. The firm hired Sally Challinor from an independent legal consultancy but she was formerly a director at Howes Percival LLP. The practice has quickly generated a flow of local work including a large lease deal in the sports and leisure sector and the sale of land to a major retail chain. One client praises the firm's 'clear and concise thinking and balanced views on complex technical and business issues, and its knowledgeable and understanding approach'.

Practice head(s):

Sally Challinor

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Harnett; Hannah Arnold


“The knowledge shown by each member of staff on their given subject is excellent. It has been incredibly important to build up a good working relationship with key members of staff and to see that the different teams work exceptionally well together.”

“All members of staff have provided a fast and efficient service.”

“The firm has excellent knowledge in a fast moving and technically advanced sector.”

Construction Tier 3

Ashtons Legal focuses on non-contentious construction work, supporting the property team with their development and finance work, as well as drafting building contracts and other professional team documents for large-scale projects involving. The firm has particular expertise in the education and charity sectors. Senior associate Sarah Duncan leads the practice and has significant experience in drafting and advising on procurement, building and development contracts.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Duncan

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Partner and ACTAPS member Polly Stephenson leads the inheritance disputes practice at Ashtons Legal in Ipswich, which handles contentious trusts, Inheritance Act 1975 claims, wills and probate disputes, kin enquiries and related professional negligence claims on behalf of executors and trustees, claimants and defendants. The firm's caseload ranges from small to multimillion-pound estates. Solicitor Bee Belby has a particular focus on cases for clients in the agricultural sector.

Practice head(s):

Polly Stephenson

Other key lawyers:

Bee Belby; Sam Lees

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 3

The bulk of the corporate and commercial practice at Ashtons Legal is outside Cambridge in the firm's other regional offices, yet the Cambridge office is involved in some substantial work. Senior associate John Yatchisin is the key lawyer and is supported by capable solicitors including Paul Mitchell for work that includes share sales and company acquisitions for SME clients.

IT and telecoms Tier 3

Ashtons Legal joins the ranking due to partner James Tarling's growing workload for clients in the technology sector. Tarling has more than 20 years’ experience in data protection and information law, and he also acts for companies in the automotive and motorsport industries and for clients providing IT services in the public and private healthcare sectors. Among his clients are start-ups and high-profile established businesses providing new technologies such as machine learning and near-field communications.

Practice head(s):

James Tarling

Key clients

Cosworth Group



Medical Management Systems

Digital Fuel Marketing

Cambridge Building Society

GB Inspections


Cambridge Satchel Company

Content Consultants


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich Tier 3

Ashtons Legal joins the ranking this year as it has a highly regarded solicitor in Norwich who works alongside the experienced partners in the firm's other regional offices, which includes a French legal services team and a Court of Protection practice. Louisa Bradberry is the local practitioner and one client remarks that she is 'extremely knowledgeable and has a real ability to explain complex matters in a way that clients understand'.

Court of protection Tier 3

Ashtons Legal deals with clients who have a mental incapacity for various reasons. It primarily acts for clients with complex needs and issues who have suffered a catastrophic acquired or birth-related brain injury. It also does some work for elderly clients. Adrian Mundell heads the team that acts as professional deputy for over 100 clients. In addition the department has a number of cases where it is supporting family members who are acting as lay deputy or where the team has been appointed as attorney or trustee.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Mundell


‘Very approachable. Good with clients and involved professionals.’

‘Adrian Mundell cares about his clients and always tries his best to provide the support required.’

‘The Court of Protection Team at Ashtons is extremely hands on, approachable and a safe pair of hands. They take a pragmatic approach with clients, and do their best to resolve issues swiftly.’

‘The fact that they are approachable, friendly and make themselves available is a great starting point. They take the time to listen to clients and their needs, and assist and guide them in their decision making processes.’

‘Paul Humphries and Adrian Mundell are excellent – they build up a good relationship and trust with clients who have suffered significant brain injuries.’

‘Adrian Mundell is extremely calm and collected and provides clients with great reassurance.’

‘Adrian Mundell and Paul Humphries have a great deal of experience and take a very practical approach to managing clients and the difficult issues that arise; they don’t go around the houses but provide clear advice and support.’

Franchising Tier 3

The dedicated practice at Ashtons Legal advises a range of national and international clients (primarily franchisors, master licenses and franchise developers) with particular expertise in assisting clients expand overseas. The group also assists with the establishment of their franchise models, franchise agreements issues and renewals, franchise resales and contentious work. Damian Humphrey heads up the department, which also includes consultant John Chambers and Tom Bailey, who focuses on contentious mandates. Clients include Easygym and Bubbleology; the team acted for the latter on the establishment and expansion of its UK franchise operations including its Waffleology brand.

Practice head(s):

Damian Humphrey

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

TaxAssist Accountants



Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries


Signs Express

Water Babies

Flip Out



Ashtons Legal is an award winning law firm with a strong focus on customer service. The legal teams provide a wide range of advice to businesses and private individuals regionally, nationally and internationally from offices across East Anglia.

Ashtons Legal has specialist lawyers ready to help clients with:

  • Agriculture and Estates
  • Commercial Property
  • Corporate and Commercial services
  • Construction
  • Dispute Resolution / Commercial Litigation
  • Employment law
  • Franchising
  • HR advice
  • Transport and Regulatory matters
  • Family law and Mediation
  • Private Client matters including Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts and Powers of Attorney
  • Residential Conveyancing
  • French Legal services
  • Inheritance Disputes
  • Clinical Negligence
  • Personal Injury
  • Industrial Disease claims
  • And more.

Ashtons Legal has been recognised by the Legal 500 and Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession for over 20 years. The Legal 500 has quoted sources saying Ashtons ‘provides a better service than most larger national firms and is a delight to work with’.

Department Name Email Telephone
Head of Corporate & Commercial Geoff Hazlewood 01284 727006
Head of Commercial Property James Griffiths 01473 261319
Head of Agriculture & Estates Jonathan Long 01284 727012
Head of Personal Tax, Trusts & Probate Lynn Wicks 01223 431091
Head of French Legal Services Matthew Cameron 01284 727016
Head of Commercial Litigation Michael Frape 01223 431127
Head of Personal Injury Richard Foyster 01473 261371
Head of Employment Law Ross Strowger 01603 703086
Head of Clinical Negligence Sandra Patton 01842 768736
Head of Family Law Stephen Williams 01473 261363
Head of Transport & Regulatory Law Tim Ridyard 01284 732111
Photo Name Position Profile
 Hannah Arnold  photo Hannah Arnold
 Tom Bailey  photo Tom Bailey
 Louisa Bradberry  photo Louisa Bradberry
 Sally Challinor  photo Sally Challinor
 John Chambers  photo John Chambers
 Simon Cunningham  photo Simon Cunningham
 Francesca Easter  photo Francesca Easter
 Vanessa Fitt  photo Vanessa Fitt
 Victoria Harnett  photo Victoria Harnett
 Damian Humphrey  photo Damian Humphrey
 Jessica Piper  photo Jessica Piper
 David Sloman  photo David Sloman
 Ross Strowger  photo Ross Strowger
 James Tarling  photo James Tarling
 Ben Ward  photo Ben Ward
 Mark Watson  photo Mark Watson
 Tracy Williamson  photo Tracy Williamson
Partners : 33
Senior Associates : 24
Associates : 9
Solicitors : 37
Paralegals : 21
Legal Executives : 14
Trainee Solicitors : 4
Solicitor Apprenticeship : 4
Employment Lawyers Association
REUNITE International
Law Society of England and Wales
Solicitors Regulation Authority
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
Association of Tax Technicians (ATT)
Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE)
Spinal Injuries Association (SIA)
Agricultural Law Association
Property Litigation Association
Freight Transport Association
Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS)
Institute of Logistics and Transport
Country Landowners Association
Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Solicitors
British Franchise Association
Qualified Franchise Professional
National Farmers Union