The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Ashtons Legal

WATERFRONT HOUSE, WHERRY QUAY, IPSWICH, IP4 1AS, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 01473 232425
Fax:
Fax 01473 230505
DX:
3221 IPSWICH
Email:
Web:
www.ashtonslegal.co.uk

East Anglia: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge
Corporate and commercial: Cambridge - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

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.

Other key lawyers:John Yatchisin; Paul Mitchell

Key Clients

Cosworth Group

Thyngs

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

[back to top]

Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in East Anglia
Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in East Anglia - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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

Thyngs

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

 

Work highlights

  • Advised on the acquisition of the business and assets of Attwoods Manor Nursing Home, and the acquisition of adjoining land and overage agreements.
  • Handled the sale of the entire issued share capital of Haughcare Ltd to OHI UK Healthcare Properties Ltd and associated sale of operating business to Healthcare Homes Group Ltd.

[back to top]

Corporate and commercial: Ipswich
Corporate and commercial: Ipswich - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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:Paul Whittingham

Testimonials

'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

Thyngs

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

Work highlights

  • Acquisition of business and assets of Attwoods Manor Nursing Home, and the acquisition of adjoining land and overage agreements.
  • Sale of entire issued share capital of Haughcare Ltd to OHI UK Healthcare Properties Ltd and associated sale of operating business to Healthcare Homes Group Ltd.
  • Sale of shares in AB Plant Shipping Limited.
  • Advising on an MBO with in excess of 30 employees joining the MBO team.
Leading individuals

Paul Whittingham - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Corporate and commercial: Norwich
Corporate and commercial: Norwich - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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.

Other key lawyers:James Tarling; Mark Watson; John Chambers; Damian Humphrey

Testimonials

'This particular team works well together. They are able to pick up and deal with questions etc if the usual member of the team who we usually deal with is away. All tasks have been undertaken in a very timely, efficient manner and we would have no hesitation in recommending this team.'

'Mark Watson has been excellent whenever dealing with the needs of our company. He has not only done the corporate work for us but undertook to liaise with the other teams within the practice. He ensured that each team knew their tasks and ensured that everything was completed on time. He kept us informed through the whole process - he is a true asset to Ashtons Legal.

Key Clients

Cosworth Group

Thyngs

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

TaxAssist Accountants

Easygym

CeX

Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries

Bubbleology

Signs Express

Water Babies

Flip Out

Tossed

Caremark

Work highlights

  • Advising Thyngs Ltd in relation to various equity investment transactions including an oversubscribed crowdfunding fund raise via Crowdcube.
  • Ashtons advised on the UK legal aspects of the sale of engineering and manufacturing company SlimDril Holdings, Inc. to a trade customer in Holland.
  • Advising Signs Express in respect of MBO of Norwich based Signs Express a leading nationally franchised sign business with a turnover in excess of £23m.
  • Advising innovative tech company on a $4m series A funding round with US investors.

  • Ashtons advised on the UK legal aspects of the $45m sale of an international software company to private equity buyers in the US.
Leading individuals

Damian Humphrey - Ashtons Legal

James Tarling - Ashtons Legal

John Chambers - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

East Anglia: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Cambridge
Commercial litigation: Cambridge - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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

Key Clients

The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Work highlights

  • We act for the founder member of and investors in a timeshare resort with 116 apartments in Gran Canaria, Spain in the defence of a claim brought by the trustee company in respect of a Spanish tax bill of circa €2.5m, which is proceeding in the High Court.
  • We act for a landowners in respect of a dispute with another land owner over the sale of jointly-owned development land to a national housebuilder.
Leading individuals

Michael Frape - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in East Anglia
Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in East Anglia - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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'.

Other key lawyers:Mark Merriam; Annabel Mayer

Testimonials

'They work well on furthering their client's interests whilst retaining a high degree of objectivity and understanding of what is achievable and what is not achievable.'

'Mark Merriam has the rare combination of good sense, good knowledge of the law and a real insight into the matters he deals with.'

Key Clients

The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

[back to top]

Commercial litigation: Norwich
Commercial litigation: Norwich - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

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.

Other key lawyers:Tom Bailey

Key Clients

The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Recovery of significant sums relating to the provision of technical services and personnel.
  • Technically complex dispute on behalf of a client relating to the provision of faulty technical safety equipment to oil and gas rigs.
  • Representing client in a claim and counter-claim in arbitration proceedings regarding the provision of manufacturing services to our client in China.
Leading individuals

Tom Bailey - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

East Anglia: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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

Testimonials

"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

Work highlights

  • Representing Handelsbanken plc in connection with completing security - which comprised legal charges over a business park in Cambridgeshire and self-storage facilities in Wisbech and Dereham plus a Debenture, personal guarantee and inter-company composite guarantee - for the re-financing of one of its investor customers.
  • Representing Handelsbanken in connection with security for the re-financing of one of its hotelier customers.
  • Acting for Handelsbanken in connection with the refinancing of one of its investor customers, in which the securities comprised legal charges over a retail investment in St Neots, Cambridgeshire and two residential properties, plus personal guarantees.
  • Representing Handelsbanken in connection with funding to a syndicate of investors to finance the construction of a new unit on a business park in south Cambridgeshire and the buying out of an outgoing member of the syndicate.
  • Representing HSBC Bank plc in connection with the re-financing of an agricultural sector customer, in which security comprised legal charges over its factory site and a restaurant investment in Norfolk and we also completed a deed of priority with a group company.
Leading individuals

Ron Clare - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

East Anglia: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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:Colin Makin; Claire Sleep

Testimonials

"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

Work highlights

  • Ashtons acted for 19 employees in Employment Tribunal claims against their ex-employer for a protective award due to failure to collectively consult in a whole-site redundancy, statutory redundancy payments, wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal, gaining a successful judgment for all employees.

[back to top]

East Anglia: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant
Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 1

Ashtons Legal

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.

Practice head(s):Sandra Patton

Other key lawyers:Tom Cook; Sharon Allison; Ben Ward; Julie Crossley

Work highlights

  • Sandra Patton is handling a multimillion-pound claim for alleged negligence when a hospital sent a mother home when she was in labour, which resulted in the baby sustaining hypoxic brain injury.
Leading individuals

Sandra Patton - Ashtons Legal

Sharon Allison - Ashtons Legal

Tom Cook - Ashtons Legal

Rising stars

Ben Ward - Ashtons Legal

Julie Crossley - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Personal injury: claimant
Personal injury: claimant - ranked: tier 1

Ashtons Legal

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

Other key lawyers:Hannah Clarke; Michael Wangermann; Tom Ranson; Siobhan Thacker; Mick Upton

Testimonials

Experienced asbestos disease team in a region that perhaps lacks depth in this area.

Phoebe Osborne - very experienced in asbestos claims - very conscientious - will go the extra mile.

 

Leading individuals

Hannah Clarke - Ashtons Legal

Richard Foyster - Ashtons Legal

Rising stars

Mick Upton - Ashtons Legal

Siobhan Thacker - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

East Anglia: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 1

Ashtons Legal

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:Jeanette Dennis; Simon Cunningham; Rebecca Gatens

Testimonials

"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."

Work highlights

  • A Cambridge college owning property in East Anglia had, since the 1950s, granted various written and unwritten tenancies to a farming family, and on the death of the surviving tenant we were instructed to serve a case G notice to quit.
  • Instructed in a number of applications to the Land Registry for voluntary registration of unregistered land.
  • Sale of approx. 120 acres of land in Mid Suffolk with residential properties, farm buildings and commercial buildings.
  • Instructed by various lenders including Clydesdale, Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest, AMC, HSBC and AFP  with regards to finance offered to agricultural clients.
  • Acting for landowners in connection with complex overage agreements, option and promotion agreements.
Leading individuals

Jeanette Dennis - Ashtons Legal

Jonathan Long - Ashtons Legal

Simon Cunningham - Ashtons Legal

Rising stars

Rebecca Gatens - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

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

[back to top]

Family
Family - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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:Mary Pearce; Francesca Easter

Leading individuals

Mary Pearce - Ashtons Legal

Stephen Williams - Ashtons Legal

Rising stars

Francesca Easter - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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

Testimonials

'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.'

Leading individuals

Jennie Pratt - Ashtons Legal

Lynn Wicks - Ashtons Legal

Rising stars

Christina Duck - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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.

Other key lawyers:Janette Wand; Louise Cardwell

[back to top]

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

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'.

Other key lawyers:Louisa Bradberry

Testimonials

"The relationship I have with my Ashtons team is much more calm and relaxed than I have been used to with other firms that have been driven with anxiety and aggressive competitiveness."

"I have developed a sense of deep trust with this firm which only comes with honesty, openness and clear communications. Ashtons has managed to make me feel like I am part of the team rather than just another fee paying client."

"Dealing with a family death and the subsequent estate organisation and probate from Canada has been made easier by the firm's professional and personal management style. I could not have done this without them."

"I would highly recommend Louisa Bradberry. In difficult times it doesn't get any better than this between client and solicitor."

"Working with Ashtons Legal was a pleasant and efficient experience, and the staff across the board were polite, professional and welcoming. The solicitors we dealt with were very likeable and professional people who appeared to be keen to do the best for us."

"Louisa Bradberry was patient and was happy to answer our questions even when we revisited previously discussed matters. I would say that she had a great ability to relate to us as individuals and patiently work through our needs."

[back to top]

Personal tax, trusts and probate: elsewhere in East Anglia
Personal tax, trusts and probate: elsewhere in East Anglia - ranked: tier 1

Ashtons Legal

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

Leading individuals

Alan Brown - Ashtons Legal

Matthew Cameron - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

East Anglia: Real estate

Commercial property: Cambridge
Commercial property: Cambridge - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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.

Other key lawyers:Magnus McManus; Charlotte Vallins; Sophie McCadney; Rhian Brook; Jenny Lewis

Testimonials

"They are readily approachable and deal with matters promptly and professionally."

"Their knowledge and experience is second to none."

Key Clients

Emmanuel College

Savills (UK) Limited

NIAB

Flip Out Limited

Castlemeadow Group

Abel Homes

Pretoria

This Land Development Limited

Beaumont City LLP

Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust

Work highlights

  • Handling the £32.5m purchase of a mixed-use (retail and office) multi-let building in central Cambridge for a Cambridge College.
  • Advising Emmanuel College on the £2.85m auction sale of the freehold reversion of a mixed use (retail/office/residential), multi-let parade of shops in Sutton Coldfield – eventually sold by private treaty prior to the auction.
  • The Cambridge commercial property team advises Savills (UK) Limited on its entire England and Wales occupied portfolio.
  • Acting on various property development matters for Castlemeadow Group, including the £16.4m purchase of a former chemical depot.
  • Ashtons Legal acts for Abel Homes on all of their residential development projects from the initial strategic land acquisition (option agreements, conditional contracts, easements) to planning stages and financing the site, dealing with their infrastructure agreements/other matters that arise in the course of development and then eventually selling the plots.
Leading individuals

Magnus McManus - Ashtons Legal

Rising stars

Charlotte Vallins - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia
Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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.

Other key lawyers:Ron Clare; Katie Noble

Testimonials

"The Ashtons Legal team across both the Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds offices provides an exceptionally comprehensive legal service on a number of matters. Their responses are timely, considered and invaluable to our business."

"My contact at Ashtons Legal was associate Katie Noble, and she was efficient, helpful and prepared to go that extra mile to ensure that the advice she gave was clear, that the paperwork was assessed and processed quickly, and that the office move went smoothly."

"Katie Noble was friendly, professional and gave clear advice throughout. This meant that the process of moving my business out of the premises where it had been based since it was formed twenty years ago into a new office unit went smoothly and that I didn't need to worry."

"They communicate well within the firm, which is essential if anyone is out of the office or a colleague is better suited for a particular task. It ensures that clients aren't kept waiting unnecessarily."

"Katie Noble is exceptional and very thorough which is what I value the most. I know that she has my best interests in mind and I trust her wholeheartedly to act on my behalf."

Key Clients

Emmanuel College

Savills (UK) Limited

NIAB

Flip Out Limited

Castlemeadow Group

Abel Homes

Pretoria

This Land Development Limited

Beaumont City LLP

Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust

Work highlights

  • Handling for Abel Homes Limited the £1.34m sale of 14 affordable housing plots forming part of a larger development at Mattishall, Norfolk.

[back to top]

Commercial property: Ipswich
Commercial property: Ipswich - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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

Testimonials

"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

NIAB

Flip Out Limited

Castlemeadow Group

Abel Homes

Pretoria

This Land Development Limited

Beaumont City LLP

Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust

Work highlights

  • The Ashtons Legal real estate team act for Flip Out Limited on all of its property related matters, working closely with the franchising team to ensure all property documents dovetail with the franchise agreements.
Leading individuals

James Griffiths - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Commercial property: Norwich
Commercial property: Norwich - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

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

Testimonials

"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."

[back to top]

Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

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

Rising stars

Sarah Duncan - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Environment & planning
Environment & planning - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

'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

Testimonials

"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

Work highlights

  • Following the departure of the council’s planning lawyer, we were approached to take on all their section 106 agreement and advisory work arising therefrom.
  • This matter began as a standard section 106 agreement and rapidly developed into a complex matter and in particular how the local authority should go about its decision-making.
  • Ashtons Legal currently does all the work for Arbora on section 106 agreements.
  • An appeal against refusal of planning permission followed by a public inquiry.
  • Ashtons Legal has been providing advice and support to a Town Council on the procurement and development of a new cemetery.
Leading individuals

Bob McGeady - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]

Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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

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

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of a bank in relation to a secured loan facility of £1.3m entered for the development of an anaerobic digestion plant in Herefordshire and following the failure of the borrower and its guarantors to make repayments due under the loan agreements.
  • We act for land owners in respect of a dispute with another land owner over the sale of jointly-owned development land to a national housebuilder relating to the legal meaning and effect of complex development and related agreements.
  • The Cambridge Commercial Property team advises Savills (UK) Limited on its entire England and Wales occupied portfolio, largely in relation to landlord and tenant matters, break notices, lease renewals, dilapidation claims, property management in relation to sub-tenants and under-tenants.
  • The Property Litigation team act for Flip Out Limited on all of its property related matters, we work closely with the Ashtons Franchising team and Ashtons Legal Commercial Property team to ensure a full service when problems arise in relation to the Flip Out leasehold portfolio.
  • Complex breach of mortgage case following fraud of borrower (wife) and borrower’s husband to secure property in wife’s sole name.

[back to top]

East Anglia: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

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

Ubisend

Thyngs

Medical Management Systems

Digital Fuel Marketing

Cambridge Building Society

GB Inspections

Bowmonk

Cambridge Satchel Company

Content Consultants

Sentronics

Work highlights

  • Advising Ubisend, a leading provider of AI powered chatbots and other AI technologies, on its key contracts, including machine learning and reseller agreements.
  • Advising Thyngs Ltd in relation to various equity investment transactions including an oversubscribed crowdfunding fundraising via Crowdcube.
  • Advising a leading provider of electronic healthcare management systems on drafting negotiating bespoke contracts with key customers; software licensing issues; data protection compliance.
  • Advising Digital Fuel Marketing, an international digital marketing agency, on its contracts for its affiliate marketing networks, data protection compliance, and master services agreement for digital marketing.

[back to top]

East Anglia: Transport

Transport and shipping
Transport and shipping - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

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:Tim Norris

Testimonials

"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

Freightroute

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

Freightroute

Severn Trent

Work highlights

  • Tim Ridyard is acting for a large international shipping and transport group in relation to the restructuring of companies and consequential operator licensing issues including new applications.
  • Tim Ridyard is advising a national food and drink PLC on operator licensing and environmental objections relating to site parking, which involves representation before the Traffic Commissioner at Public Inquiry.
  • The firm is acting for a large national chilled goods operator in regard to emergency operator’s licence application and securing expedited grant of same.
  • The firm is representing an international import/export business at a Traffic Commissioner Public Inquiry in relation to major drivers hours’ investigation of fleet and all drivers.
  • The firm is advising a heavy haulage and waste operator on operator licence applications to increase its fleet and advising with regard to interpretation issues in regulations for heavy haulage operations.
Leading individuals

Tim Ridyard - Ashtons Legal

[back to top]


Further information on Ashtons Legal

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Ashtons Legal in other jurisdictions.

East Anglia

Offices in Bury St Edmunds IP31, Cambridge CB5, Norwich NR7, Ipswich IP4, and Thetford IP24

London

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Court of Justice rules on source of income for Derivative Residence applications

    On 2 October 2019, the Court of Justice delivered its judgment in Bajratari v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Directive 2004/38/EC) Case C-93/18 which concerns Chen applications and the source of funds for self-sufficiency. 
  • End of the ‚Äėcentre of life test‚Äô in Surinder Singh cases?

    In the recent case of¬† ZA (Reg 9. EEA Regs; abuse of rights) Afghanistan ¬† [2019] UKUT 281 (IAC ), the Upper Tribunal found that there is no basis in EU law for the centre of life test, as set out in Regulation 9(3)(a) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (the ‚ÄúRegulations‚ÄĚ). It further found that it is not to be applied when Judges assess ¬†Surinder Singh ¬†cases that appear before them.
  • Terms of employment as a sole representative

    In this article we examine the working arrangements of sole representatives, looking at the terms and conditions of employment that the Home Office will expect a sole representative to have in order to qualify as a representative of an overseas business.  
  • Can Sole Representatives Be Shareholders?

    The Immigration Rules require that an applicant for a¬† sole representative visa ¬†is not ‚Äúa¬† majority shareholder in the overseas business‚ÄĚ.
  • Immigration Skills Charge - A Guide for Employers

    As a Sponsor, you may be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) each time you sponsor a migrant in the  Tier 2 General  or  Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Long-term Staff  subcategory.
  • 5 FAQS about paragraph 320(11)

    In applications for entry clearance where the applicant has a negative immigration history in the UK, the application may be refused under the general grounds for refusal, which are found in part 9 of the Immigration Rules. Where an applicant has ¬†‚Äėpreviously contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions of the Immigration Rules‚Äô,¬† the application could be refused under paragraph 320(11). In this post we look at five frequently asked questions about paragraph 320(11).¬†
  • Multiple nationality and multiple citizenship (including dual nationality and dual citizenship)

    British nationality law permits multiple nationality and multiple citizenship, including dual nationality and dual citizenship.
  • Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the Exceptional Talent or Promise Category

    The  Exceptional Talent  and Exceptional Promise categories are for individuals who are recognised leaders or emerging leaders in their field of expertise. There are a number of endorsing bodies for lots of different fields of work, including  artists and musicians ,  architects ,  digital experts ,  scientists  and  academics . While there isn’t an endorsing body for every expert, the growing list means that many individuals could enjoy the flexibility that this category has to offer. 
  • PARALLEL PROCEEDINGS ‚Äď CIVIL AND CRIMINAL

    Syedur Rahmanconsiders the factors that determine when civil proceedings can go ahead before,or at the same time as, criminal proceedings relating to the same circumstances.
  • Rights of appeal after the Immigration Act 2014

    The Immigration Act 2014 (‚Äúthe 2014 Act‚ÄĚ) reduced the circumstances in which the refusal of an immigration application will give rise to a right of appeal.¬†The¬† explanatory notes ¬†to the 2014 Act state that the Act was intended to restructure rights of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal. Previously, a right of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal existed against any of the 14 different immigration decisions listed in s.82 of the¬† Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 ¬†(‚Äúthe 2002 Act‚ÄĚ). As explained below, whether or not the refusal of an immigration application currently generates a right of appeal depends on the subject matter of the application rather than its categorisation.