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Ashtons Legal

FAIRSTEAD HOUSE, 7 BURY ROAD, THETFORD, IP24 3PL, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 01842 752401
Fax:
Fax 01842 753555
DX:
124810 THETFORD-2
Email:
Web:
www.ashtonslegal.co.uk

East Anglia: Corporate and commercial

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

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal¬†has ‚Äėpractical lawyers who use common and commercial sense to make the work as easy and smooth as possible‚Äė and clients remark that it is ‚Äėup there with the best on a technical level‚Äė. Practice head Geoff Hazlewood¬†now works from the Ipswich office and clients remark that he is¬†‚Äėvery down-to-earth, which means he always ensures all parties understand what‚Äôs happening and why‚Äė. Paul Whittingham¬†(who is ‚Äėexcellent, always reassuring‚Äė)¬†specialises in¬†M&A and recently handled several transactions in the veterinary sector.¬†Hazlewood handled the ¬£1.4m sale of shares in Anders + Kern UK Ltd to AIM-Listed buyer Redstone Connect Plc, and advised buyers of shares worth ¬£4.65m in¬†Neway International Limited.

Leading individuals

Paul Whittingham - Ashtons Legal

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

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal¬†has a strong regional corporate and commercial practice that houses significant expertise and experience in its Norwich office.¬†James Tarling's clients are ‚Äėvery impressed¬†by his pragmatism in tough negotiations and his willingness to make himself available out of hours to meet clients‚Äô needs and keep the deal moving'. He¬†specialises in M&A deals in sectors such as food and beverage, technology and motorsport, and is knowledgeable in the area of data protection. He acted for directors of civil, structural and environmental engineering consultancy BHA Holdings Ltd in their MBO of the company, and advised the owner of Dingles Motor Group on his sale of the business. Consultant¬†John Chambers¬†leads one of the region‚Äôs most outstanding specialist franchising teams. He and¬†Damian Humphrey, who is ‚Äėknowledgeable on all aspects of franchising and related law', are highly recommended for advice to franchise businesses on corporate matters. Associate¬†Mark Watson, who handled the purchase of family entertainment park¬†Pettitts Animal Adventure Park on behalf of¬†Abbotts Leisure Parks, is also recommended.

Leading individuals

James Tarling - Ashtons Legal

John Chambers - Ashtons Legal

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

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal's corporate and commercial practice works across all of its offices in East Anglia, including Bury St Edmunds. The firm frequently handles transactional work for companies in the care homes industry, and the food and beverage industry. Geoff Hazlewood leads the practice and works from both Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. He 'considers and details all aspects of the position but whilst advising caution, he is not too risk-averse'.

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East Anglia: Dispute resolution

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

Ashtons Legal

The litigation practice at Ashtons Legal is 'highly experienced and client-focused'. Practice head Michael Frape is described as 'a pragmatic and experienced solicitor who is not afraid to tell the client how it is'. One barrister notes that he is 'a tenacious litigator, robust in opposition and realistic in advice'. The Cambridge office plays a central role in a dispute resolution practice that works as a single team across the firm's many regional offices, and which is highly respected for its work in contract and partnership disputes and contentious financial services matters. Frape, who is a qualified mediator, specialises in complex and high-value commercial disputes for clients ranging from public companies to private individuals, with a particular focus on shareholder disputes and directors’ duties, as well as a strong practice for warranty claims, partnership disputes, contractual claims, and professional negligence. He recently handled a shareholder dispute involving a mobile phone advertising company, and assisted a company in its pursuit of a claim against an external adviser concerning fees.

Leading individuals

Michael Frape - Ashtons Legal

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Commercial litigation: Norwich
Leading individuals

Tom Bailey - Ashton KCJ

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Commercial litigation: elsewhere in East Anglia
Commercial litigation: elsewhere in East Anglia - ranked: tier 1

Ashtons Legal

'A pragmatic firm with a willingness to help' is how one client describes Ashtons Legal in Bury St Edmunds. The office plays a key role in the broader litigation practice that acts as a single unit across the firm's many regional offices. Mark Merriam is the key contact and has more than 30 years' experience in commercial disputes. He recently acted for a company in the defence of a breach of contract claim in which the plaintiff sought substantial damages. He also advised a long-standing corporate client in a high-value claim relating to a share purchase agreement. Associate Annabel Mayer leads a niche practice that handles contentious matters on behalf of the owners and operators of care homes, which includes numerous instructions relating to regulatory compliance issues. Her recent work includes a high-value breach of contract claim, and a case arising from the transfer of company shares.

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East Anglia: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

Commercial property and secured lending expert Ron Clare¬†in Thetford leads the banking and finance team at Ashtons Legal, which is ‚Äėa very well respected and decent firm of solicitors'. The firm acts predominantly for lenders including NatWest Bank, HSBC Bank and¬†Svenska Handelsbanken.¬†Clare assisted Santander with a security package for a ¬£10m overdraft facility for a client in the retail sector.¬†'They are up there with the best in the area‚Äė, says one client, while another remarks upon a ‚Äėvery diligent and thorough team with good experience and knowledge which they bring to the fore‚Äė.¬†Clare and associate Scott Hilton¬†are¬†‚Äėvery approachable, thorough and prepared to work with clients to highlight any issues and provide options‚Äė. Agriculture finance specialist Jeanette Dennis¬†in Cambridge is ‚Äėvery thorough, approachable, well thought of and professional with an eye for detail‚Äė. Corporate partner¬†Geoff Hazlewood¬†also plays a role in the practice.

Leading individuals

Ron Clare - Ashtons Legal

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East Anglia: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal¬†has a ‚Äėflexible and commercial‚Äė employment practice that is best-known for its work in specific industry sectors including education, in which it acts for numerous¬†Cambridge Colleges, manufacturing, food and beverage, and oil and gas. The firm also has a¬†growing client base in the healthcare sector, and the addition of a regulatory team focused on road transport and logistics is generating employment law matters from that sector.¬†Ross Strowger¬†leads the practice from Norwich and last year he handled employment issues for Dingles Motor Group arising from the sale of its business.¬†In Cambridge,¬†Claire Sleep¬†is the key contact. With solicitor¬†Carrie March, she assisted St John's College School with a range of employment matters.¬†Associate¬†Colin Makin¬†in Ipswich is ‚Äėalways available and his knowledge of TUPE is exceptional; not only has he got outstanding employment law knowledge, but he also understands the commercial side of decisions made and is great fun to work with'.

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East Anglia: Insurance

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

Ashtons Legal

The 'tenacious' team at Ashtons Legal is 'extremely competent and keeps clients' interests foremost; it gives clients a distinct edge over other firms'. The firm has a stellar track record in the highest-value and most complex cases of physical and psychological injury. One on-going case is a claim under the Human Rights Act for the family of a teenager who took his own life after his GP recommended he be seen by mental health professionals within 24 hours, only for an NHS health trust to deem him not to be at significant risk. Sandra Patton leads the medical injury team and clients describe her as 'calm, efficient and thorough, whilst being very sensitive and thoughtful and extremely professional'. Her team is 'a pleasure to work with' and one client remarks that 'they are very bespoke, so no client will feel lost in a system, and they really care about outcome'. Leading light Sharon Allison, whose practice includes a focus on inquests and suicides arising from failures in the mental health service, is 'well prepared, diligent and hardworking; she drills into the detail of every case'. 'His experience and wisdom give him a reassuring presence in cases of the highest value', says a barrister of prominent partner Tom Cook. 'Very assiduous and very good with clients', says counsel of rising star associate Ben Ward who is 'a gifted analyst who can manage and run a complex case to a successful conclusion'. Also recommended are 'knowledgeable and efficient' associate Julie Crossley and 'thorough and diligent' rising star solicitor Sophie Bales, who is 'very good at dealing with expert evidence, and has an excellent grasp of the complexity of cases'.

Leading individuals

Sandra Patton - Ashtons Legal

Sharon Allison - Ashtons Legal

Tom Cook - Ashtons Legal

Next generation lawyers

Ben Ward - Ashtons Legal

Sophie Bales - Ashtons Legal

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

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal¬†‚Äėprovides a highly professional service to its clients and to the counsel it instructs;¬†its technical knowledge is amazing and it provides extremely good value for money'. 'A great firm - the best in the region', says one barrister. 'Very smart and very capable' head of personal injury¬†Richard Foyster¬†has ‚Äėan admirable grasp of the detail in a complicated task, and an empathy for his clients‚Äė. Hannah Clarke¬†(who is 'really switched on and proactive; she really cares about people and handles claims aggressively') and associate Siobhan McWhinney¬†make 'an impressive team; they are strong negotiators and know how to run a catastrophic injury claim'.¬†'The firm raises the bar in their level of service', according to one client who picks out 'absolutely fantastic' associate¬†and¬†APIL Senior Litigator¬†Tom Ranson¬†as¬†'the¬†star solicitor; he¬†is like a Grandmaster of the chess world - a great listener and brilliant tactician with a very good sense of honesty and integrity - and his level of expertise is second to none'. He has¬†more than 20 years' experience in personal injury litigation and 'bends over backwards to support clients' claims'.¬†Solicitor Phoebe Osborne¬†handles mesothelioma cases and a barrister notes that she is 'extremely thorough and fights her client‚Äôs corner very hard'. Partner¬†Michael Wangermann¬†is also recommended. The firm's highlights included securing ¬£2m for an elderly man¬†with a severe spinal cord injury.

Leading individuals

Hannah Clarke - Ashtons Legal

Richard Foyster - Ashtons Legal

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East Anglia: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 1

Ashtons Legal

‚ÄėA strong regional firm with a depth of experience and knowledge‚Äė,¬†Ashtons Legal¬†is ‚Äėvery good in every aspect and I would wholeheartedly recommend them for their expertise and professionalism‚Äė, says one client. Another describes ‚Äėa well-located and well-resourced private client-orientated firm with very strong competence in all areas of the law affecting farmers and landowners'. Practice head Jonathan Long¬†in Bury St Edmunds (who has 'unrivalled local knowledge and a clam, unflappable demeanour')¬†and Cambridge-based partner¬†Jeanette Dennis¬†are ‚Äėvery able practitioners with an abundance of experience to go with their obvious technical knowledge; both amply demonstrate how to apply that knowledge and experience in a private family context where care and attention is needed to add to professional capability'. They acted for¬†Suffolk Farming Family Partnership in the ¬£25m sale of land for development.¬†Dennis and associate Rebecca Gatens, who together assisted¬†Suffolk Agricultural Consultants with 17 agricultural tenancy matters in 2017 ranging from grazing licences to farm business tenancies, ‚Äėhave a strong grasp of the market and the issues affecting agriculture'. Simon Cunningham¬†has advised farmers, landowners and agricultural businesses across East Anglia for more than 20 years. He recently acted for agricultural lenders including Clydesdale Bank, Lloyds Bank and HSBC on finance transactions.

Leading individuals

Jeanette Dennis - Ashtons Legal

Jonathan Long - Ashtons Legal

Simon Cunningham - Ashtons Legal

Next generation lawyers

Rebecca Gatens - Ashtons Legal

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

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal lost its key partner Rob Adam to Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds, but it retains expertise in the area of contentious trusts and probate thanks to partner Polly Stephenson in Ipswich. She advises executors and trustees, claimants and defendants in matters relating to both small and multimillion-pound estates. She is currently acting for an executor in a claim against a carer who stole almost £350,000 from the deceased prior to death in an estate with a value of more than £1m. She is also handling a claim against the solicitor of a deceased person who used the money from the estate for his own purposes. Solicitor Bee Belby handles cases involving clients in the agricultural sector.

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Family
Family - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal¬†is ‚Äėas good as any London firm‚Äė, according to one client who remarks that it is ‚Äėvery good value for fees and has good relationships with top counsel‚Äė. One barrister remarks that the firm is¬†‚Äėfirst-rate, a leading player in East Anglia'. The practice has a broad client base across the region but has particular expertise in advising clients with substantial assets including land and trusts. Stephen Williams¬†leads the practice from the firm‚Äôs Ipswich office and is ‚Äėa very safe pair of hands,¬†very responsive and empathetic, and good on law and strategy‚Äė. One source remarks that he is ‚Äėexcellent with clients, efficient and pragmatic'. He advises on¬†financial matters relating to divorce and separation for both married and unmarried couples, especially those with a background in business or agriculture.¬†He also undertakes children‚Äôs work and is a member of the Family Panel, the Children Panel, the Advanced Family Panel, Re-unite and Resolution.¬†Partner and trained collaborative lawyer¬†Mary Pearce¬†in Bury St Edmunds¬†specialises in the financial aspects of breakdowns in marriages or cohabitation arrangements. Consultant¬†¬†Brenda Head¬†in Ipswich has 17 years' experience and is a family mediator.

Leading individuals

Mary Pearce - Ashtons Legal

Stephen Williams - Ashtons Legal

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

Ashtons Legal

At¬†Ashtons Legal¬†the lawyers are 'friendly, easy to talk to and clear in what they say, as well as knowledgeable about the areas in which they work'. High-net-worth estate planning expert and 'first-class lawyer'¬†Jennie Pratt¬†is the key partner in Cambridge and clients describe her as¬†‚Äėpatient and efficient; she has¬†excellent grasp of the situation¬†and is very discreet‚Äė. 'I have every trust in her very considerable legal abilities, her meticulous judgement and wise advice', says one client. Lifetime planning specialist Lynn Wicks¬† has a strong practice in¬†continuing care, statutory wills and other Solicitors for the Elderly matters. Clients note that she is 'warm and openly compassionate'.¬†Associates and STEP members¬†Christina Duck¬†¬†and¬†Gillian Brasher¬†are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Jennie Pratt - Ashtons Legal

Lynn Wicks - Ashtons Legal

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

Ashtons Legal

At¬†Ashtons Legal¬†the service is¬†‚Äėexemplary and without fault‚Äė. The firm is ‚Äėby far the best‚Äė, according to one client, while another describes the lifetime planning practice as 'professional, knowledgeable, friendly'. The firm handles tax and estate planning for the professional, academic and agricultural clients in¬†Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, often involving complex and multi-jurisdictional matters. The firm has a particular niche in French legal affairs.¬†Associate Louise Cardwell¬†is ‚Äėa rising star who should be fast-tracked to partner'. Rising star associate Janette Wand¬†is 'kind, gentle, helpful and a pleasure to work with'. Together they provide 'a holistic service with a real emphasis on attention to detail and client care'. She recently advised¬†a family with assets in excess of ¬£2m on trusts, wills and agricultural matters.

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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¬†Bury St Edmunds office is home to a deep bench of talented private client lawyers led by¬†deputy CEO and head of individual services Alan Brown¬†who is 'very knowledgeable on all matters, straight-talking and easy to work with; he goes the extra mile'. The practice acts for professional, academic and agricultural clients across Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. It has niche expertise in supporting vulnerable clients and also in French law matters, with¬†Matthew Cameron¬†('very responsive and very efficient') handling property sales, inheritance issues, wills and tax for clients with assets in France.¬†The strong team of associates includes Elizabeth Dunn¬†who ‚Äėexplains the options in a relaxed and easy to understand way'; Faye Stolls,¬†who 'knows her subject well and is easy¬† to work with'; and Teresa Callender,¬†who is 'extremely approachable, friendly and efficient'.

Leading individuals

Alan Brown - Ashtons Legal

Matthew Cameron - Ashtons Legal

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East Anglia: Real estate

Commercial property: Cambridge
Commercial property: Cambridge - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal has an integrated property practice across all of its offices in the East Anglian region and it provides the full range of services for commercial and mixed-use development matters. Charles Webb is the key contact in Cambridge and he has more than 30 years' experience in property matters, most notably in site acquisitions and assembly, development work throughout East Anglia, and commercial and private secured lending and borrowing. Magnus McManus is a respected partner for sales and purchases of investment property, development work, joint ventures and secured lending projects. His clients include Cambridge colleges. Associate Charlotte Vallins is also recommended for commercial landlord and tenant matters, commercial sales and purchases, secured lending and corporate support work. Affordable and social housing provider The Havebury Housing Partnership and financial market data vendor Activ Financial are among the firm's clients. The practice recently acted for a large client in the education sector on the multi-let mixed use development in central Cambridge, and assisted an investor on the letting of a site to a major retailer.

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Commercial property: Ipswich
Commercial property: Ipswich - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

The commercial property practice at Ashtons Legal operates as a single unity across all of the firm's offices in East Anglia and is led from Ipswich by experienced partner James Griffiths. His practice encompasses the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold premises, advice on investment properties, property finance transactions, development projects, and landlord/tenant matters. He has the support of associate Simon Burnip whose recent work includes the purchase of a development site that was simultaneously sold off to a pub operator, and which included a lease for a major hotel operator. Associate Alexandra Chater is also recommended.

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Commercial property: elsewhere in East Anglia
Commercial property: elsewhere in East Anglia - ranked: tier 1

Ashtons Legal

The Bury St Edmunds office of Ashtons Legal is home to substantial commercial property expertise and is part of a region-wide practice that excels in commercial and mixed use developments working alongside the firm's planning and construction law specialists. The firm also provides extensive investment management services to investors, owners of industrial estates and a growing number of Cambridge colleges. Ron Clare has more than 25 years' experience in commercial property and his area of expertise include advising on leases, providing corporate support in business sales, and handling business occupation matters for clients such as Cambridge Building Society. He recently advised The Havebury Housing Partnership on the £1.6m acquisition of two adjacent parts of a residential development site near Ely, Cambridgeshire. He also acted for Activ Financial Inc. in matters relating to a ten-year lease on office space in Cambridge as a base for its UK operations.

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 3

Ashtons Legal

Associate Sarah Duncan leads the practice at Ashtons Legal in Ipswich, which joins the ranking this year. Clients report that she is 'very knowledgeable and thorough in her advice'. She recently acted for a large UK real estate firm in a multimillion-pound project, which included a review of building contracts, consultant’s appointments and warranties. Duncan and commercial property partner Ron Clare have 'a good level of knowledge and competence, and are assertive when required'.

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal¬†is 'exemplary ‚Äď the team has complete all-rounders whether acting for developers or public authorities, and their¬†in-depth knowledge of the workings of all sides of the planning profession means that they are exceptionally well-placed to plot their way through any obstacle course'. The practice handles large and small-scale developments for planning authorities, landowners, objectors and also developers, which includes planning appeals and inquiries, planning agreements and highways agreements, affordable housing requirements and environmental impact assessments.¬†Consultant and 'exceptional planning lawyer'¬†Bob McGeady¬†has 'a sure instinct for the killer point and is a recognised expert;¬† his¬†knowledge and understanding of planning law are second to none'. The firm recently hired planning specialist¬†Amy Richardson¬†from Howes Percival LLP, who is¬†highly regarded for planning prosecution and s106 agreement work for local authorities. The firm recently advised Scott Properties Limited on a successful planning appeal that¬†forced a local council to change its approach to affordable housing. It also acted for developers¬†Bennett Homes, Persimmon Homes, Norfolk Homes and Abel Homes in a challenge to charges that South Norfolk Council was proposing to introduce.

Leading individuals

Bob McGeady - Ashtons Legal

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal handles contentious matters for numerous Cambridge colleges including Churchill College, Corpus Christi and Magdalene. It also supports Savills PLC in the management of its national property portfolio, and acts for Cambridge Building Society in relation to the provision of services to borrowers. Head of litigation Michael Frape leads the practice, in which associate Nigel Maguire is the key practitioner. He exhibits 'good attention to detail and the ability to grasp and deal with complex issues and give detailed advice'. He assisted a landowner with the enforcement of a pre-emption agreement over adjoining land. The 'calm, efficient' Mark Merriam  in Bury St Edmunds is praised for his 'honesty, integrity and ability to apply simple solutions to problems, coupled with a unique skill of removing the stress from all circumstances and situations through his overwhelming professionalism'.

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East Anglia: Transport

Transport and shipping
Transport and shipping - ranked: tier 2

Ashtons Legal

The service from¬†Ashtons Legal¬†is ‚Äėfaultless‚Äė, according to one client, while another recommends the firm for 'a thorough job done at a sensible rate'. The firm's regulatory department was created in 2017 with the hire of a team from¬†Woodfines LLP¬†that included two experts in road transport. Practice head Tim Ridyard¬†in Bury St Edmunds is¬†‚Äėvery knowledgeable in his field and knows everybody in the industry; information is usually at the tip of his tongue and he goes above and beyond to help'. Specialist road transport and regulatory lawyer Tim Norris¬†is also recommended. Together they defended an international operator in a large-scale investigation of drivers' hours that covered 650 alleged offences. In another highlight, they advised a¬†national Plc with transport operations throughout the UK on its¬†enforcement policy, national scheduling of drivers‚Äô hours and tachograph exemptions.

Leading individuals

Tim Ridyard - Ashtons Legal

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