The Legal 500

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Fax 0333 320 4440

North: Corporate and commercial

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


DWF's team draws on the firm's UK-wide presence to provide clients, including major domestic and foreign corporates, with a full-service offering for corporate matters. Areas of expertise for the firm include financial services, TMT, energy and utilities and real estate. Practice head Jeremy Swift  regularly handles private equity transactions and M&A.

Practice head(s):Jeremy Swift

Other key lawyers:Jemil Visram

Key Clients

Immotion Group plc

Polemos plc

Vibe Group Holdings

Digitalbox Group

Northern Gas and Power

Work highlights

  • Advising Digitalbox Group Limited on a statutory demerger of three subsidiaries by share capital reduction.
  • Advising Immotion Group, a virtual reality/augmented reality company, on three acquisitions on a share for share basis and raising £1.4m to fund working capital.
  • Advising Nplus1 Singer Advisory LLP on a secondary fundraise for its client by way of an accelerated book build.

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North: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Newcastle
Commercial litigation: Newcastle - ranked: tier 3


The team at DWF has developed a niche in defamation and reputation matters, alongside an active disputes practice which advises on matters including team moves, contracts and contentious probate. The group, which is capably led by David Summerhayes, works closely with the firm's IP and real estate litigation teams, providing clients with a wide variety of dispute resolution services.

Practice head(s):David Summerhayes

Other key lawyers:Alison Evans

Key Clients

Northern Gas and Power

Lidl UK

Allay (UK)

Jomast Developments

Brook Green Capital

Work highlights

  • Defending injunction proceedings relating to team moves involving over 120 employees.
  • Defending a claim for payment for shortfall of orders.
  • Pursuing a claim for unpaid commission.

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North: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 3


DWF’s practice is led by senior associate Stephen Cairns, who specialises in advice to public and private sector employers on complex HR processes and tribunal claims. Associate Seema Ahmed joined the team from Short Richardson & Forth in 2019. She brings litigation experience, notably in tribunal cases as well as equal pay and union disputes.

Practice head(s):Stephen Cairns

Other key lawyers:Seema Ahmed

Key Clients


Watts Water Technologies



The Automobile Association

Lambert Smith Hampton

Immotion Group

2M Group and subsidiaries

Northern Gas & Power

Learning Curve Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Immotion Group on their listing as a plc and in particular the employment aspects of that transaction including redundancy advice, production of and negotiation of service agreements, production of settlement agreements and TUPE advice.
  • Advised Northern Gas & Power on the management of high value employment tribunal claims and associated injunction proceedings.
  • Successfully defended a potentially reputation damaging claim of whistleblowing and unfair dismissal made against Yodel by a former employee.
  • Advised Learning Curve Group on their recent acquisition of Profound Group providing (from an employment law perspective) due diligence, advice on risk management and the production of service agreements.
  • Advised Q-Park on a variety of employment issues including long term sickness absence, management of disciplinary procedures and redundancy advice.

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North: Private client

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


The commercially focused practice of DWF is led by private capital and high-net-worth individuals specialist Jon Gould. His team has notable experience in tax and corporate advice, as well as complex, cross-border probates and asset protection. Associate Laura Murphy has particular expertise in wills and administration of estate work.

Practice head(s):Jon Gould

Other key lawyers:Laura Murphy

Work highlights

  • Complex administration of estate involving significant business, international and Lloyds syndicate assets.
  • Complex lifetime tax and succession planning for international business and real estate families.
  • Complex Private client legal and tax advice for business owners; families and real estate clients.
  • Bespoke legal and tax advice in transferring shares into a lifetime Trust.
  • Lifetime IHT planning for ultra-high net worth client with business and international assets.

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North: Real estate

Commercial property: Newcastle
Commercial property: Newcastle - ranked: tier 2


DWF's team utilises its strong national presence to advise regional and national clients on the spectrum of real estate matters in the North East, including investment and property portfolio management; regeneration and development projects; landlord and tenant issues; and housing-related projects. Practice head Adam Heather has particular expertise in finance and funding for public and private sector real estate projects, while Lee Pickett is a housing expert.

Practice head(s):Adam Heather

Other key lawyers:Lee Pickett; Jonathan Smith

Key Clients

Advance Northumberland/Ascent Homes

Hanro Group

The Northumberland Estates

Newcastle College

Stockton Borough, Darlington Borough, Sunderland City Councils

Work highlights

  • Acting for a Luxembourg-based real estate fund in the purchase of a £140m office portfolio and the immediate sub-sale of £80m of the assets.
  • Acting for LXi Reit plc in the forward funding of £75m of hotel and retail assets.
  • Acting for The Northumberland Estates in the sale of three industrial estates.
Leading individuals

Adam Heather - DWF

Next Generation Partners

Lee Pickett - DWF

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 1


DWF's practice advises a number of registered providers of social housing (RPs) and local government on matters including the sale of units on the open market and mixed use schemes. The group is on panels for, most notably, Homes England and Places for People Group. Lee Pickett, deputy head of the housing team, leads on social housing work and specialises in development, regeneration and investment, with clients including local authorities and RPs.

Practice head(s):Lee Pickett

Other key lawyers:Kelly Pearson; Phil Dunn


'Accessible, responsive and very receptive to queries'

Key Clients

Homes England

Places for People Group

Riverside Group

Together Housing Group

Stockton Borough Council

Darlington Borough Council

Sunderland City Council

Work highlights

  • Represented Homes England in its innovative disposal of three sites for new homes under its pilot Accelerated Construction and Delivery programme.
  • Represented Home Group in high value grant supported acquisitions of 'off the shelf' units from various housebuilders to be sold on shared ownership terms.
  • Acted for Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust on the voluntary first registration of the extensive parcels of land on which its 2,500 homes are located which had not to date been registered at the Land Registry.

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North: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1


The 'extremely knowledgeable and professional'¬†DWF¬†advises on the full spectrum of intellectual property rights, with notable experience in the development, commercialisation and protection of brands and technology. Ed Meikle¬†leads the team and is known for providing ‚Äėthe highest quality and quickly delivered advice' for national and multinational businesses. His team includes associate Alison Evans, who has particular expertise in the retail and consumer products sectors.

Practice head(s):Ed Meikle

Other key lawyers:Alison Evans


'The firm's reaction time is always fantastic'

'The team is quick to respond to issues and questions as and when they arise and understands that business moves fast paced'

'They do not just offer legal advice but also offer a commercial perspective which is really useful'

'Ed Meikle is very knowledgeable, professional and always willing to be of help. His response times for queries put his way are first class'

'Ed Meikle is a stand out professional. Nothing is too much trouble and he provides excellent customer service'

'Paul Attwood and Melanie Kay are also very competent lawyers whose advice has been invaluable to us'

Key Clients


Newcastle United



MySale Group

Tangle Teezer


Village Hotels

Swizzels Matlow

The Co-op

Work highlights

  • Provides strategic advice to Newcastle United on all its intellectual property, brand protection and brand management issues, helping the Club to protect its history and heritage for future generations of fans, advising on numerous issues including anti-counterfeiting, trade mark disputes, copyright claims, domain name disputes and IP licensing.
  • Provides strategic advice to Village Hotels on all its intellectual property, brand protection and brand management issues, advising on numerous issues including trade mark disputes, copyright issues and domain name disputes.
  • Provides Swizzels Matlow with strategic brand protection advice to defend and protect its valuable portfolio of brands.
  • Provides strategic brand protection advice to Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, protecting the Morrisons brands, as well as defending the company against any claims of infringement and passing off.
  • Provided strategic brand protection advice to Panasonic.
Leading individuals

Ed Meikle - DWF

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Further information on DWF

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

United Arab Emirates

Offices in Dubai


Offices in Newcastle, Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne


Offices in Paris


Offices in Milan


Offices in London


Offices in Newcastle upon Tyne

Northern Ireland

Offices in Belfast

North West

Offices in Manchester and Liverpool


Offices in Warsaw


Offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow

South West

Offices in Bristol

West Midlands

Offices in Birmingham

Yorkshire and the Humber

Offices in Leeds

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?

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

    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.