Devonshires Solicitors LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Devonshires Solicitors LLP

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 1

Devonshires Solicitors LLP's growing debt recovery practice is seeing an increasing number of instructions originating both in the UK and abroad. The group focuses on providing a one-stop solution for clients who are pursuing payment from debtors, with strong expertise in substantive correspondence, County and High Court claims. The team had a particularly busy year in insolvency matters, with a particular emphasis on forensic recovery, contentious insolvency, administrations and voluntary arrangements. Robert Edge and Jim Varley co-head the department, which makes use of a proprietary debt collection portal that enables it to compete with debt collection agencies, and which offers the client a direct and secure platform to monitor and manage their practice.

Practice head(s):

Robert Edge; Jim Varley

Other key lawyers:

Nikki Bowker; Ann Dixon


‘The team at Devonshires provide a superb service. They do the basics of debt recovery well; make recoveries quickly, and provide full transparency on costs.’

‘Robert Edge stands out from his peers because he is approachable, efficient and is always pragmatic when it comes to costs. He understands that is what clients view as most important. His overall knowledge is second to none.’

‘The firm is highly organised, professional and competitive, always striving to provide a world-class service for their clients.’

‘Robert Edge and his team provide an excellent service for their clients from beginning to end, working tirelessly to secure the desired results for them.’

‘The firm is very well-organised and professional, always striving to do the best for their clients. They are extremely knowledgeable in all areas and provide a fantastic service using the latest technology to provide an effective and efficient debt recovery service.’

‘A fantastic service from start to finish from Robert Edge and his team and everything is explained in details and options passed to us on how to proceed. Robert Edge works tirelessly to get the desired results for his clients.’

Key clients

Michael Page International

Sodexo Ltd

Kone Plc

Central FX

Oktava Ltd

Trek Bicycle Corporation Ltd

ERI Recoveries Ltd

Dedman Gray Property

Kennway Francis

Tower Quay Property

Work highlights

  • Instructed by a Turkish based international clothing manufacturer and supplier to major fashion retailers worldwide in case whereby payment of the sum of $609,000.00 was received within a few weeks notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
  • Acting for Michael Page International in the recovery of $55,000.00, post filing suit in the US and a Defence being filed. Subsequent to pre-hearing negotiations we successfully recovered payment.
  • Instructed by Sodexo Ltd in respect of invoices dating from October 2018, raised in respect of catering services amounting to the sum of £13,067.35. Subsequent to negotiation whilst the debt was disputed in its entirety, the payment of £9,067.35, was recovered within 16 days.

Real estate > Social housing: finance Tier 1

Julian Barker and Sharon Kirkham lead Devonshires Solicitors LLP's banking and property charging teams respectively, which offer 'high-quality support and advice'. The firm undertakes a particularly significant amount of work for registered providers, although other key clients include lenders, investors and Welsh and Scottish registered social landlords. The group has experience of assisting registered providers with securing debt finance from banks and building societies, bond issuances and private placements, among other matters. Andrew Cowan is noted for his 'sheer breadth of experience in the social housing sector'. Chris Drabble and Gary Grigor regularly advise on security requirements of refinancings and private placement bond issues; both practitioners advised on one of the social housing sector’s first SONIA-indexed revolving credit facilities. Alice Overton is noted for her work on debt securities, bond issues and private placements.

Practice head(s):

Julian Barker; Sharon Kirkham

Other key lawyers:


‘One-stop shop for bank loans, capital markets, property charging and governance advice and documentation. Additional insights in specialised financing using joint ventures and similar vehicles also available when required.’

‘Andrew Cowan. Sheer breadth of experience in the social housing sector and depth of recall in relation to our documentation matters. Good sounding board. Julian Barker. Makes it all look very simple, which of course it isn’t. So it’s a testament to his knowledge and competence. Sharon Kirkham. Highly motivated sorter-outer of anything property charging. Tremendous energy and commitment to the task.’

‘The team at Devonshires has developed a wide-ranging and intimate knowledge of matters affecting the social housing sector, including in relation to funding, regulation and employment. This enables clients to gain assurance from a ‘one stop shop’ style of service which offers high quality support and advice with the various component parts being skilfully interlinked.’

‘The team led by Andrew Cowan is adept at building relationships and is easy to do business with. Julian Barker, Saghar Roya and Alice Overton have supported us through a number of complex funding projects, enabling us to meet challenging timescales without any concerns and exhibiting excellent project management skills.’

‘Devonshires have a large and well resourced team which enables them to meet tight deadlines. All members of the team act in a professional but approachable manner.’

‘The team are always on hand to answer questions and help, which is an excellent level of service.’

‘Julian Barker has been a stand out source of help and guidance for all legal issues that have arisen.’

‘They have a great understanding of their individual clients situation and the sector as a whole.’

Key clients

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Notting Hill Genesis

Sage Housing

GreenSquare / Accord Housing

POBL Group

Riverside Housing Group

Hyde Housing Association

Vale of Aylesbury Housing

Your Housing Group

Platform Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for London & Quadrant (L&Q), one of the UK’s leading and prominent registered providers, on the launch of its £2.5bn Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) Programme.
  • Acted for Platform on the establishment of their £1bn multi-currency, ESG enabled, Euro Medium Term Note programme.
  • Advised TRGL on a £150m private placement bond issue with US Investor Pricoa Capital.

Real estate > Social housing: local authorities and registered providers Tier 2

The social housing practice at Devonshires Solicitors LLP has a number of key areas of strength, including governance and corporate, real estate and projects, housing management and securitisation. Andrew Cowan and Jonathan Jarvis handle governance work and are experienced in the registration of new for profit registered providers. Banking partner Julian Barker and property charging specialist Sharon Kirkham advise on the financing aspects of mergers. ‘Stand out’ partner Nick Billingham and the ‘invaluable’ Donna McCarthy advise social landlords on contentious and non-contentious matters. Neil Toner, Jonathan Corris and Triya Maicha lead the real estate and projects department having taking over from Paul Buckland. Construction partner Mark London and Elad Yasdi are other key lawyers to note.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cowan; Jonathan Jarvis; Julian Barker; Sharon Kirkham; Mark London; Nick Billingham; Donna McCarthy; James Dunn; Neil Toner; Jonathan Corris; Triya Maicha; Elad Yasdi

Other key lawyers:


‘The team has always demonstrated exceptional knowledge and offered high levels of support particularly when dealing with complex ASB cases in sheltered and supported housing. The team’s greatest strength is always being available, always willing to listen and always offering the most appropriate and proportionate approach in dealing with complex issues.’

‘Donna McCarthy is our lead legal advisor in the team and her passion for social housing never seems to diminish! Her support is always unwavering as is her ability to consider every minute detail of cases presented to her.’

‘This is a great partnership that uniquely offers the social housing provider a one stop shop in terms of advice and client management, I think what is particularly helpful is the way the different disciplines work together to ensure a seamless service where work crosses over different fields. I think they have also worked well to make sure real experts are available to assist if issues become more complex.’

‘Nick Billingham – Has an outstanding ability to take recent changes in the law and apply them to how people in the social housing field would be impacted, I have clear confidence that we are being fully supported when any of his team are dealing with our cases. Mark London – Have worked closely to ensure our residents interests are protected in the complex field of fire safety and freehold interests.’

‘An outstanding social housing practice. All the best clients and amazing solicitors. They can cover all bases and have superb knowledge.’

‘All of the partners are very good; however, two stand out for me: Nick Billingham and Donna McCarthy. ‘

‘Jon Corris’ clarity, and ability to cut to the chase diplomatically, are hugely valuable characteristics.’

Key clients

Aldwyck Housing Group (now Catalyst Housing Group)

St Martin of Tours Housing Association

Jewish Community Housing


M&G Investments

Home Group

Bromford Housing Association

Sage Housing

Clarion Housing Group

Swan Housing

Cadwyn Housing Association

Pobl Group

Accord / GreenSquare

Work highlights

  • Acted for Swan Housing on the Better Queensway Project, which is a 1600 home joint venture with Southend Borough Council, delivered through a newly established Limited Liability Partnership, set to span 30 years.
  • Acted on the creation of the Greener Futures Partnership, a coalition of 5 registered providers which collectively own over 300,000 homes. The partnership will collaborate on decarbonisation solutions and improve energy efficiency within the sector.
  • Acted for St Martin of Tours Housing Association Limited in an action for judicial review of the London Borough of Islington’s decision to suspend placements to St Martin of Tours Supported Accommodation Facilities and their failure to comply with the Pan London Safeguarding policies and procedures and that they misdirected themselves in respect of function of Section 42 of the Care Act 2014. The matter was compromised between the parties following mediation.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: civil Tier 4

Devonshires Solicitors LLP has broad dispute resolution experience, with particular expertise in fraud, cross-border investigations, regulatory work and PFI disputes. The ‘very understanding team who have a great approach to their work’ is led by James Dunn, who specialises in fraud, regulatory and inquiry work.

Practice head(s):

James Dunn

Other key lawyers:

Philip Barden


‘I have worked with a number of firms and the innovative thinking and problem resolution is by far the stand out for Devonshires’.

‘A very understanding team who have a great approach to their work. Also dealt with me with respect and efficiency’.

‘David Pack is a very thorough lawyer, very approachable and extremely knowledgeable and sharp’.

‘Knows the law very well and that gives me huge confidence’.

Key clients

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Work highlights

  • Advising the SRA on the intervention of Kingly Solicitors Limited to safeguard client funds of approximately £11.3m.
  • Advising the SRA on the intervention of Malik Law Chambers and associated firms, including advising on an action for committal.

Real estate > Construction: contentious Tier 4

Known for its strength in disputes involving social housing, residential and mixed-use developments, Devonshires Solicitors LLP acts on behalf of private developers and local authorities. The team is led by Mark London, who has been heavily involved in fire safety and building defect claims in the wake of the Grenfell Tower inquiry. Matthew Cocklin and Michael Wharfe are also recommended for their experience in tall building-related claims.

Practice head(s):

Mark London

Other key lawyers:


‘Devonshire’s contentious construction team are led well by the partners. They are all knowledgeable, commercial and focused on achieving the right outcome for their clients. They are also very client friendly and good to work with, irrespective of the subject matter.’

‘Matthew Cocklin is always well briefed and prepared for any discussion or meeting. I have found him to be receptive and effective in discussing and setting strategies for some complex issues.’

‘Mark London is excellent. He has a clear idea of the strategic direction for a case and is plainly on top of the regulatory framework in place which enables him to give advise confidently.’

‘Mark London is an experienced and expert construction lawyer, who is very ably supported by Matthew Cocklin. The team are very strong on (and well known for) working for housing associations, but that often masks their strength across the board, doing work on projects of all sizes from PFI, energy and infrastructure cases down.’

‘Mark London is vastly experienced, very knowledgeable and very commercial. Clients really appreciate the way that he cuts through to the main issues and formulates the best strategy for their cases.’

‘Matthew Cocklin has it all: great academic knowledge of the law, experienced across multiple sectors of the construction industry, immensely commercial, and a real fighter, but someone who offers practical solutions to problems. I always recommend him to people who ask for a construction lawyer.’

‘Always available. Always advise on matters both legally and commercially. Give appropriate advice at the right time and at the right level.’

‘A highly capable, very user-friendly team, with an especially good (and deserved) reputation in the social housing construction sector and PFI housing schemes.’

Key clients

MW High Tech Projects UK Limited

Guinness Partnership

Catalyst Housing

Peabody Construction Limited


One Housing Group

Metropolitan Thames Valley

Your Housing Group

Swan Housing

Octavia Housing

Orbit Housing

Hastoe Housing

Work highlights

  • Acting for Hastoe Housing Association in TCC proceedings in relation to fire safety defects in a block of flats.
  • Acting for MW High Tech Projects Limited in subcontractor claims relating to two state-of-the-art energy-from-waste plants.

Real estate > Construction: non-contentious Tier 5

Well known for its work in the housing sector, Devonshires Solicitors LLP offers support to social housing providers, local authorities, funders and public and private sector developers on construction matters. The team has been particularly active in advising owners of tall buildings regarding Grenfell-related remediation work. Asif Patel leads the non-contentious team, offering a full range of services.

Practice head(s):

Mark London; Asif Patel


‘I’ve always felt valued as a client.’

‘They’re engaged, find solutions and make matters simple to understand.’

‘Availability, pragmatism, quick responses, understanding of clients’ needs.’

‘They are quick to understand our needs, drawing experience from other projects with us so there is no duplication of advice and fees. They are committed to deadlines.’

Key clients

Swan Housing Association Limited

Peabody Construction Limited

Peabody Trust

Metropolitan Housing Trust Limited

Soho Estates Portfolio Limited

Trafford Housing Trust Limited

Clarion Housing Group Limited

Berkeley Square Developments Limited

Barnet Homes

Work highlights

  • Acting for Swan Housing Association to deliver a 30-year £400m regeneration project in Southend.
  • Advising Peabody Construction Limited on the delivery of its development at Frankham Street, London.
  • Advised Metropolitan Housing Trust on the delivery of its development at Amber House, Bracknell.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 6

Devonshires Solicitors LLP has a large client following among housing providers, and it is a leading name for housing disputes. In addition, other drivers of work include matters relating to insolvency, debt recovery, fraud and private finance initiatives. One of James Dunn's specialisms involves acting for regulators in litigation. Philip Barden handles commercial disputes for entities in sectors such as banking, insurance and shipping, among various others. Former partner Anna Buch left the firm in 2020.

Practice head(s):

James Dunn

Other key lawyers:

Philip Barden; Jim Varley; Stephen Netherway; Nikki Bowker


A good safe pair of hands . It feels like a jungle out there and this firm makes that journey feel a little safer.

An incredibly deep understanding of our organisation and our business, but more so our ethics and values, which is testament to their ability to support us through legal engagements.

Very reactive and always able to support on the timelines that we set.

Economic, practical and solutions-led.

James Dunn leads by example and is an excellent team leader. He ensures that those around him rise to the occasion and deliver good work.

James Dunn is outstanding. He can think outside the box and achieve an asset recovery for a client when things look gloomy to begin with. He is however realistic and does not over-promise – this means that clients can always trust his judgement.

Philip Barden is a fighter who gets the job done.

Key clients

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Canaccord Genuity Wealth (International)

The Travel Corporation

Prince Muffakham Jah

Notting Hill Genesis

ITS Chelmsford

Rendall & Rittner

Tindall Riley & Co

Work highlights

  • Acting for Prince Muffakham Jah in a historic case involving a disputed deposit from 1948, which involves both India and Pakistan.
  • Acting for a large housing association in a contract claim by consultants.
  • Acting for The Travel Corporation, a global travel and leisure group, in international proceedings relating to substantial uninsured and insured damage that was caused to a river cruiser in 2019.

This highly regarded City firm has strengths in housing, development, commercial litigation, projects work, corporate services, real estate, banking, clinical negligence, and private client matters, as well as expanding practices in services to care, providers and regulators.

The firm: Based in the City of London for over 150 years, Devonshires is a leading practice providing high-quality, accessible and value-for-money services to domestic and international clients, including developers, local authorities, housing associations and financial services firms. The practice focuses on building strong, long-lasting relationships in order to achieve outstanding results based on practical advice. The foundation of its success is its commitment to people, both its own and those working for its clients. The firm ensures its staff have access to high-quality training and fosters ‘one to one’ connections between its solicitors and clients.

Devonshires is committed to delivering its services in a socially responsible way. Their partners, staff, clients, and charities continue to demonstrate goodwill, generosity, and dedication to their Corporate Social Responsibility schemes that they operate. Last year over 40% of their partners and staff volunteered to give up their time to support their four chosen charities and donated well over £40,000. The firm was also re-awarded the Gold Clean City Award with special commendation by the City of London Clean City Awards Scheme.

Types of work undertaken: The firm acts on a broad range of matters including projects, property and real estate, securitisation, construction, housing management, commercial litigation, employment, banking, corporate work, and governance. It has a notable specialism in advising companies that interface with the private sector, including construction, facilities management, and public/private joint ventures. The practice is a leader in social housing, including working on many development projects nationwide and helping to draft legislation. The firm is active in financial advice for commercial property, corporate finance, and private equity projects. Advice is given to local authorities and other public bodies on constitutional, commercial, and operational matters. Cutting-edge services are supplied in regulatory matters, including solicitor interventions and run-offs for the Law Society/Solicitors Regulation Authority, and advice to the Homes and Communities Agency on social housing. A cross-departmental team advises on all aspects of care, including building care homes, safeguarding issues, reviewing CQC inspection reports, preparing challenges to warning notices, and dealing with inquests. Private client expertise includes family law, conveyancing, employment, and professional and clinical negligence. Devonshires will maintain its successful policy of gradual, prudent growth by promotion from within and strategic lateral hires, in order to further strengthen the services it offers clients.

Senior partner; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Commerce Philip Barden
Head of Social Housing; Banking, corporate and governance Andrew Cowan
Banking, Capital Markets & Property Charging Julian Barker
Banking, Capital Markets & Property Charging: Sharon Kirkham
Clinical Negligence & Personal Injury Nick Grant
Commercial Contracts & Procurement Kris Kelliher
Commercial Contracts & Procurement Michelle Mullen
Construction & Engineering Mark London
Corporate James Lyons
Debt Recovery & Insolvency Jim Varley
Employment Katie Maguire
Employment Kirsty Thompson
Governance Jonathan Jarvis
Health & Care Caroline Mostowfi
Health & Care; Housing Management & Property Litigation Donna McCarthy
Housing Management & Property Litigation; Information Law Nick Billingham
Insurance Stephen Netherway
Leisure & Public Services; Projects Paul Buckland
Planning Hannah Langford
Property and real estate Neil Toner
Property and real estate Jonathan Corris
Regulators James Dunn
Philip Barden photo Philip BardenPhilip is currently retained in the following matters: acting for an employer…
Julian Barker photo Julian BarkerJulian is a partner and head of the banking and capital markets…
Nick Billingham photo Nick BillinghamNick is a partner and head of the housing management department. Nick…
Nikki Bowker photo Nikki BowkerNikki is a partner in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution team. Nikki…
Paul Buckland photo Paul BucklandPaul has particular expertise in regeneration, procurement, a wide range of commercial…
Matthew Cocklin photo Matthew CocklinMatthew specialises in construction dispute resolution and acts for all groups that…
Jonathan Corris photo Jonathan CorrisJonathan has worked with clients on a variety of development projects from…
Andrew Cowan photo Andrew CowanAndrew is a partner and is our head of social housing. He…
Andrew Crawford photo Andrew CrawfordAndrew advises charities and registered providers on commercial transactions and governance issues.…
James Dunn photo James DunnJames is a partner in the litigation and dispute resolution department and…
Mark Foxcroft photo Mark FoxcroftMark is a partner in the Housing Management & Property Litigation Team.…
Nick Grant photo Nick GrantNick is a partner in the litigation and dispute resolution department and…
Gareth Hall photo Gareth HallGareth is a partner in the governance, corporate and finance team. Gareth…
Jonathan Jarvis photo Jonathan JarvisJonathan is a partner in the Banking, Governance and Corporate team and…
Kris Kelliher photo Kris KelliherKris is a partner in the projects group and specialises in commercial…
Sharon Kirkham photo Sharon KirkhamSharon is a partner and heads up the securitisation team of over…
Kathryn Kligerman photo Kathryn KligermanKathryn is a partner in the construction department and advises on all…
Hannah Langford photo Hannah LangfordHannah is a partner in the Real Estate & Projects Team.  Hannah…
Neil Lawlor photo Neil LawlorNeil is a partner in the housing management department. Neil qualified as…
Mark London photo Mark LondonMark is a partner and head of the construction and property services…
James Lyons photo James LyonsJames is praised by clients for his careful attention to detail, patience…
Katie Maguire photo Katie MaguireKatie is a partner in the Employment team.  Katie regularly advises clients…
Triya Maicha photo Triya MaichaTriya is a partner in the Real Estate and Projects department specialising…
Donna McCarthy photo Donna McCarthyDonna heads up a team advising on all aspects of housing management…
Dan Moan photo Dan MoanDan brings a pragmatic, commercially focused approach to his work with a…
Caroline Mostowfi photo Caroline MostowfiCaroline is a partner in the real estate and projects group with…
Michelle Mullen photo Michelle MullenMichelle advises on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters for…
Stephen Netherway photo Stephen NetherwayStephen has wide-ranging experience in disputes and arbitration, with particular focus on…
Asif Patel photo Asif PatelAsif is a partner in the Construction & Engineering team. Asif provides…
Saghar Roya photo Saghar RoyaSaghar acts on behalf of a vast number of Registered Providers in…
Lee Russell photo Lee RussellLee is a partner in the Housing Management & Property Litigation team.…
Aruna Sarwar photo Aruna SarwarAruna is a Partner in our Real Estate & Projects Team. Aruna…
Richard Sharpe photo Richard SharpeRichard is a partner who joined the securities team in October 2011.…
Kirsty Thompson photo Kirsty ThompsonKirsty is a partner in the Employment team. Kirsty acts for Registered…
Neil Toner photo Neil TonerNeil is Head of Real Estate at Devonshires. Neil’s work over the…
Robert Turner photo Robert TurnerRobert has extensive experience in drafting, negotiating and advising in relation to major…
Jim Varley photo Jim VarleyJim is an insolvency partner with extensive knowledge of forensic recovery and…
Michael Wharfe photo Michael WharfeMichael is a partner in the Construction & Engineering team. Michael is…
Elad Yasdi photo Elad YasdiElad is a partner in the property department and advises on a…
Number of UK partners : 40
Number of other UK fee-earners : 134