The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

ONE TRINITY, BROAD CHARE, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, NE1 2HF, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0345 415 0000
Fax:
Fax 0344 984 1501
DX:
727902 NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
Email:
Web:
www.womblebonddickinson.com

North: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Newcastle
Corporate and commercial: Newcastle - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson

Womble Bond Dickinson’s full-service corporate and commercial practice is a regular fixture on many of the market’s headline deals. In a highlight matter, managing associate Iain Pritty advised Newcastle City Council on the Science Central joint venture between the council, Newcastle University and the financial services company Legal & General. Other clients are typically drawn from the transport, retail, financial, healthcare, chemicals and manufacturing sectors and include a number of regionally based private and family-owned businesses. In an example of its work for regional clients, the very experienced’ Ben Butler, who jointly heads the team with Jamie Pass, assisted the shareholders of Vocare with the £11m disposal of the company to Totally. Butler also advised Huntsman on its acquisition of chemicals manufacturer IFS Chemicals, which involved various competition and employment law matters. Other key individuals include manufacturing sector group head Peter Snaith, who assisted Lotte Chemical UK with commercial contracts and with various issues pertaining to its global goods supply arrangements. Corporate finance partner Robert Phillips and associate Stacey Hall are also recommended.  

Leading individuals

Jamie Pass - Womble Bond Dickinson

Robert Phillips - Womble Bond Dickinson

Next generation lawyers

Stacey Hall - Womble Bond Dickinson

[back to top]

Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

In October 2017, Bond Dickinson LLP and US firm Womble Carlyle merged to form Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. The Newcastle team is led by Jeremy Smith and provides a wide range of corporate tax services with a focus on corporate and real estate transactions. In conjunction with the corporate practice, Smith advised AVX Corporation on various UK and foreign tax matters pertaining to the acquisition of the transportation, sensing and control division from the TT Electronics Group, and assisted the shareholders of Vocare with tax matters arising from its sale to Totally including share incentive arrangements. In the real estate space, he advised Akelius Residential on stamp duty, land tax and VAT matters pertaining to the acquisition of a number of residential property portfolios. Other areas of expertise include handling banking, restructuring and employment-related tax issues. Intrinsic Financial Services and the housebuilding company Taylor Wimpey are also clients.

[back to top]

North: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Newcastle
Commercial litigation: Newcastle - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson

Commended for its wide-ranging expertise, Womble Bond Dickinson’s ‘highly experienced and knowledgeable team’ ‘stands out from the crowd’. It acts for various corporate and commercial clients in matters related to the transport, chemicals, pensions, procurement, financial services, retail and oil and gas sectors. Team head Paul Stewart attracts praise for his ‘forensic attention to detail’ and the ‘ability to explain complex legal issues in straightforward terms’; according to clients, he is ‘the man for a crisis’ and has ‘a tenacious litigation style that makes the stress of litigation more bearable’. Stewart continues to act for IBM in a pensions-related Court of Appeal case involving employer’s duty of good faith, while the ‘clever, hardworking and immensely practical’ Richard Collins - who heads the procurement and public sector disputes group and ‘is exactly the partner you would want to have on your side in a tough case’ - advised West Berkshire District Council on its successful defence of a judicial review and procurement challenge brought by Faraday Development, an unsuccessful bidder for a redevelopment opportunity valued at £125m. ‘Very organised’ managing associate Joanna Bromhead heads the pensions litigation team.

Leading individuals

Paul Stewart - Womble Bond Dickinson

Next generation lawyers

Joanna Bromhead - Womble Bond Dickinson

Richard Collins - Womble Bond Dickinson

[back to top]

Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP covers the gamut of debt recovery from asset investigation and reporting, tracing absconder debtors, drafting and issuing claims and enforcement as well as corporate insolvency matters. The team is led by Bristol-based Stephen Dilley and includes senior debt manager Sue Pattie and legal executive Helen Vaughan, who are both key figures in the Newcastle office. Vaughan is well versed in guiding clients through mediation and negotiation proceedings, summary judgment applications and enforcement procedures. Clients include Tyneside Foodservice, A-One+ Integrated Highway Services, the Insolvency Service and British Gas Trading.

[back to top]

North: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has significant expertise in the transport, retail, leisure, hotel, manufacturing and real estate sectors as demonstrated by advising paint-pigment maker spin-off Huntsman Corporation Venator Materials on negotiating a bank guarantee pertaining to pension liabilities as part of the group’s UK business reorganisation. The practice is jointly led by John Ralph and Leeds-based John Connor: Ralph also heads the real estate sector group and specialises in property finance work, acting for lenders and borrowers, while Connor is well versed in assisting banks, non-traditional debt funders and various corporate borrowers as well as investors with a wide range of secured lending transactions.

[back to top]

Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's team acts on the sale of insolvent businesses, advises creditors on asset recovery matters and handles fraud investigations including the disqualification of directors accused of fraud. With particular sector expertise in chemicals and manufacturing, leisure, healthcare, retail and energy, the team regularly acts for banks, insolvency practitioners and LPA receivers. Julian Gill (who jointly heads the team with  Peter Maxwell and Sally Dallow) assisted the administrators of Fuda International Trading Company with the sale of the company’s assets, which traded as Hobart Rose and manufactured furniture and soft furnishings for well-known retailers, and acted for Santander in the restructuring of a circa £3.6m facility issued to a care home group. Maxwell and Dallow acted for the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in successfully winding up UK and overseas companies on public interest grounds following investigations by the Insolvency Service. This included a number of companies involved in unauthorised money lending activities to members of the public.

[back to top]

North: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 2

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

With a sector specialisation in technology, retail, utilities, healthcare, education and chemicals, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s ‘highly responsive and proactive’ team acts for a roster of well-known regional and national clients and stands out for its ‘extremely high level of service’. Covering a broad field of employment law work, recommended team head James Wilders’ expertise includes representing clients in tribunal proceedings covering unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. On the non-contentious side, instructions frequently pertain to collective redundancies and restructuring issues as well as transactional TUPE matters. In recent work, Wilders advised a holiday company on the closure of one of its two head offices, involving the redundancy of over 100 members of staff, and assisted a large further education college with employment law matters arising from a merger between the client and a local sixth form college, which included restructuring issues to avoid redundancies. In contentious work, the team successfully defended Cumberland Building Society against a claim of constructive unfair dismissal brought by a managing director. Other clients include an insurance company and a public authority. The latter received TUPE-related advice.

[back to top]

Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious health and safety work: it provides clients with corporate governance advice, assists organisations with health and safety issues relating to international operations, supply chain management risks and the standardisation of procedures, and deals with investigations and prosecutions brought by HSE and other enforcement bodies. Main contact Stuart Wardlaw advised Vertellus Specialities UK on an investigation into potential breaches of health and safety legislation including the COMAH regulations following a fire at its Seal Sands site, while Sembcorp Utilities, an energy, water and marine group, retained the practice to advise on a health and safety prosecution following a sub contractor’s employee suffering serious injuries during a hydraulic pressure test of a boiler at the client’s site. As well as its energy sector expertise, the team’s client base also includes a number on construction, retail, manufacturing and transport industry players.

[back to top]

Pensions
Pensions - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s wide-ranging contentious and non-contentious pensions law expertise leads to regular instructions from trustees and sponsoring employers of UK pension schemes. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Suzanne Duff provided IBM with general pensions law advice on its occupational pension plans and workforce restructuring programmes while also acting for the client in a pensions-related Court of Appeal case involving employer’s duty of good faith. Noted for her expertise in handling pensions-related corporate and outsourcing work, Tracy Walsh has been advising Procter & Gamble on the pension implications of the sale of its beauty brands to Coty which involved the transfer of hundreds of staff in the company’s largest UK pension scheme, and assisted Accent Housing on pension law matters pertaining to its two-year plan to rationalise the group. ‘Good communicator and delegator’ Martin Poore heads the team and was retained by the trustees of the Sapa Holdings Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme to advise on the employer’s flexible retirement offer to members and a pension increase exchange offer. Other clients include the Signet Group and the trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan.

[back to top]

North: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The ‘professional’ team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP ‘provides an excellent level of service’ to an impressive client roster that includes various private estate owners and other landowning organisations as well as public authorities and historic property management and conservation bodies such as The National Trust, English Heritage and Church Commissioners. Recent work includes advising various clients on property transactions, agricultural tenancy issues and mineral and wind farm option leases. Simon Kirkup heads the team and has ‘substantial experience and expertise as well as good client-handling skills’. Legal director Andrew Farquharson is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Simon Kirkup - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

[back to top]

Charities and not-for-profit
Charities and not-for-profit - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

With particular expertise in the education, health and religious charity sectors, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is noted for its ‘excellent level of service’, providing clients with ‘timely and detailed advice’ on strategic, governance and operational charity law matters. This includes assistance with registrations with the Charity Commission and preparing governing documents for the establishment of a charity as well as advice on regulatory compliance and charitable trust matters. ‘Outstanding’ team head Emma Moody ‘is always prepared to go the extra mile’; she advised Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums on its governance structure, the establishment of a strategic board and the set-up of a trading company as a joint venture to enable the client to develop new revenue streams. In other work, Moody assisted Gateshead College with a review of the college’s complaints system, and continues to provide the Roman Catholic charity Saint John of God Hospitaller Services with on-going strategic advice. ‘Knowledgeable’ managing associate Samantha Pritchard is another key member of the team and praised for her ‘common sense approach’.

[back to top]

Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Considered by many as the ‘clear market leader in the North East’, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has ‘considerable expertise and experience in trusts and probate matters’ which makes the team of ‘effective litigators’ a ‘safe pair of hands’. It is regularly called on by individuals and trustees as well as landowners and landed estate clients. The ‘clever, hardworking and empathetic’ Neil Long heads the team from London and is also noted as being ‘imaginative, innovative and determined’. In Newcastle, ‘excellent litigator’ and managing associate Richard Pike is ‘very strategic in litigation’ and ‘fights hard for his clients’. Clients also benefit from his ‘very realistic assessments’ and regard him as being ‘unfailingly courteous while at the same time maintaining a firm stance for his client’; attributes which make him ‘extraordinarily adept at handling substantial cases without losing the personal touch’.

[back to top]

Personal tax, trusts and probate
Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s team acts for families and high-net-worth individuals on a wide range of succession and estate planning matters, including capital gains and inheritance tax issues, the establishment and reorganisation of private and charitable trusts, investment restructuring and trading structures as well as the administration of high-value probates, inheritance tax relief claims and trustee work. Helen Tavroges, who jointly heads the team with David Dale, is frequently called upon by high-net-worth individuals and has particular expertise in matters affecting the elderly. George Lyall and legal director Deborah Jude are other key members of the team, as is managing associate Emily Pike.

Leading individuals

Deborah Jude - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Next generation lawyers

Emily Pike - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

[back to top]

North: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy
Energy - ranked: tier 2

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has a strong profile for corporate and commercial work, energy regulation matters and energy sector litigation. Simon Lewis assists clients with disputes pertaining to final accounts and project completion delays, among other issues. Barbara Painter is best known for handling infrastructure mandates such as oil and gas pipelines and storage projects while also dealing with site acquisitions for capacity market generation projects. Michael Brown routinely handles energy infrastructure mandates alongside real estate-related renewable energy instructions. Clients include oil and gas, power and renewable energy sector players such as Centrica, EDF Energy Renewables, National Tube Stockholders and Renewable Energy Systems.

[back to top]

North: Public sector

Education
Education - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides a ‘very good service’ to a broad education sector client base including schools, school governing bodies, academy trusts and local authorities. Its offering is equally wide-ranging and spans contentious and non-contentious governance, health and safety and academy conversion matters alongside employment, construction and procurement issues. Team head Kevin Robertson is ‘first class’; he continues to advise the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the Department for Education on its free school programme which includes university technical colleges and studio schools. He also advised multiple governing bodies on their conversion to academy status, and assisted 12 schools with handover arrangements and other matters pertaining to the North East PF2 programme. Together with Iain Greenshields, he assisted Academy 360 with its change of sponsor. In another highlight, Greenshields advised Durham University on all aspects of the delivery of two new colleges at Mount Oswald via a long-term public private partnership. Other key individuals include the ‘outstanding’ Emma Moody, who is ‘always prepared to go the extra mile for the client’, Simon Rowland and Ian Atkinson. Associate Peter Cantwell is also recommended and rated for his ‘practical and timely advice’.

[back to top]

North: Real estate

Commercial property: Newcastle
Commercial property: Newcastle - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Praised for its ‘commercial and pragmatic advice’, the ‘highly responsive’ team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has a strong profile for private rented sector matters, build to rent projects and commercial work, and acts for an impressive client roster which includes national housebuilders and financial institutions alongside energy, education and transport sector clients. Barbara Painter advised Teesside University on the acquisition of a site in Darlington from the Homes and Communities Agency for the construction of a National Horizons Centre, while the ‘very good’ Michael Brown assisted the Beamish Museum with lease matters. He also advised Standard Life Aberdeen and Curtis Banks on several transactional, lease and landlord licence matters, and handled various acquisitions of commercial property portfolios in the West Midlands and the North East for Buccleuch Property. Acting for several major national developers and investment clients, Tom Willows advised Bellway’s Durham division on various site acquisitions throughout County Durham and Teesside totalling approximately 350 residential units. Other key figures include national real estate team head John Ralph, Nigel Emmerson, who heads the public and private housing and residential investment sector team, and regeneration and residential development project expert Ian Ward. Managing associate John Booth is also recommended. Duncan Fisher moved to DAC Beachcroft LLP in February 2018.

Leading individuals

John Ralph - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Next generation lawyers

John Booth - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

[back to top]

Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Assisting public and private sector clients with contentious and non-contentious construction matters, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP ‘provides solutions and does not just explain the law’. The ‘knowledgeable and prompt’ practice is a regular fixture on key projects and has particular expertise in the educational, chemicals and energy sectors, while also being ‘a pleasure to work with’. Team head and litigation expert Simon Lewis and ‘superb’ project specialist Ian Atkinson continue to advise the Education and Skills Funding Agency on its £10bn refurbishment programme concerning the delivery of new and refurbished schools across the country. Atkinson, who is also noted as being ‘incredibly knowledgeable and pragmatic’, is advising Newcastle City Council on the refurbishment of a prominent city centre building, which included various construction and procurement matters, while Simon Rowland continues to assist the Beamish Museum with the delivery of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded construction programme for its ongoing Remaking Beamish project. Rowland is also advising the Cleveland Fire Authority on its £20m Capital Build Programme to deliver a new HQ and four fire stations. Recommended managing associate Andrew Clough has a focus on contentious work.

Leading individuals

Simon Rowland - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Next generation lawyers

Andrew Clough - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

[back to top]

Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Providing an ‘excellent level of service’, the ‘very professional’ team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is well equipped to advise on environmental compliance, enforcement prosecutions, market development and business risk management alongside transactions. Team head Stuart Wardlaw is noted for his particular expertise advising clients in the chemical, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, waste management and oil and gas sectors; he assisted the shareholders of Chemoxy International with the sale of a majority stake in the company to the French trade buyer Novacap. ‘Very knowledgeable’ associate Ruth Wintersgill handles contentious mandates.

[back to top]

Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s ‘first-rate’ planning team provides a ‘consistently excellent and efficient service in all aspects of planning combined with a very personable approach’. ‘Highly regarded’ and ‘exceptionally meticulous’ managing associate Stephen Dagg is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and has a ‘wealth of expertise with specific emphasis on highway and transport-related matters’. Clients also praise his ‘exceptional attention to detail’ and the ‘ability to get results for the client’. Associate Antonia Murillo is also ‘highly recommended’, particularly for planning litigation, and noted as ‘combining her extensive knowledge with a commercial perspective’, while ‘extremely personable’ associate Kate Ashworth is ‘highly committed and goes the extra mile to get results’. Claire Brook heads the team from Leeds following Frank Orr’s departure in July 2017. Recently, she advised Bellway Homes on various developments and subsidence issues requiring negotiations with the Coal Authority and the local planning authority.

[back to top]

Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Considered by clients as ‘one of the strongest regional firms with the reach and expertise of a national firm’, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP covers the gamut of contentious property work with ‘great accuracy’, including commercial, residential and agricultural property disputes, and frequently acts for landlords, tenants, developers and investors. Noted for her expertise in handling commercial property disputes, team head Jen Smurthwaite, who divides her time between Newcastle and Leeds, acted for a large transport operator in its pursuit of a dilapidation claim arising from two commercial leases. Managing associate David Hambler advised Standard Life Trustee Company on various property disputes across its self-invested personal pension plan (SIPP) portfolio. This included recovering unpaid rent and handling forfeiture matters and a dispute with freeholders concerning consents for alterations by a sub-tenant. He also acted for a developer in a dispute with the adjoining landowner. Other clients include Airwave Solutions, the Bernicia Group and Akelius.

[back to top]

Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is ‘exceptionally well prepared’ and noted for its ‘outstanding attention to detail’. Clients include traditional and LSVT housing associations, councils, arm’s-length management organisations (ALMOs), charities, for-profit providers and affordable housing providers, for which it handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious social housing matters. Team head Nigel Emmerson has been advising Karbon Homes, one of the largest housing associations in the North East, on its ongoing development programme, which included assisting with the acquisition of sites, development agreements and the acquisition of units from housebuilders in order to fulfil section 106 obligations. Other highlights included advising Byker Community Trust, a charity and registered social housing provider, on data sharing arrangements with the entities that provide various tenancy management services to the client, and acting for Rentplus UK on five acquisitions. Emmerson also advised Places for People (PfP) on a Walker Riverside regeneration project-related acquisition, which included assistance with development, option, nominations and section 106 agreements, while ‘very knowledgeable’ managing associate and property litigation specialist David Hambler (‘who gives off an air of understated confidence’) acted for the Bernicia Group on various tenancy management issues including possession claims and injunctions to tackle anti-social behaviour, as well as advising the client on shared ownership leases. Associate and property management transactions expert Ian Hellawell and Leeds-based associate Jennifer Robinson are also key members of the team.

[back to top]

North: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has particular expertise in advising clients from the financial services, manufacturing, transport and retail industries alongside public sector bodies. Main contact for the North East Caroline Churchill has a focus on non-contentious commercial, technology and data protection work, with an emphasis on technology transactions pertaining to the internet of things as well as data and cloud solutions. She routinely advises customers and suppliers and has particular expertise in manufacturing sector-related cyber security instructions. Andrew Scott left the firm in 2017.

[back to top]

Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has a team of ‘excellent individuals’, who are adept at advising clients, particularly from the chemical, manufacturing, technology and financial sectors, on patent, design and trade mark filings and prosecutions as well as entitlement and infringement matters and copyright work. The team continues to manage Bellway’s trade mark portfolio, while also advising the client on clearance searches and the prosecution of trade mark registrations.

[back to top]

North: Transport

Transport and shipping
Transport and shipping - ranked: tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Thanks the firm’s ‘deep knowledge of the franchise process’, clients consider Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP as the ‘primary adviser on train franchises in the region’. The ‘excellent’ team ‘hits well above its weight’ and is led by David Rewcastle, who ‘provides a first-class service’. Other key areas of expertise within the rail industry include the procurement of new rolling stock, IT and rolling stock contracts, and light rail matters. In a recent highlight, Rewcastle advised Govia on its bid for the West Midlands franchises. In similar work, the ‘excellent’ Paul Coleman, who specialises in rolling stock and infrastructure matters, assisted Govia with various rolling stock matters pertaining to its bid for the South Eastern franchise which included advice on the procurement process alongside leasing arrangements with the financier and long-term maintenance arrangements. The rail company SNCF instructed Kevin Bell to advise on its joint venture arrangements with Stagecoach and Virgin with regards to its bid for the West Coast Partnership franchise. Managing associate David Millard is another name to note. Network Rail Infrastructure is a client.

Leading individuals

David Rewcastle - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

[back to top]


Further information on Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in other jurisdictions.

London

Offices in London

North

Offices in Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 and Newcastle upon Tyne NE1

Scotland

Offices in Aberdeen and Edinburgh

South East

Offices in Southampton

South West

Offices in Plymouth and Bristol

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