Firm Profile > Druces LLP > London, England

Druces LLP

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 2

Druces LLP is active in corporate M&A across a broad range of sectors, with particular notice to the healthcare and technology sectors. Here, the team helps clients with business start-ups, fundraisings, acquisitions, disposals and mergers for both private and public companies. Following the firm's merger with London-based Ronaldsons, the team was bolstered through new arrivals to the corporate and property departments, and significantly increased its representation of AIM-listed clients. The 'extremely professional' Christopher Axford is a specialist in health sector transactions, and has extensive experience in acting in regulated environments.


Druces are strong and very competent. They understand the realities of small business. Capable of delivering solutions in real time and without the dreaded clock-watching prevalent in the legal profession

We generally deal with Chris Axford and find his team very competent. Their knowledge and due diligence is extremely good and they have completed transactions in a timely manner

Chris Axford is very responsive and explains issues clearly, while also being extremely professional and  making us feel very valued

David Bennett is a standout commercial lawyer. Provides succinct and focused advice on all commercial areas. He has the gravitas and experience for all levels of M&A

Key clients

Montreux Healthcare Fund Plc.

appScatter Group Plc

Summit Therapeutics Plc

Oxtem Limited

The Pickstock Group

Exclusive Care Group

Emerald Fund of Funds

Bank of London and the Middle East Plc

Napier Capital Partners

Legendary Investments Plc

Glenstone Property Group

Kufflink Bridging Solutions Limited


Deloittes Legal (Italy)

Dentons Pension Management Limited

Sigmaroc Plc

Islamic finance Tier 3

Druces LLP's banking and property finance lawyers advise a number of Islamic banking institutions in real estate and acquisition finance transactions. Headed by Christopher Axford, the group also acts for Middle Eastern investors in property investment deals. It recently enhanced its Middle East-facing private client practice with the recruitment of Matthew Duncan from Kingsley Napley LLP. Duncan acts as a consultant in the team and is one of the market's only English qualified lawyers who is authorised to advise on estate planning in the DIFC in Dubai.


The team is commercial and professional in its approach, clearly cares for its clients and takes pride in its work.

A solid team offering timely and commercial advice.

Key clients

Bank of London and The Middle East plc

British Arab Commercial Bank plc

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

Druces LLP is known for delivering traditional private client services across UK capital taxes, estate planning and probate. It also provides an international advisory service for non-UK domiciled clients, both resident and non-resident in the UK. The team provides structuring advice on international tax optimisation and asset protection and has experience of advising on non-standard structures and asset classes such as depositary receipts. Richard Monkcom and Robert Macro are the names to note.  Neil Morris and Helen Freely are also well-regarded.

Key clients

Directors UK

Vistra UK

Kleinwort Hambros

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 4

The charities group at Druces LLP is drawn from lawyers across a range of disciplines, bringing together specialisms in taxation, employment and other areas, who together have expertise in charity law. Richard Monkcom is at the helm. The group has a particular focus on advising clients on constitutional issues, commercial and publishing agreements as well as the taxation of the not-for-profit sector. It acts for more than 50 charities with sector strength in animal, medical, religious and educational. The team is also skilled at acting for charities where an estate with charitable beneficiaries is disputed. Helen Freely is well-regarded and often advises charities when they are just starting off.


The team is excellent. The response time to any question is almost immediate. The team helps its client to ask the correct questions and to explore the different options available‘.

It is absolutely dedicated to its clients and will go to great lengths to service them. This earns it enormous respect‘.

Helen Freely is an excellent solicitor. She is always available, efficient, knowledgeable and wise in her dealings with me as a client‘.

Key clients

Dogs Trust

Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 4

Druces LLP has a ‘hardworking, diligent and thorough property team’ which represents high-profile clients on HQ occupations and specialises in acting for overseas entities on the acquisition of HQ space with a development aspect. Practice head Nicholas Brent is praised for his ‘clear advice and guidance’ and is a specialist across the board in commercial property. His team also possesses experience in relation to portfolio management, syndicated property investments and institutional property investments.


‘They are always briefed on organisational needs and handle questions in a clear and friendly manner.’

‘Nicholas Brent has been incredibly supportive, providing clear advice and guidance. He has an in-depth understanding of my organisation and the environment in which we work which has proved invaluable in helping us deal with complex situations. He is accessible and responsive and able to explain options clearly and concisely.’

‘Responsiveness, accessibility, and good practical down to earth advice. When you go to a firm like Druces, they treat you like an equal.The advice is clear, bespoke and commercial and in negotiations, they are firm but not into grandstanding or point-scoring. Transparency on fees is also helpful in ensuring value for money for clients.’

‘Adrian Footer is consistently on the ball with good sound technical advice; very approachable and commercial. Sarah Dahabiyeh is also very approachable, thorough and methodical, with good attention to detail.’

‘A very hardworking, diligent and thorough property team with a high level of analytical skills and legal knowledge. A good level of communication between the team and client with a partner always up to date with the transaction. The team has specialist knowledge on setting up property syndicates’.

‘Suzanne Middleton Lindsley has proved to be very diligent in her approach to property purchases – she is supported by a strong team but nevertheless remains involved in each transaction and is always available when required for high level and strategic advice.’

‘Competence and promptitude’.

‘Karen Chapman is consistently excellent. Her approach is commercial and pragmatic, yet strong where and when required.’

Key clients

Conde Nast Publications Ltd

Equinix UK Limited

Philips Auctioneers

Dogs Trust

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 4

Helen Freely leads the team at Druces LLP  that advises entrepreneurs, City individuals, fund managers and other finance high-net-worth individuals. The team is skilled at advising on a broad range of matters involving wills, trusts and estates, and acts for individuals, beneficiaries, executors and trustees as well as charities in resolving, defending or bringing actions. One of the particular recent highlights for the contentious probate team was advising on an application to the court for a judicial trustee to be appointed in a particularly complex estate.

Emerging markets Tier 4

The banking and capital markets practice at Druces LLP act for a growing number of banks located or active in emerging markets, notably Turkey, India, China and Latin America. Among these are Bank of China, ICICI Bank, Credit Europe Bank, Denizbank and the Bank of London and the Middle East. The firm joins the ranking this year and its work for banks in 2018 included a $40m receivables financing involving two Latin American jurisdictions, and the €75m refinancing of a floating power plant in Turkey. A key focus for the practice, led by an experienced finance and disputes Charles Spragge, is the mining and minerals sector, in which the firm handles equity capital raising for early stage exploration companies through to the issue of listed debt to fund the acquisition of operating assets.

Key clients

Credit Europe Bank

Denizbank , Turkey

ICICI Bank, India

Bank of London and The Middle East

Alexander Mining PLC

Kibo Energy PLC

Savannah Resources PLC

Bank of China

Property litigation Tier 4

'Combining sound strategic advice with good technical knowledge and clear guidance on the options available', Druces LLP acts for an extensive roster of commercial property joint ventures and commercial property developers alongside occupiers and landlords of commercial property. The group handles the full remit of commercial and high-value residential property matters with typical instructions pertaining to contentious landlord and tenant relations, property finance matters and disputes arising from commercial property insolvencies and property developments. The 'bright, realistic and sensibleJulian Johnstone heads the practice and 'is a pleasure to work with'.


The team will fight tooth and nail to secure the best outcome for the client while managing expectations and not sugarcoating issues.’

Julian Johnstone has a no-nonsense approach that gets straight to the heart of a matter and examines issues thoroughly.

Julian Johnstone has a deep technical knowledge, which, combined with his vast experience produces advice, which is both clever and pragmatic.

The team’s real strength is the ability to translate sound legal knowledge into commercial and practical solutions.

Competent, expert knowledge expedited to the highest standard.

Key clients

Aquila Developments


Conde Nast Publications

Dogs Trust

Dunmoore Group

Enstar Capital

Gatwick Airport

Henderson Global Investors

Ratcliffes Surveyors

Topland Group

Urban Evolution

Yours Clothing

Mining and minerals Tier 5

The corporate finance lawyers at Druces LLP handle transactions for mining companies which range from equity capital raising for early stage exploration companies, through to the issue of listed debt to fund the acquisition of operating assets, and substantial takeovers. The group also handles disputes and bilateral investment treaty arbitration, while the tax team advises on international structures. The offering was significantly bolstered by the firm's merger with Ronaldsons in 2018 which added Dominic Traynor and Stephen Ronaldson to its broader corporate practice. Associate Jack Kemmish also joined from Kerman & Co .


‘The Druces lawyers are down to earth and just get on with things. They have a very wide range of skills but as a medium-sized team are willing to admit where they may have a gap in knowledge or experience. It is very refreshing.’

‘Druces provides a full range of relevant advisory services. Clients frequently instruct them for M&A, fundraising, share option schemes, Market Abuse Regulations, HR contracts, major supplier contracts, company secretarial and general corporate advice.’

‘Dominic Traynor has experience of both advising and being part on the board of directors for natural resources companies.’

‘Dominic Traynor is very knowledgeable on corporate and governance matters. He is particularly commercially savvy and has good knowledge of the sectors he supports. He is good at finding solutions to problems and is very personable and reliable.’

Key clients

Alexander Mining PLC

Amedeo Resources

Goldplat PLC

Greatland Gold PLC

Katoro Gold PLC

Kibo Energy PLC

Red Rock Resources PLC

Regency Mines PLC

Rockfire Resources PLC

SigmaRoc PLC

Savannah Resources PLC

Thor Mining PLC

Property finance Tier 6

Druces LLP is noted for its niche specialisms in sharia-compliant transactions and syndicated property investment, and also handles conventional investment and development finance. The firm's client base includes property funds, bridging companies, corporates and high-net-worth individuals, as well as a number of overseas banks. Christopher Axford leads the team, which also includes Suzanne Middleton Lindsley and Samantha Hook, who joined from Howard Kennedy LLP in May 2019.


Druces stands out for its partner-led service, clear ownership and accountability on transactions, and speed of execution‘.

The team is hands-on, pragmatic and focused on execution‘.

Key clients

Bank of London and the Middle East plc

Metro Bank plc

Ratcliffes/Syndicates D&A

Alpha Bridging Solutions (now known as Kuflink)

British Arab Commercial Bank

Secure Trust Bank

Arbuthnot Latham

Marshall Bridging Fund

Bank Julius Baer, Guernsey

Denizbank, Turkey

ICICI Bank India

Bank of China (UK)

C.Hoare & Co

Commercial litigation Tier 7

Druces LLP's 'team is very hardworking, organised and committed to getting the right results for clients'. The disputes practice covers high-value cross-border matters, banking and finance, claimant-side professional negligence,  claims against directors, shareholder and partnership issues, mining, oil and gas, and property and insolvency. Julian JohnstoneCharles Spragge  and Neil Hayter are experienced advisers, and Rachel Brown is a highly regarded senior associate.


Clients always get a truly balanced view and the lawyers provide good value and a sensible approach‘.

Charles Spragge is a real asset, who is sensible and sensitive in his handling of clients‘.

Julian Johnstone is a bright, lateral-thinking litigator, who is sensible, robust and realistic‘.

Senior associate Rachel Brown is always fast to respond, and honest and balanced in her advice – even if clients don’t like it‘.

Key clients

Fondation Ion Basgan

Credit Europe Bank

Onur Air Tasimacilik

Haier Appliances

Vistra (UK)

Orexim Trading



The team at Druces LLP works closely with the firm's private client, tax and international wealth team, as well as the corporate team to advise on Tier 1 and Tier 2 work, covering entrepreneurs, investors, exceptional talent and companies bringing skilled migrants into the UK. It also advises on spousal visas, commonwealth ancestral visas and sole representatives of overseas companies, as well as citizenship, registration and naturalisation.


‘A fast service and comprehensive advice.’

‘Charles Avens is very approachable and professional.’

‘Charles Avens is very helpful and dedicated.’

Founded in 1767, Druces is an ambitious City of London law firm known for advising public and privately-owned businesses, financial institutions and wealthy individuals across a range of industry sectors. We combine cutting edge legal advice with traditional service for our clients and pride ourselves on the long-term relationships we build with our clients and the value we add to their businesses.

We provide high-value expertise in the areas of corporate & capital markets, banking & finance, dispute resolution, international trade, real estate and private wealth. A large part of our work is international and we were the founder members of the Alliance of Business Lawyers, a worldwide network of law firms enabling us to provide a seamless cross-border service for our clients in the UK and overseas. We regularly advise international clients on English law matters.

Druces merged successfully with well-respected London law firm Ronaldsons in 2018, bolstering our Capital Markets team with the arrival of two leading Natural Resources sector specialists. Druces is now recognised as one of the UK’s top 15 law firms for the number of AIM listed clients we advise and we are ranked second in the UK for Basic Materials Clients* (*July & September 2019, Aim Adviser Rankings).

We also announced our merger with City of London-based law firm, Sykes Anderson Perry (October 2019) as part of our continued strategic growth and development. The merger has strengthened Druces’ Private Client and Real Estate practices in particular and brings additional specialisms including Leasehold Enfranchisement and French real estate. Our Private Client team’s international cross border capabilities have also been bolstered by the arrival of dual-qualified lawyers able to advise on French and Spanish private client issues.

The firm: Responsiveness and discretion are the hallmarks of our firm and have been for more than 250 years. The firm celebrated its 250th year in 2017 and continues to build on the qualities of integrity, personality, adaptability and ambition that have underpinned the firm’s success and reputation.

The firm’s core services are corporate, banking and finance, employment, commercial property, commercial and property litigation, international arbitration, charities, private wealth and contentious probate, and high-value residential property. The firm’s core client base includes investor-entrepreneurs, banks, other significant businesses, charities and the independently wealthy.

Types of work undertaken: Druces has a strong industry focus on natural resources, real estate finance, banking and finance, family offices, charities and healthcare. The firm is also highly regarded for its international wealth and fiduciary practice and has strong international links.

Corporate and commercial: For our corporate clients we bring together established and specialised commercial, financial and corporate teams to ensure they succeed whether they are listing, merging, buying, selling, expanding, relocating, restructuring or litigating. Druces’ lawyers have in-depth experience in relation to mergers, acquisitions and disposals, capital markets (with a significant specialism in natural resources), corporate finance, corporate reorganisations, equity and debt capital markets, private equity investments, start-ups, spin-outs, management buy-ins and buy-outs, commercial contracts, cross-border deals, national and international joint ventures and inward investments. The team also has particular interest and expertise in advising on a wide range of regulated business transfers, including instructions as diverse as insurance demutualisations through to the sale of banks and stockbrokers.

Private wealth and taxation: Druces’ Private Client team has a significant presence in the London private wealth market and helps clients with their complex tax, fiduciary and estate issues, both in the UK and internationally and across both contentious and non-contentious matters. Services include: Tax & Trusts, International Wealth – advisory services for non-UK domiciled clients both resident and non-resident in the UK and their fiduciaries, structures and businesses, Succession Planning, High-Value Residential & Commercial Property, Contentious Trusts, Probate (including French probate) and Dispute Resolution, Charities, HNW Immigration (Investor & Entrepreneur) and Bespoke Corporate Advice.

Real Estate: Druces’ large and experienced team of real estate lawyers provides a complete commercial and residential property law service to a wide variety of corporate and individual clients. The firm’s commercial property lawyers act for a wide range of developers, investors, occupiers and financiers. Clients range in size from large organisations to smaller entrepreneurial concerns. The firm has particular expertise and longstanding experience in acting for clients investing in property syndicates, having pioneered such structures over 20 years ago.

Banking and finance (inc Islamic finance): the firm is involved in asset finance, property finance, acquisition and trade finance, restructuring of debt and equity, and project finance and is also experienced in assisting on finance involving shari’ah-compliant structures. The firm’s banking and finance team is on the panel for a number of clearing banks as well as smaller and specialist banks. In addition to being on panels for these clients the firm acts for a number of other banks and lending institutions.

Dispute resolution: Druces provides specialist commercial litigation services in three main areas: commercial and contractual disputes; disputes relating to partnerships, joint ventures, shareholdings, and corporate structures; and professional negligence claims for claimants. It also has very strong experience of handling all types of arbitration under the full range of rules including LCIA, ICC, ICSID, GAFTA (and other trade associations) and CIArb as well as under the Arbitration Act 1996. It has particular experience in dealing with international trade and commercial arbitrations, and investment treaty arbitrations. As well as handling arbitrations in England and Wales it is often called on to manage or provide advice and assistance with arbitrations conducted overseas.  The team also works alongside the firm’s Insolvency & Restructuring practice.

Employment & Business immigration: the employment lawyers at Druces advise and act for employers and employees in relation to all manner of employment issues, including drafting and negotiating employment contracts, staff handbooks, changes to terms and conditions of employment, advising in relation to employers’ statutory obligations and advising in relation to TUPE transfers on corporate acquisitions. We have also built a business immigration practice over the past four years which now advises organisations and individuals on the full spectrum of immigration advice. The firm’s clients include employers, banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, recruitment consultants and charities, as well as senior high-net-worth and board-level employees.


Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Roy Campbell
Real Estate Nicholas Brent
Corporate & commercial Toby Stroh
Private client Richard Monkcom
Dispute resolution Julian Johnstone
Photo Name Position Profile
 Charles Avens  photo Charles Avens
 Christopher Axford  photo Christopher Axford
 David Bennett  photo David Bennett
 Nick Brent  photo Nick Brent
Mr Roy Campbell photo Mr Roy Campbell
 Karen Chapman  photo Karen Chapman
 Caroline Cropley  photo Caroline Cropley
 Matthew Duncan  photo Matthew Duncan
 Adrian Footer  photo Adrian Footer
 Helen Freely  photo Helen Freely
 Neil Hayter  photo Neil Hayter
 Julian Johnstone  photo Julian Johnstone
 Robert Macro  photo Robert Macro
 Suzanne Middleton Lindsley  photo Suzanne Middleton Lindsley
 Richard Monkcom  photo Richard Monkcom
 Neil Morris  photo Neil Morris
 Neil Pfister  photo Neil Pfister
 Simon Pullen  photo Simon Pullen
 Stephen Ronaldson  photo Stephen Ronaldson
 David Smith  photo David Smith
 Charles Spragge  photo Charles Spragge
 Toby Stroh  photo Toby Stroh
 Dominic Traynor  photo Dominic Traynor
 Paul White  photo Paul White
Number of UK partners : 23
Number of other UK fee-earners : 40

Corporate Social Responsibility is at the heart of our firm and we endeavour to be recognised not only for our reputation in delivering a broad range of legal services, but also for our longstanding commitment to the wellbeing of our staff, our local community and the environment.

Druces is a member of Heart of the City, the UK’s largest responsible small business network, which means we have the tools and resources readily available to better assist us implement our core initiatives.

The Community

Our people have the skills and energy that can make a real difference to the communities we work in. By working alongside local charities, schools and not-for-profit groups, we are able to focus our efforts and resources for the greatest impact.

Druces’ staff actively participate in a wide range of organised fund-raising activities, including the London Legal Walk and Standard Chartered Great City Race. As a firm we are committed to supporting our local communities and as such make an annual food donation to the Whitechapel Mission, a long-standing organisation combating homelessness in London.

Our staff also regularly take part in individual charity fundraisers, recently they have been involved in the Prudential Ride London-Surrey, Teenage Cancer Trust volunteering and the MacMillan Charity Hike.

We are currently working with one community-based organisation to formalise the support we can offer them. We hope to announce this shortly.

The Environment

We have taken significant steps to improve the firm’s environmental performance and we encourage all members of staff to adopt ethical principles, both in the office and in their daily lives. Our most recent initiative was the reduction of single use plastic. As a responsible business we seek to actively reduce our energy consumption, recycling and reusing materials, promoting sustainable travel and procurement.

In order to reduce our impact on the environment, Druces endorses a variety of sustainable initiatives that are incorporated into our business practices and are echoed in the mindful way we obtain goods and services, and in the choice of the suppliers and partners we work with. This includes ensuring all lightbulbs are energy efficient, sourcing Fairtrade products and purchasing goods from outlets that are accessible for collection, to reduce our carbon footprint.

We practice a zero-waste policy and urge all members of staff to think before they print, or recycle the unwanted files.

Our People

Druces is an equal opportunities employer, striving to regard all people equally regardless of their gender, age, religion, racial group, nationality, sexual orientation, marital status or disability.

We have established several initiatives within the firm to ensure Druces remains an encouraging, diverse and rewarding place to work. Our in-house ‘committee’ develops and supports out of office events and activities for team building, thereby developing a more collegiate environment for all. Recent events include a theatre trip, a sporting event and a team building exercise.

We are currently looking at introducing some employee internal wellbeing initiatives for all members of staff to take part in and enjoy.