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Foot Anstey LLP


Foot Anstey LLP - Plymouth
  • Salt Quay House
  • 4 North East Quay
  • Sutton Harbour
  • Plymouth
  • Devon
  • UK
  • PL4 0BN
  • Managing Partner John Westwell
  • Senior Partner Simon Gregory
  • Number of Partners 45

The Firm Delivering exceptional client service has enabled Foot Anstey to expand rapidly in recent times, notably establishing a Bristol office in 2011 which continues to grow at an impressive rate. Under the leadership of managing partner John Westwell, the firm continues to invest in people and technology to ensure value and quality, focused on helping clients to achieve their strategic objectives and manage risk. The firm strategy is focused on organic growth which is paying dividends and targeted talent acquisition has seen Foot Anstey recruit partners from national, City and international firms in the past 18 months. The firm’s growing client base comprises of regional, national and international businesses and public sector organisations. The firm is truly committed to strengthening relationships with local communities and actively engages in corporate social projects from conventional fund raising, to support for the long-term unemployed.

Principal Areas of Work
The firm’s respected corporate team supports a wide range of clients, from global businesses on transactions with an international dimension to entrepreneurs and business owners requiring local expertise and connections. Their corporate team is comprised of leading experts in private equity, banking, restructuring and insolvency, international transactions, tax, and company secretarial. Types of work include advising on public and private M&A, domestic floats, delistings and equity fundraisings, joint ventures and group restructuring.
Commercial: The commercial team are trusted experts to private, public and third sector organisations, advising on all aspects of business including research and development through to the post sales environment, such as commercial contracts, complex projects and disputes, competition and procurement law, financial services and consumer credit, intellectual property, privacy and data protection, IT and telecommunications, and outsourcing and commercial collaborations.
Dispute Resolution: The rapidly growing dispute resolution team looks after a wide range of commercial disputes, with highly specialist teams offering advice in a number of niche areas.
Employment: The firm’s employment law team is the largest in the South West, working with major national and regional employers.
Real Estate: The property team supports a large portfolio of public sector and private clients handling prestigious City work alongside large regional and local projects. The team is supported by dedicated planning, property litigation and construction specialists.
Clinical Negligence: The highly rated clinical negligence team has over 25 specialists with vast experience in handling high-value and complex cases. Work comes from private individuals and key relationships with charities and support groups.
Wealth & Succession: The firm also has a strong wealth and succession team advising on a range of work from tax planning to wealth and succession management and family law. The industry sectors on which Foot Anstey is focused include: agriculture, charities and education, financial services, healthcare, media, retail and leisure.

CLIENTS: Foot Anstey’s growing client base covers regional, national and international businesses and public sector organisations.

INTERNATIONAL: The firm has extensive experience advising UK companies working abroad, and those international companies looking to come to the UK. Islamic Finance is a niche area in which they have specialist expertise.

RECRUITMENT: Foot Anstey is ambitious and aims to attract, develop and retain the best talent. Over the past two years they have recruited numerous, significant legal experts to join their fast growing firm. They are always interested to hear from others who want to be involved with their journey. Further details found at www.footanstey.com/join-us

  • Agriculture & Estates Joel Woolf
  • Banking & Finance Will Whitt
  • Banking 
  • Charities & Social Enterprise James Evans
  • Clinical Negligence Robert Antrobus
  • Construction Chris Hoar
  • Corporate Chris Worrell
  • Commercial Jonathan Oddy
  • Dispute Resolution Steven Richards
  • Education Duncan Tringham
  • Employment Matthew Huddleson
  • Financial Services Alan Hughes
  • Healthcare Helen Wallwork
  • Islamic Finance Imam Qazi
  • Media Chris Worrell
  • Pensions Comron Rowe
  • Retail & Leisure Patrick Howarth
  • Wealth & Succession Steven Howells
  • Real Estate Richard Walford
  • Real Estate Litigation Richard Bagwell
  • Tax John Pindard


Agriculture & Rural Affairs - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Exeter-based agricultural team advises clients throughout the South West. Assists with property matters such as sales and purchases, manorial rights and option agreements. Contentious practice covers tenancy disputes as well as defending clients in statutory prosecutions. Also acts for landed estates on succession planning and trusts matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team has been really fantastic: very responsive, pragmatic and focused on solutions. It understands what we are trying to achieve and feels like part of our in-house team."

"The firm is proactive at fostering relationships with clients and is always happy to help." 

Notable practitioners  

Clients appreciate Joel Woolf's agricultural background and flexibility. "He understands where we are coming from," says one. Another adds: "He is particularly good at coming up with new ways of doing things and does not take anything as read."

Significant clients Tregothnan Estate, The Dartington Hall Trust, Bolitho Estate, NFU, Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association.

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Recognised for expertise in real estate finance and corporate banking facilities. Genuine regional specialist in Islamic finance, acting for London-based Islamic banks on senior and mezzanine investment financings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We would use them if we had a strict deadline and wanted to feel we were in safe hands."

Notable practitioners  

According to market commentators, Will Whitt "communicates incredibly well and is commercially pragmatic." He has experience in acting on UK and cross-border real estate finance and acquisition finance facilities.

Significant clients Santander, 90 North Real Estate Partners, Ahli United Bank, Clydesdale Bank, ABC International Bank.

Clinical Negligence: Mainly Claimant - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 26 other lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro

What the team is known for Advises clients on a range of matters, including birth injuries, cosmetic surgery, cancer diagnosis and fatality. Also houses specialist expertise in coronial law.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I can't think of another firm that has such a penetration of the South West in clinical negligence. Not only do they have a lot of offices, but they're all staffed by experienced, competent practitioners. I think this is probably unique."

What's new? Completed the acquisition of the Pardoes clinical negligence team, bringing nine new practitioners to several of its South West offices.

Work highlights Advised on a group action involving the Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Hannam has a pre-eminent practice handling birth injury cases. Sources state that he is "outstanding and a star player."

Mike Bird is the department's specialist on technical aspects of coronial law. He is also leading a tightly controlled group action regarding gynaecological evidence.

Claire Stoneman is skilful in handling claims of sudden neo-natal death and other birth injury. Sources say she is a "real fighter who has a very good grasp of medical matters."

Robert Antrobus focuses on complex and high-value cases, and has a vast amount of inquest experience.

Katja Robins is making inroads in a range of clinical negligence cases. She is currently handling a number of matters regarding cosmetic surgery, cancer diagnosis and fatality.

Construction - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners (1 Exeter, 1 Bristol)
- 4 other qualified lawyers (1 Exeter, 2 Bristol, 1 Taunton)
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Brings extensive experience of contentious and non-contentious construction cases to the Exeter market. Exhibits strength in a number of sectors, including renewables.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They carry out the work effectively and commercially." 

Work highlights Advised British Solar Renewables on negotiating and drafting the construction elements of six solar park projects, each exceeding 5 MW.

Acted for the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust on a £27 million development of a medical research facility in collaboration with the University of Exeter.

Notable practitioners  

Chris Hoar is able to draw on a wealth of experience of procurement, contract and contentious matters. He is head of department and comes recommended by peers.

Associate Jim Gorrod is a "very proactive and responsive" contentious specialist, according to sources. He has a full knowledge of ADR processes.

Significant clients British Solar Renewables, Magna Housing Association, Viridor Waste Management, Mount Wise (Devon), Chilworth Construction Management.

Corporate/M&A - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Plymouth

What the team is known for Noted for its work in the financial services sector, not least in matters concerning Islamic finance. Has a strong footprint throughout the South West, particularly in Devon.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"Good client attention: clients feel loved by them." 

"Very friendly and very approachable." 

Work highlights Represented UBM in the sale of Property Week to Metropolis International.

Assisted Gregory Distribution with regard to several recent acquisitions in support of its expansion strategy, including the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Philson Haulage (Southern).

Notable practitioners  

Chris Worrell's practice focuses on joint ventures and M&A. Clients praise his intelligence and ability to clearly communicate the issues at stake in a transaction. He has acted for UBM on a number of dispositions. 

Clients say that Matthew Stoate is "pragmatic" and "enjoyable to work with." His expertise lies in private equity in particular and he also possesses experience handling Islamic finance issues. 

Duncan Sykes acts for owner-managed businesses and focuses on M&A and MBOs. Market sources say he is "very commercial and practical," and clients praise his negotiation skills.  

Helen Wallwork comes recommended for her work with clients in the healthcare sector, including Plymouth Community Healthcare. She also earns particular praise for her efficiency.

Significant clients 90 North Real Estate Partners, Plymouth Community Healthcare, Succession Group, Axminster Power Tools, Silvergate Media group/Lord Waheed Alli.

Employment - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 27 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Plymouth

What the team is known for Widely recognised employment law strength across the South West, with extensive experience of complex Employment Tribunal and litigation cases, as well as large-scale restructuring projects and transactional matters. In-depth expertise available in TUPE, discrimination, corporate advisory and HR issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"These lawyers are just wonderful - great at coming back to you with answers to your questions, so you're never left hanging. We have complete and utter confidence in them. It's very much a two-way conversation; they listen to our thoughts and will help us to find the best way forward."

"This team provides responsive, timely, comprehensive and appropriate advice - the lawyers are also open to being challenged and questioned on that advice."

Work highlights Advised prominent automotive and cycling retailer Halfords on a range of employment law issues, including TUPE outsourcing advice and employment tribunal cases.

Represented DAS Legal Expenses Insurance on a range of HR and employment matters, including equal pay-related Employment Tribunal claims.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Howarth remains one of the top-rated employment lawyers in the Plymouth market, recognised for his wide-ranging experience of complex employment cases. Lately, he has acted for numerous high-profile clients in the retail sector, for example assisting major homeware supplier Robert Dyas with issues including collective consultation, TUPE and gross misconduct dismissals.

Prominent Exeter-based lawyer Matthew Huddleson continues to draw praise for his employment law work, particularly his client service skills. His recent case highlights have covered issues such as board-level disputes and departures, Employment Tribunal claims, and strategic acquisition and restructuring arrangements.

Significant clients Kingfisher, Odeon Cinemas, Screwfix, Eden Project, Torbay Council.

Intellectual Property - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Brand management and protection remain key areas of strength, aided by the team's ability to file and prosecute trade marks for clients. Growing practice in media rights.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're very good, and have a commercial, business-focused approach." 

Work highlights Advising Silvergate on numerous IP issues concerning a proposed agreement with an Irish animation company for the production of a second television series of Peter Rabbit, based on Beatrix Potter's books.

Notable practitioners  

Martin Cuell is a key contact for the practice.

Significant clients Associated Newspapers, Interplay UK, BIS, Tate & Lyle, South West Highways. 

Licensing - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Bristol 

What the team is known for Strong regulatory practice advising on both liquor and gambling licensing. Noted for its capability in complex commercial issues, with regular work relating to large-scale events.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They took the time to understand our project and gave good recommendations when there were decisions to be made."

Work highlights Represented the University of Bristol Students Union in securing the new premises licence for the £26 million refurbishment of the Students Union Building.

Advised Bristol City FC on the licensing requirements for the Ashton Gate Stadium Redevelopment, including advising on the track betting premises licence and securing a liquor licence for a new cider bar.  

Notable practitioners  

Chris Pritchett heads the team and attracts high praise from clients who comment that "he takes the time to understand our issues and our context" and that he "has his finger on the pulse."

Significant clients Betfuze, Hotcha, Warner Music UK, Diligent Gaming, London Warehouse Events.

Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 18 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton

What the team is known for Works closely with its offices across the South West to undertake a broad range of commercial disputes. It has expertise in a variety of sectors, including insurance, retail, banking and financial services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're one of those firms who makes the effort to get to know their clients."

"They care, they're responsive and their rates are very sensible."

Work highlights Acted for Malaysian insurer Etiqa in a MYR10 million dispute concerning the indemnification of sums paid pursuant to the Malaysian Bar Scheme.

Successfully represented the National Farmers Union (NFU) in securing an injunction against harassment by animal rights activists following the NFU's attempt to stop the spread of cattle disease.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Singfield is based in Exeter and focuses on IP and media disputes for clients in the retail and media sector. Clients praise his ability to "provide helpful guidance and advice with a good strategic approach on how to resolve issues."

Significant clients Lloyds Banking Group, Odeon Cinemas, Screwfix Direct, Halfords.

Pensions - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 1 other qualified lawyer
- Office locations ranked: Plymouth 

What the team is known for Plymouth-based team advising local and national clients on a range of pensions matters. Frequently advises charities and public sector bodies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They steer us very competently through the finer details. I would recommend them to anyone."

What's new? New clients include Age UK, Cornwall Care and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Work highlights Advised Odeon Cinemas on issues around its auto-enrolment provisions.

Notable practitioners  

Comron Rowe "is extremely enthusiastic and well versed in pensions legislation," clients state. He heads the firm's pensions team, working with employers and trustees on a wide spectrum of matters.

Significant clients Trustees of the Brittany Ferries Pension Scheme, Torbay Council, Family Action, Morgan Lloyd, Plymouth University.

Personal Injury: Mainly Claimant - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Highly regarded team advising clients on a broad range of serious personal injury claims. Has particular skill in brain injury cases.

Work highlights Representing a client in a claim against a police force for injuries sustained while in custody.

Notable practitioners  

Juliette Clarke has considerable expertise in handling brain and spinal injury claims. She also has experience on industrial disease matters, including mesothelioma claims.

Private Client - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Advises high net worth individuals and farming clients from the South West. Experience handling wills, probate, estates, tax and succession planning. Particular expertise in advising elderly and vulnerable clients on capacity issues.

Notable practitioners

Steven Howells leads the firm's private client offering in Exeter and has particular strength in will and trust arrangements. Commentators remark that he "has a real understanding of the sensitivities of cases. He understands where clients have come from and how they need to be looked after."

Real Estate - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners (7 Bristol, 5 Exeter, 3 Plymouth)
- 81 other qualified lawyers (20 Bristol, 39 Exeter, 22 Plymouth)
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Plymouth

What the team is known for Growing development practice with a focus on social housing and residential development projects. Specialist expertise in property investment and finance matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their ability to communicate the principles in an impressively simple manner came across very well." 

"They keep me informed and stick to my instructions, and they're very good at effectively advising on strategy."

What's new? Education and telecoms specialist Duncan Tringham joins the Plymouth office from Burges Salmon. Fran Button and Dan Cuthbert also join the firm.

Work highlights Advised Akkeron Leisure on the £50 million development at Higher Home Park in Plymouth.

Acted for M Baker on the £5 million investment acquisition of a former Ford dealership development site.

Notable practitioners  

Duncan Tringham has a wide range of commercial property experience, including acquisitions, disposals and developments. One client comments that "he deals with the right amount of details to allow the project to progress. He gets the very best deal for his client."

Simon Gregory is praised as "one of the leading lawyers in Exeter on property development." He is frequently instructed by landowners, house builders and developers on all aspects of property development.

Imam Qazi is widely recognised for his specialist work in the Islamic finance market. Clients praise his "flexibility and commerciality," adding that "he's very helpful." He advised 90 North Real Estate Partners on the £43 million acquisition of the student accommodation village, The Green, in Bradford.

Richard Sutton's clients describe him as "very reliable and very thorough." He acts for a number of private sector clients and financial institutions, including Mount Wise and Vospers Motor House.

Significant clients ADAPT Properties, Dimah Capital, First Great Western, Plymouth University, Lloyds TSB.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Praised by market commentators as a strong outfit. Assists clients from the public sector and media on a nationwide scale across the full scope of property disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are responsive and clearly knowledgeable in their field."

Work highlights Acted for the owners of the Atlantic Bay Holiday Park in an appeal of a service charges dispute with 116 chalet owners.

Advised Dreams on all contentious property issues related to its administration proceedings.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Bagwell heads the team and is highly respected for his expertise by peers and clients alike. One client says: "He works to find sensible solutions without resorting to litigation and ensures that we are taking sound, money-conscious decisions. He provides pragmatic, prompt and incredibly clear and concise advice on a diverse range of matters."

Anna Phillips handles a variety of contentious property matters and often advises clients from the charities and health sectors.

Significant clients Centro, MoD Defence Housing Executive, Lloyds Bank, Screwfix, Plymouth City Council.

Tax - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- Office locations ranked: Plymouth

What the team is known for Experienced in tax aspects of corporate transactions, including M&A, reorganisations and employee share schemes, as well as real estate investment structures. Also has a formidable Islamic finance practice, offering Shari'a-compliant tax services.

Work highlights Advised 90 North on tax aspects of its £45 million acquisition of student villages, with a significant portion of the financing being done through a murabaha arrangement.

Acted for China Fleet Country Club on its challenge to HMRC before the ECJ, regarding the interpretation of the Sporting Directive applying to VAT on non-members' fees.

Advised Gill Akaster on a complex SDLT mitigation scheme relating to its purchase of the St Neots Surgery, in a deal worth over £2 million.

Notable practitioners  

Highly regarded practitioner John Pindard is the head of the tax team at the firm, and offers clients the benefit of his 11 years' experience working at HMRC. He recently advised Exeter College on capital allowance, VAT and Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) matters regarding its purchase of National House.

Significant clients United Business Media, Screwfix, Odeon, Hawksford Trust, Go-Train.

Banking Litigation - The Regions

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Plymouth

What the team is known for Well-established regional practice regularly instructed by claimants and defendants on a variety of banking litigation. National capabilities in fraud, professional negligence, recovery and enforcement.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Foot Anstey are always very good at tailoring their work to what we require on a daily basis and building a team locally. They adjust their offering appropriately."

"They are practical and they know our business." 

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Robin Brown is highly regarded for his thorough and measured approach, and for his considerable experience in the sector. He regularly acts for major banks and receivers, and one client comments that he is "always incredibly helpful, especially when it comes to sensitive matters."

Significant clients Armada Investments, Bank of Ireland, Allsop, Hitachi Capital, FC Fund Managers.

Court of Protection - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Plymouth, Taunton, Bristol

What the team is known for Works across its offices in the South West to offer effective financial and welfare support for those under the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection. Receives financial deputyship referrals from a number of external parties, as well as the firm's own noted personal injury practice and clinical negligence departments. The welfare team is particularly adept at handling deprivation of liberty disputes for care home detainees.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their performance has impressed at all times. The operations within the offices are very professional and efficient and, as clients, we are very well looked after by the team." 

"They're responsive, very fair, have an impressive sensitivity, and the best interests of the client always override any other considerations."

Notable practitioners  

Experienced Court of Protection practitioner and panel deputy Patricia Wass handles the non-contentious side of the team's Court of Protection practice, managing the finances of clients who lack capacity. Impressed sources comment: "You're in safe hands with her and can have absolute confidence in her knowledge and experience."

Emma Stacey is developing a growing practice in Court of Protection health and welfare disputes. She has notable experience in handling deprivation of liberty cases for family members of those detained in care homes, and clients appreciate her "very professional attitude and strong work ethic."

Defamation/Reputation Management - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Market leaders in regional newspaper work, demonstrating additional prowess acting for magazine publishers. Provides pre and post-publication advice with regard to content.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)  

"They're very good indeed. I like their approach: what do you want, here are the risks, here is how you can go forward."

"I've always found they're well versed in all the changes in media law and keep abreast of developments." 

What's new? New clients include London Live and Mustard Television.

Work highlights Represented Isle of Man Newspapers in a libel claim issued by a prominent businessman.

Acted for The News Letter, Belfast on the defence a libel claim brought by Sir Gerry Loughran on the basis of statutory qualified privilege.

Notable practitioners  

The "very wise" Tony Jaffa is an established figure in the regional publishing industry, offering decades of experience in pre-publication work. Jaffa is valued by clients as "very helpful, very effective and very personable."

Significant clients Johnston Press, Local World, Archant Community Media, Midland News Associates, Which?.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Represents schools and trusts in commercial, employment, IP and IT matters. Experienced in academy conversions and providing post-conversion advice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have always replied promptly to any queries and their performance has been one of complete professionalism, with no weak link in the chain."

Work highlights Advised the Primary Academies Trust and The Duchy School on the school's conversion to academy status and joining the trust.

Represented King’s College, Taunton, in connection with planning and agreements concerning land to be sold for a housing development.

Notable practitioners

Karen Bates is a key partner at the firm.  

Significant clients The Maynard School, Studley High School, South Dartmoor Academy Trust, West Somerset Community College, Huish Episcopi Academy.

Media & Entertainment - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for South West-based team offering a range of services to publishers, creative agencies, literary agencies and rights owners. Renowned for its strong relationship with the regional newspaper industry.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are cheaper than London firms and offer a really strong service."

"The questions I asked were picked up quickly, and we were given thorough and extensive answers - not legalese."

What's new? New clients include Mustard Television and Mission Marketing Group.

Work highlights Advised UBM on the disposal of Property Week magazine and associated events to Metropolis International.

Advised Silvergate on its proposed agreement with an Irish animation company for a second series of TV programmes based on Beatrix Potter's 'Peter Rabbit' books.

Notable practitioners  

Chris Worrell is a key contact.

Significant clients Local World, Conville & Walsh, Tindle Newspapers, Which?, MAMA Group.