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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 49

THE FIRM Delivering exceptional client service has enabled Foot Anstey to expand rapidly in recent times, notably establishing a strong Bristol office which has doubled in size in less than two years.
Under the leadership of managing partner John Westwell, the firm continues to invest in people and technology to ensure value and quality, focussed on helping clients to achieve their strategic objectives and manage risk. Targeted talent acquisition has seen Foot Anstey recruit 16 new partners from national, City and international firms in the past 18 months.
The firm’s growing client base comprises of national and regional 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.

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, public sector.

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 Litigation: Robin Brown
  • Charities & Social Enterprise: James Evans
  • Clinical Negligence: Robert Antrobus
  • Construction: Chris Hoar
  • Corporate: Chris Worrel
  • Commercial: Jonathan Oddy
  • Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency: Steven Richards
  • Dispute Resolution: Steven Richards
  • Education: James Evans
  • Employment: Matthew Huddleson
  • Financial Services: Alan Hughes
  • Healthcare: Helen Wallwork
  • Islamic Finance: Imam Qazi
  • Media: Chris Worrell
  • Pensions: Comron Rowe
  • Planning & Environment: Gareth Pinwell
  • 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
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for A comprehensive service to clients with agricultural and rural interests. Recognised excellence in land transactions and advising substantial estates.     

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of expertise: "Overall, an excellent performance in a wide range of issues."

Notable practitioners  

Joel Woolf is described by one client as "incredibly thorough, with the most impressive and detailed professional knowledge." He heads the agriculture and rural business team, and specialises in rural property. 

Significant clients NFU, Tregothnan Estate, Wyndham Orchard Estate, Bolitho Estate, Newnham Estate.

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Respected handling of a broad range of matters including acquisition and real estate finance, general corporate banking and Islamic finance. Trusted by both traditional and non-traditional lenders.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Helpful, professional and prompt."

Client service: "Excellent. They are extremely professional but enjoyable to work with." 

Work highlights Advised Santander on the mostly private equity-backed MBO of Loungers Group.

Acted for 90 North Real Estate Partners in the £42 million acquisition of the Parham Road student village in Canterbury, which included a Shari'a-compliant investment structure.

Notable practitioners  

Sources praise the emerging banking and finance practice of Will Whitt. Clients report: "He is very commercial, very proactive, great to work with, has a sensible approach and suggests things we hadn't thought of." His clients include The Co-operative Bank and Santander.

Significant clients Lloyds TSB, HSBC, Clydesdale Bank, Ahli United Bank, ABC International Bank.

Banking Litigation - South West

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

What the team is known for National reputation for its ability to handle a broad variety of banking-related issues, including professional negligence claims, fraud and recoveries. Represents leading financial institutions in complex, high-value disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "The firm provides a very good service, and is effective at getting cases resolved."

Notable practitioners  

"A very thoughtful and careful lawyer," Robin Brown is praised for his "good judgement." He is vastly experienced in the field, and sources note: "Complexity is his strength."

Accredited mediator Toby Claridge has specialist knowledge in property and financial disputes. He is regularly involved in professional negligence claims and Law of Property Act receivership work.

Significant clients Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland, Hitachi Capital, Armada Investments, Bank of Ireland. 

Charities - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Sizeable client base comprised of both regional and national charities. Particular expertise in assisting with the legal aspects of mergers, joint ventures and asset transfers, as well as the ability to advise clients on incorporation, governance matters and contentious probate.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "When assisting with issues they take a holistic view of the business and are not purely focused on the technical legal issues. I feel confident that they are providing clear and appropriate advice."

Market standing: "The firm is organised in such a way that enables it to stand out from the crowd."  

Work highlights Assisted the Elizabeth Svendsen Trust for Children & Donkeys with the legal aspects of its merger with the Donkey Sanctuary.

Advised St John's School Trust upon the transfer of its assets and liabilities to International Education Systems.

Notable practitioners  

James Evans is lauded as a "highly experienced and specialist lawyer in the field of charity law, who looks after the interests of his clients in a caring and professional way." He led the team advising the Elizabeth Svendsen Trust for Children & Donkeys in the aforementioned matter.

In a recent work highlight, Anna Roderick assisted Surfers Against Sewage in its successful registration with the Charity Commission. She is recognised as one of the strongest associates in the market.

Significant clients Darlington Hall Trust, ShelterBox Trust, Cornwall Care, Royal Shakespeare Company, Eden Project.

Clinical Negligence - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 26 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton, Truro

What the team is known for Excellent medical negligence firm with several branches across the South West. Greatly respected team acting on a broad spectrum of complex cases.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Satisfaction: "I found the firm to be absolutely brilliant. I would highly recommend it."

Team attributes: "All of the staff have been empathetic, informative and respectful."

Ability: "The firm is excellent and it has a very progressive approach. Its service is excellent and cannot be faulted." 

What's new? The clinical negligence department in Bristol opened in January 2013, headed by partner Andrew Hannam.

Katja Robins joined the team from Parlett Kent in July 2013.

Work highlights Led a group litigation case against Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust valued at £8.27 million.

Notable practitioners 

Head of the clinical negligence team Robert Antrobus is based mainly in Plymouth. He has a particular aptitude for spinal injury and orthopaedics cases, in which he acts on the behalf of claimants.  

Bristol partner Andrew Hannam is "one of the best clinical negligence lawyers I have ever worked with," according to one client. Hannam is recognised as a "very supportive, polite and pleasant" solicitor.  

The "absolutely brilliant" Mike Bird is an expert in birth injury claims. He is based in the firm's Cornwall office and is described by one market commentator as being "experienced and very compassionate." 

"Amazing" Somerset partner Claire Stoneman is "excellent with birth injury and cerebral palsy work." She is also highly regarded for her birth mortality expertise.

Up-and-comer Katja Robins is a new arrival. Sources describe her as an "excellent solicitor who is totally committed to clients." She receives praise for her diligence and thorough approach.

Since publication, Chris Thorne has joined Clarke Willmott LLP

Construction - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Ranked office locations: Exeter

What the team is known for Noted for its work with clients across the supply chain, the practice offers a number of contentious and non-contentious services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Practical advice: "The team provides good practical and commercial advice." 

Work highlights Advised Solar Power Generation on various construction contracts relating to the refinancing of several solar parks.

Acted for Viridor Waste Management on a dispute with a contractor arising out of the construction of a waste plant.

Notable practitioners 

Chris Hoar is praised by clients for being "approachable, pragmatic and very diligent." Chris heads the department and leads on a key contentious and non-contentious matters.

Catherine Davis is described by clients as having a "great approach with clients." She is a key associate in non-contentious issues.

Jim Gorrod is lauded by clients for being a "fountain of knowledge and able to deliver advice relative to cost concerns." He is a key individual involved in contentious work.

Significant clients VINCI Construction, Kawasaki Precision Machinery, Plymouth University Technical College, Mount Wise.

Corporate/M&A - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 10 partners (5 Exeter, 5 Plymouth)
- 7 other qualified lawyers (5 Exeter, 2 Plymouth)
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Plymouth

What the team is known for Often retained by international clients on a range of corporate matters. Also acts for regional and national businesses.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Ideal for a company like ours. We're growing, progressive, and I'm confident they can handle everything we throw at them."

Market standing: Peers praise the firm's strong corporate practice in the South West region.

What's new? Matthew Stoate is promoted to partner.

Work highlights Advised business media marketer United Business Media International on its £10 million disposal of two UK portfolios.

Advised on Aareon's acquisition of mobile workforce software provider 1st Touch.

Notable practitioners

Chris Worrell heads the department. Clients say: "Chris is good at identifying what are likely to be our key concerns. He is able to identify difficult issues at an early stage. He's also good at working direct with our other advisers, such as accountants."

Duncan Sykes' clients describe him as "exceptional on his subject. He's very approachable and always helpful."

Matthew Stoate acts for clients such as 90 North Real Estate Partners. Clients say: "He is very commercial and quickly grasps what we need to do. He also offers sound creative advice."

Helen Wallwork specialises in advising healthcare sector clients. Clients say: "She was efficient, gave good advice, was tuned-in to the risks and grasped the complex details quickly."

Significant clients Gregory Distribution, Axminster Power Tools, Silvergate Media Group, IFC, UKRD Group.

Crime - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 3 associates
- Office locations ranked: Plymouth

What the team is known for Predominantly focused on defence work. Also undertakes prosecution, including for the HSE. Strong reputation for client care in matters ranging from fraud to sexual offences. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client care: "Members give very good client care. They always give robust advice to clients, and equally are very supportive of them."

Technical ability: "It is very much a firm that tries to maintain high standards even in this age of cutbacks."

Notable practitioners  

Chris Pritchett is a key contact here.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Provides strategic, commercial advice on complex matters including TUPE, tribunal advocacy, equal pay litigation, senior level exits and reorganisations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "Excellent overall with concise, clear and commercial awareness operating at all levels."

Visibility: "They are a large firm and well established."

What's new? Benjamin Loxton joined the firm as an associate from Burges Salmon in January 2013.

Lucy Harrington joined the Plymouth office from US-headquartered firm McGuireWoods.

Work highlights Advised BPO provider Firstsource Solutions on complex restructuring and TUPE-related matters.

Acted for Devon & Cornwall Housing on successfully defending several Employment Tribunal claims.

Notable practitioners  

Matthew Huddleson advises on a range of complex TUPE matters and senior level terminations. Clients rate him as "sensible and pragmatic."

Patrick Howarth has particular expertise in unfair dismissal and discrimination cases. One client comments that he combines "client-focused advice with a listening ear."

Significant clients Kingfisher, Odeon Cinemas, Screwfix, DAS Insurance, Eden Project.

Intellectual Property - South West

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

What the team is known for Respected trade mark enforcement practice with expertise across a number of different industries. Highly regarded for its work with technology clients.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I think they're brilliant. They're on the ball, they understand our business, they understand how we work and how we want to work."

Work highlights Assisted International Dance Supplies on a variety of IP both nationally and internationally.

Manage the trade mark portfolio of Northcliffe Media, and enforce the client's trade mark rights.

Notable practitioners  

Marlene Howels is a key contact.

Significant clients Associated Newspapers, National Marine Aquarium, Zenex Technologies.

Licensing - South West

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

What the team is known for Strong regional practice, representing licence holders and local authorities across the South West. Recently strengthened capability in the gaming sector following the hire of Chris Pritchett from Burges Salmon.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "You couldn't have asked for any more than they provided." 

What's new? Chris Pritchett has joined the firm from Burges Salmon to head the licensing department in Bristol.

Work highlights Advised long-standing clients Chris and James Tanner on the licensing aspects of their plans to extend their Barbican Kitchen Brasserie in Plymouth.

Acted for Chris Unwin, landlord of The Cider Press in Plymouth, on a dispute with a former business partner which had licensing implications.

Notable practitioners  

Chris Pritchett is lead licensing partner in the Bristol office and is described by one client as "a pragmatic and practical safe pair of hands" and by another commentator as someone who is "very good at what he does and gives a feeling of confidence." He is particularly highlighted for his expertise in gambling matters.     

Significant clients Brunning Host, OPM Club.

Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton

What the team is known for Significant experience in banking litigation, professional negligence and corporate disputes. Continues to advise both national and regional clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is very good at smoothing out situations and they always tailor their training sessions to our needs."

Clarity: "The advice we get is jargon-free, and so very clear; Foot Anstey lays out our options and doesn't sit on the fence."

Work highlights Advising Hitachi Capital on debt recovery matters, pursuing debts of around £12 million.

Notable practitioners

Steven Richards is the key contact. 

Significant clients Lighthouse Group, The Dartington Hall Trust, Halfords, NFU, Ashley Law.

Pensions - South West

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

What the team is known for Popular team offering employers and trustees a high-quality and cost-effective advice. Focuses on acting for schemes with less than £50 million in assets. Particularly expert in the charity, education and public sector-related matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Members are very clear, proactive and provide timely advice with a personable touch."

Technical ability: "Foot Anstey's work is consistently strong."

Work highlights Advised Torbay Council on the pensions implications of a number of outsourcing projects. These included the outsourcing of children's services to a national charity and of nursery services to a private sector contractor.

Continues to provide Odeon Cinemas/UCI with wide-ranging advice on its two final salary pension schemes. Recently advised the company on the implementation of automatic enrolment.  

Notable practitioners  

Comron Rowe heads up the team and specialises in final salary pension schemes and the pensions aspects of corporate transactions. According to one satisfied client, he offers "balanced, understandable and pragmatic" advice.

Significant clients Gregory Distribution Group, Plymouth University, The Dartington Hall Trust, Midas Group, St Aubyn Estates.

Personal Injury - South West

Basic facts about the department

- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Focuses on catastrophic injury work, with a particular concentration on claims for brain injuries and cases involving RTAs. Also houses significant expertise in severe psychiatric injuries and military claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical expertise: "They've always been very good; they have a very good reputation for pursuing complex injury cases."

Notable practitioners  

Chris Thorne is a key contact in the Exeter office.

Private Client - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Caters primarily for landed and farming clients and high net worth individuals. Tax and succession planning, rural renewable energy projects and overseas asset protection are the mainstay of its work. Boasts a well-established contentious arm.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market dominance: "A first-rate contentious department, they fight hard for their clients and get some stunning results. They are turning from a regional force into a national force – ones to watch."

Notable practitioners

Head of department Angela Bridges focuses her practice on wealth preservation, tax planning and trusts. Sources praise her pragmatism, noting: "She is very good at translating experience into practical solutions that are right for the client." 

Real Estate - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 9 partners (3 Bristol, 4 Exeter, 2 Plymouth) 
- 29 other qualified lawyers (5 Bristol, 20 Exeter, 4 Plymouth)
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Plymouth

What the team is known for Strong offering in the retail and leisure sectors. Also noted in the property investment market, particularly in acting for investors on student accommodation developments.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "Excellent service. They have a member of staff with expertise in all areas of law."

Market standing: Peers praise the firm's strong client base.

Work highlights Acted on the sale of land at Firepool, Taunton, for Abbey Manor Developments.

Acted on the development of the new Engineering and Technical College, Exeter, for Exeter College.

Notable practitioners

Simon Gregory acts for developers, investors and landowners. Clients call him "a very commercially astute lawyer." He has recently advised Atlantic Park on various residential and commercial development matters.

Imam Qazi specialises in Islamic finance, acting on Shari'a-compliant property finance deals for clients including 90 North Real Estate Partners.

Richard Sutton's clients include Wrigley. Peers say he is "very resourceful and very knowledgeable."

Significant clients University of Plymouth, Clydesdale Bank, Daily Mail General Investments, Lloyds TSB, National Marine Aquarium.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Exeter 

What the team is known for Particular strength in rural and agricultural property disputes, with expertise in areas such as landed estates and town and village greens. Advises an impressive array of media and public sector clients. 

Work highlights Acted for an Exeter-based charity, St Loye’s Foundation, on an overage dispute that arose after it sold an 11-acre campus to Urban Renaissance Villages and Helical Bar.

Advised Dartmoor National Park Authority on obtaining vacant possession of a site that had been occupied by travellers for several years.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Bagwell is head of department and impresses respondents with his real estate litigation expertise. One satisfied client said: "He's very intelligent, and his advice is very clear and unambiguous."

Anna Phillips is a well-regarded associate at the firm, who advises on wide-ranging property disputes. "She's very good," says one source.

Significant clients Centro, MoD Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Royal Shakespeare Company, Screwfix, Exeter College.

Tax - South West

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

What the team is known for Undertakes a wide range of tax services, including contentious tax disputes, corporate and real estate tax planning and transactional services. Well regarded amongst clients for accessibility and interdisciplinary strength. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: “Professional and thorough in all aspects of the client relationship.”

What's new? New client wins include Hawksford Trusts and 90 North.

Work highlights Acted for 90 North as part of a syndicate of investors in UK real estate, including the establishment of a Jersey-based corporate and limited partnership structure to hold the UK property and ensure that the deal was Shari'a-compliant.

Notable practitioners 

Leading tax partner John Pindard was previously an HMRC officer for 11 years, and advises on the full range of tax matters, both contentious and non-contentious. Clients say that he “explains clearly, and will go to the root of the issue and strip it back to basic principles."

Significant clients China Fleet Country Club, Axminster Power Tool, Devon Wind Power.

Court of Protection - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- 1 special accounts clerk
- Recommended office locations: Plymouth, Taunton, Bristol

What the team is known for Practice emphasis on brain injury claimants. Non-contentious mental capacity subteam. Accounts clerk also assists clients with managing financial affairs.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: “The team has a great reputation. The judge is always complimentary about the work they do: they are always ready with the paperwork, willing to help and great at explaining stuff.”

Market standing: “A really reputable Court of Protection team with a huge name in the deputyship field.”

Notable practitioners

Consultant Patricia Wass is a revered panel deputy for the Office of the Public Guardian. Warm feedback notes: “She is fantastic. A very well-connected, experienced panel deputy who is a safe pair of hands.” Clients assert: “She always retains her professionalism with people who are quite often under stress, and is very approachable.”

Emma Stacey regularly represents individuals, family members and care homes in contentious proceedings in the Court of Protection. Sources state: “She is on the ball, incredibly enthusiastic and a really good person to work with. She's fairly junior but has a very bright future ahead of her.”

Defamation/Reputation Management - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for A leading regional newspaper practice. Significant experience in helping with both pre- and post-publication issues. Growing client base in the magazine publishing sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "First-class. Deadlines cannot be moved for newspapers so it is essential you can call with ten minutes to go and receive quick, decisive advice. Always available 24/7."

Work highlights Successfully acted for the Plymouth Herald in opposing a witness summons that would have forced a journalist to reveal their source for a story. 

Continues to defend Belfast-based newspaper the News Letter against a claim brought by the former head of the civil service in Northern Ireland.

Notable practitioners  

The hugely respected Tony Jaffa "really understands his clients' needs." As a very experienced hand at working with regional press, he gives "thoughtful advice" and "is very pragmatic." As lead defamation partner he works on most leading cases, including his recent successful action for the Plymouth Herald.

Significant clients Johnston Press, Local World, Which?, Archant Community Media, Catholic Herald.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Represents schools during and after conversion to academy status. Also assists independent schools with corporate and commercial matters, and represents clients in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.  

Work highlights Advised West Somerset Community College on defending a disability discrimination claim brought by a student.

Foot Anstey assisted Huish Episcopi Academy with the restructuring of its leisure facilities.  

Notable practitioners  

Karen Bates is a key contact.

Significant clients Primary Academies Trust & Primary Academy Voluntary Aided Trust, The Maynard School, Studley High School, St Paul's Girls’ School, South Dartmoor Academy Trust.