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Charles Russell LLP


Charles Russell LLP - London
  • Compass House
  • Lypiatt Road
  • Cheltenham
  • Gloucestershire
  • UK
  • GL50 2QJ
  • Senior Partner Christopher Page
  • Managing Partner James Carter
  • Number of UK partners 165
  • Number of other UK legal staff 479

The Firm Charles Russell Speechlys was created by the merger of Charles Russell and Speechly Bircham on 1 November 2014. The firm is one of a small number of major law firms which combine a pre-eminent private wealth practice with a significant business law capacity – offering an integrated service to wealthy individuals, family offices, wealth managers and large, privately held businesses throughout the UK and across the world. The firm provides specialist transactional and advisory services to major international corporates and privately owned businesses operating in the firm’s sectors of focus. The firm has significant strengths in the real estate and construction sectors, transactional expertise across the financial services sector and specialist employment, intellectual property and commercial teams advising public companies in sectors such as retail and leisure, sport and TMT. The firm operates through integrated teams across the firm’s international and regional office network. Charles Russell Speechlys is headquartered in London with regional offices in Cheltenham and Guildford and overseas offices in the following major wealth and business centres: Bahrain, Doha, Geneva, Luxembourg, Paris and Zurich. Other geographic areas of focus include the United States of America, Africa and the Caribbean.

Principal Areas of Work
Business Disputes:
Advising businesses and their owners on contractual disputes, complex fraud litigation and shareholder disputes.
Charities & Not-for-Profit: Advising educational, religious, environmental, medical, arts and other charities, professional bodies and institutions.
Energy & Natural Resources: Advising mining companies, the oil and gas industry, clean-tech companies, and those that invest in them, in particular in emerging markets.
Family: Advising individuals, both in the UK and overseas, and intermediaries, such as IFAs, accountants, banks, doctors and counsellors.
Financial Services: Advising asset and fund managers, dealers, brokers and custodians, investment and private banks, debt funds, pension funds, family offices and senior executives in financial institutions.
Healthcare & Life Sciences: Advising pharmacy and pharmaceutical companies, pharmacists, care home providers, dentists, vets and other healthcare providers and representative bodies.
Private Wealth: Advising high net worth individuals and their businesses in the UK and internationally, entities associated with them (such as companies, funds, partnerships and trusts) and their intermediary advisers (such as family offices, private banks, accountants and asset managers).
Real Estate & Construction: Advising international private and institutional property investors, banks, social housing providers, SIPPS advisers, corporate occupiers, developers, house-builders and contractors. Retail & Leisure: Advising high street retailers, leisure suppliers, fashion houses, fashion supply chain, restaurants and leisure suppliers. Sports: Advising sports regulatory bodies, sponsors, sports clubs, individual sportsmen and women.
TMT: Advising telecoms providers, clean-tech companies, IT companies, government departments and foreign governments.

Services: Charles Russell Speechlys is structured around four Divisions: Business Services, Private Client, Real Estate & Construction, and Litigation & Dispute Resolution.
Business Services: Comprising corporate, commercial, employment, pensions and immigration, financial services, corporate tax and banking and finance. The corporate group advises on a wide range of issues, including flotations, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity and venture capital financings. The commercial group advises on all types of commercial contracts and outsourcing arrangements and has a particular expertise in data protection issues. The specialist groups (financial services, tax and banking and finance) undertake the full range of transactional and advisory work, including fund structuring, regulatory advice, property finance, acquisition finance and Islamic finance. The firm also has one of the largest employment and pensions groups in the UK, providing a comprehensive service to companies and organisations, as well as individuals, in this fast-changing area.
Real Estate & Construction: Including real estate, construction, engineering and projects and real estate litigation. The Division operates across all major real estate sectors including commercial, residential and industrial property; strategic land regeneration and urban estates. The construction, engineering and projects group acts for contractors, as well as investors and developers and much of its work is international in nature, There is a particular emphasis on clients in the healthcare, education, retail and leisure sectors.
Private Client: Including tax & trusts, private property and family. The Division advises families and family offices, successful entrepreneurs, private banks and wealth managers in the UK and around the world. The focus is on delivering a truly integrated approach, helping clients to preserve and enhance their wealth through working closely with the specialist from the other Divisions on corporate and personal asset structuring, regulatory matters, tax, asset protection, philanthropic ventures and managing family issues. The family group has a leading reputation for advising on complex divorce and related issues.
Litigation & Dispute Resolution: Including commercial dispute resolution, corporate recovery and insolvency, contentious intellectual property, contentious trusts & estates, reputation management, healthcare, and advice to foreign governments. The Division handles all types of litigation, arbitration and mediation both in the UK and internationally, and has particular expertise in commercial disputes, sports regulation, judicial review and pharmacy. The intellectual property team has particular expertise in all types of contentious and non-contentious work, including copyright, patents, trademarks, registered designs, database rights, passing off and confidential information.

  • Contacts - SECTORS 
  • Business Disputes John Sykes
  • Charities & Not-for-Profit Mike Scott
  • Energy & Natural Resources Clive Hopewell, Chris Putt Family William Longrigg
  • Financial Services Elizabeth Budd, Jon Bond
  • Healthcare William Nash
  • Private Wealth Ian Cooke
  • Real Estate & Construction Simon Ewing
  • Retail & Leisure Edward Craig
  • Sports Jon Ellis, Ian Lynam
  • TMT Mark Bailey, Vanessa Barnett
  • Contacts - SERVICES  
  • Banking & Finance Paul Kay
  • Commercial Jason Saiban
  • Construction & Engineering David Savage
  • Corporate Tom Shaw
  • Corporate Tax James Carter
  • Employment, Pensions & Immigration Mike Powner
  • Family Sarah Higgins
  • Financial Services Nick Janmohamed
  • IP Ian Wood
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution Duncan Elson
  • Private Client Bart Peerless
  • Real Estate Mark Smith
  • Contacts - OFFICES 
  • Cheltenham Richard Norton
  • Guildford Duncan Elson
  • Bahrain Patrick Gearon
  • Geneva Catriona Syed
  • Luxembourg David Louis, Francoise Pfeiffer
  • Paris Frederic Jeannin
  • Qatar Simon Green
  • Zurich Mark Summers


  • Buryfields House,
  • Bury Fields,
  • Guildford,
  • Surrey
  • UK
  • GU2 4AZ
  • Tel (01483) 252525
  • Fax (01483) 252550
  • DX 2436 Guildford 1
  • Compass House,
  • Lypiatt Road,
  • Cheltenham,
  • Gloucestershire
  • UK
  • GL50 2QJ
  • Tel (01242) 221122
  • Fax (01242) 584700
  • DX 7442 Cheltenham 1

Agriculture & Rural Affairs - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Handles the purchase and sale of high-value country houses, farms and estates. Advises on private client matters, including succession planning, restructuring, taxation and trusts advice for landed estates nationwide. Specialised team based in London and Cheltenham.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"It has an excellent team with an in-depth knowledge of what is required, and I can easily phone to discuss matters."

"For buying and selling agricultural estates the firm is one of the best; you know you are going to get good advice." 

Notable practitioners  

Strong market feedback sees Christian Massey rise to the top of the rankings. "He understands deals and has a lot of common sense" according to one client, who added: "He gives sensible advice and gets the job done." He is also praised for his availability and dedicated service.

Senior partner and practice head Christopher Page is an experienced practitioner with "a huge knowledge of the subject and a marvellous ability to get on with clients." He divides his time between the London and Chelmsford offices and is renowned for advising landed estates on property transactions and private client matters.

Significant clients Ernest Cook Trust, Ombersley Conservation Estate Trust.

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Highly regarded for advice to specialist lenders such as private equity houses and hedge funds on security and loan transactions, often relating to public takeovers. Renowned international expertise with a particular focus on the Middle East.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They give me exceptionally good service; they act like a private office. It's a very good firm."

"They adapt as necessary to suit the requirements of the transaction." 

Work highlights Advising Awal Bank on the implementation of a USD1.5 billion transfer protocol for its debt, involving creditors in a number of different jurisdictions.

Acted for Trifast on its term, overdraft and asset-based lending facilities with HSBC worth over £20 million.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Norton acts for both private and public companies in relation to banking and corporate transactions. Clients like his "quick, efficient and to-the-point" approach that complements his noted technical knowledge.

Significant clients Clearview Capital, Travelzest, Robert Hitchins, Clydesdale Bank, Zurich.

Corporate/M&A - Cheltenham and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners.
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Recognised for its city code work in particular. Its clients include companies on the LSE Official List as well as AIM-listed companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Added value by grasping the commercial realities and giving spot-on, appropriate, targeted and pragmatic advice."

"Able to navigate difficult stretches of water without compromising your goals."

What's new? Jonathan Morley joined the team from Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Work highlights Assisted Cleeve Hill Healthcare with the acquisition of Three Ashes Care Home.

Represented SuperGroup in the acquisition of two companies headquartered outside the UK.

Notable practitioners  

Clients say Richard Norton is "smart, savvy, engaging and deeply intelligent." He led on Cleeve Hill Healthcare's acquisition of Three Ashes Care Home. 

The "exceptionally good" Francis Rundall excels in fund-raisings, M&A and joint ventures. He can call on 40 years of experience when representing clients. 

Jonathan Morley's clients can be found in the healthcare and retail sectors, amongst others. His broad practice includes reorganisations, private equity and joint ventures. 

Significant clients Trifast, Capeview Capital, J.P. Morgan Cazenove, The Zurich Group, Argo Group.

Employment - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Noted for its activity within the retail and leisure, charity and rural business sectors, advising on a range of employment matters for regional and national clients. Largely respondent-focused, although also offers expertise to high net worth individuals on employment issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very pragmatic, and always available. What I like about the lawyers is that they gauge the tone of their advice based on your instructions - if you want to take a hard-line approach, they will morph into a beast!"

Work highlights Recently represented CleeveLink in an appeal against a previous tribunal decision, concerning an allegedly unenforceable employee exit repayment agreement. The original decision was overturned at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Provided advice to Sotheby's on auto-enrolment issues.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Sarah Jane Turcan draws praise as a "technically excellent legal adviser, who stands out for how pragmatic and commercial she is in her application of the law." She is highly rated for advising claimants and respondents on issues including company restructures and incorporations, TUPE and disciplinary procedures.  

Significant clients SuperGroup, Stagecoach West, Gulf Air, Calcot Manor, Sudeley Castle.

Intellectual Property - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Offers considerable expertise in brand protection work, particularly for clients in retail and leisure. Also adept in technology disputes, with a focus on the software industry.

Work highlights Acted for Sudarshan Chemical Industries in patent litigation with Clariant Produkte. The case ended up in the Court of Appeal, where the court gave important guidance on actionable threats.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Gearon is head of the firm's IP practice, and the key contact for clients.

Significant clients Nike International, 1E, Cobham/MMI Research, Solange, Arcadia.

Litigation - Cheltenham and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Market leaders in Cheltenham. Focuses on complex and high-value disputes. Works closely with its regional and international office network to handle disputes across a range of sectors, including TMT, retail and leisure and aviation.

Work highlights Successfully defended Sudarshan Chemical Industries in a £20 million patent proceedings brought by Clariant Produkte. 

Defending New Dawn Homes in a £500,000 breach of confidence and copyright infringement dispute.

Notable practitioners  

Colin Gibson has particular experience advising on partnership litigation, contractual disputes and negligence claims.

Peter Scandrett has a broad range of experience that includes advising on commercial disputes, professional negligence and judicial review. He is also a member of the firm's health and safety group.

Significant clients TNT, SuperGroup, Cobham, Regalworld, Cleeve Hill Healthcare.

Planning - Cheltenham and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Significant experience in representing a varied client roster in a wide range of retail, residential and mixed-use developments. Bolsters its stellar practice with a fantastic track record in appeals, challenges and enforcement work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're very good - they've always had good-quality people."

What's new? New client wins include Lawton Pharmacy Consultants and Wells Masonry Services.

Work highlights Represented Brett Aggregates in the consultation process and public examination for the Essex Replacement Minerals Local Plan.

Acted for Somerset County Council on the renegotiation of a Section 106 agreement for mixed-use development.

Notable practitioners  

Anne Bennett receives praise throughout the market for her "availability, understanding and quality of advice." She represents local authorities and private clients alongside those in the minerals sector in complex negotiations and challenges, and is described as "excellent - she gives good advice and she's innovative when needed."

Significant clients Mendip District Council.

Private Client - South West

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

What the team is known for Outstanding reputation for advising high net worth individuals and landed estates. Has the ability to deal with work pertaining to offshore trusts and non-domiciled clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The practice has a good understanding of clients and their objectives, and it has the strategic acumen to take the long view."

Notable practitioners

Julia Cox deals principally with business owners and younger estates on non-contentious matters, with a particular flair for tax planning cases. Clients respect her involvement in their work, noting that "our relationship is like gold dust."

Christopher Page works with a great many agricultural families and landed estates, and can turn his hand to all private client matters, especially tax and estate planning. Commentators appreciate his ability to connect with clients and understand their position, describing him as a "very sympathetic listener."

Real Estate - Cheltenham and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 8 other qualified solicitors
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Significant expertise in all areas of property investment, regularly acting for residential investment funds on portfolio acquisitions and disposals. Also acts for multiple charity retailers and self-invested personal pension (SIPP) trustees.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"I can't emphasise how much they really are a great firm to work with."

Work highlights Acted for BW SIPP and Morgan Lloyd Trustees on over 60 transactions including both sale and purchases. 

Acted for Woodchester Valley Group on its acquisition of Crystal Fountain Village and neighbouring land from the landlord's administrators.

Notable practitioners  

Ian Brothwood heads the firm's real estate team. He specialises in investment property, in addition to acting for residential developers and landowners. 

Jonathan Wilkinson is described as a "very efficient practitioner." He specialises in acting for SIPP providers and investment companies. Clients praise his personable, commercial and understanding approach to his advice.

Significant clients Save the Children Fund, Fairbridge, Grosvenor, Cantel Investments, Trifast.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Highly regarded Cheltenham outfit. Assists landlords and retail clients on a broad spectrum of real estate disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They don't just give generic legal advice, they take into account all the commercial and financial issues involved."

Work highlights Acted for Lazari Investments as landlord of Dreams' flagship Tottenham Court Road store, advising on administration proceedings.

Represented Andrie Lazari in a £1.45 million dispute with her developer.

Notable practitioners  

David Marsden heads the team and acts on the gamut of property litigation, with extensive experience in the retail sector. Clients appreciate "his understanding of the commerciality of a proposition and his sense of urgency."

Significant clients Nationwide Building Society, Phaze UK, Mazars, Demar Holdings.

Real Estate Litigation - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Strong presence in the South, drawing clients from throughout the UK. Extensive experience in advising on real estate disputes arising from insolvency. Clients include Lazari Investments, HW Fisher and the Diocese of Guildford. Ranked offices in Guildford and Cheltenham.

Notable practitioners  

David Marsden is a key contact at the firm.