• You are now in...
  • UK

Ashfords LLP

Exeter

  • Ashford House
  • Exeter
  • UK
  • EX1 3LH

Corporate/M&A - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth

What the team is known for Noted corporate finance expertise, including its work with AIM-listed clients. Other areas of focus include M&A, corporate governance and restructurings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They're great: very responsive, they put the hours in, and the added value is great."

"They have a very good proactive attitude." 

Work highlights Acted for the shareholders of Stovax on the sale of the company to NIBE.

Represented Diana Naturals in the acquisition of a fruit producer headquartered in Ecuador.

Notable practitioners  

The highly experienced Simon Rous handles M&A, joint ventures and shareholding structures. He was the lead partner acting for the shareholders of Stovax in its sale to NIBE.

The excellent Andrew Betteridge assisted Ombu II with its investment in Bluewater Bio. He receives particular praise for the quality of his venture capital work.

David Heard has a "very good reputation" amongst peers. He is noted for his private equity expertise and enjoys a strong track record for his work with clients in the financial services sector.

Chris Dyson focuses on private equity and venture capital matters. He recently advised Notion Capital on a USD5 million investment in Duedil. 

Simon Staples is renowned for his M&A work and recently acted for the sellers in Yotta's acquisition of Mayrise Systems.

Significant clients Quba Holdings, Gro Group, Eden Ventures, Wessex Exploration, Dillistone Group.

Information Technology - South West

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

What the team is known for Non-contentious IT practice, working with user and supplier clients across the UK. Offers expertise in cloud computing and projects matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Extensive knowledge and great personality to go with it. They had lots of enthusiasm." 

Work highlights Advised Sensus on the UK government smart gas and electricity metering roll-out project. 

Assisted CreditCall with online payments issues, advertisement licensing and bank agreements for its CardEase mobile payment solution.

Notable practitioners 

Firm chairman Mark Lomas heads the IT/IP department and regularly advises on software development contracts and licensing agreements. One client says: "He's absolutely fantastic, with great knowledge. He made the process very clear and logical. "

Garry Mackay is the firm's head of commercial services. He acts on large-scale projects and maintenance agreements. Clients regard him as "sensible and straightforward to work with."

Significant clients Age UK Enterprises, Computer Sciences International, Pro-Direct Sport, London Borough of Ealing, CrowdCube.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs - South West

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

What the team is known for Assists clients with buying and selling agricultural land and property, partnership agreements and the development of renewable energy schemes. Expertise also covers sporting rights and private client matters, such as trusts and succession planning. Regulatory advice on health and safety and pollution forms another aspect of the practice.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The firm's advice and service are exemplary."

"I appreciate the team's humour, pragmatism and responsiveness; you can work with them to very tight timescales." 

Notable practitioners  

Practice head Darren Blackburn is based in Tiverton and is hailed by clients as "one of the most efficient solicitors I have worked with." Another interviewee comments: "He makes sure things get done on time and seeks solutions not problems."

Banking & Finance - South West

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

What the team is known for Key player in Exeter for banking and transactional matters. Offers a wide array of expertise including acquisition finance, asset finance and property development finance. Acts for banks and governmental bodies on bilateral and syndicated lending transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The breadth of experience is extensive in the firm and they can field expertise in niche areas where required."

"They are very experienced lawyers and will give you a balanced view."

Work highlights Instructed by The UNA Group on its multimillion-pound refinancing with Barclays.

Advised Wayseal Finance in relation to its funding of companies developing property.

Notable practitioners  

Rebecca Dury is a dedicated banking lawyer specialising in property development finance, commercial banking and general corporate refinancings. Clients note: "She offers a wealth of experience in the more complex areas of banking," and "she is very thorough; she understands some of the nuances that laymen might miss."

Significant clients Clydesdale Bank, HSBC, Handelsbanken, Urbaser, Lloyds Bank.

Construction - Exeter and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Market leader in Exeter. Active in contentious and non-contentious matters with particular strength in cases for main contractors, utility and energy companies, waste contractors and local authorities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They can throw resources at a case if necessary, because they have the team."

"They managed our case with a high level of efficiency and a lot of depth."

Work highlights Advised Cornwall County Council on a framework agreement for property maintenance across the council's portfolio.

Assisted Gleeson Regeneration with the interpretation of contractual provisions and on-site issues arising from the Grove Village Regeneration PFI contract.

Notable practitioners 

Stephen Homer is head of department and a practising adjudicator. He leads on a number of dispute matters and clients praise his "very comprehensive and thorough advice with no stone left unturned."

Mark Manning is described as "proactive" and a "can-do person." Clients praise his ability to "digest and comprehend complex contractual issues quickly." He has extensive contract experience.

John Birch is another important asset to the team. His wealth of experience is recognised in the market. 

Significant clients Exeter City Council, Devon County Council, Sutton Harbour Holdings, Sanctuary Housing South West, Midas Retail.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Full-service employment practice, demonstrating strength in tribunal litigation, TUPE, outsourcing and HR support. Offers additional expertise in business immigration issues on behalf of domestic and international clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"Excellent - the team is always correct in its advice, and very thorough and detailed."

"Accurate, commercially focused advice. Not afraid to take a view on something."

Work highlights Recently advised international client Diana Naturals on the HR and employment law issues relating to its cross-border acquisition of British food producer Confoco International.

Notable practitioners  

Charles Pallot is a highly experienced employment lawyer and has a strong reputation in the Exeter market, notably for TUPE cases. One client says: "He is really great. He has a pragmatic approach to business, and helps us to balance up our legal, moral and ethical responsibilities in a case. He will also jargon-bust the law, putting it in layman's terms and translating it into a context that I can understand."

Significant clients Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Enghouse Group of Companies, Patron Capital Advisers, London Borough of Croydon, Mylan Group.

Intellectual Property - South West

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

What the team is known for Offers notable strength in brand protection, with an international trade mark portfolio management practice supplemented by a growing contentious IP workload. Also experienced in transactional IP matters, especially for technology clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They've been really on-the-ball and very responsive." 

"Their advice is of the highest quality." 

Work highlights Continues to manage the worldwide trade mark portfolios of L'Artisan Parfumeur and Penhaligon's, comprising around 1,000 trade marks and designs across the globe.

Worked with colleagues across the firm to advise Sensus on its agreement with the Department for Energy & the Environment, concerning the provision of smart meters across the North of the UK. 

Notable practitioners  

Firm chairman Mark Lomas maintains a busy IP practice, leading many of the firm's non-contentious mandates. Recent highlights include leading the team on its management of L'Artisan Parfumeur and Penhaligon's worldwide trade mark portfolio. One client remarked: "Mark is very astute and has great commercial awareness."

Partner and trade mark attorney Carl Steele is head of the team's trade mark practice, and handles a busy contentious IP workload. Commentators highlight his technical skill and responsiveness. His key clients include Wasabi Frog, owner and operator of boohoo.com.

Significant clients The University of Plymouth, London Borough of Ealing, South West Grid for Learning Trust, Day Pitney, CrowdCube. 

Litigation - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Leading practice across the South West. Noted expertise in company disputes. Clients range from local small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and high net worth individuals to multinational companies and public-sector bodies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very good and are meticulous on the detail." 

Notable practitioners  

Antony Lee is head of the commercial litigation team in Exeter. He handles a broad range of disputes for local and national clients.

The "dynamic" Andrew Perkins is based in the firm's Exeter office. He focuses on contract disputes relating to distribution, franchising, agency and supply of goods and services. Clients praise his "knowledge, speed of response and measured approach," with one commenting: "He takes a refreshing view of things. He's a very good sounding board, as well as being academically bright."

Bristol-based Rory Mac Neice specialises in representing clients in the sports sector, particularly those involved in the horse racing industry. He also advises clients in relation to professional negligence, product liability and regulatory disputes. Clients say: "He provides an insightful analysis and is an excellent communicator and advocate."

Significant clients Centrax, London Borough of Croydon, Paramount 21, Pedigree Group of Companies, Cannon Care Home Group.

Planning - Somerset

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

What the team is known for Maintains an excellent reputation throughout the region for its advice on sophisticated residential developments, with a strong track record in acting for clients in the private and public sectors. Recognised for its expertise in compulsory purchase order (CPO) work and contentious matters.

What's new? New client wins include Bloor Homes and Cheshire East Council.

Work highlights Represented Devon County Council in variations to a Section 106 agreement regarding the construction of a secondary school and the funding of a railway station near Exeter.

Acted for RE International in a compensation claim regarding a CPO for land at Wembley Stadium, achieving an out-of-court settlement.

Notable practitioners  

John Bosworth heads the department and is frequently instructed on high-profile mixed-use developments and regeneration work. He is well regarded for his skill in high-level challenges and compensation claims.

Graham Cridland is praised for the clarity of his advice, which sources say is "always sound, easy to understand, quick and well delivered." He is well known for his representation of house builder clients.

Significant clients Wainhomes Holdings, Persimmon Homes, Thames Water, Linden Homes, South Gloucestershire District Council.

Private Client - South West

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

What the team is known for Stands among the most well-established and long-serving practices in Exeter. Handles complex cases in the fields of agricultural affairs, tax planning, succession planning and estate administration, in addition to contentious work. Clients include local landed estates and sizeable family trusts.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Horsey focuses his practice on contentious probate and trusts. Commentators characterise him as "a calming influence who doesn't get rattled."

Michael Alden handles estate planning and tax mitigation cases for clients throughout the South West. Commentators commend his ability to offer solutions, rather than simply describing options, and remark that they can "find common ground very quickly. He is very constructive."

Real Estate - Exeter and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Frequently instructed by housing associations and residential developers, with a focus on strategic land development matters. Significant experience with urban regeneration projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I could not have asked for better service." 

"My experience has been extremely positive." 

What's new? James Heath joined the firm's Plymouth office from Foot Anstey.

Work highlights Advised the Homes & Community Agency on the £24 million funding agreement with Reading University for construction of the Eastern Relief Road in Wokingham, and the bridge over the M4.

Acted for Knightstone Housing Association on the over £5 million purchase of affordable housing units at Emersons Green in Bristol.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Rothwell is well known in the market, specialising in development and regeneration projects. Clients find he "comes up with good clear, innovative solutions to problems."

Head of department Tim Heal is experienced in all aspects of commercial and residential property development. Sources praise him as having a "good reputation for what he does."

Significant clients Airgen Renewables, Exeter City Council, Persimmon Homes, Biffa Waste Services, Sovereign Housing Association.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

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

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its commercial focus. Advises on the gamut of property litigation, including professional negligence, landlord and tenant and development work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are always approachable and attentive and really listen to what the client wants."

What's new? New clients include London & Quadrant Housing Trust.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Sian Gibbon enjoys a tremendous reputation in Exeter. She has particular expertise in social housing matters, and one source describes her as a "reliable and sensible" litigator.

Robert Horsey is an experienced litigator who specialises in property and trusts disputes. Sources describe him as "friendly and approachable. He provides thorough, practical and commercial advice, and he demonstrates an understanding of our business."

Significant clients Biffa Waste Services, Penhaligons, Wainhomes Holdings, Persimmon Homes, Walker Developments Group.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

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

What the team is known for Impressive volume of work in the corporate and personal insolvency space, particularly matters related to asset tracing and other cross-border issues. Provides a comprehensive service across a variety of sectors. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They make sure you are very aware of what is going on and what can be achieved in a case."

"The team are very good; very practical and commercial." 

Work highlights Instructed to seek directions from the court regarding a distribution by the joint liquidators of APX, in the face of potential challenge from US-based CSD.

Notable practitioners  

Alan Bennett is recognised in the market as a "very good contentious insolvency lawyer," and is praised for his commercial good sense and practical approach to disputes. He advises on corporate and personal insolvency matters.

The head of the restructuring and insolvency team, David Pomeroy, is praised by clients for his "insight" and his tactical strength. His practice covers corporate and personal insolvency issues, and he is praised by market sources as "exceedingly good with clients."

Significant clients Albert Goodman, Bishop Fleming, CRS Warner Kugel (Australia), Francis Clark, Kingston Smith & Partners.

Social Housing - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Full-service social housing practice advising housing associations on a range of matters, including acquisitions, property development, housing management litigation and stock transfers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are communicative and will take the time to sit down and discuss things with me. They are proactive and come back to me telling me what I need to deal with."

"They work with you to try and figure out your business and come up with an appropriate solution for your particular issues."

What's new? New client wins include the London & Quadrant Housing Trust.

Notable practitioners  

Sian Gibbon heads the property litigation team and has expertise in areas such as housing management, handling issues ranging from antisocial behaviour to disrepair. One source notes that "she is very smart, very switched-on and just a really first-rate person to deal with."

Joanne Young continues to receive strong praise from sources, with one stating: "She is able to advise us in great detail and she flags up the risks for us to make a balanced decision." She handles all manner of contentious housing matters.

Significant clients The Guinness Partnership, Knightstone Housing, London Borough of Croydon.

Corporate/M&A - London (Firms)

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Family/Matrimonial - Somerset

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

What the team is known for Assists clients with a range of matrimonial finance cases, prenuptial agreements, cohabitation matters and issues concerning domestic abuse. Also known for its handling of both public and private children law matters.

Notable practitioners  

Rachel Daniells heads the family department.

Immigration - The Regions

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

What the team is known for Provides employment-focused immigration advice. The team is adept at dealing with immigration issues arising from commercial transactions, and also regularly works with organisations wishing to employ individuals from outside the EU.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are excellent. I have real faith in them in all the areas we use them for. They have been sensitive, accurate and helpful." 

Work highlights Advised The Providers on the retention of an individual employed on a Tier 5 visa that was due to expire. The team assisted with his continued employment in a shortage occupation position. 

Notable practitioners  

Kirsty Cooke is a key contact for the firm's immigration practice.

Education - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Advises on the full spectrum of education issues, specialising in academy conversions, internal investigations, employment law issues and contentious matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I have always found the staff to be highly professional, providing an excellent level of service."

"They have done tremendously well for us." 

Notable practitioners  

Helen Tucker's broad practice includes advising a range of schools and authorities on governance, compliance and negligence matters. One client notes: "She is meticulous and very reliable, and knows the sector very well," adding: "She goes beyond the brief."

Significant clients The Girls' Day School Trust, Bristol Steiner School, Bishop Fox's School, London Borough of Croydon, Swindon Borough Council.

Local Government - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 20 partners
- 60 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Exeter

What the team is known for Notable team with an enviable profile in social housing. The group also has broader local government expertise such as public procurement and construction.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I have always had a positive experience when using the firm; client care is excellent, and staff have an in-depth knowledge of the sector."

Work highlights Advised Cornwall Council on its 'Care and Support at Home and in the Community' scheme, including associated regulatory work.

Acted for South Gloucestershire District Council in connection with a new residential development in North Yate, including negotiation of associated planning documentation.

Notable practitioners

Elizabeth Gibson and John Bosworth are co-heads of the team and the primary contacts.

Significant clients Sandwell MBC, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, South West Grid for Learning Trust, UK Commission for Employment & Skills, Council of the Isles of Scilly. 

Sports Law - UK-wide

What the team is known for Focuses on regulatory work, acting for both defendants and regulatory bodies on horse racing matters such as race fixing, rule breaches, doping offences and trading of inside information. The firm's equestrian expertise extends to representing clients in show jumping, horse showing and carriage driving. The firm has a significant commercial horse racing practice advising jockeys on retainer agreements with owners as well as representing race courses, stud farms and other individuals in licensing, endorsement and sponsorship agreements. 

Work highlights Successfully defended Martin Raymond against allegations of misuse of insider information in connection to horse racing betting.

Represented Jason Maguire in a successful appeal to the BHA disciplinary panel in connection with a breach of rules relating to the use of the whip.  

Notable practitioners 

Rory Mac Neice acts for trainers and jockeys on regulatory and commercial issues across a wide range of horse racing matters. He is described as "accessible and succinct in his advice because he has a hands-on knowledge of what racing is like. He is very upfront about things and will be very honest with you. He'll look at a situation and give you an honest appraisal."

Significant clients Brightwells, Cheltenham Racecourse, A P McCoy, Richard Hughes, The Racecourse Association.