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Charles Russell LLP


Charles Russell LLP - London
  • Buryfields House
  • Bury Fields
  • Guildford
  • Surrey
  • UK
  • GU2 4AZ
  • Senior Partner Christopher Page
  • Number of partners 90
  • Other fee-earners 282
  • Total staff 613

THE FIRM Charles Russell LLP is a leading law firm based in London with regional and international offices providing a wide range of services to companies, institutions and indiviuals, both nationally and internationally. They have a particular focus on certain sectors: charities and not-for-profit, energy and natural resources, family, financial services, healthcare and lifesciences, private wealth, property, retail and leisure, sports and TMT. The firm’s proposition is to provide highly commercial, wide-view advice in its areas of specialism. Charles Russell is experienced in carrying out cross-border assignments, and is a member of two major non-exclusive law firm networks, ALFA International and the Association of European Lawyers (AEL). Services are integrated across the firm’s three UK and two international offices: London, Bahrain, Cheltenham, Geneva and Guildford, and are provided by highly motivated and talented people. This is a firm with a long history but a clear vision of their future. Their history and heritage means they’re about the long term. It’s how the firm prefers to work with clients. But Charles Russell is totally in tune with today’s world. They bring the same diligence, genuine care, and personal commitment, irrespective of whether they’re working with private clients or commercial organisations. They’re people people. Energetic, entrepreneurial and innovative. They have a ‘both feet in’ mentality, drive and dynamic legal judgement that makes them totally trusted advisers.And clients know the firm is ‘there for them’ with whatever’s needed to get them to where they need to be.

Charities & Not-for-Profit: Educational, religious, environmental, medical, arts and other charities, professional bodies and institutions.
Energy & Natural Resources: Mining companies, the oil and gas industry, clean-tech companies, and those that invest in them, in particular in emerging markets. Family: Individuals, both in the UK and overseas and intermediaries, such as IFA’s, accountants, banks, doctors and counsellors.
Financial Services: Charles Russell advise investment and private banks, debt funds, asset and fund managers, pension funds, family offices and senior executives in financial institutions on a wide range of issues such as property finance, acquisition finance, corporate debt restructuring, emerging markets equity investments and finance, fund structuring, regulatory advice, Islamic finance, complex fraud litigation, corporate immigration and employment.
Healthcare & Life Sciences: Pharmacy and pharmaceutical companies, pharmacists, care home providers, dentists, vets and other healthcare providers and representative bodies.
Private Wealth: 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).
Property: International private and institutional property investors, banks, social housing providers, SIPPS advisers, corporate occupiers and developers.
Retail & Leisure: High street retailers, leisure suppliers, fashion houses, fashion supply chain, restaurants, leisure suppliers. Sports: Sports regulatory bodies, sponsors, sports clubs, individual sportsmen and women.
TMT: Telecoms providers, clean-tech companies, IT companies, Government departments and foreign governments.
Corporate/Commercial: The group advises on a wide range of issues, including flotations,M&As, outsourcing, venture capital financing, banking, institutional funding arrangements, MBOs and MBIs, all commercial contracts, business start-ups, tax, joint ventures and EU and competition issues.
Corporate Recovery & Insolvency: The group handles the full range of corporate recovery, restructuring, business support and insolvency requirements for insolvency practitioners, SME’s, FTSE listed companies, factors and invoice discounters, individuals, commercial landlords, company directors, shareholders, banks and other financial organisations, as well as for borrowers themselves.
Employment & Pensions: Charles Russell has one of the largest employment and pensions teams in the UK, providing a comprehensive service. The team advises companies and organisations, as well as individuals, in this fast-changing area.
Intellectual Property: The team has expertise in all types of contentious and non-contentious work, including copyright, patents, trademarks, registered designs, database rights, passing off and confidential information.
Litigation & Dispute Resolution: The group handles all types of litigation, arbitration and mediation both in the UK and internationally. Members of the group have particular expertise in commercial disputes, sports regulation, judicial review and pharmacy law.

  • Charities & Not for Profit Michael Scott
  • Energy & Natural Resources Clive Hopewell
  • Family William Longrigg
  • Financial Services Eve Ellis, Jon Bond
  • Healthcare David Reissner
  • Private Wealth Bart Peerless
  • Property David Savage
  • Retail & Leisure Edward Craig
  • Sports Jon Ellis, Ian Lynam
  • TMT Vincenzo Lanni
  • Corporate & Commercial David Berry
  • Employment & Pensions Michael Powner
  • Litigation Duncan Elson
  • Cheltenham Richard Norton
  • Guildford Duncan Elson
  • Bahrain Patrick Gearon
  • Geneva Henry Fea


  • 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

Construction - The South

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers 
- Ranked office locations: Guildford

What the team is known for A standout practice in the Guilford area. Offers a range of contentious and non-contentious services in the regional, national and international markets.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team provides practical and sensible advice." 

Work highlights Acted for Caring Homes Group on the negotiation of building contracts on several new care home developments.

Notable practitioners 

Clients note that Stephen Rockhill is "practical and proactive." He is a key partner at the practice and is involved in key contentious matters.

David Savage is the head of the construction department. His specialisms include dispute resolution.

Significant clients Tiffen Land, Teva UK, Guilford Borough Council, Eton College.

Corporate/M&A - The South

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

What the team is known for Broad national practice, covering a range of corporate transactions. Particularly strong on private company M&A. Noted for activity in the technology and healthcare sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Practical advice: "They provide understandable, pragmatic advice dealing with the main issues."

National capability: "It really helps that they can cover the whole of the UK."

What's new? New client wins include Westpoint Vet Group and Santander. 

Work highlights Advised the selling group on the sale of Redwood Telecommunications to Timico Technology Group.

Advised the sellers on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Magawell, a company which operates two large pharmacies in Wales.

Notable practitioners  

Geoff Sparks is highly rated by peers and clients alike. One source noted: "We enjoy working with him. He is very pragmatic, and great at dealing with different people."

Tim Jenkins is described as "fantastic, approachable, friendly and proactive." He advises on the firm's key healthcare transactions. He advised the sellers on the sale of Magawell.

Significant clients British Car Auctions, Planet Cruise, Goddard Vet Group, Total Medcare UK, Vocality International.

Employment - The South

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

What the team is known for Provides the full range of employment law services to a corporate client base. Sector specialisms include financial services, technology, charities, utilities and healthcare.

Work highlights Advised a claimant on a significant point of law concerning the right of a volunteer not to be discriminated against.

Advised Lord Wandsworth College on the detailed restructuring of its senior management team.

Notable practitioners  

Andy Williams is noted for his strong reputation and aptitude for handling employment litigation.

Ben Smith is appreciated by sources for "always working to get the best outcome for his clients."

Significant clients EDF Energy, Ericsson, Randstad Group, Mitsubishi Colt, BDO.

Family/Matrimonial - The South

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Guildford

What the team is known for Recognised for its handling of complex financial remedy matters, wherein the firm often acts for high-profile and high net worth clients. Draws upon the substantial resources of the wider firm to provide clients with comprehensive advice covering commercial issues, pensions, immigration, employment and trusts. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "A highly pragmatic and non-combative approach which means unnecessary litigation is avoided."

Pragmatic advice: "What stands out is their thorough and efficient approach to every case; clients are always given correct and comprehensive legal advice combined with practical advice."

Notable practitioners  

Margaret Tyson specialises in complex financial proceedings, and is also a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer. She is described as "an established heavy hitter - good to have in your corner." 

Karen Wilsher specialises in complex children law matters, particularly leave to remove cases. Sources describe her as "intelligent, sensible, good on the law, and able to provide excellent support for clients."

Litigation - The South

Basic facts about the department

- 8 partners
- 21 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Guildford

What the team is known for Sizeable practice with impressive automotive and retail client base. Deep expertise in company law, technology and life sciences disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is great. We feel we are in a safe pair of hands. They have a good bedside manner; you go to them with a problem and you feel it's been taken off your shoulders."

Commercial awareness: "The team's personal approach is very good. They understand the way we want to work and they then reflect that and respect what we want."

Work highlights Advising Bid TV on numerous IT and supply chain disputes, including a substantial claim over its online store.

Advised ITV on a format licence dispute with a Turkish television production company.

Notable practitioners  

Duncan Elson leads the team. He is highly experienced in shareholder, trust and agency disputes. Sources say: "He is first-class, a very clever man with exceptional project management skills."

Stephen Burns undertakes contractual, shareholder, fraud and Companies Act disputes. One client says: "He is very personable. He changes his approach to reflect my requirements and he gives me the right guidance."

Senior associate Jamie Cartwright specialises in automotive industry disputes and an increasing amount of his work has an international dimension. Sources tip Cartwright for a glittering career, saying: "He is going to be a partner of the future. He is very hard-working, quietly conscientious, very able with clients and very well liked by the people he works with."

James Lister is an associate to watch at the firm. He advises on all aspects of commercial dispute resolution work in different jurisdictions.

Significant clients Fiat/Chrysler, ITV, Kopparberg, Guildford Cathedral, Mechel.

Private Client - The South

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Guildford

What the team is known for A versatile private client team whose expertise spans estate and trust work, including contentious matters, for those with inherited wealth. Also advises on asset protection for clients with both a domestic and international outlook.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They have a good reputation for efficiency and clear, concise responses. They take care to understand the client's needs and ensure that their advice is appropriate."

Client service: "Charles Russell offers good, honest advice with excellent client service." 

Notable practitioners  

Sally Ashford heads the team, bringing a diverse practice encompassing advice for wealthy individuals and Court of Protection work. Sources commend her strong communication skills and ability to manage clients' expectations.

Duncan Elson is creating an impressive name for himself in the field of estate administration. Clients describe him as "practical, commercial and very quick on the uptake."

Star associate Louise Harrhy impresses in the areas of tax and estate planning and is recognised for her work for vulnerable clients.

Professional Negligence - The South

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 21 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Guildford

What the team is known for Maintains a focus on claimant work, and mainly deals with solicitors and accountants. Often works on mandates of a national scale. Seen by the market as a firm on the up.

Work highlights Assisted a preparatory school with an interesting case alleging negligent legal advice.

Notable practitioners  

Stephen Burns is the key contact.

Real Estate - The South

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

What the team is known for Noted for its services to major players in the healthcare sector. Also fields a strong corporate occupier practice. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They've been thorough and straightforward."

Market standing: Peers praise the firm's strong offering in the healthcare sector. 

What's new? New clients include British Car Auctions and Handelsbanken.

Work highlights Acted for Lend Lease on the rationalisation of its property portfolio.

Acted on the disposal of over 500 substations for Scottish and Southern Energy.

Notable practitioners 

Debra Kent specialises in corporate occupier work for clients such as NEC (UK).

Significant clients Labelux Group, Bally, Zagliani, SportsDirect.com, Petrofac Engineering.

Real Estate Litigation - The South

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

What the team is known for Retains its market-leading position in Guildford. Sizeable group equipped to assist clients with all aspects of property litigation. Especially renowned for handling insolvency issues arising in a real estate context.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "Not only do they thoroughly understand the problems, but they provide routes forward that we can have confidence in."

Commercial awareness: "I have been very impressed by the economy and cost consciousness with which the property litigation team approach their work."

Work highlights Continued to act for Charles Terence Estates on long-running litigation with Cornwall Council, involving the council's evasion of liability under a number of leases. Was recently successful in obtaining a Court of Appeal judgment in Charles Terence Estates' favour. 

Represented private individual Mr Kennerley, in connection with litigation centring around two residential properties in Surrey, involving disputes over boundary issues, a right of way over the garden of an adjoining property and adverse possession.

Notable practitioners  

David Haines is experienced in all types of property litigation but has particular strength in leasehold enfranchisement work. According to one satisfied client: "He shows attention to detail, knows where to get his information and never proceeds until he is satisfied that we have thoroughly investigated all the legal possibilities."

Solicitor advocate Peter Levaggi heads the department. Sources say he is "full of ideas and strategies," also adding that he is "a superb leader of his team, who provides reliable advice to business clients in crisis situations."

Significant clients Regal Homes, Acorn Property Investments, Diocese of Guildford, Harrisons Corporate Recovery, Warrant Investments.

Restructuring/Insolvency - The South

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Guildford

What the team is known for Attracts some of the region's most high-profile restructuring and insolvency matters. Singled out for expertise in insolvency litigation. Recently developing a specialist focus on matters relating to fraud.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "Charles Russell is the best insolvency team I have worked with. Lots of firms will claim to have a lot of people working as part of their insolvency team, but Charles Russell really does have the bodies."

What's new? New clients include Credit Suisse and Duff & Phelps.

Work highlights Continues to advise the Central Bank of Bahrain on the administration of Awal Bank. Recent work in this long-running transaction has focused on recovery of assets.  

Acted for the lender, Santander, in the administration of a London-based residential and commercial unit. This included advising on the appointment of liquidators, handling potential litigation and numerous property issues.

Notable practitioners  

James Hyne is highlighted by peers for his excellent reputation and the strength he brings to the team. Clients report that "he is a very robust individual" who holds ""a wealth of experience." Interviewees also note that "he is aggressive when he needs to be, but also very easy to deal with."

Praveen Reddy is well liked by clients, who consider him "personable" and "an integral part of the team." He is viewed as "a safe pair of hands" who offers considerable experience in contentious matters.  

Significant clients Baker Tilly, RBS Invoice Finance, Forensic Science Service, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Grant Thornton.