The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
With the announcement of the latest Legal 500 rankings, Anthony Collins Solicitors once again showcases leading individuals and next-generation lawyers across its sectors.
With the launch of the Legal 500 Hall of Fame, which highlights partners at law firms who are consistently performing at the top of their profession, we are delighted that Head of Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury, Rankeshwar Batta, is an inaugural member.
Hall of Fame
- Rankeshwar Batta (Clinical Negligence - Claimant)
- Alex Elphinston (Court of Protection)
- Ann Houghton (Clinical Negligence - Claimant)
- Doug Mullen (Pensions)
- Elisabeth Howe (Family)
- Gemma Bell (Housing)
- Lisa Whitehouse (Personal Tax and Trusts)
- Maria Ramon (Family)
The firm retained Tier 1 rankings for Charities and Not-for-Profit, Clinical Negligence, Family and Social Housing - still the only firm in the West Midlands in Tier 1.
Some comments from the Legal 500 include:
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP possesses ‘extensive expertise in public sector matters’, most notably in the fields housing and local government. Senior associate Doug Mullen is a key figure, and is ‘very competent’, ‘approachable’, and ‘happy to talk through points at length’. He is particularly skilled in advising on how outsourcing arrangements impact pension schemes. Olwen Dutton is also recommended and is an expert in the local government sector.
Clinical Negligence: Claimant
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP 's clinical negligence practice has ‘a culture of making clients feel valued, reassured and comfortable during what is a very anxious time in their lives’. Practice head Rankeshwar Batta works across all areas of clinical negligence, and is ‘very experienced’ and ‘has a great manner with clients’. Senior associate Sarah Huntbach is ‘very professional' with 'detailed and timely interactions’ and is ‘particularly caring with younger claimants and always involves them in discussions’. Other key figures include associates Ann Houghton, Victoria Fullilove and David Evison, who is heavily involved in abuse claims.
Personal Injury: Claimant
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP has ‘a very good personal injury practice’ that includes ‘empathetic and talented solicitors who cover a wide range of work’. Practice head Rankeshwar Batta is ‘very thorough’, ‘tactically astute’ and ‘incredibly down to earth’. Associate David Evison is ‘very good tactically’ and ‘handles clients extremely well’. Also recommended is associate Victoria Fullilove, who possesses a ‘tactical insight and knowledge that goes beyond her years of qualification’.
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP ‘undertakes the heaviest of care cases’, and is ‘market-leading matrimonial finance work.’ Elizabeth Wyatt heads up the private client team and has strong expertise in divorce proceedings. Jas Tamber leads the children team and is an expert in complex childcare cases. Senior associate Elisabeth Howe is also a key figure and has strong experience in divorce proceedings, civil partnerships and separations. Also recommended are senior associates Helen Mottram and Maria Ramon, who are all experts in children’s law.
Charities and Not-for-Profit
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP ' work in this sector covers regulatory, governance, employment and financing matters, with notable expertise working for national federations and sports charities. Property specialist Dominic Curran advised Broadening Choices for Older People on refinancing two of its care homes. Anna Dabek is heavily involved in employment matters in this space, as is Matthew Wort. Other key figures include senior associate Phil Watts, who is experienced in charity law, and Edwina Turner, who is experienced in charity and corporate governance matters.
Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is 'very sound and competent' and provides 'sensible instructions'. Donna Holmes leads the team and works with 'diligence', 'tenacity', 'professionalism' and 'a true commitment to her clients'. She regularly advises on wills, tax and estate planning. Senior associate Alex Elphinston is 'technically sound' and 'knowledgeable' and has 'very strong attention to detail'. Also recommended are: associate Lisa Whitehouse who is an expert in wealth protection estate administration; and solicitor Clare Burke, who advises on wills and estate planning.
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is led by Olwen Dutton who has extensive experience in advising local authorities. She recently advised Reigate and Banstead Borough Council on property, governance, commercial and funding matters. Public sector specialist Mark Cook advised the Watford Community Housing Trust and Watford Borough Council on devising two new joint-venture vehicles and assisted Tamworth Borough Council with a private individual bringing forth a planning appeal against the council rejecting planning consent. Alex Lawrence and Gayle Monk advised Torbay Council on setting up company structures.
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP ‘stands out in its understanding of the public sector, and how to reach sensible negotiated outcomes in that context’. The firm handles a mixture of contentious and non-contentious work for housing associations, local authorities and others involved in the provision of public services, alongside some private sector work. Andrew Millross advised Clarion Housing Group on its gas and lift maintenance contracts; he also advises Aster Group on the development of NEC3 contracts for the construction of 2,500 homes. Andrew Lancaster's ‘great strengths are his understanding of the values and priorities of the public sector, and the most cost-effective ways to defend them, and to get the right deal for them when disputes arise’ – he advised Triuva, a German real estate investor, on bringing a claim against a contractor due to alleged defects in curtain walls and cladding in a building in Birmingham. Richard Brooks and senior associate Rajinder Bhangal continue to advise Sports and Leisure Management on a contract to provide services in East Hampshire; Brooks also advises Winchester City Council on procuring an architect for a multi-use development.
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP provides ‘friendly and efficient’ to a client base which includes a number of public sector heavyweights. Hilary Harrison advises Birmingham City Council on litigation concerning lease renewals and service charges for refrigerated counters in Birmingham Market prior to its redevelopment. Other clients include the Birmingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees and The Peacocks Centre.
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP social housing practice ‘offers a level of service that is second to none; the property and housing teams boast a real strength in depth’. The firm handles work ranging from restructuring exercises to stock management litigation. Victoria Jardine advised B3 Living on its restructuring, which involved increasing the size of its non-subsidised portfolio, setting up a development company and a separate trading company. Gemma Bell also advised The Community Housing Group on a restructuring exercise. In the planning space, Ranjit Bassey advised another housing association on purchasing a number of homes for affordable housing use as part of a section 106 agreement. Jonathan Cox also handles major stock transfers. Helen Tucker’s ‘no-nonsense approach to litigation also gives her real gravitas in the sector’ – she represented a housing association in a forfeiture case following repeated refusals by a leaseholder to allow access to his flat to carry out electrical works, delaying the upgrades to the entire building. Baljit Basra has a ‘deservedly loyal client following’ and is noted for her expertise in disrepair and health and safety matters.
Social Housing: Finance
Birmingham-based Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP has been ‘increasingly sought after for complex financing transactions, M&A and group structuring advice’, and though ‘it may not pick up the volume of some of its competitors, the department has become a valued name in the sector’. Ranjit Bassey advised Aspire Housing on a £205m refinancing of its existing loan arrangements, and a team including solicitor Will Allen acted for Pennaf Housing Group in relation to the refinancing of its bank debt and the creation of a more flexible credit agreement. In the capital markets space, Jon Coane assisted a housing group with two private placements, and the team advised WM Housing Group on a £280m public bond issuance. Natalie Singh heads the funding and finance practice and is rated for her ‘pragmatic and forward-thinking’ advice to borrowers. Additional clients include Thirteen Housing Group and Merlin Housing Association.
For further information on any of the work that we do at Anthony Collins Solicitors, please contact one of the individuals above, or call 0121 200 3242.
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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