Laceys Solicitors Laceys is a leading, forward-thinking law firm with specialist experts serving both individual and business clients across a broad spectrum of practice areas.

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Commercial Disputes

Success, and occasionally survival, can be down to your choice of lawyers.  We are a strong, relentlessly innovative team who will demystify the legal process and help you manage, avoid and resolve disputes.

The process of litigation can be uncertain and costly.  We strive to achieve our clients’ commercial aims and objectives whether this involves doing our utmost to resolve matters before they go to court, or fighting for or defending our clients once proceedings have commenced.   We encourage our clients to seek the resolution of their disputes by the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures when this is appropriate whether this is by communicating with the other party or their solicitors,  arranging an around the table meeting, or the use of mediation services

We give careful consideration to the commerciality of pursuing a particular matter having regard to the cost, the available evidence, the prospects of securing further evidence and your aims and objectives to equip you with the best advice on which to make decisions concerning your dispute.

Our approachable and straightforward team gets to the nub of the problem, take the time to understand what you are trying to achieve, and apply creative thinking to formulate the strategy and tactics to put you in the best position to get to a solution.  We are here to provide answers, advice and recommendations.

In those  situations where urgent action is required to protect your interests, we will advise you about obtaining an injunction to freeze the assets of a third party, to restrain a third party from taking some step, or compel them to take some step.  We have wide experience of seeking, and the resources to seek, emergency relief from the courts.

If we can be of assistance with a current dispute you may be involved in, or the strategy for handling a potential dispute which may be in the offing, get in touch, and put us to the test.

Laceys are recognised in the Legal 500, an independent guide to leading law firms in the UK for their expertise in Commercial Litigation.

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    Meet the Team

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    Chris Jennings

    Solicitor — Dispute Resolution

    Direct dial: 01202 377837

    Email

    Chris is a graduate from the University of Keele with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) degree in Law and Economics.  Thereafter, he sat his Solicitors’ Finals Exams at the College of Law in Chester.  After 2 years’ training with a law firm in central Derby, Chris qualified as a solicitor in 1985.

    Chris deals with cases in all courts including the Court of Appeal.  He has experience in dealing with clients from major national companies, local authorities, hospitals, and even  foreign embassies together with partnerships (including professional partnerships) and private individuals including some foreign nationals.

    As a litigator with a wealth of experience, he uses sound professional judgment to provide clients tailored advice according to their individual requirements. Chris is a problem solver and a strong team player who is committed to achieving results for clients. 

    Away from the office, Chris’s philanthropic nature has seen him provide legal advice to a branch of a trade union for a number of years and play a key role in a local residents’ group to raise funds to repair the unadopted road in his neighborhood. Chris also enjoys spending time with his family and describes himself more of an armchair sports fan than one to take part in the action!

    Rob Kelly

    Senior Associate — Dispute Resolution

    Direct dial: 01202 377871

    Email

    Rob Kelly
    • “Rob Kelly has been absolutely exceptional in resolving this litigation and so thorough in everything and basically gave the opposition a masterclass of his work that he is so good at.”

      Paul Jeffcoate - Contentious Probate Client

    • “I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the team at Laceys regularly over a period of years. I found Rob Kelly in particular, who worked on a successful litigation case for me over a period of several years to be outstanding in all aspects of the work he undertook, and the manner in which he did it. I now consider him a friend. I would not - and have not - hesitated to recommend Laceys to my family and friends, and continue to use them for all legal matters.”

      Dan Collins

    • “ I just wanted to thank you for your great work on the professional negligence case and other cases you have represented Indian Ocean and Tiien through the last few years.”

      Mehdi Vahdati, Director and Proprietor - Indian Ocean (Bournemouth) Limited

    • “A case that was initially very straightforward became difficult and, for me, very frustrating. Rob Kelly's calm, lucid and very professional advice and planning were invaluable and led to a good outcome.”

      Don Young

    • “Their Fee Management was exemplary and the expertise provided by Rob was exactly what we required.”

      Sunseeker London Limited

    • “I've worked with a fair few lawyers over the years and Rob Kelly is the most on the ball and efficient lawyers I've ever come across. I'm looking forward to working together for many years to come.”

      Roger Woodall CEO - Diamond Sporting Group

    Rob practices in two main, complimentary areas of work – contentious wills, probate and trust disputes, and property disputes.

    Contentious wills, probate and trusts

    More than half of Rob’s time is spent dealing with the contentious aspects of wills, probate and trusts, an area in which he has practiced continuously for over 20 years.  He advises and acts in disputes relating to wills and inheritance, trusts, the duties of trustees and personal representatives, and the administration of estate.

    Rob’s practice embraces:

    • Personal representative and trustee disputes (including personal representative and trustee disagreements, removals / substitutions and alleged misconduct)
    • Disappointed beneficiary claims
    • Will disputes (where the validity of a will is challenged on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and approval of the contents of a will, and fraudulent calumny)
    • Financial provision claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
    • Proprietary estoppel claims
    • Disputes about the proper construction, and rectification, of wills
    • Caveats
    • Professional liability claims arising from the preparation of wills and trusts and the administration of estates

    He has mediated (either as appointed mediator or as a representative) dozens of disputes involving contentious wills and probate issues.

    Property disputes

    The other side of Rob’s practice is contentious property work.  This embraces:

    • Residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes
    • Disrepairs
    • Repairing covenants
    • Possession claims
    • Lease termination and lease forfeiture
    • Dilapidations
    • Service charge disputes
    • Interpretation and enforcement of leasehold covenants

    Rob’s style is a mix of listening, asking (tough) questions, diplomacy and reality testing. He’s interested, flexible, and pragmatic. He offers a common sense, realistic approach to assist his clients in searching for solutions to their disputes and brings straight talking and integrity to his work.

    Rob is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.  He holds an LLB (Hons) degree in law.  He successfully completed training as a mediator under the ADR Chambers / Harvard Law Project Scheme in June 2006, was one of the first mediators to have been appointed an IMI Certified Mediation Advocate in the UK with a commercial practice, and is a member of the Civil Mediation Council.

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    Mark Timberlake

    Managing Partner — Dispute Resolution

    Direct dial: 01202 377863

    Email

    Mark Timberlake
    • “The advice Mark gave was very good value for money and the combination of strictly accurate legal advice and common sense were exactly what I needed.”

      Nick Stocks. Director, Spitfire Court Properties Ltd.

    • “Mark Timberlake is an exceptional solicitor. He has a huge depth of knowledge in his speciality and looks after his clients in a very kind and patient manner. Mark is unfailingly courteous and always a pleasure to deal with. I am always confident in any matter that Mark has dealt with.”

      Jane Balmforth

    • “We have had many years of top class professional advice and assistance in many respects of our property ownership. However great our worries initially, matters have been dealt with in a most professional manner and to our satisfaction.”

      Michael Filer, Bourne Court Consortium

    Mark qualified as a solicitor in 1989 and since then has specialised in property and landlord and tenant disputes, possession and debt recovery in relation to both commercial and residential property. He has extensive experience in relation to issues involving blocks of flats including representation in the Property Chamber and the courts. He has also dealt with many commercial disputes, professional negligence and insolvency claims.

    He has frequently given talks on the law as it affects managing agents through the Association of Residential Managing Agents and other groups.

    He has been recommended for many years by the Legal 500 Guide to the Legal profession which has said that Mark ‘is very highly rated by clients’, ‘explains complex issues in understandable terms’ and ‘is excellent in really difficult situations’. 

    Mark is married with 2 teenage children and at weekends can often be found on his boat which he sails competitively.

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    Brendan Herbert

    Partner — Dispute Resolution

    Direct dial: 01202 377810

    Email

    Brendan Herbert
    • “Brendan has been really great on a whole range of professional negligence issues. I highly recommend him.”

      Cressida Granger, Perspex Pension Fund/Mathmos Ltd

    • “Brendan is an excellent support and shows empathy when dealing with difficult situations. He explains clearly costs and possible outcomes and makes me feel like I have somebody on my team.”

      Jacqueline Entwistle

    • “Always professional and prompt on a wide range of legal matters.”

      Matthew Hornsby

    Brendan has a BSc in Zoology and Psychology from the University of Liverpool, and went on to obtain his Post Graduate Diploma in Law, and Legal Practice Course at the College of Law (now the University of Law), in Chester.  Brendan completed his training with a national firm in Manchester and London, and was admitted as a solicitor in 2005.

    Brendan is part of our Dispute Resolution Team, working with both private individuals and businesses to either avoid or resolve disputes. With over 10 years experience he has helped clients deal with a wide variety of issues from professional negligence claims and breach of contract disputes, to more specialist areas including construction disputes, intellectual property work, licensing applications and inheritance claims.

    Brendan has a very approachable manner, and places great importance on client relationships. He enjoys tackling all matters directly, and always looks to provide clients with practical, cost-effective solutions. Outside of work Brendan runs a hugely successful music festival in the Cotswolds.

    When he is not knee-deep in mud at a festival, he enjoys travelling (especially in Africa, where he worked as a safari camp manager for a year),  golf, photography and getting out and about in the Dorset countryside.

    To find out more about Brendan being described in the 2021 Legal 500 as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ and what this means to him here;

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