Sydney Mitchell is recognised in the Top Tier of the Legal 500 and ‘punches above its weight’ for contentious and non-contentious matters. The firm is recognised for thoroughness and good commercial approach to cases.

Sydney Mitchell has again been recognised as a Tier 1 firm for its Contentious Wills and Probate work; handling a variety of high-value complex cases.

In total the firm has obtained recommendations in 13 areas of legal practice; Contentious Probate, Commercial Litigation, Debt Recovery, Insolvency and Corporate Recovery, Employment, Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury, Professional Negligence, Family, Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate, Health, Commercial Property and Property Litigation.

The firm’s clients have made some excellent comments on the work undertaken by the legal teams.

Div Singh, Senior Partner, Sydney Mitchell commented:

We have an excellent result again this year with the firm maintaining its ranking in Tier 1 for our Contentious Probate work.

We were especially pleased for some of our young solicitors Hayley–Jo Lockley and Preena Lal who have been recognised for their hard work and dedication. Our clients and referrers have made fantastic comments on the work we have undertaken including…

‘One of the strongest of the smaller city centre firms in commercial litigation’;  ‘experienced and sensible with sound judgement and a particular skill at negotiating very good deals…; ‘superstar and a joy to work with’; ‘very tenacious …’ ‘attention to detail and thorough approach’.

What more can you ask for than recommendations from your clients for the excellent service received for work undertaken by our legal teams.

The joint heads of the Dispute Resolution team, Dean Parnell and Kamal Majevadia were recognised for their high-value and complex claims undertaken with Dean recognised for his “technical knowledge that is second to none and is a solicitor you would want on your side’ and Kamal ‘… is very thorough and applies a good commercial approach to his cases’.

Leading Midlands Law firm Sydney Mitchell is ranked in 13 Legal 500 categories and has won Birmingham Law Firm of the Year 4 times in the last 9 years.

A full breakdown of the Sydney Mitchell recommendations and comments on Legal 500 are shown below.

West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Birmingham

Commercial litigation: Birmingham - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘one of the strongest of the smaller city centre firms in commercial litigation’, and thrives under the leadership of Dean Parnell, who is ‘very experienced and sensible, with sound judgement and a particular skill at negotiating very good deals for his clients’. Parnell is an experienced mediator and is also qualified to act as a supervising solicitor for search orders. The practice represented clients in a number of multimillion-pound claims and noted an increase in injunctive relief, SWAP claims, shareholder disputes and civil fraud. Kamal Majevadia, who co-heads the team with Parnell, has ‘good technical knowledge and is particularly good at insolvency, restructuring and financial professional negligence cases’.

Debt recovery

Debt recovery - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s ‘very efficient’ team has a ‘light touch’ and is led by Kamal Majevadia, who is ‘adept at spotting the wood for the trees and combines this with a user-friendly sense of humour for very experienced officeholders such as liquidators, who are his staple clients’. Majevadia’s recent caseload includes acting on behalf of the administrators of Blakemores in relation to the collection of several large debts from former clients. Another name to note is insolvency specialist Leanne Schneider-Rose, who leads on debt recovery matters for business lenders such as AIB Group (UK) and West Bromwich Commercial. The practice also acts for secondary lenders on mortgage repossessions.

West Midlands: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s practice offers ‘exceptional value for money’ and is also noted for its ability to ‘quickly grasp the instruction and work with the officeholder to implement (and refine as necessary) the strategy’. Practice head Leanne Schneider-Rose has a loyal following of lenders and insolvency practitioners, such as AIB Group and Smith & Williamson, and wins praise for her ‘attention to detail and thorough approach’. In one example, Schneider-Rose acted for a bankrupt in the Court of Appeal in a claim against receivers for breach of duty regarding a property owned by the bankrupt.

West Midlands: Human resources


Employment - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s diverse practice ‘punches above its weight’. The practice acts for employers and individuals in contentious and non-contentious matters, and Birmingham-based team head Dean Parnell attracts praise for his ability to ‘focus on solutions rather than conflict for the sake of it’. He represented an individual in a complex disability discrimination and victimisation claim against their employer, as well as a shareholder who was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct following a health and safety audit. Jade Linton is ‘a superstar and a joy to work with’; she acted for an individual in sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010, which was complicated by the fact the claimant and respondent had previously been in a relationship. She also handled a whistleblowing claim brought by a high-ranked executive whose employment was terminated due to suspicions of fraudulent activity. Associate Tina Chander left the firm to join Wright Hassall LLP.

West Midlands: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant

Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘a small firm that really punches above its weight’, and clients rate it for ‘having the skills and knowledge to handle a vast array of negligence and personal injury matters’. Mike Sutton leads the clinical negligence practice; he ‘has an excellent manner with clients’ and his experience ‘allows him to focus on the key issues in the early stages of a case’. Sutton is representing the wife of a man who died of a pulmonary embolism following the hospital’s alleged failure to appropriately treat him during the post-operative recovery period. Stephen Jesson acted for a claimant seeking compensation in light of the alleged delay in diagnosis of cancer, and is acting in a group claim filed against a consultant urological surgeon for alleged improper treatment of prostate cancer.

Next generation lawyers

Stephen Jesson - Sydney Mitchell LLP

Personal injury: claimant

Personal injury: claimant - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP acts for local clients on a wide range of personal injury work – much of which consists of multi-track claims – and ‘has a strong reputation in the West Midlands’. Team leader and ‘very tenacious lawyer’ Mike Sutton ‘does not shy away from difficult, complicated or messy cases’; he recently represented a man who suffered career-ending injuries following an accident at work, and acted on behalf of the family and financial dependents of a man killed by careless driving. Other key names include Stephen Jesson, who assisted an elderly client in her claim against a restaurant which allegedly failed to provide the duty owed by the manager to a disabled customer.

Professional negligence

Professional negligence - ranked: tier 4

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP handles high-value and complex claims regarding property and banking issues for clients such as Hertford Solutions and West Bromwich Building Society. The ‘commercially astuteDean Parnell has ‘technical knowledge that is second to none and is a solicitor you would want on your side’. He leads the practice with Kamal Majevadia, who is singled out for insolvency, restructuring and financial cases. Assistant solicitor Sundeep Bilkhu supports the partners with regards to negligence claims against solicitors and construction professionals, and recently represented a professional client in a case against his governing body for allegedly failing to adequately represent him in court resulting in significant liability costs. The ‘hardworking and responsive’ Preena Lal is also recommended.

West Midlands: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate

Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s contentious trusts and probate team is based in Shirley and demonstrates ‘sound knowledge of the law, which it applies for the practical benefit of the client’. The team, led by Kamal Majevadia (who ‘is very thorough and applies a good commercial approach to his cases’) handled an Inheritance Act dispute in which a significant portion of the assets was held overseas. Solicitor Hayley-Jo Lockley supported the team in obtaining a grant of probate, forcing the removal of caveat and removing an individual from the deceased’s property, and led on the advice on the recovery of monies due to a client as per the deceased’s will. Tracy Creed is also a key contact.

Family: Birmingham
Family: Birmingham - ranked: tier 3


Sydney Mitchell LLP

At Sydney Mitchell LLP, Karen Moores leads the firm’s family team alongside Mauro Vinti, who works out of the Shirley office. The partners are supported by legal executive Jayne Gregg, who is ‘very positive and firm with her advice’. Recently, the team represented clients in the Birmingham family court in connection with financial remedy and child arrangement proceedings. Solicitor Teresa Mannion joined the firm in Shirley from Alsters Kelley LLP...

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s clients find the wills, trusts and probate team, led by Tracy Creed, to be ‘extremely professional and efficient in all engagements and dealings’. The practice has substantial experience acting on behalf of vulnerable elderly clients in connection with care work and funding. Solicitor Ravinder Sandhu (whose ‘knowledge in this field is wide and deep’) recently assisted a client with the removal of an executor from an estate, and handled the administration of an estate according to a will, which was complicated by unclear paternity links and genealogical evidence. Clients also recommend ‘very good and helpful’ solicitor Nicholas Bennett, who is based in Shirley and acted for clients with regards to locating missing wills and applications for grants of probate.

West Midlands: Public sector


Health - ranked: tier 3

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmigham)

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s public-sector healthcare practice is headed by Fahmida Ismail in Birmingham, closely supported by consultant Tony Harris, who splits his time between Birmingham and Shirley and acted for a retiring senior partner with regards to the cancellation of his GMS contract and the negotiation of his retirement agreement. Areas of expertise include advising on sales, acquisition and mergers of GP practices, partnership disputes, and LIFT and non-LIFT projects. Harris and Ismail recently advised on the changes to partnership agreements in the context of retiring and incoming partners and the re-mortgaging of freehold surgery premises through a complex borrowing scheme requiring safeguarding and indemnity clauses to protect each individual partner. In another mandate, Ismail oversaw the retirement of a GP partner who wished to remain an owner of the leasehold premises. Associates Stewart Coles and Roy Colaba recently represented a GP partnership in connection with the lease of its surgery premises, while Dean Parnell handled a commercial dispute between dentists working in the same practice where the relationship had completely broken down but a fee-sharing agreement remained.

West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Birmingham

Commercial property: Birmingham - ranked: tier 5

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s team includes the ‘knowledgeable, prompt and efficientStewart Coles, who has particular expertise in dealing with property transactions involving pension schemes, and regularly acts on behalf of SIPPs and SSASs on the purchase, sale and leasing of commercial premises. Coles also represents clients in the retail and hospitality sectors and in 2016 he advised investors on a number of hotel acquisitions. Head of practice Div Singh and finance specialist Fahmida Ismail are the other main contacts.

Property litigation

Property litigation - ranked: tier 6

Sydney Mitchell LLP (Birmingham)

At Sydney Mitchell LLP, senior solicitor Sundeep Bilkhu is a ‘good driving force’ for cases and continued to be particularly active in landlord and tenant issues for lenders and receivers: Bilkhu represented Hertford Solutions in enforcing a possession order against a tenant in occupation, and also acted for a receiver in obtaining vacant possession of a property following the borrower’s default of a legal charge. In other highlights, the team is defending Property Link Midlands in a claim alleging breach of a landlord repair covenant in a lease. Kamal Majevadia heads the practice.


21 lawyers are recommended in The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017 editorial (listed below)


Dispute resolution - Commercial litigation - Birmingham
- Dean Parnell
- Kamal Majevadia

Dispute resolution - Debt recovery
- Kamal Majevadia
- Leanne Schneider-Rose

Finance - Insolvency and corporate recovery
- Leanne Schneider-Rose

Human resources - Employment
- Dean Parnell
- Jade Linton

Insurance - Clinical negligence - claimant
- Mike Sutton
- Stephen Jesson

Insurance - Personal injury - claimant
- Mike Sutton
- Stephen Jesson

Insurance - Professional negligence
- Dean Parnell
- Kamal Majevadia
- Preena Lal
- Sundeep Bilkhu

Private client - Contentious trusts and probate
- Hayley-Jo Lockley
- Kamal Majevadia
- Tracy Creed

Private client - Family - Elsewhere in the West Midlands
- Jayne Gregg
- Karen Moores
- Mauro Vinti
- Teresa Mannion

Private client - Personal tax, trusts and probate
- Nicholas Bennett
- Ravinder Sandhu
- Tracy Creed

Public sector - Health
- Dean Parnell
- Fahmida Ismail
- Roy Colaba
- Stewart Coles
- Tony Harris

Real estate - Commercial property - Birmingham
- Div Singh
- Fahmida Ismail
- Stewart Coles

Real estate - Property litigation
- Kamal Majevadia
- Sundeep Bilkhu

A woman has won a record £9 million in compensation from a negligent GP who would have terminated her pregnancy had she been aware that her son would be born gravely disabled.

The unnamed woman’s family had a history of the blood condition haemophilia – a genetic disorder of the blood that impairs the blood’s ability to clot and which can lead to life-threatening bleeds. She had attended her local GP surgery and asked to be tested to see if she was a carrier of the gene. She was not given the correct blood test to identify if she was a carrier, but only if she herself suffered from the condition. After her test results had come back negative, she was led to the mistaken belief that any children she had in the future would not be afflicted by haemophilia.

She gave birth to her son born five years later, and it was soon discovered that he suffered from an aggressive form of haemophilia. She subsequently underwent genetic testing that confirmed that she was a carrier.

Through her lawyers, the woman argued that had she known that she was a carrier of the condition at the time she fell pregnant, foetal testing would have revealed her son’s condition and she would have chosen to terminate her pregnancy at an early stage.

Lawyers for the GP admitted liability and conceded that the mother would be entitled to be compensated for the additional costs involved in bringing up a child with haemophilia. However, by terrible coincidence, her son was also born with autism which meant that he required specialist care. It was argued on behalf of the GP that the mother was not entitled to compensation in respect of the additional costs associated with that condition.

However, the High Court upheld her claim in full and noted that the boy would not have been born had it not been for the GP’s admitted negligence. In those circumstances, the court determined that the costs flowing from the boy’s autism also fell within the GP’s assumption of responsibility.

If you have concerns about the medical treatment which you have received from a hospital or GP and wish to speak with one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors, please contact Adam Hodson, Medical Negligence Specialist at Sydney Mitchell on 0121 698 2200 or email Adam at

Over 70 attended the Sydney Mitchell LLP ‘Movers & Shakers’ Midlands Networking event at Ginger’s Bar, Purnell’s Bistro in Newhall Street Birmingham.

Karen Moores, Partner said: “An excellent turnout; with many guests commenting on the relaxed atmosphere and the good cross–section of professionals joining in from the city. The food as always was superb; provided by Glyn Purnell and his team.”

Sydney Mitchell specialist teams include employment, commercial property, company and commercial services, litigation, insolvency, licensing and gambling law. Private client teams include family law, residential property, dispute resolution and wills and probate, tax and trusts and personal injury.

Pictures - link below




The NHS Health Ombudsman has savaged GPs, hospitals and specialist in eating disorders who failed to care for a young student who died of anorexia, in a report published today which illustrated “widespread problems with eating disorders services in the NHS”.

Averil Hart was first diagnosed with the eating disorder, anorexia, at 17 when she was doing her A-levels. She spent almost a year as an inpatient at a specialist eating disorders unit in Cambridge from 2011 to 2012 but was discharged in August 2012 so she could start University studies a month later.

However, the NHS Ombudsman’s investigation revealed that, “There were multiple serious departures from the standards of care expected that meant that the critical nature of Averil’s condition was not recognised and treatment was not implemented properly as it could and should have been”. There were multiple opportunities between August and December 2012 to identify what was happening to Averil, to intervene to remedy the situation at that time, and therefore to prevent the subsequent course of events that led to the final emergency admission to hospital which culminated in her untimely death at the age of 19 in December 2012.

The report concluded that the failings by the UEA GP practice, and the acute NHS trusts in Norwich and Cambridge which provided treatment, as well as the Norwich eating disorders service, were so serious that each was guilty of “service failure”.

Adam Hodson, a specialist clinical negligence solicitor with Sydney Mitchell Solicitors, said,

This is a tragic case which highlights what can go wrong when NHS services do not carry out the specialist treatment that is required in cases involving patients’ suffering from eating disorders. The fact that this patient’s death was completely preventable is a very troubling revelation.

The NHS bodies should be brought to account for their failings in this case, and the NHS generally should ensure that lessons are learned from this tragedy to ensure that vulnerable patients are not put at risk in the future.

If you have concerns about the medical treatment which you have received from a hospital or GP and wish to speak with one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors, please contact Adam Hodson, Medical Negligence Specialist at Sydney Mitchell on 0121 698 2200 or email Adam at

Planning laws are there to be obeyed and local authorities, with judicial backing, are not afraid of enforcing them. In one case, the High Court opened the way for a family home that had been built without planning consent to be levelled to the ground.

The couple who built the house had been served with an enforcement notice by the local planning authority, requiring its demolition. Their appeal against the notice, and an attempt to win retrospective planning permission, were both later rejected by government planning inspectors on the basis that the house was harmful to the character and appearance of the rural area.

The council ultimately resolved to take direct action under Section 178(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and to send in its own workmen to carry out the demolition work. In dismissing the couple’s judicial review challenge to that decision, the Court could find no fault in the council’s approach.

The couple had been afforded every opportunity to persuade the council to stay its hand and had been warned in the clearest possible terms of its intention to take direct action. Despite having been given very clear deadlines, extended several times, the couple had chosen not to demolish the house themselves.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Sydney Mitchell 0121 746 3300

Wishing all clients, contacts, family and friends of Sydney Mitchell LLP a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Allegations that people have been unduly influenced by others in making their wills are relatively common, but claims of actual fraud are far rarer. In one such case, a judge found that a daughter had poisoned her mother’s mind against her sister so that the latter was cut out of a very substantial inheritance.

The mother made a will just two days before her death, by which she appointed the daughter as her executor and trustee and bequeathed to her the entirety of her estate. The daughter asked a judge to pronounce in solemn form that the will was valid. Her sister resisted the application on the basis that the daughter was guilty of fraudulent calumny – falsely turning their mother against her.

In upholding the sister’s arguments, the judge found that it had been the mother’s intention to divide her assets roughly equally between her daughters. That had only changed after the daughter falsely accused her sister of a number of misdeeds, including stealing, or helping herself to, their mother’s assets and questioning her sanity. He found that the daughter was a thoroughly dishonest and manipulative witness to whom integrity and truth were less important than achieving what she wanted.

In refusing the daughter permission to appeal against that decision, the High Court noted that there was a very strong case that she had falsely persuaded her mother to think badly of her sister at a time when she knew that her mother was seriously ill and might not have long to live. There was cogent evidence that her fraudulent statements had induced her mother to cut the sister out of her estate. The judge was thus entitled to conclude that the will was invalid and that the mother had died intestate.

For further information on contentious and non-contentious probate matters, please speak to Kam Majevadia (contentious) or Tracy Creed (non-contentious)

In the recent Court of Appeal decision of Monarch Airlines Ltd v Airport Coordination Ltd (2017) it was held that Monarch remained an air carrier notwithstanding its administration, the revocation of its operating licence, suspension of its air certificate and it ceasing to operate. 

As a result this decision will allow the Administrators of Monarch to sell take-off and landing slots for the benefit of the creditors which could raise significant sums towards payment of its debts. 

Airport Coordination Ltd argued that take-off and landing slots should revert to it following the Administration of an air carrier to enable them to distribute to other carriers.

For help or advice on Insolvency or administration matters, please contact Leanne Schneider-Rose or call 0121 698 2200


Personal autonomy is nowadays a crucial factor in divorce and judges are anxious to ensure that the end of a marriage is accompanied by the termination of dependency. In one big money case, the Court of Appeal ruled that an ex-wife was entitled to sufficient capital to buy a home of her own.

Following her divorce, a judge awarded her £2 million as an income-producing capital sum. She was also granted the right to live in the former marital home, a £5 million penthouse flat, for 14 years, or until such time as she remarried or came into her inheritance from her father, who was said to be worth £500 million.
In upholding her appeal against that decision, the Court found that it failed to respect her autonomy or to recognise her role as carer for the former couple’s three children, one of whom suffered from learning difficulties. If the £2 million ran out and she remarried before her father died, she would be left with no capital of her own and would not have the wherewithal to buy a new home.

Her ex-husband’s lawyers pointed out that her father, a Saudi Arabian industrialist, was bound by the law of that country to leave her a fifth of his fortune on his death. However, the Court noted that English law alone applied to the case and that the father was under no obligation to financially support his adult daughter, who had almost no assets of her own, or his grandchildren.

That responsibility fell on the husband who, largely through inheritance, was worth between £14 million and £17 million and, as a City financier, had an earning capacity of £350,000 per year. Unlike the wife, the divorce had left him fully autonomous and he had long since remarried and started a new family. The case was remitted to the High Court for a decision to be made on the amount by which her award should be increased.

For help or advice on this matter or family law advice please contact Teresa Mannion or a member of the family team at Sydney Mitchell on 0121 746 3300 or email

Even the courts can fall victim to fraud and certainly did so in one case in which a disbarred barrister deceived family judges on a wholesale basis into believing that they had jurisdiction to entertain divorce petitions lodged by foreign nationals.

The case concerned 20 divorce petitions and one to dissolve a civil partnership. Some of them had proceeded to the point where decrees nisi or absolute were granted. The fraud was detected after it emerged that, in each case, the address of one or other of the divorcing parties was given as the same house in London.

That address belonged to members of the family of a former barrister who had been disbarred after being convicted of benefit frauds. Forensic analysis of the petitions suggested to varying degrees of probability that, in some cases, he had forged the signatures or sworn statements of the petitioner, the respondent, or both.

After proceedings were launched by the Queen’s Proctor under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the High Court had no hesitation in accepting that the petitions were tainted by deception. Those petitions that were still at an early stage were dismissed and decrees granted in respect of others were set aside. The disbarred barrister was ordered to pay the costs of the case on the punitive indemnity basis.

For further information on this article and related issues, please contact Amanda Holland on 0121 698 2200, email or fill in our online enquiry form.





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