Our people

820 professionals at Knights service 10,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.

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Elinor Lloyd

Compliance Director
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Elinor Lloyd

Compliance Director

Elinor is the Compliance Director at Knights.

Elinor advises and supports business clients following a whistleblowing allegation or when facing criminal or regulatory investigations by the Serious Fraud Office, Financial Conduct Authority, Competition & Markets’ Authority, HM Revenue & Customs, Crown Prosecution Service, the police and local government authorities.  In the event that an investigation proceeds to a prosecution, Elinor has successfully defended companies, directors and senior managers in a diverse range of cases including allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption, money laundering; and financial crimes including LIBOR fixing, sanctions violations, insider dealing, breach of listing rules, mis-selling financial products and competition issues.

Elinor also advises companies of all sizes on how to improve their compliance programmes and reduce the risk of corporate crime.  This includes regulatory and risk reviews; consultancy in regard to compliance programmes; implementation of policies and procedures; training to directors and employees on their personal obligations.

Elinor acts for companies and individual directors in a wide range of businesses, particularly in regulated sectors such as financial services and energy.  She often works on-site with corporate clients alongside senior management as part of their in-house legal or compliance team.

Recent examples of how Elinor has helped clients include:

  • successfully defending two directors of a pharmaceutical company in the Serious Fraud Office's prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the NHS by way of price-fixing and market-sharing;
  • implementing group-wide risk and compliance programmes for a major energy PLC to cover third party due diligence, investigations and whistleblowing programmes; as well as managing a team of 15 staff dealing with financial crime, fraud, bribery and corruption, export controls, modern slavery, sanctions and money laundering issues;
  • supporting a global investment bank through investigation and enforcement by the Financial Conduct Authority, in their first case under the Competition Act, which alleged breaches of systems and controls and employee misconduct;
  • recommending an action plan to remedy weaknesses in business compliance following a regulatory compliance review for the directors of a leading chain of garden centres; and
  • advising a global pharmaceutical company under investigation by the US Department of Justice and the UK Serious Fraud Office for allegations of bribery in several overseas jurisdictions.
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Peter Adkins

Partner
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Peter Adkins

Partner

Peter is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution and Regulatory teams.

In Dispute Resolution matters Peter advises on breach of contract claims, professional negligence, secured and unsecured finance disputes, high value trusts and contentious probate matters, trade mark infringement and other intellectual property rights disputes

A recognised authority on UK licensing and gambling laws and on related regulatory matters, Peter gave evidence before the House of Lords Committee reviewing the Licensing Act. Peter’s areas of expertise include advising on the licensing of pubs, restaurants, hotels, entertainment centres, cinemas, wedding venues, outdoor events and festivals, late night food outlets and sexual entertainment establishments under the Licensing Act and others..

Peter has an in-depth expertise in the securing and retaining of remote operating licences for online gambling sites for clients based all over the world. His client base within the gambling industry is wide, looking after casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, gaming centres and virtual online gambling sites of all types. He also advises on Prize Competitions. His workload includes dealing with challenges from the UK regulator the Gambling Commission who are based in Birmingham.

Peter’s clients range from small owner-managed businesses to public companies operating both here in the UK and internationally. Working with colleagues at Knights, Peter can help with all the legal aspects encountered by those running licensed premises and gambling businesses

Recent examples of how Peter has helped clients include:

  • obtaining an alcohol and late-night refreshments licence for an award-winning international restaurant group that wished to establish a new eatery in the West Midlands;
  • obtaining an operating and management licence for an international company which wished to operate a newly created online gambling site within the UK;
  • negotiating a plea deal with the UK Gambling Commission which enabled a company to carry on trading after being accused of acting in breach of their licence terms; and
  • successfully handling the application for one of only 8 new ‘small’ casino licenses issued under the Gambling Act 2005.
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Martin Bourne

Partner
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Martin Bourne

Partner

Martin is a Partner in the Regulatory team.

Martin has many years of experience defending clients before the magistrates' courts in Oxford and Banbury, as well as before regulators as diverse as the British Horse Racing Authority and the Health and Care Professions Council.  He has defended individual clients regarding criminal charges such as domestic violence or road traffic offences, professional disciplinary proceedings, and revocation of a shotgun licence.  Martin also represents company directors against charges of fraud or money laundering, and landlords facing enforcement by local authority housing officers.

Martin acts for a number of schools and Oxford colleges in staff and student disciplinary proceedings and in providing advice on child safeguarding.  He also advises professional advisors, such as other law firms and accountants, on money laundering regulations.

Recent examples of how Martin has helped clients include:

  • saving a charity several thousand pounds in fees and construction works, when a house that it owned was wrongly classified as a house of multiple occupation (HMO) by the local authority;
  • preserving the career of a head teacher, by demonstrating that the head teacher had assiduously investigated investigations into alleged inappropriate behaviour between staff;
  • supporting a social worker who had been made a scapegoat by the local authority; and
  • successfully defending a race horse trainer who was accused of influencing the outcome of a race.
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Jim Astle

Consultant
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Jim Astle

Consultant

Jim is a Consultant in the Regulatory team.

Having been a judge, prosecutor and defender, Jim knows how to examine a case from every perspective to find the best defence for his clients before a criminal prosecution or disciplinary proceedings. He has defended clients facing charges as diverse as assault, road traffic offences, pollution, health and safety law, trading standard, manslaughter and fraud.

Jim also advises on regulatory matters, such as alcohol and public entertainment licences, and defends commercial clients in prosecutions by regulators such as the Environment Agency or Health & Safety Executive.  Experienced in planning law, Jim acts for landowners and property developers in regard to local plans and planning appeals.

Jim is a Criminal Court Deputy District Judge and a Deputy Traffic Commissioner.

Recent examples of how Jim has helped clients include:

  • ensuring the acquittal and thereby preserving the career of a French lorry driver who unwittingly transported a number of illegal immigrants into the UK;
  • acting as an advocate at a planning enquiry for a rural landowner who sought to get planning permission for housing on some agricultural buildings;
  • supporting and defending the directors of a care home operator when one of their residents, a patient of the local Mental Health Trust, was found dead on the premises;
  • supporting a university college through an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive following a fatality on the premises; and
  • preserving the career of a senior member of the military, by clearing his name and obtaining an acquittal from a charge of assault.
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Louise Donlon

Consultant
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Louise Donlon

Consultant

Louise is a Consultant in the Regulatory team.

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Jo Soar

Senior Associate
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Jo Soar

Senior Associate

Jo is a Senior Associate in the Regulatory team.

She has over 26 years experience in Licensing, across both the public and private sectors. She covers the following work areas:

  • Specialist in alcohol and entertainment licensing law with many years experience
  • Acting for national pub companies to independent clients providing friendly professional advice
  • BIIAB Nominated Tutor for licensing training courses including the NCPL
  • Premises Licences
  • Personal Licences
  • Club Premises Certificates
  • Temporary Events Notices
  • Regulatory Matters
  • Reviews
  • Smoking Policies
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Michelle Fox

Associate
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Michelle Fox

Associate

Michelle is an Associate in the Regulatory team.

Michelle advises on statutory investigations and prosecutions in regards to alleged breaches of environmental regulations, health and safety, food hygiene, trading standards, fire safety, nuisance and data protection offences.  She also supports clients at inquests.

Michelle acts for companies, directors and individuals, whether privately funded or under the auspices of their insurance cover, advising on their best defence at each stage: pre-charge, post-charge and through court proceedings if necessary.  Her creative approach and her willingness to challenge the legitimacy of the legal basis of each regulatory complaint means that she prevents most cases from reaching court.

Michelle provides guidance on broader risk management issues and often provides training on health and safety and environmental issues.  In the aftermath of any serious incident, she also carries out an independent company investigation – having one prepared by a solicitor benefits from professional privilege which can be useful when planning a company’s defence.

Recent examples of how Michelle has helped clients include:

  • getting the HSE to drop their investigation of a senior manager, who had been highlighted by an employee during an inquest into the death of an agency worker on site at a logistics company;
  • showing that a care home had relied wrongly upon a ‘practice report’, prepared as a favour by a would-be fire safety consultant, instead of commissioning a formal professional report and thereby absolving our client of responsibility;
  • successfully defending several companies which had been charged with illegally dumping waste on a piece of land, by showing that there was no legal basis for the charges alleged by the local authority;
  • seeing off a food safety investigation into a supermarket landlord, when the catering concession was accused of a breach of food safety legislation, by showing that the supermarket was not a food producer.
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Danielle Aquilina

Solicitor
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Danielle Aquilina

Solicitor

Danielle is a Solicitor in the Regulatory team.