Our people

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

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Jamie Barton

Partner
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Jamie Barton

Partner

Jamie is a Partner in the Retail team.

Jamie advises domestic and international UK headquartered clients on a range of commercial real estate matters, including acquisitions and disposals, sale and leasebacks, lease regears, development agreements and portfolio management. He also provides support on corporate restructures and refinancing deals with a real estate element.

Jamie is particularly experienced in the negotiation of concession agreements allowing retailers to operate units under licence in airports and railways.  He also helps retailers secure leased units within supermarkets, effectively creating stores within stores.

Jamie’s clients include Arcadia, McDonald’s, Specsavers, Body Shop, Moss, Whittard and Oxfam.  He also acts for a number of well-known national fitness chains.

Recent examples of how Jamie has helped clients include:

  • facilitating the sale of a portfolio of ten freehold properties for a multinational retailer to raise funds for reinvestment elsewhere in the business, including within their global flagship stores;
  • supporting a British headquartered major international retailer on the relocation of their global headquarters;
  • negotiating a framework agreement between a major supermarket chain and an international fashion retailer to enable the rapid roll out of a national lease scheme which will see the retailer operating from a number of supermarket stores; and
  • completing a lease of new premises for a leading charity on terms which will enable them to switch between retail, logistics, offices and warehousing use depending on their needs.
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Tom Bower

Partner
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Tom Bower

Partner

Tom is a Partner in the Retail team.

Tom advises property developers, investors and retail clients, with an equal focus on freehold and leasehold acquisitions and development and disposals.

His practice involves highly pressurised multi-party transactions typically entailing extremely complex documentation, complicated title issues, conditional contracts and pre-lets, and due diligence. Where appropriate, Tom liaises with the planning team to ensure the best advice for his clients.

Tom’s clients include national names such as The White Company and Dunelm, Quora Developments and real estate investment trust Glenstone Property.

Recent examples of how Tom has helped clients include:

  • successfully acquiring the new London head office for The White Company in a brand new office development on the site of the old White City BBC studio;
  • acquiring typically brownfield sites for Quora, each transaction valued at about £15m, pursuant to contracts conditional on planning permission, and with pre-lets of up to eight retail units under building agreements for lease, also conditional on planning; and
  • following these acquisitions for Quora, successfully selling on the investment in a tax efficient way.
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Rosie Gibb

Partner
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Rosie Gibb

Partner

Rosie is a Partner in the Retail team.

Rosie advises retailers on commercial real estate matters, with a focus on landlord and tenant transactions including pre-let agreements, new leases, surrenders and regrants, lease regears, sale and leasebacks and franchise arrangements.

Rosie provides strategic advice on the structuring of high value, complex property deals, handles property acquisitions and disposals, complex development projects, headquarter relocations, real estate finance, the grant of concessions, the creation of stores within stores and general property portfolio management.

Rosie also works alongside magic circle law firms to undertake real estate due diligence when large corporates are bought and sold.

Rosie’s clients include Arcadia Group, Moss Bros, Mothercare, The Body Shop, Whittard of Chelsea, McDonald’s, Ladbrokes Coral Group, Specsavers, Tempur-Pedic International and Oxfam.

Recent examples of how Rosie has helped clients include:

  • leading the real estate due diligence for Arcadia Group in the sale of a 25 per cent stake in their business to US private equity group Leonard Green & Partners;
  • facilitating the relocation of the global headquarters of The Body Shop to prime office space in Croydon extending to over 25,000 sq ft;
  • supporting Topshop in the acquisition of their largest retail space in the Birmingham Bull Ring shopping centre;
  • supporting multiple Arcadia businesses in establishing retail stores with Tesco supermarkets throughout the UK; and
  • leading the site acquisition programme for McDonald’s throughout the UK.
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Richard Mulcock

Partner
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Richard Mulcock

Partner

Richard is a Partner in the Retail team.

Richard advises on commercial property acquisitions and disposals, development projects, landlord and tenant matters and general portfolio management.

Richard’s primary focus is on facilitating the acquisition of freehold and leasehold sites for the development of drive-thru restaurants for McDonald’s and in supporting a number of well-known national retailers and health club providers with estate management, including Mothercare UK Limited and DW Sports Limited.

Richard also undertakes work for institutional investors and a range of UK headquartered corporate property owners and occupiers.

Recent examples of how Richard has helped clients include:

  • facilitating the sale of central London office premises for an institutional investor in a deal worth £55 million;
  • supporting LA Fitness on the asset sale of 25 health clubs to Sports Direct;
  • coordinating the sale and leaseback of a drive-thru restaurant for McDonald’s as part of a major residential development project;
  • supporting Mothercare UK Limited in the £14.85 million sale and leaseback of their 100,000 sq ft Watford headquarters and an adjacent warehouse; and
  • managing the property aspects of a corporate share sale of LA Fitness to PureGym Limited.
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Caroline Smith

Partner
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Caroline Smith

Partner

Caroline is a Partner in the Real Estate and Retail teams.

Caroline undertakes a wide range of real estate work, including freehold acquisitions and disposals, the grant, renewal, assignment, subletting and surrender of leasehold interests, contentious and non-contentious Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 matters regarding renewals, notices and compensation for secure tenants, together with general landlord and tenant issues arising out of requests for licences to occupy, assign, underlet or alter leasehold property or for deeds of release or variation.  She heads-up a team of real estate lawyers with the capacity to deal with high volumes of transactions at any one time.

Caroline’s clients include high street brands such as Vision Express (UK) Ltd, Poundstretcher, Domino’s Pizza Group plc, Foundation Property, the Australian fashion and handbag retailer Colette by Colette Hayman and the Chinese electronics company Xiaomi.  She operates across a variety of sectors but with a particular emphasis on A1 retail, the hot food takeaway market, franchised businesses and logistics.

Recent examples of how Caroline has helped clients include:

  • completing over 40 property acquisitions on behalf of Domino’s Pizza Group as part of their strategic UK expansion plan;
  • advising Xiaomi on their lease of a retail unit in the newly expanded Westfield shopping centre at London White City;
  • completing the sale and leaseback of nine freehold properties for Vision Express in a deal worth in excess of £2 million; and
  • completing over 30 property acquisitions on behalf of Poundstretcher to aid their UK expansion.
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Darren Smith

Partner
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Darren Smith

Partner

Darren is a Partner in the Retail team.

Darren advises on non-contentious real estate issues, mainly for tenants with large property portfolios comprising freehold and leasehold titles – he is responsible for more than 2,000 properties on behalf of his clients. Darren deals with acquisitions and disposals of properties and assists with property management. This involves carrying out complex due diligence, understanding the client’s proposed use and occupation, negotiating leases and other documents, and getting clients in as quickly as possible.

Darren has extensive experience in franchised property matters, including the large-scale assignments of leases, securing consents to assign, authorised guarantee agreements (AGAs), and protecting outgoing tenants’ covenants by way of guarantee of an AGA.

Darren acts for commercial clients with an emphasis across the retail, leisure and logistics sectors.  Notable clients include Domino’s Pizza, Emma Bridgewater, Vision Express and Poundstretcher.  He often delivers talks and training to the retail industry on property issues.

Recent examples of how Darren has helped clients include:

  • successfully structuring a complex real estate deal in a way that was far more tax efficient than the client expected, saving more than £500,000;
  • successfully facilitating the re-organisation of franchisee properties involving the assignment of more than 100 leases;
  • swiftly and successfully completing an acquisition of multiple properties from the landlords of a competitor who recently went into liquidation.
  • completing a multi-million-pound sale of property recently developed and let to a leading supermarket chain.
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Richard Wyvill

Partner
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Richard Wyvill

Partner

Richard is a Partner in the Retail team.

He advises on the non-contentious aspects of the landlord and tenant relationship, including initial lease agreements, lease renewals, licences to assign, sublet or carry out alterations, deeds of variation to cover a change of use, holding over arrangements for 1954 Act contracted out tenancies, lease termination formalities and the operation of contractual break clauses.

Richard also advises on the acquisition and disposal of commercial property, particularly for pension funds and other investment groups, together with large-scale development projects and refinancing deals and assists the owners and occupiers of industrial estates, out of town warehousing units and purpose built office buildings in their property requirements.

The majority of his work is for national retail tenants taking leases of retail units within major UK shopping centres, although he also regularly acts for national tenants taking leases of large scale units on edge of town and out of town retail parks. Notable clients include The White Company, Heals and Dunelm.

Recent examples of how Richard has helped clients include:

  • enabling the seller of development land to maximise the return on their investment by retaining ownership of the upper floor of one of the new buildings, a suite of residential flats to sell the same independently from the remainder of the site;
  • protecting the interests of a national retail tenant which was about to sign a lease for new flagship offices which the landlord did not fully own, and which could have exposed our client to significant financial risk had it not been spotted and rectified before the lease was completed;
  • ensuring the tenant of a nightclub was not exposed to an unnecessary stamp duty land tax bill by restructuring a lease agreement so that the refit works the landlord had agreed to fund, and which the tenant was obliged to repay with interest, were documented as a formal loan arrangement rather than higher rent; and
  • negotiating the purchase of a locomotive and rolling stock repair facility on behalf of a consortium of buyers who required specialist advice on a range of covenants, peculiar to the rail industry, which affected the facility and permitted land use.
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Donna Bates

Senior Associate
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Donna Bates

Senior Associate

Donna is a Senior Associate in the Retail team.

Donna advises on a broad range of commercial property matters, including acquisitions and disposals and general portfolio management, mainly in the retail sector.

This includes leasehold work, with an emphasis on lease grants, lease renewals, lease re-gears, assignments, underlettings, licence agreements and lease surrenders.  She also handles concession arrangements for retailers with units in supermarkets.

Donna’s clients include Arcadia Group, McDonald’s, Moss Bros, Whittard, The Body Shop, Mothercare, Oxfam and Specsavers.

Recent examples of how Donna has helped clients include:

  • negotiating turnover leases for three retailers at the new Icon Outlet at the O2 in London which were time critical as completion needed to occur to allow fit out before the centre’s official opening;
  • facilitating a lease surrender and regrant for a retailer who wished to move to larger units within a shopping centre;
  • securing a freehold property at auction for a retailer, already in occupation under a lease, who wished to acquire the property to add to their portfolio; and
  • supporting two retailers in concluding time critical lease agreements for new units at the Westgate Centre in Oxford.
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Amy Brown

Senior Associate
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Amy Brown

Senior Associate

Amy is a Senior Associate in the Retail team.

Amy advises some of the UK’s best-known retail chains on their real estate portfolio management, including lease negotiations, renewals and break clauses, licences and concessions agreements.  She also advises on property acquisitions and developments, disposals including freehold sales, sub-lettings, assignments and surrenders.

The challenging conditions in the retail sector have created increased demand for the regearing of leases.  Amy provides training and advice on the 1954 Act renewals, specifically helping landlords to retain maximum flexibility over their estate by evaluating and recommending the best option for structuring a lease.

Amy acts for retailers with hundreds and thousands of stores in their portfolios, with her work split evenly between properties in town centre high streets and out-of-town retail parks and shopping centres.

Her clients include McDonald's, The Body Shop, Moss Bros, Arcadia (including the Topshop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Evans brands), Mothercare/Early Learning Centre, Whittard of Chelsea, Tempur and Ladbrokes.

Recent examples of how Amy has helped clients include:

  • acquiring a unit at the new extension to the Westfield London shopping centre, ensuring the transaction was delivered on time for the client to be fully fitted out and ready to trade on the centre opening date.
  • completing the acquisition of new-build premises, within 10 days from instruction, for the relocation of the headquarters of a top fashion brand to new high-class London premises
  • regearing an existing lease for a well-known retailer at a major retail park, securing a number of benefits including a new shopfront, an extension to the demise, and a capital contribution to the fit out from the landlord.
  • subletting of warehouse space at The Body Shop International Limited/L’Oreal headquarters to Amazon for use as a distribution centre, in a deal with incredibly tight deadlines and complex issues of security and 24-hour access; and
  • trialing a new ‘store-within-store’ concept at Tesco supermarkets for Arcadia.
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Katharine Lockhart

Associate
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Katharine Lockhart

Associate

Katharine is an Associate in the Retail team.

Katharine advises on the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold commercial property and on the acquisition and disposal of development sites, including associated option and promotion agreements. She also advises on general landlord and tenant issues, such as the grant, assignment and surrender of leases and the use of rent deposits and guarantee agreements, and on the management and restructuring of commercial property portfolios.

Katharine acts for landlords and tenants, private landowners, developers, independent schools, Oxford colleges, charitable organisations and trusts.

Recent examples of how Katharine has helped clients include:

• saving our client £200,000 by structuring the acquisition of a public house as the transfer of a going concern, thereby avoiding VAT being charged;

• converting the proposed sale of the freehold of a historic building, to the grant of a long-lease and option, enabling our client to impose enforceable restrictions on the building's future use and development;

• reducing stamp duty land tax charged, by purchasing a residential property and converting it to office space; and

• helping a tenant to consolidate its operations by overhauling the lease arrangements for a multi-let commercial property through changes to the head lease and a series of inferior leases.

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Jenna Mistry

Associate
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Jenna Mistry

Associate

Jenna is an Associate in the Real Estate and Retail teams.

Jenna advises national and overseas commercial clients on their acquisitions of freehold and leasehold properties in major retail parks, industrial estates, shopping centres, and high street shops, including dealing with franchise lettings under headlease and underlease structures, and joint tenancies in England and Wales. She also undertakes lease renewals, deeds of variation of leases, and lease assignments for her clients amongst other landlord and tenant matters.  Jenna undertakes due diligence, negotiates conditional agreements (including agreements conditional on planning) and deals with third party lawyers in complex transactions.  She is fluent in Gujarati.

Jenna acts mainly for tenants in the retail sector, including Domino’s Pizza, Emma Bridgewater, Poundstretcher and Vision Express.

Recent examples of how Jenna has helped clients include:

  • proposing commercially viable options to enable a deal, which had reached an impasse, to proceed to exchange of contracts;
  • acting as part of the legal team which achieved the target set by Domino’s Pizza to open its one thousandth store;
  • acquiring a freehold property following a contract race, having successfully undertaken complex due diligence and necessary amendments of related documentation to ensure a fast exchange of contracts; and
  • successfully negotiating the resolution of the majority of 20 outstanding technical and commercial points in a lease to enable completion to go ahead in a timely manner.
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Nisha Gorania

Solicitor
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Nisha Gorania

Solicitor

Nisha is a Solicitor in the Real Estate and Retail teams.