Our people

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

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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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Jonathan Tyson

Partner
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Jonathan Tyson

Partner

Jonathan is a Partner in the Corporate team.

Jonathan specialises in the health and care sectors, particularly dentists, pharmaceuticals and children's' nurseries where regulatory issues are often important aspects of any deal.

Jonathan also advises businesses on their corporate transactions and commercial matters, including acquisitions and disposals of shares and assets, management buy-ins and buy-outs, restructuring (including hive-ups), private equity investment, share buy-backs and the delisting of public companies.

With regard to commercial trading, Jonathan prepares and negotiates agreements relating to expense sharing, partnership or associate arrangements, shareholders, cross-options, IT outsourcing, software supply, supply of goods or services, terms and conditions of trading, agency or distribution, import or export contracts. He also provides company secretarial drafting including board minutes and resolutions.

Recent examples of how Jonathan has helped clients include:

• breaking the deadlock in the sale of a group of dental practices after the terms of the deal had been agreed but arguments had arisen over details;

• persuading the seller of a children's nursery to accept a smaller up-front payment and the balance in instalments, when our client could not afford to buy the business in any other way; and

• completing a £8 million deal in a short period of time.

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Melissa Worth

Partner
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Melissa Worth

Partner

Melissa is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution team.

Melissa acts for businesses and individuals, resolving a wide range of disputes such as breach of contract between companies and their suppliers, problems arising between shareholders or partners, financial, debt and insurance disputes.  She acts for claimants and defendants in professional negligence cases and defends professionals in disciplinary proceedings.

Melissa's clients include corporates, banks and insurers across the country, SMEs, agricultural and private clients in the North West.  She has acted for and against a wide range of professionals including accountants, solicitors, IFAs and veterinary surgeons, architects, surveyors and other construction professionals.

Recent examples of how Melissa has helped clients include:

• avoiding a £40 million claim from, and maintaining a working relationship with, a leading customer by agreeing that a client would put right the issue under dispute;

• getting an insurer to admit their liability to pay out after a burglary, when they had been ignoring a client;

• obtaining redress for a client who had been mis-sold a property investment in the Caribbean which was never built;

• successfully concluding a claim by a mortgage lender against a chartered surveyor who over-valued a house during conveyancing; and

• ensuring a vet continued in practice after facing a complaint before the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

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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.