David Towns

Spend a few moments talking to David and it’s immediately clear why he’s particularly well suited to agricultural law. And we’re not just referring to his fondness for tweed. As well as having an excellent knowledge of the sector, David is a people person with a passion for interesting, varied legal work.

And varied it is. After many years’ dedicated to this field, David is highly experienced in complex, esoteric and historical legal issues. He’s also acknowledged as an authority on manorial titles, manorial rights and mines and minerals. In fact David regularly gives talks on these subjects and has featured as an expert commentator for numerous national news outlets including The Times, The Independent and the BBC.

David also specialises in all aspects of agricultural property law, whether that’s buying and selling farms, estates and rural land, grants of easements such as rights of way and water supplies, dealing with restrictive covenants and commercial property issues and rural sporting matters.

Like all of us here, David also loves the North East and believes the region has it all – mountains, moors, coasts and forests. When he’s not out not enjoying the countryside, film fanatic David likes to be entertained by his favourite comedy and sci-fi movies. That is, when he’s not spending time with his young daughter who, he says, is a constant source of entertainment.

Libbie Henderson

Originally from Whitley Bay, Libbie actually trained at Muckle in 1995 before her career took her to a variety of law firms. Now, back at Muckle as one of the North East’s most respected real estate lawyers, Libbie is an expert in all aspects of property development.

She has considerable experience in advising on land acquisition and disposal across many sectors, having acted for developers, waste and mineral operators, energy generation companies and landowners.

That’s helped establish Libbie as one of the few, true energy legal specialists in the region, and her experience includes the regeneration of greenfield and brownfield sites and land-based energy projects, including wind, solar and nuclear. As an expert in funding for real estate projects, she also has a great deal of experience acting for national housebuilders, building developers and landowners.

Always happy to roll her sleeves up, at home Libbie can be found merrily baking something scrummy for her twins, or (not-so-merrily) helping her husband with various ‘restoration projects’, like refitting the starter clutch on a Honda NC30. All great for the soul, if not for the fingernails.

Libbie Henderson

Originally from Whitley Bay, Libbie actually trained at Muckle in 1995 before her career took her to a variety of law firms. Now, back at Muckle as one of the North East’s most respected real estate lawyers, Libbie is an expert in all aspects of property development.

She is also experienced in advising on the sale of agricultural land for development and has considerable land acquisition and disposal expertise, particularly for mines and minerals quarrying and energy related matters.

In fact, Libbie is considered as one of the few, true energy legal specialists in the region. Her experience includes the regeneration of greenfield and brownfield sites and land-based energy projects, including wind, solar and nuclear. As an expert in funding for real estate projects, she has a great deal of experience acting for national housebuilders, building developers and landowners too.

Always happy to roll her sleeves up, at home Libbie can be found merrily baking something scrummy for her twins, or (not-so-merrily) helping her husband with various ‘restoration projects’, like refitting the starter clutch on a Honda NC30. All great for the soul, if not for the fingernails.

Charlotte Dickinson

Charlotte was born in Newcastle and grew up here, she then chose to stay in the region and completed her law degree incorporating the LPC at Northumbria University, she has always wanted to stay true to her roots and remain in the North East.

She joined the firm in 2015 as a paralegal in the debt recovery team, this gave Charlotte a really good opportunity to get to know the culture of the firm and also broaden her skills and commercial awareness.  Charlotte then secured a training contract at the firm and this began in March 2018.  As she has such a strong litigation background, she is now honing these skills in her first seat within in the real estate dispute resolution team. 

Muckle had always stood out to Charlotte as a commercial firm with a difference, the culture is different to any firm she has worked in in the past, she can also relate to the firm as like her it has strong North Eastern links with just a single office based in Newcastle upon Tyne.  The people who work at the firm are all like-minded, positive and approachable, Charlotte has never felt intimidated or afraid to ask a question which is what she says makes the firm a success.  When trainees are included from the outset and made to feel valued and appreciated, this helps them in their training and to become the best solicitors possible. 

 Another major factor that drew Charlotte to Muckle in the first place was their charity work and fantastic work in corporate social responsibility, Charlotte enjoys giving back to her community and is especially interested in helping other young people become the best that they can be.  This has been made possible at Muckle as Charlotte has become involved with the Social Mobility Fund as well as the charity the girl’s network. 

Whilst being with the firm Charlotte has been given many opportunities to gain experience both professionally and personally, including taking part in community days at Scotswood Community Garden, planning, budgeting and executing a successful trainee quiz for everyone within the firm and attempting to get more healthy by taking part in Muckle’s couch to 5k running group. 

 

Beth Thompson

Beth joined Muckle as a trainee in September 2014 and after finishing her training contract, qualified into the Real Estate Team in 2016 and is now specialises in agriculture, estates and rural property. Beth acts for a number of clients with rural property interests and has close links to the rural and farming community.

Her role in the team involves acting for a wide variety of clients including landlords, tenants, banks and investors.  No two days at Muckle are ever the same, Beth says, and being part of the team has quickly shown her the value of understanding each client’s legal problems so they can be addressed within their own unique commercial context.  The work is both challenging and interesting, but most importantly she is constantly learning from colleagues who have a huge amount of expertise.

Outside of work, Beth loves to travel and in 2011 spent 6 months travelling around South America and South East Asia.  Since starting at Muckle she has joined the Muckle Runners and takes part in the annual Wylam Beer Run and the Blaydon Race.

Richard Nixon

Richard joined us in 2010 as a solicitor following completion of his training with a north east based commercial firm.

He is skilled in drafting and negotiating real estate documents such as agreements, transfers, leases and licenses, Richard also has a wide range of experience acting for clients in the public, private and educational sectors. This includes banks, universities, colleges and schools as well as private individuals and trusts.

Richard is current advising lenders on a refinance of three major agricultural holdings located across the country and has dealt with a number of agricultural land and business sales, acquisitions, lettings and refinancing transactions. He has also dealt with several energy schemes including wind turbines and battery storage units.

Outside of work Richard spends most of his time with his wife and two young sons, cajoling, pulling and carrying them up hill and down dale in the wilds of Northumberland and Cumbria.

Will McKay

Within six years of joining Muckle, Will had been promoted from a Solicitor to Partner, not least because of his considerable experience in property transactions, most particularly in real estate development, agriculture and rural property and the renewable energy development sectors.

Will works with commercial developers, registered providers, house builders, public bodies and leisure/retail industry owners and occupiers. Will is currently working on numerous mixed-use developments for a range of nationally recognised developers and public bodies. These include student accommodation, hotels, bars, restaurants, office blocks and residential accommodation for sites across the UK.

Will has particular expertise when it comes to advising clients working with others, whether in a formal joint venture or under collaboration agreements, to bring forward developments. Will has also recently completed a series of complex property finance arrangement for clients (including bond security) which will enable the client to take forward substantial development programs.

The quality of work at Muckle is, Will says, second to none, while the emphasis the Firm places on service levels and quality are, he believes, its greatest strengths. Indeed, Will’s personal contribution on that front is not inconsiderable, with Chambers & Partners 2015 quoting clients who have praised his ‘extensive development and transactional expertise.’

Something that impresses about Will is the energy which he seems to have in abundance. When he isn’t teaching scuba diving in the North Sea he’s agreeing to do yet another long charity cycle ride, participating in a spot of sport, or, inevitably, doing ‘daddy duties.’

David Towns

Spend a few moments talking to David and it’s immediately clear why he’s particularly well suited to agricultural law. And we’re not just referring to his fondness for tweed. As well as having an excellent knowledge of the sector, David is a people person with a passion for interesting, varied legal work.

And varied it is. After many years’ dedicated to this field, David is highly experienced in complex, esoteric and historical legal issues. He’s also acknowledged as an authority on manorial titles, manorial rights and mines and minerals. In fact David regularly gives talks on these subjects and has featured as an expert commentator for numerous national news outlets including The Times, The Independent and the BBC.

David also specialises in all aspects of agricultural property law, whether that’s buying and selling farms, estates and rural land, grants of easements such as rights of way and water supplies, dealing with restrictive covenants and commercial property issues and rural sporting matters.

Like all of us here, David also loves the North East and believes the region has it all – mountains, moors, coasts and forests. When he’s not out not enjoying the countryside, film fanatic David likes to be entertained by his favourite comedy and sci-fi movies. That is, when he’s not spending time with his young daughter who, he says, is a constant source of entertainment.

Gillian Scribbins

The legal profession wasn’t always what inspired Gillian. She worked on a number magazines after gaining her Masters in Journalism and was heading for a career in broadcasting. But while working her way up at the BBC, in its Rights, Legal and Business Affairs team, she uncovered that law really piqued her interest.

Gillian had a tremendous time living in London, working in the media industry for three years, but decided home was where her heart was, moving back to her native Newcastle to become a solicitor.

After a brief time working in the in-house legal services team for Northumbria University, Gillian joined the commercial team at Muckle where she is putting her media rights experience to great practical use. That is, when she’s not busy helping clients with data protection queries, another specialism of hers.

Multi-talented Gillian has also taught English professionally, has been a chalet host on the Alps, bakes, skis, jogs, spins, dances and does yoga. We wonder, is there anything Gillian can’t do?

Harry Hobson

Gateshead-born Harry completed most of his studies in Yorkshire. He graduated from the University of York in 2010, acquired his LPC at BPP University, Leeds, securing work in the city as a trainee corporate solicitor at international law firm Squire Patton Boggs. The lure of his native North East was too strong, however, and he accepted a role at Muckle shortly after qualifying.

Now part of our large corporate team, Harry assists with projects and transactions, drafts documents, carries out due diligence and disclosure instructions, as well as helping with the team’s capital markets work.

Harry says a major motivating factor in deciding to join Muckle was our passion for helping the North East succeed economically, socially and culturally. In fact, culture and music are two of his greatest passions.

He loves few things more than the tranquillity of the Northumberland countryside or, conversely, the exhilarating sound of the drums. An accomplished drummer, Harry has performed live on stage at the Sage Gateshead, one of the North East’s top music venues, several times.