David Hinchliffe Awarded Sports Lawyer of the Year

Head of Walker Morris Sports Group scoops prestigious title in Finance Monthly Law Awards.


David Hinchliffe, Head of the Sports Group at law firm Walker Morris, has been awarded the prestigious title of Sports Lawyer of the Year in Finance Monthly's annual Law awards.

Now in its sixth year, the Finance Monthly Law Awards recognises law firms and legal professionals who have outperformed their peers through dedication to client service and work undertaken within the past year.

Winners are identified through a rigorous two-month long research process which identifies leading legal professionals across the globe.  The research is then followed by a voting process and further analysis studying firm performance, client feedback, news reports and market data.

David leads the award winning sports group at Walker Morris which has acquired top tier status in a leading guide to the legal profession.  David has particular expertise in football club finance and is one of the leading advisors in the UK, if not in Europe.  In particular, he has developed specialist expertise advising on the acquisitions and disposals of football clubs and has been the lead advisor on a number of sales and purchases of football clubs, including Leeds United, Portsmouth, Watford and AFC Bournemouth. 

David has also worked on the vast majority of football administrations and restructuring of football clubs that have taken place including Portsmouth, Crystal Palace, Leeds United, Bradford City, Huddersfield Town, Luton Town and York City.  Most recently, David has been the lead partner in two recent Court of Appeal victories involving Crystal Palace and Portsmouth respectively.

Commenting on the award David said:

"I am delighted to have been awarded this coveted title which recognises the extra mile we go to for our clients.  I am passionate about my clients and the sports industry as I whole.  In particular, what I enjoy most is that the people I deal with are impassioned too.  More than ever we are looking for new ways to achieve success for our clients both on and off the pitch.

The sports sector, and football in particular, is constantly evolving and we've developed our team accordingly over last few years.  We're now talking to Clubs not just about their finances and buying and selling but about everything ranging from HR issues and commercial partnerships, through branding and trademark management to reducing costs through real estate and energy agreements."

When asked to comment on this year’s awards, Mark Palmer, Executive Editor of Finance Monthly said:

“Law firms are an integral part of the corporate landscape and the firms listed within the annual Finance Monthly Law Awards edition are at the very heart of corporate life within their respective jurisdictions. The entire team at Finance Monthly would like to offer their congratulations to all of the winners. We would also like to thank all those that took the time to vote and provide much valued feedback.”

The Awards edition will also be available to view on from Monday 21st July 2014.

Walker Morris voted as one of UK's top graduate employers

Walker Morris has been ranked as one of the UK's top graduate employers in the latest Guardian UK 300 listings.

Walker Morris moved up 51 spaces in this year's annual survey, which is the largest and most representative of its kind.

The survey determines not only the most popular 300 graduate employers in the UK overall but also the most popular graduate employers in a range of career sectors.  The survey asks 25,000 students across 100 universities which sectors interest them most and which graduate employers within these sectors they want to work for.

Nick Cannon, Graduate Recruitment Partner from Walker Morris, said:

"We are delighted to have achieved such a significant rise in the rankings.  As the largest legal graduate recruiter in the region we have invested heavily in our training and selection programmes to recruit outstanding graduates and to help them achieve their full potential through a career at Walker Morris. 

"We provide our trainees with significant client contact time and responsibility coupled with careful partner supervision, which develops both their knowledge and their commercial experience.  We have also adopted a six seat system instead of four to provide a broader exposure to other areas of law. It is great to have this recognised by the students themselves in the Guardian's market leading survey."

Last month Walker Morris announced it will be awarding travel bursaries to £1000 each to three of its trainees each year.

Nick Cannon explained:

"We are keen to support our trainees who are looking to challenge themselves and who are keen to develop a new perspective on the world.  By working and travelling abroad they are faced with new and often difficult situations, which help to develop their skills and their ability to cope with new environments and challenges." 

The results of the Guardian UK 300 will be published both in print and online in September.

Software Radio Technology plc raises £1.5 million through its latest share placing on AIM

The Corporate Group has advised nominated adviser and broker W H Ireland Limited in connection with the placing of shares in Software Radio Technology plc (SRT) on AIM to raise over £1.5 million.

Based in Bath, SRT is a global leader in automatic identification systems and sophisticated maritime communications and tracking technologies which it provides to millions of maritime vessels, buoys and ports around the world.

The placing reinforces the Walker Morris' public market expertise having recently advised on the AIM IPO of Sprue Aegis.

The Walker Morris team comprised Richard Naish and Oliver Duke both from the Corporate Team.  Tim Feather advised SRT from W H Ireland Limited

Expert warns swift action is needed in £7bn tax avoidance clampdown

With the Government preparing to claim back up to  £7bn from tax avoidance schemes in the coming weeks, Simon Concannon, an international tax adviser at Walker Morris, is warning anyone who receives an Accelerated Payment of Tax notice to act fast.

This summer, HMRC is planning to issue up to 45,000 notices to individuals and companies requiring them to pay tax that HMRC believes is owed from tax avoidance schemes which are being challenged. 

The new Accelerated Payment of Tax notice (and a linked notice referred to as a Follower notice) has been brought in following a string of headlines about a range of celebrities who have used various schemes to avoid paying tax.

Under the clampdown, individuals and companies will be expected to pay tax up front if HMRC believes they have invested money in a disputed scheme. If you receive an Accelerated Payment of Tax notice, you will normally have just 90 days to pay.

Previously, the legal challenge process could mean many years of not paying tax before the courts decided the tax was due, freeing up that cash in the meantime for other investments.  As an example, if an individual took out a tax avoidance scheme in June 2010, they would complete a tax return in January 2012; it could be picked up and investigated  by HMRC in 2013/2014; the scheme is then challenged but the appeal process might easily last until 2018 if not later and only then, if the scheme is found not to work, would the individual or company be made to pay the tax shortfall. 

Simon Concannon says:

“Now, as soon as HMRC is notified of a person or company seeking to rely on tax avoidance they can issue a notice to the individual or company to pay the tax they believe is due within three months.

“If a challenge or appeal is eventually successful, the money will be returned, but the process and timings have been turned on their head.  You pay out at the start of the legal challenge – which takes away some of the incentives for these schemes.”

Simon warns that anyone receiving a notice cannot afford to ignore it and, if you believe a mistake has been made, you must appeal quickly.  He adds:

“If you need time to sell assets in order to pay your tax bill, you will have to move very quickly to agree this. HMRC are not likely to be lenient as in their view the tax should have already been paid.

“It will be an expensive summer for many.  HMRC estimates they will be seeking up to £7bn from these notices.  Split between 45,000 individuals and companies, the average payment due will be over £150k – though many will have to pay into the millions.

“If you get a letter, this is not one to put in a drawer and forget about.  HMRC are determined to get this money into the Government’s coffers.”

Walker Morris to award travel bursaries to trainees

Three Walker Morris future trainees will be awarded bursaries worth £1000 each

Walker Morris has announced that it will be awarding travel bursaries worth £1000 each to three of its trainees each year.

The successful applicants will have demonstrated a desire to undertake charitable work and/or develop their commercial skills either in the UK or abroad. This could range from working at an orphanage in Thailand to working at a soup kitchen in a deprived part of the UK.

The scheme is part of the Firm's longstanding commitment to recruit and retain sociable, motivated and talented individuals.

Nick Cannon, recruitment partner at Walker Morris explains:

"At Walker Morris we recognise that our success is a reflection of the quality, skills and personalities of our people. We are keen to support our trainees who are looking to challenge themselves and who are keen to develop a new perspective on the world.  By working and travelling abroad they are faced with new and often difficult situations, which help to develop their skills and their ability to cope with new environments and challenges. 

Undertaking such a personal adventure provides them with a greater understanding of the wider world, which not only makes them a well-rounded individual but also enhances their ability to deal with our wide ranging client base."

The bursary is part of a wider programme of support offered by Walker Morris to support its trainees and encourage inclusivity and diversity within the Firm.

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