In the course of acting for lenders and borrowers based in Britain, elsewhere in Europe, in America, Africa, Singapore and other countries in Asia we have gained significant knowledge of the banking sector and of other methods of financing. Our Banking team advises on the a broad range of banking activities such as secured lending and the infinite choice of corporate, personal or partnership vehicles open to investors funding the projects or ongoing businesses.
Acting on a regular repeat business basis for a number of Banks protecting their position in secured lending work helps us anticipate other bank’s needs in anticipation. Working with borrower clients through the credit crunch period also led us to understand joint venture, mezzanine and short term bridging financing issues and we have found ourselves on the investor and/or equity funder side of transactions protecting the positions of those who dare to fund projects when conventional finance is in short supply.
- Secured Lending – residential property or commercial property mortgaged to a bank or other funder
- Taking up or Providing Bridging Finance for clients
- Joint Venture Agreements
- Forced Security (Charging Orders etc)
- Enforcement of Security
- Purchase or Sales of Loan Books by one lender to another.
Meet the team
Andrew Firman is a partner in our corporate & commercial team. His corporate practice concentrates on buying and selling mainly owner-managed SMEs and associated advice on contractual and banking documentation work. His employment practice covers all aspects of contentious and non-contentious work for both employers and employees. His charity practice majors on compliance and amalgamation matters.
In his work, Andrew looks for proactive and pragmatic solutions derived from a proper understanding of the client’s perspective and against the background of the commercial constraints.
Career highlights include
- running a David v Goliath style battle for a former employee of a US based bank related to the late vesting of share options following that employee’s termination at a time when the US markets were in freefall
- negotiating, finalising and drawing down for an off-shore SPV borrower at £310M facility to buy a group of companies which owned, as an investment, the London HQ of a multinational corporation
- reaching settlement terms on a long running shareholders’ dispute concerning a company running a niche members’ gym in a close knit area of London
More recently, Andrew has advised upon
- the purchase of owner-managed companies across a number of different sectors by a leading SME investor, incentivising existing management via equity and loan note positions in the purchasing entity
- sale by owner managers of a London based estate agency business with multiple sites, whilst preserving the sellers’ ability to continue business activity in the sector
- sale of SPV off shore companies holding UK property assets
- multi facility refinancing of a major UK specialist facilities maintenance company with asset based receivables, property, cashflow and recovery loan scheme elements
- the negotiation and documentation of departure terms for the CEO pioneer of a cutting edge national charity
- the position of a charity trustee in connection with disqualification proceedings and interim manager appointment by the Charity Commission in respect of two charitable trusts
Andrew has over the years enjoyed advising many owner-managed SMEs on the range of their needs for commercial, employment and dispute related legal advice, something for which the firm has received increasing recognition through awards, repeat and new business which in turn goes to the depth of the relationships the firm has with its clients and its target market in terms of size of business clients.
Andrew was educated at Nailsea School and holds degrees in law from Manchester and Leicester Universities. He qualified as a solicitor in 1995. He is a co-author of a Practical Guide to Drone Law.
Away from the office Andrew, married to a local GP and of occasional use to his three children, enjoys running and cycling and being involved in various ways in his local church and the fantastic community that is SE24.
Becky joined CLC in December 2017 as a Team Assistant in the firm’s Property department, supporting the team with both residential and commercial property matters. In October 2018, Becky became a paralegal at the firm, specialising in residential property and secured lending transactions.
Chris Picardo is a partner in the Commercial Property team specialising in transactional property work and property management advice. Chris advises investors, developers, business occupiers and individuals on a variety of commercial property transactions including acquisitions, disposals, property finance, the negotiation of business leases and portfolio management. Chris is regarded by a number of clients as a member of their team. He adds value for those clients by retaining a knowledge of and an interest in their portfolio of investments, and their business needs, so that he can efficiently see ways to get results for them.
Recent projects include:
- acting for the buyer on the purchase of a chemical plant in North London, with involvement from the initial bidding process until occupation of the site, working throughout with the client’s environmental consultants
- leading the commercial property due diligence on the disposal of the shares in a group of investment and development companies owning in excess of £30m of office, retail and industrial property
- the sale of London industrial premises to a global drinks manufacturer
- representing a leading global shipbroker on the relocation of its London headquarters
- acting for a City of London investment management company on its exit strategy from leasehold premises and its acquisition of more than 23,000 sq ft of leasehold premises in Bishopsgate
Chris graduated in Law from the University of Reading and studied the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in Guildford.
Chris was admitted as a solicitor in 1999 and joined Carter Lemon working in the Commercial Property team.
In his free time Chris enjoys travel abroad (more recent destinations including Peru, Chile, Argentina, San Francisco and the South of France), reading, running and spending time with his family.
Ian West is a partner in the Private Client team. He deals with a wide range of matters including commercial and residential conveyancing, will drafting, trusts and probate and powers of attorney.
Private Client Matters
As well as obtaining grants of probate for UK estates, Ian has assisted personal representatives of foreign estates in resealing foreign grants to administer UK assets held by a deceased domiciled outside the UK. He has dealt with resealing foreign grants in jurisdictions as diverse as Holland and Iran. He has also advised on domicile in respect of deceased’s estates and regularly deals with the UK estates of persons who have died domiciled outside the United Kingdom.
Recent property transactions include:-
- Acting for clients on a lifetime mortgage as part of an inheritance tax strategy.
- Acting on behalf of a landowner in connection with the grant of an option for a lease for use of the land for battery storage.
- Acting on behalf of a landowner in connection with the sale of land for use as an electricity sub-station in connection with a wind farm project and grant of options for related easements.
- Acting for both landlords and tenants in respect of statutory claims for extension leases of flats.
Ian was educated at Brentwood School Essex, Manchester University and the College of Law London. He qualified as a solicitor in 1981 and joined Metson Cross in 1982 becoming a partner in 1990.
Ian is married with two children.
As former Honorary Secretary of the Society of Old Brentwoods, Ian takes a keen interest in the affairs of the School and in various events and functions organised by the Society. He is also a keen follower of football and has an interest in classic cars. Ian is a member of the Mini Cooper Register. Ian has also been learning to play the guitar (for over 45 years!).
Prod is a partner in the firm’s property department specialising in commercial and residential property transactions.
Prod qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 1999. He joined the firm in 2008, bringing with him a substantial client base from the North London area, where he had previously worked for over 15 years.
Prod has considerable experience in residential and commercial conveyancing and landlord and tenant matters. His property work includes buying and selling of freehold, leasehold and new-build properties; granting and taking commercial and residential leases and tenancies; handling collective enfranchisement and lease extensions; property gifts and transfers; advising on defective titles, co-ownership arrangements and personal guarantees.
Prod has vast experience in dealing with regular mortgages and re-mortgages for homeowners as well as secured lending against high-value Central London and West End residential properties for private banks. He also acts for UK based private lenders providing short-term loans and development finance on properties and development sites across the country.
Prod is retained as legal counsel to a number of Christian charity organisations advising them and their associated churches on charity law and the duties and responsibilities of charitable trustees. His church work includes handling all types of property transactions on behalf of churches located in and around the Greater London area, including the purchase and sale of chapels and manses, granting and taking leases and licenses and dealing with re-developments of church land and properties.
Prod represents a wide spectrum of clients including domestic and overseas investors; developers; landlords; managing & lettings agents; surveyors; charity associations and church trustees; domestic and overseas lenders; management companies and residents’ associations; as well as a loyal following of individuals and families going back many years.
Prod is known and trusted by clients for his warm, friendly and approachable manner; for the speed and efficiency of his handling of their instructions; and for his exceptional understanding of property related matters. He is a firm believer in a non-nonsense approach to his work and the importance of using plain English when dealing with clients, professionals and others.
- Representing church trustees on a multi-million pound church relocation and redevelopment project to create a new place of worship and Christian faith school;
- Representing 30 leaseholders on a collective enfranchisement of a freehold residential block;
- Acting for a number of leaseholders in the same block on individual lease extensions to their respective flats under the 1993 Act;
- Acting on the purchase of a multi-million pound property by acquiring ownership of shares in the selling company;
- Achieving first registration of agricultural land affected by a number of rights, settlements and trusts created over a number of years;
- Completing a high-value purchase transaction within 10 days of receipt of papers;
- Successfully bringing a claim to preserve and uphold a right of way thought to have extinguished many years earlier;
- Acting for one of the largest private property investment groups in the UK in connection with the grant, renewal and surrender of commercial leases;
Prod enjoys close links to the local and overseas Greek and Greek Cypriot community and speaks the Greek language reasonably well.
Outside the office, Prod is a devoted husband and father of two, with particular specialism in home learning; chauffeuring; toy repair; football cheerleading; and sibling dispute resolution. He is a member of the governing committee of his local Greek language school, with responsibility for over 200 pupils aged between 4 and 17 years. He is also active in his local Orthodox Christian Church.
Prod enjoys DIY and believes he is really good at it, having helped renovate six properties over the years. He is also a keen gardener and boasts to have a garden worthy of entry in a well-known flower show.
In contrast to his exceptionally smart appearance (dressed always in a three-piece suit) Prod is an avid sports-bike enthusiast and enjoys a daily commute to and from work on his cherished motorbike, dressed in full leathers.
Rufus Ballaster is Senior Partner and specialises in secured lending for both lenders and borrowers, within Carter Lemon Camerons LLP’s commercial property team.
Rufus’ team is able to assist lenders with putting in place effective protection for their loans, including advising on the form of security that is needed, arranging reporting systems between lawyer and lender, preparing documents, raising enquiries, examining title and making the appropriate searches.
Rufus is also experienced in assisting borrowers, advising on the risks involved in the transaction and negotiating the best possible terms.
Where appropriate, having carefully looked at professional rules governing conflict of interest, Rufus can act for both the lender and the borrower in a single transaction.
His detailed technical legal knowledge and ability to crunch numbers are great assets both transactionally and as Carter Lemon Camerons LLP’s spreadsheet obsessive.
Recent transactions include:
- Secured Lending Portfolio Refinance for a group of clients shifting lending from one international Private Bank to another international Private Bank with full Certification of Title across 7 Central London Properties both commercial residential (or mixed) use – aggregate value £30M approx.
- Phased purchase with development finance of site for over 40 new homes in SW London for a group of clients which has also bought and sold many other units in the region with Rufus and his team acting.
- Short term (2 to 18 month) lending by a Wealth Management company into a variety of development projects taking first or second charge security over those sites or collateral security elsewhere.
Career highlights include:
- Stepping into the panel of speakers at a course for which he was understudy – at only 3 years qualified
- Representing most of the sets of barristers’ chambers at one of the Inns of Court in lease renewals with that Inn
- Drawing down finance to purchase a SW1 development opportunity (offices to flats) by an off shore company at a price exceeding £120M (for a group of clients for whom previous deals were at values ranging from £7M to £220M)
- Drawing down finance to purchase a group of off-shore vehicles which owned of a City office block let to a blue chip investment bank – loan exceeding £300 million, split into senior and junior debt.
Rufus combines client focused views of legal issues with more holistic ones. This is clearly visible from his writing (having contributed to many journals and been a co-author of the Landlord and Tenant Factbook and more recently of a Practical Guide to Drone Law) and from his lectures and seminars on banking, commercial property, artificial intelligence and other topics.
Asked what he likes most in his work, Rufus will talk of his role as a “trouble-shooter”. He enjoys being asked by clients and colleagues what he thinks about something and trying, with them, to work up structures or strategies achieving a desired result at the lowest sensible cost/ tax-hit/ risk. He travels within Europe and beyond (Arabian Gulf, South East Asia, Southern Africa) to see clients and contacts face to face and says working with people he has met is always preferable to hiding behind email and telephone for client contact!
Rufus was educated at Reading School, Wadham College Oxford and Chester College of Law, qualifying as a solicitor in 1988.
Outside the office Rufus has a full and active life with commitments to two Christian Churches, family (wife and three now adult children), RBS Rugby Football Club (for whom he plays as a second row forward) and RBS Lawn Bowls Club which is more suited to his age.
Seamus Smyth is head of litigation and arbitration. His practice is primarily commercial with an emphasis on arbitration, financial services and work for South African and Italian clients.
His reported cases include RH Green & Silley Weir v BR (limitation period against 3rd party), de Bry v Fitzgerald (security for costs), Hartt v Newspaper Publishing (libel concerning a work by Michelangelo), Pearson v Sanders Witherspoon (valuation of loss of chance), Siebe Gorman v Pneupac (status of consent orders), Senate Electrical v NTL (liability of an employee for acquisition warranties) and Bendell v Smith & Others (a successful recovery action by a lender on a shared appreciation mortgage equity release – the only such case to go to trial).
Recently involved in enforcement of foreign arbitration awards, claims arising from the banking upheavals since 2007, a successful claim against a high street bank resulting from a banking error and a successful claim against estate administrators and their solicitors for wasting the estate funds on irresponsible litigation.
Educated (BA, LLB, Wits) and first qualified as an attorney in South Africa, he requalified in England in 1977, took an LLM at UCL and a Diploma in International Arbitration at QM, and became an FCIArb. He is chairman of the British South African Law Association (for the second time), chairman of Michaelhouse UK Trust, chairman of Global Leadership Foundation (UK), a former President of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and Trustee and President of Town Malling Cricket Club (established in 1827!). He was until 2012 a Visiting Senior Lecturer in International Commercial Arbitration at London Metropolitan University. When work and domesticity permit he plays some cricket and more golf (but – which is immediately obvious – not nearly enough).
Stuart Brennan is a former partner and is currently a consultant, non-practising solicitor.