The committee supports the development of the future strategy of the section and enhancement of the services already offered to members. Committee members and their brief biographies are below.

Andrew Bishop

Andrew is a principal associate solicitor at Shoosmiths LLP. He specialises in all forms of contentious probate disputes.

Andrew has also acted in cases involving challenges to void marriages (A v A, unreported) and is recognised in Chambers,  as a “rising star” in Legal 500.

He has worked extensively with Daphne Franks and Fabian Hamilton MP on the reform required to prevent predatory marriage. He has been widely quoted in national and local media as an authority on the subject.

Paul Clark 

Paul is the managing director of Spall Clark Solicitors. He deals with all aspects of private client work but has a particular focus on complex estates (often involving an international element) and advising vulnerable clients.

Paul is a full member of STEP, a director of a local law society, and a trustee of a charity for adults with learning disabilities.

Chris Claxton-Shirley 

Chris is a Senior Associate Solicitor at Tees, based in Cambridge. Chris deals with all aspects of wills, trusts, tax and probate work, including applications to the Court of Protection.

Chris is an Associate Member of Solicitors for the Elderly and is a full member of STEP as well as an examiner for the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. He is also recognised as a ‘rising star’ in the Legal 500.

Charlotte Crawford 

Charlotte is a senior associate at Hugh Jones Solicitors and a full member of STEP.

She specialises in wills and estate planning for clients looking to provide for vulnerable family members as well as the administration of trusts and estates.

Elizabeth Gibbison

Elizabeth is an associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell LLP. Elizabeth has worked in the private client area of law since 2014, and is a full member of STEP.

Elizabeth advises clients, including individuals, families and business owners on all manner of private client work.

Her day-to-day role, among other things, entails her giving advice regarding wealth protection and estate/ succession planning, estate and trust administration, and advising elderly and vulnerable clients and those with capacity issues.

As an area of specialism, Elizabeth advises on the management/ protection of funds in cases involving congenital defects at birth.

Melinda Giles

Melinda is a partner at Giles Wilson LLP, a small high street firm with two Essex offices. She has worked in property and private client since 1987.

Melinda has represented clients at mental health tribunals, has been a Court of Protection panel deputy for over 10 years, and is on the Mencap list of specialist solicitors providing wills and trust advice to parents of children with learning disabilities. She is the Law Society Council member for Private Client.

Fiona Heald 

Fiona is a Court of Protection Solicitor at Giles Wilson Law Limited.

Fiona has worked with older and vulnerable clients for over 30 years and has extensive experience working with clients, their family, and their carers to ensure that her client’s voice is heard.

She specialises in property and financial affairs Court of Protection applications, mental incapacity, care fees funding as well as Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Victoria Newey

Victoria is a solicitor at the Office of the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee (OSPT). She joined the OSPT in 2010 and has worked in the Court of Protection Property and Affairs team since that time, with a short secondment to the Health and Welfare Team.

The Official Solicitor acts as litigation friend of last resort for vulnerable clients in Court of Protection applications and the work of the Property and Affairs team includes applications relating to statutory wills, gifts, trusts and contested deputyship/attorneyships.

Prior to joining the OSPT she worked in private practice dealing with all aspects of private client work. She is a full member of STEP and an honorary member of Solicitors for the Elderly. 

Sophie O’Connell 

Sophie is a senior associate at Wilsons LLP. She specialises in mental capacity law and supports clients to manage their property and financial affairs.

Sophie is also a member of the Capacity Law and Rights Information to You (CLARiTY) project which aims to improve the access to justice for disabled people and family carers through enhancing understanding of mental capacity law and human rights.

Sarah Robinson

Sarah is the senior knowledge lawyer for Penningtons Manches Cooper’s private client department.

She has extensive experience of dealing with all aspects of private client work, including a particular focus on high-net-worth clients and estate planning advice.

Sarah is responsible for the implementation, management and monitoring of strategic knowledge services within the private client department. This includes work on precedents, legal research, training and the identification of key business efficiency projects.

She is also certified as a legal project practitioner with the Institute of Legal Management and has co-authored and written content for PLC’s Private Client Global Guide.