Rudlings Wakelam

Woolhall Street 14
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
IP33 1LA

Since 1923

01284 755771 - or - Email - or - Visit website

Founded in 1923, Rudlings Wakelam is proud to have delivered quality and valuable legal services to the community over the decades. In turn our clients have supported us with their loyalty in consistently returning to us for legal advice and even more so by recommending their family and friends to us.

We have embraced this ethos and called it 'Advice for Life'. We are here for you, your family and your business to provide legal advice in a friendly, timely, and personal manner. We will guide you through dealing with aspects of law which affect you and will deliver practical, realistic, clear advice and solutions.

We have four offices based in Bury St Edmunds, Brandon, Long Melford and Thetford.

We are listed in Chamber Partners Directory and the Legal 500 of top specialist firms.


Lawyer - Solicitor


Chris Brian - Chris is an affiliated member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and a member of the Law Society Mental Health Panel. He has been undertaking mental health work since 2003. Chris particularly enjoys working with young people with mental health issues and those people with a learning disability and finds the ability to help and influence their futures and protect their rights very rewarding. Chris is also an accredited police station representative having undertaken criminal work prior to specialising in Mental Health and this experience can be very helpful when giving advice on other matters.

As a Mental Health lawyer Chris delivers training for hospital managers and other voluntary organisations on the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act.

Clive Wadham-Smith - Clive has lived in the Bury St Edmunds area for 18 years and has many years experience in the field of commercial law in particular advising small and medium type businesses.

Clive now combines practising law as a consultant for Rudlings Wakelam with working in house to provide business advice for specific clients.

This allows him to understand exactly how clients see things from their "side of the fence." This means that the work he carries out is all totally client centered. It also means that he has experience of a wide range of commercial issues which in turn means he is able to recognise problems before they occur and to make sure they are dealt with correctly.

Clive's areas of expertise and experience include:

Sale and purchase of Companies and businesses (both share and asset based);
Company formations;
Shareholder agreements;
Commercial contracts;
Terms and conditions of business;
Commercial leases;
Sale and purchase of commercial property;
Waste and recycling issues;
General business advice.

Emma O'Hara - Emma started her legal career as a legal secretary back in the early 1990's where she trained to be a Legal Executive. She qualified in Wills and Probate in 1996, an area where she has worked ever since, with specific interest in Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection work.

In 1998 whilst working with Eversheds in Norwich, she was admitted as a Fellow of the Institute. Emma worked at Kester Cunningham John from 2006 to 2009 before going to work for the Advocacy Service - managed by Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People.

Emma Rebecca Fraser - Emma qualified as a Conveyancing and Family Solicitor in Lancashire in October 2012. She joined the firm on the 1st July 2013 having recently moved to Suffolk.

She completed her LLB and LPC at Northumbria University in Newcastle followed by an LLM in International Law at the University of Liverpool. At work, Emma believes in team work and continuity. Having grown up in a large foster family, this has contributed to her compassionate yet frank approach to work.

Fiona Ashmead (Partner) - Fiona joined the firm as a Partner in April 2007. With over 20 years legal experience in the property field, including working for Simmons and Simmons in the City on qualifying, Fiona can offer clients a wide range of property advice and expertise in the following areas:

Residential sale and purchase;
Leasehold purchase and sale;
Family conveyancing on relationship breakdown;
Equity release;
Right to buy purchases;
Shared ownership leases and key worker mortgages;
Investment property including buy to let;
Option agreements and claw back clauses;
Agricultural property services including agricultural tenancies.

Fiona lives locally in Bury with her husband who is a lecturer and her cat named Cabernet. Outside of work Fiona enjoys all that Bury has to offer including the theatre, good food and wine and is a member of a local ladies wine group. Fiona is also a Trustee of the Bury Town Trust, a local charity, supporting the restoration of some of our beautiful historic buildings. Further afield her passions are French and skiing both of which she practices as often as time will allow in her mountain retreat in Switzerland.

Fiona believes in offering and making each client aware of the full range of services they need and will act in liaising with the other departments to provide this service.

Geof Young - Geof has been with Rudlings Wakelam for over 35 years and has been a qualified FILEX for over 30 years. Based in our Thetford office, he has gained extensive experience in handling a wide range of civil litigation matters including disputes in the following:

General Contract
Land and neighbours

Geof also conducts a large number of personal injury claims and is particularly expert in work place accident claims because of his knowledge of occupational health and safety issues, a subject in which he has gained a national General Certificate. Geof is a founder member of the Mid-Anglia Health and Safety group which helps local businesses.

Most claims are conducted under Conditional Fee Arrangements (no win-no fee) which are regulated be the Law Society. Geof's success rate and level of client satisfaction are very high.

Heidi Berry - Heidi graduated from UEA with an honours degree in Law in 1995. She subsequently obtained a distinction in her Legal Practice Course and was awarded the Morris Roger prize for best advocate, Budd Martin Burrett prize for best litigator and Mid-Essex Law Society prize along the way. She advises on all aspects of dispute resolution and has experience of negotiation, mediation and Court and Employment Tribunal proceedings.

Clients value her commercial acumen and her ability to provide clear and friendly advice. She is a strong and effective negotiator and strives at all times to deliver value for money. A great deal of Heidi's work comes through personal recommendation.

Jackie Jones - Jackie works at Rudlings and Wakelam in their Child Care team.

Jackie qualified as a solicitor in 1987 and has specialised in various aspects of Family Law. She is a member of the Law Society%u2019s Children Law Accreditation Scheme as a Children%u2019s Representative which enables her to represent children as well as parents in care proceedings and in proceedings for secure accommodation orders.

Jackie also specialises in other cases involving children, including special Guardianship Orders, Contact and Residence disputes and complex '16.4' cases where the children's views are made through a children's guardian.

Jonathan Cobbold - Jonathan has succeeded in developing a strong reputation throughout England and Wales for his work on behalf of healthcare and medical professionals and currently acts for over 800 Dentists, Vets, Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Doctors. Jonathan is a pragmatic lawyer, whose legal advice is typically offered on the basis of a fixed price quotation, thus reducing financial concerns. Indeed his advice is primarily directed at saving money for his clients, and minimising the risks associated with making costly mistakes.

In particular, the services that Jonathan offers include the following:

Practice sales and purchases;
Drafting and reviewing partnership, shareholder and associate agreements;
Advising on partners' rights and liabilities;
Advising on the practice premises, including surgery valuations and sale and leasebacks;
Advising on new partners joining the practice and existing partners retiring;
He also acts for commercial property owners and developers throughout the UK and his current client list includes PLCs, local authorities, investment companies, partnerships and entrepreneurs.

He lectures for the b.d.a, b.s.a.v.a, s.p.i.v.s and the VPMA and more widely to practitioners and practice managers. He speaks annually to principals and associates at the Eastman Dental Institute, London.

Kira Arden - Kira is a qualified solicitor and head of our family department. Kira has undertaken all aspects of family work over the last 19 years.

Kira is a member of the Law Society's Family Law Panel and is also a Resolution accredited specialist.
Resolution is recognised for the promotion of a conciliatory approach to all family matters including Advance Financial Provision and Private Children Law. Kira mainly undertakes work in these areas.

Martin Evans - Martin was admitted as a solicitor in 1981, and has over 15 years experience in Mental Health Law.

He is a member of the Law Society's Mental Health Panel and sits as a part time judge at the the Mental Health Tribunal.

He is an active member of the Mental Health Lawyers Association.

Mathew Game - Mathew qualified as a Solicitor in 2011 specialising in Litigation and Employment. In 2012 Mathew moved to Rudlings Wakelam and is based at our Bury St Edmunds office.
Mathew now has a case load that includes Personal Injury, Civil and Commercial Litigation, Social Housing and Employment matters.

His recent experiences include:

Advising on landlord and tenant issues on behalf of various landlords to recover their properties from difficult tenants;
Advising an individual on their disciplinary procedure with their employer and successfully having all allegations retracted;
Raising a grievance on behalf on an individual against their employer and successfully negotiating a settlement package favourable to the individual;
Successfully negotiating a settlement in relation of a personal injury claim for tens of thousands of pounds.

Mathew enjoys advocacy work and is happy to carry out such work where necessary. Mathew also enjoys a good working relationship with a number of local barristers to assist where required.

Michael Green - Michael is currently training through CILEX to become a Legal Executive, specialising in residential conveyancing.

Working in our residential department he is gaining the necessary knowledge to advise on all aspects of Land Law and Residential conveyancing. Michael started his Law training at Salans Solicitors, moving to Rudlings Wakelam Solicitors in 2011 to continue his development.

Penny Brice - Penny qualified as a solicitor in Manchester in 1997 and moved to Suffolk to get married in 1999.

Penny has been with Rudlings Wakelam Solicitors as Head of their Private Client Department since 2000 and was made a Partner in 2004. She specialises in Trusts, Wills, Probate, and Tax Planning and also undertakes a large amount of Court of Protection Work.

Additionally Penny is also a qualified Trusts and Estates Practitioner having passed the exams with distinction in 2003.

Penny sits on the committee of the Norfolk and Norwich Branch of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners and is the current President of the Suffolk and North Essex Law Society (SNELS).

Rachel Shaw - Rachel joined the litigation department of Rudlings Wakelam in September 2013 as a Solicitor having previously been a partner at Ward Gethin Archer in Ely since 2009.
She qualified in 1996 having completed her training in London and Norfolk.

Rachel specialises in:

Personal injury claims;
Clinical negligence claims;
Contractual disputes;
Property and housing litigation;
Debt recovery;
Professional negligence claims;
Representation at inquests;
Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
Claims under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.

Rachel has been accredited under the Law Society's Personal Injury Accreditation Scheme since 2001 and has been successful in securing a number of six figure settlements on behalf of her clients. She is known for her personable and approachable character, and believes in giving clients straightforward and concise advice.

Rachel is a former secretary and trustee of the Ely & District Citizens Advice Bureau, and is sits on the committee of the Eastgate Ward Community Association in her hometown of Bury St Edmunds. She has recently been elected as a Trustee Board member of the Suffolk West Citizens Advice Bureau.

Ruth Stickland - Ruth first joined the firm in 1991 as secretary to Tim O'Regan. She subsequently undertook the Institute of Legal Executives examinations and qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of the Legal Executives in 2002.

Ruth undertakes all aspects of family work but in particular specialises in private Children Act matters and domestic violence.
Ruth is a member of Resolution and an accredited specialist in domestic abuse and children matters.

Scott Coupland - Scott joined Rudlings Wakelam in October 2013. He specialises in Children's Law, with a particular emphasis on Childcare law. Scott is a member of the Law Society's Children's Law Accreditation Scheme, the Association of Lawyers for Children and Resolution.
Scott regularly acts on behalf of children's Guardians and parents in cases involving allegations of neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and/or physical abuse. Scott prefers to conduct as much of his own advocacy as possible and is passionate and committed to this area of law.
As well as Childcare law, Scott is experienced in private law children matters and domestic abuse cases. He also has a background in mental health law and is a member of the Law Society's Mental Health Law Accreditation Scheme.

Steven McGrath - Steven is an Associate Solicitor in the firm. He joined the firm as a trainee solicitor in 2007 and has been retained by the firm since qualification in 2009.

Working in the Commercial Department of the firm Steven specialises in commercial property work acting for a wide spectrum of corporate clients and private investors in relation to freehold acquisitions and developments projects as well as Landlord and Tenant work.

In addition, he focuses on business transactions dealing with share and asset acquisitions and disposals as well as general commercial work including:

Supply of goods and services & terms of trade;
Rights and duties of shareholders and directors - including shareholders agreement and directors service contracts;
Finance including mortgages, charges, debentures and personal guarantees;
Partnership including the drafting and advising on partnership deeds;
Distribution, agency and franchise;
Employment disputes, contracts, policies and procedures, TUPE and settlement agreements.

Steven is primarily based in our Thetford office.

Vickie Brazier - Vickie is a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and joined the firm in October 2010, having previously worked for Essex Local Authority in their 'Child Care Team'.

Vickie undertakes all aspects of family work, including: divorce, ancillary relief, injunctions and private children act proceedings. She specialises in care work, undertaking a wide range of court advocacy herself.

Vickie has recently applied to be a member of Resolution and aspires to be a member of the Children Panel.

Victoria Josif - Qualified in 2000, Victoria is a member of Resolution and committed to a constructive, non-confrontational approach towards resolving family law matters. Victoria is also trained in the collaborative law approach to resolving disputes. As a Partner she provides advice on divorce, separation, related financial and child issues. Her case load includes high value financial cases and emergency disputes.

Victoria carries out a wide range of court advocacy herself and she also works closely with specialist barristers where required.

Victoria is a member of both the Resolution Children and Resolution Legal Aid Committees and is also a Resolution Accredited Specialist in financial, property and children matters.


Personal Injury Accredited
Family Law Accredited
Childred Law Accredited
Mental Health Law Accredited

Area of Business

Family Law
Business Law
Employment Law
Professional Services Law
Mental Health Law
Personal Injury and Disputes
Conveyancing and Property
Probate and Tax Planning
Agricultural Law
Equine Law
Landlord and Tenant


We offer Fixed Fees for certain areas of the practice.