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Watford: 01923 242 345 Amersham: 01494 722 326

info@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Elite Law Solicitors incorporates HM Law Costs Draftsmen Ltd and

Meet the Team

Our success is largely due to our team of experienced Solicitors, Costs Lawyers, Draftsmen and dedicated support staff. The stability and strength in depth of the company is reflected in the fact that most of our key staff have been together for a considerable period of time, some for in excess of 15 years.

As with any professional organisation, training and continuing education are essential. At Elite Law Solicitors we are committed to the ongoing development of our team. You can be sure that whoever is assigned to your matter they will have the knowledge and experience to deal with it professionally, quickly and accurately.

The directors have elected to be referred to as ‘partners’ in line with accepted usage in law firms and so to avoid client confusion.

Stephen Howey
Senior Partner & Costs Lawyer

Stephen has been a Costs specialist for over 30 years. He became a Fellow of the ACL in 1994 and was awarded the Edis Cup for the highest mark of the year. Stephen is a former Council Member and Treasurer of the ACL and was one of the first draftsmen to obtain the status of Costs Lawyer, with rights of audience and the right to conduct costs litigation (a reserved legal activity). 

In 1990 Stephen went into partnership with John Mistri and created HM Law Costs Draftsmen (now Elite Law Solicitors), which practiced successfully for over 20 years. 

Stephen specialises in the preparation of Bills in clinical negligence, catastrophic personal injury and commercial matters. 

Nicola Mooney, Partner at McMillan Williams, described Stephen as “efficient, quick and gave a very good steer on negotiations resulting in a great outcome on a difficult case.”

Stephen can be contacted by email at showey@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

John Mistri
Senior Partner, Costs Lawyer & Accredited Mediator

John started his career in 1982. Like Stephen he is a past Council member of the ACL where he was responsible for education and was one of the first draftsmen to obtain the status of Costs Lawyer. 

John regularly provides seminars to clients on the impact of new rules and changes to costs litigation. 

John specialises in advocacy and complex matters with a particular interest in solicitor and own client and non-contentious disputes. He is responsible for the supervision of all Detailed Assessment hearings in the SCCO and other regional and County Courts attending many of those hearings personally. John has been involved in very high value assessments, prepared expert evidence for security for costs claims and has been involved in numerous high value group litigation claims. He also assisted with the highest valued claim from public funds in the Isle of Man. 

Virginia Ralfe, Director at City Lawyers has described John’s approach as “clear and pragmatic” and that his help was “greatly appreciated in helping to defeat a number of arguments raised by the paying party”. She also believed that John was “very helpful in that the opposing party was respectful of his knowledge and sensible approach which assisted in enabling a settlement to be achieved”.

John is also an ADR Group Accredited Civil & Commercial Mediator and can assist in a variety of disputes.

John can be contacted by email at jmistri@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

James Scozzi
Managing Partner of Elite Law & President of Surrey Law Society

James started his professional career as a Costs Draftsman in 2001 firstly for a well-known national law firm and thereafter for HM Law Costs Draftsmen. 

He subsequently qualified as a Solicitor and worked for McMillan Williams (MW) as the Head of the Costs Department and subsequently as Head of Revenue Generation. Whilst at MW James was responsible for supervising costs aspects relating to all fee earners practicing in the areas of personal injury, clinical negligence, family, civil and professional negligence. James was also part of the management team that dealt with MW’s expansion from a small high street practice to a practice employing over 250 staff at 16 branches.

James specialises in high value complex matters with a particular interest in clinical negligence. 

In 2016 he was shortlisted as Lawyer of the Year by the Modern Law Awards and is currently Vice President of the Surrey Law Society. 

James has been described as “straight talking, no-nonsense and above all commercial. I cannot recommend him highly enough” (Michael Turner, Solicitor and Part time District Judge & Recorder)

James can be contacted by email at jscozzi@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Salima Manji
Partner & Head of Property

Sal commenced her legal career as a trainee solicitor in Holborn, London in 1996 where she primarily spent time working in the civil and commercial litigation departments. She qualified in 1998 having gained vast experience in the High Court and County Court judicial systems. Her career changed direction when she joined Blaser Mills in 1999 as a property solicitor. It was there she discovered her passion for transactional work and all things property related. She became a Partner in 2002 and remained at Blaser Mills until 2007. She joined Hine solicitors in Gerrards Cross in January 2008 as the Head of Property Department. She became a Partner in 2010. The key areas of her role were business development, marketing and fee earning for High Net Worth clients.

In 2017 she joined Elite Law as both a Partner and Head of the Property Department. 

Salima can be contacted by email at smanji@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

 

Christopher Dolton
Family Solicitor & Mediator

Chris has been a solicitor for over 30 years having read Law at Exeter University. He specialises in a wide range of family law matters, including divorce, financial matters arising from separation and arrangements for children.

He has considerable knowledge and practical know- how of court proceedings, often undertaking his own advocacy and has dealt with a wide range of cases, including high value cases. He is a member of Resolution a nationally recognised association for family lawyers which promotes high standards and a constructive approach to family cases and is recognised by Resolution as an accredited specialist in both advocacy in financial cases and children cases. He is also a member of the Law Society’s Family Law panel

He also recognises that family law cases often involve highly charged emotional issues which require sensitive handling and that an aggressive approach to such matters can often be counter productive, exacerbating what can be an already difficult situation. He is a keen promoter of alternatives to court process as a means of resolving such issues. He qualified over ten years ago as a collaborative lawyer, a process which enables separating couples to work together with their lawyers to resolve the problems that confront them, avoiding the expense and bitterness that court proceedings can create and, importantly, allowing the couple to make their own decisions as to the way forward.

Chris is also accredited by the Family Mediation Council as a family mediator and is able to bring to the mediation process his considerable experience and knowledge as a family lawyer.

Chris joined Elite as a consultant to develop and promote family law within the practice.

Chris can be contacted by email at cdolton@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

 

Meg Wilton
Head of the Private Client Department

Meg was admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2008 and has been working in private client practice in the local area since 2001.

Meg joined Elite Law in August 2017 as the Head of the Private Client Department and is based in our Amersham Office.

Meg undertakes the following work:

  • preparation of Wills and Trusts
  • preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorneys
  • applications to the Court of Protection
  • advising Trustees, attorneys and deputies
  • administration of Trusts
  • administration of Estates

Meg can be contacted by email at mwilton@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

 

 

Beyzade Beyzade
Employment, Civil and Commercial Barrister

Beyzade is both an employment law and civil/commercial litigation expert.

Beyzade has represented both employers and employees in the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal, and in the High Court. Beyzade is not only a skilled litigator, but he also has a good track record of resolving employment disputes before they proceed to a Tribunal, and taking steps to avoid common disputes occuring within the workplace e.g. reviewing contract documents and policies.

Beyzade has experience of pursuing companies and Directors following a dispute that has arisen with Directors, Shareholders or the Company itself.

Beyzade often acts in relation to commercial disputes and pursues companies who are proving very difficult to either acquire money from or to require them to perform a specific action e.g. an agreed piece of project work.

Once he obtains judgment, Beyzade is able to instruct High Court bailiffs who have extensive powers to obtain the money that you are owed. He will also discuss other useful enforcement methods with you.

Beyzade enjoys complex legal arguments and working on high value cases and injunctions. Beyzade has higher rights of audience and is a skilled advocate which means that he can represent you from day 1 until the final hearing.

Beyzade can be contacted by email at bbeyzade@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Joanna Williams
Head of Legal Costs Services & Costs Draftsman

Jo’s first career was as a Senior Registered Sick Children’s Nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Jo is also qualified as an Adult Education Tutor and designed and ran childcare training courses suitable for new parents, nursery workers and child minders for Buckinghamshire County Council. 

Jo also sat as an advisory Board member for a UK branch of an international health care product company. 

Subsequently Jo embarked on a new career as a Costs Draftsman and joined HM Law Costs Draftsmen (now Elite Law Solicitors) in 1999. She predominantly deals with the preparation of Bills of Costs, with a particular interest in Very High Cost Case Plans in complex publicly funded matters. As a result of Jo’s attention to detail, excellent drafting skills and copious experience she was appointed as our Head of Legal Costs Services in 2015. 

Kirti Patel, Partner at CLP has described Jo as a “an amazing fount of knowledge when it comes to the LAA and is always very helpful in preparing responses to various queries raised by the LAA”

Joanna can be contacted by email at jwilliams@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Sue Nash
Costs Lawyer & Senior Consultant

Sue has been practicing in legal costs for over 30 years and is well known for her specialist experience in group litigation as well as costs budgeting. She is a former chairman of the Association of Costs Lawyers and a leading authority on costs. As a result she writes regularly for the legal press on costs-related issues. 

As well as co-founding specialist costs consultancy (Group) Litigation Costs Services, she created and founded Omnia Legal Software, the first secure web-based program offering a costs budgeting and management service as an ‘add-on’. 

Sue joined Elite in January 2017 to not only expand our group litigation services and provide consultancy and training on all aspects of costs but also to assist in the development of current and future offerings such as legal project management, pricing and auditing. 

She has been described (by an opponent) as “a breath of fresh air” in dealing with costs negotiations and commended for her “impressive costs knowledge and attention to detail” (Alex Hutton QC)

Sue can be contacted by email at snash@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

 

 

Rob Carter
Solicitor & Accredited Costs Mediator

Rob Carter is both a Solicitor and an accredited Costs Mediator.

Rob has over 20 years civil litigation experience having worked with leading national firms of solicitors and blue chip insurers ever since the costs wars started.

Rob has a unique “take” on costs having worked as both a practising Solicitor in areas such as personal injury and professional negligence and as a de facto costs expert. He has figuratively been on both sides of the fence.

Rob is well versed in all areas of costs (having acted for both paying and receiving parties) although he has a particular affinity in relation to advocacy and the preparation of Points of Dispute and Replies. Rob has attended numerous budgeting hearings and detailed assessments.  

Having been a practising Solicitor he is very much able to attend CCMCs and deal with both the directions aspect as well as the budget aspect.

His experience includes such well known test litigation as the claims direct and the accident group cases as well as having acted in Kilby v Gawith , Crane v Cannons Leisure Centre and  the conjoined cases of Dockerill Macefield and Turbridy on the costs recoverable in infant approval hearings.

Rob has also acted as a costs assessor in the High Court on such key cases as Withers v Master Cigars and Roach v the Home Office, advising High Court Judges on practice, a post which deepened his understanding of the best way to present complex arguments to the Court.

These experiences give him a profound knowledge of the developments in practice and procedure in the post Jackson era but with a clear commercial view of what solicitor clients want.

Rob can be contacted by email at rcarter@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Joe Lewis
Solicitor

Joe expertise is dual. His career in costs began at a reputable costs firm in Central London, which provided an ideal spring board for a career in costs. He subsequently joined a large south-east firm as a paralegal and qualified as a Solicitor in March 2016, where he was afforded considerable responsibility, particularly in respect of Legal Aid costs.

During his legal costs career he has obtained extensive experience dealing with Legal Aid costs as well as inter-partes costs.

In addition Joe has extensive experience in conveyancing having first worked in the area prior to his costs epxerience and then rekindling his interest during his training contract. Joe's caseload currently covers both costs and convenyacing.

Outside of work Joseph enjoys going to the gym and is an avid football fan.

Joe can be contacted by email at jlewis@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Tabassum Hoque
Solicitor

Tabassum started her legal career as a paralegal in 2007 with a well-known national Defendant law firm specialising in Personal Injury Litigation, but also practised in Family Law.

Tabassum started her career in costs in 2011 as a Costs Draftsman as part of an in-house team. She then went on to expand her career by moving to London and working in the City at a costs firm followed by another in-house role at another well-known Defendant national law firm. She qualified as a Solicitor in 2016.

Tabassum has gained a wealth of experience in all types of personal injury claims and has specialised in Defendant matters. She has also gained vast experience in high value shipping cases, Libel/Defamation Cases, Aviation & Travel Litigation, Professional Negligence, Product Liability cases, Clinical Negligence and also dealt with Criminal Prosecution in Clinical Negligence.

Tabassum can be contacted by email at thoque@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Esmer Aljkanovic
Costs Lawyer

After obtaining an Economics degree, Esmer went on to complete his Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course at the College of Law.

Esmer started his career in costs at a well known national law firm, as part of the in-house team. He went on to complete his training and studies on the ACL and qualified as a Costs Lawyer in 2015.

From his time working in-house for two large personal injury law firms, Esmer has gained a wealth of experience in all types of personal injury claims, from low value RTAs to complex high value industrial disease claims.

Esmer has a particular interest in the development of costing software, in order to deliver an innovative and market leading approach with the highest level of quality standards for his clients.

Esmer can be contacted by email at ealjkanovic@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

 

Vanessa Brown
Costs Lawyer

Following completion of her degree in Microbiology Vanessa went on to study physical geography, during which time she taught surveying and cartography as well as supervising field trips for undergraduate geography students.

Vanessa embarked on a legal costs career when she joined HM Law Costs Draftsmen in 1995. She now deals with a full spectrum of inter partes and publicly funded claims for costs.

Vanessa specialises in multi-party complex commercial claims and also deals with very high cost case plans.

Vanessa can be contacted by email at vbrown@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Mark Richardson
Costs Lawyer

Mark began his legal costs career at a national law costs drafting company in 1989. He subsequently joined HM Law Costs Draftsmen in 2006.

Mark became an associate member of the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen in 1995 and subsequently qualified as a Costs Lawyer in 2010 with rights of audience and the right to conduct costs litigation, which is a reserved legal activity.

Mark specialises in the preparation of publicly funded claims for costs in family, care and civil matters together with the preparation of Very High Costs Case Plans. Mark is also an expert in the preparation of inter partes Bills of Costs. 

Mark can be contacted by email at mrichardson@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Siraj Khan
Costs Draftsman

Siraj studied Law at City University, London, graduating with a 2:1 in 2008 before completing the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law, London Bloomsbury in 2009. 

Upon completing his studies, Siraj secured an in-house costs role at a London based firm of solicitors. Thereafter Siraj joined HM Law Costs Draftsmen in 2011 and is currently undertaking training to qualify as a Costs Lawyer.

Siraj spends most of his time preparing a variety of Formal Bills of Costs and is responsible for the firm’s twitter feed which you can follow by clicking on the link on the home page.

Siraj can be contacted by email at skhan@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Hayley Forster
Costs Draftsman

Hayley first started costs drafting in 2000. She went on to become a Fellow of the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen in 2007.

Hayley initially trained with one of the UK’s leading providers of claims services to insurers and other compensators before working in house for a firm of solicitors. She joined HM Law Costs Draftsmen in 2011.

Hayley has a wealth of experience in preparing publicly funded claims for costs and specialises in family and care matters, including Very High Costs Case Plans. 

Hayley can be contacted by email at hforster@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Danielle Spragg
Trainee Solicitor

Danielle studied Law at Oxford Brookes University, following which she commenced working within Lyons Davidson Solicitors; initially as a claims handler before commencing in her role as a Cost Draftsman. During her time there Danielle gained experience in drafting Bills of Costs, N260’s, Estimates of Costs and most recently Precedent H forms and negotiations.

Whilst working Danielle completed the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law, London Bloomsbury.

Danielle also gained experience as a MOJ case handler after leaving Lyons Davidson Solicitors.

Danielle joined Elite Law in August 2015 and is currently undertaking a training contract in order to become a qualified Solicitor.

Danielle can be contacted by email at dspragg@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk 

Shibli Begum
Trainee Solicitor

Shibli joined Elite Law Solicitors in October 2015 having previously worked as a Costs Draftsman for a reputable costs firm in Central London and beforehand a regional firm.

She graduated from University with a 2:1 law degree and after completing the Legal Practice Course she embarked on a legal costs career. 

During her legal costs career she has obtained extensive experience dealing with all types of contentious costs issues. In particular preparing Bills of Costs, Statement of Costs, dealing with Publicly Funded Claims, Points of Dispute, Replies to Points of Dispute, negotiating settlement on behalf of both the receiving and paying party and setting matters down for assessment. 

Shibli his currently undertaking a training contract in order to become a qualified Solicitor.

Shibli can be contacted by email at sbegum@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk 

Mike Poulson
Costs Draftsman

Mike started his career as a detective with the Metropolitan Police. He specialised in the investigation of serious and organised economic crime and associated international money laundering.

Mike worked for many years at Scotland Yard’s Fraud Squad as well as being seconded to the Serious Fraud Office, undertaking complex and multi-jurisdictional fraud/money laundering cases. This involved working abroad with various Law Enforcement Agencies.

Mike was an accredited Financial Investigator and regularly undertook Proceeds of Crime Act Confiscation cases removing the assets of crime from organised criminal networks for which he received a number of commendations.

30 years later Mike began his legal costs career with HM Law Costs Draftsmen in 2012. Mike’s detective skills proved to be very much transferable to the area of legal costs. Mike has proved to have an eye for detail as well as excelling in advocacy at Detailed Assessment Hearings. 

Mike can be contacted by email at mpoulson@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Karen Gluyes
Costs Draftsman

Karen has had a long career in legal costs (over 25 years) and joined HM Law Costs Draftsmen in 1992. Karen is a highly experienced Costs Draftsman and specialises in publicly funded claims for costs in family and care matters with particular interest in very high cost case plans.

Karen can be contacted by email at kgluyes@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Mark Woods
Costs Draftsman

Mark left the army in 1990 and embarked on a career in legal costs, gaining his initial training and experience with a firm of Cost Lawyers in Chancery Lane, London, before branching out on his own.

Mark undertakes all forms of bills but in recent years has specialised in publicly funded work, specifically family and housing claims. He also has extensive knowledge of immigration work.

Mark can be contacted by email at mwoods@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk