Experts

Mari Knowles

For many years, I have been working as a landlord and tenant lawyer, with experience in residential and commercial conveyancing, complex enfranchisement transactions and in landlord and tenant litigation. The firm is a member of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) and I am a member of the Property Litigation Association (PLA).  

I recently worked for the Law Commission as a leasehold reform lawyer, and currently work part-time for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government advising on all aspects of commonhold and leasehold reform. As well as the reform work, I retain a private practice and manage Commonhold and Leasehold Experts Limited.  

I have for many years provided a pro bono service for leaseholders in need of advice, working closely with various leasehold charities over the years. I continue to provide this service where I can.

I am pleased to have recently edited “Volume 8(1) Commonhold Commentary and Forms and Precedents” for LexisNexis, which is a practitioner’s guide on commonhold laws.

Emily Fitzpatrick

I have specialised in Enfranchisement, Right to Manage and other Leasehold Reform work for all of my practising career and have a background in general property litigation. My practice has expanded to professional negligence claims in the leasehold reform field. I qualified as a Solicitor in 2007.

I act for freeholders, intermediate landlords and leaseholders. I played a leading role in my former firm being short listed in the Regional Professional of the Year category in the 2014 Enfranchisement and Right to Manage Awards. I was Winner of the Regional Professional Of the Year in the 2015 awards and was listed in the Top 100 Most Influential People in the Residential Leasehold Property Sector by News on the Block. I was also a finalist in the 2016 and 2017 ERMA's for Regional Professional of the Year and Solicitor of the Year.  I am a member of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners. I pride myself in getting the best result for my clients, often acting against some of the more challenging opponents.

I am also working part time for the Law Commission as part of three teams advising the MHCLG on law reform to enfranchisement, right to manage and commonhold legislation.

In my spare time I enjoy tending to my rescue house bunnies and cockapoo, and playing netball for my local team which I also Captain. I am a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, can often be found at local motoring events and enjoy watching the Formula 1. I am also a member of the Rabbit Welfare Association and hold a certificate in England Netball Umpiring.

Hannah Brace

I explored a few different careers before I decided that law was the area I wanted to work in.  As I hadn’t gone down the traditional route by going to university, I initially worked part time on reception at a local law firm while I gained a legal secretarial qualification.  Soon after I began working full time as a legal secretary, I worked in different areas of law assisting with, company and commercial, employment and residential conveyancing.  During this time I decided to study further and obtain a full legal qualification enabling me to work on my own caseload. I worked during the day and attended college in the evenings.

I am now a Licensed Conveyancer and Associate member of the Institute of Legal Executives. I specialise in residential property transactions. I pride myself in the service I provide to my clients, always aiming to ensure they are kept up to speed with progress and receive clear and appropriate advice in an effort to make the moving process as stress free as possible!

Matthew Hollamby

I advise freehold landlords and leaseholders in relation to collective enfranchisement (including under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967), new lease claims, voluntary lease extensions, missing landlords, right to manage, rights of first refusal, variation of leases, and appointment of manager applications.

I have been specialising in leasehold enfranchisement since 2014, qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2016.  I successfully developed my own enfranchisement practice at a Worthing law firm, before moving to a regional firm with an established reputation in enfranchisement.  I was proud to have been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2019 ERMA’s for young professional of the year.

In my spare time I love to cook, and enjoy spending time with my young family.  I like to keep active by playing football, and golf when time permits.  I also enjoy going to gigs and music festivals, and adding to my vinyl collection.  

Elin Anthony

I graduated from the University of Bristol with an LLB Law degree in 2020. During my time at university, I worked at the University of Bristol Law Clinic as a Legal Advisor providing pro bono advice to members of the public on matters relating to housing, benefits, contractual disputes and tenancy disputes. I have also gained professional legal experience through undertaking several internships at various law firms.

I am passionate about advocacy, equality and justice. My voluntary involvement has included being a letter writer for Amnesty International, petitioning international bodies to take action against infringements of human rights. I have worked on several projects with Amnesty International as a campaigner and fundraiser, which has involved raising funds to cover the legal costs of students from asylum seeking and refugee backgrounds.

I am well-versed in public speaking and have competed in several debating competitions, including the Herbert Smith Freehills Moot and the Irwin Mitchell Medical Law Debate. I am an aspiring Solicitor and I am keen on establishing my career in the legal sector.

Elin Dukes

I have worked as a private client solicitor since qualifying in 2011 and am experienced in all private client areas, including Court of Protection. I particularly enjoy helping clients to plan their legal affairs in the most effective way for their circumstances, whilst ensuring their own best interests remain paramount.

Alongside private practice, I provide legal writing services to several law schools and other organisations, as well as tutoring and lecturing students at all stages of their legal studies.

I am a full member of both STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly. I was shortlisted as part of a small team for Vulnerable Client Advisory Team of the Year in the 2016 STEP Private Client Awards and, in the same year, won a judges’ discretionary award for outstanding written communication.

I am a Dementia Friends Champion for the Alzheimer's Society and am qualified up to level two in British Sign Language. I am also a strong advocate for workplace wellbeing and am a Time to Change Champion for Mind.

Dona Awano

I have worked as a solicitor in the residential leasehold sector for many years and will currently be working in landlord and tenant litigation. I qualified as a Solicitor in 2007.

More recently, I worked for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as a policy adviser on leasehold reform, focusing on enfranchisement reforms and on service charges and property management.  Prior to joining MHCLG, I worked for 11 years as a senior solicitor with the Leasehold Advisory Service where I advised clients on all aspects residential leasehold law including property management, service charges and enfranchisement whilst managing a team of legal advisers.

I am currently a member of the Property Litigation Association. I have also been re-appointed to the Law Society's Conveyancing and Land Law Committee, having previoulsy served as a member between 2017 - 2019. 

I have also managed the production of two best practice codes on major works for social landlord and leaseholders for the Welsh Government.

As a qualified trainer, I have provided training over the years to professionals, registered social landlords and groups of residents and have spoken at conferences, events, delivered webinars. I have also been invited as a guest to speak on BBC Moneybox and BBC Radio 4 You and Yours. I am an accredited mediator.

Matt Lewis

I have spent my entire career advising and assisting clients with their residential leasehold relationships. A number of matters I have been involved in are cited in the leading textbook on enfranchisement.
 
In particular I work closely with managing agents, leaseholders and leaseholder organisations on contentious matters such as management difficulties, service charge disputes, breaches of covenant, and lease variations.
 
I am delighted that my work within the sector has been noted by others. I featured within News on the Block’s Hot 100 feature. I was highly commended in the Young Professional of the Year category at the Enfranchisement & Right to Manage Awards in 2019.  I was noted as a ‘Rising Star’ in Flat Living’s ‘Property Management 50’ in 2019. Most recently, I have been mentioned in the ‘Property Management 50 Hall of Fame’, featuring as a judge in 2020.

I am very proud of my work as an honorary consultant of the Federation of Private Residents’ Associations (FPRA). I am a member of the Institute of Residential Property Managers (IRPM), and co-founder of Leasehold Management Professionals (LMP).

In my spare time, I can be found watching the drama unfold at Elland Road, Leeds United Football Club!

The firm

Mari and Emily first met as opponents in Court during their training years in 2006 when they worked for opposing law firms in Brighton. They then ran a pro bono clinic for leaseholders in Brighton together for many years before eventually working together. They now continue their working relationship at Commonhold and Leasehold Experts Limited.