About

Who We Are

We are an award-winning law firm with offices in Bishop’s Stortford and London.

For over 180 years, we’ve been supporting our clients by providing quality legal advice throughout their life and business stages.

Our teams are consistently recognised in the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers UK directories, placing us in the elite of legal firms in the UK.

Find out how we can help you

Take a look at our awards and accreditations

Our Values

Professional
We are excellent at what we do and committed to providing the highest standard of service. Our focus is on you, your business and meeting your expectations – this is what our clients expect from us, and this is what we deliver.
Dynamic
We’re proud of our history, but we’re not stuck in the past. We make sure that we’re up to date on the latest legal updates, cases and legislations to ensure that you get an effective and modern service.
Approachable
We’re here for you through every step of your journey with us. We pride ourselves on the strong relationships we build with our clients, helping you to feel confident instructing us, and comfortable contacting us whenever you need to.
Integrity
Quite simply, we believe in doing the right thing. We strive to be open, honest and transparent with each other, our clients and anyone who has contact with the firm; working towards the highest standards of professional behaviour and ethics.

Our Leadership

Darren Hayward
Managing Partner

Darren joined Nockolds in 2003 and is the firm’s Managing Partner and Partner in charge of our Employment Law Team.

He is considered to be one of the leading employment lawyers in the UK and acts for a wide range of commercial clients ranging from small start-up businesses to major PLCs as well as employees. Darren has developed a particular niche acting for high net worth clients in the City and is regularly consulted by the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and FX Times, as well as appearing on CNBC commenting on the impact of employment law developments in the City.

Find out more

Trusted Provider of Quality Legal Advice

75+
Legal experts working across both locations
188 years
Serving the local community since 1831
The highest ranking law firm in the Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For

Our Story

1831

1831

Thomas Unwin, a practising solicitor in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth merged his practice with that of Henry Baker.

1879

1879

Thomas Unwin and Henry Baker were joined by C.V. Thorneycroft and the practice became known as ‘Baker and Thorneycroft’. Ackland & Son, another firm in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth, bought the lease to 6 Market Square, where it is believed that they moved their practice.

1880

1880

Ackland & Son were joined by Alfred Nockolds, who was living and practising in Sawbridgeworth at the same time. The firm was renamed Ackland & Nockolds and continued as such for the next 25 years. Towards the end of the 19th century, Ackland & Nockolds acquired the Baker & Thorneycroft practice.

1906

1906

Alfred Nockolds was joined in partnership by Arthur Wade, upon which the firm became known as Nockolds & Wade.

1909

1909

Alfred Nockolds’ son Bryan joined the firm.

1912

1912

Arthur Wade retired, Bryan became a Partner and the firm took the name of Nockolds & Son.

1940

1940

Peter Davies and Robert Lofts were articled to Nockolds.

1958

1958

On Bryan Nockolds’ death in 1958, he left the firm to Robert Lofts and Peter Davies and they retained the name of Nockolds & Son.

1964

1964

Peter’s younger brother, David Davies, joins the Partnership. Richard Downing was articled to Nockolds.

1968

1968

Nicholas Belcher joined as an Articled Clerk.

1971

1971

Richard Downing was made a Partner. At this time, the ‘& Son’ was dropped, so the firm would then on be known as Nockolds.

1980

1980

Nicholas Belcher became a Partner.

1992

1992

Richard Downing took over heading the firm as Senior Partner for the next nine years, until his own retirement in 2000.

2001

2001

Nicholas Belcher took over steering the firm and later passed the reins on to Darren Hayward.

2010

2009

Nockolds closed its Sawbridgeworth office.

2010

Darren Hayward became Managing Partner, and still holds that position today.

2012

2012

The firm changed from an LLP company to a limited company, becoming known as Nockolds Solicitors Limited.

2013

2013

The firm opened the doors to its London office, 46 New Broad Street, on 1st October 2013.

2019

2019

Following the growth of the London office, Nockolds Solicitors moves from New Broad Street to 6 Broad Street Place. To date, the firm has nearly doubled in turnover and now boasts a formidable team of 12 Partners with over 160 employees.