About us

Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Monthly Archives


Should you write a Will?

The simple answer to this question is “Yes” but invariably more often than not the answer is likely to be “I haven’t yet, but I will do when the time is right”.

So when is the right time? Trusts and Estates Practitioner, Martine Swaep of Greene & Greene talks about the benefits of making a Will.  

Although thinking, talking and planning for death can make you feel uncomfortable, making a Will is one of the most important things to do if you want to be sure that your wishes will be met after you die.

If you die without leaving a Will your assets become subject to the “laws of intestacy”; unforgiving and inflexible rules meaning that your house, savings and other possessions will be distributed under fixed rules as laid down by the law.  This will depend on how you own your assets, in your sole name or jointly. You will also have no say in who administers your estate. These rules may not be in accordance with your wishes, the needs of individuals or family situation, especially if you are unmarried and living with a partner. Equally, if you are married or in a civil partnership, it is a common misconception that everything will pass to your spouse or civil partner when you die. This is not always the case when there is no Will. Your relatives will not only have to cope with your death but also with the uncertainties and injustices of seeing your assets sent where you would not want them to go and decisions being made for you by others. A bad situation is made very much worse, and in some cases the family is left having to pay Inheritance Tax that could have been avoided with some simple planning.

A Will can help to avoid these issues and is the only way to make sure your savings and possessions (your estate) go to the people and causes that you care about.

Whilst it is not difficult to make a Will, it does have to be done properly, to avoid costly arguments after your death.

Here are some questions about making a Will. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions and do not currently have a Will, you need to be taking some action:

  • Do you wish to ensure that your estate is inherited by the people you choose?
  • Do you wish your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner to inherit your entire estate?
  • Do you wish to appoint guardians for your young children?
  • Do you wish to set up a trust?
  • Do you wish to pass on your business or farm to people you choose?
  • Do you wish to choose the people (executors) who will be responsible for winding up all your affairs and implementing your wishes?
  • Do you wish to leave a legacy to a friend or charity?

If you have already made a Will you should also ensure that you review it every few years, or as your family circumstances change.

At Greene & Greene Solicitors instructions for Wills are taken by experienced lawyers who know exactly what questions to ask. They will advise you on how best to achieve your intentions without undue complexity or uncertainty, delivering workable solutions in a sympathetic and professional manner.

For more information on Wills please contact Martine Swaep in the Private Client Department martineswaep@greene-greene.com or by calling 01284 717458 (Direct).  For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

This article was first pubsihed in the July edition of bury & West Suffolk Magazine.


Bury St. Eds Tri Festival raises £5000.00 for SARS

Five thousand pounds has been raised for local emergency medical charity, Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) thanks to the participants of the 2nd St. Edmunds Tri Festival and the support of event sponsor, local law firm, Greene & Greene Solicitors.

The festival, held at Abbeycroft Leisure in Bury St. Edmunds, saw 261 athletes take part in a variety of events including Triathlon, Aquathlon, and Duathlon with varying distances to suit all ages and abilities.

Michael Batty, Senior Partner at Greene & Greene saidWe were delighted to be given the opportunity of sponsoring the St Eds Tri Festival in our 125th Anniversary year in support of SARS. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations and we are therefore thrilled that donations totalled £5000.00 following the event. We thank the organisers, Haversports who contributed £1400 to SARS and local businesses and associates that also supported the event.”

Ben Hall, Operations Manager at SARS said “We were extremely grateful for the support of Greene & Greene throughout the event. Without a doubt, we would not have raised such a fantastic amount without their sponsorship and promotion of the triathlon. Events like this are so important for SARS, not only do they raise vital sums to support equipment and training costs for our emergency medical volunteers but they also raise crucial awareness of our charity. Subsequent to this event, we were delighted to be able to set up a new local SARS responder to increase our coverage in the St Edmundsbury area. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who fundraised on our behalf. It was a brilliant effort by all concerned.”

If you would like to make a donation to Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) you can do so by visiting their website at www.sars999.org.uk

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


Stand by your man?

  1. The Respondent prioritised his work over home life and was often inflexible in making time available for the family, regularly missing family holidays and events.
  2. The Respondent did not provide the Petitioner with love, attention or affection and was not supporting of her role as a homemaker and mother.
  3. The Respondent suffered from mood swings, which caused frequent arguments.
  4. The Respondent was unpleasant and disparaging about the Petitioner, both to her and their family and friends.

Are these examples of one person behaving in such a way that the other cannot reasonably be expected to continue living with them?

Until the case of Owens v Owens, first heard in 2016, most divorce lawyers would have said this was sufficient.

English law does not recognise so called “no fault divorce” until parties have been separated for 2 years and only then if they both consent. Otherwise, it is necessary to wait for 5 years to divorce without blaming the other party.

Often one party has to rely upon the other party’s unreasonable behaviour in order to begin divorce proceedings straightaway.

English family lawyers have for many years advised their clients to draft allegations of unreasonable behaviour as mildly as possible so as to avoid creating further animosity, especially where there are children involved.

Mr Owens objected to his wife’s divorce petition based upon his unreasonable behaviour and maintained that the marriage had not irretrievably broken down. At the initial hearing the Judge agreed with Mr Owens. He held that the allegations made by the wife were “at best flimsy” and they were “all at most minor altercations of a kind to be expected in a marriage”.

Mrs Owens appealed arguing, amongst other reasons, that the Judge’s decision was wrong as he had failed to assess her subjective view of the husband’s behaviour and the cumulative effect upon her of that behaviour.

The case came before the Court of Appeal in 2017. The appeal was unsuccessful. The Judges, however, made clear their dissatisfaction with the current legal position. In the words of Lady Justice Hallett: “try as I might, I cannot find a legitimate basis for challenging the judge’s conclusions”.  She continued: “I very much regret that our decision will leave the wife in a very unhappy situation…On any view, the marriage is over”.

Mrs Owens’ appeal from this decision will be heard by the Supreme Court on 17th May 2018. 

Resolution, an organisation representing 6,500 solicitors and other professionals involved with family law issues, has been given permission to intervene in the appeal before the Supreme Court to raise further support for making no fault divorce available to divorcing couples.

The results of a study by Professor Liz Trinder at the University of Exeter, which was funded by The Nuffield Foundation, found that divorce petitions are often not accurate descriptions of why a marriage breaks down. In addition, the use of fault may trigger, or exacerbate, parental conflict, which has a negative impact upon children. The study also found no support for the common argument that allocating fault may help to protect marriages because having to give a reason makes people think twice about separating.

All members of the family team at Greene & Greene are Resolution members and support the introduction of no fault divorce.

It remains to be seen whether Mrs Owens will be successful in her appeal, but either way the case will create further publicity and put pressure on the Government to consider the introduction of “no fault divorce”.

For further advice following a relationship breakdown please contact Melanie Pilmer, solicitor in the Family Team at Greene & Greene on 01284 717418 or melaniepilmer@greene-greene.com.

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


Congratulations Team Greene & Greene !

Greene & Greene is on a winning streak when it comes to charitable events. So far this year #TeamGreene has been crowned champions at the Beckett Investment 30th Anniversary Wine Tasting Experience in aid of St. Nicholas Hospice Care in March, came 2nd in the Bury St. Edmunds Team Triathlon event in support of Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) at the Triathlon Festival in April, and May has kicked off with another 2nd place at the Knight’s Lowe Karting Tournament held last week at the Red Lodge Karting Circuit in aid of raising funds for St. Nicholas Hospice.

Congratulations to all of the teams that took part and also to the organisers for making the events fun, competitive and above all for raising essential funds for some amazing charities.

We still have lots more charity events to come in 2018 and with it being our 125th Anniversary year we are definitely aiming for a few more top spots on the podium!


Greene & Greene Celebrating 125 Years in Business

2018 marks the 125th Anniversary of the establishment of Bury St. Edmunds law firm, Greene & Greene Solicitors.  The firm has retained its roots in the town, but extended its reach throughout East Anglia and to other parts of the country. This has led to independent legal directories recommending Greene & Greene in each of the key areas in which it practices and such guides recognising the firm as “one of the leading practices in the region” with “exemplary client service”

Greene & Greene was founded in 1893 by John Wollaston Greene, who was joined shortly thereafter by his brother, Kenneth Wollaston Greene, and creating the name of the firm that it has retained to this day.  The brothers followed both their father and grandfather into the legal profession.  As well as establishing the firm, John was the Registrar of the Diocese and Legal Secretary to the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich and Registrar of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury.  The eagle eyed will spot references to him on the walls of St Edmundsbury Cathedral.  John’s wife, Eva Paulina Boughey, also had an impressive history of public service and was the first woman to serve as a councillor, as well as Mayor, of Bury St Edmunds (1927-1928 and again between 1932-1933).

The brothers were part of the well-known Greene family, whose members have included:

  • Graham Greene, the internationally-acclaimed author of Brighton Rock, The End of the Affair and The Quiet American
  • Benjamin Buck Greene, a Governor of the Bank of England
  • Sir Hugh Carleton Greene OBE, Director General of the BBC
  • Charles Raymond Greene, a famous Mountaineer who joined the fourth British Everest Expedition in 1933 as senior doctor
  • Benjamin Greene, John & Kenneth’s Great-Great Uncle, founder of the Greene King Brewery

Perhaps the firm’s most recognised member of staff was not a family member or a Senior Partner, but an articled clerk, John Le Mesurier.  He also followed his father into the legal profession, and joined Greene & Greene in 1930 to commence his legal training. John spent his spare time performing with local amateur dramatics groups and after just three years left the firm to pursue his dream, a career on stage and screen, which culminated in his renowned role as Sergeant Arthur Wilson in the BBC television sitcom ‘Dad's Army’ between 1968–77.

First established on Abbeygate Street, in 2017 the firm celebrated its 80th year at 80 Guildhall Street, a large Queen Anne house. Historically the street had been home to most of Bury St Edmunds’ legal and accountancy firms due to its proximity to the Corn Exchange, which was a convenient meeting place for landowners and business people in the region who were their clients.

Bury has seen a continuous increase in business activity over the past 50 years which has been reflected in the increase in the size of the firm.  The building has been extended many times and adjacent office space has been acquired to accommodate its growing workforce, which has increased to more than 80 with over 30 lawyers and 12 partners.

Its experienced team of lawyers offer a high level of professional expertise and specialised advice to both corporates and individuals through the full spectrum of legal issues.  2017 saw the firm advising on Suffolk’s largest farm sale, together with approximately one billion pounds worth of corporate transactions.

Stuart Hughes, Managing Partner for Greene & Greene comments: “Greene & Greene is different. Many of our lawyers have worked at larger firms but moved to Greene & Greene because they can enjoy a good quality of life here, but also provide an excellent service to good clients who, quite rightly, demand it. Our lawyers have years of experience in the areas on which they advise with most having a broad range of expertise. They also give constructive, practical advice to get our clients where they want to be in the most straightforward and efficient manner”.

Over recent years the firm has continued its history of public service with its support of charities, and community groups including:

  • Neil Walmsley acting as the Under Sherriff of Suffolk and as a Trustee of the Suffolk Community Foundation;
  • Sponsor of the Show Director’s Dinner at the Suffolk Show;
  • Participant in the Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds; 
  • Neil Grigg as a Governor of South Lee School;
  • Supporter and sponsor of various local sports teams;
  • Angharad Ellis Owen as a Governor of Moulton Primary School;
  • Supporter and significant benefactor of the St. Nicholas Hospice Care Wills Weeks;
  • Mark Daly as a Director and former Chairman of Our Bury St. Edmunds, the local Business Improvement District;
  • Corporate Patron of Bury Bach Choir;
  • Various lawyers being members of Round Table and Rotary groups; and
  • Sponsor of the second ‘Bury Tri Festival’ in support of the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) held in April 2018.

Greene & Greene’s office in the beautiful thriving town of Bury St Edmunds, is the perfect location with easy access from the A14. For 125 years clients and fellow professionals have been recommending the firm to others based upon their own personal experience, the quality of its service and its outstanding reputation.


For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

* This article was first published in the May Edition of Bury & West Suffolk Magazine.


Bury Tri Festival set to raise vital funds for Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS)


On Sunday 29th April, 330 athletes will take part in the 2nd Bury St. Edmunds Triathlon Festival held in support of voluntary emergency medical charity, Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) and sponsored by local law firm, Greene & Greene Solicitors.

The festival, being held at Abbeycroft Leisure in Bury St. Edmunds and organised by HaverSports, will see athletes take part in a variety of events including Triathlon, Aquathlon, and Duathlon with varying distances designed to suit all ages and abilities.

Michael Batty, senior partner at Greene & Greene Solicitors, said “We support many local events, charities and community groups and are delighted to be sponsoring the Bury Tri Festival in our 125th Anniversary year. SARS is an incredible charity, which depends on voluntary fundraising and donations in order to help treat patients at the scenes of serious incidents throughout Suffolk and its neighbouring counties.”

Since 1972, specialist medics from SARS have voluntarily attended thousands of critically ill and injured patients in and around Suffolk and helped save countless lives. SARS responders carry drugs and equipment not found on frontline ambulances and can carry out specialist procedures at an incident scene, which would not normally be possible outside a hospital environment. Sue Roots, Fundraising Officer for SARS said, “Our charity relies on donations to fund the equipment and training which enables our clinicians to provide the best possible level of prehospital care to the patients they treat. The awareness that this event has generated has been brilliant and the funds raised will help us tremendously. We wish everyone a successful day and thank them wholeheartedly for their support.” 

The organisers, SARS and Greene & Greene have praised the other businesses that have shown their support for this event, including: Bury Developments, Winfresh (UK) Ltd and official hydration partners – iPro Sport.

Sophie Christy, Commerical Director for iPro Sport commented, "We are delighted to be partnering with the 2018 St. Eds' Tri - The Greene & Greene Triathlon Festival supporting participants entered into all three disciplines (Triathlon, Aquathlon and Duathlon) with water and iPro Sport - a quality, low sugar, and fast rehydration sports drink. We were also keen to be involved to help further support the fantastic work of SARS - whose doctors and paramedics volunteer in their spare time to respond to emergency calls and who are often the first on the scene. We wish everyone involved the very best of luck and we hope that the event raises awareness and much needed funds for SARS!"

The Bury Tri Festival promises to be a great day out for the whole family and will also include demonstrations by the SARS team, specialist Bury St. Edmunds bike shop, Revel Outdoors and food and drink stalls to whet your appetite.

If you would like to make a donation to Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) you can do so by the following link: www.sars999.org.uk/donate

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