"Ian Holyoak is extremely knowledgeable and provides spot-on advice."

Legal 500 2020

I am a Partner in Michelmores’ Commercial team, collaborating on a diverse range of matters for businesses across the UK and further afield. I focus on advisory work for large corporates and investors, including in the energy sector, as well as having a specialism in competition and related areas of law.

Increasingly, our investor clients are focussed on sustainability, which has led recently to work for me within the nascent markets for credits derived from (for example) biodiversity net gain, nutrient neutrality and carbon sequestration. My previous experience in documenting arrangements for funding underpinned by credits created under the UN’s Clean Development mechanism (often then sold into the EU emissions trading scheme) has been put to good use.

I trained, qualified as a lawyer (on the same day as our first fax machine was delivered) and worked on corporate transactions for several years in London in private practice, before a very interesting few years as General Counsel and latterly Company Secretary of a listed mining, minerals and chemicals group, operating globally.

I then joined Michelmores, at that time located in very traditional offices opposite Exeter Cathedral; helping out on a ‘temporary’ basis on a particular project, while I looked for a longer-term role. 19 years later, I continue to be part of a remarkable journey for the Firm, which is now around five times as big as when I joined, although no longer in possession of a fax machine.

My work regularly takes me back to London and I am also a frequent visitor to our Bristol office. I am proud to be top-ranked by the leading independent guide, Legal 500 and listed in their ‘Hall of Fame’.  I still enjoy helping clients with their challenges, as much as I did when first watching words on thermal paper appear magically from the buzzing innards of a new-fangled telecommunications device.

Recent experience

Supporting an investment fund and target business with template, commercial documentation for the sale of biodiversity net gain credits; including monitoring the passage of key UK primary and secondary legislation and adapting the templates to align with the regulatory environment.

Advising a large business in the food production sector on its merger with a competitor, including guiding them through a drawn out Phase 1 investigation by the CMA, dealing with a monitoring trustee and obtaining regulatory clearance for the transaction.

Supporting a number of overseas investors on renewable energy and low-carbon projects funded by credits under the UN’s clean development mechanisms, including related option and emissions reduction purchase agreements

Advising on a wide range of high-value contracts, including opposite public-sector counterparties, for an international business in the transport sector.

Guiding a digital media company through the merger control / competition law implications of its takeover by a larger competitor, including applications for several derogations from enforcement orders, and the successful navigation of a Phase 1 investigation by the CMA.