Stephen Sykes

Head of Environment, Climate and Sustainability Law
Commercial Property

Stephen is a leading environmental and insurance lawyer, specialising in mitigating ESG liabilities for corporates, lenders and public sector bodies.  

Stephen advises environmental and construction insurers on non-litigious issues. He is a specialist in ESG, contaminated land and environmental insurance and has co-founded several successful ventures in the environmental data, insurance and consulting sectors, providing legal, practical and commercial advice to entrepreneurs, start-ups and other early-stage businesses.

He is managing partner of The Sykes Partnership LLP and is an experienced chair and Non-Executive Director of environmental organisations. He is Past Chair of the UK  Environmental Law Association (2015-17) and has chaired several scientific consultancies.

He is a Visiting Fellow at Birkbeck College’s Centre for Innovation Management Research, which is part of the University of London, where he tutors postgraduate students from around the world on the Entrepreneurial Venture Creation course.

He is a director of Ashfield Risk Transfer Solutions – a specialist independent broker of environmental, construction, planning and legal indemnity insurance solutions which are used to facilitate complex commercial transactions.

He has the rare gift of being both an excellent lawyer and a sound and innovative entrepreneur. He also has a genuine commitment to protection of the environment, sustainable business and the synergy between the two.”

Stephen Tromans, QC, 39 Essex Chambers


  • Worked on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill helping BP to quantify its financial provision for the world’s most expensive pollution incident (>$50bn).
  • Chaired Europe’s leading environmental law professional association – the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) between 2015-2017. He set up UKELA’s Brexit Task Force to assist the devolved administrations with the management of the complex implications which leaving the EU will have on environmental laws. His leadership of UKELA was recognised by Lord Carnwath as ‘strong and innovative’.
  • Presented paper on land contamination to a forum of 125 environmental judges at the National Judges College in Beijing in December 2017.
  • Environmental law
  • Corporate due diligence relating environmental liabilities
  • Contaminated / brownfield sites
  • Remediation
  • Green buildings / leases
  • Environmental data to support property transactions and development
  • Environmental permits / licences
  • Environmental insurance claims
  • Water pollution
  • Air pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Climate risk management


  • Consultant, Capital Law Limited (Mar 2021 – present)
  • Managing Partner, The Sykes Partnership (Jun 2004 – present)
  • Director, Ashfield Risk Transfer Solutions (2016 – present)
  • Legal Consultant, Building LifePlans Ltd (Mar 2005 – Feb 2020)
  • Group Head of Environmental Liability Solutions, WSP Environmental Limited (Jun 2004 – Feb 2008)
  • Legal Director, Certa (UK) Limited (May 1995 – Apr 2004)
  • Environmental Solicitor, Addleshaw Goddard (Sept 1990 – Dec 1995)


  • De Montfort University: MA, Environmental Law (1992 – 1995)
  • College of Law, Chester: Law Society Finals (1989 – 1990)
  • Magdalen College, University of Oxford: LLB Civil Laws (1987 – 1989)
  • University of Lancaster: LLB, Law (1983 – 1986)

Memberships / Trustee Positions

  • Honorary Member of UKELA (Apr 1996 – present)


  • French