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Do I need a specialist dental lawyer when buying or selling a practice?


We’re in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and dentists are not exempt. When buying or selling a dental practice — likely one of the most important decisions in your life — cashflow is key. So should you spend money instructing a specialist dental lawyer or go with a generalist ‘high street’ option?

In our latest Q&A with leading law firm Brabners, corporate law and dental specialists Eugene Pena and Kirsty McKenzie-Hopkins weigh up the pros and cons.

Niche area of law

On average, dental sales and purchases take around six months to complete. However, this can be extended by a range of external factors, so a deep level of understanding and forward planning is key.

Law, like dentistry, has its specialist areas. The rules and regulations affecting the dental industry can be subject to change at both national and local levels. Instructing a specialist dental lawyer ensures that the advice you’re receiving is in-line with the most up to date law.

Dealing with complexities

There are also many dental-specific complexities during the buying or selling process that only those with years of sector expertise will know how to navigate. These include the transfer of NHS contracts from sellers to buyers, ensuring that the correct CQC (Care Quality Commission) applications are carried out, the transfer of capitation schemes and conducting due diligence.

For buyers, entering into an agreement without asking the right questions could be a costly mistake. It’s critical to take due care in reviewing all documents thoroughly. Any terms that are out of the ordinary in a standard general dental services (GDS) contract will be picked up by specialist dental lawyers, who review these regularly.

For sellers, the need to respond to specific questions about the NHS, CQC and capitation schemes is very common.

Providing tailored advice

A specialist dental lawyer will ask the right questions — tailored to your specific circumstances — and will ensure effective collaborative between you and your legal team. This is essential for smooth transactions. If issues arise, you need a legal team that can draw on its experience to get all parties back on track.

High street lawyers with little or no experience in dental practice sales and purchases may take longer to understand the process and suggest an appropriate strategy. This could cause huge delays, spiralling costs and ultimately jeopardise transactions.

Before you instruct a lawyer, think carefully about the level of support and experience you need.

How we can help

We are proud to provide market-leading legal solutions to dental practices across the UK. Our dental team contains true specialists who understand the unique pressures you face.

We play an active role in the market for dental practice sales and purchases, working alongside third-party brokers to ensure smooth transactions. Advice is provided across multiple specialist practice areas, including practice sales and acquisitions, property acquisition or leasing, property disputes, regulatory (including a CQC application service), fitness to practise, litigation, international recruitment, employment and litigation.

Talk to us by calling 0151 600 3000 or complete our contact form and have a member of our team get in touch.

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