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  1. Commercial litigation: Norwich
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Who Represents Who

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Mills & Reeve LLP is 'excellent, it is in the top tier of firms in the region', according to one barrister. One client reports 'an excellent level of service, pragmatic and helpful advice, and excellent value for money'. 'Very high-class litigator' and head of dispute resolution Rachel Higgs is 'highly experienced and competent, and gives very direct and realistic advice to clients; she is user-friendly and has superb judgment'. She recently acted for litigation funder 1st Class Legal Limited, which is now in liquidation, in an $7.6m action proceeding in Chicago, US, for breach of contract and misrepresentation. The claim was successfully settled. Another highlight from 2017 was her work for The One Group, which was threatened with injunctive proceedings by a competitor, Brand Recruitment Limited, following the loss of four its employees to the client. The acrimonious dispute was successfully settled, with no proceedings for breach of covenant and breach of confidentiality pursued. Higgs and experienced associate Jenny Williams also acted for Able UK Limited and NWG UK Limited, and their shareholders, in a £46m claim against a firm of accountants. Senior associate Harriet Wells, who has specialised in commercial dispute resolution since 1980, is also recommended.

Birketts LLP's pre-eminent litigation practice in Norwich handles cases up to and including the Supreme Court level, as well as representing clients in mediations, arbitrations and expert determinations. Practice head Paul Matthews and partner Max Roessler are the leading lights of the practice and have broad experience in commercial contract disputes, partnership disputes and many other contentious matters. Senior associate Robert Tiffen 'has a strong eye for detail and makes considered decisions; his actions are both proactive and robust'. Among Matthews' highlights was his defence of a client in Commercial Court proceedings against a claim by Capita Insurance Services PLC for an indemnity provided under a sale and purchase agreement by which the client sold his interest in insurance broker Sureterm Direct Limited. At appeal the claim was unanimously dismissed. Among the firm's clients are Norwich City FC, Norwich Airport, Norfolk & Norwich Hospital and offshore energy services company Sembmarine SLP.

Howes Percival LLP¬†is known for¬†‚Äėgreat customer service‚Äė from a ‚Äėknowledgable and experienced team‚Äė. The firm has 'excellent commercial litigators who are particularly well experienced in handling large and complex government litigation; they are tactically astute and very commercial in their approach'.¬†Alison Kirby¬†leads the practice in Norwich and is recommended for her¬†‚Äėattention to detail, clarity, speed of response and reliability‚Äė. The firm handles high-value, urgent, complex and high-profile regional, national and cross-border commercial disputes, as well as acting for¬† government departments in high-stakes litigation. Kirby recently handled a multimillion-pound case in the financial services sector, which involved a longstanding fraud by financial advisors. She also acted for the operator of a hotel in a dispute arising from contracts negotiated without authority by a former employee.¬†Director¬†Gordon Simpson¬†has more than 20 years' experience in contentious matters, particularly in the energy sector.

The dispute resolution practice at Fosters has an experienced bench of talent. Veteran litigator Adrian Newborough, who has more than 25 years' experience, has a busy caseload in the County Court and High Court, and frequently appears before public inquiries and tribunals. Chris Fielding has a strong track record in pursuing and defending claims in the High Court and County Court in relation to financial matters, goods and services, insolvency, intellectual property rights, land cases and contentious probate.

The litigation and dispute resolution department at Leathes Prior has extensive experience in court, as well as in alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, conciliation, expert adjudication and negotiation. Mike Barlow leads the practice, which acts for small and large businesses based in Norfolk, as well as companies with a national scope, including those in sectors such as healthcare, accounting, haulage, offshore oil and gas, and construction. Barlow has been a litigator for more than 20 years' and he calls upon an experienced team that includes Darren Bowen, David Richards and talented associate Polly Langford. Martin Plowman is a leading light for mediation and has more than 30 years' experience as a litigator. He runs the firm's national mediation practice, mediation1st, which is among the market leaders in the UK.

Rogers and Norton¬†is ‚Äėvery good indeed; the team always responds promptly,¬†demonstrates great commercial awareness and is value for money‚Äė. Key partners include ‚Äėexpert commercial¬†litigator‚Äė Peter Hastings¬†and Phil Kerridge. The firm recently won a case in the High Court that allowed a company to continue trading after its alcohol licence had been revoked. Another High Court case saw the practice win an injunction against an individual on behalf of a major regional business following defamation of its brand on social media. The firm is also seeing a growing flow of work from HMRC, which includes cases arising from duty on imported goods seized at the UK border. Other cases saw the firm obtain a civil restraint order for a national business and successfully settle a ¬£3.4m shareholder's claim at mediation.

At Clapham & Collinge Solicitors¬†‚Äėthe service is very good, the advice is sound and the lawyers know what they are doing‚Äė. Norwich is the main hub for litigation, though the practice serves clients through all four of the firm's offices in East Anglia.¬†Mark Kermez¬†leads the litigation team and handles a broad range of complex matters including¬†tax disputes, commercial disputes, consumer rights cases and trustee litigation.¬†'Very professional and enthusiastic' consultant Philip Lumb¬†is ‚Äėvery supportive, clear about the options and which path we clients can follow; he ¬†is prompt, fair and honest'.¬†'His guidance was exemplary and he is so obviously a person with competence in legal matters', says a client of the 'courteous and punctual'¬†Michael Olmer. One significant case from 2017 saw Kermez advise Diamond Services EA Limited on proceedings brought by Norwich City Council for the display of advertisements without permission.

Steeles Law¬†is¬†‚Äėexcellent ‚Äď very professional but approachable and very efficient‚Äė. The firm lost practice head and barrister Tom Bailey¬†to local rival¬†Ashtons Legal, but it still retains a three-lawyer disputes practice led by legal executive and Resolution member¬†Denise Traube. Traube focuses mainly on debt recovery matters, but her commercial litigation practice is now expanding. Last year, the firm handled a ¬£225,000 case against¬†a leading energy company, subsequent to which extensive costs proceedings were pursued on behalf of the client.

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