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Commended for its β€˜strength-in-depth’ Addleshaw Goddard is β€˜first-rate in handling complex and sensitive litigation, and obtains optimal results’. The team’s recent track record includes handling a number of competition law claims, as well as complex, high-profile commercial mandates spanning procurement, public and administrative law, judicial review, pensions, fraud, tax and IP. Highlights included defending Stansted Airport in an abuse of dominance competition law claim relating to the termination of the licence held by Terravision Transport, and others members of the Terravision group of companies, to operate coach services between the airport and central London after Terravision was unsuccessful in a competitive tender. It also represented Pillbox 38 UK in the conclusion its legal challenge to the Tobacco Products Directive 2014, which imposed new regulations on the manufacture, sale and marketing of electronic cigarettes from May 2016; and defended Natalie Roche, a UK-based distributor of beauty products, in an attempt by EstΓ©e Lauder, through one of its subsidiaries, GlamGlow, to terminate a distribution agreement, following EstΓ©e Lauder's acquisition of GlamGlow. PZ Cussons, NKT Group, Delta and Capita are also clients. Standout figures include Mark Molyneux, who is a β€˜very skilled litigator’; Susan Garrett, who β€˜brings excellent judgement to bear on any case’; Jonathan Tattersall, who heads the construction, engineering and environmental disputes team; and John Gosling, who is recommended for professional negligence disputes. Also recommended are legal director Clare Dwyer, who is a commercial and public law litigator, β€˜very astute’ managing associate Paul Rowley, and associates Nick Ashcroft and Fiona Walker.

Clients of DLA Piper UK LLP’s litigation team are quick to praise its β€˜excellent service’. It regularly handles litigation arising from private equity and corporate transactions, often with an international dimension, and has particular strengths in the outsourcing and technology sectors. The team defended two designated members of MicroFusion in a common law derivative claim brought by another member of MicroFusion, and is acting for Maven Capital Partners UK on claims for fraud, conspiracy, breach of warranty, breach of covenant and misrepresentation, brought against two individuals and an international law firm following investment in a group of companies. The team is also acting for Tata Steel in a long-running dispute with its water supplier concerning the price of supply of non-potable water for use at three sites in Wales. Brother International Europe, KlΓΆckner Pentaplast, Matalan and Pets at Home are also clients. Key figures include Stewart Plant, who heads the department; David Gray, who leads on manufacturing dipsutes; Andrew Smith, who handles complex transactional and shareholder disputes and is joint UK lead for the firm's international corporate and securities litigation group; and Jonathan Eatough, who advises on disputes arising from M&A, infrastructure projects, and PFI and PPP arrangements. Legal director Nicola Higgins and senior associates Philip Williams, Leontia McArdle and Krystle Robinson are also recommended.

DWF’s β€˜very responsive’ team provides an β€˜excellent service’ and covers a range of disputes including breach of warranty cases, indemnity claims, and shareholder and partnership. Jon Hainey is representing Lancashire County Council in a judicial review of DEFRA’s decision to withdraw a grant worth Β£90m, following the council’s termination of a Β£2bn PFI contract to provide waste recycling and disposal across Lancashire. Claire Graham acted for The Insolvency Service in a court application to disqualify directors of Rice Flame Bar & Grill, which operated from various locations in Manchester. WM Morrison, United Utilities Water and Serco Group are also clients. National head of commercial litigation, Joel Heap is β€˜extremely professional and totally understanding of the client’s needs and goals’; he is recommended alongside Steve Morris, who is head of commercial litigation in Manchester and is β€˜a superb strategist who works tirelessly for his clients’. Other key figures include the β€˜very experienced’ Andrew Harris; Lee Norman, who handles professional negligence claims; director Chris Gee, who is β€˜outstanding’ and β€˜understands how important it is to make commercial decisions during litigation’; and senior associates Zoryana Jurczyszyn and Nicole Burton.

Noted for providing β€˜technical expertise that is second to none’, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s β€˜approach is clearly well reasoned and based on great expertise and experience’. the team, which is β€˜able to rival litigation departments of Magic Circle firms’, acts for large North West corporates, as well as corporates with national and global coverage. It is defending Royal Bank of Canada Trust Company (Jersey) in litigation brought by two individuals relating to royalties arising out of a feature film; and is representing Manchester Airport in a claim against Ten Group under a guarantee arising out of the termination of an advertising contract with Airport Advertising UK. The team continues to represent three companies within the Wockhardt group in an Β£80m litigation brought by Teva Pharmaceuticals; and is representing Managed Communications in a number of breach of warranty and fraud claims relating to its acquisition of Infinicom Communications. Thomas Cook, TATA Chemicals, Manchester United and Daisy Communications are also clients. Michael Clavell-Bate and Matt Taylor, who is noted for his β€˜calm approach’, head the team. Principal associates Tom Whitfield and Phil Duignan, who joined from DWF in July 2016, are also recommended alongside associate Luisa Zukowski.

Hill Dickinson LLP fields a β€˜strong and capable team’ that handles a range of complex litigation and arbitration. Recent highlights include several large, multi-party group litigation cases. β€˜Real fighter’ Geraldine Ryan heads the team and is noted for his β€˜robust advice’; she is representing Manchester Ship Canal Company in a dispute with General Motors UK regarding rights relating to drainage, and is acting for new client Vynova Wilmshelmshaven on issues arising out of the purchase of a UK-based business from Inovyn Chlorvinyls. Peter Southeran (who β€˜always sees the route through a case’) is representing a high-net-worth individual in a Β£150m case against an accountancy firm, and led the team representing the estate of PC David Rathband in a liability case against the Chief Constable of Northumbria Police. β€˜Unflappable’ legal director Christopher Tyrrell is an β€˜up-and-coming star’ and attracts praise for his β€˜very analytical approach and good commercial skills’. Tyrrell defended NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group in a procurement challenge by an unsuccessful bidder. International Cotton Association, Swinton Insurance, Pig Improvement Company and Dechra Pharmaceuticals are also clients. Also recommended are Iain Campbell, who has a particular specialism in handling higher education sector claims; professional support lawyer Moya Clifford, who is noted for her β€˜command of heavy technical detail’; and senior associate Alex Smith.

Noted for its β€˜no-nonsense, robust representation’, Brabners LLP’s team is particularly experienced in disputes related to the sports and recruitment sectors and is regularly called on to handle law firm partnership disputes and shareholder disputes. Key work included issuing judicial review proceedings on behalf of Rullion Engineering in relation to a dispute regarding the manner in which a public body designed and conducted a tender process; defending Swimming Championships 2016 in complaints made by competitors of the London 2016 Arena European Master Swimming Championships; and acting for Keppel Healthcare in recovering outstanding rent arrears from a public body tenant. International Sports Management, Begbies Traynor and Cooper Property Services are also clients. Clients single out β€˜exceptional’ department head Jeff Lewis.

Clients of DAC Beachcroft LLP rate its β€˜fantastic level of service’ and β€˜speedy response times’. The practice acts for global organisations in high-profile and high-value disputes, often with a cross-border element. Department head Jan Levinson (who is β€˜very wise’) acted for a former cabinet minister in claims against Mirror Group Newspapers arising from the unlawful obtaining and misuse of personal information. Harald Loeffler represented the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in a Β£15m dispute with its former Non-Emergency Patient Transport provider, SRCL. Other clients include Manchester United, BAE Systems, Royal Mail Group, DHL Management Services and Sir Bradley Wiggins. Also recommended are the β€˜very experienced’ Sydney Fulda and senior associate Vicki Bates, who is β€˜very responsive, commercial and practical’ and has specialist expertise in disputes involving insolvency practitioners.

According to clients, Pinsent Masons LLP’s β€˜technically excellent’ team is β€˜the full package; it has great litigators who are commercially minded, efficient and personable’. It handles a broad spectrum of commercial litigation cases, often with a cross-border element. It is particularly noted for its expertise in sports, media and entertainment litigation, as well as regulatory disputes. Highlights included acting for Allied Irish Bank (AIB) in multimillion-pound proceedings brought by an individual alleging AIB was not entitled to repayment of sums loaned and secured against properties and that AIB fraudulently signed documents. It is also representing The Green Home Company (South) as one of twelve claimants in a multi-party claim against the now-defunct Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) relating to a proposal by the DECC to reduce feed-in tariffs within the solar power industry. Manchester City Football Club & City Football Group, Everton Football Club and Balfour Beatty are also clients. Department head Julian Diaz-Rainey is a β€˜superb lawyer, strategist, and commands a very strong team’. He is ably assisted by senior associates Andrew Mitchell (who is a β€˜very savvy commercial litigator with good instincts’) and Jo Seed, who is β€˜a very safe pair of hands’ and β€˜just the kind of person you want assisting you in large-scale and complex litigation’. Associate Michael Hannon is also recommended.

Following a series of recent hires, JMW Solicitors LLP is β€˜becoming the new force in the North West for commercial litigation’, with clients singling out its combination of β€˜a keen understanding of the law with an understanding of clients’ aims and objectives’; β€˜it never loses sight of the importance of commerciality in commercial litigation’. The team handles a raft of contentious commercial matters in a range of sectors, including sports, e-commerce and media. It is representing Megtec Environmental in a four-party dispute involving construction works for a waste management site and is acting for over 5000 employees of WM Morrisons in a group litigation claim against WM Morrisons arising from a leak of payroll information in 2014. The Hut Group, Manchester Building Society and Smart Parking are also clients. Marc Yaffe heads the team, which includes consultant Michael Kennedy, who joined from Slater and Gordon in 2016 and has β€˜a huge amount of experience and tactical nous’; Mark Jones, who β€˜always talks the client’s language’; the β€˜excellent’ Andrew Farrell; and Nick McAleenan. Other new recruits include Graham Small, who joined from LHS Solicitors LLP, and senior associate Claire Brown, who joined from Kennedys. Senior associate Ben Miller is also recommended.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP fields a team of β€˜really strong litigators’ that is β€˜highly effective at getting results’ and is β€˜increasingly active in arbitration cases’. Its wide-ranging commercial client base includes several international companies, as well as high-profile entrepreneurs, sports stars, lenders and SMEs. The team acted for Turtle Bay Restaurants in a contractual dispute with Npower Direct and acted for Character World in a settlement enforcement matter. Beech Holdings, BeautyBay.com, Harnbury Holdings, Chase de Vere Financial Services and Robert McBride Ltd are also clients. Team head Andrew Weinberg (who β€˜really knows his stuff and is quick to build a rapport’) handles professional negligence claims relating to valuers’ and solicitors’ negligence, as well as providing VAT and tax advice. Damian Bailey, who is experienced in shareholder disputes, is β€˜highly intellectual and leaves no stone unturned’. David Jones, who was promoted to partner in 2016, is β€˜excellent at getting results, even in difficult cases, and has a real eye for finding commercial solutions’. Daniel Fitzgerald recently joined DWF.

Pannone Corporate LLP attracts praise for its β€˜good commercial advice’ and β€˜very responsive’ service. The practice acted for Community Safety Development (UK) in a data protection dispute, and defended Turley Associates in a multimillion-pound claim brought by Henley Healthcare. Boohoo.com, Conviviality, Cotton Traders, DB Cargo, DHL Express and Iceland Frozen Foods are also clients. Team head Paul Jonson is β€˜very experienced and knowledgeable’ and David Brown is singled out for his β€˜commercial acumen and no-nonsense advice’. Also recommended are the β€˜very able’ Nicola Marchant and associate partner Martin Pennington.

Clients of Squire Patton Boggs appreciate its β€˜global support structure’ and its β€˜ability to communicate in simple terms’. It has a particular focus on the chemical, manufacturing, IT and financial services sectors, and is also developing its offering in the data breach and cyber security sphere. Highlights included acting for the representative beneficiary in an application to court for rectification of three trust deeds for the Leisure Connection Pension Scheme; and representing Instem Clinical in a breach of contract claim by a customer for failure to pay for a software licence and associated services. Contact Holdings instructed the team in a Β£1m claim against its insurer following the failure of a printing press at its site in Stockport. Assetz SME Capital, GB Group, Graham & Brown and SSP are also clients. Department head Victoria Leigh is β€˜practical, reliable, proactive and calm’ and has β€˜considerable technical expertise in pensions and financial services, as well as broad commercial and litigation experience’. Lucci Dammone specialises in company and commercial disputes, professional negligence claims, and pensions, IT, franchising and partnership disputes. Senior associate Mike Caird is also recommended.

Weightmans LLP houses β€˜a wealth of talent’, enabling it to handle a range of complex contentious commercial matters, including IP, civil fraud and franchise disputes. It is also noted for its public and financial sector expertise. 116 Cardamon instructed the team in a Β£2.4m breach of warranty claim arising from a share sale and purchase agreement; in another highlight the team acted for Joseph Gleave & Son in an Β£8m procurement challenge against the MoD. It is also representing Slush Puppie in a dispute with the ICEE Company. Gulf Marine Contracting FZE, Wainhomes (North West) and Thomas Cook Airlines are also clients. National team head Robert Jones is β€˜a real fighter and provides a quality legal serviced informed by a real commercial awareness’. He is assisted by the β€˜pragmatic’ Richard Corran, who β€˜takes a tough line against opponents’, and professional negligence specialist Carole Spiller, who β€˜has great rapport with clients, is incredibly hardworking and dedicated, and achieves great results’. Key figures at associate level include Josh Conroy, who is β€˜a very good lawyer, with an ability to command great detail in all manner of cases’; Danielle Best; and Joanne Williams. Damian Carter recently joined from Berg.

The β€˜first-rate’ department at Gateley Plc is particularly known for its expertise in the sports and healthcare sectors, and the team is often instructed on cross-border disputes. Clients include British Medical Association, British Sub-Aqua Club and Chubb Insurance. Department head Sarah Sabin has β€˜in-depth experience’ of complex multi-party disputes and surety claims. Janine Allen handles corporate, partnership and shareholder disputes and professional negligence claims, and is experienced in healthcare-sector litigation. Associate Nick Murrills is noted for his experience in the sports-sector and acts for the North West Counties Squash League on a range of instructions. Senior associate Nicola Richardson is also recommended.

Mills & Reeve LLP impresses with its β€˜client care’ and β€˜commercial and strategic acumen’. It acts in cases across a wide variety of sectors including food, agribusiness, sport, waste, education, manufacturing, and private wealth. Highlights included defending Jatinderjit Bhullar, Bhullar Bros and Bhullar Developments in a Β£1.2m double derivative claim; and representing Ripple Developments in a Β£1.2m breach of contract claim. It also defended Phoenix Wholesale Distribution in an Β£8.4m claim from a pharmacy chain arising out of the alleged sale of patent-infringing generic drugs. Remondis UK, Bidfresh and Global Group are also clients. Team head Richard Dawson-Gerrard is β€˜not afraid of a fight’ and demonstrates β€˜impressive knowledge’. The β€˜first-rate’ Simon Pedley handles a range of corporate and commercial disputes, as well as contentious trust cases. Principal associate Sandra Morrison β€˜grapples with issues quickly’ and operates the firm’s German desk.

Shoosmiths LLP attracts praise for its β€˜prompt and pragmatic legal advice’ and handles a range of commercial disputes including product liability, shareholder, policy coverage, defamation, and pensions cases. It represented GlaxoSmithKline UK in a Β£2m product liability case, and acted for Chubb Insurance in a multi-party High Court product liability claim following a goods lift failure. The team also receives a number of product liability instructions from Hoover. MD Insurance Services, Carewatch Care Services and University of Bolton are also clients. Department head Kath Livingston is β€˜a talented lawyer who can competently address commercial matters with a robust, pragmatic legal solution’. Senior associate Richard Marshall handles a raft of commercial insurance and product liability matters.

TLT is noted for its β€˜good legal knowledge; its advice is always thoughtfully considered and the approach is always thorough’. The team, which is experienced in the retail, leisure and utilities sectors, acted for Lee Westwood Golf Schools in a dispute involving unpaid fees, which led to a multi-layered investigation into the business of the school and its partners. It also defended ASD Westok in a Β£2.6m contractual dispute arising out of the construction of a large supermarket, and acted for CityFibre regarding an injunction for trespass concerning its network of fibre-optic assets in Coventry. Boohoo.com, Home Retail Group and Farmcare Trading are also clients. Team head Emma Flower is β€˜robust, very sharp, understands clients and quickly gets to the heart of a case’; she has developed a specialist practice in export controls and sanctions. Julien Luke is also recommended. Former team head John Lord joined Knights Professional Services Limited in November 2016.

Turner Parkinson LLP β€˜punches above its weight’ and is involved in an increasing number of high-profile matters and multimillion-pound disputes for high-net-worth individuals, large national and international companies, plcs, and investors. Its recent highlights include acting in large-value shareholder and commercial fraud actions; breach of warranty claims arising out of corporate transactions; and acting in multimillion-pound claims against banking institutions and lenders. The team is headed by Ian Fitzpatrick, who is a β€˜tough litigator’ who β€˜handles big cases with ease’, and includes the β€˜creative’ Lisa Shacklock, who β€˜never misses a trick’.

BLM’s β€˜pro-active and thorough’ team has β€˜an expert sense of the realities of litigation’, and is β€˜a leading player in the insurance-backed commercial litigation market in and around Manchester’. It acts for a range of insurers, multinational corporations, SMEs, public sector organisations and high-net-worth individuals. Zurich, Ecclesiastical, Allianz, Chubb and J Sainsbury are clients. Team head Robert Steele handles high-value and complex policy coverage, property damage, construction and engineering matters, as well as product liability disputes. Catherine Mangham, who has β€˜a high reputation as a litigator in the commercial insurance market’, and Nick Bond, who is β€˜an excellent technical lawyer’, are also recommended.

Berg acts in a range of commercial disputes for SMEs, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals, and is particularly experienced in banking and finance-related litigation. It is representing the claimants in a Β£30m case against RBS, which involves breach of contract, misrepresentation, breach of duty of care, and currency manipulation claims. Sixt, Arnold Laver Holdings and Euro Hotels Group are also clients. Department head Andrew Davidson recently joined from Knights Professional Services Limited. Reuben Berg, Alison Loveday, John Colvin, and Daniel Brumpton are also recommended. Former department head Damian Carter joined Weightmans LLP.

Browne Jacobson LLP handles high-value commercial litigation and is particularly active in Commercial Court cases, with an emphasis on the insurance, public sector and healthcare sectors. It is continuing to represent Ted Baker and No Ordinary Designer Label in a high-profile claim against AXA Insurance UK and two co-insurers, and represented Cornwall Council in a Β£160m Commercial Court case against BT. DPD Group, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, NHS Commissioning Board and Celtheath are also clients. Department head Nichola Evans has β€˜fantastic commercial judgement and strategic nous; she is calm and collected under pressure and is capable of turning around complex and voluminous tasks in a surprisingly short period of time. Her experience shines through and lights the way.’ Associate Katie Scott is also recommended.

Irwin Mitchell’s β€˜responsive and understanding’ team is β€˜knowledgeable and professional’ and acts for a range of corporate and financial-sector clients in high-value disputes. Highlights included representing The Co-operative Bank in proceedings against Deutsche Bank, Hayes Freehold (in liquidation), Sentrum (Hayes) and Sentrum Holdings, concerning a facility provided to Hayes Freehold. It also defended Ascentis in a high-value breach of contract claim. Team head Duncan Hope is β€˜an experienced litigator’ and has β€˜a very effective and measured approach’.

Kennedys is particularly well-known for its expertise in insurance-related disputes and is increasingly handling instructions involving fraud, often with a cross-border element. Recent highlights include defending Allied Irish Bank (AIB) in interest rate hedging product claims, and is acting for a claimant in a high-value fraud case. Consultant Anne Kershaw is β€˜very highly regarded’.

Linder Myers’ expertise spans shareholder and partnership cases, high-value professional negligence claims, and contractual, banking and property-related disputes. Team head Peter Kaye brings β€˜a wealth of experience’ and is adept at complex High Court and County Court litigation cases, and often acts for overseas clients on complex, cross-jurisdiction issues. William O’Neill and senior associate Paul Magee are also recommended.

Nexus Solicitors Limited delivers β€˜excellent client service’ and handles a range of commercial litigation cases, including matters regarding the alleged mis-selling of mortgage and other financial products. The team is acting in a professional negligence claim against solicitors who advised on arrangements to enforce security over a piece of land and an associated sale of the land. The team also represented an international company in a mediation involving a Singapore-based company. Team head Chris Pugh acts in high-value cases involving professional negligence, and contractual and financial issues. He is assisted by Debbie Whiteley, who specialises in property litigation, and Andrew Tonge, who handles insolvency-related cases.

Clarke Willmott LLP acts for owners, directors and shareholders of plcs, medium and small businesses and major financial institutions in disputes across the retail, banking, finance, renewable energy, sport and technology sectors. Its expertise covers shareholder disputes, complex contractual disputes, defamation, and breach of confidential information cases. Team head John Flint joined the firm in April 2016 from Linder Myers.

Farleys Solicitors LLP draws on its network of offices across the region to handle a wide range of commercial disputes including breach of contract claims, IP disputes, commercial landlord and tenant matters, professional negligence claims and shareholder disputes. Sports-related matters are also a key area of specialism. Daniel Draper heads the team and is experienced in professional negligence, as well as sports-related work. Solicitor Richard Yates is also a key member of the team in Manchester.

Stripes Solicitors, which is commended for its β€˜insight, quality and speed of service’, handles a range of contentious commercial cases covering shareholder and partnership disputes, employment, professional negligence, insurance, banking and finance, insolvency and contract litigation. Property and construction litigation is also a key area of expertise. The team continues to act for major insolvency practitioners including Begbies Traynor, Leonard Curtis, KPMG, RSM Tenon, Baker Tilly, FRP Advisory and Wilson Field. It also acts in construction disputes on behalf of liquidators. Managing director Andrew Stripe is β€˜an extremely competent litigator and is always able to achieve a fair and commercial result’.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP focuses on procurement challenges, judicial review and contentious insolvency cases, acting on behalf of claimants and defendants, owner-managed businesses and high-net-worth individuals. It is also noted for its contentious public law practice. The team acted for numerous law firms in the duty solicitors’ scheme litigation in the High Court challenging the Legal Aid Agency's procurement for duty provider contracts. It also represented four criminal defence law firms in a judicial review case. Rowlinson Constructions, Begbies Traynor, MyDentist and Equity Homes Group are also clients. Senior associate Dan Butler heads the team in Manchester, while London-based Lucy James is the national team head.

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Legal Developments in North West for Commercial litigation: Manchester

  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was β€˜in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be β€˜recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

    - Macfarlanes

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