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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > North > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the North

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the North
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Elizabeth Black - Baines Wilson LLP

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Abigail Zuk - Swinburne Maddison

Archers Law LLP's 'tight-knit and knowledgeable' team received a major boost in 2018 with the arrival of Kenton Bazeley, who now leads the team, from Tilly Bailey & Irvine. The group handles the spectrum of commercial litigation for both claimants and defendants, with experience in disputes regarding suppliers, shareholders and restrictive covenants. On top of this, it also handles professional negligence claims and contentious probate matters involving commercial entities.

Practice head(s):Kenton Bazeley

Other key lawyers:Helen Lyne; Richard Flounders


'All members of the team are very professional and responsive'

'The expertise of various members of the team is second to none'

'Kenton Bazeley's astute and informed insight into complex issues make clients feel secure that they have the best legal team on their side'

In Carlisle, Baines Wilson LLP is instructed on a range of contentious matters, including partnership and shareholder disputes and professional negligence claims. Other areas of expertise include disputes pertaining to insurance, construction and engineering, as well as intellectual property. The team is particularly geared towards clients in the agricultural, construction and professional services sectors. Elizabeth Black leads the team.

Practice head(s):Elizabeth Black

Other key lawyers:Caroline Rayner; Imogen Duck

Work highlights

  • Represented client A in a claim against valuers who prepared a negligent valuation of a residential development; the matter settled shortly after mediation.
  • Represent client A in a complex unfair prejudice claim and in associated proceedings for declaratory relief and before the Employment Tribunal.
  • Acted for Company A in an action for injunctive relief and damages.
  • Acted for Company A in a claim against their former accountants; the claim settled shortly following mediation.
  • Represent Company A in connection with various claims against the former finance director for breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent misrepresentation and/or claims under the Companies Act.

Carlisle firm Burnetts has a diverse commercial disputes team, which specialises in agricultural, land and property disputes, commercial disputes and contentious trusts and probate. The practice also houses a debt and property recovery unit, supporting clients across the practice. James Johnston, who was promoted to equity partner in 2019,  leads the team, focusing on contractual and commercial litigation.

Practice head(s):James Johnston

Other key lawyers:Sally Johnson; Rob Winder


'The team at Burnetts is especially professional and helpful'

'Rob Winder is the go-to for any tenant issues or property matters'

'Burnetts has a strong, diverse group of people who are clearly interested in the outcomes that they achieve for clients'

Located in Stockton-on-Tees, Endeavour Partnership LLP has significant expertise in construction and real estate disputes, in addition to a strong offering of more traditional company law and insolvency work. The group also has experience in arbitration and mediation. Lee Bramley (who became managing partner in 2019) leads the team, specialising in insolvency and recovery.

Practice head(s):Lee Bramley

Other key lawyers:Alex Smith; Ged Flanagan

The team at Jacksons Law focuses on commercial litigation and debt recovery; representing individuals, SMEs and larger corporations in a variety of contentious matters. Experience includes partnership and shareholder disputes, contractual disputes and professional negligence claims, as well as boundary- and property-related disputes. Toby Joel, who specialises in complex equine claims and property damage claims, is department head.

Practice head(s):Toby Joel

Other key lawyers:Angie Papprill

Swinburne Maddison's 'proactive' Durham-based team is instructed by a diverse range of clients, including sole traders, companies, LLPs and partnerships, in matters involving contractual and commercial litigation, including breach of contract, directors disputes, professional negligence claims and debt recovery. The team is co-led by Jonathan Moreland, who specialises in contentious employment law, and general commercial litigator David Low. Solicitor Abigail Zuk is another key name.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Moreland; David Low

Other key lawyers:Abigail Zuk


'The lawyers at Swinburne Maddison have integrity, complete understanding of the complex context in which clients operate and the ability to respond quickly and clearly to any issue that is presented to them'

'Abigail Zuk has a very organised approach, offering clients a lot of reassurance'

'David Low has fantastic attention to detail with the ability to explain complex legal jargon in a way that just makes sense'

Key Clients

Durham Cathedral

Ramside Estates

Baker Tilly Creditor Services LLP

Northern Freight Services

Smart Office Systems

Work highlights

  • Representing one partner following the breakdown of a partnership and advising throughout a fully contested multi-track court process.
  • Pursuing a claim on behalf of a client based in the Netherlands for failure to renew a multimillio-neuro contract.
  • Representing the client in a multi-track contractual dispute regarding services provided to a third party
  • Representing joint trustees in bankruptcy in relation to the conduct of an individual in bankruptcy.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine is able to handle an array of commercial disputes, including contractual claims, negligence, shareholder and partnership disputes, while the team is particularly well-versed in contentious probate matters. Practice head Alison Leith is an accomplished litigator with experience in sport-related litigation and arbitration. Following the departure of Kenton Bazeley to Archers Law LLP in 2018, the group was joined by Nigel Broadbent, whose practice encompasses the gamut of contractual disputes, such as post-M&A; commercial contract claims; business-to-customer disputes; and director and shareholder disputes.

Practice head(s):Alison Leith

Other key lawyers:Nigel Broadbent; Gemma Smith

Commercial litigation: Newcastle

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Newcastle
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Newcastle heavyweight Muckle LLP provides a wide variety of dispute resolution services, drawing on the firm's wider expertise in IT and technology, shipping and the construction sector. The team has also developed an active international arbitration practice, acting for a range clients across Europe. Practice head Susan Howe specialises in financial asset tracing and freezing orders, often acting in complex multi-party and cross-jurisdictional litigation.

Practice head(s):Susan Howe

Other key lawyers:George Festing; Leah Heatley


'What makes Muckle really special is that they understand that ultimately, any dispute resolution process has to achieve a commercial outcome for the client'

'Susan Howe is an extremely bright and creative litigator and is very commercially astute'

'Their dynamism and tenacity compare very favourably with litigation departments across the country'

Key Clients

Celtic Aerospace Ventures

Caribbean Premier League

NG Bailey Group

Mr Jeff Winn/Winn Solicitors Limited/On-Hire

Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)

Work highlights

  • The firm continues to be instructed by CAV and SNK in relation to a multi-million pound warranty claim following the acquisition of its business.
  • The firm is acting on a high value and complex contractual claim on behalf of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), an annual Twenty20 Cricket tournament held in the Caribbean.
  • Acting for Andy Taylor on matters arising from the litigation between the members of Duran Duran and Gloucester Place Music Limited, part of Sony/ATV.

Ward Hadaway's nine-partner team offers a wide range of commercial litigation services to clients around Newcastle and the North East, with particular expertise in procurement disputes, claims arising out of PFI projects, investment disputes and company law disputes. The department is led by Peter Hornsey, whose specialisms include matters pertaining to public sector fraud. Associate Joe Kelley is another key team member with broad domestic and international disputes experience.

Practice head(s):Peter Hornsey

Other key lawyers:Robert Glassford; Martin Woodford; Tim Toomey; Russell Ward; Joe Kelley


'They are leaders in PFI disputes'

'True professionals from the start to finish with absolute knowledge of every eventuality'

'Tim Toomey gives 110% to his clients' case, with true professionalism'

Key Clients

Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHSFT

The Banks Group

Providence Bonds Investor Action Group

Utilitywise plc

NHS England

Virgin Money plc

Work highlights

  • Proceedings were issued by the Trust in order to obtain the determination of the court as to whether or not a termination notice served by the Trust is valid in respect of a multi-million pound PFI agreement relating to a mental health hospital.
  • The firm continues to represent The Banks Group Ltd (and other group companies and directors) in the defence of a claim relating to a joint venture company and the acquisition of a substantial area of land for residential development in Durham.
  • The firm won a competitive tender to act for Utilitywise in enforcing the post-termination restrictive convents contained with its employees' contracts.

Drawing on the firm's national and international presence, the team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is able to advise large regional corporates on the spectrum of commercial litigation and dispute resolution. Areas of expertise include disputes relating to the transport and chemicals sectors, as well as pensions, contentious procurement, financial services, retail and energy. Paul Stewart leads the team and focuses on transport and manufacturing sector disputes.

Practice head(s):Paul Stewart

Other key lawyers:Richard Collins; Joanna Bromhead; Jonny Gribben; Lucy Bremner; Emma Campbell-Danesh


'The firm has strength of expertise across a number of partners and associates'

'Richard Collins is bright and commercial in outlook'

'Paul Stewart and his team get to grips with all aspects of the challenge and become welcome additions to the organisation remarkably quickly, which supports immediate progress and assurance'

'Paul Stewart, Jonathan Gribben and Michael Wharton provide relentless effort, resilience, agility and diligence'

Key Clients



Network Rail

Post Office


Go-Ahead Group

Work highlights

  • The team advised West Berkshire District Council on its successful High Court defence of a judicial review and procurement challenge brought against it by Faraday Development Limited, an unsuccessful bidder for a redevelopment opportunity valued at £125m.
  • Acted for Mr Thompson in an unfair prejudice petition brought against a company owned by his brother.

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd has an established banking and finance litigation practice which services an impressive list of institutional clients before the English courts and in international arbitration. The group is co-led by magic circle-trained lawyers Jane Gibson and Toby Gibson, whose main areas of expertise include financial services and derivatives litigation, as well as other banking disputes.

Practice head(s):Jane Gibson; Toby Gibson

Other key lawyers:Michael Reed


'The firm has a strong reputation'

'Good at what they do'

Key Clients

ING Bank

Credit Suisse

Union Bancaire Privée UBP

Capital One (Europe) plc

Superdrug Stores plc

Ricardo UK

Work highlights

  • Acting for ING Bank N.V. in its recovery, as Security Agent, of $700m following the insolvency of the OW Bunker Group.
  • Acting on a number of matters for the client, including defending a claim over introduction fees.
  • Dealing with a claim from a private individual customer for the reimbursement of fees.

Sintons LLP, which is noted for its partner-led advice on litigation, specialises in matters including the enforcement of restrictive covenants, the misselling of financial products and high-value highway infrastructure claims. The team also draws on the firm's wider focus on the healthcare sector, handling disputes involving GPs and dental practices. Angus Ashman heads the department and leads on many of the firm's key matters..

Practice head(s):Angus Ashman

Other key lawyers:Graeme Ritzema; Lewis Couth; Aimee Hubbard; Kevin Anderson


'Angus Ashman is professional, prompt with his responses and helpful when the going gets a little tense'

Key Clients

Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust

Cussins (North East)

Gainford Group

NAK Holdings

Crown Care Group

Work highlights

  • High value claim for financial misselling by a big four Bank.
  • High value claim involving property fraud by company directors who diverted business opportunities from the relevant Company.
  • Advising insurance client in relation to a high value claim for loss of revenue due to alleged damage to overhead cabling on the East Coast mainline.
  • Defending a major utility provider against a former shareholder’s claims for unfair prejudice and alleged outstanding hire charges.
  • Defending a manufacturer of piping for the offshore oil and gas industry in relation to a breach of warranty claim.

Watson Burton LLP represents major corporates in the North East and across the UK, often in technically complex high-stakes claims. Areas of expertise include disputes relating to distressed IT and outsourcing projects, breach of director's duties and unfair prejudice. The team is led by Christopher Graham, whose specialisms include matters pertaining to unlawful competition, misuse of confidential information and fraud, as well as employment disputes.

Practice head(s):Christopher Graham

Other key lawyers:Anthony Rance; Jacqueline Turner; Jill Dalkin

Key Clients

Utilitywise Plc

Northern Powergrid (North East)


University of Sunderland

AVG Power

Work highlights

  • The firm acted for Utilitywise Plc in a claim against a major competitor for inducing breaches of contract by its employees.
  • The firm was instructed by its client to bring proceedings on its behalf, and on behalf of various investors in that company, against two former directors regarding their conduct whilst in control of the business. The claims include allegations of breaching Directors’ duties, breaches of trust and fraudulent misrepresentation.
  • A senior employee of the client, who had been exposed to significant amounts of confidential and commercially sensitive information, sought to its employment for a major competitor in breach of contract. The firm was instructed to advise the client and to take necessary steps to manage the risks arising, including managing an emerging commercial dispute with our client’s competitor based in South Korea.

Led by founding partner Claire Collinson, the group at Claire Collinson Legal specialises in claimant dispute resolution in the financial services and insurance sectors, as well as pension misselling. In addition to litigation, the group is well-versed in mediation and specialist redress schemes. Ian Collinson joined the firm as a consultant in May 2018, having previously served as head of commercial litigation at Ward Hadaway.

Practice head(s):Claire Collinson

Other key lawyers:Helena Motherway; Ian Collinson

Key Clients

Augusta Ventures LLP

Imperial Pharmaceuticals

Shiv Saaj Investments

Broker Network

Work highlights

  • Retainer for Augusta Ventures LLP in relation to a large portfolio of pension mis-selling complaints.
  • Advised Shiv Saaj Investments on professional negligence and associated contractual claims relating to a commercial property in Watford.
  • Advised a client who was the victim of authorised push payment fraud whereby his email account was hacked and over £100,000 diverted from his account by way of account details in emails being altered to divert payments to a fraudulent account. The firm is pursuing a claim against the recipient banks for failing to identify the fraudulent nature of the transactions.

The team at DWF has developed a niche in defamation and reputation matters, alongside an active disputes practice which advises on matters including team moves, contracts and contentious probate. The group, which is capably led by David Summerhayes, works closely with the firm's IP and real estate litigation teams, providing clients with a wide variety of dispute resolution services.

Practice head(s):David Summerhayes

Other key lawyers:Alison Evans

Key Clients

Northern Gas and Power

Lidl UK

Allay (UK)

Jomast Developments

Brook Green Capital

Work highlights

  • Defending injunction proceedings relating to team moves involving over 120 employees.
  • Defending a claim for payment for shortfall of orders.
  • Pursuing a claim for unpaid commission.

Hay & Kilner's practice take a partner-led approach to dispute resolution, drawing on extensive experience before the courts. Areas of expertise include manufacturing claims, procurement disputes, director and shareholder disputes, as well as disputes pertaining to insurers and professional partnerships. Lucy Gray, who specialises in automotive, fashion and software industry disputes, co-leads the department alongside consultant Martin Soloman.

Practice head(s):Lucy Gray; Martin Soloman

Other key lawyers:Rodney Jones; Sara Malik

Key Clients

Indigo Software


Park Lane Healthcare

Bonds Limited/Bonds Foundry

Work highlights

  • Advising in very substantial contractual dispute, progressing through the TCC.
  • Advising on complex dispute with minority shareholder ahead of sale of business.
  • Advising in relation to dispute with officials in mainland European country regarding the levies applied to shipments passing through the EU.
  • Bringing claim and defending counterclaim regarding supply of innovative new products.
  • Advice regarding claim against adjoining landowner for economic losses.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP's team handles a diverse caseload of contentious matters for both corporates and individuals in the North East and across the country. Key areas for the group include shareholder and partnership disputes, contentious probate and intellectual property disputes. Practice head Stewart Irvine has vast experience across a wide variety of commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):Stewart Irvine

Other key lawyers:Susan Roberts; Robyn Aisbitt


'The group treats clients as part of their team and give good solid practical advice, which is a testament to the quality of the staff'

'At all times, the support is joined up and advice complements each area of the clients' disputes'

'Robyn Aisbitt and Stewart Irvine are compassionate, professional and reassuring'

Key Clients

Myco Foods

LB Foster Rail Technologies (UK)

Schiedel Chimney Systems

Fresh Couture

Northern Bear Plc

The team at Newcastle commercial litigation boutique TT Law is led by veteran commercial litigator Kevin Turnbull, whose expertise includes pensions litigation, competition and public inquiries, alongside 'exceptional litigator' Neville Takiar. Clients include major corporates, SMEs and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):Kevin Turnbull

Other key lawyers:Neville Takiar


'The team is technically astute with an overarching commercial awareness'

'Kevin Turnbull is technically excellent and gets to the nub of matters quickly'

Key Clients



Zara Commercial

Alliantus Hotels

Modis (an Adecco company)

Work highlights

  • Advised on waste management arrangements at the global chain’s Leicester store, which attracted significant press interest.
  • Engaged by Modis, part of the Adecco Group UK&I, in relation to multiple breach of confidentiality and restrictive covenant claims.

Debt recovery

Index of tables

  1. Debt recovery
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

The team at Newcastle powerhouse Muckle LLP handles debt recovery matters alongside local and national enforcement officers and insolvency practitioners, utilising a state-of-the-art debt collection case management system which allows clients to track the progress of their matters. The team is led by Beverley Oliver, who is an expert in procedures for both commercial and consumer debts. The firm's panel appointments include the National Higher Education Procurement Consortia and the Crown Commercial Service. Kelly Jordan, who was promoted to partner in 2018, is another key name.

Practice head(s):Beverley Oliver

Other key lawyers:Kelly Jordan; Katie Barrett


'Beverley Oliver is fantastic to work with; she deals with matters quickly and in a no-nonsense manner'

'The collection team responds very quickly to queries and use multiple methods of chasing the customer offering regular updates'

'Always helpful'

Key Clients

Soil Environmental Services

Smith Marston

Anglia Telecom Centres


CC Recovery Solutions

Work highlights

  • The team was instructed to collect a debt.
  • The team was was instructed to collect a debt.
  • The team was was instructed to collect a debt.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's multi-disciplinary team includes lawyers, project managers, technologists, data analysts, knowledge managers and operation professionals, providing creditor clients with a wide range of tools to collect their debts. The team handles asset investigations and reporting, tracing of debtors, drafting and issuing claims and enforcement matters. Team leader and senior debt manager Sue Pattie is instructed by a wide variety of public and private sector clients, including charities.

Practice head(s):Sue Pattie

Other key lawyers:Helen Vaughan; Lorna Casford


'Very proactive and commercially aware'

'Sue Pattie is able to offer a number of solutions, clearly defining the benefits and pitfalls of each'

'Our work was handled swiftly and smoothly, and the team's specialist knowledge is evident'

The Newcastle offices of Scottish firm Aberdein Considine house a strong debt recovery practice, which is active across the North East. The group is most noted for its expertise in secured and unsecured debt recovery, with clients including national banks and financial institutions. The group is co-led by Myra Scott (who is based in Glasgow) and Newcastle-based Thomas Lillie, while the volume debt recovery offering is led by Darren Sanders, who was appointed specialist operations manager in 2018.

Practice head(s):Myra Scott; Thomas Lillie

Other key lawyers:Darren Sanders; Isabel Clough; Olwyn Rice; Victoria Chatterton

Key Clients


Charter Court Financial Services

Atom Bank


Royal Bank of Scotland

Virgin Money plc

Work highlights

  • Computershare is a longstanding and major client of Aberdein Considine, with a relationship established approximately twenty-five years.
  • Aberdein Considine is carrying out unsecured litigation on behalf of Admiral plc
  • Aberdein Considine was instructed on behalf of Atom Bank plc in relation to unsecured debt.
  • Acting for Santander UK plc in cross-border commercial banking litigation

Debt collection specialisms at Short Richardson & Forth include unpaid invoices, rent and service charge arrears, accelerated residential repossessions and commercial forfeitures. The group acts for a range of clients, including self-employed people, SMEs and well-established private limited companies. The team is led by experienced litigator Tim Berg, who has a strong track record in recovering substantial sums in liquidation cases where HM Revenue & Customs is the creditor.

Practice head(s):Tim Berg

Other key lawyers:Alexandra Withers; Sarah Farish

Work highlights

  • Advising a client in relation to unpaid invoices in respect of milk purchased by milk round owners. The average debt value is around £10,000.
  • The firm represents this client in relation to unpaid invoices in respect of timber purchased by various SME and sole trader businesses. This client uses a mixture of insolvency and county court proceedings to achieve resolutions to their matters.
  • The firm represents this client in relation to rent arrears and repossession proceedings in respect of the properties that the client manages for their landlords. The firm prepares the applications on behalf of the client and represents them in contested hearings.

Sintons LLP's practice is enhanced by an in-house debt recovery IT system, enabling the team to react quickly to client instructions. The group is experienced in both volume and one-off high-value recovery, and has developed a niche in assisting energy brokers in the North East with debt collection issues.

Work highlights

  • Volume recoveries - 9,000 instructions in seven months.
  • Recovery of overpayment of commission.
  • Collection of debts that become due from a credit facility.

At Ward Hadaway, Steven Petrie takes the lead on debt recovery matters, advising insolvency practitioners and accountants on corporate and personal insolvency issues. In addition to collecting debts, the group has extensive experience in defending debtors. The team is on a number of institutional panels, including Crown Commercial Services and NHS Commercial Solutions.

Practice head(s):Steven Petrie

Key Clients

Crown Commercial Services

NHS Commercial Solutions

The Darlington-based team at BHP Law advises businesses and individuals on contract agreements, credit management and debt recovery issues, drawing on strong relationships with commercial landlords and insolvency practitioners. In addition to litigation expertise, the group also has a strong grounding in mediation. Associate Phil Masters, who was promoted to dispute resolution team leader in October 2018, is the contact to note.

Practice head(s):Phil Masters

Other key lawyers:Rosie Woodward

Key Clients

Apollo Doors

Industrial Cleaning Equipment (Southampton)

Work highlights

  • Providing ongoing debt recovery for a company who specialise in the servicing and repairs of commercial doors.
  • Providing ongoing debt recovery services for a industrial cleaning equipment specialist.

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