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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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Commercial litigation: Newcastle

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Newcastle
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Newcastle clients in North using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


The β€˜first-rate practice’ at Bond Dickinson LLP is noted for its β€˜sharp commercial acumen and high level of practicality’, making it β€˜a strong player on both a regional and national level’. The firm fields a team of β€˜incredibly effective litigators’ whose expertise covers a wide range of industries, with a prominent presence in the transport, chemical, pensions, procurement, financial services, retail and oil and gas sectors. Representative clients include West Berkshire Council and IBM; Richard Collins and Suzanne Duff acted for the latter in a pensions-related Court of Appeal case involving employer’s duty of good faith. Collins (β€˜a very bright, incisive and clear-thinking individual’) was promoted to the partnership in mid-2016 and is highly regarded for his financial services and procurement expertise. β€˜Highly sophisticated’ practice head Paul Stewart has a particular focus on transport and manufacturing disputes, managing associate Joanna Bromhead is recommended for pensions litigation and managing associate Jonny Gribben handles contractual disputes. John Marshall and Craig Monty retired.

β€˜One of the best commercial litigation firms in the area’, Ward Hadaway fields β€˜an outstanding team that is strong across the board’, attracting praise for its β€˜first-class service, excellent attention to detail and robust yet commercial approach’. Following Ian Collinson’s move to a consultancy role, Peter Hornsey leads the nine-partner practice, which includes IT disputes specialist Tim Toomey; the β€˜highly experienced’ Robert Glassford, who regularly advises public sector clients; the β€˜exceptional’ Martin Woodford; and associate Joe Kelley, who handles financial services disputes, professional negligence claims and procurement litigation. In a highlight matter, Glassford advised Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust in litigation relating to the closure of Bootham Park Hospital in York. Other mandates include Woodford’s defence of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust in a procurement challenge relating to its procurement of coagulation analysers, and Hornsey’s successful defence of Nourish Training in a defamation claim. Clients also single out the β€˜technically excellent’ Julie Huntingdon and Russell Ward, who has β€˜a very easy manner’.

The β€˜incredibly well-regarded’ team at Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd stands out as β€˜an invaluable resource’ thanks to the β€˜seriously heavyweight experience’ of key figures Toby Gibson, who is β€˜a thoughtful and strategic lawyer who always thinks about the wider picture’; and β€˜consummate litigator’ Jane Gibson, who is β€˜commercial and sensible but knows when ferocity is needed’. The practice has a no-nonsense approach to litigation; it β€˜does exactly what it says on the tin’ and is β€˜a true leader in banking and finance litigation’, counting Credit Suisse, Capital One and UBP as key clients. In a recent highlight, the team acted for ING Bank in the Supreme Court in a test case relating to the insolvency of OW Bunker Group. Key mandates outside of banking litigation included representing Sunderland AFC in the successful pursuit of an arbitration award in Tanzania relating to payment recovery issues, and acting for Superdrug in multiple contract disputes. The β€˜commercially savvy’ Michael Reed regularly handles IP and real estate disputes.

The β€˜approachable and hardworking’ Martin Soloman heads the β€˜efficient and professional’ practice at Hay & Kilner, which has β€˜unsurpassed knowledge’ and β€˜handles litigation very strategically, playing its hand in a measured and effective way that always gets good results’. Key areas of focus for the β€˜highly experienced’ group include the technology, construction, financial services, agricultural and rail sectors. The group is also noted for its experience in director and shareholder disputes and insurance litigation. Soloman is recognised for his mediation expertise, and is ably assisted by Rodney Jones, who is recommended for professional negligence matters, property litigation and inheritance issues; Neil Harrold, who is noted for his β€˜practical and common-sense approach’ and focuses on disputes relating to insolvency and restructuring matters; the β€˜relentlessly professional’ Lucy Gray, whose expertise spans contractual disputes, IP matters, property litigation and contentious trust mandates; and Ros Sparrow, who specialises in professional indemnity claims.

Muckle LLP is β€˜genuinely brilliant on all counts’, with clients praising its β€˜excellent service levels, exceptional knowledge and sensibly commercial approach’ as key factors in its ability to provide β€˜advice that is always solid and pragmatic’. Susan Howe, who is β€˜outstanding with a no-nonsense approach’, leads the practice and recently represented the Caribbean Premier League in a high-value contractual claim relating to owed expenses; she is also acting for The Clouston Group in a dispute with a property consultant. George Festing is β€˜one of the best’ for IP and technology litigation; his recent mandates include acting for Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor in a claim brought by Gloucester Place Music relating to how US copyright law reversion rights apply to the band’s English music publishing agreements, and defending The Explorer Group in several matters alleging breach of copyright. Celtic Aerospace Ventures, Sahaviriya Steel Industries, Sunderland AFC are noteworthy clients. Senior associate Leah Heatley is singled out for her procurement expertise.

Specialising in financial services litigation and insurance disputes, Claire Collinson Legal is a β€˜small but perfectly formed firm’ that β€˜punches above its weight’ and provides β€˜first-class specialist expertise in claims relating to financial derivatives’. It is also noted for its β€˜exceptional interest rate hedging litigation knowledge’. β€˜Bright, committed and hardworking’ name partner Claire Collinson is β€˜an absolutely top-class team player’; clients praise her β€˜excellent grasp of the law, exceptionally thorough and careful approach and commercial pragmatism’. The practice has a sole focus on claimant mandates for clients spanning high-net-worth individuals, consumers, SMEs and large corporations. Collinson recently led on a consequential loss claim relating to mis-sold interest rate hedging products and represented an individual in a claim under a critical illness insurance policy that was rejected by an insurer. The β€˜highly knowledgeable’ Helena Motherway and the β€˜excellent’ Suzie Done (both solicitors) round out the practice.

Anthony Brown heads Clyde & Co LLP’s department, which includes healthcare and retail specialist James Thompson and Lex Dowie, who focuses on insurance disputes. The group handles a wide range of disputes, including personal injury claims, insurance litigation, professional negligence, health and safety matters and maritime law. In a recent highlight, Dowie represented International Energy Group before the Supreme Court against Zurich in a dispute relating to the extent of the indemnity available to it in an employer’s liability claim concerning the death of a former employee; Brown also acted for a chartered accountant in proceedings relating to a terminated contract. Other clients include Macdonald Hotels, Aviva, Markel and the Secretary of State for Business and Skills.

DWF’s team regularly acts for regional, national and international clients on a range of commercial and contractual disputes, including breach of contract issues, negligence, shareholder disputes and fraud. The group is particularly well regarded for defamation and reputation management issues through the expertise of Ed Meikle and senior associate David Summerhayes. Meikle is also recommended for IP, technology and media litigation, while Summerhayes regularly handles contract issues, fraud matters and partnership disputes. Highlights included acting for Leicester Grammar School Trust in a dispute relating to a terminated agreement, and defending Northern Gas and Power in claims brought by Utilitywise alleging breaches of restrictive covenants, breaches of undertakings and defamation relating to statements made on Facebook. Northumberland Council, Newcastle College Group, Tribal Group and UTS Engineering are also clients.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP is β€˜excellent in all areas; it has superior knowledge, an excellent value-for-money service and a premier-league team’ that is highly regarded by clients. Recent work includes handling a breach of contract claim, advising on litigation following the termination of a distribution agreement, and acting in contentious insolvency proceedings. Representative clients include Holystone Civil Engineering, LB Foster Rail Technologies, Springs Roofing and Ovington Boats. Practice head Stewart Irvine is β€˜highly intelligent and provides great advice and an excellent tactical approach’ that β€˜ensures clients are well looked after’; his expertise encompasses shareholder disputes, contentious IP issues, property litigation, professional negligence claims and debt recovery. Other key individuals include contractual dispute and insolvency specialist Susan Roberts and Robyn Shepherd, who regularly handles employment-related disputes.

Watson Burton LLP is β€˜a highly competitive firm’ that is β€˜always willing to go the extra mile’ and is rated for its β€˜exceptional skill set and outstanding experience’. The group’s recent work includes representing a client in a damages and consequential loss claim against a national bank following a mis-sold interest rate hedging product. It also acted for the University of Leicester in various disputes concerning the management and implementation of its student admissions and related disciplinary proceedings, and represented a client in litigation concerning the removal of defamatory material from social media. Atkins, the University of Sunderland and Northern Powergrid are also clients. The β€˜excellent’ Christopher Graham heads the team, which includes Gavin Winter, Jacqueline Turner, who has expertise in unfair prejudice issues, confidential information and post-termination restriction enforcement, and the newly promoted Anthony Rance, who regularly handles commercial contract litigation.

The β€˜absolutely brilliant’ team at Sintons LLP is led by Angus Ashman, who attracts praise for his β€˜open and honest manner, exceptional dedication and outstanding knowledge’. healthcare disputes, enforcement and confidentiality issues, claims resulting from the mis-selling of financial products and infrastructure litigation are key areas of expertise for the practice, which includes Graeme Ritzema, who is rated for his β€˜truthful approach’, and associate Kevin Anderson, who is noted for his construction litigation expertise, particularly in the healthcare sector. Highlights included handling disputes arising from breach of restrictive covenants and confidentiality issues; acting in financial product mis-selling claims; and handling multiple disputes relating to commercial properties. Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a noteworthy client.

TT Law is a β€˜strong and reliable’ litigation boutique that β€˜punches above its weight in the region’ with β€˜a service level that is nothing short of excellent’. The β€˜responsive, reliable and well-informed’ team’s SME client base praises its β€˜highly commercial approach, which combines thoroughness and attention to detail with a well-regarded practicality’. Firm founder Neville Takiar, who is β€˜particularly astute at guiding clients through the many pitfalls of litigation’, has wide-ranging expertise covering a diverse range of sectors including retail, manufacturing, hospitality and construction. Clients also single out the β€˜technically excellent’ Kevin Turnbull, who β€˜has the type of knowledge and experience that can make a real difference to cases’. Recent highlights include advising a client on issues relating to a neighbouring land owner and defending an individual in a civil action. End Clothing, Click Mechanic and Cairn Hotel Group are all clients.

Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the North

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the North clients in North using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Elizabeth Black leads the practice at Baines Wilson LLP following Martin Stafford’s move along with consultant Isobel Milburn to JWK Solicitors. Black, who joined the firm in late 2016 from Taylors, is highly regarded for her shareholder dispute expertise. Other key figures include Katherine Sibley, who regularly handles construction and engineering disputes and also has arbitration and mediation experience; barrister Nigel Gowling, who is recommended for rural and agricultural litigation; and associate Caroline Rayner, who is noted for her construction litigation expertise. Recent highlights for the department include acting for an individual in a professional negligence claim against the client’s former solicitors and handling a commercial property dispute for a landlord regarding terminal dilapidations and break notice provisions.

Burnetts β€˜handles top-notch litigation thoroughly, positively and with a truly pragmatic approach’. Areas of expertise span land and property disputes, agriculture-related issues and disputes in the education sector. β€˜Authoritative and intelligent’ senior associate James Johnston leads the team and attracts praise for his β€˜good tactical judgement’. His recent work includes acting in a multimillion-pound shareholder dispute, handling a construction dispute relating to a defective roof, and acting for an agricultural business in an unpaid fees claim against a farming partnership. Highlights for associate Rob Winder included representing an individual in property litigation and acting for a school in recovering unpaid school fees. Consultant Sally Johnson joined the firm in 2016 from an in-house position at the Competition and Markets Authority and the β€˜intellectual and assertive’ Patricia Hall retired from the partnership, but remains as a consultant.

At Endeavour Partnership LLP, department head Lee Bramley is highly regarded in the insolvency space, regularly advising clients on contentious insolvency issues; he also has expertise in property litigation, contractual disputes and contentious probate. Farming and trust expert Paul Bennett is the key name for mediations, arbitrations and commercial tribunals; he recently advised a family on a discretionary trust issue. Other key practitioners include Alex Smith, who was promoted to the partnership in 2016 and is head of the firm’s property litigation department; associate Ged Flanagan, who handles shareholder disputes, professional negligence claims and product liability matters; and legal executive Nick Dent, who represents Teesside clients in commercial disputes, IP issues and contentious insolvencies. Dent also heads the firm’s mediation practice.

Jacksons Law’s clients β€˜can’t recommend it highly enough’ for it β€˜client care, professional approach and outstanding expertise’. The practice’s client base ranges from individuals and SMEs to national organisations spanning the energy, construction, agricultural and healthcare sectors. Toby Joel heads the department, which includes newly promoted partner Inderjit Gill, who is noted for his expertise in contract disputes, shareholder litigation, injunctions and professional negligence disputes; solicitor Angie Papprill, who is recommended for contentious construction issues; solicitor Michael Sproates, who handles contractual breaches and consumer disputes; and consultant Les Brown. Recent work includes contract breaches, fraud issues, property litigation and professional negligence claims.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s clients praise β€˜one-of-a-kind litigator’ Alison Leith, who balances β€˜adeptness at client management and at managing the facts and issues of a complex case’ with β€˜the ability to step back and see the bigger picture’. Leith’s recent mandates include tax litigation, litigation arising from contract terminations, injunctions, and property-related disputes. Kenton Bazeley is singled out for his β€˜excellent legal and commercial advice’, which is β€˜always suitable for the situation and takes into account what the client wants in the long run’; he primarily acts in property and insolvency-based litigation. Solicitors Gemma Smith and Helen Lyne are recommended for property litigation.

Archers Law LLP’s β€˜extremely competitive team’ is led by the β€˜excellent’ Angela Torrance, whose areas of expertise span shareholder disputes, breach of contract litigation, insolvency issues, debt recovery mandates, professional negligence claims and contentious trusts and probate. Recent highlights for Torrance include acting for a client against a former employee relating to potentially libellous comments, representing an insolvency practitioner in wrongful trade claims and repayment issues, and advising a funeral director on debt recovery matters. Robert Irons is recommended for partnership disputes and other employment litigation, regularly acting on contract breaches, negligence claims and disciplinary and grievance procedures. Richard Flounders regularly handles insurance litigation and property litigation; he acted for a client in a dispute relating to a dilapidations claim.

β€˜A solid choice in the region’ with β€˜a first-class and efficient service’, Cartmell Shepherd’s β€˜gem of a practice’ is led by the β€˜very knowledgeable’ Peter Stafford, who attracts praise for his β€˜practical and strategic approach’, and for his β€˜personal and easy-going, yet incredibly professional manner’. Stafford is highly regarded for his agricultural knowledge and contentious trust and probate expertise; he is continuing to act for a farming client in proceedings against a national animal feed company. Other key practitioners include Mark Aspin, who focuses on property litigation and employment mandates and is β€˜able to hit the nail squarely and succinctly on the head every time’; Caroline Smith, who regularly handles family disputes; and the β€˜highly approachable’ Stephanie Johnson, who recently acted for a limited company in a breach of contract dispute.

Debt recovery

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Debt recovery clients in North using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Bond Dickinson LLP fields a team of β€˜true debt recovery experts’ led by Bristol-based Stephen Dilley. The β€˜fearless’ Sue Pattie is a key name in the firm’s Newcastle office and is praised for her β€˜ability to fight their corner until the bitter end’; she advises both public and private sector clients, with particular expertise in the education and charity sectors, and recently acted in a cost recovery issue arising from an insolvency. Notable areas of expertise for the team include asset investigations and reporting, tracing absconder debtors, enforcement issues and claim drafting. The team’s client roster spans a combination of SMEs, regional and national corporate clients, and charities and regional companies; key names include British Gas Trading, the Insolvency Service, A-one+ Integrated Highways Services, Tyneside Food Services and Doncaster Bloodstock Sales. Legal executive Helen Vaughan is experienced in mediation and negotiation processes, summary judgment applications and enforcement procedures.

Beverley Oliver leads the department at Muckle LLP, which is β€˜always willing to go the extra mile’ and has a β€˜professionalism that is unmatched’. Oliver attracts praise for her β€˜very efficient, reliable and friendly approach’ that adds to the firm’s β€˜first-class service’. The practice is highly regarded for its experience recovering unpaid invoices; Oliver recently led advice to Wear Referrals in multiple recoveries of unpaid veterinary invoices. Other clients include Anglia Telecoms and Tutti & Co. Paralegal Charlotte Dickinson is β€˜a great ambassador for the firm’ and is β€˜always offering professional and helpful advice, which is reflective of her in-depth industry knowledge’.

At Ward Hadaway, Steven Petrie primarily acts on a range of corporate and personal insolvency issues for insolvency practitioners and accountants. Petrie’s work for insolvency practitioners covers advice to businesses facing financial difficulties with debt and cash flow problems, assisting directors with their duties and handling insolvency issues for landlords. Petrie also regularly defends individuals and companies. Paralegal Debbie Bird has notable experience in debt recovery matters related to the construction and supply industries, and acts for electrical suppliers, surveyors, property managers, private schools, car dealerships and letting agents.

Building on the firm’s strength in Scotland, Aberdein Considine’s new Newcastle office (established in late 2016) β€˜has already developed an excellent reputation in the region’ thanks in part to its β€˜outstanding service, which consistently meets clients’ expectations’. Rob Aberdein, who splits his time between Newcastle, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, leads the practice, which acts for a range of SMEs, banks, high street retailers, and FTSE 100 companies, including Lloyds Banking Group, Leeds Building Society and Nationwide Building Society. The three-partner group includes Matthew Wightman, who joined from an in-house position as deputy chairman at Ascent; and Thomas Lillie, who joined from Bond Dickinson LLP. Solicitor Vicki Alexander is singled out for her β€˜good eye for detail’.

BHP Law’s department is led by Leigh Ferguson, who joined the firm in 2016 from Watson Burton LLP. The practice advises on contract agreements, credit management and contentious debt recovery matters. The team has been particularly active for landlords and companies on recovering debts from tenants and guarantors. The firm also acts for insolvency practitioners, private individuals and charities. Recent work includes representing client in enforcement orders including attachment of earnings, freezing injunctions and the possession and sale of properties. Associates Graham Tyler and Rosie Woodward, who is recognised for her experience recovering debt from tenants, are also recommended.

Jacksons Law’s practice is headed by Toby Joel and features a number of key practitioners in solicitors Angie Papprill and Michael Sproates, and legal executive Alison Binns. In a recent highlight, Binns advised on the recovery of debt arising from unpaid invoices, while Sproates acted in the recovery of outstanding rent. Joel recently handled an international debt recovery mandate. The group’s client roster ranges from individuals to national companies such as Darlington Building Society; the team was recently appointed by the latter to act on all its mortgage possession and arrears recovery work.

Clients praise Short Richardson & Forth’s β€˜knowledgeable and to-the-point’ team, which β€˜produces outstanding results in a pragmatic and effective way’. The team acts for solicitors, recruitment agencies, construction hire and supply companies, letting agencies, landlords and SMEs on a wide range of issues including unpaid invoice matters and unpaid rent recovery. Other areas of expertise include winding-up and bankruptcy petitions, letters before action, credit control process reviews and enforcement actions. Tim Berg leads the group, which includes associate Alexandra Withers and β€˜truly brilliant’ paralegal Jenine Martin.

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