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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 > Commercial litigation: Newcastle > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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.

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