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According to some, Bond Dickinson LLP sits at ‘the top of the class nationally’ and has a ‘truly exceptional reputation in the rail industry’, which is reflected in a client base that includes Network Rail, Southeastern and London Midland. ‘Hardworking’ practice head David Rewcastle has ‘an extraordinary amount of knowledge and a level of consistency that is unmatched’; in a recent highlight, he advised Govia on all elements of its bid for the West Midlands rail franchise and also assisted Govia Thameslink Railway with the procurement of rolling stock to be used on routes into Moorgate station. Paul Coleman is recommended for his ‘in-depth expertise in rolling stock procurement’ and advised Abellio East Anglia on the £870m purchase of 665 train carriages from Bombardier. He also handled the rolling stock elements of Abellio’s bid for the Northern rail franchise. Kevin Bell specialises in rail franchising work; he recently assisted Transdev with its bid to operate the Greater Manchester Metrolink. Other areas of expertise include rail-related IT contracts, rolling stock contracts and light rail issues.

Maritime and international trade boutique Mills & Co. Solicitors Limited fields a team of 22 shipping experts led by litigator Guy Mills, who specialises in charterparty and bill of lading disputes, contentious P&I issues and shipbuilding mandates. Contentious matters make up the bulk of the practice’s work, with substantial expertise in maritime arbitration and mediation. Nicola Jeanes leads the non-contentious shipping side, and has notable experience in ship construction, ship finance and ship sale and purchase mandates. The firm acts for a wide range of shipping clients, including marine insurers, shipowners, charterers, commodity traders, marine suppliers and shipbuiliders. The department also handles shipping-related personal injury matters; Mark Doyle and Martin Dalby are the key contacts. Other noteworthy names include Andreas Welz, who specialises in admiralty litigation, commodities expert Neville Hopper, and Jon Boaden. David Sunter retired.

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