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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 > South East > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

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Next Generation Partners

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Rising stars

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The commercial litigation team at B P Collins LLP is best known for its expertise in the environment, waste management, technology and pharmaceutical sectors. The practice specialises in commercial contract disputes, regulatory work, director and shareholder litigation, defamation, intellectual property and professional negligence. Matthew Brandis is the practice head. Craig Williams, senior associate Simon Carroll and associate Rajiv Malhotra are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Matthew Brandis

Other key lawyers:Craig Williams; Simon Carroll; Rajiv Malhotra

Testimonials

'Outstanding work ethic'.

'Very knowledgeable and approachable'.

'Craig Williams and Rajiv Malhotra are outstanding lawyers. Very hardworking, straightforward, kind and caring, great contacts within the industry, approachable, knowledgeable'.

Key Clients

Summerleaze Group

BIC UK Limited

Biffa Waste Services Limited

P B Donoghue Group

Kawasaki Motors UK

AMF Bowling Holdings Limited / The Original Bowling Company

TMD Technologies Limited

Canon Medical Systems Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting state-owned seaport  with defamation action by UK investors in a ‘clean tech’ oil production plant following allegations that plant was in breach of Polish environmental law.
  • Instructed by client to investigate and advise on trade debt recoveries from directors under guarantee following the liquidation of UK dealerships.
  • Assisted client with civil and criminal action following the wrongful removal of wheels from vehicles owned by an international haulage business having believed they were contractually entitled to do so after an invoice dispute.
  • Assisting client with defending a £1.6m claim based on allegations of fraud.
  • Assisted client with High Court breach of confidence action involving competing claims over key proprietary technology.

Dentons’ commercial litigation practice stands out for its expertise in international work, particularly in the field of financial disputes and investigations. The team specialises also in professional negligence and breach of contract disputes, franchising, product liability, asset finance, fraud and construction. Clients are from the banking, insurance, construction, energy, automotive, sports, retail and leisure sectors. James Fairbairn and Tim Constable head the practice from the Milton Keynes and Watford offices respectively. Watford-based Clare Stothard and Steven Mills are specialists in investment and retail banking disputes.

Practice head(s):James Fairbairn; Tim Constable

Other key lawyers:Clare Stothard; Steven Mills 

Testimonials

'Tim Constable is brilliant'.

Key Clients

Sainsbury's

Virgin

Total

Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Haringey (Haringey Council)

National House-Building Council

Sainsbury's Argos

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Taylor Wimpey

Saracens Ltd

Hertz

Cox Powertrain Limited

Barclays

Work highlights

  • Assisting Mr Davies with a dispute concerning the misappropriate use of company assets by former directors of a company in which he was the majority shareholder.
  • Advising an Asian property development company on defending a breach of contract claim worth around US$1.12m.
  • Provided a range of dispute resolution services to Group One Automotive (one of the largest retailers of new and used cars in the world) in the UK.
  • Advising a large Middle East  retailer on defending claims of over £10m debt incurred by former subsidiaries in Spain and the UAE.
  • Assisting client with defence of a multi-party claim for specific performance of a property development agreement.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)’s commercial litigation team offers strategic advice on commercial fraud matters in relation to both civil recovery and criminal legal processes. Expertise also includes product liability and supply chain disputes, franchising, commercial contracts, contested debt recovery and arbitration/mediation. Clients are from the automotive, manufacturing, distribution and leisure industries. The practice is co-headed by Paul Kite and John Clement. Sarah Jackson is another name to note.

Practice head(s):Paul Kite; John Clement

Other key lawyers:Sarah Jackson 

Testimonials

'I have a lot of respect for Paul Kite'.

Key Clients

Renault UK

National House Building Council (NHBC)

Manpower UK

Woods Food Service Ltd

Future Electronics

Constalica

Clancy Docwra Plc

Optimise Water LLP

Danfoss

Haulfryn Group

Work highlights

  • Assisting client with proceedings commenced in the High Court by a corporate shareholder of the company and related to the allotment, transfer and registration of shares previously held on trust as well as a wider dispute between the shareholders.
  • Assisting client with proceedings commenced by a former franchisee seeking damages for wrongful termination of contract.
  • Acting for an individual director and shareholder in a football agency in a matter related to a fellow shareholder who put the company into administration without adequately notifying other shareholders.
  • Acting for clients in proceedings commenced by Huntec Technologies SLU and Huntec Energy Solutions for breach of contract and/or a civil liability contribution related to the design and supply of materials for a solar energy plant in the UK.
  • Assisting client with a dispute with Cloud M, the supplier of managed telephony and internet services.

SA Law LLP is well known for its commercial litigation work with football clubs. The team has also in-depth expertise in other disputes, which often have a multi-jurisdictional scope and include defamation, professional negligence, asset tracing, professional discipline, IP and real estate disputes. The practice is jointly headed by Robert Ryall and Tracy Lacey-Smith. Simon Walsh and Clare Mackay are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Robert Ryall; Tracy Lacey-Smith

Other key lawyers:Simon Walsh; Clare Mackay

Testimonials

'Simon Walsh is a talented litigator, absolutely committed to his clients' interests'.

'Clare Mackay's level of service has been excellent. she is very customer and solution focused. All queries receive quick attention and a fast response, and her communication is excellent'.

Key Clients

Eltek AS and Eltek ASA and Eltek Power UK Ltd

The Watford Association Football Club

Gillingham Football Club

Oaklands College

An International University with campuses in London, UAE and Europe

Housing management service

M & Co Ltd (MacKays Stores)

Ocado Operating Limited

Aurora Lighting

The Buxton Group

Work highlights

  • Assisting client with a High Court case related to the termination of contract by the client's caterer.
  • Assisting client with a libel claim concerning defamatory comments on Facebook of which the client was object.
  • Acting for client as claimant in multiple IP claims.
  • Acting for client in relation to a dispute with a UK Plc that has been licensed to develop and construct a new gas storage facility in Northern Ireland. .
  • Assisted client with a claim against a joint venture partner.

Sherrards Solicitors LLP’s litigation practice has a far-reaching international scope and handles complex cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters with a focus on Russia, Ukraine and the CIS, China, North America and French-speaking countries. In the UK, the practice is best known for its expertise in the recruitment sector. Major fraud, financial services-related investigations, franchising, retail and banking-related litigation, debt recovery and insolvency, white collar crime and asset finance litigation are other areas of strength. Paul Marmor heads the practice. Barney Laurence, who was made partner in March 2018, and CIS specialist Marta Grieve are other names to note.

Practice head(s):Paul Marmor

Other key lawyers:Barney Laurence; Marta Grieve

Testimonials

'They have an international outlook with particular experience with dealing with Russian clients and familiarity with cross border business'.

'An excellent no nonsense firm which really understands business and how to handle complex and testing fraud and litigation matters'.

'Sherrards has an excellent litigation team led by Paul Marmor'.

'They provide advisory and litigation services of a quality similar to the services of the Tier 1 City and West End law firms, but at a fraction of the cost'.

'Paul Marmor is a star litigator. He is a master strategist and seeks to anticipate what the other side will do for the next move, and the move after that'.

'Paul Marmor is excellent in multi-jurisdictional litigation and appreciates how moves in one jurisdiction may impact on the proceedings and strategy in other jurisdictions'.

'Paul Marmor and Barney Laurence get on top of complex subject matters rapidly and diligently'.

Key Clients

Habibsons Bank

Aurora Leasing Limited

Berry Recruitment

Cambria Automobiles Limited

Lauralu UK Limited

Villa Plus

Menkind UK Limited

Muffin Break

Winkworth Estates & Lettings

Ward Thomas Removals Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a foreign construction group which has been defrauded in the UK in a very high-value fraud claim.
  • Acted for a company supporting the firm's US counterpart law firm in arbitration proceedings in the High Court in London, in an attempt to prevent further litigation in the US and to prevent the other side from suppressing or preventing full disclosure.

Debenhams Ottaway’s team has strong expertise in contentious insolvency, professional negligence and IP disputes. Cases from the technology and construction areas are on the rise. The practice is headed by insolvency expert Luke Harrison. Juliet Schalker is the name to note for professional negligence work, while senior associate Rosie Patterson is recommended for her experience in patent disputes, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

Practice head(s):Luke Harrison

Other key lawyers:Juliet Schalker; Rosie Patterson

Key Clients

Pret a Manger

Fairgate Development Ltd

Grant Thornton

Griffins Insolvency Practitioners

Moore Stephens LLP

The Chartered Institute of Marketing

F&M Investments Ltd

Menzies LLP

Valentine & Co

Scheidt & Bachmann

Portas Agency Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisted client with the defence of a £1.7m claim for damages arising from alleged wrongful termination of a project manager’s contract on a North London development.
  • Assisting client with the defence of a claim by an  investment group relating to investments by two of its VCTs.
  • Assisting one of the big 6 accountancy practices in an office holder claim against a cosmetics distributor for £1.22m arising out of transactions at an undervalue.

  • Assisting client with two streams of litigation arising out of the administration of NJM Clothing.
  • Acting for husband and wife migrants in a defamation and harassment claim against three National press groups following the publication of more than 25 untrue and inaccurate articles in the wake of the Brexit vote.

EMW Law LLP’s dispute resolution practice covers a wide spectrum of contentious work, including property, landlord and tenant, contract, negligence, IP, warranty claims, shareholder disputes, contentious probate and insolvency and restructuring matters. The client portfolio includes prestigious names from the banking, sport, food, retail, construction, education and renewable energy sectors. The practice is headed by Damon Watt. Karen Young and Charles Clay are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):Damon Watt

Other key lawyers:Karen Young; Charles Clay

Key Clients

National Accident Helpline

MK Dons

Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce Limited

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club

Northampton Rugby Football Club

Rangemaster Precision Arms Limited

Santander UK Plc

Monarch

Rightmove

AIB Group (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting as an independent solicitor in a £6m claim on behalf of solicitors in order to ensure that the defendants (individuals in High Court litigation) comply with the disclosure obligations placed upon them in accordance with a Deed of Settlement.
  • Assisting client with a claim for breach of contract.
  • Advised the client's shareholders on a dispute with a director.
  • Assisted client against a claim brought by a customer for an alleged failure to comply with a subject access request under section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
  • Assisted client with a claim against their document management systems provider following a dispute relating to license payments.

Freeths LLP has a nationwide reputation for its experience in the drinks and leisure sectors. Logistics is another key area, with Luton airport as a longstanding client. The team is well versed in complex multi-party disputes, working side by side with the property litigation team in Milton Keynes and relying on the support of a large pool of litigators at the national level. Simon Hobbs heads the practice.

Practice head(s):Simon Hobbs

Key Clients

London Luton Airport

TNT / Fedex

ID Medical Ltd

Hologic Group

Diversey Ltd

Sealed Air Ltd

Work highlights

  • Longstanding dispute surrounding the value and rights in a family business.
  • Claim for breach of contract, defamation and harassment.
  • 3 disputes over failure to pay invoices.

Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s dispute resolution and litigation practice specialises in commercial property disputes, distribution and agency agreements, debt collection and director, shareholder and partnership disputes. Its work includes dealing with injunctions and freezing orders and work in areas such as insolvency, international trade and  IT and e-commerce. Practice head Kenneth Stangoe, Trevor Coward, Guy Brooks and  Richard Millard are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):Kenneth Stangoe

Other key lawyers:Trevor Coward; Guy Brooks; Richard Millard

Key Clients

Jo Rolls of Opus LLP the Liquidator of Jeremy D Stone Consultants Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisting client and other creditors of the SEWL Ponzi fraud, which involved £78m, with a loss suffered of £23.6m.

Blaser Mills Law’s litigation department has specialist industry knowledge of consumables, including sterile products, disability aids, home care, catering equipment and agricultural feedstuff. Practice head Alka Kharbanda is well versed in contractual disputes, civil fraud, professional negligence and contentious probate, as well as in GDPR-related matters. Jackie Ray specialises in debt recovery. Commercial litigator Gary Braathen is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Alka Kharbanda

Other key lawyers:Jackie Ray; Gary Braathen

Testimonials

'Blaser Mills has excellent strength and depth across their team, with a very impressive client list'.

'Jackie Ray is an excellent client-focused lawyer who is a delight to work with'.

'Gary Braathen is an excellent lawyer and great tactician'.

Key Clients

C F Services

First Collect International Ltd

Bunzl UK Ltd

Stannah Lift Services Ltd

THX Ltd

Correco Ltd

GRS Roadstone Ltd

Fraikin Assets

Work highlights

  • Assisted the client with an adjudication issued in the name of an insolvent company against a defendant for failure to pay monies due under the terms of a construction contract.
  • Assisted the client with the recovery of cost of fine wine that had been stored incorrectly and spoiled.
  • Assisting client with cross-border claim they issued in relation to covering security service charges incurred in a gated community in South Carolina.
  • The practice head obtained a freezing injunction to protect the client's agreed fee.
  • Assisted client with a dispute concerning stock supplied by the client to a petrol forecourt shop.

Machins Solicitors LLP’s commercial litigation practice is based in Luton and is headed by Neil O’Callaghan. The team members regularly work in the High Court, Court of Appeal, County Courts, First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber and Upper Tribunal. Areas of expertise include insolvency, property litigation and contentious probate. Senior assistant solicitor Janice Young is another key contact.

Practice head(s):Neil O’Callaghan

Other key lawyers:Janice Young

Testimonials

'Strong local practice, excellent value for money'.

'The team has great capability'.

'Neil O'Callaghan is very calm and sensible, and a very experienced litigator'.

'Janice Young is well qualified and very helpful'.

Shoosmiths LLP’s commercial litigation team specialises in financial service recoveries and regulation, insolvency, enforcement of guarantees and mortgages, commercial disputes and shareholder/partnership disputes. The Milton Keynes office works in close connection with a pool of over 250 lawyers at the national level. Practice head Stuart Montgomery is an expert in commercial lending and recoveries work, with a focus on the enforcement of security documents.

Practice head(s):Stuart Montgomery

Key Clients

Ikea

Yougov Plc

Valpak

Alix Partners

The Open University

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on proceedings against a British company in a dispute regarding surveillance equipment destined for the Iraqi National Intelligence Service.
  • Acting for the HB Fuller group companies in UK, France, Germany, Italy and China in a claim against a UK manufacturer for breach of contract and negligence.
  • Advising the client as supervisor of a company in CVA on a contingent claim by a creditor valued at £2 million.

Taylor Walton LLP offers a full range of dispute resolution services to clients, catering for both companies and private individuals and specialising in commercial litigation, property litigation and contentious probate. The practice is headed by James Carpenter, who is an expert in professional negligence claims, contract disputes, consumer claims, defamation, shareholder disputes and civil fraud. Tracey Harris is recommended for her expertise in employment litigation and contentious probate claims. Saljuq Haider is another name to note.

Practice head(s):James Carpenter

Other key lawyers:Tracey Harris; Saljuq Haider

Tees Law’s litigation department has growing expertise in regulatory breaches, agricultural work and defamation. The team works in close connection with other departments to handle disputes related to takeovers and acquisitions and partnership and company contentious matters. Darren Perks heads the practice. Caroline Metcalf, Justin Robinson and Royston-based senior associate Polly Kerr are also recommended. The practice merged with Essex-based Wortley Byers LLP in January 2019.

Practice head(s):Darren Perks

Other key lawyers:Caroline Metcalf; Justin Robinson; Polly Kerr

Testimonials

'I find Tees extremely approachable and the partners immediately responsive to the issue at hand'.

'What makes this firm unique is that it has the feel of a small family firm whilst being able to draw on the resources of a large firm. For them no job is too small or too large'.

'Tees has a real strength in dealing with highly contentious cases, where its non-nonsense approach tends to be reflected in the high quality of the results it provides to its clients'.

'Our experiences of all aspects have been excellent'.

'Darren Perks is extremely capable of dealing with difficult cases with a client friendly but also resolutely commercial attitude'.

'Caroline Metcalfe is a born fighter'.

'I will never regret getting Caroline Metcalf on my side'.

'Justin Robinson stands out because of his clear, common sense commercial judgement'.

'I have had the pleasure of dealing with Polly Kerr, an excellent experience'.

'We received a first class personal service from Sarah Stanyer. She always makes us feel like we matter and her advice to date on every matter she has dealt with has been first class and to the point.'

Key Clients

Greene King

Fuller Smith & Turner

Turners of Soham

Bishop’s Stortford College

Strutt and Parker Farms

Price Bailey

Stansted Airport Limited

NHS Property Services Limited

Newhall Projects Limited

Spicer Haart

Work highlights

  • Acted for the claimants against the defendant, which had been engaged to advance a loss and expense claim arising out of works that had been carried out for the benefit of a third party.
  • Assisted client with a dispute concerning the supply of alcoholic beverages for sale at a World Championship sporting event in the North of England.
  • Assisted client with a contested claim against her landlord for an Agricultural Holdings Act Tenancy 1986 following the death of her husband.
  • Assisted client with a matter related to damage caused by tree roots.
  • Assisted client with a dispute involving the forced sale of licensed premises in the West Midlands.

The Harrow-based dispute resolution and litigation team at Harold Benjamin is particularly well versed in property litigation and deals with commercial litigation, insolvency, real estate, employment and estates disputes. The practice head is Jonathan Mahony, who focuses on hotel and construction work. Jeremy Lederman and senior associate Alim Shariff are other key litigators.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Mahony

Other key lawyers:Jeremy Lederman; Alim Shariff 

Testimonials

'Strengths are response times, expert knowledge, direct and easy accessibility to qualified resources'.

'The lawyers have successfully married professionalism with being pragmatic and approachable'.

'Alim Shariff and Jon Mahony are extremely attentive. In real terms, no client question is too simple, or irrelevant for them'.

 

Key Clients

Michael Wolf

Chill & Relax Ltd

Global Steel Holdings & Mr Pramod Lakshmi

USA Fashion (UK) Ltd

Lionwalk Ltd

Sivakumar

Thorntons

Work highlights

  • Acting for the appellant in a Court of Appeal matter concerning the  law of contract and torts of conspiracy.
  • Assisted the client with opposing a claim concerning a commercial lease for damages in trespass to achieve forfeiture of lease.
  • Assisting defendants with an application for summary judgment without trial.
  • Assisted th client with a Queen’s Bench Division case concerning fraudulent receipts for payment of money.
  • Assisted applicants with a boundary dispute involving two former Council properties.

The dispute resolution practice at Longmores Solicitors LLP has in-depth experience in commercial litigation, property litigation and contentious probate. The team is also well versed in injunctions and other emergency remedies. Recruitment and property management are key industry sectors. Practice head John Wiblin and senior solicitor John Wagstaffe are the names to note.

Practice head(s):John Wiblin

Other key lawyers:John Wagstaffe

Testimonials

'Reliable local firm, with very good subject knowledge'.

'Longmores are small enough to provide a partner-led service to clients, and large enough to maintain specialist expertise in a broad range of legal areas'.

'John Wiblin has not only expertise in law but also a commercially pragmatic approach'.

'John Wagstaffe is an superb lawyer. He is genuinely interested in his work, someone who takes time to think through his intended actions, intellectually very capable and a pleasure to discuss cases with'.

'John Wagstaffe is excellent. His subject knowledge is excellent, he gets to the point quickly and deals with our work succinctly. He has produced some excellent work and results for us'.

Key Clients

Independent Clinical Services Group of companies including Accident & Emergency Agency Limited, Pulse Staffing Limited, Maxxima Limited, Pulse Healthcare Limited, General Medicine Group, Frontline Staffing Limited, Thornbury Nursing Services Limited, Health Personnel Solutions Limited, and others

James Taylor Group including James Taylor Construction Limited

Andusia Recovered Fuels Limited

Datum Shopfitting Co (London) Limited

Hertford Planning Services

MCP Property Services Limited

Paradise Wildlife Park

Online 50 Limited

Victory Place Management Company Limited

Integraspec ICF Limited

Work highlights

  • Defending client against an unfair prejudice petition and a Part 7 declaratory relief claim regarding the shareholding of a family company and title to land.
  • Assisting client with attempt to recover monies from bank after funds were fraudulently transferred out of the client’s account.
  • Acting for a company and one shareholder in dispute with another shareholder seeking the return of his investment in the company.
  • Assisting client with  a council tax band dispute following the construction of several new housing blocks.
  • Assisted client with a dispute regarding its policy on consent for lessees to keep pets in flats.

Nockolds Solicitors’ commercial and property litigation team handles complex High Court litigation, focusing on breach of contact claims, product liability claims, professional negligence, restrictive covenants, IP, insolvency and distribution agreement disputes. The client portfolio includes PLCs, SMEs and high-net-worth individuals. The practice is headed by Daniel Winter. Associates Sam Cook, Lucy Slatter and George Burton are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Daniel Winter

Other key lawyers:Sam Cook; Lucy Slatter; George Burton

Testimonials

'A friendly, approachable and hard-working team, which always have a good relationship with their clients and counsel alike'.

'Good regional firm that punches above its weight in commercial litigation'.

'They have interesting work and are commercially minded in their approach to cases'.

'Sam Cook is smart and a good strategic thinker'.

'Lucy Slatter is really pleasant to work with and willing to go above and beyond for her clients'.

'George Burton is robust and astute in his advice and very good with clients'.

 

Key Clients

Weston Homes Plc

Fairview New Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing a client in defending a claim for breach of an exclusive distribution Agreement valued at approximately £200,000.
  • Acting for client in a dispute over the proceeds of a joint venture for the development of a block of flats and 12 houses.
  • Assisting client with a claim and ombudsman complaint against a SIPP provider for losses arising from investments in illiquid products.
  • Advising client on a petition to wind up a company on the basis that the company is unable to pay its debts as they fall due.
  • Acted for client in a claim against a contractor for unpaid invoices pursuant to a construction contract.

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Legal Developments in South East for Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

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