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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: Bristol

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Bristol
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Bristol clients in South West 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


Burges Salmon LLP acts for corporates and government entities across a wide variety of sectors, with particular experience in transport, energy and financial services litigation. Kari McCormick has been providing ongoing advice to Financial Services Compensation Scheme in relation to its PPI recoveries project. Other public sector clients include Torbay Borough Council and the National Crime Agency. Chris Jackson led a highly publicised matter for Firstgroup, which reached the Supreme Court in an attempt to clarify the disability rights and equality law concerning access to wheelchair spaces on buses. The team is jointly led by David Hall and Paul Haggett, the latter of whom acted for a household name aircraft manufacturer in a claim against an employee for breach of contract and theft of confidential information and intellectual property. Major private-sector clients include John Lewis/Waitrose, Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks and Virgin.

Clarke Willmott LLP is a ‘well-organised firm that can be trusted with the most complicated litigation’. The team also has ‘impressive technical knowledge’ of banking and insurance litigation and group claims. ‘A fierce opponent and a first-class choice for any client’, practice head Alex Jakubowski is acting for Daewoo and Dixons Retail ind a product liability claim regarding a catastrophic fire allegedly caused by a fridge freezer produced by Daewoo. The highly recommended Philippa Hann represented a large group of claimants in a multimillion-pound claim against a forex platform for breach of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Richard Moore, a ‘commercially minded’ litigator with a particular specialism in IP disputes, successfully represented Icescape in an expedited trial against Ice-World, seeking a declaration of non-infringement with regards to Icescape, which concerned an injunction, a damages claim and a declaration of invalidity of Ice-World’s patent and subsequent revocation. Additionally, Moore is representing a group of Italian individual and corporate investors in a dispute regarding an investment transaction involving shares in a UK-based electronic payment services company, which went into administration.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s disputes team ‘compares very well with others in the Bristol market’ and provides ‘sensible, commercial advice at a good price’. The group has particular expertise in financial services and insurance litigation, and ‘tactically astute’ department head Ben Daniels also has experience of the telecoms sector and specialises in fraud and injunction work. Daniels is representing nine water companies in High Court claims seeking refunds for water and drainage search fees stretching back 11 years. In the banking and finance space, Daniels is acting for Western Union in connection with claims involving derivative and forex financial products. Rebecca Smith is highly recommended and is advising a global insurance client on policy coverage issues in addition to a variety of claims against its insured relating to systemic failed equalisation in pensions schemes. Fraud and asset recovery specialist Simon Thomas is defending Zurich Insurance in a high-profile cross-border negligence claim worth £1.29m. Also recommended are Dan Preddy, Martin Langley, and Vanessa Taylor-Byrne, who specialises in health and public sector disputes.

Osborne Clarke’s disputes resolution team is ‘the best in the region and as good as many in London’. With experience of large national and international disputes, the ‘absolutely first-class’ team handles the full range of commercial litigation. The ‘experienced and pragmatic’ Catherine Wolfenden is a ‘go-to’ litigator for procurement litigation and regulatory issues in the public sector. ‘Smooth, competent and classy’, Tom Ellis regularly acts in corporate investigations and fraud-related matters, especially where there are international aspects. Peter Clough is ‘very strategic, dangerously bright, but also a pleasure to work with’. Clough is acting for a power company in regulatory proceedings related to an electricity distribution network; he also specialises in disputes in Asia and the CIS. ‘Commercially aware’ associate director Douglas Peden focuses on IP and competition litigation, but also handles general commercial disputes. Charlie Wedin and senior associate Craig McCarthy are also recommended.

Made up of ‘high-calibre professionals with good strength in depth’, TLT’s disputes team regularly handles multi-jurisdictional claims across a variety of sectors, but has particular experience of retail and financial services litigation. Highly regarded practice co-head Chris Owen represented the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in a series of claims regarding destruction of property following the London riots in 2011; recovery claims were heard by a panel of Supreme Court judges, who ruled unanimously in favour of Owen’s client. In an example of its international capabilities, the practice group represents The Union and President of India in a politically-charged dispute with the High Commissioner of Pakistan concerning £35m held in a British bank account. The group also has a specialised mediation service and is also developing expertise in pensions litigation and energy disputes. Edmund Fiddick is acting for the trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme on a declaration of the validity and effect of various deeds and a professional negligence claim. Jonathan Hoey specialises in banking and finance litigation and jointly heads the department.

In addition to acting for public sector clients, Bevan Brittan LLP has been increasingly active for private sector clients, and attracts praise for providing ‘commercial, responsive and cost-effective’ service. The team’s sector experience encompasses the waste, energy, transport, ICT and financial services sectors, and has been involved in a number of multi-jurisdictional claims in 2016 and 2017. Department co-head Emily Heard specialises in judicial review and procurement challenges, and acted for Bristol Missing Link in a dispute concerning the way automatic injunctions should be handled during procurement challenges. Virginia Cooper and the ‘approachable and practical’ Wesley O’Brien are acting for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme on alternative recovery strategies regarding investments made in speculative property developments in multiple non-European jurisdictions. Adam Kendall attracts praise for his ‘considered and helpful advice’.

According to one client, Thrings LLPis at the top of its game’ in the Bristol market. The disputes resolution team has a ‘proven track record in all areas of commercial litigation’, but is especially strong in IP and financial services disputes. Department head Alastair Govier is a ‘safe pair of hands’ for financial services and pensions litigation and defended Avalon Investment Services in a £24m claim for damages relating to the fraudulent conduct of a former manager. He also defended a firm of investment advisers in relation to multiple separate claims concerning SIPPs and unregulated overseas property investments. The ‘calm and commercially mindedMegan Jefferies made partner in 2016 and specialises in IP disputes. Jefferies worked alongside Mark Cullingford in relation to a complex cross-border IP and shareholder dispute. Also recommended are Steve McCombe, who handles construction and engineering disputes, and Alex Madden, who specialises in judicial reviews and environment disputes.

Foot Anstey’s ‘responsive and approachable’ dispute resolution department in Bristol is noted for its strength in banking, financial services and retail, and also handles IP and media disputes. The disputes team was strengthened in 2016 with the addition of Mark Rhys-Jones, who joined the firm from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP and now leads the department. Rhys-Jones has experience of a variety of contractual disputes and public procurement challenges and is acting for one of three shareholders in an educational joint venture in relation to a dispute among the shareholders. Neil Parkes is a ‘safe pair of hands’ for media litigation and contentious IP and is defending Sky UK in a comparative advertising/trade mark infringement claim brought by BT.

Humphreys & Co. is a ‘highly effective firm that punches well above its weight in Bristol’. Its contentious expertise covers a number of specialised sectors such as defamation, IP litigation and claims arising out of commercial transactions, the group ‘knows when to fight in court and when to strike out-of-court settlements’. Name partner Robert Humphreys provides ‘a level of service rarely seen at larger London firms’ and has over 30 years of experience acting for UK and foreign clients in a variety of disputes, including international litigation. The ‘vastly experiencedPhilip Siddons acts on a range of shareholder and director disputes. The group has been involved in a host of IP disputes, including multi-jurisdictional trade mark infringement disputes. Stephen Burbidge is also recommended.

The ‘extremely efficient and collaborative’ litigation group at VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) has expertise in business and charity disputes and matters involving energy, utilities and procurement. Department head Ed Husband specialises in disputes involving financial distress and business breakdown. Husband regularly handles contentious work for EDF Energy and recently defended a claim brought by Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine relating to the failure of a heat and power plant operated by EDF. Ben Holt represented Hills Waste Solutions Limited in a multimillion-pound procurement challenge brought by FCC Recycling (UK) against Wiltshire Council for alleged breaches of Public Contract Regulations 2006. Holt also has particular expertise in the aerospace and defence sectors. Senior associate Nick Martindale is also recommended.

The litigation team in Ashfords LLP’s Bristol office deals primarily with matters in the financial services, IT and tech and retail sectors. Rory Mac Neice, who was appointed head of the commercial litigation department in 2016, represented Offshore Marine Management Limited in a claim against a purchaser of one of the client’s subsidiary companies regarding the failure of the purchaser to comply with registration regulations in addition to disputes over sales agreements. In the IT sector, Mac Neice is advising a tech solutions company on the provision of white-label IT solutions to an intermediary. Polly Russell-Stower took an in-house position in 2016, while Joanne Saye joined the firm from TLT.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s department in Bristol specialises in banking and financial services litigation and contentious insolvency. Stephen Dilley heads the practice and has been acting for multiple energy clients in 2016 and 2017. He also assisted the directors of a company with preventing the disruption by a minority shareholder of a multimillion-pound offer for the company’s shares. Dilley also advised a trade union on its liability concerning questionable membership fees. Managing associate Victoria Brooks has experience in large-scale High Court claims, judicial reviews and professional negligence cases.

Commercial litigation: Dorset and South Wiltshire

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The five-partner litigation department at Lester Aldridge LLP focuses on the marine, defence and financial services sectors, and is experienced in High Court and appellate proceedings, as well as mediation and arbitration. Department head Michael Giddins is acting in a high-value, international contract dispute, and is also representing the claimant in a multimillion-pound LCIA arbitration. Giddins and Michael Veal, who specialises in commercial and employee fraud, are both dual-qualified in Ireland. Edward Foster focuses on banking disputes and is acting for a lender in connection with a commercial loan granted under fraudulent pretence. Chris Evans is noted for his expertise in financial services and IT sector disputes. In 2017, property litigator Kate Stewart joined the firm from Moore Blatch LLP.

Steele Raymond LLP’s disputes team is led by two highly experienced partners who have more than 60 years of combined litigation experience: Peter Rolph, who has developed a specialised practice in professional negligence, and John Andrews. Working primarily for Dorset-based clients, the group handles a variety of company and shareholder disputes. The department has also been increasingly active in construction litigation, where it can draw on the ‘broad property expertise’ of Simone Ritchie, who specialises in property litigation. Amy Cousineau Massey recently joined the team from Coles Miller Solicitors LLP and handles director and shareholder litigation and contractual disputes, as well as employment litigation.

Providing ‘City performance at regional rates’, Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP has a ‘growing team of excellent practitioners’ with specialisms in a number of areas such as banking and financial services litigation and insolvency, professional negligence and commercial contract disputes. The ‘highly competent and pragmatic’ Lauren Day leads the commercial litigation team and is acting for an investment group in relation to a number of contractual disputes concerning the construction of commercial property. William Fox Bregman has a ‘wealth of experience in banking and finance litigation’. Highlights included acting for the claimants in relation to 13 separate claims against a high-street bank, a household name accounting firm and an insolvency practitioner. The firm’s banking and finance litigation team exhibits ‘real expertise and proven excellence’ in contentious banking matters and includes the ‘astute and commercially minded’ Paul Kanolik. Luke Baldwin, Victoria Riddleston and Carl Arreghini are also recommended.

Through its offices in the heart of Dorset, Battens Solicitors Limited has deep ties with the South West market, but has been increasingly strengthening ties with London and the larger national market. The team handles an array of general commercial litigation and has over the past few years developed its ADR capabilities. Peter Livingstone heads the practice and represented a financial services brokerage business in a fraud claim against one of its principals. He also acted for the owner of an aircraft regarding the crash of the aircraft, while being flown by a third party without the owner’s consent; this claim includes insurance and underwriter claims, in addition to claims against two individuals and two institutions. Jon Dobson recently represented a partnership in mediation with a bank regarding a claim for misrepresentation and various breaches of contract.

Blanchards Bailey LLP’s ‘efficient and thorough’ disputes team specialises in property disputes, especially involving clients in the agriculture sector, but also handle commercial litigation for regional SMEs. Paul Dunlop, the team’s highly recommended head, regularly acts for Dometic UK on customer disputes, sales and manufacturing claims, and issues arising from unpaid invoices. Edward O’Brien acts for individuals on a variety of disputes, including professional misconduct and negligence, IP infringement and contract disputes. Lucy Mignot is also recommended.

Frettens LLP’s ‘outstanding’ litigation team is ‘quick to ascertain issues and understands the complexities involved in matters from the outset’. Though specialising in property litigation and professional negligence claims, the team also handles debt recovery and shareholder and commercial contract disputes. The ‘prompt and knowledgeable’ Michelle Hayter heads the practice and is advising Primetower Properties on a number of disputes, including the defence of a breach of contract claim. Hayter is also acting in a director/shareholder dispute involving a coercive share transfer, and is representing the claimant in a professional negligence claim against a financial advisory firm. Property litigation specialist Carl Geary is rated for his ability to ‘see through the inevitable noise involved in litigation’.

Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF is particularly well known for its property litigation capabilities, but also has experience of professional negligence and company disputes. Mark Timberlake heads the department and specialises in commercial and residential property litigation, professional negligence and insolvency. The ‘prompt and attentiveBrendan Herbert is highly recommended and has experience of company and shareholder disputes, IP disputes, and ADR. Herbert has been involved in multiple partnership disputes throughout 2016 and 2017, and is also acting for a West End producer in connection with various claims arising out of the production costs and fees of a stage production. Robin Watson primarily focuses on employment law, and is representing a former employee of an IT company in a claim for unpaid bonus payments worth £350,000.

Commercial litigation: M4 corridor and Gloucestershire

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: M4 corridor and Gloucestershire
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Simon Burn - Simon Burn Solicitors
    • Rupert Croft - Croft Solicitors

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: M4 corridor and Gloucestershire clients in South West 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


With specialist litigators handling complex commercial litigation, professional negligence and IP disputes, BPE Solicitors LLP is a ‘regional leader for commercial litigation’. In addition to its expertise in commercial litigation, the ‘top-tier’ team has experience of ADR and has a track record in debt recovery and classic car litigation. The department promoted two new partners in 2016: Riyaz Jariwalla, who has experience of a wide-range of contentious IP matters, digital fraud and cybercrime, and is also an accredited mediator, and Jonathan Sawtell-Gist, who specialises in contentious probate. The department is headed by Philip Radford, a ‘top-drawer litigator’ who focuses on commercial contract litigation, shareholder/director disputes and professional negligence. Radford is also an experienced mediator. Thomas Hall is a ‘strategic and client-focssed’ solicitor; in 2016, he was involved in a range of shareholder/director disputes, commercial contract disputes and asset tracing and recovery matters. Notable clients include BMW, Mears Group, Smart Systems and Cotteswold Dairy. Kathryn Johnston left the firm in 2016.

As a firm that is ‘routinely pitted against City firms and the litigation departments of large national firms’, Croft Solicitors is particularly well known for its ability to handle high-value civil fraud, antitrust and financial services claims. Headed by Rupert Croft, a ‘heavyweight commercial litigator with impeccable client-care skills’, the group has been involved in two highly publicised constitutional claims in 2016. Croft’s team represented Fair Deal for Expats in the judicial review concerning the UK government’s intention to give notice to leave the EU without the approval of Parliament; the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the client in 2017. Similarly, the team submitted an application to the General Court in Luxembourg on behalf of Fair Deal for Expats, seeking to annul Jean-Claude Juncker’s order to ban Brexit negotiations from taking place until after the triggering of Article 50. Gaynor Hall (an ‘adept’ international litigator) represented Stirling Mortimer Global Property Fund PPC in a €58m claim for conspiracy and negligence against a major London-based accountancy practice. Associate director Laura Nelson has been involved in a number of high-value cross-border matters.

The dispute resolution team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys has been increasingly active in banking litigation. Department head Adam Finch, who specialises in banking and financial services litigation, acted for the London branch of Austria-based Erste Group Bank in relation to a claim against Red October International alleging non-payment of the client’s costs arising from a loan between the bank and a third party. Indeed, the team’s international work has steadily increased, and the practice head also leads a team acting for Intex Management Services, a BVI company, in relation £2.5m owed to the client and another Maltese-regulated entity, on behalf of which they also brought claims. Additionally, the group is acting on behalf of the claimants in two class-action suits involving offshore funds. Fiona Hayles is representing Paragon Group of Companies in multiple matters involving a breach of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, regarding PPI mis-selling and non-disclosure of commission.

Willans LLP’s litigation and dispute resolution department has a strong presence in the regional market and ‘is able to compete with larger regional players’. The team has experience of a variety of contract litigation, partnership disputes, IP claims, construction and property disputes, and also handles contentious probate, professional negligence and ADR. Department head Paul Gordon, who combines ‘technical competence with pragmatism’, has acted for Excelerate Technology Limited for a number of years, including recent claims involving alleged unlawful competition, which was successfully resolved at trial. Other longstanding clients include Kohler Mira Limited and Jockey Club Racecourses. Gordon also handles defamation claims and IP disputes and is assisting Levolux Limited with the enforcement of a settlement agreement regarding a High Court patent infringement claim. Nick Cox acted for a company shareholder in relation to a Companies Act dispute, which settled in mediation in 2016. Senior associate Nick Southwell is experienced in a wide variety of commercial disputes and is also an accredited mediator.

Stephen Burns leads the disputes department in Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s Cheltenham office, which is ‘properly resourced, staffed and qualified to hold its own against City firms’. The team handles a variety of national and multi-jurisdictional contract disputes for corporate clients and individuals, and is also experienced in IP and professional negligence claims. Senior associate Claudine Morgan, who focuses on IT and IP disputes as well as general contract litigation, has ‘an excellent grasp of litigation tactics’; she is representing a client in a copyright infringement claim against a PhD candidate. ‘Knowledgeable and personable’ associate Ben Moore is defending a real estate development fund in various breach of contract claims brought by a foreign development company and involving bank lenders in two non-UK jurisdictions. Consultant Peter Scandrett is acting for a mail company in a multimillion-pound judicial review of UK VAT legislation compliance with European law. Senior associate Anna Smart ‘instinctively understands what the client wants and can achieve’ and has experience of contract litigation and ADR.

Royds Withy King’s disputes resolution team ‘provides a quality of service and expertise that is not normally found outside of London’. The group focuses on complex commercial litigation, with particular experience in IT, construction and social care disputes. The firm is also increasingly involved in the sports sector, with practice co-head Chris Kane regularly acting for Bath Rugby and The Rugby Players Association. The department also has a robust debt recovery service and acts for high-net-worth individuals in relation to inheritance claims, fraud and asset tracing. A ‘fierce negotiator and very experienced litigator’, Philip Banks-Welsh jointly heads the department and specialises in commercial agency litigation and insolvency claims. Associate Nicola Cutler represented a foreign individual in defending against the enforcement of an international judgment.

Best known for its work in the education and charity sectors, Stone King LLPresponds promptly to requests and encourages and maintains an excellent working relationship with its clients’. Department head Paul Sutton is ‘experienced in all areas of commercial litigation’, and is instructed by educational institutions and charities in a wide-variety of matters, such as professional negligence, contentious probate, contract disputes and data security issues. Senior associate Tony Pidgeon specialises in a range of commercial disputes; he ‘responds to his clients with appropriate urgency’ and provides ‘thorough but accessible explanations’. He handles multiple property-related disputes for both individuals and corporate clients. Notable clients in the education sector include Future Academies, Ark Schools and United Learning Trust. The group also acts for charity organisations such as the British Heart Foundation, Alzheimer’s Society and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Thrings LLPhas an excellent litigation practice capable of offering City-standard litigation at regional prices’. The department is ‘particularly recommended for fraud cases’; the ‘commercially prudentRamona Derbyshire and Joanna Apperley successfully defended a complex fraud claim relating to a family partnership business. In 2016, the team recruited Caroline Watson from Gardner Leader LLP, who is a ‘very impressive’ partner with experience of commercial litigation and ADR. She is defending a borrower client in relation to a substantial claim by its mezzanine lender alleging breaches of a loan agreement. David Patterson heads the group and is representing an HGV manufacturer in a £25m claim arising out of a vehicle fire and alleged defects with the vehicle in question. Patterson is also acting for a multinational consumer goods company in a contractual dispute with an Eastern European supplier of raw materials.

Acting for individuals, SMEs and national and international businesses, Mogers Drewett LLP’s disputes team has been strengthened by several new arrivals to the team and a number of new client wins. Maeve England heads the department and focuses on High Court cases and international arbitration, with a particular specialism in construction and property disputes. Luke Watson joined the team in 2016 from Mowbray Woodwards Solicitors and handles a variety of commercial disputes. He is handling a multimillion-pound farming partnership dispute in addition to acting on the administration of a multimillion-pound estate. Insurance litigation specialist Jake Stacey recently joined the firm from DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Simon Burn Solicitors is a ‘high-quality boutique’ made up of ‘very good all-round commercial litigators’ specialising in data privacy and insolvency-related litigation. Practice head Simon Burn attracts praise for his ‘supreme expertise’. The group has continued to represent various high-profile individuals in voicemail interception matters relating to the highly publicised Operation Golding, and has handled defamation claims, shareholder disputes and insolvency and possession proceedings in 2016.

Commercial litigation: The West Country

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: The West Country
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: The West Country clients in South West 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


Ashfords LLP’s litigation team, spread across its offices in Exeter, Plymouth and Taunton, is known for its ability to ‘quickly resolve sensitive issues’ and handles a mix of national and international work. The department is ‘as good as any in the region’ according to once client. Antony Lee acts for clients such as Viridor Waste Management and Tamoil Lubricants International on a variety of contractual disputes and has also handled multiple disputes for The London Borough of Corydon. Andrew Perkins acted for HR Dept Limited on the enforcement of a restrictive covenant against a former franchisee, who established a competing business after the termination of the franchise. Jason Squire works out of the Taunton office and assisted Interim Executives (Guernsey), a pensions provider, in a claim regarding a trustee’s duty to preserve assets. In the Plymouth office, Charles Hattersley has experience of marine and transport litigation.

Michelmores LLP’s ‘top-class’ litigation team is ‘always focused on getting a sound commercial outcome without unnecessary compromises’. Though involved in a wide variety of commercial disputes, the team has seen increased activity in private wealth, finance and investment related work. Jonathan Kitchin (‘a calm and balanced operator’) was promoted to partner in 2016 and has been involved in a number of high-value finance and loan disputes. Sara Chisholm-Batten (another new partner in the group) assisted Intelsat Global Sales & Marketing with obtaining an emergency injunction against a telecoms provider in India for breach of contract and secured a summary judgment against the company. Tim Richards heads the dispute resolution department and specialises in shareholder and contract claims and trade mark disputes; he also has experience of cross-border litigation and ADR. In 2016, Richards successfully resolved a partnership dispute for a well-known commercial law firm through mediation. Simon Barnett successfully acted for The Lord Chancellor in a claim against a solicitor’s firm regarding the breach of civil and criminal legal aid contracts.

One of the best firms in the West Country’ according to clients, Stephens Scown LLP’s nine-partner disputes team spans three regional offices and has expertise in a number of industry sectors, including renewables, mining and minerals, food and beverage and banking and financial services. Catherine Mathews leads the team in Exeter and is ‘polite, but straightforward’; she has experience of cross-border contract litigation and professional negligence claims, and has developed a niche practice in timeshare disputes. St Austell-based Davina Haydon handles a variety of disputes, including tort claims, product liability, partnership disputes and insurance litigation. The ‘diligent and client-focused’ Brian Dolan in Truro acted for Portland Stone Firms in connection with a compensation claim related to the restrictive effect of a planning order by Dorset County Council. New recruits included Jim Gorrod, who joined in 2016 from Foot Anstey, who has expertise in construction disputes, and Toby Claridge and Richard Slater, who joined the firm in 2015 from Foot Anstey and TLT, respectively.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s ‘efficient, effective and informative’ disputes team in Plymouth is noted for its expertise in the energy, financial services, transport, pensions and retail sectors. Gareth Kagan, who leads the national litigation practice, is acting got an aggregate company in a high-value matter involving the alleged breach of supply chain agreements, among other related disputes. Stephen Dilley, who splits his time between the Plymouth and Bristol offices, specialises in insolvency and banking and financial services litigation. Luke Holmes is highly recommended and has an active practice covering energy and insolvency disputes in addition to general commercial litigation. Managing associate Adrian Bratt is recommended for his ‘attitude, diversity and exceptional communication skills’.

Clarke Willmott LLP is a ‘large commercial law firm that treats clients personally, whether they are blue-chip companies or individuals’. The Taunton litigation team is led by the ‘commercially savvyGreg Saunders and has particular expertise in partnership and agriculture disputes. Saunders represented the National Farmers Union in a judicial review brought against the Animal Plant Health Agency in relation to a decision contrary to its published guidelines. He also successfully resolved a procurement challenge for an educational institution out of court. Senior associate Daniel Gill acted for a construction firm in an appellate case regarding unpaid invoices and allegedly defective work on the main stadium of Yeovil Town Football Club. Esther Woolford specialises in agricultural and property litigation.

Foot Anstey’s West Country team works seamlessly with the Bristol office and acts for clients both regionally and nationally. The ‘pragmatic and unflappable’ Steven Richards heads the West Country offering and specialises in corporate and financial services litigation, fraud and contentious insolvency. Richards is acting for a group of investor clients on the recovery of a high-value overseas property investment. Peter Singfield handles IP and brand protection issues out of the Exeter office and in 2016 acted for an online market service operator in a high-value cross-border matter regarding the enforcement of the client’s terms and conditions. Dickon Court is a ‘thorough and robust’ senior associate with particular expertise in civil fraud matters.

Clients of Kitsons LLP rate the firm for its ‘exceptional quality for the money’ and ‘capability across the whole range of commercial disputes seen in the West Country’. David Turner is ‘absolutely first-rate’ and represented a local authority education provider in a financial leasing dispute with Siemens. The practice is headed by the ‘commercially astuteJames Cross, who has been involved in a variety of significant property disputes in addition to a shareholder dispute in 2016 and 2017. Cross is representing Churston Golf Club Limited in a breach of covenant claim relating to a quasi-easement. Nicholas Johnson, another key contact in the department, has experience of property disputes and mediation.

Porter Dodson LLPhas a thriving commercial litigation practice’ and a ‘well-deserved reputation’. Scott Bowley joined as part of a merger with Austen Whetham & Guest and handles a range of civil and commercial disputes work. The ‘established and capable’ practice group is headed by Stephen Wray, a ‘heavyweight litigator with long experience of providing a sterling service to clients’. Wray is acting for James Holdsworth, a joint-director and shareholder of Quantum Survey Management, in relation to a claim brought by the client’s fellow director. Anusheh Burcher joined the firm from Irwin Mitchell, and Ben Jones joined Blanchards Bailey LLP.

Debt recovery

Index of tables

  1. Debt recovery
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Debt recovery clients in South West 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


Clarke Willmott LLP’s debt recovery team is renowned for its ‘strength in depth’ and is praised for its ‘excellent enthusiasm exhibited in a most professional manner’. Associate Karen Chapman heads the commercial team within the debt recovery group and ‘cannot be praised highly enough’. Chapman provides ongoing advice to Viridor Limited regarding debt recoveries in connection with its varied debt portfolio; in 2016, it handled 298 debt recovery matters for the client. Department head Jane Dunlop provides ‘consistently excellent client care’ and advises one of the team’s most prominent clients – The Insolvency Service – for which the debt recovery group handles the collection of income payment agreements, book debts and antecedent/specialist recoveries under The Insolvency Act. Senior associate Stuart Hoysted focuses on antecedent recovery and handles the recovery of directors loans, transactions at undervalue, preferences and illegal dividends on behalf of The Insolvency Service. ‘Calm and reassuring’ senior associate Phil Roberts is acting for The Football Association Group to recover unpaid seat licence fees for Wembley Stadium.

TLT handles a range of debt recovery matters including mortgage repossessions, the sale of repossessed property, the appointment of receivers and unsecured debt recovery. Graham Walters leads the practice and has extensive experience acting for banks, mortgage lenders and LPA receivers in mortgage-related disputes. Richard Hayllar acts for a number of high street banks and fixed charge receivers, and Deborah Sheldon has experience of a range of recovery matters. The firm is known for its specialised financial services litigation capabilities. Jonathan Hoey focuses on banking and financial services advice and contentious banking issues. Notable clients include Lloyds Banking Group and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s debt recovery service falls under the larger dispute resolution practice and handles recovery matters for clients such as B&Q, British Gas and the Pension Protection Fund. The group has developed specialisms in the energy, financial services, pensions, transport, retail and manufacturing sectors, and has experience of consumer and commercial disputes and insolvencies. Merging contentious and non-contentious expertise, the group handles pre-litigation asset searches as well as litigation and enforcement. Plymouth-based Gareth Kaganengenders commerciality’ and has acted for national clients in matters ranging from the defence of consumer claims to the pursuit of overdue banking facilities. Stephen Dilley is a key contact in the Bristol office and the South West teams work closely alongside the London nationwide disputes resolution department. Other notable clients include LV=, Princess Yachts International, Post Office Limited and Friends Life.

The recovery and insolvency department at DAC Beachcroft LLP has experience of recovery matters involving a wide-range of assets and is especially active in large, cross-border recoveries. In a recent example, the department acted for Sovereign Global on the arrest and recovery of a ship in Djibouti, and in a separate matter acted for Western Union Business Solutions UK in relation to the recovery of a debt from an international mining company. Practice head Giles Hindle acted for a US corporate in relation to the seizure of two planes, and also assisted a US law firm in the enforcement of a debt in England. Christopher Stoate is an active senior associate in the practice group and has particular expertise in cross-border insolvency restructuring and asset tracing and recovery. Other notable clients include Stellar Logistics, Post Office Limited and Wessex Eagle.

Michelmores LLP has a dedicated asset and debt recovery department that acts for a wide-ranging client base, from large public sector bodies to multinational corporates. Through its network of international referral relationships, the team is well positioned to handle cross-border asset tracing and recovery matters. The team acts as sole recovery advisers for a number of national and international governmental agencies and corporates such as Intelsat. Simon Barnett heads the asset and debt recovery team, which works closely alongside the commercial and regulatory dispute resolution department, headed by Tim Richards. Bill Duncan, Ellen Yeates and Shona Houghton are also active members of the recovery team. Sara Chisholm-Batten handles a variety of commercial disputes and has particular experience in cross-border enforcement matters. The group also works closely with the insolvency team in recovery matters following personal or corporate insolvency.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) handles the gamut of debt recovery matters in the financial services, energy, utilities and telecoms sectors. The department is well known for its work involving school fees recovery schemes; Tabitha Cave leads a team that acts for over 250 independent schools and nurseries in the pursuit of fee debts from parents or third parties. Recent work includes a heavily disputed contractual claim against the parents of a former pupil valued at £30,000. Ed Husband heads the practice group and acts for longstanding client Brandon Hire Limited on a variety of recovery issues, but primarily involving commercial debts and personal guarantees. Husband also acts for major energy companies and professional consultancy services. The group continues to grow its debt recovery; in 2016, Dee Kundi joined the firm from the now-defunct HL Solicitors.

The asset recovery team at Ashfords LLP acts for local authorities, commercial organisations and financial institutions, and has expertise in cross-border debt recovery and the recovery of invoice debts. Headed by legal director Katie Farmer, the group regularly acts for Smith & Williamson in connection with invoice debt recovery matters. Farmer’s recent work includes pursuing an unpaid debt for professional fees from a company registered in the Isle of Man. She also works in the firm’s insolvency department and has experience of contentious banking and insolvency litigation. Other areas of expertise include acting for high street lenders and estate agents such as Hampton Estates and Bradleys Estate Agents.

Burges Salmon LLP handles high-volume recovery matters with its computerised debt collection system, and also acts for public sector clients and financial institutions. The team comprises Paul Haggett, who heads the dispute resolution department, and Amanda Vaughan, a debt recovery manager with over ten years of experience. Haggett and Vaughan’s clients include the Horserace Betting Levy Board, for which they submitted a letter before action and issued a claim for unpaid levy liability.

Lester Aldridge LLP’s contentious banking practice has particular experience of consumer finance disputes involving consumer credit legislation and FCA regulations, and regularly advises on regulatory investigations in the motor finance industry. Practice head Ann Lloyd is a notable practitioner in captive motor finance, and regularly advises on cross-border recovery exercises. Notable clients include Volkswagen Financial Services UK, Toyota Financial Services UK, MotoNovo Finance and R Raphael & Sons. The department also acts for start-up and internet-based lenders, such as Buy as You View Limited and Clearly Loans Limited.

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