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  1. Commercial litigation: Bristol
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Who Represents Who

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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 minded’ Megan 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.

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    The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act 2010, enacted on 18 March 2010, imposes a new US withholding tax and reporting regime, known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The FATCA regime applies generally to payments made after 31 December 2012, except on obligations (to be defined in future guidance) outstanding on 18 March 2012. Substantial effort is required by foreign entities to bring their worldwide operations and policies into compliance with the FATCA rules as of the effective date.

    - Jones Day

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