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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.

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