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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 West > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: M4 corridor and Gloucestershire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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

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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.

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