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  1. Commercial litigation: The West Country
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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.

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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.

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