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Banking litigation

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  1. Banking litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking litigation clients in West Midlands 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


At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, the ‘knowledge of the team is first class’ and, as a result, the practice is a favourite of many UK’s leading banks, as well as international banks such as Svenska Handelsbanken and BNP Paribas. Chris Busby, who is now national head of practice, ‘has a lot of experience across a broad range of clients’ and ‘has strong contacts with the FCA and with the Financial Ombudsman Service’. Examples of his work include acting for HSBC on a portfolio of over 100 live matters concerning commercial lending, and advising Santander on a high volume of professional negligence litigation claims arising from commercial lending. Another key player in the team is newly promoted partner Neville Gray, who has been active for lenders on several multi-jurisdictional disputes in areas such as mis-selling and exchange rate manipulation. Closer to home, Gray continued to defend a global private bank on claims by investors for negligence and breach of statutory duty, following advice provided on the tax arrangements for film partnership schemes.

Gowling WLG’s practice is probably best known in the consumer finance space, where practice head Greg Standing acts for the likes of Black Horse, Mercedes Benz Financial Services and Honda Finance. In an example, Standing is representing

PEAC in relation to two separate cases, one as claimant and one as defendant, against schools which have entered into lease agreements for the hire of printing equipment. Standing is also advising Home Retail Group Card Services in multiple PPI claims relating to a cover-safe product provided with Argos-branded store cards. The team’s expertise extends to advising banks on lending disputes, and principal associate Turon Miah, who focuses on non-standard lending, securities and high-value claims, successfully acted for HSBC in the enforcement of a £300,000 loan and mortgage security. CIS and CEE specialist Tom Price, who divides his time between Birmingham and London, focuses on cross-border disputes, often with a banking component.

Shoosmiths LLP’s practice is ‘good at answering difficult questions and is generally extremely reliable in what can be testing and fraught situations’. The team sits within the firm’s recoveries services group, which acts for a wide range of clearing banks, other retail banks, building societies, credit card issuers and motor finance houses. Names to note include head of asset finance litigation Melanie Chell, who divides her time between Birmingham and Northampton; Roger Potgieter, whose work straddles advice to lenders on the recovery of financed assets and bringing claims against lenders under the Consumer Credit Act; and senior associate Martin Ward, who focuses on asset and motor finance. In 2016, the team acted for Close Brothers Motor Finance on a number of matters, including the recovery of £300,000 following the termination of a wholesale funding facility with a motor dealer; and in another example of work, it defended Lombard North Central Bank in a credit finance dispute over whether a coach was of satisfactory quality, following the supplier’s liquidation.

In 2016, Gateley Plc reported an increase in disputes touching on the regulatory aspects of banking litigation. The team is led by James Baird, who has particular expertise in title cases and focuses on areas such as fraud, cross-border recoveries, quality disputes, and consumer credit litigation. Baird’s recent work included representing lenders in relation to asset finance frauds, defaulted regulated loan agreements, and claims for satisfactory quality and loss of profits arising from disputed hire agreements. Aldermore Bank, Macquarie Equipment Finance UK and Bank of Scotland are all clients of the practice.

Squire Patton Boggs’ practice is possibly best known for advising major UK banks on large-scale professional negligence actions. The team also acts for lenders such as Arkle Finance and Arrow Global on a range of contentious matters, including orders for sale and commercial guarantee enforcement, regulatory and fraud issues, and retail and wholesale product mis-selling. Garon Anthony and senior associate Ben Tompkins are key contacts and have been busy assisting with disputes arising from film finance arrangements, outstanding guarantees and student lending.

At Fieldfisher LLP, Jim Sharkey handles a volume of financial product mis-selling claims against banks and intermediaries, and also has experience in high-value negligence actions. In one example of work, Sharkey successfully defended two property investment companies and a solicitor in High Court proceedings brought by an international bank relating to the management of a property portfolio.

Irwin Mitchell’s practice represents lenders such as HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland in high-value professional negligence disputes. In addition to pursuing negligence claims against valuers, solicitors and other professionals, the team also defends banks where advice provided to investors is challenged. Associate Jane Anderson is now the main contact, following the departure of Simon Ellis.

Commercial litigation: Birmingham

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Birmingham
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Birmingham clients in West Midlands 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


DLA Piper UK LLP’s practice focuses on business areas where opportunities for significant claims arise and has deep expertise in handling substantial PFI, outsourcing, financial services, corporate, manufacturing and insurance disputes. The team is also regularly instructed on fraud cases and, in one example, practice head Neil Bowker, who ‘leads the team with flair and charisma’, is acting for Automotive and Insurance Solutions Group and Accident Exchange in the prosecution of a £127m fraud claim against two directors of Autofocus and various firms of solicitors. Another area of strength is multi-jurisdictional disputes, and the team was once again active on a number of substantial cross-border mandates: Nick Bamford, who is ‘particularly strong at disputes involving technical issues’, is defending Synergy Health in a Commercial Court action brought by T J Smith & Nephew relating to the irradiation of pharmaceutical products for marketing in Japan and the alleged failure to maintain a foreign manufacturer's accreditation licence pursuant to Japanese legislation; and Bowker is advising Trelleborg in connection with the defence of multi-party court proceedings concerning allegedly defective fenders installed at Troon Harbour. Other names to note are the ‘formidably bright’ Phillip Kelly, who is assisting Bowker on a significant PFI-related arbitration, and director George Mortimer, who leads on insurance disputes. The practice suffered the loss of Roy Tozer and Charles Arrand, who both joined Shoosmiths LLP.

DWF’s ‘well-organised, thorough and London-standard team’ is led by Andrew Leach, who is a ‘superb, highly ethical lawyer, with considerable strategic nous and always prepared to go the extra mile’. The practice’s ‘arbitration practice and its Russian client base is particularly impressive for a regional firm’. The team continued to be active on a number of significant cases emanating from the CIS and CEE; in one example, Leach successfully acted for Optaglio in a breach of contract claim against Abbfab Engineering relating to the manufacture of a holographic embossing machine. In another piece of international work, Leach and newly promoted partner Darren Kenny, who is ‘very dedicated and astute’, defended Punj Lloyd and Punj Lloyd Upstream in proceedings in the Commercial Court relating to the repayment of $25m allegedly due under loan agreements and guarantees. The team also handles UK-centric work, and Kenny successfully represented the Human Support Group in a claim brought by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Council following the group’s withdrawal from a contract for the provision of rehabilitation support services. Helen Briant, Mark Kenkre and Keith Mills all departed for Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

Fieldfisher LLP’s expertise in handling international disputes was once again on display, with head of department Jonathan Hofstetter active on a number of multimillion-pound ICC arbitrations, as well as advising new client Swedish Match in an application for judicial review. Another key player in the team is Jim Sharkey, who has considerable injunctive experience, and specialises in complex banking and offshore financial services litigation. Sharkey’s recent caseload includes advising on a substantial claim for breach of directors’ duties, employees’ duties and negligence in relation to a disputed engineering contract. In the IT space, Ann Benzimra continued to handle claims arising from the termination of contracts, while senior associate Stephen May, who is a ‘committed, sensible lawyer, with good practical commercial experience’, was busy on a major product liability claim. Other key players are Larry Coltman, who leads on credit insurance work, Adam Sturt, who has expertise in director, shareholder and partnership disputes, and Richard Waugh, who has particular strength in the engineering and construction as well as IT and technology sectors. Bosch, Trend Micro and Holland & Barrett are all clients of the practice.

Gowling WLG’s ‘excellent team’ is distinguished by its ‘detailed technical knowledge and understanding of the client’s requirements’. As well as delivering general commercial litigation, the practice also has in-depth specialisms in IT disputes, health and safety regulatory issues, procurement disputes, bribery and corruption issues, and international arbitration. The automotive sector is a particular area of strength and the team acts for a range of manufacturers, suppliers and dealers, including TRW Automotive and Aston Martin. Other target sectors include aviation and defence, where James Gordon is the key contact, food and drink, healthcare, manufacturing, and professional and business support services. Prominent lawyers in the sizeable practice include Andrew Smith, who is, for one client, ‘the best litigator outside of London’, the ‘experienced and analyticalAndrew Manning Cox, the ‘outstandingClark Sargent, and Andrew Nugent Smith, who is a ‘good judge of when to pick a fight’ and successfully acted for LucasVerity Electric Steering in the Court of Appeal in a £30m claim against a Portuguese subsidiary supplier for breach of an exclusive supply agreement. Regulatory specialist Andrew Litchfield co-heads the team alongside London-based James Sidwell.

Proactivity, vision, and attention to detail’ are all areas of strength at Pinsent Masons LLP, where the team continued to feature heavily in high-profile cases. Director Jason Kirwin was particularly active: as well as defending IMI in the Court of Appeal in a cartel damages claim, he also represented E.ON UK in a $300m international trade contractual dispute. The ‘strategicJonathan Fortnam was also busy and, in one highlight, acted for the current management and shareholders of Instant Offices in a breach of accounting warranty claim arising from the acquisition of Instant Offices from its previous owners. The practice has considerable depth below partner level, with notable practitioners including senior associate Faye Moore, who is ‘very clever, hardworking and thorough’, associate Suzannah Boyd, who ‘pins down the issues’, and associate Nicola Seymour, who has ‘excellent case management skills’. At the senior end, key players include head of practice Jim Richards, who acted for Abena UK in a major fraud investigation committed by a senior former employee in a conspiracy with a number of other individuals; office managing partner Greg Lowson, who is ‘seasoned and client-focused’; and consultant Angela Taylor, who is ‘always in control of the case’.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is ‘very responsive, commercial, constructive and, where appropriate, bold’, and the team has been active on a variety of multimillion-pound claims, ranging from breach of warranty in a share agreement to a dispute over trade effluent disposal. The practice was further enhanced by the hires of Adam Fisher and senior associate Helen Amison, both from Gowling WLG; Fisher has significant experience in technology and outsourcing matters as well as aviation, aerospace and defence, and also the nuclear sector. Head of practice Richard Lloyd is ‘hardworking and great with clients’ and has particular expertise in the utilities and diversified industries sectors, while associate Victoria Callicott specialises in fraud and investigations work. The team draws clients from both the public and private sectors; examples include Birmingham City Council and Mitchells & Butlers.

Gateley Plc’s practice is ‘very professional and thorough in their approach to the work and able to add a realistic commercial edge to advice and guidance for the duration of the case’. The team had a number of good results in 2016 and, in one example, senior associate Karen Levesley successfully defended the former owners of Covpress International Holdings in a claim brought by Shandong Yongtai Group relating to the alleged breach of warranties in a share purchase agreement. Levesley also secured summary judgment against Shandong in a claim for deferred consideration payable under the terms of a share purchase agreement. Practice head Stephen Goodrham handles a wide caseload, including representing employers in breach of confidentiality allegations with former employees, and acting on restrictive covenant disputes and professional negligence claims. Other names to note are senior associate Neil Warner, who regularly advises corporate and sports clients on contentious issues and is ‘very tenacious but also has a firm eye on the commercial realities of a case’; and solicitor Kate Canning, who shows ‘attention to detail and the ability to wade through a large amount of information’.

At Mills & Reeve LLP, ‘tactically very astute’ managing partner Steve Allen focuses on high-value dispute resolution, often with an international element, and in the last 12 months has been active on a range of LCIA, UNCITRAL and ad hoc international arbitration cases. The automotive and advanced manufacturing and technology sector is a particular specialism, with Allen continuing to serve key client Jaguar Land Rover on a number of significant matters. Below partner level, the team draws on the expertise of two principal associates, Jonathan Nixon and Anthony Minnis; Nixon heads up the firm’s national fraud practice and works across several sectors, including education, food and beverage, automotive and sports; and Minnis has specialist knowledge in public and private sector health issues and regular advises clients on NHS dispute resolution, contract management and termination. Other notable clients of the practice are Shell, BUPA and Cadent.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP is a ‘powerhouse of resources and skill’ and is well known for its expertise in handling energy disputes for the likes of the National Grid and Npower. In 2016, the practice noted an uptick in instructions arising from the theft of confidential or commercially sensitive data; examples included Andrew Adams acting for an independent retail energy supplier in a High Court multi-party claim seeking to prevent the misuse of confidential data and customer information, and the ‘tactically astute’ Mark Beesley representing Intercity Telecom and Modern Operations in proceedings initiated against a former senior employee for breaching restrictive covenants by contacting and diverting customers. In other highlights, the ‘commercially agile’ Barry Jervis acted for First Personnel Services in a dispute with Halfords over liability to pay transfer fees, and Tim Speed acted for West Bromwich Commercial in a case over the interpretation of a guarantee in one of the client’s standard form documents. Newly promoted partner James Woolstenhulme is ‘particularly strong in the injunctive field’. Beesley and Jervis are the main contacts.

National head of practice Alex Bishop has ‘assembled an excellent team of litigators’ at Shoosmiths LLP, where the practice continued to be busy in its key sectors of retail, automotive and IT. Bishop, who provides ‘top-quality strategic advice and truly outstanding client care’, is acting for Architectural Wallsz (International) in relation to its claim against multiple defendants arising from the establishment of a competitor venture; and she is also advising a business purchaser on a potential breach of tax covenant and warranty claim. In other highlights, Birmingham head of practice Mark Elder is acting for TCCT Retail in a claim for tracing following mistaken payment to an incorrect bank account, and Helen Pickford, who is ‘on top of every document in the case’, is representing WiseTech in its defence of a claim for fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation arising from the sale of its software. Elder has extensive experience in seeking urgent injunctive relief and also has a specialism in public procurement litigation.

Squire Patton Boggs is ‘one to watch in the commercial litigation space’, with one defining quality being its ‘pragmatic ability to focus on the risks and issues’. The practice is particularly adept at handling automotive and supply chain disputes, especially in relation to product liability issues and insurance issues. Other areas of focus are financial services, where Garon Anthony ‘has great intellectual capability and real expertise’, and pensions. In relation to the latter, the team advises trustees, employers and representative beneficiaries in a broad range of issues, including equalisation and rectification, professional negligence and judicial review. The ‘personableSimon Garbett heads the team and wins praise for his ‘commercial-minded approach’. Clients of the practice include Impalloy, HomeServe and Rotala.

Litigation boutique Bell Lax Limited is a ‘strong local practice that can hold its own with the city centre firms in its specialist areas’. The team acts for claimants and defendants in a wide variety of commercial litigation and arbitration, and is noted both for its ‘broader knowledge of the law than many comparable firms’, and also for its ability to provide innovative funding solutions for commercial cases. Specialist areas include director and shareholder disputes, professional negligence claims, and contract disputes. The practice is led by Richard Kerry and includes consultant Peter Lax, whose ‘advice is always considered and correct’, and solicitor advocate Liam Owen, who ‘displays great tenacity and understands how judges think’. Heather Bell retired from practice.

Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘one of the strongest of the smaller city centre firms in commercial litigation’, and thrives under the leadership of Dean Parnell, who is ‘very experienced and sensible, with sound judgement and a particular skill at negotiating very good deals for his clients’. Parnell is an experienced mediator and is also qualified to act as a supervising solicitor for search orders. The practice represented clients in a number of multimillion-pound claims and noted an increase in injunctive relief, SWAP claims, shareholder disputes and civil fraud. Kamal Majevadia, who co-heads the team with Parnell, has ‘good technical knowledge and is particularly good at insolvency, restructuring and financial professional negligence cases’. Richard Cooper departed for Emms Gilmore Liberson.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s ‘very good team displays solid commercial sense and is very experienced, especially in the most complex of litigious matters’. The newly formed practice is the result of the arrival of a team of five from DWF, including new practice head Mark Kenkre, Helen Briant and consultant Keith Mills. The ‘very experienced and calm’ Mills ‘grasps complex issues quickly’ and is acting for Protec International in a cross-border dispute relating to the recovery of trade marks that were allegedly unlawfully transferred to a third party. In another significant matter, he is representing the representative beneficiary in connection with a Beddoe application under Part 64 of the Civil Procedure Rules. The team was also busy in the international fraud space, with Kenkre a specialist in this regard. Briant’s areas of expertise include shareholder disputes and international arbitration.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is probably best known for representing public sector clients such as Birmingham City Council in major procurement disputes. In one example of work, the team defended Camphill Village Trust in the High Court in a claim arising from changes to the employment status of volunteers engaged by the Trust. Hilary Harrison and construction specialist Andrew Lancaster are key contacts.

BLM’s ‘commercially minded and tenacious’ team continued to be highly active in insurance driven litigation and was also busy on a range of mandates in the food sector, including cases involving breaches of competition law and fraud; in relation to the latter the team draws on the experience of Caroline Kane, who specialises in claims of deceit, conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty. Another name to note is the ‘professional and committedJagdeep Singh Hayre, who focuses on public sector work and has been busy on several cases of fraud related to public funds. The practice is led by Julian Smart, who is an ‘experienced and efficient litigator’.

Bevan Brittan LLP acts for clients across the public, private and third sectors and handles a range of instructions, including finance disputes, public law challenges and breaches of contract and negligence. National head of litigation Adam Kendall was busy on behalf of public sector bodies in a number of big-ticket claims, including those arising from outsourcing contracts for collection and management of waste and recycling. Clients of the practice include BUPA, Johnson & Johnson and G4S.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s practice saw continuing growth in the area of shareholder disputes and breaches of fiduciary duties by directors and shareholders, accompanying the practice’s established expertise in breach of contract and negligence claims. Practice head

Stuart Farr has niche expertise in the gun sector, where he acts for clients such as BSA Guns (UK), and Peter Brewer focuses on corporate disputes, including enforcement of post-termination restrictions, the abuse of confidential information, and breaches of implied and express duties. The team draws on the experience of consultant Paul Griffiths, who handles professional negligence work, and Peter McHugh, who is an experienced arbitrator and mediator.

According to one client of the firm, Emms Gilmore Liberson is ‘commercially driven and focused on servicing the needs of SMEs in the Midlands, and seems to be gaining market share through delivering on those aims’. The team was substantially developed by the hire of Richard Cooper from Sydney Mitchell LLP, who now heads the practice, and regulatory specialist Peter Adkins, who joined from QualitySolicitors Talbots. Cooper, who is noted for his ‘very good way with clients, combining pragmatism with innovation in the application of the law’, has a speciality in shareholder disputes and unfair prejudice petitions.

All problems and dangers are fully worked through’ at Freeths LLP, with the practice delivering a ‘supportive, but not flowery, response and summary’. Head of practice Richard Coates, who demonstrates an ‘ability to empathise with clients and extensive knowledge of law’, was active on various high-value cross-border mandates, and also handled a major breach of fiduciary duty claim. The team was significantly boosted by the hire of

Louise Wilson, who joined from Gowling WLG. Wilson was busy in the professional negligence space, acting for the likes of JRB Automotive, and also advised on various disputes arising from energy contracts and commercial agents regulations.

Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands clients in West Midlands 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


Beswicks Legal continued to be busy on a high volume of corporate transaction disputes, share purchase warranty claims, and high-value shareholder and directors’ duties disputes, and the team is also adept at handling cross-border matters for the likes of Sandvik AB and Orbital Gas Systems. Another significant work stream derives from the practice’s capability in the sports sector, which was further developed by the promotion to the partnership of Gareth Wilkinson and the hire of senior associate Sean O’Toole from Gowling WLG, who has a strong reputation in boxing and motor sport. Other key contacts are ‘very competent’ practice head Stephen Taylor, and Karen Elder, who focuses on construction-related disputes. Former managing partner Graham Neyt has left the firm.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP is, for one client, ‘the leading firm in Wolverhampton, the Black Country and Shropshire in the area of commercial litigation’ and, in 2016, the team was involved in a number of significant cases in the higher courts. Practice head Guy Birkett, who is ‘very experienced, technically strong and commercial in approach’, successfully defended a competition law claim brought against a group of regional veterinary practices relating to collusion and anti-competitive practices surrounding the delivery of government testing work. In another favourable result, Birkett, who is ‘particularly good on company law disputes’, acted for Maximus Group in the Court of Appeal in a shareholder dispute in which the independence of an expert’s determination was challenged. The ‘very diligent and sensibleCharlotte Clode, who made partner in 2016, assisted Birkett with a £9m claim in the High Court defending the director of an Isle of Man investment fund, who was being sued by investors in the scheme. Other names to note are the ‘experienced and astuteGareth Ruddock, who focuses on insolvency law, and Shrewsbury-based

Brian Aikman, whose advice is ‘well thought out and whose ticket as a deputy district judge means he can see the case from both sides of the fence’. All named partners are based in Wolverhampton, except where stated otherwise.

George Green LLP’s team is ‘very fast, accurate and professional at all times’, and is led by Neil Williams, who has experience both as a mediator and as a supervisor of search orders. In one example of work, Williams acted as the supervising solicitor regarding the execution of a search order at domestic premises following an alleged breach of confidentiality by the two defendants who resided there. Solicitor advocate Morgan Rees was also busy and, as well as representing a claimant in a High Court case against a specialist healthcare provider for breach of contract and negligent misstatement relating to a heart report, he also defended Olive Communications Solutions in a £4.5m claim arising from an agreement by the company to buy its own shares from two minority shareholders. The team is predominantly based in Cradley Heath, but also has a presence in Wolverhampton, where James Coles has expertise in handling substantial professional negligence claims, especially against valuers and surveyors.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys’s ‘reliable, honest, customer-focused and commercially aware’ team is led by Elizabeth Beatty and Richard Morgan, who both draw on their expertise as deputy district judges. Beatty is ‘not afraid of a fight’ and advised on a number of high-value claims, including acting for Allteko regarding termination of a contract to supply (and delivery up of) tubes for use in Kazakhstan gas fields. The practice has a strong financial services aspect, with key players including Adam Finch and

Fiona Hayles. Finch regularly handles fraud and injunctive applications and successfully acted for Executive Network Sales in obtaining an order for an injunction and disclosure of LinkedIn accounts against three former employees of the agency and their new employer; and Hayles has an ‘unusually strong specialist knowledge of banking law, including consumer credit’, and is advising Paragon Personal Finance on a high-profile PPI mis-selling claim. The practice also has a specialism in the defence, security and military sector, as well as the equine sector, where it acts for clients such as the British Horse Society.

Higgs & Sons’ ‘very proactive and on-the-ball’ team has ‘very good knowledge on the procedural aspects of litigation’. The practice focuses on the manufacturing, telecoms and recruitment sectors, but also handles disputes in a range of other areas; for example, the ‘tireless and thorough’ Matt Dudley acted for Otis Vehicle Rentals in a dispute arising from a hire contract, and ‘very engaging’ practice head Julia Lowe, who ‘gets to the detail’, represented the Angle Ring Company in a claim against ASD Westok relating to the validity and entitlement of certain patents registered by ASD Westok. A distinguishing feature of the practice is its use of an in-house barrister, Carl Garvie, who handled the advocacy in a number of mandates, including acting for a defendant in a breach of restrictive covenant case involving allegations of an unlawful means conspiracy relating to the poaching of clients from a nationally known recruitment agency in the health and welfare sector. Associate Jamie De Souza is able to ‘think of creative solutions to complex issues’.

Wright Hassall LLP’s team ‘provides a compelling mix of legal analysis, ability to handle clients and competent administration skills’ and has a ‘City standard to its work’. Recent highlights include financial sector specialist Susan Hopcraft and consultant Andrew Spooner acting for five defendants in the successful defence of a £10m High Court claim relating to non-dealing and non-solicitation covenants, and Daniel Jennings defending Equity & General Insurance Services and Chas Insurance in a £5m claim by a local authority for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation. Newly promoted partner Iain Colville focuses on the advanced manufacturing and wider technology sector, while solicitor advocate Matthew Goodwin deals with partnership disputes, public procurement and contractual disputes. The practice is headed by professional negligence specialist Gemma Carson, who is ‘unflappable and a tough negotiator’, and draws on the experience of ‘standout litigator’ Sarah Perry, who is managing partner.

At Freeths LLP, head of practice Stephen Hadley handles corporate and partnership litigation and has niche expertise in the mining and general minerals sector, where he acts for mineral operators and owners on a range of contentious issues, including subsidence and mining code claims. Hadley also regularly assists insolvency officeholders with litigation, and is acting for Baker Tilly, as trustee in bankruptcy, in a case seeking to determine the ownership of a portfolio of 13 properties following the insolvency of a member of the property-owning partnership. Consultant Tim Calloway handles professional negligence claims. Tarmac, Norcros and the Crown Estate are all clients of the practice.

Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Limited has ‘created a strong reputation in a relatively short period of time’ and the team demonstrates ‘excellent service and comprehensive industry knowledge’ in a range of sectors, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, social care, farming and IT. Harminder Sandhu heads the practice and is an ‘experienced litigator who adopts a commercial approach to resolving disputes’; in 2016, her caseload included various professional negligence cases against solicitors, and also a substantial cross-border mandate.

Knights Professional Services Limited covers a full range of disputes, including contractual claims, injunctive relief, professional and other negligence claims, and partnership and shareholder disputes. Key contacts include David Convey, who has particular experience in dealing with strategically complex multi-party actions, and Kate Clarke, who specialises in alternative dispute resolution, including adjudications, arbitrations and mediations.

Lanyon Bowdler’s practice is now led from Telford by Andrew Pegg, following Shrewsbury-based Brian Evans’ appointment as managing partner. Pegg has particular sector expertise in manufacturing and engineering and acts for clients such as Golden Bear Products and Plastic Omnium Automotive. Evans, who is a qualified mediator, remained busy in the litigation space and successfully acted for a supplier of CAD software in a claim for non-payment against a currency conversion company. Hereford-based associate Jon Clifford focuses on disputes in the agricultural sector and is ‘calm and sensible’. The practice is noted for its specialism in obtaining freezing orders in civil fraud cases.

According to one client, mfg Solicitors LLP is a ‘reliable pair of hands that will safely navigate any client through to a successful conclusion of its dispute’. Head of practice Tom Esler continued to provide representation in a wide range of high-value matters, including shareholders agreements, license agreements and negligent mismanagement, and also handled a steady flow of manufacturing and warranty disputes; Esler acted for a corporate client in a substantial claim against Homebase and Argos for non-payment of a debt and repudiatory breach of a commercial supply agreement. Associate Samuel Pedley is ‘considerate, careful and correct in his analysis of a case’ and specialises in contentious IP and insolvency; in one matter he advised on a copyright and passing-off dispute concerning male and female footwear, website imagery and shopping regulations.

Thursfields Solicitors’ ‘highly competent and skilled legal team’ has seen some reorganisation at the top, with employment specialist Michelle Chamberlain taking over as head of practice following Mark Pittaway’s move into contentious probate work. The main commercial litigator is now Tim Lawrence, who specialises in financial and banking disputes as well as franchising and is ‘extremely knowledgeable on dispute resolution risks’. As well as acting for United Trust Bank on a number of matters, including recovering £500,000 from a borrower who had defaulted on an asset finance agreement, Lawrence also represented Gemco Equipment in a negligence action against its auditors.

In 2016, Ansons’s team saw involvement in a number of cross-border disputes, including solicitor Adam Pike defending Powerlite Generators (Aust) Pty in a £500,000 claim relating to defective site machinery. The practice is led from Cannock by Martin de Ridder, who specialises in intellectual property, IT and shareholder disputes.

Martin Kaye continued to serve its strong manufacturing client base in a wide range of contentious matters, including contract disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, and claims for the enforceability of guarantees. The team is also active in sectors such as telecoms, recruitment as well as property development and, in a recent example, practice head Andrew Oranjuik advised on a substantial breach of shareholder warranty claim following the acquisition of a telecoms company by a client. The team is able to draw on the experience of senior partner Graham Davies, who services a range of SMEs and professional organisations.

ORJ Solicitors LLP is regularly instructed by multinationals such as Michelin, Sandvik and Finning, and in 2016, the team assisted US clients with various inbound claims, including acting for Generac in a dispute over title of goods regarding a multimillion-pound delivery made to a company that had entered into insolvency. Managing partner Patrick Tedstone and construction litigator Michael Smyth are the main contacts.

Chief executive Simon King is in charge at Pickerings Solicitors LLP, where the team’s ‘practical approach results in the successful closure of matters’. In 2016, the practice reported an increase in director and shareholder disputes, and in one example, King advised a client on pending High Court proceedings seeking declarations of ownership and damages as a result of the defendant’s failure to transfer over 50% of the business. Other key players are Peter Humpherson and Katie Maxwell-Stewart, who were both active on multi-jurisdictional claims. Humpherson, who has a ‘no-nonsense approach’, is representing a metal management company in a multimillion-dollar claim relating to losses arising from a breach of a non-disclosure agreement by a number of Taiwanese companies within the metal trade; and Maxwell-Stewart acted for a company in recovering monies due from a competitor in relation to products manufactured and transported to Kazakhstan.

Debt recovery

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Debt recovery specialist Coltman Warner Cranston LLP serves a varied commercial client base that includes major retailers, energy companies and financial services institutions. Besides issuing a high volume of winding up petitions, the team was also highly active in the credit insurer space, with litigation executive Stuart Cranston advising various credit insurers on retention of title claims on behalf of their insureds following the collapse of one of the UK's largest distributors of quality auto parts. Cranston also represented one of the leading credit insurance companies in the International Chamber of Commerce and the Commercial Court in cases relating to policy advice, possible policy avoidance and the declinature of claims. The practice is led by Larry Coltman, whose work encompasses contested insolvencies, primarily on behalf of creditors, and large retention of title claims. Legal executive Anna Lucking ‘deals with requests quickly and efficiently’.

Gowling WLG’s practice is probably best known for its work on asset finance recoveries, with practice head Greg Standing regularly active on behalf of the likes of Credo Asset Finance and CIT Vendor Finance. Standing is also highly recommended for his motor finance expertise. Another name to note is senior associate Katie Molloy, who represented American Express Payment Services Europe in a claim arising from a large debt incurred by a high-net-worth cardholder against a Saudi national. The team also handles a large quantity of insolvency work and represents the Insolvency Service acting against disqualified directors in order to recover costs from disqualification proceedings, as well as former bankrupt individuals in order to recover pension funds. Another avenue of work is recovery arising from Consumer Credit Act regulated lending. Ian Weatherall focuses on group litigation issues and insolvency matters for lenders such as HSBC.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice reported an increase in foreign claims in 2016, partly as a result of securing international work for various new clients. The team’s specialisms include credit management, Consumer Credit Act matters, property matters and all methods of enforcement, including High Court enforcement, charging orders, and third-party debt orders. Stratford-based Jayne Gardner and Alan Hamblett lead the team, with the latter commended as being ‘efficient, knowledgeable and very helpful’. The practice’s wide-ranging client base takes in public sector bodies, as well as international companies and professional associations such as Mazars, UPS and ICAEW.

Wright Hassall LLPprovides an excellent level of service, including support across all areas of the debt recovery process’. In 2016, the practice had strong client growth in sectors such as SME, finance and car parking, and in one example of work, it successfully appealed a judgment on behalf of a car park operator in which the judge at first instance found that it did not have the authority to issue parking charge notices on an area of land. Head of practice Phil Wilding has significant experience in debt purchase and debt recovery in the areas of banking, government, parking and insurance, and regularly acts for clients such as Cabot Credit Management, ZZPS and Marlin Financial Services.

Service is extensive and timely’ at Beswicks Legal, where clients include an independent private school, an international storage company based in the US and various insolvency practitioners. The team covers a full range of debt recovery areas, including dishonoured cheque claims, credit control, enforcement proceedings and bankruptcy proceedings. Head of practice Richard Anderson has a ‘very high success rate’ and is ‘very balanced, pragmatic and totally reliable’.

Gateley Plc’s practice focuses on recovery work for clients in the asset finance and leasing sector, and regularly advises in relation to motor and truck finance, the leasing of yellow plant and agricultural machinery, and office equipment and telephony. The team is also experienced in unsecured lending and real estate secured lending, and acts for clients in the secondary debt buyers’ market. Head of practice James Baird has particular expertise in title investigations and fraud cases and has been busy on a number of multi-jurisdictional and cross-border asset recovery matters for clients such as Arkle Finance and Shawbrook Bank. Baird is also advising on litigation arising from a billion-dollar debt purchase.

Shoosmiths LLP’s team ‘really believes in providing advice rather than just marking up documents and always makes itself available at short notice’. The practice focuses on advising motor finance lenders, leasing companies and banks on the recovery of financed assets. In recent work examples, Roger Potgieter represented Close Brother Motor Finance in various matters, including recovering money under a vehicle stocking agreement, and also recovery following the termination of a wholesale funding facility with a motor dealer. Head of asset finance litigation Melanie Chell divides her time between Birmingham and Northampton and acts for clients such as ABN Amro Lease and Tesco Bank.

Band Hatton Button LLP continued to be active in a variety of debt recovery mandates for commercial clients, insolvency practitioners and private schools. Examples of work included acting in the collection of a contract invoice debt of £323,000, which was recovered in full following serving of a statutory demand, and assisting a new client with the collection of residential care home fee arrears. John French has a substantial caseload of residential possession claims for private landlords, including the enforcement of arrears judgments. Head of department Jonathan Wilby and litigation executive Alan Mattocks are the main contacts.

DWF assists a wide range of general commercial, financial services and public sector clients with debt recovery, and has particular expertise in acting for major retailers, insurers, local authorities, and water utilities companies. The practice covers both debt and asset recovery and enforcement actions and has a growing international collections operation. Director Neil Jinks focuses on credit management and cross-border enforcements. The team secured a number of new clients in 2016, including Scottish Water Business Stream.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s practice has a strong insolvency aspect, with practice head Gareth Ruddock acting for insolvency practitioners in the collection of book debts for insolvent companies and obtaining orders for possession and sale of bankrupt’s property. The team is also well versed in assisting corporates such as Carillion and RVB Investments with recovery work, and recently secured new commercial clients in the telecoms and real estate sectors. Other avenues of work include debt enforcement following the sale of residential and commercial property within the UK, and dealing with interpleader claims. Debt recovery manager Emma Northall and litigation executive Victoria Murray are also names to note.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s practice takes in consumer and commercial debt recovery in areas ranging from recovery of rent arrears to insolvency proceedings, including statutory demands, bankruptcy and winding up petitions. Legal executive Geoff Hill is now the key contact following Kerry Davies’ move to Jolliffe & Co LLP. Hill has significant experience in all aspects of debt recovery, including insolvency, and deals with clients ranging from private schools, hospitals and telecoms companies to breweries, letting agents and entertainment companies on claims up to and over £100,000.

Lanyon Bowdler’s ‘enthusiastic team wants to get results and always provides advice that is in context’. In 2016, the department expanded its scope of work to include recovery of rent and possession of property under assured shorthold tenancies, and also the defence of small claims. The practice is led by Andrew Pegg, who has ‘very good knowledge of the agricultural industry’, and legal executive Sian Samuel, who is singled out for her ‘intuition, motivation and "can-do" attitude’. Samuel’s recent caseload included acting for Viessmann Refrigeration in the successful settlement of a claim for £21,000, and also recovering service charge and water charges for the Rowans Estate.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s ‘very efficient’ team has a ‘light touch’ and is led by Kamal Majevadia, who is ‘adept at spotting the wood for the trees and combines this with a user-friendly sense of humour for very experienced officeholders such as liquidators, who are his staple clients’. Majevadia’s recent caseload includes acting on behalf of the administrators of Blakemores in relation to the collection of several large debts from former clients. Another name to note is insolvency specialist Leanne Schneider-Rose, who leads on debt recovery matters for business lenders such as AIB Group (UK) and West Bromwich Commercial. The practice also acts for secondary lenders on mortgage repossessions.

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