The Legal 500

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Top-tier recommendations


London: Corporate and commercial

Within M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a first tier firm,

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s technology and media focus saw it advise Forward Internet Group Limited on its acquisition of a stake in Factory Media Limited, Europe’s largest action sports media owner. Tim Parker heads the five-partner team.

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Within Venture capital, tier 4

Harbottle & Lewis LLP provides ‘cost-effective and commercial advice’ to a balanced mix of investors and investees in the media, communications and technology sectors. ‘Personable’ and ‘tenacious’ team head Tony Littner takes an ‘innovative and responsive approach’, and recently advised social media monitoring company Brandwatch on a $6m investment by Nauta Capital.

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London: Dispute resolution

Within Commercial litigation, tier 6

Andy Millmore heads the commercial litigation team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP, which gives ‘excellent advice’. Virgin Atlantic Airways instructed the practice in its dispute with a UK catering supplier. Sandi Simons is ‘valued highly’, and Louis Castellanitakes great care with cases’.

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Within Defamation and privacy, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a second tier firm,

Harbottle & Lewis LLP is one of the biggest hitters on the claimant side, and its ‘superb list of celebrity clients’ was further extended with the recent addition of John Kelly from Schillings. Highlights included acting for the Duchess of Cambridge in one of the biggest privacy cases of 2012, against French magazine Closer. It has also acted for numerous phone hacking victims. Practice head Gerrard Tyrrell is ‘very impressive’, and Jo Sandersknows her own mind and gets on with the job’. They are supported by a ‘quality team of assistants’.

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London: Finance

Within Asset finance and leasing, tier 6

Harbottle & Lewis LLP has experience on the aviation side, although Alison Wilds has recently moved to DWF LLP.

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London: Human resources

Within Employment: employers and senior executives, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a third tier firm,

The ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’ team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP represents an array of senior executives and employer clients from the online, media and entertainment and TV sectors, including the Dominion Theatre and the Aldwych Theatre. Howard Hymanson is at the head of a ‘strong team structure’, and Marian Derham is an ‘excellent ambassador for the firm’.

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London: Private client

Within Charities and not-for-profit, tier 4

The ‘highly responsive’ team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP includes David Scott, who has expertise in assisting private individuals with tax aspects of private philanthropy. The firm also handles transactional work for large charities such as Malaria No More and Free the Children. Scott and Colin Howes are ‘hugely experienced and always accessible’.

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Within Family, tier 5

Harbottle & Lewis LLP has an ‘up-and-coming’ team. Linzi Bull is ‘extremely collaborative, but at the same time 100% fights for her client’s case’, and Tom Farley-Hills has ‘a nose for the right answer’. The firm is notable for its same-sex practice and cohabitation work.

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Within Personal tax, trusts and probate, tier 4

Harbottle & Lewis LLPprovides excellent advice with a commercial bent’. The firm acts for a varied client base of high-net-worth individuals in the financial services sector and UK entrepreneurs. Practice head Glen Atchison, who is also the firm’s managing partner, has a strong reputation, and Rhys Llewellyn has ‘excellent commercial acumen’.

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London: Real estate

Within Commercial property, tier 4

At Harbottle & Lewis LLP, ‘the advice goes beyond straight legal advice and shows good commercial awareness’. With particular expertise in the media, leisure and entertainment sectors, the team acts for Ben Sherman Group. Melanie Benson and Leo Marinoprovide excellent advice and always respond immediately’.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Within Brand management, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a second tier firm,

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s agency, brand name and corporate sponsor clients include Interpublic Group, ProMatch Tour and Volkswagen. Advertising and marketing head Andy Millmore advised Mortimer Whittaker O’Sullivan on brand advertising campaigns. Bob Mitchell heads the group, which provides ‘first-class legal support on sponsorship matters’. He assisted Barclays Bank with renewing its FA Premier League title sponsorship, and advised Emirates on its global arrangement with Formula One.

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Within Intellectual property, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a third tier firm,

Harbottle & Lewis LLP has a broad-based IP practice acting for media, entertainment, technology and consumer goods industry clients. Shireen Peermohamed provides a ‘very clear, practical advice that takes into account business needs’. Among other matters, she continues to act for Orange in trade mark disputes. Tony Ballard is ‘an excellent technical expert on copyright issues’. IP litigator Andy Millmore is ‘insightful and creative with solutions, an experienced negotiator and commercially savvy’. Former practice head Mark Owen joined Taylor Wessing LLP.

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Within IT and telecoms, tier 5

Harbottle & Lewis LLP advises on telecoms and technology sector contractual and regulatory matters. Team head Tony Ballard acts for satellite broadcast and telecoms industry clients, such as Telenor and ANO TV-Novosti. Adam Mitton advised Microsoft on cross-border agreements with third party app developers for the Xbox 360 platform.

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Within Media and entertainment, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a first tier firm,

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s film and TV practice is ‘excellent at closing multi-party contracts’, and Jonathan Berger is an ‘incisive negotiator’. Practice head Medwyn Jones advised Neal Street Productions on Call the Midwife, The Hollow Crown and a series of films of Shakespeare’s history plays. Peter Armstrong advised Universal on Snow White and the Huntsman and Fast and Furious 6. ‘Excellent’ theatre lawyer Neil Adleman is advising Warner Bros Theatre Ventures on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Playful Productions on The Audience and the National Theatre on War Horse. ‘Able, creative and personable’ music practice head Chloe Wright advises Universal Music Group. Paul Jones and Adam Mitton combine ‘legal knowledge and commercial understanding’, and represent clients including Omnifone. Other clients include Jamie Cullum and Conor Maynard. E-commerce and technology head Mark Phillips advises Take Two and Geomerics. The ‘exceptionally hardworkingAlan Moss advised Microsoft on digital entertainment service Zune, and Tony Ballard advises on cutting-edge broadcasting and digital media. Shireen Peermohamed heads the publishing team, with associate Alex Hardy noted for her ‘commercial experience’. The team acts for Oxford University Press, Penguin Books and new client Hachette. John Kelly joined from Schillings, while Paul Cairns has moved in-house.

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Within Media finance, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a first tier firm,

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s ‘responsive, commercial’ six-partner group handles film, TV, games, music, publishing and theatre finance. Practice head Abigail Payne advised Londinium Films on a new film fund as well as on the feature film Nina. She also advised Coutts & Co on children’s animated TV series Roy. Neil Adleman advised on the Broadway production of Ghost (the Musical), and Charles Leveque advised Omnifone. Alan Moss, who ‘works exceptionally hard to close a deal’, advised Carnival Productions on the Dracula television series.

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Within Sport, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a second tier firm,

Providing ‘absolutely first-class legal support on sponsorship matters’, Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s practice also extends to disciplinary and regulatory matters. It acted for Emirates on its shirt sponsorship deal with Real Madrid FC, and represented taekwondo fighter Aaron Cook following his non-selection for London 2012. Practice head Bob Mitchell has ‘an excellent strategic overview of sports sponsorship’, and senior associate Anil Matharu is ‘very efficient, flexible and proactive’. Dalton Odendaal re-joined the firm after a period working at LOCOG and the BOA.

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Legal Developments by:
Harbottle & Lewis LLP

  • Account of profits v damages: when and why does it matter?

    Since 2007, Experience Hendrix LLC(Hendrix) and Times Newspapers Ltd (Times) have been litigating over the intellectual property rights (IPR) in a recording of a Jimi Hendrix concert that took place at the Royal Albert Hall in February 1969. In September 2006 Times distributed a free CD, or covermount, with each edition of The Sunday Times . A claim was issued against Times in March 2007 for infringement of copyright and performers’ rights under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. In March 2008 the High Court held that Times had infringed the IPR in the recording and Hendrix elected to have an inquiry as to damages in respect of that infringement. The case has given rise to some complex issues as to the basis for the quantification of damages, and the inquiry is due to be heard next year, but the case is also a reminder of more general considerations in relation to remedies in IPR cases, and why the basis for quantification of those remedies can have far reaching consequences for a successful claimant.

    - Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Home Office announces extension of support service for SMEs

    An online support service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which need to recruit skilled overseas workers has been extended until 28 February 2014. The pilot was launched by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and provides a step by step guide to sponsoring an overseas worker. This service is available via the GLA website.
  • Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

    The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013.
  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Playing fair with penalty clauses

    It is often difficult to predict what will be recoverable as damages for breach of contract. To provide some certainty, parties will often seek to agree the sum that will be payable in the event of specified breaches. 

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?

  • New Immigration Bill, October 2013: cause for concern or appeasing public sentiment?

    The year 2013 has seen a string of reforms to the immigration system by the current coalition government. On 10 October, the government published a Bill aimed at continuing its drive to reduce net migration figures. 

  • New Schengen EU Regulations: impact on short-stay visa visitors

    The publication on 26 June 2013 of the European Union Regulation EU 610/2013 modified the incumbent Regulation EU 562/2006 in relation to third country nationals (ie non-EU citizens) and those travelling on a short-stay visitor visa, as well as those who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Exceptions include EU and EEA nationals travelling to other EU/EEA states within the Schengen area together with foreign nationals holding either long-stay or residence permits for their destination Schengen countries.

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces