The Legal 500


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Top-tier recommendations


London: Corporate and commercial

Within M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m,

Wragge & Co LLP saw its former corporate head Maurice Dwyer, London managing partner Richard Haywood, and David Marshall all leave to join RPC in 2012. David Vaughan now heads the corporate finance group, which acted for Ingemino Finance II Limited on its acquisition of Trimega Laboratories.

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London: Dispute resolution

Within Defamation and privacy Defamation and privacy

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Within Professional discipline, Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is a first tier firm,

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP has an extensive client list that includes the Medical Protection Society and Dental Protection Ltd. Spread across several UK offices, the ‘outstanding unit works like clockwork’, and is noted for its ability to handle a wide range of cases. Gary Allison is a ‘leading solicitor in this area’, as is the ‘brilliant’ and ‘efficientVicki Swanton. Juliette Mellman-Jones is ‘supremely organised, and brilliant with clients’. Cardiff-based Jane Lang is a ‘joy to work with’ and pays ‘great attention to detail’, and Manchester-based Clare Chapman is ‘utterly committed, hardworking and very able’.

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London: Human resources

Within Employment: employers and senior executives, tier 8

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP represents a number of MPs, and corporate clients including Aviva. The ‘very professional’ team is led by Andrew McDonald.

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Within Health and safety, Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is a third tier firm,

Very popular with insurers’, Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP saw an increased level of activity in inquests and high-profile fatality cases in 2012. It is acting in relation to the highly publicised Lakanal House fire, and in a civil claim for The National Trust. Jennette Newman is ‘very bright’, and ‘very good with clients’; and James Chambers is ‘quick to respond’.

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London: Insurance

Within Clinical negligence: defendant, Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is a third tier firm,

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP’s strong relationship with the Medical Protection Society led to a flow of high-value cases throughout 2012. The firm won the Royal College of Nursing as a new client, with the London and Cardiff teams combining on a number of new cases. Gary Allison leads a dedicated team.

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Within Insurance and reinsurance litigation, tier 7

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is a panel adviser for many property damage insurers, including Allianz, ACE and RSA. Catherine Hawkins, who heads the team, has ‘huge technical experience, particularly in fire work’, and Charlotte Capstick, now a consultant, is ‘practical, knowledgeable and reliable’ on coverage issues.

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Within Personal injury: claimant Leading individuals: personal injury

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Within Personal injury: defendant, Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is a first tier firm,

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP has well-established strength and expertise in the area of personal injury; its ‘knowledge of the field is second to none’. It wins ‘the lion’s share’ of defendant work, acting for insurers, insureds and public sector clients; names include Royal & SunAlliance, BAA Limited, and the City of London Corporation. Michael Pether heads the injury team. Jennette Newman and Sophia Reed are recommended for their ‘good industry knowledge’ and ‘excellent advice’. Matthew Ford is ‘calm, but steely in approach and execution’.

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Within Product liability: defendant, tier 4

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP’s national team is acting for the lead defendant, Transform Medical Group, in the PIP breast implant group litigation, and acts for insurers such as Zurich Global and AXA in diverse high-value claims. Jim Sherwood and his team are ‘an increasingly effective force in this field of work’.

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Within Professional negligence, Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is a third tier firm,

The ‘brilliant’ team at Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is ‘commercially aware’, and ‘very experienced’. It defends clients in the legal, property, construction, and financial sectors, and also represents local authorities and trade unions. A ‘team of specialists’, it is headed by consultant Charlotte Capstick, who is ‘technically excellent and has a considerable breadth of experience and expertise’. Caterina Yandell has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the law’; Michael Salau is ‘approachable and knowledgeable’; Martin Jensen has ‘a sharp mind’; and Michael Harvey is ‘first rate’. Keith Lonsdale and Richard Wilkins are also singled out. Simon Hilditch recently moved to Simmons & Simmons.

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London: Public sector

Within Education: institutions, Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is a third tier firm,

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP has a ‘no-nonsense approach to litigation’, and is currently defending the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine against a claim for breach of contract by a former student. Other clients include the University of Leeds and the University of the Arts, London.

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Within Education: schools, Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP is a third tier firm,

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP recently advised Drayton Manor High School Academy Trust in relation to school uniform policy and religious practices, as part of a case concerning a challenge by a Sikh family regarding the symbolic carrying of knives. Richard Wilkins, who has ‘an in-depth knowledge and understanding of education claims’, led the advice.

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London: Real estate

Within Construction, tier 5

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP’s ‘constructive and commercial’ practice represents construction professionals, design and build contractors and specialist sub-contractors in professional indemnity claims. Middle East specialist Keith Lonsdale is ‘terrific value for money’. Recently promoted partner Peter Stockill focuses on adjudication.

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Within Environment, tier 5

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP’s environment team is noted for its ‘sensible fee rates, commercial awareness and strength in negotiations’. It primarily advises insurers, and has seen an increase in contamination and pollution work. Michael Salau is ‘extremely well informed’.

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London: Transport

Within Travel,

Pannone LLP acts for claimants and defendants in personal injury and other travel-related claims, and is regularly instructed in group actions following holiday disasters and outbreaks of illness. Clients include Travel Insurance Facilities, Union Reiseversicherung and Fogg Travel Insurance. Manchester-based team head Andrew Morton is ‘first class’, and Clare Campbell and Paul McClorry are also recommended.

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Further information on BLM

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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