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DWF

BRIDGEWATER PLACE, WATER LANE, LEEDS, LS11 5DY, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0113 261 6000
Fax:
Fax 0870 094 0939
Email:
Web:
www.dwf.law
Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol BS1, Bristol BS1, Brussels, Cologne and 14 more

Yorkshire and the Humber: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire
Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 4

DWF (Leeds)

DWF’s practice is led by Lester Wilson, who is supported by banking partner Chris Ramage and commercial tax head John Toon. The team has extensive experience in corporate finance; it frequently handles flotations, fundraisings, M&A, restructurings and reorganisations for clients including plc’s, large private companies, SMEs, entrepreneurs, private equity houses and venture capitalists. Recent highlights include advising Learning Technologies Group on a proposed £54m cash offer to takeover AIM-listed NetDimensions. Emma Roe departed for Shulmans LLP.

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 3

DWF (Leeds)

At DWF, John Toon heads the commercial tax and private capital group; he acts for clients ranging from individuals to corporates and funds on a broad range of tax issues. Toon and James Cashman were part of a team advising Lone Star on the UK and cross-border tax issues pertaining to the disposal of Velocity Village in Sheffield, which involved the sale of shares by a Luxembourg company and the transfer of related real estate assets. On the contentious side, the group represented Northwards Housing, a subsidiary of Manchester City Council, in an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal concerning overpaid VAT, which resulted in a settlement. Other clients include Capita Group, Countrywide, Lambert Smith Hampton, Oaktree Capital, Trak Global Solutions, and Palmer Capital. Vector Property Management and Bibby Line Group are new clients.

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EU and competition
EU and competition - ranked: tier 1

DWF (Leeds)

DWF’s practice is led by state aid and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) expert Jonathan Branton, who splits his time between the firm’s offices in Manchester, Leeds and Brussels. The group is also able to draw on the expertise of Brussels-based Brona Heenan, and senior associate Jay Mehta, who focuses on state aid matters, and local government specialist Michael Mousdale, who is a key name for public procurement matters; Mehta and Mousdale and based in Manchester. The team advised Dransfield Properties and its subsidiary Stocksbridge on two major development projects in South Yorkshire, involving ERDF funding and alleged irregularities arising from audits conducted in 2014 by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and 2015 from the European Court of Auditors (ECA). The team successfully defended the allegations of infringement of state aid rules and a court challenge against DCLG for non-payment of the grant was initiated. Other highlights include assisting Birmingham City Council with the administration of a £300m AMSCI fund for supporting supply chain manufacturing and engineering companies across England, and providing state aid advice to Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool on various funding applications, including a University Enterprise Zone grant concerning a new £15m facility that will house hi-tech sensor technology businesses.

Leading individuals

Jonathan Branton - DWF

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 3

DWF (Leeds)

DWF’s practice is led by James Blakey and is known for handling a wide range of disputes relating to pension, contract and shareholder litigation, as well as assisting with warranty claims and breach of restrictive covenants. The team is handling numerous disputes for an educational institution, including matters regarding commercial contracts, student complaints, disciplinary hearings and fitness to practise issues. The team is also defending a claim for a client in the automotive industry regarding allegations of breach of contract, negligence and deceit and is pursuing a counter-claim in respect of unpaid invoices totalling in excess of £1m. Andrew Breckenridge joined Gordons LLP.

Leading individuals

Jason Blakey - DWF

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 2

DWF (Leeds)

David Scottow leads the debt recovery practice at DWF, which acts for clients including local authorities, blue chip companies, financial institutions, utilities and government bodies. Neil Jinks has expertise in credit management, recoveries and civil enforcement action, and James Perry is a regulatory expert. Recent work includes assisting a firm of architects with the recovery of over £100,000 concerning a high-profile design project; handling a property possession takeover; and obtaining an order for the sale for a water industry company. Clients include Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Space NK and FleetCor UK.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 4

DWF (Leeds)

DWF’s practice is led by Chris Ramage, who advises lenders and borrowers on a range of domestic and international debt-related transactions. The team also includes real estate lending specialist John Fox, who advises lenders and borrowers on domestic and European property financings and acts for clients including clearing banks and non-bank lenders; Lucinda Peters, who advises banks, lenders and buildings societies and has expertise in secured lending, and housing, development and investment funding; and Simon Elphick, who specialises in property finance.

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 4

DWF (Leeds)

Matthew Brown leads DWF’s team, which has strengths in restructuring, turnaround and insolvency work including property-based insolvencies. Associate Ashley Jaques handles non-contentious matters. The team advised GVA Bilfinger and UK Asset Resolution on the receivership sale of the Merseyway Shopping Centre, and assisted Close Invoice Finance with the £4m refinance and restructure of the A-Belco group, which involved security and inter-creditor issues. Other work includes advising Deloitte, as the receivers, on a large commercial retail development in Nottingham, and assisting RSM as joint administrators of Sheffield-based construction management business Management Cubed with negotiating contractual agreements with debtors and creditors. Other clients include Lloyds, RBS, PwC, KPMG and EY.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Human resources

Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 2

DWF (Leeds)

DWF’s employment team in Leeds acts for a number of household names and particularly stands out for its expertise in the education, healthcare, real estate and retail sectors. On the education front, the practice acts on a range of day-to-day employment law issues, including settlement agreements, grievances and collective and trade union matters for a number of grammar and private schools. In an illustration of its contentious expertise, practice head Rob Riley and Philippa O’Brien acted for Charity People, a recruitment consultancy specialising in the non-profit sector, on the successful resolution of claims against the client’s former senior managers concerning breach of employment contracts and covenants through the managers’ setting up of a competing business.

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 2

DWF (Leeds)

Paul Matthews leads the practice at DWF, which was joined in January 2016 by experienced criminal solicitor Mark Thompson. The team in Leeds is regularly called upon to handle HSE investigations and criminal and civil prosecutions arising from major incidents, often involving corporate manslaughter. The firm’s insurance credentials makes it a natural choice for insurers seeking advice on health and safety matters. Other sectors in which the practice is experienced include education, healthcare and construction.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Insurance

Personal injury: defendant
Personal injury: defendant - ranked: tier 1

DWF (Leeds)

DWF attracts praise for providing advice that is ‘always of the highest standard; the practice always comes up with a plan to resolve the claim at the earliest possible time when liability is not in dispute and where it is in dispute, it provides a thoughtful and creative plan to prepare the file for trial’. Glyn Jones (who is noted for his ‘great ability to cut through the important issues and save time and costs’) heads the defendant personal injury practice, which includes a six-partner team focused on catastrophic injury claims, as well as teams dedicated to occupational health diseases (particularly deafness), motor claims, costs issues and insurance fraud. Clients include major insurers such as Aviva and Allianz Insurance, employers and government bodies such as the Department for Transport. Recent matters include successfully defending a mesothelioma claim made by a former employee of the client, and acting for Markerstudy in the successful dismissal of personal injury claims that were found to be fundamentally dishonest. Other key figures include Lisa Collins, who is noted for her ‘great rapport with clients’, David Rogers, who is ‘thorough in his approach and is always readily available to talk through any issues’, and insurance fraud specialist Paul Holmes.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Private client

Charities and not-for-profit
Charities and not-for-profit - ranked: tier 1

DWF (Leeds)

DWF’s ‘excellent’ charities practice has a track record of handling governance and constitutional issues and charity incorporations for more than 350 charities nationally. Clients include Tees Valley Community Foundation, a £13m endowed foundation, which the firm assisted with drafting social enterprise legal structures training; and Skill Force Development, which assists ex-service men and women with delivering vocational education to children and young people, and which the firm advises on data protection, employment and governance issues, among other matters. Catherine Rustomji joined Browne Jacobson LLP in May 2017.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Public sector

Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 1

DWF (Leeds)

The ‘highly professional’ team at DWF stands ‘head and shoulders above any other firm’ for state aid issues and public procurement compliance. Jonathan Branton heads the overarching public sector department, splitting his time across several offices, including Manchester and Leeds. He is regarded as a ‘highly experienced EU practitioner – particularly in EU state aid law’ and has recently been advising West Riding and Hull councils on public investments by Siemens and Associated British Ports in the locality and related compatibility with EU state aid rules. Branton has also been leading advice to Newcastle City Council on a public investment in new research and development facilities, and to Leeds City Region LEP in supporting local Regional Growth Fund applications from third-party businesses and the administering of funds to a variety of projects in the area. Michael Mousdale splits his time between Leeds and Manchester and regularly advises on local government law, alternative service delivery, conduct and governance.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Real estate

Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 2

DWF (Leeds)

DWF’s team specialises in property investment and finance, corporate real estate, property development and portfolio management. Practice head Andrew Flounders. Nic Crocker, Jim Speed and Simon Meek are the key names. Recent highlights include advising Moda Living, a joint venture between Caddick Group and Generate Land, on a private rental sector scheme, in collaboration with The Co-operative Group, to develop a 470-unit residential and commercial space in Manchester. Other work includes handling Custodian REIT’s £26.8m acquisition of the Light Investment Fund portfolio from BLME, and assisting Roydhouse Properties with a £100m development in Leeds city centre, which involved letting commercial space to PwC, Baker Tilly, Marks & Spencer, BDO, Clipper Logistics and Caffè Nero.

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 3

DWF (Leeds)

DWF is known for its expertise in energy and infrastructure projects, and advises suppliers and purchasers, as well as having strengths in high-value contentious process engineering work in the energy and chemicals sectors. Team head Andrew Symms and senior associate Christian Hellmund have notable renewables expertise and act for several German clients. Other work includes handling EPC contracts and framework agreements for South Staffordshire Water; managing framework agreements for Whitbread, which includes advising on forward funding deals; and assisting Discovery Park with the construction of a biomass-fired combined heat and power plant. Other clients include ScottishPower, Babcock International, Doosan Power Systems and Vensys Energy.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 3

DWF (Leeds)

Stephen Green leads DWF’s department, which has a reputation for handling disputes relating to commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, service charges, dilapidations, commercial lease renewals, repossessions, trespassing and nuisance claims, adverse possession, lease terminations and withholding consent and boundary disputes. Nic Crocker focuses on real estate investment and finance, and commercial and residential development matters, and has niche expertise in matters pertaining to car parks. Clients include Q-Park, Persimmon Homes, Magnet and Grainger.

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Further information on DWF

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about DWF in other jurisdictions.

Ireland

Offices in Dublin

London

Offices in London

North

Offices in Stockton on Tees and Newcastle upon Tyne

Northern Ireland

Offices in Belfast

North West

Offices in Manchester, Liverpool, and Preston

Scotland

Offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow

South East

Offices in Milton Keynes

South West

Offices in Bristol BS1 and Bristol BS1

West Midlands

Offices in Birmingham

Yorkshire and the Humber

Offices in Leeds

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