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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Anglia > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Commercial litigation: Cambridge

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Cambridge
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

At Birketts LLP in Cambridge, 'the team is very well connected with the local community' and practice head Laurence Weeks 'gives good practical advice and is very responsive'. Weeks and rising star senior associate Maria-Christina Peyman are 'exceptional at dealing with clients' needs'. Clients also recommend up-and-coming associates Sara Sayer and Naomi Westcott. The firm handles commercial litigation in all its forms but has niche expertise in sectors such as shipping, education, public law, judicial review, procurement law, defence, and transport.

Practice head(s):Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:Maria-Christina Peyman; Sara Sayer; Naomi Westcott

Testimonials

"They are always easy to deal with, sympathetic to client needs and commercially aware."

"Laurence Weeks is an exceptional negotiator and strategist, ensuring that before litigation starts the end goal is thought out."

"Maria Peyman is a very cool head under pressure."

Key Clients

Geosense Limited (Geosense) and Marton Geotechnical Services Limited (MGS)

Michael Bennett

Roundshield

Larkfleet Limited

The Honourable Charles George Yule Balfour

Harsco Metals Limited

Langley Waterproofing Limited

Privilege Finance Limited

Scott and Scott Partnership

Just Recruitment Limited

Work highlights

  •   Representing Geosense Limited and Marton Geotechnical Services Limited in defending a £3m action brought by a competitor for purported breach of confidential information in the High Court London.
  • Mr Bennett's previous employees issued an injunction against him to prevent him continuing in his new employment with their competitor.
  • Pursuant to a contract, Roundshield is seeking to recover sums owed by a number of parties and due to statements made by the other party is also pursuing a defamation claim.
  • Larkfleet entered into an agreement with a linked entity that stipulated that, in exchange for providing a guarantee in respect of the entity's financial obligations, Larkfleet would be paid a sum due as a VAT reclaim.
  • Represented client in defence of £30m fraud claim.

Mills & Reeve LLP focuses on contract disputes, notably for technology and life science companies, and procurement challenges on public sector tenders. Commercial litigation and insolvency partner Jamie Wheatley leads the practice in Cambridge, where the firm has a deep bench of principal associates that includes Helen Prandy, who specialises in procurement disputes for a range of clients including government departments, the NHS and pharmaceutical companies; Douglas McDonald, who handles contract disputes for technology companies and life sciences companies, including and cross-border disputes; and Lino Di Lorenzo, who deals with complex commercial and insolvency litigation.

Practice head(s):Jamie Wheatley

Other key lawyers:Helen Prandy; Douglas McDonald; Lino Di Lorenzo

Key Clients

The Law Society

University of East Anglia

Department of Health and Social Care

The Recruit Ventures Group Limited

Aquaterra Energy Limited

QV Foods Limited

Produce World Limited

First Property Group Plc

Lotus Cars Limited

Permastore Limited

Achernar Partners Limited

Indo European Foods Limited

Encon Insulation Limited

JSC “Alfa-Bank”

Process, Inc

SGN Limited

Maynard & Harris Plastics

Norfolk Capital Limited

The Big Prawn Company Limited

The University of Nottingham

Cell Therapy Catapult Limited

 

Work highlights

  • We acted for the claimant in respect of a £9m claim for damages for breach of contract by a major insurer relating to the development and provision of disaster recovery and cloud services.
  • Following a competitive tender process the incumbent supplier, DHL Supply Chain, was unsuccessful and immediately issued proceedings to challenge the outcome of the procurement.
  • Acting for NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group in connection with a series of claims arising out of the Corby Urgent Care Centre.
  • Acting for the Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire defending proceedings issued under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
  • Acting for Skyline in a dispute with a software supplier.

Taylor Vinters predominantly acts for international and local technology businesses and handles IP, complex contract and shareholder disputes. Practice head Luke Hibbert and key partner Gareth Dickson have extensive experience in high-value and cross-border matters, and in 2018, the firm resolved a substantial piece of litigation that involved significant names in the aerospace industry and US military legislation. Beyond the technology sector, the firm also acts for large agribusinesses, alternative energy, automotive and pharmaceutical companies based in the Cambridge area, and a number of Cambridge colleges.

Practice head(s):Luke Hibbert

Other key lawyers:Gareth Dickson

Key Clients

Speciality Produce Limited

Peterhouse College

Sky-Futures Partners Ltd

Pen Test Partners LLP

Madagascar Oil SA and Madagascar Oil Ltd

RGE Engineering Ltd

Escape Fitness Limited

International Flavours and Fragrances

Work highlights

  • ‘Francovich’ claims of £45m against UK Government for consequential loss resulting from the failure to pay EU funding.
  • Defending our client in substantial claims involving confidential information and military secrets.
  • Acting for an international telecommunications company in a US$6m contractual dispute.
  • Acting in the defence of a claim by an individual alleging breach of data rights.
  • Acting for an Italian maker of famous alcoholic beverages and other products, in an arbitration for an alleged breach of a distribution agreement.

The commercial litigation practice at Ashtons Legal works through all of the firm's East Anglia offices but is led from Cambridge by highly experienced practice head Michael Frape. A qualified mediator, he handles complex and high-value commercial disputes for both public companies and private individuals, notably shareholder disputes, directors’ duties cases, warranty claims, partnership disputes, contractual matters and professional negligence claims. The firm counts Cambridge colleges, housebuilders, property developers and a major regional lender among its clients.

Practice head(s):Michael Frape

Other key lawyers:Nigel Maguire; Jessica Byrne

Key Clients

The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Work highlights

  • We act for the founder member of and investors in a timeshare resort with 116 apartments in Gran Canaria, Spain in the defence of a claim brought by the trustee company in respect of a Spanish tax bill of circa €2.5m, which is proceeding in the High Court.
  • We act for a landowners in respect of a dispute with another land owner over the sale of jointly-owned development land to a national housebuilder.

Hewitsons has a diverse commercial litigation practice in which the key lawyers have developed expertise in specialist areas of law. Lead partner Simon Biggin has been at the firm for nearly 30 years and is highly regarded for contract, product liability and software development disputes, as well as warranty claims, shareholder disputes and judicial review cases. Rising star associate Stewart Morrison has a particular focus on public procurement disputes, EU regulatory matters and public law work. IP specialist Mark Elmslie and real estate litigation partner Natalie Minott also act in general contract disputes.

Practice head(s):Simon Biggin

Other key lawyers:Lorna Carter; Mark Elmslie; Natalie Minott; Stewart Morrison; Kate Church

Key Clients

Stody Estate Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Stody Estate Limited in a judicial review of a decision relating to a substantial penalty imposed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in which the firm successfully obtained a quashing order for the client.

Howes Percival LLP handles a mixed case load of local, national and international work from Cambridge and routinely deal with multimillion-pound litigation. The firm hired Michael Green from Weightmans LLP to lead its litigation practice and clients describe him as 'a fantastic lawyer with good interpersonal skills and a strong understanding of the law'. Rising star associate Victoria Sandell is 'thorough, grounded, down-to-earth and really puts the hours in when necessary'.

Practice head(s):Michael Green

Other key lawyers:Victoria Sandell; Leon Head

Testimonials

'They manage that hard-to-achieve balance between knowledge and approachability, and seem to do so effortlessly. I honestly cannot think of another firm that litigates this well and this consistently and certainly not that does so at such reasonable rates.'

'Michael Green, because he sits as a Deputy Judge, has an unparalleled understanding of how the judicial mind operates and what will and won't work before a Judge.'

'Victoria Sandell is a real star who I would use if I needed legal representation. She offers clients Magic Circle representation at a fraction of the price and her bedside manner with clients is outstanding.'

'Leon Head is a very strong candidate who will undoubtedly be going places very quickly. All in all, the Cambridge branch of HP has an outstanding insolvency team.'

'Excellent instructions to counsel, close partner involvement and attention with pragmatic and commercial advice and total commitment to the client's case and commercial objectives.'

'Michael Green is an excellent, assured and experienced litigator with a thoroughly commercial approach and very sound instincts and advice.'

'Victoria Sandell, is a highly capable, confident and very hardworking case manager. They are a real pleasure to work with as counsel.'

'Victoria Sandell's clients loved her and really appreciated her commitment to the cause. The case was very far from straightforward, and she proved equal to the various and varied challenges it threw up, on the way to a successful conclusion.'

'Victoria Sandell is just the sort of litigator you want to have on your side in the trenches during a long, drawn out war.'

Key Clients

BDO

Mazars

Bowker BMW

Algean Sarl

Bens Cookies

Masters Logistical Ltd

Frampton International

PEM

Willis Gambier UK

Work highlights

  • Represented Bowker BMW upon a £1.4m claim against a major utilities supplier.
  • Representing Masters Logistical Services Ltd upon a significant fire damage insurance claim.
  • Acting for attorneys upon a breach of trust claim.
  • Represented Algean Group Sarl upon a claim against a contracted recording artist for missed payments under a consultancy agreement.
  • Acted for Frampton Worldwide Ltd in connection with a contract and technology claim/dispute relating to the design, manufacture and supply of an industrial food line against its large bakery customer.

Tees Law has become a prominent presence in the Cambridge market since its local litigation practice was founded in 2012. Senior associate and Higher Court advocate Sara Stabler leads the practice, about which counsel remarks that 'their conduct is always highly professional and measured'. Though the 'truly excellent' Stabler predominantly handles contentious trusts and probate matters, her commercial litigation work also includes complex contractual disputes.

Practice head(s):Sara Stabler

Testimonials

'The commercial litigation team is comprehensively excellent. Their instructions are always precise and thorough, and they provide counsel with a complete and proper understanding of the case.'

'Sara Stabler is a standout lawyer. I am always impressed by her instructions and understanding of a case, and her judgement on litigation strategy is stellar.'

Work highlights

  • A dispute surrounding the shares and assets of a company following the sudden death of one of its directors.
  • A complex contract dispute involving issues of insolvency, incorporation of terms and conditions, and whether clauses are penalty/unfair contract clauses.
  • An unusual contract dispute where the loss complained of was caused by ex-employees setting up in competition.
  • Advised Vetspeed Ltd on a contractual claim for damages on multiple contracts.
  • A dispute relating to an option agreement.

Woodfines LLP has a broad-ranging litigation practice led by newly promoted partner Maria Koureas-Jones, whose work encompasses contractual disputes, property litigation, IP, insolvency and debt recovery. Her recent work includes cases for High Court Enforcement Officers and leading insolvency practitioners. One client remarks that Koureas-Jones is 'practical and friendly to deal with, showing good expertise and a commercial approach'.

Practice head(s):Maria Koureas-Jones

Testimonials

'Any legal replies are well couched to ensure unnecessary further legal expenditure for client.'

'The client's position is well protected at all times.'

'Maria Koureas-Jones is very caring in all legal matters and understanding of clients' needs.'

Key Clients

Mazars

Griffins


Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in East Anglia

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in East Anglia
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Buckles Solicitors LLP increasingly handles UK dispute resolution work with overseas elements for both corporate and private clients. The practice provides services from Peterborough, where practice head James Maxey resides, and offices in the East Midlands, and it acts for a large client base of mostly SME or entrepreneurial individuals in commercial contract, shareholder and partnership disputes. The flow of international work is bolstered by the firm's close relationship with Milan- and Paris-based CastaldiPartners.

Practice head(s):James Maxey

Other key lawyers:Paul Branch; Gail Sykes; Nick Porter

Testimonials

'They offer advice that we can understand.'

'They offer clear advice on all the options but are prepared to guide you and advise on the best solution for you.'

Key Clients

Whirlpool UK Limited

Durr Limited

Banco de Sabadell

Empiric Student Property PLC

Yours Clothing

Eutelsat

Work highlights

  • Acting for a European plant and equipment manufacturer in relation to goods manufactured and supplied to a UK energy generation business.
  • Acting for an international retailer in relation to a dispute over consumer data ownership and exploitation rights.
  • Acting for the vendor of a company in the transport sector on a warranty claim arising out of the corporate transaction.

Based in Bury St Edmunds, Greene & Greene has a strong standing across East Anglia and handles significant work from outside the region. Rob Adam, who now leads the practice, and Michael Batty are the key partners and together they have a broad-ranging practice that encompasses commercial litigation, contentious trusts and probate claims, insolvency litigation, claims against professionals and property litigation. Among their recent work are numerous high-value commercial disputes including the defence of a £1.5m breach of fiduciary duty claim.

Practice head(s):Rob Adam

Other key lawyers:Michael Batty; Ben Fox; Sarah Western

Testimonials

'I find the team very pleasant and easy to work with – knowledgeable and efficient.'

'Michael Batty provides excellent service and makes the process very smooth.'

Work highlights

  • Advising a potential witness in connection with the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
  • Representing a supplier of construction materials in a £250,000 dispute involving both a developer customer and a materials manufacturer.
  • Representing a client upon the defence of a £400,000 commercial agency claim.
  • Representing a client defending a highly complex £1.5m claim in the High Court alleging dishonest assistance, secret profits and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Successfully acting for a foreign shipping company in obtaining the release of a disputed US$600,000 stakeholder account in relation to the sale of a vessel which had later been arrested.

Greenwoods GRM has office in London, Cambridge and Peterborough, the latter being an integral part of the firm-wide litigation practice. The firm acts for large corporate clients in East Anglia in commercial and financial services disputes, and practice head Huw Wallis, who works in all three offices, regularly receives referrals from Magic Circle and Silver Circle law firms in London. Associates Adele Whaley and Jamie McConnell are rising stars who frequently handle high-value and complex litigation, often with cross-border elements.

Practice head(s):Huw Wallis

Other key lawyers:Adele Whaley; Jamie McConnell

Testimonials

"They show good team work and the ability to ensure we talk with individuals with the correct expertise."

"They take a pragmatic and realistic view, providing options and appropriate guidance."

"Very good technically but able to translate the technical detal into plain English. Very user-friendly, the team provides timely advice and is very accessible."

"Huw Wallis and Jamie McConnell are always available for a chat early on in a matter just to make sure that the right steps are taken before a matter escalates."

"We work with Greenwoods across a number of legal areas, and they always have the right person, whatever the issue."

"Everyone we have worked with over the years has been able to get up to speed quickly with our specific issues, and has then provided clear, concise and easily understood advice."

"When called upon to act they have also been prompt and thorough in their approach, always leading to the desired outcome."

"Jamie McConnell took the time to listen and understand the background to the dispute and then advise on possible courses of action."

Key Clients

Brewin Dolphin

Work highlights

  • Advising one of the world’s leading manufacturers of luxury boats on various international claims.
  • Acting for one of the largest growers and suppliers of high-quality fresh vegetables in Europe in relation to a landmark claim for damages arising from a breach of the Groceries Code.
  • Retained on an ongoing basis by a major UK financial planning and investment management company with over 100,000 UK clients as off-panel adviser on various financial services matters, principally relating to alleged negligence/FSMA claims.
  • Acting for a former F1 racing driver in a dispute with a co-director/shareholder in relation to alleged unfair prejudice and related claims for our client to reimburse up to £2.5m to the company.
  • Acting for one of the world’s leading fire door manufacturers in defending claims from a London Borough about the safety of its products arising from concerns from the Grenfell disaster.

Ashtons Legal in Bury St Edmunds has a very experienced consultant in Mark Merriam and a talented associate in Annabel Mayer who work closely with the firm's larger litigation teams in Cambridge and Norwich. Mayer, who handles property litigation and debt recovery alongside business disptues, handled a number of contract disputes in 2018 with values in excess of £1m. One client describes the practice as 'knowledgeable, pragmatic and very easy to deal with'.

Other key lawyers:Mark Merriam; Annabel Mayer

Testimonials

'They work well on furthering their client's interests whilst retaining a high degree of objectivity and understanding of what is achievable and what is not achievable.'

'Mark Merriam has the rare combination of good sense, good knowledge of the law and a real insight into the matters he deals with.'

Key Clients

The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Hunt & Coombs LLP in Peterborough is 'a powerhouse in the region; this firm has clients that other firms dream of', according to one client. Versatile and highly experienced legal executive Lesley Milne is the key practitioner and clients note that she is 'at the top of her game and equally comfortable in local courts as she is in the High Court'. The firm handles shareholder and contractual disputes ranging from small to high-value matters for companies and private individuals.

Practice head(s):Lesley Milne; Andrew Cave

Other key lawyers:Nina Bhatti

Testimonials

"The litigation team is diligent, dedicated, and very detailed in its approach to handling cases and offering support to its clients."

"What makes the team stand out is its persistent efforts in going the extra mile and its honest approach while doing it. ."

"Lesley Milne stands out - she is entirely dedicated to the needs of her clients, and I always feel that I am able to make contact, even when the firm is at its busiest."

"The seamless organisation makes it so clients always feel that their cases and need for advice are always prioritised. I consider Lesley Milne to be highly knowledgeable and skilled in her position."

 

Key Clients

NTP Hoistaid Limited

Inderpreet Dehal

Jonathan Norris

East of England Showground Serviced Ltd

Peter’s Cleaners Limited

Mr Richard Finch

Mrs Waller

Olive Properties Consultants Ltd

Cyber Ware

Mr Katherine Elizabeth Worth

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in a claim against it for €15,000 and a counterclaim of £46,000 involving two related Dutch companies and their failure to honour contractual arrangements in the UK.
  • Representing the director of a firm in a claim for unfair prejudice against him as a minority shareholder.
  • Claim against opponent for damages in the region of £300,000 for breach of contract.
  • Representing the client in a claim for damages for misrepresentation and rescission of contract.
  • Representing client in a claim for breach of contract for the provision of internet services.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors demonstrates the strength of its litigation offering through its Sheringham and North Walsham offices. Practice head Mark Kermez works mainly from the Norwich office and has experience in handling business, consumer rights and restrictive covenants disputes for local corporate clients and private individuals.

Practice head(s):Mark Kermez

Hayes + Storr Solicitors and Notaries has a dedicated commercial litigation practice that acts for high-value companies in Norfolk and across the UK. Anissa Hallworth, who leads the practice from the Fakenham office, recently acted in an important high-value complex insurance case, and frequently handles critical litigation for business owners. The firm recently recruited 40-year veteran legal executive Gerald Bloye from Fraser Dawbarns and legal executive Abigail Reynolds from Taylor Rose TTKW to boost the firm's presence across East Anglia.

Practice head(s):Anissa Hallworth

Other key lawyers:Gerald Bloye; Abigail Reynolds

Work highlights

  • Acted for a company in dispute with one of their director and shareholders.
  • Acting in a dispute which involved an insurance dispute and claims against the insurance company which involved complex fraud matters.
  • Acted for a company in dispute over the terms of their contract regarding insurance work and advising on terms and conditions and redrafting of contracts.

The 'dynamic and reliable' Shears Law is a one-partner firm that provides advisory and advocacy services in the field of business dispute management. Richard Shears 'has a gift for translating complex legal points into understandable language', and his work encompasses claims arising from commercial contracts, debt recovery, corporate insolvency and cross-border matters. Acting for companies of all sizes, from SMEs to multinational organisations, Shears provides a bespoke litigation and risk management service.

Practice head(s):Richard Shears

Testimonials

"Shears has a calm manner and his knowledge is second to none."

"Richard Shears is exceptional. He is credible, creative and superbly commercial.'

"Shears Law is excellent, a very dynamic and reliable firm. The service is superb, and the guidance clients get is invaluable."

Key Clients

SThree plc

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in the defence of a £100,000 claim arising from an alleged breach of an IT consultancy agreement
  • Acted in a claim to enforce the post-termination restrictive covenants in a former employees’ employment contract together with a claim for inducement to breach against the new employer.


Commercial litigation: Ipswich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Ipswich
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Birketts LLP has the leading commercial litigation practice in Ipswich, which handles a wide range of issues including tortious and contractual claims, commercial fraud, shareholder's disputes, breach of restrictive covenant agreements, intellectual property, product liability, partnership disputes, and claims arising from sale or purchase of companies or shares.  Among its clients are local, national and international private companies, PLCs, individuals and professional partnerships across a wide spectrum of industry sectors including energy, media and finance. Matthew Atkins and rising star Emma Albins are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):Matthew Atkins

Testimonials

"Matthew Atkins cuts through the bulk to get straight to the heart of the matter and is commercially minded."

Key Clients

Greene King Plc

Archant Community Media Limited

ForFarmers UK Limited

Blocks receives regular instructions over a broad selection of dispute areas including construction, corporate and commercial, contractual disputes, insolvency and corporate recovery. Head of litigation and solicitor advocate Graham Mead has more than 20 years' experience in the field of business dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):Graham Mead

Work highlights

  • Represented a shareholder client in a derivative action regarding misfeasance and breach of duties by a director.
  • Represented a client in a confidential settlement reached with a local council in relation to their breach and use of personal data, regulations and policies.

Gotelee Solicitors has a small litigation practice that advises clients through its four East Anglia offices. The team, led by Max Harnden from Ipswich, frequently acts for clients in the technology and automotive sectors on issues relating to e-commerce and data protection. The firm is also well-known for commercial contract and partnership disputes. Victoria Spellman takes the lead on data protection cases.

Practice head(s):Max Harnden

Other key lawyers:Victoria Spellman

Key Clients

Mervyn Lambert Plant Hire

Ingot Canapy & Fan Services Ltd

Prettys Solicitors LLP has a good track record in both domestic and international litigation and its practice is led by the vastly experienced Peter Blake, who has been practising for more than 30 years. Blake frequently handles complex contract disputes for regional and national clients.

Practice head(s):Peter Blake


Commercial litigation: Norwich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Norwich
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

The broad practice at Mills & Reeve LLP handles complex and high-value regional, national and international contract disputes; corporate disputes, including board disputes, minority shareholder actions and post M&A claims for breach of warranty; fraud cases and investigations, including search and seizure and freezing orders; and the enforcement of restrictive covenants and confidentiality obligations. It also has niche expertise in disputes in the food and drink sector, including matters under the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. Rachel Higgs leads the practice with clients in key sectors including food and agri-business, automotive, energy, health and education, with a focus on mid-market corporates.

Practice head(s):Rachel Higgs

Other key lawyers:Harriet Wells; Jenny Williams

Key Clients

The Law Society

University of East Anglia

Able UK Limited

The Recruit Ventures Group Limited

Aquaterra Energy Limited

QV Foods Limited

Produce World Limited

First Property Group Plc

Lotus Cars Limited

Permastore Limited

Achernar Partners Limited

Indo European Foods Limited

Groupe Pilote SAS

Encon Insulation Limited

JSC “Alfa-Bank”

Process, Inc

SGN Limited

Maynard & Harris Plastics

Norfolk Capital Limited

The Big Prawn Company Limited

The University of Nottingham

Work highlights

  • Advising an oil and gas investment company in relation to royalties and pre-emption rights under joint venture and operating agreements with a number of oil companies operating in Georgia.
  • Acting for the French acquirer of Beetles (UK) Limited on a claim against the vendors of the company for breach of warranty, and defending a claim for payment of a retention sum.
  • Successfully defending Storytime Bakery Limited in claims brought by a competitor, Gelata Limited, for breach of contract.
  • Defending Cell Therapy Catapult Limited, a world leading life sciences company, against a high value claim arising out of a contract for a warehouse management system.
  • Advising QV Foods Limited in relation to a number of seed contracts and contracts for the sale and purchase of potatoes.

Birketts LLP has two standout practitioners in Max Roessler and consultant Paul Matthews, who lead a practice that handles high-value and complex cases across East Anglia and further afield. Both advise on a broad range of commercial and corporate disputes, professional negligence, insolvency and traditional chancery work. Senior associate Robert Tiffen has notable expertise in franchising cases and works closely with the firm's non-contentious franchise specialists.

Practice head(s):Paul Matthews; Max Roessler

Other key lawyers:Robert Tiffen

Key Clients

Sembmarine SLP Ltd

Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd

The litigation practice at Howes Percival LLP frequently deals with high-value, complex and high-profile matters both in the UK and overseas. It also acts for government departments in multimillion-pound litigation. Practice head Alison Kirby has 20 years' trial experience mainly in the High Court, including trials relating to the fraudulent reclaiming of VAT conducted in the First Tier Tax Tribunal. Her practice encompasses a wide range of disputes for business clients and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):Alison Kirby

Other key lawyers:Gordon Simpson

Key Clients

Select Franchise Limited

C E Davidson Limited and Irwin Leasing Limited

Smith of Honingham

Work highlights

  • Assisted Smith of Honingham in relation to recovery of an outstanding debt from four guarantors following the debtor company becoming insolvent.
  • Instructed to provide advice to C E Davidson Limited and Irwin Leasing Limited in relation to the terms of a contract for them to supply eggs to a food company and to advise on a possible claim for breach of contract against the food company.
  • Acted for Select Franchise Limited in relation to a dispute with a franchisee in relation to breach of the agreement which resulted in termination by our client.
  • Represented a company in a dispute about pension rights and share buy-back.

Ashtons Legal joins the rankings having recruited respected partner and barrister Tom Bailey from Steeles Law in 2018. Bailey acts for clients in the public, private and commercial sectors including local authorities and charities, and has a strong track record in heavyweight civil and commercial litigation from County Court level through to the Court of Appeal. He works closely as part of a four-partner practice across all of the firm's regional offices, which counts among its clients numerous Cambridge colleges and a leading regional building society.

Other key lawyers:Tom Bailey

Key Clients

The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Recovery of significant sums relating to the provision of technical services and personnel.
  • Technically complex dispute on behalf of a client relating to the provision of faulty technical safety equipment to oil and gas rigs.
  • Representing client in a claim and counter-claim in arbitration proceedings regarding the provision of manufacturing services to our client in China.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors climbs the ranking this year and handles a wide range of disputes between businesses and individuals, including consumer rights and restrictive covenants matters. Managing partner and practice head Mark Kermez has a broad practice that includes handling commercial contentious disputes through to trial. Key partner Philip Lumb has many years' experience in high-value and complex claims in connection with debt recovery, property transactions, mortgage fraud, failed investment and trust advice and auditing.

Practice head(s):Mark Kermez

Other key lawyers:Philip Lumb

Fosters has a new head of dispute resolution in Chris Fielding, who took over in 2018 following the retirement of Adrian Newborough. Fielding has extensive experience as a litigator representing claimants and defendants in both County Court and High Court Proceedings. His recent highlights include the representation of a multimillion-pound construction business in a multi-track claim for damages based on complex and technical allegations of breach of contract.

Practice head(s):Chris Fielding

Other key lawyers:Alice Trainor

Work highlights

  • Representing a minority shareholder who has petitioned another member on the basis of unfair prejudice where the value of shares in issue are valued in excess of £1m.
  • Advising the owner of a respected dental practice in relation to a complex dispute over shares involving associated property litigation and insolvency proceedings.
  • Successfully representing a multi-million pound, established business within the construction industry in relation to spurious proceedings under the Insolvency Act in which it emerged the client has and is now pursuing an associated multi-track claim for considerable damages based on complex and technical allegations of breach of contract.

Rogers and Norton has experienced litigators in partner Peter Hastings, consultant Phil Kerridge and legal executive Maria Taylor. Hastings and Kerridge are frequently instructed on contentious and regulatory matters by key clients in the home improvements sector, though they also act for a large roster of SME clients across Norfolk. Clients describe the service as 'highly personable, knowledgeable and professional', while another notes that the firm is 'extremely professional and delivers a high level of service to ensure clients objectives are achieved'.

Practice head(s):Peter Hastings

Other key lawyers:Phil Kerridge; Maria Taylor; Elizabeth Gibson

Testimonials

"Peter Hastings provided extremely fast and accurate turnaround of responses and document review. He earned my complete trust, and his advice was never doubted."

"Peter Hastings is excellent - he responds very quickly to questions, and is able to take on board complex matters and provide succinct advice in a highly professional manner."

"What makes Rogers and Norton unique for me is the friendliness and ability to service all of our needs. The team is exceptional and the customer service is excellent."

Work highlights

  • Successfully obtaining a High Court Injunction on behalf of Anglian Windows Limited in relation to a breach of confidential information and securing the protection of its database.
  • Acting for an American company and disputing a £1.2m VAT assessment.
  • Successful defence of a High Court Defamation claim, resolved on an expedited basis.
  • Acting for a purchaser of a business on a warranty claim arising on the purchase, value £2.8m.
  • Achieving a fantastic result for a Swiss Company securing the release of goods and a reduction on penalty.

The dispute resolution practice at Steeles Law acts for a wide range of clients in various industries including food production, education, business advisory and political parties. Among its key clients are national and household names such as Hovis, Gemalto and The Liberal Democrats, as well as numerous local businesses. The practice is led by new recruits in solicitors Rachel Sims, who was formerly in-house counsel at Aviva, and Damian Pitts, formerly of Pinney Talfourd LLP.

Practice head(s):Rachel Sims; Damian Pitts

Testimonials

"Rachel Sims is really smart, sensitive and persuasive. She understood the problems, reacted quickly and got the job done."

Key Clients

Hovis Limited

Gemalto

Cath Tate Cards Limited

Kingswood Financial Advisers

Highview Network Limited

The Liberal Democrats

Work highlights

  • Handling the termination of agency contract on behalf of Cath Tate Cards Limited.
  • Acting in the settlement of multiple Financial Ombudsman complaints on behalf of IFA.
  • Handling a dispute with a professional indemnity insurer on behalf of IFA.
  • Acting in a dispute with a life insurer on behalf of a financial advice network.
  • Handling a shareholder and director dispute on behalf of private individual in the property finance sector.


Debt recovery

Index of tables

  1. Debt recovery
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Birketts LLP acts for local and national private companies, professional partnerships and major Plcs in wide range of industry sectors including shipping and construction. It has one of the largest practices in the region with 40-year veteran of debt recovery Robert Howard, litigation partner Matthew Atkins, associate Emma Albins and two debt recovery assistants. Though based in Ipswich, the 'extremely responsive and well organised' practice delivers services through all four of the firm's regional offices.

Practice head(s):Robert Howard

Other key lawyers:Matthew Atkins; Emma Albins

Testimonials

"The practice has a very commercial approach and is excellent at sticking to budgets and providing accurate and up-to-date advice."

"Matthew Atkins is first-class, on top of detail, very commercial in his approach, and has a wealth of experience as a litigator."

"Emma Albins has a great eye for detail and is a careful litigator. She is on top of detail and any approach is well thought through."

Key Clients

Greene King Plc

Archant Community Media Limited

Ford & Slater Leyland DAF

Commercial litigation and insolvency partner Alison Kirby leads the debt recovery practice at Howes Percival LLP, which focuses on complex, high-value and high-profile work for its strong commercial client base. Where litigation is required, the firm draws on contacts across the country in the form of High Court Enforcement Officers who can assist with enforcements of writs of control. Associate Gordon Simpson has more than 20 years’ experience in handling contentious disputes, including recovery of debts arising from commercial and construction contracts.

Practice head(s):Alison Kirby

Other key lawyers:Morris Peacock; Gordon Simpson

Testimonials

"We have always benefitted from access to a senior partner to direct us to an appropriate solicitor within the organization to best deal with the particular situation. As we have always been satisfied with the advice and attention to detail, we have not found the need to look to other firms."

"Gordon Simpson  quickly grasped the fundamental points of our claim and advised us on the best way forward to recover the majority of the monies owed. With the guidance of Howes Percival we  were able to recover the majority of the monies owed."

Key Clients

Smith of Honingham

Select Franchise Limited

Tracy Hodges

Work highlights

  • Assisted a Smith of Honingham in relation to recovery of an outstanding debt from four guarantors following the debtor company becoming insolvent.
  • Acted for Select Franchising Limited in relation to a dispute with a franchise in relation to breach of the agreement which resulted in termination by the client.
  • Assisted Ms Tracy Hodges in relation to the recovery of losses in respect of the purchase of a horse which she bought to use for eventing.

Mills & Reeve LLP operates a simple, fixed-fee collection service for both public and private sector clients handling undefended claims. Legal executive Lynne Lawn handles the majority of the work, with senior associate Harriet Wells, who has more than 35 years' experience in commercial litigation, closely involved in the practice when contentious matters arise.

Other key lawyers:Lynne Lawn; Harriet Wells

Work highlights

  • We were instructed to send a pre-litigation letter to a company debtor to recover an outstanding invoice in the sum of £12,090.
  • We were instructed to send pre-litigation letters to three individual companies for payment of outstanding invoices in respect of services provided by our client.
  • We were instructed to send a pre-litigation letter to the debtor in the sum of £11,962.80.
  • We were instructed to issue a pre-litigation letter and a without prejudice offer letter for an outstanding debt.
  • We are regularly instructed by a client in the health sector to take action to recover their unpaid invoices through pre-litigation letters sent within 24 hours of instruction.

The debt recovery practice at Steeles Law is managed by dedicated legal executive Denise Traube who has 17 years' litigation experience. She is supported by solicitors Rachel Sims, who was formerly senior counsel at Aviva, and Damian Pitts. The firm frequently acts for corporate clients in debt recovery matters and has a growing presence among entities in the voluntary and education sectors.

Practice head(s):Denise Traube

Other key lawyers:Rachel Sims; Damian Pitts

Key Clients

Watson & Hillhouse Limited

Notre Dame Preparatory School (Norwich) Limited

Mr Raymond Read

Armstrong Design

Cucina Restaurants Limited

Work highlights

  • Recovery of unpaid school fees for Norwich-based Notre Dame Preparatory School (Norwich) Limited.
  • Advice regarding disputed statutory demand to a dissolved company on behalf of a private individual Raymond Read.
  • Recovery of outstanding invoice for design services on behalf of Armstrong Design, a South Norfolk-based creative agency.
  • Recovery of unpaid funeral costs on behalf of local funeral directors.
  • Debt recovery advice to Diss-based manufacturer.

Head of litigation Mark Kermez oversees the practice at Clapham & Collinge Solicitors which acts for large local companies in the recovery of their debts. In 2018, the firm continued to expand its presence among clients in North Norfolk through the expansion of its North Walsham office. During that year, the firm saw 107 new debt recovery matters filed. Litigation partner Philip Lumb and consultant Michael Olmer are closely involved with the practice.

Practice head(s):Mark Kermez

Other key lawyers:Philip Lumb; Michael Olmer

Fraser Dawbarns is a key player in the debt recovery market in East Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk. The firm has a highly regarded debt recovery specialist in associate Derek Shores who has more than 40 years' experience in this field of law. Shores handles complex and high-value matters, including instances where funds have been misappropriate by overseas entities.

Practice head(s):Melinda Smith

Other key lawyers:Derek Shores

Work highlights

  • Representing a client in respect of misappropriation of funds following the hacking of emails.

Rogers and Norton handles debt recovery through its dispute resolution practice led by the vastly experienced Peter Hastings. The majority of the work is carried out by legal executive Maria Taylor, who receives bulk instructions from a national franchised loan company. Taylor advises on letters and demands before action, the issue of County Court and High Court proceedings, obtaining of default and summary judgment, and methods of enforcement.

Other key lawyers:Elizabeth Gibson; Maria Taylor

Taylor Rose TTKW provides nationwide assistance to private individuals and commercial companies in resolving civil disputes. The six-lawyer dispute resolution practice handles numerous claims for the recovery of unpaid invoices involving home care fees, childcare fees, recruitment fees, construction, plumbing, landscaping, landlord rent arrears and the provision of goods.

Practice head(s):Helen Townsend

Other key lawyers:David Cooper

Work highlights

  • Recovery of rental income from estate agent who had failed to account to the landlord for rent received and also failed to protect the deposit received.
  • Recovery of monies owed to the claimants under a personal guarantee provided by the defendant as part of settlement in proceedings against the defendant’s company.


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Legal Developments in the UK

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