Commercial litigation: Cambridge in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

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 rising star senior associate Sara Sayer and associate 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


“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.”

Mills & Reeve LLP

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

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

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.

Ashtons Legal

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


‘Always keen to understand what the business is trying to achieve and will invariably approach an assignment with enthusiasm and energy.’

‘The team make you feel like your business success is very important to them. Often they project themselves as being on your side.’

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

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


‘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



Bowker BMW

Algean Sarl

Bens Cookies

Masters Logistical Ltd

Frampton International


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

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


‘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

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


‘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.’

‘Maria Koureas-Jones is very helpful and practical, showing care for clients and seeking good outcomes for them.’

‘Every member of the team that looked after our issue, did so knowing our case inside and out. They were attentive to detail and explained any ambiguous issues in simpler non-legal speak, which made us far more comfortable dealing with them.’

‘The individuals were prompt in responding.’

Key clients