Commercial litigation: Norwich in East Anglia

Mills & Reeve LLP

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

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

Howes Percival LLP

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

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.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

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

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


“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.”

“They will go the extra mile to ensure no stone is left unturned when investigating cases. They have a wealth of experience.”

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.

Steeles Law

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


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

Key clients

Hovis Limited


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.