Leading Individuals

Commercial litigation: Norwich in East Anglia

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP's Norwich office is part of a firm-wide litigation practice that handles a broad scope of work for high-calibre clients, amongst them, Archant Limited and Bernard Matthews Foods. It is noted as advising its clients ‘in the best possible way’. Team head Rachel McDonnell has a broad practice which encompasses corporate, financial services and banking litigation work. McDonnell is regarded as being ‘commercially strong but always courteous’, and she is noted as ‘managing her clients and team effectively’. Consultant Rachel Higgs remains highly active in fraud, breach of warranty and shareholder and partnership disputes, whilst associate Abaigh Compton has notable experience in defamation cases.

Practice head(s):

Rachel McDonnell

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Higgs; Abaigh Compton; Mark Davison


‘The team provides an excellent service and great knowledge; very professional.’

‘Rachel McDonnell is commercially strong but always courteous, managing her clients and team effectively.’

‘The team is impressive and knowledgeable in the art of managing cumbersome and laborious processes. We were very carefully guided through our process and provided with very clear guidelines on next steps.’

‘The team’s strength includes its being able to give genuine advice on the impact of different routes in a litigation process and being honest in how we should tackle next steps. We never felt that they sat on the fence with sharing the options and giving an honest view about our chances and managing the process to help us get the optimal outcome!’

‘The organisation of the firm is very appropriate. Each lawyer has his own area of expertise within the firm. We are advised in a very precise manner on each subject. Whatever the subject, we have been advised in the best possible way.’

‘Abaigh Compton’s advice is always very appropriate and accurate.’

‘A really down-to-earth team who know what they’re talking about and don’t run up costs unnecessarily.’

‘Rachel McDonnell is very sensible, organised and knows how to run a practice. Mark Davison delivers a city law firm-level of service, is really proactive and knows his field inside-out.’

Key clients

Bernard Matthews Foods limited

Able UK Limited


Vissim AS

Archant Limited

Aquaterra Energy

Refresco Holdings BV

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal‘s Norwich office is a key hub for the firm’s broader regional litigation practice. The team’s practitioners are involved in high-value franchising disputes across the UK, as well as a growing number of general commercial disputes. Lead partner and qualified barrister Tom Bailey is regarded as ‘highly competent, approachable and good on his feet under pressure‘. The team is noted as advising the client in a way that builds a solid relationship’ with them, and for its ability to achieve the the right outcome in the right way'.

Practice head(s):

Tom Bailey

Other key lawyers:

Sam Lees


‘The team at Ashtons listen and absorb the views of the client and ask the right questions.’

‘They advise and involve the client to build a solid relationship to achieve the the right outcome in the right way, even if it means revisiting strategy or direction in complex technical disputes.’

‘Ashtons proved happy to negotiate within the acceptable framework fee structures.’

‘Tom Bailey is highly competent, approachable and good on his feet under pressure. He is able to explain things in simple terms if required. He has strong attention-to-detail and is a great strategic thinker. Sam Lees is highly proactive and knowledgeable.’

‘I am impressed by their professionalism and high-level of engagement.

‘Tom Bailey was particularly engaged and impressive in his preparation of our case. On top of that, he is a thoroughly lovely individual.’

Key clients


Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries Limited

Signs Express Limited


Work highlights

  • Representing an agricultural sector client in dispute valued at £30m regarding supply, transportation and storage issues.
  • Advising on a claim worth £4.5m on behalf of the client involving a breach of contract following the installation of faulty safety equipment in offshore locations.
  • Representing a national brand-leading franchisor in a claim worth £2m in proceedings involving the termination of two large franchisee outlets, and enforcing the terms of the settlement agreement achieved in the first proceedings.

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP is noted as being ‘efficient and direct, with immensely strong communication'. The firm is a prominent force in disputes within the region and beyond. Lead partner and qualified barrister Andrew Kinnison is ‘professional, informative and very understanding'; Kinnison has extensive experience in Chancery matters, including corporate and commercial disputes, and insolvency proceedings. Senior associate Adam Blenkinsop, whose advice is ‘always considerate', and associate Chloe Bird, are the other key names in Norwich.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Kinnison

Other key lawyers:

Adam Blenkinsop; Chloe Bird


‘Adam Blenkinsop’s advice is always considerate to our wider company strategy and risk profile, adjusting his tone and approach to suit. This ultimately makes his advice of better quality and actionability.’

‘They have all the disciplines under one roof. As a result, if legal issues have some overlap from one discipline to another, they are still able to provide targeted advice, taking into account these various disciplines.’

‘The speed in response is a key strength of the team. Also, in my case, they were able to translate what the differences were between Dutch legislation and English so that I could better determine my best options, and as a result we could together better decide which route to take.’

‘The team we are working with make us feel like they are doing the best they can for us and that they have empathy with us.’

‘We just feel that we are in safe hands. Andrew Kinnison has been professional and informative as well as being very understanding of our situation.’

‘Efficient and direct, with immensely strong communication.’

‘Adam Blenkinsop is clearly experienced, capable, hardworking, efficient, reliable and has a marked sense of responsibility, commitment and initiative.’

‘Adam Blenkinsop is extremely good at managing all aspects of cases and coordinating efficiently with counsel and clients, and is a pleasure to work with. He takes a sensible commercial approach but also knows when to stand firm.’

Howes Percival LLP

The Norwich office of Howes Percival LLP plays a key role in the firm-wide litigation practice, which is described as ‘highly professional, diligent and committed'. The firm, which has Government Panel status, handles technically complex matters, particularly in the rural and agricultural sector, as well as a broad range of complex commercial disputes. Gordon Simpson is the key lawyer in Norwich; he frequently handles shareholder disputes and is well-regarded for his ability to 'put clients at ease and adapt to their needs.'

Practice head(s):

Gordon Simpson


‘Gordon Simpson has always been supportive and has been a calming influence during very stressful moments. Gordon has taken the time to explain everything to me and his communication skills have been paramount to our very successful relationship.’

‘Gordon and the team have been incredibly fair at all times. All of the technological mechanisms that Howes Percival have in place work effectively too.’

‘Gordon Simpson’s consist approach has helped tremendously. Gordon’s qualities are clearly helping to shape new solicitors within the Howes Percival organisation. I would not hesitate in recommending Gordon and Howes Percival to anyone.’

‘Howes Percival’s team is highly professional, diligent and committed. Their attitude towards clients treads the perfect line between friendliness and professionalism.’

‘Gordon Simpson is a highly professional and thoughtful man. He has an astute legal brain, delivers his ideas and reasoning in considered manner, avoiding complex legal speak, which a layman cannot often understand. His manner is always professional, he puts clients at ease and adapts to their needs. I would highly recommend him.’

‘The level of service across various teams is fabulous. We have always found Howes Percival to be very professional and comforting is some some anxious situations. This is a very good skill to have and rare to find.’

‘The balance of providing a professional service whilst keeping us informed on technical issues that are not easily explained, is exceptional. It has been good to have the same people to contact whenever we have required assistance, and this is complimented by those people remembering who we are and what our background is. We have always used Gordon Simpson as our first point of contact and he is excellent.’

Key clients

Wicksteed Leisure Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Wicksteed Leisure Limited successfully with a claim for outstanding sums due under a commercial contract for construction works.


Long-established Norwich firm Fosters exhibits ‘a personal touch' and is noted as being 'quick to respond to queries and action solutions‘. ‘Effective and knowledgeable‘ practice head Chris Fielding and senior associate Gurpal Singh both have a strong reputation across the region for their abilities handling a broad array of matters, among them unfair prejudice claims, complex contractual cases and defamation suits. Fielding recently acted for Norwich City Football Club in an £85k dispute with a supplier.

Practice head(s):

Chris Fielding

Other key lawyers:

Gurpal Singh



‘The personal touch. The team is quick to respond to queries and action solutions.’

‘Chris Fielding was especially effective and knowledgeable in dealing with our case.’

‘They listen to us as a client and act on our wishes, while giving a good explanation of the legalities of the issue at hand. They are also willing to interact in the way that suits us.’

Key clients

Norwich City Football Club

Holmes Building Contractors Ltd

Lowestoft Electrical Group

Jubilee Coaches (Rollesby) Limited

Genesis Portfolio Limited

Prior Power Solutions Limited

Flowscreed Norfolk Limited & Contract Dispute


Work highlights

  • Representing the shareholder as the petitioner within an Unfair Prejudice Petition claim proceeding in the High Court.
  • Representing Championship football team Norwich City Football Club in a contractual dispute with a major supplier in liquidation.
  • Representing Holmes Building Contractors Ltd in a dispute over a corporate supplier’s alleged breach of its contractual obligations pertaining to a sub-contract that relates in part to unpaid work associated with asbestos treatment.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP's litigation practice, which launched in Norwich three years ago, continues to deliver a boutique-style service to its clients, namely businesses and high-net-worth individuals across Norfolk and Suffolk. The firm has notable experience in the energy, agriculture and manufacturing sectors, and is handling a growing number of disputes concerning food production also. Lead partner Robert Tiffen has a national reputation for franchising disputes.

Practice head(s):

Robert Tiffen

Key clients

Herrco Cosmetics Limited

Anglia Autoflow Limited

Adnams plc

Sembmarine SLP

Bullards Gin

Banham Poultry