Leading Individuals

Commercial litigation: Norwich in East Anglia

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP's Norwich office plays a pivotal role in the firm's national regulatory, public and commercial disputes practice. 'They instill confidence, are easy to reach and discuss matters with and always try to progress and complete issues in as non-confrontational way as circumstances permit', remarks clients. The firm handles contentious matters for regional, national and international clients in the financial services, food and beverage, life sciences, technology, automotive, energy, government, health and education sectors with a particular focus on mid-market corporates. Lead partner Rachel Higgs is 'a star of the provincial litigation market - very bright, very experienced, she applies both intellect and common sense to her clients' legal problems'. Associate Abaigh Compton is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Higgs

Other key lawyers:

Abaigh Compton

Testimonials

‘The team have always been very quick to answers questions and provide the right answers every time.’

‘Rachel Higgs is a tenacious litigator which is exactly what you need.’

‘Mills & Reeve have high quality staff who provide quality advice with skill and compassion. They are able to outperform other local firms because of the depth and width of expertise available within their organisation. Their staff are promptly available and deliver their expertise and advice in an easily understood and direct manner.’

‘They instill confidence, are easy to reach and discuss matters with and always try to progress and complete issues in as non-confrontational way as circumstances permit.’

‘Really talented team who undertake a wide range of disputes work. Bright and sensible, provide excellent value to their clients’

‘Rachel Higgs is a star of the provincial litigation market – very bright, very experienced, applies both intellect and common sense to her clients’ legal problems. Always outcome-focussed.’

‘This work has been protracted partly due to Covid, making the courts extremely slow and therefore the work for lawyers also slow, so maybe difficult to judge.’

Key clients

Bernard Matthews Foods Limited

Able UK Limited

AIG

University of East Anglia

Archant Limited

Norfolk Capital Group

Refresco Holdings BV

Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited

East Suffolk Council

AH Worth Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the Railways Pension Trustees in a successful application to strike out a multimillion-pound claim, on the grounds of failure to comply with contractual limitation periods and notice provisions.
  • Advised a client in connection with a £7m dispute arising out of a joint venture project to expand a hydropower plant in Sierra Leone.
  • Successfully opposed an application to strike out a £70m claim arising from negligent tax advice on a corporate restructuring.

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a two-partner litigation practice in Norwich that has extensive experience in Chancery work, including breach of trust matters and claims arising from the administration of estates, as well as a broad range of commercial and corporate disputes. The firm frequently handles multimillion-pound claims for large local and national businesses. Qualified barrister Andrew Kinnison is the key name, working alongside senior associate Adam Blenkinsop, who handles contractual disputes and professional negligence claims, and associate Chloe Bird, whose experience includes restrictive covenant matters and shareholder disputes, also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Kinnison

Other key lawyers:

Adam Blenkinsop; Chloe Bird

Howes Percival LLP

The litigation practice at Howes Percival LLP is 'approachable, understanding of the situation, knowledgable in their field'. Practice head Michael Green splits his time between Norwich and Cambridge, leading the firm's work in large and complex commercial disputes with a particular emphasis on company and shareholder disputes, warranty claims, partnership advice, restraint of trade matters, technology claims, and contractual disputes. He advised a large farming business on a £50m shareholder dispute. Director Gordon Simpson is 'patient and thorough in his explanations and advice, and his experience in his field was evident as he could almost predict what the other side would be doing', according to one client.

Practice head(s):

Michael Green

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Simpson

Testimonials

‘Howes Percival has demonstrated flexibility with billing allowing me to fund my litigation in a way that has helped me, as well as providing they with regular payments.. I like the way that HP actively encourages juniors into their business and the profession. When dealing with HP there has been a number of juniors that have collaborated on my case and all have been excellent.’

‘Gordon Simpson has been extremely supportive through some difficult moments which has helped me deal with these testing times. Gordon has always provided support and has replied to communiactions even when he is on holiday or at a weekend. This level of assistance and proffesionalism that Gordon provides is over and above what I would expect from any organisation.’

‘The team were approachable, understanding of the situation, knowledgable in their field.’

‘Gordon Simpson was patient and thorough in his explanations and advice, his experience in his field was evident as he could almost predict what the other side would be doing. Gordon wanted to get everything sorted out as effectively as possible, which he ultimately did. I would recommend Gordon Simpson to anyone needing assistance using his particular expertise.’

‘Gordon Simpson is highly knowledgable in his field and works tirelessly for his clients. He is calm and collected, highly professional and extremely personable.’

Key clients

Ben’s Cookies

Crown Services (Government legal department)

The Cotswold Company

Wicksteed Leisure

Work highlights

  • Acting for a 50% shareholder in a large complex shareholder dispute involving other parties and now running into its third year before the High Court.
  • Acting for one of East Anglia’s largest farms in a shareholder/partnership dispute with a value of circa £50m.
  • Advised Ben’s Cookies on a shipping/insurance matter in the Middle East.

Ashtons Legal

In the Norwich office of Ashtons Legal, 'the team has a very strong regional offering attracting large corporate clients who are committed to the firm'. Practice head and qualified barrister Tom Bailey practices predominantly in the higher courts in complex and high value cases for listed and non-listed companies, individuals and public bodies. Bailey is 'an exceptional lawyer who is fantastic with clients' and one clients remarks that he 'brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to each dispute, and is always keenly focused on the commercial optics and outcome'. He acted for a franchisor in claims brought against a departing franchisee for unlawful termination of the franchise agreement and breach of post-termination restrictive covenants.

Practice head(s):

Tom Bailey

Testimonials

‘The team is headed by Tom Bailey who is an exceptional lawyer and fantastic with clients. They team has a very strong regional offering attracting large corporate clients who are committed to the firm.’

‘Tom Bailey is a standout lawyer, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to each dispute, and is always keenly focused on the commercial optics and outcome as well as the legal. Such are Tom’s abilities that I have frequently recommended him to clients.’

Key clients

CeX

Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries Limited

Signs Express Limited

Bubbleology

Work highlights

  • Acting for an insolvency practitioner in the insolvency of a number of companies with claims against former contractors for significant overpayments of PAYE and National Insurance.
  • Acting for a franchisor in claims brought against a departing franchisee for unlawful termination of the franchise agreement and breach of post-termination restrictive covenants.
  • Advising an agriculture company for losses arising in excess of £1 million.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors is a prominent force in North Norfolk, and its Norwich office frequently handles commercial disputes, debt recovery, property litigation and insolvency matters for both large and small local businesses. Practice head Mark Kermez and legal executives Kate Smith and Shaun Taylor are all 'extremely capable litigators who pride themselves in leaving no stone unturned when fighting their client's cause'. They advised one client on a claim for breach of contract/misrepresentation against a large developer after the land adjoining his property was over-excavated.

Practice head(s):

Mark Kermez

Other key lawyers:

Kate Smith; Shaun Taylor

Testimonials

‘The team is diverse in terms of age and experience and makes full use of both ends of the spectrum. The trainees and paralegals are fully involved in matters with qualified lawyers and partners, which appears to allow for a good training base. The firm makes good use of technology, which makes dealing with clients easier and less stuffy – clients can interact from the comfort of their own home instead of going into the firm’s office or into counsel’s chambers, which can make some clients uncomfortable or on edge.’

‘Solicitors and other qualified lawyers go above and beyond what can be expected of them. Shaun Taylor is to be particularly commended; he is able to guide clients well. Mark Kermez oversees the team well, and it is clear that he nurtures the talent to get the best out of them.’

‘Extremely thorough and diligent in the preparation of their client’s case.’

‘Mark Kermez, Kate Smith and Shaun Taylor are extremely capable litigators who pride themselves in leaving no stone unturned when fighting their client’s cause.’

‘Very helpful and listen to client request.’

‘Kate Smith is very professional and constructive.’

Work highlights

  • Engaged to represent the client, an elderly woman, who is being harassed by her neighbour. He is also restricting her right of way and interfering with the enjoyment of her property.
  • Advised on an issue of access where an error at first registration meant the client was unable lawfully to access her property.
  • Advised the client on a claim for breach of contract/misrepresentation against a large developer after the land adjoining his property was over excavated between exchange and completion placing the new build property at risk of subsidence.

Fosters

The team is very approachable and answer queries promptly and succinctly‘, says a client of Fosters. The firm is a mainstay of the local Norwich market, in which it acts for high-profile clients such as Norwich City FC and Tingdene Holiday Parks. Chris Fielding leads the practice and is ‘a trusted advisor on litigation issues, whose advice is focused on the best outcome‘. ‘Friendly and approachable‘ senior associate Gurpal Singh is frequently instructed by landlords, agents, developers and SMEs on complex matters, particularly those with a commercial property dimension.

Practice head(s):

Chris Fielding

Other key lawyers:

Gurpal Singh

Testimonials

‘The team is very approachable and answer queries promptly and succinctly. They offer some free advice to our members which is invaluable. We have a very good working relationship.’

‘The whole team at Fosters promotes a friendly and professional attitude. The litigation process is dauting for a lay person and the team at Fosters display an in depth knowledge of all the associated subjects i.e. the law, strategies, court processes, etc. which puts the clients at ease. The explanation and discussions around these subjects assist greatly in the clients understanding of the issues, time frames and risks.’

‘The individual that stands out is Chris Fielding. I have had dealings with Chris for nearly four years involving one difficult and complicated case. I have always found Chris to be on top of the problems and issues that have arisen as the case develops. His overall legal knowledge and in particular his knowledge of my case, experience and advice have been at great source of comfort to me in this long running case.’

‘Fosters deal with all aspects of commercial litigation in a very professional and efficient manner. Any queries or help required is dealt with very promptly and with expertise that you know you can trust. They always try to understand the full problem and ask the necessary questions to provide the best help.’

‘The professionalism of the team is second to none and whatever problem or query we have there is always someone on hand with to help with our specific needs.’

‘We deal with mainly Gurpal Singh who is very friendly and approachable. He thinks both inside and outside the box and discusses things in layman terms so you understand fully what is happening. The good thing is that you can contact him directly without having to go through a lengthy switchboard set up with music being played to you before being put through to a secretary.

‘Chris Fielding is a trusted advisor on litigation issues. His advice is focused on the best outcome for us and this therefore makes it easy to recommend him.’

‘Always available and willy to support. Excellent advice and object view point. Extremely efficient and professional.’

Key clients

Timothy McMonagle (ICS Controls (Eastern) Limited)

Norwich City Football Club (Sam Hall)

Anson Timberworks Limited

Tele-Tronics V & S Sales & Services Ltd

Tingdene Holiday Parks Limited

Lowestoft Electrical Group

Ardyn Holdings Limited

Taylor Properties Trading Ltd

Nottingham Forest Community Trust

SniperMechanics (Daniel Jones)

Chalk Farm Financial Planning Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing shareholder as the petitioner within an Unfair Prejudice Petition claim proceeding in the High Court.
  • Representing a Premier League football team Norwich City Football Club in an IP infringement claim over alleged unlawful commercial use of images.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP

With a ‘forward-thinking and pragmatic style‘, Nicholsons Solicitors LLP acts for businesses and high-net-worth individuals across Norfolk and Suffolk, notably in the energy, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Lead partner Robert Tiffen is ‘a superb commercial litigator with a wealth of experience in the niche franchise sector‘. He has a national reputation for franchising disputes, having acted for clients across the UK. One client notes that ‘his advice is swift, sensible and commercial, and his manner puts clients at ease‘.

Practice head(s):

Robert Tiffen

Testimonials

‘Nicholsons Solicitors offers a full range of commercial services, including dispute resolution. I have known the firm for a number of years and always received excellent service. Nicholsons’ style is forward-thinking and pragmatic.’

‘Rob Tiffen is a superb commercial litigator. He also has a wealth of experience in the niche franchise sector. His advice is swift, sensible and commercial, and his manner puts clients at ease (even during stressful situations).’

Key clients

Anglia Autoflow Limited

Herrco Cosmetics Limited

Adnams plc

The Christmas Decorators (Franchising) Limited