Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby in East Midlands
Browne Jacobson LLP combines a strong local market presence with an ability to cater to the needs of national and international clients in high-stakes, multimillion-pound disputes. It demonstrates market-leading capabilities across a wide of sectors, including manufacturing, retail, IT, finance and utilities, and was recently reappointed to the panel of a multinational energy company for its disputes work. 'Exceptional' practice head Jonathan Tardif is the lead adviser to many other household names on their most complex and high-value contentious matters. Associate Chloe Poskitt handles a mix of contentious insolvency and commercial litigation (including breaches of contract, misrepresentation claims, office-holder claims, and supplier and consumer disputes). Dominic Offord moved to Howard Kennedy LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Browne Jacobson is the regional leader; it is the pre-eminent firm for dispute resolution‘
‘The team led by Jonathan Tardif is both very commercial – identifying how best to achieve the client’s aims – and extremely good at the law‘
‘Jonathan Tardif is very shrewd strategically. He never loses sight of what will benefit his client the most – and is adept at exiting his clients from disputes at the most opportune time and on favourable terms‘
Centrica /British Gas
Nottingham Forest Football Club
John Pye & Sons
Ashley House Plc
- Assisting client (a supplier of hot water cylinder systems to UK housing associations and other customers worldwide) with claims in relation to defective cylinder systems, as well as reputation management. The scope of the advice has involved a worldwide recall, switching manufacturers, dealing with threats of litigation and passing liability back up the supply chain.
- Advising a global manufacturer and distributor of water heating systems in its defence of a claim by IBM for under-licensing.
- Advising a leading Mercedes-Benz dealer in the Midlands on a contract dispute with Lomas Distribution.
- Advising the client on a contract claim against a large local authority following the aborted development of a dementia care home.
- Advising on a claim against NCR, a global leader in mobile payment technology, over various cash discrepancies found in certain ATM machines in supermarkets.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acts for a sizeable number of blue-chip UK and international clients in high-profile, business-critical cases. Led by Steve Dunseath, the team undertakes a significant amount of work for entities in the diversified industrials sector (which includes automotive, industrial engineering, chemicals and aerospace). Another cornerstone of the practice is in the sports and media space, where the work includes assistance with crisis and reputation management. The energy and utilities arena is another pillar of the practice; legal director Louise Howarth heads up the firm's UK energy regulatory disputes offering. Dunseath is the lead adviser on a number of civil fraud claims.
Other key lawyers:
- Advised npower on a contested Ofgem investigation into npower’s roll-out of Advanced Meters (a form of business smart meters).
- Acting for client in High Court litigation against Economy Energy over National Grid being contracted to deliver and install smart meters. The current value of the dispute is £12m and relates to services provided by National Grid to Economy where payment is disputed.
Flint Bishop LLP
Flint Bishop LLP distinguishes itself in industry-shaping and high-profile matters, as evidenced by its recent appearances at the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union. 'Skilled negotiator' Nick Wells specialises in handling commercial disputes in specialist lists of the High Court. The firm's client roster is reflective of the high esteem in which its dispute resolution team is held, with UK and multinational companies, government agencies and public sector bodies turning to it for advice. Qamer Ghafoor has a standout reputation in all areas of commercial dispute resolution, including professional negligence claims, banking litigation and insurance-related claims. Ghafoor has also developed a niche in litigation connected with the waste management sector. Lorna Trueman is another key figure.
‘Flint Bishop is very client-focused, and its team approach leads to joined-up working at each step of a case‘
‘Nick Wells takes a strategic approach. He is always ready and capable of drilling down into the detail of the legislation and the facts‘
‘Nick Wells listens to concerns/objectives and provides commercial advice accordingly. He is very much on top of the detail of a matter‘
‘Flint Bishop has a big team, which has a depth of experience across all levels of seniority‘
The Land Registry
Food Standards Agency
Haven Insurance Company
Costcutter Supermarkets Group
Henry Boot Developments
- Defended client against a claim brought by a firm of solicitors for payment of its costs directly by Haven in circumstances where personal injury claims were settled by Haven directly with claimants without provision for legal costs.
- Representing Haven Insurance in a Court of Appeal case regarding the jurisdiction of an arbitrator to extend appeal deadlines under the Motor Insurance Bureau technical rules.
- Acting for an office supplies company in a High Court claim against a supplier of defective carrier bags.
- Acting for a property developer on a claim from an overage under a development contract.
Geldards LLP is well-known as a powerhouse in the automotive sector, where it has a 20-year track record advising car manufacturers and resellers on complex disputes; Jonathan Butler and senior associate Andrea Clayton are names to note in this space. Its recent work included the VW Emissions group litigation and the landmark decision by the Advertising Standards Agency in the case of Glyn Hopkin and Fiat Chrysler. The firm also has an equally standout reputation in the sports industry; one of its key clients is Derby County Football Club, and it is highly active in matters connected with tennis. In addition, the firm expanded its offering into equestrianism by hiring equine law expert Rebecca Stojak from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. The team, which is led by Nino Simone, also handles challenging mandates involving other industries; recent matters involved areas such as construction, IT and education.
‘Very practical approach with a variety of options presented for a particular matter. The fees are also very competitive‘
‘I have the confidence that once an instruction is given it will be dealt with with updates provided as necessary. Andrea Clayton has been outstanding in this respect‘
PSA Peugeot Citroen
Litho Supplies (UK) Limited
Paragon Interiors Group Plc
- Advised client on £7m claim in the High Court against former Chief Executive Sam Rush for breach of contract and fiduciary duty in relation to agent and player remuneration.
- Defended client at the High Court against allegations by optometrists at stores in Southport, Llandudno and Macclesfield that inaccurate performance data had misled them into entering into joint ventures with Vision Express and to personally guaranteeing their performance.
- Represented client in an appeal arising from a prosecution by by Middlesbrough Council for non-disclosure of material information in connection with the prior business status of a used car
- Acted for client in a claim against Netgovern Inc over non-payment of invoices in respect of data feed sales, pursuant to a reseller agreement.
- Represented client in a claim in the High Court for damages for non-payment of energy consumption at commercial premises.
Freeths LLP is well-placed to advise on large-scale and multi-party disputes, leveraging its strong presence in the Nottingham and Derby markets, as well as its wider national network. The Nottingham team is led by Graham Greenfield, who has been a partner since 1991, and who handles a wide range of commercial (including professional negligence) and financial cases. Greenfield, whose 'leadership skills and work ethic are second to none', also heads up the insolvency practice in Nottingham, and insolvency litigation is another pillar of his work. Greenfield is supported by recently promoted senior associate Jade Flint, 'a swift and efficient communicator'. Jonathan Jefferies is the main contact in Derby.
Graham Greenfield (Nottingham); Jonathan Jefferies (Derby)
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has a very human approach; you are far from just a number and you can tell it invests time in truly understanding the individual situation. Graham Greenfield and Jade Flint are two standout people. Empathetic and supportive‘
‘The team has an impressive breadth of experience and clearly communicates well’
‘Graham Greenfield takes a traditional supervisory role of the cases and is extremely good at making high-level strategic decisions. He always has an eye on the bigger picture and can bring the room back to reality in a mediation when all others are lost in the detail. He makes a good team with Jade Flint, who is very detail-oriented and will be sure to have thought of every angle and to have tracked down every document, if there is any chance it will help’
‘Graham Greenfield is an absolute gentleman and always puts the client first‘
FRP Advisory LLP
Sytner Cars Limited/Sytner Group
Central Bridging Loans Limited
Reflex Labels Limited
Chris Fountain Limited
Bio Dynamic (UK) Limited
The Way Ahead Group Limited t/a See Tickets
Flexiscale Technologies Limited
- Represented Mark Howard and Tamasin Howard at the Court of Appeal in an appeal of a summary judgment application decision in relation to a claim arising from the indemnity provisions of a sale and purchase agreement
- Acted for a high net-worth individual in insolvency proceedings brought against another high net-worth individual.
- Acted for a finance provider in proceedings arising from the provision of a loan to a borrower for the purpose of acquiring a limited edition Aston Martin.
- Acted for a cosmetic surgery company in a defamation matter.
- Acting for a high net worth individual as a defendant in relation to claim arising from his alleged involvement in a tax avoidance scheme.
Nelsons Solicitors Limited has a sizeable presence in the East Midlands, fielding 17 practitioners (including six partners) in its Nottingham and Derby offices. In addition to acting for local clients, it also advises entities based further afield nationally as well. Its practice head in Derby is Cathryn Selby, who has more than 23 years of commercial litigation experience, and includes group actions and other large-scale litigation. Also based in Derby is Kevin Modiri, who handles a varied workload of professional negligence claims, insolvency litigation, partnership disputes and breaches of contract, among other matters. In Nottingham, seasoned practitioner Chris Adams is recommended.
Chris Adams (Nottingham); Cathryn Selby (Derby)
Other key lawyers:
Shakespeare Martineau LLP's large presence in the East Midlands market is reflected by the fact that its dispute resolution offering is spread between the Nottingham and Leicester offices, with practice head Martin Noble splitting his time between both bases. Noble's team has experience of all types of general commercial litigation. In 2018, there was a notable increase in shareholder disputes, such as derivative actions and unfair prejudice petitions; legal director Steven Skiba is a name to note in this space. Associate partner Tim Speed is a go-to for banking litigation (including matters involving interpretation of the Consumer Credit Act and claims involving undue influence), and also provides support to clients in the energy sector in contentious matters. Legal director Kendal Litherland has more than 15 years of experience acting for claimants in professional negligence actions against solicitors, accountants and various other professional advisers.
West Bromwich Commercial Limited
Certas Energy UK Limited
Rise and Recline Limited
Health Trust Europe LLP
Draycott Nurseries Limited
J & J Mechanical Services Limited
Sun Chemical Limited
- Assisted the client with successfully obtaining judgment against a guarantor in a longrunning matter arising from the non -payment of his liabilities, and his allegations of misrepresentations and collateral contracts.
- Acting for the shareholder of a family-run pharmacy business in a shareholder dispute.
- Acting for the client in a breach of contract claim, arising from the supply of an industrial cement mixer.
- Acting for an individual claimant in in a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation against a finance house and its agent.
- Acting for claimant company in a contractual dispute over a contract to breed and supply livestock.
Actons' commercial litigation team handles contractual disputes, financial services litigation, insolvency litigation, professional negligence, claims against directors and partnership and shareholder disputes. Director Caroline Bowler has developed a niche in equine law disputes, such as horse co-ownership cases, and matters arising from sales and purchases of horses. Property litigation is another key workstream for the firm. Clients range in size from individuals and regional SMEs to international companies. Victoria Dunstall departed the firm to become a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University.
In addition to being highly regarded for general commercial litigation, Fraser Brown's national reputation in the franchising sector makes it a strong choice for advice on related disputes among franchisors and franchisees; senior associate Lloyd Smith has specialist knowledge about this area. Elsewhere, the firm demonstrates strong capabilities in IT disputes, financial services matters, professional negligence, insolvency-related litigation and property litigation. Don Peel is the head of dispute resolution.
Don Peel (head of dispute resolution and head of property litigation); Lloyd Smith (head of commercial litigation)
‘Lloyd Smith is genuine and honest with his advice. He is excellent at reading people and his advice has been a great support‘
(1) Jatinder Kumar and (2) Unity IG Limited
DinkyDoodle Designs Limited
- Advice to the clients on defending claims of fraud in relation to an abortive business venture between the parties and the claimant to acquire, develop and sell property.
- Acting for the client in a dispute arising from a joint venture it entered into with certain other parties.
- Advising a franchisor on claims for breach of contract and defending claims of misrepresentation and misstatement.
- Advised a business on breach of warranty claims connected with the purchase of another business for circa £10m.
- Advising a home improvement company on claims against RBS’ Global Restructuring Group over the provision of banking facilities.
Smith Partnership's Derby team is led by Russell Davies, who has more than 25 years of experience in the commercial litigation arena, and can be counted on to advise on contentious insolvency-related matters, contractual issues and professional negligence. Davies also has expertise in matters specific to the licensing industry, and has acted for Ei Group (one of the UK's largest pub companies) for more than 15 years. In addition to handling general commercial litigation, Bally Atwal has specialist expertise in aviation litigation, where he acts for airlines and insurance companies. Jak Ward recently made partner.
Russell Davies (Derby)
Ei Group Plc
Littler Investments Limited
Eurocell Plastics Limited
Metanodic (Engineers) Limited
- Represented the client (which operates the Century 21 Franchise in the UK) at the Court of Appeal in litigation connected with the termination of a sub-franchisee’s franchise, due to its failure to fully report its income.
- Represented the client (a commercial bridging loan lender) at the High Court Appeal Centre in a matter where the ‘unfair relationship test’ in section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 was considered.
- Advising a museum on issues connected with the cancellation of a proposed exhibition as a result of concerns over the quality of the exhibition itself.