Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby in East Midlands

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP's Nottingham team acts for claimants and defendants in cross-border and domestic disputes encompassing breaches of contract, product liability, professional negligence and breach of restrictive covenant cases. Jonathan Tardif continues to represent clients in high value disputes. In an ongoing matter, he is defending Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust against a class action by staff members relating to working conditions and pay banding. Chloe Poskitt's caseload is broad, however she has particular expertise in cases that involve breaches of restrictive covenants by senior executives. Associate George Petrou advises clients on disputes relating to insolvency proceedings, supplier and consumer arrangements and shareholder agreements, among other areas.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Tardif

Other key lawyers:

Chloe Poskitt; George Petrou

Key clients

Centrica/British Gas

Vision Express

Nottingham Forest Football Club

John Pye & Sons

NHS England

Fair FX/Equals Group Plc

London EV Company


Goodyear Dunlop

Work highlights

  • Advising a global manufacturer on worldwide product recall issue resulting in a £38m product liability dispute in the TCC.
  • Representing Nottingham Forest Football Club in a £10m dispute concerning the valuation of the club’s liabilities at the point of its acquisition by the current owners in 2017.
  • Advising a household name logistics company in a £30m multi-party dispute with some of its franchisees over the operation of various contractual provisions and a complaint of anti-competitive practices.

Flint Bishop LLP

Flint Bishop LLP's 'hardworking and determined' Derby practice represents large domestic and international clients in complex disputes, including High Court cases and judicial reviews, relating to areas such as fraud, product liability, insurance law and professional negligence. 'Strategic litigator' Nick Wells regularly represents clients in High Court litigation in various areas, including cases concerning EU law and property litigation. The 'charismatic, clever and client-focused' Qamer Ghafoor, who recently became the firm's CEO, still serves as lead partner to several large clients, including Haven Insurance.

Practice head(s):

Nick Wells

Other key lawyers:

Qamer Ghafoor


‘Flint Bishop has a strong team which combines legal acumen and a robust and commercial approach to litigation.’

‘Nick Wells has a good eye for technical and legal detail whilst remaining focused on commercial objectives.’

‘Qamer Ghafoor is a tour de force: charismatic, clever, hardworking and absolutely client focused.’

‘The Flint Bishop team is small but steely: with a great roster of commercial clients; and absolute commitment to their cause. Hard-working; determined; good value; and fun to work with.’

‘Nick Wells is great. I know things won’t be missed and that he is on top of things, so I don’t have to worry. Nick is also very articulate when dealing with the other side so I have confidence that the matter will be dealt with appropriately – he can be tough when he needs to, but will also be pragmatic to find solutions.

‘Nick Wells is very thorough and a real strategic litigator. And he is great to work with.’

‘Nick Wells is stand-out. I have found Nick’s style to be helpful in achieving our business goals – it’s not about winning at all costs, but winning commercially. Nick can adapt his style to try to ensure our goals are achieved, rather than feeling the need to win every point.’

‘Nick Wells has worked for us and with us on significant new legislation affecting our business sector. He is able to grasp and explain complex legal issues. He has developed a further area of expertise in order to meet our individual company needs.’

Key clients

Office Depot

Marston’s PLC


YHA (England & Wales)

Food Standards Agency

Haven Insurance Company

Costcutter Supermarkets Group

Henry Boot Developments

National Trust

Yü Energy

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Food Standards Agency to represent its interests alongside UK government lawyers, achieving a successful intervention in a Dutch referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of Exportslachterij J. Gosschalk en Zn. BV -v- Minister van Landbouw, Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit (Joined Cases C-477/18 and C-478/18)
  • Acting for Haven Insurance in relation to a £10m+ claim with EUI involving a Commercial Court and Court of Appeal challenge to the decision of an arbitrator.
  • Acting for the Food Standards Agency in a judicial review of the reported case of R (on the application of Agro Foods (Ashford) Ltd) -v- Food Standards Agency [2019] EWHC 2718 (Admin), [2019] WLR(D) 581, resulting in a successful defense of the claim.

Geldards LLP

With particular expertise in the automotive and sports industries, Geldards LLP acts for clients in disputes over shareholders' agreements, breaches of contract, fraud, unfair trade practices and construction projects, among other areas. Jonathan Butler continues to handle high-stakes cases for major clients, including Pendragon and Derby County Football Club. Nino Simone represents clients in a wide range of cases, including IP and commercial contracts disputes. Senior associate Andrea Clayton has notable expertise in civil fraud and asset recovery disputes. In an ongoing case, Clayton is acting for Crown Crest Property Developments in a multimillion pound High Court case involving allegedly overdue energy payments.

Practice head(s):

Nino Simone

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Butler; Andrea Clayton


‘Jonathan Butler is very hands on and offers sensible and practical advice.’

Key clients

Agfa Graphics NV

Car Giant Limited

Derby County Football Club

Pendragon PLC

PSA Group

Parkway Volkswagen

finnCap Limited


Work highlights

  • Represented Pendragon and successfully overturned (on appeal) its conviction and £144,000 fine for breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
  • Acting for Derby County Football Club in its vigorous defence against widely reported charges by the EFL for breaching Profit & Sustainability Rules.
  • Advising Tesco in relation to Commercial Rent Arrears Recoveries (“CRAR”) under the complex Tribunals Courts and Enforcement 2007 (TCEA 2007) and Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 (TCGR 2013).

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

With sector specialisms including technology, transport and energy, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acts for large international and national companies in high-value disputes, which often span multiple jurisdictions. 'Pragmatic and sensible' Nottingham-partner Louise Howarth handles high stakes regulatory disputes in the energy sector, which includes advising clients on public law judicial review challenges. Howarth is part of a larger Midlands team, which includes Birmingham-based partners Adam Fisher and Rich Lloyd. Partner Steve Dunseath left the firm in May 2019 to join Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

Practice head(s):

Louise Howarth


‘The team works closely alongside other offices in the Eversheds Sutherland network to make sure that it resources jobs appropriately.’

Key clients

Pendragon plc


ADT Fire & Security

Thames Water

Rolls Royce

John Lewis Partnership


National Grid

Severn Trent

Mitchells & Butlers

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc (“EIO”)

Telford & Wrekin Council

The Haemophilia Society

Interserve Group

Oakley Capital

Vestey Foods

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP's commercial litigation practice is jointly led by Graham Greenfield in Nottingham and Derby-based Jonathan Jefferies. Greenfield, who is noted by one client for his 'good tactical mind', specialises in complex commercial disputes, professional negligence and financial cases. Jefferies focuses on contract disputes, shareholder disputes and debt recovery claims. Senior associate Jade Flint, who is 'efficient and sharp-minded', remains highly active in insolvency and bankruptcy litigation, where she tends to assist Greenfield.

Other key lawyers:

Jade Flint


‘High-quality litigators who dominate the local market – always at the forefront of the best work in the region.’

‘I work primarily with Jade Flint, who is a very accomplished lawyer, with a high level of engagement and knowledge.’ 

‘Graham Greenfield is extremely helpful and engaged.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory LLP

The Way Ahead Group Limited t/a See Tickets

Redwood Bank Limited

Central Bridging Loans Limited

Mazars LLP

CBA Business Services Limited

Skills Motor Coaches Limited

Reditum Capital


Reflex Labels Limited

Chris Fountain Limited

Bio Dynamic (UK) Limited

Sytner Cars Limited/Sytner Group

Bridgewood Financial Solutions Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a Netherlands-based company in relation to the termination provisions of an Option Agreement for the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of said company.
  • Acting a confidential client in connection with a family partnership dispute concerning a portfolio of properties and a limited company operating within the UK and Europe.
  • Advising on the defence of a complex and high value claim relating to the supply of lighting elements to the town of Hospitalet de Llobregat in Spain.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited

Nelsons Solicitors Limited often represents SMEs and larger UK companies in commercial disputes relating to construction projects, shareholders agreements and malfeasance. Cathryn Selby has a wealth of experience in cases regarding commercial contracts, civil fraud, insurance and unfair prejudice. Chris Adams expertise resides in breach of contract claims, professional negligence and partnership disputes. Jon Roberts has a strong track record in fraud cases.

Practice head(s):

Chris Adams; Cathryn Selby

Other key lawyers:

Jon Roberts


‘Nelsons enjoys a strong reputation in and around Nottingham.  It is a medium sized practice, being large enough to field experts in a wide range of disciplines, but small enough to offer a personal service to its clients.’

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Shakespeare Martineau LLP's Nottingham practice handles a broad range of cases for claimants and defendants, including professional negligence, shareholder and insolvency disputes. Tim Speed focuses primarily on the energy sector and has particular expertise in insolvency and bankruptcy litigation. Steven Skiba has notable expertise in shareholder and director disputes. Kendal Litherland specialises in professional negligence claims involving solicitors, accountants and financial advisers.

Practice head(s):

Tim Speed

Other key lawyers:

Steven Skiba; Kendal Litherland

Key clients

Npower Limited

West Coast Trains Limited t/s Virgin Trains

Certas Energy (UK) Limited

West Bromwich Commercial Limited

Rise and Recline

Sun Chemical Limited

Community R4C Limited

Conspare Limited

Clements Limited

HLB International Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully resolved a long running multimillion pound dispute for West Bromwich Commercial Limited, which involved arguments over the interpretation of the Consumer Credit Act as well as arguments of undue influence.
  • Advised Community R4C Limited in a high-profile procurement dispute against Gloucestershire County Council over a waste incinerator contract worth £600m.
  • Advised West Coast Trains on a commercial claim for a five-figure sum from a company that bulk purchases train tickets.


Actons represents a number of family-owned businesses and other private companies in partnership, director and shareholder disputes. The 'extremely experienced' Caroline Bowler has a notably strong track record in equine disputes, and is also active in professional negligence cases and general commercial litigation. Associate Gordon Monaghan, who joined the practice in November 2019 from Bray & Bray, has expertise in breaches of contract, restrictive covenants and company law disputes.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Bowler

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Bowler; Gordon Monaghan


‘Caroline Bowler provides us with expert advice and guidance, securing practical and commercially balanced solutions for us throughout the year.’

‘Caroline Bowler provides us with professional, reliable and timely advice.’

Key clients

Soper of Lincoln Limited (Lincoln)

Maria Hancox

Work highlights

  • Advised the exiting partner in a family owned business on a partnership dispute relating to their interest in the partnership business in excess of £1m.
  • Advised a family business and its key shareholders in a £5m shareholder dispute involving family members.
  • Advised an international high net worth individual who purchased a pony from the UK for a six figure sum on their claim against the seller of the pony and the vet who examined the pony before it was sold.

Knights Plc

Knights plc's commercial litigation practice represents clients in shareholder disputes, unfair prejudice petitions, partnership disputes and breach of contract claims, with a particular strength in the IT sector. Don Peel specialises in property litigation, insolvency, debt recovery and construction claims. Senior associate Lloyd Smith has notable expertise in franchising disputes, IT software disputes and unfair prejudice cases.

Practice head(s):

Don Peel; Lloyd Smith

Smith Partnership

Smith Partnership's 'pragmatic and commercial' team is particularly active in property litigation and it regularly acts for creditors pursuing claims against debtors. Russell Davies has over two decades of experience representing clients in various disputes, including property litigation, banking and finance and software disputes. Bally Atwal has a particularly strong track record representing clients in the transport and aviation industries, including Titan Airways and SC Blue Air. Jak Ward is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Russell Davies

Other key lawyers:

Russell Davies; Bally Atwal; Jak Ward


‘Smith Partnership understands my business and offers not only fantastic legal advice but also commercial advice.’

‘Russell Davies offers clear and concise legal advice and in a way that is easily understood.’

‘Russell Davies is personable, very pragmatic and commercial, with an eye on strategy at all times.’ 

Key clients

Ei Group PLC

Eurocell Plastics Ltd

Littler Investments Ltd

Derby Museums

Work highlights

  • Represented Littler Investments in an appeal of Landlord and Tenant Act Lease renewal claims following an earlier four day trial.
  • Advised Maurice MacNeil Iona Limited in relation to a £1m claim which settled at mediation.
  • Advised creditor Greenlands Trading Limited on a possession claim contested by debtor under the Consumer Credit Act.