Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby in East Midlands

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP has a noteworthy track record of acting in high-value cross-border disputes for large international corporations with the ‘outstanding’ practice being particularly experienced in claims for clients from the energy, retail and manufacturing sectors. The team has further expertise in the areas of IT and technology claims which was bolstered by the arrival of partner Sophie Ashcroft, specialist for technology and IT disputes, in March 2021. Jonathan Tardif is the practice head and has expertise in handling international claims which is ‘unique in the area’. Clients highlight that the team is ‘extremely cost-efficient and cost-conscious’.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Tardif

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Ashcroft


‘Overall service, in terms of advice given, legal letters drafted and response times, has been excellent.’

‘The team are outstanding, flexible and work at supersonic speed.’

‘Jonathan Tardif is fantastic.’

‘They have full knowledge about our business and legal compliance.’

‘The commercial litigation team under Jonathan Tardif is very strong, punching well above its weight in complex litigation, often involving an international or jurisdictional/applicable law element. For the work that they do they are extremely cost-efficient and cost-conscious.’

‘Jonathan Tardif is absolutely excellent. He is an extremely good lawyer, always commercial & practical, very responsive and efficient. His and the team’s expertise in international or jurisdictional/applicable law cases is impressive and, to my knowledge, unique in the area.’

Key clients

Centrica plc/British Gas

Vision Express

Twin Hill Acquisition Co, Inc

Nottingham Forest Football Club

idverde UK

London EV Company (formerly London Taxi)

Staffline plc


NHS England

Work highlights

  • Appointed to act as virtual general counsel to the board of Mi Hub Limited, the UK parent company of Twin Hill Acquisition Co, Inc, to advise on litigation strategy and key risk issues arising from a suite of litigation in the US arising from allegedly defective uniforms supplied by Twin Hill to 65,000 American Airlines employees.
  • Instructed by the client, a global manufacturer and distributor of water heating systems, to defend a claim brought against them by Canetis claiming damages of up to £50m for alleged breaches of an agreement whereby the client was to use best endeavours to promote and expand the supply of a Canetis product – GasSaver – across the UK.

Flint Bishop LLP

Flint Bishop LLP acts for a number of household names ranging from public sector bodies and government agencies to national companies and globally active public listed companies. The ‘highly responsive’ team represents clients in all types of commercial matters and before all courts, with experience before the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice, while providing ‘a service comparable to a number of City firms’. ‘Absolutely first rateNick Wells heads the practice and ‘provides excellent advice combined with assured strategic and tactical management of cases’ that is ‘always spot on’. Qamer Ghafoor, chief executive of the firm, continues to act for clients in complex high-value litigation and is lauded for his ‘extremely hard-working, client focused and robust approach to litigation’.

Practice head(s):

Nick Wells

Other key lawyers:

Qamer Ghafoor


‘Great team punching well above its weight.’

‘Qamer Ghafoor: An indefatigable, charismatic leader. A force of nature and hugely likeable. Rarely in litigation do you get such absolute devotion from such a senior partner. And enormous fun to work with.’

‘I have always found that they have punched above their weight and deliver a service comparable to a number of City firms. Their whole team is highly responsive and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Qamer Ghafoor is an astute commercial litigator who is extremely hard-working and client focused. He has a robust approach to litigation which gets results. Nick Wells is an excellent technical lawyer who is creative in devising both legal and commercial solutions.’

‘The team works in a very collaborative way and this results in a team approach to the handling of cases.’

‘Nick Wells provides excellent advice combined with assured strategic and tactical management of cases. His specialist knowledge and understanding of complex legislation is exceptional.’

‘The team always ensure continuity of service, and bring new people into their team and into cases at the right time – there are never gaps in their offering. They are great to work with, undemanding while always hitting deadlines and very high standards.’

‘Nick Wells is absolutely first rate. Always on top of the detail yet clear and far-sighted about the big picture. He always gets the strategic choices that need to be made in litigation spot on. A real pleasure to work with, he never lets you down.’

Key clients


Marston’s Plc

Office Depot

YHA (England & Wales)

Food Standards Agency

Haven Insurance Company

Costcutter Supermarkets Group

Henry Boot Developments

National Trust

GL Events

YU Energy

Acorn Insurance

Heineken Group

Donald Ward Limited

Bowmer and Kirkland Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Food Standards Agency in connection with High Court claims by numerous food business operators and a major trade body for a reduction in sums paid annually to the FSA of £millions.
  • Acted for the successful claimants in the case of Butcher & Anor v Pike & Ors, which has resulted in a reported judgment on both the summary judgment application in the Queen’s Bench Division and the success in the Court of Appeal.

Geldards LLP

The commercial litigation practice at Geldards LLP represents clients from all sectors, and has particular experience acting for clients from the sports, automotive, retail and agricultural sectors. The team, headed by Nino Simone, is lauded for its ‘skill and experience’ with clients seeing the ‘hands-on approach and wise advice’ of partner Jonathan Butler as a ‘great advantage for more challenging litigation’. Butler has particular experience in large and complex disputes in the sport and retail sector and has a specialism in injunction work and freezing orders. Associate Rebecca Stojak has a niche specialisation in equestrian matters acting for, among others, high-profile equestrian athletes and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):

Nino Simone

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Butler; Rebecca Stojak


‘Good value but not at the expense of skill and experience.’

‘Jon Butler’s hands-on approach and wise advice are a great advantage for more challenging litigation.’

Key clients


Derby County Football Club

Pendragon PLC


Parkway Volkswagen


Trouw Nutrition GB

University of Leicester

Work highlights

  • Defended Derby County in relation to sanctions before an EFL disciplinary commission, avoiding relegation and a substantial fine for breaches of the Championship Profit & Sustainability Rules.
  • Advised a passenger coach operator in its multi-million pound Commercial Court claim against DawsonGroup & EvoBus UK for alleged defective vehicles.
  • Successfully represented Omya, a global supplier of white minerals and chemicals, in a c.£1m reported High Court claim in damages for nuisance and trespass involving the illegal dumping of 20,000 tonnes of waste at Cliffe in Kent.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acts for a large number of international and national public listed companies in High Court litigation and international arbitration proceedings with the Nottingham office acting in close conjunction with the firm’s Birmingham office. The unit has particular sector experience in the engineering, technology, aerospace, defence and automotive sectors. Louise Howarth heads the Nottingham commercial disputes team and, as the firm’s UK energy regulatory disputes head, specialises in Ofgem regulatory investigations and public law challenges. Howarth is lauded for her ‘excellent service’ and for providing ‘very thorough and clear analyses and advice’.

Practice head(s):

Louise Howarth


‘Great team to collaborate with.’

‘Louise Howarth – excellent service from her, very thorough yet clear analyses and advice on some particularly complex topics.’

‘The team supported us greatly for our recent case.’

‘The team were a credit to each other in having different skills and knowledge base. It was a real team effort with our recent support. The team were very flexible and are a credit to their organisation.’

Key clients



LSH Automotive

Jardine Motor Group

Thames Water


Compass Group

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP is experienced in acting for a broad scope of clients ranging from individuals to international public listed companies from all types of sectors, including manufacturing, energy, sports and healthcare. Graham Greenfield  heads the Nottingham office and specialises in complex commercial claims, including professional negligence matters, and is ably supported by Jade Flint, who was promoted to director in October 2021. Managing partner Jonathan Jefferies is the head of the Derby office and is experienced in acting for a variety of clients, including manufacturers, listed companies as well as landowners.

Practice head(s):

Graham Greenfield; Jonathan Jefferies

Other key lawyers:

Jade Flint

Key clients

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

Bio Dynamic (UK) Limited

Redwood Bank Limited

Skills Motor Coaches Limited

Synter Cars Ltd t/a Porsche Centre Leicester

OPUS Restructuring LLP

Bridgewood Financial Solutions Limited

Quantuma Advisory Limited

Sterling Advisory Limited

The Way Ahead Group Limited

See Group Limited t/a See Tickets

CBA Business Services Limited

Mazars LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for FRP Advisory Trading Limited (as Joint Liquidators) in connection with substantial misfeasance claims against directors. The Company in question was involved in providing healthcare services to the NHS. The long running dispute settled after a lengthy mediation.
  • Acted for the Porsche dealership of Sytner Cars Ltd in defending claims bought by customers in relation to alleged “defeat devices” fitted which purport to affect the vehicle’s performance during emissions testing.
  • Acted for the claimant in connection with proceedings relating to business interruption losses as a result of COVID-19 which have been allocated to the sub-list of cases managed by Mr Justice Butcher in the Commercial Court.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited

The client base of Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s commercial litigation team comprises predominantly East Midlands based businesses as well as a number of companies from throughout the UK. Cathryn Selby heads the general dispute resolution team, within which Jon Roberts is the head of the commercial litigation group. Selby is experienced in commercial contract disputes, as is Nottingham-based Simon Key, while Roberts specialises in fraud cases as well as commercial litigation in the construction industry.

Practice head(s):

Jon Roberts; Cathryn Selby

Other key lawyers:

Simon Key

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s Nottingham office covers all commercial litigation matters and is particularly experienced in claims in the energy sector. ‘Very bright, extremely practical and knowledgeableTim Speed heads the Nottingham commercial litigation team. Speed specialises in commercial disputes in the energy sector as well as in insolvency related disputes, and clients state that they ‘trust him completely’. Kendal Litherland heads the commercial litigation sub-team for claimant professional negligence matters and Steven Skiba is ‘valued’ by clients for his work in the areas of breach of confidentiality, civil fraud and insurance claims.

Practice head(s):

Tim Speed

Other key lawyers:

Kendal Litherland; Steven Skiba


‘Approachable, contactable. Good value for money.’

‘Tim Speed – affable, approcahable, pragmatic.’

‘Always been a team that one can trust. They provide a service which meets what the clients want and do not charge the earth for it. Have yet to come across any client who has not been anything other than very pleased with the service provided. They listen, they consider and they react in the right way.’

‘Tim Speed – is the essence of what one wants in a solicitor. Very bright, extremely practical and knowledgeable, and gets on very well with clients. Everyone trusts him completely.’

‘The practice took on my company’s case against another company for unpaid fees, has been very clear about pros and cons, and has fought for my company throughout.’

‘Steven Skiba – he has been forthright, transparent about billing, and I have valued his regular updates.’

Key clients


Smith Cooper

Purplebricks Group Plc

West Coast Trains


Certas Energy UK Limited

Business Power and Gas Limited


National Highways Limited

Walsall Housing Group Limited

Monavate Limited

Vision Express

Work highlights

  • Advised the board of Robin Hood Energy regarding their options, as well as the subsequently appointed administrators.
  • Advised a number of finance brokers being pursued by lenders following the insolvency of Arena Television Limited and allegations of fraud.
  • Advised Purplebricks Group Plc about claims it can pursue against parties in breach of post-termination obligations and/or breach of confidence/data protection.


Actons’ client base is primarily made up of national SMEs and includes a number of international companies. ‘Solid, sensible and reliableGordan Monaghan, who was promoted to director in April 2021 and heads up the practice since September 2022, has a focus on shareholder disputes and gives clients a ‘reassuring feeling that they are being well looked after’. Former practice head Caroline Bowler left the team in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Monaghan


‘Gordon Monaghan is solid, sensible and reliable. He gives clients the reassuring feeling that they are being well looked after.

‘Actons provides great value for money advice. The staff are quick to react when given new instructions and are easy to work with.’

‘A good city centre firm with breadth and depth of experience and expertise across a wide range of practice areas. Lawyers are client-focussed, excellent communicators.’

‘Standout specialist and excellent client handling skills.’

‘They continually provide a prompt, professional and reliable service at all times.’

‘They know their practice areas really well and aren’t afraid either to challenge the client’s view or to accept it, even if at first they don’t agree.’

‘Gordon Monaghan gives a great deal of thought to the instructions he is given, and is happy to have a dialogue with the client and be challenged on his views/advice.’

‘Actons works very effectively as a team at all times. The team is also very commercial and honest in their appraisal of what will result in the best outcome.’

Key clients

Soper of Lincoln Limited (Lincoln)

John Pye & Son Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised an automotive parts supplier in relation to a dispute worth £1m+ with JLR.
  • Advised on a complex shareholders dispute: advising on a defence and negotiating settlement terms where the settlement deal is considerably in excess of £3m.
  • Advised a high net worth individual who had loaned in excess of £2m to a property developer and securing a favourable settlement for the client.

Smith Partnership

Clients from across the UK instruct Smith Partnership in commercial claims relating to director and shareholder disputes, breaches of contract and construction claims, among others. The Derby offering is headed by ‘knowledgeable and highly skilledRussell Davies, who has significant experience in property disputes with commercial development aspects as well as commercial lease disputes.

Practice head(s):

Russell Davies

Other key lawyers:

Bally Atwal


‘Russell Davies is very good with client relations.’

‘Passionate about our business and fully understands our business model and offer not only the best legal advice but also the most commercial.’

‘Russell Davies – Knowledgeable and highly skilled individual who is always on hand to offer advice and support. Always offers a commercial decision as well as legal advice’

‘We rely on Smith Partnership on a day to day basis and seek their legal council for a number of different scenarios. This demonstrates how diverse they are with expertise that we utilise to make informed decisions. Without their collaboration with our company we would not have achieved the success and results we have to date.’

‘Russell Davies has a very proactive approach with our business relationship and regularly offers advice to our company without being prompted. This demonstrates that our partnership is long term and we feel very valued as a client. We intend to strengthen this relationship by working on many more legal cases moving forward.’

Key clients

Stonegate Group

Eurocell PLC

Orange Living Limited

Burton Albion Football Club

Derby County Football Club


HGV Direct Limited

PKF Smith Cooper

Work highlights

  • Acted on a matter relating to a public house with the client seeking possession as a result of the publicans refusal to open and trade following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
  • Acted for a lettings management company that was being sued by 26 landlords who were former clients. The claims total was approximately £400,000 and related to an alleged failure of the client to let properties belonging to the landlords.