Commercial litigation: Manchester in North West
Addleshaw Goddard's 'key strength is the team's ability to handle almost any conceivable issue in big-ticket litigation'. It counts competition litigation, IT disputes and international arbitration, particularly with elements in African jurisdictions, among its areas of specialism. Practice head Mark Molyneux handles contentious commercial and competition matters, while Susan Garrett has particular experience in shareholder, pensions, tax and trusts disputes. Recently promoted partner Nicholas Ashcroft and legal director Samantha Haigh specialise in business protection disputes and competition litigation respectively, while legal director Clare Dwyer and managing associate Paul Rowley are key names to note for public procurement litigation.
Other key lawyers:
‘Key strength is the team’s ability to handle almost any conceivable issue in big ticket litigation. Supplemented by its human touch and the ability across the board to work seamlessly and immerse themselves into the client’s ethos and drivers and achieve effective outcomes.‘
‘Mark Molyneux heads up the team and is an effective leader. Its clear he engages with his team and they are a cohesive unit. He is also an excellent strategist.‘
‘Legal director Samantha Haigh really grasps the nettle and moves cases forward. Thinks around the wider issues and is always looking at solutions to problems.‘
‘Associate James Currie is unflappable and consistently very effective.‘
Manchester Airport Group
The Road Haulage Association
The Co-operative Group
Office Depot Europe
- Successfully acted for two of the former directors of Burnden Holdings (UK) Limited (BHUKL) in defence of claims brought by BHUKL and its liquidator.
- Acting for Co-operative Insurance in a claim against IBM in the Technology and Construction Court (QBD) which relates to IBM’s wrongful purported termination of its IT implementation and 10-year managed services contract for a new end-to-end IT operating platform for Co-operative Insurance.
- Acting for Wolseley UK Limited, one of the largest distributors of plumbing and heating products in the UK, in a claim against six individuals and two corporate entities. Four of the individual defendants used to be employed in senior positions by Wolseley but resigned in late 2017 to join Oliver Ashworth Limited (the Fifth Defendant), a competitor business of Wolseley.
The commercial litigation team at DLA Piper is a popular choice for a range of disputes and is particularly singled out for its corporate and securities litigation and contentious data protection expertise. The group also stands out for its impressive cross-border capabilities and the ability to work with its offices across the US, Europe and Asia. Financial services sector expert Stewart Plant leads the team, which includes Andrew Smith, who focuses on M&A claims and shareholder disputes; and Jonathan Eatough, who has a broad practice ranging from IT, infrastructure and manufacturing disputes to civil fraud matters. Senior associate Leontia McArdle is well-regarded for corporate and commercial disputes.
‘Jonathan Eatough is very skilled, very sound judgment‘
‘Andrew Smith leads the team and is excellent. An excellent lawyer with great clients skills.’
Information Commissioner’s Office
Clariant International AG
Flywheel IT Services Limited
Solutus Advisors Limited
SMG Europe Holdings Limited
Maven Capital Partners UK LLP
Scottish Power Energy Retail Limited
NCC Group plc
- Acting for Solutus in highly complex and specialist claims brought in the Chancery Division Financial List by various financial institutions. Allegations were made of breach of duty, seeking to set aside a series of property transactions in connection with the insolvency of Toys R Us.
- Acting for the ICO in Operation Cederberg – the investigation into data analytics in political campaigns, including the activities of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.
- Defending the founder and former CEO of one of the largest private jet operators in the UK in a claim regarding the operation and maintenance of a private jet aircraft and its engines.
At DWF, the commercial litigation team's 'legal knowledge is merged perfectly with tactical acumen'. The group has particular experience in representing telecoms, utilities, energy, education, food and drink, retail and public sector clients. National commercial litigation head Joel Heap specialises in corporate and company law disputes and leads the team alongside the 'simply excellent' Lee Norman, who focuses on professional negligence claims. Consultant Andrew Harris handles a range of commercial litigation and mediation and, alongside recently promoted director Nicole Burton, defended Morrisons in a high-profile group data breach claim. Former practice head Steve Morris departed to JMW Solicitors LLP while Claire Graham joined TLT.
‘It is a team with real strength in depth. Legal knowledge is merged perfectly with tactical acumen and they plan each case from the outset so as to put the client in the best place to achieve what they want. Very user friendly. One of the best litigation teams I have dealt with.‘
‘Joel Heap has great tactical nous coupled with great litigation instincts. Very user-friendly.‘
‘Lee Norman is simply excellent. Great command of a case and has the ability to stand back and see the available routes.‘
WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc
Serco Group Limited
British Airways Plc
Telefonica UK Limited (t/a O2)
JCB Power Systems Limited (t/a JCB)
Zeus Capital Ltd
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Lambert Smith Hampton Group limited
Zedra Trust Company (Jersey) Limited
The Munnelly Group
Essar Oil Plc
- Defending British Airways in a civil litigation group action arising from data theft following a cyber attack.
- Represented Serco in a public procurement challenge against the Ministry of Defence in relation to a £1.15bn outsourcing contract.
- Acted for Zedra in an unfair prejudice petition brought against the Hut Group and a number of its individual shareholder and directors.
The commercial dispute resolution team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acts for a combination of local, national and international corporates in a range of disputes, and counts the transport, sport, diversified industrial and e-commerce industries among its sector specialisms. Michael Clavell-Bate and Matthew Taylor jointly lead the team; both specialise in reputation management disputes. Other names of note include principal associates Phil Duignan, who focuses on procurement disputes; and Thomas Whitfield, who has been active in defending clients in SFO proceedings.
‘The commercial litigation team is very responsive, efficient and excellent at keeping me up to date on matter progress. They take a pragmatic approach to litigation and this is reflected in their billing.’
‘Michael Clavell- Bate is vastly experienced and always available where key strategic advice is needed.’
‘Tom Whitfield i is a first-rate litigator.’
‘Luisa Zukowski is a highly effective associate .‘
Johnson Controls Inc
Daisy IT Services Limited
Air Liquide UK Limited
Fanatics (UK) Limited
The Hut Group
- Acting for Fanatics (International) in a £2m High Court claim brought by McLaren Racing, which alleges a breach of a supply and distribution agreement from non-payment.
- Acting for the Department for Transport on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport in defending a procurement challenge and judicial review proceedings brought by Stagecoach and Arriva in respect of the East Midlands Franchise, arising from the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify each from the East Midlands competitive tender process, primarily on the grounds of non-compliance on pensions.
- Acted for PrettyLittleThing.com in a high-value contractual dispute with its warehousing and logistics provider Clipper Logistics plc.
With 'exceptionally good communicators offering wise counsel', Brabners LLP's commercial litigation team is a popular choice for corporates in the North. The group has a strong reputation for handling sports disputes with practice head Jeff Lewis, Andrew McGregor and Catherine Forshaw being particularly active in the sector. The group counts healthcare and recruitment among its other sector specialisms; Andrea James and senior associate James Stewart are names to note for the former, while the group's expertise in the latter was strengthened by its merger with recruitment specialist firm HRC Law in mid-2019. Helena Davies is highlighted for property litigation.
‘Nothing has ever been too much to ask of Brabners. Andrew has always been on hand for anything I’ve needed. For someone who must be incredibly busy, he always seems to find the time to take care of any issues I/we may have in a speedy and effective manner.‘
‘A calm and reassuring sense of professionalism even when the tactics of the plaintiff was to deliberately leave the smallest window to allow us to react. All challenges were thoroughly thought through with an intelligent and practical plan that was easy for those with no knowledge of the law to quickly grasp giving the necessary confidence and forcefulness to our argument. Exceptionally good communicators offering wise counsel with a no nonsense position that was clearly respected by the opposite parties.‘
Sheffield Wednesday Football Club
J W Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Manx International Football Alliance
SEBL Group Limited
Leicester City Football Club
Barnsley Football Club
Sharpe Search & Selection Ltd
Warrington Borough Council
National Pharmacy Association
- Acted for VST Enterprises Limited in successfully defending a claim from VDocs International Ltd for breach of a licence agreement.
- Acted for Sheffield Wednesday FC in obtaining compensation from Newcastle United FC following manager Steve Bruce’s move to Newcastle. The claim was based on Newcastle’s unlawful approach to Bruce whilst he was manager of Sheffield Wednesday.
- Acted for the vendors of Quat-Chem Limited in obtaining summary judgment against Neogen Europe Limited and obtaining payment of retention monies of £1m arising out of a Share Purchase Agreement.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP's dispute resolution team has particular expertise in the technology, media, healthcare and insurance sectors. Practice head Jan Levinson has a notable focus on IT and outsourcing disputes, while experienced mediator Sydney Fulda handles a breadth of commercial disputes, and Harald Loeffler focuses on contractual and tortious claims. The group also benefits from the ability to work cross-office with its national and international network.
‘Sydney Fulda is simply outstanding. His relentless focus on achieving the best results for his clients really sets him apart from his peers. Unlike a number of partners I have worked with, he is unafraid to really involve himself in day-to-day conduct of a matter with an excellent command of the details of a particular case while at the same time focussing on the overall strategy and the outcome sought by the client.’
‘DAC Beachcroft’s commercial dispute resolution team is one of the strongest in Manchester and combines the approachability of a regional firm with the efficiency that has been the hallmark of London firms. In particular their partners are very hands-on and willing to involve themselves in the day-to-day work.’
‘Jan Levinson is both well-informed and flexible.’
MoneyGram International Limited
Former Home Secretary, the Right Honourable Charles Clarke and family
- Acting for BUPA Dental Services in a dispute with Optical Express Limited and Matland Limited arising from the sale of a number of dental practices in London and the South East and unpaid sums under a dental scheme for 2000 patients.
- Successfully defended MoneyGram International in two disputes relating to disputed money transfers.
- Acting for the Right Honourable Charles Clarke and his wife and children in claims against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) arising from the unlawful obtaining and misuse of private and confidential information (in particular through voicemail interception as well as surveillance by private investigators).
The commercial litigation team at Hill Dickinson LLP handles a range of disputes, with particular experience in the health and life sciences, education and IT sectors. Procurement disputes expert Christopher Tyrrell heads up the practice following Geraldine Ryan's departure to CMS. Other names to note include banking litigator Sharon Williamson and Iain Campbell, who acts in breach of contract and professional negligence disputes with a particular focus on the higher education sector. Legal director Moya Clifford is highlighted for her arbitration and shareholder disputes experience, while senior associate Andrew Little specialises in contentious IP, GDPR and reputation management matters.
‘In the field of EU law and, in particular, EU public procurement law, the team is particularly experienced in the conduct of High Court litigation. Chris Tyrrell, who manages a significant amount of public sector NHS procurement litigation, is the shining example of this.’
NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group; NHS England (North) Yorkshire & the Humber; and North of England Commissioning Support
H.J. Enthoven Limited and the Trustees of the H.J. Enthoven Pension Scheme (HJE)
University of Salford
Trudie Walker/Holly Grange Montessori Nursery Limited
Transport for Greater Manchester
- Acting for the HJ Enthoven Limited and the trustees of the H.J. Enthoven Pension Scheme in a high-value pensions negligence dispute with a former adviser.
- Representing the University of Salford, which is a core participant in the inquest and public inquiry following the Manchester suicide bombing.
- Acting for a Peel Group entity (Manchester Ship Canal Company) in the Supreme Court in a dispute with Vauxhall Motors Limited regarding drainage rights.
The commercial litigation team at JMW Solicitors LLP handles a range of disputes, with particular multi-party and group litigation experience. Practice head Marc Yaffe has experience in e-commerce, online and sports-related disputes, while Michael Kennedy focuses on contentious shareholder, director and partnership matters. The team benefits from the addition of DWF's former head of commercial litigation Steve Morris, who adds a breadth of experience. Other names to note include Mark Jones, Nick McAleenan and Claire Brown for construction, data protection and contractual disputes respectively. The firm also recently made a notable hire in London with the addition of Matthew Wescott from Carter-Ruck.
Other key lawyers:
‘Michael Kennedy: you want him in your corner if you have a commercial dispute. He has seen it all and knows how to resolve it all both in and out of the court. Always feel that he has the advantage over whoever he is dealing with.‘
‘Rebecca Young is one of the best associates I have dealt with. Her command of the detail and preparation of a case is incredible. She will go ‘toe to toe’ in any dispute and clients feel that she is the one to have in her corner.‘
‘Mark Jones is very good tactically and has a willingness and ability to take on ‘difficult’ cases and give them a life that others wouldn’t.’
‘Matthew Wescott is one of the best international arbitration lawyers I know. His understated, calm and excellent judgement has steered to victory and to settlement many matters which others would have baulked at. He deserves a top rating.
Staveley Head Limited
North West Ground Rents Limited
My Fish Company
Kenneth Hall (Builder) Ltd
Abbeydale Food Group
- Acting for Staveley Head Limited in a breach of a claims management agreement claim against Qudos Insurance and a related indemnity claim against Proximo.
- Representing Abbeydale Food Group in a breach of warranty claim.
- Defending My Fish Company in a claim brought by Bidfresh seeking a springboard injunction against the setting up of the client on the basis that it had been set up in a non-compete period and had been based on confidential information obtained from Bidfresh.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP attracts praise for its 'great technical ability' in commercial litigation and regulatory investigations. The group's expertise spans from contractual, corporate, insurance and pensions disputes to health and safety litigation and contentious fraud and bribery matters. The 'superb' Julian Diaz-Rainey has a broad practice and leads the team, which includes tax disputes expert Steven Porter and senior associate Andrew Mitchell, who has experience in a range of disputes including warranty claims, shareholder disputes, and directors’ duties cases. With the ability to work cross-office, particularly across Europe and Asia, the team is well-placed to handle cross-border work.
‘Great technical ability and a superb leader in Julian Diaz Rainey.‘
‘Julian Diaz Rainey is technically excellent, calm under pressure.‘
‘Associate Katie Hancock is experienced well beyond her years.‘
Manchester City Football Group Limited and City Football Group Limited
Travel Counsellors Limited
Jockey Club Racecourses
United Healthcare (UK) Holdings Limited
- Acted for private equity owned travel and technology company in defending a claim for breach of confidence brought by the high street travel agent, Trailfinders.
- Acted for Jockey Club Racecourse in obtaining a permanent injunction to restrain the activities of ticket touts on and around Cheltenham Racecourse.
- Advising Manchester City Football Group Limited and City Football Group Limited on issues arising out of an inquiry into all and any connections Manchester City Football Club Ltd may have had with the convicted child sex offender, Barry Bennell, and any other anomalous issues.
Squire Patton Boggs' disputes practice counts the chemical, manufacturing, technology and financial services industries among its sector specialisms. Victoria Leigh leads the Manchester practice and has particular expertise in pensions, financial services and shareholder disputes and also acts in contentious IT and data protection issues. Anthony Taylor specialises in bringing professional negligence claims for banks and building societies against their professional advisers, while director Mike Caird and senior associate Peter Lees are highlighted for international arbitration proceedings and reputation management matters respectively.
‘Very commercial lawyers, always looking to get the matter resolved rather than progress to trial. Open to new and innovative ways of resolving disputes. My go-to for more complex matters.’
‘Anthony Taylor is very approachable, excellent communicator.‘
‘Associate Rebecca Green is one to watch.’
‘Senior associate Peter Lees is a safe pair of hands.‘
Yorkshire Building Society
Assetz SME Capital Limited
Co-operative Group Limited
Fresh Property Group
Hough Green Garage
MAN Energy Solutions
- Defending German company Concordia Management GmbH in a claim for breach of warranty arising out of the sale of the Heimtier Plus pet food and pet supplies business to Viovet UK Ltd, worth over £3m.
- Acted for Servoca Nursing and Care Ltd, a healthcare sector recruitment agency, in a restrictive covenant dispute.
- Acted for a representative member of the pension scheme in an application for rectification of three deeds of the Lloyds Bank plc No.1 Pension Scheme.
The 'fantastic' dispute resolution team at Fieldfisher is a popular choice for corporate litigation, civil fraud issues, professional negligence claims and contractual disputes. 'Endlessly reassuring' practice head Ian Austin acts for construction and property development companies, insurers and funders in disputes and attracts praise for his 'strategic cost-oriented view'. James Lappin specialises in business disputes, professional negligence claims and sports law matters, while Donall Caherty handles a range of contractual disputes. Corporate litigator and senior associate Daniel Sheehan is 'excellent in his knowledge of all legal aspects'.
‘The dispute resolution team is a fantastic team that leads on inventive claims for companies and individuals and defending individual claims.‘
‘Great team of litigators, really get behind their client’s cases and work with the counsel teams instructed as one.‘
‘First-class customer service.‘
‘Ian Austin is a partner who has done it all and seen it all. He is calm, authoritative and inventive. Endlessly reassuring to clients he takes a strategic cost-oriented view of that which the clients want and ensures that it is delivered.‘
‘Daniel Sheehan was excellent in his knowledge of all legal aspects of this case and methodical in his work. What really stood out the most for us is that he has a commercially sound head on his shoulders and could advise from a ‘standing in our shoes’ perspective. He did not simply lay out all options and let us decide for ourselves, he was able to listen to our needs from this case, understand all personalities involved, gauge the risk factors, then plan and execute on a legal strategy over a 6 month period.‘
‘James Lappin and Dan Sheehan are a great double act, who compliment each other very well.‘
‘Mark Fairclough is superb. Goes the extra mile for every client. Really user friendly and switched on.‘
Perkier Foods Limited
Karen Millen / Oasis / Warehouse / Coast
Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Limited (‘Betfred’)
Creative Trade Finance Limited
Walker Smith Global
N Brown Group
Estates & Management Limited
Group Litigation (318 clients)
Access Install Limited
ABM Technical Solutions Limited
Key Integrated Services
- Acted for Perkier Foods in respect of an interim mandatory injunction and subsequent committal proceedings, in connection with a complex dispute concerning a food manufacturing agreement.
- Acted for a businessman in a professional negligence action in the UK (and other related proceedings across numerous jurisdictions) relating to the loss of a significant investment in a Guernsey-based pension scheme.
- Acted for 320 Claimants across the UK and Europe in a substantial claim concerning a ponzi scheme orchestrated by a company in London, CWM Limited.
Kennedys' litigation team frequently acts for SMEs, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals in a range of commercial disputes; it counts financial, real estate, partnership and insurance disputes among its areas of specialism. With experience across corporate, commercial and property disputes, senior associate Andrew Davidson leads the team and attracts praise for being 'an extremely capable and cool commercial litigator'. Other names to note include Alison Loveday for financial and employment disputes, corporate and banking litigator Reuben Berg and senior associate Ian Mendelsohn, who represents clients across a range of disputes.
‘A very good medium-sized commercial practice with very good experience of commercial property law. They compare very well to most firms and truly prioritise client needs.‘
‘Senior associate Andrew Davidson is an extremely capable and cool commercial litigator. Never flaps and is extremely capable at handling difficult situations.‘
Wasps Rugby Club
- Acted for Wasps Rugby Club in judicial review proceedings brought by the owners of Coventry City Football Club alleging unlawful state aid in respect of the consideration paid by Wasps to Coventry City Council and the Edward Higgs Charity for the Ricoh Arena.
- Successfully represented individuals in the High Court and on appeal to the Court of Appeal in a claim for damages arising from a real estate transaction that did not complete following exchange of contracts.
The commercial litigation team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP has particular experience in contractual, shareholder and partnership disputes, professional negligence and product liability claims, and contentious probate matters. Practice head Andrew Weinberg's areas of specialism include commercial landlord and tenant actions, insolvency proceedings, professional negligence claims, product liability litigation and contractual disputes. Other names to note include Damian Bailey and Peter Kaye, who both have broad practices, and associate Kathryn Parrish, who focuses on acting for lenders in recoveries and enforcement issues.
Broadoak Private Finance Limited
Chase de Vere Financial Services
Harnbury Holdings Limited (trading as San Carlo Group)
London & Scottish Investments Limited
Property Alliance Group Limited
Persimmon Homes Limited
Robert McBride Ltd
Svenska Handelsbanken AB
- Representing a client that is the 20% shareholder of a group of companies in an unfair prejudice/salary and dividend entitlements dispute relating to the interpretation of a shareholder agreement.
The litigation and dispute resolution practice at Pannone Corporate LLP handles a range of commercial disputes with particular experience in the retail, industrial, manufacturing, engineering and recruitment sectors. David Brown, who has a breadth of expertise in commercial, corporate, real estate and commercial fraud matters, leads the team. Senior partner Paul Jonson attracts praise for his 'air of calm authority', while managing partner Nicola Marchant is a name to note for professional negligence claims, judicial review applications and partnership disputes.
‘The firm is big enough to have all the resources it needs but small enough to give a personal touch. It is obvious within the firm that each person is valued, and the litigation teams make it clear that those outside the firm are valued, both clients and counsel working on their behalf. Litigation is always stressful, but this very much helps to minimise the pain. Better than virtually all other teams, and not overshadowed by any.‘
‘Collaborative, approachable and solution-driven.‘
‘Small but strong team who compare as favourably as their Silver Circle City of London peers for a fraction of the price. Excellent customer service.‘
‘Paul Jonson is the managing partner. He has an air of calm authority and organises the teams well. He is very good with clients and they (rightly) trust him to deliver a good service with a minimum of stress. When things are difficult in the case, he keeps his nerve.‘
‘Martin Pennington is an associate. He puts so much work into the case that you might be forgiven for thinking that he was preparing just in case he ended up having to be the lead advocate. Allied to the hard work is a good perception of what is relevant and what is important. He is always a pleasure to work with.‘
‘David Brown’s wealth of knowledge and insight is highly impressive. The time taken to understand the requirements of our business and its operation sets him apart.‘
‘Paul Jonson and Emma Judge are outstanding – quick grasp of issues and not afraid to tell it as it is to manage internal client expectations and deal with matters appropriately.‘
Seatriever International Holdings Limited
Transport for Greater Manchester
The Performing Rights Society
Brother International Europe Ltd
- Representing Seatriever International Holdings Limited, Illoom Balloon Limited and Illoom Balloon USA LLC in a misuse of confidentiality and breach of contractual restraints dispute.
Weightmans LLP handles a range of corporate disputes with particular education, public procurement, energy and leisure sector expertise. Its broad experience spans from shareholder disputes, unfair prejudice petitions, and breach of contract and warranty claims to IP and recovery cases. Carole Spiller leads the Manchester team and counts property damage and professional negligence claims among her areas of expertise. Experienced litigator and mediator Robert Jones and Damian Carter, who leads the owner-managed business practice, are other names of note.
‘Robert Jones provided very thorough and well-researched advice.’
‘Carole Spiller is a very good litigator: she has a good grasp of the detail and technical elements of the law but as the same time brings a focused commercial approach to the issues at hand.’
‘Rob Jones’ team has real strength – very commercial and formidable to have on the other side.’
‘The team were really quick to understand the issue I had and, upon consideration of all the evidence, came up with a plan of action to rectify it. They took time to listen to my concerns and really went above and beyond in order to help me from a financial perspective, which was a massive help to me.I have always found the support and guidance received to be extremely support, clear and concise. The enthusiasm shown for the matter in question was impressive as was the willingness to research around the particular matter.’
‘Rob Jones is a very experienced litigator who knows the market and is very commercial. He is canny on billing so his client base is extensive. Very good on professional negligence and director/shareholder claims.’
Topmark Claims Management Limited t/a TMS
Solent University Southampton
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
116 Cardamon Limited
Acasta European Insurance Company Limited
Certas Energy UK Ltd
Slush Puppie Ltd
Pioneer Underwriting Consortium 9988
South Ribble Borough Council
Lucideon Group Limited
Clarity Travel Management
Manchester Metropolitan University
The Open University
Business Energy Solutions ltd
- Acted for the successful claimant in the much publicised case of 116 Cardamon Limited v McAllister  EWHC 1200 (Com) which concerned a damages claims for breach of warranty relating to the sale of shares in an insurance company.
- Acting for the claimants in a declaration and damages claim arising from an alleged breach of the claimants’ rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and Human Rights Act 1998.
- Acted for the successful defendant directors in a breach of duty claim.
Recognised traditionally for its strong insurance sector expertise, BLM's dispute resolution practice is also highlighted for its broad commercial litigation experience and counts corporate, public sector organisations, SMEs and high-net-worth individuals among its clients. Craig McAdam, who has particular experience in shareholder and partnership disputes, leads the general commercial litigation practice, while Catherine Mangham leads the insurance-related litigation practice.
‘I found their team to be thoroughly professional in its approach. Furthermore, they met their deadlines whilst extending the courtesy of extra time to us when required.‘
‘The experienced Nick Gee and Claire Durkin give a quality service to their clients that is very results orientated. Their advice focuses on the client’s specific objectives and achieving them in an efficient, speedy and cost-effective way.‘
‘BLM are professional and experienced in dealing with various matters.‘
‘Nick Gee has many years of experience as a litigator under his belt: and it shows the assured and targeted advice he gives. Very tactically accurate.’
‘Claire Durkin handles complex matters, including difficult partnership disputes, in a confident and intelligent way.‘
‘The individuals keep us well informed and provide appropriate advice when needed.‘
- Represented an individual in a claim against a bank for breach of codes of business rules in the trade of an inappropriate derivative which resulted in a lost opportunity to expand a property portfolio.
- Acted for an individual in first instance and on appeal in a claim for a worldwide injunction arising out of the alleged breach of a shareholder agreement.
- Represented a property developer in a claim for breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy to breach fiduciary duties against nine co-defendants relating to an opportunity to develop land in Scotland.
Gateley Plc's commercial dispute resolution team is a popular choice for healthcare and sports clients and counts contentious corporate disputes and probate matters among its other specialisms. Practice head Sarah Sabin has a broad practice, while legal director Nick Murrills is highlighted for contentious defamation and reputation management matters in the sports sector.
Other key lawyers:
The Everton Football Club Company Limited
Alpha Panareti Public Limited
North West Counties Squash League
United Kingdom Cheerleading Association
RVA Surveyors Limited
- Successfully defended The Everton Football Club Company in a multi-million-pound claim brought by an individual relating to the procurement of investment into the club.
- Successfully obtained injunctive relief for Penmarric to obtain control of a major building site (relating to the development of significant healthcare facilities) following the administration of Bardsley Construction Limited (the client’s building contractor) in the face of resistance from its administrators.
- Acting for Alpha Panareti Public Limited (a Cypriot property developer) and one of its directors, in defending a class action issued in England by hundreds of purchasers of its properties.
Mills & Reeve LLP's disputes expertise ranges from handling boardroom and shareholder disputes and warranty claims to reputation management matters and commercial fraud issues. Richard Dawson-Gerrard has particular experience acting for food, agribusiness and pharmaceutical clients and jointly heads up the team alongside Simon Pedley, who counts the private wealth, sports and charity industries among his sector specialisms.
Other key lawyers:
‘A large firm, but because of the way it has grown from smaller firms, they offer a more personalised service.’
‘Rachael Somerset is highly intelligent with a passion for her area of practice.’
The Rangers Football Club Limited
Phoenix Medical Supplies Limited
West Midlands Ambulance Service
Phoenix Healthcare Distribution Limited
Laila’s Fine Foods Limited
Kaplan International Colleges
Zedra Trust Company UK
Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
James Milner and the James Milner Foundation
British Medical Association
- Acted for Rangers Football Club in its high-profile contractual dispute against Sports Direct.
- Successfully represented Phoenix Healthcare Distribution Limited in the Court of Appeal in a reported case which confirmed that a solicitor has no duty to warn their opponent about their errors in respect of service of proceedings.
Shoosmiths LLP's 'client-focused' litigation services practice counts shareholder, insurance, product liability and pensions disputes among its areas of specialism. Practice head Kath Livingston handles a range of corporate disputes and reputation management matters, recently promoted partner Richard Marshall focuses on the insurance sector, and associate Sylwena Sempa is highlighted for her pensions litigation expertise.
‘Very client-focused providing a bespoke service that few firms of this size are able to provide. Scale without any loss of attention to detail.‘
‘Richard Marshall is very very smart. A great tactician with a close eye for the detail where it counts. Very resourceful and commercially astute.‘
‘Matthew Brown is very bright, commercial and a safe pair of hands. One to watch for the future.‘
‘Kath Livingstone is very easy to work with and good at driving the matter forwards.‘
Rentsmart Limited / Thinksmart Limited
MD Insurance Services Limited
Allied London group of companies
University of Bolton
Speedy Asset Services Limited
PSB UK Limited (Grenfell Inquiry)
Comparethemarket.com (BGL Group)
- Acted for Xyfil in two parallel claims for injunctive relief to protect trade secret recipes.
- Representing AmTrust Europe in proceedings in the Business and Property courts in relation to a £1m+ policy coverage dispute.
- Acting for Rentsmart Limited in a significant breach of contract claim against The Carphone Warehouse.
TLT handles a range of corporate and commercial disputes and has been particularly active in restrictive covenant litigation. Emma Flower leads the team alongside Julien Luke, who has particular utilities, leisure, telecoms and recruitment sector expertise. Jon Hainey focuses on shareholder and partnership disputes and procurement challenges, while contentious insolvency expert Claire Graham, who joined from DWF, has further expertise in director disqualification disputes.
‘Very strong and competent teams across all aspects of commercial litigation, in particular complex debt recovery.’
Examworks UK Limited
JD Sports Fashion Plc
National Citizen Service Trust
The Official Receiver
Farmcare Trading Limited
- Acting for National Citizen Service Trust in its defence of £22m breach of contract and procurement claims by the Challenge Network.
- Acted for Tradewind Recruitment Limited and various individuals in a reported team move case and successfully defeated an injunction application made by a former employer.
- Acting for the Official Receiver in a high-profile application to extend bankruptcy restrictions in relation to former Wimbledon Champion, Boris Becker.
Ward Hadaway's commercial litigation team attracts praise for its 'commerciality, foresight and tactical planning'. Newcastle-based Peter Hornsey leads the practice, which was bolstered by the arrival of Nichola Evans, who is 'remarkable in high-stakes litigation', from Browne Jacobson LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Great commerciality, foresight and tactical planning.‘
‘I consider Ward Hadaway to have a vast array of technical specialities. If one of the team is unable to assist, they will always pass you onto a colleague who can.‘
‘The firm has a very forward-looking approach. They are very progressive insofar as they have a firmly international outlook despite not having a London office. This is a testament to their confidence. They have particularly impressive contact with China and Chinese litigation.’
‘Nichola Evans is remarkable in high-stakes litigation: commercially focused, a strong litigator who is comfortable dealing with and directing complex litigation, highly personable with clients, adaptable and promotes the use of ADR to resolve disputes.‘
‘Nichola Evans builds an exceptional client relationship, based on empathy and her ability to communicate advice in a clear and comprehensible way.‘
- Acted for Anthony McGann, the sports agent and manager of MMA fighter Michael Bisping, in a contract dispute relating to payments owed to McGann by Bisping.
Glaisyers LLP attracts praise for its 'wealth of breadth and knowledge across the disputes spectrum'. Practice head David Jones has been growing the team since his arrival from Kuit Steinart Levy LLP in late 2018. Jones specialises in shareholder and complex contractual disputes, while Daniel Fitzgerald, who joined from DWF, has particular experience in the financial services sector.
Other key lawyers:
‘We have dealt with other legal practices in the past but believe that Glaisyers truly stand out within their field from both from the quality of their technical advice and the manner that they look after us as clients. The team that we deal with’s key strengths are their communication skills in explaining to us what appear to be complex legal intricacies into layman’s terms. They have great capability for grasping the nuances of our industry and applying a sound strategy and the appropriate legal advice.‘
‘Glaisyers’ team have a wealth of breadth and knowledge across the disputes spectrum. This includes various forums such as the Beth Din Court and the Islamic Court.‘
‘From the offset, Danny Fitzgerald was able to understand our vernacular and tailor his approach which quickly gained our trust. He is extremely diligent, intelligent and most of all clearly explains the reasons why we need to take a course of action and what outcome we should expect.’
‘David Jones leads the team and is a robust practitioner. Loved by clients and staff alike while no doubt intimidating the opposition with his no-nonsense style.‘
‘To laypeople, being involved in litigation is a rare and stressful event. For us Glaisyers have managed to reduce the stress and secure a successful outcome.‘
‘Daniel Fitzgerald and his team have great knowledge of the subject area and provide clear pragmatic advice on all matters.‘
- Acting for ETL Global’s UK holding company in a warranty and fraudulent misrepresentation claim against the former director of an accountancy practice it purchased.
- Representing Oliver Ashworth Ltd in a substantial breach of confidence and employment contract claim brought by Wolseley Plc in connection with senior members of Wolseley’s staff joining and/or purchasing Ashworths.
- Representing Industrial North West LLP in a dispute with its lender, Fairfield, which put it in administration over a £70m facility agreement.
The commercial litigation team at Irwin Mitchell has particular financial services, retail, technology and manufacturing sectors experience. Practice head Duncan Hope 'is the person to go to in complicated company law matters', while associate Ailsa Anderson counts shareholder disputes, breach of contract claims, fiduciary duty issues and restrictive covenant cases among her areas of focus.
Other key lawyers:
‘Duncan Hope is an experienced and very capable commercial litigation solicitor – he is the person to go to in complicated company law matters.‘
‘Ailsa Anderson has an exceptionally good grasp of the detail of her cases and knows how to deploy this in evidence for the benefit of the clients.‘
‘Strong across the board, decent professionals who look after their clients well and deal respectfully with their opponents.‘
‘The team’s strengths were: to assimilate the brief quickly, understand the salient points, be readily available for discussion.‘
‘Duncan Hope and Ailsa Anderson are professional, caring, respectful, balanced and dispassionate, a pleasure to work with.‘
- Acted for a respondent global tech company in respect of an unfair prejudice petition brought pursuant to section 994 of the Companies Act 2006.
- Defending a claim seeking declarations regarding chattels, assets and real property owned by a New Zealand company and the beneficial and legal interests in shares in a global tech company.
- Acted for a regional technology company in a dispute with a global supplier to achieve an early and favourable solution that protected the client’s business interests and IP – without the need for proceedings.
Knights plc has a growing national dispute resolution presence, which it expanded with its acquisition of legacy Manchester firm Turner Parkinson in 2018. Chris Gee is a name of note in the North West, particularly for professional negligence claims against accountants, surveyors and solicitors.
Prosperity Law LLP
Boutique commercial law firm Prosperity Law LLP acts for a breadth of clients, from SMEs to multinationals, in a range of contentious matters. Edward Smethurst has broad litigation expertise, while Andrew Farrell specialises in partnership and professional negligence disputes. The practice benefited from the arrivals of healthcare sector expert Jonathan Jacobs and insolvency litigator Simon Gerard from AN Law and Maddocks respectively.
‘The team are very communicative and you know they always have the client’s interests at heart and will ultimately get the job done.‘
‘Simon Gerard is tenacious yet pragmatic and agile. He always has the client’s objectives in mind. You want him on your side!‘
‘Superb personal service from Andrew Farrell.‘
‘Simon is always efficient, helpful, friendly and very knowledgeable about the subject matter. His letters are incredibly effective whilst still being written in plain English.‘
Path Business Recovery
Q-railing Europe Holdings GMBH
Urban Zoo Studios Limited
C & C Insurance Brokers Limited
Trafalgar Insurance Limited
Carey Design Limited
Palladium Insurance Limited
G & O Foods Limited
Mulholland Spence Accountants
Matthew Montgomery & Co
- Acted for several individuals in a shareholder dispute between family members where the assets owned by the company are worth approximately £9m.
- Defending a substantial professional negligence claim against a now dissolved accountancy practice on behalf of its professional indemnity insurer, Trafalgar Insurance Company. The alleged claim arises out of the calculation of a company’s tax liability and involves a claim for alleged losses of an insolvent company.
- Instructed by Path Business Recovery in proceedings on behalf of a licensed insolvency practitioner at Path Business Recovery, in an action against 15 personal injury law firms based in the North West.
The commercial litigation practice at Trowers & Hamlins LLP's key areas of expertise include procurement, insolvency, media, defamation and reputation management litigation. The 'commercially astute' Dan Butler specialises in contentious procurement and insolvency matters and heads up the team alongside Steve Dunseath, who recently joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's Nottingham office, adding substantial experience.
Other key lawyers:
‘Despite being a relatively small team, they have excellent expertise. They have a specialism in procurement both in their Manchester team and nationally, and they are undertaking work on the highest quality cases for both contracting authorities and aggrieved bidders. The level of the work they do appears to me to exceed that of their current ranking, particularly given the quality of work they do at present.’
‘Dan Butler is a commercially astute, pragmatic and client-focused partner. He is excellent at seeing the bigger picture in litigation. He is cool-tempered, and never seeks to run bad points. He has very sound judgement.‘
‘Ellie O’Sullivan is an excellent quality associate. She is entirely on top of all of the details of her cases and seeks to get the best possible outcome for her clients.‘
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)
Honeycomb Group Limited
Your Housing Group
Equity Housing Group
Integrated Dental Holdings Limited (t/a MyDentist)
Caprice Holdings Limited (the Ivy Group)
UK Container Maintenance Limited
Caring Homes Group Limited
RSM Restructuring & Recovery LLP
West Midlands Combined Authority
- Representing Quantuma as the administrators of a failed student lettings property development and investment scheme.
- Acting for Lee Valley Leisure Trust in a procurement challenge relating to the provision of leisure services in Lee Valley.
- Acting for the West Midlands Combined Authority (as majority creditor) in relation to the administration of Accessible Transport Group Limited.
The commercial and private client litigation practice at Clarke Willmott LLP is particularly strong for shareholder and contractual disputes as well as defamation and breach of confidential information claims. 'Exceptional leader' John Flint heads up the practice and has a notable breadth of experience.
‘Clarke Willmott certainly provide a specialist litigation offering to the region and offer a more cost-effective service to clients who compete with leading national and international firms in the city centre. The firm clearly prides itself on developing relationships with all stakeholders to benefit the client.‘
‘John Flint is a modest but exceptional leader of the CDR team who specialises in complex litigation. John has tremendous foresight and drive which will see the team become a force in the city centre.’
National Union of Mineworkers
Andy Scott/REL Capital Limited
Capital Growth Group Limited
Bison Transport Limited
Washdoctors Limited / Bill Mapstone
School Letting Solutions Limited
Westbourne Property Management Limited
Fieldside Business Support Limited
Richard Wales / Selective Investment Services
R&G Property Limited
Fast Dispatch Transport Limited
Pulse Fitness Limited
McCollum Consultants Limited
Penny Irrigation Limited
Tecnicas Reunidas UK Limited
- Acted for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in a claim for alleged breach of an agreement to repay to NUM funds recovered by Organisation International Energie Mines (IEMO) in a long-running legal battle in France and England and Wales against a former senior executive of NUM.
- Acting for an independent financial adviser in a complex and high-value dispute against Norland Managed Services Limited (now part of CBRE Group) and Friends Life Pensions, following the alleged breach of a retainer relating to the provision of group personal pension and life scheme administration and advice, breach of fiduciary duty and estoppel by convention.
- Represented an individual in a fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of warranties of a share purchase agreement dispute.
Farleys Solicitors LLP's commercial litigation team attracts praise for its 'strategic and tactical approach' to disputes. Practice head Daniel Draper has particular sports sector expertise and, alongside Rebecca Fairclough, regularly handles professional negligence claims. Other areas of expertise include breach of contract disputes, commercial property claims, debt recovery issues and contentious insolvency matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Expertise in the field are likely to be unparalleled both in terms of legal capabilities as well as the strategic and tactical approach. Accessibility has been exceptional.‘
‘Daniel Draper showed leadership and the rare quality of both being clever and wise. His engagement style was received well and he was a reliable compass through a storm.‘
Nexus Solicitors Limited
Nexus Solicitors Limited acts for lenders and corporates in commercial disputes and represents individuals in professional negligence claims. Chris Pugh focuses on professional negligence, contractual and financial disputes, while Debbie Whiteley handles contractual litigation and debt recovery matters.
- Acting for the defendants in a claim for damages arising from allegations of conspiracy to cause loss by lawful means.
- Representing the claimants in a professional negligence claim against a well-known firm of solicitors, arising out of a share sale transaction and involving allegations of breach of authority.
- Instructed in a major fraud case with a potential value of up to £1m..
Legacy firms Primas Law and Freeman Fisher merged in 2019 forming Primas . Its strong commercial litigation offering is led by Daniel Thomas, who focuses on the automotive manufacturing sector. Alex Megaw (who led Freeman Fisher's former litigation practice) has extensive experience spanning insolvency and shareholder disputes, injunctions, professional negligence claims and judicial review proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
- Acting for the director and shareholder of a company in the home and leisure industry in a £5m corporate dispute with a co-director and shareholder.
- Representing several high-net-worth individuals in multiparty claims relating to the sale and purchase of an energy company.
- Defending D&G Industriemontage in a claim relating to the collapse of machinery at a factory.
Ralli Solicitors handles a range of contentious matters including defamation claims, partnership disputes, debt recovery cases and property litigation. 'Excellent technical lawyer' Christian Eagle has broad experience and leads the team, which includes banking litigator Allan Kornbluth.
Other key lawyers:
‘The partners and staff at Ralli Solicitors are efficient, accessible and professional in all communications.‘
‘A team that is quietly going about its business and fast becoming the chosen port of call for those with commercial litigation in Manchester. It has done this on the back of Christian Eagle’s leadership and experience of all levels of litigation, including one of the biggest pieces of litigation to be conducted in Manchester.‘
‘The commercial dispute resolution team at Ralli are close-knit, focused and knowledgeable. They are able to competently handle major litigation and punch way above their weight in the marketplace.‘
‘Christian Eagle is an excellent technical lawyer whose enthusiasm for a case is infectious. His experience of all levels of litigation, including one of the biggest pieces of litigation to be conducted in Manchester, means that he can take anything on.‘
‘Christian Eagle is very experienced and calmly pragmatic whilst being strong in putting clients’ best foot forward.‘
C&T Pharmacy Ltd
IMS Euro Ltd
B2B1 Print & Packaging
Moore Global formerly Moore Stephens International Ltd
Gullco International UK Limited
- Represented private individuals in a boundary dispute in the Court of Appeal.