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Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the North in North

Baines Wilson LLP

With ‘an exceptionally high level of client service and very nice people’, Baines Wilson LLP in Carlisle acts for a range of local businesses and national corporates in contractual disputes, partnership and shareholder litigation, professional negligence claims, insurance mandates and construction litigation. Elizabeth Black leads the practice and ‘always makes the right moves at the right time’, while Caroline Rayner regularly acts for employers.

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Black

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Rayner; Christopher Clayton


‘A diverse team with real experience in their fields that work together to provide a unique level of service and support.’

‘Elizabeth Black – superb litigator – calm and unflappable – would be my solicitor of choice if I had a dispute.’

‘Exceptional high level of client service and very nice people.’

‘I have been impressed at different levels of seniority.’

‘Really feels Like I’ve got a good friend fighting my corner with Chris Clayton.’

‘I have found the people who I have worked with at Baines Wilson to be very committed to their clients and to finding workable, commercially realistic solutions to their problems.’

‘I have been with Baines Wilson for around 5 years dealing with a very complex situation. Throughout that time the team have always gone above and beyond to help me through each problem. Their knowledge and approach sets them above anyone I have used before. They are always on the end of a phone to discuss the problems and always manage to come up with solutions and the best way to go around delivering them. The team always include my input which again I feel sets them apart.’

‘Chris Clayton is a litigator who is bright, careful and easy to work with. It is a winning combination. He is at home with business and property matters and sees cases as commercial problems which need a solution (as his clients do) and uses litigation to reach the client’s goal.’


Fielding ‘a good all-round team’, Burnetts’ Carlisle-based practice is a key contact in the region for agribusiness, land and property disputes, contentious trusts and probate work, and commercial and corporate claims. Team leader James Johnston specialises in contractual and commercial litigation and is an accredited mediator, while senior associate Rob Winder focuses on property and debt work. Associate Georgina Nicholls supports Johnston on a varied range of mandates.

Practice head(s):

James Johnston

Other key lawyers:

Rob Winder; Georgina Nicholls


‘It doesn’t matter which team or member you deal with they are always courteous and pleasant when dealing with you.’

‘We have been using Burnetts for 13 years now due to an ongoing issue – each solicitor we have seen has always handled our matter with professionalism and care, and our main contact has been Rob Winder who has always gone above and beyond with the advice provided.’

‘James Johnston leads the team. He is calm and effective.’

‘I work most frequently with Rob Winder. He is easy to work with, and appears to have a good rapport with the clients. He is always practical and pragmatic, and offers sound, sensible advice.’

‘I dealt with James Johnston (Partner) for our legal requirements. He was excellent at explaining our options combined with advice on the best way forward. His availability and speed at returning correspondence was a big plus during our dispute.’

‘A good all-round team undertaking commercial dispute resolution.’

‘I have worked with James Johnston (partner) and Georgina Nicholls (associate). They are both excellent – really good on the law and procedure, on top of the detail and complexity of the case, lots of insights and ideas. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Excellent technical lawyers combined with well developed client care skills.’

Endeavour Partnership LLP

In Stockton, Endeavour Partnership LLP ‘provides a national firm level service from a local commercial firm’ with experience in contractual and tortious claims, property litigation, professional negligence claims, shareholder disputes and insolvency claims. Practice head Ged Flanagan acts for clients spanning the engineering, chemical, manufacturing and utilities sectors; Alex Smith excels in contentious real estate work, and senior associate James Craddock provides support.

Practice head(s):

Ged Flanagan

Other key lawyers:

Alex Smith; James Craddock


‘You get a national firm level service from a local commercial firm.’

‘Ged Flanagan, the Head of the team, is a good pragmatic lawyer with commercial acumen. He will not “flog dead horses”. He looks for the solution and resolution not additional problems.’

‘Ged Flanagan is an astute, commercially minded and outcome focused litigator. A wise head and the lawyer you want in your corner on any heavyweight dispute. Cost focused and result orientated.’

Key clients

Taylor Goodchild Limited

Growth Capital Ventures

Bart’s Potato Company BVBA

Work highlights

  • Acted for an individual in the successful appeal of an important decision in respect of allegations of abuse of process.
  • Successfully resisted an application for a mandatory injunction for delivery of software produced by the client, Growth Capital Ventures Ltd, as part of a threatened claim against the client with a value in excess of £19m.
  • Acted for Bart’s Potato Company BVBA in the enforcement of an RUCIP arbitral award and subsequent recovery in an insolvency process.

Swinburne Maddison LLP

Swinburne Maddison LLP’s ‘reassuring, easy to approach and professional’ group in Durham excels across a broad range of mandates including cross-border work, social housing issues and insolvency matters. Managing partner Jonathan Moreland acts in commercial and contractual claims and is also active in employment issues, David Low regularly handles contract claims and professional negligence disputes, and managing associate Abigail Zuk is ‘really user friendly’.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Moreland

Other key lawyers:

David Low; Abigail Zuk; Lewis Brown


‘The team are highly approachable, accessible and communicate in clear, concise, jargon-free language.’

‘Knowledgeable and quick to respond.’

‘Jonathan Moreland – attentive, accurate, thorough, tenacious and above all a gentlemen.’

‘Abi Zuk is really user friendly and gets stuff done effectively.’

‘David Lowe was excellent, realistic and straightforward in his advice.’

‘Reassuring, easy to approach and professional.’

‘Great mix of legal skills, knowledge and professional advice whatever area of law you require support in.’

‘Lewis Brown has been a stand-out lawyer in the litigation team. Lewis is highly responsive, a clear communicator and is very succinct with his responses enabling you to get to the heart of the matter quickly. He adopts a very professional, yet personable, approach which sets him apart from other solicitors in other practices. I would have no hesitation recommending him or the practice to other businesses.’

Key clients

Ramside Estates Limited

The Esh Group

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation

The Enquire Learning Trust Limited

Martin Gray Football Academy

Baker Tilly Creditor Services LLP

Smart Office Systems Limited

Teescraft Engineering Limited

Allure Developments Limited

JEM Road Construction Limited

Northern Freight Services Limited

Trutec Pools and Leisure Limited

Evenmore Properties Limited

Durham County Council

Ingleford Scaffolding Limited

AKV Cladding Products Ltd

Aetrio Holdings Ltd

Box. North East Ltd

Certa Roofing and Cladding Ltd

North Shire Limited

Stichting Duits-Nederlandse Windtunnels

North East Pipeline Solutions Ltd

Mark Brown t/a 41 Consulting Group

Land Technologies Limited

Manolete Partners plc

Work highlights

  • Defending a client in an £800k claim for the repayment of a director’s loan following a company’s insolvency.
  • Representing an agricultural client in connection with a dispute concerning the purchase of pedigree livestock, with losses estimated to be in the region of £2m.
  • Acting on behalf of the directors of a company in connection with a £10m shareholders dispute.


Phil Masters heads up the practice at BHP Law, which represents clients in a range of commercial litigation spanning contractual disputes, partnership disputes, professional negligence and product liability claims, trust litigation and contentious trust and probate work. Masters also has expertise in personal injury matters, and associate Rosie Woodward is ‘proactive and creative’.

Practice head(s):

Phil Masters

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Woodward


‘Professional, commercial approach to dispute resolution. Rosie Woodwood has dealt with the majority of our engagements and is proactive and has achieved good outcomes.’

‘Rosie Woodwood is proactive and creative when pursuing settlements which achieve the desired outcomes. Rosie always keeps us up to date on progress.’

‘Down to earth local lawyers who really understand their local market and their clients’ needs.’

‘Rosie Woodward- real attention to detail and care for the client. Phil Masters – good technical knowledge.’

‘The team have a good range of experience and skills, which enable them to deal with a wide variety of disputes. Whatever issue a client has it will find someone more than capable of dealing with it within the team. The team itself are very good at working together, this means the client gets the benefit of the experience of the whole team.’

Key clients

Stone Tech (Cleveland) Limited

The Opportunity Group Limited

Tilly Bailey & Irvine

Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s client base of local and regional SMEs benefit from the group’s ‘very good relationship building skills and responsiveness to the needs of the client’; the team also counts national names on its client roster. Key names in the Wynyard-based team include Alison Leith and Nigel Broadbent.

Practice head(s):

Alison Leith; Nigel Broadbent


‘Very good relationship building skills and responsiveness to the needs of the client. I always felt supported and listened to and felt like we were fighting my case together as a team. The interpersonal angle best describes how they stand out compared to other firms I have worked with.’

‘Nigel Broadbent, partner, was excellent in terms of how he handled my case and the depth of relationship we built up over the time of the case. His legal knowledge and skills of course impressed me but it was his interpersonal skills and relationship building that impressed me most. He became a friend and confidante as well my lawyer and that made a big difference through a very demanding and emotional journey.’

‘This is a friendly professional team who take time to understand their clients needs as well as understanding the issues involved and their clients aims. The process’s are described clearly and concisely and the potential costs involved are outlined from the start.’

‘The whole team is extremely dedicated and professional. Nigel Broadbent is a true gentleman and professional throughout. He ensures he considers all the different routes available and to explore these in the most efficient way whilst balancing this with clients requirements and wishes. He has a very patient attitude and is confident and knowledgeable about the areas of law.’