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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Blake Morgan LLP’s workload includes shareholder, professional negligence, fraud and asset tracing claims. Practice head Chris Potts is defending Transworld Payment Solutions UK and its liquidator in proceedings that have been filed in Curaçao by its former parent company First Curaçao International Bank (FCIB), which seeks to obtain a declaration that Transworld cannot bring a claim in the UK against FCIB relating to the Bank’s involvement in VAT carousel fraud as the matter has allegedly already settled. Construction partner James Bessey acted for GMI Construction Group in a case arising out of the construction of AESSEAL New York Stadium, bringing an action against the company’s employer and then filing a recovery action against a subcontractor for its part in a technical defect that occurred during the project. Senior associate Nicola Diggle is representing the shareholder of a national coffee bar chain in a dispute with another shareholder, who has brought unfair prejudice and breach of directors’ duties claims. Clients include Investec Asset Finance, Miele and Grant Thornton LLP. Also recommended are Stephanie Walls and senior associate Stephen Schneider.

Boyes Turner is ‘head and shoulders above the competition’, ‘punching far above its weight’ in complex litigation. Pensions litigation expert Jonathan Grigg joined as practice head from Shoosmiths LLP and is acting for Viavi Solutions in a dispute with trustees, which is proceeding to the Court of Appeal and questions the validity and enforceability of pension scheme documentation. Senior associate Stephen Baker (‘an all-round strong performer with excellent legal knowledge’) is defending Zimmer Group and Zimmer Biomet against a number of product liability claims relating to metal-on-metal hip devices. Also at senior associate level, Russell May is ‘a solid property litigation lawyer’, Rowan Turrall heads the construction team and is ‘a class act’ with strength in IT disputes, and debt recovery practice head Ally Tow is renowned for contentious probate matters and commission disputes concerning recruitment and estate agencies. Mike Robinson stepped down as practice head and remains active in shareholder and professional negligence claims. The firm has also been handling employment and libel cases, and various disputes for technology companies. Cepia LLC, Francis Construction and Kelly Services are also clients.

Clarkslegal LLP has ‘one of the best litigation departments outside London’, with practice head Antony Morris and Stephen James hailed as ‘top-class litigators for any multi-layered or complex case’. Morris is representing Smart Reamer Drilling Systems in an IP dispute with Baker Hughes and its subsidiaries, which allegedly infringed three of Smart’s UK patents for oil drilling technology. Ongoing mandates for Chris Tayton include acting for InstaGroup in a contractual dispute with large electricity companies, and representing individuals and pension funds in a multiparty professional negligence action brought against a City-based law firm, regarding an unregulated investment that was made in a Gibraltar-registered company. The ‘very responsive, strong and pragmatic’ team also acts for University of Reading, BMW and Autoglass.

The team at Pitmans LLPcoordinates and delivers advice under significant timescale pressures’. Through the efforts of the ‘stellar’ and ‘technically spot-onPhil Smith, UTelcom UK’s breach of contract case against Gamma Business Communications was dismissed. Department head and IT sector expert Tim Clarkfights his client’s corner’ and, together with Smith, represented Xma in a dispute with InTechnology, which claimed that it had a sub-contract with the Xma, despite Xma’s termination of the main agreement. William Richmond-Coggan has higher rights of audience and acted for One Step (Support) in bringing a non-competition and non-solicitation clauses claim against two individuals, which will be appealed in the Supreme Court in late 2017. Other clients include Sky, Westcoast and HUMAX Electronics. Deputy managing partner and insolvency expert Suzanne Brooker is also noted, as is respected mediator Sue O'Brien, who became a consultant and stepped down as head of the team.

At Shoosmiths LLP, practice head Stuart Little excels in the automotive, corporate and IT sectors, while senior associate Fleur Turrington leads the compliance retail sector group and is also adept in leisure industry matters. Paul Eccles heads the commercial insurance practice and successfully defended Chubb against a multiparty product liability claim that was filed in the High Court by a worker who was injured after falling down a lift shaft; Manchester-based senior associate Richard Marshall also worked on the matter. Recent work also included representing toy, financial services and technology companies in contract, public procurement and IT disputes. Bang and Olufsen, IKEA and Volkswagen Group UK are other notable clients.

Singled out for their ‘well-rounded experience of various industries’, the lawyers at Field Seymour Parkes LLP handle a range of matters and have been especially active in cross-border disputes. The ‘approachable, very bright and pragmaticBill Dixon represented the Newin Foundation in UK proceedings against a beneficiary, who alleged that the assets of the foundation were held in a constructive trust. The firm’s recent caseload also included breach of fiduciary duty, property development and shareholder disputes. Honda, Reading FC and Prudential are also among clients of the practice, which is led Tom Maple, who is highly regarded for automotive and fast-moving consumer goods sector work as well as his niche expertise in the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. Joe Lott leads the property litigation team and acts for landowners and leaseholders in a plethora of matters, including dilapidations, development and overage agreement issues. Senior associate Robert Woodhouse is another key figure and Tim Child now serves as a deputy district judge.

Freeths LLP’s experience encompasses multi-party shareholder, IT supplier and professional negligence cases, among other matters such as employment issues, contractual disputes and passing off claims. Duncan Crine provides ‘clear advice’ and leads the practice, which acts for clients such as BMW and GEFCO. Also noted are managing partner Sarah Foster, senior associate Andrew Dashwood-Begg and recently promoted senior associate Mona Schroedel.

Gardner Leader LLP’s ‘caseload is exceptional and would be the envy of any City firm’. ‘Cornerstone of the team’ and practice head Chris Felton defended a private client in a cross-border probate dispute regarding the validity of a will concerning assets worth millions. Property litigation head Michelle Di Gioia, who ‘inspires a real team ethos’ by ‘going above and beyond for clients’, defended Swynson and its owner in a Supreme Court appeal against liquidated accountants Lowick Rose LLP, which questioned whether the repayment of loans by a borrower released or reduced the liability a negligent adviser has to a lender based on the principal of res inter alios acta. Clients also include Managed Legal Solutions and Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. Andrew Shipp was promoted to associate, and at senior associate level, Hilary Messer leads the litigation team in Maidenhead and Violetta Falla joined the firm from RPC. Caroline Watson became a partner at Thrings LLP.

Osborne Clarke’s core industry focuses include the digital, financial services, automotive, defence and life sciences sectors, with Hyundai, Content Guru and Arbuthnot Latham being key clients. Practice head Peter Sheppard acted for MatsSoft, MatsSoft (Holdings), its lead director and shareholder in mediation with a former associate who made breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit allegations. Other recent work included representing Rush Hair in a restrictive covenants claim that it filed against a former franchisor and defending Hyundai Motor UK against misrepresentation and fraudulent conduct claims that were struck out. Dawn Troman is an associate director to watch.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s Rachael Barber combines ‘fantastic commercial acumen with being a ruthless litigator’ in design, trade mark and copyright litigation. Bosch, Jimmy Choo and IKEA instructed Barber in numerous matters, including domain name recoveries, cross-border disputes and colour mark enforcement. ‘Client-focused’ senior associate Emma Davies and London-based Alex Fox have been handling tax claims related to film investment schemes for high-net-worth individuals, celebrities, sportsmen and other high-profile clients. Julie Bond recently handled complex fraud and regulatory matters in the healthcare, real estate and research sectors. Alexander McQueen, Vivobarefoot and Somerville College are also clients of the department, which is headed nationally by London’s Rustam Dubash.

The ‘diligent and results-oriented’ practice at White & Black Limited leads in technology disputes, with an emphasis on IP matters, including passing off, patent and copyright work. ‘Seasoned and hands-on lawyer’ Victoria Wright was promoted to partner and became practice head following the sad passing of Henry Mendus. Wright has been active in multi-jurisdictional disputes and is representing a technology company in bringing a patent infringement claim against a US business. In another recent highlight, recently promoted partner Nicholas Mitchell and corporate partner John Allen represented the managing director of Mantis Deposition in a dispute with the company’s majority shareholder in relation to the consideration payable for the transfer of their 45% shareholding following their resignation; the case is subject to an appeal in 2017. Mitchell leads the contentious IT practice and is the primary contact for software development and outsourcing agreement disputes. Pharmaceutical, retail and insurance companies also instruct the firm.

Blandy & Blandy LLP excels in contractual, contested probate, property, insolvency, debt recovery and professional negligence cases under the leadership of department head and joint managing partner Philip D’Arcy. Commercial litigation and insolvency practice head David Murray challenged the procurement decision of a university hospital trust for a biochemistry sector supplier of diagnostic solutions, and is representing a drug analysis system supplier in a product liability dispute that relates to the functionality of a system supplied to police forces. Clients of the ‘responsive and strong team’ also include Clinical Professionals, 1823 Group and Certikin International. Debbie Brett and associate Jessica Irwin are other names to note.

The lawyers at BrookStreet des Roches are ‘unequivocal in their advice’ and ‘focus on the end game’ in breach of contract, professional negligence and partnership disputes. Known for his ‘excellent grasp’ of complex cases, practice head Philip Shaw defended an individual in the Court of Appeal against Aldermore Bank in attempting to recover re-mortgaged funds that had been misappropriated by the respondent’s solicitors. Another significant instruction saw Shaw represent liquidated company JS Fraser (Oxford) in bringing a claim against the Department of Health following allegations that were made by a whistleblower relating to a public-sector procurement tender that had not been conducted properly. MEPC, Rackspace and Smeg UK are other clients. Associate Gemma Tolmie is also highly regarded.

Steven Maier is the ‘go-to person for all contentious matters’ at Maier Blackburn LLP, where he focuses on the publishing and media sectors. Longstanding client The Tolkien Estate retained the firm in several matters, including bringing a high-profile copyright infringement claim against Australian jeweller Alexander Thomas Saltalamacchia, who inscribed rings with a famous verse of Elvish script from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Maier also defended new client Lloyd Shoe Co in a dispute with a well-known fashion shoe designer, which alleged that the respondent infringed registered and unregistered design rights for a ladies court shoe. Other recent client gains include Hudson Shoe Agencies, The Hyman Archive and Oxford Study Courses.

Aston Bond’s team ‘approaches cases with a keen eye for detail and respect for its clients’ particular nuances’. Led by Stephen Puri, the dispute resolution department shines in property cases and also handles disputes involving aspects such as breach of contract, debt recovery, bankruptcy and IP. Recently promoted director Jagdeep Sandher leads the litigation team and is ‘an intelligent, client-oriented litigator’, who ‘attracts high-quality cases’; he recently acted for a German law firm in recovering sums from a client that relocated to the UK and represented Best Images in an ongoing dispute with NatWest, which centres on the mis-selling of interest rate swaps and hedging products. Azerbaijan Airlines, Sue Ryder and Eden Farm are also clients.

Brethertons LLP houses ‘experienced lawyers’ with ‘a very hands-on approach’ to property, IP, shareholder and various other disputes. The firm has a specialist debt recovery team and represented Rendall & Rittner as receiver manager in an action to recover service charges from the defendant, who then brought a counterclaim against the client alleging breach of duty and failure to repair a property. Fiona Hewitt joined from independent practice as department head and defended ZEON Healthcare in a trade mark infringement, passing off and breach of contract case. Associate chartered legal executive Sioban Calcott and Hewitt are ‘have good judgement, and are commercially astute, good with clients and efficient’. Former head Debbie Phillips remains active in property matters and experienced solicitor David Richards arrived from Tollers LLP. CEO and director of legal services Shaun Jardine is also recommended.

Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors’ ‘ethos of client care and developing individual relationships with clients makes it a firm for life’. Under the stewardship of Jonathan Davis, the practice is ‘excellent in every respect’ for a range of property disputes, particularly landlord and tenant cases. Carlton Rae, whose ‘knowledge, commitment, drive and communication are exemplary’, represented an estate agent as landlord in a dispute against a local authority, which attempted to levy business rates against the company regarding the letting of units. Leisure, printing and construction companies are other clients of the practice. The recent workload also includes environmental, debt recovery and contentious probate matters.

Commercial contracts and economic torts are the forte of litigation boutique Emmerson Law, which also ‘punches above its weight’ in regulatory work. ‘Top-notch’ managing director Simon Emmerson has ‘a real feel for the dynamics of litigation’ and routinely acts for defendants and claimants from a broad range of sectors, including energy, hospitality and software development. The firm receives a high number of inbound instructions from the US.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s Emma Banister Dean is well versed in acting for academic institutions, businesses and individuals in defamation and data protection matters. Nick Wright’s expertise includes equine, professional negligence, and commercial landlord and tenant disputes, and Hilary Napolitan has notable strength in accountancy cases and Sale of Goods Act claims, as well as property disputes related to park and mobile home sites.

Spratt Endicott handles a plethora of disputes, including agricultural, contentious probate and shareholder matters. ‘Innovative and astute’ practice head David Whiting represented a shareholder in a dispute concerning the division of assets following a manufacturing company’s closure. Clients of the team also include telecoms, technology and automotive companies. Shamsher Pangu is another name to note, as are associates Kyle Wyness and Petra van Dijk, who lead the property litigation and insolvency teams, respectively.

Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Charles Russell Speechlys LLPgoes over and above the call of duty’ for clients in the automotive, food and IT sectors. The team represented hairstylist Josh Wood in relation to his business, Josh Wood Hair, in an unfair prejudice shareholder dispute with a former business partner, eventually settling the claim. Other clients include Infor, which the client continued to represent in multiple disputes in 2016 including a reseller agreement dispute in the Middle East. Other highlights included representing We Buy Any Car in a dispute with an auction house pertaining to card transactions at the auction stage. The team is led by experienced high court litigator Duncan Elson, who ‘is truly excellent very experienced and knowledgeable’; supply chain and automotive sector specialist Jamie Cartwright who ‘is an up-and-coming star’; and Stephen Burns, who ‘is a tenacious, but calm and tactical lawyer’.

The commercial litigation practice at Clyde & Co LLP works closely with the firm’s London office to represent clients in litigation at the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. It is well-versed in alternative forms of dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation. The team represented PetroSaudi in a major dispute with PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, following PDVSA’s refusal to pay for the client’s drilling rig when it was refused re-entry to Venezuela; the team successfully overturned the High Court judgment at the appeal stage. It also acted for AmTrust in a dispute with Trust Risk Group (TRG) concerning a €2.9bn breach of trust claim brought by TRG over AmTrust’s position as sole distributor of TRG’s $500m Italian medical malpractice insurance business, which involved obtaining a freezing injunction and international arbitration proceedings. Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Apache and Carphone Warehouse are also clients. The practice is headed by experienced arbitrator David Bennet and Tim Foley, who has expertise in breach of covenant and asset management disputes. They are ably supported by Chris Burdett who ‘is one of the best litigators around: strategic, calm, practical and highly intelligent’, according to one client; and Mark Walsh, an international arbitration and energy sector specialist.

Stevens & Bolton LLP fields a ‘pragmatic and solutions-oriented’ team with a fine reputation for cross-border litigation, shareholder disputes and breach of contract cases for shareholders, owner-managed businesses and high-net-worth individuals. It can also utilise the property litigation, construction and IP teams for multi-disciplinary cases. The firm acted for Energy Infrastructure Solutions (ENIS) in a breach of declaration of trust case and represented the shareholders of Greenlight Credit in a matter concerning alleged fraud and manipulation of an independent study into a departing shareholder’s shares. It also defended mining entrepreneur Frank Timis against Gerald Metals, who sought a global injunction against the client’s family trust. Other clients include Wincor Nixdorf, Kia Motors and Syniverse. Accredited mediator Richard King became managing partner of the firm in May 2017, with aviation litigation expert Richard Mumford taking over as head of department. Other key figures include the highly regarded Michael Frisby, Andrew Quick and the ‘client-focused and pragmaticSarah Murray; they bring experience in international arbitration, franchising disputes and disputes in the retail space respectively. Experienced commercial court litigator David Steinberg is also recommended.

Cripps LLPis an outstanding firm which delivers the highest standards of client care’ according to clients. It is well-versed in undertaking high-value damages claims, pharmaceuticals-sector disputes and breach of contract matters. It continues to represent the owner of a family-owned pharmaceuticals business in a shareholder dispute with the joint owner, which involved negotiating settlements and contested court applications. It also acted for a security company in seeking an urgent injunction to prevent a winding-up petition, with the client arguing that the claimant had fabricated the claim; the injunction application was successful and settled in February 2016. Other clients include the Channel Tunnel Group, the University of Kent, Brake Bros and Carousel Logistics. Practice head Ed Weeks ‘combines significant experience with a calm and practical approach’; he leads a team that includes Philip Youdan, who ‘is passionate about his clients and an extremely astute tactician’; managing associate Joanna Ford, who is recommended for international disputes; and senior associate Tom Bourne, who ‘fights his client’s corner and is very focused’.

DMH Stallard LLP’s contentious expertise covers high-value breach of contract cases, termination of collaborative agreement matters, mistaken payment disputes and damages claims. As well as being well-versed in litigation, it also is adept at acting for clients in mediation and international arbitration matters. The firm frequently assists accountancy firms such as Moore Stephens LLP and BDO LLP with disputes arising from professional negligence and breach of trust. The firm also leverages the expertise of the banking and finance, IP, debt recovery and corporate teams where necessary. Other clients include Westcon Group, Lancing, CGL and Skerritt Consultants, as well as a number of high-net-worth individuals. Head of regional dispute resolution Simon Elcock represents clients in banking litigation and professional negligence claims. He is recommended alongside contentious insolvency and warranty claims expert James Colvin; Kelly Mills, who was promoted to the partnership in July 2016 and is an experienced mediator and banking disputes specialist; and arbitrator and cross-border disputes expert Jonathan Compton. In 2017, the firm merged with Rawlison Butler LLP, bringing on board the legacy firm’s practice head Stuart Evans and Clive Lee.

Irwin Mitchell’s team is well-versed in representing clients in high-value breach of contract matters, energy sector disputes and termination agreement mandates. It is currently acting for a party of 1,300 creditors in group litigation concerning the £117m liquidation of ARM Asset Backed Securities, where the party is claiming £17m. Other areas of expertise include tax, property, fraud and white-collar crime. Nuffield Health, Lloyds Banking Group, TJX UK and Greenwich Leisure are all clients. Robert Kenyon heads the department and specialises in cross-border disputes and company law issues. He is ably supported by Martin Cross, who is adept at international arbitration and specialises in the life sciences and finance sectors; Sarah Birkbeck, an expert in IT, technology and retail sector disputes; and and associate Tom Barnard, who focuses on sports disputes and professional negligence and is ‘very approachable and immediately responsive to queries’.

Thomson Snell & Passmorehas a very professional approach coupled with a real appreciation of the client’s commercial needs’. The team regularly acts for clients in high-value damages claims, defective goods matters and mistaken payment mandates. It is representing AXA Corporate Solutions in a cross-border dispute with Taiwanese company Yes Logistics concerning delayed shipping of IT equipment. Other highlights included product withdrawal disputes, an unpaid brokerage fee matters and a defective machinery issue. Faithdean, North Kent College, Capespan International and Britannia Refined Metals are also clients. Nicholas Horton heads the team, which includes Douglas Skilton, who ‘demonstrates outstanding knowledge of legal matters and the tactics to employ’; Kamal Aggarwal, who ‘has proven experience in the field’; and the ‘excellentMark Steggles. Also recommended are Julie Gabay, who is ‘extremely thorough and has excellent legal analytical skills’, and senior associate James Cradick, who is ‘incredibly hands-on, practical and commercial’.

Aviation sector disputes, contractual matters and professional negligence claims are some of the key areas for which asb law LLPhas a good reputation’. It is defending Imperium Trust in a £1.4m claim brought by an offshore trust business concerning ATE insurance premium payments, and is representing a German subsidiary of Reach in a damages claim for alleged breach of a service contract against a mobile phone company. Ricardo, Smart Housing Group and TUI Travel are also clients. The team is led by Jonathan Stevens, who took over as department leader in June 2016 from construction and engineering sector disputes expert Lyndsey Ratcliffe. He is assisted by managing partner Andrew Clinton, who specialises in cross-border disputes, and associate Nicola Billen, who is a mediation and arbitration expert.

Mundays LLP has ample experience in litigation and arbitration, regularly acting for clients in breach of contract claims, insolvency matters and shareholder disputes. Other areas of expertise include FCA issues, construction disputes and banking litigation. Its extensive cross-border disputes expertise extends to advising international clients on English law disputes as well as international arbitration matters concerning the US, Europe and Asia. Flex Connectors, Spiral Cellars and Martin Grant Homes are all clients. Department head Joseph Kean is noted for his ‘exceptional skill in arbitration’ and also handles cross-border disputes. He is ably supported by Oliver Jackson, who focuses on professional negligence claims, product liability matters and transport disputes.

TWM Solicitors LLP is ‘a very good firm that provides an excellent service to clients’. Shareholder mandates, contentious construction matters and professional negligence claims are mainstays of the practice; other areas of expertise include breach of contract disputes, damages claims and collateral warranties mandates. A E Thorogood, Lodgecrest, Riseden and Shilton are all clients. Commercial litigation practice head Eileen Barryis very experienced, capable, calm and knowledgeable’; she specialises in partnership disputes and professional negligence claims and is assisted by IP and property disputes expert David Hitchcock, who is ‘tactically astute and has an eye for detail’ and is an expert in IP and property disputes. Dispute resolution department head Guy Perkins is also recommended. Zoe Thompson left the firm to head the property litigation team at McMillan Williams in September 2016.

According to clients, Whitehead Moncktonis an excellent commercial disputes firm with sufficient expertise to compete with top London firms’. Its expertise extends to share purchase agreement disputes, contentious warranty claims and high-value damages claims. The team also has notable expertise in international arbitration and cross-border insurance matters. Its client base consists of corporates and high-net-worth individuals in the charity, logistics, property and automotive sectors. Adrian Robbins is ‘a first-class litigator with a very calm approach’; he handles shareholder disputes and international supply contracts matters. Christopher Longden, an experienced litigator and accredited commercial mediator, is also recommended.

Adams & Remers is well-versed in contractual disputes, director and shareholder matters, regulatory mandates and partnership disputes. As well as having extensive experience in high court disputes, the team also has expertise in alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration and mediation. Clients include Four Marketing, Cornhill Capital, Graham Care Group and Phoenix Aromas & Essential Oils. Andrew Pawlik is the practice leader and is noted for his experience in property litigation disputes.

Barlow Robbins LLPis an excellent firm with a very good commercial litigation team’. The team is experienced in handling damages claims, breach of contract disputes and contentious warranties matters. Highlights included representing Commshare in a dispute with an IT company concerning how the latter’s software design services did not fit the client’s project specification. Clients include Ecovis, International Referral and Expedite Resolution. Department head David Fosterhas excellent commercial judgement and knows intuitively when a case is a winner or a loser’. Also recommended are senior associate Chris Darvill, for his knowledge in partnership and shareholder disputes; and solicitor James Dyche, who ‘has a wise head on young shoulders’ and is known for his work in cross-border contract disputes.

Boddy Matthews Limited has a particular strength in franchising matters. It represented Caremark in a breach of contract and wrongful conduct claims brought by the client in proceedings against a company in the care sector, and acted for CAI Marine in arbitration proceedings against Swansea Drydocks for refurbishment and conversion works on the client’s vessel at the defendant’s docks. Other clients include Stocksigns and UK Marine Services. Kate Matthews heads the department and is ably supported by employment expert Helen Boddy.

Brachers handles disputes in the financial, healthcare and logistics sectors arising from breach of contract and product liability, among other issues. As well as being well-versed in litigation, the team also acts for clients in arbitration and mediation. It represented in a shareholder dispute and subsequent damages claim against the directors and shareholders of Adoreum Partners. Schindler, Beadles Group, Haynes Bros and Burgess Marine are also clients. Chancery litigation and insolvency expert Michael Oatham leads the practice, which includes property litigation specialist Allis Beasley.

Clarkson Wright & Jakesprovides excellent service’ to a client base of businesses and individuals in the charity, food and property industries. The firm has particular expertise representing shareholders and directors, including medical partnerships, on commercial disputes. Other work has included breach of contract matters, goods supply matters and disputed payment issues. Amanda Mehlin heads the department, which includes Jill Lawton, whose ‘advice has always been very helpful with very difficult cases’, and associate Lee Quickenden, who ‘is an excellent communicator and has a keen knowledge of insolvency work’.

Furley Page Solicitorscarries out substantial litigation and adjudication with the skill of a much larger law firm’. The team has expertise in data protection matters, joint venture disputes and high-value damages claims. It represented Global Invacom in a £1.8m contract dispute with the client’s sub-contractor concerning the manufacture of BskyB satellite dishes. Other clients include Cardy Design, Grupo Antolin and Breakthrough Funding. Head of dispute resolution Peter Hawkes is noted for his ‘commercial wisdom and ability to think laterally’. He is ably supported by George Crofton-Martin, who ‘is excellent and takes time to understand the client’s needs’.

Morrisons Solicitors LLP acts for clients in high-value damages claims, professional negligence matters and breach of contract mandates. The team acted for Asset Land in a claim brought by the FCA asserting that the client was running an unlawful Collective Investment Scheme (CIS). Also on the client roster are BMT Group, Secom, Sutton & East Surrey Water and Inter Terminals. Catherine Fisher heads the dispute resolution team and is assisted by arbitration expert Matthew Hearsum and senior associate Kellie Williams-Jauvel, who is an expert in company law matters and shareholder disputes.

Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


B P Collins LLP is ‘a highly professional firm with a strong commitment to quality, service and value’. The group is well regarded for its expertise in the environmental, technology and pharmaceutical sectors, and core work includes contract disputes, shareholder litigation, defamation claims and professional negligence. Practice head Matthew Brandis is ‘highly knowledgeable, objective and results-oriented’; he is ably assisted by Craig Williams, who acts for corporate clients in shareholder and director disputes, and Nick Hallchurch, who is praised for his ‘great attention to detail’ and ‘excellent strategies’. In a recent highlight, the group advised a former co-owner of a property investment business in a £3.2m shareholder dispute, successfully securing a favourable judgement at trial, and defended two individuals in repayment claims arising from a joint venture agreement. Other key clients include Summerleaze Group, Biffa Waste Services and Toshiba Medical Systems.

Dentons’ ‘outstanding legal team’ provides ‘sensible and commercial advice’ and ‘truly knows the industries in which its clients operate’. The group’s combined Milton Keynes and Watford team has a strong track record in energy, banking, construction and retail disputes, and is noted for its cross-border capabilities and strong international network. The ‘tremendously experiencedJames Fairbairnis calm under pressure and pursues the client’s needs rigorously’; he is advising Haringey Council in a £7m professional negligence claim against NPS Property Consultants for negligent design in relation to a primary school. In another highlight, Helen Simpson is representing a major Chinese manufacturing company in a significant debt claim, a high-value case involving personal guarantee issues. The firm’s recent combination with Matthew Arnold & Baldwin saw a number of new arrivals to the team, including banking and finance litigators Steven Mills and Clare Stothard; mediation expert Tim Constable; and Roger McCourt, who has extensive experience in the financial services sector.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) has experienced a rise in insolvency-related cases, most notably in the manufacturing and distribution sectors, and continues to advise on a range of matters including product liability, debt recovery and commercial contract disputes. Recent work includes representing the National House Building Council (NHBC) in an insurance indemnity claim totalling £1m, which related to defective construction work undertaken as part of a major project. It also acted for Phillip Jeffries in mediation with a former commercial agent. The team also acted for longstanding client Renault in an intellectual property infringement matter regarding a domain name. Paul Kite advises on the full range of contentious matters and has notable automotive, manufacturing and distribution sector expertise. He is recommended alongside senior associate Sarah Jackson, who handles company and partnership disputes, commercial fraud and debt recovery matters.

SA Law LLPattracts superb clients, punches above its weight and is very commercially astute’. The firm is handling an increasing volume of cross-border litigation and arbitration, representing foreign parties in high-value multi-jurisdictional disputes, and has notable experience representing clients in arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. The practice recently handled a number of real estate and banking litigation matters, and also handles sports-sector mandates. Leading figures include Tracy Lacey-Smith, who is rated for his ability to ‘focus on the crux of the problem whilst avoiding extraneous issues’ and who combines ‘strong benefit analysis with practical advice and sound commercial judgement’; Robert Ryall, who has significant expertise in the construction, sports, energy and power sectors; and senior associate Nat Young, who is ‘highly knowledgeable and immediately puts the client at ease’. ‘Outstanding commercial litigator’ Simon Walsh is also a key practitioner, and is praised by clients as being ‘quick, clever and unfailingly professional’.

The ‘highly experienced’ lawyers at Freeths LLPknow their chosen fields incredibly well’, and ‘truly understand the client’s business, tailoring their advice accordingly’. The group is known for its expertise in the drinks and hospitality sector, and frequently handles complex multi-party disputes in the areas of professional negligence, restrictive covenants, contracts and intellectual property. The firm is currently advising various transport and logistics companies in claims for damages against truck manufacturers arising from the European Commission’s investigation into price fixing and cartel behaviour. ‘Experienced litigatorSimon Hobbs is ‘easy to work with’ and is praised for his ‘excellent commercial advice’, and associate Adam Boyd is ‘meticulous, works well with clients and demonstrates a good understanding of specific business needs’.

Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s areas of specialism include professional negligence matters, property litigation, and insolvency, construction and IT-related disputes. The firm is acting for the liquidators of Jeremy D Stone Consultants in an £11m insolvency case related to a Ponzi scheme. Other recent highlights included successfully obtaining a judgment on behalf of an individual whom the firm is now assisting in bankruptcy proceedings. Kenneth Stangoe heads the department and has significant experience in the retail, property development and leisure sectors. Other key practitioners include Trevor Coward, who deals with computer and intellectual property-related disputes, Guy Brooks, who leads the debt recovery practice, and Mairead McErlean, who is noted for her expertise in dealing with local authority matters.

Sherrards Solicitors LLP is ‘an excellent firm for commercial litigation; it has the strength and depth of a City law firm without the price tag’. The ‘highly competent’ team ‘works very hard for its clients, analysing all problems with speed and clarity and putting forward reasonable options’. Practice head Paul Marmorinspires confidence’, taking ‘a calm and balanced approach to drive forward a resolution agreeable for both parties’; he has significant experience handling complex multi-jurisdictional litigation. Also recommended are Karen Dobson, who is ‘an unflappable and determined litigator who always goes the extra mile’; Marta Grieve, who heads the Russia & CIS desk and is ‘especially good in international arbitration and fraud litigation matters’; and recent addition Simon Morgan, who has notable expertise in criminal matters. Clients include Winkworth Franchising, Villa Plus and Habibsons Bank.

The ‘highly recommended’ team at Shoosmiths LLP has been notably active in the retail, automotive, reputation management and pensions sectors, representing a broad range of new and longstanding clients including IKEA, The Open University and Thomas Cook. In a recent highlight, the group acted for Viavi Solutions in Part 8 proceedings regarding amendments to the rules of a pension scheme, in a case valued at over £5m. Paul Kirkpatrick heads the practice and regularly acts for major corporates on commercial claims, with particular expertise in the automotive sector. Senior associate Harriet Campbell focuses on multi-jurisdictional disputes and has recently handled a number of insolvency-related disputes.

Debenhams Ottaway is ‘a growing force in litigation outside of central London’, and provides ‘an extremely efficient service and extensive industry knowledge’. The firm acts for a mix of entrepreneurs, owner-managed businesses and medium to large corporations, and has recently been strengthening its intellectual property practice, bringing in a stream of patent and trade mark-related work. Key partner Luke Harrisonhas a high success rate in obtaining settlements’ and is ‘a savvy and experienced litigator that you want on your side in a fight’. Harrison has particular expertise in contentious insolvency matters, financial services and boardroom disputes and recruitment law. Associate solicitor Louise Worton is also recommended. Notable clients include Grant Thornton, McNicholas Construction Services and Berry Recruitment.

EMW Law LLP handles the full range of contentious matters including shareholder, joint venture, private equity and supplier disputes. The firm is noted for its expertise in the recruitment and food and drink sectors, and receives regular instructions from clients such as Whitworths, Roots Reggae Reggae and Bidvest. Key individuals include dispute resolution head Damon Watt, whose specialisms include contentious insolvency, negligence, sports law and ADR; Charles Clay, who handles real estate litigation; Karen Young, who focuses on property, landlord and tenant and warranty claims; and banking and asset specialist Mark Rondel. Sean Fitzgerald joined from Nockolds Solicitors and represents a mix of PLCs, SMEs and private individuals in property disputes.

Machins Solicitors LLP provides ‘fast response times, strong business acumen and clear and correct advice’; the team ‘caters to all clients’ needs’. Shareholder disputes and property and insolvency litigation are regular fixtures of the practice, which handles other contentious contractual and commercial matters. Highlights included successfully acting for Czech Bank in a significant debt recovery case, obtaining a block transfer for an insolvency practitioner, and advising manufacturing clients in an international oil dispute concerning failed equipment. Practice head Neil O’Callaghan has ‘excellent communication skills’ and ‘a great wealth of experience to draw upon’. He is recommended alongside Janice Young, who is ‘always on top of all aspects of the case’.

Taylor Walton LLP has particular expertise in mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, and also handles litigation in relation to tax, insolvency and contractual matters. Recent work includes representing Brook Street in a landlord and tenant dispute arising from a break notice, and acting for Wyse Power in a claim for unpaid invoices resulting from the development of a London property. James Carpenter heads the department and has extensive commercial litigation experience, particularly within the professional negligence, construction, employment and insolvency spaces. Clients also single out Claire Baynham, whose wide-ranging expertise includes commercial contract disputes, property litigation and breaches of restrictive covenants.

The ‘knowledgeable, timely and efficient’ team at Tees Lawprovides excellent advice and charts practical courses of action’, and is ‘mindful of the costs and the value of the service’. The group is particularly strong in contentious trust and probate matters and education law, and also handles disputes in the insolvency, property, charities and pensions sectors. Commercial dispute specialist Justin Robinson heads the practice, and recently handled major litigation regarding potential breach of indemnity. He is assisted by Darren Perks, who has a property focus and ‘has sound knowledge of his area of expertise, providing constructive and innovative strategies’; and Caroline Metcalf, who handles trust and probate disputes. Key clients include Stanstead Airport, Fuller Smith & Turner, NHS Property Services and Fairview New Homes.

Blaser Millsdemonstrates and excellent grip of the law in complex cases’, and the team ‘is always on top of all legalities and able to put constant pressure on the other side’. The firm has specialist industry knowledge across a range of consumables including disability aids, animal foods and alcoholic beverages, and other key sectors include construction, vehicles and professional services. Practice head Alka Kharbanda recently defended two claims brought against a property development company regarding breach of contract, where damages amounted to £1.5m, and also represented a number of private individuals in cases involving persons who had lost capacity. Other notable individuals include Sangita Manek, who is ‘meticulous and dedicated’ and ‘a great legal mind’, and Jackie Ray, who is ‘readily available and extremely knowledgeable’.

Longmores Solicitors LLP attracts praise for its ‘excellent level of support’, with clients noting that the group’s ‘industry knowledge in the recruitment sector is particularly strong’. Clients include a mix of small and large businesses, landlords and high-net-worth individuals. John Wiblin provides ‘thorough, well-considered advice’ and recently represented CCNG in a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service regarding the mis-selling of an interest rate hedging Product. Solicitor John Wagstaffe is ‘an excellent lawyer – intellectually capable, with a great depth of knowledge in property work’.

The ‘excellent’ team at Woodfines LLP is praised for its ‘great value for money, good response times and commercial outlook’. The firm has a strong track record in contractual disputes, property litigation, IP matters and debt recovery, and continues to attract clients across a broad range of sectors. Andrew Carter is ‘very intelligent, and has a good eye for technicalities without losing sight of the bigger picture’. Keith Jones and Maria Koureas-Jones are the other key figures.

Commercial litigation: Hampshire

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Hampshire
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Hampshire clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


The team at Bond Dickinson LLP is praised by clients as ‘second-to-none’. The practice is well-versed in high court litigation as well as alternative dispute resolution methods including mediation and international arbitration. The firm is representing Post Office in a dispute with hundreds of postmasters who claim the client’s IT system, Horizon, has wrongfully recovered debts from them based on incorrect information. It is also acting for Endeavour Energy in a £9.5m dispute with another oil and gas field operator involving the authorisation for a semi-submersible rig to execute decommissioning work without the permission of the client. The team also specialises in representing clients in data protection mandates, IT disputes and cybersecurity matters. Other clients include British Gas, New Look, Sunseeker and AIG. Head of department Tom Beezer has a particular focus on the energy sector; he is ably assisted by Gavin Matthews who ‘has a great ability to grasp business and commercial concepts’, Ian Newcombe, who ‘is very experienced and sensible’; and newly promoted partner Andrew Parsons, who is ‘a very good lawyer who really knows his stuff and takes no prisoners’.

Blake Morgan LLP attracts praise for its ‘good commercial sense and ability to advise clients well’. The firm acts for clients in the retail, manufacturing and food sectors in high-value contractual disputes, damages claims and professional negligence matters. In 2016 the team successfully defended NHS England in an alleged breach of statutory duties claim brought by QSRC for not providing an interim contract to the claimant for gamma knife treatment to NHS patients. Other clients include Kerry Foods, the Sixth Form Colleges Association and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Jill Bainbridge (‘an excellent lawyer; she has a good commercial sense as well as being excellent at client care’) took over as head of department from Susie Dryden, who is ‘effective, very personable and good with clients’. They are well-versed in handling Supreme Court and Court of Appeal litigation and commercial IP disputes, respectively. The team also includes insurance coverage expert Richard Portlock, as well as senior associate and professional negligence specialist Karl Cameron.

Irwin Mitchell is a ‘go-to firm for pragmatic and skilled commercial advice and representation in high-value commercial disputes’, according to clients. With vast experience of litigation as well as acting for clients in arbitration, the firm’s sector expertise focuses on the sport, technology, telecoms and insurance industries, among others. It continued to represent an international bank in a $10m claim against an energy company in liquidation, involving multi-jurisdictional litigation proceedings in Oman and the Cayman Islands. Other highlights included high-value breach of contract claims, group-action negligence claims and trade finance agreement disputes. The practice also leverages the firm’s strong corporate and commercial, pensions and tax teams where necessary. Also on the client roster are Nuffield Health, Greenwich Leisure and Topcon, as well as high-net-worth individuals. Hannah Clipston ‘is an experienced and skilled litigator with good tactical sense’; she is well-versed in regulatory matters. Andrew Jacksonis brilliant at providing direction and making sure that everything is going efficiently’; he frequently handles shareholder and director disputes.

Paris Smith LLP is praised for providing ‘a quality service at a reasonable cost’. Spread across its offices in Southampton and Winchester, the team regularly represents clients in damages claims and data protection matters, among other disputes. The team successfully represented Randstad CPE in a breach of contract claim that disputes the pertinence of contractual principles in a standard commercial agreement. Other highlights included acting for a majority shareholder of a company in a dispute concerning the enforcement of a European Order for Payment, including advising on ongoing litigation proceedings in Genoa. The practice is able to leverage expertise in the firm’s insolvency, property, employment and tax teams to handle a wide range of matters such as high court injunctions, tax breaches and commercial contract disputes. Other clients include Smith and Williamson, Interbay Funding and Purple Parking. Insolvency and real estate litigation expert David Eminton heads the team, which includes business ownership disputes specialist Clive Thomson, restructuring and insolvency expert Mike Pavitt, and social media specialist Cliff Morris, who was promoted to partner in January 2017.Clients also single out solicitor Shelley White, who ‘provides pragmatic, sound advice and gets good results’. Sarah Wheadon left the firm in February 2016 to join Trethowans LLP.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s team regularly acts for clients in fraud cases, damages claims and breach of contract matters. It represented Salhan Accountants in a claims concerning a £480,000 contingent fee resulting from a HMRC VAT tax investigation, where the client is accused of undue influence on the defendant. The team also acted for the former trustees of a charity in a counterclaim against the registered charity concerning issues arising from their time as trustees. Sony Europe, Hawkeye Innovations and Bandai are also on the client roster. Practice head Owen Williams specialises in IT disputes and contentious shareholder matters. Senior associate Greg Hughesis experienced, knowledgeable and very commercial’; he is an expert on social media matters and recruitment sector disputes.

Coffin Mew LLP represents clients in the food, logistics and financial sectors in breach of contract disputes, damages claims and debt matters. The team regularly acts for HungryHouse; in 2016 the firm represented the client in multiple insurance contract disputes and service provision cases. It also acted for E-Crunch in several disputes, including landlord and tenant matters and copyright infringement cases. The practice works closely with the employment, corporate and commercial teams to handle multi-disciplinary issues such as restrictive covenant breaches and IP litigation. KP Snacks, The British Society of Echocardiography and Imperial Car Supermarkets are also clients. Ian Dawes leads the practice and is adept at handling cross-border disputes as well as IP matters. Solicitors Linden Talbot, Emma Stevens and Danielle Cranstone are also recommended.

Pitmans LLPadopts an innovative approach to resolving disputes’; ‘it has the skills and experience of a City firm’, according to clients. Damages claims, insurance matters and professional negligence cases are all mainstays of the practice, which acted for SAGA in a damages claim after a sinkhole was opened up in the claimant’s driveway following water escaping. It also represented the same client in a policy term and fraud dispute against a policyholder where the latter made an insurance claim for a fire that never occurred. Other clients include Cranbourne Holdings, Mears Group, Freightliner and Red Funnel Group. Practice leader Rick Munro attracts praise for his ‘pragmatic approach to resolving disputes’; he is assisted by product liability and insurance disputes expert Alan Davies and senior associate Claire Collings who ‘is meticulous in her approach to trial preparation’.

Shoosmiths LLP is well-versed in commercial litigation matters, with notable expertise in data protection, damages claims and shareholder disputes. The team continues to act for Bang & Olufsen in multiple contractual disputes including a £1.8m claim concerning its flagship store, and is representing a creditor in the Lehman Brothers administration in a cross-border insolvency claim. Other recent highlights include acting for the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) in a pension dispute regarding the overseeing of the ITB Pensions Funds, an occupational pension scheme. Volkswagen Group UK, Opus Energy, the National House Building Council and Honda are also on the client roster. Jonathan Grigg left to head the dispute resolution practice at Boyes Turner; automotive and technology sector expert Jonathan Smart took on the role of department head in July 2016. Solicitor Farhana Khanom is also recommended.

Trethowans LLP acts for clients on the full spectrum of commercial disputes including professional negligence claims, insolvency litigation and breach of contract matters. It is currently representing GreatStar Europe in a £1m dispute with Edge Tools & Equipment concerning an alleged breach of contract to supply JCB parts and is also acting for Applied Finance in a £500,000 property ownership dispute with Cobvale, successfully arguing the client’s case at a June 2016 trial. The client list also features 4Com, UM Storage, Westbury Hotel and the Ministry of Defence. Richard Cook heads the practice and is noted for his expertise in professional negligence and IP disputes. He is assisted by banking and insolvency expert Jon Kelly and property specialist Ian Singleton. Sarah Wheadon joined the team in February 2016 from Paris Smith LLP, bringing expertise in data protection litigation and regulatory matters.

Commercial litigation: Essex

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Essex clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


While the majority of Birkett Long LLP’s commercial litigation clients are small and medium-sized enterprises, the ‘reliable and responsive’ department also advises larger companies as well as private individuals in regard to contractual disagreements, negligence claims and company disputes. Head of team Peter Allen, noted for his ‘keen interest in getting a favourable result’, is based in Chelmsford and specialises in the construction industry, while the ‘calm and collectedKeith Songhurst mainly handles matters concerning property. Kevin Sullivan in Colchester supports clients during commercial disputes with an insolvency aspect. Allen advised long-term client Valeo on recovering two prototypes that went missing while in transit with shipping company TNT and also represented a property management company in a claim against a consultant concerning its public procurement application worth £5.9m. Songhurst’s highlights included the defence of the buyer in a contract dispute regarding breach of warranty claims arising out of an asset purchase agreement. Solicitor Natalie Whybrow joined Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

The commercial litigation department at Birketts LLP in Chelmsford is ‘excellent in terms of commitment and results’ and is strong in shareholder disputes, contractual litigation (often regarding sale and purchase agreements) and injunctive remedies. The ‘unflappable, efficient and knowledgeableDaden Hunt is known for handling such matters on a cross-border level, particularly involving France, the Netherlands, Indonesia and China. Together with ‘helpful and high-quality’ associate Marie Batchelor, he represents Elektron Technology as a defendant in a derivative claim by a shareholder worth £2m; the matter has been taken to the Court of Appeal. Legal Director Matthew Weston has special expertise in freezing orders.

The commercial litigation practice at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP consists of four key solicitors who handle contractual, professional negligence, regulatory and shareholder disputes. The team serves a number of industries and areas of law, with leading lawyer James Burkett specialising in the banking and construction sectors, consultant solicitor Christopher Yemm acting as a mediator, and both Kevin Boorof and Lawrence Adams focusing on employment and property disputes. Other areas include commercial landlord and tenant disputes, plus litigation in the offshore, marine, health and safety, and care home arenas. Employment specialist Beth Baird joined Birketts LLP in Chelmsford.

The commercial litigation team at Wortley Byers LLP handles contract disputes, negligence claims, company management and partnership litigation. Head of team Nick Hatchett, who provides ‘invaluable advice in dealing with disputes’, continued to advise a major European bank in a recovery matter. Apart from banking, Hatchett, Wendy Beach and Sarah Stanyer work with clients in the energy, hospitality, pharmaceutical, property and transport industries. Telecoms giant AT&T, German plant engineering company Andritz MeWa and Review Hotels are among the firm’s active client base.

The ‘well-established and respected’ commercial litigation department at Ellisons Solicitors delivers ‘excellent service and technically brilliant advice’, particularly in the banking and debt recovery space. An uptick in multi-jurisdictional mandates included Graeme Wallington (who ‘combines considerable experience and understanding of litigation with great attention to detail’) representing Procurus in a High Court claim against a German shipping company. Other highlights for Wallington and solicitor Ceri Rogers included the handling of debt recovery for The Book Service and legal support given to Gray Dawes Travel during contractual litigation with an IT supplier. Head of department Lee Pearce regularly advises the MOD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation during possession claims regarding property licensed to army personnel. The team welcomed ‘outstanding solicitor’ Scott Porter from Kennedys.

Jefferies Essex LLP in Southend-on-Sea has an ‘exceptional breadth of practice for a local firm’ and provides ‘a very good value service for smaller and medium-size clients in particular’. Its specialisms within commercial litigation include professional negligence, M&A disputes and contentious matters regarding motor manufacturer dealership agreements. An example of the latter is head of team Sarah Mitchell’s and recently promoted senior associate Duncan Bennington’s long-term representation of a local car dealer concerning the financial loss resulting from the termination of its dealership sales and services agreements with an international car manufacturer. The ‘tactically extremely switched-on’ and ‘adaptable’ Mark Rothman, who was promoted to partner in May 2017, currently represents over 400 high-net-worth individuals in a £10m High Court claim against the HMRC regarding the accusation of using tax avoidance schemes. Rothman also acts for Cash4U & Loans R Us in a dispute regarding an outstanding investment payment and further defends one owner of Cars 4 All Garage in a personal loan dispute between the other company owners worth £450,000. Mitchell, who is ‘driven to achieve the best for her clients’, also represents a car dealer in a matter regarding the conditions of its franchise agreement with a Japanese manufacturer, and Bennington has a ‘sensible approach to litigation’ and currently works on a case regarding the financial and business strategies of a company for a majority shareholder. The ‘exceptional commercial common sense’ of consultant Dennis Travell is also recommended.

Mullis & Peake LLP’s commercial litigation team is mainly based in Romford, but also opened an office in Shenfield in December 2015. The four litigators, who ‘are very good at focussing on the real issues and offering a cost-effective service to their clients’, specialise in the betting and gaming, construction, leisure and hospitality and healthcare services sectors. The ‘very able and full-of-energy’ associate solicitor Manzurul Islam is the main contact for this area, with ‘hardworkingMartyn Trenerry acting as the overall head of litigation. Together with the ‘well-prepared, efficient, practical and approachable’ solicitor Hollie Wright, Islam represents an investment company in a dilapidation claim worth £1.2m against a former commercial tenant. Alongside associate Holly Minney, he also handles several breach of contract matters related to loss of profits, such as representing a gynaecologist against an NHS Trust and defending a food supplier against a claim by a currency trader. Wright provides niche expertise in commercial and intellectual property disputes, while Minney focuses on commercial fraud and construction litigation.

The commercial litigation department at Palmers in Basildon ‘punches above its weight’ through ‘exemplary response times and entirely accurate advice’, as well as ‘risk awareness which is well communicated to the client’. The team derives most of its work from shareholder and partnership, business transfer and intellectual property disputes, but also handles contract litigation, professional negligence, breach of trust and public procurement cases. Key lawyer Luke Morgan, who is especially endorsed for his ‘experience in freezing injunctions’, was promoted to partner and ‘handles difficulties with aplomb’. Morgan represented the vice presidents of a hobbyist society in a dispute regarding wrongful conduct against the membership board and also led a breach claim regarding the share purchase agreement for the former shareholders and directors of an international fashion company against the purchaser. Consultant solicitor and mediator Clive Tant, who advised on 20 separate business transfer disputes as well as partnership litigation relating to an £8m property asset portfolio, is also recommended. Solicitor Carla Jones currently represents an investor in a breach of warranty matter in front of the Intellectual Property Enterprises Court.

Pinney Talfourd LLP’s commercial litigation department provides ‘pragmatic and effective representation at all stages’, as ‘cases are well prepared and realistic advice is given to clients’; the department is also known for ‘working tirelessly to fulfil clients’ needs whilst keeping an eye on the bigger picture’. The team, led by Stephen Eccles in Upminster, mainly deals with contractual disputes (especially in the construction industry and concerning Joint Contracts Tribunal documentation) and insolvency litigation. The ‘astute’ senior associate Bushra Elzubeir, who has ‘a strong tactical approach’ and ‘provides a truly personal service to his clients’, has a special focus on regulatory aspects in commercial litigation, as well as consumer compliance legislation matters in the energy sector. During the past year, he added Sports Supplements as a client. the ‘bright and thorough’ Damian Pitts is also recommended. Active clients include Bowmite, Robert Parish Estate Agents, The Kiani Group of Companies and Chadwell Formwork. Amy Leite joined Aquabridge Law.

The commercial litigation practice at Tees Law is led by David Perry, who advised Spicerhaart Estate Agents on its right to renew a lease. Together with Holly McColgan, Perry acted for a landing gear company during a dispute with a Saudi Arabian airline concerning the payment for services and the recovery of loan roll around rolling gear held in Germany. Other highlights were the representation of a large national banana importer in a quality dispute with a Dominican importer and the related payment and rejection of the products as well as advising a majority owner of a care home group in a dispute with the minority shareholder involving various claims, including professional negligence. Solicitor Katie Latham joined from Ellisons Solicitors in January 2016 and represented Promo International in a VAT appeal concerning the company’s liability. She also supported Acorn Warehouse Solutions in its claim against the non-payment of invoices by a construction company. CVR Global is also an active client.

The commercial litigation department at ‘small, but important local firmAttwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors is led by ‘experienced and intuitive’ associate Leanne Philp, who ‘readily gains her clients’ trust’ and specialises in contentious probate, professional negligence against professional service firms, landlord and tenant disputes, as well as contractual breaches. Solicitor and head of employment Charlotte Woolven-Brown joined from Palmers’s South Woodham Ferrers office in January 2017 and ‘has the experience and acumen of a City commercial litigator and is proactive and tactically astute in her approach’.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP’s commercial litigation department is located in Westcliff-on-Sea and handles property matters as well as advising companies who have disputes with suppliers, customers, banks and insurers. The main contact is accredited mediator Fiona Colwell, who specialises in shareholder, partnership, construction, intellectual property and professional negligence cases. She is supported by Lorraine Lancaster, who mostly represents clients in property and tenancy disputes. Recent highlights include the settling of a long-term insurance dispute concerning remedial works at the client’s residential property, as well as the representation of an international medical supplier acting as the claimant in several public procurement, defective goods and supply failure matters. Colwell is also working on dispute for a cleaning company involving a ‘sleeping’ shareholder and his claim against a business restructuring. The team is also acting for a playground equipment supplier in a dispute with a material supplier.

Thompson Smith and Puxon’s commercial litigation department is based in Colchester and advises on matters such as contentious probate, tenancy disputes, breaches of contract, negligence, injunctions and consumer disputes. Chartered Legal Executive and head of practice Sharon Auton is also an accredited mediator. She is supported by ‘thorough and pleasant to work with’ solicitor Judith Winward, who specialises in lease extension and enfranchisements as well commercial property litigation and boundary disputes. Most of the highlights in the past year involved property litigation, commercial leases, probate and intellectual property.

Debt recovery

Index of tables

  1. Debt recovery
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Debt recovery clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Blake Morgan LLPis outstanding in this field, not only in its success rate but also in its approach to debtors and clients’. As well as handling debt recovery matters for commercial businesses in the environmental, recruitment and software sectors, the practice also adept with vehicle finance cases, advising multiple international automotive brands as well as vehicle financiers on a full range of debt recovery issues. The practice acts as sole provider of debt recovery legal services to Mercedes Benz Financial Services, and has acted for it on various debt actions, injunction applications at High Court level, and fraud cases. It also continues to assist Hitachi Capital Business Finance and Toyota Financial Services with several return of goods matters. The 35-lawyer team is based out of the Portsmouth office and headed by Sadak Miah. Elizabeth Bowden is also recommended.

Brachers is rated for its ‘excellent industry knowledge’. The team’s specialism lies in consumer credit recoveries and portfolio management services within the financial services sector, but also focuses on the full spectrum of debt recovery matters including compliance issues, managing high-value debt portfolios and litigation for a range of commercial clients in the healthcare, education and banking sectors. Michael Oatham heads the litigation team, where Robert Thompson and the highly regarded Graham Wallis have experience in project management, Chancery matters and insolvency litigation. Lisa Mann joined in October 2016 as a compliance officer from Ambelson.

Shoosmiths LLP’s team ‘is extremely reliable in fraught situations’. The firm has been advising a client on its portfolio of sub-prime motor finance agreements, including litigation for claims and return of goods orders. Its client list includes lenders, debt purchasers and corporates in the energy and financial services sectors; ABN Amro Lease, Close Brothers and Creation Consumer Finance are all notable examples. Karen Savage, who joined the team in May 2016 as head of department from Lester Aldridge LLP, ‘is personable, responsive and extremely knowledgeable in the area’. She leads a team that includes Paula Swain and recoveries managers Stephen Eastley and Jade Souch - Jonathan Grigg left to head the dispute resolution practice at Boyes Turner.

Spratt Endicott is ‘excellent on all counts’; the team ‘takes the time to understand the client’s business and requirements’. In 2016 the team advised on a range of debt recovery matters including multiple bankruptcy orders, credit policies and high-value debt portfolio management. It acts for clients in the telecoms, finance and automotive sectors, including debtors and lenders. The firm also has a notable international debt collection presence, with relationships with debt collectors abroad as well as acting on debt collection matters in the UK for international clients. The highly regarded Martin Hughes is head of commercial recoveries and is ably supported by director Richard Gwynne and associate Peter Gardner, who is ‘very professional and approachable’.

Brethertons LLP attracts praise for its ‘very hands-on approach, with experienced lawyers taking lead roles in the work’. The firm is particularly singled out for its work in property management debt recovery; highlights included advising Trinity Estates on multiple debt recovery matters involving ground rent charges, as well as assisting the credit control team at SDL Bigwood on its debt portfolio, including reducing its service charge arrears from debtors. Other highlights included recovering unpaid charges for clients, project management matters and debt recovery litigation. Coca Cola Enterprises, Pitney Bowes Finance and Scanlans are also recommended. Associate Siobhan Calcott and Fiona Hewitt, who joined in May 2016, are ‘astute, good with clients, efficient and have good judgement’. Department head Shaun Jardine, Alison McCormack and Debbie Phillips are other key names in the team.

DMH Stallard LLP’s team is ‘very client-focused’ and includes a number of ‘specialists in the field’. Repossession matters, high-value debt portfolio management and recovering sums from lenders are some of the matters that the team undertakes for clients. It advised Stiles Harold Williams on various debt collection matters relating to its property portfolio, including assisting with debt collection relating to deceased debtors. It also advised Moore Stephens on its credit control system, often involving collecting debt from other jurisdictions. Other clients include BDO, Strutt & Parker, CAE STS and FDM Group. Key figures include Nigel Marchant, who is ‘very approachable and helpful’, and the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Kelly Mills.

Judge & Priestley LLP handles general debt recovery and collections as well as having a subrogated recovery presence – the team assists clients in the public, insurance and finance sectors on council tax recoveries, overpaid housing benefit recoveries and debt portfolio management, among other matters. Its notable work with local authorities extends to advising on residential debts and home care debt collection. It is also a part of an international network of debt collection agencies. Joint practice leaders Rachel Addai and Mark Oakley are recommended alongside Uday Patel, and Robert Davis and Mark Younger, who have ‘good business acumen and are efficient lawyers’. Mark Bailey joined the team from Empingham Ltd as director of collections in October 2016.

Blaser Millsis an excellent, client-focused firm with some outstanding practitioners’. The team is known for its work in representing commercial companies in contentious matters; it represented a consumables company in collecting £480,000-worth of debt from one of the client’s customers and acted for another client in a dispute with the claimant who alleged the client had undisclosed profits since 2008. Jackie Ray, who ‘is excellent with clients processes and management’, leads the department, which includes Gary Braathen, who ‘is a very accomplished tactician’. Legal executive Kirsty Hughes joined from Brethertons LLP.

At Boyes Turner, clients recommend the firm for debt recovery matters in the construction sector; it has further experience in the transport, property and technology sectors and works closely with the dispute resolution department for contentious debt recovery cases. The team advised H Young Holdings on hundreds of debt collection cases with an aggregate value of £1.6m. Other clients include Kelly Services and Madison, Animal, Leeda & Sportline. Senior associate and practice head Ally Tow ‘is excellent and always willing to help’. Jonathan Grigg joined to head the overall dispute resolution team from Shoosmiths LLP in July 2016; he has experience in cross-border debt recovery matters.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLPhas an excellent understanding of each client’s business’. The firm focuses on servicing commercial clients on the full spectrum of debt recovery needs, as well as having experience in property debt collection and finance defaults for debtors and lenders. The team continued to advise British Car Auctions on multiple debt recovery matters including unpaid fees and debt litigation. It also regularly assists ITV with debt recovery issues arising from programme and IP licensing matters, often involving cross-border litigation. Other clients include We Buy Any Car, Fiat Chrysler and Infor. The practice is led by the highly regarded Jamie Cartwright, who was promoted to partner in May 2016 and took over responsibility for the practice from Duncan Elson.

Clients of Cripps LLP rate the team for its ‘commitment to doing a good job’. It regularly assists clients in the maritime, property and logistics industries with rent and ground service charge arrears, repossession of property and debt recovery litigation. It continued to act for PAYE Stonework & Restoration on multiple debt collections and is assisting the Treasury Solicitor with debt recovery resulting from fees collected by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Prudential, Frog Diamond Drilling and COH Baines are also on the client roster. Ed Weeks leads the department and specialises in commercial debt recovery, while service manager Fiona Chamberlain is an expert in real estate debt collection matters. The well-regarded Simon Leney and associate David Morgan are other key names.

Boutique firm Lovetts Ltd advises clients in the software, recruitment and manufacturing sectors on high-value debt recoveries including debt portfolio matters and credit control issues. It excels in cross-border debt collection, either on matters in the UK on behalf of overseas clients, or debt recovery issues in another country. The 5-solicitor team, which is based in Guildford, includes Michael Higgins along with Charles Wilson and Paul McCulloch.

Moore Blatch LLPis very commercially aware and tailors its advice with maximising net recoveries in mind’. During 2016 the firm advised a number of clients on debt recovery matters for mortgage repossessions, unpaid invoice claims and cross-border litigation for unpaid sums. The firm also advises on insolvency matters and pursuing credit card debts for lenders. Clients include Moreton Smith, Bank of China and United Utilities. Mark Osgood heads the department, which includes Lisa Saxby; both are ‘technically excellent and commercially astute’, according to clients. Other key figures include Peter Worrall and Susannah Marsh, who ‘provide clear, thorough and concise advice’, and Sarah Watley.

Pinney Talfourd LLP attracts praise for its combination of ‘excellent, client-led service’ with ‘efficient and competent legal advice’. Operating within the firm’s dispute resolution department, the team advises on debt recovery concerning party wall awards, loan agreements and insolvency issues for clients in the property, development and construction sectors. The team represented Favorite Fried Chicken in a dispute with a franchisor concerning six years’ worth of unpaid fees following an initial franchising agreement. Stephen Eccles is recommended for ‘his professional acumen and attention to detail’; he leads a department that includes solicitor Nadia Fabri, who joined the firm in March 2016 from Jefferies Essex LLP, and Stephen Green.

Pitmans LLP is praised for its ‘great business and industry knowledge’. The practice is known for its work in commercial and residential debt recovery, including service charges arrears and liability order impositions, for national and international clients in the retail, health, property and construction sectors; it also acts for lenders as well as debtors. Donna Goddardruns an excellent team of committed advisers’ that includes Suzanne Brooker, who is ‘very professional and understanding’, Rick Munro and William Richmond-Coggan.

stevensdrake fields a ‘proactive’ team that advises on recovery of goods, debt portfolio management and legal recoveries, as well as regulatory and compliance issues. It also regularly undertakes debt collection litigation and works closely with the firm’s dispute resolution department on contentious matters. Clients are based in the leisure, financial and motoring sectors. Harry Tumber heads the department, which includes the highly regarded Gavin Pickering.

Thackray Williams LLP’s ‘cases are prepared to the highest standard’ according to clients. It acted for Secure the Bridge in a dispute with a former Premier League football club chairman concerning £125,000 in debt, and assisted a property management company with managing its debt portfolio, which included 130 outstanding service charge debts. Other clients are in the leisure, hospitality and construction sectors. The Bromley-based practice is headed by Graeme Weir ‘combines meticulous case preparation with a commercial pragmatism which serves his clients particularly well’; he specialises in property debt recovery and debt collections for clients in the baking industry. Andrew Raby and Vikki Herbert are also recommended.

Dentons focuses on commercial and property debt recoveries, with notable experience managing debt portfolios and advising clients on mortgage repossessions. It is particularly strong on financial debt recovery and assists with recovering unsecured loans and mistaken payments. The team also works closely with the financial services disputes team for contentious matters and has experience in regulatory and compliance issues. Swift Group, West Bromwich Building Society and Kensington Mortgages are on the client roster. Jackie Hanlon leads the volume recoveries team and is ably supported by mortgage recoveries practice head Katherine Hardman.

Furley Page Solicitors attracts praise for its ‘great knowledge of the industry’. It represented an individual in a dispute with a former business associate to collect debts arisen from an unpaid loan. Other areas of expertise include property debt recovery such as rent and service charge arrears as well as international commercial debt collection. Senior partner Peter Hawkes now heads the team following the departure of senior associate and former practice head Richard Ludlow to Francis Wilks & Jones. Also recommended are Natasha Biggs, who ‘gives clients real confidence’ and ‘has a strong knowledge of the law’; George-Crofton Martin; and legal adviser Alex Hargrove.

Knights Professional Services Limited is adept at handling a full spectrum of debt recovery matters for clients. Its expertise extends to commercial debt recovery, including late payment issues and compensation costs, as well as consumer debt recovery. It also undertakes property debt collection including rent arrears, service ground charge rent arrears and mortgage issues. Joanne Gardner-Boyes is a key name in the practice, with experience in debt litigation and insolvency matters.

Machins Solicitors LLP frequently assists property management clients with service charge arrears and advises commercial clients on debt recovery litigation and portfolio management. The firm is also known for its work in recovering sums relating to Consumer Credit Act agreements and has a specialty in handling insolvency matters. Commercial litigation and insolvency expert Neil O’Callaghan heads the team, which is based in Luton and a part of the firm’s dispute resolution practice.

The team at Morrisons Solicitors LLP combines its commercial and property litigation expertise with its volume debt recovery work. Previous expertise includes advising on commercial debt recovery such as litigation for unpaid bills, non-payment for services performed and invoice-based debts. Its property debt recovery work has covered a full range of litigation for insolvency as well as ground service charge and rent arrears. Clients are in the construction, engineering and utilities sectors among others. Catherine Fisher heads the dispute resolution team and is recommended alongside senior associate Sally Hutchings and Graham Halsall.

T G Baynes represents clients in all forms of debt recovery litigation work, including repayment of arrears for property litigation, unpaid invoices cases and defaulted loan repayment matters. The team also has experience in handling fraudulent issues arising from debt collection, regulatory and compliance cases. Clients include debtors, creditors and lenders in the construction, property and finance sectors. Michael Clark leads the team and is experienced in the intersection between debt recovery and civil litigation; he is ably assisted by Emma Lee, who specialises in insolvency work.

Trethowans LLP is praised for its ‘excellent level of service’. It regularly advises on debt recovery issues in the finance sector, recovering unpaid invoices, and pre-litigation matters. The team advised North Middlesex University Hospital Trust on enforcing thousands of private parking debt collections in 2016, as well as assisting Van Ameyde UK on pre-litigation claims concerning compensation for delayed flight claims under EU regulations. Other clients include Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, James Hay Partnership and Amey. Associate Louise Boyle, who ‘is very knowledgeable and helpful’, and Chris Whiteley lead the team, which includes Kelvin Farmaner and Ian Singleton.

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