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Commercial litigation: Essex in South East

Birkett Long LLP

Birkett Long LLP undertakes work for clients throughout Essex, East Anglia, the South East and London and further afield. It is a first port of call for litigation, as well as arbitration, mediations and adjudications. The highly regarded team includes Peter Allen, who is an ADR group accredited mediator. Keith Songhurst heads up the South Essex dispute resolution department, which also includes Basildon-based associate Emma Jenkins. Senior associate Tracy England leads the group in Colchester. The firm's work includes shareholder and partnership disputes, professional negligence claims and contractual disputes. Jenkins has a specialism in contentious land and property matters.

Practice head(s):

Keith Songhurst; Tracy England

Other key lawyers:

Emma Jenkins

Testimonials

‘Birkett Long delivers a wide spectrum of expert advice across many fields in law. If my lawyer is not expert in a particular field then I will be introduced to another partner to advise me. This aspect is convenient and gives me confidence that whatever issue arises, I can tap into the specific and expert advice.’

‘Honesty, integrity and succinct advice. Peter Allen listens to my predicament then offers clear options, but more importantly, explains to me which would be best. In my experience with previous lawyers I receive multiple options to a particular problem and the potential outcomes were not explained to me, so I felt like I ended up with more questions than answers. With Peter, I feel that my options are clearer with the associated risk understood. As a business person I often have to compromise my decisions to balance the risk to take into account the financial outcome, as well as the legal outcome.’

‘Down-to-earth and highly efficient, well organised team. Excellent client care’

‘Everyone I have spoken with has been very pleasant and happy to help even though times must have been challenging at times due to COVID.’

‘The team is readily available and gives pragmatic advice in language that is easily understandable by a layman. Once the partner understood the circumstances, he was honest enough to say that a senior team member would be more than capable of assisting me ( at a lower rate) with my case and I have been very pleased with the quality of the service I have received. ’

‘Birkett Long provides excellent service for all legal matters referred, information and guidance is to the highest quality’

‘Birkett Long has developed a very solid dispute resolution presence, with many of its cases arising out of real estate matters – so development disputes and insurance/prof neg matters are commonplace. It deservedly enjoys very good standing with local businesses and entrepreneurs. I have myself instructed them to undertake a domestic conveyance for me – I can pay them no bigger compliment!’

‘Peter Allen is a mindful leader and good sounding board. He searches for practical solutions to legal issues and helps overseas in-house counsel to navigate UK law and courts. He is available and flexible helping to resolve disputes without pushing for unnecessary litigation. Peter has good business sense which is essential for in-house counsel. He has helped us to resolve many complicated disputes.’

Key clients

Valeo Group of Companies

Flakt Woods Limited

Colchester Institute

Connells/Sequence Estate Agency Group

BEW Electrical Distributors Limited

Wernick Hire Limited / Wernick Group

Countrywide Estate Agents

Navigator Terminals Thames BV Ltd

Teledyne e2v Limited

University of Essex

North Essex Signs Limited

Healthcare Homes Group Limited

Nesa Tech Limited

BPC Interiors Limited

Praxis42 Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for a company in respect of a cross border contractual dispute valued in excess of €5m.
  • Acted for directors/shareholders in relation to a substantial professional negligence claim against a firm of accountants arising from advice/assistance in connection with the restructuring of their business (which included issues surrounding Entrepreneur’s Relief eligibility).
  • Acted for the minority shareholders in the parent company of a substantial group of construction companies in relation to a proposed unfair prejudice petition relating to the conduct of the majority shareholder and where the value of the dispute is a sizeable seven-figure sum.

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP's credentials as a top tier law firm are evidenced by its work for regional, national and international clients. The practice is led by Daden Hunt, who has almost 20 years of dispute resolution experience. Working with legal director Matthew Weston, he has been representing Readie Construction Limited at the High Court in proceedings against a supplier of allegedly defective building aggregate. Elsewhere, the team's expertise spans a multitude of other industries, including banking, technology, defence, education and food. Hunt's group also includes associate William Arran, whose experience includes regulatory investigations, insolvency disputes, defamation and harassment claims, and emergency court applications (such as freezing orders and delivery up injunctions).

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Weston; William Arran

Testimonials

‘The dispute resolution team at Birketts are leading experts in mediation and ADR.’

‘Daden Hunt is a key individual in commercial dispute resolution at Birketts for mediation, he has a formidable grasp of the issues and uses his expertise in ADR to achieve the very best results possible for his clients whether they be public companies, private companies, especially family owned companies or partnerships.’

Daden Hunt had huge knowledge of the legal parameters to defend myself.’

‘Always very friendly and nothing is too much trouble’

‘William Arran has been my solicitor. His advice has always been constructive. He has listened to my case with great attention to detail. This gives me confidence that I am getting the right advice. ’

‘Having been recommended Birketts Solicitors from working contacts, I can honestly say that I have not been disappointed with the service that we have received.’

‘Daden Hunt and William Arran have been exceptional with advice relating to a very long-running dispute.’

Key clients

Atalian Servest Limited

Sanrose Investment Limited

Readie Construction Limited

Illovo Ltd

Brooks Bros (UK) Ltd

Glencrest Seatex Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Sanrose on strategy and representing the company in High Court proceedings to resolve a longrunning dispute, which had seen the other member of a joint venture deadlock the JV vehicle (an LLP with significant assets).
  • Advising and representing a BVI company seeking to recover circa $7m it loaned to a UK company.
  • Advising and representing Glencrest in a challenge to its suspension from a trade association, which would have resulted in significant financial harm to the business.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP's practice, which is led by Bushra Elzubeir, demonstrates strong competences in litigation involving a wide ambit of issues. The team's experience spans areas such as insolvency, partnership disputes, fraud and white-collar crime, construction, energy and fuel disputes, as well as sports and media litigation. Zubeir has a notably strong reputation among clients based in the Middle East, and he has also been working with associate Rhian Lowe to assist corporate clients with bringing or defending public liability and insurance claims. Tony Fisher and Ashton Carter are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Bushra Elzubeir

Other key lawyers:

Tony Fisher; Ashton Carter; Rhian Lowe

Testimonials

‘We chose FJG because we needed a legal team that understood what its like to run a small independent charity like ours and would help us professionally at a lower fee. FJG agreed to help out on a dispute with a shop lease. The team were able to describe information clearly and easily and to find solutions to the problem in a professional and courteous way. ’

‘Over the years, I have worked with Bushra Elzubeir on a variety of commercial disputes. Regardless of the subject matter, Bushra gets up to speed quickly and provides the client with a quality service.’

‘The practice offers a full range of legal services meaning that there is a consistency of service and performance.’

‘Throughout the range of staff we have dealt with within FJG we have found them to be extremely willing, knowledgeable and wiling to assist.’

‘My husband and I feel so lucky we found Bushra Elzubeir. He is a credit to his firm. He is extremely knowledgeable and he was able to put into words what we would never have been able to do.’

Key clients

Albion Insulations Limited

McArdle Interiors Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the defendant, which is an installer of industrial cavity wall insulation, in a claim over its allegedly defective installation of cavity wall insulation at a property based in west of England.
  • Acted for a developer as the defendant in a claim over contamination to land previously owned by the client.
  • Acted for McArdle Interiors Limited as the claimant in a contractual dispute.

Jefferies Essex LLP

Jefferies Essex LLP acts for many of the largest businesses in Essex and it also generates mandates from corporate entities located elsewhere in the UK. Under the leadership of managing partner Sarah Mitchell, the team is seen as a strong choice for advice on high-stakes disputes of the utmost complexity and significance for clients. Rothman is currently handling one of the largest multi-party cases in the country. Duncan Bennington, who recently made partner, is recommended for his expertise in insolvency litigation, property disputes and director disqualification cases. Mark Rothman is now a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Bennington; Mark Rothman

Testimonials

‘Jefferies Essex have a great ability to understand what would make a situation lead to litigation and are able to give clear advice on the best way forward for the benefit of the client. With clear communication via the use of technology, they are able to provide the client with clear updates with regards to professional fees due and the progression of a claim at any given time.’

More so than their competitors, when dealing with Jefferies Essex LLP I have always found all members of staff to be courteous, polite and professional.’

I would assess the overall level of service received to be excellent. I felt they really wanted to understand my business to be able to give me decisive advice to enable me to make informed commercial decisions. Their team are readily available to answer all questions and we feet reassured by their comprehensive depth and breadth of knowledge. Advice is clear, concise and relevant at all times and, in my opinion, offered good value for money.’

Jefferies Essex LLP are without doubt the best legal firm that I have had the pleasure of using. My previous experience with another firm was less commendable. I would be happy to use Jefferies in future and I have indeed recommended them to many of my clients. Keep up the good work!

‘The team at Jefferies works cohesively together to ensure their clients are extremely well in formed and advised. The team has the ability to utilise the vast experience of its partners and associates which means the level of service and advice to clients is second to none. ’

‘Each partner is dedicated to ensuring the best for their clients. Sarah Mitchell is outstanding in her ability to engage with clients and protect their interests. Her integrity, openness and professionalism is outstanding. When represented by her in litigation and commercial law, clients have an unsurpassed level of care and attention and sound practical advice. The level of service provided results in having no need whatsoever in considering another lawyer or firm’

‘Duncan Bennington is very considered in his approach to commercial matters, whether it be detailed agreements or disputes and takes care of the client need, bringing disputes down to the dealing of the core issues of the matter and seeking practical conclusion.’

Key clients

New Dawn Tax Partnership

Vape and Juice Limited

Thorpe Hall School Trust

Homeless Action Resource Project

Work highlights

  • Representing clients in relation to a proposed section 994 petition, on the basis that the affairs of a company appear to have been conducted by the Directors in a manner which is unfairly prejudicial to the interests of the clients and other minority shareholders.
  • Handling a dispute between shareholders of an estate agency company, involving issues of breach of a shareholders’ agreement, the company being placed into administration and misfeasance by the company’s director.
  • Representing the sellers in an expert determination procedure, concerning claims by the Buyer of shares in a company for breach of accounting warranties under the terms of a share purchase agreement.

Pinney Talfourd LLP

Pinney Talfourd LLP has a strong track record in cases where it is seen against London-based (and other large) firms. The department is led by Brentwood-based partner Nick Hatchett, who has over 30 years of dispute resolution experience, and is a key fixture in all courts and tribunals. Noted for his primary focus on multi-track cases, Hatchett's expertise includes contract disputes, insolvency litigation and financial services matters. He is representing John Martin Motors Limited in a professional negligence claim against two firms of architects. Stephen Eccles in Hornchurch is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hatchett

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Eccles

Testimonials

‘Small team but excellent insolvency expertise and application.’

‘Nick Hatchett has assisted with Chapter X Insolvency Act 1986 claims and displays an excellent knowledge and commercial approach to the same.’

‘Very good at boiling down the matter to the essentials.’

‘The quality of representation is first-rate, the speed of response is unrivalled and the work is very good value for money.’

‘Nick Hatchett is an excellent lawyer who has a superb ability to recognise not only the relevant legal principles but also the facts which, in reality, are most likely to influence the outcome of the case. A refreshing mixture of intelligence combined with common-sense.’

‘They are a very good regional firm who have an excellent local reputation.’

‘Nick Hatchett is a delight to work with and is excellent with clients.’

‘I predominantly work with Nick Hatchett. He is a superb and versatile litigator who leads a very capable team. Nick is calm, considered, tactically astute and very user friendly.’

Key clients

Atlas Global Logistics Limited

Bank of Cyprus Public Company Limited

Charterhouse (Accountants) Limited

FRP Advisory

Gordian Holdings Limited

Haines Watts LLP

H&M Property Holdings Limited

Mark Riley & Co

John Martin Motors Limited

PMD Construction Limited

RVL Properties Limited

The Essex Car Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a director of logistics company Atlas Global Logistics Ltd on a director/shareholder dispute, including a claim for breach of contract, issues of competition, and unpaid directors loans.
  • Advised Charterhouse (Accountants) Limited on a dispute with a former LLP member involving a claim/counterclaim for breach of various consultancy agreements when the LLP member retired.
  • Advised H&M Property Holdings Ltd on a claim for professional negligence against their former solicitors relating to the purchase of a commercial headquarters building

Tees Law

David Perry leads Tees Law's dispute resolution department, which is spread between the Chelmsford and Brentwood offices, and also counts on the support of practitioners in Bishop's Stortford, Cambridge and Royston. Perry, who has over 25 years of commercial litigation experience, is sought-after for advice on insolvency, company and partnership disputes. In addition to handling general commercial litigation, associate John Fawcett undertakes a mix of contentious property, construction and agriculture cases. Associates Katie Latham and Sarah Stanyer are also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

David Perry

Other key lawyers:

John Fawcett; Katie Latham; Sarah Stanyer

Testimonials

We always get a good resolution to any cases we send to Sarah Stanyer and very happy with the communication and costs associated with each case. Sarah has always gone out of her way to help us as a company and we have built a good relationship up with her. Very happy as a company to always use the services provided.’

The team has a hard earned reputation for being very thorough and providing a comprehensive service in all aspects of litigation. They have a good depth of adept senior and junior grade solicitors who able to provide a seamless service.’

David Perry is very experience and is able to reduce complex litigation to basic identifiable issues for clients.’

‘Katie Latham – very dedicated and fights her clients corner to the last.’

Tees are good at recognising great service and recommending it. I have found all staff to be friendly and responsive. I have been instructed as counsel by Tees.’

Key clients

National Business Crime Solutions Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a large, well known supermarket on the enforcement of an injunction that was breached by a homeless man, who was frequenting the client’s car park, causing a nuisance to and intimidating customers.
  • Advising a company director on insolvency proceedings brought against him by HMRC and the subsequent satellite litigation worth in excess of £110m.
  • Advising the respondents on proceedings brought by the liquidators of a holiday business against its former directors and company secretary for breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful trading.

BTMK Solicitors

BTMK Solicitors' team, which is more than 13-strong, is highly capable in cases ranging in size from small claims to multimillion pound disputes. One of the firm's areas of strength is in the property litigation arena, where the work includes adverse possession cases and boundary disputes. Also notable is that it excels in professional negligence disputes, as well as insolvency-related matters, IP disputes and employment cases. Rayleigh-based director Adam Fleming co-heads the practice with Fiona McAnaw, who is based in Southend-On-Sea.

Practice head(s):

Adam Fleming; Fiona McAnaw

Testimonials

‘I have recommended BTMK to many friends and family in the past year and will continue to do so.’

‘Adam Fleming provided expert guidance and advised on complex issues and mapped out a tactful path so I achieved a successful outcome’

‘The team has very knowledgeable partners who have all been in their roles for a considerable amount of time. Also, as locals, they are well respected and known in the community and have an excellent reputation.’

‘The individuals we are involved with are very knowledgeable, provide direct access to themselves and their teams. They are friendly and go the extra mile to assist.’

Adam Fleming is able to swiftly analyse legal issues, and is tenacious in fighting disputes of fact.’

Fiona McAnaw has an excellent eye for detail.’

‘BTMK are the solicitors I recommend to everyone. The professional manner in which everyone has been trained to the highest standard.’

Key clients

Waymade Pharmaceuticals

111 Invest Limited

Right of Light Consulting

Randall Watts Construction Limited

The Factory Shops Limited

Hills Prospect PLC

Iris Insurance Brokers Limited

Alan Blunden Insurance Ltd

Kerry London (Underwriters/Brokers)

Fairfield BMW

Joseph Lamb Financial Advisers

Work highlights

  • Advised defendant on a claim for in excess of £1m over the purchase of a residential property.
  • Acted for the defendants in an action brought against them by 14 householders in relation to a private road running perpendicular to their home.

Mullis & Peake LLP

As part of an internal restructure at Mullis & Peake LLPHolly Minney succeeded Manzurul Islam as the head of the dispute resolution department in 2020, with the latter moving to lead the wills and probate team. Minney, who was also promoted to member, is a qualified solicitor-advocate with higher rights of audience, and can undertake complex cases at the High Court and Court of Appeal. The firm has become particularly well-known for its strengths in commercial property litigation and contract disputes, particularly in the construction and healthcare industries. Minney is acting for Rainham Steel Investment Ltd as the claimant/landlord in a £1.2m dilapidations claim. Martyn Trenerry, who is the chairman of the firm, has over 25 years of litigation experience. Recently promoted senior associate Esther Marshall is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Holly Minney

Other key lawyers:

Martyn Trenerry; Esther Marshall

Testimonials

‘Mullis & Peake have solicitors who specialise in a wide array of disciplines. As regards commercial litigation, they are able to deal with high-value, complex and multi-party disputes with relative ease.’

‘Martyn Trenerry is an experienced commercial litigator who can turn his hand to anything. He is hardworking and proactive.’

‘Holly Minney is also an impressive solicitor; she is very clever and great with clients.’

‘Litigation is rare for us but Mullis & Peake are always our first choice when it does occur. I have found Esther Marshall to be very diligent and knowledgeable and have an eye for detail, primary qualities that are needed in litigation from a client’s perspective. I’ve also found Esther very responsive, approachable and personable. Whist this has been an exceptional last 12 months for all the wrong reasons, I have seen few if any signs that it has impacted on the quality of work or response times.’

‘The team has two significant advantages when comparing them to other practices; firstly their speed of response which is both commercially vital as well as comforting. Secondly the individual practitioners communicate internally so you can always be sure that you will receive expert advice.’

‘They are well-trained and well-supported. The firm has a positive can-do ethos. The individuals I have met appear to support and encourage each other. When a problem arises, they deal with it. They engage with the issue in front of them. They are not a box-ticking, 9-5 firm. Their associates and partners are always available on mobile. They get back to you when a problem arises. They seem on top of their work. This is very different from other firms I work for. ’

‘Martyn Trenerry provides exceptional work in difficult and highly contested matters such as probate, injury, commercial litigation including matters where party conduct is in issue. He has several decades of experience and it shows.’

Holly Minney has a genuine expertise across a range of civil litigation topics. Careful and methodical but also quick witted when needed.’

Key clients

Rainham Steel

Aquarend Ltd

RCH Care Homes Ltd

Barry Stewart & Sons Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for claimant construction company Aquarend Limited in the recovery of outstanding monies for works undertaken by them via numerous enforcement options.
  • Acting for construction company Barry Stewart & Sons initially in the enforcement of an adjudication award, which resulted in further litigation as the adjudicators decision was deemed to be unenforceable due to an error in this decision.
  • Acting for Rainham Steel Investment Ltd as the claimant/landlord in a dilapidation claim worth £1.2m.

Palmers

Palmers' growing team excels in all types of complex commercial disputes, with its experience spanning areas such as commercial fraud, contract and debt claims, shareholder and partnership disputes, and IP-related cases. Erin Duffy's wide-ranging practice covers TOLATA disputes, adverse possession claims and professional negligence cases, among other matters. Carla Jones is another key individual in the group, which is led by Luke Morgan.

Practice head(s):

Luke Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Carla Jones; Erin Duffy

Testimonials

‘Erin Duffy helped me in my settlement agreement – she was incredibly clear and honest.’

‘A good team that understands the requirements of contentious litigation and a very good commercial approach.’

‘Carla Jones has stepped up well since being given additional responsibilities in the team and her knowledge of the relevant legislation and commercial approach have been of great assistance.’

‘I have recently been involved in a lengthy case that involved three members of staff from the Palmers team. On each and every occasion, and by each person involved, their attention to detail was excellent. The team was very inclusive keeping me informed along the way and highly professional at all times.’

‘Erin Duffy was a staff member that I dealt with throughout a long an arduous case. She is a very knowledgeable individual and gave excellent advice to bring the case to a successful conclusion.’

The fees were very correct and in comparison with other companies in the region, they were competitive.’

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors' practice has gone from strength to strength since it acquired Stafford Young Jones in 2019, with the firm increasing its profile in complex civil and commercial litigation. Led by Leanne Philp, the team advises clients on a myriad of disputes, including those arising from breaches of contracts, as well as contentious matters concerning areas such as landlord and tenant, wills and probate, and professional negligence.

Practice head(s):

Leanne Philp

Testimonials

‘Leanne Philp shows considerable considerable strategic ability and is calm under fire.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in a building dispute over builders’ work and invoices.
  • Acted for a client in a trust and estoppel claim.

Thompson Smith and Puxon

At Thompson Smith and Puxon, the practice is led by chartered legal executive Sharon Auton, who has more than 20 years of litigation experience and is also a trained mediator. Laura-Pauline Adcock-Jones is another qualified mediator in the group, whose work includes property litigation, as well as disputes arising from breaches of contract, contentious probate, professional negligence and consumer law matters.

Practice head(s):

Sharon Auton

Other key lawyers:

Laura-Pauline Adcock-Jones

Testimonials

‘I engaged Sharon Auton to resolve a personal issue, She was very straight to the point, but considerate of my personal feelings, She resolved the issue in three months which was fantastic.’

‘The team at this practice offers a very professional service, charging reasonable fees for the complicated issues involved in our case. They continually keep us updated regarding any matters that arise at all times and assist us with our queries.’

‘We have received excellent expert advice concerning our land dispute from Sharon Auton and she has handled the many complicated issues very promptly and efficiently.’

‘This was the first time I had ever become embroiled in litigation. The shock, which coincided with lockdown in 2020 was extremely stressful. On first contact with the partner who represented us, I felt very much relieved to be dealing with somebody who was genuinely listening to me and at the end of our first conversation felt reassured that my family case was going to be dealt with properly.’

‘Fortunately for us, TSP guided us through a very difficult and stressful time and achieved what we believe was a satisfactory outcome.’

‘The team collaborates well and is well-integrated. There is always someone with whom to communicate when the lead solicitor is not available.’