Commercial litigation: Essex in South East

Birkett Long LLP

Clients benefitting from the ‘depth and breadth of knowledge’ in the team at Birkett Long LLP include large listed clients and public bodies as well as private individuals and start-ups; the firm has particular strength in acting for medium-sized enterprises, reflecting the business landscape in Essex. Keith Songhurst, who is ‘a very commercially aware litigator‘, leads the team, which is able to offer mediation, arbitration and adjudication advice alongside handling litigation proceedings. He is ably supported by Chelmsford-based associate Perdeep Grewal, who is also a part of the firm’s multidisciplinary construction team.

Practice head(s):

Keith Songhurst

Other key lawyers:

Peter Allen; Ruben Ringelmann; Laura Meers; Perdeep Grewal


‘Good depth and breadth of knowledge, very approachable, and also responsive to clients.’

‘The practice has adapted well to covid-19 and there has not been a drop in the level of service in sometimes very trying situations.’

‘Keith Songhurst is a very commercially aware litigator with great business acumen.’

Key clients

Executive Partners Network Limited

IntraVita International Limited

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

Teledyne e2v Limited

University of Essex

North Essex Signs Limited

Healthcare Homes Group Limited

BPC Interiors Limited

Data HQ Limited

Writtle University College

CF&L Limited

Plumpton House Limited

Export Movement Services (Rainham) Limited

Triolo Commercial Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Executive Partners Network Limited and associated parties in defending against claims for breach of restrictive covenants and misuse of confidential information.
  • Acted for Essex Waste Limited in obtaining an urgent injunction and claiming damages for wrongful forfeiture of a business tenancy.
  • Acted for Data HQ Limited in a contract dispute against a global publishing company.

Birketts LLP

With a varied client roster encompassing consumers and multinationals, there is a strong international element to the group's work at Birketts LLP. The team assists international clients enforcing rights in England and also works with foreign lawyers acting on behalf of UK clients, an increasing number of which are in the technology sector. The group is headed up by Daden Hunt who is ‘held in high regard by mediators.’ Experienced insolvency lawyer Matthew Weston and William Arran, who has acted in High Court and County Court litigation, are other key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Alex Forwood, David Springett, Nicholas Phillips, William Arran; Matthew Weston


‘Daden Hunt is very knowledgeable in his field and gives clear and concise explanations. He was always available.’

‘William Arran was helpful, approachable and attentive.’

‘An elite team that punches well above its weight. The team have a strong group of commercial litigation associates who are switched on and who you can trust can do a job well. Quality of work is strong with a range of clients from consumers to multinationals. Makes for a strong team who always has someone available to deal with any issue that arises.’

‘Nicholas Phillips provides comprehensive instructions which set out all the arguments in advance. Leaves no stone unturned which means clients feel and know they are getting the gold standard service. No job is too big or small for him. An excellent recent addition to an already exceptional Commercial Litigation Team.’

‘Daden Hunt is held in high regard by mediators. He is very calm and unflappable under pressure.’

‘Speed of information. Transparency. Understanding of the subject. Easily approachable despite that the subject can being highly technical.’

‘Good depth of knowledge and can also advise from a balanced perspective. Good industry knowledge. Alex Forwood stands out for our business as an individual who embraces collaboration whilst fully understanding the subject. His historical knowledge provides added value through the ability to move the subject forward at a better pace.’

‘Excellent service and good client relationships.’

Key clients

Growthlabs Consultants Limited

Sanrose Investments Limited

Atalian Servest Limited

Readie Construction Limited

Illovo Limited

Brooks Bros (UK) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Sanrose Investments Limited on strategy and representing the company in High Court proceedings to resolve a long running dispute.
  • Representing the executors of the estate of an individual and securing urgent relief from the High Court to secure the survival of a business owned by the deceased.
  • Advising and representing Growthlabs Consultants Limited in relation to a dispute surrounding the provision of website services.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP

Known as a ‘go-to firm for commercial litigation in Essex‘, Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP‘s team is lauded for its ‘ability to bring together different specialisms into an effective team for complex cases,’ and works on a range of disputes for corporate clients as well as individuals in sectors such as sport, media and energy. A key team member is firm CEO Tony Fisher, who regularly handles charity disputes; he is well supported by Billy Smith and Joe Sandercock at associate level. Former practice head Bushra Elzubeir departed from the firm in May 2022.

Practice head(s):

Tony Fisher

Other key lawyers:

Billy Smith; Joe Sandercock


‘Fisher Jones Greenwood is an excellent practice. Their litigation team is incredibly professional and exceedingly competent. They make acting for their clients very easy.’

‘Billy Smith and his team are consistently really strong performers. They have excellent work and it is clear that their clients receive really good service.’

‘Joe Sandercock is calm in the face of people in a heightened emotional state, and I value the fact he always gives me the unvarnished truth in conversation so that I can actually gauge matters.’

‘Billy Smith communicates very well and provides prompt and helpful advice throughout any particular matter.’

‘Billy Smith has a good grasp of his clients expectations and responds promptly to any issue.’

‘Fisher Jones Greenwood has a very good reputation and is a go-to firm for commercial litigation in Essex and East Anglia. The firm is notable for its accessibility and user-friendliness. A particular strength is its ability to bring together different specialisms into an effective team for complex cases.’

Jefferies Essex LLP

Located in Southend-On-Sea, the ‘pragmatic, personable and responsive‘ team at Jefferies Essex LLP benefits from a strong background in company and commercial law within the wider department. Team head Sarah Mitchell has over 20 years’ experience advising mid-market commercial clients in the South East. Victoria Scott, who was made an associate in 2021, specialises in high-value and complex litigation, while Duncan Bennington handles complex cases for commercial clients.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Bennington; Victoria Scott; Benjamin Ho


‘The level of detail and support the practice provides across a selection of legal specialisms is really useful to us as a client and provides support to our business. Their ability to understand where they need to support and assist us is excellent.’

‘Duncan Bennington has worked with us for many years supporting our corporate needs in what is a very difficult legal world. We have nothing but praise for Duncan.’

‘Both Duncan Bennington and Victoria Scott approach all matters with a calm and structured outlook. Response times have been appropriately quick while time has also been taken to consider and present different options.’

Key clients

New Dawn Tax Partnership

Vape and Juice Limited

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.
  • Acting in a dispute between shareholders of an estate agency company, involving issues of breach of a shareholder 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

Practitioners at Pinney Talfourd LLP handle a variety of disputes and commercial litigation including construction claims, retail litigation and insolvency proceedings; the latter benefits from Brentwood-based practice head Nick Hatchett‘s ‘keen knowledge of insolvency legislation’. Stephen Eccles in Hornchurch is also recommended for his work with listed clients, limited companies, and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hatchett

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Eccles


‘Excellent team dealing with local firms in Essex. London quality work. Quick turnaround.’

‘Nick Hatchett is a great individual to work with and has a keen knowledge of insolvency legislation and a professional approach to insolvency work. He has been instrumental in the progression of claims against individuals as well as corporate entities.’

‘The thorough analysis of the law means that the team can provide a commercially useful outcome. Their experience of litigation makes their instruction of counsel quicker and better.’

‘Nick Hatchett provides unrivalled experience and expertise in the field of litigation. He provides practical and robust advice and does not sit on the fence when discussing likely outcomes.’

Key clients

Atlas Global Logistics

AstroBank Public Company Ltd

Bank of Cyprus Public Company Ltd

Begbies Traynor

Brentwood Timber Supplies Ltd

FRP Advisory Group Ltd

H&M Property Holdings Ltd

Haines Watts Group

Mark Riley & Co

Quantuma Advisory

Regal Mandarin Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Mark Riley & Co in a very long-running dispute regarding assets of bankrupt from a bankruptcy order made in 2010.
  • Assisting H&M Property Holdings Ltd with a professional negligence claim regarding the purchase of a freehold office building.
  • Acted for Regal Mandarin, a wholesale supplier of products to the catering industry, in a contract dispute with elements of insolvency.

Tees Law

The growing commercial litigation practice at Tees Law has developed specialisms in insolvency litigation, partnership disputes and company litigation. David Perry, who is praised as an ‘excellent negotiator‘, leads the team which is split between Chelmsford and Brentwood. Associate Ana James-Pittau has built a solid foundation of both commercial and construction clients with particular knowledge of the construction industry; James-Pittau attracts praise for ‘working on complicated cases which would normally be dealt with by more senior individuals.’

Practice head(s):

David Perry

Other key lawyers:

Ana James-Pittau; Sarah Stanyer; Katie Latham


‘Very personable and down to earth in their approach. Straight forward advice.’

‘David Perry has a wealth of knowledge in this area and can think “outside of the box” with possible solutions to problems. Excellent negotiator with the aim to finding a cost effective solution, prompt in his responses and good at explaining the legal issues in layman terms to the client.’

‘Incredible client service. Always responsive.’

‘Ana James-Pittau works on complicated cases which would normally be dealt with by more senior individuals.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a client on a breach of warranty and negligent misrepresentation claim made by the original shareholder and director of a company the client invested in.
  • Advising a client, which is the sole distributer of a product manufactured in Europe, on a dispute with one of its agents.
  • Acting for a minority shareholder and partner in a claim for unfair prejudice with a potential value of £4m.

BTMK Solicitors

Jointly headed up by Adam Fleming and Fiona McAnaw, the team at BTMK Solicitors undertakes a multitude of different types of work, ranging from regular debt recovery issues and small claims to high-value, complex multijurisdictional disputes. For the latter, the group also leverages the expertise of the firm’s specialist insolvency team and employment practice.

Practice head(s):

Adam Fleming; Fiona McAnaw

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

Fairfield BMW

Mullis & Peake LLP

Benefitting from 'a strong breadth of expertise within the practice', Mullis & Peake LLP's team in Romford handles disputes across a range of sectors including construction, leisure and healthcare. Practice head Holly Minney is a qualified solicitor-advocate, while firm chairman Martyn Trenerry has 'decades of experience in litigation across many subjects including high value personal injury, probate, and other estate claims.' Associate Esther Marshall's track record includes commercial disputes, landlord and tenant matters and property disputes.

Practice head(s):

Holly Minney

Other key lawyers:

Martyn Trenerry; Esther Marshall


‘Mullis & Peake have a number of excellent litigators who all focus on achieving the client’s objectives in the most effective and focused way possible. This firm is all about their clients. All of the fee earners I have worked with are intelligent, conscientious and personable.’

‘Martyn Trenerry has a wealth of experience and is a great tactician. Holly Minney is highly experienced in dealing with all aspects of business disputes.’

‘Always able to contact them. Excellent extensive knowledge by all.’

‘Martyn Trenerry and Holly Minney’s strengths are that they are practical, determined to understand the facts of a case, and good litigators. They have good back-up and are on top of their practices.’

‘All of the people I deal with are very efficient and always work in timely manner. I can always speak to someone who will know about my case.’

‘There is a strong breadth of expertise within the practice.’

‘A fantastic firm with high quality people who are aware of all the practice areas offered and are not limited to just their own usual case load subjects. One of the most diverse firms I have worked with.’

‘Martyn Trenerry has decades of experience in litigation across many subjects including high value personal injury, probate, and other estate claims. The group has a high skill level in many areas of litigation with a particular interest in landlord & tenant work, and fully understands the statutory changes that are catching so many people out.’

Key clients

Laville Limited/Laser Impex

Rainham Steel

Aquarend Ltd

RCH Care Homes Ltd

Barry Stewart & Sons Ltd

M & J Properties


The offering at Palmers has recently expanded to include personal injury and clinical negligence advice, enhanced by the addition of Jason Borg, who also bolstered the team’s expertise in commercial property disputes. The Basildon-based group, led by Luke Morgan, is praised as able to ‘tackle complex legal problems‘ across a variety of areas.

Practice head(s):

Luke Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Jason Borg; Carla Jones; Erin Duffy; Makayla Phillips


‘The team has great legal knowledge as a whole. It is able to tackle complex legal problems while providing exceptional customer service where each customer feels as if they are the only client the team has.’

‘Makalya Phillips has raised the bar for customer service such that exceptional service is what is expected as the minimum standard. I have had the pleasure of seeing this on multiple cases and she embodies all the positive attributes this team has.’

‘A firm that punches well above its weight, providing outstanding strategically targeted services to clients.’

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors

Located in Harlow, the full-service group at Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors advises clients on all aspects of commercial and civil litigation. The practice is led by Leanne Philp, who recently handled a joint venture agreement dispute. Philp is well supported by associate Prabhi Ghura, who is valued for her ‘very detailed approach to all aspects of the client’s case.’

Practice head(s):

Leanne Philp

Other key lawyers:

Prabhi Ghura


‘Very hands on team with a thorough approach to the legal issues, leaving no stone unturned. The best interests of the client are at the heart of their practice.’

‘Prabhi Ghura has a very detailed approach to all aspects of the client’s case.’

Thompson Smith and Puxon

Experienced litigator Sharon Auton leads the team at Thompson Smith and Puxon, which is based in Colchester. In 2021, the practice continued to add to its client base and assisted with a range of cases concerning a number of commercial and civil litigation issues. Trained mediator and associate Laura-Pauline Adcock-Jones‘ practice includes property litigation and professional negligence disputes. Andrew Breckenridge, the former head of dispute resolution at Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich, joined the firm as a director in April 2022.

Practice head(s):

Sharon Auton

Other key lawyers:

Laura-Pauline Adcock-Jones; Andrew Breckenridge


‘They work to an impressively high standard. Behind this is total integrity and a proper self-confidence in the service they can provide. It all feels very safe and very ethical.’

‘Laura-Pauline Adcock-Jones really understood my priorities due to her very high level of people skills and with her considerable experience.’

‘The team are very informative, supportive and knowledgeable.’

‘They communicate very well internally about all projects on the go. Their collaboration with the KC was very good, and they are always communicating their progress. They are always very calm, controlled and calculated.’

‘Always giving clear expectations on timelines and meeting them.’

‘Andrew Breckenridge’s advice has proved to be well-founded and effective.’