Commercial litigation: Essex in South East

Birkett Long LLP

The 'pragmatic and sensible' commercial litigation team at Birkett Long LLP advises on a wide range of commercial litigation, negligence, and IP matters across a variety of industry sectors. The firm provides 'sensible and realistic advice' to its corporate clients and is routinely instructed on high-value and complex dispute claims. Chelmsford-based Peter Allen and Keith Songhurst are recommended for their deep insight in contractual disputes and property litigation respectively.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Sullivan; Keith Songhurst

Other key lawyers:

Peter Allen


‘Keith Songhurst is very amiable and has consistently given clear well-thought-out advice, which has resulted in matters being satisfactorily resolved.

Peter Allen has provided excellent advice and counsel in a number of commercial disputes; he is quick to understand the commerciality of the situation and control the process to an efficient conclusion and resolution.’

Key clients

Valeo Group of Companies

Flakt Woods

BEW Electrical Distributors

Colchester Institute

Wernick Hire

Countrywide Estate Agents

Navigator Terminals Thames

Work highlights

  • Handled  a breach of warranty claim arising from the sale of shares by the clients in their company. The claim was originally stated to be worth over £35m.
  • Represented the claimants in a claim against an approved building inspector.
  • Undertook advisory work in connection with the client’s eligibility for entrepreneur’s relief; losses of at least £800,000.
  • Acting for a client in a proposed professional negligence action against their accountants, relating to advice and assistance in connection with a restructuring of their company.

Birketts LLP

The 'first-class' litigation team at Birketts LLP provides its clients with the full range of services and has sector specialisms in maritime, defence, education and public law matters. Led by Daden Hunt, stands out in particular for its international reach. Marie Batchelor is the name to note for contentious probate work, and Matthew Weston is recommended for his expertise in insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Marie Batchelor; Matthew Weston


‘Daden Hunt and his team have been exceptional in handling our legal requirements, and certainly, stand out against other legal teams used in the past.’

Daden Hunt has been the perfect recommendation for us. We can honestly say that we have had a first-class service at all time with honest professional advice, together with an excellent backup from his team when necessary.’

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP's litigation practice group acts on the full range of litigation matters, and has additional niche expertise in sports and media related litigation. Overseen by practice head Bushra Elzubeir, who joined from Pinney Talfourd LLP, the team is skilled in litigating across borders for a variety of sector-specific clients. Tony Fisher has expertise in contractual disputes and Jason Torrance is well versed in ADR.

Practice head(s):

Bushra Elzubeir

Other key lawyers:

Tony Fisher; Jason Torrance

Jefferies Essex LLP

The 'super-commercial' litigation practice at Jefferies Essex LLP provides clients with a seamless blend of services which is strengthened by cross-team expertise. Led by 'commercially savvy' Mark Rothman and Sarah Mitchell who is described as a 'formidable asset in any piece of litigation', the team has been instructed in numerous high-value claims, a recent example of which involved complex tax litigation against HMRC. Duncan Bennington is rated for his handling of high-value insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Mark Rothman; Sarah Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Bennington


‘The team at Jefferies is a real powerhouse of litigators which has developed over time.’

‘This practice has a unique ability to approach clients in a calm, proactive and determined manner. They are rooted in compassion, honesty, and integrity.’

Sarah Mitchell continues to be outstanding. Her quiet, calm, friendly manner, supported by an amazing work ethic, experience level, and determination to achieve success for her clients is only matched by her approachable and open manner.’

The only way to describe Sarah is exceptional.’

Key clients

New Dawn Tax Partnership

AJ Chambers Recruitment

Vape and Juice Limited

Pinney Talfourd LLP

Pinney Talfourd LLP fields a 'first class' litigation team led by 'standout individual' Nick Hatchett, who joined the team from Wortley Byers. The team has expertise in an array of private litigation services, property disputes, employment, and contentious probate matters. Hatchett acts for a blend of private and commercial clients, including multiple European financial institutions. Hornchurch-based Stephen Eccles is the overall head of the team and is recommended for his expertise in property litigation.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hatchett; Stephen Eccles


Nick Hatchett is knowledgeable, approachable and a delight to work with; he gets his results through good argument and logic.’

‘Nick Hatchett embodies every quality of a good litigator. He robustly advises clients and does not simply tell them what they want to hear in the way that so many solicitors do.’

‘This a team of very good litigation solicitors. They correctly analyse the likely outcome of cases and get the law right.’

Key clients

Bank of Cyprus

Charles Cross London


FRP Advisory

Smallwood Architects

W Robinson & Sons

Work highlights

  • Acting for Bank of Cyprus in various matters in relation to asset tracing, recovery and enforcement, for loans made in Cyprus up to and in excess of €2m.
  • Acting for the proprietor of industrial land in a dispute of a historic nature and in relation to trespass and adverse possession.
  • Acting in the recovery of a payment of £90,000 from Barclays Bank after the sum was paid into a frozen account.
  • Acting in the recovery of payments made by an insolvent company in relation to an alleged loan made prior to liquidation.
  • Representing the trustee in bankruptcy in relation to a dispute regarding a loan made to the bankrupt by a company that became insolvent, and which the bankrupt was formerly a director of.

Rainer Hughes

Rainer Hughes' boutique litigation team is proficient in handling matters for wholesale alcohol companies in what are often high-value matters related to tax. Key figures in the team include the 'professional, commercial and pragmatic' Sanjay Panesar, and Anita Punpher, who is noted for her expertise in tax and criminal litigation.

Practice head(s):

Anita Punpher; Sanjay Panesar


Anita Punpher is a pleasure to work with. She really gets to the heart of the issues and is not unsettled easily in the often rough and tumble world of litigation.

The firm does not shy away from taking on difficult assignments. The partners are hands-on and have a very nice and professional manner.

Key clients

Gardner Shaw London

Hare Wines Limited

BTMK Solicitors

'Completely on top of its game', the commercial department at BTMK Solicitors impresses clients and counsel alike in employment-related issues, high-value property litigation relating to developments and contested land, and contract matters. Joint practice heads Adam Fleming and Fiona Mcanaw have experience advising private clients on medium-value liability claims, and managing partner Nitin Khandhia has over 15 years of litigation experience and has represented a roster of corporate clients.

Practice head(s):

Adam Fleming; Fiona Mcanaw

Other key lawyers:

Nitin Khandhia


‘Adam Fleming is a pleasure to work with; he is attuned to the clients’ needs and deals with cases in an astute and commercially sensible way.’

Nothing seems too much trouble for the team at BTMK. The clients get great service from highly experienced litigators who have strength in depth so there is always good cover from the smallest to the biggest problem.’

Key clients


UHY Hacker Young

Begbies Traynor

Dorgan Estates

Fairfield BMW

FRP Advisory

Ellisons Solicitors

Ellisons Solicitors' litigation practice has significant experience in commercial litigation matters, including banking litigation and contentious probate. Key contact Lee Pearce continues to act for a long-standing client the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in property litigation matters concerning possession claims. The insolvency practice within the practice group has been strengthened by the addition of experienced litigator Hayley Songhurst, who joined from Birkett Long LLP. Scott Porter was recently made partner and is 'renowned for his insolvency work', Ceri Rogers is recommended for probate, and Graeme Wallington is another key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

Lee Pearce; Graeme Wallington

Other key lawyers:

Scott Porter; Ceri Rogers


Graeme Wallington is a very experienced senior partner at the firm and is always fully appraised of the matters in the case and carefully considers the next steps required in legal proceedings.’

Ceri Rogers is great to work with. She puts clients at ease and ensures that cases are very well prepared for trial.

The team grapples with the legal and evidential merits of the dispute at an early stage and client expectations are managed accordingly.’

The team keeps well on top of the litigation process, and the litigation costs are as a result accurately forecasted and kept under control.

Key clients

AIB Group

H R Owen PLC

Gray Dawes Group

Work highlights

  • Representing a bank in defending a claim for a consequential loss from mis-selling of hedging products.
  • Acting for an insurance underwriting company in professional negligence claims against solicitors and architects/surveyors arising out of the purchase of land for the development of a new office.
  • Represented executors and beneficiary of an estate against an Inheritance Act claim by the deceased’s wife.
  • Acting in a series of possession claims against military personnel.

Mullis & Peake LLP

The commercial litigation practice at Mullis & Peake LLP is noted for producing 'storming results' and is led by the 'tactical and very shrewdManzurul Islam. The team has experience in high-value construction disputes, and Senior Associate Holly Minney has a focus on property litigation and complex business disputes.

Practice head(s):

Manzurul Islam

Other key lawyers:

Holly Minney


Manzurul Islam is the team’s standout lawyer. Sometimes it is as if he knows what the other side is going to do before they do it.’

One of Manzurul Islam’s key strengths is that he really understands people and business, rather than just the law; he definitely gets it, and is a real asset to the firm.’


Led by 'impeccable' Luke Morgan, the team at Palmers advises clients on a range of litigation and mediation matters, including complex business disputes, intellectual property, and corporate insolvency matters. Morgan is proficient in managing multimillion-pound commercial litigation matters in a range of industry sectors such as housing and financial services. Associate Carla Jones has expertise in insolvency and debt recovery.

Practice head(s):

Luke Morgan


Luke Morgan guides clients in a calm and positive manner and provides many more options on how they can obtain a better result. He has been able to secure a result that one would have not deemed possible.’

Tees Law

Tees Law's 'sharp, commercially focused' litigation department is led by Darren Perks, and has been enhanced by the recruitment of John Fawcett from Birkett Long LLP and Harriet Brice from Ellisons Solicitors. The team has a comprehensive practice that covers property, insolvency, contentious probate and contractual claims. Katie Latham has been instructed by a number of high-profile retail companies on injunction obtainment work.

Practice head(s):

Darren Perks

Other key lawyers:

David Perry; John Fawcett; Harriet Brice; Katie Latham; Sarah Stanyer; Gez Gibbs


I have been very impressed by the level of professionalism shown by Tees. While the team is on top of the technical legal aspects of their cases, they never lose sight of the pragmatic outcomes their clients are seeking.’

John Fawcett is an engaging, charismatic individual who inspires real client confidence. He has a real nose for strategy and never misses a trick.’

Harriet Brice has shown professionalism and a high level of legal knowledge throughout and has provided detailed and sensible advice when faced with difficulties from the other side throughout the process. I would highly recommend her.’

Key clients

Begbies Traynor LLP

National Business Crime Solutions

WDP Group

Verex Group

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors commercial practice group handles mainly landlord and tenant disputes, debt recovery and building litigation matters. Practice head Leanne Philp specialises in matters concerning contentious wills and probate, breach of contract claims and building disputes.

Practice head(s):

Leanne Philp

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP

The commercial litigation team at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP acts for corporations, private individuals and financial institutions on a range of work including joint venture disputes, shareholder, and contract dispute matters. Practice head Fiona Colwell also has a focus on non-contentious work and has experience advising on significant cross-border issues. The firm is expanding its geographic reach, having recently opened an office in London.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Colwell

Thompson Smith and Puxon

Thompson Smith and Puxon is led by seasoned litigator Sharon Auton and focuses on private litigation matters including contract disputes, landlord and tenant disputes, construction claims, and contentious probate matters, the last of which is an especially strong generator of work. Judith Winward specialises in residential lease matters and commercial property disputes. Auton and Winward have recently been instructed on an international damages case which resulted in a favourable outcome for the client.

Practice head(s):

Sharon Auton

Other key lawyers:

Judith Winward