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Commercial litigation: Essex in South East

Birkett Long LLP

The substantive commercial litigation team at Birkett Long LLP, which is jointly led by Keith Songhurst in Chelmsford and Kevin Sullivan in Colchester, handles disputes relating to intellectual property, insolvency and public procurement. The team has handled multimillion-pound High Court property cases, acting for a range of clients drawn from sectors such as higher education, healthcare and tech, which call on the firm to assist with issues such as winding-up petitions and breaches of warranty. Peter Allen advises clients on contract infractions, professional negligence and shareholder disputes.

Other key lawyers:

Peter Allen


A strong regional litigation firm that is cost-effective‘.

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

Work highlights

  • Acted for Nesa Tech Limited in successfully defending a winding-up petition.
  • Represented the Colchester Institute in litigation seeking the removal of mobile phone masts to enable a multimillion-pound redevelopment to proceed.
  • Acted for Anthony Downes in High Court proceedings contesting the ownership of properties worth in excess of £1m.

Birketts LLP

The commercial litigation team at Birketts LLP regularly acts for a broad range of clients across industries such as maritime, education and defence, handling both domestic and international matters. The team has a strong record of work on disputes relating to shareholder issues, professional negligence and complex fraud. In addition, it also provides services relating to judicial review (often representing overseas clients in the UK). Defence expert Daden Hunt leads the group and is known for his record of going up against City firms. Rose Willis is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Rose Willis; Marie McMahon

Key clients

Leonardo MW Ltd

Checkit Plc (formerly Elektron Technology Plc)

Atalian Servest Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Leonardo MW Limited in securing injunctive relief for the return of certain property.
  • Advised and represented STM Fidecs Trust Company in a professional negligence claim against its former solicitors.
  • Issued High Court proceedings on behalf of a client (subsequenty securing a satisfactory settlement).

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP

The dispute resolution team at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP is led by commercial litigation specialist Bushra Elzubeir. It is known for its work in areas such as sports litigation, fuel disputes, white-collar crime and intellectual property disputes. In particular, the group is known for representing television and media clients and has acted in various capacities for a number of professional athletes (Jason Torrance specialises in sports litigation). The practice also features Tony Fisher, a CEDR-qualified mediator known for his expertise in shareholder matters, charity law and education.

Practice head(s):

Bushra Elzubeir

Other key lawyers:

Tony Fisher; Jason Torrance


I have worked with Bushra Elzubeir at his previous firm and was very impressed with how he handled a wide variety of litigation. His proactive and thoughtful approach ensures clients receive an excellent service‘.

Key clients

Albion Insulations Limited

Braintree Dental Studio

Work highlights

  • Represented Albion Insulations Limited in a consumer-driven action which triggered a public liability insurance claim.
  • Acted for a client in a matter concerning the sale of land which was adjudged by the Environment Agency (UK) to be contaminated.

Jefferies Essex LLP

Sarah Mitchell and Mark Rothman jointly lead the commercial litigation team at Jefferies Essex LLP from the firm's Southend-on-Sea office. Respectively, they are known for providing specialist advice to the automotive and charitable sectors. More broadly, the firm covers everything from small claims to multimillion-pound disputes and has handled group litigation work at the High Court. Clients are sourced from across the UK (as well as overseas) and cover industries such as marine, housing and education. Duncan Bennington deals with cases involving elements of insolvency, professional disqualification, and property disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Mitchell; Mark Rothman

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Bennington


The team at Jefferies is outstanding. They work together across multiple disciplines to offer a seamless service. This together with a wealth of experience allows clients to maximise their benefits and advice. having been a client for over two decades I would not consider going anywhere else‘.

The team is adventurous in the work they will take on and currently have both domestic and international workload. This is very unusual for a provincial practice and sets it apart‘.

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‘.

What sets Jefferies apart is their ability to provide specialist advice over a wide range of litigation subjects – they are able to clearly provide instructions and have the ability to provide clear advice in a timely manner to their clients, installing calm in an otherwise stressful situation‘.

Both Sarah Mitchell and Mark Rothman have always shown a clear understanding of the problems associated with the property and construction industry and clear transparency if they are unsure of technical issues. No matter how complicated a case may be they always present to me with clarity and a level head acknowledging that my inspection and subsequent report is produced to help the Court in reaching a decision on a technical matter and are able to advise their client of such‘.

Sarah Mitchell is outstanding in her approach. She epitomises the calm effect and determined legal practitioner and I can think of no one better to have behind you when considering any litigation of legal; requirement. Each department is led by an experienced head and they provide an overview to a team below that provides excellent advice and support‘.

Mark Rothman knows what I want and provides it‘.

Mark Rothman’s clarity of communication in complex matters with various options is exceptional. The peace of mind experienced as a result of the trust, knowledge, empathy, intelligent support and clear communication in the service is remarkable. Mark is the most professional yet, empathetic and humanly connected lawyer I have ever seen‘.

Key clients

New Dawn Tax Partnership

AJ Chambers Recruitment Limited

Vape and Juice Limited

Thorpe Hall School Trust

Homeless Action Resource Project

Work highlights

  • Acted in a legal challenge to HMRC’s calculation of tax losses incurred by New Dawn’s clients.

Pinney Talfourd LLP

Brentwood-based Nick Hatchett leads the commercial litigation team at Pinney Talfourd LLP. The practice focuses on multi-track litigation from £250,000 upwards and covers a multitude of industries, including financial services, engineering, architecture and retail. While the work covered has a significant emphasis on contract disputes, it also touches on asset tracing, debt collection and recovery. Stephen Eccles, a specialist in property issues, has experience in disputes over professional negligence, joint venture agreements and environmental protection. He is also known for successful counter-claims to non-payment matters.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hatchett

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Eccles


Timely, no-nonsense advice‘.

Key clients

All England Fire Stopping Limited

Bank of Cyprus Public Company Limited

B R Rail Limited

Charterhouse (Accountants) Limited

Dream Hand Investment Limited

FRP Advisory

Haines Watts LLP

HIQ Construction Services Limited

Mark Riley & Co

NTS Premier Services

PMD Construction Limited

RVL Properties Limited

Simpsons London LLP

The Essex Car Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Charterhouse in a dispute with a former LLP member.
  • Represented a construction company in a claim for undisclosed profits against joint venture partner.
  • Advised Dream Hand Investment Limited in claim for professional negligence against former solicitors.

Tees Law

The commercial litigation team at Tees Law, which is led by insolvency expert David Perry, has continued to build on the back of its merger with Wortley Byers in 2019 and is increasingly involved in cases featuring top London firms. With specialisms in insolvency, partnership and company disputes, the team also offers alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation. John Fawcett works in construction law and has a strong reputation with regards to agricultural issues - he has successfully represented claimants and defendants in litigation before the High and County Courts.

Practice head(s):

David Perry

Other key lawyers:

John Fawcett


Tees has a very strong reputation regionally. It is large enough to service all of its clients but not so large as to be impersonal or to compromise on client care‘.

Their prompt and personal service alongside the effort they go to make sure that they get to know the client and give individual advice tailored to the specific problem that the client has‘.

An approachable firm, particularly well suited to private client work‘.

As a firm/ team they are efficient, focused, clear and strategic. Cases are well managed, clients are well handled and the team generally is a pleasure to work with‘.

David Perry was excellent and understood exactly what the complex problem was all about and established a route forward very effectively‘.

We work with David Perry and appreciate his honest, straight-talking approach always cutting to the core of the problem, which he then deals with in a fair and resolute manner‘.

John Fawcett is very commercially astute. John has a very calm and assured manner. He is a very safe pair of hands. He is adept at dealing with multi-disciplinary disputes cutting across different sectors or practice areas‘.

John has a detailed knowledge of insolvency practice and procedure and an excellent grasp of the practical details of the insolvency process. Consequently, John has been able to give uniquely focused, practical and strategic advice (and direction to cases generally) in matters where construction and insolvency issues cross over‘.

Key clients

Spicerhaart Property Services Limited

Begbies Traynor

National Business Crime Solutions

BTMK Solicitors

The litigation and dispute resolution team at BTMK Solicitors is known for its technical and multi-jurisdictional work. Handling work ranging from small claims to High Court cases, it has a significant track record in adverse possession and boundary issues. Practice head Adam Fleming is an expert in shareholder claims, unfair prejudice and complex land disputes. Co-lead Fiona McAnaw works on cases featuring the theft of confidential information.

Practice head(s):

Adam Fleming; Fiona McAnaw


This is without doubt a provincial firm on a par with many high ranking London firms. Excellent service, cost effective, partner level service, friendly and always seeming to be available.They are not a firm who appear to put every phonecall on a time sheet, they are always happy to offer guidance. Top quality service‘.

BTMK are one of the most forward thinking regional firms I have known. They have an excellent management structure that has recognised their market strengths and ambitions. In my view,where they are a little different from similar sized firms is that they have accepted the need to engage specialists in the areas of law in which they practice to provide the best possible service to their clients‘.

I found BTMK to be a very versatile firm – their approach was both pragmatic with honest, open advice. What differs this firm to others is their attention to detail and been able to ‘steer’ cases at a moment’s notice when it becomes necessary‘.

A very efficient and proactive approach to reaching a solution as quickly as possible. The team are constantly aware that costs can soon reach unpalatable levels, hence one of their reasons to try and produce a result for the client. A very attentive and respectful team of individuals led by good management‘.

The firm is client-driven and dynamic. They are building a very loyal following of SMEs and high net worth individual clients in the local area, and now more widely into London. They are commercially astute in their approach to litigation, and offer sensible pragmatic advice to their clients from the outset. They are very experienced in using pre-action remedies to their clients’ greatest advantage. Although trial lawyers at heart, they are also able to achieve quick and successful resolution‘.

Adam Fleming grasped the key points to litigation very quickly and showed both expertise and a high level of experience in the case management. His relaxed approach kept myself calm and ensured the best possible outcome. An outstanding individual who instructed an equally outstanding barrister. Make no mistake you will be in safe hands‘.

Adam Fleming is excellent with his clients. Always available, and makes them feel at ease during the often tortuous litigation process. Fiona McAnaw is often praised by her clients for her attention to detail and dedication to their cause‘.

Adam Fleming and Fiona McAnaw are specialists; highly respected by clients and very much on the ball‘.

Key clients

Waymade Pharmaceuticals

111 Invest Limited

Right of Light Consulting

Clement Browne Limited

The Hutley Family Will Trust

Raymond Kelly

Iris Insurance Brokers Limited

Alan Blunden Insurance Ltd

Kerry London (Underwriters/Brokers)

Fairfield BMW

The Factory Shops Limited

Essex Countryside

Work highlights

  • Represented Waymade Pharmaceuticals in a professional action regarding the negligent design and construction of a cooling facility.

Ellisons Solicitors

Ellisons Solicitors' litigation practice has significant experience in commercial matters, as well as banking litigation and contentious probate matters. Key contacts include practice head Lee PearceGraeme Wallington and head of insolvency Scott Porter.

Practice head(s):

Lee Pearce; Graeme Wallington

Mullis & Peake LLP

Mullis & Peake LLP's commercial litigation offering works with clients from industries including betting, leisure and healthcare. The practice is led by Manzurul Islam, who has particular expertise with regards to the Civil Proceeds of Crime Act. The firm, a member of law firm network LawNet, is particularly known for its work in the construction sector, having established a strong reputation for complex cases in both the High Court and Court of Appeal. Martyn Trenerry and Esther Marshall are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Manzurul Islam

Other key lawyers:

Martyn Trenerry; Esther Marshall


Mullis & Peake is a superb firm of solicitors and is made up of a number of impressive solicitors with wide ranging practice areas. A regional firm that easily competes with the larger city firms in terms of quality of service and turnaround rates‘.

Good range of ages and backgrounds to the litigation team, able to call on a variety of personal experience‘.

A really strong team of lawyers who are down to earth and easy to speak to. Other firms I have been used have only been interested in how much they can invoice me, whereas Mullis & Peake spend more time understanding my business and giving me the right result. Even if it means doing no work for me. I can have a proper conversation with them and always get honest advice‘.

Martyn Trennary has an excellent knowledge of the law and is a great tactician; he is always operating a few moves ahead of his opponent. Manzurul Islam is a very effective litigator and an expert negotiator. He has achieved outcomes that I did not think were possible‘.

Martyn Trenerry is one of the best litigators I have come across in nearly two decades. Great tactical skill in dealing with opponents‘.

The standout partner is Manzurul Islam. He is an outstanding lawyer. I first used him at a different firm and was so impressed that I stayed with him when he moved to Mullis & Peake. He is the one who has taken the time to know my business. He always keeps a calm head and gives the right advice. And he knows when to tell me I am wrong‘.

Esther Marshall was a pleasure to deal with. She immediately understood my needs and acted swiftly in order to meet the time pressure I was placed under. She was extremely professional yet friendly in her approach and took the time to ensure I understood every aspect of the agreement I was required to sign. I would not hesitate to recommend her and will definitely endeavour to use her colleagues at Mullis & Peake for all future legal needs, in the hope that they are as good as Esther‘.

Key clients

John F. Hunt Ltd

Rainham Steel

Pathos Continental Foods

British Muslim School

Pets Choice Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for a defendant (which has the largest Islamic faith school in England) in respect of a construction dispute. This involved adjudication and Court proceedings.
  • Represented a claimant in a chancery matter at the High Court. This sought an order granting a power of sale over a charged property.
  • Acted for a defendant in a construction dispute: successful in setting aside a judgement ‘substantially out of time’.


The Palmers commercial litigation team, led by Luke Morgan, specialises in IP disputes, professional negligence cases and commercial fraud, an area where it covers breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, bribery and freezing injunctions. In addition, it is fully equipped to handle complex 'business divorces' wherein Company Act principles are predominant. Erin Duffy has a strong track record in cases concerning adverse possession while Carla Jones handles disputes relating to insolvency, debt recovery and enforcement.

Practice head(s):

Luke Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Erin Duffy; Carla Jones


Extremely responsive: always on top and in front of the situation‘.

Work highlights

  • Represented a client in a large scale commercial fraud in which two book-keepers defrauded the client by ‘siphoning off’. The sum was in excess of £1 million and took place over the course of approximately six years.
  • Acted on behalf of a purportedly defrauded party. This case concerns an allegation of fraud committed by two attorneys and incorporates proceedings for breach of duty/breach of trust and wilful default.
  • Instructed on behalf of two defendants to a claim, widely published in the financial press, brought by an internationally renowned spread betting company.

Rainer Hughes

Rainer Hughes' boutique litigation team is known for handling work for wholesale alcohol companies, in what are often high-value tax disputes. Key figures in the team include Sanjay Panesar.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors

All aspects of commercial and civil litigation are handled by the dispute resolution team at Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors. Specifically, the team is notable for its work on disputes relating to debt recovery, professional negligence and breach of contract. It also has substantive experience in contentious issues involving landlords and tenants, probate and wills, building work and property boundaries. The team, which is led by recently promoted partner Leanne Philp, has benefited from the expertise accrued by its recent merger with Stafford Young Jones.

Practice head(s):

Leane Philp

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in a trust and estoppel claim.
  • Represented a client in a dispute over building work and invoices.
  • Acted for a company director in a breach of covenant claim.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP

Fiona Colwell oversees the commercial litigation offering at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP. Capable of dealing with substantive liquidations, it handles cases relating to issues such as unfair prejudice and minority protection, deadlocked board disputes, breach of warranty and misrepresentation claims. Clients can also source assistance with misconduct and negligence claims and general corporate governance issues.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Colwell

Work highlights

  • Represented client based in Australia regarding a claim for a purported preferential transaction whilst a director of a company based in England, the claim being in the sum of £700,000 but settlement being achieved.
  • Pursued action against an individual who misappropriated the funds of a pop star whilst acting as his accountant.
  • Pursued claim by a League One football team that is alleging a failure to provide funding against a public funding facilitator that provides work- based learning in the sporting world.

Thompson Smith and Puxon

Tenant disputes, defamation and contentious probate are all handled by the commercial litigation team at Thompson Smith and Puxon. In addition, clients can benefit from the firm's experience in residential leasehold enfranchisement (the firm is a member of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners). Trained mediator Sharon Auton leads with assistance from Naomi Baker and Laura-Pauline Adcock-Jones.

Practice head(s):

Sharon Auton


The main reason why TSP differs from other firms is in the way that the firm has a real grasp of a matter. They are never in a mess with anything and cases are well prepared‘.

They are always available to discuss a matter if necessary.I always enjoy receiving instructions from the team at TSP and I would say that their clients have made an excellent choice when deciding to use TSP.’

I dealt with Sharon Auton and she was efficient, prepared and exceptionally well-versed in the subject matter. Her advice saved me a great deal of money and I am very grateful to her and the paralegals she had involved‘.