Hall Of Fame

Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Commercial litigation: Hampshire

Headed up by Andrew Witt, Dutton Gregory LLP’s dispute resolution practice has extensive expertise in handling professional negligence and insolvency claims.

Commercial litigation: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Acting on behalf of clients in high-value disputes across the IP, public, and manufacturing sectors, the Blake Morgan LLP commercial litigation group is recommended for its ability to handle contractual claims and cross-jurisdictional issues. Richard Portlock typically advises companies within the food, travel, and leisure fields. Dan Geddes boasts 17 years’ experience as a litigator, mainly in insolvency, while Louise Fuller focuses on the superyacht and marine leisure industries. Michael College is an expert on professional negligence matters, while Gemma Spiceley rounds out the roster of recommended practitioners. Former practice head Jill Bainbridge left the firm in September 2023.

Other key lawyers:

Richard Portlock; Dan Geddes; Louise Fuller; Michael Colledge; Gemma Spiceley


‘Balanced legal view enables good commercial decision making.’

Key clients


NHS England

Advanced Thinking Systems Limited

Exclusive Luxury Lodges Limited

Wiggle CRC

Utilita Energy Limited

Sutton and East Surrey Water

Mattel UK Limited

IBM United Kingdom Limited


Work highlights

  • Represented SES WATER in several prosecutions under the Water Industry Act 1991.
  • Advising Oyster Yachts on a range of marine-related matters, including sale and purchase contracts, negotiating the terms of the sale of yachts up to model 885, broad management issues and trade mark protection, as well as representing the client in a copyright dispute.
  • Advising Advanced Thinking Systems on the ownership of IP and assets globally, following the purchase of assets of Antenna Audio from administrators.

Shoosmiths LLP

Counting international automotive and technology companies amongst its key clients, Shoosmiths LLP’s team demonstrates substantial strength in handling complex fraud and contractual disputes, as well as professional negligence claims. The group routinely manages international arbitration and high-value disputes for a roster of international brand names, with department head Jonathan Smart, boasting expertise in shareholder disputes and contract litigation. Paula Swain is recommended for her knowledge of consumer credit law, while principal associate Shelley White regularly advises companies on liquidations and administrations. Laura Clark focuses on data protection disputes, and Luke Holborn handles breach of warranty claims. Harry Warren supports clients with supply chain disputes.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Smart

Other key lawyers:

Paula Swain; Shelley White; Luke Coleborn; Harry Warren; Laura Clark


‘The team are extremely knowledgeable in their field. I have been very impressed with the availability of both the senior associate and partner that I have worked with, and their work ethic and commitment is second to none.’

‘I have worked closely with Jonathan Smart and Luke Coleborn and have consistently been impressed by their work. In addition, both Luke and Jonathan have a wealth of experience of dealing with complicated litigation. Their excellent knowledge and practical experience means they are able to offer a fantastic services to clients.’

‘Jonathan Smart has an incredible eye for detail and ability to drill down into the complexities of matters he is responsible for. He also adopts a measured approach to correspondence and remains focused on securing the best outcome for clients.’

‘Harry Warren is a strong part of the team. He is dynamic and responsive. Able to act decisively when required.’

‘Shoosmiths’ team provides a robust and highly-strategic service and handles an impressive range of high-value commercial disputes.’

‘Luke Coleborn is one of the sharpest associates around and always delivers the highest quality work.’

‘Jonathan Smart is a standout partner. He is bright, likeable, efficient and an excellent legal strategist.’

‘Jonathan Smart is exceptionally bright and provides sound advice. He is able to look beyond the legal elements of a case and advise with his clients’ business needs and commercial interests in mind.’

Key clients

Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Limited

Hewlett Packard

Three Mobile

Honda Motor Europe

Peugeot Citroen Group

Mercedes Benz



London Electric Vehicle Company


Telefonica (O2 Mobile)

Tesco Mobile


Electrolux AB

Work highlights

  • Acting for the administrators of Lendy in a professional negligence claim estimated to be worth over £60m.
  • Acting for Electrolux in a £10m contractual dispute.
  • Defending automotive brand Opel against a $19m claim in the High Court.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The commercial litigation team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is singled out by one client as ‘genuinely exceptional’; local, national, and international clients instruct the firm to represent them in complex retail and energy disputes. The Southampton office boasts an arbitration arm, regularly handling international arbitration spanning the manufacturing, media, and technology industries. Tom Beezer leads the group, bringing vast expertise in providing dispute avoidance advice and litigation analysis to the team. Ian Newcombe regularly acts on claims arising from commercial contracts and directors’ disputes. Andrew Parsons is an expert on commercial disputes in the technology sector, and Gavin Matthews focuses on retail and consumer law. Managing associate Amy Prime specialises in data protection breaches.

Practice head(s):

Tom Beezer

Other key lawyers:

Ian Newcombe; Andrew Parsons; Gavin Matthews; Amy Prime; Camilla Thomas; Elisha Langridge


‘Amy Prime has been excellent; very helpful and quick to respond and assist when required. There is clearly a lot of knowledge within the team and great focus on technology.’

‘The commercial litigation team at WBD are very easy to work with. They are personable, collaborative and have a good commercial awareness.’

‘Ian Newcombe goes out of his way to make himself available, often at short notice, and never gives the impression that it’s an imposition.’

Key clients


British Gas




DS Smith





Post Office



The Body Shop

Work highlights

  • Acting for Rentokil in a dispute concerning the alleged under-payment of deferred consideration following a corporate acquisition by the client.
  • Advising Blackbaud on its response to a data breach involving the hacking of its customer databases, where the records of individuals globally were accessed.
  • Representing The Body Shop in a dispute regarding franchise agreements with a franchisee to operate a small number of franchised Body Shop stores.

Clarke Willmott LLP

From the Southampton office, Owen Williams and senior associate Cathy Harris jointly lead the Clarke Willmott LLP commercial litigation team, showcasing a strong capability in supporting clients through complex contractual and business interruption disputes; the former deals with IT and contentious probate disputes, while the latter focuses on professional negligence claims and franchise disputes. The department is well placed to advise SMEs operating at regional and national level.

Practice head(s):

Cathy Harris; Owen Williams


‘Cathy Harris takes on high-value, complex matters. If you need a safe pair of hands that will work tirelessly for you, she’s your lawyer.’

‘This firm takes on cases that other might not.’

‘Owen Williams has provided much needed and clear guidance and helped achieve great, tactical results in a tricky situation.’

‘Highly personal and extremely attentive.’

‘Owen Williams – a mind like a steel trap!’

Key clients

Greene King

International investors to a class action

Hartford Care Group Limited

Marina Developments Limited

Bandai UK Limited

The Student Room Group Limited

IME Group Limited

Hampshire Sport and Leisure Holding Ltd

Richard Merton

Mark Ferns Group Limited

Swaythling Housing Society Limited t/a Abri

Work highlights

  • Settled an international class action for repayment of £2.9m plus interest and costs for various UK and international investors, obtaining security in the form of personal and corporate guarantees and short repayment terms.
  • Defended a claim for racial discrimination against Greene King, which mitigated damage and protected the reputation of the client.
  • Advised a local sporting and hospitality venue on its ability to increase its claim for business interruption loss to £2.2m on account of recent High Court judgments.

Moore Barlow

With extensive expertise across the finance, education, and sports industries, the dispute resolution department at Moore Barlow is well versed in handling high-value contractual and commercial disputes for SMEs. Claire Haverfield and David Foster co-head the group from Southampton and Guildford, with the former boasting over 25 years’ experience in handling warranty and IT disputes, and the latter regularly managing claims for corporate clients. Sarah Watley deals with commercial possession claims. Mark Osgood left the firm in May 2024.

Practice head(s):

Claire Haverfield; David Foster

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Watley; Esther Millard


‘They have a real passion for fighting for their clients.’

‘I have worked with Claire Haverfield for over five years, and she offers an excellent service. She is super bright, commercially astute and prepared to litigate hard when required to obtain the best outcome for her clients. Cases are exceptionally well prepared and organised. She is also an absolute pleasure to work with.’

‘Claire Haverfield is quite simply excellent. She is ‘hands on’ and fully engaged in the case. She also provides clear, practical advice to clients. Her cases are exceptionally well prepared and organised.’

‘David Foster is very experienced and brings a mature and balanced approach to complex disputes.’

‘David Foster is a stand out practitioner with exceptional experience and excellent client care.’

‘The firm do not shy away from difficult cases. They are efficient and collaborative. The client is treated with courtesy and respect.’

Key clients

Business Mortgage Finance 5 PLC and Business Mortgage Finance 7 PLC

Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee (Parents of Archie Batersbee)

Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE (formerly of Kids Company)

CNK Alliance Limited

Cobweb Solutions Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee (parents of Archie Battersbee) in a challenge to an NHS Trust’s intention to cease life-sustaining treatment for their 12-year-old son.
  • Acted for Camila Batmanghelidjh (former trustee of Kids Company) in a judicial review of a Charity Commission report’s findings against her, following a failed attempt by the Official Receiver to bring directors disqualification proceedings.
  • Acted for CNK Alliance in a successful challenge to Belgian euthanasia laws as incompatible with the right to life as enshrined in the ECHR.

Paris Smith LLP

Boasting significant strength in the recruitment, finance, and manufacturing spaces, the Southampton-based Paris Smith LLP team specialises in all aspects of disputes arising out of corporate transactions. The firm has recently expanded its public and pharmaceutical sector work, with Christopher Holliss bringing in-depth experience of advising emerging and international pharmaceutical and tech companies to the group. David Eminton heads up the practice, operating out of Southampton, and routinely dealing with all fields of commercial litigation. Helen Brown supports clients with disputes ranging from IT contracts to shareholder issues.

Practice head(s):

David Eminton

Other key lawyers:

Helen Brown; Christopher Holliss


‘I have found Helen Brown to be excellent, conscientious, available, and patient with me when I’m finding the situation difficult to handle. I genuinely believe she cares about the case and a positive outcome and is proactively fighting my corner.’

‘Helen Brown is extremely knowledgeable and has a measured approach. Responses are always well researched. Gives a very honest opinion, even if it is one the client does not wish to hear, in an authoritative but friendly way. Very approachable and always willing to help.’

‘Our in-house legal team were faced with a complex dispute and they were experiencing delays, barriers and a lack of understanding with our normal external solicitors. Chris Holliss and David Eminton of Paris Smith were recommended to me and we found dealing with Paris Smith to be a breath of fresh air. Within 4 weeks their expertise had solved our dispute which was a record and their approach was a breath of fresh air, sensible and experienced heads who were breaking the mould of the tedious stuffy approach.’

‘Chris Holliss and David Eminton were outstanding, their approach is fresh and their knowledge and understanding of not just the law but business is outstanding. I believe that for a solicitor to be truly effective they need to understand in depth the issue at hand and both Chris and David seemed as versed in my business as they did in the law within a few hours. I cannot recommend them highly enough.’

‘Chris Hollis demonstrated exceptional skill in dealing with a very antagonistic individual and has shown a great deal of empathy and commitment to resolving matters.’

‘Chris Holliss has amassed a lot of knowledge in the recruitment sector. He is always available and will give us an honest opinion of the best course of action.’

‘I have worked alongside Chris Holliss for over 15 years and he has always provided an excellent service to my clients and to me. I can trust that any work I pass to Chris will be handled to a high standard.’

‘Chris Holliss’ particular quality, aside from being a great lawyer, is his industry knowledge. A number of firms claim to specialise in the sector with little substance behind those claims. Chris genuinely understands the market.’

Key clients

Greenhalghs Craft Bakery

Barfoot Farms Limited

Hobbycraft Trading Limited

Southern Fisheries Limited

Neyland Yacht Haven Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Barfoots Farms on a theft by an employee of sums in excess of £750,000.

Trethowans LLP

Having grown significantly in the areas of property litigation, contentious trusts, and financial services, the Trethowans LLP commercial litigation department is known for representing major corporations and high-net-worth-individuals in such disputes. The team works closely across the firm’s offices in Winchester, Poole, and Bournemouth, enabling it to draw on vast resources to solve multi-faceted claims. Southampton-based practice head Karl Cameron specialises in property disputes and construction claims, while Richard Cook boasts over 35 years’ experience in handling contract claims. Jennifer Bowes deals with insolvency-related litigation. From the Salisbury office, Amy Croxford is also noted. Mark Osgood joined the team from Moore Barlow in May 2024, bringing his experience in handling insolvency disputes.

Practice head(s):

Karl Cameron

Other key lawyers:

Richard Cook; Robert Bajaj; Jennifer Bowes; Linden Talbot; Amy Croxford; Mark Osgood


‘Excellent client communication; excellent focus on the core issues without being distracted by irrelevances; and excellent technical skills and familiarity with Court proceedings.’

‘Objective; straightforward; determined and regularly keep the client up to date.’

‘Great breadth of skills and knowledge.’

‘Richard Cook is very good indeed. Thorough, knowledgeable, practical and punctual.’

Key clients


Industrial Cleaning & Equipment Limited

Great Star (Europe) Limited

Eagle International Limited

Ministry of Defence

4Com Group Limited

Bacardi Limited


BDB Pitmans

Showcasing considerable expertise within the insurance, insolvency, and property fields, BDB Pitmans’ Southampton litigation team has extensive experience of managing shareholder disputes and professional negligence claims. Accredited mediator and insolvnecy expert Rick Munro co-heads the group from Southampton, alongside Reading-based Philip Smith. Claire Collings specialises in contractual and commercial property disputes, while Jacqueline Dickinson typically handles insurance liability claims.

Practice head(s):

Phil Smith; Rick Munro

Other key lawyers:

Claire Collings; Jacqueline Dickinson; Judith Smyth


‘Very experienced and capable litigators. Always have the confidence of their clients. Commercially astute and achieve the right goals for their clients whatever the odds. Tough negotiators who play with a straight bat.’

‘Claire Collings – hugely experienced and a very accomplished litigator.’

‘Rick Munro – vastly experienced, hugely capable and a very safe pair of hands. The person you want on board in difficult litigation.’

‘Rick Munro is a senior and very experienced litigator, who has excellent judgment and is adept at dealing with difficult and demanding clients and challenging situations. He is also an excellent team player and enjoyable to work with.’

Key clients


Covéa Insurance

Mildren Construction

Mears Group

Premier Marinas Limited

Wessex Resins and Adhesives Limited

Red Funnel Group Limited

Manolete Partners plc

C.P.J Field & Co. Limited

Begbies Traynor

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of SAGA and one other insurer in a claim against a statutory water undertaker in relation to an escape of water causing a sinkhole.
  • Acting on behalf of a lessor and lessee of properties in litigation relating to a sub-underlessee of a property who is in breach of covenant not to cause nuisance or annoyance and who has now destroyed the property and damaged surrounding properties by starting a fire.
  • Acting on behalf of a ferry operator representing a landlord in bringing claims against a tenant, former tenant and guarantor for substantial rent arrears under a lease and an authorised guarantee agreement.

Phillips Solicitors

Operating out of Basingstoke, the Phillips Solicitors group is well equipped to handle professional negligence and general commercial disputes on behalf of SMEs, family-run businesses, and larger corporate entities. Max Hope leads the team with vast expertise in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, while senior associate Simon Arneaud focuses on complex property litigation matters and contentious wills issues.

Practice head(s):

Max Hope

Other key lawyers:

Simon Arneaud


‘From a technology and capability standpoint, Philips have all the attributes of a large London law firm. The service I have received to date from them has been faultless. The team’s strengths are in the depth of experience they all have and their ability to execute complicated situations in the best way possible for the best outcome for their clients. The commitment they have is deeper than anything I have experienced in the past and it’s common to talk to them on weekends if required.’

‘Philips give me a lot of time to talk through difficult and complicated situations and it was always done with a smile, dignity and humour where appropriate. They are like a seamless extension to my team and given my personal events in the last 3 years they are an invaluable part of life.’

‘Transparency and honesty. No unnecessary work is undertaken to ‘fill’ time and this means fees are kept as low as possible for the client.’

Work highlights

  • Represented the executors of an estate in a successful appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Acting as mediator in the successful break-up of a £150m family-owned property investment company.
  • Representing a London property development company in litigation against a major riverside development concerning fees owed for introducing a £130m private equity investment within the development.