Commercial litigation: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP’s Southampton commercial litigation practice represents international, national and local clients on a range of high-value disputes. Led by intellectual property specialist Jill Bainbridge, the team is particularly well-regarded for its expertise in patent infringement and other IP matters, often where there are cross-border considerations. Susie Dryden handles litigation and mediation for a number of the firm’s IT and health clients, while Richard Portlock is a key figure for litigation and arbitration in the manufacturing sector.  Looking beyond its longstanding reputation in the healthcare and public sectors, the arrival of Louise Fuller from Lester Aldridge LLP strengthens the team’s offering in the high-value marine and super yacht sphere. Dan Geddes, who concentrates on restructuring and insolvency, was promoted to partner in September last year.

Practice head(s):

Jill Bainbridge

Other key lawyers:

Susie Dryden; Richard Portlock; Louise Fuller; Dan Geddes


‘Good people and a collaborative approach, very easy to work with.’

‘Susie Dryden is highly knowledgeable, tactically astute, and it was a pleasure to work with her and her team.’

‘Susie Dryden is a class act; clever and very knowledgeable, excellent judgement, commercially astute and a pleasure to be instructed by. 

‘Practical, grounded approach in their advice. Always take the time to understand the issues’

‘Jill Bainbridge is very knowledgeable and an excellent communicator, always puts clients at ease!’

‘Dan Geddes is an exceptional commercial litigator. He is tactically astute, calm under pressure and tough in negotiations. ’

‘Reputation is second to none within the central south region. Partners regularly engage with business organisations and support research on matters of interest to the property sector.’

‘Commercial, client facing and very knowledgable. Nothing was too much trouble and all requests were dealt with efficiently and promptly.’


Key clients

Roderic & Margarita Hamilton

Circle Health Ltd

NHS England


Horse Health Limited


MacRoberts LLP


The Tintometer Limited

Red Paddle

Work highlights

  • Advising Circle Health in a procurement dispute with Nottingham Rushcliffe CCG relating to the procurement of elective outpatient and day care services at the Nottingham Treatment Centre.
  • Advising online florist eFlorist Limited in relation to issues of defamation and harassment.
  • Acting for Horse Health, a supplier of equestrian products, in relation to passing off, patent infringement and other IP disputes, a number of which involved cross jurisdictional issues.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP‘s Solent disputes team regularly acts for blue-chip clients across sectors including automotive, manufacturing, IT and technology. Practice head Jonathan Smart has a strong foothold in both the hi-tech and automotive worlds, serving as counsel for various leading car companies in domestic litigation matters. International arbitration is a key area of strength, with the team recently engaged on a number of LCIA and UNICTRAL proceedings. Paula Swain handles consumer finance litigation, and is a longstanding adviser to lenders in the consumer credit market. Shelley White works chiefly with asset finance lenders and automotive clients on business recovery matters, while Luke Coleborn deals with a range of shareholder and partnership disputes and contentious insolvencies.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Smart

Other key lawyers:

Paula Swain; Shelley White; Luke Coleborn; Harry Warren


‘Very approachable and understanding of client needs. This is a quality dispute resolution team at all levels of seniority.”

‘Extremely good communicators. Approachable and professional, with a clear understanding of all the required technical law.’

‘Jon Smart is as bright as they come. He has a good eye for both the merits of a case and how to frame it  so that the legal principles deliver on those merits.’

‘Shelley White is brilliant; extremely commercial and has a well-judged pragmatic approach to litigation. She has been brilliant under pressure on a number of emergency injunction proceedings.’

‘Luke Coleborn is excellent. Incredibly dedicated and hard working.’

‘The team at Shoosmiths are forward thinking, pragmatic and extremely hard working whilst always remaining approachable and dependable. They have excelled during the pandemic, and have transitioned seamlessly.’

‘The whole team at Shoosmiths go above and beyond for their clients.’

‘Harry Warren is pragmatic, calm, and composed.  A real asset to the team.’

Key clients

Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Limited


Three Mobile

Honda Motor Europe

Peugeot Citroen Group

Mercedes Benz





Hewlett Packard



Krispy Kreme



The White Company


Work highlights

  • Acting for a global car manufacturer in a £35 million cross border dispute in the Commercial Court.
  • Acting for the administrators of a substantial lender in pursuing a £50 million breach of contract and professional negligence claim against the insurer of commercial real estate consultants in one of the biggest claims of its type this year.
  • Successfully secured an injunction and judgment against a Cypriot company following a cyber-attack that brought down one of the largest US online sports betting website in a high profile, multi-jurisdictional dispute.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

A strong focus on energy and retail disputes makes Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP a firm choice for numerous high-profile national clients operating in both sectors. Practice head Tom Beezer’s experience acting for clients in the oil and gas arena sees him fielding both domestic and international mandates pertaining to natural resources, supported by managing associate Rosie Gaisford. Ian Newcombe is noted for his work with various utilities providers and retail heavyweights. Gavin Matthews leads on retail related litigation, and is particularly adept at handling disputes with a cross-border element. On the technology and data side, Andrew Parsons fields instructions with a distinctive IT focus, often for major public utility companies. All named lawyers are based in Southampton.

Practice head(s):

Tom Beezer

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Gasford; Ian Newcombe; Gavin Matthews; Andrew Parson


‘The litigation team has both strength in depth and some great key individuals with specific expertise. Brilliantly transparent on billing – not a common trait!’

‘They really take the time to understand you and your business. They always look for ways to help and support you, in a way that values your relationship and isn’t just about increasing billable time.’

‘For me, the stand out partner is Ian Newcombe. He is definitely one of my go-to, trusted counsel as I appreciate his depth of knowledge and honesty, on a wide range of topics, not just litigation.’

‘The team operate out of Southampton, but provide a level of service and expertise which rivals any national of City firm. The Commercial Litigation team represent amazing value for money in this respect. There is no dispute which I would not use this team for. ’

‘Andrew Parsons is a true expert in IT and Data issues. He is forward thinking. Leading the next generation of partners.’

‘Ian Newcombe is incredibly astute with tactics, and has a cool head. He always have an eye on the interest of the client and focuses on achieving the overall objective.’

‘The team is nimble and well managed. They provide good access to partners. They make intelligent use of counsel and give sensible strategic advice, while ensuring that the client’s money is used as intelligently as possible.’

‘Tom Beezer is a sensible, experienced litigator. He has an intelligent and practical approach and consistently helps clients achieve their commercial goals.’


Key clients


British Gas

Post Office

New Look



DS Smith





Bombardier Transportation Limited

J. Barbour & Sons Limited

Clarke Willmott LLP

The Southampton commercial litigation department at Clarke Willmott LLP regularly assists a broad roster of individuals and corporate entities operating at a regional and national level. The team is led by Owen Williams, who chiefly handles shareholder disputes and contentious probate matters and has 'a real presence in court'. The 'quite brilliant' Cathy Harris is well-versed in complex contractual disputes and is also responsible for the firm’s growing business interruption practice.

Practice head(s):

Owen Williams

Other key lawyers:

Cathy Harris; Isabelle Cam


‘This firm has delivered success after success for me.’

‘They have a forensic ability to drill to the key points and mount elegant legal arguments. Put simply, they get results.’

‘Owen Williams has a real presence in court, matched with an incredible ability to negotiate and do a deal.’

‘Excellent service, delivering genuine value and partnership in their approach’

‘Cathy Harris is exceptionally efficient, very exact and highly personable – and quite brilliant.’

‘For a potential star of the future, look no further than Isabelle Cam –  already highly talented and extremely diligent. ’


Key clients

Sony Europe B.V.

Onecom Group Limited

Bandai UK Limited

The Student Room Group Limited

Wyke Farms Limited

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)

Hawk-Eye Innovations Limited

Vokhus Limited

Salhan Accountants Limited

UK Land Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the director and shareholder of a property development company in respect of a debt claim against the minority and an action to forfeit their shares.
  • Defending a provider of health and wellbeing benefits to employees in a claim of defamation and malicious falsehood.
  • Advising Crownton International Grain Limited in appealing a first instance arbitration award made by GAFTA relating to the sale and purchase of 30,000 metric tonnes of barley from Australia for delivery to China valued in excess of £1 million.

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow’s commercial litigation practice is reaping the benefits of its recent merger, with a bolstered regional presence and deeper bench. Well-regarded mediator David Foster heads up a Southampton-based team which handles commercial and property disputes, restructurings, professional negligence and debt recovery for SME clients in financial services, real estate and development. Mark Osgood handles partnership and shareholder disputes and insolvencies for various SMEs, while Claire Haverfield focuses on warranty claims and contentious IP work for international retailers, tech companies and high-net-worth individuals. Sarah Watley heads up the firm’s financial services litigation offering, supported by Susannah Marsh.

Practice head(s):

David Foster

Other key lawyers:

Mark Osgood; Claire Haverfield; Sarah Watley; Susannah Marsh; Andrew Reid


‘Andrew Reid is a very bright and canny litigator, unfazed by litigating against larger teams of commercial lawyers.’

‘Mark Osgood is very commercially aware and a safe pair of hands for clients of any size.’

‘The team provides a high quality, efficient service focused on obtaining results.’

‘Claire Haverfield is very bright, very quick and has great client care skills. She has a calm, measured, intelligent manner which enables her to navigate difficult problems and situations with ease.’

‘Mark Osgood has immense knowledge and experience to hand and it is a pleasure to work with him. He is never patronising and always gives 100%. Nothing is too much trouble. It is obvious the client comes first with him.’

‘The major innovation in this team is the fully insured dispute resolution solution. Mark Osgood has moved to Moore Barlow and taken this approach to his new practice. He is a great person to work with – empathic and thorough. His appreciation of the risks of litigation and how the fully insured solution works for clients is groundbreaking in my view.’


Key clients

Business Mortgage Finance 4, 5, 6 and 7 PLC

Hrothgar Investments Limited

Octopus Real Estate

Oblix Capital Limited

Churchill Retirement Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Business Mortgage Finance 5 PLC and Business Mortgage Finance 7 PLC in respect of mortgage arrears due from borrower.
  • Advising Business Mortgage Finance 4 PLC in respect of mortgage arrears due from borrower.

Paris Smith LLP

Paris Smith LLP’s regional reputation sees it acting for a range of local SMEs and national companies headquartered in the South. Practice head Helen Brown attracts a high volume of work, regularly taking on disputes work for many of the firm’s most high-profile clients. Christopher Holliss leads the debt collection and asset recovery sub-division, and is especially active for SME and multinational clients operating in the recruitment sector. Peter Ralls QC draws on a wealth of experience  as a commercial and civil litigator to run cases and act as counsel on complex matters led by colleagues within the team. All named lawyers are based in Southampton.

Practice head(s):

David Eminton – head of department; Helen Brown – head of commercial disputes; Chris Holliss – head of debt collection & asset recovery

Other key lawyers:

Peter Ralls; Emma Cory Wright


‘Paris Smith’s commercial litigation team provides a gold standard service to their clients. The bundles are always meticulously prepared, the briefs comprehensive and thorough.’


‘Helen Brown is highly able, efficient, precise and hugely experienced in civil litigation law and procedure. A reassuring adviser.’

‘Peter Ralls QC is a seasoned veteran of commercial litigation, bringing with him a rare insight into both sides of the table. The more complex and adversarial the dispute – the less I would want him on the other side.’

‘Emma Cory Wright is patient and personable with clients but extremely robust with difficult opponents.’

‘Chris Holliss is exceptionally knowledgeable in agency law. Efficient, justifiably confident and absolutely committed to a positive result.’

Key clients

Greenhalgh’s Craft Bakery Limited

Hobbycraft Limited

Euro Car Parts Limited

Southern Fisheries Ltd

Randstad CPE Limited

Metro Bank Plc

Gattaca Plc

Corrotherm International Limited

Quba Solutions Limited

Hampshire Trust Bank

Work highlights

  • Acting in a claim bought by Southern Fisheries Ltd  against Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd arising out of work on Southern Fisheries’ property, leading to loss of fishing swims and damage to both the river bed and the river banks, damage to a SSSI site and failure to reinstate or provide compensation.

Trethowans LLP

Recent expansion has resulted in Trethowans LLP’s commercial litigation team representing a broader client base of developer and commercial property clients in addition to various well-renowned corporates, public sector entities, and regional SMEs. Southampton practice head Karl Cameron handles high-value property disputes, while Richard Cook focuses on contract claims and shareholder disputes. In the Bournemouth office, Robert Bajaj is a key contact for a range of commercial and property litigation matters, and has recently acted on high-value contract disputes and indemnity claims. Poole-based Andrew Carswell is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Karl Cameron

Other key lawyers:

Richard Cook; Robert Bajaj; Andrew Carswell

Key clients


Industrial Cleaning & Equipment Limited

Great Star (Europe) Limited

Eagle International Limited

Ministry of Defence

VES Andover Limited

4Com Plc

Bacardi Limited

Baker Perkins Limited

Elliot Brothers Limited

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans’ commercial disputes practice handles property and insurance-disputes work  for clients across sectors including construction, affordable housing, and financial services. The team is jointly led by Southampton-based Rick Munro, a qualified mediator, and Phil Smith, who works from the firm’s Reading office.  Fraudulent insurance and insurance liability claims are a core practice competency, with both Munro and legal director Claire Collings key contacts for this work. Sylvia Yendall is noted for her experience in landlord-tenant disputes.

Practice head(s):

Rick Munro; Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:

Claire Collings; Sylvia Yendall


‘BDB Pitmans have a great breadth of practice. ’

‘I have worked most closely with Claire Collings. She has a fantastic amount of experience and really good judgement.’

‘I work with Rick Munro and Sylvia Yendall, who make a fantastic team. Rick is a great strategist, and Sylvia is very analytical and has significant technical know-how.’

‘Claire Collings has a great eye for detail, very diligent, well-drafted, comprehensive witness statements.’

‘Approachable and responsive.’

Key clients


Premier Marinas Limited

Mildren Construction

Covéa Insurance

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of insurers on a claim relating to an escape of water causing a sinkhole.
  • Acting on behalf of insurers in relation to a claim for extensive damage caused to a property by a fire involving a carelessly discarded cigarette.
  • Acting on behalf of insurers in a claim against a gas board for an explosion which occurred at a property in Birstall, Leicestershire causing damage to a number of properties in the street.

Irwin Mitchell

The commercial litigation team at Irwin Mitchell in Southampton acts on disputes for a range of clients across the financial services, manufacturing, tech, media and sports sectors. In recent months – owing largely to the pandemic – the department has taken on a number of business interruption claims, as well as cross-border shareholder disputes. Practice head Hannah Clipston is experienced in handling breach of contract claims and associated tortious claims, especially in the sports and leisure arena. Rob Coleridge concentrates on technical disputes related to design and engineering, while  Stephanie Reeves is recommended for her experience in professional negligence, shareholder disputes and risk management strategies.

Practice head(s):

Hannah Clipston

Other key lawyers:

Rob Coleridge; Stephanie Reeves

Key clients

Micheldever Tyre Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Micheldever Tyre Services Limited in connection with a complex tax claim in the First Tier Tax Tribunal.

Phillips Solicitors

Phillips Solicitors handles a diverse range of contentious matters for owner-managed businesses in North Hampshire and the wider region from its base in Basingstoke. Firmwide director and practice head Max Hope is experienced in commercial and civil litigation as well as alternative dispute resolution, handling cases at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Simon Arneaud, who concentrates on property litigation, contentious probate, breach of contract claims, and employment litigation, joined the team from Lamb Brooks.

Practice head(s):

Max Hope

Other key lawyers:

Simon Arneaud


‘Phillips are extremely knowledgeable across myriad areas. Their network of experts, counsel and reputation is exceptional. Their adoption of technology and online tools meant quicker decisions and better quality of communication. Billing is never a surprise as they itemise everything, quote up front and update me regularly on fees for external parties.’

‘Max Hope is very well respected. He is quick to solve issues and has an impressive in-depth knowledge of corporate litigation. He’s likeable, professional and tenacious.’

‘The team at Phillips understand that clients need a balanced approach to legal advice – that being what the law says, what it implies and what the commercial risks are of adopting each of a range of tactics. They do not ‘hide behind’ caveats. Very refreshing…. not to mention the very successful outcomes we have had working with them across many areas including contract law, employment law, tribunals and libel.’

‘Working with Max Hope and Jack Gardener is an absolute pleasure. Quick to understand,  common-sense logic applied to a legal context. Able to communicate easily and effectively with those of us less versed in the finer points of law without being patronising.’

‘The team punch well above their weight. They are impressive, ambitious and aggressive (when required!)’

‘When I met Max Hope, it was to take on a Goliath of the corporate world and its fair to say that with Max’s help- David won! He was agile and quick to respond and creative as well as meticulous in his approach.’

‘Phillips is an exceptional law firm, offering a City level practice but charging more modestly, delivering exceptional service and value to clients.  I have had no hesitation recommending Phillips widely to my commercial network, and have noticed their following is growing apace, especially with larger and medium sized businesses in Hampshire and more widely.’

Key clients

Ideal Shopping Direct

Dress2Kill Ltd