Commercial litigation: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP‘s commercial litigation team is headed up by Jill Bainbridge, who has notable experience in complex commercial disputes and cross-jurisdictional matters, including those involving non-English law contracts. IP work is a key focus area for the team: Bainbridge leads the firm’s wider IP group, with experience in trade mark prosecution and brand management work. She is supported in this by legal director Ben Evans, who has specialist expertise in IP disputes relating to social media. Other strengths for the team include acting for clients in the manufacturing, food, travel, health and leisure sectors, which are all key areas of knowledge for Richard Portlock; and insolvency mandates, which are a significant strength of Dan Geddes. Louise Fuller has niche experience in the marine sector, and acts in matters relating to high-value super yachts. Michael Colledge was promoted to partner in 2022 and is also noted, in particular for his work on professional negligence and insurance coverage claims. All named lawyers are based in Southampton.

Practice head(s):

Jill Bainbridge

Other key lawyers:

Louise Fuller; Dan Geddes; Richard Portlock; Michael Colledge; Ben Evans


‘Very strong commercial litigation team. The team are adept at handling high-value, complex disputes, but they are down to earth, approachable and cost conscious.’

‘Dan Geddes is a stand-out performer in the team. He is calm under pressure, and really fights his client’s corner. Dan offers excellent, insightful advice and always keeps his eye on the ultimate commercial aims of his clients.’

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

  • Advising SES WATER on several prosecutions under the Water Industry Act 1991.
  • Acting for Oyster Yachts Limited on a range of marine related matters including broad management advice and trade mark protection and copyright disputes.
  • Advising Advanced Thinking Systems Limited in relation to ownership of IP and assets globally following the purchase of assets of Antenna Audio Limited from administrators.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP‘s dispute resolution and litigation team draws on the firm’s bank of experienced lawyers to act for major brand-name clients in sectors spanning from the retail and leisure industries to the food, hospitality and education arenas, with particularly notable expertise in the automotive and technology industries. The team is led by Jonathan Smart, who is highly recommended for his ability to handle complex cases and navigate media attention, especially for clients in the IT sector. Paula Swain is a specialist consumer finance litigator, known for her in-depth knowledge of consumer credit law, while Shelley White handles asset-based finance litigation and recovery issues, with additional experience in contentious insolvencies. Luke Coleborn is noted for his broad corporate litigation practice, which includes handling partnership and shareholder disputes, breach of warranty claims, breach of contract matters and product liability work.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Smart

Other key lawyers:

Paula Swain; Shelley White; Luke Coleborn


‘The Shoosmiths team provides a very personalised service, and demonstrates a high degree of commercial acumen. The team punches above its weight in terms of the quality, value and complexity of cases in which it is instructed.’

‘The team stands out from its competitors. They are incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated. I have consistently found the team to be thorough in their approach. They are very confident dealing with a wide range of complex matters and offer excellent advice.’

‘Shoosmiths LLP is a leading firm in the region. The firm is a highly professional and well resourced outfit. Jon Smart’s team deals with disputes for household names and the team is well placed to manage the typical range of commercial disputes and issues that arise for large corporations in a holistic manner. The team is organised and works effectively to tackle issues. The team is particularly knowledgeable concerning contractual litigation and corporate & shareholder disputes. The team also collaborates effectively with counsel where specialist input is required. Unlike some firms, the team seeks counsel input at the right phase in potential actions which means the client’s interests are well served (financially and legally). I have always found members of the team to be easily accessible and responsive where necessary.’

‘All members of the team are bright, hardworking and collaborative. Their approach to handling claims of varying sizes is diligent, commercial and thorough.’

‘Jonathan Smart is a very hands-on partner. He can parachute into cases at short notice and lead counsel as necessary in the absence of his associates.’

‘I work closely with Luke Coleborn and Jonathan Smart. The reason they stand out is for their commercial awareness. They understand that for a business litigation, isn’t just about winning, there are costs considerations, PR concerns and effective use of management time. Both Luke and Jon understand this and tailor their advice and approach to keep this in mind. They make my job easier which cannot be said for other litigators I have worked with.’

‘Jon Smart is an exceptional partner who fights hard to secure the best outcome for all of his clients and has led the team on a number of impressive cases. Shelley White is outstanding and has an in-depth knowledge of insolvency litigation as well as general commercial litigation. Luke Coleborn is very sharp and has a fantastic grasp of all aspects of commercial litigation.’

‘Luke Coleborn is excellent. He works incredibly hard for his clients and has excellent knowledge and experience in his field. Luke is creative in his approach and finds solutions.’

Key clients

Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Limited

World Duty Free Group

Hewlett Packard

Three Mobile

Honda Motor Europe

Peugeot Citroen Group

Mercedes Benz


MG Motors





Krispy Kreme

MAN Truck and Bus





Work highlights

  • Pursuing a £35m+ professional negligence claim in the High Court against a law firm on behalf of the administrators of Lendy Limited.
  • Acting for a leading global automotive manufacturer in a $50m breach of contract claim in the Commercial Court.
  • Defending a £30m claim from a private equity business in High Court proceedings.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP acts for a wide range of high-profile clients across the region and beyond, and provides the full spectrum of commercial litigation and dispute resolution advice, with specialisms in the retail and energy sectors and growing expertise in technology and data protection matters. Team head Tom Beezer handles complex and high-value matters, and is especially experienced in the energy sector and upstream project cycle work. Ian Newcombe is also highly regarded for his work with energy clients, with a growing interest in matters relating to climate change. Gavin Matthews leads on litigation relating to the retail sector, and Andrew Parsons has a notable focus on technology mandates. Associate Amy Prime advises on a range of work, and is developing a niche practice concerning electronic disclosure and discovery. All named lawyers are based in Southampton.

Practice head(s):

Tom Beezer

Other key lawyers:

Gavin Matthews; Andrew Parsons; Amy Prime; Ian Newcombe


‘An excellent and well-rounded practice with very approachable and helpful team members.’

‘The team are great, they conduct work within the team at the right level to minimise costs where possible, there is a good level of oversight to ensure that this does not negatively impact the quality of the output. They keep in good contact, firstly to ensure that they obtain sufficiently detailed instructions at every stage of the process, but also to ensure that the client isn’t left second guessing as to what the current position is.’

‘Availability is the key one for me here. On several occasions I have had to request urgent calls with the partner who has overall supervision of the relevant matter. This always takes place quickly, sometimes within minutes, but certainly the same day.’

‘I have been working with the energy disputes team, who are a particularly user-friendly team with a degree of focus on the detail that is unusually strong. They are good at managing work streams, using counsel judiciously, and managing client expectations. I would consider them to be a highly attractive group for major corporates in particular in the energy sector to work with.’

‘Amy Prime was a real asset whilst working on this project; she was able to help on short notice and her patience was much appreciated. The support from the entire team was great; they got everything organised for us on very short notice and maintained contact throughout.’

Key clients


British Gas




DS Smith





Post Office


Work highlights

  • Advising Blackbaud on its response to a data breach involving the hacking of its customer databases, where the records of individuals globally were accessed.
  • Acted for an individual who was the defendant in injunctive and civil proceedings brought by a sports analytics company.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Headed up by experienced solicitor-advocate Owen Williams at the national level, Clarke Willmott LLP‘s commercial and private client litigation department handles a broad range of disputes for individual and corporate clients. Senior associate Cathy Harris leads the team’s day-to-day work from the Southampton office. She also runs the firm’s new business interruption focus team alongside partners in the Bristol and Birmingham offices, and handles complex cases arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Practice head(s):

Owen Williams; Cathy Harris


‘Exceptional due diligence. Very efficient. Great depth and knowledge. And exceptional value.’

Key clients

Sony Europe B.V.

Onecom Group Limited

Bandai UK Limited

E & J Capital Partners Limited

Wyke Farms Limited

Hampshire Sport and Leisure Holdings Limited

SME HCI Ltd t/a Vivup

Wessex Fleet Solutions Limited

Salhan Accountants Limited

UK Land Limited

DD-Scientific Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised and acted for E & J Capital Partners Limited in a rectification action in the Chancery Division arising out of a commercial deal that had mistakenly resulted in a balance of nearly £30m, rather than a nil balance.
  • Pursuing a class action on behalf of ten UK and worldwide investors to recover unpaid investments totalling c£2.4m.
  • Advising and pursuing a claim for business interruption losses in excess of £1m for a local prominent sporting and hospitality venue.

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow‘s commercial dispute resolution team acts for clients in the education, engineering, manufacturing and property sectors, with a particularly strong practice in the insurance arena. David Foster leads the team from Guildford, while Mark Osgood and Claire Haverfield are key contacts in Southampton. Osgood’s experience includes handling internal business disputes, negligence claims and contentious insolvencies, and he has a particular interest in marine law, while Haverfield handles a breadth of matters, with notable experience in IP disputes. Sarah Watley leads the financial services litigation team, and Susannah Marsh handles residential and commercial property matters as well as debt recovery and professional negligence claims. Associate Karina Rafalska has an interest in international arbitration alongside her experience in contract and construction disputes and issues arising from share purchase agreements. The team was recently strengthened by the recruitment of Nichola Gordon-Jones from Blake Morgan LLP, who was subsequently promoted to associate.

Practice head(s):

David Foster

Other key lawyers:

Claire Haverfield; Mark Osgood; Susannah Marsh; Sarah Watley; Nichola Gordon-Jones; Karina Rafalska


‘Moore Barlow has a great commercial litigation team that specialises in financial services work and group litigation and has some very robust litigators, with good experience in insolvency and professional negligence work as well.’

‘Claire Haverfield is a very robust litigator and very commercial. Mark Osgood is an expert strategist and fantastic with colleagues, clients, and opponents alike.’

‘Good strong experienced team who are accessible, knowledgeable, flexible in their approach and a natural extension of our business – we work in partnership.’

‘I have recommended Claire Haverfield of Moore Barlow to clients in the past and will continue to do so. She is a very strong, confident litigator who stands up for the client every inch of the way. She is extremely efficient, always on top of the detail and is genuinely dedicated to obtaining the best result for the client. She does not shy away from litigating when necessary and is never afraid of taking a point to court or letting the judge decide. She is super-bright and very capable of understanding complex technical materials – in my experience ranging from computer code, to engineering, to share valuation to points arising on the law.’

‘Sarah Watley & Susie Marsh are partners that lead from the front and far more accessible than other firms’ partners worked with. Very knowledgeable, clear communicators, sound advice, flexible and people you really want working for you, not against you!’

‘Claire Haverfield is a standout litigator.’

Key clients

Macquarie Bank

Business Mortgage 4, 5, 6 and 7 Plc

Hrothgar Investments Limited

Octopus Real Estate

Oblix Capital Limited

Churchill Retirement Limited

Patley Wood Farm LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised Business Mortgage Finance 5 PLC and Business Mortgage Finance 7 PLC in a Court of Appeal case dealing with issues relating to payment of secret commissions, bribery, breach of fiduciary duties and unfair relationship.
  • Advised Patley Wood Farm LLP in connection with a claim against a law firm, one of its former partners and other persons for an unlawful means conspiracy that defrauded the creditors of a liquidation and associated bankruptcies of the proceeds of a wedding and conference country estate in Dorset, and its business.
  • Advised Business Mortgage Finance 7 PLC in connection with a £2.2m claim relating to a property over which it had a first ranking legal charge.

Paris Smith LLP

Paris Smith LLP‘s corporate and commercial disputes offering operates as part of the firm’s national dispute resolution team, which is led by David Eminton from the Southampton office, and acts for clients across the finance, recruitment, manufacturing, property and retail sectors. Helen Brown heads up the Southampton-based corporate disputes team, with experience in director and shareholder disputes, warranty claims, and earn-outs and deferred considerations. Chistopher Holliss, also in Southampton, leads the commercial disputes, asset and debt recovery team, where he complements his expertise in the banking sector with a developing focus on handling disputes in the pharmaceuticals sector, which sees him navigating complex and novel issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Practice head(s):

David Eminton; Helen Brown; Christopher Holliss


‘Paris Smith provide the gold standard of commercial dispute resolution in Hampshire.’

‘A vast amount of expertise in this firm where nothing is too trivial or too daunting. Support staff right through to partners are efficient and effective.’

‘A great team with real experts in their field. Courtesy and transparency together with speed of response make them stand out from the crowd.’

‘They took time to understand our needs and accepted a fairly complex situation with complications caused by undertones of personal conflict.’

‘All round competence with a commercial stance adopted.’

‘Helen Brown took great care to listen to our case even though it was not ever going to be a large account. She gave us very clear options and worked hard to deflate what could have become a very costly personal dispute between directors. Her advice was always pertinent and thoughtful. Her approach was very reassuring and with no pressure.’

‘Chris Holliss – encyclopaedic knowledge of his practice area. Especially good on agency disputes. Always client-focused.’

‘Helen Brown – calm, assured, sensible, cogent individual with an appreciation of the commercial realities of the situation. Very strong technically.’

Key clients

Greenhalgh’s Craft Bakery Limited

Hobbycraft Trading Limited

Barfoot Farms Limited

Rhymecare Limited

Trethowans LLP

The commercial litigation team at Trethowans LLP draws on strong links with the firm’s other regional offices in Bournemouth and Poole, as well as close connections with the private client team, to provide litigation support to clients ranging from public bodies and well-known brands to owner-managed businesses and SMEs. Team head Karl Cameron has experience in areas spanning professional negligence claims and financial services litigation. Richard Cook is well known for his work in contract claims, shareholder disputes, warranty claims, and IP disputes, while newly promoted partner Jennifer Bowes specialises in commercial contract disputes.

Practice head(s):

Karl Cameron

Other key lawyers:

Richard Cook; Jennifer Bowes


‘What makes the practice stand out is the commercially minded individuals in the team as well as its client care, every client can be assured that you are going to receive a Rolls Royce service and quality every time you instruct them. The practice is also full service so its clients can feel assured that they are fully covered in any litigious problem that may arise. The practice is very commercial in its nature and punches way above its weight in the type of client it acts for.’

‘Excellent grasp of the prospects of the commercial realities by a competent and ongoing assessment of cost benefit analysis as the case develops to optimise the timing of any offers to settle if considered advisable.’

‘I have worked with Trethowans for over 12 years and they remain my first place of call for contract and litigation services. Good all round knowledge, good practical input and great in depth understanding.’

‘Karl Cameron leads the team and is dynamic, innovative and fantastic at dealing with clients. High quality commercial and private-client-related commercial work.’

‘The firm seems to take a team approach to litigation. Both Karl Cameron and Jennifer Bowes are outstanding with excellent organisational skills and knowledge of the procedural requirements for complex claims.’

‘Karl Cameron is highly attuned to the commercial objectives of clients and fantastic at dealing both with clients and opponents.’

‘The outstanding Karl Cameron who heads the litigation practice is a force to be reckoned with. He is the real deal when is comes to dealing with complex matters particularly arising out of property and construction disputes. Any client would be lucky to have him on their team. Jennifer Bowes is an excellent lawyer and her ability to identify the issues of the case and then use her technical knowledge and strong commercial awareness to drive the case forward for the clients is outstanding.’

‘I have worked with Richard Cook throughout the 12 years that I have been with Trethowans. Great practical advice and a good skill set makes him my preferred relationship at Trethowans.’

Key clients


Industrial Cleaning & Equipment Limited

Great Star (Europe) Limited

Eagle International Limited

Ministry of Defence

VES Andover Limited

4Com Group Limited

Bacardi Limited

Baker Perkins Limited


BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans‘ Southampton commercial litigation offering acts for clients including high-net-worth individuals and SMEs alongside prominent insurers. The team has particular experience in insolvency, product liability, and directors’ and shareholders’ disputes, as well as those arising from fraudulent insurance and professional negligence issues. Qualified mediator Rick Munro heads up the team in Southampton, while Phil Smith leads nationally from the Reading office. Legal director Claire Collings is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Rick Munro; Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:

Claire Collings


‘BDB Pitmans have an experienced and highly competent team of litigators who regularly handle high value, complex disputes. The BDB Pitmans litigation team is known for its innovative and pragmatic problem solving skills used to achieve the best outcome for their clients. The team have a wide range of experience and are competent in handling all types of litigation from subrogated property damage claims to commercial and residential property matters to shareholder and partnership disputes.’

‘Hugely knowledgable in the areas in which they operate. Enthusiastic, dynamic and experienced. Excellent with clients.’

‘Technically strong. Very approachable and highly commercial.’

‘Efficiency and approachability. Cases well prepared.’

‘Rick Munro, a partner, is a very experienced and tactically astute litigator. He provides a dedicated, good value and painstaking service to his clients, however demanding they may be, and however difficult they may be to handle, while at the same time being a very pleasant person to work with. He gives 100% commitment to his clients.’

‘Rick Munro: huge experience and competence. Good communicator with an excellent rapport with clients. Claire Collings: a very experienced and capable litigator in product liability and insurance. A safe pair of hands for difficult claims.’

‘I have worked most closely with Claire Collings who has fantastic attention to detail, an impressive wide range of experience and who works extremely hard to achieve the best results for her clients.’

‘I have worked with Claire Collings – the legal director at the Hampshire practice. I have found her to be thorough and knowledgeable. She is willing to go the extra mile for clients and actively to pursue lines of investigation when doors initially seem firmly closed.’

Key clients


Covéa Insurance

Mildren Construction

Mears Group

Premier Marinas Limited

Red Funnel Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of SAGA and one other insurer in relation to a claim against a statutory water undertaker in relation to an escape of water causing a sinkhole.
  • Acting on behalf of Premier Marinas Limited advising in relation 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 Geodomi Limited in relation to the recovery of payment of substantial outstanding invoices having regard to the impact and restrictions of Covid-19.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell‘s large commercial dispute resolution team works across the firm’s offices in Gatwick and Southampton. Hannah Clipston leads the Southampton offering, where she has particular experience acting on high-value and complex contract and tortious claims, especially in the sports and leisure sectors. Senior associate Stephanie Reeves acts predominantly for clients in the financial services industry, with specialist expertise in professional negligence, directors’ and shareholders’ disputes, reputation management issues, and commercial contract claims. Naomi Findlay is also recommended

Practice head(s):

Hannah Clipston

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Reeves; Naomi Findlay

Key clients

Micheldever Tyre Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Micheldever in respect of the repayment of more than £1m in overpaid customs duty.
  • Instructed by a bank client to advise in relation to a highly sensitive senior leavers’ dispute.
  • Advising a global class action recoveries practice in relation to a dispute with its auditors concerning the way in which the client holds client money.

Phillips Solicitors

Basingstoke-based Phillips Solicitors handles a range of commercial litigation matters for a predominantly regional client base of family-run businesses and SMEs, with experience handling cases at both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Experienced litigator Max Hope, also a co-director of the firm, heads up the commercial and civil litigation team, and has particular experience in mediation and High Court injunctive applications. Simon Arneaud was recently promoted to senior associate, and acts on a range of matters including commercial and corporate disputes, property litigation, and contentious wills and probate.

Practice head(s):

Max Hope

Other key lawyers:

Simon Arneaud


‘Clean, simple, practical, approachable advice. London law firm standards and quality at regional pricing.’

‘Phillips’ commercial litigation practice provides City quality legal advice and expertise but at a more reasonable regional rate. Our business has stopped using London/City firms due to the strength of this practice. Their client care is exceptional. They will answer and return calls and turn around work quickly to the highest standard. Their reputation is growing in North Hampshire and beyond and I have recommended them widely.’

‘Max Hope gives me a personal service which does not make me feel like I am constantly on the fee meter. He takes a very personal stake in the success of the case and absorbs its every detail so I do not have to constantly remind him of the facts. I value his judgement and understanding of the law.’

Key clients

Ideal Shopping Direct Limited

Dress to Kill Limited