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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Charles Russell Speechlys LLPgoes over and above the call of duty’ for clients in the automotive, food and IT sectors. The team represented hairstylist Josh Wood in relation to his business, Josh Wood Hair, in an unfair prejudice shareholder dispute with a former business partner, eventually settling the claim. Other clients include Infor, which the client continued to represent in multiple disputes in 2016 including a reseller agreement dispute in the Middle East. Other highlights included representing We Buy Any Car in a dispute with an auction house pertaining to card transactions at the auction stage. The team is led by experienced high court litigator Duncan Elson, who ‘is truly excellent very experienced and knowledgeable’; supply chain and automotive sector specialist Jamie Cartwright who ‘is an up-and-coming star’; and Stephen Burns, who ‘is a tenacious, but calm and tactical lawyer’.

The commercial litigation practice at Clyde & Co LLP works closely with the firm’s London office to represent clients in litigation at the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. It is well-versed in alternative forms of dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation. The team represented PetroSaudi in a major dispute with PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, following PDVSA’s refusal to pay for the client’s drilling rig when it was refused re-entry to Venezuela; the team successfully overturned the High Court judgment at the appeal stage. It also acted for AmTrust in a dispute with Trust Risk Group (TRG) concerning a €2.9bn breach of trust claim brought by TRG over AmTrust’s position as sole distributor of TRG’s $500m Italian medical malpractice insurance business, which involved obtaining a freezing injunction and international arbitration proceedings. Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Apache and Carphone Warehouse are also clients. The practice is headed by experienced arbitrator David Bennet and Tim Foley, who has expertise in breach of covenant and asset management disputes. They are ably supported by Chris Burdett who ‘is one of the best litigators around: strategic, calm, practical and highly intelligent’, according to one client; and Mark Walsh, an international arbitration and energy sector specialist.

Stevens & Bolton LLP fields a ‘pragmatic and solutions-oriented’ team with a fine reputation for cross-border litigation, shareholder disputes and breach of contract cases for shareholders, owner-managed businesses and high-net-worth individuals. It can also utilise the property litigation, construction and IP teams for multi-disciplinary cases. The firm acted for Energy Infrastructure Solutions (ENIS) in a breach of declaration of trust case and represented the shareholders of Greenlight Credit in a matter concerning alleged fraud and manipulation of an independent study into a departing shareholder’s shares. It also defended mining entrepreneur Frank Timis against Gerald Metals, who sought a global injunction against the client’s family trust. Other clients include Wincor Nixdorf, Kia Motors and Syniverse. Accredited mediator Richard King became managing partner of the firm in May 2017, with aviation litigation expert Richard Mumford taking over as head of department. Other key figures include the highly regarded Michael Frisby, Andrew Quick and the ‘client-focused and pragmaticSarah Murray; they bring experience in international arbitration, franchising disputes and disputes in the retail space respectively. Experienced commercial court litigator David Steinberg is also recommended.

Cripps LLPis an outstanding firm which delivers the highest standards of client care’ according to clients. It is well-versed in undertaking high-value damages claims, pharmaceuticals-sector disputes and breach of contract matters. It continues to represent the owner of a family-owned pharmaceuticals business in a shareholder dispute with the joint owner, which involved negotiating settlements and contested court applications. It also acted for a security company in seeking an urgent injunction to prevent a winding-up petition, with the client arguing that the claimant had fabricated the claim; the injunction application was successful and settled in February 2016. Other clients include the Channel Tunnel Group, the University of Kent, Brake Bros and Carousel Logistics. Practice head Ed Weeks ‘combines significant experience with a calm and practical approach’; he leads a team that includes Philip Youdan, who ‘is passionate about his clients and an extremely astute tactician’; managing associate Joanna Ford, who is recommended for international disputes; and senior associate Tom Bourne, who ‘fights his client’s corner and is very focused’.

DMH Stallard LLP’s contentious expertise covers high-value breach of contract cases, termination of collaborative agreement matters, mistaken payment disputes and damages claims. As well as being well-versed in litigation, it also is adept at acting for clients in mediation and international arbitration matters. The firm frequently assists accountancy firms such as Moore Stephens LLP and BDO LLP with disputes arising from professional negligence and breach of trust. The firm also leverages the expertise of the banking and finance, IP, debt recovery and corporate teams where necessary. Other clients include Westcon Group, Lancing, CGL and Skerritt Consultants, as well as a number of high-net-worth individuals. Head of regional dispute resolution Simon Elcock represents clients in banking litigation and professional negligence claims. He is recommended alongside contentious insolvency and warranty claims expert James Colvin; Kelly Mills, who was promoted to the partnership in July 2016 and is an experienced mediator and banking disputes specialist; and arbitrator and cross-border disputes expert Jonathan Compton. In 2017, the firm merged with Rawlison Butler LLP, bringing on board the legacy firm’s practice head Stuart Evans and Clive Lee.

Irwin Mitchell’s team is well-versed in representing clients in high-value breach of contract matters, energy sector disputes and termination agreement mandates. It is currently acting for a party of 1,300 creditors in group litigation concerning the £117m liquidation of ARM Asset Backed Securities, where the party is claiming £17m. Other areas of expertise include tax, property, fraud and white-collar crime. Nuffield Health, Lloyds Banking Group, TJX UK and Greenwich Leisure are all clients. Robert Kenyon heads the department and specialises in cross-border disputes and company law issues. He is ably supported by Martin Cross, who is adept at international arbitration and specialises in the life sciences and finance sectors; Sarah Birkbeck, an expert in IT, technology and retail sector disputes; and and associate Tom Barnard, who focuses on sports disputes and professional negligence and is ‘very approachable and immediately responsive to queries’.

Thomson Snell & Passmorehas a very professional approach coupled with a real appreciation of the client’s commercial needs’. The team regularly acts for clients in high-value damages claims, defective goods matters and mistaken payment mandates. It is representing AXA Corporate Solutions in a cross-border dispute with Taiwanese company Yes Logistics concerning delayed shipping of IT equipment. Other highlights included product withdrawal disputes, an unpaid brokerage fee matters and a defective machinery issue. Faithdean, North Kent College, Capespan International and Britannia Refined Metals are also clients. Nicholas Horton heads the team, which includes Douglas Skilton, who ‘demonstrates outstanding knowledge of legal matters and the tactics to employ’; Kamal Aggarwal, who ‘has proven experience in the field’; and the ‘excellentMark Steggles. Also recommended are Julie Gabay, who is ‘extremely thorough and has excellent legal analytical skills’, and senior associate James Cradick, who is ‘incredibly hands-on, practical and commercial’.

Aviation sector disputes, contractual matters and professional negligence claims are some of the key areas for which asb law LLPhas a good reputation’. It is defending Imperium Trust in a £1.4m claim brought by an offshore trust business concerning ATE insurance premium payments, and is representing a German subsidiary of Reach in a damages claim for alleged breach of a service contract against a mobile phone company. Ricardo, Smart Housing Group and TUI Travel are also clients. The team is led by Jonathan Stevens, who took over as department leader in June 2016 from construction and engineering sector disputes expert Lyndsey Ratcliffe. He is assisted by managing partner Andrew Clinton, who specialises in cross-border disputes, and associate Nicola Billen, who is a mediation and arbitration expert.

Mundays LLP has ample experience in litigation and arbitration, regularly acting for clients in breach of contract claims, insolvency matters and shareholder disputes. Other areas of expertise include FCA issues, construction disputes and banking litigation. Its extensive cross-border disputes expertise extends to advising international clients on English law disputes as well as international arbitration matters concerning the US, Europe and Asia. Flex Connectors, Spiral Cellars and Martin Grant Homes are all clients. Department head Joseph Kean is noted for his ‘exceptional skill in arbitration’ and also handles cross-border disputes. He is ably supported by Oliver Jackson, who focuses on professional negligence claims, product liability matters and transport disputes.

TWM Solicitors LLP is ‘a very good firm that provides an excellent service to clients’. Shareholder mandates, contentious construction matters and professional negligence claims are mainstays of the practice; other areas of expertise include breach of contract disputes, damages claims and collateral warranties mandates. A E Thorogood, Lodgecrest, Riseden and Shilton are all clients. Commercial litigation practice head Eileen Barryis very experienced, capable, calm and knowledgeable’; she specialises in partnership disputes and professional negligence claims and is assisted by IP and property disputes expert David Hitchcock, who is ‘tactically astute and has an eye for detail’ and is an expert in IP and property disputes. Dispute resolution department head Guy Perkins is also recommended. Zoe Thompson left the firm to head the property litigation team at McMillan Williams in September 2016.

According to clients, Whitehead Moncktonis an excellent commercial disputes firm with sufficient expertise to compete with top London firms’. Its expertise extends to share purchase agreement disputes, contentious warranty claims and high-value damages claims. The team also has notable expertise in international arbitration and cross-border insurance matters. Its client base consists of corporates and high-net-worth individuals in the charity, logistics, property and automotive sectors. Adrian Robbins is ‘a first-class litigator with a very calm approach’; he handles shareholder disputes and international supply contracts matters. Christopher Longden, an experienced litigator and accredited commercial mediator, is also recommended.

Adams & Remers is well-versed in contractual disputes, director and shareholder matters, regulatory mandates and partnership disputes. As well as having extensive experience in high court disputes, the team also has expertise in alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration and mediation. Clients include Four Marketing, Cornhill Capital, Graham Care Group and Phoenix Aromas & Essential Oils. Andrew Pawlik is the practice leader and is noted for his experience in property litigation disputes.

Barlow Robbins LLPis an excellent firm with a very good commercial litigation team’. The team is experienced in handling damages claims, breach of contract disputes and contentious warranties matters. Highlights included representing Commshare in a dispute with an IT company concerning how the latter’s software design services did not fit the client’s project specification. Clients include Ecovis, International Referral and Expedite Resolution. Department head David Fosterhas excellent commercial judgement and knows intuitively when a case is a winner or a loser’. Also recommended are senior associate Chris Darvill, for his knowledge in partnership and shareholder disputes; and solicitor James Dyche, who ‘has a wise head on young shoulders’ and is known for his work in cross-border contract disputes.

Boddy Matthews Limited has a particular strength in franchising matters. It represented Caremark in a breach of contract and wrongful conduct claims brought by the client in proceedings against a company in the care sector, and acted for CAI Marine in arbitration proceedings against Swansea Drydocks for refurbishment and conversion works on the client’s vessel at the defendant’s docks. Other clients include Stocksigns and UK Marine Services. Kate Matthews heads the department and is ably supported by employment expert Helen Boddy.

Brachers handles disputes in the financial, healthcare and logistics sectors arising from breach of contract and product liability, among other issues. As well as being well-versed in litigation, the team also acts for clients in arbitration and mediation. It represented in a shareholder dispute and subsequent damages claim against the directors and shareholders of Adoreum Partners. Schindler, Beadles Group, Haynes Bros and Burgess Marine are also clients. Chancery litigation and insolvency expert Michael Oatham leads the practice, which includes property litigation specialist Allis Beasley.

Clarkson Wright & Jakesprovides excellent service’ to a client base of businesses and individuals in the charity, food and property industries. The firm has particular expertise representing shareholders and directors, including medical partnerships, on commercial disputes. Other work has included breach of contract matters, goods supply matters and disputed payment issues. Amanda Mehlin heads the department, which includes Jill Lawton, whose ‘advice has always been very helpful with very difficult cases’, and associate Lee Quickenden, who ‘is an excellent communicator and has a keen knowledge of insolvency work’.

Furley Page Solicitorscarries out substantial litigation and adjudication with the skill of a much larger law firm’. The team has expertise in data protection matters, joint venture disputes and high-value damages claims. It represented Global Invacom in a £1.8m contract dispute with the client’s sub-contractor concerning the manufacture of BskyB satellite dishes. Other clients include Cardy Design, Grupo Antolin and Breakthrough Funding. Head of dispute resolution Peter Hawkes is noted for his ‘commercial wisdom and ability to think laterally’. He is ably supported by George Crofton-Martin, who ‘is excellent and takes time to understand the client’s needs’.

Morrisons Solicitors LLP acts for clients in high-value damages claims, professional negligence matters and breach of contract mandates. The team acted for Asset Land in a claim brought by the FCA asserting that the client was running an unlawful Collective Investment Scheme (CIS). Also on the client roster are BMT Group, Secom, Sutton & East Surrey Water and Inter Terminals. Catherine Fisher heads the dispute resolution team and is assisted by arbitration expert Matthew Hearsum and senior associate Kellie Williams-Jauvel, who is an expert in company law matters and shareholder disputes.

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