BDB Pitmans is well known for handling complex high-value litigation for blue-chip national and international businesses. The team has particular strengths in IT disputes, acting for both Thames Valley-based and US-based software companies. Phil Smith has recently stepped up to become firmwide head of litigation and specialises in a range of contractual and tortious claims. Former practice head Tim Clark, a member of the firm's executive board, focuses on complex litigation and injunctions for company law-related claims. David Gwillim leads the contentious construction and engineering practice.
Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 in South East
Tim Clark; Phil Smith
Other key lawyers:
‘BDB Pitmans punches above its weight, both in the quality of its lawyers and the complexity of work. I have only positive things to say about the firm and everybody there who I have worked with, from trainees to partners.’
‘I would not hesitate in recommending Tim Clark (and have recommended the team at BDB Pitmans to other clients). He is not only an extremely good lawyer but gives practical and commercial advice. Tim also genuinely cares about his clients.’
Grayson + Co
Sondrel (SOC Solutions)
Matthews Flower Growers Company td
Joanne Properties Ltd
Crowe UK LLP
- Acting for Grayson + Co, which was served with a Norwich Pharmacal application, a case which raises important issues in confidential information cases and will be in the Court of Appeal in April 2021.
- Acting for Sondrel (SOC Solutions) Ltd in an IT dispute concerning the development of a software on chip processor and the withholding of a substantial contractual payment which attracted industry press coverage.
The dispute resolution team at Blake Morgan LLP has a strong track record of work on complex commercial disputes. The litigation department is made up of a large team of lawyers who can offer a wide range of sector-specific expertise, covering construction and engineering, insolvency and property. Practice head Chris Potts has specific expertise in fraud and breach of duty claims which often involve worldwide freezing injunctions. For IT and software disputes and warranty claims, Nicola Diggle is recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Nicola Diggle; Aimee Cook
‘Sound commercial advice offering sensible solutions for clients.’
Investec Asset Finance
CAP HPI and Audatex group of companies
Miele Company Limited
Hitachi Capital UK plc
IWG Group Services UK (Regus)
Falanx Group Limited
Harwood Wealth Management Group plc
- Advised Harwood Wealth Management Group plc on a £91m scheme of arrangement.
- Acted for Stephen Hunt, as Liquidator of Transworld Payments Solutions UK Limited, in connection with substantial fraud litigation in the Caribbean and the UK.
- Acted for NHS East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group in a £7.5m breach of contract claim.
Clarkslegal LLP is one of the leading dispute resolution practices in the Thames Valley. Led by the 'outstanding' Antony Morris, the team advises on a wide range of matters, including international trade, commercial fraud, professional negligence and regulatory matters. The practice is particularly strong in the automotive sector, acting for major clients such as BMW and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Christopher Tayton and Emma Butcher are skilled in handling high-value commercial disputes, procurement challenges and product liability claims.
Other key lawyers:
Christopher Tayton; Emma Butcher
‘Clarkslegal has a strong partner presence, meaning that the quality of the legal and tactical advice is exceptional. They have some truly excellent fee earners that are not just lawyers, but experts in the sectors that they practise in. The firm focuses its efforts on what it does best.’
‘We really appreciated the speed with which our matter was addressed, and with the immediate involvement of a specific subject matter expert. It is apparent that they foster a strong culture of team collaboration. The lead partner was compassionate and realistic, whilst giving us optimism. We always felt well advised. ’
‘Antony Morris is outstanding’
‘We were extremely impressed by the work and advice of Antony Morris, who looked after us competently and reassuringly. He kept to deadlines, and applied common sense and fairness in the fees. He remained calm at all times and made us feel reassured in our choice of law firm and partner. His minute attention to detail ultimately led us to win our dispute. The matter was reasonably complex, involving multiple contracts between several business entities and jurisdictions. ’
‘They have the ability to distill what is important in a dispute and ensure that focus is present throughout case preparation.’
‘I have received better advice from Clarkslegal than from several of the large legal firms I have used. Clarks inhabit a sweet spot of dedicated service in a few individuals with access to sufficient specialist knowledge to deal with complex legal issues.’
‘Chris Tayton is excellent to work with. He is very responsive and very commercial. He quickly gets to grips with the issues, and gives sound, practical advice.’
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited
Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc
JDM Technology Group
Element Materials Technology Group
University of Reading
Crown Packaging Manufacturing UK Ltd
CAB Automotive Ltd
- Acting for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as the defendant in High Court proceedings brought by German software development company Topalsson involving claims amounting to over €12m.
- Acting for Bop-Me Ltd in a procurement claim against the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care arising out of the award of a number of valuable contracts for the supply of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic involving claims of up to £28m.
- Advising pharmaceuticals client IPG Pharma Limited on a claim for damages against a Spanish-registered company in the supply chain who repudiated an $18m supply contract for personal protective equipment for the benefit of an overseas government negotiated and agreed at the height of the pandemic.
Osborne Clarke handles complex cross-border disputes for an extensive client base consisting of major international companies, as well as fast-growth private equity and venture capital-backed businesses. The team is particularly strong in disputes related to the technology, telecoms, automotive and life sciences sectors. Kristian Assirati has worked across a range of technology disputes and partner Dawn Troman is well-regarded for her expertise in this area. Practice head Peter Sheppard handles a full range of corporate and commercial disputes, many of which are cross-border, and is supported by associate Scott Butler.
Other key lawyers:
Dawn Troman; Kristian Assirati; Scott Butler; Jane Park-Weir
‘Jane Park-Weir is a very able, technical lawyer with a good understanding of legal issues. Further, she and her team are very easy and fun to work with.’
‘Jane Park-Weir and Kristian Assirati are both user-friendly, responsive, tough litigators.’
Oracle Corporation UK Limited
TiVo Corporation/Rovi Europe/Xperi
AEG (the O2 Arena)
Wireless Logic Group
LDC (Lloyds Development Corporation)
Content Guru/Redwood Technologies Group
Epicor Software (UK) Limited
James Walker Group
De La Rue
Falk & Ross (UK) and Falk & Ross Group Equity
Born London Limited
Lemongrass Marketing Limited
Ridgeway Marketing Limited
SynApps Solutions Limited
Strategic Selection International
- Advising leading digital entertainment company TiVo on multi-million pound cross-border dispute relating to procurement of a digital entertainment technology system and related technology, including issues of jurisdiction and LCIA Arbitration procedure.
- Acting for Falk & Ross Group in its defence of an unfair prejudice petition under s994 Companies Act 2006 brought by a minority shareholder in BTC Holdings.
- Acting for a Swiss-domiciled individual defendant in relation to claims brought in the English court by the Kuwaiti Public Institution for Social Security against 38 defendants in connection with allegations of large-scale fraud for which damages in excess of $847m are sought.
Boyes Turner services a broad spectrum of clients, ranging from local SMEs to international listed companies. The team advises on a range of matters, including pensions, product liability, injunctions, IP, professional negligence and partnership disputes. Stephen Baker and Rowan Turrall were both promoted to partner in September 2020; Turrall, whose work covers a wide range of commercial disputes, with emphasis on IT and construction, also became the new practice head. The team has further strengthened its offering with the hire of director James Quinn, who was previously a senior associate at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in London.
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Baker; James Quinn
‘Great and efficient commercial advice at a good price – much cheaper than London firms.’
‘Very clear in their advice – very helpful billing structures.’
‘Stephen Baker is an excellent and thorough litigation lawyer.’
Viavi Solutions UK Ltd
Zimmer GmbH & Zimmer Biomet UK Ltd
Francis Construction Ltd
H Young (Operations) Limited
- Advised Viavi Solutions UK Ltd on a Part 8 claim brought by trustees of a pension scheme and a Part 7 professional negligence claim against Bond Pearce, both in the High Court and worth £7m.
- Advised an antiquities and art dealer in the defence of two claims issued by a prominent Qatari shareholding company with a combined value of $5.2m.
- Advised Zimmer GmbH in a costs assessment in respect of a £2.7m costs liability being challenged by the claimant’s ATE insurers.
The disputes team at Field Seymour Parkes LLP advises commercial clients from a range of sectors, with particular expertise in the automotive and food sectors. Tom Maple leads the team and has significant experience in the automotive sector where he advises manufacturers and dealers; notably, he has a strong client relationship with Volvo. Bill Dixon, who has a variety of corporate and commercial dispute experience, spanning litigation, arbitration and corporate and regulatory investigations, is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Bill Dixon is an excellent litigator who is very approachable and easily reduces large, complex litigation into manageable and understandable chunks. ’
- Instructed by Wild Trust and various charities and groups supporting sustainable fishing – the latest being a challenge to a hake fishery with unacceptably high by-catch of shark and ray.
- Advised various investors on claims against professional advisers in relation to failed film finance or tax schemes.
Freeths LLP advises corporate clients, landed estates, institutions and individuals from a range of industry sectors, including technology, construction, retail and logistics. Oxford dispute management head Duncan Crine has extensive experience and is supported by a large team of lawyers in the region who cover a range of commercial disputes, including fraud, M&A, and shareholder conflicts. The team is also experienced in IT and data protection issues, with Will Richmond-Coggan being a specialist in this area.
Other key lawyers:
‘Good mixture of breadth and depth of expertise and experience.’
‘Duncan Crine is a very cool and wise head, which is particularly valuable in a complex and highly charged dispute. He has a good breadth of practice which gives him wide experience.’
London Luton Airport Ltd
- Represented a multinational technology group in an international arbitration against a global integrated security company.
- Acting for a large multinational logistics operator in the recovery of thousands of bespoke shipping pallets removed from their supply chain and sold on the black market.
- Representing a national motor retail group in a successful claim for Business Interruption Insurance cover for losses caused by Covid-19 closures.
Gardner Leader LLP's litigation department 'punches above its weight', with regular instructions on complex multijurisdictional matters in corporate and commercial disputes, civil fraud and international arbitration. Practice head Chris Felton is an 'elite commercial litigator', with a track record of work on both domestic and international arbitration cases. Michelle Di Gioia and Andrew Shipp are also recommended, with the latter acting for insolvency practitioners. Associate Katie Dyson is one to watch, working closely with Felton on a number of high-value disputes as well as being involved in Chancery and Queen's Bench disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Michelle Di Gioia; Andrew Shipp; Katie Dyson
‘Client-oriented and responsive, Gardner Leader is a firm which delivers high quality advice and execution equal to most City firms with an affordable fee structure. And they’re exceptionally nice people.’
‘The team is cohesive, coherent and readily available when you need them. Nothing is ever too much trouble and they have the ability to help you feel like you are their only client, which is a rare thing.’
‘Their litigation department punches above its weight in terms of their expertise and client base, so you are getting London skills at Newbury prices. Their innovative approach to employees has allowed them to retain and develop excellent lawyers.’
‘Andrew Shipp is a very safe pair of hands, Andrew has learned well from Chris Felton and has developed many of his attributes and tactical thinking. Our go-to person on day-to-day litigation.’
‘Chris Felton is, without doubt, one of the elite commercial litigators in the entire country. He has enviable experience of big ticket commercial litigation at the highest level, including Supreme Court cases and huge international commercial arbitrations. Calm under pressure, with a great eye for strategy, and expertise in the ligitation arena that instils confidence in clients. It goes without saying that he is therefore more than a match for any City litigator.’
‘Michelle Di Gioia is very pragmatic and commercial but will fight tooth and nail for the client. Chris Felton is very knowledgeable and a lateral thinker. Katy Dyson is a young talent coming through – she has a bright future’
‘The firm remains a Thames Valley miracle with the quality of its international commercial dispute resolution work. Growing but still small, the firm is harmonious and well run and agile and forward-looking. It is a striking example of how a small firm can – with the help of technology and the Bar – punch so much above its weight.’
‘Katie Dyson is a rising star. A protege of Chris Felton, she brings a similar combination of humour and industry to her work.’
Freemans Event Partners (Holdings) Limited
Barrowfen Properties Limited
Managed Legal Solutions Limited
- Acting for Freemans Event Partners (Holdings) Limited in relation to claims against the director and shareholder of a property development company; including successfully making an urgent administration application in the Insolvency and Companies Court.
- Acting on behalf of Barrowfen Properties Limited for an application to strike out a petition by a Bahamian company for a debt which was disputed on substantive grounds.
- Advised litigation funder Managed Legal Solutions Limited, which funded part of the costs of a group action claim against GSK in the Seroxat group action.
Shoosmiths LLP has a national team of specialist litigation, international arbitration and dispute resolution lawyers. In the Thames Valley, experienced commercial litigator Fleur Turrington heads the practice where she has developed a strong reputation and expertise for contentious public procurement matters. Senior associate Nick Spearing supports Turrington on procurement challenges, in addition to acting on high-profile judicial review matters related to engineering, planning and state aid disputes. The team also has expertise in commercial insurance, with Paul Eccles being the key practitioner in this area.
Other key lawyers:
Nick Spearing; Paul Eccles
Tingdene Parks Limited
CSC Computer Sciences Limited
Chubb European Group Limited
Chubb Europe Insurance Group
COTY UK & Ireland Limited (trading as Wella)
HDI Gerling Insurance Limited
IPP Van Triel GmbH
ROAR B2B Limited
SCOR Insurance SE
Zurich Insurance Plc
Seabourne Group Limited
The National Trust
Volkswagen Group UK Limited
Associated British Foods Limited
Game Retail Group Plc
Calor Gas Limited
The White Company
Leading Household Firelighting Manufacturer
Management Consultancy to the IT and Telecommunications industry
International IT supplier to the Medical industry
- Advised Chubb European Group Limited and its insured in connection with multiple claims arising from significant construction works on a property in London.
- Advised Zurich Insurance Plc and General Security Indemnity Company of Arizona in relation to a large international coverage dispute with Experian Plc.
- Advised the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in relation to a dispute concerning the ownership of John Constable’s “A View from Hampstead Heath” following a cyberattack.
White & Black Limited
White & Black Limited is a market leader in high-stakes intellectual property litigation, often with a cross-border element. The team is particularly strong in acting on contentious mandates for clients in the technology sector. Victoria Wright leads the practice, handling the full range of disputes including major contractual claims. In August 2020, Nicholas Mitchell left the firm to join Lewis Townsend LLP.
‘White & Black provide sound and sensible advice that is always to the client’s requirements and the commercial practicalities of the given situation.’
‘I would highly recommend White & Black for the following reasons – very responsive, pragmatic commercial advice, lots of partner engagement, able to work within a tight timeframe. During the pandemic they were very up to speed with technology which has helped to continue to deliver high-quality advice to clients. ’
‘I have worked closely with Victoria Wright on a number of matters and would highly recommend her. She is down to earth and provides quality advice – she has a good grasp of detail whilst also seeing the bigger picture. She is very responsive and good at communicating and turns around work within tight timeframes. I really enjoy working with her and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.’
Vectair Systems Limited
Blandy & Blandy LLP's dispute resolution team handles general corporate and contract-based commercial disputes, including high-value claims with international elements. David Murray is an experienced litigator and heads the practice in Reading where the team acts for a range of clients, including corporates and UK subsidiaries, large SMEs, family and owner-managed businesses, landowners and developers, charities and universities.
Other key lawyers:
Debbie Brett; Philip D’Arcy
‘David Murray is very clear in his advice. Practical and forthright when required.’
‘A comprehensive team undertaking thorough and well structured professional advice. A team that has the right calibre and experience. A thirst to understand the client’s requirements before embarking on each individual case’
‘The team has thorough knowledge – they manage client expectations and achieve the very best outcome. An honest approach whereby integrity and ethics are held by these individuals in the highest regard.’
Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's commercial disputes resolution team advises on complex high-value disputes with an international element. The Thames Valley team is part of a wider national practice led by Rustam Dubash in London. The Oxford team has particular expertise in general commercial litigation, IT disputes, restructuring and insolvency, and regulatory matters. Emma Davies has a wide-ranging commercial practice, specialising in financial litigation, including derivative claims and data protection. Rebecca Andrews-Walker is also recommended and has a fast-growing practice in contentious insolvency matters.
Other key lawyers:
Emma Davies; Rebecca Andrews-Walker
‘The team are great to work with, very personable and extremely conscientious. The whole team go out of their way to go the extra mile for us and consistently achieve our objectives. The range of expertise in the team is second to none and they always adopt a joined-up approach, which benefits us greatly. The team has spent the last year working for us on some extremely high-pressure and demanding workstreams but they have remained calm and professional, giving us the reassurance that we have needed. The team is exceptional. ’
‘ I find Penningtons Manches Cooper ranks with the best in giving clear and concise advice, warning of bottlenecks also pitfalls in recovering complex situations – and in avoiding where possible litigation before a court, preferring instead to maximise by wisdom and negotiating techniques, playing hardball where appropriate – a most difficult art that many lawyers in my experience have not the ability to succeed at.’
‘We dealt mainly with Rebecca Andrews-Walker; she was very approachable and understood our requirements’
- Advised Citizens Advice on consumer protection law and regulation for consumers engaging with the energy market through third party intermediaries.
- Assisted a leading UK property developer in progressing a LIBOR fraud claim against Lloyds Bank Plc.
Brethertons LLP's litigation team has expertise in residential property and commercial contract disputes, defamation and malicious falsehood claims, and injunction proceedings. Sioban Calcott and David Richards are the lead practitioners. Calcott undertakes a range of multi-track and High Court litigation including neighbour disputes and residential property litigation whilst Richards' niche is in commercial property disputes, in particular forfeitures.
Other key lawyers:
‘Brethertons have a personable and hardworking team that are dedicated to helping their clients achieve the best possible results. Their advice is most valuable, which is due to their expert knowledge within the industry.’
‘Ben Foley and Siobhan Calcott are both extremely calm, well-organised, and highly experienced litigators.’
- Acted for the claimant in Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover, a discrimination case concerning the protection of non-binary and gender-fluid identities under the Equality Act 2010.
Herrington Carmichael LLP handles a variety of commercial disputes. Practice head Adrian Taylor advises a wide range of clients on domestic and international disputes, with specialist expertise in dealing with construction cases. Frankie Tierney is a 'highly experienced litigator' with experience in High Court proceedings and multiparty commercial cases as well as formal mediation processes.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team deals with a wide range of commercial disputes cases. They have a depth of experience in insolvency and property litigation. The firm develops a dispute resolution strategy early on in a dispute so that clients are well aware of the risks and merits from the outset and problems are anticipated. Staff are both professional and personable.’
‘There is a good commercial/insolvency practice based at the firm.’
‘Adrian Taylor is a particular joy to work with. He has extensive experience and commercial savvy to assist clients with getting to the right result.’
‘Frankie Tierney is a highly experienced litigator. She is well-organised and well-prepared meaning that she approaches litigation in a considered and focused manner. She provides pragmatic, commercial advice and delivers outcomes cost-effectively.’
Maier Blackburn LLP is well known for its specialisms in intellectual property and media law, litigation and dispute resolution. Steven Maier is the key practitioner, handling a wide range of commercial disputes including breach of commercial agreements, warranty claims and negligence. He also has expertise in publishing and media law, including libel and privacy issues.
The Tolkien Estate
Agatha Christie Limited
Watership Down Enterprises
Ayebia Clarke Publishing Limited
Pemberley Books Limited
Daniel Field Products Limited
Worlledge Associates Limited
Oxford University Press
Led byJohn Spratt, the dispute resolution team at Spratt Endicott handles a range of complex commercial disputes and has developed niche expertise in the security, recruitment and banking/finance sectors. Senior associate Anis Waiz is a key practitioner, focusing on contractual and commercial disputes. Insolvency specialist Petra van Dijk is also recommended. In March 2020, Tom Halstead joined from Parrott & Coales LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Anis Waiz; Tom Halstead; Petra van Dijk
‘A regional firm with impressive technological abilities for heavy document cases. In a recent document-heavy case, the firm made good use of data room technology. ’
‘Petra Van Dijk has a thorough grasp of detail in technically complex cases.’