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  1. Commercial litigation: Dorset and South Wiltshire
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Who Represents Who

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Lester Aldridge LLP has particular experience of disputes in the marine, defence and financial services sectors and has gained a reputation among court advocates for providing ‘practical and carefully prepared advice’. ‘A shrewd and experienced litigator’, department head Michael Giddins is an accredited mediator and has experience of disputes with international dimensions. Giddins is representing a party in a multimillion-pound arbitration concerning the crash of a Russian-owned marine vessel off of a European coast. Edward Foster advised a lender in relation to a commercial loan, the security for which was fraudulently obtained. Chris Evans has experience of a range of commercial disputes, which have recently included acting for a company in relation to a claim and subsequent counterclaim concerning alleged breaches of a share purchase agreement. ‘Neither too robust nor too ready to fold’, Michael Veal is another key figure in the team and has expertise in disputes involving fraud and emergency relief applications.

Steele Raymond LLP is highly regarded in the region for representing companies and individual directors and shareholders in complex commercial disputes. Though clients have noted that ‘the firm’s service is excellent irrespective of the individual who provides it’, department head Peter Rolph is singled out as having ‘vast experience across a range of disputes, which he can bring to bear in every case he handles’. Rolph acted for an individual in relation to the recovery of a multimillion-pound loan granted to a BVI company, and, in another matter, asisisted a technology company with various claims arising from the termination of a cross-border distribution agreement. Rolph also has expertise in construction disputes and professional negligence. John Andrews and Amy Cousineau Massey are additional contacts. Further, the department has seen multiple years of personnel growth, which was continued by the arrivals of senior associate Hannah Dare from Fladgate LLP and Lauren Hayes from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. Property litigator Simone Ritchie left the firm.

‘A rare and extremely valuable asset’, Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP is perhaps ‘the most experienced firm in the area for complex banking litigation’ and also has particular expertise in judicial reviews in the context of planning appeals, insolvency and property litigation. Department head Lauren Day acted for a claimant in a seven-figure breach of contract claim, and, in a separate matter, represented a defendant in a dispute with HMRC regarding a multimillion-pound tax demand. William Fox Bregman specialises in banking litigation, and is ‘a highly respected practitioner in claims against banks’. Fox Bregman advised a client on a multimillion-pound dispute with a high-street bank concerning mis-sold interest rate hedging products. Indeed, the team has handled multiple claims against high-street banks involving interest rate manipulation. Paul Kanolik was promoted to senior associate and is rated for his ‘uncanny ability to achieve the best settlement available’ in banking disputes. Solicitor Carl Arreghini is ‘making a name for himself in insolvency and tax litigation’ and Victoria Riddleston is noted for her ‘excellent client manner’.

Battens Solicitors Limited is known throughout Somerset and Dorset for handling a wide range of contentious issues including commercial contract disputes, insolvencies and shareholder and partnership disputes. Peter Livingstone heads the litigation department and also has experience in ADR. Livingstone advised a nursing home business on negotiations with its bank in relation to the imposition of an unwanted fixed-interest borrowing product. The practice head also assisted a business with the removal of a contractor following a particularly acrimonious relationship between the parties. Jon Dobson helped represent the installer of an air conditioning system in a dispute regarding the suitability of that system; the case was successfully resolved and the significant parts of the claim were instead brought against the unit manufacturer. Key clients include Corset Wildlife Trust and WH Longman and Sons.

At Blanchards Bailey LLP, clients can rest assured that they will be ‘dealing with individual professionals and not just a large faceless firm’. The litigation team specialises in acting for individuals and owner-managed business, and is especially active in the agricultural sector. Paul Dunlop heads the department and is representing a company in a compensation claim for breach of contract in relation to the installation of a piece of business-critical equipment. Having recently joined the team from Porter Dodson LLP, associate Ben Jones acted for a client in a dispute regarding damage sustained to the client’s goods, while in the possession of a haulage and storage company; the matter was complicated by the lack of a formal written contract between the two parties. Solicitor Edward O’Brien is another contact in the department.

‘Punching well above its weight’, the litigation team at Frettens LLP is regularly involved in shareholder and partnership disputes and is especially active in property-related litigation. Practice head Michelle Hayter is ‘a tenacious lawyer’, who is particularly noted for her ‘unwavering drive to achieve the best outcome for her clients’. Hayter represented an individual defendant in a £1.8m claim for breach of an LLP agreement, and also provides ongoing advice on contentious issues to clients such as Primetower Properties and Affinity Care. Further, Hayter is advising a group of shareholders in an insolvent company on a claim brought against them by a liquidator. Carl Geary specialises in property litigation and has been involved in a number of boundary and dilapidations claims.

‘A stand-out player among firms outside the capital’, Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF provides ‘honest, clear and straightforward advice at a reasonable cost’. Headed by Mark Timberlake, who focuses on property litigation, the disputes resolution team handles a range of commercial disputes including contract and partnership litigation. The highly recommended associate Brendan Herbert is assisting a West End production company with claims regarding fees and profit sharing in connection with a successful musical production. ‘Blunt, but simultaneously receptive to client comments’, Herbert was also been involved in a number of shareholder and partnership disputes in 2017. Further, the team is regularly instructed in licensing and management disputes in the media and entertainment industry and has experience of contentious IP issues. Rob Kelly specialises in contentious probate and estate-related claims, while associate Robin Watson focuses on employment law.

The disputes team at Wilsons has an impressive client-roster of national charities and high-net-worth individuals and is ‘fast approaching the renown of the firm’s well-known private client practice’. Ben Thornton, who is ‘a fantastic team leader’, was instructed by Wallgate to strike out a NZ$1.6m claim brought in New Zealand for losses arising out of the termination of a contract. Thornton was also instructed in an acrimonious multimillion-dollar shareholder/director dispute involving related US and UK companies. Senior Associate Jenifer Martindale is representing Pudsey Diamond in a £1.3m contractual dispute with a supplier relating to allegedly defective supplies. Martindale was also on a team that advised AP Association on a cross-border supply contract dispute. Senior associates Debbie Ashenhurst and Michael Ellis are also recommended.

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