Rising Stars

Commercial litigation: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in South West

Ashfords LLP

Led by Andrew Perkins, the Exeter-based team Ashfords LLP has experience in shareholder disputes, commercial contract cases and professional negligence claims, and counts financial institutions and public entities among its key roster of clients. Perkins stands out for his expertise in shareholder disputes and breach of contract claims, while ‘creative and determined’ senior associate Anusheh Burcher handles energy litigation, procurement challenges and insurance-related disputes. Other key contacts in the group include senior associates Claire Boucher, who focuses on civil fraud matters, and Liam Tolen, who advises on defamation and reputation management cases. Tom Llewellyn joined the team from RWK Goodman and has experience in injunctive relief and contentious data protection disputes.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Perkins

Other key lawyers:

Anusheh Burcher; Liam Tolen; Claire Boucher; Tom Llewellyn


‘Anusheh Burcher is a standout individual. She is alert to the legal risks and the practical realities, has brilliant client-handling skills and is super-organised. She is calm and level-headed in a crisis, creative and determined. One to watch.’

‘Excellent team with good strength and depth. Everyone from partner to associate is high quality, and they manage to do excellent work and provide value for money.’

‘Andrew Perkins and Claire Boucher stand out. Excellent strategic and tactical knowledge, very good to work for and client friendly.’

Key clients

Douglas Seaton Limited

Slater & Gordon LLP

Film & Foil UK Limited

Brand Architekts PLC

S. Notaro Group Limited

Bath and North East Somerset Council

London Borough Legal Alliance

London Borough of Hammersmith

Work highlights

  • Represented a PRN scheme provider in a dispute concerning one of its scheme members advising on (a) the regulatory position (b) issuing notices of material breach to the member (c) advising in respect of legal ramifications if the member utilised their market dominant position to influence the market.
  • Acting on behalf of a defendant in a multi-party partnership dispute concerning lifetime transactions between partners in a trading venture, which are now being challenged by various parties interested in the estate of the deceased.
  • Acting for the Respondent NHS Trust in a High Court in an appeal of a Pension’s Ombudsman’s decision in relation to information given to the Appellant about his entitlement to ill-health retirement.

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

Praised as ‘one of the strongest litigation teams in Bournemouth, boasting a wealth of expertise and knowledge’, Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP has a strong track record in contractual disputes, defamation claims and professional negligence proceedings, in addition to property litigation, banking cases, injunction applications and gambling disputes. Lauren Day, who has ‘encyclopedic knowledge’ of property litigation and probate claims, jointly leads the team alongside William Fox Bregman, who is ‘highly knowledgeable in banking and financial services litigation’. Paul Kanolik specialises in betting and gambling disputes, while Victoria Riddleston is ‘a formidable force’ in contentious trust and probate matters, and senior associate Caroline Palacio ‘has a real depth of knowledge in insolvency matters’.

Practice head(s):

Lauren Day; William Fox Bregman

Other key lawyers:

Paul Kanolik; Victoria Riddleston; Caroline Palacio; Conor Maher; Florence Newton


‘Caroline Palacio has a real depth of knowledge in insolvency matters and, as a result, has a substantial and repeat following from a wide range of insolvency practitioners.’ 

Victoria Riddleston is a formidable force in litigation matters, particularly probate disputes.’ 

‘Ellis Jones are one of the strongest litigation teams in Bournemouth, boasting a wealth of expertise and knowledge across all sub-specialities.’ 

‘William Fox Bregman is highly knowledgeable in banking and financial services litigation and is also client friendly and easy to work with.’ 

‘Lauren Day has an encyclopedic knowledge of commercial litigation.’ 

‘Conor Maher is extremely good with clients and has a tireless work ethic.’ 

‘Florence Newton works primarily in property disputes and can navigate complex legal and factual disputes with ease and focus.’ 

‘Paul Kanolik adopts a firm and realistic approach to difficult gambling cases.’ 

Work highlights

  • Instructed by applicant, Robert Spedding, in a successful Judicial Review application within the reported case of R (Spedding) v Wilsthore Council [2022] EWHC 347 (Admin).

Lester Aldridge LLP

With demonstrable experience across the marine, defence and financial sectors, the ‘client-focused and reliable’ dispute resolution team at Lester Aldridge LLP acts on high-value claims brought on behalf of companies in insolvency procedures, and frequently advises on regulatory issues. Noted for his expertise in handling Part 8 Companies Act claims, practice leader Chris Evans handles contract disputes and financial litigation, professional negligence claims and insolvency-related mandates. Other key contacts in the group include property litigation expert Kate Stewart and senior associate Ben Kerley, while Michael Veal left in December 2022.

Practice head(s):

Chris Evans

Other key lawyers:

Kate Stewart; Ben Kerley


‘Lester Aldridge are widely recognised as efficient, consistent and often servicing some of the biggest companies in the UK. I have always found them to be extremely client-focused and reliable.’

‘This is a firm with “big company” capability, resource and expertise, but delivered like you are their only client, such is the feeling of care and value they provide. At no time did I feel I was being “sold” to and the advice was always practical and pragmatic. They give lawyers a good name.’

‘Chris Evans is down to earth and when dealing with something so daunting, I appreciated being able to talk to someone who seemed like they were listening and taking my best interests into account. I always felt calm when dealing with Chris and that is worth every penny.’

‘Lester Aldridge work incredibly hard for their clients and provide excellent value.’

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP has a strong track record of acting on the full spectrum of high-value corporate and commercial disputes, frequently involving cross-border, regulatory, reputation management and insurance dimensions. Praised as a ‘standout individual and a fantastic communicator’, Jonathan Kitchin leads the practice and is noted for his expertise in financial services litigation, while Sara Chisholm-Batten handles fraud cases and international enforcement mandates. Charles Courtenay focuses on intellectual property and technology disputes, and Jayne Clemens represents clients in reputation management cases. Other key contacts in the group include Andrew Oldland KC and Alice Daniels, who handle trusts disputes and fraud mandates.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Kitchin

Other key lawyers:

Sara Chisholm-Batten; Andrew Oldland KC; Charles Courtenay; Jayne Clemens; Alice Daniels; Emily Aggett


‘Wide ranging experience in the media sector.’

‘Michelmores provide pragmatic advice, always taking into account the pressures and outcomes sought by our internal stakeholders to give us the best possibility of achieving an acceptable/satisfactory outcome.’

‘Jonathan Kitchin is a standout individual and a fantastic communicator. Always calm and measured under pressure and constantly goes above and beyond to do his utmost to ensure a satisfactory outcome.’

‘The firm’s attorneys are very experienced and work well together to achieve the best possible result for the client. I have been impressed with their attention to detail and their ability to be proactive to issues as opposed to reactive.’

‘A team that can fight toe to toe with London litigation practices.’

‘Jayne Clemens is not afraid to roll her sleeves up and get really stuck into the detail of a case.’

‘Jonathan Kitchin has a great feel for the overall dynamics of a case.’

Key clients

Ziaullah Chishti

Forestry Commission

Daily Mail and General Trust PLC

Pennon Group PLC

Octopus Real Estate

Ocean Fish Group

Peter Jones Investment Group

Intelsat Global Sales & Marketing Ltd

Legal Aid Agency

SchoolsCompany Trust

Sycurio (previously Semafone)

Centek / Madison Group (US)

Burbage Realty Limited

Work highlights

  • Managing corporate, commercial, insurance coverage and HSE, CMA or FCA regulatory investigations for national businesses and entrepreneurs based in and out of region.
  • Representing IntelSat across multiple jurisdictions, heavily engaged in private wealth disputes with an offshore dimension, acting in a $50m joint venture dispute connected to the CIS region, a $250m fraud claim relating to an investment in Africa and a high profile US/UK reputation management matter.

Steele Raymond LLP

Praised for its ‘excellent communication and expertise demonstrated by each member of the practice’, Steele Raymond LLP acts for clients across the construction, retail, consumer goods and financial services sectors on a broad range of disputes, and has seen an increase in instructions concerning professional negligence claims, for which the practice is well-adept to handle. Based in Bournemouth, the team is led by Peter Rolph, who has experience in construction disputes and contentious employment mandates, while Amelia Williams, who was promoted to partner in April 2023, is praised for her ‘meticulous attention to detail’ when advising on professional negligence claims and property litigation. Key clients include White Desert Limited, Selwood and Sydenhams, among others.

Practice head(s):

Peter Rolph

Other key lawyers:

Amelia Williams


‘Amelia Williams listens carefully to all the concerns of a client and reads all the documents with meticulous attention to detail. In her prompt assessment and reports she reviews the anxieties of the client and the possible responses of the person causing the problem.’

‘Collaborative and client-focused.’

‘Peter Rolph is always extremely helpful and deals with matters quickly and effectively. He will always act in the client’s best interests.’

Key clients



HMS Property Management Services Limited


Merlo UK Limited

White Desert Limited

Jenningsbet Group


Stephens Scown LLP

Spread across the firm’s Exeter and Truro offices, the team at Stephens Scown LLP acts for South West-based clients across a broad range of corporate disputes, from shareholder claims and director cases to partnership litigation. Other key areas of expertise include data protection disputes, defamation proceedings and fraud cases. Toby Claridge, who focuses on shareholder and partnership disputes involving family companies, jointly leads the team alongside Taunton-based Stephen Wray. Catherine Mathews handles contractual disputes, including share sale and purchase agreements, international distribution agreements and supply contracts, while Richard Slater has experience in director, shareholder and partner litigation.

Practice head(s):

Toby Claridge; Stephen Wray

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Mathews; Richard Slater

Key clients

IMERYS Minerals

Thatchers Cider

St Austell Brewery

Foot Anstey

Key areas of expertise for Foot Anstey include contentious fraud and data theft mandates, banking and financial services litigation, professional negligence claims, public procurement challenges and insolvency cases, in addition to shareholder disputes and breach of warranty claims. The team, which is led by Bristol-based Mark Rhys-Jones, is also noted for its capability in handling multi-jurisdictional claims. In the firm’s Exeter office, Peter Singfield acts on a broad range of commercial and financial disputes, with demonstrable experience in intellectual property and brand protection cases, while Steven Richards handles contract disputes, fraud cases and contentious insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Mark Rhys-Jones

Other key lawyers:

Peter Singfield; Steven Richards

Key clients

Dwr Cymru Cyf (Welsh Water)

Mitsubishi HC Capital UK Plc T/A Novuna Business Finance

Bank of Ireland

Skew Base Investments SCA RAIF and Skew Base s.a.r.l

Ahli United Bank (UK) Plc

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

Raymond McKeeve

Anthony McClean

Dr Jake Veasey

Mr PM Beckwith

Becton Dickinson UK Ltd

Holland & Barrett Retail Ltd

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The ‘highly engaged’ Exeter-based practice at Trowers & Hamlins LLP is well-placed to leverage the firm’s international footprint to act on a range of cross-border commercial and corporate disputes. Key areas of expertise include shareholder litigation, breach of contract cases and fraud claims, in addition to energy-related disputes, contentious construction mandates and IT issues. Charisse Crawford leads the practice and has a strong track record in private wealth disputes, while senior associates Alexander Sharples and Maria Dunn act for clients in the energy and social care sectors respectively. Katie Farmer, who focuses on insolvency litigation, joined the firm from Ashfords LLP in July 2022.

Practice head(s):

Charisse Crawford

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Sharples; Maria Dunn; Katie Farmer


‘The litigation team is highly engaged with the cases they are involved in, and they think about issues strategically rather than responsively.’

Key clients

Project Abacus

Work highlights

  • Acting for for c.435 investors who suffered losses as a result of a major potentially fraudulent property investment scheme operated in the South West of England (Ilfracombe and Westward Ho!).

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Praised as ‘efficient and strategic’, the Plymouth-based team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP frequently collaborates with the firm’s network of offices to act for national and FTSE clients on energy disputes, financial services litigation, insurance cases and insolvency proceedings. Bristol-based Stephen Dilley jointly leads the practice alongside Gareth Kagan, who has experience in fraud claims and injunctive relief proceedings, while managing associate Luke Holmes ‘brings remarkable attention to detail to complex cases’, including breach of contract disputes and tort claims.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Dilley; Gareth Kagan

Other key lawyers:

Luke Holmes; Andrew Wilson


‘The commercial litigation team has a deep experience in the energy sector, and services many of the most established energy market players. They are well placed to provide London levels of knowledge and experience, at Devon prices. The team is efficient and strategic.’

‘Luke Holmes is very familiar with energy-related disputes, and brings a remarkable attention to detail to complex cases, as well as a good sense of when and how to involve clients and barristers in the strategic conversation.’

Key clients

Quilter Group Plc


Liverpool Victoria

Plymouth University

British Gas Trading Limited

Friends Life (now part of Aviva)


The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation plc

Wizz Air


Work highlights

  • Advising County Council of Durham in a dispute concerning fire safety related issues at a development in the City of Durham.

Blanchards Bailey LLP

Based in Blandford, the ‘personable, professional and approachable’ team at Blanchards Bailey LLP is noted for its expertise in the agriculture sector, and has demonstrable experience in handling property disputes and private client cases. Paul Dunlop advises on agricultural disputes, property litigation and contentious probate mandates, while ‘knowledgeable and professionalBen Jones focuses on real estate litigation. Dunlop and Jones jointly lead the team alongside Dorchester-based Lucy Mignot.

Practice head(s):

Paul Dunlop; Ben Jones; Lucy Mignot


‘Personable, professional and approachable.

‘Ben Jones is knowledgeable and professional. A good communicator and adviser.’

‘I am very pleased with the service that Paul Dunlop and Blanchard Bailey have provided and will continue to use them and recommend the firm to others.’

‘The team works very well together. They take a collaborative and co-operative approach to dealing with disputes and come up with practical solutions to clients’ problems.’

‘Very enthusiastic and experienced team providing reassurance and professional guidance through difficult and stressful times. Ben Jones was always available at for key moments.’

‘Ben Jones is experienced and knowledgeable about the construction industry. He provided regular updates and support throughout a recent case.’

‘Blanchard Bailey team is great to work with. They are very professional, knowledgeable and have a friendly approach to ensure everything technical is understood and explained properly.’

Key clients

Sheppard Piling Limited

ICF Builder Limited

Tomorrow’s Forest

Work highlights

  • Advising Tomorrow’s Forests Limited in the successful settlement of a contract claim arising from high-volume commercial re-forestation.
  • Advising ICF Builder Limited in detailed construction dispute pursuant to the Pre-Action Protocol for construction and engineering disputes following successful settlement of vexatious insolvency proceedings and stating issuing of injunctions.
  • Advising Sheppard Piling Limited in a technical dispute arising out of piling works to new-build residential properties and involving.

Frettens LLP

The ‘dedicated’ dispute resolution practice at Frettens LLP is praised for its ‘vast knowledge and expertise’, particularly in property litigation, negligence claims, contractual disputes and defamation proceedings. ‘Standout’ practice leader Michelle Hayter frequently acts for social housing providers and handles directors’ disputes, while Malcolm Niekirk has experience in insolvency litigation. Associate Will Bartley, who focuses on construction disputes, leaseholder claims and landlord and tenant issues, is another key contact in the group.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Hayter

Other key lawyers:

Malcolm Niekirk; Will Bartley; Olivia Parkinson; Anna Curtis


‘Frettens LLP have proven to be a very approachable and modern law firm serving a wide array of clients.’

‘Michelle Hayter is a well-regarded solicitor, who I have always found to be approachable and efficient.’

‘Will Bartley has been the standout member at Frettens. Throughout all of our experiences of consultations with Frettens, Will has gone above and beyond in providing advice and support to us without fault.’

Key clients

Quantuma Advisory Ltd

Hurst Castle Ltd

Hospitality D and B Events Ltd

St George’s Hospital Ltd

Shipyard Estate West Bay Management Ltd

Independent Housing UK Ltd

Bloom Housing CIC

Fief Ltd

Mr David Young

Harris Fowler Solicitors

Mr & Mrs Lockyer

Studland Dene Freehold Ltd

Primetower Properties Ltd

Julian East

Parasol Homes Ltd

Mtech Communications Ltd

MC Plan & Site Services Ltd

London Advisory Ltd

Rivendell Outdoor Club Ltd

Slades Estate Agents

Churchfield Estate Agents

Foreshore Ltd

Archos Ltd

Wren Lettings Ltd

Frost & Co

Matthew & Matthew Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing Foreshore Southern Developments Ltd in a claim for unpaid invoices of over £90k, and handling a claim and counterclaim for circa £200k for alleged defective works.
  • Defending a forfeiture of long lease claim for Archos Investment Ltd as a result of unauthorised works and alternations without consent.
  • Represented Bloom Housing CIC in respect of more than 10 eviction and housing needs over the past 12 months.


Based in Bournemouth, the dispute resolution team at Laceys has demonstrable experience in handling landlord and tenant cases, contentious probate mandates and commercial claims, and is well-placed to collaborate with the firm’s property and corporate departments in disputes. Praised as ‘knowledgeable, resourceful and time-efficient’, Brendan Herbert leads the practice and has experience in intellectual property disputes, while Mark Timberlake is a key contact for landlord and tenant issues.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Herbert

Other key lawyers:

Mark Timberlake


‘Brendan Herbert has consistently been attentive and clear in his interpretation of our needs. When arriving at conclusions and recommendations, he has been precise, ensured that we have fully understood the choices available.’

‘A very friendly team who are welcoming and look at any challenges with an enthusiastic approach.’

‘Brendan Herbert was incredibly helpful when dealing with a challenging trademark issue. He was knowledgeable, resourceful and time-efficient.’

Work highlights

  • Assisting a number of clients to achieve multi-million pound settlements arising out of the Lloyds Banking Group Impaired Asset Office scandal.
  • Assisting a retail client to achieve and enforce a significant adjudication award.
  • Working with a local housing developer to appeal a party wall act award, and to bring proceedings against parties to the construction contract.

Paddle & Cocks LLP

Praised as ‘friendly, always accommodating and above all professional’, Paddle & Cocks LLP handles a broad range of cases, from contractual disputes and shareholder litigation to professional negligence claims and landlord and tenant issues. ‘Force of natureVerona Cocks leads the Truro-based team and ‘has real pedigree as a commercial litigator – she is astute, articulate and wholly in tune with her clients’ aims and best interests’.

Practice head(s):

Verona Cocks

Other key lawyers:

Justine Benbough


‘The breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding across the practice is outstanding.’

‘Verona Cocks has real pedigree as a commercial litigator – she is astute, articulate and wholly in tune with her clients’ aims and best interests.’

‘Paddle & Cocks take the time to ensure they understand all aspects of what the client wishes to achieve and takes the time to explain if all goals are achievable.’

Key clients

Heligan Development Ltd

Brian Etherington Meat Company Ltd

PKF Smith Cooper Ltd

Budeful Ltd

Elite Wealth Management UK Ltd

Redleaf Limited

Logical Choice Group Ltd

Marlbrook Auto Centre Limited

Susan Brinton

Zia Doodle LLC