With 'excellent litigation strategy skills, and really effective negotiation skills', Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP's dispute resolution practices offers 'a highly streamlined and cost-effective approach to commercial dispute resolution'. The 'innovative' Lauren Day focuses on high-value contractual disputes and leads the practice alongside William Fox Bregman. Bregman's clients receive 'the full benefit of his wealth of commercial litigation experience' which includes a focus on financial services claims and gambling disputes, which are also among Paul Kanolik's areas of expertise. The senior associate ranks (which include the 'unflappable' Caroline Palacio, who 'has a wealth of experience in insolvency matters', and the 'practical, highly intelligent and ruthless' Clair Phillips) was bolstered with the addition of Damon Watt from Tollers LLP, who brings insolvency and commercial litigation experience.
Commercial litigation: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in South West
Lauren Day; William Fox Bregman
Other key lawyers:
Paul Kanolik; Caroline Palacio; Damon Watt; Clair Phillips; Maria Evans
‘Ellis Jones is one of the best litigation firms in Dorset, Hampshire and the south-west. They have an excellent regional reputation, but deserve even wider recognition. It has an excellent breadth of subject-matter coverage, with particular strengths in Banking and Finance, Insolvency, Employment and Commercial work. At all levels the fee earners provide wonderful client engagement.’
‘Caroline Palacio (head of Insolvency) has a wealth of experience in Insolvency matters and has developed an impressive following with insolvency practitioners. She is unflappable and knows the subject inside out. Clair Phillips is excellent on Commercial and Construction matters; she can identify the core of a dispute and take the bull by the horns.’
‘Maria Evans finds creative and cost-effective solutions rather than simply running up legal costs. She always ensures Counsel has everything required to achieve the right outcome. She is comprehensive, empathetic and knowledgeable.‘
‘Clair Phillips is able to achieve exceptionally fast results for clients without sacrificing quality or attention to detail. Instructing Clair in a dispute will ensure your opponent is constantly under pressure until the dispute is resolved. She is practical, highly intelligent and ruthless.’
‘Intelligent, innovative, great team leadership skills, deft client handling, excellent value for money. Well-balanced use of counsel to achieve the best value for money for clients. Excellent litigation strategy skills, and really effective negotiation skills.’
‘Lauren Day has a knack for dealing with clients with difficult or demanding needs, managing expectations and providing reassurance and confidence so the client feels entirely comfortable – and she gets results. She has great team leadership skills and uses counsel effectively in the best interests of the client. She is flexible and innovative, and nothing is too much trouble.’
‘Ellis Jones are a successful regional practice that are capable of conducting high value commercial claims against central London firms. I was impressed by their client service and sensible approach which leads to good outcomes for their clients.’
‘William Fox Bregman gives his clients the full benefit of his wealth of commercial litigation experience. Ellis Jones offer a highly streamlined and cost-effective approach to commercial dispute resolution.’
- Advised an individual in connection with fraudulent transactions culminating over a decade.
- Acting in group litigation relating to HBOS Reading Fraud and the criminal activities of others, recovering in excess of £1.5m.
The 'diligent and thorough' dispute resolution team at Lester Aldridge LLP handles a range of local, national and international disputes with particular experience in the marine, defence and financial sectors. The 'impressively forensic' Chris Evans leads the practice and has a notable breadth of expertise in disputes including Companies Act and insolvency claims. Michael Veal, who has a particular specialism in commercial and employee fraud cases and dealing with applications for emergency relief, is also qualified in the Republic of Ireland, while Edward Foster focuses on the asset finance and commercial lending sector. Karen Thompson retired from the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Veal; Edward Foster
‘Good attention to detail, sensible, commercial approach, realistic assessment of strengths and weaknesses of client’s position.’
‘The Lester Aldridge team are always responsive and quick to come back to you. They bring insight to the wider issues and give perspective to a business owner.’
‘A diligent and thorough litigation team, no stone is left unturned.’
‘Chris Evans is impressively forensic in his attention to detail whilst retaining perspective on what is important.’
Highlighted as 'a city-quality practice with the approachability and friendliness of a regional firm', Michelmores LLP's commercial and regulatory disputes practice handles financial services, intellectual property, private wealth, reputation management and international work. The group has been particularly active in advising on Covid-19-related insurance coverage issues, competition investigations and commercial disputes including those relating to postponed and cancelled events. The 'fantastic' Jonathan Kitchin leads the 'exceptional team of litigators' and has particular experience in financial services disputes. Sara Chisholm-Batten and Andrew Oldland QC are noted for private wealth disputes and contentious regulatory issues respectively, while Charles Courtenay and Tim Richards focus on intellectual property issues. Senior associates to note include Jayne Clemens, who focuses on reputation management disputes, and 'tenacious' senior associate Alice Daniels, who specialises in cross-border trust disputes and litigation involving fraud allegations.
Other key lawyers:
Sara Chisholm-Batten; Charles Courtenay; Tim Richards; Andrew Oldland QC; Jayne Clemens; Charlotte Bolton; Alice Daniels; Abigail Tancock
‘Attention to detail, understanding the issues and having the ability to get to the nub of the question are evident in abundance. All individuals are on top of their game.’
‘Michelmores is very much a city quality practice with the approachability and friendliness of a regional firm. They should not be underestimated as to their ability, resolve or tactics, but are at the same time a pleasure to work with. Having a London office to service their international and financial litigation work has been an excellent move.’
‘Jonathan Kitchin – went out of his way to understand our business and our priorities. This understanding has led him to give us advice which stopped us from following a potentially expensive course of action. Acts like an extension of our internal team.’
‘Charles Courtenay (partner) and Abigail Tancock (associate) were in my view exceptional at explaining key points of law clearly, concisely and at times I’m sure patiently. I would highly recommend this team.’
‘Sara Chisholm-Batten and Charlotte Bolton take a pro-active approach to pursuing our disputes against counterparties and apply common sense and diligence in handling the day-to-day activities involved in managing a broad caseload.’
‘Jonathan Kitchin is a fantastic partner – easy to deal with, strategically excellent and very knowledgeable, especially on financial matters. He leads an exceptional team of litigators.’
‘In particular, in the junior ranks is Alice Daniels. She is tenacious, clever and really believes in her clients and their cases. She is an excellent lawyer to have on your team.‘
Centek / Madison Group (US)
CRUX Asset Management Limited
Daily Mail & General Trust plc
The Forestry Commission
Intelsat Global Sales & Marketing Limited
LEBC Group Limited
Legal Aid Agency
Peter Jones Investment Group
- Advised businesses in crisis dealing with the impact of Covid-19 including CMA investigations, business interruption insurance coverage and the cancellation or postponement of weddings and global entertainment or sporting events.
- Representing national brands based in the wider SW region in relation to the termination of key contracts, obtaining injunctive relief to protect confidential information or IP, high-profile regulatory investigations and disputes following on from substantial corporate transactions.
- Acted for international investors and exporters in disputes involving offshore jurisdictions, enforcement overseas and international arbitrations.
Steele Raymond LLP's 'experienced, well-resourced and friendly' dispute resolution team attracts praise for its 'professional and proactive advice and strategic thinking with excellent solutions' across a range of commercial litigation. The group is led by 'very experienced litigator' Peter Rolph, who handles a range of commercial disputes and professional negligence claims, and is particularly popular among Dorset-based corporates. Senior associate Hannah Dare, solicitor Alice Toop and senior associate Amelia Williams (who recently joined from Lester Aldridge LLP adding a breadth of experience in construction, property and contractual disputes) are other key contacts.
Other key lawyers:
Hannah Dare; Alice Toop; Amelia Williams
‘I always feel reassured to have Steele Raymond on my side of the table when approaching disputes, tricky discussions and negotiations. Their communication and soft skills are really quite deft, and I have full confidence that I will be well advised and represented.’
‘I am pleased to work with Peter Rolph, who manages to balance wit and gentle humour to diffuse situations, but can also take a more formal stance and approach as the situation dictates. I wouldn’t want to sit across from Peter, but am glad to have him on my side.’
‘Peter Rolph was quick to understand the commercial situation of our dispute and ensured his talented team were able to react swiftly. Alice Toop had a thorough understanding of our case and could be trusted to act promptly and effectively as required.’
‘A large South-west outfit who act on the corporate and disputes sides of significant transactions. They are experienced, well-resourced and friendly.’
‘Peter Rolph is a very good litigator and a pleasure to work with. He is very approachable and gives sound, commercial advice drawing upon many years of litigation experience.’
‘I have found the partners I have used to be exceptional within their fields of expertise. They provide professional and proactive advice and strategic thinking with excellent solutions.‘
‘Peter Rolph is a very experienced litigator who doesn’t mess around and goes straight for the jugular.’
Stephens Scown LLP
Stephens Scown LLP's 'high-calibre' dispute resolution practice represents many of the largest West Country businesses in a range of local, national and cross-border disputes. It counts corporate, reputational management, civil and cyber fraud disputes among its areas of specialisms. For the former, the 'tenacious' Toby Claridge, Richard Slater and senior associate Jeremy Crook are particularly strong, while the 'exceptional' Catherine Matthews and 'outstanding' solicitor Laura Britton excel in reputational management issues including defamation disputes. Exeter-based Matthews, who is also carving a niche in timeshare disputes, jointly leads the team alongside Claridge in Truro.
Catherine Mathews; Toby Claridge
Other key lawyers:
Richard Slater; Jeremy Crook; Laura Britton
‘Great regional strength, high-calibre team.’
‘Individuals are up to date with the latest trends, amendments to law and regulations constantly adding to their expertise in their specialist field. I have recently worked with Laura Britton to resolve an issue – straight to the point – no dithering about.’
‘This was the first time I had ever needed any legal guidance. From the first phone call, I felt that they understood my case. The issue was very time-sensitive and they acted very quickly and updated me at every point throughout their work. I would have no hesitation in recommending the firm and if I ever need their assistance in the future they would be my chosen firm.’
‘Catherine Matthews is all you could ever want from your legal representative. She is exceptional and would be a huge asset to any law firm. We would not hesitate to use her again should the need arise in her area of expertise.’
‘Jeremy Crook is a great lawyer. very responsive and thorough.’
‘Toby Claridge is tenacious, fair and strategic.’
‘I would particularly like to single out Laura Britton who has been outstanding throughout the process to date. Laura has been upfront and transparent with all communications at every stage and I am extremely happy to have her fighting my corner for me and cannot recommend her services highly enough. If there is such a thing in the company as an employee of the year then she would get my nomination every time!’
Thatchers Cider Company Ltd
Cedar Homes Limited
IMERYS Minerals Ltd (formerly English China Clays)
Portland Stone Firms Limited
St Austell Brewery Company Ltd
Viridor Waste Management
Pendennis Shipyard Ltd
Ashfords LLP's commercial litigation practice acts for its roster of commercial and public sector clients on a range of disputes and counts shareholder litigation, enforcement of restrictive covenants and seeking and defending injunction applications among its specialisms. Exeter-based Andrew Perkins focuses on corporate litigation and commercial contract disputes and jointly leads the multi-office practice with Rory Mac Neice in Bristol. Changes to the team include the arrival of senior associate Anusheh Burcher from Porter Dodson LLP, who adds a breadth of commercial dispute experience, and the retirement of Jason Squire.
Rory Mac Neice; Andrew Perkins
Other key lawyers:
S. Notaro Group Ltd
Brand Architekts Group Plc
- Successfully represented S. Notaro Group in a month long trial (and the claimant’s appeal) in a widely reported case which concerned allegations of undue influence, breach of fiduciary duties and negligence in relation to a complicated demerger transaction for a significant group of property development companies.
- Acting for Brand Architekts Group Plc in defending a threatened breach of contract and unfairly prejudicial conduct claim relating to a well-known cosmetics brand joint venture.
- Acted for a professional football club in a contractual dispute with a former player, and in the matter of negotiations and settlement for payment due to the club.
Foot Anstey's commercial litigation team attracts praise for its 'breadth of knowledge' which includes particular expertise in commercial litigation, banking litigation, IP and media claims, and charity and trust litigation. The group is led from Bristol by Mark Rhys-Jones and includes Exeter-based Peter Singfield (who counts commercial and financial disputes and brand protection issues among his specialisms) and Steven Richards, who frequently handles corporate disputes, banking and financial sector litigation and contentious insolvencies. Also in Exeter, legal director Terence Dickens is a name to note for financial services litigation and contentious regulatory matters, fraud work and procurement disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Peter Singfield; Steven Richards; Terence Dickens
‘This team has a great knowledge of our sector and are arguably industry leading.’
‘Hyper commercial; very grounded and practical across the board. Very strong in identifying where their experiences or know-how generally might support our business specifically.’
‘Pete Singfield is practical, accessible and with an intuitive sense for both our appetite for risk and how to manage the risks and challenges we face.‘
Adam Smith International (ASI)
Viridor Waste Management Limited
Motion Picture Association & Alliance for Creativity & Entertainment
Lloyds Banking Group
- Successful defended a high-profile contempt of court claim brought by Ocado against a former Jones Day partner. Currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal.
- Acting for Adam Smith International, a bidder in a significant procurement challenge against the Department for International Development, in respect of a public contract worth £70m.
- Acting for Welsh Water in large scale group litigation involving a claim against Welsh Water and other major water companies worth circa £324m.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP's Exeter-based litigation team has experience across a breadth of corporate and commercial disputes and benefits from the ability to leverage its national and international office network in large and cross-border issues. Kathryn Insall leads the practice and is popular among aerospace, manufacturing and technology sector clients, while for data privacy disputes, senior associate Emily Agget is a key contact. The team benefits from the addition of senior associate Alexander Sharples from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, who adds particular energy, IT and defence industry expertise.
Other key lawyers:
Emily Aggett; Alexander Sharples
‘Very professional and yet approachable at all levels.’
‘Emily Aggett: professional, understanding, strong guidance at all times. Great empathy despite difficult and trying circumstances. Not afraid to stand up for the client. Clarity of information and clear direction.‘
- Successfully represented two private clients in claims for declaratory relief against another family member for the beneficial ownership of shares in Paragon Quality Foods Limited following denial by the Defendant of their entitlement to their shareholdings and, as a result, their share of the dividends paid out.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's dispute resolution group is praised for its 'good tactical sense and collaboration that leaves no stone unturned in litigation'. It has an impressive client roster ranging from large local clients to national plcs and counts energy, insurance, financial services, insolvency, pensions, transport, retail and consumer disputes among its specialisms. The Plymouth-based practice is led by Gareth Kagan, who has particular expertise in disputes involving fraud, injunctive relief and anti-avoidance transactions. Other names to note include managing associates Andrew Wilson (who combines commercial litigation, enforcement and insolvency experience) and Luke Holmes, who is experienced in breach of contract and tort claims.
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Wilson; Luke Holmes; Rebecca Hunter; Chris Hoile
‘WBD’s team bring a collective of years experience, good tactical sense and collaboration that leaves no stone unturned in litigation.’
‘Chris Hoile is an up and coming litigator.’
Renewable Energy Assurance Limited (REAL)
Liverpool Victoria (LV=)
British Gas Trading Limited
Friends Life (now part of Aviva)
The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation plc
The 'professional and efficient' litigation team at Blanchards Bailey LLP is popular among owner-managed, family-owned businesses and high-net-worth individuals across the South West. Paul Dunlop heads up the team and handles a range of commercial disputes for SMEs and agricultural sector clients.
Other key lawyers:
Lucy Mignot; Ben Jones
‘Great communication, clear instructions and all the team not just the individual solicitor is able to help and answer any questions. Very professional.’
‘Great long standing relationship with the dispute resolution team. Easy going and friendly communication via email and phone.’
‘I deal mostly with Ben Jones who is a stand out individual in the team. We have a great working relationship and he always goes the extra mile!’
‘The team are always professional and efficient when dealing with any business.’
‘Everyone I have dealt with always deals with queries in a timely manner and and remain professional.‘
Sheppard Piling Limited
Rocket Finance Limited
Morgan Design Studio Limited
- Represented an individual in a £70,000 claim relating to alleged defects in a pleasure cruiser boat and negotiated settlement to extract client from ongoing contractual obligations.
- Defending Morgan Design Studio in a £1.86m professional negligence claim brought by a property developer relating to allegations of combustible cladding fixed to two developments of eleven storey and twelve storey student accommodation blocks.
- Acted for peer to peer lending and crowdfunding platform Rocket Finance in recovery of a £400,000 bridging loan secured over property.
Frettens LLP's 'tenacious' dispute resolution department counts corporate, contractual, property and professional negligence disputes among its areas of expertise. The 'amazing' Michelle Hayter leads the team and excels in director disputes and in acting for social housing providers.
Other key lawyers:
Malcolm Niekirk; Kerri Hunter; Will Bartley
‘I have found Frettens to be very approachable and clear in their advice. Having worked closely with them for the past 8-9 years I have found them to be tenacious and always clear in the direction to be taken. With Frettens you always feel you are in a very safe pair of hands.’
‘Will Bartley at Frettens is a very level-headed influence with our costs recovery. He always appears to be available even for a quick chat about any situation without overcomplicating matters. Always gives clear advice and very easy to converse with. The best thing is that there is never an indication of trying to make a fee for no effort.‘
‘I have worked with Kerri Hunter who is also an excellent practitioner.’
‘Frettens have a great team on hand for many different requirements. We have required 3 different areas of expertise and all have been incredibly helpful, friendly and most importantly put us at ease by taking the problem off our hands. When you are running a business, time is always an issue and the team at Frettens work with you and around your commitments.’
‘Michelle Hayter sticks out as she is just amazing.’
‘They are super helpful, patient and understanding and have a meticulous approach.’
‘Super friendly and knowledgeable.’
Primetower Properties Ltd
Pivotal Housing Association
Parasol Homes Limited
Mtech Communications Ltd
MC Plan & Site Services Ltd
Victoria Drill Hall
The Boat Development Company Ltd
Slades Estate Agents
House & Son
Churchfields Estate Agents
- Defending Parasol Homes in a High Court injunction application by residents of an exclusive development to stop the client from using the property for social housing due to breach of restrictive covenant.
- Acting for Victoria Drill Hall in a director and shareholder dispute involving commercial / residential property and insolvency matters.
- Defending the Boat Development Company in a claim in relation to the build and supply of a high-end yacht.
Kitsons LLP's litigation practice acts for individuals and SMEs in a range of commercial disputes and attracts praise for its 'practical, cost-effective advice'. Property litigator James Cross and David Turner, who are based in Torquay and Exeter respectively, jointly lead the team. Turner has a broad practice with particular experience in financial services, insurance and mis-selling claims.
James Cross; David Turner
Other key lawyers:
Katy Sandel; Rhoda Honey
‘First-rate staff who are engaged and enthusiastic. Litigation department excellent at fostering team with counsel and client at centre.’
‘Kitsons are a good value firm who serve their clients’ interests faithfully. You never get the impression that Kitsons is merely going through the motions and generating fee income. Kitsons’ clients are always given practical, cost-effective advice.’
‘The strength of Kitsons emanates from reception to the partners. At all times if felt that I could leave my case to the professionals and could carry on with my normal life. It was obvious to me that the staff cared about Law and the client, and profit was the byproduct. When I needed reassurance there was always someone who could explain exactly what was going on and make sense of a complicated process.’
‘Kitsons is a one-stop solicitors . No matter what problem you have.’
‘James Cross – significant civil litigation experience across a broad range of sectors including property and commercial disputes. James is quick to build and maintain the trust of his clients with exceptional communication skills and common sense outcome focussed advice.‘
‘James Cross is my main contact. He is an experienced litigator who has ‘seen it all’. He quickly identifies the key legal and commercial issues, and gives his clients practical and cost-effective advice. He is steadfast in a fight, and is prepared to forcefully advocate his client’s position when required.’
‘David Turner: Attentive to client needs and clear in processes, risks, options and likely outcomes. Quick to respond to client needs and clear with instructions. Supportive especially during the Covid-19 uncertainty.‘
‘Katy Sandel – Associate: Professional, organised and clear with instruction Considered and supportive.’
The Blue Coat Church of England Academy Limited
British Property Federation
Bueno Productions Limited
Joyners Plants Limited
- Represented garden centre Joyners Plants in a dispute with the local council regarding Coronavirus Regulations and successfully argued for the centre to stay open as an essential retailer.
- Acting for a private claimant seeking to recover losses from Lloyds Bank following a review into the conduct and activities of the bank’s Reading branch.
- Representing The Blue Coat Church of England Academy, an academy school based in Coventry, in a £250,000 claim against Prowood Limited for repayment of sums paid under a lending agreement which the academy argues is enforceable on the grounds that it was ‘ultra vires’ (beyond the powers).
Laceys' dispute resolution team handles a range of commercial litigation including corporate and contractual disputes, property-related issues, licensing work and employment disputes. Led by Mark Timberlake, who has particular experience in landlord and tenant disputes, the team includes the 'very approachable and professional' Brendan Herbert, whose experience extends to corporate and intellectual property litigation.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very professional, specialist solicitors for all aspects of legal work including commercial and contract law – not all firms have these specialised personnel.’
‘Brendan Herbert is very approachable and professional, he always answered my telephone calls, or returned my calls promptly.’
‘The litigation and dispute resolution team at Lacey’s quite simply provided an excellent service and kept costs down where possible. They sought to solve the problem rather than enlarge the work, and were very fair in their approach to billing.’
‘Lacey’s acted very efficiently and provided excellent support throughout the process of dispute resolution, including very good communication and availability. They explained the legal terms very clearly to a layman. Several different departments at Lacey’s were involved and these departments liaised very well and acted together very effectively.’
- Acting for individual shareholders in a substantial green energy company in a claim to restore their directorships and diluted shareholdings in an unfair prejudice claim.
- Acting for a property holding company in a claim arising from a defective share buy back.
- Acting for a medical instrument supplier in a high value and complex claim under the Commercial Agents Regulations.
Paddle & Cocks LLP
Established in 2018, boutique firm Paddle & Cocks LLP‘s commercial litigation team frequently handles shareholder and contractual disputes with a focus on representing clients based across Cornwall, Birmingham, London and the North. ‘Tenacious‘ managing partner Verona Cocks is a key contact.
‘Paddle & Cocks provides an excellent, national standard service from its base in Cornwall.‘
‘Paddle & Cocks offer a highly specialised and expert service to business clients, with hands-on partners and a dynamic way of working.‘
‘Paddle & Cocks are highly competent, proactive and insightful. I have been impressed with their ability to combine specialist knowledge and experience regarding potential litigation with sound commercial understanding and judgement to place us in the most advantageous position to negotiate a satisfactory outcome.’
‘Verona Cocks- the South West is incredibly fortunate to have a commercial litigator of Verona’s quality. She is tenacious, smart and completely dedicated. Her knowledge of law and procedure is exceptional.‘
‘The level of knowledge and expertise is very high, the speed of and clarity of communication is stand out.‘
‘This is a group of individuals, each with their own skillset and specialism, who are able to provide the highest level of service by working on their own or as a team.’
‘Verona Cocks is an excellent, knowledgeable lawyer who goes out of her way to secure excellent results for her clients.’
‘Verona Cocks delivers excellent results, and is the person you want by your side in any legal matter.‘
Cornwall Care Limited
Cornwall Care Services Limited
Elklan Training Ltd
South West Telecommunications Ltd
PH Media Ltd
Zia Doodle LLC