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Commercial litigation: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire in South West

BPE Solicitors LLP

BPE Solicitors LLP has specialist experience in corporate litigation, professional negligence claims and IP disputes. Practice head Philip Radford has a strong practice in corporate and professional negligence disputes and is developing a niche in classic car litigation. For IP disputes, Riyaz Jariwalla (who is particularly active in the IT and digital, fashion and manufacturing sectors) is the key contact to note, while senior associate John Carter specialises in property litigation and regularly brings professional negligence claims against surveyors and solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Philip Radford


The quality of the practice is the quality of its people, and there is an exceptionally good dispute resolution senior associate here. The firm provides a very good service and is cost-effective.’

The team at BPE really go above and beyond to deliver for their clients. I’ve been particularly impressed by their enthusiasm in dealing with big, high-value cases. They work quickly and efficiently so that costs do not spiral out of control, and they are great at pulling out the stops at short notice to deliver when urgent work is needed.

What separates this firm from others is that the team are very quickly able to ascertain the salient points of a dispute, and recommend an almost agnostic course of action that not only will diffuse the situation but avoid costly and lengthy litigation. I have experienced this on more than one occasion and is one of the reasons I have no hesitation in recommending them. It sounds cliche, but their point of difference is their brilliant people.

Senior associate Thomas Hall is a very able, very calm and hard-working dispute resolution senior associate who is capable of taking on quite stressful, confrontational disputes and finding a way through in a calm and sensible manner, achieving a great result for clients.

I’ve been particularly impressed with John Carter and Riyaz Jariwalla. John is an impressively calm operator, with an excellent eye for detail and consistent charm and good humour even in difficult situations. He is exceedingly diligent and punches above his weight with the work he is producing. Riyaz is a commanding presence who cuts to the case with apparent ease, and delivers wise commercial solutions.

Riyaz Jariwalla is, without doubt, one of the most talented individuals I have ever met throughout my career in business. He is incredibly humble, probably to his detriment, but is one of the best litigators I have ever had the fortune of meeting. The qualities that I value are the fact that Riyaz is not only incredibly diligent from a legal standpoint but is also commercially astute, and so will take a long-term view of any advice he gives, which allows us to forward-plan. BPE understand entrepreneurs, and I would classify Riyaz as an intrapreneur, and a tenacious one at that – he has all the qualities to run his own business and represents BPE as if it were his own business. I can’t recommend him highly enough.

Key clients

Gloucester Rugby Limited

Mears Group of companies

Pure Gym Limited


Smart Systems Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented a client in the renewable energy sector in a dispute regarding the final consideration payable under a share purchase agreement, which was contingent upon obtaining FIT-accreditation for a solar farm by a specific date.
  • Defending Smart Systems in a High Court injunction and a multi-million pound counterclaim for breach of a deed of easement.
  • Acting for Smart Systems in a dispute relating to an overage deed and whether overage is payable on land that has been developed.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

For contentious insurance matters and product liability and recall issues, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is the group to note. The team also receives litigation referrals from its strong corporate and private equity teams and has particular experience in shareholder and director, financial services, contractual and professional negligence disputes. Insurance sector expert Manoj Vaghela leads the practice and benefits from a breadth of experience in multi-party and multi-jurisdictional disputes. Legal director Claudine Morgan's commercial litigation expertise ranges from contractual and shareholder litigation to civil fraud disputes.

Practice head(s):

Manoj Vaghela

Other key lawyers:

Claudine Morgan

Key clients

National Bank of Kuwait (International) Plc

Tsokkos Hotels Public Limited

Argo Real Estate Opportunities Fund Limited

Sports Supplements Ltd t/a Bulk Powders

Oxford Plastic Systems Ltd

Trustees of the Harrowby’s Discretionary Will Trust

The Trustees of the Earl Bathurst 1963 Settlement

Cynergy Bank Limited (formerly Bank of Cyprus UK Ltd)

Zenium Technology Partners

Argo Insurance


Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited

Croft Solicitors

Cheltenham-based specialist dispute resolution firm Croft Solicitors has experience in high-profile national and international matters. It recently represented the claimants in a judicial review against the Prime Minister for failure to take account of the alleged corrupt and illegal practices found to have occurred during the EU Referendum. Rupert Croft counts civil fraud, financial services, antitrust and property disputes among his areas of expertise. The group benefits from the additions of cost and funding specialist Tom Blackburn from gunnercooke LLPLaura Nelson is also a key name to note. Solicitor-advocate Edward Miller left to take up a new role as director of dispute resolution at London firm Gherson.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Croft

Key clients

Gate Ventures PLC

Vald. Nielsen Holding A/S

Viorel Micula

International Group Limited

UK in EU Challenge

Marmalade of London

New Light Hotels

Work highlights

  • Represented a claimant in the Supreme Court for the enforcement of an arbitration award of $250m against Romania.
  • Represented claimants in the Court of Appeal in a judicial review relating to alleged corrupt and illegal practices by the Vote Leave campaign during the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
  • Successfully represented a group of minority shareholders in a claim for breach of an investment agreement and subscription agreements, and unfair prejudice under s.994 Companies Act 2006.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's commercial litigation team has particular expertise in the agricultural sector. Practice head Esther Woolford is a name to note in this space and also counts property litigation, partnership disputes and contentious trusts among her specialisms. Senior associate Ellen Yeates joined from Nash & Co, where she led the dispute resolution team, bringing a breadth of expertise in contractual, partnership, shareholder and cybercrime disputes.

Practice head(s):

Esther Woolford

Other key lawyers:

Ellen Yeates


Excellent knowledge and understanding of our issues.

Strong presence on the western circuit, with big-name clients and real depth in specialism.

Ellen Yeates was particularly efficient and helpful.

Ellen Yeates (senior associate) is very personable and efficient. Unafraid to get stuck in and robustly fight for her clients’ interests.

Esther Woolford has been excellent in taking her client through this process. She came in after the start but has been exceptional since she took over.

Ellen Yeates – I feel she has a real feel for our needs and understands us! It’s so important for us to have that and Ellen had recently left another law firm where our dispute was logged and it was unquestionable we could carry on with someone else after having such trust in Ellen.

Key clients

NFU Members

Ariel Limited

West of England Baptists Association

Begbies Traynor LLP (Exeter)

Credit Agricole Loire-Haute-Loire

KS Coles Limited

Sydenhams Limited

EK Hooper & Sons Ltd

CVC Solicitors Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing National Farmers’ Union members in an action for the misselling of agri-finance products including misrepresentation claims and breaches of consumer credit legislation.
  • Acting for KS Coles, one of the UK’s largest vegetable growers, in a high-value dispute relating to misrepresentation and breaches of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice against a national supermarket.
  • Representing Ariel Limited, a sports car manufacturer, in respect of a potential unfair prejudice petition.

HCR Hewitsons

Harrison Clark Rickerbys’s Cheltenham-based dispute resolution practice counts the financial services, agriculture and technology industries among its sector specialisms. For financial services, disputes practice head Adam Finch and Fiona Hayles are key contacts, while Andrew Walker and Steven Murray are strong for real estate and IP disputes respectively.

Practice head(s):

Adam Finch

Royds Withy King

Royds Withy King’s Bath-based litigation team is led by social care sector specialist Mei-Ling Huang (who is dual-qualified in the UK and US) following Philip Banks-Welsh’s retirement. Senior associate Nicola Radcliffe is another name to note for contentious and regulatory health and social care issues.

Practice head(s):

Mei-Ling Huang

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Radcliffe

Stone King LLP

Stone King LLP acts for companies, charities, education providers and high-net-worth individuals in a range of disputes. It is particularly strong for contractual and property litigation and has growing expertise in Companies Act claims, insolvency litigation and asset finance disputes. Practice head Tony Pidgeon focuses on real estate and commercial disputes with a niche in representing education sector clients in property litigation. Paul Sutton has particular experience in acting for charities and counts breach of trust claims, construction litigation and contractual disputes among his areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Tony Pidgeon

Other key lawyers:

Paul Sutton

Thrings LLP

Thrings LLP is adept at handling a range of contentious corporate and commercial matters as well as financial services litigation, debt recovery claims and product liability disputes. In the corporate space, the group has been particularly active in directors, shareholder and restrictive covenant disputes and counts defence and aerospace, manufacturing and IT among its sector focuses. Following David Patterson's retirement, Ramona Derbyshire leads the team, which also includes Caroline Watson; Derbyshire and Watson both handle a range of contentious matters and have particular experience in product liability disputes and financial services disputes, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Ramona Derbyshire

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Watson

Key clients

Quilter Financial Planning

Multivac UK Limited

Citipost Limited

Openwork Limited

Honda Finance Europe PLC

MAN Truck & Bus UK Limited

UTAX UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Defending a global financial services group in a claim brought by the executors of an estate relating to the payment of a dependents’ pension.
  • Acting for Multivac UK in a confidential information and breach of restrictive covenants claim against an employee on garden leave.
  • Representing the directors of an agri-tech services business in a share purchase agreement dispute, following the business’ sale to a global group in 2017.

Willans LLP

Willans LLP handles a range of commercial disputes and has particular experience representing clients in the telecoms, retail, construction, charities and IT sectors. Practice head Paul Gordon specialises in IP and shareholder disputes, while Nick Cox focuses on property-related claims. Other names to note include senior associate Nick Southwell, who handles a range of commercial and corporate disputes; and legal executive Michelle Vandekleut, who recently joined the team from Wilmot & Co, adding specialist classic car litigation expertise.

Practice head(s):

Paul Gordon


This is an extremely gifted team who demonstrate exceptional levels of technical knowledge of their specialist areas plus excellent client care skills.

Key clients

Midland Chemicals Limited

Poundstretcher Limited (and Crown Crest (Leicester) Plc)

Stichd Sports Merchandising UK Limited (part of the PUMA group)

Ferryfast Produce Limited (including Keyfresh IT Limited)

Balance Healthcare Limited

The Juckes Partnership

Earl of Cardigan

Soft Landing Investment Limited

Trustees of the Haie Estate

Joedan Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for Midlands Chemicals Limited in a complex and long running High Court IP dispute involving 12 parties.
  • Represented Keyfresh IT Limited in what started as a shareholders’ dispute but morphed into an IP dispute, involving alleged infringement of the claimant’s intellectual property and IT systems.
  • Represented an individual in a classic car dispute against a company that had begun members’ voluntary liquidation.

Maitland Walker LLP

Maitland Walker LLP's Minehead-based dispute resolution practice has a reputation for multi-party litigation and is particularly active in developing collective actions under the CAT’s new class action regime; it counts IP and property litigation among its other areas of expertise. Name partner Julian Maitland-Walker leads the team, which includes recently promoted partner Sheree-Ann Virgin; both specialise in EU and UK competition law and regulations.

Practice head(s):

Julian Maitland-Walker

Other key lawyers:

Sheree-Ann Virgin

Key clients

Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club

Talarius / RAL Limited

British Association of European Parallel Distributors

Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association

QED Engineering Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting in a number of collective actions in the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s new ‘class action’ regime.
  • Defending the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in a trade mark infringement claim brought by Lifestyle Equities, the owner of the BEVERLY HILLS POLO CLUB trade mark.
  • Acting for QED Engineering Limited in a dispute against a director/shareholder.

Mogers Drewett LLP

Mogers Drewett LLP counts corporate, commercial and property disputes, including enfranchisement litigation, among its areas of specialism. The group acts for a range of companies in the region, as well as London-headquartered and international clients. Practice head Maeve England has a broad practice with experience spanning contentious real estate matters, partnership disputes and international arbitration proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Maeve England

Porter Dodson LLP

Porter Dodson LLP handles a range of commercial, insurance, insolvency and professional negligence disputes, with particular expertise in the aviation, care, energy, construction and food and drink sectors. The team is led by Yeovil-based associate Anusheh Burcher, who has particular experience in the aviation, building and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Anusheh Burcher

Other key lawyers:

Chris Francis; Cara Hough


Porter Dodson have become a significant player in the South West legal market over recent years. They have broken away from the pack and are now streets ahead of many of their competitors. They are a go-to firm for property, commercial and private client disputes in the South West. They have well-appointed offices across multiple sites, each housing teams of well-regarded specialist lawyers and so are able to service a very large area.

Anusheh Burcher, Chris Francis and Cara Hough are standout litigators – they demonstrate a depth of legal knowledge, have great client care skills and always keep an eye on the commercial reality of any legal dispute.’

Key clients

JMC Group Limited

Kellands (Holdings) Limited

Dorset Build & Maintenance Company Limited

Creditors in the liquidation of SIS

Knapp Farm Stud

Ruddle Group Limited

Toolstation Limited

Work highlights

  • Defending individuals in a £1.2m business dispute.
  • Acting for JMC Group in a dispute with the administrators of Monarch Airlines Limited regarding the validity of security held over company equipment.
  • Representing Ruddle Group in a £1.3m tax liability dispute, arising out of the sale of a business by way of share purchase agreement.

Simon Burn Solicitors

Simon Burn Solicitors counts insolvency litigation, directors disqualification work as well as defamation claims, breach of privacy disputes and phone hacking litigation among its specialist areas. Name partner Simon Burn (who is particularly strong for complex corporate, commercial and insolvency disputes) leads the team, which includes solicitors David Magill and Mark Ingram, who are highlighted for defamation and insolvency litigation respectively.

Practice head(s):

Simon Burn

Other key lawyers:

David Magill; Mark Ingram


My experience of Simon Burn Solicitors has been confined to directors’ disqualification work in which they have genuine expertise derived from significant experience over many years.

My legal matter was handled by Simon Burn personally and it became clear in short order that he met my specific requirements. He demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge of copyright law and clearly understood the operating environment in which the various business aspects of the case were conducted. At each stage, he provided concise advice and action which ultimately led, under his primary direction, to an acceptable solution which minimised the effects on my company.

Simon Burn is adept at navigating the often voluminous evidence adduced by the claimant and has an intimate knowledge of the applicable procedure and case law (to which he has made a number of significant contributions, particularly in the context of permission to act following disqualification). He is a first-rate tactician. Simon exudes confidence and clients are immediately put at their ease.

Simon has a very commercial approach and works every angle available to achieve the best outcome for his client.

Key clients

Equinox Maintenance Limited

Work highlights

  • Defended former directors in a claim pursued by a liquidator seeking to reverse antecedent transactions and pursue allegations of misfeasance.
  • Acted for a company director in contempt proceedings brought as satellite litigation in a commercial claim relating to copyright infringement.
  • Acted for a disqualified director in an application for permission to act, which included drafting the application, liaising with Insolvency Service and representing the client on two occasions to obtain both interim and final permission.


Salisbury-based Wilsons' commercial litigation team is a popular choice for SMEs, schools, charities, landed estates and high-net-worth individuals. Ben Thornton is particularly strong for commercial disputes with a property aspect, while recently promoted partner Debbie Ashenhurst counts contractual disputes, breach of restrictive covenant claims and data protection issues among her areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Ben Thornton

Other key lawyers:

Debbie Ashenhurst


Relaxed approach but firm guiding hand on litigation.

Wilsons have a very strong dispute resolution team, I think the strongest in the area. They have historically attracted high quality solicitors from the large London firms. As a result, instructions, communication and case-management are always excellent.

Debbie Ashenhurst has high quality attention to detail, is very logical and has a clear approach to problem-solving. Consistent and constant communication on all points of the case. No stone unturned, with empathy to plaintiff and with an approach which defines”getting justice done” and “doing the right thing”.

Ben Thornton is diligent and goes the extra mile.

Key clients

Holland Park School

Pure Pastures Limited

Pudsey Diamond Limited

VES Andover Limited

Gurr Johns Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Holland Park School in reputation management and information law matters relating to articles published by national newspapers and specialist publication and related Freedom of Information Act and subject access requests.
  • Acting for Pudsey Diamond Engineering Limited in a High Court breach of contract claim.
  • Acting for Pure Pastures Limited in a breach of contract, breach of agency and breach of fiduciary claim against Nationwide Corporate Finance Limited and Alfandari Private Equities Limited.