Commercial litigation: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire in South West

BPE Solicitors LLP

With ‘a great reputation, not only in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, but well beyond’, ‘solid regional firmBPE Solicitors LLP fields ‘experts in achieving the best possible outcome for clients’ who ‘deal with matters conscientiously and cost effectively’. The practice handles a broad range of work, with individual practitioners specialising in distinct areas of expertise: practice head Riyaz Jariwalla specialises in commercial litigation and IP proceedings, Philip Radford is highly regarded for his professional negligence experience and John Carter focuses on negligence claims in the property sector, regularly acting for lenders against negligent surveyors and solicitors. Carter was recently promoted to the partnership, as was Peter Knibbs who is singled out as ‘one to watch’ and ‘on a path to great things’.

Practice head(s):

Riyaz Jariwalla

Other key lawyers:

Philip Radford; John Carter; Peter Knibbs


‘Riyaz Jariwalla – Riyaz is an excellent commercial litigation lawyer; knowledgeable, hard-working, determined, commercial and always striving to achieve the best outcome for his client.’

‘BPE Solicitors offer excellence in Commercial Litigation. They’ve got a great reputation not only in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire but well beyond. They’re client focused; experts in achieving the best possible outcome for their clients, whether that be through the medium of proceedings or in negotiating settlements.’

‘Peter Knibbs is one to watch. He is clearly on a path to greater things, having no difficulty whatsoever in taking sole conduct of complex High Court litigation worth many millions of pounds.’

Work highlights

    Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

    Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s ‘excellent team are clear communicative and go the extra mile for all clients’, which span national and international businesses, insurers and individuals. The practice is separated into four distinct strands covering contentious insurance disputes, product liability and recall work, financial services litigation, and shareholder, contractual and professional negligence claims. Team leader Manoj Vaghela is a key name for cross-border insurance proceedings, legal director Claudine Morgan focuses on contractual, breach of warranty, negligence and shareholder mandates and ‘always sees a path through any issue’, while senior associate Ben Moore has ‘a knack for finding commercial solutions’.

    Practice head(s):

    Manoj Vaghela

    Other key lawyers:

    Claudine Morgan; Ben Moore


    ‘The team is very helpful and user friendly. Points of law are carefully explained to laymen. The team is very professional and one feels one is dealing with friends.’

    ‘I am really impressed by the collaboration between this team. I have worked with them on a complex and fast moving matter, with very aggressive opponents, and they managed to stay completely on top of things, and keep the client updated without overloading them. They are also hyper available, which is really important in litigation.’

    ‘The team is excellent – they are clear and communicative and go the extra mile for all clients.’

    ‘Claudine Morgan is an absolute pleasure to work with, and always sees a path through any issue. Ben Moore is smart and dedicated, with a knack for finding commercial solutions.’

    ‘Client attention. Good response time. Solution driven. Clear advice. Positive mindset. Well positioned on price. Good commercial acumen.’

    ‘Claudine Morgan  Very approachable, but very considered and direct in answering. Does not waste time and does not over complicate. Ben Moore – Clear, concise, considered. Good knowledge levels. Explains well, listens well.’

    Key clients

    Greggs plc

    Tsokkos Hotels Public Limited

    Argo Real Estate Opportunities Fund Limited

    Oxford Plastic Systems Ltd

    Trustees of the Harrowby’s Discretionary Will Trust

    The Trustees of the Earl Bathurst 1963 Settlement

    Riverstone Insurance/Argo Insurance

    Zenium Technology Partners

    Argo Insurance


    Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd

    Hallett Independent Insurance Brokers

    Magic Apparels

    Work highlights

      Croft Solicitors

      Croft Solicitors’ department specialises in complex, high-value claims with experience in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The group’s work regularly includes cross-border elements, and the team recently handled a Supreme Court claim regarding the enforcement of an arbitration award against Romania. Rupert Croft heads up the practice and splits his time between Cheltenham and London; his expertise encompasses commercial litigation, civil fraud claims, financial services disputes, anti-trust work and property litigation. Director Laura Nelson, costs litigation specialist and consultant Tom Blackburn, and associate Edward Hazzan are also active in the practice.

      Practice head(s):

      Rupert Croft

      Other key lawyers:

      Laura Nelson; Tom Blackburn; Edward Hazzan

      Key clients

      Dairy Partners

      Freebrights, trading as Huffkins Limited

      International GroupLimited

      Marmalade of London

      Work highlights

        Clarke Willmott LLP

        At Clarke Willmott LLP, practice head Esther Woolford attracts praise as ‘a star individual – dedicated and hardworking, responsive and goes all out for her clients’; her practice primarily spans commercial and agricultural matters including property litigation and contentious probate work. The group also receives a high volume of agriculture-related instructions thanks to its position on the NFU panel and has additional regulatory expertise through the specialist practice led by Daniel Gill. At senior associate level, key names include Laura Mackain-Bremner and Victoria Howlett; Howlett joined from BDM Law LLP in early 2022.

        Practice head(s):

        Esther Woolford

        Other key lawyers:

        Daniel Gill; Laura Mackain-Bremner; Victoria Howlett


        ‘Esther Woolford is a star individual. Dedicated and hard working, responsive and goes all out for her clients.’

        ‘I have worked a great deal with the Commercial and Private Client team, in particular with Dan Gill. Dan is a very safe pair of hands with excellent commercial judgment.’

        Key clients

        Andrew Guest


        Countryside Alliance

        Work highlights

        • Acting for Andrew Guest in a proprietary estoppel claim.

        Harrison Clark Rickerbys

        With ‘great service, great communication and a highly talented team, which goes above and beyond’, Harrison Clark Rickerbys handles a varied range of contentious mandates with particular strength in the financial services sector, IP and technology disputes, business protection mandates, debt recovery work, contentious trust and probate matters and real estate litigation. Adam Finch heads up the department, which also includes finance litigation specialist Fiona Hayles, IP litigator Steven Murray, real estate litigation expert Andrew Walker, and Jenny Raymond, who has experience in claims involving the misappropriation of confidential information and breaches of post-termination restrictions.

        Practice head(s):

        Adam Finch

        Other key lawyers:

        Fiona Hayles; Steven Murray; Andrew Walker; Jenny Raymond


        ‘Great service, great communication, highly talented team who have gone above and beyond with regards to my claim for professional negligence and Breach of Contract.’

        ‘ Jenny Raymond – Thoroughly professional and a pleasure to deal with.’

        ‘I have always find them very open minded and provide sound counsel, which provides for a more collaborative approach.’

        ‘Adam Finch is very measured and I value his honesty in what and what is not possible. This avoids wasting time and energy (and costs) on both side.’

        ‘Jenny Raymond provided the clear pathway of the plan from the outset, was empathetic to the situation and in the end achieved the right resolution for us. All through the process, Jenny gave clear discussions of the issues, risks, challenges and potential outcomes. This made us feel comfortable that we were in safe, knowledgeable and determined hands.’

        Key clients

        CGI Automotive Consulting

        Paragon Banking Group

        Number Five Rodney Place

        Hamley Property (6)

        Work highlights

        • Advised CGI Automotive Consulting Limited on successfully resisting a statutory demand for the sum of circa £1.3m and defending a Part 8 claim for declaratory relief.
        • Successfully defended proceedings against Craig Cohoon Watersports brought by Fairford Water Ski Club for breach of directors’ duties.
        • Acting for a private client, who is pursuing a claim against lenders who mis-sold PCP finance when purchasing several vehicles.

        RWK Goodman

        From its base in Bath, RWK Goodman’s ‘down-to-earth, reliable and trustworthy’ practice acts for regional and national clients across a broad range of specialist areas. Group co-head Mei-Ling Huang is highly active in the healthcare sector and also assists with commercial disputes and breach of warranty claims; she is dual qualified in the UK and the US. Fellow co-head Tom Llewellyn specialises in urgent injunction actions and data mandates and regularly acts for financial sector clients, while senior associate Nicola Radcliffe focuses on insolvency and debt recovery work.

        Practice head(s):

        Mei Ling-Huang; Tom Llewellyn

        Other key lawyers:

        Nicola Radcliffe; Fran Tremeer


        ‘The team at RWK are exceptional at dealing with paper-heavy, complex cases which require significant human resources and time. Work is allocated appropriately from partner to trainee level to ensure clients are provided with value for money, but do not need to compromise on industry-leading expertise when required.’

        ‘Mei-Ling Huang leads the health and social care branch of the commercial litigation team, and is widely regarded as an efficient and effective litigator. Her advice is direct, clear and accurate, and clients love her straight-talking approach.

        ‘In terms of the support provided by RWK during the past 2 years, I could not have asked for better or more. The team obviously work very hard to be available and responsive at all times and have provided a better service than we could have hoped for.’

        Key clients

        Highfield Motors Limited

        Work highlights

          Stone King LLP

          Stone King LLP’s ‘young and dynamic litigation team’ attracts praise for ‘always going the extra mile’ for its clients, with particular knowledge of the education and charity sectors; the group has recently handled several high-profile cases relating to schools. Other areas of expertise span the retail, real estate, construction, IT and transport industries and breach of contract claims, negligence issues and contractual litigation. Property litigator Tony Pidgeon leads the group, which works closely with colleagues in the firm’s London office.

          Practice head(s):

          Tony Pidgeon


          ‘They have a young and dynamic litigation team, headed by Tony Pidgeon. Particular expertise in property and commercial disputes. Very efficient in setting up intra-firm teams in order to efficiently handle any substantial dispute.’

          ‘Tony Pidgeon – Personable and unflappable. Excellent lawyer, and commercially astute.’

          ‘A very clear well understood knowledge of us as a client.’

          ‘Always go the extra mile.’

          Key clients

          National Heritage Memorial Fund

          Work highlights

          • Successfully defended a claim brought against a client for breach of contract arising out of a ‘hire agreement’ for a modular building.

          Thrings LLP

          Thrings LLP has ‘gone from strength to strength in terms of coupling robust legal advice with commercial pragmatism’ and is ‘known in the region for its consistent ability to deliver good value for money’. With distinct sub-teams, the practice has notable expertise in financial services litigation, corporate claims, debt recovery work, trust litigation, personal injury claims, property litigation and employment claims. Kerrie Hunt leads the group from Bristol; key names in Swindon include Ramona Derbyshire, who leads the recoveries team, and Emily Prout, who leads the inheritance and trusts dispute practice. Caroline Watson departed to Freeths LLP in mid-2022.

          Practice head(s):

          Kerrie Hunt

          Other key lawyers:

          Ramona Derbyshire; Emily Prout


          ‘Thrings LLP continues to go from strength to strength in terms of coupling robust legal advice with commercial pragmatism. Thrings are known in the region for their consistent ability to deliver good value for money with exceptional client handling and legal strength.’

          ‘Romana Derbyshire, a partner in the firm, has a personality and warmth that is infectious, her professionalism and empathy is unparalleled and paired with her first-class legal know-how and commercial pragmatism, it is a winning combination.’

          ‘The Thrings LLP team punches well above its weight in commercial litigation matters, easily matching larger London based firms in my view. The team is agile and understands its clients’ objectives well. This all translates into a very effective approach to litigation.’

          ‘Ramona Darbyshire is an extremely effective partner, with a good eye for both strategy and detail. She is keenly focused on achieving the best outcomes for her clients, while remaining easy to work with.’

          ‘Lawyers from Thrings law firm combine world-class professionalism and quality with clear understanding of local realities so that their clients receive practically-oriented advice in the most client-friendly manner.’

          ‘Great commercial litigation team that can cover pretty much anything and would have no hesitation in recommending them.’

          Key clients

          Honda Finance Europe plc

          MAN Truck & Bus UK Limited

          Bar Council

          Openwork Limited

          UTAX (UK) Limited

          Citipost Limited

          Alvan Blanch Development Company Limited

          Free Train Sports Limited

          DPDS Limited

          Sanlam Life & Pensions UK Limited

          Extrudakerb (Maltby Engineering) Limited

          Stanley Security Solutions Limited

          Work highlights

          • Advised a founding shareholder of an LLP on bringing a claim for entitlement of profit allocation under an LLP agreement and a proprietary interest claim for a percentage of profits, amounting to c.£12m.
          • Advised Extrudakerb (Maltby Engineering) Limited on a director/shareholder dispute.
          • Advising two individuals on an application to suspend a warrant of possession of their £1.4m home due to their failure to pay cumulative debt of £1.1m, and simultaneously undertaking investigations into the conduct of previous lenders and brokers to seek a reduction of the debt.

          Willans LLP

          Under the leadership of ‘stand-out performerPaul Gordon, Willans LLP’s department’s broad caseload includes commercial claims, property litigation and inheritance and trust disputes. Gordon acts in commercial and civil disputes and also has notable expertise in mediation proceedings, while recently promoted partner Nick Southwell has been active in litigation involving commercial contracts, breaches of covenants, shareholder issues and contentious probate work. Nick Cox handles property litigation.

          Practice head(s):

          Paul Gordon

          Other key lawyers:

          Nick Southwell; Nick Cox; James Melvin-Bath


          ‘Very commercial approach to litigation – good value, compared to big city firms; exceptional preparation and meticulous attention to detail.’

          ‘Paul Gordon is an extremely proactive and details-focused partner. Nick Southwell is also a very conscientious partner, who has helped resolve complex disputes.’

          ‘Without doubt one of the best teams I have worked with. Willans has always been able to break down the complex issues into easy to understand information to help us make the right choices. I would recommend them to anyone and everyone looking for advice and strategies tailored to the situation at hand. Willans are always available when it matters most, be that in person, on the phone or by e-mail. I can honestly say I have never felt let down or disappointed in my dealings with them.’

          Key clients

          Gloucestershire Airport Limited

          Trades Exhibitions Limited

          Dean Electrical Wholesale Limited

          Poundstretcher Limited (and Crown Crest (Leicester) Plc)

          Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation

          I Med Limited

          Stichd Sports Merchandising UK Limited (Part of the PUMA Group)

          P14 Medical Limited

          Joedan Group

          Trade Mark Wizards Limited

          Work highlights

          • Advising Gloucestershire Airport Limited in dealing with a complex dispute over implied covenants, rectification, and boundary issues for one of the UK’s busiest regional airports.
          • Acting for Stichd Sportsmerchandising BV (part of the PUMA Group) as creditors in insolvency proceedings.
          • Advising Pain Medical Limited in various matters including the repayment of an unlawful dividend and in proceedings under the Company’s Act.

          Maitland Walker LLP

          Maitland Walker LLP excels in competition litigation and multi-party claims and has experience acting before the High Court. Other areas of expertise span IP claims, professional negligence work and property litigation. Julian Maitland-Walker and Sheree-Ann Virgin jointly lead the team from Minehead and Taunton respectively.

          Practice head(s):

          Julian Maitland-Walker; Sheree-Ann Virgin


          ‘I have worked with Julian Maitland-Walker and Sheree-Ann Virgin. Both appear to me to be excellent practitioners who understand the needs of their client and ensure that the litigation is conducted in a way that meets those needs. They are both extremely pleasant to deal with. They are intelligent and thoughtful individuals with good commercial instincts.’

          ‘In my experience, Maitland Walker’s key strength lies in representing clients in commercial litigation who may not be familiar with the litigation process and ensuring that it is demystified such that the client can pursue the matter efficiently and effectively.’

          ‘Sheree-Ann Virgin is fantastic to work with. She takes a very collaborative approach and is not at all averse to rolling up her sleeves and getting stuck into the weeds of the case.’

          Key clients

          Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club Limited

          Luxury Leisure Limited / RAL Limited

          Rest & Play Footwear Limited

          British Association of European Pharmaceutical Distributors

          Lexon UK Limited

          Work highlights

          • Acting on behalf of millions of rail passengers that bought overpriced rail tickets from Govia Thameslink Railway on the Brighton mainline.
          • Acting for Royal Berkshire Polo Club Limited in defending a trade mark infringement action bough by the owners of BEVERLY HILLS POLO CLUB.

          Mogers Drewett LLP

          Providing ‘a personal service from experienced lawyers’, Mogers Drewett LLP is active in property litigation, insurance claims and professional negligence disputes, and primarily acts for clients in Bath, Bristol, the South West and London. Maeve England attracts praise from clients, who single her out ‘definitely one to have on your side’; she primarily handles real estate disputes and company and partnership claims.

          Practice head(s):

          Maeve England


          ‘I found Maeve England to be very competent and knowledgeable with excellent communication skills. I was impressed with the clear and concise breakdown of the complicated issues involved in the possible litigation, providing me with a sensible way forward.

          ‘Maeve England, Partner at Mogers Drewett, has impressed me.’

          ‘Mogers Drewett are a long-established firm of solicitors covering Bath and parts of Somerset. They appear to particularly specialise in commercial matters and they are very competent in dealing with such disputes.’

          Work highlights

            Simon Burn Solicitors

            Litigation boutique Simon Burn Solicitors’ ‘extremely adaptable, personable and innovative’ practice is led by name partner Simon Burn, who ‘instils confidence in clients’. Key areas of focus include insolvency claims, directors disqualification work, commercial litigation, and privacy proceedings. David Magill is recommended for defamation and reputation management issues, and clients praise ‘rising star’ solicitor Mark Ingram.

            Practice head(s):

            Simon Burn

            Other key lawyers:

            David Magill; Mark Ingram


            ‘The team at Simon Burn Solicitors are extremely adaptable, personable and innovative in their way of thinking ‘outside the box’. They work tirelessly for the best outcome for the client, whilst always placing their client’s best interests first.’

            ‘Mark Ingram is a rising star in the legal profession. He is always frank and honest whilst maintaining an element of empathy for the client. He is skilful in his strategy to deploy the best tactics for the running of the case. He ensures that the client has a full awareness of how the case is progressing, and is extremely efficient.’

            ‘Simon Burn was very personable and approachable. I felt we were able to build a personal relationship. But that does not come at the expense of giving sound advice.’

            Key clients

            Ben Brafman, in his capacity as director of Lucy Enterprises Limited

            Adele Lock, in her capacity as director of Edengate Homes (Butley Hall) Limited

            Derek Kewley and Nicholas Spence, in their personal capacity as former directors of A1 Alpha Properties (Leicester) Limited

            Melanie Day and James Kelly, in their capacity as employee and director respectively of Infinite Security Limited

            Work highlights

            • Advised three claimants who were successful in obtaining substantial damages from national broadcaster Channel 5 and production company Brinkworth Films Limited for distress caused as a result of their misuse of private information in the broadcast and production of ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!’.
            • Successfully defending the former directors of A1 Alpha Properties (Leicester) Limited, in relation to a director’s disqualification investigation and ongoing £200m claims.


            With ‘outstanding attention to detail’, Wilsons counts businesses, high-net-worth individuals, schools, charities, farms and landed estates on its client roster, which it acts for in commercial disputes, reputation management issues, professional negligence claims and debt recovery matters. Ben Thornton heads up the team, Debbie Ashenhurst is the key contact for reputation management and data protection issues, and Jenifer Martindale is ‘a talented and conscientious solicitor’.

            Practice head(s):

            Ben Thornton

            Other key lawyers:

            Debbie Ashenhurst; Jenifer Martindale


            ‘The team’s attention to detail was outstanding.’

            ‘Debbie Ashenhurst has been unbelievably responsive and a detailed ally in my ongoing quest for justice. Debbie has a tenacity, level-headedness and ability to eloquently articulate a complex situation that I value tremendously.’

            ‘Jenifer Martindale has always been diligent and thorough in all of her work.’

            Key clients

            Former director and shareholder of UK technology company

            UK art advisory and appraisal company

            Academy school

            Nicole Cooke MBE

            Carlton (Civil Engineering) Limited

            An Education Trust (Hampshire)

            Executors of O Estate

            HNW Individual


            Farming partnership

            Work highlights

            • Advising a former CEO, director and shareholder of a UK technology company in a claim for £2.7m damages arising from the company’s forced purchase of his shares at an undervalue.
            • Advised former world and Olympic champion cyclist, Nicole Cooke MBE, in a claim for breach of contract against a publisher, Profile Books, for failing to adhere to a settlement agreement requiring changes to statements about her in a book it published.
            • Advised Carlton (Civil Engineering) Limited in a contract dispute and enforcement of two Adjudicator’s Awards.