Commercial litigation in Wales

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP's 'highly experienced' 12-strong team advises private and public sector clients across the gamut of commercial disputes, and has the strength-in-depth to be able to provide a degree of specialism. Lee Fisher is focused on representing private sector clients, both in relation to IP disputes, as well as corporate and shareholder litigation. Promoted to the partnership in May 2020, the 'diligent and commercialJoanne Thompson  heads up the firm's 'very strong procurement disputes practice', which is active for clients challenging failed bids, as well as for the public sector entity putting out the tender. Senior associate Sarah Whittle  is also pivotal to the firm's success in the public procurement space, and has handled a substantial amount of work for NHS England in the defence of procurement challenges. Paul Caldicott co-heads the firm's overarching commercial litigation offering and is particularly well regarded for his use of litigation on behalf of office-holders and financial institutions attempting to secure the recovery of assets in an insolvency context.

Practice head(s):

Lee Fisher; Paul Caldicott

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Thompson; Sarah Whittle; Joanna Corbett-Simmons; David Moore; Sophia Farmer

Testimonials

‘The firm has a very strong procurement disputes practice.’

‘The highly experienced team provides excellent client care and confidence that work is being progressed.’

‘The team is very studious, responsive and agile.’

‘Joanne Thompson is excellent. She is diligent and has very sound commercial and legal judgement.’

‘Sarah Whittle provides great support, care and due diligence.’

Key clients

NHS England

The Welsh Ministers

Clarins (UK) Limited

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (all local health boards and trusts in Wales, along with the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust)

Personnel Hygiene Services Limited (part of the PHS Group plc)

University of South Wales

Circle Nottingham Limited

Future Inns

Tinopolis Plc

Infinite Renewables Limited

Mazars (Cardiff & Bristol & Gloucester)

Deloitte (Cardiff & Bristol)

Begbies Traynor (Cardiff & Bristol)

Work highlights

  • Defending three former shareholders (and sellers) of a waste transfer and disposal company in post-completion claims by the purchaser for various alleged breaches of warranty, valued at £1.7m.
  • Continuing to represent NHS England in relation to a challenge brought by an unsuccessful bidder to a procurement exercise conducted using a dynamic purchasing system across England for orthodontic services.
  • Advising Medical Imaging Partners on the recovery of debts owed by St Josephs Hospital Limited in relation to unpaid rental for medical imaging equipment at the private hospital (being the most hi-tech imaging facility in Wales).

Capital Law Limited

Commercial litigation is a cornerstone practice for Capital Law Limited and accounts for a substantial volume of work across a wide range of disputes affecting both private and public sector entities. Team head Stephen Meade is a 'safe pair of hands' and is at the forefront of much of the most significant work it handles; he continues to represent the British Medical Association (BMA) on numerous disputes, including in the context of judicial review challenges. Meade has also been responsible for overseeing over 150 business interruption insurance policy claims arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant UK and devolved Government restrictions on businesses. Philip Jones has an excellent perspective across a range of corporate and finance litigation, including derivative claims and shareholder disputes. Clients also benefit from potential access to the firm's litigation fund, which was established by the 'engaging and very bright' Andrew Brown and has funded numerous cases which he has subsequently led on. Nicola Mead-Batten has a 'terrific enthusiasm for her work' and handles a considerable amount of public law-related work for the BMA. Recently promoted to partner, Guto Llewelyn has 'real commercial sense', which he deploys to good effect across a range of business, IP and insolvency disputes.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Meade

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Brown; Philip Jones; Wayne Beynon; Nicola Mead-Batten; Guto Llewelyn; Lucy Emanuel

Testimonials

‘The team is very commercial and able to guide the client strategically and technically.’

‘The team has an innovative and very effective litigation funding arm, which allows them to offer litigation funding to smaller claimants than would normally be the case. This is part of what makes the team genuinely forward-thinking, commercially minded and modern in its approach.’

‘The people are friendly, client-focused and very capable. They bring a wide angle lens to the problem and think laterally.’

‘Stephen Meade is a safe pair of hands, very good at building client rapport and always available.’

Nicola Mead-Batten has terrific enthusiam for her work.’ 

‘Andrew Brown is very engaging, very bright, an excellent strategic thinker and has very good judgement.’

‘Guto Llewelyn is a young partner with real commercial sense and a wide angle lens.’

‘Lucy Emanuel has superb judgement and extremely hardworking; unafraid to get stuck into a problem and do what it takes to resolve it, a fighter when required but also pragmatic.’

Key clients

Roadchef (Employee Benefits Trustees Limited)

Red Squirrel Consulting Limited

Deloitte LLP (as liquidators of DJ Litts Firearms Ltd and Walsham Chalet Park Limited)

Alpha Schools (Holdings) Ltd

Cardiff City Football Club Limited

Solicitors Regulatory Authority

British Medical Association

British Airways

BST (Warehouses) Limited

MAPFRE

Work highlights

  • Acting for around 150 businesses in claims that are being litigated or referred to the Financial Ombudsman because their Business Interruption Claims for loss of trading due to the pandemic were rejected by insurers.
  • Successfully pursued a £25m wrongful trading and directors’ misfeasance claim for Deloitte, as liquidators of Walsham Chalet Park Limited, after former directors had ripped off thousands of unsecured creditors (mainly pensioners) who had been hoodwinked into investing in holiday homes.
  • Acting for Cardiff City Football Club in the highly complex dispute against FC Nantes regarding the transfer of the football player Emiliano Sala, who tragically passed away after the plane he was travelling on from Nantes to Cardiff crashed into the English Channel.

Eversheds Sutherland

Working independently, as well as being to draw from additional personnel throughout the firm's UK network of offices, Eversheds Sutherland's ten-strong team excels in handling complex and resource-intensive regional and UK-wide public sector disputes. A sizeable proportion of this work relates to public procurement matters and under the guidance of Richard Pitt , the team garners praise for the 'commercial and pragmatic' advice it is able to provide, both in a risk management setting during the procurement process, as well as in any disputes that may subsequently arise from failed bidders. Notably, Pitt recently led the team's high-profile representation of the Department for Transport in the defence of claims by Arriva and Stagecoach entities in relation to the East Midlands rail franchise competition. Luisa Gibbons is also well-versed in public procurement matters, combining this work with a niche professional discipline offering. Lawyers from the Cardiff office also regularly provide assistance to the firm's broader market-leading public inquiries offering, which is primarily led out of Birmingham.

Practice head(s):

Richard Pitt

Other key lawyers:

Luisa Gibbons; Angharad Haf Hurle; Dorian Morris; Helen Rowland; Anna Lois Senter

Testimonials

The team provides commercial and pragmatic advice.

Key clients

Department for Transport

Network Rail

Gloucestershire County Council

Serious Fraud Office

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Thames Water

Close Brothers Limited

Marelli

Eastleigh College

Airbus UK

Teaching Regulation Agency

Welsh Language Commissioner

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc

The Haemophilia Society

Forest England

Stena Line/Stena Ports

Department for Education

Telford and Wrekin Council

Work highlights

  • Defending Department for Transport in claims by Arriva and Stagecoach entities in relation to the East Midlands rail franchise competition.
  • Defending Network Rail against a challenge by Alstom to the procurement process of a decision to award a major signalling framework contract.
  • Defending Gloucestershire County Council in a challenge brought by Community R4C Limited, a crowd funded community benefit society, against the Council for breach of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 in respect of a contract awarded for the design and build of a residual waste treatment facility.

Geldards LLP

Led by the 'commercially mindedPaul HopkinsGeldards LLP's eight-strong team has the resources and depth of knowledge to be able to handle a wide array of litigation, often involving multiple parties. Public sector-related litigation continues to inform much of the work, including the firm's ongoing representation of the Welsh Ministers and NHS in Wales in a substantial competition law claim against Servier SAS and others, in relation to the drug Perindopril. Jonathan Griffiths  is pivotal to much of the firm's public sector work in light of his administrative law (including judicial reviews) and public procurement expertise, in particular. Michael Evans handles more conventional commercial litigation, including shareholder and commercial contract disputes, for private sector clients, including a growing number of financial services entities.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hopkins

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Griffiths; Michael Lindsey; Michael Evans; Gosia Evans

Testimonials

‘Solidly competent multi-disciplinary civil litigation firm led by the punchy and commercially minded Paul Hopkins.’

‘Paul Hopkins took over a complex commercial dispute I was involved in, exercising good judgement in relation to the handling of sensitive documents, our possession of which was objected to by our opponents. Paul kept a careful eye on the client’s longer-term commercial objectives beyond the scope of the litigation.’

‘Gosia Evans is a highly professional, knowledgeable, experienced and personable lawyer who is devoted to working for her clients and providing them with the best experience and advice that makes her stand out from the rest.’

Key clients

The Welsh Ministers (Welsh Government)

Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales LLP

John Bean Technologies Europe BV

Jardine Norton Limited

Natural Resources Body for Wales

RHP Merchants and Construction Limited

TBD (Owen Holland) Limited

Celsa (UK) Holdings Limited

Rutherford Health PLC

British Boxing Board of Control Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising the Welsh Ministers and NHS in Wales in pursuing a substantial competition law claim against Servier SAS and others in relation to the drug Perindopril.
  • Advising the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales on a high-profile and well-publicised breach of contract and professional negligence claim against Lambert Smith Hampton Group Limited and Amber Fund Management Limited concerning the sale of parcels of publicly-owned land in 2012.
  • Advising John Bean Technologies Europe BV on a multimillion-pound warranty claim arising from the purchase of PLF International Limited. The claim relates to a contractual dispute between PLF and a customer in New Zealand.

Hugh James

Benefiting from in-depth substantive law knowledge and also adept at providing very strategic guidance to clients throughout the litigation process, Hugh James has developed a strong track record of success for regional and national public and private sector clients across the gamut of high-stakes commercial disputes. Team head Richard Locke is ‘extremely popular with clients‘, which he represents with great skill across a range of commercial disputes, often involving international elements. Although she is also adept at handling conventional commercial disputes, the ‘top-quality‘ Tracey Singlehurst-Ward adds particular value to the firm’s sports and media clients in relation to IP and defamation-related matters. Senior associate Abigail Flanagan is also a key member of the team and as well as her niche specialism in professional negligence claimant work, also takes the lead on some of the department’s most complex litigation involving injunctive relief.

Practice head(s):

Richard Locke

Other key lawyers:

Tracey Singlehurst-Ward; Jo Brown; Kevin O’Brien; Abigail Flanagan

Testimonials

‘Excellent team. Great with clients. Very commercial but also very reasonable and down to earth.’

 ‘I could not wish to have a more dedicated team supporting me.’

‘The professionalism, knowledge and expertise is what stands out for me. This is a major strength that sets Hugh James apart form the rest.’

Richard Locke has a calm demeanour and displays vast knowledge.

‘Richard Locke and Tracey Singlehurst-Ward are both really excellent and extremely popular with clients. Top quality lawyers.’

Key clients

D S Smith

Celtic Manor Resort Limited

S.A Brain & Co Limited

Natural Resources Wales

ROCKWOOL Limited

Welsh Government

National Westminster Bank Plc

British Boxing Board of Control

Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water)

Welsh Rugby Union

Work highlights

  • Representing South Wales-based company, SJJ Service Systems, in the defence of High Court injunctive proceedings alleging breach of copyright, database rights and breach of confidence.
  • Representing a large South Wales-based partnership, in the pursuit of a claim for breach of contract and negligence against a national renewable energy company.
  • Representing a director, shareholder and individual in a claim against her former directors and shareholders arising from actions which have effectively removed her from her company and privateer of assets and income.

Acuity Law

With a strong and growing presence in Cardiff and Swansea, which was recently enhanced by the arrival in January 2021 of Huw Roffe  from JCP SolicitorsAcuity Law continues its upward trajectory in the market and is increasingly well-placed to handle complex commercial litigation and arbitration, both locally, as well as in cases stretching beyond the confines of Wales. 'Cool and collected' team head Hugh Hitchcock  is a 'partner for the big cases', including high-profile corporate/shareholder disputes and is 'masterful at taking truly challenging negotiations in bitterly fought cases through to completion, while always focused on the client's best interests'. Aisha Wardell also takes the lead on many significant commercial litigation instructions, and has a broad practice that includes representing clients engaged in public procurement and IT disputes. Clients also benefit from access to a growing presence out of London.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Hitchcock

Other key lawyers:

Aisha Wardell; Huw Roffe; Mike Allenby-Smith; Jonathan Stroud; Jared Ursell

Testimonials

‘The team is attentive and pleasant to deal with and has your best interests at heart.’

‘In my 35+ years of business, Acuity Law litigation team have given the best service in terms of expertise, diversity of subject matter and legal experience and personal attention.’

‘Hugh Hitchcock is masterful at taking truly challenging negotiations in bitterly fought cases through to completion, while always focused on the client’s best interests. Even tested to the limit he remains cool, collected and in charge, never losing sight of the end goal. He is a partner for the big cases.’

‘Hugh Hitchcock quickly understands and embraces the most diverse subject matters and his legal knowledge and application of the same, along with personal attention to his clients is unmatched.’

Key clients

Loches Capital

Grant Thornton

Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance

Quantum Advisory LLP

Work highlights

  • Represented Loches, the successful applicant to a pre-action disclosure application against Goldman Sachs International.
  • Acting for trustees of charity, Elim Gospel Alliance in relation to their interest rate swap claims against Lloyds Bank.
  • Representing Quantum Advisory on a dispute over the enforceability of a services agreement.

Berry Smith

Led by the 'very client-focusedNick Parker, who is also an independent mediator, Berry Smith's three-partner team provides 'practical solutions' to private and public sector clients across a broad swathe of commercial litigation, running the gamut from shareholder and commercial contract disputes, through to procurement challenges. The team also has a niche advising in after-the-event legal insurance coverage disputes, with the 'extremely impressiveIwan Doull  particularly well regarded as a result of his many years' experience representing insurer ARAG. Simon Care rounds out the team at a partner level and although he also handles some core commercial litigation, he is best-known for his contentious property expertise.

Practice head(s):

Nick Parker

Other key lawyers:

Iwan Doull; Simon Care

Testimonials

‘The firm is technically competent with great knowledge of the law, as well as procedure. The team’s ability to be straight talking in a way that is easily understood without being condescending is also impressive.’

‘They provide practical solutions and are easy to get hold of to talk through their advice.’

‘I find the approach from the resolution and litigation practice to be practical, considered and commercially minded’. 

‘Genuine specialisation within dispute resolution department with a real cadre of experienced and focused individuals.’

‘Nick Parker is a “go-to” solicitor for commercial disputes. Very client focused with excellent tactical instincts. Quick to spot potential pitfalls on the way to success.’

Iwan Doull is very well respected by his litigation peers with first-rate commercial instincts.’

‘Iwan Doull is extremely impressive, quick to weigh up complex and difficult matters and provide clear and practical advice that can be relied upon time and again.’

Key clients

Arag Plc

BBI Solutions OEM Limited

Plaid Cymru (the Party of Wales)

Keiser UK Limited

AKG Thermotechnik Lettland

The Welsh Revenue Authority

The Involve Recruitment group of companies

RK Aggarwal Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented a leading UK insurance company in a £10m dispute in three party arbitration proceedings.
  • Representing victims of HBOS Reading fraud in compensation claims against Lloyds Bank.

Morgan LaRoche

Led from the firm's Swansea and Carmarthen offices by the 'exceptionalJason Williams  and the 'charming and charasmatic' Llyr Davies , respectively, Morgan LaRoche provides a partner-led approach to commercial litigation, ensuring that it is well-positioned to advise both regional and UK-wide clients across a broad spectrum of often very high-stakes and challenging work. As well as continuing to handle a steady diet of partnership and shareholder disputes, the team has also recently handled a significant number of force majeure-related contractual disputes, a reflection of the recent market conditions caused by the pandemic. In addition to his pure corporate and commercial disputes expertise, Williams regularly advises on complex property litigation, while Davies is increasingly active, from both an advisory and contentious perspective, for local IPs as office holders in insolvency matters. 'Excellent' Carmarthen-based associate Robert Davies  is 'definitely one to watch for the future'. 

Practice head(s):

Llyr Davies; Jason Williams

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Thomas; Ashley Davies; Robert Davies

Testimonials

‘For a local practice the firm attracts very high-quality Commercial Court/Chancery Division work, both in Cardiff and London.’

‘The team handles high value, complex litigation with a brilliant strategic attitude and a commercial approach.’

‘This is an excellent team of dedicated and talented lawyers, working on a wide range of complex and high-value litigation in Wales and the West of England.’

‘Jason Williams is exceptional: he has a sharp, commercial mind which gets directly to the heart of complex tactical problems.’

‘Llyr Davies is an outstanding commercial litigator, extremely attuned to his client, needs, whilst always remaining commercial and pragmatic.’

‘Llyr Davies is charming and charismatic, who has a great depth of legal energy and always keeps his eyes on the prize.’

‘Robert Davies is also an excellent lawyer – definitely one to watch for the future.’

‘Gemma Thomas is a phenomenal asset: an exceptionally hard worker with brilliant attention to detail.’

Key clients

Egnedol Limited

Cawdor Cars (Newcastle Emlyn) Limited

Hafan Cymru

Llanelec Precision Engineering Limited

Mon Motor Group

Douglas-Jones Mercer

Instructed by a raft of regional and national corporate clients, as well as recently being re-appointed to the NPS' civil litigation panel to cover both north and south Wales, Swansea-based firm Douglas-Jones Mercer has excellent coverage across both the private and public sectors. 'Exceptionally hardworking' team head Philip Graham is well-versed at handling a range of commercial litigation, including shareholder and general commercial contract disputes, although he is best-known for his contentious construction expertise.

Practice head(s):

Philip Graham

Other key lawyers:

Russell Price; Christian Edwards; Andrew Thomas

Testimonials

‘Philip Graham is exceptionally hard working but always finds times to respond to requests for exploratory discussions prior to commencement of formal action.’

Key clients

Ply-Tek (UK) Ltd

Skelton Thomas Engineering Ltd

Stones & Co

Nautilus Roofing & Exteriors Ltd

Craigdam Services Ltd

Seminar Components UK Ltd

Williams Llandeilo Ltd

Tawe Drylining & Plastering Ltd

Shufflebottom Limited

Haywood Homes (CR) Ltd

JP Construction & Design Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented a corporate client in breach of confidence claims against former employees/consultants.
  • Represented Stones & Co as liquidator of a development company in claims for a preference/third party cost liability arising from the failure of the business.
  • Successfully represented WRW Construction associated with a development in Twickenham. After resolution of construction related matters, the focus shifted to a particular emphasis on questions of Third Party Cost liabilities.

JCP Solicitors

Benefiting from strong ties with the local business community, Swansea-based firm JCP Solicitors receives a steady flow of commercial litigation, including as it relates to contractual and shareholder disputes. Team head Andrew Meech  has developed a particularly strong reputation for sports-related matters and continues to represent Italian sportswear manufacturer, Macron, on commercial contract work, as well as in any litigation which may ensue.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Meech

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Thomas; David Owen

Key clients

Macron S.p.A

A B Glass (Doors & Windows) Ltd

United Worldwide Logistics Limited

Amser Building Services Limited

Dolmans

Dolmans is 'always willing to go the extra mile' to ensure the best interests of public sector clients, including numerous local authorities, which instruct the firm in commercial disputes, as well as in relation to health and safety and personal injury defence work, which remains its sweet-spot. 'Very knowledgeable and capable' team head Peter Bennett handles much of this work, as well as commercial insurance disputes and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bennett

Other key lawyers:

Philip Bradley; Simon Evans; Claire Thomas

Testimonials

‘A great multi-disciplined team of diligent professionals who are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure our best interests.’

‘Peter Bennett and Claire Thomas are very knowledgeable and capable individuals, tenacious and effective with a friendly manner.’

Key clients

Dauson Group

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Rendability Limited

AXA XL Insurance

Kudos Liability Adjusters

GHP Legal

GHP Legal has strong traction among north and mid Wales-based corporate clients, including many SMEs and owner-managed businesses, and regularly handles a variety commercial litigation, including as it relates to shareholder, general contract disputes and debt recovery. The team, which includes several solicitor-advocates, is headed by the 'diligent and professionalRobert Williams, whose expertise includes general corporate and commercial litigation, in addition to claimant-side professional negligence and public procurement challenges.

Practice head(s):

Robert Williams

Testimonials

‘A superb team with a range of experience between those who have seen and done it all and the newer hands who are keen to prove themselves.’

‘Robert Williams is diligent and professional.’

Harding Evans LLP

Harding Evans LLP's four-strong Newport-based team provides 'balanced, informed and insightful' advice to local and national businesses across a wide array of disputes, including breach of contract and professional negligence matters. 'Brilliant' team head Ben Jenkins has higher rights of audience and so in the right circumstances is able to conduct advocacy on behalf of clients. Jenkins has also developed a strong grounding in relation to defamation matters, as well as handling work for numerous sports clubs and individuals. The firm is also well-placed to represent corporate clients in their debt recovery matters, particularly in light of having access to numerous qualified High Court bailiffs, including the 'first-classWilliam Watkins .

Practice head(s):

Ben Jenkins

Other key lawyers:

William Watkins

Testimonials

‘From the initial enquiry with Harding Evans, I was pleasantly suprised with how quickly they responded. From the initial point of contact, I was directed to the solicitor who specialises in the area I needed in order to deal with my problem swiftly. This was in the middle of the first lockdown for Covid-19, so the speed in which this was dealt with was fantastic.’

Their advice is balanced, informed and insightful and provoke organisations to start thinking about any questions/considerations they may need to address, including any innovations that can be made as an organisation.

‘The brilliant Ben Jenkins has a great rapport with his clients, ensures he fully understands the complexities for the problem at hand and most of all, he cares, he is vested in both his practice and his client.’

‘Ben Jenkins is an outstanding partner in commercial dispute resolution. He is extremely personable whilst maintaining a thorough and professional approach. Further he is a sharp and shrewd litigator.’

William Watkins was absolutely first-class in handling the recovery of the debt.’

Key clients

Sam Warburton

Euro Foods Group

Water Treatment Products Limited

The London Trading Company (UK) Ltd

The Vale of Glamorgan Hotel Limited T/A The Vale Resort

BOGOD Group

Pobl Group

NAAFI

Wet and Forget Limited

Menzies LLP

Landmark Entertainment Limited

Aspen Construction & Civil Engineering Limited

Leekes Limited

Arvans Civil Engineering Limited

Hughes Forrest Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented a food and drink wholesaler in bringing a breach of contract action and claims relating to the misuse of confidential information by former employees, who subsequently established their own company in competition with the wholesaler.
  • Advising a high-net-worth individual in a complex £1.6m construction dispute.
  • Obtaining a £1m+ judgment in complex commercial litigation and subsequently enforcing on the judgment.

RDP Law

Newport-based firm RDP Law continues to handle an eclectic range of commercial litigation, primarily for local SMEs and owner-managed businesses, as well as for the firm's traditional farming clients. The arrival in June 2020 of senior associate Clare O’Sullivan  from Clarke Willmott LLP gives the firm added strength in the financial services space, particularly in light of the insight she attained during her previous role in-house within the financial regulator's enforcement division. O'Sullivan co-heads the team alongside senior associate Rhys Evans , who is primarily focused on contentious probate and property litigation.

Practice head(s):

Rhys Evans; Clare O’Sullivan

Testimonials

Their attention to detail in giving the background to the advice is always extremely good and commercial.’

Rhys Evans has been involved in several cases which he has been very thorough to explain the position the client is in and the stages and options available.’

Key clients

Farmers Union of Wales