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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > West Midlands > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Banking litigation

Index of tables

  1. Banking litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking litigation clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides ‘a first-class service' to a client roster that includes a number of large banks; the team is particularly well-known for defending mis-selling claims. Chris Busby heads the firm’s national practice and is a ‘real star in his field and well-deserving of his accolades – he is very knowledgeable on banking regulation, very attentive to what clients need and very easy to work with’. He has expertise in PPI matters, a leads a practice that handles a high volume of work for major banks. Neville Gray, who ‘has a strong understanding of his cases and an excellent grasp of case management’, is representing a private bank in a series of mis-selling cases concerning alleged negligence or breaches of statutory duties as regards to the sale of film partnership scheme products. Gray also acted for a Nordic bank in claims by users of its trading platform at the time of the 2015 termination of the Swiss Franc’s peg to the Euro. He also has SIPP mis-selling and Consumer Credit Act expertise. Principal associate Sarah Hope  is a ‘hardened and experienced litigator, with great client skills’. Principal associate Martin Ward  joined from Shoosmiths LLP. The practice also acts for banks in professional negligence actions against solicitors and invoice finance disputes. Santander and Nationwide are other clients.

Gowling WLG is ‘responsive, with very good asset finance industry knowledge in particular’. Clark Sargent and senior associate Katie Molloy (who ‘provides sound advice and is very diligent’) are representing PEAC in several cases against schools which leased printing equipment but subsequently sought to void the leases as ultra vires on public law grounds. Ian Weatherall  and senior associate Turon Miah acted for Home Retail Group Card Services in a large volume of PPI cases concerning Argos-branded store cards.

Squire Patton Boggs’ team handles a range of heavyweight financial services regulation work. Garon Anthony handles cross-border regulatory investigations, often concerning English law-based “free zones” outside the UK, as well as domestic mis-sellling cases and insurance disputes. Simon Garbett, whose work crosses over with matters such as pensions, is also another key partner. Senior associate Ian Skinner joined from Dentons’ Milton Keynes office. The firm is a member of the Financial Conduct Authority’s “skilled person” panel for financial crime matters. Brooks Macdonald Financial Consulting is a client, as is Amana Capital Group.

FS Legal is described by some as ‘the only pure financial services litigation firm outside London – its team is the envy of many of the top law firms it comes up against’. Gareth Fatchett (‘a renowned expert in financial services work') handles a range of heavyweight financial services litigation; he represented Metro Financial Solutions in a dispute with Tenet Connect Services – the client left the network, and Tenet Connect subsequently attempted to claim back fees. Other work concerns novel regulatory matters, plus SIPP and mortgage mis-selling cases. Paul Crutchley also handles heavyweight work, some of which concerning offshore financial services.

Shoosmiths LLP’s 'dedicated' team ‘has that rare mix of being legally gifted and commercially sensible; the entire team is friendly and eminently capable’, with notable expertise in consumer credit litigation. Roger Potgiegter is ‘a real asset to the firm and his clients alike – he provides pragmatic advice, projects a calm exterior at all times and has a wealth of knowledge and experience: quiet simply, he makes clients’ lives easier’. He advised Creation Consumer Finance and other lenders in mis-selling claims brought under sections 75 and 140A of the Consumer Credit Act. In a separate case, he also acted for a car manufacturer-backed finance provider in a claim brought under the Data Protection Act concerning allegedly incorrect statements to credit reference agencies.

Gateley Plc ’s James Baird handles a range of banking litigation, often involving fraud by bank employees. Clients include Macquarie Equipment Finance, Aldermore Bank, Scania Finance, Tower Leasing and several traditional banks.

Commercial litigation: Birmingham

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Birmingham
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Birmingham clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


DLA Piper UK LLP is ‘an excellent firm that provides a first-rate service' and which is 'very good at managing expectations’. The practice ‘has a reach far beyond Birmingham itself’, handling a number of cases with international element. Neil Bowker, who heads the firm’s national litigation and regulatory practice, is ‘a dynamic litigator who always goes the extra mile for clients’. He continues to represent Accident Exchange in a long-running multi-faceted case against expert witness company Autofocus, which allegedly ran a campaign of perjury concerning the cost of providing courtesy cars for car accident claimants; part of this included successful contempt proceedings brought by Accident Exchange against several former Autofocus employees. Nick Bamford (‘an astute litigator and excellent reader of legal runes’) heads the Birmingham team - he and senior associate Amanda Rowley represented Ngali Holdings, a Rwandan publicly-owned company, in defending several claims brought by a financial adviser concerning fees regarding advice on funding of hydroelectric projects. New partner and ‘intellectual powerhouse’ Philip Kelly is also working with the firm’s Edinburgh office as external advisers to the Magnox inquiry, which concerns a bungled procurement exercise by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority concerning the clean-up of several nuclear power stations including Wylfa in Angelsey and Sizewell A. In addition, he and Bowker successfully defended David Wilson Homes from a claim brought by another property developer. Senior associate Adam Johnson ‘is a superb associate who manages his clients very well’.

Fieldfisher LLP's ‘advice is spot on and the partners are razor-sharp’. The practice handles a range of work, with international commercial arbitrations concerning established markets a particular strength. Jonathan Hofstetter is ‘a straight talker, and unlike many in the profession, really understands litigation funding – he also has a good sense of humour and is good to work with’. He represented Swedish Match in a Judicial Review case. Director Stephen May ‘has a great relationship with his clients and is a trusted adviser to them’. Ann Benzimra, whose work includes IT-related disputes, is ‘very experienced in commercial litigation – she can quickly grasp what is required’. Larry Coltman handles commercial agency work, while Jim Sharkey’s workload includes disputes concerning directors’ duties. Freezing injunctions are another area of expertise.

Gowling WLG is highly active in cases involving heavyweight allegations of fraud. ‘Brilliant all-round litigator’ Andrew Smith and Samantha Holland successfully defended CPC Group, a company connected to the Candy brothers, in a high-profile case brought by a real estate investor and his investment vehicle Hotblack, which alleged a conspiracy to take control of a property development company via, inter alia, fraud, blackmail and duress; the claimant was found have lied to the court. Clark Sargent and director Emma Carr acted for the London Legacy Development Corporation in a dispute with West Ham United concerning, among other issues, the number of seats it is permitted to use in the London Stadium. Andrew Nugent Smith and senior associate Sean Adams represented a high-net-worth individual in defending proceedings concerning the ownership of a Ferrari 250 GTO and a McLaren F1, in which the claimants alleged that the cars worth were purchased using proceeds of fraud; he also defended JD Classics and the company’s founder against claims of fraud and mis-selling of classic cars. Andrew Manning-Cox, who handles partnership disputes, and senior associate Elsie Blackshaw represented Amec Foster Wheeler in litigation brought by various construction workers included in The Consulting Association’s blacklist. Tom Price, who heads the firm’s CEE and CIS desk, handles joint venture disputes subject to arbitration, while Patrick Arben  also handles data risk matters.

DWF’s litigation team in Birmingham is comprised of ‘very professional, top-notch lawyers’. Andrew Leach, who has a track record of CIS-related litigation, is ‘an exceptional lawyer who handles complex heavyweight commercial litigation with relative ease – he ensures all his clients’ needs are met while striving for the best result for them inside or outside the courtroom’. Darren Kenny is ‘driven and client-focused, taking an inventive and proactive approach to litigation to try to and get the best outcomes’. Senior associate Ben Griffin is noted for his expertise in commercial agency disputes, and he has ‘a deep knowledge and understanding of the case law in this field’.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is ‘excellent in commercial litigation’. Adam Fisher is ‘particularly impressive – he is smart, full of sense and particularly good at boiling down complex legal points into a language lay clients understand, helping them understand their options accurately and simply’ – he represented 18 Week Support in various breach of confidence claims against a competitor seeking to enter the NHS insourcing market. Rich Lloyd is ‘particularly good – he is very strong on law, and excellent on the detail while retaining a really good macro view of the matter being litigated’. He acted alongside senior associate Victoria Callicott for Sims Group in the defense of a £5m claim brought by one of its suppliers. Principal associate Ridah Iqbal is also a name of note, as is senior associate Helen Amison. In an illustration of its ‘excellence in the public sector arena’, Sarah Jones and principal associate Isabelle Mitchell, working alongside the firm’s office in Cardiff, acted for the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office and the Independent Schools Inspectorate as core participants in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which follows on from the team’s involvement as solicitors to the Independent Jersey Care inquiry.

Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘a match for any other regional firm – the team has a good level of business knowledge and provides very balanced and practical advice that allows clients’ to brief stakeholders and make an informed decision’. Steve Allen represented ALFA Bank in securing a default judgment against a Russian loan guarantor who did not respond to the claim. Allen acted alongside principal associate Clare O’Brien for Jaguar Land Rover in an intellectual property dispute with Bombardier, which sold an off-road vehicle named the “Defender”. Principal associate Anthony Minnis acted for NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group in a dispute with its trust provider, which was resolved by an expert determination. Sport is another sector focus: associate Phil Hutchinson (‘who is emerging as a confident and capable litigator’) represented football agent Fernando Felicevic, who represents several footballers from Latin America, in bringing a counterclaim for unpaid commission in a case brought by Cardiff City Football Club regarding alleged fraud and conspiracy. The firm also handles outsourcing, major IT disputes and manufacturing-related matters.

Pinsent Masons LLP provides ‘pragmatic, timely advice’ on a range of cases, many of which involve public law or civil fraud elements. Practice head Jim Richards and senior associate Andrew Herring advised MLS (Overseas) in a successful procurement challenge against the Ministry of Defence concerning a £390m port agency services dispute; the client had the highest-scoring bid and the lowest price, but was bypassed in favour of the second-highest scorer due to a binary pass-or-fail question. Herring is ‘very responsive and quick to grasp the pertinent issues’ – he worked with the firm’s employment team for IMS World Publications and its parent company in litigation against former employees. Jonathan Fortnam and senior associate Faye Moore represented ISS UK in litigation arising from its purchase of GSH Group; her other cases include professional negligence actions against solicitors. Legal director Jason Kirwin represented E.ON in defending a claim linked to a bankruptcy in Louisiana with numerous disclosure issues and allegations of fraud; the claim settled at the door of the court.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP's ‘excellent' team is praised for its 'tough approach to litigation’. Mark Beesley (‘always at the top of his game’) and recently promoted partner James Woolstenhulme (‘very good and experienced’) acted for Alliance Surgical in a dispute with Pancentric concerning allegedly incorrect projected figures for leads and sales concerning a contract for digital marketing services; the matter involved complex issues concerning metadata of documents already disclosed. Beesley and Woolstenhulme are also defending Personal Touch Financial Services against claims from Simplysure, which alleged a breach of an appointed representative agreement – the matter involved  questions over what constitutes a “regulated activity” in the financial services context. Beesley also handles arbitration work. Barry Jervis acted for Henkel in a dispute against one of its suppliers, which allegedly provided defective equipment triggering a product recall and subsequent shortages. He also represented Birmingham City Council in High Court litigation concerning the months-long strike by refuse collectors during the summer of 2017. Other clients include Intercity Technology, for which Beesley secured a short-notice injunction regarding a copy of a customer database taken by a departing employee.

Squire Patton Boggs fields a ‘capable team that always resolves disputes to clients’ satisfaction’. Key figures include Simon Garbett, who handles shareholder disputes, M&A-related litigation, cross-border contractual disputes and disputes involving the Hague Convention; and the ‘very pragmatic and clear-thinkingGaron Anthony, who also leads heavyweight disputes work, is ‘very supportive of clients’ businesses and understands the complexities of their companies – he is very capable and quick to respond’. Senior associate Ian Skinner, who joined from Dentons in Milton Keynes, is another key contact. Clients include GSH Group and Dalata Hotel Group. Associate Ben Tompkins is now at Higgs & Sons.

Bell Lax Limited is a ‘strong boutique litigation firm’ that provides ‘a very good level of service and provides very honest advice that takes into consideration clients’ objectives, putting clients’ interest above its own’. Associate director Liam Owen and associate Natalie Bradshaw  acted for RGB Group in a number of cases, including one regarding an alleged failure to pay for construction works done to a hotel in Leicester Square, and another case concerning its purchase of defective lifts. Owen also deals with reputation management matters; he advised a victim of the contaminated blood factor products scandal concerning a statement in Ken Clarke QC MP’s autobiography concerning the ex gratia payments to victims, which were initially inaccurately described as compensation. Consultant Peter Lax (‘very good with complex matters’) handles a variety of insolvency disputes and shareholder litigation. Solicitor-advocate Qarrar Somji is ‘an impressive and industrious litigator’. Director Richard Kerry , whose work includes shareholder disputes 'is very agreeable and doesn’t get ruffled; he looks after his clients’.

Gateley Plc is ‘an outstanding commercial litigation firm that combines sound legal advice with tactical astuteness and an understanding of commercial sensitivities’. The ‘extremely switched-on and responsive’ team handles a range of work, from shareholder disputes through to contractual matters and civil fraud cases. Partner Stephen Goodrham is ‘an inspirational leader who has developed the team into a real powerhouse’. ‘Master tactician’ legal director Neil Warner is ‘an excellent lawyer who approaches matters from a commercial point of view – he has the ability to get to the root of a problem quickly'. He is active in a number of high-profile disputes, with an emphasis on football and public procurement matters. Senior associate Karen Levesley ‘has meticulous knowledge of her cases, keeping clients ahead of the curve’. Associate Rebecca Thomas (‘sensible but steely’) has a wide-ranging caseload, including civil fraud cases, while associate Kate Canning (‘absolutely committed to her cases and always willing to go the extra mile for clients’) is active in contentious insolvency matters, recently acting for Smile Stylist in a winding-up petition against a company which was contracted to provide service, but deposited the cash into the directors’ bank account. Associate Safeea Shafiq handles manufacturing-related disputes.

Shoosmiths LLP provides ‘an excellent level of service – the firm has very good response times and business acumen, providing well-rounded advice that communicates all the options available to clients through a narrative of the risks associated with each option’. The firm handles a diverse range of cases, from civil fraud and regulatory matters through to more esoteric litigation. Mark Elder and associate Rebekah Finch represented former Manchester United midfielder Lee Sharpe in a phone hacking claim brought against Mirror Group Newspapers, securing a settlement including an undertaking not to hack Sharpe’s phone in future. Elder also acts for Allpay in a judicial review of HMRC concerning the VAT rating of payment services. Alex Bishop  is ‘fantastic – she puts clients at ease in stressful situations, and brings a commercial and pragmatic approach that ensures clients are always fully advised and supported’. She represented a defendant to a multi-party Commercial Court case involving allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation concerning the extension of the repayment date of loan notes, as well as an indemnity regarding losses made by a company which is subject to a Serious Fraud Office investigation. She also represented a recruitment company in a dispute with a former director who left the company but commenced to contact clients of his old employer. Other disputes concern customs, IT services procurement, manufacturing disputes and unpaid invoice matters. The firm also acts for Accident Exchange on matters unrelated to the Autofocus case, and The White Company.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is ‘very focused and commercial in its approach’; ‘it has an outstanding level of knowledge and it provides valuable advice’. The team’s practice has a strong leaning towards civil fraud cases, but handles more broader-based disputes as well. Helen Briant and consultant Keith Mills (who has ‘excellent strategic judgement and commercial sense’) represented Rotam Agrochemical Company in bringing a claim against another agrochemical company concerning an alleged breach of a distribution agreement, which had complex issues of choice of law, with the defendant company claiming that Austrian law applied to some but not all elements of the contract. Mark Kenkre represented the Swimming Teachers’ Association in a dispute with its former CEO, who allegedly defrauded the charity of £3.6m over twenty years. Kenkre is also acting for a private individual in a £10m professional negligence claim, connected to the RBS Global Restructuring Group scandal, against a firm of surveyors. Other clients include Bank Sohar, which Kenkre represented in civil fraud matters, and Archus, a start-up created by several Capita alumni, which Kenkre successfully defended in an action brought by Capita against the company and several of its employees seeking access to emails sent in the directors’ personal email accounts. The team has been boosted by Jamie de Souza  who has joined from Higgs & Sons.

Bevan Brittan LLP’s dispute work includes a range of matters for the firm’s traditional public sector clientele. Adam Kendall’s practice includes various public procurement disputes, many of which concerning IT. Separately, he represents Flintshire County Council in an indemnity claim brought by solicitors who acted for a councillor who was suspended after bullying a civil servant. Private sector work includes various contractual disputes, some of which with intellectual property elements. Clients include a range of local authorities, NHS bodies and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

BLM ‘works hard to grasp the complexities of the situation in each individual matter’. Julian Smart, who ‘works tirelessly on clients’ cases from the beginning, staying on top of things’, continues to act for Towergate Financial in a piece of M&A litigation. Other work includes cartel follow-on damages claims and heavyweight civil fraud matters, often concerning insurance – Caroline Kane is a significant contact for this; she ‘has brilliant knowledge of ever case: she is like a walking dictionary and gets to the core points in ways she makes everyone understand’. Jagdeep Hayre handles a variety of cases for Birmingham City Council. The firm also acts for Fujitsu and European Risk Insurance Company.

Emms Gilmore Liberson ‘definitely punches above its weight’ –  ‘it is making significant inroads in to business to business disputes in the region using its flexibility to real advantage in how it meets client needs’. Director Richard Cooper is ‘brilliant – he is there when clients need him, and the way he manages cases in court is both professional and extremely clever; his attention to detail and client care are both first-class’ has a practice which includes such varied matters as shareholder disputes, restrictive covenant litigation and unjust enrichment claims. Peter Adkins, another director, has aviation expertise. Director Gurmeet Jakhu joined on January 2018 from Knights plc, while associate director Fabienne McAllister joined from Lanyon Bowdler.

Freeths LLP represents a mixture of individuals, SMEs and better-known corporate in a range of litigation. Richard Coates has a diverse practice, including warranties disputes, civil fraud cases involving company leadership. Louse Wilson is another partner of note – her work also includes cases with corporate governance challenges, and disputes concerning supply of goods. Associate James Modley  joined from Shoosmiths LLP.

Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘very strong’, and for some ‘probably the best in central Birmingham outside the large national and international firms’. The practice handles a range of matters, many of which with fraud elements, with clients ranging from international businesses, trade bodies, regional businesses and individual executives. Dean Parnell, whose expertise includes acting as a supervising solicitor for court-ordered searches, on top of being ‘very experienced and sensible: he is calm and reassuring, firm but not aggressive, and a tactically astute negotiator who secures good deals for his clients’, is ‘particularly strong on shareholder disputes and claims relating to directors’ – he represented a foreign company on recovery of losses from director-level frauds. Kamal Majevadia acted for an engineering company concerning unpaid invoices for engine components – he also handles cases concerning alleged fraud.

Weightmans LLP’s Mark Surguy handles work such as civil fraud and bribery cases, directors’ duties matters, contractual disputes and various other civil litigation, many of which with cross-border elements. Some other cases include advising businesses and public sector organisations on harassment injunctions.

Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the West Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the West Midlands
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the West Midlands clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Beswicks Legal attracts praise for its ‘personal and professional approach – the lawyers show interest and engagement, and the size of the firm allows it to take care of each client and case with a personal and individual approach’. The practice handles a range of work – sport is a core area for the firm, with clients including football clubs and agents. Gareth Wilkinson, who handles contractual, directors’ duties, equitable winding-up, insolvency and tax disputes, heads the practice with Karen Elder. Elder and associate Sean O’Toole (who joined from Gowling WLG in January 2017) are ‘lawyers with a remarkable level of knowledge and strategy, with an outstanding talent for negotiations’. Stephen Taylor  is also a partner of note.

One of the strongest in the region outside Birmingham, and a match for many of the Birmingham city centre firms’, FBC Manby Bowdler LLP is a ‘stellar and slick firm, which combines quality and experience – it is easy to work with and always well-prepared’. Guy Birkett (‘very experienced, calm and sensible’)  represented an engineering company (a rich seam of clients for the firm) seeking a search order concerning breaches of fiduciary duty by an outgoing director who left to join a competitor. Gareth Ruddock (‘bright and affable; he listens very carefully to a client’s objectives and delivers tailored advice') acted for Leonard Curtis Business Solutions in a claim against a director of a company who allegedly siphoned money from a company to purchase property in the UK and Africa – the matter was settled via alternative dispute resolution. The ‘reliable and sensibleCharlotte Clode defended a High Court claim for a construction company concerning the delivery of equipment; the claimant sought to move the tools worth £1.5m to the Middle East. The aforementioned solicitors are based in the firm's Wolverhampton office. Based in Shrewsbury, Brian Aikman represented a party to a break-up of a family farming partnership, which included a proprietary estoppel claim, concerning £4.5m of assets, as well as handling some competition law cartel cases.

George Green LLP is a ‘good quality, very professional firm more than able to hold its own in substantial commercial disputes against larger firms’. The team handles a diverse range of work, with particular emphasis on technology and engineering. Neil Williams, who has experience of acting as a supervising solicitor, ‘brings a calm, measured and realistic approach to his cases’. He handles product liability cases among other matters involving engineering issues. Morgan Rees (‘a bright, well-organised, hardworking and conscientious litigator who maintains a good command of the detail of his cases’) and associate James Field (‘bright, and very good in cases with an overlap with employment’) represented the former CEO of Synergy Biologics in an unfair prejudice claim from his former employer concerning allegations that investment opportunities worth £37m had been diverted. Field and Rees  defended Olive Communications Solutions in a claim from a former director and employee regarding an alleged agreement for the company to buy back its own shares. Rees also handles directors’ disqualification proceedings.

At Higgs & Sons Julia Lowe is representing a business in three appeals against HMRC’s refusal to refund input VAT, as well as related classification disputes. Lowe also represented a shareholder, formerly a director, of a company in a claim concerning alleged exclusion from a business opportunity. Matt Dudley handles unfair prejudice claims, and is acting for a private individual in a claim against West Midlands Police concerning the lawfulness of a search and arrest which interfered with a business. He also handles freezing injunctions. Associates Ben Tompkins  and consultant Carl Garvie, who is qualified as a barrister are also recommended. Jamie de Souza has left the practice to join Trowers & Hamlins LLP's Birmingham office.

Wright Hassall LLP handles a mixture of work ranging from restrictive covenant disputes through to defamation cases. Susan Hopcraft successfully defended five independent financial advisers in a £10m claim, which was ultimately withdrawn and indemnity costs awarded against the claimants. Daniel Jennings represented a company in a defamation action, securing additional injunctions on the bases of malicious falsehood and data protection, and acted for a business in a claim against a website operator whose users made derogatory comments about its services. Also recommended are Sarah Perry, who handles contractual disputes, Rhys Jarman, whose workload includes product liability and shareholder disputes, and associate Matthew Goodwin.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, which has outposts in both Worcester and Hereford, has ‘a large department with strength in depth in this area – it is an excellent firm, with a number of first-rate lawyers’. Elizabeth Beatty in Worcester (who is ‘very sensible and commercially aware – very tough but without being aggressive’) represented Amada, which supplies laser-cutting machinery on hire-purchase terms, in a dispute with administrators of an insolvent client which had custody of one of its machines. Beatty also handles shareholder disputes and unfair prejudice claims. Richard Morgan in Hereford heads the firm’s national litigation team and handles M&A-related disputes. Marc Lazarus is another name of note.

Dudley's Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Limited ‘takes a completely calm and logical approach to each scenario – clients are guided through the risks and rewards of litigation, and are helped into making a final decision’. Harminder Sandhu is noted for her ‘ability to discuss matters with clients with calmness and certainty, which gives clients confidence in their decisions’. She acted for Sovereign Risk Management in a dispute with a director and minority shareholder who set up a competing business while on long-term sick leave, and separately represented Meridian Metal Trading in a dispute with a client which alleged that its products were defective. Other work concerns construction disputes, contractual disputes relating to supply chains, and product liability.

Lanyon Bowdler is ‘a good quality firm, with nice people who are easy to work with’. Andrew Pegg, who heads the department from the Telford office, represented Viessmann Refrigeration Systems in a dispute with the buyer of one of its blast freezers. His other work concerns shareholder disputes and (in keeping with its position as the NFU panel firm for Shropshire, Herefordshire and Staffordshire) agricultural litigation. Brian Evans in Shrewsbury is ‘an exceptional operator; he has a meticulous attention to detail, and is practical and pragmatic’.

MFG Solicitors LLP is praised for its ‘client-focused service – it is very good at identifying what the end goals are in any litigation’. Tom Elser, who is ‘great at explaining all the jargon and making clients feel at ease’, continues to act for Waste Spectrum in a dispute concerning the supply of equipment and an agency agreement pertaining to Saudi Arabia; the matter is subject to an ICC arbitration based on UNIDROIT principles. Other key highlights include representing Norton Hydraulics on the removal of a director and the enforcement of restrictive covenants, and assisting L G Harris with reorganising its commercial agents. Samuel Pedley, newly promoted to partner, ‘has that wonderful skill all good lawyers have where they can listen patiently to all the to and fro and white noise that surrounds the emotion of disputes, quickly getting to the point and presenting what is relevant’. He acted for The Thomas Blunt Partnership in a cross-border intellectual property dispute, and separately represented Butcher Woods as trustee in bankruptcy against a former director who attempted a transaction at under value to defraud creditors. Other clients include Midland Marketing, which Pedley represented in a contractual dispute against Colgate-Palmolive.

Thursfields Solicitors is, for some, ‘in another class – the firm appreciates that its clients do not all have legal backgrounds, so does not try to blind you with jargon whilst providing a first-class service’. The ‘very proactive and knowledgeable’ Tim Lawrence represented a leading social media franchisor in a fraud claim against its franchisees, against a backdrop of alleged misrepresentations. Senior associate Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard  is also a name of note. Other highlights concern partnership disputes and enforcement against restrictive covenants. Both named lawyers are based in Worcester.

At Ansons, Martin de Ridder heads a practice which handles various contractual and product defect litigation among other matters. De Ridder, who is based in Cannock, is instructed to represent Team Industrial in a dispute over the termination of a service contract. Also in Cannock, associate Adam Pike represented Powerlite Generators in a dispute against a claim concerning allegedly defective site machinery. Senior associate Jason Alcock in Lichfield is also a key contact – his work includes shareholder disputes and cross-border litigation.

Freeths LLP in Stoke on Trent ‘provides very good service, which is due to its long-standing relationships developed over time – the client has a good understanding of clients’ businesses and ethics’. Stephen Hadley , who heads the practice, handles work including M&A litigation and several disputes over the ownership of property. In one highlight, he advised Baker Tilly as trustees in one of three brothers party to a partnership dispute owning several properties in multiple countries, against a backdrop of alleged conveyancing fraud and impersonation. Natural resources are an area of expertise – the team advises Tarmac on mineral regulation matters.

Knights plc in Newcastle under Lyme has a track record of handling various matters, including contractual disputes and shareholder litigation. David Convey and Kate Clarke are key contacts.

Pickerings Solicitors’ Simon King acted for the defendants in a £100,000 libel claim running in parralel with an employment case, and represented JOIE Children’s Products in a £300,000 claim brought by an individual purporting to be a commercial agent. Other highlights include shareholder disputes, insolvency matters, and cases involving disputes around the provision of services. The firm is based in Tamworth.

Debt recovery

Index of tables

  1. Debt recovery
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Debt recovery clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Coltman Warner Cranston LLP provides ‘excellent levels of service, good advice and speedy responses’. Larry Coltman heads the practice, which handles a range of work including winding-up petitions, retention of title claims and Insolvency Act clawback matters. Clients recommend legal executive manager Darren Daviole. Also legal executives, Graham Bates has insolvency expertise and Stuart Cranston is a name of note for litigation. Clients include several leading names in retail, the public sector, utilities and logistics.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s team provides ‘effective and consistent service – the small claims process is efficient, and larger value claims are also progressed effectively, with good commercial advice given’. The firm acts for public bodies, industrial clients, consumer-facing businesses and utilities providers, but has a number of strong education clients too; Jayne Gardner continues to advise the University of Warwick on cross-border recovery of student debt from non-paying international alumni; she also assists the Edgbaston High School for Girls on recovering unpaid school fees. Alan Hamblett  is ‘very diligent, keeping to the relevant facts and asking the right questions - he is very successful for his clients’ – he handles various debt recovery litigation matters for public and private sector clients.

At Beswicks Legal , Richard Anderson continues to advise South Lee School on dealing with non-payment of school fees, as well as handling various matters regarding student accommodation and tuition fees for degree-awarding institutions. Other work concerns unpaid invoices in a range of sectors, including sports industry related matters.

Gowling WLG handles a range of work in the debt recovery space, much of it cross-border. Andrew Nugent Smith and Ian Weatherall are key partners in the team, with principal associate Turon Miah also a name of note. Royal Bank of Canada is a client, as is American Express. Greg Standing has retired.

VWV is ‘excellent overall and quick and effective – it just gets on with it and gets the job done, rather than constantly asking for instructions on every point’. Dee Kundi heads the practice, which handles a number of cross-border cases, including matters involving foreign creditors and debtors. The firm is on the Bar Council's panel for debt recovery, and handles work for members of leading sets of chambers concerning solicitors’ failure to pay fees. Other clients include energy providers, insolvency practitioners, independent schools and recruitment companies.

Wright Hassall LLP ‘provides an excellent level of service and support throughout the debt recovery process – there is a good team which is focused on delivering an excellent level of service’. Phil Wilding ‘heads the debt recovery team and ensures that clients are provided with an excellent level of service’. The firm has a particular strength in work for the private parking industry, and handled a cross-border case involving the enforcement of parking charge notices (as distinct from local authority-issued penalty charge notices) issued by the operator of a Scottish hospital car park in England. Other clients include Cabot Credit Management, Loans2Go and Everyday Loans.

At FBC Manby Bowdler LLP , Gareth Ruddock  acts for a range of SMEs (including construction and software companies), as well as insolvency practitioners, which the firm advises on collecting book debts.

In Birmingham, Gateley Plc’s James Baird handles cases, many of which concerning vehicle hire and finance, some of which with fraud elements. Clients include Scania Finance Great Britain, Henry Howard Finance and Kennet Equipment Leasing.

Lanyon Bowdler is ‘very good, even for complex cases’. In Telford, legal executive Sian Samuel heads her own work, some of which concerns non-payment for industrial equipment, food and farming-related invoicing matters, as well as matters in the care sector. Andrew Pegg , who heads the firm’s broader dispute resolution practice, is another name of note.

Shoosmiths LLP’s debt recovery caseload in Birmingham features a number of more technical matters, often concerning motor finance. Roger Potgiegter advised a manufacturer-owned car finance provider in a three-party dispute concerning a bailiff company and the customer concerning the beneficial ownership held by a consumer in possessions of goods acquired under hire purchase. Julie Peel is an associate of note.

Sydney Mitchell LLP ’s workload includes a number of matters acting for finance providers concerning lending secured on residential property, plus matters concerning social care fees, vehicle finance and unpaid invoices. Kam Majevadia  heads the practice, with solicitor Hayley-Jo Lockley  a name of note below partner level. Gemma Parker is a key legal executive. Clients include West Bromwich Commercial.

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