Commercial litigation: Birmingham in West Midlands
DLA Piper UK LLP is notably strong in cross-border disputes, with the firm's international network of offices providing a strong platform to attract big-ticket mandates. The team, which has particular focus on client in the financial services, technology and government contracting sectors, saw a 30% growth in fee income over the past year. Neil Bowker is national head of the firm's UK litigation and regulatory group, and has extensive experience of cross-border disputes. Nick Bamford, meanwhile, heads up the Birmingham team and is highly experienced in cases involving contract breaches and financial misconduct.
Neil Bowker; Nick Bamford
Other key lawyers:
‘The best commercial litigation team in Birmingham. Punches its weight against the London City firms, with a global client base.’
‘The team has a great combination of experience and enthusiasm.’
‘Phillip Kelly has the ability to make complicated matters sounds relatively straightforward and is very confidence-inspiring.’
‘A formidable commercial practice with a global reach – they excel at dealing with difficult cases for difficult clients’
‘A close team, who work well together, sharing knowledge and best practice, and ensuring that the client gets seamless care.’
‘The team is highly pragmatic and commercial, knows what points to push and which not to, and deal with big cases with real efficiency. I have also always found them extremely personable and to command real confidence from their clients.’
‘Neil Bowker’s ability to handle delicate situations with utter professionalism, and continue to give first-rate advice throughout, is truly excellent.’
‘Nick Bamford is very experienced, with excellent judgement and a commercial approach. He is practical, knowledgeable and responsive, and has developed an excellent team.’
Intercontinental Hotels Group
- Acted as external advisers to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the Magnox Inquiry, a public inquiry into the failure of a £7bn contract for the decommissioning of 12 nuclear power sites and the procurement process for that contract.
- Defended David Wilson Homes Limited against a claim in excess of £200m brought by a property developer.
- Acted for, Ngali Holdings, a commercial subsidiary of the Rwanda Government, in defence of multiple claims surrounding the funding of hydro-electric projects in Rwanda.
- Represented Premier Wealth in recovering money from Altas Group Holdings Limited.
- Advised Indian software developer Syntel Private Ltd on a $2m dispute with a UK customer in regarding software development services in Singapore, China, Thailand, Taiwan and Canada.
DWF focuses primarily on complex cross-border disputes, with a strong emphasis on Russia and the greater CIS region. 'Excellent strategist' Andrew Leach leads the team and is known for his work in handling Central Asian disputes, which often involve obtaining freezing orders. His sectors strengths include energy, manufacturing, technology and finance Also recommended is Darren Kenny, who primarily focuses on international trade-related cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘DWF’s Birmingham team offers a high level of service with some very good quality partners who would thrive in the London market.’
‘Andrew Leach is client focused an excellent strategist, managing difficult and complex issues to achieve clients objective.’
‘Darren Kenny is great to work with. He is switched on, intelligent, builds excellent relationships and has a good range of experience.‘
Alex Shnaider (Canada’s youngest billionaire)
Novelis GmbH (Germany)
The West Midlands Combined Authority
Toronto Stock Exchange
Economy Energy Trading Limited
Jamtoff Trading Limited
- Acted for 165 property investors in a class action against HMRC disputing payments that incurred due to alleged tax avoidance.
- Instructed by Jamtoff Trading Limited, a leading Russian/Cypriot manufacturer of polyethylene terephthalate, in a dispute arising from fruadulent payments by one of its creditors.
- Advised French real estate investment company Ott & Partners in a payment dispute with Cypriot companies which sold commercial real estate assets in Russia.
- Advised Economy Energy on a contract breach claim against its meter operator provider.
- Acted for diamond broker W Nagel in a dispute against Pluczenik Diamond Company NV, who the client acted for as a purchasing agent, on a compensation claim arising from a contract termination between the two parties.
Fieldfisher LLP's Birmingham practice, which it secured via its 2016 merger with Hill Hofstetter, leverages the wider firm's growing international offering to secure roles on a number of high-value international mandates. Jonathan Hofstetter, who leads the practice and is particularly known for his work in competition claims, but also has expertise in technical and engineering disputes. Other key members of the team include Ann Benzimra, who focuses on the IT and manufacturing sectors, Jim Sharkey, who works on banking and offshore related cases; and credit insurance specialist Larry Coltman. Also recommended is director Stephen May, who is an expert in contractual and construction disputes.
‘The team is extremely strong, and in particular, the partners are very sensible and have excellent judgement. They are easy to deal with, and very charming.’
‘Jonathan Hofstetter is very experienced and has a calm, insightful approach to client problems.’
‘Jim Sharkey’s no-nonsense approach serves clients well.‘
‘Richard Waugh is extremely detail-oriented, and thinks carefully about issues for clients, but also fights their corner strongly.’
‘Adam Sturt is thorough, sensible and charming.’
2 Sisters Food Group
DS Smith PLC
Holland & Barrett
- Represented a high net worth individual in successfully setting aside a worldwide freezing order for $2.6bn obtained by PrivatBank and striking out the claim on jurisdictional grounds.
- Represented a UK division of the engineering and technology multinational Bosch group in proceedings brought by a recruitment company over the placement of its new UK managing director.
- Representing a former director in defending claims by the liquidator of Prosperity Corporate Consultancy Limited, a company in which our client is a former director and shareholder.
- Acted for Pearson Education Limited in High Court (Technology and Construction Court) proceedings against the Secretary of State for Education in a public procurement challenge under the Public Contract Regulations 2015.
Gowling WLG is regularly instructed in high-stakes litigation, with a particular focus on the automotive sector. Andrew Litchfield, who leads the team, also advises on cases in the food and beverage, healthcare and hospitality sectors. Other key names include Andrew Smith, who focuses on contractual disputes, Andrew Nugent Smith, who is very active in the automotive sector; Patrick Arben, who is heavily involved in the technology sector, and energy disputes specialist Tom Price.
‘The Gowling litigation team is dedicated, focused, practical and effective while still being able to offer a less institutional feel than the really big City firms.’
‘Incredibly responsive, pragmatic and commercial team that quickly grasps the issues at hand to be able to provide a timely, tailored and effective solution.’
‘Diligent, hard working and analytical.’
‘Andrew Nugent Smith is measured, has good judgement, and is pragmatic and good with clients.’
Sopra Steria Limited and Steria (Pension Plan) Trustees Limited
Amec Foster Wheeler plc and other Amec group companies
Tarmac Building Products Limited
London Legacy Development Corporation and E20 LLP
NHS Shared Business Services Limited
London Borough of Croydon
Cemex UK Operations Limited
Bastug Metalurji Sanayi, A.S.
- Acted for Sopra Steria Limited and Steria (Pension Plan) Trustees Limited in negligence claims against Punter Southall Ltd, Stuart Southall (PS), Nabarro Nathanson and Nabarro LLP (Nabarro) involving a pension plan.
- Supporting companies within the Amec Foster Wheeler group in matters regarding an organisation known as ‘The Consulting Association’, alleged to have blacklisted thousands of construction workers between 1970 and 2009.
- Acted for Tarmac Building Products in the defence of a High Court claim for the supply of allegedly defective building materials to Pariter UK LLP (trading as Creation Flooring).
- Advised E20 Stadium LLP and one of its partners, London Legacy Development Corporation, in a dispute twith West Ham United Football Club in relation to the number of seats the club claimed it was entitled to at the former Olympic Stadium (which serves as its home ground), under the terms of a 99-year concession agreement.
- Acted for NHS Shared Business Services Limited in proceedings brought against it, and eight other defendants, by Virgin Care, involving the procurement process for a contract for the provision of children’s community health services.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's litigation practice has a strong international bent, with a heavy focus on the automotive, aerospace, energy and media sectors. Adam Fisher is one of two practice heads and is particularly prominent in fields of automotive and technology. He works in tandem with Rich Lloyd, whose practice has a strong emphasis on the industrial and engineering sectors.
Adam Fisher; Rich Lloyd
Alternative Parcels Company
Tarmac Trading Limited
John Lewis Partnership
Mitchells & Butlers
- Acted for Sims in the defence of a multi-million pound claim in the Commercial Court commenced by a key supplier, for damages for alleged unlawful contract termination and various other alleged breaches of contract.
Mills & Reeve LLP represents a wide range of multinational clients in commercial disputes, particularly in the automotive, manufacturing and sport sectors. Steve Allen heads the practice, supported by principal associate Anthony Minnis, who is an expert in contract and warranty breaches.
Other key lawyers:
RLC Langford Lodge Limited
Horiba Mira Limited
SilverRail Technologies UK
The Parts Alliance Limited
Rangers Football Club
Elster Metering Limited
Shell UK Limited
- Acting for Rangers Football Club Limited in its litigation with Sports Direct, surrounding the latter’s rights to former’s replica kit and other merchandise at the club’s Ibrox Stadium, online and within Sports Directs stores.
- Acting for Swiss client Nutrasuisse in its claim of damages against with Tesco Stores Limited, which terminated its contract with the client that involved Nutrasuisse securing Tesco’s entry in to the Nordic markets.
- Acting for Michael Anderson, director and vice chairman of Gillingham Football Club, in relation to a claim for the repayment of monies invested in the club.
Pinsent Masons LLP's broad commercial litigation practice is notably strong in cases involving professional negligence, contract breaches and civil fraud. Jim Richards leads the team, while other key figures include legal director Jason Kirwin, who is heavily involved in the retail and manufacturing sectors; Jonathan Fortnam, who has a focus on the finance and energy sectors; civil fraud expert Andrew Herring ; and legal director Faye Moore, who acts on contract and warranty breaches.
‘The service is unique because they engage with client issues, however small. They seek to understand what they need and offer ideas as well as robust advice.‘
‘High performing team with excellent level of legal expertise. The team provide partnership approach that supports our business in finding the most commercial solutions to issues.’
MLS (Overseas) Limited
NISS UK Limited
NE.ON UK PLC
London Borough of Haringey
Honda Motor Europe Limited
IMS World Publications Limited
Hill & Smith plc
APG Cash Drawer Limited
DG Robson Mechanical Services Limited
- Acted for national retailer Halfords in relation to claims by First Personnel for transfer fees of £1m including interest when Halfords changed its recruitment agency for temporary staff.
- Represented APG Cash Drawer Limited in relation to a claim against four of its former directors arising from certain derivative transactions entered into by the company in order to hedge the company’s exposure to foreign exchange risk.
- Advised Bosch Rexroth in defending a claim brought by Leadec Limited in connection with Bosch’s alleged defective design and installation of a robotic production line at GeneralMotors/Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing facility.
- Worked with MLS in an expedited procurement challenge in the London Technology & Construction Court against the Secretary of State for Defence in connection with a £400m 10-year logistics contract award for the Ministry of Defence.
- Acting for a subsidiary of a PLC listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in relation to a major suspected employee fraud.
The Birmingham disputes team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP has notable expertise in litigation over commercial contracts, shareholder and partnership agreements, warranty claims, procurement disputes and database misuse claims Mark Beesley leads the litigation team nationwide, and is an expert in commercial and contractual litigation. Barry Jervis is head of the Birmingham office and is experienced in handling warranty claims, claims for injunctive relief, as well as general contractual issues, while 'efficient and diligent' associate partner James Woolstenhulme specialises in the IT and telecoms sector.
Mark Beesley; Barry Jervis
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very knowledgeable and professional and provides a very good service in a timely and efficient manner.’
‘An outstanding team who are able to cover a wide range of disputes. Both commercial and pragmatic in their approach and with a good track record.’
‘Barry Jervis is first rate, with a keen appreciation of legal issues and a solid appreciation of the commercial realities of a dispute.’
‘James Woolstenhulme is really good in dealing with running difficult cases.’
General Dynamics UK Ltd
FM Conway Limited
First Personnel Services Ltd
Folkes Holdings Limited
Selecta Systems Limited
Birmingham City Council
Alliance Surgical Plc
Intercity Technology Limited
- Representing Maloney Metalcraft Limited in a dispute involving manufacturing of gas treatment equipment as part of the infrastructure development in the Jalamid gas field in Saudi Arabia.
- Acting for Henkel Limited in a £2.5m claim against one of its manufactures for the alleged supply of defective materials.
- Acted to defend appeal proceedings brought by Halfords Limited against First Personnel Services Limited, following High Court proceedings where the client successfully obtained judgment.
- Acting for a respondent to appeal proceedings arising from a decision in proprietary estoppel proceedings from June 2017.
- Pursued and settled proceedings for FM Conway Limited in a claim against AXA for failure to indemnify under an insurance contract.
Shoosmiths LLP's standout specialties within the litigation space include disputes relating to cyber attacks, reputation management and asset finance recovery. The 'exceptional' Alex Bishop leads the disputes team nationally and is highly experienced in crisis management issues involving fraudulent behaviour and online hacking. Other important members of the team include: Mark Elder, who is known for his work in phone hacking cases and Roger Potgieter, who works on asset finance matters.
‘Offers a range of experience, and all of the advice is very commercial and cost effective.’
‘Alex Bishop understands our business; he is practical and technically excellent.’
‘Mark Elder’s commercial knowledge and expertise truly shine; his friendly approach and professional manner give me full trust and confidence in his advice and strategic recommendations. He is totally committed to achieving the best outcome and I would recommend his service without any hesitation.’
Thomas Cook Group Plc
H B Fuller
The White Company
- Acted for Travelodge Hotels on a claim in relation to overpayment and duplicated charging by Thames Water over a number of years.
- Represented former Premier League footballer Andrew Cole on a phone hacking claim against MGN Limited.
- Advised surveillance equipment provider Komcept on proceedings against a British company in a dispute regarding equipment destined for the Iraqi National Intelligence Service.
- Advised actress and model Jennifer Ellison on a phone hacking claim against MGN Limited.
- Acted for the HB Fuller group companies in UK, France, Germany, Italy and China in a claim against a UK manufacturer for breach of contract and negligence.
Squire Patton Boggs is regularly turned to by clients for high-profile disputes pertaining to the financial services, automotive, manufacturing and pensions sectors. Simon Garbett leads the Birmingham practice and is particularly skilled in supply chain and product liability cases. Also recommended is Garon Anthony, who focuses on contentious matters in the fields of banking, pensions and insurance.
Other key lawyers:
‘Easily accessible, with detailed knowledge of specialist areas of law.’
‘Excellent quality of advice – turnaround times are very good.’
Trustee of the Jaguar Land Rover Pension Scheme
Dalata Hotel Group
Carver (Wolverhampton) Limited
Cambridge & Counties Bank
Commercial litigation specialist firm Bell Lax Limited has expertise in disputes across a wide range of areas, including contracts, trusts, property as well as director and shareholder issues. Richard Kerry jointly leads the practice and specialises in insurance litigation, while fellow practice head Liam Owen focuses on shareholder and contsruction cases. Also recommended is Peter Lax, who is experienced in construction and professional negligence disputes.
Richard Kerry; Liam Owen
Other key lawyers:
‘A very savvy commercial litigation firm. Technical strength is a given and is combined with a determination to fight very hard for their clients.’
‘They always look for the imaginative angle and are not afraid to push it. A team to have on your side in a fight.’
‘Liam Owen is impressive. He is smart and very thorough. A fighter with a relaxed demeanour, which belies his steel-like approach. One to watch.’
‘Richard Kerry provides direct and straightforward advice.’
Reynolds and Reynolds Limited
- Represented RGB Group in successfully defending a £1.1m claim for defects at a luxury London hotel in its entirety at adjudication.
- Final account adjudication on £12m contract, acting successfully for the contractor in recovering £1.16m more than they had previously received.
- Defeated injunction for delivery of software by client of Reynolds and Reynolds who had not paid the sums the company considered it was owed.
Freeths LLP focuses on contentious matters concerning contract breaches, professional negligence, partnership agreements and commercial fraud. The 'remarkably user-friendly' Richard Coates leads the practice, while another key figure is Louise Wilson, who a similar focus on contract breaches and negligence cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘Richard Coates is remarkably user-friendly and has a strong natural instinct for commercial litigation.’
‘Louise Wilson brings a clear head and well-thought-out strategic advice.’
‘Freeths is a very effective mid-tier commercial litigation practice, with great focus on efficient matter management for medium size cases.‘
Aldi Stores Limited
Inchcape Retail Limited
The National Exhibition Centre Limited
Gateley Plc's handles disputes work for clients across the manufacturing, retail, sports, charities, pensions and recruitment sectors. Stephen Goodrham - 'the man you want fighting your corner in a battle' - leads the team and is well-regarded for his work in handling cases relating to restrictive covenants, as well as shareholder disputes. He is supported by Neil Warner, who focuses on breach of contract and warranty claims.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Gateley Birmingham team always have the best result for the client at the very core of everything they do. They take personal responsibility for cases and strive to get the best from themselves and external advisers.’
‘Steve Goodrham is a well focused and knowledgeable partner, with a well-motivated team.’
‘Gateley’s commercial litigation team, spearheaded by Steve Goodrham, combine the ability to drive the procedural steps forward whilst still having the awareness and capability to find a commercial settlement. The team is well resourced and has the ability to draft in other specialists from within the firm.’
‘The team have a strong work ethic and are technically knowledgeable on the legal aspects of the dispute.’
‘Steve Goodrham is like a dog with a bone and will grind the opposition down over time whilst always retaining an amiable demeanour. He’s the man you want fighting your corner when in a battle.’
‘Neil Warner is approachable and easy to work with, and is quick to appreciate the technical points from expert reports. Neil also presents a strong and robust argument on behalf of clients.’
Steve Goodrham is a strong and tactical negotiator and adopts a practical approach to dispute resolution.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP's repertoire in litigation includes civil fraud, group actions, cybercrime and cross-border disputes. The 'canny and relentless' Mark Kenkre heads the practice and is particularly known for his work in civil fraud. Also recommended is Helen Briant, who has a similar focus on fraud cases, especially ones with an international dimension, while senior associate Jamie De Souza is touted as a 'future star'.
Mark Kenkre’s team is excellent, with a strong regional and national reputation, especially in difficult civil fraud and complex civil litigation cases.
‘In fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder claims, they are amongst the best in their class.’
‘Mark Kenkre is an excellent litigator, canny and relentless.’
‘Mark Kenkre is highly knowledgeable in his field. He is known for his commercial common sense and giving good strategic advice.
‘Jamie de Souza is a future star and has a great eye for detail.’
Rotam Agrochemical Company Limited
St Vincent European General Partner Limited
Swimming Teachers’ Association Limited
Huntcourt Limited – NiteNite
Derwent Facilities Management Limited
Blackstar Wealth Management Limited
- Advised Hong Kong-based Rotam Agrochemical Company on a breach of contract claim against an Austrian company GAT regarding the purchase of registration data.
- Acted for St Vincent European General Partner Limited in its claim for damages against 10 defendants as a result of breach of contract and an unlawful means conspiracy, which resulted in development land being removed from St Vincent’s control.
- Represented the Swimming Teachers’ Association and advising the trustees in connection with its claim against its former CEO for misappropriation of the assets of the charity.
- Advised the Nitenite City Hotel in Birmingham following a significant escape of water in March 2018.
Mark Surguy leads the commercial litigation team at Weightmans LLP and has extensive experience in civil fraud and e-discovery. He is supported by associate Emma Birch who focuses on disputes concerning financial services and manufacturing.
Other key lawyers:
UK Trucks Claim Limited
- Advising UK Trucks Claim Limited, a special purpose vehicle which is the first of its kind to pursue collective relief in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the form of opt-out collective proceedings. It has issued proceedings on behalf of owners and lessees of over 600,000 trucks which were sold by way of an admitted illegal cartel of European truck manufacturers between 1997 and 2011.
Bevan Brittan LLP primarily focuses on disputes concerning public infrastructure. The Birmingham-based Adam Kendall heads up the the firm's national litigation team, with sector specialities including central government, healthcare and housing.
Sysmex UK Ltd
Wychavon District Council
G4S Secure Solutions
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
- Acted for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in an ICT contract dispute against BT plc relating to outsourced HR, payroll and finance services.
- Represented Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust in relation to a dispute with an international ICT services provider.
BLM has a strong commercial disputes practice which has particularly expertise in commercial fraud recovery and property disputes. Julian Smart leads the team and handles claims of deceit, misappropriated assets, as well as conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty. Other notable names include commercial fraud recovery specialist Caroline Kane and property disputes expert Jagdeep Hayre .
Compass Group Plc
European Risk Insurance Company
Birmingham City Council
Towergate Financial Group Ltd
AS Watson plc
Glen Dimplex Group
Emms Gilmore Liberson's team is led by 'knowledgeable and approachable' director Richard Cooper, who has a track record of advising on commercial and contractual disputes, as well as matters concerning partnership agreements and professional negligence. He is supported by director Peter Adkins, who is experienced in litigation relating to licensing and gambling.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is great and has fantastic support when needed.’
‘The firm offers a top class and comprehensive legal service and the experienced partners are always available.’
‘Richard Cooper is very experienced in commercial litigation and has particular skills in complicated shareholder disputes.’
‘Richard Cooper’s attention to detail and ability to manage the client through the litigation process is exceptional. He recognises the need to guide the client away from the emotional aspects of the dispute toward a commercial outcome.’
‘Richard Cooper is highly knowledgeable and approachable, with an excellent client manner. Fast response times and available at all times, within reason, he devotes his time and energy securing the very best outcome with excellent results. Client care is at the heart of what he does and he does this exceedingly well.’
Sydney Mitchell LLP's skillset in litigation centres around contractual disputes and fraud claims. Dean Parnell - 'a lawyer that you want to be on your side rather than against you' - jointly leads the team and has broad experience in commercial litigation, with notable expertise in search orders. Fellow practice head Kamal Majevadia focuses on contentious trusts and estates.
Dean Parnell; Kamal Majevadia
‘A very good reputation as one of the better dispute resolution teams in the West Midlands. They place great importance on client service and making sure the right person is selected for the job.’
‘A good combination of specialist intellectual property knowledge and general litigation experience.’
‘This firm is regarded locally as punching well above its size, largely due to the expertise and personality of Dean Parnell.’
‘Dean Parnell is an exceptional lawyer, but more importantly, he is an exceptional problem-solver. He is highly motivated, a clever tactician and a brilliant lateral thinker who can find a way through the most impenetrable of legal problems.’
‘Dean Parnell would run a marathon for you if he felt it could make a difference.’
‘Dean Parnell is definitely a lawyer that you want to be on your side rather than against you.’
‘Dean Parnell is a highly respected dispute resolution solicitor. He is intelligent, engaging, commercial, thinks outside the box and always goes that extra mile. He does his utmost to achieve the best result possible.’