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Yorkshire and the Humber: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire
Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 5


The corporate team at DWF acts for a combination of local SMEs and national clients on a range of corporate and commercial matters. Practice head Lester Wilson handles M&A transactions, equity capital markets and private equity and venture capital instructions. Other names to note include debt finance specialist Chris Ramage and corporate tax partner John Toon.

Practice head(s):Lester Wilson

Other key lawyers:Chris Ramage; John Toon

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 2


The tax team at DWF has expertise, which spans the full cycle of tax-related advice from investments to disputes. The group has a particular focus on real estate transactions, acting for local authorities and private equity firms and their management teams; it also advises on customs and excise duties, and handles private capital and family tax planning instructions. John Toon heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):John Toon

Key Clients

National Pension Service of Korea


Assura Plc

Alumno Developments Limited

Commercial Development Projects Limited

West Lancashire MDC

Wirral BC

Redhill BC

Blackpool BC

BMB Group

Work highlights

  • Advised the National Pension Service of Korea on its acquisition of Goldman Sachs' newly-developed central London headquarters.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Crisp Thinking Group on a partial divestment to and substantial investment by Baird Capital.
  • Assisted Wirral Council with a joint venture for the development and letting of over 500 dwellings at a regeneration site at Wirral Waters.
  • Advised Assura on the £30m acquisition of Stratford Healthcare Centre.
  • Advised Conwy CBC on the tax aspects of its completion of the development and letting of the first phase of the city centre regeneration project at Colwyn Bay.
Leading individuals

John Toon - DWF

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EU and competition
EU and competition - ranked: tier 1


DWF's EU & competition practice, which covers state aid, contentious competition, anti merger and merger control, is led by Jonathan Branton who has particular expertise in state aid and the European Regional Development Fund. Branton, who divides his time between Leeds, Manchester and Brussels, also leads the firms central and local government sector group and heads up the firm's work for a range of clients in sectors including food, retail, real estate and the public sector.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Branton

Key Clients


Burton Foods

Hull City Council

Maven Capital Partners

Birmingham City Council

Dairy UK

Scarborough Council



Leeds City Council

Wakefield Council

National Exhibition Centre

Work highlights

  • Provided state aid advice to Birmingham City Council and Finance Birmingham against delivery of major fund for industrial collaborations.
  • Provided state aid and related advice to Liverpool City Region Combined Authority against delivery of fund for stimulation of economic growth in the Merseyside region.
  • Advising Maven Capital Partners on state aid and EU funding to deliver investment funds in different regions.
  • Advising Gateshead Council on a public funding package to deliver new arena and other facilities.
  • Advised Parkhill Estates on a public funding application.
Leading individuals

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Dispute resolution

Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 2


The recoveries team at DWF handles a range of debt collection work, focusing on business to business debts, for its impressive client roster, which includes large corporates, blue-chip companies and local authorities. The team is jointly led by national head of recoveries David Scottow, civil recoveries expert Kevin Feehan and James Perry, who heads up the recoveries technical team and focuses on non-standard cases.

Practice head(s):David Scottow; Kevin Feehan; James Perry

Key Clients

Anglian Water Services Ltd

Fleetcor UK

Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd

High Court Enforcement Officers Association

Controlaccount PLC

Hirestation Ltd

DX Network Services Limited

Marks And Spencer Plc

Asda Stores Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising the High Court Enforcement Officers Association on various complaints made against High Court enforcement officers.
  • Assisting Hillsborough Steelstock with the recovery of unpaid invoices, interest and late payments for the supply of 20 tonnes of steel.
  • Acted for Chester Wharfe in a contractual dispute regarding the recovery of recruitment fees, which was eventually settled through negotiation.
  • Representing a large healthcare provider in the recovery of care home fees and defending a clinical negligence counterclaim.
  • Assisting a technology sector client with a £350,000 claim for the recovery of unpaid invoices concerning the supply of Sim cards.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 4


Associate partner Matthew Brown leads the group at DWF, which advises banks, financial institutions, shareholders, borrowers, pensions trustees, suppliers, landlords and insolvency practitioners on restructuring issues. The group has notable expertise in the retail and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):Matthew Brown

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Human resources

Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 2


The regulatory, compliance and investigations team at DWF acts for a combination of insurers and large corporates on a range of health and safety issues. The group has particular experience in the energy, retail, education, healthcare, construction, hotels and leisure, local authority and manufacturing sectors. Paul Matthews is instructed in high-profile investigations and prosecutions and heads up the team, which includes senior associates Mark Thompson, who has particular experience in criminal defence, and Sarah Smith, who recently joined the practice from Irwin Mitchell.

Practice head(s):Paul Matthews

Other key lawyers:Mark Thompson; Sarah Smith


'Paul Matthews is a good, solid health and safety lawyer.'

Key Clients

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

Electricity North West



Kerry Group PLC

Yorkshire Water

HDI Gerling

NFU Mutual


Work highlights

  • Represented Electricity North West in a prosecution following the death of a linesman, which resulted in an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
  • Acted for Yorkshire Water Services following the fatality of one of its workers at a water treatment site.
  • Acting for a charity in an ongoing corporate manslaughter investigation following the death of a volunteer.
  • Acting for the principal contractor in a health and safety investigation following the death of an employee on a construction site.
  • Representing a senior manager of Wood Treatment, who is under investigation for gross negligence manslaughter following the death of four people in the Bosley Mill explosion in July 2015.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Insurance

Personal injury: defendant
Personal injury: defendant - ranked: tier 1


DWF's 'technically strong and vastly experienced' team has a particular focus on insurance clients, offering an extensive portfolio of services. The practice’s legal offering is enhanced by a 24/7 crisis response service, an in-house accident reconstruction engineer and a team of medical rehabilitation managers, while the firm also boasts an in-house advocacy team, forensic accountants and specialist legal costs draftsmen to provide a more rounded service to clients. In late 2018 the practice received a significant boost with the arrival of Owen Rees from DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Practice head(s):David Rogers; Richard Parker

Other key lawyers:Owen Rees


'Other firms do not have the same extent or depth of knowledge and experience.'

'A close-knit team operating to high standards and producing consistently good results.'

'They are highly motivated to deliver a quality service - conscientious with an obvious pride in their work.'

'Strong technically and strong negotiators - robust where appropriate but also commercially aware.'

'Daniel Jordan is definitely a name to watch out for. He is professional, articulate and strong in all areas - an outstanding ambassador for the future of DWF.

'Paul Davies is very well respected and will always go the extra mile to get a result. He is absolutely passionate about his job and always puts the client first.'

'Paul Greaves is experienced, respected and understands client needs and always delivers excellent service.'

'Glyn Jones is respected throughout the world of insurance for his experience, his sureness of touch and his quickness to grasp the commercial realities of any claim.'

I have done a lot of work with Richard Welsh (senior associate). He is an excellent lawyer with great litigation instincts.

Helen Elsworth

quite exceptional service provided seamlessly and always provides value for money

Key Clients








Gallagher Bassett


Department of Transport

Work highlights

  • Represented a professional rugby union club in litigation brought by a former player for concussion suffered during play. Achieved discontinuance of the action.
  • Acted for an insurer in defending a case of alleged micro diffuse axonal injury with loss of capacity. The dispute was settled for a third of the damages claimed.
  • Advised on a strike-out of claim worth potentially £500,000 as an abuse of process.
  • Represented the Department for Transport at trial on an asbestos related case pleaded at worth in excess of £2m.
  • Represented Ageas Insurance in relation to a dispute as to whether there was a binding settlement at stage 2 of the MOJ portal for low value personal injury claims.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Projects, energy and natural resources (including PFI)

Energy - ranked: tier 2


DWF's sector knowledge spans electricity, gas, water, renewables, district energy and heating, battery storage and nuclear projects, which it handles at a national and international level. The team also has substantial experience in issues involving electricity technologies. Construction lawyer Andrew Symms heads up the practice, which also includes Christian Hellmund, who leads the renewable energy group, and Guy Rusling, who focuses on the property elements of energy transactions.

Practice head(s):Andrew Symms

Other key lawyers:Christian Hellmund; Guy Rusling

Key Clients

ScottishPower Group (including ScottishPower Energy Retail, ScottishPower Energy Networks, ScottishPower Generation and ScottishPower Renewables)

Doosan Power Systems SA

Whitbread Group plc

Gildemeister energy solutions GmbH (part of the DMG Mori Group of Japan)

Vensys Energy AG

Soventix GmbH

Canary Wharf Group plc

Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council and Moray Council

Discovery Park Limited

United Utilities Renewable Energy Limited

Yingli Green Energy Europe GmbH (part of Yingli Green Energy of China)

Yingli Namene Solar

Farm Energy Partnership LLP


Work highlights

  • Advised ScottishPower on the ‘Damhead Creek Unit 2’ combined cycle gas turbine project in Kent, which has now been sold to Drax.
  • Representing Doosan Power Systems SA in a major dispute in France regarding the conversion of a coal-fired power station to biomass.
  • Instructed by Quartzelec on a matter relating to a power station in the Philippines.
  • Advising Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Moray Council on the procurement of their £120m joint energy from waste development.
  • Advising Vensys Energy AG on all its UK and Irish onshore wind projects including turbine supply agreements, long-term service agreements and regulatory issues.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Public sector

Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 2


At DWF, Jonathan Branton and Colin Murray jointly lead the department as heads of public sector and local government respectively. Both divide their time between Leeds and Manchester, while Branton also spends part of his time in the firm's Brussels office as head of EU competition. While handling a broad spectrum of local government work, the group has niche strength in state aid mandates and public procurement issues as well as expertise in governance, infrastructure, real estate, planning, employment and contentious matters.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Branton; Colin Murray

Key Clients

Bradford Council

Wakefield Council

South Tyneside Council

East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull City Council

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Hull City Council

Cornwall County Council

Wirral Metropolitan Council

Liverpool City Council

Lancashire County Council

Wigan Council

Conwy County Borough Council

Cheshire and Warrington LEP

West Lindsey District Council

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Wrexham County Borough Council

West Midlands Combined Authority

Leeds City Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Bradford Council on its One City Park project including procurement issues and state aid law.
  • Advising Wakefield Council on a proposed grant funding application from the private sector to regenerate Rutland Mills.
  • Assisting South Tyneside Council with its procurement of a development partner to deliver a £200m mixed-use development.
  • Handling state aid issues for East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council relating to various investments around the new Green Port.
  • Acting for Cornwall County Council on the procurement of an operator for 15 of its leisure centres.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Real estate

Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 3


DWF advises a wide range of real estate clients, both regionally and nationally. The team, which is led by the 'technically very competent' Jim Speed, has a client list which includes developers, investment funds, house builders and public sector organisations. Andrew Flounders is a standout individual who was lead partner on a major sports development project in Leeds, while senior associate Nick Wallace is also notable for having led a number of major investment and development cases.

Practice head(s):Jim Speed

Other key lawyers:Andrew Flounders; Nick Wallace


'DWF gives a personal professional service - we feel very much a valued client and they understand our company.'

'Jim Speed is technically very competent and will give a commercial view when required'

Key Clients


Caddick Group

Moorfield Group



Wykeland Group

Rivington Land

Sterling Capitol

Catella Real Estate AG

Oakgate Group

Palmer Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Acted for Leeds Cricket Football and Athletic Company in relation to the £40m redevelopment of the South Stand and North-South Stand at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.
  • Advised Opus North/Palmer Capital on the £31m sale of Morrisons units at Hunslet, Leeds to Aviva Investors.
  • Acted for Moorfield Group on the £66m sale of The Keel, Queens Dock, Liverpool and The Tramshed, Preston.
  • Acting for Trident Hotels on the £10m acquisition, development and funding of a new hotel in Barrow-in-Furness.
  • Advised Opus North/Palmer Capital on the £51.7m sale of Hillsborough Morrisons to Supermarket Income REIT.

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Construction - ranked: tier 2


At DWF, Leeds-based Andrew Symms heads up the national practice, which leverages the firm's global network to advise on national and international mandates. The Leeds team has a strong energy focus and regularly acts for both purchaser and supplier side clients including contractors, developers, funders and public sector clients. Christian Hellmund focuses on renewable energy matters.

Practice head(s):Andrew Symms

Other key lawyers:Christian Hellmund

Key Clients

Scottish Power

United Utilities

Babcock International Group

Doosan Power Systems SA


Whitbread Group plc

Sanef SA/Emovis

Caddick/Maple Grove


Royal Bank of Scotland



Yingli Namene

Sterling Capitol

Downing Capital


Work highlights

  • Advising Scottish Power Plc on a combined-cycle gas turbine project in Kent.
  • Handling Whitbread Plc's construction work including three forward funding deals.
  • Assisting Caddick and Maple Grove with the redevelopment of Headingley rugby stadium.
  • Acting for Doosan Power Systems in a dispute in France relating to the conversion of a coal-fired power station to biomass.
  • Assisting Moorfield Group with multiple student accommodation schemes nationally and the acquisition and forward funding of residential blocks.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 4


At DWF, Stephen Green heads up the practice across the North East, Yorkshire and the Midlands out of the firm's Leeds office. His work focuses on both commercial and residential landlord and tenant law, including disputes relating to service charges and dilapidations, lease renewals and repossessions.

Practice head(s):Stephen Green

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Further information on DWF

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Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
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