Commercial and Contract Disputes

"They have an impressive approach to litigation which focuses on the client’s business." The Legal 500 UK, 2021

"More than similar teams in other firms, they are tough, resilient and determined to fight hard for the clients' interests"

Legal 500, 2020

Navigating your way through any dispute can be stressful, disruptive and damaging - and corporate disputes are no exception. We provide tactical and strategic advice to businesses and the individuals within them, protecting your rights, interests and reputations.

Commercial disputes are increasingly commonplace in today's climate of economic uncertainty. It is essential that you seek the right tactical advice as early as possible to minimise the impact to you and your business. Our experience in bringing and defending a wide variety of disputes for many different types and sizes of business means that we understand what it at stake and what it takes to get the best outcome for our clients.

Our experienced team of dispute resolution lawyers will work closely with you to fully understand the issues you are facing and explore the best approached to meet your commercial objectives. Our lawyers recognise that every dispute and every business is different and each will need its own tailored solution to suit your needs.

We draw on our considerable experience in dealing with a wide range of disputes arising out of all types of commercial activity. This includes:

  • Sale and supply of goods and services
  • Agency, distribution and franchise agreements
  • Warranty and indemnity claims 
  • Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
  • Retention of title
  • Trade finance
  • Exclusion and limitation clauses
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Breach of confidence
  • Professional negligence
  • Misrepresentation claims
  • Civil fraud
  • Breaches of trust and  breaches of fiduciary duties
  • Unjust enrichment, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance
  • Economic torts, including procuring breaches of contract, causing loss by 'unlawful means conspiracy'

 

We recognise that disputes are not all about the courtroom, particularly where our clients are keen to preserve a commercial relationship and/or avoid adverse PR. We therefore encourage our clients, where appropriate, to explore other quick, practical and cost effective avenues to resolve their disputes, including mediation or other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and we shall guide you carefully through that process.

For more information, read our frequently asked questions on commercial and contract disputes.

 

What clients and directories have said

user-friendly, capable practice"

Legal 500 UK, 2019

best known for acting for entrepreneurs and business individuals, but is increasingly instructed by corporate clients to handle complex litigation"

Legal 500, 2017

Real expertise across all levels, well led and offering practical advice with no histrionics or game playing."

Chambers UK, 2017

The country's premier niche white-collar firm. They're very savvy and understand how the corporate world works."

Chambers UK, 2017

Kingsley Napley LLP is highlighted for its experience in cases involving failed investments, mis-selling, fraud, insolvency and directors' duties"

Legal 500, 2016

 

 

 

The KN team benefits from being able to draw on lawyers from a number of specialisms to put together teams which are particularly suited to individual disputes, whether they arise out of sporting and media contracts or international tax fraud. They are a lively bunch of people who are also extremely good lawyers."

The Legal 500 UK, 2021

Strength in depth, with very good collaboration between departments in cases which straddle different legal disciplines."

The Legal 500 UK, 2021

 

The team have a really varied practice, dealing with anything ... to “one-off” pieces of unusual litigation. The broad ranges of skills and experience adds value in all areas. In my experience, the litigation team is partner-led, but provides the associates beneath the partner(s) with considerable autonomy.

The Legal 500 UK, 2021

They are focussed. They all work very well together. They put a team together on a case and that is the team – there are very few, if any, changes for the duration of the case. There is always heavy partner involvement both in strategy and overseeing the team. They are unique in the market because they are not large but they have a very big kick."

The Legal 500 UK, 2021

...sensible, realistic view of cases - seizing only the points worth arguing..."

Chambers UK

Latest blogs & news

When charities are under the media spotlight - how is reputation best protected?

With charities under unprecedented media interest in recent years, the consequences of not dealing with reputation matters well are myriad. Negative press coverage threatens the faith that the public have in a charity which can result in a significant downturn in donations and affect recruitment and morale. Any charity’s reputation once damaged can be difficult to restore. The resources a charity must commit to responding to media enquiries and to any regulatory inquiry can be significant and is time spent away from pursuing the objectives of the charity.

Causing Loss by Unlawful Means - the Dealing Requirement

In the recent case of Secretary of State for Health (“NHS”) v Servier Laboratories Ltd (“Servier”), the Supreme Court considered whether in cases involving loss caused by unlawful means, the unlawful means must have affected a third party's freedom to deal with the claimant. This is known as “the dealing requirement”.

The distinction between “advice” and “information” negligence cases

The long awaited Supreme Court decision of Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton provides some much needed and useful clarification on what constitutes and amounts to “negligent” advice.

Spotlight on dementia: can you challenge a will despite the views of medical experts?

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, has been in the spotlight recently given a recent scientific breakthrough with the US approving the first new Alzheimer’s drug in 20 years. Light has also been shed on dementia and assessing testamentary capacity in the recent case of Hughes v Pritchard [2021] EWHC 1580 Ch. In this case, Mr Hughes, who suffered from moderately severe dementia was nevertheless deemed to have capacity at the time of amending his will by his GP, a view supported by a joint medical expert later instructed in the case. Despite this, his will was overturned by the judge on the basis that he did not have the requisite capacity to make the changes to his previous will, which were much more significant than the medical professionals, and indeed Mr Hughes, had appreciated.

Buying property with crypto – are we transforming real estate?

The price of Bitcoin and other crypto assets is notoriously unstable. Whether caused by a cryptic crypto related tweet from a billionaire inventor, or a crypto crackdown being announced by regulators of the world’s second largest economy, the rise and fall of crypto assets continues to prove that crypto can be risky business.

When does the clock start ticking on trustees’ negligence?

Matthew & Others v Sedman & Others [2021] UKSC 19 

The Supreme Court recently handed down a judgment dealing with time limits in a “midnight deadline” case. The claim was brought by new trustees and beneficiaries of a will trust against the former professional trustees. The claim involved allegations of negligence against the former trustees, along with breach of trust and breach of contract.

A nervous disposition

Daniel Staunton explores the inherent conflict between the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy courts and the family courts and asks which jurisdiction trumps the other? This article focuses on the authorities in relation to section 284 and when family court orders might be liable to be set aside as void dispositions

On the rebound: How to clawback from a divorce

Mary Young explores how divorce settlements between spouses may be caught later down the line in bankruptcy proceedings as potential TUVs where there are dishonest motives.

Convergent Divergence: When bankruptcy and the family courts collide

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Looking out for financial abuse of the vulnerable

 Financial abuse of older and vulnerable adults is sadly becoming more prevalent

Reputation and Media Quarterly Round-Up: Q1 2021

This quarterly media and reputation management update provides a summary of a cross-section of reported decisions handed down in the courts of England and Wales in the period January to March 2021.

You gotta’ have faith…in ADR

My previous blog examined whether Kenny Goss, the ex-partner of George Michael, may be entitled to a provision from the late singer’s estate, notwithstanding the fact that their relationship had broken down in 2009 (seven years prior to Mr Michael’s death). It was reported at the time that Mr Goss was seeking an award of £15,000 per month on the basis that Mr Michael had been financially maintaining Mr Goss at the time of his death. Pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, Mr Goss made an application for reasonable financial provision from Mr Michael’s estate because he had not been left anything in the singer’s will.

The Court confirms the Legal Costs Principle in Shareholder Disputes

In the case of KOZA LTD and HAMDI IPEK –v- KOZA ALTIN IŞLETMELERI AS [2021] EWHC 786 (Ch), Mr Justice Trower awarded an injunction restraining Mr Ipek, Koza Ltd (“KL”)’s sole director, from causing KL to use its funds to pay legal costs in the litigation, which was in reality a shareholder dispute between Mr Ipek and Koza Altin Işletmeleri AS (“KAI”).  The decision upholds the ‘legal costs principle’ in company disputes, which provides that a company’s money should not be spent on disputes between shareholders.

Ignorance is bliss? Not for directors!

In the recent case of TMG Brokers Ltd (In Liquidation) (also known as: Baker v Staines) the High Court held a director of a company to be jointly and severally liable for payments made by his co-director out of the company’s bank account which were made without proper authority and amounted to  disguised distributions of capital. The fact that he had placed trust in the other director for the company's financial affairs did not excuse him from performing his duties.

Inheritance claims by adult children

In recent years the courts have seen a significant number of claims under the 1975 Act bought by adult children. This week it has been widely reported that the two adult daughters of Tony Shearer, a high profile banker and finance governor of a well-known public school, have failed in their attempt to bring a claim against their late father’s £2.2 million estate. Mr Shearer made no provision in his estate for his daughters leaving the majority of his wealth to his second wife.

Civil Fraud Quarterly Round-Up: Q1 2021

A Civil Fraud quarterly round-up (1st quarter 2021)

What is required to show dishonesty in the case of a professional trustee?

Examining the impact of Sofer v Swiss Independent Trustees SA on practitioners in England and Wales. 

This article was first published by STEP, December 2020: Katherine Pymont, 'Moments of Truth', Trust Quarterly Review (Vol18 Iss4), pp.36-41

Current trends in fraud: Crypto scams

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was an incredible year for crypto assets.  Largely driven by the increased demand from institutional investors, Bitcoin shattered its previous price records. However, its pseudonymous nature and the ease with which it allows users to instantly send funds anywhere in the world makes crypto assets appealing to criminals.

One hand in the cookie jar: Fraud and directors’ duties in insolvency

What happens when a director commits fraud by misappropriating company assets?  Or what of the director who continues trading knowing that the company has no realistic prospect of paying its debts as and when they fall due? To whom does a director owe duties at that point and what recourse is there against that director? This article explores these questions.

£26 billion fraud: The other side of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes

We have previously examined how the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes (the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)(together the “Schemes”) work. A report issued by the Public Accounts Committee on 10 December 2020 highlights the darker side of the Schemes and what it is costing the UK taxpayer. 

Related pages

Commercial and Contract Disputes FAQs

Our experts provide the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding commercial and contract disputes.

Commercial and Contract Disputes

Corporate disputes can be stressful, disruptive and damaging. We provide tactical and strategic advice to businesses and individuals.

Civil Fraud and Investigations

The international nature of commerce and growing reliance on electronic communications mean that the number and value of fraud claims is rising.

Dispute Resolution

Dealing with a dispute professionally and commercially takes skill. We assist and support our clients with both legal knowledge and strategy.

Financial Services Disputes

We represent individuals and businesses in high value and complex claims against banks and financial institutions.

Injunctions

If you need to prevent the loss of an asset, damage to reputation, or protect against personal harm, it may be necessary to apply for an injunction.

Insolvency Litigation

Our dispute resolution lawyers represent individuals, companies and insolvency practitioners on insolvency matters.

International and Cross-Border Disputes

When disputes involve individuals or organisations in different countries, those involved often face an array of complex issues in various jurisdictions.

Litigation Funding Options

Funding litigation can be expensive and cause concern. We hope to alleviate these concerns by offering our clients a bespoke funding package.

Professional Negligence

Our experienced team of litigators act for claimants in bringing claims against professionals when they get it wrong.

Shareholder and Boardroom Disputes

When individuals fall out in business it can have devastating consequences. Our litigation team has extensive experience in resolving disputes.

News and blogs

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Blogs

Could litigation funding be available for my claim?

Are DBAs viable for funding commercial litigation?

Back to the drawing board: Do I have to re-plead/re-prove my case?

The emperor’s new clothes or sweeping reform? The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

All swans are white….?

Has the law of contract been compromised?

What is required to prove contempt of court?

Do androids dream of electric sheep?: mistaken computers and relevant minds

Going… going… gone. When is a contract formed at auction?

Court unlikely to depart from default position of full disclosure (PJSC Tatneft v Bogolyubov and others)

SAAMCO reinforced: Clients may bear the weight of their own commercial misjudgements

Google fined 2.42 billion by the European Commission

Legal Update: contractual disputes, foreign currencies, and the plummeting pound

Is a freezing order affecting third parties contrary to public policy?

Submitting to the Jurisdiction of the English court

Legal update: Worldwide Freezing Orders - a useful tool

Legal update: football club defends appeal case on the pitch

Legal Update: a warning against taking “unreasonable advantage” of late filing

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Legal update: Supreme Court dismisses appeal against decision giving principal a proprietary claim over bribe or secret commission

Expert shopping is not for the privileged

High Court finds contract to have been formed in two different jurisdictions

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) up for discussion

Case update: Court of Appeal criticises judge for refusing to recuse himself

Case update: Application for reconsideration of draft judgment refused

Case update: Court of Appeal considers the suitability of summary judgment and principle of “compelling reason” for second appeals

Case Update: Court of Appeal upholds supply contract despite lack of agreement

Why every company should have a sound understanding of legal privilege issues

Compensation under cross undertaking in damages: principles applied by High Court

French companies still have lessons to learn on corruption and fraud risks

Is IP litigation recession proof?

Disclosure obligations: whether documents are in a litigant’s “control”

Insurance Policy: Would you like to add on legal expenses insurance?

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