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

Claimants given costs boost in inheritance disputes – Hirachand v Hirachand

The Court of Appeal has recently handed down its judgment in the case of Hirachand v Hirachand, concerning an appeal against an order made in May 2020 in proceedings brought by Sheila Hirachand for provision from the estate of Navinchandra Hirachand, her late father, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”).

World Menopause Day - time to break the taboo!

World Menopause Day was held on 18 October 2021. It is an opportunity to break the stigma and taboo that still exists around menopause and to encourage open dialogue about what is a natural and very significant transition in a woman’s life.

Civil Fraud Quarterly Round-Up: Q3 2021

A Civil Fraud quarterly round-up (3rd quarter 2021)

“Lights. Camera. Action!” – Re Motion Picture Capital and standing for minority shareholders to bring unfair prejudice petitions

In the recent case of Re Motion Picture Capital Limited [2021] EWHC 2504 (Ch), the Court greenlit an unfair prejudice petition presented by a minority shareholder who no longer held shares in the relevant company at the time his petition was heard. The petitioner’s position was "Show me the money!", requesting an order that the company purchase his shares at a price reflecting the company’s value, even though his shares had already been transferred into the names of the company’s nominees.

Actor Terry Jones’ children challenge his Will - but does suffering from dementia mean you can’t make a valid Will?

Several stories have recently been published about the ‘legal battle’ commenced in the High Court relating to the estate of actor Terry Jones, who was well known and loved for his role in Monty Python and who died in January 2020. His adult children from his first marriage have reportedly commenced proceedings against their father’s estate and his second wife Anna Söderström (who is thought to be the main beneficiary of the estate), claiming that the Will their father made in 2016 is invalid because he lacked capacity when he made it. As a matter of law, a Will made by someone who lacks the required mental capacity at the time they made the Will is not valid. 
 

 

The Tail Wagging the Dog - Hourly Rates Review 2021

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, has approved the new guideline hourly rates (GHR) proposed by the CJC and the Stewart committee which will come into effect on 1st October 2021.
These new rates are a result of the final report of the Civil Justice Council released at the end of July 2021 and the forerunning consultation that took place between 8 January and 31 March 2021.

 

 

Why the date of death matters for creditors of insolvent estates

Death does not release an individual from their debts and liabilities, nor does it allow transactions made to loved ones to escape challenge. This is so regardless of whether the transactions were made with the intention to defraud creditors.

Bankrupt beneficiaries and risks for personal representatives

While testators generally have freedom to decide how to dispose of their assets in England and Wales, there are limits to this freedom, including where a beneficiary of the estate is made bankrupt. If the testator passes away during the course of the beneficiary’s bankruptcy, the legacy will usually pass to the trustee in bankruptcy for the benefit of creditors instead of to the beneficiary.

Rising from the ashes

The government has introduced two separate pieces of legislation aimed at redressing the abuse of “killing off” companies to escape liabilities. One recently came into force, the other is currently before parliament.

Clarity on costs for consumers of legal services: the guideline hourly rates

Whether the claimant or defendant, successful parties to civil litigation can be disappointed to hear that they are highly unlikely to recover all of their legal spend.  The losing party is only required to pay what is considered reasonable and proportionate.  A key feature in what is recovered is the reasonableness of the hourly rates charged by the successful litigant’s solicitors.

Civil Fraud Quarterly Round-Up: Q2 2021

A Civil Fraud quarterly round-up (2nd quarter 2021)

Two bites of the apple - limitation in professional negligence cases

The recent Court of Appeal decision in Lillo Sciortino vs Marc Beaumont [2021] EWCA Civ 786 provides useful guidance on limitation in professional negligence claims and confirms that a barrister who gave two pieces of negligent advice in respect of the same matter could be sued even though the claim in respect of the first piece of advice was out of time and statute-barred.

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.

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

View all

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

The credit crunch revisited: developments in the international courts

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?

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

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