Commercial Litigation Solicitors in London - Boodle Hatfield

Your lawyers since 1722

Commercial Litigation

We are well known for providing commercial litigation services to privately-owned companies and high net worth individuals on complex commercial problems requiring effective and efficient solutions.

All businesses experience problems and disputes from time to time and our teams help to navigate those challenges.

They have specialist expertise in all areas of dispute resolution and provide clear pragmatic advice, tailored to each client’s goal and reflecting their appetite for risk.

How we help

  • Contractual disputes – Advising on breaches of warranty and/or contract and disentangling complex commercial agreements to protect our clients’ position.
  • Business disputes – Advising individuals on shareholder disputes, breaches of fiduciary or statutory duties, claims for misuse of confidential information and breaches of restrictive covenants.
  • Joint venture and partnership disputes – Advising on disputes relating to profit share, how to terminate a joint venture and partnership disputes.
  • Misrepresentation claims – Expertise in what does and does not constitute misrepresentation in commercial agreements and in the remedies available to our clients whether they find themselves making or resisting a claim.
  • Professional negligence – Representing our clients’ in claims against solicitors, financial advisors, auction houses and other professionals.
  • Debt Recovery – we have a wealth of experience in helping clients with debt recovery. See here for further details and information on our fees.
  • Enforcement – We provide strategic advice on the options for enforcing both domestic and foreign judgments and have successfully enforced judgements through a variety of means, including through the sales of a debtor’s property.
  • Insolvency – Advising clients on both issuing and defending a winding up petition, options for bringing assets back within an insolvent company’s estate and liaising with insolvency practitioners.
  • Cross border disputes – advising in complex, high value disputes that may involve several parties with cross border and international aspects.
  • Fraud & Asset Tracing – We advise on cases of undue influence and forgery and tracing and freezing misappropriated assets that have been laundered, moved on to a third party, or moved abroad.

Sector specialism

Our highly trained and skilled team have a successful track record of delivering solutions across a full range of sectors and industries, including Arts & Luxury Assets; Agrochemicals; Family business; Hotels & Leisure; technology. They often advise on cross-border disputes and regularly work with international families on their commercial interests in the UK.

We always adopt the appropriate form of litigation. Whilst we are highly experienced at taking cases to Court, increasingly we are seeking to resolve disputes through mediation, which can be beneficial to the long-term outcome for clients.

Risk management is an important part of our offering to business people who often have concerns about what might happen and where risk might arise.  Even when they are not currently involved in a dispute, we can advise if there could be a risk in the future.

The advice we give is clear and based on extensive knowledge and expertise.  We always consider the long-term objectives of the clients and keep them informed all the way.

Track Record

Judicial Review

We successfully advised a leading UK manufacturer of slug pellets containing the active ingredient metaldehyde on a judicial review regarding the process by which the decision had been made not to re-register any metaldehyde products. By quashing the decision and forcing a fresh consideration of re-registering metaldehyde products we ensured their re-entry into the market which enabled our client to sell out its stocks while awaiting the results of the new consideration.

Alleged breach of fiduciary duty

We acted for two individuals in a claim brought by their former colleagues who alleged a breach of director’s duties, breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy to divert business away from the enterprise to competitors, making use of confidential information in the process. Our clients counterclaimed for breaches of the Shareholders Agreement, non-payment of commission, and defamation and malicious falsehood. The claim successfully settled at mediation on terms all parties were happy with, which included terms for the claimants’ to purchase our clients shareholding.

Dispute between former business partners

We advised the claimants on a dispute between two former business partners (and various companies) over the defendant’s misuse of confidential information and breaching certain non-solicitation provisions entered into when the two agreed to separate their business interests. The claimants also made claims against two companies for conspiring in the defendant’s breaches, breaches which would have caused irreversible damage, both reputational and financial, to our client. Having taken various urgent steps to protect our clients’ interests we ultimately entered into settlement negotiations with the defendants which were concluded within one month of commencement to the satisfaction of our client.

Insurance claim

We advised the claimant on a claim under reinsurance cover notes. Both parties were based in Kuwait but the contracts were subject to arbitration under the ARIAS rules. Our client had provided a performance bond and an advance payment bond to the contractor for a Government construction project in Kuwait and had obtained reinsurance. Our client received a claim under the bonds and sought to claim in turn under the reinsurance cover notes. The respondent argued that the cover notes were void due to breach by our client of the payment protection clause and subsequently other issues. Experts were instructed on issues relating to the materiality of certain representations alleged to have been made by our client and issues of Kuwaiti law.

Frustration of contract

We acted in a claim brought in the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in defence of a client in a breach of contract claim to provide luxury bespoke vehicles. The defence was based on the claimant’s frustration of the contract.

Unfair prejudice petition

We acted for the potential respondents to a threatened petition under section 994 of the Companies Act 2006 on the purported ground that the affairs of the Company had been conducted in a manner that was unfairly prejudicial to the potential petitioners’ interests as shareholders. The claim was threatened by a minority shareholder against the company and two directors. The matter settled at mediation.

Professional Negligence

As part of a claim for professional negligence and in order to attempt to mitigate the company’s loss, acting for an oil broking company in the Court of Appeal case of Littman -v- Aspen Oil (Broking) Limited which was widely reported in the legal press. The case is an interesting example of a situation in which it may be possible to “rectify” a mistake in a document by construction. The Court of Appeal judgment contains noteworthy comment on the basis upon which an order for rectification can be made.

Leading case on auctioneers’ liability

We represented Mr Thwaytes in his professional negligence claim against Sotheby’s. The claim arose out of Sotheby’s research into and advice regarding a painting of ‘The Cardsharps’ (“the Painting”). The case was the most high profile art litigation of 2014 and of great importance in the field of art litigation/professional negligence. The Judgment developed this area of law and, in particular, the standard of care and duties owed by a leading auction house to their consigners. Read more…

Civil Fraud

Acting on behalf of a third party respondent to a Norwich Pharmacal Order in the JSC BTA Bank litigation which has been widely reported. The Bank initially obtained a wide ranging disclosure order against our client at a without notice hearing. At the return date we were subsequently able to limit the scope of the order and our client was entitled to his costs of complying with the order. Read more…

Financial Litigation

Acting on behalf of an Isle of Man indirect subsidiary (now in liquidation) of the collapsed Icelandic bank, Kaupthing hf in two concurrent high value (circa £500m) multi-jurisdictional, multi-party Chancery Division actions arising from competing claims to monies held in this jurisdiction, the US and the BVI following the sale of Somerfield Plc. Read more…

Partnership Disputes

On behalf of Ivor Farman, successfully defending a claim brought against him by his former partner in Gradient Capital Partners LLP, Scott Pagel. Gradient Capital Partners LLP was a joint claimant with Mr Pagel. Read more…

Security for costs

We successfully applied on behalf of our client for security for costs in proceedings brought against her in the sum of £1.2m. The Claimant’s failure to comply with the security for costs order meant the claim was automatically struck out and the costs of the proceedings awarded to our client. Read more…

Non-party costs orders

We have successfully applied for non-party costs orders for two separate clients. Read more…

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

Acting on behalf of Nikolay Glushkov in relation to a claim of approximately £15m brought by the Russian airline Aeroflot against Mr Glushkov and Boris Berezovsky. Read more…

Enforcement of judgment by order of sale of £24m property in Knightsbridge

Successfully opposing applications to set aside two default judgments in the Chancery Division which we obtained on behalf of our client against the Defendant, who was a guarantor of a loan of £5m from our client which had not been repaid. The Defendant was ordered to pay the default judgment sums due plus interest totalling over £7m. Read more…


Obtaining a freezing injunction over the assets of a Georgian judgment debtor (including properties, shares and funds held in his solicitors’ client account) in respect of a debt for £6.8 million, in order to prevent the dissipation of the assets and obtaining full repayment of £2.5 million from the same debtor in separate proceedings.

In another case, we obtained an interim freezing injunction over the English assets of a defendant based in China pre-proceedings being issued. We also obtained permission to serve by email and were ultimately granted judgment in default and a post judgment freezing order for the full sum claimed plus costs.

Breach of contract – claim for an introduction fee

We acted for a client in the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors. As part of their business they introduce opportunities to third party investors in exchange for a fee if the deal completes. Our client introduced such opportunities to a well-known insurance company but failed to receive any payment. This was a complex matter as there was no written agreement between the parties. Our client issued proceedings and had the benefit of ATE insurance, which we obtained for them. The matter settled following a case management conference and prior to disclosure.

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