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Profile: Commercial Disputes
Experience and Expertise
William has handled a variety of commercial work both advising and in litigation, across a wide range of contractual disputes in the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions as well as the County Courts, Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal.
William has acted for a range of clients from well-known banks and life assurance companies to large and small business involved in trade, manufacture and retail. He has particular experience of the sale of goods and supply of services, contracts of agency (estate agencies, recruitment agencies and financial consultancies), franchise agreements, seeking and resisting injunctive relief in cases concerning covenants in restraint of trade and misuse of confidential information, contracts of guarantee (enforceability and construction of terms), civil fraud, bailment and conversion, debt recovery and restitutionary remedies.
William has developed an expertise in disputes relating to contracts vitiated by mistake and in claims relating to actionable misdescription of goods, including innocent, negligent or fraudulent misrepresentations at common law and actions under the Misrepresentation Act 1967.
William has been complimented for his ability to work quickly in cases of urgency, seeking interlocutory relief where a client’s commercial interests require it, and has considerable experience of seeking and resisting applications for freezing orders.
William is recommended for Traditional Chancery and Real Estate Litigation by Chambers UK and for Commercial Litigation, Professional Negligence and Property Litigation by The Legal 500. Recent directory editorial includes:
- superb attention to detail and a charming manner with clients
- As an advocate he does not get distracted by difficult opponents and focuses on building and presenting the best possible case for the client
- head and shoulders above others of his year of call
- popular with clients and really takes the fight to the other side
- produces skeleton arguments that are very clear and show good analysis
- an advocate with a good, relaxed manner, he is firm but not unduly aggressive in court
- a born problem-solver with a loyal and diverse following
- lauded for being thoughtful and thorough
- an excellent lawyer and a strong and clever advocate
- very reliable and always delivers when he says he will
- a truly outstanding trial advocate.
Cases and Work of Note
Examples of recent work in this area include:
- Acting for the successful claimant supplying industrial welding machinery to a Midlands foundry;
- In Elonex Ltd v Asbis Ltd & Ors (2010) (QB) William acted for the successful first defendant in multi-party litigation concerning household electrical goods (televisions and laptop computers) manufactured in China, and involving the Republic of Ireland importer, the UK importer and the UK high street retailer. It had been alleged that the laptops were defective in circumstances where customers had returned them due to unfamiliarity with its operating software;
- Acting for a high street lender pioneering the use of vehicles as security for loans in litigation testing its terms of business in Shaw v Nine Regions Ltd  EWHC 3514 (QB), a case which decided a number of points concerning consumer rights in small and short term loan agreements particularly in the sub-prime market. In 2011 in Log Book Loans v The Office of Fair Trading led another member of chambers in a long-running appeal brought by similar lenders, which included examination of more than twenty-five OFT witnesses before the First Tier Tribunal;
- Acting in a claim relating to a consultancy and marketing agreement for the promotion of major motorsport events in the UK;
- In Bibendum Wine Ltd v The New Muscovy Company Ltd (2011), William acted for the successful claimant, a retailer of wines and spirits, in relation to the marketing and sale of a premium brand Russian vodka;
- In DTC (Motorsport) v Sunnen (2010) William acted for the claimant seeking damages in respect of defective robotic machinery supplied by a US manufacturer to factories for use in the manufacture of high performance motor engines for a well-known British vehicle marque;
- William has acted for a number of franchisors, including a well-known nationwide photographic shop business and a well-known supplier of butane gas, in several cases concerning the enforcement of the terms of their franchise agreements against franchisees;
- Acting for the successful financial consultancy claimant seeking commission for procuring a seven-figure investment into a software development project from BAE Systems plc;
- Acting for the successful solicitor consultant ‘rain maker’ in a claim against his former employer, an international law firm, for unpaid commission and misuse of confidential information (including a blue chip client contact list);
- In Multequip v Hammond (2010) William acted for the successful claimant enforcing guarantees concerning the supply of plant to a construction company;
- In Dashwood v Fleurets Ltd  EWHC 1610 (QB), (2007) 34 EG 84, William acted for a successful commercial surveyor and agent establishing the correct interpretation of a sole selling rights agreement under the Estate Agents Act 1979 in accordance with the prescribed form under the Estate Agents (Provision of Information) Regulations 1991, which was held to exclude the ‘effective cause’ test. The case has been discussed in EG No.0738 p.203, P.L.J. No.198 p.6, and referred to in Chitty 13-010.