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Stewarts Law LLP


Stewarts Law LLP - London
  • 5 New Street Square
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4A 3BF
  • Managing Partner John Cahill
  • Number of partners  45
  • Other solicitors 65
  • Other fee-earners  96
  • Total fee-earners  206

Other Offices: New York (consulting office)

THE FIRM Stewarts Law is the UK’s largest litigation only law firm with offices in London and Leeds. The firm acts for corporate and individual clients and has leading and innovative departments.

Aviation & Travel:
The Aviation and Travel Department specialises in aviation and international personal injury litigation.The Aviation Team are recognised globally for their expert representation of air crash victims, survivors and their families. The Travel Team specialises in complex personal injury and fatal accident claims in an international context.
Clinical Negligence: The Clinical Negligence Department has expertise in neurological injury, particularly spinal injury, brain injury and cerebral palsy. The department is franchised by the Legal Services Commission and its partners are approved as specialists by Action for victims of Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Law Society.
Commercial Litigation: The Commercial Litigation Department advises on commercial disputes of all kinds and is noted for its expertise in banking, fraud and professional negligence. The department’s work encompasses UK litigation, heavyweight international litigation, securities and investor litigation.
Competition Litigation: The Competition Litigation Department specialises in competition-related litigation, with a particular focus on damages issues that arise as a result of competition infringements.
Divorce & Family: The Divorce and Family Department has rapidly acquired a reputation as one of the leading divorce and family law practices in the UK. The department acts for high-net-worth and international clients from a wide range of backgrounds and represents both husbands and wives.
Employment: The Employment Department focuses on the resolution of high-value and high-profile employment disputes. The department acts for employers and individuals. It has a particular reputation for acting for claimants against investment banks and other financial institutions.
International Arbitration: The International Arbitration Department has expertise of both the substantive law relating to international arbitration and the conduct of arbitral proceedings. Lawyers in the department have conducted arbitrations relating to numerous business sectors including the aviation, oil and gas, energy, pharmaceutical, telecommunications and defence manufacturing fields.
Personal Injury: The Personal Injury Department specialises in high-value and complex personal injury claims, with particular expertise in compensation claims following spinal injury, brain injury, fatal accidents and other serious injuries, such as brachial plexus, burns and amputation. Independent observers regard it as the leading catastrophic injury department in the UK.

Areas of Practice

  • Aviation & Travel 7.5%
  • Clinical Negligence 10%
  • Commercial Litigation 25%
  • Competition Litigation 7.5%
  • Divorce & Family 15%
  • Employment 5%
  • International Arbitration 5%
  • Personal Injury 25%
  • Aviation & Travel James Healy-Pratt
  • Clinical Negligence Muiris Lyons
  • Commercial Litigation Clive Zietman
  • Competition Litigation Jonathan Sinclair
  • Divorce & Family Stephen Foster
  • Employment Tim Spillane
  • International Arbitration Philippa Charles
  • Personal Injury Paul Paxton
  • Leeds Office Daniel Herman
  • Business Development Stuart Dench


  • 9 Bond Court,
  • Leeds,
  • West Yorkshire
  • UK
  • LS1 2JZ
  • Tel (0113) 222 0022
  • Fax (0113) 222 0044
  • DX 26428 Leeds Park Square
  • Email : info@stewartslaw.com

Banking Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Specialist litigation group with broad capabilities to act against banks and financial institutions. Diverse client base including multinational corporations and high net worth individuals.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Fabulous at establishing a claimant-driven market against all the big banks. A standout conflict-free firm: very well managed and run with good people."

Work highlights Acted for the winding-up committee of Kaupthing Bank in respect of EUR500 million worth of payments to Deutsche Bank in purchase of credit-linked notes prior to the 2008 collapse.

Represented Emerald Bay Worldwide in a breach of duty action against appointed directors Barclays Wealth pertaining to USD6.1 million in losses with the purchase of a private jet.

Notable practitioners  

Sean Upson has a broad commercial litigation practice. Recent highlights include representation of Euroption Strategic Fund in a negligence action against a Swedish investment bank, SEB, following the 2008 financial crisis. 

"A great tactician and very good on strategy," Clive Zietman heads the department. He is widely praised by sources for his ability to "get into the detail of case" and "his capacity to see the bigger picture."

Significant clients JJM Centurion, The Sisters of Charity of Jesus & Mary, Alpha Development, MG Rover Dealer Properties, AXA Private Equity.

Clinical Negligence - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Excellent track record in handling complex, high-value clinical negligence cases. Advises on brain and spinal injury claims arising from failure to diagnose and surgical negligence, as well as matters involving psychiatric issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is absolutely brilliant: it's committed and thorough, and works incredibly hard."

Work highlights Represented the claimant in successfully obtaining a £1 million settlement for spinal injury arising from delayed treatment of an infected cyst.

Advised in a case concerning inappropriate mobilisation of the patient following a spinal injury, which was settled for £2.5 million.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Muiris Lyons draws praise from a range of sources for his strong leadership of the London clinical negligence team. His expertise lies in catastrophic brain and spinal injury claims.

Kevin Grealis is a well-regarded clinical negligence practitioner, with over 20 years' experience in the practice area. He has particular expertise in complex brain injury cases.

Nick Knowles is a senior figure within the team, who has extensive experience in handling some of the most complex and high-value clinical negligence claims, including numerous brain and spinal injury cases. 

Robert Dransfield is regarded by sources as a "wily practitioner, who is very good on tactics" in negotiations. He is particularly well known for his advice to claimants in catastrophic spinal injury cases.

Hugh Johnson is a highly regarded associate at the firm. He has a particular specialism in handling cases concerning spinal injuries arising from failure to diagnose or surgical negligence, and also advises on brain injury, psychiatric and paediatric claims. 

Employment - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acting for senior executives across a range of industries, with particular expertise in representing those from the financial services sector. Skilled in assisting individuals with the intricacies of whistle-blowing and discrimination claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "They have a very good reputation for resolving situations and producing the right outcome for clients."

What's new? Tim Spillane now heads the firm's employment team.

Notable practitioners  

According to one interviewee, Tim Spillane is a "calm and unflappable lawyer," one who "takes great care to understand precisely what the client wants and needs. He is well-respected amongst his peers in this market. 

The "extremely impressive" Richard Nicolle is a widely respected employment practitioner. In addition to recognised strength in dealing with restrictive covenant issues, he is adept at handling the TUPE implications of corporate transactions. He advised Como on the sale to the Giorgio Armani Group.

Significant clients Sammons Associates, KSP Real Estate Investment Management, New Quadrant Partners, Gravis Capital Partners.

Family/Matrimonial - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Frequently advises clients on some of the most high-profile, high-value matrimonial finance cases in the market. Also offers notable expertise in private children law matters and prenuptial agreements, as well as collaborative law.

What's new? The practice continues to grow and recruit leading practitioners, including the recent arrival of star individual Helen Ward from Manches.

Notable practitioners  

Star practitioner Helen Ward recently moved to Stewarts Law from Manches, in a major coup for the practice. Sources note that she is "a very talented lawyer with good client-handling skills." She frequently handles the most high-profile, high-value matrimonial finance matters in the market.

Debbie Chism "is a tough fighter," according to sources. Her expertise lies in matrimonial finance litigation, although she also has an active collaborative law practice.

Emma Hatley handles a range of domestic and international matrimonial finance cases, as well as prenuptial agreements. Sources describe her as "exceptionally good and very clever, and she always gets to the point."

Stephen Foster is praised for his "common-sense, practical way of looking at things." He heads the department and is frequently instructed on complex finance cases involving significant assets.

Matthew Humphries is noted for his adept handling of both matrimonial finance and children law matters.

Fraud - London (Firms)

What the team is known for Noteworthy reputation for representing defendants and claimants in civil fraud litigation. Practice draws upon recognised banking litigation expertise.

Work highlights Successfully defended a prominent businessman against a breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation claim of around USD1 billion.

Obtained judgment in favour of textiles company GHLM Trading, which sued two of its former employees for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

Notable practitioners  

Jane Colston has an excellent reputation in the civil fraud arena. Sources describe her as "focal, effective and particularly experienced in Eastern European litigation."

Sean Upson is admired for his intelligent insight into law, fact and strategy, and for his commitment to providing "absolutely first-rate client service." He has notable experience of acting for claimants and defendants.

Litigation - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department 
- 9 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Robust and dedicated practice handling an impressive caseload of commercial disputes. Strong referral relationships in the UK and USA. Broad client base, including several household names.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I'm particularly impressed with the way they co-ordinate matters – they are incredibly well organised and very professional." 

Responsiveness: "We were involved in a potentially very difficult piece of litigation and I don't think they put a foot wrong. The partner was hands-on and on all important telephone conferences." 

Work highlights Successfully acted on behalf of Attrill and others, a group of bankers who brought claims worth EUR52 million against Dresdner Kleinwort regarding unpaid bonuses.   

Acted for the winding-up committee of Kaupthing Bank in a EUR500 million claim against Deutsche Bank.

Notable practitioners

Clive Zietman is characterised by one sources as an "immensely dynamic man who makes things happen." He heads the commercial litigation team and lately acted on behalf of 132 claimants in a EUR20 million breach of contract claim against Morgan Stanley.

Significant clients Anatoly Ereshchenko, GHLM Trading, ECAS, MG Rover Dealer Properties, Grant Thornton.  

Personal Injury - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Widely recognised as leading specialists in high-value catastrophic injury claims, including brain and spinal injury cases. Also capable of handling multi-jurisdictional cases.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "It's the standout firm for personal injury in the country – they set the model that other firms now recognise as being the way to work. They're at the top of the tree."

Technical ability: "They're fierce opponents - they don't give any quarter on their cases."

Client service: "The service they offer is head and shoulders above the others. They do a really good job. First-class." 

Notable practitioners  

Julian Chamberlayne is acclaimed by peers and experts as one of the leading national practitioners in catastrophic injury work. Sources call him an "individual of extreme integrity," and highlight the "combination of his confidence in his work and his ability to make the right decisions." 

Department head Paul Paxton specialises in complex catastrophic brain and spinal injury cases. He is recommended in particular for his approach to litigation, with sources noting that "he doesn't do litigation by numbers or start a war for the sake of it – he's prepared to take a modern, collaborative approach."

Charles Edwards handles highly complex and extremely high-value brain and spinal injury cases, and is widely admired by market sources.

Andrew Dinsmore specialises in complex brain injury claims, and is noted for his technical ability. He receives widespread market recognition, with sources highlighting his "first-rate" and "proactive" approach to cases.

Clare Salmon has particular expertise in claims arising from RTAs, especially serious injuries to the brachial plexus, brain and spine. She is described as "effective and bright."

New partner Ben Rogers is particularly highly rated for his expertise in spinal cord injury claims. He is described as "absolutely fantastic – one of the most committed lawyers I've worked with."

Stuart Dench is well known as a catastrophic injury specialist and is recognised in particular for his focus on multi-jurisdictional work, frequently handling claims involving the USA. 

Personal Injury - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Formidable Leeds-based practice which handles some of the most complex and high-value cases in the market, including brain and spinal injuries, amputations and severe burns. Notable presence on a number of record-breaking claims, including the highest ever criminal injuries compensation award of £8.5 million. Ranked office in Leeds.

Notable practitioners  

Daniel Herman heads the personal injury department in Leeds.

Aviation - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department 
- 5 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Well-reputed, high-profile accident litigation firm representing claimants against airlines. Recognised for experience in multi-jurisdictional plaintiff aviation litigation.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The client service is excellent. The team places client communication at the centre of everything. The lawyers are always available and respond to queries rapidly and effectively. They handle a difficult side of aviation, dealing with emotionally traumatised clients, and they are very aware of and sensitive to the clients' feelings." 

Industry knowledge: "The firm handles high-value complex clinical claims and uses those work methods for claimants in aviation claims. No one had done that before. What it has done is brought an aviational excellence which other firms have struggled to adapt to. Big team there, big operation."

Work highlights Representing the 30 families of victims of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET409 in 2010. 

Acting for the families of victims of the Sita Air Dornier 288 flight in Nepal, including multi-jurisdictional claim litigation and quantum analysis. 

Notable practitioners  

The "very co-operative, highly professional and straight to the point" James Healy-Pratt has 15 years' experience working in aviation insurance. He heads the practice and sources enthuse over his negotiating skills: "James has been an absolute marvel in that firm, a great deal maker and a fantastic negotiator. He understands entirely what is important to claimants but also understands what will get insurers going. A winning combination."

Sarah Stewart displays cross-border expertise in damages and quantum assessments. Sources say: "James is well supported by Sarah, who has great empathy with her clients."

Travel - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London, Leeds

What the team is known for Specialises in claimant work, particularly relating to international catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and amputations. Also very active in aviation accidents.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I'd recommend the team and have done. The client service is excellent; the team places client communication at the centre. Members are always available and respond to queries rapidly and effectively." 

Working style: "They're excellent: pragmatic and realistic. What I also like about them is that they're businesslike and know all the legal issues."

What's new? Partner Julie Straughan, a travel specialist with a focus on French law, joined the firm from Pierre Thomas & Partners. 

Work highlights Represented a claimant who sustained a spinal cord and multiple orthopaedic injuries in a motorbike accident in France.

Advised three claimants who were severely injured during a self-drive tour of Fraser Island, in Australia.

Notable practitioners 

Clients highly recommend head of travel Julian Chamberlayne, saying: "I've never come across someone who's so professional whilst being understanding of the circumstances of the case. He's very empathetic, it's as if he knows what I've been through. I'd go to him for anything."

Aviation law expert James Healy-Pratt is described as "technically brilliant; his understanding of the issues is second to none."

Partner Ben Townsend enters the rankings following strong feedback: "He is a pragmatic litigator, but does not capitulate on the important points for his clients, to ensure they are protected and compensated appropriately."

Newly promoted partner Scott Rigby remains an integral part of the team. He is noted for excellent client-handling skills and a lucid manner of explaining technical points.

Christopher Deacon recently joined from Blake Lapthorn. He advises on all aspects of travel litigation, with a focus on delayed boarding. He is also strong on French claims.

Clinical Negligence: Mainly Claimant - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Exclusively handles maximum severity claims. Especially recognised for its work on spinal cord and brain injury cases. Takes on a small caseload to ensure clients receive a high-quality service.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "The team kept me up to speed with everything and gave me regular updates."

Client service: "The team is well known for achieving high settlements for clients."

Notable practitioners  

Frank Pinch is noted for his considerable expertise in catastrophic cases and is a member of various accredited panels. Sources say: "He is brilliant: down to earth and empathetic."

Gabrielle Ross is highlighted for her acute attention to detail. One interviewee affirms: "She is good at explaining the key issues and explaining them in clear terms to the client."

Family/Matrimonial - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Renowned for its handling of high-value finance disputes, often involving complications arising from corporate structures, trusts and offshore assets. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "I would have no hesitation in commending them - they are right up there with the best."

Notable practitioners  

Simon Preston is "the leading light at the Leeds office" according to market sources. He is recognised particularly for his expertise in high-value, complex financial disputes, often involving family businesses, trusts and cross-jurisdictional aspects.

The "phenomenal" associate Adrian Clossick is widely admired for his family law practice. He frequently works alongside Simon Preston on complex financial proceedings, often with a significant international element.

Litigation - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Full-service commercial practice offering expertise across a wide range of specialisms including financial services, professional negligence and competition disputes. Frequently instructed on litigation against banks.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Strategic planning: "I have been particularly impressed with the way they managed to co-ordinate the case: incredibly well organised and very professional."

Technical ability: "A good understanding of competition law and a good litigation sense."

Work highlights Represents Closegate Hotel Development Group in a £57 million claim against Barclays on the financing of a major hotel in Durham.

Advising Sean Leonard on a complicated shareholder and partnership dispute involving a variety of claims.

Notable practitioners 

The "highly tactical" Jonathan Sinclair has extensive experience in complex competition litigation. "Pragmatic and practical" sources appreciate that he "shows a very calm head in difficult litigation terrain."

Significant clients ASDA, Morrisons, Guardian Industries UK, Debenhams, House of Fraser.

Personal Injury: Mainly Claimant - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Focuses solely on the most complex and high-value cases, with particular expertise in claims involving spinal or brain injuries. Also frequently handles work involving complex amputations, severe burns and severe neurological injuries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
Breadth of services: "They're outstanding – the quality of the work they do and the resources they have are amazing."

Market standing: "They set the model in personal injury litigation – the standout firm, full stop."

Work highlights Represented a client who suffered a severe brain injury when struck by an uninsured car as she walked along the pavement. The case was settled for a lump sum of £1.6 million plus periodic payments.

Notable practitioners

Daniel Herman focuses primarily on work involving spinal and brain injuries, as well as dealing with a significant number of cases in the USA. Sources describe him as "first-rate – if I had to choose someone to represent a relative it'd be him."

Key partner Peter Stringer handles major, highly complex cases relating to brain and spinal cord injuries.

Ben Townsend primarily handles catastrophic brain and spinal injuries. He also handles cases in other jurisdictions, including Malaysia and Morocco.