Our people

600 professionals at Knights service 10,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.

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John Lord

Office Leader
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John Lord

Office Leader

A commercial dispute resolution partner.  John is also the office leader in Wilmslow.

John focuses on corporate and commercial disputes including breach of contract and tortious claims, civil injunctions, recovery of corporate assets, fraud investigations, shareholder and partnership disputes.  He also represents directors and former members of limited liability partnerships when claims are brought against them.  John is experienced in litigation in all courts and a number of tribunals and he has a track record for successfully resolving matters at mediation.

John has a diverse client base, acting for two international energy providers, FTSE 100 and Euro 200 companies including leading names in the brewing and leisure sectors, shareholders of SMEs, partners and directors of professional firms.

John is also office leader in Wilmslow, where he is responsible for recruiting and managing new professionals to expand the range of services available locally and nationally.  He ensures his team have regular contact with clients to really understand their needs and focus on speedy delivery of advice.

Recent examples of how John has helped clients include:

• safeguarding £10 million of company assets in a cross-border dispute acting for a funder;

• defending 60 partners against charges of alleged wrongful trading and over-drawing claims by a liquidator in a LLP dispute;

• defending a claim based on the "new tort" of malicious prosecution;

• acting for investors in the recovery of sums due to them following a multi-million-pound commodity trading fraud; and

• acting for a company which had incurred substantial losses as a result of the unlawful termination of its franchise agreement.

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Kate Clarke

Partner
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Kate Clarke

Partner

A partner specialising in commercial, property and construction disputes.

Kate advises commercial and private clients in respect of all litigation matters, including construction and real estate litigation, commercial and contractual disputes, intellectual property including copyright, passing off and trade marks, defamation, professional negligence claims, insolvency and misfeasance claims, partnership and company law including shareholder disputes and injunctions.  She also manages adjudications, arbitrations, mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Kate acts for businesses all over the country in industries as diverse as sports promotion and property development, construction and technology.  Kate works regularly in the High Court in London, Birmingham and Manchester and within the county courts and Technology and Construction Courts.

Recent examples of how Kate has helped clients include:

• safeguarding a director's interest in a £40 million claim against the bank for interest rate swaps when the company went into liquidation;

• successfully defending a property developer in a claim for damages when they demolished a building;

• getting defamatory content about the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard removed from the internet following a dispute regarding a promotional tour to Poland; and

• successfully bringing a £300,000 breach of contract claim in respect of a joint venture to provide Tesco with hand car washing services.

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David Convey

Partner
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David Convey

Partner

A commercial dispute resolution partner.

David specialises in resolving contractual disputes, particularly complex multi-party actions.  His cases include trading disputes such as breach of contract about payment, delivery, quality, agent compensation, misrepresentation, termination, real estate problems including service charge, rent review, break notices, restrictive covenants, trespass and rights of way issues, construction disputes, infringement of intellectual property rights and defamation.

David also has experience of fraud, professional negligence, insolvency, and disputes between partners, directors and shareholders.  David's clients range from small professional practices and service companies, through to real estate developers, leading retail and leisure brands employing up to 3,500 people.

Recent examples of how David has helped clients include:

• putting a stop to a company which had been passing itself off as a subsidiary of a leading telecoms brand, obtaining compensation for loss of revenue and damage to the reputation of the brand owner;

• winning on behalf of 13 national businesses who were facing claims in excess of £1.7 million in the High Court;

• saving over £4.2 million for a group of commercial tenants, whose landlord pursued a rent review claim to the High Court; and

• defending the reputation of an international company against a product liability claim over three years, with the final judgment in our favour including full recovery of legal costs.

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Mark Dennis

Partner
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Mark Dennis

Partner

A commercial dispute resolution partner and insolvency specialist.

Mark advises on a broad range of disputes, including professional negligence, breach of contract claims, shareholder and director disputes, default loan matters, claims of financial wrongdoing and the fraudulent use of trusts and other devices to shield wealth.  He also advises on corporate and personal insolvency issues, including the instigation and defence of insolvency proceedings, the prosecution and defence of director disqualification claims and the investigation, prosecution and defence of deprivation of assets allegations against corporate owners.

Mark acts for high-net-worth individuals, owner-managers, corporations, accountants, insolvency practitioners and bridging finance houses. He works across a range of sectors, including leisure, professional services and finance.

Recent examples of how Mark has helped clients include:

• recovering substantial damages for the lender of a hotel and apartment block in a claim for professional negligence where it was alleged damages should be capped at £2 million;

• setting aside a financial settlement agreed between a banking client and a customer, which the bank had been induced to enter on the basis of inaccurate and dishonestly provided information;

• successfully overturning a family trust settlement which had been fraudulently created to deprive our client of their rightful inheritance; and

• securing the withdrawal of a bankruptcy petition maliciously issued against a client by their bank.

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Graeme Dixon

Partner
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Graeme Dixon

Partner

A commercial property and litigation partner.

Graeme advises on disputes arising out of commercial property sale and purchase agreements, conditional contracts and options, deeds of variation and development agreements.  He also advises on commercial property boundary disputes, rights to light claims, party wall issues, easements and restrictive covenants, and rights of way issues.

Graeme has extensive experience in landlord and tenant disputes, including those arising out of lease renewals, rent reviews, repair obligations, dilapidation claims, rent arrears, forfeiture and possession proceedings, and applications to assign a lease or alter premises.  Wherever possible he will try to keep disputes out of court and he regularly helps clients to engage in mediation, adjudication and expert determination.

Graeme acts for PLCs, SMEs, local authorities, charities and private individuals.  He has broad sector experience, and particular knowledge of licensed premises.

Recent examples of how Graeme has helped clients include:

• securing compensation and the right to regain possession of commercial premises for a tenant unlawfully evicted by their landlord;

• recovering £500,000 for a company whose infrastructure was damaged when a utilities pipe collapsed causing hazardous material to escape requiring an extensive cleanup;

• successfully forfeiting the lease of a public house on behalf of a landlord whose tenant had agreed to an unlawful assignment; and

• negotiating concessions on land use for a charitable organisation in return for their agreement to a £1 billion mixed use development encompassing part of their land.

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Stuart Farr

Partner
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Stuart Farr

Partner

A dispute resolution lawyer specialising in ethical dispute prevention.

Stuart advises on a broad range of commercial and consumer disputes, including professional negligence, breach of contract claims, shareholder and director disputes, product liability, the civil recovery of monies obtained through fraud, boundary disputes, occupiers liability and constructive trusts.  He also advises on civil disputes arising out of firearms activities and countryside pursuits and property ownership.  He is a member of the Research Ethics Committee at Oxford University and acts as a trusted advisor to corporations who want to reduce the potential for disputes through the adoption of ethical business practices.

Stuart acts for limited companies, partnerships, sole traders, associations, manufacturers and private individuals.  He has broad sector experience and specialist knowledge of the firearms industry.

Examples of how Stuart has helped clients include:

• recovering a six-figure sum for a private individual whose name was left off the title deeds of a property they had invested in and who faced receiving nothing after the property was sold;

• advising an international manufacturer on the complex legal and public issues arising from the Grenfell disaster;

• defending the supplier of irrigation equipment against a breach of contract claim arising out of failed agricultural crop production; and

• advising a national amateur sports association on the drafting of its code of ethics to avoid the potential for disputes.

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Ian Fitzpatrick

Partner
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Ian Fitzpatrick

Partner

Ian is a partner in the dispute resolution and debt recovery teams.

Ian advises on a wide range of matters including breach of contract, commercial fraud, invoice and asset finance disputes, creative industries (royalties/partnership disputes/contract disputes), professional negligence, sports law, shareholder and partnership disputes, claims against financial advisors, insurance law disputes, gas and oil royalty disputes, intellectual property issues, corporate transactional disputes, restrictive covenants, property litigation, insolvency litigation, construction disputes, adjudications, international disputes, franchising, guarantees/indemnities/warranties, search and seize orders, emergency injunctions, Alternative Dispute Resolution and mediation.

Ian has worked closely with the factoring/invoice finance/asset finance industry for 30 years advising in relation to agreements, contract terms, customer and client recoveries in litigation, guarantees and indemnities and other security documents.

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Chris Gee

Partner
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Chris Gee

Partner

A specialist in commercial dispute resolution and contentious probate.

Chris advises on business disputes in regard to professional negligence claims against accountants, surveyors and other solicitors in regard to incompetent advice or wrongful valuations; disputes between shareholders, company directors and funders; protecting business value in cases where key executives and teams have breached confidentiality or restrictive covenants, including bringing or defending claims for injunctive relief.  His clients include companies and business owners in all sectors, and Chris has extensive sector experience in retail, recruitment and professional services.

Chris also has a great deal of expertise in settling inheritance disputes in regard to the validity of a will; claims for financial provision under the Inheritance Act; concerns about and claims against executors or trustees; disputed legacies; claims under the Forfeiture Act where there has been an unlawful death.  Chris acts for beneficiaries, executors, trustees and charities and has settled complex estates with property and assets overseas.

Recent examples of how Chris has helped clients include:

  • obtaining a multi-million-pound judgment in the High Court in favour of an offshore corporate trustee after negligence by a professional adviser;
  • ensuring the protection of a major recruitment business when a large team moved to a competitor by obtaining undertakings from all former employees and the competitor;
  • preserving the assets of an estate for the children of a business owner, who died before his divorce was finalised, in a complex probate dispute which involved protecting the interests of the beneficiaries, whilst at the same time providing for his estranged wife; and
  • securing a favourable inheritance settlement for a widow after her husband committed suicide without leaving a will.
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Chris Heitzman

Partner
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Chris Heitzman

Partner

A commercial litigator specialising in property damage recovery claims.

In the event of damage to property caused by a third party, Chris acts for the land or business owners and their insurers to recover the losses.  His clients include a number of leading UK insurance companies, large corporates with substantial property portfolios, the Crown estate, highways authorities and their construction and maintenance contractors.

The majority of cases handled by Chris relate to accidents on the public highways, ranging from diesel spills and damage to the central reservation through to the destruction of a bridge, when highways contractors are obliged to repair the highways swiftly and recoup these costs from the motorists' insurers.

Similarly, Chris acts for corporates whose property has been damaged by flood or fire caused by a faulty product or a negligent supplier.  Having claimed on their buildings and property insurance or financed the repairs via self-insurance, Chris recovers these costs from the insurer of the business which was ultimately at fault.  Chris gathers the evidence, pursues the claim and negotiates the quantum on behalf of clients, via an innovative no win no fee arrangement.

Recent examples of how Chris has helped clients include:

• recovering £350,000 in a claim caused by diesel breaking down the bitumen motorway surface;

• consolidating 60 highways claims against a motor insurer and obtaining settlement of 96 per cent of value;

• successfully recovering nearly £500,000 and all legal costs for the insurer of a residential property after a fire was caused by negligent plumbing installations;

• recovering around £1 million and legal costs for insurers in less than six months after a building contractor caused a fire which destroyed business premises; and

• recovering £1.2 million from the insurer of a novelty goods supplier, following a product recall of defective goods.

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Louise Johal

Partner
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Louise Johal

Partner

A commercial dispute resolution lawyer.

Louise advises on a broad range of disputes, including professional negligence, breach of contract claims, shareholder and director disputes, claims of intellectual property infringement, insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings, claims against directors for fraudulent or wrongful trading and agency and distribution disputes.

Louise also advises on the miss-selling of financial products and general banking litigation, the defence and enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants in employment contracts and service agreements, and on contentious probate matters.

Louise acts for private individuals and SME's as well as for accountants, insolvency practitioners and trustees in bankruptcy.  She works across a range of sectors, with an emphasis on manufacturing and finance.

Recent examples of how Louise has helped clients include:

• ensuring the continuation of a Chinese supply network for a furniture retailer by securing an injunction against a former agent;

• defending an intellectual property infringement claim brought against developers of recruitment forecasting software by their former employer;

• establishing the unenforceability of a finance contract on behalf of an individual where the finance company were pursuing possession and a money judgment, resulting in the court ordering that the finance company could not rely on the contract because their customer did not realise what they were agreeing to when it was signed; and

• recovering substantial compensation from a consultant who sold on the rights to a medical database in breach of the database owner's intellectual property rights.

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Rachael McConaghie

Partner
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Rachael McConaghie

Partner

A dispute resolution lawyer with real estate expertise.

Rachael advises and represents clients on all aspects of disputes involving land and property, ranging from landlord and tenant disputes, forfeiture, and service charge disputes, to negligence claims, agricultural disputes, trespass and co-ownership issues.  Her practice involves analysing title and boundary issues and identifying the third parties, such as a lender or landlord, who need to be dealt with.

Rachael frequently works with her real estate and planning colleagues to achieve the best results for clients. Speed is of the essence for many clients, particularly those in retail whose commercial needs require instantaneous advice and results.

Mediation is at the forefront of Rachael’s practice, particularly in family disputes involving trusts where issues need to be settled in a non-litigious way where possible.

Rachael acts for both residential and commercial clients nationally, including those with significant agricultural interests, and international clients with UK property portfolios who have complex property disputes in the UK. Rachael’s clients include national retail chains, landlords, parish councils, families and individuals.

Recent examples of how Rachael has helped clients include:

  • successfully recovering monies for a retail tenant following an overcharge of service charges by the landlord without due reference to the lease, and securing an agreement to vary the lease to ensure more tenant friendly covenants;
  • preventing a trespass and ongoing obstruction over a corporate client’s right of way;
  • successfully resolving a co-ownership dispute between family members by mediation over multiple properties where one of the parties sought orders for sale; and
  • acting for a client and obtaining an injunction to remove an extension built by the adjoining owner in breach of a restrictive covenant not to build; and
  • successfully acting for a Borough Council as Landlord in connection with a highly contested lease renewal claim to enable redevelopment of land worth in excess of £20 million which also included remedying various planning and title issues.
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Hilary Napolitan

Partner
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Hilary Napolitan

Partner

A dispute resolution specialist, with expertise in specialist areas such as company shareholder and partnership disputes, property and leasehold disputes both in the county court and the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).

Hilary handles commercial disputes over breach of contract, professional negligence, company, shareholder and partnership disputes, often within accountancy practices and intellectual property. She also handles a wide range of property litigation work such as service charge disputes, leasehold and management company issues and restrictive covenants.  She is a leading expert in disputes arising out of the sale of park and mobile homes.

Recent examples of how Hilary has helped clients include:

• enabling a client to serve a court order on a difficult to reach debtor by using Facebook for the first time in English law;

• resolving a two year-long, multi-million-pound dispute in three months by strategically employing court rules to the client's commercial advantage;

• ensuring a number of purchasers of faulty motor homes recovered their money; and

• ensuring a resident could remain in their park home, and resist a park owner's attempts to terminate the park home agreement, by invoking trespass and boundary rights against them.

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Jessica Neyt

Partner
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Jessica Neyt

Partner

A dispute resolution lawyer specialising in all aspects of property and contentious probate claims.

Jessica advises on contentious property matters including commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, breaches of covenants, injunctions, possession claims, rent review and land ownership disputes. Clients include individuals and blue-chip companies such as Prudential Assurance and Paddy Power.

Jessica also resolves will, trust and inheritance disputes relating to the validity and construction of wills, trusts and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.  She acts for families, beneficiaries, executors and trustees.

Recent examples of how Jessica has helped clients include:

• ensuring that an illegitimate child, whose father committed suicide and excluded her from the will, benefited from a share of his estate;

• enabling the owner to sell a valuable London property following a long dispute with freeholders; and

• enabling the Prudential Assurance to undertake a large volume of contentious and non-contentious lease renewals by advising on dilapidations claims, lease consents and repossession claims.

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Phillippa O’Neill

Partner
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Phillippa O’Neill

Partner

A commercial dispute resolution lawyer.

Phillippa assists clients in the resolution of commercial disputes, including those arising from breach of contract or breach of warranty, professional negligence, partnership and shareholder fall outs, commercial agent or distributor claims, defamation, breaches of restrictive covenants or other employment obligations.  She also advises on disputes concerning product liability and risk management issues and those with an insolvency dimension.

Philippa is experienced in litigating claims through the courts but equally has extensive experience of alternative dispute resolution, achieving commercial and pragmatic settlements via mediation, arbitration, expert determination and informal negotiation.

Phillippa acts for a variety of clients throughout the UK, including individuals, partners, owner-managed SMEs, public companies and educational establishments.  She has experience in financial services, construction and engineering, manufacturing, education, recruitment, professional services, food and retail, waste management and property development.  Notable clients are Encore Recruitment Services, O.Kay Engineering, Upton Steel, TruFrame and Food Connections.

Recent examples of how Phillippa has helped clients include:

  • using expert determination to secure a fair valuation of a minority shareholding in a franchised food business which resulted in our clients receiving around £1.3 million for their shares on exit rather than the few hundred thousand pounds initially offered;
  • settling a breach of contract dispute on the first day of a claim’s trial by encouraging a food manufacturer who had unlawfully terminated an exclusive distribution agreement with our client without notice to make appropriate restitution;
  • resolving a dispute between the partners of a successful dental practice which resulted in our client securing the exit of an underperforming partner on commercially attractive and practically workable terms; and
  • using mediation to settle a contractual dispute on behalf of a client which concerned the carriage of machinery and plant across Africa and which would have been very costly to litigate.
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Helen Pickford

Partner
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Helen Pickford

Partner

A specialist in the resolution of business-critical commercial disputes.

Helen advises companies on complex business disputes particularly where reputation is at stake or emergency injunctive relief is required.  This includes freezing orders or search and seizure orders in cases of fraud, breach of confidentiality or restrictive covenants.  She also advises on shareholder disputes and minority shareholder actions and claims arising from corporate transactions such as breach of warranty, contractual disputes with suppliers and distributors, and professional negligence claims.  Helen is experienced in alternative routes to dispute resolution including mediation and expert determination.

Helen represents clients in the energy, retail, automotive, manufacturing and IT sectors.  She understands the issues they face, the distractions that litigation brings and the need for a timely resolution.

Recent examples of how Helen has helped clients include:

• protecting the brand and reputation of a leading energy company by preventing a dealer from passing off and unlawfully trading with their assets;

• securing a disputed payment from G4S for services provided during the 2012 Olympics under a complex web of sub-contracts;

• confirming the authority of the board of a Luxembourg property fund in a deadlock with their London property agent: Grainmarket Asset Management Limited v PGF (II) SA [2013] EWHC 1879 (Ch); and

• substantially reducing the amount payable by a major fashion retailer to a software supplier by showing that their multi-million-pound claim was massively inflated.

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Lisa Shacklock

Partner
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Lisa Shacklock

Partner

A dispute resolution partner with higher rights of audience in the English and Welsh courts.

Lisa prosecutes and defends claims for breaches of contract, covenant, warranty, confidentiality, finance agreements and directors’ fiduciary duties.  She resolves shareholder and partnership disputes, claims of intellectual property infringement, defamation actions and claims of misrepresentation.  She has extensive experience in resolving commercial fraud cases and in the use of injunctions and search and seize orders to contain data breaches, enforce restraint of trade agreements and recover confidential information.

Lisa also deals with contentious probate claims and trustee disputes.

Lisa acts for clients with domestic and international business interests and international clients with a UK presence.  Clients range from public and private companies and owner-managed SMEs to asset-based lenders and high-net-worth individuals. Current clients include Partnership Media Group Ltd, Joshua Greaves & Sons Ltd, UK Independent Medical Services Ltd and Miller Pattison Ltd.

Lisa can provide representation at court and she supports settlement efforts outside of litigation through mediation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation and adjudication.

Recent examples of how Lisa has helped clients include:

  • supervising the execution of a search and seizure injunction over a two day period to recover assets in a long-running £10 million bankruptcy claim;
  • defending a multi-million pound trade mark action brought by an international blue chip company against individuals operating in the telecoms sector;
  • obtaining an injunction for the return of confidential data and the cessation of competing activities by a former employee on behalf of a multi-million pound media company; and
  • settling a long-running, high profile shareholder dispute involving allegations of commercial fraud where all those involved needed absolute confidentiality to avoid reputational damage.