The Small Business Practice

Competitive Pricing.

Personal Service.

Advice You Can Trust.

Who We Are


Commercial and Business Lawyers has operated for 26 years in the Stockport and Manchester area, with our senior staff having over 150 years of experience in the legal profession between them.

We are committed to providing high quality, honest advice at a price that your business can afford.

Please click on each name for further information.

Brian Drewitt

Brian Drewitt


As a commercial lawyer with an MA in law at Cambridge and a distinction in commercial law, Brian Drewitt joined a City of London firm in 1969. Dealing with shipping and commodities claims, he acquired extensive experience of international litigation and arbitration.

After acquiring the Nigerian government as a client, Brian initially handled a billion-dollar problem. He went on to deal with arbitrations across Europe and at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He also became the firm’s managing partner.

Joining Slaughter & May as a litigation partner, Brian became a solicitor and a Notary Public in Hong Kong. Working to prevent or resolve litigation, he used his experience to handle disputes concerning property, building & construction, banking and finance.

After returning to the UK in 1989, Brian joined a Manchester firm, before establishing his own practice in 1990. His case list still includes dispute resolution and litigation, and in the past decade he has handled several very substantial cases, but he now advises businesses across the whole spectrum of commercial legal matters and business projects.

Qualified as an Associate and then a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, commercial lawyer Brian ultimately became Chairman of the North West branch. He was also a founder of the Northern Arbitration Association, and was its Chairman for a number of years.

Stella Drewitt

Stella Drewitt

Stella started her career working as a secretary in London in the early 60s, working for Boodle Hatfield, among others. She then spent six years in Vienna and Paris working for the United Nations and the OECD.

For the next twelve years she returned to London, working as a PA for practically every major law firm including Slaughter and May, Linklaters, Freshfields and Eversheds.

Stella then spent three years in Hong Kong, before returning to the UK. She has now worked as a PA, practice manager and researcher for Commercial and Business Lawyers for the past eighteen years.

Kate McAlinden

Kate McAlinden

Kate qualified as a solicitor within a general practice in the area in 1987 before joining the Crown Prosecution Service as a Crown Prosecutor in Greater Manchester. Kate worked on a number of very high profile cases before becoming the Divisional Crown Prosecutor in North Manchester in 2005, the Divisional Crown Prosecutor for South Manchester in February 2010 and, after qualifying as a Crown Advocate, she assumed responsibility for the Crown Advocacy Unit in 2011. After a year as District Crown Prosecutor with responsibility for cases prosecuted in Tameside, Oldham, Trafford and Stockport Kate left the CPS in 2013.

At CBL Kate specialises in commercial litigation and white collar crime. An instinctive litigator, Kate’s caseload is varied to the extent it has included disputes between shareholders and those involving the Sale of Goods Act, Commercial Contracts, Construction and Property.

She also volunteers as the Chair of Citizens Advice Cheshire North which is currently facing many challenges exacerbated by recent restraints on public spending.

Pamela McColl

Pamela McColl

Prior to becoming a solicitor, Pam worked at the Employment Tribunal where her interest in employment law was ignited. Pam was promoted to Acas, latterly working as a conciliator where she assisted employers and employees involved in employment claims to reach settlement.

Pam changed career, studied to become a solicitor and was invited to join a large regional law firm as a specialist employment law solicitor. Pam then moved firms a couple more times ultimately becoming head of the Employment Law team at Manchester law firm, whilst expanding her legal, management and commercial experience in the process.

Pam established her own niche employment law practice in 2012, specialising in employment law and HR. She has successfully built up her business and she, along with her team advise business owners, HR professionals, employees and consultants on a daily basis. Pam is also the employment law consultant at CBL. She advises clients on all aspects of employment law and employment tribunal matters.

Pam has a post graduate diploma in employment law and is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Ruth Smith

Ruth Smith


Business experience

Ruth offers a wealth of experience of advising on business and commercial law, with the benefit of having worked as a commercial lawyer with well-known law firms as well as in-house legal adviser to a leading software PLC.

Expert advice

Hands-on experience of the requirements and needs of running a business enables Ruth to provide practical and innovative advice to clients; understanding their situations and presenting solutions that take both their business and legal requirements into account.

Intellectual property

Advising on a wide range of commercial and contractual issues, Ruth takes a practical approach to resolving complex commercial problems; offering a particular expertise in software development, intellectual property issues and media-related contracts.

Technical expertise

With a Distinction in a Master’s Degree in IT and Telecommunications Law and a Commercial Diploma, Ruth is an expert in capturing the technical aspects of an issue and translating them into effective business advice.

“I work to provide practical advice and solutions tailored to my clients’ individual requirements.”

Paul Willan

Paul Willan

Paul started his career in 1983 as in-house counsel for a FTSE100 company, and six years later became the founding partner of Manchester-based law firm Willan Bootland. Following this, Paul was the head of Corporate and Commercial law and also of Commercial Property at Linder Myers LLP. Paul is currently the founding and senior partner of Athena Law, and a director of CBL.

Paul’s specialisms include: company takeovers, mergers, joint ventures, asset deals, corporate finance work, distributorships, patent licencing, commercial conveyancing, development funding agreements, tax planning (including offshore trusts), commercial litigation and Rent Acts.

Paul is currently the Honorary Consul for Italy for Manchester and the North West region. He is also bilingual in Italian, and can speak French at a professional working level.

Commercial Lawyers Advising on Every Aspect of Commercial Law


Competitive pricing

As commercial lawyers serving SME’s and larger businesses across Stockport and South Manchester, Commercial and Business Lawyers provide the expertise and experience of a large city firm at a highly competitive price.


Personal service

Effectively working as your out-sourced ‘in-house’ legal department, we offer a pro-active relationship based upon understanding, transparency and a commitment to local businesses.


Advice you can trust

Delivering leading-edge services that few high street lawyers can match, our commercial lawyers can advise you on company law, commercial contracts and leases, intellectual property law, employment law and dispute resolution.


“The fundamentals of this practice have always remained unchanged, namely, the prompt provision of good advice and sound judgement.”


What we do

How can we help you?

Company Law


Tailored service

Delivering effective Company Law solutions in today’s difficult and competitive business arena, CBL provides a focused service backed by extensive experience to offer essential guidance and advice to meet your needs.

Ensuring stability

CBL provide stability; setting up companies, drawing up partnership and shareholder agreements, minimising disputes and litigation, defining rights, obligations and restrictions, providing company secretarial services, and agreeing procedures and exit strategies.

Resolving issues

Offering advice and support on insolvency and the resolution of company, shareholder and partnership disputes. CBL can also handle negligence claims, and claims against directors including disqualification.

Commercial Contracts


Avoiding problems

With a ‘real world’ understanding of how contracts work, CBL can guide you through the legal implications and processes of Contract Law, identifying issues in advance and minimising problems.

Providing solutions

Offering experience, expertise and commercial awareness, CBL provide timely and economical solutions for commercial contracts including standard terms and conditions distribution agency and franchise agreements, supply of goods and services and software and web building contracts.

Resolving disputes

Working to ensure clear and unambiguous communications between all parties, CBL also find practical solutions to contractual disputes from pursuit of debt to breach of warranty and commercial agency litigation.

Dispute Resolution


A realistic approach

By establishing realistic expectations of whether to fight or settle, including the other party’s ability to pay, CBL prefer to employ alternative dispute resolution, mediation or arbitration rather than going to court.

Careful management

Following consideration of your aims, your options and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each party, we will work with you to monitor progress and reduce risk whilst striving for a successful resolution.

Pursuing and Defending Claims

We have forty years of experience in dealing with almost every kind of commercial dispute in the High Court, County Court, Commercial Court, Mercantile Court and the Technology and Construction Court, and before arbitrators and arbitration tribunals in this country and abroad.

Transparent costs

CBL has an outstanding record of settling cases cost effectively and expeditiously and operates a flexible fee structure that enables you to budget and allocate resources accordingly throughout the process.

Property Law


Types of transaction

From large portfolios to individual units for both individual and corporate investors, CBL offer expertise to assist at all stages of every transaction including acquiring, disposing, developing, leasing and refinancing.

Hand holding service

Offering a bespoke service from instruction to completion, we can help you decide and take action, guiding you through searches, assisting with funding as well as dealing with litigation and contract claims.

Types of property

Whether for retail, industrial, office, leisure or domestic properties, CBL deals with all kinds of freehold or leasehold property transactions, including land acquisition and property development.

Landlord and Tenant

Fully conversant with all aspects of the Landlord and Tenant Act, we advise both landlords and tenants, deal with contested rent reviews, and can assist at every stage of the buy-to-let process.

Quality client care

Offering a service that is unrivalled for quality and value for money, we appreciate that issues arise or develop on a daily basis and maintain a consistent and regular line of dialogue between solicitor and client.

Intellectual Property


Your vital asset

For many businesses in media, marketing and the arts, protection of intellectual property assets is essential to their survival. In the event of infringement, we can ensure that your rights are fully protected and enforced.

Extensive experience

Covering most aspects of intellectual property protection, Commercial and Business Lawyers handles disputes and issues concerning: Trademarks, Patents, and Copyright, along with trade secrets and know-how.


We have considerable experience in advising on copyright matters, in particular those relating to software.

Protecting your interests

Acting on your behalf when any infringement occurs, we will work to ensure your full protection at all times, working to obtain a full range of emergency remedies including injunctive relief if necessary.

International Law


Awareness not assumption

Despite having many apparent similarities, it is nevertheless a fact that systems of law differ widely from country to country and it can never be safely assumed that what is acceptable in one jurisdiction will be acceptable in another, or that legal terms have the same meaning wherever you may be.

Working in a global arena

Offering experience of dealing and liaising with and working alongside expert foreign lawyers since 1970, Commercial and Business Lawyers has worked repeatedly in many countries to resolve legal issues. With practical “hands on” experience of working in other jurisdictions throughout Europe and elsewhere, in particular Nigeria and Hong Kong, we are able to manage and advise on the problems of dealing with matters in other countries.

A level playing field

Conflict of law is one of the most significant problems encountered when crossing frontiers and Commercial and Business Lawyers can ensure that an applicable system of law is used, especially when dealing with multiple parties and cultures.

Avoiding misunderstandings

To maintain a relevant and meaningful dialogue with people for whom English is not the first language, we ensure that all communications use simple, carefully constructed language without jargon or colloquialisms.

Employment Law


In employment law, what’s fair one month is outdated the next and whether you need to fight or defend in a court or tribunal or negotiate a satisfactory settlement we are always on hand to advise you.

Guiding you on every aspect of rights and changes in employment law, Commercial and Business lawyers will give you a realistic appraisal of claims or concerns and offer uncomplicated advice.

Helping employers to avoid the commercially and financially damaging consequences of failing to follow both law and procedures, we can help you to handle disruptive and time consuming issues.

Working with employers and employees at every stage of the relationship, Commercial and Business Lawyers handle everything from drafting and advising on employment contracts to dealing with the breakdown of the employment relationship.

Whether it is drafting service contracts and restrictive covenants for employers, TUPE issues, discrimination claims or contractual issues and compromise agreements, we offer full guidance and assistance.

Advising employees on day-to-day matters arising from the course of employment, CBL offer help with stressful and unsettling issues such as redundancy, disciplinary procedures or grievances.

Handling potentially serious problems in terms of both financial and career prospects, we advise employees on service contracts and restrictive covenants and advise on unfair dismissal and termination claims.

Covering everything from severance terms to maternity rights to directors’ dismissal, compensation awards and health and safety issues, Commercial and Business Lawyers can guide you safely through the jungle of employment law.


Get in touch with us

Find us

  • Address: 1 Levens Road Hazel Grove Cheshire SK7 5DL
  • Phone: (+44) 333 1234 344
  • Email:

Contact us