Commercial and Business Lawyers has operated for 30 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.
With an MA in law from Cambridge and a distinction in commercial law Brian Drewitt joined Hedleys, a City of London law 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 Hedleys managing partner.
Joining Slaughter and 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 banking and finance, property, building and construction.
After returning to the UK in 1989, Brian joined a Manchester firm, before establishing his own practice in 1990. His case list still includes complex and substantial dispute resolution and litigation cases. He now advises businesses across the whole spectrum of commercial legal matters and business projects and can assist businesses with commercial contracts and property transactions, business sales and company and corporate advice. With his great experience he is well placed to give strategic advice to both large and small businesses in respect of both contentious and non-contentious matters, enabling them to deal with future legal problems as and when they arise.
Qualified as an Associate and then a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, commercial lawyer Brian was, for a time the Chairman of the North West branch. He was also a founder of the Northern Arbitration Association and was its chairman for many years.
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 Practice Manager for Commercial and Business Lawyers for the past twenty years.
Kate qualified as a solicitor with a general practice in Stockport and Bramhall in 1987 before joining the Crown Prosecution Service in Greater Manchester. Kate worked on some very high-profile cases as a Crown Prosecutor and, after qualifying as a Crown Advocate, rose to 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 and can advise on tax, benefits and VAT fraud, bribery, false accounting, money laundering and forgery. An instinctive litigator, Kate’s commercial caseload is varied and has included disputes between shareholders, sale of goods claims, commercial contracts, building and construction and property disputes.
She also handles property matters, including the purchase, sale and leasing of commercial property, and the transfer of businesses either as going concerns or as asset sales.
Kate recognises how expensive legal services have become for ordinary people and volunteers as the Chair of Citizens Advice Cheshire North which is currently facing many challenges exacerbated by recent restraints on legal aid spending.
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 OFFERS TECHNICAL EXPERTISE AND PROVEN BUSINESS EXPERIENCE
Ruth has a wealth of experience of advising on business and commercial law, intellectual property and data protection.
She has the benefit of having worked as a commercial lawyer with high profile law firms and as an in-house legal adviser to a leading software PLC.
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.
Ruth has particular expertise in software development law and intellectual property issues, including commercial exploitation and licensing.
Ruth is also experienced in advising clients on data protection compliance including responding to data security breaches and subject access requests.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PROTECTING BUSINESS AND ENSURING STABILITY THROUGH COMPANY LAW
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.
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.
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.
GUIDING BUSINESSES THROUGH THE PITFALLS OF COMMERCIAL CONTRACT LAW
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.
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.
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.
AVOIDING LITIGATION PROBLEMS THROUGH NEGOTIATION ARBITRATION AND 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.
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, the Business and Property Court, the Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court, and the Technology and Construction Court, and before arbitrators and arbitration tribunals in this country and abroad.
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.
A TAILORED SERVICE THAT COVERS EVERY ASPECT OF 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.
ENSURING PROTECTION IN THE WORLD OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW
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.
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.
HELPING CLIENTS TO OVERCOME THE MANY PITFALLS OF INTERNATIONAL TRADING
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.
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.
GUIDANCE AND ASSISTANCE IN THE EVER CHANGING WORLD OF 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.
The Electronic Communications Code has granted wide powers to electronic communications operators of mobile telephone and broadband networks authorised by Ofcom to install apparatus, which includes masts, cables and cabinets on, under and over land and buildings.
Code rights can be granted by written agreement but also imposed by court order. A Code agreement binds successors in title to the occupier’s interest, and it is essential that anybody making such agreement has a clear understanding of its long term consequences and effect.
This is a very specialised area, and we act for landowners, landlords and housing associations in negotiating agreements and leases for these installations.
You can give your business the edge if you can demonstrate to customers that you can be trusted to look after the personal data and that you treat it with respect.
The data protection landscape has changed, and it is now more important than ever to demonstrate compliance with the law.
We can help you to navigate your way through GDPR and current UK data protection laws and ensure compliance in a practical no-nonsense way.
Data Security breaches can be seriously damaging both financially and reputationally. We can help you minimise risk and deal with the process of reporting breaches if they happen. We also advise on drafting policies, GDPR-compliant contracts and responding to subject access requests.
Resolving problems by negotiation to avoid the costs, stress and disruption of going to court, we work to prevent disputes before they develop and to minimise their effects if they do.
Offering blue chip advice and support at a price you can afford, our commercial lawyers operate within a competitive cost framework and with modest overheads to keep fees lower.
CBL have advised clients in large-scale property development, building and construction, internet trading, 3G telephones, software development, consultancy, manufacturing and business & professional services.
Backed by many years collective experience, our commercial lawyers are proven experts in favourably resolving contentious issues for a wide range of clients across commerce and industry.
A complete service
Helping you to develop your business, dealing with legal transactions and providing informed guidance, we handle all the usual problems encountered by small to medium –sized enterprises.
What you see is what you get – we do not employ legions of unqualified back office staff to do the work for us. Your work will be undertaken by a professional every time.