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Helen Brown

Partner - Commercial Disputes

My experience

I am a partner in the Commercial Disputes team dealing with corporate litigation including:

  • unfair prejudice claims;
  • derivative claims against Directors for breach of fiduciary duty;
  • breach of shareholder agreements;
  • breach of warranty claims following sale;
  • recovering earn out/deferred consideration after sale; and
  • partnership disputes.

In the agricultural land, farm and estates sector, I deal with:

  • reviewing and advising on contract disputes with suppliers or customers;
  • machinery and equipment disputes;
  • partnership disputes; and
  • negligence claims against professional advisors – surveyors, accountants, solicitors, insurers.

Disputes work examples:

I have successfully negotiated the exit of one of two shareholders in a 50/50 company. Other shareholder had disappeared, claiming to be sick, but was using company funds to pay for extravagant foreign trips.

Purchaser of business was delaying in agreeing completion accounts. We worked with the seller’s accountant to force through default Completion Accounts and secured payment of  deferred consideration.

Other commercial work I undertake:

  • Complex contract disputes
  • Professional negligence claims
  • Intellectual property disputes – copyright, passing off and trade mark infringement
  • Defamation
  • Franchise disputes

Professional negligence work examples:

  • Recovering damages for a client of a large accountancy practice which wrongly advised on tax avoidance strategies which resulted in a six-figure tax bill. The case settled at mediation.
  • Settling a claim for a charity against an architect’s practice for negligently overseeing the construction of a large extension.
  • Advising on the liability of an insurance broker who failed to organise adequate insurance cover for a client.

I am happy to consider “no win, no fee” arrangements for suitable cases and can source litigation funding and litigation insurance for appropriate claims.

I have a breadth and  depth of knowledge across different industries. I work as part of the client team to achieve desired outcome.  I am tenacious. I ensure attention to detail.

Protect/Secure/understand. I use experience to gain a crucial advantage in litigation.

In the franchise disputes area, I help mainly franchisees resolve disputes with their franchisor. Often this is in connection with termination of the franchise arrangement, either because one party has broken the terms of the agreement, or the franchisee wants to leave and needs advice on how to achieve this with the best possible outcome. I have dealt with many different business types from hairdressers to fast food outlets to high-tech medical equipment businesses, but a familiarity with the unique key features of franchise agreements is what makes me a specialist in this field.

I am a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association.

Insights from Helen Brown

Farm Partnerships: Agreements and avoiding disputes

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How I’ve helped our clients

A source says "Helen Brown is a sensible litigator", another says "Helen is always ready to grapple with highly complex cases and difficult clients and opponents", whilst a third says "She's hugely energetic, pays great attention to detail and never misses the important points."

Chambers Legal Directory 2024

Referees say "I have found Helen Brown to be excellent, conscientious, available, and patient with me when I’m finding the situation difficult to handle. I genuinely believe she cares about the case and a positive outcome and is proactively fighting my corner" and "Helen Brown is extremely knowledgeable and has a measured approach. Responses are always well researched. Gives a very honest opinion, even if it is one the client does not wish to hear, in an authoritative but friendly way. Very approachable and always willing to help." Another says "Helen Brown is a ‘hands on’ partner who is very dedicated to the client’s case."

Legal 500 2024 Edition

Paris Smith have provided our organisation with legal advice on complex public procurement issues where time has been of the essence, bringing in Barrister support. On each occasion they have provided us with speedy and accurate responses that have enabled us to be successful in our disputes and prevented an escalation in legal costs and time.

Peter O'Driscoll, Director
RingGo Ltd

A referee says "She can understand the commercial realities facing businesses and balance that with the legal pros and cons of the case."

Chambers & Partners 2023 - Referee Comments

One client says "Helen Brown took great care to listen to our case even though it was not ever going to be a large account. She gave us very clear options and worked hard to deflate what could have become a very costly personal dispute between directors. Her advice was always pertinent and thoughtful. Her approach was very reassuring and with no pressure"; and another source states "Helen Brown – calm, assured, sensible, cogent individual with an appreciation of the commercial realities of the situation. Very strong technically."

Legal 500 2023 - Referee Comments

This is the best possible news! Thanks so much to both you and Helen for your expertise and wisdom in guiding this to such a successful outcome. Your steady hand and persistence paid off in the end.

Barry Varcoe

Helen Brown and Crispin Dick have shown their mettle in various aspects of our firm's growth. They have provided solid legal advice that comes with a wealth of experience and professionalism. Very impressed. This is a professional practice that can be proud of its members and proud of the service they deliver.

Martin L de Beer, Director - Route Geographic Consultants Ltd
Route Geographic Consultants Ltd

I have found you to be competent, professional and excellent in my dealing with this bully.

Contract Dispute