Dispute Resolution Team shortlisted for Legal Award

The Dispute Resolution Team has been shortlisted' at the Yorkshire Legal Awards, in recognition of best practice in a complex and long running case. The submission focussed on a construction litigation case, which demonstrated the human face of law and the important role litigation has to play in protecting individuals.

The case was one of the biggest litigation cases heard in the TCC last year, Rendlesham Estates Plc and others v Barr Limited [2014] EWHC 3968 (TCC). Walker Morris acted for 96 clients, who were owners of apartments in a development in Leeds. Claims were brought against the main contractor, under the Defective Premises Act 1972 (the DPA) and against solicitors for a failure to warn that no Zurich Guarantee existed for the common parts.

The Team worked tirelessly to achieve justice for the clients and after a successful trial, the matter concluded in 2015.

Martin Scott, Head of Construction & Engineering said

“This was a landmark case in many respects and I am delighted that the team has been recognised and shortlisted for this award.”

The award ceremony takes place on 22 October in Leeds.

Corporate Lawyers advise on Metrawatt acquisition of Seaward

Specialist lawyers at Walker Morris have advised Nuremburg-headquartered Metrawatt International GmbH on the purchase of UK electrical safety testing specialist, Seaward. Seaward will now become part of the GMC Instrumentation Division, a group of separate specialist test and measurement manufacturing businesses based in Germany, Switzerland and the USA with a global international sales network.

The County Durham-based Seaward Group is a highly successful manufacturer of electronic test and measurement instruments used in the appliance testing, bio medical, renewable energy, electronics manufacturing and utility markets. Under the terms of the deal, the Seaward Group name and its brands will remain intact and manufacturing will continue at the company’s operation in County Durham.

Corporate partner Debbie Jackson supported by Tom Mieszkowski led the team of specialist lawyers at Walker Morris.

Debbie Jackson said:

This deal provides Metrawatt with a valuable addition to its global resources with a very good synergy between both operations. This latest transaction reinforces our strong track record in international corporate transactions.”

Walker Morris advises Seabrook on Management Buyout

Specialist lawyers at Walker Morris have advised Seabrook Crisps, the iconic Yorkshire crisp brand, on a management buyout which sees the business embark on a major growth drive to increase market share.

Seabrook Crisps is a well-established heritage business based in Bradford, Yorkshire which supplies over 20 million bags of crisps each month and employs nearly 150 staff.

The management buyout has been led by Chief Executive Jonathan Bye and a management team (Kevin Butterworth, Marketing Director, Daniel Woodwards, Chief Operating Officer and Jon Wood, Commercial Director) which has overseen the strong growth of the Seabrook brand since his appointment in 2012. The transaction will see a full exit by owner Ken Brook-Chrispin, who led a buyout of other family shareholders in 2006.

The investment from LDC, which has taken the majority equity stake in the business, will support Seabrook as it looks to invest in its manufacturing infrastructure, new product development and the brand so as to realise its full potential.

Jonathan Bye commented:

“LDC’s support for the MBO of Seabrook Crisps is great news and will help us to not only deliver but accelerate our growth plan. It will enable us to invest both in our operations to drive further efficiencies and flexibility and to increase marketing investment to continue to build the brand’s national profile."

Corporate partners Richard Naish and Debbie Jackson led the team of specialist lawyers at Walker Morris.

Richard Naish, who also heads the Food & Drink Team at Walker Morris, commented:

“Seabrook Crisps is a great brand with a strong heritage.  The business has enjoyed significant recent success through product development and the launch of new ranges and this LDC backed MBO will no doubt mark the start of an exciting new chapter.  It has been a great deal to work on and we are delighted to have been involved.”

Debbie Jackson said:

“With a strong Yorkshire brand and an all Yorkshire advisory team, the deal is testament to the experience and expertise of the professional services sector within the region.  The deal also reinforces Walker Morris’ reputation in the food and drink sector and follows our recent work for Karro Food Group advising on a £74 million funding package.”

Walker Morris advises on Avacta’s share placing to raise £22 million

Specialist lawyers at Walker Morris have advised Avacta Group plc, the global provider of proprietary diagnostic tools, consumables and reagents for life sciences, on a placing to raise gross proceeds of £22 million.

Avacta will raise the funds by way of a placing of new Ordinary Shares with both new and existing institutions shareholders at a price of 1.25 pence per Ordinary Share.

Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta, commented:

"We have made excellent progress in demonstrating the potential of the Affimer technology as a bio-therapeutic platform to rival antibodies. We believe our proprietary Affimer technology has significant competitive advantages that address the limitations of antibodies and other non-antibody protein scaffolds which suggests that they have the potential to become a leading alternative bio-therapeutic platform. This fundraising will allow us to resource the development of Affimers as therapeutics, in addition to the ongoing development and commercialisation of Affimers as research reagents, and we thank our existing investors for their continuing support and welcome a number of new investors."

Richard Naish and Shubhu Patil, both from the Corporate Department at Walker Morris provided legal advice to Avacta.

Richard Naish, Corporate Partner commented:

“Avacta is a long-standing client of Walker Morris and we’ve worked with them on a number of key developments over the years, including on equity fundraising, M&A and other matters.  This fundraising will provide investment for infrastructure and in-house development programmes as part of its strategy, amongst other things, to develop a pipeline of Affimer assets.”

“The Placing is the fifth public market transaction we have advised on in three months and is further demonstration of our specialist expertise in this area.”

Walker Morris enhances real estate with senior lateral hire

Ian Errington to join Walker Morris Real Estate Group

Ian Errington will join the Real Estate Group at Walker Morris LLP after 18 years at another Leeds firm. 

Ian is an experienced and highly respected lawyer who has unique experience in dealing with new build supermarket developments, the sale and purchase of trading supermarkets and developments of mixed use retail-led developments. 

Ian also has extensive experience in dealing with the purchase of new build housing developments, high value residential properties and agricultural businesses and land.  He specialises in advising on planning conditional contracts, options and similar agreements and focuses on giving targeted commercial advice moulded to his clients’ needs rather than simply transacting.

Jeremy Moore a partner in the Group said:
"That Ian has chosen to join us is hugely exciting and a testament to our strong strategic direction in the Real Estate Group.  Ian’s experience as a market-leading individual will add a great deal to our client offering, helping to maintain our position as a leader in real estate and further enhancing our brand."