"His commercial practice is underpinned by sound business and tactical knowledge."
Stephen has wide experience of appearing in specialist and general higher courts and tribunals across a range of commercial, property and chancery matters and in advising in litigation and in non-contentious business.
He focuses on ascertaining what both lay and professional clients wish to achieve from involving counsel and then providing them with precise advice and a clear road map towards success. His aim is to provide a user-friendly and approachable service that is flexible to client needs and goals. He believes that a thorough understanding of the evidence and issues at the very earliest opportunity provides the best prospect of useful advice, effective representation, reduced risk and costs and winning tactics.
He is a frequently used accredited mediator and is head of the mediation team at Ropewalk Chambers. His extensive experience as a mediator as well as a mediation advocate equips him well to recognise and to adopt professional routes and techniques that leave his clients satisfied that his input has added substantial value and has put them in a strong position to reach a good outcome.
Stephen believes that having a wide ranging practice gives him the advantage of being able to find insights, analogies and principles in areas outside the obvious ambit of a particular case and that this provides his clients with much better prospects of achieving the outcomes they seek.
He is married to a personal injury QC and they have three adult children.
His interests away from the Bar include creating and performing engaging card magic and collecting antique Colt revolvers.
This is a major element of Stephen’s everyday practice and much of it involves companies, contracts or both.
Stephen has very extensive experience in advising upon and representing parties in company disputes relating to minority interests, commercial confidentiality, warranties and disclosure in share sales, directors’ duties and disqualification and other shareholder/director/creditor/guarantor disputes. These have ranged from small family companies to large “household names”. Recent cases include an appeal to the Court of Appeal upon the relevance of capital assets and liabilities to a multiplier/multiplicand based share valuation in unfairly prejudicial conduct proceedings and Commercial Court proceedings challenging a seven figure award in a professional partnership dispute.
One area in which he has specialised for many years is competition between businesses involving unfair trading practices and breaches of express and implied restraints on directors, officers, employees, partners and other joint venturers as well as covenants given by vendors of businesses.
He has extensive experience of representing finance providers in relation to finance agreements and guarantees and, for example, recently successfully extracted a household name credit company from the PIPS breast implant group litigation without any liability in costs or damages.
Another area of practice has been advising insurers upon issues such as coverage, exclusions, misrepresentation and non-disclosure. This has recently included advising in detail on ATE liability in nationally reported litigation as well as upon insurers’ liability for substantial long tail personal injury claim damages.
Stephen has dealt with very many claims relating to defective goods and services. These have ranged from fires caused by domestic appliances to the responsibility between international parties for the collapse of substantial elements of extensive commercial factory premises.
Stephen also has a great deal of experience in advising and representing parties in complicated and lengthy arbitrations and expert determinations between businesses or professionals. These have often involved applications to the Commercial Court to support or to challenge the awards and conduct of experts or adjudicators.
His commercial work can frequently involve emergency interim applications where documents must be drafted extremely urgently and the material facts and law have to be assimilated and then presented quickly, accurately and convincingly to a Court in a cost-effective and “judge-friendly” manner.
Quite apart from his own need as a professional to keep up-to-date and compliant with this rapidly developing area of law, Stephen has provided both preventative and remedial advice and assistance to other professionals.
Related work has involved defending confiscation claims in criminal courts as well as more general money laundering issues such as disclosure procedures and tipping off offences
Stephen has extensive experience of company insolvency and personal bankruptcy litigation which has involved him acting for or against liquidators, administrators, receivers and trustees.
Very recent cases have involved seeking compensation for improper trading and preferences and company restorations.
Areas within which Stephen is very often called upon to advise and litigate are easements, restrictive covenants and options that may often be crucial to profitable land development. These cases have ranged from disputes between neighbours on boundaries, nuisance and rights of way to issues with or between household name developers and land owners involving large residential sites. He aims to provide insightful, comprehensive and practical advice when either promoting or resisting development proposals.
Another regular area of practice is the protection and enforcement of land contracts and other interests. This has included court and tribunal hearings particularly where difficult land registration issues have arisen.
Recent cases have involved liability for subsidence, fire, flooding and tree root damage.
Stephen is frequently called upon to deal with rights and liabilities under commercial leases. Recent cases have involved enforcement of rent arrears and covenants against and between successors to the original parties.
Stephen has defended and pursued numerous professional duty breach cases involving lawyers, accountants , insurance intermediaries and other non-medical experts.
He finds that even where duty and breach cannot be realistically contested there are frequently difficult issues of causation, remoteness and quantum of damages that provide ample opportunity for his brand of creative and effective argument.
Stephen has had extensive advisory and High Court experience of making and defending claims involving the meaning of testamentary dispositions and issues of testamentary capacity, due execution and undue influence.
“Approachable, reliable and pragmatic.”
Legal 500 2017 – Commercial, banking, insolvency and banking law
“Stephen Beresford attracts widespread praise for his comprehensive commercial, property and chancery practice. He handles an array of matters, such as director and shareholder disputes, construction cases and litigious tax issues, amongst others.” “He is extraordinarily bright, a very good draftsman and a very good man to have in a complex dispute.” “Very experienced, very careful and thorough. He can be a devastatingly effective advocate, and his paperwork is always precise, shrewd and tenacious.”
Chambers & Partner 2016 – Commercial dispute resolution
“Very user-friendly, gets straight to the point and is excellent on his feet.”
Legal 500 2016 – Commercial, banking, insolvency and chancery law
“He’s excellent as he’s very user-friendly, very commercial and speaks a language that clients can understand and appreciate. He’s also very methodical.”
Chambers & Partners 2016 – Commercial dispute resolution
“He is very calm, collected and balanced, and gives advice and opinions in plain English.”
Chambers & Partners 2015 – Commercial dispute resolution
“His commercial practice is underpinned by sound business and tactical knowledge.’
Legal 500 2015 – Commercial, banking and insolvency
“Stephen Beresford has a significant reputation on the Midlands circuit. He is identified as having notable commercial and property expertise.” ‘He is careful and highly effective. He gives very practical, client-focused advice.'”
Chambers & Partners 2014 – Commercial dispute resolution
“Ropewalk Chambers’ Stephen Beresford is an experienced mediator with a strong commercial and insolvency practice.”
Legal 500 2014 – Chancery, commercial, insolvency and banking
“Stephen Beresford at Nottingham’s Ropewalk Chambers wins acclaim for his ‘attention to detail’ and ‘fantastic ability to understand clients’. Contract and commercial property disputes keep this junior busy, though he also has particular expertise in mediation.”
Chambers & Partners – Commercial dispute resolution
“Stephen Beresford has a significant commercial and insolvency practice.”
Legal 500 – Chancery, commercial, insolvency and banking
“At Ropewalk Chambers, Stephen Beresford, who provides ‘clear, crisp and insightful legal advice, which combines technical expertise with commercial awareness’, is a commercial practitioner and regularly sits as a mediator.”
Legal 500 – Chancery, commercial, insolvency and banking
For further information please contact our clerks on:
+44 (0) 115 947 2581
24, The Ropewalk,
Nottingham, NG1 5EF.
Telephone: +44 (0) 115 947 2581
Fax: +44 (0) 115 947 6532
DX: 10060 Nottingham 17
Opening hours: 8:00am to 6:00pm
Out of hours:
Tony Hill – 07850 086097
Alan Odiam – 07771 603929