Year of Call: 1982
Commercial litigation, including:
Sale and carriage of Goods
Commercial and construction arbitrations
Warranty claims in business and share sales
Computer software defects claims
Pre-emptive and restraint injunctions, including Freezing Injunctions, Search Orders, interim orders to enforce restrictive covenants etc.
Company and Insolvency
Disqualification of directors
Neil has acted for a large number of major plc clients in the distribution, automotive, gaming, construction, travel, telecommunications and IT industries in substantial commercial disputes. He also has advised and acted in many substantial shareholder disputes, and other important company and insolvency matters.
He is regularly instructed in claims by and against directors and employees in claims involving fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, post termination covenants and confidential information.
He also has also advised and represented numerous solicitors and other professionals in partnership and LLP disputes.
Neil appears regularly in the specialist business divisions of the High Court in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham and Chester (Mercantile, TCC and Chancery), as well as in the High Court in London and the Court of Appeal.
Neil has also advised defendants in high level issues arising out of credit hire claims, and appeared in test cases.
Neil will accept instructions directly under the public access scheme. He also undertakes pro bono work.
Significant cases include:
Smithv Butler and Contact Holdings Ltd (LTL 2/9/2011) Powers of board to suspend majorityshareholder / chairman. Authority of managing director. Order under s.306 CA2006 for member's meeting to be held against wishes of other directors, and towaive quorum requirement.
WesternLogs Ltd and another v Viance Ltd and CSI Wood Protection Ltd (2011) TCC claimfor substantial damages arising out of the supply of wood preservative andinvolving detailed technical evidence.
Meridian Business Support v Jared and Kennedy (2010) Enforcement of restrictive covenants against former employees setting up rival recruitment business
Hawksford Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Botterill (2010) Refusal of interim injunction to restrain exercise of "gatekeeper" provision under share sale agreement
Pirtek (UK) Ltd v Joinplace Ltd (2010) Enforcement of restrictive covenants against former franchisees raising defences under competition law.
Computer Software Group Ltd v Sanderson (2009) Share sale agreement. Indemnity for claims arising out of alleged mis-selling of Microsoft OEM licences.
Murray Vernon Holdings Ltd v Hassall (2010) Duties of director selling his shares to company. Liability of co-directors.
Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police v Wigan Athletic AFC plc  1WLR 1580 Trial and appeal on obligation of football clubs to pay for special policing services under s.25 of the Police Act 1996. Impact of competition law on obligations of police to football clubs. Limits of quantum meruit.
Shaw v API Group plc and Ferguson (2010) Claim by unsuccessful bidder for damages arising out of alleged misuse of confidential information and other economic torts in relation to a company sale.
Steadman v TNT Express Ltd (2008) Applying the avoidable loss rule in mitigation to credit hire claims.
DDT Trucks of North America Ltd v DDT Holdings Ltd (2007) Arbitration under AAA rules, involving issues of corporate identity, fraud and construction of international supply agreement, and an appeal to the Commercial Court.
Chattan Developments Ltd v Reigill Civil Engineering Contractors Ltd  EWHC 306 Appeal under s.69 of the Arbitration Act 1996 upholding arbitrator's finding that an agreement to delete clause 24 from JCT80 excluded both LADs and unliquidated damages
Promar International Ltd v Clarke  EWCA Civ 332 correct orders for costs following compromise at trial where costs not agreed
Salford City Council v Torkington  EWCA Civ 1646 correct approach to the measurement of damages for loss of profit in loss of business claims
Re Bhullar Bros Limited  BCC 711, BCLC 241 (CA) fiduciary duties of directors
Chambers UK 2013
“...splits his time between shareholder disputes, other commercial matters and chancery issues.”
"...is highly effective," "intellectually brilliant" and someone who provides "silk-like quality and dependability.”
“...regularly acts against silks in the Northern business courts. Clients like him as "he's a determined man who doesn't panic. If he takes a point he can be relentless with it." Observers say: "He's good because he offers clear, cogent and practical advice."
“...is described as a "strong advocate" by peers who note that he is well regarded in the insolvency area.”
Chambers UK 2012
"...is very good with clients in conference.", "very strong on paper" and "excellent in court."
"a great style and ability to grasp all the important details.
"....is "always ready to take on achallenge"
"...is "a great advocate who takes a mature approach"
Chambers UK 2011
"...is easily one of the most able and experience juniors on the circuit.."
"...considers carefully all the possibilities on offer before providing an answer."
Chambers UK 2010
"...immensely skilled orator" is a "commanding trial lawyer" and a first choice for leading solicitors - "he will reach the very top in years to come,"
"...an incisive legal brain and unwavering authority in court."
"...very able intellectually and excellent in court."
Chambers UK 2009
"...first choice junior" for many solicitors as he "has a good grasp of his cases, is succint in his submissions and has a relaxed style in court." He also "seems to have a winning streak:" he acted successfully in a two-week trial regarding a £500 million breach of warranty claim.
"...Creative yet practical" in applying his "great wealth of knowledge " to partnership law, he is "able to recognise and remove the emotional element" intrinsic to sensitive partnership disputes
"...He is terrifically astute and employs his great intellect and logical mind to good effect."
"...Very good and able Senior Junior"
Chambers UK 2008
Neil Berragan leads the way, and "he's very succinct as an advocate" " Whereas some barristers over elaborate, he sticks to the main points and develops them intelligently." "A well-liked practitioner with bucket loads of common sense"
He consistently delivers "cogent and quick advice." His "combative" style and "gravitas in court" make him "a super senior junior that you can use on the biggest cases."
Previous comments in Chambers directory include:
"...a measured advocate whose rapier like cross examinations have done for a lot of opponents"
"...admired for his excellent advice and strong advocacy"
"...polished advocacy - commercial and user-friendly - he gets involved and is not afraid to roll his sleeves up" "good on his feet"
Legal 500 2012
"Recommended for commercial dispute resolution"
Legal 500 2011
'a silk in the making'
Legal 500 2010
"widely experienced in high-value commercial disputes"
Legal 500 2009
"a veteran of numerous high-value commercial disputes"
Legal 500 2008
"a 'tough nut', excellent in court where there's a real scrap"
Legal 500 2007
"a first-class chancery lawyer with a large following"
Other comments in Legal 500:
"Clients rate Neil Berragan highly"
Recommended "for commercial litigation across the board"
Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association
Northern Chancery Bar Association
Chancery Bar Association
Professional Negligence Bar Association
Bar Pro Bono panel
Northern and North Eastern Circuits
Career & Education:
University: Oxford (Pembroke College)
Degree: M.A. Jurisprudence
Year of Call: 1982 (Grays Inn) (Holt Award); Ad ejundem member of Lincolns Inn
Joined Chambers: 2001