A Supreme Court case and a patent battle against Illumina helped Clyde & Co to become the most active law firm in English courts in 2017, according to The Lawyer’s latest Litigation Tracker figures.

The league tables, revealed in The Lawyer’s Litigation Tracker 2018 report, measure firm activity by the number of cases that reach judgment in 2017. Over the course of the year Clydes worked on 54 cases totalling 131 case days.

Irwin Mitchell ranked second. The firm, which ranked sixth in the annual 2016 court rankings, worked on 43 cases totalling 81 case days.

Clydes has been a permanent feature at the top end of the The Lawyer’s court activity rankings. The firm ranked first in the annual 2016 league table, while over the course of 2017 had an average quarterly ranking of second.

table showing top 10 law firms by number of court cases in 2017, to illustrate top performer Clyde & Co court cases 2017

The firm was most active in the Commercial Court in 2017, advising clients in 16 cases. The firm worked on nine cases in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) and five cases in the Administrative Court and Queen’s Bench Division. The firm also made appearances in the Technology and Construction Court and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The firm’s arbitration co-head and disputes partner Ben Knowles told The Lawyer that litigation funding is going to play an ever-increasing role in the next two to three years and may impact the firm’s cases.

“This is a massive area and is really going to make a significant difference to the way litigation is run in the English courts,” he explained. “It’s not just individuals or small companies now using it but also now big corporates as well.”

Clyde & Co court cases

In its most notable case of 2017, Clydes acted for Globalia Business Travel in the Supreme Court in a case concerning an assessment of damages arising out of the repudiation of a contract by charterers of a cruise ship.

In another case the firm advised research foundation TDL Genetics in 14-day patent dispute in the Patents Court with US biotechnology company Illumina. Clydes also acted for Swiss energy giant Glencore in a claim for the recovery of costs and alleged breach of contract against the owners of a shipping vessel.

Other international clients included Trinidad & Tobago based Guardian Asset Management and the Venezuelan arm of Petrosaudi Oil Services. Clydes also acted for UK based Aspen Insurance and G4S Care and Justice Services.

DAC Beachcroft was third in the rankings (42 cases totalling 88 days), while RPC was fourth (41 cases totalling 98 days). Leigh Day (40 cases totalling 134 days) and Mishcon de Reya (40 cases across 139 days) ranked joint fifth.

Pinsent Masons was seventh (39 cases totalling 98 days) with Herbert Smith Freehills eighth (38 cases totalling 112 case days). Charles Russell Speechlys (32 cases totalling 91 case days) and DLA Piper (32 cases totalling 97 case days) complete the top 10.

These findings are based on The Lawyer’s Litigation Tracker 2018 report, which is now available to purchase.

To enquire about purchasing this report or the Litigation Tracker database please contact Gilberto Esgaio (Gilberto.esgaio@centaurmedia.com, +44 (0) 20 7970 4191) or Letitia Austin (Letitia.austin@centaurmedia.com, +44 (0) 20 7970 4662).