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Philippa Dempster

Philippa Dempster

Senior Partner & Managing Partner - London Office

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‘Philippa Dempster – a leader in her field, and a great communicator who provides a range of solutions from a commercial angle.’
(The Legal 500, 2024)

Philippa is regarded as a leader in the field of Dispute Resolution. Her experience is wide ranging and covers the UK as well as International Disputes. Her practice includes defamation and data claims.

She has a Masters Degree in Advanced Litigation and is a trained ADR mediator. Philippa was recently selected by her peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in England 2020 for Litigation law. She also won the prized accolade “Hot 100 Lawyer” in The Lawyer, Hot 100 list 2017 which recognises the best lawyers in the UK.

Philippa is listed as a Recommended Lawyer in The Legal 500 (2024 edition).

Philippa has also been named Law Firm Leader of the Year at the Women, Influence, Power and Law Awards 2023.

Legal Services

Commercial Contracts

Advising on a wide range of commercial contracts including designing ‘plug and play’ agreements for procurement and sales teams.

Training Board directives, executives, sales and complaints handing teams to understand and better use and enforce agreements. In addition advising on how to extricate oneself from contracts.

Her particular sector specialisms include Logistics, Retail & Leisure, Printing, Gaming, Manufacturing, Food, Marketing and PR.

Recent Work

  • Advising on a wide variety of contracts including, energy, IT, outsourcing, plant and materials, hire, PR, cleaning, stationery and office supplies, PR and Marketing, print and packaging, Apps, ecommerce, franchise, warehousing and logistics, waste management, gaming equipment and bet in play TV etc.
  • Contract for the Official Training Camp Headquarters for Team GB in the run up to the Olympics.
  • Warehousing and Logistics Contract for kitchen retailer – warehouse the size of 5 football pitches (one of the largest deals ever).
  • Purchase of all plant and equipment for new state of the art printing factory from international and UK based suppliers.
  • Outsourcing contract for Major UK bank for financial printing, data management and ancillary services.
  • Contract for Bet in Play TV.

Dispute Resolution

Philippa has 25 years’ experience in resolving disputes through a variety of methods including Mediation, Negotiation, International Arbitration, Expert Determination, Court Proceedings in the UK and Internationally, and in certain areas using Ombudsman or recognised Industry Dispute Resolution bodies.

Strategy always plays a key part in successfully resolving disputes.


Recent Work

  • Corporate disputes including Shareholder disputes, Claims against Directors, Misfeasance, Unfair prejudice/fraud.
  • Warranty claims following acquisition/sale of a business, whether by way of expert determination, arbitration or court proceedings.
  • Director’s disqualification claims including obtaining leave for the director to continue to act as a director.
  • Claims against Managing Directors and Sales Directors/teams joining competitors taking key customers’, customer lists and confidential information, including search and seize orders and injunctions.
  • Professional negligence claims against contractors and professional advisers following construction of housing developments, e.g. due to subsidence, build issues, ground works, lack of adequate remediation requirements for contaminated land.
  • Claims against suppliers of goods and services for failure to deliver on time, not to specification or of the right quality/fit for purpose e.g. fire engines and specialist vehicles, IT equipment and point of sale equipment, gaming equipment, garments, hand held terminals for the Congestion Charge, and printed material.
  • Disputes with carrier companies, logistics suppliers on invoicing irregularities.
  • Fraud, data theft, bribery, unlawful commissions claims against employees and suppliers.
  • Successfully defended Eddie Stobart in a claim from a newly established drivers agency claiming that a verbal exclusive contract had been concluded.
  • Successfully brought a claim by International printer, Polestar UK Print Limited against its customer regarding payment for the printing of the Irish Census.
  • Successfully defended Eurobet UK Ltd in a claim in the High Court for £650k, made by an on-line Italian gambler. The large win by this gambler was the result of a software ‘bug’. The case, which was widely reported in both the national and international media, made The Telegraph’s Top 10 biggest computer failure cases that year.
Risk Management
  • Training with account executives and sales teams on the importance of contractual terms and how to use them.
  • Training to customer services team on how to handle disputes and difficult conversations.
  • Implementation of Customer Charter and consumer law training to customer services and call centre teams to reduce expenditure on claims.
  • Board training on contractual terms and compliance areas such as bribery and Modern Slavery Act.

International Litigation, Mediation & ADR

Philippa has a varied and complex International and domestic arbitration practice including International Chamber of  Commerce and the London Court of International Arbitration.

She acts on a range of commercial and inter company disputes, often with an international element.

Recent Work

  • Acting for UK business which supplied ink to a Mauritian company. The dispute concerned supply and quality issues with the seat of the arbitration being in Greece.
  • Acting for Irish company in a claim in the energy sector involving a Nigerian Claimant. The seat of the arbitration was London.
  • Advising an international retail company on their international dispute with an American headquartered business regarding international sales.
  • Advising on contractual dispute with payment in bitcoin. The seat of the arbitration was London.
  • Advising UK based business on agency disputes arising in various International countries.
  • Acting for Maltese gaming business in disputes with various UK domiciles.



Public Sector

25 years’ experience in resolving disputes through a variety of methods including Mediation, Negotiation, International Arbitration, Expert Determination, Court Proceedings in the UK and Internationally and in certain areas using Ombudsman or recognised Industry Dispute Resolution bodies.

Strategy always plays a key part in successfully resolving disputes.


  • Dispute for local authority concerning waste disposal site in a disused coalfield. Issues around interpretation, frustration, and risk when legislation changed.
  • Planning enforcement for local authority, regarding a garage used illegally to house immigrant workers.
  • Supplier disputes e.g. IT contract disputes; systems not to specification, delayed and implementation issues, miscounting/fraud claims against suppliers falsifying time records.
  • Exclusion injunctions in favour of council offices and schools under Harassment legislation.
  • Judicial Review cases, for example, on closures of schools and planning enforcement claims.
  • Enforcing terms of Section 106 Agreements.
  • Variety of claims for universities regarding supplier contracts and procurement advice of a variety of services.


Philippa is both a poacher and a gamekeeper, as she advises and assists both in the UK and internationally on the establishment or acquisition of franchises, and where relationship’s break down on dispute resolution. Working for both sides on different transactions gives her a unique insight and a deep understanding of the commercial drivers.

Philippa is also experienced in working with large and small businesses to prevent disputes from happening and to minimise liability where disputes do arise.



  • Setting up a network of national and international franchises for leading retail, leisure and restaurant businesses, including in Europe, Arab Emirates, Baltics, Asia, America and South America.
  • Advising franchisees wishing to purchase individual or multiple franchises.
  • Taking a retail fashion brand international, setting up franchises in Europe, Arab Emirates, Scandinavia, South America, America, Canada.
  • Setting up a UK wide franchises for retailers, YoYo noodle, Indian urban street food, gym, child play, children parties.
  • Advising on termination or enforcement of obligations in franchise agreements and on enforcement of restrictive covenants, stepping in and taking over franchises, enforcement of guarantees etc. Here Philippa has acted on both sides.
  • Defending franchisees from heavy handed franchisors.
  • Advising franchisees in groups or as individuals on complaints against franchisors where business has not been as represented or franchisors are not supporting franchisees sufficiently (including group action against a well-known franchisor).
  • Speaking at and being on the panel of advisors at BFA franchise conferences.
  • Advising on leisure franchises including, hotel, restaurants, and gyms.
  • Acting for BHS on various claims against international franchisees.
  • Franchise reviews – from dog walking to Burger King.
  • Acting for an international retailer following a shop fit out against the contractor as the open display fridges were not able to keep to temperature causing loss of sales and damage to product.
  • Acting for retailer in a claim of fraud against a courier company for deliberately overstating invoices.
  • Acting for suppliers enforcing ROT claims against Retailers (eg Debenhams Insolvency and BHS).
  • Advising on a variety of customer complaints from discrimination, data, breach of contract, food poisoning etc.
  • Advising on termination of commercial agency and distribution contracts for international fashion and sportswear brands.



Related News & Articles [ 38 ]

To contact Philippa or for more information…

Call: 0207 440 5841
Mobile: 0776 889 4614
Or email: Send an email



“Philippa Dempster assisted me with a difficult and sensitive potential litigation case. From the outset I trusted her approach and her ability to get to the crux of a matter and understand the complexities of the case was impressive. Her advice was considered, succinct and refreshingly to the point. The matter was concluded swiftly and successfully – I would have no hesitation in recommending her.”

(Phil Daniels, Director FHP Property Consultants)

“I have known Philippa both as a fellow lawyer and as a client now for some time. Philippa has always provided exceptional strategic advice especially when dealing with high value and complex cases. Philippa unquestionably has a natural strategic and entrepreneurial approach which is always demonstrated and visible when she is advising her clients; and her ability to put forward commercial solutions and have a think ‘outside the box’ style across industry sectors makes her distinctive as well as business savvy amongst most lawyers I know. Philippa’s contribution never goes unnoticed and is always key and significant to anything (and everything) she is involved in – it’s always exciting working with Philippa to see what she will next ‘bring to the table’!”

(Sharn Birk, General Counsel Xanadu Consultancy Limited & Matchbook)

“In my role as General Counsel of the Gala Coral Group I have worked closely with Philippa Dempster and her team at Freeths. We have used Philippa on a wide range of complex commercial agreements including very complicated agreements for provisions of services and products and I have always found Philippa to be a perfect lawyer – ready to work as necessary, respond quickly, (including whilst on holiday), be proactive, be prepared to challenge if she thinks appropriate and advise clearly and with solid and commercial recommendations. We have also had one of Philippa’s team on secondment with us and this has been a great success and a huge support to both me and my team of commercial lawyers in house. I would have no hesitation in recommending Philippa or Freeths – we use other lawyers for different things but Freeths are a key supplier to us.”

(Harry Willits, Group General Counsel, Gala Coral Group Limited)

“I have worked with Philippa and her team on numerous occasions covering commercial ,trademark and business contracts all within the retail sector Philippa has a unique ability to communicate with real clarity and sensitivity ensuring excellence of service on all issues .She is a very experienced and an exceptionally good commercial lawyer and operates with true professionalism at every stage.”

(Jo Newton, Owner, Newton Network)

“Philippa Dempster has shown an incredible grasp of not just the legal complexity of the case she led, but also the commercial sensitivities, and has been a great sounding board for ideas and thinking through issues.”

(Mike Collier, Capita Divisional Commercial & Legal Director)

“…because of strength over virtually the whole range of Local Authority legal functions; child care being the only major area not included in the tendered work. They have not disappointed either in terms of the work they have done for Derby under this framework agreement or in the wider role they have played with the three other partner firms in delivering ‘added value’ to consortium members.”

(Stuart Leslie, Head of Legal for Derby City Council and EM Lawshare Steering Group member)

“Solicitors fall into two categories – those who tell you what they are going to do and those who work with you to determine the optimum course of action. Philippa Dempster and her team definitely fall into the latter category.”

(The Legal 500, 2022)

“Philippa Dempster is open to out-of-the-box approaches to issues proposed by a lay client. But, most importantly, she gets results!”

(The Legal 500, 2022)

“Philippa Dempster is approachable and has a razor-sharp intellect; she is also always available, and never in any doubt that I am the client and they are the professional adviser.”

(The Legal 500, 2022)

“Philippa Dempster is an exemplary lawyer. Her combination of knowledge, instinct and empathy made her my ideal partner as we navigated a complex case to a very satisfactory conclusion. It felt as if whenever I had a burning need to discuss something she made herself available in short order.”

(The Legal 500, 2020)

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our values


Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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