To contact or appoint John Fordham, call CEDR on +44 (0)207 536 6060 or email email@example.com
"He had a good grasp of the issues and reality-tested the litigation risk well." - Mediation Feedback
A partner at Stephenson Harwood and Head of Commercial Litigation, John has significant mediation experience, both as mediator and party representative.
John was accredited as a mediator by CEDR in 1995 and has been mediating regularly ever since. He also sits as an arbitrator, most recently in a solicitors’ partnership dispute. Representation of clients in mediations also dates back to the 1990's when he represented the defrauded Maxwell pensioners in a series of claims that were settled in mediation.
His mediation experience (mirroring his work as a commercial litigator) is wide-ranging and includes disputes in the corporate, commercial, banking and finance, insurance, IT and insolvency sectors. The subject-matter of his mediations have included shareholder, joint venture and partnership disputes, professional negligence claims, property and construction matters, sale of goods and services, distribution and franchise agreements, software licences and pretty much every other kind of business dispute.
As well as his mediations in all the main commercial centres of the UK, John has acted as mediator in Hong Kong, Paris and the Channel Islands. He has also been mediator in a US Court-ordered ADR.
John's experience both as a litigation solicitor and as a mediator has covered a wide range of commercial disputes.
Banking & Finance
- Claims and cross-claims under an agreement between building society and insurance company arising out of the endowment-linked mortgage scandal.
- Various matters arising under a company sale and purchase agreement: misrepresentation; breach of warranty; deferred consideration.
- Dispute in relation to the management of a major UK port.
- Acting in numerous different claims by customers against their banks.
- Acting for a Middle Eastern investor in respect of a claim against a US investment bank – proceedings instituted – settlement reached after day 1 of trial.
- Acting for a German based HNW individual in a claim against a different US investment bank – claim not yet resolved.
- Acting for one of the parties involved in the publicised allegation of mis-selling by Barclays in relation to its capital raising in 2008.
Employment & Workplace: Dispute between hotel owner and manager under hotel management agreement, each alleging breaches by the other and arguing about repudiation and termination rights.
ICT - Information, Communication & Technology
- Claims and cross-claims under contract for sale of telephone land lines and SIM cards for mobiles.
- Infringement of copyright: manual for mobile phones.
- Claim for payment due under financing agreement in relation to the supply of IT software; cross-claim for failure by supplier to introduce customers.
- Dispute between a software company and client for over £20m related to a software licence with claims of non-performance, breach of confidence and intellectual property rights.
- Claims for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty by liquidators against former directors.
- Claims and cross-claims in respect of income and tax as between partners in a dissolved law firm.
- Misfeasance claim as between liquidator and administrator of a company.
- Claim for breach of contract/bailment in respect of goods in storage affected by water damage; claim under insurance policy.
- Dispute as to scope of "binder" as between underwriter and underwriting agent.
- Allocation of proceeds of fidelity insurance claim between co-insureds.
Partnership & Shareholder
- Claim for further monies from a joint venture vehicle, based on allegations of biased accounting; dispute over value of shares in joint venture vehicle.
- Two Court actions, one requiring transfer of shares, the other for damages for breach of fiduciary duty as directors; cross-claims for breaches by other directors; issues: share valuations; assessment of damages; non-compete covenants; remuneration of directors.
- Issues arising under Partnership Act and partnership agreement following the death of partner in surveyors business.
- Dispute between minority shareholder/director and other shareholders/company including minority oppression claim, unfair dismissal claim and breach of fiduciary duty claim.
- Dispute between shareholders and directors of a joint venture company (NHS related)
- Joint venture dispute in media and entertainment industry.
- Dispute between joint ventures in a property purchase.
- Dispute between advisers (local accountants, City accountants and City solicitors) as to who was responsible for the loss of potential CGT relief.
- Dispute as to responsibility for costs of High Court and Lands Tribunal proceedings; claim by solicitors for fees and cross-claim for negligence.
- Claim for negligence on part of conveyancing solicitor; limitation of action issue.
- Claim for negligence by investor against financial advisor over suitability and diversity, insurance issues.
- Professional negligence claim against "due diligence" accountant.
Sale of Goods & Services
- Claim by assignee of rights under a milk supply contract.
- Dispute over termination of contract for distribution of a well-known brand of beer in Northern Ireland.
- Dispute over sale of a petrochemical product between Japanese and English parties.
- Dispute over the termination by an oil major of a petrol station franchise in Scotland.
- Dispute arising from termination of car dealership
Trusts, Wills & Probate
- Disputed wills (Hong Kong).
- Disputes between beneficiary, former trustees and present trustees under a substantial family settlement (Paris).
- Claim by daughter of deceased under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Warranties: Breach of warranty claims arising from sale of company
- One of the group claims arising out of the Buncefield oil terminal explosion.
- Claim arising from the television call-in programmes scandal.
- Dispute in relation to Home Information Packs (HIPs).
John's most recent experience as an arbitrator (sole arbitrator) is in a solicitor partnership dispute, where he had to make several procedural rulings prior to settlement.
He has been involved in numerous mediations and arbitrations as a party representative. He has been responsible for devising tailor-made ADR techniques, including where the mediator is mandated to make binding or non-binding determination if no consensual settlement is reached.
John is willing to take the lead and believes in the importance of controlling the mediation process – however, the settlement has to be that of the parties and the role of the mediator is facilitative; John has a great deal of experience, in and out of the office, in solving and helping to solve problems.
Feedback – Clients
- "He was prepared to persevere and was supportive throughout."
- "Excellent man for the job."
- "He took a very measured approach to the mediation and I was very impressed."
- "I went in to the mediation day as a sceptic but found it to be extremely helpful, so much was achieved throughout the day."
- "He had a good grasp of the issues and reality-tested the litigation risk well."
- "He was calm and handled the matter and the parties well."
- "He is open and uses down to earth language and humour very effectively. He establishes rapport very well in this way."
- "He was straight-talking and very personable."
- "…dealt with the mediation very smoothly."
- “…heavyweight with a light touch.”
At the end of the recent solicitor partnership arbitration where John was appointed arbitrator, the senior partner of the law firm in which the dispute between partners had arisen, wrote as follows:
"I am writing on behalf of the Firm and myself to thank you for your help in the resolution of the problems which have recently affected us. Your extremely efficient conduct of the procedural and other issues arising in the arbitration proceedings prior to the achievement of a settlement was of very material assistance in the process of reaching a resolution."
Feedback - Directories
"A very safe pair of hands for a range of commercial disputes,” Fordham heads Stephenson Harwood's commercial litigation department and is a part-time, CEDR-registered mediator. He is "personable and solutions-oriented," according to observers.
Chambers & Partners Guide to the Legal Profession
"John Fordham has a growing reputation as a mediator while remaining head of litigation at Stephenson Harwood. He has a natural facilitative style underpinned by ‘shrewd analysis of the facts’ and the ability to pare down obstacles - legal and emotional - to engineer settlements."
The Legal 500
John has been a commercial litigation partner at Stephenson Harwood (where he did his training) since 1979. He became Head of Commercial Litigation in 1995. He has handled a wide range of commercial cases, some of the best known of which are Lonrho v. Fayed in respect of the ownership of Harrods, recovery on behalf of the Maxwell pensioners of misappropriated assets and City of Westminster v. Dame Shirley Porter (for which he and his team won Dispute Resolution Team of the Year in the Legal Business Awards for the successful pursuit of assets).
John also sits as an arbitrator and lectures on mediation and other dispute resolution subjects.
As a partner at Stephenson Harwood, John has been a member of the firm’s partnership council and has run the firm's graduate recruitment. As Head of Commercial Litigation, he sits on the Practice Group Leaders' board.
Updated: November 2018