Melanie Hart


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I am a Partner in the Dispute Resolution department. I qualified as a Solicitor in 2006 and as a Solicitor Advocate in 2008. I trained at a City firm before moving to Harbottle & Lewis as an Associate in 2008. I have 12 years post qualification experience, and joined Gordon Dadds as a Partner in 2018.

I advise on a broad range of corporate, commercial and individual disputes. I represent my clients in litigation, arbitration and mediation. Much of my work is involved in ‘dispute avoidance’ and developing risk management solutions in order to identify and mitigate risk at an early stage. I am known for giving highly commercial and practical advice which always focuses on my client’s key objectives, be they commercial, financial or reputational.

I have experience advising clients in claims involving contractual disputes, intellectual property rights, insolvency (company and individual), contentious data protection, shareholder and board disputes, claims under the Commercial Agents Regulations, professional negligence, fraud, contentious trusts and probate, enforcement and coroners’ inquests/public inquiries.

I also advise clients regarding corporate and personal reputation management issues including in relation to privacy, defamation and breach of confidence.

I have considerable experience acting in cross-border litigation and have been involved in global disputes involving clients or litigation in the Middle East, USA, Cayman Islands and Europe.

Outside of work I enjoy rugby, theatre, good food and great wine. I am also appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice as a Lay Observer to monitor the welfare and access to justice of persons in court custody.

LLB, Law with Legal Studies in Europe

What is your most interesting legal experience?

Acting for one of the participants in the Inquest/Inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko (the former KGB officer killed by Polonium poisoning). The evidence heard by the Coroner/Inquiry Chairman was both complex and fascinating.

What is your favourite aspect of work?

Meeting a diverse range of clients and getting to understand what makes them or their business tick. Being a litigator, I am often dealing with clients during a stressful time in their lives and I enjoy being able to find solutions to tricky problems.

What is your best legal anecdote?

I once received a letter in which an opposing solicitor wrote “you are trying to make our client an escaped goat”! I still have the letter.

What would your best words of advice be?

The best advice ever given to me was by my first boss – “Never assume anything, investigate everything”. It has stood me in good stead throughout my career as a litigator.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP, Associate/Senior Associate

Devonshires Solicitors, Trainee/Associate

College of Law, London

University of Reading/Universität Trier (Germany)

The Law Society, Civil Justice Committee member

Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates (SAHCA)

Associations of Women’s Solicitors (AWS)

Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) of the IWF UK (International Women’s Forum)

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7759 1374


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