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Chambers & Partners 2014

Chambers & Partners ranked Wilberforce Chambers as a leading set for:

Individually ranked for:

Leading Set

There are few certainties in life; death, taxes and complaints about legal fees being perhaps the few that one can count upon. Many repine about the cost of going to law, but Wilberforce Chambers has done very well indeed in ensuring that those that instruct it have few grumbles.

A significant number of solicitors described the set as being that rarest of things –“complete value for money.” The set’s fees are not low, but it has created a framework whereby it can provide a first-class service that people are happy to pay for.

As one instructing solicitor noted, “it is an excellent set of chambers whose quality of advice and service is reflected, quite properly, in its fees. It’s not cheap, but we find it is worth every single last penny.”

Members here take a “modern and practical approach,” and are noted for their commercial awareness. One solicitor said: “The reason we pick them over other chambers is because of the commercial edge they bring to everything they do.”

Chancery Traditional

Band 1

A powerhouse at the London Bar, and a set that is a dominating presence across the most high-profile trust and estate disputes, both in the UK and further afield.

Collectively, the chancery team has a heavy focus on pensions and trust work, but all manner of traditional chancery cases are handled.

The barristers, both at silk and junior level, are noted for being highly intellectual in their approach to cases.

Client service: “Their availability and turnaround times are good and they offer a good level of service. Members of the set are extremely competent, a breath of fresh air to deal with and a valued part of any litigation team.” “The set is very well organised. Their clerks, are very commercially minded and we trust their recommendations.”

SILKS

Brian Green QC
A doyen of the trusts and tax world, who is a “class act” and well regarded both in the UK and overseas. He is known for his calm approach to particularly complex matters and his ability to grasp salient points quickly.

Expertise: He is said to be “commercial, incisive, assertive and always the cleverest in the room: an exceptional asset to have on any case.” “Highly approachable, he’s a measured but brilliant advocate.”

Robert Ham QC
His reputation for handling complex domestic and offshore trusts precedes him, and his practice is both advisory and litigious in nature. Pensions and tax expertise are particular strengths for him.

Expertise: Commentators state that he is “appreciated particularly for his calm, authoritative approach and the workable solutions which he invariably finds when handling complex issues.”

Recent work: He has worked across multiple jurisdictions on the high-profile Sir Jack Hayward trust dispute, resisting attempts by the Hayward family for them to be reinstated as beneficiaries of the trust.

Michael Furness QC
Focuses his practice on tax and trust disputes, with related professional negligence claims featuring heavily in his caseload. He frequently appears in cases in Hong Kong, Cayman and Bermuda, amongst other international jurisdictions.


Expertise: He provides “excellent insight and is able to define difficult intellectual points in a client-friendly form.” He is said to have “a very easy style – he just looks at a complex case and understands it.”

Recent work: He defended the former trustee and life beneficiary of the Martin Montis will trust against a claim brought by the capital beneficiaries alleging various transgressions of fiduciary duty.

John Martin QC
Head of chambers and a notable trial advocate, he continues to impress with his diverse traditional chancery practice. Trusts and property litigation are a strong focus of his.

Expertise: “He is prescient in his advice and has an incredible willingness to be part of the team. He doesn’t pontificate from afar, and provides invaluable analysis.”

JUNIORS

Emily Campbell
Revered for her skills in tax, trust and pensions litigation, she is especially good at complex and highly technical cases. Private wealth and trust litigation in offshore jurisdictions is a prominent feature of her practice.

Expertise: “Emily is a brilliant technician, who is very insightful and responsive. She is able to analyse very complicated facts and distil them with great simplicity. She is also very good with clients, and works very hard.”

Recent work: Active on the Labrouche v Frey litigation, defending a Swiss trustee against a breach of trust claim.

Jonathan Hilliard
A specialist in commercial and private trusts work, he is instructed on a large number of big-ticket cases, both in the UK and overseas. He is accomplished in asset tracing, and handles trust disputes stemming from divorce proceedings.

Expertise: “A strong academic pedigree coupled with an easy manner” make him an attractive proposition. “He’s a top-class junior with brains and people skills in abundance.”

Recent work: Active on the high-profile Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman divorce proceedings, where he handled the substantial offshore trust elements of the litigation. The case is set to be a landmark decision on the court’s ability to vary offshore trusts during the course of divorce cases.

Judith Bryant
An impressive junior who is reputed to be equally adept at both advice and litigation. She specialises in trust and related taxation work, in the context of wills, estates and family provision.


Expertise: “Excellent at complex trust drafting, she brings great technical skill as well as a thorough and practical approach to problem solving.” “She is responsive, clear, effective and reliable.”

Mark Studer
Well versed in property, trusts and professional negligence matters, he has a practice that is international in scope.

Expertise: “He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of trusts and estates,” and “he produces cogent and very well argued skeleton arguments.”

Recent work: Appeared in the Scottish Tax Tribunal in an appeal against an HMRC decision over the tax liability of payments made into employee benefit trusts. He acted for a group of appellants which included Rangers Football Club.

John Child
A seasoned practitioner, who is the first port of call on many a complex trusts and estates dispute, and has a pronounced specialism in property matters.


Expertise: He is deemed to be a highly accomplished draftsman and a compelling advocate.

Andrew Mold
A noteworthy junior, highlighted for his skill in complex trusts work, both on and offshore.

Expertise: “Undoubtedly one of the best junior counsel of his level. He is a delightful mix of technical ability and charm and is a pleasure to work with.”
Recent work: Acted on a dispute arising from the Ackerman v Ackerman & Thornhill litigation. The matter involved an alleged breach of trust against the trustees and administrators of a Gibraltar trust.

Daniel Hochberg
Renowned for his prowess in trust work, he is adept at handling both contentious and non-contentious work in the UK and offshore. He is regularly instructed on trust creation, structuring and litigation.

Expertise: “His analysis of tricky situations is truly exceptional. In a case that we thought we had real problems with, he came up with a legally workable solution.”

Tiffany Scott
A notable junior, whose impressive practice is multi-jurisdictional in nature. Trusts and estates work is the mainstay of her caseload.

Expertise: “She gives straightforward, sensible and clear advice.”


Recent work: She has been involved in litigation relating to the Labrouche v Frey case. The matter concerned a claim against trustees for wrongful distribution of assets and excessive fee-taking.

Chancery Commercial

Band 2

An impressive set for both commercial and traditional chancery matters, it has a team that offers a wide range of skill and expertise at both junior and silk level.

The set has firmly established itself as a strong competitor for all manner of corporate and business disputes.

Client service: “The set is very well organised – any special requirements are met, their senior clerks are very commercially minded and we trust their recommendations.” 
”It is a superb set, full of quality practitioners. The clerks are very customer-focused and provide excellent support. Both lawyers and clerks make a real effort to meet client needs.”

SILKS

Terence Mowschenson QC
A “first-rate” silk, he is renowned for his skill in commercial matters, and has notable expertise in joint venture and partnership disputes, as well as company and finance disputes.

Expertise: “He is a relaxed and effective performer who is at the very top of his game.”


Recent work: He continues to be involved in various complex disputes stemming from the Madoff investment case.

Ian Croxford QC
Frequently instructed by business clients to advise and represent on a wide range of commercial matters, including professional negligence claims and civil fraud cases.

Expertise: “He is a phenomenal advocate who bonds well with all members of the team.”

John Wardell QC
A well-known player, handling major work both at home and in numerous offshore jurisdictions. He is typically instructed on complex commercial disputes, and handles a number of civil fraud cases.

Expertise: “He is a legal architect who shapes the issues in a case and persuades clients to follow his lead. You really would not want to be cross-examined by him.” 
”Wonderful on his feet, he has the courage of his convictions and can persuade you of anything, even if you were originally dead set against it.”

Recent work: Defended NatWest in a claim brought against it relating to a Ponzi scheme operated by one of its customers.

James Ayliffe QC
Boasts a diverse chancery practice which covers company and insolvency cases as well as professional negligence claims and property disputes.

Expertise: One solicitor who instructed him said: “His pleadings and written opinion were extremely well argued and made us rethink our position.”

Recent work: Appeared in HMRC v Ben Nevis, which concerned a high value tax debt owed to the South African tax authorities.

Lawrence Cohen QC
Particularly well regarded for the calibre of his overseas work, he enjoys a reputation as a leading expert on disputes relating to investment funds and the financial sector generally.

Expertise: “He gives extremely good advice and is very capable of organising a team of international lawyers.”

Recent work: Acted in Symrise AG v Baker & McKenzie, which concerned alleged failures by the defendant firm to properly structure high-value Mexican subsidies.

Joanna Smith QC
A highly regarded barrister who tackles a wide array of matters, from professional negligence claims to breach of trust and general commercial disputes.

Expertise: “Her client manner sets her apart; she is very friendly, clear, to the point, straight talking and analytical.”

Recent work: She represented the trustees of the Siemens Benefit Scheme in their claims of professional negligence against their investment managers and advisers.

JUNIORS

Andrew Mold
A much-admired junior, with noted expertise in cases involving breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. He also is an authority on offshore trust disputes.

Expertise: “He is exceedingly bright but very applied in terms of his advice; he is a fantastic communicator and brilliant with clients.”

Recent work: Appeared in Ackerman v Ackerman & Thornhill, a case which has been instrumental in shaping the law on overturning expert determinations.

Nikki Singla
His commercial chancery practice is impressively broad, as evidenced by his expertise in breach of trust and fiduciary duty, partnership disputes and fraud cases.

Expertise: “He is a smooth operator, who has a great understanding of the needs of the client and pitches his advice accordingly.” 
”He is sharp, quick, and gains the respect of both the opposition and the judges.”


Recent work: Active on a large-scale Jersey dispute revolving around a claim for breach of fiduciary duty against a director of a high-profile accounting firm.

Graeme Halkerston
Has vast strength and experience in offshore matters, and routinely handles disputes concerning partnership, commercial trusts and cross-border insolvency.

Expertise: “He is exceptionally switched-on and a very safe pair of hands.” 
”He is very enthusiastic, ensures a quick turnaround of papers and is a very good writer.”

Recent work: Handled a dispute stemming from the breakdown of a joint venture fund vehicle between a South African industrialist and a Russian oligarch.

Tiffany Scott
A seasoned commercial chancery litigator who receives particular praise for her expert handling of partnership disputes, as well as civil fraud and corporate insolvency cases.


Expertise: “She is very calm and methodical, and her manner inspires confidence even in adverse circumstances. She is a brilliant, self-assured advocate who is a real asset to any team.”

Recent work: Worked unled on an appeal to the Privy Council from Jamaica concerning a complex trust dispute.

Rupert Reed
He has a strong commercial focus to his practice, and considerable experience in international breach of fiduciary duty and warranty cases. He is also expert at complex fraud matters.

Expertise: “He has a great legal mind; he listens to clients and understands the issues.” 
”He quickly assimilates complex sets of facts and uses them effectively in legal arguments.”

Recent work: Involved in the significant Berezovsky litigation, concerning an asset protection agreement he entered into to conceal ongoing interests in certain assets.

Edward Sawyer
Regularly instructed on complex company and commercial litigation, contentious trusts and asset tracing matters. He is commended for his unimpeachable work ethic.


Expertise: “He is on top of the technical and factual side. His attention to detail is hugely impressive.”

Charities – London (Bar)


Band 3

Wilberforce Chambers has a core of highly regarded trusts and estates practitioners who are regularly involved in leading cases in the charity sector. The set is particularly highly regarded for its expertise in working with educational and ecclesiastical charitable organisations.

Client service: “A set which does everything, and does everything very well; charity law is no exception.”

SILKS

Michael Furness QC
Focuses his practice on trusts work, and is particularly recognised for his expertise on related tax issues. He is lauded by his peers as being “one of those barristers who is simply good at everything.” He receives regular instructions from a range of third-sector clients.

Expertise: “He is just very, very bright; he gets right to the nub of the issue and really weeds out what is useful. He gives great, clear advice on how to proceed.”

JUNIORS

Mark Studer 

Concentrates his practice on trusts and estates law, and is also noted for his expertise with charity law issues. His third-sector work is principally focused on contentious issues.

Expertise: “He is a very good analyst, who cuts to the real issues of a case quickly and without any fuss.”

Commercial Dispute Resolution – London (Bar)


Band 3

The strength that Wilberforce Chambers has traditionally displayed in chancery matters has proved an excellent platform for its expanding commercial practice.

It is flagged up by commentators as being one of the “big commercial players” at the Bar, and is praised for the “very high standard of advice” that its members provide.

An additional strength that is a real boon to instructing solicitors is the international experience that the set houses and its ability to take on complex, multi-jurisdictional briefs.

Client service: “A great set – they have top-drawer barristers who are reliable and great to work with.

SILKS

Ian Croxford QC
Has a strong commercial dispute resolution practice, and regularly acts both internationally and domestically. 
Expertise: “First class and authoritative.” “He is a consummate litigator and excellent cross-examiner, who is a heavyweight and a pleasure to work with.”

John Wardell QC
Increasingly recognised as an excellent choice for complex and heavyweight briefs. His practice spans a broad spread of commercial fraud, travel and professional negligence disputes.

Expertise: “A very clever tactician.” “He’s a tower of strength, who gives us clarity, strategic vision and a firm tactical grip on the case.”


Recent work: He represented a defendant in Fortress Value Recovery Fund LLC v Blue Skye Special Opportunities Fund LP. This involved claims that the defendants were dishonest in reorganising the structure within which around EUR200 million of Italian assets were held.

Terence Mowschenson QC
A highly rated commercial barrister whose expertise in business disputes sees him act in multiple cases involving financial services, banking and company matters, amongst other areas.

Expertise: “He has got a different approach in court – he’s softly spoken but very effective. He has a very good grasp of the underlying law and strategy in a case.”


Recent work: He was involved in Picard v Bank Safra, a dispute brought by the trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy against banks that had gained redemption funds from Bernard Madoff Investment Securities.

Company – London (Bar)


Band 4

Has a good reputation for its work across all areas of company law, including financial assistance, shareholder disputes and directors’ duties issues. It has particular expertise on high-value corporate reorganisations and on offshore transactional advice and litigation.

SILKS

Terence Mowschenson QC
Renowned by market sources for his prowess in shareholder disputes, matters relating to joint ventures and issues relating to financial services.

Expertise: “He has astoundingly good judgement and is almost clairvoyant in predicting what the judge and the other side will do.” 
”He has great attention to detail and is quick to flesh out the important issues.”

Recent work: He acted for Orient Express Hotels in successfully resisting an application to wind up the company by establishing that under Bermuda law it is lawful for a company to be controlled by its subsidiary.

Lawrence Cohen QC
Frequently instructed in shareholder disputes, including those in offshore jurisdictions. He also has notable expertise in high-value corporate reorganisation cases.

Fraud: Civil – London (Bar)


Band 2

Wilberforce Chambers has a distinguished civil fraud practice which is strengthened by its expertise in traditional chancery work, offshore matters and pensions litigation.

Its select membership is instructed in high-profile fraud cases and is noted for its “pragmatic” and “creative” approach.

Client service: “The clerks,  are very responsive and very easy to use.”

SILKS

Ian Croxford QC
A talented civil fraud practitioner, who is well placed to advise on cases involving professional negligence and trust law issues.

Expertise: “A calming presence who is very good at reading judges.”

John Wardell QC
Praised for his tenacity and his supportive manner with clients. His recent caseload includes fraud issues relating to the financial sector and property transactions.

Expertise: “An outstanding advocate who is a very effective cross-examiner.”

Recent work: He acted for the defendant in Stone v NatWest, a case which centred around a claim in excess of £20 million arising from a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by one of the bank’s customers.

Lawrence Cohen QC
Sought after to advise in complex, high-value and commercially sensitive fraud cases. 
Expertise: “A thoughtful performer with a strong offshore practice.”

JUNIORS

Clare Stanley 

Instructed as a junior in major fraud cases. She is praised for her grasp of detail and her trusts law expertise.
Expertise: “Very practical and very good at bringing people around to see things in a certain way.”
Recent work: She has been instructed to advise Isis Investments on a number of claims relating to the insolvency of Kaupthing Bank, an Icelandic bank which collapsed amid allegations of fraud.

Offshore – London (Bar)


Band 1

A set with a proven track record of excellence, Wilberforce Chambers is increasing its market share in the offshore world.

Having historically been most active in the Caribbean jurisdictions, the set’s barristers are now regulars in the Channel Islands.

Client service: “The clerks are very proactive and very interested in how they can help those that instruct them.”

SILKS

Brian Green QC
A revered name, who handles major cases both domestically and offshore. He is most commonly instructed in matters arising out of the Caribbean jurisdictions.

Expertise: “Highly approachable, he is measured in his advice and a brilliant advocate.”

Terence Mowschenson QC
Has a thriving commercial chancery practice that takes in commercial and company disputes, joint ventures, partnerships and banking-related matters. He is most frequently instructed in the Bahamas and the BVI, and is also active in the Channel Islands.

Expertise: “He is very clever, a very good advocate and is very well regarded by his peers.”

Recent work: Acted in one of many Madoff-related actions by trustees in bankruptcy against banks which had received redemption monies from Bernard Madoff Investment Securities.

Lawrence Cohen QC
Renowned for the quality of his work handling high-value, complex business disputes and transactions, particularly those involving security transactions and investment funds. He is most commonly instructed to act in the BVI, Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos Islands.

Expertise: “He gives extremely good advice and is very capable of organising a team of international lawyers.”

Recent work: Led a team in a series of matters arising out of the liquidation of a national bank in one of the Caribbean territories.

Robert Ham QC
Specialises in litigation and advisory work relating to trust law. Also expert in professional negligence matters with a trusts element. He works primarily in the Caribbean jurisdictions.

Expertise: “The pre-eminent trust QC these days. He has a brilliant mind and a great depth of experience.”


Recent work: Acted for Baroness Thyssen in a high-value dispute.

Thomas Lowe QC 

Particularly adept in matters with a multi-jurisdictional element, he focuses his practice on commercial fraud, insolvency and trust litigation. He is regularly instructed in matters in the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Jersey.

Expertise: “He is a very clever guy and has a real gift for understanding the commercial realities in a matter. He is very good at presenting a case that makes commercial sense.”

James Ayliffe QC
Has a wealth of experience in a broad range of commercial matters, particularly those with a business or finance element. He has a strong asset tracing and recovery practice, and often appears on behalf of national governments. He is frequently instructed in matters emanating from the BVI and the Channel Islands.

Expertise: “He is very confident in implementing the advice he gives. His advocacy is fantastic and he is able to sway the judge’s mind.”

Recent work: Acted for a Russian businessman in a dispute involving a joint venture for the sale of agricultural machinery in the former Soviet Union.

JUNIORS

Nikki Singla
Renowned for his general commercial litigation and fraud work, particularly in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. His practice also encompasses general commercial chancery, trust and company matters. The quality of his work was confirmed last year when he became the first junior to be called to the Bermuda Bar for 15 years.

Expertise: “He is a very clear thinker, who is very client-focused and intelligent.”

Recent work: Acted in a very large breach of trust matter in Guernsey arising out of a multimillion-pound joint venture.

Jonathan Hilliard
Held in high regard for his work on complex high-value trust and company disputes in Bermuda, the BVI and Jersey, amongst other jurisdictions.

Expertise: “He stands out for specific mention. His knowledge on trust law is second to none for someone of his level and he is prepared to put the work first.”

Recent work: Acted in the high-profile Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman £100 million divorce case.

Daniel Hochberg
Has developed a fantastic reputation as a specialist trust litigator, but is also active across the gamut of commercial chancery matters. He is most commonly instructed to act in an offshore capacity in Guernsey and Jersey.

Expertise: “He is very solid and has very good technical ability. He also turns things around very quickly.”

Andrew Mold
Particularly well respected for his work in offshore trust litigation, his practice also includes general commercial and traditional chancery work. He has been admitted to the Bar in the Cayman Islands and is frequently engaged in matters in the Isle of Man, Cyprus and the BVI.

Expertise: “He is a rising star. Very bright and clever, he’s a very good draftsman.”
Recent work: Advised in relation to high-value divorce proceedings involving USD12 billion of assets spread across several jurisdictions.

Pensions – London (Bar)

Band 1

This set maintains its pre-eminent reputation in the pensions field, positioning itself at the forefront of industry developments.

Sources praise its impressive strength in depth and describe it as “the go-to pensions set.”

The “uniformly excellent” members of chambers are regularly instructed to represent parties in a wide array of cutting-edge cases.

Client service: “The clerks, are very good at building Chinese walls, which is essential. They are professional, competent and reliable, and they’re good at negotiating fees.”

SILKS

Brian Green QC
Undoubtedly a star pensions silk. Noted for both his first-class advisory work and his advocacy.


Expertise: “Brian Green is one of the leading pensions silks of his generation.” “He’s highly innovative and formidable in court.”

Recent work: Led on an appeal of the first instance decision in the high-profile IBM rectification litigation.

Paul Newman QC
Expert in pensions, who acts for employers, trustees and members of pension schemes. He represents both high-profile pension schemes and the Pensions Regulator. He is noted for his excellent advocacy and his ability to give clear opinions.

Expertise: “Fantastically robust and good on his feet.” “He’s punchy, practical and full of ideas.”


Recent work: Acted for IBM on two related cases, the first concerning rectification and the second concerning the validity of the closure of a scheme to future accrual of benefits.

Michael Furness QC
His practice covers all areas of trust law, and has a strong focus on pensions. He impresses market sources with his intellect and incisive mind.

Expertise: “The intellect of the man is amazing.” “He has a sound intellectual grasp of technical detail, combined with a practical approach.”


Recent work: Represented Hewlett-Packard in a case concerning a claim by three pension scheme members that they were entitled to early retirement without an actuarial reduction to their benefits.

Michael Tennet QC
A very skilled advocate, who has recently been involved in a number of high-profile pensions cases. He has particular knowledge of actuarial matters relating to pension and life assurance funds.

Expertise: “He’s very commercial and good on his feet in court.” “He’s very good at figures and actuarial issues.”

Recent work: Acted for the trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan in multi-jurisdictional proceedings connected to Nortel’s insolvency.

Robert Ham QC
Wins acclaim for his expertise in the pensions arena, including pensions-related professional negligence. He is noted for his intellect and commercial approach.

Expertise: “He’s very able and gives concise and reassuring advice.” “He’s a leading light.”

JUNIORS

Jonathan Evans (now QC)
Leading junior able to tackle a wide range of complex pensions litigation and advisory work. He wins praise for his written and spoken communication skills.

Expertise: “A clear and persuasive advocate.” “His technical expertise and commercial approach make him a very popular choice.”

Recent work: Acted for the trustee in the IBM rectification case regarding members’ rights to retire from the age of 60 on an unreduced pension without the employer’s consent.

Jonathan Hilliard 

Recommended for his outstanding technical abilities and efficiency. He has a broad trusts and commercial practice with a significant focus on pensions.

Expertise: “An exceptionally talented junior who shows great tactical awareness.” “Jonathan Hilliard will go to the very top.”

Recent work: Acted for the administrators of the failed Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander bank in a dispute with the Kaupthing pension scheme trustees over how to calculate the section 75 debts payable by an insolvent company.

Emily Campbell

Experienced in pensions disputes and advisory work. She is well regarded for her sharp intellect and ability to understand extremely complex technical issues.

Expertise: “She is clear, incisive and able to cope with some of the nastiest technicalities possible.”

Recent work: Acted for the trustee defendant in a significant breach of trust case in which the trustee is applying to strike out the allegations.

Edward Sawyer
Noted for his involvement in a broad range of leading pensions cases in the High Court and before the Pensions Regulator. He is recognised as being extremely hard-working and knowledgeable.

Expertise: “He’s an excellent draftsman who has a good eye for detail. He knows the regulatory regime very well.”

Recent work: Acted for companies in the ITV Group in a Pensions Regulator case concerning Financial Support Directions.

Andrew Mold
Has recently been instructed on a number of leading pensions cases and wins praise for his handling of clients. He has particular experience in regulatory issues and in matters that straddle pensions and other areas, such as financial services.


Expertise: “He is a delightful mix of technical ability and charm.” “He’s responsive and thoughtful.”

Recent work: Acted for the Nortel administrators in litigation concerning where financial support directions and debts under contribution notices rank as priorities in insolvency.

James Walmsley
Fast developing a strong practice in pensions disputes, he is noted for his abilities in both the regulatory and non-regulatory arenas.

Expertise: “Very thoughtful and responsive.” “He’s committed both to the client and to the case.”

Recent work: Acted for the Regulator in the Box Clever Pension Scheme litigation, which concerned the collapse of a joint venture between Granada and Guy Hands’ investment group at Nomura.

Emily McKechnie
Handles pensions work as part of a wide-ranging commercial chancery practice. She is regularly instructed on her own account, and also led by silks in significant cases.

Expertise: “She has a real grasp of the technicalities of pension cases and puts her knowledge to practical effect.” “She’s a star of the future.”

Recent work: Was junior counsel for the seventh representative defendant in the Pilots’ National Pension Fund litigation.

Sebastian Allen
Pensions is the main focus of Allen’s commercial chancery practice. He is a popular junior who is picked out as an excellent team player.

Expertise: “Sebastian is a very good up-and-coming junior who shows judgement beyond his years of call.”

Recent work: Acted for the trustee of the MF Global UK Pension Fund following the insolvency of MF Global. This has involved advising on Financial Support Direction proceedings and on claims in the international insolvency proceedings.

Emer Murphy

Well regarded, up-and-coming junior with a broad-based commercial chancery practice. She often appears in the County Courts, High Courts and before various tribunals.

Expertise: “Her piercing intelligence struck me.” “I was impressed with the speed with which she digested the materials we sent her.”

Recent work: Acted as junior counsel for Gibraltar-based Hassans in a very significant piece of litigation concerning alleged pension frauds committed by GP Noble Trustees.

Benjamin Faulkner
Up-and-coming junior who has recently been involved in some very significant pensions cases. He is recognised for his diligence and client-focused approach.

Expertise: “He’s very client-friendly.” “He has a very calm but firm manner, and a very pragmatic approach.”

Recent work: Junior counsel for the representative beneficiaries in the high-profile IBM litigation regarding whether IBM breached its duty of good faith in closing its UK defined benefit pension schemes to future accrual.

Professional Negligence

Band 2

A first port of call for solicitors with cases with a heavy chancery bias. Barristers at this set particularly stand out for their expertise in pensions-related professional negligence matters and for their work on high-value claims.

Solicitors say: “This is a great set with top-drawer members who are reliable and great to work with.”

Client service: “Absolutely first-class. Across the board Wilberforce is great.”

SILKS

Ian Croxford QC
Held in high regard and considered a “heavy hitter” of the professional indemnity world.

Expertise: He is noted for his “incredible court presence” and “exceptional advocacy skills.” 
”If you have got a really hard case with a lot of money at stake he is the person you think about getting.”

James Ayliffe QC
A commercially focused silk with a substantial professional negligence practice involving cases against all types of professionals. Sources call him a “real specialist” in this area and note his ability to inspire confidence through his understated advocacy style.

Expertise: “Good for technical pension cases, and a great guy to work with.” “Superb at anything with a trusts angle, he’s a fine barrister with a charming manner.”

Jonathan Seitler QC
Specialises in property-related professional negligence.

Expertise: He’s a “good strategist” who has a “nice, down-to-earth style with clients.” “If there is a property-related professional negligence dispute, make sure you instruct him first.”

Joanna Smith QC
Heads the set’s professional negligence team. She advises on matters involving all professionals, but has particular expertise in construction cases. She’s recommended for complex, document-heavy cases.


Expertise: “Very good technically, she is excellent with clients and provides sound advice.” “Judges love her. She’s a gifted advocate with a great future ahead of her.”

Recent work: Advised concrete manufacturer Twintec on a claim brought by B&Q relating to design deficiencies relating to warehouse flooring.

John Wardell QC
Has a sizeable professional negligence practice and regularly defends barristers when they are faced with negligence claims. A “stunningly good advocate,” he is praised for not sitting on the fence.

Expertise: “A very good trial advocate and a very good cross-examiner, who really gets stuck into cases. Not much slips past him.”

Recent work: Advised a patent agent who is alleged to have given incorrect advice in relation to Dual Glo, a new glow in the dark product.

Paul Newman QC
Focuses on negligence claims involving pensions advisers. Sources describe him as “commercial and thorough.”

Expertise: “Provides fantastic advice on pensions-related issues and technical, complex disputes.” “Seems to have every detail of pensions law at his fingertips and is not afraid to call it as he sees it. He is also utterly reliable in delivering when he says he will.”

Recent work: Defended Buck Consultants in an action relating to the construction of Singapore Airlines’ pension scheme.

JUNIORS

Rupert Reed QC
Handles cases against solicitors brought by claimants and large insurers. His professional negligence work is boosted by his strong commercial practice.

Expertise: “Responsive and approachable. He assimilates complex sets of facts quickly and uses them effectively in legal arguments. ”

Recent work: Led by John Wardell QC, he acted for the owner of Britannia Hotels in a case against Beachcroft alleging negligent advice.

Edward Sawyer
Has a wide-ranging commercial and chancery practice and is well known for his pensions work.

Expertise: “Exceptionally intelligent, very hard-working and a pleasure to work with.” “He’s one of the cleverest members of the junior Bar.”

Clare Stanley
Acts in claims relating to a wide range of professionals including financial service professionals, lawyers and accountants. She has recently been handling a number of cases where the underlying issue is breach of trust.

Expertise: “Offers strategic and commercial advice combined with excellent advocacy skills.”

Recent work: Appeared in Southern Rock Insurance Co v Endsleigh.

Real Estate Litigation

Band 2

Wilberforce Chambers conducts property litigation with a focus on fraud and corporate insolvency.

Recent highlights for the set have included acting in key disputes such as the Manchester Ship Canal case and Cook v The Mortgage Business.

Clients say of the barristers: “They quickly grasp, assess and provide reliable, accurate advice on complicated legal and factual situations in a manner that clients understand.”

Client service: “The clerks at Wilberforce are always approachable and provide prompt and accurate fee estimates.”

SILKS

Jonathan Seitler QC
A master of the real estate litigation field, he has a busy specialist property litigation practice with a particular emphasis on handling claims relating to professional negligence. He is frequently called upon to act in prominent and high-value cases.

Expertise: “Extremely commercial in his approach, he has a sharp intellect and displays quick thinking.” 
”Can always be relied upon to wrong-foot the opposition; he’s a master tactician.”

Recent work: Appeared in the Supreme Court in a law-altering case regarding a mortgage-related claim made by a group of tenants against North East Property Buyers.

Michael Barnes QC
A highly esteemed top-of-the-tree litigator, who has a wealth of experience in handling real property and landlord and tenant cases. He has made numerous appearances in the Supreme Court.

Expertise: “Technically brilliant with a clear instinct for the right answer.” “Excellent and a strong advocate, he’s very determined and single-minded.”

Joanne Wicks QC
An impressive and highly respected silk with a strong property litigation and mediation practice. She has a focus on dealing with transactional professional negligence claims and landlord and tenant matters for major corporate players.

Expertise: “She delivers top-tier advice, dealing with knotty issues in a clear, concise and client-friendly manner. She is responsive and will turn her hand to any task to get the job done.” “She provides strong legal analysis combined with a real understanding of the commercial drivers.”

Recent work: She has recently acted for the successful tenant of four petrol stations against a landlord’s attempt to end the leases.

Martin Hutchings QC
An outstanding litigator in the real estate field, he performs on big-ticket cases and makes regular court appearances. His practice covers all areas of the work, and he has special expertise in commercial landlord and tenant matters, dilapidations and insolvency-related matters.

Expertise: “An understated and brilliant cross-examiner, he’s gracious and unbelievably determined, and has phenomenal client skills. He delivers the blow and when the knife goes in you won’t even feel it.”

Recent work: He has recently acted in several major terminal dilapidations claims and in a controversy over whose responsibility it is to maintain a private road in industrial premises.

James Ayliffe QC
Highly regarded for his property litigation work, which dovetails with his business and commercial law practice.

Expertise: “He’s understated but excellent.”

Recent work: Represented developers Ridgewood Properties in a £55 million claim against a Texaco group company for losses the company claims have arisen from a breach of options in granting leases.

John Furber QC

A well-respected real estate specialist silk, whose practice focuses on commercial properties. He offers advice, inter alia, on restrictive covenants, easements and rent reviews, and with regard to developments. He is chair of the Property Bar Association.


Expertise: “He’s accessible and responsive, and gives a clear steer on cases.” “He’s knowledgeable and reliable.”

Recent work: He recently appeared in a restrictive covenant claim relating to the BBC’s Southampton studios.

JUNIORS

Julian Greenhill
A standout property litigation junior with a focus on handling court-based disputes. He has a particular emphasis on developments and transactional controversies.

Expertise: “A fantastic junior who provides comprehensive advice and is extremely user-friendly.” “Offers good attention to detail, and measured and well-considered advice.”

Recent work: He was instructed by Linklaters to act for the owner of a major retail premises in a claim over the right to receive a share of the centre’s income.

Tiffany Scott
Offers advice and representation on all areas of real estate dispute resolution with a commercial emphasis.

Expertise: “She ticks the boxes. She’s just very knowledgeable and is really swift in terms of delivery.”

Rupert Reed QC
A noted junior whose real estate litigation work ties in with his complementary commercial and financial practice, he specialises in resolving transactional commercial property disputes and advising on developments.

Expertise: “Great at getting to grips with technical matters.” “Very user-friendly, he gives sensible, practical advice.”

Recent work: He has recently acted for several parties involved in the ‘Pinnacle’ skyscraper development project, defending them in a case brought by a Saudi businessman who alleges that he has an equitable interest in the project.

Jonathan Davey
Has a practice extending from real property to landlord and tenant law, often acting in the High Court on high-profile matters.

Expertise: “He has impressed us very much. He has a soft-spoken and gentle attitude, and is incredibly eloquent and very polite. He was reassuring, not in terms of false hope but he highlighted the risks. He identified the avenues that were open to the client.”

Construction

Joanna Smith QC
Known for having a practice which combines expertise in construction law with experience in commercial and professional negligence matters.

Expertise: “She has excellent technical skills.” “She is a great team player who is not afraid to get into the detail and get her hands dirty.”

Recent work: She acted for Twintec in a complex breach of contract claim relating to the construction and installation of an internal concrete slab.

Mediators

Band 4

Jonathan Seitler QC
Jonathan Seitler QC is a property and professional liability barrister who enjoys the highest renown amongst his peers. He has built a busy mediation practice over the past few years. He is popular as “he gets the measure of the dispute and the parties very quickly, which enables him to swiftly cut to the chase.”

Sports Law

David Phillips QC
Has a strong reputation for handling the regulatory aspects of football in particular, but also handles commercial, regulatory and employment matters relating to the sports world.

Tax

Michael Furness QC
Offers clients expertise in both domestic and overseas taxation matters, and is regularly seen handling disputes in Hong Kong. He undertakes pensions and onshore and offshore trust litigation.

Expertise: “Provides clear, practical advice in a timely manner.”

Recent work: He represented two film partnerships in appeals against a First-tier Tribunal ruling denying tax relief.


Travel

John Wardell QC
Advises tour operators on contractual and regulatory matters as part of a broad general practice.

Expertise: “He’s in a class of his own with a superb grasp of the issues and first-rate client care skills.”