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Chambers & Partners 2015

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

Individually ranked for:

Leading Set

Wilberforce Chambers is a leading set across a range of practice areas, and is considered to be second to none in all aspects of traditional and commercial chancery law. Widely viewed as “pre-eminent in the pensions field,” it is “some way ahead of other sets” in this field due to the presence of “tour de force QCs,” who are also noted for the quality of their offshore work.

Members at the set offer “practical and technical advice” and prove particularly effective on trust-related work. Solicitors view them as being “straightforward individuals, who provide excellent service and are very personable to deal with.”

Prominent amongst them is Robert Ham QC, “a grandee and a nice guy with it,” and Brian Green QC who is “commercial, incisive, assertive and always the cleverest person in the room. He’s an exceptional asset to have on any case.”

The clerking at the set is also unquestionably excellent, with one impressed solicitor saying that the clerks “don’t go overboard on fee negotiations, and value long-term relationships.” ” You can rely on them to deliver whatever they promise; if they say something will get done, it will get done.” “The heard clerk, Mark Rushton, is really interested in client service.”

Chancery Commercial

Band 2

A go-to set for big-ticket traditional and commercial chancery matters that enjoys an outstanding reputation for its work on complex, multi-jurisdictional cases. It retains a large group of commercial litigation specialists who are able to offer a high-quality service.

Its prestigious barristers have had a highly successful year acting in cases such as Accolade Wines v GJS and GJ4, a claim for over £100 million concerning defective premises, and Century Projects Ltd v Almacantar, a multimillion-pound dispute surrounding London’s Centre Point building.

Barristers at the set also handled Clutterbuck v Al Amoudi, a well-publicised case concerning a self-styled Saudi ‘princess’ who had been accused of lying her way to a £14 million property empire.

Client service: “The clerks there are very swift, efficient and well prepared.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Terence Mowschenson QC
A tenacious silk with a first-class commercial chancery practice. He possesses considerable experience in business disputes, and has an acute knowledge of company and financial services law. Commentators applaud him for his flourishing offshore practice.

Expertise: “He is very clever, pleasant to deal with, and has a very easy manner.”

Recent work: Has frequently been instructed on cases arising from the Madoff investment fraud.

Lawrence Cohen QC
A vastly experienced practitioner who is able to handle a wide variety of commercial cases in the Chancery courts. He frequently acts in offshore and international matters, particularly with regard to financial services and insolvency issues.

Expertise: “He is very commercial, focused and thorough.” “He is a terrific strategist who possesses great teamwork skills.”

Recent work: He defended Baker & McKenzie in claims relating to a EUR1.2 billion takeover.

James Ayliffe QC 
A popular silk with a well-established commercial chancery practice. He is a go-to figure for real estate and offshore disputes.

Expertise: “He is efficient and effective.” “He has an excellent ability to digest all the facts, and his turnaround time is very good.”

Recent work: He represented HMRC in a case concerning the recovery of £220 million owed in tax by a South African official.

Ian Croxford QC 
Has an impressive reputation for handling complex civil fraud and professional negligence matters. He is often instructed on cases with significant international elements.

Expertise: “A very smooth and polished individual.”

John Wardell QC 
A standout professional with years of experience of handling complex commercial fraud cases. His practice combines domestic and offshore work.

Expertise: “He fights for his clients very well” and is “a tower of strength.” “His advice has real clarity and strategic vision, and he always displays a strong tactical grip.”

Recent work: He acted for National Westminster Bank in a dispute regarding a Ponzi scheme operated by one of its customers.

Joanna Smith QC 
Praised by clients for her performances in professional negligence disputes and banking and finance litigation.

Expertise: “She has expert knowledge and takes a pragmatic and commercial approach.” “She has an excellent client service ethic.”

Recent work: Defended an ex-KPMG partner, an administrator for two companies, against allegations of fraudulently converting assets during liquidation.

 

JUNIORS

Andrew Mold
An extremely capable junior with a broad chancery practice, who often appears in cases involving breaches of fiduciary duty and offshore matters.

Expertise: “He is straight, clever and succinct.” “He combines technical excellence with a user-friendly approach.”

Recent work: Acted in a case alleging conspiracy over the development of the luxury residential complex One Hyde Park.

Graeme Halkerston 
A “fantastic trial lawyer” who continues to impress in high-value commercial cases. He is regularly instructed on financial and insolvency matters, and possesses a substantial offshore practice.

Expertise: “He is the complete package as he’s very imaginative and highly focused.” “He gives realistic advice, manages expectations and is very approachable.”

Recent work: Appeared on behalf of liquidators of a former investment fund based in Guernsey which had collapsed as a result of fraudulent behaviour by its principal.

Tiffany Scott 
A highly regarded junior who is able to tackle a wide variety of traditional and commercial chancery disputes. She is renowned for her real property work, as well as her efforts in civil fraud and trusts disputes.

Expertise: “She is good to work with, clever and reliable.” “She is a self assured advocate who is user-friendly and inspires confidence.”

Recent work: Was instructed in a claim by beneficiaries against a firm of financial advisers alleging negligent handling of trust investments.

Nikki Singla 
Tackles a full practice that focuses on contentious commercial matters, particularly those with offshore or company elements.

Expertise: “He is a very intelligent lawyer who is able to get to the root cause of a conflict. He shows great empathy to the client and is able to translate a case to them such that it is understandable.”

Recent work: Acted for the Formula One rights holder for Spain in a breach of contract dispute resulting from the bankruptcy of Valencia.

Edward Sawyer
Undertakes a wide range of commercial disputes domestically and in offshore jurisdictions. Many of these cases involve breaches of fiduciary duty and asset tracing.

Expertise: “He is phenomenally hard-working and bright, and is willing to go that extra mile.”

James McCreath 
Areas of expertise include contractual disputes, insolvency and company work.

Expertise: “He has an excellent grasp of detail and is very user-friendly and available.”

Recent work: Acted as sole counsel in a contractual dispute over the sale of goods worth £1 million.

Chancery: Traditional

Band 1

An outstanding set which maintains its widely acknowledged position as a leader in traditional chancery matters.

It has an enviable depth of expertise, and its talented barristers are prominent in high-profile, high-value trusts and estates cases and pensions matters. They are also involved in trust-related work arising out of divorce proceedings.

Client service: “The clerks, headed by Mark Rushton, are helpful, proactive and serve the barristers well.”

SILKS

Brian Green QC 
A powerhouse practitioner who offers almost unparalleled authority and expertise across the spectrum of traditional chancery work. He is acclaimed for his exceptional pensions knowledge and continues to counsel on high-profile, complex litigation involving trusts.

Expertise: “He is up there in lights for everyone.” “He has a very easy manner, superlative intelligence and the ability to keep innumerable balls in the air. He is an extraordinarily collaborative person and even if he is on the other side you can get things done.”

Robert Ham QC 
Offers exemplary skill in major trust disputes on a domestic and international scale. He is further renowned for his knowledge of fiduciary principles, and tax avoidance limitations.

Expertise: “Superb. He wears his intelligence and skills very lightly, and you know as soon as you are going to go see him you will get the answer.” “He is a mine of information and a fount of authority, and has a really detailed, in-depth understanding of all the issues that arise in relation to chancery-type litigation. A very persuasive and powerful advocate.”

Michael Furness QC 
Has a forte in contentious UK and offshore trust matters combined with extensive experience in tax litigation. He has a well-regarded practice in relation to Hong Kong and is a noted professional negligence lawyer.

Expertise: “He has excellent insight and the ability to refine difficult intellectual points into a client-friendly form.” “Has a huge intellect and a brain the size of a football.”

Recent work: Instructed in a case before the Court of Appeal concerning the Malcolm Arnold estate. This matter concerned power of attorney and interpretation of will issues.

John Martin QC 
Has a great track record across numerous areas of the traditional chancery field, from property and trusts work to charities-related matters. In addition to his contentious practice, he is also an acclaimed arbitrator and mediator, and further sits as a deputy High Court judge.

Expertise: “A great court animal who is terrific on his feet.” “An enormously impressive man, he has tremendous gravitas.”

JUNIORS

Judith Bryant 
Devotes much of her time to trusts and related tax issues, handling both contentious and non-contentious cases. She is sought after by trustees in relation to additional powers and financial authority applications, and is expert in administrative matters concerning offshore trusts.

Expertise: “Very pragmatic and measured in her advice.” “Absolutely a safe pair of hands.”

Emily Campbell 
Handles technically difficult and sophisticated litigious cases in relation to domestic and offshore trusts, taxation and pensions. She is also strong on the advisory side and has an admirable private client roster.

Expertise: “She is great at getting to the root of the legal issue.” “Astute and willing to take difficult points and run with them.”

Jonathan Hilliard 
A prominent client list looks to him for assistance on major, high-value domestic and offshore trusts cases. He has considerable experience in matters concerning the capacity and limitations of UK court attempts to include overseas trusts in divorce cases.

Expertise: “He is super-bright and displays a real energy and commitment to the case.” “Self-effacing, down to earth, extremely bright, and really good to put before clients.”

Recent work: Defended law firm Ackerman against allegations of dishonesty in its management of a trust brought by Hassans, Line Trust Corporation and others.

Mark Studer 
Has an excellent advisory practice, and handles a wide scope of private client disputes. He has specialist knowledge of charity-related trust administration and matters concerning agricultural estates.

Expertise: “Very experienced and very knowledgeable. He’s always willing to help at short notice and his responsiveness is first-class.”

Andrew Mold 
Has a notable chancery practice which is especially strong in relation to sensitive trust disputes and high-value divorce proceedings. He handles a wide range of chancery cases including pensions, partnership and property cases.

Expertise: “Incredibly brainy and he goes out of his way to make life easy for the instructing solicitor and to find practical solutions for his clients.”

Recent work: Appeared in high-profile, multi-jurisdictional divorce case Rybolovleva v Rybolovlev, which concerned USD12 billion assets held in a Cypriot trust structure.

John Child 
A trust structuring expert who advises on cases concerning landed estates and major family trusts. He combines this with significant knowledge of revenue issues and has further niche expertise in matters concerning the Society of Lloyd’s.

Daniel Hochberg 
Lauded for his expertise in trusts matters involving trading companies, many of which are overseas entities. He couples this with extensive work concerning employee benefit trusts.

Expertise: “A trusts expert with a great deal of experience.”

Recent work: Engaged by Ennismore & Vistra in a successful defence against an employee claim for alleged breach of contract and trust in relation to an employment benefit trust.

Tiffany Scott 
Provides well-regarded advice for a diverse range of clients, including financial institutions and charities, as well as private individuals. She mainly concentrates on trusts and estates matters, both litigious and non-contentious, on a domestic and global scale.

Expertise: “Offers straightforward, sensible and clear advice.”

Recent work: Appeared in Taylor v Peacock Financial Management, a matter involving beneficiary claims of trustee negligence, excessive remuneration and beneficiary bias.

Charities

Band 3

A pre-eminent chancery set that fields a number of key charity law practitioners chiefly engaged in advisory work for prominent charities solicitors, housing charities and charitable trustees.

They regularly handle cases concerning governance issues, charitable constitutions and objectives, and endowments.

Client service: “As a chambers, they are a class outfit. The clerks, led by Mark Rushton, are able to accommodate clients at short notice and can swiftly offer alternatives when a particular barrister is already predisposed.”

SILKS

Michael Furness QC 
Possesses considerable experience in all manner of trust-related matters and remains a respected figure in the charity law sector. Recently, he has significantly developed his practice in the areas of tax law and onshore and offshore trust litigation.

Expertise: “Michael combines huge authority on tax matters with an in-depth knowledge of trust law.” “We went to Michael because he’s been involved in a number of charities cases before, and his name and reputation give us credence. He mastered the material very well and had a sympathetic approach to what we were trying to achieve.”

 Recent work: He advised on the Preston Down case, which dealt with the charitable status of a religious charity and looked into questions concerning the notion of public benefit.

JUNIORS

Mark Studer
Has cultivated a practice with a particular focus on trusts and estates, as well as charity law. He regularly advises trustees, local authorities and high-profile charitable clients on an array of issues, including governance, funding and contentious probate.

Expertise: “Extremely personable and straight to the point. We were asking him to advise on some pretty arcane documents and we felt he rose to the challenge magnificently. He also answered questions we asked with great clarity and brevity.”

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Band 3

Wilberforce is “a really strong set with some very powerful people in it.” Its members have extensive experience in international disputes and cases heard in foreign jurisdictions, and are particularly well versed in civil fraud and professional negligence matters.

Client service: “Very professional and very easy to deal with, the clerks adopt a team approach. When talking about fees, I get a straightforward answer.” Mark Rushton heads the clerking team here.

SILKS

Ian Croxford QC 
A seasoned silk with a strong reputation for commercial chancrey work generally, and civil fraud and professional negligence disputes in particular.

Expertise: “A classic trial advocate who is absolutely superb on his feet.”

Terence Mowschenson QC
A well-regarded silk in commercial chancery disputes.

Expertise: “Very user-friendly and a very persuasive, charming and forceful advocate.”

Recent work: Acted for Crédit Agricole in its successful appeal of a ruling on the enforceability of a Greek judgment in Gibraltar. The case arose out of allegations by the Michailidis family that the bank received proceeds of misappropriated monies.

John Wardell QC 
Has a strong reputation in civil fraud and professional negligence cases. Market commentators praise him for his tenacious advocacy and his strategic ability.

Expertise: “An outstanding advocate who is highly skilled at cross-examination. He is able to digest large volumes of information quickly and impresses clients with his commercial knowledge.” “He’s a very clever tactician.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendants in a high-profile shareholder dispute over FiCall, in which Prince Abdulaziz and other Global Torch shareholders faced allegations of gross misconduct made by a Jordanian business partner.

Fraud Civil

Band 2

Members are frequently instructed to handle multimillion-pound disputes on behalf of large corporations.

Recent work undertaken by the set includes acting in Apex Global Management Limited v FiCall, a multimillion-pound shareholders’ dispute. Individuals here are noted for being “straightforward” and “very personable to deal with.”

Client service: “I have been impressed by the clerking service at Wilberforce Chambers: they are quick in responding to communications and excellent at making recommendations.”

SILKS

Ian Croxford QC 
A leading silk who can be seen on the most complex and high-value fraud cases.

Expertise: “A classic trial advocate who is superb on his feet.” “He is very good at difficult cross-examinations.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendants in an £11 million multiparty claim concerning a shipping arbitration.

John Wardell QC 
Handles fraud work as part of his highly regarded chancery practice. Instructing solicitors particularly note his cross-examination skills.

Expertise: “He has a great eye for detail, is incredibly numerate and user-friendly, and is a skilled cross-examiner.” “Very few counsel will stick their neck out, but he’s one of them: he’s prepared to commit and say what he thinks.”

Recent work: Defended NatWest in a £20 million claim arising out of a Ponzi scheme, involving allegations of conspiracy and dishonest assistance.

Lawrence Cohen QC 
Has extensive experience of handling a wide range of fraud disputes. He frequently handles matters of an international flavour.

Expertise: “Extremely innovative and thoughtful.” “He is an effective cross-examiner and is willing to take on more difficult cases and fight hard.”

Offshore

Band 1

The members at Wilberforce Chambers are among the most sought-after barristers operating in the offshore environment, and take instructions in a variety of contexts.

Work routinely includes representing and advising clients involved in real estate, trusts and commercial cases in Bermuda, the BVI and the Cayman Islands. Members are also heavily involved in matters concerning the Channel Islands, as well as in those touching upon Singapore, Hong Kong, Russia and the Turks and Caicos Islands, among others.

Client service: “We have met a number of the clerks and feel we can pick up the phone and get a rapid response from them.”

SILKS

Brian Green QC 
Enjoys a stellar reputation for his work at the Offshore Bar, particularly in respect of trust cases. He regularly takes instructions in Bermuda, BVI, Channel Islands and Hong Kong disputes.

Expertise: “He is the doyen. His name sends shivers down the spines of the opposition. He portrays supreme confidence and can persuade just about anybody, whether a Supreme Court judge or the lady who brings the tea, that black is white. His skill is almost like witchcraft.”

Terence Mowschenson QC 
Concentrates his offshore work on commercial chancery cases, including those concerning joint ventures, company disputes, partnerships and banking and financial services matters. Recent work has arisen from a range of jurisdictions, including the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and Gibraltar.

Expertise: “He is one of those who is extremely commercially savvy and practical and down to earth. He gets to the heart of a matter.”

Recent work: He acted in a case concerning the winding up of a fund that had made significant investments with Bernard Madoff.

James Ayliffe QC 
Known for his commercial practice, and his particular expertise in handling cases related to business and finance matters. He is also active in the area of asset tracing and recovery. Recent instructions have included those from the Channel Islands and the BVI.

Expertise: “The advice is very commercial and he is unflappable in court.”

Recent work: He worked with the South African Revenue Service in its efforts to recover £220 million from a debtor who had hidden assets in the UK, the BVI, Guernsey and Mauritius, among other jurisdictions.

Lawrence Cohen QC 
Focuses his offshore practice on complicated, high-value matters, usually in the context of business disputes or transactions. Special areas of interest include investment funds and security transactions. He is active in the key traditional offshore jurisdictions, as well as other foreign jurisdictions.

Recent work: He defended a notable international law firm against a claim alleging that a poorly executed restructuring cost its client significant sums in Mexican tax.

Robert Ham QC 
Concentrates his offshore practice on trusts, and advises and represents clients in related tax and pension matters. He is also active in professional negligence cases and is regularly called upon to act in Caribbean jurisdictions.

Expertise: “He is a grandee and a very nice guy with it. He has so much knowledge and expertise.”

Thomas Lowe QC 
Has extensive experience of representing clients in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and Bermuda, and has also worked on cases in Jersey. He regularly acts in multi-jurisdictional matters concerning trusts, insolvency, professional negligence and commercial fraud.

Expertise: “He’s very user-friendly and intelligent, and sees the big picture at all times.”

Michael Furness QC
A major figure in offshore trusts litigation who has appeared in cases in Bermuda, Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and Jersey.

Expertise: “An extremely authoritative barrister who is calm in court but quite capable of being very tough when necessary.”

Recent work: Appeared in a case against the trustee of a very large Bermuda trust, representing the present and former trustees. Also acted in the tax case of CoT v Nice Cheer Investments Ltd.

JUNIORS

Nikki Singla
Often instructed in commercial litigation and trust matters. He has substantial experience of appearing before courts in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, where he has twice been called to the Bar, and is also active in Dubai.

Expertise: “A high-energy barrister who is very, very skilled.”

Recent work: He acted in a significant multiparty trust case in Jersey concerning claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and conflict of interest.

Jonathan Hilliard
Well known for his extensive work in highly complex and notable trust and company law cases. He acts in a broad range of offshore jurisdictions, including Gibraltar, the BVI and the Isle of Man.

Expertise: “A very confident barrister who is good with clients, extremely well prepared and easy to work with.” “He’s quick both in terms of his intellect and his response times.”

Recent work: He represented an offshore law firm against accusations of dishonesty with regard to its administration of a trust.

Daniel Hochberg
An established expert on offshore trust matters who has a broad commercial chancery practice. He is heavily involved in cases touching upon employee benefit trusts. His offshore work most usually sees him acting in Jersey and Guernsey.

Expertise: “He is really my go-to barrister for particularly difficult points of trust law. He has a significant amount of experience in trust cases.”

Recent work: He acted for a group of Jersey trustees against a claim of breach of trust from a former hedge fund employee in respect of an employee benefit trust.

Andrew Mold
Has continued to develop a significant practice advising and representing clients involved in offshore trust disputes. He often tackles matters in the Cayman Islands, where he has been called to the Bar, as well as in other key offshore jurisdictions.

Expertise: “Polite and pleasant, he goes out of his way to make things easy for the instructing solicitor and to try and find a practical answer for the client.”

Recent work: He provided advice in a divorce concerning USD12 billion of assets placed in a variety of jurisdictions, including Cyprus, the BVI, England and Switzerland.

Pensions

Band 1

“The best-known and most highly regarded pensions set in the market,” Wilberforce Chambers has many of the leading silks in the sector and is “the go-to set for pensions claims which are particularly difficult or technical.”

Several members of the set have been active in assisting the Pensions Regulator on matters including pension liberation schemes and financial support directions.

Client service: “You can rely on the clerking team led by Mark Rushton to deliver whatever they promise you. They will always be helpful and if they say something will get done, it will get done.”

SILKS

Brian Green QC
A market-leading practitioner with a deep knowledge of the law and impressive advocacy skills. He is particularly strong on issues relating to scheme construction and moral hazard.

Expertise: “He provides pragmatic and often brilliant advice.” “Personable and technically superior, he is excellent at applying the law to facts in challenging cases.”

Recent work: Advised Guinness Peat Group on the funding deficiencies of its occupational pension schemes.

Michael Furness QC
A highly sought-after silk who is lauded by sources for the depth of his experience and for his analytical skills. He is noted for his expertise in liberation schemes and has advised the FCA in this regard.

Expertise: “He’s sensationally clever and makes pensions law readily digestible.” “He has a sound intellectual grasp of the technical detail, and takes a practical approach to his cases. He impresses both clients and instructing solicitors.”

Recent work: Acted in Entrust v Capita, a case concerning the recollection of costs accumulated by correcting errors made by a former pension scheme trustee.

Paul Newman QC
Acclaimed by sources for his commercial approach to pensions matters and noted for his skill in scheme constructions. He has regularly provided advice to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Expertise: “He is a very impressive advocate, who is extremely good on his feet and very persuasive. He takes a very creative approach to problems, and is very helpful if you have something a bit tricky to deal with.” “He is incisive, is prepared to make bold decisions and he sticks to them.”

Recent work: Instructed in ICM Computer Group v Stribley, a case dealing with the correction of a pension scheme amendment.

Michael Tennet QC
A highly skilled advocate who garners accolades for his management of cases and his actuarial knowledge. Active in both litigious and advisory capacities, his areas of interest include discontinuance debt and good faith breaches.

Expertise: “He is responsive and user-friendly, and has particular expertise in regulatory matters.” “Very hands-on and good at leading a team of juniors, he’s a strong advocate who puts points across forcefully.”

Recent work: Worked on behalf of the Nortel Networks UK pension scheme trustees in a dispute over fund deficiency.

Robert Ham QC
An occupational pensions specialist who has great experience of cases concerning funding liabilities and moral hazard issues. He is noted by peers for his commercial focus and strong rapport with clients.

Expertise: “He provides exemplary client service, and is always prepared to express a view in clearly understood language.”

Recent work: Represented Dresser-Rand in a dispute relating to its move to equalise the standard retirement ages..

JUNIORS

Jonathan Hilliard
A leading junior who has advised the Pensions Regulator on several disputes, including one regarding the misappropriation of fund assets. He has also acted on behalf of scheme trustees on a variety of matters, including the switch from the RPI to the CPI measure of inflation.

Expertise: “He is intellectually extremely sharp, and brings a lot of commitment and drive to his cases.” “Very intelligent, hard-working and a pleasure to deal with, he always provides sensible advice and is able to turn matters around speedily.”

Recent work: Acted in Nortel & Lehman v Pension Regulator, and also appeared unled for the trustee in Box Clever, which was the first Pensions Regulator case to consider the Upper Tribunal’s powers to deal with financial support directions proceedings.

Edward Sawyer
An increasingly prominent junior in complex pensions litigation. He has significant experience of acting for a variety of parties in occupational pension scheme disputes.

Expertise: “The quality of his work is outstanding, and he has the ability to stay on top of really complex cases.”

Recent work: Acted in the litigation against IBM arising from the implementation of ‘Project Waltz’.

Emily Campbell
Highlighted by commentators for her strong technical knowledge of pensions matters and her highly cerebral approach to advocacy. Her areas of strength include Part 8 claims and scheme rectification.

Expertise: “She is extremely bright and experienced.” “She has an outstanding grasp of the most obscure technicalities of pensions law.”

Recent work: Instructed by trustees of BSS Group pension scheme in respect of a case concerning the equalisation of pension benefits.

Andrew Mold
Highlighted by interviewees for his involvement in professional negligence disputes and for his knowledge of scheme construction. He also has significant experience in scheme rectification and equalisation proceedings.

Expertise: “An excellent junior who copes well with the factual and legal complexities. He is extremely approachable and has an uncanny ability to explain technical issues in a clear and precise way.”

Recent work: Advised on claims against Honda that arose from rectification of pension scheme documentation.

James Walmsley
A growing presence in the pensions field, he is a barrister who is particularly good on the regulatory side.

Expertise: “He is highly intelligent and one of those who can turn his hand to a lot of different things. As well as being good on the technical aspects of the law, he is extremely hard-working, responsive and very easy to work with.”

Recent work: Assisted in the procurement of a rectification order for the MNOPF pension scheme.

Emily McKechnie 
A junior who applies a strong commercial focus to her pensions work. She has experience in pension construction, Part 8 claims and pension-related professional negligence.

Expertise: “She has got a fantastically clear analytical mind, and is very commercial in her judgement.” “A talented barrister who applies herself well to many complex areas of the law and has developed an impressive aptitude for pensions cases.”

Recent work: Instructed by Prospect Hospice against Entrust Pension in a dispute regarding pension scheme construction.

Benjamin Faulkner
A strong and confident advocate who is well regarded by peers and clients. He has particular experience in disputes that involve financial support directions.

Expertise: “He’s very pleasant and really knows his stuff.” “Bright, commercial, easy to work with and responsive,” he is “strong on the procedural aspects.”

Recent work: Instructed in High Court proceedings regarding amendments to the IBM pension scheme.

Sebastian Allen
Regularly instructed by the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund on a variety of matters including regulatory work and the use of actuarial process. He also has experience with moral hazard matters.

Expertise: “He is really good and very diligent.” “Brilliant to work with, he gives clear advice and is prepared to go the extra mile.”

Recent work: Acted on behalf of British Airways in litigation pursued against trustees of its pension scheme.

Bobby Friedman
An up-and-coming junior whom sources highlight for his tenacious advocacy style. He offers experience of pensions liberation schemes and regulatory matters.

Expertise: “He takes a very thorough approach to matters and is a charming and friendly character.”

Recent work: Acted for Independent Trustee Services in order to recuperate assets lost as a result of fraud.

Emer Murphy 
Commercially minded junior with a growing pensions practice. She has notable experience in civil fraud litigation relating to pension fund asset recovery, and is also good on moral hazard matters.

Expertise: “She is very persuasive and forthright in her views, and not afraid to take on a point that others perhaps wouldn’t.” “She has got very good drafting skills” and is “prepared to work all hours if necessary.”

Recent work: Instructed by Dresser-Rand on claims that benefit payments had been wrongly calculated.

Professional Negligence

Band 2

Wilberforce Chambers is a leading chancery set that handles a host of professional negligence cases, many of which are high-value and complex in nature.

Members demonstrate notable expertise in negligence cases arising from property transactions, but also routinely handle matters relating to lawyers, auditors, accountants, actuaries and individuals from the financial sector.

Client service: Mark Rushton “runs a slick outfit.” The clerks are “very helpful and responsive, and are contactable outside of office hours.”

SILKS

James Ayliffe QC
He is an established commercial silk who demonstrates notable expertise in financial and banking negligence matters.

Expertise: “He is highly cerebral, but also pragmatic in his approach.” “A go-to chancery barrister with a charming manner.”

Recent work: Advised the claimant bank in a multimillion-pound negligence case concerning a firm of project monitors.

John Wardell QC
Focuses on financial and legal professional negligence matters. He is well known for acting for barristers faced with negligence suits.

Expertise: “He gives bold advice and sticks to it. He is very calm, good on his feet, clever and has a nice touch with clients.” “He is very experienced, and has an unnerving instinct for what is important in a case and the way it will go. An outstanding advocate and a consummate team player.”

Recent work: Acted in Wilson v Grant Thornton, an £18 million auditors’ negligence case.

Ian Croxford QC
His professional negligence practice primarily involves legal and financially related matters.

Expertise: “Ian’s attention to detail and ability to identify alternative and sustainable arguments prove invaluable.” “He is exceptional especially when cross-examining vulnerable witnesses, and he has a real presence in court.”

Joanna Smith QC
Represents clients across a range of professional negligence cases, and is noted for her capabilities in high-value, complex and document-heavy work.

Expertise: “Her advocacy really marks her out, and she is a good person to have on side in court. She comes across as very reasonable but firm.”

Recent work: Acted in a high-value claim against valuers for negligent overvaluation of a holiday park in Cornwall.

Paul Newman QC
Handles financial negligence matters for claimants and defendants. He is particularly recommended in pensions-related disputes.

Expertise: “He’s very impressive in court and has great presence.” “He is very imaginative and dynamic.”

Recent work: Defended Scottish Widows against a claim by the trustees of a pensions scheme alleging negligence in regard to documentation and administration services.

Jonathan Seitler QC
Demonstrates expertise in negligence cases relating to property matters. He acts for claimants and defendants, and is frequently seen in high-value cases.

Expertise: “A forceful advocate.”

Recent work: Advised in the property-related negligence case of Trustees of the Portman Family Estates v Radcliffe Le Brasseur. The case concerned a large West End building.

 

JUNIORS

Edward Sawyer
Handles financial and legal negligence cases for clients. He is recommended in cases with an international element.

Expertise: “He is very bright, has a fantastic grasp of the detail, possesses exceptionally good drafting skills and is very user-friendly.” “He’s good with the client and extremely hard-working.”

Clare Stanley
Has a commercial-trust background and regularly acts in high-profile legal and financial negligence claims. She is noted for her forensic and detailed approach to cases.

Expertise: “An effective cross-examiner” who “gives full and carefully considered advice. She grapples with the minutiae of a case, and puts everything into a commercial context.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Rentokil v Goodman Derrick, a solicitors’ negligence case.

Real Estate Litigation

Band 2

Wilberforce Chambers is a chancery titan and a serious force in the real estate market.

Within its ranks it has a number of key people in the market, not least Jonathan Seitler QC, one of the big beasts in the field. Its members regularly handle substantial, complex property-related litigation and are involved in the most important matters of the day.

By way of illustration, Seitler himself was involved in Clutterbuck v Al Amoudi, the ‘vamp in the veil’ property fraud case which attracted significant press attention.

The team here is thoroughly committed to this area of the law and has recently released a new publication dealing with current issues in development-led real estate disputes.

Client service: “The clerks are brilliant; they’re proactive, and will let you know when you can expect something. Their head clerk, Mark Rushton, is really interested in client service.”

SILKS

James Ayliffe QC
A hugely experienced silk, who brings his substantial chancery experience to bear when handling property cases. He edits a major volume dealing with landlord and tenant issues.

Expertise: “A lawyer with a first-class brain” who “gets on very well with the clients and is very communicative.”

Recent work: Acted in defence of Texaco in a major claim from a property developer relating to alleged breach of options to grant airspace leases.

Michael Barnes QC 
An experienced, effective and talented advocate, who has appeared in landlord and tenant disputes, and has handled a host of other real property issues in courts to the highest level.

Expertise: “A strong advocate, who is very determined and single-minded.” “He is utterly dedicated and extremely thorough.”

John Furber QC
Practises in all areas of property law, but is particularly adept at handling issues surrounding commercial leases and property development.

Expertise: “He is accessible and responsive, and provides a clear steer on cases.” “He is quietly spoken, thoroughly professional, and razor-sharp in his analysis.”

Recent work: Dealt with restrictive covenant issues and rights of pre-emption surrounding the BBC studios in Southampton.

Martin Hutchings QC
An experienced real property practitioner, who has a particular talent for handling major dilapidations claims. Hutchings is a veteran when it comes to commercial landlord and tenant disputes.

Expertise: “Straight-talking, no-nonsense and great with clients.” “He is responsive, and fantastically clever.”

Recent work: Acted for Dorchester in a major breach of contract and confidence claim concerning a development near the Olympic Park.

 

Jonathan Seitler QC
A property professional negligence specialist, who acts as both an advocate and a mediator. He regularly represents blue-chip individuals.

Expertise: “He is a highly commercial and highly effective advocate, with a refreshingly unstuffy style.” “He is down to earth, client-friendly and flexible. He’s happy to drop everything to handle something urgent.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Clutterbuck v Al Amoudi, dealing with allegations of fraud relating to property ventures.

Joanne Wicks QC
A highly regarded specialist in property and professional negligence disputes.

Expertise: “A fierce advocate who is intelligent and entirely lacking in pretension.” “She is adept at giving practical, as well as technical, advice.”

Recent work: Acted for the tenant in two opposed lease renewals arising from redevelopment schemes at Waterloo and Euston stations.

JUNIORS

Tiffany Scott
Active both advising and representing clients in a wide range of property-related disputes. She handles matters ranging from landlord and tenant issues to rights of light and professional negligence cases.

Expertise: “She is brilliant under pressure,” “very, very approachable and good to work with.”

Recent work: Represented Peel Land & Property in an appeal against a decision allowing a tenant to remove millions of pounds of equipment from a steel recycling plant.

Julian Greenhill 
Focuses his efforts on dealing with landlord and tenant disputes, and also handles a range of development and commercial transaction-related disputes.

Expertise: “He is a highly effective draftsman,” who is “bright, measured and personable.”

Recent work: Represented the owner of a race horse stud in Warwickshire in a boundary dispute with a neighbouring caravan park.

Jonathan Davey
Primarily handles complex and high-value real estate issues, particularly landlord and tenant disputes. He regularly represents The Crown.

Expertise: “He is practical and commercial, and not shy of giving a view.”

Recent work: Acted on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a trial concerning whether the Crown exemption in landlord and tenant legislation is compatible with the ECHR.

Construction

Band 3

Joanna Smith QC
Often instructed in TCC cases, and also handles adjudications and arbitrations. She has a broad practice which also incorporates professional negligence and general commercial matters.

Expertise: “Charming, persuasive and able.” “She is well prepared and a really good performer.”

Recent work: She acted in Aldersgate Estates v Ham Construction & Robinson Consulting, defending a firm of structural engineers.

Mediators

Band 4

Jonathan Seitler QC
Commentators describe Jonathan Seitler QC as “very quick-witted, sharp and incisive – he’s a standout. He has a very interesting and impressive style.” His experience includes significant depth in property disputes, alongside expertise in professional negligence claims.

Tax

Band 2

Michael Furness QC
Well known for his expertise in UK and offshore trusts and the tax issues surrounding them. His practice also sees him acting on behalf of revenue authorities in Hong Kong.

Expertise: “A great advocate who is measured and careful in his approach.” “He’s very supportive and easy to bounce ideas off.”

Tax: Private Client

Band 3

Jonathan Davey 
Works in a range of private client contexts, including contentious and non-contentious estates matters. He is also experienced in working for HMRC in tax disputes concerning estates.

Expertise: “He’s very experienced and knows exactly what he is trying to achieve. He’s also a fine cross-examiner.”

Recent work: Represented the Revenue against Icebreaker LLP in a case concerning the complex tax structures employed by a number of individuals of public repute, including Gary Barlow of Take That.

Trusts

Band 1

Brian Green QC
Receives glowing praise from peers and instructing solicitors, who value his experience in international trusts disputes. Commentators simply say he is “a go-to name for big trust cases.”

Expertise: “Outstanding, commercial, incisive, assertive and always the cleverest in the room, he’s an exceptional asset to have on any case.” “His mind works in an incredibly creative way: he is always trying to find a solution even when the odds are against him.”
Robert Ham QC 
Focuses his litigation and advisory practice on trusts law. His experience includes handling tax law and professional negligence in relation to trusts.

Expertise: “Remains a first choice for those seeking advice on offshore trusts. He is appreciated particularly for his calm, authoritative approach and the workable solutions which he invariably finds to complex issues.” “An outstanding advocate and trusts technician, who is very popular with clients and solicitors.”

Recent work: Acted for Striker Trustees in a dispute in the Bahamas concerning the reinstatement of beneficiaries and the replacement of trustees in relation to a USD100 million trust.