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Chambers & Partners, 2016

Chambers & Partners 2016 ranked Wilberforce Chambers as a leading set for:

  • Chancery: Commercial
  • Chancery: Traditional
  • Charities
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • Fraud: Civil
  • Offshore
  • Pensions
  • Professional Negligence
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Tax
  • Trusts

Individually ranked for:

  • Company
  • Construction
  • Financial Crime
  • Financial Services
  • Information Technology
  • Professional Discipline
  • Insolvency

A giant of the chancery Bar, Wilberforce excels in civil fraud, professional negligence and real estate litigation, and is described by one senior commentator as a “modern, high-quality set.” Wilberforce also enjoys a high profile in the field of charity law, and its reputation for tax and trusts matters concerning private clients continues to gain prominence. The set bristles with “incredibly good heavy-hitters” in silk and a host of “top-notch” juniors, leaving sources impressed with the “consistency of high quality at Wilberforce.” A very brief survey of some of the more celebrated members might include star-rated traditional chancery and pensions barrister and leading tax, trusts and offshore expert Brian Green QC, who is “formidably intelligent with excellent judgement and also personable and fun”; magisterial chancery, pensions and trusts specialist Robert Ham QC, who “is very approachable and very affable yet has tremendous authority”; and “great advocateTerence Mowschenson QC, a top-flight commercial chancery and company law silk. These, and the other great talents at Wilberforce, are supported by the clerking team, led by Mark Rushton and Nicholas Luckman, who help “set Wilberforce apart” and “can be the determining factor” in achieving a successful outcome.

Chancery Commercial – (Band 2)

THE SET
A set with a very fine reputation for its expertise in traditional chancery matters, but one which is increasingly influential on the commercial chancery side. Its strong cohort of commercial chancery practitioners handles a wide variety of instructions and is regularly active in complicated multi-jurisdictional claims of the highest order. Cases handled in recent times include Accolade Wines v GJS and GJ4, a claim for £170 million concerning defective premises, and the Supreme Court case of Cavendish Square Holdings BV v El Makdessi.

Client service:  “It is a very smooth and slick clerking team. The clerks are very helpful and make a big difference. Mark Rushton there is excellent and runs it all very well.” The set is also fortunate in having the well-respected Nicholas Luckman as practice director. Sources say he is “a joy to deal with and a complete gentleman.”

SILKS

Terence Mowschenson QC
A well-respected silk who maintains a fine commercial chancery practice and handles a wide range of business matters. He is experienced in disputes concerning partnerships, joint ventures and financial services, among others.
Strengths: “He is clever and capable. He is a very good client man, who always remains very calm.” “His legal knowledge is extraordinarily wide.”
Recent work: Acted in a BVI case concerning the ownership of a 20% stake in major Russian airline Transaero Airlines.

James Ayliffe QC
Regularly advises and represents clients involved in disputes proceeding in foreign jurisdictions. He maintains a broad practice comprising of all manner of  commercial chancery cases.
Strengths: “He is very user-friendly, and has the ability to digest information and advise coherently on the most complex of legal arguments.”
Recent work: Represented Bank Leumi against GHM in a significant claim resulting from an abortive property development.

Lawrence Cohen QC
A seasoned and versatile litigator who remains popular among clients for his broad commercial chancery caseload. He is often involved in insolvency matters and is a noted expert on financial services litigation, both on and offshore.
Strengths: “He is very good, and has an attractive conversational style in court.”

Ian Croxford QC
A vastly experienced silk with a notable domestic and international workload. He is regularly instructed in matters of professional negligence and civil fraud.
Strengths: “He is impressive on his feet in court.” “He is a great cross-examiner.”

Alan Gourgey QC
Offers an impressive range of expertise relevant to commercial chancery matters. He is widely regarded for his civil fraud practice, and also highly adept at handling company and insolvency disputes.
Strengths: “He is, in one word, brilliant. He has a fantastic legal mind, and he is also very commercial in how he approaches disputes. Excellent at dealing with everybody, he’s approachable and not aloof. Once in court he’s a great cross-examiner who can deliver submissions without any reference to notes.”
Recent work: Acted in Telfer v Pisani, a case regarding the collapse of a tiling joint venture.

John Wardell QC
Regularly appears in cases proceeding through the Chancery Division, and is also active in offshore jurisdictions. A significant proportion of his commercial cases involve allegations of fraud relating to companies, joint ventures and partnerships.
Strengths: “He is a go-to silk for pretty much anything in the commercial, fraud or professional negligence space.” “In court he is very direct, but very effective in how he questions the witness.”
Recent work: Represented the defendants in a significant dispute between shareholders of FiCall.

Lexa Hilliard QC
Handles a wide range of substantial claims, especially those touching upon professional negligence, insolvency and company issues. Her practice is further strengthened by her abilities as a mediator.
Strengths: “Her performance was excellent – she was really on top of all aspects of the case. Her performance on paper and her delivery to the judge were excellent, and she was available night and day and at short notice.”
Recent work: Represented the claimant in NGM Sustainable Developments v Wallis, a case concerning fraudulent misrepresentation.

Joanna Smith QC
Takes instructions in a wide array of commercial chancery cases, particularly those regarding professional negligence and insurance. She is also acknowledged for her expertise in construction matters.
Strengths: “She is forthright, excellent with clients, and her attention to detail is impeccable. She has a lovely style when on her feet and has a lot of character.”
Recent work: Acted in a negligence claim brought against Bird & Bird solicitors following the conveyancing of a substantial St John’s Wood property.

Thomas Lowe QC
He is renowned for the strength of his offshore practice, which has a particular emphasis on matters proceeding in the Cayman Islands and BVI. He is often instructed in major litigation concerning the failure of substantial investment structures and also regularly appears in professional negligence and shareholder disputes.
Strengths: “He is absolutely calm when everyone else is running around like headless chickens. He is never intimidated and is a great believer that clarity of strategy is key.”
Recent work: Represented Isis against Kaupthing in a case concerning alleged breaches of fiduciary duty and fraudulent manipulation of credit markets.

Marcia Shekerdemian QC
A new silk in 2015. She continues to advise and represent clients in a number of commercial contexts, and is well versed in issues of company, partnership and insolvency law.
Strengths: “Very good on her feet, she always seems to have another gear to get into. You can just see her step it up with ease if need be.”
Recent work: Appeared in NGM Sustainable Developments v Lizzano, a case regarding a £15 million claim alleging fraudulent misrepresentation and unlawful means conspiracy.

JUNIORS

Graeme Halkerston
Frequently instructed in high-value, high-stakes cases concerning financial and insolvency issues. He is also well known for his ability to handle cases in offshore jurisdictions, especially in the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: “He is a very good and tenacious advocate.” “His brilliantly quick mind cuts through the noise to get to the heart of issues quickly.”
Recent work: Acted in BVI litigation concerning the liquidation of an investment fund holding assets worth over USD1 billion.

Max Mallin
Regularly instructed in relation to company law disputes centring upon shareholder disputes and breaches of directors’ duties. His broad commercial chancery practice also sees him handling fraud and banking and finance issues.
Strengths: “He has a thorough understanding of business and how things operate, which is always a major benefit.”
Recent work: Represented the defendant in Marco Pierre White v Featherman, a case concerning the breach of a joint venture agreement.

Andrew Mold
A versatile junior who maintains a strong presence in both the traditional and commercial chancery areas. His commercial work is characterised by regular appearances in cases concerning trusts, fiduciary duties, financial services and fraud.
Strengths: “He is very patient and talks things through. He’s also very good under pressure and user-friendly.”
Recent work: Appeared in a case concerning allegations of conspiracy arising from the development of the One Hyde Park residential scheme in London.

Tim Penny
Frequently works on cases with an international flavour, especially those involving worldwide freezing and search orders. His experience and knowledge of commercial disputes is broad, and takes in commercial fraud, partnership and shareholder disputes.
Strengths: “He is thorough and dilligent.” “He is silk quality.”
Recent work: Acted in FCA v Asset Land, a dispute concerning alleged significant breaches of the Financial Services and Markets Act.

Nikki Singla
Maintains a busy contentious and non-contentious commercial chancery practice. He is also noted for his offshore work, and has particular expertise in cases occurring in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
Strengths: “He’s absolutely delightful to be against as he’s utterly fair and charming.” “He gets under the skin of the case and is a very good team player.”
Recent work: Acted as claimant counsel in a significant banking fraud claim brought by eGain against Barclays Bank and 14 other defendants.

Iain Pester
A fine junior who is well liked by peers, and who tackles a varied commercial chancery workload. He takes instructions in matters concerning civil fraud and insolvency, and is also an expert on jurisdictional disputes.
Strengths: “He’s a deep thinker and, whereas some counsel shoot from the hip, he’s measured and thinks very deeply about things so that you get extremely good-quality advice.” Opponents say: “He is a very courteous opponent.”
Recent work: Represented the defendant in Port Capital v Zulfikar Masters, a case concerning a claim on a guarantee.

Tiffany Scott
A notable junior who is well versed in a wide range of commercial chancery matters. She is instructed by solicitors seeking counsel for matters concerning civil fraud and insolvency. She also handles partnership and fund litigation.
Strengths: “Exceptionally bright and hard-working. She makes the advice very easy to understand when tackling subjects that are very, very difficult.”
Recent work: Acted in Zarach v Douba, a shareholder dispute involving the owners of a business set up to run two Italian restaurants in London.

Edward Sawyer
Frequently advises and represents clients involved in litigation with an international angle. A versatile junior, he acts in a wide variety of cases, including those involving breaches of fiduciary duty, financial services, asset tracing and partnership issues.
Strengths: “He is very clever and a very good advocate. He can cross-examine effectively and cuts through things.”
Recent work: Appeared in IBM v Dalgleish, a case concerning a breach by IBM of 4,000 employment contracts.

James McCreath
A notable young junior who has a growing reputation among solicitors and peers alike. He acts across a range of commercial areas, including insolvency and breach of contract, and also appears in professional negligence claims.
Strengths: “He is thorough and articulate and demonstrates very good research skills.”
Recent work: Acted for a printer in a claim against the DVLA considering who ought to pay the costs associated with reissuing the registration forms of every car in the country. The case arose after a limited number of forms had been found in criminal hands.

Chancery Traditional – (Band 1)

THE SET
A leading traditional chancery set that houses some of the most sought-after and impressive barristers at the Chancery Bar, who deploy superb expertise and experience in a variety of matters. Members are active in a range of contexts, but are particularly known for their market-leading pension work, as well as their exceptional estates, trusts and taxation practices. They handle work in both the UK and key offshore jurisdictions.

Client service: “It is a very impressively run place. The clerks seem to be part of the business, and they can talk intelligently about the work that the barristers there are doing.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Brian Green QC
Revered for his extraordinary experience and expertise in virtually all areas of traditional chancery work. He is especially well known as a leading authority on pensions matters, and is also frequently involved in complex domestic and offshore trust litigation.
Strengths: “A must for difficult trust matters and one of the best silks at the Chancery Bar. He has complete mastery of his subject, is a very good advocate, and has tremendous client-handling skills.”
Recent work: He represented a charitable foundation in a USD16 billion Hong Kong case concerning permission to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal.

Robert Ham QC
A hugely influential member of the Chancery Bar who is admired both by solicitors and peers. He is noted as an authority on trusts and regularly acts in associated disputes, including those covering tax, pension and professional negligence issues.
Strengths: “He is extremely clever, but he has quite a light touch and seems to enjoy things.” “He is technically excellent and a superb advocate, who is hugely popular with both clients and solicitors.” “A barrister with a stellar intellect.”

Michael Furness QC
Advises and represents clients involved in tax litigation, and wins great praise for his substantial domestic and offshore trust work and professional negligence practice. He is regularly involved in Hong Kong matters.
Strengths: “An extremely good performer on all levels, and someone who would be superb on the Bench.”
Recent work: Acted for a former trustee and life tenant of a fund in a case concerning alleged excessive trustee fees, other overpayments and improper dealings relating to a Liechtenstein establishment.

John Martin QC
A seasoned member of the Chancery Bar who takes on, inter alia, instructions on matters concerning trusts, property and charity issues. He also regularly acts as a mediator.
Strengths: “He has been around a long time, and he knows it all.”

JUNIORS

Jonathan Hilliard
A very well-respected and sought-after junior. He is a trusts expert who regularly acts for a range of high-profile clients, and often appears in offshore jurisdictions in significant cases concerning complicated structures.
Strengths: “One of the brightest juniors around. He is incredibly responsive, makes himself available, and is very user-friendly.”
Recent work: Acted for law firm Ackerman against a claim by Hassans, Line Trust Corporation and others alleging dishonesty in its administration of a trust.

Judith Bryant
Concentrates her practice on advising and representing clients on contentious and non-contentious matters addressing trusts and related tax issues. She frequently counsels trustees on questions of variation, additional powers and trust administration.
Strengths: “I find her to be very calm and collected. She is measured and good at returning things on time, and is just a very good, analytical barrister.”

Emily Campbell
Has a well-developed contentious practice handling disputes concerning trusts, tax and pensions in the UK and important offshore jurisdictions. She is also active in non-contentious matters, and advises on wealth planning and trust documentation.
Strengths: “She is ferociously bright and very good on paper, as well as on her feet.” “Highly incisive and careful in her approach, she is extremely tenacious in getting her point across.”
Recent work: She appeared for a trustee in Labrouche v Frey and Others, a breach of trust claim concerning a significant Swiss-resident trust.

Mark Studer
An experienced junior with a wide traditional chancery practice comprising real property, conveyancing, trusts and estates, and allied professional negligence work. A significant proportion of his caseload is devoted to matters concerning charities.
Strengths: “He is an excellent draftsman, and is very straightforward and direct about what he thinks. He is very clear about how he expresses his views.”
Recent work: Appeared for two elderly customers in Wright v National Westminster Bank, a case concerning an application to have a discretionary trust set aside on grounds of mistake.

Andrew Mold
Handles general traditional chancery matters, but is especially active in breach of trust and fiduciary duty claims. He is also interested in the position and treatment of trusts in high-value, high-stakes divorce cases.
Strengths: “He is very patient and talks things through. He is also very good under pressure and user-friendly.”
Recent work: Acted in Rybolovlev v Rybolovleva, a case concerning a USD12 billion divorce case involving a significant Cypriot trust structure.

Tiffany Scott
Advises clients, including investment banks, charities and private clients on the full spectrum of trusts and estates law. Her work is a balanced mix of contentious and non-contentious matters, undertaken in the UK and offshore jurisdictions.
Strengths: “Very practical, extremely bright, highly persuasive and a delight to work with. She takes a look at the bigger picture, rather than getting bogged down in the minutiae, and is extremely good with clients.”
Recent work: Acted for Marquesa Soledad Cabeza de Vaca in a dispute relating to the wrongful distribution of assets from a £160 million trust fund.

Charities – (Band 3)

THE SET
Wilberforce Chambers is one of the leading lights for chancery law generally. As a result it is well placed to advise charities, particularly on trusts and taxation issues affecting them. Its recent work highlights advising the University of London with regard to its relationship with the Warburg Institute.

Client service: “The standard of clerking is consistent and satisfactory.” Mark Rushton heads the team.

SILKS

Michael Furness QC
An established QC with recognised pension, trust and tax capabilities. He is particularly sought out for his advice in relation to the tax liabilities of charities.
Strengths: “A very clever man who knows his stuff, and is a pleasure to work with or against. He doesn’t waste time and is always highly accurate.” “He approaches complex tax cases in a highly analytical way and doesn’t mince his words.”
Recent work: Advised the trustees of the Cup Trust in relation to a number of tax avoidance strategies enacted by past trustees.

JUNIORS

Mark Studer
Selected to advise on charity matters both in the UK and in other jurisdictions such as Hong Kong. He’s a highly experienced junior counsel, and a popular choice for disputes concerning regulatory compliance, as well as the governance and constitution of charities.
Strengths: “He is great because he doesn’t just scratch the surface, but gets to the bottom of the matter – he’s a very thoughtful lawyer.” “He knows his stuff inside-out and has a delicate sense of humour.”
Recent work: Advised on China Chem Charitable Foundation v the Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong, in a high-profile Final Court of Appeal case concerning the will of the late Nina Wang and a gift to a charitable foundation.

Commercial Dispute Resolution – (Band 4)

THE SET

Offers a broad range of expertise across a number of practice areas. Its counsel are regarded as being especially accomplished at pensions disputes, and have further experience handling weighty civil fraud and professional negligence matters. Recent leading matters in which Wilberforce counsel have appeared include the high-profile litigation brought by Vincent Tchenguiz stemming from an SFO investigation into him following the collapse of Kaupthing Bank. Solicitors with experience of instructing counsel from the set are forthcoming with their praise, saying “their clerks offer excellent service and the barristers are of a very high standard.”

Client service: “The clerks, led by Mark Rushton, are very responsive and willing to be flexible when negotiating fees.”

SILKS

Alan Gourgey QC
Highly respected commercial counsel who is most adept at handling civil fraud matters and has further expertise in IT, company law and insolvency.
Strengths: “He is incredibly bright and quick, and gets to the heart of the issue.” “He is very forensic in his approach to a case – there is no limit to how far into the technical detail he can go.”
Recent work: Instructed in a case concerning a claim that the Iraqi government had, shortly after the invasion of the country in 2003, agreed to the purchase of large amounts of additive necessary to render gasoline suitable for use as unleaded fuel. This agreement was allegedly reneged on as a consequence of the fraud of a third party.

Ian Croxford QC
Highly experienced and well regarded commercial silk who handles many disputes centred on allegations of fraud and professional negligence. Many of his commercial cases involve obtaining or resisting the due performance of contractual obligations.
Strengths: “An excellent advocate and cross-examiner who masters his brief thoroughly.” “Brilliant. He is a fantastic cross-examiner who carries the whole case on his shoulders.”
Recent work: Acted for Jasminder Singh in his defence of a claim brought by his father concerning a home property in which both parties lived. The claim was based on the unusual Hindu legal code of Mitakshara, by virtue of which a family cohabiting as a Hindu family may enjoy beneficial joint ownership of the property.

John Wardell QC
Acts for a wide range of sophisticated clients in a variety of commercial matters. His central areas of expertise are in professional negligence and civil fraud, the latter often involving company law arguments. Strengths: “Extremely knowledgeable on the law, highly collaborative and excellent at team leadership.” “He’s a fantastic advocate, who’s very commercial and very hands on.”

Terence Mowschenson QC
Highly experienced silk with a very strong track record in chancery matters. He is especially adept at company law matters and has further expertise in relation to complex financial disputes.
Strengths: “He has very impressive knowledge of the law. He is a very good advocate with vast experience of handling complex cases.” “He is very clever, very practical and he knows his stuff in great depth.”
Recent work: Represented the claimant in a dispute in the BVI concerning the ownership of a 20% shareholding in Russian airline Transaero.

Marcia Shekerdemian QC
Took silk this year on the back of a successful career as a highly popular junior. She is most adept at handling insolvency cases, and offers further expertise in relation to company law proceedings.
Strengths: “She is tenacious, hard-working, technically good and charming.”
Recent work: Acted for the former directors and shareholders of the management company of the UK’s largest Muslim cemetery in a shareholders’ dispute. The claim centred on allegations of the misapplication of company funds and breach of statutory duty.

JUNIORS

Max Mallin
Especially adept at handling civil fraud and company law matters, he is an expert in matters concerning directorial duties and shareholder disputes.
Strengths: “The most commercial and user-friendly of barristers.” “He sees the wood for the trees.”
Recent work: Represented INPS in its claim for breach of contract in relation to an agreement for the supply of a computer system to it by the defendant. The claim settled favourably for his client.

Fraud – (Band 2)

THE SET

Home to “a number of intellectual powerhouses,” Wilberforce is a set “well capable of handling fraud cases of the greatest size and import.” Members act for claimants and defendants, appearing for both individuals and corporate entities, and they receive regular instructions as part of their wider commercial chancery expertise.

SILKS

Ian Croxford QC
A much praised commercial lawyer and professional liability expert who regularly appears in claims involving allegations of fraud.
Strengths: One instructing solicitor says: “He was very smooth in court. It was like watching a cruise ship.”
Recent work: Senior counsel for three of the defendants involved in Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone.

Alan Gourgey QC
A well-respected fraud specialist who handles the full range of fraud and misappropriation claims. He is particularly strong in asset recovery.
Strengths: “Incredibly bright and quick, he really gets to the heart of the issue.” “A superb advocate.”
Recent work: Instructed in Bank of Moscow v JFC BVI & Others, a misappropriation of assets claim.

John Wardell QC
Has a strong reputation for handling civil fraud claims, particularly in the context of corporate transactions. He represents both claimants and defendants.
Strengths: “Terribly clever. Not only very good on his feet but also very good at seeing the bigger picture.”
Recent work: Represented a claimant in proceedings alleging that the owners of One Hyde Park had conspired to forfeit deposits paid by the client to secure an apartment.

Lawrence Cohen QC 
Has a wide commercial practice that encompasses serious civil fraud claims. He is particularly noted for work regarding offshore funds.
Strengths: “A terrific strategist with great teamworking skills, who shows real empathy with the clients.”

JUNIORS

Tim Penny  Tackles very high-value fraud cases and is “a walking textbook on injunctions.”
Strengths: “He is user-friendly, extremely knowledgeable and particularly good on his feet.”
Recent work: Represented VTB Bank in relation to a worldwide freezing order and enforcement proceedings which confirmed that Russian judgments are enforceable in England and Wales.

Max Mallin
A highly sought-after commercial practitioner with a respectable fraud practice. He is particularly praised for his commercial awareness and his ability to understand banking clients’ business interests.
Strengths: “Displays excellent analysis and shows good client skills.” “He has a thorough understanding of business and how things operate.”
Recent work: Represented the claimant in an action brought in the Commercial Court concerning a conspiracy to bribe officials in Iraq to induce them to buy petroleum products from a competitor.

Iain Pester
Has a strong profile for injunctive work related to serious fraud claims, and is an expert on committal and freezing orders. He is also well versed in jurisdictional issues.
Strengths: “Produces excellent written work.”
Recent work: Continues to advise on matters arising from the Supreme Court decision in VTB Capital plc v Nutritek International, a leading authority on civil fraud and the corporate veil.

Offshore – (Band 1)

THE SET
Wilberforce has an excellent reputation and a loyal following of instructing solicitors. Market commentators praise it for having a very wide offshore practice, and note that it is increasing its share of the market year on year. Members are to be seen in locations as varied as Guernsey, Bermuda, Singapore, Gibraltar and the BVI to name but a few, and are noted for their skill in trusts, real estate, company and general commercial law.

Client service: “The clerks are efficient and friendly. They never let you down when you need urgent assistance.” The clerking team is led by Mark Rushton.

SILKS

Brian Green QC
One of London’s leading practitioners on all manners of offshore trust cases. He acts for clients in the BVI, Hong Kong, the Channel Islands and Bermuda.
Strengths: “He is an all-round leading advocate who is highly approachable.”
Recent work: Acted in the Wang Family trust case in the Supreme Court of Bermuda.

Michael Furness QC
A formidable advocate with a strong reputation for Bermuda and Cayman trust cases. His occupational pensions and professional negligence expertise is well noted.
Strengths: “He is brilliant as he’s clear in his advice, personable and hard-working. He’s a major intellectual force.” “His trusts work in Bermuda and Channel Islands is excellent.”
Recent work: Represented CoT in a tax-related claim in the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. The case concerned depreciation allowances claimed for the construction of the aircraft refuelling facility at Hong Kong airport.

Robert Ham QC
Robert Ham specialises in trust cases, particularly those with a tax or pensions element.
Strengths: “He is a very highly regarded senior statesman in the trusts world.” “He has a stellar intellect, an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and an incredibly persuasive manner when arguing cases.”

Thomas Lowe QC
Draws much praise both for his profound knowledge of the law and for his work in the Cayman Islands. Trusts, insolvency and professional negligence matters are key components of his practice, and he is active in many offshore jurisdictions.
Strengths: “He has a very wide skill set and his knowledge of the market is incredible.” “If you need a safe pair of hands for a really complicated case, he is your man.”
Recent work: Acted for one of the defendants in the multi-jurisdictional case of AHAB v Saad Investment Company.

Terence Mowschenson QC
A personable and intelligent advocate who is meticulous in his approach. He is primarily called upon to handle offshore commercial chancery cases in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and Gibraltar.
Strengths: “He is a very hands-on advocate who truly cares about the cases he works on.” “He has a very impressive knowledge of the law.”
Recent work: Acted in Alexander Plashekov v Sky Stream Corp and Linkov, a dispute over the ownership of a stake in the shares in Transaero Airlines.

James Ayliffe QC
James Ayliffe is an experienced commercial barrister who is regularly instructed in the Channel Islands and the BVI.
Strengths: “He’s impressive in the way that he can work through conflicting views and find a way forward without being dogmatic.”
Recent work: Acted in Tawney Assets v East Pine Management, a claim in the BVI to set aside a joint venture agreement.

JUNIORS

Nikki Singla
A commercial and pragmatic junior who has appeared in courts in Bermuda, Dubai and the Cayman Islands. He leads the offshore section of the Commercial Bar Association Executive Commitee.
Strengths: “He is excellent with clients, very calm, and he has a great manner to him.” “He is a very bright and impressive junior.”
Recent work: Acted for the Class A Shareholders of Bimini Bay luxury condominiums in a dispute with the developers.

Jonathan Hilliard
Well respected for his trusts work, much of which involves the defence or attack of complex offshore structures. He is often called upon to act in the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and the BVI.
Strengths: “He is a real star in the making.” “He has a very pleasant manner and approaches matters in a commercial way.”
Recent work: Acted in Ackerman v Hassans, a dishonesty claim in Gibraltar involving a significant trust.

Andrew Mold
Regularly handles litigation arising from offshore trust disputes. He is active in many of the traditional offshore jurisdictions, and has recently handled cases in Cyprus, Singapore and the Isle of Man.
Strengths: “Combines technical excellence with a user-friendly approach.”
Recent work: Acted in Ackerman v Line Trust & Hassans, a breach of trust claim in Gibraltar.

Graeme Halkerston
Graeme Halkerston is a former solicitor at Applebys who has an extensive offshore litigation practice.
Strengths: “He is very good indeed. It helps that he has been offshore and understands how we work. The clients love him.” “He has a real passion for the job that comes through, and he is a brilliant strategist.”
Recent work: Acted for the administrators in Lehman Brothers International v Carr, a Cayman Islands claim against a former client investor.

Pensions – (Band 1)

THE SET
Wilberforce remains the most prominent set in the pensions arena due in part to its having “top silks, excellent juniors and a good clerking team.” It is highlighted for its ability to provide the skills needed for highly complex and technical cases that are large in scale and multi-disciplinary in scope. Instructing solicitors are appreciative of the “personable individuals” here who “have fast turnaround times and show great commitment to clients. This sets them apart from the competition.”

Client service: “The clerks are always helpful, and you can count on them to deliver what they promise.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Brian Green QC
A pre-eminent practitioner who is steeped in pensions law and highly sought after for some of the most complex and high-profile cases in the area.
Strengths: “He is extremely bright and hard-working and brings a wealth of expertise and tactical awareness to cases.”
Recent work: Represented the employers of the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund in a case brought by the trustee in relation to the adoption of a new contributions regime.

Michael Furness QC
Handles occupational pensions work and trusts and tax litigation to a very high standard. He regularly appears in offshore jurisdictions.
Strengths: “He is a good choice for highly technical matters, particularly those involving pensions tax.” “He is highly analytical, he gives a clear steer and he gets stuck in.”
Recent work: Represented ITV in the ITV/Box Clever litigation. This was a pensions case relating to the failure of ITV’s TV rental joint venture in the early 2000s.

Paul Newman QC
An outstanding silk with great expertise across the whole gamut of pensions and financial services law. He is experienced in handling litigation relating to the Pensions Act 2004, and acts for both insurers and industry regulators.
Strengths: “Very bright and tenacious, he is prepared to give robust advice and will argue his corner forcefully, making him a good choice for adversarial pensions disputes.” “He has boundless energy, shows inventiveness and has an engaging courtroom manner.”
Recent work: Successfully handled a claim on behalf of ICM concerning an error in a pension scheme.

Michael Tennet QC
A strong pensions advocate with skills on both the advisory and litigious sides. He is especially expert in the actuarial aspects of pensions and life assurance matters.
Strengths: “He is thorough and bright and a forceful advocate.” “He is user-friendly, supportive and collaborative, and has both an ability to think laterally and a good head for the maths involved in pensions.”
Recent work: Acted in Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees v Stena Line, a case determining the proper allocation of contributions amongst employers to ensure funding of a £200 million deficit in a pension scheme.

Robert Ham QC
One of the great names of the Chancery Bar who is a noted expert on pensions and trusts cases. His pensions practice is informed by expertise in professional negligence as it relates to the field.
Strengths: “He is very flexible, keen to help and he has a huge knowledge of the subject.”
Recent work: Acted in Trustees of the Dresser Rand Pension Scheme v Dresser Rand UK Limited, a case concerning an attempt attempt in 1991 to equalise the normal retirement dates of men and women in the Dresser Rand Pension Plan.

JUNIORS

Jonathan Hilliard
A go-to junior for some of the most important cases in the area. He often appears unled, such is the faith that is invested in him.
Strengths: “An exceptionally talented junior who shows great tactical awareness, and is technically very competent.” “He is engaged, approachable and hugely intelligent.”
Recent work: Represented the trustee of the Box Clever scheme in a significant matter concerning the Pensions Regulator and the Upper Tribunal’s powers in relation to dealing with financial support directions.

Edward Sawyer
A respected pensions litigator who appears in major High Court cases and also handles Pensions Regulator work.
Strengths: “An excellent draftsman with a good eye for detail.” “He is good because he has the ability to grasp the complex detail of the case.”
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of the trustee in the significant IBM case, one of the largest pieces of pensions litigation in recent years.

Emily Campbell
Regularly instructed in complex pensions matters due to her commercial and pragmatic approach to cases.
Strengths: “She has a good ability to get to the heart of the matter very quickly and she is technically very competent.”
Recent work: Acted in Re MNRPF, a case concerning the funding of an industry-wide occupational pension scheme.

Andrew Mold
An experienced junior in the pensions world with particular expertise in professional negligence related cases.
Strengths: “He is an intellectual powerhouse.” “He is bright and energetic, he has impressive recall and he is fully on top of his subject.”
Recent work: Advised the administrators of the Nortel Group pensions scheme with regard to a significant piece of litigation against the Pensions Regulator.

James Walmsley
A highly regarded pensions regulatory lawyer with experience of handling high-profile cases.
Strengths: “A very solid junior who would be a serious contender for smaller cases that require a high-quality junior to appear without leading counsel.”
Recent work: He acted on behalf of the Regulator in the ITV/Box Clever case.

Emily McKechnie
An impressive junior who handles pensions cases as part of her busy chancery practice.
Strengths: “She is co-operative and technically very solid.” “She is a great advocate who is very user-friendly, bright and someone who provides excellent client service.”

Sebastian Allen
A highly popular choice of junior for bigger pensions litigation as evidenced by his appearance in both the Nortel and Silentnight cases.
Strengths: “He is technically very able and working with him is a happy experience as he hits deadlines.”
Recent work: Represented British Airways in relation to its pension scheme obligations.

Benjamin Faulkner
A recognised junior building a solid reputation in the area, who is as likely to appear in cases as sole counsel as he is to appear led by a silk.
Strengths: “He is a very bright guy who is very hard-working and very easy to deal with.” “He is exceedingly user-friendly and charming to work with.”
Recent work: Acted in the high-profile IBM pensions litigation.

James McCreath
Handles a broad range of high-profile cases for both employees and trustees.
Strengths: “He masters complex cases with relative ease, and is always helpful no matter what the demands of the case are.”
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of the employer in a landmark case concerning the validity of amendments made to the Gleeds Retirement benefit scheme.

Bobby Friedman
An up-and-coming junior who is noted for his advocacy capabilities and the practical approach he takes to cases.
Strengths: “He is staggeringly clever.” “He has the ability to distil complex pensions issues into pragmatic and comprehensive advice.”
Recent work: Assisted with the writing of an expert report on English pensions law for the Canadian Court in the course of the highly significant Nortel litigation.

Thomas Robinson
A favourite of the Pensions Regulator who has had roles in major cases such as Lehman Brothers and Nortel. His practice is multi-jurisdictional in scope.
Strengths: “He is brilliant and he grows in strength all the time.” “He is good at knowing his way around a case.”
Recent work: Acted in Re Storm Funding, an important case that was part of the Lehman Brothers insolvency.

Professional Negligence – (Band 2)

THE SET
A well-established set housing a total of 54 members and specialising in a broad range of areas including professional negligence. It frequently acts in claims for and against legal and construction professionals including solicitors, engineers and architects. Recent cases handled by members include defending a £170 million negligence action against the designers of a warehouse floor and a £17 million property negligence case concerning the liability of two barristers. One impressed solicitor notes: “They are a jewel of a set and compare very favourably with other chambers. The quality of their counsel is very good.”

Client service: “They are extremely approachable and collaborative and they do all they can to accommodate us. The smoothest and most commercially sensitive of chambers.” Mark Rushton is head clerk.

SILKS

Ian Croxford QC
A highly experienced trial advocate undertaking complex commercial litigation and professional negligence matters. Regularly takes on negligence claims involving stockbrokers, civil engineers and management consultants.
Strengths: “He is technically excellent, very good at dealing with judges and opponents, and very highly respected.” “A superb court performer.”
Recent work: Acted in Excalibur v Texas Keystone, a high-profile claim involving the liability of legal professionals.

Joanna Smith QC
As head of department, continues to build a formidable professional negligence practice, acting for both claimants and defendants. She is particularly sought after to advise in claims relating to the construction industry.
Strengths: “Technically very good, excellent with clients and provides sound advice.”
Recent work: Instructed in CIP Property Limited v Galliford Try (and Others), a multimillion-pound negligence action concerning construction and refurbishment work on Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

John Wardell QC
Has over three decades of experience at the Bar and routinely acts for both sides in professional negligence matters. He often represents clients in negligence actions against surveyors, financial advisers and actuaries.
Strengths: “Relentless, thorough and devastating in court.” “Extremely good at team management, tactics and cross-examination.”
Recent work: Successfully defended a claim against a patent agent for allegedly negligent intellectual property advice in relation to a new product called Dual Glo.

Paul Newman QC
A dynamic and well-respected silk with significant experience in financial services law and professional liability. His practice encompasses litigation that involves trustees, solicitors and large UK pensions schemes.
Strengths: “A passionate and tenacious advocate with terrific experience.” “He is robust, authoritative and commercial – someone you see consistently in leading cases.”

James Ayliffe QC
A seasoned professional negligence practitioner who regularly acts in legal and property-related professional negligence disputes. Has extensive expertise in handling professional indemnity insurance matters.
Strengths: “Measured in terms of his advice and conduct in conference with clients.”
Recent work: Counsel to Maples Teesdale LLP in a £5 million solicitor negligence case concerning the sale of a valuable piece of land in London.

Jonathan Seitler QC
A highly esteemed silk with a particular focus on complex and high-value professional negligence matters. Routinely acts in claims relating to the liability of solicitors and valuers.
Strengths: “Exceptional – he is realistic and has a fabulous rapport with clients.” “A very good advocate who has the ear of the court.”
Recent work: Advised in Rentokil v Goodman Derrick, a legal professional negligence matter pertaining to the sale of offices in Sussex.

Lexa Hilliard QC
Co-head of chambers who brings over two decades of experience to the team. She specialises in commercial disputes, insolvency and professional negligence work.
Strengths: “She’s got a great courtroom style – appearing quite unassuming when actually everything is very carefully thought through. Very effective.” “Widely experienced in the field, has excellent client skills and is a pleasure to work with.”

Clare Stanley QC
Her practice covers a wide range of sophisticated professional negligence matters and she acts for a number of leading law firms. She has a strong track record in claims involving negligent trust, tax and insolvency advice.
Strengths: “Clare provides highly intelligent, strategic and commercial advice combined with excellent advocacy skills.”
Recent work: Represented Mishcon de Reya against allegations of negligence with regard to the sale of QPR football club.

Real Estate Litigation – (Band 2)

THE SET
A formidable chancery set which is home to a number of leading real estate practitioners. Wilberforce Chambers advises on the full gamut of issues, from commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, right through to real property issues. Sources are quick to praise the “high service” offered by barristers, pointing to their commercial mindset and fast turnaround times.

Client service: “They are always very helpful and friendly. They make a big point of getting to know people, which is a personal touch.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Jonathan Seitler QC
High-profile barrister who handles a variety of complex real estate matters. He frequently advises on professional negligence issues that cross into the property space.
Strengths: “He is very quick, provides creative solutions and is very user-friendly.” “He is a great advocate.”
Recent work: Represented the chef Gordon Ramsay who claimed signature forgery on leases via the use of a machine which writes his signature for his book covers.

Joanne Wicks QC
Handles both property and related professional negligence disputes. She is viewed as an engaging practitioner who relates well to both the client and court.
Strengths: “She is knowledgeable, pragmatic and pleasant to deal with.”
Recent work: Advised on the dispute between Norcros and Optimisation Developments, an arm of Morrisons supermarkets, after the latter withdrew from an acquisition agreement for a site in a retail park.

Michael Barnes QC
Oversees a mixed practice which comprises mainly real estate and administrative law cases.
Strengths: “He’s a very aggressive and talented cross-examiner.” “He deals with everything in a very crisp way and you’re out before the coffee is cold. He is so efficient and decisive in what he says that you don’t feel the need to chat things over with him.”

John Furber QC
Frequently advises on landlord and tenant issues. He is well versed in the areas of commercial property and development projects.
Strengths: “He is hugely experienced and very effective. His approach and manner make him a great choice for any solicitor and client.”
Recent work: Successfully pursued the claim of leaseholder Bolsover Investments against Mount Eden Land that consent for alterations was unduly withheld by the landlord.

Martin Hutchings QC
Has a track record in landlord and tenant matters relating to the commercial sector. His wide-ranging real estate practice frequently covers cases which cross over with professional negligence.
Strengths: “He is a challenging advocate to be against.” “He is very able and user-friendly.”
Recent work: Settled the claim in Dorchester v BNP Paribas and Landprop over issues arising from a development site next to the Olympic Stadium, including alleged breach of contract.

James Ayliffe QC
Handles a broad business, financial and commercial practice with significant real estate aspects. He is well versed in issues which arise between landlord and tenant.
Strengths: “He is very diligent with good turnaround time and availability.” “He is an excellent communicator who provides supremely intelligent advice.”
Recent work: Represented the defendant in the Royal Mail Estates v Maples Teesdale case, which concerned an alleged repudiation of a sale and redevelopment contract for a former Royal Mail sorting office.

JUNIORS

Julian Greenhill
Has a practice spanning both real property and landlord and tenant issues. He receives instructions in a wide range of development and commercial matters in the field.
Strengths: “He is always calm under pressure with an ability to maintain a clear and objective strategy.” “He is personable and easy to get on with. A very good team player.”
Recent work: Acted in the major landlord and tenant dispute Tindall Cobham v Adda Hotels.

Tiffany Scott
Expert knowledge of landlord and tenant matters in both the commercial and residential sectors. She is praised by sources as a strong advocate.
Strengths: “She is great with clients and very easy to work with.” “She is very at ease and confident.”
Recent work: Acted for the landlord, Peel Land and Property, on the successful appeal of a decision made in favour of the Saudi Arabian tenant of its steel recycling plant.

Jonathan Davey
Has recently made a number of appearances in the Court of Appeal. He takes on complex and high-value cases in the field.
Strengths: “He is an accomplished advocate.” “He is really user-friendly and phenomenally bright.”

Tax – (Band 2)

THE SET

With several specialist practitioners in the practice area, this highly regarded set regularly advises private clients on estate planning and offshore trusts. Its barristers have strong litigation capabilities and appear in court for many complex and extremely high-stakes cases.

Client service: “The clerks are very responsive and they seem to know everything.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk at the set.

SILKS

Michael Furness QC
An experienced litigator, who has a strong focus on work relating to both onshore and offshore trusts and is well equipped to deal with matters concerning clients from overseas.
Strengths: “He is extremely good. He is a core chancery practitioner who has very great knowledge of private client and inheritance tax law.” “He is very good and very responsive.”
Recent work: Appealed on behalf of Samarkand and Proteus Film Partnerships in a case involving the denial of tax relief.

Brian Green QC
A leading chancery practitioner with a strong practice in private client issues. He specialises in matters relating to trusts and estates, and also advises clients on pension-related tax.
Strengths: “He is known as a pensions and trusts man and has a tremendously good reputation on that side. He is very bright indeed and has a very good following in his area.” “Masterful, definitely at the top of his form.”

JUNIORS

Jonathan Davey
Appointed on numerous high-value private client matters, Jonathan Davey handles complex litigation matters with aplomb. He is experienced in handling significant matters relating to the creative industries and also advises individuals on pensions and tax avoidance cases.
Strengths: “He is an excellent draftsman and a charming and effective advocate with a good understanding of tax avoidance cases.”

Ranked barristers in other areas-

Company

Lexa Hilliard QC
Has recently been appointed as the joint head of chambers. She often handles breach of fiduciary duty claims and cases arising out of large corporate restructurings or insolvencies.
Strengths: “Always accommodating as regards urgency and timescale for providing advice. Friendly and easy to work with.” “She is a delight to work with. She has a fierce intellect and an easy manner with clients.”
Recent work: Acted in the Court of Appeal in Burry & Knight, a hearing concerning the interpretation of Sections 116 and 117 of the Companies Act.

Terence Mowschenson QC
Has a strong reputation for his work in company disputes. He handles a range of business-related matters, both in the UK and offshore.
Strengths: “He is profoundly knowledgeable on an almost infinite number of areas of law and juggles his work brilliantly.” “He provides advice very promptly and is happy to go the extra mile.”
Recent work: Recently acted in a dispute over ownership of 20% of the shareholding of one of Russia’s largest airlines, Transaero Airlines.

Marcia Shekerdemian QC
Enjoys a loyal client base of firms who instruct her on a wide array of company matters. She has handled a number of high-profile disputes and technical advisory pieces in relation to the Companies Act.
Strengths: “Really collaborative, commercial, pragmatic and providing the lead for us as a legal team.” “Great in writing and her advocacy is very well received by the judges.”
Recent work: Represented the former shareholders and directors of a company in a breach of statutory duty dispute involving allegations of the misapplication of company funds.

Construction

Joanna Smith QC
Has a wide ranging construction practice and is noted for her expertise in TCC cases.
Strengths: “She is a very thorough and extremely tenacious advocate.”
Recent work: Represented Twintec in the Accolade Wines litigation, a £170 million claim over defective work at a warehouse in Bristol that led to the floor slab sinking and rendering the warehouse unusable.

Information Technology

Alan Gourgey QC
Enjoys an excellent reputation among clients and peers at the Technology Bar as a result of both his commercial approach to IT disputes and his accomplished advocacy. He has appeared in a number of the most significant matters in the field in recent times, not least those relating to government procurement of software.
Strengths: “He is a man of the utmost integrity. Judges enjoy having him before them, because they know he will make it as straightforward and as easy as possible to decide the issues.” “He has a brilliant legal mind, and is very commercial in how he approaches disputes.”
Recent work: Represented Address Data International in a matter that addressed issues relating to the Commercial Agent (Council Directive) Regulations as they apply to the company.

Thomas Robinson
Junior counsel with a growing reputation for his work in relation to a range of technology litigation matters. He focuses primarily on contractual disputes, and has additional experience in regulatory issues affecting the field.
Strengths: “Bright, hard-working, unflappable and possessed of much common and commercial sense.” “He is a star in the making as he’s very bright and is able to get through a huge workload to cut to the issues quite quickly.”
Recent work: Acted in regulatory proceedings against Nortel Networks in a matter that has included mediation in Canada and the USA.

Insolvency

Lexa Hilliard QC
Highly recommended for her insolvency work, both on the advisory and the advocacy side. Her practices encompasses a broad range of work in this area, and she acts for various parties such as administrators and insolvency practitioners.
Strengths: “She is confident, extremely thorough, very easy to deal with, and someone with an incredibly high intellect.” “She’s got a great courtroom style – everything is very carefully thought through. She is also a lovely person to deal with.”
Recent work: Successfully defended the administrators of Blue Monkey Gaming in a high-profile claim for conversion.

Thomas Robinson
Handles a wide range of insolvency-related litigation. His recent work has included offshore litigation mandates and cross-border matters.
Strengths: “He is able to think outside of the box to come up with good, workable solutions.” “He’s shown himself to be very bright – he can pick up any issue you throw at him, is very pragmatic and is great on his feet and at providing opinions.”
Recent work: Provided advice to the creditor of a failed Irish bank in relation to a secured debt of £195 million.

Iain Pester
Tackles a diverse range of corporate and personal insolvency concerns. He is praised for his considerable expertise in directors’ disqualification proceedings.
Strengths: “He’s measured and thinks very deeply so you get extremely good-quality advice.”
Recent work: Provided advice to the trustee in bankruptcy of the company directors of Weavering Capital (UK), in connection with a range of matters related to a USD450 million fraud.

Marcia Shekerdemian QC
Talented silk with a substantial insolvency practice. She has recently been involved in a number of cases in the personal insolvency space, particularly in relation to bankruptcy tourism. Solicitors note that she is “great with clients.”
Strengths: “She is very responsive, extremely pragmatic and a great team-player.” “She is easy to deal with, good on her feet, and has great expertise in insolvency matters.”
Recent work: Acted for the liquidator of Infinitum Consulting Group in relation to a £2 million misfeasance action against the company director.

Trusts

Brian Green QC
Handles all aspects of commercial and private trusts work and is widely hailed as “one of the great names of the Chancery Bar.” He is experienced in a range of UK and offshore courts and is frequently sought out to handle multimillion-pound trust disputes.
Strengths: “He has a mastery of the subject and very good advocacy and client-handling skills.” “He is incredibly thorough and the quality that comes out of him is quite something. He is charming and unflappable and that comes from the fact that he is incredibly prepared.”

Jonathan Hilliard
Enjoys a broad trusts practice, handling private, commercial and pension trusts disputes. He has experience of acting without a leader in a range of English and offshore courts and has advised on the full spectrum of trusts issues.
Strengths: “He is excellent at making a complicated case seem simple for a judge and he comfortably holds his own when up against much more senior counsel.” “He’s very strong, user-friendly, hard-working and quick, both intellectually and in his response times.”
Recent work: Defended US law firm Ackerman against dishonesty allegations relating to their running of a substantial trust.

Mark Studer
Handles the full range of drafting, advisory work and private client litigation in the field of trusts. He has particular experience of dealing with the affairs and administration of charities, and he himself is a trustee of several charities.
Strengths: “His gravitas and knowledge are extraordinary and of great help to the court.” “He’s an excellent draftsman who’s very straightforward, direct and clear about how he expresses his views.”
Recent work: Represented the appellant in Chinachem Charitable Foundation Ltd v The Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong, a Court of Appeal case concerning the interpretation of a will relating to an estate of HKD86 billion.

Robert Ham QC
Undertakes trust litigation and advisory work and is regarded by solicitors as “a top-flight silk.” He handles a range of private client work, and is good on tax law and trusts-related professional negligence.
Strengths: “He is very approachable and very affable yet has tremendous authority.” “He is very user-friendly, responsive and quick to pick things up.”
Recent work: Represented the trustee in a large-scale Bermuda trust dispute concerning rights to trust information.