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Chambers & Partners, 2018

Wilberforce celebrates a record year of rankings in the latest edition of Chambers & Partners, highlighting collective strength across our core practice areas and the expertise and experience of members of chambers and staff. We are recognised as a leading set in 12 areas (below), with the addition this year of leading set status in the restructuring and insolvency area. Overall, we have 143 barrister rankings, which includes six new entries and 14 improved individual rankings.

Chambers & Partners 2018 ranked Wilberforce Chambers as a leading set for:

  • Chancery: Commercial
  • Chancery: Traditional
  • Charities
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • Company
  • Fraud: Civil
  • Offshore
  • Pensions
  • Professional Negligence
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Restructuring/Insolvency
  • Tax: Private Client

Individually ranked for:

  • Agriculture and Rural Affairs
  • Art and Cultural Property
  • Construction
  • Professional Negligence Technology and Construction
  • IT

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 advocate” Terence 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
Wilberforce Chambers is a leading traditional chancery set which also has a large number of silks and juniors who have significant practices in the commercial chancery sphere. Sources describe it as “a very strong set,” with “extremely capable practitioners.” One client comments: “I would rate pretty much anyone from Wilberforce very highly.” The set handles a wide range of commercial chancery work, including company, partnership and insolvency disputes. Notable matters handled by members include Cavendish Square Holdings BV v Makdessi and AHAB v Saad Investment Company

Client service: “The clerks are top-notch and bend over backwards to help you out. They are very good at liaising with the court and giving you updates.” The clerking team is led by head clerk Mark Rushton and the “absolutely stellar” practice director Nicholas Luckman

SILKS

Alan Gourgey QC
A popular member of the Commercial Chancery Bar, who is particularly praised for his “second to none” work ethic and his ability to handle top-flight cases.
Strengths:Very thorough, very to the point and no nonsense. He doesn’t take rubbish points and is confidence-inspiring.” “An extremely decent and likeable person, who’s very easy to get on with, and very persuasive.”

Terence Mowschenson QC
A senior silk with a strong reputation for his “encyclopaedic” knowledge of the law and all-round commercial chancery expertise. He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the chancery and Queen’s Bench divisions.
Strengths:One of the grandees of the Chancery Commercial Bar, who loves the law for its own sake.” “A really nice guy who knows when to be aggressive and when to be charming in court. He knows when to really throw his weight around, and is very well versed in oligarch disputes.
Recent work: Instructed in Wardour Trading v Nekrich, an action brought by a liquidator of company for fraudulent trading, which allegedly caused the company to incur liabilities of USD50 million.

James Ayliffe QC
Has a broad commercial chancery practice, and has handled many joint venture and real property cases. He is regarded as very thorough and measured in his approach.
Strengths: “A lawyer’s lawyer, who doesn’t grandstand and has a very calm manner. He has a brilliant ability to analyse contractual situations.”
Recent work: Represented the defendants in Wilton UK v Shuttleworth & others, a multimillion-pound claim for damages for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, knowing assistance and conspiracy in relation to a joint venture for the acquisition and development of land in the north of England.

Lawrence Cohen QC
An experienced commercial chancery silk who leads substantial and complicated matters to successful conclusions. His recent caseload has involved a significant element of shareholder dispute work.
Strengths:Has a great bank of strategic knowledge, and is someone you go to when matters are international, complex and messy.” “He really gets into his cases and has been very successful over the years.”
Recent work: Represented Eurasia Drilling Company in a dispute arising after the company was delisted from London Stock Exchange when a management bid succeeded for all but 5% of its shares accepting. The dissenting shareholders sought to have a Cayman court fix the fair value of their shares which they claim were worth more than the offer price.

Ian Croxford QC
A powerful advocate with a good deal of experience in the commercial chancery world. His practice has a particularly prominent civil fraud strand.
Strengths:Superb on his feet, he commands respect from the court, including the judge.” “He’s just a natural cross-examiner with great flair.”

Joanna Smith QC
Has a strong commercial chancery practice that takes in professional negligence and insolvency matters. Her cases often involve novel or subtle points of law, and a number of them go to appeal.
Strengths:A delight to work with, she is very firm and demonstrates high-quality leadership under extreme pressure.” “Engaging, proactive and sensible, and she’s got a level head on her shoulders.”
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in Tiuta International Ltd v De Villiers, successfully arguing in the Court of Appeal for a novel interpretation of the ‘but for’ test of causation.

John Wardell QC
A highly thought-of barrister with a good reputation for fraud and professional negligence work in particular. Sources describe him as an excellent advocate and a good team player.
Strengths:Very hard-working, very bright, and does everything he can to push his client’s case. He’s very bullish on the merits and a punchy advocate in court.” “John has no qualms at all about getting involved; he will happily roll up his sleeves and work through evidence.
Recent work: Instructed by the claimant in Sabbagh v Khoury, a very substantial claim for conspiracy in relation to a construction business.

Thomas Lowe QC
Has a strong reputation for offshore commercial chancery work, particularly in the Cayman Islands, and is described by one solicitor as “an international superstar in cross-border insolvency.” He is admitted in both the BVI and the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: “Far and away one of the go-to silks when it comes to litigation in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.” “He really gets a handle on the issues from the outset, and is very good on his feet.
Recent work: Lowe acted for one of the defendants in AHAB v Saad Investment Company & Others, a cross-border claim for recovery of USD9 billion following claims of a Ponzi scheme totalling USD350 billion.

Lexa Hilliard QC
A respected silk whose practice includes company and fraud disputes, and who is particularly known for her insolvency work. Sources praise her for her technical ability and practicality.
Strengths: “Just keeps things calm and speaks with authority and care.” “She has that ability to think about points that others wouldn’t, and has special ability skill in making new law.”
Recent work: Acted for the directors in McTear v Engelhard Holdings, a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal against a judgment obtained by the claimant company in a trial against the directors for breach of fiduciary duty.

Fenner Moeran QC
Praised as a modest and straightforward QC with a direct and effective advocacy style. He handles commercial chancery cases of many different stripes, many of which involve company law, fraud and pensions issues.
Strengths:Has a thorough grounding in the law, and just tenaciously goes for it in court.” “He doesn’t try to talk very cleverly about how bright he is, but instead just gives straightforward advice. His advocacy style is the same; he doesn’t dress things up.”
Recent work: Acted for the liquidators of three companies in the Cayman Islands seeking a direction for sale of property, which was opposed by a minority shareholder.

Tim Penny QC
A thorough and capable junior silk, according to interviewees. He has a strong practice handling injunctions, including freezing orders, as well as cases of commercial fraud and bankruptcy.
Strengths:He’s very affable and a pleasant opponent, but you don’t want to be taken in – he’s clearly a smart operator.” “Very sound and very thorough, he takes all the right points. You can always count on him to be a difficult opponent but a nice guy.

Recent work: Instructed in Trustees in Bankruptcy of Mr George Trefilov v Cotchford & George Trefilov, which concerned the Trustees’ entitlement to a USD14 million fund on the basis of restitution, agency, contract, constructive trust and piercing the corporate veil.

Clare Stanley QC
Has a broad chancery practice, and is an expert in civil fraud and insolvency cases. She is a forceful advocate who is admired for her ability to identify the good and bad points in a case with objectivity.
Strengths:Very diligent and methodical, she is quite fearless and isn’t easily intimidated.”
Recent work: Instructed in Challinor v Juliet Bellis, which concerned a failed property investment scheme where investors paid their money into a solicitors’ account for onward investment in a property development of Fairoaks Airport.

Marcia Shekerdemian QC
Instructed in a variety of commercial chancery matters, and has a particular focus on insolvency work. Sources praise her client skills.
Strengths:Extremely good with clients and a very good lawyer.” “Formidable both in court and in negotiation, she’s really impressive in the way that she fights her corner without being aggressive.”
Recent work: Represented a group of bondholders in litigation to determine the rights to a £22 million fund held in the UK following the high-profile collapse of a Luxembourg investment company known as ‘the Death Bond’ company.

Max Mallin QC
Has a respected commercial chancery practice, and is effective in company law and fraud cases. He is a convincing advocate who is known for the commerciality of his advice.
Strengths:A very good advocate and a very quick thinker.” “Max’s great strength is that he worked in the City and has very good knowledge of how it works.”

Chancery Traditional (Band 1)

THE SET
Wilberforce Chambers is recognised as one of the premier sets in the area of trusts, taxation and other private client work. It is noted for having a significant number of established silks and for being involved in some of the most high-profile and complex cases in this field. One source enthuses: “The chambers is of real benefit to even the most experienced practitioners, and one of the leading sets in terms of commercial acumen and accessibility.” A solicitor adds: “Wilberforce is exceptional at dealing with private client matters and is the standout set for trust disputes.”

Client service: The clerks are great and very commercially minded; they can make things happen. You always feel like you are getting special treatment.” “The clerking team there is very good and able to deal with any issue you may have.” Nicholas Luckman is the practice director and Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Brian Green QC
Highly rated silk who is a leading practitioner in trust and estate law. He is further praised for having wide-ranging experience in other chancery matters, and is a noted expert in offshore disputes.
Strengths: “A powerhouse with a formidable reputation and a very high profile, who does big, big cases likely to be on the front page of the Financial Times.” “He is just supremely good at seeing the big picture and cutting through to the important points. His judgement and experience are unparalleled, as is his legal expertise, and you can have total faith in his judgement and wisdom.”
Recent work: Acted in the UK Supreme Court in the first case to reach that court on the Hague Convention on the recognition of trust validity under the Recognition of Trusts Act 1987.

Gilead Cooper QC
Specialises in contentious trust and property matters on both a domestic and international basis. He is highly regarded for his expertise in offshore matters and regularly appears in overseas courts on high-profile cases.
Strengths: “Very good at understanding the technical aspects of trust law whilst also being very perceptive to personal situations and commercial realities. He understands the interpersonal dynamics involved in these types of cases.”
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in a claim by an executor of the will of a high-profile Saudi government minister. Disclosure of information was sought from the family office of a Lebanese businessman, who had been an associate of the deceased government minister.

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.

Michael Furness QC
Head of chambers and noted for his work in onshore and offshore disputes. He often deals with trust and tax litigation as well as associated professional negligence matters. His cases often involve complex, multi-jurisdictional issues.
Strengths: Well regarded for his advice to trustees and has a strong track record of giving good strategic advice on litigation and the court process.” “He has a first-class brain, is enormously constructive and works very hard at turning over all the stones in a case.
Recent work: Represented a former trustee in a claim brought against them for excessive fees and overpayments to other parties.

Robert Ham QC
Hugely experienced practitioner who specialises in trusts and taxation matters, handling both contentious and non-contentious work. He also has expertise in pensions and professional negligence matters.
Strengths: “Has enormous understanding of his subject; when he speaks everyone listens and everyone believes what he says.” “He is extraordinary; he gives some of the best and most clear advice on very difficult topics. A seasoned trusts lawyer, he is very good with clients as he has a very kind and sympathetic manner.”
Recent work: Advising trustees of Manx trusts in connection with claims by SEC and IRS that the trusts were shams.

Fenner Moeran QC
Specialises in complex family disputes and frequently handles sensitive and high-profile trust cases. He has developed a substantial offshore disputes practice and is noted for his expertise in cases concerning complex property issues arising out of matrimonial breakdown.
Strengths: “Very bright and very diligent, he has a mind that is incredibly lucid and he can recall every detail.” “A strong and sensible advocate, who is able to deal with some of the most difficult and complex matters. He stands his ground when needed but is also open to cutting a deal.”
Recent work: Advised on a significant trust case regarding whether representations by one trustee could bind the other trustee to a proprietary estoppel, and whether trustees could bind beneficiaries’ interests by a proprietary estoppel in favour of another beneficiary who had notice of the trust.

Jonathan Davey QC
Regularly involved in complex and high-value traditional chancery disputes, he is noted for his experience in significant tax litigation and has acted in several high-profile cases relating to that area. He also has expertise in pensions and charity matters.
Strengths: “Very smooth and intelligent, he presents his case very well. The clients were delighted with him and the client we worked with would only take advice from him.” “A very smart and powerful advocate.”
Recent work: Handled a £1 billion dispute regarding the proper analysis and tax treatment in respect of LLPs involved in the film and games industries.

Jonathan Hilliard QC
Often involved in matters relating to complex offshore structures, he acts in various jurisdictions. He is also noted for his recent experience in dealing with highly lucrative trust and divorce cases in both onshore and offshore jurisdictions.
Strengths: Practical, clear and very focused in his advice.” “He has been exceptional handling cases, both on overall strategy and also when dealing with substantive law.”

Clare Stanley QC
Focuses her practice on contentious trusts and probate litigation on both a domestic and international basis. She has significant experience of handling offshore disputes and numerous 1975 Act claims.

Michael Furness QC
Head of chambers and noted for his work in onshore and offshore disputes. He often deals with trust and tax litigation as well as associated professional negligence matters. His cases often involve complex, multi-jurisdictional issues.
Strengths: “Well regarded for his advice to trustees and has a strong track record of giving good strategic advice on litigation and the court process.” “He has a first-class brain, is enormously constructive and works very hard at turning over all the stones in a case.”
Recent work: Represented a former trustee in a claim brought against them for excessive fees and overpayments to other parties.

Robert Ham QC
Hugely experienced practitioner who specialises in trusts and taxation matters, handling both contentious and non-contentious work. He also has expertise in pensions and professional negligence matters.
Strengths: Has enormous understanding of his subject; when he speaks everyone listens and everyone believes what he says.” “He is extraordinary; he gives some of the best and most clear advice on very difficult topics. A seasoned trusts lawyer, he is very good with clients as he has a very kind and sympathetic manner.
Recent work: Advising trustees of Manx trusts in connection with claims by SEC and IRS that the trusts were shams.

Fenner Moeran QC
Specialises in complex family disputes and frequently handles sensitive and high-profile trust cases. He has developed a substantial offshore disputes practice and is noted for his expertise in cases concerning complex property issues arising out of matrimonial breakdown.
Strengths: “Very bright and very diligent, he has a mind that is incredibly lucid and he can recall every detail.” “A strong and sensible advocate, who is able to deal with some of the most difficult and complex matters. He stands his ground when needed but is also open to cutting a deal.”
Recent work: Advised on a significant trust case regarding whether representations by one trustee could bind the other trustee to a proprietary estoppel, and whether trustees could bind beneficiaries’ interests by a proprietary estoppel in favour of another beneficiary who had notice of the trust.

Jonathan Davey QC
Regularly involved in complex and high-value traditional chancery disputes, he is noted for his experience in significant tax litigation and has acted in several high-profile cases relating to that area. He also has expertise in pensions and charity matters.
Strengths: “Very smooth and intelligent, he presents his case very well. The clients were delighted with him and the client we worked with would only take advice from him.” “A very smart and powerful advocate.”
Recent work: Handled a £1 billion dispute regarding the proper analysis and tax treatment in respect of LLPs involved in the film and games industries.

Jonathan Hilliard QC
Often involved in matters relating to complex offshore structures, he acts in various jurisdictions. He is also noted for his recent experience in dealing with highly lucrative trust and divorce cases in both onshore and offshore jurisdictions.
Strengths: “Practical, clear and very focused in his advice.” “He has been exceptional handling cases, both on overall strategy and also when dealing with substantive law.

Clare Stanley QC
Focuses her practice on contentious trusts and probate litigation on both a domestic and international basis. She has significant experience of handling offshore disputes and numerous 1975 Act claims.
Strengths: “Judges are very complimentary about her and how she controls matters. She absolutely knows what she is doing and takes total command of the case by dint of her easy and straightforward manner.” “Clare is insightful and can really help clients with overall strategy. Her turnaround time is amazing and she is very amiable.”
Recent work: Acted in a long-running battle between a brother and his siblings and the trustees of their late mother’s will. The case concerned whether the brother should be allowed to occupy the main asset of the estate.

John Martin QC
Exceptionally experienced barrister with specific expertise in contentious trust cases. He also has plenty of experience in offshore disputes and regularly appears in court in a variety of overseas jurisdictions.
Strengths: “Authoritative and an absolute star on contentious matters; you always want him on your side in such disputes.” “He is extremely good when appearing at every level of the court system and has a hugely impressive command of the law.

John Martin QC
Exceptionally experienced barrister with specific expertise in contentious trust cases. He also has plenty of experience in offshore disputes and regularly appears in court in a variety of overseas jurisdictions.
Strengths: “Authoritative and an absolute star on contentious matters; you always want him on your side in such disputes.” “He is extremely good when appearing at every level of the court system and has a hugely impressive command of the law.”

JUNIORS

Andrew Child
Leading junior in the field of traditional chancery, who often handles many of the most important cases concerning estate and trust litigation both domestically and offshore. He is noted for his expertise in breach of trust claims and private international law issues.
Strengths: Known for giving well thought-out and clear advice, he is incisive and analytical in his approach to complex matters.” “His is a name you see on all the biggest cases. He is very in-demand with solicitors and always acts in important cases that produce significant decisions and judgments.”
Recent work: Acted on behalf of a divorcing party in reply to a worldwide freezing injunction and asset protection order in support of ongoing Israeli divorce proceedings.

Judith Bryant
Well-experienced junior who specialises in advisory and litigation work involving trusts. She often advises on trusts variation matters, trustees’ applications and disputes over the interpretation of complex trusts documentation.
Strengths: “Her legal intellect is first rate and she adds a lot of value through her opinions.” “She has excellent commercial instincts” and is “able to give very clear, no-nonsense advice and represent the position of her clients in a decisive way.”

Emily Campbell
Has a practice encompassing a broad range of chancery work. She is particularly experienced in litigation and advisory work relating to trusts, estates, pension schemes and taxation. Campbell also has expertise in international matters.
Strengths: Impressive at explaining the law in court and confidently conveying her legal argument.” “She is very intelligent, and her work is always well considered, detailed and comprehensive.”
Recent work: Involved in a long-running trust dispute which culminated in a seven-week trial. The case involved allegations of breach of trust, wilful default and wrongful distribution of significant trust assets.

Mark Studer
Wide-ranging chancery practitioner who deals with the full range of private client litigation. He frequently handles overseas and offshore matters and is also noted for his significant expertise in the area of charity law.
Strengths: “Good at dealing with complex multiparty cases with lots of family members involved. He has excellent legal knowledge, is very responsive and is very engaged with the case.” “Mark takes an academic and intellectual approach to questions; he works logically which is very helpful.

Andrew Mold
Junior with a broad chancery practice who regularly appears against silks. He has particular expertise in breach of trust matters, and is excellent at handling the trust elements of high-value divorce proceedings.
Strengths: “Very approachable and really straightforward with his advice, he is concise and to the point. He is articulate and intelligent, and builds up a good rapport with the clients as he’s not stuffy.” “A great performer in court and a very persuasive speaker.
Recent work: Advised on a divorce case in which the majority of the USD12 billion assets in dispute were held in a Cypriot trust structure. The case featured parallel proceedings in England, Switzerland, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands, Singapore and Florida.

Tiffany Scott  QC
Experienced barrister who advises on all aspects of trusts and estates work, both on a contentious and non-contentious basis. She is also noted for her expertise in offshore and multi-jurisdictional matters.
Strengths“Very pleasant and very bright, she has tons of experience and is very well respected by her peers and third parties alike.” “She can simplify the most complex arguments and she takes a firm and fair attitude to contentious matters.”
Recent work: Junior counsel for the Marquesa Soledad Cabeza de Vaca in a case brought by her son regarding a £160 million trust fund.

Charities (Band 3)

THE SET
As a leading chancery set, Wilberforce Chambers frequently takes on high-profile charity work, including contentious issues involving tax avoidance and will interpretation. Its barristers are “very prominent in the trusts, chancery and charity world,” and are known for their “great knowledge and efficiency.” Recent highlights for the set include Eynsham Cricket Club v HMRC. This was a test case that concerned the meaning of ‘charity’ in the context of a tax dispute as to the proper characterisation of substantial building works carried out at an Oxfordshire sports club.

Client service: “The clerks are very nice and we get on with them very well. They’re very helpful and very co-operative. We get clear answers and the whole machinery of the set seems to work well.Mark Rushton leads the clerking team.

SILKS

Michael Furness QC
An accomplished silk with long experience, most notably in trust-related matters, who is known for his work handling highly sensitive, political issues regarding charity trusts. He is particularly active in onshore and offshore tax litigation.
Strengths: “He has a first-class brain, is extremely collaborative and enormously constructive, and he works very hard at turning over all the stones in a case.”
Recent work: Advised Skiers Trust, a sporting charity, on past fund-raising methods and the possible abuse of gift aid.

JUNIORS 

Mark Studer
Advises on trusts, estates, property and conveyancing law, and has a number of major charities as clients. He is best known for private client litigation in the UK and other jurisdictions including Hong Kong, The Bahamas, Bermuda and Guernsey. Studer also has experience regarding charity administration, as he is a trustee of several charities.
Strengths: “Very good on obscure, property-related charity matters. He takes an intellectual approach to questions, which is very helpful, and he thinks things through logically.”

Commercial Dispute Resolution (Band 4)

THE SET
Wilberforce Chambers has diverse commercial litigation capabilities and handles a wide range of work geographically, appearing in such places as Singapore, Hong Kong, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. It tackles all manner of commercial work, and is particularly strong on civil fraud matters, international energy transmission cases and disputes concerning hedge funds and private equity houses. One example of its recent work is the Supreme Court appellate case of Cavendish Square Holdings v Makdessi, which has become an authority case on the doctrine of contractual penalties. The set has also been involved in Mark Holyoake v the Candy Brothers, and National Bank Trust v Ilya Yurov, a case wherein the new owners of Russia’s National Bank Trust are suing the former shareholders for USD830 million in damages relating to the bank’s collapse in 2014. Those that instruct it say that it is “a set brimming with very talented and very helpful counsel.”

Client service: “The clerking is very smooth and seamless, and there are rarely any issues on fees.” “Very good and responsive, they’re facilitative and respond out of hours when necessary.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Max Mallin QC
Strengths: “Very intelligent, always on the ball and a tactical whiz. His skills in the courtroom are a wonder to behold.” “His ability to see the kernel of an issue is second to none.”
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in HTV v ITV2. HTV was awarded about £4 million in damages for breach of a TV production agreement following a three-week trial.

Alan Gourgey QC
Strengths: “Has the sort of intellectual agility that means he can think very quickly on his feet.” “He’s tough and brave, and willing to explore difficult avenues of argument.”
Recent work: Acted in Caliendo v Mishcon de Reya, a bitterly fought claim by the world-renowned football agent, Antonio Caliendo against Mishcon alleging that the former partner, Kevin Steele (a convicted fraudster) had mishandled the terms of the QPR buy-out by Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone.

Ian Croxford QC
Strengths: “An excellent silk, who’s quick to grasp the points in a case, very good with clients and peerless in court.” “He’s a first-class trial lawyer with excellent judgement.”

Terence Mowschenson QC
Strengths: “Fantastic judgement, absolutely brilliant in court, and a lawyer who exudes extraordinary authority.” “He’s able to cut through things quickly and come up with clever arguments.
Recent work: Acted for the liquidator of Wardour Trading in bringing a fraudulent trading claim against Russians who had allegedly caused the company to incur liabilities of USD50 million.

John Wardell QC
Strengths: “He takes a very thorough approach to the case and is strong on strategy.” “He’s a tactical thinker whose cross-examination technique is a pleasure to witness.”
Recent work: Represented PCP-LLP in claiming over £700 million in compensation for deceit against Barclays Bank.

JUNIORS

James Walmsley
Strengths: “Cuts through all the issues, makes things really clear and gives the tribunal a roadmap.” “He’s good at balancing academic attention to detail with a keen commercial understanding.”
Recent work: Acted for Nokia in a private equity house’s Commercial Court USD100 million claim for breach of warranty in relation to the sale of luxury phone business Vertu.

Company (Band 4)

THE SET
Wilberforce Chambers remains a solid choice for major contentious company law work. Its experienced counsel take on an interesting and challenging caseload, and have experience in shareholder litigation, as well as matters concerning derivative actions, financial assistance and equitable compensation. The set also offers deep expertise in company reorganisations and cross-border transactional matters.

Client service: “The clerks, led by Mark Rushton, are very organised and personable.”

SILKS

Marcia Shekerdemian QC
Enjoys a busy company practice which is complemented well by her work in insolvency and restructuring cases. She regularly advises on domestic and international disputes. Most recently, she has been engaged in several high-profile shareholder litigation matters.
Strengths: “Marcia’s got a real gift for getting to the root of an issue.” “She has an excellent command of the law, practice and procedure.”
Recent work: Acted for a shareholder in Zavarco, a dispute over voting rights.

Lexa Hilliard QC
A well-regarded silk who frequently handles claims relating to company and insolvency law. She regularly acts in cross-border shareholder disputes and offshore litigation, and has made appearances in the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Caribbean.
Strengths: “She is an exceptional lawyer and a pleasure to work with – a class act.”
Recent work: Retained by Barrowfen Properties to bring claims against a former director, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy.

Terence Mowschenson QC
An esteemed silk with an outstanding reputation in company disputes. He offers clients recognised strength in a wide array of cases, including those relating to shareholder claims, cross-border insolvency and fraud.
Strengths: “He is very good. His advice is very succinct, professional and robust.”

Max Mallin QC
Maintains a dynamic company law practice, and has commendable strength in shareholder disputes and derivative actions. Particular areas of expertise include cases involving Section 994 petitions and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
Strengths: “He is commercial, practical and reliable.”
Recent work: Acted for the liquidators of African Safari in bringing compensation claims against former directors, alleging breach of fiduciary duty.

JUNIORS

James Bailey
Has a broad commercial chancery practice and often appears in company disputes, displaying considerable expertise in litigation involving hedge funds and private equity houses. He is a new arrival at the set, having previously been a member of New Square Chambers.
Strengths: “He’s incredibly bright. He goes the extra mile, is excellent with clients, and is a fantastic advocate.”
Recent work: Engaged in The Swimming Teachers’ Association v Millward, a case involving claims of breach of directors’ duties and allegations of fraud.

Fraud: Civil (Band 2)

THE SET
An impressive number of silks and juniors at Wilberforce Chambers engage in fraud-related advocacy. The team receives instructions from a range of industry sectors, including a substantial amount relating to financial services. It has considerable expertise in handling domestic cases as well as those emanating from offshore jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands. Allegations dealt with include breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy and dishonest assistance.

Client service: The clerking is good. They are a very nice lot.” “I found them very helpful as a set. I liked Nicholas Luckman, the practice director, who certainly can direct you to the right counsel. Mark Rushton, the head clerk, is very responsive and has a very clear understanding of the timescale.”

SILKS

Alan Gourgey QC
Routinely called upon to deal with difficult, fast-moving fraud litigation and arbitrations involving such allegations as breach of contract, deceit, bribery and misappropriation. He is successful at obtaining freezing and search orders.
Strengths: “Very user-friendly QC who is lightning-fast at reviewing papers and giving first-rate advice.” “A terrific advocate who is highly experienced in fraud cases.

John Wardell QC
An outstanding leader with a wide-ranging practice who is accustomed to fighting complex fraud disputes. Many of his instructions originate abroad in such places as the Middle East and the Caribbean.
Strengths: “Outstanding advocate who is a very effective cross-examiner.” “Professional, robust and intelligent.
Recent work: Acted for RBS in the defence of an £80 million claim brought by the liquidators of a number of companies caught up in an MTIC fraud involving carbon credits.

Ian Croxford QC
Tenacious and experienced silk regularly engaged in high-profile commercial disputes and professional negligence matters in which fraud is alleged.
Strengths: “A formidable silk who is always on top of the case.

Tim Penny QC
An excellent advocate who has handled a number of significant fraud cases. He is especially knowledgeable in the realm of injunctive relief and is adept at obtaining and resisting worldwide freezing and search orders.
Strengths: “Hugely experienced in dealing with injunctions. He is not afraid to push the boundaries of the law.” “Very sensible and very commercial.”
Recent work: Acted in a bankruptcy dispute regarding a USD14 million fund which the trustees asserted belonged to them.

Lawrence Cohen QC
Has been involved in a number of complex, high-value cases such as those arising out of the liquidation of BCCI, and is noted for the international reach of his practice.
Strengths: “He is clever, good at lateral thinking and straightforward, as well as accessible and easy to deal with.”

Fenner Moeran QC
A versatile barrister who maintains a broad practice covering civil fraud, pensions and trusts work among other things. He provides clients with well-considered advice and is particularly good on fraud cases with financial services aspects. He is skilled at dealing with parallel criminal proceedings.
Strengths: “Excellent to deal with, very responsive and fiercely intelligent.”
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Jones v Hamilton, a multi-jurisdiction dispute and fraud claim involving electronically forged Guernsey company documents.

Jonathan Hilliard QC
Recent silk who practises civil fraud as part of thriving commercial litigation practice which also includes pensions, offshore trust and regulatory work. His cases concern a variety of allegations including bribery and dishonesty.
Strengths: “Very user-friendly. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of insolvency-based fraud issues.” “Excellent at making a complicated case seem simple for a judge.
Recent work: Acted for the Pensions Regulator in a fraud claim concerning an alleged multimillion-pound scheme to trick savers into parting with their pensions only for the money to be whisked offshore into bogus ventures.

Max Mallin QC
Instructed in heavyweight fraud claims, especially those with international or banking elements. Allegations he has dealt with include conspiracy and fraudulent misappropriation of funds.
Strengths: “Good on his feet. An excellent cross-examiner.” “A very good litigator.
Recent work: Acted for Eminent Energy in a claim against Daxin Petroleum initially concerned with obtaining the release of a cargo of naphtha held in Latvia. Daxin counterclaimed alleging widespread fraud on the part of the claimant and others.

JUNIORS

Iain Pester
Has worked on a number of high-profile civil fraud cases and, being a fluent Russian speaker, is an expert in work emanating from that country. He acts for both claimants and defendants.
Strengths: “Very able.

Offshore (Band 1)

THE SET
Home to a number of leading offshore silks whose areas of expertise include trusts, real estate, insolvency, commercial litigation and fraud. Members here operate across the traditional jurisdictions, appearing especially in the BVI, the Bahamas and the Isle of Man. They act for trustees, high net worth families, beneficiaries, liquidators and shareholders. Recently, barristers at the set have acted in AHAB v Saad Investment Company, a significant cross-border fraud tracing claim, and advised on Baha Mar, proceedings in the Bahamas regarding the enforcement and appointment of receivers.

Client service: “One of the leading sets in terms of commercial acumen and accessibility.” “My impression is that the set is very well organised. The clerks and counsel work seamlessly.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Terence Mowschenson QC
A popular and much-admired chancery silk, who has undertaken a range of banking, finance, company and insolvency cases worldwide. His practice also encompasses joint ventures and partnerships. He has appeared in a wide range of jurisdictions, including Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands and the BVI.
Strengths: Has a fantastic legal mind and gives really useful advice in a timely fashion. He is our first point of call.” “Displays fantastic judgement, is absolutely brilliant in court and, when with clients, exudes extraordinary authority.”
Recent work: Acted in Wardour Trading Ltd v Nekrich, an action by the liquidator of a company (with sole creditor Rosneft) for fraudulent trading against Russians who allegedly caused the company to incur liabilities of USD50 million. The action was heard in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar.

Brian Green QC
A market leader in chancery work, who is regularly instructed by solicitors due to his ability to handle the most complex and high-profile litigation. He has a wide-ranging practice but proves particularly adept at cases concerning trusts and pensions. He is particularly adept at handling matters in the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: “His truly remarkable brainpower is very impressive.” “Most barristers of his calibre work hard, but he is exceptional in terms of putting the work in, and he delivers in court.”
Recent work: Acted in Tang v Tang, a Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal case concerning constructive trusts remedies. The case looked at the question of when, if at all, repayment by a fiduciary caps off an account of profits claim.

Robert Ham QC
Robert Ham is a star of the trusts world, and receives effusive praise for his outstanding efforts in private client work, tax law and pensions.
Strengths: “Robert is considered one of the very few top barristers in the offshore trust and litigation world. He has extraordinary knowledge and experience, as well as wonderful judgement.” “An intellectual powerhouse, who is also practical and easy to deal with.

Gilead Cooper QC
Has a great standing in offshore litigation, and noted ability in trusts, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence disputes. He also handles property disputes. Cooper has appeared in court proceedings in the BVI, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong.
Strengths: His mind is brilliant and his legal skills are superlative. He embraces the client side of things, is highly responsive and has always been very personable.” “A very persuasive advocate.
Recent work: Instructed by the defendants in CMC v Forster, a claim brought in the Jersey Royal Court by a Kenyan company against the trustees of a Jersey trust.

Michael Furness QC
An impressive silk, who is especially knowledgeable in trusts and tax disputes, as well as contentious and non-contentious pension scheme work. His practice regularly leads him to appear in Bermudian trust cases, and he has experience of acting in Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal. He also provides counsel on professional negligence claims.
Strengths: Clearly an intellectually heavyweight silk.” “Very down-to-earth and approachable, he’s easy to talk to and gives practical advice.”

Thomas Lowe QC
Has a wealth of experience of appearing in the Cayman Islands and BVI, acting in a wide range of private client disputes and contentious trust matters. He has a particular forte in handling litigation following the collapse of investment structures, and regularly acts in disputes between fund managers.
Strengths: “Very effective and very knowledgeable.” “He’s the go-to silk for complex Cayman Island insolvencies.
Recent work: Acted for one of the defendants in AHAB v Saad Investment Company, a cross-border fraud tracing claim for recovery of USD9 billion.

Jonathan Hilliard QC
His appointment as Queen’s Counsel in early 2016 demonstrated his excellent reputation in trusts and commercial litigation work. His practice has led him to act in the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and the BVI, among other jurisdictions.
Strengths: “A real pleasure to work with, he’s one hundred percent committed and leads from the front. He has an excellent grasp of the law and facts.” “He is an extraordinarily brilliant individual.

James Ayliffe QC
A very strong chancery commercial performer who is proficient in banking, civil fraud, partnership, real estate and trusts cases. He frequently acts for trustees and high net worth individuals. Truly international in his scope, Ayliffe has handled matters in many offshore jurisdictions, as well as in a host of countries such as South Africa and the USA.
Recent work: Acted for a Russian joint venture partner defending a claim to set aside the joint venture agreement. The main proceedings took place in the BVI.

JUNIORS

Nikki Singla
A very highly regarded junior with experience of appearing for clients in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Dubai. Solicitors turn to him for advice on a wide range of commercial and business cases, and admire him for his specialist trusts expertise. His clients include high net worth families and trustees.
Strengths: “Gives robust advice very quickly and his client-care skills are very good. He gives very good advice and doesn’t have a trace of pomposity to him.”
Recent work: Acted on behalf of the director and corporate defendants in a Guernsey-based claim against a trust company for breach of trust and negligence.

Graeme Halkerston
Very well acquainted with the offshore market, having worked for several years as a partner in a leading firm in the Cayman Islands. He maintains a diverse and dynamic commercial litigation practice, and has strengths in banking and financial disputes and cross-border fraud.
Strengths: “He does a fantastic job. Very organised and completely driven; I don’t know when the guy sleeps.”
Recent work: Obtained USD63 million worldwide freezing orders in Cayman’s Grand Court in the Meridian Trust Company and others v Eike Batista case.

Andrew Mold
Adroitly handles a diverse range of traditional and commercial chancery matters, demonstrating considerable strength in cases concerning trusts, professional liability and company law. His practice has led him to litigate or advise on matters in the Cayman Islands, Jersey, the Isle of Man, Bermuda and Singapore.
Strengths: Andrew is a very impressive junior. He’s excellent with clients, excellent to work with and a talented guy.”
Recent work: Acted in proceedings in Cyprus, England, Switzerland, the BVI, Singapore and Florida involving a divorce case with total assets worth USD12 billion.

Andrew J Child
Has a strong offshore practice and noted experience of handling civil fraud and trusts matters. He is also involved in asset transfer disputes and is active in Guernsey and the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: “More than capable of holding his own with the best silks in the business, he’s a man people take seriously.”

Pensions (Band 1)

THE SET
Wilberforce Chambers continues to be the set to aspire to, and the yardstick by which all others are judged at the Pensions Bar. Its commitment to this practice area is demonstrated by its numerous dedicated practitioners at all levels of call, and a correspondingly huge depth of capabilities in examining the most high-profile issues of the day such as funding disputes, equalisation and regulatory intervention. The client base is equally broad and impressive, covering the full range of trustees, sponsors, representative beneficiaries and even the Pensions Regulator. High-stakes matters it has advised on include the widely reported Barnardo’s and Thales cases, concerning the right to switch inflation-linked increases from the RPI to the CPI measure.

Client service: “The clerking is very smooth, seamless and there are never issues on fees.” “The clerks give very good feedback. They are quick, efficient and good at turning things around.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Brian Green QC
One of the leading lights in the pensions industry, he is frequently seen on some of the most high-profile and significant pieces of litigation. He brings well-honed advocacy skills to his litigation and offers expertise in tax and trusts law. He is noted for his experience advising on charity and legacy public sector schemes.
Strengths: “He is extremely creative, energetic and excellent on his feet.” “He is one of the leading pension silks out there, a go-to when you have a formidable technical issue as he has a great intellect, and is able to distil information into very practical, helpful advice.”
Recent work: Advised on the high-profile Barnardo’s case, concerning the scheme sponsor’s ability to apply the CPI, instead of the RPI, to pension increases.

Michael Furness QC
Enjoys broad expertise in occupational pensions and other relevant areas, including tax law and trust litigation. He is well known for engaging in international litigation in offshore jurisdictions. Trustee boards and large household-name employers seek out his counsel.
Strengths“Excellent at thinking on his feet giving clear strategic advice on how best to proceed.” “He is very knowledgeable on trusts and pensions, very analytical and great on technical matters.”
Recent work: Acted for the BBC, in an appeal of an ombudsman decision on restructure of a DB scheme.

Paul Newman QC
Highly regarded in the industry, he acts in the full range of pension matters and is particularly recommended for high-profile, intricate cases. He acts for a diverse set of clients, including employers, trustees, the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund. He is also an accomplished adviser on allegations of professional negligence.
Strengths: “He is inventive, bold, very user-friendly and dynamic.” “He is a very bright and first-rate advocate, imaginative in finding solutions to extremely complex legal issues, and he does so without losing sight of the underlying legal principles.
Recent work: Advised the Law Debenture Pension Trust Corporation concerning an employer claim to set aside earlier charges taken over assets as security.

Michael Tennet QC
One of the leading silks for pensions, he is a master in regulatory matters and additionally specialises in actuarial issues. He is regularly seen in some of the pension industry’s most high-profile and contentious cases. His broad experience includes advising trustees, employers and representative beneficiaries.
Strengths: “A standout lawyer, he is determined, tenacious and tactically sharp.” “He has a very self-assured and relaxed manner and is excellent with clients. He is also a highly talented technician.”
Recent work: He had a lead role for the representative beneficiaries in IBM v Dalgleish, a keenly contested case concerning a change in scheme benefits.

Robert Ham QC
A much-admired silk with a very strong reputation in the field of chancery and associated trusts work, both at home and overseas. He is frequently sought out to provide counsel on complex pension scheme matters. He also offers expertise in associated professional negligence issues.
Strengths: “He is incisively commercial, very down-to-earth and very practical. He is great when you have tricky issues and need pragmatic advice.”
Recent work: Led for the claimant sponsoring employer in Thales UK v Thales Pension Trustees, examining the right to change the index used to increase benefits from the RPI to the CPI.

Jonathan Hilliard QC
Widely regarded as the go-to barrister for technical pensions issues, he represents parties in a broad array of cases. He has significant experience in liberation, moral hazard and professional negligence matters. He is sought after by the Pensions Regulator, as well as sponsors and trustees.
Strengths: “He is exceptionally bright, able to make complex issues simple, and a real pleasure to work with.” “He is tremendous, his work rate is phenomenal and his industry and efficiency of turn around are superb.
Recent work: Advised the trustees in the high-profile British Airways case, examining the right to apply benefits increases measured by the RPI or CPI.

Fenner Moeran QC
An impressive advocate, particularly well versed in pension liberation, fraud and moral hazard disputes. He frequently represents trustees, insurance companies and employers, as well as the Pensions Regulator and the government.
Strengths: “He goes the extra mile, he is very bright, and he provides pragmatic and commercial advice in a down-to-earth manner.” “He is user-friendly, full of enthusiasm and extremely good on strategy.”
Recent work: Acted for the Pensions Regulator exercising its moral hazard powers, concerning the high-profile BHS pension schemes deficit.

JUNIORS

Andrew Mold
Highly regarded junior who receives praise for his measured approach in court and his ability to simplify complex pension issues. He often appears unled in significant cases and specialises in professional negligence and regulatory aspects. He is experienced in appellate matters, including those before the Supreme Court.
Strengths: “He has a strong analytical ability and quickly masters large amounts of information.”
Recent work: Acted for Honda in a Court of Appeal determination, concerning interpretation of its pension scheme rules.

Edward Sawyer
A gifted and experienced pensions barrister who has appeared in several high-profile cases affecting the industry. He is often involved in long-running litigation with international elements concerning pension schemes and the Regulator. He also has prior experience of advising on professional negligence allegations.
Strengths: “He is very bright, hard-working, quick and attentive.” “He is extremely efficient, thorough and able to find and develop lines of argument that other counsel would miss.”
Recent work: Advised the ITV Group in a widely reported action brought by the Pensions Regulator, concerning liability for a £70 million deficit in the Box Clever pension scheme.

Emily McKechnie
A well-reputed chancery lawyer whose expertise in pensions is complemented by her burgeoning reputation in professional negligence. Her client roster includes representative beneficiaries, company sponsors and the Pension Protection Fund.
Strengths: “She is very impressive, extremely clever, commands respect from clients in meetings, and produces written work of an extremely high standard.” “A sharp, motivated and personable adviser with a keen eye for detail.
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in Thales UK v Thales Pension Trustees, in a dispute over which inflation index to refer to when calculating benefits increases.

James Walmsley
An established pensions junior who is highly reputed for his diligent work ethic. He is well versed in regulatory investigations and rectification actions.
Strengths: “He is tenacious and clever, a careful thinker who can manage an enormous workload and never misses a point.” “He is very quick. He has a maths background, which on pensions cases can be quite helpful.”
Recent work: Advised a number of entities including ITV in a Pensions Regulator action relating to the insolvency of Box Clever.

Thomas Seymour
A highly experienced junior barrister with a broad commercial chancery practice encompassing both pensions and trusts.
Strengths: “He is great quality, great value and his experience enables him to take a view effectively.” “He has excellent instinct and is a good advocate too.”
Recent work: Advised the trustees of the Airways Pension Scheme, following litigation brought by the scheme sponsors British Airways concerning the validity of previous amendments.

Emily Campbell
Maintains an impressive reputation for her handling of pension matters that contain financial, actuarial or tax aspects. She is also experienced in regulatory, professional negligence and rectification issues. She is additionally noted for handling matters with an international dimension.
Strengths:She is excellent on very technical issues, great at working to deadlines, her advice is very robust when needed and she has a good advocacy style.” “Extremely practical, succinct in her advice and a pleasure to work with.
Recent work: Advised on Marathon Oil v Centrica Resources, a claim against joint venture partners for contributions to pension schemes.

Benjamin Faulkner
Promising junior with a broad commercial chancery practice. He specialises in pensions and related professional negligence disputes. He has notable experience of high-stakes, document-heavy matters.
Strengths: “He is a well-versed and highly capable advocate, a good team player and very personable.” “He is very easy to work with, committed, industrious, very responsive and extremely intelligent.”
Recent work: Advised the trustees of the Box Clever Pension Scheme on Pensions Regulator action, seeking contributions from ITV to make good a £60 million scheme deficit.

Thomas Robinson
Enjoys a wealth of experience in regulatory, moral hazard and insolvency cases all the way up to the Supreme Court. Highly valued by the Pensions Regulator.
Strengths: “He’s a very good public speaker and has a great niche practice where pensions and insolvency cross over.” “He is very hard-working, dedicated and very easy to work with.”
Recent work: Advised on resisting a judicial review of the Pensions Regulator’s issue of a second warning notice, related to the Silentnight matter.

Sebastian Allen
A well-regarded junior with experience in the full spectrum of pensions cases. He has advised and advocated on some of the most large-scale pensions matters including benefits indexation, equalisation and moral hazard proceedings.
Strengths: “He is a very charming opponent, but steely when needed.” “He is clear-headed, very practical, resourceful and has strong advocacy skills.
Recent work: Advised Safeway as the claimant in a keenly contested pensions equalisation dispute.

Bobby Friedman
A respected pensions junior with considerable regulatory experience. He has acted in some of the most high-profile pensions disputes and trials. He has advised on high-value financial support direction actions, and related allegations of professional negligence.
Strengths: “He is fun to work with, super clever and incredibly responsive.” “He is a very good junior who gives very efficient and effective service, and has strong advocacy skills.”
Recent work: Advised Guinness Peat Group concerning Pensions Regulator action, arising from a deficit in the Coats Pension Plan.

James McCreath
Acts for employers, trustees and scheme members in a variety of pension disputes. He has gained particular exposure to Section 75 debt claims and regulatory cases, as well as professional negligence allegations in the pensions arena.
Strengths: “He is incredibly hard-working, extremely bright and he knows the area very well.”
Recent work: Acted as led junior counsel concerning the Thales Pension Scheme, and its ability to substitute the RPI for the CPI in applying benefits increases.

Jonathan Chew
Enjoys a busy and broad pensions practice. He has acted in regulatory cases concerning moral hazard, liberation and debt issues. He is also experienced in restructuring and investment matters.
Strengths: “He is excellent at rolling up his sleeves and getting stuck in, he really knows his stuff and he inspires confidence in both solicitors and clients.
Recent work: Advised on the case of Pollock v Reed examining the proposed restructuring of the Halcrow Pension Scheme, a large pension scheme in deficit.

Professional Negligence (Band 3)

Wilberforce vaunts impressive expertise in professional negligence, as well as other commercial practice areas such as trust, tax, insolvency and pensions law. Members act for both claimants and defendants in cases involving solicitors, barristers, accountants, valuers and other professionals. They are adept at bringing and striking out complex and high-value claims for compensation. Instructions emanate from all over the world, including the Caribbean and Hong Kong, and concern such allegations as negligent advice and undue influence.

Client service: “The clerks are always fantastic and will go out of their way to make counsel available.” “They’re very responsive and accommodating. You can be sure you’ll get somebody at the end of the phone quickly.” Mark Rushton is the head clerk.

SILKS

Joanna Smith QC
Highly thought of for her advocacy and her technical skills, Joanna Smith QC takes on a full spectrum of professional negligence claims, although she is especially well versed in cases concerning the construction industry. She appears at first instance and also provides appellate representation.
Strengths: “Forthright, prepared and clear. A real leader.” “Very good technically and excellent with clients.”
Recent work: Acted in a substantial negligence claim against numerous parties in respect of the design and construction of the Northern Triangle building at the Emirates Stadium.

Ian Croxford QC
An impressive advocate who boasts an extensive track record of dealing with large-scale professional liability cases. He takes on claims involving a wide range of professionals, including civil engineers, stockbrokers, solicitors and management consultants, among others.
Strengths: A highly regarded silk with exceptional advocacy skills. His attention to detail and ability to identify alternative and sustainable arguments, combined with pragmatic advice, is invaluable.” “He brings a wealth of courtroom experience and is outstanding at cross-examination. He also engages well with clients and instructing solicitors.”

Paul Newman QC
Best known for his pensions expertise, Paul Newman QC also has a wealth of experience in handling professional negligence claims relating to pension schemes and other financial services.
Strengths: Technically able and very robust in court. He fights his corner with great vigour.” “He is great with clients and has lots of gravitas.”

John Wardell QC
Maintains a strong commercial practice with a steady emphasis on professional negligence matters in which he acts for both claimants and defendants. He regularly takes on cases relating to legal, financial and property services, and also regularly defends other barristers against claims of negligence.
Strengths: “He is very clever but equally commercial and down-to-earth. He is a pleasure to work with and bounce ideas off. He has all the qualities you would want in a QC.”
Recent work: Acted for Orientfield in the prosecution of its claim for compensation against its former solicitors, Bird & Bird, for negligence in relation to the conveyance of a £26 million property in North London.

James Ayliffe QC
An experienced practitioner who regularly takes on high-value professional negligence claims. Particularly active on cases arising in the property and legal sectors, he also handles claims relating to accountants, actuaries and financial advisers, among others.
Strengths: “He provides very balanced, measured advice and he is incredibly detailed. Everything is brought through to a logical conclusion by the way he approaches problem solving. His advocacy and written work is excellent.”
Recent work: Acted for a barrister on a successful strike out of a claim brought against his instructing solicitors and him for contempt of court in allegedly failing to comply with a court undertaking.

Jonathan Seitler QC
Commands an impressive professional negligence practice in the property sector, often advising on claims relating to very high-value transactions. He regularly advises on cases brought as the result of allegedly faulty advice given by solicitors and valuers. He also has experience in general commercial litigation.
Strengths: Excellent. Very client-friendly and very bright.
Recent work: Acted in a multimillion-pound claim by the Earl of Cardigan for breach of trust and the removal of his trustees.

Clare Stanley QC
Represents a broad range of professionals in high-value negligence claims, including legal, financial, accountancy and insolvency practitioners. She is often involved in cases featuring highly complex and technical elements, especially in relation to trust law and fraud.
Strengths: Terrific on her feet and her cross-examination is absolutely outstanding. She is a very practical, reassuring presence who can get up to speed with a difficult case incredibly quickly.
Recent work: Acted for the defendant solicitors in a claim by a large group of members of a union, who alleged that the union and the solicitors had negligently handled their compensation claims against their employer for equal pay.

Real Estate Litigation (Band 2) 

THE SET
Wilberforce maintains a formidable practice in real property disputes, and has barristers who are regularly instructed on high-value and complex work including development proposals and mortage fraud claims, as well as possession orders and injunctive relief. Members are highly regarded for their expertise, with a source commenting: “Wilberforce barristers remain at the top of their game, and are supported by efficient and proactive clerking.” Another source calls them “technically excellent and very commercial.”

Client service: The clerks are really helpful and very responsive.Mark Rushton is head clerk.

SILKS

Jonathan Seitler QC
Continues to be considered one of the top property litigation silks at the Bar. He frequently handles a broad caseload of high-profile, complex real estate disputes. He also serves as deputy head of Wilberforce Chambers.
Strengths: “Thoroughly intelligent, good at debating difficult points of law and inventive.” “He is good at coming up with innovative solutions.”
Recent work: Acted for the chef Gordon Ramsay in a ten-day trial in which he sought to be released as a personal guarantor on the grounds that his father-in-law had fraudulently forged his signature on several leases by using a ‘ghostwriter’ signature machine.

Joanne Wicks QC
Has a fine reputation as a top real estate QC, and has a practice centred around property transactions and professional negligence. She has recently seen an increase in arbitration and expert determination work.
Strengths: “Extremely knowledgeable, very bright, client-friendly and responsive.” “She’s a joy to work with, really approachable and excellent at problem solving.”
Recent work: Acted for Bryant Homes in an important case concerning overage and the risks of trying to use restrictive covenants as a form of security for payment.

Martin Hutchings QC
Noted for his impressive property practice spanning contentious and non-contentious matters and professional liability. His areas of specialism include landlord and tenant matters, dilapidations and lease issues. He is also regularly instructed in relation to restrictive covenants and development agreements.
Strengths: Very good with clients, technically able and user-friendly.”
Recent work: Acted for the successful appellant in a case in the Court of Appeal concerning a restrictive covenant building scheme in Gerrards Cross.

Michael Barnes QC
Well known for his work in administrative and property law. His primary focus is on cases concerning estoppel, laws of natural justice, and landlord and tenant disputes. In addition to his domestic work, he has acted on cases in the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong.
Strengths: “Highly intellectual and is excellent on the strategy.”

James Ayliffe QC
Much praised for his approach to property cases and his effectiveness as a communicator. He is the editor of a leading landlord and tenant practitioner text and he regularly handles high-value property disputes including cases relating to real estate finance deals.
Strengths: A very safe pair of hands and exceptionally intelligent, he is the man for brain teasers at the interface of property and insolvency law.”
Recent work: Provided expert evidence on English real estate law in Dutch proceedings regarding the enforceability of an EUR18 million contract for the sale and purchase of an office building in Utrecht.

John Furber QC
Particularly adept at handling landlord and tenant disputes, and is an expert on development and commercial property cases. His practice also incorporates matters relating to easements and restricted covenants. He also edits a leading textbook on landlord and tenant law.
Strengths: “Very good and very thorough, he gives very considered opinions and doesn’t miss a trick.” “John’s advice, both orally and in writing, is excellent: focused, to the point and commendably concise.”
Recent work: Acted for a claimant in litigation relating to insurance, service charges and rates allegedly due pursuant to a lease of 100 spaces in a car park in London SW1.

Jonathan Davey QC
Has extensive experience of working in the Court of Appeal. He is an expert in real property and landlord and tenant disputes for clients including governmental departments and corporate entities.
Strengths: “A delight to work with, he is very happy to roll his sleeves up and get stuck in when needs be.”
Recent work: Appeared in a landlord and tenant dispute regarding high-value residential property in Belgravia, in London.

Mark Wonnacott QC
An established property silk with a practice involving complex property litigation, who regularly handles landlord and tenant and dilapidations cases. He has appeared at all levels of the domestic courts up to the Supreme Court.
Strengths: “He is a go-to QC, technically excellent, always within reach, sharp but approachable, and he has a calm demeanour which puts clients at ease.” “More accessible than most QCs, he is very responsive and doesn’t stand on ceremony. He is decisive, clear-thinking and technically off the charts, he knows everything inside-out.”

JUNIORS

Julian Greenhill
A major player at the Property Bar known for his expertise in handling real property and landlord and tenant cases, among his wider chancery and commercial law practice.
Strengths: “Julian is a very high-quality barrister who is always extremely thorough, dependable and user-friendly.” “He is phenomenally efficient and has a very good knowledge of the law.”
Recent work: Acted for the landlord of a series of ten Hilton-operated hotels in a claim for specific performance of obligations to maintain the hotels in accordance with the company’s Brand Operating Standards.

Tiffany Scott
Has a highly visible practice in the property litigation sector. She has become known for her work in the full spectrum of real estate cases and has handled matters relating to rights of light, trespass and adverse possession. In addition, she also regularly tackles development disputes, and has contributed to and edited a number of prominent texts on real estate law.
Strengths: A great advocate who is very good at dealing with complex legal issues.” “Responsive, thorough and knowledgeable.
Recent work: Represented a developer turning an office block into flats in proceedings to terminate an agreement for the sale of the proposed flats to a housing association.

Zoe Barton
Has a practice that combines property, trusts and estates with other chancery work. She is known for taking on cases with elements of fraud, and for acting for high-street retailers. Barton is further noted for her work in property-related professional negligence claims.
Strengths: “Zoe does not shy away from difficult issues and gives her opinion without fear or favour. She has a discerning eye for the important points in a case.” “Sharp, concise and very approachable.
Recent work: Acted for a wife defending a claim for possession of a family home, brought by a company who provided a facility to a company which her husband guaranteed after being petitioned for bankruptcy.

Benjamin Faulkner
Focuses on high-profile, complex property litigation. He is noted for his user-friendly approach and attention to detail. His expertise extends to tenancy agreements and property statutes. He also handles cases related to town and village greens as well as land registration issues.
Strengths: Very commercially minded, extremely well liked by clients and good at offering a range of strategic options.” “Helpful, approachable and knowledgeable, he’s very engaged in his cases.”
Recent work: Acted as sole counsel in a bitter dispute between neighbours involving difficult points of adverse possession, in which he managed to broker a settlement at mediation.

Harriet Holmes
Frequently appears in the High Court and County Courts, taking on a diverse range of matters, including adverse possession, enfranchisement and party wall issues. She is noted for her dedication to her clients and her work in the Chancery Division.
Strengths: “Extremely hard-working, very thorough, very good-humoured and enjoyable to work with.” “She provides high-quality and cost-effective advice.”
Recent work: Represented the successful appellant in a party wall appeal heard over three days.

Restructuring/Insolvency (Band 3)

THE SET
Wilberforce Chambers is an excellent commercial chancery set with a strong reputation in the restructuring and insolvency market. Its members handle both corporate and personal insolvency cases, drawing on the set’s wider expertise in pensions, property and trusts. The team is regularly instructed in high-profile cases covering multiple jurisdictions, with key representations including the bondholders to ARM Asset Backed Securities and the liquidators of Stanford International Bank.

Client service: “The clerks are very good, they’re very clear in their fee structures and requirements.” “The clerks are fantastic, they have gone above and beyond for us.” The clerking team is led by head clerk Mark Rushton.

SILKS

Lexa Hilliard QC
Esteemed practitioner offering an impressive breadth of experience and expertise across all areas of insolvency law. She regularly takes instruction at both the domestic and the international level and has been instructed in relation to several offshore disputes in the Caribbean, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Her respected practice focuses predominantly on advisory work.
Strengths: “She is an extremely impressive advocate who is very thorough and handles complex matters with great skill. She has a fantastic ability to distil complex arguments into simple language.” “She is pragmatic, enthusiastic and very clever.”
Recent work: Represented Solo Capital LLP and five other associated LLPs in an application to place Solo Capital into special administration.

Marcia Shekerdemian QC
Regularly approached by clients seeking advice on corporate and personal insolvency cases. She has carved out a niche in the area of fraud and asset recovery work, and regularly acts in cross-border cases. She represents a variety of clients including directors, debtors, office holders and lenders.
Strengths: “She is totally forthright but supremely in control, technically brilliant and very user-friendly.” “She’s very client-friendly, very bright and there is no ambiguity in her advice.” “Marcia is very commercial, always willing to get her hands dirty and has excellent client-handling skills.”
Recent work: Acted for the Chilean liquidator following the collapse of Onix Capital SA.

JUNIORS

Thomas Robinson
He is well known for his adept representation of the Pensions Regulator, and continues to be a popular choice for international insolvency matters.
Strengths: “He gives top-quality advice and is very practical and very on point.
Recent work: Appeared in ongoing litigation in London and Antigua concerning allegations of professional negligence against the former joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank.

James Bailey
A well-regarded practitioner who has a strong practice encompassing commercial chancery, company and insolvency law. He frequently plays a key role in major, high-profile cases. He is frequently involved in cases concerning misfeasance and wrongful trading claims and has considerable expertise handling contentious recovery work.
Strengths: He’s incredibly bright, goes the extra mile and is excellent with clients.” “He is thorough, approachable and impressive in court.”
Recent work: Instructed in World Awards Ltd (In Liquidation) v World Property Net. This case concerned an action arising out of fraud pertaining to the Miss World pageant in South Africa in 2009.

Iain Pester
Routinely handles insolvency instructions on behalf of distressed corporates and individuals. His areas of skill include directors’ disqualification proceedings and shareholder disputes, while he is particularly well known for his handling of high-value contentious insolvency claims.
Strengths: “He’s technically very strong and fairly bullish with the advice, which was appreciated – he doesn’t sit on the fence.” “He’s very considered and very good to work with, he gives us good advice and his writing style is very good.”
Recent work: Acted for the petitioning creditor in the contested bankruptcy petition of Ackerman.

Tax: Private Client (Band 2)

THE SET
Wilberforce Chambers has a premier reputation for chancery work, particularly trusts, property, pensions law and offshore matters, and its members are well placed to advise on complex private client tax cases. Barristers at Wilberforce can assist with all types of private client tax work, and have particular expertise in offshore trusts and tax matters, IHT planning, and income and capital gains tax planning. Members of the set also have a strong track record in major tax scheme cases. Instructing solicitors see Wilberforce as “really easy-going and really approachable – not fuddy-duddy at all and really easy to deal with.”

Client service: The clerks are praised by another interviewee, who says: “They get back to us very quickly, they are very good and responsive indeed.” Mark Rushton is the set’s head clerk.

SILKS

Brian Green QC
One of the Bar’s top chancery silks, with an unrivalled reputation in major trusts cases. He is also a leading pensions expert and has a very strong offshore practice.
Strengths: “Brian is the best QC that I’ve ever used. And for me, the main reason is that he’s incredibly clever, he doesn’t change his mind and he almost always gets straight to the solution to what seems an insoluble problem.” “He’s been very approachable, sensible and pragmatic on what is a very sensitive issue. It was a very difficult trust issue and he has a pre-eminent reputation for trusts. He’s stellar.

Michael Furness QC
Well-regarded tax, pensions and chancery specialist. He handles a wide array of offshore trusts litigation and tax scheme cases, including film schemes, as well as advising on tax structuring.
Strengths: “He is a class act. He’s a really formidable advocate, extremely fluent and very easy on the ear. He is very bright and can reduce complex issues to simple propositions.” “Very clever and persuasive, and has the respect of the court.
Recent work: Appeared before the Court of Appeal in the Samarkand and Proteus film partnership tax cases.

Jonathan Davey QC
Particularly well known for his recent work on high-profile film scheme litigation. He is often instructed by the Revenue, but also acts for private clients in trusts and tax matters.
Strengths: “His best trait is that he can explain the legislation to non-specialists and make it clearly understandable. He is excellent to deal with on a personal level.” “He is extremely bright, very eloquent and an excellent courtroom performer. He is a very persuasive advocate and a good cross-examiner as well.

Individual only rankings

Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Band 2)

Mark Wonnacott QC of Wilberforce Chambers
Well-respected property litigator with a broad-based rural practice. Peers praise him for his knowledge of the more specialist aspects of land law, such as manorial and mineral rights.
Strengths: “He has a tremendous academic interest in landlord and tenant matters and he’s a good sharp advocate.” “He’s an outstandingly brilliant bloke with a cerebral, professorial air about him.”

Art and Cultural Property Law (Band 2)

Gilead Cooper QC of Wilberforce Chambers
Traditional chancery barrister whose practice centres on acting for museums, galleries and other institutions. He has experience in title disputes and is a contributor to Palmer on Bailment.
Strengths: “A very pleasant and cultured man, who’s very interested in the art world and art generally.” “He is very good at the museums and trusts side of the work, and is very strong when it comes to strategy in a case.”

Construction (Band 2)

Joanna Smith QC 
Impressive QC with a strong construction practice and recognised skill in associated professional negligence matters. She regularly acts for prominent supplier-side clients in litigation and adjudications.
Strengths: “Supremely responsive, client-friendly and effective both in conference and when advocating.” “A fantastic advocate. She provides first-class advice which is robust and commercially astute.”

Professional Negligence – Technology and Construction (Band 3)

Joanna Smith QC 
Frequently instructed in highly complex multiparty claims involving defective design, engineering and construction. She acts both for and against professionals.
Strengths: “She’s great. A really charming person and extremely active, which is why she wins cases. She produces things at short notice, goes the extra mile and is very accessible to clients. Her advice is very user-friendly.
Recent work: Represented the M&E engineers in a substantial negligence claim arising out of the design and construction of the Northern Triangle building at the Emirates Stadium.

IT (Band 2)

Alan Gourgey QC
A chancery law leader who is well regarded for his skill in handling the commercial aspects of IT disputes. He is noted for his ability in court and is also recognised for his quality as an arbitrator.
Strengths: Very user-friendly and commercially astute.” “Very sensible and very experienced in this area.”