Selected recommendation:

Chambers Global 2023

We are delighted to announce that Wilberforce has achieved 74 individual rankings in the latest edition of Chambers Global. The full list of those recommended is below:

The full chambers global guide can be viewed online here.

Our expertise

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Asia-Pacific Region - International Arbitration: Most In-demand Arbitrators

Stuart Isaacs KC of Wilberforce Chambers in London maintains a highly versatile international arbitration practice, acting both as counsel and as arbitrator across a variety of commercial and investment treaty cases and maintaining panel memberships of such arbitral organisations as the ICC, HKIAC and SIAC.

Singapore - Dispute Resolution: Most In-demand Arbitrators

Stuart Isaacs KC of Wilberforce Chambers is a well-experienced arbitrator who conducts arbitrations under a broad range of arbitral rules including ICC, SIAC, HKIAC and UNCITRAL rules. He is regularly appointed as arbitrator in complex cross-border disputes.

UK - Dispute Resolution: Commercial

Wilberforce Chambers has at its disposal a strong bench of commercial barristers, with particularly impressive capability at silk level. Its members are capable of handling a wide spectrum of commercial matters, including, among others, cases arising out of company law, insolvency and civil fraud. The set’s barristers are well known for their ability to represent clients in international disputes, and regularly appear in a range of jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. In recent months members acted on Craig Wright, Tulip Trading Ltd and Others v Persons Unknown, Various Bitcoin Developers, a claim for, and brought by, the inventor of Bitcoin, whose computer was hacked and who as a result had lost access to Bitcoin worth £2–3 billion. A solicitor comments: “Wilberforce Chambers provides excellent, specialist advice tempered with commercial sense. Its members are always prepared to assist despite time pressures and the complexity of matters.”

Alan Gourgey KC is said to be “is as good on his feet as he is on paper, and is a formidable cross-examiner” and “is phenomenal in terms of his commercial expertise and his experience of handling clients.”.

John Wardell KC  is “a brilliant advocate who sticks to his guns and works tirelessly for the client” whose “ability to grasp cases so quickly and thoroughly is unbelievable.”

Terence Mowschenson KC “has a wealth of experience and is highly tenacious. An authoritative and persuasive advocate.”

Tim Penny KC “is an exceptional barrister who is excellent at working in a large multi-jurisdictional team” who is “a very able advocate who is fantastic in court.”

Ian Croxford KC ” controls proceedings skillfully and is a very assuring leader for clients and instructing solicitors.”

James Bailey KC “is all over all of the materials and disclosure in a case. His arguments are creative and intellectual, and he is a great advocate.”

Marcia Shekerdemian KC “is an absolute master of her craft and is adored by clients.”

Jack Watson “can dissemble papers in seconds and deliver completely sound and commercial advice.” and has been said to be “really industrious, he’s great at turning things around and he’s very responsive. He produces work of great quality.”

James Walmsley “has a real eye for detail and is extremely thorough. His focus is always reassuring.”; “Clients love him. He is extremely responsive and identifies all the issues.”

Sri Carmichael has been said to “punch above her weight even when taking on leading KCs on difficult applications.” with a “unique ability to make even the most complex disputes easy to manage and understand for clients” and an “impeccable attention to detail, a very in-depth knowledge of the law and a very commercial brain.”

UK - Dispute Resolution: Chancery Commercial

Wilberforce Chambers is an impressive set, noted for its expertise in complex commercial chancery litigation arising in the UK and across several international and offshore jurisdictions. The team is regularly instructed in company, insolvency and civil fraud disputes, and offers considerable strength when undertaking complex commercial litigation involving elements of pensions, trusts and property law. One instructing solicitor notes: “The set has a very strong range of barristers at all levels from senior silks to juniors. Members have an extensive range of expertise across a range of different practice areas, and collaborate well internally and with other experts to deal with complex matters.” They are instructed in high-profile matters of the greatest complexity including Craig Wright, Tulip Trading Ltd and Others v Persons Unknown, Various Bitcoin Developers, a multibillion-pound cryptocurrency claim, and Vatche Manoukian v Société Générale Banque Liban, a case concerning Manoukian’s allegations against the Lebanese branch of French banking giant Société Générale. Manoukian alleged the bank had been withholding funds from one of his accounts.

Alan Gourgey KC is “an exceptional barrister who is good with both professional and lay clients. Good on paper, good on law and good in front of the courts.”

John Wardell KC is a “brilliant advocate who sticks to his guns. He works tirelessly for his clients.” and has been said to be “unbelievable. He has an excellent ability to grasp cases quickly and thoroughly. He is very good with clients, terrific to work with, and always makes himself available.”

Thomas Grant KC is “excellent for complex international work and seems to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of so many other jurisdictions. He is excellent with clients.” Clients say “his reputation speaks for itself. He’s very well respected and definitely adds value to any claim.” He is known to have a “very powerful presence and is a great courtroom performer.”

Fenner Moeran KC is “lovely to deal with, very enthusiastic and someone with a lot of energy.” and is “exceptionally clever.”

James Ayliffe KC “is incredibly on the ball and very user-friendly.”

Terence Mowschenson KC “has a wealth of experience and is highly tenacious. An authoritative and persuasive advocate.”

Clare Stanley KC is a “steely performer whose advice is characterised by great clarity. She is a very pleasant advocate who is easy to deal with.”

Lawrence Cohen KC has been described as a “forceful advocate who’s very analytical and a creative thinker.”

Lexa Hilliard KC is “an excellent silk and a go-to for complex cross-border insolvency.”

Thomas Lowe KC is “a very bright lawyer who is very easy to work with.”; “Extremely good, especially in the offshore market, he has a very well-deserved reputation, particularly for his work in the Cayman Islands.”

Tiffany Scott KC is a “trusted and respected barrister, who navigates situations well and is on top of all of the detail in a case. She is sensible and collaborative with other barristers where appropriate.” “Tiffany is calm under pressure, very rational and good at dealing with clients” and “explains very complex theory in a way that clients understand.”

Tim Penny KC is “a very good advocate, who is thorough in his preparation: you feel he has covered every angle in a case” and “his attention to detail is second to none, and he works really well in a team.”

Andrew Mold KC is “very intelligent and insightful, he gives clear and well-reasoned advice” and is a silk who “is very considered and presents well to judges. He is good at constructing claims and understanding where the client is coming from.”

Ian Croxford KC “controls proceedings skilfully and is a very assuring leader for clients and instructing solicitors.”

James Bailey KC “is so details-oriented, and produces arguments that are both creative and intelligent” and is a “good solid presence in the courtroom.”

Marcia Shekerdemian KC’s “reputation precedes her: she is effective, she produces superb paperwork, she has a great way of managing people, and she is very practical and commercial in her advice.” and is “very good for opinions and drafting as she knows the law so well.”

Nikki Singla KC is “an excellent advocate whose advice is superb” and is “an extremely diligent and outrageously bright individual.”

Edward Sawyer “is extremely thorough and has a very forensic eye for detail.”

Graeme Halkerston is said to be “commercially minded and a deep thinker.”

Emer Murphy is “very good at seeing the big picture and understanding what the client is trying to achieve commercially.”

James McCreath is “high in demand; he is really exceptional”, is “very tactical, has good judgement and works really hard. A joy to work with” whilst being “very intelligent and very reliable.”

Thomas Robinson “cuts through to the heart of any matter and finds the quickest and most effective route to achieving his client’s aims. His advocacy is convincing and persuasive” and is a “great person to work with, who has great judgement.”

Tom Roscoe is “a superb junior and an excellent advocate with a very bright future.” “Tom really embeds himself within a team well, and is responsive. He has no airs and graces.”

Anna Littler is said to be “really one to watch – she is very talented, very clever, and delightful to work with. Anna is good at handling really complex situations and has a great sense of judgement. She is thoroughly likeable too.”

Bobby Friedman “is exceptionally talented as an advocate and when providing written or oral advice to clients.” “He provides commercial and sensible strategy advice and can handle cases on his own against senior barristers. He tackles the most complicated cases with ease.”

Emily McKechnie “is very smart and understands her clients’ objectives and reputational and commercial drivers. She is very easy to work with and her advocacy is impressive – she inspires confidence.”

Jack Watson “is really good at giving very clear and straightforward advice, and is excellent on his feet.” “Jack is all over the law but also practical and personable.”

Jonathan Chew is “hands-on, incredibly user-friendly and team-spirited. He is pragmatic on paper and in his oral advocacy, and has the neat ability to cut through courtroom noise.” “His advocacy skills are excellent, and he is a real team player.”

UK - Offshore

Wilberforce Chambers offers significant strength and depth in all the major offshore jurisdictions, including those in the Channel Islands, the Caribbean and Asia. Members of the set are instructed to act in matters such as trust litigation, high-value commercial disputes, fraud claims and insolvency matters. Its barristers continue to appear in a number of high-profile cases, such as AHAB v Saad Investments Company Limited, a large fraud case involving over 100 banks. One source highlights their “excellent combination of trust, insolvency and commercial expertise,” noting them as “a go-to set.” Another details how the “quality of the practitioners is exemplary.”

Brian Green KC is 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 has handled matters in Bermuda, Hong Kong and Jersey. He “is a leading light and very talented trust lawyer. He is very experienced, hard-working, and is at the top of his game in a leading set.”

Robert Ham KC is a very highly regarded practitioner who receives effusive praise for his outstanding efforts in private client work, tax law and pensions. He acts in cases in Guernsey, the Caribbean and the Isle of Man, among other jurisdictions. “Robert Ham is just legendary in the profession as a trust litigator. His written advocacy is probably the best I have ever seen.”

Thomas Lowe KC has a wealth of experience of appearing in the Cayman Islands and the 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. Lowe is frequently called upon by commercial clients including banks and insurance companies. He also provides expertise in matters relating to fraud and insolvency. “He is excellent; a true offshore specialist. Few other people in the Bar have as much experience in the Cayman Islands than Thomas Lowe.”; “he is a leading barrister in the Cayman Islands and is a go-to for the jurisdiction.”

Gilead Cooper KC as a great standing in offshore litigation and has noted ability in trusts, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence disputes. He also handles property disputes. He has appeared in court proceedings in the BVI, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong. “He is a fantastic trust lawyer who touches upon fraud and misinterpretation matters.”

John Wardell KC as a strong commercial and company law practice and a broad range of expertise, including in fraud and breach of fiduciary duty cases. He is admitted to the Bar in the BVI and has further experience in the Cayman Islands.

Jonathan Hilliard KC has an excellent reputation for trusts and commercial litigation work. His practice has led him to act in the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, the Channel Islands and the BVI, among other jurisdictions. “Jonathan Hilliard is a thorough and professional advocate with a comprehensive understanding of the law”; “He sticks to the detail and provides very good strategic and technical advice.”

Michael Furness KC is 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 acting in Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal. He also provides counsel on professional negligence claims.

Terence Mowschenson KC is 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. He has additional expertise in alternative dispute resolution proceedings. “Terence Mowschenson is unquestionably our go-to silk on heavyweight and complicated matters.” being said to be “one of the best senior silks in the market.”

Andrew Mold KC 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. He is experienced in intra-family disputes including high-value divorce proceedings. “He is very modest, incredibly intelligent, and inspires confidence in clients.”

Clare Stanley KC is noted for her commercial and company law practice, encompassing the likes of insolvency and fraud matters. She has further expertise in handling trust dispute cases. Clare is well versed in the intricacies of acting in a number of offshore jurisdictions, including the Cayman Islands. “Her ability to cut to the chase on offshore trust matters is her particular skill”; “She is a very forceful advocate and a firm opponent.”

Nikki Singla KC is a highly regarded performer with experience appearing for clients in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Dubai and the Channel Islands. 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. He regularly handles shareholder disputes, negligence and joint venture ownership disputes, among others. “Nikki Singla has an excellent grasp of his field of expertise and handles matters with a professionalism that is unmatched” and “He does an extraordinary job in terms of advocacy, collaboration and strategy.”

Graeme Halkerston is very well acquainted with the offshore market, having worked for several years as a partner in a leading firm in the Cayman Islands. The bulk of his work is BVI or Cayman Islands based. He maintains a diverse and dynamic commercial litigation practice and has strengths in banking and financial disputes, restructuring proceedings and cross-border fraud. “Graeme Halkerston is our go-to barrister for unfair prejudice claims. He is much better than many of the silks he appears against.”

Anna Littler has a strong practice in the offshore world. She regularly undertakes trusts litigation, including in Bermuda. She is well equipped to handle a range of issues trusts and trustees may encounter.

UK - Private Wealth: Tax

Wilberforce is widely known as one of London’s top chancery sets and is regularly involved in the largest litigation matters in the UK and offshore. It also has a high-end tax practice for private client matters. One solicitor says: “I am fully confident in the set’s breadth of expertise and its ability to handle complex matters.” “The barristers here can advise on pretty much every aspect of offshore tax, which is extremely difficult to do,” says another.

Jonathan Davey KC is a highly respected silk who is trusted with complex work by both HMRC and private clients. He is noted for his work on high-value trusts. Davey is particularly well known for his recent work in high-profile film scheme litigation. “A very good advocate, who has an excellent manner in court.”; “Very approachable and makes clients feel very comfortable. He’s got a very succinct style.”

Brian Green KC is a well-known chancery silk whose private client tax practice is much respected. He is an exceptional choice of counsel for taxation of trusts matters. “One of the most well-known practitioners in this area,” he’s got an extremely good reputation”; “An extremely bright individual, who advises on the most complex and largest trusts cases. It’s always difficult for people who are so clever to get down to our level, but he is good with clients. He has a really good client manner and can explain tricky things in lay terms.”

UK - Private Wealth: Trusts

Andrew Mold KC  has particular expertise in breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty claims. He is also known for his skill with regard to the treatment of trust assets in high-value divorce cases. His experience extends to offshore disputes and he is also admitted to the Cayman Islands Bar. “Andrew is a proactive silk, whose advocacy is excellent.” “He has lots of knowledge and experience in the interplay between trusts and divorce issues.”

Brian Green KC is lauded as one of the foremost trusts barristers. He handles a broad range of both domestic and international cases, and is particularly recognised for his offshore expertise and his handling of disputes involving the variation of trusts. His recent advisory work has centred on trusts in the Bahamas, the Cook Islands, Gibraltar and New Zealand. “He is a class act and has a deep understanding of what it takes to win a case. Amazing.”

Clare Stanley KC  boasts a strong reputation in handling matters including trusts and probate, commercial litigation and professional negligence cases. She is experienced in contentious trusts litigation between beneficiaries and trustees, international trusts litigation and trust arbitration. “Clare is a titan when it comes to complex litigation. She is very bright and commands the respect of judges.”

Fenner Moeran KC is known for handling sensitive trusts disputes involving complex family situations. He often acts for large financial institutions and has developed a substantial offshore disputes practice. “Fenner is very good at reading in-between the lines. He is extremely knowledgeable and is good at seeing the bigger picture.

Gilead Cooper KC  is instructed in some of the most important and high-profile trusts cases of recent years. He has an increasingly international practice and acts for many significant clients in this area. Cooper is admitted to the BVI Bar and frequently appears in the courts of the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong. “Has a rapier-like intellect. Gilead stands back and looks at an issue from angles that others would not consider. He thinks outside of the box.”

Jonathan Hilliard KC has appeared in many confidential and high-value trusts and divorce cases in the UK courts and in offshore jurisdictions. He also regularly acts for trustees in professional negligence and breach of trust claims. His expertise includes in-depth knowledge of trusts that hold complex corporate structures. “Absolutely fantastic, he’s a real team player who is switched on and very technical. He is responsive and very accessible”; “Calm under pressure and a delight to work with.” “Jonathan gives robust, carefully considered, thorough advice.”

Nikki Singla KC has a wealth of experience in handling commercial and trusts matters, and is regularly seen in the Chancery Division and the Commercial Court. He is also experienced in handling international matters, with prior cases in Mauritius, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. “Does an extraordinary job both in terms of advocacy and in terms of collaboration and strategy”; “Nikki has an excellent grasp of his field of expertise, and handles matters with a professionalism that is unmatched.”

Robert Ham KC offers significant expertise in trusts law as part of his broad private client law practice. He handles both contentious and non-contentious mandates in the UK and abroad. Ham is particularly adept dealing with offshore disputes for wealthy families and trust companies. “A brilliant adviser, who adopts a practical approach.” “He’s exceptionally experienced in trusts matters.”

Andrew Child is a highly experienced junior with a broad knowledge of domestic and offshore trusts law. He regularly acts for personal representatives, trustees and beneficiaries in breach of trust claims. Child has in-depth expertise in trust matters with a fraud element. “A barrister with a terrific reputation, who has a very compelling manner.”

Joseph Steadman, regularly instructed in the High Court, has a strong chancery practice that spans commercial matters as well as trusts and estates. He is experienced in handling onshore and offshore trust cases, and has particular expertise in advising in relation to tax considerations. “Hard-working, diplomatic and industrious, and a man with excellent technical abilities”; “The perfect junior, he is completely on top of the detail”; “Incredibly intelligent: he has a brain the size of a planet. He is also very genial and pleasant to deal with.”

Michael Ashdown has known expertise handling chancery matters including trusts and estates. He is experienced in dealing with offshore instructions, such as in Jersey, Guernsey and the BVI, and appears regularly in the High Court and the County Court. “Produces very readable opinions and is very responsive. He gets to the heart of any matter and presents his case extremely clearly.” “Michael is charming, hard-working and knowledgeable.”

Tom Roscoe has a strong chancery practice which includes advising on contentious trusts, wills and estates. He takes national and international instructions, and in particular has disputes experience in the Cayman Islands, the BVI and Guernsey. “He’s a dynamo – very clever, extremely confident and very well prepared. A pleasure to work with”; “Tom gets on top of the detail and has really good client-handling skills. He is also extremely good value.”

UK - Restructuring/Insolvency

Wilberforce Chambers is noted for its impressive work tackling both corporate and personal insolvency matters. Members are frequently called upon to undertake cases arising both in the UK and further afield, and offer significant expertise in the handling of complex multi-jurisdictional disputes. Areas of particular strength for the set include administrations, CVAs, restructurings and schemes of arrangement. The team is also regularly instructed in cases involving complex pensions and property elements, owing to the set’s established strengths in these areas. An enviable client list includes creditors, debtors and insolvency office holders. Recent cases of note include Re Vireol, in which members acted for three directors of the company in a claim brought by liquidators for breaches of fiduciary duty. Wilberforce were also instructed on Marylebone Warwick Balfour Management v Richard Balfour Lynn and others, a claim against seven former directors for breach of fiduciary duty.

Lexa Hilliard KC is an 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 international levels 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. “She is a very measured and effective advocate”; “Lexa is very user-friendly. She is able to give a commercial view at short notice.”

Marcia Shekerdemian KC is 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. “There is nothing Marcia has not seen before and no problem she has not managed to solve. Clients have complete confidence in her.”

James Bailey KC is a well-regarded silk 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 in handling contentious recovery work. “James is excellent. He gives very robust advice.”

Thomas Robinson is well known for his adept representation of the Pensions Regulator and continues to be a popular choice for international insolvency matters. He has experience appearing before the Supreme Court. “He is great at finding a way through a complicated argument.”

Daniel Lewis is highly popular in the market for his advocacy style and personable manner. He undertakes wide-ranging insolvency work, with a particular emphasis on claims arising from participation in tax avoidance schemes. He is also well regarded for his handling of professional negligence claims both for and against insolvency office holders. He is noted for his expertise in international insolvency matters.

“Daniel is a fantastic advocate and an expert in his field”; “he is excellent with clients and very much at ease in court”; “he is approachable and efficient”; “Daniel is a pleasure to work with.”

Bobby Friedman has a broad commercial chancery practice which encompasses civil fraud, company and insolvency disputes. He is regularly instructed in both domestic and offshore matters, and is called in the British Virgin Islands. “Bobby is most excellent and patient.”

Sri Carmichael is regularly instructed in both corporate and personal insolvency matters. She fields considerable expertise in contentious insolvencies and has experience handling complex cases involving claims brought against directors. “Sri never appears flustered or under pressure. She is a calming influence on both solicitors and clients and is fantastically sharp”;  “Sri is diligent and intelligent. She grasps the critical features of the case swiftly”; “she is very engaging and client-friendly.”

Rachael Earle garners recognition for her individual and corporate insolvency practice. She regularly defends office holders from claims of misfeasance. “Rachael prepares meticulously”; “Rachael prepares meticulously”; “She is strategic with her approach and brilliant with clients.”

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The history of Wilberforce Chambers

  1. 1928
  2. 1932
  3. 1943
  4. 1948
  5. 1954
  6. 1961
  7. 1976
  1. The set now known as Wilberforce Chambers was founded by Andrew Clark in 1928, not long after he was called to the Bar. He served in the First World War and won an MC, but delayed his call to the Bar until 1928. His chambers were in 11 New Court, an attractive red brick Victorian building that used to stand on the corner of Carey Street and Serle Street.

  2. There he was joined, among others, by Richard Wilberforce in 1932 and Irvine Goulding in 1936.

  3. Chambers closed down during the Second World War, thereafter re-opening in rooms on the first and upper floors of 3 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn. Andrew Clark took silk in 1943.

  4. He inherited his baronetcy on the death of his father in 1948. Between 1952 and 1960, when no new Chancery judges were appointed, he and Charles Russell QC were widely regarded as the leading advocates of the Chancery Bar.

  5. Richard Wilberforce took silk in 1954. His most famous case was the Spanish Champagne case, in which he established for the first time that a passing off action could be maintained by a class of champagne producers to protect the name champagne, and that it was not limited to the protection of the goodwill of one individual producer as had previously been considered the case.

  6. In 1961 he was appointed a Judge of the High Court. Within three years he was appointed a judicial member of the House of Lords, where he earned a high reputation for the quality of his judgments. Irvine Goulding took silk in 1961, and was appointed a High Court Judge in 1971. He was succeeded as head of chambers by Victor Hallett.

  7. The modern incarnation of chambers began in earnest in 1976 when Edward Nugee became the new head, taking silk the following year. From 10 juniors when he became head until he retired as head 30 years later, chambers expanded enormously. Many outstanding pupils became tenants, and experienced counsel from other sets also joined. The premises in 3 New Square were enlarged, but by 1993 proved too small; and the chambers moved, with half of its members occupying the Northern half of 8 New Square and further rooms in 7 and 9, and the other half occupying the new building, now 16 New Square, as remains the case today.