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HNW Guide 2019

Wilberforce has had another successful year in Chambers & Partners’ HNW Guide with 18 barrister rankings across three practice areas, as well as a tier one set ranking in Chancery: Traditional.

 

Art & Cultural Property

Gilead Cooper QC of Wilberforce Chambers has extensive experience in litigation connected to art and cultural property matters. One industry insider reports that he is very knowledgeable and well known in art circles,” adding: “He has acted for many important galleries.” Another lawyer notes: “He is someone you would call for a pure art dispute; he has done some good work on attribution cases and also runs and is involved in art groups at the Bar.” His related experience in chancery matters as they intersect with this area is also highlighted. A peer observes that “he is steeped in knowledge of trusts and bailments as they relate to art matters.”

 

Chancery: Traditional

Wilberforce Chambers are a highly-respected traditional chancery set. Their broad array of silks and juniors are instructed on a diverse range of matters, including trusts, pensions and disputed wills. They are noted for their strength in offshore matters. “One of the best sets – they service the work excellently. Counsel there are reliable, with a real star quality, and there’s a fantastic choice at silk level. My go-to set,” says one source. Another enthuses: “They are the first people I pick up the phone to – a vast array of people you can call in on short notice, many of whom are specialists in the area.”

Market insiders comment on their administration, saying: “They have a very impressive approach to the management of their business – they have a very strategic manager, and their conferences are exceptional. They’re a very professional outfit.” They are also described as “easy to deal with, and always helpful. They are very accessible.” Their practice director is Nicholas Luckman, and the head practice manager is Mark Rushton.

 

Gilead Cooper QC “is an extremely sage advocate; he is always very considered in his approach. In my view he is able to read a courtroom better than any of his peers, and can take something inherently complex and simplify and elucidate it. He is brilliant at the knotty issues, and he has the capacity to find some ingenious argument when you least expect it,” enthuses one professional client. Cooper’s respected chancery practice is focused on contentious property and trusts. One source reports: “He is exceptionally bright. He is regularly instructed on the more complex claims in this area and is extremely well known as a consequence.” He is also noted for his “enormous amount of experience in chancery trial advocacy, in an area where a lot doesn’t go to trial; you really feel the benefit, because he knows what will interest judges.”

Jonathan Davey QC is “a real pleasure to work with,” reports one source, adding: “He’s responsive, thoughtful and open-minded. He listens to the client and the solicitor – very collaborative in his approach. He’s good at dealing with a challenging client – we were very pleased with his technical ability, his commercial ability and his superb soft skills.” He is frequently sought after for high-value and high-profile traditional chancery matters. One commentator calls him “a stellar junior silk, really superb – an amazing leader.”

Michael Furness QC is the head of chambers at Wilberforce. He has an impressive depth of knowledge across the board in traditional chancery, and is highly respected for his offshore and overseas litigation. One source says: “I think Michael is fantastic. He’s very easy to work with, and for a senior QC he’s very accessible. He is personable and responsive, happy to muck in and get stuff done. He’s also very thorough, and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of trust law. In terms of an all-round package, he’s great.” Another calls him “clear and authoritative.”

Brian Green QC has “a stellar reputation” at the chancery Bar. His depth of experience in both contentious and non-contentious matters is widely recognised, and he is often instructed on the highest-profile and most complex trust cases. Sources call him “absolutely outstanding,” “really pre-eminent” and “a private client oracle – a real authority.” He frequently accepts instructions on cross-border and offshore matters.

Robert Ham QC focuses his practice on trusts and other private client work, both contentious and non-contentious. Fellow counsel call him “very senior and reliable” and “a leading authority for years; he is very forceful and persuasive without overstepping the mark.” He is regularly instructed in cases which go to the Supreme Court. One source reports: “He has a great aura and presence about him whatever he does; very impressive.”

Jonathan Hilliard QC is described as “extremely bright, brilliant” by one source, who adds: “He’s incredibly responsive, and always makes you feel like your case is the only thing he’s thinking about.” He has a broad traditional chancery practice, including a wide array of trusts matters and a substantial amount of advisory work. “One of the best young brains at the Bar. He has a ferocious work ethic, an incredible attention to detail, and a creative sense which is badly needed in this area,” reports one commentator, while another says: “He makes complicated things sound simple and easy to follow.”

Fenner Moeran QC “inspires real confidence in clients,” according to one source. His chancery practice is particularly focused on pensions and associated trusts, although he is also regularly instructed on other contentious trusts. “Fenner Moeran is an exceptional silk. He’s incredibly quick-thinking and very straight-talking. He establishes a good rapport with clients and can explain things to them in understandable terms,” says one market insider. Another notes: “He will always give strong advice – he loves what he does, he’s passionate and enthusiastic. If you want someone who will fight and give it everything he’s your man.”

Recent silk Tiffany Scott QC has a depth of experience in both contentious and non-contentious trusts matters, and is frequently instructed by charities, high net worth individuals and estates. “She’s extremely diligent, with a good strategic focus. She comes from a broad practice background, so she’s comfortable with all different types of matters and robust in court,” says one source. Another describes her as “forceful – she’s confident and inspires confidence, respectful and inspires respect.”

Clare Stanley QC focuses her traditional chancery practice on private client and trust litigation, and is frequently instructed for high-value matters both on and offshore. “She has a mastery of trusts disputes,” says one source, adding: “She is very straightforward to deal with and very pragmatic, with a ‘no panic’ approach. She’s an excellent advocate, and is extremely thorough and well prepared.” Another agrees: “She’s very solid and very sound. She gives a firm view and sticks to it. She’s clearly very busy but is very good about responding.”

Zoe Barton is described as “a forceful advocate with a good sense of humour” by one source, who adds: “She’s always very impressive.” She has a broad chancery practice, which makes her a particularly fine choice of counsel for matters with some commercial or real property aspect. “She knows her area of the law very well and is also very good with clients,” comments one solicitor.

Judith Bryant is praised as “very knowledgeable, but very pleasant with it” by market commentators. She focuses her practice on trusts work on both the contentious and non-contentious sides, and is instructed both on and offshore. “She has a huge wealth of experience to draw on, and she applies that in a very pragmatic way. She’s very calm under pressure. She’s definitely someone you want in your camp – I’m always rather jealous when she’s on the other side,” comments one solicitor.

Emily Campbell has a highly respected traditional chancery practice, encompassing both advisory and contentious trusts matters and estate planning. She is described as “really, really bright” by one source, and is noted for her capability with extremely detailed or complex cases.

The “exceptional” Andrew Child enjoys a commanding reputation in the field of traditional chancery. He is regularly sought after for high-value matters domestically, offshore and in cross-border situations. He is described as “forceful and clear in his advice” and “a force in the field” by sources; one market commentator adds: “He has a great analytical brain and is excellent in court.”

Andrew Mold has a wide-ranging traditional chancery practice. Sources highlight his particular expertise in matters with some matrimonial trust aspect. “He has a fantastic academic pedigree, and is very clear in his oral and written advice. There is a complete logical clarity to his thinking; he makes it easy for lay clients. He is hugely experienced, with gravitas and authority which is unusual in a junior,”comments one solicitor. Another market insider calls him “exceptionally good” and continues: “He works extremely hard and is all over the detail of the matter. By being on a case he improves the quality of the silk hugely. He’s a real powerhouse. Extremely pleasant to work with, and very clear in his views.”

 

Tax: Private Client

Wilberforce is a “top, top chancery set” with a noted specialism in private client tax work. A source says: “They obviously have a good reputation, which is well deserved. They have the trust knowledge which informs and helps them in providing well-rounded tax advice.” An instructing solicitor reports that it is “my first choice for private client and trust tax advice and particularly for offshore tax.”

Mark Rushton leads the clerking team.

 

Tax and trusts specialist Jonathan Davey QC is a totally brilliant lawyer” who has “won some really good victories,” a source says, adding that he is “very, very calm and persuasive – he will make a point seem really simple even when it’s complicated. He’s a leading light in this area.” An instructing solicitor reports that Davey’s advice has been very helpful, and he doesn’t sit on the fence – he says what he thinks. He’s also extremely good at explaining things in terms that, as a non-specialist, you can understand, even in a complex area like this.”

Michael Furness QC is known as a senior and highly respected traditional chancery and private client tax practitioner with a “dedicated following” among instructing firms. “He is incredibly good,”enthuses a fellow barrister; “there is nothing else to be said.”

Brian Green QC is hugely well known for traditional chancery and pensions law, and he is also in high demand for private client tax advisory work. A solicitor reports that his written opinions are beautifully phrased and able to deal with the most difficult matters in a light-touch fashion,” and also praises Green’s “ability to see the bigger picture and cut through complexity to the nub of an issue.”