HNW Guide 2018

Wilberforce has had another successful year in Chambers & Partners’ HNW Guide with 20 barrister rankings across all three Bar practice areas covered by the 2018 directory, including a tier one set ranking in the Chancery: Traditional category. Our presence in the tables continues to grow as we see Zoë Barton added to the Chancery: Traditional rankings. Our full coverage is below.


Art & Cultural Property

The “ferociously bright” Gilead Cooper QC of Wilberforce Chambers is a well-known chancery practitioner with a strong track record in art matters. “He is certainly very well-respected in the art world,” reports one of his peers, adding: “He has been involved in some of the big litigation matters with the auction houses, and has a profile there.” Sources also say that “he is good at strategy, looking ahead on the case, dissecting it and plotting things out.”


Chancery: Traditional

Described as “a powerhouse for private client work,” Wilberforce Chambers is acknowledged for its strength in trust, probate and tax matters. One lawyer comments: “The guys at Wilberforce are bright and technically brilliant but also highly commercial.” Other market sources note that the set has “really good quality” and that it is “intellectually, streets ahead of everybody else.” The barristers have wide-ranging experience in chancery work and the set is also renowned for handling offshore and international disputes.

Market sources praise the administrative operation at the set and one solicitor notes that the “the clerks are very good and very efficient.” Another adviser states that “they have a 21st Century operation” and remarks that “if you need something, they deliver it.” The clerking team receives acclaim from a wide range of sources, and a solicitor notes that “the combination of Nicholas Luckman and Mark Rushton is really stellar. They are a great team.

Brian Green QC is “a leading light on trust matters” and “absolutely one of the undisputed leaders of the chancery Bar.” He has long-standing experience in contentious trust matters and is widely acknowledged as “one of the cleverest chancery barristers around.” One interviewee says: “He is an extraordinarily brilliant man and one of the best advisers and advocates at the Bar. He is very good with clients and inspires confidence in them, and everyone else as well.” Another commentator remarks: “He is immensely clever and immensely bright. He is capable of moving hugely intractable cases along.” His skill in court is also highlighted, with sources noting that he is “one of the most consummate advocates you could imagine” and recommend him “especially when big-ticket advocacy is required.”

Gilead Cooper QC focuses his practice on complex trust and estate disputes and has extensive experience in offshore jurisdictions. One commentator observes: “He has real in-depth knowledge of traditional chancery ligation and is very well versed in the types of cases and clients that are dealt with in that area. He’s really a top man.” Another source remarks: “He is extremely solution-oriented, extremely approachable and very thorough.” Cooper is widely praised for his innovative approach to matters, and one source states: “He is very imaginative in coming up with novel arguments which need creative thinking.” Another says: “He is a great creative thinker and can pull something out of the the bag. He is a great one for pulling the rabbit out of the hat on a type of case where no-one else knows what to do.”

Michael Furness QC is “a formidable barrister” who is “absolutely at the top of his game.” He handles significant trust and tax litigation and is also noted for his expertise in pensions matters. “He is very thoughtful and his work is always very well measured. Both the courts and his opponents listen to his arguments with great respect,” reports one source, who adds: “He is very much at home with complicated cases with difficult tax elements.” A solicitor observes: “He combines careful attention-to-detail with an incisive ability to get to the nub of the problem. He is particularly good when you have long-running matters that you need to revisit from time to time.”

Sources laud Robert Ham QC for his “unrivalled experience” and note that he has “appeared in some of the biggest cases in this field.” He has an extensive private client practice and he advises on trusts, tax, pensions and related professional negligence claims. A solicitor remarks: “He is really an excellent QC and he has a lot of gravitas.” Private client lawyers say that “his knowledge of the law is encyclopedic” and that he is “especially good at giving practical advice to clients in a robust way.” An adviser adds: “He is easy to communicate with and you get good and practical advice.” One commentator enthuses: “I see him as a doyen in this area and he is my go-to silk for any complex traditional chancery matter.” Another says: “He is trusted to give the right advice and even the court agrees with him most of the time. He is one of the all-time greats.”

Jonathan Hilliard QC is “an outstandingly intelligent guy” and, according to a source, “is clearly going to be a very important silk in this area.” He represents clients in a range of trust and succession disputes. One interviewee reports: “He has a phenomenal appetite for work and he has phenomenal brainpower. He is the real rising star of the young QCs. His work is tremendous and nothing fazes him. He is very bright and very hard-working.” Another market insider reveals: “He is quick-witted and very good and has a reputation for being the must-have junior silk.”

Fenner Moeran QC deals with various chancery matters and often acts for large financial institutions and corporate trustees. “He is outstanding,” enthuses a commentator, adding: “He has such good judgement and is always impeccable in his analytical skills.” He also has experience in commercial matters and one interviewee explains: “He’s incredibly clever, very bright, yet he is able to provide very practical and commercial advice. He is good on strategy and absolutely superb in court.” Another observer notes: “He really delves into the academic nuances which arise in this area of law. He is really committed to cases and always wins the client’s confidence.”

Jonathan Davey QC has developed a broad chancery practice and has significant experience in tax, trust and property matters. “He is a real expert in tax and is hugely intelligent,” notes a peer, who adds that “he demonstrates real in-depth knowledge and a full understanding of the issues.” His legal acumen is highlighted and an interviewee reports: “He is excellent with lots of details. Even when immersed in detail, he can cut through the nonsense and find the most relevant issues.”

Acknowledged for his long-standing reputation, sources describe John Martin QC as “a very distinguished chancery practitioner” who “has some very significant experience.” He is recognised for his strength in trust and insolvency disputes and also has significant expertise in cross-border matters. “He is absolutely someone you want on your side,” remarks one interviewee, adding: “He is a strong and capable advocate and he is very forceful in court. He is a good barrister for a nasty dispute when the other side is taking potshots.” Another observer says that “he is very good at offshore work and he is an excellent advocate.”

Clare Stanley QC has a reputation for dealing with sensitive disputes and is recognised as “a big gun you bring in for tough cases.” She has experience in trust and probate litigation and one market insider notes that “lawyers always want to hire her.” Another source explains: “She is meticulously prepared for trials and always gives you complete confidence. She is on top of everything and is very good at dealing with witnesses. She is a firepower advocate.” Sources further praise her being “great with clients” and “very good at dealing with tricky legal issues.”

A market insider remarks that Tiffany Scott QC “demonstrates impeccable judgement and some excellent experience for a new silk.” She deals with a broad range of traditional chancery matters and also has experience in multi-jurisdictional disputes. “She is very smart, very responsive and very bright,” observes one source, while another solicitor comments: “She is very assured and is realistic. She can manage client expectations in difficult circumstances.”

Emily Campbell handles various elements of traditional chancery work and advises extensively on trust and estate matters. “She knows how to dig deep into cases so she is very well prepared in case of trial,” observes a lawyer, who continues: “She has a knack for really seeing the wood for the trees and I would recommend her without doubt.” Sources say that “she gives really solid advice on complicated trusts” and that “she is an authority on variation applications.” Campbell is also praised for being “immensely hard-working” and for “leaving no stone unturned.” A commentator reports: “She is very responsive, very practical and very clear-minded. She provides detailed and well thought-out advice. You can always rely on what she has to say.”

Recognised by sources as an experienced contentious trust practitioner, Andrew Child is described by one solicitor as “my first choice for pure trust disputes.” He handles domestic and offshore cases, and another source reports: “He has huge, in-depth knowledge and will be very popular with lawyers. He is a good advocate and has particular skills when dealing with big trust disputes with a family and divorce aspect.” His advocacy skills are also praised, and an interviewee explains: “He is a sharp and tough litigator and is persuasive in court. He knows how to construct a neat and concise argument.”

Judith Bryant “is a very experienced and skilled junior” and handles a wide range of chancery matters. “She is brilliant with clients; she has a sure touch when dealing with sensitive cases in which parties may be quite adversarial,” says a source, adding: “She is very calm and demonstrates very good judgement when handling such tricky cases.” Interviewees note that “her technical knowledge on the trust side is very good” and that “she is very good at complicated variations of trust.” A market commentator reports: “She’s extremely likeable and is excellent with clients. She is sensible and never flustered.”

Mark Studer deals with the full range of traditional chancery matters and is described as “solid and authoritative.” He advises extensively on both non-contentious and contentious trust matters and one peer remarks: “He is very technically astute and his drafting is exemplary. He also gives very good advice.” Another London adviser observes: “He is a really bright mind with the ability to process reams of complex information. He is excellent at resolving problems.” His advocacy skills are also highly admired and a commentator enthuses: “He was excellent in the courtroom and talked eloquently and freely with the judge in a way that reassured and pre-empted his concerns.”

Andrew Mold is lauded as “a go-to junior with strong experience at the chancery Bar.” He has in-depth expertise dealing with overseas matters and also acts in high-value family cases. One lawyer reports: “His written work is of a very high standard and he is really thoughtful and measured in his approach to matters. He knows how to find solutions in tricky and intractable cases.” Another market source notes: “He is extremely good at client handling and very good at dealing with solicitors.” The same source adds: “He is extremely responsive and goes the extra mile.”

Zoë Barton advises on property and trust matters while also handling a wide range of other chancery work. One lawyer comments: “Her work is flawless and she is a good advocate who is very strong in her opinion.” “She is really good in court – tenacious, thorough and forthright,” says an interviewee, adding: “I like her approach in court – she has real presence and is very good at making arguments stick.” Another commentator states: “She inspires great confidence in both clients and judges by what she says and the points she makes.”


Tax: Private Client

Wilberforce Chambers is known as an “outstanding chambers” which has “very good tax people and recruits at a high level.” One market insider comments that “the set has very strong practitioners.” Another reports that “they’re a set at the top of their game.” Barristers at the set have wide-ranging expertise in private client matters, including trusts, administration of estates and Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax.

Led by head clerk Mark Rushton, the clerking at the set is considered to be “absolutely brilliant.

Jonathan Davey QC is well respected for his chancery practice and is experienced in high-profile tax litigation cases. “He is a real up-and-coming star,” notes a market insider, adding: “He really excels at the tax work he does.”

Described as a “superb advocate,” Michael Furness QC focuses his practice on trusts, tax and pensions matters. He has extensive experience in international litigation, frequently acting in tax litigation cases in the UK and in Hong Kong. Furness also deals with onshore and offshore trusts matters.

Brian Green QC is considered a “legend of the private client Bar.” He assists clients with a variety of matters, including trusts, estates and pension schemes. “He is brilliant and is definitely my go-to barrister,” remarks an interviewee, explaining: “He always comes up with very pragmatic advice and always manages to put together seemingly incompatible strands of very complex matters. What sets him apart is that he always makes a point of making himself available to us and will drop everything so we can get everything done and satisfy our client.”