The Legal 500 2014

Top Tier Recommendations

Wilberforce Chambers (Chambers of John Martin QC) has also been recommended in the following 8 practice areas:



Banking and finance (including consumer credit)

Leading Silks: James Ayliffe QC, Terence Mowschenson QC

New Silks: Rupert Reed QC

Wilberforce Chambers contains ‘very impressive barristers in this area’. Members are particularly noted for their expertise in offshore and trusts-related banking disputes.

  • James Ayliffe QC-‘Extremely intelligent, with an eye for the finer details.’
  • Terence Mowschenson QC-‘Clients love him because he is tough, determined and charms judges.’
  • Rupert Reed QC-‘A real star, who has a calm authority and an unflappable manner.’


Leading Silks: Michael Furness QC

Leading Juniors: Mark Studer

Wilberforce Chambers’ Michael Furness QC is advising in the Cup Trust case, concerning a charity trustee’s approach to tax avoidance schemes; and on the Preston Down dispute, relating to the charitable status of a religious charity.

  • Michael Furness QC – ‘A phenomenal intellect.’
  • Mark Studer – ‘Draws on his broad private client practice.’

Commercial litigation

Leading Silks: Ian Croxford QC, Joanna Smith QC, John Wardell QC, Terence Mowschenson QC.

Leading Juniors: Clare Stanley, Edward Sawyer, Jonathan Hilliard, Julian Greenhill, Nikki Singla

Wilberforce Chambers can provide support ‘in almost any area’, and in commercial litigation, ‘the barristers are of an exceptional standard’. The set is also praised for its ‘incredibly competitive prices’ and ‘excellent level of service’.

  • Ian Croxford QC – ‘A first-class, authoritative and commercial barrister.’
  • Joanna Smith QC – ‘A very good advocate and a good team player.’
  • John Wardell QC –  ‘An excellent all-round barrister and an especially good cross-examiner.’
  • Terence Mowschenson QC – ‘An excellent courtroom advocate, who is highly respected by the judiciary.’
  • Clare Stanley –  ‘A very impressive barrister, who is nice to deal with, and gives carefully considered advice.’
  • Edward Sawyer – ‘An extremely gifted practitioner, with a Rolls-Royce mind.’
  • Jonathan Hilliard – ‘Very responsive with excellent attention to detail.’
  • Julian Greenhill – ‘Strong advocacy skills and good with clients.’
  • Nikki Singla – ‘Provides difficult advice in a well-thought-through and professional manner.’

Company and partnership – Company

Leading Silks: John Wardell QC, Lawrence Cohen QC, Terence Mowschenson QC

Leading Juniors: Graeme Halkerston, Nikki Singla

Wilberforce Chambers is highly rated for company law and offshore disputes; ‘there is clearly considerable strength in depth as the clerks can always suggest a barrister at the right level.’

  • John Wardell QC- ‘A fearsome cross-examiner and a master of court craft.’
  • Lawrence Cohen QC – ‘A strong tactician and very strong for traditional Chancery work.’
  • Terence Mowschenson QC – ‘Has a very accessible and no-nonsense approach to his work.’
  • Graeme Halkerston – ‘Intellectually and tactically strong and very responsive.’
  • Nikki Singla – ‘He will fight the client’s corner in challenging circumstances.’

Fraud: civil

Leading Silks: Ian Croxford QC, John Wardell QC, Lawrence Cohen QC

Leading Juniors: Edward Sawyer, Gabriel Fadipe, Jonathan Hilliard

Wilberforce Chambers’ civil fraud practice stems from the set’s strengths in Chancery and commercial litigation. Work highlights saw Jonathan Hilliard appear unled against a number of QCs in the largest-ever case of alleged corruption in modern Latvian history.

  • Ian Croxford QC – ‘A spectacular advocate.’
  • John Wardell QC – ‘Highly intelligent but also approachable and completely down to earth.’
  • Lawrence Cohen QC – ‘Recommended for offshore and international work.’
  • Edward Sawyer – ‘Strong overseas experience.’
  • Gabriel Fadipe – ‘Recommended for property and mortgage related fraud.’
  • Jonathan Hilliard – ‘Recommended for offshore and pensions-related litigation.’


Leading Silks: Lawrence Cohen QC, Terence Mowschenson QC

  • Lawrence Cohen QC – ‘Often involved in high-value, cross-border cases.’
  • Terence Mowschenson QC – ‘He has a good reputation for cross-border insolvencies.’

International arbitration: counsel

Leading Silks: Terence Mowschenson QC

Leading Juniors: Harris Bor

  • Terence Mowschenson QC – ‘A top-notch Chancery barrister with good experience in arbitration.’
  • Harris Bor – ‘Very knowledgeable and diligent, with a strong grounding in international law.’

Media and entertainment

Leading Juniors: Nikki Singla

  • Nikki Singla – ‘A standout junior.’


Leading Silks: Michael Furness QC, Michael Tennet QC, Paul Newman QC, Brian Green QC, Robert Ham QC

Leading Juniors: Andrew Mold, Edward Sawyer, Emily Campbell, Emily McKechnie, James Walmsley, Sebastian Allen, Thomas Seymour, Jonathan Hilliard

New Silks: Jonathan Evans QC

Wilberforce Chambers is ‘the clear, go-to pensions set’, with ‘quality barristers both at silk and junior level’, who ‘never disappoint’. Standout cases of 2013 saw members appear in a case brought by IBM UK relating to the decision to close its substantial UK-defined benefit schemes to future accrual; and the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund dispute, involving £272m of pension deficit liabilities.

  • Michael Furness QC – ‘Very bright, authoritative, and calm under pressure.’
  • Michael Tennet QC – ‘A solid choice for complex cases.’
  • Paul Newman QC – ‘The counsel to go to if you want a clear opinion – he rarely sits on the fence.’
  • Brian Green QC – ‘He inspires complete confidence, and never lets you down.’
  • Robert Ham QC – ‘A leading light.’
  • Andrew Mold – ‘Bright and energetic, and fully on top of the subject.’
  • Edward Sawyer – ‘A very hardworking junior.’
  • Emily Campbell – ‘Very strong on detail, ensuring all areas are covered off.’
  • Emily McKechnie – ‘A rising star.’
  • James Walmsley – ‘Extremely bright and very hardworking.’
  • Sebastian Allen – ‘Shows judgement beyond his years of call.’
  • Thomas Seymour – ‘Recommended for regulatory matters, pensions mis-selling and pensions liberation.’
  • Jonathan Hilliard – ‘The star pensions junior.’
  • Jonathan Evans QC – ‘Adopts a down-to-earth approach when dealing with complex pension issues.’

Private client: personal tax

Leading Silks: Michael Furness QC

Leading Juniors: Jonathan Davey

Wilberforce Chambers is ‘one of the top sets for this type of work’. Jonathan Davey acted on a high-profile £1bn litigation regarding the proper tax analysis in respect of partnerships invested in by high-net-worth individuals involved in the film and games industries.

  • Michael Furness QC – ‘Technically rigorous.’
  • Jonathan Davey – ‘An excellent manner with clients.’

Private client: trusts and probate

Leading Silks: Edward Nugee QC, John Martin QC, Brian Green QC, Michael Furness QC, Robert Ham QC.

Leading Juniors: Andrew Mold, Clare Stanley, Daniel Hochberg, John Child, Jonathan Hilliard, Judith Bryant, Mark Studer, Tiffany Scott, Emily Campbell

‘First choice for trust problems’, Wilberforce Chambers has ‘significant exposure to offshore work’ and is also known for its ‘large number of excellent silks and juniors’. Michael Furness QC is currently representing a former trustee in a matter involving issues of Lichtenstein and Swiss law.

  • Edward Nugee QC – ‘A mainstay of the Chancery Bar.’
  • John Martin QC – ‘Highly regarded for his wisdom and superb advocacy.’
  • Brian Green QC – ‘Quite simply the best silk in this area.’
  • Michael Furness QC – ‘Combines pragmatism and practicality.’
  • Robert Ham QC – ‘A hugely impressive lawyer in this field.’
  • Andrew Mold – ‘A very client-friendly junior.’
  • Clare Stanley – ‘Assimilates large amounts of information quickly.’
  • Daniel Hochberg – ‘Highly intelligent and a master of his subject.’
  • John Child – ‘Specialises in advising on trusts and on revenue matters.’
  • Jonathan Hilliard – ‘A rising star and already a viable alternative to a silk.’
  • Judith Bryant – ‘A clear incisive mind and good litigation skills.’
  • Mark Studer – ‘He has considerable intellect and doesn’t get bogged down in unnecessary detail.’
  • Tiffany Scott – ‘Very approachable, hands on and user friendly.’
  • Emily Campbell – ‘Excellent, clear-thinking and positive, and very robust on her feet.’

Professional negligence

Leading Silks: David Phillips QC, Ian Croxford QC, James Ayliffe QC, Joanna Smith QC, Joanne Wicks QC, John Martin QC, Jonathan Seitler QC, Michael Furness QC, Michael Tennet QC, John Wardell QC.

Leading Juniors: Clare Stanley, Daniel Hochberg, Graeme Halkerston, Julian Greenhill, Nikki Singla, Tiffany Scott.

New Silks: Jonathan Evans QC

  • David Phillips QC – ‘Deeply knowledgeable.’
  • Ian Croxford QC – ‘An excellent cross-examiner and really gets stuck into every case.’
  • James Ayliffe QC – ‘Very strong on getting to the nub of an issue.’
  • Joanna Smith QC – ‘A robust and resilient advocate; provides concise and thorough advice and representation in a manner which clients find reassuring.’
  • Joanne Wicks QC – ‘A powerful, talented but approachable advocate who can really get to the guts of a problem, no matter how complicated.’
  • John Martin QC – ‘Great attention to detail.’
  • Jonathan Seitler QC –  ‘A fantastic fountain of knowledge.’
  • Michael Furness QC – ‘An excellent analyst.’
  • Michael Tennet QC – ‘Fantastic tactical insight’
  • John Wardell QC – ‘Client friendly, articulate and exceedingly clever.’
  • Clare Stanley – ‘Extremely client friendly.’
  • Daniel Hochberg – ‘First class.’
  • Graeme Halkerston – ‘Excellent attention to detail and an appetite to undertake significant legal research’
  • Julian Greenhill – ‘Very thorough and always well prepared’
  • Nikki Singla – ‘Deeply knowledgeable’
  • Tiffany Scott – ‘Very persuasive and adaptable on her feet’
  • Jonathan Evans QC – ‘He has a very measured style, is very experienced and prudently pragmatic’

Property litigation

Leading Silks: James Ayliffe QC, Joanne Wicks QC, John Furber QC, Jonathan Seitler QC, Martin Hutchings QC, Michael Barnes QC.

Leading Juniors: Daniel Hochberg, Graeme Halkerston, Julian Greenhill, Nikki Singla, Tiffany Scott.

New Silks: Rupert Reed QC

Wilberforce Chambers is ‘such a great set that solicitors find it difficult to go elsewhere’. It has ‘real strength in depth’, and is considered to be ‘very strong at the top and towards the bottom’. Members appear in high-profile cases such as Clutterbuck v Al Amoudi and The Manchester Ship Canal Company v United Utilities Water.

  • James Ayliffe QC – ‘Highly approachable and supremely competent.
  • Joanne Wicks QC – ‘Undoubtedly one of the leading property silks, who is destined for the top’
  • John Furber QC – ‘A very impressive property barrister.’
  • Jonathan Seitler QC – ‘A very good barrister, who is effective in court and not afraid to tell it like it is.’
  • Martin Hutchings QC – ‘A very safe bet, excellent value for money and a dream to work with’
  • Michael Barnes QC – ‘A very determined, strong advocate.’
  • Daniel Hochberg – ‘Experienced in property and trust disputes.’
  • Jonathan Davey – ‘He has a very analytical approach and an excellent manner with clients’
  • Tiffany Scott –‘A rising star, who is brilliant under pressure.’
  • Julian Greenhill – ‘A very impressive and bright team player’
  • Rupert Reed QC – ‘Very well informed and wise.’


Leading Silks: David Phillips QC

  • David Phillips QC – ‘A hardworking and charming individual.’