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The Legal 500, 2019

Wilberforce is delighted to feature prominently in the latest edition of The Legal 500 UK. We have had another successful year and have three top-tier set rankings and are recommended as a leading set in a further eight practice areas. We have 135 barrister rankings including 17 new entries.

Praise is also directed at our staff, with eight individuals in the clerks’ room singled out by our clients. A summary of our recommendations is below and full coverage in the 2018 guide can be found here.

Leading set rankings

  • Charities
  • Commercial litigation
  • Company and partnership
  • Fraud: civil
  • Insolvency
  • Offshore
  • Pensions
  • Private client: personal tax
  • Private client: trusts and probate
  • Professional negligence
  • Property litigation and agriculture

Set Overview

The ‘polished’ Wilberforce Chambers is ‘the best in the market’ for pensions litigation work and one of the ‘premier’ offshore sets as it can offer ‘a choice of top flight barristers who can offer a deep understanding of the offshore legal market and who have hands-on experience in the offshore courts’. Chambers ‘has grown and gone from strength to strength’ since the ‘solutions driven’ Nicholas Luckman was appointed as practice director. Luckman (‘a stalwart in the offshore legal world’) and head clerk Mark Rushton are ‘both responsive and sensitive to client needs and oversee a commercially focused clerks’ room’. Rushton in particular is praised for ‘going out of his way to ensure a fantastic service and constantly asking how they can get even better’. The clerking team is ‘second to none’, providing ‘an integral part of the exceptional service the set provides its clients’. Solicitors highlight the ‘standout’ Fraser Geddes; a ‘superb’ Ben Rippengale, who is ‘on the ball, efficient, personable and a genuine pleasure to deal’; and Stewart Cameron, who is ‘responsive and great at trying to fix listing problems as well as squeezing in assistance from counsel at short notice when we need it’. In addition, Danny Smillie and the ‘impressive’ Nancy Lee are also recommended. Offices in: London

 

Agriculture

Leading Juniors:

 

Charities

Leading Silks:

  • Jonathan Davey QCClever and able to tackle highly fact-sensitive, multifaceted disputes with ease.
  • Michael Furness QC ‘He is very good at providing legal and tactical advice on tricky issues.

Commercial Litigation

Leading Silks:

  • Alan Gourgey QC ‘An excellent trial advocate and skilled cross-examiner, having him retained is a huge asset.
  • Terence Mowchenson QC ‘Charming with clients and speaks with incredible authority in court.
  • Joanna Smith QC ‘A first-class advocate and has charmed the appellate court judges on numerous occasions.
  • John Wardell QC ‘Rapidly gained the trust and respect of the clients, and has a very thorough approach.
  • Thomas Lowe QC ‘An excellent strategist with unparalleled knowledge of Cayman Islands law.
  • Lexa Hilliard QC ‘Incredibly impressive; very clear and concise and extremely quick to grasp the issues.
  • Ian Croxford QC ‘Highly experienced in complex commercial claims.
  • Max Mallin QC ‘That rare beast of being all things: advocate, legal analyst, commercial resolver and understands figures.
  • Nikki Singla QC ‘His drafting skills are top notch, his knowledge of trusts and offshore litigation second to none.

Leading Juniors:

  • Iain Pester ‘A deep thinker who plans meticulously.
  • Edward Sawyer ‘So courteous, great judgement and an excellent advocate.
  • James Bailey ‘Turns work around quickly and to an exceptionally high standard.
  • James Walmsley ‘He has a forensic eye and is an excellent tactician.

Company and partnership

 Leading Silks:

  • Lexa Hilliard QC ‘She wins a case before you’ve set foot in the court room.
  • Terence Mowschenson QC ‘A very commanding presence in court and he is easy to work with.
  • John Wardell QC ‘He is extremely approachable to clients and is not afraid of doing tasks that silks normally would not.
  • Marcia Shekerdemian QC ‘Strong advocate, very aware of law and practice.
  • Lawrence Cohen QC ‘He is a very careful and well-balanced silk.
  • Max Mallin QC ‘Very commercial, user friendly for solicitors and loved by clients.
  • Nikki Singla QC ‘He is not afraid to pull up his sleeves, get stuck in to the detail of the case.

Leading Juniors:

  • Graeme Halkerston A strong and commercial barrister.
  • Iain Pester ‘A deep thinker who plans meticulously with a real ability to predict issues.

Construction

Leading Silks:

Financial services

Leading Silks: 

  • James Ayliffe QC ‘Great with clients, strong strategically, and an excellent advocacy style.
  • Terence Mowschenson QC ‘He has many strengths including care and attention to detail and speed of response.

Fraud: civil

Leading Silks: 

  • Alan Gourgey QC Extremely hardworking and approachable, and of great assistance in fraud cases.
  • John Wardell QCHas an incisive mind and fights his clients’ corner tenaciously.
  • Lawrence Cohen QCPopular for fraud and offshore work.
  • Thomas Lowe QC ‘A first-class advocate and he always identifies potential issues immediately.
  • Tim Penny QC ‘An excellent fraud lawyer – produces great written work and is excellent on his feet.
  • Max Mallin QCA brilliant advocate; his advice is clear and straightforward.

Leading Juniors:

  • Iain Pester ‘Has a real ability to predict issues that could trouble a court; he also knows how to solve them.’ brings strong knowledge and analysis to any case.
  • Edward Sawyer An excellent draftsman with a great eye for points of forensic detail.

IT and telecoms (excluding regulatory)

Leading Silks:

  • Alan Gourgey QCHe is an excellent trial advocate and is a skilled cross-examiner.

Leading Juniors:

Insolvency

Leading Silks:

Leading Juniors:

  • James Bailey ‘Excellent in insolvency cases with a cross-border dimension.
  • Iain Pester ‘A deep thinker who plans meticulously and has a real ability to predict issues.
  • Thomas RobinsonAn outstanding team player with a really astute commercial ability.

Media and entertainment (including art and cultural property)

Leading Silks:

Offshore

Leading Silks:

  • Brian Green QC  ‘He handles work concerning Hong Kong, Bermudan and Cayman trusts.
  • Gilead Cooper QCCreative and intellectually agile, he uses his wit to his advantage.
  • Lexa Hilliard QC ‘Instructed in offshore cases, including investment fund liquidations.
  • Michael Furness QCHugely experienced, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law.
  • Robert Ham QCInstructed in sensitive Cayman cases.
  • Terence Mowschenson QC ‘Easy to work with – he is very good at picking things up late and getting up to speed quickly.
  • John Wardell QC ‘Instructed in TCI, Cayman and Gibraltar cases.
  • Thomas Lowe QC ‘An expert in insolvency law with offshore expertise.
  • James Ayliffe QC ‘He appears in BVI, Hong Kong and Cayman cases.
  • Jonathan Hilliard QC ‘An excellent barrister – he leads clients expertly through difficult matters.
  • Clare Stanley QCAn extremely effective and user-friendly operator.
  • Nikki Singla QC ‘He appears in BVI, Cayman and Manx litigation.

Leading Juniors:

  • Graeme Halkerston He is not afraid to get stuck in to the detail of the case.
  • Andrew Mold ‘Also admitted to the Cayman Bar, his work includes cases with matrimonial elements.
  • Anna Littler ‘Very bright and provides very clear advice.

Pensions

Leading Silks: 

  • Brian Green QCA very experienced and knowledgeable silk who presents with style.
  • Paul Newman QCHe is impressive in his rigorous analysis of the legislation.
  • Fenner Moeran QCAn extremely dependable advocate who always has the ear of the court.
  • Michael Tennet QCHe has particular skill with the strategic elements of cases.
  • Michael Furness QCHe is intellectually excellent with brilliant client-handling skills.
  • Jonathan Hilliard QC ‘A true star that is rising at a meteoric rate.
  • Robert Ham QCHe is sharp minded, commercial and has a wonderful delivery.

Leading Juniors:

  • Andrew Mold  ‘He is rock solid on the law while remaining very commercial.
  • Edward Sawyer  He combines being exceptionally bright with a strong practical sense.
  • Emily Campbell ‘She has a sharp intellect and provides silk-quality advice.
  • Sebastian Allen  ‘He instils complete confidence in clients.
  • James McCreath ‘He is incredibly user friendly and fully dedicated to the client’s cause.
  • Thomas Robinson ‘He is highly intelligent and excellent on his feet.’
  • Benjamin Faulkner ‘He has an incredible legal brain and a keen eye for detail.
  • Emily McKechnieA great advocate who is user friendly and very bright.
  • James Walmsley ‘A key name for regulatory actions.
  • Thomas Seymour A wise junior who can be relied upon.

Private Client: personal tax

Leading Silks:

Private Client: trusts and probate

Leading Silks: 

Leading Juniors:

  • Emily CampbellInsightful, wise and brilliant.
  • Judith BryantHugely experienced and practical.
  • Andrew Child He has a great analytical brain.
  • Mark Studer He is very bright.
  • Zoë Barton She is extremely eloquent and can think quickly on her feet.
  • Andrew MoldYou can be confident that he will find the answer to the most complicated of cases.
  • John Child He is very good on detail.

Professional negligence

Leading Silks:

  • John Wardell QCReally grasps the detail of a case.
  • Ian Croxford QCHis attention to detail and ability to identify alternative and sustainable arguments combined with pragmatic advice is invaluable.
  • Jonathan Seitler QCHe is particularly noted for property-related professional negligence cases.
  • Joanna Smith QCHer written work is exceptional, she is a ferocious advocate, tactically astute and handles clients incredibly well.
  • John Martin QCHe regularly handles international professional negligence cases.
  • Joanne Wicks QCShe is very commercial as well as being technically excellent, and clients like her approachable style.
  • Michael Tennet QCVery bright.
  • Michael Furness QCHe is noted for pensions-related professional negligence work.
  • Paul Newman QCHe is thoughtful in his responses and gives clients confidence.
  • Clare Stanley QCSuper on the detail, great with clients, commercial and excellent on her feet.
  • David Phillips QCHe is disarmingly charming and puts his clients at ease while maintaining a laser focus on the issues at hand.
  • James Ayliffe QCHe is pro-active and hardworking.
  • Lexa Hilliard QC ‘Very Able’
  • Julian Greenhill QC ‘Brilliant.
  • Nikki Singla QC ‘He really gets stuck into the details.
  • Tiffany Scott QC ‘Superb.

Leading Juniors:

Property litigation

Leading Silks:

Leading Juniors:

  • Zoë BartonHer strong verbal communication is evident through her advocacy and good rapport with clients.
  • Emer MurphyUnflappable and comes up with innovative solutions to issues.
  • Charlotte BlackBuilding a good reputation in the dilapidations world.
  • Jonathan Chew ‘Comprehensive in his approach, an impressive and effective advocate.
  • James McCreath ‘Technically able, switched on and offers good strategic solutions.

 

Sport

Leading Silks:

  • David Phillips QC ‘An excellent all-round sports practitioner. Very amiable and a very effective, experienced advocate.