Chambers Global

CHAMBERS AND PARTNERS GLOBAL DIRECTORY

2021 RECOMMENDATIONS

XXIV Old Buildings and its members are recommended by Chambers and Partners Global in all the following areas:

Dispute Resolution: Commercial

Dispute Resolution: Commercial Chancery

Dispute Resolution: Most In Demand Arbitrators – United Arab Emirates

Dispute Resolution: The English Bar – United Arab Emirates

International Arbitration – The English Bar – Global Market Leaders

Offshore

Private Wealth: Trusts

Restructuring and Insolvency

 

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: COMMERCIAL

The set possesses significant talent in the commercial litigation sphere at both silk and junior level, and has barristers who are praised by interviewees for being “proactive and collaborative.” It is regularly involved in key cases across the sector. By way of example, it acted for the Property Alliance Group in its test case against RBS arising out of the rigging of LIBOR, and also successfully acted for Goldas in striking out a USD500 million claim brought by Société Générale concerning gold bullion consignments. Other matters undertaken include the United Company Rusal Plc dispute, which concerned one of the largest aluminium companies in Russia. Barristers here are not only experienced in handling disputes in the UK, but also frequently act in cases overseas, and have noteworthy experience in jurisdictions such as the Middle East and the Caribbean, among many others.

Client service: “The clerks, led by Paul Horsfield, are responsive and friendly.” “They are all very quick to reply to queries and highly efficient.”

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC
Strengths: “Incredibly intelligent and absolutely charming, he is a fantastic barrister.”

Recent work: Defended Carlyle-related entities against a USD2 billion claim arising out of the failure of a US hedge fund incorporated in Guernsey.

Stephen Moverley Smith QC
Strengths: “Has a wealth of experience of dealing with both English and Caribbean litigation, and is the perfect counsel for cross-border court proceedings.” “He has very good client-handling skills.”

Recent work: Successfully acted for the defendant, Goldas, in striking out a USD500 million claim brought by Société Générale concerning gold bullion consignments.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC

Strengths: “She is incredibly successful, has razor-sharp analysis and is really good at strategy.” “You can’t throw a situation at Elspeth that she hasn’t seen before, and she is always able to predict how strategies will play out.”

Recent work: Acted in MMD v Lang, a case involving claims in England, the PRC and the Isle of Man arising out of a joint venture.

Robert Levy QC

Strengths: “He argues very passionately and is fantastic.” “Robert is easy to work with and gets on top of the detail.”

Recent work: Acted in the case Re International MR Pty Ltd, regarding an application for extensions of time for service of defence in a case concerning breach of directors’ duties.

Steven Thompson QC

Strengths: “Knowledgeable, commercial and astute.” “He is very good with words, in both the written and verbal form, and is a beguiling presence in court.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendant, International Holdings, in a USD340 million fraud claim brought by Iraq Telecom arising out of West African oil trading.

Tom Montagu-Smith QC

Strengths: “A lawyer with a very high success rate, he keeps himself up to date on case law and has a brilliant way with judges.” “He is excellent and rightly has a very good reputation for his work in the Middle East and DIFC courts.”

Recent work: Successfully acted for the claimant in Amira C Foods International DMCC v IDBI Bank Ltd and Another, securing a USD12.6 million judgment against the Indian bank for failure to honour a credit agreement.

Edward Cumming QC

Strengths: “Very easy to work with, very responsive, very pragmatic and very committed.” “He gets to grips with things easily, is tenacious and really fights your corner.”

Recent work: Acted for Elite Property Holdings in its case against Barclays. Elite claimed that it had been placed into administration by alleged unlawful means conspiracy between the bank and a leading accountancy firm.

JUNIORS

Stuart Adair

Strengths: “A very good advocate who is aggressive when you need him to be and really good at thinking on his feet.” “He develops tailor-made legal strategies and thinks out of the box.”

Recent work: Acted for Orexim Trading in relation to claims it made against Mahavir Port and Terminal Private for damages for breach of contract. Adair obtained a judgment in excess of USD8 million, plus interest and costs.

Adam Cloherty

Strengths: “Has a very good understanding of international law and is easy to work with.” “He is just so efficient and effective.”

Recent work: Acted for the Property Alliance Group in its claim against RBS arising out of the rigging of the LIBOR benchmark.

Hugh Miall

Strengths: “He is just brilliant; he explains things in a pragmatic way and he is really good at providing support to the client.” “Hugh is hard-working and will go the extra mile.”

Recent work: Successfully instructed as sole counsel for the first respondent in Richard George v Robert McCarthy & Goss Interactive Ltd, a case involving an unfair prejudice petition.

 

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: COMMERCIAL CHANCERY

XXIV Old Buildings is highly regarded for its expertise in complex cases arising in offshore jurisdictions, earning praise from instructing solicitors who describe it as “a go-to set for offshore commercial work.” The set’s members undertake a wide range of commercial chancery matters, and are frequently instructed in high-value commercial litigation, especially civil fraud and insolvency disputes. The team is also well versed in commercial matters involving elements of professional negligence, trusts and partnership law, drawing on the set’s established strengths in these areas.

Client service: “The chambers is very professionally run and the clerks are quick to respond and transparent in respect of fees and turnaround times.” “The clerks are exceptional – they’re very helpful and happy to assist with regard to any issues.” “Head of clerking Paul Horsfield is very good, responsive and quick – he’s very impressive.”

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

Strengths: “He is a real class act and a top-class trust litigator. He has a well-deserved reputation and his knowledge is superb.” “He is incredibly intelligent and absolutely charming.”

Stephen Moverley Smith QC

Strengths: “He’s very experienced, efficient and knows the court and the judges.”

Francis Tregear QC

Strengths: “His ability to forensically analyse complicated matters and to get to the core of the issue is just outstanding. He is an excellent advocate and very responsive.”

David Brownbill QC

Strengths: “An authoritative practitioner who really knows his stuff. He has a wealth of knowledge for all things trusts-related.”

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC

Strengths: “She has an extraordinary commitment to her cases and inspires people who work with her.” “She is formidable – razor-sharp in her analysis, really good on strategy and an excellent advocate. She is one of the best out there.”

Robert Levy QC

Strengths: “He’s very versatile and has the correct answer to almost everything you ask him. He also has the ability to be robust without being unpleasant.” “A forceful advocate.”

Edward Cumming QC

Strengths: “He is phenomenally bright and has an insane capacity for work – a real dynamo. His written work and advocacy put clients at ease.” “A strong advocate – he’s quick on his feet, thorough, very bright and a pleasure to work with.”

JUNIORS

Marcus Staff

Strengths: “He is intelligent, innovative and forceful.”

Stuart Adair

Strengths: “An experienced barrister who is very creative in developing tailor-made legal strategies.” “A brilliant advocate in court. He is very experienced, knowledgeable and thorough in his work and approach. He’s also very quick in dealing with papers and is an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Bajul Shah

Strengths: “Hugely impressive with a brain the size of the moon, but he’s still very approachable, practical and very commercial. He’s bright, very straightforward and a great barrister.”

Adam Cloherty

Strengths: “Very bright, responsive and user-friendly.”

Daniel Warents

Strengths: “Daniel is an excellent lawyer with maturity beyond his years. He has great judgement and works hard with determination.” “An excellent practitioner – he’s thoughtful and shrewd.”

Hugh Miall

Strengths: “He’s brilliant –  incredibly intelligent but also personable and good to work with. He goes the extra mile to be available.” “He’s super bright, down to earth and approachable. He distils complicated concepts into easy-to-understand language.”

Tim Sherwin

Strengths: “He is terrific, really smart and practical. He’s tremendously accessible and approachable.” “He is very down to earth with a human approach. He is astute and patient, very good on his feet and excellent at legal research.”

 

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: MOST IN DEMAND ARBITRATORS – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Michael Black QC is “a senior figure in the Dubai legal market,” commended for his longstanding presence in arbitration. He is especially noted for his expertise in construction and energy matters. Sources explain: “He is widely renowned as one of the leading arbitration specialists for the Middle East region, both as counsel and arbitrator,” while clients add: “His oratory skills are masterful.”

 

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: THE ENGLISH BAR – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

London-based barrister Tom Montagu-Smith QC frequently acts as an advocate on behalf of international law firms in major commercial and construction disputes, as well as white-collar crime cases. Sources comment: “He remains our go-to QC for DIFC and ADGM Court work,” adding: “His regional and DIFC law knowledge is unrivalled and invaluable in DIFC disputes.”

 

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION – THE ENGLISH BAR – GLOBAL MARKET LEADERS

Michael Black QC

Known at the International Arbitration Bar for his longstanding experience in different types of disputes including those relating to company law and energy. His expertise in Middle Eastern matters is well recognised within the market, as is his ability to represent national and international clients in arbitrations under the auspices of various arbitral bodies including the LCIA, ICC and DIFC.

Strengths: “He is good on tricky interpretations and has an easy way with his presentation. He is good at getting to the crux of things in a straightforward way, which makes him an impressive advocate.” “He is a thorough expert in the Middle East and he is very well attuned to how businesses work and how information flows in those jurisdictions.”

 

OFFSHORE

XXIV Old Buildings maintains a superb reputation for its handling of an array of offshore work, with members frequently appearing in trusts, funds, fraud and restructuring disputes. The set is able to offer significant expertise in the Channel Islands, the BVI and the Cayman Islands, as well as in the Middle and Far Eastern jurisdictions. An instructing solicitor comments: “They are one of our go-to sets. They deliver on time and we like working with them.”

Client service: “The clerks are very helpful, very responsive and always available.” “The clerking is very modern and user-friendly.” Paul Horsfield is the head of clerking at the set.

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

Has wide commercial and traditional chancery expertise and a profound knowledge of trust disputes. He has broad offshore experience across the Channel Islands, the Caribbean and Hong Kong. Steinfeld is well versed in hedge fund, investment fund and property disputes. He is also active on behalf of private clients in family and estate disputes.

Strengths: “He has great analytical skills.”

Recent work: Appeared for dissenting shareholders who, following a takeover, had become entitled to have their shares purchased at fair value, in proceedings whereby the value of shares was to be determined.

Stephen Moverley Smith QC

He is well versed in a range of commercial cases, including those concerning restructuring, fraud and insolvency. He also specialises in fraud and corruption cases.

Strengths: “An excellent advocate who is very persuasive on his feet.” “Very hands-on, diligent and a very safe pair of hands.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendants in Eurochem v Livingstone Properties, a case regarding a BVI suit seeking to recover USD45 million in alleged bribes.

Francis Tregear QC

Well known for his liquidation work, he has acted for clients in Bermuda, the BVI and the Cayman Islands. He offers additional expertise in trust disputes, and has recently been active in Jersey. Tregear regularly acts for shareholders and liquidators.

Strengths: “Insightful, user-friendly and very astute.” “Solid and unflappable.”

Recent work: Acted for the claimants in a case regarding the purchase of trade mark rights and associated shares in companies, which involved issues of Monaco law.

David Brownbill QC

A natural choice for the most complex and contentious trusts litigation, he is frequently called upon to handle work in the Channel Islands, the BVI and the Cayman Islands. His specialism lies in multi-jurisdictional and high-value traditional and commercial chancery work. Brownbill is particularly sought after for claims arising out of liquidation and insolvency.

Strengths: “Extremely thorough and delightful to work with.” “Very technically gifted.” “Very bright, a real pleasure to work with.”

Recent work: Acted for one branch of a well-known banking family in relation to a dispute concerning a UK, Jersey and Bermuda-based trust and corporate structure.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC

A highly regarded and much sought-after expert who handles a full spectrum of commercial and traditional chancery work. She has experience of acting in jurisdictions spanning the BVI, Bermuda and the UK Crown Dependencies, and acts for both claimants and defendants in significant trust and estates disputes. She has particular experience in cases concerning asset transfers and restructuring.

Strengths: “Commercial and good on her feet.” “Very strategic, no-nonsense and instils a lot of confidence.” “Very good at understanding the clients needs.”

Recent work: Represented the beneficiaries and new trustee in Walker v Egerton Vernon in a GBP100 million claim alleging grossly negligent breach of trust in Guernsey.

Robert Levy QC

A leading silk for complex, high-value insolvency claims, particularly within the Caribbean jurisdictions. He has been called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean in the BVI, and the Bars of Anguilla and St Vincent, and he is also admitted ad hoc in the Cayman Islands. Levy is frequently involved in shareholder disputes.

Strengths: “He is excellent and great to deal with.” “He is a very calm, efficient silk.”

Recent work: Acted in a case in the BVI concerning alleged breach of directors’ duties in relation to land holdings in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Edward Cumming QC

Highly regarded among peers for his excellent advocacy skills, he frequently appears in trust, company and general commercial litigation. He has a substantial offshore practice and appears in Singapore, South Africa and Mauritius, alongside more traditional jurisdictions in the Caribbean and Channel Islands. Cumming is instructed on behalf of multinational corporates in addition to high net worth private clients.

Strengths: “Super helpful, keen to assist and technically brilliant.” “Very good at mastering the facts at the law.” “Incredibly able and pleasant to deal with.”

Recent work: Acted in a substantial dispute between Consolidated Resource Armenia and Global Gold Consolidated Resources regarding whether a case should be heard before an arbitration panel or before the Jersey courts.

JUNIORS

Elizabeth Weaver

A deeply experienced junior barrister, well versed in professional negligence and general chancery matters. She is routinely called upon for her expertise in international trusts disputes, high-value commercial litigation and asset recovery, and also frequently acts for ultra high net worth families. She has been called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and has been active in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Strengths: “A very articulate and impressively persuasive barrister.”

Marcus Staff

Particularly active in the Caribbean jurisdictions, having appeared in the Cayman Islands and the BVI. He is frequently instructed in contentious trust disputes, handling such issues as the removal of trustees and tax-related matters. He has also recently been involved in matters relating to investment funds and civil fraud.

Strengths: “He has a great international trusts practice.”

Recent work: Appeared in Stannard v Harper, proceedings heard in the Isle of Man High Court concerning an international asset recovery claim.

Bajul Shah

Has an enviable offshore practice, and handles cases in Dubai, Cyprus, the Caribbean and the Channel Islands. He offers expertise in a broad range of commercial chancery areas, including insolvency, trusts, probate and civil fraud, and is frequently called upon by liquidators and trustees.

Strengths: “Incredibly personable and exceedingly bright.” “He is supremely talented.”

Recent work: Acted for the liquidators of a Madoff feeder fund, the Herald Fund, in over USD2 billion worth of claims arising from the broader Madoff liquidation.

Nicole Langlois

A respected junior with considerable credentials in commercial contractual and trust litigation, whose other areas of expertise include insolvency and fraud. She is called to the Bar in both the UK and Jersey. She regularly handles cases with professional negligence and breach of trust allegations.

Strengths: “Very, very good and approachable.”

Recent work: Acted for the respondents in TC Developments v Invetsin Quay House regarding a significant fee dispute and subsequent counterclaim for negligence.

Adam Cloherty

Impresses sources with his courtroom advocacy skills, and has particular experience of BVI and Cayman Islands cases. His clients, who include beneficiaries and shareholders, benefit from his extensive trust knowledge. He has also handled matters in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

Strengths: “A very strong senior junior who provides clear and concise advice.”

Recent work: Acted in Emmerson v Vekselberg, a complex case regarding allegations of conspiracy litigated in the BVI.

Andrew Holden

Receives consistent praise for his deep level of experience in trust litigation work. He also handles pension and liquidation disputes. His experience extends to Bermuda, the Channel Islands, the BVI and the Cayman Islands, among others. Holden acts on behalf of high net worth families and individuals as well as commercial entities.

Strengths: “Technically excellent but also robust, a barrister you want if you are running a novel argument.” “Commercial, intelligent and approachable.” “Very technical, capable and user-friendly.”

Recent work: Represented the plaintiff in Popat v Popat in Guernsey, a large-scale offshore litigation concerning a trust of a prominent Kenyan-Indian family.

 

PRIVATE WEALTH: TRUSTS

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC 

Active across a wide array of practice areas and has a substantial focus on trust law. He is experienced in offshore, as well as domestic, trusts disputes, and is recognised for his familiarity with international arbitrations in connection with contentious trust matters.

Strengths: “A top-class trusts litigator, who is a real class act. Clients single him out for his superb knowledge of the law.”

Recent work: Acted in Labrouche v Frey, a case relating to the administration of a substantial trust fund (GBP100 million plus) that involves issues of traditional trust law, mixed with questions about property rights in a Liechtenstein foundation and important points of conflicts of law.

David Brownbill QC 

Noted for his strong track record in private client litigation and has specific expertise in trust law. He is the editor of leading textbook ‘International Trust Laws’ and is often instructed in high-profile offshore disputes. His expertise also extends to trust issues in the context of investment funds.

Strengths: “Easy to chat to, very engaging, thorough and someone who thinks through all the issues very well.” “He is technically absolutely excellent.”

Recent work: Acted in Re X Trusts, appearing for one branch of a well-known banking family in relation to a dispute concerning a UK, Jersey and Bermuda based trust and corporate structure.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC 

Widely admired barrister with a very strong track record in trusts litigation. She is frequently instructed by many leading solicitors in this field and often acts in very significant and high-value disputes, both onshore and offshore. Peers recognise her as a leading silk who deals with the most high-profile cases in the trust world.

Strengths: “Elspeth Talbot Rice QC has an unquestionable knowledge of the law and the strength of character to inspire confidence in even the most demanding clients.” “She is a formidable advocate with a very bright mind, who never gives up – you really feel that she is fighting for you in court.”

Recent work: Acted in Wong v Grandview, a case concerning a claim that very large Bermudian non-charitable purpose trusts, or the transfers of very substantial assets into them, are void or should be set aside.

JUNIORS

Marcus Staff

A former head of the set’s Geneva office, Staff is a man with long experience in trusts-related work. He counts a number of key solicitors firms amongst those that instruct him, and demonstrated his credentials in the trusts sphere by appearing in Schmidt v Rosewood Trustees, the leading trusts case heard in the Privy Council in the last 20 years.

Strengths: “A very clever litigator, who’s thorough and hard-working. He’s thinks very hard about trusts law and writes very well on the subject too.”

Andrew Holden

Appears in a wide variety of both domestic and international trusts matters, acting both as a litigator and in an advisory capacity. He is an expert in trust structuring and trust protectors. He is particularly adept at handling large offshore disputes and often acts in high-profile, multibillion-dollar disputes in key jurisdictions.

Strengths: “Has an incredibly astute mind and a very very busy practice for a junior. He adopts a lovely down-to-earth approach.”

Recent work: Acted for the plaintiff in Dawson-Damer v Grampian Trust Company Ltd, a very substantial (c.GBP400 million) breach of trust/set aside claim in the Bahamas.

 

RESTRUCTURING AND INSOLVENCY

XXIV Old Buildings offers expertise in both domestic and international insolvency matters, and its members are highly regarded for their handling of cases arising in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man. Areas of expertise for the team include complex administrations, liquidations and both company and individual voluntary arrangements. The set’s barristers are also well versed in directors’ disqualification proceedings and asset tracing and recovery matters.

Client service: “The clerks are very responsive and have quick turnaround times. The nature of this type of work is often urgent and they are good at putting forward recommendations of available counsel.” “The clerks are user-friendly and easy to get along with.” Paul Horsfield is head of clerking.

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

Stands out for his active practice in offshore jurisdictions, notably the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands. He also routinely advises clients in significant domestic litigation.

Strengths: “He’s one of the great brains of the English Bar.” “He is fantastic – incredibly intelligent and absolutely charming.”

Recent work: Acted for four liquidators of Atrium Training Services in seeking relief against the sanction of their claim, which had been struck out, for failure to comply with disclosure obligations.

Stephen Moverley Smith QC

Attracts major international instructions owing to his deep experience in cross-border matters. He frequently appears in courts in the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands, as well as the Privy Council. He has a particularly robust reputation in the area of offshore work and trusts.

Strengths: “He’s an excellent barrister and a pleasure to work with. He has a wonderful personality, he is very engaging and his written work is outstanding.” “A very creative thinker who is very familiar with both the offshore and onshore worlds.”

Recent work: Acted on behalf of the liquidators in the disputed restructuring of global fish distributor Pacific Andes.

Steven Thompson QC

Silk who has a strong reputation for his effective advocacy style. He frequently advises clients based in the Middle East, and his deft handling of cross-border matters wins notable praise. He is called upon for his expertise in technical matters concerning complex financial transactions.

Strengths: “A hugely experienced, very powerful and persuasive advocate.”

JUNIORS

Stuart Adair

A popular choice for clients seeking high-quality advice on both contentious and non-contentious matters in the insolvency arena. He is frequently instructed in the most litigious disputes and has expertise in cases concerning claims of misfeasance, fraudulent trading and setting aside prior transactions.

Strengths: “Stuart is a brilliant advocate in court – very experienced, knowledgeable and thorough in his work and approach. He’s also very quick in dealing with papers and is very responsive – an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Recent work: Acted for a former director and shareholder of Medway Fuels, which was in insolvent liquidation.

Hugh Miall

A well-regarded junior with a broad insolvency and restructuring practice spanning both contentious and non-contentious work. He is particularly adept at advising on cross-border matters and foreign insolvencies. He also offers expertise in asset recovery after bankruptcy or liquidation, claims involving antecedent transactions and misfeasance, IVAs and CVAs and winding-up proceedings.

Strengths: “Super bright, down to earth and approachable. He distils complicated concepts into usable language.” “He’s very easy to deal with, takes a sensible view and is very good at talking directly without offending the clients.” “His grasp of the detail is terrific.”

Recent work: Instructed to advise the liquidators of Diss Accounting and Taxation Services (European) in relation to a complicated case involving the crossover between the company’s liquidation and a trust which it assisted in running and of which it is a major creditor.