Chambers & Partners

CHAMBERS AND PARTNERS UK BAR DIRECTORY

2020 RECOMMENDATIONS

XXIV Old Buildings and its members are recommended in all the following areas:

Aviation Mediators
Chancery: Commercial Offshore
Chancery: Traditional Partnership
Charities Restructuring and Insolvency
Commercial Dispute Resolution Sport
Company Travel: Regulatory and Commercial
Financial Services Trusts
Fraud (Civil)

Details of individual members’ recommendations along with the editorial comment are set out below.

AVIATION

Philip Shepherd QC, Steven Thompson QC, Edward Cumming QC and Bajul Shah are all recommended.

Offers a strong selection of counsel who possess notable experience of all manner of commercial disputes in the aviation industry. The set is known to clients as a “go-to for aviation work”. The barristers regularly handle high-value leasing matters for owners and operators, in addition to litigation surrounding maintenance contracts and other commercial agreements. Members also demonstrate expertise in insurance claims and a host of other matters.

Client service: “We found the clerks to be particularly helpful, and extremely efficient and effective.” Paul Horsfield directs practice management.

SILKS

Philip Shepherd QC

A market-leading expert known for his thoroughgoing sector focus and formidable courtroom demeanour. He is regularly instructed by premier aviation firms in high-profile cases related to leasing and product liability disputes, and is active on headlining cases concerning the loss of aircraft.

Strengths: “Philip’s legal expertise is reassuringly evident. He immerses himself in the case before him and is also approachable and commercial in his advice and thinking.” “He’s a tenacious cross-examiner who will fight tooth and nail for his client.”

Recent work: Acted in Times Travel Limited v Pakistan International Airlines Corporation, the leading case on economic duress where an airline was held to have used illegitimate pressure to force an IATA agent into agreeing to abandon claims for commission.

Steven Thompson QC

Widely respected by peers and instructing solicitors for his excellent manner in court. Aviation cases form a significant part of his broader commercial practice, with disputed leases and maintenance contracts forming the core of his workload. Having a scientific background, he is lauded for his expertise in handling complex technical matters.

Strengths: “Enormously thorough, prepared to tackle mounds of new information, analytically sound and energetic in his advice and advocacy.” “He’s a bright, technically able and engaging advocate.”

Recent work: Represented an airline lessee in a leasing dispute concerning three Airbus 330s.

Edward Cumming QC

A well-known figure at the aviation Bar, who is particularly adept in technically sophisticated matters relating to regulatory and financing matters. Key areas of strength include cases assessing liability for damage to aircraft under leasing arrangements.

Strengths: “Clients like him as he’s commercially minded and always gives clear, pragmatic advice.” “He’s got a brilliant brain on him and can carve through complex matters easily.”

Recent work: Represented SmartLynx in a leasing dispute worth more than USD15 million. The case involved the termination of a lease on a Boeing 737-200.

JUNIORS

Bajul Shah

An enormously capable and experienced junior whose strong market profile is built out of his broad experience in the aviation sphere. He is regularly instructed to handle cases related to leasing, contractual and insolvency disputes, a number of which involve difficult points of law. An impressive client roster includes bodies from across the spectrum of the industry, including lessors, lessees and airlines.

Strengths: “Highly responsive, adapts to the client’s needs, and provides succinct, commercial and proportionate advice.”

Recent work: Acted in a dispute stemming from the termination of a lease on a Boeing 777.

 

CHANCERY – COMMERCIAL

Alan Steinfeld QC, Stephen Moverley Smith QC, Francis Tregear QC, David Brownbill QC, Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, Robert Levy QC, Edward Cumming QC, Marcus Staff, Stuart Adair, Bajul Shah, Adam Cloherty, Hugh Miall and Tim Sherwin are all recommended.

XXIV Old Buildings is a highly respected set with a fine reputation for offshore work, particularly in the Caribbean but also in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. One source says: “They’ve got very good sector knowledge. I find them quite forward-thinking, not afraid to run difficult arguments and all of them are very sound advocates who are excellent on their feet.” The set’s broad range of silks and juniors regularly handles banking, insolvency, civil fraud and trusts matters.

Client service: “Clerking is first-class. They’re very helpful, very responsive and they go the extra mile.” “They’re professional, with helpful clerks.” Paul Horsfield is head of clerking.

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

A very senior silk with an exceptional reputation at the Chancery Bar. He is a well-regarded advocate who is particularly respected for his “tremendous brainpower.” Steinfeld has particular experience of working in international trusts, professional negligence and pensions cases.

Strengths: “He has an uncanny ability to make the extraordinarily complicated seem perfectly straightforward.” “A heavyweight. If you really need a big gun, you’re not going to get better than Alan. He commands the utmost respect in the court, has an incredible brain and his manner and presentation in court is excellent. He can pull rabbits out of hats.

Recent work: Acted for the defendants in Carlyle Capital and others v Conway & others, in a breach of contract and fiduciary duties dispute arising out of the failure of a US hedge fund incorporated in Guernsey.

Stephen Moverley Smith QC

A persuasive and hard-working QC with a particular reputation for offshore work, who wins praise for his strategic vision. He is regarded as an experienced practitioner who instils confidence in clients. Moverley Smith has a particularly strong offshore practice in the BVI and Cayman Islands.

Strengths: “Incredibly intelligent and will get to the nub of the point very quickly.” “He’s very creative; he can really find arguments that no one else will have found and technical ways through otherwise difficult cases.”

Recent work: Instructed by the defendants in a claim by Russian and Swiss agrichemical companies to recover USD45 million alleged to have been paid in bribes.

Francis Tregear QC

An experienced silk who is involved in valuable commercial chancery work, including insolvency and fraud cases. He is well regarded as a hard-working practitioner, who is quick to grasp the complexities of a case. His expertise includes company work, asset tracing and recovery, and cross-border insolvency.

Strengths: “He is incredibly academic and very insightful on the law and very eloquent and calm in court. He always gets his points across in a very elegant and astute manner.”

Recent work: Instructed on behalf of the additional liquidator for the Herald Fund, a large Madoff feeder fund, on claims against the Madoff estate of in excess of USD2 billion.

David Brownbill QC

Handles a variety of commercial chancery matters, especially those with an offshore or international element. A number of his cases involve high-value, complex trusts, and he also regularly acts in company and financial services disputes.

Strengths: “David is very cerebral, if the matter were particularly complicated and difficult I would consider him highly for that.”

Recent work: Acted for one branch of a banking family in relation to a dispute concerning a UK, Jersey and Bermuda based trust and corporate structure, involving attempts to remove the directors of two private trust companies.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC

An exceptionally well-known silk whose practice spans the full range of chancery work. She is a particularly fine choice of counsel for any matter which crosses the boundary between traditional and commercial chancery work, and particularly for high-value trusts.

Strengths: “She’s an exceptional all-rounder. She’s bright, she’s tenacious, she’s direct and to the point, and very user-friendly. She’s sensitive to clients where appropriate, but she can be tough when she needs to be. She’s very clear with clients, which is very helpful, but equally she’s a very tenacious advocate, which is often what clients want.”

Recent work: Appeared in Wong v Grand Trust, involving multiple challenges to a multibillion-dollar purpose trust in Bermuda.

Robert Levy QC

Has a varied, high-value offshore caseload, and is a particularly strong trial advocate with a knack for getting the ear of the court. Solicitors regard him as a good team member who is popular with clients. He is regularly instructed in contractual and share sale agreement disputes.

Strengths: “Very user-friendly and willing to roll his sleeves up and get involved.” “I’d say he is fast becoming a leading offshore silk with expertise across the full range of offshore jurisdictions, whilst maintaining a busy London practice.”

Recent work: Instructed for the defendants in a set of BVI proceedings concerning a London-listed company with allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of duty against directors for suspension of exercise of shareholders’ rights.

Edward Cumming QC

A strong chancery barrister with a broad practice encompassing both traditional and commercial chancery matters. Sources praise his oral advocacy, as well as his technical skill and ability to work efficiently as part of a team. His practice includes civil fraud, company, partnership and insolvency work.

Strengths: “Ed Cumming is as sharp as a razor. He is great to deal with, and a real fighter. He’s very commercial in his approach and is technically excellent.” “He’s got a brilliant brain – he can carve through some really complex stuff, and he’s utterly charming with it.”

Recent work: Acted for Bupa in Advinia Care Homes v Bupa, in a dispute arising over the takeover of various care homes.

JUNIORS

Marcus Staff

Highly experienced senior junior with a broad-ranging commercial chancery practice. He has practised in both London and Geneva and is particularly sought after for international and cross-border cases.

Strengths: “He has an intellectual grasp and daring that I highly respect. He’s great at finding ways of arguing things, and if you have a case that needs an original thinker and someone to apply law in highly difficult situations, Marcus is that man. He’s enormously easy to work with and a joy to discuss a case with. He’s very creative, very sensible, and very adaptable.”

Recent work: Appeared as sole counsel for the appellant in Rubin v Eurofinance, in a case involving cross-border insolvency, foreign judgments and recognition of judgments.

Stuart Adair

A distinguished junior whose broad practice encompasses insolvency, restructuring, company and commercial chancery matters. He is often instructed on offshore and international cases.

Strengths: “Excellent, quick to deal with papers and very user-friendly.” “A versatile practitioner.” “A firm advocate and a decent opponent, who fights hard for his clients.”

Recent work: Acted for a Maltese company Orexim Trading in relation to USD7 million breach of contract claims made against Mahavir Port and Terminal, alleging a fraud perpetrated on the claimant resulted in oil being misappropriated by the Iranian company without payment.

Bajul Shah

Respected junior whose established chancery practice is expanding rapidly into commercial matters. He is sought-after for complex, high-value and high-profile work.

Strengths: “Really well considered and careful as a lawyer.” “It’s a very good quality of written work and very good quality of analysis. He’ll respond to me quickly and always reliably. He is a very pleasant man to deal with.”

Recent work: Appeared on behalf of the claimants in Wilton Trustees v AFS Trustees, concerning an alleged conspiracy by the defendants to take ownership and control of a large property portfolio held through complex offshore structures.

Adam Cloherty

A well-respected junior with a broad practice, regularly handling commercial chancery both domestically and offshore. He is often sought-after for high-value cross-border matters.

Strengths: “A very clever young man, very intelligent, very intellectual and a nice chap. He’s willing to go the extra mile whenever he’s asked, which really makes a difference when you’ve got a client in difficulties. His intellectual capacity to battle with a case is exceptional.” “He’s incredibly easy to get along with. He’s very bright and responsive, as well as a good advocate.”

Recent work: Appeared in Labrouche v Frey and others, acting for the claimant remainder beneficiary in a claim brought against former trustees and others in relation to the administration of a £100 million trust fund over a number of years.

Hugh Miall

Considered a rising star in the commercial chancery market, born out of his impressive roles in a number of significant recent commercial matters.  He excels across a broad spectrum of shareholder disputes, trusts work, property litigation and civil fraud matters.

Strengths: “What I appreciated was that from the beginning we were able to have an open and direct conversation and to discuss the strategic direction of proceedings. He was able to tackle procedural hurdles and he was very supportive of us and the client. He was good at being available, collaborative, and able to chat through challenges.”

Recent work: Acted on behalf of a defendant offshore corporate services provider and five of its directors against a EUR30 million claim by liquidators of Jersey companies in relation to allegedly wrongful payments made out of a Jersey-based property investment structure to parties connected to the ultimate beneficial owner.

Tim Sherwin

An emerging talent at the Commercial Chancery Bar. He is regularly trusted with high-value matters and is the junior of choice for a number of high-profile chancery silks.

Strengths: “Tim Sherwin is a very able junior, with a maturity and level of ability which belies his call. He’s very easy to deal with.” “He has been excellent; really good on the detail and very confident in a good way. Clients really like him, and juniors like working with him.”

Recent work: Appeared in Libyan Investment Authority v Goldman Sachs, in a highly publicised dispute concerning allegations of undue influence and unconscionable bargain and involving claims of USD1.2 billion.

 

CHANCERY – TRADITIONAL

Alan Steinfeld QC, Francis Tregear QC, David Brownbill QC, Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, Edward Cumming QC, Elizabeth Weaver, Helen Galley, Bajul Shah, Adam Cloherty and Andrew Holden are all recommended.

XXIV Old Buildings offers a depth of expertise in a wide variety of traditional chancery matters. The set is particularly praised for its work on offshore and cross-border matters. One source says: “It is our go-to set – very responsive, accurate and reasonably priced.” Another says: “As an outfit, it is good to work with.”

Client service: The clerks are commended for being “attentive and personable” and “easy and straightforward to deal with.” Paul Horsfield is head of clerking.

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

Frequently instructed on the most high-profile and complex traditional chancery matters, with extensive experience of trust cases. He is also highly sought after for offshore work.

Strengths: “Extremely well-known litigator.” “He is authoritative, hugely confident and very charismatic.” “He has a deep, vast and incredible experience of trusts.”

Recent work: Advised the executors of a will on an appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the decision of the Court of Appeal to uphold a refusal of inheritance tax relief on property which was directed, by the will, to be held for charitable purposes.

Francis Tregear QC

Respected silk with a well-established traditional chancery practice. He is a recognised authority on offshore and overseas matters, and has been called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean. He has an impressive depth of experience in trust and estate matters, and is particularly noted for his expertise in contentious proceedings.

Strengths: “Immensely knowledgeable and takes a long-term view and advises accordingly.”

David Brownbill QC

A highly respected silk whose broad traditional chancery practice includes frequent instructions in complex matters both on and offshore. He is also noted for the depth of his technical knowledge.

Strengths: “He’s incredibly knowledgeable.” “He’s one of those exceptionally clever people who aren’t removed from the real world – he’s very down-to-earth.” “Technically very accomplished.”

Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a high-value action against a Saudi bank which raised crucial issues regarding the private international law of trusts.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC

Has an exceptional reputation at the traditional Chancery Bar and is also noted for her skilful handling of large offshore matters. She is frequently sought after for the most complex, high-profile and high-value matters.

Strengths: “The human equivalent of a heat-seeking missile. She is utterly formidable but also empathetic, sensitive and commercial with clients.” “Brilliant at cutting through to the issues.”

Recent work: Instructed in a claim that multibillion-dollar Bermudian purpose trusts, or the transfers of very substantial assets into them, are void or should be set aside.

Edward Cumming QC

Respected for his handling of high-value cases across the full breadth of traditional chancery law. He regularly acts for very wealthy individuals. His recent work has included complex trust litigation.

Strengths: “He is so clever, very quick and easily accessible. He genuinely cares about clients. He has an amazing brain and a positive attitude, with a  fantastic bedside manner.” “He has an incisive and intelligent approach to providing advice combined with an approachable, down-to-earth manner which clients love.”

Recent work: Acted for a daughter in a multi-jurisdictional dispute concerning a trust with substantial assets settled by a recently deceased businessman, and various claims regarding his estate.

JUNIORS

Elizabeth Weaver

An eminent junior with a broad traditional chancery practice. She is frequently instructed on high-value matters, including cross-border cases. She handles a wide array of work, including trust disputes.

Strengths: “She’s wonderful and so clear-thinking – she analyses and gets to the heart of the matter very quickly, and is very good at cutting out the irrelevant material.” “A pleasure to deal with, very responsive, and crystal clear on the scope of her opinions.”

Recent work: Acted in an application for court approval of a plan to wind up two family trusts and distribute assets worth over £20 million.

Helen Galley

Particularly noted for her work on trusts, within a broader traditional chancery practice. She is also experienced in cases with real property aspects.

Strengths: “She’s very efficient, and an absolute delight to work with.” “She’s very client-friendly; she was absolutely excellent at maintaining a stance where we could all work together.”

Recent work: Instructed in a case concerning a will which left an entire estate on complicated trusts for the benefit of the six youngest of nine children by three marriages.

Bajul Shah

Maintains an excellent reputation at the traditional Chancery Bar, regularly assisting charities, trustees and high net worth individuals on a wide range of matters. He is noted for both onshore and offshore matters.

Strengths: “He is calm, persuasive and an effective advocate.” “He’s a very good senior junior – really good on international, British Virgin Islands and Cayman trust issues.”

Recent work: Acted for the claimants in a fraud case in which it is alleged that the defendants conspired to take ownership and control of a multimillion-pound property portfolio held through complex offshore structures.

Adam Cloherty

A respected junior with a wide-ranging practice who is frequently instructed in wills, trusts and estates matters. He is establishing impressive expertise in cross-border funds and charities litigation.

Strengths: “He’s absolutely delightful to work with – very good on his feet and a true advocate.” “Concise, practical and doesn’t waffle or use jargon.”

Recent work: Represented the beneficiaries of a multimillion-pound estate in connection with a variety of disputes concerning the estate and related group companies.

Andrew Holden

Noted for his skilful handling of a wide variety of matters, including complex trusts, disputed wills and estates work. He attracts instructions in both UK-based and offshore cases.

Strengths: “He is incredibly tenacious and creative.” “A good writer and an excellent advocate.” “He’s a master of highly technical areas of law but also puts the clients at ease – he’s really user-friendly.”

Recent work: Successfully applied for the variation of two trusts worth £500 million in order to modernise the terms of the trusts by introducing a standard trustee exculpation clause.

 

CHARITIES

Edward Cumming QC

A well-known charities practitioner who undertakes this work as part of a broad chancery practice. He has a growing reputation in the area, and has advised on some prominent recent charities disputes. Lately he has represented both trustees and not-for-profit organisations.

Strengths: “Very smart and hard-working, he is good on paper in terms of his opinions and also excellent in court.” “Very thorough and diligent, he has delivered work for us when under pressure due to other commitments.”

Recent work: Acted in The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK) v HM Attorney General and Others, a dispute between two charities.

 

COMMERCIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Alan Steinfeld QC, Stephen Moverley Smith QC, Philip Shepherd QC, Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, Robert Levy QC, Steven Thompson QC, Tom Montagu-Smith QC, Edward Cumming QC, Adam Cloherty and Hugh Miall are all recommended.

Handles disputes across multiple jurisdictions, and has notable skill in civil fraud, insolvency and arbitration, as well as other areas such as construction, professional negligence and partnerships. Chambers draws its varied client base from all around the world and has long been a major presence in offshore jurisdictions. One impressive example of chambers’ recent work was Carlyle Capital Corporation Limited (in liquidation) and others v Conway and others, a Privy Council appeal relating to allegations of breach of contract as well as fiduciary and other duties. Another matter of note was United Company Rusal Plc v (1) Crispian Investment Holdings Ltd (2) Whiteleave Holdings Ltd, a case concerning a major shareholder in one of the largest aluminium companies in Russia. One fellow barrister observes this set “does excellent international work and has very good silks and juniors.”

Client service: “They’re more responsive than other sets, and their clerks are incredibly approachable and sensible.” “The clerks are robust in protecting their counsel’s position when appropriate, and you can pick up the phone to them with ease and a great sense of reassurance.” Paul Horsfield is head of clerking.

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

Strengths: “If you need a big gun, you won’t get better than Alan, as he commands the utmost respect in court. He’s got an incredible brain and his manner and presentation are excellent.” “Alan Steinfeld QC is a very skilful advocate.”

Recent work: Acted for Caymans United Company, major shareholder in one of Russia’s largest aluminium companies, in seeking an interim injunction against two other shareholders to prevent one from transferring its hold to the other.

Stephen Moverley Smith QC

Strengths: “He’s very tactically astute and hard-working, and he gains the client’s confidence quickly by explaining complex issues in simple terms.” “Stephen is very meticulous, and he produces good opinions.”

Recent work: Acted for most defendants in Eurochem v Livingstone Properties Equities, a multiparty claim by Russian and Swiss agrichemical companies to recover USD45 million alleged to have been paid in bribes.

Philip Shepherd QC

Strengths: “Philip Shepherd is a real bruiser who’s good to have on your side when you have a difficult case.” “He’s incredibly disciplined, looks at things with thoroughness and gives exceptionally strong advice in a commercial context.”

Recent work: Successfully acted for a Mr Emmott against Michael Wilson & Partners. This was a shareholders’ dispute, which involved a ten-year arbitration and spawned several reported decisions in the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC

Strengths: “A very tenacious advocate who is sensitive to clients where appropriate, but can be tough when she needs to be.” “She’s very good on her feet, strong in cross-examination, easy to get on with and always available.”

Recent work: Acted in the case of Twin Benefits v Barker, which arose out of the unwinding of a trust as a result of allegedly negligent tax advice.

Robert Levy QC

Strengths: “Robert Levy QC is very user-friendly, and willing to roll up his sleeves and get involved.” “He’s been going from strength to strength, demonstrating particular expertise in interim remedies.”

Recent work: Defended in the case of Re Tipp Investments PCC. The case concerned a London-listed company that had allegedly breached its fiduciary duty and its duty against directors, for the suspension of the exercise of shareholders’ rights.

Steven Thompson QC

Strengths: “Steven is a very confident advocate who is very good on his feet in front of courts and tribunals. He’s very to-the-point and he gives it to you straight.” “Steven is a punchy advocate with real expertise in cross-border work.”

Recent work: Acted for defendant Sheikh Walid Bin Ibrahim in a dispute brought by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber. The case revolved around an alleged USD30 million loan between the Saudi sheikhs.

Tom Montagu-Smith QC

Strengths: “Tom is very personable, very friendly, measured and polite, and he probably has the best knowledge of any counsel about the DIFC court.” “He’s a very rounded, polished advocate who is so good at dealing with complex questions.”

Recent work: Acted for the Danish state in SKAT v Elysium Global (Dubai) Limited and others, a claim for USD2 billion arising out of a withholding tax reclaim scheme.

Edward Cumming QC

Strengths: “Incredibly hard-working, so willing to help, good in a crisis and happy to be all over the detail,” “Ed is as sharp as a razor. He’s a real fighter who is technically excellent and very commercial in his approach.”

Recent work: Acted for the Libyan Investment Authority in its claim to set aside Gaddafi era investments of around USD2.1 billion, allegedly procured by payments to a Panamanian company controlled by an alleged Gaddafi associate.

JUNIORS

Adam Cloherty

Strengths: “Adam Cloherty is great fun to work with, and his way of looking at things is very innovative.” “He’s one to watch as he’s very easy to work with, good with clients and great at digging through papers. He delivers every time.”

Recent work: Acted for Akers and others in a multi-hundred million dollar claim against Saudi bank Samba. The case raised issues regarding private international trusts law, and whether a common law trust can be created over civil law assets.

Hugh Miall

Strengths: “Very supportive of both solicitors and clients, highly collaborative and good at making himself available. He is more than willing to chat through the challenges in a case.” “Extremely commercial and good at understanding the big picture.”

Recent work: Instructed for defendants Goldaş Kuyumculuk Sanayi İthalat İhracat AŞ and others, in their applications to strike out Société Générale’s USD500 million claims against them and discharge a worldwide freezing injunction.

 

COMPANY

Alan Steinfeld QC, Francis Tregear QC, Richard Ritchie and Stuart Adair are all recommended.

XXIV Old Buildings enjoys a strong reputation at the Company Bar, and houses a number of well-regarded barristers. Its members practice predominantly contentious company law, and are well known for their expertise in offshore cases. Barristers from the set have recently acted in United Company Rusal v Crispian Investment Holdings, a large-scale shareholder dispute involving Russian companies and proceedings in the Caymans Court.

Client service: “The clerks are very keen to understand the wider business relationship and how they can add value. They take the time to understand our key objectives.” “The clerks are robust when need be in protecting their counsel’s position. I would pick up the phone to them with an ease and reassurance I don’t feel with every chambers.” James Ladbrook is a key contact.

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

An impressive practitioner who is frequently involved in high-profile cases. He has a wealth of experience in shareholder disputes, having made appearances in all the UK courts and those of the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the BVI and the Channel Islands. His broad practice also takes in a host of commercial chancery and partnership matters.

Strengths:“He commands the utmost respect in court where his manner and presentation are excellent, and is someone with an incredible brain.”

Recent work: Represented United Company Rusal as a major shareholder in one of the largest aluminium companies in Russia. The case was brought against two shareholders preventing one from transferring its holding to the other.

Francis Tregear QC

Regularly instructed by well-known City and offshore firms for both litigation and advisory work. He has a specialism in hedge fund and structured investment vehicle-related matters, as well as those concerning cross-border insolvency. His company offering is complemented by his experience in fraud, asset recovery and professional negligence work.

Strengths: “Solid and unflappable.”

Recent work: Appeared in Moke International v Ming International Holdings, a claim relating to the purchase of trade mark rights in relation to the Moke vehicle.

JUNIORS

Richard Ritchie

A highly regarded and highly experienced senior junior with a strong litigation practice. He offers skills in shareholder litigation, directors’ disqualification and breach of fiduciary duty claims. He offers wider capabilities in insolvency, civil fraud and partnership matters.

Strengths: “He has a very good grasp of detail, he is very good at cross-examination, and he is very friendly and easy to work with.”

Recent work: Appeared on behalf of the claimant in Badyal v Badyal, a trial concerning an unfair prejudice petition and partnership dispute.

Stuart Adair

He is regularly instructed in a variety of company law disputes, and has strong credentials in minority shareholder actions and claims against directors. Many of his cases also include an international aspect, and he has a strong offshore practice. He is also well versed in unfair prejudice claims and joint venture disputes.

Strengths: “An advocate who is not afraid of running a case and will fight for his client.”

Recent work: Acted for Orexim Trading Limited in relation to claims for USD7 million it is making for damages for breach of contract.

 

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Oliver Assersohn

A highly regarded junior who is an expert at handling complex issues relating to mis-sold investments and breaches of the perimeter. Having been on secondment to the FCA, he has highly valuable insight into the workings of the regulator.

Strengths: “He is easy to get along with and thorough in his advocacy, and pitches his arguments in a respectful way to the tribunal.” “He is very accessible, very user-friendly and works really well as part of the team.”

Recent work: Advised the defendant brokerage company in FCA v Linear Investments, regarding a focused resolution agreement.

 

FRAUD (CIVIL)

Alan Steinfeld QC, Stephen Moverley Smith QC, Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, Robert Levy QC, Steven Thompson and Edward Cumming QC are all recommended.

XXIV Old Buildings is noted for its handling of a wide range of domestic and international fraud cases. Members are particularly well regarded for their expertise in offshore matters and are frequently instructed in high-stakes disputes in the BVI, the Channel Islands and Hong Kong. The team also houses significant strength in disputes concerning Russia and the CIS, with recent work for the set including Sonara v Akolyin Investments Holdings, a fraud case arising out of corporate transactions in Russia involving USD220 million. Members act for both claimants and defendants and have experience handling claims involving allegations of breach of trust, bribery, conspiracy and dishonesty.

Client service: “The clerks are all very responsive, easy to deal with and have a good working knowledge of the court system.” “The team is very user-friendly and supportive.” Paul Horsfield is head of clerking.

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

A respected silk well known for his work in the fields of offshore trusts, company law and civil fraud. He has conducted actions in a host of jurisdictions beyond the UK for many years.

Strengths: “Incredibly intelligent and charming.” “He commands the utmost respect in court.” “He has an incredible brain and his manner and presentation in court are excellent.”

Stephen Moverley Smith QC

Handles substantial civil fraud litigation as part of a practice that also covers trusts, finance and insolvency. He has acted in numerous international cases, relating to such jurisdictions as the BVI, Russia and Gibraltar.

Strengths: “He’s very creative and can find arguments that no one else will.” “He’s bright and conscientious.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendants in VTB v Parline, a claim for RUB1 billion brought by a Russian bank alleging fraudulent conduct by the controllers of one of its customers.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC

Effective at dealing with large, multimillion-pound fraud and asset-tracing claims. Her practice also encompasses general commercial dispute resolution and traditional chancery. Many of her instructions have an international aspect.

Strengths: “A very accomplished advocate who is incredibly sensible and manages litigation well.” “She is very solid, good on her feet and very well respected.”

Recent work: Acted in Twin Benefits v Barker, litigation involving claims arising out of the unwinding of a trust as a result of negligent tax advice.

Robert Levy QC

An experienced commercial silk who has fought and won major civil fraud cases for clients located across the world including in the Caribbean, South America and Russia. He acts for both claimants and defendants.

Strengths: “He’s very user-friendly and willing to roll his sleeves up and get involved.” “He’s a very good barrister to work with and a solid advocate.”

Recent work: Acted for around 100 investors in Michael Ward and others (Delta 4) v Antony Morros Charles Stewart Savill and others, a substantial case concerning fraudulent failed film tax scheme.

Steven Thompson QC

Has run a successful commercial practice in silk since being appointed in 2015, appearing in cases arising out of fraud in a number of jurisdictions. He has dealt with various allegations including breach of fiduciary duty and dishonest assistance. He is respected for his international experience in such jurisdictions as Russia, China, the BVI and Switzerland.

Strengths: “A bright, punchy advocate with a real expertise in cross-border work.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Arcadia v Bosworth, a USD340 million fraud claim arising out of West African oil trading.

Edward Cumming QC

Talented new silk with a busy commercial practice, which includes frequent civil fraud instructions. He boasts extensive experience in acting as sole counsel. He is well regarded for his handling of matters involving banks.

Strengths: “Very efficient and detail-conscious.” “He’s an absolute delight to work with and his legal analysis and judgement are spot-on.”

Recent work: Acted for the former executive of the Yukos Group in Yukos v Merinson, proceedings regarding the executive’s interactions with Swiss banks. The case concerns a novel question regarding the effect of jurisdiction agreements under the Brussels Regulation.

 

MEDIATORS

Michael King

A recognised specialist mediator in contentious trusts and probate area, whose practice also covers commercial disputes in both the UK and internationally. He’s “one of a handful of mediators that you can go to in the trusts field, knowing that you will get specialist knowledge of the area.”

 

OFFSHORE

Alan Steinfeld QC, Stephen Moverley Smith QC, Francis Tregear QC, David Brownbill QC, Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, Robert Levy QC, Edward Cumming QC, Elizabeth Weaver, Marcus Staff, Bajul Shah, Nicole Langlois, Adam Cloherty, and Andrew Holden  are all recommended.

XXIV Old Buildings remains a “top-notch” set for all kinds of offshore work, and its barristers are well known for their work in the Channel Islands, BVI and Cayman Islands. The set provides expertise in complex commercial fraud, funds, insolvency, restructuring and trusts cases. Barristers at the set have been involved in the Crociani litigation and a wide range of other high-profile and challenging disputes. One instructing solicitor says: “The barristers are very bright and we know that they are going to be very, very good.”

Client service: “The clerks are very good to deal with and we appreciate their efficient way of working.” “The team is responsive, helpful and friendly. They’ll go the extra mile to ensure my needs are met.” Paul Horsfield is head of clerking.

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: “A very skilful advocate.”

Recent work: Represented Caymans United, a shareholder in a Russian aluminium company, in an attempt to prevent a transfer between two other shareholders.

Stephen Moverley Smith QC

Impressed commentators affirm his position at the forefront of BVI and Cayman Islands litigation. 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: “He is very pleasant to deal with and does not take a backward step in the face of contrary views being expressed from the Bench while maintaining a suitable air of respectfulness.”

Recent work: Acted in Michailidis v Crédit Agricole Bank, a dispute in Gibraltar regarding the recovery of the USD10 million proceeds of stolen art deco furniture.

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: “He has a very fantastic manner with clients and really excels in the commercial area.”

Recent work: Acted for the liquidators in a Cayman liquidation involving a private equity fund which invested in water desalination and power plants in the Middle East.

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: “A great technical lawyer who is very committed and really on top of trusts work.”

Recent work: Acted for the widow and one child of George Paraskevaides in Paraskevaides v Citco, a dispute regarding the control of shares in BVI companies through which the family’s interest in a multinational construction business is held.

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: “She has an eye for detail which is second to none and a delightful client manner to both the professional and lay client. She is an advocate of real strength and depth.” “She has a forensic mind but sees the bigger picture.”

Recent work: Acted in Wong v Grand View, a claim in Bermuda regarding whether large non-charitable purpose trusts are void or should be set aside.

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: “Very user-friendly and willing to roll his sleeves up and get involved.” “Always extremely well prepared, fights very hard and is a pleasure to work with.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendants in BVI proceedings regarding allegations of breach of fiduciary duty for the suspension of shareholders’ rights.

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: “He is very user-friendly and very good in front of clients.” “Very responsive, enthusiastic and intelligent, as well as commercial.”

Recent work: Acted for the daughter of a businessman who died leaving a trust with substantial assets.

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: “An excellent all-rounder.”

Recent work: Acted in Orion v Privatbank, a claim by the liquidator of a DIFC company to recover funds held in Switzerland.

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 is really responsive and incredibly dedicated.”

Recent work: Acted in Anne Bender v James Walker and Others, an action in the Bahamas for the removal of the trustee and protector of a Bahamas law trust.

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: “He is not afraid of rolling his sleeves up and getting his hands dirty.”

Recent work: Continued to act for the claimants in Wilton Trustees v AFS Trustees, a fraud case in which the claimants allege that the defendants conspired to take ownership and control of a multimillion-pound portfolio held through complex offshore structures.

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: “She’s easy to work with and user-friendly.” “She stands out for her dual qualification. She’s a unique proposition if you’re looking for English law expertise and Jersey advice.”

Recent work: Instructed as an expert in Jersey law in a breach of fiduciary duty claim brought against the directors of CDS3 by its liquidators.

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: “His work is excellent and it is a pleasure to deal with him.” “He provides good, practical advice and gets to the issues quickly.”

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: “He is very responsive and technically extremely strong.” “He is a hit with clients.”

Recent work: Acted for a branch of a banking family in Re X Trusts, a case regarding a UK, Jersey and Bermuda based trust. Holden sought to remove the directors of two private trust companies on behalf of his clients.

 

PARTNERSHIP

Alan Steinfeld QC, Elspeth Talbot Rice QC and Helen Galley are all recommended.

A strong chancery commercial set that handles both advisory and contentious work relating to traditional partnerships and LLPs. Barristers here regularly act for partners and those engaged in joint ventures, counselling them on a whole host of issues including, among others, those relating to termination and dissolution, insolvency, the construction of partnership deeds, and property development joint ventures. As a testament to their skill, firms of solicitors often instruct individuals from the set to advise on their own partnership arrangements.

Client service: The clerks are “very helpful and excellent in ensuring that the barristers get the work to the solicitor in a timely fashion and in the right form.” Paul Horsfield is head of clerking.

SILKS

Alan Steinfeld QC

Commands tremendous respect as one of the London Bar’s most active and redoubtable commercial and chancery silks, being particularly well known for his handling of partnership matters with a strong commercial or financial services aspect. He regularly acts in complex partnership issues considered in the courts of a number of British offshore territories or dependencies and is also active in Hong Kong.

Strengths: “Very, very good, very knowledgeable, and someone who understands LLPs and partnerships inside out. He’s both forthright and brilliant.”

Recent work: Advised the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh on whether their joint venture agreement with the London Royal College of Physicians could be considered a partnership.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC

Noted for combining a formidable courtroom presence with a widely admired clarity of thought when dealing with especially complex and highly contentious partnership matters. Her experience covers the full range of partnership types, and she has particular familiarity with issues affecting commercial, financial services or family-owned structures.

Strengths: “Bright, tenacious, to the point and very user-friendly. She’s sensitive to clients where appropriate, but can also be tough when she needs to be. She’s a very tenacious advocate, which is often what the clients want.”

Recent work: Acted in the case of Hosking v Marathon Asset Management advising on the question of whether a share of partnership profits could be forfeit.

JUNIORS

Helen Galley

A seasoned senior junior with a robust practice that covers both chancery law and partnership law. She is notable for her expertise in property development and farming partnership disputes. Also provides advice on the setting up of partnerships.

Strengths: “Adopts a client-friendly approach and displays great attention to detail in all she does.”

Recent work: Acted in Re Sutton Brothers, a case regarding the dissolution of a farming partnership and the subsequent division of assets.

 

RESTRUCTURING AND INSOLVENCY

Alan Steinfeld QC, Stephen Moverley Smith QC, Steven Thompson QC, Richard Ritchie, Stuart Adair and Hugh Miall are all recommended.

XXIV Old Buildings is particularly well regarded for its expert handling of high-value cross-border and offshore insolvency matters. Its barristers regularly appear in cases in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Channel Islands. Examples of the set’s recent work includes the Carlyle Capital litigation, a USD2 billion claim arising out of the failure of a US hedge fund incorporated in Guernsey. The set’s tenants have also recently been involved in a shareholder battle in the Cayman Islands to gain control of Shanshui Cement Co, China’s largest cement producer, and IOTA Violet and Others v Lewis and Others, proceedings in the Isle of Man to set aside transactions totaling USD50 million made by a judgment debtor to IoM companies as transactions defrauding creditors.

Client service: “The clerks are all incredibly user-friendly and personable.” “The chambers is extremely professional and the clerks are very approachable.” 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 is brilliant – he’s very, very bright and you can feel his brain whirring. He is very good, very patient and communicates well with very bright clients.” “He commands the utmost respect and has an incredible brain. His manner and presentation in court is excellent.”

Recent work: Instructed in Re Emerald Meats London, an appeal from the County Court Registrar authorising the liquidators to transfer certain causes of action or claims against the client to his erstwhile partner and former shareholder in the company.

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 is very creative and can find arguments that no one else will – he finds little technical ways through otherwise difficult cases.”

Recent work: Acted for the liquidator of Clico (Bahamas), a major pan-Caribbean insurance company, defending proprietary claims made against it by a Suriname associate.

Steven Thompson QC

Silk who has a stellar 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 confident advocate who is very strong on his feet and very good in front of courts and tribunals.” “He is knowledgeable, commercial and astute.”

Recent work: Acted for the creditors in Re Mongolian Mining Corporation, a Cayman dispute concerning the appointment of provisional liquidators.

JUNIORS

Richard Ritchie

Well-regarded senior junior who is relied upon by long-standing clients, including the BIS and Treasury Solicitor, for his broad expertise. He also remains busy handling complex international and offshore work. He regularly appears before tribunals and professional bodies and at all levels of the court system.

Strengths: “As an advocate Richard is measured, thorough and effective. He has a relaxed manner with clients which puts them at ease and he appreciates the commercial realities of each given case.” “An excellent senior junior with a very good grasp of insolvency law. He’s able to marshal all the facts of the case to present a case theory very effectively.”

Recent work: Acted for and advised the company in liquidation in Renewables Solar (UK) Construction v Armstrong Holdings, a claim concerning the assignment of a VAT refund and allegations that the assignment was beyond the powers of the company and its directors. The case also involved allegations of a transaction at an undervalue and a preference.

Stuart Adair

A popular choice for clients seeking 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: “He is a really good barrister and a real gentleman as well. He’s a strong advocate and works really hard.”

Recent work: Acted for and advised one of the shareholders and former directors of Emerald Meats (London) regarding the solvent liquidation of that company (and a subsidiary property company) and the failure of the liquidators to take any action in respect of the alleged misappropriation/misapplication of the assets of the company by the other shareholder/director.

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: “He is incredibly bright and very pragmatic. He’s very down to earth, highly knowledgeable on insolvency and gives clear advice.” “He is a pleasure to work with and a charming practitioner who provides quality advice and always offers a clear litigation strategy.” “He is an effective and persuasive advocate.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendant offshore corporate services provider and five directors in Anne O’Keefe & Paul Beveridge (as Joint Liquidators of Level One Residential Holdings and Special Opportunity Holdings) v Cevdet Caner and Others. The claim was brought by the liquidators of Jersey companies for damages exceeding EUR30 million in relation to allegedly wrongful payments made out of a Jersey-based property investment structure to parties connected to the ultimate beneficial owner.

 

SPORT

Ian Meakin

Based in Geneva, Ian Meakin frequently acts in disputes and contentious commercial matters involving the motor sport industry. He has also acted in cases concerning football.

Strengths: “A very charming barrister.”

Recent work: Acted for the Russian sports ministry in a CAS arbitration over alleged state-sponsored doping.

 

TRAVEL: REGULATORY & COMMERCIAL

Philip Shepherd QC and Bajul Shah are both recommended.

Philip Shepherd QC

Respected silk who is frequently instructed by travel agents and airlines in aviation-related disputes. An experienced commercial litigator and arbitrator, he also advises on jurisdiction and foreign law issues.

Strengths: “He is willing to roll his sleeves up and immerse himself in the subject matter. He also provides very clear and to-the-point advice.”

Bajul Shah

Undertakes commercial disputes in the aviation industry, and has substantial aircraft leasing and maintenance knowledge. He also advises on product liability and potential engineering negligence issues.

Strengths: “He is highly responsive and provides succinct and commercial advice.”

 

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: “There’s a real authority when he speaks, you instantly listen to what he says.” “Alan Steinfeld is supreme. He is incredible and has huge wisdom.”

Recent work: Advised trustees of a Cayman trust in regard to potential claims against third party and obtained Beddoe relief from the Cayman court authorising the trustees.

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: “He’s extremely strong, he’s pre-eminent on trust law globally.”

Recent work: Acted for a branch of a banking family in relation to a dispute concerning a UK, Jersey and Bermuda-based trust and corporate structure, involving attempts to remove directors of two private trust companies.

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: “An exceptional advocate who takes commercial views and gets to the heart of the problem.” “She has an eye for detail which is second to none and a delightful client manner to both the professional and lay client. She’s an advocate of real strength and depth.”

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

JUNIORS

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: “He gets on very well with clients and he thinks laterally and commercially.” “He is very responsive, extremely strong technically and just has the best dry sense of humour that cuts through any situation.”

Recent work: Instructed in a long-running Jersey trust dispute arising out of an attempt by a claimant to set aside the appointment of her brothers as protectors of Jersey law trusts over potential conflict of interests.