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Chambers UK 2018 Rankings

Chambers UK 2018 Rankings

Set rankings

We are ranked as a set in:

  • Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • Construction
  • Professional Negligence
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Social Housing

Editorial and Testimonials 

Chancery Traditional

Brie Stevens-Hoare QC

Well respected silk with a growing reputation in the area of traditional chancery work. She has a particular focus on property, probate and commercial matters, and is also an experienced mediator.

Strengths: “Deals well with very emotional clients; she has a very good manner and listens carefully to what they have to say.”

Recent work: Involved in the highly publicised Ilott v Mitson inheritance case. This involved a claim against a mother’s estate by an able-bodied adult child, based on dire need and very limited earning capacity.

Clinical Negligence

Charles Bagot

Well-liked junior with a comprehensive understanding of clinical negligence law. He represents both claimants and defendant in a broad range of cases, relating to such matters as catastrophic brain injuries and fatal accidents.

Strengths: “Approachable and excellent both in writing and on his feet. Logical, methodical and analytical in his approach to complex issues.”

Recent work: Successfully defended the NHSLA in a High Court trial regarding a psychiatric injury sustained by a secondary victim.

Margaret Bloom

Dually qualified practitioner who employs extensive medical knowledge gained as a former GP to handle highly complex clinical negligence cases. She has particular expertise in severe brain injury claims, as well as cases arising from A&E negligence and diagnostic errors.

Strengths: “Immensely knowledgeable.” “Very thorough and helpful.”

Commercial Dispute Resolution

The Set

Hardwicke boasts a solid and growing commercial practice, and is increasing its presence in the international CDR market. Unlike its more celebrated rivals at the Commercial Bar, it does not routinely feature in the biggest and most eye-wateringly valuable cases, but does, however, receive a steady flow of middle market work. As an example, members of the set recently provided counsel in the matter of Greenbrier v Ebreez and Watts and Others, a cross-border dispute of significant value, which concerned worldwide freezing orders, private international law and conflicts of law. Sources observe that “the chambers is ambitious, cohesive and collegiate, and works hard to provide a sophisticated service.”

Client service: “They come up with solutions that suit the clients, they’re customer-focused and always very friendly.” “The clerks are always good at getting back to you and highly efficient.” Deborah Anderson is the practice director.

Nigel Jones QC

Strengths: An outstanding commercial and legal strategist, who is charming but with a backbone of steel.” “Nigel is an excellent advocate with good tactical and strategic sense.”

Recent work: Acted for Greenbrier against Ebreez’s directors in a matter spanning England and Saudi Arabia. The case involved conflicts of law issues and worldwide freezing orders.

PJ Kirby QC

Strengths: “A calming influence, who is very confident and presents extremely well; he absolutely wiped the floor with the other side.” “Thorough and great with clients, and a real team player.”

Recent work: Defended one of the members of Jas Financial Products LLP in a claim for costs following the dismissal of the LLP’s claim at trial in the Commercial Court.

Emily Betts

Strengths: “A persuasive advocate with a sharp eye for detail, who is able to get judges on her side quickly.” “Very personable. Her paperwork is excellent and she’s very good on her feet.”

Recent work: Acted for Roadchef Employee Benefits Trust in a dispute concerning the illegal transfer of shares from the employee share scheme to a former managing director.

David Lewis

Strengths: “He is very bright, highly proactive and really on your side. He will be objective in his advice, and you feel he is looking for solutions and ways to maximise the client’s position.”

Recent work: Acted for businessman John Kent in a case concerning duress, undue influence, misrepresentation and breach of contract claims against an Abu Dhabi royal family member.

John Clargo (South Eastern Bar)

Seasoned commercial disputes practitioner, who routinely acts for commercial and residential property clients across the full range of property law. He also regularly handles cases concerning professional negligence and general contractual disputes.

Strengths: “He delivers succinct and relevant advice for the client. He’s very pragmatic and approachable, and keeps an eye on the end result.” “He’s an excellent advocate.”


The Set

Hardwicke has established a profile for excellence in construction-related disputes. The set’s barristers are proficient at handling high-stakes construction and engineering claims with insurance and professional negligence issues, and are routinely instructed in domestic litigation and international arbitration, particularly in the Middle East. Examples of chambers’ recent work include Carillion v AECOM & EMCOR, relating to the construction of the Rolls Building in London, and CIP v Galliford Try & Others, relating to the construction of Broadway Plaza in Birmingham.

Client service: Deborah Anderson, the practice director, heads the clerking team. “They are the most accessible and friendly clerking team. Their service level is phenomenal. They make things happen.” “They’re really helpful, approachable, user-friendly and flexible. Nothing’s too much trouble.”

Nigel Jones QC

Noted silk who counts several large housing associations among his most notable clients. His practice is international in scope, with a focus on Malaysia and the Middle East, and is complemented by his significant experience in insurance-related disputes.

Strengths: “Technically brilliant and able to articulate a complex argument and make it understandable.” “Bright, articulate and client-savvy.”

Recent work: Acted for Gable Insurance, before its insolvency, in the policy claim from Skelton arising from a fire and business interruption claim.

Paul Reed QC

Popular QC with a quality practice both domestically and in the Middle East. His offering is enhanced by his acknowledged expertise across the insurance sector.

Strengths: “A real expert in construction disputes with a deep understanding of the industry.” “Able to articulate complex technical issues in simple and easily digestible terms.”

Recent work: Represented Carillion Construction in a dispute against AECOM and EMCOR regarding the Rolls Building, which houses the TCC.

Sarah McCann

Acts on a variety of domestic disputes including TCC claims and adjudications, with a particular focus on professional negligence and insurance-related construction work.

Strengths: “Academically gifted and good at being able to simplify the most complicated scenario.” “Extremely able-minded and a clear thinker. Will produce work at short notice and is an excellent drafter.”

Recent work: Acted for the first defendant main contractor in a claim for £12 million in damages relating to a fire at one of Boots’ flagship stores on 7 July 2012.

Catherine Piercy

Quality junior whose diverse practice includes regular appearances in adjudications, ADR and high-value litigation. She is regularly instructed by a client base of contractors, professionals and insurers.

Strengths: “Fights really hard for her clients and works incredibly hard. She’s an excellent advocate who produces top-notch written work.” “An extremely hard worker who always comes up with helpful, pragmatic advice.”

David Pliener

Highly regarded senior junior who regularly acts in litigation, arbitration and adjudications nationwide and abroad. He has advised on disputes in sectors as diverse as renewables, structural engineering and leisure. Clients that typically instruct him include contractors, insurance companies and property owners.

Strengths: “David’s mix of intellect and pragmatism is valued by clients, and his enthusiasm for cases shines through.” “A very commercial problem solver who is brilliant with lay clients and an active part of the legal team.”

Recent work: Acted for the design and build contractors in Cohen & Cohen v Volkerfitzpatrick, a claim arising out of the refurbishment of a hotel and basement function suite for the Holiday Inn in Golders Green, London.

Michael Wheater

Strong junior with a UK-focused practice who represents clients from across the construction industry, including designers, housing associations and contractors. His excellent construction offering is bolstered by his significant experience of insurance disputes.

Strengths: “In addition to having a fantastic knowledge of the law, his commercial judgement is excellent and he is tactically brilliant.” “Knowledgeable yet commercial and pragmatic. Quick to respond to queries with sound strategy advice.”

Recent work: Acted for EIC, the M&E designers of the Broadway Plaza development in Birmingham, as joint defendants in a claim advanced by CIP alleging numerous design failures.

Costs Litigation

PJ Kirby QC

An experienced commercial silk whose practice encompasses all areas of costs law. He is active in costs litigation in the SCCO, undertakes advisory work and drafts damages-based agreements for firms. His skills are further demonstrated by his appointment as a High Court costs assessor.

Strengths: “Mr Kirby is very thorough and eloquent and has a very client-friendly manner.”

Recent work: Represented the Association of Litigation Funders in Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone Inc, which concerned the extent to which professional third-party funders should be liable for indemnity costs and what should be taken into account when considering the so-called ‘Arkin cap’.

Rupert Cohen

Increasingly active in the field of costs litigation, he is well respected for his skills regarding detailed assessments. He regularly appears before the SCCO and the High Court and is also a panel mediator for Costs Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Strengths: “Rupert is exceptionally clever and a joy to work with. He’s well ahead of his year of call and his advice is always on time, to the point and concise.”

Recent work: Acted for the claimant, Rosenblatt, in a dispute in the QBD concerning the costs consequence of discontinuance pursuant to Rule 44.9 of the General Rules About Costs.


Nigel Jones QC

Takes on significant insurance claims arising from a broad array of underlying incidents, including construction disputes, professional negligence and sports injuries. He is known for his skill in handling litigation involving multiple parties and jurisdictional issues. Jones is frequently instructed by insurers but is also experienced in acting for policyholders in insurance disputes.

Strengths: “Very commercial and very client-friendly.” “He is a punchy advocate, who is great at cross-examination and strategic in his approach.”

Recent work: Acted on behalf of the liquidator of an insurer in a series of disputes which considered among other issues, control of the motor claims book, ownership of the insurer’s assets and the consequences of disclaiming policies.

Paul Reed QC

Noted for the breadth of his expertise in property damage and construction disputes, he typically takes on high-value insurance cases arising out of these areas. His matters often involve major international projects. He offers additional expertise in professional negligence and indemnity matters.

Strengths: “Has a good understanding of insurance and is very commercial in his approach.” “He is very robust and is ever the pragmatist.”

Recent work: Acted in a coverage claim brought under a contractor’s all risk policy in connection with the allegedly negligent construction of a Major Trauma Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

David Pliener

A highly capable insurance junior who also has considerable property damage and construction expertise. He represents many of the leading insurers in complex coverage and policy disputes, and is also adept in reinsurance disputes and arbitrations.

Strengths: “Incredibly bright, client-friendly and excellent across the board.” “A pleasure to work with, he’s very approachable and highly responsive. He is on top of the detail and knows the insurance and construction markets inside out.”

Personal Injury

Charles Bagot

Leading senior junior with an excellent reputation for personal injury litigation. He has developed a practice, primarily acting for defendants and insurers, that focuses on catastrophic injury, psychiatric shock and allegations of fraud. He has been deeply involved in legal developments surrounding secondary victims.

Strengths: “An exceptional barrister who achieves real results with his analytical but user-friendly approach.” “A quiet, incisive mind.”

Recent work: Acted for the defendant in a claim involving a child who sustained an above-knee amputation following a road accident.

Colm Nugent

Manages a diverse caseload of catastrophic injury, psychiatric injury and fatal accident claims. He is known for his focus on occupiers’ liability cases and his knowledge of the Defective Premises Act. His practice is balanced between claimants and defendants.

Strengths: “He explains complicated legal issues to the client in a clear and straightforward manner, and is especially good with claims involving head injuries or the risk of dementia.” “An effective opponent with a strong practice.”

Recent work: Secured a substantial settlement for a victim of harassment and bullying at work which drove her to resign.

Professional Negligence

The Set

Hardwicke brings broad-ranging commercial expertise to bear when litigating professional negligence cases. Members are retained by claimants and defendants with respect to a diverse array of issues, including football transfers, procurement and investment schemes that have gone awry. A recent instruction of significance was Clearway Drainage Systems v Miles Smith, a high-value High Court claim against insurance brokers. The set’s barristers are described by one instructing solicitor as “solid, reliable and forward-thinking.”

Client service: “They have the most accessible and friendly clerking team. They go out of their way.” Deborah Anderson is the practice director.

John de Waal QC

Handles a broad range of professional negligence cases, most often on behalf of defendants, and is particularly well versed in claims concerning solicitors. He also maintains a broad advisory practice, largely catering to insurer clients.

Strengths: “In a complicated, document-heavy case, he provided good, clear advice at the outset. He can deal with difficult clients and understands the drivers behind the decisions made by insurers.”

Nigel Jones QC

Draws on his extensive experience in commercial litigation and insurance law to bolster his robust professional negligence practice. Regularly instructed in cases that concern accountants, solicitors and surveyors, among others. He is also co-head of chambers at Hardwicke.
Strengths: “He’s very clever and clients are drawn to him. He is also accessible at all hours and commercial.”

James Hall

Takes on substantial negligence claims relating to surveyors, architects and solicitors. He is also able to draw upon his previous experience as an employed barrister in the financial services department of a national law firm.

Strengths: “He provides excellent advice and is an extremely successful advocate. His previous in-house experience is valued for its commerciality.” “He is extremely thorough and bright while being very easy to work with and client-friendly.”

Professional Negligence: Technology & Construction

David Pliener

Instructed extensively on cases of professional negligence in the construction industry. He regularly represents property owners, contractors and engineers, as well as their insurers. He has experience of handling litigation, adjudication and arbitration. His professional negligence practice is well served by his knowledge of insurance law.

Strengths: “A good technical lawyer who is to the point and very clear in his thinking. He is also very approachable and user-friendly. Nothing is too much trouble. He is very easy to work with.”

Recent work: Represented the design and build contractors in a claim arising out of the refurbishment of a hotel and basement function suite for the Holiday Inn in Golders Green, London.

Property Damage

Paul Reed QC

A highly respected property damage silk who wins praise for his considerable expertise in construction and insurance matters. He is regularly instructed in substantial, high-profile claims concerning multiple parties, and is noted for experience of handling fire damage cases.

Strengths: “Very clear and incisive, and knows this area of the law very well. He’s capable of thinking on his feet and making the best of what is in front of him.”

Recent work: Acted on behalf of construction engineers in relation to damage claims arising from the alleged negligent construction of a Major Trauma Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

David Pliener

A senior junior who is known for handling disputes of a highly technical nature with aplomb. He also possesses invaluable understanding of the construction industry and is often instructed in cases with an international aspect. Pliener is skilled in handling both the insurance and negligence aspects of damage claims.

Strengths: “A good team member, an excellent junior and a tough opponent.”

Recent work: Involved in a claim arising from water damage at a luxury hotel allegedly caused by a defective busbar joint.

Catherine Piercy

Proficient property damage junior skilled in insurance and construction-related disputes. She is capable of dealing with a variety of cases including those relating to fire, explosion and water damage.

Strengths: “Clever, incredibly industrious, very easy to work with and utterly reliable.” “She’s very bright, very accommodating, and very good with clients. Both her writing and advocacy skills are impressive.”

Recent work: Represented the insurers of a drainage contractor whose actions allegedly led to damage at a luxury Mayfair property following an escape of sewage.

Real Estate Litigation – London (Bar)

The Set

A firmly established set that covers a broad range of residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes. Barristers are regularly instructed in a variety of property matters including residential lease and breach of covenant cases. Sources say members are “very efficient and approachable.”

Client service:  “Hardwicke clerks are friendly, approachable and helpful.” Deborah Anderson is the practice director.

John de Waal QC

A prominent real estate litigation silk who frequently works with insurers on contentious real estate mandates. He is renowned for his leading advisory practice working with clients on a range of construction and property issues. De Waal has particular strength in property-related professional negligence issues.

Strengths: “Ruthlessly commercial, client-focused and supportive.” 

Recent work: Instructed by the building owner in a complex party wall dispute in Central London County Court involving commercial properties in Chelsea.

Brie Stevens-Hoare QC

Regularly works with property developers and owners on significant professional negligence litigation matters, as well as disputes arising from real estate transactions. She frequently appears in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Strengths: “Brie impresses clients with her commercial and robust advice.”

Recent work: Acted in Reiner & Wismayer v Triplark, a heated dispute relating to a substantial estate of mansion blocks in North London.

John Clargo 

Recently joined the set from 3PB. He accepts instructions on the full range of landlord and tenant and property-related professional negligence matters. He predominantly acts for landlords on residential work, and also accepts instructions from landlords and tenants on commercial matters.

Strengths: “His paperwork is very thorough and he pays careful attention to detail.” “He does a great job, his skeleton arguments are sensible and he takes the right points.”

Recent work: Acted for Wellington Pub Company in a dispute over a lease on a Central London bar.

Jamal Demachkie

Recognised for his work in commercial and property law. His practice concentrates on commercial disputes, chancery litigation and landlord and tenant claims. He is also an accredited mediator.

Strengths:Very approachable, user-friendly and good at communicating with lay clients in a way they can understand.” “Impressive in both his pleadings and on his feet.”

Recent work: Represented the successful landlord in Nemcova v Fairfield, a high-profile decision on Airbnb-style lettings.

Daniel Gatty

Handles a wide range of property matters, and has a strong focus on professional negligence disputes arising from real estate issues. He is also known for his work in cases involving land registration, secured lending and mortgages. He is an accredited mediator and sits as a judge of the First-tier Tribunal.

Strengths: “He is a go-to person for tricky matters, who is always able to find pragmatic and practical solutions.” “Daniel delivers excellent service and maintains a very high standard of quality.”

Recent work: Acted for Aviva Life & Pensions in a high-value dispute under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 over rent and other terms of new leases of prestigious London offices.

Monty Palfrey

A highly popular choice for a wide variety of commercial and residential property mandates. He regularly represents clients in court in numerous landlord and tenant, easement and boundary disputes. Palfrey has noted expertise in cases involving pubs and restaurants.

Strengths: “Monty Palfrey is an excellent courtroom lawyer who is very quick on his feet. You can call upon him at short notice and he will roll up his sleeves and get stuck in.” “He is technically strong and very knowledgeable of all aspects of property litigation.”

Recent work: Advised and acted for a landlord in the successful recovery of over £2.4 million for major works to a mixed-use block.

Real Estate Litigation – South Eastern (Bar)

John Clargo

Well-regarded junior who heads the property and chancery group at the chambers. His practice encompasses commercial and residential landlord and tenant work, property-related professional negligence cases and real property issues. He is recognised for his representation of higher education institutions.

Strengths: “Very bright. His written work is always of an excellent calibre and he is accessible to clients.”

Jamal Demachkie

Skilled barrister with a diverse property practice covering landlord and tenant disputes and real property work. He also undertakes instructions concerning co-ownership and constructive trust matters. He earns respect from a range of sources for his solid advocacy in property disputes.

Strengths: “Impressive in both pleadings and on his feet.” “Extremely pragmatic and personable.” “Client-friendly with an excellent approach to disputes.”

Social Housing

The Set

Hardwicke is called upon by a number of local authorities, social landlords and housing associations to tackle the full range of social housing matters. Members of the set regularly appear in judicial review proceedings and before the Supreme Court, and come recommended for their experience in possession proceedings and disrepair. They are described as being “extremely knowledgable, highly communicative and commercially sound.” Clients further benefit from the team’s complementary expertise in property and public law matters.

Client service: “The clerks are generally very good and fair minded when it comes to the negotiation of fees.” They are both “approachable and reliable.” 

Morayo Fagborun Bennett

Handles a wide range of social housing matters, and has a practice with a particular emphasis on homelessness and disrepair cases. She regularly receives instructions from housing associations, local authorities and individuals. Her esteemed work in the area is complemented by her substantial property practice.

Strengths: “Solicitors like her and she genuinely knows her stuff.”

Recent work:  Acted for the landlord in possession proceedings on the grounds of rent arrears. The case also concerned the question of whether the defendant had failed to occupy the property as her only or principal home.

Alison Meacher

A specialist in housing work, which crosses over with Court of Protection, mental capacity and other social welfare matters. She habitually acts on behalf of local authorities, registered providers and vulnerable tenants, and regularly appears before the Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal.

Strengths: “Extremely thorough and picks up on issues others miss.”

Recent work: Acted for Nuneaton and Bedworth BC in an appeal against a decision that a tenant’s entitlement to housing benefit should not be subject to the ‘bedroom tax’.

Laura Tweedy

A “go-to barrister” for many large housing associations, on matters including homelessness and possession. She elicits praise for her deft client-handling and cross-examination skills, and makes regular appearances before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

Strengths: “Incredibly impressive on the client care front and very good at getting to the heart of a case. She takes a pragmatic, commercially minded approach to matters.” “Really excellent with clients and someone whose advice is always very commercial and robust.”

Recent work: Acted for Family Mosaic in a claim for damages brought by a tenant valued at £14 million.