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Chambers UK 2019 Rankings

Chambers UK 2019 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. In addition, she acts as a tribunal judge of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).

Strengths: “A strong litigator who is particularly good at really contentious work. Her advocacy skills are highly impressive and her career is on an upward trajectory”. “She provides the most practical and commercial advice and works really hard to understand where her clients need to be”.

Recent work: Involved in a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation in relation to three separate joint venture arrangement for the stores of a well-known optical brand.

Clinical Negligence

Charles Bagot QC

Well-liked silk with a comprehensive understanding of clinical negligence law. He represents both claimants and defendants in a broad range of instructions, relating to such matters as catastrophic brain injuries and fatal accidents. He has developed particular expertise in cases involving secondary victims.

Strengths: “Very good on the law and very accomplished.”

Recent work: Instructed in a fatal accident claim brought against the NHS arising out of the sudden death of a young mother within days of giving birth to her third child.

 

Commercial Dispute Resolution

The Set

Hardwicke has a growing profile on the commercial dispute resolution scene and is a presence at key industry conferences and summits. It has cultivated a respectable client base of large law firms and is now handling an increased diet of both mid-range and high-value disputes, as well as an increasing portfolio of international work reaching as far afield as Russia, South America and the Middle East. One recent example of its work was The Greenbrier Companies v Ebreez Railway Services, a dispute between a US business and its Saudi agent which had been tasked with the procurement of a USD500 million state contract. Other cases include His Highness Sheikh Thanoon Bin Saeed Bin Shakboot Al Nehayan v John Kent, a multimillion-pound claim relating to the demerger of substantial business operations worldwide. Solicitors report that “the chambers as a whole is ambitious, and very keen to provide the highest level of service.”

Client service:“The clerks at Hardwicke are a pleasure to work with, as they are always on hand to help, and they often assist at very short notice.” “The clerks are very efficient and always go the extra mile to help.” Deborah Anderson is the practice director.

Nigel Jones QC

Strengths: “An outstanding commercial and legal strategist who’s charming and has a backbone of steel.” “He’s exceptionally able, always pragmatic and measured, and an excellent team player.”

Recent work: Defended MMS and Publicis in breach of warranty claims stating that they owed £9 million in deferred consideration to ex-shareholders of Kitcatt Nohr, which the client had previously taken over.

PJ Kirby QC

Strengths: “A good, pragmatic and commercial QC.” “He’s an expert in his field who’s responsive and very personable.”

Recent work: Acted for Barclays Bank in successfully defending an individual’s second appeal challenging its securities documentation. The appellant had alleged that the bank had invalidly executed his securities.

David Lewis

Strengths: “Down-to-earth, very commercial and an excellent advocate.” “He’s very good at establishing his arguments and can read judges very well.”

Recent work: Defended Interlink International against Tube Tech’s breach of contract claims, relating to its failure to return specialised pipe cleaning equipment provided to a Chevron Nigeria oil and gas platform.

Emily Betts

Strengths: “Punches far above her weight in terms of years of experience, and is very bright and tenacious in court.” “She’s really strong on paper, drafting pleadings and skeleton arguments in an effective way.”

Recent work: Represented the Greenbrier Companies in claims against Ebreez Railway Services, one of whose principal employees had misled the claimant as to his identity when procuring a Saudi state contract.

Charles Raffin

Strengths: “Charles’s main strengths are his attention to detail, can-do attitude and commercial outlook on matters.” “He’s affable and approachable, and can distil a complex problem down to its simple elements.” 

Recent work: Served as sole counsel to KW Savoy Properties in defence of a £4.5 million loan agreement claim brought by Wallid Abulafia in relation to the purchase of a large North London light industrial site.

Construction

The Set

An established set for construction-related disputes. It handles a number of prominent construction cases as well as being especially well suited to handling property damage, construction insurance and professional negligence cases. The barristers are routinely instructed not only in domestic litigation and ADR but also international arbitrations, including those in the Middle East. Some high-profile recent instructions include Kersfield Developments v Bray & Slaughter, and the dispute over defects at Volvo’s new depot.

Client service: Deborah Anderson, the practice director, heads the clerking team. “The clerking is very attentive and user-friendly. They are really pleasant to deal with and nothing is too much trouble.” “Very client-friendly. The service is responsive and helpful.”

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: “He’s tremendously user-friendly and has a wonderful ability to explain complicated legal issues in an understandable way while also being very commercial.”

Recent work: Acted for Shore Capital in construction aspects of an insurance case relating to fire damage at a waste management plant. The case considered the state of the building before the fire and investigated alleged deficiencies.

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: Has “a no-nonsense approach” and “can distil really complex matters involving heavy documentation down to the essence of the case.”

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, industry professionals and insurers.

Strengths: “Very hard-working and enthusiastic,” she “understands both the law and the industry.” “She is very quick and thorough and really grasps construction-specific disputes.”

Recent work: Acted as sole counsel in relation to claims that paving at one of Volvo’s depots was defective due to design or construction.

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, construction professionals and property owners. He is strong in construction-related insurance issues.

Strengths: “He’s very good with clients and excellent at boiling matters down to the key issues. He’s a details man but he isn’t too verbose about things.” “His performance was legally sound, commercially practical and tactically excellent.”

Recent work: Acted for the main contractor in a four-party TCC dispute arising out of the catastrophic collapse of the City Gates Christian Centre in Ilford.

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 where he is instructed by loss adjusters and insurers and advises in policy coverage issues and technical issues of liability.

Strengths: “He’s incredibly bright, tactically excellent, very user-friendly and approachable. His written work is first class, as is his advocacy.” “He was really responsive and really, really good in helping with the technical side of the case.”

Recent work: Acted in a significant TCC case concerning adjudication enforcement proceedings. The case arose from a claim for payment of £1.2 million for refurbishment of a large residential property.

Costs Litigation

PJ Kirby QC

A knowledgeable commercial silk whose practice encompasses all areas of costs law, including cases relating to detailed assessments, wasted costs and funding arrangements. He is experienced at acting before the Supreme Court.

Strengths: “His written work reads very well.” “As an advocate, he is clear in his arguments and very well prepared,” and “always takes a pragmatic and commercial approach to his cases.”

Recent work: Appeared in Plevin v Paragon Personal Finance, a costs appeal before the Supreme Court concerning whether successful PPI claim appellants can recover substantial top-up premiums incurred in the appeal process.

Insurance

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: “An outstanding advocate.” “He clearly knows his stuff.”

Recent work: Acted for Enterprise, the insolvent insurance company, in various disputes resulting from its insolvency.

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: “A good advocate.” “He offers in-depth knowledge and good practical experience. He has a good rapport with insurers and is very confident and personable.”

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: “Very knowledgeable, very thorough and bright.”

Personal Injury

Charles Bagot QC

New silk 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: “He’s consistently hard-working, very thorough and has an exceptionally good grip on procedural matters.”

Recent work: Acted in a £3 million claim involving an above knee amputation injury to a child in 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’s a very charming advocate who is good with both judges and witnesses.” “Impressive in both his paperwork and advocacy.”

Recent work: Instructed in Dodd v Raebarn Estates, a high-value fatal injury claim involving a defective staircase.

Professional Negligence

The Set

Assists with claims against professionals in the legal, financial, insurance and construction sectors. The set boasts an impressive client list, which spans major brokers and law firms. In recent years it has seen an increase in claims arising from failed investment schemes. Claims arising from footballer transfers form an interesting niche area of work. Recent work highlights include Mortgage Express v TQ Solicitors, a £3 million solicitors’ negligence claim arising out of 26 mortgage transactions, alleging negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

Client service: “The clerks are very helpful. The seminars they run are informative and useful.” 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. He also serves as a meditator.

Strengths: “He is effective and persuasive, even under extreme fire.”

Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a £3 million negligence claim against two firms of solicitors who gave advice to an elderly lady in connection with a house she owned in Notting Hill.

Nigel Jones QC

Draws on his extensive experience in commercial litigation and insurance law to bolster his robust professional negligence practice. He is regularly instructed in cases that concern accountants, solicitors and surveyors, among others.
Strengths: “Charming, polite and impressive, as well as effective in cross-examination.”

James Hall

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

Strengths: “He is very thorough, articulate and great with clients. He challenges the clients in a sympathetic way to draw out necessary information. His advice is clear and very detailed.” “He is a rare breed in terms of being able to distil document-heavy material into detailed advice. Very practical.”

Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a £3 million claim against solicitors for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, relating to 26 mortgage transactions.

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. He is adept at handling both domestic and international matters.

Strengths: “The written material is very on point; he strips it down to the bare essentials and grasps the key issues very quickly.”

Recent work: Acted for VolkerFitzpatrick in its attempt to recover very significant sums from the engineers of a large warehouse. The claim concerned technical issues surrounding structural piling and ground drainage.

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: “Incredibly helpful. He has a commercial mindset. Clients love him.” “Super commercial and very accessible.”

Recent work: Acted for the first defendant main contractor in a claim relating to a fire at one of Boots’s flagship stores.

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: “Very impressive. He’s extremely personable and sharp as a tack.” “Very bright.”

Recent work: Acted for the main contractor in a TCC dispute arising out of the collapse of the City Gates Christian Centre in Ilford.

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. Her clients include insurers and property owners.

Strengths: “Bright, hard-working and responsive.” “Her written work is brilliant and she’s incredibly good with clients.” “Very clever and down-to-earth.”

Recent work: Acted for AmTrust, which provided a new home warranty policy in respect of a building that was alleged to be substantially damaged due to poor workmanship and flooding damage.

Real Estate Litigation – London (Bar)

The Set

Home to barristers who have considerable knowledge of both commercial and residential landlord and tenant work. Other areas of expertise include boundary and easement cases and contractual disputes, as well as property-related professional negligence. They also act in cases relating to land registration. The set can boast frequent appearances in the Court of Appeal. Sources say they are “very professional, client-focused, quick to respond and well organised.”

Client service:  “The clerks are always available to speak and are polite, friendly and very professional.” “They are responsive and proactive in agreeing fees. The availability of counsel is good.” 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. His clients tend to be property developers and commercial property owners, as well as insurers.

Strengths: “Razor-sharp legal mind which is alive to the practical application of the legal analysis.” “Very approachable and always willing to sit down with a client.”

Recent work: Acted for the owners of Millbank Tower in relation to a multimillion-pound claim for unpaid service charges.

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: “She is incredibly good at what she does and is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom.” “She is impressive and a safe pair of hands: I would want her on my side at all times.”

Recent work: Acted for the respondent in a Court of Appeal case concerning a dispute over a substantial estate of mansion blocks in North London, featuring interesting legal points as to alienation provisions.

John Clargo 

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: “Provides clear and practical advice.” “He is very commercial and sensible and turns work around quickly.”

Recent work: Acted in a high-profile case concerning the spread of Japanese knotweed onto beachfront land in Cornwall. He secured an injunction requiring a neighbouring landowner to eradicate the weed.

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. He has recently appeared in cases before the Court of Appeal.

Strengths: “An excellent all-round property barrister who works well with clients and is always prepared to go the extra mile.” “Very commercially minded and easily builds rapport with clients. A fantastic advocate.”

Recent work: Acted for Essex Farmers and Union Hunt in a landlord and tenant dispute concerning the interpretation of service provisions under a lease considered against the framework of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995.

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: “A real authority on easements, manorial rights and land registration.” “He has impeccable judgement and guides a case in the right way at all times.”

Recent work: Defended a developer against a claim by a football club. The club was seeking to prevent the developer from enforcing substantial loans secured against the football ground that had been granted as part of a transaction giving the developer an option to develop part of the ground.

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: “A very responsible individual who is prepared to go the extra mile.” “He is exceptionally user-friendly, very thorough and completely unflappable.”

Recent work: Acted for Admiral Taverns in a claim to recover possession of premises following unlawful assignment.

Andy Creer

Centres her practice on real property, commercial landlord and tenant matters and lease renewals. Her work covers issues such as property damage and land registration.

Strengths: “She is brilliant and extremely experienced in real estate.” “Always incisive, practical and positive in her advice.” 

Recent work: Acted in a claim under the Insolvency Act 1986 to set aside the sale of a portfolio of properties as a transaction defrauding creditors. This was part of a long-running dispute over a bankrupt’s estate.

Emily Betts

A rising star who is recognised for her work particularly in landlord and tenant matters. She tends to represent corporate landlords and other commercial interests, with recent cases involving issues of trespass and vacant possession, among others.

Strengths: “She is very quick to grasp the issues in dispute and is very user-friendly in her approach.” “Exceptional in her peer group and one to watch.”

Recent work: Represented Metropolitan Housing Trust in obtaining vacant possession of various residential and commercial properties at Poynders Road, Clapham Park.

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 and private homeowners.

Strengths: “Good at looking at things laterally and holistically. He’s easy to talk to and very user-friendly. His range of expertise on property matters seems endless.” “Excellent under pressure and a good courtroom advocate.”

Recent work: Acted in Smith v Line, a dispute involving the spread of Japanese knotweed onto beachfront land from a neighbouring property, which ultimately resulted in a mandatory injunction requiring the defendant to eradicate the weed on her land.

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 has recent experience of tackling cases involving alleged breaches of covenants.

Strengths:”An excellent all-round property barrister who works well with clients and is prepared to go the extra mile.” “He has a great manner with clients and judges, and he delivers results. His advice is clear and persuasive.”

Recent work: Acted in a landlord and tenant dispute concerning the interpretation of service provisions under a lease considered against the framework of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995.

Charlotte John

Property-focused barrister with a wider chancery practice. She undertakes instructions on residential and commercial landlord and tenant matters as well as land and boundary disputes. She often appears in property cases with probate elements.

Strengths: “Highly personable, meticulous and consistently good.” “Technically proficient and great with clients. She goes the extra mile.”

Recent work: Acted in Gabanski v Watkins & Others, a case centred on the admittance of an allegedly doctored note to probate.

Restructuring/Insolvency

Sarah Clarke

A well-regarded insolvency junior, noted for her expert handling of both corporate and personal insolvency work. She is regularly instructed to act on behalf of parties including debtors, creditors and insolvency practitioners.

Strengths: “She is responsive and thorough, delivering astute advice which is always commercial and client-focused.”

Recent work: Instructed in Woolsey v (1) Payne (2) Payne, an appeal against findings on an application to set aside a statutory demand and a connected application to annul a bankruptcy order.

Social Housing

The Set

Hardwicke remains a popular choice for landlords, housing associations and local authorities faced with a broad range of social housing matters. Its members frequently call upon their expert knowledge of property law to act in possession and disrepair claims, and are highly adept at anti-social behaviour cases and allocation disputes. Of late, senior practitioners at the set have appeared before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Client service: “The clerking service is exceptional in comparison to other chambers, and the set charges realistic fees.” James Duncan-Hartill is the senior practice manager.

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. Her recent work has seen her act in complicated possession cases.

Strengths: “A vivacious barrister” who “takes on big cases with great skill.”

Recent work:  Represented the claimant in Centrepoint v Mehdaoui, a possession claim which centred on the question of whether the tenant occupied the property under a licence.

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. She is particularly strong on cases where a person’s right to occupy is contested.

Strengths: “Robust and clear-thinking, she’s great for Court of Protection housing work.” 

Recent work: Instructed by the housing association in East Homes v Forde, a tenancy dispute in which the landlord sought possession after the occupier of the flat attempted to succeed his grandmother’s tenancy following her move to a care home.

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: “Very thorough and practical, she’s focused on how to settle cases where possible. Clients talk about her in a very passionate way.”

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