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UK Bar: Professional Negligence 2016

This year 22 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Leading Silks
Michael Pooles QC Hailsham Chambers
Justin Fenwick QC 4 New Square
Jamie Smith QC 4 New Square
Mark Howard QC Brick Court Chambers
Leading Juniors
Derek Holwill Hailsham Chambers


4 New Square sees an incredible nine silks included in this year’s chapter. Nicholas Davidson QC is a “fantastic” litigator and arbitrator, particularly noted for his skills in cross-examination and advocacy. Justin Fenwick specialises in offshore and onshore commercial litigations and is a “favourite among clients” for his cross-examination skills. Jamie Smith QC is “very strong” in insurance and professional liability work, often appearing in appellate courts. Impressive recent work includes the Supreme Court decision on liability insurance in IEGL v Zurich. Ben Hubble QC is a “very talented” specialist in matters of professional liability, disciplinary, regulatory and commercial work. As head of chambers, peers state he is a “joy to work with”. The “brilliant” Roger Stewart QC has an “impressive roster” of international clients, and works on high-value and high-profile disputes. Ben Elkington QC is recommended for his highly “personable” approach on matters insurance, professional liability and general commercial litigation. Graeme McPherson QC is “truly impressive” in the handling of both domestic and international commercial disputes. He has “vast experience” in insurance dispute arbitrations as well as sporting dispute mediations. Patrick Lawrence QC works in cases of fraud or impropriety in the commercial world. His “calm” demeanour and meticulous preparation mean that clients “wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him”. Ben Patten QC is “very well respected” for his “depth of knowledge” and “breadth of experience” in matters of professional indemnity. He is particularly renowned for being “good on his feet” and is said by many to be at the “top of his game”.

At Hailsham Chambers two silks are highlighted. Michael Pooles QC is a “leading figure” in this field, as he has worked on multiple cases involving lawyers, accountants, financial professionals and insurance brokers. Bernard Livesey QC is “exceptional” in a “broad and diverse” practice that covers all cases involving accountants, construction professionals, financial professionals, insurance brokers, lawyers and surveyors.

At Brick Court Chambers, Mark Howard QC is a “true star” appearing frequently in a wide variety of cases before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

At 7 King’s Bench Walk, Jonathan Gaisman QC is an “eminent” advocate, who has a broad practice area as well as a “breadth of skills and experience” He is “well thought of” at the bar.

At Fountain Court Chambers, Michael Brindle QC is a “sensational” practitioner who commands a “formidable” presence, appearing in a “league of his own” when it comes to all matters related to financial services.

From Crown Office Chambers, Michael Harvey QC has a “stellar” practice covering most civil and commercial matters, making him a “point of reference” at the bar.

Ed Pepperall QC of St Philips Chambers is “fantastic” and commands high-profile cases for high-profile clients. His impressive nexus of experience speaks for itself, having advocated for cases such as a US$100 million claim in the ICC court of arbitration.

Fountain Court Chambers is represented by Mark Simpson QC, who is recommended for his “clear and concise” advice to clients.


Hailsham Chambers is represented by two juniors. Derek Holwill is “highly regarded” by peers and clients alike, for his work in the field of clinical negligence. Spike Charlwood is “innovative” and a “leading light” on matters of insurance and disciplinary matters involving accountants, surveyors and valuers and financial professionals.

Hugh Evans of 4 New Square is well known for his “sharp intellect” and “pragmatic advice”. He is “very active” on all matters of professional liability and one that many clients “wouldn’t hesitate to recommend”.

At Guildhall Chambers, John Virgo is a “true specialist” on high-value financial product mis-selling litigation. He is recommended as being a “pleasure to work with” for his breadth of knowledge and experience.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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W11 1QQ, UK