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UK Bar: Civil Fraud 2017

We list 71 barristers in this chapter as the foremost civil fraud experts across all sectors, with expertise handling freezing and search orders, asset tracing and injunctive relief. Below we highlight some of the standout silks and juniors working in the pursuit and defence of civil fraud claims. 

Most Highly Regarded
Jonathan Crow QC 4 Stone Buildings
Stephen Smith QC Erskine Chambers
Richard Millett QC Essex Court Chambers
Paul Girolami QC Maitland Chambers
Tim Akkouh Erskine Chambers
James Willan Essex Court Chambers
Justin Higgo Serle Court


MAITLAND CHAMBERS achieves seven listings this year. The set excels in the pursuit and defence of civil fraud claims through to trial, particularly with a commercial aspect.
Paul Girolami QC is regarded as one of the foremost practitioners in the field of civil fraud in our research. He has brought and defended civil claims of fraud particularly in the corporate sphere and has appeared in numerous High Court cases. One respondent says, “Paul is rigorous and methodical. He is a very persuasive advocate and gets the court where he needs them to be.”
The “very good, very sensible and clever” David Mumford QC has acted in numerous conspiracy and dishonest assistance claims in multiple sectors including energy and real estate.
Matthew Collings QC is a trial and appellate advocate who has been engaged in significant fraud and misrepresentation cases. One respondent remarks, “He is a great silk who really understands his field; he is very visible and well respected.”
Anthony Trace QC is regarded as a strong advocate with in-depth expertise of civil fraud and misrepresentation cases, and is recognised as “a highly experienced barrister with an excellent reputation”.

3 VERULAM BUILDINGS is highly regarded for its civil fraud and asset recovery capabilities, particularly in financial matters. The set sees seven silks listed.
Ewan McQuater QC is the set’s most highly nominated silk. He has a strong commercial background and is regarded as a strong advocate in court. One peer remarks, “Ewan is very good on international cases – I rate him very highly.”
Paul Lowenstein QC has expertise in litigation and has been involved in heavy trials, applications and forensic cross-examination. One peer notes, “He is highly competent and certainly a thorn in the side for the opposing side.”
Ali Malek QC is an established player and a widely held authority in the area. He acts in large-scale civil fraud disputes as part of his commercial litigation practice.
Andrew Onslow QC specialises in commercial fraud including freezing and search orders alongside issues of professional negligence. One respondent remarks, “He is a superbly effective barrister, who is very sought after.”

BLACKSTONE CHAMBERS garners seven listings. Its expertise lies in civil fraud litigation and regulatory issues in the financial sector.
Robert Anderson QC is engaged in some of the biggest fraud cases, particularly in pre-emptive relief, and has a strong commercial background. He is described as “an excellent barrister who has a sharp mind and a forensic intelligence”.
Alan Maclean QC’s expertise lies in civil fraud, asset recovery and injunctive relief both nationally and internationally. One peer responds, “He is an excellent cross-examiner and an extremely cool-headed advocate".
Robert Howe QC is “a logical, considered and effective barrister” who has experience in civil fraud as a part of a broad commercial practice.
Andrew Hunter QC is “a total star of the future” with strong expertise in civil fraud litigation. He has appeared in numerous trials on behalf of claimants and defendants and is “very good, very clever with a lovely turn of phrase”.

FOUNTAIN CHAMBERS’ silks have been instructed in many recent and leading civil fraud cases at both a domestic and international level. Seven of their silks are listed in this year’s research.
Charles Béar QC has a depth of experience in fraud relating to disputes and is an experienced litigator. He is recommended as “a good barrister and a good advocate who is charming and very good on the law”.
Simon Browne-Wilkinson QC focuses on civil fraud with an emphasis on injunctive relief. He has a good reputation among his peers, who highlight his sophisticated advocacy and personable nature.
David Railton QC is one of the most highly respected silks at the commercial Bar. A source notes that “he is a genius and totally brilliant at anything he turns his hands to”, as well as being “incredibly pleasant to deal with”.
Jeffrey Chapman QC has expertise in long-running multi-jurisdictional fraud cases. One respondent says, "He is extremely personable and that comes across in court, which appeals to the judges.”

ESSEX COURT CHAMBERS is a large commercial set with outstanding expertise in domestic and international civil fraud claims. Six leading silks are listed.
Richard Millett QC is one of the most highly recommended practitioners in this year’s research. He is noted as “a true fraud specialist” and is very active in the area – particularly for offshore work. Sources describe him as “a very eloquent man” and “a fluent speaker”.
Paul McGrath QC is well regarded for his dedicated expertise in civil fraud and asset recovery. One peer says, “I like his courtroom style – understated but very clever – and his written work is excellent.”
Paul Stanley QC acts on civil fraud cases for both claimants and defendants domestically and internationally. One client says, “He is an enormous asset on difficult cases – he operates on a different level of intelligence.”

4 STONE BUILDINGS is widely endorsed for its civil fraud and asset recovery practice, with four silks recommended as market leaders.
Jonathan Crow QC has been involved in some of the biggest civil fraud cases including the Madoff investment scandal funds recovery case; he is highly experienced in appellate courts. An observer reports: “In court he turns on the style and is such a polished advocate.”
Robert Miles QC has a broad practice focusing on financial litigation, including elements of company law, insolvency and civil fraud. One interviewee observes: “He is an esteemed senior figure at the bar and much admired as a leader in his areas of practice.”

ONE ESSEX COURT is an outstanding commercial set with four silks deemed leaders in representing clients in civil fraud claims.
Laurence Rabinowitz QC has a broad commercial practice, including a focus on civil fraud, which is widely regarded as leading at the bar. One respondent says, “He is absolute class, a powerful advocate who is very much in demand."
Kenneth MacLean QC, Anthony de Garr Robinson QC and Richard Gillis QC are also strongly endorsed.

Serle Court sees four barristers recognised for their expertise this year.
Hugh Norbury QC acts on commercial and chancery cases. He has experience in breach of duty cases including litigation for national and international corporations. He is described as “a clear analyst who gives concise and independent views with a fantastic courtroom presence”.
Philip Marshall QC is involved in international and cross-border civil fraud cases including international recovery in numerous sectors. He is noted as “one of the big civil fraud practitioners”, and “a really tenacious and highly regarded barrister”.

ERSKINE CHAMBERS is considered as one of the top civil fraud sets in the country with strong international litigation and arbitration capabilities. Two silks are recognised.
Stephen Smith QC is one of the most highly ranked silks in our research this year. He is a noted civil fraud litigation specialist and his practice includes breach of duty, misrepresentation and deceit and asset tracing. One peer remarks, “He is one of the top silks in the area. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge and gets the ear of the court.”
Andrew Thompson QC is an experienced litigator in civil fraud matters including breach of fiduciary duties and professional negligence. One respondent tells us, “He is very much up-and-coming – a future star.”

At 20 ESSEX STREET CHAMBERS, two silks are recognised.
Duncan Matthews QC has acted in civil fraud cases in both first instance and appellate courts and has strong experience of cases based in the British Virgin Islands. Peers say of him, “He is a very good barrister, smooth and resilient.” He notably acted as lead defence counsel in the Mukhtar Ablyazov litigation.
Stephen Atherton QC is particularly active in offshore civil fraud proceedings, in addition to his widely recognised insolvency practice. According to peers, he is “a very robust advocate” and “an extremely pleasant individual to deal with”.

At BRICK COURT CHAMBERS, the “excellent” Mark Howard QC has a strong commercial background and has appeared in both first instance disputes and appellate courts in complex fraud cases.

At XXIV OLD BUILDINGS, Elspeth Talbot Rice QC is known for her broad commercial chancery practice, which extends to typically offshore civil fraud cases. She is widely endorsed, with sources remarking that she is “as smart as a whip and misses nothing”, “clear-thinking and no-nonsense”, and “a joy to be around”.    

7 KING'S BENCH WALK sees Clive Freedman QC recognised. He acts in national and international fraud cases and is a well-regarded litigator and cross examiner. One respondent says, “He is a particularly excellent courtroom advocate, with strong cross-examination skills.”

At 4 NEW SQUARE, Justin Fenwick QC handles a significant amount of claims arising out of Russia, China and the Cayman Islands. He is an internationally recognised leader and “one of the best advocates at the bar”, according to respondents.


From ERSKINE CHAMBERS three juniors are listed in this year’s research.
Tim Akkouh focuses on civil fraud and asset tracing. One peer remarks, “He is outstanding, able to make the complex look straightforward – and certainly a future star.”
Emily Gillett is widely endorsed by peers and solicitors in the field. She is “diligent, thorough and extremely hard working”; “very sharp, combining pragmatism with a robust approach when necessary”; “a real team player”; and “a strong advocate”.
Ben Griffiths practices civil fraud as a part of his wider commercial and financial law focus. He is said to be “very steely, determined and exceedingly hard working”.

ESSEX COURT CHAMBERS’ in-depth expertise in civil fraud and asset tracing is illustrated with three juniors earning recognition.
James Willan is highly regarded and visible in international and domestic civil fraud litigation often with claims worth in excess of $100 million. One senior barrister says, "He is quite simply outstanding, a go-to junior counsel for heavyweight litigation.”
James Sheehan is one of the most rapidly rising stars in this field; interviewees agree he is “a future leader at the bar”. Notably, he acted as junior counsel to the defence in the BTA v Ablyazov case.
Ciaran Keller is also recommended.       

Justin Higgo at SERLE COURT is one of the most experienced civil fraud practitioners at the junior bar and is regularly placed among the leaders at this level. He is fully engaged in the area and regularly receives high-profile instructions in high-value claims. Aeroflot is a key client.                             

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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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