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UK Bar: Professional Negligence 2017

We highlight 25 leading barristers for their top-tier professional negligence work handling indemnity claims and liability disputes against individuals from the financial services sector, solicitors, accountants and other professionals. 

Most Highly Regarded
Ben Elkington QC 4 New Square
Justin Fenwick QC 4 New Square
Patrick Lawrence QC 4 New Square
Michael Pooles QC Hailsham Chambers
Matthew Parker 3 Verulam Buildings


4 NEW SQUARE stands out as the pre-eminent set in the area, a testament to its exceptional professional negligence offering. Breaches of contract, trust and fiduciary duty, as well as professional indemnity insurance and negligence are just some of the areas in which it excels. Eight silks, a third of the set’s Queen’s Counsel, achieve listings this year.
Patrick Lawrence QC is “one of the best advocates in the field of professional negligence at the moment”. “He provides clear and succinct written and oral advice” and is highly sought after by clients who hail him as “a proven winner”.
Ben Elkington QC is praised for his strong claimant practice and is considered a leading name in the field. He possesses over 20 years of experience handling professional liability disputes for a range of professionals.  
Justin Fenwick QC is very active in the area and widely considered to be among the elite silks. Notable cases include the multiparty lender litigation brought by Paragon Finance against almost 100 law firms. One source notes that he is “genuinely creative in finding legal solutions for the client and employs delicate advocacy on tricky issues. Utter authority with the Court and clients and enormous stamina in difficult cases.”
Roger Stewart QC is “first class” and is known for his extensive experience in the area, particularly relating to construction-related claims.
Sources consider Graeme McPherson QC to be “a top-tier professional negligence silk.” He is first choice for many clients who value his “excellent grasp of the details” and “outstanding advice that gets to the core of the case.”
The “absolutely superb” Ben Patten QC is highly regarded among peers. According to one source, “He is a very crisp, clever and effective advocate.”

BRICK COURT CHAMBERS boasts a great reputation as one of the top commercial sets in the UK. Two of its leading silks achieve nominations for their excellent professional negligence work.
Mark Howard QC is considered to be “one of the pre-eminent names in the area”. He boasts a great reputation in the field, and “thoroughly deserves to be at the top of the tree.”
Mark Hapgood QC is recognised by peers for his top-notch commercial practice and possesses great advisory and litigation experience handling professional negligence claims.
Ed Pepperall QC at ST PHILIPS STONE CHAMBERS is “absolutely up there with the best of the London Bar”, and is valued for his “extremely calm approach”.
John Randall QC gains recognition for his “great attention to detail and analytical legal mind”. One client notes: “I needed the best silk in Birmingham and that’s John.”

At HAILSHAM CHAMBERS, Michael Pooles QC is particularly highlighted for his noteworthy cross-examination skills: “His ability to get under the skin of a witness and haul out the truth is amazing.”

Colin Edelman QC at DEVEREUX CHAMBERS is “wonderful with the court but even better with clients.” He boasts a stellar reputation among peers, one of whom describes him as “breathtakingly brilliant”.

At WILBERFORCE CHAMBERS, Joanna Smith QC is considered “a wonderful advocate” and “a fearsome cross-examiner”. She possesses great experience handling complex and high-value professional negligence claims. 


With professional negligence as one of the set’s core practices, it comes as no surprise that three juniors at HAILSHAM CHAMBERS achieve listings this year for their standout work in the field.
Derek Holwill is widely regarded as a leading junior in the field by peers, who describe him as “a very strong analyst”. As a professional negligence specialist, he frequently represents lawyers, accountants, financial professionals, insurance brokers and surveyors.
Spike Charlwood is highly respected for his “first-rate” work. Recent highlights include acting on behalf of solicitors involved in SDLT avoidance schemes.
Francis Bacon is also highlighted for his extensive experience in professional negligence claims, acting for and against solicitors and barristers.

Matthew Parker at 3 VERULAM BUILDINGS is a standout junior in the field. He is “fiercely intelligent and well prepared and able to deal with questions from the bench on his feet as well as anyone.”
Peter de Verneuil Smith is also recognised for his strong practice. He is very active in the area, regularly handling an array of professional negligence matters involving professionals such as financial advisers, solicitors and construction professionals.   

4 NEW SQUARE’s Clare Dixon “provides probably the best-drafted written advice of any junior at the Bar.” She is admired by sources who value her “high intellect”. 

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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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