UK Bar: Leading Sets 2019

Nearly 120 sets have barristers listed in WWL: UK Bar 2019. However, the members of 12 top sets account for over 40 per cent of the listings between them. These outstanding sets of chambers are profiled below.

 

Top-tier commercial set 3 Verulam Buildings enjoys a prominent position at the UK Bar. It is well known for the breadth of its offering as well as its strength across several disciplines. In this edition, we highlight its impressive offering as its silks and juniors achieve 45 listings across nine practice areas.

Banking and finance is an area in which the set particularly stands out, with 16 silks and juniors recognised for their excellence in our corresponding chapter. They are well versed in handling a range of related matters including capital markets and market manipulation cases. The set also performs strongly in our civil fraud chapter, where 12 barristers are singled out for their first-class work on asset recovery and major fraud claims. 

Alternative dispute resolution is a further area in which the set achieves listings, achieving a total of six listings across our arbitration and mediation chapters.

The set is home to a number of leading individuals, including Tom Weitzman QC who is highlighted as one of the most prominent insurance and reinsurance silks at the bar. Farhaz Khan is recognised as a first-rate banking and finance junior, while Michael Lazarus is another standout junior who focuses on high-stakes civil fraud proceedings.

 

7 King Bench’s Walk cements its position as a standout commercial set at the UK Bar in our research this year. It achieves 40 listings across five practice areas, illustrating the impressive depth of expertise on offer from its barristers.  

The set is a powerhouse in the insurance market and stands out as the foremost offering at the UK Bar in our corresponding chapter. Its barristers distinguish themselves go-to advocates for insurance litigation relating to a range of matters, from D&O liability to marine insurance and Bermuda Form work.

International trade and commodities, and shipping are other areas in which the set ranks highly this year, achieving 13 and eight listings in our respective chapters. Its silks and juniors are well equipped to handle an array of related matters including charter party, buyer and seller disputes and major loss claims.

Star individuals at the set include Alistair Schaff QC who is recognised as a Thought Leader in the insurance and reinsurance space, an area in which Josephine Higgs and Timothy Kenefick are highlighted as standout juniors. Alistair Schaff QC, Stephen Hofmeyr QC and Charles Priday are commended for their top-tier shipping practices, while N G Casey is one of the foremost juniors in the international trade and commodities arena. 

 

Top-tier outfit 20 Essex Street Chambers performs very well in this year’s research, demonstrating its position as a key commercial set in the market. It achieves 56 listings across 10 practice areas, evidencing the strong breadth of expertise on offer.

20 Essex Street is a prominent set for arbitration matters, and sees nine silks and seven juniors recognised for their excellence acting as either counsel or arbitrator in high-profile domestic and international proceedings. 

International trade and commodities is another area in which the set excels, with 14 barristers recommended for their first-class work on a wide array of issues including sale of goods. Its expertise in the area is enhanced by its impressive shipping offering. Ten individuals are recognised for their exceptional work on finance agreements, shipbuilding matters and charter party disputes.

Star individuals at the set include Christopher Hancock QC, Duncan Matthews QC and Henry Byam-Cook, who stand out as leading international trade and commodities advocates. Philip Edey QC is also a top name in the field and draws praise for his excellent work on insurance and reinsurance matters. Timothy Young QC and Oliver Caplin come highly recommended for their first-class shipping practices, while Stephen Atherton QC and Tony Beswetherick are recognised as key names in restructuring and insolvency.

 

Atkin Chambers is a leading commercial set with expertise covering a range of industry sectors. It showcases the strength of its offering in our research this year with 39 listings across four chapters.

This set performs exceptionally well in our construction chapter with 25 barristers highlighted for their outstanding work in the field, making it one of the foremost construction sets at the UK Bar. In this edition, the set illustrates its reputation for top-tier advice and advocacy on a range of sector-related matters, from infrastructure, engineering and construction project development to disputes.

Arbitration is another area in which the set performs well, with seven individuals commended for their impressive work handling proceedings in domestic and international tribunals. It also receives recognition for its strong energy offering, where seven lawyers stand out for their leading expertise on an array of matters including oil and gas pipelines and energy-related contracts. 

Key names at the set include Rupert Choat who stands out as a Thought Leader in the construction sector, while David Streatfeild-James QC also gains recognition for his excellence in the field.

 

Blackstone Chambers is internationally renowned for its prowess in specialist commercial law. Its members act as advocates and in an advisory capacity for clients on prominent and high-stakes commercial matters across a range of industry sectors. The set achieves 68 listings across 12 practice areas this year, demonstrating its status as a leading set at the UK Bar.

In the area of sports law, the set dominates the field with 13 listings: the most of any chambers in our research this year. Regulation, governance and employment are just some of the areas in which the firm excels within the sector. The media and entertainment practice also performs exceptionally well, with the set recognised as the top player at the bar with 13 listings.

We recognise 11 civil fraud specialists in our corresponding chapter this year, who are recognised for their excellence across regulatory, asset recovery, bribery and fraud matters. The set also achieves 11 listings in our telecoms chapter, illustrating its barristers’ first-class work handling a wide range of complex regulatory and commercial issues.

Standout names at the set include Adam Lewis QC who is recognised as a Thought Leader in sports law, while Nick de Marco QC and James Segan are also highlighted for their excellent work in the area. Ian Mill QC, David Pannick QC and Mark Vinall are among the leading names in the media and entertainment sphere, while Pushpinder Saini QC and Tristan Jones stand out for their telecoms expertise. Paul Goulding QC is recognised as a top name for labour, employment and immigration work, alongside Dinah Rose QC who also comes highly recommended for her leading expertise in telecoms law.

 

Top-tier commercial set Brick Court Chambers performs impressively in this year’s rankings, showcasing the breadth and depth of expertise on offer. It achieves a total of 65 listings across 13 practice areas.

Competition is an area in which the set particularly excels. It sees 16 barristers highlighted in our corresponding chapter, ranking it top of our research in the field this year. The strength of its practitioners spans matters including merger control, abuse of dominance and cartel investigations in the UK and the EU. 

The set is also highly accomplished in banking and finance advocacy, with its silks and juniors achieving a combined 14 listings for their expertise in transactional and regulatory matters. The insurance and reinsurance, and telecoms practices are also impressive, with six listings for the former and five for the latter in this edition.

The set also stands out for its first-rate alternative dispute resolution offering, with four barristers highlighted for their arbitration expertise and three recognised for their excellence in mediation.  

Key figures in chambers include Thought Leader William Wood QC who is recognised for his leading expertise in mediation and Tony Willis who is a highly respected figure in the area. Robert O’Donoghue stands out as a Thought Leader in competition law, while David Bailey and Daniel Piccinin are credited as top juniors in the field. Richard Eschwege gains recognition as a prominent junior in banking and finance matters, and Daniel Jowell QC draws high praise for his excellence in the energy and natural resources sector. Mark Howard QC is highly commended for his top-tier civil fraud practice and is also recognised for his expertise across the areas of banking and finance; energy; professional negligence; arbitration; and insurance. 

 

Essex Court Chambers is one of the pre-eminent sets at the UK Bar, and enjoys a stellar reputation for its excellence across commercial matters, public law and financial litigation as well as arbitration. The set performs well in our research this year, achieving 74 listings across 10 practice areas, highlighting the breadth of expertise on offer.

Arbitration is one of the mainstays of its offering, a strength that is showcased in our corresponding chapter, with 23 individuals recognised for their top-tier work in the field. Those recommended are well versed in handling a range of commercial and investment treaty disputes in domestic and international tribunals.

Civil fraud is another area in which the set performs well this year. We single out 11 impressive barristers for their leading expertise on issues including asset tracing and enforcement proceedings. Its barristers’ capability in banking and finance is also evident, with seven members credited for their first-class work handling regulatory issues, bonds, fund management and liability claims.

We recognise 10 individuals in the insurance and reinsurance arena who come highly recommended for their work in related disputes, as well as six barristers for their excellent handling of labour and employment matters.

Key names in chambers include Global Elite Thought Leaders Toby Landau QC and V V Veeder QC, who are recognised for their outstanding work in international arbitration, while Lucas Bastin is highlighted as a leading junior in the field. Global Elite Thought Leader Joe Smouha QC is recognised across three areas: arbitration; banking and finance; and civil fraud, while John Lockey QC is ranked as a pre-eminent figure in the insurance and reinsurance market. David Foxton QC is one of the foremost silks across areas including banking and finance, insurance and reinsurance, and energy and natural resources. 

 

Fountain Court Chambers is a leading commercial set which is reflected in its showing across 11 practice areas in our research this year, securing 60 listings overall for its silks and juniors. Its barristers act on behalf of a variety of clients (including institutional, governmental and insurance clients) and regularly handle high-profile disputes before domestic and international courts.

The set performs well in our banking and finance chapter with 22 listings. Its silks and juniors are credited for their excellent work handling a wide range of issues in the banking field, including high-stakes matters arising from regulatory actions, the financial crash and cutting-edge litigation against financial entities.

Fountain Court Chambers also enjoys a stellar reputation for its work in the civil fraud arena. We highlight nine barristers for their impressive work representing clients in high-value fraud, conspiracy and breach of duty litigation. Insurance and reinsurance is a further area in which the set excels, with nine individuals recognised for their first-class practices.

Outstanding names at the set include Richard Handyside QC and David Railton QC, who are singled out as two of the most prominent banking and finance silks at the UK Bar, while Laura John is ranked as the top junior in the field. Akhil Shah QC is a leading figure in aviation and travel, while Ben Lynch is a standout junior in insurance and reinsurance matters. Mark Simpson QC is recognised this year as the leading silk in our research for professional negligence matters.

 

Keating Chambers continues to demonstrate its position as a prominent set at the UK Bar, with 45 listings across five practice areas. The set has a high number of exceptional barristers, who specialise in several fields, but it enjoys an especial reputation for its expertise in construction law.

Keating Chambers performs outstandingly well in our construction chapter this year, with a total of 30 barristers recognised for their excellence across the sector. Their leading expertise spans a wide array of matters, from procurement and contractual matters to complex litigation proceedings. The set also stands out in our government contracts chapter, in which four impressive individuals are recognised for their first-rate work.

Arbitration is another area in which the set performs well, with five barristers commended for their expert handling of international disputes across a range of sectors including construction, energy and infrastructure.

Top-tier individuals at the set include Rosemary Jackson QC who is recognised as a Thought Leader for her work in mediation, while Robert Gaitskell QC is a leading name for arbitration. Adam Constable QC, Marcus Taverner QC and David Thomas QC are highlighted as prominent figures in the construction sector, while Calum Lamont draws high praise as a standout junior in the field.

 

Leading set One Essex Court ranks highly in this edition thanks to the expertise of its barristers in domestic and international commercial disputes. Its prominent position at the UK Bar, as well as the breadth of expertise on offer, is reflected in our research this year, as it achieves 51 listings across eight practice areas.

Banking and finance is an area in which the set particularly excels, with 16 barristers recognised for their excellence in the field this year. Their expertise includes capital markets, asset financing, fund management and loan agreements. The set also sees 11 individuals recognised for their top-tier work handling a range of matters across the energy and natural resources sector, from oil and gas to renewables disputes.

Civil fraud is another area in which its members perform well, with 10 advocates highlighted in our corresponding chapter for their leading work on bribery, fraud, asset recovery and investigations proceedings. There is also a well-respected commercial arbitration practice at the chambers, with six members recognised for their skill in alternative dispute resolution methods.

Star performers at the set include Geoffrey Hobbs QC who is recognised as a Thought Leader in the intellectual property arena. David Wolfson QC and James MacDonald distinguish themselves in the banking and finance sector, while Orlando Gledhill QC and Conall Patton come highly recommended as leading names for energy and natural resources disputes. Laurence Rabinowitz QC illustrates the breadth of this practice this year, with recognition for his first-class arbitration, banking and finance, civil fraud, and energy and natural resources practices.

 

Matrix Chambers stands out as one of the most prominent sets at the UK Bar. Its reputation for excellence is reflected in our research this year as it achieves 52 listings across 11 practice areas, highlighting the impressive breadth of its offering.

Defamation and privacy is an area in which the set dominates the market, ranking highly in our corresponding chapter this year. We recognise 11 standout silks and juniors for their excellent work handling complex privacy, freedom of expression and libel claims, among others. It achieves further listings in our media and entertainment chapter, where seven individuals are highlighted.

The set also has a first-class labour, employment and immigration offering. This year we single out 10 leading barristers for their work in the area, spanning a wide array of matters from unfair dismissal and equal pay claims to trade union law.

Investigations and criminal fraud are other areas in which the set excels, achieving five and four listings in our respective chapters this year.

Standout names at the set include Clare Montgomery QC, a Global Elite Thought Leader in white-collar criminal defence and investigations. Thomas Linden QC, James Laddie QC and Claire Darwin are highlighted as top names for labour, employment and immigration disputes. Gavin Millar QC and Sara Mansoori are applauded for their leading work in defamation and privacy, while Maurice Sheridan is a highly respected junior for environmental work.

 

Top-tier set Monckton Chambers is a long-standing fixture of the UK Bar, and enjoys a strong reputation for excellence across commercial and civil law proceedings. The set illustrates the leading expertise of its barristers in our research this year, achieving 50 listings across nine practice areas.

Competition law is an area in which it holds a prominent position in the market. This year, it achieves more listings than any other set in our corresponding chapter. We single out 19 silks and juniors who stand out for their expert handling of merger control cases, damages claims and state aid matters.

It also performs well in our government contracts chapter, where nine first-rate barristers draw high praise for their expertise in a range of matters, from tender processes to complex contentious proceedings.

The set has strong sectoral expertise, most notably in relation to the telecoms sector. In this edition, we identify 11 individuals for their excellent work advising and representing a wide array of clients including broadcasters, telecoms companies and content providers.

Standout names at the set include George Peretz QC and Rob Williams who are recognised as top names in the competition arena. Daniel Beard QC, Josh Holmes QC and Jon Turner QC rank highly for competition law, as well as telecoms matters – an area in which Stefan Kuppen is also regarded as a leading junior. Michael Bowsher QC and Ewan West are applauded by sources for their top-tier government contracts practices.  

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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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