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A widely respected set with a particular depth of experience in commercial chancery matters with banking or financial services aspects, alongside broader skills in joint venture issues, SPA-related claims and breach of duty disputes, among others. Members continue to be instructed in a number of ongoing high-profile commercial matters, most notably demonstrated in the defence of Grant Thornton and other defendants in claims brought by the Tchenguiz brothers arising out of the failure of Icelandic bank Kaupthing. Its barristers handle work both domestically and internationally, and are frequently sought after for offshore matters.
Client service: "I'm a happy customer. They're user-friendly and easy to talk to about issues to do with fees and budgets." Stephen Penson is the senior practice manager.
Adrian Beltrami QC
A very well-respected silk, regarded by his peers as a "straight bat" and an intellectually formidable opponent. He has an excellent practice in banking work, in particular, as well as recognised strengths in cases concerning freezing and search orders and interim remedies.
Strengths: "Genuinely excellent." "A brilliant silk."
Recent work: Instructed by Lehman Brothers Holding to advise and represent the company in ongoing Waterfall disputes regarding the distribution of surpluses within the Lehman estate.
Ali Malek QC
A well-established and respected silk whose commercial chancery practice is noted for its breadth and depth. He is instructed for both trial litigation and advisory work and is also a fine choice of counsel for domestic and international arbitration.
Strengths: "A heavyweight trial advocate. He's got a good reputation for big-ticket work, because that's what he does."
Recent work: Defended Ukrainian oligarch Gennadiy Bogolyubov against a USD1.9 billion claim brought by Ukrainian bank PrivatBank, following allegations he was party to a fraud whereby money was siphoned out of the bank as loans to Ukrainian borrowers and then further dissipated under sham purchase agreements with foreign suppliers.
Ewan McQuater QC
A heavyweight silk who provides powerful advocacy, good case management and strong strategic guidance. He has handled a number of significant cases arising from corporate insolvencies and he regularly acts in banking and financial disputes.
Strengths: "He really is hot stuff, a trial advocate through and through." "A real heavyweight. Someone you want on your side."
Recent work: Defended Vodafone in claims brought by the administrators of Phones 4u alleging Vodafone conspired with other mobile network operators to co-ordinate their withdrawal from Phones 4u and put it out of business.
An established junior whose commercial chancery practice includes interpretation of contracts and commercial trusts, company law, insolvency and civil fraud. He is noted for his work in international and cross-border cases.
Strengths: "A great barrister who has not only a great business sense but also has a strategic view, as he can also guide his clients as to the direction of the lawsuit and when to make the most relevant and most appropriate filing." "Very capable and user-friendly; he rolls his sleeves up and is hard-working and bright."
Recent work: Defended a Swiss investment manager and defendant in breach of trust, knowing assistance and knowing receipt claim brought by Dalriada Trustees.
Jamie Riley QC
A recent silk who is commended for his compelling advocacy. He has a wide-ranging commercial practice and is particularly noted for his work on banking and finance matters.
Strengths: "He goes the extra mile to be available when the case demands, and he's pragmatic and good with clients." "An outstanding, compelling, organised and authoritative advocate; he's my go-to to cut through complexity like a hot knife through butter."
Peter de Verneuil Smith QC
A new silk with a commercial chancery practice that includes banking, fraud and professional negligence claims. He also has a respected offshore string to his bow and particular strengths in securities litigation.
Strengths: "He's very practical, very hands-on and very easy to work with." "He's good at making difficult decisions."
Recent work: Represented the Signature Litigation Group of claimants in the highly publicised RBS rights litigation.