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Erskine Chambers continues to be regarded as the UK's go-to set for company law matters, with its expertise in the area complemented by additional strengths in insolvency, financial services, civil fraud and other commercial issues to form a solid and wide-ranging commercial chancery platform. The set draws upon a number of distinguished and deeply experienced silks and an up-and-coming roster of juniors, whose recent work includes advising on long-running claims concerning the failures of Lehman Brothers and Kaupthing and litigation concerning Hewlett-Packard's acquisition of Autonomy.
Client service: "I am very pleased with the clerking – they go to lengths to be commercial." Mark Swallow and Chris Reade are the senior clerks.
An emerging talent in the commercial chancery field who is regularly instructed on high-profile and high-value matters. He is building a reputation for cross-border matters.
Strengths: "Just phenomenal. A terrific member of the team, very inventive in his legal arguments and determined and persuasive in his legal arguments. He also produces very good written work." "An exceptional junior and a very safe pair of hands."
Recent work: Instructed by PrivatBank to bring claims against two former shareholders, involving allegations that USD1.9 billion was misappropriated prior to the bank's nationalisation.
David Chivers QC
A highly experienced silk with a broad chancery practice, including insolvency, company and commercial matters. He is regularly instructed on domestic, international and offshore matters, and on both litigation and advisory cases.
Strengths: "The most difficult of jurisdictional problems are overcome by the extreme intelligence of David, who finds answers to problems thought too hard to solve." "He was wonderful, clever and bright."
Recent work: Instructed in a dispute between members of private equity firm Charterhouse Capital.
An up-and-coming junior with a growing commercial chancery practice. He frequently appears in the High Court unled and handles a wide array of matters, including freezing orders, company and insolvency proceedings.
Strengths: "He's very bright, user-friendly and responsive. He clearly has the intelligence and, as time has gone on, he's acquired a bit of gravitas in court. He's very impressive all round."
Recent work: Appeared in Sharp v Blank and others, acting for the claimants against the former directors of Lloyds Bank in relation to the takeover of HBOS in 2009, alleging that the former directors were negligent in recommending the deal to shareholders and failed to make proper disclosure of HBOS’s financial position.
James Potts QC
A powerful advocate with a strong commercial chancery practice. He wins particular praise for his company/insolvency work, and also regularly acts in cases relating to banking and financial services.
Strengths: "He's very commercial and a real detail lawyer; clients love him." "People get swept up in the tsunami of his brilliance. He's a very serious opponent."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of a minority shareholder in Dilato Holdings v GVM Holdings, in a dispute over the control of an educational resources business.
Peter Arden QC
An eminent commercial chancery silk whose wide-ranging practice includes insolvency, company and commercial matters. He is particularly noted for his work in high-value restructuring mandates.
Strengths: "He's a hugely experienced insolvency practitioner. He has a deep understanding of the regime and a very keen academic interest in how the judiciary interprets things. He has good judgement about how things will play out."
Recent work: Advised on the development of a scheme of arrangement and related proceedings on behalf of Lehman Brothers Holdings Intermediate 2 arising out of the distribution of an GBP8 billion surplus following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Stephen Smith QC
A senior silk with an exceptionally strong reputation for civil fraud litigation. He successfully blends a good eye for technical points of law with a pragmatic, inventive and forthright approach to the rough and tumble of litigation. His practice has a recognised international and offshore element, and he has been called to the Bar in the BVI, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: "Smith is a brilliant all-round barrister. He's not flashy, but he provides absolute certainty." "He's at the very top of the Fraud Bar."
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of the claimant in JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov, a long-running and highly publicised fraud dispute involving allegations of mismanagement and embezzlement.