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Essex Court Chambers enjoys a strong reputation in the offshore market and is known for its involvement in civil fraud, shareholder and investment disputes, among others. Members have recently been instructed in multibillion-dollar cases and are increasingly sought to act in disputes in the Cayman Islands. The set is recognised for its "excellent people."
Client service: "The clerks are fantastic – it's a really strong team." "The clerking is efficient, prompt and effective." Joe Ferrigno is the senior clerk.
He has been called to the Bar of the BVI and is a noted presence in other offshore jurisdictions. He is an expert in cases involving breach of trust, insolvency and freezing order proceedings, and has a strong client roster that includes a number of international financial corporations.
Strengths: "He is incredibly user-friendly and his written work is excellent."
Recent work: Acted in the BVI Commercial Court, the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal and the Privy Council in a dispute regarding the entitlement to USD1 billion assets of a BVI partnership.
James Collins QC
An established financial services and company lawyer who is especially active in BVI proceedings. He handles a broad range of commercial cases including those relating to fraud, unfair prejudice and share transfers.
Strengths: "He is great at getting to the point and is clear and concise."
Attracts consistently excellent praise from peers and instructing solicitors, who commend him as a "first choice" for complex disputes. He has been called to the Bar of the BVI, and is also admitted in the DIFC, the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands. Willan is particularly adept at unfair prejudice claims. He has recently acted in asset recovery cases.
Strengths: "One of the best juniors I've ever worked with for offshore work or not. He is incredibly bright, with very clear strategic thinking." "He has got an intellect beyond his years. He is a very sharp junior and an excellent drafter with a quick mind."
Recent work: Acted for JTrust Asia in relation to a BVI Commercial Court claim to recover approximately USD95 million.
Joe Smouha QC
Has a wealth of experience in international commercial litigation. His offshore portfolio includes cases in the BVI and the Cayman Islands. Smouha is an expert in fraud, money laundering and joint venture ownership disputes, to name but a few.
Strengths: "He is a very good, very savvy, well thought of and respected advocate." "He is a very effective and strong legal strategist."
Paul McGrath QC
Often appears in, or advises on, high-value commercial claims, and is also highly adept at international arbitration. His recent instructions include a substantial fraud case with cross-border regulatory implications. His offshore practice includes work in the Cayman Islands, the BVI, Dubai and Singapore.
Strengths: "He reads the court very well." "He is extremely hard-working and handles the material very well. He has great attention to detail."
Richard Millett QC
Boasts an excellent track record in commercial litigation and arbitration matters, and is good at financial services and banking work. He is admitted to the Bars of the BVI and Anguilla, and is also called ad hoc to the Bars of the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Nevis, the Isle of Man and the Bahamas. Millett has significant experience acting in breach of trust disputes. His client base includes everyone from infrastructure developers to hedge funds and financial institutions.
Strengths: "A very engaging and entertaining advocate who is a pleasure to work with." "He is a smooth operator, very intelligent and has a massive reputation in the BVI."
Vernon Flynn QC
A strong commercial silk who is well versed in big-ticket offshore matters across the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Dubai and the Seychelles. He is called upon for his expertise in breach of trust allegations, and is noted for his skill in handling freezing orders and enforcement actions.
Strengths: "He is user-friendly, smart, quick on his feet and good in front of a judge." "He has empathy with the client and goes above and beyond."