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Serle Court is a highly regarded set for insolvency and restructuring matters, and is well positioned to handle cases arising in offshore jurisdictions such as the Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean. Members are regularly instructed in both contentious and non-contentious matters, and are well versed in corporate and personal insolvencies. Insolvency litigation involving allegations of fraud is also a key area of strength for the set, drawing on the set's enviable reputation in civil fraud matters, and its barristers have experience appearing before both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
Client service: "The clerks are hugely helpful, prompt in their responses and very easy to deal with." Steven Whitaker is the head clerk.
Daniel Lightman QC
Widely admired for his vast experience and adept representation of all parties in bankruptcy and insolvency cases. He has experience representing litigants in disputes with insolvency office holders and is noted for his expertise advising on cases involving a novel or unusual point of law. Interviewees particularly highlight his standout technical ability and deft handling of complex cases.
Strengths: "One of the most outstanding legal brains of a generation." "He is thorough in his preparation and skilful in presenting his statements of case. He's also very approachable and affable."
Recent work: Assisted the majority shareholders of Pedersen (Thameside) with the dismissal of the minority shareholder's winding-up petition.
Lance Ashworth QC
Respected silk noted for his broad knowledge of restructuring and insolvency matters. He has particular expertise in directors' disqualification cases.
Strengths: "He is extremely approachable and has a very good touch with clients. He's also able to digest really complex documents and get straight to the heart of the issue, and explain this issue concisely to clients." "He has an easy style and is very charming - he is a good cross-examiner as well as being very commercially minded, pragmatic and experienced."
Recent work: Acted for the former director of Kedros Formations, a company which formed thousands of companies for the benefit of a company in the Philippines. The director was being pursued under the Company Directors' Disqualification Act.
Philip Jones QC
A well-known advocate who is highly praised by market commentators for his breadth of expertise, encompassing insolvency, fraud and financial services. He remains a particularly popular choice in complex offshore insolvency cases and counts government departments among his diverse clientele. His additional expertise in company law encompasses cases concerning directors' disqualification proceedings and winding-up petitions.
Strengths: "He is truly excellent to work with, really user-friendly and produces top-quality work." "A highly experienced and respected barrister."
Recent work: Acted for the directors in Wickes v Humbles,a claim for breach of directors' duties brought against the directors arising out the liquidation of an Isle of Man company.
Philip Marshall QC
Impressive silk who routinely receives instructions in offshore cases in addition to complex domestic disputes. He frequently appears as an expert witness in foreign courts concerning English law issues and in arbitrations before the LCIA and ICC. He is highly recommended for his strength in restructuring and insolvency matters, which is buttressed by wider expertise in areas such as company, civil fraud and banking.
Strengths: "He is an extraordinary advocate. He's very forceful and good on technical cases."
Recent work: Represented the independent directors in Carlyle Capital v Conway & Others, a claim for in excess of USD1 billion arising out of mortgage-backed securities trading by a Carlyle associated company.
Well known for her adroit handling of cases on behalf of the government. She offers broad expertise across the insolvency space, and has notable strength in matters containing financial services and fraud elements. Her expertise also spans disqualification cases and trusts litigation. She has appeared in the tax tribunals, Court of Appeal and Privy Council, and frequently handles offshore judicial reviews.
Strengths: "She is very prompt, commercial and concise - she gets to the point."
Recent work: Acted for HMRC in two appeals relating to two similar tax avoidance schemes which exploited loan relationships using a bonus share issue to produce deductible losses of £84 million and £94 million respectively.