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South Square's "formidable reputation in insolvency" has ensured its involvement in some of the juiciest pieces of litigation arising out of the financial crisis. Yet its capabilities stretch beyond the confines of pure insolvency and deep into the heart of all manner of commercial chancery matters. Major banking, trusts and fraud disputes are all undertaken, as are company and shareholder disputes. Members are involved in complex, high-value matters both domestically and internationally. Recent examples of their work include the Lehman Waterfall Proceedings, Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi v Saad Investments, and Vincent Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton. Sources say of this set: "It is very good across the board. The clerks could throw anyone at us and we would have confidence in their abilities. From top to bottom the members are all very smart and very good. They have impressive knowledge of chancery judges and procedures."
Client service: "When you use them you know you are going to get a first-rate service. The clerks are fantastic." Mike Killick and Dylan Playfoot lead the clerking team.
David Allison QC
A well-known silk with a respected and broad commercial chancery practice that takes in insolvency, fraud and shareholder disputes. Sources praise him for his ability to give accurate advice quickly. His practice reaches overseas to Dubai, the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Jersey and Guernsey.
Strengths: "An excellent advocate who can explain difficult things simply and get to the heart of the case. He has a very charming and disarming manner." "David is very responsive, highly dynamic and easy to get along with. More than anything, he is extremely commercial."
Recent work: Acted for Oscatello Investments and its subsidiaries in a claim relating to over GBP100 million held in court. The claims included allegations of fraud and market manipulation against Kaupthing Bank.
Felicity Toube QC
Has an insolvency-focused practice with a significant Cayman Islands element. She also has expertise in fraud and asset tracing issues, especially when they arise in insolvency cases. Toube is well versed in international proceedings in English law and the law of other common law jurisdictions.
Strengths: "Has a composure that makes her persuasive in court." "She is a gifted advocate who is very good on paper, very good technically and very academic."
Recent work: Acted in the Saad litigation, a case concerning a civil fraud on a massive scale.
Jeremy Goldring QC
Has a broad commercial chancery practice and is an expert in insolvency, company law and banking cases. He is noted for his technical ability, and for being a good team player and a skilled draftsman.
Strengths: "Has good judgement and shows great attention to detail." "He is a good advocate who is very personable."
Recent work: Acted in BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services v LBG Capital, a well-publicised dispute about Lloyds Banking Group’s right to redeem capital notes issued during the financial crisis.
A well-liked junior with a broad practice, who blends good advocacy with sound technical ability. His ability to work hard and effectively as part of a team draws plaudits from sources. He focuses his practice on cross-border insolvency and restructuring, banking, fraud and financial litigation.
Strengths: "Always very, very sound in his judgement, he is bright, quick on his feet, and someone who has the ability to deal with judges' questions in a very assured manner." "He can cut through stuff and give you clear commercial advice."
Recent work: Acted in Cayman Islands litigation relating to a USD2 billion claim by Primeo, a Madoff feeder fund, against HSBC for breach of duty as administrator and custodian of the fund.
Robin Dicker QC
A "standout" insolvency silk with a stellar reputation, who has a broader commercial chancery practice to boot. His exceptional technical ability and clear, precise advocacy are lauded by commentators. His practice takes in civil fraud, company law, insolvency and financial services cases.
Strengths: "A real technical expert and a very strong practitioner." "His legal analysis is excellent and so is his advocacy. He is able to cut through a lot of fat and get to the key issues, presenting them in an effective manner in front of the tribunal. A man who properly manages expectations, he is willing to address any concerns that clients have and provide a measured review and assessment of the merits of the case."
Recent work: Had a major role in the Waterfall II litigation to resolve the outstanding issues relating to the distribution of remaining Lehman Brothers assets, which are estimated at around USD7 billion.
Tom Smith QC
A very popular silk whose commercial chancery practice includes insolvency and restructuring matters, as well as cases relating to breach of duty and bribery. He regularly appears in the courts of the Cayman Islands, the BVI and Dubai.
Strengths: "An excellent, measured advocate who produces excellent written documents. His work is very crisp and clear, and he has a very measured but effective style." "He is a very hard-working and powerful advocate."
Recent work: Acted for Dunbar Assets in relation to claims for conspiracy and inducement to breach of duty arising out of a multimillion-pound property development in Canary Wharf.