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Instructing solicitors note that South Square "dominates in the insolvency and restructuring market" and describe it as "a leading set at the top of its game." Chambers houses a deep bench of experienced barristers at both senior and junior level, and remains the top choice for the most complex and high-profile cases arising in the UK and further afield. Members are instructed in the full gamut of cases, and offer significant expertise in complex restructurings, including those involving CVAs and schemes of arrangement, and sophisticated insolvency litigation. The team is also well regarded for its adroit handling of the administration and liquidation of major corporations, and several of the set's tenants have been involved in the most high-profile cases of recent years. Standout work recently handled by the set includes several high-profile retail CVAs, and the administration of the Thomas Cook Group.
Client service: "The clerks are among the best in the market. They are always available and are reasonable in terms of pricing. They just get it right." "The clerking at South Square is first class - everyone is happy to go the extra mile to help." "The clerks are excellent – they're responsive, friendly and accommodating." Senior practice managers Mike Killick and Dylan Playfoot lead the clerking team.
Standout junior exhibiting great strength in bank and fund insolvencies. He regularly attracts instructions in headline cases and demonstrates notable skill in contested restructurings. He also has considerable experience in cases concerning trusts law, and banking and financial services.
Strengths: "Adam stands out for his responsiveness, clarity of advice, commerciality and intellectual ability." "He is phenomenally intelligent and has a brain the size of a planet." "He'll happily command the court and gets the judge's respect - he's great."
Recent work: Acted for Steinhoff, the South African retail group, in its global restructuring.
Well-established practitioner who frequently acts in restructuring and business disputes on behalf of an impressive range of clients. He is habitually instructed by state governments and office holders in addition to corporations and trustees.
Strengths: "Super commercial, responsive and available 24 hours a day." "He is very highly regarded by the judiciary - a silk in all but name." "He is fantastic, very hands-on, practical and very sensible."
Recent work: Acted in the compulsory liquidation of British Steel, including assisting with the appointment of special managers.
Strong restructuring and insolvency junior with an established reputation in the market. He is regularly called upon to advise on both domestic and cross-border matters, and frequently appears in insolvency litigation before the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Strengths: "A very impressive junior." "Very bright and hard-working."
Recent work: Acted in an application by the Joint Administrators of a French Nortel company for orders terminating their appointment and approving their remuneration.
Barry Isaacs QC
Highly recommended for his insight into reconstruction and insolvency law, and for his complementary expertise in the areas of company, commercial litigation and banking and finance. His broad practice consists of both domestic and international work. He frequently advises on cases in New Zealand and New York in addition to offshore jurisdictions such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: "He provides very sensible advice, picks up on points others miss and really builds a rapport with his client." "He's extremely diligent, his written advocacy is to the point and he is very well received by judges." "Very thorough, straightforward and accessible. He is also very understanding and good with clients, and on his feet he is incredibly impressive."
Recent work: Instructed in Re Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund, an application by a liquidator for the sanction of a litigation funding agreement.
Respected insolvency barrister who routinely receives instructions in major disputes which often contain an offshore element. She is singled out as a junior who is well equipped to handle sophisticated cases on behalf of both private individuals and large corporations. She frequently appears before the courts at all levels, up to and including the Supreme Court, and has experience of acting unled in the Court of Appeal.
Strengths: "She is extremely impressive." "Charlotte is really good - she is friendly, helpful and makes herself available."
A junior with a flourishing practice who is well acquainted with the full gamut of insolvency cases. She regularly handles instructions on behalf of office holders, directors, bankrupts and creditors, among others. Her corporate insolvency expertise encompasses cases concerning wrongful trading claims, misfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty. She is experienced in the handling of cases that involve obtaining injunctive relief, freezing orders and orders for disclosure. She is also adept at handling suspension of discharge issues in personal insolvency cases.
Strengths: "She is really pleasant to deal with - very measured, very detailed and provides very good-quality advice. She is also understated on her feet and is calm, confident and assured in court."
Recent work: Represented the trustee in bankruptcy in Hinton v Purvis, a case brought against a bankrupt's wife arising out of the transfer of several matrimonial assets prior to the bankruptcy.
Daniel Bayfield QC
Attracts commendations for his strong knowledge of insolvency law and particularly skilled handling of scheme work. Sources draw attention to his commercial sense and confident advocacy style. His wide-ranging practice also encompasses banking, company and commercial litigation.
Strengths: "He is always on top of the details, very approachable and very effective." "He's very good and very capable - an excellent technical barrister." "He's understated and sensible but delivers word-perfect performances - he's uber-popular and totally brilliant."
Recent work: Acted for a group of landlords, funded by Sports Direct, in a challenge to the Debenhams CVA which was designed to reduce the rent payable to numerous Debenhams landlords.
David Alexander QC
Stands out for his provision of expert counsel to clients in major litigation proceedings, both at home and further afield. He has a wealth of experience appearing in the UK courts at all levels, in addition to frequently appearing in courts in the Bahamas, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Jersey and Gibraltar. He is widely acclaimed for his persuasive advocacy style and strategic nous. He also has a substantial company, banking and finance, and contentious trusts practice.
Strengths: "He is a great cross-examiner, very tough, ferocious and will stop at nothing to win."
David Allison QC
A flourishing silk who acts on behalf of a range of clients in both domestic and offshore matters. He regularly advises on formal insolvency cases, and is characterised as commercially and technically adept by market sources. He frequently appears in courts in the British Virgin Islands, New York, Dubai, the Cayman Islands and Guernsey concerning high-value and high-profile disputes.
Strengths: "He is razor-sharp and very client-focused. He has a way of distilling really complicated things into a very straightforward and logical argument." "David Allison is an outstanding advocate - you feel utterly safe in his hands and he understands the commercial aspects and constraints of cases especially well." "He is the go-to person for schemes of arrangement."
Recent work: Acted for the ad hoc creditors' committee in a scheme of arrangement in respect of one of the world's largest commodities brokers.
Felicity Toube QC
Combines her vast experience and expertise in contentious insolvency cases, particularly those involving fraud, with an excellent courtroom presence. She frequently turns her hand to offshore disputes and is well recognised for her strength in international proceedings.
Strengths: "She is fantastic, very down to earth and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law. She's also very easy to deal with and accessible - the perfect barrister." "She's extremely good and unbelievably responsive. She turns out extremely high-quality work at all times of day and is a really, really good advocate."
Recent work: Instructed by ASA, a mining company, to assist with issues arising from the takeover of company in administration.
Receives extensive praise for her restructuring and insolvency practice. She has expertise in litigation arising out of the collapse of major banks and financial services companies. She also offers expertise in schemes of arrangement concerning foreign companies.
Strengths: "Very thorough, crisp in her thinking and hard-working." "She's nice to work with, very bright and an experienced junior."
Recent work: Instructed in Re Instant Cash Loans, acting for the scheme creditor Harvey Thompson in respect of an ICL scheme of arrangement.
Glen Davis QC
Attracts instructions from a diverse range of clients and offers specialist insight into commercial issues involving an insolvency aspect, particularly in the financial services sector. His diverse client base includes regulators, creditors and liquidators. He is routinely called upon to assist with fund collapses and international shipping insolvencies. He is also an accredited mediator, sitting on the INSOL panel of specialist insolvency mediators.
Strengths: "He is very diligent and persuasive in front of a judge. He is also pragmatic, measured and can get to grips with thorny legal issues." "He's ferociously intelligent, very commercial and able to take a sensible view."
Recent work: Acted for a director in an urgent court application and the subsequent special administration of Strand Capital, an investment bank.
Litigation expert who receives instructions from a broad range of clients, among whom she is able to count the Secretary of State. She is highly commended for her technical aptitude and pragmatic approach.
Strengths: "She's good, commercial and responsive." "She has excellent advocacy skills." "A very able and forceful advocate - she is very effective in court."
Recent work: Acted for a petitioning creditor in Re Dodge, complex fraud and bankruptcy proceedings.
Respected junior experienced in the handling of both domestic and cross-border insolvency and restructuring matters. He has particular expertise in advisory work concerning IVAs and CVAs, as well as cases involving complex schemes of arrangement.
Strengths: "He's very responsive, extremely clever, and on really difficult and complex matters he always gets right into the complicated issues and gives very pointed and practical advice."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of the Debenhams group in connection with the promulgation of a creditors' voluntary arrangement.
Excels in matters involving schemes of arrangement as part of her wide-ranging practice, which encompasses both domestic and international insolvencies.
Strengths: "Hilary is an extremely experienced senior junior." "Great on her feet and provides really good written advice."
Jeremy Goldring QC
Has substantive experience in commercial litigation, restructuring and insolvency, and company law. He has a sterling reputation for his adroit handling of offshore matters, and is frequently called to the Bar in the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands. He regularly appears before UK courts at all levels, with experience in the Supreme Court and Commercial Court.
Strengths: "He has beautiful and clear drafting skills and a deep technical expertise in insolvency." "He's very clever, charming and judges like him - a very good practitioner."
Recent work: Instructed in Mulville v Sandelson, a long-running dispute over a settlement agreement.
Undertakes a diverse array of instructions, given his impressively broad expertise. He regularly handles insolvency cases concerning debtors, pensions, partnerships and professional negligence claims. He has a fine track record in both corporate and personal insolvency cases on a domestic and international scale.
Strengths: "He is very good; he is extremely responsive and an expert in the personal insolvency and bankruptcy area." "He's fantastic to work with, very easygoing and in court he is extremely determined - you know you've got someone fighting your corner when you instruct John Briggs."
Recent work: Instructed in Re Emerald Meats, a disputed assignment of claims by liquidators.
Divides his practice between corporate and personal insolvency cases. He routinely takes instructions from a diverse range of clients, including both private individuals and large organisations. His work is often international in nature, and he has been called to the Bar in several offshore jurisdictions. He has particular experience advising on financial services-related insolvencies and insurance matters.
Strengths: "He is excellent - straight to the point and very effective." "He is very measured, very calm and good on his feet - a safe pair of hands." "He has a real gravitas in court and is very knowledgeable. He really is a cut above the rest."
Recent work: Acted for the directors of British Steel in respect of their application to appoint liquidators.
Well respected in the restructuring and insolvency field, he regularly features in high-profile cases in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. He exhibits pronounced capability in both domestic cases and sophisticated international liquidations.
Strengths: "A very solid performer. He's a very sensible and safe pair of hands. He has a very nice manner, and his style of advocacy goes over very well with judges."
Recent work: Advised the Limited Partners' Advisory Committee of certain funds in connection with the ongoing provisional liquidation of Abraaj Holdings and Abraaj Investment Management in the Cayman Islands.
Mark Arnold QC
Focuses his practice on restructuring and insolvency cases both in the UK and further afield. He places particular emphasis on clients in the financial services sector as part of his wider practice. He also has considerable experience of handling restructurings in the oil and gas, telecommunications and shipping sectors.
Strengths: "He's responsive, works well in a team and is very thorough." "He is an extraordinarily high-quality barrister." "A very technical insolvency lawyer."
Recent work: Instructed in Carillion v HSBC to provide an expert opinion on English law relating to a bank's duty of confidentiality to its customer in the context of insolvency.
Mark Phillips QC
A respected silk offering deep expertise across the full spectrum of insolvency law. He excels in areas such as schemes of arrangement and multi-jurisdictional disputes.
Strengths: "Takes decent, sensible and straightforward points, and argues them in great way. He has a great, very overarching and wide view on what really matters."
Recent work: Acted as English leading counsel for Lehman Brothers Holdings, a holding company in New York which has had creditors of over USD220 billion.
Martin Pascoe QC
Frequently sought out to handle complex insolvency disputes. Commentators draw particular attention to his adroit handling of international deals. He has experience representing clients in cases concerning fraudulent trading, CMBS securitisations and pension fund deficits.
Strengths: "Martin is an incredibly experienced and knowledgeable insolvency silk." "He is extremely impressive, very seasoned and always has another way of looking at a problem."
Recent work: Acted for claimant noteholders in Hayfin v Windermere VII and Others, a dispute concerning alleged underpayments of Class X interest pursuant to a EUR780 million European CMBS securitisation.
A junior barrister noted for his expert handling of complex and high-profile restructurings and bankruptcies. He has experience of acting for a range of clients in proceedings relating to both corporate and personal insolvencies.
Strengths: "He's bright, thorough and very user-friendly. He rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in, giving practical, solid and commercial advice." "He's a real rising star."
Recent work: Acted for House of Fraser Group in relation to a challenge to the CVA that was proposed to the landlords of various stores.
Richard Fisher QC
Accomplished new silk active on behalf of an impressive client base including major banks and hedge funds. He is held in high esteem by market sources for his persuasive advocacy, and is noted for his expertise in the use of schemes of arrangement and voluntary arrangements in significant international restructurings.
Strengths: "He is exceptionally accessible and down to earth, and his knowledge is vast." "An exceptionally able barrister."
Recent work: Advised on aspects of the restructuring of Debenhams, including advising on the CVAs, pension arrangements and contingency planning.
Robin Dicker QC
A leading insolvency silk who is widely recognised for his work on headline cases. His busy practice sees him regularly appearing before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in complex, cross-border cases. Sources draw attention to his approachable manner and intellectual ability.
Strengths: "He has a fantastically insightful and analytical mind - he never disappoints with his advice." "His advice is always straight to the point and very, very well considered. He is also very flexible in terms of dealing with matters at short notice, which is hugely appreciated."
Has a growing reputation in the restructuring and insolvency field. He is regularly instructed in corporate insolvencies as well as commercial trials, and has been involved in several high-profile administrations and liquidations. His broader expertise encompasses banking, general commercial litigation, company law and contentious trusts matters.
Strengths: "He's truly exceptional." "He is very, very bright and excellent at thinking outside the box."
A leading junior who regularly appears before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in high-profile cases. His broad client base includes winding-up boards, administrators, and Chapter 11 and foreign trustees. His broad expertise also encompasses banking and finance, civil fraud and commercial dispute resolution.
Strengths: "He has a deeply impressive, encyclopedic knowledge of insolvency law and he's also a robust and effective advocate." "He's technically excellent, very practical, and deals extremely well with day one insolvency and the wider, bigger picture."
Recent work: Advised the official receiver and the special managers in respect of the liquidation of the Thomas Cook group.
Tom Smith QC
A popular silk with an impressive caseload including substantial domestic and international matters. He stands out for his work on schemes of arrangement, and is considered particularly noteworthy for his responsiveness and efficiency on cases. He is also experienced in the handling of offshore fund liquidations.
Strengths: "He has an incredible work ethic, is very approachable and is a super, super person to work with." "Tom is extremely user-friendly, comes up with good ideas and sensible solutions, and is tremendous on the law." "He is extremely pleasant to work with, knows all the issues and is very calm under pressure."
Recent work: Acted for the Thomas Cook group in relation to its attempted restructuring through a scheme of arrangement, and then for the group in relation to the subsequent applications to place it into liquidation.
Well-regarded junior with a broad restructuring and insolvency practice. He is experienced in the handling of complex schemes of arrangement, CVAs and trials of liquidator claims, and frequently appears as sole counsel in proceedings before the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Strengths: "He is great and has a really good knowledge base."
Recent work: Acted for the junior creditors, the holders of the so-called 'SUN' Notes, in litigation in connection with the restructuring of Galapagos SA.