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Wilberforce Chambers enjoys a sterling reputation both for its "depth of talent" and for its well-honed credentials in commercial chancery work, with fellow practitioners labelling the set a "serious rival" in highly contested commercial disputes. The set also exhibits considerable skill in a broad range of non-contentious advisory work, alongside additional expertise in pension, professional liability, trusts and property-related mandates. The pedigree of its members is amply demonstrated in their appearances in some of most complex and challenging disputes of recent years, including AHAB v Saad, the largest trial ever heard in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, and in claims launched by the Libyan Investment Authority to recoup funds from a number of Western financial institutions.
Client service: "Very efficient." "A very slick operation with responsive clerking." "I find the clerks to be polite, constructive, effective and easy to deal with." The team is led by head clerk Mark Rushton.
Alan Gourgey QC
A strong advocate with a commanding reputation at the Chancery Bar. He is highly sought after for shareholder disputes, banking matters, and international commercial work.
Strengths: "Highly intelligent and analytical." "Experienced and highly capable." "Someone who is on top of their game."
Recent work: Appeared successfully on behalf of the claimant in JSC BM Bank v Kekhman, following allegations against the defendant oligarch of deceit and unlawful means conspiracy in respect of a loan made to a Russian group of companies.
Andrew Mold QC
A well-liked new silk with a broad chancery practice, who is effective in fraud and breach of fiduciary duty cases. He is admired for the quality of his advice and advocacy. His work also includes property, pensions and partnership disputes.
Strengths: "Superb." "Super clever and a really nice guy. He's extremely hard-working, with a massive eye for detail."
Recent work: Successfully acted for an investment manager in resisting an application to wind up an investment fund in proceedings in the Cayman Islands.
A talented junior with a direct and focused approach to commercial chancery work, who shines in civil fraud and insolvency work. Interviewees praise her for her ability to work through a complicated question and produce a reliable answer. She has considerable experience in offshore work, including in the Isle of Man and the Caribbean.
Strengths: "In paperwork, she has a gift for finding the key points out of the mountain of detail and presenting them clearly and concisely." "She's an absolute pleasure to work with. She's extremely thorough, leaves no stone unturned and is responsive and reassuring."
Recent work: Acted for a defendant in claims brought by the Libyan Investment Authority against a number of financial institutions over investments it alleges were procured by bribery and corruption under the Gaddafi regime.
Clare Stanley QC
A respected silk whose broad-ranging commercial chancery practice includes fraud, insolvency and asset tracing both domestically and abroad. She is regularly instructed on high-value and complex matters.
Strengths: "Clare is always very helpful, down to earth and friendly. She tries to find practical solutions."
Recent work: Instructed by Argyle Funds as an appellant to successfully set aside an anti-suit injunction made against it at first instance, restraining Argyle from suing the affiliates of BDO in New York for alleged audit negligence and fraudulent concealment for failing to spot and alert Argyle to a large-scale fraud by its credit advisers.
A respected junior with a straightforward approach to commercial chancery matters. He is sought after for cases with a large volume of documentary evidence, and for matters with some international element.
Strengths: "A bright and effective chancery and commercial junior." "He is massively in demand for a reason – he is absolutely brilliant. He's very smart, clear, and fantastically good on paper. Very good."
Recent work: Defended three former trustees against claims brought by a current trustee, alleging breach of trust by failing to collect a debt owed to the trust.
Has a varied practice that encompasses property, trusts and professional negligence cases. Sources describe her as an effective advocate who produces especially attractive paperwork.
Strengths: "Very bright, hard-working and user-friendly – a future star of the Bar." "Simply the best junior we have used. Her attention to detail and knowledge of the papers was frankly astounding and her work on a complex and lengthy set of closings in a very short space of time was highly impressive. She really assisted in driving the case along."
Recent work: Represented the European Medicines Agency in a highly publicised dispute with Canary Wharf over its lease of an office space, alleging the consequences of the UK's vote to leave the EU will frustrate the lease.
Fenner Moeran QC
A well-known silk who is particularly experienced in chancery matters with both traditional and commercial aspects. He is frequently instructed on high-value and high-profile work.
Strengths: "Fenner is commercially minded, pragmatic, unflappable, excellent on his feet and always available to give direct, insightful advice when required."
A noted junior with a respected commercial chancery practice, particularly global freezing litigation. He was a litigation partner in the Cayman Islands for six years, and as a result is an exceptionally good choice for international, offshore and cross-border matters.
Strengths: "Always a favourite for complex, high-value litigation. Professional clients like his brisk, punchy style. He's a street fighter."
Recent work: Acted for Turkish individual defendant in response to proceedings brought by a liquidator of a Romanian bank to enforce a USD130 million Romanian judgment arising from the collapse of the bank, which the Romanian courts found was the result of a criminal fraud by the defendant's father.
A respected junior who is highly sought after for company litigation, partnership disputes and conflict of laws matters. He is also noted for his work in civil fraud. His strong command of Russian makes him an unusually fine choice of counsel for matters with some Russian element.
Strengths: "He listens and responds astutely to problems given or created. He's very strong, he's a very good advocate and will go far."
Recent work: Acted for the fifth and sixth defendants in a case brought by Brent Council in a case involving allegations of unlawful means conspiracy, knowing receipt, breach of fiduciary duty and misfeasance in public office.
Ian Croxford QC
A powerful advocate with a good deal of experience in the commercial chancery world. His practice has a particularly prominent civil fraud strand. He also has extensive experience of dealing with high-profile professional negligence cases against solicitors, accountants and stockbrokers.
Strengths: "An absolute genius. He loves court work and is brilliant at it, tactics are always spot-on. Just a really, really good cross-examiner." "An excellent advocate, very capable. A great courtroom lawyer."
James Ayliffe QC
Acted for the claimant in Qunar Cayman Islands v Blackwell Partners in proceedings to establish the fair value of shares in relation to the power of the court to grant interim payments to dissenting shareholders.
Strengths: "He's simply outstanding; he's very bright and user-friendly. He provides measured and balanced advice and is a persuasive advocate." "He's a very good, strong QC. He's shown himself to be pretty adept at handling the commercial strategy as well as the law."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of a group of 169 claimants who, alongside additional investors, invested USD45 million in the acquisition of interests in a failed St Lucia resort development, seeking to recover their monies from a trustee company which wrongly released the monies before the development had been satisfactorily completed.
James Bailey QC
A new silk who is building on a respected junior practice. He is most often instructed on long-running and high-profile cases and appears in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
Strengths: "James is my first choice of counsel for matters being dealt with in London. He is first class and well deserving of his recent elevation to silk. He can always be relied upon to meet deadlines, he’s proactive when it comes to developing overall strategy, he has the confidence of the clients, and he is a brilliant advocate in court."
Recent work: Acted for a consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll in acquiring the business and assets of the Force India racing team.
A bright and well-regarded junior with a broad commercial chancery practice. Sources praise him for his technical ability and his willingness to work hard. His cases often involve property, pensions or trusts.
Strengths: "A real rising star who is a real team player and has amazing judgement and knowledge." "He displays a valuable and unerringly reliable intuition about how courts will respond to arguments both in interim applications and more generally. He is unflappable and makes himself available when you need him. He wears his considerable intellect lightly and is genuinely a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: Instructed by the appellant in Frederick v Positive Solutions, following the appellant's investment in a failed property venture with a real estate-backed loan via a mortgage broker who had submitted a fraudulent application.
Joanna Smith QC
Highly respected silk with a wide-ranging commercial chancery practice. She is sought after for commercial matters, including shareholder disputes, insolvency, professional negligence and other high-profile and high-value work.
Strengths: "A great lawyer and a very good advocate in court. She was outstanding in her mastery of legal concepts and delivery as an advocate. She's incredibly hard-working, but really nice to work with."
Recent work: Instructed in a claim against two firms of lawyers and leading counsel for GBP60 million arising out of the conduct of litigation.
John Wardell QC
A widely renowned silk whose broad commercial chancery practice includes company, joint venture and partnership matters. He is sought after by a wide range of clients, including banks and high net worth individuals.
Strengths: "He is one of an increasingly rare breed of advocates who do not just turn up to deliver a prepared speech but can and do react to developments fully and have an instinct about when and when not to go in for the kill. There have been times during Wardell's cross-examination which have contained moments of sublime drama which have been better than anything I have seen at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and in those moments I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else but in that courtroom."
Recent work: Defended RBS in an GBP80 million claim brought by the liquidators of a number of companies caught up in a VAT fraud involving carbon credit, alleging RBS traders dishonestly assisted breaches of fiduciary duty committed by the directors of those companies and that they were knowing parties to fraudulent trading.
Lawrence Cohen QC
An experienced commercial chancery silk who leads substantial and complicated matters to successful conclusions. His recent caseload has involved a significant element of shareholder dispute work and an international aspect.
Strengths: "A highly experienced commercial chancery silk with an excellent feel for trial strategy and dynamics."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in Planck Holdings v Tinsel Group, in proceedings for breach of Dutch shareholders’ agreement and to overturn a corporate redesignation of shares in company stripping future profit rights.
Lexa Hilliard QC
A former academic whose exceptional depth of expertise is widely respected throughout the Commercial Chancery Bar. She is frequently instructed on both litigation and advisory work and is noted for her confident handling of insolvency matters.
Strengths: "She's bright and she gets to the commercial centre of the point quickly. She's responsive and straightforward, and clients like her." "She has incredible depth of knowledge and experience in the insolvency field. Her approach is refreshingly considered and measured, and she is also very strategic and robust."
Recent work: Appeared in Barrowfen Properties v Stephens & Bolton, a claim launched against a law firm alleging negligence, conspiracy and dishonest assistance.
Max Mallin QC
A former investment banker whose respected and wide-ranging commercial chancery practice often includes international and cross-border matters. He is noted for his particular expertise in commercial fraud and financial markets disputes.
Strengths: "He gives the court the route-map it wants and needs to get to the heart of a matter, and the court loves him for it. He's strong but empathetic with clients."
Recent work: Instructed by the claimant in KSGL v King and others, in a Part 8 claim for an order for the sale of shares in a private company.
Terence Mowschenson QC
A respected and highly experienced silk with a depth of expertise in company, banking, insolvency and commercial matters. He handles both litigation and advisory work and is noted for his dispute resolution in mediation and arbitration as well as in court.
Strengths: "Terry is a fantastic lawyer. He has incredible passion for both the law and the facts, is truly inventive and is a very convincing advocate, both in writing and orally. And he is always available to discuss matters." "He's very good and very effective at taking the court with him in his argument."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in Qunar Cayman Islands v Blackwell Partners in proceedings to establish the fair value of shares in relation to the power of the court to grant interim payments to dissenting shareholders.
Thomas Lowe QC
An able advocate who is respected for his handling of high-value and high-profile matters across the full scope of commercial chancery. He is a particularly fine choice of counsel for matters in the BVI and the Cayman Islands, as he has full practising certificates in both jurisdictions.
Strengths: "An incredible advocate and great strategist. He's the real deal in the offshore world." "An outstanding intellect, an amazing advocate and great at strategy. Very approachable, always responds in a timely fashion, always gets everything done – a solicitor's dream."
Recent work: Acted in a USD100 million claim for breach of fiduciary duty and knowing receipt in relation to the collapse of the Abraaj Group.
A well-liked junior with an aptitude for technically complicated legal issues. His practice includes both pensions and insolvency cases, as well as other general commercial chancery work. Robinson regularly appears in offshore cases.
Strengths: "An excellent junior with a very collegiate approach." "He's incredibly tenacious and a really good opponent. He's straight with his arguments and very, very impressive."
Recent work: Appeared as sole counsel for the defendants in Courtwood Holdings v Woodley Properties, over allegations of knowing receipt in sums of almost GBP3.5 million.
Tiffany Scott QC
A recent silk with a depth of experience in commercial chancery matters, particularly fund and partnership disputes and work with some international element. She is noted for her calm and confident client-management and practical approach to advisory matters.
Strengths: "A very capable counsel who provides clear and succinct advice." "She's a very able chancery practitioner, a good advocate and an excellent team member." "Tiffany managed the clients well in conference, established their trust quickly and addressed a number of difficult issues with them. Tiffany was accessible and responsive when at times faced with tight timeframes."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of the defendant in Andusia Recovered Fuels v GBN Services, in a dispute over an agreement to supply fuel. The claimant claims the agreement was suspended due to a significant shutdown of a supplier's plant and should resume now that the plant is operational.
Tim Penny QC
A popular commercial chancery silk with a depth of experience in commercial fraud and partnership disputes. He is particularly respected for his work on freezing orders and is often sought after for cross-border matters.
Strengths: "He's clear, well liked by clients and very quick." "He's extremely user-friendly and has sound judgement. He's an impressive advocate and very likeable."
Recent work: Appeared in a claim by joint receivers of Sebastian Holdings for dishonest breach of duty and in constructive trust in England and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
A rising star in the commercial chancery market who is building a broad practice. He is often instructed on international, offshore and cross-border disputes.
Strengths: "He's quick, clever and user-friendly." "He is incredibly intelligent, very good and personable. He's absolutely fantastic to work with and down to earth."
Recent work: Instructed by two proposed new defendants to successfully resist joinder in St Vincent European General Partner v Robinson, a dispute over the control of St Vincent's assets.