XXIV Old Buildings

Dispute Resolution: Commercial Chancery Department

UK
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A set noted for its work on major commercial disputes, and particularly known for its high-profile offshore work. The members here are "very personable and always happy to get in the trenches and fight," says a source, adding: "They are all very bright and care passionately about their cases." "Everything they do is efficient and done without a fuss." They are active in a range of global jurisdictions and have expertise in all areas of commercial chancery work including insolvency, civil fraud, trusts and professional negligence. Niche areas of expertise include partnership, travel and aviation law. The set's recent significant cases include Société Générale v Goldas, Libyan Investment Authority v Goldman Sachs International, and the high-profile Carlyle litigation.

Client service: Chambers director Sue Medder "knows what to do and works very well with the senior clerks. Having a practising lawyer managing the show is very helpful, she is great."

Adam Cloherty
A well-liked junior who works on a variety of commercial chancery cases, including shareholder disputes and fraud matters. He also handles trusts and estates disputes and insolvency matters.
Strengths: "Easy to work with, knowledgeable and hard-working, he takes a very commercial approach to his cases." "He is able to assimilate and digest all the information in a case very quickly."
Recent work: Instructed for the joint official liquidators of an insolvent Cayman Islands company in a multi-hundred million-dollar claim against a Saudi bank.

Alan Steinfeld QC
A very senior silk with an exceptional reputation at the Chancery Bar. He is a well-regarded advocate who is particularly respected for his "tremendous brainpower." Steinfeld has particular experience of working in international trusts, professional negligence and pensions cases.
Strengths: "A great strategist who can master his cases very quickly. He always has practical advice to offer." "Alan has a razor-sharp intellect and can cut right to the heart of the matter. Every word he utters is perfectly measured."
Recent work: Acted for a Guernsey trust company on an appeal of a judgment against it for substantial damages for misrepresentation arising from asbestos contamination in premises which it had let or agreed to let to the claimant.

David Brownbill QC
Handles a variety of commercial chancery matters, especially those with an offshore or international element. A number of his cases involve high-value, complex trusts, and he also regularly acts in company and financial services disputes.
Strengths: "A very adept draftsman with legendary attention to detail, who is very user-friendly." "He is very thorough, very easy to chat to and very engaging. He thinks through all the issues deeply and interacts well with clients."
Recent work: Acted in a GBP300 million claim relating to the insolvency of a Cayman Islands company. The claim included issues of the validity of trusts, choice of governing law in trusts, and the Hague Convention on trusts.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC
A strong courtroom advocate with a practice encompassing shareholder disputes and claims for breach of fiduciary duty. She is admired for her straightforward and commanding manner. She has experience of handling cases with an international element, having appeared in the courts of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Gibraltar.
Strengths: "A punchy advocate who is technically spot on." "She is as hard as nails and knows her stuff backwards, meaning that she always gets to where she needs to be."
Recent work: Acted in Gorbunova v Berezovsky, a proprietary claim by Boris Berezovsky’s partner to the entirety of his assets from his insolvent estate.

Marcus Staff
An experienced senior junior with a strong commercial chancery practice. He handles international matters, including breach of fiduciary duty and insolvency cases.
Strengths: "A smart barrister who doesn't suffer fools gladly. He is very creative and will think laterally about problems. Marcus is never afraid to venture into new territory."
Recent work: Acted in Al Sadik v Investcorp Bank, a case looking at the scope and content of fiduciary obligations of investment advisers.

Stephen Moverley Smith QC
A persuasive and hard-working QC with a particular reputation for offshore work, who wins praise for his strategic vision. He is regarded as an experienced practitioner who instils confidence in clients. Moverley Smith has a particularly strong offshore practice in the BVI and Cayman Islands.
Strengths: "A disarmingly smooth character who is very popular in the Cayman and BVI."
Recent work: Acted for the defendants in a USD5 billion claim by a French bank relating to gold bullion consignments.