XXIV Old Buildings

Dispute Resolution: Commercial Chancery Department

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XXIV Old Buildings is a highly respected set with a fine reputation for offshore work, particularly in the Caribbean but also in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. One source says: "They've got very good sector knowledge. I find them quite forward-thinking, not afraid to run difficult arguments and all of them are very sound advocates who are excellent on their feet." The set's broad range of silks and juniors regularly handles banking, insolvency, civil fraud and trusts matters.

Client service: "Clerking is first-class. They're very helpful, very responsive and they go the extra mile." "They're professional, with helpful clerks." Paul Horsfield is acting head of clerking.

Adam Cloherty
A well-respected junior with a broad practice, regularly handling commercial chancery both domestically and offshore. He is often sought after for high-value cross-border matters.
Strengths: "A very clever young man, very intelligent, very intellectual and a nice chap. He's willing to go the extra mile whenever he's asked, which really makes a difference when you've got a client in difficulties. His intellectual capacity to battle with a case is exceptional." "He's incredibly easy to get along with. He's very bright and responsive, as well as a good advocate."
Recent work: Appeared in Labrouche v Frey and others, acting for the claimant remainder beneficiary in a claim brought against former trustees and others in relation to the administration of a GBP100 million trust fund over a number of years.

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: "He has an uncanny ability to make the extraordinarily complicated seem perfectly straightforward." "A heavyweight. If you really need a big gun, you're not going to get better than Alan. He commands the utmost respect in the court, he has an incredible brain, and his manner and presentation in court is excellent. He can pull rabbits out of hats."
Recent work: Acted for the defendants in Carlyle Capital and others v Conway & others, in a breach of contract and fiduciary duties dispute arising out of the failure of a US hedge fund incorporated in Guernsey.

Bajul Shah
Respected junior whose established chancery practice is expanding rapidly into commercial matters. He is sought after for complex, high-value and high-profile work.
Strengths: "Really well considered and careful as a lawyer." "It's a very good quality of written work and very good quality of analysis. He'll respond to me quickly and always reliably. He is a very pleasant man to deal with."
Recent work: Appeared on behalf of the claimants in Wilton Trustees v AFS Trustees, concerning an alleged conspiracy by the defendants to take ownership and control of a large property portfolio held through complex offshore structures.

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: "David is very cerebral, if the matter were particularly complicated and difficult I would consider him highly for that."
Recent work: Acted for one branch of a banking family in relation to a dispute concerning a UK, Jersey and Bermuda based trust and corporate structure, involving attempts to remove the directors of two private trust companies.

Edward Cumming QC
A strong chancery barrister with a broad practice encompassing both traditional and commercial chancery matters. Sources praise his oral advocacy, as well as his technical skill and ability to work efficiently as part of a team. His practice includes civil fraud, company, partnership and insolvency work.
Strengths: "Ed Cumming is as sharp as a razor. He is great to deal with, and a real fighter. He's very commercial in his approach and is technically excellent." "He's got a brilliant brain – he can carve through some really complex stuff and he's utterly charming with it."
Recent work: Acted for Bupa in Advinia Care Homes v Bupa, a dispute arising over the takeover of various care homes.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC
An exceptionally well-known silk whose practice spans the full range of chancery work. She is a particularly fine choice of counsel for any matter which crosses the boundary between traditional and commercial chancery work, and particularly for high-value trusts.
Strengths: "She's an exceptional all-rounder. She's bright, she's tenacious, she's direct and to the point, and very user-friendly. She's sensitive to clients where appropriate, but she can be tough when she needs to be. She's very clear with clients, which is very helpful, but equally she's a very tenacious advocate, which is often what clients want."
Recent work: Appeared in Wong v Grand Trust, involving multiple challenges to a multibillion-dollar purpose trust in Bermuda.

Francis Tregear QC
An experienced silk who is involved in valuable commercial chancery work, including insolvency and fraud cases. He is well regarded as a hard-working practitioner who is quick to grasp the complexities of a case. His expertise includes company work, asset tracing and recovery, and cross-border insolvency.
Strengths: "He is incredibly academic and very insightful on the law and very eloquent and calm in court. He always gets his points across in a very elegant and astute manner."
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of the additional liquidator for the Herald Fund, a large Madoff feeder fund, on claims against the Madoff estate of in excess of USD2 billion.

Hugh Miall
Considered a rising star in the commercial chancery market, born out of his impressive roles in a number of significant recent commercial matters. He excels across a broad spectrum of shareholder disputes, trusts work, property litigation and civil fraud matters.
Strengths: "What I appreciated was that from the beginning we were able to have an open and direct conversation and to discuss the strategic direction of proceedings. He was able to tackle procedural hurdles and he was very supportive of us and the client. He was good at being available, collaborative, and able to chat through challenges."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of a defendant offshore corporate services provider and five of its directors against a EUR30 million claim by liquidators of Jersey companies in relation to allegedly wrongful payments made out of a Jersey-based property investment structure to parties connected to the ultimate beneficial owner.

Marcus Staff
Highly experienced senior junior with a broad-ranging commercial chancery practice. He has practised in both London and Geneva and is particularly sought after for international and cross-border cases.
Strengths: "He has an intellectual grasp and daring that I highly respect. He's great at finding ways of arguing things, and if you have a case that needs an original thinker and someone to apply law in highly difficult situations, Marcus is that man. He's enormously easy to work with and a joy to discuss a case with. He's very creative, very sensible and very adaptable."
Recent work: Appeared as sole counsel for the appellant in Rubin v Eurofinance, in a case involving cross-border insolvency, foreign judgments and recognition of judgments.

Robert Levy QC
Has a varied, high-value offshore caseload, and is a particularly strong trial advocate with a knack for getting the ear of the court. Solicitors regard him as a good team member who is popular with clients. He is regularly instructed in contractual and share sale agreement disputes.
Strengths: "Very user-friendly and willing to roll his sleeves up and get involved." "I'd say he is fast becoming a leading offshore silk with expertise across the full range of offshore jurisdictions, while maintaining a busy London practice."
Recent work: Instructed for the defendants in a set of BVI proceedings concerning a London-listed company with allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of duty against directors for suspension of exercise of shareholders' rights.

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: "Incredibly intelligent and will get to the nub of the point very quickly." "He's very creative; he can really find arguments that no one else will have found and technical ways through otherwise difficult cases."
Recent work: Instructed by the defendants in a claim by Russian and Swiss agrichemical companies to recover USD45 million alleged to have been paid in bribes.

Stuart Adair
A distinguished junior whose broad practice encompasses insolvency, restructuring, company and commercial chancery matters. He is often instructed on offshore and international cases.
Strengths: "Excellent, quick to deal with papers and very user-friendly." "A versatile practitioner." "A firm advocate and a decent opponent who fights hard for his clients."
Recent work: Acted for a Maltese company Orexim Trading in relation to USD7 million breach of contract claims made against Mahavir Port and Terminal, alleging a fraud perpetrated on the claimant resulted in oil being misappropriated by the Iranian company without payment.

Tim Sherwin
An emerging talent at the Commercial Chancery Bar. He is regularly trusted with high-value matters and is the junior of choice for a number of high-profile chancery silks.
Strengths: "Tim Sherwin is a very able junior with a maturity and level of ability which belies his call. He's very easy to deal with." "He has been excellent: really good on the detail and very confident in a good way. Clients really like him, and juniors like working with him."
Recent work: Appeared in Libyan Investment Authority v Goldman Sachs, a highly publicised dispute concerning allegations of undue influence and unconscionable bargain and involving claims of USD1.2 billion.