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Practice Area Definitions: UK

Below are the legal practice area definitions and regional variations used by Chambers to rank lawyers and law firms in the UK Guide.

Please note that the term “section” refers to a practice area that constitutes a chapter heading in the Chambers UK guide. A “subtable” is a specific table of rankings that exist within a section. Both terms are used throughout these definitions.

Administrative & Public Law

This section covers judicial review, statutory appeals, inquiries, disciplinary proceedings and non-contentious advice on the powers and administrative functions of central and local government, and other public and regulatory bodies. It includes matters relating to competitive tendering, public procurement, environmental issues and employment and discrimination law. There is also a Traditional Claimant section to highlight lawyers who represent individuals and organisations in public law challenges.

See also: Local Government; Civil Liberties & Human Rights; Parliamentary & Public Affairs

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who specialise in advising land owners, farmers and other rural businesses on relevant legal issues, including property matters, estate management and niche areas such as equine and bloodstock law.

See also: Private Client; Real Estate

Asset Finance

This section covers lawyers who advise on finance linked to the purchase or construction of a distinct asset or set of assets (typically ships, aircraft or rolling stock).

See also: Banking & Finance; Aviation; Shipping; Transport


This section covers a broad range of work carried out by lawyers for clients in the aviation and related industries. Specialists in this sector are ranked across a number of subtables:

Insurance: Covers all insurance coverage disputes concerning the aviation industry.

Regulatory: Covers lawyers with specialist expertise concerning the regulation of the aviation industry including proceedings involving the European Commission, UK Civil Aviation Authority, UK Office of Fair Trading and ABTA. 

Dispute Resolution: Covers non-insurance related disputes concerning the activities of aviation sector entities.

Commercial: Covers lawyers with expertise in non-contentious commercial matters specifically relating to the aviation industry.

Claimant: Covers lawyers who assist victims and their families in claims arising from both commercial and non-commercial aviation accidents. 

See also: Asset Finance

Banking & Finance

This section covers advice provided to borrowers, sponsors and lenders. Chambers UK considers a broad array of banking work for its purposes, with areas looked at including acquisition finance, syndicated lending, leveraged finance, Islamic finance and refinancing issues. Outside of London, we will also consider Real Estate Finance Work (London has a dedicated Real Estate Finance table).

In London, firms are ranked in Lower Mid-Market, Mid-Market or Big-Ticket tables for their work for Borrowers and Lenders (A deal with a value of up to £99 million will be considered lower mid-market, a deal with a value between £100 - £499 million will be considered mid-market and any deal £500 million or above will be considered big-ticket). We also rank firms for their work representing sponsors, as well as recognising individuals separately for their Fund Finance and Islamic Finance expertise.

The Banking & Finance tables do not cover Asset Finance, Restructuring & Insolvency, Capital Markets, or Financial Services work as these are covered by other sections. Furthermore, we won’t consider any contentious work as this is covered by a Banking Litigation table.

See also: Banking Litigation; Real Estate Finance; Asset Finance; Capital Markets; Financial Services; Restructuring / Insolvency

Banking Litigation

This section principally focuses on litigation relating to commercial banking activities. Types of matters include litigation for claims of mis-selling of financial products, professional negligence, breaches of warranty, civil fraud and matters arising out of bank failures and state bailouts. Our London section also includes a 'Mainly Claimant' subtable, which highlights those firms that focus primarily on bringing claims against banks on behalf of individuals and companies.

See also: Financial Services

Capital Markets

This section covers advice on the raising of funds on the capital markets. Our coverage is subdivided due to the UK market's high degree of specialisation:

Equity Capital Markets: Advice on equity offerings transactions such as initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, rights offerings, capital increases, ADR / GDR offerings, accelerated bookbuilds and block trades.

Debt Capital Markets: Investment grade debt offerings (stand alone bond issues, MTN programs, Commercial Paper programmes); equity-linked offerings (regulatory capital, convertibles and exchangeable offerings).

High-Yield Bonds: Covers advice on a full range of issues relating to non-investment-grade corporate bonds.

Derivatives: Includes regulatory and transactional legal advice regarding derivatives products such as: Exchange-traded derivatives; OTC derivatives; Securitised derivatives; Interest rate, currency, equity, credit and commodity-linked products. Law firms advise on product development and regulation; structuring and documentation of transactions, related tax issues and litigation.

Securitisation: Covers the entire range of asset classes, including (among others): Commercial loans; derivatives exposure; bonds and corporate debt; project cash flows; trade receivables; credit card and trade receivables; commercial and residential mortgages; life insurance and annuities; auto loans. Work involving CLOs (both cash and synthetic) should also be included on a Securitisation submission for consideration in the CLO subtable.

Structured Products: Encompasses repackagings; and hybrid synthetic and structured note products.

AIM: Features firms which advise on listing and de-listing from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) sub-market of the London Stock Exchange, including work on behalf of early-stage, venture-capital backed, and more established businesses.

See also: Banking & Finance; Private Equity; Investment Funds; Tax; Energy & Natural Resources; Commodities


This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise third sector clients on all types of contentious and non-contentious matters, ranging from sector-specific advice on constitutional and governance issues or public benefit requirements, to more general advice on corporate, property, employment and tax issues.

Civil Liberties & Human Rights

This section covers issues relating to the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights. It includes a Prison Law subtable, which highlights firms that specialise in prisoners' rights.

See also: Administrative & Public Law; Immigration; Police Law

Clinical Negligence

This section covers allegations of negligent acts committed by professionals working in the healthcare or pharmaceutical sectors. These cases usually arise from accusations that the defendants did not follow accepted industry practices, leading to injury or death to the patient or claimant.

The section is divided between those who represent the defendants or their employers and those who bring claims on behalf of individuals seeking compensation for their injuries.

See also: Personal Injury; Professional Discipline; Insurance; Court of Protection

Commercial and Corporate Litigation

This section ranks firms and lawyers advising businesses, high net worth individuals and other non-public sector entities on disputes arising out of commercial arrangements. It also covers corporate litigation, including post-M&A disputes, corporate control issues, joint venture disputes and shareholder disputes. This chapter covers exclusively courtroom litigation, rather than alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and arbitration.

This section does not cover regulatory investigations or enforcement actions, such as those matters covered in the Competition Law, Financial Services, Health & Safety or Professional Discipline chapters. This section also does not cover public law work, such as those matters covered in the Administrative & Public Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Local Government or Public Procurement chapters.

General crime, financial crime, civil fraud, banking litigation, restructuring/insolvency and tax matters will not be considered under this chapter. International arbitration is covered extensively elsewhere and so should not appear on submissions to this section.

See also: Litigation

Commercial Contracts

This section covers practices that assist clients with agreements relating to the establishment and development of commercial activities between non-public sector entities. The chapter primarily looks at co-operation agreements to carry out commercial activities, including on-going supply, agency, distribution or manufacturing agreements relating to trading activities and commercial strategies, as well as joint ventures. Such agreements can be either domestic or cross-border in nature.

Please note IT services and IT-driven outsourcing contracts are considered separately under our Information Technology & Outsourcing chapter. Outsourcing arrangements that are not IT-driven, such as legal services, property and maintenance, and other business process contracting arrangements are considered under this chapter. Supply and service agreements involving public sector bodies are considered separately under the Public Procurement chapter.

See also: Information Technology; Public Procurement


This section covers the regulation and trade of commodities, and any related litigation. It is split into three subtables:

Derivatives & Energy Trading: Covers advice on commodities derivatives transactions and regulations, including trading relating to energy units such as electricity, gas, coal and oil.

Trade Finance: Covers prepayment financing, receivables, structured commodity finance and export credit financing.

Physicals: Covers disputes concerning the direct trade in commodities and related matters. Practitioners deliver advice on a range of both 'soft' and 'hard' commodities from cash crops to coal, metals, oil and gas. Typical clients include commodities trading houses, export credit agencies, financial institutions, freighters and insurers.

See also: Insurance; Shipping; Energy & Natural Resources


This section encompasses contentious and non-contentious matters arising under EU, domestic and international competition law, including cartels, abuse of a dominant market position, state aid and merger control. Please note that criminal cartel defence is considered under Financial Crime and public procurement work is considered under Public Procurement.


Our construction sections cover legal advice provided to a range of industry clients, including both suppliers, such as developers, contractors, engineers and architects, and purchasers employing these types of companies. Work covered includes non-contentious matters, such as contract negotiations and procurement strategy, and contentious matters, including claims arising from defects, delays and terminated contracts. Firms will advise on all types of developments, from single commercial blocks to multi-building residential developments.

Alongside our regional construction tables, we also recognise firms and lawyers in London in two separate sub-tables, Construction: Contentious and Construction: Non-contentious. Firms and lawyers wishing to be considered for our dedicated Construction: International Arbitration – UK-wide table should include submissions as part of their submission to Construction – London (Firms).

See also: Real Estate; Planning; Projects; Environment

Consumer Finance

This section covers regulatory, transactional or litigious matters. Typical work includes advising on the Consumer Credit Directive, credit cards, business loans, unsecured and secured personal loans, point of sale finance, e-money products, auto loans, current and savings accounts, and mortgages.

Corporate / M&A

This section covers both public and private company transactions. Typical work includes company and share acquisitions, dispositions, capitalisations, entity selection and formation, operating and partnership agreements, securities and governance matters. Also covers those transactions designed to help restructuring within companies and their subsidiaries by change of ownership.

Priority is placed on primary representatives, those acting for buyers and sellers, whilst those acting for financial advisors, underwriters and the banks financing such transactions are also considered.

See also: Tax; Partnership; Private Equity; Investment Funds

Court of Protection

This section covers all advice relating to the proceedings of the Court of Protection concerning individuals who are considered to have lost the capacity to make their own decisions according to the Mental Capacity Act.

Court proceedings relate to the management of an individual's property and financial affairs, or their health and welfare, with the individual represented by those with Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney, or by an individual appointed by the Court as a deputy.   

See also: Clinical Negligence; Personal Injury; Healthcare


This section focuses on serious crime, including the illegal drugs trade, assault, sexual offences, terrorism and homicide. It covers work at all levels, from initial police dealings and high street advisory matters all the way to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

It also includes a specialist Crime: Extradition subtable. Please note that fraud, money laundering, bribery and sanctions breaches are considered under Financial Crime.

See also: Financial Crime

Data Protection & Information Law

This section covers all aspects of law surrounding the control of information by both public and private sector bodies. Many firms acting in this area advise clients on the development of binding corporate rules (BCRs) and other issues relating to international data transfers.

Other areas of work include advising on responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, drafting privacy policies and guidance on evolving EU regulation in this area. Another significant type of work involves the defence of clients facing potential fines for data protection breaches.

See also: Information Technology; Financial Services

Defamation / Reputation Management

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who handle defamation proceedings (ie libel and slander) on behalf of claimants and defendants, as well as advising media and corporate clients on risk management. Reputation management involves advising individuals and corporations on the legal aspects of protecting and regulating their reputation.

See also: Media & Entertainment


This section is divided into Education: Individuals and Education: Institutions. In the UK-wide section, Education: Institutions is further split down into Schools and Higher & Further Education.

Individuals: Covers lawyers and law firms who act on behalf of pupils and their parents in matters such as special educational needs (SEN), admissions and exclusions, disability discrimination claims, judicial review cases, disputes with private schools, and transport to school issues. The firms ranked here may undertake either privately or publicly funded work.

Institutions (Schools): Covers lawyers and law firms who work on behalf of schools. This is a wide-ranging table covering the full range of school-related law, including pupil-related litigation and child protection issues, debt recovery, governance matters, school reorganisations, employment law, exclusions, policy and procedure reviews, and the establishment of academies.

Education: Institutions (Higher & Further Education): Covers lawyers and law firms who typically handle constitutional and governance issues, employment matters, joint ventures between institutions, IP, student-related issues and litigation, data protection, governance, and charity law.

See also: Public Procurement; Local Government

Employee Share Schemes & Incentives

This section focuses on employee benefits, including share incentive plans (SIPs) and employee management incentives (EMIs) and tax efficient structuring of payment schemes. It also includes lawyers who on disputes following the implementation of share schemes.

See also: Employment; Pensions


This section covers both contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Its scope includes employment litigation related to sex, race and age discrimination, workforce redundancies and other employment issues arising from transactions, advice on the writing of policy handbooks and HR training. 

In London, firms are ranked in separate subtables covering work for Employers, Employees & Trade Unions, and Senior Executives. The Senior Executive table covers advice for all-types of employed senior professionals (including those working in the financial services industry, senior doctors and head teachers). The Employee & Trade Union table is focused on work for more junior employees, as well as actions brought by employees in conjunction with Trade Unions.

See also: Employee Share Schemes & Incentives; Pensions

Energy & Natural Resources

This section focuses on corporate/commercial, regulatory and capital markets issues arising from the energy sector. These include the regulatory components of M&A and other transactional work, and pure regulatory work related to license applications and compliance.

Firms and lawyers based in England and Wales should submit one referee spreadsheet of up to 20 referees and one submission document of up to 20 work highlights, to cover all submissions for the following sub-sections:

Oil & Gas: The Oil & Gas sub-section covers all upstream, midstream and downstream work including exploration, infrastructure and pipeline developments, and service contracts, royalties, licensing and operation agreements. It also includes M&A transactions, capital raisings and regulatory compliance.
Renewables & Alternative Energy: The Renewables & Alternative Energy sub-section recognises firms and lawyers with expertise in relation to the financing and development of renewable energy projects, as well as those handling corporate transactions and regulatory issues in the sector. Projects covered include, but are not limited to, both onshore and offshore windfarms, solar developments, biomass facilities and waste-to-energy plants.
Power: The Power sub-section recognises firm and lawyers with expertise in relation to a range of energy assets, including nuclear power stations, gas-fired power stations (including combined cycle gas turbine plants), interconnector structures and battery storage facilities. Project development, corporate transactions and regulatory issues are all relevant in this sub-section.
Water: This sub-section covers a variety of work relating to the water industry, including regulation, pricing and aspects of competition law.
Disputes: This sub-section covers all disputes (including Litigation and International Arbitration) in the energy & natural resources sector.

Alongside our UK-wide tables, we also have two Scottish tables, Energy & Natural Resources: Oil & Gas and Energy & Natural Resources: Renewables & Alternative Energy, as well as a general Energy & Natural Resources – Northern Ireland section.

Mining: We also accept separate submissions and referee lists for the UK-wide - Energy & Natural Resources: Mining section. Lawyers are either recognised for their expertise in domestic or international work, while firms are ranked for their expertise on Mining matters regardless of the jurisdiction the work occurs in. The section focuses on legal matters surrounding the exploration, development and production of minerals through mining operations. The negotiation of royalty, streaming and supply agreements are relevant, as are M&A transactions, development financing, restructuring initiatives and regulatory issues.

See also: Environment; Projects; International Arbitration; Commodities


This section features environmental litigation, as well as advisory and transactional support for  clients. 'Traditional' environment work includes regulatory compliance, litigation and enforcement actions related to air, water, wetlands, waste and endangered species. We also include advice to corporate and financial clients on the environmental aspects of M&A, financings, securities offerings and other transactions that involve due diligence and environmental insurance issues.

Chambers UK features a UK-wide Environment: Claimant section and a spotlight table for individuals able to advise on Climate Change work.

See also: Planning; Real Estate; Health & Safety

Family / Matrimonial

This section deals with issues surrounding the inception and breakdown of personal relationships. This includes the creation of pre-nuptial, civil partnership and cohabitation agreements relating to financial and property assets, the resolution of divorces or separations involving financial and property disputes, and the handling of matters relating to children in the context of divorce or separation.

Our London rankings have a dedicated sub-table for those practitioners mainly focused on ADR proceedings. There are also two separate sub-tables for children work: There are also two separate sub-tables in the London chapter of this section: Children: Public Law Matters, which covers children's care proceedings and abuse in care claims; and Children: Cross-Border Disputes, which primarily covers international child abduction disputes.

Financial Crime

The Financial Crime chapter encompasses a broad range of financial crime offences, including (but not limited to) fraud, bribery, money laundering and sanctions breaches. This section is exclusively focused on criminal investigations and proceedings: civil fraud matters continue to be considered under the separate Fraud: Civil chapter.

In London our coverage is divided as follows:

Corporates: Ranks practices that represent corporate clients in all manner of financial crime matters and in the provision of relevant compliance advice.

Individuals: Ranks practices that act for and advise individual clients in relation to the same issues as those outlined above.

We also have a spotlight table for individual lawyers who specialise in bringing private prosecutions.

See also: Fraud; Crime

Financial Services

This section covers contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters related to the financial services industry. On the contentious side, it encompasses Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigations, selling practices, market misconduct, misuse of confidential information and complaints handling regarding retail products. 

Non-contentious regulatory matters may include the implications of and interactions between UK, EU and US regulations and compliance advice. Researchers will consider work on behalf of asset managers, banks, insurers, funds and alternative capital providers or any organisation governed by the FCA and / or PRA (Prudential Regulatory Authority).

The Payments Law subtable of the Financial Services section recognises those firms which advise on the procedures, regulation and technology required behind every purchase or cash withdrawal, drawing elements from practices such as financial services regulatory, consumer credit, IT and data protection and privacy.

See also: Banking Litigation


This section ranks law firms and lawyers advising franchisees and franchisors in respect of both transactional and contentious work, such as setting up franchise agreements and disputes arising from such contracts.

See also: Retail

Fraud: Civil

This section ranks lawyers and firms advising on litigation, investigations, freezing orders and asset tracing arising in the context of civil fraud. This section covers civil proceedings only: criminal investigations and prosecutions should be submitted under Financial Crime.

Health & Safety

This section ranks law firms that advise corporations, executives and regulatory bodies on contentious and non-contentious health and safety matters, including regulatory and criminal investigations, public inquests, compliance and training. It has a broad remit, which encompasses general health and safety at work, food safety, fire safety and issues affecting the waste, utilities, nuclear, rail and other industries.


This section covers a wide range of concerns faced by hospitals, public and private sector providers, medical institutions. Practitioners in this section may advise clients such as NHS Trusts, GP surgeries, pharmacies and elderly and social care providers, for example. Our coverage of individual practitioners is divided between three tables: Corporate/Commercial, Contentious and Regulatory.

The Corporate/Commercial section includes general governance work, M&A, restructuring, procurement and commercial contracts. The Contentious table includes treatment claims as well as Human Rights Act claims arising out of systemic negligence. It does not include clinical negligence or historic abuse claims.

The Regulatory table includes practitioners working on all manner of regulatory matters, such as NICE and Cancer Drugs Fund issues. In this section you will also find listings for mental health law, for both patients and providers.

See also: Life Sciences; Partnership; Public Procurement; Local Government

Hotels & Leisure

This section is industry specific, covering the full range of legal services carried out for clients involved in the hotels and leisure industry, ranging from hotels to restaurants and bars to casinos. The areas of legal advice that this section covers include real estate, hotel management agreements, franchising issues and branding.

See also: Franchising; Real Estate


Chambers UK covers Business, Personal and Human Rights, Asylum and Detention related Immigration work. The UK guide does not consider work for high net worth individuals or family offices - work for those clients should be submitted to our high net worth guide.

Business - Law firms featured in this section provide advice on all aspects of inbound and outbound immigration, such as work permits and visas, workforce mobility and other legislative and regulatory changes. Clients for this section will typically be companies and their sponsored staff, but may also include charities, education institutes and individual senior employees. 

Human Rights, Asylum & Deportation – This section covers both privately funded matters, as well as work funded by Legal Aid. It is focused on immigration issues that have human rights, asylum or deportation at their heart. 

Personal – This section covers privately funded personal immigration work. Clients will tend to be families, overstayers and people who’ve been refused indefinite leave to remain.

See also: Administrative & Public Law; Civil Liberties & Human Rights

Information Technology & Outsourcing

This is primarily an industry-specific section focusing on firms and individuals advising technology-based businesses. Researchers consider legal advice given to suppliers and purchasers in relation to significant IT supply and services contracts. Work in this sector may include early-stage investment, M&A, share listings, outsourcing and IT-driven business transformation projects, infrastructure projects and product launches, as well as litigation.

Outsourcing arrangements that are not IT-driven, such as legal services, property and maintenance, and other business process contracting arrangements are now considered separately under the Commercial Contracts table.

 This definition also applies to UK regional Information Technology chapters as well, although all of these except those for London and Scotland continue to be known as Information Technology: Name of region (East Anglia, Midlands etc.).

See also: Telecommunications; Data Protection; Public Procurement; Commercial Contracts.


The Infrastructure UK-wide section ranks those firms and lawyers who advise on transactions relating primarily to projects that have already been completed and are operational. Infrastructure assets can include (but are not limited to) airports, ports, transmission lines, pipelines and (resources) storage. Secondary market transactions, where infrastructure is the underlying asset, form a crucial aspect of the work recognised, while equally, contract variation, asset management and other legal issues that arise over the course of the operation of an asset are also relevant.

The Infrastructure PFI/PPP section is a separate sub-section which recognises those undertaking the aforementioned work primarily in the context of PFI/PPP projects. As well as assets structured on a PFI/PPP basis, other non-traditional models such as Regulated Asset Base (RAB), Mutual Investment Model (MIM), Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) and Direct Procurement for Consumers (DPC) are relevant for this section. Submissions for this sub-section should be included in the Infrastructure UK-wide section and any work highlight relating to any project structured on a PFI/PPP (or similar) basis should be clearly labelled as relating to this type of asset.

Any work relating to the financing and development of projects for any of the above assets should be included in a submission to Projects – UK-wide.


This section covers both contentious and non-contentious insurance and reinsurance matters. On the contentious side, we feature coverage claims litigation, broker's negligence, and both 'facultative' and 'treaty' reinsurance disputes. We include a separate 'Mainly Policyholder' table for those firms primarily representing policyholder clients, as well as one for firms handling volume claims for insurance companies.

On the non-contentious side, we include all forms of M&A, capital raisings, demutualisations and other regulatory issues.

See also: Personal Injury; Clinical Negligence; Professional Negligence; Shipping; Product Liability

Intellectual Property

This section covers disputes related to patent, copyright and trademark infringement, litigation concerning trade secrets and related issues such as licensing and IP commercialisation. A separate Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys ranking also features in this section.

See also: Information Technology; Media & Entertainment; Life Sciences

International Arbitration

Commercial Arbitration: This subtable focuses on firms representing clients in commercial international arbitration, a private and binding form of dispute resolution determined by an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. Both institutional and ad hoc arbitrations will be considered under this subtable. Investor-state arbitration, including those arbitrations governed by investment treaties, is not considered under this subtable.

Investor-State Arbitration: This subtable focuses on firms representing clients in investment arbitrations, i.e. disputes arising between a sovereign state and an investor. This includes claims brought under bilateral or multilateral investment treaties, as well as those arising out of contractual agreements between an investing party and a sovereign state. ICSID, ad hoc and institutional arbitrations are all considered under this subtable. This table ranks firms which primarily represent investors, those which primarily represent states, and those which represent a mixture of the two.

Arbitrators: This subtable features highly regarded non-barrister or non-practising barrister arbitrators based in the UK. A list of London-based barristers who are respected arbitrators features in the UK Bar guide, under the heading International Arbitration: Arbitrators.
This table does not invite separate submissions, but examples of an individual's work as an arbitrator can be included on either/both of the submissions for Commercial Arbitration and Investor-State Arbitration.  

Submissions will only be accepted under the Commercial Arbitration and/or Investor-State Arbitration subcategories. It will not be possible to upload a general International Arbitration submission.

See also: Litigation; Public International Law

Investment Funds

This section ranks those firms and individuals advising in the world of investment funds. A firm can upload separate submission for each of the following areas: Private Equity, Real Estate, Hedge Funds, Open-ended Funds and Closed-ended Listed Funds.

We also have sub-tables which recognise expertise in Investor-side representation, Credit Funds, Venture Capital Funds and Secondaries. Those seeking recognition in these areas should include their work highlights on the Investment Fund: Private Equity submission.

Lawyers ranked in this area advise on fund formation, fund raising, investments, hybrid funds, fund-of-funds and spin-outs.


This section ranks firms and lawyers advising on both contentious and non-contentious work related to licensing, including new licence applications, variations to existing licences and any related disputes or reviews. We also have a dedicated UK-wide Gaming table for those firms that specialise in this area, which includes licensing matters as well as wider issues related to traditional and online gambling activities.

Life Sciences

This section focuses on the commercialisation of life sciences products (pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnology programs etc) as well as the regulation of these products and the defence of product liability challenges. Patent litigation concerning life sciences products and technologies is also covered.

See also: Intellectual Property


In all regions outside of London, this section ranks firms and lawyers advising on civil litigation on behalf of businesses, financial institutions and other non-public sector entities, as well as private individuals. The primary focus of the section is contractual litigation and litigation arising out of corporate and commercial arrangements, including shareholder, joint venture, post-M&A and boardroom disputes. In the regions we will also accept banking litigation matters such as the mis-selling of financial products.


Less weight is given to civil litigation types which are covered separately in regional sections of the UK guide, such as professional negligence, real estate litigation, construction and IP. Matters involving public sector bodies (such as judicial reviews and procurement challenges) are also covered elsewhere and will generally not be considered here. Other kinds of work not considered as part of the section include criminal litigation, inquests, public inquiries, tribunals, regulatory investigations and related enforcement actions.


This section focuses on courtroom litigation, rather than ADR methods such as mediation and arbitration. In particular, International Arbitration is covered extensively elsewhere and so should not be included on a submission to Litigation.


(London only) The London section is a firms-only table and does not invite submissions. Rankings are instead based on the wide range of other litigation chapters we have and will serve as an overview of general civil dispute resolution capabilities. Firms in London may wish to consider submitting to Commercial and Corporate Litigation - please refer to the practice area definition for that section for more information on what work is accepted.

See also: Banking Litigation; Real Estate Litigation; Professional Negligence; Pensions Litigation; International Arbitration; Mediators; Commercial and Corporate Litigation

Local Government

This section ranks lawyers and law firms who advise on local government issues, including planning, environment, education, community care, highways, housing, health, compulsory purchase, public procurement, freedom of information, rating, licensing and elections.

See also: Administrative & Public Law; Parliamentary & Public Affairs; Planning; Projects; Public Procurement

Media & Entertainment

The section caters to clients in the media industry in respect of contentious and non-contentious matters. We rank firms by specialist expertise in subtables for Film & Television, Advertising & Marketing, Music, Theatre, Publishing and Gaming, Social Media & Interactive Content. Individuals are ranked relative to one another by specialism.

Non-contentious work as covered by this section may include production, financing and distribution concerns, as well as IP, licensing and supplementary rights planning.

Types of disputes in this area are many, and may include copyright and contractual litigation (eg on behalf of studios, producers, publishing houses or talent); IP and trade mark disputes; matters arising from film finance; and allegations of wrongdoing.

See also: Defamation / Reputation Management


This section ranks the UK's leading mediators. All are successful resolvers of disputes. Organisation rankings are not given, as parties in dispute tend to agree on instructing individual mediators suited to their personalities and to the nature of their case, rather than a provider or mediation set.

See also: Litigation

Parliamentary & Public Affairs

This section has three tables: Electoral Law, Parliamentary Agency and Public Affairs. Electoral Law includes advice on local and parliamentary elections, rules relating to the conduct of Members of Parliament and the legislative reform of electoral law. Parliamentary Agency ranks lawyers and law firms who advise on political process and the drafting or opposing of Private Bills.

Public Affairs covers those involved in campaigning and lobbying, and media relations.

See also: Planning; Local Government; Public Procurement


This section deals with contentious and non-contentious partnership matters, primarily concerning professional clients such as architects, surveyors, accountants, lawyers, doctors and investment funds. This area includes work on corporate restructurings in which firms and companies convert to more sophisticated partnership structures, particularly LLPs.

Firms that specialise in partnership law also counsel clients in establishing offices overseas, mergers and acquisitions, partner and team moves, discrimination, and regulatory matters.

Non-contentious work includes drafting of partnership agreements and crafting innovative partnership vehicles for corporate clients. A separate table for medical partnerships also features in this section, given the depth of specialisation in this area.


This section ranks lawyers who provide non-contentious advice on pensions issues for employers, schemes, fund managers, trustees and the state. Issues looked at are varied, but may include pension liabilities, debt restructuring, scheme mergers and demergers, investment management and funding negotiations.

See also: Pensions Litigation; Employee Share Schemes & Incentives

Pensions Litigation

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise on a wide range of contentious issues concerning pensions, including rectification claims, recoveries in the event of insolvency, determinations of liabilities, judicial review and allegations of wrongdoing.

See also: Pensions

Personal Injury

This section covers the full scope of litigation arising from injuries sustained outside of a clinical context. This includes litigation arising from workplace accidents, motor accidents, abuse claims and industrial disease.

Certain niche areas of international work are also covered by this section, such as injuries and abuse resulting from wars and corporate negligence, although purely travel-related injuries are covered in a separate section entitled Travel: International Personal Injury, within the Travel section of the guide.

See also: Clinical Negligence; Insurance; Court of Protection; Travel


This section covers the area of law relating to the processes of planning applications for the development, construction or change of use of a building or buildings; compulsory purchase orders (CPO); and s106 agreements. 

The work in this section can be contentious – for example, judicial reviews, inquiries and appeals; and non-contentious – for example, planning and CPO strategies relating to development projects and urban regeneration schemes.

See also: Environment; Real Estate; Local Government

POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture

This section ranked firms and individuals who advise on all aspects of the proceeds of crime, from restraint and receivership to confiscation, and concerns recovery in both the criminal and civil court.

Police Law

This section is split into Mainly Claimant and Mainly Defendant sections. Mainly Claimant covers actions and judicial review proceedings against the police, the IPCC and coroners, including issues relating to unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, treatment in custody and inquests. Mainly Defendant focuses on lawyers and law firms who defend police forces against matters of the type listed above.

See also: Civil Liberties & Human Rights; Administrative & Public Law

Private Equity

This section covers firms and lawyers providing mostly transactional advice for private equity clients, such as direct investments into private companies, buyouts of public companies (MBO, MBI, BIMBO), secondary transactions, take-privates, PIPEs and pre-IPO investments. Venture capital investments and transactions and work on behalf of funds, investors, venture capital firms, private equity firms and financial institutions are also looked at by researchers.

Firms and individuals are ranked in Buyouts and Venture Capital Investment subtables.

See also: Corporate / M&A; Capital Markets; Investment Funds

Product Liability

This section encompasses legal claims that allow an injured party to recover financial compensation from the manufacturer or seller of a product. Examples include faulty brakes, contaminated food and medicine lacking appropriate label warnings. Law firms advise manufacturers, distributors, suppliers retailers and others who make the product available to the public.

It also covers toxic tort, relating to the exposure to chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs or occupational hazards. Most pharmaceutical claims are mass tort cases, because the drugs in question are consumed by thousands of people. Firms and individuals are ranked in subtables covering Food, Mainly Claimant and Mainly Defendant.

See also: Insurance

Professional Discipline

This section ranks firms and lawyers who advise individuals, corporations or professional bodies in relation to professional regulatory matters, including fitness-to-practice investigations, disciplinary proceedings and the development of codes of practice.

Professional Negligence

This section covers firms and lawyers which specialise in disputes arising over loss suffered as a result of negligent advice given by professionals. A wide range of professionals are covered, including architects, surveyors, financial professionals, insurance brokers and solicitors or barristers. 

Our London rankings are split into separate tables to highlight expertise advising on negligence mandates relating to acts by professionals in the Financial, Insurance, Legal and Technology & Construction sectors.


The Projects UK-wide section ranks those firms and lawyers who advise on the financing, refinancing, development and expansion of large projects that arise from the capital intensive infrastructure and energy markets. Projects covered include, but are not limited to, transmission lines, pipelines, resources storage, telecommunications infrastructure, airports, ports and bridges, as well as various types of social infrastructure assets, including hospitals, schools, housing, roads and rail developments.

The Projects PFI/PPP section is a separate sub-section which recognises those undertaking the aforementioned work primarily in the context of PFI/PPP projects. As well as assets structured on a PFI/PPP basis, other non-traditional models such as Regulated Asset Base (RAB), Mutual Investment Model (MIM), Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) and Direct Procurement for Consumers (DPC) are relevant for this section. Submissions for this sub-section should be included in the Projects UK-wide section and any work highlight relating to any project structured on a PFI/PPP (or similar) basis should be clearly labelled as relating to this type of asset.

Any work relating to the acquisition and development of infrastructure projects, or the variation and management of completed projects, should be included in a submission to Infrastructure – UK-wide.

See also: Banking & Finance; Energy & Natural Resources; Construction

Protest Law

This section covers cases involving the right to protest. Cases considered under this practice area include criminal cases involving protestors who are facing prosecution or sentence, as well as civil matters such as injunctions to prevent occupations, judicial reviews of state actions to prevent protest, or civil claims for protesters who have been wrongly treated by state bodies.

Public International Law

This section covers state-to-state disputes such as those governed by the law of nations and the law of the sea, as well as by international agreements and conventions. It includes matters traditionally held to constitute the core of public international law practices, such as land and maritime boundary disputes, sovereign immunity, state succession and claims to statehood. Investment arbitrations are also covered in this section (as well as in International Arbitration: Investor-State Arbitration). Individuals' and corporates' challenges to international sanctions designations will also be considered under this section.

Advising financial institutions on compliance with international sanctions falls under the Financial Services section. Advice in relation to breaches of international sanctions falls under the Financial Crime section.

See also: Litigation; International Arbitration

Public Procurement

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise corporations and government bodies on the acquisition of goods or services by governmental entities. Areas covered may include education, healthcare, social housing, transport and infrastructure.

See also: Education; Healthcare; Information Technology; Transport; Projects

Real Estate

This section covers all aspects of commercial and residential real estate, including investment transactions, development, corporate structuring, acquisitions, portfolio management, and landlord and tenant matters. Researchers consider work done on behalf of institutional landlords, developers, private landlords, commercial tenants and private tenants. Contentious work should be submitted to the Real Estate Litigation sections.

See also: Planning; Construction; Environment; Social Housing; Agriculture & Rural Affairs; Real Estate Finance; Real Estate Litigation; Hotels & Leisure

Real Estate Finance

This section covers advice on the spectrum of debt products, structured products and CMBS, loan origination, restructuring and refinancing transactions, loan portfolio sales and purchases. Researchers look at work on behalf of banks, private equity funds and other non-bank lenders, as well as investors. 

See also: Banking & Finance; Capital Markets; Real Estate

Real Estate Litigation

This section ranks lawyers across the UK advising on contentious property issues for both landowners and tenants, including ownership disputes, vacant possession strategies, commercial management conflicts, easement issues, party wall and landlord and tenant matters.

See also: Litigation; Real Estate

Restructuring / Insolvency

This section covers work on behalf of creditors (including banks, financial investors and steering committees), insolvency practitioners, corporate debtors and their officers/directors.  Work examples may include debt restructuring, distressed M&A activity, formal insolvency procedures, contingency planning, debtor advisory work, distressed creditor and equity investment and trading.  We have also introduced a UK-wide Personal Insolvency table which looks at those firms and lawyers acting for individuals.

See also: Banking & Finance


This section is an industry table ranking law firms that have developed a track record in serving the needs of large, national retailers. A retailer sells goods (not services) to consumers online or in person. Please note that any work for brands (drinks, toiletries etc) should be clearly linked to the sale of those brands to the consumer. Advice on IP to a consumer brand that is not a retailer is not considered here.

Firms may also advise retailers on their real estate and planning needs, as well as logistics, franchising and technology matters. They may also demonstrate aptitude in assisting with a retailer's employment, tax and regulatory requirements, along with consumer protection issues and disputes. Please note that we do not rank individuals in this table.


This section covers both contentious and non-contentious work. The contentious side involves breaches of charter-party disputes, cargo and bills of lading claims, the arrest of vessels and cargoes, marine insurance claims, collision, salvage and environmental liabilities. On the non-contentious side, law firms advise on contractual arrangements for construction, registration of vessels, customs and licensing, and documentation relating to charter-parties and bills of lading.

Social Housing

This section covers lawyers who act for either the providers or consumers of social housing. This can comprise corporate work, such as governance and joint ventures including housing stock transfers, antisocial behaviour matters, construction or redevelopment financing, property issues, or defending social housing tenants against legal proceedings brought by the providers. 

Chambers UK also ranks law firms which focus exclusively on financing of social housing developments and those who solely represent social housing tenants.

See also: Real Estate; Real Estate Finance; Real Estate Litigation; Local Government; Construction; Public Procurement; Projects


This section covers the lawyers and law firms who have a demonstrable commitment to the sports sector, and understand the unique pressures and constraints which sports entities operate under. The definition of sports law is oft disputed; Chambers sees commercial and regulatory work as its cornerstone, but seeks to highlight those firms which are best able to serve the sports industry as a whole, which requires consideration of work across a wide range of legal disciplines.

This section also includes a separate chapter focusing on Horse Racing & Equestrian law.

See also: Media & Entertainment; Intellectual Property


This section covers a broad range of matters including M&A transactions and equity raising issues, as well as tax advisory work on behalf of corporate clients. We also look at the tax elements of financing transaction as well as Fund related tax issues. In London, we rank individuals for their general tax expertise, as well those who specialise in Investment Funds, Real Estate and VAT.

We also cover tax disputes in our Contentious Tax and Fraud sub-tables. These tables recognise those firms defending clients in actions brought by HMRC relating to VAT, PAYE and NI contributions, among other areas of taxation.


This section relates to matters concerning telecommunications companies and their activities, and covers contentious and non-contentious work spanning transactional, regulatory and competition matters concerning telecommunications companies.

Clients may include telephone service providers, ISPs, wireless operators, TV and / or radio broadcasters and a range of government and regulatory bodies. Examples of work include spectrum auctions, procurement agreements and M&A, as well as contractual disputes, investigations and compliance proceedings.

See also: Corporate / M&A; Outsourcing; Intellectual Property; Information Technology


This section is subdivided into Logistics, Rail and Road sections.

Logistics: Covers all work relating to disputes and issues arising from the commercial transportation of goods,  including multi-modal transportation.

Rail: is further divided into four subsections: Rolling Stock relates to advice on all transactions concerning the procurement, leasing and maintenance of rolling stock. Projects & Infrastructure includes all work concerning projects relating to the development of rail infrastructure, including routes, stations and depots. This covers financing, commercial contracts, joint ventures, PFI / PPP, construction and real estate. Franchising covers all work concerning the rail franchising system, including bids and mobilisations, migrations and open access rights. Planning & Authorisation covers advice on planning and parliamentary procedures concerning new routes, stations and depots, including related environmental impact assessments and consultations.

Road (Regulatory): Covers advice relating to the actions of regulatory bodies, including public inquiries, operator licensing, compliance and due diligence.

See also: Asset Finance; Projects; Planning; Local Government


This section is focused on a range of legal issues affecting the travel industry. Rankings for both firms and lawyers are split into three separate sub-tables.

The Travel: International Personal Injury (Claimant) table focuses on firms and lawyers specialising in representing individuals pursuing overseas accident claims, including those involving catastrophic injury, severe illness, fatality cases and terrorist attacks.

Similarly, the Travel: International Personal Injury (Defendant) sub-table focuses on firms and lawyers involved in defending insurers, travel companies and tour operators against these claims.

Finally, the Travel: Regulatory & Commercial sub-table recognises firms and individuals providing advice on a range of sector-specific matters. Work covered includes advice to tour operators, travel agencies and other key businesses operating in the travel sector on various regulatory matters, with a particular focus on the Package Travel Regulations and ATOL Regulations. Legal advice involving a broad array of commercial operational matters for such businesses are also relevant in this sub-section.

National Leaders (outside London)

The rankings for these sections are based on our assessment of a firm’s rankings in the given practice area across the UK Guide. Being ranked in regional sections (excluding London) is a prerequisite for being included here. We do not accept submissions for these sections directly, instead using the existing regional submissions alongside one another.

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