Below are the legal practice area definitions and regional variations used by Chambers to rank barristers and sets in the UK Bar Guide.
This section covers judicial reviews, 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.
The section includes matters relating to competitive tendering, public procurement, environmental issues and employment and discrimination law. European and Human Rights law increasingly features in the practice of lawyers ranked in this section.
This section is not confined to any one body of laws, but rather includes disciplines such as real property law, and private client concerns that are of particular consequence to farmers, wealthy families and rural business owners.
Lawyers operating under this heading are often instructed to manage estates and help mitigate the exposure of inheriting beneficiaries to tax bills. More niche areas of expertise, such as equine and bloodstock law, also fall within the remit of this section.
This section covers a wide range of contentious and non-contentious work where art or other cultural property is the subject matter, and matters relating more generally to the art world. Work for collectors, dealers, auction houses, museums and galleries is included.
This section is intended to recognise work concerning animals across a broad range of legal disciplines. Areas of focus could include animal welfare, equine law, dangerous dogs or veterinary regulation.
This section covers a broad range of work carried out by barristers for clients in the aviation and related industries. Specialists in this sector handle insurance coverage cases, regulatory matters, and other non-insurance related commercial disputes.
They also assist victims and their families in claims arising from both commercial and non-commercial aviation accidents.
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.
This section is split into two tables, Chancery: Commercial & Chancery: Traditional.
Chancery Commercial: concerns all commercially related cases heard in the Chancery Division including company, shareholder, partnership, banking, pensions, financial services, insolvency, professional negligence, tax, media and IP matters.
Chancery Traditional: concerns such areas as trusts, probate, real property, charities and mortgages cases.
This section covers all types of work conducted for third sector clients, including both contentious and non-contentious work. This includes work 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.
The section covers violations of rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights by the government, media and organisations, in the way they behave towards individuals. It features cases involving judicial review proceedings and also cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights.
Barristers ranked in this section are instructed to handle 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 covers both those who represent the defendants or their employers and those who bring claims on behalf of individuals seeking compensation for their injuries.
This section ranks those sets and individuals that advise on civil litigation, principally on behalf of businesses and high net worth individuals. This is an intentionally broad category, and the sets which rank most highly tend to demonstrate genuine strength in a wide array of disciplines.
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 public procurement work is considered under Public Procurement.
Concerns decisions of public bodies dealing with housing provision and adult and children social services. Matters covered include closure of residential care homes and hospitals, charging issues, local authority funding, disputes between social services authorities and health authorities and formulation of local authority policy.
See also: Court of Protection
This section concentrates principally on barristers advising on transactional company matters. Work recognised within this broad category includes schemes of arrangement, M&A and corporate governance advice, in addition to contentious matters related to shareholder and partnership disputes. Please note that matters pertaining to insolvency are considered under Restructuring/Insolvency.
This section covers contractual dispute work within the construction industry for both the suppliers (eg developers, contractors, engineers and architects), and those clients employing (purchasers) these types of companies, for example corporate entities or state authorities, on their building plans and developments.
Such developments can include single blocks or multi-building developments.
Covers all manner of consumer related law including cases relating to trading standards, food law, consumer credit, and sale and supply of goods and services.
This section covers all manner of disputes and advice relating to costs; whether due under a fixed costs scheme or where costs are to be assessed. These include disputes with opponents, between solicitors and clients and further issues relating to retainers, DBAs and CFAs. Also, advice and disputes concerning costs management, proportionality and all aspects of litigation funding, including assignment of retainers and non-party costs orders.
This section covers all 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. The individual is represented by those with Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney, or by an individual appointed by the Court as a deputy. The section is split into two tables: Court of Protection: Health & Welfare and Court of Protection: Property & Affairs.
Court of Protection: Health & Welfare: Cases included in this section relate to the management of an individual's property and financial affairs, and include disputes concerning lasting powers of attorney, the appointment of deputies and statutory wills and gifts.
Court of Protection: Property & Affairs: This section encompasses all manner of cases relating to the management of an individual’s health and welfare, and covers disputes concerning capacity to marry or consent to sexual relations, the withdrawal of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration and deprivation of liberty.
Criminal law has a number of different branches, but the crime section concentrates on what might be deemed 'serious' crime including illegal drugs, assault, sexual offences, terrorism and homicide. It covers work at all levels, from the Magistrates Court all the way to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
We do not include criminal fraud here, as it has its own section.
The section encompasses cross-industry matters relating to Cryptoassets and DLTs including IP/ownership/legal consequences of use/areas of regulation including Cryptoassets – Security of wallets/ cryptocurrency exchanges/ crypto derivatives IP/Data Sovereignty, international compliance regimes/cross border jurisdiction issues, International cryptoasset enforcement; Smart Forms; Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) – Regulation and liability. Anti-money laundering and compliance (5AMLD - the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive). Many individuals acting in this arena advise clients on the developing law of Cryptoassets and other issues relating to DLT ownership.
See also: Banking & Finance
Data Protection covers all aspects of law surrounding the control of information by both public and private sector bodies. Many individuals acting in this arena advise clients on the development of binding corporate rules and other issues relating to international data transfers.
The section also includes work arising from Freedom of Information Act requests. Another significant type of work involves the defence of clients facing potential fines for data protection breaches, levied by the Information Commissioner's Office, and the Financial Services Authority.
This section ranks sets and individual barristers who handle defamation proceedings (ie libel and slander) on behalf of claimants and defendants. It also highlights those barristers who specialise in matters relating to invasion of privacy.
See also: Media & Entertainment
This section covers the ecclesiastical law of the Church of England as well as the laws and regulations governing other denominations. It focuses in particular on the Faculty Jurisdiction, which regulates the usage of churches, churchyards and their contents, including such matters as alterations and extensions to church buildings, the reordering of church interiors, the disposal of church treasures, the exhumation of human remains and the erection of headstones or memorials. Disputes are dealt with in the consistory courts by barristers in their capacity as Diocesan Chancellors.
This section also encompasses the discipline of clergy, under the Clergy Discipline Measure, and the employment status of clergy, together with doctrinal matters such as the ordination of women, the blessing of civil partnerships and the right of clergy to officiate at or enter into same-sex marriages. Appellate work in the Arches Court of Canterbury, the Chancery Court of York and the Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved is also included.
Barristers in this section advise pupils and their parents on 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.
Others advise institutions on 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.
This section covers employment matters relating to day-to-day business issues as well as mergers and takeovers. Its scope includes employment litigation related to sex, race and age discrimination, workforce redundancies and employment issues arising from mergers. TUPE, whistle blowing cases and equal pay litigation feature heavily.
See also: Pensions
This section focuses on commercial and regulatory issues arising from the energy sector. On the oil and gas side all upstream and downstream work is covered including exploration, infrastructure and pipeline developments and service contracts, royalties, licensing and operation agreements.
On the renewables and alternative energy front disputes and regulatory issues surrounding wind and wave power generation, solar, biomass and geothermal energy generation are all catered for.
Environment work includes regulatory compliance, litigation and enforcement actions related to air, water, wetlands, waste and endangered species.
We also feature advice to corporate and financial clients on the environmental aspects of M&A, financings, securities offerings and other transactions, which involve due diligence and environmental insurance issues.
This section is split into two tables, Family: Matrimonial Finance and Family: Children. We also have a small spotlight table highlighting those barristers who have specialist skill in handling the trusts aspects of matrimonial finance cases (Family/Matrimonial: Trusts/Tax Experts).
Family: Matrimonial Finance: This section deals with issues surrounding the inception and breakdown of personal relationships. This includes the creation of pre-nuptial / civil partnership / co-habitation agreements relating to financial and property assets, the resolution of divorces or separations involving financial and property disputes.
Family: Children: This section encompasses the handling of matters relating to children in the context of both public and private law. These include matters of proper care provision for vulnerable children, as well as cases of abduction, non-accidental injury and abuse.
We accept separate submissions and referee lists for our Family: Matrimonial Finance and Family: Children sections in London, but one submission and referee list to cover both areas for all other Circuits in England and Wales and for Scotland.
This section encompasses criminal investigations and prosecutions brought by public agencies, such as the SFO, the FCA, the CMA, HMRC and the Specialist Fraud Division of the CPS, against individuals, corporations and financial institutions. It also covers internal investigations, disciplinary proceedings and private prosecutions brought by corporations and financial institutions against current and former employees. Charges relate to a range of offences, including (but not limited to) fraud, the manipulation of interest rates such as Libor and Euribor, bribery, tax evasion, insider trading, money laundering, sanctions breaches, cartel conduct, forgery, embezzlement, cybercrime and material misstatement. In addition to post-charge representation at trial this section also covers pre-charge advice.
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).
See also: Banking & Finance
This section ranks barristers and sets advising on litigation, investigations, freezing orders and asset tracing arising in the context of civil fraud.
Market commentators have expressed interest in a ranking table for barristers who have strong experience of managing group claims. We are open minded as to what such a table might cover, but areas of focus could include competition damages, equal pay, product liability, data protection, banking or shareholder claims. The developing law concerning opt-out collective actions may be of particular interest.
This section incorporates both contentious and non contentious health & safety issues. On the contentious side it includes defence and prosecution of companies and senior executives facing investigations or actions initiated by the Health and Safety Executive and other regulatory bodies including criminal breaches of the law such as corporate manslaughter. Public inquest work is also included.
On the non-contentious side the section covers regulatory compliance advice, risk management and training. The health & safety issues which fall under the remit of this section are very broad from general health and safety at work to food safety, fire safety and issues affecting the waste, utilities, nuclear, rail and other industries.
This section ranks barristers and sets who provide advice on all aspects of inbound and outbound immigration, such as work permits and visas, workforce mobility and other legislative and regulatory changes.
This is an industry-specific section focusing on sets and individuals advising technology-based businesses. Work in this sector may include early-stage investment, M&A, share listings, outsourcing, patent work, infrastructure projects and product launches, as well as contentious scenarios.
Barristers ranked in this section have demonstrated a strong and committed practice appearing as counsel in major public inquiries, at high-profile coroners' inquests or both. In public inquiries, barristers may act in proceedings relating to topics including policing, healthcare, transport, prisons, the press and any other issue which is the subject of sufficient public concern. They may represent state agents, businesses, the bereaved and other core participants, or act as Counsel to the Inquiry. At inquests, they may represent key interested parties, or may advise or act as coroners.
This section covers both insurance and reinsurance matters. On the contentious side, we feature coverage claims litigation, broker's negligence, and both 'facultative' and 'treaty' reinsurance disputes.
This section covers disputes related to patent, copyright and trademark infringement, litigation concerning trade secrets and related issues such as licensing and IP commercialisation.
This section features advice on the resolution of disputes by one or more neutral parties, either an arbitrator or an arbitration panel. Many contracts require mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute.
Examples of the institutions include AAA (American Arbitration Association), ICC (International Chamber of Commerce), ICSID (International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes) and LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration).
This section covers non-domestic human rights work, but particularly involvement in novel cases concerning jurisdictions without established human rights legislation. Areas of interest include the treatment of individuals in armed conflict; efforts towards the recognition of minority rights; and the protection of journalists from persecution.
See also:Civil Liberties & Human Rights
This section deals with the award of and challenges to liquor and gambling licences.
This section focuses on the whole spectrum of local government activities, including planning, environmental, education, community care, highways, housing, health, compulsory purchase, public procurement, freedom of information, rating, licensing and elections. Issues relating to local government powers, structure and finance are of particular interest.
The section caters to clients in the media industry in respect of contentious and non-contentious matters. We rank sets both by their overall strength across different media industries as well as by specialist expertise in Film & Television, Advertising & Marketing, Music, Theatre, Publishing and Gaming, Social Media & Interactive Content.
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 / Privacy
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: Commercial Dispute Resolution
Barristers and sets ranked in this section handle a wide range of cases involving motor insurance fraud. Cases covered in this section might include deliberately induced accidents, staged accidents, contrived accidents, phantom/bogus occupant claims, low velocity accidents, and might range from opportunism right up to nationwide organised fraud rings. Barristers will typically have to deal with motor insurance law (e.g. indemnity issues between policyholder and insurer, third party liabilities, avoidance defences, declaratory proceedings, Motor Insurer Bureau claims, claims for indemnity or contribution from related insurers, etc) and issues stemming from fundamental dishonesty (such as actions in the tort of deceit and committal proceedings for contempt of court). Claims will also often include elements of fabrication or exaggeration in relation to personal injury and related claims.
This section covers UK barristers who work in non-UK common law jurisdictions. These specifically include, amongst others, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar.
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.
Sets 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.
This section ranks sets and barristers who advise employers, schemes, fund managers, trustees and the state on both contentious and non-contentious issues concerning pensions. Matters handled include rectification claims, recoveries in the event of insolvency, determinations of liabilities, judicial review and allegations of wrongdoing.
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. Purely travel-related injuries are covered in a separate section entitled Travel: International Personal Injury, within the Travel section of the guide.
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.
This section covers all aspects of the proceeds of crime, from restraint and receivership to confiscation. The section concerns recovery in both the criminal and civil courts.
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 barristers and sets who defend police forces and police officers against matters of the type listed above.
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. Sets advise manufacturers, distributors, suppliers retailers and others who make the product available to the public.
See also: Insurance
This section ranks sets and barristers 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.
This section covers barristers who 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.
This section covers the full range of disputes relating to major property damage, including damage relating to fires and explosions, floods, and subsidence.
See also: Insurance
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.
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, as well as advice to states, companies and individuals concerning sanctions, as well as bilateral investment treaty arbitrations.
This section ranks sets and individuals 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.
This section covers all litigation relating to rating and valuation. Cases may be heard before the Valuation Tribunal or the courts. This section includes, but is not limited to, cases concerning the assessment of rateable values and other valuation disputes, rate collection and enforcement issues and charitable and other reliefs. Counsel may act for surveyors, billing authorities, ratepayers or the Valuation Office Agency. A wide range of advisory work will also be considered.
This section ranks barristers 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: Commercial Dispute Resolution
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.
See also: Banking & Finance
The select group of barristers ranked here specialise in challenges to international sanctions listings and enforcement actions, as well as associated damages claims. They may also advise corporates on compliance matters.
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, sets advise on contractual arrangements for construction, financing and registration of vessels, customs and licensing, and documentation relating to charter-parties and bills of lading.
See also: Insurance
These barristers act for either the providers or consumers of social housing. This can comprise corporate work - governance, joint ventures etc - housing stock transfers, antisocial behaviour matters, construction or redevelopment financing, property issues, or defending social housing tenants against legal proceedings brought by the providers.
The sports industry makes use of a wide array of legal services, and Chambers is keen to highlight the barristers who have a demonstrable commitment to the 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 sets best able to serve the sports industry as a whole, something which requires consideration of work across a wide range of legal disciplines.
Tax covers a broad range of matters on both the contentious and non-contentious side. Non-contentious matters include M&A transactions and equity raising issues both at home and abroad, as well as tax advisory work on behalf of corporate clients.
Financing and investment management are other key non-contentious tax issues. On the contentious side, disputes with HMRC in the form of litigation, appeals and tribunals form the basis of the British legal market for tax issues. Indirect tax matters, including such duties as VAT and stamp duty, are also covered here, and there is a further separate section on private client tax barristers.
This section relates to matters concerning telecommunications companies and their activities, and involves work spanning transactional, regulatory and intellectual property 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.
This section is split into two tables, Travel: Regulatory & Commercial and Travel: International Personal Injury.
Travel: Regulatory & Commercial: This section is an industry table encompassing legal advice relating to a broad array of market pressures including regulatory compliance on consumer safety, commercial matters arising out of industry developments and passenger compensation claims.
Travel: International Personal Injury: This section covers the full range of litigation arising from overseas accidents and injuries sustained abroad. Cases considered under this practice area include claims relating to holiday sickness, abuse, motor accidents, catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
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