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UK BAR: Leading sets by the number of rankings

Discover which top sets are ranked in the Chambers UK Bar guide.

Published on 5 July 2021

Ranked in 24 practice areas

Kings Chambers

With an impressive 24 rankings, including 13 at band one, Kings Chambers continues to dominate several markets across the Northern, North Eastern and Midlands circuits. This “premier league” set fields superstars handling a range of commercial disputes, with the “brilliant” Lesley Anderson QC and the “superb” David Casement QC taking on high-value and complex cases, often for household name clients. Similarly, solicitors advising clients on large disputes in the environment and planning spheres consider Kings Chambers to be a first choice for such cases due to the breadth and depth of the set’s team. Vincent Fraser QC continues to be a go-to for this kind of work and is highly praised by market sources who describe him as “very forensic” and “really diligent.” Members of chambers are also regularly instructed in high-profile real estate litigation. Paul Chaisty QC, for instance, is described as “top class” in relation to property work. In addition, several of the set’s barristers are included in the personal injury and clinical negligence rankings. Nicholas Braslavsky QC, for example, is a “down-to-earth and thorough” expert in catastrophic personal injury cases. Public law remains a key source of instructions for Kings, with a number of tenants regularly retained to act in judicial reviews concerning everything from healthcare to residential developments. As ever, the barristers at Kings are supported by the “very efficient service” provided by its team of clerks.

Ranked in 20 practice areas

39 Essex Chambers

Lisa Giovanetti QC, Stuart Catchpole QC, Neil Block QC - just some of the 39 Essex tenants listed as star individuals in our guide. Few other sets of chambers can match the cast list at 39 Essex, and with a hugely impressive twenty rankings in our guide, instructing solicitors know they can find quality counsel across a vast array of areas. For matters relating to health and welfare, for example, clients can choose from a number of top silks, such as the “fantastic” Jenni Richards QC, “true leader” Vikram Sachdeva QC, or “absolute star” junior Alexander Ruck Keene. 39 Essex Chambers also holds a top band ranking in our competitive personal injury section. There are many juniors and silks worthy of mention here, but Christian Du Cann continues to reign supreme among senior juniors. “He is one of the best advocates I’ve ever been against,” says a fellow barrister. In our professional discipline category, the set fields several top counsel. “Top performer” David Bradly has long held the coveted star individual status, and Eleanor Grey QC, Fenella Morris QC and Gregory Tiverton-Jones QC all appear in band one. Another of the set’s stars is Stephen Tromans QC, “the doyen of environmental law.” Tromans and several other specialists make up the top-ranked environment team at the set. Members of this chambers hold 37 band one rankings between them, in areas ranging from international arbitration to education, and from construction to media. As a result, instructing solicitors at all manner of specialist boutiques and magic circle firms happily return to this “well run set” time and time again.

Matrix Chambers

Founded in 2000, Matrix Chambers has attracted attention as a driver of change in the profession throughout the 20 years of its existence, not least thanks to an innovative approach to practice management. In that time, it has also firmly established itself as one of the cornerstones of the Public and Human Rights Bar. Most with an interest in the law will be familiar with many of Matrix’s leading names, such as Phillippa Kaufmann QC, Helen Mountfield QC and Richard Hermer QC, who are generally to be found representing claimants or NGOs in prominent cases such as R(Elgizouli) v SSHD, Big Brother Watch v United Kingdom, or other matters including public inquiries. The set’s continued success in this area is assured by the presence of established juniors including Nicholas Armstrong and Sarah Hannett. Edward Craven and Raj Desai are among individuals of more recent call who have been rising up the ranks across numerous practice areas. Public law solicitors say: “They're totally committed to pushing the boundaries and being creative when representing claimants. It's really refreshing to work with a set like that.” Matrix has amassed an array of Chambers rankings in related fields, sitting atop the listings in civil liberties and human rights, community care and education. It is also highly ranked in administrative and public law, crime, and immigration, where Raza Husain QC has star individual status. In employment, Karon Monaghan QC has once again cemented her standing as a leader in the field with a victory in the important case of Gilham v Ministry of Justice, while Claire Darwin attracted attention when she successfully represented Samira Ahmed in a ground-breaking equal pay challenge. The set’s media and information law offering is well represented in our defamation/privacy and data protection tables: Antony White QC and Hugh Tomlinson QC are particularly revered in these markets. Matrix is one of three sets to be listed in our new coverage of protest law, where an individual ranking for Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh recognises her special expertise in protest injunctions and associated criminal matters. Others from the set appear in our new spotlight table covering international human rights law.

Ranked in 17 practice areas

Blackstone Chambers

Those with a keen interest in current affairs will likely know Blackstone as the home of constitutional law heavyweights. Our interviewees share that assessment: in the words of one commentator, “Blackstone has, for several years, been cementing its reputation as perhaps the pre-eminent chambers in administrative and public law – its members include a remarkable number of senior figures of tremendous talent.” Treasury devil Sir James Eadie QC is routinely called upon to defend the most difficult and consequential challenges to government policy, where he is “just humbling to watch,” according to his peers. Lord Pannick QC, described by sources as “one of the greatest barristers of his generation,” is perhaps best known for defeating the government in the Article 50 and Prorogation judicial reviews – two of the most widely watched cases of recent times. The “simply phenomenal” Dinah Rose QC is well established as a major force across numerous areas including administrative & public law, human rights, employment and competition. Rising stars such as Shaheed Fatima QC, Kate Gallafent QC, Ben Jaffey QC and Tom Hickman QC are regarded as the next generation of the public and regulatory law elite, whilst more junior members tackle a high volume of sophisticated judicial review work on a regular basis. Beyond the realm of public and human rights law, the barristers’ superb command of regulatory systems – blended with a keen commercial awareness – underpins the set’s pre-eminence in areas such as media and sport law: Ian Mill QC and Adam Lewis QC are notable names. Meanwhile, the set’s employment law offering goes from strength to strength, boasting involvement in a number of high-profile team move, whistleblowing and worker status cases. Members can also offer well-honed expertise in the regulation of the professions. All in all, Blackstone appears in 17 Chambers practice areas, and is a band one set in 10 of these.

Ranked in 15 practice areas

Doughty Street Chambers

Ranked in 15 Chambers practice areas, Doughty Street’s strong reputation for challenging state powers and championing minority rights is well deserved. As one interviewee remarks, “they always seem to be involved with serious and meaningful human rights litigation.” The set is seen as “a highbrow chambers – a level of excellence to aspire to,” and is found to “provide a very high quality, affordable, claimant-friendly service.” Star silk and joint head of chambers Edward Fitzgerald QC sets the tone with a superb practice spanning criminal, public and human rights law; his leading role in Maha Elgizouli’s successful Supreme Court challenge demonstrates his continuing impact in all these areas. Another highly eminent silk is “superstar” Heather Williams QC, a human rights law veteran who, along with star junior Ruth Brander and others, has gained particular attention for work surrounding the Hillsborough disaster and the undercover policing scandal. Other members, such as Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jennifer Robinson and Amal Clooney, are notable for their accomplishments in human rights law in jurisdictions beyond the reach of the ECHR, and appear in our new international human rights section. In recent years Doughty Street’s tally of band one rankings has been significantly expanded; this year the set receives top billing in inquests and public inquiries and appears in our new table covering protest law. Meanwhile new acquisitions such as rising talent Shu Shin Luh are set to boost the chambers’ reach across many core areas such as community care and social housing, where they join leading figures such as Martin Westgate QC and Jamie Burton.The set additionally receives a ranking in our employment section for the first time this year.

Ranked in 14 practice areas

No5 Barristers’ Chambers

No5 Barristers’ Chambers is unquestionably one of the finest provincial legal hubs, with its strongest concentration of talent in Birmingham, alongside a substantial pied-à-terre in London and further offices in Bristol and Leicester. Instructing solicitors identify No5 as a “leading set nationally” offering “a high quality of service in a wide variety of specialisms,” and testament to this are the set’s rankings in an impressive fourteen practice areas in the Midlands, eleven of these in band one placements, including chancery, clinical negligence, company, crime, employment, family: children and also matrimonial finance, health and safety, immigration, personal injury and planning. The set is also ranked in commercial dispute resolution, real estate litigation, and court of protection: health and welfare. Among the most distinguished members is head of chambers Mark Anderson QC, endowed with a “fantastic brain” and “top-drawer analysis,” top-ranked in commercial dispute resolution and professional negligence, and also recognised in chancery and company law. Richard Kimblin QC, “a very effective and focused advocate with an economical style that appeals to courts and tribunals,” is band 1-ranked in environment and planning; Michele Friel, top-ranked for children law and considered “easily one of the best private children law specialists,” comes recommended in particular for high-conflict matters; Abid Mahmood, band one for administrative and public law and immigration, is commended for his “clear and incisive” advocacy and ability to “put people at ease so effortlessly.” The extensive and specialist clerking team, directed by Tony McDaid, comes in for effusive and detailed commendation. One source says: “They understand the profile of our cases, the personalities involved and what will and won’t work. They've invested in really good tech resulting in a really slick system.” Leaving one solicitor with the final word: “Overall the chambers has provided us with an excellent service over the years we have been using them. They go out of their way to accommodate our requests and provide a service over and above the norm by providing various additional support, such as mock tribunals"

Ranked in 12 practice areas

3 Verulam Buildings

Instructing solicitors praise 3 Verulam Buildings as “a first-rate chambers” for banking and finance matters, while the set also achieves tier one rankings this year for its civil fraud, financial services and commercial dispute resolution offerings. The set houses a deep bench of senior and junior barristers who routinely appear in the highest courts both in the UK and further afield, with recent work for the set including defending Barclays Bank against the £1.5 billion lawsuit brought by Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners. The chambers’ “fantastic set of barristers” includes such luminaries as Adrian Beltrami QC and Michael Blair QC, who have both retained their star individual status in our 2021 rankings. Top banking and commercial silk Beltrami earns praise from interviewees who describe him as a “calm and effective advocate,” while leading financial services barrister Blair is lauded for his “deep understanding of regulatory perspective” and ability to provide “clear, detailed and technically exact advice.” Among the set’s enviable bench of junior barristers, senior juniors Michael Lazarus and Adam Kramer are more than worthy of mention. Lazarus has retained his star individual ranking for information technology this year and is lauded by interviewees as “an awesome talent who is always commercial and direct with clients.” Kramer earns praise for his “easy courtroom manner” and remains a go-to for complex commercial disputes. The set is also considered a top choice for challenging insurance and professional negligence cases. Members recognised for their strength in these areas include the “very knowledgeable” Tom Weitzman QC, a noted expert in professional indemnity matters, and the “extremely engaging and highly personable” Andrew Onslow QC, a top choice for complex negligence disputes concerning works of art. Adding to an already impressive collection of rankings, for the first time this year 3VB has been recognised as a leading set for public international law and restructuring and insolvency matters, further cementing its position as a market leader at the Commercial Bar. Instructing solicitors consistently praise the set’s “modern approach,” and note that “the barristers are all approachable, commercial and extremely client friendly.

Brick Court Chambers

Brick Court Chambers is rightly regarded as one of the leading sets in the country, with top tier rankings across five different areas of law. It has developed a reputation as “the go-to set for heavyweight disputes,” attracting instructions from significant clients for cases arising in various jurisdictions, including Europe, Africa and North America. Interviewees remark that Brick Court is “obviously the leading commercial set in the country,” and this excellence serves it well across numerous areas of law, including in the field of competition law where the set attracts praise for its “strong blend of general commercial and competition experience.” Clients and instructing solicitors alike “are spoiled for choice,” with two star individuals headlining an incredibly deep bench of barristers. Mark Hoskins QC continues to be revered as “the absolute gold standard for competition silks,” while Marie Demetriou QC’s reputation as “an outstanding advocate with a brilliant track record” has only been enhanced by her successful representation in Merricks v Mastercard, the first collective action claim to reach the Supreme Court. The set is also revered for its expert handling of European law mandates, with Maya Lester QC regarded as “the go-to expert on EU State aid rules” and David Anderson QC possessing “unparalleled experience in matters of EU law.” Beyond these key areas, sources reserve high praise for the set’s “best in class” energy offering and “market leading” fraud practice, with “outstanding senior silk” Helen Davies QC and “the pre-eminent trial lawyer of his generation” Mark Howard QC attracting the highest of plaudits. Rounding out the set’s exceptional offering in a multitude of areas, Tim Lord QC continues to provide a “devastatingly good” service to clients in the banking and finance sector.

Essex Court Chambers

With four band one rankings across various areas of law, it is little wonder that Essex Court Chambers maintains a reputation for housing “the very top counsel across a range of fields.” Market sources say that the set is the “first port of call for top tier work,” and this is exemplified by the set’s successful representation of the claimant in PCP Capital Partners LLP v Barclays Plc, in which Barclays was found to have waived privilege in legal advice given by its internal and external lawyers. It is therefore unsurprising that lead silk on the matter, Joe Smouha QC, is described by one source as “basically the best litigator in the world.” His leading status has culminated in his elevation to the star individual ranking in our commercial dispute resolution table. Elsewhere, the set’s civil fraud offering continues to attract plaudits for its high calibre work, with one such example being the recent National Bank Trust v Yurov & Others case, which involved no fewer than seven members of chambers. One key individual in that case, James Willan, is noted for being “astonishing in every sense of the word,” while fellow star individual Tim Akkouh receives considerable praise from instructing solicitors, with one remarking: “He is the stand-out junior of the Commercial Bar. I have seen him turn even the most cynical Judges around with his calm, measured advocacy.” Essex Court Chambers’ “impressive bench strength in the junior ranks” continues in the realm of international arbitration where the “very bright and extremely diligent” Siddharth Dhar goes from strength to strength. Meanwhile, in “outstanding PIL lawyer” Vaughan Lowe QC and “indirect tax guru” Roderick Cordara QC, the set possesses two of the finest silks in their respective fields.

Wilberforce Chambers

Wilberforce Chambers is home to an enviable number of barristers experienced in all manner of commercial chancery cases, as well as traditional chancery and trusts matters. The “huge breadth of practice” at Wilberforce is admired by instructing solicitors who “consistently receive excellent service and support.” No write-up of Wilberforce Chambers is complete without a mention of Brian Green QC, a star-ranked barrister in both our traditional chancery and pensions tables with additional rankings in the offshore, trusts and private client tax sections. “He is formidable,” says one solicitor, adding: “He is a top silk at the top of his game. Other silks fear him!” Wilberforce dominates the Pensions Bar – the set has “got the market cornered,” as one source puts it - and has achieved an impressive 18 individual rankings here. The set also has several individuals listed in band one of our commercial and traditional chancery tables. Emily Campbell, for example, is a “first rate” barrister and held in high esteem by a raft of top instructing solicitors for her expertise in complex trusts matters. Though the barristers at Wilberforce are well-versed in a wide range of domestic pensions, property and trusts matters, many are listed in our offshore ranking table, demonstrating their extensive expertise in matters with an international element. The “exceptional” Robert Ham QC is regularly instructed in high-value offshore matters. Wilberforce is also a force to be reckoned with in real estate litigation cases. “Barrister of the moment” Joanne Wicks QC is one of the top property litigators in the country and has acted in many of the leading cases of the past few years. She is “great at providing technical, tactical and extremely commercial advice.”

Ranked in 11 practice areas

4 Pump Court

4 Pump Court remains the preeminent set for information technology disputes. It boasts impressive expertise across professional negligence, international arbitration, energy, construction and property damage matters. The set possesses an impressive bench with “a good depth of specialist juniors and QCs” including construction star individual Sean Brannigan QC, "a first-choice advocate, always on top of papers, practical, commercial and among the best cross-examiners with the gift of the silver tongue," and information technology star junior Matthew Lavy who is hailed "a leading IT practitioner with an awesome ability to assimilate the most complex cases while making them understandable for the court." One instructing solicitor notes: “The set is able to offer barristers that have defined specialisms and/or broad practice areas, which provides flexibility.” 4 Pump Court is additionally recognised for its prowess in shipping and commodities, insurance and financial services disputes, among other areas. The accomplished clerking team, led by senior clerks Carl Wall and Stewart Gibbs, is highly regarded for its “exceptional clerking and commercial approach.” Sources also highlight that the clerks “go above and beyond, are really helpful and nothing is too much trouble.”

Crown Office Chambers

Crown Office Chambers draws praise from instructing solicitors who describe it as “far and away the best set in its chosen fields,” adding that “the barristers are all commercial, approachable and there is no feeling of separation between counsel and the rest of the legal team.” The chambers has achieved an impressive 11 set rankings this year, and is particularly well regarded for its “outstanding” health and safety offering. Described as “a cut above the rest for health and safety,” the set is home to an impressive bench of senior counsel including the “absolutely amazing” James Ageros QC and “excellent strategist” John Cooper QC, while senior junior Mark Balysz is lauded by market sources as “an exceptional barrister” and “an amazing jury advocate.” The set has also retained its top-tier ranking in our personal injury table, and its barristers are regularly called upon to handle claims involving injuries of the utmost severity. Several of the set’s personal injury barristers, such as the “very accomplished and well respected” Michael Kent QC and the “thoughtful and commercial” David Platt QC, are also noted experts in industrial disease matters, and have been instructed in several of the leading cases in this area. The chambers is also considered a go-to for complex product liability and clinical negligence claims, thanks in no small part to the “very persuasive” Alexander Antelme QC, who has achieved top-tier rankings in both tables this year. The set’s enviable bench of junior counsel undertaking clinical negligence mandates includes Charlotte Jones and Farrah Mauladad, who are respectively praised for their “excellent analysis of expert evidence” and “impeccable attention to detail.” The set also has considerable expertise in property damage and construction disputes, and its barristers are regularly called upon to handle both litigation and arbitrations. The set’s deep roster of barristers with expertise in this area includes the “very impressive” Andrew Rigney QC and the “very pragmatic and commercial” Michele De Gregorio. “My overall impression of Crown Office Chambers is one of excellence,” reports one instructing solicitor, adding: “They have never let me down.”

Fountain Court Chambers

Fountain Court Chambers continues to receive due recognition for its role as one of the essential institutions of London’s corporate and financial firmament, whose members are sought after for instruction in industry-defining cases
by litigants from around the world. The set is ranked in the top band for seven Chambers practice areas – aviation, banking and finance, commercial dispute resolution, financial services, civil fraud, professional discipline and travel: regulatory and commercial. The wider set has also retained rankings in insurance, professional negligence, international arbitration: general commercial and insurance and product liability. One instructing solicitor says: “With its renowned commercial expertise, Fountain Court remain one of our go-to chambers,” adding: “It is important that our clients are drawn to counsel both on a professional and a personal level, and Fountain Court rarely disappoints in either regard.” Among the set’s leading performers are Laura John, band one-ranked in banking and finance, commercial dispute resolution and civil fraud, whose “advocacy is a delight to watch,” and “lion-hearted advocate” Richard Lissack QC, star-rated in financial services and financial crime, not to mention a clutch of rankings in related disciplines. The set is also home to David Railton QC, “extremely good at simplifying highly complex issues,” star-rated in banking and finance and band one in commercial dispute resolution and insurance, and Bankim Thanki QC, who “projects an air of calm authority” while being “quietly devastating” in cross examination, and is star-rated in banking and finance and in the top tier for commercial dispute resolution, financial services and civil fraud. The clerking team, led by Alex Taylor, are “always accommodating and very knowledgeable about their barristers’ practices,” according to one source, while another concurs: “When you call up they always know the context and have taken the time to understand the cases their barristers are doing.” The abiding impression one is left with is that at Fountain Court, “you will always find the right barrister for your case.”

Garden Court Chambers

Garden Court Chambers is highly respected for its knowledge of matters concerning social care and provision for vulnerable individuals, with recognition for its Court of Protection and children law expertise along with a top ranking for community care, for which one source reports: “They are my first point of call and their advice and representation is second to none.” The set’s greatest area of strength is undoubtedly in social housing, in which area it is considered by some as “the leading set in the country.” Joint head of chambers and star individual Liz Davies is herself described as “one of the leading voices in housing law,” in particular for her dedicated focus on advocating for the homeless. More broadly, the set is known for its focus on representing claimants in a wide range of proceedings, including inquests and public inquiries, regarding immigration matters and claims brought against the police. Immigration law is a particular area of strength, with one interviewee describing the set as “stellar, with phenomenal strength and depth.” Another of the set’s three star individuals is Laurie Fransman QC, who is considered “unquestionably a leader in the field of immigration and a leading expert in UK nationality law.” The set also houses a number of criminal defence barristers, including “expert criminal advocate” Henry Blaxland QC. Garden Court Chambers is one of a select group of sets to be ranked this year in our new protest law table thanks to both its criminal law and human rights expertise. In addition to the wide range of excellent barristers available for instruction, the clerking team, led by director Colin Cook, also receives praise, with impressed sources saying: “The clerks always get back to me very quickly, are always happy to help and are good at allocating cases to appropriate counsel.”

Guildhall Chambers

Bristol-based Guildhall Chambers is, unquestionably, the leading set of barristers on the Western Circuit. The set tops the rankings in ten of the eleven practice areas in which it is ranked. The sheer breadth of expertise at Guildhall Chambers makes its defining feature the range of practice areas in which it excels. This is demonstrated by its top tier rankings in commercial areas, such as company, banking and finance, commercial dispute resolution and restructuring and insolvency law, as well as its leading position in our professional negligence, clinical negligence and crime rankings. Anna Vigars QC heads the chambers and is described as “absolutely top notch” for her criminal law work. Other barristers of note include 2020 silk Selena Plowden QC, widely viewed as a go-to clinical negligence practitioner and described as “truly inspiring” for her “amazingly incisive and detailed case analysis.” Andrew Langdon QC and Richard Smith QC are both considered star criminal silks and are a key reason Guildhall is known as “one of the leading sets for criminal work on the Western Circuit.” The clerking team, led by senior practice managers Lucy Northeast and Oliver Edwards, is also consistently praised. Instructing solicitors appreciate that “they are always willing to go the extra mile to assist” and that “they’re very helpful in finding the right counsel for your case.” From experienced silks to juniors, as well as in the clerks’ room, the set shines, and its reputation as the stand out Bristol set is well earned.

Landmark Chambers

“Landmark obviously stands out,” says one instructing solicitor. This fitting summary of the set is borne out by our rankings, where Landmark Chambers comes out on top in five practice areas and wins rankings in a further six. Overall, sources appreciate that “Landmark understands the commercial context” of instructions and cases. The quality of both the juniors and silks in Landmark’s top-ranked planning team is praised by a host of instructing solicitors. Top performers, such as “go-to” Christopher Katkowski QC and “role model” James Maurici QC, are kept on their toes by the next generation of planning law stars, including 2020 silk Scott Lyness QC and well-regarded junior Guy Williams, who “leaves no stone unturned in preparing for his advocacy.” Similarly, environmental law is one of the set’s particular areas of expertise. Richard Moules was recently instructed by the Dover Harbour Board in a complex defence of the Marine Management Organisation’s decision to grant a marine licence authorising dredging at the Port of Dover. Other luminaries at the set continue to impress, with David Elvin QC noted for his experience and “encyclopedic knowledge.” Real estate litigation is another area of quality for Landmark. Excellence at the silk level – the set is home to the likes of David Holland QC and Zia Bhaloo QC – is matched by a raft of leading juniors, including Camilla Lamont, a “direct, commercial barrister and a joy to work with.” Market sources also offer glowing praise for the set’s expertise in relation to agricultural affairs, as well as local government matters, where Richard Drabble QC tops the table. Members of chambers are also frequently involved in challenging civil liberties and human rights cases. A team of “amazingly responsive” clerks, led by practice directors Ben Connor and Mark Ball, complete this top quality set.

Maitland Chambers

Maitland Chambers is a highly regarded set which is “teeming with very bright and hard-working barristers who are all commercially minded and easy to deal with,” according to our interviewees. The chambers is recognised as a leading set across several practice areas, including civil fraud, company, partnership, real estate litigation and professional negligence, and its members are regularly instructed in high-profile and high-value cases arising in the UK as well as in several international and offshore jurisdictions. The set attracts particular praise for its depth of expertise in commercial chancery disputes, and among the barristers recognised for their work in this area are the “tenacious and robust” Thomas Grant QC and the “understated but extremely effective” Christopher Pymont QC, who have both achieved tier one rankings this year. Another of the set’s key areas of expertise is charities law, thanks in no small part to star junior Matthew Smith, who earns praise from instructing solicitors for his “clear, cogent and well-judged advice.” The set also boasts a strong reputation in the restructuring and insolvency market, and its barristers have played major roles in litigation arising from the collapse of several major corporates, including most recently Carillion and Thomas Cook. Standout junior Rebecca Page is ranked for both insolvency and company law, and she garners praise from interviewees who note that “she will go the extra mile for her clients and is fantastic in court.” “Exceptional silk” Catherine Addy QC is another of the set’s barristers undertaking work in these areas who is also more than worthy of mention – she is praised by market sources as “a delightful opponent with excellent judgement,” and since taking silk in 2017 Addy’s practice has gone from strength to strength. While the quality of the advocates is regularly praised by interviewees, instructing solicitors are also quick to point out that the “seamless service” provided by the clerking team is highly appreciated. Led by senior clerk John Wiggs, the team is consistently noted to be “commercially aware and business-oriented,” as well as “responsive, friendly and very down-to-earth.”

Monckton Chambers

Hailed as the “go-to set for difficult competition matters,” Monckton Chambers wins further plaudits for its strength in telecommunications law, with one commentator describing the set as “top of the pack.” It also boasts top-tier rankings in our public procurement, European law and indirect tax sections. Star individual Melanie Hall QC is lauded her for “extremely sharp and strategic insight” in relation to indirect tax, while Anneli Howard is described as a “stunningly bright barrister” on European law matters. The set is also home to top-ranked Jon Turner QC who “is an exceptional lawyer and advocate and arguably the best competition barrister in the UK,” according to one source, while another describes him as “brilliantly clever and analytical, with a calm, client-friendly approach.” The public procurement offering is bolstered by “guru” Michael Bowsher QC, “a fearless tactician” with “encyclopaedic knowledge of the area.” The “superb quality, innovative thinking and reliable service” of the set is further shown through its inclusion in the community care, administrative and public law, civil liberties and human rights, data protection, environment and sport rankings, with commentators also underlining the “genuine human warmth from the team” as a key attribute.

Serle Court

The “absolutely wonderful” Serle Court continues to enjoy “an exceptionally strong reputation” for chancery work, with its barristers lauded as “terrifying geniuses” in the area. The commercial chancery practice boasts the top-ranked Elizabeth Jones QC, who is described by one interviewee as “monumentally impressive” due to her “clear strategic vision of a case, direct style and incredibly high quality” of work, while Alan Boyle QC is lauded as “the doyen” of the traditional chancery field. Dakis Hagen QC attracts praise for his “almost unparalleled ability to simplify complex legal principles and facts for the benefit of both solicitors and lay clients,” with another source applauding his “encyclopaedic knowledge” of offshore matters. The set further enjoys top rankings in civil fraud and partnership, with John Machell QC earning the title of “Mr LLP” from several sources, while another adds: “He is highly intelligent and a collaborative team player. He has strong technical knowledge and commercial understanding, and his advice remains clear, practical and easy for clients to understand.” The set offers additional expertise in the charities, company, restructuring and insolvency, professional negligence and real estate litigation fields, with commentators appreciating that across the board “they are always reliable, and you know that you are in safe hands.”

St Philips Chambers

St Philips is a “highly respected set and home to some very bright legal minds.” With ten band one rankings across a range of areas, the set is clearly a first choice for an extensive network of instructing solicitors across the Midlands Circuit and further afield. The set is home to a broad range of excellent counsel, including leading silks such as John Randall QC. Considered “brilliant with the law” with “a knack of perfectly pitching cases to judges in way that has them eating out of his hand,” Randall is listed as a star individual for commercial dispute resolution. St Philips also excels in the field of criminal law and is considered “a first rate set” by instructing solicitors. Stand out silks in this area include Richard Atkins QC and Andrew Smith QC. Atkins, a former Chair of the Bar and band one ranked barrister, is described as a “meticulously prepared and forceful advocate,” and Smith “has a brain big enough for two,” according to one fellow barrister. Employment is another key area for St Philips; its barristers are said to have “an unbeatable level of expertise.” The band one ranked practice is headlined by “stellar practitioner” Sarah George and the “very methodical and highly pragmatic” Edmund Beever. The junior ranks of the chambers are well stocked. John Brennan, for example, receives extensive praise from market sources. He is top ranked in our professional negligence, chancery and commercial dispute resolution sections and is described by a fellow barrister as a “leading light” who is “readily capable of engaging in huge litigation.”

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