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Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation - Leading sets
  2. Commercial litigation - Leading silks
  3. Commercial litigation - New silks
  4. Commercial litigation - Leading juniors

Commercial litigation - Leading silks

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Commercial litigation - New silks

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Commercial litigation - Leading juniors

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While the very largest disputes continue to be dominated by the top-tier sets, the savvy shopper can often find much better value elsewhere. A common complaint is that several top silks have had their heads turned by cash-rich, litigious oligarchs from Russia and the CIS, to the detriment of other more traditional, yet less glamorous, litigants. The increased blurring of the lines between the commercial and Chancery courts has also seen several traditional Chancery sets rise to prominence, particularly in cases where fraud and insolvency are on the agenda. This has been reflected in the barrister rankings, where counsel at sets such as Serle Court are making a much bigger impression in the general commercial disputes market.

3 Verulam Buildings has ‘excellent strength in depth and some very talented juniors coming through'. The set has gone beyond its banking roots to establish itself at the top for general commercial litigation, as reflected in its involvement in some top cases, such as GDF Suez v Teeside Power, Gudavadze v Anisimov and JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov. The ‘very client-friendly' clerks are ‘responsive, accommodating and always helpful'; ‘they come up with excellent alternative solutions as and when necessary'.


One Essex Court

One Essex Court is right at the very top of the commercial litigation market.  Barristers here appear for a broad spectrum of parties in a significant amount of the major commercial litigation that passes through the UK Courts.  From short procedural hearings and injunctions to large, complex trials, barristers at One Essex Court are sought after for their powerful intellects, market leading advocacy skills and ‘commercial’ good judgment.

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Brick Court Chambers is often a ‘first port of call for high-value, complex commercial disputes', which is reflected in the set’s recent workload. Excalibur Ventures v Texas Keystone, Constantin Medien AG v Bernard Ecclestone and others, and the Alexandros T dispute, which went to the Supreme Court are all cases of note. Some say ‘there is scarcely a weak link' among the barristers, with ‘strength in depth from top to bottom'. Many also consider it ‘the strongest set for disputes where there are Russian and fraud aspects involved'.

Essex Court Chambers produces ‘a disproportionate number of user-friendly, sound, commercial types who are an absolute pleasure to work with'. Members are involved in some of the UK’s most high-profile cases, including Tchenguiz v Serious Fraud Office, and Pinchuk v Bogolyubov and Kolomoisky. Barrister availability is ‘well managed by the excellent' clerks, who are ‘just what you would expect from a quality chambers'.

Fountain Court Chambers is ‘a first-rate all-round commercial set' that is ‘great for premiership work'. ‘The quality is excellent no matter what level of barrister is approached'; ‘they are always very capable, easy to work with and integrate into the team'. This depth is reflected in the cases, such as the six-week Commercial Court trial Alpstream & Ors. v PK Airfinance and GE Finance, which involved three silks and three juniors.

One Essex Court is a great source of ‘commercially astute, technically excellent, responsive and dependable' barristers. Highlight cases involving numerous members included Pinchuk v Bogolyubov and Kolomoisky, and McKillen v Misland and others. Clients also appreciate the set’s ‘excellent friendly service'. ‘In relation to the day-to-day running of cases, it quickly becomes apparent that the barristers are very well supported by a resourceful and innovative group of clerks'.

7 King’s Bench Walk is ‘a really nice set to work with; very helpful and always willing to take on short-notice urgent work'. The counsel, who are particularly strong on the insurance side, are ‘extremely intelligent and knowledgeable' and there is ‘a strong crop of senior juniors on the rise'. A recent highlight was Excalibur Ventures v Texas Keystone, which involved members of chambers.

Blackstone Chambers is an ‘unstuffy and versatile' set, with ‘excellent and approachable' barristers. The set is particularly noted for its expertise in commercial cases that have a regulatory or public law element. One case that involved several members was Otkritie Bank v Urumov and others, a 12-week Commercial Court trial that went to the Court of Appeal.

Maitland Chambers is ‘a strong set for commercial litigation, with a number of go-to senior barristers and silks'. Having built upon their traditional expertise in commercial Chancery and civil fraud work, members are now highly sought after for the largest commercial disputes, a notable highlight being JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov.

‘First rate from top to bottom', Serle Court‘has really raised its profile in major commercial litigation in recent years'. Recent case highlights include Tchenguiz v Serious Fraud Office, JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and the Fiona Trust litigation.

4 Stone Buildings is ‘a premium set', equally comfortable in the Chancery Division as it is in the Commercial Court. Its members provide ‘high-quality advice and advocacy, with a strong focus on effective case management'.

11 Stone Buildings is ‘making a name for itself in areas outside its core strength in insolvency litigation'. Recent case highlights include VTB Capital v Nutritek International. Clients appreciate chambers’ ‘refreshingly modern approach', and say ‘there is some really good young talent coming through'.

20 Essex Street houses ‘talented barristers at all levels of call', and has some real heavyweight silks among its ranks. Notably, Iain Milligan QC and Duncan Matthews QC have been involved in some headline cases of recent times such as the Alexandros T case and JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov.

Erskine Chambers has an almost unassailable reputation as the go-to set for non-contentious and contentious company law advice, including major shareholder disputes. This expertise has helped it gain a foothold in large Commercial Court cases, such as BAT Industries PLC v Windward Prospects Ltd.

At Quadrant Chambers‘the overall standards are extremely high for commercial and business-oriented law'. Transport and energy-related cases feature regularly.

South Square has ‘immense strength in depth in insolvency-related matters', and is also popular for complex finance and corporate disputes. In this respect, the Libor test case, Barclays Bank v Graiseley Properties, kept several members busy.

Wilberforce Chambers can provide support ‘in almost any area', and in commercial litigation, ‘the barristers are of an exceptional standard'. The set is also praised for its ‘incredibly competitive prices' and ‘excellent level of service'.

XXIV Old Buildings is ‘the go-to set for offshore commercial litigation'. ‘You will often find a barrister from this set involved in most heavyweight cases', such as Aeroflot v Berezovsky & Ors.

4 Pump Court is now firmly establishing itself beyond its more traditional domains in insurance and construction, and its ‘senior juniors are a battalion of silks in the waiting'.

Enterprise Chambers is ‘the go-to set for sensibly priced, quality commercial litigation'. The barristers are ‘all highly capable and technically excellent', and are also known for their insolvency expertise.

Littleton Chambers is ‘one of the pre-eminent sets for restrictive covenants and confidential information litigation'. It has ‘tremendous strength in depth' and a ‘superb range of experience across the board'.

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