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Leading Silks

John Kimbell KCQuadrant Chambers ‘John is the premier KC dealing with aviation accident work for claimants. He is excellent on cross-border issues, which are fundamental to this speciality and gives no-nonsense advice in clear terms, making for good client engagement.’
Akhil Shah KCFountain Court Chambers ‘Outstanding in all respects, a true aviation specialist with vast knowledge and experience across the full spectrum of the industry. A very convincing advocate who gets his points across in an impressive way that is helpful to both his clients and judges.’
Nicholas Craig KC3 Verulam Buildings 'In approaching any litigation matter, Nick is a quick study on the underlying commercial goals of the client, and is able to work towards achieving those commercial results in the context of judicial proceedings. He is focused and efficient.'
James Cutress KC – Fountain Court Chambers ‘James is a highly responsive and engaged KC. His knowledge and interest in the aviation sector pervades all that he does. An immense intellect able to get on top of mountains of detail and digest it down to cogent and persuasive submissions which impress both clients and judges.’
Marie Demetriou KCBrick Court Chambers 'A formidable and cogent advocate.'
Rosalind Phelps KC - Fountain Court Chambers ‘She is a very convincing advocate and produces excellent advice, both on paper and in conference. Really responsive and gets to grips with the detail of a case from the outset.’
Michael Rawlinson KC12 King’s Bench Walk ‘Michael is an intellectual heavyweight with an encyclopedic legal mind. He is an adept advocate, able to adapt his style dependent upon the client he is advising. Despite his years of experience, he has also retained his love of the law, which means that he is continually looking to create new law and test present legal thinking.’
John Taylor KCFountain Court ChambersJohn is hugely dedicated to his craft. He carefully analyses the issues and advocates with great effect and tenacity in court. His written advice is clear and he distils complex issues. He works collaboratively with solicitors. A superb tactician.
Steven Thompson KCXXIV Old Buildings ‘Steven has superb judgement and there is no one better at the Bar for aviation work. He is also great to work with and is willing to stick his neck out to predict outcomes.’
Edward Cumming KC – XXIV Old Buildings ‘Highly intelligent, commercially-minded and able to cut through the noise.’
Katherine Deal KC3 Hare Court ‘Katherine is an excellent, practical counsel who makes sound commercial judgments and provides honest, timely and helpful advice on the management of issues. She is confident and a fierce advocate on any matter, producing excellent results for lay clients.’
Gerard Forlin KCCornerstone Barristers 'Gerard has a big heart and looks to act in the best interests of his clients.'
Anneli Howard KC - Monckton Chambers 'Strong at getting to grips with clients’ commercial and practical constraints and reflecting those in her substantive and tactical advice. Gets to heart of issues. Very good at working as a team with clients and other advisers.'
Brian Kennelly KC – Blackstone Chambers ‘Incredibly clever and a compelling advocate. Definitely a safe pair of hands so far as clients are concerned.’
Robert-Jan Temmink KC – Quadrant Chambers ‘An able and talented barrister who is well-prepared and able to make his submissions well and concisely.’
Richard Wald KC - 39 Essex Chambers ‘Richard has a very good grasp of the details relating to aviation regulation and control. He is good on papers but excellent in court. He is measured, confident, on the point and very persuasive.’

2022 Silks

Alexander Milner KCFountain Court Chambers ‘Alex is extremely responsive and provides very clear commercial advice. Clients respond very well to him and so do the judges. He is a politely forceful advocate and a very effective one at that.’
Alexander Milner KC – Fountain Court Chambers ‘Exceptionally bright and talented as a junior and that has more than continued since he deservedly took silk. He is incredibly efficient in his advice, and has the ability to distil complex issues down to something which is concise and spot on.’

2023 Silks

Sarah Prager KC – Deka Chambers ‘Sarah is outstanding. Very down to earth and personable, so she is very easy to work with. Clients love her sensible and commercial advice.’
Matthew Reeve KC – Quadrant Chambers ‘Matthew is among the best aviation barristers and rightly was made a KC this year. Excellent on paper, excellent on his feet.’

2024 Silks

James Duffy KCFountain Court Chambers ‘Very responsive and commercial. Presents his thoughts with clarity. Works well with his instructing solicitor and doesn’t impose or dominate.’

Leading Juniors

Tom BirdQuadrant Chambers ‘In addition to being very bright, Tom is a persuasive advocate and an astute cross-examiner.’
Giles Robertson – Fountain Court Chambers ‘Giles is a clear and deep thinker – his arguments have a strong analytical core. He clearly knows a great deal about aircraft maintenance and his analysis of contractual interpretation is pellucidly clear, systematic and convincing.’
Bajul Shah – XXIV Old Buildings ‘Bajul is the stand-out junior for aviation.’
Koye AkoniQuadrant Chambers ‘One of the most talented aviation specialist barristers and a go-to barrister on aviation insurance and crash work.’
Katherine Howells – Old Square Chambers ‘Katherine is an excellent advocate and has very good all-round client skills. She is determined in court, prepares well and is concise in her submissions and arguments. She is also responsive to queries and is generally available when we need her.’
Heather Murphy - XXIV Old Buildings 'Heather is adept at getting to the nub of the issues, and is very pragmatic. An excellent advocate and is very able to guide clients through the noise to the central points at issue.'
Tom CoatesBlackstone ChambersTom is an immensely impressive junior. He is very responsive, very approachable and not afraid to muck in and get involved with the heavy lifting on cases.
Emma Hilliard7 King’s Bench Walk ‘Excellent in terms of research and writing and analysis.’
Erin HitchensXXIV Old Buildings ‘Erin is one of the most experienced aviation juniors around with a hugely effective understated but tough style of advocacy.’
David MurrayFountain Court Chambers 'David always offers excellent contributions that complete the picture. His organisational skills and attention to detail are absolutely first-rate, and he is extremely user-friendly and responsive. His questioning is calm and methodical. Overall, a fantastic all-rounder.'
Max Archer - XXIV Old BuildingsGreat confidence.’
Malcolm BirdlingBrick Court Chambers ‘Malcolm is a frighteningly clever public law barrister. His drafting of the pleadings was excellent and he had a keen strategic sense of what the Supreme Court would find persuasive. His legal research was also excellent.’
Cleon Catsambis3 Verulam Buildings ‘He is an excellent barrister and has interpersonal skills as well as being a hard worker.’
Niamh Cleary – Fountain Court Chambers ‘A superstar – she is a first class operator, super bright, super responsive, clients love her, good strategic thinker, great on her feet and on paper – she has a very bright future at the Bar. A silk in the making.’
Joseph England – Quadrant Chambers ‘Joe provides a first-class service. He is very thorough and knowledgeable and is a great asset to a case. He is very responsive and brings an added element to a defence by thinking of all the different angles. A genuinely nice man and a great advocate.’
Paul HentonQuadrant Chambers 'Paul is a real specialist in the aviation and insurance field, and has the depth of experience to field difficult technical questions without any fuss. He makes the complex projects seem straightforward.'
Elizabeth Lindesay7 King’s Bench Walk ‘Liz is excellent, she can digest and pick up all relevant information very quickly, she forms and holds her own views and is excellent at relaying the same to clients. Her advocacy is exceptional, well able to hold her own against many of the leading KCs.’
Craig WilliamsQuadrant Chambers ‘Craig is responsive, highly intelligent, and commercially astute, he goes the extra mile to produce quality advice and is always available to discuss it. His input is highly valuable to the client and his approach is one that they can connect with.’

Rising Stars

Tom Stewart Coats - XXIV Old Buildings ‘A highly effective advocate, with an exceptional depth of experience and expertise in the aviation sector.’
Nicolas Damnjanovic - Fountain Court Chambers 'Nothing is too much trouble. He is hard-working, intelligent and produces excellent paperwork.'
Emma Hughes3 Verulam Buildings ‘Emma is very calm, thorough and her written work is excellent. Emma manages to digest large volumes of documents at speed and is able to add strategic value to cases.’

Aviation and Travel in London Bar

Fountain Court Chambers

Described as ‘top of the premier league of aviation barristers,’ Fountain Court Chambers‘ members represent major airlines, lessors and manufacturers in disputes concerning leasing, purchase and redeliveries. Hull damage and loss claims, in addition to fatal incidents also fall within the set’s remit, with barristers representing various parties in accidents involving both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Akhil Shah KC was instructed by Qatar Airways in its dispute with Airbus over A350 surface degradation, with Rosalind Phelps KC representing the manufacturer; Qatar Airways alleged that paint peeling from these aircraft, exposing the lightning mesh beneath, constituted a safety hazard and grounded several of the type, while Airbus contended that this was merely a cosmetic issue; the matter was settled in February 2023. Head of chambers Bankim Thanki KC is frequently sought out by lessors engaged in litigation around aircraft condition, maintenance obligations and rent payments, while Michael McLaren KC is acting on several disputes concerning business jets. James Cutress KC has expertise in cross-border aviation matters, with notable strength in advising on leasing issues. Giles Robertson is noted for his expertise in financing issues in the aviation sector, including advising on cases where fraud is alleged.


‘Very efficient – Sian Huckett is first class.’

‘Alex Taylor is always an absolute pleasure to deal with. Sian Huckett is one of the hardest working clerks I know. Fraser Linning is very responsive.’

‘Very good overall, with Katie Szewczyk and Sian Huckett standing out in particular. They are both very helpful and responsive, realistic on timing issues, and sensible in relation to fee arrangements.’

‘Great service from the clerks’ room, especially Sian Huckett.’ 

‘The clerking service is outstanding. There is a clear understanding by the clerks of the different facets of the aviation market. The clerks are extremely responsive to client needs.’

‘Outstanding clerking service. The clerks understand the market and are very responsive to the needs of clients.’

‘Quick and responsive, commercially-minded, flexible in terms of budget and always ready to make good recommendations for new barristers.’

‘Outstanding clerking team. The clerks understand the aviation market and its different facets. They provide a highly sophisticated, responsive service to their clients.’

Quadrant Chambers

Offering ‘a broad range of talent across the juniors and KCs’ who handle aviation matters, Quadrant Chambers‘ barristers are called upon by the world’s leading airlines and lessors on matters ranging from EC261 claims to major commercial disputes concerning hull damage and non-payment of rent among other issues. John Kimbell KC is frequently called upon in regard to fatal accidents while Robert-Jan Temmink KC is engaged in coverage and leasing disputes arising out of the imposition of sanctions in Russia. Matthew Reeve KC, appointed silk in 2023, acted for the family of the footballer Emiliano Sala in the inquest into his death in a crash near Guernsey in 2019, in addition to work on leasing disputes – Tom Bird acted for the aircraft’s maintenance providers in the Sala inquest. Craig Williams acts for lessors and airlines in a range of commercial disputes, while also handling hull damage and fatal accident claims.


‘Very good overall, with Daniel Westerman standing out in particular. He is very helpful and responsive. Shout-outs too for Rob Frankish, Mike Wright and Billy Beckett.’

‘Rob Frankish is attracting increasing respect for his calmness and his attention to the client’s needs.’

‘Good – excellent service and really helpful – especially Daniel Westerman.’

‘An excellent aviation set, with strong credentials in insurance work.’

‘A strong set with a long-established and good reputation in aviation matters.’

‘Quadrant is a brilliant set with a great practice.’

‘First class set for aviation and transport.’

‘Strong on aviation, knowledgeable and customer friendly.’

Work highlights

7 King's Bench Walk

Regarded as a “go-to set” for aviation insurance matters, 7 King’s Bench Walk‘s barristers are instructed by global insurers and lessors on major disputes, most notably on several disputes arising out of the re-registration of aircraft leased to Russian carriers. Head of chambers Gavin Kealey  acts for several insurers defending claims totalling in the billions of dollars for aircraft seized in Russia, and his practice further encompasses claims for hull damage and loss. Emma Hilliard is also noted for her aviation insurance practice, while Harry Wright has a broad commercial practice that includes disputes between airlines and lessors and hull damage claims. Elizabeth Lindesay represents clients in insurance and reinsurance disputes, including in cases involving fatalities and maintenance issues.


‘Gary Rose – runs the show and makes everything run like clockwork.’

‘Gary Rose is excellent and a great support, proactive and helpful in all aspects.’

‘7KBW are a premier set in the insurance/reinsurance field and this is evident by the fact that the set is the “go-to” set in all big insurance/reinsurance matters. The aviation insurance losses arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine are the biggest losses the aviation insurance industry has faced (circa $US 10bn) and it is not surprising that the majority of 7KBW are somehow involved in this matter.’

‘Go to set for shipping and insurance disputes.’

‘All counsel are exceptional, and most counsel at this set are involved in the Russian aircraft litigation.’

XXIV Old Buildings

‘A go-to set for aviation disputes,’ XXIV Old Buildings‘ barristers act for airlines and lessors on the spectrum of aviation issues, including leasing matters, fatal and hull damage incidents in addition to insolvency proceedings and cargo claims. Steven Thompson KC has a broad practice that encompasses maintenance disputes, sale and purchase and leasing disputes, while Edward Cumming KC specialises in aircraft maintenance cases, with further experience in aviation regulation. Bajul Shah acted for the Qatar Airlines in its dispute with Airbus concerning peeling paint of A350 aircraft, with the airline grounding several of the type and alleging that this constituted a safety issue, a claim which Airbus denied. He also handles insolvency matters and ownership disputes. Erin Hitchens was also instructed by Qatar Airlines in their dispute with Airbus and often appears in the Commercial Court regarding summary judgements and interim applications, with Tom Stewart Coats handling a growing commercial caseload in addition to acting for airlines facing EC261 claims.


‘Very good service from all clerks and Paul Horsfield – always responsive and alive to client concerns.’

‘A first class clerking team – Paul Horsfield, James Ladbrook and Perry Brown are all reliable and friendly, able to find solutions and work with instructing solicitors to serve the clients.’

‘Very good clerks, responsive and understanding of the pressures that solicitors are under. Paul Horsfield, Perry Brown and Tommie Drury all stand out.’

‘Paul Horsfield has done a really great job since taking over. He is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘The clerks I have dealt with at XXIV Old Buildings are professional and offer a first-rate service. They are responsive and extremely helpful to any request. In particular, I have dealt with James Ladbrook and Lyndon Tiller – both of whom are easy to work with, very efficient and more than happy to help.’

‘We have a long-standing relationship with XXIV Old Buildings and work well with a number of silks and juniors.’

‘Good aviation set.’

‘A go-to set for aviation disputes, with a wide range of excellent barristers at all levels.’

Work highlights