Back to United Kingdom - The Bar

Leading Silks

Gavin Kealey QC - 7 King's Bench WalkExtremely clever and intellectually fearless. Laser-like focus that keeps the entire legal team and client on track. Fantastic analysis, preparation, and advocacy; and one of the best cross-examiners I have had the privilege of working with.
John Kimbell QC - Quadrant ChambersVery clever and assimilates complicated technical details very quickly. Nothing is too much trouble
Michael McLaren QC - Fountain Court ChambersMasterful style, with a sonorous voice, makes him a very seductive advocate.
Akhil Shah QC - Fountain Court ChambersMy absolute go to barrister: phenomenally bright, measured, unflappable, brilliant on his feet, and with clients, brilliant on paper, super-responsive, a pleasure to work with, and clients love him. The no 1 aviation Silk at the bar. I use him on almost every big aviation case.
Bankim Thanki QC - Fountain Court ChambersHe has a top-quality aviation practice which continues to develop. He brings to the party panache and judgement as well as outstanding intellect.
Nicholas Craig QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsNicholas has excellent judgement, is extremely smart and highly responsive. He has consistently shown a strong grasp of the relevant industry (in for example aviation and commodities) and the client's commercial drivers, as well as being an excellent advocate.
Marie Demetriou QC - Brick Court ChambersMarie is absolutely my top choice in this area. A subject matter specialist and a considered and effective advocate. She is good at delivering difficult messages.
Stephen Moriarty QC - Fountain Court ChambersStephen is able to grasp the fine legal nuances of the case while paying keen attention to the details. He has an outstanding intellect which combined with his considerable experience makes him a formidable and highly effective advocate.
Rosalind Phelps QC - Fountain Court ChambersRosalind is an outstanding barrister with a fine-tuned intellect that is able to get to the heart of any dispute.
John Steel QC - 39 Essex ChambersJohn has a vast amount of knowledge in both aviation and planning Law. Very helpful and honest advice given on a range of different issues.
John Taylor QC - Fountain 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.
Charles Béar QC - Fountain Court ChambersHe is an impressive and forceful advocate, and a formidable opponent.
James Cutress QC - Fountain Court ChambersJames is an absolutely top-notch barrister, whose elevation to silk was completely deserved. His academic and analytical skills are first-rate. He has this phenomenal ability to cut to the crux of extremely complicated issues. He is very much a “go-to" silk if you have a complicated issue that needs sorting.
Katherine Deal QC - 3 Hare CourtKatherine is extremely efficient and knowledgeable about cross-border claims, jurisdictional disputes, and aviation in general. She is an open book and would deal with the cases above and beyond of what she is required to. Her attention to detail is great too.
Gerard Forlin QC - Cornerstone BarristersA ferocious advocate who leaves no stone unturned, Gerard has an incredible capacity to assimilate volumes of complex and complicated evidence and understand the issues. He has a lovely client manner and fights for his clients.
Steven Thompson QC - XXIV Old BuildingsA great barrister for any commercial or fraud case, Steven has a particular specialism in aviation, and it shows. One of the absolute best that you can instruct on an aviation case.

2020 Silks

Tamara Oppenheimer QC - Fountain Court ChambersTamara is extremely smart and hard-working with a very impressive knowledge of the law across a wide range of areas. She is also a pleasure to work with.
Richard Wald QC - 39 Essex ChambersAn up-and-coming new silk.

2022 Silks

Alexander Milner QC - Fountain Court ChambersAlexander is outstanding in all respects and a real star of the junior bar - a first choice as a junior on aviation matters. He is exceptionally bright. He gets to grips with really difficult issues very quickly and has the ability to see a way round problematic points.

Leading Juniors

Tom Bird - Quadrant ChambersTom's strengths are his attention to detail, his highly analytical skills, and his commercial awareness. He is always available and is conscious of the pressures of responding promptly to clients.
Tim Marland - Quadrant ChambersA formidable lawyer and advocate, so far as aviation is concerned. Tim stands head and shoulders above all others at the independent Bar in terms of his knowledge and understanding of the aviation industry and the diversity of his aviation legal experience.
Matthew Reeve - Quadrant ChambersWith a strategic understanding of the issues that need litigating and an understanding of complex failures in aircraft, Matthew is an exceptional barrister. Equally at home on paper and on his feet, he is tenacious and pragmatic when needed.
Giles Robertson - Fountain Court ChambersGiles is a fantastic junior and without hesitation one of the first people we will contact when a tricky matter comes our way. He is intellectually fearsome and is able to combine his great knowledge of the law with solid, practical commercial advice.
Bajul Shah - XXIV Old BuildingsA very strong, sensible and calm advocate. He is a pleasure to deal with and always very clear in his advice.
Koye Akoni - Quadrant ChambersA towering yet calm presence, Koye has judgement beyond his years and is a true force to be reckoned with. A superstar at the aviation Bar: he is fantastic, really talented, super clever, great with clients, and a joy to work with.
James Duffy - Fountain Court ChambersJames is highly intelligent and very able to advise on complex aviation disputes. He picks matters up quickly, delivers succinct advice and is approachable in order to stress test that advice.
Arshad Ghaffar - XXIV Old BuildingsHe has excellent knowledge of aviation matters.
Katherine Howells - Old Square ChambersKatherine is a leading aviation specialist with a burgeoning portfolio of grateful clients. A real passion for the subject-matter backed by research and academic rigour.
Stephanie Barrett - Quadrant ChambersShe is a first-rate and fierce advocate.
Emma Hilliard - 7 King's Bench WalkEasy to work with and very focused on quality of advice and pleadings. A very good communicator who will fit in with the wider legal team. Emma has a very bright future.
Erin Hitchens - XXIV Old BuildingsTenacious, hardworking, user-friendly and good intellect, allied to sound legal judgement and commerciality.
Emily McWilliams - Quadrant ChambersShe is considered and erudite in her advice. Her advocacy is composed and quick-witted.
Heather Murphy - XXIV Old BuildingsHeather is very diligent and thorough and takes every point available to her client.
David Murray - Fountain Court ChambersDavid has a real eye for technical detail but without losing focus on the overall picture.
Malcolm Birdling - Brick Court ChambersMalcolm has an absolutely first-rate understanding of public law. He also drafts pleadings really really well in a precise but persuasive style.
Cleon Catsambis - 3 Verulam BuildingsCleon in expert in his field who is able to deliver advice pragmatically in uncomplicated language.
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.
Max Davidson - Quadrant ChambersHe knows clients’ strengths and weaknesses, always making them feel more knowledgeable.
Elizabeth Lindesay - 7 King's Bench WalkHighly intelligent and very hardworking.
Mark Stiggelbout - Quadrant ChambersHe has impressive drafting skills.
Harry Wright - 7 King's Bench WalkCalm and assured, Harry is destined for great things.

Rising Stars

Max Archer - 12 King's Bench WalkMax is logical, considered, knowledgeable and an excellent advocate. I fully expect even greater things from Max and that in years to come, he will establish himself as a leading aviation barrister.
Tom Stewart Coats - XXIV Old BuildingsTom is really likeable and a team player. He generates ideas and really contributes. He is a highly intelligent and effective litigator, is highly responsive, and a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend.
Nicolas Damjanovic - Fountain Court ChambersNicolas is an outstanding lawyer and real start to watch. He has a mature understanding of the aviation industry and brings razor-sharp analysis to any problem.

Aviation in London Bar

Fountain Court Chambers

Considered an 'excellent set' with 'a number of great juniors and silks' Fountain Court Chambers is highly regarded for its continued expertise in commercial aviation disputes, catastrophic claims, and regulation matters. Michael McLaren QC acted for Olympic Council of Asia, the organising body for Asian nations in relation to the Olympic Games, in a $14.4m claim regarding an aircraft leasing and purchase agreement for an executive jet. Akhil Shah QC, Bankim Thanki QC and Rosalind Phelps QC frequently advise the Civil Aviation Authority at silk level on major regulation matters, and are regulatory instructed as sole counsel by clients involving high-value disputes. In 2020, John Taylor QC acted for Ryanair, defending a claim for $40m by an aircraft lessor. Giles Robertson is noted for being instructed on major Covid-19 related disputes.



Fountain Court is surely the leading set in aviation at the English bar. It has a wealth of experience and talent at the top end, and excellent juniors who start in aviation from the very beginning of their tenancies.’

Fountain Court is my first choice set for aviation matters. They have a number of great juniors and silks. You know that you are going to get someone who can do a great job.

Fountain Court is one of the go-to set of Chambers for aviation related matters. We can trust them to provide counsel who are reliable, dependable, efficient, responsive and client friendly. In particular we enjoy how they have trained their juniors to produce speaking notes for major conference calls and meetings, which are very helpful.

Quadrant Chambers

With a 'wide range of counsel' and 'excellent barristers', Quadrant Chambers is considered by clients a 'go-to set' for high-profile aviation work in the UK. Members' work extends to cover complex arbitrations, inquests, and commercial disputes. Koye Akoni has been instructed on major international commercial disputes, particularly involving insolvency, while Mark Stiggelbout has represented parties in both court and arbitration proceedings.



Quadrant clearly have a wide range of expertise in the transport arena. They have a wide range of counsel of varying experience and I have been impressed with all the juniors I have used. By in large, counsel at Quadrant are approachable and easy to deal with and are keen to accommodate our needs.’

One of the best, if not the best, for aviation, Quadrant provides strength in depth with unrivalled experience in serving the disparate needs of the industry.’

XXIV Old Buildings

Considered a ‘very efficient, personable and helpful‘ set in the aviation sector, XXIV Old Buildings is a key resource for aviation lessors, manufacturers, and airlines, primarily in private law disputes. Steven Thompson QC is considered an ‘excellent advocate‘ by his peers, while juniors Bajul Shah and Arshad Ghaffar are notable for their work on high-value claims. Erin Hitchens focuses primarily on matters in the Commercial Court. Tom Stewart Coats is another key individual. As of April 2021 Philip Shepherd QC is practicing from his own chambers.