Banking and finance (including consumer credit) in London Bar
3 Verulam Buildings has 'huge strength in depth' and is 'definitely our go-to chambers for all things banking and finance'. 'The expertise of its barristers from the most senior members of chambers to the most junior is exceptional' and clients also appreciate the 'excellent engagement and teamwork'. From smaller claims on which the juniors cut their teeth, through to the highest-profile cases on the market, the set is a mainstay of the banking market. Notable recent cases include BNP Paribas v TRM, in which Adrian Beltrami QC is leading Christopher Bond, and Farol v Clydesdale Bank Plc, in which Andrew Onslow QC is representing the claimants and Richard Hanke is on the defence.
Fountain Court Chambers is 'a go-to set for the banking, financial services and financial crime fields', with 'enormous strength in depth from junior to senior leading counsel'. Clients note that 'the set has a knack for attracting the best of the best – who also happen to be nice people'. Major cases include Law Debenture v Ukraine, in which Bankim Thanki QC and Simon Atrill defended the Ukraine on a $3bn Eurobond loan default claim. Another highlight was Arena Plaza Jersey Limited Partnership and others v N M Rothschild & Sons Limited and others, where Patricia Robertson QC and Natasha Bennett successfully defended NM Rothschild.
One Essex Court has 'strength in depth that is among the very best at the bar'. Clients commend 'a high level of client service' and 'brilliant technical advice', along with a willingness 'to use new technology tools', and 'they understand the need to be accessible and modern in their approach'. Highlight cases include Red Kite Management Limited & Ors v Barclays Bank PLC in which Orlando Gledhill QC and Laurence Rabinowitz QC are facing Alain Choo Choy QC. Six members are involved in FDIC v Barclays, Lloyds, HBOS, RBS, Deutsche Bank & Other banks, with Sonia Tolaney QC, David Wolfson QC, Conall Patton QC and Nehali Shah among those representing the defendants.
Brick Court Chambers is a 'go-to set for banking and finance work with some true stars and incredible strength in depth'. The set 'offers the whole package' and is noted for its 'large group of very talented barristers'. Its offering at the junior end was strengthened by the arrival of the highly-rated James McClelland from Fountain Court Chambers. Noteworthy cases include Republic of Mozambique v Credit Suisse in which Helen Davies QC and Tony Singla are leading the defence for Credit Suisse. Another highlight has been Banca Intesa Sanpaolo and Dexia Crediop v City of Venice in which Jasbir Dhillon QC is leading Geoffrey Kuehne.
Essex Court Chambers is 'always one of our first ports of call' for banking and finance disputes, and is 'particularly good on complex cases with an international element'. The chambers stands out for having 'an absolutely fabulous set of senior juniors'. Market-defining cases are a matter of course, such as PCP Capital Partners LLP v Barclays Plc, in which Joe Smouha QC and James Sheehan are representing the claimant. Nathan Pillow QC and David Davies are among a team of four members representing the claimant in Bank Trust v Yurov & others, with James Willan on the opposing team.
South Square is 'the leading set, by far, for restructuring and insolvency work and outstanding for broader related work such as banking and finance (contentious and advisory)'. Clients also consider it a 'go-to set for structured finance – they are very consistent across the piece'. Highlight cases include Winterbrook Special Opportunities v Novo Banco in which Tom Smith QC led for Winterbrook and Daniel Bayfield QC was among the opposing counsel. Several members were involved in Primeo Fund v HSBC, including William Willson on behalf of the respondents, and Smith and Richard Fisher QC representing the claimants.
4 Stone Buildings has long had a firm foothold in the banking litigation market. Related insolvency disputes feature high on the agenda, as do broader finance claims, not only in the UK, but also the Middle East and various offshore jurisdictions. Notable examples include Al Khorafi v Bank Sarasin-Alpen, in which multiple members were involved, including Richard Hill QC, Sharif Shivji QC (who took silk in 2020) and Alastair Tomson. Another highlight was Singularis Holdings v Daiwa Capital Markets Europe in which Jonathan Crow QC and Andrew de Mestre QC successfully represented the claimant before the Supreme Court.
Blackstone Chambers is a 'market-leading set' that provides 'excellent service'. As well as financial services regulatory matters, the set is highly rated for broader banking and finance disputes and is praised for its ability 'to provide suitable alternative barristers of the same quality and standard' if original choices are busy. A notable recent case was Roman Pipia v BGEO Group LTD which involved five members at varying stages, including Andrew George QC and Andrew Hunter QC respectively, acting for the claimants and defendant. Javan Herberg QC was also involved in PCP Partners v Barclays Bank, leading ex-CEO John Varley's intervention.
Gough Square Chambers is 'excellent for any consumer credit or mortgage regulatory advice' and clients appreciate its 'perfect balance of seniors and juniors'. Clients also credit 'a real sense of team in chambers', and the fact that more senior members such as Fred Philpott 'has helped pass the baton to junior members where appropriate'. Notable case highlights include Kerrigan & Ors v Elevate Credit, in which Ruth Bala acted for the defendant, and Milne v Open Access Finance Ltd where Iain MacDonald also represented the defendant. Thomas Samuels also achieved a successful result for the defendant in Promontoria (Henrico) Ltd v Samra.
Henderson Chambers is 'at the forefront of consumer credit' and praised for its 'strength-in-depth and availability'. Its silks and juniors are 'always very personable' and clients are 'grateful for the commercial acumen they bring'. The set is a popular with the major banks and several challenger banks, and members such as Richard Mawrey QC, Julia Smith and William Hibbert are very active on the advisory front. Notable case highlights included Toby Riley-Smith QC's advice to Intrum UK Finance on Intrum Finance v Baldwin. Henry Warwick QC, who recently took silk, was also involved in Praetura Asset Finance v Prime Industries.
Quadrant Chambers has 'a number of barristers who have well-deserved reputations for excellence in banking and finance work'. Paul Downes QC has a strong reputation, particularly for disputes with a fraud element, and recently led Emily Saunderson in N v RBS. Among the juniors, Liisa Lahti has established a very strong reputation, and was part of the team representing the claimants in Aldersgate et al v Bank of Scotland, in which four separate claims were heard concurrently. Stewart Chirnside also represented the claimant in Saxo Bank A/S v Gaitameonline Co Ltd.
Serle Court is an 'excellent commercial set' whose members are often instructed on market-leading and complex banking and finance disputes, including many with an international angle. Recent mandates include The Public Institution for Social Security v Al-Rajaan, a dispute involving Kuwait's state pension fund in which Philip Marshall QC and Simon Hattan represented one of the defendants. David Blayney QC is regularly involved in heavyweight disputes, including ongoing proceedings linked to the Lehman Brothers collapse. Rupert Reed QC is often silk of choice for Middle Eastern financial disputes, such as (1) First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC (2) FAB Securities LLC v. Larmag Holdings BV before the DIFC Court and Court of Appeal.
Twenty Essex has several silks and juniors with a strong grounding in this area, particularly in disputes relating to futures and derivatives, and on claims with a trade, offshore, fraud or insolvency element. Paul Lowenstein QC and and Tony Beswetherick are currently representing Alfa Bank in Alfa Bank v Abyzov, Emmerson and others. Lowenstein is also acting for the claimants, alongside Luke Pearce, in two separate claims against HBOS: Dove v HBOS, and Wells v HBOS. A highlight for Philip Edey QC has been his advice to Boris Mints on PJSC National Bank and PJSC Bank Otkritie v Boris Mints and Others.
XXIV Old Buildings is 'a fantastic set' where 'everyone has been great - really down to earth and user friendly'. The chambers has 'really increased the depth of its expertise over recent years' and its members are 'extremely cost effective'. Its members have good expertise in hedge fund and structured investment vehicle-related matters, mis-selling claims and cross-border insolvencies. Highlight cases include Al Sadik v Investcorp BSC where Michael Black QC and Sarah Bayliss represented the claimant. Stephen Moverley Smith QC also represented the defendants Société Générale v Goldas, while Francis Tregear QC led Alexander Pelling in Janus Capital Management LLC v Safeguard World International Ltd.
4 Pump Court is praised for its 'relationship-led approach'. The set has several silks and juniors with a strong grounding in banking disputes who are regularly instructed by the major banks. This has included significant roles in major FX, PPI and derivatives disputes that have dominated the market since the 2008 financial crisis. Members are also called upon for disputes with an international dimension, such as State Bank of India v Mallya, in which Nigel Tozzi QC led the team on behalf of the Indian banks. Tozzi also led Adam Temple in IDBI Bank v Axcel, also on behalf of the Indian bank.
Maitland Chambers offers a selection of 'extremely hardworking and excellent barristers' who are 'very easy to work with and pragmatic'. Well known for its expertise in areas such as Chancery and fraud, several members are also highly active on the banking front. Notable case highlights include Red Kite Management Limited v Barclays Bank plc in which Catherine Newman QC and Alec McCluskey represented the hedge fund, Red Kite. Members are also experienced in banking disputes with a property or offshore element.
Radcliffe Chambers is 'highly approachable and happy to assist' and the barristers 'are all experts in their field and highly commercial in their advice'. The set has a good reputation for consumer finance and more general banking disputes. The retirement of Malcolm Waters QC, long considered a doyen of consumer finance law, is a loss, although juniors such as Mark Fell remain well respected in this area. Jeremy Cousins QC is also recommended, with his work often overlapping onto the insolvency side, as demonstrated by his advice to the claimant on CNM Estates (Tolworth Tower) Ltd v VeCREF I SARL.