Energy in London Bar
One Essex Court has 'a strong reputation in the energy field and has a number of impressive performers, especially at the silk level', with one client remarking that 'its best are the best in the industry'. Members handle work arising from a broad range of industries, including water, oil and gas, coal, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar, bio-fuel and geothermal energy. Led by 'game-changing barrister' Lord Grabiner QC, the set has leading practitioners including Laurence Rabinowitz QC and John McCaughran QC who together advised defendants in British Gas Trading Limited v Shell UK Ltd and Esso Exploration and Production UK Ltd, a £61m claim for alleged breaches of a long-term gas sales agreement. Among its talented juniors is Laurence Emmett who defended Tradition Financial Services against claims it brokered trades in EU carbon credits. Jack Leppington and the clerking team are 'always efficient and friendly and provide a smooth service'.
4 Pump Court is 'really strong in construction cases with very good silks and a number of impressive up-and-coming juniors and senior juniors'. Sean Brannigan QC frequently handles high-value arbitrations for national governments and large contractors. He recently acted in a £2bn ICC Arbitration arising from the construction of an LNG plant in Africa. Sean O’Sullivan QC has rapidly become a prominent name in the energy sector and he handled a complex LCIA arbitration concerning the rights to oil and gas discovered in East Germany under a joint operating agreement. 'Very capable and intelligent' new silk James Leabeater QC and 'simply outstanding' junior Kate Livesey are also among the set's prominent members for energy disputes. Senior clerks Carl Wall and Stewart Gibbs lead a team that is 'easy to talk to, gives good service and represents the chambers very well'.
Atkin Chambers is 'the unrivalled top-end construction set in the UK' and has 'an impressive range of skills and experience for construction, energy, and infrastructure'. Its members frequently act for many of the world’s energy majors in matters relating to large-scale energy projects and involving complex technical issues. Clients praise standout performers including head of chambers Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, Nicholas Dennys QC, and Andrew White QC, whose work includes disputes arising from gas-related power plant and extraction projects in Africa. Rupert Choat, who handled a TCC litigation between client Equitix and its O&M contractor concerning a biomass plant in Sheffield, and Mark Chennells are among the set's outstanding juniors both in court and in international arbitration. 'The clerks are accessible and a pleasure to deal with, going above and beyond in providing patient help and assistance in complicated cases', remarks one client.
Brick Court Chambers has 'a deserved reputation as the pre-eminent commercial set at the London bar' and clients note that it has 'great depth at all levels and you can rely on its barristers to provide a premium service'. Energy is a key focus for the set's commercial work and its members handle high-value contractual disputes on behalf of large oil and gas and mining companies. Among its key members are Mark Howard QC who represented the claimants in Single Buoy Moorings v Zurich, which concerns the abandonment of a North Sea Oil platform, as well as the 'extremely dedicated' Fionn Pilbrow QC and 'independent-minded' Richard Eschwege. 'The clerks are keen to build relationships and demonstrate a good understanding of commercial realities', remarks a client.
Essex Court Chambers is 'at top of the tree with great strength in depth', remarks one client. A prominent set for international arbitration, it has several members who appear in large-scale energy litigation. Although David Foxton QC was appointed to the High Court Bench in early 2020 the set retains 'many junior silks and senior juniors with real strength in this area'. Among these are Jern-Fei Ng QC, who took silk in 2018, and Siddharth Dhar, who acted for Karkey in an $845m dispute concerning the provision of Turkish electric power barges for the supply of electricity to the city of Karachi. Paul Key QC acted as lead counsel for National Iranian Gas Corporation in its on-going defence of a $5bn energy arbitration claim brought by Turkmenistan. One client notes that 'you cannot fault the clerks room, which is efficient and friendly, and Joe Ferrigno is a fantastic senior clerk'.
Keating Chambers is 'a go-to chambers for serious construction and energy disputes with good depth of experience and high-quality juniors and silks'. Members frequently act in disputes in the energy sector involving complex technical issues, given that a number of the set's barristers having a dual qualification in engineering. Their work covers high-value arbitrations concerning coal-fired power stations, oil production, LNG plants and nuclear power generation. Adam Constable QC has extensive knowledge of large-scale construction projects. Sean Wilken QC, who recently joined from 39 Essex Chambers, handled a force majeure claim arising from an international border dispute between Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire which halted international deep-water exploration in Ghana. 'Calm and considered' Paul Buckingham is among the set's most prominent juniors and Emma Healiss is considered a rising star in chambers. One client remarks that the set has 'the best clerks room in the city – helpful, efficient, responsive and polite'.
39 Essex Chambers 'has more strength and depth in the energy field than many of its competitors', according to one client. Another notes that 'its barristers appear very well skilled and have good analysis capabilities'. Its members act for oil exploration and refining companies, infrastructure contractors, utilities, governments and state-owned entities, regulators, insurers and commodity traders. Stephen Tromans QC is among the UK's leading silks for nuclear energy cases. Stuart Catchpole QC stands out for his construction work in the energy sector and he recently handled an appeal to the Privy Council in Botas v Tepe, which concerns the construction of a pipeline in Turkey. Jess Connors and Duncan Sinclair are among the set's prominent juniors. The clerks are 'all very helpful and set the benchmark for others to follow'.
7 King's Bench Walk has 'unrivalled depth in the insurance space, not to mention commercial and marine work' and one client remarks that is is 'a go-to set due to the consistent quality of its members and the work they do'. The set is strong in shipping, insurance and commodities, which naturally leads to high-value energy cases, among which are matters concerning pipelines, oil production, renewable energy and LNG. David Allen QC recently handled a complex case concerning payment for drilling under a North Sea oil Farmout Agreement, and the relationship between that contract and a joint venture operations agreement. For one client, senior clerk Bernie Hyatt and his team are 'the best in the business, always extremely helpful and a pleasure to deal with'.
Quadrant Chambers is 'one of the go-to sets for shipping and energy disputes', and its members are praised for 'understanding clients' needs and internal procedures'. Energy is an increasingly prominent focus for its members, notably upstream and downstream matters in the oil and gas industry. Lionel Persey QC is a leading light in upstream oil and gas cases involving drilling, design, construction and maintenance of offshore and onshore structures and vessels. Chris Smith QC, who took silk in 2019, represented the operator in Golar-Nor UK v BP Exploration, a Commercial Court claim concerning the operation of an FPSO in the Foinaven field. Senior clerks Simon Slattery and Gary Ventura are 'a terrific double act and they build really deep relationships with solicitors whilst taking care of business very effectively'.
Twenty Essex has 'very successfully tapped into the need to market and is a set of the future' in the energy market, with clients remarking that it is 'a modern-thinking set, keen to work in partnership with those instructing them'. Strong in shipping, commodities and commercial litigation, the set increasingly handles a broad range of energy disputes relating to oil and gas including rig construction and LNG supply matters, as well as cases in the renewable energy sector. The 'very knowledgeable and sharp' Charles Kimmins QC advised respondents in a substantial dispute concerning the construction of a jack-up drilling rig. Of the clerks, clients note that 'they really understand the set having been there for many years but are still young and enthusiastic'.
3 Verulam Buildings is 'evidently a strong set with breadth and depth of quality' and clients report that its members are 'very user-friendly'. The set is known for its expertise in banking and commercial litigation but its members also appear frequently in court and arbitration cases concerning oil fields, mines and technical issues related to the operation of oil and gas pipelines. New silks Christopher Harris QC, who represented the claimant in Forum International v OOS International which concerned high-value oil exploration assets in Brazil, and Nicholas Craig QC are among the set's most active members in energy disputes. Juniors Paul Wee, who appeared in English enforcement proceedings concerning the $50bn arbitral awards obtained by former shareholders of Yukos under the Energy Charter Treaty, and Jane Davies Evans are highly recommended; Mark Wassouf is a rising star in chambers. 'The clerks are good - responsive, approachable and keen to help', remarks one client.
Blackstone Chambers joins the ranking this year and is praised as 'a first-rate set with a great number of talented barristers'. Skilled in commercial litigation, regulatory, environmental and public law, its members frequently act in high-value matters in highly regulated sectors including the energy industry. Alan Maclean QC's broad commercial and public law practice includes numerous energy cases and he recently led Tom Coates in a judicial review by British Gas of Ofgem's domestic retail energy price cap. He also appeared for the CMA in an appeal brought by against Ofgem by EDF and SSE challenging the charges paid by electricity generators for use of the electricity transmission system. Hanif Mussa and Emily Neill are among the set's talented juniors, while Tom Coates is a rising star in chambers.