Serle Court is seen by a number of clients as 'a go-to set in this area' and its members are frequently instructed on heavyweight trusts matters, both contentious and advisory. Chambers' coverage spans the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the BVI and Channel Islands, with a recent highlight of Jonathan Adkin QC's global practice seeing him represent the latter party in Winston Wong v Grand View Private Trust Company Ltd & Others, a $15bn trusts dispute at the Bermuda Supreme Court. Several members of chambers are also involved in that matter, including Richard Wilson QC, Jonathan Harris QC and Adil Mohamedbhai, while John Machell QC appeared before the Bermuda Court of Appeal in January 2021 in a different $8bn trusts case. Senior junior Kathryn Purkis, a former managing partner of Collas Crill in Jersey, continues to operate a standout practice in the Channel Islands, her 2021 work covering trusts, fraud and property matters.
Offshore in London Bar
‘Serle Court has an excellent profile in offshore work.‘
‘Serle Court offers an unrivalled selection of barristers (breadth and depth) to assist with every aspect of offshore disputes.‘
‘A very strong set of chambers for offshore trust work.‘
‘Serle Court is a go-to chambers for specialist trust advice in relation to Cayman Islands trust matters.‘
‘My go-to set in this area, with an exceptionally strong bench of juniors and silks.‘
‘Very good. I know I can rely on them when recommending a barrister that I haven’t worked with before.‘
‘The clerks are efficient.‘
‘An excellent clerking team.‘
‘Very responsive. Steve Whitaker and Paul Ballard have been particularly helpful to me over the years.‘
‘We generally deal with Steve Whitaker and Paul Ballard, both of whom are extremely responsive and helpful.‘
A 'go-to set for anything complex', South Square excels in offshore insolvency cases, including some of the biggest matters involving heavyweight allegations of fraud. Tom Smith QC is lead counsel to the plaintiff in Primeo vs HSBC, one of the largest trials in Cayman Island history, and includes two trips to the Privy Council in 2021. Several members continue to be engaged in the fallout of the collapse of private equity house Abraaj, and Felicity Toube QC is working on the long-running AHAB vs Saad litigation. Chambers has a particularly strong Cayman caseload but also acts in a number of significant matters across the Caribbean, with David Alexander QC's litigation-based practice seeing a lot of Hong Kong-related BVI disputes. Exceptional juniors Adam Al-Attar, Toby Brown and William Willson all have experience in some of the biggest recent cases in offshore jurisdictions.
‘South Square has a dominant hold on much of the offshore litigation in Grand Cayman.‘
‘They have made particularly strong progress in Cayman Islands offshore insolvency work.‘
‘South Square unquestionably have a special relationship with the Cayman Islands and its law firms.‘
‘They are unparalleled in the insolvency space and we see them all the time in Cayman.‘
‘My go-to set for anything complex and they consistently deliver excellent results.‘
‘The clerks are as as consistently excellent as the barristers in chambers.‘
‘Dylan Playfoot, Jim Costa and Chris Filby have always been highly responsive and commercially minded.‘
‘Dylan Playfoot is the most efficient clerk I have ever dealt with.‘
‘The South Square clerks are highly responsive and all completely familiar with the procedures and arrangements required when instructing a silk for Cayman Islands and other offshore work.‘
‘Mike Killick, Chris Filby and Jim Costa are all very easy to work with, negotiate fees with and deal with billing issues.‘
‘One of the pre-eminent offshore sets‘, Wilberforce Chambers has a presence across all of the principal offshore jurisdictions, with expertise in company-related litigation and seen as ‘one of the strongest in the area of trusts.‘ Thomas Lowe QC, John Wardell QC and 2020 silk Andrew Mold QC are acting for different parties in a case regarding an application to wind-up the Torchlight investment fund, which is now one of the longest-running recent Cayman Island cases. Clare Stanley QC is acting for the joint official liquidators of Ardent in BDO (Cayman) Ltd v Ardent Harmony Fund Inc (in Official Liquidation), while David Phillips QC is representing the former party in the politically sensitive litigation Estate Management and Business Development Co Ltd v Namalco Construction Services Ltd & Ors. On the junior side, Graeme Halkerston continues to impress, recently acting for liquidators of Global Steel Holdings in recovery investigations.
‘Wilberforce are a very reliable set in which you know you can rely on the high quality and reputation of any one who you instruct.‘
‘Wilberforce is a force to be reckoned with in the offshore trusts world.‘
‘They are one of the pre-eminent offshore sets and have extensive strength in depth at all levels.‘
‘Clearly one of the top sets in the field.‘
‘They are a major player in the offshore market.‘
‘The clerks are very responsive and offer a first rate service.‘
‘Nick Luckman and Mark Rushton are both charming, responsive and professional.‘
‘Very good – Andrew Barnes and Fraser Geddes in particular.‘
‘The clerks room is excellent. Andrew Barnes is one of the best in the field and Jess Edson is a pleasure to deal with.‘
‘The service provided is well-organised and professional.‘
Covering insolvency, trust disputes and commercial litigation, XXIV Old Buildings has 'for many years been one of the premier sets with a focus on the offshore market.' Members' work covers a breadth of jurisdictions: in Bermuda, Francis Tregear QC is instructed in the large-scale B Trust litigation before the Court of Appeal. In the Cayman Islands Robert Levy QC has become a go-to name for dissenter appraisal cases, Nicole Langlois is a former litigation partner at Carey Olsen, and as a Jersey advocate gave expert evidence in The Serious Fraud Office & anor v Litigation Capital Limited & ors in February 2021. Other names to note include Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, who continues to be a leading name in offshore litigation, and Stephen Thompson QC, who was particularly active in Bermudan cases recently, including being instructed by Point Investments to oppose a winding up petition and provision liquidation application.
‘As a whole, XXIV Old Buildings has always struck me as a set with a lot of depth and quality.‘
‘Impressive chambers. Well managed and a depth of quality counsel.‘
‘They increasingly dominate in the offshore world.‘
‘The set has a weight of experience in offshore work.‘
‘XXIV have for many years been one of the premier sets with a focus on the offshore market.‘
‘Very personable and cooperative clerks, particularly Paul Horsfield.‘
‘Paul Horsfield in particular is extremely user friendly and conscientious.‘
‘Paul Horsfeld is incredibly responsive and polite and has his finger on the pulse of the market.‘
‘James Ladbrook offers a first class problem solving service.‘
‘A first-rate clerking team who are straightforward and easy to deal with.‘
Praised by one client for 'growing and improving all the time', 3 Verulam Buildings had another strong year of offshore work, with highlights including David Quest QC leading Philip Hinks in acting for the former party in Banque Havilland v Christophe Mazurier, a $10m fraud action before the Supreme Court of the Bahamas. In the BVI, Hefin Rees QC is acting for the claimant in Holm v Sancus Financial Holdings, a dispute over the ownership of the newest bank to be licensed in the BVI for the last 20 years, to be heard at the Privy Council in 2021. Among the sets eclectic mix of cases, Hodge Malek QC acted for the trustee of a multi billion dollar Bermudian trust in a judicial review concerning the Bermudian Police Service.
‘3VB has great strength in depth, especially amongst the juniors, and is one of the go-to sets.‘
‘Great set; experienced barristers at varying levels of seniority.‘
‘They have an enviable roster of both leading and junior counsel.‘
‘Growing presence as a leading set in the offshore market.‘
‘A quality set, through and through.‘
‘Stuart Pullum is a really excellent clerk. He is responsive, and commercial and also very clear in his communication.‘
‘3VB’s clerks are first rate. In particular, I can speak to the quality of Stuart Pullum and James Kelly.‘
‘Stuart Pullum is incredibly experienced and knowledgeable, and has his finger on the pulse of the scene both in London and offshore.‘
‘The clerks at 3VB are prompt with answering queries and providing assistance where necessary.‘
‘A really friendly bunch of clerks, with good service provided.‘
3 Hare Court's offshore work is best known by its representation of government entities, with its public law practitioners displaying 'quality from top on down'. Members frequently appear before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, with Aidan Casey QC appearing in several Mauritian cases in that forum. Elsewhere, Tom Poole QC took silk in March 2021, having had extensive experience of appellate advocacy before Court of Appeal, the Privy Council and the Supreme Court. James Guthrie QC continued to work in key cases, including representing Delta Petroleum against British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporation in a Privy Council appeal regarding a contract dispute.
‘Quality from top on down.‘
‘All the clerks are extremely helpful, professional, and responsive.‘
‘Clerks are very responsive and commercial – special mention to Toby Eales and James Donovan.‘
‘James Donovan is very personable and has a great deal of experience and knowledge of the chambers’ strengths.‘
‘The clerks are very responsive and helpful.‘
'A highly effective set with increasing strength in depth for offshore work', 4 New Square's practitioners are frequent fixtures in finance-focused matters across the Caribbean, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Commercial litigation specialist Justin Fenwick QC has been leading 2021 silk appointment George Spalton QC in Eurochem v Rogalskiy and others, acting for the claimants in civil fraud proceedings that have reached the Privy Council. Professional negligence and regulatory work are key areas of work for the set in the London courts, and the set's members are equally active in offshore cases of that nature - Graham Chapman QC represents the claimants in Arnage Holding Ltd v Walkers; the claimants allege that the offshore law firm acted for them but then switched sides, accepted instructions to act against them by a liquidator seeking to recover alleged proceeds of the Brazilian Mensalão political scandal.
‘Well deserved and growing recognition as a leading set in the offshore market.‘
‘4 New Square is developing a strong reputation in Cayman for its work in professional liability, commercial litigation and commercial arbitration.‘
‘A highly effective set with increasing strength in depth for offshore work.‘
‘Real expertise for commercial and business orientated matters.‘
‘Great strength in depth. A suitable barrister usually available.‘
‘The clerks room at 4 New Square are one of the best in the business.‘
‘Lizzy Stewart, Alex Dolby and Dennis Peck run a tight ship, are highly commercial and will always solve problems.‘
‘Good service from the clerks and a well-led team.‘
‘Excellent service. Lizzie Stewart stands out.‘
‘Excellent, professional and responsive. Would single out for mention Chris Ebdon and Adam Homes.‘
Essex Court Chambers members are frequent fixtures in in long-standing commercial dispute resolution and chancery commercial litigation across the Caribbean. Paul McGrath QC had a standout year, advising Convoy as the appellant in Convoy v Roy Cho and Broad Idea, which was heard by the Privy Council in February 2021. Appointed silk in March 2021, James Willan QC is retained to act for Madam Yao in her appeal to the Privy Council in shareholder dispute Yao Jun v Kwok Kin Kwok & Crown Treasure Group Ltd.
‘Essex Court Chambers is brimming with talent.‘
‘Good strength in depth and generally user-friendly.‘
‘Very strong in the area of arbitration with a number of very qualified senior practitioners.‘
Members of Fountain Court Chambers bring strong practices in commercial, fraud, banking and financial services, as well as company and insolvency law, to clients needing representation in a range of offshore jurisdictions. Head of Chambers Bankim Thanki QC has been acting for Ukrainian oligarchs Sergii Lagur and Stepan Ivakhiv in an $800m fraud dispute in the BVI, and Ben Valentin QC represents the AwalCo Respondents in the AHAB v Saad litigation. Nico Leslie is the set's standout junior in this area, acting for defendant law firm in the $400m Cayman Islands professional liability case, Arnage Holdings v Walkers. Michael Green QC (as was) was appointed to the Chancery Division of the High Court bench in October 2020.
‘An exceptionally strong set. They never overtrade and always deliver a quality work product.‘
‘Excellent overall – dependable, willing to assist and extremely bright.‘
‘Fountain has a deep and varied bench, incredibly bright and genuinely interesting people and not just barristers.‘
‘Strong depth in company expertise.‘
‘Alex Taylor is the most knowledgeable, reliable and trustworthy clerk in London. His client service is second to none, he always delivers and never overpromises. He is a credit to Fountain Court.‘
‘Dynamic, helpful, responsive clerking that has a truly international gaze and who work very hard to keep the stable busy and evinces a healthy and progressive attitude to the career trajectory of the full range of talent.‘
‘Good service overall. Sam Ismail is helpful and responds to requests in a timely manner.‘
‘Excellent and responsive.‘
With long-standing experience in litigation and advisory work that covers the business, financial and property sectors, Maitland Chambers has developed notable strength in offshore jurisdictions at both silk and junior level. A recent highlight at chambers has seen Richard Morgan QC representing Broad Idea International against Convoy Collateral in an expedited Privy Council appeal concerning the court’s power to grant freezing injunctions against third parties and in support of foreign proceedings. Thomas Fletcher has been acting in Investec Trust (Guernsey) Ltd v Glenalla Properties Ltd – another Guernsey case in the Tchenguiz saga – in further Guernsey and Privy Council proceedings, while Andrew Westwood continues to have a diverse practice in various jurisdictions including the BVI, Cayman Islands and Guernsey.
‘One of the best sets for BVI work. Excellent strength in depth.‘
‘Maitland chambers are extremely capable and are my go to for assistance.‘
‘Broadly a strong set for chancery commercial and offshore work, with many good quality counsel at all levels.‘
‘A great set with a good range of excellent barristers at all levels.‘
‘They know the offshore legal industry very well and they are regularly big players in this area.‘
‘The clerking is excellent and they genuinely understand the nuances of disputes being run in this jurisdiction and do not seek to shoehorn everything into the English approach.‘
‘A strong group ably led by John Wiggs.‘
‘John Wiggs is always good to go to and comes back quickly with a number of options and sensible proposals.‘
‘The clerks at Maitland are excellent. Very responsive, helpful and commercial.‘
‘Extremely responsive and flexible. Clerks are able to have sensible conversations and really go the extra mile to recommend people for cases.‘
'Very strong at all levels in the contentious trusts and probate areas', Ten Old Square's members focus their offshore work on private client, trusts and partnerships. A team of Simon Taube QC, Eason Rajah QC and James MacDougald have been acting for the latter party in Dawson-Damer v Grampian Trustee Company in the Bahamian courts, a case which has in the past featured issues about trustees' duties of confidentiality meshing with data protection law. Head of chambers Francis Barlow QC has particular expertise in drafting Offshore trusts.
‘Excellent chambers punching well over its weight in terms of its size.‘
‘Extremely strong team. From top to bottom one of the best trust chambers in England.‘
‘Ten Old Square is a hidden gem of exceptional barristers.‘
‘A strong set, with many well-known and respected names. A go to Chambers in the chancery field.‘
‘Responsive and efficient. Marc Schofield is easy to deal with and helpful.‘
‘The clerks are exceptional and my favourite set of clerks out there.‘
‘Marc Schofield is invariably pleasant, flexible and straightforward.‘
‘The clerks are, frankly, a joy.‘
A long-standing notable chambers for offshore work, 4 Stone Buildings excels in cross-border contentious and advisory work, corporate and commercial disputes, and international trusts and funds. Orlando Fraser QC led 2021 silk Hermann Boeddinghaus QC in a 12 day BVI Zoom trial in June 2020, acting for the widow and executrix of the estate of a late billionaire in a complex family dispute. On the junior side, Alexander Cook acted as sole counsel in the BVI on a trial over the ownership of a BVI company holding a £2m property in Chelsea Harbour.
‘4 Stone Buildings are riding high at the moment.‘
‘An excellent set of chambers with high quality counsel at the junior end as well as the senior end.‘
‘4 Stone Buildings is a super set.‘
‘David Goddard is particularly outstanding as the head of chambers.‘
‘David Goddard is terrific, top notch and easy to work with. Old school in all the very best of ways.‘
‘David Goddard is the godfather of the clerks room (in a good way) and probably of the barrister’s clerks everywhere – he always knows what’s happening and manages to make things work.‘
‘Ryan Tunkel is incredibly responsive, pragmatic and commercial.‘
‘The clerks are very helpful and in particular they have strong contacts with solicitors firms in London.‘
Praised for its work trusts and financial remedy cases, 5 Stone Buildings has a small but strong team of members dedicated to offshore work. Shân Warnock-Smith QC continues to be involved in major trust and estate cases across the Caribbean, while Penelope Reed QC specialises in trusts, wills, probate and related tax issues, and is acting for the latter party in the long-running Hayward v Bloom and others trusts dispute before the Grand Court of the Bahamas, concerning the estate of the former Wolverhampton Wanderers owner. On the junior side, Matthew Paton remains involved in complex litigation in the Bahamas, and Jordan Holland is noted for his Channel Island practice.
‘The clerks’ room led by Paul Jennings is regularly praised. it is efficient but also easy for clients to deal with.‘
‘Excellent clerking service.‘
Blackstone Chambers has its strengths in public law and commercial disputes, as well as trusts matters, which translate to a solid slate of offshore work across the Caribbean and other commonwealth countries. Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC is noted for advice to governments of the British Overseas Territories on their highest sensitivity matters, and public law expert Tim Parker has recently been instructed in a number of matters in the Caymans involving Hong Kong based companies, and is able contribute experience practicing in the SAR as a full member of Denis Chang’s Chambers.
‘Deservedly a top ranked set.‘
‘I have only had very good experiences of the set as a whole.‘
‘Clerks from Blackstone Chambers are very friendly and often reachable.‘
‘Gary Oliver and Derek Sutton in particular are very impressive.‘
Erskine Chambers focuses its offshore work on high-ticket Chancery matters, particularly in the Cayman Islands. 'A first port of call for black letter law issues', the sets wider strengths in corporate transactions, restructuring and insolvency, civil fraud and financial services, are all reflected in members' work in offshore jurisdictions. Edward Davies QC was instructed to represent IsZo Capital LP as claimant against Nam Tai Inc in action brought to set a $170 million placement of shares. In Tianrui International v Shandong Cement David Chivers QC acted in complex proceedings in the Cayman Island with connections in Hong Kong and Mainland China, and Michael Todd QC has led Andrew Blake in a number of recent shareholder disputes. Stephen Smith QC retired in November 2020.
‘Erskine is at the top of its game.‘
‘A very strong set and a first port of call for black letter law issues.‘
‘Excellent service. Alex Calder in particular is very helpful.‘
Praised as 'a brilliant offshore/civil fraud set', Twenty Essex has grown its offshore offering in recent years, with Andrew Ayres QC the latest addition with a notable practice in offshore litigation. 2020 silk Blair Leahy QC continues to advise in the BVI, Caymans and the East Caribbean on commercial disputes, insolvency and company law matters, including acting for the five claimants in $80m dispute Glen Moar Properties Ltd (and 4 others) v (i) Simon McNally (ii) Simon Cooper in the BVI, a claim involving allegations of breach of duty and knowing receipt against former management of a group of BVI and Manx investment companies. Stephen Atherton QC is a further name to note, leading Sarah Tresman in representing GHF Group and its related funds in two sets of large-scale fraud proceedings in the Cayman Islands.
‘Twenty Essex are a brilliant offshore/civil fraud set. They have an impressive list of counsel at all levels.‘
‘Fantastic, responsive, commercial.‘
‘Clerk service is excellent – we deal with Chris Theobold who is responsive and commercial.‘
‘Chris Theobald is one of the best clerks I have worked with in my 30 year career.‘