23 Essex Street's commercial group is 'populated by like-minded and able barristers who pull-together' and are 'gaining a strong reputation in Manchester'. With a broad commercial litigation and arbitration practice, with particular expertise in unjust enrichment, company, insolvency, banking, and sports disputes, Brad Pomfret is praised by solicitors for being 'persuasive; calm and confident. He is a reassuring presence in court. He is accessible; hands-on and liked by clients'. Pomfret is currently acting in a claim for breach of confidence and related actions against former employees who left the claimant and joined a competitor. The set also receives praise for its 'very responsive' clerks who are 'at the forefront with their training offering'.
Commercial litigation in Regional Bar
9 St John Street
Clients go to 9 St John Street for its members 'professionalism, dedication, and technical excellence'. An 'excellent all-rounder', James Fryer-Spedding was successful in establishing fraud and obtaining a judgment with indemnity costs for the claimant in Bovinex Ltd v Lomas & Others, a dispute over the price of sheep exported from the UK to Germany by the claimant's agents; the defendant claimed it was entitled to set off against the liability to pay the price for their costs and an independent alleged debt. Also in chambers, Andrew Clark is instructed in a multi-claimant action brought by 351 borrowers against a high-cost short-term lender under the unfair relationship provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Byrom Street Chambers' Simon Myerson QC is experienced across a broad range of commercial disputes. Recent instructions of note include acting for the defendants in allegations of civil fraud in the context of the purchase of shares of a private company and representing the claimant in a £2m claim for negligent performance of a contract to remove asbestos from a Grade 1 listed art deco house, which contaminated the entire property.
Forum Chambers' Susanne Muth, a former investment banker before coming to the Bar, acts in a wide range of banking and financial services disputes, predominantly on behalf of the borrower/customer. Instructing solicitors praise her for providing practical and commercial advice: 'Susanne is formidable, was straight to the point, got straight to the heart of the issue – and wasn’t interested in pursuing arguments without merit'.
Oriel Chambers is 'a friendly and approachable set of chambers. Nothing is too much trouble for them, and the clerks are very knowledgeable.' The head of Chambers, Richard Bradley, is 'a fierce commercial litigator who thrives in a trial environment'. The set is also home to Paul Brant, who acts for both commercial and public sector clients in complex disputes.
'A very strong set for commercial work with a wide range of specialist and experienced counsel and lots of strength in depth', Exchange Chambers is 'brilliant with very capable juniors and a "can-do" attitude from commercial litigation counsel across a broad range of spectrums'. Mark Cawson QC, leading Carly Sandbach, is part of the counsel team instructed in Municipio De Mariana v BHP Group Plc and BHP Group Ltd, a claim by over 200,000 claimants seeking compensation with regard to the collapse of the Fundao Dam in Brazil in 2015. At the junior end, David Went is a specialist competition law practitioner, with instructing solicitors noting that his background as a former partner at Sidley Austin means 'he understands what clients are looking for and gives pragmatic advice'. Similarly, as a former solicitor Stephen Connolly 'has the benefit of being more pragmatic than most barristers and is, therefore, able to be commercial in his approach which is often what the client is needing/wanting'.
Kings Chambers is 'by far the standout set in the North' for commercial disputes. Instructing solicitors say 'there is a good range of counsel in this field within chambers, from pupils to silk. There is a clear focus on developing from within and leading the way in relation to client engagement'. Members are instructed to represent major institutions, public, international, and limited companies, and high-net-worth individuals in complex litigation and arbitration at home and abroad. Instructions include advisory work and disputes over contracts, business sale and purchase, banking and finance, competition, and civil fraud, amongst other areas. The set's silk ranks – containing the highly regarded Lesley Anderson QC, David Casement QC, Paul Chaisty QC, and Mark Harper QC – have been further strengthened after Andrew Grantham QC took silk in early 2020. At the junior end, Neil Berragan and Martin Budworth are standout counsel.
18 St John Street Chambers' Business and Property Department has members working across a wide range of contentious and non-contentious business and property-related instructions, and is also able to offer arbitration and mediation specialists in addition to experienced litigators. Chair of the Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association, Richard Chapman QC has particular expertise in commercial contract and banking disputes, among others. In CW & CG Claims Ltd v Clarkewood Ltd he is representing the defendants, a claims management company, in an almost £10m High Court claim for alleged breach of contract and fraud.
St John's Buildings
St John's Buildings' David Berkley QC has significant experience in commercial and banking and financial litigation, as well as advisory work in disputes of significant complexity and value. At the junior end, Pépin Aslett is acting for numerous investors in the recovery of multi-million-pound losses after insurance from an insurer on the Island of Nevis failed to provide cover in relation to failed property transactions. Meanwhile, Daniel Metcalfe is acting for a claimant IT company in its pursuit of the remainder of its contract term after the defendant terminated a service contract for an alleged breach of a confidentiality clause.