The ‘spectacularly good‘ Serle Court remains one of the most pre-eminent sets within the offshore world, with a strong presence in international trusts and probate work. Members of chambers act in a full range of contentious and non-contentious trust cases, from hostile claims for breach of trust to complicated trust restructuring projects. One such example is the case of Kea v Watson, in which Elizabeth Jones KC advised on Kea v Watson, a New Zealand High Court case whereby part of the ongoing enforcement proceedings in the case obtained a sale order in respect the defendant’s interests in New Zealand trust and security structures so as to enforce against the interests of the defendant’s liquidated former company. One of chambers’ standout cases of late has been its involvement in the Wong v Grand View PTC litigation, worth over $15bn, in which Dakis Hagen KC, Emma Hargreaves, Charlotte Beynon and Stephanie Thompson were instructed to represent various parties in a case concerning allegedly invalid Bermuda purpose trusts set up to benefit the heirs of the Formosa Plastics empire, which has generated several interlocutory appeals. Richard Wilson KC has a substantial offshore trust practice, being involved in major international trust cases in the BVI, Grand Court in Cayman, Guernsey, Jersey, The Bahamas and Gibraltar. James Brightwell was appointed a Chancery Master - a full-time judicial role in London - in January 2023.
The English Bar Offshore in The English Bar Offshore
‘Excellent, strong set.’
‘Spectacularly good across the board.’
‘Serle Court is one of the leading sets of chambers with strength and depth in contentious offshore trust matters.’
‘They are a go-to chambers for our firm and we have a number of key relationships with barristers at all levels of experience. Quality is always guaranteed. Their events are also spectacular!’
‘Serle Court are at the top of their game and are consistently within the three go to sets in respect of offshore work (both in chancery and commercial chancery). Their counsel leading and junior are always on hand to assist and their is depth of experience across the offshore world is second to none.’
‘Excellent. Provide a responsive, friendly service.’
South Square is a leading chambers offering offshore financial services, insolvency, company and fraud-related work, with a strong presence in regions such as the Cayman Islands, BVI, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. Various members of chambers including Felicity Toube KC, Richard Fisher KC, Robert Amey , William Willson and others were involved in the Primeo Fund (in liquidation) v HSBC case before the Privy Council, on appeal from the courts in the Cayman Islands, a significant commercial claim concerning a high-quantum claim by the liquidators of a feeder fund into the Madoff Ponzi scheme against HSBC for breach of duty as administrator and custodian of the fund in which Primeo was investing. Glen Davis KC is noted for his specialist knowledge in Guernsey and Gibraltar, where he has acted for and against the Financial Services Commission. Felicity Toube KC is an expert in international proceedings and acts in relation to all major corporate restructurings and litigation. Cayman winding-up petitions are another particular area of expertise for the set’s members.
‘A very strong chambers offshore, excellent reputation and no negative experiences with any of the set.’
‘Go to set for all restructuring and insolvency advice.’
‘There are of course numerous KCs at South Square who regularly appear in Cayman Islands matters, all of whom are very highly regarded; and there are also many strong juniors, e.g. Toby Brown, Edoardo Lupi, Hilary Stonefrost and Lloyd Tamlyn, available when needed on particularly heavy matters.’
‘The leading insolvency and restructuring set.’
‘South Square are the go-to set for offshore insolvency matters (particularly Cayman).’
‘Dylan Playfoot has been my primary point of contact over the years, and is always very helpful and responsive. I have also dealt with Marco Malatesta, Jim Costa and Mike Killick on a number of occasions over the years and would say the same for them.’
Wilberforce Chambers has a reputation for their handling of high profile and important cases across a wide variety of offshore regions, such as Anguilla, Bermuda, Guernsey and further afield. Members of chambers have found themselves at the forefront of ground-breaking cases within various jurisdictions, with noteworthy examples including Equity Trust (Jersey) Ltd v Halabi in which Clare Stanley KC and James Goodwin appeared, concerning issues of how to handle insolvent trusts under Jersey law. Robert Ham KC has a litigation and advisory practice related to trust law pensions, traditional chancery and offshore and enjoy devising complex transactions and drafting documents to give effect to them. Michael Furness KC specialises in occupational pensions, charities, tax and professional negligence claims in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, while Anna Littler is noted for her commercial Chancery practice.
‘Wilberforce offers good strength in breadth of work and depth of barristers. Availability is usually good, and the clerks are clear about it well in advance for work planning purposes. The set has a high profile offshore and makes considerable efforts to build and maintain relationships in the BVI (and the rest of the Caribbean). Overall one of the more forward and market apparent sets, demonstrating real interest in our work.’
‘One of the top sets for offshore counsel.’
‘Deep bench of excellent offshore barristers with experience in company disputes and insolvency.’
‘Excellent counsel who have real depth of expertise in their fields.’
‘An excellent set, probably the leading set, for offshore trust litigation.’
‘The clerks room is mature, experienced and responsive. Practice manager Nick Luckman leads the way in maintaining the set’s profile and sets a professional tone for the clerking team. Within the clerking team Andrew Barnes (for juniors) and Fraser Geddes (for silks) particularly stand out for us.’
XXIV Old Buildings are well regarded for this ‘historical strength in overseas work,‘ with a number of leading silks among its ranks who engage with various major offshore disputes in a wide variety of regions such as the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands. Members of chambers engage in a selection of different areas, such as corporate and commercial matters, trust related work and financial based cases. Alan Steinfeld KC is regarded as a ‘true star of the Bar‘ and is a popular advocate, with cases such as Perry v Lopag Trust Reg and Ors whereby he acted for the opposing counsel in a significant case on the law of equitable mistake in the Cayman Islands. Stephen Moverley Smith KC 's recent highlights include Al Thani v Al Thani, an attempt to enforce a Qatari judgment, validiating an oral will, in the BVI despite the BVI not permitting oral wills. Sarah Bayliss is noted for her strong presence in appearance in high value cases in Gibraltar, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and the BVI including complex offshore trust and investment structures, fraud, banking and insolvency.
‘Simply the best.’
‘I have the highest regard for XXIV Chambers.’
‘They have a historical strength in overseas work.’
‘Good chambers. Strength in depth.’
‘Good chambers for offshore work.’
‘Terrific clerks room with strength and depth and a can do attitude. Nothing is too much trouble.’
3 Verulam Buildings are a strong set in offshore based work, with a particular focus on matters relating to banking and finance disputes in a range of international financial centres. Members of chambers have had a successful year in a good selection of offshore regions, with Hefin Rees KC acting for the claimant in a BVI based shareholder dispute in Holm v Sancus Financial Holdings, whereby Rees successfully defended the trial outcome where his client, a former Bank of America executive, was awarded 22% of the Bank of Asia, a BVI-headquarted bank focussing on the Chinese and Singaporean markets. Members of chambers continually offer their expertise across a range of work including trusts, insolvency, civil fraud, restructuring and commercial cases. Tom Montagu-Smith KC recently joined from XXIV Old Buildings.
4 New Square handles work in a variety of practice areas including commercial litigation and financial based cases in regions including the Caribbean, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore. Justin Fenwick KC has found success in a variety of regions for various offshore commercial litigation, with a feature case being The Liquidators of Stanford International Bank v Chadbourne & Parke and Proskauer Rose, whereby Fenwick KC acted for the liquidators in bringing a $1billion claim in Antigua and Barbuda, revolving around concerns of the notorious Ponzi scheme run by Allen Stanford. Graham Chapman KC has a broad commercial practice, with established work coming from the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Guernsey, Isle of Man and BVI with work centred on claims involving trustees, directors, officeholders and professionals.
‘4 New Square are increasingly visible in Cayman – with Ben Hubble KC, Graham Chapman KC, and Graeme McPherson KC leading the way – but also by hosting more events on island. They have a great platform to do so with so many good silks who are easy to work with.’
‘The set has become more mainstream commercial and recognised as one of the “players” in that market. There is a good selection of counsel and service is timely.’
‘4 New Square has excellent strength in depth.’
‘4 New Square is an excellent set to work with and are able to cover the broad fields of practice if necessary. We rarely have to go elsewhere.’
‘4 New Square is a very strong set that is ever more prominent in Cayman matters.’
‘Good and attentive.’
Fountain Court Chambers is a well respected commercial set offering offshore expertise in areas such as banking and finance, commercial litigation, company law and civil fraud. Members of chambers are regularly instructed by leading firms for cases in the Caribbean. One highlight case is Sonera v Cukurova Telecom/Alfa Telecom, a matter before the British Virgin Islands courts, in which Bankim Thanki KC appeared in breach of contract in a claim against a Russian entity arising over a dispute over the ownership of a substantial European mobile telephone network. Ben Valentin KC has an extensive offshore practice in both the BVI and Cayman Islands, and turning to the set's juniors Nico Leslie is a notable junior for his involvement in large and high profile offshore disputes in recent years, with recent work in jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands.
‘A set of consistent high quality across a broad range of disciplines.’
‘Excellent service and impressive level of expertise.’
‘I am very familiar with several members of the set at both the level of silk, and senior juniors. They have great bench strength, coupled with diverse styles of advocacy, but they each have in common comprehensive understanding of the areas of law, enthusiastic and energetic advocacy and a sense of humor with first class client care.’
‘Excellent chambers. Commercial, responsive, helpful and willing to go the extra mile.’
‘Fountain Court is very well known a superb, highly experienced commercial set.’
‘Alex Taylor has huge experience. He is a man of integrity who I would trust to help me build the right, high-quality team of barristers on a case.’
3 Hare Court is a notable set within the offshore regions, offering a wide range of public and constitutional law work both in advisory roles and advocacy services. Members of chambers are well regarded within Gibraltar and the Caribbean. Rowan Pennington-Benton is noteworthy for his involvement in several Privy Council cases in Gibraltar, such as the case of Enterprise Insurance v EHL Realisations and 13 Others, which remains one of the largest and most far-reaching breach of fiduciary duty claims launched in Gibraltar concerning the collapse of a major offshore insurance company.
‘Professional and very helpful. Top shelf service.’
‘I have always liked working with 3 Hare Court because they are quite generalist and there is always a barrister who can help with whatever issue you have.’
‘The best in London for Privy Council appeals.’
‘The clerks are very responsive.’
‘Very polite, professional, flexible and friendly. James Donovan in particular is extremely helpful and easy to deal with.’
Erskine Chambers is a well-known set in corporate transactions, restructuring and insolvency, civil fraud and asset recovery and financial services. Within these areas, the set's barristers have been influential in developing company law of offshore jurisdictions and have seen a rise of cross-border related work in the BVI and Cayman Islands. Michael Todd KC found success assisting Jersey advocates for the investment fund in FTV Capital v Tuckwell, a shareholder dispute between a company founder, who was at one point one of the ten richest men in the Channel Islands, and one of his company's private equity backers. Andrew Blake stands out for his specialisms in company law, corporate and commercial litigation, restructuring and corporate insolvency.
Members at Maitland Chambers have appeared in many leading offshore cases across a range of jurisdictions, being called to upon to advise across jurisdictions in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Channel Islands. The chambers is well-known for acting on a range of high profile civil fraud, commercial and trust matters. Richard Morgan KC has extensive knowledge of freezing orders and jurisdiction disputes – he has appeared in a number of leading cases, with recent success found in the representation of the defendant in the Privy Council case of Convoy Collateral v Broad Idea & Choi, which revolved around a freezing order discharge and jurisdiction challenge. Olivier Kalfon is experienced within commercial litigation within the BVI and Cayman Islands.
5 Stone Buildings has a reputation within the Chancery field for their width of expertise and depth in areas such as contentious probate and family provision claims. Members of chambers are also well known for their strength in contentious trusts, with standout cases including the long-running Crociani saga, in which Jordan Holland , together with Penelope Reed KC, acted for BNP Paribas Jersey Trust Corporation Limited in a complex breach of trust action in which the beneficiaries of a family trust structure sought the reconstitution of a fund worth an estimated $1bn. Shan Warnock-Smith KC is at the forefront in the field of heavyweight private client disputes and has been involved in many major trust and estate cases in jurisdictions including the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Hong Kong. Matthew Paton is noteworthy for his extensive experience in high-value complex offshore litigation involving contentious and non-contentious trust and probate matters.
‘The chambers is good in terms of depth of counsel and they are increasing their visibility in the market with some good events and training.’
‘The depth of the set is unsurpassable. There are any number of available counsel to choose from in terms of their capabilities and levels of experience (subject to how busy they can be). I have used a number of juniors for drafting and been impressed by all of them.’
‘5 Stone Buildings specialises in trusts and estates work and therefore has a depth of expertise and experience not found in other sets. its members are in all the big trusts and estates cases both onshore and offshore up to the highest courts. it has been involved in numerous high profile offshore cases in recent years.’
‘It is a set which specialises in trusts and estates and is hugely in demand for offshore and onshore work. Its members are in all the big cases. It’s silks appear offshore and onshore in major trust litigation and it has a very able body of juniors.’
‘Excellent, helpful, proactive.’
‘The clerks have always been helpful and proactive.’
New Square Chambers are a leading offshore set for both corporate clients and high net worth individuals, acting in jurisdictions such as Anguilla, Bahamas, Bermuda, BVI, Cayman Islands and Gibraltar. Members of chambers are frequently instructed on a wide variety of cases involving offshore trust matters, civil fraud, commercial contracts, insolvency and property claims. Nicholas Le Poidevin KC is well regarded for his practice involving contentious trusts, will and estates practice. Lynton Tucker is regarded as a leading traditional Chancery junior for his work involving offshore trusts in multiple offshore jurisdictions, with standout case being Hawksford Trustees Jersey Ltd v P Ltd, in which he advised at first instance involving a transaction concerning a trust on the ground of a mistake and raised questions as to the scope of the remedy which could be granted under the Jersey court’s statutory jurisdiction. Alexander Learmonth KC has a busy practice in the field of trusts and estate litigation.
‘New Square Chambers has fantastic collection of experienced private client practitioners. We’ve worked with Rodney Stewart Smith and Lynton Tucker in the past. The Chambers also provides training/CPD seminars of a range of topics (including the annual Lewin Conference, which is excellent). I regularly attend their conferences).’
‘New Square have a great strength in depth and their role in Lewin is well known.’
‘I’ve always found the clerks to be eminently helpful and polite.’
‘Very helpful and proactive.’
One Essex Court is a commercial focused set which also handles cases with a component involving financial, company law, insolvency law, trusts and other aspects of equity, spreading its wings from beyond London to jurisdictions such as Cyprus, Jersey, Guernsey, Bahamas, Bermuda, Isle of Man, BVI and Cayman Islands. Alain Choo Choy KC has a practice spanning financial services and commercial litigation, with a particular interest in cases involving areas such as banking and conflict of laws disputes. Richard Boulton KC has a broad commercial practice, with a highlight case being Re 58.com where he acted for the company in a substantial s.238 merger dispute in the Cayman Grand Court. Andrew McLeod has joined from Maitland Chambers and has enjoyed instructions in complex, high-value civil fraud and trusts based work in a variety of offshore jurisdictions.
‘One Essex is truly the premier commercial litigation set in London. They seem to be involved in every major dispute percolating through the English Courts. Everyone we dealt with from other QC’s (like Laurence Rabinowitz and Sonia Tolaney) to juniors were equally impressive and astute.’
‘A great set with some of the Bar’s leading lights and good strength in depth.’
‘One Essex Court are one of the leading sets in this area. Absolute professionals.’
‘Top of the market.
‘Excellent clerking, always happy to chat, very proactive.’
Twenty Essex are well known for their fraud, insolvency, banking and financial services based casework. Members are often involved in cases with parties from Asia who have their companies structured through offshore vehicles. Stephen Atherton KC is the joint Head of Chambers and has a practice encompassing areas such as international and domestic corporate insolvency, restructuring and company law. Tony Beswetherick KC works on cases with a strong international element, with experience of cross-border issues arising in connection with foreign insolvencies. Sarah Tresman is a renowned junior for offshore work, having spent three years at the Cayman Islands as a litigation attorney before returning to London and has featured in cases such as Abdulhameed Dhia Jafar v The GHF Group Limited and GHF General Partner Limited, a case that is part of the fall-out from the collapse of emerging markets private equity house Abraaj.
‘The set is a first rate international chambers who re very client focused.’
‘Chambers has an excellent reputation and while my direct experience of other members of chambers (and the workings of chambers) is limited, I know that others in my firm speak highly of the set and instruct them often.’
‘Good strong commercial set of barristers.’
‘Twenty Essex are a great set. They have significant strength in depth and their members, including their pupils and juniors, fit a pattern of being user friendly, commercially minded and just very very good.’
‘One of my go-to Chambers due to quality of counsel and willingness to work as a team with instructing solicitors.’
‘Very responsive and efficient.’