Set Profile > Erskine Chambers > London, England

Erskine Chambers
Erskine Chambers

Fraud: civil

Leading Silks

Stephen Smith QC - Erskine ChambersStrategically there is no better top flight QC.
Ranked: Tier 1

Leading Juniors

Christopher Lloyd - Erskine ChambersHe is quite simply a terrific barrister, and I never fail to be impressed with the quality of service that he delivers. He combines exceptional intelligence, meticulous preparation and a very effective courtroom presence with a real willingness to muck in and work as part of a team.
Ranked: Tier 4

Insolvency Tier 2

Erskine Chambers is 'one of the leading company and insolvency sets', with members specialising in contentious insolvencies and corporate restructurings. Peter Arden QC maintains a superlative practice, acting in matters relating to Regis UK, Giraffe, Debenhams and Timberland, advising landlords on potential changes to CVAs following their approval at statutory meetings. David Chivers QC  is another big name for insolvency cases and has been appointed an assessor to the Icelandic District Court in the Kaupthing proceedings. Ben Shaw is often instructed on insolvency matters including challenges to landlords' CVAs in the retail sector, an area Patrick Harty is also experienced in.

Leading Silks

Peter Arden QC - Erskine ChambersHe has an excellent knowledge of insolvency and company law, gives very well thought through advice, and is a pleasure to work with.
Ranked: Tier 1
David Chivers QC - Erskine ChambersHe is incredibly bright and user friendly. He would be one of my first choices for contentious insolvency matters.
Ranked: Tier 2
Raquel Agnello QC - Erskine ChambersA tour de force in court, she is user friendly and approachable. Skilled in handling the most difficult of clients.
Ranked: Tier 4
Martin Moore QC - Erskine ChambersAccessible, direct and creative.
Ranked: Tier 5
James Potts QC - Erskine ChambersHe does not shrink from providing tough advice.
Ranked: Tier 5
Stephen Smith QC - Erskine ChambersA very responsive and effective advocate.
Ranked: Tier 5
Andrew Thompson QC - Erskine ChambersSuccinct and polished in writing; always has a pragmatic, commercial and punchy view which he makes easily digestible to solicitors and lay clients alike.
Ranked: Tier 5
Michael Todd QC - Erskine ChambersRecommended for offshore work.
Ranked: Tier 5

Leading Juniors

Ben Shaw - Erskine ChambersA big brain combined with an understated manner appeals to insolvency judges.
Ranked: Tier 2
Matthew Parfitt - Erskine ChambersAn impeccable advocate with a calm and collected manner.
Ranked: Tier 3
Nigel Dougherty - Erskine ChambersVery reliable and a good all-round performer.
Ranked: Tier 4
Ben Griffiths - Erskine ChambersA very strong insolvency junior.
Ranked: Tier 4
Patrick Harty - Erskine ChambersAn exceptional young advocate, able to pick up a complex case very quickly, grasp the legal thorns immediately and find key advantages for his clients.
Ranked: Tier 5

Banking and finance (including consumer credit)

Leading Silks

Martin Moore QC - Erskine ChambersThe only QC I would trust to recommend to my clients when it comes to complex part VII business transfers, his experience and pragmatism on such transfers is invaluable.
Ranked: Tier 3


Leading Silks

Raquel Agnello QC - Erskine ChambersVery committed, imaginative, unstuffy.
Ranked: Tier 3

Offshore Tier 3

'The go-to set for company law' for many, members of Erskine Chambers are instructed in a number of heavyweight commercial Chancery matters in Cayman and elsewhere. Stephen Smith QC represented the defendants in the AHAB v Saad appeal, and in the Privy Council David Chivers QC represented the appellant bank in SEB v liquidators of the Weavering Macro Fixed Income Fund, concerning the collapse of a Caymanian hedge fund whose founder was convicted of eight counts of fraud in England after its collapse.

Leading Silks

Michael Todd QC - Erskine ChambersAn excellent silk in the offshore sphere.
Ranked: Tier 1
David Chivers QC - Erskine ChambersIncredibly bright and user-friendly - a first-choice for offshore contentious insolvency.
Ranked: Tier 2
Stephen Smith QC - Erskine ChambersStrategically there is no better top-flight QC.
Ranked: Tier 2
Edward Davies QC - Erskine ChambersAn all-round quality act - strong advocacy skills and superb with clients.
Ranked: Tier 3

Leading Juniors

Philip Gillyon - Erskine ChambersPhilip is a hardworking junior barrister with particular expertise in company law and related matters.
Ranked: Tier 2
Andrew Blake - Erskine ChambersA good advocate and a team player who provides well thought-through advice.
Ranked: Tier 3

Commercial litigation Tier 4

Erskine Chambers is 'an excellent set for corporate law issues and company disputes', fielding a selection of 'very professional and very good to deal with' barristers and clerks. As well as company law issues and shareholder disputes, the set also offers strong capabilities in related areas such as civil fraud. Stephen Smith QC has a standout reputation and led a team including James Potts QC and Patrick Harty on Mezhprombank v Pugachev. Other highlight cases included Interactive Technology v Ferster, in which Andrew Thompson QC and Nigel Dougherty were part of a sizeable team from within chambers.

Leading Silks

Stephen Smith QC - Erskine ChambersAn understated and effective advocate at every level.
Ranked: Tier 2
David Chivers QC - Erskine ChambersGives clear strategic advice and is extremely calm, he is also a particularly persuasive oral advocate and has considerable presence in Court.
Ranked: Tier 3
James Potts QC - Erskine ChambersCalm under pressure and a clear thinker, he is not afraid to reach a view and to give clients definitive guidance.
Ranked: Tier 5
Andrew Thompson QC - Erskine ChambersSuccinct and polished in writing; always has a pragmatic, commercial and (when necessary) punchy view which he makes easily digestible to solicitors and lay clients alike.
Ranked: Tier 5
Michael Todd QC - Erskine ChambersA phenomenal silk and advocate, someone who is easy to work with and a team player.
Ranked: Tier 5

Leading Juniors

Nigel Dougherty - Erskine ChambersWell regarded for commercial litigation.
Ranked: Tier 4
Patrick Harty - Erskine ChambersSuperb attention to detail and routinely one move ahead of the opposition.
Ranked: Tier 5

Insurance and reinsurance

Leading Silks

Martin Moore QC - Erskine ChambersHe has a deep understanding of both the insurance sector and wider financial services regulation that few, if any, of his peers can match.
Ranked: Tier 5

Company and partnership

The 'pre-eminent set for company law', Erskine Chambers houses leaders in their field for litigation and transactional work, including barristers who regularly act in the highest-profile shareholders' disputes. Michael Todd QC stands out for his litigation and transactional practice in the UK and internationally, and is currently advising Inmarsat in relation to a scheme of arrangement arising from its acquisition by four US funds. David Chivers QC, also known for his advocacy and advisory work, advised Royal Dutch Shell as the £47bn  acquirer of British Gas. Andrew Thornton QC took silk in 2020 and Andrew Thompson QC successfully represented British American Tobacco at the court of appeal in BAT Industries v Sequana, a claim arising from an allegedly unlawful breach of a fiduciary duty.

Company - Leading Silks

David Chivers QC - Erskine ChambersAn excellent silk for company law-related instructions.
Ranked: Tier 1
Martin Moore QC - Erskine ChambersHe is thoughtful; a very effective advocate.
Ranked: Tier 1
Michael Todd QC - Erskine ChambersHe has deep experience - perhaps the best company law practitioner at the bar.
Ranked: Tier 1
Peter Arden QC - Erskine ChambersHe is incredibly clever and easy to work with.
Ranked: Tier 2
David Mabb QC - Erskine ChambersA noted litigator.
Ranked: Tier 2
Stephen Smith QC - Erskine ChambersStephen is fantastic in large, complex cases. He is clear and deeply experienced.
Ranked: Tier 2
Andrew Thompson QC - Erskine ChambersHe is amongst the leading names for joint venture, company and shareholder litigation where the focus is adversarial.
Ranked: Tier 3
Edward Davies QC - Erskine ChambersExtremely knowledgeable on, and with vast experience in, company law issues and disputes.
Ranked: Tier 4
James Potts QC - Erskine ChambersAn impressive advocate.
Ranked: Tier 4

Company - 2020 Silks

Andrew Thornton QC - Erskine ChambersA top junior silk.

Company - Leading juniors

Nigel Dougherty - Erskine ChambersAn amazing tactician, superb trial advocate and has total mastery of shareholder disputes and company law.
Ranked: Tier 1
Philip Gillyon - Erskine ChambersExtremely diligent and thorough, and engages deeply in the points under discussion.
Ranked: Tier 1
Catherine Roberts - Erskine ChambersNoted for shareholder disputes.
Ranked: Tier 1
Ben Griffiths - Erskine ChambersHis written work product is first rate, and he is very responsive.
Ranked: Tier 2
Ben Shaw - Erskine ChambersA superb lawyer for company disputes. Highly forensic approach, excellent knowledge of relevant case law and the right gut instinct for how a case will play out in court.
Ranked: Tier 2
Mary Stokes - Erskine ChambersA good company law litigator.
Ranked: Tier 2
Stephen Horan - Erskine ChambersClient-friendly and pragmatic.
Ranked: Tier 3
Patrick Harty - Erskine ChambersImpressive and provides a good service.
Ranked: Tier 4
Matthew Parfitt - Erskine ChambersAn impeccable advocate with a calm and collected manner.
Ranked: Tier 4

Jack Rivett Erskine Chambers ‘Extremely intelligent and knowledgeable but combines this with an easy-going manner and an astute grasp of tactics.’

Ranked: Tier 5

Set overviews: England and Wales

Erskine Chambers has specific expertise in company shareholder and partnership disputes, as well as restructuring and insolvency. In recent news, Andrew Thornton QC has been appointed Queen's Counsel in March 2020.



A very impressive and responsive clerk team.

Alex Calder is very efficient and my main contact.

Extremely good clerking. Commercial approach and personal touch.

The clerks are great – always really responsive and helpful, particularly when dealing with Court matters. Mark Swallow and Chris Reade in particular are standout, and we’ve had good experience with Michael Shillingford as well.

The Erskine clerks are very responsive and a pleasure to work with.


A great choice for high-value corporate work.

Absolutely first class in company, commercial, restructuring and insolvency law

Erskine Chambers generally continue to maintain their reputation as a go-to set for all types of corporate advice, including complex shareholder issues and company law matters.

Excellent set for corporate law issues and company disputes. Erskine delivered bespoke training for our team which was extremely well received.

I have been impressed and very happy with the service provided.

It is an excellent, well-run and friendly set. The go to set for company law.

Justifiably renowned as the pre-eminent company law set, whether for advisory or adversarial work. Always our first port of call for company law focused work.

The leading chambers for corporate finance related issues.

Very easy to do deal with. First in class quality at every level of the organisation.

Yes excellent especially in corporate disputes where they are clearly the market leaders.


Erskine Chambers is recognised as being pre-eminent in company law and a leading set in associated fields including insolvency, financial services and corporate/commercial litigation (including civil fraud and asset recovery).

The set: Chambers’ size (30 barristers including 11 QCs) allows it to maintain expertise in its core practice areas while fielding effective teams in Commercial Court and Chancery Division litigation. Prominent former members include Arden LJ, David Richards LJ and Richard Snowden J, while present members sit on various law reform committees and are editors and contributors to the leading texts on company law.

Types of work undertaken:

Company law: Erskine is the go-to set for company law disputes and corporate transactions, including: shareholder disputes (Kleanthous v Paphitis; Bumi), joint venture disputes and technical company litigation (Eclairs v JKX; Enviroco v Farstad – both Supreme Court). Members have advised on most of the largest UK corporate transactions of recent years, including Friends Life/Aviva, Invensys/Schneider, Glencore/Xstrata and Vodafone/Verizon. Erskine provides counsel for the majority of schemes of arrangement, cross-border mergers (Honda Europe; Sony; Itau BBA), Part VII transfers of insurance business (Royal London/CIS, Barclays/ING), and reductions of capital.

Corporate/commercial litigation and arbitration: a large proportion of Erskine’s work is litigation at the intersection between company, commercial and insolvency law, including: commercial and contractual disputes; breach of fiduciary duty (Autonomy v Lynch; BAT Industries v Windward); LLP and funds disputes (Re Charterhouse Capital; F&C Investments v Barthelemy); and civil fraud and asset recovery (BTA Bank v Ablyazov; Mezhprombank v Pugachev). Members have particular expertise in freezing injunctions and other forms of interim relief.

Insolvency: Erskine has a strong reputation for both contentious insolvency and corporate restructuring. Insolvency litigation often involves cross-border issues (Olympic Airlines Trustees; Nortel & Lehman Bros v Pensions Regulator; Belmont Park v BNY – all Supreme Court; Singularis v PwC; PwC v Saad; MF Global). Restructurings include insolvent schemes of arrangement, administrations and CVAs (SphinX, Halliwells, Baugur, Miss Sixty).

Financial services: members undertake both contentious and non-contentious FSMA work. Litigation includes: funds, collective investment schemes and public offers of securities; prospectus liability (RBS rights issue litigation); financial conduct, regulation and enforcement (Lehmans client money) and interest rate swap claims against banks. Non-contentious work includes Part VII business transfers, securitisation and structured finance.

International: Erskine’s work is highly international, whether advising on multi-jurisdictional transactions or litigating complex cross-border disputes. Members are active in a large number of offshore jurisdictions, including the Channel Islands, Cayman, BVI, Bermuda, Turks & Caicos, St Vincent and Grenadine, Hong Kong and Singapore and have extensive trial experience, from First Instance to Appellate and Privy Council.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior clerks Mark Swallow
Senior clerks Chris Reade
Clerks Michael Shillingford
Clerks Alex Calder
Clerks Seamus Nixon
Clerks Jake Taylor
Clerks Samantha Rouse
Members of Chambers TODD QC, Michael (1977) (QC-1997)
Members of Chambers MABB QC, David (1979) (QC-2001)
Members of Chambers MOORE QC, Martin (1982) (QC-2002)
Members of Chambers CHIVERS QC, David (1983) (QC-2002)
Members of Chambers ARDEN QC, Peter (1983) (QC-2006)
Members of Chambers SMITH QC, Stephen (1983) (QC-2000)
Members of Chambers AGNELLO QC, Raquel (1986) (QC-2009)
Members of Chambers THOMPSON QC, Andrew (1991) (QC-2014)
Members of Chambers POTTS QC, James (1994) (QC-2013)
Members of Chambers THORNTON QC, Andrew (1994) (QC 2020)
Members of Chambers DAVIES QC, Edward (1998) (QC-2017)
Members of Chambers SEGAL, Nick (2018) (Solicitor-1982)
Members of Chambers ROBERTS, Catherine (1986)
Members of Chambers GILLYON, Philip (1988)
Members of Chambers STOKES, Mary (1989)
Members of Chambers PRENTICE, Prof Dan (1982)
Members of Chambers DOUGHERTY, Nigel (1993)
Members of Chambers HORAN, Stephen (2002)
Members of Chambers SHAW, Ben (2002)
Members of Chambers GRIFFITHS, Ben (2004)
Members of Chambers PARFITT, Matthew (2005)
Members of Chambers HARTY, Patrick (2008)
Members of Chambers RIVETT, Jack (2010)
Members of Chambers SCHARNETZKY, Anna (2011)
Members of Chambers LLOYD, Christopher (2011)
Members of Chambers STAYNINGS, Chantelle (2012)
Members of Chambers BLAKE, Andrew (2012)
Members of Chambers WILLIAMS, Emma (2013)
Members of Chambers MCLAUGHLIN, Conor (2017)
Members of Chambers NOLAN, Richard (1999) (Door tenant)
Photo Name Position Profile
 Raquel Agnello photo Raquel Agnello Raquel is a sought-after specialist in insolvency, company and commercial litigation. Additionally,…
 Peter Arden photo Peter Arden Peter is a highly regarded silk, with a focus on insolvency and…
 Andrew Blake  photo Andrew Blake Andrew specialises in company law, corporate and commercial litigation, restructuring and corporate…
 David Chivers photo David Chivers David is a highly experienced, sought-after silk who specialises in company law,…
 Edward Davies photo Edward Davies Edward is an experienced commercial litigator, with a strong grounding in company…
 Nigel Dougherty  photo Nigel Dougherty Nigel is a highly regarded senior junior. He is particularly sought-after in…
 Philip Gillyon  photo Philip Gillyon Company law, corporate insolvency, financial services, commercial law and litigation (including offshore).…
 Ben Griffiths  photo Ben Griffiths Ben is a corporate, insolvency and financial law specialist. His expertise spans…
 Patrick Harty  photo Patrick Harty Patrick specialises in company law, insolvency, commercial fraud and arbitrations involving corporate…
 Stephen Horan  photo Stephen Horan Stephen’s main area of practice is company law and related matters of…
 Christopher Lloyd  photo Christopher Lloyd Christopher specialises in commercial chancery and civil fraud litigation. Most of his…
 David Mabb photo David Mabb
 Conor McLaughlin  photo Conor McLaughlin Conor is developing a commercial, company and insolvency law practice. Following pupillage…
 Martin Moore photo Martin Moore Martin is a leading Silk for company law litigation and advice, corporate…
 Richard Nolan  photo Richard Nolan Specialist in company law, commercial law, insolvency, trusts.
 Matthew Parfitt  photo Matthew Parfitt Matthew is an advocate, litigator and adviser who specialises in company and…
 James Potts photo James Potts Company law, corporate insolvency (cross border and domestic), financial services, LLP, partnership…
Prof Dan Prentice  photo Prof Dan Prentice Specialist in company law, insolvency and financial services. Is the professor of…
 Jack Rivett  photo Jack Rivett Jack Rivett has a strong commercial chancery practice, with an emphasis on…
 Catherine Roberts  photo Catherine Roberts Specialist in Company Law and commercial litigation involving issues of Company Law,…
 Anna Scharnetzky  photo Anna Scharnetzky Anna specialises in company law, corporate insolvency and corporate finance, as well…
 Nick Segal  photo Nick Segal Nick has extensive experience in a wide variety of work in commercial…
 Ben Shaw  photo Ben Shaw Ben has a busy practice which is divided equally between litigation and…
 Stephen Smith photo Stephen Smith Stephen specialises in complex commercial litigation, often with chancery (including company and…
 Chantelle Staynings  photo Chantelle Staynings Chantelle has appeared as sole advocate in the Companies Court, High Court…
 Mary Stokes  photo Mary Stokes Mary is a  senior junior barrister who has practised at  Erskine Chambers…
 Andrew Thompson photo Andrew Thompson Andrew is a sought-after, specialist commercial litigator, with particular expertise in: corporate…
 Andrew Thornton  photo Andrew Thornton Andrew is involved in most of the leading public company M&A transactions…
 Michael Todd photo Michael Todd Michael is Head of Erskine Chambers. He specialises in litigation and transactional…
 Emma Williams  photo Emma Williams Emma specialises in corporate litigation and advisory work, as well as corporate…

TESTIMONIAL: “I regard Erskine Chambers as my first choice set of Counsel to consult on company law related matters. Their Clerks have never been less than excellent in assisting me in over 20 years of instructing Counsel from Erskine. The complexity and variety of matters which Erskine’s Counsel can tackle has also been much wider than pure company law. I have always been guided to the right Counsel and not once been disappointed. I believe that relationship with Counsel and their Clerks is important, as is working as a team on particularly large cases. I have found that in abundance at Erskine.”

TESTIMONIAL: “Erskine Chambers is an excellent set for high-value, complex commercial litigation with particular strengths in company and insolvency issues in the Chancery Division. There is an excellent spread of high quality silks and high quality senior junior counsel in the team with an appreciation of the need to provide the highest levels of service and a good blend of experience and specialist expertise. The ability to put teams together in a single set of chambers for the more complex litigation matters is very useful. I have worked with Erskine Chambers for many years and have never been disappointed with the service levels provided.”

TESTIMONIAL: “Erskine Chambers combines first-rate company law advice with consistently excellent service [and an innovative outlook]. The clerks are friendly, responsive and straight forward to work with. Facilities are well suited to handling conferences in person. For novel or high value company law problems Erskine Chambers remains the first port of call.”

TESTIMONIAL: “I have worked with many members of Erskine Chambers over a number of years, and I have always found both the advice and the service to be exemplary. Their assistance with large offshore matters, in relation to which there is often a paucity of precedent, is invaluable. All of the members of chambers with whom I have dealt have been extremely bright, focused and practical. In my view, Erskine is by far the first choice set for complicated or difficult corporate and related matters.”

Erskine Chambers: Diversity/pro bono/CSR

Erskine Chambers is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity and fair treatment for all its members, as well as pupils, mini-pupils, employees, clients and the public.

A number of members of Chambers are involved in pro bono activities from time to time, and support several legal charities engaged in law reform and human rights issues.

It is our policy to comply with the rules relating to equality and diversity set out in the Code of Conduct, supplemented by the guidance contained in the Bar Standards Board Handbook Equality Rules. Chambers adheres to a written policy on equality and diversity, and an associated implementation plan. Specific policies designed to promote and protect equality and diversity have been adopted by Chambers in relation to flexible working, recruitment and diversity data collection.

Chambers acknowledges that all its members are entitled to an equal opportunity to develop their practices and to experience the full range of the available work. In order to ensure a fair and equitable allocation of unassigned instructions, and to provide support and guidance in career development and marketing, individual members of chambers meet with the senior clerks on a regular basis (once in every three-month period in the case of junior tenants) to review the nature and development of that member’s practice and to identify any concerns over the fair distribution of work. It is recognised that discriminatory or stereotypical assumptions about the type of work that a member of Chambers might undertake may well be subconscious. To address these considerations, all clerks undertake appropriate equality and diversity training. If any solicitor insists on a discriminatory allocation of work, that instruction will be refused.

The extent to which members of Chambers conduct their practices from Chambers or from home, the hours and days that they choose to work, the length of their holidays and their timing is left to members’ discretion, subject to all members of Chambers providing the level of service which meets the reasonable expectations of Chambers’ clients and prospective clients. Chambers recognises that flexible working practices, such as the ability to work from home, make it easier to combine practice in Chambers with childcare and other domestic responsibilities and therefore facilitates working from home, including through the use of remote access to Chambers’ computer network and access to online research tools.

Chambers is focused upon ensuring equality of opportunity, fair treatment and diversity, in relation to recruitment. For those seeking tenancy, it is not a pre-requisite to have studied company or insolvency law, and Chambers considers candidates with both law and non-law degrees. Two of our most recent tenants did not read law at university. Amongst our members of Chambers we have individuals who have transferred from other professions, including former academics and solicitors. The members of chambers with responsibility for the selection of members of chambers, pupils, clerks, other employees or assessed mini-pupils have been trained in fair recruitment and selection processes.

Erskine Chambers will not tolerate any form of harassment and will take all necessary steps to ensure that its members, pupils, mini-pupils and employees are not subject to harassment. Chambers prohibits any behaviour which causes offence or distress to another and which is perceived by that person as relating to or arising from their race, religion, political belief, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age and/or which constitutes less favourable treatment on such grounds. Disciplinary action will be taken against any member or employee of chambers found to have harassed a colleague or other person in the conduct of their work.