Set Profile > Erskine Chambers > London, England

Erskine Chambers
Erskine Chambers
33 CHANCERY LANE
LONDON
WC2A 1EN
England

London Bar > Insolvency Tier 2

'One of the top sets of barristers for company, restructuring and insolvency',  Erskine Chambers members seek to handle an entire company lifecycle, from set-up to reorganisation, restructuring, merger or insolvency. Litigation resulting from large-scale insolvency has been a consistent feature of many members' practices, with Peter Arden QC and senior junior Ben Shaw acting in the last knockings of issues from the Lehman Brothers collapse. Both have also advised on high-profile CVA disputes, and Raquel Agnello QC is developing a strong practice in that area too. David Chivers QC successfully opposed a public interest winding-up petition against MB Vacant Property Solutions, a company described by the Court of Appeal as a business rates avoidance scheme.

Leading Silks

Peter Arden QC - Erskine ChambersPeter is extremely knowledgeable and very thorough - one of the leaders in the field.
Ranked: Tier 1
David Chivers QC - Erskine ChambersDavid is an excellent advocate who is able to use his superior intellect to distil voluminous facts and complex legal points into simple and cogent arguments.
Ranked: Tier 2
Ranked: Tier 4
Martin Moore QC - Erskine ChambersExudes confidence and is excellent at putting a client at ease.
Ranked: Tier 5
James Potts QC - Erskine ChambersFirst-class brain coupled with empathy for clients in distress.
Ranked: Tier 5
Andrew Thompson QC - Erskine ChambersAn outstanding barrister, both before the court and behind closed doors.
Ranked: Tier 5

Leading Juniors

Ben Shaw - Erskine ChambersA clear advocate who speaks with authority and develops a good rapport with the judge.
Ranked: Tier 2
Matthew Parfitt - Erskine ChambersHe provides calm and thoughtful input, recommended for his accessibility and quality of advice.
Ranked: Tier 3
Ben Griffiths - Erskine ChambersA very able and hard working senior junior with an ability to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in.
Ranked: Tier 4
Ranked: Tier 5

Testimonials

Set

Erskine have a number of excellent insolvency barristers ranging from junior to senior, all of which have an excellent command of the area.

Pre-eminent set with unrivalled strength in depth in all fields of corporate law and expertise in insolvency law.

Erskine is one of the top sets of barristers for company, restructuring and insolvency.

Clerking

Alex Calder is great to work with, he is personable and quick in responding to queries which makes moving urgent insolvency matters all the more efficient.

Mark Swallow is a responsive and well informed senior clerk who invests in solicitor / chambers relationships.

Excellent service, very responsive clerks.

London Bar > Banking and finance (including consumer credit)

Leading Silks

Martin Moore QC - Erskine ChambersExtremely knowledgeable and has a wealth of experience behind him. He also manages to offer a steer on the legal issues and the potential concerns that a court may have whilst bearing in mind the client's commercial circumstances.
Ranked: Tier 3

London Bar > Commercial litigation Tier 4

Erskine Chambers enjoys a market-leading reputation for company law matters, which feeds into a broader spectrum of Chancery and commercial work. The set's roster of silks and juniors command a loyal following, although firms will miss commercial fraud specialist, Stephen Smith QC, who retired in November 2020. Junior silk Edward Davies QC had a strong year and is on the claimant side for the blockbuster Hewlett Packard v Autonomy case, a civil matter running in parallel to a US extradition request for Autonomy's founder, Mike Lynch. Christopher Lloyd is also making a good name for himself in  commercial fraud cases and is junior counsel for a nationalised bank in a dispute with Ukranian oligarchs in PrivatBank v Kolomoisky & Ors. Other notable mandates include  Andrew Thompson QC's role for the defendant in BAT Industries v Sequana, which went to the Supreme Court in 2021. James Potts QC is also well regarded in this area.

Leading Silks

David Chivers QC - Erskine ChambersA razor-sharp intellectual who provides instant and well-delivered advice. Authorative and demanding of respect. Peerless advocacy. He has a fantastic client and court manner.
Ranked: Tier 3
Andrew Thompson QC - Erskine ChambersIncredibly bright, thorough, calm, a fantastic advocate, and a pleasure to work with.
Ranked: Tier 4
James Potts QC - Erskine ChambersExcellent. A go-to barrister for all corporate or shareholder disputes. James is excellent – incredibly bright, easy to work with, hugely committed and a great cross-examiner.
Ranked: Tier 5
Michael Todd QC - Erskine ChambersA superb heavyweight senior counsel.
Ranked: Tier 5
Edward Davies QC - Erskine ChambersHighly efficient and a real expert on company law matters. Edward gets to the heart of the issues quickly and identifies and tailors strategies which best suit the client's objectives.
Ranked: Tier 6

Leading Juniors

Christopher Lloyd - Erskine ChambersA highly effective advocate who commands the confidence of the court beyond his level of call.
Ranked: Tier 5

Testimonials

Set

‘Great set in terms of leaders and juniors. There is someone with the experience and expertise to cove all complex commercial and company law issues.’

‘Superb from top to bottom.’

‘Excellent set with both strength and depth. All members of Chambers are specialist practitioners at the peak of their profession.’

‘Very strong on company law matters. We receive contentious and non-contentious training for our firm. The set has real depth with a large number of expert practitioners available.’

‘Great set in terms of leaders and juniors. There is someone with the experience and expertise to cover all complex commercial and company law issues.’

Clerking

‘Very responsive and approachable to discuss the right counsel and any fee estimates.’

‘The clerks are, without fail, friendly, helpful and efficient.’

‘Excellent and responsive clerking well lead by Chris Reade and Mark Swallow.’

‘The clerks take real pride in managing the service delivered (Mark Swallow cares a great deal about developing relations).’

‘I have had a long-term relationship with these chambers and their clerks, who always go the extra mile for me.’

London Bar > Fraud: civil

Leading Juniors

Christopher Lloyd - Erskine ChambersAn absolute powerhouse. His legal knowledge is wide and clearly-expressed and his analysis is sharp. His written advocacy is first-rate and - more unusually for junior commercial practitioners - so is his oral advocacy.
Ranked: Tier 4

London Bar > Insurance and reinsurance

Leading Silks

Martin Moore QC - Erskine ChambersMy experience of Martin is consistently excellent, as he combines both an unrivalled understanding of the particular specialist work we do with him, and a deep understanding of how insurance and other financial services firms operate, and the applicable regulatory environment. He is also very pragmatic and commercially minded. 
Ranked: Tier 4

London Bar > Offshore Tier 4

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.

Leading Silks

Ranked: Tier 1
David Chivers QC - Erskine ChambersAn excellent advocate who is able to use his superior intellect to distil voluminous facts and complex legal points into simple and cogent arguments.
Ranked: Tier 2
Edward Davies QC - Erskine ChambersAn impressive advocate with outstanding intellect.
Ranked: Tier 3

Leading Juniors

Andrew Blake - Erskine ChambersIncredibly smart whilst also managing to be very practical and user-friendly.
Ranked: Tier 3

Testimonials

Set

Erskine is at the top of its game.

A very strong set and a first port of call for black letter law issues.

Clerking

Excellent service. Alex Calder in particular is very helpful.

London Bar > Company and partnership

Erskine Chambers leads the market when it comes to highly technical takeovers and schemes of arrangement matters. Leading silks David Chivers QC, Martin Moore QC and Michael Todd QC are instructed on the highest stakes transactions spanning multiple jurisdictions, from the Netherlands to Dubai. Fully contentious expertise is equally robust. Andrew Thompson QC leads on heavyweight shareholder trials relating to high-value breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence claims. James Potts QC and Matthew Parfitt successfully defeated numerous claims of unlawful distribution filed by liquidators before the High Court. An increasingly high volume of work involves significant offshore jurisdictional elements, most notably complex shareholder litigation in the BVI and Bermuda. The set is actively engaged in litigation at the cross section of company and partnerships law.

Company - Leading Silks

David Chivers QC - Erskine ChambersDavid is outstanding.
Ranked: Tier 1
Martin Moore QC - Erskine ChambersAbsolutely first class and without doubt first choice for complex, significant and high-profile corporate advisory and court work.
Ranked: Tier 1
Michael Todd QC - Erskine ChambersMichael is a superb heavyweight senior counsel.
Ranked: Tier 1
Ranked: Tier 2
Ranked: Tier 2
Ranked: Tier 2
Andrew Thompson QC - Erskine ChambersIncredibly bright, thorough, calm, a fantastic advocate, and a pleasure to work with.
Ranked: Tier 3
Edward Davies QC - Erskine ChambersHis advocacy is truly excellent - clear and to the point.
Ranked: Tier 4
James Potts QC - Erskine ChambersAn impressive advocate committed to achieving the best outcome for the client and very good at delivering tough messages.
Ranked: Tier 4

Company - Leading Juniors

Nigel Dougherty - Erskine ChambersSolicitors are always happy to work with him - he is a silk in all but name.
Ranked: Tier 1
Ranked: Tier 1
Ben Griffiths - Erskine ChambersExcellent written work. Pleasure to deal with.
Ranked: Tier 2
Ben Shaw - Erskine ChambersHe is a clear advocate who speaks with authority and develops a good rapport with the judge.
Ranked: Tier 2
Ranked: Tier 2
Ranked: Tier 3
Ranked: Tier 4
Jack Rivett  - Erskine Chambers 'Jack is extremely knowledgeable on company law matters and has very good judgement on how a judge will react to points.'
Ranked: Tier 5
Anna Scharnetzky - Erskine ChambersExtremely thorough, diligent and a highly effective advocate.
Ranked: Tier 5
Chantelle Staynings - Erskine ChambersChantelle has enormous tenacity and skill and has developed tremendous analytical skills.
Ranked: Tier 5

Testimonials

Set

They are the top set for corporate law matters, with a strong bench.

Unquestionably the leading Chambers for company law matters – always on the shortlist and with a strong bench.

Very strong set with great bench strength.

An excellent company law set.

Erskine are an excellent set and one that I would recommend.

Clerking

Very efficient.

The clerks are always professional and keen to assist.

I dealt with Mark Swallow. He was very responsive and helpful. A pleasure to deal with.

Top class.

Clerks are excellent – user friendly whilst protecting their barristers.

 

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 (25 barristers including 10 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 Lady Arden of Haswal, Sir David Richards and Richard Snowden LJ, 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 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 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 RIVETT, Jack (2010)
Members of Chambers SCHARNETZKY, Anna (2011)
Members of Chambers STAYNINGS, Chantelle (2012)
Members of Chambers BLAKE, Andrew (2012)
Members of Chambers MCLAUGHLIN, Conor (2017)
Members of Chambers WOODS, Seamus (2018) (New Zealand 2013)
Members of Chambers MORRISON, Philip (2018)
Door Tenant NOLAN, Richard (1999)
Door Tenant SMITH QC, Stephen (1983) (QC-2000)
Door Tenant STOKES, Mary (1989)
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…
 Ben Griffiths  photo Ben Griffiths Ben is a corporate, insolvency and financial law specialist. His expertise spans…
 Stephen Horan  photo Stephen Horan Stephen’s main area of practice is company law and related matters of…
 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…
 Philip Morrison  photo Philip Morrison
 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 specialises in litigation and transactional advice on company law, corporate finance,…
 Seamus Woods  photo Seamus Woods

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.