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20 Essex Street

Chambers of Christopher Hancock QC and Duncan Matthews QC

Work 020 7842 1200
Fax 020 7842 1270
London, Singapore

The Set: 20 Essex Street is a leading international commercial barristers chambers, providing world-class contentious, advisory and dispute management services from London and its Asia annex in Maxwell Chambers, Singapore. Since its foundation,  members have advised and acted as expert advocates and arbitrators in complex international and commercial law disputes. Commended for their versatility, they are renowned for their first-class advocacy and strength and depth of technical expertise. The Set has a rich history of landmark rulings and  members appear in the most celebrated cases.

Core areas of commercial expertise include: aviation; banking and finance, civil fraud, EU; Brexit;, competition and trade regulation, energy and natural resources, insolvency and company law, insurance and reinsurance, international arbitration, international trade and commodities, offshore construction, public and private international law, professional negligence shipping, technology, data protection and intellectual property.

Types of work undertaken:

Commercial Dispute Resolution: most members of 20 Essex Street advise and act as advocates in relation to all types of commercial disputes, particularly in disputes with an international dimension. These may be resolved in the English courts, by institutional or ad hoc international arbitration, or by London maritime and commodity trade arbitrations. Members are experienced in representing overseas and large corporate clients and advising in complex, high-value and multi-forum litigation. The areas in which members accept instructions are: financial services (banking/compliance/regulation); international trade (including shipping, commodities and sale of goods); energy and natural resources; insurance and reinsurance; civil fraud; aviation; information technology, data protection; intellectual property; telecoms and media; ; shareholder, joint venture and partnership disputes; agency and sport.

Brexit, EU and Competition: a number of members of 20 Essex Street specialise in the substantive law of the EU  (including Brexit) and in UK and EU competition law. Virtually all members deal with aspects of EU law regularly. A number have experience of working in the European Court of Justice, at the European Commission and for UK government regulatory authorities. Members appear before the: Competition Appeal Tribunal; Competition Commission; European Commission; European Court of First Instance; and European Court of Justice. In addition, members of the set appear regularly before domestic courts and tribunals to argue questions of EU and competition law. They also advise and represent Community institutions, member states, corporations and private individuals. Advice and the conduct of litigation both for and against the OFT and other regulatory bodies also forms a significant part of members work.

International Arbitration: 20 Essex Street has a strong reputation as a leading arbitration set. It has an exclusive team of 22 leading international arbitrators from around the globe. In addition, the set has 75 barrister members who act as advocates and arbitrators at all of the world’s major institutions. Its high-quality silks and juniors deal with all manner of international commercial disputes involving banking, shipping, international trade and energy, and investor trade disputes (among many others).

Insolvency and Company: members of 20 Essex Street are well known for their expertise in contentious and non-contentious restructurings (including schemes of arrangement), insolvency law and company law, spanning all business and industry sectors. In the context of restructurings and insolvency, members of 20 Essex Street regularly advise and represent insolvency office-holders, companies, creditors, shareholders and company directors (both in the UK and abroad) and have been heavily involved in most of the major restructurings and insolvencies of recent years.

Public international Law: 20 Essex Street is pre-eminent in public international law. Two members of chambers have been principal legal advisers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Others have been appointed judges ad hoc of the International Court of Justice, president and members of the North American Free Trade Association tribunals and members of tribunals under the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and have been engaged as legal adviser within the United Nations. Members provide legal and strategic advice to states and other parties and appear before English courts in cases in which issues of public international law arise, before international courts and tribunals including: The International Court of Justice; dispute settlement panels of the World Trade Organisation; the European Court of Human Rights; the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; and international arbitral tribunals.

  • Languages
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Greek
  • Cantonese
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Czech
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Member
  • AIPN
  • London Maritime Arbitrators Association (supporting member)
  • ICCA
  • IBA (International Bar Association)
  • INSOL - International Association of Restructuring
  • SIAC
  • CEDR
  • General Council of the Bar of England and Wales
  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
  • Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
  • London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
  • Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)

Above material supplied by 20 Essex Street (Chambers of Christopher Hancock QC and Duncan Matthews QC).

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