Set Profile > Twenty Essex > London, England
Twenty Essex Offices
20 ESSEX STREET
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Twenty Essex > The Legal 500 Rankings
Commodities Tier 1
Twenty Essex is ‘still the standout set for commodities matters’ and clients note that is has 'some real quality among its members, both silks and juniors'. One remarks that 'the clerks are helpful, commercially flexible and responsive'. The set combines great depth in shipping matters with in-depth knowledge of commodities trading across a broad range of soft commodities, oil, coal, gas, and metals. Co-head of chambers Duncan Matthews QC has more than 30 years' experience in this field and he successfully appeared for the claimant in Euro-Asian Oil SA v Credit Suisse AG, in which the Court of Appeal upheld a $15m award arising from a dispute concerning a contract to buy oil. Highly regarded senior-junior Henry Byam-Cook defended oil and gas company OMV in claims brought in the Commercial Court by Glencore.
Twenty Essex is packed with some of the market's leading arbitrators, including ex-judges, solicitors, and barristers, many of whom are based in the set's Singapore chambers.
Public international law Tier 1
Twenty Essex has a selection of top names at senior and junior level who have established incredibly strong track records in public international law. Two members were formerly principal legal advisers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including Sir Michael Wood KCMG who never took silk due to a historic quirk in the system, but is a QC in all but name and therefore sits in The Legal 500's 'Senior Counsel' table in recognition of his expertise. Members have been involved in several major cases, including Australia v Timor-Leste Conciliation, while Guglielmo Verdirame QC and Sudhanshu Swaroop QC faced each other on the Freedom and Justice Party of Egypt v Foreign & Commonwealth Office case.
Twenty Essex is 'especially good quality in international arbitration, public international law, and the international trade world'. The highly versatile set has a broad range of expertise, and members regularly handle major shipping, commodities, fraud, and BIT claims, as well as arbitration-related spin-off suits in the courts. Recent highlight cases include PL Holdings S.A.R.L and Republic of Poland in which Sara Masters QC led Belinda McRae in a case that will consider the impact of the Achmea decision.
Shipping Tier 2
Twenty Essex is a 'leader for shipping disputes' and highly rated by clients thanks to its 'exceptionally talented' members. Michael Ashcroft QC and Luke Pearce appeared for the insurers in The Swedish Club v Connect Shipping (MV Renos), which examines the law of marine insurance and claims for constructive total loss. The Songa Winds, which concerns letters of indemnity, was also a notable highlight for Michael Ashcroft QC leading Oliver Caplin. Maersk Tangier, which examined the applicability of the Hague-Visby Rules, was a key case for Sara Masters QC and Daniel Bovensiepen. Elsewhere, Timothy Hill QC appeared in Lady M, which raised important questions as to the scope and interpretation of The Hague Rules; he also appeared in class action claim Alize 1954 v Allianz Elementar Versicherungs AG ('The CMA CGM LIBRA'), which concerned issues as to whether the vessel was seaworthy.
Commercial litigation Tier 3
Twenty Essex has 'an impressive bunch' of versatile silks and juniors. Members are especially experienced in major international disputes, often with a fraud or trade component, and they are especially noted for their private international law expertise. Highlight cases include CMOC Sales & Marketing Limited v Persons Unknown & 30 others, which involved the first-ever persons unknown injunction, and was led by Paul Lowenstein QC and also involved Philip Riches and two other members on behalf of CMOC. Another highlight was Deutsche Bank AG v (1) Sebastian Holdings Inc. (2) Mr Alexander Vik in which Duncan Matthews QC successfully represented Alexander Vik in a related offshore claim before the Court of Apeal of the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Energy Tier 3
A standout set for shipping and commodities work, Twenty Essex also has a strong practice in energy disputes, notably in the offshore construction and energy trading arenas. One client notes how the set has 'a strong practice for the largest and most commercial disputes'. Timothy Hill QC acted in Glencore Energy UK Limited v Springfield Energy Limited, which concerned the storage and importation of gasoil and gasoline into Ghana for the domestic market. Michael Ashcroft QC advised Repsol on a $1.3bn Commercial Court claim brought by SBM on contractors all risks policies relating to the YME Mopustor Project in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Co-head of chambers Duncan Matthews QC is active in several high-value disputes, including an UNCITRAL matter on behalf of the claimant that concerns a long-term drilling contract and the performance of a drilling vessel. Junior Malcolm Jarvis handled a substantial claim concerning the termination of contract for the supply and sale of subsea equipment for an offshore oilfield in Africa.
Fraud: civil Tier 3
Driven by its roster of experienced silks and juniors, Twenty Essex has seen huge growth in fraud instructions in recent years. Paul Lowenstein QC and Philip Riches acted on CMOC Sales & Marketing Limited v Persons Unknown & 30 others, which involved the first-ever persons unknown injunction, which will have a huge bearing on cyber fraud and cryptocurrency trade and asset tracing.
Insurance and reinsurance Tier 4
Twenty Essex is 'excellent' and regularly engaged in complex insurance and reinsurance disputes; Michael Ashcroft QC is representing the insurers in The Swedish Club v Connect Shipping (MV Renos), a high-profile claim for constructive total loss. Christopher Hancock QC is instructed by the claimant in M/T Prestige, a case relating to one of the largest oil spills in history.
Twenty Essex fields a selection of high-end silks and juniors well-versed in complex banking and trade finance disputes. Members are also experienced in derivatives claims and banking-related cyber fraud. Highlights included Fundo Soberano De Angola and ors v Jean-Claude Bastos De Morais and ors, in which Philip Edey QC and Andrew Fulton represented the corporate respondents.
Mediators Tier 5
Twenty Essex's David Owen QC has been mediating disputes since 2002. His cases are often international, with recent mediation appointments including disputes involving shipping and maritime issues, commodity sales, finance, corporate fraud, joint ventures, product liability and infrastructure projects.
The ‘go-to’ chambers for international arbitrators and counsel, the recently rebranded Twenty Essex is ‘one of the leading sets’ for public international law instructions, a ‘leader in the charterparty and bill of lading/contractual side of shipping’, as well as commodities work, and it also has ‘a good reputation for commercial litigation’. Solicitors also notice its members’ ever increasing presence in banking work. In recent news, following three years in the Cayman Islands as a litigation attorney at Walkers, Sarah Tresman has returned to chambers. Led by practice directors Arron Zitver, Christopher Theobald, and Anthony Carroll, the ‘ever improving’ and ‘helpful’ clerks’ room is ‘friendly, prompt, and flexible on fees’. Tara Shah has recently joined the clerks’ room from 2 Hare Court. Other names to note are CEO Jemma Tagg, COO Daniel Clark, and Rachel Foxton, head of marketing and BD director, Asia. Offices in: London and Singapore
Twenty Essex > Firm Profile
The Set: A leading commercial set of chambers, the barristers of Twenty Essex offer outstanding legal minds combined with a modern and commercial disputes experience.
Clients include major global companies, institutions, governments and their advisors from around the world and our barristers advise and appear as advocates in court or arbitration in relation to a broad range of company and commercial, EU, competition, and public international law disputes. Practices involve the preparation and conduct of litigation before a wide range of courts and tribunals, in the UK, in foreign jurisdictions as well as on the international stage.
The vast majority of the work is international in nature and we have well-established links to many overseas markets, including through our Asian hub in Singapore servicing clients throughout Asia Pacific and beyond.
The set is also home to a number of highly respected domestic and international arbitrators and mediators, some of whom were previously judges either in the UK or overseas.
Types of work undertaken:
Commercial dispute resolution: most members of Twenty Essex 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 at Twenty Essex 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: Twenty Essex has a strong reputation as a leading arbitration set. It has an exclusive team of 15 leading international arbitrators from around the globe. In addition, the set has 72 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 Twenty Essex 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 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: Twenty Essex 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.
|Head of Chambers||Christopher Hancock QC (1983)||CHancock@twentyessex.com||442078421200|
|Head of Chambers||Duncan Matthews QC (1986)||DMatthews@twentyessex.com||442078421200|
|Practice Director||Arron Zitver||AZitver@twentyessex.com||442078421205|
|Practice Director||Christopher Theobald||CTheobald@twentyessex.com||442078421210|
|Practice Director||Anthony Carroll||ACarroll@twentyessex.com||442078421230|
|Member||Alexander Layton QC (1976)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Timothy Young QC (1977)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC (1988)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Stephen Atherton QC (1989)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Phillip Edey QC (1994)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Timothy Hill QC (1990)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Paul Lowenstein QC (1988)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Michael Coburn QC (1990)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Charles Kimmins QC (1994)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Gordon Nardell QC (1995)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Michael Ashcroft QC (1997)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Lawrence Akka QC (1991)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Sara Masters QC (1993)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Michael Collett QC (1995)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||David Lewis QC (1999)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Thomas Raphael QC (1999)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Sudhanshu Swaroop QC (1997)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Julian Kenny QC (1997)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Guglielmo Veridrame QC (2006)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Nakul Dewan SA (2014)||firstname.lastname@example.org||6562257230|
|Member||Sir Michael Wood (1968)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Karen Maxwell (1992)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Julie Anderson (1993)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Malcolm Jarvis (1998)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Susannah Jones (1999)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Andrew Fulton (1999)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Zannis Mavrogordato (1999)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Sean Snook (2000)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Henry Byam-Cook (2000)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Socrates Papadopoulos (2001)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Blair Leahy (2001)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Phillip Riches (2001)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Angharad Parry (2002)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Colleen Hanley (2003)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Christopher Newman (2003)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Simon Milnes (2005)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Tony Beswetherick (2003)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Daniel Bovenseipen (2004)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Josephine Davies (2006)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Stefan Talmon (2007)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Patricia Edwards (2006)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Harris Bor (2006)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Charlotte Tan (2008)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Luke Pearce (2007)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Albert Dinelli (2007)||email@example.com||6562257230|
|Member||Penelope Nevill (2010)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Rupert Hamilton (2010)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Thomas Corby (2011)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Mahnaz Malik (2012)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Oliver Caplin (2012)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Alex Carless (2012)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Thomas Leary (2012)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Richard Greenberg (2013)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Matthew McGhee (2013)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Andrew Feld (2013)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Andrew Dinsmore (2013)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Monica Feria-Tinta (2014)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Belinda McRae (2014)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Alexander Thompson (2014)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Kate Parlett (2015)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||John Bethell (2014)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Sam Goodman (2015)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Alistair Wooder (2015)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Jonathan Ketcheson (2016)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Phillipa Webb (2016)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Mark Tushingham (2016)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Paulo Busco (2017)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Patrick Dunn Walsh (2012)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Michal Hain (2017)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Fiona Whiteside (2017)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Paolo Busco (Registered European Lawyer)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||The Honorable Charles N Browerfirstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Michael Lee (Arbitrator)||email@example.com||6562257230|
|Member||David Sutton (Arbitrator)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||J William Rowley QC (Arbitrator)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Malcolm Holmes QC (Arbitrator)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||L Yves Fortier QC (Arbitrator)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Sir Bernard Rix (Arbitrator)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||David Owen QC (Arbitrator)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Michael Tselentis QC (Arbitrator)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Professor Julian Lew QC (Arbitrator)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Dr Michael Moser (Arbitrator)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Sir Martin Moore-Bick (Arbitrator)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Sir Mark Havelock-Allan (Arbitrator)||firstname.lastname@example.org||44207842100|
|Member||Clare Ambrose (Arbitrator)||email@example.com||44207842100|
|Member||Judith Gill QC (Arbitrator)||firstname.lastname@example.org||65 62257230|
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LanguagesCantonese Chinese (Mandarin) Czech French German Greek Italian Japanese Hebrew Hindi Spanish
MembershipsAIPN CEDR Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) General Council of the Bar of England and Wales Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) ICCA INSOL - International Association of Restructuring IBA (International Bar Association) International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) KLRCA London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) London Maritime Arbitrators Association (supporting member) SIAC COMBAR British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) Young International Arbitration Group
Diversity and inclusion
Twenty Essex has adopted a proactive approach to ensuring diversity within chambers and at the Bar. With an active and engaged committee spearheading internal and external initiatives, Twenty Essex is proud to be an inclusive environment and is committed to ensuring equal opportunities for members, employees, pupils, mini-pupils, prospective tenants and prospective pupils.
For questions relating to our equality and diversity policy, please contact our Equality and Diversity Officer, Angharad Parry.
We are proud to declare that we are a London Living Wage employer.
The Bar Standards Board Code of Conduct states that a summary of the Diversity Data submitted by the Members of the Workforce be published every three years from 31 December 2012 onwards. The summary data for Twenty Essex can be found here.
Rare contextual recruitment
We use Rare’s Contextual Recruitment System to review applications for pupillage and mini-pupillage in the context of the candidates’ socio-economic background. The system is intended to allow a recruiter to put a candidate’s achievements into the context of the candidate’s circumstances. Efforts to improve recruitment processes in terms of fairness, objectivity and awareness are just one piece of the jigsaw that will lead to a more diverse Bar and this is why a long-term commitment to diversity is one of our strategic objectives.
Disability and accessibility at Twenty Essex
Twenty Essex’s premises are compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act and if you would like to discuss any particular requirements for adjustments to services, including specific visitor needs, please contact our Facilities Manager.
We recognise that working in the legal profession can often create a highly demanding and stressful environment for members and employees. As a chambers we are determined to achieve the appropriate balance between the professional and personal demands of working at the Bar and the need for individual wellbeing. We are focused on the wellbeing of members and employees and we are pleased to highlight that we have been awarded the Wellbeing at the Bar Certificate of Recognition.
Twenty Essex has a long tradition of its’ members providing legal advice and representation on a pro bono basis. Barristers support Advocate, CLIPS, and FRU on a regular basis as well as a range of other organisations.
Chambers has provided placements on the Bar Placement Week in partnership with the Bar Council and a number of our barristers have volunteered as mentors for students in recent years, through the Social Mobility Foundation as well as other organisations.
Volunteering and giving
Members and employees regularly make charitable donations, and within the work environment take part in a range of charitable events such as the annual London Legal Walk and the Palace to Palace bike ride in support of The Prince’s Trust. Internally hosted fundraising events also raised money for local and nominated charities.
Disputes Yearbook 2020
The evolution of the Commercial Bar (https://www.legalbusiness.co.uk/analysis/disputes-yearbook-2020/sponsored-briefing-the-evolution-of-the-commercial-bar/)
Duncan Matthews QC, co-head, and Jemma Tagg, chief executive, reflect on the evolution of Twenty Essex and wider sector changes across the Commercial Bar
Top Tier Set Rankings
- London Bar Commodities
- London Bar International arbitration: arbitrators
- London Bar Public international law