Peter De Verneuil Smith > Chambers of Ewan McQuater QC and Adrian Beltrami QC > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of Ewan McQuater QC and Adrian Beltrami QC
3 Verulam Buildings
Peter De Verneuil Smith photo


Peter is a newly appointed silk (2019) with specialisms in banking, financial services, commercial litigation, commercial fraud, international commercial arbitration and professional negligence. Commercial litigation (with an expertise relating to fund litigation such as the leading decision in Titan Europe v Colliers [2016] PNLR 7), banking litigation (senior junior for the SG Group in the £4bn RBS Rights Issue Litigation which has a 6 month trial listed for 2017), company litigation (in particular unfair prejudice and derivative actions), commercial fraud (junior counsel for the Swiss bank in a €100 million fraud matter Group 7 v Nasir and sole counsel in the leading COA decision of NML Capital v Chapman [2013] EWCA Civ 589), international projects (arbitration and ancillary court relief), conflicts of laws, insurance/reinsurance and professional negligence (in particular claims by banks against valuers).


Called to the Bar in 1998


COMBAR, LCIA, fellow of CIARB, and IBA.


Selwyn College Cambridge.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Set overviews: England and Wales

One of the first choices for banking and financial market disputes’, the ‘top notch3 Verulam Buildings has ‘strong bench strength’ with ‘numerous barristers who are excellent in a range of other areas’, including arbitration, fraud, and insolvency; ‘they are all reliable and provide quality advice, with some superstars there present’. The set ‘unquestionably has the heft and the strength in depth of the very best commercial sets,’ said one client, and despite its ‘top-flight status’ solicitors are pleased chambers has ‘managed to stay in the real world’ when it comes to fees, which are described as ‘realistic and commercial’. Christopher Harris, Peter De Verneuil Smith, and Nicholas Craig all took silk in 2019. After a busy 2018 for recruitment, chambers further strengthened its stable with the arrival of new commercial litigation and insolvency silk Jamie Riley QC and junior James McWilliams from Littleton Chambers. The set also celebrated the arrival of three new high-profile associate members: Brian King, formerly head of arbitration at Freshfields, Sean Hagan, former general counsel of the International Monetary Fund, and sovereign debt specialist Lee C Buchheit. But it is not just the set’s membership that has grown; chambers has also recruited talented clerk Samantha Jones from Serjeants’ Inn Chambers. The set’s senior management consists of chambers director Robin Jackson and joint senior practice managers Stephen Penson (‘a pleasure to deal with’) and Stuart Pullum (‘responsive, helpful, and has a strong relationship with the court’), who together oversee ‘one of the best clerks’ rooms around’. The clerks are all ‘approachable and highly responsive. They take time to get to know you and can put together the right team for you in short order’. Richard Ansell is ‘particularly impressive’; Ed Tolfts is ‘helpful, hardworking, and goes the extra mile’; Robert Croke, James Ingham, Harry Freeman, and Jack Wheeler are also rated for their ‘exemplary’ client service. Offices in: London

London Bar > Banking and finance (including consumer credit)

(2019 Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Peter De Verneuil Smith QC3 Verulam BuildingsVery punchy with his intellect and advice, he delivers a star turn.

London Bar > Fraud: civil

(2019 Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Peter de Verneuil Smith QC3 Verulam BuildingsVery well regarded for his fraud expertise.

3 Verulam Buildings has an ‘excellent blend of barristers and door tenants, and the clerks ensure that the barristers instructed are available when needed‘. The set’s pedigree in the fraud arena is demonstrated by the caseload of its members, which includes AHAB v Saad Investments Co Ltd, one of the largest fraud claims ever litigated, in which David Quest QC acted for the Algosaibi Brothers. Other notable mandates included Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton, where Adrian Beltrami QC represented the accountants, and Tatneft v Bogolyubov & Ors, in which Ali Malek QC and Peter De Verneuil Smith represented the defendants.

London Bar > Commercial litigation

(2019 Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Peter de Verneuil Smith QC3 Verulam BuildingsAn incredible barrister.

London Bar > Insurance and reinsurance

(2019 Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Peter de Verneuil Smith QC3 Verulam BuildingsA new silk that is going places.

London Bar > International arbitration: counsel

(2019 Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Peter De Verneuil Smith QC 3 Verulam BuildingsA very clever and very good advocate.

London Bar > Offshore

(2019 Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Peter de Verneuil Smith QC3 Verulam BuildingsVery tactical, he grasps the issues early on.

London Bar > Professional negligence

(2019 Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Peter de Verneuil Smith QC3 Verulam BuildingsHe is noted for professional negligence cases involving financial services.