Set Profile > Serle Court > London, England
Serle Court Offices
6 NEW SQUARE, LINCOLN'S INN
Serle Court > The Legal 500 Rankings
Fraud: civil Tier 1
Stacked with highly experienced silks and juniors, Serle Court has long been one of the leading sets when it comes to civil fraud disputes. Crossover strengths into trusts and offshore claims add to the chambers' offering. Major recent cases include Glenn v Watson, which involved five members including Elizabeth Jones QC and Justin Higgo. In Accident Exchange v McLean and others, a £127m dispute, Hugh Norbury QC and Dan McCourt Fritz represented Keoghs LLP, one of the solicitor defendants.
Mediators Tier 1
Serle Court's Beverly-Ann Rogers is also a member of In Place of Strife. Rogers has mediated hundreds of disputes across a broad spectrum over the last 20 years. While commercial in nature, many of her disputes involve family members or previously close associates, and she is experienced in multi-party, cross-cultural disputes.
Offshore Tier 1
Serle Court is prominent in the area, with its members handling matters ranging from contemplated disputes over trusts to Privy Council appeals on points on key company issues. Alan Boyle QC, Richard Wilson QC, and Zahler Bryan represented the beneficiary daughter in Gany Holdings v Khan, a Privy Council appeal from the BVI in the wake of a transfer of assets, whose ultimate destination was subject to dispute, as was the distribution of the majority of the trust assets to one beneficiary. Turning to the Cayman Islands, Philip Jones QC represented the respondent in Shanda Games v Masa Capital Investments, the lead Privy Council case concerning the Cayman Islands' provision for the "fair value" to be determined by a court when a shareholder dissents from a merger. The set is also active in the Crown Dependencies, with Philip Marshall QC and Matthew Morrison having worked with Collas Crill in representing the independent directors in the long-running Guernsey Carlyle Capital Corporation v Conway case over the collapse of a fund in the 2008 case – Kathryn Purkis, who is a Jersey advocate, was formerly a partner at the firm Collas Crill providing chambers and clients with front line Channel Island experience.
Serle Court is a ‘highly-rated’ set in the trusts and probate arena with members acting in the largest, high-profile, and most complex disputes, both onshore and offshore, as well as in smaller-scale litigation which often gives rise to the most interesting and novel of issues. Recent examples include Elizabeth Jones QC acting in the high-profile fraud case of Kea v Watson. The judgment was obtained in July 2018 and the matter has now moved to enforcement. Elsewhere, Frank Hinks QC has been advising on proceedings in relation to the construction and effect of the will of a wealthy woman in Asia.
Charities Tier 2
Serle Court is a ‘top set with some rising stars on board.’ William Henderson ‘whose technical ability is second to none’ acted in the seminal case of Lehtimaki v Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. Here, the Court of Appeal reversed a previous decision when it held that the members owed the claimant some fiduciary duties. It also held that the court could not compel members of a charitable company about how to vote unless they were acting or threatening to act in breach of trust. According to one instructing solicitor, Jonathan Fowles was 'instrumental' in bringing a complex international dispute to a close. 'He understands the particular needs of charity clients and I would not hesitate to recommend him in contentious succession/probate matters.'
Commercial litigation Tier 2
A favoured destination for many of the city's leading litigation departments, Serle Court is particularly noted for its strong grounding in offshore and fraud-related matters, which inevitably cross over heavily into the broader commercial litigation sphere. Most recently, Hugh Norbury QC led a team of four members for Keoghs LLP, one of the law firm defendants in Accident Exchange v McLean and others. Other key cases include Yukos Finance BV v Lynch & Others in which Jonathan Adkin QC was involved, and Glenn v Watson, where Elizabeth Jones QC has led a team of six juniors, including Justin Higgo, on behalf of the claimant.
Insolvency Tier 2
Serle Court's members are particularly active in cross-border insolvency cases; Philip Jones QC was instructed in Green Elite before the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal and advised the UK government with respect to the collapse of BHS and represented it in subsequent disqualification proceedings against Philip Green and Dominic Chappell. Meanwhile, James Mather is acting for an English fund management company in defence of a claim by an special purpose vehicle of Cerberus in Lady Moon v Petricca. Timothy Collingwood has a strong track-record in cases concerning directors' breaches of duty and asset recovery issues.
Competition Tier 2
Intellectual property Tier 2
Public international law Tier 3
Professional negligence Tier 3
Serle Court has an 'array of talented barristers' for professional negligence disputes and is regularly involved in complex cases; Philip Jones QC acted for corporate service providers in the Isle of Man in Axiom Legal Financing Fund v Turnstone & Peacock, which examined the management of funds. Elsewhere, Hugh Norbury QC acted for Keoghs LLP, one of three groups of solicitor defendants, in Accident Exchange v McLean, a £127m claim regarding an alleged conspiracy arising out of the conduct of cases involving credit hire insurance claims. Ruth den Besten joined Essex Court Chambers in 2018.
Serle Court has 'good-quality barristers' and its 'juniors are often better value for money than those at some of the leading banking sets', according to clients. The set punches well above its weight with members such as David Blayney QC and Simon Hattan having been instructed on several blockbuster cases, most notably the RBS Group litigation, where they were key members of the team that represented RBS.
Property litigation Tier 4
Serle Court is ‘a very good set for property litigation work’ that directs specific focus towards easements, covenants, options, land registrations, and trusts. Christopher Stoner QC recently acted on behalf of approximately 100 owners of chalets in the Court of Appeal case of Phillips & Others v Francis, pertaining to service charge issues arising from a redevelopment. In another highlight instruction, Andrew Bruce acted in Humphrey v Rogers, a High Court matter relating to the conversion of a farm building into residential accommodation.
Members of Serle Court are 'extremely high quality, both in respect to commercial litigation and specialist fields'. Company law and partnership disputes are particular areas of expertise, and the set is extremely experienced in shareholder disputes and derivative claims, as well as for instructions arising out of China and Hong Kong. Highlights include David Blayney QC acting in unfair prejudice dispute Re Kings Solutions Group Ltd, while partnership 'doyen' John Machell QC is instructed in Campbell v Campbell; a partnership dispute between two brothers concerning their global jewellery business. In another notable matter, Dan McCourt Fritz acted for the defendants in Grupo Mexico v Topete (Re Infund LLP), amid allegations the client had fraudulently procured the restoration of an English LLP for the purposes of pursuing a $1.5bn claim in Mexico for shares in Grupo Mexico.
A ‘one-stop shop’, Chancery set Serle Court offers ‘a good spectrum of expertise’ from commercial litigation, to civil fraud, and contentious trusts, shareholder, and insolvency matters, with most of its barristers having expertise across often overlapping fields, as well as having the ‘perfect mix of on and offshore experience’. ‘Juniors are often better value for money than at some of the leading commercial/banking set,’ said one solicitor. In the last year, Constance McDonnell took silk and Zoe O’Sullivan QC arrived from One Essex Court, while Ruth den Besten departed for Essex Court Chambers. Head clerk Steve Whitaker (‘a real gent; responsive, straight-talking, and able to think outside the box’) leads the ‘impressive’ and ‘user-friendly clerks’ room. Co-senior clerks Dan Wheeler (‘commercial and a pleasure to deal with’) and Nick Hockney (‘makes the effort to know the market properly and is very well informed’) are well regarded, as is Paul Ballard (‘great to work with, always helpful, and very responsive’). John Petrie is chambers chief executive. Offices in: London
Serle Court > Firm Profile
Identified as The Legal 500 UK 2017 Awards ‘Private client: trusts and probate Set of the Year’ and with two members of chambers recently listed in The Legal 500 Hall of Fame, Serle Court is acknowledged as ‘a go-to set for commercial Chancery work’ with deep expertise in areas such as civil fraud, company and partnership, insolvency, and trusts and probate. It is one of the top commercial Chancery sets’ with strength in depth and barristers suitable for whatever the need’, and its members are applauded for their ‘sheer approachability and the willingness to really engage with the cases and work as a team with instructing solicitors from the very beginning of the case to conclusion’ – The Legal 500.
The set: Widely recognised as one of the top sets at the English Bar, Serle Court is recommended in seventeen practice areas by The Legal 500: banking and finance; Charities; commercial litigation; company and partnership; competition; family law; financial services; fraud: civil; insolvency; intellectual property; international arbitration; offshore; private client: trusts and probate; professional negligence and property litigation; sport; tax: corporate and VAT, and is also recommended as a top-tier set in dispute resolution: mediators. Serle Court is one of the largest commercial Chancery sets, with 67 members, including 28 silks, and as such is well-placed to offer the right barrister (or team) for each case – something upon which Serle Court prides itself and just one facet of its commitment to exceptional service.
Types of work undertaken: Serle Court covers the whole range of what might be termed ‘business’ law, from offshore litigation concerning the world’s largest companies to domestic advice on probate matters.
Across a broad range of practice areas, Serle Court provides an equally wide range of services. The needs of clients have long been more extensive than merely drafting, advising and litigating -needless to say, Serle Court offers all those services, but Serle Court has also established itself as one of the leading ADR sets, with an impressively large number of highly regarded mediators and arbitrators, as well as many members with extensive experience of appearing in such ADR forums.
Serle Court can provide barristers at all levels to provide clear, practical advice and imaginative solutions to all types of disputes. Serle Court is experienced at putting together streamlined and powerful teams, seen as the go-to choice for big-ticket cases, often cross-border and multi-faceted; these cases have included: Glenn v Watson, Renova Industries Ltd v Emmerson International Corporation, Investec Trust (Guernsey) Ltd v Glenalla Properties Ltd, Khan v Gany Holdings, Cowan v Foreman, Estera Trust v Singh, Shlosberg v Avonwick, Ilott v Mitson, Bestfort Developments LLP v Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority, the Hyderabad Fund case, the RBS rights issue litigation, the Fiona litigation and the Lehman Brothers administration. Serle Court has also established itself as one of the leading ADR sets, with many highly regarded mediators and arbitrators as well as many members with extensive experience of appearing in ‘alternative’ dispute resolution forums.
The members are also very often instructed on opposite sides of the same case – in some cases in recent years, all barristers on all sides have been from Serle Court. Serle Court understands the overwhelming need for confidentiality in such cases and has put in place effective systems to ensure the separation of clerking and document handling, so that clients may be confident that their interests are protected.
Serle Court also undertakes a significant amount of advisory work, across the whole range of practice areas. Members appreciate both the practical and business realities of legal problems and aim to provide clear and imaginative solutions, and helpful advice – even if it is not always positive! Serle Court will always aim to provide barristers able to respond effectively to demands for urgent advice if the case requires it.
Serle Court generates a significant proportion of its work overseas: ‘Serle Court is “the go-to set” for offshore trust litigation’. Serle Court has particularly close relationships with professional clients in the Channel Islands and the Caribbean, but members also advise and appear in proceedings in the European courts, as well as in (among others) Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Middle East, Panama, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, Switzerland and the US.
Many members of Serle Court are very experienced in working closely with lawyers from different jurisdictions, and, when appropriate, will happily travel abroad to see clients. They can adopt a hands-on approach to foreign litigation, either on the ground or from London, as the case requires.
|Head of chambers||Alan Boyle QC|
|Chief executive||John Petrie MBE|
|Head clerk||Steven Whitaker|
|Senior Clerk||Nicholas Hockney|
|Senior Clerk||Daniel Wheeler|
|Members of Chambers||BOYLE QC, Alan (1972)|
|Members of Chambers||TALBOT QC, Patrick (1969)|
|Members of Chambers||SINGH QC, Kuldip (1975)|
|Members of Chambers||HINKS QC, Frank (1973)|
|Members of Chambers||JONES QC, Elizabeth (1984)|
|Members of Chambers||CHAISTY QC, Paul (1982)|
|Members of Chambers||DOWLEY QC, Dominic (1983)|
|Members of Chambers||QUIGLEY QC, Conor (1985)|
|Members of Chambers||MARSHALL QC, Philip (1987)|
|Members of Chambers||JONES QC, Philip (1985)|
|Members of Chambers||ASHWORTH QC, Lance (1987)|
|Members of Chambers||QURESHI QC, Khawar (1990)|
|Members of Chambers||CASEMENT QC, David (1992)|
|Members of Chambers||STONER QC, Christopher (1991)|
|Members of Chambers||EDENBOROUGH QC, Michael (1992)|
|Members of Chambers||MACHELL QC, John (1993)|
|Members of Chambers||NORBURY QC, Hugh (1995)|
|Members of Chambers||BLAYNEY QC, David (1992)|
|Members of Chambers||ADKIN QC, Jonathan (1997)|
|Members of Chambers||REED QC, Rupert (1996)|
|Members of Chambers||O'SULLIVAN QC, Zoe (1993)|
|Members of Chambers||MORAN QC, Andrew (1989)|
|Members of Chambers||LIGHTMAN QC, Daniel (1995)|
|Members of Chambers||WILSON QC, Richard (1996)|
|Members of Chambers||HARRIS QC (Hon), Prof Jonathan (2006)|
|Members of Chambers||HAGEN QC, Dakis (2002)|
|Members of Chambers||MCDONNELL QC, Constance (2000)|
|Members of Chambers||BURLING, Julian (1976)|
|Members of Chambers||FRANCIS, Andrew (1977)|
|Members of Chambers||HENDERSON, William (1978)|
|Members of Chambers||BEHRENS, James (1979)|
|Members of Chambers||WALFORD, Richard (1984)|
|Members of Chambers||HARRISON, Nicholas (1988)|
|Members of Chambers||PURKIS, Kathryn (1991)|
|Members of Chambers||BRUCE, Andrew (1992)|
|Members of Chambers||DRAKE, David (1994)|
|Members of Chambers||HIGGO, Justin (1995)|
|Members of Chambers||COLLINGWOOD, Timothy (1996)|
|Members of Chambers||RICHARDSON, Giles (1997)|
|Members of Chambers||BRAITHWAITE, Thomas (1998)|
|Members of Chambers||HATTAN, Simon (1999)|
|Members of Chambers||BRIGHTWELL, James (2000)|
|Members of Chambers||HAYWOOD, Jennifer (2001)|
|Members of Chambers||JORDAN, Ruth (2001)|
|Members of Chambers||FOWLES, Jonathan (2004)|
|Members of Chambers||MORRISON, Matthew (2004)|
|Members of Chambers||MATHER, James (2006)|
|Members of Chambers||MCOURT FRITZ, Dan (2007)|
|Members of Chambers||TILLEY, Gareth (2007)|
|Members of Chambers||WEALE, James (2007)|
|Members of Chambers||ADAMS, Paul (2008)|
|Members of Chambers||ELIAS, Thomas (2008)|
|Members of Chambers||HOLCOMBE, Sophie (2009)|
|Members of Chambers||MOHAMEDBHAI, Adil (2010)|
|Members of Chambers||MCDONAGH, Jonathan (2011)|
|Members of Chambers||HARGREAVES, Emma (2012)|
|Members of Chambers||BRYAN, Zahler (2012)|
|Members of Chambers||PROFERES, Amy (2012)|
|Members of Chambers||RAB, Suzanne (2013)|
|Members of Chambers||DE FROMENT, Adrian (2013)|
|Members of Chambers||OLIVER, Jones (2014)|
|Members of Chambers||WICKENDEN, Stephanie (2014)|
|Members of Chambers||HURST, Sophia (2014)|
|Members of Chambers||DINENIS, Eleni (2015)|
|Members of Chambers||BEYNON, Charlotte (2015)|
|Members of Chambers||HOGAN, Gregor (2016)|
|Members of Chambers||WRAITH, Mark (2017)|
|Members of Chambers||THOMPSON, Stephanie (2017)|
|Members of Chambers||RANDALL, Jamie (2017)|
|Paul Adams||View Profile|
|Jonathan Adkin QC||View Profile|
|Lance Ashworth QC||View Profile|
|Prof William Ballantyne||View Profile|
|Charlotte Beynon||View Profile|
|David Blayney QC||View Profile|
|Alan Boyle QC||View Profile|
|Tom Braithwaite||View Profile|
|James Brightwell||View Profile|
|Andrew Bruce||View Profile|
|Zahler Bryan||View Profile|
|Julian Burling||View Profile|
|Paul Chaisty QC||View Profile|
|Timothy Collingwood||View Profile|
|Eleni Dinenis||View Profile|
|Dominic Dowley QC||View Profile|
|David Drake||View Profile|
|Michael Edenborough QC||View Profile|
|Thomas Elias||View Profile|
|Jonathan Fowles||View Profile|
|Andrew Francis||View Profile|
|Dakis Hagen QC||View Profile|
|Emma Hargreaves||View Profile|
|Prof Jonathan Harris QC||View Profile|
|Nicholas Harrison||View Profile|
|Simon Hattan||View Profile|
|Jennifer Haywood||View Profile|
|William Henderson||View Profile|
|Justin Higgo||View Profile|
|Frank Hinks QC||View Profile|
|Mr Gregor Hogan||View Profile|
|Sophie Holcombe||View Profile|
|Sophia Hurst||View Profile|
|Oliver Jones||View Profile|
|Philip Jones QC||View Profile|
|Elizabeth Jones QC||View Profile|
|Ruth Jordan||View Profile|
|Daniel Lightman QC||View Profile|
|John Machell QC||View Profile|
|Philip Marshall QC||View Profile|
|James Mather||View Profile|
|Dan McCourt Fritz||View Profile|
|Jonathan McDonagh||View Profile|
|Constance McDonnell||View Profile|
|Adil Mohamedbhai||View Profile|
|Andrew Moran QC||View Profile|
|Matthew Morrison||View Profile|
|Hugh Norbury QC||View Profile|
|Ms Zoe O’Sullivan||View Profile|
|Amy Proferes||View Profile|
|Kathryn Purkis||View Profile|
|Conor Quigley QC||View Profile|
|Khawar Qureshi QC||View Profile|
|Professor Suzanne Rab||View Profile|
|Mr Jamie Randall||View Profile|
|Rupert Reed QC||View Profile|
|Giles Richardson||View Profile|
|Beverly-Ann Rogers||View Profile|
|Kuldip Singh QC||View Profile|
|Christopher Stoner QC||View Profile|
|Patrick Talbot QC||View Profile|
|Ms Stephanie Thompson||View Profile|
|Gareth Tilley||View Profile|
|Richard Walford||View Profile|
|James Weale||View Profile|
|Ms Stephanie Wickenden||View Profile|
|Richard Wilson QC||View Profile|
|Mr Mark Wraith||View Profile|
|Dr Adrian de Froment||View Profile|
Staff FiguresMembers of Staff : 24
LanguagesArabic French German Spanish Portugese
Serle Court recognises the importance of providing a positive and supportive working environment for our barristers and staff and has done so for several years. As a growing chambers, we acknowledge the importance of maintaining a collegiate working environment and the need to ensure that all of our policies and practices enable us to do this.
Serle Court has an established Equality, Diversity and Wellbeing Committee and a Chambers Health & Wellbeing Policy with the work of that committee overseen by the Management Committee thereby ensuring it has the widest application to all aspects of Chambers. We also have a member on the Chancery Bar E&D Committee.
Serle Court’s Equality and Diversity policy aims include:
- to secure equality of opportunity in every area of its activities.
- to treat its members, pupils, employees, clients and the public with respect.
- to observe and endorse the relevant provisions of the Code of Conduct and the Equality and Diversity Code, particularly when discharging any duties in the management of Chambers.
- to strive to ensure that Chambers does not directly or indirectly discriminate against any current or prospective member, pupil, employee or client on any improper ground, such as age; disability; gender reassignment; marital or civil partnership status; pregnancy or maternity; race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin; religion or belief; sex and sexual orientation.
We are formulating a series of health and wellbeing related initiatives as part of chambers’ wellbeing strategy, as we believe that a healthy and well-motivated chambers will enhance our productiveness and effectiveness. We aim to encourage and facilitate working practices and services that support the health and wellbeing of barristers, pupils and staff.
Work/life balance is a central pillar of the Serle Court ethos. Barristers take breaks, sabbaticals and manage their workloads. Annual practice review meetings (PRM) provide an opportunity for members to discuss with clerks, the Chief Executive and the Business Development Manager how they see their next year and how much work they would like to do.
Serle Court is delighted to have received a Wellbeing Certificate of Recognition from The Bar Council by demonstrating chambers’ dedication and commitment to the wellbeing of its barristers and staff through our policies, and wellbeing programmes.
Top Tier Set Rankings
- London Bar Media and entertainment (including art and cultural property)
- London Bar Fraud: civil
- London Mediators
- London Bar Offshore
- London Bar Private client: trusts and probate
- London Bar Charities
- London Bar Commercial litigation
- London Bar Insolvency
- London Bar Financial services regulation
- London Bar Competition
- London Bar Intellectual property
- London Bar Tax: corporate and VAT/indirect tax
- London Bar International arbitration: counsel
- London Bar Public international law
- London Bar Professional negligence
- London Bar Banking and finance (including consumer credit)
- London Bar Professional disciplinary and regulatory law
- London Bar Property litigation
- London Bar Company and partnership
- London Bar Set overviews: England and Wales