John Machell KC > Serle Court > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Serle Court


Barrister specialising in general Chancery and commercial litigation including partnership, LLPs, companies, trusts, civil fraud and insolvency.


Qualified 1993; QC 2012; Inner Temple.


Association of Partnership Practitioners.


St Albans; University of Southampton (1992 LLB Hons 1st).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Commercial litigation

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 6

John Machell KCSerle CourtHe is smart, knows his stuff, particularly on partnership disputes. John’s written work is very good.

London Bar > Company and partnership

(Partnership - Leading silks)Ranked: Tier 1

John Machell KCSerle CourtHis technical knowledge is second to none and he combines it with excellence in seeing the whole picture in the litigation.

Serle Court is widely regarded as a preeminent chambers for offshore company law litigation. Timothy Collingwood acted for the respondent shareholders in Caldicott v Hector, a BVI case alleging unfairly prejudicial conduct. David Blayney KC has a more domestic focus and is currently engaged in shareholder litigation in the Companies Court. In regards to partnership law, John Machell KC represents professional and financial services LLPs across the breadth of disputes, while Jennifer Haywood advises a number of tech start-ups structured as partnerships.

London Bar > Offshore

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

John Machell KCSerle CourtIncredibly well organised, a deep thinker but with commercial acumen.

Serle Court is seen by a number of clients as ‘a go-to set in this area‘ and its members are frequently instructed on heavyweight trusts matters, both contentious and advisory. Chambers’ coverage spans the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the BVI and Channel Islands, with a recent highlight of Jonathan Adkin KC‘s global practice seeing him represent the latter party in Winston Wong v Grand View Private Trust Company Ltd & Others, a $15bn trusts dispute at the Bermuda Supreme Court. Several members of chambers are also involved in that matter, including Richard Wilson KCJonathan Harris KC and Adil Mohamedbhai, while John Machell KC appeared before the Bermuda Court of Appeal in January 2021 in a different $8bn trusts case. Senior junior Kathryn Purkis, a former managing partner of Collas Crill in Jersey, continues to operate a standout practice in the Channel Islands, her 2021 work covering trusts, fraud and property matters.

London Bar > Private client: trusts and probate

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 2

John Machell KCSerle CourtOne of the cleverest barristers at the chancery bar. He has a piercing intellect, huge experience working on some of the highest profile cases in this area and an imaginative approach to the cases he is instructed on. All in all, a formidable operator.

Serle Court is ‘simply very, very good with a diverse range of excellent practitioners.’  Trust law and offshore contentious trust law has been described as ‘its forte.’ In Peckson Ltd; Ng v Chen Philip Jones KC acted for Ng Man Sun in a high-value  case which centred on the issue of whether a resulting trust arose out of a gratuitous transfer of shares from the owner of the shares to his de facto wife – the case eventually settled in the run-up to planned second hearing by the Privy Council. John Machell KC  recently appeared before the Bermuda Court of Appeal in an important three day appeal concerning the Court’s supervisory jurisdiction over trusts and the application of the rules of natural justice – the matter is ongoing.