Set Profile > Chambers of Alex Verdan QC > London, England

Chambers of Alex Verdan QC
4 Paper Buildings

Children law (including public and private law) Tier 1

A 'first-rate set of chambers', 4 Paper Buildings is ‘without question, the go-to set for children matters’, according to clients. The set has ‘great strength in depth, a very good range of barristers at different levels of call, from hugely experienced QCs to extremely talented juniors, meaning it will always have a barrister who fits each client’s needs’. Alex Verdan QC, Sam King QC, Andrew Powell, Cleo Perry, and Michael Edwards  have been acting in the Independent Inquiry into child sexual abuse, the large public inquiry set to have huge implications on the way institutions deal with allegations of abuse. The set has many 'excellent' barristers including Prof Jo Delahunty QC who 'dominates every case she is in' and Teertha Gupta QC who is 'a smooth, engaging, and highly persuasive advocate with a strong following'. Charles Hale QC is 'outstanding' and 'judges really listen to Henry Setright QC because he invariably knows more on the subject than they do'.

Leading Juniors

Joy Brereton - 4 Paper BuildingsKnows every detail of her cases and is a formidable presence in court.
Ranked: Tier 1
Dorothea Gartland - 4 Paper BuildingsIs understated and polite in her advocacy which hides the deadly questions.
Ranked: Tier 1
Michael Gration - 4 Paper BuildingsIs an extremely able advocate who is able to win cases with his authoritative and persuasive advocacy.
Ranked: Tier 1
Justine Johnston - 4 Paper BuildingsIs a ferocious advocate. She has the full confidence of her clients and instructing solicitors.
Ranked: Tier 1
Barbara Mills - 4 Paper BuildingsIs wholly reliable and a silk in the making.
Ranked: Tier 1
Judith Murray - 4 Paper BuildingsAn exceptional negotiator and a formidable advocate.
Ranked: Tier 1
Jacqueline Renton - 4 Paper BuildingsA confident and fierce advocate.
Ranked: Tier 1
Sally Bradley - 4 Paper BuildingsA persuasive advocate who is also empathetic with clients.
Ranked: Tier 2
Rebecca Foulkes - 4 Paper BuildingsIs exceptionally well prepared, calm and has authority beyond her years, both with clients and in court.
Ranked: Tier 3
Mark Jarman - 4 Paper BuildingsA fearless advocate, a safe pair of hands; his written and oral advocacy is exceptional, down to earth and robust.
Ranked: Tier 3
Brian Jubb - 4 Paper BuildingsHis attention to detail is second to none.
Ranked: Tier 3
Samantha Woodham - 4 Paper BuildingsHer greatest strength is her ability to empathise with clients in a way which makes them feel completely supported while also making their legal position clear.
Ranked: Tier 3
Chris Barnes - 4 Paper BuildingsHighly intelligent and meticulous, he will not leave any stone unturned; a fearless and eloquent advocate.
Ranked: Tier 4
Francesca Dowse - 4 Paper BuildingsIs very clever and applies her intelligence most productively in analysing cases for the best and weakest points and then comes up with a strategy to deal with both.
Ranked: Tier 4
Michael Edwards - 4 Paper BuildingsAn incredible advocate; his ability to analyse the evidence and present his client’s case in the most forensic way is outstanding.
Ranked: Tier 4
Andrew Powell - 4 Paper BuildingsIs quick to assure worried or anxious clients and is a safe pair of hands when you have a complicated matter that needs a detailed solution.
Ranked: Tier 4
Ruth Kirby - 4 Paper BuildingsIs a tenacious advocate who fights hard for clients.
Ranked: Tier 5
Cleo Perry - 4 Paper BuildingsImpeccably prepared with a great legal mind; awesome, understated and effective cross-examination skills.
Ranked: Tier 5
Ceri White - 4 Paper BuildingsIs a fierce fighter who will leave no stone unturned and goes full out for her clients; she is easy to work with and always knows a case inside out.
Ranked: Tier 5

Leading Silks

Jo Delahunty QC - 4 Paper BuildingsIs extremely well respected by judges and is a real force to be reckoned with.
Ranked: Tier 1
Teertha Gupta QC - 4 Paper BuildingsIs never flustered and instils great confidence in clients.
Ranked: Tier 1
Charles Hale QC - 4 Paper BuildingsForms strong relationships with clients and immediately puts them at ease.
Ranked: Tier 1
Henry Setright QC - 4 Paper BuildingsThe most intelligent and tactical counsel.
Ranked: Tier 1
Alex Verdan QC - 4 Paper BuildingsDeserves all the plaudits that he gets.
Ranked: Tier 1
Alison Grief QC - 4 Paper BuildingsIs exceptionally thorough, intelligent, great eye for detail and has an incredible grasp of complex medical issues.
Ranked: Tier 2
Catherine Wood QC - 4 Paper BuildingsHer cross-examination lights up the courtroom.
Ranked: Tier 2
Kate Branigan QC - 4 Paper BuildingsUnflappable when under even extreme pressure.
Ranked: Tier 3
Cyrus Larizadeh QC - 4 Paper BuildingsIs a skilled advocate who fights his client’s corner with determination and flair.
Ranked: Tier 3

Family (including divorce and financial remedy) Tier 2

With ‘excellent strength in depth in family law’, 4 Paper Buildings has a proven track record of acting in family disputes involving high-net-worth and international clients, especially where there are also issues involving offshore assets, family trusts, and complex tax structures. Henry Clayton advised the mother on an application for financial provision for a child where the father is a member of a wealthy ruling family that is based overseas. In addition, its members are skilled at advising on issues surrounding inherited and pre-marital agreements. ‘The whole set is very good indeed. It is a large family set with superb specialist family counsels at all levels,’ said one source. Another said: 'They have increasing numbers of polished performers in financial remedy cases.'

Leading Juniors

Henry Clayton - 4 Paper BuildingsMeticulous preparation, penetrating and focused advocacy, a sharp legal mind and clever lateral thinking when unusual situations present themselves.
Ranked: Tier 1
Judith Murray - 4 Paper BuildingsHas a sharp intellect, excellent advocacy and provides succinct and clear advice.
Ranked: Tier 2
Samantha Woodham - 4 Paper BuildingsHer advice is carefully thought out and she is always meticulously well-prepared for any conference or hearing.
Ranked: Tier 2
Francesca Dowse - 4 Paper BuildingsOne of her undoubted strengths is in being able to put the client at ease before and during a hearing and to ensure that the case is presented clearly.
Ranked: Tier 3
Nicholas Fairbank - 4 Paper BuildingsIs a tenacious advocate, sharp as a razor blade and a pleasure to watch in action.
Ranked: Tier 3
Harry Gates - 4 Paper BuildingsHas a real grasp of all the nuances in each case and is clearly very well prepared for each hearing.
Ranked: Tier 3
Sophie Connors - 4 Paper BuildingsThe complete package – fabulous with clients, a very persuasive advocate, and immaculately prepared.
Ranked: Tier 4
James Copley - 4 Paper BuildingsA well-regarded junior.
Ranked: Tier 4
Rhiannon Lloyd - 4 Paper BuildingsIs strategic and tactical in her approach and is able to hold the courtroom in the palm of her hand to ensure an excellent outcome for the client.
Ranked: Tier 4
Stephen Lyon - 4 Paper BuildingsCan mix it with senior barristers without being outgunned, whilst always maintaining a professional and calm demeanour.
Ranked: Tier 4
Kate Van Rol - 4 Paper BuildingsIs a forceful advocate, with the ability to focus on details which quite often leave opponents in a fluster.
Ranked: Tier 4
Katie Wood - 4 Paper BuildingsHer commitment to cases is consistently 150% – nothing escapes her detailed examination of even the most complex of cases.
Ranked: Tier 4

Leading Silks

Charles Hale QC - 4 Paper BuildingsIs recommended for his command of the courtroom, his honeyed advocacy skills and user-friendliness.
Ranked: Tier 2
Christopher Hames QC - 4 Paper BuildingsHis advocacy is smooth and persuasive.
Ranked: Tier 4
Michael Sternberg QC - 4 Paper BuildingsA highly regarded silk.
Ranked: Tier 4

Set overviews: England and Wales

The ‘strong and versatile4 Paper Buildings is ‘the pre-eminent set’ for children work – public or private – with ‘some of the biggest hitters’ in the field and 'a huge number of talented juniors who are winning admirers for their caring yet effective style of representation’. Chambers is able to offer a barrister ‘with the appropriate expertise and skill to the right client at the right cost’. While it has historically been known as a children set, more of its junior members are also undertaking finance and cohabitation work, so much so that for some solicitors it has become the ‘go-to’ set for all family work in London and across the regions. In recent news, Cyrus Larizadeh QC has been appointed acting chair of the Family Law Bar Association and Oliver Jones has been appointed a circuit judge. Michael Reeves’ ‘well-run’ clerks’ room is ‘the best in the business’ and ‘a pleasure to deal with’; ‘responsive and accommodating, they bend over backwards to help at short notice when needed’. The clerks are ‘slick, hugely communicative with instructing solicitors, personable, engaged, and proactive’. First junior Paul Hennessey and second junior Kenny Martin ‘are excellent clerks’ held in high regard by solicitors. Asked to give their impression of chambers as a whole, one solicitor offered: ‘From the moment they enter the reception at 4PB, a client feels that they are in professional and nurturing hands. A client who may be very anxious is eased by the calm waiting room and the offer of a cup of tea and yet there is in an air of productivity and business which is also reassuring.’ Chambers manager Clare Bello has joined Cornerstone Barristers as its new chief executive officer. She was replaced by Furhana Mallick on 16 September. Offices in: London


4 Paper Buildings is a long-established leading family law set which has expanded rapidly in recent years to become one of the largest family sets in the country. Members of chambers are regarded as leaders in the field of family law.

The set: 4 Paper Buildings houses a friendly group of specialist barristers providing excellent, expert, commercial and practical advice, advocacy and dispute resolution services in all areas of family law. Alex Verdan QC is head of chambers, with great ambitions to lead the set to the very pinnacle of family law client service. Michael Reeves leads a young and dynamic clerking team which is recognised throughout the Temple as one of the strongest and best-organised clerks’ rooms. Clare Bello, chambers manager, ensures that chambers’ internal workings remain smooth and efficient so that barristers and clerks can concentrate on offering absolutely the best client service to those who use 4PB’s barristers.

Former members of chambers have gone on to be specialist and distinguished family judges in the High Court and County Court. Current members sit as Deputy High Court Judges, Recorders, Deputy District Judges and tribunal chairs.

Types of work undertaken: 4 Paper Buildings’ barristers are family law specialists. Members practice in the fields of divorce and civil partnership dissolution, jurisdiction disputes, financial remedies on matrimonial and civil partnership breakdown, disputes between former cohabitants, marital, civil partnership and cohabitation agreements, financial arrangements for children, protection from domestic abuse, international family relocation disputes, child abduction, forced marriage, public children law, public inquiries, radicalism cases, private children’s arrangements, surrogacy (national and international) and assisted conception, medical cases and court of protection work.

4PB is primarily known for its expertise in children law, whether public, private or international. Its reputation in these fields is pre-eminent. 4PB has a similar reputation for excellence in family financial work. The holistic approach of many of its barristers means that chambers is pleased to be able to offer an all-round service on family law matters so that the client receives continuity of representation in all aspects of their situation, with no artificial distinction between children and financial matters requiring separate counsel.

Many of the most complex, serious and sensitive family law matters arising nationally and internationally are handled by members of 4PB, who travel to assist clients all over the country.

Clients of 4PB recommend the set for its ability to provide a formidable array of talents at all levels of call in all specialisations of family law, ensuring a seamless team approach to even the most complex and demanding of matters.

Chambers also provides a wide spread of services by way of dispute resolution (DR), in particular mediation, collaborative law, early neutral evaluations, private FDRs and family law arbitration, and has 53 barristers available for direct public access.


Department Name Email Telephone
Senior clerk Michael Reeves
Chambers Manager Clare Bello
Members of Chambers VERDAN QC, Alex (1987)
Members of Chambers SETRIGHT QC, Henry (1979)
Members of Chambers SCOTT-MANDERSON QC, Marcus (1980)
Members of Chambers BRANIGAN QC, Kate (1985)
Members of Chambers DELAHUNTY QC, Jo (1986)
Members of Chambers STERNBERG QC, Michael (1975)
Members of Chambers WOOD QC, Catherine (1985)
Members of Chambers HOWLING QC, Rex (1991)
Members of Chambers GUPTA QC, Teertha (1990)
Members of Chambers HALE QC, Charles (1992)
Members of Chambers HAMES QC, Christopher (1987)
Members of Chambers GRIEF QC, Alison (1990)
Members of Chambers TUGHAN QC, John (1991)
Members of Chambers LARIZADEH QC, Cyrus (1992)
Members of Chambers KING QC, Sam (1990)
Members of Chambers JUBB, Brian (1971)
Members of Chambers BARRINGTON-SMYTH, Amanda (1972)
Members of Chambers MAIN THOMPSON, Dermot (1977)
Members of Chambers RAYSON, Jane (1982)
Members of Chambers JOHNSTONE, Mark (1984)
Members of Chambers COLEMAN, Elizabeth (1985)
Members of Chambers PERKINS, Alistair (1986)
Members of Chambers LYON, Stephen (1987)
Members of Chambers SHAW, James (1988)
Members of Chambers JARMAN, Mark (1989)
Members of Chambers BRADLEY, Sally (1989)
Members of Chambers MILLS, Barbara (1990)
Members of Chambers BRERETON, Joy (1990)
Members of Chambers BROWN, Joanne (1990)
Members of Chambers BEDINGFIELD, David (1991)
Members of Chambers AGEROS, Justin (1993)
Members of Chambers LITTLEWOOD, Rob (1993)
Members of Chambers HEPHER, Paul (1994)
Members of Chambers KIRBY, Ruth (1994)
Members of Chambers PAPAZIAN, Cliona (1994)
Members of Chambers MURRAY, Judith (1994)
Members of Chambers FAIRBANK, Nicholas (1996)
Member of Chambers BATH, Baljinder (1996)
Members of Chambers JOHNSTON, Justine (1997)
Members of Chambers COPLEY, James (1997)
Members of Chambers JONES, Oliver (1998)
Members of Chambers CHEETHAM, Lucy (1999)
Members of Chambers KHAN, Hassan (1999)
Members of Chambers PERRY, Cleo (2000)
Members of Chambers FOULKES, Rebecca (2001)
Members of Chambers GATES, Harry (2001)
Member of Chambers LLOYD, Rhiannon (2002)
Member of Chambers WOOD, Katie (2001)
Member of Chambers WHITE, Ceri (2002)
Member of Chambers VAN ROL, Kate (2002)
Member of Chambers PERSSON, Matthew (2003)
Member of Chambers DOWSE, Francesca (2004)
Member of Chambers GARTLAND, Dorothea (2004)
Member of Chambers DAVIES, Greg (2005)
Member of Chambers WOODHAM, Samantha (2006)
Member of Chambers MORLEY, Laura (2006)
Member of Chambers WALLACE, Nicola (2006)
Member of Chambers GRATION, Michael (2007)
Member of Chambers RENTON, Jacqueline (2007)
Member of Chambers CLAYTON, Henry (2007)
Member of Chambers MAXWELL-STEWART, Duncan (2007)
Member of Chambers POWELL, Andrew (2008)
Member of Chambers BARNES, Chris (2008)
Member of Chambers CONNORS, Sophie (2009)
Member of Chambers PORTER, Joanne (2010)
Member of Chambers EDWARDS, Michael (2010)
Member of Chambers NOSWORTHY, Harry (2010)
Member of Chambers CHISHOLM, Rachel (2010)
Member of Chambers EVANS, Jonathan (2010)
Member of Chambers TOWNEND, Julia (2011)
Member of Chambers KUMAR, Indu (2012)
Member of Chambers RUSTIN, Jonathan (2013)
Member of Chambers SANGER, Pippa (2015)
Member of Chambers BAKER, Charlotte (2014)
Member of Chambers CAMERON-DOUGLAS, Adele (2015)
Member of Chambers BRIDGER, Abigail (2016)
Member of Chambers BASI, Mani (2014)
Member of Chambers BEST, Miriam (2015)
Photo Name Position Profile
 Justin Ageros  photo Justin Ageros
 Greg Davies  photo Greg Davies
Prof Jo Delahunty QC photo Prof Jo Delahunty QC
 Francesca Dowse  photo Francesca Dowse
 Christopher Hames QC photo Christopher Hames QC
 Sam King QC photo Sam King QC
 Cyrus Larizadeh QC photo Cyrus Larizadeh QC
 Rhiannon Lloyd  photo Rhiannon Lloyd
 Cliona Papazian  photo Cliona Papazian
 Julia Townend  photo Julia Townend
 John Tughan QC photo John Tughan QC
 Katherine Van Rol  photo Katherine Van Rol
 Samantha Woodham  photo Samantha Woodham