Set Profile > South Square > London, England

South Square
South Square

Insolvency Tier 1

South Square 'continues to dictate the standard to which others must pitch', praised one client, saying the set is 'unrivaled for insolvency-related matters'. Areas where members particularly stand out include schemes of arrangement, company voluntary arrangements, administrations and liquidations, as well as cross-border matters and insolvency litigation. Highlights for David Allison QC include acting for the company in House of Fraser's scheme of arrangement, and the special court-appointed managers conducting the liquidation of Carillion. Daniel Bayfield QC acted for the creditor in Re OJSC International Bank of Azerbaijan. Felicity Toube QC is noted for international proceedings, with particular experience before courts in the Cayman Islands. Henry Phillips was led by William Trower QC in Noble Group Limited; a complex scheme of arrangement involving a restructuring of $4bn of its liabilities. Trowers QC has recently been appointed to the Chancery Division of the High Court.

Leading Silks

Robin Dicker QC - South SquareHe is possibly one of the cleverest silks at the Bar; a go-to choice when the case is so difficult it makes your head hurt.
Ranked: Tier 1
Michael Crystal QC - South SquareHe is a giant of the insolvency world.
Ranked: Tier 2
Mark Phillips QC - South SquareHe has a profound knowledge of insolvency law and, when required, dominates the courtroom.
Ranked: Tier 2
William Trower QC - South SquareHe’s the silk you choose when you want the judge to know that you and your clients are taking matters seriously and when you want the court to trust you.
Ranked: Tier 2
David Allison QC - South SquareHe can be an effective advocate in court.
Ranked: Tier 3
Daniel Bayfield QC - South SquareHe is a superb insolvency silk, pragmatic, user-friendly and commercial.
Ranked: Tier 3
Felicity Toube QC - South SquareShe is fiercely intelligent, robust, user-friendly and responsive.
Ranked: Tier 3
David Alexander QC - South SquareHe is quick to role his sleeves up, and gave clear, robust advice.
Ranked: Tier 4
Jeremy Goldring QC - South SquareHe is always across both the legal and factual detail; he will live and breathe a case.
Ranked: Tier 4
Barry Isaacs QC - South SquareHe has a proven ability to navigate a clear path through the most complex of matters.
Ranked: Tier 4
Martin Pascoe QC - South SquareA highly committed and user-friendly silk and very calm under pressure.
Ranked: Tier 4
Mark Arnold QC - South SquareVery conscientious and considered in his advice, and an absolute gent to deal with.
Ranked: Tier 5
Glen Davis QC - South SquareHe has a quiet, assured manner and has excellent client skills with an authoritative demeanour.
Ranked: Tier 5
Tom Smith QC - South SquareHe is commercial, easy to access, responsive, very smart and client-friendly.
Ranked: Tier 5

Leading Juniors

Lloyd Tamlyn - South SquareHe is fearless when it comes to opponents because he always prepares and clients feel that he is on their side once he gets into court.
Ranked: Tier 1
John Briggs - South SquareA sharp, lively mind with a clear view of the brief.
Ranked: Tier 2
Adam Goodison - South SquareHe shows a real interest in his work and turns round papers very very quickly; a delight to work with.
Ranked: Tier 2
Henry Phillips - South SquareExtremely bright, very committed and highly responsive.
Ranked: Tier 2
Stephen Robins - South SquareIf there is an argument that nobody has thought of, or a case that nobody has found, Stephen will unearth them, changing your case for the better.
Ranked: Tier 2
Hilary Stonefrost - South SquareShe is highly recommended for insolvency work.
Ranked: Tier 2
Adam Al-Attar - South SquareHe is extremely responsive, user-friendly and cerebral with heavy intellectual clout and commerciality in equal measure.
Ranked: Tier 3
William Willson - South SquareHas a prodigious ability to produce high-quality work product which quickly which makes him a highly valued member of the team.
Ranked: Tier 3
Richard Fisher - South SquareGo-to counsel in particularly complex cross-border insolvency matters.
Ranked: Tier 4

Offshore Tier 2

For many 'the leading insolvency set', South Square is involved in all manner of offshore company matters, with a number of instructions involving collapsed investment funds of note. Following his representation of the Primeo Fund in claims against HSBC, Tom Smith QC is instructed to represent the Abraaj Group's provisional liquidators in the Cayman Islands litigation stemming from the private equity group's high-profile collapse; Adam Al-Attar is instructed to represent Abraaj Holdings Limited.

Leading Silks

David Alexander QC - South SquareA tenacious advocate with a real flair for cross-examination.
Ranked: Tier 1
Tom Smith QC - South SquareA real star, being very bright and a fantastic advocate.
Ranked: Tier 1
Michael Crystal QC - South SquareInstructed in long-running cases.
Ranked: Tier 2
Barry Isaacs QC - South SquareOne of the best silks when it comes to numbers, he prepares cross-examination with surgical precision.
Ranked: Tier 2
David Allison QC - South SquareA user-friendly, intellectual heavyweight who gets into the detail of a case.
Ranked: Tier 3
Felicity Toube QC - South SquareHer opinions and advice are always a model of clarity.
Ranked: Tier 3
Jeremy Goldring QC - South SquareHis relaxed advocacy style is very effective and builds rapport with judges with ease.
Ranked: Tier 4

Leading Juniors

Adam Al-Attar - South SquareUndoubtedly the junior you want on any insolvency case.
Ranked: Tier 1
Toby Brown - South SquareA creative problem-solver with a highly rigorous and deeply analytical approach.
Ranked: Tier 2
William Willson - South SquareA junior instructed in cases stemming from Russia.
Ranked: Tier 2
Marcus Haywood - South Square'Responsive, easy to get on with and technically proficient.';
Ranked: Tier 3

Banking and finance (including consumer credit) Tier 3

South Square has an excellent reputation for handling technically challenging and knotty banking issues, often with an insolvency and fraud angle. The credit crunch saw the set's members embark on an impressive run of high-profile mandates, which continues to this day. Highlight instructions include Primeo Fund v HSBC, in which Tom Smith QC and Richard Fisher represented Primeo before the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, the Lehman Waterfall I, II, and III applications, and SAAD v AHAB, which involves several members including Mark Phillips QC. William Trowers QC has recently been appointed a High Court judge and assigned to the Chancery Division.

Leading Silks

Robin Dicker QC - South SquareHighly sought after for complex disputes.
Ranked: Tier 1
Jeremy Goldring QC - South SquareA pleasure to work with – he is very clever and has excellent judgement.
Ranked: Tier 2
David Allison QC - South SquareA very good advocate who cuts through the noise and tells the court what it needs to hear.
Ranked: Tier 3
Barry Isaacs QC - South SquareA great advocate, both orally and on paper: he is concise, incisive, well-measured, nimble, and judges like and appreciate his style.
Ranked: Tier 3
Mark Phillips QC - South SquareAn excellent silk for heavy litigation, especially where you know you're in for a scrap.
Ranked: Tier 3
Tom Smith QC - South SquareHe is top class – very clever, gets to the nub of matters quickly, and a fantastic advocate.
Ranked: Tier 3
Felicity Toube QC - South SquareHer written opinions should stand as an example of precisely what clients and instructing attorneys want to see – clear, concise and reliable.
Ranked: Tier 5

Leading Juniors

Richard Fisher - South SquareAs assured with clients as he is with the court, he will no doubt be in silk very shortly.
Ranked: Tier 2
Stephen Robins - South SquareHas proved excellent for us.
Ranked: Tier 2
Georgina Peters - South SquareAn excellent junior, she has a glowing future ahead of her.
Ranked: Tier 3
Adam Al Attar - South SquareBrilliantly clever, his advocacy is crystal clear and his control of the courtroom superb.
Ranked: Tier 4

Commercial litigation Tier 3

South Square may be best known for its top-tier expertise in insolvency-related disputes, but its members are also a mainstay of the broader commercial litigation arena. Their standing in the market is reflected in the calibre of their instructions, which recently  included Primeo v HSBC, a professional negligence claim arising from the Madoff fraud in which Tom Smith QC and Richard Fisher are among four members representing Primeo Fund. Other highlights include the AHAB v SAAD $9bn fraud dispute, one of the largest of its kind, and Vincent Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton, which involved five of the set's members, including Jeremy Goldring QC and Stephen Robins.

Leading Silks

Robin Dicker QC - South SquareExtremely well regarded.
Ranked: Tier 3
Tom Smith QC - South SquareGreat to work with, he sees the bigger commercial picture and works to gain a deep understanding of the client's issues.
Ranked: Tier 4
Jeremy Goldring QC - South SquareHe has a strong grasp of the issues in a very technical area.
Ranked: Tier 6
Mark Phillips QC - South SquareA force of energy and enthusiasm, he takes a client's problem and really makes it his own.
Ranked: Tier 6
Felicity Toube QC - South SquareIn all areas, Felicity is excellent; she is very bright, efficient, and great to work with.
Ranked: Tier 6

Leading Juniors

Richard Fisher - South SquareA fantastic client lawyer – measured, perceptive and able to present nuanced advice in a practical and easy-to-digest fashion.
Ranked: Tier 3
Stephen Robins - South SquareHe is a first-class junior.
Ranked: Tier 4

Fraud: civil Tier 3

South Square is home to several highly experienced silks and juniors with a strong track record in civil fraud. In many of the cases there is also a strong insolvency and offshore component. Major mandates include Primeo Fund v HSBC, in which Tom Smith QC was lead counsel for Primeo Fund, and Felicity Toube QC 's role in the high profile AHAB v Saad litigation.

Leading Silks

Robin Dicker QC - South SquareHighly experienced in major cases.
Ranked: Tier 3
Mark Phillips QC - South SquareA titan of litigation, he ran rings around his highly regarded opponent.
Ranked: Tier 3
Tom Smith QC - South SquareA genuine superstar, he is very bright, pragmatic, hardworking, accessible and a pleasure to work with.
Ranked: Tier 3
Felicity Toube QC - South SquareAn excellent advocate who puts things in a way that are easily understandable and compelling.
Ranked: Tier 4

Leading Juniors

Stephen Robins - South SquareOne of the best juniors I have instructed.
Ranked: Tier 3
Richard Fisher - South SquareExtremely impressive at grasping complex facts and legal issues with ease.
Ranked: Tier 4

Financial services regulation Tier 3

Leading Juniors

Adam Al Attar - South SquareAn extremely able technical lawyer who is tactically shrewd.
Ranked: Tier 3

Company and partnership

South Square is a 'modern and adaptable' set which stands out for handling English law-governed creditor schemes of arrangement across the globe; including in relation to House of Fraser, a matter multiple members are instructed on, including Tom Smith QC and David Allison QC. In another highlight, Smith QC acted for the successful appellant before the Privy Council in DD Growth, a case concerning the legality of payments made to shareholders from a company's share premium account, and the rights of a company to recover unlawful payments from a shareholder. With a practice that spans insolvency and company law, Barry Isaacs QC appeared as an independent expert in the High Court at the hearing to sanction the approval of a ringfencing scheme concerning the HSBC Group. In November 2018, Antony Zacaroli QC was appointed a High Court judge in the Chancery Division and will be joined in October 2019 by William Trowers QC.

Company - Leading Silks

David Allison QC - South SquareHe is commercial, easy to access, responsive, very smart and client friendly.
Ranked: Tier 2
Robin Dicker QC - South SquareA go-to choice when the case is so difficult it makes your head hurt.
Ranked: Tier 2
Barry Isaacs QC - South SquareHe is is known for his precision and clear advocacy.
Ranked: Tier 2
David Alexander QC - South SquareHe is very responsive, quick to role his sleeves up, and gives clear, robust advice.
Ranked: Tier 3
Mark Arnold QC - South SquareHis submissions always carry weight with the judge.
Ranked: Tier 3
Daniel Bayfield QC - South SquareHe combines excellent technical legal skills, superb judgement, first-rate advocacy skills, commitment and hard work with a level of user-friendliness rarely found in the best silks.
Ranked: Tier 3
Tom Smith QC - South SquareA very effective litigator, with a really good tactical sense and holds the attention of the court.
Ranked: Tier 3
Glen Davis QC - South SquareCerebral; ferociously bright.
Ranked: Tier 4

Set overviews: England and Wales

OutstandingSouth Square is ‘the pre-eminent’ insolvency chambers as it boasts ‘strength-in-depth’ at both silk and junior levels. Other areas of expertise include, company, civil fraud, and offshore work. In recent news, William Trower QC has been appointed a High Court judge assigned to the Chancery Division. Led by chambers director William Mackinlay, the clerks’ room is ‘never less than reliable and efficient; a pleasure to deal with, commercial on fees, and punctual and responsive on billing issues’. Of particular note are senior practice managers Mike Killick and Dylan Playfoot (‘always helpful and responsive’), practice managers Jim Costa and Marco Malatesta, as well as ‘exceptional’ first junior Chris Filby. Luke Clark has joined Enterprise Chambers. Offices in: London

The set: South Square is a leading set of commercial law barristers who have acted in many of the most important restructuring, insolvency, banking, commercial, company and fraud-related disputes of recent times. The set is highly regarded internationally, with barristers regularly appearing in courts around the world, including in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Gibraltar, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Types of work undertaken: Restructuring and insolvency: South Square has dominated the insolvency market for many years and its near-monopoly of big-ticket cases – both domestic and cross-border insolvency, represents a continuation of this long-term trend. The administration of Lehman Brothers has generated a substantial amount of insolvency litigation, including the Lehman Waterfall I and II Applications. South Square barristers have recently appeared in major appeals to the Supreme Court, the Privy Council and the Court of Appeal, including Re Nortel, Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe), Saad, Singularis, Re Olympic Airlines SA and Re Game Station. High-value restructurings include APCOA Parking Holdings, Codere Finance and DTEK Finance. Administration applications include MF Global, Rangers FC and Phones 4U.

Banking and finance: South Square has a strong banking and finance practice, with a particular specialisation in large-scale financial disputes, derivatives, securitisations and structured finance products. Due to its insolvency and restructuring expertise, the set is uniquely positioned to deal with credit crunch litigation and advisory work. Examples of cases include Graiseley v Barclays Bank, BNY Corporate Trustee Services v Eurosail, Loreley v LBIE, Landsbanki v Heritable, Landsbanki v Rabobank and GSO Capital Partners v Barclays Bank.

Commercial litigation and dispute resolution: South Square barristers are involved in significant pieces of high-profile litigation in the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division. The set is instructed by a wide range of firms, predominantly leading City firms, in commercial matters with a financial, banking and insolvency dimension. Recent cases include Constantin Medien AG v Bernard Ecclestone, Leni Gas Oil Investments v Malta Oil Pty Ltd, BNY Mellon Corporate Services V LGB Capital and Edgeworth Capital (Luxembourg) S.A.R.L. v Ramblas.

Company: South Square plays a major role in company law cases, regularly appearing in litigation arising out of shareholders’ disputes, derivative proceedings and claims relating to directors’ duties. High-profile cases include Smithton v Naggar, McKillen v Barclay and Jackson v Dear. The set’s work often involves schemes of arrangement under the Companies Act and South Square barristers have acted in virtually all of the recent high-profile creditor schemes of arrangement.

Civil fraud: South Square handles some of the most complex commercial fraud and asset tracing litigation. Recent work in England and offshore includes acting in litigation arising from the Rangers FC, Saad, Madoff, Stanford, Chesterfield and Instant Access Properties frauds as well as litigation involving the Tchenguiz brothers and Bernie Ecclestone.

International and offshore: South Square barristers are at the forefront of insolvency, banking, company and fraud matters before the courts of all the major offshore jurisdictions. Examples of work include Saad, Singularis, Oscatello, Picard v Primeo, Primeo v HSBC, Re Dubai World, Re Thyssen, Re Marrache and Nolan v Minerva.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chambers director William Mackinlay M.V.O
Practice managers Michael Killick
Practice managers Dylan Playfoot
Practice managers Jim Costa
Practice managers Marco Malatesta
Members of Chambers CRYSTAL QC, Michael (1970)
Members of Chambers BROUGHAM QC, Christopher (1969)
Members of Chambers HACKER QC, Richard (1977)
Members of Chambers PHILLIPS QC, Mark (1984)
Members of Chambers DICKER QC, Robin (1986)
Members of Chambers TROWER QC, William (1983)
Members of Chambers PASCOE QC, Martin (1977)
Members of Chambers ODITAH QC, Fidelis (1992)
Members of Chambers ALEXANDER QC, David (1987)
Members of Chambers DAVIS QC, Glen (1992)
Members of Chambers ISAACS QC, Barry (1994)
Members of Chambers TOUBE QC, Felicity (1995)
Members of Chambers ARNOLD QC, Mark (1988)
Members of Chambers GOLDRING QC, Jeremy (1996)
Members of Chambers ALLISON QC, David (1998)
Members of Chambers SMITH QC, Thomas (1999)
Members of Chambers BAYFIELD QC, Daniel (1998)
Members of Chambers BRIGGS, John (1973)
Members of Chambers GOODISON, Adam (1990)
Members of Chambers STONEFROST, Hilary (1991)
Members of Chambers TAMLYN, Lloyd (1991)
Members of Chambers FISHER, Richard (2000)
Members of Chambers ROBINS, Stephen (2001)
Members of Chambers HAYWOOD, Marcus (2002)
Members of Chambers THORNLEY, Hannah (2003)
Members of Chambers WILLSON, William (2006)
Members of Chambers PETERS, Georgina (2005)
Members of Chambers AL-ATTAR, Adam (2007)
Members of Chambers PHILLIPS, Henry (2008)
Members of Chambers COOKE, Charlotte (2008)
Members of Chambers RIDDIFORD, Alexander (2011)
Members of Chambers ABRAHAM, Matthew (2012)
Members of Chambers BROWN, Toby (2005)
Members of Chambers AMEY, Robert (2012)
Members of Chambers SHAW, Andrew (2013)
Members of Chambers PERKINS, Ryan (2014)
Members of Chambers MOKAL, Riz (1997)
Members of Chambers JONES, Madeleine (2015)
Members of Chambers LUPI, Edoardo (2015)
Members of Chambers DARCY, Roseanna (2016)
Members of Chambers WILKINS, Stefanie (2017)
Members of Chambers PYPER, Lottie (2017)
Academic Member PROFESSOR WORTHINGTON QC (Hon), Sarah
Associate Member DeKOVEN, Ronald
Associate Member BAMFORD, Colin
Associate Member HEATH QC, Paul
Associate Member MORTIMORE QC, Simon
Associate Member BRISTOLL, Sandra
Associate Member SHEAHAN QC, John
Associate Member JAIRAM SC, Seenath
Associate Member PROFESSOR ELLINGER, Peter
Associate Member ISMAIL SC, Roxanne
Associate Member MORTIMER GBS QC, Barry
Associate Member SHANDRO, Sandy
Associate Member SHELDON QC, Richard
Photo Name Position Profile
 Matthew Abraham  photo Matthew Abraham
 Adam Al-Attar  photo Adam Al-Attar
 David Alexander QC photo David Alexander QC
 David Allison QC photo David Allison QC
 Robert Amey  photo Robert Amey
 Mark Arnold QC photo Mark Arnold QC
 Daniel Bayfield  QC photo Daniel Bayfield  QC
 John Briggs  photo John Briggs
 Christopher Brougham QC photo Christopher Brougham QC
 Toby Brown  photo Toby Brown
 Charlotte Cooke  photo Charlotte Cooke
 Michael Crystal QC photo Michael Crystal QC
 Glen Davis QC photo Glen Davis QC
 Robin Dicker QC photo Robin Dicker QC
 Richard Fisher  photo Richard Fisher
 Jeremy Goldring QC photo Jeremy Goldring QC
 Adam Goodison  photo Adam Goodison
 Richard Hacker QC photo Richard Hacker QC
 Marcus Haywood  photo Marcus Haywood
 Barry Isaacs QC photo Barry Isaacs QC
 Madeleine Jones  photo Madeleine Jones
 Edoardo Lupi  photo Edoardo Lupi
 Riz Mokal  photo Riz Mokal
 Fidelis Oditah QC photo Fidelis Oditah QC
 Martin Pascoe QC photo Martin Pascoe QC
 Ryan Perkins  photo Ryan Perkins
 Georgina Peters  photo Georgina Peters
 Henry Phillips  photo Henry Phillips
 Mark Phillips QC photo Mark Phillips QC
 Alexander Riddiford  photo Alexander Riddiford
 Stephen Robins  photo Stephen Robins
 Andrew Shaw  photo Andrew Shaw
 Tom Smith QC photo Tom Smith QC
 Hilary Stonefrost  photo Hilary Stonefrost
 Lloyd Tamlyn  photo Lloyd Tamlyn
 Hannah Thornley  photo Hannah Thornley
 Felicity Toube QC photo Felicity Toube QC
 William Trower QC photo William Trower QC
 William Willson  photo William Willson