Aviation - London (Bar)
This "high-quality set for aviation" continues to be at the forefront of the market. Praised for its prowess in all manner of aviation cases, it is particularly known for its efforts on the contentious side, and "has excellent practitioners in both senior and more junior roles." Recent highlights include acting in the air finance dispute Alpstream AG v PK Airfinance and GECAS, a case in which several members of the set had a hand.
Client service: The clerks are "very efficient and slick" and "stand out for their commercial approach." "Barristers and clerking staff at the set are impressive and there is a very good level of communication between the two. They are all very nice people and are extremely user-friendly."
Michael Crane QC
Crane is the leading name in aviation regulation, and has a regulatory practice covering complex disputes and breaches in regulation. Described by impressed interviewees as being excellent on his feet and a calm advocate.
Expertise: "The leading name at the Aviation Bar, with unrivalled knowledge and experience."
"He is absolutely at the top of his game – the go-to QC for aviation matters. He has masses of experience, is great on his feet and his paperwork is fantastic as well."
"He is absolutely top draw and a wonderful advocate - extraordinarily bright and a genuinely nice chap. Very incisive and supportive of those instructing him, he is available despite his busy schedule."
Recent work: He acted in the Air Transworld v Bombardier Inc case before the Commercial Court. This was a highly significant case regarding the interpretation of unfair terms in contracts relating to international sales of aircraft.
Bankim Thanki QC
A leading commercial silk whose broad-ranging practice takes in a welter of banking and financial services cases, alongside his aviation work. Sources note his meticulous attention to detail and high level of client service.
Expertise: "One of the stars of the Commercial Bar, who combines supreme intellect with being an incredibly nice chap."
Recent work: He advised trustees of the Air Travel Trust on credit card issuer liabilities and proposed draft revisions to the ATOL scheme.
Stephen Moriarty QC
Has a broad commercial litigation practice and is commended for his professional background as an academic at Oxford University. He is known for the great intelligence he brings to proceedings.
Expertise: "His background is a very strong academic one and even amongst silks he comes across as being a real intellectual heavyweight. But at the same time he's very hands-on - he doesn't delegate the work and really does roll his sleeves up. Very user-friendly and easy to deal with, he always keeps the commercial and strategic landscape in view."
Recent work: He has recently been acting for the defendant aviation finance company in Commercial Court proceedings in the Alpstream & Ors v PK Airfinance case.
Akhil Shah QC
A pre-eminent barrister in regulatory disputes, he is a frequent adviser on the regulation of airlines and slot allocation. Shah is noted for his technical prowess and commercial awareness.
Expertise: "Counsel of choice on many aviation disputes over the years, he couples an unrivalled eye for forensic detail with a pragmatic commercial approach, and is a reliable sounding board who is a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: He acted for easyJet in successfully gaining access to operate flights on the restricted London to Moscow route.
Michael McLaren QC
His broad-ranging practice covers all areas of aviation-related law. Sources appreciate his sharp legal mind and good intuition.
Expertise: "He has an extremely tidy mind - he's very accurate and his eye for detail is phenomenal. Issues that are vague and fuzzy in your head, he has a way of cutting through very sharply and very quickly. There is no case too big for him." "Michael is not your fire and brimstone advocate who thunders around the courtroom in a bullish manner - he is very measured and restrained and this can be devastatingly effective. He has a very good feel for what will or will not work in court and is good at reading the judge and getting his or her confidence."
Recent work: He acted successfully for ACG in the high-profile ACG Acquisition XX LLC v Olympic Airlines SA case.
John Taylor QC
A recently appointed silk, whose practice is commercially focused. Displays prowess when handling technically complex aviation issues.
Expertise: "John is very practical. He's all over the facts of the case and comes up with a vast number of legal arguments. Very impressive."
Recent work: He recently represented claimant Charles Shaker who was seeking return of a USD3.55 million deposit he paid regarding a potential aircraft purchase then owned by a company within the Vistajet Group.
A market-leading junior who frequently acts for airports, airlines and aviation financiers.
Expertise: "Rosalind Phelps is fantastic - incredibly hands-on, an unbelievably quick worker, always client-focused and pragmatic, and not remotely in an ivory tower or living in 'barrister-land'. A great strategic thinker, she really sees herself as an integral part of the client-solicitor-barrister team. She's an absolute delight to work with - I love instructing her."
Recent work: She is acting for PK Airfinance on a claim by companies associated with NRC group following the collapse of the Blue Wings airline in Germany.
A visible junior in high-profile aviation disputes.
Expertise: "A very capable junior who has given us great assistance on our largest cases."
Recent work: He has been acting in a USD30 million claim concerning the repossession and sale of seven airbus aircraft.
A well-reputed figure in aviation litigation, he has a practice that includes representing airlines and manufacturers in aircraft accidents.
Expertise: "Adam is procedurally spot-on and commercially astute, has a good sense of humour and is always a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: He has advised Air France following the loss of the aircraft AF447 en route from Brazil to Paris.
A fluent Russian-speaking junior who is gaining significant market praise for his excellent legal grounding and for his eye for detail in cases. His broad-ranging practice covers aviation-related arbitration and litigation.
Expertise: "Apart from his language skills being a major asset, he is extremely efficient and proactive, doing things in advance without needing to be asked. He is quite young in terms of call but juggles significant cases extremely well. Very good and easy to work with, he produces very good written material."
Recent work: He recently acted in Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander v Clauson, a case where the liquidator of an Icelandic bank was seeking to recover sums under a guarantee concerning the liabilities of an insolvent aircraft operator.
A junior with a strong commercial litigation practice, she attracts market praise for her accessibility and client service.
Expertise: "An excellent recently called junior, she is extremely hard-working, accessible, client-friendly and determined. One to watch for the future."
Recent work: She has acted for the lessor of a Boeing 737, ACG, in an aircraft lease agreement dispute with Olympic Airlines.
Impressed sources confirm that "Quadrant Chambers is one of the leading sets in aviation liability and regulatory work." Continuing to receive instructions from the City's leading aviation law firms, the set handles a broad portfolio of work covering regulatory, arbitration and insurance coverage matters, as well as product liability claims. Further notable work for the set includes aircraft finance and leasing disputes. Market observers highlight the chambers' client service focus, technical ability and strong team approach.
Client service: "As a chambers, they are pretty progressive in terms of being out there and willing to come and chat to clients and solicitors - the barristers are out and about and more visible than others. In relation to clerking and general client service, the set is really good, responsive and flexible."
Robert Lawson QC
Offering over 20 years' experience in aviation, he acts for leading airlines as well as aviation law firms. He advises on product liability, multi-jurisdictional litigation and insurance issues.
Expertise: "Arguably the best aviation barrister around - if the matter is more complex I would go to him. An all-rounder."
Recent work: He acted for British Airways in Civil Aviation Authority Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificate Decision 1/12. The case was in regards to the allocation of bilateral capacity on the London-Moscow route.
A senior junior with an excellent reputation in aviation-related insurance and reinsurance matters. Recognised for his hard-working and client-friendly manner.
Expertise: "Tim is extremely good to work with - very responsive and very much a team player. He will definitely roll up his sleeves and get on with it." "I think in terms of airline liability work, if you don't need a QC involved, he has built himself a reputation as the go-to person. He is user-friendly and approachable. A lot of this is due to his background in the aviation insurance industry prior to going to the Bar - he really understands what the clients want and has a unique perspective on what the aviation industry wants too."
Recent work: He has been acting on a dispute regarding commission payments for fuel surcharges between the Association of Pakistani Travel Agents and Pakistan Airlines.
A leading practitioner with a well-established practice covering multi-jurisdictional aviation crashes. Sources highlight his background and strong industry knowledge in insurance matters.
Expertise: "Would rate him highly for any form of aviation work. Matthew has specialist knowledge of aviation and travel work because of his expert knowledge of ATOL. He is very good in court, explaining complicated issues in a way that makes them sound very convincing. He has strong technical knowledge." "Very detailed and thorough, he shows great compassion and understanding with clients."
Recent work: He was recently involved in a highly publicised inquest following the death of a BAE Systems navigator. The hearing addressed issues of engineering, management and operational failures leading to the fatality.
Dual-qualified in the UK and Germany, he demonstrates notable expertise advising on the international aspects of aviation disputes, and handles matters ranging from aircraft financing to fatal accidents.
Expertise: "Absolutely brilliant, he is a very robust litigator. Wonderful with clients, he will not get browbeaten when people bring in formidable barristers against him."
Recent work: He successfully represented the defendant against damages claims for breach of the EU Regulation 1107/2006, in the Hook v British Airways case.
A former solicitor who previously acted as head of aviation regulatory and commercial law at two law firms in the City. He has broad experience in the aviation industry, and advises on aircraft leasings as well as airline start-ups, restructurings and mergers.
Expertise: "His breadth of knowledge is fantastic. He is able to put things in layman's terms superbly. He has the ability to take something and put it in the right terms for the right audience." "He is vastly experienced and very practical. He has been a solicitor and a barrister, which is unusual, and can therefore see things from both sides."
A notable practitioner focusing on commercial disputes within aviation. His practice handles aviation sale and purchase contracts, as well as financing issues.
Renowned for his work in disputes for leading airlines and tour operators, as well as the main UK airports. He works almost exclusively on the defendants' side.
Expertise: "He is probably best known for his real attention to detail and analytical manner."
Recent work: He appeared in Rosen v easyJet Airline Company.
A visible presence in disputes in the Commercial Court concerning aircraft repair, damage and sale and leasing.
Expertise: "He is very intelligent and has a very sharp brain. Although quite junior he has brainpower and knowledge way ahead of his experience or years." "He's very technically minded and quick to draw out the pertinent commercial issues."
Recent work: He has been acting for the claimant in a case in the Commercial Court concerning a mid-air collision between a bi-plane and helicopter, resulting in the total loss of the helicopter.
This "heavyweight set for commercial legal matters" advises, amongst other things, on the insurance aspects of theft of aircraft, as well as the competition work covering slot allocation and fuel surcharges.
Client service: "The clerks we deal with there are straight down the line with you and always accommodate our requests for access or urgent advice - I cannot fault them."
Andrew Lydiard QC
He is a respected practitioner in commercial litigation and arbitration, and is highly practised in aviation and insurance disputes.
Expertise: "A first-rate intellect." "Excellent and very user-friendly."
Neil Calver QC
His broad commercial practice takes in aviation matters of great complexity.
Expertise: "Neil is a staunch advocate and a good listener. He has an easy manner with no airs and graces, but there is plenty of steel there - and he is of course no intellectual slouch. He has a strong sense of ownership of the case, which gives clients confidence."
This set has a broad-ranging aviation practice, acting on regulatory issues, product liability claims, insurance claims and sale and purchase disputes. Recent times have seen the set being active in a number of aircraft leasing disputes, including the landmark ACG Acquisition v Olympic Airlines case regarding an aircraft operating lease.
Client service: "XXIV Old Buildings' clerking is very good and incredibly commercial in its approach." "The clerks are outstanding there - a cut above the rest. They provide a very, very good service and really stand out." "The clerks are flexible, engaging, responsive, sensible, commercial - all of that."
Philip Shepherd QC
A pre-eminent barrister in the field of commercial litigation and arbitration with a highly successful aviation practice.
Expertise: "Very much a team player with a hands-on approach. He is very willing to come out and meet with clients."
"He gets to grips with the detail, which some QCs don't because of time, but he really invests the time and gets fully immersed in it. Very confident, very approachable, he is always keen to have input from other people and take on board ideas. His grasp of the technical detail of the aviation industry is really evident."
Recent work: He acted on one of the aviation industry's biggest cases in recent years, ACG Acquisition XX LLC v Olympic Airlines.
A highly visible and well-reputed figure in the aviation market, acting for airlines, aircraft owners and operators, lessors and syndicated lenders. His wide range of aviation expertise includes wet and dry leasing disputes, disputes of maintenance, and airline insolvency disputes.
Expertise: "A very down-to-earth and thoughtful adviser and advocate. He is very thorough in preparation and personable to work with." "Shah is very experienced in aircraft matters, which makes him very able when it comes to aircraft injunctions and commercial disputes with an engineering angle." "I have been enormously impressed with Bajul Shah, who is an extremely good barrister, and very able, very nice to work with and fully engaged. A man of no pomposity, he is very responsive to the thoughts and comments of others."
Recent work: He acted for claimants in the Blue Sky v Blue Airways case, concerning a dispute over the conversion of three Boeing 747-400 aircraft by an Iranian airline in 2008.
He has strong experience of insolvency matters in the aviation industry, as well as a significant practice advising on disputes of aircraft sale and leasing, return conditions and repossession.
Expertise: "A person with fantastic technical knowledge. He gets on really well with the clients and you have real confidence when he is dealing with something for you as he goes out of his way to help you. He also comes across really well in court - he has such a good manner that the judges respect him and will listen to him. Right up there as a top choice for difficult contractual issues - I really rate him highly." His relaxed manner and easy style belie his incisive approach. He performs excellently in court."
Recent work: He acted for Jet2.com in a breach of contract claim by the airline against a Romanian maintenance company.
A commercial dispute resolution lawyer with a strong presence in aviation matters. Noted for his work in the Middle East.
Expertise: "He certainly knows his aircraft stuff and his way round the financial aspects of aviation." "He is definitely an aviation practitioner doing a lot of work in the field."
Recent work: Advising in the Gadair v Low Cost Holidays case on the recoverability of charter hire.
A junior increasingly more visible in aviation litigation and arbitration. Sources praise his enthusiasm and intelligence.
Expertise: "Enormously user-friendly and punches well above his weight - a real star."
"A very promising and bright young junior doing commercial litigation."
Recent work: He acted in the landmark ACG Acquisition XX LLC v Olympic Airlines SA case.
John Steel QC of Thirty Nine Essex Street
Although chiefly known for his work on the planning and environment side of airport and aerodrome development, he is also a lawyer with extensive experience of aviation regulation. His clients include airport operators, airlines, aircraft owners, the government and the Civil Aviation Authority.
Expertise: "Reasonable in terms of both his fee and his approach, he really takes the time to try and understand what it is the client wants to achieve."
Recent work: Defended the CAA in a judicial review challenge concerning a private pilot's licensing under the Civil Aviation Act and Regulations.
Gavin Kealey QC of 7 King's Bench Walk
Is a leading insurance silk with a strong foothold in the aviation market. Commentators praise his extensive knowledge of the insurance industry.
Expertise: "Gavin is a top-flight commercial silk with a particular reputation in insurance work. A very talented barrister, he is a good advocate and a capable cross-examiner, who is very astute in acting as a trial lawyer." "Gavin is incredibly bright and has very extensive, in-depth knowledge of the law."
Recent work: Recently acted on a claim for indemnity by a US aviation company, concerning damages against it from an air crash that led to the deaths of passengers.
Emma Hilliard of 7 King's Bench Walk
Is a junior impressing the aviation market. Sources appreciate her strong industry knowledge and down-to-earth approach.
Expertise: "Emma is very keen and a rising star."
Recent work: Recently appeared in the County Court on behalf of client Air Canada in a matter concerning the refusal to allow a passenger to fly.