Commercial Dispute Resolution - London (Bar)
Brick Court is perennially counted among the nation's elite sets for commercial dispute resolution work, with its members regularly acting in the most complex and high-value litigations and arbitrations. Market observers note that "the barristers exhibit strong technical expertise and commercial awareness," while a number of interviewees point to a formidable strength in depth at both silk and junior level. The set is also identified for its outstanding commitment to client service, with interviewees highlighting a clerking team that will "always go the extra mile for the client."
Client service: "Their commercial sense is excellent. They understand cost pressures and adapt their approach to the client and the situation."
Mark Howard QC
Widely considered to be one of the stars of the Commercial Bar. Howard elicits nothing but praise from market sources, who invariably attest to his superior abilities of analysis, argument and strategy. His broad practice covers the full spectrum of commercial law, and he is also noted for his attendant expertise in competition law.
Expertise: "Mark Howard has a formidable reputation as one of the most prominent commercial silks at the Bar." "A first-rate advocate. He gives clear, firm advice and sticks to it."
Recent work: In Sky v EDS, a case concerning fraudulent representations made by EDS during pre-contract negotiations, Howard showcased his creative approach to advocacy by obtaining an online MBA for his dog Lulu, with grades superior to those 'achieved' by the key EDS witness he discredited.
Mark Hapgood QC
This heavyweight silk is routinely instructed in the most complex and high-value commercial disputes at the London Bar. Areas of excellence among his broad commercial expertise include financial services disputes and insolvency-related litigation.
Expertise: "Exceptional. Extremely bright and quick to focus on the issues."
"Mark is particularly adept at cutting to the heart of complicated issues and presenting them simply and clearly. He provides practical, commercial and strategic advice and is a very persuasive advocate."
Recent work: Led in two disputes on behalf of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky against his former business associates, with each dispute being valued in excess of USD1 billion.
Charles Hollander QC
Ascends to the top tier of commercial silks after receiving outstanding feedback for a broad commercial and chancery practice. He is noted for sector specialisms pertaining to the media and sports industries.
Expertise: "Charles is a formidable advocate and his intellect and ability to distil down complex issues are second to none." "A class act, brilliant on his feet and able to answer complex legal questions in a concise and user-friendly style."
Recent work: He acted in an eight-week commercial fraud trial in Hong Kong, concerning a Taiwanese company with investments in China and Hong Kong.
Simon Salzedo QC
Salzedo's practice continues to gather pace since he took silk in 2011. His broad commercial caseload encompasses the core areas of banking and finance, insurance, professional negligence and arbitration.
Expertise: "Simon is a technically superb, crisp and clear advocate who is excellent to work with." "His advocacy is compelling. He is passionate about his arguments and draws people along with him."
Recent work: He defended US technology giant 3M in a trial concerning money it allegedly owed Porton Capital under an earn-out agreement. The case made national headlines when it was perceived to cause the downfall of Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
Jonathan Hirst QC
This highly experienced QC covers the full spectrum of commercial litigation and arbitration, including disputes concerning banking and finance, shipping, insurance and competition law. He is commended by sources for his astute and tenacious advocacy.
Expertise: "He justifies his reputation as a leading senior silk at the Bar. He is great with clients and has real presence."
Recent work: Hirst acted in Gécamines v F.G. Hemisphere Associates LLC, a case concerning the liability of state-owned corporations for the debts of the state.
Helen Davies QC
A highly respected litigator and arbitrator with an impressive track record in the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division of the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Aside from her commercial law focus, she is noted for her expertise in EU and competition law.
Expertise: "Top notch - certainly a future star if not a current star. She can do the strategic advice because she's all over the facts."
Recent work: Successfully defended Roman Abramovich in the USD8 billion claim for alleged intimidation and breach of trust in Berezovsky v Abramovich.
Tim Lord QC
Focuses on commercial litigation generally and banking and finance disputes particularly, and receives strong approval from market sources for his fast-developing silk's practice.
Expertise: "Tim Lord is a rising star of the Commercial Bar. As well as being highly intelligent and expert in the law, he has a very good grasp of litigation and commercial tactics, and is a particularly skilled and intrepid advocate." "He is very bright and a creative thinker."
Recent work: He acted in Fortress v Blue Skye, a case concerning an alleged conspiracy regarding a EUR200 million investment structure.
Daniel Jowell QC
Since taking silk in 2011, Jowell has impressed observers with his commercial law and competition/EU practice. He is a high-quality advocate with strong cross-examination skills and an exceptional attitude to client service.
Expertise: "One of the outstanding junior silks at the Commercial Bar. He is a future mega star."
Recent work: Jowell acted for Roman Abramovich in his USD8 billion dispute with Boris Berezovsky. Following this up, he acted for Oleg Deripaska in the defence of a USD3 billion claim over aluminium assets by Michael Cherney.
Neil Calver QC
Handles commercial dispute resolution as part of a broader practice encompassing areas such as banking and finance law, public law and international arbitration.
Expertise: "He has an easy manner but there is plenty of steel there. He likes to win - he has a nice sense of ownership of the case which gives the clients confidence."
Recent work: In Sumco v Solsonica, Calver acted for Solsonica in a successful jurisdictional challenge under the Brussels Convention.
Harry Matovu QC
Handles general commercial litigation and arbitration, and is noted for his expertise in oil and gas disputes, insurance and reinsurance and civil fraud.
Expertise: "He's absolutely charming and has such a good brain. He always delivers in a timely way and you feel that he's part of your team. An extremely able man."
Recent work: Matovu acted for Gulf Keystone in long-running litigation with Excalibur Ventures concerning a USD1.6 billion claim relating to interests in major oilfields in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Michael Bools QC
Has impressed market sources since taking silk in 2012. The core of his practice is general commercial litigation, both at trial and appellate level, and he also has a noted arbitration practice.
Expertise: "Extremely clever, very responsive and a pleasure to work with." "Manages to translate sound academic knowledge of the law into highly practical commercial advice."
Recent work: Bools acted for the Bambino Trust in defending an action brought against it by Constantin Medien. This was a fraud claim concerning the alleged sale of Formula 1 at an under value.
Michael Swainston QC
He is recognised for his broad commercial litigation, arbitration and advisory practice. Much of his practice reflects his expertise and experience in cases with a connection to Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Expertise: "A hugely impressive silk. Michael comes up with winning arguments quickly and without any fuss."
Recent work: Acted in VTB Capital v Universal Telecom Strategies Fund SPC in a Cayman Islands' Court of Appeal case concerning a large bank fraud.
Tom Adam QC
Impresses observers with his broad commercial expertise. His areas of excellence include professional negligence, civil fraud and insurance.
Expertise: "Ferociously bright." "He always knows the documents in a case inside out."
Recent work: Adam successfully acted for a syndicate of investors who had been deceived into investing in a land development scheme in Bulgaria.
Catharine Otton-Goulder QC
She is routinely instructed in complex cases pertaining to a broad range of industry sectors. Sources attest to her forceful and effective advocacy style.
Recent work: Otton-Goulder successfully maintained an order to freeze USD215 million following the sale of a Nigerian offshore oilfield by a Nigerian agent acting on behalf of the Nigerian oil minister.
Richard Slade QC
Recognised for his handling of commercial law, banking and finance disputes and insurance and reinsurance matters.
Expertise: "Excellent at cutting to the heart of the matter and very user-friendly." "He's decisive and fully engaged."
Recent work: He acted in Alliance Bank v Aquanta, a USD1 billion claim stemming from the misappropriation of securities.
Jasbir Dhillon QC
A new silk in 2013, Dhillon has been receiving strong reviews for his commercial dispute resolution practice for some time. His principal area of expertise is banking and finance law, while his practice also encompasses areas such as company law, insolvency and EU and competition law.
Expertise: "He is fiercely bright and really a very impressive guy." "An intelligent, sound lawyer who is good on detail and the law."
Recent work: He represented the Belgian state railway in a USD9 million claim against UBS stemming from a structured finance product.
Andrew Henshaw QC
Another 2013 silk, Henshaw is noted for his broad commercial litigation practice and his recognised expertise in banking and derivatives matters.
Expertise: "Andrew is very able, clear-minded and responsive." "He's very user-friendly and a great person to have on your team."
Recent work: Prior to taking silk, he acted in AstraZeneca v Albermarle, a Commercial Court dispute concerning the supply of chemicals for pharmaceutical manufacture. Also acted in the high-profile Berezovsky v Abramovich litigation.
Roger Masefield QC
Brick Court's third new commercial silk of 2013 is noted by observers for his handling of a broad range of commercial matters, including banking, civil fraud and insurance cases.
Expertise: "An absolutely superb advocate. He's brilliantly persuasive, reads the court to perfection and demonstrably changes the judge's mind. He's persistent without being tedious and is one of the most polished advocates at the Bar."
Recent work: Masefield has devoted a great deal of time to the representation of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky in Berezevosky v Abramovich, v Estate of Patarkatsishvili, v Anisimov, and v Salford.
Thomas Plewman SC
Since commencing his London practice in 2010 following a highly respected silk's career in South Africa, Plewman has quickly gathered a loyal following. He is particularly recognised for his handling of cases involving areas such as insurance, accountant's professional negligence, banking and company law.
Expertise: "Thomas is very experienced, being an SC in South Africa, and has a great track record on accountancy claims."
Recent work: He acted in Deutsche Bank v Sebastian Holdings, a case involving a claim and counterclaim for losses incurred on a foreign exchange and equity trading portfolio.
Recognised for his broad commercial litigation and arbitration practice. Areas of excellence include financial services, insurance and professional negligence.
Expertise: "He is extremely intelligent and user-friendly, and always has a full grasp of complex details. He is unquestionably one of the top commercial juniors."
Recent work: Birt acted for Sebastian Holdings in its dispute with Deutsche Bank. The case revolved around a number of alleged failings of the bank with respect to derivatives transactions which culminated in heavy losses for Birt's client.
Receives strong approval from peers and instructing solicitors alike. His dispute resolution practice spans the full spectrum of commercial law, and takes in insurance, banking, civil fraud and professional negligence cases.
Expertise: "A star of the junior Commercial Bar. He is very good on his feet."
Recent work: Acted for Michael Cherney in his USD4.5 billion claim against Oleg Deripaska, stemming from their alleged partnership in RUSAL.
An experienced advocate at all levels of the English court system, representing clients in a full range of commercial disputes. In addition, Midwinter is a member of the Bar of the British Virgin Islands, enabling him to advise on a number of jurisdiction disputes and international matters.
Expertise: "A first-class junior, who is calm and clear thinking in his advice. Extremely impressive." "A supremely confident and effective advocate, punching well above his call."
Recent work: Midwinter acted in RBS v Ocean Tankers, a USD100 million claim to enforce bank charges over ships.
A senior junior with an enviable track record across the entire spectrum of commercial disputes.
Expertise: "He is extremely technically proficient. He has an excellent practice and is very well liked by his clients and his opponents. A real delight, he's very sensible, very measured and very effective."
Recent work: He was led by Catharine Otton-Goulder QC in Energy Ventures v Malabu, a case concerning a USD100 million unpaid commission following the sale of an offshore Nigerian oilfield.
A fast-emerging talent in commercial and competition law, who continues to receive plaudits for his broad expertise as a commercial litigator.
Expertise: "A real star for the future. He does an excellent job every time, and works at a level well beyond his year of call."
Recent work: He acted for ITV in a £30 million contractual licensing dispute with Scottish Television, settling shortly prior to the Commercial Court trial.
Focuses his practice on commercial litigation and arbitration, and is recognised for his expertise in contractual disputes, insurance and reinsurance and civil fraud cases.
Expertise: "Sharp, technically excellent and a very strong advocate."
Recent work: He acted in Bilta v Nazir & Others, a £38 million claim stemming from an alleged carousel VAT fraud.
Enters the rankings for the first time having received strong feedback from market sources for his commercial dispute practice. Areas of excellence include banking and finance law, commercial fraud and professional negligence.
Expertise: "An asset to the team. He's very good with tricky technical points of both law and fact." "He's very, very bright and he's got that real commercial touch. He understands what clients want and, more importantly, what they should want."
Recent work: In Berezovsky v Hine & Ors he acted for the estate and family of the late Badri Patarkatsishvil, defending claims by his former business partner.
Continues to make strides since his 2009 call, and is regularly instructed in high-value commercial disputes. His practice also encompasses administrative law and public international law.
Expertise: "Oliver is a very promising junior, hard-working, highly intelligent and very easy to work with." "Oliver Jones demonstrates a commercial approach and impressive command of detail."
Recent work: He acted for Sebastian Holdings in its dispute with Deutsche Bank following losses suffered from derivatives transactions.
He is noted for his handling of a broad range of commercial law and banking and finance disputes.
Expertise: "A good up-and-coming guy who has the brains for any case."
Recent work: Hobson was part of the team defending Vasily Anisimov in his well-publicised litigation with Boris Berezovsky.
Rothschild is fast gaining a reputation as one of the leading commercial barristers. He is experienced in cases with an international dimension, and has acted on some of the most important cases of recent years.
Expertise: "A highly intelligent counsel whose soft-spoken and quiet manner disguises a determined and able advocate."
Recent work: He acted in Michael Cherney v Oleg Deripaska, a USD4 billion Commercial Court case.
Focuses her practice on commercial litigation and arbitration, and is strong on competition and EU law. Instructing solicitors speak of her as an able and impressive junior with a promising future at the Commercial Bar.
Expertise: "She's an incredibly fast worker, seriously clever and very user-friendly and versatile."
Recent work: Abram acted in Fortress Value Recovery Fund v Blue Skye Special Opportunities Fund, representing the defendant in a dispute regarding an investment structure.
This rising star of commercial law and competition and EU law is noted for his handling of a series of high-profile cases, including a number of the recent oligarch cases.
Expertise: "An intelligent and hard-working junior." "He has a great 'can-do' attitude."
Recent work: He acted in Aeroflot Russian Airlines v Berezovsky and Glushkov, defending Boris Berezovsky from a £15 million claim to enforce a Russian judgment.