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Practice Area Definitions UK

Below are the legal practice area definitions and regional variations used by Chambers to rank lawyers and law firms in the UK Guide.

Please note that the term “section” refers to a practice area that constitutes a chapter heading in the Chambers UK guide. A “subtable” is a specific table of rankings that exist within a section. Both terms are used throughout these definitions.

Administrative & Public Law

This section covers judicial review, statutory appeals, inquiries, disciplinary proceedings and non-contentious advice on the powers and administrative functions of central and local government, and other public and regulatory bodies. It includes matters relating to competitive tendering, public procurement, environmental issues and employment and discrimination law. There is also a Traditional Claimant section to highlight lawyers who represent individuals and organisations in public law challenges.

See also: Local Government; Civil Liberties & Human Rights; Parliamentary & Public Affairs

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Agriculture & Rural Affairs

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who specialise in advising land owners, farmers and other rural businesses on relevant legal issues, including property matters, estate management and niche areas such as equine and bloodstock law.

See also: Private Client; Real Estate

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Asset Finance

This section covers lawyers who advise on finance linked to the purchase or construction of a distinct asset or set of assets (typically ships, aircraft or rolling stock).

See also: Banking & Finance; Aviation; Shipping; Transport

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Aviation

This section covers a broad range of work carried out by lawyers for clients in the aviation and related industries. Specialists in this sector are ranked across a number of subtables:

Insurance: Covers all insurance coverage disputes concerning the aviation industry.

Regulatory: Covers lawyers with specialist expertise concerning the regulation of the aviation industry including proceedings involving the European Commission, UK Civil Aviation Authority, UK Office of Fair Trading and ABTA. 

Dispute Resolution: Covers non-insurance related disputes concerning the activities of aviation sector entities.

Commercial: Covers lawyers with expertise in non-contentious commercial matters specifically relating to the aviation industry.

Claimant: Covers lawyers who assist victims and their families in claims arising from both commercial and non-commercial aviation accidents. 

See also: Asset Finance

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Banking & Finance

This section covers advice provided to borrowers, sponsors and lending clients. Chambers UK considers a broad array of banking work for its purposes, but topics looked at include acquisition finance, Islamic finance, general bank lending (including syndicated lending, structured finance and leveraged finance), project finance and refinancing issues. Firms are ranked in tables for Sponsors, Borrowers and Lenders, and there is also an Islamic Finance subtable which ranks individuals.

See also: Banking Litigation; Real Estate Finance; Asset Finance; Capital Markets; Financial Services; Restructuring / Insolvency

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Banking Litigation

This section principally focuses on litigation relating to commercial banking activities. Types of matters include litigation for claims of mis-selling of financial products, professional negligence, breaches of warranty, civil fraud and matters arising out of bank failures and state bailouts. Our London section also includes a 'Conflict Free' spotlight table, which highlights those firms which have a good track record of suing banks on behalf of individuals and companies.

See also: Financial Services

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Capital Markets

This section covers advice on the raising of funds on the capital markets. Our coverage is subdivided due to the UK market's high degree of specialisation:

Debt & Equity: Covers advice on equity offerings transactions such as IPOs, follow-on offerings, right offerings, capital increases, ADR/GDR offerings, accelerated book builds and block trades. Other issues include investment grade debt offerings such as standalone bond issues, MTN programs, commercial paper programmes; equity-linked offerings (regulatory capital, convertibles and exchangeable offerings) and high-yield debt offerings. Individual subtables rank experts in Debt, Equity and High-Yield Products.

Structured Finance, Securitisation and Derivatives: Covers firms and individuals in tables for Structured Finance & Derivatives and Securitisation. Work considered includes:
- regulatory and transactional legal advice regarding derivatives products such as: exchange-traded derivatives; OTC derivatives; securitised derivatives; interest rate, currency, equity, credit and commodity-linked products; advice on product development and regulation; structuring and documentation of transactions, related tax issues; and litigation
- commercial loans; derivatives exposure; bonds and corporate debt; project cash flows; trade receivables; credit card and trade receivables; commercial and residential mortgages; life insurance and annuities; and auto loans collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), both cash and synthetic; repackagings; and hybrid synthetic and structured note products

AIM: Features firms which advise on listing and de-listing from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) sub-market of the London Stock Exchange, including work on behalf of early-stage businesses, venture-capital backed companies and more established businesses.

See also: Banking & Finance; Private Equity; Investment Funds; Tax; Energy & Natural Resources; Commodities

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Charities

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise third sector clients on all types of contentious and non-contentious matters, ranging from sector-specific advice on constitutional and governance issues or public benefit requirements, to more general advice on corporate, property, employment and tax issues.

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Civil Liberties & Human Rights

This section covers issues relating to the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights. It includes a Prison Law subtable, which highlights firms that specialise in prisoners' rights.

See also: Administrative & Public Law; Immigration; Police Law

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Clinical Negligence

This section covers allegations of negligent acts committed by professionals working in the healthcare or pharmaceutical sectors. These cases usually arise from accusations that the defendants did not follow accepted industry practices, leading to injury or death to the patient or claimant.

The section is divided between those who represent the defendants or their employers and those who bring claims on behalf of individuals seeking compensation for their injuries.

See also: Personal Injury; Professional Discipline; Insurance; Court of Protection

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Commercial and Corporate Litigation

This section focuses on disputes arising out of commercial arrangements between non-public sector entities. It also covers corporate litigation, including post-M&A disputes, corporate control issues, joint venture disputes and shareholder disputes. This chapter covers courtroom litigation, rather than alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and arbitration.

This section does not cover regulatory investigations or enforcement actions, such as those matters covered in the Competition Law, Financial Services, Health & Safety or Professional Discipline chapters. This section also does not cover public law work, such as those matters covered in the Administrative & Public Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Local Government or Public Procurement chapters.

General crime, financial crime, civil fraud, banking litigation, restructuring/insolvency and tax matters will not be considered under this chapter.

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Commercial Contracts

This section covers practices that assist clients with agreements relating to the establishment and development of commercial activities between non-public sector entities. The chapter primarily looks at co-operation agreements to carry out commercial activities, including on-going supply, agency, distribution or manufacturing agreements relating to trading activities and commercial strategies, as well as joint ventures. Such agreements can be either domestic or cross-border in nature.

Please note that outsourcing and IT services contracts are considered separately under our Outsourcing and Information Technology chapters. Supply and service agreements involving public sector bodies are considered separately under the Public Procurement chapter.

See also: Information Technology; Outsourcing; Public Procurement

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Commodities

This section covers the regulation and trade of commodities, and any related litigation. It is split into three subtables:

Derivatives & Energy Trading: Covers advice on commodities derivatives transactions and regulations, including trading relating to energy units such as electricity, gas, coal and oil.

Trade Finance: Covers prepayment financing, receivables, structured commodity finance and export credit financing.

Physicals: Covers disputes concerning the direct trade in commodities and related matters. Practitioners deliver advice on a range of both 'soft' and 'hard' commodities from cash crops to coal, metals, oil and gas. Typical clients include commodities trading houses, export credit agencies, financial institutions, freighters and insurers.

See also: Insurance; Shipping; Energy & Natural Resources

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Competition

This section encompasses contentious and non-contentious matters arising under EU, domestic and international competition law, including cartels, abuse of a dominant market position, state aid and merger control. Please note that criminal cartel defence is considered under Financial Crime: Individuals: Cartel Investigations and public procurement work is considered under Public Procurement.

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Construction

This section covers contractual advisor work within the construction industry for both suppliers, such as developers, contractors, engineers and architects, and purchasers employing these types of companies. Purchasers may be corporate entities or state authorities. Firms will advise on all types of development, from single commercial blocks to multi-building residential developments.

Our London and regional construction sections cover both litigious and non-litigious work. The London section is divided into two tables: Purchaser and Supplier. Chambers UK also features a UK-wide Construction: International Arbitration ranking table.

See also: Real Estate; Planning; Projects; Environment

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Consumer Finance

This section covers regulatory, transactional or litigious matters. Typical work includes advising on the Consumer Credit Directive, credit cards, business loans, unsecured and secured personal loans, point of sale finance, e-money products, auto loans, current and savings accounts, and mortgages.

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Corporate / M&A

This section covers both public and private company transactions. Typical work includes company and share acquisitions, dispositions, capitalisations, entity selection and formation, operating and partnership agreements, securities and governance matters. Also covers those transactions designed to help restructuring within companies and their subsidiaries by change of ownership.

Priority is placed on primary representatives, those acting for buyers and sellers, whilst those acting for financial advisors, underwriters and the banks financing such transactions are also considered.

See also: Tax; Partnership; Private Equity; Investment Funds

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Court of Protection

This section covers all advice relating to the proceedings of the Court of Protection concerning individuals who are considered to have lost the capacity to make their own decisions according to the Mental Capacity Act.

Court proceedings relate to the management of an individual's property and financial affairs, or their health and welfare, with the individual represented by those with Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney, or by an individual appointed by the Court as a deputy.   

See also: Clinical Negligence; Personal Injury; Healthcare

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Crime

This section focuses on serious crime, including the illegal drugs trade, assault, sexual offences, terrorism and homicide. It covers work at all levels, from initial police dealings and high street advisory matters all the way to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

It also includes a specialist Crime: Extradition subtable. Please note that fraud, money laundering, bribery and sanctions breaches are considered under Financial Crime.

See also: Corporate Crime & Investigations; Fraud: Criminal

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Data Protection & Information Law

This section covers all aspects of law surrounding the control of information by both public and private sector bodies. Many firms acting in this area advise clients on the development of binding corporate rules (BCRs) and other issues relating to international data transfers.

Other areas of work include advising on responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, drafting privacy policies and guidance on evolving EU regulation in this area. Another significant type of work involves the defence of clients facing potential fines for data protection breaches.

See also: Information Technology; Financial Services

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Defamation / Reputation Management

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who handle defamation proceedings (ie libel and slander) on behalf of claimants and defendants, as well as advising media and corporate clients on risk management. Reputation management involves advising individuals and corporations on the legal aspects of protecting and regulating their reputation.

See also: Media & Entertainment

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Education

This section is divided into Education: Individuals and Education: Institutions. In the UK-wide section, Education: Institutions is further split down into Schools and Higher & Further Education.

Individuals: Covers lawyers and law firms who act on behalf of pupils and their parents in matters such as special educational needs (SEN), admissions and exclusions, disability discrimination claims, judicial review cases, disputes with private schools, and transport to school issues. The firms ranked here may undertake either privately or publicly funded work.

Institutions (Schools): Covers lawyers and law firms who work on behalf of schools. This is a wide-ranging table covering the full range of school-related law, including pupil-related litigation and child protection issues, debt recovery, governance matters, school reorganisations, employment law, exclusions, policy and procedure reviews, and the establishment of academies.

Education: Institutions (Higher & Further Education): Covers lawyers and law firms who typically handle constitutional and governance issues, employment matters, joint ventures between institutions, IP, student-related issues and litigation, data protection, governance, and charity law.

See also: Public Procurement; Local Government

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Employee Share Schemes & Incentives

This section focuses on employee benefits, including share incentive plans (SIPs) and employee management incentives (EMIs) and tax efficient structuring of payment schemes. It also includes lawyers who on disputes following the implementation of share schemes.

See also: Employment; Pensions

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Employment

This section covers both contentious and non-contentious employment matters relating to day-to-day business issues as well as mergers and takeovers. Its scope includes employment litigation related to sex, race and age discrimination, workforce redundancies and employment issues arising from mergers, advice on the writing of policy handbooks, HR training and corporate governance for major corporates. 

The Chambers UK guide ranks firms in separate subtables covering  Employer, Employee & Trade Union, Senior Executives and Transactional expertise.

See also: Employee Share Schemes & Incentives; Pensions

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Energy & Natural Resources

This section focuses on corporate/commercial, regulatory and capital markets issues arising from the energy sector. These include the regulatory components of M&A and other transactional work, and pure regulatory work related to license applications and compliance.

Subsections for the UK (to be covered in one submission document) include:

Oil & Gas: Covers all upstream, midstream and downstream work including exploration, infrastructure and pipeline developments, and service contracts, royalties, licensing and operation agreements. It also includes corporate issues such as M&A, capital raisings, taxation and regulatory compliance.

Renewables & Alternative Energy: Covers the financing, development and regulatory issues surrounding wind, wave, solar, biomass and geothermal energy generation. It also includes advice on compliance with clean energy regulations.

Power: Covers advice on the development, financing and permitting of energy projects (such as electric, nuclear, coal, oil & gas fired plants, nuclear and hydro-electric plants), facilities management; co-generation and restructuring/deregulation arising out of the wholesale and retail markets, and transactions by utility companies.

Water: Covers a variety of work relating to the water industry, including regulation, pricing and aspects of competition law. 

Disputes: Covers all disputes (including Litigation and International Arbitration) in the energy & natural resources sector.

Mining: We accept separate submissions and referee lists for the Energy & Natural Resources: Mining section. This section focuses on mining and minerals exploration, development and production agreements, including royalty issues, and finance arrangements. Engineering, processing and refining contracts, sales structures and environmental issues are also covered in this section. There are two subtables, allowing us to cover both international and domestic work.

See also: Environment; Projects; International Arbitration; Commodities

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Environment

This section features environmental litigation, as well as advisory and transactional support for  clients. 'Traditional' environment work includes regulatory compliance, litigation and enforcement actions related to air, water, wetlands, waste and endangered species. We also include advice to corporate and financial clients on the environmental aspects of M&A, financings, securities offerings and other transactions that involve due diligence and environmental insurance issues.

Chambers UK features a UK-wide Environment: Claimant section and a spotlight table for individuals able to advise on Climate Change work.

See also: Planning; Real Estate; Health & Safety

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Family / Matrimonial

This section deals with issues surrounding the inception and breakdown of personal relationships. This includes the creation of pre-nuptial, civil partnership and cohabitation agreements relating to financial and property assets, the resolution of divorces or separations involving financial and property disputes, and the handling of matters relating to children in the context of divorce or separation.

There are also two separate sub-tables in the London chapter of this section: Children: Public Law Matters, which covers children's care proceedings and abuse in care claims; and Children: Cross-Border Disputes, which primarily covers international child abduction disputes.

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Financial Crime

The Financial Crime chapter as a whole encompasses a broad range of financial crime offences, including (but not limited to) fraud, bribery, money laundering and sanctions breaches. Civil fraud matters continue to be considered under the separate Fraud: Civil chapter.

Corporates: Ranks practices that represent corporate clients in all manner of financial crime matters and in the provision of relevant compliance advice.

Individuals: Ranks practices that act for and advise individual clients in relation to the same issues as those outlined above.

Individuals: Cartel Investigations: Ranks practices that represent individual clients in relation to cartels investigations.

See also: Fraud; Crime

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Financial Services

This section covers contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters related to the financial services industry. On the contentious side, it encompasses Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigations, selling practices, market misconduct, misuse of confidential information and complaints handling regarding retail products. 

Non-contentious regulatory matters may include the implications of and interactions between UK, EU and US regulations and compliance advice. Researchers will consider work on behalf of asset managers, banks, insurers, funds and alternative capital providers or any organisation governed by the FCA and / or PRA (Prudential Regulatory Authority).

The Payments Law subtable of the Financial Services section recognises those firms which advise on the procedures, regulation and technology required behind every purchase or cash withdrawal, drawing elements from practices such as financial services regulatory, consumer credit, IT and data protection and privacy.

See also: Banking Litigation

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Franchising

This section ranks law firms and lawyers advising franchisees and franchisors in respect of both transactional and contentious work, such as setting up franchise agreements and disputes arising from such contracts.

See also: Retail

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Fraud: Civil

This section ranks lawyers and firms advising on litigation, investigations, freezing orders and asset tracing arising in the context of civil fraud.

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Health & Safety

This section ranks law firms that advise corporations, executives and regulatory bodies on contentious and non-contentious health and safety matters, including regulatory and criminal investigations, public inquests, compliance and training. It has a broad remit, which encompasses general health and safety at work, food safety, fire safety and issues affecting the waste, utilities, nuclear, rail and other industries.

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Healthcare

This section covers a wide range of concerns faced by hospitals, public and private sector providers, medical institutions. Practitioners in this section may advise clients such as NHS Trusts, GP surgeries, pharmacies and elderly and social care providers, for example. Our coverage of individual practitioners is divided between three tables: Corporate/Commercial, Contentious and Regulatory.

The Corporate/Commercial section includes general governance work, M&A, restructuring, procurement and commercial contracts. The Contentious table includes treatment claims as well as Human Rights Act claims arising out of systemic negligence. It does not include clinical negligence or historic abuse claims.

The Regulatory table includes practitioners working on all manner of regulatory matters, such as NICE and Cancer Drugs Fund issues. In this section you will also find listings for mental health law, for both patients and providers.

See also: Life Sciences; Partnership; Public Procurement; Local Government

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Hotels & Leisure

This section is industry specific, covering the full range of legal services carried out for clients involved in the hotels and leisure industry, ranging from hotels to restaurants and bars to casinos. The areas of legal advice that this section covers include real estate, hotel management agreements, franchising issues and branding.

See also: Franchising; Real Estate

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Immigration

Human Rights, Asylum & Deportation: This section is focused on immigration issues where human rights, asylum or deportation are at the heart of the claim. This does not include work for high net worth individuals - work for those clients should be submitted to our high net worth guide.

Companies & Executives: Law firms featured in this section provide advice on all aspects of inbound and outbound immigration, such as work permits and visas, workforce mobility and other legislative and regulatory changes. Clients for this section will typically be companies and their sponsored staff, but also includes charities, education institutes and invididual senior employees. This does not include work for high net worth individuals - work for those clients should be submitted to our high net worth guide.

See also: Administrative & Public Law; Civil Liberties & Human Rights

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Information Technology

This is primarily an industry-specific section focusing on firms and individuals advising technology-based businesses. Researchers also consider legal advice given to suppliers and purchasers in relation to significant IT supply and services contracts. Work in this sector may include early-stage investment, M&A, share listings, outsourcing, infrastructure projects and product launches, as well as litigation.

See also: Outsourcing; Telecommunications; Data Protection; Public Procurement; Commercial Contracts.

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Infrastructure

The Infrastructure section ranks those firms who advise on transactions, such as acquisitions, securitisation and structured finance, where Infrastructure is the underlying asset.  Infrastructure assets can include (but are not limited to) airports, ports, transmission lines, pipelines and (resources) storage.  Clients purchasing such assets include pension funds, banks, specialist infrastructure funds and sovereign wealth funds.  

Infrastructure PFI/PPP: This subsection includes those firms who advise on secondary transactions involving assets structured on a PFI/PPP basis. 

This does not include Greenfield/Brownfield project financing or development – such work should be submitted for the Projects section. There will be no standalone PFI/PPP section. 

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Insurance

This section covers both contentious and non-contentious insurance and reinsurance matters. On the contentious side, we feature coverage claims litigation, broker's negligence, and both 'facultative' and 'treaty' reinsurance disputes. On the non-contentious side, we include all forms of M&A, capital raisings, demutualisations and other regulatory issues.

See also: Personal Injury; Clinical Negligence; Professional Negligence; Shipping; Product Liability

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Intellectual Property

This section covers disputes related to patent, copyright and trademark infringement, litigation concerning trade secrets and related issues such as licensing and IP commercialisation. A separate Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys ranking also features in this section.

See also: Information Technology; Media & Entertainment; Life Sciences

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International Arbitration

Commercial Arbitration: This subtable focuses on firms representing clients in commercial international arbitration, a private and binding form of dispute resolution determined by an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. Both institutional and ad hoc arbitrations will be considered under this subtable. Investor-state arbitration, including those arbitrations governed by investment treaties, is not considered under this subtable.

Investor-State Arbitration: This subtable focuses on firms representing clients in investment arbitrations, i.e. disputes arising between a sovereign state and an investor. This includes claims brought under bilateral or multilateral investment treaties, as well as those arising out of contractual agreements between an investing party and a sovereign state. ICSID, ad hoc and institutional arbitrations are all considered under this subtable. This table ranks firms which primarily represent investors, those which primarily represent states, and those which represent a mixture of the two.

Arbitrators: This subtable features highly regarded non-barrister or non-practising barrister arbitrators based in the UK. A list of London-based barristers who are respected arbitrators features in the UK Bar guide, under the heading International Arbitration: Arbitrators.
This table does not invite separate submissions, but examples of an individual's work as an arbitrator can be included on either/both of the submissions for Commercial Arbitration and Investor-State Arbitration.  

Submissions will only be accepted under the Commercial Arbitration and/or Investor-State Arbitration subcategories. It will not be possible to upload a general International Arbitration submission.

See also: Litigation; Public International Law

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Investment Funds

This section ranks those firms and individuals advising in the world of investment funds. It covers work on behalf of sponsors and institutional investors, including fund formation, fund raising, investments, asset management regulatory matters, hybrid funds, fund-of-funds and spin-outs. 

Rankings in this section are broken down into a number of subtables, including Private Equity, Hedge Funds, Real Estate, Closed-ended Listed Funds and Open-ended Funds.

See also: Capital Markets; Private Equity; Real Estate

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Licensing

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise on licensing applications and reviews, and work in the gaming sector.

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Life Sciences

This section focuses on the commercialisation of life sciences products (pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnology programs etc) as well as the regulation of these products and the defence of product liability challenges. Patent litigation concerning life sciences products and technologies is also covered.

See also: Intellectual Property

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Litigation

London only: This section does not invite submissions. It will be researched and ranked based on the wide range of litigation and dispute chapters that we already cover. It will serve as an overview of general civil dispute resolution capabilities.

All other regions: This section ranks those firms and individuals which advise on civil litigation on behalf of businesses, high net worth individuals and other non-public sector entities. The primary focus of this section is corporate litigation and litigation arising out of commercial arrangements, including shareholder disputes, post-M&A disputes and contractual disputes. Less weight is given to civil litigation types which are covered elsewhere in the UK Guide, for example banking litigation, professional negligence, civil fraud, insurance or restructuring/insolvency. Disputes involving public sector bodies (judicial reviews, procurement challenges, etc.) will not be covered in this section. Inquests, public inquiries, tribunals, regulatory investigations and related enforcement actions will not be covered in this section.
This chapter exclusively covers courtroom litigation, rather than alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and arbitration. 

See also: Banking Litigation; Real Estate Litigation; Professional Negligence; Pensions Litigation; International Arbitration; Mediators

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Local Government

This section ranks lawyers and law firms who advise on local government issues, including planning, environment, education, community care, highways, housing, health, compulsory purchase, public procurement, freedom of information, rating, licensing and elections.

See also: Administrative & Public Law; Parliamentary & Public Affairs; Planning; Projects; Public Procurement

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Media & Entertainment

The section caters to clients in the media industry in respect of contentious and non-contentious matters. We rank firms both by their overall strength across different media industries as well as by specialist expertise in subtables for Film & Television, Advertising & Marketing, Music, Theatre, Publishing and Gaming, Social Media & Interactive Content. Individuals are ranked relative to one another by specialism.

Non-contentious work as covered by this section may include production, financing and distribution concerns, as well as IP, licensing and supplementary rights planning.

Types of disputes in this area are many, and may include copyright and contractual litigation (eg on behalf of studios, producers, publishing houses or talent); IP and trade mark disputes; matters arising from film finance; and allegations of wrongdoing.

See also: Defamation / Reputation Management

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Mediators

This section ranks the UK's leading mediators. All are successful resolvers of disputes. Organisation rankings are not given, as parties in dispute tend to agree on instructing individual mediators suited to their personalities and to the nature of their case, rather than a provider or mediation set.

See also: Litigation

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Outsourcing

This section covers legal aspects of the transfer of business administration and services to external providers, both domestically and internationally. The section includes every variation of this process, including IT outsourcing, business process outsourcing, and legal process outsourcing.

Occasionally, unsuccessful outsourcing contracts can result in disputes and this type of work is also taken into account by researchers.

See also: Information Technology; Public Procurement; Commercial Contracts

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Parliamentary & Public Affairs

This section has three tables: Electoral Law, Parliamentary Agency and Public Affairs. Electoral Law includes advice on local and parliamentary elections, rules relating to the conduct of Members of Parliament and the legislative reform of electoral law. Parliamentary Agency ranks lawyers and law firms who advise on political process and the drafting or opposing of Private Bills.

Public Affairs covers those involved in campaigning and lobbying, and media relations.

See also: Planning; Local Government; Public Procurement

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Partnership

This section deals with contentious and non-contentious partnership matters, primarily concerning professional clients such as architects, surveyors, accountants, lawyers, doctors and investment funds. This area includes work on corporate restructurings in which firms and companies convert to more sophisticated partnership structures, particularly LLPs.

Firms that specialise in partnership law also counsel clients in establishing offices overseas, mergers and acquisitions, partner and team moves, discrimination, and regulatory matters.

Non-contentious work includes drafting of partnership agreements and crafting innovative partnership vehicles for corporate clients. A separate table for medical partnerships also features in this section, given the depth of specialisation in this area.

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Pensions

This section ranks lawyers who provide non-contentious advice on pensions issues for employers, schemes, fund managers, trustees and the state. Issues looked at are varied, but may include pension liabilities, debt restructuring, scheme mergers and demergers, investment management and funding negotiations.

See also: Pensions Litigation; Employee Share Schemes & Incentives

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Pensions Litigation

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise on a wide range of contentious issues concerning pensions, including rectification claims, recoveries in the event of insolvency, determinations of liabilities, judicial review and allegations of wrongdoing.

See also: Pensions

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Personal Injury

This section covers the full scope of litigation arising from injuries sustained outside of a clinical context. This includes litigation arising from workplace accidents, motor accidents, abuse claims and industrial disease.

Certain niche areas of international work are also covered by this section, such as injuries and abuse resulting from wars and corporate negligence, although purely travel-related injuries are covered in a separate section entitled Travel: International Personal Injury, within the Travel section of the guide.

See also: Clinical Negligence; Insurance; Court of Protection; Travel

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Planning

This section covers the area of law relating to the processes of planning applications for the development, construction or change of use of a building or buildings; compulsory purchase orders (CPO); and s106 agreements. 

The work in this section can be contentious – for example, judicial reviews, inquiries and appeals; and non-contentious – for example, planning and CPO strategies relating to development projects and urban regeneration schemes.

See also: Environment; Real Estate; Local Government

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POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture

This section ranked firms and individuals who advise on all aspects of the proceeds of crime, from restraint and receivership to confiscation, and concerns recovery in both the criminal and civil court.

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Police Law

This section is split into Mainly Claimant and Mainly Defendant sections. Mainly Claimant covers actions and judicial review proceedings against the police, the IPCC and coroners, including issues relating to unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, treatment in custody and inquests. Mainly Defendant focuses on lawyers and law firms who defend police forces against matters of the type listed above.

See also: Civil Liberties & Human Rights; Administrative & Public Law

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Private Client

This section ranks firms and lawyers who advise individuals and trustees on contentious and non-contentious aspects of asset management, including wills and probate, tax and trusts. Our Contentious Trusts subsection highlights leading litigation practices in this area.

An Art, Collectables & Auctions subsection further singles out individual practitioners who specialise in disputes or transactions involving art and cultural property.

See also: Tax; Family / Matrimonial; Agriculture & Rural Affairs

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Private Equity

This section covers firms and lawyers providing mostly transactional advice for private equity clients, such as direct investments into private companies, buyouts of public companies (MBO, MBI, BIMBO), secondary transactions, take-privates, PIPEs and pre-IPO investments. Venture capital investments and transactions and work on behalf of funds, investors, venture capital firms, private equity firms and financial institutions are also looked at by researchers.

Firms and individuals are ranked in Buyouts and Venture Capital Investment subtables.

See also: Corporate / M&A; Capital Markets; Investment Funds

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Product Liability

This section encompasses legal claims that allow an injured party to recover financial compensation from the manufacturer or seller of a product. Examples include faulty brakes, contaminated food and medicine lacking appropriate label warnings. Law firms advise manufacturers, distributors, suppliers retailers and others who make the product available to the public.

It also covers toxic tort, relating to the exposure to chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs or occupational hazards. Most pharmaceutical claims are mass tort cases, because the drugs in question are consumed by thousands of people. Firms and individuals are ranked in subtables covering Food, Mainly Claimant and Mainly Defendant.

See also: Insurance

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Professional Discipline

This section ranks firms and lawyers who advise individuals, corporations or professional bodies in relation to professional regulatory matters, including fitness-to-practice investigations, disciplinary proceedings and the development of codes of practice.

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Professional Negligence

This section covers firms and lawyers which specialise in disputes arising over loss suffered as a result of negligent advice given by professionals. A wide range of professionals are covered, including architects, surveyors, financial professionals, insurance brokers and solicitors or barristers. Our London table is split into separate tables to highlight particular areas of expertise: Financial, Insurance, Legal and Technology & Construction.

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Projects

This section focuses on the development, financing (limited and non-recourse), refinancing and acquisition / divestitures of large projects that arise from the capital intensive infrastructure and energy markets. Clients in this sector include sponsors, lenders, project originators, multilateral agencies and development banks. In the energy sector, we include advice on the development of refineries, pipelines, LNG and petrochemical terminals, power plants and wind power, waste-to-energy and hydro-wave technology.

The section also features advice on infrastructure projects such as bridges, toll roads, rail and light rail systems and water desalination plants. The Projects: PPP/PFI table covers projects structured on a PPP/PFI basis such as hospitals, schools housing developments and prisons.

See also: Banking & Finance; Energy & Natural Resources; Construction

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Public International Law

This section covers state-to-state disputes such as those governed by the law of nations and the law of the sea, as well as by international agreements and conventions. It includes matters traditionally held to constitute the core of public international law practices, such as land and maritime boundary disputes, sovereign immunity, state succession and claims to statehood. Investment arbitrations are also covered in this section (as well as in International Arbitration: Investor-State Arbitration). Individuals' and corporates' challenges to international sanctions designations will also be considered under this section.

Advising financial institutions on compliance with international sanctions falls under the Financial Services section. Advice in relation to breaches of international sanctions falls under the Financial Crime section.

See also: Litigation; International Arbitration

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Public Procurement

This section ranks law firms and lawyers who advise corporations and government bodies on the acquisition of goods or services by governmental entities. Areas covered may include education, healthcare, social housing, transport and infrastructure.

See also: Education; Healthcare; Information Technology; Transport; Projects

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Real Estate

This section covers all aspects of commercial and residential real estate, including investment transactions, development, corporate structuring, acquisitions, portfolio management, and landlord and tenant matters. Researchers consider work done on behalf of institutional landlords, developers, private landlords, commercial tenants and private tenants. Contentious work should be submitted to the Real Estate Litigation sections.

See also: Planning; Construction; Environment; Social Housing; Agriculture & Rural Affairs; Real Estate Finance; Real Estate Litigation; Hotels & Leisure

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Real Estate Finance

This section covers advice on the spectrum of debt products, structured products and CMBS, loan origination, restructuring and refinancing transactions, loan portfolio sales and purchases. Researchers look at work on behalf of banks, private equity funds and other non-bank lenders, as well as investors. 

See also: Banking & Finance; Capital Markets; Real Estate

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Real Estate Litigation

This section ranks lawyers across the UK advising on contentious property issues for both landowners and tenants, including ownership disputes, vacant possession strategies, commercial management conflicts, easement issues, party wall and landlord and tenant matters.

See also: Litigation; Real Estate

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Restructuring / Insolvency

This section covers work on behalf of creditors (including banks, financial investors and steering committees), insolvency practitioners, corporate debtors and their officers/directors.  Work examples may include debt restructuring, distressed M&A activity, formal insolvency procedures, contingency planning, debtor advisory work, distressed creditor and equity investment and trading.  We have also introduced a UK-wide Personal Insolvency table which looks at those firms and lawyers acting for individuals.

See also: Banking & Finance

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Retail

This section is an industry table ranking law firms who have developed a track record in serving the needs of large, national retailers. Naturally, real estate, planning and land use matters will feature prominently, but ranked firms also advise on franchise, IP, trademark and e-commerce matters. Furthermore, firms should ideally demonstrate aptitude in employment matters and be able to respond to the majority of tax, advertising and regulatory and consumer protection issues, as well as disputes both nationally and internationally.

See also: Real Estate; Franchising; Intellectual Property; Information Technology

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Shipping

This section covers both contentious and non-contentious work. The contentious side involves breaches of charter-party disputes, cargo and bills of lading claims, the arrest of vessels and cargoes, marine insurance claims, collision, salvage and environmental liabilities. On the non-contentious side, law firms advise on contractual arrangements for construction, registration of vessels, customs and licensing, and documentation relating to charter-parties and bills of lading.

See also: Insurance; Commodities

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Social Housing

This section covers lawyers who act for either the providers or consumers of social housing. This can comprise corporate work, such as governance and joint ventures including housing stock transfers, antisocial behaviour matters, construction or redevelopment financing, property issues, or defending social housing tenants against legal proceedings brought by the providers. 

Chambers UK also ranks law firms which focus exclusively on financing of social housing developments and those who solely represent social housing tenants.

See also: Real Estate; Real Estate Finance; Real Estate Litigation; Local Government; Construction; Public Procurement; Projects

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Sport

This section covers the lawyers and law firms who have a demonstrable commitment to the sports sector, and understand the unique pressures and constraints which sports entities operate under. The definition of sports law is oft disputed; Chambers sees commercial and regulatory work as its cornerstone, but seeks to highlight those firms which are best able to serve the sports industry as a whole, which requires consideration of work across a wide range of legal disciplines.

This section also includes a separate chapter focusing on Horse Racing & Equestrian law.

See also: Media & Entertainment; Intellectual Property

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Tax

This section covers a broad range of matters on both the contentious and non-contentious side. Non-contentious matters include M&A transactions and equity raising issues both at home and abroad, as well as tax advisory work on behalf of corporate clients. Financing and investment management are other key non-contentious tax issues.

On the contentious side, disputes with HMRC in the form of litigation, appeals and tribunals form the basis of the British legal market for tax issues. Indirect tax matters, including such duties as VAT and stamp duty, are also covered here.

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Telecommunications

This section relates to matters concerning telecommunications companies and their activities, and covers contentious and non-contentious work spanning transactional, regulatory and competition matters concerning telecommunications companies.

Clients may include telephone service providers, ISPs, wireless operators, TV and / or radio broadcasters and a range of government and regulatory bodies. Examples of work include spectrum auctions, procurement agreements and M&A, as well as contractual disputes, investigations and compliance proceedings.

See also: Corporate / M&A; Outsourcing; Intellectual Property; Information Technology

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Transport

This section is subdivided into Logistics, Rail and Road sections.

Logistics: Covers all work relating to disputes and issues arising from the commercial transportation of goods,  including multi-modal transportation.

Rail: is further divided into four subsections: Rolling Stock relates to advice on all transactions concerning the procurement, leasing and maintenance of rolling stock.

Projects & Infrastructure: includes all work concerning projects relating to the development of rail infrastructure, including routes, stations and depots. This covers financing, commercial contracts, joint ventures, PFI / PPP, construction and real estate. Franchising covers all work concerning the rail franchising system, including bids and mobilisations, migrations and open access rights. Planning & Authorisation covers advice on planning and parliamentary procedures concerning new routes, stations and depots, including related environmental impact assessments and consultations.

Road (Regulatory): Covers advice relating to the actions of regulatory bodies, including public inquiries, operator licensing, compliance and due diligence.

See also: Asset Finance; Projects; Planning; Local Government

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Travel

This section is an industry table encompassing legal advice relating to a broad array of market pressures including regulatory compliance on consumer safety, commercial matters arising out of industry developments, foreign personal injury litigation, and environmental concerns. Personal injury expertise is ranked in a separate subtable: Travel: International Personal Injury.

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