Ahead in the regions

According to a number of practitioners, the regional PI and medical negligence Bar is “as good as anyone can find and solicitors sometimes come from London for high quality counsel”. The advantage for instructing solicitors is that the local Bar is “just around the corner”.

Lawyers are looking for counsel who specialise rather than dabble in a particular area. Again, the list of barristers is not exhaustive but is based on the subjective recommendations of leading practitioners.

Byrom Chambers has a leaders-only set in Manchester as well as a presence in Fleet Street, London. The set head, Benet Hytner QC, gets several favourable mentions, while Brian Leveson QC and Giles Wingate-Saul QC, “who is outstanding on the plaintiff side”, are both singled out for praise.

Another silk who has a presence both in the regions and in London is Richard Maxwell QC. He heads the set at 24 The Ropewalk, Nottingham, and also has a presence at Doughty Street in London. Maxwell was instructed in the recent 'white finger vibrations' case involving British Coal and is described as having “a very superior brain and is excellent at cross-examination. The client knows that he can run with a case at quite short notice.”

At the same set, William Woodward QC is noted for his “detailed preparation, and has a good manner in court”, and Robert Owen QC, who took silk this year, is “absolutely on top of his subject. He is meticulous in his research, and is acute and intelligent.” Anthony Goldstaub QC also comes in for praise.

At Manchester's Deans Court Chambers Stephen Grime QC and Raymond Machell QC are both “very good”, as is new silk David Stockdale QC.

And Michael Redfern QC at 28 St John Street is said to be “extraordinarily thorough and is good with clients, as well as paying great attention to detail”.

And in Birmingham, at Anthony Barker QC's set in 5 Fountain Court, Gareth Evans QC has impressed and David Stembridge QC is mentioned, particularly for cases involving diseases, as well as new silk Stephen Oliver-Jones QC who has been making a name for himself on the medical negligence side. All are said to “have a good head for detail and tenacity, as well as being good fighters”.

In Liverpool, on the defendants' side, chambers head Nigel Gilmour QC at Peel House is “excellent at employers liability, and particularly good on disease claims”. And another barrister who took silk this year, Graham Morrow QC at Exchange Chambers, is recommended, as is colleague Bill Braithwaite QC.

Wyn Williams QC at 33 Park Place in Cardiff is also recommended for his specialist knowledge.

And in Bristol, Roderick Denyer QC, head of St John's Chambers, is singled out for mention.