Michael Driscoll QC, head of 9 Old Square chambers, has taken over as lead counsel for the corporate defendants in the ongoing Thyssen saga in Bermuda.
Other chambers have also been approached to cover fresh points when the case restarts. Norton Rose initially targeted four silks to replace Trevor Philipson QC, who died earlier this year. Barbara Dohmann and Charles Flint of Blackstone Chambers were shortlisted, but after the parties failed to agree terms, Norton Rose turned to Driscoll. Some commentators have reacted with surprise to Driscoll's appointment, because although he is a highly-rated commercial chancery property litigator, he is not a recognised trust expert. In addition, several other barristers have been approached by law firms representing other alleged beneficiaries of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza's £1.2bn fortune. Since the adjournment of proceedings, 10 Old Square's trust specialist Simon Taube QC was instructed to advise on a number of points arising out of the litigation. No decision has yet been made on Mr Justice Mitchell's replacement. Judge Mitchell stepped down following a dispute over his contract (The Lawyer, 2 April). The decision is down to the Chief Justice of Bermuda, Austin Ward, who has been taking soundings from UK lawyers, including 10 Old Square's Bermuda-based door tenant, Michael Mello QC. Senior chancery judge Sir Gavin Lightman was in the frame but no confirmation has been received.