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Many leading chancery practitioners are still bemoaning the loss of Robert Walker QC, formerly at 5 Stone Buildings, to the bench, and a few confess to being hard-pressed in their quest for outstanding silks. But for the majority, chancery leaders are still to be found in the regular hunting grounds.
The sets most frequently mentioned for what is seen as traditional chancery tend to be concentrated in Lincoln's Inn.
They include Wilberforce Chambers under Edward Nugee QC, Henry Harrod's set at 5 Stone Buildings, 3 New Square headed by Sir William Goodhart QC, 13 Old Square under new set head Michael Lyndon-Stanford QC and Charles Sparrow QC's set upstairs at Thir- teen Old Square. The heads of all these chambers are highly regarded in chancery practice.
Chancery counsel should be intellectual, creative and practical, but should not allow intellectual snobbery to creep in.
The following are considered to have these qualities. This list is not exhaustive, but is based on the recommendations of leading chancery and commercial litigation practitioners.
At Wilberforce Chambers, there is a raft of silks noted for chancery work. In addition to the set head, Nicholas Warren QC rates numerous mentions for pensions work as well as for general chancery, as do Jules Sher QC, Terence Etherton QC, and also mentioned are Robert Ham QC and John Martin QC.
Also at the set, Brian Green is tipped to be well on the road to silk, with fellow junior Christopher Nugee described as in demand, as are Michael Furness, Michael Tennet, Anthony Taussig, Judith Bryant and James Ayliffe.
At Thirteen Old Square the silks which stand out are set head Charles Sparrow QC, Patrick Talbot QC, Alan Boyle QC, junior silk Michael Briggs QC, and juniors John Whittaker, Kenneth Farrow, Frank Hinks and Philip Jones.
Michael Lyndon-Stanford QC heads a set which includes Christopher McCall QC who is "an excellent chancery QC, and good at finding practical solutions". Also rated are Chancery Bar Association chair Hazel Williamson QC, David Oliver QC, who is "the clearest natural advocate at the chancery Bar", Richard McCombe QC, who is Attorney General of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Christopher Pymont QC.
Juniors Paul Girolami, junior counsel to the Crown, Chancery, together with Anthony Trace, who is considered in line for silk, and Matthew Collings all receive praise.
At 11 New Square, which is headed by Peter Crampin QC, Sonia Proudman QC is "very good in consultation, highly intelligent and gives a high standard of advice - clients like her". Also singled out are Mark Studer, a senior junior who is "user-friendly, gives good quality advice, and is well-presented and thorough", Roger Horne and Miles Shillingford, who is "reasonably priced".
At Pump Court Tax Chambers, Andrew Thornhill QC is "a reliable chancery counsel, although better known for his tax work", William Massey at the same set has a "sensible approach to chancery and tax issues", Kevin Prosser QC, who took silk last year, is also used and recommended for cases where there are tax issues rather than purely trust influences, and Stephen Allcock QC.
Mark Herbert QC at 5 Stone Buildings is highly regarded. At the same set are Michael Hart QC and juniors Alistair Norris and Andrew Simmonds. Launcelot Henderson QC was also given an "honourable mention".
Francis Barlow at 10 Old Square, formerly 8 Stone Buildings, is recommended frequently as "a very good and very experienced senior junior", Simon Taube also received numerous mentions and is considered close to taking silk with "a first-class brain, and a total mastery of the documents in no time at all", and Richard Wallington and Susannah Meadway are also mentioned.
Another "very senior junior" is Shan Warnock-Smith at 5 Stone Buildings, who is highly recommended.
At 3 New Square, Bernard Weatherill QC, who took silk last year, is "a very good general all-purpose chancery barrister", and David Rowell at the same set is "a good draftsman". On the charities side, Hubert Picarda QC is also well-regarded, as is Robert Venables QC at 24 Old Buildings headed by Michael Jump, and Francesca Quint at 11 Old Square.
At the other 24 Old Buildings, headed by Colin Brodie QC, Alan Steinfeld QC is highly regarded. In the area of probate and wills, James Sunnucks at 5 New Square is singled out as "a leading practitioner".