The leading silks at the chancery bar are able to turn their hand to most types of commercial dispute. Traditional chancery silks are less in demand than they used to be – much of this work is non-contentious and many solicitors consider themselves experts in their own right. However, counsel at the commercial end of chancery work all earn high praise from solicitors.
This list of barristers is not exhaustive, but is based on the recommendations of leading commercial litigation practitioners.
9 Old Square is a top chancery set where Simon Berry QC is “always rated” and Michael Driscoll QC is “imaginative and a bit of a maverick” and “certainly his own man”. Judith Jackson QC is “good with clients and doesn't stand on ceremony” and Nicholas Patten QC is “bright – an outstanding lawyer who is easy to deal with”.
Wilberforce Chambers is also at the top of its game, with Terence Etherton QC highly rated, Jules Sher QC, who merits a place in The Lawyer's top five and John Martin QC. Martin is described as “very approachable, straight forward, and nice to work with in tough situations”. At the same set Robert Ham QC is “extremely experienced – a real authority on pensions and tax”.
Serle Court Chambers has the “absolutely brilliant” Alan Boyle QC and the highly rated Michael Briggs QC for traditional chancery work. Patrick Talbot QC is also very good, described as “user-friendly and hard working”.
The “mercurial” David Oliver QC at 13 Old Square is “always a laugh”, although you “never know quite what he's going to do next”. Catherine Newman QC and Hazel Williamson QC are also highly rated.
Lawrence Cohen QC at 24 Old Buildings is described by one practitioner as “a nap”, a betting term for when there are long odds because the bookies have overlooked their potential. This practitioner feels that Cohen is not getting the credit that he deserves.
Erskine Chambers has a number of rated individuals, such as Barbara Dohmann QC and Robin Potts QC. Both “give you [the client] what you want”. At the same set David Richards QC is “very sound”, especially for non-contentious work.
At 7 Stone Buildings, Murray Rosen QC is described as “terrific and tough”.
Peter Crampin QC, head of chambers at 11 New Square, is one traditional chancery silk who retains a loyal following.
3/4 South Square wins plaudits for Richard Hacker QC, an insolvency and general commercial silk who is “sound, safe and sensible” and Gabriel Moss QC, who is described as “a real specialist” for insolvency matters.
Falcon Chambers has the “expert negotiator” and “splendid” Nicholas Dowding QC. “The small, but perfectly rounded” Peter Goldsmith QC at Fountain Court is “great” for all commercial litigation and professional negligence matters, and at 11 Stone Buildings David Unwin QC is “highly affable” and “practical”.
At Enterprise Chambers Anthony Mann QC is rated, while at 1 New Square James Munby QC is “approachable, pragmatic and very bright”, and is a “charming man who can deliver the goods.” He is also described as “no youngster, but young in his approach”.
Christopher Symons QC, head of chambers at 3 Verulam Buildings, is “an outstanding lawyer who is very easy to deal with”. At 3 Stone Buildings Geoffrey Vos QC is a “solid” traditional chancery barrister, and Mary Vitoria QC at 8 New Square is described as “very user friendly”.
In the regions Peter Smith QC of 40 King Street in Manchester is “very good in a fight” and has a “good client manner”, while for company and commercial disputes James Allen QC of Chancery House Chambers in Leeds is “technically very good and extremely good with clients”.