Bright lights outside the big city

Linda Tsang reports on the high achievers of the often overlooked regional Chancery Bar, which is increasing its practice

The regions often tend to be overlooked when it comes to the Bar. But in the area of chancery, it may be all change with the mercantile courts which were set up last year in Newcastle and Leeds. Time will tell how these courts will affect the regional Chancery Bar.

Barristers in the North say many solicitors firms have yet to get used to the fact that they have chancery courts on their doorstep and do not need to go to London. But there is confidence among barristers that they will grow in popularity.

There is still scope for juniors in the regions, although this is less true for silks. When practitioners compare costs and convenience between the local Bar and the London Bar, they often plump for the convenience of a conference with local counsel. This is especially true when what they are looking for is someone to bounce ideas off.

Solicitors also say that counsel will give good prompt service and are team players who “can be just as good as someone from London”.

On the Northern and North Eastern Circuits, there are a number of silks who are noted for traditional chancery work Peter Smith QC at 40 King Street in Manchester continues to be the silk that most of the leading practitioners head for in that region for chancery work. The juniors at this set include the well-regarded Katherine Dunn and Lesley Anderson who are both seen as up-and-coming. Other juniors to note at this set are Mark Halliwell, Michael Booth, Geoffrey Pass, and Paul Chaisty.

At St James’s Chambers, Anthony Elleray QC is the silk who stands out, with junior Mark Cawson also rating a number of favourable mentions for chancery work and Robert Sterling also rated as a leading junior. Nearby at 8 King Street, Stephen Davies is the name that is mentioned.

At 9 St John Street Ian Leeming QC is the leader that is noted, with juniors Neil Berragan and Michael Johnson also getting an honourable mention.

Further along, Elisabeth Tythcott at 18 St John Street in Manchester was recommended as she is “sensible and approachable”.

At Exchange Chambers in Liverpool, new silk Edward Bartley Jones, and junior John McCarroll are the names to note, with fellow juniors Ian Johnson, Nicholas Riddle and Nicholas Orr at 14 Castle Street, receiving praise.

On the North Eastern Circuit, at Trinity Chambers in Newcastle upon Tyne, Ian Atherton is mentioned, as is Soraya McKinnell at Enterprise Chambers. At 67a Westgate Road, Richard Selwyn Sharpe continues to be on the receiving end of instructions for chancery work and, at New Court Chambers, that task goes to Philip Kramer.

James Allen QC at Chancery House chambers in Leeds, and junior Paul Morris also continue to be noted. At Plowden Buildings, Peter Morton, David Trotter and Jonathan Holmes are well regarded.

Hugh Jory at Enterprise Chambers in Leeds is seen as a “rising star of the region”, while the other juniors at this set who stand out are Theresa Peacock, Linden Ife, Hugo Groves and Ann McAllister.

On the Oxford and Midlands Circuit, there seems to be a shortage of counsel, but John Randall QC at 7 Fountain Court, Birmingham is noted for this work, although he does do more general work. The junior to note on this circuit is James Corbett at the same set, who is “sound as a pound”.

At 5 Fountain Court David Stockill is also well-regarded.

On the Western Circuit, leading junior Stephen Davies at Guildhall Chambers in Bristol continues to impress, particularly in relation to the banking and insolvency work that he has been instructed in. Martha Maher at the same set is also highly-recommended.

Other juniors standing out on this circuit are Leslie Blohm at St John’s Chambers in Bristol, and Graeme Wood at Assize Court Chambers.