The Hot 100: The Bar

Helen Davies QC 

Brick Court Chambers

In October last year Brick Court Chambers elected Helen Davies QC as its first-ever female head of chambers. Davies took up the joint role with incumbent Jonathan Hirst QC. Her appointment followed years of service at the set, with roles including head of pupillage, sitting on the executive committee and chairing the equality and diversity committee.

Davies has also had a good year in terms of her practice. She has been acting for the Football Association Premier League on its ongoing row with Ofcom over pay-TV licences – the case is now awaiting judgment from the Court of Appeal. Davies will now spend the first three months of this year on an arbitration, followed by a large commercial court case. 

A true role model for the set’s younger members.

l-r: Helen Davies QC, Nathalie Lieven QC, Kassie Smith QC, David Foxton QC, Thomas Linden QC, Charlotte May, Alison Padfield

Anneliese Day QC 

4 New Square

Since taking silk in 2012 at the age of 38 (and when 38 weeks pregnant), 4 New Square’s Anneliese Day QC  has achieved an extraordinary run of 10 successive trial victories between July 2012 and July 2013. 

She is known for her energetic and practical approach to trials, and clients say she is a pleasure to work with.

Recent highlights include successfully defending US firm Morrison & Foerster against a £14m High Court claim in which opponent PetroCapital Resources was represented by fellow 4 New Square silk and former chambers head Justin Fenwick QC. 

She also won a case for a group of engineers who, it was claimed, failed to spot that a mill complex was suffering from compression failure. Although insurers had made significant settlement offers, Day also won indemnity costs.


David Foxton QC

Essex Court Chambers

For Essex Court’s David Foxton QC, 2013 is certainly a year he will 

remember. Foxton was counsel to Deutsche Bank in one of the largest  and, with costs of £60m, most expensive cases ever heard by the Commercial Court, running for more than four months and resulting in an 800-page judgment from Mr Justice Cooke. 

Foxton won the $8bn battle, along with a $240m award, against Norwegian company Sebastian Holdings.

He also advised Russian tycoon Michael Cherney on his similarly long-running and big-ticket $1bn battle with Oleg Deripaska, and is a regular in The Lawyer’s annual top cases feature. Big money and big cases, it’s all par for the course for Foxton.

Robert Francis QC 

Serjeants’ Inn Chambers

Robert Francis QC first became involved in the allegations of failings at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust in 2005, when he was appointed chair of an independent inquiry into the care provided by the trust. However, his work really caught the headlines last year when, as chair of the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry, he produced a damning report on how the trust had failed its patients.

The report, published in February last year, prompted a year of debate over the future of not only the trust but also the NHS. Francis’ recommendations were widely praised as being a blueprint for improving patient care. He was also appointed president of the Patients Association, which campaigns for the safety of 
patients – testament to the quality of his work.

Nathalie Lieven QC 

Landmark Chambers

Landmark Chambers’ Nathalie Lieven QC has established herself as a leading silk who can win a case for the Government on one day and score a huge victory against it on another. 

In the past year she successfully prevented an attempt by the Press Standards Board of Finance to block the Government from going to the Privy Council with a Royal Charter on press regulation.

She is also representing Buckinghamshire County Council in its challenge to the high speed rail link between London and Birmingham. This comes after she successfully opposed the building of a third runway at Heathrow.

Clients praise her enthusiasm for cases and say their chances of winning are significantly boosted if she is instructed.


Tom Linden QC 

Matrix Chambers

Matrix Chambers’ Tom Linden QC is widely regarded as one of the top employment law minds in the country.

In the past 12 months alone he acted for: Stringfellows owner Peter Stringfellow in defence of a discrimination claim; the Metropolitan Police Service in defence of a case brought against it by former commander Ali Dizaei; and Channel 4 in defence of a high-profile age discrimination claim brought against it by racing pundit John McCririck. 

Employment law is not his only forte, however, with several of his cases taking on a commercial aspect, including acting for Commerzbank on a major spat over bonuses.

Linden often finds himself in demand for Supreme Court matters and is known for his meticulous attention to detail, his determined attitude and ability to think on 
his feet.

Charlotte May 

8 New Square

8 New Square’s Charlotte May is fast developing a leading practice in the IP and patent field, with her role as IP Treasury Junior (formally known as Standing Counsel to the Comptroller General of Patents and Trade Marks) giving her the opportunity to lead a number of cases at the Court of Appeal (CoA) and European Court of Justice (ECJ). 

Last year she defended the UK Government in a claim brought by GlaxoSmithKline before the ECJ, with the court deciding the Government’s case was solid enough not to progress to a hearing. 

May also secured indemnity costs for Discovery Communications after winning a passing-off dispute brought by the owners of the History Channel. 

This year sees her act on more cases going to the CoA and ECJ. Surely a silk of the future?

Alison Padfield 

Devereux Chambers

Commercial litigator Alison Padfield is hailed by her peers as being one of the stand-out junior barristers at the commercial and employment bar. 

The Devereux Chambers barrister was led by fellow Hot 100 member Tom Linden QC of Matrix Chambers in defence of a mammoth discrimination case against the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) by former commander Ali Dizaei, which settled.

Padfield may be known for being a commercial litigator but it is in insurance that she is really making her presence felt. 

She appeared in the successful Supreme Court battle for WR Berkley Insurance (Europe) in a key case over insurer liability policies and when they should 
pay out.

It would be surprising if Padfield doesn’t join the growing number of female silks in the near future.

Jessica Simor QC 

Matrix Chambers

2014 sees the 100th anniversary of the start of the World War I. Thanks to Matrix Chambers’ Jessica Simor QC, soldiers serving in the British Armed Forces have better rights than those a century ago and are now protected by the Human Rights Act regardless of where they are based. 

Simor, led by Devereux Chambers’ Robert Weir and instructed by Hodge Jones & Allen partner Jocelyn Cockburn, represented the families in their claims that the Ministry of Defence failed to provide armoured equipment suitable to protect against improvised explosive devices.

For those in the front line it may be only a small comfort, but the ruling by seven Supreme Court justices has given the families of soldiers killed in Iraq a route to redress against the Government for any battlefield negligence.

Kassie Smith QC 

Monckton Chambers

As a new silk this year, Monckton Chambers’ Kassie Smith QC has made a seamless transition. Her stellar junior practice was easily transferable given the plaudits she received regularly from clients.

As well as being involved in the high-profile judicial review of the High Speed 2 rail link, Smith is currently providing competition law advice on the Libor manipulation case being pursued by Guardian Care Homes’ owner Graisley Properties against Barclays Bank.

More recently she appeared in the Supreme Court case concerning air quality limits in London.

In the past 12 months Smith has appeared in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Court of Justice of the EU and all manner of tribunals, confirming her position as one of the up-and-coming silks at the bar.

Anthony Trace QC 

Maitland Chambers

Maitland Chambers’ Anthony Trace QC must be running a 36-hour day. Not only is he the founding member of various organisations – the Campaign for Real Gin and Friends of Turkey among them – but he is one of the most in-demand barristers around.

His clients vary as much as his interests. They range from Katya Berezovsky, daughter of the Russian oligarch Boris who died in March leaving a myriad of legal issues, to the Bank of Ireland and the administrators of Lehman Brothers entity LB Holdings Intermediate 2 Limited.

It is surprising how Trace finds time to tinkle with the piano in his chambers’ office.