Hot 100: Paul McGrath QC, Essex Court Chambers

You have to hand it to the man. Last year, Paul McGrath QC tried to reverse a whole body of law in the groundbreaking Supreme Court dispute, VTB v Nutritek.

Paul McGrath QC
Paul McGrath QC

In the £200m case the Essex Court silk has been responsible for developing the lifting the veil argument. This has taken it from a six-day hearing in front of Mr Justice Arnold in November 2011 to a five-day outing in the Court of Appeal (CoA) in March 2012 and, most recently, three days in the Supreme Court in November.

Many commercial court cases and arbitrations are dependent on the outcome of this important case.

McGrath has built a reputation for being the silk who wins hopeless cases. This has gained him an international following, with clients instructing him from the Middle East and the US.

He has an enviable reputation in the area of asset tracing, a complex global market that requires lawyers to untangle financial webs that span the globe.

McGrath says he decided to get into fraud law following a secondment stint with offshore firm Walkers in the Cayman Islands. Demand for his skills has rocketed since 2008 and McGrath is relishing this.

“Commercial fraud is mobile litigation,” he says. “It’s not a Monday to Friday, nine to five job. It’s full-on and you go from one case to another.” Not just from one case to another but from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with court appearances in Grand Cayman, the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man.

When he is not in court McGrath does his utmost to get to his beloved Liverpool FC matches. He is an avid fan and lives in Liverpool just so he can be closer to Anfield.