4 Stone Buildings has attained an imperious standing in the market for both the depth of its expertise and the strength of its advocacy across the full gamut of chancery law, including a particularly strong reputation for its abilities in the oil and gas sector. Members continue to appear in an array of high-profile disputes, with recent highlights including advising Icelandic bank Kaupthing in a long-running claim brought by Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz arising out of their arrest by the Serious Fraud Office. 4 Stone Buildings is “really in the top rank of commercial sets,” reports one commentator, with sources singling out its “reliable and high-calibre counsel” as a key asset.
Client service: “The clerking is excellent. The clerks are flexible and they are part of the team.” Senior clerk David Goddard is noted for his “helpful and prompt” approach to client service.
George Bompas QC
An exceptionally intelligent barrister, with particular expertise in company and financial matters. Sources agree that his paperwork and technical abilities are especially impressive, but also compliment him for his hard work and fast turnaround times. His practice involves work for both domestic and overseas clients.
Strengths: “He’s absolutely first-rate for the advice he provides and he’s creative as well.” “He’s hugely impressive.”
Recent work: Appeared before the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean in Wembley & Sutton v Registrar of Companies, acting on behalf of the Registrar of Companies in an appeal concerning a failed attempt to appoint a receiver.
John Brisby QC
A well-liked and highly experienced silk, whose forthright advocacy is particularly admired. He acts in a spread of valuable and high-profile commercial chancery matters, both inside and outside the UK. Brisby has been instructed in cases in the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: “He always has the strategic master plan at the back of his mind. He’s very good indeed, available when needed and not afraid to get his hands dirty.” “He is incredible. He’s passionate about the client’s case and thinks constantly about strategy.”
Recent work: Acted on behalf of the majority shareholders in the McLaren Formula One motorsport business to successfully oppose attempts by former CEO Ron Dennis to obtain an injunction preventing him from being removed from his position.
Jonathan Crow QC
An outstanding advocate with an extremely broad practice, widely considered as one of the Bar’s leading choices for the most complex and high-profile cases heard before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. He has an almost unparalleled depth of experience in commercial chancery advocacy and is noted for his exceptionally clear and comprehensible style.
Strengths: “He has intellectual elegance with a diamond-like mind. He can make a morass of complexities simple to the client and the court. In any highly contested legal argument, I would always want Jonathan on my side.” “Absolutely exceptional. He’s the star of the Chancery Bar for a reason.”
Recent work: Appeared on behalf of Gany Holdings in Khan v Gany Holding, in a Privy Council case on appeal from the British Virgin Islands concerning the management of an offshore family trust.
Robert Miles QC
A universally admired silk who blends technical strength with elegant advocacy. Miles’ exceptional track record in some of the most technically complex and highly publicised financial cases of recent years earns him consummate respect and admiration across the Chancery Bar and beyond.
Strengths: “The absolute standout; you could grow a large crop in the field that lies between him and most silks. He absolutely dominates and is in a league of his own.”
Recent work: Continued to act on behalf of Dr Michael Lynch in Autonomy Corporation v Dr Michael Lynch, defending long-running fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of Hewlett-Packard’s USD12 billion acquisition of Autonomy.
Andrew Clutterbuck QC
An efficient and effective silk who specialises in commercial and company disputes as well as trusts and fiduciary claims. He is called to the Bar in the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, making him a particularly fine choice of counsel for matters with some Caribbean angle.
Strengths: “An excellent silk and our go-to barrister for shareholder disputes.”
Recent work: Defended shareholders of Charter Land Holdings concerning a just and equitable winding-up petition.
Richard Hill QC
Acts in a range of top-flight commercial chancery matters, including shareholder disputes, financial services cases and civil fraud matters. He is praised for being a strong advocate, as well as a thoughtful and calm lawyer. He also regularly appears in international arbitrations and courts in offshore jurisdictions.
Strengths: “A particularly brilliant leader, who is calm and efficient.” “He has the most extraordinary work ethic. He was brilliant, a safe pair of hands. It was massively impressive.”
Recent work: Acted for former Autonomy CEO Dr Michael Lynch to defend claims brought by Hewlett-Packard arising out of the claimant’s USD12 billion acquisition of Autonomy.
Andrew de Mestre QC
A popular silk with a broad practice, who acts with high-profile QCs on significant pieces of litigation. As well as his technical ability and talent as an advocate, sources highlight his excellent client relations and ability to work as part of a team. He has particular specialisation in disputes arising from securitisation transactions and other bond issues.
Strengths: “He became our guru in a complex case, it was very impressive indeed. His written advocacy was strong, and he’s very hard-working and very accessible.”
Recent work: Acted for Singularis Holdings, a Cayman company in liquidation, in Financial List proceedings to recover USD204 million which was allegedly wrongly paid away by Japanese broker Daiwa Capital Markets.
A distinguished senior junior who regularly appears unled in trials and appeals. He is sought-after for the most high-profile and high-value work, and regularly handles matters from across the full breadth of commercial chancery.
Strengths: “We found him very easy to work with. He’s very good with clients, incredibly thorough, has a real eye for detail and is very diligent in his preparation. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the law in commercial cases with a chancery angle.”
Recent work: Acted for the Crazy Bear boutique hotel group on a claim by estate agent Savills for a fee allegedly due on the £30 million sale of the group.
A highly capable junior who has won the respect of the Commercial Chancery Bar due to his handling of a wide array of matters, including insolvency, commercial litigation and civil fraud. He offers niche expertise in disputes over artworks and is also noted for his work in cross-border cases.
Strengths: “He’s very user-friendly, articulate, hard-working and knowledgeable.”
Recent work: Acted, unled, for multiple directors of UK and US-based antique dealing companies to defend breach of duty claims.
A well-respected senior junior with a strong corporate dispute practice. He is a straightforward and helpful barrister praised for approaching his cases with a very high level of attention to detail. He is a member of the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
Strengths: “He’s brilliant on a technical questions, with real skill in traditional and commercial chancery crossover issues.”
Recent work: Advised the joint liquidators of Evershine Travel, an online car rental consolidator which entered into liquidation amid concerns of significant misappropriation by the former directors, on investigations and claims brought against the company’s former directors.
A widely acknowledged expert in the field of commercial chancery, with notable expertise in shareholder disputes and derivative actions. He regularly appears in company, civil fraud and asset recovery, trusts, banking and finance, and insolvency claims.
Strengths: “Greg is a quick thinker and able to express those thoughts with clarity. He is also charming and a pleasure to work with.”
Recent work: Defended Barclays Bank in its capacity as a security trustee in a claim brought by a company in the Four Seasons Health Care group seeking rectification of deeds entered into in 2016.
A former derivatives trader who brings his inside knowledge of the workings of the City to bear on some of the most sophisticated commercial chancery cases. He frequently works on substantial cases requiring large teams, either managing other juniors or as the senior junior among silks. His past experience means he is especially strong on cases with a banking of financial services element.
Strengths: “He is extremely well prepared and is very pragmatic in his approach. He is very client-friendly.” “A really excellent junior with huge attention to detail. He’s very thorough, very diligent and very hard-working.”
Recent work: Instructed by the liquidators of various British Virgin Islands companies in a dispute over the distribution of a EUR200 million settlement secured from Deutsche Bank, in claims arising out of the 2008 collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing.
A respected junior with a depth of experience in shareholder disputes, financial services and insolvency within a broader commercial chancery practice. He also has experience of dealing with conflicts of laws and cases with an international element.
Strengths: “He’s always available and always has the time for people to ask questions.” “He’s clear and accurate; he clearly prepares well.”
Recent work: Appeared on behalf of the defendants in UMS Holdings v Great Station Properties, a High Court challenge to an arbitral award following a dispute between joint venture parties in a Ukrainian engineering business over the payment of a USD250 million option price.
Enjoys a burgeoning reputation for his abilities in commercial matters, born out of his solid track record in financial and corporate disputes work. His advocacy skills are the subject of considerable praise from wider commentators, while he also makes frequent appearances as a sole advocate in complex cases.
Strengths: “I found him to be absolutely excellent. He is responsive and his performance is above his level in both written work and oral advocacy. We’re very impressed with him; he’s someone we would look to use in the future for sure.”
Recent work: Defended a £17 million suit brought by Irina Abramovich against her former executive assistant, alleging the defendant caused her to purchase a luxury St Tropez villa at £17.3 million above its true market value and with the intention of earning a kickback as a result of the inflated sale.
A confident advocate who is the junior of choice for a number of high-profile silks. He is instructed on a wide range of commercial chancery matters, particularly commercial litigation and advisory work.
Strengths: “Incredibly quick and hard-working.” “He’s calm and unflappable, assured but brilliant. Even though he’s a junior, he commands the respect of clients and when he speaks they listen.”
Recent work: Acted on behalf of a number of former clients of CMS in a multimillion-pound claim against the law firm alleging breach of confidence, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence arising out of investments made into the European pharmaceuticals industry.
A talented junior who is building a considerable reputation among the Commercial Chancery Bar. He is regularly instructed on a wide array of matters, including notable capabilities in contentious insolvency and commercial litigation.
Strengths: “Joe is a great junior barrister who is user-friendly, impressive on the law and robust on his feet.” “He’s thorough, tenacious and extremely knowledgeable in relation to the technicalities of insolvency law.”
Recent work: Instructed by property magnate Glenn Maud to oppose a bankruptcy petition on an alleged debt of £51 million brought by Aabar Investments and a company owned by Robert Tchenguiz.