The Legal 500

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Index of tables

  1. Northern Circuit - Leading Sets
  2. Annexe

Byrom Street Chambers stands out for its expertise in personal injury and clinical negligence matters. Kings Chambers is highly rated for commercial and Chancery work, and fields a nationally recognised planning group. 9 St John Street is noted for its strong employment, family and commercial teams, and has ‘a service ethos that some other big sets in Manchester have let slip’. Solid all-round sets include Deans Court Chambers and Exchange Chambers. St James’s Chambers, Atlantic Chambers, 18 St John Street Chambers and Kenworthy’s Chambers are also highly regarded.

Chancery and commercial litigation

Kings Chambers’ recommended silks include the ‘tenacious and client-friendly’ Lesley Anderson QC; and Paul Chaisty QC and David Casement QC, who regularly handle high-value matters. Among the juniors, Neil Berragan is recommended, as is Andrew Grantham, who has particular expertise in professional negligence. Also highly rated are Mark Harper, Martin Budworth, Lisa Walmisley, Eleanor Temple, and Jeffrey Terry, who handles probate and Inheritance Act work. Dr Mark Friston is an expert in litigation funding and costs.

At St Johns Buildings, David Berkley QC is recommended for professional partnership disputes, and Susanne Muth is noted for her ‘engagement with clients’. Pépin Aslett is recommended for contractual disputes, and James Malam for professional negligence cases. The ‘bright and thoughtful’ Philip Byrne handles land and property matters.

9 St John Street’s David Gilchrist heads a 14-member commercial group which includes James Fryer-Spedding, who is ‘approachable, flexible, and very good with clients’; and Joanna Vicary, who is ‘charming with judges, but does not duck the difficult arguments’. Andrew Clark and Laura D’Cruz are also recommended.

At St James’s Chambers, Robert Sterling focuses on professional negligence, Lucy Wilson-Barnes is recommended for VAT tribunal work, and Jonathan Smith is an experienced probate and Inheritance Act specialist.

Deans Court ChambersSebastian Clegg is ‘prepared to go out of his comfort zone to get the right approach’.

Byrom Street ChambersSimon Myerson QC is ‘exceptionally bright, and an outstanding advocate’.

18 St John Street ChambersRichard Chapman is ‘very clever, very creative, and never flustered’. The ‘astute and client-friendlyDavid Hoffman appeared in the partnership dispute Hitchen v Hitchen. Nicholas Fewtrell impresses with her ‘tenacity and analytical skills’.

Exchange Chambers’ Mark Cawson QC is ‘clearly respected by the judges’, and Edward Bartley Jones QC is ‘always on top of the case’. David Mohyuddin is ‘an excellent advocate, with really good client-facing skills’. Giles Maynard-Connor is recommended for insolvency matters, and Christopher Cook for technology disputes. Stephen Connolly is noted for his ‘relaxed, client-friendly style’. Andrew Vinson’s ‘drafting is precise, and he is an articulate advocate’. Carly Sandbach is ‘bright, approachable and responsive’.

Atlantic Chambers’ David Green handles high-value property and landlord and tenant matters. Nicholas Jackson handles probate and inheritance disputes. Graham Sellers is recommended for his insolvency expertise, and Charlotte Hughes-Deane for Inheritance Act disputes.


Lincoln House Chambers is ‘among the best for criminal commercial fraud outside London’. James Pickup QC is ‘always well prepared’, and highly recommended for defending in tax and duty fraud cases. Also recommended are Guy Gozem QC, Mohammed Nawaz, Paul Lawton, and the ‘top-flightAlistair Webster QC. Kevin Donnelly handles large money-laundering cases. Peter Wright QC, Simon Csoka QC (who defended Dale Cregan in the Manchester women police officers murder trial) and Kate Blackwell QC are all noted for their track records in serious crime cases. Richard Simons, James Gregory, Peter Warne and Katherine Pierpoint also stand out. Suzanne Goddard QC’s expertise covers corporate gross negligence, and Rachel Smith is noted for cases with complex medical or technical evidence.

Recommended silks at St Johns Buildings include Andrew O’Byrne QC and the ‘highly effective and determinedJeffrey Samuels QC. Hugh McKee is an effective senior junior, as is John Hedgecoe, who defended Mark Bridger in the high-profile April Jones murder trial. The ‘fast-wittedKeith Harrison is ‘truly formidable’. Steven McGarry is experienced in defending fraud and POCA cases. Also recommended are Manchester-based juniors Philip Parry, Patrick Thompson, Paul Hodgkinson and Keith Harrison; and, in Liverpool, Raymond Herman and John Gibson.

9 St John Street’s Nicholas Clarke QC, Peter Cadwallader and Gary Woodhall have strong reputations for large-scale fraud work. Tom Gilbart, Jaime Hamilton and Nicola Gatto are all highly effective in complex cases. Mark Monaghan is recommended for defending in financial crime cases, and Darren Preston has established a strong fraud and POCA practice.

Deans Court Chambers’ clients single out its ‘very effective criminal clerks, who provide excellent service’. David Fish QC and Lisa Judge represented footballer Chedwyn Evans in the Court of Appeal in an appeal against conviction for rape. Stuart Denney QC regularly appears in high-profile cases, and Rosalind Emsley-Smith is ‘dynamic and astute in court’. Joseph Hart is recommended for his considerable fraud experience. Michael Hayton QC took silk in 2013.

Garden Court North Chambers’ Mark George QC is a veteran of serious crime cases, and Mary McKeone is recommended for her robust approach in court.

Exchange Chambers fields ‘good-quality advocates at all levels’. Top-quality silks include Stephen Meadowcroft QC, Tania Griffiths QC, and Brian Cummings QC. John Jones QC, Gordon Cole QC (who ‘represents clients fearlessly and with great integrity’), and the ‘energetic, engaging and effective’ Simon Berkson all have well-respected criminal fraud practices. Also recommended are Paul Taylor, who is ‘technically excellent, with very good client skills’; Tina Landale; and Oliver Jarvis.

Doughty Street ChambersFarrhat Arshad is ‘an effective advocate’. Amos Waldman is recommended for his representation of vulnerable defendants.

Cobden House ChambersLouise Blackwell QC is noted for her ‘empathy, which allows for effective cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses’. Martin Callery is recommended for his expertise in defending serious crime cases.

18 St John Street ChambersRaymond Wigglesworth QC has a busy fraud practice. Peter Birkett QC and Richard Vardon are recommended for their defence practices.

Stuart Driver QC leads Atlantic Chambers’ criminal team. Lee Bonner is recommended for POCA cases.

7 Harrington Street’s 80-strong criminal team includes head of chambers Richard Pratt QC. Stephen Riordan QC and Ian Unsworth QC continue to appear regularly in high-profile cases, and Nigel Power QC excels in cases involving complex technical, medical or scientific evidence. Ian Whitehurst is recommended for fraud cases.

Kenworthy’s Chambers’ Ben Nolan QC defended Paul Mosley, the co-accused in the Allenton house fire trial. Barry Grennan has ‘a good eye for detail’ in fraud matters. Patrick Cassidy defended the train guard in the R v McGee gross negligence manslaughter prosecution. David Morton is noted for his serious crime defence expertise.


9 St John Street is ‘one of the only sets in the North West with real depth in employment’. Paul Gilroy QC’s track record includes advising football managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Harry Redknapp. Rachel Wedderspoon is noted for ‘narrowing down the issues very quickly, no matter how complex’, and Stefan Brochwicz-Lewinski attracts praise for his ‘quick-thinking and common-sense approach’. Joanne Connolly is ‘clever, personable and good to work with’, and Carlo Breen is ‘very knowledgeable in the complicated area of equal pay’. The ‘very sharpZoë Thompson is also recommended, as are Katie Nowell, who is ‘wonderfully understated, and effortlessly good’, Matthew Snarr, Edward Morgan, Nigel Grundy, Joanne Woodward, and Rebecca Eeley. Rachael Levene, Lena Amartey and Daniel Northall all demonstrate considerable talent at the more junior end.

Kings Chambers’ James Boyd has a national employer-side practice. Nicholas Siddall represented the harbour pilots in Bridgeman v Associated British Ports, a leading Working Time Directive case. Colin Bourne accepts both claimant and respondent instructions. Paras Gorasia is also recommended.

St Johns Buildings’ employment team is led by Ghazan Mahmood and Annette Gumbs. Kevin McNerney, formerly in-house counsel at the Royal College of Nurses, appeared in the EAT case Ministry Of Justice v Parry. In Liverpool, Lorraine Mensah has particular expertise in disability discrimination claims. Louise Quigley is ‘highly organised and efficient’. Jason Searle is also recommended.

St James’s ChambersJames Hurdworks very hard, and relishes a good challenge’.

At Atlantic Chambers, John Benson QC and Simon Gorton QC have diverse employment practices. David Tinkler is recommended for local authority and education-sector employment disputes.

At Oriel Chambers, employment law specialist Richard Bradley has a strong employer-side practice.

Doughty Street Chambers’ Paul Draycott is recommended for his ‘knowledge of the interface between domestic employment law and human rights obligations’.


St Johns Buildings fields a 70-strong group headed by Sally Harrison QC, who is ‘always on the shortlist for high-value ancillary relief matters’. Alexander Kloss and Neil Montaldo are noted for their matrimonial finance expertise. Children law expert Anthony Hayden QC was joined by fellow specialist Frances Heaton QC from Deans Court Chambers. Michael Kennedy is an experienced and well-followed children law practitioner, and Lorraine Cavanagh attracts praise for her ‘immense attention to detail’. Leona Harrison and Charles Eastwood are noted for their ‘extreme thoroughness and focus’. Karl Rowley QC took silk in 2013.

Deans Court ChambersSusan Grocott QC and Karen Brody specialise in matrimonial finance and private children law, as does Heather Hobson. Francesca Fothergill handles complex family trust and succession disputes, and Jane Cross QC specialises in children work. Julia Cheetham, who is ‘of silk quality’, is also recommended.

Christine Riley heads 9 St John Street’s family group, which includes childcare expert Gillian Irving QC. Joanne Barnett, Rachael Heppenstall and Sara Lewis also specialise in children law. Graham Bailey’s practice has a matrimonial finance emphasis. Rachael Lewis is recommended as a very promising junior for Children Act matters.

St James’s ChambersBarrie Searle focuses on matrimonial finance matters with a business element.

Atlantic Chambers’ Malcolm Sharpe is ‘a very able advocate’. Michael Sellars and Christine Johnson are recommended for complex children cases, and Abigail Bennett has a niche in ‘same-sex parent’ cases. Andrew Banks and Samantha Hillas are recommended for financial provision issues.

7 Harrington Street’s Joanna Mallon is recommended for complex children law cases, and Deirdre McGuire for matrimonial finance matters.

Exchange Chambers’ family group focuses on financial relief. Judith Fordham is ‘practical and constructive, but will fight when a fight is needed’. Sheren Guirguis’ ‘advocacy is a joy to watch’, and Caroline Gee is ‘always very well prepared’. Karen Gregory is also recommended.

Oriel ChambersAshley Murray is recommended for financial provision matters.

Personal injury and clinical negligence

Byrom Street Chambers’ star silks include Raymond Machell QC, James Rowley QC, and Winston Hunter QC, whose ‘knowledge of the intricacies surrounding brain injury and serious spinal cord cases is second to none’. David Heaton QCgets to the nub of the case quickly and incisively’, and Geoffrey Tattersall QC’s ‘wealth of experience inspires confidence’. Christopher Melton QC has ‘an easy way with clients’, and David Allan QC is noted for his ‘reassuring presence’. Andrew Lewis QC has ‘a very easygoing manner, and gets on very well with clients’. Darryl Allen is ‘superbly thorough, and has a pragmatic, insightful approach to litigation’. Also recommended are Mary Ruck, Richard Pearce, Peter Burns and Simon Kilvington. Sally Hatfield QC took silk in 2013.

Deans Court ChambersCraig Sephton QC appeared in the Supreme Court case Summers v Fairclough Homes. Stephen Grime QC is noted for his ‘well-founded, practical advice’, and Timothy Smith for his ‘meticulous preparation’. Jonathan Grace regularly handles high-value claims. David Boyle is ‘persuasive, friendly and approachable’, and Simon McCann is ‘a natural trial advocate’. David Eccles and Daniel Paul are also recommended.

St Johns Buildings’ Michael Redfern QC is ‘always one step ahead in negotiations’. Philip Grundy and Peter Harrison are recommended for catastrophic personal injury matters, and Darrel Crilley for industrial disease litigation. Andrew Bridgman specialises in dental claims, and Richard Norton in brain and spinal injury. John McNeill is active in high-value claims. Liverpool-based Charles Feeny handles industrial disease claims.

Kings Chambers’ recommended silks include Dr Nicholas Braslavsky QC, Michael Rawlinson QC, and Nigel Poole QC. Stephen Maguire and Jeremy Roussak are regularly instructed in cases of the utmost severity. Simon Plaut ‘masters huge volumes of paper with ease’. Helen Mulholland is an expert in gynaecological and birth injury litigation, and Fiona Ashworth in chronic pain cases.

Lincoln House ChambersIvan Bowley is highly recommended for industrial disease work.

Cobden House Chambers’ ‘friendly and approachableRichard Hartley QC and Marc Willems regularly handle multimillion-pound litigation. David Kenny is an expert in birth injury cases. Anthony Mazzag and Michael Jones are also recommended.

The ‘brilliantChristopher Kennedy QC heads the personal injury group at 9 St John Street, which includes Nicholas Hinchliffe QC and Gerard McDermott QC, who is ‘unmatched in negotiation’. Michael Lemmy is ‘calm, organised, and measured’, and Brian McCluggage is ‘impressive with clients and experts’. Matthew Snarrgets on well with clients and the instructing solicitor’, and Matthew Haisley is noted for his ‘total commitment to the case’.

Exchange Chambers’ Bill Braithwaite QC is noted for his ‘ability to co-ordinate the experts and the legal team to achieve results’; and William Waldron QC has ‘a real personal touch when it comes to managing clients’. Also recommended are Amanda Yip QC, who is ‘extremely thorough in all aspects of preparation and advocacy’; Gerard Martin QC, who ‘combines invaluable tactical work with superb client care’; and David Knifton, who is ‘down to earth, amenable, personable, and very accommodating’. Sara Sutherland, Christopher Barnes and Andrew Ward also stand out, and Chris Gutteridge is ‘everything a modern barrister should be’.

18 St John Street ChambersAlastair Forrest is recommended for clinical negligence mattters, and Mark Laprell for high-value personal injury instructions.

Atlantic Chambers’ Scott Donovan is recommended for complex clinical negligence cases, Ivan Woolfenden for industrial disease claims, and Michael Armstrong for personal injury matters.

7 Harrington Street’s Tim Grover appeared in Stoddart v Perucca, which involved the apportionment of liability between a motorist and a horse rider. Peter Gregory regularly undertakes multimillion-pound cases. Steven Parker and James McKeon are recommended for high-value personal injury claimant work.

Planning, construction and property

Kings Chambers’ David Manley QC is counsel of choice for several major housebuilders. Stephen Sauvain QC is ‘a walking encyclopaedia of planning law’, and Paul Tucker QC has advised on numerous major retail and residential developments. Ruth Stockley, Ian Ponter, Jonathan Easton, John Barrett and Giles Cannock all have significant planning practices. Nigel Clayton is an expert in land law, and Roger Lancaster in compulsory purchase matters. Wilson Horne is recommended for commercial property matters, and Andrew Singer for construction cases.

St James’s ChambersBrad Pomfret is ’a confident and persuasive advocate’, with a solid property law practice.

At Exchange Chambers, housing law expert Paul Burns has ‘a tremendous reputation with the judges in the local courts’, and Sarah O’Brien ‘really knows her social housing law, and gets results’. Neil Cadwallader is ‘academically strong, very amenable, and helpful’.

Cobden House ChambersPaul Whatley is recommended for commercial property matters.

Regulatory and public law

Kings Chambers’ Adam Fullwood is ‘a gutsy advocate, who is able to stand his ground under pressure’. Melanie Plimmer specialises in judicial review matters. Sam Karim is recommended for his ‘clear and concise advice’.

Lincoln House ChambersBernadette Baxter is recommended for medical and police disciplinary matters. The ‘outstandingly ableLisa Roberts has broad experience of health and safety, as well as environmental regulation. Andrew Nuttall has appeared in numerous inquests.

Deans Court ChambersTim Horlock QC is a circuit leader in health and safety work, and Sophie Cartwright is regularly instructed by major transport companies. Mark Savill is highly skilled in the handling of large-scale investigations and inquiries. Peter Smith is also recommended for corporate regulatory defence, and Elizabeth Dudley-Jones has wide-ranging expertise of workplace and environmental regulation.

Garden Court North Chambers’ Pete Weatherby QC is noted for his ‘excellent forensic skills, and disarming ease of approach’, and is leading for 21 families on the new Hillsborough inquest. Vijay Jagadesham is singled out for his immigration and prison law expertise, and the ‘clever, thorough and determined’ Rory O’Ryan is recommended for difficult asylum cases. Kerry Smith is noted for her ‘good attention to detail, and good client-care skills’.

Doughty Street Chambers is ‘a good set, with some excellent housing practitioners’. Alex Durancedisplays a great deal of empathy for claimants, yet is realistic in his approach’, and Ben Chataway’s ‘lack of pomp or arrogance is a breath of fresh air’. Jamie Burton wields ‘a calm, intelligent hand’ in difficult social housing matters.

At St Johns Buildings, Steven McGarry has a solid regulatory practice, and Matthew Stockwell is popular with local authorities. Liverpool-based Iain Simkin is recommended.

Atlantic Chambers’ Anne Whyte QC is ‘very effective with expert witnesses’, and is recommended for judicial review matters.

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