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Nicholas Medcroft joins Wilberforce Chambers as Erskine makes key hires and two leading sets take on new head

Nicholas Medcroft has joined Wilberforce Chambers from Outer Temple Chambers in a week that has also seen Erskine Chambers welcome a three-barrister asset recovery team and leading sets 4 New Square and Essex Court Chambers take on a new head.

Medcroft is said by Legal 500 to be ‘the first person to turn to when it comes to matters relating to financial crime and banks.’ Specialising in professional negligence, business and banking, financial services and commercial fraud, he has worked on large scale litigation including acting for the Financial Reporting Council, alongside Fountain Court’s Tim Dutton QC, in the case against audit firm Deloitte over the collapse of the MG Rover Group.

Last year he enjoyed success on behalf of HSBC Private Bank alongside Richard Lissack QC in the bank’s long running dispute with Mr Shah.

In another high profile move, acquisitive Erskine Chambers this week announced that high-profile New Square Chambers commercial litigation barrister Stephen Smith QC will join its asset recovery team, alongside juniors Tim Akkouh and Emily Gillett, as the set moves to further boost its insolvency capability.

Smith QC’s arrival comes shortly after his successful long-running case JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov – the largest fraud case ever to hit the English courts, in which he acted for longstanding client BTA. Akkouh and Gillett were two of his juniors on that case. The team joins shortly after the arrival of insolvency specialists Peter Arden QC from Enterprise Chambers and 11 Stone Buildings’ Raquel Agnello QC, who joined in January.

Head of Erskine Chambers Michael Todd QC, who returned to the practice in January following a year as chairman of the Bar Council, told Legal Business that the set is looking to rebuild its insolvency and asset recovery practice and build on its largely non-contentious company law base.

‘We’re keen to bring [it] back and do more of that – its why we brought in silks Peter Arden QC and 11 Stone Buildings’ Raquel Agnello QC earlier this year. Then, we were approached by Steven and his team wanting to join chambers. They thought, and we thought it was a good fit because a lot of their work and litigation arises out of breaches of fiduciary duty by directors.

‘It’s an extension of what we do. It will involve more litigation than we have been doing. It enables us to build on the expertise we’ve already got.’

In other bar news, Essex Court’s high profile head of chambers Gordon Pollock QC stepped down on 21 June after 21 years in the role and is succeeded by co-heads Richard Jacobs QC and Graham Dunning QC.

Under Pollock’s leadership, Essex Court has grown to become one of the largest commercial law sets in the country. In 1994, Essex Court became the first major commercial set to leave the Temple as Pollock led the move to 24-26 Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

New co-head Jacobs QC said: ‘Essex Court Chambers has been tremendously served by Gordon Pollock. Many members of chambers have been fortunate to work on cases with Gordon, who is one of the most outstanding commercial barristers of his generation, and whose skills as an advocate and in litigation have been supreme. All members have benefited from his leadership of chambers over so many years.’

Pollock, who has advised on such high profile cases as BCCI, acting for creditors of the Bank of England, will continue to practice from the chambers.

Elsewhere, 4 New Square has appointed Ben Hubble QC to succeed Sue Carr QC as head of chambers following her move to the High Court bench.

Hubble QC will hold his new position for a three-year term. His work of late has involved professional liability and disciplinary claims, including acting for the lead defence group in The Accident Group litigation – a mammoth insurance dispute involving 500 firms.

Carr QC joins the Queen’s Bench Division alongside former 39 Essex Street’s Robert Jay QC, recently famed for his handling of the Leveson enquiry.