Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: Administrators’ conflicts of interest – 2018’s hot potato?

Marcia Shekerdemian QC considers the decisions in Ve Vegas v Shinners and Zinc Hotels v Beveridge

‘An insolvency practitioner should not allow bias, conflict of interest or undue influence of others to override professional or business judgments.’1

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: When is a secret commission secret? A primer on Medsted v Canaccord Genuity

Edward Sawyer and Jia Wei Lee look at a recent Court of Appeal decision on the extent of a fiduciary’s obligation to disclose commission payments

In The Attorney General for Hong Kong v Reid [1994] 1 AC 324, Lord Templeman described bribery as ‘an evil practice which threatens the foundations of any civilised society’. And as every trusts lawyer knows, the best way to wage war against depravity is by the well-timed imposition of a constructive trust. What we do not know, however, is how much fiduciaries must tell principals about their commissions. Medsted Associates Ltd v Canaccord Genuity Wealth (International) Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 83 gives us part of an answer.

Legal Business

Sponsored chambers profile: Wilberforce Chambers

Q&A with Nicholas Luckman, practice director of Wilberforce Chambers

1. The Bar and chambers themselves have evolved significantly over the past decade. How has Wilberforce adapted to client needs and market changes to adapt service delivery?

Legal Business

‘Supporting strategic expansion’: Wilberforce takes barrister duo from 3 Stone Buildings


Wilberforce Chambers continues to expand, adding Fenner Moeran QC and Andrew Child from 3 Stone Buildings, just weeks after bringing three silks and five junior barristers from soon-to-dissolve London commercial and chancery set 11 Stone Buildings (11SB).

Recommended by The Legal 500 as a heavyweight pensions silk, Moeran’s work in recent years has been focused on civil fraud and dishonesty disputes, with particular emphasis on breaches of fiduciary duties.

In a statement today (29 October), Wilberforce said the move ‘strongly supports the strategic expansion of specialists in our key practice areas.’

Child is also recommended in The Legal 500 as a leading junior who is ‘easy to work with, and knowledgeable in the area of trusts and estates.’

Moeran will officially join chambers from 2 November, while Child will move sets from, 10 November.

In September Wilberforce announced that 11SB silks Lexa Hilliard QC, Alan Gourgey QC and Marcia Shekerdemian QC would join the set alongside five junior barristers after the former set voted to dissolve, a move which will take effect tomorrow.

Wilberforce head of chambers, John Martin QC, said: ‘We are always interested in practitioners who are leaders in their field of expertise and we are therefore delighted to welcome Fenner and Andrew who will join the specialist groups at Wilberforce.’

Read more about Wilberforce’s latest hires in ‘Every man for himself’: 11SB carved up as Wilberforce and Radcliffe pick up barristers’.

Legal Business

‘Every man for himself’: 11SB carved up as Wilberforce and Radcliffe pick up barristers


The demise of 11 Stone Buildings (11SB) has led to a feeding frenzy as rival chambers begin to swoop on barristers from the commercial and chancery set.

Since 11SB announced it would close at the end of this month, it has emerged that Wilberforce Chambers and Radcliffe Chambers are to take on teams comprising 11SB’s most senior silks.

Legal Business

Wilberforce Chambers takes silk trio and five juniors from soon-to-be dissolved 11SB


Wilberforce Chambers has taken silks Lexa Hilliard QC, Alan Gourgey QC and Marcia Shekerdemian QC from 11 Stone Buildings (11SB) alongside five junior barristers, following the news last week that the London commercial and chancery set will dissolve on 30 October.

Lexa Hilliard QC, who currently heads 11SB, will also bring across junior barristers Tim Penny, Max Mallin, Iain Pester, Tom Robinson and Laura Newton, who have accepted offers to join the set. They will become members of chambers from 21 September 2015.

Wilberforce’s head of chambers John Martin QC said: ‘To add leading practitioners of this quality to our specialist commercial, professional liability and pensions groups supports our strategic vision to ensure the legal services we offer to our clients are of the highest quality and match the demands of an increasing specialist domestic and international market’.

The news follows yesterday’s announcement from Radcliffe Chambers that it will take on seven 11SB members including Jeremy Cousins QC, Gary Lidington, Tina Kyriakides, Adam Deacock, Christopher Boardman, Reuben Comiskey and Dawn McCambley.

Hilliard QC confirmed to Legal Business this month that the members of 11SB ‘decided their differing practice interests will be better served in various chambers more suited to their specific individual circumstances and areas of expertise.’

‘Members therefore, decided amicably, but with considerable regret to cease to operate as a set of chambers at 7pm on Friday 30 October 2015. Until then 11 Stone Buildings will remain fully operational as a set of chambers.’

Having been widely speculated throughout the Bar, the set is said to have agreed to dissolve on 11 September, due to a lack of confidence in chambers’ management.

Members which have already left 11SB include Charles Samek QC who returned to his previous set Littleton Chambers in May and was joined by barrister Jamie Riley. Finance disputes barrister Peter Head departed to Blackstone Chambers last July, while civil fraud barrister Ian Smith went to 33 Chancery Lane and civil fraud and insolvency barrister Philip Hinks moved to 3 Verulam Buildings in August. The set is also run by 16 support staff and clerks including chambers director Michael Couling and senior clerk Matthew Curness.

Legal Business

The Bar: Bloch QC exits Wilberforce for Blackstone as Lord Hope joins Brick Court


Just weeks after Wilberforce Chambers’ longstanding chief executive and senior clerk Declan Redmond announced he is leaving for Keating Chambers, Wilberforce QC Michael Bloch has announced he is to depart for rival Blackstone Chambers.

A rated commercial and intellectual property specialist, Bloch QC’s recent caseload includes Nestles’ successful High Court battle with Cadbury earlier this month, after Cadbury tried to trademark the iconic purple colour of its Dairy Milk bars. Other significant cases include the British Sky Broadcasting Group v Microsoft over the latter’s use of the word ‘SkyDrive’ as the name for its cloud storage service.

Acknowledged by the Legal 500 as ‘receptive to which way the judge is moving and very quick to adapt’, Bloch QC is set to join Blackstone next week after 13 years at Wilberforce, which he joined from One Essex Court in 2000.

Bloch QC told Legal Business: ‘Blackstone promises to be an exciting place to be over the next few years. The more I looked into to it, the more I liked what I saw. It comprises some outstanding lawyers. It has a joined-up way of doing business. There is a friendly and collegiate spirit about the place. It already has a great reputation, and I suspect you’ve seen nothing yet.’

The QC’s departure will be a blow to 53-barrister Wilberforce, headed by John Martin QC, following as it does the resignation of senior clerk Declan Redmond, who is set to join Keating at the end of the year to take up a similar position. Redmond’s time at Wilberforce dates back to 1982, when he started as a junior clerk.

Meanwhile, Brick Court Chambers will shortly enhance its disputes offering with the arrival of Lord Hope of Craighead, who is to join as an arbitrator following his retirement from the Supreme Court earlier this year.

The veteran has previously acted as Lord Justice General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court Session, followed by a stint as Lord of Appeal in ordinary. In 2009, Lord Hope was appointed second senior Lord of Appeal and later became deputy president of the Supreme Court until his retirement in June.

Jonathan Hirst QC, joint head of Brick Court, said: ‘We are delighted that David Hope is joining us an arbitrator. He substantially strengthens our existing Scottish connection and we are sure that he will be in demand as an arbitrator.’

For a detailed insight into clerks at the Bar see Pulling the strings – the surprisingly successful re-invention of clerking

Legal Business

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.