Brick Court Chambers and individual members are widely and consistently recognised and recommended across numerous areas of law by legal directories.
Please see below for quotes from the current and past editions of Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500.
Brick Court Chambers has a far-reaching mandate spanning numerous kinds of disputes. Interviewees describe it as "a highly successful and professional set," which has "great people across the board." It provides advice and advocacy to a mix of claimant and defendant clients including government bodies, corporations, banks and individuals. Its practitioners are experienced in courtroom trials as well as arbitration proceedings, investigations and judicial reviews. They have a deep understanding of UK, EU and international legislation and source their instructions from around the world including the Middle East, Africa and the CIS. Competition law is a focus for the set, which features a large group of silks and juniors specialising in the subject, including the redoubtable Maya Lester QC. Banking and finance is another linchpin; the set's team comprises, among others, Mark Howard QC, a multi-talented commercial silk who is ideal for cases with a financial element. The set deals skilfully with public law and human rights cases and counts among its line-up luminaries such as Martin Chamberlain QC. Further areas of strength include civil fraud, energy, insurance, professional negligence claims, telecommunications and environmental issues such as air pollution and climate change. Members recently acted in Libyan Investment Authority v Societe Generale, a high-value dispute concerning investments made during the Gaddafi regime, and in a case concerning claims brought against the property developers the Candy brothers by a former acquaintance.
Described by sources as "an excellent chambers with great people across the board." The set has a depth of expertise in all areas of public law, including high-value and high-profile matters, and is particularly sought after for EU, competition and regulatory issues. The barristers' clients range from government bodies through commercial entities to NGOs and individual claimants. Solicitors say this is "a very high-calibre public set" and "a class act," while clients note that the barristers here are "professional and courteous, well managed, and amenable to working flexibly to accommodate business priorities." Recent cases of particular interest include Platt v Isle of Wight Council, the case which established that taking children on term-time holidays is an offence, and Uber's appeal against Transport for London's licensing decisions.
Client service: "The clerking team is phenomenal." "The clerks are exceptionally good."
- Chambers & Partners 2019: Administrative & Public Law (Band 2)
Barristers at Brick Court Chambers are frequently sought out to act in cases of substantial financial and reputational importance, appearing on both sides of the claimant-defendant divide, acting both for and against banks. The set's barristers have been visible in a number of high-profile matters following the financial crisis and continue to prove popular choices for the major cases of the day. By way of example, they have been instructed on the claimant side of a major test case relating to LIBOR, and have handled a number of matters relating to the alleged misselling of financial products. They have also had a role in Property Alliance Group v Royal Bank of Scotland, the most important banking case of recent times. The breadth of disputes they take on is reflected in the praise they win from instructing solicitors, who say: "They are at the top of their game, and have a real range of specialist areas."
Client service: "The clerks are extremely responsive and have a very good relationship with the courts. They are very good on client service." Clerking is led by Julian Hawes, Tony Burgess and Paul Dennison, who are described as "top notch, modern clerks." "They're responsive, easy to work with and understand what the client needs. They're also realistic and all provide good services."
- Chambers & Partners 2019: Banking & Finance (Band 2)
A highly regarded set well known for offering "a very high calibre of work." Practitioners frequently appear in civil liberties and human rights matters at various tribunals, the Supreme Court and the ECHR, as well as courts in other overseas jurisdictions. The set continues to take on significant cases involving national security, discrimination and the right to life. Members have recently been involved in Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission v Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Northern Ireland, a challenge to abortion laws in Northern Ireland.
Client service: "Their clerking team are phenomenal. They make things easy and they're very collegial. They're genuinely brilliant and run a smooth operation."
A pre-eminent commercial disputes team that has impressive scope, both internationally and across legal disciplines, and a particular affinity for appellate cases. Its members represent clients in courts located as far afield as Hong Kong, the British Virgin Islands and Tanzania. They have acted in many of the most high-profile trials of this or any other year, recent examples being Holyoake v Candy Brothers, and Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale, which concerned investments that were made during the Gaddafi regime. One onlooker attests that "Brick Court is a set absolutely in the first rank that works well with in-house litigation counsel. Both the calibre of its counsel and the quality of its service make it easy to instruct it."
Client service: "The clerks are extremely responsive, a delight to deal with, and happy to help on fees for smaller cases." "When liaising with the court, they're always willing to help and easy to communicate with."
A set involved in a number of high-profile competition cases, advising clients from the financial services, technology and pharmaceutical sectors, amongst others. Solicitors report that "this is a go-to set for competition" as "it has by far some of the most talented barristers in the market." Members represent both claimants and defendants in follow-on damages cases, act for clients in investigations and appeals, and regularly represent regulators defending challenges to their decisions. Individuals have further expertise in state aid cases and the crossover between competition law and IP law, and are described as being "very adaptable and fully au fait with how to manage a client."
Client service: "The clerks are top notch, responsive, easy to work with and people who understand what the client needs." "We dealt with Jo Francis and she was superb, as she was responsive and very good at squeezing us in at the last minute."
The practitioners of this strong set frequently appear in international as well as domestic cases. Members act in a range of energy cases relating to power projects, renewables, and oil and gas. They are very strong in commercial disputes which hinge upon the interpretation of agreements, including joint operating agreements, off-take agreements, gas sales agreements and farm-in agreements. The set is regularly involved in high-profile international arbitrations, as well as High Court and Commercial Court disputes. Members of Brick Court Chambers have been involved on both sides of Single Buoy Moorings v Zurich Insurance, a high-value claim over the abandonment of a mobile offshore production unit in the Norwegian North Sea.
Client service: "They are very responsive and easy to deal with on fees." Julian Hawes is director of clerking and Tony Burgess and Paul Dennison are the senior clerks; the latter is described by one source as "very user-friendly, attentive and someone who tries to find solutions when new instructions come along."
Brick Court leverages its expertise in public and EU law to score wins in challenging environmental cases. It caters to a range of interested parties including local authorities, government regulators, energy companies and NGOs. Issues commonly at stake include air pollution and climate change. The set works to meet both the advisory and advocacy requirements of clients.
Client service: "The clerks are efficient, polite and understanding." "We were quickly put in touch with the right barrister for our needs."
Several interviewees highlight Brick Court Chambers' "strong reputation for EU law" as a key reason for instructing the set, describing it as "a first-choice chambers for EU and competition work." It handles work on behalf of a broad range of clients, from government bodies to private companies in the transport, pharmaceutical and financial services sectors. Members are renowned for their advice on a range of regulatory topics relating to telecommunications, life sciences, agriculture, competition and employment. Key cases include those concerning the taxation of alcohol, spouses' pensions, deportation, employment discrimination and issues surrounding the EC Treaty on overseas territories.
Client service: "The clerks are all phenomenal - they make things easy, are very collegial and tailor things to fit the client's needs."
Brick Court Chambers specialises in taking on intractable fraud disputes and resolving them to the client's satisfaction through litigation or arbitration. Sources describe it as "a highly successful and professional set." Its instructions derive from across the globe including the Middle East, the CIS and Africa. The set has particular expertise in the financial services, insurance and commodities sectors. Members act for both claimants and defendants and deal skilfully with such allegations as deceit, misrepresentation and the misappropriation of assets. Several of them have recently been engaged in Gerald Metals v Timis, a case involving allegations of fraudulent conspiracy in relation to an iron ore mine in Sierra Leone.
Client service: "The clerks are extremely helpful, responsive and reasonable." "They are always very commercial, responsive and charming."
Brick Court Chambers has "tremendous depth and breadth of experience" in insurance law, according to sources. It supplies high-level advice and advocacy to a mix of claimant and defendant clients. Its barristers appear in courtroom trials as well as arbitration tribunals, and deal skilfully with a wide range of matters including property damage, political risk, natural disasters and reinsurance coverage. They are particularly well known for their proficiency in marine insurance claims and claims arising out of the financial sector.
Client service: "The clerks are incredibly professional and they are prepared to look at things in a commercial manner."
Brick Court houses a number of silks and juniors experienced in arbitration, many of whom accept appointments both as counsel and as arbitrator. The set handles a variety of proceedings including LMAA, FOSFA, HKIAC, ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC and LCIA arbitrations. It is particularly effective at resolving arbitrations under the provisions of bilateral investment treaties. Areas of expertise range from mining and energy to telecommunications and commodities disputes. Members represent a mixture of claimant and defendant clients including banks, insurers, businesses and individuals.
Client service: "They are very user-friendly in terms of trying to get the right people in place for the right matter. The clerking is great."
Commands considerable respect among peers; one notes: "The set has a lot of exceptionally good people." With a strong stable of silks in particular, it is known as a go-to for the highest-value cases which require truly heavyweight commercial and financial services expertise. Members are well equipped to handle claims brought against barristers, solicitors, auditors and accountants, among other professionals. Members have appeared in a number of significant cases in recent years, including Cattles v PwC and the Ingenious Media litigation.
Client service: "The clerks are very commercial people. They understand the dynamics and pressures of the cases."
- Chambers & Partners 2019: Professional Negligence (Band 2)
A set with a superb competition law practice and a strong reputation for handling CAT and ECJ cases brought by telecoms companies. Members have acted for various parties as interveners in high-profile regulatory appeals, one example being BT's challenge to the BCMR 2016. They have further standout experience in cases that test developing areas of UK or Irish law, including those concerning the licensing of standard-essential patents or the principle of net neutrality applied to telecoms service providers.
Client service: "The barristers work well together but are also individually excellent." "I certainly have a very good relationship with the clerks there; they are all very helpful."
‘Top set’ Brick Court Chambers has ‘a well-deserved reputation for all-round quality’ in commercial litigation work; its ‘substantial roster of excellent and creative advocates’ provides ‘great strength in depth’ for EU law instructions; while a ‘pre-eminence’ in competition law and antitrust work, leaves solicitors with ‘a feeling of being in the best hands’. The ‘slick’ and ‘proactive’ clerking team is ‘top class, straightforward, transparent’ and ‘very good at developing and promoting the qualities of their juniors’. The clerk’s room has undergone change of late, with former senior clerks Julian Hawes and Ian Moyler stepping down from their roles after many years of distinguished service (Hawes remains in chambers as director of clerking). Paul Dennison (‘first class’) and Tony Burgess (‘makes the job of managing client expectations a lot easier’) have now been promoted to joint senior clerks. The ‘industrious’ Jo Francis is ‘responsive, friendly and efficient’, while the ‘brilliant’ Luke Carvalho ‘is professional and very easy to deal with’. As one solicitor put it: ‘One doesn’t often notice a significant difference between the clerking teams of major sets of chambers; but Brick Court is unmatched.’
Brick Court Chambers ‘has incredible strength and depth and always provides a first-rate experience’. The clerking team is also highlighted for being ‘unmatched’ in its services. Its clients span corporates, individual claimants, NGOs and an array of public bodies for which it takes on matters ranging from regulatory challenges to human rights violations. Some of its high-profile and constitutionally important work includes a challenge to the law on abortion laws in Northern Ireland, in which Martin Chamberlain QC acted for the Attorney General of NI. On the corporate front Jemima Stratford QC acted for Bayer in a judicial review concerning use of the cancer drug Avastin.
Brick Court Chambers is a ‘very impressive set for financial services litigation,’ where ‘the barristers all seem intellectually a notch above those at other sets’. The set is seen to be going ‘from strength to strength across the board, with fantastic barristers from top to bottom’. Members can regularly be found on the biggest claims, acting both for and against the banks, including Law Debenture Trust v Ukraine, St Petersburg v Arkhangelsky, and Property Alliance Group v RBS.
In the past 12 months, barristers at Brick Court Chambers have been instructed across very diverse areas, including Privy Council death row appeals and constitutional issues with a direct impact on human rights such as R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, which concerned the procedure by which the UK government could initiate withdrawal from the European Union. Also of note, Martin Chamberlain QC acted in the Supreme Court in Walker v Innospec, representing a retired gay man whose pension scheme only provided a spousal pension entitlement to opposite sex couples. In Rahmatullah v Ministry of Defence & FCO, Maya Lester QC acts for the claimant in a challenge to his detention and torture in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brick Court Chambers is the ‘thoroughbred stable of the commercial Bar’ and ‘a top-rated set for very good reason’, thanks to its ‘great array of experience in all types of commercial disputes’. The barristers are ‘uniformly excellent’. The chambers is also commended for its clerks, who are ‘responsive, knowledgeable and always happy to help’. The set has been involved in some of the largest trials of the past year, including Holyoake v Candy Brothers, Libyan Investment Authority v Societe Generale, and DP World v Republic of Djibouti.
Brick Court Chambers has a ‘substantial roster of excellent and creative advocates’ and ‘is very good at developing and promoting its juniors’. The set remains a go-to name for pharmaceutical clients and several of its members received instructions from both Actavis and GSK against separate fines imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority. Other significant projects have included Daniel Jowell QC’s involvement in the Trucks Cartel litigation, as well as James Flynn QC and Marie Demetriou QC acting on opposite sides of Apple v Qualcomm before the patent court, which involves the licensing of patents in mobile phones.
- The Legal 500 2018: Competition (Tier 1)
‘Quality set’ Brick Court Chambers has ‘an impressive array of barristers specialising in a variety of complex areas of law’. The chambers services a wide range of EU-related sectors, including advice on the telecoms, aviation and pharmaceuticals sectors, and questions of freedom of movement and fundamental rights. Following its prominent role in R (Miller), the set is prepared to take advantage of further Brexit-related litigation; Fergus Randolph QC has re-established his professional base in Brussels where the set also has door tenants based. In a recent highlight, Aidan Robertson QC represented the UK before the EU General Court in a challenge to state aid for Hinkley Point C power station. Bringing the application, Austria argued it was a breach of EU rules for the UK government to subsidise the nuclear facilities, an argument rejected by the court in Brussels.
- The Legal 500 2018: EU Law (Tier 1)
‘Excellent across a range of disciplines’, including public law, competition law and commercial disputes, Brick Court Chambers is also praised for its ‘service-focused clerks’. Peers note the set’s regulatory and corruption expertise: Harry Matovu QC is acting for Wartsila (defendant) in a claim brought by VIP (claimant) against parties including Standard Chartered involving a power plant in Dar es Salaam. On the commercial side, Fionn Pilbrow acted for MMG in an insurance and breach-of-warranty dispute against Glencore arising from the sale and purchase of the $6bn Las Bambas copper mine in Peru.
Brick Court Chambers is ‘a first choice chambers’ with ‘strength in depth at all levels’. The set’s premier standing for commercial disputes, inevitably leads to a huge amount of fraud work, in which several juniors and silks have excellent reputations. Members were involved in several high-value cases, including the high-profile Holyoake v Candy Brothers. Five members are also facing each other on different sides in Gerald Metals v Timis, Benkert & Buehler.
The ‘enormous strength in breadth and depth’ of the ‘excellent barristers at all levels of call’ helps Brick Court Chambers to occupy a dominant role in the insurance litigation market. Six members, including Mark Howard QC and Neil Calver QC, are instructed on both sides of Single Buoy Moorings Inc v Zurich Insurance plc, which, at the time of publication, was the highest value case before the Commercial Court. Calver is also instructed in respect of a multi-million dollar arbitration arising out of New Zealand earthquake damage.
Brick Court Chambers ‘has a wide array of excellent counsel’ with plenty of experience in major commercial arbitrations, as well as an increasing number of BIT claims and disputes coming out of Africa. Significant highlights include the high-profile mining-related dispute, Gerald Metals v Frank Timis, which has involved several members from chambers.
Brick Court Chambers benefits from the expertise of some incredibly high-calibre ex-judges as well as several leading specialist arbitration barristers, all considered leaders in their field.
Brick Court Chambers is a ‘premier set’ for professional negligence work, it has ‘excellent quality at all levels’, and is often instructed in cases involving major accountancy firms, banks and other financial institutions, solicitors, insurance brokers, actuaries, and tax advisers. Tim Lord QC led Simon Salzedo QC, Stephen Midwinter QC and Craig Morrison in acting for KWL in resisting the appeal by UBS in a case which examined the professional negligence of a portfolio manager. Tom Adam QC is acting for Ernst & Young in a case involving a film finance tax avoidance scheme. Adam is also leading Tony Singla in a case brought by Northern Rock against Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.
Top-tier commercial set Brick Court Chambers performs impressively in this year’s rankings, showcasing the breadth and depth of expertise on offer. It achieves a total of 65 listings across 13 practice areas.
Competition is an area in which the set particularly excels. It sees 16 barristers highlighted in our corresponding chapter, ranking it top of our research in the field this year. The strength of its practitioners spans matters including merger control, abuse of dominance and cartel investigations in the UK and the EU.
The set is also highly accomplished in banking and finance advocacy, with its silks and juniors achieving a combined 14 listings for their expertise in transactional and regulatory matters. The insurance and reinsurance, and telecoms practices are also impressive, with six listings for the former and five for the latter in this edition.
The set also stands out for its first-rate alternative dispute resolution offering, with four barristers highlighted for their arbitration expertise and three recognised for their excellence in mediation.