Members of Old Square received a total of 56 individual listings across 9 practice areas in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2014 edition.
For the fifth year in a row Old Square is within the top 50 sets of chambers with the most barrister rankings. 3 members are recognised for the first time in the form of Charlie Woodhouse, Hilary Winstone and Nicola Newbegin. 13 individuals rose through the bandings in their respective specialisms. Special mention must also go to Mary O'Rourke QC who, for the second year running is rated as a star individual in the field of professional discipline.
Old Square Chambers has forged a formidable reputation for its unstinting commitment to client service. The set enjoys high client satisfaction ratings, and is known for having "an absolutely first-rate clerking team." The clerks, led by William Meade, provide "overwhelmingly strong support" to instructing solicitors, and display "an excellent speed of turnaround and a high degree of flexibility." Perhaps what impresses solicitors the most is the team's capacity to listen; "they are highly receptive to feedback," and solicitors "entirely trust their opinion when they refer us to barristers."
Within Employment, Old Square Chambers is a second tier set.
A well-established set that shines most brightly in the employment and personal injury spheres. Practitioners here have a strong grounding in industrial relations, in addition to in-depth knowledge of the entire discrimination gamut. Equal pay litigation is another central plank in the set's offering, with its appearance in Birmingham City Council v. Abdulla exemplifying its market renown. "They bring a certain enthusiasm towards cases," say sources,"and they understand how to manage both clients and witnesses." Client service: The well-respected William Meade leads the clerking team. "The clerks here are absolutely first-rate. They know exactly what's going on with their barristers' diaries and with their barristers." One solicitor commented: "In my view, they've got the best set of clerks of any employment chambers. Their speed of turnaround and flexibility are excellent."
Jennifer Eady QC; A popular choice for large equal pay matters, Eady has a client base comprised of several public entities. She is particularly experienced in handling employment disputes faced by NHS trusts and governmental bodies. "Amazing for discrimination work," "she's extremely good on the detail." "She absorbs a phenomenal amount of information."
John Hendy QC; A vastly experienced practitioner, who is highly sought after for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the industrial relations field. His dexterity in urgent injunctive relief applications is well noted by various market sources. "We use him for our most serious injunction applications and equal pay cases." "He's such a gracious opponent, and is unfazed by any legal complexity that may be thrown at him. His demeanour is incredibly calming."
Jane McNeill QC; An experienced employment advocate who acts for employers, employees and trade unions. Discrimination cases feature prominently in her workload. "She has excellent knowledge of the employment sector and she's a real heavyweight. She's a strategic thinker with good client skills, who is committed to excellence."
Oliver Segal QC; Renowned for his familiarity with the intricacies of commercial agents law. He habitually undertakes complex industrial relations cases. "He is a go-to person for all matters pertaining to trade union and collective rights."
Paul Rose QC; Known for handling complex employee status and transgender discrimination cases. Has specific expertise in handling cases that combine employment and personal injury law. Expertise: "He is phenomenal to deal with and very intelligent."
Mark Sutton QC; Frequently retained by professional bodies to advise on their employment disputes. Acts both for and against doctors in regulatory cases. Expertise: "His standout expertise is in relation to doctor's disciplinary matters." "He's profoundly knowledgeable and the sort of person who'd inspire confidence in any judge."
Michael Ford QC; A new silk acknowledged for his experience of handling complicated industrial relations cases. He was recently instructed to act in several potentially ground-breaking test cases. "He is excellent, cuts through points easily and carries his learning very lightly." "You get a quality of advice from Michael that you don't get from anybody else. He's an expert on cases concerning working time."
Emma Smith; Advises both claimants and respondents on a range of employment matters. Sources value her knowledge of the healthcare sector and her tenacity in the courtroom. "She's particularly respected for her ability to handle complex cases for NHS trusts." "She's very commercial and supportive, and completely understands what it is the client wants."
Simon Cheetham; Has developed a strong reputation in the contractual breach arena, and is admired by peers for his ability to instil confidence in clients. "He's a go-to barrister for unique and difficult issues."
Ben Cooper; A talented junior barrister who has experience of representing both claimant and respondent clients. He earns particular acclaim for his ability to handle cases concerning industrial relations injunctions.
Expertise: "His cross-examination is thorough and rigorous. He is someone whom one would much rather instruct than face in open court."
Stuart Brittenden; He is regularly called upon to act in healthcare sector employment disputes. Sources point to his persuasive advocacy and his intellectual approach to cases as being his key attributes. "An excellent employment law all-rounder, who is a joy to work with." "He has had an incredible year, in which he's done a great many notable cases for trade unions."
Rebecca Tuck; A part-time employment judge who is more than familiar with the nuances of discrimination law. She is frequently instructed by NHS trusts and police forces. "She's very commercial and identifies the case strategy from the outset." "She gives you both the judicial perspective as well as that of the barrister."
Louise Chudleigh; Senior junior with over 20 years' worth of practice in this field. She has earned an impressive reputation for her work in the discrimination sphere, particularly when it comes to equal pay matters. "She is very familiar with the law, has an excellent style and is very practical."
Elizabeth Melville; A broadly experienced barrister whose practice focuses on the financial and education sectors. She is often engaged to conduct internal investigations by various education institutions. "She is just fantastic. She inhales documents and her cross-examination skills are excellent."
Katharine Newton; Has a broad client base that includes established companies from the financial services sector, media organisations and NHS trusts. "She has a charm that goes down very well with tribunals," and is "generally perceived to be a class act."
Melanie Tether; A TUPE specialist who is also known for her ability to handle complicated discrimination cases. "She has a very good reputation, particularly in the TUPE arena." "She really understands the relevant issues and has a real empathy for clients."
Ijeoma Omambala; A discrimination law specialist who is also a practising mediator. Also skilled in handling complex TUPE and whistle-blowing cases. "She's strong at dealing with clients in sensitive cases."
Ben Collins; Acclaimed for his comprehensive coverage of a broad range of employment issues, he is noted for the skilful manner with which he represents public sector clients. "He takes a calm and methodical approach to difficult technical legal issues." "In collective redundancy cases, he is top-dollar."
Nadia Motraghi; Has carved out a niche acting in employment disputes that involve NHS trusts. Sources highlight her meticulous preparation. "She has done extremely well on a variety of discrimination claims and has an excellent manner with clients." "She's got a can-do attitude and delves right to the heart of a matter. She seems to love her work and is always phenomenally bright and keen."
Robin White; Discrimination law specialist with extensive recent experience of acting in disability discrimination cases. She is frequently instructed by transport sector clients. "Robin is always supremely calm in moments of legal crisis and her cross-examination is wonderful to listen to."
Betsan Criddle; Represents both private and public sector clients in a range of employment disputes. She is specifically noted for her healthcare sector expertise. "She's very knowledgeable and difficult to be up against."
Deshpal Panesar; Highly regarded within the employment arena, he is specifically known for his thriving age and disability discrimination practice. He often appears in doctors' disciplinary disputes. "He is an excellent advocate, who can change his line of questioning swiftly as and when required." "He knows his stuff and can handle difficult judges with ease."
Ian Scott; Has a strong client base, drawn primarily from local government bodies and the motor industry. Specialises in collective employment law issues. "A technically sound, direct barrister who has incredible presence and puts clients at ease." "He's a barrister of choice for multi-area discrimination cases."
Hilary Winstone; A talented junior advocate, who is strong on discrimination law and is primarily instructed by respondent clients. "An excellent strategist and advocate, she is very client-friendly and a real part of the team."
Employment (Western Circuit)
Recommended as a Band 1 set of Chambers.
This set remains the leading destination for employment law advice on the Western Circuit. Its members are regularly instructed in the Supreme Court, the ECJ and the ECHR, and Old Square Chambers is recognised for its strong offering across the gamut of employment, personal injury and discrimination law. Recent highlights include representing a claimant against the Equality and Human Rights Commission on a complaint of victimisation. The claimant was awarded £25,000 for injury to feelings, thought to be the highest award for this form of complaint. Sources rate this set for its positive approach and strong commitment to client service. Client service: "Old Square Chambers is impressive; its members are on top of things. The culture in chambers is to give law firms what they want."
Toby Kempster; Handles a wide array of employment and personal injury matters, ranging from statutory claims to contractual issues surrounding employment relations, restrictive covenant matters, discrimination, harassment, restraint of trade and industrial action. "He is excellent with tribunal advocacy."
Melanie Tether; Has a particular interest in discrimination claims and recently acted on the complaint of trade union victimisation against the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She has additionally handled sex and race discrimination claims made against a number of institutions in the banking and health sectors. "She has a really good intellectual approach towards TUPE and discrimination issues."
Hilary Winstone; Has 15 years' experience in a broad range of employment and discrimination matters, and acts largely for respondents in the public and private sector. "She has a robust and thorough approach and a positive attitude, and is well received by clients."
Helen Gower; Specialises in all areas of employment law, ranging from equal pay claims to discrimination and TUPE. She regularly advises both local authorities and trade unions. Recent work: She represented nine former employees of the Audit Commission in a claim concerning equal pay.
Andrew Midgley; Receives instructions from clients across a variety of sectors, including healthcare services, unions, retail and government departments such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the Environment Agency and the Metropolitan Police. "His technical expertise, as you would expect, is incredible." "He has an approachable and measured style of advocacy that instils confidence."
Represents a number of individuals, trade unions, private and public sector clients. He specialises in employment and discrimination law, and sits on the Attorney General's Regional Panel of Counsel. Recent work: He successfully represented 125 members of the RMT trade union in a significant TUPE case surrounding the administration of the Jarvis Group. To the benefit of the employees involved, it was held that they were a part of a transfer of undertakings from Jarvis Rail to Babcock Rail.
Employment (Northern Circuit)
Paul Gilroy QC; Has a broad employment practice which is particularly focused on employment disputes in the sports sector, although he also acts for clients from the education and banking sectors. "He is incredibly knowledgeable, very approachable and a supreme advocate."
Simon Gorton QC; Has a broad practice which covers the full range of employment disputes,and is noted for his expertise in equal pay matters.
Recommended as a Band #2 Chambers.
Acclaimed for its accessibility, bench strength and the breadth of its members' expertise, Old Square Chambers is home to specialists in every field of personal injury. Sources note the set's professionalism, and comment favourably on the service offered: "They provide very useful seminars and letters to keep you abreast of changes in the law." Client service: "The clerks, led by William Meade
, are incredibly helpful; nothing's too much trouble. They're second to none."
Nigel Cooksley QC; An acclaimed specialist in cases involving catastrophic injuries and industrial disease,she regularly handlescomplex, high-value claims for asbestos exposure and noise-induced hearing loss. Sources note his practical approach in court and in negotiations. "He's a tough negotiator, who is very pragmatic, and he works exceptionally hard." "He's very decisive and prepared to take chances on cases." ADDITIONALLY RANKED IN THE INDUSTRIAL DISEASE SPOTLIGHT TABLE
Paul Rose QC; Acts across the range of high-value personal injury litigation, and has significant experience of high-profile group litigation, particularly relating to product liability. He is also known for his specialism in claims involving the MOD. "He's a leader in his field and provides excellent client care."
Alan Smith; Focuses his practice on high-value catastrophic claims, and has particular expertise in those arising from motorcycle accidents. He acts primarily for claimants, and is highly experienced in cases involving severe spinal and brain injuries, fatalities and burns. "He's a great claimant barrister dealing with serious brain injury cases."
Michael Nicholson; Personal injury specialist with significant experience in a range of areas, focusing on catastrophic injury claims. He is noted for his ability with clients and in court, and is adept in cross-examinations. "He wins the confidence of clients and judges." "He's good with complex accidents at work, and at picking through the issues – it's calming for the client."
Charles Woodhouse; Divides his practice between claimant and defendant work and is an acclaimed specialist in catastrophic injury cases, including claims involving amputations and severe brain injuries. He is singled out for praise due to his efficiency and his ability as a trial advocate. "He has the full range – he's very good with clients, and a fantastic advocate who wins difficult cases. His attention to detail is excellent." "He's very confident and accessible. He builds up a good rapport with witnesses; he's engaging and clear but not dogmatic."
Brent McDonald; Acts for claimants and defendants in a range of serious and catastrophic personal injury claims, and is frequently instructed in high-profile claims involving assaults and fatalities. He is also experienced in group litigation and industrial disease work.
Personal Injury (Western Circuit)
Recommended as a Band #3 Chambers.
The chambers boasts a focused and dedicated team of personal injury specialists with formidable experience across the full spectrum of claims. It is noted for both the efficiency of its clerking and its members' strength on higher-value complex claims. Client service: "The clerking is very personable and very efficient – they are very good."
Charles Woodhouse; Highly regarded for his defendant work, Charles Woodhouse concentrates on higher-level claims including claims for catastrophic brain injuries and amputations. "He's tenacious and aggressive, and very well prepared – his camp is well in order long before you go into the courtroom."
Toby Kempster; Focuses his practice on employers' liability claims, including cases involving occupational disease and serious and catastrophic injuries. He is also highly experienced in claims arising from RTAs and those with maritime elements.
Christopher Walker; Focuses on high-level catastrophic work and fatal claims, acting for both claimant and defendant solicitors. He is highly experienced in claims arising from RTAs and involving elements of employers' liability. "He's a charmer – if you need someone to face up to testosterone you put Christopher Walker in the room and he'll calm them down. He's tenacious without being aggressive."
Andreá Risoli; Concentrates his practice on claimant work, with particular expertise in complex high-value claims arising from traumatic and catastrophic injuries to the head and spine. "He's very good in conference – clients are glad he's on their side. In settlement meetings he stays calm and focuses on the bigger issues without getting bogged down in small, unimportant points."
David Rivers; Praised for his ability across a wide variety of claims, David Rivers receives particular acclaim for his representation of trade union member clients in catastrophic injury cases. He is also experienced in claims for psychiatric injury and those involving EL/PL.
Mary O'Rourke QC; A heavyweight barrister who is widely renowned for her formidable reputation. She has over 25 years' experience of practising in healthcare and medical law. "She is, without doubt, a heavy hitter in clinical negligence, and has a wealth of experience."
David Wilby QC; Specialises in severe disabilities, tetraplegia, paraplegia and catastrophic brain damage. He also has considerable experience of handling work in the Court of Appeal. "He is pleasant and welcoming." "He is adept at handling complex cases and really gets to the bottom of things. He also has very good judgement and takes on cases others wouldn't be so keen on."
Recommended as a Band #3 Chambers.
Old Square Chambers is home to a group of experienced senior juniors who practise throughout the environment law sector. Its members undertake a wide variety of work, including nuisance cases, the defence and prosecution of criminal environment cases, contaminated land and group action cases. Client service: "My overall impression of the set as a whole is that they are modern in their outlook, and willing to consider simpler fixed fee arrangements. They are very approachable and easy to use. They are good at selecting barristers with the right level of experience for a case."
John Bates; A seasoned junior who handles civil and criminal litigation in environment law cases. He has acted in cases relating to issues such as nuisance, water law, waste, contaminated land and air quality. "He has a firm grip on the subject matter and provides advice that is commercial and extremely usable; you can rely on what he is saying and then do something with it."
Malcolm Galloway; Focuses on criminal environmental regulatory cases, and regularly defends companies and company directors in prosecutions brought by the Environment Agency. He has handled cases relating to waste, the Proceeds of Crime Act, water pollution and nuisance. "Very user-friendly, he has a deep understanding of criminal environmental matters and criminal procedure."
Health & Safety
Malcolm Galloway; A criminal and regulatory specialist who has been appointed to the regulatory 'A' list of counsel. He is praised for his communication skills. "He is both excellent with clients and very supportive to those that instruct him." Recent work: He acted for the defence in HSE v Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, a matter concerning potential exposure to hazardous substances.
Mary O'Rourke QC (STAR INDIVIDUAL); Her practice is healthcare-focused and she exclusively defends before an array of regulatory bodies, including the GMC, GDC and NMC. She has handled some of the most high-profile cases in the area, such as Baby P. "She has such a good reputation at the GMC – her status as a star is justified."
Mark Sutton QC; Offers expertise within the healthcare and education sectors. "One of the few excellent lawyers to have equal footing in employment law and regulatory law."
John Hendy QC; He is particularly noted for his work defending doctors. "He balances persuasion with aggression. He is very supportive to the client and undaunted by adversity."
Giles Powell; Very strong on both employment and professional discipline cases. "He specialises in breach of contract, and is one of the best juniors in the area. His style is a combination of the persuasive and the combative."
Nicola Newbegin; A recognised practitioner within the healthcare sector, who regularly advises both trusts and doctors. "Very thorough and offers good support to a leader. She is not afraid to give her opinion when asked."
Katherine Howells; Focuses on aviation-related travel claims including accidents on aircrafts or at airports. Also handles claims by passengers who have been denied boarding or have suffered lost baggage. "She's very good. She's very painstaking and careful."
Philip Mead; Undertakes foreign accident claims involving Rome II or other EU conflicts of laws issues. Also advises on overseas RTAs, claims against insurers and package holiday cases. "He's hugely intellectual, likes a challenge on all his cases, is personable and approachable, and can explain things in layman's terms." "He's technically very able and has a good reputation."
Members of Old Square received a total of 56 individual listings across 9 practice areas in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2014 edition.