What the Directories Say

CHAMBERS & PARTNERS UK, 2017

Banking & Finance (Band 2)

A lauded collection of barristers well versed in the intricacies of banking and finance litigation, with members at all levels experienced in appearing in leading and often precedent-setting cases. Market sources are forthcoming in their praise of the set's silks' and juniors' abilities, and instructing solicitors are especially appreciative of the fact that "they understand the importance of the counsel/barrister relationship and invest a lot of time in making sure it works." Its members garner praise in related areas of expertise including financial professional negligence, contentious regulatory proceedings and civil fraud.

Client service: "Stephen Penson's clerking team is excellent. The clerks are commercial, proactive and extremely helpful, which can transform an instructing solicitor's day."

Chancery: Commercial (Band 3)

A set of chambers of great pedigree whose barristers are highly commended for their work on big-ticket litigation. One instructing solicitor says: "3VB is a go-to set for major commercial matters. It is an obvious choice if you have a complex banking and finance, fraud or contractual case." Recent matters handled by the members include Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton and a major piece of litigation arising from the Phones 4u insolvency.

Client service: The chambers director is Robin Jackson and the "personable" clerking team is led by practice manager Stephen Penson. "Administratively, the way the clerks work and the service they provide is really excellent."

Commercial Dispute Resolution (Band 2)

A very well thought-of set with great experience across a number of areas. It is held in the highest possible esteem for its work on major pieces of banking and finance litigation, but also has the talent to handle all types of commercial litigation and international arbitration. Major solicitors' firms both at home and abroad instruct it in matters of great moment. Examples include Yukos v The Russian Federation, Arcadia Group v Visa and MasterCard, Terra Firma v Citigroup, and Phones 4u Limited v Vodafone.

Client service: "The clerks are user-friendly and straight down the line." "They'll dedicate their time to helping you find the right counsel, and you know you're not going to get dumped with someone who isn't the right fit." The "exceptionally friendly and helpful" Stephen Penson leads the team.

Financial Services (Band 2)

It is able to bring major expertise to bear on complex and multi-jurisdictional financial regulatory issues. Thanks to its deep bench of barristers well versed in the intricacies of banking law and litigation in a wider context, the set is appreciated by clients for its particular commercial and market awareness. Many members of chambers have spent time working for the regulators or as solicitors specialising in the field, granting them particular insight into the vast array of financial regulation legislation.

Client service: "The clerks are really responsive. They always get back to you quickly and always do what they say they will. They're extremely efficient." "I am impressed with the client care and attention to matters whether large or small." The clerks are led by Stephen Penson.

Fraud Civil (Band 1)

A leading civil fraud set, noted for its superior knowledge of the banking sector, that is "always a serious contender for the juiciest fraud cases." Members have appeared in many significant and high-value cases, including Vincent Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton and Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale.

Client service: Solicitors remark that the set is "well run and efficient" and find the clerks, led by Stephen Penson, to be "modern, easy to deal with and commercial."

Information Technology (Band 2)

A well-regarded chambers whose expertise in IT is increasingly in demand at home and abroad. The set's significant knowledge of the banking sector means it is a regular presence in disputes concerning financial technology, internet trading and electronic currency.

Client service: "Led by Stephen Penson, the clerking is excellent and extremely helpful."

Insurance (Band 4)

Offers considerable insurance expertise in cases involving banking and financial services, which are core areas of focus for the set as a whole. Its members are adept at handling professional negligence and indemnity claims of some scale, and are also known for their expertise in product liability cases and sophisticated broker disputes. The set also has a prominent practice handling insurance business transfers and other regulatory matters.

Client service: "The set has impressive client care, takes a reasonable and flexible approach to rates and fees, and devotes due attention to matters whether small or large." Stephen Penson is the set's senior practice manager.

International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance (Band 3)

3 Verulam Buildings is respected for its international arbitration practice, which has recently been strengthened as a result of the addition of two experienced arbitration counsel in the last two years. Its members provide representation on a wide array of issues before arbitral tribunals, and also handle ancillary applications in the courts. An instructing solicitor notes: "They are very quick to respond, very commercial and they understand where we and ultimately the clients are coming from."

Client service: "The clerks were very accommodating, helpful and practical." Stephen Penson leads the clerking team. As part of its client service programme the set provides seminars on international arbitration. 

Professional Negligence (Band 3)

An outstanding set for claims against financial services professionals, due to its noted strength in banking litigation and financial matters. In addition to representing accountants and investment brokers, its members act in disputes involving software designers, veterinary surgeons and chartered surveyors. Recent work highlights include McGraw-Hill v Deutsche Apotheker, concerning the duties of rating agencies, and Zurich Insurance v Aon UK, an £80 million reinsurance dispute following an incident at a petrochemical complex in the Netherlands. Market sources refer to 3 Verulam Buildings as a "prominent and well-established set."

Client service: "Practice manager Stephen Penson is a joy to deal with." "Stephen isn't just a clerk. He understands our industry and is always a welcome port of call for advice. He is very approachable, very personable and works as hard as we do."

LEGAL 500 UK, 2016

Banking & Finance (including consumer credit) - Leading Sets - Ranked: Tier 1

An ‘easy-to-deal-with, friendly and commercial’ set, 3 Verulam Buildings is considered by some to be ‘the go to set for financial services litigation with outstanding senior counsel and a strong crop of juniors’.  Chambers has several barristers acting on different sides of the RBS rights issue litigation and also has members on both sides of Banco Santander Totta v Portuguese transport companies, the first case on the new Financial List.

Commercial Litigation - Leading Sets - Ranked: Tier 1

3 Verulam Buildings is ‘one of the leading commercial sets’ with ‘some first-class barristers at all levels of experience’.  Members are involved in some of the UK’s biggest cases, including the RBS rights issue litigation and Vincent Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton. Clients rate the ‘professional and efficient clerks’, who are ‘very receptive to ideas concerning fees and organising their barristers’ time’.

Fraud: Civil - Leading Sets - Ranked: Tier 1

3 Verulam Buildings provides ‘strength-in-depth’ and an ‘exemplary’ service. The set has achieved some significant victories for clients, including a successful appeal before the Privy Council on behalf of Central Bank of Ecuador in its dispute with Ansbacher.

IT and Telecoms (excluding regulatory) - Leading Sets - Ranked: Tier 3

3 Verulam Buildings is considered ‘a responsive and reliable set’ for IT and telecoms. The set frequently undertakes IT cases from a commercial angle, and in 2015, members were instructed in several software disputes and IT fraud cases.

Insolvency - Leading Sets - Ranked: Tier 3

3 Verulam Buildings has a ‘very strong cast of sharp commercial minds’. The set leverages its ‘pre-eminence in banking litigation’ to act in high-profile insolvency cases relating to financial services.

Insurance and Reinsurance - Leading Sets - Ranked: Tier 4

Members of 3 Verulam Buildings ‘combine strong technical ability with being easy to work with’. The set has developed expertise in insurance broker disputes; Nicholas Craig acted in Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance v Houlder Insurance Services, concerning the placing of insurance for refund guarantees.

International Arbitration: Counsel - Leading Sets - Ranked: Tier 3

3 Verulam Buildings is ‘among the best’ for international arbitration and has ‘good people at all levels’ who provide a ‘helpful and responsive’ service. The chambers acts on matters across the board, and has seen a particular growth in energy, construction and banking-related arbitrations. A significant highlight has been advising the Russian Federation in its resistance to the enforcement of the record $50bn arbitration award following its dispute with Yukos.

Professional Negligence - Leading Sets - Ranked: Tier 2

The ‘professional and reliable’ barristers at 3 Verulam Buildings are particularly noted for their experience in financial services disputes. Praised as ‘one of the leading sets for professional negligence’, recent work highlights saw Matthew Parker acting for the defendant in NatWest v Healys, a case arising out of a property development venture and an alleged overvaluation.

What the Directories Say