We are delighted to announce that six members of 39 Essex Chambers have been recognised in The Chambers 100 with those named including Joint Heads of Chambers, Stephen Tromans QC and Neil Block QC, Nigel Pleming QC, Stuart Catchpole QC, Christian Du Cann and Justine Thornton.
Following a rigorous research process, which includes interviewing solicitors and clients, The Chambers 100 has ranked the top barristers practising at the Bar of England and Wales, producing two tables, one listing the top 100 silks and one listing the top 100 juniors.
Below is the guide’s editorial comments for each listed member:
Stephen Tromans QC is a leading practitioner in the field of environmental law. He is renowned for being “very knowledgeable on environmental planning issues,” and demonstrates additional expertise in matters involving energy and planning. Sources describe him as an “outstanding” practitioner who is “commercially minded and easy to deal with.” He recently advised EDF Energy in connection with an application for a development consent order to establish a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, Somerset.
Neil Block QC has a market-leading practice in both personal injury and clinical negligence work. He recently represented the hospitals where Jimmy Saville is alleged to have abused patients. He is particularly popular with clients, who admire his ability to bring “a no-nonsense calmness to the disputes in which he is engaged, and keep the client’s interests at the forefront of his advice, negotiations and advocacy.”
Nigel Pleming QC has established an outstanding reputation for the work he undertakes in the fields of civil liberties and human rights, administrative and public law, tax, and environmental law. His additional areas of expertise include local government and professional discipline. Commentators describe him as “an excellent team leader” who is able, when handling a case, to “take a strategic overview, discern problems early” and offer “advice that is well thought out, erudite and practical.” He was recently instructed by Richard Gifford of Clifford Chance in a significant case brought to challenge the decision of the UK Foreign Secretary to establish a marine protection area around the Chagos Islands.
Stuart Catchpole QC is one of the Bar’s leading experts in construction disputes. He is a formidable litigator who is noted for his “superb mastery of the law and facts,” and his “masterful cross-examination skills.” He was instructed as leader on a substantial claim arising from the termination of a pipeline contractor, which led to a claim against the parent company under a guarantee. Instructing solicitors praise his “exceptional intellect and his fantastic ability to explain complex legal and technical concepts in a simple way.”
Christian du Cann has for a long time now been at the forefront of the personal injury and clinical negligence legal world. He undertakes cases of immense complexity and claims of the highest value such as Brock v Rollinson. This matter concerned a 16-year-old who suffered significant orthopaedic injuries which he recovered from but which led in turn to a secondary psychological reaction of extreme severity. “A hard-working, willing and user-friendly advisor, he possesses in good measure all of the core skills required by an advocate. He has a pragmatic and robust approach to litigation that means his advice is clear and comprehensible for lay clients.”
Justine Thornton is a big name at the environmental Bar, who is an Advocate for the Welsh Assembly Government as well as a member of the Treasury Panel. Often appearing in newsworthy cases, she is the senior junior acting for the Bodo Community in Nigeria who are claiming £250 million from Shell Nigeria following widespread oil spills in the Niger Delta. She has also been representing represent 2000 claimants in 15 group actions brought by local communities across the UK alleging environmental pollution. Those instructing her say she is “a pleasure to work with and can always be trusted to deliver practical and creative advice quickly. She is approachable, succinct and incredibly knowledgeable in matters relating to environmental law.”