Chancery House and St Philips prepares to seal merger deal with new home in Park Square and recruitment drive to triple numbers

Leading Leeds barristers' set, Chancery House Chambers, is preparing to seal its merger deal with multi-award winning national set, St Philips Chambers, with a major refurbishment project and recruitment drive. Work is well underway in transforming the newly acquired premises at 41 Park Square providing enough accommodation to triple barrister numbers in Leeds.

The merger follows a hugely successful two-year alliance between the two sets and will create one of the country’s largest set of chambers focusing on chancery and commercial work.

Greg Pipe, Head of Chancery House Chambers, said, “We have been part of the Leeds legal landscape since 1996 and have built a successful Chambers that has provided an excellent foundation for us to broaden our capabilities and services to the local legal market. The demand is here already, the merger gives us the resources to win more local work that is currently going to London. It is a catalyst for change and growth and consolidates Leeds’s position as one of the UK's most important legal centres outside London.”

Leeds companies, Trident Building Services and This Is Interiors Ltd, are already working on extensive refurbishment of the Grade II listed Georgian building at 41 Park Square, to create 7,500 square feet of barrister accommodation, furnished with state of-the-art conference, seminar and mediation facilities.

Joe Wilson, chief clerk for St Philips, said, “Chancery House was always a natural fit for St Philips with its reputation for high quality advice and client service standards. The alliance between our two sets was always the precursor to a full merger and now that's becoming a reality. Our investment in a new building and a modern office infrastructure indicates our commitment to, and confidence in, the city's legal and business community. This is just the start, plans are underway to increase our range of services and we are actively recruiting for quality barristers to join us in Leeds.”

Chambers and Partners Guide to the Legal Profession

Following the advance notice of the publication of this Guide (see “Leaders in their Field” below) the actual Guide has been published and as a Chambers we are pleased with the commentary afforded to us by the Guide’s Editorial team. Such commentary reflects what Solicitors have said about Chambers and individual barristers and we are very grateful to the Solicitors who gave their time to providing information to the Guide’s researchers.

Chancery House Chambers are ranked under three of the Guide’s categories namely, Chancery, Commercial Dispute Resolution and Construction.

The Guide states:

Chancery - North Eastern (Bar)

This regional powerhouse recently merged with St Philips in Birmingham, enhancing its strength in insolvency matters and expanding the scope of its chancery offering.
Probate disputes and associated tax and estate planning matters remain a strong focus for the set, while shareholder disputes and breach of fiduciary duty by directors are also pillars of the commercial chancery practice. Senior clerk Colin Hedley attracts particular praise for his “clear and sensible fee estimates.”

Client service: “They cover a good range of disciplines and have someone available who specialises in the area you need whenever you need it. The clerking is very efficient, and the turnaround time is almost immediate.”

Ranked members for Chancery

Sarah Harrison

A formidable figure for both contentious and non-contentious chancery work. Alongside her considerable experience in trust and probate work, she is recognised for her expertise in tax disputes and Court of Protection matters.

Expertise: “She is a very robust, no-nonsense counsel, who provides clear and detailed advice from the outset, and is a ferocious advocate.” “Clients love her and she is excellent in court - exactly the right person if you have a scrap on your hands.”

Recent work: In Klett v Sumner she acted for the professional executors in a High Court case concerning the construction of a will and allegations of breach of trust.

Sean Kelly

Focuses his respected practice on commercial chancery matters. He is well versed in disputes relating to professional partnerships and LLPs, and also handles professional negligence claims.

Expertise: “His biggest strength is that he is not only very strong on paper, but he is also a very strong advocate, providing effective examinations and presentation at trial. He does not sit on the fence; he provides a firm view on merits from the outset.” “He is very technical and he is very good at breaking down a problem into its constituent parts. He is also authoritative and knowledgeable in court.”

Recent work: He was involved in Faulkner v Bennett, concerning the validity of a special resolution of a holding company for the expropriation of the shares of deceased members of a members' club.

Stuart Roberts

Concentrates his practice on probate and traditional chancery matters. He is regularly instructed in relation to Inheritance Act 1975 matters and property disputes, while he also offers a considerable advisory and drafting practice.

Expertise: “He has a relaxed approach and builds an excellent rapport with clients. You get a real sense that he enjoys what he does, so the clients warm to him and he will sit down with the client to get a real understanding of the case without watching the clock.” ”He is very good under pressure, really client-friendly and a very good advocate.”

Recent work: He recently acted in the Wood v Greatrex case, concerning the overturn of a grant of probate and the declaration of invalidity for a will.

Dominic Crossley

He is widely tipped for an impressive future in the Chancery Bar. He is regularly engaged on wills and probate disputes and property law matters.

Expertise: “He has great integrity, he's very good in court and he always goes the extra mile. He takes a very modern, pragmatic approach - I have nothing but praise for him.”

North Eastern (Bar), Commercial Dispute Resolution
(Band 1)

Gregory Pipe

The head of Chancery House Chambers, Gregory Pipe wins praise from instructing solicitors for his technical ability. He regularly handles complex technology cases, and has particular experience in commercial disputes involving property and company issues.

Expertise: “He is a thorough and extremely well-prepared advocate who leaves no stone unturned.” “He is the guy to go to for a complex and technical contract dispute - frighteningly clever.”

North Eastern (Bar), Construction (Band 2)

Anthony Edwards

Wins praise from market sources for his broad construction dispute resolution capabilities. He is known for his expertise on engineering matters, including cases related to flood damage, power stations and hospitals.

Expertise: “He speaks the client's language and really roles his sleeves up to get a deep understanding of the case.” “Very strong in arbitration and adjudications.”

Full CV’s for all members of Chambers can be found on our “Members” page.
Additionally, profiles for the individuals named above can be found at

Legal 500

Following our success in Chambers and Partners guide to the legal profession we are pleased to say that we have enjoyed similar success by being ranked and listed as a leading set in the latest edition of Legal 500. The publication goes on to state Chancery House Chambers is ‘a very professional and courteous set, whose clerks make you feel valued’.

Six members of Chambers are specifically recommended in Legal 500 – Gregory Pipe, Anthony Edwards, William Buck, Stuart Roberts, Peter Cherry and Dominic Crossley. In relation to Commercial, Insolvency and Property the entry reads:

Gregory Pipe is ‘a sharp, well-prepared advocate’, and William Buck ‘knows when to fight and when to settle’. The ‘commercially astute’ Stuart Roberts is also recommended. Peter Cherry ‘grasps the core of the issues quickly particularly where banking and insurance elements are involved’ Dominic Crossley ‘specialises in property and inheritance matters’

For Construction, planning, licensing and environmental Anthony Edwards is recommended and the entry states:

Chancery House Chambers' Anthony Edwards ‘provides expert and detailed advice in construction, planning, and environmental law’.

Our merger partner, St Philips, also received favourable editorial and ranking.

As with Chambers and Partners we wish to thank all solicitors who took the time to provide the researchers with information.

Leaders in their field
Chambers and Partners Guide to the Legal Profession is due for publication in October 2013 but in advance of publication we have been advised that 6 Leeds members of Chambers have been ranked as “Leaders in their field”. They are:
  • Gregory Pipe – Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • Sarah Harrison – Chancery
  • Sean Kelly – Chancery
  • Stuart Roberts - Chancery
  • Anthony Edwards – Construction
  • Dominic Crossley – Chancery
In addition, our merger partner St Philips* has received 40 rankings and the strong performance between the two chambers reinforces the reason for the merger and our joint belief in the importance of recruiting barristers with genuine expertise in their specialist area.

To all our Solicitors who took the time to provide the researchers with information – Thank you.

Dominic Crossley publishes book on Land Registry Adjudication

Dominic Crossley has recently published a book on proceedings before the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry, a judicial office which is assuming ever greater importance in the field of real property disputes since its establishment by the Land Registration Act 2002. Please see his individual entry for further details.

Merger plans announced

Chancery House Chambers is pleased to announce that it will be completing a merger with St Philips Chambers later in 2013. The merger coincides with St Philips opening in London. As such the current members of Chancery House will be able to provide clients with a national presence, covering work across the whole of the country and internationally. The merger follows on from the successful Alliance which was formed with St Philips in 2012.

This development underlines Chancery House’s commitment to expand upon the first-class service it is renowned for, reinforcing its objective to make its exceptional team of barristers the first choice for clients.

Gregory Pipe, Chancery House's Head of Chambers, said:
“The alliance has been very well received, not just by clients in the region but throughout the country. We look forward to our merger with St Philips to add yet another dimension to the range of services we can offer clients.”

Commenting on the move, St Philips Head of Chambers, Kevin Hegarty QC, said:
“I am committed to ensuring that St Philips barristers are at the forefront of modern legal practice. Our client base already spans the UK and overseas and adding London and Leeds to our Birmingham HQ will further enhance the opportunities open to existing and new tenants to practise on a national and international scale.”

St Philips will open its premises in the heart of London in the first half of 2013, with Leeds in the Autumn.

Court of Appeal success in BMW v Hart

William Buck has successfully appeared on behalf of the Appellant, BMW Financial Services, in a case concerning the accrual of limitation periods. The Court of Appeal was concerned with when time starts to run for a claim made pursuant to a liquidated damages provision within a contract. Whilst the contract in issue was a hire purchase agreement, the principles raised in the case have application in a wide range of contracts.

Congratulations to Anthony Edwards

Many congratulations to Anthony Edwards who has been invited by FIDIC to join the President's List of Approved Adjudicators. FIDIC is an International Construction and Engineering Contract used by amongst others the World Bank in over 200 countries. Anthony joins a team of only 30 adjudicators to resolve disputes worldwide. Anthony already serves on other panels including IChemE, CIArb and LCIA. Visit Anthony's web page

Chris Owen.

Chris, who is CEO of St Philips, has recently been appointed as Chairman of the Birmingham Law Society Board of Directors. Many congratulations to him which sees him become the first non-lawyer to be appointed as a Chairman of any Law Society in the UK.

John Randall QC.

Many congratulations to John who has won the prestigious “Barrister of the Year Award 2012” at this year’s Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards. He is Head of St Philips Commercial Group and a leading Chancery Commercial Silk. He is a member of the Alliance and his profile is in our members section.

St. Philips & Chancery House form alliance.

Chancery House Chambers are please to announce a formal alliance with Birmingham based St. Philips Barristers Chambers, with effect from March 6th.

More deails are provided in this Times legal section advert.

St. Philips Barristers Chambers website:

Sean Kelly joins Chambers.

Sean was called in 1990 and has a commercial practice with particular emphasis on professional negligence claims relating to solicitors and accountants, partnership and LLP law (in particular relating to solicitors’ and medical practices) and company law.

Sarah Harrison joins Chancery House.

Chancery House welcomes Sarah Harrison to Chambers. Sarah [1989] specialises in probate, trusts and the taxation of trusts. Her work encompasses contentious and non contentious matters including extensive experiences of probate litigation and drafting trust documentation.

In particular Sarah deals with the duties of trustees and personal representatives, contentious probate disputes, Will construction, family provision claims, the administration of estates, Court of Protection cases and associated capital taxation issues. She also deals with professional negligence claims related to these areas.

Sarah is recommended in Legal 500.

Important case on Part 36 Offers.
William Buck has successfully won an important dispute on when an offer is a valid Part 36 offer. In Thewlis v Group Ama Insurance Company Limited [2012] EWHC 3 (TCC) it was argued by the offeree that even though the offer was extensively labelled as being ‘Pursuant to Part 36’, it was not a valid Part 36 offer because it did not state that it was intended to have the consequences of Part 36. This argument was accepted by HHJ Behrens, who also held that on a proper construction of the offer letter, the offer was not in strict compliance with the requirements of Part 36. The decision is important as it demonstrates that all the requirements of Part 36 must be strictly adhered to, regardless of how technical they are, otherwise an apparent Part 36 offer will not be valid as such.

Success in the Court of Appeal.
Representing the respondents, William Buck has successfully appeared in front of the Court of Appeal in Kaur v Kaur [29th November 2011]. In their judgment their lordships upheld an argument that the conduct of the Appellant was an abuse of process in seeking to bring fresh claims against the respondents in respect of an alleged £2m trust of property.

Anna Stubley completes pupillage.
We are delighted to announce that Anna Stubley has joined chambers after successfully completing her pupillage. Anna has gained considerable experience in pupillage, from hearings in the County Court to matters in the Court of Appeal. Anna's practice focuses upon areas of commercial chancery, including contested probate disputes, property law, insolvency and company law.

Tax Specialist joins Chambers.
Edward Hewitt [2007] has accepted a position at Chancery House to offer specialist tax advice in respect of all areas of private client work, both contentious and non contentious.

Stuart Roberts joins Chancery House.
Chancery House welcomes Stuart Roberts to Chambers. Stuart was called to the Bar in 1994 and joins us with a strong practice covering the areas of commercial litigation, probate, wills and trusts disputes and employment law.

Article published.
"How Effective is LCIA's Bite on Arbitration in India?" by Chambers member Anthony Edwards.