The commentary below appears in the latest Chambers and Partners UK 2016:
Basic facts about the department: 5 partners - 3 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Litigation boutique firm with a strong reputation for representing claimants in high-profile litigation, including aviation cases. Regularly acts for passengers and their families on fatal accident claims worldwide.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "The work quality, the staff and response rates are all superlative." "They are efficient and always seem to be on top of the details." "They are absolutely excellent, first class in every aspect."
Work highlights: Represented the family of Royal Marines Captain Orlando Rogers, who was killed in a crash involving a Tiger Moth aircraft in Dorset. This case sets a precedent that Air Accidents Investigation Board reports can be admitted as evidence in civil proceedings.
Acted for the families of those killed on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which crashed near Donetsk, Ukraine in July 2014.
James Healy-Pratt is described as a "standout negotiator" who "knows as much about aviation as anybody in the field." He leads the aviation and travel team at Stewarts Law and regularly acts on airline crash cases across the world.
Peter Neenan is a senior associate and assists with many of its key matters. Sources say he is "an exceptional lawyer" and also "a delight to work with."
Sarah Stewart gains praise for her client relationship skills on difficult cases. One client says: "I was very quickly able to build up a rapport where if she made a recommendation about an aspect of the case I was able to trust her decision-making."
Ranked Lawyers: James Healy-Pratt (Band 1), Sarah Stewart (Band 2), Peter Neenan (Band 2)
Band 4 & Spotlight Table for Conflict Free Banking Litigation
Basic facts about the department: 14 partners - 24 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Litigation boutique with experience in complicated banking disputes, particularly as they relate to financial products. Conflict-free practice able to act for individual and corporate claimants against the banks. Also advises on cases involving civil fraud issues.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "What I'm impressed by is that they're a niche firm of litigation solicitors who really focus on that and know their business. They really know what they're doing so I would have no hesitation recommending them." "They're really excellent in what they do."
Work highlights: Assisted the joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank with claims arising out of a 'Ponzi-like' scheme, which resulted in significant losses for the bank.
Acted for Anatoly Ereshchenko on a high-value claim brought by JSC BTA Bank, relating to financial instruments and structures, as well as allegations of fraud.
Sean Upson has a broad litigation practice encompassing all aspects of both domestic and international banking, insolvency and trade law. One market commentator says: "He's brilliant - if I ever had a banking and finance case, I'd want him and nobody else."
Clive Zietman is "quite a wise man of the litigation world," according to sources, who say he is "tough, uncompromising, but nice about it." He heads the department and currently leads the team in representing multiple claimants against RBS in the high-profile £12 billion 2008 rights issue litigation.
Significant clients: Kaupthing, Trustees of the Mineworkers Pension Scheme, Stichting Ratings Redress, UNIQA Capital Markets, Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärztebank EG.
Ranked Lawyers: Sean Upson (Band 4), Clive Zietman (Band 4)
Basic facts about the department: 4 partners - 10 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Esteemed clinical negligence department that focuses on high-value claims. Emphasis on incidents of a catastrophic nature such as brain and spinal injuries.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "They operate to a really high standard, I hold them in high regard." "Immaculately prepared and very good work."
Robert Dransfield specialises in clinical negligence claims arising from spinal injuries. "He is immensely hardworking and has fine judgement," asserts a peer.
Muiris Lyons heads the London clinical negligence department and concentrates on maximum severity claims involving such matters as brain and spinal cord injuries. "I find him very impressive," says one peer, "and he tends to thinks outside of the box."
Nick Knowles focuses on difficult cases such as birth and spinal injuries which involve the management of multiple experts. "He has nerves of steel," says one barrister, "I can't speak highly enough of Nick."
Associate Hugh Johnson is sought after for his expertise in claims relating to spinal injuries. "He shows great industry, an excellent grasp of medical negligence issues and very good judgement, both in relation to liability issues and quantum issues," note sources.
Ranked Laywers: Muiris Lyons (Band 1), Nick Knowles (Band 2), Robert Dransfield (Band 3), Hugh Johnson (Star Associate)
Basic facts about the department: 1 partner - 2 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Market-leading practice focusing on catastrophic injury cases, particularly brain and spinal injury claims. Also continues to be noted for its expertise in cauda equina matters.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "An excellent firm with a good reputation.", "The firm maintains an extremely high standard of work."
Frank Pinch has a broad practice, though he is particularly commended for his "mastery of the issues that arise in spinal cases." Sources also say that "he thinks very carefully about each move, and ends up many steps ahead of the opponent."
Gabrielle Ross is praised by clients for being "very personable, very clear and very punctual." She demonstrates particular expertise in spinal injury cases.
Ranked Lawyers: Frank Pinch (Band 1), Gabrielle Ross (Associate to watch)
Basic facts about the department: 4 partners - 6 other qualified lawyers - 1 economist
What the team is known for: Litigation boutique that has built a specialist competition litigation practice. Regularly handles claims of significant value for individual corporate entities in follow-on proceedings.
Work highlights: Representing 12 corporate clients including ASDA, New Look and House of Fraser in bringing separate damages claims relating to fees charged by Visa on payment card transactions.
Department head Jonathan Sinclair continues to advance his reputation in this area. Clients say: "He is very organised, extremely measured, and his advice is always very sound." He assists a wide range of high-profile clients with follow-on and standalone damages actions.
Scott Campbell is an up-and-coming practitioner who gains recognition for his expertise from several market sources. His experience includes handling complex multi-jurisdictional claims involving both UK and EU competition law.
Significant clients: ASDA, Morrisons, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer.
Ranked Lawyers: Jonathan Sinclair (Band 2), Scott Campbell (Up and Coming)
Basic facts about the department: 2 partners - 3 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Specialist counsel for senior claimants with high-value claims. Also works with employers, and is well regarded for its litigation work.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "A good, solid stable of effective claimant lawyers." "The firm excels in assisting senior executives to deal with amicable, and not so amicable departures."
Tim Spillane "thoroughly understands not just the legal issues, but also the commercial practicalities of employment disputes," according to sources. A source notes: "I know he will do something perfectly if there is something I need him to do."
Richard Nicolle is a hugely experienced adviser who acts for both employers and senior individuals. His practice is broad but includes regular work relating to High Court litigation.
Significant clients: CLA, Mulvaney Capital Management, Bridgehouse Capital, ANDigital, 8over8.
Ranked Lawyers: Tim Spillane (Band 3), Richard Nicolle (Band 5)
Basic facts about the department: 8 partners - 14 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Dominant practice known for its expertise in complex, cross-border financial litigation and related private law children matters. Offers an impressive bench of experienced practitioners and extensive high net worth capabilities.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "They are in a brilliant position. They have star performers, strength in depth and then the support of first-class supporting departments. That's the mark of a top-tier firm." "They have a brilliant finance team there. They are highly regarded."
Helen Ward is consistently held out as a "highly effective" litigator whose handling of complex cases ensures her ongoing position "at the top of the tree." She regularly handles high-value financial disputes.
Debbie Chism comes recommended for her matrimonial litigation practice and is "very expert in her field and good at handling difficult client situations." She is also noted for her collaborative law practice and for her expertise in international cases.
Stephen Foster is "clearly a leader in the field" who is a go-to for complex financial proceedings. According to impressed interviewees, he "knows how to line things up and have a considered tactical view from day one."
Emma Hatley is held out as a leading matrimonial finance expert. Interviewees praise her experience in the field, stating: "She has effortlessly coordinated some of the biggest cases to ever come through London."
Matthew Humphries deals with financial matters, in particular those with complex international elements. He is "very sensible and pragmatic" and maintains a "sensitive and reassuring" approach to complex cases.
Richard Hogwood draws on extensive private client expertise and "brings a very skilful approach to cases involving trusts," according to commentators. He handles prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and matters involving complex financial issues.
Ranked Lawyers: Helen Ward (Star Individuals), Stephen Foster (Band 1), Debbie Chism (Band 1), Emma Hatley (Band 1), Matthew Humphries (Band 3), Richard Hogwood (Up and Coming)
Basic facts about the department: 1 partner - 2 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Specialist litigation firm offering a tailored family law service to the high net worth community. Acts exclusively on high-value matrimonial claims, often involving corporate structures and multi-jurisdictional investments. Also experienced in wealth protection matters such as prenuptial agreements.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "A friendly, efficient company."
Simon Preston is described as "a first-class" matrimonial solicitor in Yorkshire with a pragmatic and sensible approach. A source says the renowned litigator is "at the level to which others aspire."
Adrian Clossick is a talented senior associate with an extensive knowledge of matrimonial finance cases. One client says: "He understood immediately the position I was in and the effect it was having on me financially and emotionally." He is described as "a clear thinker, tenacious and resourceful."
Frances Bailey joined the firm in 2015 bringing extensive private family law knowledge to the team. Sources say she is a "star technical lawyer" who has "great breadth of knowledge and experience." One client notes: "Her recollection and memory of a case astound me."
Ranked Lawyers: Simon Preston (Band 1), Adrian Clossick (Star Associate), Frances Bailey (Start Associate)
Basic facts about the department: 14 partners - 24 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Litigation boutique fielding a well-regarded bench of fraud and business crime practitioners. Active on investigation, enforcement and interim injunctions, particularly for financial services clients and investors. Additional expertise in fraud matters relating to contentious insolvency.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "The job they did was excellent. They delved into the details and knew all of the factual information. They give clients what they need and have amazing availability." "They are savvy and well-regarded operators."
Work highlights: Represented Anatoly Ereshchenko in defence of a contempt of court application made by BTA Bank in relation its dispute with Mukhtar Ablyazov. Also advised on the subsequent appeal.
Acted for Orb and others on a breach of agreement and fiduciary duty claim relating to a portfolio of assets valued at approximately £1 billion. Also advised on asset recovery in Spain, the Isle of Man, the BVI, Qatar and Panama.
Sean Upson is "very capable, calm and insightful," according to sources in the market. He has a broad commercial disputes practice, with substantive experience in fraud cases arising in the banking and finance sector. One source identifies him as "one of the nicest solicitors I've worked with and very knowlegdeable."
Significant clients: Liquidators of Stanford International Bank, Lev Leviev, Portigon, Kaupthing Bank.
Ranked Lawyers: Sean Upson (Band 3)
Basic facts about the department: 14 partners - 24 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Dedicated litigation firm representing a range of companies, multinationals and high net worth individuals. Experienced in a range of commercial litigation, including shareholder, contract and fraud disputes. Frequently instructed on claims against banks and financial institutions.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "They are a firm that I'd recommend to anybody who had a complex piece of commercial litigation and wanted it handled efficiently and effectively."
Work highlights: Represented Emerald Bay Worldwide in a Privy Council appeal concerning directors' liability under the BVI Business Companies Act 2004 following breach of their duty and care and skill.
Successfully represented Mr Lev Leviev in a breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation claim brought by Gaydamak.
Peers enjoy working with the "very effective" Clive Zietman, who heads the commercial group. He has been involved in several high-profile banking, professional negligence and fraud disputes and is regarded in the market as a "tough, canny litigator."
Significant clients: Anatoly Ereshchenko, The Liquidators of Stanford International Bank, Trustees of the Mineworkers Pension Scheme, Orb a.r.l.
Ranked Lawyers: Clive Zietman (Band 2)
Basic facts about the department: 4 partners - 7 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Dedicated litigation team advising prominent commercial and retail clients in high-value and high-stakes disputes. Wide-ranging expertise in all kinds of contentious work, including cases relating to financial services, fraud issues and a key focus on cartel damages claims.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "Would highly recommend to anyone trying to navigate the UK litigation process. They have good contacts and a wealth of knowledge." "An impressive niche firm. They do what they do very well."
Work highlights: Acted for 12 leading retailers, including ASDA, House of Fraser and B&Q among others, in a series breach of competition regulations claims in connection with transaction fees charged by MasterCard.
Represented Marks & Spencer in relation to claims against MasterCard and Visa to recover unlawful fees charged by the card operators.
Jonathan Sinclair is an experienced representative of major clients in complex competition disputes. He is lauded for his deep knowledge and technical expertise, and earns particular praise from commentators for his ability to "litigate in the right way - he is combative when he needs to be, but also conciliatory when needed."
Mo Bhaskaran is "a good commercial lawyer who provides good, clear advice, and is personable and responsive," according to commentators. He handles a range of disputes and investigations, including sophisticated fraud and corruption claims.
Significant clients: Debenhams, New Look, Morrisons, Next, Pace.
Ranked Lawyers: Jonathan Sinclair (Band 1), Mo Bhaskaran (Band 3)
Basic facts about the department: 13 partners - 13 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Outstanding personal injury practice that routinely takes on some of the industry's highest-value catastrophic injury claims. Routinely obtains leading awards in paraplegia, tetraplegia and severe neurotrauma cases.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "They are really well known for spinal cord injury cases and they do a fantastic job for their clients." "They have been absolutely brilliant. They provided me with everything I needed and a lot of support both during the case and immediately afterwards. They got me a good result." "I rate the firm and its individuals at the very top of the tree."
Work highlights: Acted for a passenger who suffered a traumatic brain injury following a road traffic accident, and obtained an award totalling £9.7 million.
Retained by an individual who was left paraplegic and needing a kidney transplant after an accident at work. The final settlement totalled £3 million.
Sources remark that Andrew Dinsmore is "skilled and deals with cases with a degree of empathy which is important in this space." He regularly handles claims arising from severe brain injuries.
Catastrophic injury lawyer Paul Paxton earns praise from claimant and defendant solicitors alike and is regarded as "a tough adversary who approaches things in a sensible way." One source reports that he is "very knowledgeable, very practical and very bright."
Stuart Dench is routinely engaged in cases where clients have suffered fatal or catastrophic injuries. He advises on both domestic and international claims and offers a particular knowledge of the aviation industry.
Sources say that Charles Edwards has a "terrific manner with clients and opponents" and has "really good judgement." His practice sees him act for claimants seeking support after severe brain and spinal injuries.
Commentators describe Clare Salmon as an "insightful and hugely committed" lawyer who shows "real steel" when necessary. She covers accidents at work and public liability claims, among other areas, and recently acted for a claimant left paraplegic after sustaining a head injury.
Lucy Robinson enjoys a rising profile, with one peer describing her as "an utterly exceptional lawyer." The last year has seen her engaged by clients making substantial claims after suffering life-changing brain and spinal injuries.
Peregrine Redgrave is highlighted as an "absolutely brilliant" senior associate. He recently represented an officer cadet who was injured following a road traffic accident, and obtained an award of £3.25 million. One source describes him as "commercially astute and thoroughly approachable."
Julian Chamberlayne has strong experience handling severe personal injury claims with an international dimension, evidenced by the recent settlement of a £2.5 million claim arising from an elephant attack on the claimant in Zambia. One source comments of his work: "It was incredibly impressive to see."
Ranked Lawyers: Paul Paxton (Band 1), Andrew Dinsmore (Band 1), Julian Chamberlayne (Band 2), Clare Salmon (Band 3), Charles Edwards (Band 3), Stuart Dench (Band 3), Lucy Robinson (Up and Coming), Peregrine Redgrave (Associates to watch)
Basic facts about the department: 4 partners - 3 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Outstanding catastrophic injury team renowned for high-value work on brain, spinal and multiple orthopaedic injuries. Notable experience in claims with cross-jurisdictional aspects. Highly esteemed for excellent client service.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "Stewarts were my knights in shining armour. They made the process so much easier and got us a brilliant result." "They are a great firm, no two ways about it. They have some great people and an excellent reputation."
Work highlights: Acted for a claimant on a case arising from a spinal injury sustained as a result of a fall from a bridge.
"Excellent lawyer" Peter Stringer has "real empathy for the work and the clients," say peers. He has recently worked on brain and spinal injuries caused by RTAs.
Department head Daniel Herman specialises in high-value catastrophic injury. An impressed source commented: "He gets right to the crux of the matter and he is great with clients."
Ben Townsend focuses on the most severe brain injuries. An industry source said: "He is a stickler for detail, empathises very well with clients and has a shrewd eye for opportunity."
Up-and-coming Warren Maxwell's recent work includes high-value claims for spinal injuries. Sources enthuse that he is an "excellent litigator and puts clients at their ease."
Ranked Lawyers: Daniel Herman (Band 1), Peter Stringer (Band 1), Ben Townsend (Band 2), Warren Maxwell (Up and Coming)
Basic facts about the department: 7 partners - 3 other qualified lawyers
What the team is known for: Exclusively focuses on the claimant side of highly complex and high-value cases arising from catastrophic injuries abroad. Has handled key cases that define the application of Rome II and that raise novel points on admissible evidence and the calculation of damages in aviation disasters and overseas RTAs. Further noted for experience in MIB claims.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "It is a supportive place; the lawyers are very helpful and there are lots of opportunities to talk to the lawyers, ask questions and understand what is going on." "They take on cases with the best of intentions for the benefit of injured people. The lawyers have a lot of compassion for the people that they represent."
Work highlights: Acted for a claimant who was severely injured by an elephant while on a guided walking safari with her family in Zambia. The defendant contended jurisdiction of the UK courts to hear the case but settled before trial for £2.5 million.
Advised the injured claimant in the appeal of Wall v Mutuelle De Poitiers, a key Rome II applicable law case. The Court of Appeal held that expert evidence should be adduced according to UK procedures even though damages would be calculated under French law.
Julian Chamberlayne stands out for his superb reputation among peers, who note that "he has the most extraordinary unbridled enthusiasm and energy." He acts for claimants in catastrophic injury cases and is known for being "very determined; he will leave no stone unturned and will ensure that his clients attain the maximum reasonable damages."
Clients and peers highlight Scott Rigby for his handling of complex travel personal injury cases, including recent Court of Appeal cases that address novel points of travel law. Sources say that he is "happy to explain things and it is easy to get hold of him," adding: "He's approachable, realistic and doesn't take any prisoners."
Head of the firm's aviation practice, James Healy-Pratt acts for injured parties and their dependants in serious and fatal aircraft accidents. He led the firm's advice on the appeal of Rogers v Hoyle, in which the Court of Appeal considered the admissibility of Air Accidents Investigation Branch reports in aviation disasters.
Ben Townsend has particular expertise in claims against tour operators for overseas bus crashes, which was reflected in recent advice to a group of six Indian nationals who were severely injured in the UK. He is also noted for his experience of claims that touch on Morocco.
Christopher Deacon earns considerable praise among market commentators for being "really careful about what he does and going over things with a fine-tooth comb." He often supports on serious RTA and other accident abroad cases and is able to leverage his foreign language skills in French cases.
Ranked Lawyers: Julian Chamberlayne (Band 1), Scott Rigby (Band 2), James Healy-Pratt (Band 3), Ben Townsend (Band 3), Christopher Deacon (Associates to watch)