Chambers and Partners

Our Aviation team is ranked Band 1 in the 2022 Chambers directory, with Chambers commenting that Stewarts is “widely regarded as the go-to firm for claimants in aviation litigation”.

Interviewees agree: “Stewarts are leaders in the field, without question. The whole team is extremely effective.” Stewarts have the two highest ranked claimant aviation lawyers in Chambers and are the only firm to have more than one ranked lawyer in this specialist practice area.

Chambers notes that the team represented the sole surviving passenger and families of the deceased victims who were on board a Papillon Airways helicopter, which crashed in Arizona, in their civil claims for 8 figure damages and the subsequent inquest proceedings.

See our latest entry in Chambers UK here.


Our aviation specialists: Chambers

Ranked in Band 1, Sarah Stewart is “the leading plaintiff aviation solicitor in the UK”, “an exceptionally talented aviation lawyer with broad expertise, covering domestic and international matters [who] has a flair for achieving fantastic results for her clients”. Sarah has been described by clients and opponents alike as “absolutely brilliant”, “calm and quiet”, “personable with clients” “astute”, “never [getting] cross – a tough person to unpick”, and “formidable”.

Peter Neenan, also ranked in Band 1, is an “absolute expert in the field of aviation” and a “leading aviation lawyer”. “Peter is one of the most intelligent lawyers I’ve ever come across,” an impressed source said, “no one has a better understanding of the relevant law than him”. “He possesses an extraordinarily large and precise knowledge in international aviation law”, is “extremely good at the liability side of aviation disasters” with “a hugely impressive caseload that includes many high-value and cross-border cases.”

Rebecca Smith is listed as an ‘Associate to Watch’. Rebecca is a highly experienced aviation lawyer with over 25 years’ experience, described as “an outstanding lawyer with considerable experience in a range of complex aviation cases”. Rebecca’s depth of experience combines to ensure that she “has all the soft skills, including genuine empathy for, and a rapport with, her clients, but this is combined with a laser-eye for detail and robustness when required during the litigation”.


Our aviation reputation: Chambers

Stewarts is the only firm to have been consistently ranked as a Band 1 practice since the creation of a Claimant Aviation section in Chambers in 2014. In the 2021 guide the department was described as “one of the world’s leading aviation litigation teams, pursuing cases in both UK and overseas jurisdictions.”

The 2020 Chambers guide described the Aviation department as “in a league of their own” in the practice area.

In 2019 the department maintained their Band 1 ranking. One Aviation client interviewed by the guide said: “I found the culture in Stewarts to be collaborative and highly professional. They are extremely sensitive to people who are in shock, particularly families following an accident. I received outstanding care from their team.”

The Legal 500

Legal 500 logo

The Legal 500 groups Claimant Aviation practices together with Claimant and Defendant international travel-related injury practices under a combined Travel section. In the 2022 guide the Stewarts are top-ranked in the Travel section. The guide states that “Stewarts ‘dominates the field’ of travel and personal injury law,” highlighting a recent caseload including matters related to incidents that have attracted news attention across the globe such as the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in 2019 and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014.

“It is an incredibly warm and caring team, from the receptionists to the paralegals and solicitors,” a testimonial says. “They provided a personalised service that made me feel like an individual and not a billable item.”

In the 2021 edition they were described as being “Without doubt the leaders in this field”.

See our latest entry in The Legal 500 here.


Our aviation specialists: The Legal 500

Peter Neenan is “an excellent lawyer with a background in physics – it’s the latter knowledge that helps Stewarts understand and fight the technical aspects of the aviation claims.”

Sarah Stewart is “an excellent lawyer, with significant experience and expertise in fatal accident and catastrophic personal injury claims.”


Our reputation: The Legal 500

Stewarts have consistently been listed as a Band 1 firm in the travel section of the Legal 500 since it was created in 2012.

In 2021 Stewarts were acknowledged as “market leaders in this area, they are the go-to firm for high value personal injury work with an international or aviation dimension.”

About the lawyers in the team, the guide stated: “The quality of their personnel is absolutely peerless which translates into an exceptional client service. They have excellent links with lawyers across the world and therefore can handle international cases better than any other English claimant firm.”

Who’s Who Legal

Sarah Stewart is named as a ‘Recommended’ Global Leader for Transport – Aviation Contentious in the 2022 edition of the Who’s Who Legal guide; a one-stop report on the most prominent aviation and shipping lawyers across the world.

Who’s Who Legal says the following about its guides: “Over nearly two decades WWL has used the recommendations of clients and private practitioners to pick out the leading experts in a wide range of practice areas around the world. WWL: Thought Leaders brings together the insight, expertise and wisdom of some of the world’s foremost lawyers and experts.”

Accreditations and committees

Sarah Stewart is a lecturer as part of the MSc in Aviation Safety at Cranfield University. Delivered through the Cranfield Safety and Accident Investigation Centre, this programme pools the expertise of academics with that of senior staff from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Peter Neenan is a lecturer as part of the LLM in Advanced Air & Space Law at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Air & Space Law in the Netherlands. Expertise offered in the course includes accident investigation, environmental protection and drone use. Peter holds an LLM in Advanced Air & Space Law from the same institute.

Peter sits on the Air Law Committee at the Royal Aeronautical Society. The group’s aims include “promoting the establishment and co-ordination of facilities for the objective study and evolution of law applicable to aeronautics and astronautics”.

Meet the Aviation Team

Our team has unrivalled experience in dealing with aviation accident claims and aviation litigation. 

We are ranked No.1 in the UK by Chambers and The Legal 500 and are one of the top five firms worldwide for aviation accident litigation.

Peter Neenan, Partner, Aviation, Stewarts