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Zenith Chambers - Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2020

15 October 2019

Zenith Chambers - Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2020

Congratulations to all of our ranked barristers who have been recognised in Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide 2020, and to our ranked departments - Family/Matrimonial (North Eastern) Band 1 and Social Housing (Northern) Band 2. 

Crime (North Eastern)

Tom Storey - Band 2
'A junior who acts for both the defence and the prosecution in a broad range of general criminal cases. He specialises in large-scale, serious criminal matters and is well respected for his deft handling of highly sensitive cases. He is also noted for handling cases involving serious sexual offences.
Strengths: "He is a highly experienced advocate with a keen eye for detail. His manner in court is exceptional."
Recent work: Acted in R v Grant Stanfield, a case in which the defendant was accused of attempted murder.'

Family/Matrimonial (North Eastern)


'Zenith Chambers is a set reputed for the breadth of its family team. Deemed "one of the go-to chambers for high net worth matrimonial disputes" by an enthusiastic interviewee, it acts across the spectrum of finance cases. The set regularly offers counsel on financial remedy orders and pre-nuptial agreements, dealing with assets including businesses, properties and even mobile phone applications. Its members also advise local authorities and family members on difficult public law children matters spanning FGM and forced marriage protection orders, alleged non-accidental injuries and sexual abuse. Private law children issues including declaration of parentage and international child relocation applications constitute a significant proportion of the set's work.'

Client service:

'"The clerks have good recollection of the preferred barristers used by individual solicitors and work extremely hard to ensure the right barrister is booked to meet the needs of the client." "The clerks are professional, approachable, friendly and so very helpful." Rebecca Hartley is the senior family clerk.'

Marisa Allman - Band 1
An expert on the modern family, Allman is well-versed in cases regarding surrogacy, fertility and same-sex relationships. She also has considerable expertise in finance cases arising out of divorce, including those with an international aspect, in addition to permanent removal applications.
Strengths: "A detail queen. She considers matters from every angle and leaves no stone unturned. She makes herself available at all times between hearings for ad hoc advice and supports you throughout the life of a case." "The best informed in the room."'

Roger Bickerdike - Band 1
An authority in family law, who is particularly adept at handling complicated financial remedy proceedings. He also undertakes private law children work and has experience of appellate advocacy, notably in the Court of Appeal.
Strengths: "A fearless advocate. I've seen him determined to get a point across when odds are against him, and his paperwork is excellent." "He can deal with the most challenging and difficult cases."'

Lewis Donnelly - Band 3
An experienced practitioner who centres his practice on public law children cases concerning such allegations as abuse and non-accidental injury. He is regularly instructed on sensitive care matters, including forced marriage and FGM protection orders.
Strengths: "He has a lovely way with the client. He gives unpleasant news and advice while keeping the client with him, making sure not to sugarcoat it but guiding them through it." "Versatile and hard-working."'

Clare Garnham - Band 2
Previously practised as a solicitor and now undertakes advocacy in a range of family-related public law cases. She focuses chiefly on acting for all parties involved in child protection cases, relating to such serious matters as abuse, injury and death.
Strengths: "A highly experienced barrister. She shows great empathy with her clients but is also honest." "She is incredibly hard-working, involved and willing to give advice at every stage of the case."'

Anthony Hajimitsis - Star Individual
A distinguished senior junior in the field of family law who specialises in financial provision cases, especially those concerning property and business arrangements following divorces. Atop his advocacy he provides popular education seminars.
Strengths: "He is thoroughly prepared and writes excellent skeletons and position statements. Clients love him and his advocacy is skilled and a pleasure to watch." "Anthony is the lawyer who members of the Bar would go to if they were getting divorced."'

Louise McCallum - Band 1
Well-regarded family law specialist well-versed in public and private law children matters. She is experienced in dealing with serious care proceedings concerning abuses and non-accidental injuries and also has expertise in forced marriage cases.
Strengths: "Louise deals with extremely complex and challenging cases in a professional and hugely successful way which enables clients to feel fully involved and engaged in the proceedings." "Not only is she a good advocate, but she is conscientious with her paperwork being filed on time and to a high standard."'

John Myers - Band 3
A fierce advocate who remains a popular choice for tough children cases. He has for many years handled cases of alleged abuse and neglect. He also has expertise in cross-border relocation cases.
Strengths: "With many years of experience under his belt, he commands respect."'

Jayne Pye - Band 3
Frequently instructed in both public and private law matters, Pye's practice covers the gamut of cases relating to children. She acts for local authorities and parents in care proceedings relating to child fatalities and abuse. Child arrangements orders are also a regular source of instruction.
Strengths: "A robust barrister who is both impressive on her feet and also in negotiating with the other advocates. In addition to her very strong advocacy skills, she is also sympathetic and calming with the clients."'

Guy Swiffen - Band 2
A dedicated children specialist whose remit includes complex public law work, as well as private law children matters. He routinely acts on behalf of local authorities, as well as parents, in cases concerning sexual abuse, non-accidental injuries and child fatalities. He has been engaged in many international cases with complex jurisdictional issues.
Strengths: "Well-known and well-liked." "Offers clients a seamless service."'

Dornier Whittaker - Band 3
Extremely skilled in private law family work relating to children and finances. Her mandate incorporates various matters, from disputes over farming and corporate assets to shared care arrangements.
Strengths: "Dornier is extremely experienced and is a great all-rounder for family law. She is very client-friendly and her advice is easily understood."'

Personal Injury (North Eastern)

Justin Crossley - Band 2
Well-regarded barrister who represents both claimants and defendants in a wide range of personal injury claims. He is particularly experienced in the handling of complex fatal accident cases.
Strengths: "A steady pair of hands."
Recent work: Acted for a claimant who suffered very serious injury when she fell down an unguarded cellar head whilst waiting outside a shop.'

Gordon Exall - Band 2
Renowned for his written work and opinions in complex cases, particularly fatal accident claims. He has authored a number of widely read texts relevant to the personal injury field.
Strengths: "Very thorough, very pragmatic, and an expert in cases concerning fatal accidents and high value catastrophic injury claims."'

Simon Ross- Band 2
Acts for both claimants and defendants in complex and high-value personal injury matters. He is particularly well regarded for his handling of occupation injury claims.
Strengths: "He has an incredibly measured approach and a meticulous preparation process whereby you are assured that he has reviewed the whole case in detail. He instils confidence with his approach."'

Social Housing (Northern)


'Zenith Chambers boasts an impressive social housing team covering the full spectrum of housing cases. Its barristers demonstrate particular strengths in possession claims, Equality Act and human rights-related housing cases and anti-social behaviour injunctions, among other matters. The set acts for both landlords, including local authorities, and tenants. "In terms of barristers specialising in housing law, Zenith Chambers gives any of the major London sets a run for their money," says an impressed interviewee.'

Client service:

'"The clerking service is excellent, well organised and quick to respond." "The clerks will do their utmost where they can to book your preferred choice of barrister. The staff are always polite and professional." Paul McNab is the senior civil clerk.'

Helen Greatorex - Band 3
A housing law specialist with extensive expertise in the Equality Act 2010. She regularly deals with complex possession cases.
Strengths: "She is intellectually able and identifies and articulates the essential issues effectively in complex and sensitive trials." "She is excellent – thoughtful and extremely thorough."
Recent work: Represented Sheffield City Council in an application from a tenant to set aside a warrant of possession which had been already executed. Racial discrimination issues were raised by the tenant.'

Peter Marcus - Band 3
Covers a wide range of housing cases across the Northern Circuit and further afield. He attracts a wealth of praise for his tenacious approach and skilful handling of clients and witnesses. His recent work includes a number of possession claims.
Strengths: "He is impressive because of his ability to empathise with the witnesses and treat them as human beings who have suffered a great deal." "He drafts complex pleadings with tremendous accuracy and a quick turnaround." "He will always fight hard for his clients' interests."
Recent work: Successfully represented Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council in a possession claim against a tenant who claimed to live at a property but had actually never done so.'

Tom Tyson - Band 2
An experienced social housing litigator who has developed a dynamic practice. He is proficient in dealing with a wide range of matters including unlawful eviction, landlord and tenant issues and possession proceedings.
Strengths: "A good advocate who is very well prepared and polished." "An approachable and passionate advocate with an in-depth degree of knowledge of housing law."
Recent work: Acted in a claim for possession following serious incidents, including an assault on an elderly neighbour.'

Vilma Vodanovic - Band 3
An expert in disability and public law issues arising in housing cases. Her recent work has included possession and disrepair claims, as well as disputes relating to HMOs. 
Strengths: "The service she provides is exemplary and she is great to deal with."
Recent work: Represented Newcastle City Council in an appeal against its refusal to grant HMO licences for several properties. The case dealt with the issue of whether two individuals of the same sex, who were asylum seekers, could share a room.'


"A leading expert in relation to TOLATA and Chancery claims."

Chambers & Partners (2016)

"She is very straightforward, clear and able."

Chambers & Partners 2018