Commercial and Chancery

The Commercial and Chancery Team at Ely Place is led by Nicholas Stewart QC, former deputy High Court judge and author of The Law of Unincorporated Associations.

The Barristers of Ely Place Chambers provide sound, practical advice so that clients can make effective and fully-informed commercial decisions. Sometimes this requires swift, aggressive litigation and tough negotiation. Sometimes a more diplomatic approach is necessary. Our ultimate goal is client satisfaction.

While commercial litigation is almost invariably based in contractual law, we draw from a breadth of legal knowledge with reference to the public law framework and increasingly to EU and international regulation. The team draws this breadth of legal knowledge across a range of disciplines and jurisdictions, with members regularly appearing overseas or advising in relation to disputes and the enforcement of judgments in jurisdictions including the US, France, Belarus, Switzerland, Dubai IFC, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the Caribbean.

Chambers workload encompasses cross-border disputes and international arbitrations involving high net worth individuals and businesses, contractual disputes arising out of the relationships between financial institutions and their clients, disputes as to rights under shareholder agreements or agreements for the sale of businesses coupled with unfair prejudice petitions, claims alleging breaches of directors’ duties and derivative actions.

Within Ely Place there is extensive experience of dealing with claims against solicitors, accountants, financial advisers, surveyors, valuers and construction professionals. Individual members have particular interests or focuses and the clerking team will assist in matching the right barrister to each case. Whatever the precise needs of the client, we will strive to meet them.

Ely Place provides advice and advocacy in relation to the following:

Agency, including under the Commercial Agents Regulations

Asset recovery & investors’ claims

Banking (including breaches of covenants & mis-selling of investments)

Breach of trust and fiduciary duties, constructive trusts

Company law, including unfair prejudice petitions & derivative actions

Consumer Credit

Contested Wills & Probate 

Contract disputes both UK & International

EU law

Inheritance Act 1975 disputes

Insolvency (Corporate & Personal)


Intellectual Property


Professional Negligence

Property developments

Sale of Goods

Specific performance and damages on sales of land

Chambers has seen an influx of commercial injunctive and insolvency litigation, both often requiring overnight turnover of documents and without notice applications. Members are flexible and proactive in meeting these demands.

Conditional fee arrangements and third party funding have also made significant alterations to the commercial interests at stake in much litigation. Members are alive to the possibilities and limitations of such options and can advise as to both.

And at all times the astute litigator recognises the importance to the client of conducting any dispute in a manner which is both cost-efficient and which maximises the opportunities for recovery of costs from the opponent. The modern law of costs contains a formidable arsenal of tactical tools and parties or their lawyers ignore them at their peril. While the litigation is pending, applications for security, protective costs orders and part 36 offers are only the best-known of these. A forensic approach to detailed assessment is equally necessary to ensure that inter partes recovery is maximised but restricted to no more than permitted. The pitfalls are many, but for the unwary, hard to recognise.

The drafting, construction and enforcement of the various forms of CFAs are also of vital importance for all parties to litigation, with avoidable errors capable of losing substantial sums of money.

To augment its existing experience in costs related litigation Ely Place recruited door tenants Dr Mark Friston and Paul Hughes. Both are leading practitioners in the field. Dr Friston is the author of Civil Costs: Law and Practice, described in Chambers & Partners as an “opus”. Paul Hughes has also been recommended in Chambers & Partners for some years, having been praised for his “forward thinking” approach.