Twenty Essex is glad to announce Duncan Matthews QC and Stephen Atherton QC as joint Heads of Chambers, effective from 1 August 2020. Stephen takes over from Christopher Hancock QC who has stepped down after six years in the role but continues as an active member of Chambers with a full-time practice.
Duncan continues in office providing continuity and ongoing dynamism in driving forward Chambers. As one of the leading commercial silks in London, his practice covers both heavy commercial litigation and international arbitration with a client base and advocacy practice across the world from Asia to the Caribbean.
Stephen joined Twenty Essex in 2012 from South Square as a senior silk. As an insolvency and restructuring expert, and leading commercial barrister, he has been involved in many of the high-profile insolvency and restructuring cases of the last 25 years.
The appointment of Stephen as new co-head is a testament to the development of Chambers and a shining example of its altered practice profile. He is a leading insolvency practitioner with a stellar reputation in England, and the major offshore jurisdictions, and is one of a significant number of lateral hires over recent years. Stephen hopes to use his experience at the Bar and the strengths and quality of the other members of Chambers to attract both senior and junior practitioners to Twenty Essex and build upon the existing reputation of chambers as a centre of excellence.
Stephen says: “Together with Duncan Matthews QC, Jemma Tagg (CEO) and the business development team, I intend to continue to build on that expansion, not only with the provision of legal expertise, but also as to the diversity of members of Chambers. It is important to us as an organisation, as it should be to the Bar more generally, that we are and are perceived as being open to all; where talent is what matters not gender or racial, religious, educational or economic background. I am proud of the fact that Twenty Essex was the first Chambers in the country to adopt the Contextual Recruitment System.”
Twenty Essex gives thanks to Christopher who, together with Duncan, has seen Chambers through a significant period of evolutionary change. Chambers is at the top of its game in litigation and arbitration in all major international fora and shows continued strength emanating from its office in Singapore. The set has rapidly grown its reputation as a top contender for work within the civil fraud, insolvency, banking and energy sectors. This has been achieved whilst retaining its roots as a strong shipping and international trade set that also enjoys a long history and stellar reputation in public international law, including investment treaty arbitration.
Christopher says: “It has been a privilege to be at the helm through this period of change at Twenty Essex and I wish Duncan and Stephen well as they navigate the challenges and opportunities to come.”
Duncan says: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Chris for the imagination and commitment he has shown over his period of office and for me personally it has been a great pleasure to share this exciting time with him. I look forward to pushing on with Stephen through challenging and rewarding times as we build on the major successes Chambers has achieved and set the framework for a leading Chambers meeting the needs of its clients in the second quarter of the 21st century.”