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Excellent review in Chambers & Partners

The new 2015 edition of the Chambers and Partners' UK Bar Guide has confirmed the quality of the barristers at Civitas Law.  All here are of course grateful to those who have provided such positive feedback to the researchers.
In particular the number of ratings Chambers has received has put Chambers into the Guide's table for those with the highest proportion of ratings: 23 ratings for our barristers - the only Chambers in Wales to be in the table and even slightly higher than last year.

The following is quoted from the new edition, arranged by the six practice areas

Wales & Chester (Bar), Personal Injury

Civitas Law maintains its reputation as the pre-eminent personal injury set in Wales. It covers the full spectrum of claims, including catastrophic injuries and industrial diseases. Its members win acclaim from clients for their user-friendly and commercial approach

  • Theodore Huckle QC - Has expertise spanning complex catastrophic injury claims as well as clinical and medical negligence matters. He is particularly noted for his advocacy skills.
  • Michael Brace - Has a well-established personal injury practice, and is highly regarded for his representation of trade unions and individuals in industrial diseases claims.  Expertise: "His work is always of an extremely high standard. He is very reliable; he will never miss a deadline.”
  • Nicholas David Jones - Impresses sources with the depth of his knowledge in the personal injury arena. He focuses on catastrophic injury claims, covering traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and amputations.  Expertise: "He has a very calm authority and is excellent in his interactions with clients."
  • Robert O'Leary - Undertakes the full spectrum of disease work, and is particularly noted for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the issues surrounding noise-induced hearing loss cases. He receives instructions from a range of clients, including individuals, trade unions and the government.  Expertise: "He is very approachable and easy to work with."
  • Bryan Thomas - A veteran practitioner who focuses on handling complex and high-value personal injury cases.  Expertise: "He is very good with clients. He can relay complex legal issues in a language that a non-legally minded person could understand."
  • Andrew Arentsen - Has considerable expertise in complex cases featuring conflicting medical evidence. He is instructed on behalf of both claimants and defendants in an array of matters, including cases relating to head and spinal injuries, RTAs and occupiers' liabilities. Expertise: "He is a great tactician and is very practical. He will really roll up his sleeves to look at the legal issues."
  • Joanne Williams - Has built up considerable expertise in work-related injuries and liability claims. She is also well regarded for her prowess in handing disease work, such as hearing loss and stress matters. 

Wales & Chester (Bar), Clinical Negligence 

The leading set for clinical negligence matters in Wales. Its members receive regular instructions from both claimants and defendants, and are noted for the breadth of their clinical negligence expertise.

  • Theodore Huckle QC - A founder member of chambers, he maintains a broad practice that encompasses clinical negligence matters. He is well versed in complex spinal and brain injury cases. Expertise: "He very much represents the client's interests at all times, never losing focus on that. He doesn't mind arguing points that need to be argued robustly."
  • Michael Brace - Clinical negligence forms a key part of his practice and he specialises particularly in obstetric and birth problems.  Expertise: "He cuts through the argument to present complex points succinctly - he is an excellent advocate."
  • Bryan Thomas - Handles a heavy workload of both clinical negligence and personal injury matters. He is particularly commended by commentators for his client care skills.
  • Nicholas David Jones - Acts for claimants across an extensive range of clinical negligence matters. Areas of strength include consent to treatment and missed cancer diagnosis claims.  Expertise: "He just inspires confidence. He is very quietly and calmly authoritative. He is very good at interacting with clients.

Wales & Chester (Bar), Administrative & Public Law

  • Graham Walters (Band 1) - Acts on behalf of government and local authorities in inquiries and hearings in the Administrative Court. He is particularly experienced in planning and highway matters.  Expertise: "He's a long-standing practitioner of considerable experience and seniority, and is well respected." "He's a very experienced public law senior junior."  Recent work: Represented the Welsh Ministers in a High Court challenge to the decision to grant planning permission for a wind farm.
  • Victoria Hillier (Band 2) - Represents local authorities and the police in public law proceedings. She is particularly experienced in issues relating to unlawful imprisonment, housing and licensing.  Expertise: "She is an excellent advocate – very bright, very thorough and approachable."  Recent work: Acted for the Chief Constable of Gwent Police in an inquest into the death of a man arrested for domestic violence who went on to murder his wife and two of her colleagues. The inquest also looked into the death of his son, who had committed suicide after the event.

Wales & Chester (Bar), Chancery 

  • Graham Walters (Band 1) - Handles an extensive chancery practice related principally to property and public law work. This frequently includes inheritance, probate and ownership disputes.  Expertise: "He can see the wood for the trees, and he can cut through it very quickly. Technically he's brilliant, and he commands perspectives very authoritatively. Younger barristers would ask witnesses or ask judges, but with Graham it's more like he's telling them what the law is. He doesn't do it patronisingly, but he has that gravitas."  Recent work: Instructed for the defendant to oppose a claim by the executor for possession of farm land. The defendant's right to the land by proprietary estoppel was challenged when the claimant raised the conduct of the defendant as a ground to exclude relief.
  • Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds (Band 2) - Receives instructions on inheritance and will disputes, and handles issues relating to the administration of complex estates. Contentious probate and property-based cases form a strong element of his practice.  Expertise: "He always has his eye on the commercial aspect of the work - he cuts through the chaff and gets directly to what is necessary." "He is very pragmatic. He's an incredibly approachable guy, and he's very conscious and attuned to the clients' needs, and understanding of familial relationships. He balances everyone's needs. He knows it isn't black and white."

Wales & Chester (Bar), Commercial Dispute Resolution 

  • Graham Walters (Band 1) - Combines his commercial and chancery expertise with a considerable public law practice. He focuses on property, planning, and public and administrative law, and handles a variety of commercial disputes, including business tenancy disputes, contract matters and property disputes.  Expertise: "He gives simple solutions to complex problems: he's an effective and cost-effective counsel."  Recent work: Acted on a case concerning the proper interpretation of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981. 
  • Anthony Vines (Band 1) - Acts for both businesses and individuals in a range of commercial disputes. He regularly advises and represents in consumer protection matters, contract and lending disputes, and company disputes.Expertise: "He goes above and beyond his role to help the case progress." "He's very approachable and very understanding of the position of the client."
  • Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds (Band 2) - Has a substantial chancery and commercial practice. He focuses on contract and construction disputes, and regularly takes instructions relating to large-scale public sector projects and high-value disputes between large companies.  Expertise: "He has very good soft skills." "He's very knowledgeable, and as a trained mediator he has an extra perspective on things."  Recent work: Acted for a private client in an unjust enrichment dispute involving mortgage payments.

Wales & Chester (Bar), Employment 

  • Chris Howells (Band 2) - Has a nationwide practice that covers the full range of employment law. He acts for both individuals and city councils on matters such as unfair dismissals and grievances.  Expertise: "He is an excellent lawyer who is extremely personable." "He is well prepared and very pleasant to work with."  Recent work: Acted for Swansea County Council in a disability discrimination claim, professing dismissal as a result of protected disclosures.
  • Anthony Vines (Band 3) - Acts for both respondents and claimants on matters such as TUPE, unfair dismissal and whistle-blowing.  Expertise: "He is very approachable and gives excellent advice."