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Excellent review in Chambers & Partners' UK Bar 2014

The new 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 21 barristers - the only Chambers in Wales to be in the table.

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

Clinical Negligence (Band 1):

Civitas Law is acknowledged as the pre-eminent chambers in Wales for clinical negligence, and its members are experts in the representation of both claimants and defendants. The set's 16-strong personal injury and clinical negligence group handles a wide range of cases, from the straightforward to complicated multiparty claims.
Client service: "You always get a very good service from them; they understand exactly what we want, and that's what they deliver."

Theo Huckle QC 

Has a broad and highly regarded personal injury practice, and has developed a similarly strong practice in clinical negligence. 
Expertise: "He is extremely bright and absurdly industrious." "He is very committed, excellent and diligent." 

Bryan Thomas 

A well-regarded clinical negligence and personal injury advocate, he is recognised for his wide range of expertise. 
Expertise: "He is very pragmatic, responsive and obtains fantastic results." 
Recent work: He was instructed in the significant SH v Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust case.  

Michael Brace 

A well-regarded advocate with a primary focus on clinical negligence. He has a particular expertise with catastrophic cases such as birth injury claims. 
Expertise: "He is excellent, thorough, and great with clients."

Personal Injury (Band 1):

Clearly the outstanding personal injury set on the Wales & Chester circuit, Civitas Law is noted in particular for the breadth of its members' expertise, which covers the full range of personal injury work including complex industrial disease work and catastrophic injury claims. Instructing solicitors are quick to note the strong client service offered by the whole team.
Client service: "The set's approach has been very good - it's different, very welcome and interesting. Most conferences are in our offices and counsel are very happy to come here or to the client's home - they're easily contactable and proactive."

Theodore Huckle QC

Recognised throughout the circuit and nationally for his expertise in industrial disease claims, particularly those relating to noise-induced hearing loss. He is also highly acclaimed for his handling of catastrophic injury cases, particularly those relating to brain and spinal injuries.
Expertise: "He's excellent - he enjoys working with figures, which in big cases is really important, and he has a very pleasant way with clients. He's very technically able and covers all those bases."
Recent work: He acted in Baker v Quantum Clothing, the first case concerning noise-induced hearing loss to be heard in the Supreme Court.

Michael Brace

Highly experienced in serious and catastrophic injury work, including claims arising from motorcycle accidents, and in cases involving industrial disease and asbestos exposure. He also acts for claimants and defendants in a range of EL/PL claims.
Recent work: He acted for the defendant in Gabor Rethly v Leonard Cheshire Disability, a manual handling claim relating to a serious injury found not to have been sustained at work.

Nicholas David Jones 

Specialises in high-value catastrophic injury work for both claimants and defendants, including claims for devastating brain and spinal injuries and amputations. He is noted for both his experience and his client-friendly approach.
Expertise: "He's exceptional - my go-to counsel in brain and spinal injury cases due to his attention to detail, his understanding of the client group, his teamwork and his management of clients."
Recent work: He acted for the claimant in a case against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for a brain injury suffered during an assault at an extremely early age, resulting in cerebral palsy.

Robert O'Leary

Widely recognised for his ability in and experience of high-complexity disease work. He has particular experience in claims involving noise-induced hearing loss, and is noted by instructing solicitors as especially user-friendly.
Expertise: "He is an excellent lawyer with a great breadth of expertise - he shows great flexibility with his time."
Recent work: He acted for the defendant in Michael Lee v MOD, a claim for noise-induced hearing loss arising from instruments in a military band.

Bryan Thomas

Focuses his practice on catastrophic injury work, including claims for severe brain and spinal injuries, and has significant expertise in complex questions of liability. He acts primarily for claimants, and instructing solicitors praise his ability with clients.
Expertise: "He's pragmatic and thoughtful in his advice, very good with clients, approachable and accessible, and he thinks outside the box on schedules."

Andrew Arentsen

Acts in a wide range of personal injury claims, including on catastrophic and fatal cases. He acts for claimants and defendants, and is highly skilled on questions relating to liability.
Recent work: He acted for two police firearms officers sustaining serious injuries in an RTA resulting in medical retirement.

Joanne Williams

Experienced in a variety of claims, including cases involving EL/PL. She acts for both claimants and defendants.


Graham Walters (Band 1)

Offers a robust and varied chancery practice, combining this with property and public law work. He is regularly instructed on complex inheritance and probate matters, as well as property ownership disputes.
Expertise: "He is very experienced and widely respected for chancery work."
Recent work: He recently acted for the claimant in CV Properties v Mustoe, a dispute following the development of land in common ownership into industrial units.

Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds (Up and coming) 

Regularly handles commercial and chancery law cases stemming from high-value estates, including property, trusts and Inheritance Act 1975 disputes.
Recent work: Recent matters include contentious probate cases, landlord and tenant disputes, and proprietary estoppel cases. 

Administrative and Public Law:

Graham Walters (Band 1)

Walters is recognised for the breadth of his experience in public law matters. He is particularly noted for his work involving public authorities, and also has expertise in planning and highway inquiries.
Expertise: "He is absolutely brilliant. He is able to analyse the issues very quickly and offer very astute advice." 
Recent work: In Singh & Morrissey v Cardiff City Council he acted in a judicial review concerning a council decision to revoke hackney carriage drivers' licences.

Victoria Hillier (Band 2)

Handles a wide range of administrative and public law proceedings, including those encompassing police law, social housing and local government.
Expertise: "She will work day and night to ensure she's prepared. She is great at cross-examination and is very persuasive in writing." 
Recent work: Hillier acted for Gwent Police in the well-publicised inquest into the death of Lee Donovan, who died in custody with a ligature around his neck. The jury ultimately returned a verdict of death by misadventure, absolving the police of responsibility for his death.

Commercial Dispute Resolution:

Anthony Vines (Band 1)

Has a broad practice which covers contractual, construction, employment, professional negligence and planning litigation. He also regularly acts as a mediator in a wide range of disputes. 
Recent work: He was instructed on one of the claims arising from the Gwent Fleet Management fraud which left both finance houses and consumers with title disputes over cars.

Graham Walters (Band 1)

Has a broad chancery and commercial practice, and is noted for his expertise in business tenancy disputes, development contract issues and general commercial contract matters.

Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds (Up and coming)

Focuses on contractual claims, notably building disputes. His practice also includes international aspects and he advises on cross-border disputes. 
Expertise: "He impresses with his advocacy skills, and concise drafting." 


Jonathan Walters (Band 1)

Leads the employment team at Civitas Law, and is regularly instructed on employment claims by government agencies, the police and local authorities. 
Expertise: "He is experienced, learned and willing to go that extra mile in terms of assistance and advice for his clients."
Recent work: He acted for the respondent in a case where the claimant alleged disability discrimination following a substantial period of sick leave caused by irritable bowel syndrome.

Chris Howells (Band 2) 

Has a broad practice which covers the full range of employment law, and is regularly instructed in cases concerning discrimination, unfair dismissal and TUPE cases. 
Expertise: "He is knowledgeable, very user-friendly, turns his work around very quickly, displays sound judgement and is excellent on his feet."
Recent work: He successfully acted for South Wales Police in a case where a civilian employee of the force alleged that he had been the victim of age discrimination.

Anthony Vines (Band 3)

Has a broad employment practice, and acts for a wide range of clients including trusts and local authorities. He is also a member of the Welsh Government panel for employment issues. 

Further Information

For further details about any of our barristers, do contact any of our clerks on 08450 713007.