Since 1990, Chambers has published the world’s leading guides to the legal profession and has built a reputation for in-depth, objective research.
We have a team of over 140 highly qualified full-time researchers who conduct thousands of interviews with lawyers and their clients worldwide. Working with our editors, they identify and rank the world’s best lawyers (i.e. those who perform best according to the criteria most valued by clients – such as technical expertise, business acumen, prompt delivery, value for money).
On the basis of this research, we hold award ceremonies to honour outstanding practitioners around the world.
UK Practice Area Definitions:
Administrative & Public Law
This section covers judicial reviews, statutory appeals, inquiries, disciplinary proceedings and non-contentious advice on the powers and administrative functions of central and local government and other public and regulatory bodies. The section includes matters relating to competitive tendering, public procurement, environmental issues and employment and discrimination law. European and Human Rights law increasingly features in the practice of lawyers ranked in this section. In the London chapter, firms and individuals are split into two categories to best indicate their area of expertise: Commercial and Regulated Industries, and Public Sector Law & Governance. There is also a Traditional Claimant chapter to highlight those lawyers who represent individuals and organisations who are involved in public law challenges.
Advertising & Marketing
This section covers work on behalf of advertising and marketing agencies and brand-holders, who often conduct their own marketing and advertising campaigns. It includes both commercial and regulatory work; regulatory matters in particular are undergoing some degree of change due to the increased use of on-line advertising and User Generated Content in campaigns.
Agriculture & Rural Affairs
This section is not confined to any one body of laws, but rather includes disciplines such as real property law, and private client concerns that are of particular consequence to farmers, wealthy families and rural business owners. Lawyers operating under this heading are often instructed to manage estates and help mitigate the exposure of inheriting beneficiaries to tax bills. More niche areas of expertise, such as equine and bloodstock law, also fall within the remit of this section.
This section covers all types of work conducted for third sector clients, including both contentious and non-contentious work. This includes work ranging from sector-specific advice on constitutional and governance issues or public benefit requirements, to more general advice on corporate, property, employment and tax issues.
The section covers violations of rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights by the government, media and organisations, in the way they behave towards individuals. It features cases involving judicial review proceedings and also cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights. This section also includes a Police Law table, highlighting those firm which specialise in issues of police misconduct, prisoners' rights, inquests, deaths in custody and miscarriages of justice.
Law firms that feature in this emerging practice area advise clients on a range of compliance, regulatory, transactional and contentious matters as they relate to climate change. A particularly significant area concerns matters of emissions trading, which includes assisting companies in adhering to carbon regulations such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. The section also covers the legal issues relating to renewable and low carbon projects, which includes assisting with the development and financial issues attached to these ventures. In addition, featured practices are also likely to advise traditional marketplace clients on the risks and investment opportunities concerning climate change in corporate transactions, key issues of which include energy efficiency, supply chain issues, climate change adaptation and mitigation, due diligence and risk assessment.
Lawyers ranked in this section are instructed to handle allegations of negligent acts committed by professionals working in the healthcare or pharmaceutical sectors. These cases usually arise from accusations that the defendants did not follow accepted industry practices, leading to injury or death to the patient or claimant. The section is divided between those who represent the defendants or their employers and those who bring claims on behalf of individuals seeking compensation for their injuries.
Lawyers in this section focus their efforts on advising on the regulation and trade of commodities, and any related litigation. This dissection of the market is reflected in our tables, where 'derivatives' covers regulatory work, 'trade finance' concerns largely transactional matters and 'physicals' ranks those involved in commodities disputes. Practitioners deliver advice on a range of both 'soft' and 'hard' commodities from cash crops to coal, oil and gas, metals and carbon credits. Typical clients include commodities trading houses, export credit agencies, financial institutions, freighters and insurers.
The firms ranked in this section may handle regulatory, transactional or litigious matters. Typical work includes advising on the Consumer Credit Directive, credit cards, business loans, unsecured and secured personal loans, point of sale finance, e-money products, auto loans, current and savings accounts, and mortgages.
Criminal law has a number of different branches, but the Chambers UK crime section concentrates on what might be deemed 'serious' crime including illegal drugs, assault, sexual offences, terrorism and homicide. It covers work at all levels, from initial police dealings and high street advisory matters all the way to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. We do not include criminal fraud here, as it has its own section.
Data Protection covers all aspects of law surrounding the control of information by both public and private sector bodies. Many law firms acting in this arena advise clients on the development of binding corporate rules and other issues relating to international data transfers. The section also includes work arising from Freedom of Information Act requests. Another significant type of work involves the defence of clients facing potential fines for data protection breaches, levied by the Information Commissioner's Office, and the Financial Services Authority.
Defamation / Reputation Management
Firms and lawyers listed in this section handle libel and defamation proceedings on behalf of both claimants and defendants, as well as providing risk-management advice to avoid litigation. Reputation management involves advising individuals and corporations on the legal aspects of protecting and regulating their reputation.
This section is divided into Education: Individuals and Education: Institutions. Education: Institutions is further split down into Schools and Higher & Further Education for London and UK-wide.
Education: Individuals covers lawyers and law firms who act on behalf of pupils and their parents in matters such as special educational needs (SEN), admissions and exclusions, disability discrimination claims, judicial review cases, disputes with private schools, and transport to school issues. The firms ranked here may undertake either privately or publicly funded work.
Education: Institutions (Schools) concerns work on behalf of schools. This is a wide-ranging chapter covering the gamut of school-related law, including pupil-related litigation and child protection issues, debt recovery, governance matters, school reorganisations, employment law, exclusions, policy and procedure reviews, and the establishment of academies.
The firms ranked in Education: Institutions (Higher & Further Education) typically handle constitutional and governance issues, employment matters, joint ventures between institutions, IP student-related issues and litigation, data protection, governance, and charity law.
Family / Matrimonial
This section deals with issues surrounding the inception and breakdown of personal relationships. This includes the creation of pre-nuptial/civil partnership/co-habitation agreements relating to financial and property assets, the resolution of divorces or separations involving financial and property disputes, and the handling of matters relating to children in the context of divorce or separation. There are also two separate sub-tables in the London chapter of this section: Children: Public Law Matters, which covers children's care proceedings and abuse in care claims; and Children: Cross-Border Disputes, which primarily covers international child abduction disputes.
This covers non-violent wrongdoing in areas including money laundering, share ramping and a range of contractual fraud issues. The practice area is further split into civil and criminal branches, covering the full range of proceedings.
Health & Safety
This section incorporates both contentious and non contentious health & safety issues. On the contentious side it includes defence and prosecution of companies and senior executives facing investigations or actions initiated by the Health and Safety Executive and other regulatory bodies including criminal breaches of the law such as corporate manslaughter. Public inquest work is also included. On the non-contentious side the section covers regulatory compliance advice, risk management and training. The health & safety issues which fall under the remit of this section are very broad from general health and safety at work to food safety, fire safety and issues affecting the waste, utilities, nuclear, rail and other industries.
Healthcare law covers all transactional, litigious and regulatory concerns faced by hospitals, public and private sector providers, medical institutions and healthcare professionals. By its nature it is extremely wide-ranging, often leading lawyers to consolidate expertise in specialist areas such as procurement, commissioning, healthcare technology or PFI work. This section also highlights those that bring a niche understanding of mental health law, drawing a line between lawyers who have tended to represent either providers or patients. Growth areas include healthcare-related incapacity work, as well as advice to those involved in managing nursing or care facilities.
This section deals with the award of and challenges to liquor and gambling licences. The London chapter splits the ranked into separate Liquor and Gambling tables to highlight individual lawyers’ expertise.
This section focuses on the whole spectrum of local government activities, including planning, environmental, education, community care, highways, housing, health, compulsory purchase, public procurement, freedom of information, rating, licensing and elections.
Outsourcing covers legal aspects of the transfer of business administration and services to external providers, both domestically and internationally. The section includes every variation of this process, including IT outsourcing, business process outsourcing, and legal process outsourcing. Occasionally unsuccessful outsourcing contracts can result in disputes and this type of work is also covered in the section.
Parliamentary & Public Affairs
This section has three tables: Electoral Law, Parliamentary Agency and Public Affairs. It encompasses advice on political process, planning, authorisation, procurement, construction and delivery of major infrastructure and other projects. It also covers those involved in campaigning and lobbying and media relations advice. Electoral law includes advice on both local and parliamentary elections, rules relating to the conduct of Members of Parliament, contributing to consultations and legislative reform of electoral law.
This section deals with contentious and non-contentious partnership matters, primarily concerning professional clients such as architects, surveyors, accountants, lawyers, doctors and investment funds. This area includes work on corporate restructurings in which firms and companies convert to more sophisticated partnership structures, particularly LLPs. Firms that specialise in partnership law also counsel clients in establishing offices overseas, mergers and acquisitions, partner and team moves, discrimination, and regulatory matters. Non-contentious work includes drafting of partnership agreements and crafting innovative partnership vehicles for corporate clients.
This section covers the full scope of litigation arising from injuries sustained outside of a clinical context. This includes litigation arising from workplace accidents, motor accidents, abuse claims and industrial disease. The regional chapters are split between Mainly Claimant and Mainly Defendant lawyers and firms. Certain niche areas of international work are also covered by this chapter, such as injuries and abuse resulting from wars and corporate negligence, although purely travel-related injuries are covered in a separate section entitled Travel: International Personal Injury, within the Travel section of the guide.
This is split into Mainly Claimant and Mainly Defendant:
Mainly Claimant: This covers the full range of actions and judicial reviews against the police, the IPCC and coroners’ decisions including unlawful arrests, assault, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, shootings, death in custody and inquests.
Mainly Defendant: This section focuses on lawyers and law firms who defend police forces against matters of the type listed above.
This section covers those lawyers who advise on procedures for dealing with allegations of improper conduct or 'fitness-to-practice' investigations. This may include either counseling on a specific case or testing whether established and proposed new disciplinary codes are adequately robust. Clients are often drawn from professional services sectors such as finance, law and healthcare, although they may also include police or fire departments, sporting bodies and social workers.
This section covers law firms, solicitors or barristers that specialise in disputes arising over loss suffered as a result of negligent advice given by professionals. A wide range of professionals are covered, including architects, surveyors, financial professionals, insurance brokers and solicitors or barristers. The London chapter is split into separate tables to highlight particular areas of expertise: Financial, Insurance, Legal and Technology & Construction.
These lawyers act for either the providers or consumers of social housing. This can comprise corporate work - governance, joint ventures etc - housing stock transfers, antisocial behaviour matters, construction or redevelopment financing, property issues, or defending social housing tenants against legal proceedings brought by the providers.
The sports industry makes use of a wide array of legal services, and Chambers is keen to highlight the lawyers and law firms who have a demonstrable commitment to the sector, and understand the unique pressures and constraints which sports entities operate under. The definition of 'sports law' is oft disputed; Chambers sees commercial and regulatory work as its cornerstone, but seeks to highlight those firms which are best able to serve the sports industry as a whole, which requires consideration of work across a wide range of legal disciplines. This section also includes a separate chapter focusing on Horse Racing & Equestrian law.
Tax covers a broad range of matters on both the contentious and non-contentious side. Non-contentious matters include M&A transactions and equity raising issues both at home and abroad, as well as tax advisory work on behalf of corporate clients. Financing and investment management are other key non-contentious tax issues. On the contentious side, disputes with HMRC in the form of litigation, appeals and tribunals form the basis of the British legal market for tax issues. Indirect tax matters, including such duties as VAT and stamp duty, are also covered here.