Fountain Court elects new head of chambers

Richard Handyside KC succeeds Bankim Thanki KC at top London set

Richard Handyside KC has been elected head of chambers at Fountain Court Chambers, one of London’s leading commercial sets. 

The appointment, which is for a five-year term of office, sees him succeed Bankim Thanki KC, who will return to full-time practice. 

Handyside’s practice incorporates civil fraud, commercial litigation, big-ticket banking litigation, insurance litigation, and increasingly, competition class action claims in the financial services sector.

Recent work spans the FX Class Action litigation and related claims in the Commercial Court to ongoing litigation regarding the collapse of the Woodford Fund, as well as defending PwC in a breach of confidence claim. 

All of these are key business sectors for his set.

A silk of 2009 vintage, under the 2006 system of independently assessed applications, Handyside will bridge a generational gap between senior members and those who have started their practice since Alex Taylor joined the set as director of clerking in 2008. 

Handyside said: “It is a great honour to be appointed to serve as the head of Fountain Court, a pre-eminent set of chambers with an illustrious history.”

He paid tribute to Thanki, calling him “a superstar of the Bar, who has led chambers brilliantly over the last five years, deftly navigating numerous challenges, most notably those arising from the pandemic”.

The set has grown from 84 to 103 members during Thanki’s tenure. Key lateral arrivals include Leonora Sagan, Laurie Brock, Matt Gearing KC, who joined from Allen & Overy, dual qualified Robin Lööf, and white-collar crime specialist Clare Sibson KC.

Handyside said that chambers had “flourished under Bankim’s leadership and we are deeply indebted to him”.

Handyside will work alongside deputy head of chambers Patrick Goodall KC. The former Freshfields lawyer and noted banking silk has held the post since 2021. Goodall’s clients include firms like Clyde & Co, Herbert Smith Freehills, Kennedys and DAC Beachcroft. He was instructed by Travers Smith in the long-running Autonomy litigation which concluded last year, successfully representing Hewlett-Packard in one of the most significant cases before the Commercial Court in recent times.

Thanki said it had been “a huge privilege and sometimes a heavy burden to lead an elite set like Fountain Court during some interesting times” in thanking Goodall, Taylor and head of administration Julie Parker.

He added that Handyside would “undoubtedly bring to the role the outstanding talents exhibited in his rise to the very top of the profession as one of the country’s leading silks”.

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