South Square makes rare lateral raids on rival sets for barrister duo

Leading London insolvency chambers supplements organic growth with new arrivals

In a rare move, leading London insolvency chambers South Square has added two experienced juniors to its ranks.

Oliver Hyams is leaving Gatehouse Chambers, where he has been based since 2018, and Jon Colclough is exiting New Square Chambers after eight years to join the set.

The additions to its ranks are unusual for South Square, which has traditionally been self-sustaining in terms of its junior intake, admitting tenants from pupillage.

Hyams combines his mainstream insolvency practice with civil fraud, asset recovery and commercial chancery cases relating to companies, joint ventures and trusts. He has particular expertise in cases involving allegations of wrongdoing and dishonesty by directors, trustees and other fiduciaries, as well as high-value, international shareholder disputes. He regularly acts for office holders, companies and individuals.

An experienced advocate, he recently appeared as a junior in two complex commercial appeals in the Court of Appeal: LA Micro Group (UK) v LA Micro Group, Inc [2023] and Floreat Investment Management Ltd v Churchill [2023].

Hyams was appointed as a member of the Insolvency Rules Committee in 2023 and has recently been involved in reviewing new special administration rules for the nuclear sector.

Colclough specialises in similar work – the bread and butter of his new set, which counts Lucy Frazer KC MP, the current Culture Secretary and former Solicitor-General, among its alumni.

He regularly acts in corporate and personal insolvency matters and has expertise in breach of duty/misfeasance claims, wrongful and fraudulent trading, ultra vires distributions and antecedent transaction claims. 

Alongside mainstream insolvency work, he acts in and advises on commercial and company law disputes, including unfair prejudice Companies Act 2006 claims – a growing area of business in which South Square seeks to compete with fellow Chancery market leaders like Erskine Chambers and Maitland Chambers.

In recent years, South Square has boasted legendary silks like Michael Crystal KC, the late Robin Dicker QC, who died in 2021, and the late Gabriel Moss QC, who passed in 2019. 

Recent developments include this year’s addition of Imogen Beltrami after her pupillage and Robin Kok in 2022, the same year that Stephen Robins KC became a silk. 

Head of chambers Tom Smith KC said: “It’s great news that Oliver and Jon are joining Chambers. They both have fantastic insolvency practices and strong relationships with well-established and highly respected solicitors’ firms – both will strengthen our insolvency offering and broaden our client base.”

Colclough said he was pleased to join South Square given its reputation as a leading insolvency set, calling it “a natural next step for me”. Meantime Hyams said he was attracted by its track record in complex insolvency cases.

Hyams is the only junior to leave Gatehouse so far this year. Over the course of 2022 Alastair Redpath-Stevens joined the district court bench and commercial junior Laurence Page moved to 4 Pump Court. 

The set welcomed Gibraltarian/UK lawyer Charlie Stephens as an associate member in January and Sarah Ibrahim, a Bar Council international committee member, from 3 Hare Court last year alongside three former pupils as members.  

It also welcomed Catherine Piercy KC’s and David Pliener KC’s appointment to silk in March while adding the popular UK and DIFC-qualified barrister Sam Karim KC, who also practices from King’s Chambers, Manchester last year.   

Amanda Illing, Gatehouse’s CEO, said: “Oliver Hyams’ five years at Gatehouse Chambers have been transformational for his career, and we wish him well for the future.”

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