21st Oct 2022

18 St John Street Chambers are delighted to announce that all our departments have received further well-deserved recognition in the 2023 edition of the prestigious Chambers & Partners legal directory rankings.  

Our Family Law Department is for first time ranked Band 2, testament to its growing reputation as one of the leading expert departments in the country and the go-to choice for many Family Law specialists. (This follows a recent ‘Top Tier’ ranking in the Legal 500 directory for the Family Law Department).  

Fiona Holloran is now ranked in Band 2, recognising her powerful and persuasive advocacy and reward for her hard work and dedication in care work. Fiona joins Sam Birtles (Band 1) and Stephen Murray (Band 2) in being ranked for the work that they do.  

Head of 18’s Family Department, Leonie Caplan said “it is recognition for the incredible work our members undertake on a daily basis, working across the full spectrum of family law with some extremely vulnerable clients in very challenging cases.”    

The Business & Property Department received fresh rankings for Richard Chapman KC, now ranked in seven categories, including Band 1 in Commercial Dispute Resolution. Dr Christopher McNall is ranked in three categories and steps straight in at Band 1 for Agriculture & Rural Affairs and Tax. David Hoffman is ranked in Chancery for the first time which will please his many loyal clients. Jennifer Newstead-Taylor and Oliver Caplan maintain their rankings.  

The Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence & Costs Department continue their renaissance with Head of Department Kane Simons being newly ranked in PI at Band 3. Kane has a reputation of handling high value and complex work and he has built up an unprecedented level of expertise in the new area of the law surrounding E-Scooters and E-Bikes. Gemma McGungle continues to be ranked in Clinical Negligence work. In addition, our door tenant Steve Killalea KC is recognised as “Star Silk”, the highest accolade granted by Chambers & Partners. 

18 St John Street Chambers Criminal Department also enhanced their rankings with Andy Evans ranked Band 3 across all Circuits for the first time in the specialist area of POCA work and Asset Forfeiture. Richard Vardon and Rachel Faux, who deal with the most complex criminal work including serious sexual offences, murder and Appeals, are elevated to Band 2.   

18 St John Street Chambers Head of Chambers, Richard Chapman KC, “Many congratulations to all members of Chambers who have been recognised in Chambers and Partners this year. Each of the departments continue to go from strength and strength. It is particularly pleasing that the recurring theme in the rankings is praise for the service Chambers gives to our clients, which is a reflection on our clerks and other staff as well as our members.” 

Chamber Director James Parks stated, “Manchester and The North West is an incredibly strong legal market. We are delighted to see our Family Department and many of our members record great success in the 2023 directories. We are immensely grateful for the continued support and instructions we receive from our loyal clients and a lot of our success can be attributed to the quality of work they provide our members with.”

“We continue to strive to provide quality advice, advocacy and client care and the results in Chambers & Partners support this. We are fortunate to have a very strong Law Society in Manchester as well as a strong bar and to see so many other chambers and barristers ranked is testament to the standard of lawyers across our region.” 

For further information on the services 18 St John Street provide please contact Chambers Director James Parks.  

FULL RANKINGS 2023 – Members 


Fiona Holloran– Family Children – NEW – BAND 2 

Fiona Holloran is a family law specialist who acts on both public and private child law matters. Her experience includes cases of non-accidental injury, parental alienation and abduction. Fiona is able to handle cases with cross-border elements and is frequently instructed by local authorities. 


“Fiona Holloran is a fearsome advocate.” 

“Fiona Holloran is not far off from getting silk. She has a very good practice and is bright and courageous.” 

“Fiona Holloran is a powerful advocate. She speaks with authority and knows what she’s doing.” 

Samantha Birtles– Family Children – BAND 1 

Samantha Birtles is an experienced child law expert who frequently acts for local authorities, parents and children. She is a strong choice of counsel for cases involving complex medical evidence and vulnerable clients. 


“Samantha Birtles is always well prepared and has excellent knowledge of the law.” 

“Samantha is an excellent barrister with very good client care skills.” 

Stephen Murray– Family Matrimonial Finance – BAND 2 

Stephen Murray is a financial remedy practitioner noted for his expertise in cases involving businesses and substantial property portfolios. He frequently handles cross-jurisdictional matters, often involving non-disclosure issues. 


“Stephen’s attention to detail is stunning. His preparation is first-rate, and his cross-examination is phenomenal.” 

“Stephen Murray is robust and knows the law. He unpicks the unpickable and provides strategic leadership that clients really want.” 

“Stephen is a very strong advocate and has a commanding presence.” 


Richard Chapman KC – Head of Chambers 

Head of Chambers, Richard Chapman KC features in seven categories – including Commercial Dispute Resolution where he has moved up to BAND 1.  

Richard specialises in all areas of Business and Property litigation including disputes relating to commercial law, chancery, contracts, company, insolvency, directors’ duties, insurance, professional negligence, banking, partnership, landlord and tenant, trusts, succession and probate. He also specialises in tax and VAT litigation and sits as a Fee Paid Judge of the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber).  

Richard has appeared in the European Court of Justice, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. He is consistently highly praised in legal directories. Chambers and Partners has said that, “He is brilliant, down to earth, practical and sensible. He’s good at dealing with difficult clients and explaining things in easy-to-understand ways. … He is experienced, commercial and excellent on his feet. … He’s incredibly courteous and very approachable.” The Legal 500 has said, “A devastatingly effective cross-examiner,” and, “His authoritative demeanour impresses in court.” 

Richard was the only Business and Property specialist outside London to take silk in 2019. 


Commercial Dispute Resolution “Richard is an extraordinary lawyer. He articulates legal arguments very clearly and concisely.” 

Tax “Richard is a smooth operator with a lovely client manner. He is a very strong and persuasive advocate.”  

Chancery “Richard is an excellent barrister, comfortable advising and advocating on detailed issues and he is approachable and client-friendly.” 

Professional Negligence “Richard provides straightforward, commercially focused and pragmatic advice.” 

Banking & Finance “He is an amazing barrister with a very broad practice.”  

Dr Christopher McNall–  –Winner – Barrister of the Year 2022 Manchester Legal AwardsWinner Barrister of the Year, Manchester Legal Awards2022) 

Christopher features in three categories including two new entries this year, going straight into BAND 1 in Agriculture & Rural Affairs and Tax – BAND 2. He is also listed in Real Estate Litigation.  

He is an experienced senior junior barrister who has appeared before courts of all levels. He real estate practice includes litigation relating to high-value farms and regularly handles significant property disputes, including those concerning farms, farmland and other agricultural property. His work also includes matters relating to the Agricultural Holdings Act and farming partnerships. 

Christopher has a wide-ranging practice covering such issues as stamp duty and corporation tax. He has a particular expertise in inheritance tax matters, as well as taxation issues in the hospitality and oil sectors. 


Agriculture & Rural Affairs “He is a rare combination of technical expertise, practical application, approachability and good humour.”  “Christopher has been an asset going above and beyond what was expected to produce excellent documents, liaise with the team and support the clients where needed.” 

Tax “He is extremely bright, is very well read in the law and has a very easy, relaxed matter.” “Christopher McNall is tenacious in his delivery.”  

Real Estate Litigation “He is excellent. A fount of knowledge and experience and a pleasure to work with.”   

David Hoffman 

David Hoffman of 18 St John Street is a highly experienced chancery junior. He specialises in business and property litigation, as well as acting in private client disputes. 


“David’s analysis of legal issues is exceptional.” 

“His advocacy skills whether within contested court applications or delicate medication proceedings have always been impressive and result in very positive outcomes for clients.” 

“David has vast knowledge and is vastly effective.” 

Jennifer Newstead Taylor 

Jennifer Newstead-Taylor of 18 St John Street has a busy HMRC-side tax practice in which she resists appeals and judicial reviews brought by businesses, concerning a variety of taxation issues. 


“Jennifer is very thorough and extremely well prepared. Her delivery is clear and easy to follow and she has a meticulous approach to cross-examination.” 

“She is calm under pressure and able to deal with difficult issues that arise during hearings.” 

“Jennifer is a great advocate, has strong command of the documentation and is very client and user-friendly.” 

Oliver Caplan – Social Housing – BAND 3 

Oliver Caplan offers considerable expertise in the wide range of issues that can arise for tenants of social housing. He is well versed in acting for vulnerable clients, including those with mental health issues. 


Kane Simons – Head of Personal Injury Department – NEW – BAND 3 

Kane Simons is an experienced personal injury barrister who represents both claimants and defendants. He is well versed in handling cases arising from RTAs and workplace accidents. 


“Kane is an experienced advocate with an eye for detail.” 


Gemma McGungle 

Gemma continues to feature in Chambers UK – BAND 3   

Gemma McGungle acts predominantly for claimants and is regularly instructed in high-value and complex claims. She has notable experience handling matters involving allegations of failures to diagnose. 


“Gemma gives clear and effective advice and is able to process and distil large volumes of information.” 

“Gemma is exceptionally good with clients.” 


Richard Vardon – BAND 2 

Richard Vardon is an experienced advocate, experienced in the prosecution and defence of serious criminal offences. He is regularly instructed in homicide, terrorism and sexual offences cases. He is also recognised for his expertise in drugs trafficking cases. 


“Richard is extremely knowledgeable.” 

“He has an excellent manner with clients and a real presence in court.” 

“He is a very experienced barrister.” 

Rachel Faux– BAND 2 

Rachel Faux is a noted junior who routinely acts in serious criminal cases, including sexual assaults and drugs matters. She has considerable experience of handling cases involving vulnerable or very young witnesses. 


“Rachel is well respected in court.” 

“She has an excellent bedside manner with clients.” 

Andrew Evans– NEW ENTRY – POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture – BAND 3 

Andrew Evans acts for both the CPS and respondent in POCA proceedings. He is regularly instructed on confiscation matters. 


“Andy Evans has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law of POCA. He’s creative and runs arguments you don’t hear in court every day. His passion for POCA shines through.”