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Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

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Simon Clarke

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Work Department

Simon is a partner in the  Banking Litigation practice in the UK.


Simon helps clients handle complex banking and financial services disputes.

He is a key member of the team working on one of the largest and highest profile pieces of litigation currently in the English courts. This team has won several awards recently, including the Financial News Financial Litigation Team of the Year in 2013 and 2015.

Simon advises clients on complex civil claims and regulatory issues including investigations, contractual disputes, derivatives, structured products, banking confidentiality, investment management and advice, product mis-selling, and internal systems and controls.

He was a apart of the team representing RBS Group in defending actions brought by shareholder and investor groups in connection with its 2008 rights issue – one of the highest profile pieces of litigation in the UK.


Simon has helped clients in proceedings in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States. He is an accredited mediator with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution


Simon graduated from the University of Oxford in 1993 and joined Herbert Smith Freehills in 2006

London: Dispute resolution

Banking litigation: investment and retail

Within: Leading individuals

Simon Clarke - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Within: Banking litigation: investment and retail

'A top-tier banking litigation practice with a strong mix of investment and retail bank disputes', Herbert Smith Freehills LLP continues to advise many of the largest national and international banking groups and other major financial institutions on their high stakes, complex litigation cases. Recent work included high-profile shareholder actions and multiple parallel claims arising out of contentious issues such as the Panama Papers, mis-selling, film finance, interest rate swaps and tailored business loans. The 'very impressive' Damien Byrne Hill , who  assumed the role as head of disputes for UK and US in 2018, is 'among the very best banking litigators; he is direct, focused, and robust in his approach'. Simon Clarke  handles highly complex banking and financial services litigation, often involving structured products and derivatives. The 'immensely hard working and fun-to-work-with' Harry Edwards, who is 'a strong litigator with a deservedly rising profile', led advice to Watchstone (formerly known as Quindell) on a threatened group litigation brought by shareholders of Watchstone, arising out of various public announcements made by the company in 2013; the claim, if pursued, would be one of the first claims brought on the basis of section 90A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, which provides a cause of action for investors who buy, sell or hold listed securities in reliance on deliberately misleading information published to the market. Other key advisers are the 'first-rate, bright and insightful' Rupert Lewis, who 'has shown that he can handle even the most challenging cases superbly'; and John Corrie, who is 'a very able litigator who combines high intellectual ability with great charm'. Chris Bushell, Adam Johnson QC, Gary Milner-Moore and John Whiteoak are also highly rated; Donny Surtani was made partner; and Julian Copeman returned from secondment to the firm’s Hong Kong office. The key senior associates are Ajay Malhotra, Tom Henderson and Emma Deas. James Norris-Jones  joined  Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

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Commercial litigation

Within: Commercial litigation

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has one of the largest and most specialised practices in the UK for all types of commercial and corporate litigation and across all sectors; the team was recently particularly active in significant  commercial and corporate litigation for major banks and financial institutions as well as matters involving the energy, mining, consumer products and TMT sectors, among others. It achieved a settlement on behalf of the RBS Group (RBSG) in its defence of actions brought by shareholder and investor groups in connection with RBSG's 2008 rights issue; and represented the SocGen defendants in a claim brought by the Libyan Investment Authority, which entered into a series of trades with SocGen, in respect of which it sought rescission and repayment of the premiums paid. Damien Bryne Hill is UK and US disputes head; Alan Watts is UK commercial litigation head; Rupert Lewis leads the banking litigation practice in London; Natasha Johnson 'has a great deal of experience with the international elements of litigation'; Gregg Rowan is 'a first class-litigator, who has a measured and in-control manner'; and Alexander Oddy is deputy head of the firm's commercial litigation practice. Other recommended names are Philip Carrington, James Baily, Simon Clarke,  Adam Johnson QC, Kirsten Massey, and John Whiteoak, along with John Ogilvie, James Doe, Chris Bushell, and Jeremy Garson. Julian Copeman relocated to the London office from Hong Kong and Donny Surtani and Rachel Lidgate were made partners.

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