Company and partnership in London Bar
A 'go-to set', 4 Stone Buildings covers all aspects of company law, including formations and dissolutions, M&A, corporate finance, regulatory issues, directors' duties, and shareholder rights. Autonomy Corporation v Michael Lynch (Hewlett Packard's litigation against the former CEO of Autonomy, over its $18bn acquisition of the company), continues to occupy a number of members, most notably Robert Miles QC and accomplished senior-junior Sharif Shivji. Gregory Denton-cox is another junior to note, with significant experience in shareholder and investor disputes. He is acting for a shareholder in a joint venture company incorporated in Singapore in arbitration and court proceedings against another shareholder regarding an option over the company's principal asset.
Clients praise Enterprise Chambers for its 'strength in depth, flexibility, and good clerking' in relation to a variety of litigation and advisory work involving companies, directors, and shareholders. Linden Ife, who has substantial experience acting in shareholder disputes – often for major institutional investors and banks – was instructed in Penfold v Penfold, which raised issues about the breadth of remedies available under section 994 of the Companies Act 2006 and the interaction between unfair prejudice and a just and equitable winding-up; the case settled shortly into the trial. In another highlight, Niall McCulloch represents the BVI-incorporated claimants in Monredon Limited and Futura Partners Limited v AIA Group LLC and ROK STARS plc, an English action over the ownership of shares in ROK Stars plc.
Erskine Chambers is noted for its 'strength in depth and large number of counsel available' for UK and offshore company law matters. In recent highlights, Andrew Thompson QC and Ben Griffiths are acting in BAT v Sequana (a multi-jurisdictional commercial dispute regarding environmental pollution of US rivers, and claims of breach of fiduciary duty), in addition to regularly advising on corporate transactions. Also of note, Martin Moore QC is assisting Sky in its complex takeover by Comcast. In another highlight, Stephen Smith QC was instructed by JSC Mezhprombank in JSC Mezhprombank v Pugachev; complex proceedings against a former Russian oligarch in connection with the liquidation of a Russian bank and claims of misappropriation.
Littleton Chambers is 'an impressive set with a good mix of top QCs and very talented juniors'. In terms of partnership law instructions, members have particular expertise in team moves and partner exits relating to firms of solicitors and other professional services firms. In one representative instruction, David Reade QC is acting in Cardiff City Football Club v Mr Isaac for the claimant in minority shareholder proceedings.
Maitland Chambers is 'a really first-class, professional set with great strength and depth in all manner of commercial disputes and arbitrations'. Standout barristers include Catherine Newman QC, who successfully acted for the directors in Destiny Investments Limited and Others v TH Holdings and others; defending a minority shareholders' petition. In Omers Administration v Tesco Plc, David Mumford QC is retained to defend Tesco against claims for damages brought by shareholders relating to an accounting scandal in 2014. Catherine Joanne Addy QC continues to be instructed by HMRC in relation to Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP, Inside Track Productions LLP, Ingenious Games LLP (as lead appellants) v HMRC, which is now on appeal.
Members of New Square Chambers have 'an eclectic skill-set, centred around corporate matters', which they combine with 'an excellent commercial litigation practice' to advise on contentious and non-contentious company law matters. Recent highlights for Robin Hollington QC included the appeals in minority shareholder disputes Cosmetic v Warriors v Gerrie and TOC v Beppler & Jacobson. David Eaton Turner is representing Juno Nominees and Juno Fund Services in Fondation Rennes v DVP; Juno Nominees Ltd and Juno Fund Services Ltd; two defendants in multi-party claims brought by investors in relation to shares in protected cell investment companies. Sebastian Prentis has been appointed a full-time Insolvency and Companies Court judge.
As the name suggests, Partnership Counsel is entirely focused on partnership law issues, and its members have experience in all forms of partnership and LLP disputes, as well as providing strategic and planning advice to clients on their partnership arrangements. Roderick I’Anson Banks and Simon Jelf are instructed on matters in various jurisdictions, including the Channel Islands, Hong Kong, Ireland, Germany, and Gibraltar, where English partnership law is relevant.
Members of Serle Court are 'extremely high quality, both in respect to commercial litigation and specialist fields'. Company law and partnership disputes are particular areas of expertise, and the set is extremely experienced in shareholder disputes and derivative claims, as well as for instructions arising out of China and Hong Kong. Highlights include David Blayney QC acting in unfair prejudice dispute Re Kings Solutions Group Ltd, while partnership 'doyen' John Machell QC is instructed in Campbell v Campbell; a partnership dispute between two brothers concerning their global jewellery business. In another notable matter, Dan McCourt Fritz acted for the defendants in Grupo Mexico v Topete (Re Infund LLP), amid allegations the client had fraudulently procured the restoration of an English LLP for the purposes of pursuing a $1.5bn claim in Mexico for shares in Grupo Mexico.
South Square is a 'modern and adaptable' set which stands out for handling English law-governed creditor schemes of arrangement across the globe; including in relation to House of Fraser, a matter multiple members are instructed on, including Tom Smith QC and David Allison QC. In another highlight, Smith QC acted for the successful appellant before the Privy Council in DD Growth, a case concerning the legality of payments made to shareholders from a company's share premium account, and the rights of a company to recover unlawful payments from a shareholder. With a practice that spans insolvency and company law, Barry Isaacs QC appeared as an independent expert in the High Court at the hearing to sanction the approval of a ringfencing scheme concerning the HSBC Group. In November 2018, Antony Zacaroli QC was appointed a High Court judge in the Chancery Division and will be joined in October 2019 by William Trowers QC.
Ten Old Square's members are veritable partnership and LLP law experts, instructed by both partnerships and individuals across a wide variety of sectors in disputes and advisory matters relating to sensitive internal issues. In a particular highlight, Gideon Roseman successfully acted for the claimant and first Part 20 defendant in Shah v Shah, the third trial in a partnership dispute between brothers who operated businesses in England and India, and involving the interaction of various debts with a non-partner and the ability of the debtor partner to seek a contribution from other partners. Also of note, Jeremy Callman regularly acts for managing partners of major law firms and accountancy firms in highly-sensitive internal issues, and has substantial experience in non-contentious matters including drafting and updating LLP agreements.
An 'excellent set with all necessary levels of expertise in commercial areas', Wilberforce Chambers' members are instructed in all areas of company law, including financial assistance, shareholder disputes, and directors' duties matters. Lexa Hilliard QC, Bobby Friedman, and 2019 silk James Bailey QC are advising a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll on the acquisition of the business and assets of the Force India racing team, in Re Force India (Formula 1). In another matter, Terence Mowschenson QC successfully acted for the claimant in Sky Stream Corp v Alexander Pleshekov; a dispute over the ownership of a 20% stake in Transaero Airlines.
XXIV Old Buildings is 'one of the standout sets for offshore company law work', which sits beside a strong Chancery practice, but members are also well-versed in partnership disputes, acting in cases domestically and abroad. Alan Steinfeld QC acted in Clean Power Properties Ltd v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd, where he is advising Network Rail on the terms and effects of an agreement with the claimant for the acquisition of sites intended to be used as power stations. On the partnership front, he is advising on a large LLP dispute for Boston Consulting. Also on the partnership front, Francis Tregear QC advised Cayman Islands-based Alcontrol LP on the structure and distribution of its equity interests. Meanwhile, Michael Black QC acted for the claimant in Akhmodova v Akhmodov, enforcement proceedings in a $600m divorce settlement across multiple jurisdictions that involved piercing the corporate veil over disputed assets.