Fraud: civil in London Bar
'A safe choice for complex fraud work', 3 Verulam Buildings is 'an exceptional set of chambers' with 'many very accomplished barristers who boast impressive fraud credentials'. Members are often called upon in cases with heavy offshore elements, such as Ritchie Capital Management LLC & Ors v (1) Lancelot Investors Fund Ltd (in Official Liquidation) (2) General Electric Company, in which Ewan McQuater QC and James McWiliams represented General Electric in connection with a $3.6bn Ponzi scheme operated by Tom Petters. McWilliams is among several members, including Andrew Onslow QC and Ali Malek QC representing multiple defendants in the mammoth SKAT litigation, brought by Denmark's tax administration authority. In recent news, Rajesh Pillai was elevated to silk in March 2020.
Brick Court Chambers 'has many of the best advocates at the commercial bar' and clients rate its 'clever, hard-working, unstuffy juniors with excellent judgement who can turn their hands to a broad range of commercial and public law matters'. Civil fraud remains a key area for many of its members who have an excellent track record on major cross-border disputes. Recently, Neil Calver QC (elevated to the High Court in October 2020) and Laura Newton appeared on opposing sides of Avonwick Holdings Ltd v Azitio Holdings Ltd and Ors. Tim Lord QC and Fred Hobson are also acting for three of the defendants in the epic SKAT v Solo Capital Partners and 160 Others. Ben Woolgar is a rising star in chambers.
Essex Court Chambers has established itself 'as a go-to set, not only for Commercial Court work and international arbitration but for offshore international fraud cases, too'. The 'excellent set is teeming with talent at all levels' and 'seems to have monopolised the top senior juniors in commercial fraud', making it 'the leading fraud set, by a significant margin – they have all the good juniors and most of the good silks'. Notable cases include National Bank Trust v Yurov in which Nathan Pillow QC, David Davies and Anton Dudnikov represent the claimant, with James Willan sole counsel for one of the bank's directors. A 'dedicated and valuable team player', Stuart Cribb is a rising star in chambers.
Fountain Court Chambers is 'a top chambers and does a great deal of fraud work'. The set is commended for its 'very real strength in depth at all levels' and in recent years it has 'actively built out by lateral hires in the market', particularly in the intersection of civil and criminal fraud. The HP v Autonomy dispute saw Richard Lissack QC representing Autonomy's former chief financial officer, while, on the opposing side, Patrick Goodall QC was among those representing the claimants. Another landmark case was SFO v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, where Bankim Thanki QC and new silk Tamara Oppenheimer QC successfully represented ENRC in the Court of Appeal. Edward Levey QC was another member of chambers to talk silk in early 2020; considered a 'creative thinker', Ian Bergson is a rising star in chambers.
One Essex Court is 'excellent, with a good selection of very able QCs and juniors covering fraud, injunctions and general commercial work'. The set stands out for its'first-class silks and excellent juniors at all ends of the experience spectrum'. Lead cases include Omers Administration Corporation v Tesco in which Laurence Rabinowitz QC and Conall Patton QC are advising Tesco while Neil Kitchener QC and Richard Mott are representing Omers. Sonia Tolaney QC has also been representing defendants three to eight in PJSC Commercial Bank PrivatBank v Kolomoisky, Bogolyubov and others, which went to the Court of Appeal. In a boost to chambers, March 2020 saw Jamie Goldsmith QC and Conall Patton QC elevated to silk.
'The quality is excellent' at Serle Court which is 'a go-to set for fraud claims generally'. Clients rate the strength in depth, where 'from the top to the bottom they're high-quality barristers and I've not come across one I wouldn't instruct'. Members have strong expertise in fraud cases with an offshore element, and also in the Middle East. Claims such as Glenn v Watson has involved several members, including Elizabeth Jones QC, new silk Justin Higgo QC, Paul Adams, and rising star Oliver Jones. Daniel Lightman QC is also leading Adil Mohamedbhai in Griffith v Gourgey.
Blackstone Chambers is 'a standout set in the civil fraud space, with some real heavy hitters and real strength at silk, senior-junior and junior levels'. Clients appreciate its 'very substantial bench strength in this area of law which is very useful' in particular at the junior end where it has 'some fantastic young barristers'. Among the set's impressive caseload, a major highlight was Sabbagh v Khoury in which Anthony Peto QC and Peter Head represented the claimant, while Andrew Hunter QC led for the defendant. Robert Anderson QC and Daniel Burgess successfully obtained interim relief for the claimant in Wildbrain v Robson & anr.
Maitland Chambers is 'one of the strongest commercial/Chancery sets, with substantial strength in depth'. For civil fraud work, the 'silks are leaders in their field and the juniors are also brilliant'. David Mumford QC has made a strong name for himself in this area and is part of a team, including Thomas Munby, that is representing the State of Qatar in State of Qatar v Banque Havilland. Other key cases include Convoy Collateral v Broad Idea, in which Richard Morgan QC is representing the BVI respondent, while Thomas Grant QC and Munby are representing the claimants in Adlesee ve Dentons LLP. In recent news, Siward Atkins took silk in March 2020.
Twenty Essex is an 'excellent' set with a strong background in civil fraud, particularly when it comes to disputes in associated areas such as commodities trading and insolvency. Clients appreciate 'the good availability of highly experienced counsel' and note that they are 'glad to accept their suggestions of junior counsel'. Recently, Stephen Atherton QC has been leading Tony Beswetherick in Standard Chartered Bank v African Minerals. Elsewhere, in Vneshprombank LLC v Bedzhamov & Ors, Paul Lowenstein QC and rising star Sam Goodman acted for the Deposit Insurance Agency of Russia, and new silk Blair Leahy QC was on the opposing team; Philip Riches was another member of the set to be elevated to silk in March 2020.
Wilberforce Chambers has 'some brilliant people with a range of skills' and 'has really built out its civil fraud offering over the past few years and is becoming a serious contender in that space'. Its members are especially strong in related offshore, trusts, and professional negligence matters, and are praised for being 'very responsive'. High profile cases include Receivers of Sebastian Holdings v Sarek, Vik & others in which Tim Penny QC led rising star Tim Matthewson on behalf of the claimants. John Wardell QC also achieved a major victory in the Supreme Court for the appellant, Takhar, in Takhar v Gracefield Developments Limited and others.
XXIV Old Buildings is 'one of the go-to chambers' with 'brilliant strength in depth' and ' a large number of barristers from silk down to the lowest junior who are outstanding on this field'. The chambers is especially noted for its 'strong links to offshore centres and Dubai'. Noteworthy cases include RAK Investments v Bestfort Development Ltd, a $42m fraud claim from Georgia in which Stephen Moverley Smith QC and Alexander Pelling are both involved. Robert Levy QC and Hugh Miall also acted for over 100 claimants in the long-running asset tracing dispute, Ward & Ors v Savill & Ors. The 'highly effective and dependable' Timothy Sherwin is a rising star in chambers.
4 Stone Buildings is 'a leading set' with 'good strength in depth' and barristers 'who make themselves available'. Civil fraud is a significant area of practice, and members have been instructed by public bodies, such as the National Crime Agency, as well as private sector clients. The set's strong insolvency background inevitably feeds into some of its more high profile instructions. Broader commercial claims have included Pinchuk v Kolomoisky & Bogolyubov and Autonomy Corporation v Dr Michael Lynch, in which Richard Hill QC and Jonathan Crow QC acted together. Other highlights have included Stanford International Bank v HSBC in which Andrew de Mestre QC is representing the liquidator.
7 King's Bench Walk 'has real depth in civil fraud' and the 'barristers are very commercially minded and great team players'. Clients note that the 'juniors, in particular, stand out' on fraud matters, with several making a strong name for themselves in the market. Insurance-related fraud disputes often feature on the agenda, a notable example being the Brillante Virtuoso case, Suez Fortune and Piraeus Bank v Talbot Underwriting and Others, in which Richard Waller QC and Keir Howie are both involved. At the junior end, Michael Ryan and Michael Holmes are on opposing sides of a significant banking fraud dispute. A 'fearless advocate, creative tactician and strategist', Andrew Pearson is a rising star in chambers.
South Square is 'our go-to for fraud and insolvency counsel' and is also noted for its excellent reputation in related areas such as banking and offshore work. The set fields a selection of highly-rated silks and juniors who are often called in to advise on complex cases with a strong financial element. Well-known names include Tom Smith QC, who is leading Richard Fisher QC and the up-and-coming junior Robert Amey, on Primeo v HSBC, which is due for a final appeal in 2020. Several members have also been involved in the Saad fraud litigation, including Mark Phillips QC and Felicity Toube QC.