Offshore in London Bar
For many Serle Court 'provides a good combination of commercial acumen and trusts expertise, making them an ideal set for offshore trusts and commercial work', covering a range of work in the British Overseas Territories and beyond. In Bermuda, numerous members of chambers are instructed in the Wong v Grand View Private Trust Company litigation over five Bermudian trusts holding billions of US dollars, including Jonathan Adkin QC and Adil Mohamedbhai for the trustees, and Dakis Hagen QC, James Brightwell and Emma Hargreaves for the claimants. Philip Jones QC represented the former in Shanda Games v Maso Capital in both the Caymanian courts and before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, a matter concerning the entitlement of dissenting shareholders to "fair value" of their shares under s238 of the island's Companies Law and any interest payable. Channel Island highlights include 2020 silk appointment Timothy Collingwood QC and Brightwell acting in Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees v Investec Trust case, a Guernsey leg of the Tchenguiz saga. Ruth Jordan is well-connected in the Bahamas, and advises among others Carnival Corporation. Frank Hinks QC retired in April 2020.
'A first-rate set from top to bottom', Wilberforce Chambers is 'a top Chancery set that never disappoints' covering both trusts and company-related offshore litigation. Thomas Lowe QC continues to represent the defendants in the AHAB v Saad case, which was subject to an appeal in 2019 in the Caymanian courts, which, at first instance, found the claimants operated "one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history"; John Wardell QC was brought in for the original claimants in their appeal. Clare Stanley QC represented FTI Consulting liquidators of a Cayman fund in the Caymanian Court of Appeal, overturning an anti-suit injunction obtained by BDO concerning an audit negligence claim; the juniors in the set are also instructed by liquidators, with Graeme Halkerston representing those of OneTradex, a Caymanian securities broker with a primarily local clientele. The future of chambers looks bright with Jamie Holmes, Tim Matthewson, and Tara Taylor all highlighted as rising stars.
One of the go-to chambers for international contentious trusts work, XXIV Old Buildings has 'a fantastic reputation and a great selection of very capable and impressive trust disputes barristers', as well as strength on insolvency and commercial litigation matters. Elspeth Talbot Rice QC represents the claimant in the Wong v Grand View case in Bermuda concerning trusts containing the legacy of the founder of Formosa Plastics, while Stephen Moverley Smith QC represented the appellant in Magner v RBS International, a Gibraltarian case concerning dishonest assistance before the Privy Council in the wake of the collapse of law firm Marrache & Co. Unusually for the London Bar, Nicole Langlois, a former Carey Olsen partner, is also a Jersey advocate.
A 'very strong set with lots of talented barristers', 3 Verulam Buildings' strengths offshore are focused around company law and asset tracing. Ewan Mcquater QC and Philip Hinks represent Brazilian former tycoon Eike Batista, who has been accused of operating a fraud through overstating oil discoveries and laundering proceeds through the Cayman Islands. Hefin Rees QC represents the claimant in Holm v Sancus Financial Holdings, which reached the BVI Court of Appeal in December 2019, a dispute concerning ownership of Bank of Asia, the first such institution to be created in the jurisdiction for over two decades.
A set with 'real strength in depth', Fountain Court Chambers' reputation for commercial litigation in London extends to a number of members handling such disputes in the Caribbean. Ben Valentin QC, who represented the Awalco respondents in the AHAB v Saad appeal, continues to act for Sonera BV in the saga concerning the enforcement of a $1bn arbitral award against an indirect holding of shares in Turkcell. Michael Green QC continues to represent the liquidators of CLICO in the ongoing saga concerning the demise of the Trinidadian financial services company. Jacob Turner is a rising star in chambers.
South Square is 'at the top of its game in offshore insolvency and involved in most of the big matters'. Barry Isaacs QC represented the liquidators of Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund, in which for the first time the Caymanian courts approved third-party litigation funding. Numerous members of chambers are instructed in the fallout, centred on the Cayman Islands, of the collapse of private equity house Abraaj, including Isaacs QC and Toby Brown for the liquidators, Adam Al-Attar for a creditor, Marcus Haywood for an advisory committee, and William Willson for the management.
The 'very capable' set 3 Hare Court's offshore notability primarily stems from public law practitioners who regularly appear in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in cases of constitutional significance to Caribbean jurisdictions. James Guthrie QC successfully represented the Bermudian government in Minister of Home Affairs v Barbosa, a Privy Council case which determined that there was not an extrastatutory, common law, route to Bermudian "belonger" status. Away from representation of governments, Robert Strang is instructed in Fundhaven v Securities Commission of the Bahamas, which was granted leave to appeal on the Privy Council on a question on if the Bahamian Court of Appeal can decline to hear an appeal after a first instance judge grants leave. The set is well-connected in Trinidad and Tobago as well, with Simon Davenport QC representing a former shareholder in litigation concerning the demise of insurer Clico.
An 'impressive' set, 4 New Square's core strengths offshore mirror its leading status in London for professional discipline and professional negligence work. Justin Fenwick QC continues to represent the liquidators of Stanford International Bank in litigation against two onshore law firms, while Graham Chapman QC is involved both for and against offshore law firms and auditors in professional negligence cases. In addition, Nigel Burroughs and rising star Mark Cullen are key names in chambers with followings in the Isle of Man for a range of matters. Joshua Folkard is another up-and-coming junior in chambers.
4 Stone Buildings is a 'small set which punches above its weight' in this space, with members instructed in complex company law cases worldwide. Jonathan Crow QC is a regular before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, having represented the appellants in the Maso Capital v Shanda Games case concerning the Caymanian law on the valuation of minority shareholdings, and the corporate defendants in Livingston Properties v JSC MMC Eurochem, a case with issues as to if Russia or the BVI is forum conveniens. In more exotic jurisdictions, Crow QC, Hermann Boeddinghaus and Alexander Cook represent the widow of Malaysian timber magnate Wong Kie Nai in a multi-jurisdictional dispute in jurisdictions as diverse as Sarawak and Papua New Guinea as well as the BVI. In addition, Boeddinghaus represents a company controlled by Isabel Dos Santos in BVI proceedings in the wake of an arbitration between shareholders of Unitel, Angola's largest mobile network.
At 5 Stone Buildings – an 'excellent set with a fabulous range of expertise in commercial Chancery and offshore work' – Shan Warnock-Smith QC, Christopher Tidmarsh QC and Penelope Reed QC continue to enjoy good reputations and have a track record of matters including complex cases in the Cayman Islands as well as the Channel Islands. Juniors at the set include former Lennox Paton partner Matthew Paton, who continues to be included in Bahamian litigation, and Jordan Holland.
Blackstone Chambers is 'a very strong set of chambers with some of the top names that are synonymous with public law throughout the Commonwealth', placing it well for matters concerning constitutional issues in the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas territories. Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC is known for advising governments of British Overseas Territories in their most sensitive issues, and Tom Richards has represented a number of appellants in cases concerning public appointments in Trinidad and Tobago, including Maharaj v Attorney General – utilising his admission to the Bar there – as well as involvement in cases before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
'The go-to set for company law' for many, members of Erskine Chambers are instructed in a number of heavyweight commercial Chancery matters in Cayman and elsewhere. Stephen Smith QC represented the defendants in the AHAB v Saad appeal, and in the Privy Council David Chivers QC represented the appellant bank in SEB v liquidators of the Weavering Macro Fixed Income Fund, concerning the collapse of a Caymanian hedge fund whose founder was convicted of eight counts of fraud in England after its collapse.
'A leading set with an extremely impressive roster', Essex Court Chambers not only has a reputation for handling elite commercial matters before the English courts but is also active in the British Overseas Territories. James Willan represents Barclays in litigation in the Cayman Islands in proceedings against the latter party of the AHAB v Saad case, while Jern-Fei Ng QC and Vernon Flynn QC are both instructed for China Shanshui Cement Group in Caymanian litigation concerning the company's proposed winding-up. As far as the BVI is concerned, Paul McGrath QC represents the former in the Renova Industries v Emerson International dispute, which in 2019 went to the Privy Council on a point concerning freezing orders. Members of chambers are well-connected in the Isle of Man, with Ciaran Keller representing a defunct space tourism company in a long-running dispute with Japanese businessman.
Maitland Chambers' members work with top offshore firms, providing both advocacy in the Caribbean and advising on complex Channel Islands cases. Richard Morgan QC represents the conflict director of the Infrastructure Growth Capital Fund in the Caymanian litigation concerning the collapse of Abraaj Group. Among the set's juniors, Thomas Fletcher was involved for Investec in the Tchenguiz litigation with issues concerning insolvent Guernsey trusts, and Andrew Westwood in the Eurochem v Rogalskiy Privy Council appealing concerning alleged bribes.
A 'smaller excellent Chancery set', Ten Old Square's members have been active working with Channel Island firms in cases there. Eason Rajah QC and Leon Pickering continue to assist Cristiana Crociani in the Crociani litigation in Jersey, and on the other side of the water Rajah QC and James MacDougald assisted the new trustees in the Pilatus PTC v RBC Trustees case in Guernsey.