Astraea Group > London, England > Firm Profile

Astraea Group

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 5

'A dynamic and innovative boutique disputes firm', Astraea Group was launched as an alternative business structure in 2021. The firm‘s multi-disciplinary team features the 'immensely experienced strategist' James Ramsden KC (previously at 39 Essex Chambers), whose expertise covers crypto asset claims in the UK, Cayman, BVI, Singapore and New York; and Robert Bedford, who was promoted from legal director to partner in July 2023.  At associate level, Lisa McCreath has 'an amazing ability to handle complex and factually-voluminous cases'.

Practice head(s):

James Ramsden KC; Robert Bedford

Other key lawyers:


A dynamic and innovative boutique disputes firm.’

‘Has the ability to handle the most complex and high-value cases in the areas of civil fraud, investor-state arbitration, general commercial disputes, and sanctions.’

‘The firm offers an excellent and highly personal service for competitive fees.’

‘It is an ideal choice for high-net worth individuals and smaller corporates looking for the private client touch.’

‘James Ramsden KC is a veteran courtroom and arbitration advocate, equally at home in the High Court and before major international arbitral tribunals.’

‘James Ramsden KC is an immensely experienced strategist who is able to extract settlements where others have failed.’

Robert Bedford is a very adept litigator.

‘Robert Bedford is brilliant, who cuts to the core of the case in no time; and Lisa McCreath is a rising star with an amazing ability to handle complex and factually-voluminous cases.’

Key clients

Bitcoin Association & Ors

BTC Core & Ors

Viegas and 1,516 Ors

Anatoli Stati & Ors

Work highlights

  • Acting for the defendants in a $4bn action in which Dr Craig Wright (a high-profile figure claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of bitcoin) alleges hackers stole the key to a number of wallets.
  • Representing a group of over 1,500 Brazilian orange growers, who successfully contended that the English courts has jurisdiction to hear their claims concerning a purchase cartel.
  • Acting for investors in ongoing, multi-jurisdictional proceedings to enforce a $500m SCC arbitral award, resulting from Kazakhstan’s breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty.

Complex disputes often require a multi-disciplinary approach developed by solicitors, barristers and professional services / intelligence firms.

Astraea Group launched as an alternative business structure (“ABS”) in 2021 with a view to transform the delivery of legal services and expert advocacy. Within the gender-balanced partnership is leading commercial silk, James Ramsden KC, and chartered accountant and tax advisor, Nina Stewart FCA. They are supported by Rob Bedford, solicitor and Legal Director, who joined the management team in 2021.

The model brings together a core team of barristers, solicitors, private client/ tax experts and accountants in-house, without the unnecessary cost-layering associated with more traditional business models. Notwithstanding our small size we have the ability to scale resources through technology and our developed network of forensic intelligence, financial intelligence, cyber-security and regulatory specialists.
Types of work undertaken

Commercial Dispute Resolution: Astraea Group works with major multi-nationals (including FTSE 100, Dow Jones and SSE listed companies), governments, state owned entities, statutory authorities, banks, financial service providers, financial service regulators, and private and public sector companies. We litigate, arbitrate and mediate in the UK and across numerous international jurisdictions, and have been admitted as advocate or worked in countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, US, Russia, Ukraine, Iceland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, BVI, Cayman, Jersey and Isle of Man. We have in house junior and senior counsel, as well as a growing solicitor team to manage matters from “cradle to grave”. Our James Ramsden KC has appeared as lead advocate in several of the most publicised Commercial Court cases of recent years including; BTA v Ablayazov, TNK-BP v Lazerenko, Wilcox LLC v Balmore Invest & Others, Kolyada v Yurov & BNP Paribas SA v OJSC Russian Machines & JSAMC Ingosstrtakh-Investments.

Arbitration: Our arbitration practice extends to all of the main arbitration forums and rules including the London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”), the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”), as well as ad hoc arbitrations. We work closely with our contacts in the business intelligence community to design effective enforcement strategies at the outset of actions which allows us to support clients from pre-action measures, through the arbitration and finally recognition and enforcement. Our Rob Bedford (Partner) and Lisa McCreath (Associate) are particularly well versed in enforcement matters, managing a complex cross-border enforcement strategy of a USD 500M investor-state arbitration award for breach of the Energy Charter Treaty, issued under the rules of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (Stati & others v The Republic of Kazakhstan).

Investigations: We investigate issues that might have criminal, regulatory or civil repercussions. This can involve suspicion of bribery, fraud, cartel activity, sanctions or money laundering breaches, or inappropriate personal relationships. Our experience of acting for regulators and prosecuting bodies means we are ideally placed to advise on whether a report to the relevant authorities is required.

Civil Fraud: Astraea Group has expertise in issues concerning the tracing and recovery of assets in civil fraud cases and is regularly instructed by government and public bodies in large scale fraud investigations. Since May 2007, James Ramsden KC has been appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of counsel instructed to carry out asset tracing and confiscation applications under the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act.

Fintech & Digital Currency Regulation: This largely unregulated sector is especially prone to fraud and at risk of being a vehicle for money laundering. Astraea Group is an expert in identifying and tracing the origins and flows of cryptocurrency and has secured unprecedented cooperation from banks and FX traders on the basis of the orders for disclosure we have obtained. James Ramsden KC is recognised as pre-eminent in disputes concerning Fintech & Digital Currency Regulation. Astraea Group has considerable expertise in the policing and removal of offensive and defamatory material on web publications and social media platforms and has pioneered use of the Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations 2013 for that purpose. In addition to client work, the team are actively publish insights into this evolving area of law.

Regulatory & Compliance: Prior to forming Astraea Group, our James Ramsden KC has been consistently ranked as a leader at the London Bar in regulatory, compliance and disciplinary work. Rory Mulchrone, who is a recognised practitioner in professional disciplinary matters, joined the team in 2022 to bolster our regulatory and compliance offering. As a leading expert in Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (“CTF”) work, we are retained by a number of City legal and financial institutions to advise on these regulatory issues. This work extends to FCA compliance and disciplinary proceedings, and advice on EU, UN and US sanctions. The team also has considerable experience in professional disciplinary matters; James Ramsden KC is Panel Counsel retained by the Law Society and Solicitors Regulatory Authority and by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (“ICAEW”) and the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (“IPReg”).

Public Law: Our James Ramsden KC has been ranked by the Legal 500 in the area of Administrative & Public Law for making “sound and independent judgments” and for “pragmatic and solution-orientated advice”. Astraea Group is regularly instructed in cases at the interface between commercial, regulatory and public law.

Reputation Protection and Crisis Management: We offer strategic solutions to complex issues, leading teams with diverse skill sets, including: public relations, investigations, forensic accountancy, and business and political analysis

Private Client: We advise High Net Worth (“HNW“) and Ultra High Net Worth (“UHNW“) individual clients on their personal planning and wealth holding structures in the UK and internationally. We are able to assist our private clients with most matters on which they require advice through our network of top tier firms in the UK and internationally including private banks, trustees, accountants, IFAs, family lawyers, immigration experts, real estate professionals, art advisers and yacht and private jet specialists, among others.

Key Clients:
– Solicitors Regulation Authority
– London Wall Master Pool Ltd
– Capsticks LLP
– Bird & Bird LLP
– Monzo Bank Ltd

Work Highlights:
Acting as global counsel for a group of international investors enforcing USD 500M investor-state arbitration award against the Republic of Kazakshtan

Acting for the leading group of successful defendants in USD 4.5Bn claim, Tulip Trading Ltd v Bitcoin Association for BSV & others [2022] EWHC 667 (Ch), one of the most important decisions so far in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.

Securing full admission and striking off order in major dishonesty SRA case against, as described by The Times “Britain’s most corrupt solicitor”.

Department Name Email Telephone
Nina Stewart
James Ramsden KC
Rob Bedford
Piers Rake
Photo Name Position Profile
Robert  Bedford photo Robert Bedford Rob joined Astraea from a global firm and specialises in large-scale, cross-border…
Lisa  McCreath photo Lisa McCreath Lisa is an Associate based in Astraea Group’s London office. Whilst she…
Piers Rake photo Piers Rake Piers joined Astraea in 2023 having previously been a Managing Director with…
Joe Young photo Joe Young Joe trained at Pinsent Masons. In 2014, he then qualified into their…
Photo Name Position Profile
James  Ramsden photo Adv James Ramsden James Ramsden KC has an expansive international practice in commercial dispute resolution,…
Rory Mulchrone photo Rory Mulchrone Rory is Counsel at Astraea Group’s London office, having previously worked as…
Partners : 4
Legal Director : 1
Fee Earners : 8
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