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Slaughter and May

Living Wage
Work 020 7600 1200
Fax 020 7090 5000
Beijing, Brussels, Hong Kong, London

Sarah Lee

Work 020 7600 1200
Slaughter and May

Work Department

Dispute resolution.


Head of Dispute Resolution Group.  Partner with a wide experience in all aspects of major litigation and arbitration, handling complex and substantial commercial disputes of a varied nature and often involving multiple jurisdictions. She acts for major corporates and financial institutions as well as governmental bodies and international organisations.


Trained Frere Cholmeley, qualified 1990; partner Slaughter and May 1999.

Sarah is a CEDR accredited mediator, and a Trustee and member of the Management Committee of the Royal Courts of Justice Legal Advice Bureau.

London: Crime, fraud and licensing

Fraud: civil

Within: Fraud: civil

Slaughter and May¬†¬†advises on investigations, litigation, freezing orders, asset tracing, arbitrations and advisory work in relation to civil fraud. The firm continues to advise Mercuria with regards to carousel fraud claims brought against it and its co-defendant RBS in a case valued at ¬£84m. It also acts for Barratt in a bribery case concerning a former employee. Sarah Lee¬†heads the team, supported by the ‚Äėvery smart and very strategic‚Äô Deborah Finkler. Jonathan Cotton¬†and Efstathios Michael¬†are recommended. Nick Gray¬†and Richard Clark¬†retired.

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London: Dispute resolution

Banking litigation: investment and retail

Within: Leading individuals

Sarah Lee - Slaughter and May

Within: Banking litigation: investment and retail

Slaughter and May has particular expertise in high-value, technically-demanding, multi-jurisdictional disputes. The practice’s scope involves complex, structured products and sophisticated, financial derivative instruments, and it stands out for global regulatory investigations. The team acts for a broad spectrum of clients in the financial sector, including investment banks, major building societies, accountants, hedge funds, actuaries and private equity firms. Highlights included advising Banco Santander Totta (BST) on successful litigation, which arose out of interest rate swaps between BST and the defendants, which are publicly-owned Portuguese companies; this matter was the first case to be tried in the Financial List, the new dedicated financial court. It also acted for Mercuria Energy Europe Trading in dishonest assistance and fraudulent trading claims brought against it and its co-defendant, RBS that arose out of trading in the carbon emissions market. Sarah Lee is team head and Jonathan Clark's international banking practice includes advising on litigation involving derivatives transactions, benchmark manipulation and regulatory investigations, often ranging across multiple jurisdictions. Other key advisers are Deborah Finkler, Ewan Brown, Richard Swallow, Richard Jeens and Damian Taylor.

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Commercial litigation

Within: Leading individuals

Sarah Lee - Slaughter and May

Within: Commercial litigation

Acting for FTSE 100 clients across all industry sectors, Slaughter and May's 'excellent team' is widely respected for high-stakes commercial and corporate litigation, including the full range of post-acquisition, joint venture, shareholder and partnership disputes that frequently have cross-border elements.  Sarah Lee, who was elected head of the firm's dispute resolution group, acted for Mercuria Energy Europe Trading in claims brought against it, and its co-defendant, RBS, in the Financial List, which arose out of trading in the carbon emissions market in 2009; the claims relate to alleged missing trader intra-Community VAT fraud. In other significant matters, Jonathan Cotton acted for Diageo in proceedings against Vijay Mallya (the owner of both Force India Formula 1 team and Kingfisher Airlines), his son and various associated entities; the claim relates to various alleged breaches by the defendants of numerous commercial agreements. Other highly rated advisers include Richard Swallow, whose practice covers banking and financial services disputes, fraud and asset tracing, energy sector matters and contentious antitrust issues, including follow-on damages actions; and Damian Taylor, who 'provides clear and pragmatic advice on difficult questions'. Also recommended are Deborah Finkler, Efstathios Michael, Ewan Brown, Jonathan Clark, Richard Jeens and James Stacey, while Camilla Sanger is a key associate. Richard Clark retired from the partnership and Nick Gray joined international arbitration think tank, Newton Arbitration. 

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Competition litigation

Within: Competition litigation

'Intellectually superb and relentless in pursuing the highest possible standards', the team at Slaughter and May, which is led by the 'esteemed' Richard Swallow, has 'an enviable' reputation in competition litigation. Predominantly acting for defendants in some of the most high-profile claims, the group works closely with the global competition department, which is headed by Philippe Chappatte. Highlights included handling the principal UK actions and European follow-on litigation for British Airways in a major global multi-party litigation, following on from the air cargo cartel investigation. In another standout matter, it is representing Koninklijke Philips in a damages claim brought by in the English High Court by iiyama, arising from the European Commission's CRT and CRT Glass cartel decisions. It is also acting for MAN in various damages actions in courts and tribunals in the UK concerning the European Commission's truck cartel investigation.  Also recommended are the 'brilliant and meticulous' Jonathan Clark, 'tactically shrewd' Isabel Taylor, 'tough litigator' Sarah Lee and Camilla Sanger, who was promoted to partner in May 2018.

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International arbitration

Within: International arbitration

Slaughter and May is 'great for bet-the-company cases; the firm has excellent partners as well as a raft of fantastically smart, hard-working and down-to-earth associates and trainees'. The firm's international arbitration practice in relation to Africa continues to grow; other recent work involved fraud issues, contractual disputes, breach of warranty claims and energy sector disputes. Damian Taylor, who is 'bright and incisive' and the 'very impressive' James Stacey co-head the international arbitration group, and Sarah Lee is dispute resolution group head. Also key to the group is Efstathios Michael, who 'has an extraordinarily detailed understanding of his cases and impeccable judgement and strategic nous as to which points will hit home with tribunals'. Richard Clark retired from the firm, while Nick Gray joined international arbitration think tank, Newton Arbitration.

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Tax litigation and investigations

Within: Leading individuals

Sarah Lee - Slaughter and May

Within: Tax litigation and investigations

Slaughter and May's team, which sits in both the tax and dispute resolution departments, has 'a pre-eminent reputation across the spectrum of its practice', which encompasses investigations, pre-litigation settlements and litigation before courts at all levels. The group is co-led by Richard Jeens and intellectual property-related tax expert Dominic Robertson. Jeens is currently providing technical tax and strategic advice to Hays in relation to a dispute with HMRC over the correct VAT treatment of introductions of temporary workers; in claims for the repayment of over £1bn. Sarah Lee is currently assisting Mercuria Energy Europe Trading with the defence of a £73m High Court claim brought against it and its co-defendant RBS in relation to a missing trader VAT fraud in the carbon emissions market. Other key practitioners include Steve Edge and Mike Lane.

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London: Insurance

Insurance and reinsurance litigation

Within: Insurance and reinsurance litigation

The ‚Äėstellar‚Äô team at¬†Slaughter and May¬†‚Äėadopts a rigorous but commercially sensible approach to insurance and reinsurance litigation‚Äô. Across disputes in a variety of insurance sectors, including multi-jurisdictional coverage, reinsurance insolvency subrogation issues, product recall, and professional indemnity insurance, the practice maintains ‚Äėa great track record‚Äô.¬†Sarah Lee¬†leads a team that includes the pre-eminent Efstathios Michael,¬†who ‚Äėhas a great intellect, but also very good commercial instincts, and always adopts a practical approach to insurance dispute resolution‚Äô. Highlights included successfully representing Equitas in proceedings in the High Court regarding its pursuit of multiple, substantial and complex reinsurance claims against its reinsurer, R&Q, as well as advising Marsh in respect of a claim in the Commercial Court brought by Meinl Bank.

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London: Risk advisory

Regulatory investigations and corporate crime

Within: Regulatory investigations and corporate crime

Slaughter and May¬†is ‚Äėa go-to firm for international corporate investigations‚Äô and has ‚Äėstrength and depth in the team, very good associates and provides excellent strategic advice‚Äô. The firm continues to act as corporate counsel for Rolls-Royce in relation to investigations by the SFO, DOJ and Brazilian authorities into bribery and corruption in overseas markets, this matter was worth around ¬£671m. Other key clients include Shell and British American Tobacco. Sarah Lee¬†heads the team, supported by Jonathan Cotton¬†and Richard Swallow¬†who is ‚Äėsavvy and creative, and has a nice touch with clients and prosecutors‚Äô. Deborah Finkler¬†is ‚Äėvery smart and very strategic‚Äô. Nick Gray¬† and Richard Parker¬†retired.

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