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Stephenson Harwood

Living Wage
Work 020 7329 4422
Fax 020 7329 7100
Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Piraeus and 4 more

John Fordham

Work 020 7809 2300
Stephenson Harwood

Work Department

Commercial litigation.


A very experienced litigator, John has represented clients in a full range of commercial and civil disputes. He acts for states and other sovereign bodies, companies and individuals, as either claimant or defendant. The majority of his work is international in nature. Clients value his experience and strategic and tactical advice.

John is head of our commercial litigation practice group. His extensive litigation experience covers the full range of commercial activity, including banking and finance, insurance, professional negligence and joint venture/shareholder/director/partnership. John is also a practising mediator (accredited by CEDR) and sits as an arbitrator.

He is  highly regarded in the field of fraud and asset tracing, having handled numerous freezing injunctions and disclosure orders for claimants and defendants, including the award-winning case of Westminster v Dame Shirley Porter. John’s work includes representing clients involved in investigations and prosecutions by the Financial Conduct Authority and Serious Fraud Office. 

London: Crime, fraud and licensing

Fraud: civil

Within: Leading individuals

John Fordham - Stephenson Harwood

Within: Fraud: civil

‘Leading firm’ Stephenson Harwood provides ‘strong, thoughtful advice’ in international fraud litigation, and is known for its experience in emerging markets such as Russia, the CIS, Africa and India. The firm is adept at handling injunctions such as freezing orders, search orders, Norwich Pharmacal orders, receivership orders and gagging orders. Highlights include acting for a Russian businessman in relation to a $100m freezing order and fraud claims against him following the collapse of his business. Other clients include the former shareholders of Yukos Oil Company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Natixis and Unitech. ‘Highly respected adviser and draftsman’ Alan Bercow jointly heads the team with Ros Prince who ‘understands all aspects of fraud litigation like the back of her hand, is superb on interim injunction work and has the respect of her clients’. Also recommended are Priya Grewal, Kamal Shah, who has ‘superb strategic skills’, and John Fordham.

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London: Dispute resolution

Banking litigation: investment and retail

Within: Banking litigation: investment and retail

Finance litigation is a core practice area for Stephenson Harwood, which frequently advises on matters involving litigation in multiple jurisdictions and 'combines excellent sector knowledge with a genuine litigation focus'. The 'excellent team provides very prompt responses and is very strong at analysing cases' strengths and weaknesses'. Key work included acting for Natixis in a claim against Marex Financial (an independent commodities broker and trader) and Access World Logistics (Singapore) (a Glencore-owned provider of London Metal Exchange warehousing), which involved five spot-purchase contracts (and related repo transactions) for the sale of nickel; the case is expected to produce significant implications in the context of commodity financing, particularly the use of warehouse receipts in repo and other transactions of this nature. In other matters, the group advised Commerzbank on its claims against Liquimar Tankers Management and Pauline Shippingo, which arose out of loan and guarantee documentation that contained asymmetric jurisdiction agreements. The finance co-litigation heads are Sue Millar and Edward Davis. Other recommended names are commercial litigation department head John Fordham, 'who has excellent knowledge of cases', Richard Garcia, Donna Newman and Richard Gwynne.

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Commercial litigation

Within: Leading individuals

John Fordham - Stephenson Harwood

Within: Commercial litigation

Stephenson Harwood's 'excellent practice is genuinely focused on litigation'. It has particular expertise in cases involving financial services, shareholder disputes, public international law and fraud, which are frequently multi- jurisdictional. The team represented Blue Power in Business List proceedings against Eni, the Italian oil and gas multinational, which are valued at over €1 bn; the matter arose out of an oil and gas field project, including a claim for breach of contractual obligations of exclusivity that arose from Eni's engagement of third parties. John Fordham is department head; Sue Millar and Edward Davis are co-financial litigation heads;  Richard Gwynne's practice covers banking and finance litigation, shareholder and joint venture disputes, and complex cross-border disputes; and Richard Garcia has particular experience of shareholder, partnership, joint venture, post-acquisition and corporate investment disputes. Sean Jeffrey and Andrew Myers are also highly rated, Kate Cordery was made partner, and Guy Harper and Alina Neal are key senior associates.

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Within: Mediators

Stephenson Harwood’s commercial litigation head John Fordham is regularly instructed in high-value and complex mediations; Fordham has particular strength in financial services and shareholder disputes and has a strong international practice. He recently mediated a high-value, unfair prejudice petition brought by a minority shareholder.

Within: Mediators - ranked: tier 3

John Fordham - Stephenson Harwood

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Legal Developments by:
Stephenson Harwood

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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