Zaiwalla & Co > London, England > Firm Profile

Zaiwalla & Co
Holborn Tower
137-144 High Holborn

Dispute resolution > Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 6

'Excellent boutique firm' Zaiwalla & Co's litigation team has particular expertise in banking disputes relating to developing and high growth economies such as India, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and the Middle East. It is developing a niche in banking disputes involving international sanctions and public international law issues. Sarosh Zaiwalla and Kartik Mittal jointly lead the three-partner team which includes Leigh Crestohl and senior solicitor Rohit Ralleigh.

Practice head(s):

Sarosh Zaiwalla; Kartik Mittal

Other key lawyers:


Excellent boutique firm with a dynamic and proactive approach to litigation. Easily capable of holding their own against much larger firms.

Stand out partners are Sarosh Zaiwalla, Leigh Crestohl.

Kartik Mittal – partner. Highly intelligent, astute, very hard-working. Safe pair of hands. Leigh Crestohl – partner. balanced, dependable.

Sarosh Zaiwalla brings valuable experience to litigation; Leigh Crestohl has a strong intellect and good judgment; and Kartik Mittal works hard to achieve the right result for his clients.’

Zaiwalla & Co, being a boutique law firm, offers a service to its clients to solve their legal problems in an efficient and personal way, knowing that all partners, solicitor and paralegals are offering all their knowledge and time to the legal problem that the affected person is having.

The practice is marked by an in-depth assessment of legal issues and great attention to detail.’

Unique perspective on the law, ability to spot a weakness and execute strategies beneficial to their client.

Key clients

Central Bank of Venezuela

Pesco Beam Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) in a dispute with the Bank of England (BoE) relating to the BoE’s refusal to comply with the instructions of the BCV to facilitate the transfer of €930m of the value of Venezuela’s gold to the United Nations Development Programme to address the COVID-19 emergency in Venezuela.
  • Acting for Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) in a $120m dispute with Deutsche Bank (DB) arising out of the early termination of gold swap transactions due to the imposition of sanctions on the BCV, which triggered DB’s obligation to pay an early termination amount to the BCV.
  • Successfully acted for eight of nine defendants in a $45m claim in the Chancery Division brought by Punjab National Bank in relation to claims of fraudulent misrepresentation, deceit and breach of various guarantees and loan agreements.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 6

Zaiwalla & Co is well-known for its involvement in substantial, multijurisdictional commercial litigation, much of which originates from developing and high-growth economies, such as India, Russia and the Middle East. Sarosh Zaiwalla, who has over 40 years of commercial litigation experience, has a strong track record in precedent-setting cases. Leigh Crestohl oversees the litigation department's work.

Practice head(s):

Sarosh Zaiwalla


A firm like no other – prepared to take on the tricky or unpalatable cases from overseas that others won’t touch – and often as not they go on to win them.

Top boutique firm.

Other solicitors have a pyramid structure, Zaiwalla has a real team. Every member of the team thinks about every issue, and the issues are discussed collaboratively with the team and with counsel. The outcome is a robust litigation strategy, and the process is stimulating and effective and can produce out-of-the-box solutions.

Zaiwalla & Co are a pleasure to work with and there is no weak link in the team.

A very experienced boutique litigation practice with an extraordinarily broad case load, from international sanction cases through to cross-border frauds.

Sarosh Zaiwalla has vast experience, and an unparalleled ability to understand how to achieve what a client wants.

Sarosh Zaiwalla brings to bear his extensive expertise to ensure the best results for clients, fearlessly fighting their corner.

Leigh Crestohl runs the engine-room of the firm.

Key clients


Hico FZE

Adeel Abdul Kareem

Ajay Sethi

M/S Unique Part Trading


Robert Gorham

Delfield Management

Lord Rami Ranger

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bulgaria’s largest private gas company (Overgas) in defending a $105m claim (brought by a Gazprom subsidiary) concerning an alleged scheme to dilute the shareholding of a joint venture company.
  • Acted for Hirbodan Management Company and HICO FZE (as claimants) in proceedings issued to enforce an Iranian Court judgment against Cummins Power Generation (known for the design and manufacture of power generation equipment).
  • Acted for Adeel Abdul Kareem (UAE-based businessman) in a dispute relating to a marine insurance contract.

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 7

Zaiwalla & Co undertakes complex and high-value international arbitrations, which often emanate from developing and high-growth economies, particularly India, Russia and the Middle East; the team also consistently receives instructions from Iranian companies. Leigh Crestohl leads the international arbitration department, and Sarosh Zaiwalla has over 40 years’ arbitration experience.

Practice head(s):

Leigh Crestohl

Other key lawyers:


Independently minded and good on both strategy and details.

Not afraid to argue an unconventional corner.

Leigh Crestohl is very tenacious and committed to the case.

Leigh Crestohl is a really excellent lawyer, a great team player, and exceptionally bright.

Work highlights

  • Acting in a $400m arbitration for a Dubai media channel that has brought proceedings against a Kenyan state media company.
  • Acting for Russian parties in one of the first commercial arbitrations involving the separation of assets following a marital breakdown.

Established in 1982, Zaiwalla & Co Ltd (Zaiwalla) is best known for undertaking complex, high-value, multijurisdictional disputes, often emanating from developing and high-growth economies such as Russia, India, China, the Middle East and Africa.

This is why the firm is retained by some of the world’s largest private and state-owned companies in oil and gas, energy, banking and commercial sectors some of whom are publicly listed and/or feature in the Fortune 500 and Forbes.

Zaiwalla’s clients value the following attributes of the firm:

  • Strategy: we develop streamlined approaches to high-value disputes. Our proven track record is a result of finding new and innovative approaches to challenging issues.
  • Setting precedents: challenging established law and winning cases at the highest courts in the UK and the EU. The firm has acted in over 116 cases that have changed the law in England and Wales.
  • Large cases: In 2019 the team successfully settled an 8-year US$4bn claim was settled for the Iranian private bank, Bank Mellat, in the largest ever public law damages claim ($4bn) brought against the UK government for the wrongful imposition of sanctions, a case that featured twice in The Lawyer’s annual list of The Top 20 International Disputes. Other matters in 2019 include a US$420m LCIA arbitration for Channel 2 Corporation against the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, reported in the Kenyan parliament, and a banking dispute for India’s ICICI Bank.
  • International expertise: Over 90% of the client base is international and the Zaiwalla team has English qualified lawyers from India, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Canada and South Africa. With lawyers from international backgrounds, and decades of experience acting for clients from all over the world, the team attracts pioneering international work – one of the first UK law firms to enter the international legal market in China, and later one of the first firms to enter the Iranian legal market.

Types of work undertaken: High-value business litigation and arbitration across a range of sectors including banking and financial services, energy, commodities, shipping, aviation, construction, life sciences, real estate, media and professional services.

Arbitrations under the rules of the LCIA, GAFTA, ICC, UNCITRAL, DIAC and more.

Commercial, acting for major international oil and gas, mining, construction, aviation and media companies as well as international and domestic (private and state-owned) businesses in relation to joint ventures, sale and distribution, franchising and service agreements.

Advising on compliance and corporate crime, intellectual property, cyber law and high-net-worth family matters.

Senior Partner Sarosh Zaiwalla
Partner Leigh Crestohl
Partner Kartik Mittal
Number of UK partners : 3
Number of other UK fee-earners : 9

We are one of the first City law firms started by a solicitor from a BAME background.

Today our London based team remains a mix of nationalities, races and faiths. Diversity is celebrated at this firm. It is also necessary, so that we can service our clients who are of equally diverse international backgrounds.

We want to see a marked change in the legal profession. In keeping with our firm’s origins and values, we are committed to ensure all talented individuals are given a platform regardless, of their individual characteristics or beliefs.

In testament to our ongoing commitment to diversity we act pro bono for the MOBO Awards UK (Music of Black Origin). Our Senior Partner won the Lifetime Achievement award at the Law Society’s Asian Solicitors Award 2017.