Zaiwalla & Co > London, England > Firm Profile

Zaiwalla & Co
Holborn Tower
137-144 High Holborn

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 5

'Able to conduct complex, multi-party, multi-jurisdictional claims involving billions of pounds', Zaiwalla & Co undertakes high-stakes, multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation work that emanates from India, Russia, South America, and across the Middle East. Name partner Sarosh Zaiwalla, who 'has many years of experience in complex litigation', is an expert in challenging international sanctions, while Leigh Crestohl covers a broad range of commercial disputes. The youngest partner at the firm, Kartik Mittal routinely acts in high-value banking litigation involving developing or high-growth economies.

Practice head(s):

Leigh Crestohl

Other key lawyers:

Sarosh Zaiwalla; Kartik Mittal; Varun Zaiwalla; Saurabh Bhagotra


An impressive list of overseas and domestic clients, and an impressive record of success in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and High Court.’

‘They are all knowledgeable lawyers – the driving concern is what the client wants to achieve and how best can it be done. A top-class firm that punches well above its weight in commercial litigation.’

‘A large part of its success is owed to the fact that for each case it partners early on with the best and most appropriate members of the Bar to create a winning team for that particular case.’

‘Sarosh Zaiwalla has many years of experience in complex litigation.’

‘Leigh Chrestol and Varun Zaiwalla are extremely able lawyers.’

‘The partners and the firm give 100% attention to each case that they take on.’

‘One of the outstanding boutique commercial litigation practices in London.’

‘Able to conduct complex, multi-party, multi-jurisdictional claims involving billions of pounds.’

Key clients

Air India

Steppe Metal Powders

Work highlights

  • Acting for Air India in an ongoing appeal before the First Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) against the decision of HMRC to uphold a post-clearance demand note and a civil penalty notice, in relation to 12 import entries.
  • Instructed in a professional negligence claim, on behalf of a group of persons who relied on a due diligence report prepared by a London law firm.
  • Acting for Steppe Metal Powders in a claim for damages for breach of contract.

Dispute resolution > Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 6

Boutique firm Zaiwalla & Co has ‘excellent experience in complex international banking disputes‘, acting regularly for and against major state banks. Team head Sarosh Zaiwalla has over 40 years of experience in multi-jurisdictional banking litigation, with particular expertise in international sanctions-related matters. ‘Expert lawyer’ Leigh Crestohl and ‘standout partnerKartik Mittal are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Sarosh Zaiwalla

Other key lawyers:

Leigh Crestohl; Kartik Mittal; Stephanie Limaco


‘Sarosh Zaiwalla is a great senior lawyer and his work leading the whole firm is very good.’

‘I have had the privilege of working with 3 outstanding partners – Kartik Mittal, Leigh Crestohl and Sarosh Zaiwalla, who heads the firm. I would highly recommend each of them.’

‘A boutique firm with excellent experience in complex international banking disputes for overseas clients.’

‘Kartik Mittal is the standout partner, part of a new generation at the firm.’

‘Leigh Cresthol is an expert lawyer that gives amazing and concrete recommendations on legal issues.’

‘Stephanie Limaco is an amazing lawyer and her expertise in both Spanish and English is helpful to us as clients.’

‘A truly unique firm led by Sarosh Zaiwalla and backed by a very talented dedicated team. The firm provides 360 degree client care to some of the most commercial clients litigating in London today.’

Key clients

Central Bank of Venezuela (BoE)

Central Bank of Venezuela (DB)


Individuals involved in the establishment of a Cryptocurrency banking enterprise in Malta

Work highlights

  • Representing the client bank in relation to its dispute with the Bank of England (BOE) arising from BOE’s refusal to facilitate the transfer of €930m of the value of gold held in a metals account.
  • Acted for Wanbury Limited to provide advice in relation to a deed of variation that it intended to enter with the State Bank of India (SBI).

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 7

Zaiwalla & Co undertakes high-stakes international arbitration work that frequently emanates from India, Russia and the Middle East; and it is increasingly sought out by Iranian companies. Sarosh Zaiwalla is 'one of the market's top disputes solicitors', while Leigh Crestohl acts in construction, media, telecoms, finance, and oil and gas-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Leigh Crestohl

Other key lawyers:

Sarosh Zaiwalla; Saurabh Bhagotra


‘Very strong market reputation. Handles some huge cases.’

‘Zaiwalla & Co has an almost unique place in the market. For, ostensibly, a boutique firm, Sarosh Zaiwalla has built an extremely fine team of partners and associates.’

‘The firm regularly attracts extremely high-profile and complex arbitration.’

‘Sarosh Zaiwalla is a titan of the London legal market. Having acted on some of the highest-profile litigation over the last 40 years, he has a formidable and well-deserved reputation as one of the market’s top disputes solicitors.’

Leigh Crestohl is hugely intelligent, and brings ingenuity and commitment to any matter on which he works.

‘The firm has a small, focused and knowledgeable team for commodities and shipping disputes.’

‘Saurabh Bhagotra brings a very calm, considered and commercial approach to his clients’ cases. He thinks through the implications of tactical steps before taking them, in consultation with the Counsel on the case.’

‘They are a very collaborative team with great knowledge in the arbitration field.’

Key clients

Sharp Corp

Work highlights

  • Acted for Sharp Corporation in its Section 69 appeal, arising out of two sale contracts with Dutch trading house Viterra.

Since its establishment in 1982, Zaiwalla & Co Ltd has been 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.

Today, 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, many of them publicly listed and/or featured in the Fortune 500 and Forbes.

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

Original Strategies: we tailor streamlined approaches for all our clients disputes. Our proven track record is a result of finding new and innovative strategies to solve challenging issues.

Setting precedents: challenging established law and winning cases at the highest courts in the UK and the EU. The firm has now acted in over 130 cases that have changed the law in England and Wales.

Large cases: Successfully handling major cases which would usually be seen as the preserve of the largest ‘magic circle’ law firms, never overwhelmed but achieving  maximum efficiency for clients. Recent examples include:

Since 2020 Zaiwalla and Co has represented the Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela in its action to recover around US $2bn of gold and securities which is held by the Bank of England. This matter proceeded to the UK Supreme Court in late 2021 on issues of state authority and international relations and has attracted significant international attention. In 2022 the dispute returns to the Court of Appeal.

In 2019 the team successfully completed an 8-year US$4bn claim on behalf of the Iranian private bank, Bank Mellat. This was the largest ever public law damages claim ($4bn) brought against the UK government for the wrongful imposition of sanctions, and  a case that featured twice in The Lawyer magazine’s annual lists of The Top 20 International Disputes.

International expertise: Zaiwalla & Co was one of the first UK law firms to enter the  legal market in China, and later one of the first firms to enter the Iranian legal market. Today over 90% of our clients are based outside the United Kingdom. Zaiwalla & Co has a core of home grown lawyers and a strong team of English qualified lawyers originating from India, Pakistan, Russia, Peru, Canada, Egypt and Israel. With this team bringing its decades of experience acting for clients from all over the world, Zaiwalla & Co continues to attract pioneering international work.

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.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior Partner Sarosh Zaiwalla
Partner Leigh Crestohl
Partner Kartik Mittal
Photo Name Position Profile
Leigh Crestohl photo Leigh Crestohl Partner
Photo Name Position Profile
Saurabh Bhagotra photo Saurabh Bhagotra Senior Solicitor
Henna Elahi photo Henna Elahi Senior Solicitor
Kartik Mittal photo Kartik Mittal Partner
Sarosh Zaiwalla photo Sarosh Zaiwalla Senior Partner
Photo Name Position Profile
Varun Zaiwalla photo Varun Zaiwalla Barrister
Number of UK partners : 3
Number of other UK fee-earners : 11

Zaiwalla & Co is one of the first City law firms in London’s “square mile” started by a solicitor from a BAME background.

Today our London based team remains a rich mix of nationalities, races and faiths. Diversity is celebrated and welcomed at this firm, and allows us to better serve our international clients who are of equally diverse backgrounds. We are privileged to have a team of bilingual lawyers conversant in a range of languages including, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic, Hebrew, and Russian.

We want to see a marked change in the legal industry, and we are committed to pursuing diversity and equality in the legal profession, our firm being one of the first to champion that cause in the City decades ago. In keeping with those origins and values, we ensure that talented individuals are given a platform to prosper in our firm regardless of their individual characteristics or beliefs. Since 2017, the firm has maintained an annual scholarship for one Indian law student, who would not otherwise have the means, to come to the UK to pursue a one-year Masters in International Law at Sommerville College at the University of Oxford.  The scholarship aims to give these young students an opportunity to advance their own professional careers and contribute to an advancing global legal framework.

In testament to our ongoing commitment to diversity, we also act pro bono for the MOBO Awards UK (Music of Black Origin).

Our firm’s Senior Partner, Sarosh Zaiwalla, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by the Indian National Bar Association for Legal Excellence and his significant role in Indian Society. In 2017, Sarosh Zaiwalla won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Society of Asian Lawyers Awards 2017.

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

TESTIMONIAL: ‘Stand out partners are Sarosh Zaiwalla, Leigh Crestohl.‘

TESTIMONIAL: ‘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.’

TESTIMONIAL: ‘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.‘

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

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