Zaiwalla & Co > London, England > Firm Profile

Zaiwalla & Co
Holborn Tower
137-144 High Holborn

Dispute resolution > Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 6

Zaiwalla & Co ‘s banking litigation team is led by ‘hugely experienced litigatorSarosh Zaiwalla , who has experience acting for international banking clients in complex multi-jurisdictional cases. The team handles litigation from developing/high growth economies such as India, Iran and Venezuela.

Practice head(s):

Sarosh Zaiwalla

Other key lawyers:

Kartik Mittal; Leigh Crestohl



‘Zaiwalla & Co have a great team to work with and their diverse make up makes them very popular with international clients. Their litigation team is extremely capable and mission oriented.’

‘Leigh Crestohl: vast wealth of experience in different jurisdictions makes Leigh an extremely valuable asset in trans-national disputes.

‘Sarosh Zaiwalla: hugely experienced litigator who is the driving force behind the firm’s operations.’

‘Leigh Crestohl is a bright and imaginative lawyer’

‘Sarosh Zaiwalla expects outstanding standards from his staff and maintains attention to detail.’

Key clients

Central Bank of Venezuela

Wanbury Limited

Persia International Bank

Work highlights

  • Representing the client bank who acts through its Board of Directors appointed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (Maduro Board) in relation to its dispute with the Bank of England (BOE) arising from BOE’s refusal to comply with the instructions of the BCV to facilitate the transfer of €930 million of the value of gold held in a metal’s account on its behalf by BoE to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Acting for Wanbury Limited, a pharmaceutical company in India, to provide advice in relation to a Deed of Variation that it intended to enter with the State Bank of India (“SBI”) to vary the terms of a settlement which the parties had previously entered to resolve a claim brought by SBI in the English Commercial Court.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 6

'Cost-effective and shrewd law firm' Zaiwalla & Co routinely handles heavyweight commercial litigation work involving India, South America and the Middle East. A 'leading light in litigation', name partner Sarosh Zaiwalla has longstanding experience in high-value multi-jurisdictional cases, while IP and administrative law specialist Leigh Crestohl oversees the litigation department's work.

Other key lawyers:


‘The team at Zaiwalla always thinks strategically for the client- very good at grasping the key issues of complicated matters and devising a strategy around them Dealing with the team is very smooth, as one doesn’t have to go through different layers of people.’

‘Compared to some larger firms, Zaiwalla is a very cost-effective and shrewd law firm. Everyone at the firm is at a top-quality level.’

‘Sarosh Zaiwalla is a force of nature, who always personally discusses the case with the team and ensures it is abreast of the intricacy of the case. As a result, every member of the team becomes as effective as Sarosh himself, who has a great deal of knowledge and experience.’

‘Sarosh Zaiwalla is a leading light in litigation, always fighting hard for clients to secure the best results using any avenues available to them.

Leigh Crestohl has an excellent strategic mind and a great awareness of clients’ wider needs.

‘Leigh Crestohl is a very experienced and wily litigator.’

‘Leigh Crestohl – very bright and capable.’

‘Leigh Crestohl has a very quick grasp on matters, and provides valuable advice to me and my business. Leigh is very knowledgable when it comes to the technicalities of the law, and he is sharp and almost instantly gets to the core of issues – his advice to the business often contributes towards strategic decisions we make.’

Key clients

DDI Holdings

Sethia London

Air India

Work highlights

  • Defended a large private gas company in Bulgaria against a damages claim, in relation to an alleged scheme to dilute the shareholding of a joint venture company.
  • Acted for Sheikh Mohamed bin Issa Al Jaber, who claims that in 2002 he orally agreed to lend the defendants the sum of $30m to enable them to launch a rival Arabic news channel to Al Jazeera.
  • Acted for Sethia London in a dispute between UAE businessman Ajay Sethi and a company owned by British businessman Nirmal Sethia, which concerned a breach of a loan agreement.

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 7

Regularly representing parties from India, the Middle East and Iran, Zaiwalla & Co‘s ‘highly effective and responsive‘ team has notable experience in substantial international arbitrations. The ‘exceptionally brightLeigh Crestohl heads up the international arbitration department, while Sarosh Zaiwalla‘s track record includes acting as counsel in over 1200 international arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Leigh Crestohl

Other key lawyers:

Sarosh Zaiwalla; Saurabh Bhagotra


‘The team at Zaiwalla & Co was highly effective and responsive. It took instructions from clients efficiently, allowing Counsel to put together arbitration statements rapidly, and its instructions were clear and commercially sensible.

‘Manages to encourage individual responsibility and contributions in a way that sets it apart from nearly all City firms. It is also not afraid to be unpopular or strike out on its own path.’

‘An excellent team that is rightly highly regarded in the market.’

‘Works regularly on complex cross-border disputes, providing cost-effective solutions without compromising quality of service.’

‘Leigh Crestohl provides creative solutions and result oriented’

‘Leigh Crestohl – focused and an excellent problem solver.

‘Leigh Crestohl is exceptionally bright, insightful and tough. Great with clients.

Senior Solicitor Saurabh Bhagotra is an excellent lawyer, great team player, and very safe pair of hands for even the most difficult cases.

Key clients

Sharp Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acting for Sharp Corporation, as buyer, in relation to its section 69 English Arbitration Act 1996 appeal, in relation to two sale contracts.

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.

Senior Partner Sarosh Zaiwalla
Partner Leigh Crestohl
Partner Kartik Mittal
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.‘