Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Europe

Members of the set have advised on the legal impact on domestic UK law of relevant European Union law, and on the application of the European Convention of Human Rights to commercial law matters.  They have also appeared before the Court of First Instance and the European Court of Justice, as well as the European Court of Human Rights.

The set, for example, was instructed in Cooper v Attorney General [2008], the first claim for the manifest infringement of EC rights by an English court in judicial review proceedings ever brought in this jurisdiction.

The set is also well placed to advise European commercial clients as to their rights under UK and EU, law, particularly in relation to jurisdictional matters, and the application of EU Regulations affecting anti-suit injunctions and the relationship between  that and arbitration.

Members of the set, for example, have been active in representing JPMorgan in a $220m claim made against a German public authority BVG, which case has went to both the UK Supreme Court and European Court of Justice on jurisdiction grounds (in order to decide where the case should be heard). It is now the leading European case on this matter.

We also act as a repository of experience in litigating on behalf of corporate clients in the UK courts, where we have acted for both Western European and Eastern European clients. Our members are highly experienced in dealing with commercial claims in the Rolls Building, the home of London’s ‘Unlocking Disputes’ campaign.

To give some recent examples, we have acted at trial, on appeal, and on assessment of damages in a case regarding German waste metal recycling which involved the interpretation of the relevant EU regulation and questions of legality under German and English law; a Franco-German dispute  in relation to a fraud claim arising from ‘credit crunch’ issues for damages in excess of $1.675 billion;  numerous cases involving Italian local authorities and investment banks over claims  to enforce interest rate swaps

We have also given advice in respect of EU member state sovereign bonds, involving an in-depth understanding of international capital markets and EU fiscal policy and potential disputes outcomes. Each of these cases shows a facet of the depth and complexity of our work.

We are familiar with the various institutional arbitration regimes, including the International Chamber of Commerce, the London Court of International Arbitration, the UNCITRAL Rules and the City Disputes Panel, and challenges to that regime.

The set was instrumental in the litigation, at Supreme Court level, in the controversial case of Jivraj v. Hashwani [2011] UKSC 40, which looked at the application of EU labour law to the appointment of arbitrators, for example.

We have a particular expertise in dealing with Russian and CIS claims having acted in most of the major commercial cases between oligarchs over the last few years, with satellite litigation in offshore centres in Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man to name just four jurisdictions impacted by such cases as well as London.

The set acted for the late Boris Berezovsky in his high-profile claim against his former business partner Roman Abramovitch. The three-month trial was described by the media as the largest private court case ever, concluded in January 2012.

Separately, it acted for Berezovsky in claims worth in excess of US$1bn brought before the Chancery Division against the estate of deceased Georgian businessman Arcady ‘Badri’ Patarkatsishvili- a complex and high-profile dispute- which ran for more than four years, which subsequently settled.

The set acted in the case of VTB Capital v Nutritek International, [2013] UKSC 5, the leading case on refusing to pierce the corporate veil- the principle that a company has a separate legal personality from its members – in which it represented Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, one of the defendants, in a $300m claim- in which a world-wide freezing order was discharged and succeeded on jurisdictional issues, with the court agreeing the natural forum to hear the case was Russia.

More recently, our members were instructed in the extremely complex offshore and onshore litigation involving JSC BTA Bank v Mukhtar Ablyazov, in, amongst other hearings, a three-month trial of claims totalling several billion dollars arising out of an alleged complex scheme of misappropriation from the leading bank in Kazakhstan by its former chairman and other management.

Members have also as expert witnesses on English law, for example in Russian-related litigation, on the law relating to contractual uncertainty and the intention to create legal relations.