Fountain Court
Natasha Bennett

Natasha Bennett Call date: 2009

Natasha has a broad commercial and civil practice in line with Chambers’ profile with experience in the following areas:


Recommendations

In 2012, Natasha was named by Legal Week as one of ten “Stars at the Bar”.

Comments include as follows:

“clearly has an impressive future ahead of her”  Legal Week 2012

“extremely bright and user-friendly” Legal Week 2012

“grasped the detail of the dispute quickly, and did a good job on her feet.” Legal Week 2012

“incredibly efficient, a great team player and a pleasure to work with” Legal Week 2012

"wisdom beyond her years" Legal Week 2012

Education

BA (Law), Trinity College, Cambridge (Starred Double First, Second highest mark in university)

BCL, Merton College, Oxford (Distinction, Highest mark in university)

Prizes and Scholarships

Vinerian Scholarship for best overall performance on the BCL (Oxford University, 2008)

Lord Denning Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn, 2008)

Hardwicke Entrance Award (Lincoln’s Inn, 2008)

Norton Rose Prize for Commercial Law for highest mark in university (Cambridge University, 2007)

Herbert Smith Prize for Conflicts of Laws for highest mark in university (Cambridge University, 2007)

Clifford Chance Prize for EU Law for highest mark in university (Cambridge University, 2007)

Lizette Bentwich Prize for academic excellence (Trinity College, Cambridge, 2005, 2006, 2007)

Senior Scholar (Trinity College, Cambridge, 2006-2007)

Whittacker Scholarship (Trinity College, Cambridge 2007)

Recent practice

Natasha is instructed in relation to a wide range of commercial matters. Her financial services, banking, insurance and professional negligence experience has seen both onshore and offshore use, being frequently led by Fountain Court’s senior silks, as well as appearing unled. A summary of her recent practice is set out below:

Professional Negligence/Financial Services Regulation

Natasha has acted for and against a wide range of disciplines including banks, fund managers, independent financial advisors, solicitors and surveyors. For example:

  • SB and Elm Hotels v Lloyds TSB: currently instructed (with Richard Coleman QC) in a multi-million pound claim against a bank in relation to the alleged mis-selling of interest rate swaps.
  • SPL Private Finance (PF1) IC Limited and 17 others v Arch Financial products LLP: instructed (with Richard Coleman QC and Giles Wheeler) in substantial litigation by a Guernsey incorporated cell against an investment manager concerning the negligent management of investments valued in excess of US$150 million.
  • Basma Al Sulaiman v Credit Suisse and Plurimi Capital LLP: acted (with Guy Philipps QC) in a multi-million pound claim against an investment bank and an investment advisory firm for alleged negligence and breach of regulatory duties in connection with the mis-selling of structured products.
  • Natasha advised individual investors in a Guernsey-based company scheme with exposure to the UK commercial property market, as to possible claims against those managing and administering the scheme, in light of the substantial losses suffered on their investments.
  • Garnet Investments Ltd v BNP Paribas SA (Royal Court of Guernsey): acted (with Timothy Howe QC and James McClelland) for a corporate investor claiming against a number of international financial institutions for alleged negligence in the management of >£65 million equity investment portfolios and FX trades.

Insurance and reinsurance

Natasha has been instructed by domestic and international clients in relation to a broad range of insurance/reinsurance disputes. For example:

  • Godiva Mortgages Limited v Travellers Insurance et al: instructed (with Mark Simpson QC) by a solicitors firm’s secondary layer insurers in relation to aggregation issues following the discovery of a large number of mortgage frauds involving the solicitors firm.
  • Natasha was instructed (with Michael Crane QC) on a reinsurance arbitration concerning a captive reinsurer’s liability for settlement sums agreed between the insurer and the insured.
  • Heungkuk Fire & Marine Insurance v Eurasia Insurance: instructed (with David Railton QC and Patrick Goodall) on a reinsurance dispute relating to Korean shipbuilding advance payment guarantees.
  • Collyer Bristow LLP v Lockton et al: instructed (with Mark Simpson QC and James Cutress) by a solicitors firm’s primary layer insurers in relation to aggregation issues arising out of the Innovator litigation.
  • Chadwick v Elite Insurance Co Ltd: appeared (as sole counsel in the Commercial Court) on a summary judgment application as to the correct construction of a Legal Expenses Insurance Policy and the interplay with the provisions relating to the assessment of solicitors’ bills under the Solicitors Act 1974.

Banking and Finance

Natasha regularly appears on behalf of major banks in relation to a wide range of matters including derivative transactions, the enforcement of loans and guarantees, mistaken payments, merchant acquiring services, breach of mandate claims and consumer credit work. For example: 

  • Credit Suisse v Stichting Vestia: recently acted (with Timothy Howe QC and Henry King) for Credit Suisse in a claim against a Dutch Social Housing Association to recover £83 million owed under various interest rate derivative transactions. The Dutch Social Housing Association’s defence included a plea that the interest rate derivative transactions were void ab initio as a result of its lack of capacity under Dutch law to enter into such transactions.
  • Assisted Bankim Thanki QC in preparing an Expert Report, for the purposes of New York Proceedings, as to whether a parent bank has a legal right under English law to require that a subsidiary bank disclose its customer’s account information to the parent. 
  • Basma Al Sulaiman v Credit Suisse and Plurimi Capital LLP: acted (with Guy Philipps QC) in a multi-million pound claim against an investment bank and an investment advisory firm for alleged negligence and breach of regulatory duties in connection with the mis-selling of structured products.
  • SB and Elm Hotels v Lloyds TSB: currently instructed (with Richard Coleman QC) in a multi-million pound claim against a bank in relation to the alleged mis-selling of interest rate swaps.

Natasha was seconded to Barclays’ Global Retail Bank Litigation department in September 2010, during which she gained experience in a wide range of banking disputes.

Commercial Litigation

Natasha has experience in issues arising out of commercial contracts and regularly advises as to construction and rectification in respect of such contracts.

Natasha spent 3 months on secondment to Addleshaw Goddard (October 2010 to December 2010) during which she assisted with the disclosure exercise and the preparation of witness statements in a multi-billion pound claim brought by Boris Berezovsky against Roman Abramovich in relation to the ownership of Russian oil and aluminium assets.

Natasha spent 4 months on secondment to Clifford Chance in Singapore (April 2013 to August 2013) during which she assisted on a range of complex commercial matters including a contractual dispute between an Indonesian mining company and its Australian contractor (being heard in the Queensland courts) and litigation in the Singaporean High Court as to the true ownership of assets held in a triangular corporate structure.

Conflicts of Law and jurisdiction

Natasha specialised in Conflicts of Laws in her graduate studies. She has advised on jurisdiction under Article 5(1)b of the Brussels Regulation in relation to a claim for >£2 million brought against a Greek company. The claim involved a telecommunications contract for the supply of capacity on a fiberoptic submarine cable which crossed many countries in Europe.

HSBC Canada Limited v Roberts; acting for an individual resisting the enforcement under the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933 of a judgment of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in England.

Company Law

Natasha acted (with Michael Green QC and Marcus Smith QC) for a company and its directors in relation to an unfair prejudice petition brought by a minority shareholder.

Natasha was instructed (with Timothy Dutton QC) in relation to an urgent application for an injunction to prevent the presentation of a winding-up petition against a firm of solicitors following the service of a statutory demand by a creditor.

Other experience

Volunteer Legal Advisor at Bethnal Green Law Centre (2010 to 2011)

Accredited Free Representation Unit Volunteer appearing in Employment Tribunals (2009 to present)

Tutor in law, Kings College, London (2008-2009)

Represented Lincoln’s Inn at the Wilhelm C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, Vienna (2009)