Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore
Richard Coleman

Richard Coleman QCCall Date: 1994 | Silk Date: 2012

“A go-to barrister for difficult pieces of work.  He’s brilliant, can distil concepts into simple ideas, and is incredibly flexible in the way he works.” (Chambers Guide)

“A silk who represents superb value, he is one of our first choices in banking disputes.  He is constructive in his thinking and good at finding answers in difficult cases.” (Chambers Guide)

“A first rate intellect”, “utterly straight in his dealings”, “just fantastic” (Chambers Guide)

Richard Coleman QC is a leading practitioner in the fields of commercial dispute resolution, banking, financial services and professional discipline. His practice has ranged across some of the most important commercial, banking and regulatory disputes of the day, such as the Bank Charges litigation, the PPI judicial review, the FCA’s investigation into LIBOR manipulation, interest rate swaps misselling, the collapses of the Arch-Cru and Keydata funds, litigation arising from the writing of gross loss-making insurance business and the PA LMX spiral, and disputes over tax avoidance.

Richard’s core expertise is in written and oral advocacy, case management and dispute resolution.  From 2007-2012, he was a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel of barristers approved to conduct important cases on behalf of Government departments, from which he gained a wide experience of trial and appellate advocacy. He has acted for a wide variety of clients in the commercial, financial, regulatory and public sectors, including AIB Bank (Channel Islands), the Arch-Cru Guernsey cell companies, Bank of England, Bank of Scotland, Banque Generale de Luxembourg, Barclays Bank, Brewin Dolphin, British Sky Broadcasting, Cabinet Office, Cape plc, City law firms (as clients), Civil Aviation Authority, Clydesdale Bank, Commerzbank, Competition and Markets Authority, Coutts, Department of Health, Dyson Ltd, Environment Agency, Financial Conduct Authority, HM Prison Service, HM Revenue & Customs, HM Treasury, Indian Airlines Limited, Korea First Bank, Lehman Brothers, Lloyds Bank, Lloyd’s , Home Office, London Stock Exchange, HSBC, LTE International Airways, Killik & Co, Ministry of Defence, National Westminster Bank, NCP Services Ltd, Northern Rock, Office of Fair Trading, Ofgem, Rabobank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Smiths Group plc, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Sports Network (Frank Warren), State Bank of India, the trustees of Baron Han Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza trust, TSB Bank plc, uSwitch shareholders, Yorkshire Bank, Willis and Zurich.

Richard is a member of the New York Bar (non-practising), and has experience of working in a US law firm in Washington D.C., in a French law firm and in Bermuda, where he acted in the Thyssen litigation.

Areas of Expertise

  • Banking & finance
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Employment
  • Financial services
  • Fraud: civil
  • Insurance and reinsurance
  • International arbitration
  • Media, entertainment & sport
  • Offshore
  • Professional discipline
  • Professional negligence
  • Tax
  • Administrative & public law

Recommendations

Richard is a recommended silk for commercial litigation (Legal 500), banking and finance (Chambers and Partners, Legal 500), financial services (Chambers and Partners), and professional discipline (Chambers and Partners, Legal 500).

He has unparalleled knowledge of the legal and factual issues surrounding hedging.’ (Legal 500 2017 – Banking and Finance)

A superb tactician and excellent advocate.’ (Legal 500 2017 – Commercial Litigation)

Extremely intelligent and a pleasure to work with.’ (Legal 500 2017 – Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law)

“A gem and a real pleasure to work with” (Legal 500 2015 – Commercial litigation)

“A go-to barrister for difficult pieces of work.  He’s brilliant, can distil concepts into simple ideas, and is incredibly flexible in the way he works.  He gets things back to you in good time and he’s incredibly willing to get into the detail.  Nothing is too much trouble for him” (Chambers and Partners 2015 – Financial Services)

“A superb value silk and one of the first choices for banking disputes.” (Chambers and Partners 2015 – Banking & Finance)

“He is constructive in his thinking and good at finding answers in difficult cases.  He’s very hard working.” (Chambers and Partners 2015 – Banking and Finance)

“He is not afraid to stick his neck out, and is user friendly, bright and responsive.” (Legal 500 2015 – Banking & Finance)

Extremely knowledgeable on the misselling of interest rate swaps and Libor manipulation” (Legal 500 2015 – Banking and Finance)

“He has superb analytical skills, is very clear in his drafting and can break things down” (Chambers and Partners 2015 – Professional Discipline)

“Bright, good on complex financial matters and pleasant to work with.” (Chambers and Partners 2014 – Financial Services)

 “A first rate intellect”, “utterly straight in his dealings”, “just fantastic” (Chambers and Partners 2013 – Financial Services)

“Applies his first-rate intellect to both banking and regulatory issues”, “clever and inventive” (Chambers and Partners 2013 – Banking & Finance)

“He can mount an argument quickly and effectively, and is a very good advocate.” (Chambers and Partners 2014 – Professional Discipline)

Education

  • LL. M, Yale Law School (1990-1991)
  • MA (Cantab) (Double First Class Honours) (1987-1990): Richard was awarded a 1st overall in each year at Cambridge University, gained a 1st in 13 out of 14 subjects, and came 1st equal, 1st and 4th respectively in part 1A, part IB and part II of the Tripos, achieving the highest marks in his year in Commercial Law, Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Roman Law I and Roman Law II

Appointments, memberships, prizes

  • 2012 : Queen’s Counsel
  • 2007 – 2012 : Attorney General’s A Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown
  • 2004 – 2007 : Attorney General’s B Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown
  • 1999 – 2004: Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown
  • Member of the New York Bar (non-practising)
  • Hardwicke Scholar
  • Inns of Court Studentship
  • Various Cambridge University prizes for coming first (equal) in year in part IA of the Tripos, first in year in part IB, first in year Constitutional Law, first in year Roman Law I, first in year in Roman Law II; first in year in Commercial Law; College Land law prize
  • Girdlers’ Scholarship (1987) (awarded each year to one New Zealander to study for an undergraduate degree at Cambridge University)

Recent practice

Examples of Richard’s work in his main practice areas are given below.

Administrative & public law

Richard has considerable experience of administrative and public law, especially as it relates to financial services and regulation. He regularly advises on public law issues related to the exercise of the Financial Conduct Authority’s powers under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Examples of his work in this area are:

  • Acting for the Financial Services Authority in the British Bankers Association’s claim for judicial review of rules and guidance for handling complaints about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI): British Bankers Association v The Financial Services Authority [2011] EW HC 999 (Admin)
  • Acting for HM Treasury in a claim by an Icelandic bank for judicial review of the Treasury’s order transferring the bank’s deposits: R (on the application of Kaupthing Bank HF) v. HM Treasury [2009] EW HC 2542 (Admin)
  • Acting for the Financial Services Authority in a claim brought by Yukos, the Russian Oil company, against the decision to permit Rosneft’s securities to be listed on the London Stock Exchange (Yukos v. Financial Services Authority and the London Stock Exchange (2006))
  • Acting for HM Revenue & Customs in proceedings brought by a taxpayer for judicial review of a decision concerning the taxpayer’s liability to pay capital gains tax

Banking & Finance/Financial Services

“A go-to barrister for difficult pieces of work.  He’s brilliant, can distil concepts into simple ideas, and is incredibly flexible in the way he works.  He gets things back to you in good time and he’s incredibly willing to get into the detail.  Nothing is too much trouble for him” (Chambers and Partners 2015 – Financial Services)

“A superb value silk and one of the first choices for banking disputes.” (Chambers and Partners 2015 – Banking & Finance)

“He is constructive in his thinking and good at finding answers in difficult cases.  He’s very hard working.” (Chambers and Partners 2015 – Banking and Finance)

“He is not afraid to stick his neck out, and is user friendly, bright and responsive.” (Legal 500 2015 – Banking & Finance)

Extremely knowledgeable on the misselling of interest rate swaps and Libor manipulation” (Legal 500 2015 – Banking and Finance)

 “A first rate intellect”, “utterly straight in his dealings”, “just fantastic” (Chambers and Partners 2013 – Financial Services)

“Bright, good on complex financial matters and pleasant to work with.” (Chambers and Partners 2014 – Financial Services)

“Applies his first-rate intellect to both banking and regulatory issues”, “clever and inventive” (Chambers and Partners 2013 – Banking & Finance)

Richard has very broad experience of banking and financial services disputes. He is a co-author of the chapter on the documentary credits in The Law of Banks Payments (4th ed 2010, edited by Brindle and Cox). He has been involved in the resolution of many of the major banking and financial issues of recent times, such as the manipulation of LIBOR; the collapse of the Guernsey-listed Arch-Cru funds; the misselling interest rate swaps; the collapse of Keydata; the Bank Charges litigation; the misselling of payment protection insurance (the PPI judicial review); litigation arising from the failure of the Icelandic banks; split capital trusts; Yukos’s judicial review of the FSA’s decision to permit the securities of Rosneft to be listed on the London Stock Exchange; and tax avoidance schemes. Some examples of his work are:

  • Acting for a borrower under a syndicated loan in a jurisdiction dispute
  • Acting for a bank in an international investigation concerning its involvement in the manipulation of LIBOR, culminating in a global settlement with regulators
  • Acting for Guernsey funds in litigation in the Commercial Court and in Guernsey against an investment manager following the collapse of the Arch-Cru funds ([2014] EWHC 4268 (Comm))
  • Acting for State Bank of India in a number of disputes concerning whether the bank was liable to pay under demand bonds, e.g. Sea-Cargo Skips AS v State Bank of India [2013] EWHC 177 (Comm) [2013] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 477
  • Acting for independent financial advisers who sold Keydata investments in Commercial Court proceedings brought by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
  • Acting in numerous disputes regarding interest rate swaps
  • Acting in a dispute concerning the beneficial ownership of money in a bank account that was said to be subject to a Quistclose trust
  • Acting for a bank in a dispute involving allegations of breach of confidence arising out of the acquisition of a chain of petrol stations
  • Acting for a bank in a lender liability claim
  • Acting for investment managers in various disputes over the management of investment portfolios pursuant to discretionary mandates
  • Acting for the Financial Services Authority in the British Bankers Association’s claim for judicial review of rules and guidance for handling complaints about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI): British Bankers Association v The Financial Services Authority [2011] EW HC 999 (Admin)
  • Acting for The Financial Services Authority in the first appeal from the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal to the Court of Appeal: Financial Services Authority v. Fox Hayes [2009] Bus. L.R. D109 (Court of Appeal)
  • Acting for the Financial Services Authority in a challenge by Atlantic Law LLP/Greystoke against various sanctions imposed by the Financial Services Authority in relation to breaches of the FSA’s Principles and Conduct of Business Rules.
  • Acting for the Office of Fair Trading in the Bank Charges Litigation: Office of Fair Trading v. Abbey National plc [2010] 1 AC (Supreme Court)
  • Acting for a bank in the Office of Fair Trading’s investigation into credit card charges
  • Acting for the Office of Fair Trading in appeals against its decision to revoke the consumer credit licence of a lender that advanced money against the security of a bill of sale over the borrower’s vehicle: Log Book Loans Limited/Nine Regions Limited v Office of Fair Trading

Commercial disputes resolution

“A gem and a real pleasure to work with” (Legal 500 2015 – Commercial litigation)

  • Acting for a borrower under a syndicated loan in a jurisdiction dispute
  • Acting for Guernsey funds in litigation in the Commercial Court and in Guernsey against an investment manager following the collapse of the Arch-Cru funds ([2014] EWHC 4268 (Comm))
  • Acting for a bondholder in a dispute with the issuer regarding the enforceability of a settlement agreement alleged to have been induced by misrepresentation
  • Acting for independent financial advisers who sold Keydata investments in proceedings brought by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
  • Acting in numerous disputes regarding interest rate swaps
  • Acting for a bank in a dispute involving allegations of breach of confidence arising out of the acquisition of a chain of petrol stations
  • Acting in a dispute over an investment bank’s valuation of shares
  • Acting for a bank in a dispute regarding a bank’s alleged breach of mandate concerning bearer shares
  • Acting for the Office of Fair Trading in the Bank Charges Litigation: Office of Fair Trading v. Abbey National plc [2010] 1 AC (Supreme Court)
  • Acting for the reinsurance brokers (Willis) in Commercial Court proceedings brought by American Reliable for alleged dishonest assistance of breach of fiduciary in relation to the placing of reinsurance in the PA LMX spiral
  • Acting for investment managers in various disputes over the alleged mismanagement of investment portfolios pursuant to discretionary mandates
  • Acting for Cape plc in a leading case on forum non conveniens (Lubbe & Ors v Cape plc [2000] 1 WLR 1545 (House of Lords)
  • Giving expert evidence in Icelandic insolvency proceedings in relation to a guarantee issued by a failed Icelandic bank
  • Giving expert evidence on English law and practice in proceedings in California.

 Employment

As a member of the Attorney General’s panels (including the A Panel from 2007-2012), Richard gained a wide experience of complex and sensitive employment litigation. He has also acted in high-value employment claims for and against financial institutions. Some representative examples of his employment experience are as follows:

  • acting for the Ministry of Defence in its appeal against findings of sex discrimination Ministry of Defence v Cartner ([2011] EW CA Civ 1516, [2012] ICRD 17 (Court of Appeal))
  • acting for HM Prison Service in a claim for sex discrimination and harassment
  • acting for the Ministry of Defence in a claim for sex discrimination (Kenney v. Ministry of Defence UKEAT/0614/07).
  • acting for the HM Prison Service in a claim under the Disability Discrimination Act 1996
  • acting for an investment bank in a claim for sex and race discrimination
  • acting for a Government Department facing multiple redundancy claims
  • acting for a chief executive of a public company in a wrongful dismissal claim
  • acting for a senior employee of a private equity placement agent in a substantial wrongful dismissal claim for unpaid bonus and other contractual entitlements
  • acting for a public company in a dispute concerning an employee’s entitlement to shares
  • acting in wrongful dismissal proceedings between a prominent orchestra and its former conductor

Fraud: civil

Richard has acted in substantial disputes involving allegations of legal and equitable fraud, including between shareholders, for example:

  • Acting for Guernsey investment funds in litigation in the Commercial Court and in Guernsey against an investment manager arising from the collapse of the Arch-Cru funds [2014] EWHC 4268 (Comm)
  • Acting for the reinsurance brokers (Willis) in Commercial Court proceedings brought by American Reliable for alleged dishonest assistance of breach of fiduciary in relation to the placing of reinsurance in the PA LMX spiral
  • Acting for the trustee in proceedings in Bermuda in which the settlor sought to have a family trust set aside on the grounds that it had been procured by abuse of confidence (the Thyssen litigation)
  • Acting for the defendants in claims brought in the Chancery division by shareholders alleging that the sale of their shares had been procured by fraudulent misrepresentation and conspiracy to injure
  • Acting for The Law Society in its defence of a claim to recover the proceeds of a fraudulent transaction deposited in a solicitor’s client account (Halley v. The Law Society [2003] EW CA Civ 97, [2003] W TLR)

Insurance

Richard has experience of insurance disputes of all kinds, for example:

  • Acting for the reinsurance brokers Willis in Commercial Court proceedings brought by American Reliable for alleged dishonest assistance of breach of fiduciary in relation to the placing of reinsurance in the PA LMX spiral
  • Advising on insurance issues arising from the split capital trusts scandal
  • Acting for insurers in a substantial coverage dispute

International arbitration

Richard has acted in numerous arbitrations concerning, for example:

  • A dispute regarding a bank’s liability to pay under a demand bond
  • A dispute under a contract of sale concerning the purchaser’s obligation to open a letter of credit
  • A dispute between a nation state and an international oil company concerning an oil exploration concession
  • A dispute between an insurer and a law firm concerning the firm’s professional indemnity cover
  • A dispute concerning the charter of a luxury yacht

Media, entertainment and sport

Examples of Richard’s work are:

  • Acting for Frank Warren’s company (Sports Network) in a dispute with another boxing promoter
  • Acting in a dispute regarding the production rights to an album by “Garbage”
  • Acting in an action for an account between two music companies
  • Acting in a wrongful dismissal proceedings between a prominent orchestra and its former conductor

Offshore

Richard has considerable experience acting in offshore litigations. He acted in the Thyssen litigation in Bermuda, where he was admitted to the Bar pro hac vice. He is currently advising in relation to proceedings pending in Guernsey and in California.

Professional discipline

“He has superb analytical skills, is very clear in his drafting and can break things down” (Chambers and Partners 2015 – Professional Discipline)

“He can mount an argument quickly and effectively, and is a very good advocate.” (Chambers and Partners 2014 – Professional Discipline)

Richard has substantial experience of disciplinary proceedings and investigations in relation to the financial services industry and the legal profession, and is regularly instructed in matters involving the Financial Conduct Authority and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The regulation of financial services

  • Acting for The Financial Services Authority in the first appeal from the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal to the Court of Appeal: Financial Services Authority v. Fox Hayes [2009] Bus. L.R. D109 (Court of Appeal)
  • Acting for the Financial Services Authority in a challenge by Atlantic Law LLP/Greystoke against various sanctions imposed by the Financial Services Authority in relation to breaches of the FSA’s Principles and Conduct of Business Rules
  • Acting for the Office of Fair Trading in appeals against its decision to revoke the consumer credit licence of a lender that advanced money against the security of a bill of sale over the borrower’s vehicle: Log Book Loans Limited/Nine Regions Limited v Office of Fair Trading
  • Richard has advised the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Office of Fair Trading on various regulatory issues.

The regulation of lawyers

  • Acting for a law firm under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • Acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority in various matters arising from the collapse of an Cayman investment fund
  • Acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the disciplinary proceedings arising out of the conduct of a solicitor acting for the purchasers Spanish property who had been defrauded (Solicitors Regulation Authority v Alberici)
  • Acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the disciplinary proceedings against former partners of Rowe Cohen in respect of the firm’s work under the TAG scheme – the decision in respect of one partner was appealed to the Court of Appeal (Solicitors Regulation Authority v Dennison [2012] EWCA Civ 421)
  • Acting for the claimant in a judicial review of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s decision to refuse to issue a certificate of enrolment (Mulla v. Solicitors Regulation Authority [2010] EW HC 3077 (Admin))
  • Acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority in an appeal against the penalty imposed by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal on two former partners of Fox Hayes
  • Acting for a Queen’s Counsel facing allegations of professional misconduct
  • Acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority in a number of proceedings in the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal arising from solicitors’ involvement in dubious investment transactions, e.g. The Law Society v. Simms [2005] ALL ER (D) 201 (Mar), The Law Society v. Wilson-Smith and The Law Society v. Barnett
  • Acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority in numerous contested interventions under the Solicitors Act 1974.

Professional negligence

Richard has a wide experience of professional negligence claims, in particular in relation to the financial services industry, for example:

  • Acting for Guernsey investment funds in litigation in the Commercial Court and in Guernsey against an investment manager arising from the collapse of the Arch-Cru funds ([2014] EWHC 4268 (Comm))
  • Acting for investment managers in various disputes over the alleged mismanagement of investment portfolios pursuant to discretionary mandates

Tax

Richard has been instructed by HM Revenue & Customs in a number of significant revenue matters in the High Court and in the specialist tribunals concerning issues such as:

  • Employee benefit trusts and tax avoidance (Scotts Atlantic Management Limited & another v HMRC [2015] UKUT 0066 (TCC))
  • Mutual trading and discovery (HMRC v Lansdowne Partners Limited ([2011] EWCA Civ 1578, [2012] STC 544)
  • Corporation tax relief and the surrender of losses by foreign subsidiaries and the repercussions of the decision of the ECJ in the Marks & Spencer case
  • Film finance tax avoidance schemes
  • Chargeable gains
  • Capital allowances
  • Non-trading loan relationships

Other experience

  • Working for a year at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, a U.S law firm, in Washington D.C. (1991-1992)
  • Working for three months in the project finance and arbitration department of Gide Loyrette Nouel in Paris (1998)
  • Teaching on and assisting with the organisation of  the South Eastern Circuit’s Advanced International Advocacy course (2002-2013), and teaching advocacy in Lincoln’s Inn (2005 – )
  • Case assessor for the Bar Pro Bono Unit for several years
  • Advising at the Legal Advice Centre in Bethnal Green (1996 to 2003)

Publications

Richard is a co-author of the chapter on the documentary credits in The Law of Banks Payments (4th ed 2010, edited by Brindle and Cox).