Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Commercial Crime

Uniquely within the Bar’s ‘Magic Circle’, Fountain Court is a leader in corporate and individual commercial crime. We specialise in the crossover between criminal, civil and regulatory liabilities and remedies/sanctions that are now such an important feature of business.

Complementing our strength in Banking and Finance, Financial Services, Regulatory & Investigations and Civil Fraud, we act for organisations and individuals in domestic and cross-border financial crime investigations and prosecutions. Members act both for and against the SFO, HMRC, NCA, FRC and FCA in jury trials and freestanding and ancillary court proceedings.

Fountain Court has been instructed in almost every major recent corporate crime investigation in the UK. We are routinely instructed in FTSE100/250 corporate investigations and self-reports and have worked on the probes into Barclays (Qatar),  ENRC and Serco; insider trading and market abuse probes such as Wirecard, Operations Tabernula and Saturn and the JP Morgan ‘London Whale’ matter; landmark civil proceedings such as ENRC v SFO, N v RBS and Sports Direct v FRC; and high profile judicial review challenges to search warrants relating to the Mueller Investigation in the USA, Unaoil and Newcastle United FC.

Our members understand the unique pressure of criminal investigations and the risk of collateral damage to reputation and commercial interests. We help clients devise the appropriate strategic response and crisis management tools and are often asked to advise corporate boards and disclosure committees.

The nature and subject matter of these cases means that much of our work is advisory. Many matters remain out of the public domain.

We are ranked for Business and Regulatory Crime (including Global Investigations) by Legal 500.

Our work includes cases relating to:

  • Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Sanctions
  • Money laundering
  • Confiscation
  • Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)
  • Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs)
  • Market abuse including insider trading
  • Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs)
  • Mutual legal assistance
  • Extradition
  • Judicial review
  • Freezing injunctions and search orders / warrants
  • Production orders / notices
  • Cyber crime
  • Data protection
  • Legal professional privilege
  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy
  • Public interest immunity

Notable cases

  • Terra Services Limited v NCA and Secretary of State for Home Department [2019] EWHC 3165 (Admin); [2020] EWHC 130 (Admin); [2020] EWHC 1640 (Admin): Acting for the claimant challenging a search warrant linked to the USA Mueller Investigation into Russian interference in the US 2016 Presidential Election. The case involved landmark MLA proceedings including covert searches and public interest immunity; letters of request and confidentiality; powers and duties of the UKCA; confidentiality rings, closed material procedures and special advocates; data protection; legal professional privilege; Investigatory Powers Tribunal proceedings; and privacy.
  • Sports Direct International plc v Financial Reporting Council [2020] EWCA Civ 177: Acting for both sides in the high-profile dispute concerning the law of privilege in connection with a statutory investigation into Sport Direct’s former auditors Grant Thornton.
  • ENRC v SFO, Dechert and others: Acting for a major extractive industries entity in a wide range of very high-profile litigation, including in a landmark decision in law on privilege which caused international repercussions for the legal profession.
  • CFO of Autonomy Corporation in various matters: Acting in relation to several allegations of corporate fraud, made by both the SFO and the FRC in the UK and the Department of Justice in the USA.
  • The Dame Linda Dobbs Review: Acting as specialist financial crime and financial services counsel to the review into whether the issues relating to HBOS Reading were investigated and appropriately reported to authorities at the time by Lloyds Banking Group.
  • Barclays Bank Qatar capital raising: Acting in Barclays’ success in multiple proceedings arising out of the $11 billion investment by Qatar in the bank in 2008, including investigations run by the FCA and other regulatory bodies in the UK, and the SEC and Federal Reserve in New York, and criminal proceedings.
  • Oleg Deripaska v Vladamir Chernukhin: Acting for Vladamir Chernukhin, the former Finance Minister in Russia, in the defence of a private prosecution brought by the Russian aluminium magnate, Mr Deripaska, who alleged acts intending to pervert the course of public justice.
  • Kuwait Pension Fund v The Man Group & Ors: Acting for various parties in this claim against 38 corporations and individual defendants regarding allegations of bribery and corruption over 30 years, an action which was part of newly implemented measures ordered by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak al-Hamad Al-Sabah to combat corruption.

Quotes from directories

  • Fountain Court houses members with an established track record of defending in high-profile SFO cases.

    Legal 500 2020
    • A banking and finance powerhouse, launched a commercial crime practice in 2016
    • A high quality set where fraud is becoming a real growth area

    Legal 500