Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Natasha BennettCall Date: 2009

Natasha is recommended in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories as a leading junior in the fields of Commercial Litigation and Banking & Finance, respectively.  She has also been identified as one of ten “Stars of the Bar” by Legal Week, which described her as “extremely bright and user-friendly”, “incredibly efficient” and “a pleasure to work with”.

Natasha has been instructed on a number of high profile commercial cases, both domestically and overseas.  For example, Natasha was instructed in two of The Lawyer’s “Top 10 Cases of 2017”, acting for RBS in the widely-publicised RBS Rights Issue Litigation and defending RBS against the c£400m claim brought by the property tycoon Stuart Wall.  She also acted for Credit Suisse in relation to its claim against a Dutch Social Housing Association to recover €83 million owed under various interest rate derivative transactions.

Areas of Expertise

  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Financial services
  • International arbitration
  • Offshore
  • Banking & finance
  • Fraud: civil
  • Insurance and reinsurance
  • Professional negligence
  • Company
  • Aviation

Recommendations

In 2017, Natasha was identified by the Legal 500 as a leading junior for Commercial Litigation, and was also recommended by Chambers & Partners in the field of Banking & Finance.  In 2016, Natasha was identified by the Legal 500 as one of the top ten juniors for Commercial Litigation under eight years call.  Natasha was also identified by Legal Week as one of ten “Stars at the Bar” in 2012.

Comments include as follows:

Exceptionally smart, hardworking and approachable.” (Legal 500, 2017)

Very bright, very diligent and extremely hard-working.” (Chambers & Partners, 2017)

Very bright, well organised and diligent- a future star of the Bar.” (Legal 500, 2016)

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)

Recent practice

Banking and Finance

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

  • Arena Plaza v LIML and Rothschild: defending LIML and Rothschild (with Patricia Robertson QC) against a claim for €31million brought in respect of the restructuring of the financing for an investment in a Hungarian Shopping Centre.
  • Bhardwaj v RBS: Acting for RBS (as sole counsel) to strike out a claim brought in breach of a settlement agreement.
  • The RBS Rights Issue Litigation: acted for RBS (with David Railton QC, Sonia Tolaney QC et al) in a substantial piece of commercial litigation relating to the accuracy of the representations made in RBS’s Prospectus for its 2008 Rights Issue.
  • Wall v RBS: acted (with Andrew Mitchell QC and Tamara Oppenheimer) for RBS in a c.£400 million claim brought by the owner of a student accommodation company Opal Property Group (now in administration), in respect of allegedly mis-sold derivatives linked to LIBOR.
  • Al-Besher et al v Credit Suisse: acted (with Richard Handyside QC) for Credit Suisse in relation to three claims brought against Credit Suisse in respect of allegedly fraudulent misrepresentations and documents, in connection with the financing of the Hertsmere House development project in Canary Wharf.
  • Credit Suisse v Stichting Vestia: 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. Issues raised in the case include, authority, capacity, Dutch law and contractual estoppel.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Professional Negligence/Financial Services Regulation

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

  • RIFW v LSH and Amber Fund Management: defending Amber (with Anneliese Day QC) against a claim brought by RIFW, a fund established by the Welsh Government for investing in regeneration schemes, for allegedly negligent advice.
  • Natasha was instructed (with Mark Simpson QC), to act for an accountant, against whom a Formal Complaint had been made by the Financial Reporting Council, the independent disciplinary body for the accountancy and actuarial professions in the UK.
  • Natasha advised (with Bankim Thanki QC) on the regulatory and other duties owed by a financial advisory firm under DIFC law, in the context of a contractual dispute subject to arbitration in Dubai.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.  For example:

  • Royal Petrol Trading v Total Oil India: acting (with Stephen Moriarty QC) for Total in relation to a claim by Royal Petrol for payment for the delivery of liquified petroleum gas from Iran.
  • Ron Dennis v Spink Construction: acting for Ron Dennis in a claim relating to a high-end residential construction project.
  • Moorgate Capital v Sun European Partners: defending Sun (as sole counsel) against a claim for a success fee following an acquisition.
  • Natasha was instructed (with Richard Handyside QC) in relation to a contractual dispute, subject to arbitration, turning on the construction of certain clauses in a mail delivery contract.

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.

Conflict of Laws and jurisdiction

Natasha specialised in Conflict of Laws in her graduate studies.  Most recently:

  • In the context of an arbitration in Switzerland, Natasha advised on the applicable law governing the issues of capacity and authority.
  • Natasha advised on the operation of Article 28 of the Brussels Regulation; in particular whether German Proceedings would be considered by the English Courts to be i) pending and ii) related to proceedings started in England.
  • Natasha was instructed on an application for permission to serve out of the jurisdiction on a securities brokerage firm incorporated in Delaware, USA, in the context of a contractual claim for non-delivery of certain bonds.
  • Natasha has also 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.

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 Travelers 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
  • 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.

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.

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)

Education

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

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

Other experience

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

Accredited Free Representation Unit Volunteer appearing in Employment Tribunals (2009 to 2011)

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

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