Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Rosalind Phelps QCCall Date: 1998 | Silk Date: 2016

Rosalind is a successful silk with a broad commercial practice. She has substantial experience in large-scale commercial disputes (including, for example, many of the leading current cases against banks in relation to alleged swaps misselling) and frequently acts in trials, appeals and interlocutory matters including injunctions, jurisdiction applications and summary judgment hearings. She is equally as comfortable appearing in arbitrations as in court, and sits as an arbitrator, as well as appearing as an expert witness on English law in foreign jurisdictions.

Rosalind’s principal areas of practice are commercial dispute resolution, banking and finance, arbitration, aviation and travel, civil fraud and professional negligence. Her most recent cases include FSHC Group Holdings Ltd v GLAS Trust Corpn Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 1361 (now the leading case on rectification of commercial contracts) and JP Morgan Chase Bank NA v Federal Republic of Nigeria [2019] EWCA Civ 1641 (a leading recent Court of Appeal decision on banks’ duties). Rosalind is also a leading aviation silk and regularly acts in large scale aviation disputes as well as advising the Civil Aviation Authority.

She is recommended as a leading QC by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners in banking and finance, aviation and travel law and also by Chambers and Partners in civil fraud. Comments in directories from the last two years include:

  • “She is fantastic, has a steely determination in court and is incredibly easy to deal with – she has about 82 brains.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • “Always gives extremely sensible and practical advice, and is outstanding both in terms of her paperwork and in court.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • “She’s firm, strategic and technically extraordinary.” “She’s incredibly bright, very commercially minded and really understands her clients.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • “A star – excellent judgement beyond what you might expect for a relatively junior silk’ (Legal 500 2020)
  • “She has a really good knack of being able present cases in a way that means judges follow her way of thinking. (Legal 500 2020)
  • “ A very impressive silk. (Legal 500 2020)
  • Rosalind is very commercial, excellent on strategy and someone who always sees the bigger picture, which is what clients want. Extremely impressive on her feet, she makes her points succinctly and forcefully, which means judges really listen to her.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • She is really straightforward, gives good advice and is easy to work with.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • She’s very good technically and she has a good feel for strategy.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • Measured, user-friendly and very commercial in her advice. She is extremely understanding of clients’ competing concerns and priorities.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • She’s a practical barrister who is able to see problems you haven’t foreseen yourself.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • “A deep but pragmatic thinker, who delivers sharp analysis with practical solutions.” (Legal 500 2018)
  • “Outstanding” (Legal 500 2018)
  • She is extremely bright and efficient, and has a great understanding of financial products” (Chambers & Partners 2018)
  • She is bright, personable, incisive, quick to respond and generally a pleasure to work with” (Chambers & Partners 2018)
  • Very industrious and a great team player” (Chambers & Partners 2018)

Recent practice

Commercial dispute resolution

Rosalind is a leading silk in the field of commercial dispute resolution and regularly appears in the Commercial Court in substantial disputes. She has acted in a wide variety of commercial contract disputes and other commercial matters, including fraud claims, as well as jurisdiction, injunction and summary judgment applications.

  • FSHC Group Holdings v GLAS  [2019] EWCA 1361. Acted for the Claimant (part of the Terra Firma group) in the trial of a claim for rectification in relation to structured finance documentation, and the appeal from that decision (now the leading case on rectification of commercial contracts).
  • Federal Republic of Nigeria v JP Morgan Chase [2019] EWCA 1641. Acted for the defendant in an application for summary judgment (and appeal) in respect of a claim for US$875 million for breach of contract, breach of duty of care, breach of fiduciary duty and knowing receipt in relation to the operation of a depository account for the Nigerian Government.
  • Kilimanjaro AM Limited v Mortgages plc (2019): Obtained without notice injunction in Commercial Court and acting in ongoing claim arising from a complex mortgage securitisation structure.
  • Ventra Investments Ltd v Bank of Scotland plc  [2019] EWHC 2058 (Comm); [2017] EWHC 199 (Comm),. Substantial Commercial Court proceedings concerning misselling of financial products, allegations of LIBOR manipulation during the global financial crisis, and breach of duty by administrative receivers.
  • Marz Ltd v Bank of Scotland plc [2017] EWHC 3618 (Ch). Acted for Bank of Scotland in the Chancery Division trial of a claim for mis-selling of interest rate hedging products.
  • Doosan Power Systems v Uniper France Power (2017). Contested application to set aside without notice order restraining payment of an on-demand bond. Grounds for setting aside included material non-disclosure and section 2 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Aldersgate Investments v Bank of Scotland plc (2016-2018). Acted for the bank in four claims brought by companies associated with the Reuben brothers in relation to interest rate hedging and alleged manipulation of LIBOR.
  • Cephalon Inc and Teva Pharmaceuticals v CP Pharmaceuticals Limited (2015 – 2017). Acted for the Claimant pharmaceutical corporations in a Commercial Court claim for £58 million arising from alleged economic duress and conspiracy in relation to a pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply contract for a leukaemia drug. Appeared in 6 week trial listed in 2017 (settled before judgment).
  • Monks v National Westminster Bank plc [2016] EWHC 492. Abuse of process application in relation to substantial claim for damages against bank arising from reports to credit reference agencies.
  • Alpstream AG v PK Airfinance and GE Capital Aviation Services (2011-2016). Acted (with Stephen Moriarty QC) in the trial and appeal of a major Commercial Court action brought in relation to aviation financing transaction (see below, aviation section). 2 month Commercial Court trial and judgment July 2013; [2013] EWHC 2370 (Comm). Appeal to the Court of Appeal;  [2015] EWCA Civ 1318.
  • Rawlinson & Hunter and Vincent Tchenguiz v Serious Fraud Office (2012-2014). Acted for Vincent Tchenguiz in the claim brought against the SFO arising from the failed fraud investigation by the SFO into the business activities of the Tchenguiz brothers. Appeared (largely unled, leading James Duffy) at various heavy interlocutory hearings throughout 2013 and 2014, including an application for 3rd party disclosure ([2013] EWHC 2297, appealed to Court of Appeal [2014] 4 All ER 627), an application regarding inadvertent disclosure of documents subject to privilege and PII (also appealed to the Court of Appeal; [2014] EWCA Civ 1129), and further applications regarding disclosure ([2014] 1 WLR 1476) and issue estoppel ([2013] Lloyd’s Rep FC 535). Case settled shortly before trial listed for October 2014.
  • Trimast Holding SARL v Fried Frank (2014- 2016). Acted for defendants in substantial Commercial Court claim arising from a failed loan and restructuring of a French telecommunications business. Professional negligence claim also encompassing issues of French insolvency law. One of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases for 2016, settled shortly before trial.
  • Haughey Air Ltd v AgustaWestland SPA [2014] EWHC 2746 (Comm). Contested jurisdiction application in Commercial Court arising from contract of sale of a helicopter.
  • Orb ARL v Quest. Contested application for Norwich Pharmacal relief in December 2014.
  • Acted in the Bitel Litigation in the Isle of Man. Complex, high-value multi-party proceedings concerning the ownership of a mobile phone operator in Kyrgyzstan which followed contested jurisdiction application (AK Investment CJSC v Kyrgyz Mobil Tel Limited [2011] UKPC 7). Settled during trial in summer 2013.

Banking & finance

Recommended as a leading QC by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. Advised and appeared for both high street and investment banks in disputes of varying sizes and types including those involving derivative misselling/FSMA claims, alleged LIBOR manipulation, private equity structured finance, mortgages, guarantees, letters of credit, fraud/tracing claims and also litigation arising out of the global financial crisis.

  • Federal Republic of Nigeria v JP Morgan Chase [2019] EWCA 1641. Leading the defence of this £1bn claim brought against JP Morgan by the Republic of Nigeria arising from the operation of an escrow account used in an allegedly corrupt settlement of an oil dispute.
  • FSHC Group Holdings v GLAS  [2019] EWCA 1361. Acted for the Claimant (part of the Terra Firma group) in the trial of a claim for rectification in relation to structured finance documentation, and the appeal from that decision (now the leading case on rectification of commercial contracts).
  • Ventra Investments Ltd v Bank of Scotland plc [2019] EWHC 2058 (Comm); [2017] EWHC 199 (Comm). Acting for Bank of Scotland in high-value commercial claim in relation to the alleged misselling of derivative products including interest rate hedges, and also allegations about the fixing of LIBOR.
  • Kilimanjaro AM Limited v Mortgages plc (2019): Acting for a subsidiary of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in claim arising from a complex mortgage securitisation structure.
  • Marz Ltd v Bank of Scotland plc [2017] EWHC 3618 (Ch). Acted for Bank of Scotland in the trial of a claim for misselling of interest rate hedging products. First derivatives misselling claim to come to trial for Lloyds Banking Group.
  • Aldersgate Investments v Bank of Scotland plc (2016-2018). Acted for Lloyds Bank in four claims brought by companies associated with the Reuben brothers in relation to interest rate hedging and alleged manipulation of LIBOR. Commercial Court trial listed in November 2018.
  • Monks v National Westminster Bank plc [2016] EWHC 492. Acted for the Defendant in a substantial claim for damages arising from reports to credit reference agencies.
  • Alpstream AG v PK Airfinance [2013] EWHC 2370 (see above under Commercial Dispute Resolution). Commercial Court/Court of Appeal case in relation to aircraft mortgages; now one of the leading recent cases on mortgagee’s duties when repossessing and selling mortgaged assets.
  • Felixstowe Dock & Railway Co v Barclays Bank (2013 – 2014). Multi-million pound claim for recovery of monies paid out of the Claimants’ bank accounts as a result of a mandate fraud. Claim against the bank for breach of contract, breach of duty of care and in restitution.
  • Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees v Kaupthing Bank Hf. Acted 2010-2011 for Claimant (with Michael Brindle QC) in complex multi-jurisdictional dispute between the family trust of Vincent Tchenguiz and Kaupthing, the failed Icelandic Bank. Commercial Court claim for over £800 million arising from the provision of security for various loans as well as proceedings in Iceland. Involved questions of cross-border insolvency law in relation to credit institutions, banking regulation, illegality/ultra vires under Icelandic and English Law, wrongful interference in business and misrepresentation.
  • Kneale v Barclays Bank plc [2010] EWHC 1900 (Comm). Acted for the bank in an application for pre-action disclosure in relation to sections 60-65 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Arbitration

  • Experience of both ICC and LCIA arbitrations as counsel.
  • Currently sitting as an arbitrator and accepts arbitration appointments.
  • Also has experience of conducting ad hoc arbitrations, including paper only determinations.

Aviation

Recommended by Chambers & Partners, the Legal 500 and Legal Experts as an aviation specialist. Advised on and acted in a wide variety of aviation matters including the collapse of Monarch Airlines in October 2017 and issues arising from the April 2010 volcanic ash cloud. Other experience includes Warsaw/Montreal Convention issues, property and contractual disputes, air accidents and discrimination claims against airlines. Clients include airlines, airports and aviation finance parties as well as the Civil Aviation Authority.

  • Re Volare Aviation (2019): acted as external legal adviser to the CAA Panel deciding a contested case about the use of aircraft parts and their impact on the airworthiness of passenger aircraft.
  • National Air Services Company v Hi-Fly Transportes Aereos SA (2016-2018). Substantial wet leasing dispute concerning three Airbus A330 aircraft  (settled shortly before trial in 2018).
  • Monarch Airlines (2017): acted as external legal adviser to the CAA in relation to issues concerning Monarch’s ATOLs and route/operating licences.
  • Alpstream AG v PK Airfinance and GE Capital Aviation Services (2011-2016). See above under commercial dispute resolution. Acted (with Stephen Moriarty QC) in US$30 million claim brought following the collapse of the Blue Wings airline in Germany and arising out of the financing of 7 Airbus A380 aircraft. 2 month Commercial Court trial and judgment July 2013 ([2013] EWHC 2370 (Comm)) and appeal to the Court of Appeal  ([2015] EWCA Civ 1318).
  • Haughey Air v AgustaWestland [2014] EWHC 2746 (Comm). Claim in relation to alleged contract to repurchase a faulty helicopter.
  • Belfast International Airport v Aer Lingus (2013 – 2014). Breach of contract claim brought in Northern Ireland arising from the airline’s withdrawal from BIA, and relocation to Belfast City Airport.
  • DAE Leasing v Kingfisher Airlines [2013] EWHC 3926 (Comm). Substantial summary judgment application made by airline leasing company against bankrupt airline for unpaid rental.
  • Eagle Aircraft Leasing v Société Air France (2009-2010). For the Claimants in a heavy Commercial Court action involving the sale and purchase of Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Raised complex issues as to the physical condition of the aircraft and also the construction of the detailed sale and purchase agreements. Also involved issues as to compliance with aviation regulatory requirements (EASA and DGAC).

Fraud: civil

Recommended by Chambers & Partners as a leading silk. Wide experience of applications for freezing injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal orders and related matters. Currently heavily involved in litigation arising from alleged LIBOR rate manipulation.

  • Currently acting for JPM Morgan in a claim brought by the Federal Republic of Nigeria in relation to an alleged fraudulent conspiracy of public officials in Nigeria to misappropriate funds in relation the grant of an oil licence (see above under Banking and Finance).
  • Doosan Power Systems v Uniper France Power (2017). Acted for the respondent in setting aside a without notice order obtain in relation to an on-demand bond. Appeared in substantial application to set aside the order, including on the grounds of material non-disclosure.
  • Acted (2012 – 2014) in the Tchenguiz case arising from the Serious Fraud Office’s failed investigation into alleged fraud by the Tchenguiz brothers (see under Commercial Dispute resolution).
  • Orb ARL v Quest. Contested application for Norwich Pharmacal relief in December 2014.
  • Acted in the Bitel litigation in the Isle of Man (see under commercial dispute resolution). Complex, multi-party commercial fraud case concerning the ownership of a mobile phone operator in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Tajik Aluminium Plant v Ermatov & Others (2005-2008). Very substantial civil fraud claim in the Commercial Court relating to the supply of raw materials to an aluminium smelting plant in the former Soviet Union (junior counsel). See above under commercial dispute resolution.
  • Barclays Bank v Patel & Others. (2006-2008). Commercial Court claim against 15 Defendants in relation to alleged mortgage/valuation fraud. Involved heavy applications for Norwich Pharmacal orders, multi-million pound freezing injunctions and applications to serve out of the jurisdiction.

Professional negligence

Experience includes actions involving accountants, solicitors, stockbrokers, architects, conveyancers, insurance brokers, surveyors and mortgage valuers.

  • Trimast Holding SARL v Fried Frank (2014- 2016). Acted for defendants in substantial Commercial Court claim for professional negligence against US law firm arising from a failed loan and restructuring of a telecommunications business, including issues as to French insolvency and professional liability law. One of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases for 2016, settled shortly before trial.
  • Law Society v Sephton & Co [2006] 2 AC 543 (HL): Acted for the Law Society (led by Timothy Dutton QC) in the Chancery Division trial of a preliminary issue in a professional negligence claim against a firm of accountants (when the cause of action in negligence accrues) and in the subsequent appeals to the Court of Appeal and House of Lords.

Education

  • BCL (First): Pembroke College, Oxford (1997)
  • BA Law and French Law (First): Pembroke College, Oxford (1996)
  • Diploma in French Law: University of Paris II (1995)

Publications

  • Joint Author of The Law of Privilege (OUP 3rd ed 2018).
  • Joint Author Carriage by Air (Butterworths 2001).
  • Contributing Editor of Commercial Court Procedure (2nd Edition 2001).

Languages

Fluent in French


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