Efstathios Michael

Joined firm 1993. Partner since 2002.

Efstathios has a broad-ranging international commercial litigation (including class actions), insurance and arbitration practice. He has particular expertise in a number of areas including:

On complex multi-party disputes, shareholder disputes and mass claims which often involve multiple jurisdictions. He works closely with clients and co-counsel in a range of jurisdictions, on collective proceedings and class action claims.

On a wide range of insurance cases for policyholder clients, insurers/reinsurers and brokers, including complex cases in relation to policy coverage and interpretation, aggregation, non-disclosure and misrepresentation, and brokers’ liability issues.

Efstathios is a significant and leading member of our Arbitration group, with particular expertise in complex, high value energy sector disputes and he has conducted arbitrations under the rules of all the major arbitral institutions, including ICC, LCIA and SIAC.

Litigation highlights include advising:

  • BHP Group PLC and other entities who are defendants to claims arising out of the collapse of the Fundão Dam in Brazil. The case involves over 200,000 claimants advancing claims under Brazilian law. The claim has been described in the press as one of the largest lawsuits in English legal history.
  • Liverpool Football Club (LFC) in relation to a series of high-profile injunction applications in the English and Dallas courts which threatened LFC’s sale to New England Sports Ventures (NESV).
  • Dentsu Aegis on claims brought against it by Ipsos in which we brought three successful strike applications.
  • A leading fund manager on US$100+ million claims against a SPV led by an Australian resources investor and an Indonesian coal mining company in relation to breach of contract.
  • Louis Dreyfus on significant damages claims related to an alleged cartel in the Brazilian orange juice market.

Insurance highlights include advising:

  • A leading insurance broker in relation to a potential claim by a State-owned oil and gas company for breach of contract and/or negligence in relation to an insurance policy.
  • Acting for a major aerospace manufacturer in respect of a claim for up to US$500m under a new and untested type of cover for certain liabilities arising from the grounding of aircraft.
  • Equitas in relation to its successful claim against Walsham Brothers (Walshams). The Commercial Court held that Walshams did have a continuing duty to Equitas to remit funds due to it (such that Equitas' claims to those funds were not time barred), that Equitas is entitled to recover its lost investment returns on those amounts and that Walshams was not entitled to set off amounts it alleged was due to it against those sums.
  • Marsh Limited in relation to matters arising out of a specialist insurance policy following the explosion of a satellite.
  • A large multinational general insurance company on a claim by it under a Comprehensive Credit insurance policy in respect of losses following the collapse of NMC Healthcare. 
  • Aviva in defending claims brought by leading English football clubs over losses caused by business interruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A major UK insurer on ability to recover from its reinsurers sums paid out under business interruption policies in context of COVID-19.
  • A leading insurance broker on its potential exposure to a former client in relation to a contested business interruption claim.

Arbitration highlights include:

  • Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) group in an arbitration with Lloyds Banking Group in respect of the termination of a long term investment management contract. The arbitral tribunal ruled in SLA’s favour in March 2019 (LCIA).
  • A major oil and gas related arbitration (SIAC) involving allegations of fraud and breach of contract, with damages claimed in excess of US$5.5 billion.
  • An events, exhibitions and trade shows company based in Singapore on disputes arising from major issues in relation to a joint venture relationship with a Thai national and his related entities.

Efstathios “is a very talented litigator” with “strong commercial instincts”. Chambers and Partners 2022, Insurance: Contentious Claims & Reinsurance. He is ranked in the Insurance: Contentious Claims & Reinsurance section of Chambers and Partners 2022. Efstathios is also recognised as a “Hall of Fame” individual in Legal 500 2022, Insurance and Reinsurance Litigation and as key lawyer in Legal 500 2022 for International Arbitration, Commercial Litigation: Premium and Fraud: Civil.

He acts for a broad range of insurance industry clients on complex coverage disputes, as well as advising on brokers’ liability issues. According to a source he “is a stellar insurance and reinsurance partner; he stands out for his combination of great commercial instinct, intellect and fantastic humour. An absolute gem of an insurance lawyer”. Legal 500 2022, Insurance and Reinsurance Litigation

Efstathios is “quick to identify the key issues in a dispute and the range of options available to clients, which reflect a keen understanding of his clients’ strategic priorities.” He “is sharp and inspires a great sense of confidence”. A “powerful orator, who is persuasive, yet pragmatic”. Legal 500 2022, Insurance and Reinsurance Litigation

Sources discussing arbitration highlight Efstathios as “incredibly thorough and incisive”. Legal 500 2022, International Arbitration

Praised with having “incredible attention to detail” and “hugely smart” he comes recommended as “one of the very best”. Legal 500 2022, Fraud: Civil