Disputes and Investigations

We have an outstanding international reputation. Our Dispute Resolution group acts for a broad spectrum of clients, particularly those in the corporate and financial sectors. Our clients include sovereign governments, multinationals, financial institutions and international organisations.

We handle:

  • a wide range of civil disputes and proceedings
  • domestic and international arbitrations
  • investigations by the Financial Conduct Authority
  • the full range of statutory and regulatory inquiries and disciplinary proceedings
  • criminal proceedings arising in a corporate context
  • a variety of administrative law matters often involving proceedings for judicial review
  • the implementation of innovative litigation strategies relating to the mergers and acquisitions and transactional work of the firm

Recent awards include:

  • Shortlisted for Litigation Team of the Year by the Lawyer Awards 2017 (together with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP for the Rolls-Royce Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO)
  • Recognised in the Global Arbitration Review's 2017 annual listing of the world's 100 leading international arbitration practices
  • Recognised in the Global Investigation Review’s 2017 annual listing of the world’s 100 leading investigation practices
  • Commended for our representation of Banco Santander Totta in a case involving interest – rate swaps by the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Awards 2016
  • Shortlisted by the Legal Business Awards 2016 in the Dispute Resolution Team of the Year category for our work with Olympus
  • Won European Tax Disputes Firm of the Year – with our Best Friends network by the European Tax Awards 2016
  • Won Global Dispute of the Year: International litigation for our role in ‘Air Cargo in the EU Court’ by the American Lawyer Global Legal Awards 2016

Our dispute resolution lawyers regularly work in multidisciplinary teams with our tax, competition, intellectual property, information technology and infrastructure, energy and natural resources lawyers.

We have recently built a team of cross-disciplinary specialists comprising lawyers from our Competition and Dispute Resolution groups to spearhead the anticipated increase in private actions based on competition law. Competition litigation is complex and requires first-class litigation and dispute resolution skills as well as leading-edge competition law and economics expertise which we are able to provide.

Disputes covering the full spectrum of intellectual property rights are dealt with by our specialist intellectual property lawyers.

Partner Contacts

Our key experience includes advising:

HM Treasury in relation to judicial review proceedings commenced by various former shareholders of Northen Rock.

Cable & Wireless Communications in defeating substantial claims brought against it by its Caribbean competitor, Digicel, in the High Court. The claims, which included allegations of conspiracy, related to the liberalisation of the telecoms markets in seven Caribbean countries during the period 2002-2006. The case involved a trial spanning a seven month period in the High Court last year and evidence from 43 witnesses from over 10 different jurisdictions.

British Airways in relation to the European Commission's investigation into alleged cartel activity involving a number of airlines and cargo operators active in the provision of air freight services, and in relation to the OFT's criminal and civil investigations into alleged cartel activity involving passenger fuel surcharges on long-haul flights.

Willis in relation to a claim by American Reliable Insurance Company (ARIC) in excess of US$250 million brought against it in the Commercial Court. ARIC is seeking damages for dishonest assistance, conspiracy to defraud, breach of contract and negligence arising out of Willis' role as reinsurance broker for ARIC in 1995-1997. The claim arises out of the market-wide problems in the PALMX market, which has resulted in many arbitration and litigation claims over the past ten years, involving UK, US and Bermudan carriers.

Nationwide Building Society in relation to the ongoing high-profile test case commenced by the OFT against eight major current account providers to determine the validity of unarranged overdraft charges.

Gallaher, and obtaining a judgment in its favour, in relation to a US$500 million multi-jurisdictional dispute with a former distributor which led to a major four month trial in the Commercial Court. The dispute over which party should pay the costs of the case was resolved at a hearing in July 2008 in favour of Gallaher.  Not only were indemnity costs awarded in its favour, but Gallaher also obtained a summary assessment of those costs in a sum of over £6 million.

Bank of Ireland Britain Holdings (BIBH) in relation to a dispute with HMRC to the value of just over £3 million. It arose out of the application of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 to a tri-partite securities repurchase transaction ("a repo"). The Bank of Ireland was successful before the Special Commissioners, the High Court and in a judgment handed down on 8 February 2008 in the Court of Appeal; in the process it obtained important clarification on the taxable treatment of tri-partite repos. Whilst the size of the market in these specialist structured finance transactions is unclear, as they are not made public, estimates put the potential overall taxation impact (going back up to six years) in the hundreds of millions of pounds.

Sempra Metals Limited in its successful defeat of HMRC's appeal to the House of Lords in a test case against HMRC in the ACT group litigation (in which we also represented the Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Group (DMG) - see below). The House of Lords upheld the Court of Appeal's decision in favour of our client that companies such as Sempra should recover compound, rather than simple, interest on amounts paid by way of ACT. The judgment was significant as it remedies a number of perceived defects in the English law on interest and very considerably widens the circumstances in which compound interest can now be claimed.

Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Group Plc in its successful appeal to the House of Lords in a test case against HMRC (under the first group litigation order in the Chancery Division) for compensation in relation to ACT paid as a result of a mistake of law. The Government introduced legislation to limit the impact of this landmark decision.

Riyad Bank in relation to a successful US$40 million claim against Ahli United Bank (UK) Plc arising from the operations of a leasing fund, including the landmark decision by the Court of Appeal that a chain of contracts did not preclude the existence of a duty of care in tort to our client.

Law Debenture Trustees Limited as trustee of six Eurotunnel bond and note issues, in connection with issues arising from the entry of the Eurotunnel group into "procedures de sauvegarde" instituted by the Paris Commercial Court in order to effect a EUR 9 billion debt restructuring. This novel proceeding gave rise to numerous complex cross-border actions.

Resolution Group in an application for Court consent under FSMA 2000 to the intra-Group transfer of long-term businesses, effectively merging seven companies into one Group.  The value of the assets of the applicant companies at the relevant time was over £30 billion and the transfer affected approximately 2.5 million policyholders.

MAN AG in its claim against Freightliner for damages arising out of false financial statements and representations in the context of MAN's purchase of ERF.  Following the landmark judgment in the English High Court in MAN's favour, we assisted in obtaining for our client the highest ever award for punitive damages by the State of Oregon (also the highest award for damages in the whole of the US in 2006).