Revealed: The Top 20 cases of 2019

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The 2018 iteration of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases showcased an appetite for public interest and this year looks set to intensify with Brexit seemingly still set for March. The year’s first critical case in this vein kicked off today (14 January) in Canary Wharf Group v European Medicines Agency with several more to follow. Even though Brexit’s consistency is yet to be decided, it is still going to cast a wide-reaching litigious shadow across this year’s courts.

Put Brexit to one side for a moment and a whole range of fascinating cases emerge.

When it begins in March, Autonomy & Ors v Lynch & Hussein will attract some of the most intense press coverage of any case in the English and Welsh courts this year. The defendants are facing serious allegations of fraud from their former business and its buyer Hewlett Packard over Autonomy’s $12bn sale in 2011.

Autonomy is also the subject of a Financial Reporting Council (FRC) investigation alongside big four accountancy firm Deloitte. With the regulator facing an existential threat following Sir John Kingman’s review of its operations, the FRC needs to prove that it has the mettle to take on the biggest cases and get the right results.

The FRC, though, is not the only major regulator coming under fire in this list as the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) is fighting a claim from water tank supplier Balmoral alleging misconduct from one of the UK’s most significant regulatory bodies.

Naturally, with the biggest cases come the biggest names in litigation; both from the Bar and private practice.

Allen & Overy, for example, has thrown almost all of its IP weight behind telecoms client Huawei with Mark Heaney, Neville Cordell and Mark Ridgway all acting on its case against Conversant; Brick Court’s Roger Masefield QC will represent the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its claim against JP Morgan which has its counsel team led by Fountain Court’s Rosalind Phelps; while Slater & Gordon has Masefield’s Brick Court colleague Simon Salzedo QC facing Essex Court’s Richard Millett QC in a dispute stemming from its 2015 acquisition of Quindell against the Watchstone Group.

Read on to see which others have made it into The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2019.

(1) Canary Wharf (BP4) T1 Limited, (2) Canary Wharf (BP4) T2 Limited and (3) Canary Wharf Management Limited

V

European Medicines Agency

High Court, Business and Property Court, 14 January, one week

Battles between tenants and landlords are common, but this £500m dispute between the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Canary Wharf Group (CWG) is on another level from most.

After the 2016 Brexit referendum, the EMA announced that it would be relocating its headquarters from London’s Canary Wharf to Amsterdam. Now it argues that it should be able to break the 25-year lease it signed for 10 floors of office space with CWG in 2014 owing to the unforeseen event (five years ago) of the UK leaving the European Union.

Significant businesses are moving parts of their work away from London, though the EMA’s 2017 announcement of intent to relocate raised eyebrows. To prevent this, the CWG immediately commenced proceedings against its tenant. Should the decision go the way of the EMA, it could open the floodgates to an exodus of companies from the capital exercising their freedom to move operations to major European centres.

Wilberforce Chambers has QCs and juniors on both sides of this debate, instructed by Clifford Chance and DLA Piper, with Brick Court and Blackstone QCs advising on specific aspects of EU law.

For the claimant, (1) Canary Wharf (BP4) T1 Limited, (2) Canary Wharf (BP4) T2 Limited and (3) Canary Wharf Management Limited

Wilberforce Chambers’ Joanne Wicks QC and Jonathan Chew, and Brick Court’s Lord David Anderson QC, instructed by Clifford Chance director of property litigation Ben Hatton

For the defendant, European Medicines Agency

Wilberforce Chambers’ Jonathan Seitler QC and Emer Murphy, and Blackstone Chambers’ Tom de la Mare QC, instructed by DLA Piper partners Ian Brierley and Peter Fletcher

RBS bank

N

V

Royal Bank of Scotland and National Crime Agency

High Court, Commercial Court, 28 January, five weeks

The claimant in this case, known as N, is described as a “large and well-known payment institution” which fell afoul of suspected money laundering from RBS. As a result, RBS froze the suspected accounts before terminating the entire banking relationship without notice. This, N claims, created an existential crisis and it is now seeking damages on allegations of negligence and breach of contract. Additionally, it is also seeking confirmation that its accounts did not contain any criminal property.

In a novel turn, this case raises questions on how the Proceeds of Crime Act overlaps with the banking contract held between RBS and N.

To defend in this battle, RBS has brought in panel firm Dentons with partner Daren Allen leading. Allen has turned to Wilberforce Chambers’ John Wardell QC and Fountain Court’s Nicholas Medcroft, as the trio face off against Howard Kennedy and Quadrant Chambers in one of the year’s first major banking trials.

For the claimant, N

Quadrant Chambers’ Paul Downes QC and Emily Saunderson, instructed by Howard Kennedy partners Fiona Hinds and Dominic Offord

For the defendant, RBS

Wilberforce Chambers’ John Wardell QC and Fountain Court’s Nicholas Medcroft, instructed by Dentons partner Daren Allen

For the interested party, the National Crime Agency

Monckton Chambers’ Philip Moser QC and Imogen Pound, instructed by the NCA’s in-house legal department

(1) Alexander Mayr, (2) Rouver Investment SÀRL, (3) Life Sciences Partners Limited and (4) Spokane Investments Limited

V

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang 

High Court, Business & Property Court, 28 January, four weeks

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang’s UK arm is facing a multi-million-pound professional negligence claim after an aborted deal for a former private equity client allegedly resulted in £65m worth of losses.

Spokane Investments, an asset management business with ties to the Swarovski family, was a client of the firm’s between 2010 and 2012, seeking advice on the acquisition of a European pharmaceuticals business. At the time, the deal was reportedly worth up to €1bn.

Former Spokane director Alexander Mayr alleges that, after the plug was pulled, his former advisers used confidential documents to persuade the business to terminate his contract and commence legal proceedings against him in three jurisdictions. Most pertinently, Mayr alleges a breach of fiduciary responsibility over a 50 per cent reduction clause in relation to its fees which would be triggered in the event the deal was aborted. That clause, Mayr says, was not honoured with the firm demanding its fees in full.

CMS denies all claims brought against it and is set to go head-to-head against its former client at the end of January, with the case expected to last for the duration of February.

For the claimants, (1) Alexander Mayr, (2) Rouver Investment SÀRL, (3) Life Sciences Partners Limited and (4) Spokane Investments Limited

4 Stone Buildings’ Jonathan Crow QC, James Knott and Karl Anderson, and Serle Court’s Justin Higgo and Stephanie Thompson instructed by Asserson Law senior partner Trevor Asserson

For the defendant, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang 

4 New Square’s Roger Stewart QC and Crown Office Chambers’ Daniel Shapiro, instructed by Simmons & Simmons partner James Pollack

Balmoral

V

Competition & Markets Authority

High Court, Commercial Court, 29 January, two days

When water tanks supplier Balmoral was called by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) as an expert witness in a sector-specific cartel case, it wasn’t expecting to get caught up in the main body of the investigation. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened. Balmoral was not found to be a part of the cartel itself, but it is alleged that the CMA went after it separately and it was fined £130,000 as a result.

The CMA alleged that Balmoral took part in an “unlawful information exchange” in a July 2012 meeting where the water tank supplier was invited to join the long-running price-fixing cartel. Though Balmoral declined a place, it did exchange information which the CMA claims was competitively sensitive.

Balmoral is now claiming against the CMA to say that its cartel process is flawed. This is a case that could see a big shakeup in the way the regulator runs its operations at a key time in its history.

For the claimant, Balmoral Water Tanks

Brick Court’s Robert O’Donoghue QC, instructed by K&L Gates partner Neil Bayliss

For the defendant, the CMA

Monckton Chambers’ Rob Williams, instructed by the CMA’s in-house legal department

Nigeria

The Federal Republic of Nigeria

V

JP Morgan Chase Bank NA

High Court, Commercial Court, 4 February, two days

This year JP Morgan Chase will defend a claim of more than $1bn over an allegedly fraudulent and corrupt scheme to sell the rights to an east Nigerian oilfield to a consortium of Shell and Italian energy business ENI.

The African nation claims that the sum was held in an account and paid out to progress the oil and gas businesses’ plans. A number of prominent Nigerian officials are also facing allegations of corruption, including former president Goodluck Jonathan.

This hearing focuses on JP Morgan’s attempts to have the claim struck out but RPC partner Alan Williams, instructing a Brick Court team led by Roger Masefield QC, is arguing that the bank breached the Quincecare duty established in 1992 (in Barclays Bank plc v Quincecare Ltd). Under this duty, a bank is effectively prohibited from making payments without a proper inquiry, which the claimant is alleging its financier has breached.

Nigeria claims that JP Morgan was informed that payment instructions could be used to defraud it and, if it is found to have ignored those instructions, this could prove a pivotal judgment for banks’ Quincecare duties.

For the claimant, The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Brick Court’s Roger Masefield QC, Richard Blakeley and Ben Woolgar, instructed by RPC’s Alan Williams

For the defendant, JP Morgan Chase Bank NA

Fountain Court’s Rosalind Phelps QC and David Murray, instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Sarah Parkes

ship

Suez Fortune Investments Ltd and Piraeus Bank SA

V

Talbot Underwriting Ltd

High Court, Commercial Court, 18 February, 12 weeks

In early July 2011, the oil tanker Brilliante Virtuoso was boarded by pirates while passing through one of the world’s most dangerous shipping routes, the Gulf of Aden. The 26-strong crew were rounded up and narrowly escaped with their lives after a fire was started which tore through the ship, destroying its cargo.

The claimants maintain that the events of that night eight-and-a-half years ago should allow it to trigger its war risk insurance policy from Lloyds of London syndicate Talbot Underwriting.

Talbot disputes this chain of events, alleging the fire was the result of willful misconduct on the owners’ part. It has even gone so far as to suggest that the supposed pirates were affiliated with the claimants and were assisted by the crew to damage that ship’s cargo.

A two-day cross-examination of the Brilliante Virtuoso’s owner Marios Iliopoulos resulted in Mr Justice Flaux siding with the defendant, awarding costs and £750,000 in May 2016. This appeal battle is set to be one of the most intriguing cases to settle exactly what happened on that night near the Horn of Africa.

For the claimants, Suez Fortune Investments Ltd and Piraeus Bank SA

7KBW’s Jonathan Gaisman QC, Richard Waller QC and Keir Howie, instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright partner Chris Zavos

For the defendant, Talbot Underwriting Ltd

7KBW’s Peter MacDonald Eggers QC, Richard Sarll and Tim Jenns, instructed by Clyde & Co partner Simon Jackson

Huawei

Huawei

V

Conversant

High Court, Patents Court, March, June and November, two weeks each for March and June and three weeks in November

An enormous patent case that will undoubtedly have repercussions the world over lands in the English courts this spring. Chinese telecoms business Huawei, along with fellow Chinese co-defendants ZTE, are challenging US marketing company Conversant on jurisdictional grounds over the essentiality of a range of patents the defendant claims to hold.

Parallel proceedings are already making their way through German and Chinese courts, though this will build on a crucial decision in the IP world handed down in the Unwired Planet case, which saw its appeal dismissed in October 2018 against the Allen & Overy-represented Huawei.

For the magic circle firm, it is a key test of how its prestigious IP practice will operate following heavyweight partner Nicola Dagg’s departure to Kirkland & Ellis last May. The firm has three partners working for one of its longest-standing IP clients in Mark Heaney, Neville Cordell and Mark Ridgway as well as three associates and one senior associate. If it doesn’t provide a market-changing decision, it will certainly reveal plenty about the magic circle firm’s practice in the future.

For the claimant, Huawei

8 New Square’s Daniel Alexander QC, Michael Tappin QC and Three New Square’s Miles Copeland, instructed by Allen & Overy partners Mark Heaney, Neville Cordell and Mark Ridgway

For the co-claimant, ZTE

Bristows partner Sophie Lawrance, co-instructing counsel

For the defendant, Conversant

8 New Square’s Adrian Speck QC, instructed by EIP Legal partners Robert Lundie Smith and Gary Moss

Heathrow

London Borough of Hillingdon & Ors

v

Secretary of State for Transport

High Court, Divisional Court, 4 March, 10 days

The bitterly disputed battle of whether Gatwick or Heathrow would be getting a new runway, or extend an existing one, appears to have gone in the latter’s favour. As a result, this is spawning a wealth of public law cases.

This ‘rolled-up’ case is an amalgamation of five separate claims to be heard over 10 days, while a sixth was refused permission to proceed. Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling is now facing claims from the London Borough of Hillingdon and a host of pro-environmental activist groups.

On 5 June 2018, the Airports National Policy Statement recommended that a new north-west runway be built rather than extend that existing northern runway. The controversial third runway’s total cost is estimated at around £14bn so the outcome of this combined case is certain to prove crucial to the future of the project as well as the airport’s overall business. It is sure to prove a real test for Grayling’s credentials as transport secretary.

For the first claimant, Heathrow Airport Limited

Francis Taylor Buildings’ Michael Humphries QC and Richard Turney, instructed by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner partner Tim Smith

For the second claimant, Arora Holdings Limited

Landmark Chambers’ Charles Banner, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang partners Ashley Damiral and Caroline Hobson

For the third claimant, Friends of the Earth

Landmark Chambers’ Andrew Parkinson, instructed by Leigh Day lawyer Rowan Smith

For the defendant, Secretary of State for Transport

Landmark Chambers’ James Maurici QC, David Blundell, Richard Moules, Andrew Byass, Heather Sargent, and Monckton Chambers’ Robert Palmer and Alan Bates, instructed by Government Legal Department lawyer Joe Sullivan

HP

ACL Netherlands BV (as successor to Autonomy Corporation Limited), Hewlett-Packard Vision BV, Autonomy Systems Limited, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise New Jersey

v

Dr Michael Lynch & Mr Sushovan Hussain

High Court, Business and Property Court, 25 March, 21 weeks

With its roots dating back to the $11bn sale of Autonomy to Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2011, this is likely to be one of the year’s most bitterly fought contests between buyers and sellers.

HP alleges that it overpaid by at least $5bn for the software company, with founder Michael Lynch and former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain now defending themselves against the largest fraud claim ever levelled at individuals in the English courts.

Travers Smith has instructed barristers from One Essex Court, including the revered Laurie Rabinowitz QC, and Brick Court for HP to take on Clifford Chance and 4 Stone Buildings for Lynch, and Simmons & Simmons and Brick Court for Hussain. The latter could face a jail sentence in the US after being found guilty of fraud, while Lynch was also charged with the same offence in late November, though the magic circle firm moved swiftly to vigorously deny the claims against its client.

Lynch has already announced a $160m counterclaim against HP for reputational damage, while the Financial Reporting Council investigates his actions and those of Deloitte during the sale to uncover how the valuation could have been so overestimated.

For the claimants, HP Group

One Essex Court’s Laurence Rabinowitz QC, Conall Patton, Emma Jones, Fountain Court’s Patrick Goodall QC and Brick Court’s Max Schaefer, instructed by Travers Smith partners Toby Robinson, Andrew King, Jan-Jaap Baer and Stephanie Lee

For the first defendant, Dr Michael Lynch

4 Stone Buildings’ Robert Miles QC, Richard Hill QC and Sharif Shivji, instructed by Clifford Chance partner Kelwin Nicholls and senior associates Andrew Murn and Harriet Slack

For the second defendant, Sushovan Hussain

Brick Court’s Simon Salzedo QC, instructed by Simmons & Simmons partner Ian Hammond

Saudi Arabia

Campaign Against Arms Trade & Ors

V

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

High Court, Commercial Court, 9 April, three days

Amid rising anti-Government sentiment over Brexit, this challenge to the UK’s continued sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia would be easy to miss, though it is in no way any less significant.

The claimant – the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) – has brought this challenge to the trade at a time of intense scrutiny around Saudi Arabia’s attitude to human rights. Following the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death at the nation’s embassy in Istanbul, the pressure has been mounting and the CAAT now argues the UK must end its armament trading relationship.

As a mark of the relevance of this point to the British Government, ‘Treasury Devil’ Sir James Eadie QC is to work with Matrix Chambers’ Jonathan Glasson QC, himself a well-respected human rights practitioner.

CAAT has turned to specialists in the field Leigh Day with Brick Court tenants Martin Chamberlain QC and Jemima Stratford QC working in tandem.

This three-day hearing could significantly alter the UK’s trading relationship, not only with Saudi Arabia, but with any nation of a similar public profile.

For the first claimant, the Campaign Against Arms Trade

Brick Court’s Martin Chamberlain QC, instructed by Leigh Day partner Rosa Curling

For the second, third and fourth claimants, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK

Brick Court’s Jemima Stratford QC, instructed by Deighton Pierce Glynn partner Ahmed Ali

For the defendant, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Blackstone Chambers’ Sir James Eadie QC and Matrix Chambers’ Jonathan Glasson QC, instructed by the Government Legal Department

medical

Bailey & Ors

V

GlaxoSmithKline UK Limited

High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, late April, 11 weeks

Though originally listed as a Top 20 case in 2011, the litigation over whether GlaxoSmithKline’s antidepressant drug Seroxat is a defective product is finally able to kick on after Addleshaw Goddard played an instrumental role in changing the litigation funding market.

Fortitude Law will be representing more than 100 claimants after securing a group litigation order, though Addleshaws was able to obtain ATE insurance which broke the ‘Arkin cap’. Though the value of the case is comparatively low to some on this list – valued at just north of £10m – the ramifications of a successful decision for Fortitude could result in the long-promised tsunami of cash from the litigation funders.

John Kelleher, the Addleshaws partner originally handling the GSK relationship, has since moved to offshore firm Carey Olsen, with City-based partner Louisa Caswell taking over following his departure. The outcome of this case will undoubtedly send shockwaves through the funding market, with effects likely to be of keen interest to other big pharma entities and product liability lawyers, too.

For the claimant, Bailey & Ors

2 Temple Gardens’ Jacqueline Perry QC and Niazi Fetto, and Crown Office Chambers’ Michael Kent QC and Harry Lambert, instructed by Fortitude Law partner Darren Hanison

For the defendant, GlaxoSmithKline UK

Henderson Chambers’ Charles Gibson QC, Malcolm Sheehan QC, Andrew Kinnier QC, Adam Heppinstall and James Williams, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard partner Louisa Caswell

trucks

Road Haulage Association or United Kingdom Trucks Claim, Royal Mail Group Limited, BT Group plc & Ors, Dawsongroup plc & Ors, Wolseley UK Limited & Ors, Suez Groupe SAS & Ors, Veolia Environnment S.A. & Ors, Ryder Limited & Another, Arla Foods and Adnams plc & Ors

V

Daimler, DAF, Iveco, MAN, Volvo/Renault and Scania

Competition Appeal Tribunal, 3 June, five days

Alongside the Merricks/Interchange case, the trucks litigation is one of the most significant follow-on damages cases being heard in the English courts.

Six of the world’s largest trucks manufacturers are facing collective action claims from a host of firms with the two leading claims coming from Addleshaw Goddard and Backhouse Jones and Weightmans. The European Commission handed down a €2.9bn fine in July 2016. Lining up to defend these m

anufacturers former further damages are some of biggest names in litigation with Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Slaughter and May and Travers Smith all on the opposite side.

The June hearing will ultimately decide which of these two collective actions will proceed, testing the appetite to allow class action claims to be heard in English and Welsh courts. To date, an English court has not made used of the collective actions regime which was introduced in 2015.

Regardless of the outcome, this case is set to leave an indelible mark on how the court system approaches collective action claims which could, consequently, be of keen interest to the litigation funders’ plans.

For the first potential group action claimant, Road Haulage Association Ltd

Brick Court Chambers’ James Flynn QC, instructed by Backhouse Jones partner Steven Meyerhoff and Addleshaw Goddard partner Mark Molyneux

For the second potential group action claimant, United Kingdom Trucks Claim

Matrix Chambers’ Rhodri Thompson QC, instructed by Weightmans partner Tristan Feunteun

For the second, third and fourth claimants, Royal Mail Group Limited, BT Group and Dawsongroup

Monckton Chambers’ Tim Ward QC, instructed by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner partner Edward Coulson

For the sixth, seventh and eighth claimants, Wolseley UK Limited & Ors, Suez Groupe SAs & Ors and Veolia Environnement S.A. & Ors

Brick Court Chambers’ Marie Demetriou QC, instructed by Hausfeld partners Scott Campbell and Anna Morfey

For the ninth claimant, Arla Foods

Kings Chambers’ Adam Aldred, instructed by Walker Morris

For the tenth claimant, Adnams Plc & Ors

Monckton Chambers’ Alan Bates, instructed by Edwin Coe

For the first defendant, Daimler

Monckton Chambers’ Paul Harris QC and 4 New Square’s Nicholas Bacon QC, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Boris Bronfentrinker

For the second defendant, DAF

Monckton Chambers’ Daniel Beard QC and Meredith Pickford QC, instructed by Travers Smith partner Caroline Edwards

For the third defendant, Iveco

Brick Court Chambers’ Kelyn Bacon QC, instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills partners Kim Dietzel and Gregg Rowan

For the fourth defendant, MAN

Brick Court Chambers’ Daniel Jowell QC, instructed by Slaughter and May partners Richard Swallow, Damian Taylor and Holly Ware

For the fifth defendant, Volvo/Renault

Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Hoskins QC, Sarah Ford QC and Sarah Abram, instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners Bea Tormey and Nicholas Frey

For the sixth defendant, Scania

Blackstone Chambers’ Brian Kennelly QC, instructed by Allen & Overy partner Jonathan Hitchin

natwest

High Commissioner for Pakistan in the UK

V

NatWest Bank PLC

High Court, Business & Property Court, 4 June, three weeks

With its roots dating back as far as September 1948, this case is far from straightforward. The seven-decade long dispute, between Pakistan and India as claimants and Natwest as defendants, could finally be set for a conclusion.

A sum of £1m was transferred from the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad’s account to the then high commissioner for Pakistan in the UK during a short military campaign that saw India annex the region of Hyderabad. Eight years later, the Nizam attempted to bring proceedings against the high commissioner, but they were blocked by a sovereign immunity plea upheld in the House of Lords. The decision that was reached at the time stated that the matter would be stayed until Pakistan elected to sue the bank.

Pakistan issued proceedings in June 2013 and was joined in the litigation by India, the eighth Nizam and the seventh Nizam’s estate. As a result, this brings some of London’s most recognised private client practices to the fore with the likes of Devonshires, TLT, Pennington Manches, Stephenson Harwood, Withers and Serle Court lining up opposite Ashurst.

For the claimant, Pakistan

Serle Court’s Khawar Qureshi QC and 4 Stone Building’s Jonathan Brettler, instructed by Stephenson Harwood partner John Fordham

For the first defendant, HEH the 8th Nizam of Hyderabad

10 Old Square’s Eason Rajah QC and Bryony Robinson, instructed by Withers partner Paul Hewitt

For the second defendant, Prince Muffakham Jah

3 Verulam Buildings’ Hodge Malek QC and Serle Court’s Jonathan McDonagh, instructed by Devonshires partner Philip Barden

For the third defendant, India

Blackstone Chambers’ Timothy Otto QC, One Essex Court’s Clare Reffin and Serle Court’s James Brightwell, instructed by TLT partner Neil Meakin

For the administrator, The Estate of the 7th Nizam

Serle Court’s Giles Richardson, instructed by Pennington Manches partner Chris Lintott

For the fourth defendant, Natwest Bank Plc

Fountain Court’s Adam Zellick QC, instructed by Ashurst partner Jon Gale

oil

Yukos Finance B.V. & Ors

V

Stephen Lynch & Ors

High Court, Commercial Court, 10 June, six weeks

What began as an arbitration hearing over a decade ago is now making its first appearance in the English courts. Shareholders of the forcibly bankrupted oil business Yukos are bringing a $2bn claim against a raft of five defendants alleged to have conspired with the Russian government to auction off subsidiaries of their former business. With parallel cases running the world over, the combined value is thought to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The claimants allege that its imposed 2006 bankruptcy was part of a campaign by the Russian state to re-appropriate the business’s assets, resulting in its assets being auctioned off. ‘Lot 19’ is of particular interest to this case as it involved a 49 per cent stake in a Slovakian business which owned a crucial oil pipeline running to Russia.

Some of the largest names in Russian litigation are involved in this case with solicitors from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Clifford Chance and Fieldfisher instructing barristers from Serle Court, Essex Court, Fountain Court, One Essex Court. Opposite them, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang and 7KBW will be hoping to claim victory for the appellant.

For the claimant, Yukos Finance & Ors

7KBW’s Dominic Kendrick QC, Jawdat Khurshid QC and Frederick Alliot, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang partner Bernard O’Sullivan

For the first defendant, Stephen Lynch

The defendant is self-represented

For the second and third defendants, Stephen Jennings and Robert Reid

Fountain Court’s Andrew Mitchell QC and Alex Milner, instructed by Fieldfisher partner Colin Gibson

For the fourth defendant, Richard Deitz

Essex Court’s Stephen Houseman QC and One Essex Court’s Sebastian Isaac, instructed by Clifford Chance partner Julian Acratopulo

For the fifth defendant, Robert Foresman

Serle Court’s Jonathan Adkin QC and Sophia Hurst, and One Essex Court’s Abra Bompas, instructed by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Mark Dawkins

opera

Goldscheider

V

Royal Opera House

Court of Appeal, July 2019

The Royal Opera House (ROH) has launched an appeal against violist Chris Goldscheider that will reach court in July 2019, following a March 2018 High Court decision that ruled the music venue was liable in damages for ‘acoustic shock’.

In the first case of its kind, Goldscheider alleged that he suffered ‘acoustic shock’ during a rehearsal in his right ear caused by the high noise levels made by various brass instruments. He claimed that as a result, he was unable to work as a musician.

Following an eight-day trial, the High Court rejected the ROH’s contention that the wearing of ear protection by Goldscheider was sufficient to discharge their duty of care. In October 2018, the ROH was granted permission to appeal this ruling to the Court of Appeal. The court’s decision will have potentially significant consequences for the UK music industry.

For the appellant, Royal Opera House

Crown Office Chambers’ David Platt QC and Alexander Macpherson, instructed by BLM partner Nigel Lock

For the respondent, Chris Goldscheider

Doughty Street Chambers’ Theo Huckle QC, alongside Old Square Chambers’ Jonathan Clarke, instructed by Chris Fry of Fry Law

The Secretary of State for Health and the NHS Business Services Authority

V

Servier Laboratories Limited, (2) Servier Research and Development Limited, (4) Les Laboratoires Servier SAS, (5) Servier SAS

High Court, Business and Property Court, 1 October, three weeks

The “ever-greening” of drug patents has caused much ire in recent years as big pharma companies seek to maintain their margins. The latest litigation of this ilk comes against French-headquartered Servier, against which the Secretary of State for Health and the NHS allege a breach of EU and UK competition laws after it supposedly paid to delay the patent expiry of its blood pressure lowering ‘blockbuster’ drug, Perindopril.

The £250m claim has been eight years in the making after it was first issued in 2011. A European Commission investigation took three years to rule that Servier had entered into anti-competitive agreements with generic drug manufacturers, abusing its position as a dominant supplier of its drug.

October marks the first substantive hearing of this case in an English court with partners from Geldards, Peters & Peters and RPC all turning to Monckton Chambers for counsel, with Serle Court also appearing on the claimant lineup.

Servier has called on Sidley Austin and Brick Court Chambers for its defence in the three-week case. They argue that losses suffered by the NHS could have been mitigated by prescribing cheaper drugs as generic drug manufacturers can produce similar medicine for up to 95 per cent less than the dominant brands.

For the first claimant, The Secretary of State for Health and the NHS Business Services Authority

Monckton Chambers’ Jon Turner QC and Philip Woolfe, and Serle Court’s David Drake, instructed by Peters & Peters partners Jonathan Tickner and Jason Woodland and of counsel Emma Ruane

For the second claimant, the Scottish and Northern Irish Ministers

Monckton Chambers’ Daniel Beard QC, Julian Gregory, Alexandra Littlewood and Imogen Proud, instructed by RPC partner Catherine Percy

For the third claimant, the Welsh Ministers

Monckton Chambers’ Josh Holmes QC and Laura John, instructed by Geldards partner Paul Hopkins

For the defendant, (1) Servier Laboratories Limited, (2) Servier Research and Development Limited, (4) Les Laboratoires Servier SAS, (5) Servier SAS

Brick Court Chambers’ Kelyn Bacon QC and Daniel Piccinin, instructed by Sidley Austin partner Marie Manley

kiev ukraine

Avonwick Holdings Limited

V

Azitio Holdings Limited, Dargamo Holdings Limited, Oleg Mkrtchan and Sergiy Taruta

High Court, Commercial Court, October, four weeks

This is a hugely complex piece of Ukrainian litigation requiring involvement from a number of major players in the CEE disputes market. British Virgin Islands-based Avonwick Holdings commenced proceedings against the defendants in this case in the summer of 2016, following one of the largest transactions in Ukrainian history. Avonwick claims that it sold a 33 per cent interest in the Industrial Union of Donbass, equating to $1bn to Mkrtchan and Taruta. That sum forms the basis of Avonwick’s claims against the buying parties.

That sale, Avonwick alleges, included fraudulent misrepresentations with claims of fraud and conspiracy forming the bulk of the argument as well as two parallel counterclaims which combine to the sum of $340m.

The defendants deny all charges with Baker McKenzie, Covington & Burling, Hogan Lovells and a host of magic circle sets forming the defending cohort against a pair of London-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partners acting for the claimants alongside Brick Court Chambers in one of Q4’s most hotly anticipated clashes.

For the claimant, Avonwick Holdings Limited

Brick Court Chambers’ Neil Calver QC and Stephen Midwinter QC, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partners Nick Marsh and Khaled Khatoun

For the first and third defendants, Azitio Holdings Limited and Oleg Mkrtchan

One Essex Court’s David Wolfson QC and 3 Verulam Buildings’ Ali Malek QC, instructed by Covington & Burling partners Craig Pollack and Greg Lascelles

For the second and fourth defendants, Dargamo Holdings Limited and Sergiy Taruta

Essex Court Chambers’ David Foxton QC, Nathan Pillow QC, Siddarth Dhar, Anton Dudnikov and Louise Hutton, instructed by Hogan Lovells partner Michael Roberts

For the third defendant to additional claims, Prandicle Limited

3 Verulam Buildings’ Peter Ratcliffe, instructed by Baker McKenzie partner Hugh Lyons

barclays

(1) PCP Capital Partners LLP & (2) PCP International Finance Limited

V

Barclays Bank PLC

High Court, Commercial Court, 1 October, eight weeks

This Q4 case between Yorkshire-born financier and founder of investment firm PCP Capital Partners Amanda Staveley and Barclays Bank is already set to be one of the most fiercely contested pieces of litigation in the whole of 2019.

Its roots date back to a mammoth £11.8bn fundraising that Staveley’s firm completed with Qatar in 2008, which helped Barclays avoid a bailout from the UK Government at the peak of the Great Financial Crisis.

Now, Staveley is taking Barclays to the High Court for $1bn with the aid of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan London co-managing partner Richard East and Wilberforce Chambers’ John Wardell QC. She alleges to have arranged a parallel deal with an Abu Dhabi-based consortium in October 2008, though she argues that this never would have happened had she known about side deals negotiated separately by Barclays and Qatar.

The case has already been postponed to avoid prejudicing a related criminal case involving the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into Barclays’ operations in Qatar. The bank has described Staveley’s case as misconceived. It is expected by nobody that this will be a cut-and-dried affair.

For the claimant, (1) PCP Capital Partners LLP & (2) PCP International Finance Limited

Wilberforce Chambers’ John Wardell QC and Blackstone Chambers’ Robert Weekes, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Richard East

For the defendant, Barclays Bank PLC

3 Verulam Buildings’ Ewan McQuater QC, and One Essex Court’s Alexander Polley and Oliver Butler, instructed by Simmons & Simmons partner Stephen Moses

Financial Reporting Council

V

Autonomy Corporation Plc and Deloitte

Tribunal venue TBC, 7 October, nine weeks

The second Autonomy case comes at a time of increased scrutiny for both the regulator involved – the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) – and Big Four accountancy firm, Deloitte.

The publication of a review led by mathematician Sir John Kingman into the FRC gave some strong recommendations, the most pertinent being that the FRC be replaced by an independent statutory regulator with “a new mandate, new clarity of mission, new leadership and new powers”. This followed criticism of the government body after Carillion’s demise which also prompted Deloitte’s role, as well as those of the other Big Four, to be heavily questioned for their auditing standards.

This case represents a chance for the FRC to demonstrate its value as it seeks to provide clarity to the allegedly inflated valuation Autonomy was given by the accountancy firm during its sale to HP. As the largest-ever investigation conducted by the FRC, this will test the organisation’s capacity to the full as it brings allegations of lack of integrity and lack of objectivity from the Deloitte partner at the time, something that is unprecedented against any of the Big Four.

Unusually for a case of this magnitude, the legal community remains in the dark about who has been called upon to represent the defendants with the hearing expected to take place at a major City law firm’s offices.

For the claimant, the Financial Reporting Council

7KBW’s Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC, and Fountain Court’s Henry King QC and Max Evans, instructed by FRC executive counsel Elizabeth Barrett and senior lawyer Andrew Twomey

For the first defendant, Autonomy Corporation

TBC

For the second defendant, Deloitte

TBC

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Slater and Gordon (UK) Limited

V

Watchstone Group Plc

High Court, Commercial Court, 28 October 2019, 6-8 weeks

Brick Court will act for Slater and Gordon as it seeks damages from Watchstone Group for losses associated with its acquisition of Quindell’s professional services arm.

The claim follows Slater and Gordon’s (S&G) purchase of the professional services division in 2015. The law firm alleges that the former CEO of Quindell, which has since been renamed Watchstone, overstated the value of the division when there were talks for S&G to acquire it in 2015.

Shortly after the acquisition the Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation into Quindell’s official profit figures. The investigation led to Quindell’s 2013 and 2014 accounts being restated and caused S&G to post a loss of A$958.3m (£493m) during the first six months of 2015/16.

Should the claim prove successful S&G may be able to recover £50m of the purchase price of Quindell. The £50m was held in escrow during the acquisition and is currently frozen pending the outcome of the dispute.

For the claimant, Slater and Gordon

Brick Court Chambers’ Simon Salzedo QC and Laura Newton, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang partner Jeremy Mash

For the defendant, Watchstone Group

Essex Court Chambers’ Richard Millett QC and Maitland Chambers’ Watson Pringle, instructed by Dorsey & Whitney partner Matthew Blower

The post Revealed: The Top 20 cases of 2019 appeared first on The Lawyer | Legal insight, benchmarking data and jobs.



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