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Commercial Litigation Overview

Members of chambers are recommended by the directories not only for commercial litigation but also in the commercial fields of banking and financial services, insurance, and fraud.

We operate in commercial cases both in the Commercial Court and in the Chancery Division. We also regularly appear in the Technology and Construction Court.


Chambers & Partners 2017

A broad chancery commercial set that has the breadth of talent to cover a wide range of business matters. It is most focused on disputes relating to trusts, civil fraud, real estate, and banking and finance. 

Client service: "Steve Whitaker leads a very helpful and courteous team of clerks." "They are very accommodating and easy to deal with." 


Alan Boyle QC 
A highly venerated performer who has vast experience of handling the most complex and high-value cases both at home and abroad. His particular strengths include international fraud and offshore and trusts matters. 
Strengths: "A brilliant technician who provides exceptional client service. He's magisterial." "Possesses vast experience and produces clear and authoritative advocacy." 
Recent work: Instructed in a claim for damages of more than £30 million brought against the directors of a property company for breach of their duty of care in transferring an office block in London to a Jersey trust structure at an undervalue. 

Philip Jones QC 
A commercial advocate of unquestionable ability who handles major international litigation across a wide range of sectors. He has experience of acting in major fraud, joint venture failure, tax and professional negligence cases.
Strengths: "Very good at drawing out the most significant points of an argument. He puts the lay client at ease and commands the attention of the court." "He's an outstanding choice for trusts litigation." 
Recent work: Acted for BTA Bank, a Kazakh bank, with regard to its USD6 billion claim in the Commercial Court against Mukhtar Ablyazov and his associates. 

Lance Ashworth QC 
A highly regarded commercial and chancery silk who is often seen acting in international disputes in the fraud and insolvency spheres. His manner with clients and his effectiveness on a case are highlighted by sources.
Strengths: "An authoritative advocate who commands respect from the Bench." "Very bright and client-friendly, he covers a wide range of practice areas."
Recent work: Acted in Emmott v Michael Wilson & Partners, Ltd, appearing in the Court of Appeal for the solicitor director of a company who had been found guilty of contempt of court in the Commercial Court and sentenced to eight months' imprisonment. 

Elizabeth Jones QC
A veteran of more than 30 years at the Bar who handles an extremely broad diet of commercial litigation. She regularly handles cases concerning the music industry, financial services, fraud and contentious trusts.
Strengths: "She gets to grips with the intricate detail of a case in a very short space of time and is very impressive on her feet." "A slick operator who's great with clients."
Recent work: Instructed in a case where Conapro is suing The Gambia over a sale contract for the supply of petroleum products. The principal defence is that the contract was procured by bribery of a senior government official. 

John Machell QC
A "superb team player" skilled at tackling contentious partnership, joint venture and company disputes. He also has experience of leading cases concerning fraud, trusts and fiduciary matters. 
Strengths: "He cuts to the chase, gives robust and practical advice, and is impressive on his feet." "Very clever, creative and decisive."
Recent work: Acted in Salem v Salem, a major partnership/trusts case. 

Philip Marshall QC
An "absolutely top-notch" silk with a versatile Commercial Court and Chancery practice. His fraud work, both international and domestic, wins him plaudits from the market. He is very active in offshore cases. 
Strengths: "An outstanding advocate who is extremely diligent." "He is a very effective, hands-on litigator." 
Recent work: Successfully defended mining company Erdenet Mining against a claim brought by Standard Bank in respect of project finance in Mongolia. 

Jonathan Adkin QC
A very highly regarded young silk with a vibrant commercial practice, who has been particularly active in recent years hanbdling work for Russian and CIS clients.  His hands on approach to complex litigation draws particular praise for the market.
Strengths: "Unflappable and commend
ably pragmatic when dealing with issues requiring great urgency." "A very fine draftsman and a powerful advocate."
Recent work: Instructed in a USD1.3 billion claim brought in the Chancery Division by Russian state agencies against a former oligarch accused of removing substantial funds from a major Russian bank. 

David Blayney QC
Frequently seen in high-profile litigation in the banking and finance sector. He is also active in cases involving claims of bribery and those with challenging quantum issues.
Strengths: "Extremely bright and a pleasure to work with." "He throws himself into the detail of a case and works really hard."
Recent work: Instructed in group litigation brought by more than 20,000 individual and institutional claimants concerning the £12 billion RBS rights issue that took place in 2008. 

Hugh Norbury QC
Focuses his practice on civil fraud and breach of fiduciary duty matters, and has handled a number of offshore matters. Commentators note the amount of support he offers clients faced with difficult legal and business situations.
Strengths: "Extremely good with clients, he always manages to make even the incredibly complex seem simple." "What was impressive was his ability to mix the hard analysis with the difficult practical issues facing the client." 
Recent work: Defended Mr Zharimbetov in BTA Bank v Ablyazov & Others, a £4 billion banking fraud case. 

Daniel Lightman QC
Offers clients deep knowledge and understanding of complex company law, fraud and fiduciary duty cases. Interviewees praise him for his ability to remain unfazed when confronted with seemingly huge technical and legal difficulties.
Strengths: "He has exceptional knowledge and skills, particularly in relation to company and shareholder disputes." "An excellent barrister with an eye for technical detail."
Recent work: Instructed to handle an application by the current trustees of the Tchenguiz family trusts, who had brought claims against the trusts’ former trustees for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. 


Justin Higgo 
A well-regarded junior with a fine chancery commercial practice. He is routinely led by established silks and has been involved with major fraud and banking matters at an international level.
Strengths: "He has an excellent client manner and provides clear and unambiguous advice." "Extremely bright, he instinctively knows when to aggressively take the fight to the other side."
Recent work: Acted in Standard Maritime v Fiona Trust, a case arising out of the operation of the Russian state tanker fleet. 

Ruth den Besten
Frequently instructed in high-profile litigation, arbitration and mediation matters. She has experience of acting in cases concerning swap mis-selling, injunctive and interim relief, fraud and shareholder disputes. 
Strengths: "A robust counsel with precise drafting skills. She is a pleasure to work with and a good team player." "An excellent barrister who gives high-quality commercial advice that is always well thought out."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Marrache v Jyske Bank, a case concerning frauds committed by a solicitors’ partnership in Gibraltar. 

Legal 500 2016

Serle Court is ‘one of the top commercial Chancery sets with considerable depth of experience’ and ‘a good spread of people able to assist with a wide range of matters’. Members have had a strong involvement in major commercial and fraud disputes, including Orb v Ruhan. 

Alan Boyle QC - ‘One of the leaders of the Chancery Bar, who is exceptionally clever.’

Dominic Dowley QC - ‘His analytical mind gets to the heart of an issue quickly.’ 

Elizabeth Jones QC - ‘Combines legal brilliance with practical commercial acumen, judges always listen to her.’ 

Hugh Norbury QC - ‘A calm but powerful presence; you wouldn’t want to be cross-examined by him.’ 

Jonathan Adkin QC - 'A real powerhouse, who stands out from his peers; he is simply brilliant.'

John Machell QC - ‘A first-rate advocate, who is very good on his feet and very bright.’ 

Lance Ashworth QC - ‘Impressive on strategy and is favoured for his robust advice; he doesn’t sit on the fence.’

Philip Jones QC - ‘Calm, cerebral and measured; he keeps his head when all around are losing theirs.'

Philip Marshall QC - ‘Charming with clients but he also has a hard edge he will never be bullied out of court.’

Andrew Moran QC - ‘Very good with clients and very good at guiding them through difficult concepts.’ 

Daniel Lightman QC - ‘Technically extremely competent and very strong on tactics and drafting.’

David Drake - ‘One of the brightest individuals at the Bar.’

Justin Higgo - ‘Excellent.’

Matthew Morrison - ‘Good for difficult cases, and has shown that he is measured, calm and unflappable.'

Richard Walford - ‘A consummate legal strategist and a most eloquent and engaging advocate.

Ruth den Besten - 'A tremendous counsel in any complex investigation or litigation.'

Simon Hattan - 'His paperwork is excellent and he is a good advocate with a real presence.'

Adil Mohamedbhai - 'Very easy to work with and on top of all the detail – he will go far.’ 



As we announced earlier this year, Serle Court’s International Trusts and... more


Serle Court hosted a successful Trusts and Commercial Litigation Conference... more


We announced earlier this year that Serle Court’s Trusts and... more


Leading Chancery and Commercial set Serle Court is pleased to... more


Leading Commercial and Chancery set Serle Court is pleased to... more


The latest edition of Chambers Global is now available online... more


We are delighted to announce that we will again be... more


We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting... more


Leading Chancery and Commercial set Serle Court announces the return... more


The Lawyer has published its Top 20 Cases of 2017... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the prestigious Trust &... more


Jonathan Harris QC (Hon) gave evidence to the House of... more


Serle Court hosted a very successful International Trusts and Commercial... more


The Legal 500 UK Awards shortlist has been announced and... more


We announced earlier this year that Serle Court's Litigation Conference... more


We announced earlier this year that Serle Court’s International Trusts... more


The 3rd supplement to the 15th edition of the leading... more


We announced last month that Serle Court will be hosting... more


The latest edition of Chambers Global is now available online... more


Kathryn Purkis is returning to Serle Court to practise at... more


We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting... more


Leading commercial and chancery set Serle Court today announces the... more


The latest edition of Chambers Global is now available online... more


The latest edition of SerleSpeak is now available to download... more


Serle Court hosted a second successful conference in Cayman on... more


The latest Chambers & Partners directory was published on 30... more


The Legal 500 UK Awards shortlist for 2014 has been... more


The 2014 Legal 500 directory was published on 1 October... more


Serle Court hosted a very successful litigation conference in London... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the prestigious Trusts &... more


The Lawyer has published its Top 20 Cases for 2014... more


  The Lawyer has published its Top 20 Cases of... more


  Serle Court hosted a very successful conference in Cayman... more


The 2013 Chambers & Partners directory was published on 1... more


The supplement to the 8th edition of the leading practitioner... more


We have had another excellent set of results in the... more


Serle Court and Appleby hosted a very successful Offshore Litigation... more


Lance Ashworth QC – whose practice covers commercial, insolvency, company,... more


The 2012 Chambers & Partners directory was published on 25... more


In the new edition of the Legal 500 directory, Serle... more


The latest edition of Chambers and Partners Global is now... more


Julian Burling, previously Counsel to Lloyd’s, and Paul Chaisty QC... more


The new edition of the leading work on Sale of... more


In the new edition of the Legal 500 directory, Serle... more


In December 2009, the third supplement to the 14th edition... more


For the third year running, Serle Court is proud to... more


Professor Jonathan Harris has contributed a substantial chapter to a... more


Professor Jonathan Harris has been invited to speak at the... more


Serle Court is delighted to announce that Professor Jonathan Harris,... more

Notable Cases

Aeroflot v Berezovsky, Glushkov, Forus Holdings SA & Ors

Aeroflot is suing its former Deputy Director General, Nikolai Glushkov,... more

Fiona Trust

Dominic Dowley QC and Justin Higgo are instructed in the... more

Thursfield v Thursfield [2012] EWHC 3742 (Ch) [2012] EWHC 3621 (Ch) [2011] EWHC 3539 (Ch)

Involves the enforcement of a US$5.7m judgment of the Michigan... more

Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories Ltd [2016] EWHC 2381 (Ch); [2016] 5 CMLR 25

Henderson J considered whether it was a prerequisite of a... more

Grupa Ozarow v Clean Energy Trading CL [2016] EWHC 2322 (Comm)

Acted for the defendant company trading in Carbon Credits in... more

Orb v Ruhan [2015] EWHC 262

Acted for a group of proposed defendants in successfully resisting... more

ENI S.p.a v Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd

Acting for the Public Prosecutor of the Court of Milan... more

Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd [2015] EWHC 1175 (TCC)

The long-running dispute between Network Rail and road users’ insurers... more

MMM v Nusantara

Acted for a company defending claims brought by former directors... more

Dijbouti v Boreh [2015] EWHC 1338 (Comm)

Acted for the Republic of Djibouti in its claim against... more

Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees SA (Trustee of the Tchenguiz Settlement) v ITG Ltd and Bayeux Trustees Ltd (Trustees of the Techenguiz Discretionary Trust) [2015] EWHC 1664 (Ch); [2015] EWHC 1924 (Ch)

Successfully opposing the claimant's application for permission to serve proposed re-amended... more

Glenn v Watson

Representing the interests of New Zealand businesssman and philantropist Sir... more

Newmarket Holdings (Guernsey) Ltd v Confiance Ltd and Ors.

Acted for defendant Guernsey trustees in a c.£20m claim in the... more

Greenhouse v Skrill Ltd

A substantial claim in the Commercial Court relating to an... more

Cornwall v Medichem

Concerning claims for unpaid commission.  They act for the claimant,... more

Perry and others v National Crime Agency

Acted for the applicants in a very substantial compensation claim... more

FM Capital Partners Ltd v Marino

Acting for the principal defendant in this substantial commercial and... more

Flanagan v Liontrust Investment Partners LLP [2015] EWCA 2171 (Ch)

Henderson J gave the first judgment on the question whether... more

Wyatt v Royal Bank of Scotland

Acted for the guarantor of debts of a company which... more

Superior Composite Structures LLC v Parrish [2015] EWHC 3688 (QB)

The trial of a claim for enforcement of a judgment... more

BTA Bank v Ablyazov [2015] 1 wLR 1547

Costs of Norwich Pharmacal disclsoure exercise. more

Novship (UK) Ltd v Mikhaylyuk [2014] EWCA Civ 908

Dealt with questions of the availablity of the remedy of an... more

Kea Investments Ltd v Novatrust Ltd BVIHC (Com) 2014/46; [2014] EWHC 4061 (Ch)

A cross-border joint venture dispute involving proceedings in England and... more

Her Majesty’s Solicitor General v Dodd [2014] FSR 27

An application for committal for contempt of court.  In a... more

BTA Bank v Ablyazov

Acted for a non-party respondent ordered to provide detailed information... more

Fiona Trust & Holding Corp v Skarga [2013] EWCA Civ 275

Appeared for the appellants in which the Court of Appeal... more

Stiftung Salle Modulable v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Limited [2013] SC (Bda) 47 Civ

Instructed on behalf of the Plaintiffs in a high value... more

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein [2013] EWHC 1993 (Ch), overturned by CA [2014] EWCA Civ 399

A multi-party, multi-jurisdictional dispute arising out of the management and... more

Constantin Medien AG v Ecclestone & Ors [2014] EWHC 387 (Ch)

Philip Marshall QC, David Blayney QC, James Mather  and Emma Hargreaves... more

Aeroflot v Berezovsky, Gluskhov, Forus Holdings SA & Ors

Philip Marshall QC and Justin  Higgo continued to represent Aeroflot... more

JSC BTA Bank v Mukhtar Ablyazov, Zharimbetov & Ors

Large fraud trial in which the Bank successfully obtained Judgment... more

Ruxley Electronics v Forsyth [1996] 1 AC 344

Andrew Bruce was instructed at first instance on a direct... more

Ullah v Ullah [2013] EWHC 296 (Ch)

Andrew Bruce successfully represented the Defendants in a substantial High... more

Secretary of State for Health & Ors v Servier Laboratories Ltd & Ors

Alleged breaches of articles 101 and 102 TFEU and interference... more

Portsmouth Holdings Ltd v JL Homes Ltd Anor Ch D, 4 October 2012

A mortgagee brought possession proceedings against a corporate mortgagor and... more

Aeroflot v Berezovsky [2012] EWHC 3017 (Ch)

The defendants applied for summary judgment on the claimant's claim... more

Mulu Mengiste v The Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray [2013] EWHC 598 (Ch) [2012] EWHC 2782 (Ch)

Appeared in an application for a stay on grounds of... more

Novoship (UK) Limited and Ors v Mikhaylyuk and Ors [2012] EWHC 3586 (Comm)

A mulit-million dollar fraud claim against agents.  The fraud related... more

Serious Organised Crime Agency v Perry

Acting for the subjects of a major civil recovery investigation... more

Air Transport Association of America v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2011] WLR (D) 386

This held that the extension of EU emissions tradiing to... more

Hicks v Broughton

The case involving the high profile claim concerning the sale... more

Secretary of State for Health & Ors v Reckitt Benckiser Group plc

Acting for the claimants in a claim for abuse of... more

Company Developments (Finance) Ltd v Coffee Club Restaurants Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 766

The case concerned the construction of guarantee obligations in a... more

Masri v Consolidated Contractors International Co SAL

Acted for the first and second respondents to a contempt... more


The dispute concerns the fraudulent misappropriation of shares in a... more

AAG Investments Ltd v BAA Airports Ltd [2011] 2 All ER (Comm) 1171

Successful strike-out application of part of the Claimant's Particulars of... more

Legal Services Commission v Henthorn High Court HHJ Thornton QC

Successfully defended a retired barrister in a test case brought... more

Cheeside Homes Ltd v Charles Lawson Lettings

Andrew Bruce obtained Mareva relief in connection with retention of... more

Lexi Holdings v Pannone

Philip Marshall QC and Ruth Holtham continued to appear on... more

Vercoe v Rutland [2010] EWHC 424

Acted for the victorious entrepreneurs in which the private equity... more

North Shore Venture v Anstead Holdings [2010] EWHC 1485 (Ch); [2011] EWCA Civ 230; [2010] EWHC 910 (Ch)

Acting for the defendants in a case which raises important... more

Dickson v Christie’s

The facts of the case are widely reported - e.g.... more

Estate of Edward St George v Sir Jack Hayward & Ors [2010]

A multi-million litigation in the Bahamas involved a dispute between... more

Antonio Gramsci Shipping (& ors) v Romanica (& ors) [2010] EWHC 1134 (Comm)

The Defendants are alleged to have defrauded the claimants of... more

Golfrate v Aziz [2009] EWCA Civ 250

Philip Marshall QC led Daniel Lightman for the Claimant, a... more

William Evans v Focal Point Fires plc [2010] ETMR 29; [2010] RPC 15

This case established that an estoppel can arise from a... more

Abbey National & Ors v OFT [2009] UKSC 6

Acted as senior juinior for The Royal Bank of Scotland... more

BITEL LLC v Kyrgyz Mobil Tel Ltd and Ors; Kyrgyz Mobil Tel Ltd and Ors v BITEL LLC & Ors

A claim to enforce a judgement from Kyrgyzstan in the... more

Tchigirinski v Orton Oil

Philip Marshall QC led Ruth Holtham for the Defendant, Orton... more

Yugraneft v Roman Abramovich 2008 Commercial Court (Clarke J) ALLER (D) 299 (Oct)

Reverse summary judgment obtained against a Russian company which claimed... more

Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc v Winterthur (UK) Holdings Ltd

A £37m claim for breach of warranty and fraudulent misrepresentation... more

Yugraneft v Abramovich (2008, Christopher Clarke J)

Alan Boyle QC and Richard Walford appeared in the continuing... more

TAG Wealth Management v West [2008] All ER (D) 386 (Jun)

The claimant was a financial and investment advisor. The defendant... more

Lexi Holdings plc (in administration) v Pooni [2008] All ER (D) 292

The Claimant was the registered proprietor of No Man's Land... more

Rhone-Poulenc Rorer International Holdings Inc v Yeda Research and Development Co Ltd [2008] RPC1; [2008] 1 All ER 425

Acted for the Comptroller-General of Patents in this matter dealing... more

Fiona Trust & Holding Corp & Ors v Privalov & Ors [2007] UKHL 40

The appellant shipowners appealed against a decision granting the respondent... more

Parti v Al Sabah [2007] EWHC 1869

The Court gave guidance on when it was appropriate to... more

Fiona & Ors v Privalov & Ors 22 May 2007, HC (QB Division) Steel J

The Claimants sought permission to add further claims and a... more

Jones v TRW Ltd [2007] EWHC 1091 (QB)

Facts:The defendant was the UK subsidiary of a US corporation... more

Marlwood Commercial Inc & ors v Kozeny & ors. [2007] EWHC 950 (Comm)

A world-wide freezing order was extended where there was good... more

Maersk Oil Limited v Dresser-Rand (UK) Limited [2007] All ER (D) 153

23 day breach of contract claim arising from a defective... more

Fiona Trust & Holding Corp & Ors v Privalov & Ors [2007] EWCA Civ 20

The appellant charterers appealed against the dismissal of their application... more

Fiona & Ors v Privalov & Ors [2006] EWHC 2583

The applicant shipowners sought to restrain certain of the respondents... more

Barrett v Universal Island Records Ltd [2006] E.M.L.R. 21

Substantial claim involving record royalties, claims to own copyright and... more

Enron (Thrace) v Clapp and others [2005] EWCA Civ 1511 Court of Appeal; [2005] EWHC 401 (Comm) Aikens J; [2004] EWHC 1612 (Comm)

Thrace Basin Natural Gas (Turkiye) Corporation (“TBNG”) owned gas concessions... more

Speed Investments Ltd v Formula One Holdings Ltd (No 2) [2005] 1 WLR 1936

The appeal from Speed Investments (No 1) more

Eid v Al Kazemi (No 2) [2004] EWCA Civ 1811

At first instance the applicant had obtained an order for... more

Crystal Decisions v Vedatech [2004] EWHC 1872; also 25.02.02; also 28.01.02: [2002] EWCA Civ 357

Crystal sought security for costs to cover their trial costs... more

Eid v Al Kazemi (No 1) [2004] EWHC 2129

The claimant sought an order for the transfer of shares... more

Hormel Foods v Antilles Landscape Investments [2005] ETMR 54; [2005] RPC 28

Abuse of process and issue estoppel in a trade mark... more

Reckitt Benkiser v Home Pairfum [2004] FSR 37; [2005] ETMR 94

Refusal to join a new Part 20 defendant as an... more

ConocoPhilips Petroleum Co UK Ltd v Snamprogetti [2003] EWHC 223

Dispute in relation to the design of an offshore gas... more

Experience Hendrix LLC v PPX Enterprises Inc and another [2003] EWCA Civ 323 [2003] FSR 46

The claimant appealed against the refusal of the High Court... more

Comet v Unika Computer SA [2004] International Law and Procedure 1

A provisional judgment given by the French court was wrongly... more

Eurovideo Bildprogramm GmbH v Pulse Entertainment Ltd 27 June 2002, CA

Successful claim for misrepresentation and breach of warranty with respect... more

Bank of Ireland v AMCD Property Holdings and others (2001) 2 All ER (Comm) 894

The claimant sought summary judgment in relation to an advance... more

Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederosterreich-Wien AG v Maxfold Contracts LLP & Ors

A multi-jursidictional dispute concerning allegations of international money-laundering and shortcomings... more


The estate's claim that the defendants had dishonestly misappropriated assets... more

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