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Company Overview

Serle Court is counted among the best sets for company law, and its reputation in this area goes far beyond reflecting its exceptional strength in corporate insolvency. We are often the first port of call for clients involved in contentious disputes as directors or shareholders. In particular, in the area of internal and minority shareholders disputes, derivative actions and just and equitable winding up, several members of chambers have considerable experience and are acknowledged as outstanding practitioners.

This excellence is reflected in the fact that members of Chambers have written leading works in the area of contentious company work: Minority Shareholders: Law, Practice and Procedure by David Drake, Tim Collingwood, Daniel Lightman QC, Giles Richardson (and former member Victor Joffe QC) and The Practice & Procedure of the Companies Court edited by Alan Boyle QC and Philip Marshall QC with contributions from Philip Jones QC. Matthew Morrison and James Mather are on the panel of contributors to the Butterworths Corporate Law Service; Matthew has written chapters on Directors' Liabilities in Insolvency and Directors' Disqualification and James contributes on Directors' Conflicts of Interest, Remedies Against Directors and Limitation Issues in Corporate Litigation.

The range of work covered by Serle Court includes all aspects of non-contentious company work, particularly financial assistance, schemes of arrangement, reductions of capital, share transactions and takeovers.

In both contentious and non-contentious work, our clients in this area range from large companies and corporations, both domestic and overseas, to medium and small-size companies and their directors and shareholders. Whilst receiving instructions from a wide range of firms of solicitors throughout the country, we also receive instruction from foreign lawyers and others direct.


Chambers & Partners 2017

Serle Court's barristers are a solid choice for a range of company-related disputes and non-contentious matters. It has a strong bench of silks and juniors who are adept at handling issues such as minority shareholder disputes and derivative actions. The set is seen as a strong player in the company law field, and its members are applauded for their contribution to leading written work on the subject. 

Client service: "The clerking, led by Steve Whitaker, is great. The clerks are always responsive, always easy to talk to and easy to get on with. They are commercial and are always very willing to work with you on issues." 


Philip Jones QC 
A sought-after silk with a fantastic reputation in company disputes. He regularly acts in international matters including British Virgin Islands High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings.  
Strengths: "Undoubtedly good, he is taken seriously by judges and lawyers." "He is a really good all-round lawyer who is very bright and very understated."
Recent work: Appeared in a dispute involving 20 family shareholders from Saudi Arabia. The case concerned a multimullion-pound company, Nearland Inc, headquartered in the BVI. 

Philip Marshall QC 
Regularly undertakes disputes concerning directors and acquisitions. He handles cases in both domestic and international courts. 
Strengths: "He is superb. Very relaxed and persuasive, he can certainly make an argument."
Recent work: Acted in Novatrust v Kea, which brought up issues concerning derivative claims for foreign companies, among other questions. 

Alan Boyle QC 
A distinguished name at the Commercial Chancery Bar, who is the first port of call for many on company disputes. He regularly leads in high-profile cases. 
Strengths: "A barrister with vast experience who produces clear and authoritative advocacy."
Recent work: Acted in Kingate Global Fund Limited v Kingate Management Limited, a case that raised questions around unjust enrichment and contractual entitlement. 

David Blayney QC
Respected junior silk who handles company law as part of a broad commercial and chancery practice. He is often called upon to handle breach of directors' duty and unfair prejudice proceedings. 

Daniel Lightman QC 
He often acts in company law cases and is an expert in minority shareholder cases. His areas of expertise also cover derivatives claims and Section 994 petition proceedings.
Strengths: "A very intelligent barrister." "He has very good attention to detail, and can understand an unusual brief."
Recent work: Acted in Griffith v Gourgey, an unfair prejudice petition centred on the shares of three property development companies. 


Timothy Collingwood 
A highly respected junior who takes instructions on domestic and international cases. He is particularly noted for his capabilities in shareholder disputes. 
Strengths: "He is very personable, clear and good at grasping complex situations. He is also very good with clients." 
Recent work: Appeared in an unfair prejudice petition involving complaints of breach of duty, wrongful exclusion and compulsory share transfer. 

David Drake
He has a broad practice which includes advising on fraud, company and insolvency matters. Drake regularly acts in breach of directors' duties claims and unfair prejudice petitions. 
Strengths: "He is what you want as he knows his law and is lovely to work with."
Recent work: Appeared for the defendants in DAS UK Holdings Ltd v Asplin and Others, a high-value fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt dispute. 

Paul Adams
Handles a range of company disputes such as breach of fiduciary and shareholder agreement cases. He often appears both in the English Court of Appeal and the BVI Court of Appeal. 
Strengths: "A very clever chap who wears his intellect lightly. He's very pleasant to work with as his advice is always very straightforward and helpful."
Recent work: Acted for the claimants in a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud dispute. 

Thomas Elias
Frequently acts in high-profile company disputes. He is active on a range of matters including double-derivative claims.
Strengths: "He is really good and strategically aware."
Recent work: Acted in Prince Abdulaziz v Apex Global, an appeal at the Supreme Court concerning conjoined unfair prejudice petitions. 

Legal 500 2016

Lance Ashworth QC - 'Rolls up his sleeves and produces high-quality work.'

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

Philip Jones QC - ‘Hands-on throughout a case and very good with clients.’ 

Jonathan Adkin QC - 'Very effective in large-scale litigation.'

Philip Marshall QC - ‘Excellent with complex finances’

Daniel Lightman QC - ‘He absorbs complicated documents and has such an eye for detail.’

David Drake - ‘Recommended for accessory liability matters’

Giles Richardson - ‘Produces cogent, well-thought-out opinions in a timely manner.’

Matthew Morrison - ‘Highly knowledgeable on directors’ misfeasance issues.’

Ruth den Besten - ‘Highly recommended for shareholder disputes.’

Thomas Braithwaite - ‘He is very incisive and produces first-rate legal analysis.’ 

Timothy Collingwood - ‘He is a pleasure to work with, and provides detailed, pragmatic advice on complicated issues.'



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


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


In O’Keefe & Anor v Caner & Ors [2017] EWHC... more


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


The latest edition of Who’s Who Legal: UK Bar was... more


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


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


Serle Court hosted a very successful International Trusts and Commercial... 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 fifth edition of Minority Shareholders: Law, Practice and Procedure... more


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


The latest Chambers & Partners directory was published on 30... 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 that Daniel Lightman has been included in... more


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


  The fourth edition of Minority Shareholders: Law, Practice and... more


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


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


Victor Joffe QC, David Drake, Giles Richardson, Daniel Lightman and... more


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


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

Notable Cases

Re Fi Call Limited [2013] EWHC 223 (Ch)

Four respondents to an unfair prejudice petition, one of whom... more

Aeroflot v Berezovsky, Glushkov, Forus Holdings SA & Ors

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

Burberry Group plc [2017] EWCA Civ 1129

Representing the appellant on the leading case on public access... more

Lehman Brothers Limited [2017] UKSC 38; [2017] B.C.C.235

Ruth den Besten appeared in the Supreme Court in the... more

O’Keefe & Anor v Caner & Ors [2017] EWHC 1105 (Ch)

Kathryn Purkis led by Lord Goldsmith QC acted for the... more

Burberry Group plc v Fox-Davies [2015] 2 BCLC 66

Acted for the defendant on the leading case on access... more

Metaxides v Swart

Acted for the respondents in a case on appeal to... more

C v C

An important decision limiting the jurisdiction of the Family Court... more

Glenn v Watson

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

FM Capital Partners Ltd v Marino

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

Kaneria v Kaneria - Re Guidezone Ltd

Represented the defendant in a 21 day trial of preliminary... more

Apex Global Management Ltd v Fi Call Ltd

A substantial and high profile shareholder dispute involving two saudi... 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

Moxon v Litchfield

A case concerning an unfair prejudice petition following the dismissal... 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

Eckerle & Ors v Wickeder Westfalenstahi GmbH & anr [2013] EWHC 68 (Ch)

The Judge struck out the claim on the ground that... 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

Bamford v Harvey [2012] EWHC 2858 (Ch)

Appeared for the Claimant.  The Judge held that wrongdoer control... more

Moraes v Paulista Ltd & Ors

Instructed to advise the defendants in an ongoing multi-million dollar... more

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

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

Lady Henrietta St George et al v Sir Jack Hayward et al 2006 - 2010

Edward St George and Sir Jack Hayward owned and ran... more

Taylor v Cobham

Unfair prejudice petition, in which the court considered the merits... more

Millhouse Capital UK Ltd and Abramovich v Sibir Energy plc [2008] EWHC 2614 (Ch), [2009] 1 BCLC 298

Even had there been merit in a US$4bn fraud claim... 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

Re Lexi Holdings Plc [2008] EWCA Crim 1443

A debt owed to an unsecured third party can only... more

Yugraneft v Abramovich (2008, Christopher Clarke J)

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

Re Lexi Holdings Plc [2007] EWCA 1501 (Mummery and Chadwick LJJ)

Held that the Court could disbelieve affidavit evidence as incredible... more

Re Lexi Holdings Plc [2007] EWHC 2652 (Briggs J) and [2009] EWCA Civ 117

Held that a company director who knows of some instances... more

Re City Group Ltd, Secretary of State for Trade & Industry v Gee & Ors [2007] EWHC 350 (Ch), [2007] All ER (D) 343 (Feb) [2008] B.C.C. 76

The first defendant was the majority shareholder, and executive chairman... more

Gil v Baygreen Properties Ltd (in liquidation) [2005] BPIR 95

Claim by creditor of company against director for breach of... more

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

The appeal from Speed Investments (No 1) more

Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederosterreich-Wien AG v Maxfold Contracts LLP & Ors

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

Re Omar (a bankrupt) [2000] BCC 434


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