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Emma Hargreaves

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Emma Hargreaves

Areas of Expertise

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Year of Call: 2012 ehargreaves@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Emma has a broad commercial chancery practice and accepts instructions in most of Chambers' core practice areas.  Since joining Chambers in 2013, she has developed substantial experience in domestic and offshore trust litigation, civil fraud, commercial and company disputes.  She also advises and appears as specialist Chancery counsel in the context of matrimonial proceedings.  Emma is often instructed to act as sole counsel in cases in the High Court and the County Court.  She is also regularly instructed as junior counsel in large-scale commercial and chancery litigation, both onshore and offshore. Last year, she was granted special admission to appear before the Supreme Court of Bermuda as junior counsel in Beddoe proceedings relating to very substantial non-charitable purpose trusts.

Emma was chosen as the 2016 Private Client Rising Star at the IBC Transcontinental Trust Conference 2016 in Bermuda.

Areas of Expertise and Cases


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Civil Fraud

Emma has acted on a range of fraud disputes, including cases giving rise to issues of dishonest assistance, unconscionable receipt and conspiracy.  Recent instructions include:

  • Superior Composite Structures LLC v Parrish [2015] EWHC 3688 (QB) - acted unled for the defendant in a claim for the enforcement of a US$2 million judgment obtained in South Dakota.
  • Acted, with Hugh Norbury QC, in In re Gizmondo, a claim by liquidators of the company relating to allegedly fraudulent transactions at an undervalue.
  • Constantin Medien AG v Ecclestone & Ors [2014] EWHC 387 (Ch) - appeared for the claimant, led by Philip Marshall QC, David Blayney QC and James Mather in a fraud claim that arose from the payment of $44m by Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and his family trust to a senior executive of the German bank Bayerische Landesbank, which then owned a controlling stake in Formula One.
  • Acted unled for the claimants in a fraud and tracing claim worth £1.6m, successfully obtaining summary judgment on the tracing claim and an order for a substantial interim payment pending the taking of an account. 


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Commercial Litigation

Emma acts and advises, both led and unled, on a wide range of commercial disputes.  Recent instructions include:

  • Superior Composite Structures LLC v Parrish [2015] EWHC 3688 (QB) - appeared unled for the defendant in a claim for the enforcement of a US$2 million judgment obtained in South Dakota.
  • Acted for the claimants in a claim for breach of a loan agreement, involving issues of partnership law; also instructed in related enforcement proceedings.
  • Acted for the claimant in a claim for breach of warranties in a share sale agreement. 
  • Acted for the claimant in a claim for breach of contract and restitution arising out of a consultancy arrangement.
  • Acted for the trustees of a pension trust in a debt claim, involving issues of both contract and trust law.

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Insolvency

Emma has previously advised on, and appeared in, a number of insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings in the High Court and County Court.

Recent instructions include:

  • S P Holding Tractor Hire Limited v CVS (Commercial Valuers & Surveyors) Limited [2015] EWHC 3838 (Ch) - successfully opposed an application for an injunction to restrain presentation of a winding up petition and obtained an indemnity costs order against the applicant.
  • In re Gizmondo Europe Limited [2014] EWHC 4640 (Ch) - acted, with Hugh Norbury QC, in section 238 proceedings arising out of the liquidation of the makers of handheld computer gaming consoles.

Emma is also a contributor to the insolvency chapters of Whittaker & Machell, The Law of Limited Liability Partnerships (4th edition).


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Company

Emma has experience of a range of company disputes.  Recent matters include:

  • Acting for four of the defendants in DAS UK Holdings v Paul John Asplin & Ors, involving claims based on breach of director/fiduciary duties by former directors of the claimant companies and consequent claims in knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
  • Acting for the minority shareholder in a major national restaurant business in a substantial dispute arising out of forward funding provisions in a shareholder agreement, including unfair prejudice considerations.
  • Acted for the petitioner in a section 994 petition relating to a security services company, involving issues of de facto and shadow directorship, and diversion of corporate opportunities.
  • Re Fi Call Ltd [2014] EWHC 779 (Ch) - acted with Daniel Lightman in this hotly contested shareholder dispute, successfully opposing an application for security for costs before Newey J on the basis that the costs associated with a section 994 petition and a cross-petition could not satisfactorily be disentangled.
  • Assisted Daniel Lightman in Petrodel Resources v Prest [2013] 3 WLR 1, a landmark Supreme Court decision on the circumstances in which the court can pierce the corporate veil.

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Trusts and Probate

Emma regularly advises and acts on contentious trust and probate matters, both in England and in offshore jurisdictions, such as Bermuda, the Bahamas and Jersey.  She is also developing considerable experience in relation to the trust elements of matrimonial proceedings.

Current and recent matters include:

  • S v S (ongoing) - acting for the husband in matrimonial proceedings in a claim related to assets worth over £30 million, giving rise to issues of sham, constitution of trusts, and Cypriot law.
  • AF v MF [2016] EWFC 65 - acted for the husband in acrimonious financial remedy proceedings, involving an offshore foundation and issues of "nuptial settlements", in which the wife alleged the husband was worth over £95 million but was awarded around £2 million following trial.
  • Trustee L and Others v Attorney General and Others [2016] Bda LR 35 - appeared at the costs hearing of this long running Beddoe application in Bermuda, the first to consider the proper stance of trustees of very substantial non-charitable purpose trusts faced with an adverse proprietary claim to the whole of their funds.
  • Actied, with Dakis Hagen, for the wife in matrimonial proceedings in a claim related to assets worth around £60 million purportedly held in a Guernsey pension trust.
  • Advised, with Dakis Hagen, the trustee of a substantial Jersey trust in relation to ancillary relief proceedings taking place in England between the settlor and his former wife.
  • Advised on a probate action involving issues of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval, and undue influence.
  • Advised on a number of applications for grants of administration, including discretionary grants under section 116 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and grants of administration where the deceased died domiciled abroad.
  • Assisted Dakis Hagen in CR v MZ & Ors [2013] EWHC 295, a sham trust/forgery case relating to the ownership of a substantial London property and its holding company, arising in the context of ancillary relief proceedings.
  • Assisted Philip Jones QC and Ruth Jordan in Pitt v Holt, Futter v Futter [2013] 2 WLR 1200, a landmark Supreme court decision on the "Rule in Hastings-Bass" and the law of mistaken payments.
  • Assisted Daniel Lightman in Petrodel Resources v Prest [2013] 3 WLR 1, a landmark Supreme Court decision on the scope of section 24(1) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the circumstances in which the court can pierce the corporate veil.


Emma Hargreaves

Emma Hargreaves

Year of Call: 2012
Email: ehargreaves@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Emma has a broad commercial chancery practice and accepts instructions in most of Chambers' core practice areas.  Since joining Chambers in 2013, she has developed substantial experience in domestic and offshore trust litigation, civil fraud, commercial and company disputes.  She also advises and appears as specialist Chancery counsel in the context of matrimonial proceedings.  Emma is often instructed to act as sole counsel in cases in the High Court and the County Court.  She is also regularly instructed as junior counsel in large-scale commercial and chancery litigation, both onshore and offshore. Last year, she was granted special admission to appear before the Supreme Court of Bermuda as junior counsel in Beddoe proceedings relating to very substantial non-charitable purpose trusts.

Emma was chosen as the 2016 Private Client Rising Star at the IBC Transcontinental Trust Conference 2016 in Bermuda.

Areas of expertise

Civil Fraud

Emma has acted on a range of fraud disputes, including cases giving rise to issues of dishonest assistance, unconscionable receipt and conspiracy.  Recent instructions include:

  • Superior Composite Structures LLC v Parrish [2015] EWHC 3688 (QB) - acted unled for the defendant in a claim for the enforcement of a US$2 million judgment obtained in South Dakota.
  • Acted, with Hugh Norbury QC, in In re Gizmondo, a claim by liquidators of the company relating to allegedly fraudulent transactions at an undervalue.
  • Constantin Medien AG v Ecclestone & Ors [2014] EWHC 387 (Ch) - appeared for the claimant, led by Philip Marshall QC, David Blayney QC and James Mather in a fraud claim that arose from the payment of $44m by Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and his family trust to a senior executive of the German bank Bayerische Landesbank, which then owned a controlling stake in Formula One.
  • Acted unled for the claimants in a fraud and tracing claim worth £1.6m, successfully obtaining summary judgment on the tracing claim and an order for a substantial interim payment pending the taking of an account. 

Commercial Litigation

Emma acts and advises, both led and unled, on a wide range of commercial disputes.  Recent instructions include:

  • Superior Composite Structures LLC v Parrish [2015] EWHC 3688 (QB) - appeared unled for the defendant in a claim for the enforcement of a US$2 million judgment obtained in South Dakota.
  • Acted for the claimants in a claim for breach of a loan agreement, involving issues of partnership law; also instructed in related enforcement proceedings.
  • Acted for the claimant in a claim for breach of warranties in a share sale agreement. 
  • Acted for the claimant in a claim for breach of contract and restitution arising out of a consultancy arrangement.
  • Acted for the trustees of a pension trust in a debt claim, involving issues of both contract and trust law.

Insolvency

Emma has previously advised on, and appeared in, a number of insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings in the High Court and County Court.

Recent instructions include:

  • S P Holding Tractor Hire Limited v CVS (Commercial Valuers & Surveyors) Limited [2015] EWHC 3838 (Ch) - successfully opposed an application for an injunction to restrain presentation of a winding up petition and obtained an indemnity costs order against the applicant.
  • In re Gizmondo Europe Limited [2014] EWHC 4640 (Ch) - acted, with Hugh Norbury QC, in section 238 proceedings arising out of the liquidation of the makers of handheld computer gaming consoles.

Emma is also a contributor to the insolvency chapters of Whittaker & Machell, The Law of Limited Liability Partnerships (4th edition).

Company

Emma has experience of a range of company disputes.  Recent matters include:

  • Acting for four of the defendants in DAS UK Holdings v Paul John Asplin & Ors, involving claims based on breach of director/fiduciary duties by former directors of the claimant companies and consequent claims in knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
  • Acting for the minority shareholder in a major national restaurant business in a substantial dispute arising out of forward funding provisions in a shareholder agreement, including unfair prejudice considerations.
  • Acted for the petitioner in a section 994 petition relating to a security services company, involving issues of de facto and shadow directorship, and diversion of corporate opportunities.
  • Re Fi Call Ltd [2014] EWHC 779 (Ch) - acted with Daniel Lightman in this hotly contested shareholder dispute, successfully opposing an application for security for costs before Newey J on the basis that the costs associated with a section 994 petition and a cross-petition could not satisfactorily be disentangled.
  • Assisted Daniel Lightman in Petrodel Resources v Prest [2013] 3 WLR 1, a landmark Supreme Court decision on the circumstances in which the court can pierce the corporate veil.

Trusts and Probate

Emma regularly advises and acts on contentious trust and probate matters, both in England and in offshore jurisdictions, such as Bermuda, the Bahamas and Jersey.  She is also developing considerable experience in relation to the trust elements of matrimonial proceedings.

Current and recent matters include:

  • S v S (ongoing) - acting for the husband in matrimonial proceedings in a claim related to assets worth over £30 million, giving rise to issues of sham, constitution of trusts, and Cypriot law.
  • AF v MF [2016] EWFC 65 - acted for the husband in acrimonious financial remedy proceedings, involving an offshore foundation and issues of "nuptial settlements", in which the wife alleged the husband was worth over £95 million but was awarded around £2 million following trial.
  • Trustee L and Others v Attorney General and Others [2016] Bda LR 35 - appeared at the costs hearing of this long running Beddoe application in Bermuda, the first to consider the proper stance of trustees of very substantial non-charitable purpose trusts faced with an adverse proprietary claim to the whole of their funds.
  • Actied, with Dakis Hagen, for the wife in matrimonial proceedings in a claim related to assets worth around £60 million purportedly held in a Guernsey pension trust.
  • Advised, with Dakis Hagen, the trustee of a substantial Jersey trust in relation to ancillary relief proceedings taking place in England between the settlor and his former wife.
  • Advised on a probate action involving issues of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval, and undue influence.
  • Advised on a number of applications for grants of administration, including discretionary grants under section 116 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and grants of administration where the deceased died domiciled abroad.
  • Assisted Dakis Hagen in CR v MZ & Ors [2013] EWHC 295, a sham trust/forgery case relating to the ownership of a substantial London property and its holding company, arising in the context of ancillary relief proceedings.
  • Assisted Philip Jones QC and Ruth Jordan in Pitt v Holt, Futter v Futter [2013] 2 WLR 1200, a landmark Supreme court decision on the "Rule in Hastings-Bass" and the law of mistaken payments.
  • Assisted Daniel Lightman in Petrodel Resources v Prest [2013] 3 WLR 1, a landmark Supreme Court decision on the scope of section 24(1) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the circumstances in which the court can pierce the corporate veil.

Qualifications

MA in Law, Selwyn College, University of Cambridge, including a year at Regensbury University, Germany (First class)

LLM in International Commercial Law, Univeristy College London (Distinction)

BPTC, Kaplan Law School (Outstanding; ranked top in the law school)

Former visiting tutor and examiner in the Law of Trusts at King's College London

Memberships

Chancery Bar Association

COMBAR

Publications

Contributor to Whittaker & Machell, The Law of Limited Liability Partnerships (4th edition)

Void vetoes and judicial discretions: recent developments in the law of disclosure in private trust administration (2015) 22(1) JTCP 5-12

Petrodel Resources Ltd v Prest: Where are we now? (2013) 9 Trusts & Trustess 877-888

Lessons from Prest (2013) 163(7569) New Law Journal 11-12

The Nature of Beneficiaries' Rights under Trusts (2011) 25(4) Trust Law International 163-183

Languages

German, French


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