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Sophia Hurst

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Sophia Hurst

Areas of Expertise

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Year of Call: 2014 shurst@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Sophia joined chambers in October 2016 and practices across Chambers' core areas of expertise. She regularly appears in the High Court and County Court, both led and as sole counsel. Recent instructions include acting in the Lehman Brothers administration Waterfall III litigation, acting for the successful defendants in a trial of claims relating to a joint venture (Awan v Patel [2017] EWHC 1951 (Ch)) and acting for a defendant in an unlawful means conspiracy claim for damages of US $170m (Avonwick & ors v Castle & ors).

During pupillage Sophia was supervised by Matthew Morrison, Ruth den Besten, Giles Richardson and Timothy Collingwood and gained experience across the spectrum of Chambers' work.

Prior to joining chambers, Sophia spent a year as a research assistant at the Law Commission for England and Wales, where she was responsible for the Bills of Sale project and involved in the passage through Parliament of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Sophia completed her BA and BCL at Brasenose College, Oxford and has taught contract law at Warwick University and jurisprudence at the University of Oxford. Sophia also holds a licence droit (French LLB equivalent) and is professionally fluent in French.

Areas of Expertise and Cases


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Civil Fraud

BFS Group v Foley & ors [2017] EWHC 2799 (QB): led by Lance Ashworth QC, Sophia acts for defendant suppliers to the claimant logistics group in claims alleging bribery, dishonest assistance and fraudulent misrepresentation. They were successful in defeating the summary judgment application on part of the claim. The trial is listed for 6 weeks in June 2018.

Avonwick & ors v Castle & ors: Acting for a defendant in an unlawful means conspiracy claim for damages of US$170m in relation to a settlement alleged to constitute a transaction defrauding creditors.
Acted (unled) for a UK plc at trial, successfully defending allegations of fraud and breach of contract.

Accident Exchange v McLean & Ors: assisted Hugh Norbury QC and Dan McCourt Fritz in acting for one of the principal defendants to the £130m unlawful means conspiracy claim brought by Accident Exchange.

Assisted Ruth den Besten acting at trial for the claimant in claims that an investment in a company was procured by fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation (Sears v Minco [2016] EWHC 433 (Ch)). 


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Commercial Litigation

Sophia has experience appearing in court on a range of interlocutory matters, including applications for interim injunctions, relief from sanctions, and to stay proceedings in support of arbitration. Other recent work includes:

  • Advised a debt collection services provider on defending a £2 million claim for alleged breaches of a management agreement, by which a Manx bank had outsourced the administration of block discounting agreements and asset finance agreements.
     
  • Advised the defendant to a claim for an agent’s commission following merger of the defendant’s business. 
     
  • Assisted Matthew Morrison (led by Hugh Norbury QC) acting for a private equity firm bringing proceedings for breach of contract in relation to infrastructure concession rights.
     
  • Assisted Ruth den Besten (led by Philip Marshall QC) in a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal concerning the correct test under CPR 23.13(2)(a) for an order for security for costs against a claimant not resident in a Brussels I Regulation state (Ras al Khaimah v Bestfort LLP [2016] EWCA Civ 1099).

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Insolvency

Sophia regularly advises and appears in court on corporate insolvency and bankruptcy matters. Recent instructions include:

  • Instructed, with Philip Marshall QC and Ruth den Besten, by the administrators of Lehman Brothers Limited in the Lehman Brothers administration Waterfall III proceedings.
     
  • Appeared as sole counsel in the High Court to obtain an injunction restraining the presentation of a winding-up petition on behalf of the UK subsidiary of a NASDAQ-traded company.
     
  • Advised a national debt charity on issues relating to council tax liability orders in personal bankruptcies.

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Company

Awan v Patel [2017] EWHC 1951 (Ch): led by Thomas Elias, Sophia acted for the successful defendants in a 5 day trial in the Chancery Division in a matter involving allegations that a business opportunity was wrongfully diverted from the partnership and issues as to the shareholdings and appointment of directors in the joint venture company.

Assisted Timothy Collingwood in proceedings involving rectification of the company register prior to a s.994 unfair prejudice petition.

Assisted Timothy Collingwood in a direct claim and derivative action against joint venture partners alleging breach of directors' duties in relation to a diverted corporate opportunity.


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Partnership and LLP

Awan v Patel [2017] EWHC 1951 (Ch): led by Thomas Elias, Sophia acted for the successful defendants in a 5 day trial in the Chancery Division in a matter involving allegations that a business opportunity was wrongfully diverted from the partnership and issues as to the shareholdings and appointment of directors in the joint venture company.


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Trusts and Probate

Davidson v Davidson: led by Giles Richardson, Sophia acted for the defendants to a high-profile dispute over the ownership of jewellery, paintings and objet d’art worth over £17 million. The claim settled shortly before trial.

Assisted Richard Wilson QC in Van der Merwe v. Goldman [2016] EWHC 926 (Ch): a successful application on behalf of the claimant to set aside a trust settlement and transfers of property on grounds of mistake as to the tax consequences, with HMRC intervening.

Assisted Giles Richardson in advising the trustees of B.V.I. settlements in relation to proceedings brought by the liquidators of Madoff feeder funds in Bermuda to recover substantial sums in unjust enrichment which the settlements had received from funds.


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Banking

Advised a debt collection services provider on defending a £2 million claim for alleged breaches of a management agreement, by which a Manx bank had outsourced the administration of block discounting agreements and asset finance agreements.

Instructed, with Philip Marshall QC and Ruth den Besten, by the administrators of Lehman Brothers Limited in the Lehman Brothers administration Waterfall III proceedings.


Sophia Hurst

Sophia Hurst

Year of Call: 2014
Email: shurst@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Sophia joined chambers in October 2016 and practices across Chambers' core areas of expertise. She regularly appears in the High Court and County Court, both led and as sole counsel. Recent instructions include acting in the Lehman Brothers administration Waterfall III litigation, acting for the successful defendants in a trial of claims relating to a joint venture (Awan v Patel [2017] EWHC 1951 (Ch)) and acting for a defendant in an unlawful means conspiracy claim for damages of US $170m (Avonwick & ors v Castle & ors).

During pupillage Sophia was supervised by Matthew Morrison, Ruth den Besten, Giles Richardson and Timothy Collingwood and gained experience across the spectrum of Chambers' work.

Prior to joining chambers, Sophia spent a year as a research assistant at the Law Commission for England and Wales, where she was responsible for the Bills of Sale project and involved in the passage through Parliament of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Sophia completed her BA and BCL at Brasenose College, Oxford and has taught contract law at Warwick University and jurisprudence at the University of Oxford. Sophia also holds a licence droit (French LLB equivalent) and is professionally fluent in French.

Areas of expertise

Civil Fraud

BFS Group v Foley & ors [2017] EWHC 2799 (QB): led by Lance Ashworth QC, Sophia acts for defendant suppliers to the claimant logistics group in claims alleging bribery, dishonest assistance and fraudulent misrepresentation. They were successful in defeating the summary judgment application on part of the claim. The trial is listed for 6 weeks in June 2018.

Avonwick & ors v Castle & ors: Acting for a defendant in an unlawful means conspiracy claim for damages of US$170m in relation to a settlement alleged to constitute a transaction defrauding creditors.
Acted (unled) for a UK plc at trial, successfully defending allegations of fraud and breach of contract.

Accident Exchange v McLean & Ors: assisted Hugh Norbury QC and Dan McCourt Fritz in acting for one of the principal defendants to the £130m unlawful means conspiracy claim brought by Accident Exchange.

Assisted Ruth den Besten acting at trial for the claimant in claims that an investment in a company was procured by fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation (Sears v Minco [2016] EWHC 433 (Ch)). 

Commercial Litigation

Sophia has experience appearing in court on a range of interlocutory matters, including applications for interim injunctions, relief from sanctions, and to stay proceedings in support of arbitration. Other recent work includes:

  • Advised a debt collection services provider on defending a £2 million claim for alleged breaches of a management agreement, by which a Manx bank had outsourced the administration of block discounting agreements and asset finance agreements.
     
  • Advised the defendant to a claim for an agent’s commission following merger of the defendant’s business. 
     
  • Assisted Matthew Morrison (led by Hugh Norbury QC) acting for a private equity firm bringing proceedings for breach of contract in relation to infrastructure concession rights.
     
  • Assisted Ruth den Besten (led by Philip Marshall QC) in a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal concerning the correct test under CPR 23.13(2)(a) for an order for security for costs against a claimant not resident in a Brussels I Regulation state (Ras al Khaimah v Bestfort LLP [2016] EWCA Civ 1099).

Insolvency

Sophia regularly advises and appears in court on corporate insolvency and bankruptcy matters. Recent instructions include:

  • Instructed, with Philip Marshall QC and Ruth den Besten, by the administrators of Lehman Brothers Limited in the Lehman Brothers administration Waterfall III proceedings.
     
  • Appeared as sole counsel in the High Court to obtain an injunction restraining the presentation of a winding-up petition on behalf of the UK subsidiary of a NASDAQ-traded company.
     
  • Advised a national debt charity on issues relating to council tax liability orders in personal bankruptcies.

Company

Awan v Patel [2017] EWHC 1951 (Ch): led by Thomas Elias, Sophia acted for the successful defendants in a 5 day trial in the Chancery Division in a matter involving allegations that a business opportunity was wrongfully diverted from the partnership and issues as to the shareholdings and appointment of directors in the joint venture company.

Assisted Timothy Collingwood in proceedings involving rectification of the company register prior to a s.994 unfair prejudice petition.

Assisted Timothy Collingwood in a direct claim and derivative action against joint venture partners alleging breach of directors' duties in relation to a diverted corporate opportunity.

Partnership and LLP

Awan v Patel [2017] EWHC 1951 (Ch): led by Thomas Elias, Sophia acted for the successful defendants in a 5 day trial in the Chancery Division in a matter involving allegations that a business opportunity was wrongfully diverted from the partnership and issues as to the shareholdings and appointment of directors in the joint venture company.

Trusts and Probate

Davidson v Davidson: led by Giles Richardson, Sophia acted for the defendants to a high-profile dispute over the ownership of jewellery, paintings and objet d’art worth over £17 million. The claim settled shortly before trial.

Assisted Richard Wilson QC in Van der Merwe v. Goldman [2016] EWHC 926 (Ch): a successful application on behalf of the claimant to set aside a trust settlement and transfers of property on grounds of mistake as to the tax consequences, with HMRC intervening.

Assisted Giles Richardson in advising the trustees of B.V.I. settlements in relation to proceedings brought by the liquidators of Madoff feeder funds in Bermuda to recover substantial sums in unjust enrichment which the settlements had received from funds.

Banking

Advised a debt collection services provider on defending a £2 million claim for alleged breaches of a management agreement, by which a Manx bank had outsourced the administration of block discounting agreements and asset finance agreements.

Instructed, with Philip Marshall QC and Ruth den Besten, by the administrators of Lehman Brothers Limited in the Lehman Brothers administration Waterfall III proceedings.

Qualifications

Brasenose College, University of Oxford: BA Law with law studies in Europe (first class); BCL (Distinction)
Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas: Licence droit (mention assez bien)
University of Law: BPTC (Outstanding) Queen Mother Scholar, Middle Temple
Middle Temple Baron Dr Ver Heyden de Lancey Prize and University of Law Prize for best overall BPTC student
University of Law Prize for best performance in Civil Litigation 

Memberships

ComBar
Chancery Bar Association
Secured Transactions Law Reform Project 

Languages

Professional fluency in French


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