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Zahler Bryan

Areas of Expertise

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

Overview

Zahler has a broad commercial chancery practice, with a particular emphasis on contentious trusts, financial disputes, and civil fraud. Since returning to Chambers in September 2014 following a year as judicial assistant to Lord Neuberger PSC, Zahler has advised on a wide range of matters and appeared as sole counsel in the High Court as well as the County Courts. She also acts as junior counsel in large-scale international commercial and trust disputes, and has appeared in the Supreme Court and in the Privy Council: most recently for the successful respondents in a Privy Council appeal concerning the vesting of trust assets and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass, led by Alan Boyle QC and Richard Wilson QC.

Areas of Expertise and Cases


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Chancery

Zahler is regularly instructed across a wide range of traditional and commercial chancery matters, with considerable experience in offshore disputes as well as domestic cases. She has particular expertise in high value multi-jurisdictional cases but has worked on a broad variety of offshore matters including judicial review proceedings concerning the pollution of the marine and terrestrial environment in The Bahamas and potential jurisdictional challenges to a winding up petition issued by the English High Court.

Notable cases include:

Gany Holdings v Khan and others [2018] UKPC 21: acted with Stephenson Harwood LLP, led by Alan Boyle QC and Richard Wilson QC, for the successful respondents in a Privy Council appeal from the BVI concerning the vesting of trust assets and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass. The Privy Council clarified the correct approach to identifying beneficial interests arising from a gratuitous transfer of property and, in particular, the limited role presumptions should play in modern times. The Board also resolved the question left open by Pitt v Holt [2013] UKSC 26 as to whether it is necessary in order to set aside an exercise of discretion to show that the trustee ‘would’ or ‘might’ have acted differently had he not committed a breach of duty.

Re A Trust: acted for McDermott Will and Emery, led by Frank Hinks QC, in a very high value multi-jurisdictional trust dispute.

Re V & W Trust: assisted Frank Hinks QC and Tim Collingwood, instructed by Fieldfisher LLP, in relation to a receiver appointed to protect a trust fund from dissipation where the trust deed had allegedly been fabricated after the death of the settlor.

Loose v Lynn Shellfish [2016] UKSC 14: led by Thomas Braithwaite, Zahler acted with Bond Dickinson LLP for the Crown Estate as intervenors before the Supreme Court, persuading the court to overturn the judgments below with respect to the operation of the doctrine of accretion in tidal waters, the construction of ancient grants and the nature of prescriptive rights.


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Company

Zahler is regularly instructed on cases involving alleged breaches of directors’ duties, minority shareholder remedies and issues of corporate governance. She is currently instructed on an unfair prejudice petition led by Daniel Lightman QC.

Notable cases include:

Acting with Cheyney Goulding LLP and Geraldine Clark for an Indonesian mining company bringing a multi-million claim against former directors for breach of duty in relation to $7.5m loan made to acquire mining concessions, in a case which settled at trial.

Petrodel Resources Ltd v Prest [2013] 3 WLR1: assisted Daniel Lightman acting with Farrer & Co in this landmark company law case in which the Supreme Court redefined the circumstances in which the court can pierce the corporate veil.

Apex Global Management Ltd v Fi Call Ltd: a substantial shareholder dispute in which both principal shareholders presented unfair prejudice petitions.

Eckerle v Wickeder Westfalenstahl GmbH [2013] 3 WLR 1316; assisted Daniel Lightman in this case which determined locus standi under section 98 of the Companies Act 2006.

Assisting Matthew Morrison in defending the Isle of Man directors of Isis Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Kaupthing bank, in relation to claims brought by the liquidators of Isis alleging breaches of their duties of care and skill and fiduciary duties.


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Insolvency

Zahler is regularly instructed in cases concerning personal and corporate insolvency. She frequently advises and appears on behalf of trustees in bankruptcy, as well as acting for those seeking to challenge insolvency proceedings. Zahler is also experienced in jurisdictional challenges to the winding up of foreign companies, and is currently acting for charitable trustees in relation to the misappropriation of trust monies by an insolvent company.

Notable cases include:

Glasgow Rangers Football Club plc (in liquidation) v Collyer Bristow & Ors [2015]: assisted Jonathan Adkin QC in the multi-million pound dispute arising from the collapse of Glasgow Rangers football club.

Assisted Matthew Morrison in defending the Isle of Man directors of Isis Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Kaupthing bank, in relation to claims brought by the liquidators of Isis alleging breaches of their duties of care and skill and fiduciary duties.


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Civil Fraud

Zahler has significant experience in high value international and domestic civil fraud matters and regularly acts both led and unled in cases involving the misappropriation of funds.

Notable cases include:

Akhmedova v Akhmedov: assisted Dakis Hagen QC, instructed by Payne Hicks Beach, in relation to a substantial asset tracing exercise following one of the highest divorce awards ever made in the English courts.

Business Energy Solutions v Scrivener & Ors: acted for the claimant company, led by Philip Marshall QC, in an unlawful means conspiracy claim against defendants who are alleged to have induced the company’s customers to breach their contractual obligations. Zahler also acted in a related breach of confidence claim against one of the company’s former employees.

Otkritie v Urumov et al [2014] EWHC 191: Zahler assisted Jonathan Adkin QC in a substantial international fraud claim brought by a Russian financial institution against former employees.

Madoff Securities International Ltd v Raven [2014]: Zahler assisted Jonathan Adkin QC on a multi-million pound fraud claim brought against the former directors of the London branch of the Madoff business.


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Trusts and Probate

Zahler has considerable experience of complex multi-jurisdictional trusts cases, with a particular emphasis on corporate governance within high value trusts. She is also regularly instructed in contentious domestic trust cases and has experience of advising and acting in claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Recent cases include:

Gany Holdings v Khan and others [2018] UKPC 21: acted with Stephenson Harwood LLP, led by Alan Boyle QC and Richard Wilson QC, for the successful respondents in a Privy Council appeal from the BVI concerning the vesting of trust assets and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass. The Privy Council clarified the correct approach to identifying beneficial interests arising from a gratuitous transfer of property and, in particular, the limited role presumptions should play in modern times. The Board also resolved the question left open by Pitt v Holt [2013] UKSC 26 as to whether it is necessary in order to set aside an exercise of discretion to show that the trustee ‘would’ or ‘might’ have acted differently had he not committed a breach of duty.

Re A Trust: acted for McDermott Will and Emery, led by Frank Hinks QC, in a very high value multi-jurisdictional trust dispute.

Re V & W Trust: assisted Frank Hinks QC and Tim Collingwood, instructed by Fieldfisher LLP, in relation to a receiver appointed to protect a trust fund from dissipation where the trust deed had allegedly been fabricated after the death of the settlor.

Davidson v Davidson: acted with Clifford Chance LLP in a high profile family trust dispute over the ownership of more than £17m of jewellery, paintings and objets d’art. Led by Stephen Rubin QC and Justin Higgo, Zahler acted for the parents claiming in conversion and trespass for the return of chattels from their children, who claimed the chattels had been purchased with trust monies.

Paratian v Sotiri: acted with Kingsley Napley LLP for the defendants to a domestic common intention constructive trust claim involving several London properties.


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Commercial Litigation

Zahler has experience in an extensive range of commercial disputes, from claims against company directors for breaches of duty and contractual disputes to proceedings under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. She also advises on jurisdictional challenges in international commercial disputes.

Notable cases include:

RBS litigation: acted with Herbert Smith Freehills for the RBS Group defending actions brought by shareholder and investor groups regarding RBS’s £12bn rights issue in 2008. These actions, brought under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, challenged the information provided in relation to the RBS rights issue. This high profile case was believed to be the largest claim when it went through the English courts before reaching settlement shortly ahead of trial.

Business Energy Solutions v Scrivener & Ors: acted for the claimant company, led by Philip Marshall QC, in an unlawful means conspiracy claim against defendants who are alleged to have induced the company’s customers to breach their contractual obligations. Zahler also acted in a related breach of confidence claim against one of the company’s former employees.

Led by Hugh Norbury QC, Zahler acted on behalf of a private equity firm bringing proceedings against a number of companies for the use of confidential information in breach of confidence to acquire strategic infrastructure concession rights.

Zahler assisted Matthew Morrison, led by Philip Marshall QC, in defending the Isle of Man directors of Isis Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Kaupthing bank, in relation to claims brought by the liquidators of Isis alleging breaches of their duties of care and skill and fiduciary duties.


Add section

Banking

Zahler has in-depth experience of banking litigation, having acted with Herbert Smith Freehills for the RBS Group defending actions brought by shareholder and investor groups regarding RBS’s £12bn rights issue in 2008. These actions, brought under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, challenged the information provided in relation to the RBS rights issue. This high profile case was believed to be the largest claim when it went through the English courts before reaching settlement shortly ahead of trial.

Other areas of expertise

Gany Holdings v Khan and others [2018] UKPC 21: acted with Stephenson Harwood LLP, led by Alan Boyle QC and Richard Wilson QC, for the successful respondents in a Privy Council appeal from the BVI concerning the vesting of trust assets and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass. The Privy Council clarified the correct approach to identifying beneficial interests arising from a gratuitous transfer of property and, in particular, the limited role presumptions should play in modern times. The Board also resolved the question left open by Pitt v Holt [2013] UKSC 26 as to whether it is necessary in order to set aside an exercise of discretion to show that the trustee ‘would’ or ‘might’ have acted differently had he not committed a breach of duty.

Davidson v Davidson: acted with Clifford Chance in a high profile family trust dispute over the ownership of more than £17m of jewellery, paintings and objets d’art. Led by Stephen Rubin QC and Justin Higgo, Zahler acted for the parents claiming in conversion and trespass for the return of chattels from their children, who claimed the chattels had been purchased with trust monies.

RBS litigation: acted with Herbert Smith Freehills LLP for the RBS Group defending actions brought by shareholder and investor groups regarding RBS’s £12bn rights issue in 2008. These actions, brought under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, challenged the information provided in relation to the RBS rights issue. This high profile case was believed to be the largest claim when it went through the English courts before reaching settlement shortly ahead of trial.

Zahler Bryan

Zahler Bryan

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

Overview

Zahler has a broad commercial chancery practice, with a particular emphasis on contentious trusts, financial disputes, and civil fraud. Since returning to Chambers in September 2014 following a year as judicial assistant to Lord Neuberger PSC, Zahler has advised on a wide range of matters and appeared as sole counsel in the High Court as well as the County Courts. She also acts as junior counsel in large-scale international commercial and trust disputes, and has appeared in the Supreme Court and in the Privy Council: most recently for the successful respondents in a Privy Council appeal concerning the vesting of trust assets and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass, led by Alan Boyle QC and Richard Wilson QC.

Areas of expertise

Chancery

Zahler is regularly instructed across a wide range of traditional and commercial chancery matters, with considerable experience in offshore disputes as well as domestic cases. She has particular expertise in high value multi-jurisdictional cases but has worked on a broad variety of offshore matters including judicial review proceedings concerning the pollution of the marine and terrestrial environment in The Bahamas and potential jurisdictional challenges to a winding up petition issued by the English High Court.

Notable cases include:

Gany Holdings v Khan and others [2018] UKPC 21: acted with Stephenson Harwood LLP, led by Alan Boyle QC and Richard Wilson QC, for the successful respondents in a Privy Council appeal from the BVI concerning the vesting of trust assets and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass. The Privy Council clarified the correct approach to identifying beneficial interests arising from a gratuitous transfer of property and, in particular, the limited role presumptions should play in modern times. The Board also resolved the question left open by Pitt v Holt [2013] UKSC 26 as to whether it is necessary in order to set aside an exercise of discretion to show that the trustee ‘would’ or ‘might’ have acted differently had he not committed a breach of duty.

Re A Trust: acted for McDermott Will and Emery, led by Frank Hinks QC, in a very high value multi-jurisdictional trust dispute.

Re V & W Trust: assisted Frank Hinks QC and Tim Collingwood, instructed by Fieldfisher LLP, in relation to a receiver appointed to protect a trust fund from dissipation where the trust deed had allegedly been fabricated after the death of the settlor.

Loose v Lynn Shellfish [2016] UKSC 14: led by Thomas Braithwaite, Zahler acted with Bond Dickinson LLP for the Crown Estate as intervenors before the Supreme Court, persuading the court to overturn the judgments below with respect to the operation of the doctrine of accretion in tidal waters, the construction of ancient grants and the nature of prescriptive rights.

Company

Zahler is regularly instructed on cases involving alleged breaches of directors’ duties, minority shareholder remedies and issues of corporate governance. She is currently instructed on an unfair prejudice petition led by Daniel Lightman QC.

Notable cases include:

Acting with Cheyney Goulding LLP and Geraldine Clark for an Indonesian mining company bringing a multi-million claim against former directors for breach of duty in relation to $7.5m loan made to acquire mining concessions, in a case which settled at trial.

Petrodel Resources Ltd v Prest [2013] 3 WLR1: assisted Daniel Lightman acting with Farrer & Co in this landmark company law case in which the Supreme Court redefined the circumstances in which the court can pierce the corporate veil.

Apex Global Management Ltd v Fi Call Ltd: a substantial shareholder dispute in which both principal shareholders presented unfair prejudice petitions.

Eckerle v Wickeder Westfalenstahl GmbH [2013] 3 WLR 1316; assisted Daniel Lightman in this case which determined locus standi under section 98 of the Companies Act 2006.

Assisting Matthew Morrison in defending the Isle of Man directors of Isis Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Kaupthing bank, in relation to claims brought by the liquidators of Isis alleging breaches of their duties of care and skill and fiduciary duties.

Insolvency

Zahler is regularly instructed in cases concerning personal and corporate insolvency. She frequently advises and appears on behalf of trustees in bankruptcy, as well as acting for those seeking to challenge insolvency proceedings. Zahler is also experienced in jurisdictional challenges to the winding up of foreign companies, and is currently acting for charitable trustees in relation to the misappropriation of trust monies by an insolvent company.

Notable cases include:

Glasgow Rangers Football Club plc (in liquidation) v Collyer Bristow & Ors [2015]: assisted Jonathan Adkin QC in the multi-million pound dispute arising from the collapse of Glasgow Rangers football club.

Assisted Matthew Morrison in defending the Isle of Man directors of Isis Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Kaupthing bank, in relation to claims brought by the liquidators of Isis alleging breaches of their duties of care and skill and fiduciary duties.

Civil Fraud

Zahler has significant experience in high value international and domestic civil fraud matters and regularly acts both led and unled in cases involving the misappropriation of funds.

Notable cases include:

Akhmedova v Akhmedov: assisted Dakis Hagen QC, instructed by Payne Hicks Beach, in relation to a substantial asset tracing exercise following one of the highest divorce awards ever made in the English courts.

Business Energy Solutions v Scrivener & Ors: acted for the claimant company, led by Philip Marshall QC, in an unlawful means conspiracy claim against defendants who are alleged to have induced the company’s customers to breach their contractual obligations. Zahler also acted in a related breach of confidence claim against one of the company’s former employees.

Otkritie v Urumov et al [2014] EWHC 191: Zahler assisted Jonathan Adkin QC in a substantial international fraud claim brought by a Russian financial institution against former employees.

Madoff Securities International Ltd v Raven [2014]: Zahler assisted Jonathan Adkin QC on a multi-million pound fraud claim brought against the former directors of the London branch of the Madoff business.

Trusts and Probate

Zahler has considerable experience of complex multi-jurisdictional trusts cases, with a particular emphasis on corporate governance within high value trusts. She is also regularly instructed in contentious domestic trust cases and has experience of advising and acting in claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Recent cases include:

Gany Holdings v Khan and others [2018] UKPC 21: acted with Stephenson Harwood LLP, led by Alan Boyle QC and Richard Wilson QC, for the successful respondents in a Privy Council appeal from the BVI concerning the vesting of trust assets and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass. The Privy Council clarified the correct approach to identifying beneficial interests arising from a gratuitous transfer of property and, in particular, the limited role presumptions should play in modern times. The Board also resolved the question left open by Pitt v Holt [2013] UKSC 26 as to whether it is necessary in order to set aside an exercise of discretion to show that the trustee ‘would’ or ‘might’ have acted differently had he not committed a breach of duty.

Re A Trust: acted for McDermott Will and Emery, led by Frank Hinks QC, in a very high value multi-jurisdictional trust dispute.

Re V & W Trust: assisted Frank Hinks QC and Tim Collingwood, instructed by Fieldfisher LLP, in relation to a receiver appointed to protect a trust fund from dissipation where the trust deed had allegedly been fabricated after the death of the settlor.

Davidson v Davidson: acted with Clifford Chance LLP in a high profile family trust dispute over the ownership of more than £17m of jewellery, paintings and objets d’art. Led by Stephen Rubin QC and Justin Higgo, Zahler acted for the parents claiming in conversion and trespass for the return of chattels from their children, who claimed the chattels had been purchased with trust monies.

Paratian v Sotiri: acted with Kingsley Napley LLP for the defendants to a domestic common intention constructive trust claim involving several London properties.

Commercial Litigation

Zahler has experience in an extensive range of commercial disputes, from claims against company directors for breaches of duty and contractual disputes to proceedings under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. She also advises on jurisdictional challenges in international commercial disputes.

Notable cases include:

RBS litigation: acted with Herbert Smith Freehills for the RBS Group defending actions brought by shareholder and investor groups regarding RBS’s £12bn rights issue in 2008. These actions, brought under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, challenged the information provided in relation to the RBS rights issue. This high profile case was believed to be the largest claim when it went through the English courts before reaching settlement shortly ahead of trial.

Business Energy Solutions v Scrivener & Ors: acted for the claimant company, led by Philip Marshall QC, in an unlawful means conspiracy claim against defendants who are alleged to have induced the company’s customers to breach their contractual obligations. Zahler also acted in a related breach of confidence claim against one of the company’s former employees.

Led by Hugh Norbury QC, Zahler acted on behalf of a private equity firm bringing proceedings against a number of companies for the use of confidential information in breach of confidence to acquire strategic infrastructure concession rights.

Zahler assisted Matthew Morrison, led by Philip Marshall QC, in defending the Isle of Man directors of Isis Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Kaupthing bank, in relation to claims brought by the liquidators of Isis alleging breaches of their duties of care and skill and fiduciary duties.

Banking

Zahler has in-depth experience of banking litigation, having acted with Herbert Smith Freehills for the RBS Group defending actions brought by shareholder and investor groups regarding RBS’s £12bn rights issue in 2008. These actions, brought under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, challenged the information provided in relation to the RBS rights issue. This high profile case was believed to be the largest claim when it went through the English courts before reaching settlement shortly ahead of trial.

Cases of note

Gany Holdings v Khan and others [2018] UKPC 21: acted with Stephenson Harwood LLP, led by Alan Boyle QC and Richard Wilson QC, for the successful respondents in a Privy Council appeal from the BVI concerning the vesting of trust assets and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass. The Privy Council clarified the correct approach to identifying beneficial interests arising from a gratuitous transfer of property and, in particular, the limited role presumptions should play in modern times. The Board also resolved the question left open by Pitt v Holt [2013] UKSC 26 as to whether it is necessary in order to set aside an exercise of discretion to show that the trustee ‘would’ or ‘might’ have acted differently had he not committed a breach of duty.

Davidson v Davidson: acted with Clifford Chance in a high profile family trust dispute over the ownership of more than £17m of jewellery, paintings and objets d’art. Led by Stephen Rubin QC and Justin Higgo, Zahler acted for the parents claiming in conversion and trespass for the return of chattels from their children, who claimed the chattels had been purchased with trust monies.

RBS litigation: acted with Herbert Smith Freehills LLP for the RBS Group defending actions brought by shareholder and investor groups regarding RBS’s £12bn rights issue in 2008. These actions, brought under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, challenged the information provided in relation to the RBS rights issue. This high profile case was believed to be the largest claim when it went through the English courts before reaching settlement shortly ahead of trial.

Qualifications

Magdalen College, Oxford: BA PPE (First); MPhil; DPhil in political philosophy City University: GDL (distinction); BPTC (outstanding)

Memberships

Chancery Bar Association

Commercial Bar Association

Publications

Carillion Liquidation: questions to answer, Practical Law, PLC Magazine,January 2018, together with Lance Ashworth QC.

Consider the Impact of Carillion’s Decline and Fall, Law360, 28 February 2018, together with Lance Ashworth QC.

Limitation and Fraudulent Breaches of Trust, Trusts & Trustees, 1 October 2014, 21 (4) 405-414


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