Cases


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Geneva Trust Company (GTC) SA v IDF & Anr (Re Stingray Trust) (judgment 21/12/20)

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

Dakis Hagen QC appeared for the first defendant in Geneva Trust Company (GTC) SA v IDF & Anr (21/12/2020) FSD 248 OF 2017 (IKJ) in her successful application for a stay of a claim in the Cayman Islands seeking declarations as to the validity of a Cayman Islands trust which trust was already being impugned by her in ongoing litigation in Italy.  The application was met in part by the argument that the Cayman court had an exclusive statutory jurisdiction to determine such matters under s. 90 of the Cayman Trusts Law (which, it was said, in that context abrogated the power to stay on grounds of forum non conveniens);  the court noted that such had been the orthodox view historically based on authorities stretching back 20 years. 

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HMRC v IGE USA Investments [2020] EWHC 2121 (Ch)

Area of Law: Civil Fraud

A claim arising from the Revenue’s contention that it has rescinded tax settlements with the UK Subgroup of the US conglomerate worth upwards of £650m. In this interim decision Zacaroli J granted the Claimant’s permission to amend the claim to allege fraud, and in so doing held that the claim was not subject to a 6-year limitation period by analogy with the tort of deceit (which decision is currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal).

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SPI North Ltd v Swiss Post International (UK) Ltd [2020] EWHC 3268 (Ch)

Area of Law: Commercial Litigation

David Drake acted for the successful defendants in SPI North Ltd v Swiss Post International (UK) Ltd [2020] EWHC 3268 (Ch), where the court had to consider the practical limits to the permission, frequently given to respondents to an amendment application, to make "consequential" amendments to their own responsive statement of case. 

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Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories Ltd [2020] 3 WLR 1207

Area of Law: Competition Law and State Aid

David Drake appeared for the successful respondents in the Supreme Court hearing Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories Ltd [2020] 3 WLR 1207, where it was held that the EU law principle of absolute res judicata arising from decisions of the European Courts annulling acts of EU institutions could not be applied in a legal context detached from the annulling judgment.

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Re Keeping Kids Company; Official Receiver v Atkinson [2020] EWHC 2839 (Ch)

Area of Law: Company

These are believed to be the first ever proceedings for disqualification of charity trustees as company directors. This interlocutory decision concerned whether the Official Receiver could advance at trial case of breach of duty based on the existing evidence but not previously advanced as such. Falk J held this course was not open to the Official Receiver.

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Lucas v Gatward [2020] EWHC 3040 (Ch)

Please click here to view the judgment.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili v Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) [2020] CA (Bda) 13 Civ

Area of Law: Commercial Litigation

The Bermuda Court of Appeal (Sir Christopher Clarke, Gloster and Smellie J) has dismissed Credit Suisse Life’s appeal against wide ranging disclosure orders (save for a short separate point on waiver of privilege) granted by Hargun CJ in February 2020.

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Basin Supply Corporation v (1) Rouge LLC (2) Claude Barret [2018] CFI 057

Area of Law: International and Offshore

James Weale (instructed by Dentons) acted for the successful claimant in a claim to enforce the terms of a promissory note and a related guarantee. This followed James’ successful dismissal of a jurisdiction challenge submitted to the JJC. H.E. Justice Ali Al Madhani held that an express choice of law agreement in a negotiable instrument was valid and enforceable (para 37). Moreover, the Court rejected the Second Defendant’s case that the guarantee was unenforceable by reason of a material variation pursuant to the rule in Holme v Brunskill (1871) 3 Q.B.D. 495 (paras 48-59). James also obtained an order for costs to be assessed on the indemnity basis (para 65).

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Loveridge v Loveridge [2020] EWCA Civ 1104

Area of Law: Partnership and LLP

Lance Ashworth QC and Dan McCourt Fritz acted for the successful Appellants in Loveridge v. Loveridge [2020] EWCA Civ 1104 overturning injunctions in an unfair prejudice petition and in partnership proceedings which had granted the running of the companies and partnerships to a minority shareholder and partner.  The Court of Appeal effectively put the majority back in charge.  Both the petition and the partnership proceedings continue and will come on for trial in 2022.

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Glover v Barker [2020] EWCA Civ 1112

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

In a decision of general importance for all civil litigators, the Court of Appeal confirmed the extent of the personal liability of a litigation friend for adverse costs.  The litigation friend was unsuccessful in the litigation, but was not liable for the successful parties’ costs.  The Court was exercising a discretion and had to have regard to the particular circumstances.  A claimant’s litigation friend should ordinarily bear the costs of successful defendants.   However, lack of success would not of itself generally make it just to make an adverse costs order against a defendant's litigation friend.  Factors which might justify such an order included bad faith, improper or unreasonable behaviour and prospect of personal benefit.  The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal from Morgan J’s decision.

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Moutreuil v (1) Andreewitch (2) Pier Investment Company Ltd [2020] EWHC 2068 (Fam)

Area of Law: Company

James Weale acted for the successful claimant in a claim to the beneficial ownership of 100% of the shares in company which held various property assets including a valuable property in Chelsea. In his judgment, Mr Justice Cobb rejected the First Defendant’s case that the shares had been transferred into the name of his partner as mere nominee. James also obtained an order for costs to be assessed on the indemnity basis. Following initial reporting restrictions, the judgment was published on 3 September 2020.

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Ivanishvili v Credit Suisse Trust [2020] SGCA 62

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

The Singapore Court of Appeal has dismissed Credit Suisse Trust’s jurisdiction challenge in breach of trust proceedings brought by the beneficiaries of a Singapore Trust, bringing an end to a long-running jurisdiction battle. The Court allowed the Claimants’ appeal on the grounds that Singapore was the most appropriate forum to determine the breach of trust claims against the trustee, and laid down important guidance as to the effect of forum for administration clauses in trust deeds. The Court of Appeal held that the forum for administration clause in the trust deed functioned as a jurisdiction clause, but that it did not govern all proceedings: it designated the jurisdiction that had supervisory jurisdiction over the trust, rather than dictating the venue for the resolution of contentious disputes. Jonathan Adkin QC and Sophie Holcombe act for the Claimants, instructed by Signature Litigation LLP, together with Drew & Napier (Singapore). The full Judgment can be found here.

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Phoenix v Phoenix [2020] EWHC 1409 (Ch)

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

Jonathan Fowles acted for the successful claimant in a claim to enforce a testamentary option. The case involved arguments about the construction of a will and whether in the circumstances all executors needed to be individually served with the relevant option notice. The case is also notable for its approach to an award of statutory interest.

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Nuffield Health v London Borough of Merton

Area of Law: Charities

Jonathan Fowles acted with Cain Ormondroyd (Francis Taylor Building) for Merton Council in defending a claim to establish charitable exemption from non-domestic rates for one of Nuffield Health’s fitness and wellbeing centres. The claim succeeded, but the Court of Appeal has given Merton permission to appeal. The case raises important issues about the charitable exemption and the public benefit test in charity law.

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Nimat Halal Food Ltd & Anor v Patel & Anor [2020] EWHC 734 (Ch)

Area of Law: Insolvency

Chief ICC Judge Briggs declined to order costs against an administrator despite the debtor’s successful appeal against the administrator’s rejection of his proof of debt.  The judgment makes clear that administrators who act neutrally will not be visited with personal costs liability absent ‘special circumstances’ or ‘good reason’, even if the court takes a different view on the proof of debt.   By contrast, an office holder who initiates unsuccessful proceedings risks personal liability.  The case offers useful guidance in an important area where there is little authority.

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Shanghai Shipyard Co Ltd v Reignwood International Investment (Group) Company Ltd [2020] EWHC 803 (Comm)

Area of Law: Banking and Financial Services

The Commercial Court held that a parent company guarantee of the final instalment under a shipbuilding contract was not a demand bond but a true “see to it” guarantee, under which the guarantor did not have to pay unless an arbitration award was first made against the owner.  The case has attracted significant interest in the shipbuilding industry, and permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal has been granted.

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Taylor v Rhino Overseas Inc. [2020] EWCA Civ 353

Area of Law: Commercial Litigation

Lance Ashworth QC and Dan McCourt Fritz represented the Respondents in an appeal from the decision of Julia Dias QC as a High Court Judge [2019] EWHC 1951 (Ch).  The Court of Appeal held that the Judge had been right to say that agency did not extend to allow the party to enter into the contract as agent for an undisclosed principal. Further, it upheld the Judge’s findings that the relevant agent was not, in any event, intended to be a party to the contract.  Appeal was dismissed.

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Christoforou v Christoforou [2020] EWHC 1196 (Ch)

Area of Law: Civil Fraud

In Christoforou v Christoforou [2020] EWHC 1196 (Ch) the High Court struck out allegations of dishonesty, fraud, and illegality from an Amended Defence and excluded those allegations from consideration (and cross-examination) at trial.  Giving judgment HH Judge Stephen Eyre QC (sitting as a High Court Judge) found that the allegations amounted to similar fact of evidence but that they were of “peripheral” value to the Claimant’s claim that a London property is held on trust for him pursuant to a common intention constructive trust. Allowing the allegations to remain, he held, would have greatly increased the cost, and risked an adjournment, of the trial. Daniel Lightman QC and Stephanie Thompson represent the Claimant. The trial is due to take place in July 2020.

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Grupo Mexico SAB DE CV & Ors v The Registrar Of Companies For England And Wales & Ors [2018] EWHC 1306 (Ch)

Area of Law: Partnership and LLP

Please click here to view the judgment.

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EasyJet Data Breach Litigation

Area of Law: Regulatory and Disciplinary

David Blayney QC and Sophie Holcombe are instructed by PGMBM in relation to the easyJet data breach involving around 9 million of their customers, which was announced by easyJet last month. 

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Moutreuil v Andreewitch (Contempt: No.2) [2020] EWHC 1301 (Fam)

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

James Weale appeared for the successful claimant in an application to commit the respondent for systematic breaches of a freezing order in the context of a dispute as to the ownership of shares. The Court rejected the respondent’s contention that the payment of solicitors fees related to company expenditure on the basis that, among other matters, the same solicitors could not have acted for the company as well as the respondent in a personal capacity in view of the conflict of interest which would arise. 

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SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd v Renish Petroleum FZE

Area of Law: International and Offshore

In SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd v Renish Petroleum FZE, Rupert Reed QC and James Weale act for the claimant bank in respect of an alleged $30 million fraud. Having successful resisted a jurisdiction challenge brought by one of the defendants before the joint Judicial Committee (Cassation No.5 of 2018) a final hearing in the DIFC is to be listed in 2020. 

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Grand Valley General Trading LLC v GGICO Sunteck Ltd DIFC CFI 044/2018, DIFC CA 007/2019

Area of Law: International and Offshore

Grand Valley General Trading LLC v GGICO Sunteck Ltd DIFC CFI 044/2018, DIFC CA 007/2019 concerns a joint venture dispute in relation to a property development in the Burj Khalifa area in on-shore Dubai. Rupert Reed QC and Sophia Hurst have obtained judgments from the DIFC courts on issues as diverse as whether a non-party 50% joint venture partner had standing to apply to set aside a default judgment for the dissolution of the joint venture company; the test of desirability under RDC 20.7 O for joining a new party; and whether the DIFC Courts had jurisdiction over the dispute, including the power to stay proceedings in favour of arbitration under Article 13 of the Arbitration Law. 

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IMMS v BankMed SAL [2019] DIFC CA 013

Area of Law: International and Offshore

In IMMS v BankMed SAL [2019] DIFC CA 013, Rupert Reed QC and Gregor hogan acted on the appeal of an interim refusal to grant an injunction freezing assets to the value of USD 755 million. Although the Court declined to find a sufficient risk of dissipation, it is likely to confirm the putative jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts to grant interim relief in support of foreign court and arbitral proceedings. 

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YYY Ltd v ZZZ

Area of Law: International and Offshore

Rupert Reed QC and Zoe O'Sullivan QC represented the successful claimant in YYY Ltd v ZZZ Ltd [2017] DIFC ARB 005, a landmark decision of the DIFC Court refusing to recognise a decision of the highest Dubai national court on public policy grounds. The DIFC Court held that the Dubai Court of Cassation had breached its obligations under the New York Convention by applying its own law to determine the validity of the clause, rather than the law chosen by the parties. This reaffirms the pro-arbitration bias of the common law courts, and will have importance for arbitration practitioners beyond the DIFC.

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Larmag v First Abu Dhabi Bank [2019] DIFC CA 010

Area of Law: International and Offshore

In Larmag v First Abu Dhabi Bank [2019] DIFC CA 010, the DIFC Court of Appeal significantly extended the party jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts under Article 5(A)(1)(a) of the Judical Authority Law, ordering disclosure by a UAE bank on the basis that, in being 'recognised' by the Dubai Financial Services Authority in order to trade on NASDAQ Dubai, the Bank was 'authorised' to carry on financial services in the DIFC and therefore a 'Licensed DIFC Establishment'. Rupert Reed QC and Sophia Hurst act for First Abu Dhabi Bank.

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Horsford v Horsford

Area of Law: Property

Christopher Stoner QC appeared in Horsford v Horsford, a 10-day Chancery Division trial, acting for a son who had been sued by his mother for £2.5m for her share in the family farming partnership. The son counterclaimed on the grounds of proprietary estoppel alleging he had given his life over to the farm following a lifetime of assurances it would one day be his.

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Taylor v Van Dutch

Area of Law: Civil Fraud

Lance Ashworth QC and Dan McCourt Fritz represented the Defendants in a 6-day Chancery Division trial, defeating claims for conspiracy to defraud in connection with the Van Dutch luxury yachts in Taylor v Van Dutch.

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Saatchi v Gajjar [2019] EWHC 3472 (Ch)

Area of Law: Company

Hugh Norbury QC and Mark Wraith appeared for the claimant in Saatchi v Gajjar [2019] EWHC 3472 (Ch), and obtained permission to continue a derivative claim arising out of alleged misappropriation by the defendant from a company involved in the storage and transportation of Mr Saatchi's art collection. 

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De Silva v Lucas & Ribeiro

Area of Law: Company

Lance Ashworth QC and Zahler Bryan are representing the Portuguese claimant in De Silva v Lucas & Ribeiro in the Chancery Division seeking specific performance of the obligation to transfer shares in an Estonian company which indirectly controls a substantial land development in Lisbon.

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Re Dinglis Properties Ltd

Area of Law: Company

In Re Dinglis Properties Ltd, Daniel Lightman QC, and Eleni Dinenis represent the respondents to a s. 994 petition concerning a family-established property company. In February 2019 Daniel successfully applied for permission to amend the respondents' defence shortly before trial ([2019] EWHC 738 (Ch)). A landmark judgment in July 2019 ([2019] Bus LR 3100) rejected the petitioner's quasi-partnership claim and ordered his shares to be purchased subject to a minority discount. 

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Lady Moon v Petricca

Area of Law: Partnership and LLP

James Mather acted for the respondent fund management company in Lady Moon v Petricca, in which an SPV of the American private equity firm Cerberus sought to wind up a substantial Italian investment fund. This was the first claim of its kind in which an allegedly insolvent foreign fund was sought to be wound up in the English Court on the basis that it is analogous to an English trust. Petricca successfully disputed the English Court's jurisdiction to hear the claim. 

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Grupo Mexico v Infund LLP [2019] EWCA Civ 1673

Area of Law: Partnership and LLP

John Machell QC and Dan McCourt Fritz acted for the appellants in Grupo Mexico v Infund LLP [2019] EWCA Civ 1673, the first case in which the Court of Appeal has considered the power to rectify the companies/LLP register pursuant to s.1096 of the Companies Act 2006.

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Brown & Anor v MML Capital Europe VI Equity II SA & Ors [2020] EWHC 23 (Ch)

Area of Law: Company

In Brown v MML Capital Timothy Collingwood acts for the petitioner in an unfair prejudice petition. He appeared successfully on their behalf when they obtained an injunction to restrain the continuation of disciplinary proceedings concerning disputed allegations of misconduct pending determination of the petition [2020] EWHC 23 (Ch). 

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Zedra Trust (Jersey) v The Hut Group Ltd

Area of Law: International and Offshore

Lance Ashworth QC, James Mather, and Dan McCourt Fritz represent the defendants in Zedra Trust (Jersey) v The Hut Group Ltd in various sets of proceedings relating to the multi-billion-pound company including an unfair prejudice. 

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Re Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd & Re Nord Anglia Education Inc

Area of Law: Company

Jonathan Adkin QC acted for a number of dissenting shareholders in two high-value company share appraisal actions arising under s.238 of the Cayman Islands Companies Law. In Re Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd he appeared in a three-week trial in the Grand Court of the Cayman Island for the determination of the fair value of a Chinese web-based travel company's shares. In Re: Nord Anglia Education Inc he acted in a three-week trial in the Grand Court for the determination of the fair value of shares in the world's leading private school business. 

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AF v SF [2019] EWHC 1224 (Fam)

Area of Law: International and Offshore

In AF v SF [2019] EWHC 1224 (Fam) Dakis Hagen QC and James Weale acted for a respondent husband who lacked capacity in relation to a substantial financial remedy claim against a suite of ancient and dynastic trusts. 

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Re Scherbakov

Area of Law: International and Offshore

Dakis Hagen QC and Emma Hargreaves continue to act for the adult children of a late Russian businessman in Re Scherbakov, a cross border dispute concerning the succession to his very substantial worldwide estate. Giles Richardson acts for the deceased's former wife and Richard Wilson QC acts for the interim administrators. 

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HSBC International Trustee Limited v Tan Poh Lee FSD 175 of 2019 (IKJ)

Area of Law: International and Offshore

Dakis Hagen QC and Emma Hargreaves advised the trustee in HSBC International Trustee Limited v Tan Poh Lee FSD 175 of 2019 (IKJ), a decision of the Cayman Court on the limits of the Cayman Islands' firewall legislation.

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Hartogs v Rothschild AG [2019] EWHC 1915

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

Richard Wilson QC and James Weale (acting for the Claimant and Defendant respectively) successfully set aside two multi-million-dollar trust on the ground of equitable mistake in Hartogs v Rothschild Trust AG [2019] EWHC 1915.

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Re L&M Trust

Area of Law: International and Offshore

Timothy Collingwood continues to act for the Claimants in Re L&M Trust, in proceedings in the BVI seeking to set aside a trust. He appeared at the hearing of an application to obtain unredacted copies of documents held by a receiver appointed over the trust assets.

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T Trusts

Area of Law: International and Offshore

In the T Trusts, Kathryn Purkis continues to advise new trustees in relation to trusteeship transfer issues arising in a network of family trusts, including in relation to an allegedly forged deed of indemnity.

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Sofer v SwissIndependent Trustees [2019] EWHC 2071

Area of Law: International and Offshore

Richard Wilson QC and James Weale had a $20 million claim in fraud struck out in Sofer v SwissIndependent Trustees [2019] EWHC 2071. The Court gave important guidance on the nature nature and scope of trustee exemption clauses and the requirements of pleading fraud against a professional trustee. 

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ITG Ltd and Bayeux Ltd v Geneva Trust SA [2019] GRC 064

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

James Brightwell acted for the Plaintiffs and Timothy Collingwood acted for the new trustees in the latest Tchenguiz instalment, ITG Ltd and Bayeux Ltd v Geneva Trust SA [2019] GRC 064, where the Guernsey Royal Court followed the decision in Re Z Trusts on the priority of trustee creditor claims and held that the assignment of a claim to the present trustees had resulted in the discharge of the debt.

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In the Matter of Z [2019] EWCOP 55

Area of Law: Court of Protection

Emma Hargreaves appeared in In the Matter of Z [2019] EWCOP 55, a Court of Protection decision concerning the application of the principles of open justice and the approach to requests for disclosure to a non-party of documents from proceedings conducted in private.

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Barker v Confiance [2019] EWHC 1401 (Ch)

Area of Law: Private Client Trusts and Probate

Constance McDonnell QC appeared before Morgan J in Barker v Confiance [2019] EWHC 1401 (Ch) in which the Judge exercised his discretion so as to make a costs order against a litigation friend, and clarified the applicable law.

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PTNZ v AS

Area of Law: International and Offshore

Richard Wilson QC and Zahler Bryan acted for the trustee in PTNZ v AS a Public Trrustee v Cooper application concerning the restructuring if an English trust, and John Machell QC and Zahler Bryan acted for the trustee in the same case seeking an injunction regarding the validity of the appointment of a protector. 

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Re B

Area of Law: International and Offshore

John Machell QC and Dakis Hagen QC appeared before the Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands in Re B, a Public Trustee v Cooper application approving the restructuring of a $1bn trust. Emma Hargreaves was junior counsel to the Protection Committee.

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