Civil Fraud


New Square Chambers has expertise at all levels of call in civil fraud. We have significant industry recognition and have been instructed in some of the highest profile cases of recent times, including Berezovsky v Abramovich and BTA Bank v Ablyazov. We frequently appear in courts of all levels in the UK and offshore.
Our approach to litigation is pragmatic and flexible. We recognise the importance of working as part of a team, whether with our clients and experts, or within Chambers. We offer specialist advice and advocacy at all stages of a claim.

 

Jurisdictional Issues

We are experienced in dealing with jurisdictional and conflicts of laws issues, particularly those involving non-EU defendants. Recent examples include: BTA Bank v Ablyazov a claim in the Commercial Court by a Khazakh bank for $6 billion misappropriated by its former shareholder, involving a substantial challenge to jurisdiction in the BVI; Gudavadze v Anisimov a claim in the Commercial Court for around $1.5 billion arising out of the Berezovsky litigation, which began with an opposed application to serve the defendant in Russia; Blue Tropic & anr v Chkhartishvili a claim in the Chancery Division for over $18 million based on the misappropriation of assets in Georgia where a protracted challenge to English jurisdiction centred on the application of the Brussels Regulation to non-EU defendants; and AK Investment Limited v Kyrgyz Mobil Tel Limited (the ‘Bitel’ litigation), a billion dollar dispute in the Isle of Man regarding the alleged misappropriation of a Kyrgyz mobile telecoms company in which the dispute as to jurisdiction was eventually decided by the Privy Council.

 

Interim Remedies

We regularly seek or resist the full range of interim remedies available to litigants in fraud cases:

  • Worldwide freezing orders and proprietary injunctions
  • Disclosure orders ancillary to freezing orders, including those against solicitors 
  • Norwich Pharmacal and other third party disclosure orders including Bankers Trust orders, gagging orders and orders against internet service providers 
  • Search orders and Anton Piller relief
  • Committal applications and related applications, such as for injunctions ordering contemnors to deliver themselves to the tipstaff.
  • Orders for seizure of passports
  • Receivership in support of freezing orders.


Recent examples include Thevarajah v Riordan a case that reached the Court of Appeal arising out of the discharge of a freezing order, Re Ambow Education Holding Limited a claim in Cayman seeking the reconstruction of a NYSE listed company on the basis of alleged fraud in which we obtained an order for the appointment of provisional liquidators of a company from the Cayman Islands courts, together with ancillary and freezing orders; and Caldero v Beppler a high-profile shareholder dispute, where allegations of fraud and mismanagement within a Montenegrin hotel group led to the granting of freezing orders and the appointment of provisional liquidators.

 

Disclosure

We are able to assist with all issues arising in the course of disclosure, as well as with heavy disclosure review exercises. We have often done this in teams within Chambers, using all of the major electronic disclosure databases.

 

Expert Evidence

We are familiar with foreign legal systems, including those of Russian and former CIS states, particularly where relevant to fraud litigation, and experienced in working with foreign law expert witnesses and forensic accountants. We are also used to acting as experts in English and Commonwealth law, where cases are proceeding abroad.

 

Trial

Heavy fraud trials in which we have recently been instructed include BTA Bank v Ablyazov, four months; Berezovsky v Abramovich, nine weeks; SITA v Serruys, 10 weeks; and Bitel v Kyrgyz Mobil Tel, listed in the Isle of Man for 12 weeks and settled after four. Members are commended by the directories for their skills in cross-examination in a fraud context. We are also on top of the logistical issues arising out of large modern fraud trials, including the use of online trial bundles and Livenote.

 

Enforcement

In fraud cases, judgment is rarely the end of the story. Chambers has expertise in enforcing judgments and members are commended for asset-tracing work, often involving multiple jurisdictions. We are also well-known for our insolvency work, particularly where there is dishonesty or a cross-border element. This often involves: setting aside antecedent transactions; private examinations; phoenix companies; wrongful and fraudulent trading; forum-shopping; and the appointment of provisional liquidators, as in Ambow Education and Caldero. Assets may be held in opaque trust structures. Chambers is the home of Lewin on Trusts and has a highly-regarded contentious trusts team. Our deep knowledge of trust law domestically and offshore, is of critical assistance to our clients.

 


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