Call: 2010    
Justina Stewart  

"Has a very good commercial application and a way with lay clients"

Banking & Finance - Legal 500 2019

Practice Overview

Justina's practice encompasses all aspects of commercial litigation, civil fraud, insolvency and company law, banking and financial services, property and professional negligence, including cases with multijurisdictional and offshore elements.


Justina is ranked as a leading junior in Banking and Finance (Legal 500). She is also appointed to the Attorney General's C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown.


Before coming to the Bar Justina was an international investment banker, working with top-ranked teams on challenging and highly complex transactions.  This, together with her economics degrees gives Justina a level of financial acumen and ease with financial products that is rare at the Bar.  


Justina is frequently praised for her creativity, and her ability to cut swiftly to the nub of a problem, while also having an eye for detail.  She is also praised for her persuasive and tenacious advocacy, her drafting skills and her ability to simplify complex legal concepts.  Clients repeatedly say how easy it is to work with Justina and compliment the energy, drive and direction she brings to cases. 


As a result, Justina has a practice well beyond her level of call.  Justina's recent cases include those involving a massive hedge fund fraud, a key decision on embedded swaps, parallel insolvency and directors’ duties actions with offshore complexities, and challenging professional negligence claims relating to tax avoidance schemes.


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  • Commercial Litigation
    • With her background as an international investment banker/corporate financier, Justina has a highly commercial approach to commercial litigation.


      Examples of recent experience:

      • Barnett Waddington Trustees (1980) Ltd v Royal Bank of Scotland [2017] EWHC 834 (Ch) – Instructed by borrower.  Following the borrower’s success in the first case (see below), RBS sought to allege that an “interest rate swap termination cost” arose upon redemption by reason of a swap with a third party.  Borrower successfully argued that it was entitled to resist this claim on the basis that it was an abuse of process (led by Mark Warwick QC).
      • Barnett Waddington Trustees (1980) Ltd v The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc [2015] EWHC 2435 (Ch) - Instructed by the borrower, in a case concerning the liability of a borrower to indemnify a lender against ‘losses’ said to have been suffered by the lender as a result of an internal hedging arrangement. Borrower wished to redeem a loan. Lender insisted that, as a condition of redemption, borrower had to pay an ‘interest rate swap termination cost’ arising from an internal swap. Warren J determined that no such sum was payable (led by Mark Warwick QC).
      • Client confidential – claim in excess of £20 m by fund of funds against investment manager and broker in relation to LME metals trading. Allegations including conspiracy and dishonest assistance.
      • Instructed by FCA in relation to its review, under s.166 FSMA, of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s treatment of business customers in financial difficulties and entry into RBS’s Global Restructuring Group.
      • Instructed by HSBC in relation to the FCA’s review, under s.166 FSMA, of interest rate swap miss selling, specifically on the recoverability of consequential losses claimed.
      • NABCSG Group Action – instructed to advise on merits of multi-party litigation.
      • Client confidential – Advised on a claim against a major investment bank in relation to losses arising from failures relating to execution of a trade. Involved in-depth analysis of settlement procedures and the duties of a primary broker.
      • Centrehigh Ltd v Telstra Music Group & Ors [2013] EWHC 1448 (Ch) – third party costs order application under s.51 SCA, involving detailed financial analysis in the context of an intricate company structure (led by Stuart Hornett).
      • Multi-million pound loss of profits claim arising from breach of IT contract, in multi-jurisdiction context. 


      Professional Negligence

      Justina has extensive experience in professional negligence claims including those against solicitors, surveyors, IFAs, accountants, insolvency practitioners and executors. She has been particularly praised for her work on cases involving advice in relation to tax avoidance schemes.


      Examples of recent experience:

      • Shepherd v Byrne & Partners LLP [2017] EWHC 758(Ch) -  acted for claimant in a professional negligence claim against a firm of solicitors for tax advice on disclosure to HMRC of undeclared offshore income (led by Hugh Jackson).
      • Clients confidential – instructed by claimants in relation to variety of professional negligence actions against IFAs, accountants and solicitors relating to CGT mitigation schemes.
      • Client confidential – claim for over £50 m against a big four accountancy firm for negligent tax advice relating to a tax deferral scheme.
      • Client confidential – claim for c.£10 m against surveyor in relation to the valuation of a substantial London commercial property.
      • Lucas v Notable Services LLP (HC-2015-000862) – claim in excess of £3.5 m in professional negligence against solicitors for alleged losses arising from inter alia alleged breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the SRA Account Rules 2011 and breach of duty owed to in making statements relating to the same.
      • Lucas v Sillet Webb Solicitors (HC-2015-000731) – claim in excess of £800,000 in professional negligence relating to services provided in connection with a Part 20 Claim made in the context of a complex and protracted fraud case in the High Court, Group Seven Limited & another v Allied Investment Corporation Limited and others. 


  • Civil Fraud
    • As reflected in her experience, Justina has a particular aptitude for and enjoys the challenges of civil fraud cases.  In addition to taking cases to trial if necessary, she is adept at swiftly digesting copious amounts of information, as is frequently required when seeking interim remedies – for example, worldwide freezing orders and proprietary injunctions.  


      Examples of recent experience:

      • Client confidential – claim for over £110 m. Relates to alleged MTIC (carousel) VAT frauds, through which it is alleged that HMRC was defrauded of tax the claimant companies ought to have paid to HMRC. Claims based on dishonest assistance in breach of trust, and under s.213 IA 1986 (knowing participation in fraudulent trading).
      • Alberto Micalizzi v The Financial Conduct Authority UKUT 0335 (TCC) (Upper Tribunal Tax & Chancery Chamber) – Micalizzi, the former CEO of a hedge fund, sought to conceal massive losses following the collapse of Lehmans by deliberately misrepresenting the fund’s value and entering into agreements with third parties to acquire units in purported convertible bonds issued by a Nevada based company and backed by Russian diesel oil. Instructed by the FCA.
      •  (1) Cavendish Rowe GRS Ltd (2) Mahendran v Wanstead Sports LLP – Winding up petition, and parallel proceedings with counterclaim in unjust enrichment, knowing receipt, constructive trust and tort of deceit in the context of a long and complicated management history.
      • Abbar & Anr v Sedco Real Estate Ltd, Saudi Economic & Development Company (Sedco) Ltd & Ors [2013] EWHC 1414 (Ch) – a complex contractual and misrepresentation claim relating to the “Pinnacle” development (formerly the Bishopsgate Tower), a share subscription in a development company, and subsequent inability of a subscriber to exit from his investment.
      • Yorkshire Building Society v Salter (HQ13X05838) – a claim to inter alia recover sums allegedly fraudulently withdrawn by a bank employee. Involves detailed analysis of over one hundred banking transactions for a period of c.19 years.  Successful on summary judgment.
      • (1) Rosork Holdings Ltd (2) Fairlann Trading Ltd v (1) Silver (2) Jenkins (HC13E01128) – satellite action related to complex and protracted proceedings in Chancery Division (fraud, breach of duty and secret profits claim) and QBD (libel action). Security for costs application that resulted in the end of the action against the defendants.
      • Tchenguiz v Director of the Serious Fraud Office – damages claim by the Tchenguiz brothers following their investigation and arrest by the SFO in the wake of the collapse of Kaupthing, the Icelandic bank.  Instructed by the SFO.


  • Insolvency
    • Justina is frequently instructed in proceedings in which companies or individuals are subject to insolvency proceedings, and claims brought by office holders against directors and others, including claims for wrongful trading, preference and transactions at an undervalue.  Justina’s financial expertise has often been instrumental in winning or settling cases.


      Examples of recent experience:

      • Trans-Tag Ltd v Burnell – application for injunction to restrain winding-up petition, alleging cross-claim of over £100 m based on extensive breaches of directors’ duties. Also instructed in parallel proceedings involving allegations of breach of licence agreement.
      • Client confidential – claim against liquidators pursuant to s.212 IA 1986 for over £20 m, in relation to agreement entered into (allegedly negligently) with company’s landlord in relation to a significant London property.
      • Toone and Kevin Murphy (Joint Liquidators of B Frankle & Sons Ltd), B Frankle & Sons Ltd (in creditors’ voluntary liquidation) v Frankle & ors (CR-2016-000474) – Liquidators’ claim for over £4 m, alleging breach of directors’ duties, that a share purchase scheme was implemented with the purpose of defrauding creditors within the meaning of s.423 IA 1986, sale of property to a director at an undervalue, and that the share purchase was void as it was not made in accordance with provisions of the Companies Act 2006 (led by Ian Clarke QC).
      • Re: Carolan (No.2500/2013) – application to stay bankruptcy, pending application for annulment of petition pursuant to section 282(1)(a) IA 1986 relying upon lack of mental capacity.
      • Re: Skeene (No.3292/2013) – bankruptcy petition in excess of £1 m, involving allegations of establishment of off-shore company for purpose of concealing fraudulent activities.
      • Re: Copestake (No.387/SD/2013) – involved application of s.217 IA 1986 (phoenix companies).
      • Eastern Events Ltd v Interactive Business Technology Group Ltd (No.4766/2014) – application to prevent presentation of winding up petition, on the basis that Interactive does not hold title to relevant equipment, misrepresentation, contract void for lack of certainty, lack of contractual relationship between the parties.
      • Re: Natural Wealth Consultants Ltd, Proctor Capital Limited, Land Security Management Ltd (No.2188, 2189, 2190 of 2012) – advised on public interest petition, allegations of land banking in context of complicated network of companies.


  • Company
    • Justina has been instructed on a wide variety of shareholder and partnership disputes and in cases involving directors’ duties and directors’ disqualification proceedings.  This is another practice area where her financial skills are appreciated by clients.


      Examples of recent experience:

      • Michel v Michel (CR-2016-005102)  Unfair prejudice petition. Sole counsel in a 15 day trial. Ongoing.
      • Client confidential (arbitration) – Instructed by former partner of accountancy partnership.  Allegations of unlawful expulsion from partnership, breach of equitable duties, misrepresentation and non est factum. Included application to remove arbitrator pursuant to s.24 of the Arbitration Act 1996 - T v (1) V (2) W (3) A [2017] EWHC 565 (Comm).
      • Franks v (1) Franks (2) Michaelson Properties Ltd (CR-2015-009740) and Franks v (1) Franks (3) FWEL Ltd (CR-2015-009740) – Linked cases. Unfair prejudice petition in relation to two family-owned companies with collective value of c.£6-7 m. Instructed by petitioner. Key issue was how to separate mother’s and son’s interests in tax efficient manner.
      • Client confidential – acting for partner who had retired from an LLP in a claim for return of balance standing in capital account upon retirement. 
      • Client confidential (arbitration) –  Instructed by a former partner of solicitors’ partnership – claims include that former co-partners reopened accounts when they were not entitled to do so, thus causing him loss on retirement. 
      • See also “Insolvency” section.


  • Property
    • Having spent her early years at the Bar at a commercial chancery chambers with renowned property expertise, Justina has extensive experience across a wide range of property matters:

      • land registry and real property - from boundary and adverse possession disputes to cases involving the enforceability of restrictive covenants, co-ownership, rectification of register and nuisance disputes and applications to the First Tier Tribunal;
      • claims involving mortgages and security - claims by and against lenders relating to charges and guarantees. Includes cases involving subrogation and undue influence;
      • commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters. and mortgages and security.


      Examples of recent experience:

      • Singh v (1) Singh (2) Barclays Bank Plc (3) Prestige Finance Ltd – claimant asserts among other things a beneficial interest in the property and rectification of the register, due to alleged fraudulent misrepresentation, undue influence and non est factum.  Acting for second chargee. 
      • Bouchiba v Turner (No.2015/0583) (Property Chamber Land Registration First-Tier Tribunal) – cohabitation dispute. Claimant alleged an interest in property by reason of a constructive trust, alternatively proprietary estoppel, notwithstanding the fact that she was not a registered proprietor (joint or otherwise) of the title.
      • Re: Hussain’s Application (LP/23/2014) – application to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) pursuant to s.84 LPA 1925 to modify restrictive covenants, so as to enable an extension to existing property located on a scheme of development.
      • Montrose Property Company Ltd v Jennings Court Estate Ltd (No.2014/0231) (Property Tribunal First-Tier Tribunal) – acted for respondent in relation to application to cancel unilateral notice.  Involved showing that applicant did not have benefit of interest affecting the property, but that, if it did, interpreting a sale agreement in the respondent’s favour, alternatively showing that the sale agreement was validly rescinded.
      • Brian Meehan Limited v Powell (HC13F05008) – rectification of a lease so as to exclude the security provisions of 1954 Act.
      • Cooper v Ayres (3EA00150)questions of enforceability of restrictive covenant (including whether a scheme of development exists) and appropriate circumstances in which court should grant injunctive relief.
      • Beaufort Children LLP v Jenkins – instructed by the landlord, the owner of a prime Chelsea block of flats, seeking to redevelop the block. Tenant, 90 years old, claimed that she occupied one of the flats pursuant to a Regulated Tenancy. Involved extensive argument on decades of landlord and tenant law.
      • Stannard (t/a Wyvern Tyres) v Gore [2012] EWCA Civ 1248 – seminal case in which the Court of Appeal considered the rule in Rylands v Fletcher as it applies to escape of fire.
      • Advised developer on enforceability of restrictive covenants in anticipation of major residential development in Central London, including upon potential Wrotham Park damages.


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