The top 20 cases of 2014: In detail
15 January 2014
14 March 2014
16 January 2014
17 July 2014
10 July 2014
(1) JP Morgan Chase Bank plc (2) JP Morgan Securities Ltd v (1) Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) Anstalt öffentlichen Rechts v Clifford Chance Partnerschaftsgesellschaft von Rechtsanwälten, Wirtschaftsprüfern, Steuerberatern und Solicitors
When? January 2014, 40 days.
Where? Commercial Court, Judge TBC
JP Morgan is pursuing a $210m (£130m) claim against Berlin’s public transport provider BVG in one of the first cases involving derivatives concluded by European public bodies to get to trial.
The dispute relates to credit derivatives transactions, with BVG adviser JP Morgan arguing that the company spread risk by insuring a deal through a collateralised debt obligations (CDO) in 2007. Having reached the European Court of Justice on jurisdiction, the claim involves the validity of the CDO.
BVG’s defence is based on ultra vires, as well as misrepresentations alleged to have been made by JPMorgan. BVG has joined Clifford Chance to the proceedings as a third party, alleging that the firm gave negligent advice in relation to the transaction.
The outcome will be closely watched, as the dispute is likely to have an important influence on how these cases are resolved. As well as being a large-scale dispute in both the banking and professional negligence/conduct categories, this is the first of a number of claims concerning financial instruments entered into by German public authorities.
For the claimant JP Morgan
For the defendants BVG
Brick Court Chambers’ Tim Lord QC, Simon Salzedo QC leading Richard Blakeley and Simon Birt instructed by Addleshaw Goddard partner Michael Barnet. In Germany BVG is represented by Noerr partner Christine Volohonsky
For Clifford Chance Germany
Apex Global Management Ltd v (1) FI Call Ltd (2) Global Torch Ltd (3) HRH Prince Abdulaziz Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (4) Emad Mahmoud Ahmed Abu-Ayshih (5) HRH Prince Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
When? February 2014, 25 days
Where? Chancery Division, judge TBC
This top-drawer spat will see Saudi royalty appear in a London court to defend claims of gross misconduct.
Prince Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his son, HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mishal Bin Al Saud, who both claim to be close to the Saudi Royal Family, have already attempted to have the case heard in camera. Clifford Chance partner Ian Roxborough led the High Court case before being replaced by Irwin Mitchell at the Court of Appeal hearing. Both applications were refused.
They are alleged to have colluded with fellow shareholders to fund terrorists such as Hezbollah as well as being responsible for smuggling about $3.5bn-worth of precious stones out of the Congo.
The Saudi defendants vigorously deny the allegations which, they say, have been brought by a notorious fraudster who has forged emails and other allegedly incriminating documents as well as stealing monies belonging to Global Torch.
This five-week case will no doubt generate headlines at home and across the Middle East.
For the claimant Apex Global Management Ltd
Blackstone Chambers’ Robert Howe QC and Maitland Chambers’ Matthew Collings QC leading Serle Court’s Daniel Lightman and Maitland Chambers’ Oliver Phillips, instructed by HowardKennedyFsi’s partners Steven Morris and Louise Bennett
For the defendants (1) FI Call Ltd (2) Global Torch Ltd (3) HRH Prince Abdulaziz Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (4) Emad Mahmoud Ahmed Abu-Ayshih (5) HRH Prince Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Wilberforce Chambers’ John Wardell QC leading 4 New Square’s Daniel Saoul, instructed by Irwin Mitchell’s Jeremy Marshall
Evans v the Attorney General & Ors and Evans v The Information Commissioner & Ors
When? February 2014, 3-4 days
Where? CoA, Judicial panel TBC
This high-profile case has already created several headlines on its journey to the CoA. Guardian journalist Rob Evans is fighting for the release of correspondence between the Government and the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and to see lists and schedules of the correspondence.
Evans’ request has already been refused by the Government, prompting him to go to the Information Commissioner, which also rejected the request in 2009.
A further appeal to the Upper Tribunal was more successful for Evans, after it ruled the information should be released. However, in October 2012 the Attorney General exercised the veto power under the Freedom of Information Act to prevent release of the correspondence.
Evans brought a judicial review of the decision and lost, but the Lord Chief Justice Sir John Thomas and Lord Justices David and Globe granted permission to appeal the ruling.
A cross appeal is being brought by the Government against the Upper Tribunal decision to allow the lists and schedules to be published.
Not only will this be a high-profile case because it concerns royalty, it will also allow the court to examine the Attorney General’s right to exercise a veto to avoid complying with an order to disclose information.
For appellant Evans
Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC leading One Brick Court’s Aidan Eardley, instructed by Guardian News and Media in-house lawyer Jan Clements
For the respondent HM Attorney General
11KBW’s Jonathan Swift QC and Julian Milford instructed by The Treasury Solicitor
For the intervener Information Commissioner
11KBW’s Timothy Pitt-Payne QC, instructed by the Information Commissioner’s Office
(1) Inna Gudavadze; (2) Iya Patarkatsishvili; (3) Liana Zhmotova; (4) Nana Patarkatsishvili v Vasily Anisimov
When? 17 March 2014, for 30 days
Where? Commercial Court
The latest episode in litigation stemming from the dispute between Russian oligarchs Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich hits court in March, with $1.5bn in dispute.
Although Berezovsky’s claims against the family and estate of the late Arkady ‘Badri’ Patarkatsishvili settled, the family have now brought claims against Russian businessman Vasily Anisimov. Anisimov’s Chancery Court fight with Berezovsky also collapsed in 2012.
The latest set of claims against Anisimov see the Patarkasishvili family, Inna Gudavadze and her two daughters, claiming a part-entitlement to the 20 per cent share formerly held by Anisimov in mining company Metalloinvest. They allege that the two businessmen agreed that Anisimov would invest in Metalloinvest’s forerunner, Mikhailovsky, a portion of the proceeds he received from the sale of a stake in aluminium giant Rusal in 2004.
Anisimov says Patarkatsishvili orally agreed to split the Rusal proceeds with him and that he used this money to purchase his own stake in Mikhailovsky.
For the claimants (1) Inna Gudavadze; (2) Iya Patarkatsishvili; (3) Liana Zhmotova; (4) Nana Patarkatsishvili
Maitland Chambers’ Paul Girolami QC and Serle Court’s Jonathan Adkin QC leading New Square Chambers’ Watson Pringle and Fountain Court’s Paul Casey, instructed by Signature Litigation partner Graham Huntley
For the defendant Vasily Anisimov
3 Verulam Buildings’ Ali Malek QC and Sonia Tolaney QC leading Anne Jeavons and Sandy Phipps of the same set, instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners Ian Terry and Matthew Bruce, and associate Samantha Trevan
(1) UBS; (2) Depfa Bank plc v (1) Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig
When? April 2014, 65-75 days
Where? Commercial Court, Judge TBC
Three banks, UBS, Depfa and LBBW are suing KWL, a German water company established by the City of Leipzig, for around $600m under a number of CDOs entered into by KWL in 2006 and 2007, and which defaulted during the financial crisis in 2008.
KWL contends that the CDOs are not valid and binding. It alleges that its managing directors entered into the CDOs without authority and did so as a result of fraudulent misrepresentations.
It also claims damages against UBS and Depfa in respect of UBS’ management of the portfolio of assets to which the CDOS were linked.
The court will also hear a related dispute – worth around $200m – between the banks as to the effect of any invalidity of the CDOs on agreements entered into between UBS and Depfa, and UBS and LBBW, on back-to-back terms with the CDOs.
For the claimant (1) UBS AG (London Branch)
For the claimant (2) Depfa Bank plc
Fountain Court’s David Railton QC, Edward Levey, Richard Power, instructed by Dentons partner Richard Caird
For the claimant (3) LBBW
Maitland Chambers’ Nicholas Peacock QC and Catherine Addy of the same set, instructed by Baker & McKenzie partner Arun Srivastava
For the defendant (1) Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig (third parties)
Brick Court’s Tim Lord QC, Simon Salzedo QC, Stephen Midwinter and Craig Morrison, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard partners Michael Barnett and Louisa Caswell; KWL’s German lawyer Noerr – lead partner Christine Volohonsky
Bank of St Petersburg v Vitaly Arkhangelsky & Anor
When? May 2014, 30 days.
Where? Chancery Division, Hilliard J
The Russian bank – the largest privately owned bank in St Petersburg – is seeking to enforce a series of guarantees afforded it by oligarch Vitaly Arkhangelsky, who is now living in France as a political exile.
The case is being heard in London by mutual consent of the parties, following prior claims initiated by the defendants in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Cyprus.
The bank is also seeking declaratory relief to exonerate it from accusations made by the defendant that it participated in a raiding conspiracy to appropriate his assets. It vehemently denies any such conspiracy and claims simply to have enforced security granted to it.
The case raises interesting points of law including the rights of the bank to litigate in England where earlier, related judgments have already been obtained in Russia.
For the claimant Bank of St Petersburg
Serle Court’s Philip Marshall QC, Justin Higgo and Ruth den Besten, instructed by Baker & McKenzie partner Jeremy Winter
The defendants are represented by McKenzie friend Pavel Stroilov
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Ltd & Ors v Dow Deutschland Incorporated & Ors
When? May 2014, 45 days
Where? Commercial Court, Judge TBC
Well-known tyre manufacturers including Pirelli, Continental, Michelin, Bridgestone and Cooper are seeking damages of more than €200m (£170m) from the Dow Chemical Company after it was found to be part of a synthetic rubber cartel.
This is one of two major cartel damages action being heard by the High Court this year and is being watched with interest by those litigating many other pending cartel damages actions. It will set important precedents with regard to the proper approach to blame and quantification of damages when supply companies are found to be involved in cartels.
The rubber cartel case, which saw the European Commission fine 10 companies more than £396m for the price-fixing of rubber products, was one of the biggest competition disputes of recent years. Household names such as Shell, Dow and Bayer were found to have been involved in fixing the price of car tyres.
The ruling led to the raft of claims from corporate tyre clients seeking follow-on damages related to the findings. While a number of those cases settled, sources suggest this dispute will proceed to full trial.
The hearing will raise important principle issues for the court to consider including whether purchasers are able to claim losses when cartel overcharges were ‘passed through’ to customers. The court will consider whether purchasers of heightened-cost products can claim damages of products bought for that raised price by consumers.
For the claimant Cooper Tire & Rubber Company
Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC leading Tom Weisselberg; Tristan Jones, instructed by King & Wood Malleson SJ Berwin partner Louise Freeman
For the defendant Dow Deutschland
One Essex Court’s Lawrence Rabinowitz QC and Brick Court’s Daniel Jowell QC leading Daniel Piccinin of the same set, instructed by Linklaters partner Michael Sanders
(1) Fortress Value Recovery Fund LLC (2) ZBS Capital Partners LP (3) Cypress Way European Asset Investors II Sarl v Blue Skye Special Opportunities Fund LP & Ors, Stepstone
When? May 2014, 50 days
Where? Commercial Court, Judge TBC
This substantial fraud claim arose out of the reorganisation of the €200m Blue Skye Investment Group in Italy. The fight pits the investment funds managed by the Fortress Investment Group against the managers of the Blue Skye Investment Group, Salvatore Cerchione and Gianluca D’Avanzo.
The battle is over allegations that the Blue Skye managers acted with 12 other corporate entities to dishonestly reorganise the company to dilute the claimants’ interests. It is alleged that the scheme was designed to enable Cerchione and D’Avanzo to take control of it and benefit themselves.
Refuting the allegations, the defendants contend that the reorganisation was necessary to comply with Bank of Italy regulations and to raise liquidity.
The case has already generated two massive decisions, one handed down by the CoA after several defendants, including the two managers, requested the case be stayed because of an arbitration clause. The decision generated an important consideration of the relationship between the Arbitration Act 1996 and the Contracts Act 1999 around third-party arbitration rights.
For the claimants (1) Fortress Value Recovery Fund LLC, (2) ZBS Capital Partners LP and (3) Cypress Way European Asset Investors II Sarl
3 Verulam Buildings’ Ewan McQuarter QC and David Quest QC leading Richard Hanke and Miriam Schmelzer, instructed by Slaughter and May partner Efstathios Michael
For the defendants Blue Skye and Part 20 defendants Salvatore Cerchione, Gianluca D’Avanzo & Ors
Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Hapgood QC leading Alan Roxburgh and Nicholas Saunders, all of Brick Court, instructed by Signature Litigation partner Graham Huntley
For the fourth defendant and Part 20 claimant Stepstone Acquisition Sarl
One Essex Court’s Craig Orr QC leading Jamie Goldsmith and Alexander Brown, instructed by DAC Beachcroft partner John Bramhall
Pensionenfonds Vervoer v Goldman Sachs Asset Management
When? 3 June 2014, 45 days
Where? Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court
In yet another of the year’s significant negligence claims Dutch pension fund Pensionenfonds Vervoer (PV) is suing Goldman Sachs Asset Management International (GSAMI) for €250m.
The claim centres on GSAMI’s mandate as fiduciary investment manager of the fund’s portfolio and alleges professional negligence as well as specific breaches of the fiduciary investment manager mandate. In particular, the claim alleges that GSAMI failed to properly assess the suitability of a specific fixed-income investment structure.
The case will look at issues such as the global financial crisis and the impact it had on complex asset-backed securities, and is among a handful of high-profile claims stemming from the 2008 collapse. It is one of the first claims brought in the English courts by an institutional client against its investment manager.
For the claimant Pensionenfonds Vervoer
3 Verulam Buildings’ Ali Malek QC and John Odgers QC leading Tom De Vecchi of the same set, instructed by Brown Rudnick partners Neil Micklethwaite and Neill Shrimpton
For the defendant Goldman Sachs Asset Management International
Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Howard QC leading Stephen Midwinter of the same set, instructed by Linklaters partners Christa Band and Patrick Robinson
(1) Bancroft II GP Jersey Ltd and (2) Bancroft 2 LP v (1) Weil Gotshal & Manges and (2) Jozef Maly
When? 9 June 2014, 15 days
Where? Commercial Court
Private equity house Bancroft is suing Weil Gotshal & Manges in a professional negligence claim valued at €12m (£10m) in a case that will force a US firm to defend itself in a London court for the first time.
Bancroft claims that Weil’s partners and a Slovakian lawyer, Jozef Maly, failed to explain to Bancroft that it would not have voting control of the company despite paying €8m (£6.6m) for a 94 per cent stake in the company, Frost.
Bancroft also alleges that private equity partner Ken Schiff failed in his client duty by failing to coordinate with foreign counsel to translate and explain non-English acquisition documents and the resulting issues facing Bancroft.
The case involves complex causation and quantum arguments and also seeks to establish that lead transaction counsel in London, when acting in relation to foreign transactions, owe their clients a duty to coordinate with foreign lawyers to ensure that the transaction documents are fit for purpose.
For the claimants Bancroft II GP Jersey Ltd and Bancroft 2 LP
4 New Square’s Nicholas Davidson QC, leading and instructed by Humphries Kerstetter partner and solicitor-advocate Mark Humphries
For the first defendant Weil Gotshal & Manges
Hardwicke’s Nigel Jones QC leading Charles Raffin of the same set, instructed by Ashurst partner Edward Sparrow
For the second defendant Jozef Maly
Stevens & Bolton partner Andrew Quick. No counsel instructed as yet
National Grid Electricity Transmission plc v ABB Ltd & Ors
When? June 2014, 35-40 days
Where? Chancery Division, Mr Justice Roth
This is the second major cartel damages claim to reach full trial in London this year. National Grid is seeking damages of more than £360m from a group of companies that were involved in a cartel identified by the European Commission relating to Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS). Those companies were fined €750m by the Commission.
The court will be asked to decide a number of precedent-setting issues, including how to calculate cartel ‘overcharges’ in antitrust damages claims.
Antitrust damages litigation has been in the spotlight both at European and UK level for some time. This case will examine both the UK draft Consumer Rights Bill and the EU’s draft directive on private actions that aims to encourage private damages claims in competition cases, for example by introducing class action regimes.
Against this backdrop, the milestone of the first cartel damages claim to reach full trial in England will be significant.
For the claimant National Grid Electricity Transmission plc
For the defendant ABB
Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Hoskins QC leading Brick Court Sarah Ford, instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners Jon Lawrence and Mark Sansom
For the defendant Alstom
For the defendant Siemens
Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Brealey QC leading Marie Demetriou QC and Richard Eschwege instructed by Clifford Chance partners Liz Morony and Luke Tolaini
(1) Robert Tchenguiz (2) R20 Ltd (3) Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees SA. (4) Vincent Tchenguiz (5) Vincos Ltd (6) Euro Investments Overseas Inc (7) Amora Investments Ltd v The Director of the Serious Fraud Office
When? October 2014, 50 days
Where? Commercial Court, Judge TBC
This £300m claim brought by the Tchenguiz brothers, Robert and Vincent, against the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has spiralled into a mammoth disclosure exercise expected to cost the agency up to £1.2m. The brothers and their companies are seeking damages for trespass, wrongful arrest, human rights breaches, misfeasance in public office and malicious prosecution after their arrest in March 2011.
The Tchenguiz brothers were arrested in connection with the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing. The arrest was later declared unlawful by a senior UK judge.
The claim for misfeasance in a public office challenges the legality of the initiation of criminal proceedings, the obtaining and execution of warrants, the arrests, the retention of material seized by the SFO and the continuation of the investigation of Vincent Tchenguiz.
For the claimant (3) Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees (4) Vincent Tchenguiz (5) Vincos
Ltd (6) Euro Investments Overseas Inc (7) Amora Investments Ltd
Fountain Court’s Bankim Thanki QC leading Rosalind Phelps, James Duffy and Chris Langley, all of the same set, instructed by Stephenson Harwood partner Sean Jeffrey
For the claimant (1) Robert Tchenguiz (2) R20 Ltd
Essex Court Chambers’ Joe Smouha QC and Alex Bailin QC of Matrix leading Essex Court Chambers’ Anton Dudnikov and Matrix Chambers’ Alison Macdonald instructed by Shearman & Sterling partner Josanne Rickard
For the defendant the Serious Fraud Office
Serle Court’s Dominic Dowley QC and Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC leading One Essex Court’s Simon Colton, Blackstone Chambers’ James Segan, instructed by Slaughter and May partner Jonathan Cotton
(1) Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & (2) Bank Alkhair BSC v (1) Al Refai (2) Kroll Associates UK Ltd (3) Alex Richardson (4) FTI Consulting Group Ltd – 2012 Folio 834
When? October 2014, 40-80 days (split trial)
Where? Commercial Court, Andrew Smith J
This is expected to be one of the largest claims in the Commercial Court in 2014, with the trial being split into two phases over two months to break down and address the numerous allegations made, which include computer-hacking and theft of sensitive information. The claimants allege losses of $1bn.
The row erupted after a senior executive of Bahraini investment bank Bank Alkhair, Al Refai, was dismissed in August 2010 following the alleged discovery of money laundering.
The claimants, Bank Alkhair and its client Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company, allege losses in the region of $1bn. The claimants argue that after he was dismissed, Al Refai and the other defendants set out to destroy their business, spreading rumours in meetings with investors and publishing damaging allegations about the claimants.
The defendants deny the allegations.
For the claimants (1) Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & (2) Bank Alkhair BSC
Maitland Chambers’ Anthony Trace QC, Fountain Court’s Charles Béar QC and Jonathan Russen QC also of Maitland along with 5RB’s Mark Warby QC, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard partners Mark Hastings, Kambiz Larizadeh and David Engel.
For the defendants Al Refai
Littleton Chambers’ Stuart Ritchie QC, instructed by PCB Litigation partner Steven Philippsohn.
For the defendants Kroll Associates UK Ltd
One Essex Court’s Craig Orr QC, instructed by Slaughter & May partner Jonathan Cotton
For the defendants FTI Consulting Group Ltd
5RB’s Godwin Busuttil, instructed by Stephenson Harwood partner John Fordham
Accolade Wines v Volkerfitzpatrick (2) Volkervessels (3) Goodman (4) Keller (5) Twintec (6) GJ3&4
When? October 2014, 40 days
Where? Technology and Construction Court, Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart
This £170m case was brought by Accolade Wines against the company that built its bottling plant five years ago. In one of the biggest cases to hit the Technology and Construction Court in 2014, the company will claim that the concrete floor slab of the warehouse had settled into the ground, making the warehouse unusable. The company is bringing a property damage and business interruption claim against the defendant, arguing that it has incurred hefty costs after being forced to move out of the warehouse. The line-up will feature some of the most highly ranked QCs practising construction law at the bar.
It will raise complex legal issues in relation to causation, rectification and the construction of warranties, as well as complex technical issues.
For the claimant Accolade Wines
Keating Chambers’ Alexander Nissen QC and Calum Lamont instructed by Stephenson Harwood partner Paul Thwaite
For the defendant GJ3 Ltd & GJ4 Ltd
Keating Chambers’ Marcus Taverner QC leading Jane Lemon instructed by Nabarro partner Jonathan Douglas
For the defendant Volkerfitzpatrick Ltd
Hardwicke Chambers’ Paul Reed QC leading David Pliener instructed by RPC partner David Thorne
For the defendant Goodman Logistics Development
Keating Chambers’ Simon Hargreaves QC leading Karim Ghaly of 39 Essex Street instructed by Dentons partner Alastair Young
For the defendant Keller
Atkin Chambers’ Nicholas Baatz and Nick Collins instructed by DAC Beachcroft partner Chris Doran
For the defendant Twintec Ltd
Wilberforce Chambers’ Joanna Smith QC leading Jonathan Chew instructed by Nelsons partner Simon Trees
MCashback v Nabarro Nathanson
When? 3 November 2014, 25-30 days
Where? Chancery Division, Judge TBC
This £130m professional negligence claim against Nabarro is one of the highest-value negligence claims to be brought against a law firm in recent years.
The dispute was sparked in 2006 when Nabarro defended its then-client MCashback against allegations of wrongful diversion of a business opportunity at the now defunct software company.
Nabarro defended MCashback and its directors in a number of cases against it by their former colleague Paul Burtenshaw and Fanmailuk.com. The company was launched in 2002 by three former Dialtime directors, an outfit that had developed a system for free mobile phone airtime at supermarket checkouts. The fourth Dialtime director, Burtenshaw, was not included in MCashback, prompting him to bring a series of cases against it and the directors.
MCashback went into liquidation in 2006 and has now called in Carter-Ruck to launch a case against the firm over alleged losses it claims to have suffered as a result of its allegedly negligent conduct of the litigation.
The case will test a historic House of Lords decision in Stone & Rolls v Moore Stephens. In that dispute it was decided that where the director and sole shareholders of a closely held private company had deceived auditors with fraud, creditors of the insolvent company could not sue the advisers for negligence.
This case will test whether Nabarro as a legal adviser can be sued.
For the claimant MCashback
Maitland’s Christopher Parker QC leading James Balance, instructed by Carter-Ruck partner Nigel Tait
For the defendant Nabarro Nathanson
Brick Court Chambers’ Tom Adam QC leading Tony Singla of the same set, instructed by Clyde & Co partner Sarah Clover
Arcadia & Ors v Mastercard & Ors
When? November 2014 (preliminary issues), liability trial to follow
Where? Commercial Court, Judge TBC
Credit card company MasterCard is facing conjoined actions brought by 12 major UK retailers, led by the Arcadia Group, with a total value of £450m. The claimants are also seeing additional damages under an extension of the relevant claim period, going back to 1992.
The case concerns the setting of interchange rates which form the largest part of the service charges levied on retailers in relation to MasterCard payment card transactions.
The issue has already gone before the European Commission, which found that MasterCard had infringed EU law on the issue. In the High Court the claimants allege that the fixing of interchange rates within the MasterCard network by MasterCard and its member banks in effect operates as a form of cartel. Because they are said to have been unlawfully charged, claimants say that the rates are null and void.
Proceedings were first issued in May 2012 against MasterCard. A similar action is being pursued against Visa on behalf of the same 12 claimants, again led by Stewarts Law.
MasterCard is facing challenges to interchange fees in several jurisdictions, and in the US preliminary court approval was given to a class settlement of $7.25bn in relation to both MasterCard and Visa.
The EU is examining proposals to amend the 2007 Payment Services Directive to ensure a level playing field for retailers.
For the claimants (1) Arcadia Group Brands Ltd, Arcadia Group Multiples (Ireland) Ltd, Bhs (Jersey) Ltd, Bhs Ltd, Topshop/Topman Ltd and Topshop/Topman (Ireland) Ltd, (2) Asda Stores Ltd, (3) B&Q plc, (4) Comet Group Ltd (in Liquidation), (5) Debenhams Retail plc & Debenhams Retail (Ireland) Ltd, (6) Homebase Ltd and Argos Ltd, (7) House of Fraser (Stores) Ltd, (8) Iceland Foods Ltd, (9) Next Retail Ltd, (10) New Look Retailers Ltd, (11) Record Shop 2 Ltd (formerly HMV Music Ltd) (in Administration), HMV Ireland Ltd (in Receivership) and HMV Guernsey Ltd (in Administration), and (12) WM Morrison Supermarkets plc
Brick Court Chambers’ Fergus Randolph QC leading Matrix Chambers’ Christopher Brown and Brick Court’s Max Schaefer, instructed by Stewarts Law partners Jonathan Sinclair, Kate Pollock and Scott Campbell
For the defendants (1) MasterCard Inc, (2) MasterCard International Inc, (3) MasterCard Europe SPRL, (4) MasterCard UK Members Forum Ltd (In Members’ Voluntary Liquidation) and (5) MasterCard/Europay UK Ltd.
One Essex Court’s Thomas Sharpe QC, leading Matthew Cook of the same set, instructed by Jones Day partner Nicholas Cotter
Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustee Ltd v (1) Stena Line Ltd (2) P&O Ferries Ltd (3) Sealion Shipping Ltd (4) International Marine Transportation Ltd (5) Terence Brown.
When? November 2014, 8-10 days
Where? Chancery Division, Judge TBC
This mammoth case concerns the £272m pension deficit liabilities belonging to the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund (MNRPF). At the heart of the dispute is how that liability should be apportioned between the participating employers of seamen employed in the British Merchant Navy.
Around 240 employers have joined the MNRPF since its inception in 1978, including oil majors and the main players in the shipping industry, such as Stena and P&O.
The proceedings concern the introduction of a deficit repair contribution regime under which all employers will be required to pay contributions to meet the MNRPF’s deficit, including those employers who have never before been required to pay such contributions.
The case goes to the heart of how the MNRPF will be funded to pay members’ benefits for years to come.
The case involves the trustee, four employers to represent the interests of the various classes of employer that will be affected by the new regime, and a representative beneficiary to represent the interests of the members of the fund.
The case involves the leading lawyers at the pensions bar and the judgment is expected to be a landmark decision on multi-employer pension schemes.
For the claimant Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustee Ltd
Wilberforce Chambers’ Michael Tennet QC and Edward Sawyer, instructed by Mayer Brown partners Philippa James and Stuart Pickford
For the first defendant (1) Stena Line Ltd
Wilberforce Chambers’ Brian Green QC and Jonathan Hilliard, instructed by Travers Smith partners Paul Stannard and Mark Hall
For the second defendant (2) P&O Ferries Ltd
For the third defendant (3) Sealion Shipping Ltd
Wilberforce Chambers’ John Martin QC and Jonathan Evans, instructed by Watson Farley & Williams partner Andrew Savage
For the fourth defendant (4) International Marine Transportation Ltd
5 Stone Buildings’ Andrew Simmonds QC and Joseph Goldsmith, instructed by Hogan Lovells partners Nicholas Heaton and Duncan Buchanan
For the fifth defendant Terence Brown
Wilberforce Chambers’ Paul Newman QC and Emily Campbell, instructed by Burges Salmon partner Justin Briggs
Trustees Of The Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme Ltd & Ors v the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc / John Greenwood & Ors v Frederick Goodwin & Ors
Where? Chancery Division
A total of 77 claimants, split into two groups, have issued proceedings against the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in one of the biggest post-2008 pieces of litigation currently in the courts. This mammoth group litigation order (GLO) consolidates three separate claims into two groups.
A group of claimants, which include pension scheme trustees, local authorities and investment funds, filed a High Court writ in March last year, alleging that the prospectus for RBS’s April 2008 rights issue was defective and contained “material mis-statements and omissions”.
They are also claiming that the prospectus portrayed the bank as being in good financial health but the reality was different and the take-up of shares would have been limited “had the truth been known”. Shares in the bank sold for £2 each.
The total value of the claims is likely to be in excess of £3bn, and other groups could well be joined to the action. While RBS itself is the principal defendant, four of the bank’s former directors, including former CEO Fred Goodwin, have been sued by the claimants represented by Bird & Bird.
The case is one of the first to be brought under section 90 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and if it is fought all the way could set important case law.
For the shareholder action group claimants:
(1) Trustees of the Mineworkers Pension Scheme Ltd, (2) Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme Trustees Ltd, (3) Electricity Pensions Trustee Ltd, (4) MNOPF Trustees Ltd, (5) Arca SGR SpA, (6) Deka International SA, (7) Deka Investment, (8) ING Global Advantage & Premium Opportunity Fund, (9) ING Global Equity Dividend and Premium Opportunity Fund, (10) ING Investors Trust (the Registrant) on behalf of the ING Templeton Global Growth Portfolio and the ING Index Plus International Equity Portfolio, (11) ING Mayflower Trust (the Registrant) on behalf of the ING International Value Fund, (12) ING Mutual Funds (the Registrant) on behalf of the ING Global Opportunities Fund, ING Index Plus International Equity Fund, ING Global Equity Dividend Fund, ING International Value Opportunity Fund, and the ING International Equity Dividend Fund, (13) ING Partners Inc (the Registrant) on behalf of the ING Artio Foreign Portfolio and the ING Oppenheimer Global Portfolio, (14) ING Variable Portfolios Inc (the Registrant) on behalf of the ING WisdomTree Global High Yielding Equity Index Portfolio and the ING International Index Portfolio, (15) International Fund Management SA, (16) John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust on behalf of its funds 2A32 JHVIT International Equity Index Trust B, 2A34 JHVIT International Equity Trust A, 2C35 JHVIT Global Trust, 2C64 JHVIT International Value Trust, 2CIG JHVIT Disciplined Divers Trust, and (6719) JHVIT Overseas Equity Trust merged into 2C64 JHVIT International Value Trust, (17) John Hancock Funds II on behalf of its funds 2CZ8 JHF II International Value Fund, and 2DBG JHF II International Equity Index, (18) Susquehanna International Group Ltd, (19) Susquehanna Ireland Ltd, (20) Swisscanto Asset Management, (21) Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois, (22) Austin Fire Fighters Relief & Retirement Fund, (23) Avalon Holdings Inc, (24) BayernInvest Kapitalanlagegesellschaft, (25) BP Pension Trustees Ltd as Trustee of the BP Pension Fund (26) Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, (27) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, (28) Chrysler Group CBA Benefit Trust, (29) Chrysler Group Master Retirement Trust, (30) Cumbria County Council as administering authority for the Cumbria Local Government Pension Scheme, (31) Glasgow City Council a Local Authority constituted under the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994 as the Administrators of the Strathclyde Pension Fund, (32) Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters National Pension Fund, (33) Houston Municipal Employees Pension System, (34) Inter-Local Pension Fund of the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, (34) JO Hambro Investment Management Ltd, (35) Kames Capital Management Ltd as agent for Scottish Equitable plc, (36) Kames Capital plc as agent for Kames Capital ICVC, (37) MFS Meridian Funds on behalf of European Value Fund, (38) MFS Series Trust X on behalf of MFS International Value Fund, (39) MFS Series Trust XV on behalf of MFS Diversified Target Return Fund, (40) MFS Variable Insurance Trust II on behalf of MFS International Value Portfolio, (41) Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Michigan, (42) Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee, (43) Northwestern Mutual Series Fund, inc on behalf of the International Equity Portfolio, (44) Ontario Pension Board in its capacity as administrator of the Public Service Pension Plan and administrator and manager of the Public Service Pension Fund, and not as Crown Agent, (45) Orange County Employees’ Retirement System, (46) Premier Ltd, (47) Rathbone Investment Management Ltd, (48) Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Pension Fund, (49) San Mateo County Employees’ Retirement Association, (50) Stichting Pensioenfonds through Algemene Pensioen Groep, (51) The Mayor and Burgesses of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (as Scheme Employer of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Pension Fund), (52) The Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago, (53) Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association, (54) BAA Pension Trust Company Ltd as the trustee of the BAA Pension Scheme, (55) California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), (56) Doddington Global Fund, (57) Dundee City Council as Administering Authority for Tayside Pension Fund, (58) Internationale Kapitalanlagegesellschaft, (59) John Deere Pension Trust, (60) Overstone European Equity Fund, (61) Overstone Global Equity Fund, (62) Overstone Global Ex US Equity Fund, (63) Rexam Pension Trustees Ltd, (64) Richard King Mellon Foundation, (65) Sampension KP Livsforsikring AS, (66) Sjunde AP – fonden, (67) State Universities Retirement System of Illinois, (68) Stichting Bedrijfspensioenfonds voor de Landbouw, (69) Stichting bedrijfstakpensioenfonds voor het Schoonmaak- en Glazenwassersbedrijf, (70) Stichting Pensioenfonds voor de Tandtechniek, (71) Stichting Pensioenfonds Wonen, (72) Susan Forster, Jonathan Dunn, Mark Harrison, Keith Libetta, Margaret Lynch, Ravinder Gill, John Gray, Lucia McKeever and Bronwyn McKenna in their capacity as Trustees for the Unison Staff Pension Scheme, (73) Syntrus Achmea Europa Pool (formerly known as Interpolis Europa Pool), represented by its manager, Syntrus Achmea Vermogensbeheer, (74) The American National Red Cross, (75) The Council of the London Borough of Ealing as the administering authority for the London Borough of Ealing Pension Fund, (76) Union Asset Management Holding
3 Verulam Buildings’ Andrew Onslow QC, leading Andrew Kramer of the same set, instructed by Stewarts Law partners Clive Zietman, Keith Thomas and Fiona Gillett
For the claimants John Greenwood and others (the RBS Action Group)
Serle Court’s Philip Marshall QC, leading 20 Essex Street’s Thomas Raphael, instructed by Bird & Bird partner Steven Baker
For the defendants Royal Bank of Scotland Group
7KBW’s Jonathan Gaisman QC and Serle Court’s David Blayney QC, leading Serle Court’s Simon Hattan and Fountain Court’s James McClelland, instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills partners Simon Clarke, Adam Johnson and Kirsten Massey
For the defendants (1) Frederick Goodwin, (2) Sir Thomas McKillop, (3) John Cameron, (4) Guy Whittaker, (5) Royal Bank of Scotland Group
Deutsche Bank & Ors v Unitech Global Ltd & Anor (the lenders action) / Deutsche Bank v Unitech Ltd (the swap action)
This major test case relates to the manipulated Libor benchmark interest rate. It is expected to set precedents over whether companies can avoid paying back debts based on manipulated Libor rates.
Unitech and Deutsche Bank have been engaged in a fight alongside Barclays and Guardian Care Homes, also facing off in a case this year. It follows a series of pre-trial battles over whether the companies were allowed to include fraudulent misrepresentation claims in the case.
Deutsche Bank has been pursuing Unitech, India’s second largest real estate company, over a $150m loan it made to the company. In a separate action the bank is attempting to recover $11m as part of an interest rate swap contract.
Unitech issued a counter-claim in 2012, alleging that the bank sold it an unsuitable product based on Libor rates. It claims the loan swap and contracts were invalid because of the link to manipulated Libor rates.
The CoA ruled in November that the Libor manipulation issues could be included in the cases against the bank. That decision brings into question $300trn-worth of derivatives based on Libor currently in the marketplace, making this a seminal case.
This case will determine whether Libor manipulation can invalidate deals and wipe out debts. The matter is yet to be listed.
For the claimant Deutsche Bank in the swap action
Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Hapgood QC and Fountain Court’s Timothy Howe QC leading Adam Sher, also of Fountain Court, instructed by Freshfields partner Gillian Eastwood for the swap action
For the claimant Deutsche Bank in the lenders action
Fountain Court’s Richard Handyside QC leading Adam Zellick, instructed by Allen & Overy partner Andrew Denny
For the defendants Unitech Ltd in both actions
4 Stone Buildings’ John Brisby QC leading Alastair Tomson of the same set and One Essex Court’s Michael D’Arcy, instructed by Stephenson Harwood partner Richard Gwynne