Barings over as film finance onslaught kicks in

The Barings litigation, which started in February 2001, comprised two cases against the bank’s auditors following its collapse after rogue trader Nick Leeson left an £860m hole in its finances.
The Hollywood case – the first major litigation surrounding insurers’ decisions to provide financial guarantees to many unsuccessful films to hit our shores – begins later this month.
At the High Court, Barings, now part of Dutch financial services group ING and liquidator Ernst & Young (E&Y) sued Barings’ auditor Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) in both London and Singapore.
E&Y was later replaced as liquidator by KPMG, following pressure from US vulture fund investors which had bought distressed Barings debt.
Barings Futures Singapore and the now defunct Singapore liquidator Arthur Andersen sued Barings’ Singapore auditor Deloitte & Touche.
The cast of barristers changed significantly throughout the case as two of the original silks, Stanley Burnton QC and Richard Field QC, became High Court judges, and one, Peter Goldsmith QC (now Lord Goldsmith), was named Attorney General.
At the beginning of the trial, Barings and E&Y, represented by Slaughter and May, fielded Burnton, then of One Essex Court. Barings and E&Y’s replacement KPMG ended the case with Charles Aldous QC of Maitland Chambers.
Coopers & Lybrand Singapore, advised by Herbert Smith, used Burnton’s One Essex Court stablemate Richard Field until he became Mr Justice Field, leaving junior John Nicholls to lead.
Barlow Lyde & Gilbert originally instructed Goldsmith for Coopers & Lybrand London, but later replaced him with Mark Howard QC of Brick Court Chambers.
Lovells and Mark Hap-good QC of Brick Court acted for ING Barings, while Ashurst Morris Crisp and Michael Brindle QC of Fountain Court Chambers represented Barings Futures Singapore and Arthur Andersen.
The Hollywood case will involve an even larger cast of lawyers. The dispute, a complex web of claims and counterclaims, involves eight parties, including law firms Weil Gotshal & Manges and Ince & Co.
Denton Wilde Sapte, Eversheds, Linklaters, Lovells, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain and Richards Butler are all representing various parties, and between them are instructing nine QCs and 13 juniors.