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WINNER: Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells has an impressive track record of landmark litigation matters and setting precedents in fraud cases but last year's work in BTA Bank v Ablyazov, one of the biggest fraud cases ever to come before the English courts, particularly stood out. Due to Hogan Lovells' innovative handling of this highly complex fraud case, BTA has so far obtained judgment of $2.1bn without the need for a long and expensive fraud trial. One category judge remarked on the “underlying innovation and a commitment and tenacity that is essential in dispute resolution” displayed by Hogan Lovells' BTA team, adding that the submission “convinces me that the result – the outcome – matters for myriad reasons. It's not just about the firm”.

So far the case has involved about 200 court hearings, 30-to-40 barristers (including 15-to-20 QCs), 300 fee-earners, 155 lawyers and 40 Hogan Lovells partners. Among the case's 49 reported decisions are a raft of legal firsts and groundbreaking rulings. In 2012 the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling obtaining an order committing Ablyazov to prison for 22 months. The team was led by litigation partner Chris Hardman, supported by partners Cary Kochberg, Jeremy Cole, Crispin Rapinet, Michael Roberts and Alex Sciannaca. It also included of counsels Richard Lewis and Iain Tucker; senior associates Rebecca Wales and Dan Armstrong; and associate Emma Dearnaley.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality.

We are once again delighted to be associated with the Litigation Team of the Year award. Ernst & Young has a track record in helping clients in this area including:

  • capturing and securing electronic information essential for investigations, enquiries and other litigation in a forensically sound manner
  • providing support and advice on the processing, review and production of electronic data for complex litigation or other disclosure requirements.

With our more than 2,000 fraud investigation and dispute professionals around the world, we assemble the right multidisciplinary and culturally aligned team to work with you and your legal advisors. And we work to give the benefit of our broad sector experience, our deep subject matter knowledge and the latest insights from our work worldwide.

2ND: Eversheds

Eversheds showed outstanding technical innovation and project management skills in handling the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry and its aftermath. Public hearings for inquiries of this sort would usually take four years but chairman Robert Francis QC was determined to make this an effective, efficient and timely process – a challenge that Eversheds rose to and delivered.

In his closing speech, Francis praised Eversheds' work in obtaining evidence in very sensitive circumstances as 'outstanding'. The team was led by Peter Watkin Jones, assisted by partner Sarah Garner, who operated and managed the extensive document review process, along with senior associates Luisa Gibbons, Catherine Henney and Isabelle Makeham.

One judge said: “The submission displays all the elements of significant co-ordination, excellent teamwork, commitment and innovation. The time period of the inquiry was reduced considerably and I am sure that the solicitor to the inquiry played a significant role in guiding the overall outcome.”

3RD: Pinsent Masons

In this category, won by Pinsent Masons, the judges were impressed by the exemplary use of cutting-edge e-disclosure techniques in a $320m claim by Willbros relating to the West African Gas Pipeline Project. The dispute centred on a guarantee given in relation to an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the onshore elements of the West African Gas Pipeline Project, and whether the claimant had lawfully terminated the contractor's employment, the defendant's liability under the guarantee and the correct measure of damages.

Disclosure given by the parties was central to the defence. Pinsents efficiently and effectively processed around 2.3 million documents in under four months, setting a new reference point in case law for best practice management of complex e-disclosure and resolving the case, bringing a highly unusual 'wasted costs' order against the claimant and reducing the value of the claim from $320m to $50m. “The matter was complex, required significant teamwork and was multi-jurisdictional, adding to the complexity," said one member of the judging panel.