Top 10 cases of 2010: The battles commence


Chelsea Barracks: CPC Group Ltd v Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company

Property developer CPC Group claims the defendant breached its contract when it reneged on an agreement to buy its stake in London’s Chelsea Barracks. It is alleged that the defendant withdrew from the deal after Prince Charles personally intervened because he was not in favour of the development’s proposed architectural design.
Claimant lawyers:Wragge & Co partner Nicola Mumford instructed Lord Tony Grabiner QC of One Essex Court.
Defendant lawyers:Herbert Smith partner Philip Carrington instructed Joe Smouha QC of Essex Court Chambers.

Hearing date: TBC.
Judge and court:Judge TBC; Chancery Division, Royal Courts of Justice.


The administrators of Lehman Brothers International (Europe) v Lehman Brothers Finance SA & Ors

Application to determine proprietary claims to billions of dollars worth of securities known as ‘Rascals’.

Claimant lawyers:Linklaters partner James Gardner instructed Iain Milligan QC and Andrew Baker QC of 20 Essex Street.

Defendant lawyers:

For Lehman Brothers Finance: Herbert Smith partner Tim Parkes instructed Gabriel Moss QC of 3-4 South Square.

For Lehman Brothers Commercial Corporation Asia and Lehman Brothers Asia Holdings: Mayer Brown partners David Allen and Steve Millar instructed Mark Phillips QC of 3-4 South Square.

For Lehman Brothers Inc: Norton Rose partner Radford Goodman instructed Michael Brindle QC of Fountain Court.

For Lehman Brothers Special Financing: Weil Gotshal & Manges partner Matthew Shankland instructed Philip Jones QC of Serle Court.

Hearing date: 14 June for three weeks.

Judge and court: Mr Justice Briggs; Chancery Division of the Companies Court.


Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB) v Royal Bank of Scotland

Austrian Bank RZB is claiming for misrepresentation by RBS as arranger of a syndicated loan to an Enron subsidiary.

Claimant lawyers:Memery Crystal partner Harvey Rands instructed  Jeffrey Gruder QC of Essex Court Chambers.

Defendant lawyers:Travers Smith partner Stephen Paget-Brown instructed Antony Zacaroli QC of

3-4 South Square.

Hearing date: 11 January for five weeks.

Judge and court:Judge TBC; Commercial Court.


Banca Popolare di Intra SpA v Barclays Bank

The Italian bank claims Barclays Capital missold it a complex structured product that incorporated a collateralised debt obligation and for abuse of substitution rights arising from the product.

Claimant lawyers:Nabarro partner Michael Hales instructed Jonathan Nash QC of 3 Verulam Buildings.

Defendant lawyers:Linklaters partner Patrick Robinson instructed David Owen QC of 20 Essex Street.

Hearing date: 8 February for six weeks.

Judge and court:Judge TBC; Commercial Court.


Construction companies v Office of Fair Trading

The Competition Appeal Tribunal will consider 25 applications for appeal from companies that were fined by the OFT companies for colluding in “illegal anticompetitive bid-rigging activities” on 199 tenders from 2000 to 2006. A case-management conference later this month will decide how the case continues.

Claimant lawyers:

For ISG Pearce: DLA Piper partner Mike Pullen instructed Paul Lasok QC of Monckton Chambers.

For Galliford Try: Pinsent Masons partner Alan Davis instructed John Swift QC of Monckton Chambers.

For Ballast Nedam: CMS Cameron McKenna partner David Marks instructed Christopher Vajda QC of Monckton Chambers.

For Renew Holdings and Robert Woodhead Holdings: Martin Rees at DLA Piper instructed George Peretz  of Monckton Chambers.

For PKF Coringway: Nabarro partner Cyrus Mehta instructed Paul Harris of Monckton Chambers.

For G&J Seddon and Seddon Group; Interclass Holdings and Interclass; JH Hallam and JH Hallam (Contracts); GAJ Construction and GAJ (Holdings); Hobson & Porter: Watson Burton partner Tristan Meears White instructed Aidan Robertson QC of Brick Court Chambers.

For Apollo Property Services Group: Pinsent Masons partner Giles Warrington instructed Tom de la Mare QC of Blackstone Chambers.

For Durkan Holdings; Durkan Ltd; Concentra Ltd (formerly known as Durkan Pudelek Ltd): Jones Day partner Francis Murphy instructed Mark Hoskins QC of Brick Court Chambers.

For Kier Group and Kier Regional: Simmons & Simmons partner Charles Banks instructed Mark Brealey QC of Brick Court Chambers.

Defendant lawyers:OFT lawyer Francis Barr instructed David Unterhalter SC of Monckton Chambers.

Hearing date: Case management conference scheduled for 25 January.

Judge and court:Judge TBC; Competition Appeal Tribunal.

For a fuller list of counsel go to

Roman Abramovich


Berezovsky v Abramovich

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky is pursuing his former business partner Roman Abramovich for damages estimated at $5bn (£3.12bn) in a dispute arising from the sale of the claimant’s shares in Sibneft, one of Russia’s largest oil company.

Claimant lawyers:Addleshaw Goddard partner Mark Hastings instructed Laurence Rabinowitz QC of One Essex Court.

Defendant lawyers:Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom partner Paul Mitchard QC instructed Michael Brindle QC of Fountain Court.

Hearing date: TBC

Judge and court: Mr Justice Coleman; Commercial Court.


Simon Singh v British Chiropractic Association

An appeal against a 2008 ruling handed down by Mr Justice Eady in favour of the British Chiropractic Association. It pursued Singh for libel after he wrote an article published in The Guardian that criticised the view that chiropractors can cure disease by manipulating the spine.

Defendant lawyers:Bryan Cave associate Robert Dougans instructed Adrienne Page QC of 5 Raymond Buildings.

Claimant lawyers:Collyer Bristow partner Rhory Robertson instructed Heather Rogers QC of Doughty Street Chambers.

Hearing date: 23 February.

Judge and court:Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, Lord Justice Sedley; Court of Appeal.


Clydesdale Financial Services & Ors v Smailes & Ors

The claimants are creditors of law firm Alexander Samuel LLP, which was put into pre-packaged administration. The claim is against the initial administrators of the firm and its purchaser on the basisit was undervalued when it was sold.

Claimant lawyers: 

For Clydesdale Financial Services and Justice Capital: Clifford Chance partner Simon Davis instructed Timothy Howe QC of Fountain Court Chambers.

For Focus Insurance: Just Costs partner Paul Shenton instructed Nigel Jones QC of Hardwicke.

Defendant lawyers:

For Rob Smailes and Steve Ryman: Colman Coyle partner Howard Coyle instructed Lloyd Tamlyn of 3-4 South Square.

For Jiva Solicitors: Ozon partner Michael Ozon instructed Timothy Dutton QC of Fountain Court.

For Alexander Samuel (a firm) and Alexander Samuel LLP: Howes Percival partner Richard Healey instructed John Jarvis QC of 3 Verulam Buildings.

Hearing date: TBC.

Judge and court: Mr Justice David Richards; Chancery Division.


Claire Horwood & Ors v Argos Home Retail Group & Ors

More than 4,500 claimants have issued claims against a number of retailers alleging they suffered dermatological injuries from exposure to Chinese-manufactured leather furniture containing mould inhibitor DMF.

Claimant lawyers:Russell Jones & Walker partner Richard Langton instructed Ralph Lewis QC of No 5 Chambers.

Defendant lawyers:  For Argos Home Retail Group: Halliwells partner Jim Bryant instructed Michael Kent QC of Crown Office Chambers.

For Unibrook trading as Walmsley Furnishing: Berrymans Lace Mawer partner Jim Sherwood instructed Jonathan Waite QC of Crown Office Chambers.

For Zurich: Beachcroft partner Wendy Hopkins instructed Colin Edelman QC of Devereux Chambers on policy coverage issues, while Beachcroft partner Tania Sless  instructed Neil Block QC of 39 Essex Street on personal injury claims.

For Deloitte (administrator of Land of Leather): Ashurst partner Arundel McDougall instructed Lex Hilliard QC of 3-4 South Square.

Hearing date: TBC.

Judge and court: Mr Justice ­MacDuff; Queen’s Bench Division.


Pilots Pension Scheme litigation: PNPF

Trust Company v Geoff Taylor & Ors

The dispute centres on the provisions of Section 75 of the Pensions Act 1995 and addresses a number of key pensions issues, including the interaction of the scheme-specific funding regime with pension scheme contribution provisions.

Claimant lawyers: Lovells partner Angela Dimsdale Gill instructed Michael Tennet QC of Wilberforce Chambers.

Defendant lawyers:

For Geoff Taylor: Linklaters partner Mark Blyth instructed Christopher Nugee QC of Wilberforce Chambers.

For Terry Clark: CMS Cameron McKenna partner Mark Grant instructed Andrew Spink QC of Outer Temple Chambers.

For Milford Haven Port Authority: Morgan Cole partner Michael Prior instructed Paul Newman QC of Wilberforce Chambers.

For Port of London Authority: Sacker & Partners partner Peter Murphy instructed Brian Green QC of Wilberforce Chambers.

For Shoreham Port Authority: Nabarro partner Jonathan Warne instructed Robert Ham QC of Wilberforce Chambers.

For Port of Tyne Authority: Eversheds partner Giles Orton instructed Sarah Asplin QC of 3 Stone Buildings.

For First Corporate Shipping (trading as Bristol Port Company): LG partner Thomas Ross instructed Michael Furness QC of Wilberforce Chambers.

For PD Teesport: Dickinson Dees partner Craig Monty instructed John Martin QC of Wilberforce Chambers.

Hearing date: 18 January.

Judge and court:Judge TBC; Chancery Division, Royal Courts of Justice.

Appeals to watch

  • Total v Chevron
  • Accenture v ­Centrica
  • Levicom v ­Linklaters
  • Springwell v JPMorgan


Mr Justice Ramsey is expected to hand down judgment in the eagerly anticipated BSkyB v EDS, which concluded in July 2008 after a 10-month hearing. It is thought to be one of longest-awaited judgments in recent history.

Whatever the outcome, observers believe it will be several years before the case finally concludes because the losing side is likely to appeal. At stake is an estimated £400m.


Three Rivers DC v The Bank of England
The collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International in 1991 resulted in its liquidator Deloitte suing the Bank of ­England for misfeasance in 1993, leading to one of the most costly cases in English history.

Fifteen years after the suit was launched, Mr Justice Tomlinson ruled that the case was littered with “myriad hopeless inconsistencies and implausibilities”.

Nevertheless, it was a groundbreaking trial that created new areas of law in public office, the practice on strikeout applications and, most famously, the law of legal professional privilege. The case went to the House of Lords on an unprecedented three occasions on these points and to the Court of Appeal on numerous other occasions.

The case finally ended with the discontinuance of the liquidator’s claim on the 256th day of the trial in November 2005. This was after legal costs reached a staggering £110m and Essex Court Chambers head Gordon Pollock QC, who gave a 79-day opening statement for Deloitte.