Hot 100: Chris Hardman, Hogan Lovells

The end of an era is in sight for Hogan Lovells litigation partner Chris Hardman. For the past three and a half years Hardman has been leading the firm’s work for Kazakhstan’s JSC BTA Bank in its efforts to recoup $6bn from former chairman Muktar Ablyazov.

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The case has seen Hardman and his team head to court several times every month for hearings and case management conferences. In 2012 alone there were 12 reported judgments in the main Ablyazov case, plus more in related actions for the bank.

Hardman’s work has the potential to redefine the law on freezing orders; the case has also touched on other topical issues such as Norwich Pharmacal orders.

In November 2012 there was a sort of victory for Hardman as Ablyazov was debarred from defending his claim and Hogan Lovells was able to enter judgment on JSC BTA’s behalf. This opens the way to start the process of enforcing the claim and recovering funds.

“The enforcement process against Ablyazov will take some time,” Hardman acknowledges, but adds there is plenty to keep him occupied. “We have no shortage of other opportunities, and some of them are as big as BTA.”

One potentially important case could be the outcome of an October Privy Council hearing in a case referred from the British Virgin Islands connected to Turkish telecoms giant Turkcell. The case tests the enforcement of security over shares in the group and the Privy Council’s decision is awaited.