The top 20 cases of 2014: In detail

(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

BVG: dispute over CDO

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

One Essex Court’s Laurence Rabinowitz QC and Fountain Court’s Richard Handyside QC leading Fountain Court’s David Murray, instructed by Linklaters partner Katheryn Ludlow

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

Essex Court Chambers’ David Foxton QC, Stephen Houseman QC and Tom Ford instructed by Clyde & Co partner Richard Harrison.

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

Berezovsky: gone but row rumbles on

(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

UBS: three banks sue KWL for $600m

(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)

Gibson Dunn partner Charlie Falconer QC, Brick Court Chambers’ Richard Slade QC leading Jonathan Dawid and Edward Harrison of the same set, instructed by Mayer Brown partner Ian McDonald

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 McQuater 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

Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs: negligence claim

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
National Grid: damages please

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

Monckton Chambers’ Jon Turner QC, Daniel Beard QC leading Laura Elizabeth John, instructed by Berwin Leighton Paisner partner Bob Maynard

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

20 Essex Street’s Stephen Morris QC leading Maya Lester of Brick Court Chambers, instructed by Hogan Lovells partner Nicholas Heaton

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

Vincent Tchenquiz
Vincent Tchenquiz: taking on the SFO

(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

Nabarro: claim of negligence

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