Commercial Litigation

“New Square Chambers handles commercial chancery disputes arising both in the UK and in several offshore jurisdictions. Areas of strength for the team include complex contractual disputes, insolvencies, shareholder disputes and high-value commercial fraud claims.”Legal 500, 2023

New Square Chambers is well-renowned for its commercial litigation work; members of Chambers are consistently recommended by the Legal 500 and Chambers Guide.

Chambers receives instructions from a wide range of domestic and international solicitors, in-house teams and other professionals. Our barristers represent large public and private companies and corporations, financial institutions, government departments and regulatory bodies, the third sector, statutory undertakers, SMEs, company officers, trustees, shareholders, and individuals.

Commercial litigation expertise

Our barristers are renowned for their advocacy and advisory work, their commercial approach, and for being user-friendly, whether instructed as sole counsel or working as part of an internal or external team.

Our expertise within commercial litigation includes:

  • Business and contractual disputes
  • Conflict of Laws / Jurisdiction
  • Banking, financial services and consumer credit
  • Professional Negligence

Leading and junior counsel have expertise across numerous areas of law which arise in commercial disputes which are set out in more detail below below, as well as related fields such as civil fraud, company & partnership, insolvency, and trusts.

Our barristers appear in the High Court, and in particular the Business & Property Courts and the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. In addition, members of Chambers also appear internationally, including in the Bahamas, BVI, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jersey, Guernsey, CIS, Dubai, Isle of Man, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Both senior and junior counsel (led and unled) are instructed in high-value, complex disputes, often where £millions or £billions are at stake. Junior counsel are also instructed in medium-sized and smaller disputes.

As well as appearing as trial counsel and in the appellate courts, our barristers appear at procedural and interlocutory hearings concerning injunctions, freezing orders, security for costs, disclosure applications, Norwich Pharmacal relief, enforcement of foreign judgments, challenges to arbitration awards, challenges to jurisdiction, and summary judgment.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is also an area of expertise.

Our barristers are therefore able to act across a broad range of commercial disputes, and at all stages of a dispute.

Members of the team are also able to assist and advise on non-contentious matters. The team are very ably assisted by a strong and responsive clerking team.

Business & contractual disputes

Business and contractual disputes are at the core of the commercial team’s work, with members appearing at all levels of court domestically and internationally. Our expertise includes:

  • Agency
  • Arbitration
  • Business sales
  • Confidentiality and data protection
  • Contracts
  • Contempt
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Economic torts
  • Fiduciary duty
  • Group actions
  • Interim remedies (security for costs, injunctions, freezing orders, search orders, passport orders etc.)
  • Joint venture
  • Limitation
  • Misrepresentation and deceit
  • Restitution and equitable remedies
  • Restraint of trade
  • Sale of goods and supply of services
  • Trusts
  • Unfair terms

Members of Chambers are often instructed in multifaceted, complex and substantial disputes. In Al Assam and Others v Tsouvelekakis the issues included trust funds, financial advice, breach of fiduciary duty, deceit, dishonest assistance, reflective loss, and freezing orders. In Zuberi v Lexlaw Ltd the issues included champerty, damages-based agreements and professional retainers. Other recent examples of work include restraint of trade (Quantum Actuarial LLP v Quantum Advisory Ltd), unfair contract terms (Blu-Sky Solutions Ltd v Be Caring Ltd), breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and agency (Easyair Ltd (t/a Openair) v Opal Telecom Ltd), damages under the Human Rights Act 1998 in commercial context, A1P1, and limitation (Solaria Energy UK Ltd v Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), and breach of an injunction, duress and contempt (Truell v Zalinska).

In recent years, members have also been involved in substantial international work, including a $3 billion international arbitration claim, and a $4 billion claim relating to a bond under a joint venture agreement to develop property in the Middle East and USA.

Conflict of laws / jurisdiction

Members of the commercial team are experienced in matters of jurisdiction and conflict of laws. In recent years, members of the team have appeared in: AK Investment Limited v Kyrgyz Mobil Tel Limited (the ‘Bitel’ litigation), a billion dollar dispute in the Isle of Man regarding the alleged misappropriation of a Kyrgyz mobile telecoms company in which the dispute as to jurisdiction was eventually decided by the Privy Council, Gudavadze v Anisimov, a claim in the Commercial Court for around $1.5 billion arising out of the Berezovsky litigation, and Blue Tropic v Chkhartishvili, a claim in the Chancery Division for over $18 million based on the misappropriation of assets in Georgia where a protracted challenge to English jurisdiction.

We are familiar with foreign legal systems, including those of Russian and former CIS states, and we are experienced both in dealing with foreign law expert witnesses and acting as experts in English and Commonwealth law where cases are proceeding abroad.

Banking, financial services and consumer credit

Members of the team have particular expertise within banking and financial services and consumer credit; they are instructed by lenders and other financial institutions as well as individuals. Areas of expertise include:

  • Asset-based lending;
  • Bonds;
  • Commodity trading;
  • Consumer credit;
  • Debentures;
  • Derivatives;
  • Factoring agreements;
  • FCA;
  • Financial Services and Markets Act;
  • Guarantees and indemnities;
  • Letters of credit;
  • PRA Rulebook;
  • Mortgages;
  • Syndicated loans; and
  • Unregulated schemes.

Recent examples of work include involvement in the Connaught Income Fund, Series 1 litigation (collapse of unregulated collective investment scheme worth in excess of £100 million), and advice in respect of a proposed large-scale litigation scheme for financial mis-selling.

Alexander Hill-Smith is the editor of Consumer Credit: Law and Practice.

Professional negligence

Our barristers regularly act for professional indemnity insurers, lenders as well as individuals in professional negligence actions involving:

  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Brokers
  • Engineers
  • Financial advisers
  • Solicitors
  • Surveyors
  • Valuers

In addition to questions of tortious and contractual liability and quantum, the team also has experience of related issues such as the accrual of a cause of action and limitation (Sciortino v Beaumont).

Charities in relation to commercial litigation

Whilst operating for public benefit, charities play an important role in the commercial landscape: NHS trusts, universities, housing associations, independent schools, non-governmental public bodies, service providers, for example. Members of Chambers have broad and deep experience in meeting the needs of charities in a commercial context, in particular with regards to regulatory compliance and disputes. A specialist approach is taken to issues ranging from tendering, funds & investment products, grant-making, joint ventures & partnerships, trading subsidiaries and group structures, to complex service agreements.

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“’New Square Chambers enjoys a strong reputation for expertise in both commercial and residential property litigation; with areas of focus spanning from the core real property and landlord-tenant disputes, to the more specialist leasehold enfranchisement and disputes concerning public access to land.”

Legal 500, 2023