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Commercial Litigation

All members work day-to-day on the preparation and presentation of cases for litigation and arbitration. They recognise that what commercial clients usually want, however, is a cost effective resolution of their disputes.  At the outset of disputes, members will therefore advise as requested on the legal merits of a client’s position; will help to devise settlement strategies; will prepare position papers for mediations and, where appropriate, will represent their clients at mediations and in other ADR procedures.  Where no reasonable settlement is possible, they will prepare for and represent clients in court or in arbitration hearings – conducting cross-examinations and presenting written and oral arguments as required. Members of 7 KBW have long enjoyed an exceptional reputation for their conduct of hearings, and members are regularly instructed in the largest and most complex cases proceeding in the Commercial Court and in London arbitration.  By way of recent example:


  • BHL v Leumi ABL Limited [2017] EWHC 1871 (QB): Clive Freedman QC Claim of particular interest to the factoring and invoice discounting industry.
  • Jonathan Gaisman QC acted on behalf of Petrosaudi in Petrosaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd v Novo Banco SA & Ors. A case in which the Court of Appeal has reaffirmed the autonomy of a letter of credit, and its independence from the underlying transaction to which it stood as security.
  • Members have also been instructed on both sides in Orb and ors v Ruhan, a complex and high value multi-party commercial fraud dispute, presently scheduled for trial in November 2016.
  • Five members of 7KBW have been instructed, on both sides, in Suez Fortune Investments Ltd and anr v Talbot Underwriting and ors, the Brillante Virtuoso; a claim, exceeding US$80m, on a marine war risks insurance, following the loss of the vessel by fire.  The claimants assert that the fire followed an abortive hijacking of the vessel by pirates or terrorists in the Gulf of Aden.  The defendant underwriters contend that it was contrived by the vessel’s owners. 
  • A team from 7KBW represented the defendant in Republic of Djibouti v Boreh [2016] EWHC 405 (Comm), in which Djibouti asserted that one of its former public officials, Mr Abdourahman Boreh, took bribes and abused his public position to make secret profits.  Mr Boreh was completely exonerated at trial, with all of Djibouti’s allegations against him being abandoned or dismissed, and indemnity costs awarded.  At an earlier stage, the case also gave rise to a high-profile interlocutory judgment, when a freezing injunction obtained by Djibouti was discharged.  It was proved that the court had been deliberately misled by Djibouti and one of its solicitors when granting the injunction: see [2015] 3 All ER 577.
  • Five members of 7KBW were instructed at various times for the claimants in Cattles v PWC, a £1.6bn auditors’ negligence claim which followed the collapse of the Cattles Group (formerly one of the largest providers of consumer finance in the UK).  The case had significant implications for financial service regulation. 
  • In a well-publicised case, Ritz Hotel Casino Ltd v Safa Al Geabury [2015] EWHC 2294 (QB), Clive Freedman QC successfully represented the Ritz Casino seeking recovery of £2m of gambling debts incurred by Mr Al Geabury.  Mr Al Geabury claimed that he suffered from gambling addiction, but cross-examination of the factual and expert witnesses demonstrated that he had had no gambling addiction at any time.  Indemnity costs were awarded.
  • Three members of Chambers represented the claimant in Lakatamia v Nobu Su [2014] EWHC 3611 (Comm), a case involving oral agreements to sell and then re-purchase (at fixed price) positions on the forward market in freight rates in July 2008.  In breach of the agreement, the freight futures had not been re-purchased when the market crashed in late 2008.
  • Members were also instructed on both sides in Excalibur Ventures v Texas Keystone, in which Excalibur claimed to have been improperly deprived of participation in a bidding process for oil exploration concessions in Kurdistan.  Excalibur’s claim, valued by itself at US$1.6bn, was comprehensively rejected at trial [2013] EWHC 2767 (Comm); and indemnity costs were subsequently awarded against it and its funders.


Latest Commercial Litigation News

Aircraft Purchase Fleet Limited v Compagnia Aerea Italiana SPA [2018] EWHC 3315 (Comm) Gavin Kealey QC, Andrew Wales QC, Anna Gotts and Harry Wright have successfully defended a $260m claim for damages by Aircraft Purchase Fleet Limited (“APFL”) on behalf of Compagnia Aerea Italiana SPA (“CAI”), the former operator of the Alitalia airline. APFL claimed […]

December 4, 2018

Cunningham v Ellis & Others [2018] EWHC 3188 (Comm) James Brocklebank QC and Ralph Morley have successfully secured the dismissal of a £39m Commercial Court fraud and conspiracy claim against their client, Ernst & Young (EY). The claim was struck out and summary judgment was given in favour of EY. The claimant had been majority […]

December 3, 2018

The Atlantik Confidence [2018] EWCA 2590 Civ This is the latest in a series of events since Mr Justice Teare ruled, in October 2016, in proceedings between the owner of the Atlantik Confidence and cargo interests, that the owner and Mr Agaoglu (the beneficial owner of the vessel) had wilfully cast away the vessel. Since […]

November 21, 2018