“Star of the Bar” Alan Steinfeld QC is recognised in the legal directories for his impressive expertise in commercial and traditional chancery, commercial litigation and fraud, company, partnership, insolvency and business restructuring, private client including in particular international trusts, professional negligence and pensions.  A CEDR qualified mediator, he also has extensive experience in international arbitrations, both as a popular and experienced arbitrator as well as advocate.

Alan appears in not only all the UK courts including the Privy Council, but also regularly advises and appears in the Cayman Islands, Channel Islands, the BVI, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Gibraltar, the Isle of  Man and Hong Kong.

The legal directories rightly identify him as “a brilliant strategist and a truly insightful barrister“. Clients comment on the fact that he is “superior in terms of intellect and very good on his feet and that “he is a silky advocate and very much on top of things“.  They also refer to the fact that “he’s extremely bright and commands the respect of the court“.

Citywealth Leaders List Steinfeld, Alan The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law FirmsSteinfeld, Alan

Areas of experience

Checked sections will be included in the PDF download.

Select: All | None

  • Arbitration

    Alan has extensive experience, both as counsel and arbitrator, of large scale, high value and often high profile arbitrations usually of an international nature.  An acknowledged leader of the Bar, the scale and variety of his experience makes him a natural choice, particularly in those areas in which he is a recommended expert, namely: commercial disputes and civil fraud; trust and probate work; company and partnership; insolvency, pensions and professional negligence.

    The majority of his matters are necessarily confidential but the following give a flavour of the types of arbitration in which he has acted both as arbitrator and counsel:

    • Alan is the Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal appointed under the LCIA rules in an arbitration concerning a dispute between the parties to a  joint venture agreement involving Russian property.
    • Alan sat on an arbitral tribunal in a complicated and bitterly fought dispute between two major computer software companies.
    • A case in which the Court of Appeal held that a party who had brought an application for a stay of proceedings pending an arbitration had not taken a step in the action within the meaning of s.9(3) Arbitration Act 1996 if, either simultaneously or subsequently, he invoked or accepted the court’s jurisdiction bringing a further application for summary judgment, provided that he only did so conditionally on his stay application failing.
    • Alan has acted as arbitrator and counsel in several partnership disputes.
  • Banking and Financial Services

    Alan is a trusted and popular adviser and advocate in relation to banking and finance disputes where he is able to draw on his considerable expertise in commercial litigation, company, partnership, trusts and insolvency as well as his pre-eminent international experience

    • In the Matter of Lloyds TSB (ongoing): Acting for shareholders against former directors for breach of duties regarding takeover of Lloyds by RBS. Involving heavy dilution of shares on the grounds of material non-disclosures.
    • Carlyle Capital Corporation Ltd & ors v Conway & ors (ongoing): Acting for the Defendants (Carlyle related entities) in a US$1 billion claim arising out of the failure of a US hedge fund incorporated in Guernsey. Currently in trial.
    • BTA Bank: Proceedings in the BVI and the UK by a Kazakstan bank against (inter alia) the majority shareholder and a director for assets alleged to have improperly obtained by fraud.
    • Kaupthing disputes : Various disputes relating to a £500m shareholding in Somerfield supermarket held in a major trust over which Kaupthing had security. The shareholding had allegedly been moved to BVI companies.
    • Madoff related dispute: Alan advised in relation to US3.2 billion of assets invested in Madoff related funds.
    • Architects of Wine v Barclays [2007] EWCA Civ 239: This important case established that you could not infer an agreement authorising the paynment of cheques owned by a company into the bank account of an associated company where the company’s sole director had acted in a fraudulent manner in relation to the company owning the cheques.
  • Civil Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery

    Alan is recommended for civil fraud in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500; Legal 500 commenting that he is “one of the leading lights. He has been involved in some of the largest fraud cases in recent times and his acknowledged expertise in areas such as trusts and company means he adds considerable value to the cases entrusted to his care. He is known for his ability to think creatively, his ability as an advocate and his relentless determination to achieve the best possible result for clients.

    Some of his cases include:

    • Trust dispute: a case concerning the validity of a trust involving complicated claims of fraud and money laundering.
    • Collapse of large BTA Bank: this complex case involves very substantial fraud allegations.
    • Multi-million pound international dispute: This dispute ranges over a number of jurisdictions including the UK, New York, Florida and Monaco
    • Icelandic bank dispute: Dispute concerning shareholding in Somerfield supermarket chain held by a major trust over which Kaupthing held security.
    • Billion dollar litigation in Gibraltar in which the allegations of fraud play a central role.
    • Multi-million pound dispute relating to a very substantial Bahamian trust.
    • Diva Sports Ltd v Carnegie Group Ltd (2008): Breach of warranty under a share sale agreement.
    • Phillips v Symes: This widely reported litigation principally concerns International asset tracing and subsequent asset recovery in relation to a very successful partnership trading in high value antiquities. The value of the claim is estimated to be well in excess of $150m. Litigation has been conducted in the UK, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, USA, Greece, Switzerland (Geneva, Zürich and Aargau), Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and Germany. Recently the action has been against a major International bank in Gibraltar for its failure to comply with local money laundering regulations, which concern the complex area of law of knowing receipt / dishonest assistance.
    • Architects of Wine v Barclays [2007] EWCA Civ 239: Major banking case which held that no agreement could be inferred authoring the payment of cheques owned by a company into the bank account of an associated company where the company’s sole director had acted in a fraudulent manner in relation to the company owning the cheques.
  • Commercial Litigation

    Alan has a well-deserved reputation for the excellence of his advice and advocacy on all manner of business dispute, often involving fraud. As Chambers & Partners says: “he is never rattled by large scale instructions” commenting that his “exceptionally good legal mind” provides a fertile breeding ground for “case winning arguments“. Legal 500 comments that he “commands a strong sense of calm to a case and is respected for taking good points“.

    Listed below are some of the business disputes in which he has recently or is currently involved. More details of his practice are available from Sue Medder, Chambers Director.

    • A claim in excess of $50 mil. being brought by the liquidators of the Moulin Group against a Hong Kong solicitor who was a non-executive director of the holding company. The trial is due to be heard in Hong Kong.
    • Fiduciary Management Services: This dispute concerns the battle for ownership of Freeport in Grand Bahama.
    • Collapse of BTA Bank: Alan is heavily involved in the complex litigation arising out of the demise of a leading Eastern European bank.
    • Multi-million pound international dispute (on-going): This dispute ranges over a number of jurisdictions including the UK, New York, Florida and Monaco
    • Major litigation in Bermuda involving substantial Bermudian trust
    • Billion $ claim concerning a failed investment fund established as an offshore company.
    • Billion $ dispute in Gibraltar following wide-ranging allegations of fraud.
    • Kaupthing dispute: Dispute involving holding in Somerfield supermarket chain held by a major trust over which Kaupthing held security.
    • Multi-million pound dispute relating to a very substantial Bahamian trust.
    • Templeton Insurance v Booth (PC)(2010): This high level insurance business dispute looked at various issues such as breach of fiduciary duty and reviewed the law on ex turpi causa.
    • Trident Trust: claim involving action to recover funds moved from England to Germany.
    • Diva Sports Ltd v Carnegie Group Ltd (2008): Breach of warranty under a share sale agreement.
    • Oxus Mining plc v Templeton Insurance (2008): £2.5m claim over whether the defendant was entitled to exercise warrants and whether the warrants were a reward for services which the defendant had in fact not
      carried out.
    • Architects of Wine (2008): Dispute concerning the way in which all banks clear cheques and whether that process is inherently negligent.
    • Land Securities & Ors v Fladgate Fielder [2009] EWHC 577 (Ch): a firm of solicitors succeeded in striking out a claim brought by a property development company on the basis that the firm’s prior commencement of judicial review proceedings against the grant of planning permission in favour of the company in relation to its proposal to redevelop 2 sites, did not constitute the tort of abuse of process.
    • Phillips v Symes: This widely reported litigation principally concerns International asset tracing and subsequent asset recovery in relation to a very successful partnership trading in high value antiquities. The value of the claim is estimated to be well in excess of $150m. Litigation has been conducted in the UK, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, USA, Greece, Switzerland (Geneva, Zürich and Aargau), Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and Germany. Recently the action has been against a major International bank in Gibraltar for its failure to comply with local money laundering regulations, which concern the complex area of law of knowing receipt / dishonest assistance.
    • Trust fund fraud action: This is an action to recover funds which were moved from England to Germany amidst allegations of fraud.
    • Shaker -v- Mohammed Al-Bedwari & Ors [2002] EWCA Civ 1452 Court of Appeal : The so-called “Prudential principle” did not preclude an action brought by a claimant not as a shareholder but as a beneficiary under a trust against his trustee for an account of profits received in relation to shares which were the subject of the trust, unless it could be shown that the whole of the claimed profit reflected what the company had lost and which it had a cause of action to recover.
  • Company

    Company law instructions form an important part of Alan’s practice and he has been recommended in the legal directories for many years. Examples of his cases set out below show, he advises on some of the most high profile, high value and complicated company issues around.

    Chambers & Partners 2016 says Alan is “incisive, creative and down-to-earth…and very much on top of things“. He is also recommended as “concise, confident and authoritative” by Legal 500.

    Alan is the editor of Blackstone’s Guide to the Companies Act 2006.

    Some examples of this work are set out below but further details are available from Sue Medder, Chambers Director:

    • In the Matter of Lloyds TSB (ongoing): Acting for shareholders against former directors for breach of duties regarding takeover of Lloyds by RBS. Involving heavy dilution of shares on the grounds of material non-disclosures.
    • A claim in excess of $50 mil. being brought by the liquidators of the Moulin Group against a Hong Kong solicitor who was a non-executive director of the holding company. The trial is due to be heard in Hong Kong.
    • Carlyle Capital Corporation Ltd & ors v Conway & ors (ongoing): Acting for the Defendants (Carlyle related entities) in a US$1 billion claim arising out of the failure of a US hedge fund incorporated in Guernsey. Currently in trial.
    • Atrium Training Services Ltd: Acting for four liquidators of company seeking relief against sanction of their claim that had been struck out for failure to comply with disclosure obligations.
    • Fiduciary Management Services: This large scale litigation concerns the battle for ownership of Freeport in Grand Bahamas
    • Green v Exista HF: Represented an Icelandic company which was the majority shareholder in an Icelandic bank.
    • Lincoln Castings v Secretary of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform: A multi-million pound directors’ disqualification case.
    • Diva Sports Ltd v Carnegie Group Ltd: Heavy weight multi-million dollar breach of warranty claim under a share sale agreement.
    • Oxus Mining plc v Templeton Insurance [2006] EWHC 864 (Comm) (2007): £2.5m claim over whether the defendant was entitled to exercise warrants and whether the warrant were a reward for services which the defendant had in fact not carried out.
    • Criterion Properties Plc -v- Stratford UK Properties & Ors [2004] 1 WLR 1846 House of Lords: The approach of the courts below in determining the issue of ‘want of authority’ on the basis of whether the respondent’s conduct was unconscionable was incorrect.
    • Rock Nominees Ltd -v- RCO (Holdings) Ltd [2004] 1BCLC 439 Court of Appeal: The petitioning company could not claim for relief under Companies Act 1985 s.459(1) where it was found on the evidence that the sale of shares was not at an undervalue.
    • Johnson -v- Gore Wood [2002] 2 AC 1 House of Lords: A shareholder cannot recover damages for a loss which is merely reflective of the loss suffered by the company for which the company has its own cause of action..
  • Insolvency

    Alan is regularly recommended in this area in the legal directories, including the current editions of Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, drawing praise as “an intelligent and focused practitioner“.

    Set out below are details of some of his cases. However, the sensitivity of his cases (many of which result from the credit crunch) is such that details of the majority of his cases cannot be published so those interested in Alan’s experience should contact Sue Medder, Chambers Director, direct.

    • A claim in excess of $50 mil. being brought by the liquidators of the Moulin Group against a Hong Kong solicitor who was a non-executive director of the holding company. The trial is due to be heard in Hong Kong.
    • Kaupthing dispute: Dispute relating to a holding by a major trust in Somerfield supermarkets over which the insolvency Icelandic bank, Kaupthing, held security.
    • BTA Bank: Proceedings in the BVI and UK by a Kazakstan bank agains the majority shareholder and a director for assets alleged to have been improperly obtained by fraud.
    • Claim concerning a failed investment fund established as an offshore company.
    • Claim by pension scheme for priority in relation to the collapse of a Bahamian insurance company
  • Mediation

    Alan is a CEDR qualified mediator.  He has taken part in numerous mediations and other settlement negotiations where his extensive experience across a wide range of practice areas is particularly valued.

  • Partnership and Joint Ventures

    Alan is an acknowledged expert on partnership law, attracting accolades in both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. Legal 500 comments that he is “a force to be reckoned with in the area of partnership law“. Much of his caseload in this areas is by its nature confidential. However, those cases in the public eye have included:

    • Shiraz Boghani v Bashir Nathoo [2011] EWHC 2101: A dispute concerning a dissolved partnership in relation to London property developments.
    • Hammonds v Danilunas [2009] EWHC Ch 216: a high profile partnership dispute concerning the recovery of over-drawings from former partners.
    • Drake v Harvey [2010] EWHC 1446 (Ch), Mann J: the construction of a clause in a partnership deed which provided for a dying partner’s share automatically to accrue to the surviving partners subject to them paying for such share by reference to the last annual accounts, the question being whether those last annual accounts should reflect a fair value of the partnership’s assets or only their book value.
    • BBGP Managing General Partner Ltd v Babcock & Brown [2010] EWHC (Ch) 2176: dispute between partnership formed under Limited Partnerships Act 1907 as investment vehicle and former managing general partner and its associates. Also concerned questions of disclosure and access to partnership documents and legal professional privilege as well as whether the fraud iniquity exception applied.
    • Don King Productions Inc -v- Frank Warren, Sports Network USA & Ors [2000] Ch 291 Court of Appeal: An agreement to assign contracts to a partnership was ineffective as the contracts concerned the rendering of personal services and included express provisions prohibiting and assignment of such contracts. Each partner instead became a trustee of the non assignable contracts.
  • Pensions

    Regularly recommended as expert in pensions in both Legal 500 and Chambers & Prs, Alan Steinfeld is said to be “superb and possessed of fantastic judgement“. He is seen as “a very ballsy advocate who is unwavering when under fire” with an “ability to provide incisive legal advice without being overly technical“.

    Pension work is invariably confidential and few cases are taken to court. We therefore recommend that those interested contact Sue Medder, Chambers Director, to learn more of Alan’s experience. The following are some of his reported cases:

    • Advice in relation to pension claims and insolvency matters concerning a large group of companies.
    • A case involving renumeration for a trustee following their removal.
    • BT Pensions Trustees v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (2010): This case concerns the scope of the obligations of the employer under the pension scheme’s rules and the scope of the statutory guarantee by the Crown of those obligations.
    • Pilots National Pensions Fund (2009): Alan advised on this multi-million pound dispute.
    • In the Matter of K & J Holdings Ltd – Capital Cranfield Trustees Ltd -v- Pinsent Curtis [2004] EWHC : On the construction of the provisions of a company’s pension scheme, once the company purported to terminate its liability to contribute to the scheme, the trustee still had the power to demand from the company a contribution in a sum equal to any shortfall in the scheme’s funds needed to enable the trustee to secure members’ benefits by the purchase from an insurance company of policies in accordance with the rules of the scheme.
    • Bank of New Zealand -v- Bank of New Zealands Officers’ Provident Ass [2003] UKPC 58 Privy Council : The Court of Appeal of New Zealand had been right to hold that the power to amend the rules of the Bank of New Zealand superannuation scheme, under which benefits were generally taken as tax-free lump sums, permitted amendments intended to increase benefits to members including persons who had been members but had left the bank’s employment at any time after 1 November 1995.
    • National Grid, National Power -v- Mayes [2001] 1 WLR 864 – House of Lords : Appeared for representative members of an occupational pension scheme in the House of Lords. Arrangements by which two employers dealt with actuarial surpluses in a pension scheme, by treating accrued corporate liabilities as being discharged out of that surplus, did not in the event amount to a payment to the employers out of the monies of the scheme, and hence were valid. Pensions Act 1995 (c 26 ), s 37(1).

    Alan has also been advising on the construction and effect of a statutory guarantee; allegations of negligence concerning a pensions scheme; the extent to which employers are liable to top up certain pensions and on an alleged failure to advise properly on a pensions scheme.

  • Professional Negligence

    Recommended in both Legal 500 and Chambers & Prs for his professional expertise, Alan is an acknowledged expert in this field.

    Some of Alan’s cases include:

    • A claim in excess of $50 mil. being brought by the liquidators of the Moulin Group against a Hong Kong solicitor who was a non-executive director of the holding company. The trial is due to be heard in Hong Kong.
    • Dispute concerning the way in which all banks clear cheques and whether that process is inherently negligent.
    • Claim against a silk for allegedly negligent tax advice.
    • Claim concerning an alleged failure to advise properly regarding a pension scheme.
    • Claim over failure to meet a time limit in a company liquidation, as a result of which the claimant lost the ability to prove in the insolvency.
    • Geoffrey Paul Smith -v- Henniker-Major & Co (a firm) [2002] EWCA Civ 762 Court of Appeal : A purported assignment of a cause of action decided on by a director at an inquorate board meeting was not validated either (1) under section 35A Companies Act 1985, or (2) by ratification.
    • Johnson -v- Gore Wood [2002] 2 AC 1 House of Lords : The defendant solicitors owed a duty of care to the claimant personally, as well as to his company, when giving advice in relation to both the exercise of an option and proceedings for specific performance of that option.
    • Malcom Douglas Carr -v- Bower Cotton (a firm) [2002] EWCA Civ 1788 Court of Appeal : The defendant firm’s authority to pay an investment fund belonging to the claimant out of its client account was not on the facts of the case restricted to payment only for certain specified investment purposes. There was no obligation on the firm to ensure that the fund was actually required or applied for an authorised purpose.
  • Real Estate Litigation

    Property issues and instructions have always formed a staple part of Alan’s practice. He is well versed in dealing with both landlord and tenant as well as more general property litigation, often in relation to trusts assets (see the trusts section).

    Some cases in which he has been involved are:

    • Baxter v Mannion [2010] EWHC 573 (Ch): An appeal against the Land Registry adjudicator in relation to the registration of a person claiming adverse possession. An appeal has been lodged.
    • Crest Nicholson v Regional Investments Guildford (2010): a claim for the return of a deposit as the sale conditions required vacant possession but the land contained a lease of an electrical substation. The defendant claimed rectification and unsubstantiality. It has now settled.
    • Midill (97PL) Ltd v Park Lane Estates & Gomba International Investements Ltd (2008) case. The judgment in this case was that, in order for the court to exercise its discretion under section 49(2) Law of Property Act 1925 to order repayment of a deposit, there needed to be something special or exceptional to justify overriding the ordinary contractual expectations of the parties that the seller could retain the deposit if the buyer defaulted.
    • Land Securities & Ors v Fladgate Fielder [2009] EWHC 577 (Ch): A firm of solicitors succeeded in striking out a claim brought by a property development company on the basis that the firm’s prior commencement of judicial review proceedings against the grant of planning permission in favour of the company in relation to its proposal to redevelop 2 sites, did not constitute the tort of abuse of process.
    • Prudential Assurance Co Ltd v Ayres & Anor [2008] EWCA Civ 52: A supplemental deed limiting the liability of an assignee of an underlease to partnership assets related only to the assets against which recourse could be had by the tenant in the event of default and did not operate to alter the terms of the relationship between the tenant and the subtenant established under a licence to assign, which provided that the tenant was entitled to recover from the subtenant any losses arising from the assignee’s default without limitation.
  • Trusts, Probate & Estates

    Alan has built up an impressive practice in trusts, probate and estates work. He “bestrides the Chancery courts like a colossus” states Chambers & Partners which recommends Alan for both traditional and commercial Chancery work as well as commercial litigation. He is also recommended in Legal 500 which comments that he is “unquestionably a star of the Chancery Bar”. His cases illustrate his experience. More details are available from Sue Medder, Chambers Director:

    • A case concerning the validity of a trust involving complicated claims of fraud and money laundering.
    • Dispute between high net worth Hong Kong family with assets in BVI and Hong Kong trusts.
    • Multi million pound dispute in the Bahamas relating to a dispute between brothers about the proceeds of a partnership.
    • Large scale trust dispute in Bermuda relating to a major trust.
    • Major litigation in Gibraltar between oligarchs where there are wide-ranging allegations of fraud.
    • Multi million pound dispute relating to the administration of an offshore trust and calls into question the administration of the trust by the Protectors.
    • Family trust dispute: which occasioned in 2009 the largest ever Beddoes application.
    • Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd & Ors v William Fattal & Ors [2009] EWHC 1446 (Ch): The judge was held to have erred in striking out of a claim by trustees as an abuse of process on the basis that it could have been brought in earlier proceedings between the parties. In the earlier proceedings, the trustees did not have all the information necessary to bring their claim. Also [2009] EWHC 1446 (Ch): the court made declarations in relation to the complex trust arrangements by which four families owned equal shares in an investment property.
    • Olins v Walters [2008] EWCA Civ 782: Where there was ample evidence that codicils executed by the defendant and his deceased wife satisfied the conditions for the establishment of mutual wills, the judge had been entitled to declare that they bound the deceased’s estate in the hands of the defendant and his personal representatives.
    • Gregson v HAE Trustees & Ors [2008] EWHC 1006 (Ch): The claims that a trust company had against its directors for various breaches of duty could not, in the circumstances, be transposed to the beneficiary under that trust to pursue in her own right so her claim was struck out.
    • Lemos -v- Coutts [1990-2005] Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, Court of Appeal, Privy Council : Multi-million dollar Cayman Islands trust dispute concerning a large family shipping trust. Since 1990 there have been a series of cases. Among the various facets of this dispute have been an application that the Court direct the sale by trustees of certain shipping assets resulting in volumes of detailed expert evidence on the shipping market and eventually in an order dividing the trust assets between various branches of the family, and further substantial litigation (complicated by the existence of the directly held shipping assets) regarding the actual division. The ongoing litigation continued in 2005 with a substantial claim for compensation for breach of trust against the former trustees arising out of their management of the shipping fleet, and an appeal to the Privy Council on a preliminary issue.
    • Vadim Schmidt -v- Rosewood Trust Ltd [2003] AC 709 Privy Council : The right to seek disclosure of trust documents was an aspect of the court’s inherent jurisdiction to supervise and if necessary to intervene in the administration of trusts and did not depend on the right or claim of a beneficiary to a proprietary interest in the trust property.