Francis has extensive commercial litigation experience covering a wide range of areas including:
- Fund and banking litigation
- Company and business disputes
- Forex and other derivatives
- Trust disputes
- Conflicts of law disputes
- Sports disputes
He is recommended for commercial dispute resolution by Chambers & Partners who have referred to him as a “quick thinking silk on the rise”.
Some of his recent cases include:
North Shore Ventures v Anstead Holdings & Ors: This was a claim made by a company which had been incorporated by Boris Berezovsky for the purpose of a loan transaction to a Russian associate. The case raised an important
Point in relation to the law on guarantees. In particular, it raised the issue as to the scope of disclosure obligations of a creditor to a surety and to the limitations of contractual provisions for the certification of sums due. These issues were considered by the Court of Appeal and that judgment remains major authority in this area. (Francis wrote an article on a significant new authority which cited North Shore in the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law in October 2018.)In the process of execution there was also an important judgment on whether cross-examination of judgment debtors on assets should be heard in private. A further issue arose as to the disclosure obligations of beneficiaries of discretionary trusts which was dealt with by the Court of Appeal.
Camerata Property Inc v Credit Suisse: This case concerned complex structured credit products and the terms of the contracts on the basis of which advice was given by Credit Suisse.
Aeroflot v Forus Holdings and others (2018): This is dealt with in more detail above. Aeroflot sued the Forus group of companies for over US$120,000,000 which was allegedly misappropriated in the course of providing finance for Aeroflot. The claims were resisted on the basis that the English Court did not have jurisdiction over some of the defendants which succeeded for some of the defendants. In 2018, when the matter came on for trial in 2018 Aeroflot discontinued its case at trial. Hedge fund disputes: Francis has acted in contentious and non-contentious clients in relation to hedge funds including CPIM SCF, Weavering, La Fayette, Bear Stearns, Matador, Torre Asset Funding and Valiance amongst others.
Lehman Bros: Francis acted for equity funds seeking information from the administrators of Lehman Bros which held US$400m of assets as collateral for prime brokerage in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the bank.
Film financing scheme disputes: Francis has been involved in a number of claims resulting from supposedly tax efficient film finance schemes such as Evolution, Tower and Take. These are complex group actions involving claims based on breach of trust, breach of contract, misrepresentation, professional negligence, faulty tax advice and execution of schemes, breach of schemes as well as regulatory aspects.
Bermudian trust dispute: Francis acted in relation to a large number of valuable discretionary trusts which had been established in the 1960s and in relation to which major issues arose as to the validity of the appointment of the trustees. This had particular significance as the trustees had restructured the trusts to make them more tax efficient before the issue as to their authority to act arose. Francis advised the trustees over many years and a number of hearings in Bermuda in the course of which the constitutional issues were all resolved.
AMG Global v Africa Resources: This was high profile trial between representatives of Mugabe’s regime and a Zimabwean businessman concerning the rights over bearer share warrants for two English companies which owned very substantial Zimbabwean asbestos mines. The case is important in relation to issues relating to unlawful assistance for purchase of shares under the former s151 Companies Act.
Spreadex: various high value cases for a spread betting company called Spreadex including the Sekhon case– the client was held 85% contributorily liable as the decision to keep positions open was driven by him and he was not inexperienced) and its claim against the Icelandic Landesbank.
Formula 1 disputes: Francis has dealt with a number of cases for Jordan Grand Prix such as their
claim against Vodafone and against Tiger Telematics. He has also dealt with a number of disputes relating to the Force India Formula 1 team including Force India v Etihad [2010 CA], Van der Garde v Force India  EWHC 2373 – an important case on termination by repudiatory breach and remediability of breaches of contract.
BTA Bank: Francis acted in relation to claims against various BVI companies which were alleged to have been used as conduits for significant sums of money.
Savannah Consulting v Mintley: This was a derivative claim brought for a company in relation to the sale of an asset at an undervalue. Francis obtained a freezing order in Gibraltar and successfully resisted an attempt to strike out the claim.