Stephen is identified as “one of the new breed of client-friendly and client-committed silks” who is “able to find and develop arguments that others at the commercial Bar cannot” and as “the go-to guy for high-net worth individuals.” Stephen has consistently been ranked in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession as a leading Barrister in the field of Commercial Law (15 consecutive years) as well as Chambers Global and The Legal 500 (see “Recommendations”) and in other practice areas.
He is a commercial chancery trial advocate, specialising in multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional cases, particularly involving fraud, complex legal issues and tough cross-examination of witnesses and experts. This skill-set has led to his practice spanning all commercial, fiduciary and trade sectors from energy, oil and gas, banking, financial services, shipping, aviation and insurance. He is frequently involved in shareholder disputes, fraud and asset tracing/recovery (particularly involving breach of fiduciary duty), sale and purchase and complex banking derivative disputes.
Praised by clients for his work ethic and recognised as a tenacious advocate, he is particularly well-suited to large disputes that span different disciplines, where he combines his skills as an advocate with a direct, commercially-minded and pragmatic approach to problem solving, representing individuals, SMEs, corporations, global organisations and blue chip companies. He has an established reputation acting for high net worth individuals and their structures in commercial disputes.
In addition to regularly appearing in the Court of Appeal, Commercial Court and Chancery Division, Stephen has experience dealing with arbitrations, both as arbitrator or party appointee.
Stephen’s international practice includes involvement in a number of oil and gas arbitrations for and against large multi-nationals and State entities in various jurisdictions. He has recently acted for the State of Venezuela in ICSID enforcement proceedings in the Commercial Court.
Many of his cases involve international aspects and he frequently works with teams of lawyers from other jurisdictions in cases that typically commence with anti-suit injunctions, freezing injunctions and other forms of interim relief, including restraining insolvency, winding up and company proceedings.
Current high profile cases include leading a team of five counsel in the recently publicised £1billion claim against Barclays for a US bank; acting for Gulf Air in current proceedings for fraud/breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy against 7 Defendants; on behalf of OnurAir in proceedings with a jet engine lessor; on behalf of an Oil Exploration JV in relation to exploitation of seismic data; in a test case on behalf of investors in a fraudulent investment scheme against a bank for failing to open a segregated trust account.
Stephen has recently been involved: in a dispute between Sovereign States and Salvage contractors involving a famous high value (excess $1Billion) wreck and issues of international cultural heritage; on behalf of an intended GLO Representative Defendant (representing all UK dealers) in the Volkswagen Nox emissions litigation; on behalf of a Football Club in takeover issues with the Premier League; on behalf of Steve Wynn (of “Oceans Eleven”/Wynn Resorts/ “The Bellagio” fame) in his “superyacht” company’s dispute for breach of fiduciary duty/fraud against various defendants; on behalf of a household name Energy Company in a relation to a long term £multi-million bio-mass contract and shareholder dispute.
Other high profile cases include acting for Sudan in its $multi-billion oil ownership/pipeline transit fee disputes with South Sudan, (the genesis of which involved the declaration of war); the commissioners of Oil field pumping stations in a USD 1 billion arbitration; Alexander Vik in his £64M dispute with Deutsche Bank, Nob Su in various cross-border insolvency disputes arising out of the collapse of TMT; Cross border insolvency disputes resulting from the collapse of KLC in Korea and SANKO in Japan (numerous cases in various jurisdictions); OW Bunkers (all levels from arbitration to the Supreme Court); on behalf of P and I insurers and others in respect of the recent Iranian Sanctions; the builders of the biggest Cargo vessel ever constructed which foundered on its maiden voyage; NITC in its USD 1.5 billion insurance/Iranian sanctions re-financing dispute; office holders seeking recovery against the insolvent’s indemnity insurers; shareholders in a £multi-million 944 Petition involving allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty; and on behalf of well-known City solicitor defending commercial court proceedings alleging personal involvement in a £12M fraud.
In addition he is currently engaged in a number of derivative mis-selling claims against financial institutions/Banks which will be progressing through the courts over the next 18 months as well as various shareholder disputes.