Fountain Court Chambers

Banking & Finance Department

London (Bar)
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Fountain Court Chambers is a market-leading set with a huge offering of expert barristers covering diverse banking matters. Members of chambers regularly act for global financial institutions, including investment and retail banks, in wide-ranging disputes. Complex claims pertaining to both civil and criminal fraud, bribery and money laundering are frequently handled with great proficiency by the Fountain Court barristers. Members of the set were recently engaged to act for Ukraine in the defence of the USD3 billion Eurobond claim brought against it by Russia, which is just one example of the high-profile work conducted here. Commentators describe Fountain Court as a "very heavy-hitting set with fantastic silks" and "excellent subject matter expertise," reporting that "they give you very user-friendly, commercial and clear advice across the board."

Client service: "I always found the clerking team to be very commercial. They understand the requirements of clients and are very good at matching solicitors with the right barrister." "The clerks overall are great. They completely understand your concerns, and are great at listing appointments and managing expectations appropriately." Senior clerk Alex Taylor is the best clerk in the City by a country mile. He has thirty or forty years of understanding of the Bar and what people need from barristers. He never oversells a barrister's availability and gives you honest messages. A lot of Fountain Court's success is down to him."

Adam Sher

Vastly proficient barrister capable in IBOR-related litigation and general financial disputes, many of which have offshore elements. He acts for an array of major national and multinational retail and investment banks.
Strengths: "One of the brightest juniors at the Bar and phenomenally hard-working." "Adam is a real rising star. He is particularly clever and has very sound judgement."
Recent work: Acted for Deutsche Bank in a high-profile dispute with Unitech over an interest rate swap, involving LIBOR manipulation claims.

Adam Zellick QC

A highly adept silk who coordinates a broad array of banking cases, including those involving derivatives, swaps and LIBOR manipulations. He is frequently sought out to handle both substantial, highly publicised litigation and cases that are reputationally sensitive.
Strengths: "Intelligent, cooperative and thorough." "He stands out as being someone who judges trust. When he makes an argument, it has lots of support."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Pakistan v NatWest, a high-profile case pertaining to the historical partitioning of India, during which time large sums of money were transferred to NatWest. The case provoked a dispute between Pakistan, India and the family of one of India’s former royal dynasties over entitlement to this money.

Alexander Milner

Accomplished junior who is equally adept at acting both for and against banks, and is experienced in cases connected with interest rate hedging products. Milner speaks fluent Russian, and a number of his recent cases in the banking sphere have come from the CIS region as a result. Domestically, he acts for and against banks in litigation covering a variety of banking and finance issues. Mis-selling claims and LIBOR misrepresentation cases are a particular specialism.
Strengths: "Alex is a practical, no-nonsense barrister with a deeply commercial instinct on top of a sharpened legal mind. He is able to cut through to the core of a matter in an instant and takes an active role in the wider litigation, as well as leading from the front as an advocate." "He's a reliable, hard-working, very user-friendly barrister."
Recent work: Defended Dmitry and Alexander Mints in a claim by Bank Otkritie for USD600 million in damages in respect of an alleged fraud.

Andrew Mitchell QC

Has quickly established himself as a silk of choice for complex finance litigation, and has an especially strong standing in interest rate swaps disputes. He is also a noted practitioner in commercial dispute resolution and insurance cases. Mitchell is frequently sought out to defend banks against allegations of benchmark interest rate manipulation, and has also appeared for them in PPI mis-selling claims cases. He further advises clients on complex securitisation and underwriting issues. 
Strengths: "He makes all the points that need to be made and doesn't waste the court's time with unnecessary arguments - a first-class lawyer." "Andrew is one of the best advocates I know. He has an incredible manner and a brilliant brain."
Recent work: Defended RBS in the case ofMagner v RBS. The matter concerned allegations that RBS dishonestly conspired with a firm of offshore solicitors to steal millions from client accounts.

Bankim Thanki QC

Extraordinarily versatile silk with a superb reputation in an array of practice areas including civil fraud, financial services, offshore and international arbitration, among others. He has acted for a variety of clients in the realm of banking disputes including retail, investment and central banks, often where there is an overlap between contentious regulatory and banking issues. He is additionally noted for his work with central banks in Germany, Namibia and Trinidad & Tobago. Commentators are impressed by his charming manner which never fails to win over clients.
Strengths: "The indefatigable Bankim is of course on another level. He is able to dissect complicated cases full of detail in a cool and collected manner. He makes complex issues look so simple and there's a real art to that." "He has incredible perseverance and a very calm and confident demeanour." "Bankim has extremely good judgement and is very good at seeing the case through a strategic lens. He is an aggressive advocate and has the judge's ear."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in the case of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China v Anil Ambani. The matter concerns a loan facility entered into by one of Mr Ambani’s companies, Reliance Communications. The company has since defaulted on the loan and ICBC have demanded payment from Mr Ambani, under an alleged personal guarantee, for USD685 million.

Ben Valentin QC

Has undoubted expertise in banking cases as part of a wide-ranging international commercial arbitration and commercial dispute resolution practice, and has appeared in a number of leading cases appearing for major financial clients on both the claimant and defendant sides. He is noted for his significant experience of acting in complex offshore litigation in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands in particular.
Strengths: "A great barrister. He is an extremely user-friendly silk, never precious, and works very well in large teams."
Recent work: Acted in Vannin v RBS Claimants, a case arising from the settlement of the RBS Rights Issue Litigation. The matter concerns claims by Vannin for £14 million, which it claims is due under ATE insurance arrangements that were terminated several years before the settlement of the Rights Issue Litigation.

Daniel Edmonds

Accomplished junior well versed in appearing in courts at all levels. He handles an array of financial matters including those involving substantial damages claims, debt mis-selling allegations and repayment disputes.
Strengths: "He's very hands-on, very good with detail and incredibly responsive." "Daniel has a prolific work rate. You want him on your team if you have a huge amount of work to get through." "He sees both the legal and commercial issues very clearly and is extremely user-friendly."
Recent work: Represented a number of former Credit Suisse and Barclays bankers in a major fraud claim brought by the Danish tax authority for damages and proprietary remedies, for the repayment of tax, said to have been paid out by in error pursuant to an international financial conspiracy.

David Murray

Enjoys an excellent reputation as a versatile junior experienced in appearing before the English courts and the DIFC on behalf of a range of banking clients. He is particularly adept at handling cases relating to the mis-selling of financial products. His work sees him advising on a broad range of disputes in commercial, investment and retail banking.
Strengths: "He is phenomenally bright, very reliable and drafts beautifully."
Recent work: Acted in the case of Genworth v Santander, a dispute concerning the allocation of around £500 million in losses for PPI mis-selling.

David Railton QC

Vastly experienced advocate with a practice spanning the full range of disputes in banking and finance. He has particularly deep expertise in issues arising from the financial crash of 2008. His practice covers complex financial products, note issue construction and operation, swaps and derivatives disputes, and cases concerning allegations of LIBOR manipulation. He is also a highly adept practitioner in insurance and general commercial cases. He is also recognised for his expertise in offshore jurisdictions including the BVI, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands where he handles highly complex financial cases and a number of group litigation matters.
Strengths: "One of the very best top-drawer silks in London. He has incredible strategic thinking and an impressive ability to see around corners." "He is very clear and commercial in his advice and just excellent all round." "A star player."
Recent work: Acted for ITV and related companies in a claim by the Pensions Regulator for a contribution to a pension deficit arising out of their participation in a leveraged joint venture with Nomura.

Giles Wheeler QC

A well-regarded practitioner who garners growing praise for his adept representation in a range of banking disputes, including those involving LIBOR misrepresentations and FCA challenges. He is especially well versed in handling derivatives litigation, and acts both for and against banks.
Strengths: "He is very thorough and diligent. I like that his advice is very clear and commercial." "Giles has a fantastic knowledge of damages claims." "Very thorough and hands-on, with very good advice given. He thoroughly deserves his promotion to QC."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Atwal v Bank of Scotland, concerning an interest rate swap mis-selling claim brought by corporate and individual claimants.

Henry King QC

A highly capable advocate whose practice in banking and financial regulatory disputes is informed, in part, by his accountancy qualification. He is well versed in handling claims on behalf of central and investment banks, and is very experienced in derivatives cases. King regularly handles both national and international financial disputes involving a range of high-profile clients.
Strengths: "He is able to analyse complex documents exceptionally quickly and gets straight to the point, while always seeing the bigger picture. He is a very strong advocate and knows what judges want and need." 
Recent work: Acted in the case of SPL Treasury v Koros, advising the replacement board of directors of the Arch Cru funds on enforcement proceedings in excess of £80 million against Nicholas Koros. The matter arises from the collapse of the funds in 2009.

James Cutress QC

Well-regarded silk experienced in handling a broad range of complex and high-value banking and financial matters, as well as wider insurance and general commercial disputes. His recent cases in banking include matters dealing with LIBOR fraud allegations, PPI insurance disputes, sanctions and mortgaging issues. He has also acted in a series of high-profile and well-documented interest rate swap mis-selling cases.
Strengths: "A go-to guy for difficult analytical problems. Incredibly smart and easy to deal with." "Very user-friendly and clear and considered." "He'll tell it to you straight."
Recent work: Acted for the ECU Group in a high-profile claim against HSBC, alleging that the bank engaged in fraudulent activity by manipulating foreign exchange prices.

James Duffy

Impressive junior who handles complex matters for a wide variety of major national investment banks. He has expertise in cases concerning LIBOR manipulation, swaps mis-selling and fraud disputes. Duffy has appeared in a number of the most significant cases of recent years in the banking and finance sector, including the Bank Charges Litigation, and is noted for his handling of cases that are both high-profile and reputationally sensitive, as evidenced by his instruction in Lloyds Banking Group’s first trial regarding an interest rate swap mis-selling claim.
Strengths: "He is excellent and one of the best senior juniors at the Bar. He's very easy to work with, obviously very sharp and very intelligent." "His drafting is brilliant and he acts very sensibly. He knows the law very well and is easy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Marz v Bank of Scotland, a case in which allegations were made regarding the mis-selling of interest rate swaps.

Jeffrey Chapman QC

Highly capable and respected advocate whose practice in banking and finance commonly overlaps with his wider expertise in commercial fraud matters. He has noted ability in international disputes, financial regulatory matters and arbitration proceedings, and regularly handles matters for national and international banks.
Strengths: "Jeffrey's advice on tactics and legal issues has been first class. He is so easy to work with and approachable." "He is very impressive and very calm as an advocate."
Recent work: Acted for Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro in two sets of proceedings brought against it by Playboy Club London alleging professional negligence and fraud in relation to more than £1 million in credit, which the casino advanced to a professional gambler allegedly in reliance on a reference provided by an employee of the bank.

John Taylor QC

Has a strong track record of representing banks both in the English courts and overseas. He has particular experience in cases addressing LIBOR manipulation, the operation of standard terms and the mis-selling of interest rate swaps. His banking practice incorporates disputes in overseas jurisdictions, and he has particular experience of acting in the DIFC.
Strengths:"He is very impressive, hands-on, direct and commanding." "John is pragmatic, understands complex financial products and is great to deal with." "He is very responsive, and the quality of his written work is excellent."
Recent work: Represented Barclays, NatWest, RBS, Allied Irish Bank and other banks to defend numerous claims regarding the mis-selling of interest rate hedging products to business customers.

Laura John

Highly adept and experienced practitioner with a renowned practice in financial litigation and arbitration. She is involved in significant, market-leading matters concerning LIBOR and EURIBOR manipulations and acts for a vast array of investment and retail banks. 
Strengths: "Laura is incredible. Her advocacy is a delight to watch." "She's very robust, direct and prolific in her output." "Laura was simply excellent. On the ball with a tight turnaround, pleasant to deal with and razor smart."
Recent work: Acted as part of the counsel team representing NatWest Markets, which won a major EURIBOR benchmark manipulation case alleging misrepresentation against Marme Inversiones.

Natasha Bennett

Strong-performing junior adept in acting for major national and multinational banks. Her wide-ranging practice covers professional negligence and financial services disputes as well as general commercial litigation and arbitration. She regularly acts in complex cases and is accomplished at acting both as part of a team or as sole counsel. She is also experienced in handling matters relating to alleged manipulation of benchmark interest rates.
Strengths: "A fantastic junior. She's very clear in her advice and very hard-working." "Natasha is really lovely to deal with. She's very relaxed, approachable and a real team player."
Recent work: Defended National Australia Bank against a claim, brought by a group of small and medium-sized enterprises, alleging misrepresentations in relation to the sale of tailored business loans.

Nico Leslie

A talented junior with a rising reputation for handling disputes relating to interest rate swaps and alleged market manipulation on behalf of leading financial institutions. In recent years he has made great use of his fluency in Italian to handle cases for international investment banks that have had disputes with Italian authorities. He is highly experienced in conducting cases in multiple jurisdictions, as evidenced by his appearance in cases in Bermuda and the BVI.
Strengths: "Nico is a very smooth operator and a sharp legal mind. He has excellent technical knowledge." "He's simply incredible. We are in awe of his work product." "He's incredibly enthusiastic, phenomenally intelligent and has an impressive ability to strategise."
Recent work: Acted for PIFSSin relation to a major piece of international litigation with numerous Swiss banks. The claimant alleges that the banks paid bribes totalling almost USD1 billion to its former director-general over two decades.

Nik Yeo

Notable senior junior who enjoys a solid standing among instructing solicitors and his peers for his practice in structured finance litigation matters. He has additional noted proficiency in handling professional negligence and commercial international arbitration proceedings. Yeo is regularly involved in very sizeable and complex disputes arising out of the credit crunch. He impresses with his grasp of highly elaborate structured products such as CPDOs, and is noted for his handling of cases with international law elements.
Strengths: "He's hugely knowledgeable and a really useful person to have on your team when there's a technical dispute. He has an excellent practice."
Recent work: Acted in the matter of Freethsshef26 v Hodson,representing the purchaser of a company from the defendant. The case arises from a conviction obtained by the SFO against the defendant, who had, unbeknown to the purchaser, built the company’s business on a £12 million bribery scheme.

Patricia Robertson QC

An experienced and versatile practitioner with a strong track record of representing clients in litigation in the banking sector, especially in cases addressing allegations of regulatory breaches. In addition to her expertise in financial disputes, she is also a noted advocate with respect to professional discipline and negligence matters. She acts with regularity in multiparty disputes relating to failed investment schemes, and is known for her knowledge of interest rate swaps.
Strengths: "The court eats out of her hand." "She's absolutely excellent on financial litigation. Hugely client-friendly, sophisticated, hands-on and down to earth."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in the case of Stanford International Bank v HSBC. The matter concerns claims arising from the insolvency of Stanford International Bank. It is alleged that HSBC failed to spot warning signs indicating that investments offered by the bank were a Ponzi scheme.

Patrick Goodall QC

Highly renowned silk who is an advocate of choice for complex financial disputes turning on intricate questions of technical law, and is particularly proficient at handling LIBOR claims and swaps mis-selling cases. He acts both for and against banks and has experience in coordinating cases with offshore elements.
Strengths: "He really rolls his sleeves up and gets into the detail. He knows everything about the case he's working on and is really good on strategic advice." "He puts people at ease by saying all the right things, making the case run a whole lot smoother than it would have done otherwise."
Recent work: Acted for National Australia Bank in relation to a number of high-profile claims brought by many customers in relation to their tailored business loans.

Paul Sinclair QC

Noted for his impressive practice focusing on disputes involving LIBOR rigging and swaps mis-selling, and who is developing a solid reputation among leading solicitor firms for the superior quality of his work. His practice is going from strength to strength, as evidenced by his key roles in cases that have proven seminal for the industry as a whole.
Strengths: "He is very calm under pressure, cross-examines very effectively and always has everything under control." "He is exceptional. A very good, tough and fair opponent."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Morley v RBS, a claim investigating the alleged involvement of the Treasury and Asset Protection Agency in the management of RBS’s customers during the financial crisis. The claim involves allegations of duress, intimidation and breach of duty by the bank.

Raymond Cox QC

Highly experienced banking and financial services silk with a great deal of expertise in derivatives, securities and insolvency matters. His recent work has seen him handling disputes addressing issues of mortgage interest rate alteration in tracker products and cases concerning secured loan facilities. He has expertise in multi-jurisdictional matters, including those concerning the Cayman Islands. 
Strengths: "He is very thorough, very knowledgeable and very good at handling clients."

Richard Coleman QC

Capable advocate who acts for both claimants and defendants especially in cases concerning mis-selling disputes. He is experienced acting for major national banks as well as prominent financial bodies, including the FCA.
Strengths: "He is a very effective and impressive advocate. He has a particularly analytical approach to cases and is able to convey that in his submissions." "He consistently proves to be great at hearings. He's a very impressive, friendly and approachable character."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in the ongoing case of Lampo v Royal Bank of Scotland, which concerns claims on behalf of the estate of the claimant's late father in respect of the alleged mis-selling of four interest swaps sold by the bank.

Richard Handyside QC

Renowned as a leading player in the banking sphere having forged an impressive reputation for handling market-leading cases on behalf of a variety of investment banks and financial institutions. He is particularly noted for his market-leading expertise in issues facing banks arising from the LIBOR manipulation scandal. His recent work also includes disputes relating to the sale of structured notes and film investment schemes. As well as handling the most significant domestic cases, he is also noted for his considerable experience conducting multi-jurisdictional disputes.
Strengths: "Richard has a calm, judicious manner. You can go to him with complicated problems and he makes it all seem clear and obvious. He is greatly skilled and has a lot of court experience, so he knows what arguments will land with the Bench."  "A very thoughtful, very considered barrister with a real willingness to engage and a very good feel for the market."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in the case of Scarborough Group v Bank of Scotland, which concerned a claim for over £500 million brought by one of the largest property development groups in the UK against Bank of Scotland in respect of alleged LIBOR manipulation.

Richard Lissack QC

A highly regarded practitioner with a wealth of sector experience. His esteemed banking practice is focused on complex and substantial matters, regularly involving cross-border elements. He has specialist knowledge of disputes involving financial crime, fraud, bribery, money laundering and sanctions, and has handled a number of matters relating to SFO investigations. Lissack has also been called to numerous international Bars including New York, the DIFC and the Eastern Caribbean.
Strengths: "Richard has years of experience and is very good with clients. He's very commanding in a room, sets the scene and really holds his own. He's a very good person to have on your side." "He had a thorough grasp of the facts. I rate him highly as a tenacious advocate who works hard. He acts with complete devotion to his clients."
Recent work: Advised Bank Mashreq in connection with proceedings in multiple jurisdictions, including the UK, the USA and Abu Dhabi, arising from the collapse of the Abraaj Group following allegations of fraud and fund mismanagement.

Rosalind Phelps QC

An accomplished silk who is noted for her abilities across a range of banking and finance matters, and has particular expertise in bond and loan disputes, LIBOR and swap mis-selling cases. She handles significant disputes for clients including both high-street and investment banks.
Strengths: "She has a very attractive advocacy style and knows the brief - superb."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Federal Republic of Nigeria v JP Morgan, a caseinvolving a claim by the Republic for over USD870 million. The matter arises from an allegedly corrupt oil deal involving Shell and a large Italian oil company, in which money was deposited in accounts at JP Morgan.

Simon Atrill

Proficient senior junior, highly experienced in acting for a broad variety of investment and retail banks in matters involving derivative disputes and swaps mis-selling. He has experience acting in leading banking disputes, many of which are international in nature, including those concerning alleged EURIBOR manipulation.
Strengths:"He is an excellent barrister, extremely user-friendly and a huge intellect." "Simon is sound, clever, and his paperwork is very good."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in the case of Mercatoria v Deutsche Bank, a dispute about the bank's obligations under workout arrangements for a major conglomerate in financial difficulty and the obligations of the various banks involved.

Tamara Oppenheimer QC

Highly adept new silk acting in a wide variety of prominent banking cases for major clients. She handles matters involving fraud allegations and mis-selling disputes and is also experienced in professional negligence matters. She further has experience of representing the government.
Strengths: "She is extremely user-friendly, very clear in her advice and a real team player. She's a really good strategist as well." "She must be a star of the future. Tamara is an extraordinary barrister."
Recent work: Acted for RBS in the defence of a claim for over £700 million brought by Stuart Wall for the alleged mis-selling of an interest rate swap in the context of a securitisation.

Timothy Howe QC

Exceptionally capable advocate with an enormous amount of experience of handling banking litigation and arbitration. Within banking and finance, he is especially good at handling cases stemming from allegations of LIBOR and EURIBOR manipulation and from the collapse of Lehman Brothers. He represents leading global investment banks in high-value matters relating to complex derivatives and other transactions.
Strengths: "He is all over the detail and an effective, great advocate. A really lovely barrister to work with." "He's always a pleasure to work with, intelligent and thoughtful." "He had an absolutely infectious enthusiasm for his case."
Recent work: Acted in the case of Marme Inversiones v Royal Bank of Scotland & Others, representing a syndicate of leading banks. The matter concerned the consequences of alleged EURIBOR manipulation by RBS, among other legal issues.

Articles, Highlights and Press Releases

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Banking Set of the Year and Professional Negligence Set of the Year

Richard Handyside, Mark Simpson, Ben Lynch, Adam Sher

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