One Essex Court

Banking & Finance Department

London (Bar)
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One Essex Court is distinguished by its many accomplishments in the banking sector. Its barristers routinely act on behalf of international financial institutions in high-profile disputes concerning fraud, professional negligence and bribery. Members of the set are particularly experienced with regard to claims of LIBOR misrepresentation. One recent highlight includes acting for Deutsche Bank in the multibillion-dollar claim brought by the FDIC against numerous banks for alleged benchmark manipulation. Sources praise the set for offering a "Rolls-Royce service," reporting that "the barristers are brilliant, commercial and a genuine pleasure to work with."

Client service: "The clerking system is absolutely fantastic. It's the best clerking team I've come across. They are fair on fees and flexible." "The clerks are the best example of how clerking at the Commercial Bar should be. Very pragmatic and very responsive to our needs." Darren Burrows is the senior clerk.


Alain Choo-Choy QC

An advocate with broad-ranging expertise across a number of practice areas central to One Essex Court, including banking and civil fraud. He has a particularly strong reputation when it comes to points of conflict of law and jurisdiction cases, and is noted for his skill in handling LIBOR and loan disputes. His practice also includes domestic and international commercial arbitrations. Choo-Choy has appeared before numerous foreign courts including in the BVI, the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands and the Mauritius Supreme Court.
Strengths: "He's possibly the hardest-working barrister I know. He's very gentlemanly but then he goes in for the kill." "A serious barrister with a serious brain. Hugely impressive on paper with clear advice."
Recent work: Acted for Marex Financial in defending a claim by Natixis concerning the delivery of allegedly forged warehouse receipts in respect of nickel financing transactions worth over USD32 million.


Alexander Polley

Leading junior of choice for a range of major solicitors and eminent silks, who has a reputation for being an exemplary technician. His practice in banking and finance matters often overlaps with his wider expertise in civil fraud and professional negligence. He is noted for acting in particularly high-value cases that often involve cross-border elements, and is an expert in matters concerning misrepresentations, bribery allegations and ISDA-related matters. His clients include national and international banks and corporations.
Strengths: "A standout barrister at his level. The speed with which he turns around questions is incredible. He gets through a massive workload while keeping the quality level high." "A very excellent junior. Always in demand and very responsive."
Recent work: Acted in Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale, representing members of the defendant group in USD1.6 billion bribery claims arising out of structured investments made by the LIA between 2007 and 2009.


Anthony de Garr Robinson QC

Enjoys a growing reputation for his capable representation of sophisticated domestic and international clients in a range of disputes including those relating to company law and civil fraud, as well as banking and finance. He is regularly instructed in international arbitrations in addition to appellate and High Court proceedings. De Garr Robinson is also registered to practise in the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Singapore and DIFC. He is frequently instructed in significant commercial disputes and is familiar with cases centring around capital markets transactions, often when they involve asset-backed securities and structured products. He has undertaken a number of cases concerning LIBOR and bribery disputes.
Strengths: "He is a phenomenally clever barrister but just has this amazing personality and endless energy. He never gives up. He sees every angle and is forensic in a way that I've never seen before." "He doesn't go over the top yet stands and fights his corner, telling the judge that he disagrees in a measured way."
Recent work: Acted for Bernie Ecclestone in the defence of a bribery claim for over £500 million by Bluewaters Communications. The allegations include conspiracy and unlawful interference in relation to the takeover of the Formula One Group in 2006.


Anthony Grabiner QC

A doyen of the Commercial Bar with several decades of experience of appearing in the leading cases of the day, a significant number of which have taken place in the House of Lords and the Supreme Court. He is an accomplished arbitration counsel and also sits as an arbitrator in domestic and international arbitrations.
Strengths: "A tremendous senior statesman at the Bar." "He has had one of the most stellar careers of anybody at the Bar."
Recent work: Acted for financial institutions Athene Li and XiO in Cayman High Court and Hong Kong High Court proceedings, concerning an alleged USD1 billion investment in Xio Fund by Chinese billionaire Xie Zhikun.


Conall Patton QC

Enjoys a fast-growing reputation among peers and instructing solicitors particularly for his outstanding written advocacy across a range of areas including banking, competition law and energy. Such is the regard in which he is held that he often acts unled in major cases. He is a go-to for numerous instructing solicitors presented with complex, multi-jurisdictional banking cases, and is noted for his deft handling of bond disputes and fraud claims.
Strengths: "He's exceptional, even by the standards of a top chambers. Incredibly clever, extremely responsive and cuts to the things that matter." "An excellent advocate. His written work is top notch. He fully deserves his new silk status. He'll be a leader of the future."
Recent work: Acted for Odeon Capital Group in a dispute with Molton Street Capital, defending a claim in the Commercial Court arising from bond trading.


Craig Orr QC

Has a markedly international practice, often appearing in the courts of both Europe and the Far East representing both banks and claimants. His practice in financial disputes focuses on matters involving complex investment arrangements and derivatives. He also has notable experience of cases involving conspiracy claims and allegations of fraud.
Strengths: "Clever, academic and technically very sound." "Fantastic. His cross-examination was remarkable."
Recent work: Acted for one of four company directors sued by BB Energy for losses in excess of USD150 million, arising out of the insolvency of SAMIR, the largest oil refinery business in Morocco.


Daniel Toledano QC

Outstanding silk of choice for many leading banks and hedge funds in complex disputes, who has particular recent experience in cases concerning the provision of investment advice, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligence and dishonest assistance. He is also a highly rated advocate for civil fraud and general commercial matters. Alongside his fantastic trial experience, he is noted for his busy advisory practice.
Strengths: "An excellent barrister with very good knowledge and responsiveness. He turned things around very quickly for the client." "Incisive, authoritative and clients love him." "Toledano is good for anything and everything."
Recent work: Acted for EY in a high-profile dispute with a former employee of the firm, Amjad Rihan. The claimant alleged to have been forced out of the company after whistle-blowing on money laundering activities.


David Wolfson QC

Has established himself as a silk of great repute capable of arguing forcefully and persuasively in the most complex of banking and finance disputes. His highly regarded practice covers a broad range of commercial law, and he appears in both litigation and arbitration proceedings. He is frequently instructed in cases that concern unusual or novel points of law. Wolfson acts both for and against banks and is an expert on debt disputes and bond sales.
Strengths: "He is just amazing on his feet and a delight to work with. He combines intellectual capability with natural charm." "A fantastic advocate. His ability to articulate difficult concepts to the court is exemplary and the clients love him for this."
Recent work: Acted for NM Rothschild & Sons in a dispute with NatWest Markets arising out of the World Online IPO.


James MacDonald

A market-leading junior who is highly respected for his handling of complex banking and finance disputes. His practice in this area is diverse, spanning multi-jurisdictional cases and enforcement proceedings. MacDonald's superb reputation and first-class abilities see him regularly instructed in the most high-profile of matters, and he acts on both the claimant and defendant sides for national and international banking organisations. He is experienced at acting as lead junior on top-drawer cases involving silks of the highest order, and is further noted for his knowledge of Islamic finance cases.
Strengths: "Obviously clever, as well as measured and strong, but he does it with real style and panache and understanding of the issues." "He is incredibly intelligent, very responsive and practical. He is also very dependable."
Recent work: Acted for Banque Pictet, and related entities, in a multi-jurisdictional dispute with PIFSS. The claimant fund is suing 38 defendants located in multiple jurisdictions, alleging that they paid, or facilitated the payment of, commissions to the first defendant, who was PIFSS’s former director general.


Jamie Goldsmith QC

A skilled and well-respected new silk with a practice covering the full spectrum of domestic and international commercial litigation and arbitration. He is comfortable acting for both claimants and defendants in major cases, many of which involve breaches of contract, negligence allegations and loan disputes.
Strengths: "Great advice, clever and an attractive advocacy style." "He's very solid, very thorough and meticulous."
Recent work: Acted for The Bank of New York Mellon seeking a letter of request against two former bankers of Commerzbank for the purpose of obtaining critical evidence for a USD1 billion trial taking place in the USA.


Laurence Rabinowitz QC

Extremely reputable silk with renowned experience in the banking sector, who has an outstanding reputation for handling the most complex and intricate disputes with aplomb. He is skilled in handling cases involving misrepresentation of LIBOR, damages claims and asset disputes, among others, and acts for a glittering array of clients including banks, funds and asset managers.
Strengths: "My hero at the Commercial Bar! He is incredibly clever and really measured. There are no amateur dramatics or histrionics with him, he is just straight to the core. He presents well and judges love him." "Laurence is obviously one of the top names in the market. He has an incredible ability to condense issues down to their simplest forms and he's great fun to work with."
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in the case of Stanford International Bank v Proskauer Rose, proceedings in the Court of the Eastern Caribbean. The matter relates to attorney Thomas Sjoblom's legal representation of the bank in the years leading up to the revelation of the USD7 billion Ponzi scheme, for which R Allen Stanford was convicted.


Nehali Shah

A standout junior who has forged a growing reputation across a number of related fields for being a highly intelligent and hard-working practitioner. She has particularly pronounced experience with regard to noteholder, private equity and restructuring cases, and regularly handles matters relating to sale disputes, LIBOR manipulation and derivatives. As a consequence of her popularity, her enviable client list includes leading international investment banks, hedge funds and private equity firms.
Strengths: "Brilliant on every front. She's exceptionally hard-working and a real pleasure to work with. I can't recommend her highly enough." "She is very thorough, client-friendly and an absolute joy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for Deutsche Bank in the multibillion-dollar claim brought by the FDIC against multiple banks and the British Bankers’ Association for alleged anti-competitive behaviour and US tort claims in connection with the manipulation of LIBOR.


Neil Kitchener QC

Maintains a wide-ranging and well-respected practice encompassing civil fraud, insolvency, company law and energy disputes. His recent representations in banking cases have included those addressing allegations of negligence and breaches of fiduciary duty. He has growing expertise in resolving disputes through international arbitration. Kitchener has also gained experience of late in cases relating to Islamic financial instruments.
Strengths: "He's a very tough operator and a punchy advocate who is very highly regarded." "Excellent, totally committed to the cause and very good on detail."
Recent work: Acted for one of the defendants in Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale, a claim relating to investments made during the Gaddafi era.


Oliver Butler

Promising junior with expertise in a wide range of domestic and international litigation and arbitration in the financial arena. He acts for both claimants and defendants and regularly handles matters relating to damages allegations, breaches of contract and LIBOR mis-selling.
Strengths: "He is excellent in front of clients, very calm and very commercial. He's able to distil complex arguments in a way that is accessible for the client." "Oliver produces excellent-quality written material. He's all over the detail and makes good judgement calls."
Recent work: Acted for Bilta against RBS and Mercuria Energy Trading, in bringing dishonest assistance claims arising out of RBS's carbon emissions allowance.


Orlando Gledhill QC

A junior silk with an impressive practice covering the fields of retail and investment banking. He has experience of acting both for and against banks, and his longstanding proficiency in fraud cases makes him well placed to handle allegations of misrepresentation and the misappropriation of assets. Of late he has handled a variety of cases involving LIBOR misrepresentation, fund issues and lease disputes.
Strengths: "Absolutely brilliant, superb and very client-friendly. He gets into the trenches." "He's direct, clear and doesn't sit on the fence."
Recent work: Acted for Barclays in its dispute with Red Kite Management, defending claims of breach of confidence and LIBOR misrepresentation in the context of London Metal Exchange trading.


Rhodri Davies QC

Especially accomplished with regard to cases stemming from the credit crunch, and has a particular interest in financial disputes involving issues of bondholder rights, credit facility and share sale agreements. He has further experience of handling professional negligence cases, most often those addressing alleged accountants' negligence. Davies is adept at handling cases concerning transactions governed by the ISDA Master Agreement or the Global Master Repurchase Agreement. He acts for both national and international organisations and also sits as a deputy High Court judge.
Strengths: "He is incredibly bright, very nice and completely unflappable. He easily guides you through complicated issues."
Recent work: Acted for Dutch housing association Vestia in a claim against Deutsche Bank for over EUR800 million, alleging bribery and capacity in relation to derivative products sold under an ISDA Master Agreement.


Richard Mott

Established junior with a practice encompassing arbitration, energy, and banking and finance disputes. He has an additional interest in cases addressing issues of civil fraud. Mott has built up substantial expertise working for claimants and has growing experience of handling large-scale group actions. He acts on both the claimant and defendant sides and is noted for his work handling conspiracy claims and mis-selling allegations.
Strengths: "He is very user-friendly and bright, and liaises well with the solicitor team. His drafting has also been very good." "He's very responsive, very flexible and just gets stuck in."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in the case of Euro Pacific Card Services v Prepaid Financial Services, which concerned a damages claim arising from the wrongful termination of a prepaid debit card processing agreement.


Sandy Phipps

Widely regarded as a leading commercial junior with a strong focus on banking and finance matters. His enviable roster of clients includes many leading investment banks, as well as high net worth individuals and financial services providers. He has previous experience of working as a commercial litigator at a magic circle firm. Cases he has handled include a number relating to PPI mis-selling.
Strengths: "He's excellent. Very user-friendly, engaged and over the detail." "Very good in court, academic and client-friendly. A top performer."
Recent work: Appeared for the plaintiff in the case of SBR Soletanche Bachy Fundatii v Crown Financial and Merchant Bank. The claim concerned the dishonour of a demand guarantee given by the defendant bank to the international construction company.


Sebastian Isaac

Has an ever-growing reputation as a capable junior whose commercial disputes practice is not limited to banking and finance disputes. In this field, he has particular experience in securities cases and those turning on allegations of fraud. He is often instructed in matters with a significant international dimension. Isaac is particularly noted for his experience in relation to transactions of debt-based securities such as bond sale disputes and cases concerning subordinated debt. He acts for prominent banks, financial organisations and individuals.
Strengths: "He got into the detail with the most extraordinary speed." "He has a great ability to master the detail on factually complex matters and is also extremely easy to work with."
Recent work: Acted in the Lloyds/HBOS Litigation, representing a group of current and former shareholders in Lloyds Bank in a £600 million negligence claim concerning the bank's acquisition of HBOS.


Sonia Tolaney QC

Enjoys a standing as an exceptionally talented advocate with regard to banking and finance disputes. She offers additional expertise in civil fraud and insolvency cases. Tolaney is much in demand and receives regular instruction from leading sector clients including a number of prominent national and international banks. Her specialisms in this area are myriad, but among her numerous market-leading cases are several landmark disputes relating to swaps transactions, ISDA issues and contract disputes in which she has displayed particular flair.
Strengths: "She is a superstar who is right at the top of her field. Very clever, very commercial and very user-friendly." "Sonia is extremely smart, very focused and accessible." "She's excellent. Immensely energetic and creative in her approach to legal problems."
Recent work: Acted for Deutsche Bank in proceedings related to the Lehman Brothers administration, representing the interests of subordinated bondholders in the administrations of two companies in the Lehman group.


Stephen Auld QC

Maintains a highly respected practice across a number of areas, including civil fraud, and has a focus on cases addressing complicated contractual arrangements. He has expertise in swaps, derivatives and mis-selling cases, among other matters. Auld has recently shown particular expertise acting on the side of claimants in disputes with leading financial institutions.
Strengths: "One of the recognised heavyweight barristers for difficult financial disputes." "Excellent, extremely charming and pleasant to deal with."
Recent work: Acted for Morris Groupin a £30 million claim against RBS for losses resulting from alleged misrepresentations in the sale of an interest rate hedging swap.