Senior Partners: Anthony Riem, Trevor Mascarenhas
Number of partners: 7
Assistant solicitors: 9
Other fee-earners: 8
Fraud & Asset Recovery: Anthony Riem
Litigation & Arbitration: Trevor Mascarenhas
PCB is a conflict-free specialist dispute resolution practice, handling complex multi-jurisdictional litigation, arbitration and investigations over a wide variety of industry sectors. Based in London, PCB utilises a network of lawyers spanning the globe, and has been involved in some of the largest and most high profile disputes in recent years, as well as cases at the cutting edge of the law.
The firm prides itself on delivering an exceptional service and its ability to handle any major commercial dispute against any opponent. The lateral thinking and creativity of the firm and its partners, who take a hands on approach to cases, often finds the winning solution for clients where others have failed. The firm always challenges itself to add value and to handle matters efficiently, cost-effectively and to remove as far as possible the stresses and strains of clients. Above all, the firm wants to achieve a successful commercial outcome for clients.
In June 2020, PCB entered into an innovative capital transaction with the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law, Burford Capital, pursuant to which Burford agreed a portfolio-financing arrangement and took a 32% equity stake in the firm’s success overall by making capital available. A first of its kind in the legal world, this novel structure enables Burford and PCB respectively to leverage their innovative approach to portfolio financing and their dispute resolution expertise to provide a world class cost-effective integrated service to clients. Given the additional financial challenges that parties may face in bringing claims and with distressed debt (not least following the pandemic), access to justice and unlocking value is of more importance now than ever.
Founded in 1979, PCB has built a formidable reputation in fraud and asset recovery cases, which represent some of the most high-pressured and challenging disputes. The skills that the firm has honed in dealing with such cases have in recent years led to the expansion of other practice areas of the firm, most notably in banking litigation, insolvency and restructuring, international arbitration, commercial litigation and white collar crime and investigations more generally.
PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK
Banking Litigation: Acting both for and against banks and other financial institutions, including investigating and bringing claims in respect of failed banks against former controllers, as well as handling claims against banks in respect of breaches of regulatory requirements. PCB is currently instructed in a major dispute between Russia’s two largest banks and is also involved in advising banks on solutions to their portfolios of non-performing loans.
Claimant Fraud and Asset Recovery: PCB is without doubt one of the world’s leading fraud and asset recovery firms, as recognised by the major directories. The firm’s strength lies in developing and implementing strategies, often involving simultaneous freezing/receivership orders in multiple jurisdictions, combined with search orders or other disclosure orders. PCB is dealing with the multi-jurisdictional enforcement of the UK’s largest ever divorce award. PCB is also acting for a major insurance company in fraudulent misrepresentation claims against various rogue traders.
Commercial Litigation: PCB has a wealth of experience in dealing with high-value, complex and heavily contested commercial litigation cases. A number of its cases have been selected over the years by The Lawyer as being in their top 20. From company and joint venture disputes to breach of contract and professional negligence claims, often involving substantial jurisdictional challenges. PCB is currently involved in an insurance/ reinsurance claim arising from the loss of a large industrial factory due to the Syrian conflict.
Fraud Defence: PCB is renowned for its expertise in defending clients faced with allegations of deceit, conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty and other allegations of dishonesty, unjust conduct and unconscionability. It has also acted for numerous defendants faced with allegations of fraud, and who are often also faced with freezing orders and other interim relief and committal proceedings. Those defendants may have been put “on the back foot” early in the process, and often feel that the court is against them in making various, sometimes draconian, orders. PCB look at how to put the client “on the front foot”. In 2020, PCB have been representing Walid Giahmi in the latest claim brought by the Libyan Investment Authority (after successfully challenging jurisdiction in respect of the previous claim in 2019), and are also representing one of the defendants in a substantial dispute concerning the ownership of an international fishing group.
Insolvency & Restructuring: Using the insolvency process to put parties into bankruptcy as well as dealing with cross-border recognition, the use of insolvency discovery powers and claims arising from insolvency, including for misfeasance and transactions to put assets beyond the reach of creditors. PCB have dealt with some of the largest insolvency cases in the English Courts of recent years. It is currently involved in section 423 proceedings concerning the recovery of assets transferred to Liechtenstein trusts.
International Arbitration: Ad hoc and institutional arbitrations, in London and overseas, as well as injunctive relief in support of arbitration, enforcement and challenges to awards and enforcement. In 2019, one of the firm’s partners received the Client Choice Award for arbitration and ADR. PCB has been acting for a stateowned bank in relation to interim relief granted in support of LCIA arbitrations, and it has also been instructed to commence arbitration proceedings under the LCIA Rules for claims in the sum of US$80 million for breach of contract in connection with the payment of Loan Notes.
White Collar Crime & Investigations: Lawyers to multinational companies, international organisations, financial institutions, senior officers and directors, sovereign states and high-ranking public officials, and inhouse counsel, the firm works across jurisdictions advising on all areas connected with bribery and corruption, economic sanctions, money laundering, terrorist financing and fraud. The firm’s extensive disputes experience allows it to provide clients with strategic advice to address the legal, procedural, operational and reputational aspects of regulatory issues and investigations. It offers services in all areas of financial crime: anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering, sanctions, investigations and fraud.