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UK Bar Guide 2022

Ranked in 5 Practice Areas
1
Cryptocurrency
1 Years Ranked
2
Banking & Finance
9 Years Ranked
2
3
Financial Services
1 Years Ranked
Ranked in Guides

About

Provided by Nik Yeo

Practice Areas

Commercial litigation and arbitration, with an emphasis on cross-border disputes and matters concerning fintech, fraud and finance, including ‘smart contracts’ and cryptoassets, tech disputes, financial regulation, private equity, leveraged financing and shareholder disputes.

Nik is particularly strong in professional negligence (being awarded the Chambers & Partners Professional Negligence Junior of the Year in 2016) - from disputes arising from the complex valuation of securitised assets to claims against solicitors, barristers and bankers.

He also regularly litigates energy and natural resources, insurance and re-insurance disputes.

More particularly, Nik represented Lehman Brothers Inc (the US broker dealer of the Lehmans group) in a various proceedings arising out of the global financial crisis: Re Lehman Brothers (RASCALS) [2011] EWCA Civ 1544 (Ch), a leading case on the operation of the capital markets, and Re Lehman Brothers (Extended Liens) [2012] EWHC 2997 (Ch), the leading case on the nature of “liens” – an ancient form of security interest which is widely used in banking and the capital markets.

Nik has acted in a number of financial disputes involving sovereign states:

He was briefed by UK HM Treasury in the finalisation of the Asset Protection Scheme – the £1/4 trillion scheme for the protection of assets of RBS and Lloyds TSB. This was called by the press “the most complex and important mandate of the credit crunch”.

Nik represented a significant holder of Greek sovereign debt in the Greek financial crisis, where larger holders of Greek debt (large financial institutions) agreed to a restructure and to “take a haircut”, while several private holders of debt held out and challenged the validity of the restructuring.

He represented a large foreign sovereign wealth fund in a multi-billion dollar cross-border fraud claim.

Comfortable with technological-intensive disputes of all kinds, he has recently involved in a number of important cryptocurrency matters. He acted for the English crypto market maker, B2C2, in the ground-breaking, leading case of B2C2 v Quoine [2020] SGCA(I) 02, on cryptocurrency / algorithmic trading before the Singapore International Court of Appeal. It dealt with questions of knowledge in automatic algorithmic trading of cryptocurrency, and is the first trial concerning cryptocurrencies in the English law-based world (as distinct from interlocutory decisions, which do not consider matters in the same depth). The case has been described as “landmark” by the Oxford University’s Computer Science Dept. In particular it concerned application of the principles of mistake to crypto contracts executed automatically by deterministic algorithms without contemporaneous human involvement. It is therefore also relevant to the operation of “smart contracts”.

Nik also regularly acts for a leading crypto derivatives exchange, and represents a leading crypto wallet provider. He also represents a number of start-up crypto platforms, including one which is developing a DLT with far greater efficiency than blockchains. Nik regularly advises on the scope of applicable UK regulatory regimes to such platforms. Nik also acts for investors on such platforms.

Nik’s technology practice pre-dated the rise of Bitcoin – for instance, he has represented leading mobile phone manufacturers such as Nokia in various tech licensing disputes before the Courts and in arbitration.

His professional negligence practice includes acting in what the press called the “valuation trial of the century”, Gemini v CBRE and King Sturge, arising out of a £1.2 billion commercial mortgage-backed securitisation. It involved an expert report running to 13,000 pages. Nik has also acted (unled) for RBS in the leading European professional negligence case brought against a Rating Agency (Standard & Poor’s), in relation to extremely complex financial products called Constant Proportion Debt Obligations (CPDOs): McGraw-Hill v RBS [2014] EWHC 2436 (Comm).

He acted for Terra Firma (Guy Hands’ private equity group) in the Box Clever securitisation trial: IXIS v Terra Firma & WestLB, which was a claim that there had been negligence in securitisation modelling. This was one of the first securitisations to be litigated in the English courts, and was the model pilot case run by Aikens J (as he then was) for “large commercial trials”, involving innovative pre-trial “teach-ins” of the trial judge by the experts. This has given Nik significant experience of litigating novel financial structures – which experience translates very well to litigation of fintech and other crypto disputes.

Nik is also an acknowledged expert in the law of legal professional privilege, having represented clients on that issue before both the English and Caribbean courts.

Career

Called 2000. Former solicitor with Slaughter and May, London.

Professional Memberships

COMBAR, LCIA, Chancery Bar Association.

Personal

BA (Hons), LLB (Hons) (Melbourne) and BCL (Oxon).

Chambers Review

Provided by Chambers

UK Bar

Cryptocurrency - All Circuits
1
Band 1

Nik Yeo
Nik Yeo regularly advises on technology litigation and finance disputes. He has quickly established himself as a junior of choice for complex fintech cases, including cryptocurrency litigation. He offers particular expertise in algorithm-driven financing structures.

Strengths

"He is very prominent in this space and he is heavily involved advising clients on the banking side on crypto issues. " "He is really clever and hard-working."

Recent work

Acting for the claimant in B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd, a cryptocurrency and algorithmic trading case in the Singapore International Court of Appeal which dealt with questions of knowledge in automatic algorithmic trading of cryptocurrency.


Banking & Finance - London (Bar)
2
Band 2

Nik Yeo
Nik Yeo is a 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 is brilliant, charming, intelligent and hard-working." "An expert in complex banking litigation."

Recent work

Represented Société Générale in a case to enforce events of default under a loan against Industrial Union of Donbass, a Ukrainian corporation specialising in steel and agriculture. The case arises out of a multibillion-dollar fraud committed by the corporation's owners and the military action in Ukraine.


Professional Negligence - London (Bar)
2
Band 2

Nik Yeo
Nik Yeo is an esteemed commercial barrister who has a strong practice in financial sector professional negligence matters, often providing counsel in cases with high exposure. His recent work has included a number of large-scale claims against valuers, banks and liquidators.

Strengths

"He is an expert on anything related to financial products and strategically very astute."

Recent work

Represented the joint receiver-managers of a USD4 billion development in the Bahamas, defending a claim for dereliction of duty relating to their settlement of litigation with a construction firm.


Financial Services - London (Bar)
3
Band 3

Nik Yeo
Nik Yeo has wide-ranging expertise in the financial services sector, encompassing both criminal and civil cases. He regularly handles FCA investigations and compliance issues. He also advises on cryptocurrency-related regulatory issues.

Strengths

"On the technical side he really knows his stuff; you're confident whatever he does will be very good." "He's very sensible and well prepared."

Recent work

Represented FX provider Global Reach in a claim brought by a client alleging 'identity theft' committed by the client’s agent for which it sought to hold Global Reach responsible.


Commercial Dispute Resolution - London (Bar)
5
Band 5

Nik Yeo

Strengths

"Very alive to the client's concerns and comments, which is always appreciated. He is clearly very bright and very hard-working."

Recent work

Acted in Teesside Gas Transportation v CATS North Sea, a case concerning a long-running set of disputes between the parties arising out of a major North Sea pipeline. 

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