Hewlett-Packard successful against Autonomy founder Mike Lynch in one of the UK’s biggest civil fraud trials

The Chambers UK Bar team analyses the recent decision in the long-running case brought against former Autonomy chiefs, Mike Lynch and Sushovan Hussain, by tech giant Hewlett-Packard.

Published on 8 February 2022
Written by Eleanor Vickers
Eleanor Vickers

What were the accusations made against Mike Lynch by Hewlett-Packard?

The case concerned the 2011 purchase of software company Autonomy by HP in 2011 for USD11.7 billion. The following year, accusations by HP that the Autonomy accounts had been manipulated by the founder and former CEO of Autonomy, Mike Lynch, and former CFO Sushovan Hussain to inflate the sale value of the company led to an USD 8.8 billion write-down of the purchased company.  

The High Court's decision in the Hewlett-Packard legal case

Mike Lynch and Sushovan Hussain were found to have contributed to an artificially high valuation of Autonomy in the run up to HP's acquisition of the company in 2011. Mr Justice Hildyard concluded that HP had substantially succeeded in its claims after a 93-day High Court trial.

Previously dubbed Britain's answer to Bill Gates by the media, Lynch will now face criminal charges in the US after Priti Patel approved his extradition. Hussain is currently in jail in the US following a criminal conviction for fraud.  

Who were the barristers instructed on behalf of HP in the case?

A team from Travers Smith, the lawyers for HP, instructed high-flying barristers including Laurence Rabinowitz KC of One Essex Court and Patrick Goodall KC of Fountain Court Chambers.

Both are recognised in Chambers UK Bar 2022. Ranked as a Star Individual, Rabinovitz is a former Commercial Litigation Silk of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards and is thought by solicitors to be a go-to for the biggest, most complex cases. Goodall is included in four legal ranking tables, including Commercial Dispute Resolution, and is known for his commercial approach.

He is said to be forceful in court. One Essex Court's Emma Jones acted as one of the junior counsel for HP and is listed in the Chambers UK Bar 2022 Commercial Dispute Resolution legal rankings. Her written and oral advocacy is superb, a source told us.

Others involved in the case include One Essex Court members Conall Patton KC, James Fox and Ben Zelenka Martin and Max Schaefer of Brick Court Chambers

Who were the barristers acting for Mike Lynch and Sushovan Hussain?

Sushovan Hussain was represented by Simmons & Simmons and the firm instructed Paul Casey of Fountain Court Chambers to appear at trial. Richard Lissack KC and Robin Barclay KC acted for Hussain at an earlier stage. Mike Lynch was represented by Clifford Chance and a team from 4 Stone Buildings, including the really impressive Richard Hill KC, the brilliant Sharif Shivji KC - a former winner of the Chambers & Partners Commercial Litigation Junior of the Year award and now listed in eight practice areas in Chambers UK Bar 2022 - and Tom Gentleman and Zara McGlone. 

The Chambers UK Bar Guide 2022 provides market leading reviews and analysis of barristers working in the civil fraud and commercial areas in the Fraud: Civil and Commercial Dispute Resolution ranking tables.     

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The Chambers UK team has also written a Legal Topics article highlighting the UK solicitors who represented both sides in the case. Click here to read the article.

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