Richard Fisher QC QC 2020, Called to the Bar 2000
Richard was called to the Bar in 2000 and has a commercial dispute focused practice with a particular specialism in restructuring and insolvency, banking, fraud and financial products litigation. He regularly acts in relation to multi-jurisdictional and complex commercial disputes, and is a member of the BVI bar.
In recent years Richard has appeared in various substantial and high-profile cases in England at all levels of tribunal up to the Supreme Court, including almost all of the disputes arising out of the Lehman Brothers insolvency (including the Waterfall I, II and LBHI2 proceedings). He has acted in relation to many of the major UK and international insolvencies and restructurings (including Arcadia, House of Fraser, Debenhams, International Bank of Azerbaijan, Noble Group, Codere SA), and has been involved in several long commercial trials in the UK and Cayman Islands.
Richard was regularly recommended by the legal directories as one of the leading juniors in the city in numerous practice areas, and is now recommended as leading counsel in the following areas: commercial/chancery litigation; banking and finance; fraud (civil); offshore; insolvency and restructuring.
Recent directory comments have included: “Always very, very sound in his judgement, he is bright, quick on his feet, and someone who has the ability to deal with judges’ questions in a very assured manner”, “He has outstanding knowledge and provides concise advice”, “His quick grasp of complex factual and legal issues and provision of clear advice has been nothing short of exceptional. His appointment as Queen’s Counsel is testament to his outstanding knowledge and abilities”, “On our top list when it comes to complex multi-jurisdictional insolvency matters”, and “he is not just smart, he is also really proactive and can anticipate his clients’ needs in a really commercial way.”
Richard has extensive experience of both contentious and non-contentious corporate insolvency work. Recent instructions include leading the team advising Arcadia and its administrators, defending the Pizza Express and YO! Sushi CVAs, acting for Debenhams (and then its administrators), and advising and acting for various banks and hedge-funds involved in the Lehman Waterfall I and II, and LBHI2, proceedings. Richard has a particular specialism in domestic and international corporate reconstructions (involving the use of schemes of arrangement, CVAs and restructuring plans), and the application of the EC Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings/the Uncitral Model Law (including Re OJSC International Bank of Azerbaijan).
Other notable matters in which Richard has been instructed include House of Fraser, MF Global, the Motlyev bankruptcy, Four Seasons Group, the Noble Group, Codere SA, the IMO/Bluebrook Group, the Federal Mogul Group, the Cattles Group and the Telecolumbus Group, and the Co-Operative Bank. Richard acts both for companies and creditors (supporting and opposing/challenging restructurings).
Reported cases include:
- Discovery (Northampton) Ltd v Debenhams Retail Ltd  BCC 9 and  BPIR 1378; unfair prejudice challenge to use of a CVA to restructure leasehold estates.
- Re Debenhams Retail Ltd  BUS LR 788; consideration of whether contracts of employment of employees placed on government furlough scheme were adopted by the administrators for the purpose of Schedule B1 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
- Re OJSC International Bank of Azerbaijan  Bus LR 1130; potential use of the Uncitral Model Law to seek to give effect to a foreign restructuring of English law governed debt
- Lehman Bros Scheme  BCC 115; scheme of arrangement used to effect final compromise of creditor claims against LBIE
- Re MF Global (German Tax issues)  1 BCLC 649); disputed stay application raising difficult issues relating to the scope and application of the rule against double proof
- House of Fraser  EWHC 1906 and 2663 (Ch); use of schemes and CVA to restructuring landlord portfolio
- Waterfall I  Ch 50, concerning whether currency conversion claims rank as non-provable claims in an insolvency
- Waterfall II  Bus LR 17 and  BPIR 1162, concerning various issues relating to the interpretation of the interest provisions in the Insolvency Rules 1986, and the effect of post-administration agreements entered into by the Lehman administrators with creditors on claims to interest/non-provable claims
- Kemsley v Barclays Bank  BPIR 839, concerning the availability of anti-suit injunctive relief in support of domestic insolvency proceedings
- BNY Corporate Trustee Services v Euosail-UK 2007-3BL  1 WLR 1408 (SC), meaning of balance sheet insolvency for the purpose of section 123(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986
- Mills v HSBC  1 AC 804 (SC), interplay between the rule against double proof and the rule in Cherry v Boultbee Re Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander  BPIR 539 (CA), correct interpretation and application of the Insolvency Rules relating to set-off in respect of future liabilities
- Re IMO/Bluebrook  1 BCLC 338, contentious scheme involving valuation issues and the acquisition of the debtor’s business by senior creditors using a debt for equity swap
- Hague and Pricewaterhousecoopers v Nam Tai Electronics  UKPC 13, ability of dissatisfied creditors to bring claims directly against office holders
- Re Cheyne Finance  2 All ER 987, meaning and scope of commercial insolvency within section 123 of the Insolvency Act 1986
- Re Cape  2 BCLC 546, whether schemes of arrangement can include self-amendment provisions
- Re T&N  1 WLR 1728, ability of schemes and CVAs to bind contingent creditors in the context of large scale asbestos liabilities
Richard regularly advises on and conducts litigation in relation to issues arising from structured finance documentation, and disputes between different classes of noteholders. He has acted in all of the Lehman disputes regarding ranking/priority and proof issues. Having acted in the consolidated Firth Rixson appeal concerning the ISDA master agreement, Richard has increasingly been instructed in relation to general derivative disputes and, in particular, close-out calculations. He regularly appears in the Commercial Court or Financial List dealing with commercial disputes between funds and banks.
Recent cases include:
- Re Lehman Brothers Holdings Plc/LBHI2  EWHC 1681: disputed claim regarding ranking, rectification and proof of future debts.
- Cyrus v Oceanwood (2019): derivatives dispute raising significant issues regarding the meaning and application of the Market Abuse Regulation
- Re LBHI2 (2019): ranking dispute relating to various debt instruments issued by the Lehman estate
- Re Lehman Brother International Europe  Bus LR 667, correct interpretation of CASS 7 (client money protection) rules
- LB RE Financing No 3 v Excalibur Funding No 1  EWHC 2111 (Ch), correct construction of the terms of issue of a series of CDOs, and whether an event of default had occurred
- Lomas v JRF Firth Rixson  2 Lloyd’s Rep 548, interpretation of section 2(a)(iii) of the ISDA Master Agreement, and infringement of the anti-deprivation principle
- Re Cattles  2 BCLC 712, proper interpretation of a non-compete clause within a corporate group cross guarantee Mills v HSBC Trustee (CI)  1 AC 804, proper interpretation of a multi-party guarantee and subordination agreement, and the application of the rule in Cherry v Boultbee
- Bank of New York v Montana  EWHC 1594 (Ch), correct construction of security documentation relating to the Orion SIV
- Re Save Group Robinson v AIG  1 BCLC 1, enforceability of multi-party subordination agreements and their effect on inter-company proofs
Richard continues to be involved in substantial commercial litigation and asset recovery proceedings, with litigation taking place in various jurisdictions. Richard regularly acts for the Society of Lloyd’s in relation to disputes with members and others. Having acted for the Brunei Investment Agency for many years in relation to its disputes with Prince Jefri, he spent large periods of time acting in relation to the IPOC litigation, the Tchigirinsky v Sibir Energy dispute and aspects of BTA Bank v Ablyazov. Richard has spent a significant period of time engaged in litigation in off-shore jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands and BVI. Current instructions include a Cayman Islands $2b claim being brought by liquidators of a Madoff feeder fund for breach of duty against its former custodian and administrator (Primeo v HSBC), and the SFO v Smith fraud claim, where Richard acts for the Viscount of Jersey in significant litigation before the English Commercial Court.
Richard’s instructions frequently involve obtaining or defending injunctive relief, the appointment of inspectors/receivers and judgment enforcement issues (including sovereign immunity).
Significant cases include:
- SFO v Litigation Capital Ltd  EWHC 788 (Comm); fraud and tracing claims pursued by various parties against assets located in the UK and Jersey.
- Primeo v HSBC (2019): $2b claim against HSBC for breach of duty acting as administrator and custodian of a Cayman Islands investment fund placing funds with Madoff in New York.
- Cyrus v Oceanwood (2019): derivatives dispute raising significant issues regarding the meaning and application of the Market Abuse Regulation. 4 month trial in 2016/2017, 2 week appeal 2018
- SerVaas Incorporated v Rafidain Bank  1 AC 595 (SC), judgment enforcement and state immunity
- Snoras Bank v Antonov  EWHC (Comm) 131, freezing orders, compelled information and the right to silence
- Lomas v JRF Firth Rixson  2 Lloyd’s Rep 548, interpretation of Section 2(a)(iii) of the ISDA Master Agreement, and infringement of the anti-deprivation principle
- BNY Corporate Trustee Services v Euosail-UK 2007-3B  1 WLR 1408 (SC), construction of terms and events of default in a CMBS transaction
- Brunei Investment Agency v Bolkiah  UKPC 62, construction/enforcement of settlement agreements
Richard undertakes general company law advice and has particular experience in respect of domestic, Cayman, BVI and Bermudian shareholder disputes, including unfair prejudice petitions, just and equitable winding-up petitions, redemption issues and the appointment of company inspectors.
Significant offshore litigation in respect of which Richard has been instructed includes Re Fortuna Development Corporation (Cayman Islands), regarding the stay/strike out of a just and equitable winding-up petition and subsequent satellite litigation, and Primeo v HSBC (Cayman Islands), regarding the duties of fund administrators and custodians.
|Chambers & Partners||Leading junior for Commercial Chancery, Insolvency/Restructuring and Banking/finance|
|Legal 500||Leading junior for Commercial Chancery, Insolvency, and Banking/finance|
|2020||Appointed Queen’s Counsel|
|2009||Called to Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court|
|2002-2007||Tutor in Insolvency Law, University of London LLM|
|2000||Called to Bar of England and Wales|
Contributor to Cross-Border Insolvency Fourth Edition (Sheldon, Bloomsbury, 2015)
Contributor to Mortimore, Directors Duties, Fourth Edition (forthcoming) (Arnold, OUP)
|1999||Oxford University, BCL, First Class|
|1998||University College London, LLB, First Class|