Riz Mokal Called to the Bar 1997

Riz accepts instructions in all aspects of domestic and cross-border insolvency, restructuring, bank resolution, company, commercial, and trust law, and in general commercial litigation.

He regularly appears unled in the High Court (including the Interim Applications Court) and county courts in a broad range of matters, including in relation to winding-up and bankruptcy petitions, administration applications, receivership, company restoration and dissolution, registration of charges, possession orders, injunctions, and public examinations under the insolvency legislation. He also acts as an expert witness on all aspects of international and comparative insolvency and commercial law matters.

Some of the matters in which he is or has recently been involved include:

  • Arbitration against a sovereign state brought under the Energy Charter Treaty and the UNCITRAL Rules relating to an alleged expropriation — currently instructed as an expert witness on international and comparative bankruptcy law
  • Lady Moon SPV srl v Petricca & Co Capital Ltd [2019] EWHC 439 (Ch) — instructed with Tom Smith QC in relation to a challenge to the English Court’s jurisdiction in relation to proceedings against the English fund manager of an Italian alternative investment fund
  • Lady Moon SPV srl v Petricca & Co Capital Ltd [2018] 12 WLUK 117 — instructed on behalf of the claimant on an application to ‘roll-up’ the hearing of the substantive claim together with the defendant’s challenge to the English Court’s jurisdiction
  • Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (2016-2018, High Court in London) — instructed with David Allison QC on behalf of Wentworth in relation to (i) the treatment of claims by Barclays Capital Inc.; the matter involves questions relating to the MiFID / CASS regime, set-off, statutory interest, and a range of equitable doctrines; and (ii) the statutory interest ‘Lacuna’ application
  • Re Z Trust [2018] JRC 119 and [2018] JRC 164 (Royal Court of Jersey) — instructed with Tom Smith QC on behalf of the current trustee (the treatment of insolvent trusts and the rights of the beneficiaries, creditors, and current and former trustees)
  • Beaufort Asset Clearing Ltd & Beaufort Securities Ltd (2018, High Court in London, sitting in private on a without notice application) — instructed first with Tom Smith QC and then with Gabriel Moss QC on behalf of the Financial Conduct Authority (to place an investment bank in the special administration regime, and an associated entity in administration).
  • Re Webinvest Ltd [2018] BPIR 182 — instructed with Antony Zacaroli QC on behalf of the insolvency officeholders (insolvency officeholder conflicts of duty; use of material compulsorily obtained under Insolvency Act powers; disclosure; privilege)
  • Re Ocean Rig UDW Inc (FSD 100-103 of 2017, Grand Court of the Cayman Islands) — instructed with Antony Zacaroli QC on behalf of lenders in relation to a successful restructuring through schemes of arrangement

 

Riz completed his pupillage at South Square in 2005, was an academic member of Chambers for the subsequent decade, and joined as a practicing member in September 2016.

From 2009 to 2013, Riz served as Senior Counsel to the World Bank and Head of the Bank’s Global Initiative on Insolvency and Creditor/Debtor Regimes. In this capacity, and subsequently as a Consulting Counsel to the Bank, he has worked at the invitation of and with the Governments of eighteen countries in Africa (Egypt, Kenya), Asia (Bangladesh, Mongolia, Pakistan, Vietnam), Europe (Belarus, Croatia, Kosovo, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine), and the Middle East (Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey) on reform of insolvency and creditor/debtor systems. This work involves policy analyses of existing laws and practices, the development of new legislation, and the training of judges, lawyers, insolvency practitioners, central bankers, and other stakeholders. Also as part of this work, Riz co-authored several World Bank and joint International Monetary Fund / World Bank policy documents which are characteristically confidential to the respective Government, one of which (prepared for the Government of Belarus) was the recipient of a 2012 World Bank Team Award.

As leader of the World Bank’s delegation to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (‘UNCITRAL’) from 2009 to 2013 and as independent expert member of the UK delegation from 2013 to 2017, Riz was part of the group that negotiated and authored the new UNCITRAL model laws on the enforcement of insolvency-related judgments and on the cross-border insolvency of enterprise groups, as well as the revised guide to interpretation of the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency and the treatment in the Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law of directors’ duties in the period approaching insolvency. He also played a key role in the process to update the bankruptcy treatment of financial contracts provided for in the World Bank’s Principles on Effective Insolvency and Creditor/Debtor Rights Systems. He was also commissioned by the International Association of Insolvency Regulators to draft the Principles for the Regulatory Regime for Insolvency Practitioners (2018), whose purpose is “to assist national policymakers seeking to create or strengthen the regulation of insolvency practitioners in their jurisdiction”.

Riz held the Chair of Law and Legal Theory at University College London until 2016 and, upon resigning the Chair to take up practice, was appointed an Honorary Professor. He was a Visiting Professor in Law at the University of Florence from 2015 to 2018, and a Research Associate at Cambridge University’s Centre for Business Research from 2003 to 2007.

He is the author or co-author of three books and a contributor to three others on English and comparative bankruptcy and restructuring laws, and the author or co-author of over two dozen scholarly articles in leading law journals (including the Modern Law Review, the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, the Cambridge Law Journal, Legal Studies, the Singapore Academy of Law Journal, and the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies) on financial sector regulation; insolvency, bankruptcy, and restructuring; property and trusts; and legal theory. His scholarly work has been cited with approval by several courts, including the House of Lords, the Australian High Court, and the Courts of Appeal of England & Wales, New Zealand, Ontario, and Victoria, and in around 150 scholarly journals around the world. This work has also influenced law reform in the UK and elsewhere. Most recently, a new ‘creditor best interest’ test and a new ‘relative priority rule’ advocated in Stanghellini, Mokal, Paulus, and Tirado (2018) were incorporated in the forthcoming European Union Directive on Preventive Restructuring Frameworks (2019).

Riz is one of eight UK-based Fellows of the American College of Bankruptcy (since 2019), and a member of each of the following invitation-only organisations: the World Bank’s Global Task Force on Insolvency Law (since 2009), the International Insolvency Institute (since 2014), the Bowen Island Group (since 2015), and the International Exchange of Experience on Insolvency Law (since 2017).

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