Commercial Litigation

Market leading legal expertise for your peace of mind

When embarking on complex, high-stakes commercial litigation, you need to know that you are working with the very brightest and best legal minds. The South Square brand gives you that reassurance in abundance.

Our intellectually rigorous, commercially astute, and highly experienced barristers lead the market in all the key areas of commercial litigation. These include banking and finance disputes, fraud and asset recovery, security enforcement disputes, shareholder disputes and commercial arbitrations.

From leading roles in litigating some of the most high-profile international cases in recent years – including that of the “largest Ponzi scheme the world has ever seen”, which also involved the biggest trial in the history of the Cayman Islands – to acting in cases of mid-market commercial litigation before the UK courts: our team of silks and juniors has the breadth and depth of experience to handle any matter with the consummate professionalism, subject-matter expertise and assurance that you would expect from a world-class set.


Commercial Litigation – Fraud and asset recovery

Our pre-eminence in the insolvency market means that we are instructed in many major fraud cases, particularly those resulting from corporate collapses.

Notable cases include that of the UAE private healthcare group NMC, which collapsed after an alleged US$5 billion fraud. Our barristers continue to be involved in large, ongoing fraud cases such as Abraaj, Ecclestone/Formula One, London Capital Finance, a 24 week trial, and Privatbank.

We have also been instructed in numerous leading cases on freezing injunctions, such as AA v BB [2020] EWHC 2463 (Ch), [2021] EWCA Civ 1017 (impact of a restraint order under POCA on the risk of dissipation in the context of a worldwide freezing order) and AA v BB [2021] EWHC 1833 (Ch) (effect of ‘reasonable legal expenses’ exception in standard freezing order wording). Members of our team were also involved in the largest trial in the history of the Cayman Islands, acting in favour of Saad Investments Company Limited.

Our extensive list of ongoing, high-profile cases includes the Greensill litigation between Credit Suisse and SoftBank, which concerns a claim of up to £440 million by Credit Suisse.


Commercial Litigation – Banking and Financial Services

Our members have played crucial roles in some of the most significant and well-publicised commercial trials of recent times. These include:

  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Ltd v Euler Hermes Europe SA (NV) [2019] EWHC 2250 (Comm), an expedited claim by SMBCE to call a performance and retention bond in connection with a PFI contract;
  • Banco San Juan v PDVSA [2020] EWHC 2145 (Comm) and [2020] EWHC 2937 (Comm), a summary judgement application against the Venezuelan state oil company. The court rejected a non-payment defence based on US sanctions and a penalty clause defence in respect of a spens clause; and
  • IS Prime v TF Global Markets (UK) Limited [2021] Bus LR 493 and [2022] EWHC 1004 (Comm), a series of judgments concerning the Arbitration Act 1996, the ‘passing on’ defence in unjust enrichment and when a fiduciary duty is owed between brokers transacting in currencies and index swaps.


Commercial Litigation – Structured Finance, Securitisation and Enforcement Disputes

We have acted in numerous important disputes involving structured finance, securitisation and security enforcement, including:

  • Galapagos Bidco Sarl v Kebekus [2021] EWHC 68 (Ch), a dispute over enforcement under the inter-creditor agreement;
  • Saltri III v MD Mezzanine SICAR [2013] 2 BCLC 217, a case regarding the rights and duties of security trustees and duties owed to junior lenders; and
  • ABT Auto v Aapico [2022] EWHC 2839 (Comm), an important judgement on the Financial Collateral Arrangements Regulations 2003.


Commercial Litigation – ISDA disputes

Our team is highly experienced in derivatives disputes and ISDA-related issues. For example, our barristers have acted in:

  • Grant v FR Acquisitions Corporation (Europe) Ltd [2022] Bus LR 1283
  • Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe), Lomas v JFB Firth Rixson [2012] EWCA Civ 419; and
  • Olympia Securities [2017] EWHC 2807 (Ch) (on the meaning of “financial institution” and the ability to close-out under the ISDA Master Agreement where an Event of Default had occurred).


Commercial Litigation – Secondary Debt Trading

South Square members have appeared in most decided cases concerning secondary debt trades under the LMA terms, and regularly advise on all issues relating to these trades. Notable cases include:

  • VR Global Partners LP v Exotix Partners LP [2017] EWHC 2620 (Comm), on the validity of the exercise of unwind option under LMA debt trade; and
  • GSO Credit Partners v Barclays Bank [2017] 1 All ER (Comm) 421, the first judgement in the Financial List, concerning the construction of LMA standard terms in relation to the sale of commitment under a surety bonds facility.


Commercial Litigation – Investment Funds

Our barristers and silks can often be found taking the lead in disputes and proceedings involving all investment funds. These include hedge and investment funds, many of them in offshore jurisdictions. Examples include various Madoff fund disputes, SPhinX, Arbaaj and XiO.


Commercial Litigation – Shareholder Disputes

South Square members are frequently instructed in shareholder disputes and other contentious corporate matters, such as NDK Ltd v HUO Holding Ltd [2022] EWHC 1682 (Comm), which involved a joint venture to operate a Russian coal mine.

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“Incredible members at the top of their game.”


“An unrivalled collection of the best talents currently at the Bar”


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If you wish to consider engaging any member or associate member of South Square as an arbitrator or mediator or as Counsel in an arbitration or mediation, please contact

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