Commercial Litigation

Members of South Square are market-leading in several key areas, including banking and finance disputes (including structured finance and derivatives), fraud and asset recovery, security enforcement disputes, shareholder disputes and commercial arbitrations.

Banking and financial services 

High-profile commercial trials in which members of Chambers have appeared 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 judgment 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.

Structured finance, securitisation and enforcement disputes

Members of Chambers have appeared in 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 judgment on the Financial Collateral Arrangements Regulations 2003.

ISDA disputes

Members are highly experienced in derivatives disputes and ISDA-related issues.

For example, they 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).

Secondary debt trading

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

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 judgment in the Financial List, concerning the construction of LMA standard terms in relation to the sale of commitment under a surety bonds facility.

Fraud and asset recovery

Recently, we have been instructed in many major high-profile fraud cases, particularly those resulting from corporate collapses, such as the case of the UAE private healthcare group NMC, which collapsed after an alleged US$4 billion fraud. Members of Chambers continue to be involved in large ongoing fraud cases such as Abraaj, Ecclestone/Formula One and Privatbank.

Members 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 were also involved in the largest trial ever in the history of the Cayman Islands, acting in favour of Saad Investments Company Limited (SICL) in respect of a matter that has been described as the “largest Ponzi scheme the world has ever seen”.

Ongoing cases include the Greensill litigation between Credit Suisse and SoftBank, concerning a claim of up to £440 million by Credit Suisse.

Investment funds

Members are extensively involved in disputes and proceedings involving all investment funds, including hedge and investment funds, often in offshore jurisdictions. Examples include various Madoff fund disputes, SPhinX, Arbaaj and XiO.

Shareholder disputes

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.


Members also act in arbitrations worldwide under ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, ICSID and other rules.

Recent arbitrations in which Members have been involved as Counsel or as Arbitrator have included: the companies with rights to exploit significant mineral resources governed by laws of an African State; and a dispute between investors and a company in relation to the legality of the investment under Indian law and the conversion of shares purchased in the company.

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