Stephen has been litigating for over 30 years and has immense experience of a wide range of both domestic and international commercial disputes. He was Head of the Dispute Resolution Department for six years from 2012, completing the maximum two terms in the role and overseeing the significant development and growth of the practice during this period.
His clients include major corporations and banks, asset managers, directors and professionals. He is one of a handful of senior litigators in London and he and the team are one of the few to whom other firms routinely refer complex cases when they have a conflict. He has been the lead lawyer in many of the very significant, sizeable and challenging cases that we have handled over recent years, and is highly valued by colleagues and clients alike for his strategic input and tactical nous.
He has experience in several sectors and types of cases – banking, financial markets, freezing injunctions, insolvency, insurance, fraud, M&A disputes, and shareholder disputes amongst others. He is noted for being quick to master the facts, straightforward to deal with, technically very sound, astute, calm even in adversity, with a robust and independent mind-set, good with clients, reliable, practical, and with good judgement. He is adept at project managing sizeable cross-disciplinary and on occasions cross-jurisdictional teams.
As well as straight court cases Stephen has extensive experience of mediations and arbitrations (LCIA, ICC and ad hoc) and he has project-managed several complex cross border disputes, often involving litigation overseas.
In addition to heading the teams on many heavyweight commercial litigation cases Stephen is a member of the firm´s Regulatory Investigations Group. He has represented senior executives, corporations and financial institutions in connection with a large number of FCA investigations and enforcement cases. He has also undertaken many internal investigations for clients where something has gone wrong.
Recent and current matters include:
- representing Kaupthing and Jóhannes Rúnar Jóhannsson in two Commercial court cases in which the Tchenguiz brothers are claiming damages of £3 billion for an alleged unlawful conspiracy to mislead the SFO;
- advising clients in relation to a freezing injunction and disclosure order obtained in the Commercial Court by Kazakh bank BTA against our clients, which arose out of the long running dispute between BTA Bank and Mr Ablyazov;
- advising a client in connection with potential recoveries and civil claims arising from an £8m fraud by the former finance director, including asserting claims against the company's auditors for negligence in failing to detect the fraud;
- acting for a global bank on an FCA investigation and subsequent enforcement proceedings relating to its anti-money laundering systems and controls concerning politically exposed persons and high risk customers.
Stephen is highly ranked by the legal directories with the most recent edition of Chambers and Partners placing him alongside seven other individuals in the top tier of the Litigation category. One interviewee said that Stephen is "just what a senior City litigator should be" in that "he has very sound judgement, does not get bogged down in details while still taking them on board, and is an excellent leader of his team." Another said "He was very calm, but we got a strong and clear sense he'd go into the trenches if that's what was required."