View Short CV

Practice Summary

Simon Colton QC undertakes a broad range of commercial litigation and arbitration. He has substantial experience in very large-scale and multi-jurisdictional litigation, often involving complex questions of jurisdiction and conflicts of laws and foreign law issues.  He has particular expertise in audit negligence, and in the fields of civil procedure, damages, and the law of economic torts and restitution for unjust enrichment.

Recent high-profile cases include Sabbagh v Khoury, in which Simon has acted for the claimant since 2013; Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton, where Simon is leading counsel for the Serious Fraud Office; Banco Santander Totta v Carris, the first Financial List trial, in which he acted for the successful claimant at first instance and in the Court of Appeal; and Berezovsky v Abramovich, in which Simon acted for Boris Berezovsky from 2009 to 2012.

Simon is recommended by Chambers and Partners in Commercial Dispute Resolution: [2018] "He's a real expert in the law of restitution and is very user-friendly", "He displays excellent written work and advocacy skills, and is brilliant at dealing with the client"; [2017] “Exceptionally intelligent and incisive, he's versatile and a talented communicator", "A fantastic team player who gets to the heart of issues with speed and clarity" . Simon is also recommended by the Legal 500 in Commercial Litigation: [2018-19] ‘An excellent junior silk who represents the next generation.’; [2017] "Thoroughly brilliant; a persuasive advocate and a nice man to deal with"; [2016] “Clever, efficient, nimble and a delight to work with; he should make it to the very top”.

Simon appears regularly before a range of tribunals, most frequently the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal, either alone or as part of a team.  He is comfortable working in Italian and in French, and accepts work involving instructions and documents in those languages.

Simon has given expert evidence on English law for the purpose of foreign proceedings conducted in the United States, Israel and Thailand. In addition to written reports, he has been cross-examined in Israel, and deposed in US proceedings

Simon was formerly a member of the Attorney-General’s ‘A’ Panel of Junior Counsel, and has continued to appear as Leading Counsel for a range of Government departments in a number of commercial matters.

Simon is a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit, deployed to sit in family matters, and is Vice-Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee of the Bar Standards Board.

Simon is the specialist editor of the three chapters on procedure in the 20th (2017) edition of McGregor on Damages, the leading practitioner text.

EXAMPLES OF RECENT CASES

  • Commercial Litigation

    Add to Portfolio
    • AssetCo plc v. Grant Thornton LLP UK LLP [2019] EWHC 150 (Comm)
      Appearing (with David Wolfson QC) for the defendant in an audit negligence claim.  Following a 12 day trial, the Commercial Court handed down a 1274 paragraph judgment considering numerous areas in the law of audit negligence and damages, including the duties owed by auditors; the 'loss of a chance' doctrine; intervening acts and the 'very thing' principle; and issues of contributory fault.
    • Benkel v East-West German Real Estate Holding; Re Eliezer Fishman [2019] EWHC 117 (Ch)
      Appearing for an Israeli trustee in bankruptcy in claims against alleged trustees of assets of the bankrupt. The proceedings include a successful ex parte application for recognition under the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations 2006; obtaining ex parte, and defending, an interim proprietary injunction; and obtaining an ex parte receivership order over shares in a foreign company owned by the first defendant.
    • Boots UK Ltd v Severn Trent Water Ltd [2018] EWHC 53 (Comm); [2018] EWCA Civ 2795
      Appearing for the successful defendant utility company in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal, successfully resisting a £20 million action for restitution for unjust enrichment. Issues include the interpretation of a series of Water Acts and of the defendant’s Charges Schemes, and applicable limitation periods.
    • Sabbagh v. Khoury [2014] EWHC 3233 (Comm); [2017] EWCA Civ 1120; [2017] EWHC 3137 (Comm); [2018] EWHC 1330 (Comm) 
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and others) in a Commercial Court action for conspiracy under Lebanese law in which damages in excess of US$600 million are claimed. At a 5 day jurisdiction hearing in July 2014, Simon dealt with all Brussels Regulation issues on behalf of the Claimant. Simon also acted to secure an anti-arbitration injunction, preventing the continuation of an arbitration seated in Lebanon.
    • Tchenguiz v. Grant Thornton [2017] EWHC 1284 (Comm); [2017] EWHC 2644 (Comm)
      Appearing as Leading Counsel for the Serious Fraud Office, in the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal, in long-running applications under which permission was sought by the parties to use disclosure given, and witness statements served, by the SFO in earlier litigation.
    • Banco Santander Totta v. Carris and others [2016] EWHC 465 (Comm); [2016] EWCA Civ 1267
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and John Odgers QC) for the claimant in five related Commercial Court actions against Portuguese transport companies, arising out of swaps concluded between 2005 and 2007, with mark-to-market values at trial of approximately €1.3 billion. Following the first Financial List trial, lasting six weeks, judgment was entered for the claimant, confirming the validity and enforceability of all swaps. The judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal in December 2016.
    • Deutsche Alternative Asset Management (UK) Ltd
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC) for the defendant to a claim for in excess of €158 million arising out of the management of an investment fund. The proceedings settled in early 2017.
    • Winkler v. Shamoon [2016] EWHC 217 (Ch)
      Appearing for the claimant in a 4 day jurisdiction hearing on a very substantial Chancery Division dispute as to the ownership of shares.  Issues of jurisdiction and governing law, as well as questions of proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts, Israeli law and BVI law arose.
    • Tchenguiz v. Director of the Serious Fraud Office; Rawlinson and Hunter Trustees v. same [2013] EWHC 1578 (QB); [2013] EWHC 2128 (QB); [2014] EWHC 1102 (Comm) 
      Appearing (led by James Eadie QC, Dominic Dowley QC and Charles Graham QC) on behalf of the SFO, defending claims for sums in excess of £200 million.  Allegations included misfeasance in public office, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and trespass.
    • Starbev GP Ltd v. Interbrew Central European Holding BV [2013] EWHC 4038 (Comm); [2014] EWHC 1311 (Comm); [2014] EWHC 2863 (Comm); [2016] EWCA Civ 449
      Appearing at first instance and on appeal (with Lord Grabiner QC) for a private equity-sponsored Limited Partnership in its Commercial Court dispute with the world's largest brewer, arising out of the US$3.5 billion sale of a Central and Eastern European brewing business. Issues of contractual construction and estoppel by convention arise, with in excess of 100 million euros at stake.
    • BHP Billiton Petroleum GB Ltd and ors v. E.ON UK PLC
      Appearing (with Charles Hollander QC) on behalf of the Buyer in a Commercial Court dispute relating to the interpretation and possible rectification of Gas Sales Agreements, with sums at stake in the hundreds of millions of pounds.  After a 3 day hearing, the case settled before judgment.
    • JD Wetherspoon v. Harris and ors [2013] EWHC 1088 (Ch)
      Appearing (with John Wardell QC) for a property developer resisting an ongoing multi-million pound claim for dishonest assistance and bribery.
    • Boris Berezovsky v. Roman Abramovich [2010] EWHC 647 (Comm); [2010] EWHC 1511 (Comm); [2010] EWHC 2044 (Ch); [2010] EWHC 2010 (Comm); [2011] EWCA Civ 153; [2011] EWCACiv 484; [2012] EWHC 2463 (Comm)
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and Richard Gillis QC) in a 43 day trial, following numerous and substantial interim applications and appeals, resulting from proceedings claiming damages in excess of $4 billion.  The trial involved complex issues of fact and foreign (Russian) law, in addition to legal issues including the tort of intimidation and choice of law for torts, contracts and trusts.  Also appearing in related litigation.
    • BTA v. Ablyazov, Granton Trade Ltd & Ors [2010] EWHC 2219 (Comm); [2010] EWHC 2577 (Comm); [2011] EWHC 470 (Comm)
      Appearing for a number of foreign defendants in proceedings resisting a Kazakh law claim against them seeking damages in excess of $1 billion.  Interim applications related to jurisdiction and to the construction and effect of freezing orders.
    • ING Bank v. Ros Roca SA [2010] EWHC 50 (Comm); [2011] EWCA Civ 353
      Appearing (in a 4 day trial in the Commercial Court and with Charles Graham QC in the Court of Appeal) for a Spanish company successfully resisting a claim for €7 million in professional fees brought by an investment bank.  Legal issues relating to contractual construction and estoppel (on which it is now a leading authority).
    • Gallaher International v. Tlais Enterprises Ltd [2007] EWHC 464 (Comm); [2007] EWHC 527 (Comm); [2008] EWHC 804 (Comm); [2008] EWHC 2046 (Comm)
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and Daniel Toledano) for a tobacco manufacturer in a 55 day trial resulting from proceedings brought against its former Middle East distributor, including resisting a $500 million counterclaim.  Numerous and complex factual and expert issues, in addition to issues of contractual construction.
    • Alberta Inc v. Katanga Mining Ltd [2008] EWHC 2679 (Comm)
      Appearing (with Stephen Auld QC) in a claim by a Canadian company arising out of a shareholding in a Congolese mining company.  A leading authority on the availability of a foreign jurisdiction where there is doubt whether a fair trial can be obtained there.
    • Pell Frischmann v. Bow Valley [2008] JCA 172
      Advising in respect of a hearing before the Jersey Court of Appeal in relation to issues arising out of long-running claim for economic torts and breach of contract.
    • Advising an Italian public body in a €45 million claim for unjust enrichment against an investment bank in respect of a range of financial transactions (Commercial Court).
    • Riyad Bank v. Ahli United Bank (UK) Plc [2005] EWHC 279 (Comm); [2005] 2 Lloyd's Rep 409; Court of Appeal [2005] EWCA Civ 1419
      Appearing (with Michael Brindle QC) in a 20 day Commercial Court trial, and in the Court of Appeal, in a successful professional negligence claim.  A leading authority on duties of care owed in three-party contractual relationships.
    • Strategic Finance Consultants Ltd v. Consorzio per lo sviluppo della zona dell'Aussa Corno [2005] EWHC 1834 (Comm)
      Appearing (in a 4 day trial in the Commercial Court) for an Italian public body defending contractual / unjust enrichment claims in excess of €500,000.
  • Banking and Financial Services

    Add to Portfolio
    • Banco Santander Totta v. Carris and others [2016] EWHC 465 (Comm); [2016] EWCA Civ 1267
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and John Odgers QC) for the claimant in five related Commercial Court actions against Portuguese transport companies, arising out of swaps concluded between 2005 and 2007, with mark-to-market values at trial of approximately €1.3 billion. Following the first Financial List trial, lasting six weeks, judgment was entered for the claimant, confirming the validity and enforceability of all swaps. The judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal in December 2016.
    • Assorted swaps claims
      Acting for a major bank in a number of claims seeking enforcement of swaps contracts against foreign public bodies.
    • Deutsche Alternative Asset Management (UK) Ltd
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC) for the defendant to a claim for in excess of €158 million arising out of the management of an investment fund. The proceedings settled in early 2017.
    • Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (In Administration) v JP Morgan Chase Bank NA
      Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC) for first defendant in claim arising out of a suite of contractual arrangements.
    • Advising a major financial institution in connection with an ongoing regulatory investigation.
    • ING Bank v. Ros Roca SA [2010] EWHC 50 (Comm); [2011] EWCA Civ 353
      Appearing (in a 4 day trial in the Commercial Court and with Charles Graham QC in the Court of Appeal) for a Spanish company successfully resisting a claim for €7 million in professional fees brought by an investment bank.  Legal issues relating to contractual construction and estoppel (on which it is now a leading authority).
  • Professional Negligence and Liability

    Add to Portfolio
    • AssetCo plc v. Grant Thornton LLP
      Appearing (with David Wolfson QC) for the defendant in an audit negligence claim.  Following a 12 day trial, the Commercial Court handed down a 1274 paragraph judgment considering numerous areas in the law of audit negligence and damages, including the duties owed by auditors; the 'loss of a chance' doctrine; intervening acts and the 'very thing' principle; and issues of contributory fault. 
    • Deutsche Alternative Asset Management (UK) Ltd
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC) for the defendant to a claim for in excess of €158 million arising out of the management of an investment fund. The proceedings settled in early 2017.
    • Heather Capital Ltd v. KPMG Audit LLC
      Acted (with Rhodri Davies QC), for the defendant accountants in £90 million audit negligence claim. 
    • Riyad Bank v. Ahli United Bank (UK) Plc [2005] EWHC 279 (Comm); [2005] 2 Lloyd's Rep 409; Court of Appeal [2005] EWCA Civ 1419
      Appearing (with Michael Brindle QC) in a 20 day Commercial Court trial, and in the Court of Appeal, in a successful professional negligence claim.  A leading authority on duties of care owed in three-party contractual relationships.
  • Civil Fraud and Economic Torts

    Add to Portfolio
    • Sabbagh v. Khoury [2014] EWHC 3233 (Comm);  [2017] EWCA Civ 1120; [2017] EWHC 3137 (Comm); [2018] EWHC 1330 (Comm)
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and others) in a Commercial Court action for conspiracy under Lebanese law in which damages in excess of US$600 million are claimed. At a 5 day jurisdiction hearing in July 2014, Simon dealt with all Brussels Regulation issues on behalf of the Claimant. Simon also acted to secure an anti-arbitration injunction, preventing the continuation of an arbitration seated in Lebanon.
    • JD Wetherspoon v. Harris and ors [2013] EWHC 1088 (Ch)
      Appearing (with John Wardell QC) for a property developer resisting an ongoing multi-million pound claim for dishonest assistance and bribery.
    • Boris Berezovsky v. Roman Abramovich [2010] EWHC 647 (Comm); [2010] EWHC 1511 (Comm); [2010] EWHC 2044 (Ch); [2010] EWHC 2010 (Comm); [2011] EWCA Civ 153; [2011] EWCACiv 484; [2012] EWHC 2463 (Comm)
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and Richard Gillis QC) in a 43 day trial, following numerous and substantial interim applications and appeals, resulting from proceedings claiming damages in excess of $4 billion.  The trial involved complex issues of fact and foreign (Russian) law, in addition to legal issues including the tort of intimidation and choice of law for torts, contracts and trusts.  Also appearing in related litigation.
    • BTA v. Ablyazov, Granton Trade Ltd & Ors [2010] EWHC 2219 (Comm); [2010] EWHC 2577 (Comm); [2011] EWHC 470 (Comm)
      Appearing for a number of foreign defendants in proceedings resisting a Kazakh law claim against them seeking damages in excess of $1 billion.  Interim applications related to jurisdiction and to the construction and effect of freezing orders.
    • Pell Frischmann v. Bow Valley [2008] JCA 172
      Advising in respect of a hearing before the Jersey Court of Appeal in relation to issues arising out of long-running claim for economic torts and breach of contract.
  • Energy and Natural Resources

    Add to Portfolio
    • Boots UK Ltd v Severn Trent Water Ltd [2018] EWHC 53 (Comm); [2018] EWCA Civ 2795
      Appearing for the successful defendant utility company in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal, Successfully resisting a £20 million action for restitution for unjust enrichment. Issues include the interpretation of a series of Water Acts and of the defendant’s Charges Schemes, and applicable limitation periods.
    • Crown Packaging UK plc v Severn Trent Water Ltd
      Successfully defended a multi-million pound claim for overpaid surface water drainage charges. The claim raised issues of negligent mis-statement, restitution for unjust enrichment, and interpretation of the Water Industry Act 1991. Following exchange of skeletons, the claimant consented to dismissal of the claim and to pay the defendant’s costs.

      Appearing in an UNCITRAL arbitration resisting a multi-million dollar claim under a suite of contracts relating to an oil pipeline.
    • BHP Billiton Petroleum GB Ltd and ors v. E.ON UK PLC
      Appearing (with Charles Hollander QC) on behalf of the Buyer in a Commercial Court dispute relating to the interpretation and possible rectification of Gas Sales Agreements, with sums at stake in the hundreds of millions of pounds.  After a 3 day hearing, the case settled before judgment.
    • Conducting and advising on an investigation, reporting to an independent company Chairman concerning the dilution of that company's shareholding in a $2 billion Russian oilfield.
  • Arbitration

    Add to Portfolio
    • Ad hoc arbitral proceedings
      Appearing as Leading Counsel for a Government department, in arbitration seeking range of relief including payment in excess of £50 million.
    • Section 68 / 69 challenge to ad hoc arbitral award [2016] EWHC 1795 (Comm); [2017] EWHC 3580 (Comm)
      Appearing in successive Commercial Court challenges to arbitral awards made in a high value dispute between father and son. Also appearing on issues remitted to arbitrator.
    • UNICITRAL Proceedings
      Appearing resisting a multi-million dollar claim under a suite of contracts relating to an oil pipeline. 
    • ICC and Swiss Rules Proceedings
      Appearing (with Adam Constable QC) in arbitrations resisting claims for in excess of $800 million in connection with a Russian construction project.
    • UNICITRAL Proceedings
      Appearing resisting a claim for in excess of £12.6 million arising out of alleged breaches of contract in the waste management industry.
    • ICC Proceedings
      Appearing for a Chinese supplier of silicon wafers in a $33 million dispute.  Legal issues included contractual construction, penalty clauses and competition issues.
    • SIAC Proceedings
      Appearing (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC) in an arbitration defending a claim for approximately $250 million arising out of commercial dealings in South-East Asia.
    • UNICITRAL Proceedings
      Appearing seeking an indemnity under a financial services agreement.
    • LCIA Proceedings
      Appearing in a lengthy arbitration in connection with an Iranian distribution agreement, in a claim for breach of contract giving rise to Wrotham Park 'reasonable fee' damages.
  • Other significant experience

    Add to Portfolio
    • Ryanair Ltd v. Secretary of State for the Home Dept [2018] EWCA Civ 899
      Appearing for the Home Secretary, on the first appeal and on a second appeal to the Court of Appeal, successfully resisting a challenge by Ryanair to the carrier charges scheme under section 40 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The challenge raised novel points concerning the interpretation of the Free Movement Directive (Directive 2004/38/EC), and the conformity of section 40 with EU law. 
    • R (Sustainable Development Capital LLP) v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [2017] EWHC 771 (Admin)
      Appearing (with Steven Kovats QC) for the successful defendants in a commercial judicial review, arising out of the sale of Green Investment Bank plc in a £2.3 billion deal.  The claim raised issues of justiciability, delay, procedural fairness and rationality, and the appropriateness of proposed remedies.
    • Oyesanya v Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust [2015] EWCA Civ 1049
      Appearing in successful appeal to Court of Appeal on issue of Limitation Act defence.
    • Advising former directors in respect of a very lengthy DTI investigation into a major manufacturing group. 

Education

Trinity Hall, Cambridge (1994-1998) M.A. (Hons) 
Modern Language and Law with a European Option

Other Academic Achievements

Inner Temple Major Scholarship (1998)
Diplôme universitaire d'études juridiques françaises, Université de Poitiers (1996-1997)
Elected to Scholarship of Trinity Hall (1995)
Diploma from Università per stranieri di Perugia (1994)