Mehdi Baiou

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Mehdi Baiou

Barrister

Call 2009

Mehdi undertakes a broad range of commercial work and has experience of appearing both led and unled in the High Court.  Core practice areas include (but are not limited to) banking and finance, derivatives and commodities. 

Mehdi has acted in a number of significant cases, most recently in Bugsby Property LLC v LGIM Commercial (led by Orlando Gledhill QC), where he acted for LGIM in its defence of a claim for damages for the breach of an exclusivity agreement concerning the funding of the acquisition of Olympia in 2017. Prior to the 4-week trial of that claim (during which Mehdi undertook some of the cross-examination of the Claimant’s witnesses), Mehdi appeared unled in the hearing of LGIM’s contested (and successful) application for non-party disclosure from several respondents ([2021] EWHC 1054 (Comm)).

During the same period, Mehdi also acted in Quartz Assets LLC and others v Kestrel Coal Midco Pty Ltd (led by Charles Graham QC), on behalf of the Claimant companies in their claim arising out of the Defendant’s funding of the acquisition of an Australian coal mine in 2018. That case was settled shortly before trial.

In 2017, Mehdi appeared (with Adrian Beltrami QC, Anthony de Garr Robinson QC, Alexander Polley and Sandy Phipps) for the Defendant bank in The Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale (listed in The Lawyers’ Top 20 Cases in 2017) and his practice has involved other notable and complex derivatives disputes such as Banco Santander Totta v Carris [2016] 4 WLR 49, in which he appeared (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC, John Odgers QC and Simon Colton) in the first action heard before the newly-created Financial List, and Marex Financial Limited v Creative Finance Ltd and Cosmorex Ltd [2014] 1 All ER (Comm) 122, where the Commercial Court considered the duties of a broker when closing out its client’s portfolio.

Other notable past cases include: One Step (Support) Ltd v Karen Morris Garner (with Craig Orr QC), which was ultimately heard in the Supreme Court in October 2017 on the important issue of negotiating  damages, and Standard Life Aberdeen v Lloyds Banking Group / Scottish Widows (led by Laurence Rabinowitz QC, Mark Howard QC and Steven Elliot QC), a 2019 arbitration concerning the termination of a series of asset management contracts following the merger that formed Standard Life Aberdeen. 

Mehdi has been named in Legal Week’s Stars At The Bar 2017 - Mehdi “is cool, calm and unflappable...”. His analytical skills have been in demand in banking and commercial litigation claims, as well as competition law instructions; with one partner describing Baiou as “highly engaging, numerate and able to deal quickly with expert evidence and economic models”, adding that he is “fiercely intelligent”; 

Mehdi is bilingual (French/English) and has advised and acted for a number of French clients and firms.  He also has good knowledge of Arabic.

  • Examples of Recent Cases

    • Banking and Financial Services

      • The Libyan Investment Authority v. Société Générale & Ors (The Lawyer, Top 20 Case for 2017)
        For Société Générale, (with Adrian Beltrami QC, Anthony de Garr Robinson QC, Alexander Polley and Sandy Phipps), defending the marquee Commercial Court claim brought by the Libyan sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (the LIA), against Société Générale and Walid Giahmi, a Dubai-based businessman.  The claim relates to investments totalling around USD 2.1 billion made by the LIA with Société Générale during the Gaddafi era, and alleges that the investments were procured by a ‘fraudulent and corrupt scheme’ involving bribery and intimidation by the Gaddafis or their associates.  The claim seeks the rescission of the investments or damages in excess of USD 1.5 billion.  
      • Banco Santander Totta v. Carris & Ors [2016] 4 WLR 49   
        Appeared in a 6 week trial (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC, John Odgers QC and Simon Colton) for the claimant in five related Commercial Court actions against Portuguese transport companies, arising out of swaps concluded between 2005 and 2007.  Numerous Portuguese law issues arose, together with the English law of restitution (Upheld by the Court of Appeal [2016] EWCA Civ 1267).
      • Marex Financial Limited v Creative Finance Ltd and Cosmorex Ltd) [2014] 1 All ER (Comm) 122
        Successfully appeared with Alain Choo Choy QC for the Claimant FX broker in relation to a multi-million pound dispute with an FX trader concerning unpaid margin and losses resulting from the close out of the trader’s positions in currency forward contracts. The trader’s counterclaim included allegations of negligence by the Claimant in closing out his positions.
      • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Paris, April-June 2011
        Instructed as part of a multinational team of lawyers conducting an internal investigation on behalf of a major international investment bank into that bank’s structuring and sale of U.S. Residential Mortgage Backed Securities and Collateral Debt Obligations in the lead up to the 2007 CDO market crash. As part of this project, Mehdi was required to review close to 10,000, mostly French, documents pertaining to the bank’s CDO activities during the relevant period and was closely involved in the drafting a 200-page report, presented to the bank’s senior management, which detailed the team’s findings and conclusions.
    • Commercial Litigation

      • The Libyan Investment Authority v. Société Générale & Ors (The Lawyer, Top 20 Case for 2017)
        For Société Générale, (with Adrian Beltrami QC, Anthony de Garr Robinson QC, Alexander Polley and Sandy Phipps), defending the marquee Commercial Court claim brought by the Libyan sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (the LIA), against Société Générale and Walid Giahmi, a Dubai-based businessman.  The claim relates to investments totalling around USD 2.1 billion made by the LIA with Société Générale during the Gaddafi era, and alleges that the investments were procured by a ‘fraudulent and corrupt scheme’ involving bribery and intimidation by the Gaddafis or their associates.  The claim seeks the rescission of the investments or damages in excess of USD 1.5 billion.  
      • Banco Santander Totta v. Carris & Ors [2016] 4 WLR 49   
        Appeared  in a 6 week trial (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC, John Odgers QC and Simon Colton) for the claimant in five related Commercial Court actions against Portuguese transport companies, arising out of swaps concluded between 2005 and 2007.  Numerous Portuguese law issues arose, together with the English law of restitution (Upheld by the Court of Appeal [2016] EWCA Civ 1267).
      • Novatrust Ltd v. (1) Kea Investments Ltd, (2) Harlaw Ltd (3) Spartan Capital Ltd
        For Novatrust (with Sa’ad Hossain QC, Jamie Goldsmith and Adam Rushworth) in a battle over the fate of a private equity investment vehicle (and the £100m+ under its control).  The litigation is extremely complex, and involves allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, an application to wind up a company on just and equitable grounds, and claims brought in a derivative capacity.  Mehdi had particular involvement in the Non-Party Disclosure application, as well as various other interim applications, and assisted the trial team with the preparation of evidence for trial (7-weeks, scheduled May 2017).
      • Brocket Hall (UK) Limited & Brocket Hall (Jersey) Limited v. Palmerston Hotels & Resorts BV
        For Brocket Hall (with Anthony de Garr Robinson QC and Henry Forbes Smith), in a dispute regarding a management contract relating to the well-known golf club and luxury resort.  The management company sought an injunction from the Commercial Court restraining the defendants from terminating the management contract while it brought s44 arbitral proceedings to challenge the owner’s right to terminate [2016] EWHC 2018 (Comm).  The matter was ultimately settled in late 2016, which disposed of a 4-week arbitration scheduled for July 2017.
      • One Step Support Ltd v Karen Morris-Garner and Andrea Morris-Garner (QBD) [2015] IRLR 215; [2016] IRLR 435; [2016] 3 WLR 1281
        Acting for the Claimant supported living company (with Craig Orr Q) in its claim for breach of a non-compete clause contained in a share purchase agreement with the Defendants. The Claimant seeks, inter alia, an account of profits or “Wrotham Park” damages.
      • Mehdi appeared unled at all CMC hearings and was successful both in resisting the Defendants’ application for a split trial and in applying on behalf of One Step for a crucial third party disclosure order.
      • SEB v Interamerican Assurance Company Limited & Orr 
        Acted (with Nicholas Strauss QC and Michelle Menashy) in an arbitration under the rules of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, from which a Commercial Court action arose. The dispute arises from a share purchase agreement concerning allegations of pensions mis-selling and relating to PIA/FSA Pensions Review of opt outs, non joiners, and transfers from occupational pensions scheme.
    • Contractual Disputes

      • Chubb Electronic Security LTD v SEP Properties Limited
        Successfully appeared for the Claimant company in a two-day trial concerning the Defendant’s non-payment of invoices for the provision and installation of an intruder alarm system.
    • Shareholder Disputes

      • Acted successfully for a major private equity investor in an Early Neutral Evaluation of a dispute with a company concerning the meaning of its Articles of Association.
    • Arbitration

      • Acted for 8 individual French defendants in a claim for breach of warranties contained in an agreement for the sale of shares in a company specialising in men’s high-end cosmetics.
      • Acted with Charles Graham QC in an international arbitration concerning the operation (and interpretation) of a Build Operate Transfer contract governing the production of anodes for use in an aluminium smelting plant in the former Yugoslavia.
      • SEB v Interamerican Assurance Company Limited & Orr 
        Acted (with Nicholas Strauss QC and Michelle Menashy) in an arbitration under the rules of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, from which a Commercial Court action arose. The dispute arises from a share purchase agreement concerning allegations of pensions mis-selling and relating to PIA/FSA Pensions Review of opt outs, non joiners, and transfers from occupational pensions scheme.
    • Competition and EU Law

      • Albion Water Ltd v Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Competition Appeal Tribunal)
        For the Claimant, with Thomas Sharpe QC and Matthew Cook, water company in a three week follow on action for damages (including exemplary damages) arising out of the Defendant’s abuse of its dominant position in the supply of water in 2001.
      • R (on the application of Albion Water Limited) v Ofwat (Administrative Court)
        Acting for the applicant with Thomas Sharpe QC and Matthew Cook. Albion seeks to have a Section 40A WIA 91 determination of the terms of its water supply contract with Welsh Water set aside. Permission to apply for judicial review has been granted on two of the five grounds advanced.
      • Secondment to the Office of the Gas and Electricty Markets (Ofgem) (December 2010 - February 2011)
        Working as part of the Markets Legal Team, the work centred on the drafting of new UK Gas and Electricity License Conditions, implementing the EU’s “Third Package" of legislation on European electricity and gas markets that entered into force on the 3 September 2009. The purpose of the Third Package was to further liberalise European energy markets and allow for greater competition within the EU. Mehdi also worked on a number of Ofgem’s investigations into anti-competitive practices within the UK energy markets.
      • Research Assistant for Valentine Korah, Professor of Competition Law at UCL [2009]
      • Research Assistant for Phillip Marsden, British Institute of International and Comparative Law [2009]
  • Prior Experience

    Research Assistant for Valentine Korah, Professor of Competition Law at UCL [2009]
    Research Assistant for Phillip Marsden, British Institute of International and Comparative Law [2009]
    Internship with Rodyk & Davidson LLP, Singapore (litigation department) [Summer 2007]

  • Academic Achievements

    Queen Mother’s Scholarship, Middle Temple [2007]

  • Education

    UCL: LLM in International Commercial Law (Distinction) [2008 - 2009]
    Inns of Court School of Law: BVC (Very Competent) [2007 - 2008]
    College of Law: GDL (Commendation) [2006 - 2007]
    Imperial College London: BSc in Mathematics (Distinction, top 5 in year) [2002 - 2005]

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