Darren Burrows

Darren Burrows

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Jackie Ginty

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Rob Smith

Deputy Senior Clerk
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One Essex Court featured in 7 of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2023

One Essex Court is delighted that 18 members of chambers are involved across 7 of the cases featured in The Lawyer’s recently published Top 20 Cases of 2023.

A summary of those cases are, as follows:

The Federal Republic of Nigeria v Process & Industrial Developments
Listed for 28 days from mid-January, this Commercial Court trial will see Nigeria seek to overturn three arbitration awards over a gas processing contract that it awarded the defendant company, Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) in 2010. The contract was never completed, and P&ID began arbitral proceedings against Nigeria in 2012 which concluded in 2017 when P&ID were awarded $6.6bn. The Commercial Court trial includes claims of fraud and corruption. Lord Wolfson KC and Henry Hoskins form part of the counsel team representing Process & Industrial Developments, instructed by Quinn Emanuel.

Qatar Airways Group v Airbus
Lord Wolfson KC, Adam Rushworth, Oliver Butler and Daniel Fletcher will form part of the counsel team representing Airbus, instructed by Clifford Chance, when this 10-week trial reaches the Technology and Construction Court in June. The claim has been brought by Qatar Airways against Airbus over the alleged defective design and manufacture of the A350 aircraft. The case concerns contracts relating to the supply of A350s after Qatar Airways refused A350 aircraft that Airbus attempted to deliver. Qatar Airways maintains that it was not contractually obliged to accept them by reason of defects identified; Airbus argues that Qatar Airways’ refusal to accept delivery was in breach of contract. The trial is split into two parts – this first trial will focus on liability, with part two considering the value of the combined damages claims.

Stichting Vestia v BNP Paribas
This eight-week Commercial Court trial, scheduled for June 2023, will see French international banking group BNP Paribas battle against Dutch housing provider Stichting Vestia over Vestia’s alleged €303m fraud. Vestia came close to collapse in 2012 after accumulating over €2bn in losses having terminated an extensive portfolio of complex interest rate derivatives; the company’s treasurer was accused of being bribed into buying ruinous derivatives and later convicted of bribery. As a result, Vestia argues the derivatives were void for having been procured by bribery and outside its objects as a social housing association, so void for lack of capacity. This trial against BNP Paribas follows Vestia’s previous cases launched against Deutsche Bank and Barclays. Rhodri Davies KC, Ben Strong KC and Tamara Kagan represent Stichting Vestia, instructed by Clyde & Co. Sonia Tolaney KC, James MacDonald KC and Joyce Arnold represent BNP Paribas, instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills.

Arma Partners v Wejo
In this June 2023 trial which will be one of the first cases involving special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) transactions to be heard in the English courts, financial adviser Arma Partners will go up against Wejo, a vehicle data start-up company. Arma Partners, who was Wejo’s former financial adviser, is seeking a £10m success fee concerning transactions entered into by Wejo, including the SPAC transaction. The case, scheduled for eight days in the Commercial Court, raises a number of factual and expert issues in relation to SPAC transactions. Sebastian Isaac KC and Ben Lewy will appear for Arma Partners, instructed by Simmons & Simmons.

Euronet 360 Finance and others v Mastercard and Visa
Listed for 12 weeks from the beginning of October, this €900m dispute in the Competition Appeal Tribunal concerns alleged unlawful anti-competitive arrangements for ATM transactions. Euronet, who operate ATM networks in countries including the Czech Republic, Greece and Poland, allege that Mastercard and Visa’s rules restricting ATM operators’ ability to impose surcharges on cash withdrawals contravenes EU competition law. Euronet is also claiming for breach of contract. In this important case where the outcome could directly affect businesses and the consumer, Matthew Cook KC is part of the counsel team representing Mastercard, instructed by Jones Day.

Republic of Mozambique v Credit Suisse, Privinvest, VTB Capital and others
This $4bn Commercial Court claim, listed in October for three months, arises out of the supply of vessels and maritime systems to Mozambique. Mozambique alleges the guarantees which backed the loans worth c.$2bn were achieved by a huge international fraud, which included a $136m payment in bribes by entities within the Privinvest group to Credit Suisse employees and Mozambique’s agents. The fraud reportedly cost the country c.$11bn, resulting in nearly two million people being pushed into poverty. Laurence Rabinowitz KC will lead the counsel team representing Credit Suisse, instructed by Slaughter and May. Tom Foxton will form part of the counsel team representing Privinvest and Mr Iskandar Safa, instructed by Signature Litigation. James MacDonald KC is part of the counsel team representing Beauregarde Holdings, Orobica Holdings and VR Global Partners, represented by Pallas Partners.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and the NHS in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland v Warner-Lambert Company
In these proceedings, listed for 25 days in November, Richard Boulton KC and Tim Goldfarb will form part of the counsel team representing Warner-Lambert Company, Pfizer and Viatris, instructed by Kirkland & Ellis.  This complex follow-on damages inquiry, which will be the first of its kind in the UK involving the UK Government and the NHS, will involve ground-breaking issues of foreseeability, causation and mitigation in pharmaceuticals. Following Dr Reddy’s and several generic manufacturers launching generic pregabalin in the UK, Warner-Lambert sued for patent infringement, giving various cross-undertakings in damages in return for various measures. Dr Reddy’s is seeking compensation for losses under the cross-undertakings in damages and for alleged unjustified threats. The outcome of the inquiry could have significant financial implications for the parties and the NHS and also impact pharmaceutical patent litigation in the UK going forwards.

The full list of featured cases can be seen here.