Farhaz Khan QC

Farhaz Khan QC

Call: 2005 | Silk: 2022

"He is excellent in all he does, incredibly bright and very client-friendly."

- Chambers & Partners UK Bar (2022)

"He is exceptional - genuinely one of the best barristers I have worked with."

- Chambers & Partners UK Bar (2022)

"A real superstar in the banking litigation world."

- Chambers & Partners UK Bar (2022)

"Extremely thorough and responsive, he conveys his views with conviction and polish."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

"Farhaz is very good on his feet."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

Practice Overview

Farhaz is a leading barrister at the commercial bar. The legal directories recognise that he is “one of the very best known and well-regarded juniors at the Bar…and is likely to become a doyen of the market in years to come.”

Farhaz receives instructions in complex and high-profile commercial litigation, arbitration and regulatory investigations, with a focus on banking, financial services, and pensions. Farhaz’s cases typically involve the interpretation of contracts and commercial trusts, breach of contract and breach of trust, regulatory misconduct, professional negligence and civil fraud, and he has recent and deep experience of interim commercial injunctions and ‘heavy’ applications e.g. strike out / summary judgment. His cases also take him into different area of law, and he has broad experience in cases involving insurance law, company law, corporate insolvency, partnership, ‘white collar’ crime, employment law, EU and public law. But first and foremost, he is an advocate, and the directories have commented that he “has a natural ability to read the tactical nuances surrounding a matter and also an instinctive aptitude for how a judge will approach it.”

Farhaz enjoys cases with an international or cross-border dimension. He regularly appears in the commercial courts of off-shore jurisdictions such as the DIFC and ADGM courts and has acted as a legal expert in foreign proceedings. He is ranked by Chambers Global 2020 (CDR, Chancery Commercial) and in Tier 1 in Legal 500 UAE (Commercial Disputes).

In the UK, Farhaz is recognised as a leading barrister by Chambers & Partners 2020/21 (5 practice areas), Legal 500 2020/21 (4 practice areas) and Who’s Who Legal 2020:

Banking & Finance – Tier 1 C&P & Legal 500 (“He has been involved in great cases and can walk the talk”)

Financial Services – Tier 1 C&P and Legal 500 (“one of the very best known and well-regarded juniors at the Bar…and is likely to become a doyen of the market in years to come”)

Pensions – Tier 2 C&P & Legal 500 ("He is brilliant")

Commercial Dispute Resolution – C&P (“You want him in your corner when fighting a complicated claim”)

Commercial Chancery - C&P ("He impresses with his combination of intellectual and commercial sense”)

Professional Negligence - Legal 500 (“He is extraordinarily bright and superbly commercial. He is assertive and bold and easy to work with. Clients love him”)

Farhaz was identified by Legal Week (“Stars at the Bar”, 2013) as one of the 10 “most acclaimed young barristers making their mark” at the commercial & chancery bar, and ‘Barrister of the Week’ in the Lawyer magazine (November 2020).

Farhaz is a founding committee member and former Secretary of the Financial Services Lawyers Association. He also acts as consultant for the OECD on access to justice for businesses projects in emerging market economies.

Farhaz is ranked as a leading Junior by Chambers and Partners, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal, which ranks him as number 3 of the 5 most highly regarded banking and finance juniors at the Bar. He has particular experience of mis-selling and LIBOR claims, having been instructed in Graiseley, the first LIBOR test case, and cases concerning complex derivatives and the meaning and effect of complex securitization, loan, security and ISDA documentation.

An extremely bright and analytical barrister who demonstrates judgement well beyond his years.” (C&P 2017 Banking & Finance)

Very useful on his feet for commercial and banking matters.” (Banking and Finance, Legal 500 2016)

…a real star in banking disputes” who has “really shone as a junior in high profile cases” including “major banking disputes.” (C&P 2015 Banking & Finance)

A “brilliant tactician”. He continues to develop his standing in the banking sector following recent instructions involving securitization, market manipulation and documentation issues” (C&P 2016 Banking & Finance)

…thoroughly recommended” by peers and is considered an “exceptionally smart lawyer.” He is “focused” and “employs a forensic approach.” (Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2016: Banking)

He’s got an excellent grasp of the subject matter.” (C&P 2016 Banking & Finance)

Some recent cases:

Shurbanova v FX Capital Markets LLC [2017] EWHC 2133 (QB) (HHJ Waksman QC) Acted for defendant forex firm in a breach of contract claim. The claim failed.

CBRE Loan Servicing Ltd v Gemini (Eclipse 2006-3) Plc [2015] EWHC 2769 (Ch) Acted for the Junior Noteholders in a Part 8 claim relating to the construction of a failed $1bn CMBS (meaning of “interest” and “principal” amounts).

Graiseley Properties Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc; Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1372 (CA) The first LIBOR test claim. One of The Lawyers ‘Top 20 cases’ of 2013. See also Graiseley Properties Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc (LIBOR amendments) [2012] EWHC 3093 (Comm); and Graiseley Properties Ltd v present and former directors and employees of Barclays Bank plc (open justice) [2013] EWHC 67 (Comm).

X v FXCM Acting for FXCM in a claim for breach of contract and breach of s27 FSMA.

Lehman Bros Holdings v X Acting for the claimant bank in a contractual dispute with a payable under the 1992 ISDA Master Agreement and Schedule.

Yazdi v United Arab Bank Acting for the defendant bank in a claim for a declaration that a $125m personal guarantee is invalid.

Papadopolous v Standard Chartered Bank [CFI/004/2017] (DIFC courts) (David Steel DCJ) Acted for defendant bank in very high profile $1.6m contractual bonus claim brought by former CEO of the Bank in the DIFC. The claim was struck out.

Vitalo v Atlas Mara Bank Acting for the defendant bank and counterclaimant in a multimillion $ contract claim brought by the former CEO of the bank in the MENA.

MHL v BOS (Financial List) Acting for a Scottish hotel group in a £130m breach of JV shareholder agreement (good faith) claim against BOS.

Hockin v RBS (Financial List) Swaps mis-selling, LIBOR, conspiracy and deceit claim. Settled at trial. One of the first Financial List claims to go to trial. See also Hockin v RBS [2016] EWHC 925 (FL) (amendment / strike out applications).

Regione Lazio v Dexia Crediop SpA Instructed by the defendant bank Dexia to provide an English law expert opinion for the Italian Federal Court on the construction of an exclusive jurisdiction clause contained within the 1992 ISDA (Multi-currency cross border) Master Agreement. The ISDA Master governed two interest rate swaps with an aggregate notional value of $400m.

Merrill Lynch International v Amorim Partners Limited [2014] EWHC 74 (Comm) Acted for the defendant investment firm in a contract claim for payment in respect of shares acquired during a secondary offering.

Ark Capital v Z Acted for the claimant investment firm in a FOREX manipulation claim under a prime brokerage arrangement arising out of a secondary offering of shares by a dealer-broker.

Farhaz is ranked as a leading Junior by Chambers and Partners (tier 1) and Legal 500. He is widely regarded as one of the foremost financial services juniors at the Bar with deep experience of regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, having been involved in some of the most significant regulatory interventions since the financial crisis (LIBOR, FOREX, JP Morgan ‘Whale Trades’, Keydata). Farhaz regularly acts for Lloyd’s of London in regulatory and enforcement matters.

…an enviable financial services regulatory practice.” (C&P 2016 Banking & Finance)

…expertise not only in complex regulatory matters, but also in commercial, civil and criminal law” and “very impressive.” (C&P 2015 Financial Services)

Very commercial.” (C&P 2018, Financial Services)

He is proactive, helpful, very pragmatic and has the client’s best interests at heart.” (C&P 2017, Financial Services)

…He is one of the best juniors for regulatory matters.” (C&P 2015 Chancery Commercial)

He is definitely very, very experienced now in terms of looking at the regulator and regulatory vulnerabilities.” (C&P 2016 Financial Services)

A barrister with a fast-growing reputation in both contentious and non-contentious financial services work.” (C&P 2015 Financial Services)

Some recent cases:

JP Morgan ‘Whale trader’ global investigation Acted for a former synthetic credit derivatives and indices trader within the Chief Investment Office of JPM accused of mismarking the trading book. The CIO sustained c.$9bn trading losses in 2012 leading to regulatory and criminal investigations in the US and the UK. The UK proceedings have led to a JR of the FCA and s393 FSMA ‘third party’ proceedings in the Upper Tribunal. See Grout v Financial Conduct Authority [2018] EWCA Civ 71 One of the leading appellate authorities on third party rights; R (on the application of Grout) v Financial Conduct Authority [2015] EWHC 596 (Admin) (Judicial Review); and Grout v Financial Conduct Authority [FS/2015/007] Upper Tribunal (Tax & Chancery) (s393 proceedings).

Re MS Amlin Conducted investigation and settled charges on behalf of Lloyd’s of London against Amlin Underwriting Limited (AUL), part of the Amlin group, for breaches of the Lloyd’s Premium Trust Deed (PTD). AUL made payments of c.$88 million out of the PTD which were unconnected with the underwriting of the Syndicate 2001, in breach of the terms of the PTD. AUL failed to maintain adequate systems and controls around the use of the PTD assets, and also failed to investigate the matter in a timely way. Farhaz has since advised Lloyd’s on a number of PTD breach matters.

LIBOR global investigation Acting for a senior CHF LIBOR derivatives trader under investigation by the DoJ, SEC, CFTC and the FCA. Farhaz successfully persuaded the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FCA to take the extraordinary step (following a 2 year investigation) of discontinuing proceedings at the Warning Notice stage.

FOREX global investigation Acting for a very senior FOREX and precious metals trader under investigation by regulators and prosecutors in numerous jurisdictions including FINMA and the AG (in Switzerland), the Singapore Monetary Authority and CADE (the securities competition regulator in Brazil), as well as in the UK (SFO, FCA & the Bank of England). Farhaz represented the trader at numerous criminal and regulatory interviews in various jurisdictions including London, Zurich and Washington DC. Led by Richard Lissack QC and with Simon Oakes (2010). Instructed by Arnold & Porter.

Re X Advising a major UK insurer on its exposure under the Bribery Act 2010.

Re Y Advising a well-known global firm in respect of a global investigation concerning alleged systemic over charging of customers. FCA, SFO investigations.

Re Z Advising an insurer as to the scope and extent of indemnity insurance cover provided to a financial services firm and its directors in connection with an FCA / SFO investigation.

Ford, Owen & Johnson v Financial Conduct Authority [2016] UKUT 0041 (TCC) Acted for the former compliance officer of Keydata before the Upper Tribunal. Successfully opposed a stay application by the FCA.

Re Equity Syndicate Management Limited, Syndicate 218 & former directors. Acted for Lloyd’s in its biggest regulatory investigation in the Lloyd’s market since the 1990s (a Lloyd’s / FRC / FCA joint investigation) and subsequently represented Lloyd’s Enforcement before the Lloyd’s Disciplinary Tribunal. The defendant firm and directors admitted liability for breach of duty. The investigation arose out of the dramatic £311m deterioration in syndicate reserves.

Re K Acted for an energy company seeking consent from the National Crime Agency under s335 POCA to proceed with a corporate transaction involving gas, oil and mining interests in West Africa. Bribery aspects.

Gladstone Pacific Nickel v London Stock Exchange & AIM Regulation Represented a former AIM listed company in disciplinary/ regulatory matter including a claim for Judicial Review of the LSE on a jurisdictional issue.

Farhaz is ranked as a leading junior by Chambers and Partners, Who’s Who Legal and Chambers Global for commercial dispute resolution and commercial chancery matters, typically involving banks, insurers and pension schemes, and involving claims involving breach of contract, economic torts and civil fraud, professional negligence and insolvency and company law. He is also experienced in advising corporates in respect of complex and high profile commercial employment matters.

A junior with a strong emerging chancery practice. He is regularly instructed on commercial litigation in the pensions and banking and finance sectors…He is an excellent lawyer with a rare mix of practicality and intellect….” (C&P 2015 Chancery Commercial)

Really developing a practice as a technically thorough lawyer. He’s incredibly hard-working, thoughtful and determined to make a success of his career” (C&P 2018 Chancery Commercial)

A fantastic team player, who gives you nothing but a straightforward, easy ride when you instruct him.” (Commercial Dispute Resolution, C&P 2018)

Attracts a great deal of praise relating to his handling of complex banking and finance work. He is also involved in pension matters.” (C&P 2016 Chancery Commercial)

A junior with great commercial acumen.” (C&P 2015 Chancery Commercial)

Some recent cases:

See the cases listed other areas as recent examples of commercial dispute in which Farhaz has acted.

Re Afkar Capital Limited [2017] ADGMCFI1 (interim declaration), [2018] ADGMCFI2 (costs) Acted for a director of an ADGM financial services firm in a shareholder dispute concerning the appointment of a new CEO and director by board resolution. The first case to be heard in the ADGM Court. The claim was discontinued after the defendant successfully resisted an interim declaration.

Re MF Global UK Ltd (In Special Administration) [2015] EWHC 883 (Ch) (Companies Court) Acted for the Special Administrators. IA86 application concerning the implied contractual liability of an operating company (inter dealer broker) to indemnify the group service company for costs of a section 75 pension debt.

Philips Electronics UK Ltd & the Trustees of the Philips Pensions Fund v Aon Hewitt & AllianceBernstein Acted for the trustees and Philips.  Breach of contract and negligence claim against the pension scheme investment adviser and fund manager relating to CDS / CDO investments made in 2007.

Teragon Capital Limited v Goodale Claim by the managing partner of a hedge fund against a former agent / partner for breach of contract, breach of trust and breach of partnership duty of good faith.

Saxo Bank v LBIE Acting for a European investment bank in connection with its $30m claim against the Lehman estate for the recovery of client money held under statutory trust.

Hermes Ors v Banco Espirito Santo (In Admin.) Acted for a large group of institutional and HNW individual investors in a civil fraud claim against the failed Portugese bank and its former directors.

Re Bank of Moscow Tort of intimidation claim in the Commercial Court and a related LCIA arbitration.

Re Mihaj Investments Advising a Dubai based group of companies in relation to a family dispute over UK assets and investments.

Farhaz is recognized as one of the leading juniors at the pensions bar having been involved in many of the major pensions cases over the last decade (Foster Wheeler, IMG, Desmonds, Lehman, BT, G4S, Sea Containers) and has been ranked by Chambers and Partners since he was 4 years call. He is also ranked by Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal.

He is noted for his intelligence and his involvement in a number of the most important pension cases. Expertise: “He’s very bright”, “up and coming” and “a personable and approachable barrister.” (C&P 2015 Pensions)

He has a strong intellect, a sharp mind and commercial nous.” (C&P 2018)

A well-respected junior with pensions and professional negligence expertise, who is a particular expert in the financial services sector. Strengths: “I can’t fault his judgement calls and I think he’s a great addition to any team.” “He is an up-and-coming star who is very bright and extremely personable.” (C&P 2016 Pensions)

…a broad practice that combines his extensive pensions knowledge with expertise in banking and finance matters…an amazing ability to pick up anything and dissect it…” (C&P 2015 Pensions)

Some recent cases:

Re BT Pension Plan [2018] EWHC 69 (Ch) Leading indexation case (construction of trust power, implied exercise of power, s51 Pensions Act 1995). Currently on appeal to the CA listed for 3 days in October 2018.

Re Sea Containers 1990 Pension Scheme (CMS) Defending Denton Hall a firm) in a c.£5m solicitors  professional negligence claim (P20) arising out of the failed equalization of the Sea Containers 1990 Scheme. Strike out application to be heard over 2 days in October 2018.

G4S plc v G4S Trustees Limited [2018] EWHC 1749 (ch) Acted for the successful company in Part 8 proceedings concerning the meaning of “pensionable service” as s124 of the Pensions Act 1995, and whether a scheme that is closed to future accrual, but where the members’ benefits continue to be linked to their final salary, is to be regarded as a “frozen” scheme for the purposes of regulations known as the Occupational Pension Schemes (Employer Debt) Regulations 2005.

Re Desmond & Sons Limited 1975 Pension & Life Assurance Scheme (Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery)) Acting for the corporate trustee of the scheme alongside the Pension Regulator in seeking a £22m contribution notice from the former directors of the company, under the NI equivalent of s38 Pensions Act 2004. The first case brought by the Pension Regulator concerning ‘contribution notices’. Settled at trial. See also Garvin Trustees Ltd &The Pensions Regulator v Desmond Ors (privilege) [2015] Pens. L.R. 1; Garvin Trustees Ltd &The Pensions Regulator v Desmond [2013] NICA 62 (Northern Ireland CA, regulator’s jurisdiction); Desmond Ors v The Pension Regulator [2013] NIQB 58 (Judicial Review); and Desmond Ors v Garvin Trustees Ltd &The Pensions Regulator Ors (regulator’s jurisdiction) FS/2010/10 (May 2011).

Re X Instructed by the Pension Regulator in proceedings brought against the professional trustee of a pension scheme for making scheme investments in breach of the Pensions Act 2004 and FSMA. Advised the Determinations Panel and drafted its decision.

Re Rockwool Pension Scheme Acted for the members of the scheme in Part 8 proceedings concerning the Re Courage fetter.

Re Pensions Ombudsman Advising the PO on series of determinations concerning the scope of the Finance Act 2006 viz., taxable items.

Re CNH / Fiat Advising major corporate on multi-employer pension consequences of a group corporate relocation.

Re IMG Pension Plan [2010] EWCA Civ 1349; [2011] I.C.R. 329; [2011] Pens. L.R. 11 One of the leading modern authorities on the construction of commercial trusts in a pension scheme context. Led by Richard Hitckcock. Instructed by Baker & McKenzie. See also Re IMG Pension Plan (Part 8) [2009] EWHC 2785 (Ch); [2010] Pens. L.R. 23; and Re IMG Pension Plan (protective costs) [2010] EWHC 321 (Ch); [2010] 3 Costs L.R. 443; [2010] Pens. L.R. 131.

Re Lehman / Storm Funding Pension regulatory proceedings relating to the Lehman Bros. Pension Scheme. Acted for the corporate trustee of the scheme alongside the Pension Regulator which was seeking financial support directions with an aggregate value of £300m from 38 Lehman corporate entities, under the Pensions Act 2004.

Re Kodak Eastman Advising the administrators of a corporate group in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in respect of UK pension liabilities including the risk of a financial support direction or a contribution notice being imposed under the Pensions Act 2004.

Thompson v Fresenius Kabi Ltd [2013] Pens. L.R. 157 (Ch) Acted for the company and sponsoring employer of the Fresenius Pension Scheme in Part 8 proceedings. See also Fresenius Kabi Ltd & the Trustees of the Fresenius Pension Fund v Addelshaw Goddard & Xafinity Consulting (follow on professional negligence claim against solicitors and scheme actuary and consultant).

Farhaz has been instructed by claimants and defendants in a number of high value professional negligence claims brought by trustees and corporates against professional advisers including solicitors, actuaries, benefit consultants and others, for example: X Scheme v Y benefit consultants & Z solicitors (acting for the defendant benefit consultants); X Scheme & the PPF v Y solicitors (acting for the defendant solicitors); and Charles Taylor Pension Scheme v Bluefin Consultants, Miller Insurance, Reed Smith & Verulum Consulting (acting for the claimant trustee and company).

Farhaz is ranked by Legal 500 as a leading barrister for professional negligence for his work acting for claimants and defendants in cases concerning negligence alleged against a wide range of professionals including solicitors, accountants, actuaries and investment advisers.

Recent cases include:

Re Sea Containers 1990 Pension Scheme (CMS) Defending solicitors Denton Hall in a c.£5m professional negligence claim (P20) arising out of the failed equalization of the Sea Containers 1990 Scheme.

Philips Electronics UK Ltd & the Trustees of the Philips Pensions Fund v Aon Hewitt & AllianceBernstein Acted for the trustees and Philips.  Breach of contract and negligence claim against the pension scheme investment adviser and fund manager relating to CDS / CDO investments made in 2007.

Hockin v RBS (Financial List) Swaps mis-selling, LIBOR, conspiracy and deceit claim. Settled at trial. One of the first Financial List claims to go to trial. See also Hockin v RBS [2016] EWHC 925 (FL) (amendment / strike out applications).

Thompson v Fresenius Kabi Ltd [2013] Pens. L.R. 157 (Ch) Acted for the company and sponsoring employer of the Fresenius Pension Scheme in Part 8 proceedings. See also Fresenius Kabi Ltd & the Trustees of the Fresenius Pension Fund v Addelshaw Goddard & Xafinity Consulting (follow on professional negligence claim against solicitors and scheme actuary and consultant).

Farhaz’s commercial cases typically involve civil fraud and chancery issues and underlying regulatory aspects. He has deep experience of claims alleging conspiracy, deceit and other intentional torts.

Recent cases include:

Dalriada v 11 defendants Acting for a Swiss investment manager and defendant in breach of trust, knowing assistance and knowing receipt claim brought by Dalriada Trustees, the statutory trustee appointed by the Pension Regulator, in connection with alleged ‘pension liberation’ schemes concerning pension transfers out of occupation DB schemes into insurance wrapper investments. Leading Ian Higgins (3 Verulam Buildings).

Shurbanova v FX Capital Markets LLC [2017] EWHC 2133 (QB) (HHJ Waksman QC) Acted for defendant forex firm in a breach of contract claim. The Court accepted FXCM’s defence that the claimant’s profitable trades were the result of market abuse and ‘front running’ and, following Farhaz’s cross examination of the claimant witnesses, the Court found that the claim was premised upon a fraud.

Hermes Ors v Banco Espirito Santo (In Admin.) Acted for a large group of institutional and HNW individual investors in a civil fraud claim against the failed Portugese bank and its former directors.

Re Bank of Moscow Tort of intimidation claim in the Commercial Court and a related LCIA arbitration.

Yazdi v United Arab Bank Acting for the defendant bank in a claim for a declaration that a $125m personal guarantee is invalid on the grounds of fraud.

JP Morgan ‘Whale trader’ global investigation Acted for a former synthetic credit derivatives and indices trader within the Chief Investment Office of JPM accused of mismarking the trading book leading to his indictment in the US for deceit. The CIO sustained c.$9bn trading losses in 2012 leading to regulatory and criminal investigations in the US and the UK. All charges against the trader were dropped or settled in 2018.

Graiseley Properties Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc; Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1372 (CA) The first LIBOR test claim involving allegations of deceit. One of The Lawyers ‘Top 20 cases’ of 2013. See also Graiseley Properties Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc (LIBOR amendments) [2012] EWHC 3093 (Comm); and Graiseley Properties Ltd v present and former directors and employees of Barclays Bank plc (open justice) [2013] EWHC 67 (Comm).

MHL v BOS (Financial List) Acting for a Scottish hotel group in a £130m breach of JV shareholder agreement (good faith) claim against BOS.

Hockin v RBS (Financial List) Swaps mis-selling, LIBOR, conspiracy and deceit claim. Settled at trial. One of the first Financial List claims to go to trial. See also Hockin v RBS [2016] EWHC 925 (FL) (amendment / strike out applications).

Merrill Lynch International v Amorim Partners Limited [2014] EWHC 74 (Comm) Acted for the defendant investment firm in a contract claim for payment in respect of shares acquired during a secondary offering. The investment firm alleged that the claimant was aware of underlying regulatory issues concerning the entity on whose behalf the offering was being made.

Ark Capital v Z Acted for the claimant investment firm in a FOREX manipulation claim (deceit, front running) under a prime brokerage arrangement arising out of a secondary offering of shares by a dealer-broker.

FOREX global investigation Acting for a very senior FOREX and precious metals trader under investigation by regulators and prosecutors in numerous jurisdictions including FINMA and the AG (in Switzerland), the Singapore Monetary Authority and CADE (the securities competition regulator in Brazil), as well as in the UK (SFO, FCA & the Bank of England). Farhaz represented the trader at numerous criminal and regulatory interviews in various jurisdictions including London, Zurich and Washington DC.

Re X Advising a major UK insurer on its exposure under the Bribery Act 2010.

Re Y Advising a well-known global firm in respect of a global investigation concerning alleged systemic over charging of customers. FCA, SFO investigations.