Rebecca Zaman

Rebecca Zaman

Call: Call: 2015; 2015 (Solicitor); 2010 (Solicitor, Australia)

 "Rebecca stands out for her strategic and analytical thinking."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

"A go-to junior for banking cases."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

“Highly intelligent, great analytical skills, wonderful with clients and definitely a star of the future."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2021)

Practice Overview

Named a “Rising Star” in Banking and Finance two years in a row (Legal 500 UK 2021 and 2022), Rebecca advises and acts across the range of commercial disputes, with a focus on banking and finance, civil fraud and international arbitration.

Rebecca is regularly instructed to act in complex and high-value arbitrations and litigation, often raising novel questions of law.  Current and recent highlights include:

  • Acting for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in a US$1bn claim relating to undisclosed debts, supply-chain finance and the collapse of NMC Health plc [2020] EWHC 3423 (Comm);
  • Acting for two Lebanese banks in proceedings brought by a customer seeking the international transfer of funds from accounts in Lebanon in a claim arising out of Lebanon’s ongoing financial crisis (one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2022);
  • Acting for an offshore investment company in two ongoing LCIA arbitrations between investors in a Middle Eastern infrastructure project concerning their rights under shareholder and other contracts; and
  • Court of Appeal hearing of Chudley v Clydesdale Bank PLC [2019] EWCA Civ 344, which is now the leading case on section 1 of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999

Rebecca was Judge’s Associate to Justice Kenneth Hayne AC of the High Court of Australia for 2011-2012.  She was awarded the Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship to study law at Harvard Law School (LLM, 2013).

In 2019, Rebecca was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown.

Legal 500 UK has twice identified Rebecca as a “Rising Star” in Banking and Finance, in 2021 and 2022. She is described as “Highly intelligent, great analytical skills, wonderful with clients and definitely a star of the future” and “Rebecca stands out for her strategic and analytical thinking. She works hard and fast and is incredibly user-friendly. A go-to junior for banking cases”.

Rebecca advises and acts on all areas of banking law.  Recent and notable instructions include:

  • Acting for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in a US$1bn claim relating to undisclosed debts, supply-chain finance and the collapse of NMC Health plc [2020] EWHC 3423 (Comm).
  • Vatche Manoukian v Société Générale Banque Liban and Bank Audi: Acting for two Lebanese banks in proceedings brought by a customer seeking the international transfer of funds from accounts in Lebanon in a claim arising out of Lebanon’s ongoing financial crisis (one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases for 2022).
  • Instructed by Slaughter and May, acting for companies specialising in structured investment products in proceedings brought by life assurance companies alleging misrepresentations about the commission on the assets.
  • Milton Ashbury v Clydesdale Bank PLC (Claim No: CL-2018-000227, High Court, 2020).  Instructed by DLA Piper and led by Ian Wilson QC, Rebecca advised and acted for the Bank in defending allegations of fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations, economic duress and unconscionability.  Parties successfully compromised the dispute in the lead up to trial.
  • Longulf Trading (UK) Limited v Niyazi Onen Gida SAN AS & Niyazi Onen [2019] EWHC 1573 (Comm): Instructed by K&L Gates as sole counsel acting for a UK company in successful claim proceedings for a £20m guarantee against Turkish guarantors.
  • Chudley v Clydesdale Bank PLC [2019] EWCA Civ 344:  Instructed by Addleshaw Goddards (with Ian Wilson QC) on appeal from first instance decision on a third party claim for breach of contract. The judgment is the third (and leading) Court of Appeal consideration of the proper interpretation and scope of section 1 of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
  • McMinn & Walton v Clydesdale Bank PLC (Claim No: E40MA061, High Court, 2018-2019): Instructed by DLA Piper, Rebecca advised and acted for the Bank in defending an IRHP claim.  Parties successfully compromised the dispute in the lead up to trial.
  • Cyrex Nigeria Barge Limited v (1) Federal Republic of Nigeria (2) Guaranty Trust Bank & (3) Nigerian Ports Authority [2018] EWHC 10 (Comm):  Instructed by Stephenson Harwood LLP as sole counsel acting for an African bank in a case raising issues around third party debt orders and sovereign immunity.  Successfully opposed the imposition of a third party debt order on the bank’s customer, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  • Chudley v Clydesdale Bank [2017] EWHC 2177 (Comm) – 2-week Commercial Court trial. Instructed by Addleshaw Goddards (with Ian Wilson QC) in successfully defending the Bank from fraud, negligence, breach of trust and restitution claims made by an investor in a failed investment scheme.
  • In 2017, Rebecca was part of a panel instructed by the Bank of England to address the regulatory consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
  • At White & Case: advising on the contentious refinancing of an international airport, including negotiating a resolution with the insurer and existing noteholders.
  • At White & Case: advising a foreign state government on its sovereign debt restructuring, and particularly, on the interaction between public international law and English law issues in relation to certain debt instruments held by another state.
  • Acting for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in a US$1bn claim relating to undisclosed debts, supply-chain finance and the collapse of NMC Health plc [2020] EWHC 3423 (Comm).
  • Vatche Manoukian v Société Générale Banque Liban and Bank Audi: Acting for two Lebanese banks in proceedings brought by a customer seeking the international transfer of funds from accounts in Lebanon in a claim arising out of Lebanon’s ongoing financial crisis (one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases for 2022).
  • Instructed by Slaughter and May, acting for companies specialising in structured investment products in proceedings brought by life assurance companies alleging misrepresentations about the commission on the assets.
  • Milton Ashbury v Clydesdale Bank PLC (Claim No: CL-2018-000227, High Court, 2020).  Instructed by DLA Piper and led by Ian Wilson QC, Rebecca advised and acted for the Bank in defending allegations of fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations, economic duress and unconscionability.  Parties successfully compromised the dispute in the lead up to trial.
  • Longulf Trading (UK) Limited v Niyazi Onen Gida SAN AS & Niyazi Onen [2019] EWHC 1573 (Comm):  Instructed by K&L Gates as sole counsel acting for a UK company in successful claim proceedings for a £20m guarantee against Turkish guarantors.
  • Chudley v Clydesdale Bank PLC [2019] EWCA Civ 344:  Instructed by Addleshaw Goddards (with Ian Wilson QC) on appeal from first instance decision on a third party claim for breach of contract. The judgment is the third (and leading) Court of Appeal consideration of the proper interpretation and scope of section 1 of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
  • McMinn & Walton v Clydesdale Bank PLC (Claim No: E40MA061, High Court, 2018-2019): Instructed by DLA Piper, Rebecca advised and acted for the Bank in defending an IRHP claim.  Parties successfully compromised the dispute in the lead up to trial.
  • Cyrex Nigeria Barge Limited v (1) Federal Republic of Nigeria (2) Guaranty Trust Bank & (3) Nigerian Ports Authority [2018] EWHC 10 (Comm):  Instructed by Stephenson Harwood LLP as sole counsel acting for an African bank in a case raising issues around third party debt orders and sovereign immunity.  Successfully opposed the imposition of a third party debt order on the bank’s customer, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  • Chudley v Clydesdale Bank [2017] EWHC 2177 (Comm): 2-week Commercial Court trial.  Instructed by Addleshaw Goddards (with Ian Wilson QC) in successfully defending the Bank from fraud, negligence, breach of trust and restitution claims made by an investor in a failed investment scheme.
  • At White & Case:  advising on the contentious refinancing of an international airport, including negotiating a resolution with the insurer and existing noteholders.
  • At White & Case:  advising a foreign state government on its sovereign debt restructuring, and particularly, on the interaction between public international law and English law issues in relation to certain debt instruments held by another state.

Rebecca is regularly instructed as junior counsel in commercial arbitration proceedings across a range of regions, fields and institutional rules. Notable instructions include:

  • Junior counsel acting for investors in a Middle Eastern infrastructure project in two LCIA arbitrations (led by Jonathan Davies-Jones QC).
  • Junior counsel acting for a UK online retailer of salon-grade electrical beauty products against its Israeli supplier in an ongoing ICC arbitration (led by Jane Davies Evans).
  • Junior counsel acting for a subcontractor in an ongoing DIFC-LCIA arbitration concerning three major infrastructure projects in the UAE (led by Jane Davies Evans)
  • Junior counsel acting for a contractor in an ongoing UNCITRAL arbitration concerning a major infrastructure project in Kenya (led by Jane Davies Evans)
  • Junior counsel acting for a UK distributor in LCIA arbitration against Russian supplier (led by Tariq Baloch)
  • Junior counsel acting for a UK hedge fund in LCIA arbitration against Mauritian holding companies concerning investments in India.
  • Junior counsel acting for a subcontractor in an ongoing DIFC-LCIA arbitration concerning three major infrastructure projects in the UAE (with Jane Davies Evans).
  • Junior counsel acting for a contractor in an ongoing UNCITRAL arbitration concerning a major infrastructure project in Kenya (with Jane Davies Evans).
  • Junior counsel acting for a UK distributor in LCIA arbitration against Russian supplier (with Tariq Baloch).
  • Junior counsel acting for an East African state agency in an ongoing UNCITRAL arbitration concerning a road infrastructure project.
  • Junior counsel for an application to the Court of Appeal from a section 68 challenge in the English High Court relating to ICC Awards concerning the termination of contracts to construct a power plant in Kabul, Afghanistan (led by Jane Davies Evans).
  • Worked on major ICC arbitration arising out of the delayed completion of a major infrastructure project in Qatar (led by Jane Davies Evans).
  • At White & Case: Representing a major European energy provider in a highly complex ICC arbitration relating to the supply of a nuclear power plant, with the difference in dispute calculated at €6 billion.
  • At White & Case: Acting on the LCIA arbitration of a dispute between parties to a joint venture agreement for the development of a broadcasting channel in India.  On this matter, Rebecca worked alongside a leading Indian law firm as co-counsel.

Rebecca previously worked with COMBAR in assisting the Indian Arbitration Forum in developing inaugural best practice guidelines for Indian arbitration practitioners.

Rebecca regularly acts for both liquidators and directors in litigation arising out of the insolvency of a company.

Hightlights include:

  • LRH Services (in liquidation) v Trew [2018] EWHC 600 (Ch):  Instructed by Gateley LLP, with Ian Wilson QC.  Acted for the successful liquidator in the trial of a claim against the former directors of a company that fell into insolvent liquidation with substantial onerous lease liabilities following a group restructuring.  The restructuring involved use of the solvency statement procedure under s.643 of the Companies Act 2006, and was only the third case to consider the meaning and effect of s 643.
  • Duncan Swift and Jeremy Willmont (Joint Liquidators of Witham Contract Manufacturing Ltd) v Whitcomb & ors [CR-2018-001139]:  Instructed by Gateley LLP, with Ian Wilson QC. Junior counsel acting for the former directors and employee of a pharmaceutical manufacturing company resisting a claim brought by the liquidator for contribution. (Parties successfully mediated the dispute.)

Rebecca advises and acts as sole counsel on contract disputes across a range of industries, including:

  • Wilson v Kinsella and Anor [2019] 1 WLUK 206:  Instructed by Mills & Reeve as sole counsel.  Successfully resisted Claimant’s appeal to the High Court from trial judge’s finding that the Claimant had repudiated a building contract.  Rebecca also successfully represented the defendant employers at a 4-day multi-track trial in the County Court, which involved 12 witnesses of fact (9 for the Claimant alone) and surveying experts on each side.
  • Acting for a BVI company in a claim against a UK company for its failure to build and supply demountable buildings to a resort in the Maldives;
  • Advising a supermarket group of its contractual rights and risks in considering whether to proceed with an anticipated transition into a national supermarket network; and
  • Advising an environmental technology company on its prospects of successfully resisting a claim brought against it by a funding broker.

Rebecca acted for the Pensions Regulator in a complex commercial case concerning a private equity group’s acquisition of the Silentnight business out of administration, stripped of its pension scheme liability.  The Pensions Regulator sought Contribution Notices under the Pensions Act 2004 for the sum of £96.4m and successfully compromised the case for a substantial sum shortly before the hearing.

In 2019, Rebecca was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown.

Rebecca accepts instructions for public/commercial matters on behalf of the government.

Rebecca’s background in public and constitutional law includes:

  • At White & Case:  Acted on behalf of JUSTICE, the Innocence Network UK and the Criminal Appeals Lawyers Association in an amicus curiae intervention in the Supreme Court case of R (on the application of Nunn) v Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary [2014] UKSC 37.  The intervention concerned whether and when convicted persons ought to be able to access and test DNA evidence post-conviction, where that evidence had not been tested at trial due to the limitations of DNA technology at the time.
  • At the High Court of Australia:  Worked on a range of public and constitutional law cases, including, most notably, the unsuccessful constitutional challenge brought by tobacco companies to the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Australia) on the grounds that the legislative ban on the use of patented images on cigarette packets was a compulsory acquisition of  property for which compensation must be paid: [2012] HCA 43.
  • At Save The Children eSwatini, Mbabane:  Worked with local counsel to formulate and successfully bring eSwatini’s first ever amicus intervention, raising constitutional grounds for resisting the mass eviction of a community from traditional land.
  • At Mallesons in Sydney:  Worked on teams advising and assisting asylum seekers with administrative and judicial review applications.

Rebecca taught administrative law at the Australian National University (2011-2012) and her postgraduate degree at Harvard Law School focused on comparative constitutional and public law. Rebecca has also published on the topic of sovereign immunity.Rebecca has also published on the topic of sovereign immunity.

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