William is a versatile barrister with extensive interlocutory, trial, and appellate experience. His practice spans all aspects of commercial litigation and arbitration. He has particular experience in banking and finance disputes, commercial fraud cases, and company law and insolvency matters. A number of his cases are cross-border in nature and raise complex jurisdiction and choice of law issues.
Ranked as an up-and-coming junior in Chambers & Partners and a rising star in the Legal 500 for commercial litigation, banking and finance, and insolvency, William is described as “indisputably a future star of the Bar”, “ferociously clever” and “unbelievably smart and hard-working”, an “absolute pleasure to deal with”, “very responsive”, “very energetic and intellectually agile”, “very contactable, approachable and a real team player”, who “gets through an incredible workload” and whose “pleadings and written work product are outstanding”.
William’s current and recent instructions include appearing for Stonegate in a £1.1bn Covid-19 business interruption insurance claim; acting for Dubai Islamic Bank in a $400m dispute arising from the NMC Healthcare fraud; appearing for investors in the £1.3bn Eclipse litigation against HSBC; acting for liquidators in a US$1bn asset tracing exercise arising from an alleged fraudulent default under precious metals facilities; and defending IIFL Wealth in a high profile £50m claim relating to German financial services company, Wirecard.
William’s practice is focused on proceedings in the English courts but, in addition to regularly acting in international arbitration, William has been instructed in offshore proceedings including in the Bahamas, Dubai International Finance Centre, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market.
Alongside practice, William is a Fellow in Law at Downing College, Cambridge (see here) where he teaches commercial law and other private law subjects. He has published widely on commercial law, and his work has been cited by and to the Commercial Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. His published work on economic duress was praised as “excellent” by Lord Burrows in the Supreme Court’s decision in Pakistan International Airline Corp v Times Travel  UKSC 40,  3 WLR 727. A book on landmark cases in private international law is due to be published next year (see here).
William was previously a solicitor at Allen & Overy, where he worked on a range of commercial disputes with an emphasis on banking and finance litigation. He has also acted as a judicial assistant in the Chancery Division and has been seconded to the in-house litigation team at Credit Suisse.
Commercial Litigation and Arbitration
William is regularly instructed led and unled to act in a range of commercial disputes in the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division, the Commercial Circuit Court and in LCIA, ICC, SIAC and ICSID arbitrations.
- Stonegate v MS Amlin & Ors  EWHC 2548 (Comm) – acting for UK’s largest pub owner in expedited £1.1bn Covid-19 business interruption insurance test case.
- London International Exhibition Centre plc v RSA & Ors (Commercial Court, ongoing) – acting for major conference and exhibition centre in £16m Covid-19 business interruption insurance claim.
- Middle East Real Estate v Lipton Rogers (Chancery Division, listed for a 4 week trial in 2024) – acting for defendant in £11m commission claim for the financing and development of 22 Bishopsgate (the tallest building in the City of London).
- ICC Arbitration (2021) – acting for leading Central European food manufacturer in £37m breach of tax warranty claim under share purchase agreement.
- ICSID Arbitration (2021) – acting for investor in Romania’s largest insurance company in claim against the Romanian state in connection with its special administration and liquidation.
- LCIA Arbitration (2020) – acting for shareholder in well-known beverage company in private equity dispute arising from exercise of £15m put option.
- Winlink v Liverpool FC  EWHC 2271 (Comm) – acting for sports intermediary in dispute over commission in respect of £15m shirt sponsorship of Liverpool FC.
- Davis & Co v Alam and Alam  EWHC 3284 (Comm) – acting for claimant seeking injunctive relief and damages arising from acquisition of accountancy business.
- Medenta Finance v Hitachi Capital  EWHC 323 (Comm) and  EWHC 516 (Comm) – expedited Commercial Court trial raising issues of interpretation, implication and rectification of restrictive covenants in financial brokerage agreement.
- ICC Arbitration (2019) – acting for claimant in £4m gas field project dispute raising issues of termination, frustration, damages, and restitution for total failure of consideration.
Banking, Finance and Financial Services
Before transferring to the bar, William was a specialist in banking and finance litigation, and financial services disputes as a solicitor at Allen & Overy. Since transferring to the bar, he has appeared for numerous banks including Deutsche Bank, RBS, NatWest, Lloyds, Barclays, Santander and HSBC in retail and commercial banking cases. He is also instructed by the Financial Conduct Authority on contentious financial services matters.
- NMC Healthcare v Dubai Islamic Bank – acting for Dubai Islamic Bank in a $400m dispute in the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Courts arising from the NMC Healthcare fraud.
- Investors in Eclipse v HSBC (Commercial Court, listed for 10 week trial in 2024) – acting for claimant group in a £1.3bn mis-selling claim against HSBC in connection with the Eclipse / Disney film finance schemes. See also  EWHC 227 (Comm),  Costs LR 325 and  EWHC 1843 (Comm).
- LCIA Arbitration (2022) – acting for two leading Middle Eastern banks in a $500m dispute concerning security arrangements for sharia-compliant financings.
- Heytex v Unity Trade Capital  EWHC 2488 (Ch) – acting for claimant in dispute over international letter of credit arrangements and alleged exclusion of UCP 600 terms.
- Tillman v Lloyds Bank and Better Capital (Commercial Court, settled) – defending Lloyds Banks in £150m claim by the former owner of the high street chain Jaeger arising from the circumstances of its administration.
- AB Insolvency v Deutsche Bank (Central London County Court, now on appeal in Chancery Division) – appeared for Deutsche Bank at trial in commission claim arising from hire of senior executive (unreported but see here).
- Bankserve v Deutsche Bank (London Circuit Commercial Court, ongoing) – acting for Deutsche Bank defending claim from insurer broker seeking commission from role in settlement of dispute under asset finance agreements with prominent Greek shipowner.
- Financial Conduct Authority v Synergy Land Group (Chancery Division, ongoing) – acting for the FCA seeking distribution order in connection with unauthorised collective investment scheme.
- Cyan Finance v Wilton Group (London Circuit Commercial Court, settled) – acting for claimant in £9m claim relating to defaults under in respect of advances under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
- Banco San Juan v Petroleos de Venezuela  EWHC 2937 (Comm),  2 All ER (Comm) 590 and  EWCA Civ 610 – acting for Venezuela’s state-owned oil giant in $80 million dispute under credit agreements affected by US sanctions.
- Financial Conduct Authority v 24HR Trading Academy  EWHC 1455 (Ch) and  EWHC 648 (Ch) – acting for the FCA in claim for breach of the general prohibition based on unauthorised investment advice and investment arrangements, including obtaining ex parte a freezing order.
- Credit Suisse Asset Management v Titan 2006-1  EWHC 969 (Ch) and  EWCA 1293 – at Allen & Overy, acting for defendant cash manager and agent bank in securitisation note dispute.
- Metlife v JP Morgan Chase Bank  EWHC 463 (Comm) and  EWCA Civ 1248 – at Allen & Overy, acting for the defendant bank in dispute over inflation-linked bonds.
Much of William’s practice involves disputes at the cross-over between finance, fraud and insolvency. He has a wide-ranging experience of commercial fraud cases, including acting led and unled in a number of applications for freezing and prohibitory injunctions and search orders.
- Harrington & Charles & Ors v Mehta & Ors (Chancery Division, ongoing) – acting for liquidators in a US$1bn asset tracing exercise from an alleged fraudulent default under precious metals facilities. Judgment on return date for worldwide freezing injunction currently awaited.
- Manek v IIFL Wealth & Ors (Commercial Court, ongoing) – acting for UK branch of Indian financial services company defending £50 million claim relating to sale of Indian payments company Hermes to Wirecard.
- Guy v Foster (Commercial Court, ongoing) – acting for purchaser of rural estate and wedding business in Dorset in £18m deceit claim against seller.
- Boettcher v Xio & Ors (Commercial Court, ongoing) – acting for former global head of value creation in claim against a fund and its partners for alleged misrepresentations as to the nature of the fund and its investor base.
- Banque Havilland v Mazurier & Ors (Supreme Court of the Bahamas, settled) – $10m fraud claim to rescind various business introducer agreements allegedly entered into in breach of fiduciary duty.
- Aggreko v Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp & Ors (Commercial Court, 2020, unreported, but see press here) – acted for claimant in $37 million claim against a Yemeni electricity company. Injunctive relief obtained preventing payment out under fraudulent call on performance bonds in support of DIFC-LCIA arbitral proceedings.
- CMOC Sales and Marketing v Persons Unknown  EWHC 2230 (Comm) – as a pupil assisting Philip Hinks, in claim in conspiracy and knowing receipt claim by corporate victim of $10million cyber fraud against persons unknown
Company and Insolvency Law
William’s experience encompasses liquidations, administrations and bankruptcies, including not only bankruptcy and winding up petitions, but also applications to challenge officeholder decisions, to reverse transactions at an undervalue, to restore companies to the register at Companies House, and to access a company’s register of members. William also has been instructed in restructuring matters, including schemes of arrangement.
- Brake v The Chedington Court Estate  EWCA Civ 1302,  EWCA Civ 235 and  EWCA Civ 1491,  BusLR 577; see also  EWHC 1810 (Ch),  4 WLR 113;  EWHC 670,  4 WLR 71 and  EWHC 671; and  EWHC 2308 (Ch) – acting in related bankruptcy and partnership liquidation proceedings, now leading authorities on standing to make insolvency applications, on section 283A of the Insolvency Act 1986, on unfair prejudice in the context of standalone moratoriums, and on rights of confidence/privacy in the insolvency context. Now on appeal to the Supreme Court.
- Re ALL Scheme  EWHC 549 (Ch) and  EWHC 1318 (Ch) – acting for customer advocate at directions and sanctions hearing in £112m scheme of arrangement of consumer finance group, Amigo.
- Re Harrington and Charles Co Ltd  EWHC 1566 (Ch) – acting for an investment bank in a US $1bn multi-jurisdictional asset tracing exercise through UK shell companies in liquidation/dissolution.
- Re Core VCT plc (in liquidation)  EWCA Civ 1207,  PNLR 10 and  EWHC 540 (Ch) and  EWHC 701 (Ch) – acting for liquidators of private equity funds resisting an application for removal from office, and obtaining information and documents from third parties under section 234 to 236 of the Insolvency Act 198. Now the leading authority on members’ voluntary liquidations.
- Re Mediterranean Insurance and Reinsurance Ltd (in administration) (2019-2021) – acting for administrators of an insolvent insurance undertaking seeking court directions to make distributions to creditors, and move into liquidation.
- Re Asia Resource Minerals plc (PS/2015/15) – at Allen & Overy, acting for an investment bank in respect of Takeover Panel proceedings over a concert party reverse takeover.
Conflict of Laws
William has a particular interest in the conflict of laws, and receives regular instructions on jurisdictional and choice of law matters. He won the John Morris Prize for best performance in the subject in his postgraduate studies at Oxford, and has also published on topical jurisdiction and choice of law issues.
- RBS v Schommer (London Circuit Commercial Court, settled) – acting for claimant in jurisdiction challenge in litigation arising out of default under loan agreement.
- Boettcher v Xio & Ors (Commercial Court, ongoing) – acting for claimant in jurisdiction challenge in litigation against a fund and its partners for alleged misrepresentations as to the nature of the fund and its investor base.
- Banco San Juan v Petroleos de Venezuela  EWHC 2937 (Comm),  2 All ER (Comm) 590 and  EWCA Civ 610 – acting for Venezuela’s state-owned oil giant in $80 million dispute about the effect of foreign law illegality at common law (the ‘Ralli Bros’ rule) and under the Rome I Regulation on English law credit agreements.
- Anon (2020) – advising international auction house on potential liability regarding artwork allegedly stolen by the Nazis in the Second World War, raising issues of applicable law for liability and limitation for conversion, negligence and breach of contractual terms.
- SIAC Arbitration (2018) – acting on an arbitration concerning issues of proof of foreign law and recognition of foreign judgments.
- Marme Inversiones v RBS & Ors  EWHC 1570 (Comm) – at Allen & Overy, acting for the second to fifth defendants in jurisdiction challenge involving lis pendens and interface between the Brussels Regulation and the Insolvency Regulation.
- Plaza v Law Debenture  EWHC 43 (Ch) – as judicial assistant to Proudman J, a jurisdiction challenge involving reflexive effect of provisions of the Brussels Regulation.