Professional practice

Legal 500 Leading Junior

Claudia has a broad and diverse commercial practice spanning domestic and international commercial litigation and arbitration with particular expertise in media, art and entertainment law and civil fraud. She has been recognized as a leading junior (Tier 1) for Art and Cultural Property Law by the Legal 500 since 2017 where she is described as an “Art fraud and contractual breach expert…A phenomenal junior, unflappable and extremely hard-working” (2021).

Claudia is an experienced advocate. She has appeared unled before arbitral tribunals and in the High Court, County Courts and the Employment Tribunal; and as junior counsel in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, numerous arbitrations (including under the LMAA Terms (2012), LCIA Arbitration Rules, American Arbitration Association Rules, ICC Rules and DIAC) and in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts.

Her recent cases include: Sotheby’s v Mark Weiss Ltd in which Claudia, led by Joe Smouha QC, was instructed on behalf of an art gallery and its owner in a case concerning the sale of an alleged Old Master (said to be by Frans Hals) under a private treaty agreement, which was then alleged to be counterfeit; ICICI Bank UK plc v Assam Oil Co & Ors in which she was instructed, as junior to David Joseph QC, to resist a summary judgment claim for $70 million under a term loan said to be due. Other recent instructions include: acting (led by Ricky Diwan QC) for a foreign state in relation to the attempted enforcement of a $48 million judgment debt raising issues under the State Immunity Act 1978; acting (led by Richard Millett QC) for the Receivers of the shares of Nevis companies said to be worth in excess of $200 million and the Directors of those companies in multi-jurisdictional litigation concerning the disputed ownership of those shares; acting (led by Paul Stanley QC) in an ad hoc arbitration concerning a dispute between limited liability partners in an investment management business.

Claudia is accustomed to working closely with foreign lawyers; and both as sole counsel and part of a larger team. She is uniquely familiar with the DIFC and she has advised the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Courts on their Arbitration and Court Rules.

Claudia is the author of Those Wild Wyndhams, a biography of the Wyndham sisters (HarperCollins, 2014 (UK and worldwide); Knopf 2018 (US)), which won the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2014. She is also co-author of Heroes (Quercus 2007). In her previous career as an actress she appeared on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the National Theatre, and on television in series for the BBC and ITV.

 

Examples of notable cases
  • Sotheby’s v Mark Weiss Ltd: acting (led by Joe Smouha QC) for the first defendant, an art gallery and the third defendant, its owner, in a case concerning the sale of an alleged Old Master (said to by Frans Hals) under a private treaty agreement, which was then then alleged to be counterfeit. Appeal listed for November 2020.
  • ICICI Bank UK plc v Assam Oil Co & Ors [2019] EWHC 50 (Comm): acting (led by David Joseph QC) for the defendant oil company resisting a summary judgment claim for $70 million under a term loan said to be due. Reduced the claim by $15—20 million.
  • As junior to Ricky Diwan QC, acting for a foreign state in relation to the attempted enforcement of a $48 million judgment debt raising issues under the State Immunity Act 1978.
  • As junior to Richard Millett QC, acting for the Receivers of the shares of Nevis companies said to be worth in excess of $200 million and the Directors of those companies in multi-jurisdictional litigation concerning the disputed ownership of those shares.
  • As junior to Paul Stanley QC, acting in an ad hoc arbitration concerning a dispute between limited liability partners in an investment management business. Settled in advance of a five day trial in July 2020.
  • As junior to David Foxton QC (as he then was) acting for a leading international airline in relation to issues arising out of an agreement for the purchase of an airplane.
What Others Say

Legal 500 UK Bar 2021, Media and Entertainment: Art and Cultural Property (Tier 1, Leading Juniors):

‘Art fraud and contractual breach expert…A phenomenal junior, unflappable and extremely hard-working

Legal 500 UK Bar 2020 (Media and Entertainment: Art and Cultural Property (Tier 1, Leading Juniors):

‘A phenomenal and unflappable junior with encyclopaedic knowledge.’

Legal 500 UK Bar 2019, Media and Entertainment: Art and Cultural Property (Tier 1, Leading Juniors):

‘She is multi-talented, adaptable and charms judges out of trees.’ 

The Legal 500 UK Bar 2017, Media and Entertainment: Art and Cultural Property (Tier 1, Leading Juniors):

‘She has it all and will go a very long way.’ 

Arbitration & related court applications

Arbitrations include:

  • An ad hoc arbitration (as junior to Paul Stanley QC) concerning a dispute between limited liability partners in an investment management business.
  • An arbitration under the LMAA Terms (2012) (as junior to David Joseph QC) concerning a claim for commission under agency and brokerage agreements in relation to underlying drilling contracts involving issues of alleged fraud and breach of contract and questions of Brazilian and US law.
  • An arbitration under the LMAA Terms (2012) (as junior to Jern-Fei Ng QC) concerning claims for substantial sums in respect of alleged breach of contract by failure to nominate laycans.
  • Related arbitrations under the LMAA Terms (2012) (as junior to David Joseph QC) concerning disputes arising out of the provision of consultancy services in relation to the oil and gas industry.
  • An arbitration under the American Arbitration Association Rules (as junior to Richard Millett QC) involving cross-claims of alleged breaches of contract in relation to a global distribution agreement, fraudulent misrepresentation, allegations of fraud and conspiracy and breaches of Chinese law. Settled in advance of a six week hearing.
  • An arbitration under the ICC Rules (as sole counsel), acting for the Respondent, an expert in the field of binary options, in respect of a claim of US$20 million made against him by his former business partners in respect of alleged breaches of a Founders Agreement.
  • An arbitration under the DIAC Arbitration Rules (2007) (on secondment with King & Wood Mallesons in Dubai, led by Stephen Dennison QC, Rupert Reed QC and Riaz Hussain) for a major infrastructure developer in defending contractor claims for in excess of AED 1 billion by a former member of a joint venture in circumstances where the joint venture and its claims were severed by agreement and order of the tribunal.
  • An arbitration under the ICC Rules (as junior counsel in a team) involving a claim against a German conglomerate in the industrial sector.
  • An ad hoc arbitration (as junior to Jeffrey Gruder QC) acting for an oil company in a dispute brought by a major rig company.
  • An arbitration under the LMAA Terms (as junior to Chris Smith QC) involving the management of a specialist support vessel classed for work involving Dynamic Positioning.
  • An ad hoc arbitration (as junior to Chris Smith QC) in relation to the defects allegedly present in a luxury yacht upon delivery.

Cases/court-related applications include:

  • Advising (as junior to David Joseph QC) on jurisdictional issues concerning a possible stay of court proceedings under s. 9, Arbitration Act 1996 or the inherent jurisdiction of the court
  • Bocimar International NV v Emirates Trading Agency LLC CFI 008/2015 [2015]: Acting (as junior to Rupert Reed QC) for a Belgian shipowner in a protracted cross-jurisdictional dispute in the Commercial Court and the Dubai International Financial Centre Court seeking ultimately the enforcement in Dubai of LMAA arbitral awards rendered in the owner’s favour for sums of over US$ 114 million and subsequently entered as judgments of the Commercial Court under s. 66, Arbitration Act 1996. Secured a worldwide freezing order in the DIFC Courts in the sum of US$118m.
  • With Lord Saville, Claudia advised the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts on its Arbitration Rules 2015.
Civil fraud & asset recovery

Examples of recent cases include:

  • Instructed (as junior to Richard Millett QC) to act for the Receivers of the shares of Nevis companies said to be worth in excess of $200 million and the Directors of those companies in multi-jurisdictional litigation concerning the disputed ownership of those shares (2020).
  • Instructed (as junior to Sue Prevezer QC) to advise a foreign investment fund in relation to a multi-million dollar investment fund fraud claim against FCA regulation investment managers, involving allegations of deceit, conspiracy, bribery, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt and questions concerning the proper law of contractual and tortious claims (2018).
  • Instructed (as junior to David Joseph QC) in an arbitration under the LMAA Terms (2012) concerning a claim for commission under agency and brokerage agreements in relation to underlying drilling contracts involving allegations of fraud and breach of contract and questions of Brazilian and US law (2017).
  • Instructed (as junior to Richard Millett QC) in a substantial arbitration involving cross-claims of alleged breaches of contract in relation to a global distribution agreement, fraudulent misrepresentation, allegations of fraud and conspiracy and breaches of Chinese law. Settled in advance of a six week hearing (2017).
  • Instructed (as junior to Paul McGrath QC) to advise a Nigerian bank in relation to freezing injunctions and search orders.
Commercial dispute resolution

Cases include:

  • Sotheby’s v Mark Weiss Ltd: instructed (as junior to Joe Smouha QC) by the first defendant, an art gallery and the third defendant, its owner, in a case concerning the sale of an alleged Old Master (said to by Frans Hals) under a private treaty agreement which was then then alleged to be counterfeit. Judgment handed down December 2019. Appeal listed for November 2020.
  • ICICI Bank UK plc v Assam Oil Co & Ors [2019] EWHC 50 (Comm): Instructed (as junior to David Joseph QC) by the defendant oil company to resist a summary judgment claim for $70 million under a term loan said to be due. Reduced the claim by $15—20 million.
  • Jamal v Christensen [2018] EWHC 2261 (Ch) Instructed (as sole counsel) to act for the applicant. Successfully applied to set aside a statutory demand, establishing the novel point of law that an action on a foreign judgment of over six years old was time-barred for the purposes of an English claim under the Limitation Act 1980 s. 5.
  • Instructed (as junior to Paul Stanley QC), to advise in relation to injunctive relief sought between a consumer credit company and a bank in relation to the transfer of payment protection insurance (PPI) claims.
  • Instructed (as junior to Richard Millett QC) to act for the Receivers of the shares of Nevis companies said to be worth in excess of $200 million and the Directors of those companies in multi-jurisdictional litigation concerning the disputed ownership of those shares.
  • Instructed (as junior to David Foxton QC (as he then was)) to advise a leading international airline in relation to issues arising out of an agreement for the purchase of an airplane and proceedings in the Singapore Courts.
  • Instructed (as junior to Richard Millett QC) to act for a logistics company in a case involving allegations of breach of confidence, fraudulent misrepresentation and conspiracy in relation to information allegedly unlawfully procured in advance of a handover from one logistics provider to another. Settled in advance of a six-week hearing in the Chancery Court.
  • Grizzly Business Limited v Stena Drilling Limited and Stena Drillmax I Limited [2014] EWHC 1920 (Comm): Instructed (as junior to Andrew Hochhauser QC) to act for the Respondents at first instance and on appeal (on points of fact) in a case concerning whether there was an oral agreement for a success fee in relation to an underlying drilling contract.

Claudia is frequently instructed as sole counsel in commercial disputes. Her instructions include: Commercial Court proceedings concerning acquisition of a stake in a hedge fund under a share purchase agreement in a claim for over US$100 m in respect of alleged breaches of contract (including breach of warranty) and claims in deceit in matters relating, inter alia, to historic investments made through third party custodians in accounts managed by Bernard Madoff; a copyright dispute in the Mercantile Court concerning a filmed ballet performance; a Commercial Court dispute concerning sums owed under a Commission Agreement; successfully defending an application to set aside judgment entered in default in the Mercantile Court; in the DIFC Courts in relation to a shareholders’ dispute in claims relating to the hospitality industry; securing the strike out of a claim for sums due under an agreement on the basis of a preliminary issue in the County Court; in addition to numerous other county court disputes.

With Lord Hope of Craighead, Claudia advised the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts on its Court Procedure Rules.

Conflict of laws & private international law

Claudia has advised on matters relating to jurisdiction, stays, injunctions and proper law. Cases include:

  • As junior to Sue Prevezer QC, advising a foreign investment fund in relation to a multi-million dollar investment fund fraud claim against FCA regulation investment managers, involving allegations of deceit, conspiracy, bribery, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt and questions concerning the proper law of contractual and tortious claims (2018).
  • As junior to Hugh Mercer QC, advising a foreign fund on claims for the recovery of sums due in respect of global notes issued under a deed of Indenture. The claims involve questions of rights granted under the lex situs and questions of foreign law (2017).
  • As junior to Sara Cockerill QC (as she then was), acting in a one day jurisdictional hearing in the High Court.
Employment

Claudia practices in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, wrongful and unfair dismissal (including redundancy), claims concerning the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (“TUPE”), restrictive covenants and whistleblowing. She acts for claimants and respondents.

Cases include:

  • Willis Ltd & Ors v (1) Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc (2) JLT Specialty Ltd (3) David Gordon (4) Barry Vickery QBD [2015]: Acted (led by David Craig QC) for the Third and Fourth Defendants in a substantial case arising out of an alleged team move in the insurance broking industry. Settled shortly before a five-week hearing in the Commercial Court.
  • Bates van Winkelhof v Clyde & Co LLP [2014] UKSC 32: Acted as junior counsel to Tom Linden QC and David Craig for the successful appellant, a former member of the Respondent LLP. The Supreme Court held that the appellant was a worker within the meaning of s.230(3) (b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and thus entitled to bring a whistleblowing claim against the LLP.

As sole counsel, cases include:

  • Instruction in Commercial Court proceedings concerning acquisition of a stake in a hedge fund under a share purchase agreement in a claim for over US$100 m in respect of alleged breaches of contract (including breach of warranty) and claims in deceit in matters relating, inter alia, to historic investments made through third party custodians in accounts managed by Bernard Madoff.
  • Acting for the successful defendant employer in a three day unfair dismissal and pregnancy discrimination trial in the Employment Tribunal.
  • Acting for the Claimant in a case concerning payments claimed under related sale and purchase and share options agreements and concerning the misappropriation of assets in excess of US$50 million.
  • Negotiating a high value settlement deal for a claimant employee.
Media, art, entertainment

Claudia has been recognized since 2017 by The Legal 500 as a leading junior (Tier 1) for Art & Cultural Property Law, which describes her as an “Art fraud and contractual breach expert… A phenomenal junior, unflappable and extremely hard-working.’ (2021)

Cases include:

  • Sotheby’s v Mark Weiss Ltd: instructed (led by Joe Smouha QC) to act for the first defendant, an art gallery and the third defendant, its owner, in a case concerning the sale of an alleged Old Master (said to by Frans Hals) under a private treaty agreement which was then then alleged to be counterfeit. Eight day trial in April 2019. Appeal listed for November 2020.

As sole counsel, her instructions include:

  • In a one day expert determination, acting for a collective management organisation seeking admittance to membership of a body to enable it to collect statutory revenue for its members.
  • Advising in relation to potential claims arising out of the purchase of a work by Andy Warhol.
  • Advising in relation to sums allegedly due under contracts for sale in respect of lots at auction.
  • In interim commercial court proceedings. Acting on behalf of a well-known art collector in proceedings brought against them by an art dealer. Secured and defended an “unless order” relating to non-compliance with disclosure obligations;
  • In a copyright dispute in the Mercantile Court concerning a filmed ballet performance securing an order for security for the defendant’s costs, bringing an end to the claim.
  • Advising an advertising agency in relation to breach of contract claims made by the corporate arm of a political pressure group under an agreement for advertising services.
  • English National Opera v Speckulation Entertainment Limited securing and defending an order for judgment in default for the claimant opera company as a result of the Defendant’s breaches of contract in relation to a cancelled musical event.
  • MTC v Sir Bradley Wiggins: Instructed (as junior to Ian Mill QC) for the claimant, a sports and entertainment agency, in a commercial dispute with its former client, cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Public international law

As junior to Ricky Diwan QC, acting for a foreign state resisting the enforcement of a $48 million judgment debt under the State Immunity Act 1978.

Career

2011 – 2012 Pupillage at Essex Court Chambers
2011 Called to the Bar, Gray’s Inn
2003 – 2009 Professional actor and writer

Education

2015                   Attended Keble Advocacy Course
2010 – 2011     BPTC, City University Law School (Outstanding, ranked 8th in year)
2009 – 2010   GDL, City University Law School (Distinction)
2000 – 2003  BA (Hons) in Modern History, Trinity College, Oxford (First class, ranked 4th in year)

Awards

2014 Pegasus Scholar, Inner Temple
2010 Bedingfield Scholarship, Gray’s Inn
2009 Anthony Bessemer Clark Award, Gray’s Inn
2003 Oxford University Gibbs Book Prize for Modern History
2003 Trinity College, Oxford, Finals Prize
2003 Trinity College, Commendation, R.A. Knox Memorial Prize
2001 Ford Exhibition for Modern History (awarded for a First in Honour Moderations)

Other Awards:
2012 Commendation, James Hunt Advocacy Prize (Gray’s Inn)
2010 Runner-up, City University Moot

2014 Those Wild Wyndhams awarded the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize by the Biographers’ Club
2014 Selected by The Observer in capacity as an historian as a ‘rising star’ of 2014
2010 Selected by Vogue magazine in capacity as an historian to be part of the feature ‘Bright Stars’: one of 32 young people from various fields whose careers were identified as worth following (VOGUE, January 2010)
2007 Commendation, Ian Charleson Award (Awarded by the Royal National Theatre and the Sunday Times for ‘outstanding performances by actors under 30 in classical roles’)