David Scorey is a commercial litigator whose practice is focused upon advocacy. In addition to domestic and international arbitrations, he has appeared at every level of the court hierarchy, including the Court of Appeal and House of Lords (as was), and has also appeared in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
David’s extensive experience of commercial litigation in both domestic courts and international arbitrations regularly involves jurisdictional issues and aspects of foreign law. David has acted in a wide variety of commercial cases, from traditional Lloyd’s litigation, insurance and reinsurance disputes, to more colourful civil fraud cases and disputes arising in the world of fine art, including Holocaust claims, injunctive relief, anti-suit injunctions and enforcement actions. He is accustomed to working with foreign lawyers and particularly US attorneys, instructed directly and also in conjunction with English solicitors.
David has particular experience of high-level excess liability insurance and reinsurance written on the Bermuda Form. He is the co-author of a book on the Bermuda form published by Oxford University Press, The Bermuda Form: Interpretation and Dispute Resolution of Excess Liability Insurance. This was the joint winner of the 2012 BILA Book Prize awarded for the most notable contribution to literature in the field of insurance law.
In addition to his commercial practice, David also has considerable experience in VAT, Insurance Premium Tax and other duties, instructed by solicitors, accountants and other professionals under the direct access rules. His tax practice includes both advisory work and litigation where he has appeared on behalf of taxpayers at all levels, taking appeals from the tribunal, through to the House of Lords and on to the European Court of Justice, all without a leader. In November 2012, David was selected by the Tax Journal for inclusion in its “40 under 40”guide to 40 leading tax professionals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their careers to date. According to the Tax Journal:
- “David is very commercially focused, and it is one of the things that set him apart from other barristers.”
- “Rather than just giving us the law and the likely litigation outcome, David will examine practical ways to solve things.”
- “Clients seem to love David as he is personable, and practical.”
- “He inspires confidence both with practitioners and in-house teams.”
- What others say
David Scorey is consistently recommended in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners in a number of categories. He has been repeatedly nominated for Insurance Junior of the Year (2009, 2010 & 2013), and for VAT Junior of the Year (2011).
In 2014, David Scorey was ranked by Chambers & Partners as one of the 100 “star” juniors at the Bar:
“David Scorey is well versed in a wide variety of commercial disputes, and proves particularly strong on insurance and tax related cases. He is one of the foremost experts on Bermuda Form insurance matters, and regularly appears in arbitrations concerning sums running into hundreds of millions of dollars. By way of example, he appeared in AstraZenica v ACE & XL, the first substantive case in the Commercial Court on the proper construction of the Bermuda Form and whether actual legal liability needed to be demonstrated. “He has a complete command of his brief,” and is “willing to go the extra mile with our clients, some of whom can be very demanding indeed.”
The most recent comments include the following:
Indirect Tax: VAT
- “He is outstanding as he examines the evidence in great detail. His litigation skills are very good, and he has a very good understanding of VAT and European Law. “ Chambers UK 2015
- “Thoughtful and creative, and very good with clients”. Legal 500 2014
- Recommended as a Leading Junior in Chambers & Partners 2014: “Handles a number of general commercial disputes as part of an extensive practice. His indirect tax expertise covers VAT and insurance premium tax cases.” Expertise: Very good and very experienced in EU law and VAT matters.
- “A leading junior” and “go-to barrister.” Legal 500 2013
- “Hard-working, thoughtful and intelligent,” he is “an extremely stylish lawyer” whom it is “a joy to work with.” Chambers & Partners 2013
- “A ‘real fighter’ and presents “very detailed submissions.” Legal 500 2012
- According to sources, David Scorey is “always 100% committed to his case and someone who really argues his corner.” Chambers & Partners 2012
- “rising star” and “outstanding talent.” Legal 500 2011
- “Polished advocate David Scorey consistently impresses as a ferociously bright and articulate advocate.’”
Chambers & Partners 2011
- “His knowledge of high level casualty and Bermuda Form work is so deep, and his written work is first-class.” Chambers UK 2015
- “The ‘ferociously intelligent’ David Scorey is in constant demand” Legal 500 2014
- “A talented junior who is particularly well versed in Bermuda Form disputes, the Lloyd’s market and finance-related litigation.” Chambers & Partners 2014
- “David is one of the best juniors I have ever worked with. He has great authority on paper and is a deft advocate on his feet.” “He is ferociously intelligent, yet can explain things clearly. He is also very approachable and is excellent with clients.’”
- Nominated as Insurance Junior of the Year 2013 by Chambers & Partners
Recommended by Chambers & Partners 2013 as “bright and analytical in his approach.”
- “Twice a nominee for Chambers’ Insurance Junior of the Year, David Scorey is considered ‘both an amiable and a ruthless opponent.’ He is widely acknowledged to have a forte in both Bermuda Form arbitration and insurance matters concerning injured sports professionals.” Chambers & Partners 2012
- “Receives high praise for his Bermuda form arbitration expertise.” Legal 500 2011
- ‘First-rate’ junior David Scorey recently represented London excess insurers of the Channel Tunnel in a matter arising from a tunnel fire, which also involved jurisdictional disputes. Chambers & Partners 2011
- Legal 500 2014 describes David as “very user friendly and responsive. He is good at handling clients and is a good team player”. Always courteous and professional, and his judgement and analysis are impeccable.”
- Recognised for his extensive international arbitration practice and strong advocacy capabilities. His experience in insurance-related disputes sees him regularly instructed on Bermuda Form matters, and he operates at the top end of the arbitration market. Expertise: “He is very impressive, as he’s client-oriented, sensible and efficient.” Recommended by Chambers & Partners 2014
- The “ferociously intelligent” David Scorey stands out for insurance-related arbitrations Legal 500 2013
- “The first choice as junior in Bermuda Form cases and is very good in jurisdictional disputes. His expertise in insurance and reinsurance arbitration is complemented by his ‘very client-friendly’ approach. ” Recommended by Chambers & Partners 2013
- “A real star” and “an excellent senior junior” for complex insurance disputes. Legal 500 2011
- “David Scorey excels in insurance arbitration, where he has a strong track record. He provides ‘clear and concise advice’ to a raft of satisfied clients.” Chambers & Partners 2012
- “The ‘formidably bright’ David Scorey is highly recommended for insurance and reinsurance arbitrations.” Legal 500 2011
- The “exceptionally bright and analytical” David Scorey, whose impressive recent caseload has included several notable insurance and reinsurance cases. Chambers & Partners 2011
- Chambers UK 2015 describes David as “Quick, concise and commercial in his advice.”
- Recommended in Chambers & Partners 2014: Receives strong reviews from market sources, with interviewees pointing to his tenacious and effective style of advocacy. Expertise: “Fiercely bright and always available. A formidable junior with an immense presence both in court and when dealing with clients.” “Hard-working, thoughtful and intelligent.”
- Legal 500 2014 describes David as “An exceptionally bright and articulate junior, who is unflappable.”
- Recommended as a Leading Junior in Legal 500 2013.
- Recommended in Chambers & Partners 2013 as “hard-working, thoughtful and intelligent” and someone who is “a joy to work with.”
Banking & Finance
- “Very smart and knows the law well, his drafting is particularly crisp and clear.” Legal 500 2014
- “Very sensible and measured, and brings his mighty intellect to bear on any problems.” Legal 500 2013
- Arbitration & related court applications
Advised and acted (both alone and with leaders) in a wide range of arbitrations before domestic and international tribunals, both under institutional rules, including ICC, LMAA, LCIA, UNCITRAL, AAA and ad hoc arbitrations. David has particular expertise in insurance and reinsurance arbitration, particularly Bermudian and London arbitrations concerning the Bermuda Form.
He has also appeared in the English Commercial Court in many arbitration applications, ranging from anti-suit injunctions to issues concerning the bias of an arbitrator: see, e.g., AT&T v Saudi Cable Company.
- Banking & financial services
Acted and advised in a wide range of international and domestic banking disputes on behalf of both corporate individuals and major clearing banks: guarantee disputes, letters of credit, documentary credits, bills of exchange, performance bonds, limited partnerships, injunctions and freezing orders. See, e.g., Bank of China v NBM LLC, where he acted on behalf of the Bank concerning the extra-territorial effect of a world-wide freezing order in support of foreign proceedings.
In addition to traditional banking disputes arising from international trade, David’s knowledge of the banking sector enables him to provide commercially relevant tax advice to banks relating to VAT and IPT issues and other regulatory matters.
- Commercial dispute resolution
David has extensive experience of commercial litigation (including advisory work) in a wide variety of areas, both in the English Commercial Court and also domestic and international arbitrations, such as carriage of goods, sale of goods, fraud claims, asset tracing, insurance and reinsurance, contractual and non-contractual termination, jurisdictional disputes, worldwide and other freezing orders, anti-suit injunctions, arbitration disputes, service out of the jurisdiction, guarantee disputes, bills of exchange, and documentary credits.
David has considerable experience of freezing injunctions and other interim relief in support of domestic and foreign proceedings – including knowledge of enforcement of both domestic and foreign judgments. David has recently acted for Kuwaiti Airways in its long running battle to enforce judgments of US$1.2bn against Iraqi Airways. In those proceedings, David obtained freezing orders, including an order preventing a deponent from leaving the jurisdiction and seizure of his passport pending disclosure of assets information:  EWCA Civ 740. In those same proceedings, David has sought to enforce judgments in the name of IAC against assets of the Iraqi State and other State-owned entities.
Recently, David has also successfully defended a £40m tracing claim advanced by HMRC against a Singaporean client who was alleged to be a conspirator in a complex fraud perpetrated on the Revenue. Instructed late in the day, David obtained summary judgment in his client’s favour, thereby dismissing HMRC’s claim, just weeks before a four week Chancery Division trial: see  EWHC 2892 (Ch).
- European law & competition
David’s interest in European law began early: he has an LL.M. in European Community Law from Leiden University, The Netherlands and is an erstwhile lecturer in European Law at the L.S.E. David frequently advises and acts in cases involving European Community law issues including competition law, commercial disputes, insurance and VAT.
- Insurance & reinsurance
David has acted and advised in all types of insurance and reinsurance disputes, both in the Commercial Court and in domestic and international arbitration. In particular, he has litigated disputes relating to avoidance for fraud, misrepresentation, non-disclosure, moral hazard and coverage disputes.
He has particular expertise in respect of the Bermuda excess liability form and has appeared in many arbitrations concerning coverage disputes in addition to advisory work on the Bermuda form. David is co-author of The Bermuda Form: Interpretation and Dispute Resolution of Excess Liability Insurance (Oxford University Press, 2012) which was the joint winner of the 2012 BILA Book Prize.
- Media, art, entertainment
Both advisory work and litigation in disputes concerning the entertainment industry, including film distribution, record contract disputes, film finance and production broadcasting rights in addition to agency and management agreements, many of which often include an international element.
David has particular experience in art litigation and related jurisdictional disputes, including the standard terms and conditions of all the major auction houses and London art dealers. Recent work involves a contractual claim disputing the authenticity of a Picasso portrait, advising on potential ‘Holocaust survivors’ claims in respect of the sale of a significant Modigliani landscape, and a dispute concerning the obligations of art advisors in respect of potential ‘Holocaust’ claims.
- Public & administrative law
David has advised and acted in public law cases. For example: David acted on behalf of Amnesty International intervening in the House of Lords in General Pinochet Extradition (see R v Bow Street Magistrates ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No.2)  1 AC 119 (House of Lords): challenge to House of Lords decision on the ground of bias alleged against Lord Hoffman; and see R v Bow Street Magistrates ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No.3)  1 AC 147 (House of Lords): whether former head of state enjoyed immunity.) He also advised the National Lottery Commission regarding the grant of a new licence to Camelot or The People’s Lottery. David also frequently acts and advises in respect of judicial review claims against HMRC.
- Revenue law (including VAT, IPT, duties & excise)
All aspects of advisory work for indirect taxation, instructed by solicitors, accountants and other professionals under the direct access rules.
In addition to advice on VAT liability and planning, David regularly litigates for taxpayers and has appeared in courts at every level from the tribunal to the House of Lords and the European Court of Justice, all without a leader. Most recently, David represented the taxpayer in the reference to the ECJ in the Baxi case (joined with LMUK), again without a leader. He also acted in the Upper Tribunal (Briggs J) in ATEC, the first case to discuss the transitional arrangements between the old and new tribunal systems. David has also acted on behalf of taxpayers in the ongoing compound interest litigation, both in the High Court GLO and the CIP Tribunal proceedings. In addition, David also regularly acts on behalf of taxpayers in judicial review claims against HMRC.
David has extensive experience of MTIC litigation and acted for the taxpayer in the first successful MTIC appeal: Livewire. He has advised and acted in MTIC appeals concerning a raft of products, from mobile ‘phones, CPUs, household goods and FMCGs and, more recently, carbon credit trading.
His experience in insurance and reinsurance provides considerable knowledge in respect of his advisory work for insurers in respect of IPT.
In 2010, David was named as the “Rising Star” in the Indirect Tax Awards and nominated for VAT Junior of the Year in 2011. In November 2012, David was selected by the Tax Journal for inclusion in its “40 under 40” guide to 40 leading tax professionals based in the UK who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their careers to date.
- Shipping & admiralty
Instructed to advise and act in all aspects of shipping work: demise, time and voyage charter party disputes, cargo claims and associated injunctions and freezing orders, both domestic and worldwide.
- 1998 Essex Court Chambers
- 1997 Stagiare in the cabinet of Judge Bellamy, Court of First Instance, Luxembourg.
- 1997 Call: Lincoln’s Inn
- 1997 Inns of Court School of Law
- 1996 LLM (European Community Law), Leiden University, The Netherlands
- 1995 BA (Jurisprudence), St. John’s College, Oxford University
- Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn: Major Award (Hubert Greenland Scholarship); Wolfson Scholarship; Hardwicke Scholarship
- Elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI) December 2010
- 2012 joint winner of the BILA Book Prize for The Bermuda Form: Interpretation and Dispute Resolution of Excess Liability Insurance (Oxford University Press, 2012)