Spotlight on New Silks

5 May, 2021

On 17 December 2020 the Lord Chancellor announced the results of the Queen’s Counsel appointments. Five members of Essex Court Chambers were appointed Queen’s Counsel. Whilst the 2021 silk appointment ceremony is currently delayed due to the pandemic, all members were appointed virtually on March 15 2021. Learn more about each of our new silks here:

Louise Hutton QC
Call 1998

Louise’s practice covers commercial and commercial/chancery litigation and arbitration, including banking and finance litigation, fraud, insolvency/restructuring and company law.

Before taking silk, she had been recommended for many years as a Band 1 leading junior in the fields of Commercial Chancery and Civil Fraud by Chambers UK, which says she is “Sought after for her advice and advocacy in major pieces of fraud litigation incorporating the full spectrum of allegations. Many of her cases are banking-related” and describes her as “impressive in court – unflappable, persuasive in her advocacy and can carry the judges to a conclusion that she wants them to reach” and as having “very good knowledge of the law and good commercial judgment”.

Most of Louise’s recent and current cases are substantial insolvency, banking and/or fraud disputes. Recent reported cases include:

  • Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration) [2020] Bus LR 1875 concerning the distribution of surplus funds to LBIE’s sole shareholder and the statutory objective of “rescuing the company as a going concern”,
  • Madison Pacific Trust Ltd v Shakoor Capital Ltd, JSC Commercial Bank PrivatBank [2020] EWHC 610, an application by a bond trustee for directions in relation to an arbitration award, and
  • the recent Court of Appeal decision, [2021] EWCA Civ 535, striking out the bulk of claims brought by the Joint Liquidators of Stanford International Bank (the vehicle for Robert Allen Stanford’s massive Ponzi fraud) in dishonest assistance and for breach of the Quincecare duty, a case due to be one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Trials of 2021.

She is also currently instructed on the claims brought by Bidzina Ivanishvili and others against Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) Limited in relation to fraudulent, unauthorised and imprudent trading on accounts with Credit Suisse AG holding life insurance policy assets.

Louise recently spoke on Insolvency, transactional avoidance and cross-border issues at the Essex Court Chambers Fraud Summit 2021.

Iain Quirk QC
Call 2002

Iain’s practice covers a broad range of commercial law, in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, arbitration and offshore jurisdictions. Indeed, “he is able to leverage his broad expertise across multiple practice areas”. Iain has particular expertise in commercial litigation (including arbitration-related applications to the Commercial Court), offshore disputes, international arbitration (“a go-to barrister for international arbitration”, “huge in-depth knowledge of all arbitration matters”), energy & natural resources (“the tribunal really listens to him”), shareholder disputes, banking & finance, and media & sport (“impressive commercial barrister” who “acts for a broad range of media clients across a variety of areas including music, television and sport” and “knows the media sector very well”). He is ranked in the directories in six separate areas: International Arbitration, Energy, IT and Telecoms, Media & Entertainment, EU and Competition, and Employment.

Iain appeared earlier this month in the first case dealing with the Court’s new contempt power in CPR 81.6, allowing the court to act of its own initiative (Isbilen v Turk [2021] EWHC 854). He has recently completed billion dollar LCIA and ICSID arbitrations regarding alleged bribery over mining rights in West Africa. In his sports practice, Iain acted for two football teams in respect of the Covid end of season arrangements, and for the exclusive football data supplier in a claim regarding breach of competition over the provision sports betting data. He is currently acting in four Commercial Court fraud actions, and has a 6-week unfair prejudice trial in the Chancery Division and a 9-week bribery trial in the Commercial Court listed for next year.

Iain recently joined a panel discussing Search, seize, freeze and enforce: the latest word on the pre-emptive and post enforcement relief available to support claims in fraud at the Essex Court Chambers Fraud Summit 2021 and will be discussing Enka v Chubb and Halliburton v Chubb, at the upcoming London International Disputes Week 2021.

David Davies QC
Call 2004

David Davies QC is an experienced advocate who has represented clients in some of the most high-profile and high-value fraud and international arbitration cases in London in recent years.  He has been described in the legal directories as “a Rolls Royce technical lawyer”“a man of real talent and real insight”, a “brilliant practitioner” and a “fine lawyer”.  David has considerable experience working with large teams of solicitors, foreign lawyers and experts and is known for his “soft people skills” and has been described as a “pleasure to work with” and “very popular with clients”.

David’s clients are typically banks and financial institutions (whether in England or elsewhere), large commercial organisations, including state-owned companies, and high-net-worth individuals. In the last few years, he has for example acted for a Caribbean state-owned energy company, the Mercuria Group, a consortium of international energy companies with interests in the North Sea, a Middle Eastern Government, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a prominent Swiss banker. He has also represented a number of high-profile Russian clients including a major retail bank, one of Russia’s largest oil companies and companies within the Iterros Group in a dispute involving three of Russia’s most high-profile businessmen (Oleg Deripaska, Roman Abramovich and Vladimir Potanin).

David specialises in international fraud litigation and commercial arbitration. In recent years, he has acted in the 9-week Bank Trust trial and the 11-week Tatneft trial (both in the Commercial Court).

Current work highlights include The Public Institution for Social Security v. Al Rajaan, a bribery case worth $800 million and National Bank Trust v. Mints a $1 billion banking fraud case in the Commercial Court.

David recently joined the panel discussing Search, seize, freeze and enforce: the latest word on the pre-emptive and post enforcement relief available to support claims in fraud at the Essex Court Chambers Fraud Summit 2021

James Willan QC
Call 2006

James has a broad practice extending across the full range of commercial, banking and finance, fraud, conflict of laws, commercial chancery and offshore disputes.  He holds nine top-tier (band 1) rankings across the legal directories, including for commercial litigation, banking and international arbitration. James is also singled out by Chambers & Partners as a “Star Individual” for civil fraud.

Before taking silk, James was recognised as one of the leading juniors at the commercial bar.  He is the only junior barrister to have been identified by Chambers & Partners as one of its “Stars at the Bar”, who have proved their excellence across a range of practice areas.  Its editorial says of him: There are sources who say that James Willan of Essex Court Chambers is “destined for huge things”; one might say, taking his considerable achievements and our researchers’ findings in the round, that he has well and truly arrived. A junior of 16 years call at the publication of the 2021 rankings, Willan is star-rated for his civil fraud practice and is also considered one of the leading barristers in banking and finance, commercial litigation, international arbitration, offshore and commercial chancery cases working in London today.

Since taking silk, James has appeared for Barclays Bank in Financial List proceedings by which the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation brings claims in competition law and fraud relating to alleged LIBOR “lowballing”; has obtained judgment for Tatiana Akhmedova in her high profile claims against (amongst others) Liechtenstein trustees relating to schemes intended to evade enforcement of the largest divorce award made by the English courts; and is presently appearing for Sberbank in challenging the jurisdiction of the English courts to hear claims in which VTB alleges a fraudulent conspiracy relating to the insolvency of a Russian oil refinery.  James is also instructed in a number of substantial ongoing matters, including acting for JSC PrivatBank in its claims for over US$1 billion against its former owners, Mr Kolomoisky and Mr Bogolyubov, as well as several confidential arbitrations.

James recently joined a panel discussing Tactical issues when acting for a defendant in fraud litigation at the Essex Court Chambers Fraud Summit 2021.

Anna Dilnot QC
Call 2008

Before taking silk, Anna was named Commercial Litigation Junior of the Year in 2020 by Chambers & Partners, and was shortlisted for the equivalent award by Legal 500 in 2019. The legal directories recommended Anna as a leading junior for both commercial litigation and civil fraud (Band 1 fraud, Chambers and Partners and Legal 500, Band 1 commercial litigation, Chambers & Partners).

She is variously described as having a “superb legal mind”, “outstanding tactical nous” as well as being “absolutely first class”, combining razor sharp insight with impressive attention to detail” and “a real fighter”. Commentators regularly note that she is a “strong advocate”, “excellent on her feet” and “always one step ahead of the game”, while also noting that “her written work is of a tremendously high quality”.

Currently Anna is instructed by Osborne Clark on Boston Trust Co v Szerelmey [2020] EWHC 1352 (Ch) and is currently acting for France in the long running dispute against London Steam-ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association (ongoing since 2013 in relation to the environmental disaster resulting from the total loss of the M/T Prestige). Anna will soon appear in the Court of Appeal in May concerning a judgment which itself made new law on the Brussels Recast Regulation: Ness Global Services Ltd v Perform Content Services Ltd: [2020] EWHC 3994 (Comm). Anna is also currently acting for Swiss financial advisors in a fraud and conspiracy claim brought by the ex wife (Loudmila Bourlakova) of Oleg Bourlakov against him and various of his family members, associates and advisors, worth approximately USD 1.5 billion.

Anna recently spoke on Disclosure and privilege in fraud litigation at the Essex Court Chambers Fraud Summit 2021.