Unveiled: The Lawyer Top 20 Cases for 2024

8 January, 2024

Five cases involving thirteen members of Essex Court Chambers are featured in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases with proceedings set to be heard in court during 2024. The list includes cases with the most significant sums in dispute as well as disputes involving high profile parties or issues.

The cases involving members of Essex Court Chambers are as follows:

The Russian aircraft claims

The implementation of sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine meant that aircraft leased to Russia by foreign businesses remained in the Federation. Over the course of several court exchanges, airplane companies are expected to take on their insurers for the loss of the aircraft.

  • Listed for 12 weeks in the High Court in October 2024.
  • Essex Court Chambers’ Jeffrey Gruder KC, David Peters and Helen Morton, and Fountain Court’s Ben Lynch KC and Daniel Schwennicke act for the defendants, Chubb European Group, instructed by Clyde & Co partner Andrew Grant.
  • Paul Stanley KC and 7KBWs John Bignall act for the defendants, the HAR insurers (Fidelis Underwriting (on its own behalf and on behalf of all risks reinsurers subscribing to a certain reinsurance policy), instructed by DLA Piper.
  • John Lockey KC act for the defendants, the HAR insurers (Convex Insurance) instructed by DWF.
Gorbachev v Guriev

£1bn battle between a former Russian senator, Andrey Guriev, and Russian political exile, Alexander Gorbachev, which will reach its pinnacle during a six-week trial in April. The case is the culmination of a decade-long case over ownership of the global chemicals company PhosAgro.

  • Listed for 6 weeks in the High Court in April 2024.
  • Essex Court Chambers’ Paul Stanley KC, David Scorey KC, and Christopher Lloyd, and Littleton Chambers’ Alexander Halban, act for the claimant, Alexander Gorbachev, instructed by CMS partners Bernard O’Sullivan and Luke Pardey.
The Czech Republic v Diag Human and Josef Stava 

This $750m case between the Czech Republic and collapsed Liechtenstein blood plasma company Diag Human and its owner Josef Stava is decades in the making.

BAT v PricewaterhouseCoopers

BAT is claiming around $800m in damages in the High Court, alleging that PwC made significant errors in auditing the annual accounts of BTI over a two-year period. These errors, alleges BAT, led to improper dividend payments by BTI, preventing its affiliate AWA from fulfilling its indemnity obligations to BAT. These indemnities relate to environmental liabilities arising from multibillion-dollar remediation projects in the US.

  • Listed for the 8 weeks in the High Court in June 2024
  • Brick Court’s Simon Birt KC, James Sheehan and Fountain Court’s Jacob Turner, act for the claimant, BAT (through its subsidiary, BTI 2014 LLC), instructed by Hogan Lovells partners Kevin Lloyd and Richard Lawton.
Municipio De Mariana and others v BHP Group and Vale 

Likely the largest group action ever in the English courts, the Mariana Dam case will be a landmark trial for 2024. More than 700,000 claimants, seeking £36bn in damages in a case covering some of the most prominent issues in the UK legal market, including environmental litigation, group actions, multinationals’ responsibilities for foreign subsidiaries, and the jurisdiction of the English courts.

  • Listed for 11 weeks in the High Court in October 2024.
  • One Essex Court’s Alain Choo Choy KC, Temple Garden Chambers’ Russell Hopkins, Serle Court’s Nick Harrison and Jonathan Mcdonagh, and Grace Ferrier, act for the claimants, Municipio De Mariana and others, instructed by Pogust Goodhead partners Tom Goodhead, Céline Barnwell and Tom Ainsworth.

The full list of featured cases can be seen here.