Nick is experienced in a broad range of commercial dispute resolution, including international arbitration, asset recovery, professional negligence, fraud, banking, financial and regulatory, insolvency, and shareholder and directors’ disputes. Many of his cases have been international, including cases with main proceedings in Hong Kong and Jersey.
Nick’s hands-on approach is welcomed by clients, particularly in relation to large-scale litigation where day-to-day conduct by an experienced, senior lawyer is important in ensuring a positive outcome. One such case in which Nick had conduct was named by The Lawyer as one of its top 20 cases of both 2014 and 2015.
Cases of note
PCB acted for the claimant bank in seeking to commit the defendants for contempt of court by failing to disclose assets in breach of court orders. The defendants did not attend the hearing and the court proceeded in their absence. In view of their deliberate decision not to attend the hearing so that they could be cross-examined, the veracity of their account could not be tested and the court was entitled to conclude that it was implausible. The bank established to the criminal standard of proof that Mr Chernyakov had deliberately and intentionally disobeyed the court's order to produce statements and had given false evidence on affidavit with the intention of interfering with the course of justice. There was no doubt that that breach was in order to hide assets from the bank. The Court also found there was a deliberate and intentional breach of the orders made against Ms Erokhova. The maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment was imposed on Mr Chernyakov. Although she had had a 10-month-old child, Ms Erokhova was sentenced to four months' imprisonment.
PCB acted for the claimant casino in relation to the enforcement of a judgment of £2.3m. Having obtained a worldwide freezing order, PCB sought to have the defendant committed to prison for his failure to disclose his assets. PCB successfully resisted an application to adjourn the committal hearing. The defendant was found beyond reasonable doubt to be in contempt of court and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment.
PCB acted for the claimant in respect of US$17m invested with the defendant, alleging fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty. The defendant disputed jurisdiction on the grounds that he was not domiciled in England and that the proceedings should be stayed as Russia or Belarus was clearly a more appropriate forum than England. PCB successfully resisted the jurisdictional challenge, with the Court finding that the claimant had the better of the argument on domicile, and even if the issue of appropriate forum arose, neither Russia nor Belarus were a more appropriate forum.
PCB acted for the claimant bank seeking to enforce Russian judgments in the sum of approximately £150m against the defendant. The bank applied for summary judgment and in response the defendant sought to allege that the Russian judgments had been procured by fraud and/or should not be enforced on grounds of public policy. Following lengthy factual and expert evidence, PCB were able to persuade the Court that there was the defence was contrived and had no real prospect of success. Summary judgment was granted in favour of PCB’s client.
PCB acted for the claimant casino in obtaining judgment for dishonoured cheques and resisting the defendant’s multi-million pound counterclaim. The defendant alleged that he had a gambling problem that the casino was aware of and that he should have been excluded from the casino. The Court rejected his evidence at trial and found in favour of PCB’s client on the proper construction of the Gambling Commission’s codes of practice.
PCB acted for the claimant bank in bringing claims to enforce Russian judgments for around US$40m in England. The defendant raised a defence that the Russian judgments were procured by fraud and/or that the English court should decline to enforce the judgments on the basis of public policy. In particular, he alleged that the judgment had been granted as part of a “corporate raid” in order to acquire his business and that as the claimant was a state-owned bank, it was impossible for him to get justice from the Russian court. PCB was able to persuade the English Court that the defence was without substance and summary judgment was granted in favour of the bank.
PCB acted for the claimant, a company connected to a large bank to which claims of the bank against the guarantor of loans had been assigned. The claimant brought proceedings in Russia against the guarantor and at the same time, PCB obtained freezing orders in the BVI, Jersey and Cyprus, and interim receivership orders in Cyprus in order to preserve a complex structure through which substantial Russian real estate assets were held. PCB alleged that assets held by a Jersey foundation were in truth still owned by the guarantor, alternatively that the transfer of those assets to the foundation should be set aside as a transaction to defraud the claimant. At the same time, having obtained judgments in Russia for US$40m (and judgments in Jersey and BVI on the back of the Russian judgments), PCB successfully applied to the BVI Court for the appointment of an interim receiver over the guarantor’s beneficial interest in 2 BVI companies. Those BVI companies had the power to change the management of the Jersey foundation, so as to be able to take control of it for the purposes of winding it up or making a distribution to the guarantor, either of which would have led to successful enforcement. The case subsequently settled.
PCB acted for the primary defendant to a US$1bn claim. The claimants obtained permission to serve him out of the jurisdiction, a worldwide freezing order in the sum of £100m and other injunctive relief to stop him publishing allegations against claimants of serious wrongdoing, including the breach of various banking regulations. In obtaining such relief, the claimants had relied upon a very large volume of emails that had been hacked from the defendant’s email account and accounts of friends and family. The claimants however claimed not to have been involved in the hacking, saying that the material had been provided to them anonymously in the post. Following cross-examination of the claimants’ witnesses, the court concluded that they had given dishonest evidence about the hacked material and also breached undertakings regarding the preservation of related evidence. As a consequence the permission to serve PCB’s client out of the jurisdiction was set aside and the freezing order and other injunctive relief was discharged. An inquiry was ordered in respect of damage caused by the freezing order.
PCB acted for the claimants in a US$500m claim alleging deceit, conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty against the former directors and shareholders of a gold mining company. Freezing orders were obtained at the outset in England, BVI, Jersey and Guernsey and Search Orders were granted in respect of 3 premises. There followed extensive interim applications, including in respect of the adequacy of the defendants’ asset disclosure. Despite the defendants spending over £1m in legal fees on the asset disclosure exercise, the Court was persuaded by PCB that there remained questions to be asked and cross-examination of two of the defendants was the appropriate course.