Identified in 2019 as one of just 9 solicitors in England who is a Thought Leader in Litigation, Trevor is described by Who’s Who Legal as “a distinguished name in the English litigation market”. He is highly experienced in acting for both claimants and defendants in a broad range of commercial dispute resolution matters.
In February 2019, Trevor won the Client Choice Award for Arbitration and ADR in the UK. The Client Choice Awards recognise those partners around the world that stand apart for the excellent client service they provide. The criteria for the awards focus on the ability to add real value to clients’ business above and beyond other players in the market. Uniquely, these awards survey senior corporate counsel only.
Added to the many plaudits he has received over the years from the main legal directories for Civil Fraud, Asset Recovery, Banking Litigation and Commercial Litigation, Trevor is recognised as one of the leading dispute resolution lawyers of his generation. He is often lauded for his legal knowledge and analysis, and has authored numerous articles for publications such as the Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation, Trust Law International, International Company and Commercial Law Review, European Lawyer, New Law Journal, Legal Business and the E-Commerce Law Reports.
What the directories say
Trevor Mascarenhas is recognised by Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal for commercial litigation, banking litigation, civil fraud, asset recovery and his experience in co-ordinating proceedings in several jurisdictions, particularly in relation to injunctive relief.
Chambers & Partners UK 2020 says that Trevor “possesses considerable expertise handling high-value fraud claims as well as recovering assets across multiple jurisdictions.” One source says: “He has the best legal mind of any solicitor I’ve worked with,” while another adds: “He is formidably intelligent and has an incredible grasp of the law in various jurisdictions.”
In the 2020 edition of the Legal 500, Trevor is identified as a Leading Individual for fraud as well as being recommended for banking litigation and commercial litigation. Trevor is praised for his ‘seriously impressive knowledge of the law, particularly on issues such as jurisdiction’ as well as being described as ‘a great strategist and always there to help’ with ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of fraud law’. He is ‘highly rated’ for commercial litigation being said to have ‘a seriously impressive knowledge of the law, particularly on issues such as jurisdiction and conflict of laws’
Market sources describe him as ‘a genius’ with a ‘fine intellect’, a ‘clever and imaginative lawyer’ and an ‘first-class lawyer and tactician’, who is ‘extremely bright and user-friendly’ and has ‘a brilliant mind’ and ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things legal’. Trevor is also recognised for being ‘a real thinker who comes up with solutions that are outside of the box and who will go the extra mile’, and as a lawyer who ‘leaves no stone unturned’. He has been described by Chambers & Partners as ‘phenomenally intelligent’, a ‘superb litigation strategist’, ‘a real detail person who can drill down into issues’, ‘a fantastic thinker who is always full of ideas’ and ‘incredibly hard-working, a very good thinker and has a great attachment to the details.’
Trevor has been identified by Who’s Who Legal as a Thought Leader in Asset Recovery, being described as ‘widely respected across the UK market for his standout work on contentious insolvency, fraud and asset tracing matters’, ‘versed in multi-jurisdictional asset recovery’ and ‘one of the top names in London’. In it analysis of litigation, Who’s Who Legal has said that Trevor ‘is a distinguished name in the English litigation market who sources give high praise to’.
Cases of note
PCB acted for private equity firm ACON in a claim for a US$4m payment upon exiting its investment in an energy company. ACON had been part of a consortium of private equity firms that had invested, but was unhappy with the way in which its fellow investors wished to manage the company. It therefore negotiated an exit which involved the return of its US$100m investment and an additional payment of US$4m on the fulfilment of a condition that the energy company would not suffer a penalty from its lenders. The defendant claimed that the condition was not fulfilled saying that certain terms that the lenders had imposed upon the energy company amounted to a penalty within the meaning of the condition. PCB succeeded in persuading the Court that the interpretation of the condition contended for by the defendant was wrong, and obtained judgment for US$4m.
PCB acted for the defendant in this long running mutli-million dollar dispute arising out of two actions. The Court had to determine whether liabilities owed to Mr Al Refai from the first action should be set off against liabilities for costs he owed to the bank in the second action or against a liability to pay a Bahraini judgment debt to the bank. The bank sought the former, whilst Mr Al Refai sought the latter. It was common ground that this was a matter for the Court’s discretion, and that discretion was ultimately exercised in favour of Mr Al Refai given that it was important to him to have the Bahraini judgment debt discharged, as that debt could be used to have him imprisoned in Kuwait.
PCB acted for the claimant, who had been defrauded of substantial sums of money by being persuaded to transfer money into a bank account belonging to an unknown person. He was granted Norwich Pharmacal relief to obtain information about the account holder and what had happened to his funds. He was granted declaratory relief in relation to the traceable proceeds of the fraud. The Court was satisfied that the evidence showed that it was strongly arguable that a fraud had been carried out and it was in the public interest for the relevant bank to provide the information necessary for the owner of the bank account to be identified because of the conduct alleged.
PCB acted for the 9th to 42nd respondents in this €1bn claim brought by the liquidators of a Greek Telecommunications company against private equity interests under s423 of the Insolvency Act 1986. The litigation had originally been brought in the US, but was stayed on forum grounds at a relatively late stage in favour of England. The consequence was that at an early stage of the English proceedings, the parties agreed that the disclosure given in the US proceedings should stand as disclosure in the English proceedings. Subsequently, the liquidators sought that the respondents should undertake additional searches for documents. However, in view of the agreement previously reached, the evidence as to the careful steps taken in the US proceedings to ensure appropriate searches were undertaken for documents and the lack of any evidence that there were missing documents likely to be found, the Court declined the liquidators’ application.
PCB acted for the claimants in what is believed to be the first reported judgment regarding the jurisdiction of the Court to grant a search order against a third party. PCB had obtained a third party disclosure order against the respondent in respect of documents relevant to enforcement proceedings against the defendant. The disclosure provided led the claimants to believe that there had been serious non-compliance and that the respondent had been complicit in the production by the defendant of forged evidence. Accordingly PCB sought and obtained a search order against the respondent on the basis that the court had jurisdiction to make such an order (a point that has apparently not been considered by the Court in any previous case). The respondent sought to argue that (i) such an order could not be granted after judgment against the defendant, alternatively (ii) the Court could not grant such an order wider than the terms of the third party disclosure order. The court rejected both grounds and upheld the search order. The court also granted permission to use documents obtained from the search order for purposes of committal proceedings against the defendant and the respondent.
PCB acted for a respondent to a claim brought by liquidators of a Greek telecommunications company, who alleged that the respondent (one of the world’s largest private equity funds) had sought to put approximately €1bn of assets beyond the reach of creditors and had traded fraudulently. The claims were brought pursuant to sections 213 and 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986. At the same time parallel proceedings were being pursued in New York against related parties. The liquidators sought a stay of the English proceedings until after the final outcome of the New York proceedings. PCB successfully opposed the stay application.
PCB acted for the defendant in proceedings brought against him and a BVI company in which he was the sole shareholder, alleging breach of contract in failing to issue shares in the BVI company to the claimants and seeking rectification of the share register. PCB successfully challenged the jurisdiction of the BVI Court at first instance. When this was overturned on appeal, PCB persuaded the Privy Council to grant permission to appeal and succeeded on that appeal. The Privy Council declined to follow the English Court of Appeal authority on which the Claimants relied in holding that the procedure for rectification of a company’s share register did not enable the court to determine prior questions of contractual obligations in respect of the issue of those shares. Accordingly, there was no rectification claim against the company to which its shareholder could be joined as a necessary or proper party. Further, the Privy Council held that the fact that the dispute was about shares in a BVI company did not make the BVI the appropriate forum to hear the dispute.
PCB acted for the claimants seeking to enforce costs orders and judgments in excess of US$20m. Having obtained an order for oral examination of the defendant as a judgment debtor, the claimants were not satisfied that the defendant had complied with his obligations to provide various bank statements and other documents relating to his assets. PCB therefore brought committal proceedings against the defendant. The Court found beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was in contempt in a number of respects and adjourned the hearing in order to provide the defendant with an opportunity to disclose missing documents.
PCB acted for the claimants in obtaining permission to serve the proceedings alleging deceit, conspiracy and dishonest assistance on the defendant out of the jurisdiction. The defendant challenged the jurisdiction, alleging that he was not properly served, that England was not the appropriate forum and that there was no reasonable prospect of the claim succeeding. All of those arguments were rejected by the High Court. On appeal, the Court of Appeal rejected the forum argument but set aside service on the basis that the defendant had not been properly served and it was not appropriate for service to be validated retrospectively. PCB persuaded the Supreme Court that the case raised issues of general public importance such that permission to appeal should be granted, before ultimately winning the appeal. This is now the leading case on alternative service out of the jurisdiction.
PCB acted for the respondent director of a BVI company. Proceedings in the BVI in respect of ownership of shares in the company were ongoing, the director being based in England. The Claimants sought to obtain an injunction against the defendant under s25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 in support of the BVI proceedings to prevent him from permitting expenditure by the company on the BVI litigation (to which it was a party). PCB successfully opposed the grant of such relief on the basis that there was no substantive claim alleging wrongdoing in respect of that expenditure, that there was no threat that required the grant of injunctive relief, damages would be an adequate remedy and were such relief to be granted it could obstruct or hamper the management of the case by the BVI Court.
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.
PCB acted for the claimants in a US$25m claim against a city firm of lawyers alleging professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. PCB made an application for extensive electronic disclosure at a time when there was little case law as to when electronic disclosure should be provided. The defendant solicitors alleged that all electronic communications would have been printed and put into hard copy files and that the costs of restoring back-up tapes would be substantial, making the exercise wholly disproportionate. PCB was however able to persuade the court that some electronic searches should be undertaken, which ultimately led to critical evidence being uncovered.
PCB acted for a property company who rented commercial premises comprising a number of retail units at a rack rent. The company then granted sub-leases in respect of a number of the retail units for a peppercorn rent, with the sub-lessees each paying a large premium on the grant of their sub-lease. The company covenanted to each of the sub-lessees to pay the rent on the head lease for so long as it retained its interest in the property. The company then assigned the head lease to a third party, who then disappeared leaving the rent due under the head lease unpaid. The sub-lessees obtained relief from forfeiture but had to pay the rent due under the head lease and take new leases at a higher rent. They claimed damages against the company and won at first instance and in the Court of Appeal, it being held that the purported limit of liability of the company only to pay rent under the head lease until such time as it disposed of its interest was void pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1985. PCB persuaded the House of Lords that this raised issues of general public importance and subsequently succeeded on appeal, it being held that the Act did not prevent such a limitation of liability being agreed.