Year of call: 2003
E: gmcpherson@3vb.com

Email the Practice Managers:

SeniorJuniorsPMs@3vb.com

George McPherson is an experienced advocate specialising in complex and high-value commercial disputes. The Legal 500 has consistently ranked him as a leading junior for commercial litigation, most recently describing him as “excellent”. He has been recognised in the market for his technical excellence as a lawyer (“technically very strong”), his diligence (“a very thorough and clever lawyer”) and his approachability (“very user-friendly”). He has been judicially praised for his “spirited submissions” and his “interesting and attractive arguments”.

George’s expertise lies primarily in general commercial litigation and trial work. Over the last two years, he has acted as a senior junior in four major trials - each lasting between two and four weeks – three in the Commercial Court and another in the Chancery Division. He is instructed in his own right as the advocate for trials in the High Court and County Court and for case management and interlocutory hearings in the High Court, often against more senior counsel. He has appeared several times before the Court of Appeal, both as advocate and junior.

George’s recent experience has involved acting in several major breach of warranty disputes, including The Hut Group Ltd v Nobahar-Cookson [2016] EWCA Civ 128 and TEOCO UK Ltd v Aircom Jersey 4 Ltd [2016] EWHC 1074 (Ch); in a landmark decision on the scope of fiduciary duties, Khouj v Acropolis Capital Partners Ltd [2016] EWHC 2120 (Comm); and in a £50 million mis-selling claim against Barclays, which The Times described in April 2015 as "...one of the largest lawsuits over mis-selling of hedging products to come to court".

George has been instructed in offshore disputes and was called to the British Virgin Islands Bar in 2013. He has also acted in ICC arbitrations.

George is a modern languages graduate. He speaks and understands Spanish and French to a high level and has been instructed in cases requiring familiarity with both languages.


‘Technically very strong and very user-friendly.’

Legal 500 UK 2015

“A very thorough and clever lawyer, who grasps technical issues quickly”

Legal 500 UK 2014

Since 2013 George’s banking practice has been dominated by financial mis-selling claims relating to interest rate hedging products. However, George’s experience covers a wide range of different aspects of banking work.

Interest rate mis-selling claims

George has represented bank customers in claims against banks alleging breach of contract and negligence, breaches of COB/COBS, misrepresentation and economic duress in relation to sale of interest rate hedging products.

Claims include:

  • Tuvana v Barclays. £50m claim in Chancery Division against investment arm of major retail bank arising out of alleged fraudulent manipulation of LIBOR. Described in The Times as "...one of the largest lawsuits over mis-selling of hedging products to come to court" (4 April 2015). Settled after mediation (2013 – 2015).
  • Freehold Estates Ltd v RBS. Multi-million pound claim in Commercial Court against major retail bank relating to mis-sale of six interest rate swaps in 2007. Settled after mediation, two months before 8 day trial fixed for November 2015. Instructed in successful £1m claim for basic redress in FCA review in relation to (other) time-barred swaps. Claim for consequential loss being pursued (2012 – ongoing).
  • Valedown Ltd v Bank of Scotland. Multi-million pound claim in Commercial Court against major retail bank relating to mis-sale of interest rate swap in May 2008. Settled after mediation, following first CMC (2013 – 2015).
     

Other banking cases

Outside the mis-selling sphere, George has acted for banks and customers in a variety of different contexts including:

Letters of credit

  • Acted for Hong Kong incorporated claimant companies and high net worth individual in proceedings for recovery of US$8m pursuant to standby letter of credit subject to the International Standby Practices ISP 98, ICC Publications No. 590 (2015).
  • Advised on meaning and effect of standby letter of credit issued by Kosovan Bank to Austrian company under UCP 600 (2010).
     

Guarantees

  • Acted for guarantor in Commercial Court proceedings, defending claim for accelerated receipt of future interest under loan agreement; advising on application of Supreme Court decision on penalties, Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi [2015] UKSC 67 (2014 – 2015).
  • Abraaj Investment Management Ltd v Tuli [2010] EWHC 630 (Comm) (Teare J). Acted for investment management company in US$23.7m claim under personal guarantee in relation to financing arrangements for purchase of art work (2009 – 2010).
     

Money laundering

  • Advised on legality of bank’s unilateral decision to freeze 14 bank accounts under sections 327 to 329 of Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 on grounds of suspected money laundering and offence of “tipping off”; application of Shah v HSBC [2013] 1 All ER (Comm) 72 (2015).
     

Mistaken payments

  • Advised on claimant company’s right to bring claims in restitution (on grounds of unjust enrichment) and/or negligence to recover payments made by mistake to third party; application of defences of ministerial receipt and change of position and Payment Services Regulation 2009 (2015).
     

Conversion of cheques/monies had and received

  • Advised customer defrauded by third party on claim against bank in conversion for cashing of cheques with value exceeding £1m where customer remains true owner of cheques; scope of bank’s defence under section 2 of Cheques Act 1957 (2015).
     

Possession claims

  • Southern Pacific Mortgages Ltd v Iqbal (HHJ Langan QC). Acted successfully as sole advocate for claimant bank in two day possession trial. Application of Paragon Finance v Pender to securitisation defence (2011).
  • Barclays Bank v Auerbach (Chichester County Court). Acted for major high street bank in multi-million pound possession claim and strike out application against Mauritian company and husband and wife (2009-2010).
  • Redstone Mortgages plc v Ashford. Acting for claimant mortgage company in possession action against defendant occupiers of property involving questions of estoppel and subrogation (2009).
     

Bank charges

  • Acting for high street banks in the London Mercantile Court in relation to bank charges litigation (2007).

George has acted in a wide range of cases in which allegations of fraud have been advanced, including claims in deceit, conspiracy, fraudulent breach of warranty and dishonest breach of fiduciary duty.

Notable cases include:

Acting (with Andrew Fletcher QC) on US$60m Commercial Court claim relating to acquisition of majority stake in offshore investment management group alleging  (inter alia) fraudulent misrepresentations in relation to group’s historical investments (2015 – ongoing).

Tuvana v Barclays. Acted (with John Jarvis QC) in £50m claim in Chancery Division against retail bank’s investment arm arising out of alleged fraudulent manipulation of LIBOR. Settled after mediation in October 2015 (2013 – 2015).

The Hut Group Ltd v Nobahar-Cookson [2014] EWHC 3843. Acted (with John Odgers QC) for seller of online sports nutrition business in multi-million pound claim alleging fraudulent breach of warranty and fraudulent misrepresentations in relation to company’s accounts. 4 week Commercial Court trial in October 2014 before Blair J (2012 – 2014).

Schmitt v Fenne-Frederiksen. Acted for defendant in jurisdiction challenge in relation to claims made by German administrator of Phoenix Kapitaldienst pursuant to s 423 of Insolvency Act 1986 arising out of dishonest Ponzi investment scheme (2011 – 2012).

Acted in High Court claim alleging dishonest misappropriation by company director of merchandise belonging to company. Claims for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty (2011).

Advised minority shareholders in Russian company in relation to proceedings in BVI and Cyprus for fraudulent conspiracy against company director and other off-shore entities to recover damages for loss of value in shareholding (2011).

Acted (with Jonathan Nash QC) for HLB Kidsons liquidators alleging fraudulent appropriation of property by a bankrupt (2008).

Acted (with Stephen Phillips QC) for PwC liquidators alleging misappropriation of business by a director in breach of fiduciary duty, with claims in conspiracy and dishonest assistance (2007-2008).

IXIS v Corporate & Investment Bank v WestLB AG & others. Acted (with Mark Hapgood QC and Sonia Tolaney) in substantial Commercial Court claim arising out of the collapse of the Box Clever Group. Claims in negligence and deceit relating to the securitisation of receivables (2006).

George has acted in numerous trials in the High Court. In the last two years, he has acted as a senior junior in four major trials – each lasting between two and four weeks - three in the Commercial Court and one in the Chancery Division. He has appeared several times in the Court of Appeal (both as the advocate and a junior). He has also acted as the sole advocate in High Court trials and in the County Court.

Current instructions include:

Acting (with Andrew Fletcher QC) on US$60m Commercial Court claim relating to acquisition of majority stake in offshore investment management group alleging  (inter alia) fraudulent misrepresentations in relation to group’s historical investments (2015 – ongoing).

Acting (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) for company in multi-million pound claim for equitable compensation for alleged breach of directors’ statutory/fiduciary duties arising out of thwarted financing proposal to fund company’s investment in new project (2016 – ongoing).

Acting for English company in multi-million pound claim for damages for alleged breach of exclusive distributorship agreement and account of profits for misappropriation of business opportunity by former director in alleged breach of statutory/fiduciary duties (2016 – ongoing).

Notable cases include:

Khouj v Acropolis Capital Partners Ltd [2016] EWHC 2120 (Comm) (Knowles J)  Acted (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) for administrator of deceased Saudi Arabian’s estate and successfully obtained declarations that defendant companies were the agents/fiduciaries of the deceased and therefore entitled to inspect documents in the defendants’ control relating to his assets. Two week Commercial Court trial in May 2016 before Knowles J (2016 – ongoing).

TEOCO UK Ltd v Aircom Jersey 4 Ltd [2016] EWHC 1074 (Ch) (Richard Millett QC). Acted (with John Jarvis QC) resisting defendant’s summary judgment/strike out application on basis that breach of warranty claim was not notified in accordance with provisions of SPA (2016 – ongoing).      

Mileform Ltd v Interserve Security Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 62 (Longmore LJ); [2013] EWHC 3386 (QB) (Gloster J) and [2012] EWHC 1987 (QB) (Judge Stuart Baker). Acted for claimant in trial in March 2013 in claim for damages under oral contract (before Gloster J); in subsequent oral application for permission to appeal (before Longmore LJ); and in earlier (successful) application to amend particulars of claim on eve of trial (2012 – 2015).

The Hut Group Ltd v Nobahar-Cookson [2014] EWHC 3843 (Blair J) and [2016] EWCA Civ 128. Acted (with John Odgers QC) for seller of online sports nutrition business in multi-milllion pound breach of warranty dispute. Four week Commercial Court trial in October 2014 and hearing before Court of Appeal in February 2016 relating to correct interpretation of SPA notification provision (2012 – 2016).

CIMC v Schahin [2014] EWHC 1742 (Comm) (Field J). Acted (with Andrew Fletcher QC) for claimant in enforcement proceedings relating to a claim of over US$67m under a guarantee of obligations pursuant to contracts for the construction of semi-submersible rigs. Dispute relating to scope of CPR Part 71 (2013 – 2014).

Featherwood Trading Ltd v Fraunteld Management Ltd (June 2013, Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, CA). Acted (with John Jarvis QC) for respondents in unjust enrichment claim for repayment of US$13m in relation to ineffective transfer of shares (2012 – 2013).

Mann Aviation Group (Engineering) Ltd (in administration) v Longmint Aviation Ltd [2011] EWHC 2238 (Ch) (Sales J). Acted (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) for the claimants, successfully establishing entitlement to implied periodic tenancy in respect of occupation of commercial airport premises (2011).

Astrazeneca UK Ltd v Albemarle International Corporation [2011] EWHC 1574 (Comm) (Flaux J). Acted (with John Odgers) for claimants in substantial damages claim in relation to the supply of chemicals for use in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals. Dispute relating to construction and legal effect of "first refusal" clause (2011).

Abraaj Investment Management Ltd v Bregawn Jersey Ltd; Abraaj Investment Management Ltd v Neville Tuli [2010] EWHC 630 (Comm) (Teare J). Acted for investment fund in successful multimillion pound claim for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty to recover monies loaned to SPV for purposes of launching art investment fund (2009 – 2010).

Westpark 1 Aircraft Leasing Ltd and others v Kingfisher Airlines Ltd (TCC). Acted for three aircraft leasing companies in quantum proceedings against Indian airline company for claim in excess of $30 million. Settled January 2010 (2009-2010).

GB Gas Holdings Ltd v Accenture (UK) Ltd (2009). Acted (as one of counsel team) for British Gas in its multi-million pound claim against Accenture in relation to the British Gas customer billing system.

Trident Turboprop (Dublin) Ltd v First Flight Couriers Ltd [2008] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 581 and [2010] QB 86. Acted and advised as sole counsel in connected aviation claims in the Commercial Court and before the Court of Appeal. International supply of goods dispute relating to the leasing of aircraft and provision of ancillary support services (2008 - 2009).

ALS v Honeywell. Acted for Honeywell (as one of four counsel team) in substantial commercial court proceedings involving claim of approximately £388m for alleged breach of contract and misrepresentation (2007).

IXIS v Corporate & Investment Bank v WestLB AG & others. Acted (as one of counsel team) in substantial Commercial Court proceedings arising out of the collapse of the Box Clever Group. Claims in negligence and deceit relating to the securitisation of receivables (2006).

George has advised and acted in numerous applications for freezing orders and related relief (including the developing jurisdiction to appoint receivers as a means of enforcing a judgment), both in the English High Court and offshore.

More generally, he has appeared as the advocate, in both the High Court and the County Court, in several applications for interim injunctions.

Notable cases include:

Freezing orders and related relief

Advised (with Andrew Fletcher QC) on application to freeze assets of investment fund in Cayman Islands in relation to Commercial Court proceedings (2016 – ongoing).

CIMC Raffles Offshore (Singapore) Ltd v Schahin Holding SA. Acted for claimant companies in successful post-judgment application for disclosure of assets pursuant to section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 and advised (with Andrew Fletcher QC) in relation to application for appointment of receivers as means of enforcing judgment of US$67m (2013-2014).

Dina Foods v Baden. Acted for food packaging company in application for disclosure of assets against individual in connection with freezing injunction proceedings (2009).

Acted (with Andrew Fletcher QC) in large corporate fraud claim involving applications in High Court for and freezing orders and search orders against a series of individuals (2004).

Other interim injunctions

Quickdraw LP v Global Live Events LLP [2012] EWHC 233 (Ch) (Nicholas Strauss QC). Acted for defendants opposing claimant's application for injunctive relief to prevent defendants' exploitation of sound and film recordings of Michael Jackson Forever Tribute Concert in October 2011 (2011-2012).

Smith v Butler and another [2011] EWHC 2301 (Ch) (HHJ Behrens). Acted for respondent company in injunction application brought by company chairman to challenge lawfulness of his suspension as employee by managing director (2011).

Lombard v Frederick (HHJ Everall). Acted in successful appeal of interim injunction order which precluded finance company from collecting payments due under hire purchase agreement (2010).

Acted (with Stephen Phillips QC) on urgent ex parte application for injunction to restrain defendant companies from interfering with system for collection of charitable donations (2007).

In the last couple of years, George has been involved in two major professional negligence actions, both of which went to trial – but settled/were discontinued before judgment.

Notable cases include:

Sun Capital v Hammonds. Acted (with Cyril Kinsky QC) for private equity investment fund in damages claim against solicitors to recover losses arising out of allegedly negligent advice as to level of fine likely to be levied by EC for participation in cartel in breach of competition law. 2 week Commercial Court trial in March 2015 before Phillips J settled after evidence (2013 – 2015).

RPL v McCarthy Tétrault. Acted (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) for energy company in multimillion dollar claim against allegedly negligent solicitors and nominated adviser responsible for conducting due diligence and verification in connection with company's listing on AIM. One claim settled in October 2014; the other was discontinued during trial (2011 – 2014).

Dartmouth v Payne Hicks Beach. Acted for individual in claim against solicitors in relation to allegedly negligent advice as to the level of financial and capital provision to be made under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 (2014).

Acted for husband and wife in substantial damages claim against solicitors based on allegedly negligent conduct of conveyancing transaction relating to purchase of property in France (2013 – 2014).

Acted for individual landowner in £600k claim against allegedly negligent solicitors in relation to failure to advise in respect of unusual clause in lease. Settled after mediation (2011-2012).

Acted for chartered surveyors defending claim for allegedly negligent valuation in context of widespread fraud, in reliance on ex turpi causa doctrine. Part of Lexi Holdings litigation (2010).

Acted for multiple claimants (solicitors and mortgage companies) in claim against solicitor for compensation and common law damages for breach of solicitor's undertaking (2009-2010).

Advised candle manufacturer on merits of claim against allegedly negligent insurance broker, having regard to duties owed by broker pre-placement, post-placement and on renewal (2009).

Acted (with Andrew Onslow QC) in multi-jurisdictional proceedings relating to allegedly negligent administration of an investment fund (2008).

Acted for farming business in damages claim relating to expenses incurred in connection with prior proceedings arising out of an estate agent's alleged negligence (2006).