Year of call: 2002
E: wedwards@3vb.com

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William specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration. He is regularly instructed as sole advocate or part of a team. His practice extends across the fields of banking and financial services, insolvency, fraud (particularly in an insolvency and/or banking context), professional negligence (particularly in the banking context), and general commercial litigation. He has particular experience of the inter-relationship of banking, insolvency, and fraud issues. Much of his practice has an international, or conflicts of law, dimension.

William is recommended as a leading practitioner by Chambers & Partners in banking & finance; and by the Legal 500 in banking and finance and professional negligence.


‘A rising star.’

Legal 500 UK 2015

“Incredibly bright and instils confidence in solicitors and clients alike.”

Chambers & Partners UK 2016

William acts in a wide range of commercial disputes, including the sale of goods and provision of services, claims for breach of warranty and misrepresentation following sale of businesses or plant, and break up of joint venture and shareholder disputes.

Recent work includes the following:

In Statpro Group v Depfa Bank [2013] EWHC 969 (QB), William acted for the successful claimant in a dispute concerning the construction of a software licensing agreement.

In Gesner Investments Ltd v Bombardier Inc William (led by Stephen Phillips QC and instructed by Allen & Overy) acted for the purchaser of an aircraft in a dispute concerning termination provisions both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal:

Blair J: Gesner Investments Ltd v Bombardier Inc [2010] EWHC 2643 (Comm)

Court of Appeal: Gesner Investments Ltd v Bombardier Inc [2011] EWCA Civ 1118

Wright v Deccan Chargers Sporting Ventures Ltd [2011] EWHC 1307 (QB): dispute as to the proper forum for the trial of a claim by the former CEO of an cricket team in the Indian Premier League (led by Richard Salter QC). Instructed by RPC.

United Company Rusal plc v HSBC Bank plc [2011] EWHC 404 (QB): appeared for second respondent in substantial application for Norwich Pharmacal relief against two banks and a firm of solicitors (led by Stephen Phillips QC). The claim against both banks was discontinued during the first day of the hearing. Instructed by Allen & Overy.

HJ Heinz Co Ltd v EFL Inc [2010] EWHC 1203 (Comm), [2010] 2 Lloyd's Rep 727, [2010] 1 CLC 868: acted for the defendant (led by Jonathan Nash QC) in a dispute concerned the enforceability of an arbitral award alleged to have been procured by fraud. Instructed by Clyde & Co.

Kensington International Ltd v Congo [2006] 2 CLC 588, Morison J: order for cross-examination of consultant retained by the judgment debtor (in connection with proceedings to enforce judgments against Congo). Instructed by Dechert; led by Ewan McQuater QC.

FG Hemisphere v Congo [2005] EWHC 3103 (Comm); Times, 27 February 2006 (Cooke J): priorities between creditors in relation to third party debt orders; court's power to reopen judgment before order sealed (in connection with proceedings to enforce judgments against Congo). Instructed by Dechert; led by Ewan McQuater QC.

William's banking and financial service practice spans the range of retail and investment banking disputes. It includes derivatives and structured financial products, corporate and personal lending (including by way of bond and note issues), guarantees, mortgages, debentures, and other security interests (and the issues that arise at enforcement, such as the validity of the appointment of receivers), and trade finance (letters of credit, demand bonds, and related instruments).

William has considerable experience of disputes in relation to swaps and under the ISDA Master Agreement standard terms, and also of the jurisdictional and conflicts aspects of banking disputes. He also has particular experience of claims against solicitors and valuers in connection with mortgage lending (details are to be found in the professional negligence section).

Recent reported cases and experience:

William is currently instructed in a very substantial claim in the Companies Court following the rejection by the administrators of Lehman Brothers International (Europe) of a proof of debt in relation to a claim arising from the purchase of CDOs.

William has been much involved in substantial litigation involving Dubai Islamic Bank arising from a restructuring agreement entered into following the discovery of a multi-million dollar fraud (instructed by Hogan Lovells; led by Robert Anderson QC): Plantation Holdings (FZ) LLC v Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC [2013] EWCA Civ 1229: successfully resisted appeal against judge's refusal to order trial together of two actions. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC v PSI Energy Holding Co BSC [2013] EWHC 3186 (Comm): interlocutory judgment given during the course of trial on conflicts issues relating to the discharge of English-law governed debts. The main judgment is awaited.

William is instructed on behalf of receivers appointed by a bank over a portfolio of properties in a claim brought by the owners of the properties (Michell v Pitt - Chancery Division, Bristol District Registry). In August 2012, William obtained the discharge of injunction obtained ex parte by the property owners restraining the receivers from acting. The proceedings are ongoing.

In Zaki v Credit Suisse UK Ltd, which involved the alleged mis-selling of structured notes, he acted for the defendant bank (led by Adrian Beltrami QC) both at trial and in the appeal to the Court of Appeal. Instructed by Freshfields.

Zaki v Credit Suisse (UK) Ltd [2011] EWHC 2422 (Comm), [2011] 2 CLC 523: claim dismissed at trial.

Zaki v Credit Suisse (UK) Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 583: claimants' application to the Court of Appeal for disclosure dismissed.

Zaki v Credit Suisse (UK) Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 14, [2013] 1 BCLC 640, [2013] 1 CLC 341: claimants' appeal dismissed.

In 2012-2013, William was involved in three related sets of proceedings (all settled) involving complex questions of solvency and the insolvency test under the ISDA Master Agreement arising from forward freight agreements entered into prior to the collapse of freight rates in 2008.

Senex Holdings Ltd v National Westminster Bank plc [2012] EWHC 131 (Comm), [2012] 1 All ER (Comm) 1130: acted for claimant on defendant bank's application for summary judgment on a claim for breach of mandate. An appeal against the summary judgment entered in favour of the bank was allowed by consent, and the case is now proceeding to trial. Instructed by Charles Russell.

Southern Pacific Securities 05-2 plc v Walker [2010] UKSC 32, [2010] 1 WLR 1819, [2010] Bus LR 1396. Acted for respondent (led by Nicholas Elliott QC) on the borrowers' appeal to the Supreme Court from SPPL v Walker (see below) in a case with potentially significant consequences for the secured consumer lending industry. The appeal was dismissed. Instructed by Rosling King.

Bank of New York v GV Films Ltd [2009] EWHC 3315 (Comm); [2010] 1 Lloyd's Rep 425 (Blair J): summary judgment granted in an action brought by the trustee under a bond issue made by an Indian company to enforce repayment (led by Stephen Phillips QC).

Southern Pacific Personal Loans Ltd v Walker [2009] EWCA Civ 1218, [2010] 1 All ER (Comm) 854, [2010] Bus LR 418: acted for lender on successful appeal to Court of Appeal concerning the enforceability of consumer credit agreements where interest is charged on items entering into the total charge for credit (led by Nicholas Elliott QC).

Morgan Stanley International plc v China Haisheng Juice Holdings Co Ltd [2009] EWHC 2409 (Comm); [2010] Lloyd's Rep 265: jurisdiction issues arising in relation to currency swaps under ISDA Master Agreement (led by Andrew Onslow QC). Instructed by Stephenson Harwood.

Bank of New York v GV Films Ltd [2009] EWHC 2338 (Comm), [2010] 2 Lloyd's Rep 365: jurisdiction issues in relation to an action brought by the trustee under a bond issue made by an Indian company to enforce repayment (led by Stephen Phillips QC). Instructed by Lovells.

ACP Capital Ltd v IFR Capital plc [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep 655 (Beatson J): acting for defendant bank in claim to exercise margin flex under syndicated loan agreement (led by Andrew Onslow QC; instructed by Latham & Watkins).

Central Bank of Ecuador & Ors v Conticorp SA & Ors [2007] UKPC 40; [2008] 2 LRC 147: appeared for Respondents in successful appeal to Privy Council (led by William Blair QC). Instructed by Cleary Gottlieb. Acted in the subsequent trial and appeal to the Court of Appeal in The Bahamas - acts in relation to the pending appeal to the Privy Council (led by Richard Salter QC; instructed by K&L Gates).

William regularly acts in relation to cases involving commercial fraud, either as the claim itself, or the context to a claim against someone else, such as a professional. In recent years, he has been particularly involved with claims arising from mortgage fraud (see the Professional Negligence section).

He has experience of obtaining freezing orders and other interim relief, asset tracing work, restitutionary remedies, and specific disclosure applications. He is able to bring to bear on his work in this field the benefit of his experience in the insolvency field.

Recent work in this field is summarised below.

William has been much involved in substantial litigation involving Dubai Islamic Bank arising from a restructuring agreement entered into following the discovery of a multi-million dollar fraud (instructed by Hogan Lovells; led by Robert Anderson QC): Plantation Holdings (FZ) LLC v Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC [2013] EWCA Civ 1229: successfully resisted appeal against judge's refusal to order trial together of two actions. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC v PSI Energy Holding Co BSC [2013] EWHC 3186 (Comm): interlocutory judgment given during the course of trial on conflicts issues relating to the discharge of English-law governed debts. The main judgment is awaited.

William has been involved in two substantial recent cases involving former employees wrongfully appropriating company property/ confidential information. Both were resolved at an early stage in favour of the employer, for which William acted - one following the early grant of an injunction; the other by the giving of extensive undertakings once an application for an injunction was threatened.

Hellard v Williamson & Ors: claims brought by a liquidator against former directors involving allegations of dishonest dealing with company property. Freezing injunctions obtained; case settled. Instructed by Wedlake Bell.

Central Bank of Ecuador & Ors v Conticorp SA & Ors [2007] UKPC 40; [2008] 2 LRC 147: appeared for Respondents in successful appeal to Privy Council (led by William Blair QC; instructed by Cleary Gottlieb).

Primlake Ltd v Matthews Associates [2006] EWHC 1227 (Ch), [2007] 1 BCLC 666: acted at trial (led by Christopher Parker) for a liquidator in a successful claim to recover monies improperly and dishonestly paid away from company to a de facto director (further relief was obtained at a further stage of the litigation, in which William appeared without a leader: [2009] EWHC 2774 (Ch)).

William acts in relation to a range of insolvency and restructuring issues, and is regularly called on to deal with insolvency points arising in other contexts, such as general commercial litigation.

His recent work and reported cases include:

William is currently instructed in a very substantial claim in the Companies Court following the rejection by the administrators of Lehman Brothers International (Europe) of a proof of debt in relation to a claim arising from the purchase of CDOs.

William is instructed on behalf of receivers appointed by a bank over a portfolio of properties in a claim brought by the owners of the properties (Michell v Pitt - Chancery Division, Bristol District Registry). In August 2012, William obtained the discharge of injunction obtained ex parte by the property owners restraining the receivers from acting. The proceedings are ongoing.

In 2012-2013, William was involved in three related sets of proceedings (all settled) involving complex questions of solvency and the insolvency test under the ISDA Master Agreement arising from forward freight agreements entered into prior to the collapse of freight rates in 2008.

Hellard v Williamson & Ors: claims brought by a liquidator against former directors involving allegations of dishonest dealing with company property. Freezing injunctions obtained; case settled. In re Teeside Operations (Holdings) 2 Ltd [2009] EWHC 2544 (Ch) (Lewison J): effect on liquidators' powers of convening an inquorate creditors' meeting under section 98 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Re K (Deceased) [2007] EWHC 622 (Ch), [2007] WTLR 1007, (2007) 9 ITELR 759: administration of estates; effect of Administration of Insolvent Estates of Deceased Persons Order 1986.

Primlake Ltd v Matthews Associates [2006] EWHC 1227 (Ch), [2007] 1 BCLC 666: acted at trial (led by Christopher Parker) for a liquidator in a successful claim to recover monies improperly and dishonestly paid away from company to a de facto director (further relief was obtained at a further stage of the litigation, in which William appeared without a leader: [2009] EWHC 2774 (Ch)).

William was instructed for the defendant publisher (instructed by RPC) in the substantial claim alleging that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire infringes copyright in Willy the Wizard:

Allen v Bloomsbury Publishing plc [2010] EWHC 2560 (Ch), [2010] ECDR 16: summary judgment hearing.

Allen v Bloomsbury Publishing plc [2011] EWHC 770 (Ch), [2011] FSR 22: security for costs was ordered against the claimant

Allen v Bloomsbury Publishing plc [2011] EWCA Civ 943: appeal against security for costs order dismissed.

William acts in relation to claims against a range of professionals. In particular, William has extensive experience of claims against solicitors and valuers brought by mortgage lenders, and in particular high-value claims involving large numbers of properties and underlying mortgage frauds.

William was instructed by Clyde & Co, as part of a team of counsel, in the very substantial litigation concerning Rangers Football Club: RFC 2012 plc v Collyer Bristow LLP & Ors for Collyer Bristow.

In the past few years, he has recently been involved with two very large multi-property cases, both of which settled: GMAC-RFC Ltd v various solicitors & valuers (instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna) and Heritable Bank plc v Georgiou Nicholas (instructed by Ingram Winter Green).

William's experience in handling litigation of this sort is unrivalled at the junior bar.

William has been involved in the following reported cases in this field:

Mortgage Express v Abensons [2012] EWHC 1000 (Ch), [2012] 27 EG 90, [2012] 18 EG 103 (CS): precise nature of claim for deliberate breach of fiduciary duty (in context of application for permission to amend). Instructed by Jeffrey Green Russell.

Mortgage Express v Iqbal Hafeez [2011] EWHC 3037 (Ch): acted for lender at trial in successful claim against defendant solicitors. Instructed by Cobbetts.

Precis (521) plc v William M Mercer Ltd [2005] PNLR 28 (Court of Appeal): post-acquisition negligence action against the target company's actuaries (led by Andrew Sutcliffe QC; instructed by DLA).

HJ Heinz Co Ltd v EFL Inc [2010] EWHC 1203 (Comm), [2010] 2 Lloyd's Rep 727, [2010] 1 CLC 868: acted for the defendant (led by Jonathan Nash QC in a dispute concerned the enforceability of an arbitral award alleged to have been procured by fraud. Instructed by Clyde & Co.

COMBAR

Middle Temple

Contributor to Banking Litigation (3rd ed)

Contributing chapter on insolvency to Paget's Law of Banking (14th ed)