David specialises in commercial disputes, particularly in the fields of banking and finance, commercial and financial fraud, insurance and reinsurance, professional negligence, and technology and industry. He is a skilled advocate and a formidable cross-examiner, with extensive trial experience both in court (in the UK and offshore) and arbitration. Many of his cases have an international element and he is very experienced in the conflicts of jurisdiction, conflicts of law, and cross-border enforcement issues that are often raised in such work. He is recommended in the legal directories as a leading silk in banking and finance, commercial dispute resolution, civil fraud, and offshore work.
“He’s tenacious, analytical and quick minded in court. He’s very good on fraud cases - he picks up the scent very quickly.”
Chambers & Partners UK 2015
“David Quest is diplomatic and super clever.”
Chambers & Partners UK 2017
David has expertise in all aspects of commercial and retail banking, including investment advice and investment management, trade finance, securities, syndications, bonds, derivatives, swaps, options, repos, structured financial products, and payment systems, as well as financial regulation. He often acts or advises in transactions under the ISDA Master Agreement, the ICMA Global Master Repurchase Agreement, and other industry-standard arrangements. His background in mathematics and computing has given him a particular interest in investment valuation and risk and other quantitative analytic issues, and also in block chain technology and virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.
His clients include banks, hedge funds, investment managers and advisers, and their customers and clients, both corporate and personal. He has been extensively involved in product mis-selling litigation.
In 2012, he was appointed counsel and special advisor to the UK Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in connection with their investigation into the collapse of HBOS. He was Chambers & Partners Bar Awards Banking and Finance Junior of the Year in 2010.
He is co-author, with Ali Malek QC, of Jack: Documentary Credits (4th ed, 2009), the principal practitioner's textbook on that subject; he has also contributed chapters to Banking Litigation (4th ed, 2017) and Capital Markets in the Age of the Euro (2002). He has lectured in trade finance at the London School of Economics, where he was a visiting fellow and external examiner. He gives seminars on banking and financial topics to solicitors, bankers and academics.
David has acted in many of the largest, most complex and highest profile commercial fraud cases. Those have involved almost every aspect of financial dishonesty, including: bribery and corruption; forgery; rogue trading; false accounting; falsification of trade and banking documents; share ramping; pyramid/Ponzi schemes; and advance fee/prime bank instrument frauds. He has a deep knowledge of the use and misuse of accounting, banking and commercial practices. He is very experienced at obtaining or opposing asset freezing orders or other urgent injunctive relief and at enforcing or resisting asset recovery claims against in multiple jurisdictions.
Notably, David was lead counsel for the Algosaibi family of Saudi Arabia in a multi-billion dollar fraud claim against the Saad group in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands. This is one of the largest fraud cases every litigated; the trial, which finished in July 2017, lasted more than 120 court days and involved large numbers of witnesses, including expert witnesses on forgery, foreign law, accountancy, and banking practice. Examples of other major cases include: acting for the Fortress investment group in a fraud claim against the managers of its €200m investment fund; acting for an action group of investors to recover losses on fraudulent foreign exchange products sold by the collapsed CWM group; acting for investors in Langbar, an AIM-listed vehicle which failed following the discovery that its reported assets of US$600m were entirely fictitious; acting for the Iranian Ministry of Defence in a $120m fraud and corruption claim arising out of the purchase of a VIP aircraft; and acting for Rabobank in a US$500m dispute in connection with a credit default swap forming part of an Enron structured finance package.
David acts in all kinds of insurance disputes, for or against insureds, insurers, reinsurers and retrocessionaires, brokers and coverholders. He is familiar with the operation of the main insurance markets, including Lloyd's, having been instructed variously for members’ agents, managing agents, syndicate auditors, brokers, syndicates and individual names.
David's professional negligence practice is focused on lawyers, accountants, actuaries and brokers. A particular area of expertise is in relation to professional conflicts of interest: he was junior counsel in the House of Lords in Prince Jefri v KPMG, the leading case in the area, and in a number of subsequent cases, and has often been called on to act for or advise professional firms or their clients where a potential conflict has arisen.
Before studying law, David was employed for 18 months in the research and development centre of ICL Mainframe Systems (now part of Fujitsu) developing software for the automated design of computer logic and memory components. He was awarded the SB Marsh Scholarship by ICL and also a university sponsorship to study mathematics. He maintains a close and keen interest in computers and information technology. Assisted by his mathematical and technical background, David has acted, in court and in arbitration, in a number of large software and hardware disputes, often relating to the delay or cancellation of major projects.
David is also experienced in disputes involving complex technical, electronic or industrial processes, such as telecommunications, satellites, oil and gas exploration, power generation, energy infrastructure, and chemical engineering.
A significant part of David's practice involves arbitration rather than litigation. He has represented clients in major arbitrations under various institutional rules, including ICC and LCIA, in various countries. He was previously a supervisor and external examiner for commercial arbitration dissertations at the London School of Economics.
David graduated in mathematics from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a senior scholar. On switching to law, he won the Trinity College Maitland and Lizette Bentwich Prizes in Law.
He was called to the Bar in 1993 by Gray's Inn, receiving the Gray's Inn Atkin Scholarship and a Certificate of Honour from the Inns of Court School of Law.
He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2013.