Kate Holderness is a specialist commercial practitioner, and she has acted and advised in relation to a wide range of commercial disputes. She is particularly experienced in the fields of banking and finance, derivatives, insurance and commercial contractual disputes.
Most recently, Kate was instructed as junior counsel in a dispute between Banco Santander Totta and a number of Portuguese state-owned transport companies arising out of complex interest rate derivatives (Banco Santander Totta SA v Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa SA) in both the Commercial Court  EWHC 465 (Comm) and in the Court of Appeal  EWCA Civ 1267. Kate is currently instructed on the application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, which concerns the interpretation and application of Art. 3(3) of the Rome Convention.
Kate is also currently instructed as junior counsel for Beazley Furlonge Ltd in Part 86 Proceedings in the Commercial Court arising out of claims by third parties against Beazley and a number of excess insurers under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930.
Kate is regularly instructed to appear at hearings and trials, both as junior counsel and sole counsel, in the High Court and County Courts in commercial contractual disputes, insurance disputes and banking disputes. Kate also undertakes a variety of written work, including drafting pleadings and providing written advice on all areas of general commercial law.
‘top-quality and commercial barristers’,
Legal 500 UK 2014
‘The set enjoys a quality reputation for insurance work, and has a team that offers a nice balance of experienced QCs and highly talented juniors.’
Chambers & Partners UK 2015
Kate has experience both acting as junior counsel and as sole counsel across a broad range of commercial disputes.
Current and recent instructions include:-
- Acting for the purchaser of a denationalised telecoms company in arbitration proceedings in respect of a dispute under the SPA. Led by Ewan McQuater QC, instructed by White & Case.
- Acting for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP on its appeal from an application brought under CPR Part 11(1)(b) that the court should not exercise its jurisdiction in on the ground of forum non conveniens. Instructed by DLA Piper UK LLP.
- Acting for Kingate Euro Fund Ltd and Kingate Global Fund Ltd (two BVI funds) in proceedings in the Supreme Court of Bermuda, arising out of investments by the funds in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. Led by Adrian Beltrami QC, instructed by Lipman Karas LLP.
- Acting for the defendant in Alfa v Quarzwerke (2015) EWHC 243, a claim for specific performance of a contractual right of reasonable access to the books, records and documents of certain companies sold to the defendant. Instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna.
- Acting for the Defendant in W Nagel v I Hennig in a claim concerning commission sharing arrangements between diamond brokers. The claim was settled shortly before trial. Led by Andrew Onslow QC, instructed by Jones Day.
- Acting for the Defendant bank in Nahum v Citibank NA (settled at trial) in the Commercial Court in a claim arising out of the unwinding of CDS transactions in respect of Kaupthing Bank debt. Led by Andrew Onslow QC, instructed by Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP.
Current and recent instructions include:
- Acting for the Portuguese state-owned transport companies in Banco Santander Totta SA v Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa SA  EWHC 465 (Comm) (at first instance) and  EWCA Civ 1267 (on appeal). The Portuguese transport companies have applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Led by Ali Malek QC and Richard Brent, instructed by Lipman Karas.
- Acting for Standard Chartered Bank on a successful application in the Chancery Division to strike out a claim for £10 million against the bank involving allegations of fraud. Instructed by Norton Rose.
- Acting for Natwest at the trial of a claim for damages for personal injury under s75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Instructed by DWF LLP.
Kate was instructed as junior counsel to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (led by Rory Phillips QC and David Quest), where she was instructed as a specialist advisor, assisting with the Commission’s review of the 2008 collapse of HBOS and mis-selling of PPI.
Recent instructions include:
- Acting for Beazley Furlonge Ltd in Part 86 Proceedings in the Commercial Court arising out of claims brought by third parties against Beazley and a number of excess insurers under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930. Led by Tom Weitzman QC, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna.
- Acting for Spire Healthcare in a claim against its insurers, RSA, under a professional indemnity policy in respect of its potential liability to claimants in the PIP implant group litigation. Led by Tom Weitzman QC, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna.
- Acting for professional indemnity insurers in respect of a claim by Collyer Bristow LLP arising out of Commercial Court litigation between Collyer Bristow LLP and investors in tax-efficient investment schemes. Led by Tom Weitzman QC, instructed by Clyde & Co.
- Acting for a large financial institution in the early stages of a claim against the qualifying insurers subscribing to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Assigned Risks Pool in respect of a judgment obtained against a firm of solicitors which was subsequently wound up. Led by Christopher Symons QC, instructed by Eversheds LLP.
At the beginning of 2016, Kate undertook a secondment to the JLT Group where she worked with their in-house legal team on the implementation of the Insurance Act 2015.
Kate also undertakes arbitration work, having gained considerable experience in the procedural aspects of international commercial arbitrations (both ad hoc and those conducted under the auspices of arbitral institutions such as the ICC, the LCIA and the LMAA) whilst working as assistant to Kenneth Rokison QC before she came to the Bar. Recent experience includes:
- Acting for the purchaser of a denationalised telecoms company in LCIA arbitration proceedings in respect of a dispute under the SPA. Led by Ewan McQuater QC, instructed by White & Case.
- Acting as arbitral secretary in an LCIA arbitration regarding cost overruns on a substantial mining project in Mexico.
- Acting as arbitral secretary in an ICC arbitration between a Dutch company and a Cypriot company concerning a guarantee of a Russian company’s obligations under a lease.
- Drafting a Request for Arbitration in an ICC Arbitration between an English company and a Ukrainian company in respect of a dispute arising out of a consultancy services agreement.
Journal of International Banking and Finance Law: contributor to the Case Analysis section
Paget's Law of Banking, 14th Ed Sept 2014 (Butterworths): Chapter 26 "Freezing Injunctions"
Bullen & Leake & Jacob, Precedents of Pleadings: co-author of the Fraud section
LLB, King's College London: 2003 - 2005
LLM, University College London: 2005 - 2006
Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law: 2006 - 2008
Wilfred Getz Award, The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn: 2006 - 2007