Contact details

Ian Childs

T: +852 2533 2884 M:+852 6191 5088 Email Ian | vCard Office: Hong Kong


Dispute Resolution: Litigation: foreign firms, Dispute resolution: Litigation, Labour and Employment & Regulatory

Dispute Resolution: Litigation: foreign firms, Dispute resolution: Litigation, Labour and Employment & Regulatory

Ian Childs Partner

Contact details

Ian Childs

Ian Childs

T: +852 2533 2884 M: +852 6191 5088 Email Ian | vCard Office: Hong Kong

An effective dispute resolution specialist with particular focus and interest in complicated civil litigation, regulatory and criminal litigation.
  • Profile
  • Services

After careers as senior officer in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force, Republic of Singapore Police Force and in security/investigations/AML at the investment bank, JP Morgan (in Hong Kong and Singapore), Ian joined Stephenson Harwood in Hong Kong in 2002.

Focusing on the financial sector, Ian frequently advises on contentious regulatory issues and spends a lot of his time involved with investigating allegations of wrongdoing and defending those subject to investigation, disciplinary action and/or prosecution by their regulators. Ian is involved in many high profile and complex matters.

Clients like the fact that Ian is legally and evidentially very astute and that he is from a law enforcement background and the obvious tactical advantages this brings them.

Aside of the above Ian has been a commercial litigator for over 18 years handling many types of disputes, including contentious employment issues.

"The exceptionally talented Ian Childs provides highly tailored advice which is relevant to your business needs."

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020

  • Commercial litigation
  • Regulatory litigation
  • Fraud and asset recovery
  • Employment

Representing the Liquidators of a financial services group obtaining judgments from guarantee, undertaking and security claims worth in excess of HK$150 million and thereafter identifying various assets, some hidden, to successfully enforce the judgments against.

Representing an international supplier of high performance building materials in litigation commenced by a contractor making significant sales of goods claims about a non-skid road surface applied at a bus depot. The dispute concerned the construction of the parties’ contract (in particular whether the client’s terms of business were incorporated and, if so, the reasonableness of the limitation of liability provisions) and performance of the surface (requiring the expert evidence of materials scientists). The value of the claims exceeded HK$30 million and were all successfully defended at trial.

Advising a global independent broker-dealer about breach of contract and loss of chance claims made by their client seeking over US$2 million in damages following the purported unlawful transfer of the client’s funds on false instructions. The matter was recently favourably settled.

Representing clients in contesting the validity of a will made in December 2004 by a Hong Kong property tycoon (who died shortly thereafter) on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval, want of due execution and undue influence.

Advising an international bank following the liquidation of a large sourcing agent customer of theirs. The disputes concerned the bank’s factoring and receivable lending services. The bank was advised about the validity of its arrangements and various competing claims made by the Liquidator, amongst others, for the proceeds of the customer’s orders, assigned receivables and bank balances.

Representing clients in an application to recuse a High Court judge following his uncompromising and repeated findings about them and their legal advisors during the litigation. The recusal application alleged a fair-minded and informed observer would conclude following the judge’s findings that there was a real possibility that the tribunal had lost its detachment and would approach the case with a closed mind. The application was dismissed by the judge. The clients were successful in their appeal of the matter to the Court of Appeal and also before the Appeal Committee of the Court of Final Appeal.

Representing a bank in its recovery action against a personal guarantor of charterparty fees. The case involved a determination of whether or not the charterparty had been varied thereby discharging the guarantee and whether or not the guarantor consented to any variation expressly or in advance in the terms of the guarantee. We were successful and the guarantee was upheld resulting in a favourable settlement for the client. The personal guarantor was a Chinese shipping tycoon.

Representing a client during their sentencing hearing for contempt of civil Court orders. We were instructed shortly before the hearing and advised a strategy to purge the contempt as well as preparing a mitigation bundle highlighting client’s charitable acts, client’s evidence (of the acts done to purge their wrong) and reference letters. Ultimately, the client was only fined for the contempt.

Representing a commercial bank to enforce its mortgages over industrial and luxury residential properties when its customer defaulted on its significant obligations and thereafter suing for the bank the various guarantors of the debts which remained. This matter is acrimonious and on-going with one guarantor challenging the bank’s acts, documentation and lawfulness of the guarantees making numerous mis-selling allegations.

Representing an international auction house after it was consigned a luxury watch for sale in Hong Kong and assisting it to protect its interests when it was disclosed that the watch had had been stolen in an armed robbery in Europe.

Representing a UK buyer of PPE supplies from a Hong Kong business whereby it lost US$27 million in 2020. Asset tracing and recovery efforts have led to the restraint of US$13.5 million of which US$11.5 million has been successfully recovered for the client. Claims to recover the remaining US$2 million held in Court and to obtain judgments against the existing defendants for conspiracy to defraud are on-going.

Representing a property investment company investigated by the SFC for offering an unauthorised collective investment scheme in Hong Kong and for carrying out the unlicensed activity of dealing in securities. Following our strategy, the cessation of the marketing and the unwinding of all the sales made in Hong Kong, this matter was satisfactorily concluded without any enforcement action being taken against the client. 

Representing a licensed broker subject to a disciplinary investigation commenced by the SFC following alleged breaches of its internal controls and the mistaken payment of a client’s funds. The case has involved advising the client about: (i) its obligations and duties (to the SFC and its client) following the complaint, including the duty to immediately make a full and frank report to the SFC; (ii) the impact of the Financial Resources Rules; and (iii) how to deal with the SFC’s production orders and interview requests. This investigation was completed without any disciplinary action.

Advising a listed company concerning the SFC’s investigation of the purported offering of an unauthorised collective investment scheme in Hong Kong by an overseas subsidiary. This investigation was completed without disciplinary action.

Representing a building contractor being prosecuted by the Labour Department following an accident at a construction site contrary to the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance for purported unsafe working practices and insufficient controls. These charges were dismissed.

Representing a party whose property and documents were seized by the SFC during its execution of a search warrant with its privilege claims and in the end the successful retrieval of all of its property.

Representing the compliance officer of a financial institution under investigation for breaches of Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering laws. This was completed with no action being taken.

Representing a IPO banker being investigated by the SFC for serious misconduct and for making false and misleading filings with the HKSE and in draft IPO documentation. No disciplinary action was taken.

Representing a high net worth individual from the PRC currently under investigation by the SFC for allegedly misappropriating a corporate opportunity from a Hong Kong listed company.

Representing investors of "worst off" life insurance products mis-sold by a Hong Kong financial advisor in their reporting of the wrongdoing to the SFC.

Successfully assisted a Swedish victim of an advance fee fraud concerning oil futures contracts traded in South Korea. The case necessitated tracing the client’s funds to a Hong Kong bank account, securing the account with the assistance of the Hong Kong Police and a mareva injunction and thereafter entering judgment against the holder of the bank account and enforcing the judgment against the account’s contents.

Assisting a local business to restrain and trace funds stolen by an employee following their forging of various company cheques and presenting the same for payment to themself and their family members. Obtaining a mareva injunction and tracing remedies for the client and after Police liaison, the suspect’s arrest by the Hong Kong Police.

Representing the victim of romance scam to report the matter to the Hong Kong Police and undertake a civil recovery.

Representing a US company tricked into paying the monthly loan instalment to an account in Hong Kong as opposed to its lender. The funds were restrained in Hong Kong in the account and recovered by way of declaratory relief and vesting orders.

Representing a Nigerian oil producer which, following its receipt of fake emails, was induced to pay the charter hire for an oil exploration barge to a fraudster in Singapore. The funds were immediate sent to Hong Kong but successfully traced to an account here, restrained by a mareva and proprietary injunction and recovered in full in due course.

Assisting an advising numerous victims of fake email and/or invoice scams from Germany, USA, Canada, Switzerland, England, United Arab Emirates, amongst others, with their asset tracing and recovery efforts.

Assisting a French investment bank with the asset recovery undertaken in Hong Kong following a bunker and letter of credit fraud in Singapore. The sums lost are about US$100 million. In particular the mandate involved the reporting of the matter to the Hong Kong Police’s Commercial Crime Bureau to render all possible assistance.

Advising a Russian entrepreneur in his asset tracing exercises to locate the sum of €2 million dissipated by an ex-employee through Hong Kong bank accounts which is on-going.

Representing a global shipping line defrauded in 2022 of US$500,000 following an email scam with respect to the obtaining of mareva injunctions and Bankers Book Orders and the successful recovery of all sums defrauded.

More: Fraud and asset recovery

Acting for an aviation company following its summary dismissal of a maintenance staff for breaches of airport security rules. The appropriateness of the termination was challenged before the Labour Tribunal, the client is counterclaiming to enforce employment bonds for the cost of overseas courses and training provided.

Acting for a New York fashion company which inadvertently terminated the employment of a pregnant employee. The client was advised about the protected status of pregnant employees, what it needed to do to avoid criminal liability and told re-instate the employee who then refused to return to work making significant claims for unlawful dismissal. Assisted the client thereafter with its successful defence of the claims in the Labour Tribunal.

Advising a sourcing company about the claims for wages and MPF payments made by a senior ex-employee in the Labour Tribunal pursuant to an error strewn sideline employment contract. I identified the necessary evidence to support a defence relying on the equitable remedy of rectification of the offending clauses. This matter was successfully defended.

Advising a regional fragrance producer concerning its closure and the termination processes to be followed for its Hong Kong, PRC and Vietnam employees.

Advising an asset leasing company following its merger about the termination procedures to be followed and documentation to be adopted for the staff being made redundant.

Advising a consulting company on the summary dismissal of a senior compliance officer in Hong Kong. Defending the officer’s defamation claims. The matter settled before trial.

Advising an aircraft training company about the termination of staff on sick leave and issues from the Employment Ordinance and Disability Discrimination Ordinance.

Assisting a Hong Kong pilot to defend themselves in an Equal Opportunities Commission matter where sexual harassment was alleged.

Advising an asset manager with respect to claims for non-payment of a deferred bonus of over HK$10 million (which is on-going).

More: Employment


Dispute Resolution: Litigation: foreign firms, Dispute resolution: Litigation, Labour and Employment & Regulatory

Dispute Resolution: Litigation: foreign firms, Dispute resolution: Litigation, Labour and Employment & Regulatory

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