Commercial litigation

Our market-leading commercial litigation department acts on a wide range of disputes for corporates, individuals and other commercial clients. We have a long-established track record of handling the most significant and complex cases. 

Our clients value our ability to handle any commercial dispute and to deliver unparalleled service in terms of quality and efficiency.
  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Key contacts

We advise clients in every major industry and sector, ranging from multinational corporations, financial institutions, large and medium sized companies, professionals and trustees to governments, charities, high net worth individuals and their corporate interests.

We offer commercially focused and practical solutions for complex disputes, often assisting clients with interests that cross industries, geographic locations and jurisdictions.

We regularly advise on disputes relating to commercial contracts, trade finance, corporate transactions and governance, joint-ventures, partnerships and shareholder disputes.

We also handle potentially contentious aspects of major corporate and financial transactions, political, cyber threat and sanctions issues as well as disputes involving fraud and injunctions, asset tracing and enforcement strategies.

We have litigation experts in every office who work with each other regularly, so our local lawyers can put together an international team quickly and efficiently.

Our experience means we can anticipate and prevent issues before they arise. We are also trusted to act quickly and effectively whenever urgent action is required.

"It's a very strong, well-resourced team with a wide set of abilities and which is right at home on a range of complex litigation cases."

Chambers UK 2020


In one of the largest disputes of the past decade, the ongoing multi-faceted Tchenguiz litigation, we have achieved a series of victories including securing jurisdiction against Kaupthing Bank Hf and a successful judicial review challenge against the SFO.

Rangers FC restructuring

Acting for the liquidators in relation to all aspects of the liquidation of the most successful domestic football club in the world, including high-profile and high-value litigation in England and Scotland.

Accolade Wines

Acted for Accolade Wines Limited in major dispute in relation to the defective/negligent design and construction of the largest wine production, storage and distribution facility in the UK. 

Big four accountancy firm

Acting for one of the big four accountancy firms in relation to claims of alleged negligent advice made by a commercial client against our client and a major city law firm.

Collapse of Arch-Cru funds

Acted for SPL Guernsey ICC Ltd regarding the collapse of the Arch Cru funds and the related litigation both in the UK and Guernsey including claims against the managers, directors, administrators and auditors.

Mobil v PDVSA

Successfully discharged $12 billion freezing order and brought related damages claims arising out of ICSID and ICC arbitrations between a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil and the Venezuelan state oil company.

Samuel Tak Lee

Acting for a Hong Kong tycoon defending a claim to his Tokyo commercial property portfolio, and winning on appeal in the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.  

ETI v Bolivia and Entel

Successfully discharging freezing order before the English Commercial Court and Court of Appeal in telecoms investment treaty dispute under ICSID arbitration rules involving issues of state immunity.

First Media 

Acting for an Indonesian media listco in proceedings to set aside enforcement orders made by the Hong Kong High Court in respect of Singapore arbitration awards obtained by the Malaysian conglomerate Astro.  

Probate litigation 

Acting in a probate action concerning the multi-billion dollar estate of a well-known Hong Kong entrepreneur, including testamentary capacity in the context of dementia and an application to appoint an administrator pendente lite.

Rovine Chandrasekera Managing partner of the Dubai office

T:  +971 4 407 3901
M:  +971 55 899 3951 Email Rovine | Vcard Office:  Dubai


John Fordham Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2300
M:  +44 7909 925 436 Email John | Vcard Office:  London


Malcolm Kemp Partner

T:  +852 2533 2701
M:  +852 9485 9376 Email Malcolm | Vcard Office:  Hong Kong


Daryll Ng Managing partner

T:  +65 6835 8656
M:  Email Daryll | Vcard Office:  Singapore

Latest news & insights

01 Apr 2020

From Insights

La force majeure : un remède contre le COVID-19 ?

Nombreux sont nos clients qui nous font part de leur inquiétude depuis plusieurs semaines : aux conséquences sanitaires dramatiques du COVID-19, s’ajoutent des retombé..


03 Mar 2020

From Insights

Implied terms, relational contracts and good faith: Taqa Bratani & Ors v Rockrose

When and why will the courts imply a term into a contract? This vexed question was recently considered by the courts in Taqa Bratani & Ors v Rockrose UKCS8 LLC [2020] ..


19 Nov 2019

From Insights

Dispensing with Service: what makes your case exceptional? – Lonestar v Kaye

The Court may dispense with service of a claim form in exceptional circumstances (CPR 6.16(1)).


08 Nov 2019

From News

Stephenson Harwood wins Commercial Litigation and Arbitration Award

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has won the ‘Trust and Estates Litigation Team of the Year’ award at the Commercial Litigation and Arbitration Awards 2019.


07 Nov 2019

From Insights

Don’t stand so close to me: when is leaving a claim form near to someone good service? Gorbachev v Guriev

A claim form may be served personally on an individual by “leaving it with” that individual (CPR 6.5(3)). But what does that mean in practice?


04 Jun 2019

From Insights

No express or implied term in relation to market practice: CFH Clearing Limited ("CFH") v Merrill Lynch International ("MLI")

The Commercial Court has found that a clause in a bank's terms and conditions stating that: "All transactions are subject to all applicable laws, rules … and, where re..


21 May 2019

From Insights

Further Court of Appeal clarification on the treatment of competing jurisdiction clauses

The Court of Appeal has given further clarification on the treatment of competing jurisdiction clauses in its recent decision in BNP Paribas SA v Trattamento Rifiuti M..


11 Mar 2019

From Insights

Put it in writing as soon as possible

The recent Supreme Court decision of Wells v Devani [2019] UKSC 4; [2018] PLSCS 33 provides a salutary reminder to all agents of what they need to do if they want to g..


04 Feb 2019

From Insights

Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton

The Court of Appeal this week handed down its judgment in the case of Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton, dismissing MBS’ appeal against a judgment of the Co..


06 Dec 2018

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises Trustees in Bankruptcy of Boris Becker

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP is advising Mark Ford, Finbarr O'Connell and Gilbert Lemon (each of Smith & Williamson LLP), the Trustees in Bankruptcy of Boris Becker..


05 Oct 2018

From Insights

Stepping in or over-stepping?

The Court has recently been called upon to consider the validity of the purported appointment of administrators over the issuer of notes by a noteholder purporting to ..


26 Sep 2018

From Insights

FRC v Sports Direct

In what "is believed to be the first application of its type to have reached the courts", Arnold J in Financial Reporting Council Limited v Sports Direct International..


18 Sep 2018

From Insights

Restrictive covenants versus housing shortage

The Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government was busy over the summer. It issued a number of statements about housing policy including the Rough Sleepin..


29 Jan 2018

From News

Ros Prince named in The Lawyer's Hot 100

Stephenson Harwood partner Ros Prince, co-head of the firm's fraud and asset recovery team, has been named in The Lawyer's Hot 100 - litigation list.


21 Dec 2017

From News

Stephenson Harwood partner Louis Flannery to be appointed Queen's Counsel

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has announced that Louis Flannery, partner and head of the firm's international arbitration group, will be appointed Queen's Counsel at..


16 May 2017

From Insights

The Money Laundering Regulations 2017: Six weeks to implementation

A less prescriptive approach, but a greater compliance burden?


© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.