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
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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.

"Stephenson Harwood has an exceptionally strong commercial litigation team whose lawyers are of the highest quality and totally dedicated to the pursuit of their clients’ interests. Extremely strong on international litigation and investment funds."

The Legal 500 UK 2023


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.

Latest news & insights

04 Jun 2024

From Insights

FCA Market Watch 79 - Is your market abuse surveillance model up to scratch and are your surveillance systems effective?

The FCA have recently published their Market Watch 79 focussing on failures of market abuse surveillance they have identified, and on their recent peer review of firms..


18 Apr 2024

From Insights

When can shareholders seek relief in favour of the company alongside an unfair prejudice petition, and does the approach in Chime no longer ring true?

In Ntzegkoutanis v Kimionis [2023] EWCA Civ 1480, the Court of Appeal handed down an important judgment which clarifies the overlap between an unfair prejudice petitio..


25 Mar 2024

From News

Partner John Lewis joins Stephenson Harwood to lead General Commercial Litigation & International Arbitration practice in the Middle East

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has strengthened its dispute resolution practice in the Middle East with the arrival of partner John Lewis, who joins the firm in Dubai..


20 Mar 2024

From Insights

Two collisions, three appeals and a change in the common law

It is, to say the least, unusual for a £1,560 claim to reach the Supreme Court but it did so in Armstead v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company Ltd [2024] UKSC 6.


20 Mar 2024

From Insights

Managing the risk of preliminary professional advice – when can a professional be held to off the cuff advice? (Miller v Irwin Mitchell LLP)

In Miller v Irwin Mitchell LLP [2024] EWCA Civ 53, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by a claimant who had suffered a serious injury while on holiday but lost he..


28 Feb 2024

From Insights

Uptick in enforcement action in 2024? – Multiple arrests and strong rhetoric from UK Enforcement Agencies

In this alert we explore the implications for firms of the FCA’s focus on insider dealing and the SFO’s apparently renewed appetite for criminal prosecutions under the..


26 Feb 2024

From Insights

Significant expansions to corporate criminal liability: the new offence of failure to prevent fraud and extended identification principle

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 ("ECCTA") introduces a landmark new corporate offence of failure to prevent fraud (the "FTP fraud offence").


17 Jan 2024

From Insights

Venice swaps decision sunk by Court of Appeal (Banca Intesa v Venezia)

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by Banca Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and Dexia Crediop SpA and dismissed a cross-appeal by the Comune di Venezia


21 Dec 2023

From Insights

Commercial litigation newsletter - December 2023

This is Stephenson Harwood's commercial litigation newsletter. With these newsletters, we hope to give you updates on interesting cases and news on various areas aroun..


14 Dec 2023

From Insights

New FCA rules on greenwashing and sustainability disclosures and product labelling

The FCA has just published its Policy Statement PS23/16 - Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR) and investment labels.


08 Dec 2023

From Insights

Foul taste for claimant corrected: Supreme Court rules on uncontroverted expert evidence (TUI v Griffiths)

What happens when a party fails to challenge an expert's report by cross-examination or contradictory evidence?


05 Dec 2023

From Insights

London Metal Exchange wins High Court ruling over cancelled nickel trades

On 29 November 2023, the Administrative Court handed down its judgment in the case of Elliott Associates L.P. and other and Jane Street Global Trading v The London Met..


01 Dec 2023

From Insights

Big data - the Financial Conduct Authority proposes individual borrower disclosures in relation to consumer credit firms

The Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") is consulting on plans to require consumer credit firms to hand over a vast swathe of data on their individual customer transac..


15 Nov 2023

From Insights

The Financial Conduct Authority tells payment services firms to strengthen their anti-fraud systems and improve their treatment of victims of fraud

In this article, we look at some of the takeaways from the FCA's recent review of payment services firms' anti-fraud systems and controls, in particular around authori..


07 Nov 2023

From Insights

Pinewood Technologies Asia Pacific Ltd v Pinewood Technologies Plc: Exclusion clause prevents claim for loss of profits

In Pinewood Technologies Asia Pacific Ltd v Pinewood Technologies Plc [2023] EWHC 2506 (TCC), the English High Court held that an exclusion clause in a contract effect..


31 Oct 2023

From Insights

Clearview AI Inc v The Information Commissioner: Clearview AI successfully overturns ICO fine

In Clearview AI Inc v The Information Commissioner [2023] UKFTT 819 (GRC), the First-tier Tribunal overturned a large fine issued by the Information Commissioner's Off..


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