Nicola Timmins

Nicola Timmins

Call 2008

Overview

Nicola has a broad commercial and commercial chancery practice with particular experience in high value complex disputes, typically involving international components, issues relating to banking and security documents, the natural resources sector, company law and insolvency law.

Nicola has acted in three of “The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases” of the year during her career, including in 2023 acting for the former CEO of Carillion alongside Tiran Nersessian in the high-profile Carillion director disqualification proceedings which followed the largest liquidation in UK history.

Alongside a busy practice in London, Nicola has been taking instructions in offshore disputes since 2013. Recent offshore instructions have included significant and long-running instructions in Bermuda in insolvency and trust proceedings, instructions from the Cayman Islands in shareholder disputes and proceedings relating to s.238 of the Cayman Companies Act (a process giving shareholders a statutory right to dissent from a merger and have their shares purchased at fair value), and instructions from the BVI (where she is called to the Bar) in proceedings relating to the validity of loan agreements and share charges, and the interpretation of articles of association.

As a former solicitor and judicial assistant in the Court of Appeal, Nicola is well placed to understand the needs of both her professional clients and the court, and to tailor her advice and advocacy accordingly.

The directories describe her as an exceptional junior who gives good, sensible advice, extremely erudite, always on top of the papers and eternally approachable, as having extraordinary attention to detail, strategic in her advice, and as a team player and a pleasure to work with.

Areas of expertise

  • Company Law: including Shareholder Disputes and Director Disqualification Proceedings

    Nicola provides advice and advocacy in matters concerning company law.

    • Currently acting in a shareholder dispute proceeding before the Cayman Grand Court concerning Asia Renewable Energy (Cayman) Ltd, the holding company of a group involved in the manufacture of wind turbines and operation of offshore wind turbine farms in Taiwan. Led by Herman Boeddinghaus KC.
    • Acting for the former CEO of Carillion Plc in director disqualification proceedings brought by the Secretary of State for Business and Trade following the largest liquidation in UK history. Nicola was led by Tiran Nersessian.
    • Advising on the interpretation of permitted transfer provisions in articles of association. Nicola was led by Jonathan Crow KC.
    • Advising shareholders in Sina Corporation (the majority shareholder in Weibo) in proceedings under s.238 of the Cayman Companies Act (a process giving shareholders a statutory right to dissent from a merger and have their shares purchased at fair value). Nicola was led by Jonathan Crow KC.
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution

    Nicola acts in commercial disputes that fall within the jurisdiction of both the Commercial Court and Chancery Division. She is instructed in cases covering a wide variety of market sectors, with particular expertise in cases falling within the banking & finance and energy & natural resources practice areas as highlighted in the sections below.

    She regularly acts in high value complex commercial disputes as part of a large team and has acted in three of The Lawyer’s “Top 10/20 Cases” of the year.

    Nicola is particularly appreciated by clients for her high degree of numerical, economic and scientific literacy and consequently is often deployed to work closely with expert witnesses to assist with producing highly technical reports in a form accessible for use at trial.

    • Acting for Golden Meditech in proceedings brought by Blue Ocean in which it was alleged that loan agreements for a debt of RMB 3 billion and share charges were forged.
    • Acting for Above Beyond Care Ltd in defence of proceedings involving allegations of breaches of an investment agreement.
    • Acting for Brainspark Ltd in proceedings which concerned whether terms should be implied into a share purchase agreement to prevent the avoidance of an “anti-embarrassment clause”.
    • Acting for Coopervision Ltd in proceedings to recover sums in respect of unpaid goods from a foreign company.
    • Acting for Meridian Metal Trading Limited in proceedings for enforcement of a guarantee in respect of unpaid trade debts of a company that was the subject of a pre-pack administration in the sum of approximately £1m.
  • Banking & Finance

    Nicola regularly acts in banking & finance cases. Her experience acting for international investment banks, SMEs and individuals includes misrepresentation cases concerning highly complex derivative products; cases concerning the enforcement of loans, guarantees and other banking agreements; cases concerning the misselling of interest rate swaps.

    • A series of four connected LCIA arbitrations arising out of a transaction involving a loan of approx. US$300m for the purposes of building and developing a copper mine in Armenia. Nicola was led by Andrew de Mestre QC.
    • The highly complex Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating agency litigation which concerned the liability of rating agencies to investors:
      • McGraw-Hill International (UK) Limited v Deutsche Apotheker und ArzteBank and RBS and others (led by Daniel Toledano QC and James Goldsmith of One Essex Court and Sharif Shivji).
      • Portigon AG v RBS (led by Stephen Auld QC of One Essex Court and Sharif Shivji).
    • Acting for Richard Desmond in litigation concerning a claim for the alleged misselling by Credit Suisse and GLG of two highly complex derivative products (CPPI). Nicola was led by George Bompas QC and Christopher Harrison.
    • Acting for an investor in the Scion film scheme against his financial advisors for breach of contract and breach of the FSA COBS rules in relation to investment advice. Nicola was led by Christopher Harrison.
    • Acting for Unitech Limited in proceedings against Deutsche Bank in a case concerning a claim for more than $150m under loan and interest rate swap agreements involving arguments on the manipulation of LIBOR on the enforceability of various contractual documents. Nicola was led by John Brisby QC and Alastair Tomson.
    • Acting for Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich in litigation against JP Morgan concerning a claim for breach of a tri-partite repo agreement arising out of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Nicola was led by David Mildon QC of Essex Court Chambers.
    • Acting for Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich in litigation against Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in a case concerning a misrepresentation claim in connection with a syndicated loan to Enron. Nicola was led by Jeffrey Gruder QC of Essex Court Chambers and Christopher Harrison.
  • Energy & Natural Resources

    Nicola has significant experience in oil and gas disputes, and disputes involving natural resources.

    • A series of four connected LCIA arbitrations arising out of a transaction involving a loan of approx. US$300m for the purposes of building and developing a copper mine in Armenia. Nicola was led by Andrew de Mestre QC.
    • Acting for Gulf Keystone in proceedings brought by Excalibur Ventures concerning rights to oil concessions in Iraqi Kurdistan claimed to be worth $1.65 billion. Nicola was led by Jonathan Gaisman QC and Richard Waller QC of 7 King’s Bench Walk, and Harry Matovu QC of Brick Court Chambers.
    • Acting for Heritage Oil & Gas Limited in proceedings brought by Tullow Uganda Limited and proceedings against the Government of the Republic of Uganda concerning an alleged tax liability for a $1.35bn oil transaction in Uganda. Nicola was led by Ian Glick QC of One Essex Court.
  • Chancery: Commercial

    Nicola has a busy commercial chancery practice covering company law, insolvency, trusts, and director disqualification proceedings.

    • Acting for the former CEO of Carillion Plc in director disqualification proceedings brought by the Secretary of State for Business and Trade following the largest liquidation in UK history. Nicola was led by Tiran Nersessian.
    • Advising on the interpretation of permitted transfer provisions in articles of association. Nicola was led by Jonathan Crow KC.
    • Advising shareholders in Sina Corporation (the majority shareholder in Weibo) in proceedings concerning the “fair value” of their shares following a merger and the compulsory purchase of their shares. Nicola was led by Jonathan Crow KC.
    • Advising Medlands (PTC) Limited, the court appointed trustee of a Bermuda trust with assets worth billions of dollars settled by Robert Brockman, a US software tycoon who had been charged with the biggest alleged tax evasion scheme in American history, in relation to trust, company law and insolvency issues. Nicola was led by Andrew Clutterbuck QC.
    • Acting for MF Global UK Services Limited in proceedings to establish which group company was liable for a deficit in a defined benefit pension scheme following the insolvency of the MF Global group which was the eighth largest bankruptcy in US history. Nicola was led by George Bompas QC.
    • Acting for Centenary Holdings III in proceedings against Constant, Bloch, Vivendi and PwC concerning a claim arising out of a financial assistance transaction for breach of duties by directors and auditors. Nicola was led by Robert Miles QC and Richard Hill.
    • Acting for Edward Vandyk in proceedings brought by Izodia Plc in proceedings including claims for negligence, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of a significant property transaction. Nicola was led by David Chivers QC of Erskine Chambers.
    • Acting for the Fattals in proceedings against Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd in proceedings concerning breach of trustees’ duties and rights of pre-emption under a joint venture agreement relating to companies owning a substantial London commercial and residential property. Nicola was led by David Chivers QC of Erskine Chambers and Alastair Tomson.
  • Insolvency & Restructuring

    Nicola has significant experience in insolvency litigation in the UK and offshore. She regularly acts for both creditors and debtors in corporate insolvency and personal bankruptcy matters, including appearing at hearings of petitions for winding up and bankruptcy, and setting aside statutory demands. She also has experience advising on officeholder claims and conducting private examinations.

    • Currently acting in proceedings before the Cayman Grand Court for a just and equitable winding up of Asia Renewable Energy (Cayman) Ltd, the holding company of a group involved in the manufacture of wind turbines and operation of offshore wind turbine farms in Taiwan. Led by Herman Boeddinghaus KC.
    • Acting for the provisional liquidators of George’s Bay Limited, a company developing a substantial 5*+ resort in Bermuda using loans of US$160m guaranteed by the Government of Bermuda. This matter involved advising on potential claims against former directors and numerous private examinations. Nicola was led by John Brisby QC.
    • Acting for Laep Investments Ltd (the holding company of numerous important Brazilian companies, including Parmalat Brasil and Lacteos do Brasil S.A, one of the largest milk and dairy companies in the world) over a period of 4 years in its defence of winding up proceedings in Bermuda. Nicola was led by John Brisby QC.
    • Acting for MF Global UK Services Limited in proceedings establishing which group company was liable for a deficit in a defined benefit pension scheme following the insolvency of the MF Global group which was the eighth largest bankruptcy in US history. Nicola was led by George Bompas QC.
    • Acting for Gate Gourmet in the bankruptcy proceedings of Mr Morby which involved a detailed consideration of the rules on the jurisdiction of the English bankruptcy court and the rules on service of a bankruptcy petition.
    • Acting for a creditor in bankruptcy proceedings involving so called “bankruptcy tourism”.
  • Offshore Litigation

    Nicola accepts instructions in relation to offshore litigation in all areas of her practice.

    Nicola is called to the Bar of the BVI, and also has significant experience of cases in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

    • In the matter of Asia Renewable Energy (Cayman) Ltd. Currently acting in a shareholder dispute concerning the holding company of a group involved in the manufacture of wind turbines and operation of offshore wind turbine farms in Taiwan. Led by Herman Boeddinghaus KC.
    • Advising on the interpretation of permitted transfer provisions in articles of association of two BVI companies. Nicola was led by Jonathan Crow KC.
    • Blue Ocean Creation Investment Hong Kong Limited v Golden Meditech Stem Cells (BVI) Company Limited. Acting for Golden Meditech in its defence of a claim in the BVI alleging the forgery of a loan agreement and share charges over shares in BVI and Cayman Islands companies. Nicola was led by Hermann Boeddinghaus KC.
    • In the matter of Sina Corporation. Acting for a group of shareholders of a Cayman Island company in relation to an appeal concerning the determination of the fair value of their shares in Sina Corporation (the majority shareholder in Weibo, the twitter-like social media platform in the PRC) following the compulsory purchase of their shares under s.238 of the Cayman Companies Act. Nicola was led by Jonathan Crow KC.
    • St Johns Trust Company (PVT) Limited v Medlands (PTC) Limited. Advising the court appointed trustee of a Bermuda trust with assets worth billions of dollars settled by a US software tycoon who has been charged with the biggest alleged tax evasion scheme in American history in relation to trust, company law and insolvency issues. Nicola was led by Andrew Clutterbuck QC.
    • In the matter of George’s Bay Limited. Acting for the provisional liquidators in the insolvency of a company developing a substantial 5*+ resort in Bermuda using loans of US$160m guaranteed by the Government of Bermuda. Nicola was led by John Brisby QC.
    • In the matter of Laep Investments Ltd. Defending winding up proceedings in Bermuda over a period of 4 years for the holding company of numerous important Brazilian companies, including Parmalat Brasil and Lacteos do Brasil S.A (one of the largest milk and dairy companies in the world). Nicola was led by John Brisby QC.
    • Providing advice (alongside Jonathan Crow QC) to a HK based property development company in relation to a dispute concerning a substantial property development in Beijing.
    • Advising on the interpretation of permitted transfer provisions in BVI articles of association (alongside Jonathan Crow KC).

Other information

  • Career & Appointments
    • 1998-1999 Second Lieutenant, 12 Regiment Royal Artillery (Short Service Limited Commission), Germany
    • 2004-2005 Researcher, Hague Conference on Private International Law (working on the then draft Convention on Choice of Court Agreements)
    • 2005 Recording Secretary to the Diplomatic Conference of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (negotiating the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements)
    • 2007 Judicial Assistant to the Court of Appeal
    • 2005-2008 Trainee and Associate in the dispute resolution department, Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • Education & Awards
    • 1998 AQA award for the highest A level Economics mark in the country
    • 2002 BA (law), Emmanuel College, Cambridge (Porter Scholarship, College Prize)
    • 2003 LLM, Emmanuel College, Cambridge (Rodwell Prize)
    • 2004 LPC, Nottingham Law School
    • 2007 Admitted as a solicitor
  • Publications
    • “The Future Convention on Exclusive Choice of Court Agreements and arbitration parallel proceedings and possible treaty conflicts, in particular with ICSID and the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards” (Preliminary Document No. 32 of June 2005 of the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements) (researcher for Dr Andrea Schulz)
    • “The Effect of the UNCITRAL Draft Convention on Electronic Communications in International Contracts on the Hague Conventions”, produced for Member States by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (co-authored with Dr Andrea Schulz)
  • Languages

    French (C1)

  • What the Directories Say
    • Chambers and Partners 2024: “Nicola has extraordinary attention to detail, is very responsive, and is someone who quickly gets to grips with key issues.”
    • Chambers and Partners 2024: “Nicola is responsive and strategic in her advice.”
    • Chambers and Partners 2023: “An exceptional junior who gives good, sensible advice. She is a team player and a pleasure to work with.”
    • Chambers and Partners 2022: “She is extremely erudite, always on top of the papers and eternally approachable.”

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