Practice

Nicola has a predominantly commercial and insolvency based practice with experience across the full spectrum of work undertaken by 4 Stone Buildings. Her work encompasses advice, drafting and representation in contentious and non-contentious matters. She regularly appears in the High Court and county courts, and is frequently led by silks both in and out of chambers.

Prior to being called to the Bar Nicola was a dispute resolution solicitor at Baker & McKenzie LLP.

Practice areas

Commercial dispute resolution

Nicola advises and acts in commercial disputes that fall within the jurisdiction of both the Commercial Court and Chancery Division. She has been instructed in cases covering a wide variety of market sectors.

She has significant experience in large commercial disputes, particularly in cases falling within the banking & finance and energy & natural resources practice areas as highlighted in the sections below.

Recent general commercial experience includes:

  • Bethanni and others v Above Beyond Care Ltd. A dispute involving allegations of breaches of an investment agreement.
  • Brainspark v Fortune Cookie. A claim which concerned whether terms should be implied into a share purchase agreement to prevent the avoidance of an “anti-embarrassment clause”.
  • Coopervision Limited v Bach Optic GH-GMBH. A claim to recover sums in respect of unpaid goods from a foreign company. The case raised questions of jurisdiction and the interpretation of various contractual documents.
  • JJW Limited v IBRC Asset Finance Limited. Third party costs proceedings against the owner of JJW (the holding company of a large group of international hotels).
  • Meridian Metal Trading Limited v Heys-Shaw Limited. A claim 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 individuals, SMEs and international investment banks includes misrepresentation cases concerning highly complex derivative products; acting in cases concerning the enforcement of loans, guarantees and other banking agreements; and advising on the misselling of interest rate swaps.

Nicola’s banking experience includes:

  • 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.
  • McGraw-Hill International (UK) Limited v Deutsche Apotheker und ArzteBank and and RBS and others. This case concerned claims by certain investors in CPDO notes issued by ABN Amro that ABN and S&P (McGraw-Hill) had made misrepresentations in relation to the rating of those notes. Nicola was led by Daniel Toledano QC and James Goldsmith of One Essex Court and Sharif Shivji.
  • Portigon AG v RBS. This was a claim for breach of contract, negligence and misrepresentation in relation to the rating of CPDO notes issued by ABN Amro and rated by S&P and Moody’s. Nicola was led by Stephen Auld QC of One Essex Court and Sharif Shivji.
  • Barclays Bank Plc v King. This claim concerned attempts to enforce a personal guarantee given in relation to an interest rate swap that had been missold to a company that had subsequently been dissolved.
  • Desmond & Ors v Credit Suisse International & GLG Partners LP. This case concerned a claim for alleged misselling by Credit Suisse and GLG of two highly complex derivative products (CPPI). The case involved allegations of breach of the FSA Rules, breach of contract, breach of common law duties, and breach of fiduciary duties. Nicola was led by George Bompas QC and Christopher Harrison.
  • Ball v Lighthouse Vintry II and others. This case concerned allegations of breach of contract and breach of the FSA COBS rules in relation to investment advice. Nicola was led by Christopher Harrison.
  • Marshall v Barclays Bank Plc. This case concerned the interpretation of a settlement agreement following the misselling of an interest rate swap.
  • Deutsche Bank v Unitech Limited. This case concerned a claim for more than $150m under loan and interest rate swap agreements and included interesting arguments on the effect of the LIBOR scandal on the enforceability of the various contractual documents. Nicola was led by John Brisby QC and Alastair Tomson.
  • Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG v JP Morgan. This case concerned 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.
  • Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc [2011] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 123. This case concerned a misrepresentation claim in connection with a syndicated loan to Enron. The case was listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 10 cases of 2010. 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.

Cases of note include:

  • 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.
  • Excalibur Ventures LLC v Gulf Keystone Petroleum Limited & Ors [2013] EWHC 2767 (Comm); [2013] EWHC 4278 (Comm). The dispute concerned rights to oil concessions in Iraqi Kurdistan claimed to be worth $1.65 billion. The case was listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases for 2012 and the judgment of Christopher Clarke LJ described the litigation as “gargantuan in scope, involving a five month trial and 373 trial bundles. But it was based on no sound foundation in fact or law and it has met with a resounding, indeed catastrophic, defeat.” Nicola acted for Gulf Keystone and was led by Jonathan Gaisman QC and Richard Waller QC of 7 King’s Bench Walk, and Harry Matovu QC of Brick Court Chambers.
  • Tullow Uganda Limited v Heritage Oil & Gas Limited and Heritage Oil plc; Heritage Oil & Gas Limited v The Government of the Republic of Uganda. This matter involved concurrent Commercial Court and arbitration proceedings concerning an alleged tax liability for a $1.35bn oil transaction in Uganda. Nicola was led by Ian Glick of One Essex Court.
Chancery: commercial

Nicola is as likely to act in cases before the Chancery Division as the Commercial Court. Her experience in commercial chancery cases encompasses cases including questions of company law, trust law, insolvency, contract and tort.

Commercial chancery cases of note include:

  • 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.
  • Michel v Michel. An unfair prejudice claim involving a family company.
  • MF Global UK Limited v MF Global UK Services Limited [2016] Ch 325, [2016] EWCA Civ 569, [2016] Pens LR 225. This case concerned establishing which group company was liable for a deficit in a defined benefit pension scheme following the insolvency of the MF Global group. Nicola was led by George Bompas QC.
  • Centenary Holdings III v Constant, Bloch, Vivendi and PwC. This case concerned a claim arising out of a financial assistance transaction for breach of duty by directors and auditors. Nicola was led by Robert Miles QC and Richard Hill.
  • Izodia Plc v Vandyk & Ors. This case concerned a claim against a former director and associated companies for negligence, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of a property transaction. Nicola was led by David Chivers QC of Erskine Chambers.
  • Fattal v Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd [2010] EWHC 2767 (Ch), [2010] EWHC 3049 (Ch). This case concerned proceedings in which two of five trusts claimed to be entitled to exercise rights of pre-emption under a joint venture agreement in relation to another trust’s interest in 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 regularly appears in the High Court and county courts in corporate insolvency and personal bankruptcy matters. Nicola has particular experience of private examinations and regularly acts in large insolvencies in Bermuda as highlighted in the “Offshore litigation” section below.

Cases of note include:

  • In the matter of George’s Bay Limited. Nicola is currently 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. The matter has included numerous private examinations. Nicola is 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.
  • MF Global UK Limited v MF Global UK Services Limited [2016] Ch 325, [2016] EWCA Civ 569, [2016] Pens LR 225. This case concerned establishing which group company was liable for a deficit in a defined benefit pension scheme following the insolvency of the MF Global group. Nicola was led by George Bompas QC.
  • Patel v Langtons. This case concerned an application by a liquidator for a private examination of the insolvent company’s accountant.
  • Gate Gourmet v Morby. This case concerned a detailed consideration of the rules on the jurisdiction of the English bankruptcy court and the rules on service of a bankruptcy petition.
  • Kreissparkasse Biberach v Dr Jozsa. This case concerned challenging a bankruptcy order made by the English court in respect of a German national, it being alleged that the bankrupt had partaken in so called “bankruptcy tourism”.
  • Levy v Emery. This case concerned an action by a liquidator to recover funds on the basis that they had been paid away in contravention of s. 238 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (transaction at an undervalue).
  • Ailyan and Tate v Golesworthy. This case concerned the private examination of a bankrupt’s wife.
Offshore litigation

Nicola accepts instructions in relation to offshore litigation in all areas of her practice, with a particular speciality in insolvency proceedings in Bermuda.

Nicola’s recent offshore experience includes:

  • 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 is led by Andrew Clutterbuck QC.
  • In the matter of George’s Bay Limited. Nicola is currently 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 is 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.
  • Winlock Investment Limited. 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.

Additional info

Career & appointments
  • 1998-1999 Second Lieutenant, 12th Regiment Royal Artillery (Short Service Limited Commission), Sennelager, Germany
  • 2004-2005 Researcher, Hague Conference on Private International Law (working on the then draft Convention on Choice of Court Agreements)
  • 2005-2008 Trainee and Associate in the dispute resolution department, Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • 2005 Recording Secretary to the Diplomatic Conference of the Hague Conference on Private International Law negotiating the final version of the Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (on secondment from Baker & McKenzie)
  • 2007 Judicial Assistant to the Court of Appeal (on secondment from Baker & McKenzie LLP)
Publications
  • “Freezing injunctions and instructive litigation”, Fraud Intelligence, January and February 2008 (co-authored with Andrew Keltie).
  • “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).
Education & awards
  • 1998 AQA award for the highest A level Economics mark in the country
  • 2002 BA, Emmanuel College, Cambridge (Porter Scholarship, College Prize)
  • 2003 LLM, Emmanuel College, Cambridge (Rodwell Prize)
  • 2004 LPC, Nottingham Law School
  • 2007 Admitted as a solicitor
Languages

French