Helen Pugh

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Helen specialises in general commercial litigation, contentious insolvency and company law issues, and professional negligence.

Her practice has a strong international element with an expertise in jurisdictional disputes and conflict of law issues.


Helen has a busy commercial and civil fraud practice with an increasing amount of work with a cross-border element.

Notable Commercial & Civil Fraud cases

A £5m claim by a US company against an English company with high profile and high value IP rights concerning breach of warranty, breach of fiduciary duty and the fraudulent dissipation of monies (led by Aidan Casey QC)

A multi-party fraud action said to arise out of the misappropriation of luxury cars worth c£1.5m at a prominent London hotel and their unauthorised transfer to Switzerland

Advising upon force majeure construction issues in light of Covid-19 in the context of a substantial long-lease of equipment in the Bahamas.

Baxendale-Walker v APL Management Ltd

A summary judgment matter involving a high-net worth individual concerning a £3.7m loan and issues of mistake, illegality, misrepresentation, res judicata and abuse of process. (led by Jonathan Seitler QC)

Symrise AG v Baker & McKenzie

A commercial court case concerning Mexican tax advice. (led by William Godwin QC)

An arbitration concerning the supply of commodities in South America (led by Richard Samuel)

A claim by a Jordanian company against the supplier of nanotechnology for fraudulent misrepresentation (led by James Guthrie QC)

Helen has extensive experience across the breadth of professional negligence actions including firms of solicitors, surveyors and valuers, insurance and other brokers or intermediaries, and accountants. Helen is regularly named in the Professional Negligence category of Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, and is currently ranked in the Legal 500 [2021] edition.

Notable Professional Negligence cases

A commercial court trial against a city law firm arising out of tax advice (see Symrise case above)

A claim against an accountant for overvaluing a company

A claim against a mortgage broker for misselling an interest only mortgage

A claim against conveyancing solicitors arising out of a planning permission defect

A claim against a surveyor for failing to appreciate a risk specific to property in the relevant locality

Helen has substantial experience of all aspects of company and contentious insolvency matters, including shareholder disputes, directors’ disqualification proceedings, misfeasance/breach of fiduciary duty claims, unlawful distribution claims, antecedent transaction challenges, beneficial ownership disputes and other proceedings under the Insolvency Act such as petitions, annulment applications, and applications for examinations.

Notable Company & Insolvency cases

A complex unlawful dividend and misfeasance claim against a former director of an insolvent company raising issues which include directorial responsibility where a company falls victim to a fraud

Advising in conjunction with local lawyers on winding up proceedings in the Isle of Man on the grounds of a petition debt based on an Indian arbitration award undergoing challenge in the Delhi Supreme Court

Holland v HMRC

The leading Supreme Court case on de facto directors. (led by Peter Knox QC)

A claim on behalf of a trustee-in-bankruptcy involving fraudulent misrepresentation against a bankrupt for forging transactions and concealing assets

An unfair prejudice petition arising out of an acrimonious breakdown of trust at a construction company

Advising on restrictive covenants in the context of a shareholder-employee relationship

Helen undertakes a range of financial services and banking work as part of her broad commercial practice. In addition to guarantee disputes and other contractual claims, Helen’s expertise in insolvency and civil fraud is a considerable asset in this area. She has also been instructed in a number of professional negligence cases against financial and insurance intermediaries.

Helen is regularly invited to speak on topics related to banking and finance, including Quincecare claims and cryptocurrency. She has been published on a range of topics in the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law and other leading publications. Helen is a member of Chancery Bar Association, Commercial Law Bar Association, the Professional Negligence Bar Association, Thought Leaders 4 Fraud, Insolvency, Recovery and Enforcement and the Female Fraud Forum.

Notable Banking & Finance cases

Client confidential [2021]

Advising a finance company upon the enforceability of its loan agreement and associated guarantees against husband and wife co-directors. The case raises a number of issues not atypical in cases where the debtor company is a family-run business, including questions of authority and forgery.

Zu Wittgenstein-Sayn v Zu Wittgenstein-Sayn [2021]

Acting for a high profile, high net worth individual in an action to recover a significant loan raising issues including the validity of a deed, promissory estoppel and limitation.

Client confidential [2021]

Advising a high net worth foreign national in connection with a claim against his former solicitors arising out of multi-million losses due to issues relating to deeds of priority and the registration of charges between competing lenders, and a claim against another lender and its receiver appointed under a registered charge for sale at an undervalue and other breaches.

Client confidential

Advising the former spouse of a company director upon the validity and enforceability of an all-monies guarantee provided to an institutional lender to secure her former spouse’s failing business.

Client confidential

Acting for a client in an action for breach of MCOB rules in a typical ‘interest-only’ mortgage mis-selling case.

Related updates

Helen Pugh is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

"Helen has a fantastic grasp of the intricacies of professional negligence, and an approachable and understanding demeanour which helps to build a quick rapport with clients."

Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2022

"A tenacious, confident advocate who is incredibly switched on. Clients appreciate Helen's determination, and her commitment to their case."

Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2022

"Has an enviable ability to grasp large amounts of information quickly and draft claims logically, thoroughly and with precision."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2022

"She is very bright and able."

Legal500 2019

"She is extremely able and highly regarded."

Legal500 2019

"She has excellent attention to detail and offers very good tactical advice."

Chambers and Partners 2019

"Her written advice is always well argued and thought out, and she is a persuasive advocate."

Chambers and Partners 2019

To find out more, contact Matt Sale +44 (0)20 7427 4910 or Peter Foad +44 (0)20 7427 0807 for a confidential discussion.

Our dedicated practice management team can help you identify the right barrister for your case.

  • COMBAR (Commercial Bar Association)
  • PNBA (Professional Negligence Bar Association)
  • Female Fraud Forum
  • R3 (the Association of Business Recovery Professionals)
  • Thought4Leaders FIRE Community Member 

  • Basic – conversational German and French

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