Justina Stewart

Year of Call:
2010
Direct Access:
Yes

Justina Stewart’s practice encompasses the full range of commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on banking and financial services, civil fraud, fintech and digital assets, insolvency and international arbitration.

She is ranked in the key legal directories as a Leading Junior in several areas:

Justina is ranked as a Leading Junior in Chambers UK Bar, Chambers Global, Legal 500 and Legal 500 Middle East.

Comments in legal directories have included ‘phenomenally bright’, ‘an absolute delight to work with’, ‘a hard-hitting litigator. She is able to parachute into a dispute and turn it 180 degrees in favour of her clients’, ‘brilliant for banking litigation’, a ‘leading crypto barrister in the UK’, ‘an excellent eye for detail [who] always thinks outside the box’, ‘no matter how stressful the situation, Justina has a way of calming matters so that the focus is always on the issues at hand’, ‘impressive’, ‘strong, dynamic and commercial’, ‘great to use on difficult insolvency claims’, ‘a highly intelligent and tenacious litigator, she is also far more financially literate than most barristers’, ‘incredibly impressive and a force to be reckoned with’ and ‘a fantastic communicator’, ‘a phenomenal addition to any team when you have claims against banks’ with ‘outstanding legal acumen’, ‘proactive in moving difficult issues forward’, ‘a formidable advocate, whose oral and written advocacy are top notch’, and ‘extremely bright, responsive and a punchy advocate. She is excellent at forming a view on complex cases and is great at framing her arguments to they can be grasped by clients and the court alike. A real team player and a pleasure to work with.’

Justina’s cases frequently involve multi-jurisdictional elements and matters which are notable for their complexity and novelty.

Before coming to the Bar, Justina was an international investment banker, working with top-ranked corporate finance teams on complex transactions.  This, together with her economics degrees, gives her a level of financial acumen and familiarity with financial products that is rare at the Bar.

She has been appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown for many years, and is registered with both the DIFC (Part II registration) and ADGM Courts.

Examples of cases in which Justina has been involved are provided below.

Expertise

Justina is ranked as a Leading Junior in banking and finance and financial services regulation.

Justina’s background as an international investment banker and economist means that she can understand the more technical and mathematical aspects of financial products – a skill that is often invaluable in banking and financial services cases.  She has been involved in a range of high-profile and innovative banking and financial services cases.

She was recently instructed by a legislative authority to advise on and draft new laws of secured transactions and digital assets and consequential amendments to numerous other laws. This has involved consideration of myriad issues, from the law on relatively well-known financing methods to more exotic issues concerning financial collateral and digital assets. These ground-breaking projects required analysis of approaches, not just in England & Wales but numerous jurisdictions.

In addition, she is instructed by a legislative authority to advise on the regulatory and legal aspects of developing open banking / open finance.

Examples of cases:

  • Obex Securities and Prime Capital (Bermuda) Limited v Cowen International Limited – complex, multimillion US$ claim between two financial services companies concerning margin calls made by prime broker in context of volatile market conditions.
  •  Huobi OTC DMCC v Tabarak Investment Capital Ltd and another – a claim relating to a crypto-fraud and concerning the obligations owed by an investment bank to a seller of bitcoin. The Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts refers to this as “one of the first cryptocurrency litigation disputes in the region and one of the few reported cases anywhere in the world which addresses issues such as the safe transfer of cryptocurrency … and the obligations owed by a custodian of cryptocurrency …”.
  • Instructed by a hedge fund to advise on the realisation of security over assets concerning a suite of security documentation and assets located in numerous jurisdictions.
  • NMC Healthcare Ltd (in administration) and associated companies v Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC & others – claims concerning receivables due from insurance companies in the context of parallel ADGM and onshore UAE proceedings.
  • Punjab National Bank (International) Ltd v MBL Highway Development Co Ltd –application for summary judgment in a claim for over USD17m. Complex security documentation, questions regarding the court’s entitlement to enter judgment under Art 15 Hague Convention, the test for alternative (retrospective) service under CPR r.6.15, inconsistent dispute resolution clauses in the context of an Indian corporate insolvency resolution process.
  • Significant claim against a guarantor for alleged default under an ISDA Master Agreement in relation to FX trades in the context of allegations of significant regulatory breaches and fraud.
  • Instructed by administrators in connection with the enforceability of a litigation funding agreement, its interpretation in relation to tax liability, potential liability for breach of duty in connection with entry into the agreement and distribution of proceeds of settlement.
  • A claim concerning the alleged default of €9m under an ISDA Master Agreement in the context of complex FX derivatives and complaints to the FCA and Spanish regulator.
  • Parallel civil and criminal proceedings against directors of a company providing FX trading “educational” courses, FX “signals”, copy trading and referrals to brokers.
  • Professional negligence claim for ca. £65m against a firm of solicitors, concerning the drafting of guarantee and security documents.
  • ECU Group Plc v HSBC Bank Plc & ors – allegations of “front-running” and misreporting of execution prices concerning foreign exchange “stop-loss” orders of ECU, a provider of multi-currency debt management services. Claims for damages and/or an account of profits.
  • Cases involving the recoverability of break costs in the context of fixed rate loans, including both of the seminal decisions in Barnett Waddington Trustees (1980) Ltd v RBS (led by Mark Warwick KC).
  • Claim in excess of £20m by fund of funds against investment manager and broker in relation to LME metals trading. Included allegations of conspiracy and dishonest assistance.

Justina’s practice spans all aspects of civil fraud claims, including:

  • applications for freezing and disclosure orders as well as ancillary orders such as committal applications; acting in trials involving allegations of fraud and dishonesty; asset recovery and tracing claims;
  • recognition and enforcement of judgments.

Chambers & Partners note her significant expertise in cryptocurrency fraud matters and that she is well versed in crypto cross-border disputes.

Examples of cases:

  • Numerous cross-border, multi-jurisdictional crypto frauds, including some of the most high-profile cases.
  • Case arising from the well-known NMC-related fraud concerning complex jurisdictional and tracing issues.
  • Huobi OTC DMCC v Tabarak Investment Capital Ltd and another – a claim relating to a crypto-fraud and concerning the obligations owed by an investment bank to a seller of bitcoin. The Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts refers to this as “one of the first cryptocurrency litigation disputes in the region and one of the few reported cases anywhere in the world which addresses issues such as the safe transfer of cryptocurrency … and the obligations owed by a custodian of cryptocurrency …”.
  • Cessfin Ventures LLC and anr v Ghaith Hamel Khadem Al Ghaith Al Qubaisi – application for a worldwide freezing order arising from attempts to enforce a final arbitration award in a New York seated ICC arbitration and a parallel claim in New York. Allegations of contempt.
  • Guangdong Shirong Zhaoye Co Ltd & anr v Leong – application for freezing orders, in the context of proceedings in the Superior Court of the State of California alleging that the defendants were part of a conspiracy to misappropriate substantial funds and transfer these from China, by way of payments under sham contracts.
  • Re: London Capital & Finance plc and London Oil & Gas Ltd – high-profile claim involving allegations against former directors of fraudulent trading, breach of duties owed as directors, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
  • FCA v Micallizi – instructed by the FCA in relation to a massive hedge-fund fraud, involving the largest penalty of its kind at the time.
  • AGT Ltd v La Fenice & another – claim relating to construction project in Abu Dhabi, allegations of bribery and illegality.
  • Claim in excess of £20m by fund of funds against investment manager and broker in relation to LME metals trading. Included allegations of conspiracy and dishonest assistance.
  • Instasol LLC v EM Digital & ors – claim relating to Indian defence procurement contract of hundreds of millions of USD. Involved network of international companies, question of existence of joint venture and allegation of misrepresentation.
  • Claim for over £110m – allegation of MTIC frauds, with claims based on dishonest assistance in breach of trust, and under s.213 IA 1986 (knowing participation in fraudulent trading).
  • Tchenguiz v SFO – instructed by the SFO in a claim by the Tchenguiz brothers following their investigation and arrest by the SFO in the wake of the collapse of Kaupthing.

Justina is ranked as a Leading Junior in Commercial Dispute Resolution (Chambers & Partners, UK Bar & Global), Commercial Litigation (Legal 500), as well as related practice areas.

Specific examples of her cases can be found on her CV, categorised within the following specialisms:

  • Banking & Financial Services;
  • Civil Fraud & Asset Recovery;
  • Company, Joint Venture & Partnership;
  • Fintech;
  • Insolvency & Restructuring;
  • Interim Injunctions & Freezing Orders;
  • International Arbitration;
  • Professional Negligence.

Examples of Company, Joint Venture & Partnership cases:

  • Claim for over £700m involving allegations of breach of duties owed as de facto/shadow director and fiduciary duties owed pursuant to a partnership agreement.
  • Claim for over USD60m arising from alleged breaches of a partnership agreement relating to the establishment of a family office.
  • Re: London Capital & Finance plc and London Oil & Gas Ltd – high-profile claim by administrators involving allegations against former directors of fraudulent trading, breach of duties owed as directors, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
  • Claims by joint administrators for c.£20m for breach of directors’ duties and under s.238 Insolvency Act 1986, arising from a waiver given by a company in relation to significant obligations owed under a loan agreement.
  • Advising a shareholder and director of a blockchain company in relation to an alleged sham loan agreement and inflated company valuation facilitating an unlawful distribution, contrary to Companies Act 2006.
  • Michel v Michel – a significant shareholder dispute resulting in the award of indemnity costs for Justina’s clients.
  • Trans-Tag Ltd v Burnell – application for injunction to restrain winding-up petition, alleging cross-claim of over £100m based on extensive breaches of directors’ duties. Also instructed in parallel proceedings involving allegations of breach of licence agreement.
  • Re: Natural Wealth Consultants Ltd, Proctor Capital Limited, Land Security Management Ltd – public interest petition, allegations of land banking in context of complicated network of companies.
  • Advising a private equity investor on a potential purchase of shares in a holding company and specifically on whether steps taken in relation to a complex reorganisation of the group were effective, whether dividends were lawful and what steps should be taken to protect the client’s position in event of purchase.
  • Instructed by former partner of accountancy partnership. Allegations of unlawful expulsion from partnership, breach of equitable duties, misrepresentation and non est factum. Included application to remove arbitrator pursuant to s.24 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Instructed by former managing partner of solicitors’ partnership – claim that former co-partners reopened accounts when they were not entitled to do so, thus causing former managing partner loss on retirement.

Justina has a thriving national and international Fintech and Digital Assets practice.

She is ranked in Tier 1 (Crypto and Blockchain Assets) by Legal 500 and  in Band 1 (Cryptoassets) by Chambers & Partners (Cryptoassets), and is described as a “leading crypto barrister in the UK”.

She was shortlisted by Legal 500 as the Technology, Data and Crypto Junior of the Year 2023.

The legal directories note her significant expertise in cryptocurrency fraud, cross-border matters.

Her work includes:

  • providing regulatory advice in relation to novel products or services; acting for parties in the context of partnership/JV disputes concerning businesses involving in blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies, cryptoassets, smart contracts and open banking.
  • representing clients on all aspects of crypto-related frauds, including:
    • freezing injunctions, and asset preservation, Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust orders;
    • at trial;
    • in relation to tracing and enforcement;
  • advising legislative bodies on digital assets, smart contracts, API and open finance.

Examples of instructions:

  • Huobi OTC DMCC v Tabarak Investment Capital Ltd and another – a claim relating to a crypto-fraud and concerning the obligations owed by an investment bank to a seller of bitcoin. The Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts refers to this as “one of the first cryptocurrency litigation disputes in the region and one of the few reported cases anywhere in the world which addresses issues such as the safe transfer of cryptocurrency … and the obligations owed by a custodian of cryptocurrency …”.
  • Numerous cross-border, multi-jurisdictional frauds, including some of the most high-profile cases.
  • Advising a legislative authority on regulatory matters concerning digital assets, smart contracts, API and open finance.
  • Advising a shareholder and director of a blockchain company in relation to an alleged sham loan agreement and inflated company valuation facilitating an unlawful distribution.

 

Justina is ranked as a Leading Junior in insolvency.

Justina’s insolvency/restructuring practice spans all areas of corporate and personal insolvency.  She is instructed by creditors, debtors, companies and office-holders, and is particularly experienced in antecedent transactions.

Her appointment to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown has involved frequent instruction by HMRC, the Secretary of State and the Insolvency Service on insolvency-related matters.

Examples of Insolvency and Restructuring cases include:

  • Re: London Capital & Finance plc and London Oil & Gas Ltd – high-profile claim by administrators involving allegations against former directors of fraudulent trading, breach of duties owed as directors, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
  • Claims by joint administrators for c.£20m for breach of directors’ duties and under s.238 Insolvency Act 1986, arising from an alleged waiver given by a company in relation to significant obligations owed under a loan agreement.
  • Clark v Finneran – a claim by a trustee in bankruptcy pursuant to ss.284, 339, 340 and 423 Insolvency Act 1986, and further involving offshore family trust and allegations of sham declarations of trusts.
  • Advising a shareholder and director of a blockchain company in relation to an alleged sham loan agreement and inflated company valuation facilitating an unlawful distribution and rendering the company insolvent.
  • Bilta UK Ltd (in liquidation) & ors v (1) RBS plc (2) Mercuria Energy Europe Trading Ltd – an offshoot of the important Bilta v Jetivia litigation.
  • Centenary 6 Ltd v (1) Caven (2) Mawer (Joint Liquidators of Centenary Holdings III Ltd (in liquidation) – application for payment of over £22m by liquidators.
  • Re Grabal Alok (UK) Ltd t/a Store Twenty One (in liquidation) – acted for the liquidators following the high profile demise of a retail chain.
  • Re Drinks Enterprises Ltd (in CVL) – applications in relation to alleged £23 million MTIC fraud.
  • Re: Railbookers – claim by liquidators against director for ca.£8m, for alleged wrongful trading, breaches of directors’ duties, preferential payments (s.212, 214, 239 Insolvency Act 1986).
  • Claim against former director and shareholder pursuant to s.216-7 Insolvency Act 1986 (prohibited names/phoenix companies), in context of potential criminal liability under s.393 and s.414 CA 2006.
  • Advising on whether a lender was entitled to rely on subrogation in order to appoint LPA receiver and if so, how the proceeds of sale should be distributed.

Justina is regularly instructed in relation to applications for interim injunctions, freezing orders and disclosure orders, as well as ancillary orders such as committal applications for non-compliance.

See further, Justina’s Civil Fraud & Asset Recovery section.

Justina acts under a variety of institutional arbitration rules including ICC, LCIA, DIAC and UNCITRAL and in ad hoc rules in a variety of seats and is also experienced in arbitration-related court applications.  Her work frequently involves a cross-border element, in particular relating to the MENA region.

Justina has wide experience in Professional Negligence cases, including in relation to solicitors, accountants, financial services advisers and managers, insolvency practitioners, and valuers.

Examples of cases:

  • Claim for ca. £65m against a firm of solicitors, concerning the drafting of guarantee and security documents.
  • A claim for ca. £4m against a firm of solicitors by personal representatives/trustees/beneficiaries under a will for negligent tax advice in relation to offshore bonds.
  • Flanagan v Lincoln-Lewis & anr – claim against executor of an estate, involving novel questions related to limitation.
  • Shepherd v Byrne & Partners LLP – claim against a firm of solicitors for tax advice on disclosure to HMRC of undeclared offshore income (led by Hugh Jackson).
  • Lucas v Notable Services LLP – claim in excess of £3.5m against solicitors for alleged losses arising from alleged breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the SRA Account Rules 2011 and breach of duty owed to in making statements relating to the same.
  • Various cases involving allegations of negligence against accountants and solicitors concerning tax mitigation schemes (e.g. GSOPs, EFRBSs).

Related updates

Justina Stewart 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.

"Strong intellectual capabilities which translate well into pragmatic and commercial advice. She demonstrates a dexterity not often seen in barristers."

Middle East: The English Bar, Commercial, Legal 500 EMEA 2024

"Justina combines vast investment banking experience with top notch advocacy skills. Empathetic and easy to work with, she gets up to speed very quickly."; "Justina has an excellent eye for detail and always thinks outside the box."; "Justina provides straight and robust advice."

Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers & Partners 2024

"Justina produces very good written product and assured advocacy."; "Justina Stewart knows the technical side of things and is also robust in her advice."; "She's really bright, gets to the nub of the problem really quickly and is not shy about giving advice on what to do next."

Banking & Finance, Chambers & Partners 2024

"She is excellent, very knowledgeable with a real interest in the area. A good communicator as well."; "A leading crypto barrister in the UK."

Cryptoassets, Chambers & Partners 2024

'Justina is extremely bright, responsive and a punchy advocate. She is excellent at forming a view on complex cases and is great at framing her arguments to they can be grasped by clients and the court alike. A real team player and a pleasure to work with.

Middle East- Commercial, Legal 500, 2024

‘Justina delivers exceptional advice in a no-nonsense, pragmatic and digestible way. She is passionate about the work that she does, the law and advocating for her clients.’

Insolvency, Legal 500, 2024

‘Justina is a formidable advocate, whose oral and written advocacy are top notch.’

Commercial Litigation, Legal 500, 2024

'Very knowledgeable, clear understanding of client needs, proactive in moving difficult issues forward.'

Banking & Finance, Legal 500, 2024

“Justina is personable, responsive and someone with a forensic attention to detail.”

Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers and Partners 2023

“She is an expert on financial and banking matters, and gives very clear and succinct advice.”

Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers and Partners 2023

“Justina displays an impressive ability to grasp the technical details of a case.”

Cryptoassets, Chambers and Partners 2023

“Justina is very responsive and helpful.”

Cryptoassets, Chambers and Partners 2023

"Justina is a hard-hitting litigator. She is able to parachute into a dispute and turn it 180 degrees in favour of her clients."

Middle East - Commercial, Legal 500 2023

"Justina is a strong insolvency lawyer who has the benefit of a non-insolvency background and so can bring a different perspective to cases."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2023

"Justina has a laser like focus on the important issues in any case and is able to whittle away the inevitable fluff, which is often important to the client but clouds the main issues, in a way that is pragmatic and tactful leaving the client feeling they are in safe hands."

Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2023

"Extremely user friendly, technically strong and commercial astute. Particularly strong in banking due to her career as a former banker. One of thgo to senior juniors for banking work. Also a persuasive advocate and good for difficult cases."

Banking and Finance, Legal 500 2023

"A true expert in the financial regulation space. She is also extremely user friendly and attacks difficult cases with relish, whilst giving sensible and measured advice"

Financial Services Regulation, Legal 500 2023

“Justina is a hard-hitting litigator. She is able to parachute into a dispute and turn it 180 degrees in favour of her clients”.

Legal 500 Middle East

“Justina is a phenomenal addition to any team when you have claims against banks, given her outstanding legal acumen and previous career as an investment banker”.

Chambers Global & Chambers UK Bar 2022

"Phenomenally bright, commercial in a way that most barristers would not dare, and an absolute delight to work with, there is no on the fence with Justina there is an opinion and an answer, usually in very short order"

Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2022

"Impressive. She is thoughtful and considered, her advice is measured and she comes with bright ideas."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2022

"Brilliant for banking litigation with a background in finance before being called to the bar. She is exactly who you want in the corner when you have a case with tricky technical banking aspects."

Banking and Finance, Legal 500 2022

"No matter how stressful the situation, Justina has a way of calming matters so that the focus is always on the issues at hand. Her grasp of financial markets matters, aided by her first-hand experience of working in an investment bank, is hugely helpful in getting to the kernel of the matter."

Financial Services Regulation, Legal 500 2022

"Extremely bright, enthusiastic and commercial & she produces excellent written work and is able to both empathise with clients whilst providing well considered independent advice."

Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2021

"Strong, dynamic and commercial. Shes a force and great to use on difficult insolvency claims."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2021

"A highly intelligent and tenacious litigator, she is also far more financially literate than most barristers."

Banking and Finance, Legal 500 2020

"Incredibly impressive and a force to be reckoned with."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2020

"A pleasure to work with. She has a great grasp of the detail and strikes a good commercial and pragmatic balance in her advice… the fine details and the quality of her work make her a real asset to any team."

Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers and Partners 2021

"Justina is brilliant. She is sensible, calm and organised as well as being really personable and a fantastic communicator."

Banking and Finance, Legal 500 2021

To find out more,  email Lexie Johnson or call + 44 (0) 207 427 0801.

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

Justina Stewart

  • French (Fair)
  • Polish (Fair)

  • Justina Stewart, Lucian Ilie, Anson Cheung and Hanif Virji, ‘Credit Suisse, AT1 bonds and taking the BIT between the teeth’, May 2023, JIBFL
  • Co-author, ‘Joint Response of the Commercial Bar Association and the Chancery Bar Association to the Law Commission’s Consultation on Digital Assets’, November 2023
  • Justina Stewart and Joshua Cainer, ‘The Law Commission’s ‘Digital Assets: Consultation Paper’ – Key Themes’, September 2022
  • Justina Stewart, Hanif Virji and Chloë Bell, ‘LIBOR transition: ISDA Protocol first mover disadvantage and other international perspectives’, January 2021, JIBFL
  • Andrew Spink KC, Justina Stewart and Saaman Pourghadiri, ‘CIGA 2000 – The Moratorium – are all defined benefit pension scheme contributions exempt from the payment holiday?’, October 2020
  • John McKendrick QC, Justina Stewart and Chloë Bell, ‘Announcement of plans for synthetic LIBOR: panacea or pandora’s box?’ (September 2020), JIBFL
  • Andrew Spink KC and Justina Stewart, ‘A deep dive into the moratorium – a lender’s perspective’, September 2020

  • BVC (Outstanding, first in year group)
  • GDL (Distinction)
  • M.Phil (Economics) (Oxford)
  • BSc.Econ (LSE)
  • Cassel Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Sunley Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Buchanan Prize (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • LLB (First Class)

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