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Helen is an established commercial and insolvency junior with experience of a broad range of matters including professional negligence, company and shareholder disputes, civil fraud, and arbitration.
Helen’s practice has a significant cross-border element and she frequently works with multi-jurisdictional teams. She provides an approachable and commercial service to clients.
Helen is ranked as a leading junior in Professional Negligence and Insolvency by Legal 500 UK. Directory comments include:
- “She oozes quality, is meticulous and always engaging. She is very pragmatic and always delivers on her promises.” (Insolvency, Legal 500 2021)
- “Accessible, approachable, good written work, she is extremely able and highly regarded.”(Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2021)
Helen accepts direct access instructions.
Helen has published various articles. Recent articles include:
- Knowing receipt and the proprietary base (JIBFL 2021)
- Reflective Loss and the Applicable Law Conundrum, Journal of Banking and Finance Law (JIBFL 2020)
- Breathing Space: The Impact of a More Consensual Approach, Journal of Corporate Rescue and Insolvency (CRI 2020)
- ‘A New Tool for Minority Shareholders?’, an article on the decision in In re Core VCT plc (in liquidation) in the Journal of Corporate Rescue and Insolvency (CRI 2019)
- Unexplained Wealth Orders – Whose cash is it anyway?,the New Law Journal (NLJ 2019)
- Russian Litigation in London: a two-part series of articles the New Law Journal (NLJ 2019)
- Restoring a company to members’ voluntary liquidation with the appointment of new liquidators, Journal of Corporate Rescue and Insolvency (CRI 2019)
- A Collective Sigh of Relief: Global Corporate Ltd v Hale on Appeal, Journal of Corporate Rescue and Insolvency (CRI 2019)
- No ifs, no buts Cost pressures & solicitors’ negligence are no excuse for cutting corners, the New Law Journal (NLJ 2015)
Helen’s commercial and company law practice encompasses contractual, company and shareholder disputes, civil fraud, and arbitration.
Commercial litigation cases include:
- Instructed by the corporate alter-ego of a well-known author in a US$5m commercial agency dispute involving a breach of warranty claim, and a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud counterclaim.
- Defending a company and one of its directors against a claim for breach of various non-compete clauses in a SPA and linked consultancy agreement.
- Baxendale-Walker v APL Limited – Acting in a case involving a £3.7m loan and related security raising issues of mistake, illegality, misrepresentation, res judicata and abuse of process.
- Instructed by an individual defendant in a multi-party fraud action said to arise out of the misappropriation of luxury cars worth c.£1.5m from the Grosvenor Hotel, London and their unauthorised transfer to Switzerland.
- Acting for a company defending a claim brought by its former employment/human resources consultants for breach of contract turning on the construction and enforceability of automatic renewal clauses.
- Advising an UAE-based shipyard upon its contract for the deconstruction, decontamination and partial repair of a salvaged ship.
Company law instructions include:
- Advising two shareholders upon their entitlement to minority shareholder’s relief as a result of actions taken by the majority shareholder and director of a mid-sized construction company.
- Holland v HMRC – Acting for the sole director of a corporate director in the leading Supreme Court case on de facto directors.
- Acting for a shareholder and director on an unfair prejudice petition and counter-petition arising out of dealings in a construction company alleged to include the misappropriation of assets, the diversion of company business, and various other breaches of fiduciary duty.
Helen has extensive experience in corporate and personal insolvency matters, including misfeasance actions, antecedent transaction cases, disqualification actions and other Insolvency Act applications.
Corporate insolvency cases include:
- Acting for a director defending a £1.2m claim for breach of director’s duty and the payment of unlawful dividends made in the context of a fraud perpetrated on the company.
- Acting for a litigation funder in an action against two directors of an insolvent company who are alleged to have committed breaches of fiduciary duty and authorised the payments of preferences and TUVs.
- Sole English counsel as part of a multi-jurisdictional team advising the major shareholder in a company against which a winding up petition had been presented in the Isle of Man based upon an Indian arbitration award in excess of US$500m.
- Acting for the petitioning creditor on a highly disputed winding up petition flowing from the acrimonious breakdown of a joint venture to exploit film rights and involving allegations of fraud, re-litigation and abuse of process. Part of the Glass Slipper High Court litigation.
- Acting for the liquidator of a company in challenging the transfer and valid registration of company property in the name of the former director’s niece.
- Instructed by an out-of-jurisdiction bank upon discrete aspects of insolvency law applicable to insurance policies.
- Acting for liquidators in a claim against the company’s former director arising out of payments made pre- and post-petition to connected parties and raising issues of shadow directorship and a director’s liability for payments made post-petition.
Personal insolvency cases include:
- Acting for a creditor in a long-running dispute against a vexatious individual (and her associated companies) in the Glass Slipper litigation in relation to civil restraint and bankruptcy proceedings.
- Advising multiple individuals upon the validity of purported service of statutory demands on non-resident citizens of the UK by UAE banks.
- Instructed by a high net worth individual in relation to a statutory demand totalling in excess of £2m arising out of an alleged loan.
Helen is also regularly instructed in professional negligence cases across the full spectrum of professions. She has acted for and against surveyors and valuers, insurance and finance brokers or intermediaries, accountants, solicitors, barristers and other legal professionals.
- Symrise AG v Baker & McKenzie – Representing a German company against a City firm of solicitors arising out of inadequate tax advice relating to a multi-jurisdictional debt pushdown and tax mitigation scheme
- Acting for two individuals and a number of connected companies in an action against their former accountants arising out of a group restructure and related tax advice which the former accountants subsequently failed to implement.
- Acting for a high net-worth individual in a c£7m claim against a firm of well-known accountants for negligent advice in relation to the client’s ability to claim entrepreneur’s relief on a multi-million pound share disposal in an insurance company.
- Instructed by an off-shore deep-sea diver in a claim against his former accountants arising out of negligent advice in relation to his tax affairs.
- Acting for a company in a claim against its former solicitors based on the misappropriation of trust funds.
- Instructed by former clients of solicitors on a matter concerning the extent of the solicitors’ lien over files required for the investigation of a professional negligence claim.
Appointments & Memberships
- COMBAR (Commercial Bar Association)
- PNBA (Professional Negligence Bar Association)
- LCLCBA (London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association)
- CFLA (Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association)
- Inner Temple Bar Liaison Committee with particular responsibility for trusts.
Read Helen’s privacy notice here.
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.
Areas of Law
“She oozes quality, is meticulous and always engaging. She is very pragmatic and always delivers on her promises.”
Insolvency, Legal 500 2021
“Accessible, approachable, good written work, she is extremely able and highly regarded.”
Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2021
“She is extremely able and highly regarded… She is very bright and able.”
Legal 500 2020
“She has excellent attention to detail and offers very good tactical advice… Her written advice is always well argued and thought out, and she is a persuasive advocate. She is pleasant and knowledgeable in both travel litigation and commercial issues.”
Chambers and Partners 2019