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Justina  Stewart

Justina Stewart

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Justina Stewart is a commercial and chancery barrister, with a particular focus on banking, financial services, regulatory, company, insolvency, civil fraud and business crime, and related professional negligence.

Justina is ranked as a Leading Junior in Banking and Finance and Insolvency, with comments including “[i]ncredibly impressive and a force to be reckoned with”, “a highly intelligent and tenacious litigator, she is also far more financially literate than most barristers”, and with “a very good commercial application”.

Justina’s cases include those with multi-jurisdictional elements, and matters which are notable for their complexity and novelty. She has extensive advocacy experience, and has appeared unled in significant matters.

Before coming to the Bar, Justina was an international investment banker, working with top-ranked corporate finance teams on complex transactions, predominantly in the oil & gas, electricity, banking, IT and telecoms sectors.

This, together with her economics degrees, gives Justina a level of financial acumen and familiarity with financial products that is rare at the Bar.

Justina is appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown.

Banking and Financial Services

Justina’s background in banking means that she is particularly well qualified to deal with banking and financial services matters.  Her work falls broadly into two categories: disputes arising from the purchase and supply of services and products, and regulatory and enforcement matters.  She has been involved in numerous high-profile and innovative banking and financial services cases.

Examples of cases:

ECU Group Plc v HSBC Bank Plc & ors (Comm) (2019) – 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. Allegations include breach of contractual/tortious duties, breach of duty in relation to confidential information, deceit and unlawful means conspiracy.

Client confidential (2019) – proposed collective proceedings in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, founded on Commission Decisions concerning forex exchange cartels – headline figure £1bln. Advised on novel issues relating to proposed class/quantum.

Re: Markets Trading Ltd (ChD) (2019) – company offered online brokerage services to retail investors for high risk financial products (e.g. bitcoin CFDs and binary options). Instructed by Secretary of State to wind up company on public interest grounds.

IG Index Ltd v Nakade (QBD) (2019) – spread-betting – claim by IG Index for sums allegedly due from retail investor following the Swiss National Bank’s announcement that it would no longer defend a cap on the Swiss Franc.  Involves detailed analysis of COBS and approach to aggregation of orders.

Client confidential (2018) – action against lender seeking to recover sums allegedly charged over property.  Issues relating to interpretation of UK transposition of Mortgage Credit Directive in relation to second charge mortgages.

Client confidential (2018) – client (company) sought to restructure property portfolio and refinance existing fixed rate loan.  Bank alleged that if company wished to refinance early, a significant (multi-million £) break cost had to be paid.  Issues relating to justification of break costs – involved issues of contractual interpretation in the context of complex hedging arrangements.

Barnett Waddington Trustees (1980) Ltd v Royal Bank of Scotland [2017] EWHC 834 (Ch) – instructed by borrower.  Following the borrower’s success in the first Barnet Waddington case (see below), RBS sought to allege that an “interest rate swap termination cost” arose upon redemption by reason of a swap with a third party.  Borrower successfully argued that it was entitled to resist this claim on the basis that it was an abuse of process (led by Mark Warwick QC).

Barnett Waddington Trustees (1980) Ltd v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc [2015] EWHC 2435 (Ch) – instructed by the borrower, in a case concerning a borrower’s liability to indemnify a lender against ‘losses’ said to have been suffered by the lender as a result of an internal hedging arrangement. Borrower wished to redeem the loan. Lender insisted that, as a condition of redemption, borrower had to pay an ‘interest rate swap termination cost’ arising from an internal swap. Warren J determined that no such sum was payable (led by Mark Warwick QC).

Client confidential – 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.

FCA / GRG – instructed by FCA in relation to its review, under s.166 FSMA, of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s treatment of business customers in financial difficulties and entry into RBS’s Global Restructuring Group.

FCA / HSBC / interest rate swap mis-selling / consequential losses – Instructed by HSBC in relation to the FCA’s review, under s.166 FSMA, of interest rate swap mis-selling, specifically on the recoverability of consequential losses claimed.

 

 

Civil Fraud and Business Crime

Civil fraud and associated causes of action (e.g. conspiracy, dishonest assistance); civil and regulatory investigations; market abuse and insider dealing, bribery and corruption, sanctions violations, tax fraud; freezing, search and disclosure orders; receivership orders; committal proceedings; detangling complex asset protection schemes; judgment enforcement and asset recovery; monetisation of judgments and arbitral awards; cross-border, multi-jurisdictional and domestic.

Justina’s cross-disciplinary expertise in related areas enables her to offer all-round advice and representation in the areas of civil fraud and business crime.

Examples of cases:

Intelsat v Luxembourg Space Telecommunications SA (Comm) (2019)Acted for defendant, which was 100% owned by major Chinese conglomerate. Claim for unpaid fees.  Context was telecoms services provided to Nicaragua Police Force via claimant’s satellite, alleged inability by defendant to pay fees as defendant’s bank (a Chinese bank) declined to do so due to alleged breach of US trade sanctions (North Korea).  Freezing injunction obtained in Luxembourg. Insolvency issues.

Client confidential – claim for over £110m. Allegation of MTIC frauds. Claims based on dishonest assistance in breach of trust, and under s.213 IA 1986 (knowing participation in fraudulent trading).

Alberto Micalizzi v FCA UKUT 0335 (TCC) (Upper Tribunal Tax & Chancery Chamber) – Micalizzi, the former CEO of a hedge fund, sought to conceal massive losses following the collapse of Lehmans by deliberately misrepresenting the fund’s value and entering into agreements with third parties to acquire units in purported convertible bonds issued by a Nevada based company and backed by Russian diesel oil.

Abbar & Anr v Sedco Real Estate Ltd, Saudi Economic & Development Company (Sedco) Ltd & Ors [2013] EWHC 1414 (Ch) – a contractual and misrepresentation claim relating to the “Pinnacle” development (formerly the Bishopsgate Tower), a share subscription in a development company, and subsequent inability of a subscriber to exit from his investment.

Yorkshire Building Society v Salter (HQ13X05838) – a claim to recover sums allegedly fraudulently withdrawn by a bank employee. Involved detailed analysis of over one hundred banking transactions for period of c.19 years.  Successful on summary judgment.

(1) Rosork Holdings Ltd (2) Fairlann Trading Ltd v (1) Silver (2) Jenkins (HC13E01128) – satellite action related to complex and protracted proceedings in Chancery Division (fraud, breach of duty and secret profits claim) and QBD (libel action). Security for costs application that resulted in the end of the action against the defendants.

Tchenguiz v Director of the Serious Fraud Office – claim by the Tchenguiz brothers following their investigation and arrest by the SFO in the wake of the collapse of Kaupthing. Instructed by the SFO.

Commercial & Chancery

In addition to her expertise in banking and financial services, Justina has experience in broad commercial and chancery matters in a variety of sectors.  This experience includes commercial contract disputes, company and partnership law, joint ventures, and insolvency and property matters.  Her cases frequently involve questions of conflicts of law and cross-border and multi-jurisdictional issues.

Examples of cases: 

General commercial

Ecology Support Services Ltd v Ivin & others (QBD) (2018)claims of ca.£23m against 29 individuals across five proceedings.  Claim for recovery of sums lent pursuant to tax mitigation scheme.

Intelsat v Luxembourg Space Telecommunications SA (Comm) (2019)Acted for defendant, which was 100% owned by major Chinese conglomerate. Claim for unpaid fees.  Context was telecoms services provided to Nicaragua Police Force via claimant’s satellite, alleged inability by defendant to pay fees as defendant’s bank (a Chinese bank) declined to do so due to US trade sanctions (North Korea).  Freezing injunction obtained in Luxembourg. Insolvency issues.

AGT Ltd v La Fenice & another (QBD) (2018/2019) – debt claim relating to construction project in Abu Dhabi, allegations of bribery and illegality.

Client confidential (2018/2019) – claim for damages in excess of US$20m in relation to alleged breaches of distribution agreement.

Instasol LLC v EM Digital & ors (QBD) (2018/2019) – claim relating to Indian defence procurement contract of hundreds of millions of US$.  Involved network of international companies, question of existence of joint venture and allegation of misrepresentation.

Company & Partnership

Shareholders’ disputes (derivative and unfair prejudice claims), directors’ duties, Companies House matters (rectification of register, restoration to register), maintenance of capital, distributions and own share buybacks, partnership disputes (including LLP law), shareholder agreements, share purchase agreements, directors’ disqualification.

Examples of cases:

Client confidential (2019) – 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.

Client confidential (2019) – significant (multi-million £) s.994 petition, alleged unfair prejudice arising from share dilution in context of several companies.

Michel v (1) Michel (2) Michel (3) L Kahn Manufacturing Company Ltd (ChD) (2018) – acted for successful respondents in a substantial, hard-fought shareholder dispute involving numerous allegations of unfair prejudice spanning many years.

Client confidential (arbitration) – 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 – T v (1) V (2) W (3) A [2017] EWHC 565 (Comm).

Franks v (1) Franks (2) Michaelson Properties Ltd (CR-2015-009740) and Franks v (1) Franks (2) FWEL Ltd (CR-2015-009740) – linked cases. Unfair prejudice petition in relation to two family-owned companies with collective value of ca.£6-7m. Instructed by petitioner. Key issue was how to resolve the dispute in a tax efficient manner.

Client confidential (arbitration) –  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.

Insolvency

Winding up and bankruptcy petitions (including public interest winding up), administration, receivership, transactions at an undervalue, preferences, transactions defrauding creditors, officeholders’ duties, injunctions to restrain presentation/advertisement of petitions, setting aside statutory demands, validation orders, offshore and cross-border.

Examples of cases:

Re Drinks Enterprises Ltd (2019)Claim by liquidators for £23m in relation to alleged MTIC fraud.  Application under s.235-6 IA 1986.

Re: Grabal Alok (UK) Ltd (in liquidation) (2018-2019) – instructed by liquidators in relation to validation order applications following demise of retail chain.

Client confidential (2018-2019) – instructed by trustees in bankruptcy. Individual made bankrupt following his use of tax mitigation scheme which failed.  Claim for declarations that a trust was a sham, its creation was a transaction at an undervalue and/or defrauding creditors, and that payment to various individuals (non-bankrupt) were similarly transactions at undervalues and defrauding creditors.  Issues regarding asset tracing in international context.

Re: Railbookers (ChD) (2018/2019) – claim by liquidators against director for ca.£8m, for alleged wrongful trading, breaches of directors’ duties, preferential payments (s.212, 214, 239 IA 1986).

Client confidential (2019) – instructed by liquidators on actions against directors in relation to Employer Funded Retirement Benefits Schemes (s.212, 238, 423 IA 1986).

Client confidential (2018) – 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.

Trans-Tag Ltd v Burnell (ChD) – application for injunction to restrain winding-up petition, alleging cross-claim of over £100 m based on extensive breaches of directors’ duties. Also instructed in parallel proceedings involving allegations of breach of licence agreement.

Client confidential – claim against liquidators pursuant to s.212 IA 1986 for over £20m, in relation to agreement entered into (allegedly negligently) with company’s landlord in relation to a significant London property.

Toone and Murphy (Joint Liquidators of B Frankle & Sons Ltd), B Frankle & Sons Ltd (in creditors’ voluntary liquidation) v Frankle & ors (CR-2016-000474) – liquidators’ claim for over £4m, alleging breach of directors’ duties, that a share purchase scheme was implemented with the purpose of defrauding creditors within the meaning of s.423 IA 1986, sale of property to a director at an undervalue, and that the share purchase was void as it was not made in accordance with provisions of the CA 2006 (led by Ian Clarke QC).

Re: Natural Wealth Consultants Ltd, Proctor Capital Limited, Land Security Management Ltd (No.2188, 2189, 2190 of 2012) – advised on public interest petition, allegations of land banking in context of complicated network of companies.

Property

All aspects of disputes relating to property: from claims involving mortgages, security and subrogation, trusts and equitable claims (including proprietary estoppel), real property (e.g. restrictive covenants, easements), development disputes, vendor-purchaser disputes to land registration.  Often in the context of broader commercial chancery disputes with a property aspect (e.g. joint ventures, property fraud, insolvency).

Examples of cases:

Lucas v Gatward and another (ChD) (2018-2019) – claim including allegations relating to proprietary estoppel and constructive trust, in relation to substantial (multi-million £) property.

Sunny Trio Ltd v Freedman (2018-2019) – allegations of misrepresentations on property information form in relation to rights to light.

Client confidential (2017-2018) – advised a commercial investor on whether the terms of a transfer prevented access, and if so, what steps should be taken to protect the client’s interests.

Singh v (1) Singh (2) Barclays Bank Plc (3) Prestige Finance Ltd (2017-2018) – claimant asserted among other things a beneficial interest in the property and rectification of the register, due to alleged fraudulent misrepresentation, undue influence and non est factum.

Bouchiba v Turner (No.2015/0583) (Property Chamber Land Registration First-Tier Tribunal) – cohabitation dispute. Claimant alleged an interest in property by reason of a constructive trust, alternatively proprietary estoppel, despite the fact that she was not a registered proprietor (joint or otherwise) of the title.

Re: Hussain’s Application (LP/23/2014) – application to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) pursuant to s.84 LPA 1925 to modify restrictive covenants, so as to enable an extension to existing property located on a scheme of development.

Montrose Property Company Ltd v Jennings Court Estate Ltd (No.2014/0231) (Property Tribunal First-Tier Tribunal) – acted for respondent in relation to application to cancel unilateral notice. Involved showing that applicant did not have benefit of interest affecting the property, but that, if it did, interpreting a sale agreement in the respondent’s favour, alternatively showing that the sale agreement was validly rescinded.

Brian Meehan Limited v Powell (HC13F05008) – rectification of a lease so as to exclude the security provisions of 1954 Act.

Cooper v Ayres (3EA00150) – questions of enforceability of restrictive covenant (including whether a scheme of development exists) and appropriate circumstances in which court should grant injunctive relief.

Beaufort Children LLP v Jenkins – instructed by the landlord, the owner of a prime Chelsea block of flats, seeking to redevelop the block. Tenant, 90 years old, claimed that she occupied one of the flats pursuant to a Regulated Tenancy. Involved extensive argument on decades of landlord and tenant law.

Stannard (t/a Wyvern Tyres) v Gore [2012] EWCA Civ 1248 – seminal case in which the Court of Appeal considered the rule in Rylands v Fletcher as it applies to escape of fire.

Client confidential – advised developer on enforceability of restrictive covenants in anticipation of major residential development in Central London, including upon potential Wrotham Park damages.

Professional Negligence

Justina has wide experience in professional negligence cases, particularly in relation to solicitors, accountants, financial services advisers and managers, insolvency practitioners, and valuers.

Examples of cases:

Client confidential (2019) – claim in professional negligence against accountants in relation to advice given in connection with sale of controlling company shareholding.

Client confidential (2019) – claim by personal representatives/trustees/beneficiaries under a will for negligent tax advice in relation to offshore bonds.

R&M Electrical & others v Grant Thornton UK LLP (ChD) (2018) – acted for claimant in professional negligence claim in relation to advice provided in relation to a Growth Securities Ownership Plan (GSOP), a tax mitigation scheme.

Shepherd v Byrne & Partners LLP [2017] EWHC 758 (Ch) – professional negligence claim against a firm of solicitors for tax advice on disclosure to HMRC of undeclared offshore income (led by Hugh Jackson).

Client confidential – claim for over £50m against a big four accountancy firm for negligent tax advice relating to a tax deferral scheme.

Client confidential – claim for c.£10m against surveyor in relation to the valuation of a substantial London commercial property.

Lucas v Notable Services LLP (HC-2015-000862) – claim in excess of £3.5m in professional negligence 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.

Lucas v Sillet Webb Solicitors (HC-2015-000731) – claim in excess of £800,000 in professional negligence relating to services provided in connection with a Part 20 Claim made in the context of a complex and protracted fraud case in the High Court, Group Seven Limited & another v Allied Investment Corporation Limited and others.

Appointments & Memberships

  • Lincoln’s Inn
  • COMBAR
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Commercial Lawyers Fraud Association
  • Financial Services Lawyers Association
  • R3
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

Education

• LLB (First Class)
• BVC (Outstanding, first in year group)
• GDL (Distinction)
• M.Phil (Economics) (Oxford)
• BSc.Econ (LSE)

Awards

  • Cassel Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Sunley Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Buchanan Prize (Lincoln’s Inn)

Languages

  • French (Fair)
  • Polish (Fair)

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.

Areas of Law


Testimonials


“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

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