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Commercial litigation

Integrated advice for the most challenging cases.

We offer integrated, one-firm advice for the most complex cross-border commercial litigation and multijurisdictional issues.

As trusted adviser to some of the world’s leading organisations, we advise on many of the world’s largest, most complex and high-stakes litigation cases. These often have a multijurisdictional element, and their outcome has a significant impact on the future of the sectors involved.

From a single point of contact, our clients access comprehensive legal advice and guidance anywhere in the world. We offer our clients an integrated approach throughout all stages of the dispute life-cycle and our local practices all have outstanding reputations in their own markets.

We supplement them where necessary with local lawyers who are part of our StrongerTogether network of local litigation counsel.

Client successes

We not only defeated Sebastian’s entire US$8 billion counterclaim, but also obtained a judgment debt and costs award of over US$300 million ([2013] EWHC 3463 (Comm). 

These proceedings have since resulted in leading judgments on the English court’s jurisdiction to attach conditions to an appeal ([2014] EWCA Civ 1100) and in making one of the largest ever non-party costs orders ([2016] EWCA Civ 23).

The Bank was then granted a CPR Part 71 Order, entitling it to cross-examine Mr Vik about Sebastian’s means of paying the judgment debt. The Bank intends to apply for a suspended committal order against Mr Vik for giving untruthful evidence and failing to provide full disclosure of documents and information in that context. In March 2017, the High Court handed down an important new judgment ([2017] EWHC 459 (Comm)), finding that the “special circumstances” existed to grant DBAG permission to serve its application for committal by alternative means.

We have also been assisting the Bank in enforcing the judgment debt against specific assets of Sebastian both in this jurisdiction and abroad, including:

  • in Norway, in proceedings aimed at enforcing against all of the shares in a Norwegian company, which Mr Vik had first caused to be transferred from Sebastian to himself, and then to his father. The Oslo Enforcement, Bankruptcy and Probate Court handed down judgment in December 2016 dismissing Mr Vik’s father’s complaint, upholding an execution lien in the Bank’s favour over the shares and awarding the Bank all of its costs claimed; and
  • in England and Wales, by means of the Bank’s successful application, in February 2017, for the appointment of receivers by way of equitable execution over interests in certain private equity partnerships which Mr Vik had caused to be transferred from Sebastian to closely connected entities. This receivership appointment was recognised by the Guernsey Court in March 2017.

A $100m lawsuit was brought by a software consultant concerning important issues of contract construction and fraud. The Court dismissed with prejudice all of plaintiff’s claims.

In January 2015, the High Court decided that Sotheby’s, representing by Freshfields, had won its battle against Lancelot William Thwaytes, the former owner of an alleged ‘Caravaggio’ painting, ‘The Cardsharps’.

Read the full case study.