Geoffrey Zelin


Year of Call 1984



General Profile


Geoffrey Zelin has built a broad-based practice encompassing all aspects of commercial litigation and traditional chancery law. He is particularly in demand for company law and corporate insolvency cases, often appearing against silks.  For example in STEWART FORD v POLYMER VISION LTD (2009) [2009] EWHC 945 (Ch) [2009] 2 BCLC 160 he acted for the claimant on successful application for a declaration as to the validity of a debenture where the issues were whether the directors who had approved the grant of the debenture and the debenture holder had acted in good faith and within the scope of their powers in circumstances where the board was split. The company had sought to block the claim by appointing administrators under another debenture which was held to have been invalid.


In the matter of LCM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD [2013] EWHC 3957 (Ch) Geoffrey  successfully acted for the respondents in an unfair prejudice petition where the defence relied on bad leaver provisions in shareholder agreement and articles. The petitioner was alleging unfair exclusion, the respondents alleged serious breach of duty / conflicts of interest against the petitioner.


Geoffrey also practices in the area of corporate insolvency (including directors’ disqualification) and bankruptcy accepts instructions in connection with the enforcement of bank securities such as mortgages and guarantees, in property disputes and in professional negligence claims involving solicitors, accountants and surveyors. Notable recent cases in these areas include RE HENNELLY’S UTILITIES [2004] EWHC 34 (Ch), a leading case on the grant of permission to act as a director following disqualification and  acting for the bank in BANK OF INDIA v RIAT [2014] EWHC 1775 (Ch) a guarantee claim where the defendant alleged misrepresentation and economic duress and for the claimant in ORIENTFIELD HOLDINGS LTD v BID & BIRD LLP [2015] EWHC 1963 (Ch) (solicitor’s negligence). In EAST MIDLANDS PACKAGING LTD  (2013 unrep) Geoffrey succeeded in obtaining a retrospective administration order after the company had moved into liquidation, and in JSC BTA BANK v ABLYAZOV AND OTHERS Geoffrey acted for two defendants against whom the bank was claiming ownership of a London property.


In addition to his effective advocacy and litigation skills, law firms and clients nationwide rely on Geoffrey’s advice in a wide variety of property, corporate partnership and commercial matters. Adaptive, versatile “immense experience and superb intellect” (Chambers and Partners, 2017) “He brings intellectual rigour and is a pleasure to work with”(Chambers and Partners, 2017) and is “commercial, practical and realistic” (Chambers and Partners, 2016) he is “meticulous in his attention to detail” ” and “as good on his feet as he is on paper.” (Chambers and Partners, 2016) Recognized as "a very creative thinker, who is very clever, works hard and really takes ownership of the case." (Chambers and Partners, 2015), Geoffrey enjoys instructions that allow him to think holistically, join the dots and create new possibilities for clients. “He is a formidable counsel one would want on one's side." (Chambers & Partners 2016)

 

Reported Cases

These are a small sample of Geoffrey’s work

 

ORIENTFIELD HOLDINGS LTD v BIRD & BIRD LLP (2015) [2015] EWHC 1963 (Ch) Geoffrey is acting for the claimant in this solicitors’ negligence case arising out of failure to advise the client as to the results of a Plansearch report which should have alerted the solicitor to the existence of a planned major development in the neighbourhood. The purchaser pulled out when she found out about the development a few days before the completion date. This was a high value claim. The purchase price was £25,750,000. Bird & Bird were held liable for around £2m and Geoffrey is acting in the pending appeal There had been separate related proceedings for fraudulent misrepresentation against the sellers which had settled on the day of the trial.

 

LSI 2013 LTD v SOLAR PANEL CO (UK) LTD (2014) [2014] EWHC 248 (Ch) Geoffrey acted for the company in this important case which established that where an alleged debt was genuinely disputed on substantial grounds the alleged creditor could not petition to wind up on the basis that it was a contingent creditor.

 

IN THE MATTER OF LCM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD sub nom MOXON v LITCHFIELD (2013) [2013] EWHC 4759 (Ch) Company Law and procedure – this decision considered whether a trial should be adjourned or whether there should be a split trial on liability issues in an unfair prejudice petition.

 

SUTHERLAND PROFESSIONAL FUNDING LTD v (1) BAKEWELLS (A FIRM) (2) MARK CADELL COLLINS (3) MARTIN GERARD JINKS (4) ANDREW ROBERT MURFIN (2013) [2013] EWHC 2685 (QB) Litigation funding. Geoffrey represented a firm of solicitors in defence of a claim by litigation funders. The issue was whether the agreements created a secondary surety obligation to repay money lent to clients to fund PI claims or whether the solicitors had undertaken a primary obligation. There were also issues as to whether, if the solicitors were liable, any Consumer Credit Act defences would have been available to the clients and if so whether and to what extent the solicitors could rely on them.

 

SUTHERLAND PROFESSIONAL FUNDING LTD (Claimant) v (1) BAKEWELLS (A FIRM) (2) MARK CADELL COLLINS (3) MARTIN GERARD JINKS (4) ANDREW ROBERT MURFIN (Defendant/Part 20 Claimants) & CHARTIS INSURANCE (UK) LTD (Third Party) & ROYAL & SUN ALLIANCE INSURANCE PLC (Fourth Party) (2011) [2011] EWHC 2658 (QB) In this part of the litigation the firm was seeking an indemnity from its PI insurers on the basis that the loans would ordinarily have been repaid out of ATE, but the ATE policy had not paid out due to the negligence of a former partner. The issue was whether this fell within the general indemnity against liabilities arising out of negligence or within the exclusion for trade debts.

 

RE GLATT (2012) [2012] EWHC 2015 (Admin) Geoffrey acted for Louis Glatt, a solicitor who had been convicted of money laundering. A confiscation order had been made against him under which a receiver had been appointed. The confiscation order was later set aside. This application related to whether the receiver was entitled to his costs and expenses incurred after the orders had been set aside out of the receivership assets

 

LOUIS GLATT v HEATH SINCLAIR (2011) [2011] EWCA Civ 1317, [2012] BPIR 306 Geoffrey successfully acting for Glatt in his appeal against the refusal of permission to bring a claim for breach of duty against the Receiver arising out of a sale of property at an alleged undervalue. The case deals with the duties of a receiver appointed under the Administration of Justice Act and POCA and whether it was sufficient for the Receiver simply to rely on a valuation.

 

ANGLO CONTINENTAL EDUCATIONAL GROUP (GB) LTD v ASN CAPITAL INVESTMENTS LTD (FORMERLY) CAPITAL HOMES (SOUTHERN) LTD (2010) [2010] EWHC 2649 (Ch) Acting for the Claimant on the trial of factual issues arising out of an earlier determination of the construction of an overage provision in the sale of development land.

 

 

Notable Cases

These are a small sample of Geoffrey’s work


A £7m dispute about whether a development agreement has been frustrated.


A claim for $5m raising issues arising out of the effect of an abortive rescue plan under Indian banking law relating to the borrower’s holding company.


$10m claim against a borrower and guarantors.


DE PUY HIP REPLACEMENT LITIGATION – Geoffrey is advising the defendants in connection with applications in England in aid of claims in the USA arising out of the sale of allegedly defective hip implants


TANNHAUSER LTD – shareholder dispute about price payable for shares under pre-emption provisions.


CASSIDY v DWINNELL – Geoffrey acted for the defendant in family dispute concerning beneficial interests in property.


DEWAR HOGAN v BADRICK – Geoffrey successfully acted at trial on claim for solicitors fees, and now acting for the solicitors on the forthcoming appeal.


OAKWOOD PROPERTIES v ISMAIL Geoffrey successfully represented fashion designer Ashley Isham in a dispute over the ownership of a London property.
Geoffrey is acting for the husband and his sister in a substantial divorce. At issue is the beneficial ownership of a £3m London house held in the sister’s name.

 

 
Areas of Emphasis

 

Company Law

All areas of contentious company law, including:
Shareholder disputes
Enforcement of directors’ duties
Share sale and business sale agreements

 

 

Insolvency

Winding up, administrations, receiverships
Bankruptcy
Misfeasance, preferences etc
Directors’ disqualification
Debentures and charges
Retention of title
Tracing and asset recovery

 

 

Partnerships

All aspects of partnership law

 

 

Banking and Securities

Mortgages
Guarantees

 

 

Professional Negligence

Claims involving solicitors, surveyors, valuers and accountants

 

 

Commercial

Contract disputes
Franchising

 

 

Property Law

Conveyancing problems
Land charges and land registration
Easements and restrictive covenants
Mortgages
Landlord and tenant

 

 

The Directories

 

Geoffrey is recognised as a Leading Junior in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Company, Insolvency and Property by Legal 500, 2016

"He is good in court and the judges really like him. He's thorough, hard-working and good with clients."

(Chambers & Partners 2018)

 

‘He sees the wood from the trees and is an excellent advocate.’
(Legal 500 2017)
 
‘He is knowledgeable, sensible and helpful.’
(Legal 500 2017)
  
‘He quietly gets to grips with a myriad of issues, and is knowledgeable and sensible.’
(Legal 500 2017)
  
‘Recommended for property-related negligence cases.’
(Legal 500 2017)

 

“An excellent advocate , who is pragmatic, commercial and easy to work with.”
(Legal 500, 2016)

“Commercially minded and highly rated”
(Legal 500, 2016)

“A commanding presence in court”

(Legal 500, 2016)

“He has wide-ranging experience”

(Legal 500, 2016)

 

"He rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in”
(Chambers & Partners 2016)

 

”He is meticulous in his attention to detail”
(Chambers & Partners 2016)

 

“Commercial, practical and realistic”
(Chambers & Partners 2016)

 

“As good on his feet as he is on paper.”
(Chambers & Partners 2016)

 

“He is a formidable counsel one would want on one's side."
(Chambers & Partners 2016)

 

“An excellent brain and a good advocate”

(Legal 500 2015)


“An excellent counsel with a tremendous eye for detail, and his interpersonal skills with clients are first class”

(Legal 500 2015)

 

“He has a robust approach and is tactically astute”
(Legal 500 2015)

 

"A very creative thinker, who is very clever, works hard and really takes ownership of the case."

(Chambers UK 2015)

 

"A very pleasing advocate, who does a very effective job."

(Chambers UK 2015)

 

“He has a very relaxed advocacy style, which endears him to the presiding judge.”

(Legal 500 2014)

 

“His calm and collected manner inspires confidence.”

(Legal 500 2014)

 

Stands out for "his ability to work in a team, and his awareness of the commercial sensitivities of each matter"

(Legal 500, 2013)

 

The "tactically astute" Geoffrey Zelin has "an excellent brain" which allows him to "quickly see the wood from the trees"

(Legal 500, 2013)

 

The "utterly reliable" Geoffrey Zelin has "first-class oratorical gifts" and is an "outstanding leader of the Chancery Bar"

(Legal 500, 2012)

 

"One of the outstanding juniors of the Chancery Bar" Geoffrey Zelin "has proven himself to be a top-class performer against  QC's"

(Legal 500, 2012)

 

He "has an excellent courtroom manner and displays outstanding breadth of knowledge when it comes to legal principles" say commentators.

(Chambers & Partners 2012)

 

Geoffrey Zelin, who is "always reliable and meticulous in his attention to detail."  He combines "impressive advocacy with an ability to grasp the subject matter well."  

(Chambers & Partners 2012)


Geoffrey Zelin is "a first class Chancery counsel" and "robust in his approach." 

(Legal 500, 2011)

 

 The "fast, accurate, practical and realistic" Geoffrey Zelin is also "extremely good with detail, and good with clients."

(Legal 500, 2011)

 

 

Articles / Publications 

 

Subsidiaries' Exemption From Audit. More Trouble Than It's Worth? Published: December 2013 edition, Journal of International Banking and Finance Law.

 

 

Career & Associations

 

St John’s College, Cambridge, MA Law

Called to the Bar 1984

Member of the Chancery Bar Association

Member of the Property Bar Association

 

Relevant Experience

 

Regular speaker at seminars on insolvency and company related topics

 

 

Privacy notice


Geoffrey collects, uses and is responsible for your personal information collected during the course of providing legal services as a barrister. He is the data controller in respect of this information for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation.


The members of Enterprise Chambers have a privacy policy which sets out what information they obtain about you, why and how they use it.  This policy also sets out your rights.  Members also have a data retention policy which sets out how long they keep information for and why.


You can download copies of these policies here: (1) privacy policy (2) data retention policy .  Hard copies are available on request by contacting any branch of Enterprise Chambers.