Simon Johnson


Year of Call 2000



General Profile


Simon Johnson is ranked as a leading individual in company and partnership disputes and insolvency

 

"He is excellent at everything and should be a silk already" (Legal 500, 2017)

 

"Outstanding at getting to the crux of an issue without wasting time on peripheral issues" (Legal 500, 2017)

 

“An outstanding Chancery barrister who is a QC and High Court judge in the making” (Legal 500 2016)

 

“A great  court presence; he is tenacious yet always has a very pleasant manner about him” (Legal 500 2016)


Very efficient and user-friendly.” (Legal 500 2015)

 

“He has an ability to digest a complex set of facts extremely quickly and provide clear and relevant advice.” (Legal 500 2014)

 

Clients praise him as “very resourceful.  (Legal 500 2013)

 

Simon is a commercial chancery barrister with specialist expertise in business disputes, company and partnership law and insolvency. Many of his cases involve allegations of breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty and other equitable obligations. He is an experienced trial advocate commended for his cross-examination skills. He appears mainly (but not solely) in the Chancery Division and Commercial Court. He has appeared  in the Court of Appeal, both in his own right and with a leader.


Simon’s commercial work ranges over contractual, company, LLP and shareholder disputes of all kinds. He has particular experience of the complex issues arising from failed investments in residential property overseas. He is junior counsel for the majority of claimants in the Giambrone litigation (claims against negligent solicitors raising the measure of compensation for breach of trust and SAAMCO issues) and the hundreds of claimants in the Alpha Panareti litigation (claims against a Cypriot bank and property developer giving rise to jurisdiction disputes involving consumer status and alleged rights in rem).


Simon advises and represents officeholders, debtors, and creditors across the full range of corporate and personal insolvency processes. He has extensive experience of cross-border insolvency, flowing from his role as junior counsel to the administrators in the landmark T&N/ Federal Mogul administrations. He has undertaken numerous applications under the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations. He has advised defendants to high profile claims brought by offshore liquidators.


Simon worked as a barrister and senior associate in the Advocacy Group of Dentons from 2002 to 2008. Together with his work on T&N, he was junior counsel for the owners in the Solitaire arbitration, the longest-running arbitration in English legal history due to its immense complexity. He built up experience of a huge variety of legal issues ranging from oil and gas disputes and banking business transfer schemes, to drafting trust documents for Islamic finance products and a personal injury compensation trust (the T&N UK Asbestos Trust).


CVs for specific areas of practice can be provided. The cases referred to below are a selection of Simon’s work.

 

Notable Cases

 

Commercial law, company and partnership law

To date: Representing household name claimants in a multi-million pound claim against a service-provider for breach of contract and restitutionary damages arising from overcharging under two services agreements.


Various claimants v. Giambrone Law & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1193: Successfully defeated appeal on the proper measure of compensation for breach of trust, the wide nature of the negligent solictors’ duty of care in tort following SAAMCO and Hughes-Holland v. BPE, and the duty to seek informed consent before disbursing client funds under the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules. Led by Zia Bhaloo QC.


Escuris SA v. John Lake Shellfish Ltd [2017]: Represented the claimant in a claim for damages arising from the termination of a contract for the supply of tinned cockles; defended a counterclaim of £9.5 million for business interruption damages.


Smith Medical International Ltd & Anor v. Hansraj Nayyar Medical India [2014] EWHC (Comm): Represented the applicant in a jurisdiction dispute concerning the scope of jurisdiction agreements in a chain of commercial agreements. Leggatt J described Simon’s submissions as presented with "great skill".


Elek v Bar-Tur [2013] EWHC 207 (Ch); [2013] 2 EGLR 159; [2013] 8 EG 107; and in the Court of Appeal [2013] EWCA Civ 1774: Represented the successful defendants who defeated a claim for restitutionary compensation arising from the termination of a joint venture agreement. Ryder LJ described Simon’s submissions as "objectively incontrovertible".


Barclay-Watt & Ors v. Alpha Panareti Public Limited & Ors, To date and [2012] EWHC (Comm): Represented the successful claimants who defeated a ground-breaking jurisdiction application regarding alleged rights in rem in foreign land and consumer status. Led in 2012 by Peter Arden QC. Currently working on these and other aspects led by Andrew Henshaw QC and Stephen Kenny QC.


Burdale Financial Limited v. Agilo Masterfund Limited [2008] EWHC 1103 (Ch): Represented the successful claimants in proceedings for declarations that a vulture fund was not entitled to accelerate the repayment of loans. Led by Antony Zacaroli QC.


British Gas Trading Limited v. Perenco UK Ltd and Hess Limited [2006] EWHC 233 (Comm) and in the Court of Appeal [2006] EWCA Civ 900, [2006] 2 CLC 57: Represented the defendants who successfully resisted a claim challenging the lawful termination of gas dilapidation contracts with a value of hundreds of millions of pounds. Led by Laurence Rabinowitz QC.


The Solitaire Arbitration [2003 to 2005]: Represented the owners in their defence of the builder’s counterclaims for delay and variations with a value of (Sing) $230 million. Led by Nick Dennys QC and Andrew Goddard QC.

 

Insolvency


Re Chesterton International Limited & Ors [2017] EWHC (Ch): Represented the liquidators of the Chesterton estate agency companies in applications for Berkeley Applegate relief and directions regarding the proper treatment of company property and trust property worth millions of pounds.


[2016] Advising the PI insurers of an accountancy practice on the proposed settlement of a multi-million pound claim issued by liquidators in an offshore jurisdiction.


[2016] Advising a defendant in a multi-million pound claim issued by liquidators in an offshore jurisdiction for breach of director’s duties and breach of fiduciary duty.


[2016] Advising an English accountancy practice on its response to proceedings in the Delaware bankruptcy court for orders compelling the disclosure of information and documents pertaining to a US subsidiary.


Alexander-Theodotou v. Michael Kyprianou & Co LLC [2016] EWHC 1493 (Ch); [2016] BPIR 1114: Represented the successful applicant in setting aside a statutory demand where the debt arose from the alleged liability of a solicitor to pay the fees of foreign counsel. Led by Andrew Henshaw QC.


Ryan v. Tiuta International Limited (in CVA) [2015] BPIR 123: Represented the successful applicant in setting aside a multi-million pound statutory demand issued against him in his capacity as member of an LLP on the grounds that the waiver of cross-claims in a deed of surrender was void for economic duress.


Winterhill Asset Limited v. Catfoss Finance Limited [2015] EWHC (Ch): Represented the liquidator of an engineering company in a three-way dispute, successfully compromised during trial, about the extent of Berkeley Applegate relief and alleged personal liability for conversion.


In re Skycat Group Limited [2007] EWHC 3116 (Ch): Represented the successful applicants in a heavily contested application for an administration order with deadlock at board and shareholder level of the company.

In re Metronet BCV Ltd (PPP Administration) [2007] EWHC 2697 (Ch); [2008] Bus LR 823; [2008] 2 All ER 75: Represented creditors in a multi-party application to determine rights of veto over a transfer scheme in a special administration regime. Led by Antony Zacaroli QC.

In re Rajapakse [2007] BPIR 99; [2008] BPIR 283: Represented the successful applicants in the first London High Court application under the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations 2006.

In re T&N [2005] EWHC 2990 (Ch); [2006] 1 WLR 1792: Represented the administrators in an application to determine the value of US tort claims and the law applying to the quantification of damages. Led by Richard Snowden QC and Peter Arden QC.

In re Piacentini [2003] EWHC 113 (Admin); [2003] QB 1497; [2003] 3 WLR 354: Represented the successful applicant in a dispute over liability to income tax and CGT in receiverships under the CJA 1988.

 

Trusts and equitable obligations


Wilkinson & Ors v. North & Ors [2016] EWHC 1242 (Ch): Represented the successful claimants at the trial of an equitable tracing claim regarding trust property misapplied in breach of a trust arising in a commercial context.


Erlam & Ors v. Rahman & Anor [2016] EWHC 111 (Ch); [2016] BPIR 856; [2016] P&CR DG5: Represented the successful claimants at the trial of a claim proving that the disgraced former mayor of Tower Hamlets was the true beneficial owner of a freehold property; a trust deed purporting to show a constructive trust in favour of the wife was a sham.


Walsh v. Shanahan & Ors [2013] EWCA Civ 411; [2013] 2 P&CR DG7: Represented the appellants at first instance and in an appeal which establishes that the court retains a discretion to refuse an account of profits for breach of the equitable duty of confidence, even in the fiduciary context. Led on these aspects by Geraldine Andrews QC.


Walsh v. Shanahan & Ors [2013] EWCA Civ 675; [2013] 5 Costs LO 738: Represented the appellants in an appeal concerning the operation of Part 36 offers.

 

Publications

 

Simon co-edits chapter 46 of Gore-Browne on Companies (Restructuring). He has published numerous articles with the annual Gore-Brown Special Release and PLC on insolvency and company law topics and with the Journal of International Finance & Banking on the reform of insolvency law in Saudi Arabia. Details are available from the clerks.

 

 

Career & Associations

 

MA (Oxon) in Modern History, University College, Oxford: leading Double First

 

Scholar of University College, Oxford, 1995 to 1997


Queen Mother’s Major Scholarship and Hardwicke Entrance Exhibition, Middle Temple, 1998 to 2000


Diploma in Law (City University – Commendation); BVC (Inns of Court School of Law – Very Competent)


Barrister and Senior Associate in the Advocacy Group of Dentons, 2002 to 2008


Fluent in Spanish and literate in French

 

 

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