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DAVID LASCELLES

 

Specialising as an advocate and adviser in commercial disputes, David is a tenacious fighter in court and negotiations. He provides his clients with clear and practical advice.

David’s practice covers the full breadth of commercial work with a particular emphasis on: claims relating to the performance and termination of high-value commercial contracts; claims arising out of the sale of shares and businesses; shareholder and LLP membership disputes; commercial fraud disputes; and director and senior employee disputes.

In addition to his extensive trial and interim applications experience, including in jurisdiction disputes, David has acted in arbitrations including under the ICC and LCIA rules.  

Chambers and Partners Guide to the Bar recommends David as one of the leading juniors at the Commercial bar.  

The 2014 Edition of Chambers notes that David "regularly handles complex briefs as sole counsel” and "has an excellent grasp of legal issues, is incredibly diligent and has good client skills. Definitely someone you want on your team."  

The 2013 Edition records that David is "highly impressive… with excellent analytical skillsand "a brilliant young advocate who inspires confidence with his exemplary client manner and comprehensive and commercial advice.”  

As a result of highly positive market feedback, David was also recently featured by Legal Week in an article on 10 junior stars at the Bar which praised his "track-record in acting for businesses, senior managers and directors on subjects ranging from commercial fraud and shareholder disputes to urgent business-related injunctions.   

Prior to coming to the Bar, David read law at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. He took a Double First from Cambridge, in each year obtaining the highest grades in his college (Peterhouse) and winning scholarships from his college and the University. David next took a Masters in Law from Oxford as a scholar of the national Arts and Humanities Research Board (BCL, 2002, Brasenose College). He was then awarded a major scholarship by Lincoln’s Inn to study for the Bar (BVC, Inns of Court School of Law, 2003).

Brief details of David’s experience are set out in the tabs below. Further details are contained within his downloadable CV.

 

    Commercial Contract Disputes

David advises domestic and international clients on their rights and obligations under commercial contracts. He regularly acts in: claims relating to distribution, franchise and joint venture agreements; commercial sale and hire of goods disputes; and commission claims.  He also represents companies and high net-worth individuals in disputes arising from investments and securities including guarantees. His cases frequently involve issues relating to the English Court’s jurisdiction. Examples include David representing:

  • High net worth investor in a multi-jurisdictional dispute arising from the sale of Somerfield plc and the collapse of Kaupthing Bank. Successes in this litigation over £130million have included obtaining a £2.8million summary judgment on one claim; resisting a £72million summary judgment application by another party; obtaining permission (upheld by Court of Appeal) to bring conspiracy claims against Kaupthing Bank despite the latter’s prior insolvency – Isis v Investec (on-going; led by Charles Samek QC);
  • Nuffield Health in defending multi-million pound claims arising from a failed joint venture with a laser and cosmetic surgery provider. David succeeded in having the proceedings struck out just prior to the adjourned trial coming on for hearing - SLC v Nuffield Health;
  • Mercedes-Benz in a claim for a declaration that it validly terminated 18 dealerships - Mercedes-Benz v Derwent Vehicles;
  • International pharmaceutical company claiming injunctive relief to prevent wrongful termination of a distribution agreement – Ranbaxy v Flynn Pharma (led by Clive Freedman Q.C.);
  • Russian oligarch successfully contesting jurisdiction and defeating claim for over US$50million arising from proposed development of Italian resort – Sax v Tchernoy (led by Clive Freedman QC).

    Share & Business Sale Disputes

David is regularly instructed in share and business sale disputes including claims by vendors for failure to pay consideration and claims against vendors for breach of warranty, breaches of restrictive covenants, misrepresentation and for indemnification. He has also acted on numerous commission claims in respect of such sales. In addition David has represented clients obtaining redress for breaches of heads of terms and non-disclosure agreements.  Previous cases have included David representing:

  • the vendors of multi-national group in a £13million claim for breach of accounting and other warranties - Constructor v Delap;
  • the vendors of an engineering company in a claim in deceit in respect of the provision of financial information prior to the sale – Buffalo Evridge v Evans;
  • leading car manufacturers Daimler in a claim for non-payment of deferred consideration in respect of its purchase of a high-performance engine business - Illien & Morgan v Daimler UK PLC & Daimler AG;
  • the vendors of an alternative energy business in a €40 million share sale dispute in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal - FKI Engineering Ltd v DeWind GmbH (led by Charles Samek Q.C.);
  • the purchaser in a £1.5million claim for failure to transfer shares in gem mining company – Yarrow Foundation v Timis;
  • the bidder for a nationwide care homes business in a claim against corporate finance company for wrongfully taking co-investment opportunity for itself in breach of a non-disclosure agreement (names confidential);
  • the vendor of road-markings company in high-value commission claim arising from the share-sale - de Mendonca v Phippen.

    Shareholder & LLP Disputes

David has extensive experience of unfair prejudice petitions and derivative actions as well as claims to enforce articles of association, and shareholder and LLP agreements. Many of David’s cases involve shareholder directors or LLP members accused of breaching their contractual and fiduciary duties and his practice in this area is complemented by his substantial experience in claims brought by and against directors.

Examples include David representing:

  • a minority shareholder in a care homes group in a complex multi-million pound unfair prejudice petition against his fellow shareholders and the group’s directors.  The case settled on the first day of a 10 day trial in January 2013– Re: Gold Care Group Limited;
  • the majority shareholders in a major tourist attraction in successfully overturning an interim injunction preventing completion of a $100million share sale (led by Ian Mayes QC) - A Co v B Co & C shareholder;
  • member of an LLP claiming his expulsion from property development business was unlawful – Re: Red Lion LLP;
  • a minority shareholder bringing a second unfair prejudice petition in respect of a steel products manufacturing company – Re: Doors & Metal Structures Limited;
  • the majority shareholders of a leisure boat business in a multi-million pound unfair prejudice petition, a claim in respect of unauthorised takings and a related partnership dispute (led by Adam Solomon) – Re French Brothers Ltd;
  • the majority shareholders in a Royal Warrant holding furniture manufacturer in defending a multi-million pound unfair prejudice petition - Re K & T Partnership.

    Commercial Fraud

David frequently acts as an adviser and advocate in commercial fraud disputes including in relation to freezing orders. Examples include David representing:

  • the former MD of corporate finance company in claims for over £130million of fraud, bribery and conspiracy in relation to an alleged Ponzi scheme - KBC Lease (UK) Ltd v Total Asset Limited (led by Charles Samek QC);
  • the former partners of major regional solicitors’ firm bringing multi-million pound claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary and contractual duties, conspiracy and dishonest assistance against their former partner and his business associates - Cohen v Dennison (led by Clive Freedman QC);
  • the ex-CEO of Group operating in the former Soviet Union in several related fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims including (led by Sam Neaman) in ERT Plc v Daley where the Court of Appeal considered the scope of contractual and fiduciary duties;
  • a defendant in multi-million pound claims of conspiracy, dishonest assistance, knowing receipt and fraud in the insurance industry - Markel International Insurance v SGC & Oths (led by Robert Hildyard QC);
  • a purchaser for onward sale of 11 residential properties avoiding the contracts on the basis of the payment of a secret commission to his agent – Galliard Homes v Cassells (on-going).

 David is also the author of the forthcoming practice note on deceit and misrepresentation for the leading online know-how provider, PLC.

    Director & Senior Employee Disputes

With a particular expertise in disputes involving commercial or company law aspects, David has acted in many hotly-contested claims of breach of contract and fiduciary duty against directors and senior employees.

David has been instructed in a number of high-value bonus and wrongful dismissal disputes including where issues arise as to the forfeiture of shares. He also regularly acts in claims involving alleged unlawful competition including obtaining, and resisting, injunctions. He assisted Selwyn Bloch QC with updating the chapter on interim remedies in the latest edition of Employment Covenants and Confidential Information.

Examples of recent / significant cases include David representing:

  • the CEO of a litigation funding business in wrongful dismissal and bonus claim in obtaining judgment for over US$40million (Goodman v TIM);
  • the victorious CEO in ERT Plc v Daley where the Court of Appeal considered the scope of contractual and fiduciary duties (led by Sam Neaman);
  • leading glossy brochure publisher successfully obtaining injunctive and financial relief against former directors arising from the operation of a competing business – Publications UK Limited v Hussain;
  • the CEO of a financial institution at the Commercial Court trial and then in the Court of Appeal in one of the highest-value wrongful dismissal and bonus disputes ever litigated - Huntington v Imagine Group (led by Andrew Clarke QC);
  • a major restaurant business obtaining injunctions against directors and Michelin-starred chef preventing them competing - V Co v X (led by Stuart Ritchie QC).
Call:     2003
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