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Call: 2003
David Lascelles


David is an advocate and adviser in commercial disputes.

He has extensive experience acting on claims arising in the following areas: the performance and termination of high-value commercial contracts; the sale of shares and businesses; shareholder and LLP membership; commercial fraud; and director and senior employee relations.

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

Chambers & Partners’ independent Guide to the Bar has recommended David as one of the leading barristers in both commercial dispute resolution and contentious company law for some years. In each of the last two years he has been only one of 9 juniors recommended in both fields.

The 2016 edition of Chambers & Partners describes David as "a great communicator”, "very good with clients”, "very down to earth” whose "strength is his attention to detail and commercial nous”.

In recent years, Chambers & Partners has also set out market feedback on David as being "a brilliant young advocate who inspires confidence with his exemplary client manner and comprehensive and commercial advice”, with "a massive brain and an extremely incisive way of getting to the facts and issues” as well as possessing "extremely strong analytical skills”, "very easy to deal with”, and "definitely someone you want on your team".

David is also recommended in Legal 500 as a leading barrister handling corporate disputes. The latest edition describes him as "exceptionally analytical with a great eye for detail, his memory is astonishing.”

In addition, as a result of highly positive market feedback, David was listed in a Legal Week special feature as one of 10 junior stars at the Bar.

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, winning a scholarship from 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. If you would like further details relating to particular practice areas or sectors then please contact David’s clerks.


    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 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 included: resisting a £72million summary judgment application; obtaining a £2.8million summary judgment on one claim; obtaining permission (upheld by the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court) to bring conspiracy claims against Kaupthing Bank despite the latter’s prior insolvency– Isis v Investec (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);
  • Leading press manufacturer and financiers victorious after 10 day trial relating to supply of industrial printing press and provision of associated financing - Lobster Group v (1) Heidelberg Graphic Equipment and (2) Close Asset Finance (led by Andrew Clarke QC).

    Share and 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, breach 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 breach of heads of terms and non-disclosure agreements.  Previous cases have included David representing:

  • 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.);
  • Vendors of multi-national group in a £13million claim for breach of accounting and other warranties - Constructor v Delap;
  • 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;
  • Vendors of 2 large scale recycling plants in multi-million pound claims for alleged breach of warranties in share sale agreement – Viridor Waste v Cutts & Oths;
  • 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;
  • Vendors of an engineering company in a fraud claim relating to the provision of financial information prior to the sale – Buffalo Evridge v Evans;
  • Vendors of road-markings company in high-value commission claim arising from the share-sale - de Mendonca v Phippen.

    Shareholder and LLP Disputes

David has extensive experience of unfair prejudice petitions and derivative actions as well as claims to enforce articles of association, shareholder and LLP agreements. Many of David’s cases involve shareholder directors or LLP members accused of breaching their contractual and fiduciary duties.

David is also frequently instructed in claims relating to good and bad leaver provisions in articles and shareholders agreements. His practice in this area is complemented by his substantial experience in claims brought by and against directors and employees.

Examples include David representing:

  • 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 – Re: Gold Care Group Limited;
  • 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;
  • Shareholders (including the former CEO and the former MD) of a professional services PLC in multi-million pound claims relating to mandatory transfer provisions in the shareholders’ agreements – Knott & oths v Watts PLC;
  • Member of an LLP claiming his expulsion from property development business was unlawful – Re: Red Lion LLP;
  • Minority shareholder bringing a second unfair prejudice petition in respect of a steel products manufacturing company – Re: Doors & Metal Structures Limited;
  • 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;
  • 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. Examples include David representing: 

  • 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);
  • Vendor of shares in a US$31million fraud claim including at successful summary judgment application – Arab v Merchantbridge (ongoing; led by Ali Malek QC and Stuart Ritchie QC);
  • Major US franchisor in multi-million pound claims by 7 franchisees alleging they were induced to enter franchise agreements by fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations (names confidential);
  • 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 in relation to his other secret and conflicting business interests - Cohen v Dennison (led by Clive Freedman QC);
  • CEO of group of companies 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;
  • 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;
  • Insurance broker 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).

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

    Director and 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 contractual and fiduciary duties against directors and senior employees.

David has also acted in a number of very high-value bonus and wrongful dismissal disputes including where issues arise as to the forfeiture of shares upon termination (see also shareholder disputes above).

Examples of recent / significant cases include David representing:

  • FTSE 100 company in claims by former Group Finance Director said to be worth £100million (ongoing; names confidential; led by Andrew Clarke QC);
  • CEO of a litigation funding business in wrongful dismissal and bonus claim in obtaining judgment for over US$40million (Goodman v TIM);
  • Leading publisher successfully obtaining injunctive and financial relief against former directors arising from the operation of a competing business – Publications UK Limited v Hussain;
  • 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);
  • Trader in claims against his former employer relating to rights to shares upon its floatation (ongoing; X v Glencore PLC; led by Selwyn Bloch QC);
  • CEO in ERT Plc v Daley where the Court of Appeal considered the scope of contractual and fiduciary duties (led by Sam Neaman).