In court this week: battling banks; Linklaters’ injunction; and VW emissions litigation

As far as hearings to kick off a week go, Linklaters‘ injunction hearing against former global head of business development and marketing Frank Mellish is a juicy way to start.

The Lawyer broke the news that the magic circle firm had gained a temporary injunction against Mellish’s threat of publishing documents he said would expose “the ongoing struggle [the firm] has with women in the workplace”.

Mr Justice Warby granted the injunction which expires today (11 February) and this hearing will now determine whether the 11 documents Mellish claims to possess are free for publication.

Linklaters, possibly led by global head of disputes Michael Bennett according to court documents, has instructed One Brick Court’s Andrew Caldecott QC and Aidan Eardley, though Mellish is unrepresented. To this point, he has not appeared in any hearings and it remains unclear whether he will be in attendance today.

While Linklaters is actively involved in its own case, magic circle rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer will be watching the outcome of another closely.

Do you remember the VW emissions scandal that rocked the manufacturer in 2015? Those defeat devices that tricked emissions tests worked a treat until the German business was caught red-handed. VW is one of – if not the – biggest billing clients at Freshfields and it could be called on sooner rather than later if a UK claim starts.

In September, German proceedings kicked off in earnest as investors sought £8.2bn in damages, claiming VW should have come clean over this whole mess sooner.

The speculation about whether a UK matter will get underway has been rife since the whole scandal kicked off. This week, we could be closer to seeing where this will go.

Two claimant firms are now battling each other to decide who has the right to bring a class-action on behalf of thousands of VW owners.

Consumer litigation firm Your Lawyers Ltd secured an injunction against Harcus Sinclair in September. The latter agreed not to act for any clients other than those Your Lawyers had secured. The High Court found that HS breached that agreement. Harcus Sinclair was given a lifeline when the High Court agreed to its right to appeal as that original contract did not extend to limited companies.

This three-day Court of Appeal hearing kicks off on Tuesday 12 February. Harcus Sinclair partner Damon Parker is leads for his firm, instructing Essex Court’s David Foxton QC, and 7KBW’s Jawdat Khurshid QC and Josephine Higgs. Fountain Court’s Richard Coleman QC and Philip Ahlquist are led by Your Lawyers director Aman Johal.

A Linklaters-heavy week sees the firm representing long-standing client The Bank of New York Mellon (BNYM) in a bitterly fought piece of litigation against the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK). Unsurprisingly, relations between the banks have been frosty ever since the BNYM froze $23bn worth of assets held by its Kazakhstani counterpart.

A Court of Appeal judgment handed down in June by Lord Justices Patten, Hamblen and Flaux unanimously dismissed NBK’s appeal against the freezing order which won’t have thawed relations.

The Commercial Court will now hear a case management conference to decide where the £530m currently being held by BNYM should rest. A Swedish arbitral award granted the US bank the sum which is now understood to be held in London. Moldovan businessman Anatolie Stati is owed the sum for a handful of oil and gas projects his businesses undertook.

Linklaters partner Tom Lidstrom is acting for BNYM, instructing Fountain Court Chambers’ Richard Handyside and Rupert Allen, while Stewarts partner Fiona Gillett has instructed 3 Verulam Buildings’ Ali Malek QC, David Quest QC and William Edwards for NBK.

Finally, the Supreme Court will host Irwin Mitchell, RPC and barristers from four sets as a family look to reclaim funds they claim to have been swindled out of, thanks to a phony property scheme.

It is alleged that the family suffered heavy financial losses after investing in Positive Solutions Ltd after being introduced to the scheme by an acquaintance. To raise the money for their investment, the family mortgaged their house. Allegedly poor financial management led to the money being lost by an intermediary who then went bankrupt after the deal collapsed.

The case now looks to decide who is at fault; the intermediary who lost the funds or the business which could be considered vicariously liable?

The Frederick family has turned to Irwin Mitchell partner Jonathan Sachs who has instructed Wilberforce Chambers’ Joanna Smith QC and James McCreath, and 42 Bedford Row’s Edward Bennion-Pedley. RPC senior associates David Allinson and Lucy Joyce are acting for Positive Solutions, instructing Crown Office Chambers’ Roger ter Haar QC and Hailsham Chambers’ Simon Howarth.

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