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Watson Pringle

Call 2005

wpringle@maitlandchambers.com

Watson specialises in commercial and civil fraud litigation with an emphasis on cases involving asset tracing, jurisdiction disputes and conflicts of laws.

He is an experienced junior in large, multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation, having been junior Counsel for the Family Defendants in BerezovskyAbramovich, and for the Claimants in Gudavadze v Anisimov. He has since been involved in further large-scale disputes in England and the BVI involving former-CIS litigants.

As sole Counsel he is experienced in both trial and application advocacy in the High Court and Court of Appeal. He is regularly instructed to obtain pre-action and interlocutory remedies in fraud litigation, for example freezing orders and orders under the Norwich Pharmacal jurisdiction.

He is ranked in Chambers UK and Chambers Global and was highly recommended in Legal Week’s ‘Stars of the Bar 2014’. Watson is shortlised for 'Chancery - Junior of the Year' in the 2016 Chambers UK Bar Awards.

Civil Fraud

Watson is particularly effective in fraud cases, and is experienced in both obtaining and resisting the full range of pre-action and interlocutory remedies that typically arise, including freezing injunctions and orders under the Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust jurisdictions.  He has worked alongside criminal investigations, and with IT and accounting experts, to locate stolen assets. He is experienced and effective in cross-examination, a skill that he honed during his early practice in frequent multi-day trials in the county courts.

Commercial Litigation

Watson was junior Counsel for the Family Defendants, led by Jonathan Adkin QC, in BerezovskyAbramovich, and acted for the same clients in their multi-billion dollar claim against Vasily Anisimov (Gudavadze & orsAnisimov). Those cases have regularly involved him in issues of disclosure, privilege, conflicts of laws, forensic accountancy and foreign law experts. He is at home in both the Commercial Court and Chancery Division, and is familiar with the technology involved in modern commercial trials, including online trial bundles and disclosure databases, the e-disclosure protocol and simultaneous interpretation.

He has a particular interest in jurisdictional and private international law disputes, and is currently instructed in Blue Tropic & anr v Chkhartishvili, a case that has involved a dispute as to the ‘reflexive’ application of the Brussels I regulation to a case involving BVI companies and issues as to the recognition of foreign judgments. He has recently written articles and been invited to deliver seminars and a live webinar on the subject of the new Brussels Regulation Recast.

Insolvency

Watson is regularly instructed in insolvency disputes that involve allegations of fraud or jurisdictional issues.

He has acted in private examinations and claims involving transactions at an undervalue, wrongful trading, misfeasance, and phoenix companies. He enjoys cases involving forensic accounting analysis, and is said by Chambers UK 2015 to be “extremely hard-working, has a fantastic eye for the detail and can ferret out the critical points in a case”.

In relation to cross-border insolvency disputes, he has acted in a trial concerning the centre of main interests of a German bankrupt, and has also been involved in litigation as to whether a debtor has “carried on a business” in the UK for the purposes of s.265 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Notable Cases

Blue Tropic Limited & Coppella Ventures LimitedChkhartishvili - junior Counsel for the Claimants, two companies incorporated in the BVI, in the trial of their claim for damages under the Georgian law of delict, on the basis that the Defendant misappropriated their valuable real estate assets in Georgia. Reported at:

  • [2015] EWHC 3640 (Ch) (judgment following trial)
  • [2015] EWHC 3260 (Ch) (Defendant’s application to stay in favour of parallel proceedings in Georgia)
  • [2014] EWHC 2243 (Ch); [2014] I.L.Pr. 33 (Defendant’s jurisdiction challenge)

Goncharova v Zolotova [2015] EWHC 3061 - sole Counsel for the successful Claimant in a claim under the Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Act 1975, alternatively the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982, for an order permitting her to transport DNA samples taken from the body of a deceased a Georgian oligarch and which were being held by the Westminster Coroner to Moscow, to prove, in Russian inheritance proceedings, that he was her father and thereby claim a share of his valuable estate.

GudavadzeAnisimov -  junior Counsel for the Claimants, the widow and daughters of the late Georgian billionaire Arkadi Patarkatsishvili, in their claim for over $1.5 billion in damages from Vasily Anisimov, based on an oral agreement that had been reached in 2004 between Mr Anisimov and Mr Patarkatsishvili as to the use that they would make of $600 million that the latter had received following the sale of a shareholding RusAl, a large Russian formerly state owned aluminium company.

TST Group Limited [2012] EWHC 4059 (Ch) – sole Counsel for the company in a dispute debt winding up petition involving the application of the principles set out by the Court of Appeal in BNY Corporate Trustee Services v Eurosail

BerezovskyAbramovichBerezovskyHine & ors [2012] EWHC 2463: junior Counsel for the Family Defendants at the trial of claims brought by Boris Berezovskyagainst Roman Abramovich and the Family of Arkadi Patarkatsishvili, based on oral agreement allegedly made between formed in the 1990s and in 2000 relating to Sibneft and RusAl, both large Russian energy companies.

Roder v West & anor [2011] EWCA Civ 1126; [2012] QB 752; [2012] 3 WLR 469; [2012] 1 All ER 1305; [2012] 1 All ER (Comm) 659; (2011) 161 NLJ 1450; [2011] NPC 101 - sole Counsel for the Appellants in an appeal to the Court of Appeal relating to the interpretation of the Statute of Frauds (Amendment) Act 1828 in a claim in deceit.

RolfDe Guerin [2011] EWCA Civ 78: sole Counsel for the Appellants in an appeal to the Court of Appeal against a costs decision (Rolf v De Guerin [2011] EWCA Civ 78).

Official ReceiverMitterfelner [2009] BPIR 1075: sole Counsel for the debtor in the trial, on the OR's application to annul, of his centre of main interests (COMI) for the purposes of the EC Regulation.

Memberships
Chancery Bar Association
Commercial Bar Association
Young Fraud Lawyers Association
Fraud Lawyers Association
Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association

Qualifications
MA (Oxon) Jurisprudence

Languages
French (fluent)
German (competency)

What the directories say

Chambers UK

Chancery: Commercial
"Charming, down-to-earth and very user-friendly. He gets the judge's ear from the get-go and really presents well." (2017)

"He trades on being clever, hard-working and very affable. He will do very well. Lots of solicitors really rave about that holy trinity of characteristics." (2016)

"Extremely hard-working, has a fantastic eye for the detail and can ferret out the critical points in a case" (2015)

"He works with diligence, speed, accuracy, and a great deal of good humour and good grace. He is clearly a star of the future." (2014)

“Has been attracting a great deal of attention and respect, despite his recent year of call.” (2013)

Chambers UK/Chambers Global

Fraud Civil

"Gets to the problem very quickly and sifts through the fluff" (2014)

“Particularly excellent when it comes to civil fraud… always churning the issues over in his head and coming up with new angles” (2013)

Chambers Global

Dispute Resolution: Commercial Chancery

"Works with diligence, speed, accuracy, and a great deal of good humour and good grace" and "is clearly a star of the future." (2015)