“He has a very cool, calm head and does an excellent job in the line of fire.” (2017)
Financial Services Regulation
The mainstays of Nicholas' work are financial services litigation and advice (particularly relating to regulation by the FCA), insolvency (particularly relating to the insolvency of financial institutions), and general commercial litigation (including civil fraud litigation).
Nicholas is an experienced leading advocate in both trials and interim applications in the High Court, and has extensive experience of appellate advocacy (in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Privy Council). He also has experience of advocacy before a wide range of disciplinary and regulatory tribunals, as well as in offshore jurisdictions.
During the COVID-19 emergency Nicholas is working remotely and can be contacted via email and by telephone on 020 7406 1154.
Terms of Business
The clerks are happy to discuss the basis on which Nicholas will act in any given matter. In the absence of express written agreement otherwise, the terms under which Nicholas accepts instructions are The Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services By Barristers to Authorised Persons 2020 (as updated from time to time) referred to in the BSB Handbook.
Banking & Financial Services
Nicholas has been involved in financial services regulatory advice and litigation since it first began, when regulation was undertaken by the Securities & Investments Board and the SROs. In more recent years, he has regularly acted both for and against the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to matters arising under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
Matters have covered the entire regulatory gamut including (a) the closing down of unauthorised investment businesses and unlicenced deposit-taking businesses (involving collective investment schemes, open ended investment companies, quasi-timeshares, spot forex trading, so-called high yield investment programmes); (b) numerous types of mis-selling case (involving many different types of interest rate hedging products and card protection insurance); (c) the rash of cases concerning client money and client assets that arose out of the Lehman collapse; (d) disputes clients concerning interest rate swaps, and futures and options of all kinds; (e) claims for breach of contract, breach of regulatory provisions (in particulars COB and COBS) and negligence in relation to pension mis-selling and discretionary portfolio management.
Matters have covered (a) advising in relation to collective investment (and deposit-taking) schemes of all types (land-banking schemes, hotel and care home room investments, car park and storage unit investments, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, real-time carbon trading and gold-backed investment products, a web-based bank deposit solutions provider, and limited partnership investment vehicles), (b) advising a payments infrastructure provider in relation to the collapse of Wirecard, (c) advising on the structure of a retail bond in order to ensure that it fell within the scope of FSCS protection, (d) advising in relation to insider dealing and market abuse issues arising in the course of transactions, (e) advising whether post-completion occupancy agreements in domestic conveyancing fall within the scope of regulated sale and rentback agreements
The limits of the scope of insurance regulation is also an area of expertise for Nicholas, who has advised in relation to the structuring of insurance-type products and also, in this context, in relation to the impact of Brexit on the operation of the Lloyd’s insurance market.
Nicholas also has experience of acting both for and against the FCA in the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal, now the Upper Tribunal. He was previously a Senior Decision Maker appointed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and has, both before and after that appointment, acted for parties facing regulatory enforcement in Guernsey.
Insolvency & Restructuring
Over the more than 30 years of his practice Nicholas has had extensive experience of insolvency issues. In more recent years, the issues that he has dealt with have centered around the insolvency of financial institutions, and firms of solicitors.
Nicholas has particular expertise in the regulatory framework applicable in the event of the insolvency of solicitors’ firms and has advised the SRA in relation to all three of the more recent high-profile insolvencies, namely Halliwells, Dewey & LeBeouf and Cobbetts.
Nicholas has extensive experience of large-scale, multi-party litigation involving international parties, entailing long-running trials with numerous witnesses (both factual and expert) and evidence being given via interpreters.
Civil Fraud & Asset Recovery
Nicholas’ civil fraud practice has strong links to his financial services work. He has acted in many civil fraud cases (both for Claimants and Defendants) from the outset of proceedings, through disclosure and summary judgment battles and on to asset recovery. Of particular note in matters of civil fraud, he has acted successfully for a major PLC in obtaining relief against employees who had perpetrated a substantial fraud using numerous offshore entities, for a subsidiary of a large US publisher in making asset recovery against a former finance officer who had accumulated a vastly expensive collection of road and racing cars with his employer’s monies, and for an international businessman whose shipping business was being severely adversely affected by without notice orders obtained in the Commercial Court.
International & Offshore
Nicholas has both advised and acted as advocate in numerous International & Offshore matters. Most recently, he has been acting in a matter in Nevis concerning an arbitration and allegations of fraud, and in a matter in Cayman concerning a property management company.
Nicholas has many years of experience in advising about and acting in disputes arising from the regulation of solicitors, particularly in relation to interventions (with issues concerning the scope of the statutory trust and Human Rights) and misconduct. Nicholas has also regularly appeared in the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal.
Accountants and Insolvency Practitioners
Nicholas has many years experience of acting in relation to disciplinary matters concerning accountants and insolvency practitioners, most recently in a number of cases before the Disciplinary Committee of the Insolvency Practitioners Association.
- Dua v SRA 19 Nov 2010.
- Gauntlett v Law Society  EWHC 1954 (Ch)
- Bramall, R (on the application of) v Law Society  EWHC 1570 (Admin)
- Sritharan v Law Society  1 WLR 2708;
- Holder v Law Society  1 WLR 1059.