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David Lascelles
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DAVID LASCELLES

“Extremely bright and very user friendly” (Chambers & Partners)
“An excellent junior” (Legal 500)
“Definitely someone you want on your team” (Chambers & Partners)

David is a highly-regarded commercial litigator.

He brings a wealth of experience to successfully resolving disputes arising from: high-value commercial contracts, the sale of shares and businesses, shareholder and LLP membership, commercial fraud, and director and senior employee relations.

The independent guides to the Bar rank David as a leading barrister both for commercial and company law litigation. 

Chambers & Partners 2017 lists David as 1 of only 5 juniors recommended in both fields. 

Market feedback on David as reported in Chambers & Partners includes: 

"A brilliant young advocate who inspires confidence with his exemplary client manner and comprehensive and commercial advice.”

"Bright, commercial and impressive in court, David has great client skills and is very attentive."  

“A great communicator”, “very down to earth” with "a massive brain and an extremely incisive way of getting to the facts and issues”.

The latest edition of Legal 500 describes David as “an excellent junior” who “grasps complex facts quickly”.  Last year’s edition commended David as "exceptionally analytical with a great eye for detail, his memory is astonishing.”
 

    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 as well as claims for commission and finders’ fees.

Examples include David representing:

  • High net worth investors in 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 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;
  • Property investment firm on commission claim relating to the purchase of a £76million development at Brighton marina (names confidential);
  • 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.

This includes earn-out and deferred consideration claims by vendors and breach of warranty, misrepresentation, indemnification and breach of restrictive covenant claims by purchasers.  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.

Examples include 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. David successfully obtained the strike out of the purchasers’ claims due to time-bar provisions as well as summary judgment on his clients’ £1.2million additional consideration claim – Pennon PLC v Cutts;
  • The bidder for a nationwide care homes business in a claim against corporate financiers for taking a co-investment opportunity in breach of a non-disclosure agreement (names confidential);
  • 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 for breach of 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 leaver, bad leaver and compulsory transfer provisions in articles and shareholder 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;
  • The former CEO and 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 challenging expulsion from property development business– Re: Red Lion LLP;
  • Founder and major shareholder of management consultancy challenging the application of bad leaver provisions in the articles after being forced out of the business (details confidential);
  • 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 £130million claims 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 relating to Iraqi mobile phone licence including at successful summary judgment application and 5-day trial – Arab v Merchantbridge (led by Ali Malek QC and Stuart Ritchie QC);
  • High-profile global fast-food franchisor defending multi-million pound Mercantile Court proceedings by 7 former franchisees alleging 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 operating in the former Soviet Union in 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 of block of 11 residential properties avoiding the contracts for payment of 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);
  • Insurance company against former CEO in high-value fraud dispute relating to alleged undisclosed ownership of major supplier - DAS UK v Asplin (led by Jonathan Cohen QC).

    Director and Senior Employee Disputes

David has a particular expertise in disputes involving commercial or company law aspects.

He 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 share options and bonus 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 (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).

    Arbitration

David acts as Counsel in arbitrations as well as advising on the scope, extent and enforceability of arbitration agreements and awards.

Examples of cases include:

  • Acting for the Claimant partner of a top international law practice in an arbitration against the practice under the ICC rules relating to breaches of the LLP Agreement;
  • Acting for the Respondent in an arbitration under the LCIA rules for breaches of a consultancy agreement relating to the provision of corporate finance services;
  • Acting for the Claimant in ad hoc arbitration in relation to very substantial losses suffered as a result of the negligent provision of professional services.

    Academic Background and Prizes

Prior to coming to the Bar, David read law at Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

David took a Double First from Cambridge, in each year obtaining the highest grades in his college (Peterhouse) and winning prizes 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).

David was then awarded a major scholarship by Lincoln’s Inn to study for the Bar (BVC, Inns of Court School of Law, 2003).

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