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Sebastian Allen

Call: 2006   

+44 (0)20 7306 0102sallen@wilberforce.co.uk

Commercial

Sebastian has particular experience in commercial litigation and is frequently instructed on high-profile, complex commercial disputes with an international element.

Notable matters on which Sebastian has been instructed include:

  • Withers -v- Langbar International Ltd and Rybak. Advising on the proprietary interests in monies held in a solicitor’s client account in respect of unpaid legal fees and appearing in the High Court before Mr Justice Morgan (with Joanna Smith QC).
  • Re Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan. Acting for the trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan in relation to the largest ever financial support direction case brought by the Pensions Regulator under the Pensions Act 2004, involving a multi-billion pound buy-out deficit. This also involved advising the trustee on the interaction of its claim to a financial support direction as a result of the successful UK regulatory proceedings with the insolvency proceedings in various jurisdictions, including in the UK, the US and Canada. In the UK, this resulted in the joint application by the UK administrators of Nortel and Lehman Brothers as to the provability of liabilities under a financial support direction in Bloom v The Pensions Regulator [2010] EWHC 3010 (Ch) (with Michael Tennet QC).
  • Lord Lloyd-Webber and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation -v- HMRC. Representing HMRC on a case concerning the tax positions of the claimants in the context of the claimants’ entitlement to Gift Aid Relief which involved issues of the valuation of licences for works of art of substantial value.
  • Letsure Limited -v- Moneynotion Limited. Advising the defendant insurance broker in relation to alleged premiums payable to the claimant insurance provider and in relation to a counterclaim for damages for breach of the terms of an agency agreement.
  • Langbar International Limited -v- Rybak. Advising on various FCA aspects that applied to the case concerning allegedly forged Certificates of Deposit of over US $600m.
  • Pierse Developments Limited -v- Liberty Property Investment Limited. Acting for a property investment company in relation to the construction of contracts for the development and sale of 28 properties (with Jonathan Seitler QC).
  • Acting for a Singaporean building developer in relation to the purchase of a multi-million pound development.
  • Advising a party to a long-standing trading arrangement as to rights of set-off in relation to its trading debts and as to the effect of the assignment of those debts on the right of set-off.
  • Advising on the construction of various debt and other financial instruments.
  • Advising lenders in relation to potential liabilities under the consumer credit legislation.
  • Advising in professional liability proceedings involving a number of insurance companies potentially liable to cover the insured’s breaches of duty.
  • Acting for the Pensions Regulator in relation to prohibition proceedings brought against a pensions trustee relating to his involvement in commercial transactions, involving the acquisition by a private equity company of two national corporate groups with potentially valuable pension schemes.

Hedge/Mutual Funds

Sebastian’s broad commercial and chancery background, particularly in the fields of company, trusts, financial services and pensions law puts him in a good position to deal with the legal issues surrounding hedge funds, and other collective investment vehicles.

Financial Services

Sebastian has particular interest and experience in cases involving the financial services industry.

Notable matters that he has worked on include the following:

  • Maxfield -v- Brewin Dolphin Securities Limited. Acting for an individual pursuing a multimillion pound negligence claim against a firm of financial advisers in relation to deficient tax advice (with James Ayliffe QC).
  • Letsure Limited -v- Moneynotion Limited. Advising the defendant insurance broker in relation to alleged premiums payable to the claimant insurance provider and in relation to a counterclaim for damages for breach of the terms of an agency agreement.
  • Langbar International Limited -v- Rybak. Advising on various FCA aspects that applied to the case concerning allegedly forged Certificates of Deposit of over US $600m.
  • Advising in relation to potential proceedings against an insurance broker for negligent insurance advice.
  • Advising on claims against professional pension trustees for unauthorised investments.

Regulatory & Public Law

Sebastian does a significant amount of regulatory work for UK regulatory bodies (particularly in the pensions sphere, where he regularly acts for the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund). These cases often involve public law and related issues together with an appreciation of the strategic ways in which regulatory proceedings differ from ordinary commercial litigation.

Notable examples including the following:

  • Lord Lloyd-Webber and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation -v- HMRC. Representing HMRC on a case concerning the tax positions of the claimants in the context of the claimants’ entitlement to Gift Aid Relief which involved issues of the valuation of licences for works of art of substantial value (with Jonathan Karas QC).
  • Re the Derfshaw Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme. Representing the Pensions Regulator in an oral hearing before the Determinations Panel and before the Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal in relation to an application by the trustee for the winding-up of the scheme under section 11(1)(c) of the Pensions Act 1995: see www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/DN1364577.pdf
  • Advising the Pension Protection Fund on a regular basis in relation to applications for review under S 207 of the Pensions Act 2004 and applications for maladministration under S 206 of the Pensions Act 2004.
  • Advising the Pensions Regulator on its moral hazard powers in connection with a number of large pension schemes with respect to issues of conflicts of interest arising out of the investment decisions of the trustees of the schemes and the sharing of potential surplus between the members and the employer of the schemes.
  • Advising the Pensions Regulator on the internal delegation of its functions.