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Elizabeth Houghton

Call: 2014 (2011 Western Australia)   

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

Practice Overview

Elizabeth has a very broad commercial chancery practice. She frequently appears   in the High Court, County Court and tribunals, both in led teams and in her own right. She is often instructed in complex commercial matters with an international element.

Recent work has involved jurisdictions including the Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Jersey, Mauritius, Andorra, Switzerland, Italy, Russia and the Marshall Islands.

Elizabeth’s work frequently involves asset tracing across a number of jurisdictions and working closely with insolvency practitioners, litigation funders and other professionals.

Her primary areas of practice are:

  • All facets of contentious and non-contentious trusts and private client work, including large offshore disputes in jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man and Hong Kong.
  • Commercial disputes involving claims for breach of contract, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Insolvency matters and civil fraud claims, often involving offshore entities and assets.
  • Arbitration, and the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in England
  • Professional liability including claims against solicitors and assets.
  • Regulatory disputes, including acting for the Financial Reporting Council and the Pensions Regulator.

Recent notable matters include:

  • Acting for several offshore trustees in a long-running and multi-jurisdiction dispute involving allegations of sham, led by Robert Ham QC (ongoing).
  • Acting for offshore trustees in a complex forced heirship dispute, involving difficult questions of exclusive jurisdiction and protector issues, led by Robert Ham QC (ongoing).
  • Akhmedova v Akhmedov [2019] EWHC 1705 (Fam), led by Tim Penny QC. Instructed in an application seeking further freezing order relief on notice to prevent assets being removed from Dubai in support of the applicant’s financial relief award of approximately £500 million in the Family Division. Mrs Justice Knowles accepted that there was a good arguable case that individual directors of the corporate director respondent were to be treated as ‘de facto’ directors of the respondent.
  • Acting for the investigations committee of a company to prepare a confidential report on corporate governance issues and whistle-blowing allegations, led by Terence Mowschenson QC.
  • Assisting local counsel for the respondent in the Privy Council appeal of AWF Fund v ZCM Asset Holding (Bahamas) [2019] UKPC 37, led by Lexa Hilliard QC. The appeal concerned the extra-territorial application of the Bahamian insolvency legislation, and the jurisdictional gateway for service out of the jurisdiction.
  • Loosemore v Apsley Assets. Appearing as sole counsel in a successful claim to have a £3.75 million gift set aside on the ground of mistake.
  • Acting for a litigation funder, led by Marcia Shekerdemian QC, in complex and multi-party fraud proceedings involving competing proprietary and tracing claims.
  • Advising offshore trustees (as sole counsel) in relation to their defective appointment and ratification of past acts carried out in the 10 years before the defect was discovered.
  • Acting for the Pensions Regulator in a claim involving allegations of misuse and misappropriation of pension scheme assets, and pensions liberation, led by Jonathan Hilliard QC and James Walmsley.
  • Acting for the successful defendant in a fraud, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract claim relating to a failed Moroccan property venture, led by Stuart Isaacs QC and Nicholas Cherryman: Baturina v Chistyakov [2017] EWHC 1049 (Comm).
  • Acting for the Financial Reporting Council, led by Javan Herberg QC and Nicholas Medcroft, in disciplinary proceedings for misconduct against PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and a senior audit partner relating to the former Connaught group: Executive Counsel to the FRC v PwC and Harrison.

Before joining the Bar in England & Wales, Elizabeth practised as a barrister and solicitor in Western Australia. She completed her studies in 2009 at the University of Western Australia with a double degree in Law (first class Honours) and Commerce (majoring in Investment Finance).

Elizabeth completed a Judicial Associateship with the Honourable Justice Newnes JA in the Supreme Court of Western Australia (Court of Appeal) in 2010 and was admitted to practice in Western Australia in 2011 where she worked for Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Elizabeth spent two years at Exeter College, Oxford completing the BCL (Distinction) and an MPhil (Distinction). The focus of her research work was on proprietary remedies for breach of fiduciary duty, including detailed analysis of the Supreme Court decision in FHR v Cedar Investments and equivalent Commonwealth authorities. She was called to the Bar in England & Wales in 2014.