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JAMIE HOLMES

Call: 2014   

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

Practice Overview

Jamie has a busy commercial chancery practice focussed around corporate and personal insolvency, trusts and probate, civil fraud (with extensive experience of freezing injunctions and other forms of interim relief) and commercial work (including international and London-based arbitrations). He appears frequently as sole counsel and as a junior (and increasingly leading other juniors) in both the High Court and County Court, and in arbitrations, for instructing solicitors based across the country and internationally.

Jamie is ranked in The Legal 500 2022 as a “Rising Star” separately for both commercial litigation and offshore work, in which he is described as “A supremely bright junior, [who] leaves no point unconsidered.” and “Exceptionally hard working and a real pleasure to work with, highly responsive and astute, and tactically very good.”  He has previously been described in directories as “superb”, “very thorough”, “very commercial in dealing with clients” and as a practitioner who “extends his thinking to the next level” and “fits into a team well”.

In late 2018 Jamie went on a secondment to Ogier’s offices in the Cayman Islands where he worked with Rachael Reynolds QC, Mark Kish and Ulrich Payne and their team on a number of international civil fraud, insolvency and contentious trusts matters.

Jamie is Chambers’ junior equality and diversity officer and is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion at the Bar and to modernising and improving the working practices of the profession.

Notable current and recent instructions include:

  • Acting for the plaintiff in on-going civil fraud proceedings in the Cayman Islands in Raiffeisen v. Scully Royalty, having successfully obtained and defended on an appeal two €153m worldwide freezing and notification injunctions (Jamie acts as the middle junior with Tim Penny QC and Caspar Bartscherer). This involved two separate appeals to the Cayman Court of Appeal in 2021: (1) the first concerning the injunctions (on which it is hoped a news item will be available in the near future, for the judgment below see the summary here); and (2) the second concerning two defendants’ separate jurisdiction challenges, on which judgment is awaited.  This is in addition, amongst other things, to (3) successfully obtaining an anti-suit injunction concerning proceedings that had been brought by some of the defendants in Malta.
  • Acting as sole counsel for the successful claimant/applicant for a £2.5m freezing order against the former principal employee of a supplier company, concerning a procurement/invoicing fraud as to over £13m of payments and breaches of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt.
  • Acting as sole counsel for one of the Respondents to a s341 and s423 claim brought by a trustee in bankruptcy alleging the bankrupt (a former Premier League footballer) perpetrated a £16m Ponzi scheme.  The recent judgment of ICCJ Jones clarified and made new law as to the relationship between limitation, submission to the jurisdiction and the Insolvency Rules: re Rufus [2021] B.P.I.R. 1594.
  • Acting as sole counsel on behalf of a debtor in bankruptcy proceedings concerning a £19.5m petition debt against an international businessman, raising a number of issues of Lebanese Law.  
  • Acting for the primary respondent-beneficiary to Beddoe proceedings brought by the interim administrators of an estate, who seek disclosure orders against a respondent outside of the jurisdiction.
  • Acting for the claimants in Morina & Ors v. Scherbakova & Ors in conjoined proceedings in the Chancery Division, to be listed for a 60-day trial in 2023, concerning (1) a probate claim as to the multi-million pound estate of a Russian businessman, concerning the validity and alleged revocation of a will, and as to domicile and residence; and (2) a claim as to the ownership of the shares in a BVI company, raising allegations of sham (Jamie acts as part of a team of juniors led by Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, with Tim Akkouh. Ben Faulkner and Sparsh Garg).  Both claims involve a number of conflict of laws issues (between England, Russia, Switzerland, Belgium and the BVI).
  • Acting for the claimants in Kingstar & Rosestar v. Hassans & Ors in multi-million pound dishonest assistance proceedings in Gibraltar (with Andrew Mold QC). A 2-day hearing of the defendants’ strike out and reverse summary judgment application is listed for April 2022.
  • Acting (1) for the claimants in a double-derivate claim concerning a multi-million pound breach of trust and fiduciary duty claim against the directors of a family business (judgment awaited), and (2) for the petitioners in a related unfair prejudice petition (initial hearing in April 2022) (with Clare Stanley QC).
  • Advising as sole counsel on the perpetuities and accumulations consequences of the variation of a Jersey trust; and drafting amendments accordingly.
  • Acting as sole counsel for the potential claimant in a breach of contract/negligence claim concerning an investment in a Cayman fund that was in the process of being wound up and dissolved.
  • Advising in relation to a number of (potential) schemes of arrangement and restructuring plans over the course of 2020-2021.  One with Stuart Issacs QC, one with Lexa Hilliard QC, another with Daniel Lewis.
  • Advising as sole counsel on service of a multi-million pound bankruptcy petition outside of the jurisdiction.
  • Advising and acting as sole counsel on behalf of a Saudi princess seeking s1782 relief in a US state.
  • Acting for claimant trustees in a professional negligence claim against the solicitors who drafted the trust (with Clare Stanley QC).  This is at a pre-action stage and necessarily confidential.
  • Successfully obtaining bankruptcy orders on behalf of petitioning creditors upon c. £4.5m and c. £3.5m petitions.

Notable instructions in recent years include:

  • Acting for the defendants in €65m civil fraud proceedings in KMG v. Chen & CML in the Commercial Court alleging liability under foreign (Dutch) tort law concerning the enforcement of a US$200m NAI arbitration award, which settled ahead of a 3-week trial in July 2020 (with Jonathan Crow QC and Graeme Halkerston). This involved a number of heavily-contested interlocutory hearings including: (a) [2020] Bus. L.R. 133: a strike out application concerning the rule against reflective loss and the conflict of laws under Rome II and at Common Law; (b) [2019] EWHC 3634 (Comm): waiver of privilege and whether foreign law advice had been deployed; and (c) [2020] EWHC 1203 (Comm): on foreign law expert evidence and amendments that were inconsistent with a case run to resist an earlier forum challenge.
  • Acting for appellants to the Privy Council of a decision of the Court of Appeal of Trinidad & Tobago concerning title to land in Tobago and counter-allegations of fraud, which settled in 2019 (with Martin Hutchings QC).
  • Acting for the successful claimants at trial in Summer 2019 in confidential multi-million-US$ LME arbitration proceedings in London, concerning the supply of copper concentrate in China and SOGA, s51 (with Alan Gourgey QC and Bobby Friedman).  Much of the detail is necessarily confidential.
  • Acting for the successful claimants in an 8-day trial in Spring 2018 in confidential ICC international arbitration proceedings in Singapore, concerning claims for breach of contract in relation to a petrochemical plant in Southeast Asia; with an award of over US$40m (with Graeme Halkerston).
  • Acting as sole counsel at short notice against a silk for one of the respondents and a third party to an application for freezing orders within bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Acting as sole counsel in a jurisdiction challenge within VIAC proceedings claiming over £500,000 for damages said to arise out of a contract to supply engines for specialist military equipment. 
  • Acting as sole counsel in successfully resisting in part an interim injunction (and obtaining fortification) involving allegations of fraud and claims for damages and lost profits in excess of £0.5m.
  • Acting for the appellants in Devoy-Williams v. Hugh Cartwright & Amin [2018] 5 Costs L.R. 1105, concerning the acceptance of a Part 36 offer following allegedly dishonest non-compliance with an unless order (with John Wardell QC).
  • Acting for the defendant to £13m civil fraud proceedings in the Companies Court involving allegations of misfeasance, fraudulent and wrongful trading, dishonest assistance, knowing receipt, unjust enrichment, preferences and de facto/shadow directorship (with Marcia Shekerdermian QC).  Settled before trial.
  • Acting for the trustees in a pensions regulatory action, including the judicial review proceedings Grace Bay II Holdings Sarl v. The Pensions Regulator [2017] Pens L.R. 7 (with Monica Carss-Frisk QC, Fraser Campbell and Jonathan Hilliard QC).