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Joseph Steadman

Call: 2015   

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

Commercial

Joseph has a busy commercial practice. As well as acting in a wide variety of “ordinary” contractual disputes, he is also regularly instructed in cases involving fraud or asset-tracing, and has experience of gaining freezing injunctions, proprietary injunctions, and other forms of interim relief. Within the commercial context, Joseph also has substantial company and insolvency experience.

Joseph’s commercial fraud and asset-tracing experience includes:

  • acting (with Jonathan Hilliard QC and Graeme Halkerston) for a claimant in successfully obtaining a pre-action freezing injunction in the BVI to restrain assets in Monaco, in support of claims that the defendant – for whom the assets were held as nominee pursuant to written declarations of trust – himself held those assets on oral trusts for the claimant;
  • acting (with Rupert Reed QC and Jonathan Chew) for the claimants in a multi-million pound fraud in relation to a property development in London, which included an analysis of steps taken in Guernsey to take control of the relevant companies (a subsequent hearing was reported as Aurora Developments Ltd v Delta Holdings Ltd [2018EWHC 1047 (Ch));
  • advising in relation to stolen confidential documents, the potential deployment of those documents in court, and the availability of injunctions requiring delivery up; and
  • successfully resisting (unled against a specialist commercial silk) an application for permission to appeal against a refusal to grant summary judgment in a multi-million pound civil fraud case.

Joseph’s company and insolvency experience includes:

  • acting (with Marcia Shekerdemian QC) for the claimant company in relation to a multi-million-pound claim for breach of fiduciary duty against one of its directors, along with two unfair prejudice petitions and a derivative claim;
  • acting for the petitioner in an unfair prejudice petition in respect of a company in Guernsey (with subsidiaries in Brazil and England) following manoeuvres by the majority shareholders to reduce the value of a minority shareholder’s shares;
  • acting for the petitioner in an unfair prejudice petition and an application for urgent interim relief removing a director from office;
  • acting for a partner in a firm of solicitors in an unfair prejudice petition following steps taken by the majority which drastically reduced the value of his capital account;
  • making and resisting applications to set aside statutory demands, applications for injunctions to restrain presentation of winding-up petitions, and applications for validation orders; and
  • advising and acting in relation to applications to restore companies to the register, extend the time for registering charges, or to rectify the register.

Joseph’s experience of contractual disputes includes:

  • (with Rupert Reed QC) advising a reinsurer based in the UAE concerning the application of waiver and estoppel as a bar to rescission for material non-disclosure;
  • (with Jonathan Seitler QC) acting for the claimant in a claim for millions of pounds in damages following the summary termination of his membership of an online short lettings platform;
  • acting (unled, against a silk and senior junior) for the sixth defendant in an application for the claimant’s claim against the sixth defendant – a multi-million-pound claim in relation to the purchase of two helicopters – to be struck out;
  • advising and acting for the claimants in their claim to recover a deposit which had allegedly been wrongly paid out by the defendant stakeholder;
  • acting in an application to re-open an appeal against summary judgment where the appellant’s case was that a loan had been orally written off and replaced by an oral profit-sharing agreement;
  • advising and acting for a contractor in relation to a claim for sub-standard welding works carried out to a restaurant at Centre Point;
  • acting in several claims seeking commission on behalf of agents and introducers;
  • acting in a claim for breach of contract against a high-street retailer, in relation to its failure to pay subscription fees for a business intelligence software package;
  • acting for the operator of an online spread-betting platform in relation to alleged abusive trading strategies employed by one of its clients;
  • advising and acting for a member of a golf club whose life membership was summarily terminated;
  • acting for the claimant, a Punjabi singer, in a claim against a music video producer for breach of contract;
  • acting for a firm of matrimonial solicitors in seeking to recover fees from a former client, whose defence was that the solicitors were estopped from recovering them to the extent that they were not paid by the client’s husband;
  • advising in relation to the competing jurisdiction of the Bangladeshi, English and Swiss courts concerning disputes over a series of agreements, and the availability of striking-out, anti-suit injunctions and other relief; and
  • acting for a mortgage lender in defending a claim for damages resulting from its delay in making available the mortgage advance.

Joseph’s recent advisory experience includes:

  • advising the lead claimant in a large financial services class action on the terms of a power of attorney;
  • advising an isotonic sports drink manufacturer on the terms of international distribution agreements;
  • advising a leading provider of marine products as to whether its ordering processes successfully incorporated its standard terms; and
  • advising the former shareholders of a dissolved company concerning the beneficial ownership of an offshore investment bond which was intended to fund pension contributions but had been overlooked in the administration.

Joseph also has experience of advising and acting for commercial clients at mediation and in relation to other forms of ADR. He has also acted on the decision-making side, assisting Sir William Blackburne in relation to the independent redress scheme for clients of RBS’s global restructuring group.