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Simon Atkinson

Call: 2011   

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

Practice Overview

Simon is an experienced and in demand practitioner. He has a broad Chancery practice; the core of his work comprises property, trusts and estates, pensions and commercial litigation.

Simon believes that the giving of practical and clear advice, combined with persuasive and fearless Courtroom advocacy and an eye for detail, are qualities which clients rightly demand and which he brings to the cases on which he is instructed.

He has appeared in his own right in the Court of Appeal and regularly appears as sole counsel and as a junior in the High Court, County Court and various tribunals. He also acts in alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediations, arbitrations and expert determinations (in which he has acted variously as both advocate and as expert).

He is instructed in domestic and international matters. He has particular experience of disputes concerning assets and/or parties based in the Middle East. He is a co-author of Wilberforce’s publication of the Rules of the DIFC Courts.

Notable cases in which Simon has been instructed include:

  • National Stadium Project (Grenada) Corp v NH (Caribbean) Ltd [2020] UKPC 25: This dispute arose out of the construction of a sports stadium in Grenada in the late 1990s and concerned the entitlement to a multi-million dollar fund which had been frozen when the dispute first arose back in 1999. After 20 years, an arbitration, and multiple court proceedings, the matter was finally resolved by the Privy Council in 2020. It is an important recent authority on the law of Quistclose trusts and equitable assignment.
  • Asturion Foundation v Alibrahim [2020] 1 WLR 1627: These ongoing proceedings concern a multimillion-pound property on “Billionaire’s Row” in North London. The fiercely contested claim raises multiple questions of Liechtenstein, English and Shari’a Law. Simon acts for Ms Alibrahim, a wife of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, in proceedings brought by a Liechtenstein foundation seeking to set aside a conveyance of the property. The Court of Appeal judgment is now the leading authority relating to the striking out of proceedings for abuse of process where a party is alleged to have “warehoused” proceedings.
  • Long v Rodman [2019] EWHC 753 (Ch), [2019] EWHC 2451 (Ch): Simon was instructed (along with Andrew Mold QC) on behalf of two of four beneficiaries of a c. USD130m estate who successfully sought the removal of the professional administrator following a bitterly contested dispute, in which the professional administrator was, unusually, held not to be entitled to recover the majority of his costs from the estate as a result of the way the litigation had been conducted.
    Practice Overview continued
  • PS Independent Trustees Ltd v China Shipping (UK) Agency Co Ltd [2019] ICR 1375: Simon acted for the defendants in a claim for the recovery of a multimillion-pound debt allegedly owed by the defendants in respect of the funding of a defined benefit pension scheme. The claim raised novel questions concerning the interpretation of pensions legislation governing the circumstances in which companies who sponsor multi-employer pension schemes may be liable for debts where another sponsoring company enters into insolvency.
  • Catalyst Housing Limited v Martin [2018] EWCA Civ 1206: Simon appeared as sole counsel for the appellants in both the renewed oral application for permission to appeal and the substantive appeal in proceedings concerning contractual succession to an assured tenancy under the Housing Act 1988.
  • Interactive Technology Corp Ltd v Ferster [2017] EWHC 1510 (Ch); [2017] EWHC 1799 (Ch): Simon appeared (with Clare Stanley QC) in litigation concerning the beneficial ownership of an offshore, web-based business, the admissibility of Part 36 offers in split trial proceedings, and the availability of summary judgment in response to a purported defence of causation where equitable compensation for loss is claimed.
  • Dutton v FDR Ltd [2015] EWHC 2946 (Ch); [2017] EWCA Civ 200: Simon acted (with Paul Newman QC) for the successful appellant in proceedings concerning how an underpin operated in relation to the increases applicable to pensions in payment. The underpin arose as a result of a defective trust deed executed in 1991 which purported to change the rate at which pensions in payment were increased from 3% to 5%LPI.
  • Pollock v Reed [2016] Pens LR 129: Simon acted (with Edward Sawyer) for the trustees of an occupational pension scheme seeking court approval of a proposed bulk transfer of the scheme’s assets and liabilities without individual member consent to a new scheme.
  • Labrouche v Frey; Re Olga Martin-Montis Will Trusts [2016] EWHC 268 (Ch): Simon acted (with Emily Campbell) for the professional trustees in a seven-week High Court trial concerning the administration of multi-million pound will trusts created in 1980. The claimant alleged various breaches of trust over decades by the professional trustees and against his own mother, a former lay trustee. The claim raised a number of complex issues of Liechtenstein, Swiss and English trust law.
  • Wood v Waddington [2014] EWHC 1358 (Ch); [2015] EWCA Civ 538: Simon acted for the successful appellants in a right of way dispute between neighbouring landowners. The claim is now one of the leading authorities concerning the grant of rights of way by operation of law under section 62 of the Law of Property Act 1925.
  • Spencer v Fielder [2015] 1 WLR 2786: Simon acted for the representative beneficiary in Beddoe proceedings relating to litigation between British Airways and the trustees of the Airways Pension Scheme arising out of the decision of the trustees to grant discretionary benefit increases to members.
  • Cosmetic Warriors Ltd v Amazon.co.uk Ltd [2014] FSR 31; [2014] EWHC 1316 (Ch): Simon acted for the successful claimant in a trademark dispute between the owner of the ‘Lush’ cosmetics brand and the well- known online retailer.
  • Ansa Logistics Ltd v Towerbeg Ltd [2012] EWHC 3651 (Ch): A landlord and tenant dispute concerning whether the tenant had breached a covenant against parting with possession and whether the landlord had unreasonably withheld consent to underlet the premises to a third party, Ford Motor Company Ltd.