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Three Mishcon de Reya cases featured in The Lawyer's Top Cases of 2024

Posted on 9 January 2024

The Lawyer has released its annual list of the top 20 anticipated cases of the year, featuring three major cases from across Mishcon's Dispute team involving competition, fraud and insolvency and a dispute against a sovereign state.

The first cases highlighted is Justin Le Patourel v BT, the first competition collective action proceeding to progress to trial on 29 January 2024.

Sarah Houghton and Gwen Ballin-Reeler represent consumer champion Justin Le Patourel in collective proceedings in the Competition Appeal Tribunal against BT, for abuse of its dominant position in the UK market. Mr Le Patourel alleges BT overcharged over 2 million UK customers for standalone landline services resulting in harm estimated to be in the region of £1.3bn. This case is significant as it the first to progress to trial since the UK's collective proceedings regime was introduced in 2015 and it will also test how the Tribunal determines awards of aggregate damages in collective proceedings.

The second case featured is London Capital & Finance (In Administration) v Ors v Thomson & others, which is being led by Danny Davis, Mike Stubbs and Barry Coffey.

In 2019, London Capital & Finance (LCF) collapsed into administration following an intervention by the Financial Conduct Authority after it found the firm was marketing unregulated mini bonds. Mishcon de Reya, on behalf of LCF's administrators, launched proceeding against 15 former executives at LCF. The 20-week trial, which will commence on 29 January 2024, is set to determine, amongst other matters, whether LCF operated a Ponzi scheme and whether investors' funds were used to purchase a series of lavish items including Ferraris, yachts and country houses.

Since the collapse of LCF, this case has received significant press attention which is expected to continue throughout the duration of the trial.

The third and final Mishcon case included in The Lawyers Top 20 cases of 2024 is The Czech Republic v Diag Human and Josef Stava, led by Shaistah Akhtar and Lydia Allaby, which will be heard at the Commercial Court from 30 January 2024.

Mishcon is acting for Diag Human, a collapsed Lichenstein blood plasma company, and its owner Josef Stava, in a $730m dispute with the Czech Republic. The dispute stems from a letter issued by a former Czech Health Minister in the early 1990s leading to the collapse of Diag Human, which was awarded $350m in a 2008 domestic arbitration. The award was cancelled in 2014 following a review initiated by the Czech Health Ministry, which Diag alleges was corrupted by the Czech government. Eight years after the review tribunal’s decision, a London-seated arbitration found the Czech Republic's conduct of the review proceedings breached standards under the Czech-Swiss bilateral investment treaty and award $730m against the Czech state in favour of Diag and Stava.

The parties will return to court in January 2024 to determine the Czech Republic's challenge of the $730m BIT award. The hearing is expected to reveal allegations of corruption by former state officials which could have significant ramification ahead of the 2025 parliamentary elections. A decision against the Czech Republic will have significant ramifications on the Czech economy, which is already fighting a substantial budget deficit.  

Find the full list here.

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