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Shaistah Akhtar, Partner, Dispute Resolution

Shaistah Akhtar


Personal Profile

Shaistah is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution group specialising in complex commercial litigation, fraud, investigations and regulatory compliance. She is an expert on sanctions law and leads the team in this area.

Her experience spans a number of industry sectors ranging from financial services (global investment banks, investment funds, asset management firms and private equity houses) to pharmaceutical companies, real estate developers, software firms and the defence industry. She also acts for high net worth individuals.

She has particular experience in advising on contentious investor related claims and internal/external investigations, including shareholder and partnership disputes, fraud, negligence and misrepresentation claims, as well as matters involving contractual interpretation, warranties and termination. Shaistah has also acted in disputes and on enforcement actions both for and against governments involving state immunity issues.  

Shaistah has a long track record of acting for life sciences companies in both general commercial litigation and specialist areas such as follow on damages claims, product liability, procurement disputes and arbitration under the PPRS scheme. She has also advised on industry compliance issues arising under the ABPI Code, UK Bribery Act and FCPA.

Examples of her work include: acting for UK and offshore insolvent investment funds in litigation and regulatory investigations to recover significant assets, including recovering almost £100 million for Connaught Income Series I Fund UCIS investors in its claim against Capita Financial Managers Limited; advising parties involved in a multi-billion dollar tax evasion investigation encompassing offshore trust litigation and multi-jurisdictional criminal and civil proceedings; and acting for the Government of Nigeria in challenging a $10 billion arbitral award in favour of a BVI company arising from a failed gas deal, on the basis that the underlying contract and the award itself were procured through fraud and corruption. A successful application was made to the English Commercial Court to secure an unprecedented extension of time to challenge the arbitral award more than three years after it was made, extending the usual 28 day limit in which arbitral awards must be appealed, on the grounds that there was strong prima facie evidence of fraud and bribery. 

Shaistah's practice frequently has an international element and she has extensive experience of litigation and investigations in a number of European, Middle Eastern, Asian and African jurisdictions. This includes advising on sanctions involving Russia, Iran, the Middle East and North Africa, in addition to many other jurisdictions where sanctions are in operation, in both an advisory and contentious capacity. She has led internal investigations relating to alleged violations and advised on regulatory challenges involving sanctions in numerous sectors including financial services, life sciences and the travel industry, including making reports to HM Treasury and OFAC. She has also advised the Law Society and OFSI on its Guidance on sanctions regulations.

Shaistah is ranked as a leading individual in Legal 500, described as "excellent" for commercial litigation, "tenacious”, a “real street fighter” and "simply first-class" achieving successful outcomes in some of the most challenging cases. Shaistah is Co-Editor of Dispute Resolution in the Gulf: GCC Approaches and Egyptian Influences.

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