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Sinéad Esler Patel, Associate, Dispute Resolution

Sinéad Esler Patel

Managing Associate

Personal Profile

Sinéad is a commercial litigator with a hybrid practice specialising in Civil Fraud and Art Law disputes.

On the Civil Fraud side, she acts for a variety of clients, both corporates and individuals, in complex and high value commercial disputes, involving Norwich Pharmacal Orders, freezing injunctions and other interim orders. Her cases are often of a cross-jurisdictional nature, involving allegations of breach of contract, misrepresentation, dishonest assistance, fraudulent trading, breach of trust and fiduciary duty, conspiracy and unjust enrichment.

On the Art Law side, she advises on a range of contentious art related matters, both high-profile disputes and smaller more discreet concerns, on issues including fraud, authenticity, provenance, conversion and ownership. She is experienced in advising on and assisting with the potentially significant reputational, commercial and personal considerations that can feature in such matters. She also regularly gives external training on fraud issues in the context of the art market, including on Christie's Education programme.

Sinéad is a founding member of the Art Lawyers Association, of which she is Committee Secretary. She is on the Committee of the Young Fraud Lawyers Association, of which she is Treasurer. She is also a Trustee of Photoworks, a charity dedicated to championing photography for everyone.

Key Experience

Civil Fraud/Commercial Litigation

  • Acting for a major European bank in complex fraud claims involving non-performing loans of ~EUR90m, with claims before the courts in the Cayman Islands, Malta, Canada, and in arbitration.
  • Acted for the defendants to a multi-million pound claim and freezing order.
  • Acted for an individual subject to a worldwide freezing order and defending a highly contested Russian law claim for over £1bn.
  • Acted for the Petitioners in an Unfair Prejudice Petition before the Court of Appeal.
  • Acted for a global bank defending a claim for over £70m for alleged dishonest assistance and fraudulent trading in the context of an MTIC fraud in the emissions market in 2009.
  • Acted for a global financial services company successfully seeking strike out of a Part 20 claim for indemnity or contribution.
  • Acted for a US company in relation to various Norwich Pharmacal applications, successfully obtained.

Art & Cultural Property

  • Acted on various misrepresentation and ownership claims, often involving complex jurisdictional considerations and both civil and criminal elements.
  • Advised an art collector and investor in an international art fraud concerning contemporary art works.
  • Acted for a contemporary art collector in a High Court claim relating to ownership of various artworks, resolved in favour of our client.
  • Acted on a multi-jurisdictional ownership dispute involving a contemporary artwork consigned to an auction house.
  • Acted for a collector in relation to authenticity disputes.
  • Acted for a US entity in relation to an ownership dispute and advising on UK export controls and the Waverley criteria.
  • Acted for a gallery in relation to a restitutionary award pursuant to the Washington Principles.

Career History

Associate, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Solicitor, Pinsent Masons LLP
Trainee, Pinsent Masons LLP
Institute of Art and Law, Diploma in Art, Profession, Law and Ethics
College of Law, Legal Practice Course
College of Law, Graduate Diploma in Law
University of Oxford, BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature

Articles and Publications

  • Article on 'Authenticity in Art: Recent Case Law' published in the Young Fraud Lawyers Association newsletter issued in March 2023. 

  • Article on 'Principles Applicable for Issuing Search Warrants at the Request of a Foreign Jurisdiction', a case study of Al Hajjeh v. Westminster Magistrates' Court [2021] EWHC 2283 (Admin), published in the Institute of Art & Law's journal Art Antiquity and Law 2022.

  • Article on 'Looted Art and Restitution: A Changing Cultural Climate' published in the Young Fraud Lawyers Association newsletter issued on 21 September 2022. 

  • Co-authored 'A Costly Oversight: Exclusion Clauses' article in the Property Law Journal March 2014
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