Litigation risk

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We are known as one of the largest and most active litigation practices with the strength and depth to act across multiple sectors. We have particular strength in cross-border disputes and regularly act in large corporate, joint venture and partnership disputes in the energy, financial services, shipping, aviation, art and real estate sectors. Our clients include FTSE 100 and 250 companies as well as other multinational corporations, professional firms, major brands, private equity funds, asset managers, pension funds and ultra-high net worth individuals. We also act for states, state-owned entities and sovereign wealth funds. These clients come to us for their 'bet the company' cases because they know that we have the knowledge and experience to handle successfully the biggest and most complex cases.

How we can help

Our team advises on the full range of commercial and other disputes. We represent clients in High Court litigation, international and domestic arbitration, we manage proceedings in other jurisdictions, and we co-ordinate proceedings in more than one jurisdiction.  We advise and assist clients on ADR, including mediation. Most of what we do is truly international and often multi-jurisdictional.

We advise clients in every major industry and sector, ranging from multinational corporations, financial institutions, large and medium sized companies, professionals and trustees to governments, charities, high net worth individuals and their corporate interests. We offer commercially focused and practical solutions for complex disputes, often assisting clients with interests that cross industries, geographic locations and jurisdictions. We regularly advise on disputes relating to commercial contracts, trade finance, corporate transactions and governance, joint-ventures, partnerships and shareholder disputes.

We have litigation experts in every office who work with each other regularly, so our local lawyers can put together an international team quickly and efficiently.  

Our experience means we can anticipate and prevent issues before they arise. We are also trusted to act quickly and effectively whenever urgent action is required.


Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

Advising Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on defending the enforcement of a US$400 million plus Nigerian arbitral award in England. The ground-breaking 14-year dispute with projects company IPCO (Nigeria) Ltd concluded following referral to the Supreme Court. This is a leading case in England and indeed worldwide on the enforcement of New York Convention arbitration awards. In recognition of the success, the team was awarded the prestigious 'Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year' prize at Legal Week's British Legal Awards in November 2018.

Chinese State Oil Company

Advising in a $120 million dispute over a crude oil export with various banks and the Republic of Congo.

Windfarm Construction EPIC

Advised the EPIC contractor throughout the installation phase for one of Scotland’s largest windfarms. We advised in relation to fabrication subcontracts, material price escalation clauses, engineering and fabrication quality issues, vessel utilisation issues, work permitting, variation disputes and supplier insolvency.

Energy networks provider – district heating 

Advised on the settlement of a significant dispute arising out of the design and construction of a district energy network at the Olympic Park.

South African contractor – power stations 

Advising the contractor on its dispute with its employer under a bespoke contract for power station works and advising on the inadequate extension of time provisions and application of the prevention principle.

Power plant 

Stephenson Harwood was lead counsel instructed by a joint venture between Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Samsung C&T in its dispute against Korea Electric Power Corporation in relation to the construction of the Barakah nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates. 

Modern slavery

Advising a fund on its potential liabilities arising from an allegation of modern slavery in the manufacture of a major financed asset.

PRC Green Power Group

Advising a PRC based Green Power Group in relation to complicated issues of PRC and Hong Kong law including the right to retain and use certain seals and chops of PRC companies, tort of conversion, interpretation of contractual terms especially where there are ambiguities and determination of the ownership and management of operating subsidiaries which have been acquired when the obligations under the sale and purchase agreement have not been fully performed.

Oil, gas and energy disputes 

Stephenson Harwood has a leading reputation in the energy sector, particularly in relation to oil and gas transactions and projects, the offshore services industry and renewables. Our clients include high profile names such as GDF Suez, E.ON, Total, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Eland Oil & Gas and a number of national government entities. The upstream disputes group represents a broad mix of oil and gas companies including independents, IOCs, and NOCs in connection with disputes relating to production sharing contracts (PSCs), joint operating agreements (JOAs), farm-in and farm-out agreements, oilfield service contracts, international investment treaty claims and international border disputes and unitisation agreements.

Professional standards (in relation to governance - business purpose and ethics) 

We act for bodies which set standards for the professions and for those who transgress them. We represent individuals in relation to investigations by regulators and others into alleged irregularities.