Helen Pugh

Helen Pugh

Profile

Helen specialises in general commercial litigation and arbitration, professional negligence and insolvency/company law issues. Her practice has a strong international element with an expertise in jurisdictional disputes, conflict of law issues and travel litigation.

Commercial & civil fraud

Helen has experience in a wide range of commercial and civil fraud disputes including those involving supply of goods and services contracts, SPAs, commercial agency disputes, and insurance policy disputes. She has a particular interest in restitutionary claims and jurisdictional/conflict of laws issues.

Significant cases include:

• an arbitration concerning the supply of commodities in South America (led by Richard Samuel);
• a claim by a Jordanian company against the supplier of nanotechnology for fraudulent misrepresentation (led by James Guthrie QC);
• a case involving a £3m loan allegedly infringing illegality principles (Baxendale-Walker v APL Management Ltd [2018] EWHC 543 (Ch) (led));
• a commercial court case concerning Mexican tax advice Symrise AG v Baker & McKenzie (led by William Godwin QC); and
• a commercial sale of goods and misrepresentation dispute in the Bahamas.

Professional negligence

Helen regularly acts for and against professionals in negligence actions including firms of solicitors, surveyors and valuers, insurance and other brokers or intermediaries, and accountants. Helen is ranked in both Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners in professional negligence.

Significant cases include:

• a commercial court trial against a city law firm arising out of tax advice (see Symrise case above);
• a claim against an accountant for overvaluing a company;
• a claim against a mortgage broker for misselling an interest only mortgage;
• a claim against conveyancing solicitors arising out of a planning permission defect; and   
• a claim against a surveyor for failing to appreciate a risk specific to property in the relevant locality.

Company & insolvency

Helen’s practice encompasses civil fraud, shareholder disputes, directors’ disqualification proceedings, misfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty claims, unlawful distributions, antecedent transactions, beneficial ownership disputes and other proceedings under the Insolvency Act such as petitions, annulment applications, and requests for examinations.

Significant cases include:

• the leading Supreme Court case on de facto directors: Holland v HMRC (led by Peter Knox QC);
• acting for the Indian former director in relation to a petition debt based on an Indian arbitration award undergoing challenge in the Delhi Supreme Court;
• a preference, TUV and misfeasance claim on behalf of joint liquidators against a former director of an insolvent company;
• a claim on behalf of a trustee-in-bankruptcy involving fraudulent misrepresentation against a bankrupt for forging transactions and concealing assets; and
• an unfair prejudice petition arising out of conduct in the aftermath of the breakdown of the marital relationship.

LEGAL DIRECTORIES

Chambers & Partners 2018

'Meticulous in her analysis of the legal issues and a tenacious advocate.'
'An incredibly astute counsel who provides considered, balanced and practical advice, which is always well received by clients.'
'She offers wide-ranging expertise for all manner of travel related matters and is also very detail-orientated.'
'She is pleasant and knowledgeable'.

Legal 500 2016 and 2017

'She has an excellent grasp of the issues'. 

Chambers and Partners 2017

'A real asset to our team who worked incredibly hard and who clearly knows this area well'. 'She comes well prepared, she is very good at announcing right at the beginning what the main issues are going to be'.
'Helen is a talented junior who prepares thoroughly, keeps an open mind and welcomes input from those instructing her'.
'She is a very profound advocate and her written advice is always spot-on'.
'She is pleasant to deal with, hard-working and knowledgeable'.

Publications

In addition to writing for chambers’ own publications, Helen regularly contributes to a range of external journals and periodicals including the Journal of International Banking and Finance Law, the Journal of Corporate Rescue and Insolvency, the New Law Journal and others.

Recent contributions/ publications include:

Good faith in commercial contracts (Westlaw Insight)(current)

An implied term of good faith: a watershed or a damp squib? (2013) JIBFL Vol 28 No 6

APIL Guide to Accidents Abroad

Equitable subrogation: standing in the shoes of a third party with a secured interest (2013) JIBFL Vol 28 No 10

Registration of company charges and company insolvency: dealing with costly mistakes (2015) 6 JIBFL 364A

No ifs, no buts. Cost pressures & solicitors’ negligence are no excuse for cutting corners, says Helen PughNLJ Vol 165, Issue 7659

Third Party duress and undue influence:pitfalls for the IP (2017) 5 CRI p159

Scholarships:

Harris Scholarship, Inner Temple Duke of Edinburgh and major scholarship.

Memberships

COMBAR (Commercial Bar Association)

PNBA (Professional Negligence Bar Association)

LCLCBA (London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association)

ARDL (Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Law)

PNLA (Professional Negligence Lawyer's Association)

CFLA (Civil Fraud Lawyer's Association)

Qualifications

BA (Law with German Law) (First Class) (Oxon); BCL, Keble College, Oxford

Before joining the Bar, Helen spent a year studying in Germany. She subsequently taught commercial contract law at the LSE.

Languages

German - conversational
French - basic