Helen Pugh

Profile

Helen specialises in the fields of commercial litigation, insolvency, civil fraud, company law and professional negligence. Her practice has a strong international element and she frequently works with multi-jurisdictional teams.

Commercial, Company & civil fraud

Helen is regularly instructed in a wide range of commercial disputes including those involving contracts for the supply of goods and services, breach of warranty claims, commercial agency disputes, and insurance disputes. She has a particular interest in restitutionary claims and jurisdictional/conflict of laws issues together with asset recovery.

Helen also has extensive experience of company law disputes and civil fraud cases including breach of directors’ duties, breach of trust, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt, and shareholder disputes.

Cases include:

 

A £5m breach of warranty claim by a US marketing agency against the corporate owner of the IP in a highly successful series of romantic novels (led by Aidan Casey QC).

A multi-party fraud said to arise out of the misappropriation of luxury cars worth c.£1.5m from the Grosvenor Hotel in London and their unauthorised transfer to Switzerland.

The leading Supreme Court case on de facto directors: Holland v HMRC (led by Peter Knox QC).

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 £3.7m loan and related charge raising issues of mistake, illegality, misrepresentation, res judicat and abuse of process Baxendale-Walker v APL Management Ltd (led by Jonathan Seitler QC).

An unfair prejudice petition and counter-petition arising out of dealings in a construction company alleged to include the misappropriation of assets, the diversion of company business and various other breaches of fiduciary duty.

RESTRUCTURING & insolvency

Helen’s practice encompasses all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency and regularly acts for office-holders as well as directors, creditors and other interested parties.

Helen has extensive experience of preference and TUV claims, fraudulent and wrongful trading claims, unlawful dividend issues and other breach of duty/ misfeasance claims, together with other applications under the Insolvency Act such as contested petitions and requests for examinations.

Helen is regularly instructed in complex and high value bankruptcy cases, often with a cross-border element. Her cases often involve trusts or beneficial interests, antecedent transactions and contested applications relating to the scope and performance of a bankrupt’s duties.

Cases include:

 

Advising as sole English counsel as part of a multi-jurisdictional team in relation to an Isle of Man winding up petition based upon an Indian arbitration award worth in excess of cUS$500m.

Acting for the petitioning creditor on a highly disputed petition flowing from the acrimonious breakdown of a joint venture which involved allegations of fraud, res judicata and abuse of process. Part of the Glass Slipper High Court litigation.

A c.£500,000 claim against former directors and connected parties for preference, TUV and misfeasance in relation to money payments and the wrongful crediting of materials to the company’s account.

A claim on behalf of a trustee-in-bankruptcy involving fraudulent misrepresentation against a bankrupt for forging transactions and concealing assets.

A claim against a director and shadow director in relation to payments made pre- and post-petition to connected parties.

Professional negligence

Helen regularly acts for and against a range of professionals including surveyors and valuers, insurance and other brokers or intermediaries, accountants, solicitors, barristers and other legal professionals.

Cases include:

 

A multi-million pound negligence claim against a City firm of solicitors arising out of inadequate tax advice relating to a multi-jurisdictional debt pushdown and tax mitigation scheme Symrise AG v Baker & McKenzie (led by William Godwin QC).

A c£7m negligent advice claim by a high net-worth individual against a well-known firm of accountants in relation to the client’s ability to claim entrepreneur’s relief on a disposal in an insurance company.

A claim by a vulnerable individual living in a specially adapted home against her former mortgage broker for the mis-selling of an interest-only mortgage.

A claim by an off-shore deep-sea diver against his former accountants arising out of negligent advice in relation to his highly specialised tax affairs.

A case concerning the extent of the solicitors’ lien over files required for the investigation by the former client of possible negligent acts.

PUBLIC ACCESS

Helen is able to accept instructions directly from members of the public, companies and other entities through the public access scheme (also known as direct access).  Helen has acted, advised and drafted pleadings and documents for a number of individuals and small and medium sized businesses on a direct access basis. She is happy to accept instructions on a direct basis in appropriate cases. If you wish to instruct Helen on a direct basis, please speak to the clerks. 

For more information on public access, please see the Bar Council website.

LEGAL DIRECTORIES

Chambers and Partners 2019

  • "She has excellent attention to detail and offers very good tactical advice." 
  • "Her written advice is always well argued and thought out, and she is a persuasive advocate. She is pleasant and knowledgeable in both travel litigation and commercial issues."

Chambers and 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'.

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'.

Legal 500 (2018)

  • ‘Has a commercially minded approach.’
  • ‘She advises on package travel, foreign law issues, cruise and air claims including the Montreal and Athens Conventions.’

Legal 500 (2016 and 2017)

  • 'She has an excellent grasp of the issues'. 

Publications

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)
  • CFLA (Commercial Fraud Lawyers 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) and French (basic)

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