'A very shrewd lawyer, with a great tactical overview of litigation' -

Legal 500 rankings, 2018

Charles Fussell is a qualified solicitor and barrister and has full rights of audience as a solicitor advocate.  After practising for a short period at the bar at 1 Temple Gardens, Charles joined the commercial litigation division of Herbert Smith LLP in April 1996 where he practised as a solicitor for almost 10 years.

Charles specialises in commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on financial services, fraud related matters, professional negligence and contentious insolvency.  In addition, part of Charles’s practice relates to media claims, including defamation and breach of privacy.

Charles often acts as counsel in his cases and regularly undertakes or assists in the drafting of pleadings and skeleton arguments. 

Charles’s matters include:

  • acting as General Counsel to the claimants, in the leading commercial case of Dar al Arkan and Bank Alkhair v Majid Al Refai and others, a substantial claim for damages and other relief in the London Commercial Court with related proceedings in the US and the Middle East;
  • Acting for the Respondent to a search and seizure order obtained as part of the JSC JTA Bank v Ablyazov litigation;
  • Acting on behalf of Boris Berezovsky, alongside Addleshaw Goddard LLP, in a dispute with Roman Abramovich, involving a claim for US$6 billion arising out of the privatisation of the oil company, Sibneft;
  • acting on behalf of Boris Berezovsky, alongside Addleshaw Goddard LLP, in a dispute concerning a joint venture, involving claims concerning the rightful ownership of in excess of US$2 billion of assets in multiple jurisdictions and against multiple defendants;
  • acting on behalf of BP, alongside Linklaters LLP, in relation to its dispute with a Russian joint venture partner;
  • acting on behalf of the lenders, alongside King Wood & Mallesons (formerly SJ Berwin LLP), in a major Commercial Court dispute involving the restructuring of a substantial corporate debt issue;
  • acting for the former chairman and majority shareholder of Queens Park Rangers Football Club in the multi-million pound dispute arising out of the takeover of the club by Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone;
  • acting on behalf of a Canadian Fund manager in respect of a US$15 million claim against a Guernsey based investment fund arising out of an alleged breach of the investment management agreement;
  • acting for an individual in respect of a substantial claim for alleged misrepresentation against an oil company;
  • advising a Bahraini based investment bank in relation to multi million dollar claims against a number of former officers, including advising in relation to applications in England in support of foreign proceedings;
  • acting on behalf of a US corporation in relation to a Norwich Pharmacal application against a UK based website provider;
  • acting on behalf of two individuals in respect of proceedings brought by the DTI under the Company Disqualification of Directors Act 1986;
  • acting on behalf of a group of investors in relation to a dispute over their investment in a joint-venture with Hong Kong and Chinese entities, including advising on the merits of contractual claims against those entities and tortious claims against third parties;
  • acting on behalf of a corporate finance boutique in relation to various claims from investors;
  • acting on behalf of the purchaser of a large commercial property in London and seeking rectification of the sale agreement;
  • acting on behalf of a claimant in proceedings against the London Development Agency resulting from a compulsory purchase order;
  • during 2007/2008 bringing proceedings for professional negligence against a London law firm on behalf of a Canadian company;
  • in November 2006 obtaining a substantial settlement against a national newspaper in respect of a defamation claim brought by a high profile individual;
  • in October 2006, obtaining control of an AIM listed company from its then management on behalf of the founding minority shareholders;
  • in June 2006 obtaining summary judgment in the Commercial Court against a UK clearing bank on behalf of the liquidators of an insolvent Cayman Island company;
  • in early 2006 acting on behalf of the provisional liquidators of an insolvent BVI hedge fund in respect of claims against its former directors and professional advisers;
  • during 2005 acting on behalf of the Tajikistan state-owned aluminium smelting plant, in relation to a multi-jurisdictional fraud claim and an LCIA arbitration.

While at Herbert Smith, Charles’s clients included, among others, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, CSFB, KPMG, PwC, Cable & Wireless, Iceland and Equitable Life.  His recent matters at Herbert Smith included acting as junior counsel in the Talco litigation.  Acting on behalf of Merrill Lynch in relation to the restructuring of a large asset-securitisation of an Italian film library, which had run into default.  Specifically Charles obtained summary judgment for a sum in excess of US$20 million in respect of an ISDA swap agreement. 

In addition, Charles was involved in a number of high profile liquidations, including the provisional liquidation of Independent Insurance, claims arising out of the collapse of BCCI and Barings. In addition Charles was involved in recovering funds on behalf of investors in the Manhattan Investment Fund, a Bermuda-based hedge fund which collapsed in 2000.  Charles also has considerable experience of applications to obtain evidence in respect of foreign proceedings, including pursuant to letters of request under the Hague Convention.

Notable cases in which Charles has been involved include:

  • Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Company & Anor v Al Refai [2015] EWHC 1793 (Comm) - substantial claim for damages, settlement and successful application to stay discontinuance costs order;
  • Kaneria v Kaneria & Ors [2014] EWHC 1165 (Ch) - successful defence of debarring application made pursuant to principles in Mitchell v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1537;
  • Moto Mabanga v Ophir Energy Plc [2012], Popplewell J, misrepresentation;
  • Quikclot v DBA [2011], HHJ Mackie, construction of contracts;
  • Berezovsky v Abramovich [2011] EWCA Civ 153, Laws, Longmore and Stanley Burnton LJJ - tort of intimidation;
  • North Shore Ventures v Anstead Holdings [2010] EWHC 1485 (Ch), Newey J - guarantees;
  • Tycon Energy Corporation v The Motley Fool Ltd [2008], Eady J, unreported – Norwich Pharmacal orders;
  • Transview Properties Ltd v City Site Properties Ltd [2008] EWHC 1221, Briggs J – rectification of contracts;
  • Architects of Wine (In Liquidation) v Barclays Bank Plc [2007] 2 Lloyds 741 -banking, conversion of cheques;
  • Tajik Aluminium v Ermatov & Others [2005] EWHC 2241 – freezing and search and seizure orders;
  • Equitable Life Assurance Society v Bowley & Others [2003] EWHC 2263 – directors’ duties, strike out;
  • Equitable Life Assurance Society v Ernst & Young [2003] EWCA Civ 1114 – professional negligence, causation;
  • Bowthorpe v Hills & Others [2003] 1 BCLC 226 – company law, ratification of directors breaches by shareholders;
  • Cable & Wireless v Marpin Telecoms [2000] UKPC 42 – Judicial review, telecommunications.


BA Hons, Exeter University, 1989-1992
CPE, Westminster University, 1992-1993
Inns of Court School of Law, 1993-1994

Pupillage at One Temple Gardens, 1994-1995
Admitted to the Roll of solicitors, April 1997
Solicitor at Herbert Smith, 1996-2005
Full rights of audience as a solicitor advocate, September 2000

Bar Admissions

Called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn, November 1994