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SimonWalton

London, United Kingdom

6 Testimonials
9 Case studies
4 Articles

Summary

Practice Areas:

  • Dispute resolution
  • Banking Litigation
  • Civil Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Commercial Property Litigation
  • Defamation
  • Insolvency
  • Intellectual Property Disputes
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • Partnership Disputes
  • Professional Negligence
  • Shareholder Disputes
Rosenblatt Solicitors

I trained at Rosenblatt, becoming a partner in 2013. I have extensive experience of commercial disputes, company/shareholder disputes, and defamation and negligence claims (including professional negligence). Property and landlord/tenant disputes are also among my specialities, and I advise on various matters arising out of insolvency, both in the UK and abroad.

In addition, I  have acted for large numbers of residential tenants in service charge disputes with their landlords, appearing regularly in the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (now called the Lands Tribunal).

My recent cases include:

  • Acting for a leading private equity firm in a claim in conspiracy in the context of a prepack administration
  • Acting for a private individual against a London estate agency business for claims of professional negligence
  • Acting for a private equity claimant in a claim against a leading fertility doctor; a settlement was reached after the trial had started
  • Acting for the Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, defending simultaneous libel actions brought by International Management Group (IMG) and the Founder of the Indian Premier League (Lalit Modi)
  • Acting for a shareholder of a joint venture company claiming unfair prejudice ([2008] EWHC 2810 (Ch,)[2009] EWHC 1362 (Ch), [2010] EWHC 3334 (Ch) and [2011] EWHC 1370 (Ch))
  • Obtaining summary judgment for Seymour Pierce Limited in a claim against the owners of Birmingham City FC ([2010] EWHC 676 (QB))
  • Obtaining summary judgment for a private equity company against its main investor, who unilaterally decided not to comply with any future calls for investment funds ([2010] EWHC 2841 (QB))
  • Acting for a government-backed investment fund and its private equity management company in seeking injunctive relief and damages against management directors of a bridging loan company that had defrauded investors in a highly complex fraud – Hemsley & Anor v Graham & Ors [2013] EWHC 2232 (Ch) (31 July 2013)

Previous Employment

Rosenblatt2005 - 2007

Training Contract. Seats in Dispute Resolution, Employment, Corporate/Commercial and Corporate Real Estate

Experience

My professional life is dedicated to providing dynamic, professional and direct legal advice to my clients by offering pragmatic, aggressive and effective solutions to real life problems. I started my career at Rosenblatt in 2005, completing my two year training contract in 2007, during which time I was schooled in Real Estate, Employment, Corporate/Commercial and Dispute Resolution. I ultimately chose to specialise in Dispute Resolution and in 2013 I was made a Partner at the age of 31, reflecting my expertise, experience and the high regard that my colleagues and clients hold me in.

Rosenblatt is a fiercely independent full service, city law firm with a global portfolio of FTSE 250 clients and a wealth of experience within the media, digital marketing, green energy, cleantech and security sectors. We react quickly to minimise disruption, get to the root of the problem and use our extensive experience to help our clients achieve a positive outcome. (www.rosenblatt-law.co.uk)

Excluding my wife and young daughter, the other major part of my life is my charitable work. I have been involved with Norwood (a charity which provides real life support for adults and children with learning and physical disabilities) for over 10 years. For three years I chaired the Young Norwood Board, helping to raise several millions of pounds for those in most need. I currently Chair the Young Norwood Lawyers' committee, which organises fundraising events specifically aimed at those in the legal profession between the ages of 18 and 35. (www.norwood.org.uk)

In addition, I am Chairman of the Board of Trustee of Myisrael, a charity which raises money in the UK to support nearly 20 grass roots non-political projects across Israel. Founded in 2008, Myisrael has since raised almost £2m for those projects. I also Chair the Myisrael Professionals Group which organises fundraising events throughout the year. (www.myisraelcharity.org)

Education

University of Birmingham

University

2000 - 2003

Law degree (LLB).

Queen Elizabeth's Boys' School, Barnet

Secondary School

1993 - 2000

A levels in Politics, Business and Finance
9 GCSE's including 3 A Grades.

LPC

College of Law, London

2003 - 2004

Legal Practice Course. Pass with commendation.

Testimonials

Unfair Prejudice/minority shareholder dispute acting for the minority shareholder

"I love my guys at Rosenblatt. They think through all of the problems and give me the very best advice. They also get the human dimension, and know how to look after their clients in difficult times. No one hopes to get involved with litigation, but you can hope that, if you ever do, Rosenblatt, and Simon Walton in particular, are on your side."

 

Managing Director of multi million pound property investment and management business

Unfair prejudice/minority shareholder dispute

"We instructed Rosenblatt on a complex matter worth tens of millions of pounds to our company - a publicly listed business in Israel. The litigation was hard fought, with our opponents playing every trick they could think of, and inventing a few new ones. Even so, at every step of the way, Rosenblatt, and Simon Walton and his team in particular, knew how to advance our case at the cost of our opponents who were ultimately forced to concede liability.   

 In my work, I am a details man. Even so, I was impressed by Simon's ability to deal with the fine detail of what was a highly complicated dispute, involving a number of transactions designed to be opaque. And then, having grasped the detail, Rosenblatt were able to use that knowledge to devise effective solutions to the issues and problems at hand at an extremely fast pace.  

This litigation involved the Chairman, CEO and senior members of the management team, and amounted to a major investment of company time. I do not feel we could have better used that investment than we did by instructing Rosenblatt. They are now our go-to team for any issues involving our business in the UK."

Chief Financial Officer of publicly listed property development and investment business in Israel

Unfair Prejudice/minority shareholder dispute

"Rosenblatt get on with the job. I like that. They do their job effectively. I like that even more."

 

Owner and CEO of private company in Israel focused on property investments around the world.

Unfair Prejudice/minority shareholder dispute

"As a CEO of a public company, there are many many demands on my time through the day, and, of course, there are always problems that need to be addressed: when you are the person in charge, this is what you expect. So the question becomes, who can help me deal with these problems, for the benefit and good health of my company? I do not want big talkers. I want people who can deliver.

 I knew I could call Simon Walton or Ian Rosenblatt at any time of the day or night, and any day of the week, and they would be able to deal with my concerns straight away. I felt from the very start they understood our case, not just legally but from the commercial point of view – advice that does not take into account your business does not amount to good advice, in my book. All through the process, Rosenblatt understood the bigger picture at every step of the way. I felt they were our advisors rather than just our lawyers.

 I also liked how Rosenblatt kept things simple. I am not a lawyer, but I need to make decisions about a legal case worth many millions of pounds, which can be an intimidating prospect. At every turn, Simon and his team deciphered this language of law in a way that enabled me to make the best decisions about how to go forward. Never once did I feel that I did not understand the legal side of the decisions I had to make.

Rosenblatt offer the whole package and, when you add to that their immense experience, they will advise you well, just as they advised me."

 

CEO of public company in Israel

Negligence and breach of contract claim against a London firm of commercial real estate agents for sale at undervalue

"Rosenblatt, and in particular Simon Walton, are great. They are passionate in the way they put their client’s case, and they do not give up. I was in safe hands."

Private client

Professional negligence claim against a top international law firm for damages in excess of £10m

"If you are a sportsman, as I am, you cannot help but consider the attributes of the great sports people as the same kind of attributes you want in your solicitors. Exceptional focus on the task at hand, while maintaining at all times a sense of the game; lightning-quick reflexes in defence, followed by unstoppable counter-attack; the ability to function as a seamless team with each team member ready to take a winning shot if the opportunity presents itself. And all the while knowing the seriousness of what’s at stake.

Rosenblatt is a firm composed of the equivalent of world class sports people in every position, from the coaches, the captains - like Simon Walton - and centre-forwards, to the backroom staff that keep it all running. There is no situation in which you may find yourself – championship point, penalties against Germany, the last over – that you would not want to turn to your side and see Rosenblatt right there with you."

 

Private client, former CEO of cricketing franchise and senior position at world's leading sports marketing company.

Case Studies

Unfair Prejudice Petition/Minority Shareholder dispute over £600m worth of prime real estate

I recently acted for two Israeli companies who, in 2006, co-invested for a 40% in two Hilton branded hotels in London and Birmingham. Unfortunately, relations with their 60% joint venture partner went sour over a number of years, during which time, and unbeknown to my clients, their partner had carried out various transactions for its own benefit. Following the "transfer" of a third joint venture asset to its private ownership in 2013, matters came to a head in March 2014 when the majority joint venture partner refinanced the business and diluted my clients from 40% shareholding to 13%.

Proceedings were issued in the High Court and the trial finished in February 2017.

At the outset of the trial, and owing to the thorough and relentless investigations by me and my team, the majority shareholder threw in the towel and made several "open" concessions and admissions as regards the unfairly prejudicial conduct and agreeing to reverse the dilution and give back the transferred asset. We are currently waiting to find out how much the majority shareholder will have to pay to buy out my clients' interests.

Apart from the usual challenges of high value, top level litigation, in this case my clients were both foreign entities with no experience of the English legal system and so our advice had to be clear, concise and understandable both as to the law but also as to the culture of English Courts and civil procedure.

Acting for private equity house in unlawful conspiracy claim in the context of a pre-pack Administration

I was instructed to act for a well known and respected UK private equity and property fund manager (M) in relation to what turned out to be a failed investment into a software development company (Q). My client had invested at mezzanine level and had taken share options as part of the investment.

Q had the benefit of an invoice discounting facility with a well known bank. The Managing Director of the business persuaded the board, and my client, to switch the facility to another, less reputable, invoice discount provider/asset based lender (B), claiming that it would increase working capital in the long term. However, my client did not know that B had entered into discussions with the Managing Director, and the key supplier (V) to the business, to immediately call a default on the lending, place the business into administration and then sell the assets and goodwill to a Newco owned by V and the Managing Director and funded going forward by B.

When B filed a notice of intention to place the business into administration, seeking to appoint a local firm of IPs as administrator, my clients managed to persuade that administrator not to take the job, and instead put in their own choice of office holder (Z). Z then received, on the same day, an offer from NewCo to purchase the assets of Q for a pittance. When Z refused to sell, the managing director simply transferred the business to the NewCo anyway, telling customers that it was the same company "just with a different bank account".

 

I came up with a cause of action of unlawful conspiracy and we threatened claims against all involved. Before issuing proceedings, we got a favourable settlement from V, and then pursued the remainder of the claim for damages against B. This is the first and only reported case of an unlawful means conspiracy having been proven in the context of a pre pack administration.

Claim against estate agent for selling at an undervalue and breach of duty to preferred bidder

My client owned a pub in Kentish Town, London. She started working there behind the bar and through the years ended up owning the property and running the business. By 2014, she decided to sell the pub and retire and instructed a well known firm of local estate agents to help her sell. My client ended up selling the property for £2m.

However, my client discovered after exchange that some bidders had been willing to pay more than £2m, but had been, she claimed, actively dissauded from bidding by her agent. One bidder claimed that the agent told him my client had taken the property off the market. The person who eventually bought it was a long standing client of the agent and, with the help of the agent, sold the property a year or so later for £2.9m.

My client brought proceedings against the agent for breach of contract and breach of duty and for failing to obtain the best price possible and sought damages of £500,000 - being the difference between what she sold for and what one of the unsuccessful bidders said they would have paid. At the time of writing, we are waiting for the Judgment.

Recovery of $6.5m fee and defending spurious allegations

My client was an international business man who arranged a large scale transaction between two counterparties in return for which he was to receive a fee of approximately $6.5m. My client asked his friend and trusted business associate to make the arrangements for the money to be paid into an newly incorporated company in his name in order to receive the fee. However, the friend set up a new company offshore and listed himself as the sole owner and director. The friend also had control of the newco bank account from which he would pay money to my client as and when my client requested it. 

My client became suspicious when his friend would not provide him with bank statements for the account. As it transpired, the friend had been helping himself to the funds in the account. When caught, he admitted it, but would not return the money, forcing my client to issue proceedings. When he did so, the friend claimed that he was in a 50/50 partnership, and the money he spent was his. The friend also claimed that large amounts of money withdrawn in cash had been hand delivered to my client, or left for him at various places in London. In addition, the friend issued a counterclaim, saying that he was the 50/50 owner of a larger venture from which my client had allegedly received $30m.

The claim went to trial and the friend was duly found to be a liar and Judgment entered for my client, with costs.

One of the challenges in this case was that my client was a foreign national and his friend was using every trick in the book to try and prevent the claim going to trial, including seeking security for costs. In addition, there was little documentary evidence to support either man and so we went to trial hoping the Judge found the friend to be a liar - and thankfully he did.

Professional negligence and loss of a chance action against client's former solicitor

My client engaged Lewis Silkin to draft an agreement between him and a Indian company that owned one of the Indian Premier League (cricket) franchises. Part of the deal was that my client was to have a "severance guarantee" which entitled him to a payment of £10m if he was sacked. Lewis Silkin drafted a "Heads of Terms" agreement but failed to include any provision of security for the £10m payment, and also failed to include a jurisdiction clause.

In due course, my client was sacked and sought to sue for the £10m at which time he was met with a jurisdiction challenge. Whilst ultimately successful, dealing with that challenge took several months and several thousands of pounds. Once jurisdiction was deal with, my client got on with the main proceedings. But shortly before disclosure, his Indian counterpart retreated to India and said "come and get me." My client proceeded to get judgement in the UK for £10m, plus interest and costs, but by the time he went to enforce it, the Indian company had been stripped of its valuable cricket franchise, and was subject of investigations by authorities in India. 

My client instructed me to pursue a claim against Lewis Silkin for professional negligence for failing to include a jurisdiction clause (which caused unnecessary delay in the process) and for failing to include appropriate security, by way of a bank guarantee or otherwise, for the £10m. My client succeeded in the High Court and was awarded £2m plus interest and costs, reflecting the Judge's view as to the chance (20%) of obtaining the £10m from the Indian company. That decision was overturned on appeal, and ultimately the claim was settled.

Acting for a former Russian business tycoon in a dispute with a Russian bank. Enforcing a foreign judgment in the UK Courts

My client had owned a very large chain of supermarkets in Russia, but fell out of favour with the establishment. He had signed personal guarantees with a large Russian Bank who, after the collapse of the supermarket business, came to collect. Having fled Russia with his family, the Bank proceeded to obtain judgement against him in default in the Russian Courts, first seeking to enforce in Russian and then in Austria where my client lived for a short time. Eventually, the Bank found him in the UK and sought to enforce the Russian Judgment in the UK Court.

The Bank was successful and sought to enforce, despite my client telling them he had no money or assets following everything being taken from him in Russia. Ultimately, my client filed for bankruptcy. But that was not the end of the story because - encouraged by the Bank, the Trustee in bankruptcy launched several investigations - all of which lead nowhere - which my firm had to defend. Ultimately, we secured the release of the bankruptcy. 

Defamation/Libel action brought against high profile sporting executive

My client - a well known sporting executive involved in English and Welsh cricket - was sued by the founder of the Indian Premier League and one of the world's biggest sports marketing companies for libel relating to comments made as regards their activities in seeking to set up an Indian Premier League style event in England involving the cricket counties.

We first brought and won a preliminary hearing as to the alleged defamatory meaning and ultimately the claim was settled out of Court.

Forensic investigations of employee laptops and devices

Several employer clients have used me to organise and pursue forensic investigations into employee laptops and devices following evidence surfacing that confidential company information had been transferred to private email or devices. With the help of third party forensic IT experts, carried out process from beginning to end, including providing a report on findings and action plan.

Find the anonymous blogger - Norwich Pharmacal applications to unearth hidden bloggers

I have been instructed by several clients - most notably one of the largest communication satellite businesses in the UK - to obtain disclosure from blog and market data sites of anonymous individuals making defamatory comments about my clients and/or disclosing confidential and market sensitive information.

Once the true identity is obtained, we have been instructed to pursue that individual in defamation and/or a variety of other causes of action.

Published Cases

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Achievements

Awards

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Associations & Memberships

Law Society/SRA - since 2007

Regulator

UK Israel Business - since 2013

Chamber of commerce between the UK and Israel encouraging trade and business generally

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