Who wins the “bare-knuckle fight” between fraud and finality? Setting aside judgments and arbitration awards procured by fraud after the Supreme Court’s decision in Takhar v Gracefield Developments

Joe Sullivan and Tom Nixon will discuss the circumstances in which a judgment or arbitration award can be challenged on the ground that it was procured by fraud. They will examine the impact of the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Takhar v Gracefield Developments [2019] 2 WLR 984, in which they appeared for the Respondents, and the practical issues faced by practitioners when a client seeks to re-open a judgment or award because they consider it was procured by the successful party’s fraud.

Date: Tuesday 18 June, 5.45pm

Venue: Quadrant House

Joseph Sullivan

Joe specialises in commercial law, banking and finance, commercial fraud and professional negligence. He appears regularly in the High Court and the Court of Appeal for claimants and defendants both as sole counsel and as part of a counsel team.

Recently he has appeared as lead counsel for the respondent in the Supreme Court in Takhar v Gracefield Developments [2019] 2 WLR 984 (instructed by Gowling WLG LLP), now the leading authority on the test for setting aside a judgment on the ground that it was procured by fraud; as junior counsel for the appellant in WH Holding Ltd v E20 Stadium LLP [2018] EWCA Civ 2652 (instructed by Gateley plc), the first televised hearing in the Court of Appeal in which the Court revisited the scope of litigation privilege and the threshold for judicial inspection of documents when privilege is challenged; as junior counsel for the second respondent in the Court of Appeal in NCA v RBS and others [2017] 1 WLR 3938 (instructed by Howard Kennedy LLP), the leading authority on the grant of interim declarations; for the respondent insurer in the Court of Appeal in AmTrust Europe Ltd v Trust Risk Group [2016] 1 All ER (Comm) 325 (instructed by Clyde and Co LLP), in which the Court gave guidance as to the proper approach when faced with conflicting jurisdiction agreements; and as sole counsel for the appellant in the Court of Appeal in Cunliffe v Prometric [2016] EWCA Civ 191 (instructed by Allen and Overy LLP) in proceedings regarding the approach the Court should take to analysing an alleged oral contract.

Joe is recommended as a leading junior in the Legal 500 for banking & finance. 

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Tom Nixon

Tom has developed a practice that matches the breadth of Chambers’ practice areas, including international commercial disputes, shipping, conflicts of laws, commodities, aviation, commercial chancery and company work. He has acted, both as sole counsel and as a junior, on claims varying in value from hundreds of pounds to multiple billions. He enjoys difficult cases, and prides himself on being responsive and easy to work with.

Highlights include appearing for the Respondent, led by Joseph Sullivan, in the Supreme Court in Takhar v Gracefield Developments Ltd, in which a seven-Judge panel decided the test for setting aside a judgment on the basis that it was procured by fraud. This raised a wide variety of issues, involving the fundamental principles of res judicata, the public policies surrounding fraud, and a detailed examination of the powers that courts have to manage the conduct of litigation generally.

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