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Sri Carmichael
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Sri specialises in commercial dispute resolution, insolvency, commercial fraud and company law.

She is instructed as sole counsel in a number of complex, high value Commercial Court and Chancery Division matters and is frequently against more senior opponents. She is an experienced trial advocate and has succeeded in a number of claims that have required her to undertake extensive cross-examination in respect of allegations of fraud and dishonesty. She is also a sought after junior and welcomes instructions to act as part of a team.

Sri’s experience covers contractual and misrepresentation disputes, including frequently in the field of franchising, breach of warranty claims, agency (including commercial agency), sale of goods, restitution, breach of trust, breach of directors’ duties, deceit, economic torts, partnership and joint venture disputes, shareholder disputes and unfair prejudice petitions, claims on behalf of insolvency practitioners and creditors including in respect of antecedent transactions, asset recovery and injunctions to restrain presentation or advertisement of winding up petitions.

She has expertise in making and resisting applications for interim injunctive relief and regularly appears in the urgent applications court in the Chancery Division.

Recent clients have included high net-worth individuals, multi-national companies, banks, national newspapers, sports stars and television presenters.

Before training as a barrister, Sri was a reporter covering business and consumer stories at the London Evening Standard. As a result, she is comfortable with cases of a complex financial nature and has a keen awareness of the wider commercial issues in legal disputes.

Commercial Litigation

Sri is instructed in a broad range of commercial matters, many with an international dimension, both as sole and junior counsel. She handles disputes before the courts and also subject to arbitration.

She is an experienced trial advocate and has dealt with cases in both the Commercial Court and Chancery Division. She has expertise in obtaining and resisting emergency injunctive relief.

Recent work includes:

  • H v Lloyds Banking Group Plc – Acting for a victim of the much publicised fraud scandal at HBOS Reading in which bank executives forced unnecessary expenditure onto client companies for their own profit, destroying the value of those companies. £50 million dispute. Led by Matthew Collings QC at Maitland Chambers.
  • T v D – Acting for a well-known designer in a breach of contract dispute with a high street department store. Led by PJ Kirby QC.
  • M v D & Ors – Acting for the claimant company in an 8-day trial of a breach of duty/knowing receipt claim against its former de facto directors who had diverted the company’s funds to their own corporate entities. Settled favourably on the seventh day of trial following Sri’s extensive cross-examination of the key defendant.
  • M v F – Acting for a shareholder in a multi-million pound claim for breach of Shareholders’ Agreement/unfair prejudice in respect of a web development company operating from the Ukraine. Settled before trial.
  • S v MT – Acting for an Iranian property agent in a £2 million claim brought by a leading firm of solicitors for breach of warranty of authority and negligent misstatement in respect of the collapse of a high-profile commercial property transaction. Settled before trial.
  • Advising a high-street clothing retailer in a dispute with various foreign factoring companies acting for its Turkish manufacturer over unpaid invoices and failure to deliver stock. Raised complex issues of assignment and set-off. Settled pre-action.
  • Advising a Premier League footballer seeking to extricate himself from a sponsorship contract. Settled pre-action. Led by Nigel Jones QC.
  • S & C v L and Ors – Breach of duty, misuse of confidential information and conspiracy claim regarding alleged misappropriation of computer programming data from a company by its former consultants and directors. Settled before trial.
  • A v Z – Successfully resisting an application for interim injunctive relief and a preservation of assets order in respect of an underlying claim regarding the ownership of shares in a restaurant business. Led by David Lewis.
  • P & Ors v N & E – Acting for two national newspaper companies in respect of a dispute concerning their entitlement to terminate their printing contracts after the printers went into administration. Led by David Pliener. Settled before trial.
  • C v F & Ors v E & Ors – Multi-million pound claim by an investment bank against one of its former directors for misuse of confidential information, breach of duty and conspiracy. Settled on the eve of a three-week trial. Led by Nigel Jones QC.
  • R & Ors v C & Ors – Defending employees of a Norwegian media firm against allegations of breach of duty, breach of confidence, knowing receipt and conspiracy in a case that raised complex conflict of laws issues and involved an interim application for a springboard injunction. Settled before trial.
  • D v M & M v E & Ors – Acting for an energy company in relation to a dispute concerning the diversion of a maturing business opportunity. Settled before trial.
  • Advising a Dutch bank on obtaining a European Order for Payment against a Greek company facing insolvency in respect of a multi-million pound debt due under a lending facility.

Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing

Sri has been led and acted as sole counsel in a number of substantial High Court commercial fraud claims concerning breach of duty, breach of trust, conspiracy, deceit and fraudulent misrepresentation, dishonest assistance, inducing breach of contract, knowing receipt and transactions defrauding creditors. Her company law and insolvency expertise proves a significant asset in this type of dispute.

Recent work includes:

  • H v Lloyds Banking Group Plc – Acting for a victim of the much publicised fraud scandal at HBOS Reading in which bank executives forced unnecessary expenditure onto client companies for their own profit, destroying the value of those companies. £50 million dispute. Led by Matthew Collings QC at Maitland Chambers.
  • M v D & Ors – Representing a company in liquidation in an 8-day trial of a breach of duty/knowing receipt claim in which it was alleged that the company’s de facto directors had diverted the company’s funds to their own corporate entities. Settled favourably on the seventh day of trial following Sri’s extensive cross-examination of the key defendant.
  • S & C v L and Ors – Breach of duty, misuse of confidential information and conspiracy claim regarding alleged misappropriation of computer programming data from a company by its former consultants and directors. Settled before trial.
  • C v F & Ors v E & Ors – Multi-million pound claim by an investment bank against one of its former directors for misuse of confidential information, breach of duty and conspiracy. Settled on the eve of a three-week trial. Led by Nigel Jones QC.
  • R & Ors v C & Ors – Defending employees of a Norwegian media firm against allegations of breach of duty, breach of confidence, knowing receipt and conspiracy in a case that raised complex conflict of laws issues and involved an interim application for a springboard injunction. Settled before trial.
  • D v M & M v E & Ors – Acting for an energy company in relation to a dispute concerning the diversion of a maturing business opportunity. Settled before trial.
  • The Northampton Regional Livestock Centre Company Ltd v Cowling & Anor [2013] EWHC 1720 (QB) – Assisting David Lewis in a dispute over whether the claimant company’s property had been sold at an undervalue. Involved a tracing claim for secret profits.

Companies, Joint Ventures & Partnerships

Sri advises on all aspects of company law, including in respect of unfair prejudice proceedings, breach of fiduciary duty/trust claims, derivative claims and breaches of share purchase agreements.

She has successfully acted as sole counsel in lengthy unfair prejudice and breach of duty trials involving allegations of fraud and dishonesty.

She also has experience in dealing with joint venture and partnership disputes.

Recent work includes:

  • Harry v Harry & Salisbury Autistic Care Limited [2018] EWHC 1737 (Ch) – Succeeded in establishing unfair prejudice in a dispute between two brothers over a care home business that had been transferred away from the company for no apparent consideration. Involved extensive cross-examination on allegations of fraud and dishonesty. Settled ahead of quantum trial.
  • M v D & Ors – Acting for the claimant company in liquidation in an 8-day trial of a breach of duty/knowing receipt claim against its former de facto directors who had diverted the company’s funds to their own corporate entities. Settled favourably on the seventh day of trial following Sri’s extensive cross-examination of the key defendant.
  • M v F – Acting for a shareholder in a multi-million pound claim for breach of Shareholders’ Agreement/unfair prejudice in respect of a web development company operating from the Ukraine. Involved allegations of misuse of company funds and exclusion from management. Settled before trial.
  • Advising on whether the funding structure within a group of offshore insurance companies amounted to prohibited financial assistance.
  • Advising a director on obtaining interim injunctive relief to prevent other board members acting in breach of the company’s articles of association.
  • Advising on wrongful transfers of shares and applications to rectify the register of a company’s members.
  • Advising on the validity of board resolutions and the interpretation of company memorandums and articles of association.
  • Advising in respect of a claim for an account in a dispute arising from an informal partnership.
  • Advising on all aspects of corporate insolvency, including just and equitable winding-up (see separate tab).

Franchising

Sri has experience in acting in complex franchising disputes requiring urgent strategic advice and applications for interim injunctive relief in respect of breaches of post-termination restrictive covenants. She has acted for both franchisors and franchisees in a wide range of industries.

Recent work includes:

  • E v J – Defending a nationwide franchisor in a claim by a franchisee for misrepresentation and repudiatory breach of the franchise agreement. Counterclaim for loss of profit. Listed for three-day trial.
  • E v S & Ors – Acting for a gym chain in a dispute with a franchisee who set up his own rival business from the franchise premises. Involved application for interim injunctive relief. Led by Brie Stevens-Hoare QC and David Lewis.
  • N v C – Acting with Brie Stevens-Hoare QC and Paul Strelitz for a franchisee alleging fraudulent misrepresentation in respect of exaggerated financial projections regarding a franchise business selling printer cartridges. Settled before trial.

Banking & Finance

Sri frequently acts for banks, other lenders and borrowers in disputes concerning personal guarantees, mortgages and consumer credit agreements.

Recent work includes:

  • Barclays Bank Plc v C – acting for bank in a dispute over the proper construction of the terms of a mortgage agreement.
  • HSBC v G – advising on the merits of a borrower’s defence to a claim by the bank under a personal guarantee of duress, misrepresentation and undue influence.
  • C v Kensington Mortgage Company – obtained an extended civil restraint order against the borrower after defeating his multiple attempts (including by way of appeal) to persuade the courts that his mortgage was void.
  • O v Nemo Personal Finance Limited – successfully opposed a time order application in respect of a regulated loan.

Commercial Arbitration

Sri has a particular interest in commercial arbitration and was recently led in a multi-million pound arbitration concerning the interpretation of a construction contract entered into by the Ministry of Defence.

Private International Law

Sri has dealt with numerous disputes with a cross-border dimension across her practice areas and is comfortable advising on conflict of laws issues in respect of jurisdiction and choice of law, enforcement of judgments in other jurisdictions and applications for service out.

Corporate Insolvency

Sri acts for insolvency practitioners, companies, company directors and creditors and individuals in respect of antecedent transactions, winding-up, allegations of misfeasance and wrongful and fraudulent trading, and other issues arising out of liquidations, administrations and CVAs.

She is frequently instructed in commercial and fraud disputes with an insolvency angle due to her cross-discipline expertise, and she has advised on cross-border insolvency matters.

Sri acts in disputes concerning professional negligence allegations against insolvency practitioners as part of her general insolvency practice.

Recent work includes:

  • M v D & Ors – Acting for the claimant company in liquidation in an 8-day trial of a breach of duty/knowing receipt claim against its former de facto directors who had diverted the company’s funds to their own corporate entities. Settled favourably on the seventh day of trial following Sri’s extensive cross-examination of the key defendant.
  • B v M – Advising on strategies to remove a liquidator who appeared to have installed himself without proper authority and obtain pre-action disclosure from the company in liquidation. Dealt with the insolvency aspects of this large-scale construction dispute. Led by David Pliener.
  • H v Lloyds Banking Group Plc – Acting for a victim of the much publicised fraud scandal at HBOS Reading in which fraudulent bank executives forced the client’s company into administration by saddling it with unnecessary expenditure for their own profit. £50 million dispute. Led by Matthew Collings QC at Maitland Chambers.
  • H v C – Acting for a trustee in bankruptcy seeking to set aside a judgment to which he was not a party pursuant to CPR 40.9 on the basis that he was ‘directly affected’ by a bankrupt’s decision prior to his appointment not to oppose an application for a declaration regarding her ownership of a property.
  • Advising two national newspapers on seeking permission to bring a counterclaim against their printers, who were in administration, as part of a wider contractual dispute. Settled pre-action. Led by David Pliener.
  • Advising a liquidator bringing claims for breach of duty against former directors of an offshore insurance company as to whether the funding structure within a group of companies amounted to prohibited financial assistance. With Nigel Jones QC and Sarah McCann.
  • W v S – Successfully resisting a winding-up petition based on liability orders in respect of non-domestic business rates on the basis that there was a disputed debt.
  • Advising liquidators on the application of the rules on mutual dealings and set-off in winding up proceedings in relation to the assignment of a debt against the company to a foreign bank.
  • Advising directors on the merits of various Insolvency Act claims threatened against them by a liquidator and appropriate parameters for settlement.
  • Advising a liquidator in respect of claims against a former director of a multi-national company alleged to have misappropriated company funds. Settled pre-action.
  • Acting for administrators in an application regarding the distribution of the company’s available funds when these were insufficient to meet all the liabilities and expenses of the administration.
  • Advising a Dutch bank on obtaining a European Order for Payment against a Greek company facing insolvency in respect of a multi-million pound debt due under a lending facility.

Personal Insolvency

Sri is instructed by trustees in bankruptcy, creditors and debtors in respect of statutory demands, bankruptcy petitions, IVAs and debt relief orders. She is frequently instructed in commercial and fraud disputes with an insolvency angle due to her cross-discipline expertise.

Sri acts in disputes concerning professional negligence allegations against insolvency practitioners as part of her general insolvency practice.

Recent work includes:

  • Farrington v Turner – Successfully defending a television presenter in the 5-day trial of a multi-million pound transaction at an undervalue claim brought by her former husband’s trustee in bankruptcy. Led by Matthew Collings QC at Maitland Chambers.
  • Acting for a petitioning creditor in relation to a contested bankruptcy petition where the debtor had failed to complete on the sale of a property and complex estoppel arguments were raised.
  • Acting for trustees in bankruptcy, petitioning creditors and bankrupts in applications for annulment and/or rescission of bankruptcy orders, including in respect of bankruptcy orders founded on liability orders for council tax.
  • Acting in a challenge to an IVA on the basis of material irregularity.
  • Public examination of bankrupt thought to be hiding his assets and ultimately obtaining an order that the bankrupt was in contempt of court and to be arrested upon his return to the jurisdiction.
  • Acting in a contested bankruptcy petition arising out of disputed director’s loan account.
  • Advising on setting aside a statutory demand in relation to monies said to be due under a share purchase agreement.
  • Challenging the length of a proposed bankruptcy restrictions order.

Directors’ Disqualification

Sri advises directors in respect of proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 including applications for permission to continue to act where a director has been disqualified or given an undertaking.

Professional associations

  • COMBAR – Young COMBAR Committee Member
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Young Fraud Lawyers Association
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association

Qualifications

  • BPTC (BPP London) – Outstanding (top 10 in year)
  • GDL (BPP London) – Distinction
  • BSc Politics (University of Bristol)
  • Award for outstanding performance, Inner Temple – BPTC
  • Exhibition Scholarship, Inner Temple – BPTC and GDL
  • First prize, Individual Mediator – International Academy of Dispute Resolution International Law School Mediation Tournament 2012, Chicago
  • First prize, Individual Mediator and first prize, Mediation Team – UK Law Schools Mediation Competition 2012

CSR

Sri regularly appears in the Chancery Division urgent applications court representing litigants-in-person pro bono as part of the Chancery Litigants in Person Scheme (CLIPS).

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