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Usman Roohani
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Usman is developing a broad commercial practice, with a particular focus on company and insolvency law, banking and financial services, and civil fraud and asset tracing.

He is currently:

  • Instructed on a civil fraud claim worth US$60m+ (led by Tim Akkouh of Erskine Chambers);
  • Instructed by Signature Litigation to investigate the prospects of a substantial civil fraud claim worth US$100m+ (currently sole counsel);
  • Instructed to assist with a six-figure transnational commercial dispute in arbitration (led by David Lewis QC);
  • Instructed on a six-figure commercial fraud case (led by Paul Strelitz); and
  • Instructed to advise on a substantial claim for various intentional economic torts relating to a Mayfair hotel (sole counsel).

Usman has appeared in the High Court on multiple occasions in his own right and has experience of conducting trials (including trials involving allegations of fraud) in the County Court.

Prior to pupillage, Usman taught property and trusts law as a Visiting Lecturer and Examiner at King’s College London and spent a year working in the Professional Indemnity Department at Linklaters. His experience includes working with and assisting a broad range of solicitors and clients from across the UK and several offshore jurisdictions.

Banking & Finance

Usman’s experience in the area of banking and financial services includes assisting with:

  • A claim for consequential losses arising out of mis-sold interest rate hedging products (settled at mediation)
  • Advice given on compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007
  • Advice given on FSMA 2000 in relation to proposed banking products

Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing

Usman has experience of assisting with some of the largest and most complex civil fraud matters before the English courts, including the long-running JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov. He has also assisted with applications for interim relief, including freezing injunctions, search orders and Norwich Pharmacal orders. He is familiar with both the urgency and the particular sensitivities required by such applications.

Most recently, Usman appeared as sole counsel in a fast track fraud trial in the County Court. His cross-examination contributed to various findings of fundamental dishonesty and the award of indemnity costs in favour of his client.

His experience includes:

  • Assisting with a commercial fraud claim worth over £300 million involving numerous ex parte applications
  • Contributing to a consumer class action against a series of car manufacturers
  • Assisting with a civil recovery claim brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • Advising on the operation of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the context of a corporate group structure
  • Defending a consumer fraud claim against a tour operator

Prior to pupillage, Usman worked as a research assistant for a leading QC in the area of commercial fraud. He was responsible for researching the principles and procedures for obtaining injunctive relief in several common law jurisdictions.

Commercial Litigation

Usman has assisted with a broad range of commercial disputes across a number of industry sectors, involving claims for breach of contract, intentional economic torts and claims in unjust enrichment. He has assisted with trials in the QBD, the TCC and the Chancery Division.

He has particular experience in the banking and financial services sector. His experience includes assisting with:

  • A claim for consequential losses arising out of mis-sold interest rate hedging products (settled at mediation)
  • Advice given on compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007
  • Advice given on FSMA 2000 in relation to proposed banking products

Companies, Joint Ventures & Partnerships

Usman has assisted with a broad range of contentious and advisory instructions in the areas of company and partnership law. He has experience of matters relating to public and private companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, LLPs, unregistered and overseas companies and unincorporated associations.

On the advisory side, his experience includes assisting in the preparation and delivery of advice given to:

  • A FTSE 100 company on the operation of requisition rights under the Companies Act 2006
  • A FTSE 250 company on whether a proposed corporate transaction would violate the prohibition on financial assistance
  • A public company on the consequences of unlawfully declared dividends
  • An international bank (via a Magic Circle law firm) on the operation of the company charges registration regime
  • A local authority’s pension fund on various points of limited partnership law
  • An investment fund on the enforceability of floating charge securities
  • A public company ahead of a rights issue

Usman has experience of advising on the construction of company articles, joint venture agreements, investment agreements and partnership deeds. He has also drafted various board minutes and written resolutions to support private company transactions (e.g. own-share buy backs).

On the contentious side, his experience includes assisting with:

  • Substantial offshore company litigation (Royal Court of Guernsey)
  • The arbitration of a partnership dispute
  • Drafting unfair prejudice Petitions and Defences to such Petitions
  • An HMRC challenge to a ‘tax plan’ based on the Ramsay principle

Usman has a particular interest in the company charges registration regime and has conducted several hearings relating to company charges in the County Court.

Usman recently advised on the scope of legal advice privilege in the company context.

Directors’ Disqualification

Usman has experience of assisting with directors’ disqualification proceedings, including advising on applications to vary restrictions and applications for permission to act as a director notwithstanding disqualification.

Corporate Insolvency

Usman has experience of assisting with corporate restructuring and insolvency matters, including:

  • Advising a major retail bank undergoing ‘ring-fencing’ restructuring on the enforceability of contractual indemnities
  • Defending a liquidator’s claim to reverse a series of transactions allegedly entered into at an undervalue
  • Defending various fraudulent and wrongful trading claims
  • Advising as to the proper time to value contingent liabilities for the purposes of various insolvency proceedings

Usman recently appeared in the High Court in a heavily contested application seeking that former directors deliver up documents and attend Court to be examined under oath. Usman appeared for the successful liquidators.

Personal Insolvency

Usman has conducted several bankruptcy applications both for creditors (including HMRC) and debtors.

He recently succeeded in an application challenging the remuneration claimed by a trustee in bankruptcy, in which he appeared against a specialist insolvency barrister of over 10 years’ call.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Prior to coming to the Bar, Usman spent a year working in the Professional Indemnity Department of a Magic Circle law firm.

He has since gained experience by assisting with the defence of professional negligence claims brought against financial advisers and valuers. He is familiar with the structure of claims made professional indemnity insurance policies and has contributed to advice given to insurers on policy wording amendments.

Financial Professionals, Insolvency Professionals, Directors & Officers

Prior to coming to the Bar, Usman spent a year working in the Professional Indemnity Department of a Magic Circle law firm.

He has since gained experience by assisting with professional negligence claims brought against financial advisers and valuers. He is familiar with the structure of claims made professional indemnity insurance policies and has contributed to advice given to insurers on policy wording amendments.

Real Property & Mortgages

Usman has a considerable background in property law.

Prior to pupillage, he taught property and trusts as a Visiting Lecturer and Examiner at King’s College London.

He has since conducted several hearings in the County Court relating to commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, mortgage possession claims and applications to suspend warrants of possession.

He has experience of assisting with the trial of a co-ownership dispute in the High Court, and assisted in putting together an argument by analogy to the Pallant v Morgan equity in a commercial real property dispute.He also has experience of disputes concerning freehold covenants and the right to light, and he participated as a pupil in the successful mediation of a substantial proprietary estoppel claim.

Qualifications

  • BA Law, First Class (Trinity College, Cambridge); 2013
  • BCL (Brasenose College, Oxford); 2015
  • BPTC, Outstanding (City Law School, London); 2016

Scholarships and Awards

  • Lord Denning Scholarship, Eastham Scholarship and Hardwicke Award, Lincoln’s Inn; 2013-2017
  • The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Prize (top BPTC performance in Civil Litigation and Commercial Law); 2016
  • Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn; 2016
  • City University Academic Scholarship; 2015
  • Trinity College Tripos Prize (achieving the highest college first in law), Trinity College, Cambridge; 2013
  • Senior Scholarship, Trinity College, Cambridge; 2013
  • Lizette Bentwich Prizes, Trinity College, Cambridge; 2012-2013

CSR

Usman is an active member of the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

He is also involved in a number of mentoring initiatives aimed at assisting applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds hoping to study at the University of Cambridge.

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