Year of Call: 2005
"He's absolutely brilliant. He's incredibly bright, lovely to work with and really on top of everything."
- Chambers & Partners 2016 (Commercial Dispute Resolution)
"His advice, advocacy and cross-examination skills are fantastic."
- The Legal 500 2016 (Banking and Finance)
Fred’s practice encompasses the full range of commercial disputes. His work includes banking and finance, arbitration, civil fraud and energy-related disputes. Much of his work has an international or fraud element. Fred is recommended in Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. Fred is frequently instructed on his own in High Court proceedings. Fred has acted unled in several High Court trials and appeared unled in the Court of Appeal.
Recent work in 2015-2016 includes:
Terra Firma v Citibank. Acted for Citibank in its successful defence of a £2.3 billion fraud claim brought against it by Terra Firma, the private equity group, arising out of the acquisition of EMI in 2007 (one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2016). The claim had turned on alleged oral misrepresentations relating to the auction process and the provision of financing. Terra Firma withdrew its claim in June 2016, three days into what was expected to be a seven week trial.
Pinchuk v Bogolyubov & Kolomoisky. Acted for a Ukrainian businessman in defence of a proprietary claim (valued in excess of $1 billion) relating to the ownership of an iron ore mining company situated in eastern Ukraine (one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2016). The claim arose out of the privatisation of state assets in 2004 and involved allegations relating to an oral agreement and declaration of trust relating to ownership of the mine.
Fiona Trust dispute. Acting for Russian shipowners in long-running dispute over entitlement to rescind charterparties allegedly procured by bribery.
Fred undertakes a broad range of commercial and banking work.
Banking and Finance
- Terra Firma v Citibank. Fred acted for Citibank in its successful defence of a £2.3 billion fraud claim brought against it by Terra Firma, the private equity group, arising out of the acquisition of EMI in 2007. The claim had turned on alleged oral misrepresentations relating to the auction process and the provision of financing. Terra Firma withdrew its claim in June 2016, three days into what was expected to be a seven week trial. The case involved issues relating to the Takeover Code, leveraged finance and securitisation.
- Playboy Club v Banca Nazionale del Lavoro  EWCA Civ 457 – acted (sole counsel at trial and led in Court of Appeal) in dispute relating to provision of banker’s reference to a London casino; the principal issue related to whether a Hedley Byrne-type duty of care was owed.
- Deutsche Bank v Khan - acted for Pakistani senator in dispute over development of “super-prime” properties in London
- Acted for pension fund investment manager in approx. £100m dispute over alleged negligent portfolio management.
- Forsta AP v Bank of New York Mellon (Commercial Court). Acted for pension fund in claim against securities lending agent. Allegations relate to negligent purchase of high-risk and illiquid notes in a structured investment vehicle which collapsed after the Lehman insolvency.
- Dubai Islamic Bank v PSI and others  EWHC 1019 (Commercial Court and Court of Appeal). Acted for bank in $440 million claim arising out of trade financing fraud. Involves tracing claim and full range of interim applications, e.g. worldwide freezing relief, jurisdiction challenge on the basis of parallel proceedings in Bahrain, security for costs of appeal, order for alternative service in Turkey, Norwich Pharmacal relief.
- Sloane v Bank of Scotland (Chancery Division, 2010-11). Acted for bank in defence of proprietary claim brought in relation to failed tax avoidance scheme. Involved issues regarding banker's set off rights and election between trust remedies.
- Benedetti v Sawiris  EWHC 1806 (Ch). Acted for two defendants in claim arising from leveraged buyout of Italian telecoms company. 6 week trial, raising quantum meruit, constructive trust and attribution of knowledge issues.
- Maple Leaf Macro Volatility Fund v Rouvroy  1 Lloyd's Rep 475 (Commercial Court). Acted for hedge fund in claim arising from financing transaction in relation to private placement of shares and warrants in French company.
General Commercial Litigation
- Terra Firma v Citibank (see above).
- Pinchuk v Bogolyubov & Kolomoisky. Fred acted for a Ukrainian businessman in defence of a proprietary claim (valued in excess of $1 billion) relating to the ownership of an iron ore mining company situated in eastern Ukraine. The claim arose out of the privatisation of state assets in 2004 and involved allegations relating to an oral agreement and declaration of trust relating to ownership of the mine.
- Emerald Supplies v British Airways and others (2014-15). Acting for South American airline in defence of a contribution claim arising out of an alleged worldwide cartel relating to air freight surcharges.
- Blue Tropic v Chkhartishvili (2014-15). Acting for Georgian businessman in a dispute over the alleged misappropriation of assets from two BVI companies.
- GDF Suez v Teesside Power Holdings - £120m breach of warranty claim arising out of sale of power station.
- Solland Projects v Nautioloides - dispute over alleged joint venture agreement relating to “super-prime” London property
- Berezovsky v Hine and others - acted for Anisimov defendants in defence of proprietary claim brought by Boris Berezovsky relating to shares in Russian steel company
- Gesner Investments v Bombardier  EWCA Civ 118;  EWHC 2643 Acted successfully for aircraft manufacturer in dispute over interpretation of termination rights in an aircraft purchase agreement in Commercial Court and Court of Appeal.
- Hervia Ltd v Vivienne Westwood Ltd 2011, Chancery Division Acted for Vivienne Westwood Ltd in claim brought by franchisee disputing validity of termination notice. Settled shortly before trial.
- BVM Management v Yeomans  EWCA Civ 1254. Acted (as sole counsel) in Court of Appeal in dispute regarding interplay between notice provision and fixed term provision in supply agreement.
- Acting for Liquidators in Chancery Division proceedings in defence of claim alleging wrongful disposal of property.
- Ad hoc arbitration (2011). Dispute relating to validity of substantial mine construction contracts in Central Asia, raising issues relating to agent's undisclosed interest in contracts.
- Morgan v Pooley  EWHC 2447 (QB). Trial relating to alleged misrepresentation in seller's property information form.
- LCIA (2010). Dispute regarding distribution agreement between a booking technology provider for the travel industry and its Indian distributor.
- Acted for energy trader in Commercial Court dispute over supply of petroleum product to Central America. Settled around 1 week before trial.
- Instructed in defence of breach of warranty / misrepresentation claim for approx. £90 million regarding purchase of scrap metal business.
- Acted for claimant in dispute over exploitation of film and TV rights in comic characters.
- Advised in relation to termination of shipbuilding contracts with Chinese shipyard.
- Advised steel purchaser in relation to substantial transaction with Georgian seller.
- Advising car manufacturer in relation to injunctive relief in support of foreign arbitral proceedings.
- Advising purchaser of Russian company in relation to breach of warranty claim and commencement of LCIA proceedings.
- Fiona Trust dispute (2015). Acted in arbitration proceedings for Russian shipowners in long-running dispute over entitlement to rescind charterparties procured by bribery.
- UNCITRAL arbitration (2015-2016). Successfully represented a South African bank in a dispute with a Central African state regarding financing and supply of military equipment.
- LCIA arbitration (2015). Acting in defence of an approx. $600 million claim relating to the pooling of ferroalloy assets between Ukrainian businessmen.
- LCIA (2007). Acted for major energy company over alleged breach of distribution agreement regarding supply of oil product to Eastern Europe.
- Think Environenmental v Heath Lambert - acting for broker defending claim based on material non-disclosure (led by Neil Calver QC)
- Chelsea Building Society v Chubb (Commercial Court, 2011) Acted for building society in coverage dispute arising out of mortgage frauds. Settled shortly before trial.
- Part of junior part of counsel team acting on behalf of major broking relating to placement of professional indemnity policy; insured's claim under policy relating to mis-selling of endowment policies (2007).
- Regularly instructed in relation to claims against solicitors and financial professionals.
- In addition to his mainstream commercial work, Fred frequently advises in relation to the application of EU sanctions on commercial transactions. He also has experience of competition and European law issues.
- Contributor to 'Banks and Financial Crime: The International Law of Tainted Money' (ed. Blair and Brent, Oxford University Press, 2008).
- ‘Targeted sanctions and sanctions targeted: Iranian banks in the European Court' [May 2013] Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law (with Maya Lester)
- Starred double first, History, Cambridge
- MA International Relations, University of Chicago
- CPE/Diploma in Law, City University (distinction)
- Clare College Foundation Scholarship and Allan Prize for History
- Donnelley Chicago / Clare College Exchange Scholarship
- Lincoln's Inn Lord Mansfield, Hardwicke and Wolfson scholarships
- "His advice, advocacy and cross-examination skills are fantastic." (Legal 500 2016 - Banking and Finance)
- "He's absolutely brilliant. He's incredibly bright, lovely to work with and really on top of everything." (Chambers and Partners 2016 - Commercial dispute resolution)
- “Receives plaudits from a wide range of sources including peers, instructing solicitors and clients for the standard of his representation in commercial disputes. He has appeared in a number of the most significant proceedings of recent years, including the dispute between Pinchuk and Bogolyubov.” (Chambers and Partners 2016 - Commercial dispute resolution)
- “An excellent commercial junior with particular banking expertise.” (Legal 500 2015 – Banking and Finance)
- “Great with clients.” (Legal 500 2015 – Fraud: Civil)
- "Very easy to deal with and very fair." (Chambers and Partners 2015 - Commercial dispute resolution)
- “An active junior with a practice spanning energy, banking and civil fraud disputes. His recent work has included high-profile oligarch litigation” (Chambers and Partners 2015 - Commercial dispute resolution)
- “He is very pragmatic and proactive, and responds very quickly with sound advice.” (Legal 500 2014 – Banking and Finance)
- “A very smooth and persuasive advocate.” (Legal 500 2014 – Fraud: Civil)
- “Picks difficult conceptual issues up in a nanosecond”. (Legal 500 2013 – Banking and Finance)
- “A good up-and-coming guy who has the brains for any case.” (Chambers and Partners 2014 - Commercial dispute resolution)
- “Fred Hobson rounds off Brick Court's impressive cadre of talented young barristers recognised by this year's guide. Sources hail him as a very able lawyer and a crisp draftsman.” (Chambers & Partners 2013)
- “Fred Hobson is ‘very strong on the law - senior barristers have great confidence in him’.” (Legal 500 2009)