Roger Masefield QC
Year of Call: 1995 Silk: 2013
“Absolutely outstanding and expected to be one of the great stars of the future.”
- Chambers & Partners 2014
“Roger Masefield ‘develops a complete understanding of the factual issues that surpasses even that of the client who has lived through the matter’.”
- Legal 500 2012
Roger Masefield has extensive experience of all aspects of commercial law. Within his first year of taking silk he has been instructed in a wide range of matters, including claims on behalf of the Libyan Investment Authority against both Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale (each worth in excess of one billion dollars); a claim against Tamara Ecclestone as to ownership of a Lamborghini; and a reinsurance arbitration relating to the 2010 New Zealand earthquakes, which raised complex issues of both seismology and contractual construction. Before taking silk, he acted as a lead junior in the Berezovsky v Abramovich and related Berezovsky v Patarkatsishvili litigation.
Roger Masefield has appeared, both led and unled, in the Commercial Court, Chancery Division, Court of Appeal, and the Privy Council; and in the High Court and Court of Appeal in the British Virgin Islands. His practice areas include international arbitration, banking, civil fraud, commercial litigation, energy, insurance and reinsurance, and professional negligence. Former clients include oil and gas majors; accountancy firms; banks and financial institutions; various high net worth individuals; syndicates and insurance companies; HM Treasury and the Bar Council.
Over the last 10 years Roger Masefield has been consistently recognised as one of the leading juniors at the London Bar by both The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories, principally in commercial litigation, energy, civil fraud and insurance and reinsurance.
Since taking silk, he has continued to be recommended by Chambers & Partners, in a number of fields.
Commercial litigation and arbitration
Roger Masefield has a broad commercial practice, ranging from civil fraud to professional negligence, and spanning several sectors of the economy (oil and gas; banking and finance; insurance and reinsurance; media; the legal professions). He has appeared in both the High Court, and in commercial arbitrations. He has also been involved in several cases in the British Virgin Islands.
Roger Masefield has recently been instructed to act on behalf of a sovereign wealth fund (the Libyan Investment Authority) in relation to their billion dollar claims against Goldman Sachs, and Societe Generale, arising out of a series of long-dated complex derivative options and investments in managed funds. Further examples of his commercial practice are set out below.
Insurance and Reinsurance
Roger Masefield has acted for a large number of insurers and reinsurers, both in the High Court and in international arbitrations.
Since taking silk, he has been involved in a reinsurance dispute between various Lloyds syndicates and Bermudian reinsurer, arising out of the 2010 New Zealand earthquakes. The arbitration raised complex issues of both seismology, and contractual interpretation of aggregation and extended expiration clauses.
Before taking silk, as well as being involved in a number of reinsurance disputes arising out of the spirals in the PA market (such as Sphere Drake v John Hancock), Roger Masefield acted for several London market reinsurers in relation to South American claims (Brotherton v Colseguros  2 All ER (Comm) 208; Markel v La Republica  EWHC 1826); and for insurers bringing claims arising out of the activities of fraudulent brokers (ING v R+V  2 All ER (Comm) 870; Markel v Surety Gurantee Consultants). Roger Masefield was also led by Jonathan Sumption QC and Andrew Popplewell QC in two large oil and gas cases arising out of a multi-million dollar facultative open cover (BP v Frankona  1 Lloyds Rep 549 and BP v Aon  1 Lloyds Rep 549).
Other notable insurance and reinsurance cases, in which he appeared as a junior, include Apple v Euler  EWHC 1584; and Prifti v Musini  All ER (D) 82.
Since taking silk, Roger Masefield has been involved in a multi-million dollar dispute between Sabre Oil & Gas and Standard Bank, in relation to funding for the development of the Jubilee Oil field (offshore Ghana); and an LCIA arbitration between Lukoil and Terraseis, involving complex issues of force majeure and construction of a parent company guarantee.
Before taking silk, as well as acting for BP in its disputes with insurers and brokers (BP v Frankona and BP v Aon), Roger Masefield has acted for Eskom (the South African state electricity company) following an explosion at a coal powered power-station; for Coflexip Stena in relation to an off-shore drilling project; and most recently for BHP Billiton in a pricing dispute in relation to a long-term supply contract. Roger Masefield has also acted for Exxon Mobil and Esso in the past.
Banking and finance
Since taking silk, Roger Masefield has been instructed on behalf of the Libyan Investment Authority in its billion dollar claims against Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale, involving the sale of complex long-dated derivative options and managed fund investments. He has also been instructed on behalf of Standard Bank, to defend claims brought by Sabre Oil & Gas relating to four debtor in possession short-term loan facilities.
Before taking silk, Roger Masefield acted for a number of banks and financial institutions and high net worth individuals, in cases involving letters of credit (Banco Santander v Bayfern  1 All ER (Comm) 776 - led by Mark Hapgood QC); complex derivative products (Chase Manhattan Bank v Pollux - led by Mark Howard QC and George Leggatt QC); pensions and savings (In re: Equitable Life - led by George Leggatt QC); and money laundering (Bowman v Fels  1 WLR 3083 - led by Anthony Boswood QC).
In the past, Roger Masefield has acted as Assistant Editor (under Mark Hapgood QC) to Paget's Law of Banking (13th Edition, 2007); Co-Editor (along with Mark Howard QC) of Butterworth's Banking Law Guide (October 2006); and a contributor to Oxford University Press' Banks and Financial Crime (February 2008).
Since taking silk, Roger Masefield has been instructed by the Libyan Investment Authority to pursue billion dollar claims against Goldman Sachs (in undue influence), and Societe Generale (in bribery and corruption). He also acted for Elite Cars, in relation to its claim for conversion against Tamara Ecclestone, which went to trial in 2013 and in which Elite Cars succeeded on its claims (Ecclestone v Elite Cars).
Before taking silk, Roger Masefield acted as a lead junior in Berezovsky v Abramovich in the Commercial Court, and the related Berezovsky v Patarkatsisvhili litigation in the Chancery Division. In addition, he has acted for a number of claimants in civil fraud matters, both before the English Courts (Markel v Surety Guarantee Consultants; Banco Santander v Bayfern); and, on several occasions, in the British Virgin Island Courts.
In addition to the Berezovsky litigation, and the claims advanced by the Libyan Investment Authority against Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale, notable cases have included multi-million pound joint venture disputes, in which he was led by Jonathan Sumption QC and Mark Howard QC (Transworld v Japan Chrome; Transworld v Deripaska); and a multi-million dollar civil fraud claim arising out of the collapse of the Yukos empire (Petroval v Stainby).
In the course of this work, Roger Masefield has gained extensive practical experience of freezing orders; search and seizure orders; anti-suit injunctions; jurisdiction challenges; tracing claims and restitutionary relief.
Roger Masefield has been involved in a number of professional negligence cases involving lawyers and accountants (Wallace Smith v Deloittes; Abbey Life v Rowe & Maw). He has acted for both claimants and defendants. In BP v Aon  1 Lloyds Rep 549, he appeared (led by Andrew Popplewell QC) for BP and its joint venture partners in a multi-million dollar claim against insurance brokers.
Before taking silk, Roger Masefield was involved in a highly complex 8 week trial in the Commercial Court involving claims against an engineering company (Eskom v Alstom). The case turned, to a large extent, on the expert evidence which covered the fields of metallurgy, steam chemistry, power station operations, and non-destructive testing techniques (as well as quantum).
Qualifications & Further Information
1990 – 1993 First Class, BA (Hons) Law, St John’s College Cambridge
1994 – 1995 First Class and Vinerian Scholar, BCL, Magdalen College Oxford
Called to the Bar by Middle Temple, November 1994
Pupillage at Brick Court Chambers 1995 - 1996 (Pupilmasters: Mark Howard, George Leggatt, Michael Swainston, Nicholas Green)
Tenancy at Brick Court since 1996
Took silk in 2013.
- Languages: working knowledge of French
- Called to the Bar of the British Virgin Islands in 1999
Assistant Editor to Paget's Law of Banking (13th Edition 2007)
Co-Editor of Butterworths Banking Law Guide (2006)
Contributor to Banks and Financial Crime (2008)
Contributor to Competition Litigation UK Practice and Procedure (2010)
- "A fantastic litigator with a really strong commercial understanding." "He's very responsive, very good at dealing with difficult issues, and fearless as an advocate." (Chambers & Partners 2018)
- "He is methodical and very effective." (Chambers & Partners 2018)
- "Very, very good in the preparatory stages and excellent at giving initial advice. Once the case fully gets under way he is very good in terms of tactical guidance." (Chambers & Partners 2018)
- "Unfailingly polite and a delight to work with." (Legal 500 2017)
- "Unswervingly impressive and a master tactician." (Legal 500 2017)
- "A brilliant strategic thinker and absolutely on top of his brief." (Legal 500 2017)
- "Hugely impressive: he punches above his weight and has real charisma." "He's very sensible and extremely diligent." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
- "He has a first-class mind, adopts an extremely flexible approach and is thoroughly committed to the case." "He's very hands on, really gets stuck into the detail and shows real enthusiasm for the cause." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
- "Cerebral and very good on paper." "He has an extremely flexible approach and thoroughly committed to the case." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
- "An excellent strategist and leader of teams." (Legal 500 2016)
- "He is very commercial and communicates with lay clients very effectively." (Legal 500 2016)
- "An absolutely superb advocate. He's brilliantly persuasive, reads the court to perfection and demonstrably changes the judge's mind. He's persistent without being tedious and is one of the most polished advocates at the Bar." (Chambers & Partners 2014)
- "Absolutely outstanding and expected to be one of the great stars of the future." (Chambers & Partners 2014)
- "A man you can have huge respect for." (Chambers & Partners 2014)
- "Roger Masefield is "an imaginative lawyer and a forceful advocate" who is an "impressive all-rounder."" (Chambers & Partners 2013)
- "The "excellent" Roger Masefield is a popular choice with clients who appreciate his "no-nonsense, black and white approach."" (Chambers & Partners 2013)
- "Roger Masefield ‘develops a complete understanding of the factual issues that surpasses even that of the client who has lived through the matter'." (Legal 500 2012)