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Mark Davis

Partner (England and Wales), Mishcon de Reya

Personal Profile

Mark Davis is a Partner in Mishcon de Reya LLP and a partner in Mishcon de Reya in association with Karas So LLP in Hong Kong.

He has a broad commercial contentious and non-contentious practice across a wide range of industry sectors, and particular experience in the shipping, shipbuilding, offshore, aviation and financial & professional services sectors.   

He has conducted litigation cases before all divisions of the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council, and has represented clients involved in arbitrations under the rules of the ICC, LCIA, LMAA, and UNCITRAL. He has conducted or overseen proceedings in many foreign jurisdictions including Brazil, Canada, China, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan and the USA.

Mark is one of the leading lawyers practising in the area of auditors' negligence. He acted for AssetCo PLC in its groundbreaking (and successful) case against Grant Thornton, and subsequently for the liquidators of Patisserie Valerie in their claims against Grant Thornton, Watchstone PLC in its claims against KPMG, and the Joint Administrators of London & Capital Finance Plc in their claims against EY and PwC.

He is currently instructed on accountants' and auditors' negligence claims in the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore with claim values in excess of US$7.5 billion.

Mark has also acted for clients in solicitors' negligence cases, and on both contentious and non-contentious share and asset sale and purchase transactions, ranging in value from £100K to €500 million.

Mark leads Mishcon's shipping practice and is the author of the first and second editions of Bareboat Charters and Refund Guarantees, both of which are the first published English law text books dedicated to these subjects.

Mark is recognised as a leading expert in Legal Business’ Legal Experts publications and acknowledged as one of the World’s leading litigation lawyers in Euromoney’s guide to “The World’s Leading Litigation Lawyers”.

He is also a CEDR accredited mediator and is a fluent German speaker.

Key Experience

  • Acted for the UK subsidiaries of Bonnier AB, a substantial privately owned Swedish media group, in its auditors' negligence action for c £80 million against Hays Macintyre LLP arising out of the audit of its UK subsidiaries, which was successfully compromised shortly before trial.
  • Acted for the Joint Administrators of London & Capital Finance Plc in auditors' negligence claims for c £200m against PwC and EY, which were successfully compromised prior to the issue of proceedings.
  • Acted for Watchstone Plc in an auditor's negligence claim against KPMG which was successfully compromised.
  • Acted for the liquidators of Patisserie Valerie in a £200m claim against Grant Thornton which was successfully compromised.
  • Acted for AssetCo PLC who recovered c £40 million in damages, interest and costs in its auditors' negligence claim against Grant Thornton UK LLP. The claim was the subject of a 6 week trial in the summer of 2018, and was upheld by the Court of Appeal after a 3 day hearing in January 2020. This is the largest court-ordered award in the UK in respect of an auditors' negligence claim. The decision is one of the leading cases on the recovery of losses caused by an auditor's failure to detect fraud. AssetCo PLC v Grant Thornton UK LLP [2019] EWHC 150(Comm); [2020] EWCA Civ 151.
  • Acted for a French shipowner in 3 LMAA arbitrations regarding the sale and purchase of 3 newbuilding vessels. The case involved allegations of fraud, obtaining injunctive relief to prevent payment out under the refund guarantees, and subsequent enforcement of the arbitration awards made in our client’s favour (Turner Shipping Inc v (1) Cotter Shipping Inc, (2) Bank Degroof SA, (3) Madame Gabriella Ercole (4) Mr Franco Ercole [2014] EWHC 1493 (Comm); Cadogan Maritime Inc v Turner Shipping Inc [2013] EWHC 138 (Comm)).
  • Acted for a FTSE 250 Claimant in a dispute for circa €33 million for breach of a business transfer agreement (FKI Engineering Ltd and another v Stribog Ltd [2010] EWHC 1160 (Comm); FKI Engineering Ltd and another v Stribog Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 622; [2011] WLR (D) 178).
  • Acted for a Taiwanese telecommunications company in defence of claims for US$250 million brought by Deutsche Bank, arising out of a loan obtained by the company’s previous fraudulent management, which was successfully settled immediately prior to the commencement of a 10 week trial (Deutsche Bank AG and others v Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless Communications Inc and another [2008] EWCA Civ 1091, [2008] All ER (D) 104 (Oct); Deutsche Bank AG v Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless Communications Inc [2008] EWHC 918 (Comm)).
  • Acted for Brazilian owners in disputes concerning the construction of 6 semi-submersible drilling rigs. The cases involved complex technical and legal issues, injunctive and substantive proceedings in London, and satellite proceedings in Korea, the USA and Canada, and were ultimately successfully resolved by negotiation.
  • Acted for a Danish coating manufacturer and a Chinese shipyard in LMAA arbitration proceedings concerning disputes with a Greek shipowner over the coating systems applied to 6 newbuilding vessels.
  • Acted for the Swedish member of an international association of accountants facing claims from a group of investors who had been misled by the association’s London manager to invest sums in a “Ponzi” scheme. The case was resolved in the defendants’ favour after an 8 week trial.
  • Acted for a major Swiss bank in the largest of the civil actions which arose out of the collapse of the Robert Maxwell business empire. It involved one of the longest trials in English legal history and two references to the Court of Appeal concerning a claim for the return of shares worth US$35 million which had been wrongfully pledged to the bank by a subsidiary of Maxwell Communications Corporation. The case settled important issues of English and New York law as to the taking of shares as security and the standard of notice which applies to bankers when taking security generally (Macmillan Inc v Bishopsgate Investment Trust Company Plc and Others [1995] 3 All ER 747 (first instance); [1996] 1 All ER 585 (Court of Appeal); TLR  7/12/98: (1999) CLC 417 (Court of Appeal)).
  • Advising a German dry bulk shipping company on the termination of a 10 year bareboat charter party, for breach by the charterer, in circumstances where the charterer and its parent guarantor were facing insolvency.
  • Acted for a German dry bulk shipping company in the restructuring of a deal to purchase 10 vessels from a Chinese shipyard worth approximately US$250 million.
  • Acted for a French shipowner on the sale of its fleet of 16 vessels for approximately US$250 million.

Career History

  • Partner, Mishcon de Reya LLP
  • Founding Partner, Davis & Co
  • Founding Partner, Curtis Davis Garrard
  • Partner, Watson Farley & Williams