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Dermot Woolgar

Call 1988

"A highly personable barrister with superb technical and tactical skills."
(Solicitor 2011)


Dermot undertakes a wide range of commercial disputes, principally in the following fields:

Banking & Financial Services

Most aspects including bank’s duties, banking securities, investment advice, cheques and other negotiable instruments, mortgagees’ duties, financial misselling claims, consumer credit, and FSMA-regulated activities (for example applications for guidance, collective investment schemes, deposit-taking, prohibitions on financial promotions, and the regulatory obligations of insurers and insurance intermediaries).

Bankruptcy & Insolvency Law

All aspects of both personal and corporate insolvency, including individual and company voluntary arrangements, administration and receivership.

Commercial Law

All aspects, but especially insurance, arbitration, agency including commercial agents disputes, contracts of guarantee and indemnity, confidentiality, directors’ duties, private international law, franchise agreements, carriage of goods, asset leases and mortgages of chattels, shareholder and partnership disputes.

Contract Law

All aspects, especially domestic and international sale of goods and associated product liability disputes, exclusion and limitation of liability clauses, bailment, contract drafting, contracts of compromise, employment contracts, contracts in restraint of trade and other competition issues, consumer credit.


Dermot regularly advises, and appears as advocate in the High Court, in connection with applications for injunctions and other forms of urgent relief. Typically these are applications for domestic and worldwide asset freezing orders, anti-suit and anti-arbitration injunctions, applications to restrain actual or threatened conduct in breach of contract, applications to enforce employment covenants, applications to restrain the presentation or advertisement of winding up and bankruptcy petitions, and applications to restrain activities in breach of regulatory regimes such as that under FSMA 2000.

Selected Cases

  • Aldcroft v International Cotton Association (2015 – 2016) – Acting for cotton arbitrator in Commercial Court seeking to restrain arbitral institution from determining disciplinary proceedings pending trial. Arbitrator is challenging the rules upon which the disciplinary proceedings are founded on the grounds that they are in restraint of trade.
  • ST v R (2015) – Acting for wealthy Russian national seeking to set aside asset-freezing injunction in aid of proceedings in another court in which solicitors were suing for unpaid fees and disbursements.
  • Whitworths Ltd v Synergy Food Ingredients & Processing BV [2014] EWHC 4239 (Comm) – Acting for English company on applications for interim, and then permanent, anti-arbitration injunction to restrain Dutch company from pursuing arbitration before specialist Board of Arbitration in Holland, in breach of arbitration agreement providing for arbitration of disputes before specialist tribunal in England (with Andrew Rigney QC).
  • Gorbunova v Berezovsky & Ors (2014) – Acting for French company, owner of substantial chateau and grounds, to vary terms of asset-freezing order to enable property to be sold and for directions as to application of proceeds of sale.
  • MS Ltd v R Ltd (2014) – Application for an interim order for delivery up under section 4 of the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 and CPR rule 25.1(1)(e) of assembly-line machinery used in manufacture of commercial vehicles.
  • G Ltd v P Ltd (2013) – Application to restrain respondent from implementing notice purporting to terminate contract on grounds that palletised transport distribution services had not been provided to key performance contractual standards.
  • SEV Ltd v HMRC (2012) – Application to adjourn winding up petition pending IPO on NASDAQ of stock of US parent company which would raise funds to meet balance of petition debt.
  • Dunn Motors Ltd v National Express Ltd – Acting for claimant in c£10m breach of contract claim arising from decision of national coach operator to terminate contract to provide coach services on the ground of alleged failures to comply with relevant EU regulations concerning drivers’ hours.
  • Ramsey Steamship Co Ltd v Trustees of the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Scheme – Acting for the Isle of Man liquidator of an historical member of the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Scheme as to whether he should admit in the liquidation a proof of debt from the trustees of the scheme in respect of the member’s liability to contribute to a significant deficit in the pension fund following court-approved amendments to the scheme’s rules and, if the proof should be admitted, in what amount. Case concerned the proper construction of the amendments to the scheme rules and whether they were intended to impose liability in effect retrospectively for a deficit that had accrued after the member had ceased to be under any obligation to make contributions to the scheme, and the evaluation of the scheme’s actuary’s calculations of the extent of the deficit, the sums required to make good the deficit, the member’s share of that sum, and interest.
  • Flights Hallmark Ltd v National Express Ltd – Acting for claimant in c£2m claim for breach of contract against national coach operator in respect of early termination of contracts to provide coach services from Midlands to 3 London airports. Complex issues about construction of contracts, and in particular the dispute escalation and termination provisions, and the use of performance evidence to justify the decision to terminate.
  • Kilkenny v NPI Ltd – Acting for financial services company-defending claim for allegedly negligent misselling of equity release product.
  • Advising residential property plc as to whether investment arrangements, which were used to fund the acquisitions of residential properties as part of a substantial, national, equity release scheme were unregulated collective investment schemes.
  • Hanover Maloney (UK) Ltd v Allelys Heavy Haulage – Acting for goods-in-transit insurers in successful claim against sub-carriers to recover outlay where insured’s title to goods which were the subject of an FOB contract of sale was possessory only. Also involved questions about limitation of liability under the RHA Conditions of Carriage and common law obligations of carriers of abnormal loads.
  • ASHS Ltd v Hip Kin Retailing Ltd – Advising fashion designer in connection with a dispute concerning the construction of an option in a franchise agreement relating to the territory of Hong Kong and its effect on proposed franchises relating to China.
  • Foster Bryant Surveying Ltd & Anr v Bryant & Ors [2006] EWHC 1232 (QB) – Action against former director for account of profits and damages arising from alleged breach of fiduciary duty in diverting business opportunity / damages for breach of shareholders’ agreement; also claims for inducing breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Acting for director in substantial Chancery Division claim by syndicate of banks for misrepresentation arising from MBO of pharmaceutical business.
  • Greene King Plc v Stanley & Others [2002] BPIR 49 – Acting for brewers in claim to enforce charge against sureties – sureties unsuccessfully defending claim in CA on grounds that they were released from charge by reason of implementation of IVA by principal debtor – sureties successfully defending claim on grounds of undue influence and misrepresentation.
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  • Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • LLB (Hons), Manchester University


  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

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