A Clifford Chance partner is set to appear at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in a private hearing due to start today.
Alex Panayides, partner in the firm’s international commercial arbitration and contentious construction groups, has been listed for a private case management hearing at the SDT from midday. Clifford Chance declined to comment.
The hearing is thought to relate to a 2010 matter in which the magic circle firm agreed to act for Excalibur Ventures in a claim against Texas Keystone Inc that centred on interests over four oilfields in Iraqi Kurdistan. Panayides was Clifford Chance’s lead partner in the dispute.
A group of third party litigation funders provided Excalibur with £31.75 million to pursue the matter to trial. More than £14 million was paid to Clifford Chance in fees. However in December 2013 Excalibur suffered defeat in its $1.6bn claim.
Ordering indemnity costs against Excalibur, the trial judge described the litigation – which failed on every point – as ‘speculative and opportunistic’. Clifford Chance was critcised in the judgment with its correspondence described as being ‘highly aggressive and in others unacceptable in content’.
The SDT said it would not comment on the case directly but rejected speculation that a hearing notice had been published then unpublished on its website, saying a case subsequently listed had replaced Panayides on a drop-down menu. The full case listing for the day, which includes Panayides’ case manegment hearing, can be downloaded from the menu, a spokesperson said.