Who? Yvonne Jefferies, commercial litigation partner at City firm Byrne & Partners.
Why is she in the news? She acted for Abdourahman Boreh in his successful application to discharge a worldwide freezing order covering assets worth more than £67m.
The Republic of Djibouti had obtained the freezing order against Boreh on the grounds that he had abused his position as a public official of that country for financial gain. Djibouti’s lawyers had also pointed to Boreh’s criminal conviction, based on telephone transcripts, for assisting in an act of terrorism.
However, Mr Justice Flaux, sitting in the High Court, heard that the telephone transcripts were dated before the attack and so could not be relied upon to implicate Boreh. This was a fact known to the Djibouti team, including its British lawyer, international firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (GDC) disputes partner Peter Gray, prior to their obtaining the freezing order.
Discharging the order, Mr Justice Flaux criticised Gray for his ‘clearly dishonest’ conduct in misleading the court.
A GDC spokesperson said: ‘The firm has already suspended Mr Gray pending further inquiry. It is important to note that the allegations of misleading the court were made only against Mr Gray and not against any other partners or employees of the firm. We will continue to represent the government of Djibouti in pursuing its claims in this matter.’
Thoughts on the case: ‘I have been astonished at the lengths to which Djibouti had gone to crush Mr Boreh. He has shown admirable courage in the face of such adversity.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘What I love about litigating is that you get to have a really good nose around someone else’s business, work out why things went wrong and how they can be put right. And if you win, there is the added bonus that you do someone some good and actually get paid for it. What is there not to like?’
Career high: ‘This case.’
Career low: ‘This case again, when I had sleepless nights trying to think of ways to keep Mr Boreh and his family safe from death threats and strange men trying to force entry to their home.’