William Willson +44 (0)20 7696 9900 williamwillson


Practice Managers

William Willson

William Willson William Willson

William Willson

Called to the Bar 2006
+44 (0)20 7696 9900
William Willson
Called to the Bar 2006

William specialises in domestic and cross-border insolvency, banking and finance, commercial litigation and company law.

As well as acting, appearing and advising in relation to all aspects of Chambers’ core insolvency/restructuring practice (including schemes of arrangement) William also has a varied commercial practice, including recent experience of civil fraud, professional negligence, shipping, insurance and real property litigation. Many of his cases have an international element, and he has a particular interest in cases involving Russia/the CIS/the Middle East.

In recent years William has appeared in several high profile trials, both at home and abroad, including the $2 billion claim by the Primeo fund against HSBC in the Cayman Islands (fund litigation), and McKillen v Sir Frederick Barclay (unfair prejudice/conspiracy). He has appeared as sole Counsel in the Court of Appeal, the Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands and the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

He is currently instructed in a number of ongoing claims both as junior and sole Counsel in both the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division.

William was previously one of Legal Week’s Stars of the Bar, where he was said to be an “outstanding junior with abilities far beyond expectations of his call…very bright, committed and good fun too”.

Chambers & Partners describes him as “a tenacious, gifted and hard-working lawyer” who is “strategically excellent, pragmatic and commercial”.

Before becoming a barrister William was a journalist/documentary producer, specialising in the former Soviet Union, terrorism and the intelligence services. His credits include the triple-BAFTA winning The Government Inspector.


Insolvency and Restructuring

Recently instructed in a variety of administrations and liquidations, including in respect of financial institutions (Lehman Brothers, Kaupthing, Madoff, MF Global), shipping companies (Sanko Steamship, Korean Line Corporation, Britannia Bulk, Samsun Logix), insurance companies (Hill Insurance Company Limited (Gibraltar), Lemma Europe Insurance Company Limited (Gibraltar), Crystal & Viscount (Gibraltar), HIH) and football clubs (Portsmouth City FC, Rangers)

Reported cases include:

  • Maud v Aabar [2016] BPIR 1486, abuse of process, bankruptcy petition
  • Maud v Aabar & Or [2016] EWHC 1319 (Ch), stay of execution
  • Re DTEK Plc [2016] EWHC 1083 (Ch), scheme of arrangement, restructuring debts of Ukrainian energy company
  • Maud v Aabar [2016] BPIR 803, adjournment of bankruptcy petition
  • Aabar v Maud [2016] BPIR 227, adjournment of bankruptcy petition
  • Aabar v Maud [2016] BPIR 1, adjournment of bankruptcy petition
  • Maud v Libyan Investment Authority [2015] EWHC 2093 (Ch), bankruptcy, administration of justice
  • Maud v Aabar Block S.A.R.L & Edgeworth Capital (Luxembourg) S.A.R.L. [2015] EWHC 1626 (Ch), application to set aside statutory demand)
  • Re UK Coal Operations Ltd [2014] 1 BCLC 471, coal industry, creditors’ meetings
  • JTC Bank of Moscow & Or v Vladimir Kekhman & Ors [2014] BPIR 959, acting for Russian bank in 5-day trial of application to annul/rescind a bankruptcy order
  • Ford & Ford v Alexander [2012] BPIR 528, human rights, section 335A of IA86
  • Re Eurodis [2012] BCC 57, conflict of laws
  • Peter Hoffman v Parallel Media Llc [2011] EWHC 3171 (Ch), contested administration application
  • Seven Arts Pictures v Parallel Media Llc [2011] EWHC 2035 (Comm), application to restrain advertisement of winding up petition
  • Re Gatnom Capital & Finance [2010] EWHC 3353 (Ch), application to set aside CVA, sham Russian law contracts
  • Re Metrocab & Frazer Nash Technology [2010] 2 BCLC 603, applications to rescind winding up orders
  • Lacontha Foundation v GBI Investments [2010] 2 BCLC 624, disputed winding up petition
  • Perpetual Trustee Co v BNY Corporate Trustee Services [2010] BPIR 228, application to send letter of request

Banking and Finance

Reported cases include:

  • Harbinger Capital Partners v (1) Andrew Caldwell (2) HM Treasury [2013] EWCA Civ 492, [2011] UKUT 408 (TCC), nationalisation/compensation, human rights
  • Harbinger Capital Partners v (1) Andrew Caldwell (2) HM Treasury [2011] UKUT 408 (TCC), nationalisation/compensation, human rights
  • Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe) [2011] EWCA Civ 1544; [2010] EWHC 2914 (Ch), “RASCALS” trial, beneficial ownership of securities; [2010] EWHC 3044 (Ch), costs
  • Re Lehman Brothers Internation (Europe) [2010] EWHC 2914 (Ch), "RASCALS" trial, beneficial ownership of securities
  • Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe) [2010] EWHC 3044 (Ch), "RASCALS" costs

Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Commercial cases and arbitrations include:

  • Global Asset Co v Aabar & Or [2016] EWHC 298 (Comm), striking out, economic torts, specific performance
  • (1) Edgeworth Capital Luxembourg S.A.R.L (2) Aabar Block S.A.R.L.  v Glenn Maud [2015] EWHC 2364 (Comm), guarantee claims, Spanish law
  • Edgeworth Capital v Maud [2015] EWHC 2364 (Comm), summary judgment, guarantees
  • (1) Edgeworth Capital Luxembourg S.A.R.L. (2) Aabar Block S.A.R.L. v Ramblas Investments B.V. [2015] EWHC 150, construction of finance documents, penalty clauses, [2016] EWCA Civ 412
  • Parallel Media LLC v Chamberlain [2014] EWHC 214 (QB), breach of contract/misrepresentation
  • Stevenson v Singh [2012] EWHC 2880 (QB), dishonest assistance
  • Acting for a ship builder in LCIA arbitration proceedings
  • Acting for a licensor in arbitration proceedings relating to sports broadcasting rights
  • Oil Expo International v Buesaco (2012), documentary credits/$200 million claim in relation to joint venture
  • ALDI v Styburski (2010), fraud/forgery/conversion
  • Acting for a ship builder in LCIA arbitration proceedings
  • Acting for a licensor in arbitration proceedings relating to sports broadcasting rights
  • Schwarzschild v Harrods [2008] EWHC 521 (QB), summary judgment/conversion


Cases include:

  • Allfiled v Dear & Ors [2015] EWHC 1300 (Ch); [2016] FSR 11, America Cyanamid, breach of fiduciary duty, interim injunctions
  • Jackson v Dear (26 March 2013, Royal Court of Guernsey), application to strike out derivative proceedings, injunction to restrain company from participating in derivative proceedings
  • McKillen v Sir Frederick Barclay [2012] EWHC 2343 (Ch), unfair prejudice, conspiracy
  • McKillen v Sir Frederick Barclay [2012] EWHC 1158 (Ch), confidentiality, human rights
  • McKillen v Sir Frederick Barclay [2012] EWCA Civ 864, [2012] EWHC 129 (Ch), preliminary issue, construction of novation agreement
  • Russell v Mason (2009), application for permission to continue derivative proceedings

International and Offshore

Cases include:

  • Acting and appearing in the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI)
  • Acting and appearing for HSBC in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal in a $2 billion professional negligence claim in 4-month trial and multiple interlocutory hearings (Cayman Islands)
  • Acting for defendant director in breach of fiduciary duty proceedings (Guernsey)
  • Acting for liquidator in claw-back proceedings (Jersey)
  • Acting for a Californian film company in claw-back proceedings (California)
  • Acting for a respondent insurance company in proceedings brought by the BVI FSC (BVI)
  • Acting for a large UK company in proceedings for tortious interference (Oregon)
  • Acting for the liquidator of Hill Insurance Company Limited (Gibraltar)
  • Acting for the liquidator of Lemma Europe Insurance Company (Gibraltar)

Professional Negligence

  • Primeo v HSBC (Grand Court of the Cayman Islands), acting for HSBC in 4-month trial of $2 billion professional negligence claim arising out of Madoff fraud
  • Anderson v North Staffordshire NHS Trust (QB) (2013), clinical negligence, preliminary issue
  • Forman v Osmond & Osmond (QB) (2011), solicitors’ negligence 

Trusts and Property

  • Acting for the wife in litigation relating to the determination of beneficial interests of a substantial London property in the context of a Russian divorce (2013)
  • Acting for clients in proceedings before HMRC’s Land adjudicator (2013)
  • Advising Lloyds of London in relation to their “Hardship Scheme” in the context of discretionary trusts 


Legal Week Star of the Bar 2012

“An outstanding junior with qualities far beyond expectations for his call...”
“Very bright and committed”
“Pragmatic...and good fun too”

Chambers & Partners

"A tenacious, gifted and hard-working lawyer"

"Strategically excellent, pragmatic and commerical". 


2017 Called to the Bar of the British Virgin Islands
2014 Called to the Bar of the Cayman Islands for specific cases
2013 Called to the Bar of Gibraltar for specific cases
2006 Called to Bar of England and Wales
2006 Visiting Tutor in Law, City University
2005 Postgraduate Diploma in Law, City University (Distinction)
2001-2004 Journalist/Documentary Producer


After leaving university William travelled in Central Asia, working for the Times of Central Asia and gaining a certificate in Russian language at the Slavonic University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

He spent the next three years working in documentaries/current affairs television, focusing on terrorism, the intelligence services and the former Soviet Union.

His credits include Avenging Terror (C4), where he set up and wrote the first major western documentary interview with President Putin of Russia; Spy Secrets (C5), in which he was the first person to conduct broadcast interviews with former directors of MI5, MI6, the CIA and the KGB; and The Government Inspector (C4), which won three BAFTAs.



Chancery Bar Association
Commercial Bar Association
Insolvency Lawyers Association
INSOL International   


Marylebone Cricket Club
Quo Vadis
The Horatian Society 


Contributor to Company Directors: Duties, Liabilities and Remedies (OUP, 2009; 2013; 2017)
Contributor to Moss, Fletcher & Isaacs on the EU Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings (OUP, 2016)
Contributor to Lexis Nexis PSL Notes (Insolvency/Restructuring) (2012)
Contributor to Rowlatt on Principal and Surety (OUP, 2011)
Contributor to Totty & Moss on Insolvency
Contributor to International Corporate Rescue
Contributor to Insolvency Intelligence


Oxford University, MA Classics, First Class


Sweet & Maxwell Prize for Company Law (ICSL)
Levitt Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
Lord Mansfield Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
Hardwicke Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
Coombes Scholarship (Oxford University)
Mary Somerville Prize (Oxford University)


Travel, Cricket and Film/Theatre Production  

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