Christopher Coffin


  • Education: Wadham College, Oxford, B.A. History
  • Admitted: England and Wales, 1980 • British Virgin Islands, 2012
  • Year joined: 1995
  • Year became partner: 1995


Christopher is a Partner at Withers and a litigation and arbitration specialist with 30 years' experience of large cases. Christopher advises on commercial disputes, ranging from oil-related disputes to derivatives disputes, loan recoveries, restructuring and asset tracing, fraud, contentious insolvency and professional negligence. He has a particular interest in advising clients from the CIS region. He has spoken at conferences in Moscow, St Petersburg, Baku, Almaty, Kiev and Yekaterinburg.

He has acted for and against many international banks, high net worth individuals, insurance companies and members of the legal profession including High Court judges.

"Christopher is an 'outstanding lawyer and tactician' who gets consistent praise for his client care. He is 'always aware of the sensitivity of difficult situations'." (Chambers and Partners 2012)

Christopher is described as 'first rate'  and has 'very sound judgement' (Legal 500 2013 & 2014)

"Christopher is 'an extremely good lawyer, very analytical and a tough litigator.' He 'has the gravitas and quiet confidence' that makes him 'the person other lawyers go to when they're in trouble'. " (Chambers and Partners 2014)

'He's very good at seeing the bigger picture; he's fair and reasonable, and a very engaged partner who works well with clients.' (Chambers and Partners 2014) 


  • Representing a CIS client in long running High Court litigation concerning alleged loans and conspiracy.
  • Representing a Russian borrower in a high profile English High Court litigation with a Russian bank.
  • Coordinating litigation arising from a shareholder's dispute in Cyprus, Anguilla and Belize on behalf of Russian shareholders in a global financial business.
  • Advising a Russian owned Hong Kong company in a dispute over a success fee relating to the sale of shares.
  • Representing clients from Russia and Azerbaijan in confidential LCIA arbitrations.
  • Representing a Russian bank in the arrest and sale of a ship.
  • Representing a Russian company in a dispute with a US company arising from a design and build contract.
  • Representing the BVI subsidiary of a large Russian mining company, in a dispute about a cargo of lead ingots held at the Russian port of Novorossiysk.
  • Representing a Russian owned BVI company in successfully obtaining judgment setting aside a company voluntary arrangement on the grounds of material irregularity on the basis that the contracts for the purchase of land in St Petersburg entered into between the debtor and alleged Russian vendors, which created the liability of value sufficient enough to pass the CVA, were shams.
  • Representing the sellers of a substantial stake in a publically listed CIS natural resources company in defence of a fraud claim by the purchasers, which included complex issues of disclosure pursuant to freezing orders and search and seizure relief obtained by the claimants.
  • Representing a publicly owned company in recovering the proceeds of a fraud perpetrated on it by its in house accountant. This involved obtaining urgent injunctions first in England and then in Cyprus to freeze the stolen money and then secure its return.
  • Representing an Italian bank in a dispute with a French bank arising from an equity basket option transaction.
  • Advising an Italian bank on set off issues arising from the failure of Lehman Brothers.
  • Representing five Italian banks in a jurisdictional challenge to the English courts based on the place where payment had to be made under a confirmed letter of credit.
  • Representing a hotel developer in a case against the project manager whose failings caused the half built hotel to have to be demolished.
  • Representing a Malaysian grain exporter in a dispute over quality with the purchaser.
  • Representing the former state owned Romanian oil import/export company in a high value complex arbitration.
  • Representing barristers in over 130 cases in which negligence has been alleged against them.
  • Representing a Chinese bank which successfully disputed the registration in England of a default judgment obtained against it in the Italian court.
  • Acting for the borrower in a dispute with a Russian bank relating to port terminals and other businesses involving issues of breach of contract and duty, duress and deceit
  • Acting for a borrower in a dispute with a Russian bank relating to a share sale agreement by way of security
  • Advising a borrower as to its rights against an arranger of a loan facility

Publications and speaking engagements

  • Speaker at English Law Week in Moscow in November 2015
  • Speaker at the ABA conference on Dispute Resolution in Moscow in September 2015
  • Speaker at the 7th CIS Local Counsel Forum in Yerevan, the 8th CIS Local Counsel Forum in Kiev, and the 9th CIS Local Counsel Forum in Vienna
  • Speaker at BALA conferences in Baku in April 2013 and June 2015


  • British Russian Law Association (BRLA)
  • Board member of the Committee of the British Azerbaijani Law Association (BALA)
  • Committee member of the British Kazakh Law Association (BrKA) 
  • British Italian Law Association (BILA)
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • Russian and CIS Arbitration Network (RCAN)

On a personal note

Chris was part of the Withers indoor rowing team which took the world record in August 2012. His interests include organic vegetable gardening and vintage sport cars.


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