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Withers secures victory for client in long-running property and insolvency dispute

4 October 2023 | Applicable law: England and Wales | 1 minute read

International law firm Withers has helped client Kalliopi Lemos defeat a claim relating to a high value London property in Hampstead, bringing the seven year-long case to a successful conclusion. 

The property was purchased in 1981 using funds from Kalliopi's father and was held by a Liberian bearer share company until it was put into a trust in 1994. Withers acted in relation to the trust structuring. In 2015, Kalliopi's husband was declared bankrupt, at which point the bankruptcy trustees and his sister (a major creditor) launched a claim under s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986. The claim alleged that Christos had been the sole owner of the Liberian company prior to the 1994 settlement and sought an order that the whole net value of the property be transferred to them. 

The High Court has rejected the claim in Lemos v Church Bay Trust Company [2023] EWHC 2384 (Ch), with Joanne Wicks KC finding that the shares in the Liberian company had always been held on express trust for Kalliopi, and that her husband had not intended to defeat the interests of his creditors when the shares were settled on trust in 1994.

The case raised interesting legal points relating to challenging authenticity of documents in litigation.

Withers commercial litigation partner Andrew Wass comments: "We are so pleased to have achieved this great outcome for Kalliopi. This was a very challenging case which involved, in particular, contesting the Claimants' allegations of forgery of various documents relating to the property."

Andrew Wass led the Withers team representing Kalliopi Lemos, working with associate Laura Mattar and instructing Thomas Elias and Andrew Gurr of Serle Court Chambers. The Claimants were represented by Gowling WLG.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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