5 cases involving 10 members of 4 New Square Chambers are featured in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2024. The list comprises the most high-profile and significant proceedings set to be heard during 2024.
Crypto Open Patent Alliance v Dr Craig Steven Wright
This trial concerns a single issue: whether Dr Wright, an Australian computer scientist, is actually Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous individual who invented Bitcoin in 2008/9. Since 2016 Dr Wright has been making his claim to be Satoshi and has asserted intellectual property rights against numerous individuals and companies working on the development of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology. Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a not-for-profit cryptocurrency group that seeks to prevent companies from hoarding crypto patents and obstructing innovation, launched a claim against Wright in 2021 seeking to prove Wright, as Nakamoto, did not write the Bitcoin White Paper, the foundational text of the Bitcoin system.
- Listed for 6 weeks in the High Court from February to March 2024.
- 4 New Square’s Jonathan Hough KC acts for the claimant, Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) instructed by Bird & Bird partner Phil Sherrell and associates Tristan Sherliker, Ning-Ning Li and Will Wortley.
IBM UK v LzLabs and others
A high-profile liability trial brought by technology giant IBM against LzLabs and its associated companies for breach of contract. IBM believes LzLabs reverse-engineered the IBM system to create its own product. LzLabs denies the terms were breached, claiming instead that the information provided to it was not restricted by the terms of the IBM contract.
• Listed for 28 days in the High Court in April 2024
• 4 New Square’s Roger Stewart KC, Tom Ogden and George McDonald act for the defendants LzLabs instructed by Clifford Chance partners Kate Scott, Vanessa Marsland, Stephanie Huts and Don McCombie.
Various claimants v Serco Group
On behalf of over 60 institutional investors, Morgan Lewis will take on the publicly listed Serco Group in a Section 90A securities group action worth £147m. As the first claim of its kind to go to trial, it will accordingly be the first opportunity for the court to rule on several important legal questions relating to Section 90A claims.
• Listed for five weeks in the High Court for June 2024
• 4 New Square’s Shail Patel , Carola Binney and Ed Grigg act for the claimants instructed by Morgan Lewis & Bockius partner Chris Warren-Smith and associates Keir Baker and Alasdair Johnston.
Municipio De Mariana and others v BHP Group and Vale
Likely the largest group action ever in the English courts, the Mariana Dam case will be a landmark trial for 2024. More than 700,000 claimants, ranging from individuals to churches to indigenous communities, have joined the action, seeking £36bn in damages in a case covering some of the most prominent issues in the UK legal market, including environmental litigation, group actions, multinationals’ responsibilities for foreign subsidiaries, and the jurisdiction of the English courts.
Shepherd Construction v Kingspan and others
A landmark construction and cladding dispute worth almost £70m which will be heard in the Technology & Construction Court this October. The 12-party case will be one of the first to consider the new cause of action against cladding manufacturers under s149 of the Building Safety Act and will have a large effect on the legal principles surrounding fire safety issues.
• Listed for 11 weeks in the High Court for October 2024
• 4 New Square’s Ben Patten KC acts for the defendant Cladtech Associates, instructed by Simmons and Simmons partner Emily Monastiriotis and counsel Jeremy Roberts
• 4 New Square’s Paul Cowan acts for the defendant Hamilton Underwriting/Hamilton Managing Agency, instructed by Weightmans partners Richard Palmer and Thomas Thurlow
The full list of featured cases can be viewed here.