39 Essex Chambers involved in two cases listed in The Lawyer's Top 20 Cases 2017

Members of 39 Essex Chambers are involved in two cases listed in The Lawyer's Top Cases 2017 (published on the 17th January 2017).

Steven Kovats QC is instructed by Government Legal Department (for the defendant) on the case of Bank Mellat v HM Treasury.

The long-running dispute between Iran's largest private bank and the UK Government will finally reach a crux in 2017 with Bank Mellat's £2.3bn damages claim against HM Treasury slated for November.

The sanctions litigation started in 2009 when the bank instructed Stephenson Harwood to challenge a restrictions order prohibiting UK financial institutions from having a business relationship with Bank Mellat. It lost a series of challenges in the UK courts, taking its case all the way to the ECJ, which held that Mellat was not a state-owned bank, allowing the dispute to head back to the UK Supreme Court.

The case has now been remitted to the High Court for the assessment of damages caused to Bank Mellat as a result of the 2009 order, with Supreme Court justices ruling the Treasury was obligated to provide prior notice for representations on its order, and that the elimination of the bank's business in London was a disproportionate response to the Treasury's stated goals. Chancery Lane firm Zaiwalla & Co took over the case for the Iranian bank prior to its first Supreme Court challenge.

Neil Block QC and Judith Ayling are instructed by Ryan Solicitors (for the first defendant - Ian Paterson), on the second case listed, Various v Ian Paterson, Spire Healthcare Ltd and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

Former consultant surgeon Ian Paterson is being sued by around 700 women over claims of botched, unauthorised or unnecessary mastectomies over a 20-year period in and around the Midlands.

The case against consultant surgeon Ian Paterson will be one of the biggest ever clinical negligence group claims. The most controversial of the claims include the allegation he conducted as many as 450 unauthorised "cleavage sparing" mastectomies which left breast tissue behind and increased the risk of cancer recurring. Other allegations include failure to obtain patient consent, and performing surgery that he was not qualified to perform.

The case will likely be one of the biggest clinical negligence group claims in recent history, and also sees the NHS Trust which employed Paterson and Spire Healthcare, which owns two private hospitals where he worked, in the dock.

The litigation has been complicated by questions of Paterson's mental health in the last 18 months and consequently his capacity to respond to the claims, as well as a concurrent criminal prosecution with charges of assault.

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