John Virgo

Year of call: 1983

"He is exceptional. Very flexible, very client-facing and very adept at finding solutions."
Chambers UK 2017

John John

John is a specialist commercial barrister, with a strong practice emphasis on high-value financial product mis-selling litigation.

He has appeared in all the leading mis-selling cases, including: lead counsel appointment in a group pension mis-selling action (Cocking v Prudential); acting in a 400 strong group action in the Commercial Court on behalf of Equitable Life's trapped annuitants (Abeles and Others v Equitable Life Assurance Society); acting for Zurich Life to defend claims for product mis-selling arising out of the collapse of the Bahamian Imperial Consolidated Fund (Seymour v Caroline Ockwell & Co; Zurich IFA Ltd); acting for investors into the AIG Enhanced Variable Rate Fund who suffered substantial losses following its collapse (Rubenstein v HSBC Bank);acting for a number of high net worth individuals and businesses in relation to the mis-sellingof interest rate hedging products (Rowley and Green v Royal Bank of Scotland). He has acted in a number of leading cases concerned with the manipulation of LIBOR (Graiseley Properties Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc; Hotel de France Ltd v Lloyds (off-shore litigation in Jersey); Rhino Enterprises Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc and Longford Securities Ltd v Royal Bank of Scotland). He is currently acting in a multi-million pound claim against the Royal Bank of Scotland relating to an aborted Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities issuance.

John is instructed nationwide in complex and substantial disputes where his advocacy and forensic skills are highly valued.  He is also retained off-shore in Isle of Man and Jersey.

Banking & Finance

Instructing John Virgo "ensures the solicitor has a smooth ride", say commentators. John Virgo "dazzles sources with his extremely clear, thorough and comprehensive advice" - Chambers UK 2013.

John represents clients in complex and substantial commercial disputes in England & Wales and the Isle of Man. He enjoys working as a team, with clients, solicitors and other junior and leading barristers.

John welcomes instructions in the following areas:

  • Financial Services Product Mis-Selling including rate swap mis-selling and LIBOR related claims
  • Commercial Contract Disputes
  • Professional negligence & indemnity (financial advisers, product providers, fund managers and accountants)
  • Insurance - coverage disputes 

John has wide ranging sector knowledge, including experience in, amongst others, the following sectors:

  • Financial services
  • Banking and finance
  • Accountancy
  • Insurance
  • Business appraisals

What Others Say

Chambers UK 2016 - "He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services disputes, and is very deeply steeped in case law and factual knowledge." "He fights his corner for the client and he's a very good guy."

Chambers UK 2015 - "He is incredibly well prepared and a very persuasive advocate."

Chambers UK 2013 - "He is considered a 'linchpin' for many a dispute resolution team across the country. He is a first choice for a number of solicitors as he is 'hard-working, cheerful, open-minded, imaginative and very easy to work with'."

Chambers UK 2012 - John Virgo "always delivers". His extensive grasp of the financial services sector is reflected in his recent work for Zurich Life in defence of claims of product mis-selling.

Recent Cases

  • PDHL v Financial Conduct Authority [2016] UKUT 0129 (TCC) – powers of FCA to close debt management company
  • PDHL v Financial Conduct Authority[2016] UKUT 0130 (TCC) – powers of FCA to suspend order closing debt management company
  • PA(GI) LTD v GICL 2013 LTD and another[2015] EWHC 1556 (Ch) – whether a Part VII business transfer passed liability for PPI mis-selling to new insurer
  • Suremime Limited v Barclays Bank plc [2015] EWHC 2277 (QB) – whether Bank owes duty of care to carry out Interest Rate Hedging Review with care and skill
  • Battrick v. Royal Bank of Scotland Plc[2013] EWHC 4848 (QB) – use of expert evidence in interest rate hedging litigation 
  • Rowley & Green v Royal Bank of Scotland 2013 EWCA Civ 1197; [2012] EWHC 3661 - Liability of bank for interest rate swap mis-selling).
  • Rubenstein v HSBC Bank [2012] EWCA 1184; [2011] EWHC 2304 - Liability for negligent investment advice to invest in AIG Enhanced Variable Rate Fund.
  • Ollerenshaw & Green v FSA [2012] UKUT B60 TCC - FSA disciplinary proceedings for alleged failings to supervise mortgage brokers selling of suitable mortgage products.
  • AXA Sun Life Services Plc v Mortgage UK Financial Services Ltd & Others [2011] EWCA Civ 133 - Cconstruction of exclusion clauses in appointed representative agreements; scope of UCTA.

Professional Negligence

"Financial services mis-selling expert John Virgo continues to thrive and earns praise for his 'sense of humour, fast brain and tremendous advocacy'.

John is someone who “gives his all to a case' and is often involved in cases of some significance" - Chambers UK.

John represents claimants and defendants in complex and substantial professional negligence & indemnity disputes in England & Wales and the Isle of Man. He enjoys working as a team, with clients, solicitors and other junior and leading barristers.

John welcomes instructions in bringing and defending claims against the following professionals:

  • Financial advisors
  • Accountants, including insolvency practitioners and auditors
  • Solicitors
  • Barristers
  • Surveyors
  • Engineers

What Others Say

Chambers UK - "John has a broad commercial litigation practice, and is also widely recognized for his expertise in professional negligence claims concerning the mis-selling of financial products."

Recent Cases

  • Bunney v Burns Anderson 2007 EWHC 1240 - Acted for claimant in challenge to the scope of jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service in high value claims.
  • Brinsons v Financial Ombudsman Service [2007] EWHC 2534 - Acted for the applicant in a challenge to the scope of jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service over mortgage-endowment linked mis-selling claims.
  • Baker v Clark [2006] EWCA Civ 464 - Acted for defendant/respondent in case concerning efficacy of trustee exoneration clauses protecting occupation pension scheme trustees.

Recommendations


CHAMBERS UK 2017

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Enjoys an outstanding reputation as a highly capable junior who handles disputes for a strong client base. He has additional wider expertise in relation to professional negligence matters, particularly as they apply to the banking industry. 

Strengths: "He is exceptional. Very flexible, very client-facing and very adept at finding solutions." "Superb. He has a high-level view but also gets into the detail to get a real understanding of a case."

Recent work: Appeared in a group action brought against Equitable Life on behalf of 400 trapped annuitants who alleged mis-selling of with-profits annuities. A multiparty settlement was reached. 

Commercial Dispute Resolution 

Leading Junior - Band 1

Tremendous advocate with a focus on financial product mis-selling, including pensions, investments and interest rate swaps, as well as related regulatory work. He is lauded for his pragmatic, experienced and flexible manner of handling cases.

Strengths: "He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services disputes, and is very deeply steeped in case law and factual knowledge." "He fights his corner for the client and he's a very good guy."

Recent work: Appeared in Green and Rowley v Royal Bank of Scotland in a case regarding interest rate swapping over the mis-selling of hedging products.

Professional Negligence 

Leading Junior - Band 1

Specialises in professional negligence disputes relating to the financial services including claims concerning financial mis-selling, the fraudulent manipulation of rates and negligent investment advice.

Strengths: "Ever reliable and hard working." "He's extremely pragmatic and always a team player - it is always really good to work with him."

Recent work: Acted for the claimants in a claim agains RBS involving the mis-selling of hedging products.


LEGAL 500 2016

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading juniors

'A very able practitioner.'


CHAMBERS UK 2016

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Widely known as an authority on financial services on mis-selling claims, he has been involved in some of the largest and most high-profile cases of late regarding a variety of different products including interest rate swaps and such contentious issues as market manipulation. Peers note him for his formidable intellect and forensic acumen in particular.

Strength: "He's extraordinarily diligent and an impressive operator." "An excellent counsel and leading author on banking and financial services textbooks." 

Recent work: Acted for Rubenstein as the claimant in the first of a series of mis-selling claims brought against HSBC regarding AIG Bonds.

Commercial Dispute Resolution 

Leading Junior - Band 1

Interviewees insist that he "always provides an extremely high standard of work - both in and out of court." A strong profile for financial services litigation, particularly claims against banks concerning mis-selling, as well as experience in commercial contractual, insurance and professional negligence disputes. 

Strengths: "He's excellent in court. He doesn't get flustered and is not afraid to have a go at the other side. " "His command of the law is exceptional."

Recent work: Junior counsel for the claimants in Graiseley Properties Ltd v Barclays Bank plc, one of the first cases brought against a bank concerning Libor manipultation.

Professional Negligence 

Leading Junior - Band 1

Enjoys an out-standing reputation for advising on financial servies-related professional negligence claims. Areas of excellence include cases concerning the mis-selling of financial products.

Strengths: "He is particularly good on financial services claims." "He is one of the most informed barristers in connection with financial services regulation." "I am impressed by his ability to become familiar with a lot of voluminous material and to get right to the point of issues."

Recent work: Represented claimants in Graiseley Properties v Barclays Bank, a case stemming from the highly publicised LIBOR interest rate manipulation scandal.


LEGAL 500 2015

Commercial, Banking & Insolvency

Leading juniors

'A specialist in high-value financial product mis-selling litigation'.


CHAMBERS UK 2015

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leading Junior - Band 1

Has extensive experience in banking and finance and professional negligence. He focuses his practice on financial product mis-selling and has acted on a number of the leading mis-selling cases.

Expertise: "He is an extremely experienced barrister who gives straightforward advice." "He's energetic, thorough and commercial. He brings immense focus to a case."

Recent work: Acted on the first case in a series of actions over the mis-selling of AIG bonds.


LEGAL 500 2014

Commercial, Banking & Insolvency

Leading juniors

'A specialist in high-value financial product mis-selling litigation'.


CHAMBERS UK 2014

John has a specialist ranking in commercial and professional negligence


LEGAL 500 2010

John is listed in the Legal 500, where he is described as:

'A top junior with a formidable reputation for his specialist work involving mis-selling claims'.

'Bright, streetwise, tenacious, and very commercial'.

'Excellent, with expert knowledge of the financial services arena'.

For recommendations in relation to each of John's practice areas see his individual practice areas.


LEGAL 500 2008

Commercial

Guildhall Chambers' Adrian Palmer QC and financial services expert John Virgo recently saw the conclusion of the group action against Equitable Life.

CLERK CONTACT INFORMATION

For further information and enquiries please contact:

Commercial: Mike Norton

Appointments

  • Arbitrator with the Centre for Business Arbitration
  • External adviser to the Irish Pensions Board

Memberships

  • Bristol Chancery & Commercial Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

education

  • MA (Oxon)
  • Worcester College, Oxford Graduated in Jurisprudence