Barrister Nicholas Cropp

Nicholas Cropp

Year of call: 1999  

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“A rising star.”

Superlawyers

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Overview


A barrister and attorney with extensive experience both in the United Kingdom and in the United States, Nicholas has regularly appeared in courtrooms in complex disputes in several UK, US and offshore jurisdictions, focusing primarily on fraud, financial services and regulatory matters, constitutional and human rights law, commercial disputes including civil fraud allegations, and serious criminal matters including financial services offences, political and environmental crimes.

Nicholas is widely published in multiple jurisdictions in the fields of bribery and corruption, fraud and financial services litigation, constitutional and administrative law, regulatory compliance, land use planning and human rights.

Nicholas is a member of the Bar of England and Wales, the New York and Oregon State Bars, the Federal Bar of the District of Oregon and the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In August 2017 Nicholas was appointed to the Serious Fraud Office B Panel of Trial Counsel and C Panel of Proceeds of Crime Counsel. In addition Nicholas is currently instructed by a Core Participant in the Undercover Police Public Inquiry, expected to start hearing live evidence sometime in 2019.

Nicholas is able to accept instructions on a direct access basis in appropriate cases, including in regulatory and financial services, corporate crime/fraud, commercial litigation and human rights/civil liberties matters.

  • LLB, University College London (First Class Honours), 1998
  • Grays Inn Junior Scholar, 1998
  • Bar Vocational Qualification (Very Competent), 1999
  • British Academy Scholar, 1999-2000
  • BCL, Pembroke College Oxford, 2000
Commercial Complex Fraud Crime Offshore & International Personal Injury Public Law Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Commercial


Nicholas has extensive experience representing individual, corporate and partnership clients in multi-track matters concerning civil fraud allegations, contractual disputes (including agency and misrepresentation, the interpretation of solicitors retainer agreements, unfair terms and sale of goods), Company Law disputes (including derivative actions and breaches of directors’ duties) and Costs, including proceedings before the Senior Courts Costs Office. As part of the 7BR Commercial Team Nicholas is available to accept instructions on a wide variety of commercial disputes, including on a direct access basis in appropriate cases.

Nicholas was formerly a tutor in Company Law at University College London. He is widely published in a number of related fields, including corporate “human” rights and directors duties, and the commercial implications of honest services fraud allegations.

Commercial Cases


  • Carpet World v. Imran [High Court and Court of Appeal, 2012 – 2016]: represented company seeking damages from former director for misappropriation of extensive funds during currency of directorship. Secured extensive damages and indemnity costs against former director including Part 36 damages and costs, and dismissal of related appeals.
  • In re: T [2015]: represented corporate client responding to allegations that former associate could enforce Heads of Terms against client. Proceedings discontinued by prospective claimant at early stage following advice and robust response to claims.
  • Rahimian v. Allan Janes [Senior Courts Costs Office, 2016]: represented firm of solicitors responding to request for delivery of final bill of costs following earlier inconsistent claims for detailed assessment of earlier bill of costs. Concerned extent to which knowledge of solicitors at time of seeking detailed assessment of bill of costs could be imputed to client at time of requesting delivery of a final bill.
  • Re DH Trust (2012): Second chair/led junior in offshore commercial trust litigation worth approximately £30 million dealing with entities/assets in Jersey, the Caymans, Panama and the UK, involving allegations of negligence and fraud in an internationally reputable accountancy firm.

Complex Fraud


Nicholas has considerable experience representing individual, corporate and government clients in multiple jurisdictions in relation to a variety of regulatory, financial and other fraud-related criminal matters, including advisory work on internal investigations and potential early disclosures to regulatory and prosecuting agencies. Nicholas is principally instructed by the defence, though he has undertaken significant instructions on behalf of the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority. Nicholas is equally comfortable taking the lead on a project or working as part of a team of lawyers to achieve his client’s objectives.

Nicholas frequently provides advisory and advocacy services in proceedings arising from the Bribery Act 2010 and from the UK’s complex and draconian confiscation regime under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and related legislation, including on behalf of corporate and professional clients who have been subjected to production orders, and on behalf of corporate victims of fraud seeking recovery in related POCA proceedings.

Memberships


  • Fraud Lawyers Association

Bribery & Corruption Criminal Fraud Litigation

Bribery & Corruption


Nicholas regularly advises clients on the implications of the Bribery Act 2010, the pre-2010 regime in the UK, and certain foreign anti-bribery and anti-corruption statutory schemes including the FCPA in the United States.

Nicholas is widely published in the field of Bribery and Corruption generally:

  • Bribery Act Compliance – The Saga Continues, Jersey Evening Post Finance and Regulatory Supplement, February 2012.  Discusses the impact of the Bribery Act 2010 on offshore jurisdictions
  • The Bribery Act vs The FCPA: Nuance vs. Nous [2011] Criminal LR, Issue 2 at 122. Compares the UK’s new Bribery Act regime with the post-1997 OECD Convention enforcement of the FCPA by the US Department of Justice. Part of the 2011 Bribery Act Symposium
  • Commercial Sensibility in Corruption Cases [2010] Commercial Litigation Journal 34 (Nov/Dec) at 16. Compares the approach taken to bribery and corruption in the UK and the US, reviews US law on “honest services” fraud, and outlines the key provisions of the Bribery Act 2010 and their application to commercial organisations

Criminal Fraud Litigation


Nicholas is widely published in the field of general criminal fraud litigation.

  • A Serious Cause For Worry, Solicitors Journal, March 2013.  Discusses the Tchenguiz v SFO litigation.
  • Recent Patriot Act Developments, Presentation to Priestleys with 7 Bedford Row, Cayman Islands, October 2010.

Complex Fraud Cases


  • Re C (2013-2014): Instructed by the FCA, along with Andrew Wheeler and James Robottom, to undertake a comprehensive privilege review of materials seized from solicitor defendant in long-running UK-based land bank fraud.
  • Re I (2013): Advisory work re: third party intervention in significant POCA proceedings concerning, inter alia, frauds in the UK and Nigeria.
  • Re T (2013): Advising on internal investigations and disclosures on behalf of a major international plc considering historic bribery and corruption concerns in several jurisdictions including Jersey, Kenya, Switzerland and the UK.
  • Re H (2011): Representation of central London solicitors firm from whom extensive conveyancing materials were improperly sought pursuant to overbroad POCA production orders.
  • United States v Staren (2011): Representation of London-based witnesses from the financial services industry subpoenaed to give evidence in US criminal proceedings in California concerning a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
  • R v Nadir (2011): Led team of disclosure counsel at the Serious Fraud Office dealing with various aspects of the ultimately successful prosecution of Asil Nadir.
  • Re Ogbolu-Okonji (2011): Intervention in POCA proceedings on behalf of corporate victim of Defendant’s fraud.

Crime


A determined and successful jury advocate who appears principally for the defence, Nicholas is regularly instructed to appear in Crown Courts around the UK (principally in London and the South East of England), and has appeared in a number of jurisdictions in the United States, in both trials and pre-trial hearings in a variety of serious criminal matters ranging from money laundering to tax fraud, market abuse and insider trading allegations, serious drug allegations, property, political and violent crimes. Nicholas also has extensive criminal appellate experience in the UK and the United States.

Crime Cases


  • Re: R [2015]: advice to group of disgruntled employees threatening to “blow the whistle” on international corporate with HQ in United States for possible Data Protection Offences, including liaising with employment law experts and consideration of employees’ own criminal exposure.
  • R v Mansaram & Ors (2013): Led by Maryam Syed in major multi-handed drug conspiracy case at Wood Green Crown Court. Case involved unusually large quantity of telephonic intercept evidence.
  • R v Thompson & Ors (2013): Counsel for second defendant in multi-handed drug conspiracy case. Police raid on premises filmed as part of reality TV show.
  • R v Sandhu & Ors (2011): Counsel for third defendant in multi-handed complex assault case involving armed conflict/near-riot in hall of residence resulting in several significant injuries and dozens of witnesses.
  • R v Robinson [2010] EWCA Crim 1132: Court of Appeal (Pitchford LJ, Rafferty J and HHJ Goldstone QC). Secured significant reduction in sentence for car-ringing offences prosecuted under the money laundering provisions of POCA but improperly sentenced under pre-POCA car-ringing sentencing authorities.
  • R v Button [2010] EWCA Crim 9: Court of Appeal (Pitchford LJ, Owen J. and the Recorder of London). Secured significant reduction in sentence for second domestic burglary in circumstances where the sentencing judge had wrongly determined that a burglary was committed in breach of trust.

Offshore & International


Nicholas practiced in the United States from 2002-2008, frequently appearing in federal and state courts in a variety of regulatory, constitutional and criminal matters, including securities fraud, tax fraud, forfeiture of assets, land use planning, free speech, regulatory litigation against the Securities and Exchange Commission, and serious criminal matters including political, environmental, drug and violent crimes. Nicholas has considerable experience with international corruption allegations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Bribery Act 2010. Nicholas also has extensive state and federal appellate experience in the United States.

In 2012 Nicholas undertook a six month secondment at Baker & Partners in Jersey, working principally as a led junior in the In re DH Trust litigation, a factually complex commercial trust dispute involving allegations of fraud and misapplication of trust assets amounting to over £30 million in value, involving corporations and trust assets in Jersey, the BVI, Panama and the United Kingdom.

Since returning to practice in the UK in 2009 and in particular since 2012 Nicholas has dealt with a number of matters with a significant international/offshore dimension, involving analyses, inter alia, of the positions in Kenya, Switzerland, Mozambique, South Africa, Jersey, Spain, Panama, the BVI and the United States.

Memberships


  • Oregon State Bar, 2003
  • Federal Bar of the District of Oregon, 2006
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2007
  • New York State Bar, 2012

Overseas Jurisdictions

Overseas Jurisdictions


Significant Cases:

  • United States v Lee (2007): Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Concerned criminal forfeiture of real property belonging to a Vietnamese-American husband, where forfeiture failed to properly account for the customary interests of his wife.
  • United States v Wooh (2007): Federal Ninth Circuit (District of Oregon). Whistle-blower case involving allegations of Foreign Corrupt Practice Act violations in the international scrap steel shipping industry, particularly in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and China.
  • State of Oregon v Johnson (2007): Novel constitutional challenge to application of mandatory minimum sentencing provisions to mentally disabled client.
  • United States v Kornman (2007): Federal Fifth Circuit (Northern District of Texas). Complex motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence in securities fraud/insider trading prosecution.
  • State of Oregon v Moyer, Tune & Sturgeon (2006): Oregon Court of Appeals. Constitutional challenge, on free speech grounds, to unlawful charging instrument criminalising, inter alia, provision of anonymous donations to political candidates.
  • United States v Stringer (2006-2008): Federal Ninth Circuit (District of Oregon). Third chair/led junior in landmark case involving the dismissal of an indictment against a CEO due to improper, secret collusion between the SEC and the US Department of Justice.
  • Just v City of Lebanon (2004): Oregon Supreme Court. Amicus brief concerning extent of citizen involvement & standing in Oregon’s land use planning system.
  • Albuquerque Commons Partnership v City of Albuquerque (2003-2008): New Mexico Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Amicus briefs in landmark case concerning the importance of urban master plans in New Mexico’s land use planning system.
  • Utsey v Coos County (2003): Oregon Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Amicus brief concerning extent of citizen involvement & standing in Oregon’s land use planning system.

Offshore & International Cases


  • Re: R [2015]: advice to group of disgruntled employees threatening to “blow the whistle” on international corporate with HQ in United States for possible Data Protection Offences, including liaising with employment law experts and consideration of employees’ own criminal exposure.
  • Re: I [Court of Faculties, 2013-2014]: Sole Counsel in disciplinary proceedings brought against notary accused of facilitating the commission of a £3 million land bank fraud in Mozambique, including though the misuse of a client account for the routing of funds. Fraud had implications in the UK, Spain, South Africa, Mozambique and the UK. Client faced being struck off and ruined by extensive (100+) civil claims relating to alleged client account mismanagement. Secured finding that client had no knowledge of fraudulent elements of scheme, complete dismissal of potentially ruinous account mismanagement allegations and “slap on the wrist” penalty for professional misconduct; client allowed to continue in practice, client’s business and numerous jobs saved.
  • Re T (2013): Advisory work on behalf of international plc considering historic bribery and corruption concerns in several jurisdictions including Jersey, Kenya, Switzerland and the UK. Considered the implications of the Bribery Act 2010, the pre-2010 anti-bribery regime in the UK, and the FCPA in the United States.
  • Re DH Trust (2012): Second chair/led junior in offshore commercial trust litigation worth approximately £30 million dealing with entities/assets in Jersey, the Caymans, Panama and the UK, involving allegations of negligence and fraud in an internationally reputable accountancy firm.
  • Re: S (2009): advice to major international corporate concerning conflict between contractual duties of confidentiality in the UK and duties of disclosure to the DOJ in the United States, in the context of NPA negotiations in the United States.

Personal Injury


Nicholas is part of the 7BR Personal Injury / Clinical Negligence Team and accepts instructions in fast- and multi-track personal injury and clinical negligence matters, including on a CFA basis in appropriate cases.

Fraudulent Claims General Civil Litigation

Fraudulent Claims


Nicholas has recently developed considerable experience representing claimants responding to fraudulent claim allegations in the personal injury context, including the costs consequences of making such allegations.

General Civil Litigation


Nicholas has recent experience dealing with property disputes, including proceedings at the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal and proceedings for possession.

  • Asghar v. Ahmed & Ors [Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal, 2016]: proceedings involving dispute over historic registration of property and related fraud allegations. Case had international dimension, with prospective owners based in Pakistan and allegations that transfers had been effected by forgeries. Also concerned complex security for costs and disclosure applications.”

Personal Injury Cases


  • Dittrich v Patel (2014): Multi-track RTA claim involving a complex loss of employment opportunities claim in excess of £300,000 and an early application of Denton v TH White, essentially confirming that the Mitchell v. News Group Newspapers fact pattern still constitutes a “serious or significant” (as opposed to non-“trivial“) breach of the CPR
  • Malik & Din v Equity Red Star (2012): Represented two claimants in multi-track RTA case where insurer co-Defendant tacitly alleged fraud. Claims succeeded, and secured significant indemnity costs award against Defendants for failing to demonstrate any fraud

Public Law


Nicholas has extensive experience with constitutional, administrative and human rights litigation in multiple jurisdictions, on behalf of individual, corporate and government clients in a variety of fields including financial services regulation, land use planning, property, health care and criminal matters. Recent experience includes advising on prospective claims against the Legal Services Commission under section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998 for funds lost through improper mortgage repossessions, a judicial review of the FSA, advisory work relating to VOSA’s guidance on exemptions from UK and European tachograph regulations, and advising the ACLU on a prospective free speech/due process challenge to a novel Oregon statutory scheme criminalising the provision of “sexually explicit” materials to minors.

Nicholas’s publications in the field of constitutional law and land use planning appear on several prominent law school syllabuses in the United States and have been cited to the US Supreme Court.

Nicholas was formerly a tutor in Public Law for undergraduate and postgraduate law students at the University of Westminster.

Memberships


  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Lawyers for Liberty
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit

Judicial Review Public Inquiries

Judicial Review


Nicholas is widely published in the field of judicial review, constitutional challenges to land use decisions in the United States and general jurisprudence.

  • Sources of ‘Public Use’ Requirements – Takings or Due Process? [2004] 27 Zoning & Planning L. Rep 1. Article cited to the United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London [2005], one of the most significant land use planning decisions in modern Supreme Court history.
  • “Legislative vs. Quasi-Judicial – Deference or Defense?” [2004] 27 Zoning & Planning L. Rep 20. [2004].
  • “Making It Up – Original Intent and Federal Takings Jurisprudence” [2003] Urban Lawyer, Vol. 35, No. 2, 203.
  • “How Useful is Rawls’ Theory of Justice? Does It Help Us to Avoid Unjust Systems?” [1998] UCL Jurisprudence Review 188.

In addition Nicholas has undertaken significant pro bono work in the field of judicial review on behalf of several organisations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Thousand Friends of Oregon (amicus briefs to the Oregon Court of Appeals and Supreme Courts arguing for greater citizen involvement in the land use planning process), the American Planning Association (amicus briefs to the Oregon and New Mexico Courts of Appeal and Supreme Courts arguing for greater prominence for urban master plans), the League of Conservation Voters (advocacy on a wide variety of economic, environmental, social and political topics for the non-partisan environmental group’s 2004 presidential campaign, in support of John Kerry) and the Bar Pro Bono Unit (Public Law and Human Rights and related Commercial and Regulatory/Criminal Proceedings and Advisory Work).

Public Inquiries


Nicholas has recently begun developing his expertise in advising on the relationship between public inquiries and ongoing criminal investigations. See e.g. Nicholas’s discussion of the Leveson inquiry: How to Handle Public Inquiries, The Guardian, November 2011.

Public Law Cases


  • Ex Parte N (2012): Advisory work relating to long-running litigation concerning prospective claims against the Legal Services Commission under section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998 for funds lost through improper mortgage repossessions.
  • FSA v. W (a firm); FSA v. G (a firm) (2009-2010): Judicial review proceedings against the FSA for its improper exercise of draconian powers against a number of firms in the small cap stockbroking industry.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline


Nicholas has considerable experience providing advisory and advocacy services to professional clients facing regulatory and professional misconduct allegations in a variety of contexts. Nicholas has undertaken regulatory litigation at the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the Financial Services Authority, the Upper Tribunal, the High Court and the Court of Faculties. Nicholas also represents individuals and corporations in related criminal proceedings, including market abuse and insider trading allegations.

Financial Services Regulation & Enforcement

Financial Services Regulation & Enforcement


Nicholas is widely published in the fields of Financial Services Regulation and Enforcement:

  • Corporate Transparency and Fraud: People in Glass Houses? Journal of International Banking and Finance Law, November 2013. Discusses the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ recent discussion paper on enhancing transparency of ownership in UK corporations.
  • Banksters can sleep easy again, The Lawyer, 24 June 2013. Discusses the June 2013 report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes, Solicitors Journal, June 2013. Discusses the proposed new law criminalising reckless endangerment of the public by senior bankers.
  • Contributor to Advertising Law and Regulation (Tottel, 2nd Ed. 2010); specifically Chapter 22: Regulation of Financial Services Advertising.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline Cases


  • Re: A [2016]: representation of online vehicle market concerning provision of insurance advice and FCA authorisation
  • Re H (2015): represented internet startup dealing with authorisation required for warranty provision on its website and related regulatory concerns
  • FCA v. M [2015]: Junior Counsel in RDC proceedings in which Authority sought prohibition of international businessman accused of giving dishonest answers to FCA in interview. Proceedings dismissed with no further action by RDC.
  • Re: I [Court of Faculties, 2013-2014]: Sole Counsel in disciplinary proceedings brought against notary accused of facilitating the commission of a £3 million land bank fraud in Mozambique, including though the misuse of a client account for the routing of funds. Fraud had implications in the UK, Spain, South Africa, Mozambique and the UK. Client faced being struck off and ruined by extensive (100+) civil claims relating to alleged client account mismanagement. Secured finding that client had no knowledge of fraudulent elements of scheme, complete dismissal of potentially ruinous account mismanagement allegations and “slap on the wrist” penalty for professional misconduct; client allowed to continue in practice, client’s business and numerous jobs saved.
  • FCA v. V [2013-2015]: Junior Counsel in prohibition proceedings at the Upper Tribunal against based on findings and judicial commentary made in parallel civil proceedings.
  • FSA v W (a firm); FSA v G (a firm) (2009-2010): Representation of several small-cap stockbroking corporations before the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the Financial Services Authority, the Financial Services & Markets Tribunal, and in the High Court in judicial review proceedings.
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