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Michaelson, Justin

Justin Michaelson

Direct Tel: +44 20 7653 2250, Direct Fax: +44 20 7653 2100
Tel: +44 20 7653 2000 Fax: +44 20 7653 2100

Justin Michaelson has successfully represented clients in some of the most complex, high-profile cross-border disputes, involving litigations, arbitrations, related investigations, and various forms of interim relief. He has over 25 years' experience in major international commercial disputes and appears regularly before international commercial arbitral tribunals, both institutional and ad hoc, in disputes covering a wide variety of jurisdictions, and sectors.  Justin is both a commercial litigator and arbitration specialist. Justin’s practice over the past few years has covered a broad range of civil fraud cases, including shareholder disputes, breach of confidence claims, white collar crime claims and investigations, crypto-currency and oil & gas and mining disputes.  Justin also has significant experience in interim relief, including freezing orders, and has acted successfully for both Claimant and Defendant in obtaining and resisting or over-turning freezing orders.   Ranked by Chambers UK, clients have praised Justin’s capabilities saying, “He is so masterful at handling extremely complex and cross-border cases.” Similarly, in Chambers Global, interviewees respect that he “never gives up, is extremely hands-on and very knowledgeable” and describe him as “very professional and unflappable.” Previously, interviewees have noted their respect for his “smart and practical approach” and have described him as “a person you just love to work with.” Legal 500 UK, notes that interviewees describe him as “hands-on, very strategic”. Justin is also head of the Contentious Trusts & Probate practice.

  • The successful claimant in a significant contested probate claim, involving issues of domicile, validity of a will and a serious civil fraud, reported at: [2023] EWHC 3253 (Ch) | [2023] 12 WLUK 252
  • A significant ICC arbitration involving issues of civil fraud, anti-trust, and breach of contract involving a rigged tender process.
  • A high value LCIA arbitration proceeding between high net worth individuals concerning disputed real estate, commission fees and related claims.
  • A high net-worth individual in connection with proceedings in the British Virgin Islands, Russia, Cyprus and LCIA arbitration concerning disputed facility agreements and other financial instruments to the value exceeding US$100 million.
  • A high net-worth tech entrepreneur in a shareholder dispute over a valuable social network company in Russia, valued at over US$2 billion. The case involved LCIA arbitration proceedings and related proceedings in the BVI and New York, and was settled in an agreement worth US$1.7 billion.
  • The successful Applicants in a Worldwide Freezing Order in Cyprus, and a Freezing Injunction Order issued by the English Court that combined domestic freezing relief with worldwide ancillary disclosure in a dispute valued at US$120 million. 
  • A Cyprus-incorporated entity enforcing Guarantees and Facility Agreements through LCIA arbitrations, securing total Awards in excess of US$125 million.
  • Acting for Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Limited (“ENRC”) in relation to allegations of third parties trading in its leaked confidential information, including against a former journalist and a former high ranking politician in Kazakhstan.
  • A significant dispute concerning allegations of crypto-currency fraud.
  • The successful Applicant to a Worldwide Freezing Order issued by the English High Court to the value of US$265 million arising out of claims for wilful default, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract.
  • A state-owned bank from the Russian Federation in its dispute with the International Bank of Azerbaijan regarding the status and impact in England of a restructuring process in Azerbaijan, and its effect on liability under English law; including acting for Sberbank in its successful application to avoid a reduction of the debt in the Chancery Division at [2018] 2 BCLC 396 ; [2018] 4 WLUK 129 ; in the Court of Appeal at [2019] 1 BCLC 1 ; and in the Commercial Court at [2018] 10 WLUK 340.
  • An Indian real estate portfolio management company in relation to a US$200 million LCIA arbitration brought by hedge funds and the board of the plc investing in real estate projects in India, which also involved connected proceedings in Singapore, Mauritius and India.
  • A high net-worth individual in a successful lifting of a worldwide freezing order in the Bahamas arising out of a family trust dispute.
  • The successful Respondents Marshall Capital and Konstantin Malofeev in the VTB v Nutritek & Others cases; reported at  [2011] EWHC 3107 (High Court);   [2012] EWHC Civ 808 (Court of Appeal); and [2013] UKSC 5 (Supreme Court).  The Respondents successfully overturned ex parte interim injunctive relief on three separate grounds (no risk of dissipation; material non-disclosure; and no jurisdiction) and succeeded in a substantive jurisdiction challenge, which involved novel arguments relating to piercing the corporate veil.
  • A high-net-worth individual in the enforcement of judgments from Liechtenstein in excess of US$100 million in the BVI.
  • A Russian telecoms company in enforcement proceedings relating to a US$230 million Award involving related proceedings in England, Luxembourg and the Seychelles.
  • A leading software technology company in ad hoc arbitration proceedings, relating to an alleged breach of licence and damages in the sum of US$90 million.
  • A leading private equity firm and the principal founding partner in relation to allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation and conspiracy in a claim worth over US$330 million.
  • A leading private equity midmarket fund of funds in LCIA arbitration over US$100 million of unpaid placement agent fees.
  • A leading hedge fund firm in a dispute over unpaid substantial bonuses brought by a former partner. The allegations concerned the interpretation of a termination clause for bonus remuneration.
  • The Russian subsidiary of a major metals and manufacturing company in respect of a contract dispute with the Russian subsidiary of a British-based consumer packaging company, involving LCIA arbitration.
  • Inns of Court, School of Law
    (Bar Vocational Course, 1997)
  • University of Leeds
    (Law, 1996)
  • Solicitor-Advocate, England & Wales 2001
  • Barrister, Lincolns Inn 1997
  • Fried Frank:
    • Partner, 2012-2020
  • SJ Berwin:
    • Partner, 2007-2012
  • Mr. Michaelson is consistently recommended for commercial litigation and international arbitration in various publications, including Chambers Global “He is so masterful at handling extremely complex and cross-border cases." "He knows the London market very well and he is very established in the legal community. He advises on a whole range of issues.”), Chambers UK (“a very determined, dogged arbitration specialist”), Legal 500 UK (“a lawyer in his own league”), The Lawyer, Superlawyers and Who’s Who Legal. Chambers UK market commentators noted “Mr. Michaelson as ‘a tremendous lawyer who is very concentrated on the matter at hand.’” He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in the UK for International Arbitration (2025).  Most recently, he was named a “Global Leader” in Asset Recovery by Who’s Who Legal, and named a "Future Leader Partner" in Arbitration by Who's Who Legal.
  • Mr. Michaelson has been recognized as a Recommended Individual by Legal 500 UK for Fraud: Civil, 2024.
  • Mr. Michaelson has recently been ranked by Lawdragon 500 Leading Global Litigators Guide for his work in International Litigation & Arbitration.  
  • Mr. Michaelson received a double first from the University of Leeds and was awarded the Eversheds Award for Commercial Law, the Batt Prize for Criminal Law, the Hughes Scholarship Award, the Margaret Harrison Award for Jurisprudence and the Sweet & Maxwell Prize.  Mr. Michaelson also received the Hardwicke Entrance Award and the Wolfson Scholarship from Lincoln’s Inn.
  • Mr. Michaelson received his Bar Vocational Diploma from Inns of Court School of Law in 1997 and his LLB from University of Leeds in 1996.
  • Member, London Court of International Arbitration
  • Member, International Bar Association
  • Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member, Law Society of England & Wales
  • Member, Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
  • Member, The Arbitration Club