Nicola Boulton secures a place among the UK’s foremost asset recovery specialists, with sources lauding her as “a force of nature, and an incredibly effective opponent”.
Nicola Boulton is a fraud litigator with particular expertise in high-value civil fraud, proprietary remedies and off-shore trust litigation. Nicola acts for high-net-worth individuals, legal and financial services professionals, trustees, corporates and hedge funds. She has extensive expertise and experience in freezing order issues and other interlocutory injunctive measures and a particular interest in anti-money laundering issues. Nicola is a Solicitor-Advocate (Higher Courts Criminal and Civil Proceedings).
What has been your most interesting asset recovery case to date, and why?
Achieving recovery from a fraudster who had systematically plundered his children’s trusts. Satisfying on so many different levels.
What new types of fraud are you seeing emerge and develop during the covid-19 pandemic? How are you ensuring that you and your clients are well equipped to tackle them?
There is nothing new under the sun, but the breakdown in “normal” and the commercial stress of the situation has undoubtedly given opportunities to fraudsters to exploit uncertainty and to evade scrutiny. Reacting quickly is critical, even when court access is restricted and people are working from home.
In which ways does Byrne & Partners distinguish itself from competitors in the white-collar crime space?
Byrne is a partner-led firm where we stay close to the work and the client’s objectives. We listen very carefully and focus on what the client needs, not the legal process.
What is it about your role as an asset recovery specialist that you enjoy most?
I meet a lot of fascinating and very intelligent people who have an enormous experience of the world.
What are the most effective tools that asset recovery specialists have to recover stolen assets, and why are they effective?
Freezing orders are a wonderful creation of the English legal system and show the willingness of the English Courts to innovate to protect the victims of fraud. The flexibility of the injunction jurisdiction in England is invaluable.
To what extent is the increasingly virtual nature of investigations in a covid-19 landscape making for a more efficient process? In what aspects is it falling short?
Covid-19 has caused lawyers and investigators to finally grasp the possibilities of technology and to fully engage with the tools available. It turns out that we already had the capability to manage mass data at a distance! However, there is still no substitute for listening to the client and you can’t make eye contact by Zoom. Close work, detailed analysis and thinking wins cases and there is a qualitative loss in communication when it is all electronic: nuance matters.
What advice would you give to practitioners thinking of founding their own firm as you did in 2003?
Go for it and hold tight: it will be both worse and much better than you can possibly imagine.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
There is one individual who I have watched for the last 30 years and hope to act for before I retire. No names!