Trevor has been an integral part of the development of PCB over the last 20 years into one of the leading asset recovery firms in the world. He jointly leads a team of highly skilled junior partners and associates, capable of handling the largest and most complex asset recovery cases. Trevor’s strengths are his lateral thinking and legal analysis, which enable him to develop creative strategies to tackle challenging cross-border cases.
What motivated you to specialise in asset recovery?
The cases are often highly complex, involving issues of jurisdiction, choice of law, proprietary and tracing claims, ancillary proceedings in multiple jurisdictions and opaque structures. Developing innovative strategies and coordinating a cross-border team in its implementation provides challenging and stimulating work.
How has the market changed since you first started practising?
Structures through which assets are controlled by fraudsters, yet are said not to be owned by them, have become more prevalent, which presents increasing challenges to asset recovery lawyers. There has also been an increase in the number of jurisdictions being used for such structures beyond the usual offshore jurisdictions, which again presents challenges in selecting the best available lawyers and creating a suitable strategy.
What makes PCB Litigation stand out from its competitors in the market?
A combination of experienced partners and high-quality associates, with skill sets that blend well together to provide strategic and legal innovation, together with the necessary deep factual analysis and hard graft. As such, PCB is able to point to a track record of instructions on substantial and ground-breaking asset recovery cases that few, if any, other firms are able to match.
Sources have noted increasing proactivity from state banks to recover assets. How do you expect this trend to affect your practice?
PCB has significant experience in acting on behalf of state-owned banks and failed banks, where the state has taken control in substantial asset recovery cases. As such we are well placed to work with state banks in formulating asset recovery strategies and working with funders to facilitate the pursuit of those claims.
You have highlighted to us that litigation funding for asset recovery cases seems to be increasing. Why do you think this is, and how is this impacting the market?
There is an increasing amount of money in the litigation funding market, driven by the potentially significant returns available, and this means that funders are having to look beyond the limited pool of “vanilla” cases to the more risky, but potentially very rewarding, large asset recovery cases. We have seen much greater appetite among funders for such cases in the last two to three years.
Your practice focuses on developing the strategy for an asset recovery litigation. How do you go about deciding what approach to take for a case?
While no two cases are alike, one tends to look at what is known about the potential defendants, their locations and their assets, as well as the underlying wrongdoing. These will inform as to what further steps might be required to gather evidence; the jurisdiction(s) in which to proceed; what claims can be brought; and what interim relief might be available. Then there are factors such as whether assets are at imminent risk of being moved, and whether the likely benefit of certain steps will justify the costs. Fitting the known pieces together to work out the strategy, often where there is a need to move incredibly quickly, comes with experience.
How do you see the practice area developing over the next five years?
I expect there will be increasing use of the cross-border insolvency regulations, as many asset recovery cases are likely to involve liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy, particularly given the current state of the global economy. I can see an increasing need for insolvency practitioners to call upon the skill sets of asset recovery lawyers to obtain a return for creditors.
There also seems to be a big increase in cyberfraud, with money being quickly moved to jurisdictions where tracing and enforcement may be problematic. This is likely to bring into focus the role of banks and the relationship between failure to comply with anti-money laundering regulations and accessory liability to victims.
You have enjoyed a distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
PCB has a number of highly talented junior partners and associates, and I would like to help them to develop further as leading asset recovery lawyers, and to gain more market recognition. As well as high-calibre lawyers, and quality work, we also have a collegiate environment that I would like to nurture, so as to be the firm that all aspiring asset recovery lawyers wish to join. That way we can broaden our talent base and consolidate the firm’s reputation as one of the best asset recovery firms in the world.
Trevor Mascarenhas wins extensive plaudits from market commentators who single him out as “a very clever practitioner” with extensive litigation expertise.
Trevor is a senior partner of PCB Litigation and has been dealing with complex international asset recovery cases throughout his career. As such he brings a wealth of experience in freezing, search and disclosure orders and has been at the cutting edge of many of the major developments in common law jurisdictions.
His expertise has been reflected in rankings in the major directories, which praise his strategic thinking, legal knowledge and creativity. Trevor has been at the forefront of developing and implementing the asset recovery strategy in numerous multi-jurisdictional cases, co-ordinating with lawyers in civil and common law jurisdictions in order to obtain effective freezes over complex asset holding structures.
His cases include Abela v Fakih, in which the first reasoned judgments were given as to the jurisdiction to grant a search order against a third party to proceedings; Jenington v Assaubayev, a case in which Trevor obtained freezing orders served simultaneously in five jurisdictions along with search orders at three premises, culminating in the leading judgment on cross-examination as to assets and VTB Capital v Universal Telecom Management, in which the Cayman Court of Appeal confirmed the jurisdiction of the Cayman Court to grant free-standing freezing orders in support of foreign proceedings.
Trevor has also had cases in the House of Lords, Supreme Court and Privy Council, and has authored numerous articles for publications such as the Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation, Trust Law International, International Company and Commercial Law Review, European Lawyer, New Law Journal, Legal Business and the E-Commerce Law Reports.
Trevor is a senior partner of PCB, a conflict-free specialist commercial dispute resolution firm. Winner of the Client Choice Award for 2019 for Arbitration and ADR in the UK, Trevor has been recommended by the main directories for civil fraud, asset recovery, banking litigation and commercial litigation. He is lauded for coming up with creative solutions for clients and for his command of complicated facts and law.
His practice also spans contentious insolvency, real estate litigation and professional negligence; and a variety of industry sectors including banking and finance, natural resources, private equity, real estate, telecommunications, automotive, and sports and leisure.
Two of Trevor’s cases have been identified as top 20 cases of the year by The Lawyer: acting for the first defendant to a US$1 billion Bahraini banking and Saudi real estate claim, and acting for 34 of the 48 respondents to a €1 billion claim brought by the liquidators of a Greek telecommunications company. Both cases ended successfully with the claims being discontinued against Trevor’s clients mid-trial.
Other cases include successful appeals to the House of Lords in a landlord and tenant case; to the Supreme Court in the leading case about service of proceedings out of the jurisdiction; and to the Privy Council about the limits of the jurisdiction of the BVI Court in a shareholder dispute.
Trevor has authored numerous articles for publications such as the Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation, Trust Law International, International Company and Commercial Law Review, European Lawyer, New Law Journal, Legal Business and the E-Commerce Law Reports.