David has a wealth of experience in business crime, commercial insurance and financial regulation. He is ranked in Chambers & Partners as a leader in the field of Financial Crime (London) as well as the Legal 500 for Business and Regulatory Crime (including Global investigations) (London).
"He has a very high intellect, is able to develop very compelling legal argument and is extremely good at analysis of the papers."
Chambers and Partners 2019.
"He is an absolutely first-rate junior and his intellectual and legal arguments are outstanding. He is a talented and pragmatic defence counsel, who is tactically astute and very hard-working."
Chambers and Partners 2015.
David regularly acts for large corporations seeking to recover insurance losses in the London Market and has a proven track record in successfully resolving policyholder claims through negotiated settlement, litigation and mediation.
"(David) Stern is the key business crime and financial regulation barrister at the set. His areas of expertise include advising on rate rigging, corruption and investment fraud cases."
Chambers and Partners 2017.
"Working with David is a pleasure because he combines an ability to master almost any problem with an impressive talent for hard work. He analyses the minutiae of a case without losing sight of the larger picture and is a great asset to any team who wants to get it right from the start."
Chambers and Partners 2018.
David’s practice focuses on corporate regulation, business crime and serious fraud with a particular emphasis on financial services and insurance.
David is Joint Head of the Regulation and Business Crime Practice Group at 5 St Andrew’s Hill and has acted as leading junior and junior counsel in many of the most high profile proceedings in England, especially cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office and the FCA.
He successfully defended two clients in the SFO’s first prosecutions of alleged manipulation of US$ and Yen Libor benchmark rates (Barclays and UBS II) and is considered to be a leading expert on wider benchmark investigations, including Forex and commodities.
"Provided fantastic client care and was exceptionally well prepared throughout the case."
Chambers and Partners 2016.
‘A highly experienced and tenacious advocate, particularly with regards to business crime.’
Legal 500 2017.
David also leads the Corporate Advisory Service provided by the Practice Group. He has a particular expertise in advisory, regulatory and tribunal work arising out of financial transactions. He is regularly instructed to represent both corporates and individuals in FCA regulatory investigations and wider risk-related matters. He has developed an innovative service for corporations and multi-nationals through conducting risk assessment, compliance, governance and internal investigations as part of team focussed on ensuring his clients with best practice with business and financial crime prevention measures.
David founded Settlement Counsel in 2000 and has acted in many leading high value insurance claims for North American policyholders in the London Insurance Market, including acting as lead London counsel in the World Trade Center coverage case.
He is also a highly respected commercial mediator and handles a range of commercial matters with a particular emphasis on the resolution of financial services and insurance disputes.
Seminars and lectures
David regularly provides lectures and seminars on a variety of subjects, including financial services, business crime, the London Financial and Insurance Markets and mediation. He has presented keynote speeches for several international bar organisations, including the American Bar Association.
Direct Public Access
- David accepts Direct Public Access instructions.
- David is able to take instructions directly from law firms, corporations and individuals as well as foreign law firms under the International Practice Rules.
David was educated at King’s College, London (LL.B.) and Jesus College, Cambridge (LL.M.)
- Lincoln’s Inn.
- Criminal Bar Association.
- Fraud Lawyers’ Association.
- Proceeds of Crime Lawyers’ Association.
- Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers.
David has considerable experience in restraint and confiscation hearings. He has been instrumental in testing the mechanics of this complex and evolving area of law under CJA 1998, DTA 1994 and more recently under POCA 2002 and the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
His advice and representation is regularly sought by the authorities, defendants and third parties in respect of all aspects of confiscation and civil recovery proceedings.
David has a proven track record in handling complex commercial fraud, serious fraud and business crime cases. His commercial experience in insurance and financial services often proves invaluable working on complex fraud trials.
“Recognised for his skills in a broad sweep of white-collar criminal matters, including prosecutions led by the SFO and FCA. He elicits particular praise for his skill in handling various types of investment fraud, property fraud and corruption matters.“
Chambers and Partners 2016
His strengths are his tactical and analytical approach, commercial acumen and creative flair.
David's advice is often sought by UK and international corporates on ensuring compliance with their business crime responsibilities, with particular emphasis on anti-bribery and corruption, AML and under the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
David acted as leading junior defence counsel in the first prosecution of the alleged manipulation of the US$ Libor rate (SFO v Contogoulas) and in the first ever acquittal of the alleged manipulation of the Libor benchmarks (Yen Libor – SFO v Wilkinson).
David acts as leading junior and junior counsel in commercial fraud, serious fraud and business crime investigations and prosecutions. While he handles a wide variety of serious matters, the principal areas of his business crime practice are:
- Serious and complex fraud, including SFO and HMRC prosecutions, especially those involving financial institutions and professional advisers
- Money-laundering compliance, investigations and prosecutions
- Director disqualification
- Price fixing, cartels, anti-trust and Enterprise Act investigations
- Commercial and personal mortgage fraud and related business crime involving other financial instruments
- LIBOR/FX and other investigations and prosecutions of benchmark manipulation
- Bribery and corruption
- Misconduct in the public office
A key area of success has been the early dismissal of proceedings on grounds of abuse of process and non-disclosure. He appears in the Crown Court, Divisional Court and Court of Appeal and has appeared in the House of Lords.
He has acted in several high-profile cases for commercial and private clients for example: HSE and corporate manslaughter investigation arising out of the Marchioness; anti-trust investigations involving Cable & Wireless, and several “big ticket” fraud prosecutions and appeals, arising out of allegations concerning Guinness II, Smith, McNicholas Construction and Butte Mining.
For more information on recent high profile case, please click on his Cases of Note below.
David has many years’ experience in general crime. In particular he has advised and appeared for the defence in cases including large scale drug importations, murder, manslaughter and HSE prosecutions.
David specialises in the resolution of domestic and international commercial disputes through highly developed negotiation and mediation strategies.
Founder of Settlement Counsel in 2000, he has acted in a wide range of prominent domestic and international insurance coverage cases. He regularly leads international teams of multi-disciplinary professionals tasked to negotiate settlement of high-value and complex commercial disputes. He is regarded as an expert on the London Insurance Market.
David handles coverage disputes including business interruption, environmental pollution, fidelity, property damage, products liability and terrorism. He is also experienced in the area of broker liability.
In addition, he regularly advises on London Market custom and practice, insurance insolvency and schemes of arrangement, regulatory compliance and legislative reform.
David is an accredited mediator with the ADR Group.
He draws on his extensive experience of negotiating settlements on behalf of his clients as well as representing them in mediations. He has an analytical approach and sound judgment in placing values at which a settlement can be reached and in developing alternative commercial solutions.
His specialist knowledge in the financial services and insurance markets provides a focus for specialist mediations.
David has substantial experience in regulatory and disciplinary work. He has appeared for companies and individuals in matters as wide ranging as financial services, environmental and trade description investigations and prosecutions.
His advisory practice specialises in the financial services and insurance sectors.
David has particular expertise in proceedings brought by the Financial Conduct Authority and has undertaken VAT tribunal work.
Cases of Note
ASSET FORFEITURE & CONFISCATION
Hastings and Rother Justices ex parte Anscombe
 EWHC Admin 146; (1998) 162 JP 340: key authority on the failure to pay a confiscation order.
Serious Fraud Office investigation - Manipulation of the REPO rate at the Lloyds Banking Group
Successfully represented a suspect alleged to have been involved in the manipulation of the REPO rate in connection with payments to HM Treasury arising from the Bank of England’s liquidity scheme following the collapse of the financial markets in 2007.
X v Y and others
Retained to assist in the prosecution of the former CEO of conspiracy to defraud for alleged abuse of his position with unjust enrichment from secret beneficial interests in supplier companies.
SFO v Kerrison (Innospec)
Acted for the lead defendant and CEO in long running allegations of bribery and corruption involving state officials in Indonesia (confiscation and financial orders).
SFO v Wilkinson (UBS II)
Alleged conspiracy to defraud by manipulation of the Yen LIBOR rate by ICAP broker.
SFO v Contogoulas
Alleged conspiracy to defraud by manipulation of US$ Libor rate by derivatives trader.
R v Carney
Multi-million pound commercial mortgage and business loan fraud.
R v Sandison
Acting for the lead defendant, a finance director and chartered accountant, accused of dishonestly concealing facts in a flotation on the London stock exchange.
R v Katcharian
Acting for the lead defendant accused of defrauding Christian philanthropists of Euro 25 million through international prime bank guarantee frauds involving high yield Asset Enhancement Agreements and also of money laundering the proceeds through various Swiss and Liechtenstein bank accounts.
R v Roberts
Multi-million pound mortgage and other secured loan fraud by alleged England rugby “physio”.
R v Freeman
Acted for the sole defendant in the GFX Capital Markets Forex trading fraud alleging a Ponzi scheme against UK investors valued circa £14 million.
Serious Fraud Office v Hughes
Acted for a sole director in a prosecution of a major international boiler room fraud involving in excess of US$100 million against UK investors through the operation of three connected companies based in Madrid.
R v Barso
Acted for the lead defendant, a solicitor, in the prosecution of Operation Triassic, an alleged fraud and money laundering case involving the personal injury claims industry and ATE insurance valued circa £4 million.
R v Rachar
MTIC carousel fraud alleging several hundred million pounds’ worth of VAT – proceedings stayed due to abuse of process regarding non-disclosure.
R v G
International money laundering and drug importation prosecution involving international “supergrass”.
R v Chmiel and others
Defended Polish immigrant worker accused of death of fellow worker, who was acquitted of manslaughter.
R v Kenyon and others
Acted for a defendant in a 6 tonne cannabis importation involving the Hague Convention on the High Seas
Silverstein Properties v Swiss Reinsurance et al.
Acted as specialist London counsel for the claimant in the world’s largest insurance claim (US$7.2 billion) arising out of terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Teck Cominco Metals Ltd v Lloyd’s Underwriters
Acted as London counsel for the claimant in a coverage case in excess of US$100 million involving international pollution in British Columbia and Washington State arising out of mining and smelting operations in Canada. The case involved several successful mediations.
OTHER REPORTED CASES
Hertfordshire County Council, ex parte Green Environmental Industries Ltd
 2 AC 412,  1 All ER 773,  2 WLR 373: leading House of Lords authority on “the right to silence” under European and domestic law.
Quadmost Limited (In Liquidation) v Reprotech (Pebsham) Ltd
1998] EWCA Civ 474 Court of Appeal: decision affirming Norglen on assignment of causes of action and availability of legal aid for commercial actions, including those alleging fraud.
Norglen Ltd v Reeds Rains Prudential and others
1996] 1 WLR 864,  3 WLR 1177: Court of Appeal and House of Lords decisions on assignment of causes of action by liquidators and security for costs in an action concerning allegations of fraud.
Director of the Serious Fraud Office, ex parte Smith
 1 All ER 730 DC: key authority on “the right to silence” in Serious Fraud Office investigations.