Stephen Elam

+44 (0)20 7148 4530
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Stephen is an experienced commercial litigation solicitor, with a particular focus on financial services and banking related disputes, and contentious regulatory matters. He has extensive experience acting for a variety of financial institutions, including hedge funds, brokers and investment managers. Stephen also has significant experience of professional negligence matters, involving professionals in a number of disciplines. He also regularly advises on a broad range of pensions related disputes.

Stephen has expertise in all forms of regulatory investigations and litigation – he regularly advises clients subject to investigation by the FCA. In addition to High Court trial experience, he regularly works with clients to resolve disputes through mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Stephen’s experience working with financial institutions includes both in house and private practice. Prior to joining CYK, Stephen worked in-house at the derivatives broker-dealer, MF Global, where he was responsible for litigation and contentious regulatory matters across the European business. These included, for example, significant disputes in relation to FX, equity and commodity derivatives, both exchange-traded and OTC, and involving counterparties, regulators and exchanges. Stephen particularly enjoys cases involving complex financial instruments where his product knowledge acquired in-house is particularly valuable.

MF Global was the first UK company to enter the post-Lehman special administration regime (SAR) for investment banks in October 2011, and has been at the forefront of significant legal and regulatory developments in that area.


Significant litigation in relation to financial product mis-selling, complex derivatives, structured products and LIBOR fixing (including Property Alliance Group v RBS in relation to LIBOR manipulation).

FX manipulation: advising in relation to potential claims and losses resulting from FX markets in G10 and emerging market currencies, including issues of front-running and manipulation of fixing rates.

FX mis-selling: advising in relation to potential claims involving FX derivative products, often sold as hedges against currency risks.

Acting in relation to various disputes involving trading losses, including in relation to FX, CFDs, F&O, spread betting, LME products, and electronic platform failures – including claims arising from the significant losses resulting from the 2015 removal of the EUR/CHF floor.

Representing financial services clients in various matters arising from FCA regulated activities, managing and conducting supervisory and enforcement related investigations and reporting on matters such as suitability, other conduct of business issues, remedial measures and redress.

Acting for a fund manager in relation to significant Commercial Court proceedings involving disputes as to fees associated with investment of Libyan government funds into complex structured products.

Acting for asset management and stockbroking firms (and their professional indemnity insurers) in relation to a large variety of High Court litigation. Litigation involves matters such as pensions misselling, negligent portfolio management, unauthorised trading, trading of complex financial instruments.

Advising an oil service and production company in relation to multi-jurisdictional contractual and tortious claims arising from the operational failure of an offshore oil facility. Defending litigation from the facility owner, and pursuing claims against sub-contractors in multiple jurisdictions.

Third party funded litigation relating to construction of TV production contracts; one of the earliest funded cases to progress to Commercial Court trial.


Stephen qualified as a solicitor in September 2003. He trained and qualified at Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, working there on a variety of commercial litigation and professional negligence matters, before joining the London office of Fulbright & Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright) in 2008. He moved to MF Global in 2011, and joined Cooke Young and Keidan in March 2014.

Stephen read Law at Magdalen College, Oxford and completed the LPC (also in Oxford) with distinction.


ACCA, May 2016 event: Banking scandals – speaker on claims against banks; risks, tactics and the future.

C5, Financial Institutions Regulatory Disputes & Investigations conference, November 2015 – speaker on implications of Property Alliance Group v RBS.

International Financial Litigation Network, November 2015 meeting – speaker on benchmark manipulation.


Stephen is a member of the Law Society of England and Wales and the London Solicitors Litigation Association, Financial Services Lawyers Association and the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association.