Stephen specialises in financial services disputes and  regulatory matters. He is ranked as a Leading Individual for Cryptoasset Disputes by Chambers & Partners, and by The Legal 500 as a Next Generation Partner for both Banking Litigation and Commercial Litigation. The directories describe Stephen as a ‘real star’, ‘exceptional to work with’, ‘a great strategist’ and note that he ‘has the ability to explain the most complex concepts clearly so that rational decisions can be made’.”

Stephen is an experienced disputes and regulatory lawyer, with a particular focus on financial services and banking related disputes, as well as regulatory matters, heading the firm’s regulatory practice.

He has a particular focus on crypto and blockchain, acting for crypto exchanges and coin issuers in litigation – including the defence of novel substantive actions brought against exchanges – and related asset-tracing actions, contractual disputes and broader risk management issues.

Stephen also advises crypto firms extensively on the evolving law and regulation of cryptoassets, and the practical demands of regulatory engagement required by the crypto sector.

In traditional finance, Stephen has extensive experience acting for a variety of FCA-regulated firms, including hedge funds, brokers, payment service providers and investment managers. Stephen has previously worked in-house at a global derivatives broker-dealer, where he was responsible for litigation and contentious regulatory matters. He brings his product and sector knowledge to bear on a wide range of complex disputes and regulatory issues.

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 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 2014.

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

What the legal directories say

Stephen is ranked as a Leading Individual for Cryptoasset Disputes by Chambers & Partners (as part of CYK’s Band 1-ranked practice) (2024), where he is described as “unflappable, very analytical and detail-driven”. He is also ranked as a Next Generation Partner by Legal 500 for Banking Litigation and Commercial Litigation.

He is a “key name” for contentious financial services and is recommended for his “thorough knowledge of financial services industries, especially broking”. Stephen is described as having “excellent judgment” and being “sensitive and proactive in relation to client’s needs and commercial ends”.

Legal 500 describe Stephen as “the top choice for litigation involving exchanges or trading”, very bright and utterly charming” and as a “very safe pair of hands in relation to regulatory enforcement work”.

Professional groups

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

Cases of Note

  • IS Prime v ThinkMarkets: acting for ThinkMarkets, the global brokerage firm, in high-profile Commercial Court proceedings brought by IS Prime Limited, settled at the start of trial in mid-2023.

  • AA v Persons Unknown: acting for Bitfinex, the crypto exchange, in defending claims involving novel issues as to the application of English law remedies in a cryptoasset context, in the seminal litigation where the Commercial Court held that digital assets such as Bitcoin could constitute property for the purposes of English law.

  • Giwa v JNFX Limited: acting for the FCA-regulated FX and payments firm in significant litigation relating to failed FX (Naira/USD) and payment transactions.

  • Morley v The Royal Bank of Scotland: acting for a property developer against the Defendant bank including on successful applications for specific disclosure and to summon two former bank employees to give evidence at trial.

  • Acting for HNW individuals in proceedings against Clydesdale Bank in relation to tailored business loans, allegedly improper charging of ‘break costs’ and hedging related losses.

  • Acting for fiat-backed stablecoin issuer in various cryptoasset recovery proceedings.

  • Acting for multiple financial firms in claims against investment banks in relation to FX rate manipulation.

  • Acting for a major crypto casino in relation to claims/regulatory issues arising out of alleged activity in prohibited jurisdictions.

  • Representing a HNW individual in relation to claims against his former adviser in relation to negligent advice and resulting investment losses.

  • Representing crypto token issuer in defending claims from investors for breach of contract and lost profits, and claims pursuant to ss26/28 FSMA.