Stephen Surgeoner
Partner | London
Stephen Surgeoner

Stephen Surgeoner has more than two decades of experience advising clients on all forms of commercial dispute resolution, with a focus on the banking, funds, insurance, energy and telecommunications industries. Mr. Surgeoner has considerable experience in assisting clients with high-value, cross-jurisdictional complex commercial litigation both in London and globally. Mr Surgeoner also focuses on alternative methods of dispute resolution including domestic and international arbitration and mediation.

In addition to dispute resolution, Mr. Surgeoner advises financial institutions and corporate enterprises on risk mitigation including the use of insurance products such as political risk, credit, directors and officers and warranty and indemnity insurance. He also represents policyholders in maximising recoveries under their insurance assets. Mr Surgeoner also regularly advises clients on contract drafting and the structuring of insurance and reinsurance to hedge risk.

Mr. Surgeoner is consistently recognized as a leading practitioner by The Legal 500 UK and is listed in the Hall of Fame for Insurance and Reinsurance Litigation (2022-2023). The Legal 500 UK lists him as a key lawyer for Fraud: Civil and Commercial Litigation: Premium (2023) with clients describing him as "technically superb, highly intelligent, excellent on tactics, and a very pleasant person to deal with", and "calm, not phased by pressure, good judgement and available round the clock". He is also praised as a "hardworking, intelligent and experienced [litigator] who work[s] well with the bar" (2022). 

The Legal 500 UK 2018 edition ranked Mr. Surgeoner as a Leading Individual and describes him as "experienced, wise and gets to the point and delivers results" and that he "offers pragmatic, focused advice." The 2017 edition notes his particular insurance and reinsurance expertise, and praised as a "standout individual" who "is redoubtable and resilient, with the ability to get to the heart of a dispute and secure a successful result" (2016). He was also recognized as a leading lawyer for insurance in Chambers Global and Chambers UK, where clients described him as "thorough and unbelievably efficient" and "really bright and someone you would want on your side" (2017).

Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Surgeoner served as a litigation and dispute resolution partner at Clifford Chance.

Commercial Litigation

  • Tate & Lyle Sugars Limited ("TLS") in Commercial Court litigation against Tate & Lyle Industries Limited ("TALIND"). TLS had previously acquired TALIND's European sugars business and pursued several contractual claims against TALIND which arose from the acquisition. The High Court issued judgment in favour of TLS for the sum of €24.9 million plus interest and costs.
  • A major European energy company in commercial court proceedings and an expert determination arising from the disposal of a coal fired power station.
  • Societe Generale in Commercial Court proceedings relating to the recovery of US$500 million of gold in Turkey. The recovery proceedings included actions in the English High Court, the Middle East and Turkey. Also represented Societe Generale in related proceedings seeking to recover under an insurance contract.
  • Societe Generale in Commercial Court and Court of Appeal proceedings relating to sums paid under a letter of credit.
  • ING against Arlington (a company operated by Rafa Rizvi) relating to the recovery of US$200 million advanced under a Facility Agreement. The recovery action included coordinated proceedings in Singapore, BVI, Hong Kong and Mauritius.
  • Ensus UK in the TCC in respect of a construction and letter of credit dispute with Simon Carves.
  • A global insurance broker in relation to Commercial Court proceedings arising out of damage to an oil platform.

Insurance and Reinsurance

  • A Hong Kong company on related D&O and PI claims relating to a SFO investigation into the business.
  • A leading UK bank in relation the operation of a trust and potential PI claim under a run-off policy.
  • A major property developer in relation to a claim under a CGL policy relating to disruption to Network Rail operations on adjoining rail tracks.
  • A European bank on an innovative complex insurance structure designed to minimise the use of capital required for loan transactions.
  • Manulife and John Hancock in relation to the PA LMX spiral.
  • Cyber risk and mitigation including reviewing insurance arrangements.

International Arbitration

  • A major European bank in two LCIA arbitrations arising out of claims under two credit insurance policies relating to a default by a mining company.
  • A Russian oil company in an ICC arbitration with an international drilling operator.
  • A Russian bank on LCIA recovery actions arising from a series of financial transactions with a Ukrainian borrower.
  • An international hotel chain on a claim under a termination agreement which contained an ICC arbitration provision.
  • A major German energy company in an arbitration relating to a coal supply contract. Maxis in a SIAC arbitration against Siva Ventures relating to a dispute over the acquisition of a telecoms business.
  • A U.S. Bank in an ad hoc arbitration under a political risk insurance contract relating to trade finance contracts with Israeli businesses.
  • A Spanish conglomerate in an LCIA arbitration under a political risk insurance contract relating to the construction of a waste disposal facility in Mexico.


  • An international media company in relation to an investigation into allegations of corruption and bribery by senior management in an Eastern European subsidiary.
  • A UK insurance broker in relation to an investigation into the fraudulent placing of insurance business with an unauthorised insurance company in the U.S. Also acted on related recovery proceedings in the UK and U.S.
  • A global insurance broker in relation to an investigation into conflicts of interest.

Includes matters handled at Dechert or prior to joining the firm.

  • Ask the Arbitrators: Who owns the reference - CDR Spring Arbitration Symposium 2018, Sofitel London St James (April 26, 2018)
Services Industries
    • Trinity Hall, Cambridge, B.A., 1991
    • England and Wales
    • Ireland