nikolai lazarev

Nikolai Lazarev

Year of Call: 2010
Email Address:
Telephone: 020 7583 8055

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A native Russian-speaking English barrister and FCIArb, Nikolai Lazarev specialises in international commercial litigation, arbitration and art. He advises some of the world's largest enterprises and leading financial institutions, as well as ultra-high-net-worth individuals and family offices, particularly Russian/CIS, in complex, high-value, multi-jurisdictional, and culturally sensitive disputes, projects, and transactions. Examples of his prolific casework can be seen in his commercial specialist tab below.

His busy practice covers diverse commercial and common law areas, including international commercial litigation, trusts and offshore structures, real estate, technology and construction, international crime and civil fraud — including conspiracy, deceit, bribery, constructive trust and restitution issues — worldwide asset tracing and recovery in multi-jurisdictional commercial and high-value matrimonial cases, interim relief and urgent applications — including worldwide freezing and disclosure orders — enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards, shareholder and joint-venture disputes, and international commercial arbitration.

Nikolai is a qualified solicitor who previously worked with a leading global City-based law firm. He has diverse commercial and transactional experience in emerging markets, energy, commodities, corporate finance — including M&As, pre-IPO restructurings of multinational companies, IPOs, secondary listings and private placements — banking and finance, infrastructure, real estate, and taxation (including tax optimisation structures for multinational corporations and ultra-high-net-worth individuals) amongst others.

He has experience in coordinating and leading multiple legal and consulting teams worldwide requiring strategic vision and understanding where the case may be won or lost. In complex cross-border matters, solicitors and clients value Nikolai’s strategic judgement with appreciation of tactical (and cultural) nuances combining the ability to think laterally and creatively with technical precision, focused tenacity, strong grip on the detail and commercial pragmatism. Clients also appreciate his personable nature, responsiveness, versatility, attunement to their needs and ability to articulate highly complex legal concepts in simple and understandable terms.

Nikolai is a Fellow (FCIArb) of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has advised and acted for clients across multiple industries and jurisdictions in matters requiring a high degree of commercial awareness in culturally sensitive environments. Nikolai accepts instructions to sit as arbitrator in commercial arbitrations or act as arbitration counsel in ad hoc as well as institutional arbitrations (e.g. ICC, LCIA, SCC, SIAC, ICAC). He acts in arbitrations under the principal arbitral rules including ICC, LCIA, SCC, SIAC and UNCITRAL amongst others.

He also has considerable experience, both contentious and transactional, in the art world having advised prominent art collectors and investors, artists, leading international art galleries, art foundations, curators and art dealers over the past ten years. His considerable experience has seen Nikolai act in matters relating to creation/attribution, financing, acquisition, use, sale, provenance and authenticity of a broad range of art including paintings and sculptures — both contemporary and Old Masters — artefacts, objets trouvés, ancient glassware and mosaics, carpets and tapestries of historical importance, rare jewellery and antiques.

Clients value Nikolai’s in-depth technical knowledge combined with his focused and passionate approach to protecting their interests in reputationally sensitive contexts and with utmost discretion.

He is actively developing 3PB's international practice with a particular focus on Russia/CIS and promoting the English Bar internationally by fostering a legal exchange between Russia/CIS, Ukraine, Central Asia and the United Kingdom.

An energetic public speaker, Nikolai often addresses high-profile audiences at leading international forums. A regular media commentator, he is available for interview via his chambers.

His leisure interests include travel, skiing, kite surfing, speed skating, and mountaineering as well as English countryside, ceramics, music, and art.

Nikolai has written articles on international corporate governance, international commercial arbitration, human rights, legal philosophy and bioethics which have been published in leading legal journals including International Company and Commercial Law Review (Sweet & Maxwell) and the Journal of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.


Nikolai Lazarev specialises in international commercial projects and litigation, international arbitration and art. Some of Nikolai's contentious and non-contentious cases are summarised below:

International Commercial Litigation

  • Assisting a multibillion US dollar structured investment vehicle in an anticipated hostile creditor action
  • Advising a co-defendant in a multibillion US dollar dispute involving a state-owned Central Asian Bank
  • Advising a Russian party on procedural issues in a prominent CIS banking fraud litigation
  • Assisting in obtaining freezing injunctions for an Icelandic bank
  • Assisting in re-insurance claims for a leading German re-insurance company
  • Advising a Russian businessman in his claim against a trading house in respect of losses arising from FX trading
  • Advising the owner of a leading Russian supermarket chain in a breach of contract action against ex business partners, including advice on obtaining a worldwide freezing order and other interim relief
  • Assisting an African mining company in a dispute relating to a bribery allegation
  • Assisting a leading Irish bank in a dishonoured Letter of Credit dispute with an Indian counterparty

Corporate Finance

  • Advising on the acquisition by Kazakh and Chinese state oil firms of one of the largest Kazakh upstream enterprises, as part of a $10bn "loan for oil" deal
  • Advising on a takeover of a leading European football club
  • Assisting a London-listed Russian mining and exploration company in the acquisition of a major gold mine in South-eastern Russia
  • Assisting a London-listed South American petroleum production and development company in fulfilling compliance requirements on the London Stock Exchange
  • Assisting a London-listed media technologies corporation in an issuance of loan notes

Banking and Finance

  • Assisting in a major financing of twenty aircraft for a Middle Eastern airline
  • Assisting a leading UK bank in the financing of three aircraft and two Eurocopters
  • Assisting a leading Russian bank in a €400m Sukuk issuance
  • Assisting the government of Turkey with its sovereign note issuance programme


  • Assisting a private consortium in the syndication of a €2.2bn loan for the Elefsina-Korinthos-Patras-Pyrgos-Tsakona toll road, one of Greece's largest infrastructure projects
  • Assisting a major Asian electricity distribution company in the restructuring and relocation of assets
  • Assisting a major global hotel chain in a real estate portfolio restructuring
  • Assisting a Namibian desalination plant in its international asset sale


  • Assisting a major international corporation in corporate reorganisation and setting up tax-efficient business structures
  • Assisting several ultra-high-net-worth individuals in setting up tax efficient business and asset holding structures
  • Assisting in providing tax-structured leasing advice to a consortium of leading European banks
  • Assisting a Russian zinc producer with taxation aspects relating to its winding-up process

Matrimonial (Financial Remedies)

  • Advising a wife of a Russian billionaire on her entitlement on divorce as well as complex aspects relating to matrimonial asset tracing and recovery
  • Advising a common-law wife of a Middle Eastern billionaire and securing a successful multi-million US dollar settlement following initially refused paternity testing proving his fatherhood of her son
  • Advising a prominent Russian entrepreneur on protecting his financial interests following aggressive demands made by his wife during their divorce
  • Advising a wife in a high-profile multimillion-pound divorce settlement following successful tracing and recovery of assets belonging to her husband
  • Advising an ex-wife of a prominent Russian entrepreneur in connection with obtaining (an additional) financial remedy by ‘re-opening’ her Russian divorce under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984
  • Advising numerous clients on pre and post-nuptial agreements before, during, and after divorce

Art and Artefacts

  • Advising an art collector on the sale of a painting by Amedeo Modigliani raising complex aspects of provenance
  • Advising an art investor in the acquisition of a painting by Anthony van Dyck raising complex issues of attribution and provenance
  • Advising an art dealer on the sale of a famous Andy Warhol artwork
  • Advising an art collector and investor in his title dispute with a leading international gallery concerning two semi-precious-stone sculptures
  • Advising a leading art gallery in its failed joint venture with an art collector and artist
  • Advising an artist on the recovery of his artworks following a dispute with an international gallery
  • Advising an art collector on the acquisition of a rare Persian carpet and rare blue diamond


  • Successfully defended (led by Iain Morley QC) a Russian client who was charged with murder as a co-defendant and securing his full acquittal while the other co-defendant, represented by another QC, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment
  • Successfully advising a Russian client accused of rape with actual bodily harm on the tactical aspects of his defence resulting in dropping of all charges
  • Successfully advising a lady from a prominent family accused of stealing various items from Harrods department store and securing dropping of all
View Full CV

Academic qualifications

  • LLB (University College London, 2004, with First Class in final year dissertation)
  • LLM (University College London, 2005, with Distinctions in two final dissertations)
  • LPC (BPP Law School, 2007, with Commendation)

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Admitted as a Solicitor in England and Wales (February 2010)
  • Called to the Bar of England and Wales (November 2010)

Professional bodies

  • Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (CIArb); Fellowship (FCIArb)
  • Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR)
  • Technology & Construction Bar Association (TECBAR)
  • Chancery Bar Association (ChBA)
  • Bar European Group (BEG)
  • British-Russian Law Association (BRLA)
  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • Law Society (International Division)
  • Inner Temple

Direct Access

Nikolai Lazarev is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

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