Dirk Van Heck
Dirk van Heck is an Of Counsel at the London office.
Dirk is a consultant barrister in our commercial and financial services litigation’s practice. He also has high level experience of trusts, property and employment law.
He combines the roles of barrister and solicitor, being one of only a small number of English barristers with the right to practice in a “dual capacity”, which enables him to lead on complex multi-jurisdictional cases by instructing other lawyers.
Dirk has acted and advised in disputes for clients ranging from private individuals, through SMEs, to multinationals, and from small claims to billion dollar international litigation. His broad practice areas includes shareholder and other commercial disputes, partnerships, trusts, professional negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraud, asset tracing and recovery, freezing orders and other injunctions and interim remedies, loan agreements and financial services matters, construction disputes, insurance claims, insolvency, property law, employment claims, enforcement proceedings, costs, international/conflict of laws and human rights.
In 2008, he succeeded in a high profile appeal in the English Court of Appeal [Fowler v Barron  EWCA Civ 377] against a finding that the appellant had no beneficial interest in a property in which she cohabited with her unmarried partner for seventeen years. This became a leading case on trusts of land. More recently, he has acted in reported cases on planning and employment law. Dirk has also represented a company in a class action based on the novel tort of age discrimination at trial and at two levels of appeal.
Having been a London-based barrister for most of his career, Dirk was previously employed in the Litigation and Insolvency Department of Maples and Calder in the British Virgin Islands, where he learned to undertake the functions of a solicitor and also completed an internship in the Cayman Islands.
- Bar of England & Wales 2001
- Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands) 2009
- Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law, London, 2001
- Postgraduate Diploma in Law, City University, London, 2000
- M.A./B.A. University of Cambridge (First Class honours) 1999
After holding three scholarships at Charterhouse, one of England’s leading public schools, Dirk went on to read History at Trinity College Cambridge. He took a first class degree and was awarded a Senior Scholarship, as well as the Hooper Declamation Prize and the James Webb Prize for the History of Ideas.
Dirk undertook his Diploma in Law at City University, London, where he was a finalist in the University “mooting” competition, adjudicated upon by Lord Hoffman, and finished his academic career at the Inns of Court School of Law. He is also a Jules Thorn and Astbury scholar of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.
Recent Case Studies
- Acting for a pharmaceutical parallel imports business in a dispute regarding foreign exchange hedging transactions;
- Obtaining an emergency injunction for an online trading company to prevent a former director from replicating the business for a rival;
- Defending allegations of money laundering and knowing receipt for the fourth parties in a high-value fraud case;
- Acting for a Swiss bank in a dispute regarding breaches of confidentiality by a former employee;
- Defending the holder of a bank account in Singapore from an attempt to trace misappropriated funds into the account;
- Defending an Hong Kong-based futures trading company from insolvency proceedings by having multiple statutory demands set aside;
- Acting in the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal in a high-value dispute between a Russian private equity group and a Turkish industrial conglomerate regarding a telecommunications network;
- Advising multiple blue chip clients with exposure to BVI funds affected by the Madoff fraud.
Selection of reported cases
- World First (UK) Limited v Chemistree Homecare Limited  EWCA 2840 (QB)
- A v B, UKEAT/025/13/DM
- Relfo Ltd (in Liquidation) v Varsani,  EWHC 2168 (Ch); LTL 20/7/2012
- Commercial Bank-Cameroun v Nixon Financial Group Limited, BVI Civil Appeal No. 5 of 2011
- Cukurova Finance International Limited & anr v Alfa Telecom Turkey Limited, HCVAP 2010/18 & 2010/24
- Pioneer Freight Futures Co Ltd v Map Marine Ltd, BVIHCV No. 308 of 2009
- Tarquin Ltd v Telltop Ltd, BVIHCV No. 279 of 2009
- Pioneer Freight Futures Co Ltd v Worldlink Shipping, Samoa, BVIHCV Nos. 135 & 152 of 2009
- Professional Offshore Opportunity Fund Ltd v Daiwa Securities and Banking (Europe) plc as Custodian for KBCZAF, BVIHCV No. 6 of 2009
- Fowler v Barron  EWCA Civ 377 (CA); LTL 23/4/2008;  2 FCR 1