Zara advises and acts for clients on insurance coverage disputes across a broad range of sectors including financial services, hospitality and retail, energy, construction, sports, and entertainment. Zara’s most recent experience includes acting for policyholders in relation to business interruption insurance claims arising from financial losses suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Interviewed by Douglass Scott and featured in the article “Best foot forward for 2017’s Happiest Person in Legal: Zara Okereafor”.
Some recent insurance coverage cases include:
- Acting for policyholders against insurers in the next milestone in the chronology of Covid-19 business interruption litigation test cases following the FCA Test Case. The cases involve testing whether the Supreme Court’s ruling on causation in the FCA Test Case equally applies to ‘at the premises’ disease cover policy wordings. One case features in The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2023.
- Advising a UK fashion retailer on its business interruption insurance claim against its insurer following financial losses suffered following the closure of its premises as a result of the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Previously in the Commercial Litigation Department at Stewarts, Zara’s experience included advising corporates, financial institutions, investors, and high net worth individuals on general commercial matters including contractual disputes, shareholder disputes, civil fraud claims, debt claims and professional negligence. She has experience of acting for both claimants and defendants, both in the UK and overseas. Some of Zara’s work involved:
- Acting for a US incorporated real estate sponsor in a multimillion-pound loss of chance claim against a financial institution for breach of confidence in respect of significant financial losses involving an iconic London venue.
- Representing joint business owners in a deceit claim for financial losses flowing from alleged fraudulent misrepresentation by a parent company and achieving settlement outside of Court.
- Assisting on a claim brought by 112 financial institutions under s.90A FSMA Tesco Plc in respect of its £263m profit overstatements. One of The Lawyer’s “Top 20 Cases of 2020”.
- Representing a business owner involved in a debt claim before a County Court. Zara successfully defended an application for summary judgment brought by Barclays Bank PLC and led the negotiations for a settlement with the bank’s representatives.
- Supporting a team seeking recovery from Standard & Poor’s and RBS for losses of €200m caused by failed complex structured financial products brought by European institutional banking, insurance, and pension fund investors.
- Assisting on an action brought by joint liquidators of two BVI special purpose vehicles in relation to their claim against Deutsche Bank and others, involving allegations of market manipulation and unlawful means conspiracy in connection with credit linked notes and credit default swaps.
- Defending a professional chartered accountant in disciplinary proceedings brought against him by the Association of Chartered Accountants for claims for professional negligence and misconduct.
Zara graduated with an LLB Law degree (Hons) from the University of Keele. She then went on to complete the Legal Practice Course at The University of Law in London and subsequently began her career at Stewarts as a paralegal. She commenced her training contract with the firm in 2017 and qualified as a solicitor in 2019.
Accreditations and Memberships
- British Insurance Law Association (BILA) and the Young Professionals Group
- London Business Interruption Association (LBIA)
- London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA)
- Committee Member of the Junior London Solicitors Litigation Association (JLSLA)
- Black Solicitors’ Network
- London Young Lawyers Group
- British Nigeria Law Forum (and the BNLF Junior Lawyers Division)
Typical of a litigator, Zara likes a good challenge. Zara has tackled the dizzying heights of the Stewarts office building, abseiling 180ft from the roof, she has raced to the summit of Mount Snowdon and back, pushing and pulling a wheelchair user together with her colleagues and has competed in several dragon boat racing events with colleagues to support a number of charitable causes. Over the years she has represented Stewarts in many rugby and netball leagues and tournaments.
Outside of the office, Zara is a keen cyclist and enjoys cross-country cycling trips in the UK and abroad. She loves to travel and discover new experiences but most importantly, loves spending time with her 2-year-old daughter, family and friends.