0203 1266 584

Our People

Michael Czechyra - South Bank Legal Commercial Law Firm
Michael Czechyra

Managing Director

Michael Czechyra is a senior commercial solicitor and the founder and Managing Director of South Bank Legal, a commercial law firm in Central London.

Michael primarily acts for business clients in corporate and commercial transactions and disputes, focussing on fintech startups, mergers and acquisitions, commercial contract drafting on behalf of technology companies and service providers, intellectual property issues, and complex business disputes.

Michael is known for his practical approach, his accessibility and his ability to meet his client’s timelines. His clients have included global corporations, private equity investors, financial institutions and trading firms, political parties and a national competition and consumer law regulator.

Michael has practised as a commercial solicitor since 1998. Prior to founding South Bank Legal, Michael held various senior and board positions at City of London law firms for several years.

Recent work

Recently, Michael has represented:

  • A well known London estate agency in £7M disposal of its trade and assets.
  • Buyers of multiple “off-the-plan” luxury residential apartments in London, where the sale contracts were successfully terminated and deposits and stage payments of circa £1M were repaid by the developer.
  • The directors of a UK software house on the multi-million-pound disposal of the company to a global data visualisation and analytics firm.
  • A UK financial institution in a year-long investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • The London headquarters of one of the largest banks in Africa and the Middle East on its trade finance facility arrangements.
  • A global firm of consultants to the travel industry on claims arising from the termination of its EMEA manager.
  • The director of a brokerage firm in the dissolution of the firm’s merger with Europe’s largest paper recycler.
  • A US investor in the acquisition of shares and loan notes in a global printing software business.
  • A prominent London estate agency in its embezzlement claims and freezing injunction relief against a senior employee.
  • An aviation company in respect of raids conducted by German tax authorities.
  • A group of UK fund managers in a multi-million-pound bonus payment dispute with their asset manager employer.
  • A global communication skills training organisation in a £6M fundraising.
  • The directors of one of Europe’s leading pump repair and supply companies in their multi-million-pound disposal of the firm.
  • The main liquor distributor in Bahrain in relation to wrongful termination claim against its UK suppliers.
  • The UK’s longest running phone recycling company in a roll out of franchise network in Europe, Australasia and South America.

Main Qualifications

  • Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of South Australia
  • Solicitor of the Supreme Courts of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland
  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours), University of Adelaide, 1998



Telephone: +44 (0)203 1266 584
Mobile: +44 (0)79 569 86670
Email: michael@southbanklegal.com

Nicole Woolf - Employment Law ConsultantNicole Woolf

Employment Law Consultant

Nicole qualified as a solicitor at City and International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner in September 1999 where she practised for many years. She advises on a broad range of employment law matters, both contentious and non-contentious. Nicole’s range of experience includes:

  • general HR advisory work, including advising on disciplinary and grievance matters, redundancy programmes, performance management and managing sickness absence;
  • drafting contracts of employment, staff handbooks, service agreements, consultancy agreements and secondment agreements;
  • drafting and advising on the enforceability of restrictive covenants;
  • drafting and negotiating settlement agreements;
  • advising on the application of TUPE in corporate finance, property and PFI/PPP transactions;
  • proceedings in the employment tribunal, including advising on the merits and strategy and drafting pleadings and witness statements.

Nicole enjoys amateur dramatics, playing the piano and keeping fit.

Seamus Gavin - Litigation SolicitorSeamus Gavin

Senior Solicitor – Litigation

Seamus originally trained as a Barrister. He practiced at the Bar from 1988 to 1992 and cross qualified as a solicitor in 1992.

He specialises exclusively in civil litigation, in particular the more complicated and serious cases.

Throughout his career Seamus has dealt with a broad range of litigation work on behalf of individuals, small businesses and large companies.

Seamus has wide and extensive experience in building disputes, professional negligence claims, injunctions, company disputes, debt enforcement and collection and general property disputes including landlord and tenant and planning.

He has a strong commitment to ensuring high service levels for all clients.

Wherever possible, Seamus will strive to resolve disputes swiftly and economically, before court proceedings are necessary.

 Notable cases Seamus has conducted include:

London Borough of Hackney v Williams & Anor [2017] EWCA Civ 26. This is a landmark Supreme Court case involving the Human Rights Act 1998, The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Children Act 1989, section 20.

R (On the application of S Gavin) v Haringey London Borough Council and Wolsey Centres Ltd (High Court) [2003] EWHC 2591 (Admin). A heavily contested Judicial Review of a Local Authority’s failure to comply with planning regulation (The Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 and Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999).


Telephone: +44 (0)203 1266 584
E-mail: seamus@southbanklegal.com

Alex Woods Senior Solicitor - LitigationAlex Woods

Senior Solicitor – Litigation

Alex has over 25 years’ litigation experience in the fields of crime, fraud, financial irregularity, cohabitation property disputes, contested wills, complex personal injury and general litigation. After the 2008 financial crash he appeared as a financial mi-selling expert on the BBC television show, “Rip Off Britain!”

With a family background in business (in both manufacturing and property sectors) he understands the importance of adopting a business-like approach to civil disputes. His style of civil litigation is entrepreneurial and is never afraid to take calculated risks in pursuit of a commerically satisfactory outcome for his clients.

He has recently published a book, “Flying Solo” (2021) which is a comprehensive guide to help people represent themselves in court. He passionately believes in access to justice has won many cases on a “no win no fee” basis. These include in the areas of financial mis-selling, contested wills and co-habitation property disputes. He runs an independent website and publishers a YouTube channel in which he provides legal advice to the general public on civil litigation matters.

He is a writer and has always had a keen interest in the film and television sector. He has produced films and documentaries, often addressing many current issues of broader appeal, usually from a legal perspective, including a documentary series on the legal issues arising out of the corona virus controversy, “A Lawyer Investigates.”

He speaks French and Polish, enjoys squash and ski-ing and is also interested in philosophy, storytelling and meditation.


Telephone: +44 (0)203 1266 584
Email: Alex@southbanklegal.com

Daria Siatkowska Senior Solicitor - LitigationDaria Siatkowska

Senior Solicitor – Litigation

Daria is a qualified solicitor who graduated from Nottingham Trent University and completed the Legal Practice Course at Nottingham Law School. She is a very good generalist litigator who gained a wide breadth of experience at an early stage of her career through work experience placements during her degree and also substantial pro-bono work as a volunteer for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

She then went on to obtain advocacy experience with her first law firm, regularly attending at the family courts where she built up a family practice. She subsequently branched out into civil litigation, mainly dealing with cohabitation property disputes, and also represents clients in the Chancery Division in the area of contested wills and Inheritance Act disputes.

She also represents Polish businesses in Poland who have disputes with UK companies, and is happy to meet clients in Warsaw.

Daria is known for her excellent legal drafting skills and has a no-nonsense style as a solicitor. She is robust with opponents, and friendly with clients. Daria enjoys languages, has travelled extensively around the world. She is bilingual in English and Polish and has a working knowledge of Spanish and has also studied both German and Mandarin. She was a winner of the Vice Chancellor Scholarship at Beijing Language and Culture University.

In her spare time Daria is building a house with her husband and two children!


Telephone: +44 (0)203 1266 584
Email: Daria@southbanklegal.com


Stephen Bane - Solicitor - South Bank LegalStephen Bane


After 10 years in-house with leading specialist mortgage and consumer lending businesses having been Called to the Bar in 1999, Stephen moved to private practice in 2010 when he joined the solicitors’ profession.  Stephen has worked for several boutique City of London litigation firms.

Stephen is a commercial litigator with experience of property and business disputes of many types; he has a particular interest in professional negligence claims (especially claims against lawyers arising from failed litigation) and “executive” employment claims.  His financial services experience means that he is often involved in claims involving financial institutions (whether or not a party).

Very much a strategic thinker, Stephen focuses on achieving the best outcome for his client in the context of the dispute.  While avoiding court proceedings is usually desirable, proceedings may be necessary or unavoidable, and Stephen is experienced in assisting clients navigate the cost and risks associated with litigation.  He has a strong track record of resolving matters in negotiation or mediation but is equally happy running High Court litigation right through to trial.

Trials of note include:

  • A claim by three Lloyd’s of London underwriters against their employer arising from the employer’s unilateral withdrawal of their profit commission scheme. The underwriters’ claims for wrongful dismissal were upheld by the High Court, and all post-termination restrictions fell away.  Damages were subsequently secured in negotiation.
  • A protracted and complicated dispute over interests in a family business involving numerous interim applications and a 23-day High Court trial.
  • A claim by an insured against his insurer for denying cover following a fire at a substantial domestic property where building works were being undertaken.
  • A property investor’s claim against a freeholder for misrepresenting the extent to which the building was to be refurbished. The court awarded rescission of the lease and damages.
  • Recovery of security and financial losses by an unauthorised mortgage lender reliant on the Court’s discretion pursuant to s.28 FSMA.

Matters resolved without trial include:

  • Claim against a bank for improper exercise of its powers under a commercial mortgage. Settled pre-action on confidential terms.
  • Recovery of legal costs arising from the enforcement of defective security from solicitors following pre-action letter and thereafter mediation to resolve consequential losses.
  • Resolution of a family dispute relating to an undocumented interest in residential property.
  • Obtaining compensation for victims of a voyeur on a pre-action basis.
  • A series of claims by individual independent financial advisers (IFAs) against a consolidator firm that was a subsidiary of an international insurance giant. The IFAs had lost their whole businesses to the consolidator and were being sued for sums paid to them on joining.  Settled on confidential terms.  Involved as part of a team.

When he can escape the office, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, walking and the sea; especially the sea.


Telephone: +44 (0)203 1266 584
Email: Stephen@southbanklegal.com


Arjen van Baren is a legal adviser at Southbank LegalArjen van Baren

 Legal Adviser – Intellectual Property and Commercial Law

Arjen is a legal adviser, specialising in intellectual property and commercial law. He read law both in his home country, The Netherlands (University of Groningen, including the completion of an elite Masters program), and in the UK (King’s College London – Post Graduate Diploma in UK, EU and US Copyright Law). Working independently since 2017, Arjen has built an impressive portfolio of clients based in the UK and The Netherlands. In particular Arjen works with start-ups and businesses in the technology and creative industries.

Arjen’s expertise and experience are focussed on consulting and advising on intellectual property matters (trade mark and copyright law in particular) and drafting commercial agreements.

While providing high quality legal services, Arjen aims to be easily approachable and takes pride in providing good service on a personal level. He likes to communicate with his clients in a professional yet informal manner and to build long-term relationships based on mutual trust.

Previously, Arjen spent several years as a senior judicial employee in the Dutch Court system, drafting judgments of the court and assisting the full bench manage and analyse complex cases. Arjen earned the praise of the senior judiciary for being “a talented jurist…[whose] draft verdicts stood out because of his clear writing style: to the point, pragmatic and easily comprehensible”.

In his spare time, Arjen enjoys sport (both playing and watching), Netflix, and to see as much of the world as possible.


Telephone: +44 (0)203 1266 584
Mobile: +44 (0)7900 325725
E-mail: arjen@southbanklegal.com


Camille Krawiec - Paralegal Solicitor

Camille Krawiec


I’m Camille, working for South Bank Legal as paralegal. My role is to assist more senior members of the team in their litigation and commercial law practices.

I first read finance at a French Business School called École Supérieure de Commerce (ESC) in Amiens.Then I integrated a master’s degree in Law and Engineering Finance in Lyon.

I’m lucky to be doing a post graduate diploma in Finance and Investment in the UK this year.

I’ve been with the firm since September 2020 and look forward to continuing to assist South Bank Legal’s clients in 2021.


Telephone: +44 (0)203 1266 584
E-mail: paralegal1@southbanklegal.com




Erika Florez - South Bank Legal

Erika Florez

Office Manager

Erika takes care of the smooth daily running of our office.

Erika is a Colombian-qualified Lawyer, and practised administrative, criminal and insurance law in Colombia for over 10 years.

During Erika’s time advising the Colombian government she specialised in acting as a legal auditor, in particular with respect to local government departments’ use of resources. She worked in-house in government organisations such as Secretaria de Gobierno, Findeter, Superintendencia de Economia Solidaria and with the National Tax Department advising on collections.

She has a postgraduate in Criminology and Administrative Law from the Universidad Catolica de Colombia as well as an MBA in Business Administration from University of Wales Trinity Saint David London.

Erika is personable and approachable. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering and has contributed extensive time to giving pro bono advice to Latin American women in the UK.


Telephone: +44 (0)203 1266 584
Email: erika@southbanklegal.com