Practice

Adam has a broad commercial chancery practice. He often works as junior to leading counsel in heavy, high value or international matters but also as part of larger counsel teams and on his own. Adam’s practice varies from advice on self-contained points to long running litigation. He has also been instructed by the Government on matters involving allegations of rendition and the improper treatment of detainees.

Practice areas

Commercial dispute resolution

Adam has advised and acted with leaders and alone in a range of commercial litigation and contractual disputes.  Work in this field includes :

  • Acting (with George Bompas QC) in Commercial Court litigation of a dispute between joint venture parties concerning a major real estate development in Berlin.
  • Supreme Court appeal (July 2015) in the Ablyazov litigation concerning whether the standard Commercial Court freezing order extends to rights to borrow and choses in action in general.  Junior to Jonathan Crow QC as Advocate to the Court.
  • Advising (with Robert Miles QC) a major bank concerning the appointment of receivers under security documentation.
  • Advising (with George Bompas QC) on aspects of an arbitration in Hong Kong under the ICC rules in a case concerning a global European company and a dispute under a sales agency agreement entered by Chinese subsidiaries.
  • Advising (with Robert Miles QC) on the interpretation of termination charges in a contract for commercial satellite launch services.
  • Acting (with Richard Hill QC and Alastair Tomson) in a dispute between a Middle East cigarette distributor and a major tobacco manufacturer, culminating in a 55 day Commercial Court trial (Gallaher International Ltd v Tlais Enterprises).
  • Acting (with John Brisby QC) in a dispute concerning jurisdiction and service of a claim in respect of the ownership of shares in a major Russian aluminium company (Cherney v Deripaska).
  • Adam has been instructed on a number of occasions in connection with the preparation of expert evidence on English law by leading counsel in foreign proceedings.
  • Advising on a dispute between a commercial tourist coach provider and a tour operator.
  • Advising on the effect of a business sale agreement on the payment of profits under an earn-out provision in the context of the transfer of a recruitment business.
  • Advising (with Hermann Boeddinghaus) on defending multiple claims for breach of duty against companies and individuals offering business services to consultants.
  • Advising a commercial agent selling goods on behalf of its principal to the garment industry.
  • Advising (with Richard Hill QC and Gregory Denton-Cox) on documentary disclosure in a case concerning a takeover of a European telecommunications company.
Chancery: commercial

Adam has acted and advised on a variety of commercial chancery matters with leaders and alone including shareholder disputes and cases concerning allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and unfair prejudice.  Examples include:

  • Instructed as part of the counsel team defending a $1 billion Guernsey court claim arising out of the liquidation of a Carlyle investment vehicle concerning allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and wrongful trading. (Carlyle Capital Corporation Ltd v Conway and others)
  • Acting (with George Bompas QC) in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) litigation defending allegations of breach of fiduciary duty by directors and unfair prejudice.
  • Advising (with George Bompas QC) in British Virgin Island litigation concerning a shareholder dispute over a major hotel operation in China.
  • From 2010 Adam advised and acted with George Bompas QC in Chemtrade Limited v Fuchs Oil Middle East Limited, Fuchs Petrolub SE: heavy British Virgin Island litigation of a shareholder dispute, alleged unfair prejudice and breach of directors’ duties arising out of a joint venture in the automotive and industrial oil-based lubricants market.  As with many of Adam’s cases the litigation had significant international elements, relating to: BVI companies, Saudi Arabian and German shareholders and commercial activity spanning the Middle East and Africa.  A 7 week trial in the Commercial Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (High Court) in 2012 was followed by an appeal to the ECSC Court of Appeal in 2013 and settlement in 2014, as a result of a Privy Council decision in related proceedings (Alhamrani v Alhamrani [2014] UKPC 37), removing the need for a Privy Council appeal listed for 2015.
  • Advising (with Robert Miles QC) and acting in a shareholder dispute between international parties focussed on an issue of shares alleged to have been made improperly, being one element of a multi-national dispute between Indian shareholder factions interested in numerous companies involved in the manufacture and sale of iron, steel and plastic castings.
  • Advising and acting (with Robert Hildyard QC before his appointment to the bench and Orlando Fraser QC) in a dispute involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty by a director of a substantial property investment company.
  • Advising and acting (with John Brisby QC) in a family shareholder dispute concerning alleged unfair prejudice in the conduct of jewellery and property-investment businesses.
Banking & finance

Adam accepts instructions in matters related to banking and finance.  Recent experiences includes advising (with Robert Miles QC) a major bank on the appointment of receivers under security documentation.

Company law

Adam’s ‘chancery: commercial’ experience, (as detailed in that section), often arises in connection with companies.  Adam has particular experience of domestic and international shareholder disputes and actions dealing with allegations of various breaches of duty (including fiduciary and statutory and those arising under shareholder and joint venture agreements).  Adam also advises on discrete company law issues.

Offshore litigation

The commercial litigation and commercial chancery matters with which Adam is involved often include international elements in addition to offshore litigation and arbitration.  Adam has particular experience of British Virgin Islands litigation both in the Commercial Court and Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.  Adam acted (with George Bompas QC ) in Chemtrade Ltd v Fuchs Oil Middle East Ltd; Fuchs Petrolub AG [BVIHC(COM) 158 of 2010] which was the longest trial to date heard in the BVI Commercial Division.  As well as the trial, the litigation included a number of other hearings at first instance and before the Court of Appeal including in connection with an application to stay the decision on appeal pending hearing by the Privy Council.  Adam also has recent experience of cases running in Guernsey and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

International arbitration

Adam has advised with leading counsel on a number of arbitrations.  Recent experience includes:

  • Advising with George Bompas QC on an arbitration in Hong Kong under ICC rules concerning a dispute under a sales agency agreement for commercial activity in Mongolia on behalf of Chinese entities.
  • Advising with Robert Miles QC on English law issues arising in an ICC arbitration involving international parties.
Fraud – civil

Adam has experience, often in the context of shareholder disputes and actions against directors, in matters concerning allegations of fraud, secret profits of fiduciaries and knowing receipt.  Recent experience includes:

  • Advising with George Bompas QC on a shareholder dispute which alleged that fraudulent misrepresentations had been made to obtain the approval of a shareholder of a transaction resulting in the dilution of an equity holding and the dissipation of joint venture assets.
Insolvency & restructuring

Adam has appeared and advised on a variety of corporate and personal insolvency matters.  These include: winding-up petitions and connected issues such as restraining the presentation of petitions and supervening applications for administration orders; representing trustee, creditor and debtor clients in bankruptcy proceedings including on applications for annulment and for the possession and sale of homes; advice to liquidators in relation to misfeasance claims and transfers of assets at an undervalue; and acting for administrators seeking to make distributions to creditors prior to the commencement of liquidation.

Administrative & public law

Adam has been instructed by the Government in matters concerning allegations of torture, extraordinary rendition and detainee mistreatment:

  • In relation to the provision of material to the ‘Detainee Inquiry’, chaired by Sir Peter Gibson which examined whether Britain was implicated in the improper treatment or rendition of detainees held by other countries in the aftermath of 9/11.  The report of the inquiry was published on 19 December 2013: http://www.detaineeinquiry.org.uk/2013/12/report-of-the-detainee-inquiry/.
  • As part of the defence team in an action claiming damages for alleged complicity in the rendition to and detention in Guantanamo Bay of terrorism suspects.

Additional info

Cases of interest
  • JSC BTA Bank Ablyazov [2015] 1 WLR 4754 (Supreme Court).
  • Chemtrade Ltd v Fuchs Oil Middle East Ltd; Fuchs Petrolub AG [BVIHC(COM) 158 of 2010] and on appeal [BVIHCVAP2013/0004] – Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court: High Court (Commercial Division) and Court of Appeal.
  • Gallaher International Ltd v Tlais Enterprises Ltd [2008] EWHC 804 (Comm) – Commercial Court.
  • Cherney v Deripaska [2007] EWHC 965 (Comm) – Commercial Court.
  • Re Transocean Equipment Manufacturing and Trading Ltd, Carman v The Cronos Group SA and Others [2006] EWHC 1324 (Ch) – Chancery Division.
Foreign jurisdictions

Called to the Bar of the British Virgin Islands.

Publications

Contributor to ‘Annotated Companies Legislation’ (published by OUP and edited by Professor John Birds, Nigel Boardman, Mr Justice Hildyard & Robert Miles QC).

Education & awards

LLB, King’s College, London.
BCL, St John’s College, Oxford.
Lincoln’s Inn: Buchanan Prize, Shelford Scholarship, Lord Denning Scholarship and Hardwicke Scholarship.
King’s College London: Strand Trust Prize, Prize in Jurisprudence, and Helen Gibbons prize in Commercial Law.