Practice

Alexander has a litigation-focussed commercial Chancery practice, with a significant emphasis on high profile and high value disputes in the Chancery Division and the Commercial Court, both as a junior to QCs and as sole advocate.

Consistently ranked as a leading junior in the legal directories, Alexander is described in the 2020 editions as “absolutely excellent”, with “performance…above his level in both written work and oral advocacy”, as well as being “very bright, persuasive, and determined”, a “phenomenally hard-working” and “commercially oriented barrister” who “gets the job done effectively”, and is “very good with clients”. His written work is also described as “fantastic” and “precise and to the point”. Previous editions have described Alexander as avery able advocate, who is approachable, adaptable and someone who exercises good judgement”, an “excellent tactician, who thinks things through”, “meticulous throughout a case” and “someone you can feel confident about”.

Alexander’s practice encompasses all aspects of commercial litigation and arbitration, fraud, company law, insolvency, and actions under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”). A significant proportion of Alexander’s practice comprises offshore or international work. He appears regularly before the British Virgin Islands Commercial Court, having been called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Alexander also has experience of acting in cases involving other common law jurisdictions, including Bermuda, Cyprus, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Jersey and Guernsey.

In addition to his private work, Alexander also undertakes work on behalf of the UK government, having been appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel (B Panel) and to the Serious Fraud Office’s Proceeds of Crime Panel.

 

Practice areas

Chancery: commercial

Examples of current and recent instructions include:

  • State Bank of India & Ors v Mallya: Acting (with John Brisby QC) for Dr Vijay Mallya, the well-known owner of the Kingfisher group in India, in proceedings taken by several Indian banks seeking the enforcement of a judgment of approximately £1.112 billion.
  • A v B: Representing (with Muhammed Haque QC) an oil refinery defending a €200 million fraud clam by the commodities trading arm of a large bank.
  • Roussev v Leman Nominee Company Limited: Acting (with John Brisby QC) on a high-value multi-jurisdictional trusts and fraud dispute spanning St Christopher & Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, St Vincent & the Grenadines and England & Wales.
  • Re Limora Investments Ltd: Representing a minority shareholder in a dispute concerning a large group of companies in the timeshare business. The dispute is multi-jurisdictional, spanning the British Virgin Islands, Dubai, Spain and England (among others). Appeared as sole counsel in the BVI Commercial Court on the application for the appointment of provisional liquidators.
  • Calonne v Dawnus: Appearing as sole advocate in the Court of Appeal in relation to a point of interpretation of the CPR concerning settlement offers made under CPR Part 36.
  • Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa al Jaber & Ors v Salfiti & Ors: Defending a £3 million claim brought by a wealthy Saudi businessman alleging that the defendants had defrauded him. Appeared (as sole counsel, against a QC) on a successful application to set aside the freezing injunction obtained by Sheikh Mohamed ex parte.
  • Nathu & Ors v CN Limited & Ors: Representing the claimants in a multi-jurisdictional family trust dispute which concerned a Jersey trust with US$ multi-million assets in the BVI and Uganda. Appeared as sole counsel before the BVI Commercial Court on an interlocutory injunction.
  • Re Success Overseas Holdings Limited: Acting (as sole counsel, against a QC) for the defendant in an unfair prejudice petition featuring allegations of fraud in respect of the affairs of a BVI holding company of a multi-million dollar palm oil business in Indonesia.
  • Aarons & Ors v Brocket Hall (Jersey) Limited & Ors: Acting for the owner of the golf club at the Brocket Hall Estate, in its defence of a claim by a group of individuals claiming to be life members seeking an injunction to force the club to permit them to continue to play golf at the club following its change of ownership.
Fraud – civil

Alexander has significant experience acting on multi-million pound, and cross-jurisdictional fraud claims, having conducted a number of substantial fraud cases as sole counsel, including obtaining worldwide freezing injunctions and other interim remedies. Examples of current and recent instructions include:

  • Serious Fraud Office v Karimova & Ors: Acting (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) on behalf of the SFO in a claim against Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of the former President of Uzbekistan, in respect of a £22 million property portfolio which is alleged to represent part the proceeds of many millions of dollars in bribes, which were paid in return for exercising influence in the Uzbek telecoms market.
  • Roussev v Leman Nominee Company Limited: Acting (with John Brisby QC) on a high-value multi-jurisdictional trusts and fraud dispute spanning St Christopher & Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, St Vincent & the Grenadines and England & Wales.
  • Abramovich v Hoffmann: Defending (with John Brisby QC) a c. £17 million claim brought by Irina Abramovich (the ex-wife of the well-known Russian businessman, Roman Abramovich) alleging fraud and breach of trust against her former executive assistant.
  • Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa al Jaber & Ors v Salfiti & Ors: Defending a £3 million claim brought by a wealthy Saudi businessman alleging that the defendants had defrauded him. Appeared (as sole counsel, against a QC) on a successful application to set aside the freezing injunction obtained by Sheikh Mohamed ex parte.
  • Acting for a victim of modern slavery in the United Kingdom, in obtaining an ex parte freezing injunction in support of the victim’s claim for compensation.
  • Representing (as sole counsel) a group of investors who collectively made investments of over £2 million into a fraudulent Ponzi scheme, including obtaining an urgent ex parte freezing injunction against the defendants’ assets.
Company law

Alexander has a broad company law practice, with particular experience in shareholder disputes, unfair prejudice petitions (s.994 petitions) and actions under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (“CDDA”). Examples of current and recent instructions include:

  • Re Success Overseas Holdings Limited: Acting (as sole counsel, against a QC) for the defendant in an unfair prejudice petition featuring allegations of fraud in respect of the affairs of a BVI holding company of a multi-million dollar palm oil business in Indonesia.
  • Representing (with Aidan Casey QC) the Claimants in an LCIA arbitration concerning the affairs and control of a holding company for an open-pit coal mine.
  • Davies v Monks: Representing (with John Brisby QC), a director in a claim alleging breach of fiduciary duty and diversion of the company’s business.
  • SSF Realisations v Loch Fyne Oysters & Ors: Acting on behalf of the liquidators of a company pursuing a claim for repayment of an unlawful dividend declared in favour of Loch Fyne Oysters.
  • Acting for the Competition & Markets Authority and the Office of Gas & Energy Markets on prospective and current applications under s.9A of the CDDA for the disqualification of directors of companies which have breached competition law.
  • Peak Hotels and Resorts Limited v Tarek Investments Limited & Ors: Representing (with John Brisby QC and Richard Hill QC) the claimant in a highly-publicised shareholder battle for control of Aman Resorts, a group of ultra-luxury hotels said to be worth over US$ 350 million.
Insolvency & restructuring

Examples of recent instructions include:

  • Re Bentley Harrington Limited (t/a “UNILAD”) (in administration): Representing (with John Brisby QC) the shareholders of online “viral” video publisher, UNILAD, seeking to restrain the sale by UNILAD’s administrators of its assets and business to its closest rival, LadBible.
  • Advising a distributor seeking to recover possession of its unsold products from a well-known high street retailer which had gone into administration.
  • Re Limora Investments Ltd: Representing a minority shareholder in a dispute concerning a large group of companies in the timeshare business. Appeared as sole counsel in the BVI Commercial Court on the application for the appointment of provisional liquidators.
  • Re Paul Baxendale-Walker (a Bankrupt): Acting for a firm of solicitors in relation to dealings with the trustee in bankruptcy of a former client of the firm, involving conflict between privilege and the powers of the trustee under the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Credit Suisse Asset Management LLC v Titan Europe 2006-1 Plc & Ors: Appeared (as sole counsel) in the Court of Appeal on behalf of US Bank Trustees in their capacity as note trustee of a series of over €300 million in CMBS Notes. The appeal concerned the proper construction of the Note documentation in the context of insolvency in the structure.
International arbitration

Alexander has experience acting in ad hoc and institutional international arbitrations. Examples include:

  • Representing the Claimants in an LCIA arbitration concerning the affairs and control of a holding company for an open-pit coal mine.
  • Representing the claimant in a US$ 35 million arbitration under the HKIAC Rules.
  • Representing a FTSE 250 company in an ICC arbitration against an African government.
Offshore litigation

A significant proportion of Alexander’s practice comprises offshore work, or work with an offshore element (most frequently in the BVI, where he is called to the Bar). Examples include:

  • Roussev v Leman Nominee Company Limited: Acting (with John Brisby QC) on a high-value multi-jurisdictional trusts and fraud dispute spanning St Christopher & Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, St Vincent & the Grenadines and England & Wales.
  • Re Limora Investments Ltd: Representing a minority shareholder in a dispute concerning a large group of companies in the timeshare business. The dispute is multi-jurisdictional, spanning the British Virgin Islands, Dubai, Spain and England (among others). Appeared as sole counsel in the BVI Commercial Court on the application for the appointment of provisional liquidators.
  • Nathu & Ors v CN Limited & Ors: Representing the claimants in a multi-jurisdictional family trust dispute which concerned a Jersey trust with US$ multi-million assets in the BVI and Uganda. Appeared as sole counsel before the BVI Commercial Court on an interlocutory injunction.
  • Re Success Overseas Holdings Limited: Acting (as sole counsel, against a QC) for the defendant in an unfair prejudice petition featuring allegations of fraud in respect of the affairs of a BVI holding company of a multi-million dollar palm oil business in Indonesia.
  • Re the Estate of Datuk Wong Kie Nai: Acting (with Jonathan Crow QC and Hermann Boeddinghaus) for the executrix of the estate of an oil palm tycoon, in multi-million dollar litigation spanning Malaysia, the British Virgin Islands, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Liberia.
  • Re Energy XXI (Bermuda) Limited: Acting (with John Brisby QC) for the Official Equity Committee of an oil company involved in Chapter XI proceedings before the Courts of Houston, Texas, which was seeking recognition of the Chapter XI plan before the courts of Bermuda.
  • Re GHM Holdings Ltd: Appeared in the BVI Commercial Court on behalf of hotelier Adriaan Zecha in an application to discharge the interim receivership obtained over Mr Zecha’s shareholdings in various BVI companies.
POCA work & asset forfeiture

Alexander is recognised for his experience in high-value, precedent-setting proceeds of crime cases, especially those involving financial, banking, trusts and asset tracing elements. He is recommended in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 in this field, being described as very experienced in civil recovery cases”, “highly regarded and skilled at dealing with POCA cases related to banking, finance and asset tracing thanks to his commercial chancery background”.

Alexander regularly acts for government agencies, including the National Crime Agency (“NCA”) (formerly the Serious Organised Crime Agency (“SOCA”)), the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) and the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”).

Current and recent instructions include:

  • Serious Fraud Office v Karimova & Ors: Acting (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) on behalf of the SFO in a claim against Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of the former President of Uzbekistan, in respect of a £22 million property portfolio which is alleged to represent part the proceeds of many millions of dollars in bribes, which were paid in return for exercising influence in the Uzbek telecoms market.
  • National Crime Agency v Abacha & Ors: Representing (with Jonathan Hall QC) the NCA in obtaining a freezing order over £100 million worth of assets alleged to represent the proceeds of the criminal conduct of the former President of Nigeria, General Abacha and his associates.
  • Advising the CPS in relation to an application to discharge a freezing injunction granted by the Commercial Court over property required to enforce a confiscation order obtained under Part II of POCA.
  • Advising the NCA (with Andrew Onslow QC) in relation to a possible application for a property freezing order over c. US$ 19 million suspected of being part of a money laundering exercise through a trading exchange of the City of London.
  • National Crime Agency v Leahy & Ors: Representing (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) the NCA in a c. £20 million civil recovery claim against a respondent alleged to have been involved in drug trafficking and fraud.

Additional info

What the directories say

Chambers UK Guide (2020)

I found him to be absolutely excellent. He is responsive and his performance is above his level in both written work and oral advocacy. We’re very impressed with him; he’s someone we would look to use in the future for sure” (Chancery Commercial).

His drafting is precise and to the point, he gets the job done effectively and he’s phenomenally hard-working

A commercially oriented barrister who is thorough and has great understanding of the law” (Commercial Dispute Resolution).

A really clever guy who’s got an excellent way about him. He produces fantastic written work and is a very competent advocate.”

The very commercial approach he brings to his civil recovery work is unusual and very effective” (POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture).

Legal 500 (2020)

An extremely safe pair of hands, very personable and very good with clients” (Commercial Litigation).

Knowledgeable, responsive and very easy to work with” (Company & Partnership).

Very bright, persuasive, and determined” (Proceeds of Crime Act & Asset Forfeiture).

Chambers UK Guide (2019)

Approachable and adaptable, he has a huge capacity for hard work, and he exercises good judgement.

He’s meticulous in his written work and extremely good with clients” (Commercial Dispute Resolution).

He is an excellent tactician, who thinks things through. He also offers good accessibility and quick turnaround times.

When there are complicated series of facts he dives into the law and just goes for it. His written work is excellent” (POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture).

Legal 500 (2019)

He is extremely good with clients and is user friendly” (Company and partnership).

He acts for the NCA in politically sensitive cases” (Proceeds of Crime Act and asset forfeiture).

Chambers UK Guide (2018)

A very able advocate, who is approachable, adaptable and someone who exercises good judgement” “Meticulous and able to absorb complex facts and issues quickly” (Commercial Dispute Resolution).

Alex is very experienced in civil recovery cases and is highly regarded. He has the ability to get to the heart of the issue and his level of expertise on the subject means he is highly in demand” (POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture).

Legal 500 (2018)

He is meticulous throughout a case and is always on-hand to assist” (Company and partnership).

Excellent: a junior of choice for civil recovery” (Proceeds of Crime Act and asset forfeiture).

Chambers UK Guide (2017)

Offers clear guidance and clear advice. He’s someone you can feel confident about” (Company).

Chambers UK Guide (2016)

He never gives up on a point unless it’s completely exhausted. He really explores everything and has very good attention to detail.”

He’s very good at tailoring his advice to be commercial and pragmatic and to distil pretty complex legal arguments down into a form that is readily comprehensible” (Company).

Foreign Admissions
  • Rights of Audience before the Court of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), Kazakhstan (2018)
  • Admitted to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands) (2015)
  • Admitted to the New York State Bar (2008)
Career & appointments
  • Appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel (B Panel) (2018)
  • Appointed to the Serious Fraud Office’s Proceeds of Crime Panel of Counsel (2017)
  • Member of COMBAR, the Chancery Bar Association (ChBA) and the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association (POCLA)
  • Chancery Bar Litigant in Person Support Scheme (CLIPS)
  • Advocate (formerly Bar Pro Bono Unit)
  • Member of the New York State Bar Association
Education & awards
  • MA (Oxon) University College, Oxford
  • LL.M. Washington and Lee University School of Law, Virginia, USA