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. Two of Alexander’s cases featured in The Lawyer’s “Top 20 Cases of 2015”, and he was one of only a handful of barristers to be involved in more than one case on this list. He is consistently ranked as a leading junior in the legal directories, being described in the 2018 editions of Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 as a very able advocate, who is approachable, adaptable and someone who exercises good judgement”, “meticulous throughout a case and able to absorb complex facts and issues quickly. Previous editions have described him as someone you can feel confident about and a barrister who offers clear guidance and clear advice“.

Alexander accepts instructions in all aspects of commercial litigation and arbitration, company law, insolvency and reconstruction, civil fraud, offshore litigation and actions under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”). He has particular experience of cases involving an international or offshore element, and is a member of the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands) and the New York State Bar, as well as having rights of before the Court of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) in Kazakhstan.

Alexander also undertakes work on behalf of the government, and has 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

Current and recent instructions include:

  • Abramovich v Hoffmann: Defending (with John Brisby QC) a c. £17 million breach of trust claim brought by Irina Abramovich (the ex-wife of the well-known Russian businessman, Roman Abramovich) against her former executive assistant.
  • Brown v BCA Trading: Acting (with John Brisby QC) for a technology entrepreneur in a multi-million pound unfair prejudice petition against his joint venture partner and fellow shareholder, British Car Auctions, Europe’s largest vehicle remarketing company.
  • 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.
  • Parker Lloyd Capital Plc v Edwardian Group Limited: Represented (with Derek Sweeting QC) a broker claiming £2 million in commission arising from a £200 million refinancing for the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel group.
  • Andric v Credit Suisse (UK) Ltd: Acting (as sole counsel) on behalf of a Norwegian businessman in a c. €8.25 million damages claim against Credit Suisse for its involvement in a failed £1 billion skyscraper project in Canary Wharf. Recently defended successfully a summary judgment application: Andric v Credit Suisse (UK) Ltd [2017] EWHC 1724 (Comm).
  • Aarons & Ors v Brocket Hall (Jersey) Limited & Ors: Acting (with David Cavender QC) 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, who are seeking an injunction to force the club to permit them to continue to play golf and use the club’s facilities.
  • Coral Reef Limited v Silverbond Enterprises Limited: Represented Park Lane Casino (as sole advocate) as the successful respondent to an appeal by the claimant – a Hong Kong company which claimed to have an interest in the casino – against an order requiring it to pay several million pounds into court by way of security for the Casino’s costs.
  • Barclays Bank Plc v Landgraf; McMillan; & Rosenbloom: Alexander acted (with John Brisby QC) for three former partners of the insolvent US giant law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP in claims brought against them by Barclays for repayment of alleged capital loans. Successfully defended a summary judgment application made by Barclays: Barclays Bank plc v Landgraf [2014] EWHC 503 (Comm), [2015] 1 All ER (Comm) 720. This case featured in The Lawyer’s “Top 20 Cases of 2015”.
  • Tullow Uganda Limited v (1) Heritage Oil & Gas Limited & (2) Heritage Oil plc: Represented Heritage Oil & Gas (with Khawar Qureshi QC and Jonathan Brettler) in a US$ 313 million indemnity claim by Tullow, arising out of its acquisition of Heritage’s interests in various oil fields in Uganda in 2011 (reported at [2014] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 22). Alexander (led by Raymond Cox QC and Jonathan Brettler) also appeared for Heritage in the Court of Appeal: [2014] EWCA Civ 1048.
Company law

Alexander has a strong company law practice, with particular experience in shareholder disputes and unfair prejudice petitions (s.994 petitions). Current and recent instructions include:

  • Peak Hotels and Resorts Limited v Tarek Investments Limited & Ors: Represented Peak Hotels and Resorts (with John Brisby QC and Richard Hill QC) 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. The case, which has been described as “a takeover battle the likes of which the luxury hotel-industry has never seen” has featured in The Lawyer’s “Top 20 Cases of 2015”, Fortune magazine and Departures magazine, as well as UK and US press. See: [2014] EWHC 2315 (Ch) (Catherine Newman QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge), [2014] EWHC 3066 (Ch) (His Honour Judge Pelling QC), [2015] 2 Costs L.R. 277 (Henderson J), [2015] EWHC 1997 (Ch) (Barling J) and [2016] EWHC 333 (Ch) (Asplin J).
  • Brown v BCA Trading: Acting (with John Brisby QC) for a technology entrepreneur in a multi-million pound unfair prejudice petition against his joint venture partner and fellow shareholder, British Car Auctions, Europe’s largest vehicle remarketing company.
  • 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 Smart Diner Group Limited: Represented (as sole counsel) the respondents to an unfair prejudice petition in relation to the online restaurant guide business. See Wootliff v Rushton-Turner & Ors [2017] EWHC 3129 (Ch).
  • Re a company: Acting (as sole counsel) on behalf of a group of minority shareholders in an unfair prejudice petition concerning a nationwide trampoline park company.
  • Wessex Resins & Adhesives Limited v John Keating & Ors: Represented (with Michael McLaren QC) a former director of a company facing a c. £16.5 million claim for breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Re Fi Call Limited: Represented (with Christopher Harrison) a party in a high-profile shareholder dispute involving members of the Saudi Royal family: [2013] EWHC 223 (Ch).
Fraud – civil

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

  • Serious Fraud Office v K: Acting (with Anthony Peto QC) on behalf of the SFO in a claim against a former political figure in 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 allegedly paid in return for exercising influence in the Uzbek telecoms market.
  • Eupay Group Ltd v Boxhill Technologies Plc & Ors: Alexander (as sole counsel) defended a public limited company and several of its directors in a £4 million fraud claim concerning payment processing services in the online gambling industry.
  • 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.
  • Representing (as sole counsel) a high net worth individual in a £2 million fraud action against a Dubai national (of multiple aliases), including obtaining a worldwide freezing order against the fraudster.
  • Represented (with Richard Hill QC) the claimant in a series of interlocutory freezing injunctions seeking to trace and recover US$ 35 million of missing assets.
Insolvency & restructuring

Recent instructions include:

  • 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. See: [2016] EWCA Civ 1293.
  • 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.
  • Jinpeng Group Limited v Peak Hotels and Resorts Limited: Representing (with John Brisby QC and Richard Hill QC) the respondent to winding up and receivership applications in the BVI before the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.
  • Re Casa Estates (UK) Ltd (in liquidation): Represented (with Hermann Boeddinghaus) a liquidator in a successful appeal before the Court of Appeal concerning the point at which a company will be deemed to be “unable to pay its debts” within the meaning of s.123 of the Insolvency Act 1986: [2014] EWCA Civ 383, [2014] 2 BCLC 49.
  • Re Oxygen Learning Limited (in liquidation): representing (as sole counsel) a former company director facing a c. £¾ million misfeasance claim under s.212 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
International arbitration

Alexander has experience acting in ad hoc and institutional international commercial arbitrations. Recent experience includes:

  • Acting (with Richard Hill QC and Alastair Tomson) in a substantial LCIA arbitration.
  • Representing (with John Brisby QC) the claimant in a substantial arbitration under the HKIAC Rules.
  • Representing (with Ian Glick QC and Jonathan Brettler) a FTSE 250 company in an 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:

  • 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.
  • Jinpeng Group Limited v Peak Hotels and Resorts Limited: Representing (with John Brisby QC and Richard Hill QC), before the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, the respondent to winding up and receivership applications in the BVI.
  • Advised (with Jonathan Crow QC) several Hong Kong companies in connection with ongoing or contemplated proceedings.
  • From October 2011 to December 2011, Alexander worked for six weeks in the Litigation and Insolvency department of the offshore firm Appleby in Bermuda.
POCA work & asset forfeiture

Alexander is recognised for his experience in high-value, precedent-setting proceeds of crime cases, and is recommended in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 in this field, being described as “very experienced in civil recovery cases” and “highly regarded”. In the light of his commercial chancery expertise, Alexander is most frequently instructed on high value cases involving banking, financial or asset-tracing elements, and regularly acts for government agencies, including the National Crime Agency (“NCA”) (formerly the Serious Organised Crime Agency (“SOCA”)) and the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”).

Current and recent instructions include:

  • Serious Fraud Office v K: Acting (with Anthony Peto QC) on behalf of the SFO in a claim against a former political figure in 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 allegedly paid in return for exercising influence in the Uzbek telecoms market.
  • National Crime Agency v Abacha & Ors: Representing the NCA (with Jonathan Hall QC) the NCA in 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. Recently involved an appearance before the Court of Appeal in a precedent-setting case on the disclosure of international letters of request: see Blue Holdings (1) Pte Limited v National Crime Agency [2016] EWCA Civ 760, [2016] 1 W.L.R. 4375 and [2016] C.P. Rep. 43.
  • Advising the NCA (with Andrew Onslow QC) in relation to a possible application for a property freezing order (“PFO”) 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 Shane Davies & Ors: representing the NCA (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) on a claim and PFO regarding an c. £8 million property empire alleged to have been obtained through drug trafficking and mortgage fraud.
  • National Crime Agency v Leahy & Ors: Representing the NCA (as sole counsel) in a c. £20 million civil recovery claim against a respondent alleged to have been involved in drug trafficking and fraud
  • Serious Organised Crime Agency v Namli & Ors: Represented the NCA (with Michael Beloff QC and Tom Richards) in a successful claim for a civil recovery order over c. US$ 7 million found to represent the proceeds of international wire fraud and money laundering. See [2013] EWHC 1200 (QB) (Males J) and [2014] EWCA Civ 411, [2014] Lloyd’s Rep. F.C. 409 (Court of Appeal).

Additional info

What the directories and judges say

Chambers UK Guide (2018)

London (Bar), Commercial Dispute Resolution
Up and Coming

Alexander Cook

Strengths: A very able advocate, who is approachable, adaptable and someone who exercises good judgement” “Meticulous and able to absorb complex facts and issues quickly.”

Recent work: Represented Peak Hotels and Resorts in a very high-profile shareholder battle for control of Aman Resorts, a group of ultra-luxury hotels worth around USD358 million.

All Circuits, POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture

Band 3

Alexander Cook of 4 Stone Buildings Recognised for his experience in high-value, precedent-setting proceeds of crime cases. He is also skilled at dealing with POCA cases related to banking, finance and asset tracing thanks to his commercial chancery background.

Strengths: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“.

Recent work: Instructed on behalf of the National Crime Agency in a claim for a civil recovery order relating to an £8 million property empire amassed by a notorious family in the Bath area.

Legal 500 (2018)

Company and partnership

Within: Company – Leading juniors

Alexander Cook – 4 Stone BuildingsHe is meticulous throughout a case and is always on-hand to assist.’

Proceeds of Crime Act and asset forfeiture

Within: Proceeds of Crime Act and asset forfeiture – Leading juniors

Alexander Cook – 4 Stone BuildingsExcellent: a junior of choice for civil recovery.’

Chambers UK Guide (2017)

London (Bar), Company

Up and Coming

Alexander Cook

Has a busy general commercial chancery and company practice. His areas of expertise include shareholder disputes and unfair prejudice petitions.

Strengths: Offers clear guidance and clear advice. He’s someone you can feel confident about”.

Recent work: Acted as sole counsel for the defendant, a former director, in a £750,000 misfeasance claim brought by the liquidators of a management training company.

Chambers UK Guide (2016)

London (Bar), Company

Up and Coming

Alexander Cook

Takes instructions on a broad range of company disputes. He has particular experience in unfair prejudice petitions and has recently acted on a number of high-value claims.

Strengths: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.

Recent work: Represented the first defendant in a £15 million breach of duty and fraudulent misappropriation claim.

 Judicial comments

“I am very grateful as I have already said to Mr Cook for the care with which he has prepared this case and the details set out in his skeleton argument which have greatly shortened the hearing today”: Mr Justice Irwin in Serious Organised Crime Agency v Sahota [2011] EWHC 1397 (Admin).

 

Foreign Admissions
  • Rights of Audience before the Court of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), Kazakhstan
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Pegasus Scholarship (Bermuda) (Inner Temple), Runner up: Gluckstein Advocacy Prize (Lincoln’s Inn), Lord Denning, Hardwicke and Cholmeley Scholarships (Lincoln’s Inn), Alan Urbach Prize and Simmons & Simmons Prize (University College, Oxford)