Practice

Christopher is a commercial and chancery litigator.  Chambers & Partners UK ranks him as a Leading Junior in 5 areas – Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chancery Commercial, Company, Civil Fraud and Restructuring/Insolvency – and notes that he is A class advocate”, “Unflappable, responsive, good on his feet and totally committed to the cause”, “very astute strategically, and extremely good with clients” and “Takes a logical approach to cases and is very objective. He provides a very thorough analysis, which he sets out clearly so that lay clients can understand what’s going on.”  His work often has an international dimension.  He has worked with lawyers in many jurisdictions.

Practice areas

Commercial dispute resolution

Commercial disputes are at the heart of Christopher’s practice.  He has wide-ranging experience in the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division and abroad in the Caribbean jurisdictions.  He deals with all aspects of claims.  He recognises the importance of interim steps such as injunctive relief and targeted disclosure applications in leading to a successful outcome.  He has considerable trial experience.  He has assisted many clients in successfully resolving their disputes by negotiated ADR procedures.  Chambers & Partners ranks him as a Leading Junior in this area “on the back of strong support from instructing solicitors and peers”.

Banking & finance

Christopher has extensive experience of acting both for and against many of the well-known banks.  Recent examples include claims by Richard Desmond, the owner of the Express Newspaper group, in relation to complex derivative products, claims against one of the major brokerage firms arising from the closing-out of option trades, claims by Barclays Bank for payment on derivative transactions and a bank’s defence to claims on Forex trading.

Company law

Christopher regularly acts for claimants and defendants in shareholder disputes. Recent examples include claims by members of the Saudi Arabian Royal family, the defence of a claim by the former wife of Boris Berezovsky, a dispute about the rights to the development of disruptive technology for electric-powered cars and a fight over the ownership of a UK chain of pharmacies.  Chambers & Partners ranks Christopher as a Leading Junior in this area who is “well known for his experience in shareholder claims” and who has “acted on behalf of companies, banks and high net worth individuals in a number of big-ticket disputes”.

Christopher writes the chapters on Shareholder Remedies in Oxford University Press’s ‘Annotated Companies Legislation’.

Chancery: commercial

Christopher practices across the range of Chancery Commercial claims. This often involves freezing injunctions and other interim relief and jurisdictional issues. He has been involved in the litigation resulting from many of the well-known corporate collapses of recent years, including Enron, the Icelandic banks, Lehmans and BCCI. Recent examples include a £40million pound claim by the owners of the Pier at Weston-super-Mare for damages caused by the fire that destroyed the Pier, breach of contract claims by Katie Price, aka Jordan, against her former manager, and recovery actions by Michele Hope Ltd the well-known fashion business.  Chambers & Partners ranks Christopher as a Leading Junior in this area who is “very easy to work with and prepared to make the hard arguments in court as powerfully as possible”.

Insolvency & restructuring

Christopher has wide-ranging experience of all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency, from the very largest (a multi-billion dollar claim relating to BCCI) to those involving smaller amounts but difficult questions of law. Recent examples include set-off claims resulting from the collapse of Lehmans, multi-million pound claims arising from the collapse of a cross-border alcohol trading business and disputes on jurisdiction caused by the collapse of AIB and the Irish banking crisis.  Chambers & Partners ranks Christopher as a Leading Junior in this area “following strong market praise”.

Fraud – civil

Civil fraud and asset recovery claims compromise a key part of Christopher’s practice.  He deals with all aspects of such matters, from the initial crucial steps of freezing injunctive relief, through to interim applications such as specific disclosure, and then onto the trial, and including the subsequent recovery actions to give effect to the relief awarded at trial.  He acts for both claimants and defendants.  Recent examples include recoveries by a Swiss Bank in respect of a cross-border fraud and an action against multiple defendants resulting from an employee fraud.  Chambers & Partners ranks Christopher as a Leading Junior in this area who is “an expert in asset recovery”.

Financial services

Christopher has extensive experience of litigation in the financial services area, both for claimants and defendants.  Recent examples include claims by Richard Desmond, the owner of the Express Newspaper group, against a well-known bank and fund manager in relation to complex derivative products, claims against one of the major brokerage firms arising from the closing-out of option trades, claims by Barclays Bank for payment on derivative transactions and a bank’s defence to claims on Forex trading.

Offshore litigation

Christopher’s work frequently has an international dimension.  He has appeared in the Courts in the Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands where he has been called to their Bars for specific cases.  He works with lawyers in many jurisdictions, including the US, the Caribbean jurisdictions and various European countries.  Proceedings with which he has been involved in England have often involved related claims in overseas jurisdictions.  He has given expert evidence on English Law for use in foreign claims.  Chambers Global ranks Christopher as a Leading Junior in Commercial Chancery Dispute Resolution, “instructed on a number of impressive big-ticket matters”.

Alternative dispute resolution

Christopher has a high success rate in achieving very successful results for his clients through negotiated ADR procedures.  He recognises that most clients will prefer to achieve such an outcome rather than to proceed all the way through time-consuming and costly litigation.

Additional info

Cases of interest

Wilson v SMC Properties Ltd [2015] EWHC 870 (Ch)  Insolvency; Asset recovery.  (Appeal pending)

Liberty Mercian Ltd v Cuddy Civil Engineering Ltd [2014] EWHC 3584 (TCC)  Contractual claim; Requirements for remedy of specific performance

Premier Telecommunications Group Ltd v Webb [2014] EWCA Civ 994  Shareholder dispute; Valuation of shares; Contractual interpretation

Fi Call Ltd [2013] EWHC 223 (Ch)  Shareholder dispute relating to members of the Saudi Arabian Royal family; Privacy; Right to a fair trial

Grand Pier Ltd v System 2 Security Ltd [2012]  Contractual and tortious claim; Recovery of damages for negligence arising out of the destruction by fire of the Pier at Weston-super-Mare,

Ondhia v Ondhia [2011] EWHC 3040 (Ch)  Contractual interpretation

Carey Group Plc v AIB Group (UK) plc [2011] EWHC 567 (Ch)  Banking; Banker / customer relationship; Public policy

GMAC Commercial Finance Ltd v Mint Apparel Ltd [2010] EWHC 2452 (Comm)  Bills of exchange; Trade and export finance

Chunilal v Merrill Lynch International Inc [2010] EWHC 1467 (Comm)  Banking; Banker’s bonus; Jurisdiction / forum non conveniens

Tradegro (UK) Ltd v Wigmore Street Investments Ltd [2010] EWHC 1693 (Ch)  Solicitors’ undertaking

Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG v Royal Bank of Scotland plc [2010] EWHC 1392 (Comm)  Banking; Alleged misrepresentation and effect of ‘no representation’ clauses

Jefferies International Ltd v Landsbanki Islands HF [2010] EWHC 894 (Comm)  Icelandic banking crisis; Insolvency; Application for stay of proceedings

Oak Investment Partners XII LLP v Boughtwood [2009] EWHC 176 (Ch), upheld at [2010] EWCA Civ 23  Shareholder dispute; unfairly prejudicial conduct; majority shareholder ordered to sell shares to minority

Oak Investment Partners XII LLP v Boughtwood [2009] EWHC 641 (Ch)  Contract; transfer of intellectual property

Oak Investment Partners XII LLP v Boughtwood [2009] EWHC 2394 (Ch)  Shareholder dispute; basis for expert valuation of shares

Bear Stearns Bank plc v Forum Global Equity Ltd [2007] EWHC 1576 (Comm)  Bond trading, secondary market; Breach of oral contract

Swissport (UK) Ltd v Aer Lingus Ltd [2007] EWHC 1089 (Ch)  Insolvency; Set-off; Summary judgment

What the directories and judges say

Christopher is ranked by all the leading directories in several areas.

Chambers & Partners UK:

  • Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • Chancery Commercial
  • Company
  • Civil Fraud
  • Restructuring/Insolvency

Legal 500

  • Company and Partnership
  • Fraud: Civil
  • Insolvency

Chambers Global

  •  Commercial Chancery Dispute Resolution

Who’s Who Legal

  • Corporate

The current editions of the directories have the following comments:

“An established chancery performer who is active in a broad sweep of matters, including those concerning questions of insolvency, fraud and finance. He is a respected expert in shareholder disputes.”

A good person to have on the team. He’s very easy to work with and prepared to make the hard arguments in court as powerfully as possible.”

strong support from instructing solicitors and peers. His practice focuses on company law, insolvency, banking and civil fraud disputes.”

“He is a talented advocate, who is very astute strategically, and extremely good with clients. Unflappable, responsive, good on his feet and totally committed to the cause.”

“Particularly well known for his experience in hareholder claims. He has acted on behalf of companies, banks and high net worth individuals in a number of big-ticket disputes.”

“A class advocate.”

“Faultless on the detail and very impressive as an advocate.”

“Has a broad commercial practice with heavy fraud elements and is an expert in asset recovery.”

“Takes a logical approach to cases and is very objective. He provides a very thorough analysis, which he sets out clearly so that lay clients can understand what’s going on.”

“He is noted for his expertise in international insolvency matters.”

“He is very active in this space [ie insolvency] and is very effective; he’s a safe pair of hands.”

“Renowned for his handling of shareholder disputes, but also has a broader commercial chancery practice. He has been instructed on a number of impressive big-ticket matters.”

He has been recommended by these publications for many years. Recent previous editions have referred to him as:

“charming and willing to put himself out, and finds creative solutions to difficult legal problems.” 
“a team player and a forensic and effective litigator.” 
“Very easy to use and willing to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in. He has a commercially realistic approach.” 
“He is regularly instructed as lead or sole counsel in a range of complex disputes.” 
“Readily identifies the key issues and provides detailed advice.  He has excellent analytical skills and takes a commercial approach.  Personable, intelligent and a joy to work with” 
“clever, imaginative, hard-working and careful, highly responsive and accessible”
“excellent with clients”
“superb”
“a really nice blend of analytical skills, commercial awareness and punchy advocacy”
“combines considerable intellect with personal charm”
“comprehensive talents”
“an accomplished litigator both in the UK courts and overseas”
“always well-prepared and on top of the papers”
“an extremely impressive advocate”
“a highly experienced junior who works with a wide range of clients across a variety of both company and commercial litigation”
“vast knowledge and strong reputation in the fraud arena”
“specialises in asset recovery, and is an expert on freezing injunctions”.

Career & appointments

Government Inspector: Insider-trading Inquiry, 1996
Junior Counsel to the Crown, ‘B’ Panel, 1996-2003

Foreign jurisdictions

Called to the Bars of the Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands for specific cases
Works with lawyers in many jurisdictions, including the US, the Caribbean jurisdictions and various European countries

Publications

Oxford University Press’s ‘Annotated Companies Legislation’: Christopher writes the chapters on Shareholder Remedies (Derivative Claims and Unfairly Prejudicial Conduct) and Meetings

Education & awards

Trinity Hall, Cambridge: MA (Hons), First Class
Gray’s Inn: Atkin Scholar