Daniel Kessler

Daniel Kessler

Call 2018

Overview

Daniel practices all areas of commercial chancery law, with a particular interest in insolvency law, company law and commercial litigation.

Daniel features as a ‘rising star’ by Legal500 for 2024. The directory says “Daniel is an exceptionally clever junior, who is highly responsive”.

Daniel has written a guide to insolvency law for litigants in person, ‘Insolvency Law Made Clear’. He was appointed to the Attorney General’s ‘C’ Panel of Counsel in September 2022.

He has recently appeared as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal, representing an appellant on a successful second appeal in Bone v Williamson [2024] EWCA 4. He appears both led and unled in the High Court, County Court and (via his Proceeds of Crime practice) in the Magistrates’ and Crown Court.

Before coming to the Bar, Daniel worked as an economist for five years, including working as an Economic Advisor at the Competition and Markets Authority and a Senior Associate in the Financial Conduct Authority. He maintains his interest in cases with an economic or financial element.

Areas of expertise

  • Fraud: Civil

    Daniel regularly deals with matters where there are allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duties and dishonesty. Daniel acted as sole counsel in a £1m claim for fraud, unlawful means conspiracy and breach of contract. His experience includes:

    • European Real Estate Debt Fund v Treon & Ors [2021] EWHC 2866 (Ch); [2022] Costs L.R. 461 – Led by Bridget Lucas KC from Fountain Court Chambers, Daniel appeared on behalf of the first defendant in a fraud claim concerning a c.£15m investment. The claim was dismissed on limitation grounds following a 13 day trial.
    • Toma v Murray [2020] EWHC 2295 (Ch) – a proprietary injunction to restrain the defendant from disposing of bitcoin stolen from the claimants.
    • A v B – a dispute about a settlement agreement allegedly fraudulently obtained. The case raises issues of a continuing representation and the rule in BCCI v Ali concerning ‘sharp practice’. Daniel drafted the Particulars of Claim and advised on an application for service out.
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution

    Daniel can provide advice, drafting and representation at any stage of a dispute. He has recently advised a client on the scope of a non-disclosure agreement, and another on their prospects of success in a claim against a local authority for conversion. He was instructed on a multi-million pound claim in the King’s Bench Division for breach of fiduciary duty by means of a whistleblowing complaint, led by Sharif Shivji KC.

    • Pedriks v Grimaux [2021] EWHC 3448 (QB) – Alleged breach of a mediation settlement, fiduciary duties and an alleged oral agreement. Led by Donald Lilly, Daniel represented the defendant at the trial in October 2021.
    • Re: A Solicitors’ Firm – A professional negligence claim against a firm of solicitors for giving incomplete advice on a guarantee. Daniel successfully defended the firm at trial.
    • Obtaining an urgent injunction to effect a transfer of a domain name, led by Tom Gentlemen.
    • Acting in an arbitration led by George Bompas KC concerning the construction of a loan agreement.
    • Obtaining an unless order at a disclosure guidance hearing.

    Daniel has drafted a Part 8 claim about the correct construction of a contract; and advised a solicitors’ firm on their prospects of success in a summary judgment application in a professional negligence claim.

  • Company Law

    Daniel’s work has varied from applications to rectify the register of charges to multi-million pound High Court litigation. His experience includes:

    • Davies v Ford and ors – Led by Alexander Cook KC, Daniel appeared for the defendant company and its director at the quantum stage of proceedings in a long-running dispute about misuse of a corporate opportunity. See [2020] EWHC 3063 (expert evidence); [2021] EWHC 2550 (Ch) (quantum); [2022] Costs L.R. 727 (costs); [2023] EWCA Civ 167 (appeal)
    • Daniel has drafted several s.994 Companies Act petitions on behalf of the petitioners, including one which sought the purchase of the respondent’s shares
    • Daniel advised a private family company on the correct construction of their articles of association.
    • Led by George Bompas KC, Daniel is instructed to advise a company on the rectification of its share register and share capital issues.
  • Insolvency & Restructuring

    Daniel is the author of a textbook for litigants in person on insolvency law, which covers the full range of issues an individual or an SME may face.

    Daniel is routinely instructed to appear at bankruptcy petitions and applications. He recently obtained rescission of a bankruptcy petition due to an error in service, and an order requiring the restoration of a property to the estate following a transaction at an undervalue.

    On the corporate insolvency side, Daniel has appeared in rescission applications, applications restraining presentation of a winding up petition, and office-holder applications. For example:

    • In re Kate Ryan Limited [2021] EWHC 1546 (Ch): Daniel appeared on behalf of a liquidator seeking information from a third party under ss.234 and 236 of the Insolvency Act 1986. Daniel appeared for the petitioner as sole counsel in a £4m bankruptcy petition against leading counsel.
    • In re Paul Baxendale-Walker: Daniel is instructed by the Trustees in Bankruptcy of the well-known former tax adviser in a claim to return assets to the estate.

    Daniel has particular experience of the intersection between employment law and insolvency law. He has advised claimants on enforcement against insolvent companies and appeared successfully for a claimant before the Manchester Employment Tribunal on a TUPE-transfer case where the original employer went into liquidation.

    Daniel is building up a speciality in enforcement law. He appeared for the successful appellant before the Court of Appeal as sole counsel in Bone v Williamson [2024] EWCA 4.

  • POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture

    Daniel undertook a six month secondment to the National Crime Agency in 2021/22. Daniel is now regularly instructed in applications and claims under the Part V of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He appears as sole counsel in the High Court, Crown Court and in the Magistrates’ Courts. He has particular experience with the listed asset provisions and accepts instructions on behalf of both the Crown and respondents.

  • Banking & Finance

    Daniel has advised on whether a particular investment fell within the collective investment scheme regime under s.235 of FSMA. He has settled pleadings concerning the correct construction of a bond. His experience includes:

    • Advising on the application of the rule against penalty clauses in the context of a bridging loan.
    • Daniel was instructed, with Sharif Shivji KC, in a £8m dispute over an employee share issue in a listed company.
    • Singularis v Daiwa [2019] UKSC 50 – A case before the Supreme Court concerning a stockbroker’s breach of the Quincecare duty. As a pupil, Daniel assisted Andrew de Mestre KC who was led by Jonathan Crow KC.
  • Offshore Litigation

    Daniel is interested in applying the principles from English law to other jurisdictions. His experience includes:

    • As sole counsel, drafting particulars of claim for a fraud claim in Singapore which concerned fraudulent advice given in respect of a Brazilian investment.
    • Led by Sharif Shivji KC, giving advice in respect to the scope of the doctrine of frustration where a contract governed by BVI law was allegedly impacted by one of the parties being subject to US sanctions.

    Daniel was called to the bar of the British Virgin Islands in 2021 and has appeared in the Commercial Division of the High Court on multiple occasions.

Other information

  • Career & Appointments
    • 2012 – 2014: Fast Stream Economist, Civil Service
    • 2014 – 2016: Economist, Competition and Markets Authority
    • 2016 – 2017: Senior Associate, Financial Conduct Authority
    • Member of the Chancery Bar Association
    • Member of the Commercial Bar Association
    • Daniel was appointed to the Attorney General ‘C’ Panel in September 2022
    • Daniel is on the Advocate volunteer panel. He will consider pro bono instructions in appropriate cases. Daniel is not direct access qualified and cannot accept instructions from the public
  • Foreign Jurisdictions
    • Called to the Bar of the British Virgin Islands in 2021
  • Education & Awards
    • BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Balliol College, Oxford University
    • MSc in Economics, University College London (Distinction)
    • GDL, University of Law (Distinction)
    • BPTC, City University
    • Queen Mother Scholarship, Middle Temple
    • Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition Award, Middle Temple
    • David Pearce Scholarship in Economics, UCL
  • Cases of Interest
    • Bone v Williamson [2024] EWCA 4: taking control of goods procedure and the responsibilities of a High Court Enforcement Officer. Daniel appeared as sole counsel for the successful appellant in the Court of Appeal, reversing the judgments of Lambert J and Master Sullivan.
    • Davies v Ford [2023] EWCA Civ 167: equitable remedies for breach of director’s duties. Led by Alexander Cook, Daniel appeared for the successful respondent in the Court of Appeal.
    • Three Arrows Capital (in liquidation). Daniel appears with Ogier and counsel from South Square in the liquidation of the well-known cryptocurrency hedge fund taking place in the British Virgin Islands.
  • Publications
    • ‘Insolvency Law Made Clear: a Guide for Debtors’ (Bath Publishing, 2021).
    • “From sports betting to the stock market … what’s the difference?”, Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, (2020) 9 JIBFL 624 (with Philip Rubens)
  • What the Directories Say

    Legal500 (2024): “Daniel is an exceptionally clever junior, who is highly responsive”

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