Professional practice

David has a diverse practice spanning the full breadth of Chambers’ profile and encompassing commercial chancery law, civil fraud, public international law (including investor-state arbitrations), and employment law.

Commercial dispute resolution and civil fraud are at the heart of David’s practice and the significant majority of his work has an international dimension. David is instructed by the claimant bank in JSC Commercial Bank PrivatBank v Kolomoisky, a US$1.9 billion fraud claim brought by the bank against its former shareholders. The case was listed as one of the Top 20 cases of 2022 by The Lawyer.

Further, David has substantial experience of international arbitration. For example, he has been instructed for over two years (during which he has appeared as sole counsel before the Tribunal) in a substantial DIFC-LCIA arbitration involving claims for breach of a shareholders’ agreement, articles of association and the DIFC Companies Law, and for relief from unfair prejudice, in connection with management of a multi- billion-euro tech company. David has also been instructed in a number of other commercial and investor-state arbitrations (ranging from small-scale shareholder claims to larger ‘bet the company’ disputes), together with related court proceedings (for example, seeking interim injunctive relief).

In addition to his commercial practice, David is a member of the Attorney General’s ‘Junior Juniors’ panel scheme, and acts regularly in employment matters, including  appearing as sole counsel before the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal.

 

Examples of Recent Cases

Gulfvin Investment Ltd v Tahrir Petrochemicals Corporation S.A.E. & ors [2022] EWHC 1040 (Comm) – David acted (led by Ciaran Keller) for the Egyptian and US defendants to claims in deceit and unjust enrichment on a successful challenge to the English court’s jurisdiction on the grounds that England was not clearly and distinctly the most appropriate forum in which to litigate the claims.

JSC Commercial Bank PrivatBank v Kolomoisky [2022] EWHC 775 (Ch), [2022] EWHC 868 (Ch) – David is acting (led by James Willan QC and Tim Akkouh QC) for the claimant, one of Ukraine’s largest banks, in a US$1.9 billion fraud claim brought against the bank’s former shareholders (on-going). The case was listed as one of the Top 20 cases of 2022 by The Lawyer.

Fibula Air Travel Srl v Just-Us Air Srl [2020] 10 WLUK 415 – David acted as junior counsel for the successful respondent in the first reported case in which the High Court has considered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on an aircraft wet lease agreement and, in particular, whether flight restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic engaged the force majeure clause in such agreement.

Arbitration & related court applications

David has a broad arbitration practice. Having worked in the international arbitration team of a law firm with a leading international arbitration practice, and having acted on a number of substantial arbitrations since joining Chambers, David has gained considerable experience of arbitration and related court applications. Examples include:

  • Acting (led by Ciaran Keller) in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration acting for a minority shareholder in claims for breaches of a shareholders’ agreement, articles of association and the DIFC Companies Law, and for relief from unfair prejudice, in connection with management of a tech company. During the course of the arbitration, which is ongoing, David has appeared as sole counsel before the Tribunal in hearings concerning procedural matters, in particular, the impact of UAE Decree No. 34 of 2021 (which abolished the DIFC Arbitration Institute).
  • Acted (led by Vernon Flynn QC) in an ICC arbitration acting for an aerospace company in relation to $228 million claim for alleged breach of an agreement for the design and development of a propulsion system.
  • Assisted Jeremy Brier in a jurisdictional challenge to an arbitral award under Section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (Sonact Group Ltd v Premuda SpA [2018] EWHC 3820 (Comm)). The challenge concerned whether an arbitral tribunal had jurisdiction to determine a dispute arising from a settlement agreement, which did not have an arbitration clause, by virtue of the arbitration clause contained in the charterparty from which the settled dispute originated.
  • Assisted two Members of Chambers in an LCIA arbitration concerning the enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants in an employment contract, which included making an urgent application to court for an interim injunction.
  • Assisted a Member of Chambers on an application for an urgent freezing order under Section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996 in circumstances where an arbitral tribunal was unable to act effectively.
  • Assisted a Member of Chambers in an ICC arbitration concerning a dispute arising out of an agreement for the supply of specialist telecoms equipment to a state entity.
  • Assisted a Member of Chambers in an application to discharge an anti-suit injunction granted ex parte restraining the pursuit of foreign arbitration proceedings.
  • Assisted a Member of Chambers in an LMAA arbitration concerning a claims and counterclaims arising out of an agreement for the sale and purchase of a luxury motor yacht, which included making an application for security for costs. The case largely turned on the application of force majeure
  • Assisted two Members of Chambers in resisting an application for a final anti-suit injunction and continuation of an extant interim anti-suit injunction restraining pursuit of foreign court proceedings in favour of a London-seated arbitration. The application raised jurisdictional issues concerning application of the Rome I Regulation.
  • Assisted two Members of Chambers in an LCIA arbitration concerning the enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants in an employment contract, which included making an urgent application to court for an interim injunction.
Banking & financial services

David has an interest in banking and financial services related litigation and, during the course of pupillage, assisted a Member of Chambers in a dispute between an investor and an investment manager operating an algorithmic trading strategy concerning allegations of misrepresentation and breach of contract.

Civil fraud & asset recovery

David has a particular interest in civil fraud and significant number of David’s cases concern allegations of fraud or occur within the context of the same. Examples include:

  • Acting (led by James Willan QC and Tim Akkouh QC) for the claimant bank in JSC Commercial Bank PrivatBank v Kolomoisky, a US$1.9 billion fraud claim brought by the bank against its former shareholders. The case was listed as one of the Top 20 cases of 2022 by The Lawyer.
  • Acted (led by Ciaran Keller) for the Egyptian and US defendants to claims in deceit and unjust enrichment in Gulfvin Investment Ltd v Tahrir Petrochemicals Corporation S.A.E. & ors [2022] EWHC 1040 (Comm) on a successful challenge to the English court’s jurisdiction on the grounds that England was not clearly and distinctly the most appropriate forum in which to litigate the claims.
  • Acting (led by Ciaran Keller) in a LCIA-DIFC arbitration for a minority shareholder bringing a claim for relief from unfair prejudice. The case involves allegations of deceit made by the majority shareholder arising out of the alleged fraudulent conduct of the minority.
Commercial Dispute Resolution

Commercial dispute resolution forms the backbone of David’s practice and the significant majority of David’s cases, both led and unled, involve commercial dispute resolution (whether through arbitration, or through court). Examples include:

  • Acting (led by James Willan QC and Tim Akkouh QC) for the claimant bank in JSC Commercial Bank PrivatBank v Kolomoisky, a US$1.9 billion fraud claim brought by the bank against its former shareholders. The case was listed as one of the Top 20 cases of 2022 by The Lawyer.
  •  Acted (led by Ciaran Keller) for the Egyptian and US defendants to claims in deceit and unjust enrichment in Gulfvin Investment Ltd v Tahrir Petrochemicals Corporation S.A.E. & ors [2022] EWHC 1040 (Comm) on a successful challenge to the English court’s jurisdiction on the grounds that England was not clearly and distinctly the most appropriate forum in which to litigate the claims.
  • Acting (led by Ciaran Keller) in a LCIA-DIFC arbitration acting for a minority shareholder in claims for breaches of a shareholders’ agreement, articles of association and the DIFC Companies Law, and for relief from unfair prejudice, in connection with management of a tech company. During the course of the arbitration, which is ongoing, David has appeared as sole counsel before the Tribunal in hearings concerning procedural matters, in particular, the impact of UAE Decree No. 34 of 2021 (which abolished the DIFC Arbitration Institute).
  • Acted for the successful respondent in Fibula Air Travel Srl v Just-Us Air Srl [2020] EWHC 3048 (Comm), the first reported case in which the High Court has considered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on an aircraft wet lease agreement and, in particular, whether flight restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic engaged the force majeure clause in such agreement.
  • Acted (led by Vernon Flynn QC) in an ICC arbitration acting for an aerospace company in relation to $228 million claim for alleged breach of an agreement for the design and development of a propulsion system.
  • Assisted two Members of Chambers in a dispute concerning the transfer of operatorship of a number of oil and gas fields in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf, which included making an application for an expedited trial.
  • Assisted a Member of Chambers in a dispute concerning the enforcement of a guarantee given in respect of the construction of a ship-repair yard. The case raised a number of complex issues surrounding the law of guarantees, the doctrine of marshalling and the rule against reflective loss.
Commercial chancery disputes

David has a keen interest in commercial chancery disputes and has gained significant experience in such disputes during the course of his practice. Examples include:

  • Advising a minority shareholder on resisting a drag-along attempt pursuant to a shareholders’ agreement providing for LCIA arbitration, including on the availability of urgent interim relief under the Arbitration Act 1996 or by way of expedited/emergency arbitration.
  • Acting (led by Ciaran Keller) in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration acting for a minority shareholder in claims for breaches of a shareholders’ agreement, articles of association and the DIFC Companies Law, and for relief from unfair prejudice, in connection with management of a tech During the course of the arbitration, David has appeared as sole counsel before the Tribunal in hearings concerning procedural matters, in particular, the impact of UAE Decree No. 34 of 2021 (which abolished the DIFC Arbitration Institute).
Company & Insolvency Law

David has a keen interest in company law and has gained particular experience in unfair prejudice disputes. David is currently acting (led by Ciaran Keller) in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration for a minority shareholder in claims for breaches of a shareholders’ agreement, articles of association and the DIFC Companies Law, and for relief from unfair prejudice, in connection with management of a tech company. During the course of the arbitration, David has appeared as sole counsel before the Tribunal in hearings concerning procedural matters, in particular, the impact of UAE Decree No. 34 of 2021 (which abolished the DIFC Arbitration Institute).

Conflict of laws & private international law

A large part of David’s practice has an international focus and the disputes in which David acts regularly involve jurisdictional issues. Examples include:

  • Acted (led by Ciaran Keller) for the Egyptian and US defendants to claims in deceit and unjust enrichment in Gulfvin Investment Ltd v Tahrir Petrochemicals Corporation S.A.E. & ors [2022] EWHC 1040 (Comm) on a successful challenge to the English court’s jurisdiction on the grounds that England was not clearly and distinctly the most appropriate forum in which to litigate the claims. The challenge gave rise to issues as to the governing law to be applied to the claims.
  • Acting (led by Ciaran Keller) in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration acting for a minority shareholder in claims for breaches of a shareholders’ agreement, articles of association and the DIFC Companies Act, and for relief from unfair prejudice, in connection with management of a tech company. The case raised issues surrounding determination of the seat of the arbitration and applicable law of an arbitration agreement. During the course of the arbitration, David has appeared as sole counsel before the Tribunal in hearings concerning procedural matters, in particular, the impact of UAE Decree No. 34 of 2021 (which abolished the DIFC Arbitration Institute).
  • Assisted two Members of Chambers in resisting an application for a final anti-suit injunction and continuation of an extant interim anti-suit injunction restraining pursuit of foreign court proceedings in favour of a London-seated arbitration. The application raised difficult jurisdictional issues concerning application of the Rome I Regulation.
  • Assisted two Members of Chambers in a dispute arising out of an allegedly fraudulent withholding tax scheme. The case raised a complex conflict of laws issue regarding the application of the revenue rule.
Employment

David has a particular interest in employment law and is developing a broad practice covering matters in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal (in both of which David has appeared as sole counsel) and the High Court. Examples include:

  • Acting for a defendant to a disability discrimination claim in bringing an application for strike out of the claimant’s claims on the grounds that such claims have no reasonable prospect of success.
  • Acted in an appeal before the Employment Appeal Tribunal on behalf of a claimant appealing against the refusal of an application to amend by way of adding individual named respondents.
  • Acted in an appeal before the Employment Appeal Tribunal on behalf of a claimant appealing against the strike out of a disability discrimination claim (Mrs M Itulu v London Fire Commissioner: UKEAT/0298/18/BA).
  • Assisted two Members of Chambers in an LCIA arbitration concerning the enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants in an employment contract, which included making an urgent application to court for an interim injunction.
  • Assisted a Member of Chambers on an application for urgent interim injunctive relief against a number of defendants to enforce obligations of non-competition, confidentiality and post-termination restrictions and for ancillary relief for delivery up.
Energy & natural resources

Assisted two Members of Chambers in a dispute concerning the transfer of operatorship of a number of oil and gas fields in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf, which included making an application for an expedited trial.

Prior to joining Essex Court Chambers, spent 18 months as an Associate in the International Arbitration team at Allen & Overy LLP. Gained experience in a number of international commercial arbitrations, particularly in the construction, infrastructure, and energy and natural resources sectors. In particular:

  • Acted for an energy company in a dispute with a contractor over the construction of a
  • significant trans-continental gas infrastructure project.
  • Advised an energy company in a dispute with a contractor over the construction of an
  • ‘Energy from Waste’ plant.
  • Acted for an energy company in a dispute over the supply of fuel for a nuclear power plant.
Injunctions

Acted for the Respondent in Fibula Air Travel Srl v Just-Us Air Srl [2020] EWHC 3048 (Comm), the first case in which the High Court has considered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on aircraft wet leasing agreements. In that case, the Court rejected an application for a notification injunction in respect of a security deposit paid under an aircraft wet lease agreement, holding that even if the applicant charterer could rely on a force majeure clause and restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic to contend that the wet lease agreement had terminated, there were strong arguments the respondent lessor was nevertheless entitled to retain the security deposit.

Assisted a Member of Chambers in an application to discharge an anti-suit injunction granted ex parte restraining the pursuit of foreign arbitration proceedings.

Assisted two Members of Chambers in resisting an application for a final anti-suit injunction and continuation of an extant interim anti-suit injunction restraining pursuit of foreign court proceedings in favour of a London-seated arbitration. The application raised jurisdictional issues concerning application of the Rome I Regulation.

Assisted two Members of Chambers in an LCIA arbitration concerning the enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants in an employment contract, which included making an urgent application to court for an interim injunction.

Assisted a Member of Chambers on an application for urgent interim injunctive relief against a number of defendants to enforce obligations of non-competition, confidentiality and post-termination restrictions and for ancillary relief for delivery up.

Insurance & reinsurance

Assisting a Member of Chambers in a dispute arising out of a refusal to pay a claim made under a hull and machinery policy following the sinking of a vessel. The case concerned allegations of scuttling.

Investment treaty disputes

David has a keen interest in investment treaty disputes and is building a broad practice in this area. Having worked in the international arbitration team of a law firm with a leading investment treaty arbitration practice, and having acted on a number of substantial investment treaty arbitrations since joining Chambers, David has gained considerable experience of investment treaty arbitration. Examples include:

  • Assisted in preparing a response to an annulment application made by the respondent State in a €440 million Energy Charter Treaty arbitration relating to a failed energy project.
  • Acted for a UK investor in the real estate sector in Dalal v United Arab Emirates (ICSID Case No. ARB/19/10), an arbitration commenced under the UK-UAE BIT (instructed by Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co).
  • Assisted in a claim by a Dutch investor in an ICSID arbitration against a Central American State alleging various breaches of a bilateral investment treaty in relation to State measures in the financial services sector.

Whilst an Associate in the International Arbitration team at Allen & Overy LLP, acted for an investment fund in an Energy Charter Treaty claim arising out of renewable energy subsidies; acted for a state in an ICSID arbitration arising out of the construction of LPG terminal; and acted for a state in World Trade Organisation proceedings relating to mandatory product packaging requirements.

Media, Art, Entertainment & Sport

Assisted a Member of Chambers in drafting an application for delivery up of film footage. The application was time-sensitive as the footage was required to complete a television documentary due to be broadcast nationally.

Assisted a Member of Chambers in a judicial review challenging a decision to refuse an application for a retrospective import permit required in order to re-export an artwork incorporating material controlled under the CITES regime.

Public international law

David has a particular interest in public international law, having studied both International Law and Armed Conflict and International Law of the Sea whilst reading for the BCL at the University of Oxford. During his studies, David worked as a research assistant for the legal team representing The African Union in the ICJ Advisory Proceedings concerning the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. During pupillage, David assisted a Member of Chambers in a dispute involving issues of state immunity.

Shipping & admiralty

Assisting a Member of Chambers in a dispute arising out of a refusal to pay a claim made under a hull and machinery policy following the sinking of a vessel. The case concerned allegations of scuttling.

Career

2019: Tenant at Essex Court Chambers

2018-19: Pupillage at Essex Court Chambers

2016-2017: Associate (International Arbitration) at Allen & Overy LLP

2014-2016: Trainee Solicitor at Allen & Overy LLP

Education

2017-2018: BCL (Oxon), Christ Church, University of Oxford (Distinction)

2010-2013: LLB (Hons), University of Exeter (First Class)

Awards

2013: University of Exeter School of Law Prize; Dean’s Commendation