Professional practice

Luke practises in the areas of international arbitration and commercial litigation. He has particular experience in public international law including investment treaty arbitration, along with civil fraud, financial services and the conflict of laws.

He has experience of arbitration proceedings under the ICC, LCIA, PCA, ICSID and UNCITRAL rules along with arbitration related court applications.

Examples of recent work include:

  • National Bank Trust v Yurov & Ors [2020] EWHC 100 (Comm) Acted (with Nathan Pillow QC, David Davies and Anton Dudnikov) for the claimants in a nine-week trial and consequentials concerning a US$ 1 billion fraud claim brought by a Russian bank against its former directors and their spouses.
  • Suppipat v Nop Narongdeg & Ors Acting (with Anna Dilnot and Helen Morton) for three defendants in a US$2 billion fraud claim brought by the former owner of Thailand’s largest renewable energy company. The Claimant fled Thailand prior to allegations of extortion and kidnapping. As a result, he sold his interest in the energy business to a Thai family and now seeks to reclaim it on the basis of an alleged conspiracy.
  • European Investors v Asian State (UNCITRAL) Acted for investors in an investment-treaty arbitration for claims in excess of US$100 million brought under various treaties and the domestic investment law of the host-State concerning allegations of State harassment and duress in the telecommunications sector.
  • SKAT (the Danish Customs and Tax Authority) v Solo Capital Partners LLP & Ors Acting (with Alison Macdonald QC) for three defendants in proceedings concerning a US$1.5 billion fraud claim brought by Denmark for the reimbursement of withholding tax.
  • DMC Building Machines v Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2020] Acted (with David Scorey QC) for the appellant in a two-week trial concerning an alleged orchestrated scheme to defraud the UK Treasury through European commodities trading.

Luke regularly works on cases governed by foreign law and is used to liaising with expert witnesses in preparing submissions, examples of foreign law cases include: Russia, Switzerland, Kuwait, Denmark, Singapore, Thailand, Belize, China, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the United States (federal law) and New York.

Alongside practice, Luke teaches Commercial Law at Cambridge University and has published work concerning investor-state arbitration, state immunity, the conflict of laws, general public international law and various aspects of commercial litigation. In 2020 he was awarded the Lalive Merryman Fellowship at the University of Geneva for an article published on the subject of state immunity.

 

Arbitration & related court applications

Luke has experience of both international commercial and investor-state arbitrations. He has worked on cases under the LCIA, ICC, PCA, ICSID and UNCITRAL rules along with ss.67, 68 and 69 appeals, as well as the enforcement of arbitral awards against both companies and states. Examples include:

  • Acting in an ongoing LCIA arbitration for a United States company concerning the recovery of investments made in a multibillion dollar project in Northeast Africa.
  • An ICC arbitration concerning breach of contracts for the international sale of goods. The case featured heavily around the application of the principle of force majeure.
  • Prepared advice concerning the recognition and enforcement of five arbitral awards against a European state, obtained under the UNCITRAL rules and administered by the Permeant Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The case raised issues of State Immunity and the New York Convention.
  • An UNCITRAL arbitration concerning breach of a guarantor agreement for sums loaned to state-owned entities in Central Asia.
  • Assisted in preparing a substantial Section 67 Arbitration Act 1996 appeal regarding whether or not the tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the case.
  • Assisted in preparing a Section 68 Arbitration Act 1996 appeal to overturn an award on the grounds that the tribunal had failed to deal with all the issues put to it.
  • Drafted the statements of case for an LCIA arbitration concerning a complex share purchase agreement being undertaken in East Africa.
Art & Cultural Heritage

Luke is well versed in issuing arising in the sale, export and recovery of art and cultural heritage. Examples of recent cases include:

  • Assisted in preparing the case of Sotheby’s v Weiss Ltd [2017]. The case concerned a claim for US$ 10 million regarding an alleged forgery of a Dutch Golden Age painting said to have been painted by Frans Hals. The case involved reviewing forensic art reports compiled by experts to ascertain the authenticity of the painting.
  • Advised a New York based art collector on the sale of a large portfolio of sculptures to an investment firm in Hong Kong.

In addition to practice, Luke has lectured at a conference held by the Institute of Art and Law at Queen Mary University discussing sovereign immunity in art and cultural heritage disputes and has been published in the International Journal of Cultural Property, for which his article concerning the restitution of expropriated art was awarded the Lalive Merryman Fellowship by the University of Geneva.

Banking & financial services

Luke has experience in a range of banking and financial services cases covering bonds, commercial paper, repo transactions, swaps, derivatives, guarantor and share purchase agreements. Much of the work Luke has assisted with intersects with fraud. Examples include:

  • Instructed in National Bank Trust v Yurov & Ors [2020] EWHC 100 (Comm) (with Nathan Pillow QC, David Davies and Anton Dudnikov). The case involved a nine week Commercial Court trial concerning a US$ 1 billion claim for fraud brought by a private Russian bank against its former directors and their spouses. The case was governed by Russian law.
  • Drafted the statements of case for an UNCITRAL arbitration concerning breach of a guarantor agreement and non-payment of sums loaned by a bank to state-owned entities in Central Asia.
  • Drafted advice to a French bank regarding a claim for unjust enrichment stemming from a swaps and derivatives transaction. The case raised issues regarding international monetary sanctions.
  • Drafted advice regarding claims against an issuing bank and the arrangers and permeant dealers of a European Commercial Paper programme following the collapse and nationalisation of the bank.
  • Assisted in preparing an LCIA arbitration concerning a complex share purchase agreement undertaken in East Africa. The case raised issues regarding whether a party could be compelled to modify its arrangements with the African Central Bank.
  • Assisted Edward Brown in Yuchai v Suisse Credit Capital Ltd [2018]. The case concerned a claim for sums due pursuant to a letter of credit worth US$ 3 million. The case involved detailed consideration of banking SWIFT codes and UCP.
Civil fraud & asset recovery

Luke has a range of experience in civil fraud concerning individuals, companies and banks. He has assisted with obtaining a range of remedies in relation to the location and seizure of assets including freezing injunctions, proprietary injunctions, charging orders, search orders, asset preservation orders, Norwich Pharmacal relief, Bankers Trust relief and third-party debt orders. Examples include:

  • National Bank Trust v Yurov & Ors [2020] EWHC 100 (Comm) Acted (with Nathan Pillow QC, David Davies and Anton Dudnikov) in a nine-week trial and consequentials concerning a US$ 1 billion fraud claim brought by a private Russian bank against its former directors and their wives. The case was governed by Russian law.
  • Suppipat v Nop Narongdeg & Ors Acting (with Anna Dilnot and Helen Morton) for three defendants in a US$2 billion fraud claim brought by the former owner of Thailand’s largest renewable energy company. The Claimant fled Thailand prior to allegations of extortion and kidnapping. As a result, he sold his interest in the energy business to a Thai family and now seeks to reclaim it on the basis of an alleged conspiracy.
  • SKAT (the Danish Customs and Tax Authority) v Solo Capital Partners LLP & Ors Acting (with Alison Macdonald QC) for three defendants in proceedings concerning a US$1.5 billion fraud claim brought by Denmark for the reimbursement of withholding tax.
  • DMC Building Machines v Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2020] Acted (with David Scorey QC) for the appellant in a two-week trial concerning allegations of an orchestrated scheme to defraud the UK Treasury through European commodities trading.
  • Assisted in an LCIA arbitration concerning a significant monetary claim arising from a metals fraud perpetrated by way of a series of repo transactions.Drafted advice relating to a fraudulent transfer of shares. The case raised issues concerning the tort of deceit, tort of intimidation, breach of fiduciary duties, conspiracy and dishonest assistance.
  • Assisted Paul McGrath QC and David Davies in Willmont v Elm International Ltd & Ors [2017]. The case concerned whether a number of high value properties which are being held in offshore trusts, subsidiary companies and Liechtenstein foundations are beneficially owned by an individual who had filed bankruptcy, to satisfy a judgment debt of US$ 195.5 million.
  • Ex parte application, United States company v international bank Acted (with Richard Edwards QC) in an ex parte application for Norwich Pharmacal relief in support of potential fraudulent activities
  • Drafted advice relating to an alleged gold fraud. The case raised issues of the tort of conversion, along with proprietary and domestic freezing injunctions.
  • Drafted advice concerning the scope of the corporate veil and directors’ liabilities with respect to claims for conspiracy and deceit in fraud.
Commercial dispute resolution

Luke has experience across a range of commercial litigation, including banking, civil fraud and contractual claims. Many of the cases he has assisted with have raised complex jurisdictional issues. He also has experience of assisting with applications for interim and emergency injunctive relief.

Conflict of laws & private international law

Many of the cases Luke works on raise difficult jurisdictional issues concerning forum conveniens, the Recast Brussels and Rome Regulations. He has experience of seeking antisuit injunctions along with the recognition and enforcement of both judgments and arbitral awards.

Examples include:

  • Assisted James Collins QC and David Davies in Willmont v Elm International Ltd & Ors [2018]. The case concerned service of a claim outside the jurisdiction on seven defendants domiciled abroad.
  • Advised on whether re-litigating matters in England which had been dealt with before the courts of Russia and Ukraine would constitute issue estoppel and abuse of process, the case raised points of res judicata.
  • Advised on the recognition and enforcement of judgments that had been obtained by state-owned entities in Russia.
  • Assisted David Davies in Paradiso v Vdovin [2017]. The case raised detailed points concerning service out under the Recast Brussels Regulation and the CPR.
  • Prepared an application for an emergency ex parte antisuit injunction to restrain foreign proceedings which had been brought in breach of a jurisdiction agreement.
  • Advised on the recognition and enforcement of English committal proceedings, including the possibility of extradition, against defendants domiciled outside of the European Union, regarding directors, trustees and Liechtenstein foundations.
  • Advised on obtaining a stay of proceedings where parallel litigation had been commenced in the United States as well as in England.

Luke regularly works on cases governed by foreign law and is used to liaising with expert witnesses in preparing submissions, examples of foreign law cases include: Russia, Switzerland, Kuwait, Denmark, Singapore, Thailand, Belize, China, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the United States (federal law) and New York.

Human rights & civil liberties

Luke’s human rights practice centres around cases involving public international law where issues of human rights and civil liberties are engaged, examples of recent work include:

  • Advised in relation to questions of international humanitarian law under the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, their additional protocols and Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, concerning the treatment of civilians during times of armed conflict.
  • Advised on the interrogation techniques and pre-detention conditions of prisoners being held abroad in respect of their rights under customary international law (jus cogens) as well as under the obligations arising from the United Nations Convention Against Torture, Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  • Advised on the human rights implications of enforcing United Nations and European Union sanctions regimes against individuals in respect of Russia and Libya.
  • Advised a NGO as to a state’s international and human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights when enforcing the death penalty for individuals convicted of serious crimes and the prospective challenges which could be brought in the domestic courts.

Whilst studying, Luke was awarded the Advanced Public Law Prize for coming first in the year on a course analysing the European Convention on Human Rights.

International Tax (including DTTs and WHT)

Luke has advised on a range of cases concerning double taxation treaties, mutual assistance, MARD, withholding tax and the OECD Model Tax Convention. Recent examples include:

  • Acted in an investor-state arbitration arising under numerous double taxation treaties between European and CIS states regarding the rate of WHT.
  • Acting in ongoing commercial litigation requiring engagement with double taxation treaties, the OECD Model Tax Convention and MARD.
Public International Law / Investment Treaty Disputes

Luke has a range of experience in public international law, particularly in the context of establishing and challenging jurisdiction under treaties. He has acted in investment treaty arbitrations as junior counsel under bilateral, multilateral and regional investment agreements concerning a range of treaty standards, including expropriation, fair and equitable treatment, most favoured nation and national treatment provisions. He has advised on the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards against states and has experience of the law of state immunity, state responsibility and the extraterritorial application of states’ laws.

Luke has also advised on a range of EU and UN sanctions regimes as well as issues of international humanitarian law. In 2020, he was awarded the Lalive Merryman Fellowship to undertake research in international law at the University of Geneva.

Examples of recent work include:

  • European Investors v Asian State (UNCITRAL) Acted for investors in a substantial arbitration against an Asian state brought under numerous treaties and the national investment laws of the host-state, concerning claims in the telecommunications sector. The case involved drafting the claimant’s memorial, reviewing witness statements, expert reports on foreign law and quantum and advising on questions of investment law. The case required familiarity with the legal instruments of the International Telecommunication Union.
  • Mediterranean Investors v European State (UNCITRAL) Drafted the written reply for investors to an Achmea jurisdictional challenge brought by the European Commission concerning an intra-EU BIT.
  • Advised in relation to the recognition and enforcement of a series of arbitral awards obtained under the UNCITRAL rules and administered by the Permeant Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The case raised issues regarding state immunity, the New York Convention, freezing injunctions against foreign states and security from the English courts whilst the awards were being challenged in jurisdictions abroad.
  • Advised in relation to the recognition and enforcement of several arbitral awards obtained against CIS states. The case concerned detailed examination of the State Immunity Act 1978 and the likelihood of obtaining interim-remedies pending execution of the awards.
  • Assisted Paul Key QC acting on behalf of Nigeria in Process & Industrial Developments Ltd v The Federal Republic of Nigeria [2018] EWHC 3714 (Comm) concerning relief from sanctions regarding the enforcement of a USD$ 9 billion arbitral award.
  • United States Investor v South Pacific State Advised an island State on various issues of international law in relation to an ongoing dispute with a United States investor.
  • Advised on jurisdictional issues arising under a bilateral investment treaty and whether investments were excluded if made in breach of the host-state’s domestic laws.
  • Advised in relation to claiming moral damages under public international law for non-pecuniary loss arising as a result of a state’s actions undertaken through its police and security services.
  • Advised in relation to questions of international humanitarian law under the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, their additional protocols and Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, concerning the treatment of civilians during times of armed conflict.
  • Advised on the application and enforcement of EU and UN sanctions regimes in respect of Russia and Libya.
  • Advised on the drafting of a multilateral Memorandum of Understanding being negotiated with a Central African state.

Luke is also regularly engaged by the Legal Directorate of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom to provide advice on a range of public international law issues.

In addition to practice, Luke has published numerous articles on international law covering state immunity, the enforcement jurisdiction of states abroad, the effectiveness of investment treaties within the European Union and abuse of process before the International Court of Justice. He is also well versed in the law of the World Trade Organization.

Career

2019: Teaching Commercial Law at Cambridge University

2018: Tenancy at Essex Court Chambers

2017: Pupillage at Essex Court Chambers

2016: Called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn)

Education

2019-: DPhil candidate, Christ Church, University of Oxford (ongoing)

2016/17: LLM, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge (First Class)

2012/15: LLB (Hons), St Chad’s College, Durham University (First Class)

Awards

2020: Lalive Merryman Fellowship, University of Geneva

2020: Law Faculty Scholarship, University of Oxford

2017: Jennings Prize, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge

2016: Sir David Williams Scholarship, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge

2016: Wright Rogers Law Scholarship, University of Cambridge

2015: Prince of Wales Scholarship, Gray’s Inn

2015: Dean’s Award, Bar Professional Training Course

2015: Prize for Advanced Public Law, Durham University

2013/15: University Commendation x3, Durham University

Publications

Luke regularly writes on topics of interest, recent publications include:

Books:

Co-author and editor of The Encyclopedia of International Commercial Litigation, (Kluwer Law International) Anthony Coleman & Simon Bryan (Ed).

Contributor to Supperstone, Goudie and Walker (ed), Judicial Review (6th edition, 2018), Chapter 15: European Union Law.

Journals:

The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals – abuse of process before the International Court of Justice

The European Yearbook of International Economic Law – investor-state arbitration

The African Journal of International and Comparative Law – comity in international law

The International Journal of Cultural Property – state immunity

Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly – the extraterritorial application of states’ laws

The Journal of International and Comparative Law – no oral modification clauses (New York and English law)

The Law Quarterly Review – estoppel by acquiescence

The European Journal of Law Reform – chancery litigation

Trusts & Trustees – chancery litigation

Trust Law International – proprietary estoppel