Professional practice

Owen has a broad commercial practice in line with Chambers’ profile. He has experience of both substantial commercial litigation (both domestic and offshore) and arbitration (under various rules). Owen has particular interests in civil fraud, banking/financial litigation and international trade. Alongside his commercial practice, Owen is also developing a practice in employment law.

Owen acted as junior counsel in PCP Capital Partners LLP v Barclays Bank Plc in respect of deceit claims arising from recapitalisation of Barclays at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. This was the first major hybrid trial before the Commercial Court, heard over eight weeks from June to October 2020, and was one of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20 Cases’ of 2020. Owen also acted in relation to numerous pre-trial applications, including PCP’s successful application for specific disclosure, shortly before trial, in which the Commercial Court ruled that Barclays had waived legal professional privilege.

In 2018, Owen spent six months as a COMBAR judicial assistant to the Commercial Court, sitting with a number of judges on matters ranging from without notice applications for freezing injunctions to a six-week trial of an well-known audit firm for professional negligence. This experience informs his approach to case preparation and advocacy as a junior practitioner.

Prior to joining chambers, Owen studied law at Merton College, the University of Oxford. He was awarded numerous prizes at university level for both undergraduate and post-graduate level, including the Vinerian Scholarship for best performance on the BCL and subject prizes including contract law, shipping law and private international law. He then taught commercial and contract law at the University of Oxford and University College London, alongside working on publications including Chitty on Contracts (32nd edn) and Paterson and Zakrzewski on the Law of International Finance (2nd edition).

 

Examples of Recent Cases

PCP Capital Partners LLP v Barclays Bank Plc (led by Joe Smouha QC, James Collins QC and Robert Weekes, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan). Owen acted for PCP in respect of claims arising from recapitalisation of Barclays at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. The case involved consideration of whether two “advisory services agreements” were devices to pay disguised fees to another investor and the relationship between the investment by a sovereign wealth fund and the provision of a loan by Barclays to an associated entity.

This was the first major hybrid trial before the Commercial Court, heard over eight weeks from June to October 2020, and one of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20 Cases’ of 2020.. Owen also acted in relation to numerous pre-trial applications, including PCP’s successful application for specific disclosure, shortly before trial, in which the Commercial Court ruled that Barclays had waived legal professional privilege.

Comberg v VivoPower [2020] EWHC 2438 (led by Charles Ciumei QC, instructed by Scott + Scott UK LLP). Acted for VivoPower, a NASDAQ listed solar company, in respect of claims brought by their former CEO for wrongful dismissal and claims under three additional alleged oral fee agreements in excess of £3 million. The trial was heard across three weeks and concerned of the relevant principles that govern interpretation of employment contracts, the approach to evidence in oral contract cases, the effects of Part 36 on compromised claims, entire agreement clauses in employment contracts and quantification of loss, including lost bonuses and incentive awards.

Owen also acted in relation to contested applications to strike out parts of VivoPower’s defence for alleged breach of the “without prejudice” rule, permission to amend and specific disclosure on the grounds of inadvertent loss of privilege.

Arbitration & related court applications

Owen has been instructed in numerous arbitrations. He has acted as sole counsel in several shipping and commodities arbitrations under trade association rules. Owen also has experience of working as part of a larger team within ICC, LCIA and SIAC arbitrations, particularly as regards disputes arising within the entertainment and leisure sectors. He has also worked on claims made under bilateral investment treaties.

Owen also has a particular interest in arbitration-related applications before the Commercial Court. During his time as a judicial assistant to the Commercial Court, Owen gained considerable experience of arbitration applications. Since returning to Chambers he has been instructed on a number of arbitration applications including:

  • Successfully resisting a section 67 jurisdiction challenge to a GAFTA arbitration award (led by Jern-Fei Ng QC and instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan Singapore and London)
  • Aqaba Container Terminal (PVT) Co v Soletanche Bachy France SAS [2019] EWHC 471 (Comm) (led by Stephen Houseman QC and instructed by Allen & Overy LLP) successfully obtaining final anti-suit relief, damages and indemnity costs for ACT.
  • Ali Allawi v The Islamic Republic of Pakistan [2019] EWHC 430 (Comm) (led by Jern-Fei Ng QC and instructed by Withers LLP). Acted as junior counsel for the claimant applying for an extension of time to challenge an arbitration award and to set aside permission to enforce the same.
Banking & financial services

Owen has a particular interest in financial law – having studied Legal Concepts in Financial Law on the BCL. As a pupil, he worked on a number of cases concerning guarantees, swaps, letters of credit and bonds. He has since acted unled in credit matters, actions arising from fraud (including push payment fraud) and claims upon a variety of financial instruments.

This interest is also reflected in Owen’s led work, most notably PCP Capital Partners LLP v Barclays Bank Plc (led by Joe Smouha QC, James Collins QC and Robert Weekes, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan). Owen acted for PCP in respect of claims arising from recapitalisation of Barclays at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. The case involved consideration of whether two “advisory services agreements” were devices to pay disguised fees to another investor and the relationship between the investment by a sovereign wealth fund and the provision of a loan by Barclays to an associated entity.

This was the first major hybrid trial before the Commercial Court, heard over eight weeks from June to October 2020. Owen also acted in relation to numerous pre-trial applications, including PCP’s successful application for specific disclosure, shortly before trial, in which the Commercial Court ruled that Barclays had waived legal professional privilege.

Civil fraud & asset recovery

PCP Capital Partners LLP v Barclays Bank Plc (led by Joe Smouha QC, James Collins QC and Robert Weekes, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan). Acted for PCP in respect of claims arising from recapitalisation of Barclays at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. The case involved consideration of whether two “advisory services agreements” were devices to pay disguised fees to another investor and the relationship between the investment by a sovereign wealth fund and the provision of a loan by Barclays to an associated entity.

Owen is currently instructed within offshore multi-party litigation concerning fraud and insolvency claims arising from the collapse of the largest private equity firm in the Middle East.

Commercial dispute resolution

Commercial dispute resolution lies at the heart of Owen’s practice. Having spent time as a judicial assistant to the Commercial Court and having since been instructed on a number of substantial matters, he has gained considerable experience of commercial litigation. For example:

  • Owen acted as junior counsel for the defendant in Comberg v Vivopower International Services Ltd [2020] EWHC 2438 (led by Charles Ciumei QC and instructed by Scott + Scott UK LLP), a complex dispute concerning alleged breaches of contractual and fiduciary duties by a CEO, along with further claims under alleged oral fee agreements. The case was tried over three weeks in the Queens’ Bench Division in March 2020.
  • Owen acted as junior counsel in PCP Capital Partners LLP & anor v Barclays Bank plc (led by Joe Smouha QC, James Collins QC and Robert Weekes, and instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan). This was a deceit claim against one of the largest retail banks in the world, arising out of the bank’s capital raisings at the height of global financial crisis in 2008, heard over eight weeks in the Commercial Court from June 2020.
  • Owen is currently instructed within offshore multi-party litigation concerning fraud and insolvency claims arising from the collapse of the largest private equity firm in the Middle East.

Owen also has experience of arbitration proceedings – ranging from acting as sole counsel in shipping arbitrations to assisting as junior counsel in a multi-billion-dollar arbitration pursuant to a bilateral investment treaty.

Conflict of laws & private international law

Owen has a particular interest in private international law, having been awarded the university prize for the conflict of laws at postgraduate level. Many of his cases involve advising on issues of jurisdiction and/or applicable law and he has provided expert evidence on such issues for proceedings in the United States.

Owen has experience of advising on anti-suit relief and successfully obtained final anti-suit relief, damages and indemnity costs in Aqaba Container Terminal (PVT) Co v Soletanche Bachy France SAS [2019] EWHC 471 (Comm) (led by Stephen Houseman QC and instructed by Allen & Overy LLP).

Owen has also advised on and acted as sole counsel in relation to enforcement of foreign judgments in the High Court.

Owen is willing to provide talks on private international law, particularly as regards anti-suit injunctions and the matters of jurisdiction and enforcement post-Brexit.

Employment

Comberg v VivoPower [2020] EWHC 2438 (led by Charles Ciumei QC, instructed by Scott + Scott UK LLP). Acted for VivoPower, a NASDAQ listed solar company, in respect of claims brought by their former CEO for wrongful dismissal and claims under three additional alleged oral fee agreements in excess of £3 million. The trial was heard across three weeks and concerned of the relevant principles that govern interpretation of employment contracts, the approach to evidence in oral contract cases, the effects of Part 36 on compromised claims, entire agreement clauses in employment contracts and quantification of loss, including lost bonuses and incentive awards.

Insurance & reinsurance

Owen has been instructed to advise and act as sole counsel in numerous insurance disputes, including before the Circuit Commercial Court. He also gained experience of a range of insurance disputes during his time at the Commercial Court. Owen also assisted Claire Blanchard QC with updating Arnould’s Law of Marine Insurance and Average.

Offshore litigation

Owen is currently instructed within offshore multi-party litigation concerning fraud and insolvency claims arising from the collapse of the largest private equity firm in the Middle East.

Shipping & admiralty

Owen has been instructed to advise and act as sole counsel in a number shipping disputes – typically concerning charterparties or bills of lading. He studied international trade at the University of Oxford and was awarded the Quadrant Chambers prize for International Trade. Owen represents Essex Court Chambers on the Young Maritime Professional Committee.

Unjust enrichment & restitution claims

Many of Owen’s cases involve claims for restitution, either as a response to unjust enrichment or a civil wrong. As a result, and drawing up his academic studies and interests, Owen is well-placed to advice on such matters.

Career

2018 Judicial Assistant to the Commercial Court (January to July)

2017 Tenant at Essex Court Chambers

2016-2017 Pupillage at Essex Court Chambers (with Edward Brown)

2016 Called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn)

2015-2016 Tutored Commercial and Contract Law at the University of Oxford. Tutorial Fellow at University College London. Research Assistant to Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart and Professor Louise Gullifer.

2014-2015 Graduate Mentor, Merton College Oxford

Education

2015-2016 – BPTC, City Law School (Outstanding)

2014-2015 – BCL, Merton College, Oxford (Distinction, ranked first in year) (Restitution of Unjust Enrichment, Commercial Remedies, Conflict of Laws and Legal Concepts in Financial Law)

2010-2014 – BA Jurisprudence (Law with Law Studies in Europe) (First Class; Distinction in Law Moderations)

2002-2010 – Tonypandy Community College

Awards

2015 Bingham Scholarship, Gray’s Inn

Vinerian Scholarship, University of Oxford (1st in year in BCL examinations)

John Morris Prize in Conflict of Laws, University of Oxford

Won the University of Oxford 7 King’s Bench Walk Commercial Law Moot

2014 Merton Lawyers’ BCL Scholarship, Merton College and University of Oxford

Slaughter and May Prize for Contract Law, University of Oxford

Quadrant Chambers’ Prize for International Trade, University of Oxford

2013 Honourable Mention for Best Oral Advocate in the Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

Honourable Mention for Best Claimant’s Mem in the Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

2012 Hogan Lovells Prize for most promising 2nd year law student, Merton College

2011 Slaughter and May Prize for Criminal Law, University of Oxford

Hogan Lovells Prize for Best Performance in Law Moderations, Merton College

2010 Awarded a scholarship from the Fairwood Trust to support study at the University of Oxford