Professional practice

Stephen’s experience covers commercial and chancery disputes, public international law, and investor–state disputes. He works as part of a team in larger cases and is frequently instructed as sole counsel in the Commercial Court, Chancery Division, and Employment Tribunal.

His recent experience includes contentious and advisory matters in public international law as well as multi-week commercial and chancery trials, arbitrations under various rules, and proceedings to enforce or challenge arbitral awards. Many of his commercial–chancery cases involve complex issues of jurisdiction and the application of foreign law.

Stephen is often instructed, led and unled, in cases requiring urgent applications for interim relief or expedited trials.

In 2019 Stephen was appointed to the Attorney General’s London ‘C’ Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown. In that capacity he has been instructed by the Government in a range of public law and human rights cases, complementing his main practice in international law and commercial–chancery disputes.

Stephen joined Chambers as a tenant in 2016 from the Scottish bar, where he maintains an active practice. Before coming to the bar, he spent a year as judicial assistant to Lord Kerr in the Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Stephen has taught public international law at the University of Edinburgh and King’s College London. He has published on human rights, is an assistant editor of the European Human Rights Reports, and was on the editorial board of the Yale Journal of International Law. He is an author of the forthcoming edition of Company Directors: Duties, Liabilities, and Remedies (OUP) and of the chapters on ss 67–68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 in Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Precedents of Pleading.

Stephen studied law at Glasgow, Oxford, and Yale (as a Fulbright scholar). He is fluent in French and has a working knowledge of several other languages.

 

Examples of Recent Cases
  • Gem Management Ltd v Firefox Ltd: sole counsel in a pending appeal from the Supreme Court of Mauritius to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council concerning non-payment of sums in connexion with the sale of a shareholding (instructed by Berkeley Rowe)
  • Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. Ltd v Hollingsworth: sole counsel for the defendant journalist in a claim by a large Kazakh natural resources company for alleged breach of confidence relating to the SFO’s investigation of it (instructed by Atkins Thomson)
  • Arauco Navigation Ltd v China Navigation Company Pte Ltd (‘CCNI Arauco’): multi-party Commercial Court charterparty dispute arising from an explosion and fire on board a container vessel, listed for trial in October 2020 (with Christopher Smith QC, instructed by Reed Smith LLP)
  • Instructed in an interstate case concerning a boundary dispute (with Professor Vaughan Lowe QC)
  • Yukos v Merinson [2020] QB 336 (Court of Appeal): fraud claim under Dutch law against a former senior employee raising issues of jurisdiction, conflict of laws, and the effect of foreign court settlements (with James Willan, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP)
  • Advising a large technology company on cross-border VAT issues (with Roderick Cordara QC, instructed by Baker McKenzie)
  • Junior counsel to Professor Malcolm Shaw QC in advising on questions of public international law arising in the enforcement of an arbitral award
  • Merck Sharpe & Dohme (IA) LLC v Ecuador PCA Case No 2012-10: assistant to the tribunal (composed of Sir Frank Berman KCMG QC, Judge Stephen Schwebel, and Judge Bruno Simma) in an investor–state arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules at the Permanent Court of Arbitration
  • Ahmed-Sheikh v Law Society of Scotland 2020 SLT 1: sole counsel for the Law Society of Scotland in a judicial review brought by a politician and solicitor against a decision of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal
  • Wightman v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union EU:C:2018:999, [2019] QB 199: preliminary reference before the Full Court of the CJEU determining the circumstances in which the United Kingdom could withdraw its notification of intention to leave the European Union (with Gerry Facenna QC, Morag Ross QC, and Anneli Howard, instructed by Bindmans LLP and Harper Macleod LLP)
  • 4-week LMAA arbitration between ferry companies under a share-sale agreement governed by both Greek and Italian law, with complex choice-of-law issues arising from the interaction between them (with Roderick Cordara QC and Christopher Smith QC, instructed by BDM Law LLP)
  • Junior counsel to Sir Frank Berman KCMG QC in an advisory matter concerning issues of state succession
  • Brown v Neon Management Services Ltd [2019] IRLR 30: for the successful claimants in the expedited High Court trial of claims for relief relating to wrongful dismissal and restrictive covenants (with David Craig QC, instructed by Cubism Law)
  • Hellas II: trial in the Chancery Division of a claim under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 arising from the multi-billion-euro refinancing of a Greek telecoms company (with Joe Smouha QC, Stephen Davies QC, Ciaran Keller, and Tom Ford, instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright)
  • Sundolitt Ltd v Addison [2017] CSIH 15: as sole counsel on appeal in the leading Scottish case on the enforceability of restrictive covenants in an employment relationship (instructed by TC Young LLP)
  • Erdenet Mining Corp. LLC v ICBC Standard Bank plc [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 25: LCIA arbitration and Commercial Court proceedings under a guarantee and an indemnity, arising out of a banking fraud and giving rise to the first successful application under section 70(7) of the Arbitration Act 1996 for security for the amount payable under an arbitral award (with David Joseph QC and Edward Brown, instructed by Clifford Chance LLP).
Arbitration & related court applications
  • 4-week LMAA arbitration between ferry companies under a share-sale agreement governed by both Greek and Italian law, with complex choice-of-law issues arising from the interaction between them (with Roderick Cordara QC and Christopher Smith QC, instructed by BDM Law LLP)
  • Sole counsel in a JAMS arbitration under a contract for financial services
  • Ad hoc arbitration concerning breaches of a contract for the construction of solar panels (with Hugh Mercer QC and Iain Quirk)
  • Ad hoc arbitration under a shareholders’ agreement of claims of unfair prejudice under section 994 of the Companies Act 2006 (with Paul McGrath QC and James Willan, instructed by Elborne Mitchell LLP)
  • Junior counsel to Professor Malcolm Shaw QC in advising on questions of public international law arising in the enforcement of an arbitral award
  • Advising on the enforcement of both an arbitral award and foreign judgment obtained against a state in related proceedings (with Hugh Mercer QC, instructed by Fladgate LLP)
  • Soletanche Bachy France SAS v Aqaba Container Terminal (Pvt) Co. [2019] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 423: challenges under sections 67 and 68 of the Arbitration Act to an award in an ICC arbitration (with David Foxton QC and Iain Quirk, instructed by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP)
  • Erdenet Mining Corp. LLC v ICBC Standard Bank plc [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 25: LCIA arbitration and Commercial Court proceedings under a guarantee and an indemnity, arising out of a banking fraud and giving rise to the first successful application under section 70(7) of the Arbitration Act 1996 for security for the amount payable under an arbitral award (with David Joseph QC and Edward Brown, instructed by Clifford Chance LLP).
Civil fraud & asset recovery
  • Yukos v Merinson [2020] QB 336 (Court of Appeal): fraud claim under Dutch law against a former senior employee raising issues of jurisdiction, conflict of laws, and the effect of foreign court settlements (with James Willan, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP)
  • Yukos v Georgiades [2020] EWHC 173 (Comm): Commercial Court claims for breach of fiduciary duty by a director and for knowing receipt of their proceeds, appearing as sole counsel in some interlocutory matters (with Jamie Goldsmith QC, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP)
  • Bord na Móna Horticulture Ltd v Washington [2017] EWHC 2406 (Ch): fraud claim arising from a share sale and purchase agreement, with applications for freezing relief (with Huw Davies QC, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard LLP)
  • Latin American Investments Ltd v Maroil Trading Inc. [2017] EWHC 1254 (Comm): Commercial Court claims for breach of fiduciary duty and secret profits, with applications for freezing relief (with David Foxton QC, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP)
  • Appeared as sole counsel at the return dates of various freezing and proprietary injunctions in the Chancery Division
  • Appeared as sole counsel for the National Crime Agency in relation to an account freezing order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Commercial chancery disputes
  • Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. Ltd v Hollingsworth: sole counsel for the defendant journalist in a claim by a large Kazakh natural resources company for alleged breach of confidence relating to the SFO’s investigation of it (instructed by Atkins Thomson)
  • Hellas II: trial in the Chancery Division of a claim under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 arising from the multi-billion-euro refinancing of a Greek telecoms company (with Joe Smouha QC, Stephen Davies QC, Ciaran Keller, and Tom Ford, instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright)
  • Fitzherbert v Fawsitt: sole counsel in a Part 64 claim by a technology entrepreneur for breach of trust over part of the shareholding in a startup (instructed by Macfarlanes LLP)
  • Bord na Móna Horticulture Ltd v Washington [2017] EWHC 2406 (Ch): fraud arising from a share sale and purchase agreement, with applications for freezing relief (with Huw Davies QC, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard LLP)
  • Sole counsel in an IPEC claim by a band against its manager for breach of copyright and of a licensing agreement (instructed by Clintons)
  • Ad hoc arbitration under a shareholders’ agreement of claims of unfair prejudice under section 994 of the Companies Act 2006 (with Paul McGrath QC and James Willan, instructed by Elborne Mitchell LLP)
  • Frequently appears as sole counsel on the interim applications list and in the Insolvency and Companies Court.
Commercial dispute resolution
  • Gem Management Ltd v Firefox Ltd: sole counsel in a pending appeal from the Supreme Court of Mauritius to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council concerning non-payment of sums in connexion with the sale of a shareholding (instructed by Berkeley Rowe)
  • Arauco Navigation Ltd v China Navigation Company Pte Ltd (‘CCNI Arauco’): multi-party Commercial Court charterparty dispute arising from an explosion and fire on board a container vessel, listed for trial in October 2020 (with Christopher Smith QC, instructed by Reed Smith LLP)
  • Yukos v Merinson [2020] QB 336 (Court of Appeal): fraud claim under Dutch law against a former senior employee raising issues of jurisdiction, conflict of laws, and the effect of foreign court settlements (with James Willan, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP)
  • Golddecade International Ltd v Huang: claim under an alleged loan agreement, appearing as sole counsel at the CCMC (with Jern-Fei Ng QC, instructed by MFB Solicitors)
  • Latin American Investments Ltd v Maroil Trading Inc. [2017] EWHC 1254 (Comm): Commercial Court claims for breach of fiduciary duty and secret profits, with applications for freezing relief (with David Foxton QC, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP)
  • Sole counsel for the claimant in a High Court claim for payment of sums outstanding under an agreement for the sale and purchase of shares (instructed by Fox Williams LLP).
Company law
  • Appeared as sole counsel in numerous insolvency matters in the High Court and County Court.
  • Chancery Division claim by a technology entrepreneur for breach of trust over part of the shareholding in a startup (as sole counsel, instructed by Macfarlanes LLP).
  • Chancery Division claim against a former director for breach of director’s duties and of an alleged resulting trust (as sole counsel, instructed by Janes Solicitors).
  • Yukos v Georgiades: Commercial Court claims for breach of fiduciary duty by a director and for knowing receipt of their proceeds, involving complex choice of law issues, listed for a 3-week trial in Michaelmas 2019 (with Jamie Goldsmith, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP).
  • Hellas II: trial in the Chancery Division of a claim under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 arising from the multi-billion-euro refinancing of a Greek telecoms company (with Joe Smouha QC, Stephen Davies QC, Ciaran Keller, and Tom Ford, instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright).
  • Ad hoc arbitration under a shareholders’ agreement of claims of unfair prejudice under section 994 of the Companies Act 2006 (with Paul McGrath QC and James Willan, instructed by Elborne Mitchell LLP).
Data Protection
  • Advised on potential claims for breach of confidence, misuse of private information, and breach of data protection legislation against a newspaper
  • Advised several clients as to potential claims under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018
Employment
  • Brown v Neon Management Services Ltd [2019] IRLR 30: for the successful claimants in expedited High Court trial of claims for relief relating to wrongful dismissal and restrictive covenants (with David Craig QC, instructed by Cubism Law)
  • Sundolitt Ltd v Addison [2017] CSIH 15: as sole counsel on appeal in the leading Scottish case on the enforceability of restrictive covenants in an employment relationship (instructed by TC Young LLP)
  • Appeared as sole counsel in the High Court and Employment Tribunal in numerous employment matters, especially those with a commercial focus
  • Advised several clients as to potential claims under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018
  • Appeared as sole counsel in the Employment Tribunal in a case concerning disability discrimination and unfair dismissal
  • Instructed for the claimant in Employment Tribunal proceedings alleging disability and sex discrimination
Injunctions
  • Appeared as sole counsel at the return dates of various freezing and proprietary injunctions in the Chancery Division
  • Appeared as sole counsel in numerous applications to enforce post-termination restraints in employment matters (including, in his Scottish practice, in the leading Scots case on the enforceability of such restraints, Sundolitt Ltd v Addison [2017] CSIH 15)
  • Bord na Móna Horticulture Ltd v Washington [2017] EWHC 2406 (Ch): successful application for release from undertakings given in lieu of a freezing injunction in a fraud claim in the Chancery Division arising from a share sale and purchase agreement (with Huw Davies QC, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard LLP)
  • Latin American Investments Ltd v Maroil Trading Inc. [2017] EWHC 1254 (Comm): return date of an application for freezing relief in Commercial Court claim for breach of fiduciary duty and secret profits raising issues of reflective loss (with David Foxton QC, instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP)
  • Applications for freezing and interim proprietary relief in a large fraud claim under Swiss law (with Paul Stanley QC, instructed by Mishcon de Reya LLP).
Insolvency
  • Hellas II: trial in the Chancery Division of a claim under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 arising from the multi-billion-euro refinancing of a Greek telecoms company (with Joe Smouha QC, Stephen Davies QC, Ciaran Keller, and Tom Ford, instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright)
  • Frequently instructed as sole counsel in winding-up petitions and other insolvency or administration proceedings
Insurance & reinsurance
  • Advising a Government department on substantial claims arising under insurance policies (with Roderick Cordara QC, instructed by Government Legal Department)
  • Sole counsel in a multimillion pound claim under a building policy
  • Advising on a claim by a third-party beneficiary
  • Advising on questions arising from the assignment of claims under an insurance policy
  • Advising on limitation issues in an insurance claim
Investment treaty disputes
  • Merck Sharpe & Dohme (IA) LLC v Ecuador PCA Case No 2012-10: assistant to the tribunal (composed of Sir Frank Berman KCMG QC, Judge Stephen Schwebel, and Judge Bruno Simma) in an investor–state arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules at the Permanent Court of Arbitration
  • As part of a team of counsel, advised a Government department on various aspects of international law concerning the protection of investments
  • Before coming to the bar, appeared in a multi-billion-dollar investor–state arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules concerning the supply of natural gas.
Media, art, entertainment
  • Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. Ltd v Hollingsworth: sole counsel for the defendant journalist in a claim by a large Kazakh natural resources company for alleged breach of confidence relating to the SFO’s investigation of it (instructed by Atkins Thomson)
  • Sole counsel in an IPEC claim by a band against its manager for breach of copyright and of a licensing agreement (instructed by Clintons)
  • Sole counsel in a defamation claim made by an individual and a related corporate entity arising from posts made on Facebook
Public Law & Human Rights
  • Wightman v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union EU:C:2018:999, [2019] QB 199: preliminary reference before the Full Court of the CJEU determining the circumstances in which the United Kingdom could withdraw its notification of intention to leave the European Union (with Gerry Facenna QC, Morag Ross QC, and Anneli Howard, instructed by Bindmans LLP and Harper Macleod LLP)
  • Ahmed-Sheikh v Law Society of Scotland 2020 SLT 1: sole counsel for the Law Society of Scotland in a judicial review brought by a politician and solicitor against a decision of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal
  • Sole counsel for the Department of Work and Pensions in a judicial review claim on common law and Convention grounds arising from disciplinary proceedings in the employment context (instructed by Government Legal Department)
  • Sole counsel for the Ministry of Justice in a civil claim for damages for alleged breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010 (instructed by Government Legal Department)

As part of a team of counsel, advising a major regulatory body on potential judicial review proceedings in a cross-border context

Public international law
  • Wightman v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union EU:C:2018:999, [2019] QB 199: preliminary reference before the Full Court of the CJEU determining the circumstances in which the United Kingdom could withdraw its notification of intention to leave the European Union (with Gerry Facenna QC, Morag Ross QC, and Anneli Howard, instructed by Bindmans LLP and Harper Macleod LLP)
  • Instructed in an interstate case concerning a boundary dispute (with Professor Vaughan Lowe QC)
  • Junior counsel to Professor Malcolm Shaw QC in advising on questions of public international law arising in the enforcement of an arbitral award
  • Junior counsel to Sir Frank Berman KCMG QC in an advisory matter concerning issues of state succession.
Shipping & admiralty
  • Arauco Navigation Ltd v China Navigation Company Pte Ltd (‘CCNI Arauco’): multi-party Commercial Court charterparty dispute arising from an explosion and fire on board a container vessel, listed for trial in October 2020 (with Christopher Smith QC, instructed by Reed Smith LLP)
  • 4-week LMAA arbitration between ferry companies under a share-sale agreement governed by both Greek and Italian law, with complex choice-of-law issues arising from the interaction between them (with Roderick Cordara QC and Christopher Smith QC, instructed by BDM Law LLP)
  • Sole counsel for the defendant in a claim for freight charges (instructed by Birketts LLP)
  • Advised owners in a demurrage dispute arising from Hurricane Harvey
  • Advised in a claim for late delivery charges under a construction contract (with Roderick Cordara QC)
Career
  • 2019 Appointed to the Attorney General’s London ‘C’ Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown
  • 2016 Tenant at Essex Court Chambers
  • 2015 Advocate at the Scottish bar
  • 2013–14 Judicial assistant to Lord Kerr, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
  • 2009–11 Trainee solicitor, Simpson & Marwick (now Clyde & Co.)
  • 2009 Intern, Gulf Region Advocacy Center, Houston (through Reprieve)

 

Education
  • 2013 LL.M., Yale Law School
  • 2012 B.C.L., Lincoln College, Oxford
  • 2011 M.Sc. (philosophy), University of Edinburgh
  • 2008 LL.B., University of Glasgow
Awards
  • 2014 Lord Reid and Faculty of Advocates scholar (for pupillage at the Scottish bar)
  • 2012 Fulbright scholar
  • 2012 Shearman & Sterling mooting trophy, University of Oxford
  • 2011 Runner-up, Times Law Awards
  • 2008 Dean’s Cup, University of Glasgow
  • 2008 Semple Mooting Prize, University of Glasgow