Professional practice

Stephen practises in commercial litigation and arbitration, commercial chancery, investor–state disputes, and public international law. He works as part of a team in larger cases and has appeared as sole counsel in the Commercial Court, Chancery Division, Employment Tribunal, and in arbitration.

His recent work includes both contentious and advisory matters in public international law as well as substantial trials and arbitrations. Stephen’s commercial and chancery practice includes fraud, trusts disputes, claims against directors, insolvency, shipping, and employment. He is often instructed in cases requiring urgent applications for interim relief or expedited trials. Many of his cases involve complex issues of jurisdiction and choice of law.

In 2019 Stephen was appointed to the Attorney General’s ‘C’ Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown.

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 joined Chambers 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 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
  • 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 can 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 Franklin Berman KCMG QC in an advisory matter concerning issues of state succession.
  • Acting as secretary to the tribunal (composed of Sir Franklin 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.
  • 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).
  • Yukos v Merinson [2019] EWCA Civ 830: 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).
  • Public Institution for Social Security v Al Rajaan: Commercial Court claim by a Kuwaiti public authority for disgorgement of approximately $830 million in (alleged) public property of the Kuwaiti state and applications for associated freezing and interim proprietary relief (with Paul Stanley QC, instructed by Mishcon de Reya LLP).
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Advising a large technology company on cross-border VAT issues (with Roderick Cordara QC, instructed by Baker McKenzie).
  • Brown v Neon Management Services Ltd [2019] IRLR 30: instructed 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).
  • Arauco Navigation Ltd v China Navigation Company Pte Ltd (‘CCNI Arauco’): Commercial Court charterparty dispute arising from an explosion on board a cargo vessel (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 those legal systems (with Roderick Cordara QC and Christopher Smith QC, instructed by BDM Law 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 those legal systems (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.
  • 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).
  • Advised on and assisted with an appeal concerning the interpretation of an arbitration clause before the Court of Appeal of Singapore.
Civil fraud & asset tracing
  • Yukos v Merinson [2019] EWCA Civ 830: 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).
  • Public Institution for Social Security v Al Rajaan: Commercial Court claim by a Kuwaiti public authority for disgorgement of approximately $830 million in (alleged) public property of the Kuwaiti state and applications for associated freezing and interim proprietary relief (with Paul Stanley QC, instructed by Mishcon de Reya 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).
  • 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).
Commercial chancery disputes
  • Appeared as sole counsel in various matters in the High Court and County Court, including in the Companies and Insolvency Court and interim applications court.
  • 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).
  • Application in the Chancery Division for an interim injunction to restrain the sale of a property by a fixed-charge receiver (as sole counsel, pro bono).
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Instructed in an IPEC claim by a band against its manager for breach of copyright and of a licensing agreement.
  • 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).
Commercial dispute resolution
  • Appeared as sole counsel in numerous cases in the County Court, particularly concerning banking and financial services
  • Appeared unled and instructed as junior counsel in the Commercial Court in Golddecade International Ltd v Huang, concerning the liabilities arising from an alleged loan agreement (with Jern-Fei Ng QC, instructed by MFB Solicitors)
  • Yukos v Merinson [2019] EWCA Civ 830: 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).
  • Public Institution for Social Security v Al Rajaan: Commercial Court claim by a Kuwaiti public authority for disgorgement of approximately $830 million in (alleged) public property of the Kuwaiti state and applications for associated freezing and interim proprietary relief (with Paul Stanley QC, instructed by Mishcon de Reya 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).
  • Acted 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 & insolvency 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).
Employment
  • 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.
  • Brown v Neon Management Services Ltd [2019] IRLR 30: instructed 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).
  • Campbell v Secretary of State for Justice: appeared in the Employment Tribunal for the defendant in claims for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination (with Jane Russell, instructed by Government Legal Department).
  • 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 in numerous applications to enforce post-termination restraints in employment matters (including, in his Scottish practice, as sole counsel on appeal in the leading Scots case on the enforceability of such restraints, Sundolitt Ltd v Addison [2017] CSIH 15).
  • Application in the Chancery Division for an interim injunction to restrain the sale of a property by a fixed-charge receiver (as sole counsel, pro bono).
  • Public Institution for Social Security v Al Rajaan: return date of applications for associated freezing and interim proprietary relief in this Commercial Court claim by a Kuwaiti public authority for disgorgement of approximately $830 million in (alleged) public property of the Kuwaiti state (with Paul Stanley QC, instructed by Mishcon de Reya LLP).
  • 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).
Investment treaty disputes
  • Acting as secretary to the tribunal (composed of Sir Franklin 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.
  • 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
  • Instructed as sole counsel in an IPEC claim by a band against its manager for breach of copyright and of a licensing agreement.
  • Instructed as sole counsel in a defamation claim made by an individual and a related corporate entity arising from posts made on Facebook.
  • Advising as to potential claims for breach of confidence, misuse of private information, and breach of data protection legislation against a newspaper.
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 can 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 Franklin Berman KCMG QC in an advisory matter concerning issues of state succession.
  • Acting as secretary to the tribunal (composed of Sir Franklin 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.
  • Before coming to the bar, taught public international law at the University of Edinburgh and King’s College London and was on the editorial board of the Yale Journal of International Law.
Shipping & admiralty
  • Arauco Navigation Ltd v China Navigation Company Pte Ltd (‘CCNI Arauco’): Commercial Court charterparty dispute arising from an explosion on board a cargo vessel (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 those legal systems (with Roderick Cordara QC and Christopher Smith QC, instructed by BDM Law LLP).
Career
  • 2019 Appointed to the Attorney General’s ‘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
  • 2014–15 Lord Reid and Faculty of Advocates scholar (for pupillage at the Scottish bar)
  • 2012–13 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