Professional practice

Stuart has a broad commercial practice in line with Chambers’ profile, with an emphasis on commercial litigation, international arbitration, fraud and asset tracing, energy and natural resources, and banking and finance. He has acted in a wide range of commercial disputes, both in courts in England and abroad and in arbitrations seated in various jurisdictions and governed by a range of institutional rules, and has particular experience of disputes on an on accelerated timeframe and on a large scale which require heavy case-management. As an advocate, he has appeared in both the High Court and the County Court. He is equally comfortable acting as sole counsel or as part of a larger team, whether in Court or in arbitration.

Stuart also has a particular interest in in disputes with an international dimension, especially in South-East Asia, where he has a developing practice in Singapore and is a member of the Organising Committee for the annual Essex Court Chambers-Singapore Academy of Law Mooting Competition, and the Middle-East, where he is registered practitioner in the DIFC. Stuart’s recent international work has included acting for a Caribbean state-owned client in a number of disputes, acting in an arbitration seated in Washington, acting for the defendant in a conspiracy claim in Dubai arising out of the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, and acting to defend a US national being prosecuted for fraud in the Singaporean criminal courts.

 

Banking & financial services

Stuart’s interest in banking and finance law predates his arrival at Essex Court Chambers, having previously worked as a research assistant to the Secured Transactions Law Reform Project before commencing pupillage. His recent banking and finance work includes:

  • Autoridad del Canal de Panama v Sacyr SA & Ors: Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) for the claimant, ACP, in a claim arising out of the expansion of the Panama Canal by the construction of a third set of locks. The defendants were shareholders in the contractor that undertook the project, and had provided various guarantees to ACP to cover Advance Payments made by it to the contractor and which had not been repaid. ACP’s claim was for repayment of the sums due under those guarantees.
  • Mercuria Energy Trading v Citibank [2015] EWHC 1481 (Comm): Stuart acted (led by Graham Dunning QC and David Davies) for Mercuria in expedited Commercial Court proceedings and in the Court of Appeal. The case concerned ‘obligated repo’ transactions involving the sale and repurchase of large quantities of metal supposed to be stored in warehouses in the Chinese ports of Qingdao and Penglai and defending a US$270 million counterclaim brought against Mercuria by Citibank following the discovery of an apparent large-scale fraud at the ports. The agreements in question were based on the ISDA Master Agreements, adapted to repo transactions in respect of physical commodities, and the case involved a number of issues relating to their proper construction and the entitlement of the bank to accelerate Mercuria’s repurchase obligations by serving ‘Bring Forward Event Notices’.
  • Stuart advised a group of shipping companies whose bank accounts had been defrauded on their potential means of recovering their assets. Issues addressed included restitution of unjust enrichment for mistaken payments, knowing and ministerial receipt, constructive trusts and the conflicts of laws.
Civil fraud & asset tracing

Stuart has a particularly keen interest in fraud litigation, and is developing a broad fraud practice with a mixture of led and unled work. He has acted in a wide range of disputes both in England and overseas, and has particular experience in conspiracy claims:

  • Texo Scaffolding & Construction Limited v Mitchell Cowling & M and M Sports Management Limited: Acted as sole counsel for the claimant in its claim against the defendants, which arose out of the claimant’s agreement to sponsor a title fight involving the heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua, in April 2016. The defendants agreed to negotiate the sponsorship deal with the representatives of Anthony Joshua on behalf of the claimant. However, they fraudulently extracted a secret profit from the claimant by misrepresenting the price Anthony Joshua required for the sponsorship. The defendants then concealed the secret profit by producing falsified contractual documentation. The claim involved issues of deceit, breach of fiduciary duty, knowing receipt, tracing and consequential proprietary relief.
  • Accident Exchange v McLean & Ors: Stuart acted (led at various times by Paul McGrath QC, Robert Anderson QC, Daniel Toledano QC and Anna Dilnot) for Accident Exchange in its Commercial Court claims in respect of what has been described as the largest ever fraud on the civil justice system, where thousands of expert reports and witness statements containing false information were deployed in legal proceedings against Accident Exchange and other credit hire providers. The case involved claims of unlawful means conspiracy and deceit made against London solicitors, amongst others. In addition, the case involved heavy interim applications focused on the application of the iniquity exception to legal professional privilege in a three party situation. The judgment following those applications has been reported at [2018] 4 W.L.R. 26. The first-stage trial had been listed for 15 Commercial Court weeks, but the case settled shortly before the hearing was due to commence.
  • Art Incorporated Limited v Angela Gulbenkian & FAPS-NET Limited: Stuart acted as sole counsel for the defendants in connection with a US$1.3m fraud claim against them. He represented them in the Chancery Division at the return date on a freezing junction, which also involved an application for a Bayer v Winter order, and at a cross-examination of the first defendant on the assets disclosed in her affidavit made pursuant to the freezing order.
  • Stuart advised the victim of a large scale fraud in connection with the possibility of enforcing a freezing order and obtaining a search order in the DIFC.
  • Public Prosecutor v Li Weiming, Lim Ai Wah & Thomas Doehrman [2016] SGDC 249: Stuart acted (with Lee & Lee, Singapore) for Thomas Doehrman in a 27 day criminal trial and subsequent appeal to the Singaporean High Court in which Mr Doehrman was charged with abetment by conspiracy of the falsification of documents with an intent to defraud. The case concerns a commission payment made by the Chinese corporation ZTE to Mr Doehrman’s wife, Lim Ai Wah, when it took over from her as the main contractor for a Community College Project in Papua New Guinea.
  • Prizeflex Limited v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2016] UKUT 0436 (TCC): Stuart acted (led by David Scorey QC) for Prizeflex in its appeal to the Upper Tribunal against the First-Tier Tribunal’s decision dismissing Prizeflex’s appeal against the refusal by the Commissioners to allow recovery of input value added tax on sixteen transactions, on the basis that Prizeflex knew or should have known that those transactions were connected to ‘Missing Trader Intra-Community Fraud’.
  • Marsh Bellofram Europe Limited V Steven Clissold & Ors: Stuart acted for the claimant in respect of its claims against a number of its former directors and employees and their spouses, alleging that they had breached their fiduciary duties to it by secretly carrying on a competing business selling similar products to similar customers.
  • Stuart advised a group of shipping companies whose bank accounts had been defrauded on their potential means of recovering their assets. Issues addressed included restitution of unjust enrichment for mistaken payments, knowing and ministerial receipt, constructive trusts and the conflicts of laws.
  • Platinum Services Company v DP World Ltd: Stuart acted (led by Graham Dunning QC and Damien Walker) in Dubai for DP World in defence of claims by Platinum Services Company for unlawful means conspiracy, inducing breach of contract and defamation arising out of the termination of contracts concerning the provision of services at Sokhna Port, Egypt, in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

 

Commercial dispute resolution

Commercial litigation is at the core of Stuart’s practice, and he has advised and acted in relation to a wide range of commercial disputes in the London Commercial Court and abroad. He has particular experience of large scale commercial disputes requiring heavy case management and of expedited trials. His recent cases include the following:

  • Harrison Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors: Acting (led by Graham Dunning QC) for nearly 28,000 Nigerian claimants in respect of their claims against three companies in the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The claims arise out of the December 2011 Bonga oil spill, in which over 40,000 barrels of oil were spilled into the ocean in the Niger delta, making it one of the largest offshore spills in the history of oil exploration and production in Nigeria. The spill occurred during loading operations from a floating production storage and offloading unit in the Bonga oil field, operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, to the oil tanker the MV Northia, the technical manager of which was Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited. The claimants allege that the spill was caused by the negligence of the Shell defendants, and that it has caused devastation to their shoreline communities, waterways and estuaries that persists to this day. The defendants’ challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the claims are listed to be heard for six days in October 2019.
  • Autoridad del Canal de Panama v Sacyr SA & Ors: Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) for the claimant, ACP, in a claim arising out of the expansion of the Panama Canal by the construction of a third set of locks. The defendants were shareholders in the contractor that undertook the project, and had provided various guarantees to ACP to cover Advance Payments made by it to the contractor and which had not been repaid. ACP’s claim was for repayment of the sums due under those guarantees.
  • Accident Exchange v McLean & Ors: Stuart acted (led at various times by Paul McGrath QC, Robert Anderson QC, Daniel Toledano QC and Anna Dilnot) for Accident Exchange in its Commercial Court claims in respect of what has been described as the largest ever fraud on the civil justice system, where thousands of expert reports and witness statements containing false information were deployed in legal proceedings against Accident Exchange and other credit hire providers. The case involves claims of unlawful means conspiracy and deceit made against London solicitors, amongst others. It raised a number of unique case management issues which had to be addressed so as to reduce the dispute to a triable size, including bespoke disclosure directions and a process of sampling intended to limit the evidence admissible at the first-stage trial. The first-stage trial had been listed for 15 Commercial Court weeks, but the case settled shortly before the hearing was due to commence.
  • Mercuria Energy Trading v Citibank [2015] EWHC 1481 (Comm): Stuart acted (led by Graham Dunning QC and David Davies) for Mercuria in expedited Commercial Court proceedings and in the Court of Appeal. The case concerned ‘obligated repo’ transactions involving the sale and repurchase of large quantities of metal supposed to be stored in warehouses in the Chinese ports of Qingdao and Penglai and defending a US$270 million counterclaim brought against Mercuria by Citibank following the discovery of an apparent large-scale fraud at the ports. The dispute moved from issue of proceedings to the trial at first instance in less than six months, and involved issues of contractual construction, sale of goods law, repudiation and the circuity of actions.
  • Rawlinson Butler LLP v Bernd Haehndel & Ors: Stuart acted for Rawlinson Butler in its claims against a number of former clients. Issues included the enforceability of a contract of guarantee entered into by email, and service out of the jurisdiction.
  • Chromalloy UK Holdings Ltd v Leigh Robinson & Ors: Stuart acted (led by Jern-Fei Ng) for the claimant in its claim for various breaches of warranties in a Share Purchase Agreement in the Commercial Court.
  • Platinum Services Company v DP World Ltd: Stuart acted (led by Graham Dunning QC and Damien Walker) in Dubai for DP World in defence of claims by Platinum Services Company for unlawful means conspiracy, inducing breach of contract and defamation arising out of the termination of contracts concerning the provision of services at Sokhna Port, Egypt, in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.
Conflict of laws & private international law

Stuart’s recent cases include the following:

  • Harrison Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors: Acting (led by Graham Dunning QC) for nearly 28,000 Nigerian claimants in respect of their claims against three companies in the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The defendants’ challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the claims are listed to be heard for six days in in October 2019. The case involves issues relating to the ‘necessary or proper party’ jurisdictional gateway, forum conveniens and abuse of EU law, an application for a lis pendens stay under Article 34 of the Brussels Recast Regulation, and a number of questions of Nigerian law.
Employment, Partnership and LLP Disputes

Stuart’s recent work includes:

  • Acted (led by Charles Ciumei QC) in a speedy arbitration in relation to the enforceability of certain post-termination restrictive covenants in the Members’ Agreement of a leading professional services provider.
  • Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP v Carmichael [2019] EWHC 824 (Comm): Acted (led by Charles Ciumei QC) for Mr Carmichael, a former member of PWC, in an application by PWC for interim injunctions restraining him from breaching certain post-termination restrictive covenants contained in PWC’s Members’ Agreement.
Energy & natural resources

Energy and natural resources is an area of practice in which Stuart has a particularly keen interest, and he has acted in a number of oil and gas related disputes. His recent work includes:

  • Harrison Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors: Acting (led by Graham Dunning QC) for nearly 28,000 Nigerian claimants in respect of their claims against three companies in the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The claims arise out of the December 2011 Bonga oil spill, in which over 40,000 barrels of oil were spilled into the ocean in the Niger delta, making it one of the largest offshore spills in the history of oil exploration and production in Nigeria. The spill occurred during loading operations from a floating production storage and offloading unit in the Bonga oil field, operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, to the oil tanker the MV Northia, the technical manager of which was Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited. The claimants allege that the spill was caused by the negligence of the Shell defendants, and that it has caused devastation to their shoreline communities, waterways and estuaries that persists to this day. The defendants’ challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the claims are listed to be heard for six days in October 2019.
  • Acted (led by Claire Blanchard QC and David Davies) in a series of related gas disputes between a state-owned midstream aggregator of gas and a number of its downstream petrochemicals customers. The individual arbitrations were seated in different jurisdictions and were governed by a number of different arbitral rules. However, each case involved a damages claim for alleged failures to supply the contractually required quantity of gas for a sum in excess of US$100m, as well as a dispute relating to the exercise of a contractual option to extend a long-term gas supply contract, in each case worth hundreds of millions of US dollars. The matters arose in the wake of the Macondo incident, and involved a number of factual issues relating to the discovery, extraction and sale of gas and LNG. In view of the size of these disputes, they each involved a number of phases, and one involved a sampling process so as to reduce the scope of the evidence to a triable size. In addition, another of them was heard on a heavily expedited time frame.
  • Advised the ambassador from one middle-eastern state to another in connection with an LCIA arbitration relating to the exploration and development of two gas fields.
  • Acted on behalf of the claimant in an LCIA arbitration seated in Paris. The claim was for loss of profits of over US$400m following the termination of an ‘Off-Take Agreement’ relating to a hydrocarbons plant, and involved a number of issues of Iranian law.
  • Advised a CIS state in connection with an UNCITRAL arbitration seated in Sweden. The dispute centred on a Production Sharing Agreement between the state and an international oil major. The claim was that the oil major had overpaid profits tax under the PSA on historic production over a number of years, such that it was entitled to be reimbursed the difference. This raised a number of issues of contractual construction relating to the correctly applicable rate of profits tax under the PSA.
  • Acted (led by Jern-Fei Ng) for the Respondents in an LMAA arbitration governed by English law defending a claim brought by a global logistics company worth US$5m in relation to a contract to transport pipes for use in an oil field. The dispute involved a number of issues of contractual construction and a question of whether a tiered liquidated damages clause was in truth an unenforceable penalty clause.

 

Injunctions

Stuart’s recent work on claims and applications relating to injunctive relief includes:

  • Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP v Carmichael [2019] EWHC 824 (Comm): Acted (led by Charles Ciumei QC) for Mr Carmichael, a former member of PWC, in an application by PWC for interim injunctions restraining him from breaching certain post-termination restrictive covenants contained in PWC’s Members’ Agreement.
  • Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud v Aoun: Acted for HRH Prince Al-Waleed of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a claim for injunctive relief to enforce compliance with a settlement agreement.
  • Advised the victim of a large scale fraud in connection with the possibility of enforcing a freezing order and obtaining a search order in the DIFC.
  • Art Incorporated Limited v Angela Gulbenkian & FAPS-NET Limited: Stuart acted as sole counsel for the defendants in connection with a US$1.3m fraud claim against them. He represented them in the Chancery Division at the return date on a freezing junction, which also involved an application for a Bayer v Winter order, and at a cross-examination of the first defendant on the assets disclosed in her affidavit made pursuant to the freezing order.
Insurance & reinsurance

Stuart’s recent insurance and reinsurance work includes:

  • Acted for two policyholders in their claim against Aviva for over £200,000. Issues included questions of contractual construction and limitation.
  • Acted (with leading counsel) for an international commodities trader, advising on numerous questions of construction relating to a potential insurance claim on underlying and excess insurance policies, including issues of aggregation of multiple occurrences/ losses and limits of liability.
International commercial arbitration

International commercial arbitration is at the core of Stuart’s practice. He has advised and acted in relation to a wide range of disputes seated in various jurisdictions, and has experience of arbitrations under the ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA, LMAA, SIAC and CIETAC rules. He has a particular interest in arbitrations with a connection to South East Asia or the Middle East, or where the subject matter relates to energy and natural resources. His recent work includes:

  • Therapy Beach Club Incorporated v RAV Bahamas Limited & Bimini Resort Management Limited: Acting for RAV Bahamas and Bimini Resort Management (led by David Foxton QC) in their appeal to the Privy Council from the Court of Appeal of the Bahamas. The appeal is concerned with their challenge to the award of an arbitrator on the basis of serious irregularity, made under section 90 of the Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009. That challenge was successful at first instance, but overturned by the Bahamas Court of Appeal. The appeal to the Privy Council raises important issues as to the operation of section 90 of the Arbitration Act 2009, which have not previously been the subject of judicial consideration.
  • Acted (led by Charles Ciumei QC) in an arbitration in relation to the enforceability of certain post-termination restrictive covenants in the Members’ Agreement of a leading professional services provider. The arbitration was heavily expedited, progressing from the first statement of case to the evidential hearing in two months.
  • Acted on behalf of the claimants, which were owned and controlled by the investment authority of a Middle Eastern state, in a SIAC arbitration. The claim related to the claimants’ acquisition from the respondents of shares in an Indian company. The claimants alleged they had been led to believe that the Indian company in question was a thriving and valuable one, when it was in fact worthless, and claimed damages for fraud and misrepresentation.
  • Acted (led by Claire Blanchard QC and David Davies) in a series of related gas disputes between a state-owned midstream aggregator of gas and a number of its downstream petrochemicals customers. The individual arbitrations were seated in different jurisdictions and were governed by a number of different arbitral rules. However, each case involved a damages claim for alleged failures to supply the contractually required quantity of gas for a sum in excess of US$100m, as well as a dispute relating to the exercise of a contractual option to extend a long-term gas supply contract, in each case worth hundreds of millions of US dollars. The matters arose in the wake of the Macondo incident, and involved a number of factual issues relating to the discovery, extraction and sale of gas and LNG. In view of the size of these disputes, they each involved a number of phases, and one involved a sampling process so as to reduce the scope of the evidence to a triable size. In addition, another of them was heard on a heavily expedited time frame.
  • Advised the ambassador from one middle-eastern state to another in connection with an LCIA arbitration relating to the exploration and development of two gas fields.
  • Acted on behalf of the claimant in an LCIA arbitration seated in Paris. The claim was for loss of profits of over US$400m following the termination of an ‘Off-Take Agreement’ relating to a hydrocarbons plant, and involved a number of issues of Iranian law, including in relation to loss of profits.
  • Acted for the applicants in application under section 43 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for a witness summons in connection with an LCIA arbitration.
  • Advised a CIS state in connection with an UNCITRAL arbitration seated in Sweden. The dispute centred on a Production Sharing Agreement between the state and an international oil major, and involved a number of issues of contractual construction relating to the proper parties to the arbitration agreement, whether the purported claimant had standing to sue, and whether it had commenced arbitration against the correct respondent.
  • Acted for the buyer in its claims for breach of contract against the seller in a series of related arbitrations governed by the SIAC and CIETAC rules, which arose out of a series of contracts for the international sale of goods. Significant issues included the possible consolidation of related arbitrations, contractual construction and variation and sale of goods law.
Media, art, entertainment

Stuart’s recent media, art and entertainment work includes:

  • Art Incorporated Limited v Angela Gulbenkian & FAPS-NET Limited: Stuart acted as sole counsel for the defendants in connection with a US$1.3m fraud claim against them. The alleged fraud related to an agreement to sell and purchase a pumpkin sculpture by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
  • Sven Bennie Gray v Lucan Gray & Others: Acted for the claimant in the Chancery Division. The claim was for the delivery up of a number of items of art, the ownership of which was disputed following a sale by the claimant to his son of a number of businesses.
  • Paul Baxendale-Walker v Naomi Rowe & Ors: Acted for Naomi Rowe defending claims in deceit made against her by her former boyfriend, Mr Baxendale-Walker. The case also involved interim applications for delivery up of her laptop and mobile phone and for an injunction restraining her from alleging that Mr Baxendale-Walker was harassing her.
Shipping & admiralty

Stuart’s recent shipping work includes:

  • Acted (led by Nigel Eaton QC) for charterers in an LMAA arbitration involving issues of unseaworthiness and whether owners had repudiated the charterparty by the totality of their conduct.
  • Acted (led by Jern-Fei Ng) for the Respondents in an LMAA arbitration governed by English law defending a claim brought by a global logistics company worth US$5m in relation to a contract to transport pipes for use in an oil field. The dispute involved a number of issues of contractual construction and a question of whether a tiered liquidated damages clause was in truth an unenforceable penalty clause.
  • Acted (led by Steven Berry QC and Adam Board) for charterers of an oil products tanker in a three-way arbitration under the LMAA rules concerning redelivery/delivery.
Sports Law

Stuart’s recent sports law work includes:

  • Texo Scaffolding & Construction Limited v Mitchell Cowling & M and M Sports Management Limited: Acted as sole counsel for the claimant in its claim against the defendants, which arose out of the claimant’s agreement to sponsor a title fight involving the heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua, in April 2016. The defendants agreed to negotiate the sponsorship deal with the representatives of Anthony Joshua on behalf of the claimant. However, they fraudulently extracted a secret profit from the claimant by misrepresenting the price Anthony Joshua required for the sponsorship. The defendants then concealed the secret profit by producing falsified contractual documentation. The claim involved issues of deceit, breach of fiduciary duty, knowing receipt, tracing and consequential proprietary relief.
  • Plato Management Ltd v Volkswagen Group UK Ltd: Acted (led by Claire Blanchard QC) for Volkswagen. The case concerned a claim brought against Volkswagen by a professional racing driver alleging breach of contract in connection with its decision not to compete in the 2009 British Touring Car Championships.
Career

2014 Tenant at Essex Court Chambers
2013-2014 Pupillage at Essex Court Chambers (with David Scorey QC)
2013 Called to the Bar, Lincoln’s Inn
2012-2013 Supervisor in Civil Law, Selwyn College, University of Cambridge
Research assistant to Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Research assistant to the Secured Transactions Law Reform Project

 

Education

2012-13 BPTC, Kaplan Law School (Outstanding)
2011-12 BCL, St Catharine’s College, University of Oxford (Distinction)
2008-2011 BA (Hons) Law, Selwyn College, University of Cambridge (First Class, ranked second in final year, ranked fourth in first year)
2001-2008 Parrs Wood High School and Sixth Form Centre, Manchester

 

Awards

2013 Buchanan Prize (Lincoln’s Inn)

2012 ESU John Smith Memorial Mace for England Champion
Lord Denning Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
Allen & Overy Prize for Corporate Insolvency (University of Oxford)

2011 Hardwicke Entrance Award (Lincoln’s Inn)
3 Verulam Buildings Scholarship (University of Oxford)
Clifford Chance Prize for European Union Law (University of Cambridge)
Clifford Chance CJ Hamson Prize for Aspects of Obligations (University of Cambridge)
Fairest Prize in Law (Selwyn College, University of Cambridge)

2009 Fairest Prize in Law (Selwyn College, University of Cambridge)