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, banking and finance, and energy and natural resources. 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 work includes:

  • 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:

  • 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 is listed for 15 weeks and is due to commence in October 2018.
  • 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 a Chinese corporation 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.

 

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:

  • 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 is listed for 15 weeks and is due to commence in October 2018.
  • 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.
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:

  • Acted (led by Claire Blanchard QC and David Davies) in a series of related gas disputes. The arbitrations are seated in different jurisdictions, are governed by a number of different arbitral rules and have a cumulative value of over US$500m. 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.
  • 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.

 

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 where the subject matter relates to energy and natural resources. His recent work includes:

  • Acted (led by Claire Blanchard QC and David Davies) in a series of related gas disputes. The arbitrations are seated in different jurisdictions, are governed by a number of different arbitral rules and have a cumulative value of over US$500m. In view of the size 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:

  • Sven Bennie Gray v Lucan Gray & Others: Drafting Particulars of Claim in the claimant’s claim in the Chancery Division for 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: Acting for Naomi Rowe defending claims in deceit made against her by her former boyfriend. In addition to drafting a defence, Stuart also represented Ms Rowe in resisting applications for delivery up of her laptop and mobile phone and for an injunction restraining her from alleging that her former boyfriend was harassing her.

 

Shipping & admiralty

Stuart’s recent shipping work includes:

  • Acting (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.
  • Acting (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.
  • Acting (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:

  • Plato Management Ltd v Volkswagen Group UK Ltd: Acting (led by Claire Blanchard QC) for Volkswagen, drafting its Re-Amended Defence to claims brought against it 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)