Professional practice

Stuart “is a rising star in chambers” and has been ranked by the Legal 500 as a Leading Junior (Tier 4) for Energy Disputes, and a Rising Star for both Commercial Litigation and Civil Fraud. He is recognised for his intellect (“bright and on top of all the factual detail as well as intricate legal points”; “sharp”; “an ability to marshal large amounts of detail very quickly and effectively”), his work ethic (“hardworking”; “a great work ethic”), his manner with clients and colleagues (“very user friendly”; “he’s a very good team player and a pleasure to work with”) and his written and oral advocacy (“Thorough and faultless written work with a nice style. A confident and calm advocate who is very well prepared and who gets the judge on side”).

Stuart has a broad commercial practice in line with Chambers’ profile. In addition to commercial litigation, fraud and asset-tracing and energy and natural resources, he also specialises in international arbitration and banking and finance disputes. 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. He has particular experience of disputes on an on accelerated timeframe and on a large scale which require heavy case-management. Stuart enjoys advocacy, including on virtual hearing platforms, and in particular applications for freezing orders and other urgent injunctive relief. He has appeared unled in both the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division. Stuart is equally comfortable acting as sole counsel or as part of a larger team, whether in Court or in arbitration.

Stuart has a particular interest in disputes with an international dimension, especially in Africa and the Middle-East. Many of his recent cases have an African dimension; in the last year he has acted in a number of disputes arising out of Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Zambia, including in various claims brought by approximately 45,000 Nigerian individuals against two companies in the Royal Dutch Shell Group arising out of the December 2011 Bonga oil spill. He has also represented a number of high profile clients in the Middle East, including HRH Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, for whom he acted in London as sole counsel, and DP World, for whom he acted in Dubai in a conspiracy claim arising out of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Stuart’s other recent international work has involved acting for a Caribbean state-owned client in a number of related gas arbitrations seated in various jurisdictions that arose in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Stuart has extensive experience of disputes arising out of unexpected and catastrophic events. As set out above, his recent work has included cases relating to the Egyptian revolution of 2011, the largest offshore oil spill in Nigerian history, and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He has also acted in three large scale international arbitrations, the key issue in each of which was force majeure. He has recently written a note on the practical problems facing commercial parties seeking to invoke force majeure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (co-authored with Claire Blanchard QC), which can be found here.

 

What Others Say

The Legal 500 2021

“A ‘dedicated and valuable team player’, Stuart Cribb is a rising star in chambers”.”

The Legal 500 2021, Commercial Litigation

“A great work ethic, and an ability to marshal large amounts of detail very quickly and effectively – he’s a very good team player and a pleasure to work with.”

The Legal 500 2021, Energy

“He is sharp, hardworking and very user friendly.”

The Legal 500 2021, Fraud: Civil

“Bright and on top of all the factual detail as well as intricate legal points. Thorough and faultless written work with a nice style. A confident and calm advocate who is very well prepared and who gets the judge on side.”

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:

  • Advised (as sole counsel) a Nigerian bank in connection with a number of disputed repo transactions with an American bank cumulatively worth approximately US$120m.
  • Advised (as sole counsel) a financial services provider in connection with a claim brought against it by one of its subcontracted brokers in relation to a restructuring of the client accounts which that broker was permitted to service.
  • 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): 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’.
  • Advised (as sole counsel) 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 recovery

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 is recommended by the Legal 500 as a ‘Rising Star’ for Civil Fraud, and comments in the directories have said:

  • Bright and on top of all the factual detail as well as intricate legal points. Thorough and faultless written work with a nice style. A confident and calm advocate who is very well prepared and who gets the judge on side.
  • A ‘dedicated and valuable team player’ Stuart Cribb is a rising star in chambers.

Stuart has acted in a wide range of disputes both in England and overseas, and has particular experience in conspiracy claims:

  • ABB (Private) Limited v Charlotte Sarudzai Ndenda: Acted (as sole counsel) for ABB in the Commercial Court in its urgent without notice application for a freezing order over the assets of its former employee, Ms Ndenda, in the United Kingdom and Jersey, and on the return date on that order at which it was continued. The freezing order was sought pursuant to section 25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 in support of proceedings brought by ABB against Ms Ndenda and others in Zimbabwe. Ms Ndenda was alleged to have fraudulently misappropriated at least US$3.7m from ABB, and to have sought to conceal some of the proceeds of that fraud in the United Kingdom and Jersey. More recently, Stuart also acted for ABB on its subsequent petition to bankrupt Ms Ndenda. Ms Ndenda resisted the order on basis of offers to pay or secure the petition debt out of disputed assets to which ABB asserted proprietary claims. Issues on the hearing of the petition included whether no reasonable creditor would refuse security over the disputed assets, and whether Ms Ndenda could satisfy the requirements for the variation of a proprietary freezing order.
  • Gattaz Property Limited & Fortimat Properties Limited v Versant Developments and Homes Limited & Ors: Acted (led by Iain Quirk) for the claimants in their claims in the Commercial Court against ten defendants arising out of their participation in two property development projects in the United Kingdom. The claimants alleged that their investment in those projects had been fraudulently misappropriated by the first to third defendants, and they sought to recover that investment or its proceeds or otherwise obtain compensation for their losses. They relied on a number of causes of action, including breach of contract, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, procuring or inducing breach of contract, unlawful means conspiracy, breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt.
  • 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 were alleged to have fraudulently extracted a secret profit from the claimant by misrepresenting the price Anthony Joshua required for the sponsorship. The defendants were then alleged to have 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: 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: 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.
  • Advised (led by Vernon Flynn QC) 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: Acted (alongside 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 concerned 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): 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: Acted (as sole counsel) 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.
  • Advised (as sole counsel) 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: 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 is recommended by the Legal 500 as a ‘Rising Star’ for Commercial Litigation, and comments in the directories have said:

  • A great work ethic, and an ability to marshal large amounts of detail very quickly and effectively – he’s a very good team player and a pleasure to work with.

Stuart has particular experience of large-scale commercial disputes requiring heavy case management and of expedited trials. His recent cases include the following:

  • The ‘Bonga Litigation’ (including Harrison Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors): Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) in various proceedings concerning claims brought by approximately 45,000 Nigerian claimants against companies in the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The claims all arose 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. In each set of proceedings, the claimants alleged that the spill was caused by the recklessness or negligence of the Shell defendants, and that it caused devastation to their communities, waterways and estuaries in the Niger delta that persists to this day. In the first set of proceedings (brought by two lead claimants on behalf of approximately 27,828 other individuals and 457 Nigerian communities): (i) the defendants’ challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the claims were heard for one day in September 2019 and six days in October 2019, culminating in the Court’s judgments of 2 and 27 March 2020 dismissing those challenges: [2020] EWHC 459 (TCC); [2020] B.L.R. 267; 189 Con. L.R. 167; [2020] EWHC 738 (TCC); (ii) the claimants have appealed against aspects of those decisions concerned with issues of limitation. Their appeal is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal for two days in November 2020; and (iii) following a hearing on 28 May 2020, the representative aspects of the proceedings were struck out by a judgment dated 14 August 2020: [2020] EWHC 2211 (TCC).
  • ABB (Private) Limited v Charlotte Sarudzai Ndenda: Acted (as sole counsel) for ABB in the Commercial Court in its urgent without notice application for a freezing order over the assets of its former employee, Ms Ndenda, in the United Kingdom and Jersey, and on the return date on that order at which it was continued. The freezing order was sought pursuant to section 25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 in support of proceedings brought by ABB against Ms Ndenda and others in Zimbabwe. Ms Ndenda was alleged to have fraudulently misappropriated at least US$3.7m from ABB, and to have sought to conceal some of the proceeds of that fraud in the United Kingdom and Jersey. More recently, Stuart also acted for ABB on its subsequent petition to bankrupt Ms Ndenda. Ms Ndenda resisted the order on basis of offers to pay or secure the petition debt out of disputed assets to which ABB asserted proprietary claims. Issues on the hearing of the petition included whether no reasonable creditor would refuse security over the disputed assets, and whether Ms Ndenda could satisfy the requirements for the variation of a proprietary freezing order.
  • Advised (as sole counsel) an airline in connection with potential claims for US$7m arising out of an aircraft leasing agreement.
  • Advised (as sole counsel) a Nigerian bank in connection with a number of disputed repo transactions with an American bank cumulatively worth approximately US$120m.
  • Advised (as sole counsel) in connection with an application to set aside a statutory demand based on an alleged breach of a guarantee agreement. Issues addressed included the merits of the application, the impact of certain issues of foreign law in the bankruptcy context, and whether the statutory demand was an abuse of process in light of alleged parallel proceedings in various foreign jurisdictions.
  • Gattaz Property Limited & Fortimat Properties Limited v Versant Developments and Homes Limited & Ors: Acted (led by Iain Quirk) for the claimants in their claims in the Commercial Court against ten defendants arising out of their participation in two property development projects in the United Kingdom. The claimants alleged that their investment in those projects had been fraudulently misappropriated by the first to third defendants, and they sought to recover that investment or its proceeds or otherwise obtain compensation for their losses. They relied on a number of causes of action, including breach of contract, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, procuring or inducing breach of contract, unlawful means conspiracy, breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt.
  • Advised (as sole counsel) a financial services provider in connection with a claim brought against it by one of its subcontracted brokers in relation to a restructuring of the client accounts which that broker was permitted to service.
  • 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: 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. 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): 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: Acted (as sole counsel) 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: 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: 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

Much of Stuart’s practice has an international dimension and issues of foreign law arise in many of his case. His recent cases with a specific focus on private international law issues include the following:

  • Advised (as sole counsel) in connection with an application to set aside a statutory demand based on an alleged breach of a guarantee agreement. Issues addressed included the merits of the application, the impact of certain issues of foreign law in the bankruptcy context, and whether the statutory demand was an abuse of process in light of allegedly parallel proceedings in various foreign jurisdictions.
  • The ‘Bonga Litigation’ (including Harrison Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors): Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) in various proceedings concerning claims brought by approximately 45,000 Nigerian claimants against companies in the Royal Dutch Shell Group. In the first set of proceedings (brought by two lead claimants on behalf of approximately 27,828 other individuals and 457 Nigerian communities), the defendants’ challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the claims were heard for one day in September 2019 and six days in October 2019. The hearing involved a number of 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. These were determined in the Court’s judgments of 2 and 27 March 2020, which dismissed the defendants’ challenges: [2020] EWHC 459 (TCC); [2020] B.L.R. 267; 189 Con. L.R. 167; [2020] EWHC 738 (TCC).

Stuart’s recent cases include the following:

  • Harrison Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors: Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) for nearly 28,000 Nigerian claimants in respect of their claims against two companies in the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The defendants’ challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the claims were heard for one day in September 2019 and six days in October 2019. The case involved 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:

  • Advised (as sole counsel) a financial services provider in connection with a claim brought against it by one of its subcontracted brokers in relation to a restructuring of the client accounts which that broker was permitted to service.
  • 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, gas and minerals related disputes. He is recommended by the Legal 500 as ‘Leading Junior (Tier 4)’ for Energy, and comments in the directories have said:

He is sharp, hardworking and very user friendly”.

His recent work includes:

  • Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) in a London-seated arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules between two shareholders in company which operates a substantial Zambian copper mine. The dispute relates to the management of that mine and the investment of c.US$500m of the company’s assets.
  • Harrison Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors: Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) in various proceedings concerning claims brought by approximately 45,000 Nigerian claimants against companies in the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The claims all arose 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. In each set of proceedings, the claimants alleged that the spill was caused by the recklessness or negligence of the Shell defendants, and that it caused devastation to their communities, waterways and estuaries in the Niger delta that persists to this day. In the first set of proceedings (brought by two lead claimants on behalf of approximately 27,828 other individuals and 457 Nigerian communities): (i) the defendants’ challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the claims were heard for one day in September 2019 and six days in October 2019, culminating in the Court’s judgments of 2 and 27 March 2020 dismissing those challenges: [2020] EWHC 459 (TCC); [2020] B.L.R. 267; 189 Con. L.R. 167; [2020] EWHC 738 (TCC); (ii) the claimants have appealed against aspects of those decisions concerned with issues of limitation. Their appeal is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal for two days in November 2020; and (iii) following a hearing on 28 May 2020, the representative aspects of the proceedings were struck out by a judgment dated 14 August 2020: [2020] EWHC 2211 (TCC).
  • 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 (as sole counsel) 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 (led by Paul Key QC) 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 (led by Vernon Flynn QC) 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:

  • ABB (Private) Limited v Charlotte Sarudzai Ndenda: Acted (as sole counsel) for ABB in the Commercial Court in its urgent without notice application for a freezing order over the assets of its former employee, Ms Ndenda, in the United Kingdom and Jersey, and on the return date on that order at which it was continued. The freezing order was sought pursuant to section 25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 in support of proceedings brought by ABB against Ms Ndenda and others in Zimbabwe. Ms Ndenda was alleged to have fraudulently misappropriated at least US$3.7m from ABB, and to have sought to conceal some of the proceeds of that fraud in the United Kingdom and Jersey.
  • 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 (as sole counsel) 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 (led by Vernon Flynn QC) 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: 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 (as sole counsel) for two policyholders in their claim against Aviva for over £200,000. Issues included questions of contractual construction and limitation.
  • Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) 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, CIARB, SIAC and CIETAC rules. He has a particular interest in arbitrations with a connection to Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean, 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: Acted for RAV Bahamas and Bimini Resort Management (led by Vernon Flynn QC) in their appeal to the Privy Council from the Court of Appeal of the Bahamas. The appeal is concerned with their challenge to an arbitral award on the basis of serious irregularity, made under section 90 of the Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009 (which is materially identical to section 68 of the English Arbitration Act 1996). 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 and its English equivalent, which have not previously been the subject of judicial consideration. The appeal is due to be heard in February 2021. It will be the first time the requirement of ‘serious irregularity causing substantial injustice’ has been considered by the apex court since the decision of the House of Lords in Lesotho Highlands Development Authority v Impregilo SpA [2006] 1 A.C. 221.
  • Acted (led by Graham Dunning QC) in a London-seated arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules between two shareholders in company which operates a substantial Zambian copper mine. The dispute relates to the management of that mine and the investment of c.US$500m of the company’s assets.
  • Acted (led by Siddharth Dhar) in London-seated arbitration under the CIARB rules in respect of the supply of a defective component to a manufacturer of aircraft engines.
  • 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 (led by Paul Key QC) 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 (as sole counsel) 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 (led by Paul Key QC) 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 (as sole counsel) for the applicants in application under section 43 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for a witness summons in connection with an LCIA arbitration.
  • Advised (led by Vernon Flynn QC) 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 (as sole counsel) 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: 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 (as sole counsel) 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 (as sole counsel) 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)