Alec’s practice spans the whole range of commercial and chancery work, with a particular emphasis on litigation. Alec has particular experience of banking and financial services disputes, heavy contractual and business disputes (including fraud claims and cases with international elements), insolvency, company and partnership work, professional negligence, trusts and property matters. He has particular experience of dealing with applications for freezing injunctions.
Alec read Greats at Merton College, Oxford, gaining a Double First, before converting to law at City University. He was a Chapman Scholar of the Inner Temple, and at Bar School was placed top in his year, winning the Scarman Scholarship and the Stephen Seabrooke Memorial Prize.
Banking and Financial Services
Alec is frequently instructed to represent and advise major financial institutions, and has particular expertise in issues relating to secured lending. His work includes:
- Advising leading financial institutions on their practices in relation to mortgage lending and litigation arising out of secured lending.
- Representing a wide range of lenders in often hotly contested and legally complex litigation in relating to secured lending.
- Litigation arising out of derivatives, swaps and other complex financial instruments.
- Litigation concerning allegations of misconduct by banks such as “front running”.
- Litigation and references to the Financial Ombudsman arising out of financial and investment advice.
Notable cases include:
- Acting for the claimants against a leading financial institution in a damages claim for hundreds of millions of pounds relating to commodities trading.
- Acting for the claimant against a high street bank in a damages claim for hundreds of millions of pounds arising out of interest rate derivatives and the actions of a “business support” unit.
- Acting for the defendants to a multi-million pound claim under an aircraft mortgage, in which complex issues of foreign law and their interplay with English proceedings were raised.
- Intesa Sanpaolo SpA v Regione Piemonte  EWCA 1298;  EWHC 1994 (Comm) Acted (with Catherine Newman QC) for the defendant to this claim arising out of a 1.8 billion Euro bond issue and associated derivative transactions, raising significant questions of the conflict of laws and the circumstances in which declaratory judgments in default should be set aside.
- Lombard v Dayah v London Asset Finance (QBD, 2011). Successful defence of a claim against a finance broker raising serious allegations of dishonesty against a hotly disputed factual background. The trial resulted in a total vindication of Alec’s client, and the claim was dismissed with indemnity costs.
- Bank of Scotland v Weisman Rovina (ChD, 2011). Acted for the Bank of Scotland on this long running lender action, raising a number of highly technical issues concerning the enforceability of charges in law and equity. The proceedings were successfully compromised in the course of the trial in the Chancery Division.
Alec acts both as sole counsel and as part of a team in wide ranging and often high value and complex Commercial Chancery litigation:
- Acted for the defendant in relation to a multi-million pound claim arising out of the sale of a business, raising complex questions of choice of law, jurisdiction clauses and anti-suit injunctions. The claim was compromised before trial on terms favourable to Alec’s client.
- JD Wetherspoon Plc v Harris and others  EWHC 1088 (Ch) Appeared (with Catherine Newman QC) for the successful respondent to a summary judgment application in this fraud action. The application resulted in an important decision concerning the principles applicable to summary judgment applications and the circumstances in which the content of a witness statement can be labelled an abuse of process.
- Hutchinson & Anor v Neale & Anor  EWCA Civ 345. Acted for the respondents on this appeal which raised important questions of principle concerning the costs consequences where an otherwise successful party to litigation has acted dishonestly in connection with the proceedings (by tampering with a document) and given perjured evidence at trial.
- JD Wetherspoon Plc v Van de Berg & Co Ltd  16 EG 138 (CS). Appeared (with Catherine Newman QC) on behalf of JD Wetherspoon plc in their successful action raising allegations of fraud against their former property finders. The trial of the action lasted for over six weeks.
- Shilton Holdings v Knowles. Appeared (with Tom Grant) on behalf of Shilton Holdings in the successful two week trial of their action arising out of the sale of a footwear business.
- Angela Scotcher v Kirklees Borough Metropolitan Council LTL 22/7/2008. Represented Kirklees Council on their successful application to strike out proceedings raising issues of public policy and the imposition of duties of care, and the proper scope of claims based on economic torts.
- Stewart Dunn v Glass Systems (UK) Ltd  Adj LR 07/11. Appeared (with Tom Grant) on behalf of successful defendant to claim by barrister suing for fees under a public access agreement, believed to be the first case of its kind.
Alec is frequently instructed in substantial partnership disputes either on behalf of partners themselves or on behalf of creditors of partnerships faced with complex legal or factual issues of partnership law. As well as English partnerships, Alec has particular experience of multi-jurisdictional disputes raising questions of foreign partnership law.
Notable cases include:
- Re X (a partnership): Acting for the receivers of the assets of a multi million pound family partnership in a long running Chancery action concerning its dissolution.
- X v Y: A multi-jurisdictional claim for tens of millions of dollars raising issues of the interplay of Cayman Island Limited Partnership Law with English and BVI law.
- A Bank v X: Acting on behalf of a lender with security over assets claimed by a partnership, in litigation raising issues as to the interaction of the provision of the Partnership Act 1980 with the ability of lenders to overreach the interest of beneficiaries under a trust.
Insolvency and Restructuring
Alec frequently acts for and advises insolvency practitioners concerning what are often highly technical issues arising out of all forms of insolvency proceedings.
Notable cases include:
- X v Y. Advising on insolvency issues and proprietary rights in a large fraud claim brought by a private family office against a fraudulent fiduciary.
- A v B. Acting on a cross border dispute raising questions of the interplay of English and foreign insolvency law, including complex questions of choice of law and set off.
- In The Matter Of Capitol Films Ltd sub nom Irish Reel Productions Ltd v Capitol Films Ltd  EWHC 180 (Ch),  Bus LR 854,  BCC 588. Acted for the petitioning creditor on a winding up petition which successfully sought its costs as expenses in a subsequent administration. The case raised a novel point of law, which was decided in favour of Alec’s client.
Alec acts for both claimants and defendants in professional negligence claims, and is regularly instructed both by leading financial institutions and professional indemnity insurers in relation to claims, particularly those arising out of secured lending and financial services. Alec frequently deals with cases involving complex questions of liability and loss where security rights have been transferred or syndicated.
Alec’s property litigation and advisory practice spans the range of Chambers’ practice. His recent work includes a multi-million pound service charge dispute, advisory work on a large scale restructuring of a portfolio of leases and a dispute concerning the recovery of a million pound deposit.
Alec is co-author of the chapter on claims and remedies against the security and borrower in Lender Claims (Sweet & Maxwell). A revised edition is currently in preparation.
Chancery Bar Association, COMBAR, FSLA