Home Barristers Alec McCluskey

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Alec McCluskey

Call 2005


Alec’s practice spans the whole range of commercial and chancery work, with a particular emphasis on litigation and arbitration. 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.

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.
  • Clydesdale Bank Plc v Gough [2017] EWHC 2230 (Ch) Acted for the lender in a claim in which the enforceability of its security was challenged on a wide range of factual and legal grounds.
  • 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 [2014] EWCA 1298; [2013] EWHC 1994 (Comm)  Acting (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.
  • LombardDayahLondon Asset Finance (QBD, 2011).  Defending a claim against a finance broker raising serious allegations of dishonesty against a hotly disputed factual background.
  • Bank of ScotlandWeisman Rovina (ChD, 2011). Acting 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.

Commercial Chancery

Alec acts both as sole counsel and as part of a team in wide ranging and often high value and complex Commercial Chancery litigation and arbitration:

  • Acting in a complex arbitration concerning a cross border merger and the interplay of the company laws of a number of different jurisdictions.
  • Acting for the claimant in a substantial arbitration arising out of the supply of materials for oil and gas installations.
  • Acting 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.
  • Joseph v LEBC Group Limited [2018] EWHC 876 (Comm) Acting for the defendant to a claim seeking to challenge the valuation of a business pursuant to an expert determination clause.
  • Tech 21 (UK) Ltd v Design Blue Ltd [2017] EWHC 2288 (Ch) and [2017] EWHC 2722 (Pat) Acting for the claimant in a complex claim raising a combination of commercial and intellectual property issues.
  • JD Wetherspoon Plc v Harris and others [2013] EWHC 1088 (Ch) Acting (with Catherine Newman QC) on behalf of JD Wetherspoon plc in their successful action raising allegations of fraud against their former property finders.
  • Hutchinson & Anor v Neale & Anor [2012] EWCA Civ 345. Acting 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.
  • Angela Scotcher Kirklees Borough Metropolitan Council LTL 22/7/2008. Acting for 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 [2007] Adj LR 07/11. Acting (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 [2010] EWHC 180 (Ch), [2010] Bus LR 854, [2010] 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.

Professional Negligence

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 notable 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

MA (Oxon)

Alec’s clerks would be happy to discuss the terms on which Alec will act. In the absence of express agreement in writing to the contrary, Alec accepts instructions on the basis of the Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services By Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 (updated for the GDPR in 2018) published by the Bar Council.

What the directories say

Chambers UK

Chancery: Commercial
"He's amazing. If I had to choose a junior I would always choose Alec, he never lets me down. He's good on paper and good on his feet, he's the whole package." (2020)
"Just extremely bright, he summarises issues well and is really clear on what the best course of action is. He is a good performer and brings a human element to his advocacy." (2019)
"Exceptional on paper, he's very bright and has extremely good strategic sense." "Incredibly tenacious and proactive, he's not interested in winging things." (2018)
"Incredibly intelligent, incredibly user-friendly and liked by clients." (2017)
"Intelligent, delightful to work with and someone who has a good way with the clients." (2020)
"Bright, responsive, clear and a pleasure to work with." "Alec's got a great ability to analyse everything and get to the bottom of what the issues are in a complicated case and explain them effectively to the layman."
"Very hands-on, incredibly bright and someone who sees issues straight off - including solutions to matters you'd think hopeless." "In court, he's in control and quick on his feet: his analytical ability and speed of response are the best of any junior of his call that I've seen." (2018)

Legal 500

Banking and Finance
"An excellent all-round counsel, his swift mastery of complex facts and technical points of law always adds value." (2020)

"Combines excellent advocacy skills with well-crafted, pragmatic written advice." (2018/19)

"Always on the top of his game and excellent at dealing with every type of client." (2017)

“A strong tactician and an excellent advocate.” (2016)