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Practice Summary

Alexander has a very wide commercial litigation and arbitration practice, including civil fraud, injunctions, company, banking, energy, commercial judicial review, trusts and general commercial disputes. He is regularly instructed in complex, high-value claims, including those with international elements.

Alexander has particular experience in worldwide freezing injunctions (WFO), having appeared in several of the leading cases – including the recent significant decision of Fundo Soberano de Angola v dos Santos [2018] EWHC 2199 (Comm) where he appeared for the respondent and successfully set aside a $3 billion WFO.

Alexander has a wealth of advocacy experience, appearing in his own right before the Court of Appeal, in several High Court trials and in arbitral proceedings under a variety of rules.  He has also obtained numerous interim injunctions, including WFOs, search orders and disclosure orders.

Some of his most notable appearances in his own right (either as sole or leading counsel), include:

  • Monk v Largo [2016] EWHC 1837 (Comm) Appeared (leading Stephanie Wood) for the Defendant in a 5 day Commercial Court trial defending claims worth £3 million in breach of contract and under the Commercial Agents Regulations.  The claimants (represented by Oliver Segal QC) argued that the Defendant had to act in good faith in deciding whether to terminate the contract.  In a landmark ruling on the meaning and application of good faith in the commercial agency context, the Judge held that the Defendant had an unfettered right to terminate and dismissed the contract claim.
     
  • ICC Arbitration Appeared (as sole counsel) for the claimant in a 4-day arbitral proceeding (before Ian Glick QC, Jonathan Hirst QC and Stuart Boyd QC) under ICC rules.  The claim related to negligent investment in the Russian investment market and raised difficult points of Russian and Cayman Islands law, practice and regulation.  The trial involved extensive cross-examination of both factual and expert witnesses. The claims were upheld and multi-million damages were awarded.
     
  • Ma’Har v O’Keeffe [2014] EWCA Civ 1684 Appeared (as sole counsel) for the First Respondent in the Court of Appeal and successfully resisted the appeal. The appeal related to the costs of taking an account upon the dissolution of a partnership. The Appellant claimed that it was entitled to its costs and that the first instance Judge had erred in his judgment. Lewison LJ set out the principles on which the costs of an account should be treated and held that the first instance Judge’s approach could not be criticised.
     
  • Re Quantum Survey Management Limited [2016] EWHC 3084 (Ch) Appeared (as sole counsel) for the Petitioner, in the 5-day trial of an unfair prejudice petition in the Companies Court. The Petition was granted upon the Judge finding that the Respondent had acted in breach of his duties by diverting business away from the company and by making unauthorised payments from company funds.
     
  • Ad-Hoc Arbitration Appeared (as sole counsel) for the Respondents in a 5-day arbitral proceeding (administered by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators) relating to the control of a company.  This matter involved several novel points of company law, and lengthy cross-examination of factual witnesses.  The Arbitration Award is awaited from the Tribunal.

In 2019, Alexander is scheduled to appear (as sole or leading counsel) in a 6-day Commercial Court trial, a 4-day jurisdiction hearing in the Commercial Court, an 8-day QBD trial and a 5-day QBD trial. 

Moreover, Alexander has appeared with a leader in several high-profile, high-value cases, such as:

  • Fundo Soberano de Angola v dos Santos [2018] EWHC 2199 (Comm) Appeared (led by Stephen Auld QC) for the Second Defendant in successfully discharging a worldwide freezing order (“WFO”) in the sum of $3 billion.  This high-profile case related to the management of the sovereign wealth fund of Angola over several years.  Mr Justice Popplewell’s landmark judgment setting aside the WFO included important clarifications as to the duty of full and frank disclosure, and what is required to show a real risk of dissipation.
     
  • LCIA Arbitration Appeared (led by Neil Kitchener QC) for the Defendant in a major LCIA arbitration relating to the control and ownership of substantial Russian assets and intellectual property. The Claimant brought claims in conspiracy, unfair prejudice, shareholder oppression and breach of contract.  The Claimants’ claims were dismissed in their entirety and the Defendant’s counterclaims for breach of contract and warranty were upheld, with damages of several million awarded. 
     
  • Gerald v Timis [2016] EWHC 2327 (Ch) Appeared (led by Ben Strong QC) for the Defendant in successfully resisting a worldwide freezing order in the sum of £77 million.  The WFO was refused on the basis that the Claimants had failed to establish a good arguable case against the Defendant.  The judgment also contained important findings as to the scope of s.44 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
     
  • Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton [2016] EWHC 865 (Comm) Appeared (led by David Cavender QC) for the claimants, in bringing and pursuing a multifaceted conspiracy claim worth £2.2 billion against the Defendants.  The claim involved several interim hearings, including a summary judgment application raising difficult points of law relating to the interpretation and application of settlement agreements.
     
  • Biotec v Siemens [2015] EWHC 3555 (Comm) Appeared (led by Neil Kitchener QC) for the Defendant in an LCIA arbitration, successfully defending wide-ranging claims in conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of confidence and knowing receipt. The claims were dismissed and the Defendant was awarded its full costs on an indemnity basis in February 2015.  Alexander and Neil successfully resisted the claimant’s subsequent attempt to challenge the Award in Court under s.68 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
     
  • Fortress Value v Blue Skye [2013] EWHC 14 (Comm) Appeared (led by Craig Orr QC) for the Fourth Defendant and Part 20 Claimant (Stepstone) in a €200 million fraud claim relating to the control of Italian assets. The case involved numerous complex issues of fact and law, including those relating to jurisdiction, applicable law, corporate restructuring, assignment and economic torts, plus several issues of Luxembourg law. The other defendants sought to strike out the claims made against them, but the claimants and Stepstone successfully resisted this application. A 10 week trial was listed for May 2014, but the case settled shortly before the trial was due to commence.