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Practice Summary

Nick’s practice is divided equally between international commercial arbitration and disputes heard in the English courts. Over the years, Nick has acted in some of largest-scale international commercial disputes, frequently within the energy or financial sectors, and often involving allegations of fraud or other wrongdoing.

Nick is recommended in (variously) Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 for Commercial Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Energy and Civil Fraud, where he has been described as a “fantastic lawyer” and “very clever, very practical and a delight to work with.” Nick was nominated for Energy Junior of the Year at the 2019 Legal 500 Bar Awards.

Nick was also featured, in 2012, by Legalweek in its list of ‘Stars of the Bar’. He was described as having “a razor-sharp intellect and a staggering ability to remember key details in complex cases” as well as being “committed to the client's cause and a really nice man to work alongside.”

Nick’s recent work has included the following:

  • SIAC arbitration (Singapore seat): acting (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC) in a US$5.5bn SPA dispute in the oil&gas sector, being heard in Singapore under the rules of SIAC. The trial took place over some 35 days in 2018;
  • The VW Emissions group litigation: defending the VW group (with Charles Gibson QC, Prashant Popat QC and others) in the largest ever English Group Litigation Order;
  • ICC arbitration (Geneva seat): acting (with John McCaughran QC) in a multibillion US$ gas supply dispute between national electricity/gas companies heard at the ICC in Paris. Successfully obtained an approx US$1.7 billion award (subsequently upheld before Geneva courts);
  • Dar Al Arkan v Al Refai: acting (with Craig Orr QC) in a fraud dispute relating to Islamic bonds/banking practice, one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 High Court trials of both 2015 and 2014;
  • Bilta v Deutsche Bank: acting (with Daniel Toledano QC) for Deutsche Bank in relation to alleged carbon trading fraud; and
  • A corporate investigation at a FTSE 100 plc.

Directory comments, over the years, have included the following:  

“Nick is the definition of an all-rounder: he has superb technical skills and is quick-witted, engaging and thorough." "He gets on top of the subject matter and has a very, very good writing style.” (Chambers & Partners 2019, Commercial Dispute Resolution)

“Super smart, quick, and delightful to work with” (Legal 500 2018, Commercial Litigation)

“Fantastic. Very clever, very practical and a delight to work with” (Chambers & Partners 2018, Civil Fraud)

“A fantastic lawyer, who gets the law right and is a terrific team player.” (Legal 500 2017, Energy)

“He is excellent: he is very pragmatic, cuts through all the nonsense and reads and absorbs long documents very quickly." (Chambers & Partners 2017, International Arbitration)

“Super-charged energy combined with a first-class legal mind” (Legal 500 2016, Energy)

A forceful and persuasive advocate, who outshines opponents who are far more senior” (Chambers & Partners 2016, Commercial Dispute Resolution)

EXAMPLES OF RECENT CASES

  • Arbitration

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    “He is excellent: he is very pragmatic, cuts through all the nonsense and reads and absorbs long documents very quickly." (Chambers & Partners 2017, International Arbitration)

    • SIAC proceedings (Singapore seat): Acting as senior junior in a large team (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC) in a US$5.5bn dispute between multinational energy groups concerning allegations of deceit/breach of warranty under an SPA.
    • ICC proceedings (Geneva seat): Acting (with John McCaughran QC) in a US$6bn dollar claim between a national electricity company and national gas companies heard at the ICC in Paris.
    • LCIA proceedings (London seat): Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC) in a US$600m claim brought by a bank against a brokerage.
    • ICC proceedings (Singapore seat): Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC) in telecoms arbitration.
    • LCIA proceedings (London seat): Acting (with Alain Choo Choy QC) for Cypriot companies in a JV/company dispute.
    • ICC proceedings (London seat): Acting (with Alain Choo Choy QC) for a number of years in heavy litigation between major plcs concerning beer markets in East Africa, including s.44 applications in the Commercial Court: SABMiller Africa & Tanzania Breweries Ltd v East African Breweries Ltd ([2010] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 392) and Court of Appeal: ([2010] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 422)
    • ICC proceedings (London seat): Acting (with Marcus Taverner QC) in a dispute relating to the construction of a power plant in a Baltic State.
    • LCIA proceedings (London seat): Acting for a Russian company in a 2 week arbitration defending claims for breach of warranty under an SPA and acting (with Iain Milligan QC) in subsequent s. 24 & s.68 Arbitration Act challenge to the Award: A & ors v B & X [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 591
    • UNCITRAL proceedings (London seat): Acting in a dispute between joint venture partners about a landmark development in Central Europe.
    • Expert Determination: Acting (with Sa’ad Hossain) for an energy major in expert determination proceedings concerning whether certain oil duties in budgets constitute taxes imposed for environmental purposes.
    • Arbitral jurisdiction/enforcement. Acting in numerous arbitral jurisdiction/irregularity challenges before arbitral institutions, tribunals, in the Commercial Court (under ss.67, 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act) and (upon enforcement) in foreign jurisdictions. Commercial Court cases include:
    • C v D [2016] EWHC 1893 (Comm) (with Daniel Toledano QC); and
    • A & ors v B & X [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 591 (with Iain Milligan QC)
  • Commercial Litigation

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    “Nick is the definition of an all-rounder: he has superb technical skills and is quick-witted, engaging and thorough." "He gets on top of the subject matter and has a very, very good writing style.” (Chambers & Partners 2019, Commercial Dispute Resolution)

    • The VW Emissions Group Litigation. The largest group action heard by the English courts (with in excess of one hundred thousand claimants). Nick acts for the Defendant, the VW group (with Charles Gibson QC, Prashant Popat QC and others).
    • Abbott & ors v RCI Europe [2016] EWHC 2602 (Ch). Acting (with Charles Graham QC) for the successful Defendant timeshare exchange company, defending a group action brought by approx. 500 consumers, who alleged breach of contract, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty.
    • Dar Al Arkan & ors v (1) Al Refai, (2) Kroll & ors (Comm). Acting as senior junior (with Craig Orr QC, James Petkovic and Sophie Weber) for the Second Defendant, Kroll, defending approx US$800m claims brought in the Commercial Court raising allegations of breaches of banking practice and regulations in the Middle East, conspiracy, breach of confidence and defamation. Listed as one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases for 2014 and 2015, the dispute settled half way through a 12 week trial following considerable interim proceedings, including:
    • A week long hearing in 2012 at which Kroll successfully discharged injunctions against it for material non-disclosure by the Claimants [2012] EWHC 3539 (Comm).
    • Committal proceedings brought by Kroll against a senior officer of the Claimants for contempt. The officer has unsuccessfully challenged jurisdiction before the Commercial Court [2013] EWHC 4112 and Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 715, and timing/recusal issues have also been raised [2014] EWHC 1055. A week long committal hearing took place in September 2014.
    • Kroll successfully resisted an appeal against a split trial order [2014] EWCA Civ 749
    • Microfocus v Bank Leumi (Ch). Acting (with Sa’ad Hossain QC) for the defendant bank, in a claim brought for breach of contract & copyright infringement
    • Vald Nielsen & ors v Baldorino & ors (Comm) [2017] EWHC 1033 (Comm). Acting (with Alain Choo Choy QC) for the defendant management, in a claim for deceit/breach of warranty under an SPA.
    • Perrigo v Aspen (Comm). Acting (with David Wolfson QC) for the claimant pharmaceuticals distributor, seeking an indemnity against the defendant pharmaceuticals manufacturers in respect of class action litigation brought by consumers in Israel.
    • Formula One World Championship Ltd v JAL (Comm). Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC) for Formula One in a claim against the host/promoter of an F1 Grand Prix.
    • Michael Wilson & Partners v Sinclair & ors [2013] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 476; [2013] EWCA Civ 131. Acting (with Michael Fealy) for the defendant, Mr Sinclair, in claim brought by the claimant Kazakh law firm, MWP. Successfully struck MWP’s claim out for abuse of process (because MWP’s claim was a collateral challenge to an earlier arbitral award).
    • SABMiller Africa & Tanzania Breweries Ltd v East African Breweries Ltd [2009] EWHC 2140 (Comm) [2010] EWCA Civ 1564
      Nick acted over a number of years (with Alain Choo Choy QC) for SABMiller PLC subsidiaries against Diageo PLC subsidiaries in large and complex litigation (including successfully obtaining urgent Commercial Court injunctive relief under s.44 of the Arbitration Act 1996, upheld on Appeal) arising out of beer supply agreements in a number of countries in East Africa. The litigation involved complex facts spanning multiple East African countries, corporate restraint of trade provisions, competition law (including the application of foreign competition law), interpretation of contract, good faith provisions etc.
    • JNF Charitable Trust v Mr Maurice Sherling [2010] (Ch) Acting (with Neil Kitchener QC) for the well-known charity JNF in litigation to recover under a funding arrangement. Settled on the first day of trial.
    • Confidential ENE [2011]. Acting (with Alain Choo Choy QC) for a Russian group of companies against another Russian group of companies in a confidential early neutral evaluation of disputes arising out of the sale of a well-known energy company.
  • Energy and Natural Resources

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    “A fantastic lawyer, who gets the law right and is a terrific team player.” (Legal 500 2017, Energy)

    • SIAC Proceedings (Singapore seat): Acting (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC) in a multibillion US$ dispute between multinational energy groups concerning allegations of deceit, indemnity claims and breach of warranty under an SPA. Particular factual issues include reserve booking rules, production estimates, asset integrity/maintenance and decommissioning obligations.
    • ICC proceedings (Geneva seat): Acting (with John McCaughran QC) in a multibillion dollar international dispute heard in the ICC in Paris in 2014, between a national electricity supplier and national oil&gas companies. One of the largest international energy arbitrations, which included factual issues concerning pipeline facilities/security, interpretation of contract, complex quantification of loss questions in long-term gas supply contracts etc. Successfully obtained an approx US$1.7 billion award in December 2015.
    • ICC Proceedings: Acting for a major international coal supplier in a claim under a long-term coal supply contract.
    • Brushmoor v BP NEREFCO (QBD). Acting (over a number of years) for the defendant Dutch refinery (and subsidiary of BP plc) defending two consecutive claims brought in the High Court by an English wastewater treatment firm.
    • Expert Determination: Acting (with Sa’ad Hossain) for an energy major in expert determination proceedings concerning whether certain oil duties in budgets constitute taxes imposed for environmental purposes.
    • Acting (with Ian Glick QC) for a Canadian oil & gas company in respect of the sale of a large consignment of oil in which the issuing bank refused to pay under a letter of credit.
    • Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC and Michelle Menashy) for an oil & gas company in LCIA proceedings and general advisory work concerning pre-emption rights over a West African offshore field.
    • TDW v Chevron (TCC) Acting (with Jeffery Onions QC) for TDW, a America/Norwegian firm specialising in pipeline equipment (including ‘pigs’), in a £20m dispute in the TCC involving the blockage and consequent shut-down of the Erskine to Lomond pipeline in 2007/2008.
    • Combined Utilities Ltd v Centrica (Comm) Acting (with Alain Choo Choy QC) in a claim against an energy major for unpaid electricity and gas sales and rollover commissions.
    • Advising (with Richard Gillis QC) on the interpretation of a production sharing contract for oil exploration off the coast of West Africa.
  • Civil Fraud

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    "Fantastic. Very clever, very practical and a delight to work with” (Chambers & Partners 2018, Civil Fraud

    • Bilta v Deutsche Bank [2017] EWHC 135 (Ch): Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC and Henry Hoskins) for Deutsche Bank in proceedings related to alleged VAT fraud in the carbon emissions trading market.
    • FTSE 100 investigation: Acting (with Rhodri Davies QC) as independent counsel to an investigation at a FTSE 100 plc.
    • Vald Nielsen & ors v Baldorino & ors [2016] EWHC 1033 (Comm). Acting (with Alain Choo Choy QC) for the defendant management, in a claim for deceit/breach of warranty under an SPA.
    • Dar Al Arkan & ors v (1) Al Refai, (2) Kroll & ors
      See commercial litigation.
    • Alliance Bank v Aquanta & ors [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 181, [2013] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 819. Acting (variously with Kenneth Maclean QC and Daniel Toledano QC) for Alliance, one of Kazakhstan’s largest banks, in a very large (US$1bn+) fraud claim against its former controlling shareholders and their related entities. Three week jurisdiction hearing in the Commercial Court in 2011 ([2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 181) and one week appeal on jurisdiction in 2012 [2013] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 819.
    • LME (“Ericsson”) v Mr Anders Ericsson (Ch). Acting for the claimant Swedish telecoms giant (Ericsson) in English proceedings, as part of multi-jurisdictional actions, to recover the proceeds of a large fraud. Successfully obtained a US$2.5m worldwide freezing injunction and judgment
    • Toys R Us Ltd v Hopes & ors (Ch) Acting (with David Wolfson QC) for Toys R Us in a large fraud claim, including issues of tracing and constructive trusts against a former employee and related parties. The case includes multiple freezing, Bankers Trust and pre-action disclosure orders.
    • Advising (with Stephen Elliott) a large Canadian mining corporation engaged in multi-jurisdictional proceedings to recover monies which are the proceeds of fraud. The case included concurrent actions in Singapore, the United States and Australia
  • Banking and Financial Services

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    • Bilta v Deutsche Bank (Ch) [2017] EWHC 135 (Ch): Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC and Henry Hoskins) for Deutsche Bank in proceedings related to alleged VAT fraud in the carbon emission trading market.
    • National Bank of Abu Dhabi v BP Trading [2018] EWCA Civ 14, [2016] EWHC 2892 (Comm). Acting (with Rhodri Davies QC) at first instance and on appeal for the Claimant bank in respect of the purchase of a receivable.
    • Dar Al Arkan & ors v (1) Al Refai, (2) Kroll & ors. See commercial litigation. The case primarily concerned alleged banking/bond issuance malpractice in a number of Middle Eastern jurisdictions.
    • National of Abu Dhabi v Tecnimont (Comm) Acting for the Claimant bank in a claim for reimbursement in respect of a first demand guarantee.
    • LCIA proceedings: Appearing (with Daniel Toledano QC) in a successful US$600m claim brought by a bank against a brokerage.
    • Alfa v Deutsche Bank (Ch): Acting (with Jeffery Onions QC and, subsequently, Kenneth Maclean QC) for Deutsche Bank in injunctive and substantive Chancery Division proceedings concerning a US$350m loan and related hedge fund holdings. The matters in dispute included complex questions of hedge fund valuation (particularly during the credit crunch). The case settled on the eve of trial.
    • Hall & ors v Cable and Wireless PLC [2009] EWHC 1793 (Comm)
    • Acting (with Ben Strong) for Cable and Wireless Plc in proceedings alleging non-disclosure to the market. The case was the first to consider whether breach of the FSMA Listing Rules were privately actionable. Successfully obtained summary judgment.
    • Advising a major international bank in relation to obtaining anti-suit injunctions to protect an administration order.
    • Advising a shareholder of a listed company of its obligations with regard to insider dealing under AIM rules, FSMA, CJA 2003 and the FSA Handbook.
    • Advising a purchaser of securities on their rights and remedies under s.90 of FSMA with regard to untrue or misleading statements made in a prospectus.
  • Injunctions/Jurisdiction Challenges

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    • Regular appearances in the Commercial Court, Chancery Division and before Arbitral Tribunals (for applicants and respondents) on urgent interim injunctions, freezing orders, Bankers Trust orders, disclosure orders and jurisdiction challenges. Disputes Nick appeared in include:
    • Dar Al Arkan v (1) Al Refai, (2) Kroll & ors [2012] EWHC 3539 (Comm); [2014] EWCA Civ 715 – order for delivery up, restraint on use of confidential information, worldwide freezing injunctions, jurisdiction challenge. Order set aside and not re-granted for material non-disclosure. Jurisdiction over committal proceedings.
    • Alliance v Aquanta & ors [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 181, [2013] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 819 – worldwide freezing injunction, jurisdiction challenge
    • Eastways v Aeroflot [2013] jurisdiction challenge to Court proceedings in favour of arbitration
    • LCIA proceedings [2014] jurisdiction challenge to arbitrators
    • ICC Proceedings [2013] jurisdiction challenge to arbitrators
    • LCIA Proceedings [2012] jurisdiction challenge to arbitrators
    • LME (“Ericsson”) v Anders Ericsson [2010] (Ch) – worldwide freezing injunction
    • SABMiller Africa & Tanzania Breweries Ltd v East African Breweries Ltd [2009] EWHC 2140 (Comm) [2010] EWCA Civ 1564 – s.44 Arbitration Act injunction
    • Toys R Us Ltd v Hopes & ors [2009-10] (Ch) – worldwide freezing injunction
    • AOIL v Deutsche Bank [2008-09] (Ch) – urgent injunction to prevent enforcement against security under a loan
  • Other significant experience

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    • Re EAP Securities Limited [2010] EWHC 2421 (Ch)
      Appearing (as sole counsel) for a minority shareholder against an investment company seeking relief for unfair prejudice in the Companies Court under s.994 of the Companies Act 2006.

Academic Achievements

  • Scholar, St Anne's College, Oxford
  • Winner, Maitland Advocacy Prize [2005]
  • Hardwicke Entrance Award, Lincoln's Inn [2005]
  • Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln's Inn [2006]
  • Wolfson Scholarship, Lincoln's Inn [2007]

Education

  • [2002 - 2005] St Anne's College, Oxford: BA (Hons) Modern History (First Class)
  • [2005 - 2006] City University: CPE 
  • [2006 - 2007] Inns of Court School of Law: BVC