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Practice Summary

Alexander Brown operates across the full spectrum of commercial disputes, in both litigation and arbitration.  He is presently engaged in a number of significant disputes across the Commercial Court, Technology and Construction Court (TCC) and in international arbitration.  He is instructed in the Castle Water Limited v. Thames Water Utilities Limited litigation before the TCC, one of The Lawyers’ Top 20 Cases for 2021.  He is engaged in parallel Commercial Court (Shorter Trial Scheme) and UNCITRAL arbitration Proceedings in a wide-ranging dispute between Brown-Forman Corporation v Bacardi-Martini. Alexander is also engaged in high-profile proceedings between Ocado Group Plc v McKeeve, where the Court of Appeal recently upheld Ocado’s appeal.

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 worldwide freezing orders (“WFOs”), search orders and disclosure orders.  Alexander has appeared in several of the leading WFO cases of recent years, including  Fundo Soberano de Angola v dos Santos where he appeared for the respondent and successfully set aside a US$3 billion WFO, and Tsareva v Ananyev, where he appeared (as sole counsel) for D10 in proceedings arising out of a US$100 million claim for an alleged fraudulent misrepresentation and conspiracy in connection with the collapse of a major Russian bank.

Alexander’s recommendations include Legal 500 2020 (Civil Fraud): "He is an excellent team player and has a great eye for detail, his oral advocacy is superb and he can pick open an argument with ease."

Alexander's cases include the following:

  • Ocado Group Plc v McKeeve [2021] EWCA Civ 145
    Appeared (led by David Cavender QC) for Ocado Group Plc in relation to a conspiracy claim against a former manager of Ocado, and in particular high-profile committal proceedings which have been brought arising out of a search order. Ocado alleges that a solicitor at a leading law firm, upon being notified of a search order against his client, instructed the IT technician at the client to “burn all”, and a result material relevant to the conspiracy claim was irretrievably deleted.
     
  • VTB Commodities Trading DAC v JSC Antipinsky Refinery [2020] EWHC 72 (Comm)
    Appeared (led by Kenneth MacLean QC) for the defendant in successfully obtaining the discharge of an interim mandatory order requiring the defendant to supply substantial quantities of oil (worth several hundred million euros) to the Claimant, VTB. Lord Justice Phillips gave an important judgment on the application of section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996 and on the principles applicable to granting specific performance.
     
  • Tsareva v Ananyev [2019] EWHC 2414 (Comm)
    Appeared (as sole counsel) for D10 in a 5 day jurisdiction and WFO hearing. The Claimants (represented by Charles Samek QC and David Lord QC) alleged that the Defendants had misappropriated over $100 million from a major Russian bank, Promsvyazbank, before its collapse in January 2018. Alexander successfully persuaded the Commercial Court that there was no arguable case against D10, no basis for a WFO and that the Court had no jurisdiction. The Claimants were ordered to pay D10’s costs assessed on the indemnity basis.
     
  • 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 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.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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 section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
     
  • 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. Quantum was adjourned to a further hearing, and the matter was subsequently settled.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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.