James Ladbrook
    James Ladbrook
    Senior Practice Manager
    +44 (0)20 7419 6204
    Lyndon Tiller
    Lyndon Tiller
    Practice Manager
    +44 (0)20 7959 0895
    Contact the Practice Managers

    Described as “a star in the making”, Hugh specialises in commercial chancery matters, with a particular emphasis on complex civil fraud, commercial litigation, insolvency, company law and contentious trust litigation. He has significant experience of asset tracing claims, and his work often includes offshore or other international elements. He is in high demand both as sole Counsel and as junior on significant pieces of litigation, including disputes being resolved at arbitration. He is frequently instructed in relation to urgent and ex parte applications.

    Hugh is recommended as a leading junior across his primary areas of practice, being ranked in Chambers and Partners UK Bar (2022) for Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chancery: Commercial and Insolvency, and by Legal 500 (2022) for Commercial Litigation, Civil Fraud, Company & Partnership and Insolvency. Praised as being “just brilliant” and as having “the Midas touch“, he is “considered a rising star in the commercial chancery market” who “excels across a broad spectrum of shareholder disputes, trusts work, property litigation and civil fraud matters.” Hugh has been praised as being a “terrific advocate” with “superb strategic judgment” and “immaculate written work” and as being able to “combine a robust style with considerable expertise and brain-power”. He is recommended as being “really top notch“, “Super bright, down to earth and approachable” and “brilliant –  incredibly intelligent but also personable and good to work with.

    Hugh is renowned both for his technical skill as well as for his robust advocacy in the court room and his straightforward and astute advice. He is described as being “incredibly bright and very pragmatic”, “very clever, very capable” and “very down to earth, highly knowledgeable” as well as being “an effective and persuasive advocate”  whose “grasp of the detail is terrific” and who “gives clear advice”. Clients have also described him as having “excellent judgement and a most incisive and agile mind” and that “He distils complicated concepts into easy to understand language.

    Hugh’s commercial and collaborative approach has also been the subject of praise from his extremely loyal client base. Solicitors say “He is just brilliant; he explains things in a pragmatic way and he is really good at providing support to the client.” Hugh is also “extremely commercial and good at understanding the big picture”, “very easy to deal with, takes a sensible view and is very good at talking directly without offending the clients” and is “very supportive of both solicitors and clients, highly collaborative and good at making himself available. He is more than willing to chat through the challenges in a case”. He is known as being someone who “goes the extra mile to be available”.

    He has also been described as an “Excellent junior. Focussed and hard working” and “a pleasure to work with and a charming practitioner who provides quality advice and always offers a clear litigation strategy” and well as being a “prodigiously hard worker” who “turns around big pieces of work in the blink of an eye.

    Please tick the boxes below to display further information on specialist areas of Hugh’s practice.

     

    Areas of experience

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    • Arbitration

      Hugh is an experienced arbitration practitioner and advocate. He has acted in arbitration proceedings both as sole counsel and as part of a large team. His experience includes complex, international and high value commercial disputes for individuals and corporate clients across a range of sectors, including oil and gas, banking and financial services, pharmaceuticals and aviation. Recent and current arbitration related work includes:

      • LCIA Arbitration – Acting (with Stephen Moverley Smith QC) for a Panamanian company in relation to an LCIA arbitration concerning a shareholders’ agreement dispute and contested liability to repay loans totalling over $750m. The case concerns a BVI company incorporated to act as a joint venture company for investments in Nigerian oil and gas entities.
      • LCIA Arbitration – Acting and advising on a stay of proceedings under s.9 Arbitration Act 1996;
      • Advising on whether an Arbitral Tribunal has jurisdiction in relation to disputes arising in relation to matters exempted from the scope of the relevant contractual arbitration clause.
      • LCIA Arbitration – Acting (as sole Counsel) in a dispute between Kuwaiti family members concerning the contractual division of proceeds of banking litigation.
      • LCIA Arbitration – Acting (with Steven Thompson QC and Emma Hughes) in multiple arbitration proceedings between international parties concerning disputes relating to the manufacture and supply of aeronautical components.
      • LCIA Arbitration – Acting (as sole Counsel) in disputes between international parties concerning the supply and recall of, and defects in the manufacturing processes of, pharmaceutical products.

       

      Hugh is also familiar with the rules of other major arbitral institutions, including the ICC, ICDR, DIFC-LCIA and the UNCITRAL rules.

    • Aviation

      Hugh has a keen interest in aviation work and several of his recent and ongoing cases, involving both litigation and arbitration, have related to the aviation sector.  His work in this area overlaps heavily with his expertise in commercial dispute resolution, insolvency and civil fraud.

      Examples of Hugh’s aviation work include:

      • Acting for an owner trustee of a leasing corporation in an action against a Turkish airline following a repudiation of the leases and failure to return the aircraft in serviceable and airworthy condition.
      • Successfully representing a Dutch Ryanair Pilot at trial in a claim brought by an intermediary management company for damages following his resignation from his post. The claim was dismissed on the basis the damages were claimed pursuant to an unenforceable penalty clause.
      • Advising on a dispute and settlement between a major bank, Bahraini leasing and aircraft companies and a Bahraini national.
      • Acting for an Isle of Man aircraft purchase and leasing company and its various subsidiaries in claims for breach of fiduciary and non-fiduciary duties, conspiracy, dishonest assistance, conversion and breach of contract against its commercial agent and maintenance company, its foreign subsidiary and its directors.
      • Acting (with Steven Thompson QC and Emma Hughes) in multiple arbitration proceedings between international parties concerning disputes relating to the manufacture and supply of aeronautical components.
    • Banking and Financial Services

      Hugh has significant experience of acting and advising in relation to cases involving the financial services sector. Such claims include disputes concerning guarantees, indemnities and security rights over property, including issues of receivership as well as significant litigation arising out of commodities trading relationships.

      Hugh has previously advised on mis-selling claims in relation to interest rate hedging products, including swaps, collars and caps, particularly in relation to small businesses. He has also advised financial institutions in relation to factoring agreements, and has been involved in litigation arising out of the demise of major brokering firms.

      Examples of such work include

      • Instructed as sole counsel for the first and second defendants in a claim brought by a Luxembourg trustee of a family trust alleging that investments worth c.£7m have been fraudulently misappropriated. Having managed to set aside a without notice freezing order on the basis of alleged material non-disclosure, the defendants now seek summary dismissal of the claims.
      • Acting for the Defendants in a claim brought by a commercial lender for repayment of sums where it provided incorrect redemption figures and is alleged to have released the debt and security at the time.
      • Acted alongside Jersey Advocates in an application for a proprietary injunction in relation to proceedings brought by a former employee and member of an offshore financial group and its other members concerning the latter’s attempts to prevent the Claimant from receiving his due distributions from a particular fund.
      • Societe Generale v Goldas Kuyumculuk Sanayi Ithalat Ihracat AS & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 1093;[2017] EWHC 667 (Comm) – Hugh, led by Stephen Moverley Smith QC, successfully obtained orders striking out claims worth $½Bn, discharging world-wide freezing orders and obtaining an inquiry as to damages for the Defendant gold trading and manufacturing companies companies. The applications were heard in January 2017 over 5 days on grounds including failure to serve, abuse of process and want of prosecution. The bank’s appeal was largely defeated save on the issue of the order of the inquiry.
      • In re a Company Instructed a sole Counsel for a foreign insurance company and its liquidator in a claim abroad for over £35m in respect of allegedly unlawful distributions made purportedly as commercial payments to a connected entity.
      • Ward & Ors v Savill & Ors (Commercial Court) – Instructed for over 100 claimant investors in a complex civil fraud claim worth over £35m in relation to allegedly fraudulent tax avoidance film schemes (each of which was an unregulated collective investment scheme) where the total fraud alleged exceeds £100m.
      • Successfully obtaining summary judgment for the claimants in a claim for unpaid margin calls on investors arising out of the special administration of MF Global (UK) Ltd. Ancillary action included successfully obtained a freezing injunction in aid of enforcement of the judgment and costs, and resisted applications to set aside both the injunction and the summary judgment.
      • Acted for RBS’s factoring division resulting in the successful obtaining of default judgment arising out of a claim in fraud relating to fresh-air invoicing.
    • Civil Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery

      Hugh is frequently instructed on complex and high value fraud and asset recovery work spanning areas of commercial, company, insolvency and, increasingly, tax scheme litigation across a variety of sectors, including aviation, financial services, hospitality industry and both on and off-shore. He is recommended for civil fraud by Legal 500, which  says that “He has the Midas touch and can spot winning points that others do not. He combines excellent factual analysis with strong interpersonal skills. One to watchand notes that he is an “Excellent junior. Focussed and hard working. Good written style.

      Hugh is regularly instructed on fraud claims of all scales, including claims involving deceit, breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance, knowing receipt, conspiracy and conversion and the recovery of assets held on trust. Alongside the usual armoury relating to commercial litigation generally, Hugh often advises on the use of pre-action relief in relation to such claims, including the use of both proprietary and non-proprietary freezing injunctions. Other forms of relief often considered include anti-suit injunctions, applications to preserve evidence or documents, and for information from third parties.

      Recent and current work includes:

      • Ward & Ors v K Savill [2021] EWCA Civ 1378; [2020] EWHC 1534 (Ch) – Acting for the claimants in a proprietary claim over a London property alleged to have been purchased with misappropriated funds. Appeared at both first instance and the Court of Appeal on a key preliminary issue concerning the effects of rescission and declaratory relief in related proceedings.
      • Acting for a large corporate group seeking to obtain anti-suit relief overseas in view of an intended restructuring to enable the investigation of fraud claims worth in excess of US$4.5Bn.
      • Instructed to defend a claim brought by a Luxembourg trustee of a family trust alleging the fraudulent misappropriation of almost £7m of investments by an investment company, its director and an employee. A without notice worldwide freezing order was discharged by consent following the first and second defendant’s application to discharge for material non-disclosure.
      • Adams & Ors v FS Capital Ltd & Ors (ongoing)– Instructed (leading James Fennemore) by many hundreds of Claimants in proceedings challenging as a fraud on a power the sale of loans totalling some £170m made to individuals and assigned into off-shore trusts to a third-party finance company.
      • Instructed by a claimant in an off-shore aviation dispute seeking compensation for breach of fiduciary duties (including making secret profits) arising out of an agency relationship.
      • Ward & Ors v Savill & Ors (Commercial Court)  Instructed for over 100 claimant investors in a complex civil fraud claim worth over £35m in relation to allegedly fraudulent tax avoidance film schemes where the total fraud alleged exceeds £100m.
      • Ford v Williams [2018] EWHC 3172 (Comm) Acting for the defendant in a successful application within fraud proceedings to vary a proprietary injunction to permit funds to be raised for legal expenses. Hugh is now instructed for the same party in a dispute concerning the terms of a settlement agreement reached in the original proceedings.
      • Instructed for a pub company in a claim for dishonest breach of fiduciary duty against a former director, having successfully obtained ex partefreezing order relief.
      • Instructed to act for the Claimant LLCs in various applications in proceedings in the Isle of Man to set aside transactions totalling up to $50m made by a judgment debtor to IoM companies as transactions defrauding creditors.
      • Instructed for the claimants in proceedings to recover from a company in liquidation monies paid into an escrow account where the initial payment was procured by fraud.
      • Advising numerous investors in relation to a multi-million pound fraudulent carbon-credit trading tax relief scheme involving companies from numerous jurisdictions including Ireland, Mauritius and the Marshall Islands.
      • St Austell Brewery Company Ltd v Freestone & Anr (Chancery Division) – Hugh successfully obtained both domestic freezing and proprietary injunctions with associated disclosure relief on an ex parte and urgent basis against a former employee of the Claimant alleged to have been stealing monies for over 9 years during her employment.  Hugh subsequently obtained Bankers Trust disclosure orders against 3 banks which held accounts into which the misappropriated monies were paid.
      • Arcadia Petroleum Ltd v Bosworth & Ors (Commercial Court)– Acting (with Charles Dougherty QC) for two of 10 Defendants in a claim relating to an alleged oil trading fraud presently estimated to be worth in excess of $300m.
      • JPC SPC 4 & Another v Schools & Others(Chancery Division) – Acted (with Robert Levy QC) for one of 15 defendants in a complex £110m claim by the receivers of an offshore fund alleging, inter alia, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unlawful means conspiracy, also involving multiple world-wide freezing injunctions. A successful settlement was reached in relation to the represented party.
      • HMRC v Infinity Distribution Ltd (In Administration) [2016] EWCA Civ 1014– Appeared (with Malcolm Davis-White QC) in the Court of Appeal for the (largely successful) Respondent in a second appeal brought by HMRC against a decision  to strike out evidence of MTIC fraud relied upon by HMRC in circumstances where HMRC did not plead, and maintained they were not pleading, a case in fraud against the Respondent.
      • Norcross & Anr v Constantine & Anr(Commercial Court) [2015] EWHC 2405 (Comm)– Acting (with David Lord QC) for the estate of the deceased former defendant in a commercial court claim concerning, inter alia, allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duties. Successfully defeated the claims both by way of summary judgment application and, for the remainder, at trial.
      • Brown v Gooding & Nearn (Chancery Division) – Acting for a fourth party defendant in a multi-million pound claim in respect of alleged fraud and negligence in respect of which the loss alleged was the Part 20 Claimant directors’ liabilities to a Liquidator for alleged misfeasance
    • Commercial Litigation

      Much of Hugh’s practice focusses on commercial or business disputes and associated applications. He has experience across a wide range of commercial litigation and arbitration, including contractual disputes, misfeasance, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, conspiracies and other tortious claims. He is recommended for commercial dispute resolution and commercial chancery by Chambers & Partners 2022 and for commercial litigation by Legal 500 2022. The directories say that “He’s brilliant – incredibly intelligent but also personable and good to work with. He goes the extra mile to be available” and that  “He is really top notch. With superb strategic judgement, he is very easy to work with and a star in the making.Solicitors also praise Hugh’s commercial and approachable style, saying that “His advice is very commercial, he’s practical and he distils technical legal issues into clear layman’s terms” and that “he explains things in a pragmatic way and he is really good at providing support to the client.” Hugh is also described as being “a highly effective advocate both on paper and in person.” and that he is A really effective advocate, who is a very good sounding board throughout the case. He achieves remarkable settlements for clients.”

      Hugh works across a variety of sectors, both on and offshore, including aviation, financial services and investments, care homes, health and pharmaceutical, IT/technology (including defence technology), oil, gas and energy, precious metals, travel and leisure. He also has particular experience of the hospitality, music and entertainment industries.

      Hugh advises and acts at all stages of the litigation process, from initial advice and pre-action relief through to trial. His experience includes a range of interim remedies, including freezing orders, search and seizure orders, anti-suit injunctions and disclosure orders, including Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust applications.

      Hugh also advises and appears for clients in alternative dispute resolution procedures.

      Examples of current and past commercial litigation or arbitration work include:

      • Ward & Ors v K Savill [2021] EWCA Civ 1378; [2020] EWHC 1534 (Ch) – Acting for the claimants in a proprietary claim over a London property alleged to have been purchased with misappropriated funds. Appeared at both first instance and the Court of Appeal on a key preliminary issue concerning the effects of rescission and declaratory relief in related proceedings.
      • Acting for a large corporate group seeking to obtain anti-suit relief overseas in view of an intended restructuring to enable the investigation of fraud claims worth in excess of US$4.5Bn.
      • Lawlor & Ors v Medivet Group Ltd & Anr– Acted for the claimant vets in their partnership disputes with Medivet, one of the largest veterinary services providers in the country.
      • Acting (with Steven Thompson QC and Emma Hughes) for a leading aeronautical company in its multi-£m disputes (leading to multiple LCIA arbitrations) with a sub-contractor relating to the manufacture of aircraft parts.
      • Richard George v Robert McCarthy & Goss Interactive Ltd [2019] EWHC 2939 (Ch) – Successfully acted for the respondent to a long, complicated and aggressive unfair prejudice petition at trial.
      • Acting for a commercial property consultancy company in a dispute over fees for the introduction, negotiation and development of a significant warehousing and logistics site next on the English motorway network.
      • Instructed to defend a claim brought by a Luxembourg trustee of a family trust alleging the fraudulent misappropriation of almost £7m of investments by an investment company, its director and an employee. A without notice worldwide freezing order was discharged by consent following the first and second defendant’s application to discharge for material non-disclosure.
      • Adams & Ors v FS Capital Ltd & Ors– Instructed by many hundreds of Claimants in proceedings challenging as unlawful the sale of loans totalling some £170m made to individuals and assigned into off-shore trusts to a third-party finance company.
      • Instructed by a claimant in an off-shore aviation dispute seeking compensation for breach of fiduciary duties (including making secret profits) arising out of an agency relationship.
      • Acting for litigation funders as assignees of claims against company directors and their associates concerning the misappropriation or misuse of company fund and unlawful dividends.
      • Ward & Ors v ACS Savill & Ors (Commercial Court) – Instructed for over 100 claimant investors in a complex civil fraud claim worth over £35m in relation to allegedly fraudulent tax avoidance film schemes.
      • Acted as English Counsel alongside Jersey Advocates in an application for a proprietary injunction in relation to proceedings brought by a former employee and member of an offshore financial group and its other members concerning the latter’s attempts to prevent the Claimant from receiving his due distributions from a particular fund.
      • Societe Generale v Goldas Kuyumculuk Sanayi Ithalat Ihracat AS & Ors [2019] 1 WLR 346 (Court of Appeal); [2017] EWHC 667 (Comm) – Hugh, led by Stephen Moverley Smith QC, successfully obtained orders striking out claims worth $½Bn, discharging world-wide freezing orders and, at first instance, obtaining an inquiry as to damages for the Defendant gold trading and manufacturing companies companies. The subsequent Court of Appeal decision is a leading authority on alternative and dispensation of service and abuse of process.
      • Advising a pub company in a dispute over the sale by it of shares to another larger hospitality company, where the latter sought to rectify the SPA which, it transpired, was a demonstrably bad bargain for it.
      • Acting (with Edward Cumming QC) for a care home provider in a dispute over a relational (30yr) contract with a local authority.
      • Acting for a talent management agency in relation to a claim for breach of contract against a well-known reality TV personality, the latter having left the agency without notice for another agency.
      • Ford v Williams [2018] EWHC 3172 (Comm) Acting for the defendant in a successful application to vary a proprietary injunction to permit funds to be raised for legal expenses. Hugh is now instructed for the same party in a dispute concerning the terms of a settlement agreement reached in the original proceedings.
      • Komcept Solutions Ltd v Prestige Group UK Ltd [2018] EWHC 1550 (Comm) – Successfully obtained an order against the defendant for a significant payment into court in a dispute over the supply of defence equipment as part of an unless order.
      • O’Keefe & Anr v Caner & Ors (Chancery Division) – [2017] EWHC 1105 (Ch). Hugh, together with Terence Mowschenson QC and Nicole Langlois, acted for offshore directors and a corporate services provider in claims and Insolvency Act applications by two Jersey companies and their liquidators in relation to allegedly wrongful payments from the companies of c. €34m. A 6-day preliminary issue trial of a previously undecided issue of Jersey prescription law took place in March 2017.
      • Acting (with Stephen Moverley Smith QC) for a Panamanian company in contested winding up proceedings (and an ensuring LCIA arbitration) in the British Virgin Islands concerning a $750m dispute over a joint venture company incorporated to invest in Nigerian Oil entities.
      • St Austell Brewery Company Ltd v Freestone & Anr (Chancery Division) – Instructed as sole Counsel for his client in an ongoing fraud claim, Hugh successfully obtained both domestic freezing and proprietary injunctions with associated disclosure relief on an ex parte and urgent basis against a former employee of the Claimant alleged to have been stealing monies for over 9 years during her employment.  Hugh subsequently obtainedBankers Trust disclosure orders against 3 banks which held accounts into which the misappropriated monies were paid.
      • Harvil Roofing Ltd v Lakehouse Services Ltd [2017] EWHC 3310 (TCC)– Acted for the Claimant at trial in an assigned claim against the Defendant building contractor for alleged breaches of contract relating to the exclusivity of future work where damages sought run to multiple £millions.
      • Blackstar (Isle of Man) Ltd v Imperium Trust Company Ltd & Ors [2016] EWHC 3216 (Ch)– Acted (with Bajul Shah) for the Defendants at the trial of the claims for the costs of litigation said to be due under contractual indemnities.
      • Arcadia Petroleum Ltd v Bosworth & Ors (Commercial Court)– Acted (with Charles Dougherty QC) for two of 10 Defendants in a claim relating to an alleged oil trading fraud estimated to be worth in excess of $300m.
      • Bicester GP Ltd & Ors v London & Metropolitan International Ltd & Ors (Commercial Court)– Acting as sole Counsel for 2 of 6 defendants in a multi-million pound claim brought by Bermudian, Irish and English companies in respect of false invoicing during the development of shopping villages and involving claims of deceit, proprietary relief, restitution, inducement of breach of contract and conspiracy.
      • Brown v Gooding & Nearn (Chancery Division)– Acting for a fourth party defendant in a multi-million pound claim in respect of alleged fraud and negligence in respect of which the loss alleged was the Part 20 Claimant directors’ liabilities to a Liquidator for alleged misfeasance.
      • Norcross & Anr v Constantine & Anr (Commercial Court) [2015] EWHC 2405 (Comm)– Acting (with David Lord QC) for the estate of the deceased former defendant in a commercial court claim concerning, inter alia, allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duties. Successfully obtained summary judgment in respect of the significant majority of the claims made, some 3 weeks ahead of trial: see the separate judgment at [2015] EWHC 1290 (Comm). Successfully defeated the remainder of the claims at trial, even after late amendments were (partially) allowed.
      • JPC SPC 4 & Another v Schools & Others (Chancery Division) – Acted (with Robert Levy QC) for one of 15 defendants in a complex £110m claim by the receivers of an offshore fund alleging, inter alia, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unlawful means conspiracy, also involving multiple world-wide freezing injunctions. A successful settlement was reached in relation to the represented party.
    • Company

      Hugh has experience in a wide range of company law matters, particularly within contentious litigation. He is recommended in Legal 500 as a leading junior in company law, describing him as “a very high-quality advocate on paper and on his feet and notes that he has a very good grip of the authorities and superb ability to marshal the facts and present them persuasively.” His expertise includes claims for breach of fiduciary duty, acting both for and against company directors; derivative claims brought against directors; acting in relation to shareholder disputes, including under s.994 Companies Act 2006 and in relation to shareholder agreements. Hugh also advises on company law and procedure generally, and in relation to company related agreements and corporate documents.

      Hugh’s company law work often overlaps with his insolvency practice, and he frequently advises liquidators, administrators and directors on both insolvency procedures and company law claims brought in an insolvency context. Hugh has significant experience of defending Company Director Disqualification Act 1986 proceedings, as well as applications for permission to act under the same legislation.

      Other experience includes winding up petitions, including injunctions restraining presentation of petitions or of advertisement, civil fraud claims in a corporate context and actions for the restoration of companies.

      Examples of work recently include:

      • George v McCarthy & Anr [2019] EWHC 2939 (Ch) Hugh was brought in as replacement counsel for the respondents to act in an ongoing complicated and aggressively prosecuted unfair prejudice petition. After a 7-day trial, Hugh obtained a complete dismissal of the petition.
      • Manolete Partners Plc v Akbar & Ors – Hugh was instructed for the Claimant litigation funder in claims seeking over £3.5m in damages and restitutionary payments following alleged misappropriation of company assets by its directors.
      • Acting successfully for professional directors in the early stages of an intented prosecution by the Secretary of State under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA), leading to the proceedings being dropped.
      • Successfully acting for individuals subject to disqualification undertakings under the CDDA 1986 seeking permission to act as directors and members of various incorporated entities in the adult gaming sector.
      • Advising a corporate client in a dispute arising from the sale of shares in a pub company where rectification of the agreement was sought. Hugh also represented the client at mediation.
      • Acting for a company’s assignee in actions to recover sums in excess of £7m from directors for breaches of fiduciary duty and the payment of unlawful dividends.
      • O’Keefe & Anr v Caner & Ors[2017] EWHC 1105 (Ch) – Hugh, together with Terence Mowschenson QC and Nicole Langlois, acted for offshore directors and a corporate services provider in claims and Insolvency Act applications by two Jersey companies and their liquidators in relation to allegedly wrongful payments from the companies of c. €34m. A 6-day preliminary issue trial of a previously undecided issue of Jersey prescription law took place in March 2017.
      • Instructed, with Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, to advise and act for offshore directors in a claim brought against them for wrongly causing or permitting significant payments to be made to or for the benefit of a specific individual.
      • Bridge v Daley & Ors (Chancery Division) – Acting as sole counsel for the 1st – 6th Defendants in a derivative claim brought by a shareholder alleging wide-ranging misfeasance. The defendants were successful in resisting the claimant’s application for permission to continue the claim.
      • Augustine Housing Trust v Official Receiver & Anr (Unreported, Chancery Division)– Successfully opposing the rescission of a winding up order made against a charitable company and resisting the subsequent application for permission to appeal.
      • In re a Company (2016) – Instructed for a shareholder in relation to a complex corporate structure where the parties are in deadlock and unable to progress the operation of the companies involved, necessitating Court intervention.
      • In re a Company (2016)– Instructed a sole counsel for a foreign insurance company and its liquidator in a claim abroad for over £35m in respect of allegedly unlawful distributions made purportedly as commercial payments to a connected entity.
      • In re a Company (2016)– Instructed as sole counsel for a company and its liquidators to bring proceedings (i) against its parent company under a contractual indemnity in a hive-up agreement; alternatively (ii) against the parent company and a director in respect of unlawfully paid dividends. Hugh also represented the claimant at mediation.
      • Lakehouse Contracts Ltd v UPR Services Ltd – [2014] EWHC 1223 (Ch)– Successfully argued for a substantial reduction in costs awarded to a party in light of a failure to agree to mediation or to act reasonably within the context of an application to restrain advertisement of a winding up petition.
      • Re A Company (6236 of 2013) [2014] EWHC 2295 (Ch) – Successfully restraining advertisement of winding up petitions and obtaining an order striking out the same.
    • Insolvency

      Hugh’s substantial insolvency practice comprises both contentious and non-contentious work, with most of his instructions arising in insolvency litigation. He is a junior of choice for a significant number of solicitors and specialist insolvency litigation funders.  He is recommended as a leading junior for insolvency work by both Chambers & Partners (2022) and Legal 500 (2022), in which comments from clients include: “Super bright, down to earth and approachable. He distils complicated concepts into usable language“, “He’s very easy to deal with, takes a sensible view and is very good at talking directly without offending the clients“, “His grasp of the detail is terrific” “Hugh is an extremely good advocate with excellent in depth knowledge of his area“,His advice is very commercial, he’s practical and he distils technical legal issues into clear layman’s terms” and “Very commercial but also technical at the same time. Bright and approachable.

      Hugh’s experience includes both personal and corporate insolvency work, acting for numerous creditors, debtors and all the major insolvency practices. His work frequently includes asset recovery after bankruptcy or liquidation, claims involving antecedent transactions, misfeasance and wrongful and fraudulent trading and other ancillary matters arising out of winding up proceedings, liquidation and administration as well as all other insolvency procedures including IVAs and CVAs. His work increasingly includes the application of cross-border regulations and foreign insolvencies.

      Examples of Hugh’s work include:

      • Manolete Partners Plc v Akbar & Ors – Instructed for the claimant in an action for over £3.5m in damages and restitution in respect of alleged unlawful transactions and misappropriation of company assets. The case settled shortly before trial.
      • Acting for an insolvency litigation funder in an ongoing claim against directors and associated parties for c.£7m in respect of alleged unlawful transactions.
      • Defending claims of c.$40m brought against offshore directors of insolvency Jersey companies.
      • O’Keefe & Anr v Caner & Ors [2017] EWHC 1105 (Ch).Acted (with Terence Mowschenson QC and Nicole Langlois) for offshore directors and a corporate services provider in claims and Insolvency Act applications by two Jersey companies and their liquidators in relation to allegedly wrongful payments from the companies of c. €34m. A 6-day preliminary issue trial of a previously undecided issue of Jersey prescription law took place March 2017.
      • Acting in relation to a claim in the Isle of Man to set aside transactions designed to avoid a judgment of over $50m.
      • Advising and acting for a Brazilian shipping company and a Dutch financial services company seeking to recover monies fraudulently misappropriated in an investment fraud from an insolvent escrow agent.
      • Advising and acting for liquidators in relation to a complex Employee Benefit Trust being carried on through the company in liquidation.
      • Acting for creditors seeking to remove liquidators of a mining company and reverse a critical decision made by them and entered into for reasons of conflict.
      • Advising the trustee in bankruptcy of two former partners of an 1890 Act Partnership on the existence and priority of certain debts following a PVA and IVA of one of the partners, in circumstances where the former supervisors of the PVA were seeking to have their debts paid as a priority from the bankrupt’s assets.
      • Instructed for a construction company to advise on numerous matters concerning the conduct of its former director, and ultimately for an application to restrain a winding up petition brought by the former director and associates of his in circumstances where concerns exist about the legality of that directors’ historical conduct in respect of the company.
      • Instructed for the respondent former employees of a bookkeeping company now in liquidation in respect of claims by the joint liquidators on multiple bases, including transactions at undervalue, preferences, transactions defrauding creditors and proprietary claims.
      • Instructed for a former bankrupt and his wife to defend claims in respect of their marital home brought under ss.423 and 339 IA 1986 by his trustees.
      • In re a Company (2016)– Hugh is instructed a sole Counsel for a foreign insurance company and its liquidator in a claim abroad for over £35m in respect of allegedly unlawful distributions made purportedly as commercial payments to a connected entity.
      • In re Telrock Communications Ltd– Acted for the Joint Liquidators in relation to applications against decisions to refuse proofs of debt. The case was one of the first to utilise the new Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) process in the Companies Court.
      • In re a Company (2016)– Hugh was instructed as sole Counsel for  company and its liquidators to bring proceedings (i) against its parent company under a contractual indemnity in a hive-up agreement; alternatively (ii) against the parent company and a director in respect of unlawfully paid dividends. Hugh also represented the Claimant at mediation.
      • Lakehouse Contracts Ltd v UPR Services Ltd – [2014] EWHC 1223 (Ch)– Successfully argued for a substantial reduction in costs awarded to a party in light of a failure to agree to mediation or to act reasonably within the context of an application to restrain advertisement of a winding up petition.
      • Re A Company (6236 of 2013)[2014] EWHC 2295 (Ch) – Successfully restraining advertisement of winding up petitions and obtaining an order striking out the same.
      • Sanders v Donovan [2012] BPIR 219– Acted for a Trustee in Bankruptcy in a matter raising the application of cross-border insolvency regulations in English law in relation to obtaining property in Morocco.

      Hugh has also contributed to Corporate Rescue and Insolvency journal:  The Inadvertent Trustee: Handling Trust Assets as an Office-holder – (2015) 1 CRI 6, has given seminars and talks for various professional organisations and frequently contributes to the XXIV Insolvency Update.

    • International & Offshore

      A significant portion of Hugh’s work includes international or offshore elements, often including parties, assets or claims located in or connected to jurisdictions such as the BVI, Cayman Islands, UAE, Channel Islands and Switzerland. Recent and current examples of such work includes:

      • Societe Generale v Goldas Kuyumculuk Sanayi Ithalat Ihracat AS & Ors [2017] EWHC 667 (Comm) – Hugh, led by Stephen Moverley Smith QC, successfully obtained orders striking out claims worth $½Bn, discharging world-wide freezing orders and obtaining an inquiry as to damages for the Turkish and UAE incorporated Defendant gold trading and manufacturing companies companies. The applications were heard in January 2017 over 5 days on grounds including failure to serve, abuse of process and want of prosecution. Hugh and Stephen are instructed in relation to the inquiry as to damages. The underlying proceedings related to allegations of conversion of bullion and debts arising from international commodities trading.
      • O’Keefe & Anr v Caner & Ors (Chancery Division)[2017] EWHC 1105 (Ch). Hugh, together with Terence Mowschenson QC and Nicole Langlois, act for offshore directors and a corporate services provider in claims and Insolvency Act applications by two Jersey companies and their liquidators in relation to allegedly wrongful payments from the companies of c. €34m. A 6-day preliminary issue trial of a previously undecided issue of Jersey prescription law took place in March 2017.
      • Contested BVI winding-up proceedings and LCIA Arbitration – Acting (with Stephen Moverley Smith QC) for a Panamanian company in contested winding up proceedings (and an ensuring LCIA arbitration) in the British Virgin Islands concerning a joint venture company incorporated to invest in Nigerian Oil entities.
      • Blackstar (Isle of Man) Ltd v Imperium Trust Company Ltd & Ors [2016] EWHC 3216 (Ch) – Hugh acted (with Bajul Shah) for the Defendant at the trial of the claims between off-shore trust entities for the costs of litigation relating to the management of EBTs said to be due under contractual indemnities.
      • Fraud and Tracing Claim (Chancery Division) – Hugh is instructed for the Claimants in proceedings to recover from a company in liquidation monies paid into an offshore escrow account where the initial payment was procured by fraud.
      • Ward & Ors v Savill & Ors (Commercial Court) – Hugh is instructed for over 100 claimant investors in a complex civil fraud claim worth over £35m in relation to allegedly fraudulent tax avoidance film schemes (each of which was an unregulated collective investment scheme) where the total fraud alleged exceeds £100m. The scheme involves numerous offshore entities, trusts and assets, including in the BVI, Monaco and Switzerland.
      • JPC SPC 4 & Another v Schools & Others (Chancery Division) – Acted (with Robert Levy QC) for one of 15 defendants in a complex £110m claim by the receivers of an Cayman Islands fund alleging, inter alia, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unlawful means conspiracy, also involving multiple world-wide freezing injunctions. A successful settlement was reached in relation to the represented party.
      • Advising numerous investors in relation to a multi-million pound fraudulent carbon-credit trading tax relief scheme involving companies from numerous jurisdictions including Ireland, Mauritius and the Marshall Islands.
      • Bicester GP Ltd & Ors v London & Metropolitan International Ltd & Ors (Commercial Court) – Acting as sole Counsel for 2 of 6 defendants in a multi-million pound claim brought by Bermudian, Irish and English companies in respect of false invoicing during the development of shopping villages and involving claims of deceit, proprietary relief, restitution, inducement of breach of contract and conspiracy.
      • Hakmi v Hakmi & Ors [2014] EWHC 1444 (Ch) – Acted for the Claimant (with Michael Booth QC) in a dispute alleged by Ds to be worth in excess of £20m between brothers and Marshall Islands companies concerning interests in property in England, allegations of sham charges and Dubai based partnership agreements. The 10-day trial included questions of the application of both substantive and procedural Dubai/UAE Law. Hugh was instructed as sole Counsel in relation to a costs appeal.
    • Partnership and Joint Ventures

      Hugh’s practice covers all areas of partnership law, spanning traditional 1890 Act partnerships, LLPs and joint ventures which raise issues of the existence of partnerships. He specialises in litigation arising out of disputes between partners and the breakdown or insolvency of partnerships but is also frequently asked to advise on discrete areas of partnership law. He has acted for professional firms as well as family or individual clients in relation to partnerships and structures involving partnerships and other joint ventures.

      Examples of Hugh’s work in this area include:

      • Lawlor & Ors v Medivet Group Ltd & Anr –Instructed for the many Claimant vets in their partnership dispute with Medivet, one of the largest veterinary services providers in the country. The matter settled shortly before a 3 weeks trial in 2021.
      • Bugden v Grosvenor Partners LLP & Anr– Hugh successfully acted for the Defendants in this claim for an account and raising extensive allegations of wrongdoing, the action being dismissed after trial.
      • Instructed to advise the trustee in bankruptcy of two former partners of an 1890 Act Partnership on the existence and priority of certain debts following a PVA and IVA of one of the partners.
      • Successfully appearing for members of various LLPs in a complicated application seeking permission to act following the giving of disqualification undertakings.
      • Advising on the issues of prospective liability of members of a number of LLPs to make contributions to those LLPs pursuant to respective partnership agreements.
      • Acting for several partners against a former partner seeking declaratory relief and a final injunction restraining conduct in relation to a breach of restrictive covenant contained in a Deed of Retirement following the cessation of the partnership.
      • Acting in a claim seeking an order dissolving a partnership together with an account and associated relief.
      • Contested BVI winding-up proceedings and LCIA Arbitration – Acting (with Stephen Moverley Smith QC) for a Panamanian company in contested winding up proceedings (and an ensuring LCIA arbitration) in the British Virgin Islands concerning a joint venture company incorporated to invest in Nigerian Oil entities.
      • Hakmi v Hakmi & Ors [2014] EWHC 1444 (Ch) – Acted for the Claimant (with Michael Booth QC) in a dispute alleged by Ds to be worth in excess of £20m between brothers and Marshall Islands companies concerning interests in property in England, allegations of sham charges and Dubai based partnership agreements. The 10-day trial included questions of the application of both substantive and procedural Dubai/UAE Law. Hugh was instructed as sole Counsel in a related costs appeal.
    • Trusts, Probate & Estates

      Hugh was awarded the 3 Verulam Buildings Prize for the highest mark in University Finals in Equity. His practice now encompasses a wide range of matters relating to trusts, equity, probate and estates. Hugh is often instructed to act or advise in relation to complex offshore trust structures, and in particular in respect of the recovery of assets held both on and off-shore in trust (whether express or as a result of other actions). Many of the commercial and fraud claims referred to above include determination of trust issues or the recover of assets held in various forms of trust, many of which arise in the off-shore context.  Hugh has also acted in relation to fraud claims arising out of the insolvency of offshore protected cell companies.

      Hugh also has experience of probate matters and estate claims, including Inheritance Act 1975 claims and advising in relation to seeking grants of administration under the Non-Contentious Probate Rules.

      Aside from those cases already mentioned in above sections which include trusts issues, specific examples of recent or current work in this area include:

      • Blackstar (Isle of Man) Ltd v Imperium Trust Company Ltd & Ors [2016] EWHC 3216 (Ch) – Hugh acted (with Bajul Shah) for the Defendant trust company at the trial of the claims for the costs of litigation relating to the management of EBTs said to be due under contractual indemnities.
      • Re Ricks, Deceased – Hugh was instructed for the Defendant executors and beneficiaries in relation to claims contesting the validity of a will and an alternative Inheritance Act 1975 claim. The claim successfully settled.

       

    Other information

    • Recommendations

      Chambers and Partners (2022)

      “His advice is very commercial, he’s practical and he distils technical legal issues into clear layman’s terms.”

      “A really effective advocate, who is a very good sounding board throughout the case. He achieves remarkable settlements for clients.”

      Legal 500 (2022)

      “He is really top notch. With superb strategic judgement, he is very easy to work with and a star in the making.”

      “Hugh is a very high-quality advocate on paper and on his feet.”

      “He has the Midas touch and can spot winning points that others do not. He combines excellent factual analysis with strong interpersonal skills. One to watch.”

      “Hugh is an extremely good advocate with excellent in depth knowledge of his area.”

      Chambers and Partners (2021)

      “He is just brilliant; he explains things in a pragmatic way and he is really good at providing support to the client.”

      “He’s super bright, down to earth and approachable. He distils complicated concepts into easy to understand language.”

      “He’s very easy to deal with, takes a sensible view and is very good at talking directly without offending the clients.”

      “His grasp of the detail is terrific.”

      “He’s brilliant –  incredibly intelligent but also personable and good to work with. He goes the extra mile to be available.”

      “Hugh is hard-working and will go the extra mile.”

      Legal 500 (2021)

      “He is a highly effective advocate both on paper and in person.”

      “Excellent junior. Focussed and hard working. Good written style.”

      “Very commercial but also technical at the same time. Bright and approachable.”

      “Very good grip of the authorities and superb ability to marshal the facts and present them persuasively.”

      Chambers and Partners (2020)

      “Considered a rising star in the commercial chancery market, born out of his impressive roles in a number of significant recent commercial matters.  He excels across a broad spectrum of shareholder disputes, trusts work, property litigation and civil fraud matters.”

      “He is incredibly bright and very pragmatic. He’s very down to earth, highly knowledgeable on insolvency and gives clear advice.”

      “What I appreciated was that from the beginning we were able to have an open and direct conversation and to discuss the strategic direction of proceedings. He was able to tackle procedural hurdles and he was very supportive of us and the client. He was good at being available, collaborative, and able to chat through challenges.”

      “He is a pleasure to work with and a charming practitioner who provides quality advice and always offers a clear litigation strategy.”

      “He is an effective and persuasive advocate.”

      “Extremely commercial and good at understanding the big picture.”

      “Very supportive of both solicitors and clients, highly collaborative and good at making himself available. He is more than willing to chat through the challenges in a case.”

      “A well-regarded junior with a broad insolvency and restructuring practice spanning both contentious and non-contentious work. He is particularly adept at advising on cross-border matters and foreign insolvencies. He also offers expertise in asset recovery after bankruptcy or liquidation, claims involving antecedent transactions and misfeasance, IVAs and CVAs and winding-up proceedings.”

      Legal 500 (2020)

      “He manages to combine a robust style with considerable expertise and brain-power, and is a star to watch for the future.”

      “Terrific advocate, immaculate written work.”

      “A prodigiously hard worker, he turns around big pieces of work in the blink of an eye.”

      “He has excellent judgement and a most incisive and agile mind.”

      Legal 500 (2019)

      ”Very clever, very capable.”

    • Academic History
      • Lincoln’s Inn (Lord Mansfield Scholarship, Buchanan Prize, Hardwicke Entrance Award)
      • MA (Hons) Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (Choral Scholarship, Academic Scholarship, Tapp Postgraduate Scholarship, 3 Verulam Buildings Prize for Trusts and Equity in University Finals)
      • BVC at BBP Law School (Outstanding, joint-highest mark in year)
    • Professional Memberships
      • Chancery Bar Association
      • Commercial Bar Association
      • Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association
      • Contentious Trusts Association (ConTrA)
      • Volunteer for the Personal Insolvency Lawyers Advice and Representation Scheme (PILARS)
      • Denning Society of Lincoln’s Inn
    • Lecture and Seminars

      Hugh is regularly asked to deliver lecture and seminars to clients and professional associations on issues arising across his practice areas. Details of upcoming events, topics and Hugh’s availability can be obtained from the practice management team at clerks@xxiv.co.uk.