Martin specialises in International and domestic litigation and arbitration, in the fields of commercial, civil fraud and asset tracing, company, financial services and structured investments, insolvency, trusts and business law.

A substantial proportion of Martin’s practice involves cross border litigation where jurisdiction, choice of law, injunctive relief, stay proceedings, anti suit injunctions and enforcement issues frequently arise.  Clients refer to Martin as “an authorative presence in large cases” (Legal 500 – 2010).

Recent notable cases include;

  • IPOC International Growth Fund a hostile multi jurisdictional claim concerning ownership of a controlling stake worth up to $1.5 billion in  Russia’s second largest cellular telephony corporation;
  • Lancer Offshore inc and The Omnifund Ltd – lead counsel for SEC appointed Receiver in a claim on behalf of BVI hedge funds against 44 defendants. Receiver appointed in Miami where funds’ losses estimated at just short of US$1bn. The claim is for recovery of excessive payments to redeeming investors. Martin is also acting as the Receiver’s expert on BVI law in the US proceedings;
  • Atlas Petroleum – lead counsel for the Respondents in this LCIA arbitration which involves a multi-million dollar claim by APEX for damages for losses alleged to be the result of breaches of a contract for the hire of a jack-up oilrig in drilling operations in Tunisian offshore waters. Parallel multi jurisdictional satellite litigation in London, Cyprus, Cameroon, Panama, Houston, New York and Dubai.

Areas of experience

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  • Arbitration

    Martin has been instructed frequently in international arbitrations where the arbitrations have been either freestanding or involved related satellite and/or associated proceedings. Recent examples include:

    • IPOC International Growth Fund Ltd v. LV Finance Inc and Ors. Martin was lead English counsel for IPOC in this highly contentious and extremely complicated claim by an open-ended collective investment fund concerning ownership of a controlling stake then worth up to US$1.5bn in Russia’s then second largest cellular telephony corporation. There were two arbitrations in Switzerland in this case, one an ad hoc arbitration in Geneva, the other an ICC arbitration in Zurich. Other jurisdictions involved, and in which Martin either acted or advised as lead counsel, were BVI, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Russia, the Netherlands, the Bahamas, Bermuda and London.
    • International arbitration under the UN’s Energy Charter Treaty (2008). A claim for around US$30-50bn. The hearings took place at the Hague. Martin gave trust law expert evidence for the Russian Federation.
    • Atlas Petroleum Exploration Worldwide Limited v. Seawolf Oilfield (Cyprus) Limited and Seawolf Oilfield Services Limited (settled 2010). Martin was lead counsel for the Respondents in this LCIA arbitration which involved a multi-million dollar claim by APEX for damages for losses alleged to be the result of breaches of a contract for the hire of a jack-up oilrig in drilling operations in Tunisian offshore waters. Issues included the interpretation of a standard form drilling contract on which liability and quantum issues turned arising from loss of equipment down hole. Parallel litigation included satellite court proceedings in the London Commercial Court, Cyprus, Cameroons, Panama, Houston, New York (were there had been Schedule ‘B’ attachments) and the UAE (where two brand new rigs had been arrested in alleged conformity with maritime law). Top tier US and UAE law firms including Fulbright and Jaworski LLP, Houston and New York, and Al Tamini & Company, Dubai, all worked with Martin and his junior, Tom Montagu-Smith.
    • In an international arbitration under the UN’s Energy Charter Treaty (2008) a preliminary issue involved the right of offshore corporate claimants to sue for around US$30-50bn. Martin gave trust law expert evidence for the Russian Federation in relation to the control of trustees of approximately a dozen complex (confidential) offshore trusts whose principal assets consisted of shareholdings of offshore holding and operating companies. The hearings took place at the Hague.
  • Banking and Financial Services

    Martin has considerable experience in acting and advising on banking and financial services issues:

    • Burditt and Ors v. Smith & Williamson Pension Consultancy Ltd. Martin was lead counsel the claimants in this litigation in which high net worth individuals claimed compensation for losses arising from a failed film partnership scheme. Claim settled on highly beneficial terms. Involved, inter alia, allegations of unlawful establishment and promotion of CIS.
    • Martin is instructed on behalf of investors in relation to a multi million pound claim arising from alleged breaches of FSMA and RAO by well known international, UK and Swiss investment advisers and managers. Mismanagement by these entities included advising the clients to invest in highly geared derivatives of fund of funds including feeder funds (2010).
    • Lancer Management Group LLC & Ors v A Analyst Ltd & Ors: Martin is acting as the English/BVI law expert appointed by the SEC Receiver in multi-party litigation in Florida.  The litigation is the result of failure of a number of funds whose assets had been fraudulently miscalculated for the purposes of an investment manager’s Ponzi Scheme pursuant to which numerous investors had been overpaid following redemptions at the expense of others who had not done so.
    • Lancer Offshore Inc and The Omnifund Ltd v Banque de Patrimoines Prives Geneve & Ors: Action on behalf of BVI hedge funds against 44 defendants in numerous jurisdictions.  Restitution claim for recovery of excessive payments to redeeming investors mirroring SEC proceedings in the US.
    • Knox D’Arcy Asset Managment Ltd v Stakeholders Momentum Investment Trust PLC: Martin acted for the claimant investment manager in a successful part 24 application to secure judgment on liability under a Management Agreement and Warrants Deed.
  • Civil Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery

    This is an area in which Martin has practised for most of his career. A well known case with a fascinating subject matter (a cash transfer in a suitcase allegedly for illegally acquired patents at the Hotel du Rhone in Geneva) was Owens Bank Ltd v. Bracco (see with regard to questions of jurisdiction and enforcement [1992] 2 AC 443 and C-129/92 and under Martin’s profile for ‘Commercial Litigation’).

    More recent examples of civil fraud litigation include:

    • Various actions for the Board of Trustees of the Sabah Foundation (1998-2010). Martin has been lead counsel throughout for this State organisation in complex litigation arising from the illegal exploitation of virgin rainforest and the siphoning off of proceeds into vast development projects in Malaysia. Cases have involved a very wide spectrum of legal and equitable causes of action and points of law.
    • IPOC International Growth Fund Ltd v. LV Finance Inc and Ors. Martin was lead counsel for IPOC in this highly contentious and extremely complicated claim by an open-ended collective investment fund concerning ownership of a controlling stake worth up to US$1.5bn in Russia’s second largest cellular telephony corporation. The jurisdictions involved included BVI, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Russia, The Netherlands, the Bahamas, Bermuda and London.
    • Steinberg & Ors (Lancer Offshore Inc and The Omnifund Limited) (ongoing 2010). Martin is lead counsel instructed by the SEC appointed Receiver in a claim on behalf of BVI hedge funds against 44 defendants who were the probably unwitting recipients of a fraudulent investment manager’s illicitly calculated redemptions. Receiver appointed in Miami where funds’ losses estimated at just short of US$1bn. The claim is for recovery of excessive payments to redeeming investors. Martin is also acting as the Receiver’s expert on BVI law in the US proceedings.
  • Commercial Litigation

    A substantial proportion of Martin’s practice involves litigation in which a number of his practice areas interlock, viz., Commercial, Company, Trust and Civil Fraud, where jurisdiction and enforcement issues also frequently arise. A well known case of the latter kind with a fascinating subject matter (a cash transfer in a suitcase allegedly for illegally acquired patents at the Hotel du Rhone in Geneva) was Owens Bank Ltd v Bracco [1992] 2 AC 443 (C-129/92).

    Among cases which involved all of these areas were various actions brought by The Board of Trustees of the Sabah Foundation (1998-2010). Martin has been lead counsel throughout for this State organisation in complex litigation arising from the illegal exploitation of virgin rainforest and the siphoning off of proceeds into vast development projects in Malaysia. Cases have involved a very wide spectrum of legal and equitable causes of action and points of law.

    Another recent case was IPOC International Growth Fund Ltd v. LV Finance Inc and Ors. Martin was lead counsel for IPOC in this highly contentious and extremely complicated claim by an open-ended collective investment fund concerning ownership of a controlling stake worth up to US$1.5bn in Russia’s second largest cellular telephony corporation. The jurisdictions involved included BVI, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Russia, The Netherlands, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the London Commercial Court.

    Another was Atlas Petroleum Exploration Worldwide Limited v. Seawolf Oilfield (Cyprus) Limited and Seawolf Oilfield Services Limited (settled 2010). Martin was lead counsel for the Respondents in this LCIA arbitration which involves a multi-million dollar claim by APEX for damages for losses alleged to be the result of breaches of a contract for the hire of a jack-up oilrig in drilling operations in Tunisian offshore waters. Issues included the interpretation of a standard form drilling contract on which liability and quantum issues turned arising from loss of equipment down hole. Parallel litigation included satellite court proceedings in the London Commercial Court, Cyprus, Cameroons, Panama, Houston, New York (were there had been Schedule ‘B’ attachments) and the UAE (where two brand new rigs had been arrested in alleged conformity with maritime law). Top tier US and UAE law firms including Fulbright and Jaworski LLP, Houston and New York, and Al Tamini & Company, Dubai, all worked with Martin and his junior, Tom Montagu-Smith.

    In Steinberg & Ors (Lancer Offshore Inc and The Omnifund Limited) (ongoing 2010), Martin is lead counsel instructed by the SEC appointed Receiver in a claim on behalf of BVI hedge funds against 44 defendants. Receiver appointed in Miami where funds’ losses estimated at just short of US$1bn. The claim is for recovery of excessive payments to redeeming investors. Martin is also acting as the Receiver’s expert on BVI law in the US proceedings.

    Cases more typical of onshore commercial litigation have included Burditt and Ors v. Smith & Williamson Pension Consultancy Ltd. Martin was lead counsel to the claimants in this litigation in which high net worth individuals claimed compensation for losses arising from a failed film partnership scheme. Claim settled on highly beneficial terms. Involved, inter alia, allegations of unlawful establishment and promotion of CIS.

    A more recent case is Knox D’Arcy Asset Management Ltd v Stakeholders Momentum Investment Trust PLC (2010). Martin acted for the claimant Investment Manager in a successful part 24 application in which his client the claimant secured judgment on liability in relation to one of a number of causes of action arising under a Management Agreement and Warrants Deed. There were complex interpretation issues involved on the application – the defendant, which at the time that these instruments were entered into had been listed on the LSE but had since been delisted following a takeover, had argued that the client had miscalculated the number of warrants to which the claimant was entitled on termination of the Management Agreement.

    Martin is advising investors in relation to a multi million pound claim arising from alleged breaches of FSMA and RAO by well known international, UK and Swiss investment advisers and managers. Mismanagement by these entities included advising the clients to invest in highly geared derivatives of fund of funds including feeder funds.

  • Company

    Martin is a specialist Company law practioner. He is the author of the section on Takeovers in Blackstone’s ‘Guide to the Companies Act 2006′. He also advised BVI lawyers in relation to the draft bill for the BVI Business Companies Act 2004.

    Examples of recent and ongoing litigation include:

    • Various actions for the Board of Trustees of the Sabah Foundation (1998-2010). Martin has been lead counsel throughout for this State organisation in complex litigation arising from the illegal exploitation of virgin rainforest and the siphoning off of proceeds into vast development projects in Malaysia. Cases have involved a very wide spectrum of legal and equitable causes of action and points of law.
    • IPOC International Growth Fund Ltd v. LV Finance Inc and Ors. Martin was lead counsel for IPOC in this highly contentious and extremely complicated claim by an open-ended collective investment fund concerning ownership of a controlling stake worth up to US$1.5bn in Russia’s second largest cellular telephony corporation. The jurisdictions involved included BVI, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Russia, The Netherlands, the Bahamas, Bermuda and London.
  • Energy, Oil & Gas

    Martin is an experienced litigator whose disputes often cover the energy, oil and gas industries.  For example:

    • Atlas Petroleum Exploration Worldwide Limited v. Seawolf Oilfield (Cyprus) Limited and Seawolf Oilfield Services Limited (settled 2010). Martin was lead counsel for the Respondents in this dispute which involves a US$30m claim by APEX for damages for losses alleged to be the result of breaches of a contract for the hire of a jack-up oilrig for drilling operations in Tunisian offshore waters. Claim in LCIA arbitration in London where construction of drilling contract, liability and remoteness issues arising from loss of equipment down hole the primary focus. Also major parallel satellite court proceedings in London Commercial Court, Cyrpus, Cameroons, Panama, Houston, New York and the UAE (where two brand new rigs had been arrested in alleged conformity with maritime law). Top tier US and UAE law firms including Fulbright and Jaworski LLP, Houston and New York, and Al Tamini & Company, Dubai, all worked with Martin Mann and his junior, Tom Montagu-Smith.
  • Hedge Funds & Structured Investment Vehicles

    Martin has considerable experience in disputes involving hedge funds and other structured investment vehicles:

    • IPOC International Growth Fund Ltd v. LV Finance Inc and Ors. Martin was lead counsel for IPOC in this highly contentious and extremely complicated claim by an open-ended collective investment fund concerning ownership of a controlling stake worth up to US$1.5bn in Russia’s second largest cellular telephony corporation. The jurisdictions involved included BVI, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Russia, The Netherlands, the Bahamas, Bermuda and London.
    • Re K1 Invest Ltd (in Liquidation) (2009). Martin advised Grant Thornton’s appointees as joint liquidators of two hedge fund companies placed in creditors’ voluntary liquidation in the BVI in November 2009. These are K1 Invest Ltd and K1 Global Ltd. Defalcations of up to €350m have been alleged against the controller of these companies, the now infamous German hedge fund manager ‘Helmut Kiener’ who had set them up to market derivatives in leveraged funds selling into the German market.
    • Steinberg & Ors (Lancer Offshore Inc and The Omnifund Limited) (ongoing 2010). Martin is lead counsel instructed by the SEC appointed Receiver in a claim on behalf of BVI hedge funds against 44 defendants. Receiver appointed in Miami where funds’ losses estimated at just short of US$1bn. The claim is for recovery of excessive payments to redeeming investors. Martin is also acting as the Receiver’s expert on BVI law in the US proceedings.
    • Martin is instructed on behalf of investors in relation to a multi million pound claim arising from alleged breaches of FSMA and RAO by well known international, UK and Swiss investment advisers and managers. Mismanagement by these entities included advising the clients to invest in highly geared derivatives of fund of funds including feeder funds.
  • Insolvency

    Martin is a contributor to Tolley’s ‘Insolvency Law’ and has advised and appeared in insolvency and insolvency related situations throughout his career. He also advised BVI lawyers in relation to the draft Bill which became the BVI Insolvency Act.

    Recent examples of insolvency and insolvency related cases include:

    • International Enterprise Ltd, involving the winding up of the above company in the BVI, part of the Hong Kong liquidation of the Akai Group, and Re K1 Invest Ltd (in Liquidation) (2009). In the latter case Martin has advised joint liquidators of two hedge fund companies placed in creditors’ voluntary liquidation in the BVI in November 2009. The advice was primarily procedural, relating to notices (and entitlements to notices) and the convening, mode and whereabouts of creditors’ meetings. Defalcations of up to €350m had been alleged against the controller of these companies, the now infamous German hedge fund manager ‘Helmut Kiener’ who had set them up to market derivatives in leveraged funds selling into the German market.
    • Steinberg & Ors (Lancer Offshore Inc and The Omnifund Limited) (ongoing 2010). Martin is lead counsel instructed by the SEC appointed Receiver in a claim on behalf of BVI hedge funds against 44 defendants. Receiver appointed in Miami where funds’ losses estimated at just short of US$1bn. The claim is for recovery of excessive payments to redeeming investors.
  • International & Offshore

    Most of Martin Mann QC’s work in recent years has had an international dimension to it. He has appeared in the courts of the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Malaysia (including at first instance in Sabah). His client base is similarly international in nature, with clients from Singapore and Hong Kong to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

    Over the past four or five of the last eight years, Martin has spent a significant amount of time in the Federation of Malaysia acting for a state agency in multi-million dollar litigation arising from breaches of trustees’ and directors’ fiduciary duties, fraud and dishonesty.  Remedies sought include traceable fruits of the illegal exploitation of virgin forests. These are alleged to include extremely valuable property assets in Malaysia.

    For reported cases of an international and offshore nature, please see Martin’s individual specialty profiles of Business Disputes, Company, and Trusts, Probate and Estates.

  • Real Estate Litigation

    Martin’s real estate litigation practice concentrates on commercial property disputes.  He has over 30 years experience covering:

    • Business tenancies (examples of cases include: tenant entitled to a new tenancy where a landlord’s proposed development works would not require the landlord to have access for a substantial time)
    • Leasehold enfranchisement
    • Joint venture and development agreements (examples of cases include:  review of major property development (The Bull Ring) in one of the UK’s largest cities)
    • Restrictive covenants: interpretation, enforcement, modification and discharge.  Martin was counsel in Federated Homes Ltd v. Mill Lodge Properties Ltd which is still the leading authority for the proposition that the benefit of covenants which touch and concern land conveyed pass without the necessity for any express assignment of the benefit, and that they attach to each and every part of the land for which it was originally taken.
    • Mortgages (examples of cases include: looking at whether a mortgagee was fixed with constructive notice of all the facts where the solicitor was acting for both parties)

    His practice also encompasses other areas of law involving property matters including:

    • Contentious probate
    • Commercial litigation and contentious trust litigation (examples of cases include: multi-million pound dispute concerning monies siphoned off from illegal exploitation of virgin rainforest and invested in a number of major property developments)
    • Insolvency
    • Professional negligence (examples of cases include: liability of solicitors for loss of a chance where they sent property documents to the wrong address)
    • Company law (examples of cases include: acting on behalf of well known beneficiary and blue chip corporate trustee concerning entitlement to undivided interest worth billions US in a controlling holding of shares in an iconic listed property development company)

    If you need further details, please contact Sue Medder (sue.medder@xxiv.co.uk) or Perry Brown (perry.brown@xxiv.co.uk) on 020 7691 2424.

  • Trusts, Probate & Estates

    Trusts (including variations), probate and inheritance family provision advice and litigation have been the bread and butter of Martin’s practice throughout much of his career at the Bar and he is recommended as leading silk in this area by Legal 500. He also tried what was believed to be the first reported case under the Trusts of Land Act. See Rodway v. Landy upheld on appeal in [2001] Ch 703 CA.

    Recent litigation includes:

    • In an international arbitration under the UN’s Energy Charter Treaty (2008) a preliminary issue involved the right of offshore corporate claimants to sue for around US$30-50bn. Martin gave trust law expert evidence for the Russian Federation in relation to the control of trustees of approximately a dozen complex (confidential) offshore trusts whose principal assets consisted of shareholdings of offshore holding and operating companies. The hearings took place at the Hague.
    • Mascarenhas v. Bennet & Ors (ongoing 2010). Martin is lead counsel for the principal defendant in this hostile trust litigation in the Isle of Man where the claimant, a widow, is alleging her late husband’s sister, is nominee of a sham trust under which she is expressed to be a principal beneficiary. The widow claims the trust fund (worth many US$millions) for the estate of which she is the executrix. Title to sue, disclosure and many other trust and probate issues abound.

    Martin is currently acting for one of a number of professional trustees where a hostile application has been made by other professional trustees for his removal and there is a dispute, among a variety of issues, between separate classes of beneficiaries as to the administration of the trusts (under which the principal assets include shares of successful family-run companies) and whether all or only some and if so which of trustees should be removed and as to the identity and characters of any new trustees. Capacity of a settlor to appoint new trustees is also in point.

    Martin is also currently advising in relation other (confidential) offshore trusts.