Robert has a broad junior commercial chancery practice, evenly divided between trusts, probate, and contentious estates disputes, and general commercial and aviation litigation. He regularly appears in court in his own right, as well as taking instructions as junior counsel and enjoys working as part of a team.
Robert is often instructed in cases with an international aspect, which he combines with his domestic practice. As well as appearing regularly in the County Court and High Court, he has significant experience of litigating trusts and probate issues before the Family Court. Examples of Robert’s current and recent work include:
- Sabbagh v Khoury & ors (ongoing): Robert is a member of the counsel team representing the sons of the late Hassib Sabbagh in a c. USD 600 million claim brought by their sister in the Commercial Court.
- Re a small self-administered scheme (ongoing): Robert is instructed as part of a team of trusts, pension and tax counsel in relation to the recovery of the assets of an English pension scheme from various offshore structures promoted by a firm of tax advisers.
- The Libyan Investment Authority v Goldman Sachs International  EWHC 2530 (Ch): Robert was instructed as a junior member of the counsel team for the LIA’s claim against Goldman Sachs in the Chancery Division in relation to a series of derivative investments entered into before the 2011 revolution. The case was described by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases of 2016.
- Tanir v Tanir  EWHC 3363 (QB),  4 WLR 8: Robert acted as sole counsel in an action to enforce a Turkish judgment in England and Wales at common law. The case has clarified the mandatory terms of CPR r. 13.2 requiring the Court to set aside default judgment where the Court office had failed to serve the claim form.
- JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v Pugachev: Robert was instructed to assist in an application to discharge a freezing injunction obtained by the liquidator of a Russian bank.
Robert has been instructed in relation to litigation in the DIFC in Dubai, Jersey, the Isle of Man, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. He enjoys delivering talks and seminars on topics relating to his practice, examples of which can be seen on this page.
After reading for his first degree in English, Robert completed a doctorate in Old Icelandic law and literature. He taught at Oxford before coming to the Bar.
Areas of experience
Robert has been instructed in relation to arbitrations whose subject-matter varies from claims between international banks over loan agreements, to shipping litigation and partnership disputes over the construction of indemnity clauses. He also has experience of
- contested applications to enforce Nigerian and Dubai arbitration awards under the New York Convention; and
- preparing an application for a world-wide freezing injunction in aid of an arbitration agreement.
With Michael Black QC and Tom Montagu-Smith QC, Robert drafted the Arbitration and Mediation Rules for the International Arbitration Centre of the Astana International Financial Centre.
Robert has a broad experience of commercial and consumer disputes in the aviation sector. His work has involved:
- advising in relation to maintenance and aircraft management agreement disputes;
- acting on behalf of an airline in a significant aircraft lease dispute;
- enforcement actions to recover outstanding rent under engine lease agreements; and
- appearing on behalf of airlines in relation to claims for compensation for delayed flights under Regulation 261/2004,including dealing with costs issues arising under the European Small Claims Procedure.
Robert has provided training in Regulation 261 disputes to CEDR adjudicators.
- Banking and Financial Services
Robert (along with Edward Cumming and Timothy Sherwin) was instructed in relation to The Libyan Investment Authority v Goldman Sachs International, a large claim by a sovereign wealth fund in undue influence and unconscionable bargain over the sale of derivative investment products.
Robert has also advised banks on claims over lending agreements and has experience of settling particulars of claim for interest-rate hedging product mis-selling claims under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
He is a member of the executive committee of the Financial Services Lawyers Association.
- Civil Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery
Robert’s experience of civil fraud, asset tracing and recovery litigation often has a cross-border element. For example, he has:
- been instructed to assist in an application to discharge a freezing injunction obtained by the liquidator of a major Russian bank in JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v Pugachev;
- appeared in his own right in Tanir v Tanir, a procedurally complex claim to enforce a Turkish judgment in England;
- assisted with the preparation of an urgent application to restrain the liquidation of assets transferred in specie in consideration for shares in a Cayman fund;
- prepared an application for an injunction to restrain misuse of confidential information and breach of restrictive covenants in an employment contract;
- assisted in defending a claim of fraudulent misrepresentation arising from a failed Anglo-Thai joint venture;
- prepared an application for a world-wide freezing injunction pursuant to an English arbitration agreement between Swiss and Kazakh parties over a significant fraud;
- assisted in a claim for an account against a former solicitor for breach of trust; and
- been seconded to a firm of solicitors to prepare and collate evidence in support of a freezing injunction.
- Commercial Litigation
Robert is often instructed in relation to general commercial disputes in the County Court and High Court. His relevant experience includes:
- contractual disputes over industrial plant and machinery;
- claims arising from real property transactions against agents;
- advising in relation to claims by a lender against property developers;
- an application challenging the English court’s jurisdiction to hear a Russian tort claim between a bank and a large commercial borrower;
- assisting in a long-running dispute in Anguilla over the control of a luxury resort; and
- experience of franchise disputes in the car sales and catering industries.
Robert has broad experience of company law issues, including:
- in the Cayman Islands, assisting with claims within the liquidation of a Madoff feeder fund regarding the treatment of redeemable shares in winding up proceedings;
- unfair prejudice petitions under s. 994 Companies Act 2006;
- disputes arising from shareholders’ agreements;
- claims for breaches of directors’ duties;
- applications to restore companies to the register and extend the period for the registration of charges; and
- applications to remove information from the register.
Insolvency matters form an important part of Robert’s practice:
- Robert appears in the High Court in relation to winding up petitions, on behalf of petitioners, other creditors and respondent companies. He was instructed by Herefordshire District Council in relation to the long-running winding up of Re Hereford United Football Club (1939) Ltd.
Robert has a busy personal insolvency practice, with experience of acting for petitioners and trustees in bankruptcy in the County Court, from applications to set aside statutory demands and the first hearing of bankruptcy petitions to annulment applications under section 282 Insolvency Act 1986 and applications for possession on behalf of a trustee. He has advised on cross-border insolvency issues.
- Professional Negligence
Robert has been instructed in relation to a significant Jersey professional negligence claim against a curator and trustee. He is also currently engaged in a long-running matter involving solicitors’ negligence arising from a complex conveyancing dispute. He has assisted in relation to a claim against the receiver of a hotel in the Caribbean and also has experience of preparing instructions to an expert witness in relation to a negligence claim against a pension trustee and administrator.
- Real Estate Litigation
Robert is instructed both as an advocate and in an advisory capacity in relation to real property matters. His experience to date includes:
- advising on an action for specific performance of a contract of sale, and the enforcement of solicitors’ undertakings in conveyancing transactions;
- litigation in the the First-tier Tribunal regarding Land Registry issues;
- advising on the construction of leases, including in relation to telecommunications equipment and the impact of the Telecommunications Act 1984; and
- commercial and residential possession claims.
Along with instructions in relation to the liquidation of Hereford United Football Club, Robert has advised on and settled Particulars of Claim for a motor racing sponsorship dispute.
- Trusts, Probate & Estates
Robert has experience in contentious and non-contentious trusts and probate litigation, including:
- contentious probate claims relating to testamentary capacity and the formal validity of wills;
- claims for provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
- complex conflict of laws issues in cross-border succession;
- advising on deeds of appointment;
- drafting an injunction to restrain the publication of confidential information relating to a trust;
- in Jersey, a claim against a trustee and curator (comparable to a Mental Capacity Act 2005 deputy); and
- in the Bahamas, Robert assisted in the successful resistance of an appeal against interlocutory orders on the ground of judicial bias in Belgravia International Bank & Trust Company v CIBC Trust Company, a large trust dispute.
Robert together with Elspeth Talbot Rice QC and Timothy Sherwin presented a paper on the variation of trusts at the 2016 XXIV Old Buildings Geneva conference, the proposals in which have been adopted by the States of Jersey which is putting forward amendments to the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 to reflect them.
- BA English (1st; top of year), Pembroke College, Oxford
- MSt (Distinction), DPhil, St John’s College, Oxford
- GDL (Distinction), LLB (1st), BPTC (Outstanding), City University London
Scholarships and Prizes
- Barstow Scholarship (City University)
- David Karmel and Birkenhead Awards (Gray’s Inn)
- North Senior Scholarship (St John’s College)
- Research Council Doctoral Studentship
- Griffiths Memorial Scholarship (St John’s College)
- Gibbs Prize (University of Oxford)
- Levick Prize and Domus Scholarships (Pembroke College)
- Chancery Bar Association
- Commercial Bar Association
- Financial Services Lawyers Association
Talks and Seminars
Topics of Robert’s recent talks and lectures include:
- Digital Assets and Probate (November 2018)
- Subject access requests and litigation (May/September 2018)
- Variation of Trusts (XXIV Geneva Conference 2016)
- Punitive Damages under the law of the DIFC (XXIV Dubai Conference 2016)
- Donationes mortis causa for ConTrA (May 2016)
- Consumer aviation law training for CEDR adjudicators (March 2016)
- Penalty clauses after Cavendish and ParkingEye (March 2016)