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Alex Carless

Alex specialises in a broad range of commercial matters, including Banking & Finance, Regulation, Energy, Civil Fraud, Shipping and Commodities. He is regularly instructed (either led or as sole counsel) in matters in the Commercial Court and arbitration, and has also appeared in the Court of Appeal. Alex has spent time on secondment at a leading international firm of solicitors in London, a defence club in Oslo and an international bank in London.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Alex read for a degree in Law at Cambridge and for the BCL at Oxford.


General Commercial

Alex has been involved in a number of substantial commercial disputes, including Dynami v. Chiriboga (with Michael Ashcroft Q.C.), a case in the Commercial Court concerning the sale of a power barge (which settled during the second week of a 3-week trial).

Banking and Finance / Regulation

Alex has experience of swaps misselling claims, including in the context of the FCA Review. He has also been instructed in a significant swaps matter concerning LIBOR manipulation. Through this and other work, Alex has acquired a good knowledge of financial derivatives, including the ISDA Master Agreement.

Alex has also worked in-house at an international bank in Canary Wharf.


Alex has been instructed in a number of disputes involving the international sale of goods, including in relation to contracts on various GAFTA and FOSFA forms, and under the Sugar Association rules.

Alex also has experience of Structured Inventory Products (SIPs) and other forms of commodity financing, as well as collateral management agreements, including in the context of the fallout of 2014’s suspected metals financing fraud in China.


Alex is regularly instructed in a wide spectrum of matters arising out of charterparties, bills of lading and shipbuilding contracts. Recent highlights include a substantial dispute concerning AHTS vessels (which settled just prior to the start of a two-week arbitration hearing); a dispute concerning an unsafe port allegation (one-week arbitration hearing); and Castleton Commodities v. Silver Rock [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 1 (with Andrew Baker Q.C.), a case in the Commercial Court concerning the judicial sale of a cargo.


Alex has experience of Energy disputes, including recently a substantial dispute in respect of offshore oil and gas exploration.

Private International Law

Issues of Private International Law arise in many of Alex’s cases. By way of recent example, over the past 12 months Alex has appeared several times before the Commercial Court (led and unled) in matters concerning anti-suit injunctions and was junior counsel in a two-day hearing in respect of a challenge to the tribunal’s jurisdiction.


Alex is regularly asked to advise on procedure and evidence in the context of arbitration, including in relation to proceedings under LMAA, ICC, LCIA, SIAC, GAFTA, FOSFA, and Sugar Association rules.

Civil Fraud

Alex is regularly instructed in relation to matters involving Civil Fraud, including Dynami v. Chiriboga (2015), which involved an alleged fraud against a hedge fund.

Company Law

Alex has a detailed knowledge of Company Law, having taught the undergraduate course at Cambridge.

Education and Career: 


BCL - Magdalen College, Oxford (Distinction)

MA (Law) - Homerton College, Cambridge (Double First)

Selected Prizes and Scholarships

Prize for performance in BCL examinations - Magdalen College (2011)

Lord Denning Scholarship - Lincoln's Inn (2010)

David Thompson Scholarship - Homerton College (2009 and 2010)


20 Essex Street January 2016 International Trade Case Update 

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

Young Fraud Lawyers Association (YFLA)

Lectures and Teaching: 

Supervisor in Company Law - various Colleges, Cambridge (2011 to 2012)