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Christopher Newman

M Eng. (Cantab) Double First Class Hons

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Clerks [at] 20essexst [dot] com

Chris has a broad commercial practice with a focus on heavyweight commercial litigation and arbitration, often with an international dimension. He has particular experience in the fields of civil fraud, commercial litigation, insolvency and company disputes, banking litigation, trust litigation, and professional negligence. Many of his cases are multi-disciplinary, often involving issues of fraud or bad faith in a commercial context. By way of example, he is currently (i) acting for a leading (FTSE 100) UK housebuilding company in an action concerning a corrupt payment (ii) advising a corporation based in Dubai in respect of a dispute concerning engines for jumbo jets.

Chris is listed as a leading junior in civil fraud in the Legal 500 and is said to be "one of the best juniors in this space". He has particular experience in the field of unlawful means conspiracy, having spent much of 2015 and 2016 as the senior junior acting for the claimant in respect of a claim in the Commercial Court alleging a conspiracy spanning a number of jurisdictions to avoid payment under a sale contract. Chris was also instructed to act in respect of three related arbitrations in Italy.

Chris prides himself on the quality of his written and oral advocacy and was recently described in the Legal 500 as being "exceptionally good on his feet" and "miles ahead of his peers for sole advocacy". He has considerable experience of conducting lengthy trials without a leader.

Chris is the author of the International Maritime and Commercial Law Yearbook section on Arbitration Law and has particular experience of LCIA arbitrations. He has a double first class degree in Engineering and is highly numerate, IT literate and well suited to disputes which have a technical aspect (e.g. construction disputes and disputes involving technical expert evidence). He is happy to receive papers in electronic format and is equally happy to talk through a piece of work on an informal basis prior to instruction. He prides himself on being "easy to work with".

Chris has an increasing presence in sports law. He recently acted for an oligarch in a dispute concerning the ownership of a league one football club. He is currently acting for a former director of a championship football club in a dispute concerning alleged breaches of directors’ duties and defamation.

Chris also has a substantial presence in financial services and banking law, and a particular interest in disputes arising from litigation funding.

 

Specialisations: 

  • Contractual disputes (especially with a cross-border dimension)
  • Trust litigation
  • International arbitration
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Civil fraud / conspiracy / asset tracing
  • Banking and financial services
  • Professional negligence
  • Insolvency

Principal Cases: 

Recent work includes:

Acting for a national housebuilder in a dispute concerning a bribe and action in excess of authority (awaiting judgment following a three day trial).

Advising on the effect of section 239 of the Insolvency Act 1986 on a payment arrangement which had the effect of ensuring that one creditor benefitted at the expense of another.

Acting for a defendant in a shareholder dispute concerning (i) a void buyback of shares and the duomatic principle (i) specific performance of an incomplete transfer of shares.

Acted for the successful defendant in a five-day trial resisting a claim for breach of trust and removal of one of the trustees under section 41 of the Trustee Act 1925. 

Acted for two well know Greek banks in a dispute in the Commercial Court concerning the interplay of a freezing injunction in the UK with insolvency proceedings in Greece.

Acting for the respondent to an application for an injunction to restrain use of company money.

Restraining winding up proceedings on the basis that the €3.4M debt set out in the statutory demand was disputed on substantial grounds, namely that the contract in question was voidable for misrepresentation and fraud.

Acting for a litigation funder in a dispute in the Chancery Division concerning the recovery of win bonuses in respect of patent litigation in the US.

Acting for a litigation funder in a dispute concerning a solicitor’s lien over client papers (which were needed to obtain payment of an ATE policy).

Acting for a litigation funder in a dispute concerning the payment of a loan note.

Acting for a former director of a championship football club in a dispute concerning alleged breaches of directors’ duties and defamation.

Application to the Court seeking leave to begin legal proceedings pursuant to section 43(6) of Schedule B1 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Acted for an oligarch in an unfair prejudice dispute concerning the ownership of a league two football club.

Acting in proceedings in the Commercial Court concerning an alleged unlawful means conspiracy spanning multiple jurisdictions (value of claim at least £16M). – Chris also acted in three related arbitrations in various jurisdictions.

Resisting an application for various orders under sections 127 and 238 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Acted in a multi-million pound banking dispute in the Commercial Court concerning the sale to a former England international footballer of a financial product based on a loan invested in an offshore bond.

LCIA arbitration concerning the payment of licencing fees arising from a contract for use of data.

CIArb arbitration arising from the conduct of an unincorporated association.

Advising on a multi-million pound dishonest assistance claim against a major UK bank.

Acted in an ad hoc arbitration (preceded by a freezing injunction) concerning claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

Acted in a confidential LCIA arbitration concerning the construction of a deepwater drilling vessel.

Acted for the successful claimant in a professional negligence dispute in the High Court.

Acted in a dispute concerning the dry lease of an aircraft used to spray dispersant on pollutions spills over the UK continental shelf.

Acted in a confidential LCIA arbitration concerning the sale of mining rights.

Advised as to the effect of a Commercial Court summary judgment decision on proceedings in Tanzania (and in particular on the scope of the principles of res judicata and breach of natural justice).

Acted for the defendant company in a 3 million euro contractual dispute in the Commercial Court over machines purchased from Hungary involving questions of Hungarian law.

Acting for a minority shareholder in a dispute arising from the breakup of an information technology company.

Acted for one of the defendants in a dispute in the Commercial Court where former members of an investment management business were alleged to have unlawfully conspired to set up a competing business.

Obtained a worldwide freezing injunction against an accountant alleged to have embezzled company funds.

Education and Career: 

  • MEng. Clare College, University of Cambridge - Double First (1997-2001).
  • Boxing Blue (1999).
  • Pressed Steel Prize for Engineering (2000) - placed first in College in finals.
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Law - City University (2001-2002).
  • Bar Vocational Course - Inns of Court School of Law (2002-2003).

Publications: 

Chris is the author of the International Maritime and Commercial Law Yearbook section on Arbitration Law and is co-author of the PLC Practice Note on Commercial Fraud: Bribery.

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

Chris is a member of the Commercial Bar Association, the Fraud Lawyers Association, the Insolvency Lawyers’ Association, and the Young International Arbitration Group.

Quotes: 

"A star; he is brilliant on his feet and generates his own caseload." - Legal 500 UK, 2017 (Civil Fraud)

"One of the best juniors in this space and miles ahead of his peers for sole advocacy." - The Legal 500 UK, 2016 (Civil Fraud).

"A really good fraud barrister." - The Legal 500 UK, 2015 (Civil Fraud).

"Exceptionally good on his feet; he punches well above his call when it comes to advocacy." - The Legal 500 UK, 2014 (Civil Fraud).

"Very switched-on and easy to work with" - The Legal 500 UK, 2013 (Commercial Litigation).