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Christopher Newman

M Eng. (Cantab) Double First Class Hons

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+44 (0)20 7842 1200
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 (including shareholder disputes), banking 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: 

  • International trade/shipping/commodities
  • Contractual disputes (especially with a cross-border dimension)
  • Jurisdictional disputes
  • International arbitration
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Civil fraud / conspiracy / asset tracing
  • Banking and financial services
  • Professional negligence

Principal Cases: 

Recent work includes:

Acting for a national housebuilder in a dispute concerning a bribe and action in excess of authority.

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.

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

Acting for pollution recovery specialists in respect of a contractual debt.

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.

Acted for an oligarch in a 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).

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.

Advising on a claim under s.26 of FSMA.

Advising on a fraud involving phishing.

LCIA arbitration concerning the payment of licencing fees.

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.

Advised on the effect of a price-benchmarking exercise in the context of a PFI contract.

Acting for sellers in a dispute concerning an FOB contract for the sale of biodiesel in Indonesia.

Section 69 appeal in the Commercial Court concerning the applicability of the GAFTA prohibition clause to an export quota regime in the Ukraine.

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

Acting in a professional negligence dispute in the High Court (currently waiting for judgment).

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

Advised on the construction of a price-fixing clause in a CFR contract.

Acted in a dispute concerning the ice-clause in the Asbatankvoy charterparty.

Acted in a dispute concerning the proper construction of a force majeure clause in a GAFTA contract.

Acted in a confidential FOSFA arbitration concerning a vessel's failure to berth.

Acted in a confidential FOSFA arbitration concerning demurrage claims arising from the arrest of a vessel.

Acted in a confidential GAFTA arbitration concerning the termination of an FOB contract.

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

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 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 and the Young International Arbitration Group.

Quotes: 

"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).