Since 2001, Sean Snook has been instructed by over 120 firms of solicitors to act and/or advise in over 420 disputes. Some examples of recent instructions are set out below.
ISDA Master Agreement: for Merrill Lynch in the defence of claims made against it by SpB hf (an Icelandic bank) following termination of various swap agreements. In addition to disputes about the net balance payable on termination, the dispute involved questions of waiver and issues relating to the local insolvency law.
Banking: advice to a litigation funder on the merits of a claim made by an investment fund for damages arising out of futures and options trading on the London Metal Exchange. In addition to claims in contract, the claimant alleged that the losses were the result of fraud and/or conspiracy on the part of the defendants.
Charterparty/Bills of Lading: settling pleadings in a dispute concerning cargo damage said to arise from improper storage. The dispute raises an interesting question as to the responsibility of the owner for loss and damage arising in circumstances where there were (or may have been) latent defects in both the goods and the vessel.
Bills of Lading: whether the owners were liable for deviation in circumstances where the vessel had been sent to a prohibited port by the charterers and had then been arrested in that port in respect of amounts which had been unpaid by a previous charterer and where the owners impecuniosity prevented the owners procuring security to release the vessel from that arrest.
Charterparty/Commodities: whether the owners were liable for contamination of a cargo of oil and, if so, the correct quantification of that liability by reference to expert evidence.
Jurisdiction: whether a claim issued in the High Court for repayment due under various loan agreements was likely to be stayed by the court pursuant to Articles 27 and 28 of the Brussels Regulation in favour of proceedings issued in Greece by some (but not all) of the defendants.
Information Technology: advice to the purchaser of a bespoke software system with regard to whether various delays in delivery constituted anticipatory breaches of contract on the part of the service provider and as to the purchaser's right to liquidated damages.
Charterparty: advice on the right to exercise a lien over cargo in circumstances where there were various discrete and competing claims to payment.
ISDA Master Agreement: advice on a mis-selling claim arising under a swap agreement.
Commodities: settling claim submissions for an Indian buyer of zinc in a quality claim with its Swiss counterparty. The claim included allegations of misrepresentation, a claim to rectification and a related claim for breach of a refining and smelting services agreement.
Issue Estoppel: whether a South African decision with regard to the arrest of a vessel for security in which part of a claim was found to disclose no arguable case gave rise to an estoppel in the substantive dispute governed by English law.
Arbitration: advice as to whether an arbitration award could be challenged under section 67 or 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 in circumstances where the tribunal had concluded that a party's insolvency applications in Hong Kong constituted a breach of the parties' arbitration agreement.
Commodities: advice on the quantum of damages payable following late delivery of a cargo of naptha in circumstances where there was, unusually, no physical product available in the market at the relevant time.
Charterparty: advice as to whether the head owner's refusal to comply with an order which would have placed it (a US based company) in breach of United States State Department sanctions entitled a sub-sub-charterer (a non-US company) to refuse the equivalent order notwithstanding that the sub-sub-charter did not expressly incorporate anti-sanctions term.
Letters of Credit: whether the issuing bank was entitled to refuse to make payment on the ground that the documents presented were discrepant.
Performance Bond: whether the bank was entitled to refuse payment following a demand and, if so, whether this gave rise to a claim (in contract and/or tort) against the advising bank.
Guarantee: whether the guarantee instrument was a true guarantee or an indemnity.
Charterparty: whether certain claims passed up the charterparty chain were too remote to be recovered.
Admiralty: Advice to the owners of a vessel which had been involved in a collision with two other vessels in the South China Seas.
Illegality: whether a contract for the supply of steel pipes to Iran was tainted with illegality by reason of U.S. State Department sanctions.