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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, the Chancery Division 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 QC), a case in the Commercial Court concerning the sale of a power barge (which settled during the second week of a 3-week trial), as well as a wide range of (confidential) commercial arbitrations.

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 detailed knowledge of financial derivatives, including the ISDA Master Agreement.

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


Alex has been instructed in a number of disputes involving the international sale of goods. Alex also has experience of Structured Inventory Products (SIPs) and other forms of commodity financing, as well as collateral management agreements. Most recently, Alex appeared (together with Julian Kenny QC) for a major bank in a one-week arbitration against a leading trading firm concerning 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 a prominent Greek shipping family (which involves proceedings in the Chancery Division and arbitration in London, in respect of which Alex is instructed along with Timothy Hill QC); an appearance (as sole counsel) in the Admiralty Court for a mortgagee claiming the arrest and sale of a ship; a three-week arbitration concerning dangerous goods (led by Michael Ashcroft QC); and a one-week arbitration concerning an unsafe port allegation.


Alex has been instructed in a number of construction disputes, including a dispute involving the fit-out of a military airplane, another dispute involving the fit-out of a VVIP airplane, as well as various shipbuilding cases.


Alex has experience of Energy disputes, including a substantial dispute in respect of a royalty agreement concerning offshore oil and gas exploration (led by Duncan Matthews QC).

Private International Law

Issues of Private International Law arise in many of Alex's cases. By way of recent example, Alex was junior counsel in a two-day hearing in respect of a challenge to the tribunal's jurisdiction (led by Timothy Hill QC) and also appeared for a successful claimant in respect of anti-suit relief from an arbitral tribunal (led by Thomas Raphael QC). Alex has also appeared several times before the Commercial Court (led and unled) in matters concerning anti-suit injunctions.


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

Further, Alex has acted in a number of ss. 67, 68 and 69 appeals, including recently appearing in the Commercial Court (together with Michael Ashcroft QC) in A v. B [2017] EWHC 3557 (Comm).

Civil Fraud

Alex is regularly instructed in relation to matters involving Civil Fraud, including a dispute concerning an alleged shareholders fraud (which has involved several appearances in the Chancery Division, led by Timothy Hill QC and Thomas Raphael QC) and a trial in the Commercial Court an alleged fraud against a hedge fund (led by Michael Ashcroft QC).

Company Law

Alex has a detailed knowledge of Company Law, having taught the undergraduate course at Cambridge. Alex's cases often involve issues of Company Law, including recently appearing in the Chancery Division for the defendant directors in a derivative claim.

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)

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

Young Fraud Lawyers Association (YFLA)

Lectures and Teaching: 

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

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