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Alexander Layton QC

MA (Oxon)

Alexander Layton QC's practice covers a wide range of commercial and other disputes, many of which involve questions of private international law or arbitration, as well as aspects of public international law, state immunity and contentious Chancery work. His practice is mainly in the High Court and Court of Appeal and in arbitral tribunals, and he has been admitted ad hoc to the Bars of Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. He has also sat as an arbitrator in international commercial arbitrations both in the UK and abroad. He has given expert evidence on English and European law in proceedings in Europe, Russia, Canada, Latin America and the United States and has lectured frequently on topics of European and international law in Britain, Europe and the United States. He is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, teaching Private International Law.

Recent and current work

Recent advisory work includes advising an international institution in a prospective claim against one of its member states and the UK government about the exhibition of foreign museum exhibits. It also includes advice on conflicts of law and of jurisdiction in a wide variety of contexts, including a major international insolvency, international patent disputes, financial instruments, aerospace contracts, trusts, and cartels as well as sovereign immunity issues in the context of enforcement of judgments and awards. He has recently been advising parties from several countries on references to the European court in company law and fraud cases,

Recent court work includes important cases on conflict of laws (Cox v Ergo Versicherung; Stiftung Salle Modulable), international jurisdiction (Sabbagh v Khoury; Lehman Bros Finance v KTS; Mid East Sales Ltd; Lambton v Lambton; Young v. Anglo), the international enforceability of English judgments (Masri v Consolidated Contractors, Nos 2, 3, 4 and 5) and of foreign judgments (Merchant International Co Ltd v Nationalna  Aktsionerna Kompaniya Naftogaz), state immunity (Mid East Sales Ltd), the remedial response to actionable cartel behaviour (Devenish Nutrition v Sanofi-Aventis), the compatibility with European law of anti-suit injunctions (Allianz v West Tankers), of the rules governing the UK's strategic oil reserve (R (Mabanaft) v DTI) and of maritime limitation conventions (Mærsk Olie & Gas v de Haan), and the procurement of a breach of an arbitration agreement by the wrongful arrest of a vessel (Kallang v CCMN (No. 2)).  He has also acted in a number of large-scale and high profile pieces of international group litigation, including in an advisory capacity in Shell's settlement of oil pollution claims in Nigeria and is currently the lead member of a 5-counsel team in an action against BP for environmental damage in Colombia. 

Recent major arbitrations have involved an arbitration involving Russian interests in which, having obtained a freezing order for some $100's millions, a settlement was achieved, an ICSID arbitration involving highly contentious state succession issues (Sudapet Company Limited v Republic of South Sudan) and an ad hoc arbitration involving international investment issues against a sovereign state.


Principal Cases: 

Conversant Wireless Licensing S.à.r.l. v Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. - Anti-competitive practices - EU law - Fair reasonable and non-discriminatory terms - Forum non conveniens - Infringement - Justicability - Mobile telephony - Service out of the jurisdiction - Service - Standard-essential patents - Striking out - Third parties - Transfer - Undertakings

Eli Lilly and Co v Genentech Inc [2017] EWHC 3104 (Pat) - Declarations of non-infringement - European patents - Forum non conveniens - Jurisdiction -  Revocation - Service out of jurisdiction - Validity

Sabbagh v Khoury [2017] EWCA Civ 1120 - Arbitration clauses; Jurisdiction; Misappropriation; Share ownership; Stay of proceedings; Striking out; Succession 

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd v UCB Pharma SA [2017] EWHC 1216 (Pat) -  Act of state – Jurisdiction - Jurisdiction clauses - Licensing agreements - Patents - Pharmaceuticals - Royalties - Striking out - Summary judgments - Validity

Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics Co Ltd v Abbvie Biotechnology Ltd [2016] EWHC 2204 (Pat) - Anti-suit injunctions - Declarations of non-infringement - European patents - Patent grant - Pharmaceutical industry - Revocation - Service out of jurisdiction - Summary judgments

Axa Corporate Solutions Assurance SA v Weir Services Australia Pty Ltd [2016] EWHC 904 (Comm) - Anti-suit injunctions - Conflict of laws - Forum non conveniens - Global insurance - Indemnities - Jurisdiction - Liability insurance Parallel proceedings - Service out of jurisdiction

XL Insurance Co SE v AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance [2015] EWHC 3431 (Comm) - Brussels I (Recast) regulation - Allocation of jurisdiction - Equitable contribution - Insurance companies - Payments - Torts

Sabbagh v Khoury [2014] EWHC 3233 (Comm)- Conspiracy - Jurisdiction - Formalities - Misappropriation - Lebanese law - Share ownership - Share transfers - Stay of proceedings - Succession - Waiver

Lehman Brothers Finance AG v Klaus Tschira Stiftung GmbH [2014] EWHC 2782 (Ch) - Jurisdiction - Swiss law - Conciliation proceedings - Pending actions - Stay of proceedings

Mid-East Sales Ltd v United Engineering and Trading Co (PVT) Ltd [2014] EWHC 1457 (Comm) - Default judgments - Delay - Disputing the court's jurisdiction - State immunity - Relief from sanctions - Service out of jurisdiction - Setting aside

Young v Anglo American South Africa Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 1130 (CA), on appeal from Vava v Anglo American South Africa Ltd [2012] EWHC 1969 (QB) - Jurisdiction - Central Administration - Civil Procedure - Disclosure - Personal Injury

Stiftung Salle Modulable v. Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Ltd [2013] SC (Bda) 47 Civ. - Applicable law - Swiss law - Gift contracts - Bermuda law - Trusts

Cox v Ergo Versicherung [2014] UKSC 22, [2014] 2 W.L.R. 948 - Applicable law; Dependency claims;  Fatal accident claims; Maintenance; Measure of damages; Mitigation; Territorial application

Mid East Sales Ltd v UET & Islamic Republic of Pakistan [2014] EWHC 1457 (Comm) - State immunity ; Default judgments; Delay; Disputing the court's jurisdiction; Judgments and orders; Non-compliance; Relief from sanctions; Service out of jurisdiction; Setting aside

Stiftung Salle Modulable v Butterf ield Trust Bermuda Ltd [2014] SC (Bda) 14 Com - Applicable law - Swiss law - Litigation Funding - Trusts - Remedies

Lambton (Earl of Durham) v Lambton [2013] EWHC  3566  (Ch) -  Succession;  Disputing  the  court's  jurisdiction; Forum  non  conveniens; Particulars  of   claim;  Service  out of   jurisdiction;  Setting  aside; Striking  out; Validity

Bloy v Motor Insurers' Bureau [2013] EWCA Civ 1543; [2014] Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 75; [2014] P.I.Q.R. P9 - Conflict of laws; Applicable law; Compensation; of laws; European Union; Insurance; Personal injury; Road traffic; Road traffic accidents; Uninsured drivers

Ian Sherdley & Carol Ann Sherdley v Nordea  Life  and Pension SA (Societe  Anonyme) [2012] EWCA Civ 88 (CA) - Civil procedure; Insurance; Conflict of laws; Insurance contracts; Jurisdiction; Jurisdiction clauses; Life insurance

Societe Generale SA v Saad Trading [2011] EWHC 2424 (Comm) - Confirming banks; Documents; Facility letters; Good faith; Indemnities; Issuing banks; Letters of credit - UCP600

Merchant International Co Ltd v Nationalna Aktsionerna Kompaniya Naf togaz Ukrayiny [2011] EWHC 1820 (Comm) - Enforcement of foreign judgments - European Convention on Human Rights

Jacobs v Motor Insurers Bureau [2010] EWHC 231 (QB); [2010] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 1128; [2010] R.T.R. 35; [2010] Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 244 - Conflict of laws; Applicable law; Compensation; Motor Insurers' Bureau; Road traffic accidents; Tortious liability; Uninsured drivers

West Tankers Inc v. Allianz SpA (The Front Comor)) (European Court of Justice, case C-185/07) [2009] E.C.R. I- 663 - Arbitration - Anti-suit injunctions - Jurisdiction - EC law

Masri v Consolidated Contractors International Co SAL (No. 4) [2009] UKHL 43; [2010] 1 A.C. 90 - Company  officers - Foreign companies - Information from judgment debtors - Jurisdiction - Non-parties - Permission - Service out of jurisdiction

Kallang Shipping SA v Axa Assurances Senegal ("The Kallang")  (No.2)  [2008]  EWHC  2761  (Comm)  - Arbitration agreement - Arrest of vessels - Procuring breach of contract - Senegal.

Masri v Consolidated Contractors International Co SAL (No.5) [2008] EWHC  2492  (Comm)  -  Construction contracts - Construction projects - Enforcement - Equitable execution - Foreign companies - Freezing injunctions - Judgment creditors - Receivables - Receivers.

Masri v  Consolidated Contractors International Co SAL (No. 3) [2008] EWCA Civ 625; [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 301 - Anti-suit injunctions - Causes of action - Comity - Discretion - Judgment debtors - Jurisdiction - Oppression

Masri v  Consolidated Contractors International Co  SAL (No. 2) [2008] EWCA Civ 303; [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 128 - Enforcement - Equitable execution - Extraterritoriality - Freezing injunctions - Judgment creditors - Jurisdiction - Oil and gas industry - Receivers

R. (Mabanaf t Ltd) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2008] EWHC 1052 (Admin) - Energy - Importers - Margin of appreciation - Oil

Devenish Nutrition Ltd v Sanof i-Aventis SA [2007] EWHC 2394 (Ch); [2008] 2 W.L.R. 637 - Competition law - Account of profits - Anti-competitive practices - Cartels - Compensation - Double jeopardy - Exemplary damages - Measure of damages - Principle of effectiveness; Principle of equivalence; Restitution

Kallang Shipping SA v Axa Assurances Senegal ("The Kallang") [2007] 1 Lloyd's Rep 160 - Anti-suit injunction - Charterparty containing arbitration clause - Arrest of vessel - Term implied into arbitration agreement that arbitration would not be frustrated.

Hewden Tower Cranes Ltd v Wolff kran GmbH [2007] EWHC 857 (TCC); [2007] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 138 - Allocation of jurisdiction - Contracts of sale - Contribution - Jurisdiction clauses - Member States - Brussels I Regulation - Statutory interpretation

CNA Insurance v Office Depot International (UK) Ltd [2005] EWHC 456 (Comm) - Conflict of Laws- Jurisdiction - forum non conveniens - Prior agreement - Insurance

Maersk Olie & Gas A/S v Firma M de Haan en W de Boer (European Court of Justice, case C39/02) [2004] E.C.R. I- 9657  -  Maritime  Limitation  conventions  -  Jurisdiction  -  Brussels  Convention  on  Jurisdiction  and  Judgments

Navigators Insurance Co. Ltd v Atlantic Methanol Production Co LLC [2004] 1 Lloyd's Rep 418 (comm) - Insurance - Conflicts - Good arguable case - forum non conveniens.

Downing v Al Tameer Establishment [2002] 2 All ER (Comm) 545 (CA) - Arbitration agreement - repudiation.

CGU International Insurance Co v Szabo [2002] 1 All ER (Comm) 83 - Global liability policy - applicable law - parallel proceedings in USA - forum non conveniens.

Italian Leather SpA v WECO Polstermöbel GmbH & Co KG [2002] ECR 4995 (European Court of Justice) - Brussels Convention - conflicting interim judgments

Knauf UK Ltd v British Gypsum Ltd [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep 199 (Comm Ct), [2002] 1 WLR 907 (CA) - Brussels Convention - Jurisdiction - Service out of the jurisdiction - Service by alternative means

Ace Insurance SA-NV v Zurich Insurance Company [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep 423 (Comm Ct); [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep 618 (CA). Facultative reinsurance - Service of suit clause - Lugano Convention.

Raiff eisen Zentralbank Österreich v Five Star General Trading [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 684 (CA) - Choice of law - assignment of marine insurance contract - Rome Convention.

National Justice Compania SA v Prudential Insurance Co. Ltd - The Ikarean Reefer (No 2) [2000] 1 WLR 603 ( Comm Ct.), [2000] 1 Lloyd's Rep 129 (CA) - Jurisdiction - Costs liability of non-party out of the jurisdiction.

American Insurance Group v Galt - Effect of non-disclosure etc. on reinsurance written in London, Scandinavian and other markets.

City of Gotha v Sotheby's [1998] 1 WLR 114 (CA) - Disclosure - privilege; The Times 8th October 1998 - International art theft - German law - Limitation.

Municipal Mutual Insurance Co v Sea Insurance Co. [1996] L.R.L.R. 265; [1998] Lloyd's Rep I.R. 421 - Facultative reinsurance of port risks; affect of reinsurance and insurance covering different time periods.

Akande v. Balfour  Beatty  [1998]  I.L.Pr.  110  -  Setting  aside  registered  Nigerian  judgment  for   fraud.

News International v Borgognon [1998] All ER (D) 91 - Amendment of proceedings where jurisdiction founded on Lugano Convention.

Banque Cantole Vaudiose v Waterlily Maritime [1997] 2 Lloyd's Rep 347 - Exclusive jurisdiction agreement; concurrent Greek proceedings; anti-suit injunction

New Hampshire Insurance Co. v MGN Ltd; Maxwell Communication Corp. v. New Hampshire Insurance Co .[1996] CLC 1692 (Comm Ct); [1997] LRLR 24 (CA) - Large-risk multi-party fidelity insurance

Firswood Ltd v Petra Bank - effect of Lugano Convention on proceedings under bank guarantee given by insolvent Jordanian bank.

HSW Underwriting Agencies Ltd v Smallfield Rawlins - Auditors' negligence actions arising out of collapse of the KWELM/HS Weavers insurance business.

Kahl v Holderness Borough Council [1995] PIQR 401 - Transfer of part of cause of action under German law; effect of European and English conflicts rules.

CFEM  Facades v  Bovis [1992] I.L.Pr. 561 - Effect in England of  French interim orders for expert evidence.

Ladenimor v Intercomf inanz - The proceedings in the House of Lords and European Court on appeal from Re Harrods (Buenos Aires) Ltd [1992] Ch. 72.

Ernst & Young v Price Waterhouse & Interfiduciaire - the successful challenge to the English Court's jurisdiction over Luxembourg auditors in proceedings arising  from the collapse of  Bank of Credit & Commerce International.

Tesam v Schuh Mode Team [1990] I.L.Pr. 149 - Test to be satisfied before English courts will accept jurisdiction in a Brussels Convention case, where the facts underlying the jurisdiction are disputed.

New Hampshire Insurance Co. v Strabag Bau [1990] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 61 (QBD), [1992] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 361 (CA)- Jurisdiction under Brussels Convention in respect of large-scale insurance placed in London market.

United States of America v Inkley [1989] QB 255 (CA) - Effect in England of US bail bond.

Chief Constable of Hampshire v A [1985] QB (CA) -  Injunction - Detention of property - proceeds of crime

Forster v Outred & Co [1982] 1 WLR 86 (CA) - Cause of action in tort.

Education and Career: 

Born in 1952, he was educated at Marlborough College (1965-1970), Brasenose College, Oxford (1971-1974), Ludwig- Maximillian Universität Munich (1974-1975) and the Faculté International pour l`Enseignement de Droit Comparé in Strasbourg and Pescara (1975).

Called to the Bar in 1976, he took silk in 1995, was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1998 and a Recorder in 2000, sitting in both civil and criminal jurisdictions, and is a Deputy High Court Judge. He is a Bencher of the Middle Temple, of which he is also an Astbury Scholar.

He is the general editor of European Civil Practice, the leading practitioners' textbook on conflicts of law and jurisdiction in Europe and has long been acknowledged as one of the Bar's foremost experts on the Brussels-Lugano jurisdictional regime. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Private International Law.

He was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law for 6 years to 2011, and is a former chairman of both the Bar European Group and the British-German Jurists Association. He acted as an expert advisor to the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in its work on the revision of the Brussels I Regulation. He is a Trustee of the Academy of European Law and was a Visiting Fellow of New York University's Center for Transnational Litigation and Commercial Law in 2011.

He is a visiting professor at King's College London, teaching private international law. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR) and of the London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association.

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