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Christopher Newman

M Eng. (Cantab) Double First Class Hons

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) acting for a corporation based in Dubai in respect of a dispute concerning engines for jumbo jets (iii) acting for the CEO of a business who is alleged to have taken a bribe.

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"and “a star” who is “brilliant on his feet”. 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. His leader in that case stated Chris was “the best junior that I have worked with in the past 10 years”. 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. In 2018 he will be representing his client in a 5-day trial in the Chancery Division against a Championship football club without a leader.

Chris’s technical skills and breadth of experience mean that he is increasingly sought out for high value offshore work. He was called to the bar in the BVI in 2017, and is currently acting for a BVI company in proceedings in the Chancery Division concerning a transfer of shares (held by a Guernsey trust) and the incidence of voting rights in the Isle of Man. He is also acting for the petitioner in a shareholder dispute involving shares held by multiple family trusts with related unfair prejudice proceedings in the UK and Hong Kong.

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). For example, in 2018 he will be representing an automotive-connected-services data company in a 4-day LCIA arbitration concerning royalty payments.  

Chris 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 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 leading business services provider in a confidential arbitration (led by Robert Howe QC).
  • Acting for a major investment bank in a dispute concerning equity capital markets (instructed by RPC, led by David Wolfson QC). 
  • Acted for the Petitioners in a s.994 dispute over a well-known kitchenware business (instructed by Withers, led by Thomas Grant QC).
  • Acting for the Petitioners in a s.994 dispute about a major security business (instructed by RPC, led by David Blayney QC).
  • Acting for the defendant in a bribery action (instructed by Walker Morris, led by Robert Howe QC).
  • Acting for the claimants in a professional negligence action against a major UK law firm arising from the conduct of litigation (instructed by Field Fisher).
  • Acting for the owners of floating crane in a contractual dispute (instructed by CMS, led by Richard Waller QC).
  • Acting for a major supermarket in a CIarb arbitration about a delisting decision (instructed by Walker Morris).
  • Acting for the owners of a super yacht in an arbitration (instructed by Walker Morris).
  • Acting for the beneficiary of a Guernsey Trust in a dispute regarding control of the protector.
  • Acting for the claimant in a dispute in the Isle of Man about family wealth.
  • Acted for a BVI company in proceedings in the Chancery Division concerning a transfer of shares (held by a Guernsey trust) and the incidence of voting rights in the Isle of Man.

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).

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