Chris has a busy and varied practice, which covers disputes relating to:
- Property law (including landlord and tenant);
- Private client law (spanning trusts, wills, and intestacy);
- Insolvency law (both corporate and personal); and
- Commercial law.
Chris’ familiarity with each of these areas of law means that he is also well placed to advise and act on professional negligence claims arising in those fields.
In addition to providing drafting and advisory services, Chris frequently appears as sole counsel in the Chancery Division, the Commercial Court, the Insolvency and Companies Court, and the County Court. The drop-down menus below give more detail on Chris’ work, which has included cutting-edge points of substantive law in the Court of Appeal and high-value disputes with an international dimension in the Commercial Court.
Chris has been appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown for a five-year term from September 2021.
In Hilary Term 2020, Chris was a Judicial Assistant in the Chancery Division, where he was assigned primarily to Mr Justice Trower and Mr Justice Nugee. The previous year, he was seconded to the disputes team at Carey Olsen Bermuda as a Pegasus Scholar.
A large part of Chris’ practice concerns the resolution of disputes between commercial entities, often involving contractual exclusion clauses. In this field, he has recently acted in or advised on:
- Representing the claimant in the four-day trial in Thurcroft Power Limited v. Volta Energy Group Limited  EWHC 338 (Comm), pursuing a £1m+ claim based on unjust enrichment and breach of implied terms.
- Defending a multi-million pound claim by a major commercial airline against an American freight-forwarder.
- Bringing a multi-million pound claim by a Cypriot logistics company against an Estonian freight-forwarder (including successfully defending a challenge to jurisdiction under CPR Part 11).
- Defending a multi-million pound “business destruction” claim against a major electricity supplier.
Chris also regularly deals with debt recovery actions (predominantly in the electricity and gas supply sector) and has previously advised on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. In the insurance sphere, Chris’ work spans advices on the scope of policy coverage to bringing substantive claims against insurers for wrongfully declining cover.
Prior to coming to the Bar, Chris gained experience of financial services while working at Citigroup Global Markets and Black River Asset Management.
Company and Partnership
In this field, Chris has recently been involved in a number of cases involving “deadlock” scenarios. He has also been dealing with the application of the “default rules” under the Limited Liability Partnerships Regulations 2001.
In addition, Chris is very happy to accept instructions relating to:
- Breach of directors’ duties.
- Unfair prejudice petitions under s.994 of the Companies Act 2006.
- Winding-up petitions on the “just and equitable” ground.
- Derivative claims brought by shareholders on behalf of a company.
- The registration of charges out of time.
- The corporate structure and internal governance of residential management companies.
Over the course of 2020 and 2021, Chris has prosecuted and defended a variety of “anti-avoidance” claims involving preferences, transactions at an undervalue, and transactions defrauding creditors under s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986. The economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic is likely to see many similar claims emerge.
In addition, Chris also acts in or advises on:
- Bringing or resisting winding-up petitions (with supplementary advice on, for example, validation orders).
- Bringing or resisting bankruptcy petitions.
- Applications for injunctions restraining the presentation of winding-up petitions.
- Application to set aside statutory demands and to annul bankruptcy orders.
Landlord & Tenant
Since March 2020, Chris has been very regularly involved in advising clients on the numerous procedural and substantive changes which have affected possession proceedings. His contributions to Selborne’s COVID-19 bulletins can be found in the “Publications” section below.
More generally, in this field Chris has extensive experience of:
- Bringing or defending possession proceedings, whether issued by landlords (for non-payment of rent or other breach of the tenancy agreement) or by secured lenders (for non-payment of capital/interest or other breach of the mortgage agreement).
- Claims for relief from forfeiture and/or damages arising from wrongful forfeiture.
- Claims relating to the breach of leasehold covenants, including dilapidations disputes, alterations disputes, chattels/fixtures disputes, and service charge disputes.
- Claims relating to the renewal of business tenancies under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954.
- Claims relating to the collective enfranchisement and lease extension under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.
- Claims relating to the right of first refusal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.
In the professional negligence field, conveyancing fraud is a particular area of expertise for Chris. In 2018 Chris appeared (with Gary Blaker QC) in P&P Property Ltd v. Owen White and Catlin LLP & anor  EWCA Civ 1082, the leading case on solicitors’ liability where a property has been sold by a fraudster impersonating the true owner. Following his client’s success in P&P Property Ltd, Chris is now regularly instructed to provide advice in high-value property identity fraud claims.
Chris has recently written an article (see the “Publications” section below) on the application of the illegality defence to mortgage fraud cases following the Supreme Court’s decision in Stoffel & Co v. Grondona  UKSC 42. Negligent surveys also form another part of Chris’ property-related professional negligence practice.
As part of his trusts, probate, and estates practice, Chris contributed the “Claims Against Professionals” chapter to the Contentious Estates course run by the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP).
Currently, a large portion of Chris’ work in this field involves (i) disputes involving restrictive covenants (and their impact on development projects) and (ii) disputes between co-owners of property relating to beneficial interests and orders for sale under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (often requiring consideration of “common intention” constructive trusts and/or proprietary estoppel).
Those interested in restricted covenants are directed to Chris’ recent article (see the “Publications” section below) on the application of s.84 of the Law of Property Act 1925 in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Alexander Devine Children’s Cancer Trust v. Housing Solutions Ltd  UKSC 45.
In addition, Chris is also frequently instructed on:
- Disputes between owners of property regarding the alleged infringement of rights of way and other easements (such as parking rights).
- Applications for charging orders and orders for sale.
- Disputes involving the principles of “bona vacantia” and “escheat” following the dissolution of companies.
Chris also acts in and advises on commercial disputes with a property flavour, such as those arising out of joint venture agreements for the development of property.
Trusts, Probate, & Estates
Most recently, Chris’ contentious probate practice has involved (i) claims by adult children under the Inheritance Act 1975 and (ii) challenges to the validity of various wills on the ground of testamentary incapacity (bearing in mind the recent discussion of the case law by Falk J in Clitheroe v. Bond  EWHC 1102 (Ch)).
In addition, Chris has also been instructed in:
- A three-day trial before HH Patrick Moloney QC, successfully representing the claimant (as sole counsel) in setting aside his mother’s will on the grounds of lack of capacity and want of knowledge and approval. (The claim involved contested expert evidence from prominent Oxbridge clinical academics on both sides.)
- A claim by an administrator to recover possession of a property forming part of the deceased’s estate.
- An application for an executor for a “put up or shut up” order in respect of potential claimants prior to distributing the estate.
- A contested application for the removal of a caveat.
- Contested applications for the removal of executors and protectors.
- A dispute regarding the validity and construction of will trusts for charitable purposes.
- A claim against an independent administrator alleging failure to administer the estate properly.
Chris contributed the “Claims Against Professionals” chapter to the Contentious Estates course run by the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP)”.