Chris has a busy and varied commercial chancery practice, which covers disputes relating to:
- Property law (including landlord and tenant);
- Commercial law (including insurance-related claims);
- Insolvency law (both corporate and personal); and
- Private client law (spanning trusts, wills, and intestacy).
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. For more detail on Chris’ recent and ongoing work, which includes cutting-edge points of substantive law in the Court of Appeal and high-value disputes with an international dimension in the Commercial Court, please see the drop-down menus below.
Chris is fully immersed in the world of commercial chancery litigation. He was a Judicial Assistant in the Chancery Division for Hilary Term 2020 (assigned primarily to Mr Justice Trower and Mr Justice Nugee) and in 2019 spent six weeks on secondment at Carey Olsen Bermuda as a Pegasus Scholar. He contributed the “Claims Against Professionals” chapter to the Contentious Estates course run by the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP) and also sits on the Chancery Bar Association’s Education & Training Sub-Committee.
As an undergraduate, Chris gained a double First in Classics from Magdalen College, Oxford. He then converted to law and was graded “Outstanding” in both Civil Litigation and Advocacy on the Bar Professional Training Course. Called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn, Chris was awarded the Inn’s prestigious Lord Mansfield scholarship during his legal training. Prior to coming to the Bar, Chris gained experience of financial services at Citigroup Global Markets and Black River Asset Management.
A large part of Chris’ practice concerns the resolution of disputes between commercial entities. In this field, he has recently acted in or advised on:
- 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.
- Bringing a £1m+ claim for breach of contract against a electricity battery storage developer.
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.
Company and Partnership
In this field, 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.
Chris is regularly instructed – often at short notice – to deal with matters involving both corporate and personal insolvency. Recently, he has acted in or advised on:
- “Anti-avoidance” claims in respect of transactions defrauding creditors under s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
- “Anti-avoidance” claims brought by liquidators in relation to transactions at an undervalue and preferences.
- 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
In this field, Chris is very regularly involved in:
- 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.
Prior to joining Selborne, Chris undertook his pupillage with the leading professional negligence Chambers. He is therefore very comfortable dealing with allegations of negligence against a wide range of professionals, including solicitors, surveyors, and construction workers.
Conveyancing fraud is a particular area of expertise. 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 is frequently instructed on:
- 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. (These often involve common intention constructive trusts and/or claims of proprietary estoppel.)
- Disputes between owners of property in respect of the impact of restrictive covenants (and “building schemes”) on development projects.
- 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
In this field, Chris has recently been instructed in:
- A four-day trial seeking to prove the validity of a will which was disputed on the grounds of defective execution and lack of testamentary capacity. (Chris was successful, with HHJ Saffman stating in his written judgment that “all these arguments by Mr de Beneducci are, in my view, powerful and persuasive”.)
- A claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 for “reasonable financial provision” going beyond the provisions of the client’s father’s will.
- A claim by an administrator to recover possession of a property forming part of the deceased’s 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.