Max Cole

Call: 2011

Max has a civil practice focussed on business, media & sport and employment.

Before coming to the bar he practised as a solicitor. He started his legal career with Freshfields and was later a litigator at Mishcon de Reya. This background means he has an excellent understanding of what solicitors and clients want from Counsel. He is also particularly well-placed to work with clients on a direct access basis

He has a degree in Modern Languages from Bristol University. He speaks reasonably fluent French and some Spanish and German.

  • Company & Partnership

    Business law – contentious and non-contentious – is the focus of Max’s practice.

    Disputes involving insolvency – both corporate and personal – and company law now form the majority of Max’s practice.

    He acts for both debtors and office holders across the full range of Insolvency Act applications.  Recent experience includes setting aside statutory demands, validation orders, contested winding-up petitions, injunctions restraining advertisement/presentation of winding up petitions, contested administration orders.

    He is regularly instructed in misfeasance claims against company directors under s212 IA (and related questions of directors’ duties,  transactions at an undervalue,  transactions defrauding creditors and unlawful dividends).

    In company law he acts in unfair prejudice petitions,  derivative actions and claims against company directors for breach of duty

    He acts in a wide range of disputes resulting from business transactions.  Recent experience includes claims involving breach of contract, misrepresentation, professional negligence, partnership, and guarantees.

    He also advises on and drafts a range of commercial contracts including, confidentiality agreements, settlement agreements, agency agreements and sale of goods agreements


    Biscardi v Springer [2020].  Acting for the Respondent to this unfair prejudice petition which settled immediately before trial

    AMP Advisory & Management Partners AG v Force India Formula One Team Limited (in liquidation) [2019] EWHC 2426 (Comm)  successful claim for a quantum meruit in respect of unjust enrichment resulting from the brokering of a Formula One sponsorship agreement. Led by William McCormick QC

    Terry Gregory (Metal Fabrications) Limited v Golledge and Ors [2019] EWHC 1856 (Ch) Successful defence of claim, heard over five days, for fraudulent conspiracy involving provision of services to a family company over a fifteen year period

    Atkinson (Trustee in Bankruptcy of Paul Whey) v Barbrook (Luton CC 2018) successful defence of claim for unjust enrichment brought by the bankrupt’s trustee against a creditor of the bankrupt.

    Golledge v Gregory and Or (HCJ) ongoing unfair prejudice petition under s994 of the Companies Act 2006.

    Travis Perkins plc v Burton (County Court, Brighton) application to set aside statutory demand.  Successful argument based on discharge of a guarantee by variation of underlying obligation and the rule in Holme v Brunskill.

    Fort Locks Storage Limited v Deakin [2017] EWCA 404.  For the Appellant in appealing a suspended committal order, on the basis of procedural irregularities

    Legacy Hotels & Resorts Limited v Bottleigh Grange Hotel Limited. Acting for the Defendant hotel owner in a dispute with its managing agent.  Settled on first day of a six day trial.  Led by William McCormick QC

    Fiona Rushmer v Paul Atkinson (as Trustee in Bankruptcy of Duncan Rushmer) [2015] EWHC 3720 (Ch).  Acting for the Claimant in the trial of an application for declaratory relief that the business she ran with her husband was a partnership (so that its assets were outside the scope of his bankruptcy estate) and related applications for delivery up of property.

    Administrators of Tiuta International Limited v Lorrells LLP (HCJ, Timothy Kerr QC). Acting for the Respondent firm of solicitors in an application for disclosure of documents pursuant to s234 and s.236 Insolvency Act 1986

    Zimareva Locke and Or v Cetin, [2012] EWHC 4196 (Ch). Acting throughout for the Defendant in a dispute concerning membership of a solicitor’s firm. Settled following unsuccessful application to commit the Defendant for contempt of court. Led by Nick Stewart QC.

  • Employment

    He represents both Claimants and Respondents in the full range of employment disputes, including unfair and wrongful dismissal, all types of discrimination, whistleblowing, transfer of undertakings working time and national minimum wage claims.

    Drawing on his expertise in media law, he has a particular interest in data protection and misuse of confidential information in the work-place.

  • Media & Entertainment

    In media law Max’s practice focuses on defamation, privacy, breach of confidence and data protection. He acts for both Claimants and Defendants, who include publishers and broadcasters.

    Much of his work in this area is advisory in nature. In addition to the cases below he has advised in numerous matters involving privacy where proceedings have not started and which must necessarily remain confidential.

    He has given pre-publication advice to a number of magazines and newspapers, NGOs, government organisations and individuals.

    Max drafts a range of commercial agreements relating to film and television. He acts for the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, owners of Highclere Castle, in relation to the use of the Castle as the setting of Downton Abbey and the exploitation of the Castle in the media

    During 2016 he acted for Olympic gymnast Louis Smith in disciplinary proceedings brought by British Gymnastics


    Seventy Thirty Limited v Burki. Acting for the Claimant match-making business in claims for defamation (ongoing)

    King v Tong (HCJ Master McCloud) acting for the Defendant in successful application to strike out claims of defamation on the basis of lack of “serious harm”

    Best Bet Bookmakers Limited v Gordon Taylor. Acting for the Defendant chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association in counterclaims for misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act.

    Khadir v Channel S Television Limited [2014] EWHC 2305 (QB). Acting for the Defendant television station in an assessment of damages for a defamatory broadcast

    Mama Group Limited and Or v Sinclair and Or [2013] EWHC 2374 (QB). Acting for the Claimants throughout in a claim for defamation. Settled following the Defendant’s unsuccessful application to strike out the claim as an abuse of process. Led by William McCormick QC.