Nicholas Towers

Call: 2011

Nicholas specialises in commercial and chancery litigation in the High Court, County Court and First-Tier Tribunal. He is sought after by clients for his persuasive advocacy, commercial approach, eye for detail and thorough preparation. Nicholas brings a worldly, commercial view to litigation, having spent several years working in a large commercial law firm in Malaysia and spent time with Rajah & Tann in Singapore under a Pegasus Scholarship. Clients value the speedy turnaround of Nicholas’ realistic, practical advice, and his robust pleadings.

Nicholas is regularly instructed in direct access cases.

  • Arbitration

    Nicholas is experienced in settling pleadings and acting in arbitration proceedings internationally, in particular in England, Singapore and Malaysia. He holds a Diploma in International Arbitration and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He was a special contributor to Datuk Sundra Rajoo’s Law, Practice and Procedure of Arbitration (2nd Ed).

    • X v X [2020] 9 WLUK 530 opposing an application to set aside an order under s.66, arising out an award in a matrimonial finance arbitration;
    • Ongoing CIETAC arbitration between Hong Kong and UAE entities arising out of a commodities contract;
    • Advising on the prospects of challenging a rent review arbitration award under s.68, and on the process for challenging an award under s.70(3).
    • Assisting a government-linked company in commencing a £100m construction arbitration involving issues of EOTs, variation orders and collateral contracts.
    • SIAC arbitration between Indian and Singaporean parties in a dispute over the performance of a share purchase agreement, the defence being illegality under Indian law/public policy.
    • A High Court appeal on the interplay between the stay provisions of the Arbitration Act 1996 and insolvency proceedings.
    • Assisted with submissions and witness statements in an application for the ad hoc admission of a Queen’s Counsel in an application to set aside an arbitration award in a power plant construction claim worth over US$500m – Re Landau, Toby Thomas QC [2016] SGHC 258.
  • Banking

    Nicholas is frequently instructed in disputes centred on loan agreements, whether they be disputes under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, disputes on whether the CCA applies at all, and the enforcement of security.

    • Advising a company in a £1.4m claim against a lender and the negligent valuers instructed by the lender.
    • Stratford on Avon DC v The Hannah Susan Greig Memoral Company enforcement of a charge over a leisure centre where the council successfully obtained a vesting order transferring the land to itself.
    • Walden Finance v Saunders claim for possession of property on which a bridging loan was secured, defended by deceased husband’s wife on the grounds of undue influence.
    • Advising on whether a company in liquidation had rights of subrogation in respect of money used by its director to repay bridging loans secured against the director’s home.
  • Commercial

    Nicholas has a broad commercial practice, ranging from breaches of contract, company, banking and financial, to shareholders disputes. He has particular experience of injunctive relief and committal, is frequently instructed to seek or oppose freezing injunctions. Nicholas is frequently instructed in section 994 unfair prejudice petitions. Representative work includes:

     

    • Millchris Developments Ltd v Waters [2020] EWHC 1320 (TCC) application for an injunction prohibition construction adjudication as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
    • Juul Labs Inc v Quick Juul Ltd [2019] EWHC 1281 (Ch) represented the defendant in committal proceedings arising out of breach of a mandatory injunction to transfer a domain name.
    • Easygroup Ltd v Easy Fly Express Ltd [2018] EWHC 3155 (Ch) opposition to the jurisdiction of the High Court to hear a trade mark / passing off claim against a Bangladeshi cargo company (led by Ajmalul Hossain QC).
    • Bal v Singh [2018] EWHC 119 (Ch) represented the executive committee of a charity in a dispute over the constitution, a related committal application for the breach of an injunction, and a dispute over the appropriate costs order where the parties had settled save as to costs.
    • Jeremy Cottingham Ltd a dispute over delivery of a rare Mercedes 600, purchased for £280,000.
    • Kahlbetzer v VFX Financial Plc [2017] 8 WLUK 275 represented the defendant in a $1m international fraud claim in which the initial recipient of funds procured by an email payment scam (before they were dispersed around the world) was himself the victim of a romance scam.
    • Instructed on behalf of multiple ex-employees in a £700,000 High Court claim by an online casino for misuse of confidential information.
    • Simgood Pte Ltd v MLC Barging Pte Ltd [2016] SGCA 46 assisted in an appeal the Singaporean Court of Appeal on the tort of unlawful means conspiracy, piercing the corporate veil and inducing breach of contract.
    • Syarikat Kemajuan Timbermine Sdn Bhd v Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan Darul Naim [2015] 3 MLJ 609 assisted in an appeal to the Malaysian Federal Court over the termination of an agreement to log several hundred thousand acres of land dating in the 1970s.
    • Barclays Bank Plc v Malaysian Sea Best Sdn Bhd & Anor [2015] 3 MLJ 609 assisted in a guarantee dispute involving director fraud, in the Malaysian High Court and the Court of Appeal.
  • Insolvency

    Nicholas is frequently instructed to present winding up and bankruptcy petitions, to appear in applications to set aside statutory demands and annul bankruptcy orders.

    • Re Messenger application and appeal by discharged bankrupt opposing possession proceedings where the trustee had disclaimed the freehold land on which a debt was secured.
    • Kumar v LCP Estates Limited (Unreported) February 2016 appeal on whether the court should stay insolvency proceedings in line with s.10 of the Arbitration Act 1996 where the debt arose out of a contract containing an arbitration agreement.
    • Re RBS/GRG Business Action Group opposing an application for an injunction restraining the presentation of a winding up petition and the subsequent appeal;
    • Re Emma Hope an application by a debtor to set aside a statutory demand on the basis of speculation over COVID-19 legislation;
    • Re PW Group Services an application to amend a winding up petition where the original debt had been compromised in a settlement agreement which was subsequently breached, in line with Richbell Strategic Holdings [1997] 2 BCLC.

     

  • Landlord & Tenant

    Landlord and Tenant: Nicholas has appeared in many trials in commercial and residential disputes, including disrepair and dilapidations, possession, service charge disputes and forfeiture, and resultant disputes as to chattels.

    • Ficcara v James [2021] UKUT 38 (LC) appeal establishing that Rent Repayment Orders may not exceed the amount of rent paid in the relevant period.
    • JN&S v Emma Hope application by a tenant to declare that a Tomlin Order made in forfeiture proceedings was frustrated by the COVID-19 lockdown;
    • Advising whether changes in floor coverings constitute “alterations” in the context of various leases.
    • Earn PS v Kotetcha occupier’s liability claim where a disabled visitor to a restaurant, invited to use a lift (with a dangerous step immediately in front of the door) in a hallway area outside the tenant’s demise, was injured and later died.
    • Crimson Crescent Ltd v Tackie disrepair claim turning on the extent to which a tenant’s refusal to pay for the costs of a surveyor to enable a section 20 consultation ensured that the landlord’s breaches could not be remedied, per Bluestorm Ltd v Portvale Holdings [2004] EWCA Civ 289.
    • Sole counsel for the claimant in a multi-track trial concerning the conversion of goods and loss of profits arising out of the forfeiture of a commercial lease.
  • Real Property

    Nicholas’ practice covers a wide range of property disputes, from beneficial ownership disputes to boundaries, easements, restrictive covenants, adverse possession and trespass. Representative work includes:

      • IK v MJ claim where a joint tenant sought to persuade the court that the parties’ beneficial interests were different to their legal interests.
      • Advising on applications to remove or modify restrictive covenants against freehold land.
      • Tonna v Katerji [2018] 11 WLUK 489 appeal to the High Court against a costs order relating to a defective committal application for the alleged breach of a mandatory injunction arising out of a boundary dispute, where the order did not fix a time for compliance.
      • Obtained an urgent injunction in the High Court on behalf of a luxury hotel in Manchester, ordering the freeholder to repair the water supply system.
      • Instructed as sole counsel by a Local Authority in an appeal to the High Court against the decision of the Valuation Tribunal for England & Wales.
      • Advised on basement extensions in high-end private estate in Central London.
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