Chris is a highly sought after litigator in any breakdown of an employment or senior corporate relationship which is likely to end up in Court. His litigation skills are second-to-none and, as a result, he is very frequently instructed in the High Court, in coterminous proceedings in the Employment Tribunal and in commercial arbitrations.
Chris has been so frequently compared to various members of the animal kingdom and subjected to dubious comparisons to armed assailants and the like that instead of quoting the directories we limit ourselves to noting that he is ranked by Chambers & Partners as a leading employment and commercial dispute resolution practitioner and by Legal 500 in those categories and also in their Media, Entertainment and Sport and International Arbitration categories as well.
Chris has a record of success in major High Court trials including SBJ Lonmar v West and Towry EJ Limited v Bennett. These cases saw him successfully defend individuals and corporations facing seven-figure conspiracy and breach of duty claims. In 2013 he was able to add a successful application for summary judgment in Thomson Ecology v Hall and others to his achievements.
The Thomson Ecology case is illustrative of Chris’ practice for a number of reasons. Firstly it demonstrates the breadth of his expertise in that, as is often the case, it involved a wide range of causes of action that took it outside the comfort-zone of most employment practitioners and secondly it showed his ability to make use of Court procedures and rules so as to secure a short-route to a successful result for his clients.
Chris’ practice sees him deal very regularly with the normal facets of a senior employment relationship such as restrictive covenants, fiduciary duties, shareholders’ agreements, investment agreements and joint ventures. It involves his frequent instruction in Employment Tribunal cases which in 2013 included his successful representation of Tullow Oil.
Other cases in 2013 included his instruction as the sole leading junior in the £100 million Rubicon hedgefund dispute, his successful involvement in a major commercial arbitration, his instruction in the ongong Bates van Winkelhof case on the applicability of whistleblowing protection to LLP members and his instruction in the litigation following the fall-out between the partners in Marathon Asset Management.
Chris’ fearlessness and independence as an advocate, his unstinting efforts on behalf of all his clients and his track-record mark him out and explain the fact that his solicitors and clients come back to him time and again. He is typically instructed against Silks and has the practice of a Silk even though he remains a Junior and currently has no plans to apply for elevation.
Chris is also frequently instructed to advise or assist in significant internal disputes in major firms and partnerships where the need for discetion is such that they cannot be named.
Chris is the Head of both our Business Development Committee and also of our Recruitment Committee.
Chris is ranked by Chambers & Partners as a leading junior in Commercial Dispute Resolution.
His recent and ongoing High Court commercial cases include acting for two sets of defendants in so-called alleged "land banking" cases. In the first of these his clients face a seven-figure misfeasance claims brought by a company liquidator. In the second of these his clients face enforcement proceedings brought by the Financial Services Authority in respect of an alleged unlawful collective investment scheme contrary to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
Chris is also frequently instructed in more general commercial disputes, including disputes arising out of agency agreements. In the ongoing case of PHS v Rentokil his clients are challenging the appropriateness of non-user of confidential information restrictions and of springboard relief in the context of commercial agency.
Chris' expertise in commercial dispute resolution also leads to his instruction in arbitrations, in respect of which he is ranked by Legal 500 as being a leading junior in International Arbitration.
Chris acts frequently in disputes in the partnership or LLP context whether in the High Court, arbitrations or in the Employment Tribunal.
He has also acted in numerous professional negligence cases.
According to Chambers and Partners, Chris "is often the first port of call in high-value City disputes and is particularly recommended for injunctive relief cases”.
His reputation has been gained over many years and sees him instructed in a large number of such applications. A particular advantage that he enjoys is his expertise in both employment and commercial litigation. Chris is rare in that he is ranked as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners in both fields.
Chris has extensive experience of both applying for and opposing applications for freezing relief, search orders and enforcement of restrictive covenants and fiduciary duties. His work regularly involves intellectual property and other tangential areas.
Many but by no means all of these cases will result in speedy trials. In respect of these, Chambers and Partners describes him as being "A tremendous cross-examiner and effective fighter” who "produces clear, crisp and persuasive arguments”.
As is illustrated by cases such as Lonmar and Towry Chris has particular expertise in the trials that sometimes do follow from such applications from interim relief and a record of succeeding in the same.
Chris' recent freezing injunction work includes the making of a successful application to vary an injunction so as to allow for the payment of legal fees in FSA v St Clair and others (November 2012).
Chris’ recent High Court trials include the Rubicon hedgefund dispute, Towry EJ Ltd v Bennett and others, Yousefi v SJ Solicitors, Lonmar Global Risks Ltd v West and Others, Utopia v Wright and others and G Attwood Holdings v Woodward.
He has a track record of success in all these trials.
His successful defence of the First Defendant in the three week £2.5 million High Court Lonmar trial came despite not calling his client to give evidence. The judgment of Mr Justice Hickinbottom was the latest word on the duty of fidelity and the required elements of the torts relevant to these cases.
Such trials often, but not always, result from an initial application for injunctive relief: as to which please see "Injunctions”. The exceptions to this are illustrated by cases such as El-Hajjali which involved consideration of penalty clauses in contracts of employment.
Many of Chris’ cases arise from a commercial relationship other then one of employment. He recently acted for a management company against a celebrity chef and was also instructed in the first case to consider the status of monies paid under a telephone direct debit scheme.
His expertise in High Court trials generally is reflected by his success in a solicitor's negligence claim in Yousefi v SJ Solicitors.
Chris also has extensive experience before the Court of Appeal. In 2009 he succeeded in the land-mark case of Booth v Oldham MBC which is now the leading authority on the inter-relationship between the Disability Discrimination Act and the Local Government Pension Regulations
Chris has been instructed in many of the most noteworthy City discrimination claims on behalf of both Claimants and Respondents and he continues to be. One recent example of such a case is his representation of the former parliamentary sketcher writer for the Daily Telegraph, Andrew Gimson.
Historically, the most well-known of these is probably the "Gay Banker” case (Lewis v HSBC) in which Chris was instructed alone against both Andrew Hochhauser QC and Thomas Linden QC. This may be followed closely by his successful appeal in Serco v Redfearn which established that members of the British National Party could not rely upon the Race Relations Act.
He is frequently instructed in such high-value claims and has acted both for and against many of the leading City institutions.
Chris’ credentials in discrimination cases are reflected by his instruction in Booth v Oldham MBC (inter-relationship between DDA and Local Government Pension Regulations) and in GMB v Allen where he succeeded in establishing that a trade union had discriminated against its female members on the ground of their sex.
In 2010 Chris acted successfully for a major law firm resisting two high-value discrimination claims. In 2011 he was instructed in four similar cases, twice on behalf of the Claimant and twice on behalf of the Respondents. A similar pattern occurred in 2012. One of these cases was his successful defence of a six-figure victimisation claim brought by a previously successful claimant in Saiger v General Healthcare Limited.
Chris has extensive experience of statutory employment claims in the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, most recently in the successful appeal in Bates van Winklehof v Clyde & Co LLP which establsihed that LLP members cannot bring whistleblowing claims.
He acts for both Claimants and Respondents in all areas of statutory employment claims. His recent appellate cases reflect the breadth of his expertise ranging as they do from a successful TUPE appeal in Nationwide Building Society v Benn  IRLR 922 to a successful appeal against a finding of unfair dismissal in Celebi v Compass.
Chris is instructed in a large number of whistle-blowing claims- an area which often calls for extensive cross-examination skills given the issue of good-faith which is so frequently fundamental to such claims.
Applications for Interim Relief are another specialism.
Chris is regularly instructed in a broad range of civil disputes including a number of disciplinary and regulatory claims where a robust approach is sought by solicitors and their clients.
Chris is also regularly instructed in sports, media and entertainment cases and his experience extends to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Geneva. He has appeared in many of the domestic sporting tribunals. Recent cases include Lawrie Sanchez v Barnet FC in which he successfully defended a football club against a claim of unfair dismissal.
Chris' expertise also leads to him being instructed on behalf of solicitors, law firms and even barristers on their own behalf.