Year of Call: 2010
Michael practises in all areas of Chambers’ work, with a particular emphasis on commercial litigation and arbitration. He appears regularly in the High Court, both led and unled, in a wide range of commercial cases, including a number of very high value disputes relating shareholders’ agreements, partnerships, joint ventures and share purchase contracts. He recently acted for the claimant in Ardila Investments NV v ENRC NV, which involved a claim for US$285 million relating to the purchase of an iron ore mine in Brazil. Michael has also been instructed in a number of major competition law disputes.
In recent years, Michael has developed particular expertise in relation to insurance matters, having been instructed in a number cases concerning allegations of non-disclosure and misrepresentation, coverage disputes, and allegations of negligence against insurance brokers. Michael acted for the insurers in Brit UW Ltd v F&B Trenchless Solutions Ltd  Lloyd’s Rep. I.R. 69, in which the insurers successfully avoided a contractors’ combined liability policy on the grounds of misrepresentation and non-disclosure. Michael also successfully helped to defend an insurance broker accused of negligence in Eurokey Recycling Ltd v Giles Insurance Brokers Ltd  P.N.L.R. 5.
Before coming to the Bar, Michael taught contract law part-time at University College, Oxford, and spent a year working for a charity providing legal aid services in Kenya. After completing his pupillage, Michael spent 10 months working at the UK Supreme Court as a Judicial Assistant to Lord Clarke and Lord Carnwath. During his time as a Judicial Assistant, Michael was involved in a number of important commercial law cases, including: VTB Capital Plc v Nutritek International Corp (forum non conveniens and lifting the corporate veil), Benedetti v Sawiris (unjust enrichment) and AES Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant LLP v Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant JSC (anti-suit injunctions).
General commercial litigation and arbitration
- CitizenM LND St Paul’s Properties BV v Chil Ltd and others (Chancery Division), a contractual dispute concerning a joint venture relating to the development of a plot of land in central London for use as a hotel (with Simon Salzedo QC).
- Ardila Investments NV v ENRC NV (Commercial Court), a claim for US$285 million owed under a share purchase agreement relating to an iron ore mine in Brazil (with Neil Calver QC and Stephen Midwinter).
- Advising in relation to a claim for over £45 million brought against a commercial property consultancy involving allegations of negligence and breach of contract.
- LA Leisure Ltd v Fitness Agents Ltd (Mercantile Court), a dispute relating to the provision of personal trainers at fitness clubs involving allegations of breach of contract and procuring breach of contract.
- An arbitration under the LCIA rules worth several billion dollars involving a shareholders’ dispute concerning contracts entered into by a major Russian commodity company (with Mark Howard QC and others).
- Davenport Capital Ltd v Elbus Group Ltd (Mercantile Court), a claim by a consultancy firm for sums said to be owed as a debt and/or as damages, or by way of restitution, for services allegedly rendered in connection with the establishment of a private equity fund.
- Corbiere Ltd and others v Xu (Chancery Division), an application for a worldwide freezing order against a defendant in a claim for damages for misuse of confidential information (with Michael Swainston QC).
- Evolve Capital Plc v Hoskins (Chancery Division), a claim and counterclaim worth a total of around £1.2 million relating to loan agreements entered into in the context of an investment in a company which owned the intellectual property rights for a dental product.
- Advising in relation to a dispute concerning a long-term electricity contract worth several million dollars entered into by the subsidiary of a Russian commodity company (with Neil Calver QC and Andrew Henshaw QC).
- An arbitration under the LCIA rules involving allegations of economic duress and breach of contract, worth over US$50 million (with Andrew Henshaw QC).
- A case involving a challenge to an arbitral award under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 on the basis of a decision by the tribunal not to permit a party to amend its statement of case shortly before the final hearing (with Andrew Henshaw QC).
- AC Gold Biomass Ltd v Burrows (Commercial Court), a challenge to an arbitral award under s.68 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
Insurance and re-insurance
- Brit UW Ltd v F&B Trenchless Solutions Ltd (Commercial Court), Michael acted for the insurers in a claim for a declaration that a contractors’ combined liability insurance policy had been validly avoided on the basis of non-disclosure and misrepresentation by the insured (with Neil Calver QC).
- Sartex Quilts & Textiles Ltd v Henderson Insurance Brokers Ltd (Commercial Court), defending an insurance broker in a claim for negligence concerning the placing of material damage and business interruption cover (with Neil Calver QC).
- Eurokey Recycling Ltd v Giles Insurance Brokers Ltd (Commercial Court), Michael defended an insurance broker in a negligence claim for over £20 million concerning the placing of material damage and business interruption cover (with Neil Calver QC).
Michael has also provided confidential advice in relation to numerous insurance coverage disputes and allegations of misrepresentation and non-disclosure. In particular, Michael has provided advice in relation to several marine insurance policies and also advised in relation to a multi-million dollar claim under a contractors’ all risks insurance policy relating to the construction of a motorway in Qatar.
Shipping and international trade
Michael has been involved in a number of cases relating to shipping and international trade. He contributed to the second edition of Aikens, Lord and Bools on Bills of Lading and will be a co-author of the third edition. Michael has also been involved in the following cases relating to anti-suit injunctions in the context of shipping and international trade:
- Essar Shipping Ltd v Bank of China Ltd (Commercial Court), an application for an anti-suit injunction to restrain the pursuit of proceedings in China allegedly brought in breach of an arbitration agreement incorporated into a bill of lading contract (with Richard Lord QC).
- Arcadia Energy (Suisse) S.A. and another v Ubah and others (Commercial Court), an application for an interim anti-suit injunction to restrain the defendants from continuing proceedings in Nigeria in breach of an exclusive jurisdiction clause (with Richard Lord QC).
- GTS Gas Turbine Services S.A. v Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc (Chancery Division), a claim for damages and injunctive relief arising out of an alleged breach of Article 102 TFEU and/or section 18 of the Competition Act 1998 due to a refusal to supply spare parts and components for gas turbines to an intermediary (with Robert O’Donoghue).
- LM Ericsson v Apple Retail UK Ltd and another (Chancery Division), a dispute involving arguments concerning the obligations of a holder of mobile phone patents to grant licences on FRAND terms (with Jemima Stratford QC and others).
- R (Philip Morris Brands Sàrl and another) v Secretary of State for Health (Administrative Court), a challenge to the Secretary of State’s intention and/or obligation to implement Directive 2014/40/EU (the Second Tobacco Products Directive) (with Marie Demetriou QC and Daniel Piccinin).
- R (Philip Morris Brands Sàrl and another) v Secretary of State for Health (Administrative Court), a challenge to the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 (with Marie Demetriou QC and Daniel Piccinin).
- Allpay Ltd v City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (TCC), a claim that a tender exercise relating to the provision of bill payment services failed to comply with public procurement regulations.
- Unwired Planet International Ltd v Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and others (Chancery Division), a dispute involving arguments concerning the obligations of a holder of mobile phone patents to grant licences on FRAND terms (with Jemima Stratford QC and others).
Aikens, R. Lord, R. and Bools, M. Bills of Lading, (2nd ed.), Informa Law (forthcoming), contributor
Competition Litigation: UK Practice and Procedure (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press (forthcoming), contributor
Administrative Court Digest, Sweet & Maxwell, contributor
Qualifications & Further Information
2012-13 Judicial Assistant to Lords Clarke and Carnwath, UK Supreme Court
2011-12 Pupillage, Brick Court Chambers
2010-11 LLM, Harvard Law School
2009-10 BVC, BPP Law School (Very Competent)
2009-10 Non-stipendiary lecturer in law, University College, Oxford
2008-09 BCL, Lincoln College, Oxford (1st class, 1st in year)
2004-07 LLB (Hons) (1st class, 1st in year)
Scholarships and prizes:
2011 Athens Scholarship, the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association
2009 Queen Mother Scholarship, Middle Temple
2009 Vinerian Scholarship, University of Oxford (for the highest grade on the BCL)
2009 Sir Rupert Cross Prize for Evidence, University of Oxford
2009 Sir Ralph Chiles CBE Award for Human Rights, University of Oxford
2009 Rector's Prize, Lincoln College, University of Oxford
2009 Joint winner of the Holdsworth Society Moot, University of Oxford
2008 Supperstone Law Scholarship, Lincoln College, University of Oxford
2007 Human rights bursary, International Bar Association
2007 Oxford University Press Law Prize