Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Alexander MilnerCall Date: 2006

Alexander Milner has a broad commercial practice covering both litigation and international arbitration. Described in directories as brilliant in every respectand a Rolls-Royce choice for all cases”, he is recommended as a leading junior in the fields of commercial dispute resolution, international arbitration, aviation and banking and finance.

He is a fluent Russian speaker and has appeared in many of the largest disputes to emerge from Russia and the CIS in recent years including Berezovsky v. AbramovichBank St Petersburg v. ArkhangelskyMezhprombank v. Pugachev and Tajik Aluminium Plant v. Ermatov, as well as numerous major arbitrations. He has extensive experience of handling cases governed by the law of Russia and other CIS states.

As well as appearing as counsel in the English courts and in arbitrations, he also sits as an arbitrator. He has been appointed to numerous tribunals in London and Moscow and is a Member of the List of Arbitrators of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and the Panel of Arbitrators of the Asian International Arbitration Center in Kuala Lumpur.

Areas of expertise:

  • Aviation
  • Banking and finance
  • Civil fraud
  • Commercial litigation
  • Energy and natural resources
  • EU law and competition
  • International arbitration

Areas of Expertise

  • International arbitration
  • Fraud: civil
  • Banking & finance
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Financial services
  • Offshore
  • Professional negligence
  • Aviation

Recent practice

Commercial litigation

    • Astor Management AG vAtalaya Mining plc [2018] EWCA Civ 2407: €60 million contractual dispute relating to the acquisition and commissioning of a copper mine in Spain. Instructed by Fieldfisher, led by Simon Browne-Wilkinson QC.
    • Kazakhstan Kagazy plc v. Zhunus: Acting for the respondent to a £14 million non-party costs application, following a US$300 million judgment handed down against the principal defendants ([2017] EWHC 3374 (Comm) and [2018] EWHC 369 (Comm)).
    • Fundo Soberano de Angola v. Dos Santos: claim by the Angolan sovereign wealth fund against its former chairman and others to recover US$3 billion of assets alleged to have been fraudulently misappropriated. Instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright, led by Paul McGrath QC.
    • PJSC Tatneft v. Bogolyubov: instructed on behalf of one of four defendants to a US$380 million fraud claim brought by a Russian oil company.
    • Bank St Petersburg v. Arkhangelsky [2018] EWHC 1077 (Ch): Long-running dispute between a businessman and a Russian bank said to have fraudulently misappropriated substantial real estate assets in St Petersburg. At an earlier stage of the proceedings Alexander obtained only the second ever anti-enforcement injunction granted by an English Court, restraining an opposing party from enforcing Russian judgments that had arguably been procured by fraud ([2014] EWCA Civ 593). Instructed by Withers.
    • LICT Telecommunications Sarl v. VTB Capital plc [2018] EWHC 169 (Comm): conspiracy claim against a Russian bank said to have misappropriated a substantial Bulgarian telecoms business. Instructed by Fried Frank, led by Stephen Rubin QC.
    • Yukos Finance BV v. Lynch: acting for two individuals defending claims for US$20 million in connection with the alleged “rigging” of an auction of assets owned by Yukos Oil Company. Instructed by Fieldfisher, led by Andrew Mitchell QC..
    • Re Equix Diamonds: Commercial Court dispute between three Russian individuals relating to investments in a jewellery business.
    • JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v. Pugachev [2015] EWCA Civ 139. Fraud claim by the liquidator of a Russian bank against a former senator alleged to have misappropriated sums in excess of US$1 billion.
    • Stemcor UK Ltd v. Global Steel Holdings Ltd [2015] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 580: Obtained a stay of proceedings to recover US$150 million from two guarantors pending an arbitration between the creditor and the principal debtor. Led by Simon Browne-Wilkinson QC.
    • Ukrsibbank v. Polyakov [2014] EWHC 4292 (Comm): Acted for a Ukrainian bank in proceedings concerning a worldwide freezing injunction against a Ukrainian politician under s.25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982. Instructed by PCB Litigation.
    • Cuccolini Srl v. Elcan Industries, Inc [2013] EWHC 2994 (QB): Jurisdictional dispute in proceedings arising out of the termination of a distribution agreement. Instructed by Osborne Clarke.
    • Berezovsky v. Abramovich [2012] EWHC 2463 (Comm):  Acted for the late Boris Berezovsky in his claim against Roman Abramovich in relation to the ownership of Russian oil and aluminium assets, reported to have been the largest civil claim ever brought in England. Instructed by Addleshaw Goddard.
    • Berezovsky v. Gudavadze: Acted for Boris Berezovsky in three related sets of proceedings concerning the ownership of investments formerly held by Mr Berezovsky’s late business partner Badri Patarkatsishvili. Instructed by Addleshaw Goddard.
    • HTC Corporation v Nokia Corporation [2013] EWHC 3247 (Pat): Acted for HTC in patent infringement proceedings relating to HTC’s flagship HTC One mobile phone. Instructed by Hogan Lovells.
    • Provided expert evidence on questions of English contract law in Russian court proceedings.

 

International arbitration (as arbitrator)

    • Party-nominated arbitrator in two related LCIA arbitrations between Russian parties concerning a financing transaction in the energy field.
    • Party-nominated arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration between Russian and Asian parties relating to the licensing of pharmaceutical products.
    • Party-nominated arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration brought by a company against a Russian individual under a guarantee.
    • Party-nominated arbitrator in a US$10 million arbitration between two offshore companies in the International Commercial Arbitration Court, Moscow.
    • Sole arbitrator, appointed by the LCIA, in an UNCITRAL arbitration concerning the provision of legal services to a company in Kazakhstan.

 

International arbitration (as counsel)

    • Instructed by Naftogaz of Ukraine in two multi-billion dollar SCC arbitrations relating to the sale and transmission of Russian natural gas, and related enforcement proceedings. Instructed by Wikborg Rein, led (in the enforcement proceedings) by Michael Ashcroft QC.
    • Acted in an LCIA arbitration between two prominent Russian individuals relating to the ownership and disposal of extremely valuable industrial and real estate assets. Instructed by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
    • Acted as sole counsel in a US$100 million LCIA arbitration brought by a Russian bank to enforce an option agreement. Instructed by Clifford Chance.
    • Eastern European Engineering Ltd v. Vijay Construction (Proprietary) Ltd [2016] EWHC 1450 (Comm): Application under s.103 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for security for a US$20 million award said to have been procured by intimidation/blackmail. Instructed by DLA Piper.
    • Acted in an LCIA arbitration arising out of the sale of a Russian supermarket chain. Instructed by Fladgate.
    • Acted in an LCIA claim brought by a steel trader to recover a debt of US$200 million from an industrial enterprise in Eastern Europe. Led by Simon Browne-Wilkinson QC.
    • Acted for a well-known “oligarch” in LCIA proceedings to recover a loan of US$100 million. Led by Raymond Cox QC, instructed by Osborne Clarke.
    • Acted in an LCIA arbitration relating to the ownership of shares in a Russian technology company estimated to be worth more than US$3 billion. Led by Stephen Rubin QC, instructed by Fried Frank.
    • Acted in an LCIA arbitration concerning the alleged fraudulent disposal of a Russian joint venture asset. Led by Simon Browne-Wilkinson QC, instructed by Withers.
    • Acted as sole counsel for a Russian manufacturer in an ICC arbitration claim to recover over €5 million from a joint venture partner. Instructed by DLA Piper.
    • Acted in a €300 million ICC arbitration between joint venture partners relating to the construction of a telecoms network. Led by Stephen Moriarty QC, instructed by Clyde & Co.

 

Aviation

    • R (Monarch Airlines Ltd) v. Airport Coordination Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 1892. Judicial review proceedings brought by the administrators of an insolvent airline concerning its right to be allocated valuable slots at Gatwick and Luton airports in order to sell the slots to raise money for its creditors. Instructed by Bates Wells Braithwaite, led by Michael Crane QC.
    • AerSale 25362 Ltd v. Med-View Airline plc: Acting for aircraft lessors in Commercial Court proceedings against a Nigerian lessor to recover sums due under two leases of Boeing 737s. Instructed by Holland & Knight.
    • National Air Services v. Creditrade LLP [2016] EWHC 2144 (Comm): Acted for a lessor in Commercial Court proceedings against a Ukrainian airline following the termination of two leases of Embraer 95 aircraft. Instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright.
    • Sheikh Kaki v. National Air Services [2015] EWCA Civ 731: claim for breach of a contract for the sale of an interest in a Gulfstream aircraft. Instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright.
    • Acted for a lessor in an LCIA arbitration against an Asian airline alleging fraud in connection with the leasing of two Airbus 319 aircraft. Led by Michael McLaren QC, instructed by Simmons & Simmons.
    • Acted for a national airline in an LCIA arbitration against a lessor relating to the early termination of 6 Airbus aircraft. Led by Michael McLaren QC, instructed by Clark Ricketts.
    • Virgin Atlantic Airways v. K.I. Holdings [2014] EWHC 1671 (Comm): acted for one of the defendants to a £40 million claim arising out of the supply of aircraft seats by a fraudulent manufacturer. Led by John Lockey QC and John Taylor QC, instructed by Ince & Co.
    • Aerotransleasing v. Polet Airlines [2014] EWHC 1318 (Comm): obtained and successfully defended an injunction under s.25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 in support of Russian proceedings, preventing the removal of a Russian-registered AN-124-100 aircraft from the jurisdiction. Instructed by Bird & Bird.
    • Natixis v. Islas Airways: acted as sole counsel for a lender in Commercial Court proceedings arising out of the termination of a number of lease agreements. Involved issues of jurisdiction and the effect of an insolvency opened in another Member State on English proceedings. Instructed by Simmons & Simmons.
    • G.E. Capital v. Fell: Acted as sole counsel for a lender in Commercial Court proceedings to enforce a European Enforcement Order against an aircraft temporarily located in the UK. Obtained an emergency out-of-hours injunction restraining the aircraft from leaving the jurisdiction, and successfully resisted an application to set the injunction aside on the ground of material non-disclosure. Instructed by Dentons.
    • Acted for a Russian airline in an LCIA arbitration relating to the leasing of a number of Boeing 737 aircraft. Led by Bankim Thanki QC, instructed by Bird & Bird.
    • ACG Acquisition XX v Olympic Airlines [2010] 1 CLC 581: Acted for Olympic Airlines in a dispute over a lease of a defective Boeing 737 aircraft. Instructed by Fulbright & Jaworski.
    • Rooney v. CSE Bournemouth Ltd [2010] EWCA Civ 1364: Acted for the defendant maintenance organisation in a contractual dispute arising out of an accident to a Cessna Citation aircraft. Led by Akhil Shah QC, instructed by DLA Piper.
    • Blue Panorama Airlines v. EuroAtlantic Airways: Acted for a Portuguese airline in Commercial Court proceedings brought by an Italian airline in connection with a wet lease of a Boeing 767 aircraft. The case settled mid-way through the trial. Led by Akhil Shah QC, instructed by Clyde & Co.
    • BAE Systems v. Enimex [2010] EWCA Civ 107: Acted for BAE Systems against an Estonian airline in proceedings arising out of the termination of an aircraft lease. Instructed by Allen & Overy.
    • Acted for the Light Aircraft Association in High Court proceedings arising out of a fatal gyroplane accident. Led by Akhil Shah QC, instructed by Clyde & Co.
    • Alexander has substantial experience of claims against airlines and aircraft operators under the Montreal Convention 1999, Regulations EC 261/2004 and 1107/2006, and at common law, and of advising on aviation insurance, leasing/financing and regulatory matters.

 

Fraud: civil

    • Fundo Soberano de Angola v. Dos Santos (see above under Commercial Litigation)
    • Kazakhstan Kagazy v. Zhunus (see above under Commercial Litigation)
    • NRC Holding Ltd v. Danilitskiy [2017] EWHC 1431 (Ch): enforcing a judgment against the beneficial interest in a London property owned through an offshore structure, and obtaining injunctive relief in support of a €120 million fraud claim brought in Cyprus. Instructed by Withers.
    • Standard Bank v. EFAD Real Estate: claim by a bank against members of a prominent Kuwaiti family alleging deceit and conspiracy in relation to the non-repayment of a US$50 million Islamic finance facility. Led by Derrick Dale QC, instructed by Latham & Watkins.
    • Vis Trading Co Ltd v. Nazarov [2014] EWCA Civ 313. Appeal in a US$30 million fraud claim brought under Russian law. Instructed by Clyde & Co. Subsequent committal proceedings reported at [2016] 4 WLR 1.
    • JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v. Pugachev (see above under Commercial Litigation).
    • Bank St Petersburg v. Arkhangelsky (see above under Commercial Litigation).
    • Tajik Aluminium Plant v. Ermatov: Acted for seven of the defendants and the Part 20 claimant in a US$500m fraud claim concerning the operations of an aluminium smelting plant in Tajikistan. Led by Brian Doctor QC, instructed by Clyde & Co.
    • Acted in numerous international arbitrations involving claims based on fraud (see above under International commercial arbitration).

 

Banking & finance / financial services

    • Deutsche Bank v. Unitech Global Ltd: Acting for a number of lenders seeking to recover a loan of US$150 million from an Indian property development group alleging manipulation of LIBOR. Led by Richard Handyside QC, instructed by Allen & Overy.
    • Bank Mellat v. HM Treasury: instructed by Bank Mellat in its claim for damages against the UK government for lost business caused by sanctions which the Supreme Court ruled to be unlawful.
    • Quoi v. National Westminster Bank plc [2016] EWHC 1351 (QB): Acted for the bank in High Court proceedings involving multi-million-pound claims for breach of contract arising out of the collapse of a construction business.
    • Smeaton v. Equifax plc [2013] EWCA Civ 108: Acted for the defendant credit reference agency in this important case regarding the scope of the duties imposed on CRAs under the Data Protection Act 1998. Led by Richard Handyside QC, instructed by DAC Beachcroft.
    • LICT Telecommunications v. VTB Capital plc (see above under Commercial Litigation).
    • Ukrsibbank v. Polyakov (see above under Commercial Litigation).
    • JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v. Pugachev (see above under Civil Fraud).
    • Standard Bank plc v. EFAD Real Estate (see above under Civil Fraud).
    • Bank St Petersburg v. Arkhangelsky (see above under Commercial Litigation).
    • Acting for major banks in numerous High Court cases defending claims by customers alleging breach of contract, breach of duty, fraud and conspiracy, and in claims involving mortgages, guarantees, mistaken payments, credit agreements etc.
    • Acting for both claimants and defendants in High Court proceedings relating to the alleged mis-selling of interest rate hedging products.
    • Acting for two investors in proceedings against an asset manager under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 for failing to procure the return of a series of investments in structured products. Instructed by Collyer Bristow.

 

European Law and Competition

    • Gave written and oral expert evidence on EU competition law issues in two ICC arbitrations between major European airlines and a global distribution system operator. Instructed by Baker & McKenzie.
    • Advised a major financial services company on issues relating to the revisions to the EU Payment Services Directive and regulation of multilateral interchange fees.
    • Provided legal opinions in connection with proceedings between the EU Commission and a pharmaceutical company regarding the circumstances in which patent settlement agreements infringe the EU competition rules. With Sir Francis Jacobs QC, instructed by White & Case.
    • Provided written expert evidence in Lithuanian proceedings on the application of Article 101 TFEU to agreements between a number of banks and a provider of cash handling services. With Sir Francis Jacobs QC, instructed by Kastell (Sweden).
    • Provided a legal opinion in connection with an action against the EU Commission regarding the lawfulness of a dawn raid. With Sir Francis Jacobs QC, instructed by White & Case.
    • Advised manufacturers of electronic cigarettes as to the legality of the proposed revisions to the Tobacco Products Directive with Sir Francis Jacobs QC.
    • Advised leading European airlines on the interpretation and application of the EU slots regulation. Instructed by Watson Farley & Williams.
    • Advised major drinks and clothing manufacturers on the interpretation of EU regulations concerning the labelling of spirit drinks and textiles. Instructed by Mishcon de Reya and Bristows.
    • Advised two non-European investment funds as to whether their shares constituted eligible investments for the purposes of a UCITS scheme within the meaning of Commission Directive 2007/16/EC (the Eligible Assets Directive).
    • Advised a number of law firms as to the compatibility of the rules of an EU Member State’s Bar Association with the EC Treaty. With Sir Francis Jacobs QC, instructed by Linklaters.
    • Advised a Czech bank as to whether a restructuring plan adopted by the Czech state constituted aid applicable after accession requiring review by the Commission under Article 108 TFEU. With Sir Francis Jacobs QC, instructed by Baker & McKenzie.
    • Assisted Sir Francis Jacobs QC in preparing numerous expert reports and opinions on behalf of companies and national governments, in connection with proceedings before arbitral tribunals, national courts and regulators, the EU Commission and courts, and the International Court of Justice. Instructed by firms including Baker & McKenzie, Bingham McCutchen, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Covington & Burling, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Shearman & Sterling, White & Case, Wikborg Rein.

Education

  • BA Modern and Medieval Languages, King’s College, Cambridge (First class honours with distinction, first in university)
  • CPE, City University (Distinction).
  • BVC, Inns of Court School of Law (Outstanding)

Appointments, memberships, prizes

  • Lord Mansfield Scholarship, Lord Bowen Scholarship, City University Scholarship, Hardwicke Scholarship, Shelford Scholarship, and Buchanan Prize (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member of the List of Arbitrators of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
  • Member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the Asian International Arbitration Center, Kuala Lumpur
  • Russian Arbitration Association (registered arbitrator)
  • Russian and CIS Arbitration Network (executive committee member)
  • COMBAR

Recommendations

Alexander is recommended as a leading junior in both Chambers & Partners (commercial dispute resolution, aviation, banking and finance) and Legal 500 (international arbitration, aviation and banking & finance). Selected quotes include:

“Absolutely outstanding, incredibly bright, and a great person to have on your team.” (Legal 500, Banking & Finance, 2019)

“Brilliantly clever, very thorough and also has fantastic experience in Russia-related litigations.” (Legal 500, Commercial Litigation, 2019)

“Impressive intellect, very quick, and strong experience of Russian disputes and language.” (Legal 500, International Arbitration, 2019)

“One of the most experienced and capable senior juniors of his generation” (Legal 500, International Arbitration, 2019)

“An extremely experienced barrister who’s outstanding when it comes to Russia and CIS work” (Chambers & Partners, Commercial Dispute Resolution, 2019)

“Alex Milner is a class act. He is super-intelligent but also a pleasure to work with. He deals with clients, experts and fact witnesses with aplomb” (Chambers & Partners, Banking & Finance, 2019)

“He has a stellar reputation and is a very experienced, clever senior junior” (Chambers & Partners, Aviation, 2019)

“Has great analytical skills and turns out well-ordered, logical, compelling documents” (Chambers & Partners, Commercial Dispute Resolution, 2019)

“An outstanding practitioner for Russia and CIS-related work” (Legal 500, Commercial Litigation, 2019)

“Well ahead of the pack in terms of the standard of his advocacy” (Legal 500, Commercial Litigation, 2018)”

“His written work is exceptional and very compelling indeed” (Legal 500, International Arbitration, 2018)

“Experienced junior barrister with renowned intellect and clarity of vision” (Chambers & Partners, Aviation, 2018)

“Outstandingly bright, hands-on, responsive and efficient” (Chambers & Partners, Aviation, 2018)

“An outstanding and proactive junior who has all the skills you need” (Chambers & Partners, Banking and Finance, 2018)

“An impressive and measured advocate” (Chambers & Partners, Banking and Finance, 2018)

“Very good at engaging with the judge, he gets points across without much effort, and is pretty robust with witnesses” (Chambers & Partners, Commercial Dispute Resolution, 2018)

“He has an impressive ability to quickly assimilate the facts and arguments of complex cases” (Legal 500, Aviation, 2018)

 “Brilliant in every respect” (Chambers & Partners, Commercial Dispute Resolution, 2017)

“really exceptional” (Chambers & Partners, Aviation, 2017)

“Undoubtedly one of the brightest juniors around with an outstanding knowledge of the law” (Legal 500, International Arbitration, 2016)

“a Rolls-Royce choice for all cases” (Legal 500, International Arbitration, 2015)

“He makes very realistic assessments of cases and is not afraid of saying what he thinks and being intellectually honest. As an advocate he is clear and compelling, and he does not take bad points. It is a pleasure to read his work and to listen to him in court.” (Chambers & Partners, Commercial Dispute Resolution, 2016)

“He has a fine eye for forensic detail, and a skill for calmly testing the robustness (or otherwise) of an argument” (Legal 500, Aviation, 2016)

“He filters out the nonsense and gets straight to the point.” (Chambers & Partners, Aviation, 2016)

polished and very eloquent as an advocate” (Chambers & Partners, Banking and Finance, 2016)

“He gives very considered advice and he seems far more experienced than his years suggest” (Chambers & Partners, Banking and Finance, 2016)

“A future star. He’s bright, fast on turnaround and gives good, sensible advice.” (Chambers & Partners, Commercial Dispute Resolution, 2015)

“Quietly spoken, he’s cerebral and provides a very clear and precise understanding of the problem before him.” (Aviation, Chambers & Partners 2015)

“Calm, efficient and a man with a no-nonsense approach.” “He’s easy to deal with and his advocacy and advice are both excellent.” (Commercial, Chambers & Partners 2015)

“Apart from his language skills being a major asset, he is extremely efficient and proactive, doing things in advance without needing to be asked. He is quite young in terms of call but juggles significant cases extremely well. Very good and easy to work with, he produces very good written material.”

He is extremely hard-working and diligent and grasps detail very quickly.”  (Chambers and Partners, Commercial Dispute Resolution, 2014)

“His ability to speak and read Russian makes him extremely valuable.” (Legal 500, International Arbitration, 2014)

“Calm and very considered – his instinct is spot on” (Legal Week, 2014)

“His response time is ‘superb and he always gets to the heart of the matter’… he is ‘the cool head when others around him may be losing theirs’” (Legal Week, 2014)

“The speed and quality of his response to requests for review, drafts or opinion is genuinely market leading” (Legal Week, 2014)

“Also busy is Alexander Milner, another excellent junior at [Fountain Court], whose ‘eye for detail’ and ‘technical expertise’ both receive commendation. He is praised as a ‘thorough and capable’ lawyer who is ‘solid on his feet’ and ‘puts the work in’.” (Chambers and Partners, Commercial Dispute Resolution, 2013)

“Well on his way to becoming a future star of the bar” (The Lawyer, 2010)

Publications and Talks

  • Invited speaker at arbitration conferences in London, Moscow, Kiev, Hong Kong and Singapore (2017-2018)
  • Liability for property fraud: P&P Property v. Owen White & Catlin, Journal of Professional Negligence, Vol. 33 No. 3 (2017)
  • Liability for negligent investment advice following extraordinary market turmoil: Rubenstein v. HSBC Bank plc’, Journal of Professional Negligence, Vol. 29, No. 1 (2013)
  • ‘Advantages and disadvantages of arbitrating Russian and CIS disputes in western Europe’, Transnational Dispute Management Vol. 9, issue 3 (April 2012)
  • ‘Regulation EC 261/2004 and “extraordinary circumstances”’, Air and Space Law 34, no.3 (2009); 215-220
  • Contributor to the Civil Procedure Reports (Sweet & Maxwell)

Languages

  • Fluent Russian and French
  • Good working knowledge of Italian

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