Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Christopher LangleyCall Date: 2011

Christopher has a broad commercial practice with a particular emphasis on:

  • Aviation
  • Banking and Finance
  • Civil Fraud (including Cyber Fraud)
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • Conflict of Laws and Private International Law
  • International Arbitration
  • Insurance
  • Media, Entertainment and Sport
  • Professional Negligence
  • Restitution and Unjust Enrichment

He has extensive experience of complex, high-profile commercial disputes, both as sole counsel and as part of a larger team. Notable examples include the claims made by the liquidators of Stanford International Bank Ltd in the fallout of the multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Sir Allen Stanford; the multi-billion pound RBS Rights Issue litigation; the US$3 billion claim against Ukraine in respect of the claim brought by the Law Debenture Trust on behalf of the Russian Federation arising from a Eurobond issue in 2013 (one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2017); the litigation relating to the high-profile collapse of the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into the Tchenguiz brothers (featured as one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2014); and negligence actions brought by over 200 investors in various film finance schemes.

Many of his cases involve issues of civil fraud and require forensic investigation into a complicated web of transactions. Increasingly, such matters involve the use of technology and the implications for companies, banks and individuals affected by sophisticated hacking techniques and cyber fraud. He has considerable experience of cases involving bribery and corruption (including secret commissions) and is currently writing a new chapter on bribery in the context of commercial litigation and arbitration for the third edition of Lissack and Horlick on Bribery (due to be published in 2020).

Christopher also has a particular interest in and experience of aviation cases, including claims under the various European Regulations and international Conventions; disputes relating to the sale or lease of aircraft; inquests involving aviation incidents, such as the crash of the Hawker Hunter jet at the Shoreham Airshow; and highly technical disputes relating to the geometry, aerodynamics, loads and design of aircraft structures. He is regularly instructed to act for major airlines, regulators and aircraft manufacturers.

Christopher’s work generally has an international character giving rise to conflict of laws and jurisdiction issues.

Areas of Expertise

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

Recent practice

Aviation

Christopher has experience of a wide range of aviation cases.

  • Instructed (with Richard Lissack QC) on a number of substantial international arbitrations concerning the sale of a large number of aircraft in the Middle East, Africa and China, which gave rise to complex issues of bribery, corruption and compliance with the international anti-corruption standards.
  • Acting (with Derrick Dale QC) for the owner of a Boeing 737-400 aircraft which had suffered extensive damage to the wing structure and engines as a result of a heavy landing at Allama Iqbal International Airport in Pakistan. The issues included whether the owner of the aircraft had a direct right of action against reinsurers by virtue of a “cut-through” clause in the reinsurance policy.
  • Acting (with Michael McLaren QC) for an Indian freight airline in a dispute with Airbus over the sale and purchase of 12 A330 freighter aircraft. The matter settled shortly before the start of a 4-week Commercial Court trial.
  • Representing the organisers of the Shoreham Airshow in connection with the high-profile inquest touching upon the deaths of the 11 people who died following the crash of a Hawker Hunter jet in August 2015.
  • Acting in a billion-dollar ICC arbitration concerning claims in the aviation sector and the alleged misuse of confidential information. This required a detailed understanding of flight physics and the design of aircraft structures, which covered technical concepts such as geometry, aerodynamics, loads and structural engineering.
  • Representing a major airline with respect to claims made in arbitration in connection with re-delivery conditions under a commercial lease.
  • Huzar v Jet2.com: acting (with Akhil Shah QC) on one of the leading cases on the meaning of the “extraordinary circumstances” defence under Article 5(3) of Regulation 261/2004.
  • Acting on behalf of major airlines in respect of a broad range of passenger disputes, including lost baggage claims, delayed/cancelled flights and claims arising from EC Regulation 261/2004, EC Regulation 1107/2006 and the Montreal Convention.

 

Banking and Finance

Christopher regularly acts on behalf of major banks and financial institutions.  Examples of his work in this area include:

  • Stanford International Bank Limited (in liquidation) v HSBC Plc: acting (with Patricia Robertson QC and Louise Hutton) for HSBC in defending claims of negligence and dishonest assistance in connection with the multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Sir Allen Stanford.
  • Instructed to advise a major Polish bank on various choice of law issues arising from the issuance of bonds governed by English law, including whether certain mandatory rules of Polish law would be applied by the English court.
  • Acting (with John Taylor QC) for Macquarie Bank in relation to claims brought by a company in the Bomin Group in connection with losses incurred as a result of trading oil futures.
  • Law Debenture Trust Corp Plc v Ukraine [2017] EWHC 1902 (Comm); [2018] EWCA Civ 2026: instructed by Ukraine in the $3 billion claim arising out of the loan arrangement with the Russian Federation (one of The Lawyer’s Top cases of 2017).
  • Acting as part of a large team of solicitors and counsel for RBS in the multi-billion pound Rights Issue litigation.
  • Acting for the operator of a Bitcoin exchange in defending claims made against it following the sophisticated hack of its systems and the theft of its customers’ Bitcoins.
  • Acting for a major international bank in recovering monies owed by professional clients who had engaged in Forex trading on margin and had suffered substantial losses following the Swiss National Bank’s announcement that it was unpegging the Swiss franc from the Euro.
  • Egain Communications Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc and others: acting for Lloyds TSB in relation to claims for the recovery of monies alleged to have been fraudulently transferred to customer accounts held by Lloyds TSB.
  • Acting for an Egyptian bank in relation to the non-repayment of a $10 million loan facility extended to a Zimbabwean sugar refinement company.
  • In January 2013 Christopher was instructed as junior counsel to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, particularly in relation to the Sub-Panel on Mis-Selling and Cross-Selling.
  • In October 2012 Christopher completed a secondment to Barclays’ Retail and Business Banking team where he advised on a wide range of matters, including claims under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the receipt of mistaken payments.

 

Civil Fraud (Including Cyber Fraud)

Christopher has been involved in a number of matters involving civil fraud, including injunctive and other interim relief; equitable, proprietary and restitutionary claims and remedies; and tracing and asset recovery. He is also currently writing a new chapter on bribery in the context of commercial litigation and arbitration for the third edition of Lissack and Horlick on Bribery (due to be published in 2020).

Examples of his work in this area include:

  • Stanford International Bank Limited (in liquidation) v HSBC Plc: acting (with Patricia Robertson QC and Louise Hutton) for HSBC in defending claims of negligence and dishonest assistance in connection with the multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Sir Allen Stanford.
  • Instructed by a major bank to advise on claims arising out of Advanced Push Payment scams.
  • Instructed (with Richard Lissack QC) on a number of substantial international arbitrations concerning the sale of a large number of aircraft in the Middle East, Africa and China, which gave rise to complex issues of bribery, corruption and compliance with the international anti-corruption standards.
  • Acting (with John Taylor QC) for Macquarie Bank in relation to claims brought by a company in the Bomin Group in connection with losses incurred as a result of the alleged fraudulent trading of oil futures.
  • Oceanic Trans Shipping Corp and others v Maroil [2017] EWHC 1254 (Comm): acting (with Akhil Shah QC) for one of the shareholders in two joint venture companies that each owned a Very Large Crude Carrier in relation to a dispute with another shareholder for allegedly concluding a settlement without authority and ultimately misappropriating monies due to the joint venture companies. In successfully obtaining a freezing injunction against Maroil, the Commercial Court (Teare J) considered whether the reflective loss principle was applicable in the context of a shareholder seeking a payment to be made to the company, rather than to itself.
  • Acting for the operator of a Bitcoin exchange in defending claims made against it following the sophisticated hack of its systems and the theft of its customers’ Bitcoins.
  • Monde Petroleum SA v LeeLanes LLP and others: acting (with Michael McLaren QC and Adam Sher) for the claimant in its claim against solicitors for the alleged misappropriation of monies held in escrow in connection with an intended sale of a power plant to the Kurdistan Regional Government.
  • Acting in relation to a disputed agency relationship with allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation and the receipt of bribes and secret commissions.

 

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Christopher’s practice covers all aspects of commercial litigation and arbitration. Examples of his work include:

  • Nimer v United Al Saqer Group LLC (and others): acting for one of the defendants in challenging the jurisdiction of the English court to hear claims of conspiracy involving alleged acts of intimidation, illegitimate pressure and unlawful coercion which allegedly took place in Abu Dhabi, including whether a fair trial is possible in Abu Dhabi.
  • Acting for a leading supplier of children’s prepared meals against a manufacturer following a breach of an exclusivity provision.
  • Rotam Agrochemical Company Limited v GAT Microencapsulation GMBH [2018] EWHC 2765 (Comm): acting for a Hong Kong-based agrochemical company in claims arising from a collaboration on the development of a plant protection product known as “Clomazone”.
  • Recorded Picture Company v Alfama Films Production [2018] EWCA Civ 767: acting for the Grantor of an option entered into with a Portuguese production company to acquire a one picture licence in relation to the feature film project known as “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”.
  • Oceanic Trans Shipping Corp and others v Maroil [2017] EWHC 1254 (Comm): acting (with Akhil Shah QC) for one of the shareholders in two joint venture companies that each owned a Very Large Crude Carrier in relation to a dispute with another shareholder for allegedly concluding a settlement without authority and ultimately misappropriating monies due to the joint venture companies. In successfully obtaining a freezing injunction against Maroil, the Commercial Court (Teare J) considered whether the reflective loss principle was applicable in the context of a shareholder seeking a payment to be made to the company, rather than to itself.
  • Law Debenture Trust Corp Plc v Ukraine [2017] EWHC 1902 (Comm): instructed by Ukraine in the $3 billion claim arising out of the loan arrangement with the Russian Federation (one of The Lawyer’s Top cases of 2017).
  • Acting for an international fruit juice company in a dispute with a bottle manufacturer under a Manufacturing Agreement.
  • U&M Mining Zambia Ltd v Konkola Copper Mines Plc [2014] EWHC 3250 (Comm): acting (with Derrick Dale QC) in obtaining a freezing injunction against the operator of a Zambian copper mine.
  • Acting (with Bankim Thanki QC, Rosalind Phelps and James Duffy) for Vincent Tchenquiz and associated entities in relation to the high-profile collapse of the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into the Tchenguiz brothers.
  • Bieber v Teathers Ltd (In Liquidation): acting (with Mark Simpson QC) for over 200 individual investors in film finance partnerships in a substantial negligence claim against the managing partners. In an important decision, the claimants successfully established that a settlement had been reached shortly before trial on the basis of email correspondence between the parties’ solicitors: [2014] EWHC 4205 (Ch).
  • Monde Petroleum SA v LeeLanes LLP and others: acting (with Michael McLaren QC and Adam Sher) for the claimant in its claim against solicitors in relation to the alleged misappropriation of monies held in escrow in connection with an intended sale of a power plant to the Kurdistan Regional Government.
  • Acting (with Richard Handyside QC) for an individual investor in various “land banking” schemes and proceedings brought against a solicitor who acted for the vendor companies.
  • Acting on behalf of a Greek importer of Jaguar Land Rover vehicles concerning the alleged non-payment of debts and a counterclaim for various fees and incentive payments.
  • Acting (with Henry King) for the defendant in relation to claims for the repayment of a loan made as a part of a joint venture to develop mining operations in China.

 

Conflict of Laws and Private International Law

Christopher’s work is generally of an international character and he regularly advises and appears on matters giving rise to conflicts of laws and jurisdiction issues.  Recent examples include:

  • Nimer v United Al Saqer Group LLC (and others): acting for one of the defendants in challenging the jurisdiction of the English court to hear claims of conspiracy involving alleged acts of intimidation, illegitimate pressure and unlawful coercion which allegedly took place in Abu Dhabi, including whether a fair trial is possible in Abu Dhabi.
  • Rotam Agrochemical Company Limited v GAT Microencapsulation GmbH [2018] EWHC 2765 (Comm): acting for a Hong Kong-based agrochemical company in claims arising from a collaboration on the development of a plant protection product known as “Clomazone”. This involved issues as to whether Austrian law applied to contractual issues and unjust enrichment claims between the parties and extensive reports from Austrian law experts.
  • Law Debenture Trust Corp Plc v Ukraine [2017] EWHC 1902 (Comm): instructed by Ukraine in the $3 billion claim arising out of the loan arrangement with the Russian Federation (one of The Lawyer’s Top cases of 2017) and involved (amongst other things) novel and important matters of private international law, such as the capacity of foreign sovereign States to enter into English law contracts.
  • Irving and Irving v Darbyshire and others [2013] EWHC 2301 (Admin): acting for the defendants in successfully challenging the jurisdiction of the English courts where proceedings had been issued in England for an alleged breach of a settlement agreement entered into to settle defamation proceedings in the Isle of Man.
  • Acting (with Marcus Smith QC and Henry King) in challenging the jurisdiction of the English courts, with issues including the application of Article 23 of the Brussels I Regulation in circumstances where there are parallel proceedings in a non-Member State.

 

International arbitration

Christopher’s arbitration practice covers all types of institutional and ad hoc commercial arbitration.  He has recently been involved in a large-scale arbitration in the aviation sector, as well as complex financial matters and commodities disputes.

  • Instructed (with Richard Lissack QC) on a number of substantial international arbitrations concerning the sale of a large number of aircraft in the Middle East, Africa and China, which gave rise to complex issues of bribery, corruption and compliance with the international anti-corruption standards.
  • Acting in relation to a joint venture arrangement concerning property investment in Europe and allegations of misappropriation of funds.
  • Instructed in relation to a major arbitration concerning alleged corruption and bribery in the context of a gas liquefaction plant in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Representing a major airline with respect to claims made in arbitration in connection with re-delivery conditions under a commercial lease.
  • Acting in a billion-dollar ICC arbitration concerning claims in the aviation sector and the alleged misuse of confidential information. This required a detailed understanding of flight physics and the design of aircraft structures, which covered technical concepts such as geometry, aerodynamics, loads and structural engineering.

 

Insurance

  • Instructed (with Bankim Thanki QC) to advise on the whether there had been adequate notification to excess layer insurers in the context of a professional indemnity policy.
  • Acting (with Derrick Dale QC) for the owner of a Boeing 737-400 aircraft which had suffered extensive damage to the wing structure and engines as a result of a heavy landing at Allama Iqbal International Airport in Pakistan. The issues included whether the owner of the aircraft had a direct right of action against reinsurers by virtue of a “cut-through” clause in the reinsurance policy.

 

Media, Entertainment and Sport

Having previously written for and performed with the National Youth Theatre, Christopher has a keen interest in media and entertainment, which is complimented by a growing practice in these areas. He also has a broad experience of sports disputes, ranging from issues over image rights to takeover bids. Examples of his work in these areas include:

  • Acting for a video game studio in a dispute concerning the development of a fantasy action role-playing game for Windows, Xbox One and PS4.
  • Acting for a major publisher in a dispute with a high-profile celebrity relating to the payment of advances under a book publishing contract and the impact of the celebrity not attending a schedule of agreed PR events in the run up to the launch of the hardback version of his biography.
  • Instructed on behalf of an international entertainment company which produces, curates and distributes pay television channels and content verticals in a claim for unpaid licence fees.
  • Acting on behalf of a former Premier League footballer in connection with a dispute with his former club over image rights.
  • Recorded Picture Company v Alfama Films Production [2018] EWCA Civ 767: acting for the Grantor of an option entered into with a Portuguese production company to acquire a one picture licence in relation to the feature film project known as “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”.
  • The Take Film Partnerships: acting (with Mark Simpson QC) for a large group of individual investors in film finance partnerships in a substantial negligence claim against the managing partners. In an important decision on the effect of settlement negotiations prior to trial, the Claimants successfully argued that a settlement of the dispute had been reached in the course of correspondence between the parties’ respective solicitors: [2014] EWHC 4205 (Ch).
  • Parker v Freeth Cartwright LLP: acting (with Derrick Dale QC) for Freeth Cartwright in defending a substantial professional negligence claim for the alleged failure to plead certain heads of loss in a claim against solicitors who had acted for the claimants in connection with an unsuccessful takeover bid of Leicester City Football Club.

 

Professional negligence

  • Tamweel Enterprises Limited v Gregory Rowcliffe Milners: acting (with Mark Simpson QC) for the claimant in a claim against a firm of solicitors concerning the drafting of an “earn out” contract in the context of the sale and purchase of a travel company and the benefits of a VAT-related tax advantage.
  • The Take Film Partnerships: acting (with Mark Simpson QC) for a large group of individual investors in film finance partnerships in a substantial negligence claim against the managing partners. In an important decision on the effect of settlement negotiations prior to trial, the Claimants successfully argued that a settlement of the dispute had been reached in the course of correspondence between the parties’ solicitors: [2014] EWHC 4205 (Ch).
  • Parker v Freeth Cartwright LLP: acting (with Derrick Dale QC) for Freeth Cartwright in defending a substantial professional negligence claim for the alleged failure to plead certain heads of loss in a claim against solicitors who had acted for the claimants in connection with an unsuccessful takeover bid of Leicester City Football Club.
  • Acting for a firm of solicitors in defending a negligence action brought by the London tourism office of a foreign government, which raised complex issues relating to state immunity.

 

Restitution and Unjust Enrichment

Christopher regularly advises and acts for major banks in relation to monies transferred to customer accounts (allegedly by mistake and/or fraud), where the issues often involve the bank’s liability in restitution, the extent to which defences are available and the steps that can be taken to extricate the bank from the proceedings (such as interpleader relief).  He also has experience of civil fraud cases involving tracing and asset recovery, as well as personal and proprietary restitutionary claims in that context.  Recent examples include:

  • Rotam Agrochemical Company Limited v GAT Microencapsulation GmbH [2018] EWHC 2765 (Comm): acting for a Hong Kong-based agrochemical company in claims arising from a collaboration on the development of a plant protection product known as “Clomazone”. The claimants were successful in their claim for unjust enrichment on the basis that substantial payments had been made to the defendant in anticipation that the parties would enter into a binding collaboration agreement.
  • Egain Communications Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc and others: acting for Lloyds TSB in relation to claims for the recovery of monies alleged to have been fraudulently transferred to customer accounts held by Lloyds TSB.
  • Monde Petroleum SA v LeeLanes LLP and others: acting (with Michael McLaren QC and Adam Sher) for the claimant in its claim against solicitors for the alleged misappropriation of monies held in escrow in connection with an intended sale of a power plant to the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Acting in relation to a disputed agency relationship with allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation and the receipt of bribes and secret commissions.

Education

  • BCL (First Class/Distinction), Pembroke College, University of Oxford
  • LLB (Hons) (First Class), University of Hull (ranked 1st)

Appointments, memberships, prizes

  • Commercial Bar Association
  • Astbury Scholarship
  • J J Powell Prize
  • Pembroke College BCL Prize
  • Prize for Best Overall Degree
  • Sweet & Maxwell Law Prize
  • Oxford University Press Prize
  • Margaret Owen Barbeau Prize
  • Professor F W Taylor Prize

Other experience

  • Secondment to Barclays’ Retail and Business Banking team (September to October 2012)
  • Volunteer advisor at the Bethnal Green Legal Advice Centre
  • Tutor and Examiner in the Law of Torts, King’s College, London (2010 to 2011)

Publications

  • The chapter on “Bribery in the Context of Commercial Litigation and Arbitration” in Lissack and Horlick on Bribery (3rd edition, forthcoming)
  • ‘Termination as a Response to Unjust Enrichment’ (2012) LMCLQ 65 (co-authored with Rebecca Loveridge)
  • Contributor to Sweet & Maxwell’s Civil Procedure Reports

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