Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Joseph FarmerCall Date: 2013

Joseph has a broad commercial practice.

He has recent experience of a range of heavy and complex disputes, including the high-profile SRA prosecution of Leigh Day, Instant Access Properties (in Liquidation) v Rosser and others (involving a 20-day trial in the Chancery Division in late 2017) and Gemini v CBRE and King Sturge (one of the The Lawyer’s “top 20 cases of 2016”).

He is also regularly instructed as sole counsel in a variety of matters.

Areas of Expertise

  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Banking & finance
  • Financial services
  • Fraud: civil
  • International arbitration
  • Professional discipline
  • Professional negligence
  • Restructuring/insolvency
  • Administrative & public law
  • Aviation

Recent practice

Commercial and fraud

  • Fundo Soberano de Angola and others v dos Santos and others [2018] EWHC 2199 (Comm) – Instructed with Paul McGrath QC, Nik Yeo, Alexander Milner and Samuel Ritchie. Acting for the Claimants in the Defendants’ application to set aside a freezing injunction and proprietary injunction in relation to assets up to the value of US$3bn (4 days in July 2018). Issues in relation to jurisdiction at common law and under the Lugano Convention in the context of allegations of conspiracy, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt; and proprietary claims.
  • Instant Access Properties (in Liquidation) v Rosser and others [2018] EWHC 756 (Ch) – Instructed with Edmund Cullen QC. Representing a tax advisor in a £35m claim by liquidators alleging a diversion of funds to offshore entities. The claim against multiple defendants included allegations of shadow/de facto directorship, breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance, conspiracy, and fraudulent trading under s.213, Insolvency Act 1986. 20-day trial in the Chancery Division, late 2017.
  • Gemini v CBRE and King Sturge – Instructed with Mark Simpson QC, Nik Yeo and Nico Leslie for the Claimant in a claim exceeding £200m arising out of the alleged negligent valuation of a £1.2bn commercial property portfolio, one of the The Lawyer’s “top 20 cases of 2016”.
  • Instructed (with Richard Lissack QC and James Cutress QC) to defend a jurisdictional challenge to a claim in the Chancery Division. Issues of jurisdiction at common law and under the Brussels Regulation in the context of allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and breach of trust.
  • Instructed (with Bankim Thanki QC and Michael McLaren QC) to advise a commercial client in relation to champerty and maintenance with respect to agreements about litigation.
  • As sole counsel, advised a client in the petroleum industry in relation to a sales agreement.
  • Appeared as sole counsel for a commercial client in an application to strike out a claim involving online gaming.
  • Appeared as sole counsel for a national energy company in applications involving strike out/summary judgment in relation to a claim for injunctive relief based on alleged harassment, the setting aside of judgment in default, and relief from sanction.
  • Instructed as sole counsel in a case for a commercial client involving alleged breach of contract, negligence and breach of duties of bailee in relation to a dispute about the storage and processing of goods.
  • Instructed as sole counsel to advise a commercial client on anticipated proceedings in relation to a consultancy services contract.

 

Banking and financial

  • Instructed as sole counsel for financial services clients in a number of retail banking claims and hearings (including those involving s.75 and the unfair relationship provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974).
  • Advised (with Mark Simpson QC) on a proposed unfair relationship claim arising out of an investment scheme.
  • As sole counsel, advised a commercial client in the entertainment industry on aspects of the Payment Services Regulations 2017.
  • Instructed with James Cutress by a financial institution in a claim relating to the alleged mis-selling of an interest rate swap.
  • Completed a three month secondment to the Financial Markets Disputes group at Dentons UKMEA LLP during which Joseph dealt with cases involving alleged mis-selling of interest rate swaps and a mortgage product, and a contractual dispute regarding a GMRA.
  • Seconded to Barclays Bank plc. Provided advice on a contractual services dispute and a number of county court matters involving banking issues (including consumer credit matters).

Joseph is the co-author, with Nik Yeo, of a two-part article on cryptocurrency disputes (N Yeo and J Farmer, “Mapping the Landscape: Cryptocurrency Disputes under English Law: Part 1” (2019) 2 Journal of International Banking and Financial Law 80, with the second part at (2019) 5 JIBFL 290). Part 1 covered disputes between holders of cryptocurrencies, and between holders and service providers. Part 2 looks at disputes between service providers, and regulation.

 

Company and chancery

  • Instant Access Properties (in Liquidation) v Rosser and others [2018] EWHC 756 (Ch) – Instructed with Edmund Cullen QC. Representing a tax advisor in a £35m claim by liquidators alleging a diversion of funds to offshore entities. The claim against multiple defendants included allegations of shadow/de facto directorship, breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance, conspiracy, and fraudulent trading under s213, Insolvency Act 1986. 20-day trial in the Chancery Division, late 2017.
  • Instructed (with Stuart Ritchie QC and David Lascelles) in a shareholders’ dispute in the Commercial Court relating to a drag-along right and involving allegations of fraud, procurement of breach of contract and unlawful means conspiracy.
  • Advising in relation to unfair prejudice and dividend entitlement (in the context of a shareholders’ dispute) (assisting Stuart Ritchie QC).
  • Instructed (with Michael Green QC) in a dispute involving allegations made by a minority shareholder.
  • Acting as sole counsel for the Claimant in a dispute in relation to alleged breach of a share purchase agreement. 

 

Insolvency

  • As sole counsel, advised on a claim involving the alleged conversion of a bankruptcy asset.
  • Appeared as sole counsel for a financial services client at a hearing dealing with the costs of an application under Insolvency Act 1986, s.236.
  • Appeared as sole counsel for a commercial client at a hearing dealing with the costs of an application to restrain the presentation of a winding-up petition.

 

Professional liability

  • Instant Access Properties (in Liquidation) v Rosser and others [2018] EWHC 756 (Ch) – Instructed with Edmund Cullen QC. Representing a tax advisor in a £35m claim by liquidators alleging a diversion of funds to offshore entities. The claim against multiple defendants included allegations of shadow/de facto directorship, breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance, conspiracy, and fraudulent trading under s213, Insolvency Act 1986. 20-day trial in the Chancery Division, late 2017.
  • Gemini v CBRE and King Sturge – Instructed with Mark Simpson QC, Nik Yeo and Nico Leslie for the Claimant in a claim exceeding £200m arising out of the alleged negligent valuation of a £1.2bn commercial property portfolio, one of the The Lawyer’s “top 20 cases of 2016”.

 

Professional regulation

  • Solicitors Regulation Authority v Leigh Day and others – Instructed with Patricia Robertson QC, Paul Gott QC and Tetyana Nesterchuk for the respondent solicitors in a 21-day hearing in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (April to June 2017). The case involved allegations of breaches of a number of conduct rules, and allegations of lack of integrity and dishonesty.
  • Instructed as sole counsel in an application under the Solicitors Act 1974 relating to the costs of an intervention.
  • Appeared as sole counsel for a professional body in a hearing to resist the discharge of a charging order, which involved cross-examination of the applicant on the validity of a trust deed.
  • Assisted Tim Dutton QC in the preparation for disciplinary proceedings before the SDT involving allegations relating to accounts rules (among other matters).

 

Public law/regulatory

  • Instructed (with Bankim Thanki QC, Akhil Shah QC and Alexander Milner) for an airline in a matter concerning the allocation/transfer of airport slots under the EU Slots Regulation.
  • As judicial assistant to Lord Hope (UK Supreme Court) in 2012-13 (before practice at the Bar), involved in a number of high profile public law/regulatory appeals: see “Other Experience” below.
  • As a research assistant in the Public Law team at the Law Commission of England and Wales in 2007-8 (before practice at the Bar), worked on the Administrative Remedies and Level Crossings projects.

 

Construction

  • Acting (with Anneliese Day QC) for a party involved in a construction project in a potential claim for professional negligence.
  • Instructed (with Anneliese Day QC) on behalf of a contractor in relation to a construction dispute the subject of an overseas adjudication.

 

Aviation

  • Instructed (with Bankim Thanki QC, Akhil Shah QC and Alexander Milner) for an airline in a matter concerning the allocation/transfer of airport slots under the EU Slots Regulation.
  • Acting (as sole counsel) for an airline in relation to potential claims against ground handling services providers for losses arising out of damage to aircraft.
  • Appeared as sole counsel on behalf of airlines in a number of passenger claims, almost invariably involving Regulation 261/2004 and/or (occasionally) the Montreal Convention. Experience also includes: appearing as sole counsel for the respondent airline in an application before a Circuit Judge for an order referring a question to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling (a Regulation 261/2004 case); and defending a claim for breach of an airline’s terms and conditions which also included allegations of unfairness based on the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

 

Pupillage

  • During pupillage, assisted members of chambers in a variety of areas: banking (especially concerning allegations of mis-selling of derivative products), fraud, professional negligence, aviation, sale of goods, inducement of breach of contract/attribution, insurance, and regulation/public law; Joseph also assisted in an arbitration using the LMAA Terms, and proceedings relating to the enforcement of a New York Convention arbitration award.

Other experience

Judicial Assistant to Lord Hope of Craighead, Deputy President, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2012 – 2013)

  • Involved in a wide range of high-profile appeals, including the following.

Commercial

  • R (Prudential plc) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax [2013] 2 AC 185 – scope of legal advice privilege.
  • Geys v Société Générale [2013] 1 AC 523 – repudiation/termination of employment contract/PILON clause.
  • Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland v Lloyds Banking Group Plc [2013] 1 WLR 366 –construction of provision in a deed relating to payment to charitable foundation.
  • Joint Administrators of Heritable Bank plc v The Winding-Up Board of Landsbanki Islands hf [2013] 1 WLR 725 – cross-claims between two credit institutions in insolvency proceedings in two different EEA states.
  • BNY Corporate Trustee Services Limited v Eurosail [2013] 1 WLR 1408 – construction of s.123 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (whether company “unable to pay its debts”).
  • HMRC v Aimia Coalition Loyalty UK Limited [2013] 2 CMLR 51 – VAT issue arising in relation to the Nectar loyalty card scheme.

Public; regulatory; human rights

  • Bank Mellat v HM Treasury [2014] AC 700 – closed material procedure; substantive and procedural challenge to direction under sched 7 to Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.
  • Smith v Ministry of Defence [2014] AC 52 – extent of UK’s jurisdiction for purposes of ECHR; whether and extent to which Art 2 ECHR imposes positive obligations; justiciability of negligence claims (including application of combat immunity).
  • Attorney General v National Assembly for Wales Commission [2013] 1 AC 792 – legislative competence of Welsh Assembly; confirmation of byelaws.
  • Imperial Tobacco v Lord Advocate 2013 SC (UKSC) 153 – legislative competence of Scottish Parliament; prohibition on display of tobacco products.
  • R (Jones) v First Tier Tribunal [2013] 2 AC 48 eligibility for criminal injuries compensation award; meaning of “a crime of violence” for purposes of compensation scheme.
  • Davies v Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care 2013 SC (UKSC) 186 – transitional orders; validity of notices.
  • M v Scottish Ministers [2012] 1 WLR 3386 – effect of commencement provision; whether failure to make regulations unlawful.
  • Kinloch v HM Advocate [2013] 2 AC 93 – “devolution issue”; police surveillance; Arts 8 and 6 ECHR.
  • Salvesen v Riddell 2013 SC (UKSC) 236 – legislative competence of Scottish Parliament; compatibility of agricultural holdings legislation with A1P1 ECHR rights.

 

Solicitor, Brodies LLP, Edinburgh (2011 – 2012)

  • As a qualified solicitor in Scotland, dealt with all aspects of litigation primarily in the commercial court of the Court of Session, and gained experience in disputes involving contracts and corporate matters as well as in debt recovery, insolvency and professional negligence. As a trainee solicitor (2009-2011), completed seats in corporate insolvency, commercial property, and commercial litigation.

 

Research Assistant, Law Commission of England and Wales (2007 – 2008)

  • Public law team. Administrative Remedies and Level Crossings projects.

 

Other experience

  • Studied at the Université Robert Schuman, Strasbourg as an Erasmus exchange student in 2004 – 2005 and undertook a stage at the European Parliament while in Strasbourg.
  • In his senior honours year (2005 – 2006), participated in the European Human Rights Project, which involved the preparation of moot written pleadings and culminated in a hearing before judges and registrars in the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg.

Education

  • LL.B (Hons) (First Class), University of Glasgow (2006)
  • LL.M, University of Pennsylvania Law School (2007)
  • Diploma in Legal Practice, Glasgow Graduate School of Law (2009)

Prizes

  • Dr John MacCormick Prize (LL.B graduate deemed to have had the most distinguished academic record) (2006)
  • Thouron Award (scholarship for study at the University of Pennsylvania) (2006 – 2007)

Languages

French (basic)

Other information

Joseph is a keen violinist.


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