Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Max EvansCall Date: 2015

Described by the The Legal 500 as a “very impressive junior”, Max practises in commercial law (including banking and finance, and insurance law), international arbitration, and regulatory law.

Max’s commercial practice includes some of the most widely reported disputes in recent years, including the FCA business interruption insurance test case, alleged EURIBOR and FX manipulation, and the controversial sale of BHS. He has also been instructed in connection with Tesco’s profit misstatement and HP’s purchase of Autonomy Corporation. Several cases involve fraud including conspiracy, deceit, duress and breach of fiduciary duty.

His current cases include those approaching or exceeding billions of euros in dispute, such as follow-on and stand-alone cartel damages proceedings in the Commercial Court and CAT. Many of his cases involve the overlap between the commercial and regulatory spheres.

Max also has experience of substantial arbitrations under LCIA, SCC, UNCITRAL and ICC rules.

He has appeared in several virtual hearings, including a two-week Commercial Court trial and several interlocutory hearings.

His recent highlights include:

  • Business interruption insurance test case [2020] EWHC 2448 (Comm), [2021] UKSC 1: Acting for the FCA before the High Court and the Supreme Court in the test case considering whether certain BI insurance policies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic (led by Colin Edelman QC). This is likely to be the most significant insurance dispute in recent decades; insurers have estimated that 370,000 policyholders may be affected.
  • FX litigation: Acting for Citigroup before the Commercial Court, and in proposed collective action proceedings in the CAT, concerning alleged FX manipulation over 10 years (led by Richard Handyside QC).
  • FRC v Deloitte: Acting in disciplinary proceedings relating to Deloitte’s audits of the software company Autonomy. Following a seven-week trial, Deloitte was fined £15 million and one of its partners excluded for five years. The Lawyer had included the prosecution in its ‘Top 20 cases for 2019’, describing the allegations as “unprecedented”.
  • A Company v Secretariat [2020] EWHC 809 (TCC), [2021] EWCA Civ 6: Acting in proceedings concerning an expert’s alleged duty of loyalty to his instructing client in arbitration proceedings (led by Anneliese Day QC / Charles Hollander QC).
  • Marme Natwest and others [2019] EWHC 366 (Comm): Defending a misrepresentation claim worth nearly a billion euros in one of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20’ cases and the first civil case concerning EURIBOR manipulation. All the claims against RBS were rejected.

Areas of Expertise

  • Administrative & public law
  • Aviation
  • Banking & Finance
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Competition
  • Construction and Engineering
  • Energy & natural resources
  • Financial services
  • Fraud: civil
  • Insurance and reinsurance
  • International arbitration
  • Private International Law
  • Professional discipline
  • Professional negligence
  • Travel

Recommendations

‘A very impressive junior.’
The Legal 500

Max is ranked as a ‘Rising Star’ by The Legal 500 for his work in Banking & Finance (including Consumer Credit).

Other notable cases

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Max’s commercial practice extends to some of the most widely reported disputes in recent years, including the FCA business interruption insurance test case, alleged EURIBOR and FX manipulation and the controversial sale of BHS. He has also been instructed in connection with Tesco’s profit misstatement and HP’s purchase of Autonomy Corporation. Several cases involve fraud including conspiracy, deceit, duress, breach of fiduciary duty and restitution.

His experience includes:

  • BI insurance test case [2020] EWHC 2448 (Comm), [2021] UKSC 1: Acting for the FCA before the High Court and the Supreme Court in the test case considering whether certain business interruption insurance policies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic (led by Colin Edelman QC).
  • FX litigation: Acting for Citigroup before the Commercial Court, and in proposed collective action proceedings in the CAT, concerning alleged FX manipulation over 10 years.
  • A Company v Secretariat [2020] EWHC 809 (TCC), [2021] EWCA Civ 6: Acting in proceedings concerning an expert’s alleged duty of loyalty to his instructing client in arbitration proceedings (led by Anneliese Day QC / Charles Hollander QC).
  • Gwynt-y-Mor Ofto v Gwynt-y-Mor Offshore Wind Farm [2020] EWHC 850 (Comm): Acting in Commercial Court proceedings concerning the failure of undersea cables at an offshore wind farm (led by Richard Handyside QC).
  • Marme v Natwest and others [2019] EWHC 366 (Comm): Defending a misrepresentation claim worth nearly a billion euros in one of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20’ cases and the first civil case concerning EURIBOR manipulation. All the claims against RBS were rejected.
  • ICICI Bank UK plc v Assam Oil Company Ltd [2019] EWHC 750 (Comm):  Acting in Commercial Court proceedings, in which the Bank was granted summary judgment for >£40 million (as junior counsel). Allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation were dismissed, and the Bank recovered indemnity costs.
  • Kingfisher UK Holdings Ltd v Lisa Powis and others: Acting in a multi-million pound claim for fraud and breach of warranty under an SPA for the sale of an insurance intermediary (2021, as junior counsel).
  • Mortgage mis-selling claims: Acting for the defendant mortgage and insurance services provider in multiple five- and six-figure mortgage mis-selling claims (all claims withdrawn in 2019).
  • Acting for a hospital in a substantial and complex contractual dispute with its catering services provider (led by Derrick Dale QC, 2019, settled).
  • Offshore interlocutory claims: Assisting a QC in response to an offshore Security for Costs application, including allegations of ex turpi causa.
  • BHS Group v Retail Acquisitions Ltd [2017] EWHC 1057 (Ch): Acting in proceedings for the Arcadia Group in a petition brought to wind up RAL, the company incorporated to purchase BHS for £1.
  • Munnelly v October House Clothing (2017): Acting in a successful claim for damages for failure to provide tailor-made suits, including an unusual award of damages for distress and disappointment.
  • FX broker claim: Advising a commercial entity as to a claim against a forex broker for withholding substantial profits made on trades.
  • Jurisdiction challenge: Acting for a Cypriot defendant challenging the jurisdiction of the Mercantile Court over claims brought against him (settled).
  • Advising on and defending claims brought against credit reference agencies.
  • Advising on and defending claims relating to the sale of PPI policies and flight delay claims.
  • Assisting members of chambers to advise a Local Authority as to its capacity to enter derivatives contracts, notwithstanding the decision in Hazell v Hammersmith.


International Arbitration

In addition to civil commercial claims, Max has several ongoing and high-value international arbitrations, all involving one or more foreign elements including Russia, the USA, Canada, Cyprus, Hong Kong, and offshore jurisdictions.

His experience includes:

  • LCIA arbitrations: Acting for various respondents to substantial and confidential LCIA arbitrations approaching $100 million (2021, as junior counsel).
  • ICC arbitrations: Acting in a multi-million dollar ICC arbitration concerning alleged breaches of derivatives contracts (2021, as junior counsel).
  • SCC arbitration: Acting in a substantial SCC arbitration relating to IT (2021, as junior counsel).
  • Offshore arbitration: Acting over several years in two linked offshore >$50 million arbitrations arising out of the disputed sales of pledged shares (as junior counsel).


Banking & Finance 

Much of Max’s work concerns banking, including derivatives (such as swaps, forwards, spots, futures and options), alleged rate manipulation, contractual disputes, and statutory instruments and schemes including FSMA, the Regulated Activities Order, COBS, the FSCS, and Money Laundering Regulations.

His experience includes:

  • FX litigation: Acting for Citigroup before the Commercial Court, and in proposed collective action proceedings in the CAT, concerning alleged FX manipulation over 10 years.
  • Marme v Natwest and others [2019] EWHC 366 (Comm): Defending a misrepresentation claim worth nearly a billion euros in one of The Lawyer‘s ‘Top 20’ cases and the first civil case concerning EURIBOR manipulation. All the claims against RBS were rejected.
  • ICICI Bank UK plc v Assam Oil Company Ltd [2019] EWHC 750 (Comm): Acting in Commercial Court proceedings, in which the Bank was granted summary judgment for >£40 million (as junior counsel). Allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation were dismissed, and the Bank recovered indemnity costs.
  • Frozen bank accounts: Acting for a bank in a claim relating to frozen bank accounts (2020, led by Nicholas Medcroft QC).
  • Partridge v Gomez & Co and others (2019): Defending a QC sued for over €15 million for alleged negligence including a failure to plead a EURIBOR misrepresentation claim (as junior counsel). Settled after pleadings.
  • Money Laundering policy: Assisting a QC to advise a well-known high-street brand regarding the adequacy of its anti-money laundering policy and compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
  • Local Authority derivative capacity: Assisting a QC to advise a Local Authority as to its capacity to enter derivatives contracts, including consideration of the decision in Hazell v Hammersmith.
  • FX broker claim: Advising a commercial entity as to a claim against a forex broker for withholding substantial profits made on trades.
  • Mortgage mis-selling claims: Acting for the defendant mortgage and insurance services provider in multiple five- and six-figure mortgage mis-selling claims (all claims withdrawn in 2019).
  • Advising on and defending claims relating to the sale of PPI policies and alleged swaps mis-selling.


Insurance & Reinsurance

Max’s insurance practice is increasing in parallel with chambers’ expansion in this area.

His experience includes:

  • BI insurance test case [2020] EWHC 2448 (Comm), [2021] UKSC 1: Acting for the FCA before the High Court and the Supreme Court in the test case considering whether certain business interruption insurance policies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic (led by Colin Edelman QC).
  • Mesothelioma contribution (2021): Advising an insurer on contribution claims based on Zurich v IEG and claims under the FSCS compensation scheme.
  • Kingfisher UK Holdings Ltd v Lisa Powis and others: Acting in a multi-million pound claim for fraud and breach of warranty under an SPA for the sale of an insurance intermediary (2021, as junior counsel).
  • Life insurance policy claim (2020): Acting for an insurer defending an alleged claim under a life insurance policy.


Professional Discipline and Regulatory & Investigations 

Max’s work for and against regulators extends both to disciplinary proceedings and civil claims. Cases have involved the FRC, SRA, FCA, FSCS, GPhC, HEFCE and MedCo, and acting for and against barristers, solicitors, accountants, auditors, litigation experts, and construction professionals.

His experience includes:

  • FRC v Deloitte: Acting in disciplinary proceedings relating to Deloitte’s audits of the software company Autonomy. Following a 7-week trial, Deloitte was fined £15 million and one of its partners excluded for 5 years. The Lawyer had included the prosecution in its ‘Top 20 cases for 2019’, describing the allegations as “unprecedented”.
  • Partridge v Gomez & Co and others (2019): Defending a QC sued for over €15 million for professional negligence, including an alleged failure to plead a EURIBOR misrepresentation claim (as junior counsel). Settled after pleadings.
  • FRC investigation: Advising the FRC in relation to proposed disciplinary proceedings arising out of a well-known recent financial scandal (2018-2019, as junior counsel).
  • Advising a well-known solicitors firm regarding a letter of request for documents by a former client (as sole counsel).
  • Acting for the defendant engineer in High Court proceedings relating to alleged failures during construction at a sports ground (as junior counsel).
  • Acting for the defendant mortgage and insurance services provider in multiple five- and six-figure mortgage mis-selling claims (six claims issued in 2018, all withdrawn in 2019 after Defences filed).
  • Acting for the FRC in several other major investigations, including against a Big Four firm which recently culminated in a settlement agreement and substantial fine (as junior counsel).
  • MedCo: Acting for MedCo in several linked judicial review challenges to decisions implementing the MoJ’s changes to medical reporting in soft-tissue injury claims, ultimately dismissed by the Administrative Court at [2017] EWHC 3258 (Admin) (as junior counsel).
  • HEFCE challenge: Acting for a higher education institution challenging funding decisions made by the Higher Education Funding Council (led by Michael Crane QC).

Max has several ongoing cases for and against the SRA, including relating to solicitors prosecuted for misconduct, interventions, and applications for delivery up (as both sole counsel and as junior counsel). These include, among many others:

  • SRA v Mor Investments (2020, High Court): Successful application for delivery-up and a search and seizure order (sole counsel).
  • SRA v Scourfield (2020, High Court): Successful application for delivery up and enforcement of s44B and s44BB notices (sole counsel).
  • SRA v Rafiq (2020) (SDT; 12007-2019): Successful prosecution of a PI-claims solicitor, including multiple findings of lack of integrity; strike off (sole counsel).
  • SRA v Anwar and Aziz (2019) (SDT; 11888-2018): Successful prosecution of two solicitors for unlawful payment of referral fees (sole counsel).
  • Acting for senior partners at two City firms in their responses to allegations of serious misconduct; the case was withdrawn without prosecution (led by Tim Dutton QC).
  • Acting for directors of a high street firm in their responses to allegations of misconduct brought by the SRA (junior counsel).
  • Law Society v Sibley [2017] 1453 (Ch): Acting for the SRA in proceedings which confirmed the width of the SRA’s powers to investigate solicitors working for bodies not regulated by the SRA (sole counsel).
  • Jeffersons v SRA and others (2016) (High Court): Successful strike out of claims brought against the SRA (sole counsel).

Appointments, memberships and prizes

  • Prize for outstanding results on the BPTC (Baron Dr Ver Heyden de Lancey Prize and Certificate of Honour, Middle Temple).
  • Major Scholarship for the BPTC (Middle Temple).
  • Prize awarded to a single graduating student for academic excellence (Greene Medal, Clare College, Cambridge).
  • Prize for the highest mark across the University in Land Law (Falcon Chambers Prize, Cambridge).
  • Prize for the highest undergraduate mark in a dissertation in the humanities or social sciences (Lady Clare Precious Pearl Prize, Clare College, Cambridge).
  • Prize for the best result in Part IA or IB law (Milon Banerji Law Prize, Clare College, Cambridge).
  • MA, Cambridge University (Medicine and Law): Double First (2013) (2nd in year).
  • LLM, Cambridge University: First Class (2014).
  • BPTC, BPP University: Outstanding (2015).

Publications

  • Jonathan Brock QC Memorial Essay Prize 2016, available to read here.

Education

  • MA, Cambridge University (Medicine and Law): Double First (2013) (2nd in year).
  • LLM, Cambridge University: First Class (2014).
  • BPTC, BPP University: Outstanding (2015).

LinkedIn

Max’s LinkedIn profile can be found here.


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