Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Michael Brindle QCCall Date: 1975 | Silk Date: 1992

Michael sits as an arbitrator in major arbitration disputes. His truly international practice sees him active in London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. He has experience of a wide range of arbitral regimes, including those under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce, the London Court of International Arbitration, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, UNCITRAL and the City Disputes Panel, as well as ad hoc references.

Michael has a strong reputation as an arbitrator in relation to Asian and Middle Eastern disputes in particular.  He has been involved a great number of Asian disputes, centred in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) for whom he is a regular party-appointed arbitrator. He is also specialised in arbitrating Russian and CIS disputes.

Recent appointments include:

  • Noomadi Resorts and Residences AG (Liechtenstein) -v- The Ministry of House and Infrastructure on behalf of the Government of Maldives (PCA);
  • PT Cahaya Mulia Energy Konstruksi -v- China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (SIAC);
  • Powerchina Resources (Singapore) Holding PTE Limited -v- Multi-Gold SSDK Resources PTE Limited (SIAC);
  • Apollo Towers Myanmar Limited -v- Telenor Myanmar Limited (SIAC);
  • Dragon Oil v United Petroleum (LCIA);
  • Eurochem Trading GMBH (Switzerland) -v- Dreymoor Fertilisers Overseas PTE Limited (ICC).

Areas of Expertise

  • Banking & finance
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Company
  • Financial services
  • Fraud: civil
  • Insurance and reinsurance
  • International arbitration
  • Offshore
  • Professional negligence
  • Telecommunications
  • Administrative & public law

Recent practice

Banking & finance

Michael Brindle QC described as “ first-class advocate who has stunning legal insight”and an

“Unparalleled knowledge of banking law”is widely experienced in Banking and Finance.

Recent practice includes:

  • Al-Khorafi v Bank Sarasin [2014-5]; Instructed as lead counsel in a claim by a substantial investor against a leading Swiss private bank working in the Middle East, heard in the DIFC Courts.
  • Bank Mellat v. European Council (2012); by the general court of the ECJ review of closing down of Iranian Bank.
  • Bank Mellat v UK Treasury; Supreme Court review to be heard March 2013.
  • Beresovzky v Hine & Others: Instructed as lead counsel in the multi-billion dollar Russian oligarch action arising out of an alleged joint venture.
  • Renaissance Capital Ltd v African Minerals Ltd: Instructed as lead counsel on an ongoing dispute involving claims in relation to success fees under investment banking engagement letters regarding an iron ore mine in Sierra Leone.
  • Retained as an expert on English law in US proceedings arising out of a collective investment scheme.
  • Lehman Brothers Inc: Acted for the US broker dealer in various applications in the administration of Lehman Brothers International Europe, including determination of ownership of dematerialised securities purchased by LBIE for LBI through European clearing systems.
  • Instructed in 2 cases re: Alba Plc and re: Grand Plc as lead counsel on behalf of trustees in a substantial disputes arising out of a high value securitisation transaction.
  • Parabola v. MF Global (2009): equity and derivative trading
  • Springwell v JPMorgan Chase – Emerging markets investment through banks.
  • Riyad Bank v. Ahli Bank – dispute concerning Islamic finance

Commercial dispute resolution

Michael Brindle is regarded in the Commercial market as a “Class act whose name and reputation speaks for themselves.”It is thought that he is both effective in litigation and arbitration”.

Recent practice includes:

  • Fiona Trust Litigation: Instructed as lead counsel in the Court of Appeal on behalf of Russian ship operators Sovcomflot and Novoship.
  • Bank Saras: lead counsel in a claim by a substantial investor against a bank, heard in the DIFC Courts.
  • Appointed as expert in substantial commercial litigation proceedings; providing expert evidence in the courts of Delaware.
  • Appointed as an expert on English law in US proceedings on behalf of Morgan Stanley.
  • Spacetel Limited [2011] Cayman Islands: Instructed as lead Counsel in a claim in the Cayman Islands for more than US$200m concerning a shareholder dispute regarding a mobile telecommunications project in the Middle East.
  • Re Leedon Limited; contract, company and insolvency law in Mauritius
  • JP Morgan v Springwell: Instructed as lead counsel in the claim arising out of investment advice on the sale of emerging market debt instruments to a private investment company; the case raised a number of important legal issues in the context of investment advice claims.
  • State of Brunei v Jefri –Apparent or actual bias of judge.  Breach of trust.
  • British Gas v Eastern Electricity– Commercial contract – consent to assignment.
  • Marks & Spencer v William Baird– Certainty in contract and estoppel by convention.
  • Charter Plc v City Index – Contribution and constructive trust

Appointed as an expert in US proceedings on behalf of Bank of New York

Fraud: civil

Michael is not only known as a “Very good practitioner, he is extremely clever and has a good tactical approach to litigation” he is deemed “Intellectually powerful in and an obvious choice for difficult and large frauds.”

Recent practice includes:

  • Acting for investors in relation to claims of fraudulent misrepresentation arising from the sale of shares in a Canadian resources company investing in Kazakh natural resources.
  • For the defendants in claims brought in the Chancery division by shareholders alleging that the sale of their shares had been procured by fraudulent misrepresentation and conspiracy to injure.
  • Fairfield Sentry Limited [2011] BVI Ponzi scheme and unjust enrichment.
  • Shah v HSBC (2009-11) Money laundering.

Insurance

Recent practice includes:

  • Instructed as lead counsel in an insurance dispute arising out of a mortgage endowment misselling.
  • Acted for insurers in connection with claims arising out of the collapse of Enron.
  • Morgan Grenfell v SACE – Export credit insurance and Italian law
  • Credit Lyonnais v New Hampshire Insurance – Insurance contract – Governing law
  • Capel-Cure Myers v McCarthy – Insurance policy construction Lloyd’s market

International arbitration

Michael Brindle QC described as “Really at the top of his game”both sits as an Arbitrator and as Counsel in arbitration disputes. He has experience in both capacities of a wide range of arbitral regimes, including those under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce, the London Court of International Arbitration, SIAC, UNCITRAL and the City Disputes Panel, as well as ad hoc references.

Recent cases that have reached court include:

  • Hashwani v Jivraj  (2010-11): successfully represented the claimant in the Court of Appeal, where the court made a ruling that to object to an arbitrator on the grounds of race or religion was illegal. The case concerned a multi-million pound dispute between two Pakistani businessmen who had entered in a JV agreement. The contract contained a clause that stated that any arbitration should be decided by an arbitrator who was an Ismaili Muslim.
  • Econet v. VEE Networks: Instructed on behalf of the shareholders in a substantial Commercial Court application to set aside an injunction which had been obtained ex parte pursuant to s.44 of the Arbitration Act 1996 in support of an intended arbitration in Nigeria. The injunction was set aside on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, misrepresentation and non-disclosure and costs were awarded on an indemnity basis.
  • Weissfisch v. Julius & Ors:  Appeared in the Court of Appeal which involved an application by a party to an arbitration agreement to remove the arbitrator or to enjoin him from continuing the reference.

Recent cases include:

  • Currently acting as Arbitrator in several on-going SIAC arbitration; details of these cases cannot be given for reasons of confidentiality.
  • Instructed as lead counsel for an Indian Oil Corporation, in 2009 under ICC Rules in relation to the effect of force majeure on fob contracts.
  • Instructed as lead counsel in a dispute relating to the restrictions on US citizens doing business in Iran under the ICC rules.
  • Acted in a major clearing bank in a LCIA arbitration over defects in processing systems for credit and debit card transactions.
  • Defended a £50 million claim brought by arbitration by a major bank against insurers arising out of mortgage endowment mis-selling by the bank.
  • Instructed as lead counsel in a major financial insurance arbitration matter. The team acted for the insurers under policies of financial insurance exposed to multi-million pound claims arising out of the collapse of Enron and advised extensively on legal issues and strategy concerning prospective arbitration proceedings.
  • Sheffield United FC v West Ham United FC: Acted for West Ham United in arbitration proceedings under Football Association rules. The matter concerned a dispute originating with the signing of football players Carlos Tévez and Javier Mascherano, who joined West Ham in 2006, and the relegation of Sheffield United as a result of a disciplinary investigation concerning third-party agreements in the players’ contracts.

Judicial review

  • British Bankers Association v FSA: instructed for the Financial Services Authority in the British Bankers Association’s claim for judicial review of rules and guidance for handling complaints about the sale of payment protection insurance.
  • The Queen on the application of C v Financial Services Authority: Judicial Review of FSA disciplinary action in the Court of Appeal.

Professional negligence

Michael Brindle QC “stands head and shoulders above the majority of the market” his professional negligence experience extends to all areas of financial and commercial matters.

Recent practice includes:

  • Acted for Close Brothers Corporate Finance in defending a claim for £180m by UGC.
  • Stone and Rolls v Moore Stephens (2009) Auditors’ negligence in the House of Lords
  • Barings v Coopers & Deloittes – Auditors’ negligence
  • Bank Austria v Price Waterhouse – Auditors’ negligence
  • Pointwest Litigation – BBL v Simmons & Simmons Solicitors’ negligence and banking practice
  • Morgan Crucible Co plc v Hill Samuel Professional negligence and City institution.
  • Caparo v Dickman: leading case on duties of auditors.

Recommendations

Michael Brindle QC is currently ranked by Chambers & Partners 2016 UK edition as a ‘Star at the Bar’.

An undisputed giant of the commercial litigation Bar, Michael Brindle QC has a wealth of experience in handling the most complex and high-value matters in courts around the world, with a particular focus on disputes involving the banking and financial services sector. “He is clear in his thinking,” says one appreciative source, “and he has all the experience in the Stars at the Bar world, enabling him to decide with ease and clarity if a point is good or bad.” His reputation is such that he is the first choice counsel for a large number of magic circle firms, and is regularly instructed in the most complex and high-profile of cases. “He holds the attention of the client and the court; he’s simply a superb advocate.

Michael Brindle QC is also ranked in Chambers & Partners (2016 UK edition) as a Star Individual in Commercial Dispute Resolution, Banking and Finance, Financial Services and a leading silk in International Arbitration as well Civil Fraud and Professional Negligence.  He is ranked as a first tier silk by Legal 500 (2015 UK edition) for all of the areas listed in Chambers & Partners plus as a leading silk for Energy & Natural Resources and Insurance & reinsurance.

In the Chambers Global Guide (2015) Michael is ranked as a star individual for Commercial Dispute Resolution and as a leading silk for International Arbitration.

Comments include:

‘An excellent and formidable silk, who is not afraid of arguing innovative points of law.’ Legal 500 2016 – Banking and Finance

‘Seen it all, done it all, and in large part knows it all – a market heavyweight.’ Legal 500 2016 – Commercial Litigation

‘A real class act.’ Legal 500 2016 – Fraud: Civil

‘He has a great way of cutting through others’ hype and hot air and getting to the important point.’ Legal 500 2016 – Professional Negligence

‘An arbitrator and counsel with a long track record in Singapore.’ Legal 500 2016 – Commercial

“Holds the attention of client and court; a superb advocate.” “He’s consummate and clear in his thinking and has got all the experience in the world to decide in no uncertain terms if a point is good or bad. That’s what you’d expect but with Michael he makes his decisions with ease and clarity.” Chambers UK 2016 – Banking & Finance: Star Individual

“He is consummate and clear in his thinking. He has all the experience in the world and can decide in no uncertain terms whether a point is good or bad.” “A very, very heavyweight court performer.” Chambers UK 2016 – Commercial Dispute Resolution: Star Individual

“He’s hugely persuasive, has the ear of the tribunal and gets to the nub of the case extremely quickly.” “A very, very impressive operator, he commands the respect of tribunals and courts he’s in front of.” Chambers UK 2016, Financial Services – Star Individual

“He’s a great lawyer and a great advocate.” Chambers UK 2016 – Fraud: Civil

“He takes a very commercial overview and tries to cut to the commercial heart of things.” “A lovely silk with a superb practice.” Chambers UK 2016 – International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance

“Very, very experienced, has a good sense of strategy and has command of the court.” “Maintains an excellent practice and is forceful and ruthless in analysing and making the key points.” Chambers UK 2016 – Professional Negligence

“Has an established reputation in the sector and is often appointed as arbitrator or instructed as counsel. He is experienced in bringing matters before the Supreme Court, and he has an active practice in both the London and Singapore markets”. Chambers Global 2015 – International Arbitration

“He’s an extremely experienced and eminent advocate. He is excellent and has a very assured touch in court.” “He is a leader in his field and is highly respected. In terms of his ability to think around the problem and present solutions, he’s very good.”  Chambers Global 2015 – International Arbitration

“Highly experienced senior silk with a raft of big-ticket commercial cases under his belt. He is held in very high regard by peers and instructing solicitors alike for his assured advocacy, strategic awareness and reliability in handling high-stakes disputes”. Chambers Global 2015 – Commercial Dispute Resolution

“He’s a bulldog of a litigator. You can send him in safe in the knowledge that he’ll fight hard.” “He’s extremely bright and client-friendly, and provides good leadership.” Chambers Global 2015 – Commercial Dispute Resolution

“Holds the attention of client and court; a superb advocate.” Chambers UK 2014 Banking and Finance

Continues to be considered part of an elite group of commercial silks with the strength and experience to act in the most cutting-edge disputes for the most demanding of lay clients.  “He’s the go-to person if you need your case forcefully put forward in court. He has the ear of the court.” Chambers UK 2014 Commercial Dispute Resolution

‘…marries the skills of a cunning fox with the panache of a respected legal statesman’. Legal 500 – Banking & Finance 2013

One of the most respected silks practising in the area of financial services. “He’s extraordinarily good and extremely bright, and he gets great results for his clients.” “He’s obviously hugely experienced and a very powerful advocate.” Chambers UK 2014 Financial Services

“A first port of call for the more serious cases.” Chambers UK 2014 Fraud: Civil

“Right there at the top of the tree,” he is an expert in professional negligence claims with a commercial or banking slant. “It is hard to think of anyone much better for financial services-related work.”  Chambers UK 2014 Professional Negligence

Noted for his ‘good leadership’, and for his ‘presence both in and out of court, which gives confidence to clients’.  Legal 500 – Commercial Litigation 2013

A leading silk when acting as arbitrator and counsel. He wins acclaim from commentators for his consistent excellence and deep expertise.  “He is well recognised and is always top-notch.” Chambers UK 2014 International Arbitration

“capable of beguiling the court” with his “tenacity and charm,” and “brings incisive wisdom and great experience” to all manner of banking problems.’ Chambers UK 2012 Banking and Finance

“totally stellar” Michael Brindle QC ascends in the rankings this year in reflection of his high profile at the Commercial Bar. He is “a true Olympian,” sources say, “a man of immense seniority” and “fantastic judgement.” Chambers UK 2012 Commercial Dispute Resolution

“one of the standout names in this area,” and is hailed by both solicitors and peers as a “first-class lawyer” and a “great advocate.” Chambers UK 2012 Financial Services

“exceptional” Michael Brindle QC is a “very impressive” civil fraud silk’ Chambers UK 2012 Civil Fraud

“very practical and pragmatic” approach is particularly highlighted by sources, and he is experienced as both an advocate and an arbitrator. ‘ Chambers UK 2012 International Arbitration

“stands head and shoulders above the majority of the market” Chambers UK 2012 Professional Negligence

“The ‘eminent’ Michael Brindle QC has ‘real gravitas’ Legal 500 – Banking and Finance 2012

“Extremely industrious but has a very natural style-despite the fact that he has prepared the case to the nth degree, he just stands and addresses the court as if he’s in normal conversation.” Chambers UK – Banking & Finance 2011

“Absolutely first-class” Chambers UK – Financial Services 2011

“A brilliant heavyweight litigator” Legal 500 2010 Commercial Litigation

“Silk that needs no introduction” “his consistency, efficiency & directness” have won him many admirers over the years & he is today as popular as he’s ever been” (Financial Services)

 

Education

  • Westminster School
  • New College, Oxford MA
  • Entrance Scholarship (Ella Stephens)
  • 1972 First Class Hons Classics
  • 1974 First Class Hons Jurisprudence

Appointments, memberships, prizes

  • 1976-82 Part-Time Lecturer at New College, Oxford – Jurisprudence
  • Member of Financial Markets Law Committee
  • Chairman of Advisory Council of “Public concern at work”
  • Deputy High Court Judge 1999
  • Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn
  • Chairman of Education & Training Committee of the Bar Council (2004).
  • Chairman of International Committee of the Bar Council (2008).
  • Director of Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd
  • Member of Lawyers’ Advisory Committee of Peace Brigades
  • Appointed to the SIAC, and Kuala Lumpur Panels of Arbitrators (Singapore and Malaysia)
  • Appointed to the DIFC Courts Register of Practitioners (Dubai)
  • Member, Panel of Advisors to the Attorney-General of Singapore, 2015 –
  • President of the Appeals Panel of the Abu Dhabi Global Market

Notable cases

  • OMV v Zaver [2015] Arbitration clash between Pakistan and ICC
  • Al-Khorafi v Bank Sarasin [2014-5] Investment advice in Dubai
  • Kazakhstan Kaghazy v. Zhunus and Arip [2014-5] Conspiracy to defraud
  • Peak Hotels v. Tarek and Sherway [2014] Shareholder dispute relating to Aman Hotel group
  • Novoship v. Mikhaylyuk [2014] Bribery and account of profits
  • Roadchef v Ingram Hill [2014] Trustee powers and liabilities
  • Fiona Trust v Skarga and Nikitin [2013] Bribery and foreign law
  • FSA v C [2013] Judicial review of FSA
  • Bank Mellat v HM Treasury and European Council [2012-13] Public law and Iranian sanctions in London and Luxembourg courts
  • British Bankers Association v FSA [2011] Mis-selling as judicial review
  • Jivraj v Hashwani [2010] Arbitrators as discrimination
  • Lehman Brothers Inc (Rascals) [2010] Insolvency of associated companies
  • Berezovsky v Abramovich [2009] Intimidation
  • Shah v HSBC [2009] Money laundering
  • Parabola v MF Global [2009] Fraud of stockbroker
  • Stone & Rolls v Moore Stephens [2008] Auditor’s negligence
  • Riyadh Bank v AHLI Bank [2006-7] Islamic financing
  • Charter PLC v City Index [2007] Contribution of constructive trusts
  • Springwell v JP Morgan Chase [2007] Emerging markets investment
  • IXIS v WestLB (2008) Securitisation
  • R. v FSA ex parte Yukos (2006) Regulation of foreign companies issuing in London
  • Customs & Excise v Barclays Bank (2003-6) Freezing injunction and duty of care in the House of Lords
  • HSBC v Fortis (2004) Mutual Funds in the Bahamas
  • Barclays Bank v Boulter (1999) Banking and sureties in the House of Lords
  • Czarnikow-Rionda v Standard Bank (1999) Letters of Credit and fraud
  • Northern Rock v Archer (1998) Banking and sureties
  • KAFCO v Trans-ammonia (1998) Arbitration – restraint of trade
  • Nuova Safim Spa v The Sakura Bank Ltd (1997) Derivatives
  • BCCI v Price Waterhouse & Bank of England (1997) Interpretation of Banking Act 1987 – Chancery
  • Camdex v Bank of Zambia (3) (1997) Garnishee orders and a central bank in the House of Lords
  • Re Mid-East Trading Limited (1997) Winding-up of foreign company – Chancery
  • Central Bank of Trinidad & Republic Bank Limited (1996) Bank regulation – Trinidad
  • Camdex v Bank of Zambia (1) & (2) (1996) Champerty and mareva injunctions involving a central bank
  • Sunlife v Securities and Investment Board (1995) judicial review – financial services
  • Football Association v Graham (1995) Sports Law
  • Mellstrom v Bank of England (1995) Banking regulation
  • Cala Cristal v Al-Borno (1994) Mareva injunction – costs
  • Shah v Bank of England (1994) Banking regulation
  • Deposit Protection Board v Dalia (1993) Depositor compensation in the House of Lords
  • Re Bishopsgate Investment Management (1993) Constructive trust

Other experience

  • Former Chairman of the Commercial bar Association
  • Former Chairman of Bar Council Education and Training Committee and International Committees
  • Former Chairman of Trustees of “Public Concern at Work”.
  • Former member of Financial Reporting Review Panel.
  • Special advisor to Trade & Industry Select Committee re “Export Licensing and BMARC”.
  • Head of Chambers 2003 – 2008.
  • Former Recorder of the Crown Court 2001

Publications

  • “Does Constructive knowledge make a constructive trustee?”, Published in Australian Law Journal and Trust Law and Practice in 1987
  •  “Money Laundering and the Criminal Justice Act 1988”: International Tax Report May 1995 and Tolley’s International Tax Planning (1996 and 2001)
  • “Confidence, Public Interest and the Lawyer” published in Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility by Ross Cranston (1996)
  • “The Law of Bank Payments” with Raymond Cox QC: FT law and Tax (1996) (Fourth Edition 2010)
  • “The Vienna Sales Convention and the capital markets” in Capital Markets Law Journal (2008)

Languages

Working knowledge of French, Italian and Greek


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