Peter Watts QC

Peter Watts QC

For enquiries please contact

Alex Taylor

Alex Taylor
Senior Clerk
+44 (0)20 7842 3706
Click here to email

Luke Diebelius

Luke Diebelius
Team Leader
+44 (0)20 7842 3711
Click here to email

Expertise

  • Advising in litigation against directors for insolvent trading in appeal before the New Zealand Supreme Court (the Mainzeal litigation).
  • Advising on parent company liability in tort for pure economic loss in New Zealand litigation, subsequently settled (the James Hardie litigation).
  • Advising in New Zealand litigation on issues of contract damages where claimants are said not to have suffered the relevant loss (Lenesta Sludge/Panatown principles in the Westgate litigation).
  • Advising on agency law issues in New York Bankruptcy litigation against certain banks arising out of a Ponzi scheme (the Fairfield Sentry litigation).
  • Advising on appeal (settled) to the UK Supreme Court in a case involving the liability of a financial advice company for fraudulent misrepresentations by an investment advisor made outside the agency.
  • Advising on appeal from UK arbitration in an international oil-industry case concerned with an agent’s involvement in bribery in transactions unrelated to the contract being challenged.
  • Advising on appeal to the UK Supreme Court concerned with the principal’s capacity and the apparent authority of state officials in an international loan transaction.
  • Advising on appeal from EWHC involving vicarious liability of an officer of an unincorporated association for libel written by a committee member.
  • Advising on UK arbitration involving a dispute between a football player and his former agent.
  • Acting as expert witness in Danish court in litigation between a Danish manufacturer and its New Zealand-based agent on a wide range of points of agency law.

    “We have been greatly helped by the analysis provided by Professor Watts in a characteristically lucid article, ‘Illegality and Agency Law: Authorising Illegal Action’ [2011] JBL 213”
    Lord Toulson and Lord Hodge in Bilta (UK) Ltd v Nazir (No 2) [2015] UKSC 23 at [159]

    “The reasoning in the Akai case has been the subject of strong criticism, however: Bowstead & Reynolds on Agency (21st edn, 2017) paras 8–49 to 8–50; P Watts, ‘Some Wear and Tear on Armagas v Mundogas—The Tension between Having and Wanting in the Law of Agency’ (2015) 1 LMCLQ 36, 48–56. In the Board’s respectful view, much of that criticism has considerable force”:
    Lord Kitchin in East Asia Co Ltd v PT Satria [2019] UKPC 30 at [85]

    “The facts of the case are somewhat complex and the reasoning of the opinions of Lord Westbury LC, Lord Cranworth and Lord Chelmsford is not always entirely easy to follow. The decision has been carefully and interestingly analysed by Professor Watts, ‘Tyrrell v Bank of London – an Inside Look at an Inside Job’ (2013) 129 LQR 527”:
    Lord Neuberger in FHR European Ventures LLP v Cedar Capital [2014] UKSC 45 at [23]

    • LLM, University of Cambridge (1982)
    • LLB (Hons), University of Canterbury (1980)

    • New Zealand

    • New Zealand Bar Association
    • Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand
    • Associate of the AMINZ (Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand)

    • ‘Why as a Matter of English Law Principle Directors Do Not Owe a Duty to Creditors Upon Insolvency’ [2021] Journal of Business Law 103
    • ‘The Quincecare Duty: Misconceived and Misdelivered’, [2020] Journal of Business Law 402-415
    • ‘Silence and Solidarity?—the Duties of Individual Directors Minded to Speak out about their Board’s Decision-making and Governance’ in C Mitchell and S Watterson (eds, 2020) The World of Maritime and Commercial Law, 345-365
    • ‘The Release Fee as a Remedy for Breach of Contract—the Judgment of Elias J in Cash Handling in the Light of Morris-Garner’ in S Mount and M Harris (eds, 2019) The Promise of Law—Essays Marking the Retirement of Dame Sian Elias, 227-248
    • ‘The Travails of Vicarious Liability’, (2019) 135 Law Quarterly Review 7-11
    • ‘Forfeiture of Agents’ Remuneration’ in P Devonshire and R Havelock (eds, 2018) Impact of Equity and Restitution in Commerce, 203-226
    • ‘Attribution and Limitation’, (2018) 134 Law Quarterly Review 350-353
    • ‘Does Apparent Authority Wane?: a Problematic Question in English Agency Law’, [2018] Journal of Business Law 663-678
    • ‘Lucky Escapes’ (case note of Swynson Ltd v Lowick Rose LLP [2017] UKSC 32), (2017) 133 Law Quarterly Review 542-546
    • ‘Some Aspects of the Intersection of the Law of Agency with the Law of Trusts’, in P S Davies and J Penner (eds, 2017) Equity, Trusts and Commerce, 29-50
    • ‘The Acts and States of Knowledge of Agents as Factors in Principals’ Restitutionary Liability’, [2017] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 385-411
    • ‘Actual Authority: the Requirement for an Agent Honestly to Believe that an Exercise of Power is in the Principal’s Interests’, [2017] Journal of Business Law 269-281
    • ‘The Insolvency of Agents’, (2017) 133 Law Quarterly Review 11-14
    • ‘Unjust enrichment—The potion that induces well-meaning sloppiness of thought’, [2016] Current Legal Problems 289-325
    • ‘Agents’ Disbursal of Funds in Breach of Instructions’, [2016] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 118-134
    • ‘The Onus of Proof in Restitutionary Claims’, (2016) 132 Law Quarterly Review 11-15

    For enquiries please contact

    Alex Taylor

    Alex Taylor
    Senior Clerk
    +44 (0)20 7842 3706
    Click here to email

    Luke Diebelius

    Luke Diebelius
    Team Leader
    +44 (0)20 7842 3711
    Click here to email

    • LLM, University of Cambridge (1982)
    • LLB (Hons), University of Canterbury (1980)

    • New Zealand

    • New Zealand Bar Association
    • Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand
    • Associate of the AMINZ (Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand)

    • ‘Why as a Matter of English Law Principle Directors Do Not Owe a Duty to Creditors Upon Insolvency’ [2021] Journal of Business Law 103
    • ‘The Quincecare Duty: Misconceived and Misdelivered’, [2020] Journal of Business Law 402-415
    • ‘Silence and Solidarity?—the Duties of Individual Directors Minded to Speak out about their Board’s Decision-making and Governance’ in C Mitchell and S Watterson (eds, 2020) The World of Maritime and Commercial Law, 345-365
    • ‘The Release Fee as a Remedy for Breach of Contract—the Judgment of Elias J in Cash Handling in the Light of Morris-Garner’ in S Mount and M Harris (eds, 2019) The Promise of Law—Essays Marking the Retirement of Dame Sian Elias, 227-248
    • ‘The Travails of Vicarious Liability’, (2019) 135 Law Quarterly Review 7-11
    • ‘Forfeiture of Agents’ Remuneration’ in P Devonshire and R Havelock (eds, 2018) Impact of Equity and Restitution in Commerce, 203-226
    • ‘Attribution and Limitation’, (2018) 134 Law Quarterly Review 350-353
    • ‘Does Apparent Authority Wane?: a Problematic Question in English Agency Law’, [2018] Journal of Business Law 663-678
    • ‘Lucky Escapes’ (case note of Swynson Ltd v Lowick Rose LLP [2017] UKSC 32), (2017) 133 Law Quarterly Review 542-546
    • ‘Some Aspects of the Intersection of the Law of Agency with the Law of Trusts’, in P S Davies and J Penner (eds, 2017) Equity, Trusts and Commerce, 29-50
    • ‘The Acts and States of Knowledge of Agents as Factors in Principals’ Restitutionary Liability’, [2017] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 385-411
    • ‘Actual Authority: the Requirement for an Agent Honestly to Believe that an Exercise of Power is in the Principal’s Interests’, [2017] Journal of Business Law 269-281
    • ‘The Insolvency of Agents’, (2017) 133 Law Quarterly Review 11-14
    • ‘Unjust enrichment—The potion that induces well-meaning sloppiness of thought’, [2016] Current Legal Problems 289-325
    • ‘Agents’ Disbursal of Funds in Breach of Instructions’, [2016] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 118-134
    • ‘The Onus of Proof in Restitutionary Claims’, (2016) 132 Law Quarterly Review 11-15

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