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Rory Brown

Call 2009

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Overview

Rory has a commercial-chancery practice focusing on litigation in the following areas: commercial dispute resolution; trusts/probate; and insolvency. His practice has a particular emphasis on civil fraud and asset recovery. As well as advising and representing clients in respect of litigation at all levels in England and Wales, he has advised and represented clients in the courts of the DIFC and has also advised and assisted in substantial Bermuda, Jersey, and Hong Kong proceedings. Much of his practice involves multi-jurisdictional disputes or has an international dimension involving difficult questions of the conflict of laws. He has already appeared in over 30 reported cases.

Rory regularly acts for clients in the following industry sectors: football, motor-racing, utilities, sustainable energy, banking, and financial services. He is expert in applications for injunctive relief in his practice areas. Rory is often instructed to advise and represent clients in alternative dispute resolution including at mediations. He can take instructions and advise in German and Italian as well as English.


Practice Areas

Insolvency & Company +
  • Acted for liquidators and former director of dissolved company – restored for fraud proceedings against former accountant – High Court committal trial (conducted remotely) – freezing injunction – breach of asset disclosure order – contumacious, deliberate and long-standing breach – 18 months imprisonment imposed – COVID-19 proofed court for sentencing (Yuzu v Selvathiraviam [2020] EWHC 1539 (Ch) and [2020] EWHC 1694 (Ch) (appeal by the contemnor dismissed with costs in the Court of Appeal))
  • Represented the Defendant director in a three day trial in the High Court (ChD) of proceedings brought by the Secretary of State to disqualify him as a director for causing or allowing non-payment of taxes owed by the Company (Ixoyc Anesis (2014) Ltd, Re, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy v Zannetou [2019] BCC 404).
  • Alleged fraud on business by accountant – freezing injunction – committal application – first ever case in which a freezing injunction and passport orders were granted to a non-entity, i.e. a prospective claimant with no legal personality by virtue of being a dissolved company (Yuzu v Selvathiraviam [2019] EWHC 772 (Ch), [2019] 2 B.C.L.C. 693).
  • Advised and represented defendant in a £6m claim by liquidator on loan/charge which was compromised for £75,000 (inc. costs) after a part-heard trial (C. Walden Finance v Saunders, (2019), unreported).
  • Advising and representing foreign officeholders in respect of massive insolvency of captive Venezuelan insurance company – assets/claims in England and Wales worth hundreds of £billions –recognition application under the CBIR in respect of winding up in Supreme Court of Bermuda (Re PDV Insurance Company Ltd, (2019) unreported).
  • Cross-border fraud in respect of £6.5m of investor money – committal application – application by defendant to discharge order restraining departure from UK – principles according to which alleged fraudster (domiciled in the UAE) restrained from leaving jurisdiction for months pending committal app. for breach of disclosure orders and false statements on oath. (Re. Grosvenor Property Developers [2019] EWHC 2466 (Ch)).
  • Cross-border fraud in respect of £6.5m of investor money – Banker’s Books orders – freezing injunction – application to cross-examine respondent – principles according to which court will order cross-examination on asset disclosure affidavit (Re. Grosvenor Property Developers [2019] EWHC 2054 (Ch)).
  • Represented the petitioner in contested winding up petition in the Chancery Division of the High Court in respect of a petition debt of c £.1.5 million arising out of the breach of a personal guarantee given by a company in the context of a loan for a renewable energy project (Bioconstruct v Northrn, unreported, Case No. 3014 of 2017).
  • Represented the Respondent to an application under s236 Insolvency Act 1986 in his application for costs of and incidental to representation at the private examination at which he was questioned in relation to an alleged cross-border fraud of US$9.2 billion (Re Saad Investments Company, Akers v Hayley, [2016] Lexis Citation 69; [2017] B.P.I.R. 1700).
  • Advised and represented the appellant (at first instance and on first and second appeals) in a case arising out of a £14 million pound construction project. The case will be the leading authority on the definition of a liquidated debt for the purposes of the Insolvency Act 1986. (Led by Peter Shaw QC in the Court of Appeal) (Doherty v Fannigan [2016] B.P.I.R. 1377; Fannigan v Doherty [2017] B.P.I.R. 980).
  • In the Chancery Division of the High Court, appeared for the liquidator respondents to an application by solicitors for costs of compliance with orders obtained by the liquidators for production of documents relating to an alleged international fraud of an estimated £500,000,000. The judgment seeks to reconcile conflicting High Court authorities on whether there is jurisdiction to award such costs and if so in what circumstances they will be awarded (Re. Harvest Finance Ltd (No. 2) [2014] EWHC 4237 (Ch); [2014] All ER (D) 216 (Dec)).
  • Appeared for the liquidators in the Chancery Division of the High Court in their application against solicitors and their firm for disclosure of privileged documents. The Court, after considering the authorities and ordering disclosure, set out the appropriate test to be adopted where liquidators seek disclosure of confidential documents in the context of a large-scale, international fraud investigation (Re. Harvest Finance Limited (No. 1) [2013] BPIR 1020).
  • Advised a trustee in bankruptcy of a company director in respect of a proof of debt in excess of £250 million submitted by a finance house and based on an issued but unlitigated antecedent claim against the bankrupt in, inter alia, deceit, fraud and conspiracy arising out of an alleged scheme involving multiple fictitious finance contracts.
  • Appeared for the Defendant in the trial in the Chancery Division of the High Court of an application for a declaration a transaction was made with the intention of defrauding creditors. A pro bono costs award was made in favour of the Access to Justice Foundation in the sum of £7,500 (Bibby ACF Limited v Agate [2013] BPIR 685, ChD).
  • Acted for the solicitors where the questions arose a) whether a defective statutory demand for unpaid solicitor’s fees, being based on an unliquidated sum, could be cured by a later admission prior to the bankruptcy petition by the debtor that said sum was due and owing, and b) whether a debtor having admitted the debt was estopped from arguing that the demand was defective as against the petitioner who had relied to its detriment on his admission (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP v Frohlich [2012] BPIR 169).

 

Commercial +
  • Multi-million pound cross-border dispute arising out of administration of collapse of mining companies in Sierra Leone; difficult very late application to adjourn a trial (within 10 days of commencement of trial) (African Minerals Limited (In Administration) & otrs v Tio Trading Limited & otrs (2019), QBD, Unreported)
  • Advised and represented claimant in 7 day High Court trial – action on multi-million pound loan made by deed – biogas plant development – whether defendants estopped by convention from challenging validity of deed – defendants’ witnesses breached judge’s direction not to discuss evidence – effect of contamination on weight to be attached to evidence (Bioconstruct v Stevenson Renewables Ltd & anr [2020] EWHC 0007 (QB)).
  • Led by Jeff Chapman QC, advising and representing a commercial agent utilities intermediary in its claim in the High Court against a utilities company and its directors for c. £25 million for unlawful termination of an agency agreement and breach of confidence involving the theft of a database (GDM v Economy Energy & otrs [2019] EWHC 507 (Ch), [2019] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 191).
  • Led by Jeff Chapman QC, advising and representing a financial adviser in his application for permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal in Openwork v Forte [2018] EWCA Civ 783: the appeal concerns the test for certainty of contractual clauses.
  • Advising a commercial agent in his defence of a claim brought against him in the Hong Kong High Court in breach of fiduciary duty (secret profits) in relation to F1 and other motor-racing sponsorship agreements (Craft Bamboo Holdings v Coleman & Mayfield Sports Management HCA 2665/2017).
  • Advised and represented applicant/defendant in contested application to set aside a default judgment obtained in CFI, DIFC – trial going to the same issues ongoing in the Royal Court of Jersey at the time the judgment was entered – applicant was unaware of claim and application for judgment – Jersey proceedings resolved in applicant’s favour – res judicata (Al Tamimi v Jorum Ltd & First Grade Ltd [2017] CFI 028/2016 (View decision).
  • Advised and represented the UAE-based Defendant Director/Shareholder and two Jersey Companies in proceedings in London, as well as actions in Jersey and the DIFC in relation to disputes, inter alia, about the true beneficial ownership in the Companies and whether or not the Claimant had made loans of several millions of pounds to the Companies. The proceedings involved multiple interlocutory applications including for freezing injunctions and an anti-suit injunction to restrain foreign proceedings (see e.g. Al Tamimi v Al Chaama & Otrs [2017] JRC 033).
  • Led by John Wardell QC advised and represented the appellant pharmaceutical company in its appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision of Andrew Hochhauser QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) that the Court did not have jurisdiction to entertain a claim that the Defendants had unlawfully interfered with (alternatively conspired to injure) the appellant’s business selling a probiotic food product (Actial Farmaceutica LDA v De Simone [2016] CLC 1020).
  • Represented the applicant property developer in his application in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice to set aside a statutory demand presented in respect of an instalment payment of £2 million said to be due under a contract for the sale of shares in a corporate property development vehicle (Doherty v Fannigan [2016] EWHC 2098 (Ch)).
  • Representing Saverio Moschillo, an Italian fashion mogul, in the context of his dispute with the English Fashion Designer John Richmond and related companies over the trademarks to the name John Richmond. The English proceedings are brought by Moschillo against liquidators of Akkurate Ltd in relation to their sale at secret auction of the Richmond trademarks worth £2.5 million.
  • Represented Johnson Matthey PLC, a UK FTSE 100 chemical-engineering company, in the successful settlement of its £250,000 contractual claim against a Polish manufacturing company for unpaid sums in respect of obsolete parts in the context of an international car-manufacturing supply chain.
  • Represented the Respondent, a banker who is a witness in respect of an alleged international fraud of an estimated US$9.2 billion perpetrated against the Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers Company, in a contested application for private examination in the High Court (Akers v Hayley [2015] EWHC 2447 (Ch)).
  • Represented a large Cayman fund in proceedings in the Chancery Division of the High Court in its claim for payment of $3,000,000 under a contract for shares (Mittal v RP Explorer Fund [2014] BPIR 1537 ChD).
  • Represented estate agents at trial and in their appeal to the Court of Appeal – cancellation rights; consumer contracts; enforcement; statutory interpretation; applicability of regulations (Gibbs Gillespie (A Partnership) v Sturch [2014] EWCA Civ 392, [2014] ECC 31) (View decision)
  • In June 2014, represented Massimo Cellino’s Leeds United FC in the Chancery Division of the High Court in respect of the winding up petition presented against it by Sport Capital Ltd in respect of an alleged debt of c. £1,000,000. (See ITV – Leeds United winding up petition dismissed)
  • In April 2014, acted for a Panamanian company – owned by a member of the Saudi Arabian Royal family – seeking the recovery of £16,000,000 held on trust by receivers, pending resolution of a claim by a third party (law firm) seeking to be declared a preferred creditor.
  • In July 2011, represented for the prominent designer, Gnyuki Torimaru, in his contractual claim against an agent engaged to sell his valuable archive of dresses and sketches.
  • Appeared (led by Treasury Counsel) in the Court of Appeal on the question of whether, notwithstanding the statutory invalidity of a wagering contract, a person entrusting money to an agent to bet on the horses might recover that money in a restitutionary action when the agent misappropriates the money for his own purposes (Close v Wilson [2011] L.L.R. 453).

 

Contested Trusts and Wills +
  • Heavily contested proprietary estoppel claim and contested probate dispute over a Cheshire Farm (which includes an airstrip) worth over £10 million, brought by eldest son of the Deceased (the farmer); advised and represented the widow and executrices (the widow and a district judge); mediation; injunctive relief applications; committal applications (Scott v Scott [2019] EWHC (ChD), unreported).
  • Advised two princesses of a prominent Middle Eastern Royal Family in respect of charging order obtained (they said wrongfully) on two of their collection of properties in Kensington. The charging order had been obtained in telecommunications litigation with one of the princesses’ husbands. It was imperative for the family to remove the charge and do so without reputational damage.
  • Advised and represented the claimant in bitterly contested 3-day trial in the High Court (ChD) – action for reasonable financial provision – unmarried disabled male partner of deceased – locus standi – sale of former residence – son sole beneficiary – life interest (Banfield v Campbell [2018] WTLR 781)
  • In the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice, advised and represented the Claimant in a 4 day forgery trial involving proceedings in Zimbabwe and interlocutory appeals on jurisdiction and conflicts of laws arguments (Cook v Abrahams, 24 April 2018) [2018] 4 WLUK 517.
  • Advised and represented the beneficiaries of the estate (worth in excess of £25 million) of a Deceased business man in their claim in the Chancery Division of the High Court to remove professional executors and trustees for multiple breaches of trust and misapplications of assets onshore and offshore (Mulligan & Otrs v Phoenix & Otrs [2018] EWHC (settled by ADR)).
  • Represented a Yemeni beneficiary in bitterly fought proceedings in the Chancery Division in respect of one of the largest estates litigated over in England in recent times. The Deceased was Tawfik Abdul Rahim Al Mutahar, known colloquially as the ‘King of Petrol’, with what was said to be an estimated worldwide estate of £382 million. Applications involved: beneficiary seeking appointment of an administrator of the estate; interim administrator seeking declarative relief in respect of misappropriations of c. £6 million from the UK estate, an account and inventory of the worldwide estate, and an interim distribution of £400,000 to cover ‘reasonable living expenses’ (Mutahar v Shamsan [2017] EWHC).
  • In the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice, advised and represented the respondent beneficiary to an application by trustees for Re Beddoe relief (whether to defend and counterclaim) and prospective costs orders. Master Matthews gave a judgment setting out the principles governing the grant of such relief to trustees (Pettigrew v Edwards [2017] W.T.L.R. 675; [2017] 1 P. & C.R. DG19 (View decision))
  • Represented the applicant (pro bono) in her challenge in the High Court to the requirement in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 s.3(3) that an applicant for a gender recognition certificate who had undergone, or planned to undergo, treatment to modify sexual characteristics had to provide a medical report giving details of such treatment (Carpenter v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWHC 464 (Admin), [2015] 1 W.L.R. 4111).
  • Represented an executor of an estate worth several million pounds (in which the principal beneficiaries were charities) in her action in the Commercial Court against a bank for negligently failing to prevent a fraud against the Deceased perpetrated by two of his carers. The matter was settled by confidential agreement before trial.
  • Advised and represented two Italian beneficiaries of a substantial trust in the High Court trial of a claim for removal of the trustees for acting contrary to the interests of other beneficiaries. The background to the dispute was a struggle for control of a prominent Italian ceramics company after the company’s default on a £7 million loan. Rory was instructed as sole counsel for his ability to advise the Italian professional and lay clients in Italian on the application of English law by the English courts to the trust (December, 2016).
  • Represented Executor-Beneficiaries in a six day trial before the Honourable Mr Justice Mann in the Chancery Division of the High Court. The Judge held that the challenges to the will based on undue influence, want of knowledge and approval, and testamentary capacity were not supported by the evidence. He also dismissed a late application to amend to plead forgery. The comprehensive judgment conveniently collects together the law governing challenges to the substantial validity of wills (Murray v Bernard [2015] 5 Costs LO 567).
  • At trial in the Chancery Division of the High Court, represented an applicant for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act 1975 on the basis she was a live-in and dependent girlfriend of the Deceased not, as the Respondent administrator asserted, a mere lodger (Wright v Legister [2014] EWHC 2041 (Ch), [2014] WTLR 1675).
  • In the Court of Appeal, resisted an application for permission to appeal brought on the basis a Circuit Judge had misapplied the Etridge test for undue influence (Khan v Khan [2013] EWCA 465).
  • Represented the appellants in an appeal in the Court of Appeal, the questions for the Court being a) whether the trial judge was wrong to allow an amendment to plead forgery on the first day of a contested probate trial and b) whether the judge acted in breach of the Defendant’s right to a fair trial by electing not to allow the defendant time to amend his pleadings or to put in evidence to counter the forgery allegation (on which basis the claim succeeded) (Ahmed v Choudhury, [2016] EWCA Civ 686). The Court of Appeal distinguished the Practice Note: Swain Mason v Mills & Reeve [2011] EWCA Civ 14, [2011] 1 W.L.R. 2735.

 


Additional Information

He is consistently rated as a ‘leading junior’ in the Legal 500. Client and peer feedback includes:

  • Extremely measured in his delivery’.
  • Rory is an excellent cross-examiner and a persuasive advocate with the rare gift of coupling those skills with the ability to deal with clients and solicitors on the level’.


Chambers and Partners consistently ranks Rory as a ‘leading barrister’ in its Guide to the London Bar and in its High Net Worth Guide. The guides include the following feedback from clients and peers.

  • ‘He is acknowledged for his ability to handle complex multiparty trust disputes.’
  • ‘His advice is invaluable in multi-faceted and complex cases. I find him extremely approachable and excellent at what he does.’
  • ‘He can deal with difficult and bullish clients very well.’

 

  • “He is exceptionally good.”
  • “He has a quick turnaround time.”
  • “He has a sound commercial mindset which clients appreciate.”
  • “He adopts a forceful approach when needed, but, equally, can be extremely diplomatic when the situation calls for it.”

 

Books

  • Fighting monsters: British-American war-making and law-making (2011, HART PUBLISHING)

 

Articles, Chapters and Interviews

  • ‘The Seven Principles of Freezing Injunctions’ CORPORATE RESCUE INSOLVENCY, July 2016
  • ‘Gender recognition: what legal recognition and rights can post-operative transsexuals expect in the UK?’ LexisNexis Interview May 26, 2015
  • ‘Of lodgers, lovers and liars?’ TRUSTS AND ESTATES LAW & TAX JOURNAL (July/August 2015)
  • ‘Section 234 and 236 orders—who pays for the costs of complying?’ LexisNexis Interview, January 13, 2015
  • ‘When is a winding up petition an abuse of process’ CORPORATE RESCUE INSOLVENCY, October, 2013
  • ‘Access to Justice for Torture Victims’, in N. Ronzitti, F. Francioni, T. Scovazzi, and M. Gestri (eds.) Accesso alla giustizia dell’individuo nel diritto internazionale e dell’Unione Europea (Giuffré, 2009)
  • ‘Editorial: The geology of governing society’, EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF LEGAL STUDIES 2008 www.ejls.eu
  • ‘The Legality of Shooting Down Civilian Aircraft’, QUEBEC JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW (2008) www.rqdi.org
  • ‘The Problems faced by Judges due to Multilevel Regulation’ in R. Wessel, A. Fǿllesdal, and J. Wouters (Eds.), Multilevel Regulation and the EU, BRILL, 2008
  • ‘Excellence in Discourse’, EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE REVIEW, Summer 2007, 46
  • ‘Access to Justice for the Victims of Torture’ in Access to Justice, F. Francioni (ed.), OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS (2007), www.oup.com/us/catalog
  • ‘Torture, Terrorism, and the Ticking Bomb’, JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND POLICY, www.law.upenn.edu/groups/jilp/4-1_Brown_Rory_Stephen.pdf
  • ‘Executive Power and Judicial Supervision at European Level: Kadi v Council of the European Union and Commission of the European Communities’ [2006] EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS LAW REVIEW (4) 457
  • ‘The UK House of Lords Ruling on Torture Evidence: A and others (Appellants) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent)’ [2006] ITALIAN YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

 

Reviews

  • Tony Coady and Michael O’Keefe (eds.), Righteous Violence: The Ethics and Politics of Military Intervention (Melbourne, 2005) [2007] MILLENNIUM
  • Stephen Holmes, The Matador’s Cape: America’s Reckless Response to Terror, (Cambridge University Press, 2007) MILLENNIUM
  • Andrea Bianchi and Alexis Keller (eds.), Counterterrorism: Democracy’s Challenge, (Hart Publishing, 2008) [2008] ITALIAN YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

 

Selected Translations

  • Prof. Günther Teubner, ‘The corporate codes of multinationals: company constitutions beyond corporate governance and participation’, (from the German)
  • Prof. Benedetto Conforti, ‘The Role of the Judge in International Law’, (from the Italian) EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF LEGAL STUDIES (2008)1

 

Education/Scholarship

  • Brown, Fighting Monsters: British-American War-making and Law-making (2011, Hart Publishing)
  • 2009 – PhD (European University Institute) – Philosophy of Law and War
  • 2008 – Founding Editor-in-Chief: European Journal of Legal Studies (www.ejls.eu)
  • 2006 – MRes (European University Institute, Italy) – European, Comparative and International Law
  • 2004 – Mae (Cantab.) (Double First Class Hons.) – Law (including year at Regensburg University, Germany)

 

Prizes

  • 2007 – Visiting Scholarship (Columbia Law School, NYC)
  • 2006 – Fully funded PhD Award, European University Institute
  • 2004 – Foundational Scholar of Jesus College, Cambridge
  • 2004 – Russell Vick Prize
  • 2003 – Major Inner Temple Award
  • 2002 – Erasmus Scholarship

 

Memberships

  • Inner Temple Advocacy Trainer
  • International Sub-Committee of the Chancery Bar Association
  • British Italian Lawyers Association
  • British German Jurists Association
  • Inner Temple
  • Bar Pro Bono Panel
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Hawks Club
  • Glanville Williams Society

 

Rory Brown is an independent self-employed barrister registered with the Bar Standards Board of England (ref. no 56112); whose practice is governed by the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales which code can be found at www.barstandardsboard.org.uk; has full professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Limited (ref BM 2930/060) (details of the world-wide cover are provided at www.barmutual.co.uk); is registered for VAT (reg. no. 998 9348 23); and can be contacted during chambers opening hours by telephone at 02074045055 or by e-mail at clerks@9stonebuildings.com.

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