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Oliver Hyams
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Oliver has a busy commercial practice with a focus on insolvency disputes, commercial litigation and contentious trusts. His cases often have an emphasis on fraud.

Oliver is an experienced advocate who frequently appears in the High Court and County Court in his own right. He is also regularly led and is currently instructed as a junior in two appeals to the Court of Appeal.

Oliver regularly acts in applications for interim injunctions (including freezing orders) and other interim relief.

Before coming to the Bar, Oliver worked at the European Commission in Brussels, where he specialised in retail banking and pensions reform.

Commercial Litigation

Oliver has experience of a wide variety of commercial disputes ranging from civil fraud and asset recovery to breach of contract. He handles all aspects of commercial claims including freezing injunctions.

He has a particular interest in financial disputes and the effect of Brexit on commercial practice.

Recent cases

  • Trinity Logistics v Goonewardena & Ors [2017] EWHC 2353: a claim brought by a freight forwarding agent in deceit, unlawful means conspiracy and inducing breach of contract.
  • Kogan v Hembry LTL 19/07/2016: a claim to recover approx. £250,000 advanced by way of loan to a property developer.
  • G plc v B Ltd: a substantial claim by an insurance broker against an insurer alleging breach of contract.
  • M Ltd v S & Anr: a claim against a former employee for breaching restrictive covenants and against the new employer for inducing breach of contract.
  • L Ltd v A: a claim to recover the balance of a loan advanced to a company director’s relative.
  • LP v L: a claim in fraudulent misrepresentation for the return of a deposit on a house.
  • P v S: a claim to recover sums due under a deed of waiver, with a defence of equitable set-off.

Oliver co-authored the insurance section of the COMBAR Brexit paper on financial services, which was submitted to the Ministry of Justice in January 2017.

Before joining the Bar, Oliver worked at the European Commission, specialising in retail banking and pensions reform. With colleagues, he drafted the Commission’s proposal for the Payment Accounts Directive (2014/92/EU), in addition to policy papers addressing consumer protection in the private pensions market.

Corporate Insolvency

Oliver regularly appears in the Insolvency and Companies List of the Business and Property Courts. He acts for insolvency practitioners, companies and individuals in litigation, and is often instructed in commercial disputes with an insolvency angle.

Recent work

  • Hughes Jarvis Limited v Searle LTL 18/07/18: successfully applied to set aside a stay of a payment on account of costs. The applicants argued that making the payment on account would lead to their insolvency. The judge found that they had not provided any evidence as to their financial standing, and so their argument was bound to fail.
  • Hughes Jarvis Limited v Searle [2018] EW Misc B6 (CC): successfully applied to strike out a claim and a defence to counterclaim where the director of the claimant company had committed contempt of court during the course of giving evidence. The evidence related to the solvency of the claimant company and the director himself.
  • Hieber v Duckworth (Liquidator of Hieber Ltd) LTL 28/6/2017: Oliver acted for the successful applicant. The High Court set aside a Tomlin order on the grounds of duress / undue influence and by reason of the rule in ex Parte James.
  • An unfair prejudice petition, where the petitioner seeks a winding up order on the just and equitable ground.
  • Acting for the liquidator in a claim to unwind preferences and to set aside transactions defrauding creditors, where the company was involved in a large-scale commercial fraud, paying substantial sums to connected third parties.
  • Successfully represented the respondent creditor to a high-value application to set aside a statutory demand.
  • Acting for the creditor respondents to a series of linked applications to restrain presentation of winding up petitions.

Personal Insolvency

Oliver acts for insolvency practitioners, individuals and creditors.

Oliver regularly acts in applications to set aside statutory demands; concerning IVAs; and for validation orders, in addition to contested bankruptcy petitions. Oliver also has extensive experience of applications for an order for sale; to unwind preferences and transactions at an undervalue; and inquiries into the bankrupt’s dealings and property.

Trusts and Contentious Probate

Oliver has a special interest in trust disputes.  His experience covers claims against professional trustees and personal representatives, fraud, actions for an account, Inheritance Act claims and disputed wills.

  • X v Y: a claim against professional trustees alleging breach of trust and involving a large-scale international fraud (led by Brie Stevens-Hoare QC).
  • S v M: an action for an account against a trustee.
  • R v S: allegations of fraud and undue influence in a claim concerning the beneficial ownership of two properties.
  • W v W: a claim against personal representatives for a declaration of beneficial interest in estate property.
  • Re S: a claim for reasonable provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 with serious allegations made against the deceased’s family members.
  • L v W: a claim against a deceased’s estate, where the claimant alleged that he had made a loan to the deceased during her lifetime, and the executors asserted that the loan agreement was forged.
  • O v O: successfully represented executors at a 5-day trial where it was alleged that they had forged the deceased’s will, and that the deceased in any event lacked testamentary capacity.

 

Contentious Probate & Inheritance Act Claims

Oliver is experienced in claims for and against personal representatives, beneficiaries, and others interested in estates, including and disputed wills and proceedings under the Inheritance Act.

  • W v W: a claim against personal representatives for a declaration of beneficial interest in estate property.
  • Re S: a claim for reasonable provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 with serious allegations made against the deceased’s family members.
  • L v W: a claim against a deceased’s estate, where the claimant alleged that he had made a loan to the deceased during her lifetime, and the executors asserted that the loan agreement was forged.
  • O v O: successfully represented executors at a 5-day trial where it was alleged that they had forged the deceased’s will, and that the deceased in any event lacked testamentary capacity.

Professional associations

Chancery Bar Association
COMBAR
Insolvency Lawyers’ Association
ConTrA

Awards

2013    Levitt Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
2012    Brussels Internship Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
2011    Hardwicke Entrance Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
2011    The City Law School BPTC Scholarship
2010    Lord Haldane Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn

Qualifications

2012      Called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn)
2010      University College London, Human Rights (MA)
2009      University of Durham, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BA (Hons) 2.1

Languages

French

CSR

Oliver is a trustee of Pro Bono Community, a charity that works to improve the availability and quality of pro bono legal advice by providing lawyers with training in different areas social welfare law, before placing them in legal advice clinics.

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