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Oliver Hyams
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Oliver has a 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 and he regularly appears in courts of all levels.

He is currently instructed on behalf of 29 claimants in the ongoing Universal Wealth litigation, arising out of the misappropriation of up to £25m of trust money by a professional trustee. In Reynolds v Long [2018] EWHC 3535 (Ch), Oliver successfully represented those claimants in their application to commit the trustee for breach of his disclosure obligations under various freezing orders.

Oliver also recently appeared as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal in Wolff v Trinity Logistics USA Inc [2018] EWCA Civ 2765, a case concerning the elements of the economic torts, in the context of the importation of clothing from Bangladesh.

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 offers advice and representation in a wide variety of commercial disputes ranging from financial services matters to breach of contract claims.

Recent work and ongoing cases:

  • Bibby v Moraes: a claim under personal guarantees, seeking to recover £1m+. Successfully resisted an application for summary judgment by the claimant.
  • G plc v B Ltd: a substantial claim by an insurance broker against a major 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.
  • Kogan v Hembry LTL 19/07/2016: a successful claim to recover approx. £250,000 advanced by way of loan to a property developer.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.

Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing

Oliver has extensive experience in dealing with civil fraud cases, both domestically and internationally. He has obtained pre- and post-judgment freezing orders, other interim injunctions, such as proprietary injunctions, and has acted in committal proceedings where a party has breached such orders.

He has appeared in commercial claims involving allegations of deceit, conspiracy, inducing breach of contract, and is particularly interested in claims involving misappropriation by fiduciaries, including directors and trustees.

Recent work:

  • The Universal Wealth litigation (led by Brie Stevens-Hoare QC): representing 29 claimants in their claim against a professional trustee and his associates. Obtaining worldwide freezing and proprietary injunctions, money judgments for £4.5m. Currently involved in a global asset tracing exercise.
  • Reynolds v Long [2018] EWHC 3535 (Ch): part of the Universal Wealth litigation. Sole counsel in a contested application to commit the professional trustee for breach of his disclosure obligations under several freezing orders. He was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment.
  • Wolff v Trinity Logistics USA Inc [2018] EWCA Civ 2765 (led by Michael Collett QC): a claim brought by a freight forwarding agent in deceit, unlawful means conspiracy and procuring/inducing breach of contract. The appeal and cross-appeal concerned the elements of the economic torts; whether the court has the power to make a declaration of indemnity; and the circumstances in which a respondent requires permission to cross-appeal.
  • Hughes Jarvis Ltd v Searle [2019] EWCA Civ 1: an appeal (against the decision reported as [2017] EW Misc B6 (CC)) concerning the effect on proceedings of a witness’s discussion of his evidence with third parties while in purdah, and the court’s power to commit for contempt in the face of the court. He also appeared in Hughes Jarvis Ltd v Searle [2018] EWHC 2018 (Ch): an application to stay enforcement of a payment on account of costs pending appeal.

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.

He has experience of: applications for, or to extend, administration orders, claims under the IA86 against third parties (e.g. preference claims; transactions at an undervalue; transactions defrauding creditors), and many other types of insolvency application.

Recent work:

  • An unfair prejudice petition in relation to a regional care home business. The petitioner seeks winding up 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 (a car dealership) was involved in a large-scale commercial fraud, paying substantial sums to connected third parties.
  • A contested application for an administration order. Acted for a director of the respondent, who made serious allegations of misconduct against the applicant and the board of the respondent company.
  • Acting for the solicitor respondent to a section 236 application where issues of privilege are engaged.
  • A contested application for a validation order by a cloud computing provider, which provided services to the insolvent company.
  • Hieber v Duckworth (Liquidator of Hieber Ltd) [2017] 6 WLUK: 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.

Personal Insolvency

Oliver has extensive experience of bankruptcy proceedings. He regularly acts in applications: to set aside statutory demands; for validation orders; for an order for sale; to unwind preferences, and all manner of other insolvency applications. He also has experience of inquiries into the bankrupt’s dealings and property.

Recent work:

  • Acted for the joint supervisors to a failed IVA in their petition to bankrupt a well-known footballer.
  • A high-value contested bankruptcy petition where it is alleged, by the debtor, that the petition has been presented for a collateral purpose.
  • An application under section 366 to examine a bankrupt.

Trusts

Oliver has a special interest in trust disputes. His experience covers claims against professional trustees and personal representatives.

Recent work:

  • An action for an account against a commercial trustee.
  • A claim involving allegations of fraud and undue influence, arising in the context of a dispute about the beneficial ownership of two properties.

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.

Recent work:

  • A claim against personal representatives for a declaration of beneficial interest in estate property.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
ConTrA
R3 Associate Member

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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