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Stephen Brown

Higher rights of audience: 2001

Stephen Brown
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Knows exactly how a matter will play out at trial.

Client

Stephen has a broad based dispute resolution practice and acts in complex commercial disputes, usually with an international dimension. He has successfully advised some of the world’s largest corporations.

His experience covers both litigation and international arbitration, extending to all types of contractual dispute, including joint ventures and warranty claims, across sectors including asset management, automotive, aviation, chemicals, hospitality, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, technology and telecoms.

Stephen regularly advises in relation to shareholders’ rights and directors’ duties. He has extensive niche experience in relation to competition follow-on claims. Stephen also handles professional negligence work, mainly in relation to solicitors. He has been instructed in a number of high value fraud cases.

Before coming to the Bar in January 2014, Stephen was an international law firm partner between 1998 and 2013, recommended by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a leading individual in commercial litigation. Having qualified as a Higher Rights advocate in 2001, Stephen has appeared regularly since 2001 in various divisions of the High Court, including the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division, the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.

Stephen has appeared in arbitrations both ad hoc and under the rules of various institutions including the ICC, AAA and LMAA and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the LCIA.

Stephen is a CEDR Accredited Mediator and has extensive experience of mediation having acted as mediator and appeared for clients in dozens of mediations.

Commercial Arbitration

Stephen has appeared in arbitrations both ad hoc and under the rules of various institutions including the AAA, ICC and LMAA. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the LCIA.

Recent Work:

  • advising a state oil producer on its prospects of challenging an arbitral award in the English High Court.
  • representing a yacht distributor in an LMAA arbitration in relation to termination of an exclusive distribution agreement.
  • representing an English IT provider in a AAA arbitration with a leading Japanese hardware manufacturer.
  • representing an Indian power company in an ICC arbitration concerning the construction of two power stations, including a challenge to jurisdiction.
  • acting for a Japanese car manufacturer in a motor racing dispute subject to ICC Arbitration Rules.
  • ad hoc arbitration for a broker in a dispute with its telecoms provider.
  • acting for the US manufacturer of turbines in an arbitral dispute with its customer in Turkey.
  • representing an arbitrator accused of bias.

Commercial Litigation

Stephen has extensive experience of advising major corporates across the wide range of issues they experience operating in a global economy. These include contractual disputes arising out of complex transactional documents, fraud, shareholder and joint venture disputes and warranty claims. Often these matters raise questions of jurisdiction and governing law and involve interim injunctive relief from the Courts.

Stephen has advised corporates operating in a number of sectors including asset management, automotive, aviation, chemicals, hospitality, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, technology and telecoms.

He also has niche experience in disputes concerning occupational pension schemes including negligence claims in relation to the drafting of pension scheme documentation.

Significant Work:

  • Park Plaza Hotels Europe BV & Anor v Micha Polak – successfully challenging the jurisdiction of the English Court and obtaining a costs order in Euros to avoid exchange rate losses to the Defendant in the Netherlands.
  • acting for a seller in defence of claims for breach of competition and tax warranties and breach of fiduciary duties in excess of £250 million.
  • appearing for a provider of services to the government in proceedings against a software provider arising out of the failure of a project.
  • acting for an asset manager in claims for wrongful repudiation of an asset management agreement.
  • defending a national bus service franchisee against allegations of breach of an IT support contract.
  • advising a bank in relation to fiduciary duties allegedly owed to high net worth customers claiming over US$120 million.
  • appearing for a shareholder in a dispute concerning the Aman Group, a global luxury resort hotel chain, including bringing and resisting claims for injunctive relief and the compulsory acquisition of shares.
  • appearing for Procter & Gamble claiming damages in a dispute concerning the exchange rate applicable under a supply contract.
  • appearing for GE Oil & Gas in a  dispute concerning the meaning of retention clauses in relation to warranty claims on the sale of a business.
  • acting for Ineos in claims concerning the interpretation of long term supply contracts.
  • acting for a well-known luxury yacht builder in a dispute with a licensee.
  • defending allegations of breach of restrictive covenant in respect of a brokerage.
  • acting for a software house in claims arising out of alleged failure to meet specification.
  • acting for an international hotel group in a dispute concerning termination of a franchise agreement.
  • advising C&W in a £100 million outsourcing dispute concerning benchmarking.
  • appearing for Procter & Gamble in the leading case concerning TUPE and occupational pension schemes.
  • Hardy & Another v Griffiths & Another [2014] EWHC 3947 (Ch): appearing for the defendant in a dispute concerning the construction of the terms governing deposits payable on the purchase of a property.

Competition

Stephen has acted in a number of the leading cases which have shaped “follow-on” litigation in England:

  • In 2003 he began to act for BASF in the vitamins litigation, a case which gave rise to what remains the leading judgment on jurisdiction in cases involving defendants from multiple jurisdictions (Provimi and Trouw) and the leading judgment on the remedies available to claimants in follow-on claims (Devenish).
  • Stephen acted for Total in the paraffin wax cartel follow-on claims.
  • He also advised General Motors in relation to claims arising out of the automotive glass cartel.
  • He represented General Cable in the high-voltage cable follow-on claims brought by National Grid and Scottish Power.

Stephen has also advised in relation to abuse of dominance:

  • Advising Ineos in proceedings concerning the abuse of dominance by one of its suppliers.
  • Appearing for sanofi-aventis defending allegations of abuse of a dominant position.
  • Advising the seller of a pharmaceutical business in relation to warranty claims arising out of alleged abuse of a dominant position.

Companies, Joint Ventures & Partnerships

Stephen regularly advises in relation to corporate governance and shareholders’ rights, including in relation to derivative actions and unfair prejudice claims.

He also advises in relation to substantial international joint venture disputes.

Recent Work:

  • advising the board of a US oil company in relation to claims of breach of fiduciary duty.
  • advising a Middle Eastern client in relation to its rights in a US$1 billion joint venture including in relation to potential claims in the DIFC courts and in an LCIA arbitration.
  • advising a board as to its ability to issue further shares where it was disputed that this was permitted under the company’s articles.
  • advising a shareholder in a quasi-partnership as to his ability to remove a co-director/shareholder.
  • advising an investor regarding rectification of a company’s share register.

Private International Law

Stephen’s cases often involve private international law issues including jurisdiction, governing law and enforcement.

Recent Work:

  • Park Plaza Hotels Europe BV & Anor v Micha Polak – successfully challenging the jurisdiction of the English Court and obtaining a costs order in Euros to avoid exchange rate losses to the Defendant in the Netherlands.
  • resisting the enforcement of a Ghanaian judgment in England against a car manufacturer, including foreign exchange and interest rate issues.
  • advising an engineering company on the doctrine of res judicata as it applies in England to foreign judgments.
  • advising a number of lenders on the enforceability of governing law and jurisdiction clauses in various suites of lending transaction documents.

Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing

Stephen has dealt with fraud and asset tracing claims throughout his career as a lawyer. His experience covers all manner of business related frauds, from investment funds to shareholder claims.

Recent Work:

  • £120 million fraud claim against a Cayman Island fund involving world-wide freezing injunctions.
  • proceedings to recover cash fraudulently withdrawn from bank accounts immediately prior to acquisition. Stephen obtained a freezing order.
  • acting for the owner of property misappropriated by a fraudster, including obtaining a freezing order.
  • defending claims by a shareholder who had obtained his shares by fraudulent misrepresentation against the majority shareholder in a company.
  • claims against an Australian mining company in relation to a fraudulent rights issue. Stephen was acting for an investment fund.

International

Stephen’s cases are usually international, that is to say, they may raise questions of jurisdiction, be subject to foreign law, and/or involve parties from third countries.  As such, Stephen is conversant with private international law, has to consider expert evidence of foreign law and address questions of enforcement in England of foreign judgments and awards.

Stephen is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the London Court of International Arbitration.  A proportion of his caseload involves acting as counsel in international arbitrations.

Further details of his specific experience can be found in the practice area tabs of his profile.

Professional associations

  • CIArb
  • COMBAR
  • LCIA

Qualifications

  • FCIArb
  • CEDR accredited mediator

CSR

Trustee of Law Works

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