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Commercial dispute resolution

Charles regularly undertakes commercial litigation and associated advisory work in the context of the industry sectors to which his other areas of practice relate, including in particular energy, natural resources, infrastructure, planning, property, healthcare and regulation. He is particularly experienced in dealing with disputes arising out of development agreements, contractual disputes in the energy sector and commercial claims brought by or against public authorities. He has worked on several substantial cases in the Commercial Court, Chancery Division and Queen’s Bench Division. He is a member of COMBAR.

An increasing proportion of his work involves arbitration, both within the UK and overseas. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (with an Advanced Certificate in International Arbitration) and the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators, as well as an ADR Group accredited mediator. 

Significant and recent cases include:

  • Minerva (Wandsworth) Ltd v. Greenland Ram (London) Ltd [2017] EWHC 1457 (Ch) – acting for the Greenland Group in the 13 day Chancery Division trial of a £multi-million claim relating to overage provisions in a contract for the £135m purchase of the Ram Brewery development site in Wandsworth (with David Elvin QC).

  • Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd. v. Environment Agency [2017] EWHC 1340 (QB) – a £13 million claim against the Environment Agency under a contract agreed in 1963 by the Manchester Ship Canal Company and the Mersey  River Board (a predecessor of the EA) and subsequently confirmed in Schedule 2 of the Mersey River Board Act 1964. MSCC claimed damages under the contract in respect of flood damage caused to the Manchester Ship Canal during the high profile, extreme Boxing Day Floods of 2015. Acted for the EA in its successful application for summary judgment.

  • Arbitration proceedings concerning the interpretation of a contract concerning the maintenance and repair of the tidal defence gates at a major UK harbour (2017-ongoing).

  • A £10m+ Commercial Court claim relating to alleged contamination in food supplied to one of the largest commercial pig farms in the UK (2018-ongoing).

  • Acting for a well-known care services provider in a £multi-million contractual dispute with a NHS regional clinical commissioning group over the interpretation of a contract for the provision of health services to NHS patents (2017-ongoing).

  • Acting for the claimants in multi-jurisdiction litigation and arbitration proceedings concerning alleged breaches of warranty and misrepresentation in the context of co-operation agreements entered into with China National Petroleum Company for the exploitation of mineral resources in China (2016-ongoing, with John Litton QC).

  • Acting for Transport for London in the Chancery Division and Court of Appeal resisting an appeal by the Southwark LBC and the City of London against an arbitration decision relating to a dispute over the extent of the ownership in London’s roads which was transferred from London Boroughs to TfL upon its creation in 2000: see London Borough of Southwark v. Transport for London [2015] EWHC 3448 (Ch), [2017] EWCA Civ 1220 (with Tim Morshead QC).

  • Acting for the Serious Fraud Office in a two-day hearing in the Commercial Court in November 2012 successfully striking out a claim alleging that the Director of the SFO negligently failed to exercise his powers of investigation against certain financial services providers pursuant to s.2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987: see Makar v. Russell Jones & Walker, Serious Fraud Office and others [2012] EWHC 3681 (Comm).

  • Regularly acting in Queen’s Bench Division proceedings in which local authorities seek to recover unpaid monies owed by landowners / developers pursuant to planning obligations under s.106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

  • NTC Global v. Astra Trading OZA and the Environment Agency(2010, settled): a Chancery Division claim relating to the UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme, arising out of the accidental transfer by the claimant of 10,000 carbon allowances into the account of the first defendant.