Alaric is an experienced commercial barrister specialising primarily in business disputes and insolvency. His practice covers a wide range of commercial litigation, costs, civil fraud, employment related litigation, company and partnership disputes and all aspects of insolvency, both individual and corporate.
Areas of expertise
- Commercial dispute resolution
- Civil fraud & asset tracing
Civil fraud & asset tracing
Alaric offers advice and advocacy in relation to fraud and asset tracing claims, particularly in the context of breaches of fiduciary duties by officers or senior employees of a company or by the members of a partnership or LLP, claims in fraudulent misrepresentation/deceit, particularly those against directors of insolvent companies, and claims in relation to defrauding creditors/putting assets beyond the reach of creditors.
He has also been instructed in relation to challenges to court judgments (both UK and foreign) on the basis that they had been obtained by fraud.
- Companies, joint ventures & partnerships
Companies, joint ventures & partnerships
Alaric offers advice and advocacy in relation to a range of company law issues and in particular in connection with directors’ duties and rights, shareholder disputes, unfair prejudice petitions and derivative claims. He has considerable experience in the related areas of insolvency and directors’ disqualification, in relation to which please see those parts of his profile.
Alaric’s practice also covers a range of issues in relation to partnerships and limited liability partnerships (LLPs), including partners’/members’ duties, expulsion from and dissolution of partnerships and also professional negligence claims for professionals operating within partnership and LLP structures. Many of the cases within this practice area are highly sensitive and/or confidential.
- Employment & executive disputes
Employment & executive disputes
Alaric’s practice covers a range of employment law issues, particularly those arising in connection with his other areas of practice (notably insolvency and commercial).
He offers advice and advocacy in relation to claims and interlocutory relief arising out of breaches of contract in employment contexts (including post-termination restrictive covenants/restraint of trade), the misuse of confidential information/commercially sensitive material and the extent of duties (including fiduciary duties), owed to and by senior employees and executives. He also deals with issues arising in connection with TUPE, redundancies (including protective awards) and unfair/wrongful dismissals. He has a particular expertise in this area in the context of the insolvency of the employer.
Cases of interest
- W v A (2020-present, ET & EAT): In 2019 W resigned from A and brought a claim for constructive dismissal and disability discrimination. In September 2020, before the matter could get to trial, A entered a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). Alaric appeared for A in the ET to argue that the claim should be stayed as W’s remedy now lay in proving in the CVA. The claim against A was stayed, but W made an application to join 9 other parties (2 corporate entities on the basis of TUPE and 7 individuals on the basis that they were personally liable for her dismissal and for the alleged discrimination). Alaric appeared in the ET and obtained an order dismissing the application to add any of the 9. W appealed to the EAT and was granted permission to appeal in respect of limited grounds relating to the 7 individuals. In April 2023, Alaric appeared before the EAT and succeeded in having the appeal dismissed. The case has returned to the ET to determine what happens next.
- Bradley v Breanstar Ltd (in MVL) (2019-20, ET and ICC): Acted for the Liquidator of the respondent company in successfully applying to have the claim brought by a former employee struck out on the basis that it was (a) out of time, (b) far-fetched/without reasonable prospects of success and (c) inappropriate for it to be determined in the ET in any event, as opposed to it being dealt with by way of proof within the Liquidation. Alaric subsequently dealt with the employee’s claims in the context of the Liquidation in the Insolvency and Companies Court.
- Commercial litigation
Alaric’s practice covers litigation and arbitration dealing with all forms of commercial relationships, including contracts for the supply of services or sale of goods, joint ventures, commercial property disputes (including rights of access), agency (including commercial agents) intellectual property disputes and misuse of confidential information.
He has particular expertise in relation to interlocutory relief in this field, including freezing orders and other injunctions that commonly arise in commercial disputes, particularly in the context of restraint of trade, restrictive covenants and misuse of confidential information. Alaric has also acted on a number disputes involving commercial contracts for waste disposal and recycling.
Cases of interest
- ID Medical Group Ltd v Unified Medical Ltd and Ors  EWHC 850 (Ch): Acted for C on an application for an injunction (including springboard relief) where the head of one of C’s main divisions had left to start up a rival business taking a large proportion of C’s staff and apparently its confidential information. Zacaroli J granted injunctions and ordered specific disclosure by affidavit; on the return date before Daniel Alexander KC the Respondents offered full undertakings and were ordered to pay costs.
- Civil fraud & asset tracing
- Insolvency & restructuring
- Corporate insolvency
A leading insolvency junior (Legal 500), Alaric deals with all aspects of corporate insolvency, including statutory demands, winding-up petitions, injunctions to restrain presentation/giving notice of the petition, validation orders, rescission, problems in relation to out-of-court appointments, removal of liquidators, issues relating to assets (such as vesting, realization, disclaiming onerous property), antecedent transactions (preferences, transactions at an undervalue, transactions defrauding creditors), public and private examinations, proofs, challenges to the office holder’s decisions and/or expenses, misfeasance, wrongful trading and the use of prohibited names.
He has a particular specialism in the interrelationship between corporate recovery and employment law, especially in the context of administrations, including adoption of contracts, transfer of undertakings (TUPE), redundancies and protective awards. (See the significant case of Day v Haine  EWCA Civ 626  BCC 845 on the provability of protective awards. See also under Employment.)
Alaric has made an in-depth study of the Insolvency (England & Wales) Rules 2016 and the problems that they engender. In 2017 he headed up the Gatehouse Chambers team that completely revised the 2017 Issue of Atkin’s Court Forms and he also drafted the court forms for use in company insolvency cases (as approved by Chief Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Briggs) that now appear on the Court Service Website.
He also has considerable experience in the related areas of Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing and Directors’ Disqualification, Property Insolvency and Personal Insolvency, for which please see those parts of his profile.
Cases of interest
- Re Morfitt & Sons Ltd (2022): Advised the liquidator in relation to concluding the liquidation of a company facing multiple and uncertain contingent mesothelioma claims from former employees where the company had had a succession of different employer’s liability insurers and at one point in its history, no such insurance. The case raised difficult issues relating to contingent liabilities and causation.
- Eason and Sanders (as Joint Liquidators of Mentally Friendly LDN Ltd, in CVL) v Traill; R v Traill (2019-2021): Acted for the Joint Liquidators of a company defrauded by a senior executive in breach of his fiduciary duties. The High Court (ICC) proceedings were protracted, partly by reason of parallel criminal proceedings in the Crown Court (in which Alaric successfully intervened in relation to a Confiscation Order) and were finally resolved by a negotiated settlement.
- TST Millbank LLC & Anr v Resolution Real Estate Ltd (2018, ChD): Successfully acted for the Claimants in obtaining permission for them to continue an action where the Defendant had filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator, notwithstanding the interim moratorium imposed by paragraph 44 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986. Nugee J found that, given the proximity to trial (the NOI was filed a few days prior to the start of the trial widow), the fact that the costs for trial had largely been incurred and given that the Claimants were on any view the most significant unsecured creditor, the balance favoured granting permission.
- Personal insolvency
Alaric is a leading insolvency junior (Legal 500), dealing with all aspects of personal insolvency, including statutory demands, petitions, annulment, issues relating to assets (such as realizations, co-ownership, vesting, disclaiming of onerous property, etc.: see further under Property Insolvency) and avoidance of antecedent transactions (preferences, transactions at an undervalue, transactions defrauding creditors), public and private examinations, proofs, challenges to the trustee’s decisions and/or expenses, as well as a range of problems arising in or in connection with IVAs. He acts for debtors and/or members of their family, for creditors and for office-holders.
Alaric acted in the historically significant case of Raithatha v Williamson  EWHC 909 (Ch) concerning pension rights and s 310 of Insolvency Act 1986; his arguments in this case were subsequently vindicated by the Court of Appeal in Horton v Henry  EWCA Civ. 989, on which see Alaric’s article here.
He has published two books on individual insolvency with Edward Elgar Publishing: Individual Voluntary Arrangements: Law & Practice in 2022 and (together with Stephen Baister) Bankruptcy: Law and Practice in 2023.
He also has considerable experience in the related areas of Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing, Property Insolvency and Corporate Insolvency, for which please see those parts of his profile.
Cases of interest
- Re Marsh (2021-present): Acting for the joint trustees (T) of a bankrupt (M) who, just prior to his bankruptcy, entered a consent order with his ex-wife (P) for financial remedies, whereby M agreed to transfer his entire interest in a property to P. The case is factually and legally messy, especially as the property had been purchased by M and P jointly only after M had already divorced P and remarried (to W). The case involved the setting aside of the family court consent order, in relation to which Alaric intervened on behalf of T on W’s application in the family court.
- Re Brockman (2022): Alaric advised the joint supervisors of two interconnected IVAs regarding their remuneration and how to bring the arrangements to a satisfactory and swift conclusion, in circumstances where creditors had repeatedly voted to extend the IVAs but had refused to revise the supervisors’ fees.
- Property insolvency
Alaric’s practice covers a wide range of property-related insolvency work, including co-ownership and trusts of land and issues arising in connection with realisations, such as mortgages, subrogation, the equity of exoneration, equitable accounting, vesting, re-vesting of the bankrupt’s home and issues connected with disclaiming of onerous property.
Alaric also has considerable experience in all other aspects of Corporate Insolvency and Personal Insolvency, for which please see those parts of his profile.
- Directors’ disqualification
Alaric is experienced in handling directors’ disqualifications proceedings, including applications for permission under s 17 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.
- Corporate insolvency
- Costs and litigation funding
Costs and litigation funding
Alaric is a leading costs junior (Legal 500) whose practice covers a wide range of cost-related issues in various courts as well as pure costs litigation. His expertise in insolvency law has also proved useful in this context.
Instructed on behalf of both paying and receiving parties dealing with all aspects of costs litigation, he appears regularly before costs judges in the SCCO, in particular in relation to solicitor/client costs disputes. Issues he regularly deals with include the enforceability of conditional fee agreements, the recoverability of costs by solicitors referable to cost estimates, disputes over the scope of the solicitors’ retainer and the use of interim statute bills and Chamberlain bills.
In addition, his practice includes costs applications arising in the course of other litigation, for example applications for third-party costs orders, pursuant to s 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 and CPR 46.2, and applications for security for costs under Part II of CPR 25, as well as dealing with costs management under Part II of CPR 3.
Cases of interest
- N and A Ltd v Fahri LLP (2021-present, SCCO, KBD and ICC): Acting for solicitors in a long-running series of disputes with two former clients, including preliminary issue hearings before Master Brown, dealing with stay applications by clients, and proceedings to enforce costs orders (both in the KBD and the ICC).
- Ikin v Shawbrook Bank Ltd [& 7 other claims] (2022, SCCO): Acted for the various receiving parties on an application by the paying party (a bank) before Senior Costs Judge Gordon-Saker to have numerous detailed assessments transferred from the county courts to the SCCO to be determined together.
- EMW Law LLP v Imagine Property Developments Ltd (2020, SCCO): Acted for Solicitors in a complex two-day trial of a series of 8 preliminary issues taken by the client in a solicitor/client case before Master Rowley, primarily concerned with fee estimates and the enforceability of a CFA.
- Chancery Bar Association
- Employment Lawyers Association
- ‘Individual Voluntary Arrangements: Law & Practice’, Edward Elgar Publishing.
- ‘Bankruptcy: Law and Practice’, Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Alaric headed up the Gatehouse Chambers team that completely revised the 2017 Issue of Atkin’s Corporate Insolvency Court Forms.
- He also drafted the court forms for use in company insolvency cases (as approved by Chief Registrar Briggs) that now appear on the Court Service Website.
- BA (University of Bristol)
- PhD (King’s College London)
- CPE (University of Sussex)
- ADR ODR Accredited Mediator
Alaric is recommended as a leading Insolvency & Restructuring barrister in The Legal 500: he is “an exceptionally capable advocate” and “always mindful of the commercial as well as technical and legal issues”:
- “Alaric is tenacious and detailed.” (The Legal 500 2024, Insolvency)
- “Alaric has a mind like a computer. In court he is serene and collected, and lets nothing faze him.” (The Legal 500, 2024, Costs)
- “Excellent ability to give comprehensive and robust advice. Alaric is a calm and persuasive advocate. He engages well with clients.” (The Legal 500, 2023)
- “He is perceptive and able to give strong structured advice.” (The Legal 500)
- “He is a barrister who will give you a balanced view as regards merits and commerciality.” (The Legal 500)
- “A hands on practical approach to problem solving” (The Legal 500)
- “His calm and effective advocacy is impressive” (The Legal 500)