David was amongst the first of his generation when he was appointed Queen’s Counsel on 22 February 2016.
Since taking Silk, he has maintained his well-respected practice in corporate and personal insolvency, company law, fraud and asset recovery, banking, professional negligence and sports law. His work has broadened to take in more general commercial litigation matters of considerable complexity and value.
Described as ‘absolutely fantastic’ he is known as ‘an excellent strategist’ and for being ‘clever, authoritative and willing to buy into the case and be part of the team’. David’s advice builds on his ‘intricate knowledge of the law’ and recognises the practical problems underlying legal disputes. He is popular with his clients who appreciate his ‘down to earth’ approach to the cases they bring to him and that he is ‘extremely bright but at the same time has the ability to engage with clients’. He recognises the practical and commercial problems faced by his clients and the need to achieve the speedy and cost-effective resolution of their legal disputes, whether consensually, at trial or by way of interim application. A ‘star performer,’ he is just as comfortable in multi-day trials in complex and high-value claims as he is making urgent applications (whether by way of freezing or other order, having significant experience of making applications without notice and the responsibilities that arise) and advising those already involved in or contemplating becoming involved in litigation.
Recent examples of his work include:
- contested recovery actions in both corporate and personal insolvency. For example, David successfully defended a company director accused of wrongful trading where the liquidator sought to recover more than £2m (Nicholson v Fielding, 2017) and represented the trustee in bankruptcy in the only reported case on the recovery of excessive pension contributions in bankruptcy (Stanley v Wilson  BPIR 227);
- advising one of the stakeholders in the insolvency of a trading company owned in the Isle of Man with regard to the interface between Isle of Man and English insolvency law;
- advising and representing the English administrators of a Cypriot company with regard to the exit route from administration;
- advising former fixed charge receivers as to the recovery of their fees;
- advising and representing a major local authority in respect of a dispute with the developer of a strategically important site in the city (China Town Development Company Ltd v Liverpool City Council  EWHC 3347 (Ch));
- successfully appearing at trial for the company claimant to recover a loan made to its former director involving the cross-examination of expert witnesses on the value of alleged security for the loan (Autocal Holdings Ltd v Jeffery  EWHC 907 (Ch));
- obtaining permission to appeal and to rely on fresh evidence (Kang v Singh  EWHC 598 (Ch)) and then successfully appealing an order for possession made in proceedings between English and Canadian parties;
- successfully defending a shareholder dispute on a preliminary issue about the effect of an earlier compromise agreement (Utilise TDS Ltd v Davies  EWHC 2127 (Ch)).
Having been Junior Counsel to the Crown from 2007 until his appointment to Silk, David has vast experience of work for the Secretary of State and the Official Receiver with particular emphasis on public interest and directors disqualification. He advised and represented the Official Receiver throughout the liquidation of Sahaviriya Steel Industries (UK) Limited, which operated the Redcar Steelworks. That work included making the first application under the then very recently reframed Insolvency Act 1986, section 233  EWHC 2877 (Ch) and advising on all aspects of the liquidation.
Prior to taking Silk, David led in the Court of Appeal for one of the respondents in Denton v White  EWCA Civ 906, dealing with the proper approach to be taken on an application for relief from sanction under CPR 3.9.
In 2017, David became the General Editor of Schaw Miller and Bailey on Personal Insolvency. He is a regular speaker at R3 seminars.
- What the directories say
- He is superb on his feet, very bright and highly recommended for commercial matters. Chambers & Partners UK 2015
- Really user-friendly. He rolls up his sleeves, gets involved and is prepared to put his neck on the line and back his judgement, which he always comes through on.Chambers & Partners UK 2016
- He is decisive and thorough, he displays intricate legal knowledge and he crafts the perfect legal strategy for the client.Chambers & Partners UK 2016
- He has the gift of being able to condense an argument where others would be overly verbose. His skeleton arguments are always spot-on and to the point and he has a very persuasive advocacy style.Chambers & Partners UK 2016
- He’s very down to earth and happy to take calls at any time. He’s very useful as he gets you over any initial hurdles you might have.Chambers & Partners UK
- He’s extremely bright, but at the same time has the ability to engage with clients. He’s absolutely fantastic – he’s a real team player.Chambers & Partners UK
- He is clever, authoritative and willing to buy into the case and be part of the team. Extremely precise in court.Chambers & Partners UK
- He is very forensic and analytical in his approach and his arguments are very well put together. A very personable type and he is good on his feet.Chambers & Partners UK
- He’s very well prepared and his papers are immaculate – he thinks outside the box. He’s excellent, very proactive, bright, tactical and frankly very cost-effective.Chambers & Partners UK
- Decisive and thorough, he displays an intricate knowledge of the law and applies it brilliantly. An excellent strategist.Chambers & Partners UK
- A renowned insolvency barrister with a strong reputation in the adjacent field of commercial chancery.Chambers & Partners UK
- Proficient senior junior adept in a variety of commercial and insolvency work, including commercial fraud matters. Assists with high-value cases of legal importance, including Court of Appeal briefs.Chambers & Partners UK
- He is at the top of our list for instructing.Chambers & Partners UK
- He is always very thorough and well prepared, and he is fantastic on his feet. He is a match for any insolvency barrister on the Northern Circuit.Chambers & Partners UK
- A real expert in insolvency matters.Chambers & Partners UK
- A star performer.Legal 500
- An extremely capable and forceful advocate.Legal 500
- Tactically excellent; he is liked and respected by clients.Legal 500
- Cases of interest
- 2018: Advised one of the stakeholders in the insolvency of a trading company owned in the Isle of Man with regard to the interface between Isle of Man and English insolvency law
- 2018: Advised and represented the English administrators of a Cypriot company with regard to the exit route from administration
- China Town Development Company Ltd v Liverpool City Council  EWHC 3347 (Ch) – appeared for Liverpool in a dispute with the developer of a strategically important site in the city
- Nicholson v Fielding (2017) – successfully defended a company director accused of wrongful trading where the liquidator sought to recover more than £2m
- Autocal Holdings Ltd v Jeffery  EWHC 907 (Ch) – appeared at trial for the successful company claimant seeking to recover a loan made to its former director involving the cross-examination of expert witnesses on the value of alleged security for the loan
- Kang v Singh  EWHC 598 (Ch) – obtained permission to appeal and rely on fresh evidence and then appeared for the successful appellants in possession proceedings between English and Canadian parties
- Stanley v Wilson  BPIR 227 – appeared for the trustee-in-bankruptcy in the only reported case on the recovery of excessive pension contributions
- 2017 – appeared on behalf of a major utilities provider in proceedings brought against a sub-contractor and its directors in respect of over-charging involving obtaining a freezing injunction and then going on to achieve a compromise soon after
- Utilise TDS Limited v Davies  EWHC 2127 (Ch): appeared for one of the defendants in the substantive proceedings and succeeded in having the claim against him dismissed based on the true effect of an earlier compromise agreement made between the claimant and another defendant
- Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v PLT Anti-Marketing Ltd  EWCA Civ 76;  Bus. L.R. 959;  E.C.C. 12;  C.T.L.C. 8– appeared for the Secretary of State
- Utilise TDS Ltd v Davies  EWCA Civ 906;  1 W.L.R. 3926;  1 All E.R. 880;  C.P. Rep. 40;  B.L.R. 547; 154 Con. L.R. 1;  4 Costs L.R. 752;  C.I.L.L. 3568; (2014) 164(7614) N.L.J. 17 (part of the Denton v TH White Ltd appeals) – leading (as a junior) for the respondent in the Court of Appeal when three cases were heard together and fresh guidance was issued on the way in which CPR 3.9 was to be applied on applications for relief from sanction, following the decision in Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd
- Taylor v Lee (2014) – obtained order striking out allegation of (in effect) professional negligence against an insolvency practitioner
- Montpellier Estates Ltd v Leeds City Council  EWHC 1343 (QB);  EWHC 166 (QB) – successfully defending huge deceit claim (valued at in excess of £35 million; trial lasted 35 days) brought in the context of the procurement exercise for the Leeds Arena
- The Sonae Group Ltd (2013) – obtained order setting aside freezing injunction obtained without notice against insured defendant to group (about 15,000) personal injury claims
- Certain Exhibitions Ltd  EWHC 4165 (Ch);  2 All ER 1019;  Bus LR 597;  BCC 143;  BPIR 416;  RA 123 – treatment of business rates in CVA and whether accrued due for whole year or instalment-by-instalment
- Willett v Economy Power  EWCA Civ 1164;  BPIR 1298
- Williams v Mohammed  EWHC 3293 (Ch);  BPIR 1787;  BPIR 238 – obtained order for production of solicitor’s file note of advice given to bankrupt; legal professional privilege overridden by fraud; warrant for seizure of documents obtained
- Halliwells LLP (2010): advising together with Leading Counsel in respect of a major firm of solicitors.
- Booth v Mond  EWHC 1576 (Ch);  BPIR 1111 : an application for a direction whether arrears of payments due under an income payments agreement fell within a subsequent bankruptcy.
- BA Peters PLC  1 BCLC 110.
- Suburban Style Bar Company Ltd (2009): acting on behalf of administrators to recover c £3m worth of assets.
- Cathedral Court (Blackburn) Ltd (2009): acting on behalf of administrators and their appointor in resisting application to remove them pursuant to para 81 of Sch B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986.
- Abacrombie & Co Ltd  EWHC 2520 (Ch): acting on behalf of Secretary of State in a public interest winding up petition heard over 5 days.
- OMP Leisure Ltd  BCC 67.
- Quinn v Mehta  All ER (D) 163 (Jun). Re a Company  All ER (D) 60 (Feb). Kwik Save Group of Companies.
- Homeform Group of Companies (Sharps, Möben, Dolphin). Almidani (for the bankrupt)  B.P.I.R. 620.
- The Accident Group Ltd
- Qualifications & appointments
Junior Counsel to the Crown (2007-2016)
Lead Advocacy Tutor (Lincoln’s Inn)
- Professional memberships
- Chancery Bar Association
- Northern Chancery Bar Association (Secretary)
- Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association
- Northern Circuit
- Insolvency Lawyers’ Association
- Association of Business Recovery Professionals (Fellow)
University of Birmingham
- Past seminars & events
Seminar papers and talks are given regularly on cases of interest, issues raised by clients and developments in substantive law and procedure
- Personal interests
Being outdoors, most sports, politics, taking photographs, eating and drinking