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James Woolrich

Call 2019
James Woolrich

James became a tenant at Three Stone in September 2019 (having been called to the Bar in July 2019). He originally qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and a solicitor advocate in 2010. During his career in private practice, he has worked at 3 major international law firms: Slaughter and May; White & Case LLP; and most recently at Jenner & Block LLP, where he was a partner in its London office.

James has a broad commercial practice working for corporate and banking clients (including a six-month period effectively seconded to a major investment bank), encompassing international arbitration and complex commercial disputes, often with cross-border elements. He has gained substantial experience of applying for post-arbitration award/judgment enforcement measures and in that connection has dealt with a wide range of applications for relief and related jurisdictional issues. This is an area of particular interest and he has published a number of articles in the field. James’ experience of general commercial work, international arbitration (commercial and investment), the recognition and enforcement of arbitration awards and banking and finance disputes is set out in ‘Cases of Interest’ below.

James accepts instructions in a range of chambers’ work, with a particular focus on commercial litigation and arbitration, commercial chancery and investor–state disputes.

  • What the directories say
    • Prior to transferring to the Bar, James was identified by the Legal 500 in its rankings as a ‘Next Generation Lawyer’ and ‘Next Generation Partner’ in the Commercial Disputes category where he was described as having “superb knowledge of the law”. He was also described as a “great strategist” in its practice write-up for Jenner & Block’s International Arbitration group.Legal 500 2020Legal 500 2019
  • Cases of interest

    James’ work prior to transferring to the Bar includes, by way of example:

    General Commercial (including civil fraud)

    • Advised individual defendants to civil claims brought against them by a foreign tax authority in relation to an alleged £1bn withholding tax fraud. Involved complex conflict of laws and jurisdictional issues.
    • Advised an Eastern European bank on complex conflict of laws issues arising in relation to a dispute connected to a finance agreement and an apparent fraud.
    • Represented a Turkish business consultant in a contractual dispute under a Consultancy Agreement.
    • Represented a minority shareholder in a BVI-registered mining company in relation to a dispute concerning shareholder rights (BVI Commercial Court).
    • Obtained urgent Norwich Pharmacal relief and confidentiality orders for our client in connection with its investigation into a sophisticated cyber-attack (heard in private).
    • Represented the aircraft owner and head-lessor in a claim against the sub-lessee for sums to compensate them for the loss of the sale of the aircraft to a third party and other losses following late redelivery (Pindell Ltd & Anor v Airasia Berhad (formerly known as Airasia SDN BHD) [2010] EWHC 2516 (Comm); [2011] 2 All E.R. 396 (Comm).

    International Arbitration (commercial and investment)

    • Advised an investor in a significant investment treaty claim against a South American state.
    • Advised a US defence contractor in relation to a high-value breach of contract dispute (LCIA Rules, London seat).
    • Represented an investor in a significant investment treaty claim against an Eastern European state in relation to real estate projects (UNCITRAL Rules).
    • Advised an investor on protections and dispute resolution mechanisms under the Agreement for the Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments among Member States of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and various bilateral treaties.
    • Represented an investor in a BVI-registered mining company in relation to a dispute concerning information-provision obligations and repayment covenants in an Investment Agreement (LCIA Rules, London seat).
    • Represented a defence contractor in relation to a $100m breach of contract dispute relating to a contract change mechanism (LCIA Rules, London seat).

    Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards (including offshore work)

    • Acting in ongoing multi-jurisdiction enforcement proceedings on behalf of the award creditor in respect of two LCIA arbitration awards now worth over US$500m. Numerous decisions, including: [2013] EWHC 1323 (Comm), [2013] 2 All ER (Comm) 1137; [2013] EWCA Civ 1512; [2014] EWHC 1323 (Comm); [2014] EWHC 3131 (Comm), [2015] 1 All ER (Comm) 336; [2015] EWHC 467 (Comm); [2014] EWHC 3704, [2015] 1 All ER (Comm) 305; [2015] EWHC 86 (Comm); [2015] EWHC 597 (Comm); Ex.P.132/2014 11 April 2017 (Delhi High Court); CHP/2013/66 4 July 2018 and 4 February 2019 (Isle of Man High Court).
    • In particular:
      • In England – applications to the High Court and Court of Appeal for orders in aid of enforcement, including:
        • (i) worldwide disclosure of assets;
        • (ii) conditions to be attached to appeal of the worldwide disclosure order;
        • (iii) worldwide freezing order;
        • (iv) receivership order in aid of equitable execution over foreign shareholdings;
        • (v) third party debt order;
        • (vi) contesting a jurisdictional challenge to an application for Chabra relief against foreign non-parties;
        • (vii) Chabra relief against domestic non-parties (nominees for a Cypriot-based subsidiary); and
        • (viii) amendments to the receivership order.

    • Assisted local counsel teams in the following jurisdictions:

      • In the Isle of Man – applications to the High Court for various orders in aid of enforcement including:
        • (i) resisting a challenge to service of an enforcement order in India and obtaining an order for indemnity costs in respect of that application;
        • (ii) obtaining a freezing order and receivership order in aid of equitable execution;
        • (iii) obtaining Chabra relief against a domestic non-party;
        • (iv) obtaining a notification order against a domestic non-party; and
        • (v) obtaining Chabra relief and permission to serve out against non-Manx parties.
      • In Cyprus – applications to the District Courts in Nicosia and Limassol for various orders in aid of enforcement, including:
        • (i) recognition and enforcement of the LCIA awards;
        • (ii) interim injunctive relief in support of the English receivership order;
        • (iii) recognition of the English receivership order; and (iv) charging orders over the shares in Cypriot subsidiaries
      • in India – applications to the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India:
        • (i) to successfully enforce one of the LCIA awards under the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 and resist a ‘Special Leave Petition’ to the Supreme Court to resist recognition and enforcement; and
        • (ii) for orders in aid of enforcement, including orders for disclosure and the appointment of a commissioner to investigate the financial position of Unitech.
    • Obtained a recognition and enforcement order in relation to a Chilean arbitration award and advising on enforcement options in England.
    • Advised a US arbitration award creditor (ICC Award for over US$1.5bn) on enforcement options in England, including in relation to obtaining disclosure from non-parties.

    Banking and Finance

    • Advised a major export-import bank in relation to a dispute with bondholders, including advice on risks of interim and post-judgment relief being granted against it.
    • Advised a major investment bank over the course of two years on issues arising under a complex credit default swap agreement. Included a six-month period effectively seconded to the bank.
  • Education

    MA (Oxon) Jurisprudence (Exhibitioner) – Lincoln College, University of Oxford

    Postgraduate Certificates in the Principles of Civil Procedure and International and Comparative Commercial Restitution- University College London

    MSc in Law and Finance – Worcester College, University of Oxford

    MPhil in Law (Private International Law) – Worcester College, University of Oxford

  • Publications
    • ‘Prevention of Asset Stripping: Worldwide freezing orders’ – GAR, The Guide to Challenging and Enforcing Arbitration Awards (co-author; July 2019) (chapter 11).
    • Securing enforcement of arbitral awards – the problem(s) with non-parties [2019] Journal of Enforcement of Arbitration Awards. Draft version available at SSRN:
    • International jurisdiction and the grant of post-judgment information-provision orders: post tenebras lux? [2018] 37(4) CJQ 484.
    • ‘A corridor of uncertainty? Brexit, international jurisdiction and the space between adjudication and execution’ [2017] LMCLQ 448.
    • MAC Clauses, Change and Grupo Hotelero (2014) 6 JIBLR 319 – referenced in L Gullifer & J Payne, Corporate Finance Law: Principles and Policy (2nd edn, Hart 2015) and P Mankowski, Rechtskultur (Mohr Siebeck 2016).
    • ‘21st Century Alchemy: a case note on Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG v Royal Bank of Scotland’ (2010) 25 JIBLR 608.
    • Tarn IS Ltd (in administration) v Kirby – Case Comment [2009] 28 CJQ 300.
  • Memberships
    • COMBAR
    • International Bar Association
    • Society of Legal Scholars

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