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Oxford University establishes two prizes in the name of Professor Subedi QC

17 March, 2020

The University of Oxford has established two academic prizes in the name of Professor Surya P. Subedi QC, OBE, DCL to honour outstanding performance by its law students.  The first is the Dr Surya Subedi Prize in Human Rights Law to be awarded to the student attaining the highest mark in the paper in Human Rights Law each year.

The second is a new prize, the Dr Surya Subedi Prize for the DPhil in Law to be awarded to the best doctoral thesis in the Oxford Faculty of Law each year. The DPhil prize will be awarded to the thesis that makes the most exciting original contribution to the relevant field of scholarship and is best crafted in terms of organisation, style and presentation. All doctoral students in the Faculty of Law, including in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies, will be eligible for the award of the prize.

Professor Subedi is an alumnus of Oxford. He obtained a doctoral degree (DPhil) in Law with a prize in 1993. Oxford awarded him a higher doctorate – the degree of Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) – in 2019 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of human rights and international law. Such higher doctorates are awarded rarely and only in exceptional cases at the University of Oxford.

He was called to the Bar of England at Middle Temple in 2007 and made a QC (Hon) in 2017.

Professor Surya P. Subedi QC

Recent Developments in Commercial Law

9 March, 2020

Three Stone Chambers held a seminar last Wednesday 4 March at the Ashworth Centre, Lincoln’s Inn, London. The speakers included:

It was chaired by Katherine Hallett.
The full programme is available to download here.

Speaker: David Mohyuddin QC
Speaker: James Woolrich


For any questions please contact our clerks.

Three Stone Seminar: Recent Developments in Commercial Law

23 January, 2020

Three Stone Chambers are giving a presentation on ‘Recent Developments in Commercial Law’:

  • “ I knew you’d been lying!” – Setting aside judgments obtained by fraud
    – David Mohyuddin QC
  • “ Is it a bribe or not a bribe: that is the question” – An exploration of the current law on secret commissions in light of Wood v Commercial First Business Limited (2019)
    Stuart Cutting
  • Chabra orders – hot tips on freezing third party assets”
    James Woolrich

The seminar will be chaired by Katherine Hallett.

Date:        Wednesday 4 March 2020, 6.00pm for 6.30pm start (1 CPD)
Location: Ashworth Centre, Lincoln’s Inn, London. WC2A 3TL

The programme is available to download here.

Inheritance Tax and the liability of Personal Representatives

6 January, 2020

Stephen Woodward recently presented a webinar for SG Legal Conferences and Online Learning (Simon Gore Consulting Ltd) entitled “Inheritance Tax and the liability of Personal Representatives – Who ends up paying?”.

Areas covered included:
• The distinction between liability to and burden of Inheritance Tax;
• Liability to Inheritance Tax for lifetime and on death transfers of value;
• Limitations on liability to Inheritance Tax – how much PR’s, Trustees and individuals be liable for and priority of liability between different persons each liable for the same tax;
• The burden of Inheritance Tax – Who ends up paying ?
• Practical problems for PRs of deceased transferors and transferees;
• Practical protection for PRs


Stephen Woodward

Toone v Ross

13 November, 2019

[2019] EWHC 2855 (Ch)


This decision of Chief Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Briggs deals with a challenge to the use of employee benefit trusts (EBTs) and an interest in possession fund (IIP). The company entered into two EBTs and one IIP. They were challenged by the company’s liquidators as being, in substance, distributions of capital which were made without the company having complied with the relevant formalities required by Part 23 of the Companies Act 2006. Allegations of breach of duty and that the transactions defrauded creditors were also made.

The court concluded that, looking through the eyes of the company, the payments made under the EBTs and the IIP were to be characterised as returns of capital to shareholders. The formalities not having been complied with, they were unlawful. The allegation of breach of duty also succeeded. The directors were required to account to the company for the sums paid away.


This is one of the first decisions directly concerning challenges by liquidators to the actions of directors (who are also shareholders) in causing their company to enter into EBTs and other arrangements perceived to have advantageous taxation consequences. It addressed how payments made in pursuance of such arrangements are properly to be characterised (although future cases will turn on their own facts). It involved consideration of the trigger for the creditors’ interests duty as explained in BTI 2014 LLC v Sequana SA [2019] EWCA Civ 112. This decision should be considered alongside that of Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Jones in Re Vining Sparks UK Limited; Allen v Bernard [2019] EWHC 2885 (Ch).

David Mohyuddin QC

Avon Ground Rents Limited v (1) Cowley & others (2) Metropolitan Housing Trust

29 October, 2019

Avon Ground Rents Limited v (1) Cowley & others (2) Metropolitan Housing Trust (3) Advance (4) May Hempstead Partnership

[2019] EWCA Civ 1827

The question raised in this appeal was whether, when a landlord proposes to carry out works, the total cost of which is reasonable, but there is the possibility that a third party will contribute to those costs, in assessing the residential service charge payable in advance, does section 19(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 require the landlord (depending on the facts of the case) to give credit for the anticipated third party contribution when assessing a reasonable advance payment or are third party contributions only to be taken into account once they are actually received ?

In this case, which related to major repairs required to a mixed-use commercial/residential development, a claim had been made under NHBC insurance schemes. Liability in principle was admitted prior to the issue of service charge demands, however the service charge demands issued to the tenants, both residential and commercial, were based on the full cost of the works.

The First Tier Tribunal concluded that the landlord should give credit for the anticipated receipt of insurance monies and determined that a reasonable advance payment would be the amount of the excess payable by the tenants under the policies. The Upper Tribunal upheld the decision.

The Court of Appeal (McCombe LJ, Coulson LJ, Nicola Davies LJ), dismissing the further appeal, held that the Upper Tribunal had been correct to conclude that whether an amount is payable in advance is not generally to be determined by the application of rigid rules but must be assessed in the light of the specific facts of the case. The wording of section 19(2) of the 1985 Act is intended to allow for flexibility. What is reasonable is a question for the relevant tribunal to determine, taking into account all relevant circumstances as they exist at the date of the hearing giving such weight to the various factors as it considers just and reasonable. The question as to whether the possibility of third-party payments can be taken into account in deciding what might reasonably be demanded on account will depend on the facts of the individual case. If certainty were to be required, this would constrain the discretion of the tribunal. The purpose of the statutory provision is to protect tenants from unreasonable demands. Where, as here, there exists an anticipated schedule of works, the total cost of which is reasonable and there is a possibility of a third party making a contribution to those costs, in assessing the residential service charge payable in advance of those works, the landlord does have to give credit for the anticipated third party payment.

Timothy Clarke of Three Stone appeared for the Second Respondent, Metropolitan Housing Trust.

Timothy Clarke

Mark Watson-Gandy named as new chair of the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group

14 October, 2019

Mark Watson-Gandy has been named as the new chair of the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group.

Professor Mark Watson-Gandy is a practising barrister, author and company chairman. Mark is experienced in advising government having been a former junior counsel to the crown.

Mark has considerable experience of chairing committees. Since 2014 he has been chair of Mental Health First Aid England, a community interest company launched under the Department of Health: National Institute of Mental Health in England (NIMHE) as part of a national approach to improving public mental health. Mark also chairs the Disciplinary Appeals Committee of the Institute of Financial Accountants and is Head of Professional Standards for the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, a statutory supervisory body.

The author of several legal text books Mark is also a special lecturer at Cass Business School, a visiting professor at the University of Westminster and a member of court at the University of Essex.

Mark takes over from Christopher Hughes, OBE who has been the BFEG Chair since 2009.

As chair, Mark will provide leadership and support, working with the BFEG committee members and the secretariat to ensure provision of impartial, balanced, objective advice and guidance to ministers within the remit of the BFEG.

Mark Watson-Gandy said:

“I am thrilled to join the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group as its chair and to have the chance to work with such an amazing and inspirational team. This is an enormously exciting time to join the group and – particularly in the area of big data – there are some challenging issues that need to be wrestled with”.

Mark Watson-Gandy took up his appointment on 27 September 2019.

Mark Watson-Gandy

Menon & Anor v Pask & Ors

10 October, 2019

In Menon & Anor v Pask & Ors [2019] EWHC 2611 (Ch) (07 October 2019), Mann J held that fixed charge receiver with the benefit of a power to take possession, under the usual modern form of mortgage providing for receivership and for receivers to be the agents of the mortgagor, was entitled to sue in his own name for possession against an individual (non-corporate) mortgagor-occupier.

Francis Collaço Moraes

Hood v Revenue and Customs Commissioners

29 September, 2019

In Derek Thomas Hood v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs v JD Classics Limited (In Administration) [2019] EWHC 2236 (Ch), 2019 the court held that in a validation application pursuant to s.284 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (“the Act”) only debts satisfying the requirements and conditions of ss. 267 and 268 of the Act fall to be considered on the issue of solvency required by Practice Direction, Insolvency Proceedings [2018] B.C.C. 241.

Consequently the court correctly concluded that creditors who may be able to prove in the bankruptcy, but cannot satisfy the requirements and conditions of sections 267 and 268, has no standing to oppose a validation application.

The court further confirmed that only creditors who can satisfy the requirements and conditions of ss. 267 and 268 can take carriage of a petition.

Francis Collaço Moraes


David Mohyuddin QC appointed a Recorder

22 September, 2019

Three Stone are delighted to announce that David Mohyuddin QC has been appointed a Recorder. He will be deployed to sit in civil on the North Eastern Circuit.

A full list of those appointed can be found here.

David Mohyuddin QC




Three Stone have taken immediate measures to maintain our impressive chancery commercial services and our clerking team will provide their usual high standard of service whilst ensuring the safety of our clients, staff and members during this dynamic period.