Chris is an internationally qualified financial services lawyer with particular expertise in regulation, litigation/disputes, investigations and white-collar crime. Advising businesses around the world but in particular the UK, US and Australia, he has a wealth of insight and knowledge gained from working at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and defending high-stakes Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) proceedings in New York.
Chris also advises financial services organisations on how best to adapt to the highly digitised ‘new normal’. This includes: using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to help secure digital data; and using simplified regulation to reduce regulatory arbitrage, decrease compliance costs, and more clearly delineate the regulatory perimeter. It also includes advising on the challenges that cryptoassets and smart contracts pose for traditional legal frameworks.
With his previous experience as a barrister and a solicitor, Chris has the written and oral advocacy skills to represent clients at any level required.
- Banking and financial services regulation, including compliance
- Global fraud and corruption investigations
- Litigation, including representative proceedings
- Complex commercial disputes
- Policy and public affairs
- Smart contracts
- Assisted the FCA to investigate the conduct and prudential supervision of one of the UK’s largest retail banks.
- Defended ASIC investigations into alleged market manipulation of overseas listed companies.
- Defended ASIC investigation alleging that loans advanced to employees of Regional Express (Australia’s largest regional airline) contravened national credit legislation.
- Assisted in coordinating the ASIC investigation into the collapse of the financial planning firm Storm Financial Limited, including by conducting examinations and identifying viable causes of action implicating the banks associated with Storm.
- Defended Siemens AG in SEC and DOJ proceedings involving alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- Defended SEC forfeiture, money laundering, and extradition proceedings involving Comverse Technology (one of the leading share-options backdating cases in the US).
- Defended SEC investigations into alleged anti-trust violations involving the international shipping company Stolt-Nielsen Limited.
- Defended SEC investigation into a stock trading firm that improperly received gifts from brokers seeking the firm’s business.
General Commercial Disputes - UK
- Advised IBM(UK) in a dispute with Cable & Wireless Plc over the correct construction of an IT services agreement.
- Advised and appeared for Crystal Decisions (UK) Ltd in a range of disputes involving contracts and restitution in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
General Commercial Disputes - Australia
- Court of Appeal proceedings concerning the settlement of representative proceedings; the asserted entitlement of the litigation funder to tie its fees and commission to the settlement over the objection of a group member that the fees/commission were excessive; and the power of the Court to decouple the funder’s fees/commissions from the settlement.
- Supreme Court proceedings involving alleged breaches of a director’s statutory and general law duties; the accessorial liability of third parties; allegations of oppression involving the conduct of the company’s affairs and the liability of administrators for their conduct of the administration.
- Federal Court proceedings involving alleged breaches of copyright and confidence.
- Federal Court proceedings involving the liability of directors and auditors of a mining company involved in acquiring mining assets and recognising impairment charges in respect of such assets.
- Supreme Court derivative action proceedings seeking interlocutory orders restraining alleged breaches by directors of their statutory and general law duties.
- District Court employment law proceedings involving alleged breaches of tort (interference with contractual relations), contract (restraint of trade) and fiduciary duties.
- Supreme Court insolvency proceedings involving an application to set aside a statutory demand based on a judgment obtained in the building and construction context.
- Court of Appeal equity proceedings examining the adequacy of the connections between a director’s conduct and the failure of the company to obtain funding and whether the loss of opportunity was itself a substantial financial loss.
- Federal Court bankruptcy proceedings examining the question of whether an annulment prevented a creditor from suing on a debt by extinguishing the debt.
- Supreme Court proceedings examining whether a registered foreign company is a company registered under the Corporations Act and whether a derivative action is available in respect of such a company as well as forum non conveniens.
- Court of Appeal proceedings concerning the construction of a contract and the admissibility of pre- and post-contract conduct.
- Supreme Court proceedings concerning the construction of an alleged to be illegal, the operation of the in pari delicto defence and the availability of restitutionary relief.
- Federal Court proceedings involving a manufacturer’s duty of care towards subsequent purchasers.
- Federal Court insolvency proceedings examining the question of whether the issue of examinations summonses by a liquidator was barred on res judicata or estoppel grounds.
- Supreme Court proceedings examining whether the alleged breach of restraining orders entailed a civil or criminal contempt.
- Supreme Court proceedings examining whether the use of a credit card constituted a dealing with assets in contravention of Mareva orders.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Chris qualified as a solicitor in Australia in 1999, in England in 2003 and in New York in 2006. He was called to the Sydney Bar in 2010. He was once again admitted in England in 2018. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2020, he was associated with the following firms:
- Financial Conduct Authority
- Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
- Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC
- Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
- South Australian Director of Public Prosecutions
- Supreme Court of South Australia (associate to Mr Justice E.P. Mullighan)