+44 (0)20 7797 8600

MENU

ALEXANDER HALBAN

Alexander specialises in commercial disputes, civil fraud, asset tracing and insolvency. Most of his cases have an international element and originate from a wide range of jurisdictions including Europe, the Caribbean and the CIS.

Alexander is a fluent Russian speaker and has a particular expertise in CIS disputes. He most recently appeared in National Bank Trust v Yurov, a nine-week Commercial Court trial in a Russian fraud claim for US$1 billion. Alexander also speaks fluent French.

Alexander has wide experience of appearing in the High Court (led and as sole counsel) in trials and interlocutory matters, particularly in applications for injunctive relief. He has also appeared in the Court of Appeal, Privy Council and the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.

Alexander read History and Russian at St John’s College, University of Oxford, where he graduated with First Class Honours in 2007. He completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Bar Vocational Course at City University, London, during which time he was awarded a number of scholarships and prizes.

Full details of his experience can be found below. Recent cases include:
  • National Bank Trust v Yurov (2018): acting for defendants (led by Paul Stanley Q.C. and Tom Poole) in a nine-week Commercial Court fraud claim brought by a Russian bank alleging misappropriation of $1 billion against its former directors and shareholders, raising complex issues of Russian law on directors’ and employees’ liability and complex forensic accountancy evidence. The case was listed as one The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2017
  • A v B (2019): acting (as sole counsel) in an LCIA arbitration concerning an attempted corporate raid on a Russian airline
  • VTB Bank v Laptev (2019): acting (as sole counsel) in bankruptcy proceedings for £25 million brought by a Russian bank against a Russian-domiciled individual who is already in Russian bankruptcy proceedings, raising complex issues on bankruptcy jurisdiction and conflicts of laws
  • Lefebvre d’Ovidio v Lefebvre d’Ovidio (2019): acting for the claimants (led by Charles Samek Q.C.) in an application for a freezing order and other injunctive relief under s. 25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 in support of proceedings in Italy
  • A v B (2018): acting (as sole counsel) in a dispute between a Canadian investor and a Greek bank concerning a commercial development in Bucharest, alleging bad faith and breach of contract under Romanian law
 

    Russian and CIS

Alexander has a strong interest in cases from Russia and the CIS. He speaks and reads Russian fluently and regularly uses Russian in his practice. CIS cases in which he has acted include:
  • National Bank Trust v Yurov (2018): acting for defendants (led by Paul Stanley Q.C. and Tom Poole) in a nine-week Commercial Court fraud claim brought by a Russian bank alleging misappropriation of $1 billion against its former directors and shareholders, raising complex issues of Russian law on directors’ and employees’ liability and complex forensic accountancy evidence. The case was listed as one The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2017.
  • A v B (2019): acting (as sole counsel) in an LCIA arbitration concerning an attempted corporate raid on a Russian airline
  • VTB Bank v Laptev (2019): acting (as sole counsel) in bankruptcy proceedings for £25 million brought by a Russian bank against a Russian-domiciled individual who was already in Russian bankruptcy proceedings, raising issues of conflicts of laws and Russian bankruptcy law
  • Re Trefilov (2016): acting (led by Thomas Roe Q.C.) in the bankruptcy of a Russian businessman, concerning his alleged entitlement under a multi-million-dollar settlement agreement relating to interests in Russian commercial property
  • Denisov v Ukraine (2017): hearing in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of a senior Ukrainian judge who was dismissed for political reasons, raising issues of breach of the right to a fair trial, reputation and political interference in the judiciary.
  • Re Bennet Invest; Hniazdzilau v Vajgel [2016] EWHC 15 (Ch) acting for the defendant (led by Thomas Roe Q.C.) in a multi-million-dollar dispute over the beneficial ownership of Belarusian assets held through an English corporate structure and the effects under Russian, Belarusian and English law of illegal transactions.
  • Barber v Rasco International Ltd [2012] EWHC 269 (QB): acting for the claimants (led by Thomas Roe Q.C.) in a dispute concerning a partnership to operate an oil and gas pipeline protection contract in Azerbaijan and Georgia
  • Advising on English law in an LCIA arbitration of a €10 million contractual dispute between a Ukrainian bank, offshore companies and Ukrainian businessmen
  • Expert opinions on English law (contract, sale of good, company and trusts) for proceedings in the Russian Arbitration Court and the Ukrainian and Belarusian Economic Courts
  • Reviewing Russian-language documents for legal professional privilege, in a number of proceedings, including in the BTA Bank v Ablyazov and Kazakhstan Kagazy v Zhunus fraud claims and a high-value LCIA arbitration concerning commercial property in Moscow

    Other commercial and civil fraud litigation

Alexander appears in many other commercial and civil fraud disputes from a wide number of jurisdictions. In addition to the CIS-related case listed above, recent cases include:
  • Lefebvre d’Ovidio v Lefebvre d’Ovidio (2019): acting for the claimants (led by Charles Samek Q.C.) in an application for a freezing order and other injunctive relief under s. 25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 in support of proceedings in Italy
  • A v B (2018): acting (as sole counsel) in a dispute between a Canadian investor and a Greek bank concerning a commercial development in Bucharest, alleging bad faith and breach of contract under Romanian law
  • Vange Consulting Ltd v RBOS Shareholders Action Group Limited (2018-2019): acting (as sole counsel) in a claim arising out of the RBS shareholders’ class action, claiming commission payments due to a company which recruited shareholders to the class action
  • Adams v Atlas International Ltd (2018): (as sole counsel) secured a post-judgment freezing injunction against a Spanish lawyer who had been found to have breached his fiduciary duties in the acquisition of Spanish property by English-domiciled claimants
  • Ali Muhuammad v ARY Properties Ltd (2018): acting for the defendants (led by Aidan Casey Q.C.) in a dispute over security over property in London to secure loan agreements entered into in Dubai
  • Saulawa, Aquashield Oil and Marine Services Ltd v Abeyratne, Prime Gulf International (UK) Ltd (2015): acting for the claimants (led by Aidan Casey Q.C.) in a fraud dispute concerning the beneficial ownership of a shipping and marine services company operating in the UK and Nigeria.
  • Boots UK Ltd v Goldpine Estates Ltd, CA, 18 June 2014 acting for the appellants (led by Thomas Roe Q.C.) in a second appeal to Court of Appeal on the renewal of business tenancies and agreements for leases ‘subject to contract’

    Insolvency and company law

Alexander regularly acts in insolvency disputes (both for officeholders and for directors/bankrupts)
  • VTB Bank v Laptev (2019): acting (as sole counsel) in bankruptcy proceedings for £25 million brought by a Russian bank against a Russian-domiciled individual who is already in Russian bankruptcy proceedings, raising complex issues on bankruptcy jurisdiction and conflicts of laws
  • Re Friendly Pensions Ltd & Re Friendly Investments (2016-2019): acting (as sole counsel) for the liquidators in the long-running liquidation of a group of pension and investment companies, to recover £15 million misappropriated from the pension schemes
  • Re David Wright Associates Limited (2017): acting (as sole counsel) for the liquidator in a claim for wrongful trading and breach of duty against a director who previously been disqualified as a director for paying himself money from the company instead of paying creditors under a CVA
  • Re Cohen (2017): acting (as sole counsel) for the trustees in the bankruptcy of a businessman, in a High Court trial focusing on disposals of business and personal assets and the law of the equity of exoneration
  • Re FX 247 Limited (2017): acting (as sole counsel) for the liquidators in a High Court claim against a director for misappropriation of assets as part of a fraudulent VAT scheme
  • Re HLC Environmental Projects Ltd [2013] EWHC 2876 (Ch), [2013] BCC 337: acting for the director (led by Thomas Roe Q.C.) in a claim brought by liquidators for unlawful preferences made by a director of a company operating substantial PFI contracts
  • Sharma v Sharma [2013] EWCA Civ 1287, [2014] BCC 73: acting (led by Richard Snowden Q.C. and Thomas Roe Q.C.) in a shareholders’ dispute in the High Court and Court of Appeal over the beneficial ownership of a number of related companies and allegations of diversion of corporate opportunities and breach of directors’ duties

    Public law and human rights

Alexander also has an interest in constitutional law and human rights. He has appeared in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Denisov v Ukraine (2017), acting for a senior Ukrainian judge who was dismissed for political reasons. The Grand Chamber recently gave judgment in his favour, finding a large number of violations of the right to a fair trial. He has also acted pro bono in other ECHR cases, concerning the Ukrainian judiciary, the freedom of assembly and expression in Russia, and redress for historical war crimes in Russia and Poland.

He has also appeared in the Privy Council (led by Thomas Roe Q.C.) in Hunte and Khan v The State [2015] UKPC 33, (2015) 40 BHRC 633, an appeal from Trinidad and Tobago raising issues of constitutional law and the jurisdiction of the Privy Council to commute death sentences.

    Professional background

Education
MA (Oxon), Modern History and Russian (First Class), St John’s College, Oxford
Graduate Diploma in Law (Commendation), City Law School
Bar Vocational Course (Outstanding), City Law School

Scholarships and prizes
Queen Mother Scholarship, Middle Temple 2009
Certificate of Honour, Middle Temple 2009
The Times Law Awards 2009, Second Prize
Worshipful Company of Arbitrators’ Prize 2009
St John’s College, Oxford Finals Prize 2007

Languages
Russian (fluent, including study at the State University of St. Petersburg, Russia)
French (fluent)
Italian (basic)

Memberships
COMBAR
Russia and CIS Arbitration Network (RCAN)
Rusfor (Russian-Speaking Legal Professionals Forum)
spacer