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Ashley Cukier
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ASHLEY CUKIER

Ashley is a commercial barrister whose practice encompasses a wide range of commercial litigation and arbitration, civil fraud, company, insolvency and sports law matters. He was called to the Bar in 2013 after graduating top of his year at Cambridge University, where he was awarded a starred first.

Ashley is regularly instructed in commercial disputes in the Commercial Court and Chancery Division, both in his own right and as part of a team – and has been led in the High Court and the Privy Council. Much of his work contains international elements, involving questions of foreign law, jurisdiction and enforcement. He welcomes instructions in all of chambers’ core commercial areas of practice, both as sole counsel and led by more senior counsel.

Some of his recent and current work includes:
  • De Pury v The Rudolf Staechelin Family Trust & Ors [2017] – led by Jonathan Cohen QC in an ongoing Chancery Division claim for commission on the private sale of a painting for over $200 million;
  • Ali v Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago [2017] UKPC 2  - led by Jonathan Cohen QC in the Privy Council in an appeal (from the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) regarding inter alia the proper construction of the terms of a Loan Agreement;
  • Mascolo v Riemenschneider [2016] Acting – as junior counsel (led by Rupert D’Cruz) – for the Claimant in a successful civil fraud claim in the Commercial Court and the associated successful application for a Worldwide Freezing Order;
  • Acting – as junior counsel (led by David Reade QC) – for the Claimant in a substantial ongoing claim for damages arising out of a Share Purchase Agreement;
  • Acting – as junior counsel (led by Rupert d’Cruz) – for the successful Claimant in an LCIA Arbitration concerning a Placement Agreement for multi-million dollar investments in European Credit Funds;
  • Securing – as sole counsel – a £1.8 million Commercial Court injunction, in the context of a multi-million pound breach of contract claim concerning a high-profile UK leisure development;
  • Acting – as sole counsel – for the Liquidator in a complex Companies Court claim against a former company Director for misfeasance, breaches of fiduciary duty, transactions at an undervalue and/or preferences under the Insolvency Act 1986;
  • Acting – as sole counsel – for a British Multinational plc in an Adjudication under the Construction Act 1996;
  • Advising a National Sporting Body in respect of its selection procedures for Team GB athletes, both in the run-up to, and subsequent to, the Rio Olympics 2016, and (following his recent appointment) sitting on the Table Tennis England Board of Appeal.

Further details of Ashley’s experience may be found in the tabs below.

Ashley read Modern Languages at Cambridge, where he received several academic honours and prizes, including the Claude Beddington prize for best overall mark in the Modern Languages Tripos, the Departmental prize for excellence in Italian Literature, as well as several college prizes for his performance in his Cambridge Finals. In 2009, as part of his undergraduate degree, he obtained a Diploma in International Relations and Economics from Sciences Po, Paris. In 2012 he was a Thouron Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a distinction for the LLM in Private International Law.

Called to the Bar in 2013, Ashley was awarded the Hardwicke Entrance Award, Lord Bowen and Lord Denning Scholarships by Lincoln’s Inn and later completed pupillage at a leading commercial chambers.
 

    Commercial Litigation & Arbitration

Ashley has acted in a wide range of high-profile and high-value commercial disputes, appeals and advisory work, many of which are ongoing. He is regularly instructed in commercial disputes in the Commercial Court and Chancery Division, both in his own right and as part of a team.

Recent work includes:
  • De Pury v The Rudolf Staechelin Family Trust & Ors – led by Jonathan Cohen QC in an ongoing Chancery Division claim for commission on the private sale of a painting for over $200 million;
  • Ali v Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago [2017] UKPC 2  - led by Jonathan Cohen QC in the Privy Council in an appeal (from the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) regarding inter alia the proper construction of the terms of a Loan Agreement;
  • Acting – as junior counsel (led by David Reade QC) – for the Claimant in a substantial ongoing claim for damages arising out of a Share Purchase Agreement;
  • A multi-million dollar Commercial Court claim over the ownership of two metals trading companies operating out of the United Arab Emirates; 
  • A jurisdictional challenge in the context of damages claim following the failure of an alleged joint venture agreement for a luxury hotel development in Italy; 
  • An insurance dispute concerning the Insurer’s liability to cover defence costs following the collapse of a multi-million pound art investment fund; 
  • Securing – as sole counsel – a £1.8 million Commercial Court injunction, in the context of a multi-million pound breach of contract claim concerning a high-profile UK leisure development;
  • Regular appearances in High Court applications for strike out, summary judgment, Norwich Pharmacal relief, charging orders and various injunctive relief. 

    Civil Fraud

Civil Fraud forms a significant part of Ashley’s practice and he is regularly instructed as part of a larger team in high-profile and high-value civil fraud litigation.

Recent and ongoing work includes: 
  • Mascolo v Riemenschneider [2016] Acting – as junior counsel (led by Rupert D’Cruz) – for the Claimant in a successful civil fraud claim in the Commercial Court and the associated successful application for a Worldwide Freezing Order;
  • A fraudulent misrepresentation claim against an Investment Bank in the context of a shareholder agreement for the operation of a Casino; 
  • An application for enforcement of a Cypriot Freezing Order in the context of a multi-million dollar claim brought against former Directors of an Investment Bank for various alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, breach of trust, negligence and conspiracy; 
  • A fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract claim against a large-scale national electricity producer; 
  • A BVI claim in the context of a multi-million dollar oil and gas dispute, involving issues of breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance and breach of trust, as well as questions of jurisdiction and governing law;
  • A claim for breach of trust against the trustees of a Guernsey hedge fund.

    Sport

Sports law work forms an increasingly prominent part of Ashley’s practice. His current and recent sports law work includes:
  • Acting as sole counsel in three (ongoing) FA Rule K Football Arbitrations;
  • Successfully representing the former Australia football team captain, James Troisi, in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne (led by John Mehrzad) in a claim (on appeal from a FIFA Tribunal) for non-payment by the player’s Saudi former club, Al-Ittihad;
  • Acting for the successful claimant (a prominent FA Registered Intermediary) in a Rule K claim against a former client (an international footballer) for unpaid commission;
  • Acting for the respondent to a National Anti-Doping charge, brought by the Rugby Football Union;
  • Acting for the respondent to a Misconduct charge brought by a National Sporting Body (ongoing);
  • Advising a La Liga footballer in respect of a breach of contract claim brought against him by a former agent, involving complex issues of jurisdiction and governing law.
  • Advising a National Sporting Body in respect of its selection procedures for Team GB athletes, both in the run-up to, and subsequent to, the Rio Olympics 2016
Ashley is a member of the Table Tennis England Board of Appeal, and was recently appointed to the Sports Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators.

    Art & Cultural Property

Ashley’s practice increasingly includes cases involving art and cultural property, and the (often) associated issues of agency, commission payments, fiduciary duties, oral agreements and multiple jurisdictions that regularly arise in his commercial litigation and civil fraud work.

Last year he was led by Jonathan Cohen QC in the largest and most high-profile art law case of 2018 to reach the High Court. In ACLBDD Holdings Limited & Ors v Staechelin & Ors [2018] EWHC 44 (Ch), Jonathan and Ashley represented the successful Claimants, de Pury & de Pury LLP, in respect of its claim for a $10 million commission arising from the sale of a Gauguin painting, Nafea faa ipoipo (“When will you marry”), one of the finest pieces of art in the world and also one of the most expensive, having been sold to the Emir of Qatar in September 2014 for $210 million. The Claimants argued that the commission was earned and became payable in respect of the services that Mr & Mrs de Pury provided to the Defendant trustees in procuring the sale of the painting. The claim was defended, not only on the basis that there was no contract for commission, but also because Mr and Mrs de Pury were alleged to have engaged in a serious breach of fiduciary duty, thereby forfeiting their commission. Each of those defences failed. The Defendants’ appeal is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal in Spring 2019.

Ashley was also led by Jonathan Cohen QC in another art law case to reach the High Court last year. In A v B [2018] (names anonymised due to settlement), Jonathan and Ashley represented the Part 20 Defendant to a claim by an art dealer who alleged non-payment for services allegedly rendered for commissioning and curating the Part 20 Defendant’s art collection. He claimed damages for loss of earnings, alternatively claiming a reasonable sum by way of quantum meruit. The Part 20 claim was defended on the basis that, whereas it was accepted that a contract had been agreed for such services, the project itself never proceeded to completion: a risk that was shouldered (and had always been intended to be shouldered) by the art dealer. The case ultimately settled on extremely favourable terms for the Part 20 Defendant, the Part 20 Claimant having discontinued his claim on day 2 of trial.

Ashley is currently instructed as sole counsel by the buyer of an artwork in respect of a claim for delivery-up and/or damages involving an artwork, a valuable sculpture specially commissioned for the buyer, that was not delivered. The case concerns multiple jurisdictions and parties and contains issues of both jurisdiction and governing law, in addition to the parties’ dispute over the terms of the contract, made orally out of the jurisdiction.

Previously, Ashley acted as sole counsel for an artist in a dispute (now settled) with the claimant art dealership, arising from a contentious agreement concluded for the purposes inter alia of exhibiting the artist’s works at the Frieze London Art Fair.

    Insolvency & Company

Ashley has significant experience of a wide range of insolvency and company law litigation and regularly appears in the Companies Court in insolvency matters, both as junior counsel and in his own right. Recent and ongoing work includes:
  • Acting – as junior counsel (led by David Reade QC) – for the Claimant in a substantial ongoing claim for damages arising out of a Share Purchase Agreement and the associated winding up proceedings brought by the Defendant, which were defeated;
  • Acting – as sole counsel – for the Liquidator in a complex Companies Court claim against a former company Director for misfeasance, breaches of fiduciary duty, transactions at an undervalue and/or preferences under the Insolvency Act 1986;
  • Acting – as junior counsel (led by David Reade QC and Jamie Riley QC) in a substantial unfair prejudice application in the Commercial Court in the context of a substantial and ongoing partnership dispute;
  • Acting for the liquidators in their claim against an aerospace company for sums owing under a Business Sale Agreement.
Ashley also regularly appears in, and advises on: winding up petitions, bankruptcy petitions; annulment and rescission applications; company restoration applications; charging order applications; validations order applications; and administration extension applications, both in the Companies Court and in the County Court.

    Languages

  • French 
  • Spanish 
  • Italian 
  • Hebrew (conversational) 

    Memberships

  • COMBAR 
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • LCIA Young International Arbitration Group
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