Nicholas Leah has a broad commercial and civil practice, encompassing commercial litigation, international arbitration, banking and financial services, cryptoassets, civil fraud, insolvency, company, professional negligence, property, aviation, travel, sports and public law.

He regularly appears in trials, interim applications, and costs and case management conferences alongside managing a busy written practice. Despite his recent year of call, he has successfully appeared as sole counsel in the High Court on multiple occasions against opponents many years more senior.

His recent and ongoing case highlights include:

Civil Fraud

Commercial Litigation/International Arbitration

  • $300 million ICSID arbitration between a construction and engineering company and a national government.
  • Essar Projects Limited v Y – CIJE Kuwait (2023) – successfully applied for an anti-suit injunction to restrain foreign proceedings in Kuwait (supported Simon Davenport KC as a pupil).

Cryptoassets/Blockchain Technology

  • Currently representing three Gibraltar-based defendants in a multi-million pound claim concerning the development of a fiat to cryptocurrency exchange and digital wallet application.
  • Co-drafted the Network Access Rules for the BSV Association – part of an 18-month collaborative project with D2 Legal Technology to draft an innovative multilateral contract in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sphere (led by Jeff Golden KC (Hon) and James Gale).

Insolvency/Company

Public/Appeals to the Privy Council

Before joining Chambers, Nicholas taught law as a Visiting Lecturer at City, University of London, where he received the Law School’s Teaching Excellence Award. He previously studied at UCL, the University of Oxford, City University, the University of Cambridge, and The Hague Academy of International Law, during which time he was awarded multiple scholarships and prizes. He was also part of the Gray’s Inn team which won the UK National Championship in the Jessup International Law Moot.

Expertise

Nicholas has a broad commercial and commercial chancery litigation and advisory practice. He is regularly instructed to appear on behalf of and advise companies and individuals in relation to contractual disputes. He can advise on a broad range of commercial remedies, including unjust enrichment and equitable remedies.

He has particular knowledge of complex conflict of laws questions in international commercial litigation, including jurisdiction, applicable law, anti-suit injunctions, freezing injunctions and enforcement. He has studied at The Hague Academy as a Private International Law Scholar.

In addition, he has experience of drafting contracts, including a multi-lateral cryptocurrency/blockchain technology contract and a share purchase agreement.

Recent cases:

  • Loudmila Bourlakova & Ors v Oleg Bourlakov & Ors (BL-2020-001050) (High Court (Ch/Bus) – representing a respondent to a freezing injunction application in a $3 billion fraud case (led by Alexander Milner KC).
  • Advised a Swiss verein associated with a blockchain protocol on various contractual issues (led by Jeffrey Golden KC (Hon)).
  • Advised a multinational supermarket chain on breach of contract and negligence claims against a haulier company (as sole counsel).
  • Essar Projects Limited v Y – CIJE Kuwait (2023) – supported Simon Davenport KC with a successful application for an anti-suit injunction in the English High Court restraining foreign proceedings in Kuwait (as a pupil).
  • Supported Tom Poole KC with research about the application of the “no-loss” argument to an assessment of equitable compensation (as a pupil).
  • Supported Simon Davenport KC and Robert Strang in an insurance claim brought by a group of investors from countries in the Eastern Caribbean against the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago before the Caribbean Court of Justice (as a pupil).
  • Supported Robert Strang with preparation for a two-week trial in the High Court (Chancery Division) seeking remedies, inter alia, under the principle in Saunders v Vautier [1841] Cr & Ph 240 and the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (as a pupil).
  • Supported Robert Strang with an advice about an account of profits and tracing out of a mixed fund (as a pupil).
  • Supported Robert Strang and Kiel Taklalsingh in the successful appeal of Renraw Investments Ltd & Ors v Real Time Systems (Trinidad and Tobago) [2023] UKPC 39 in which the Judicial Committee of Privy Council found that organisations associated with Jack Warner, the former Vice President of FIFA, should repay a loan of TT$1,505,493 (as a pupil).

Nicholas has a particular interest in international arbitration work. He has gained experience of arbitrations under ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, and ICSID arbitration rules.

He has also coached teams for and participated in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

Recent cases:

  • $300 million ICSID arbitration between a construction and engineering company and a national government.
  • Drafting an article on the reforms to the Arbitration Act 1996 in the UK.
  • Supported Christopher Loxton with submissions in an arbitration under ICC Rules about a multi-million dollar Loan Agreement (as a pupil).
  • Essar Projects Limited v Y – CIJE Kuwait (2023) – supported Simon Davenport KC in successfully applying for an anti-suit injunction to restrain foreign proceedings in favour of an English arbitration agreement (as a pupil).

Nicholas has experience of banking and financial services disputes. He has sound knowledge of the law surrounding syndicated loan agreements, international bond issues, derivatives, and securitisation.

He also has a particular interest in disputes involving FinTech, particularly the law in relation to blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies, smart contracts and digital assets (including cryptoassets, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens).

Recent cases:

  • Currently representing three Gibraltar-based defendants in a multi-million pound claim concerning the development of a fiat to cryptocurrency exchange and digital wallet application.
  • Co-drafted the BSV Association’s Network Access Rules, a multilateral contract in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sphere (led by Jeff Golden KC (Hon) and part of a collaborative project with D2 Legal Technology). The Network Access Rules draw on precedents from the derivatives and other global financial markets to create a multilateral contract between and among the BSV Association and all nodes, providing a legal framework in relation to activities on the Bitcoin SV Network.
  • Supported James Gale with an advice on the contractual nature of smart legal contracts in the context of blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (as a pupil).
  • Supported James Gale with an advice on causes of action available in contract and tort in cryptocurrency-related disputes (as a pupil).
  • Supported Richard Samuel with an advice on procedural questions arising out of an interest rate swap dispute between an Italian local authority and local banks under an English law governed ISDA Master Agreement (as a pupil).

Nicholas has an emerging civil fraud practice. He has experience of drafting pleadings and advising on matters where fraud is alleged.

He has developed a particular knowledge of litigation involving mis-sold fractional ownership timeshare packages and the application of the Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulations 2010 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Recent cases:

  • Loudmila Bourlakova & Ors v Oleg Bourlakov & Ors (BL-2020-001050) (High Court (Ch/Bus) – representing a respondent to a freezing injunction application in a $3 billion fraud case (led by Alexander Milner KC).
  • Advising on causes of action for products which amount to collective investment schemes under section 235 of Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
  • Drafted pleadings in fraudulent misrepresentation claims.

Nicholas is developing a varied insolvency and company law practice.

He has experience of a wide range of insolvency and company law matters, including restoring companies to the Register of Companies, preference claims, transactions at an undervalue claims, and breach of directors’ duties claims. He is also regularly instructed to appear in winding-up and bankruptcy petitions.

He has recently been successful in two insolvency matters as sole counsel.

Recent cases:

  • Frost & Anor v The Good Box Co Labs Ltd & Ors [2024] EWHC 422 (Ch) – successfully dismissed an application by former administrators to increase their remuneration (as sole counsel). HHJ Klein offered conclusions on whether former office-holders could apply to increase their remuneration under rules 18.24 and 18.28 of the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016.
  • Wilson & Anor v Frost & Anor [2024] EWHC 573 (Ch) – successfully applied to adjourn an insolvency trial for a long period on mental health grounds (as sole counsel). Chief ICC Judge Briggs explored the law on applications for a stay or an adjournment and what medical evidence courts will expect to see.
  • Supported Tom Poole KC and Daniel Feetham KC with advice on legal issues following the collapse of a motor insurance underwriter in Gibraltar (as a pupil).
  • Supported Peter Knox KC with company law research in preparation for a landmark UK Supreme Court case on the tortious liability of company directors (as a pupil).
  • Supported Tom Poole KC with a presentation on the UK Supreme Court’s landmark decision in BTI 2014 LLC v Sequana SA [2022] UKSC 25 and the existence of the so-called “creditor duty” (as a pupil).

Nicholas has experience in dealing with disputes in which professional negligence is alleged.

Recent cases:

  • Advising an individual on bringing a professional negligence allegations against their former solicitors (as sole counsel).
  • Represented the UK’s largest independent forecourt operator in a negligence claim brought against it (as sole counsel).
  • Supported Malcolm Bishop KC with research for an application before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (as a pupil).

Nicholas is developing a broad public law practice. He has experience of judicial review claims and the intersection of public law and tort law.

During pupillage, he developed extensive experience of appeals to the Privy Council from a range of jurisdictions, including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Saint Lucia, and Mauritius.

He has taught constitutional law, administrative law and human rights at City, University of London.

Recent cases:

Nicholas is developing a busy and varied property litigation practice. He has experience of landlord and tenant disputes (including possession and disrepair claims), as well as boundary disputes and leasehold enfranchisement. He regulars appears in enforcement applications.

Recent cases:

  • Drafted a relief from forfeiture application in relation to a commercial lease (as sole counsel).
  • Porter & Anor v Stokes (Trinidad and Tobago) [2023] UKPC 11 – supported Robert Strang with an appeal before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on the doctrine of rectification’s application to a deed of conveyance (as a pupil).
  • Supported Benjamin Channer with advice on a range of matters, including possession proceedings following section 21 and section 8 notices, repair obligations under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and the extension of a lease (as a pupil).
  • Supported Benjamin Channer with a mediation concerning an adverse possession claim for a strip of land between two properties (as a pupil).

Nicholas is regularly instructed to advise or appear in court in relation to claims brought under EC Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention. He also has experience of CEDR adjudication work.

He is well placed to advise on matters of flight delay, flight cancellation and denied boarding as well as consequential losses occasioned by delay, damaged baggage, lost baggage and personal injury on airlines.

He has experience of larger contractual, insurance and reinsurance disputes in the aviation industry.

Recent cases:

  • Advised major airlines from Europe, the Middle East and Asia in relation to claims arising out of international carriage.
  • Supported Christopher Loxton in a multi-billion dollar claim involving several lessors in proceedings against reinsurers concerning the loss of aircraft and engines detained in Russia (as a pupil).

Nicholas is regularly instructed in matters involving the Package Travel Regulations (1992 and 2018), the Montreal Convention and the Athens Convention. In particular, he appears in fast track trials, interim applications and costs and case management conferences.

He is developing a busy paperwork practice in travel law, including drafting pleadings, schedules and counter-schedules as well as advising on jurisdictional, procedural, evidential and quantum issues. He also has experience of travel insurance work.

In addition, he has considerable trial experience involving road traffic accidents, employers’ liability disputes and public liability disputes.

Recent cases:

  • Represented large tour operators, cruise liners, airlines, travel agents and other travel companies in a variety of fast-track and multi-track matters.
  • Drafted an article with Richard Campbell on the CJEU’s latest jurisprudence in FTI Touristik Case C-396/21 on price reductions for travellers whose holidays were disrupted by Covid-19.
  • Supported James Hawkins with the draft of a counter-schedule in a multi-million pound claim arising out of an accident in Cape Verde (as a pupil).
  • Drafted an advisory note on liability for Howard Stevens KC in relation to a multi-million pound spinal cord injury claim (as a pupil).
  • Supported Katherine Deal KC with a pleading in a fatal accident claim pursuant to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 (as a pupil).
  • Supported Asela Wijeyaratne with research on the costs consequences of Part 36 offers made in a claim arising out of a maritime accident in Spain (as a pupil).

Nicholas is keen to develop his sports law practice, drawing on his experience of general commercial and civil litigation.

Recent cases:

  • Currently supporting Peter Knox KC with research in a potential quantum meruit claim against a football club.
  • Drafted an article on The FA v Cristiano Ronaldo about an FA Regulatory Commission’s approach in determining the appropriate sanctions for improper and/or violent conduct in breach of Rule E3.1 of the FA Rules.

For Help or Advice…


Please contact us either by telephone: +44 (0)20 7415 7800 or email: clerks@3harecourt.com

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