AREAS OF EXPERTISE:
Mark is a member of the Business and Property team in Chambers. As evidenced by his ranking in Chambers & Partners as a leading silk across 6 practice areas, he is viewed (by peers, solicitors and clients) as the “complete all-rounder” being equally adept at all aspects of the advocate’s role which he couples with tactical/strategical acumen and an affable and approachable style. His skills and reputation as a robust cross-examiner mean that he is particularly sought after for trial work.
Mark appears regularly in the Court of Appeal, High Court and in Arbitrations.
Year of Call: 1993
Year of Silk: 2016
Throughout his time at the Bar, Mark has regularly advised and acted on behalf of a number of major banks and finance providers in relation to Banking Litigation to the extent now that he is regarded as one of the leading silks outside London in this area of work. His practice in this regard encompasses (among other things) all issues relating to security enforcement (including challenges to the validity of the security), security rectification and completion, title defect resolution, restitution (in particular recovery of payments by mistake), fraud, guarantees, bills of exchange, consumer credit and professional negligence in the context of the bank/customer relationship.Significant Reported Cases
Conroy v Kenny  1 WLR 1340 (unenforceable money-lending contracts)
As an adjunct to his Company Litigation practice, Mark is regularly instructed to provide advice on matters relating to the internal conduct of the affairs of companies and other limited entities including issues surrounding the proper convening and conduct of meetings, reduction of share capital, removal of director/shareholders, alterations to Articles of Association, Shareholder Agreements.
Zavarco Plc v Nasir  EWHC 2877 – entitlement to forfeit shares allotted on incorporation
Acting on behalf of Sheffield United Plc in relation to their reduction of share capital.
Mark regularly provides representation and advice on litigation proceeding in the Chancery Division, Commercial Court, Mercantile Court and Technology & Construction Court with his expertise in this area including agency, company litigation (including shareholder disputes and claims against directors/fiduciaries), confidential information, contract disputes, employer/employee post-termination disputes, insurance, restraint of trade and sale of goods.
Wootliff v Rushton-Turner & others  EWHC 3129 – unfair prejudice petition considering whether or not a joint venture company was a quasi-partnership and whether or not removal and/or dilution of shares was unfairly prejudicial conduct
Wootliff v Ruston-Turner & others - jurisdiction under s996 Companies Act 2006 wide enough to include a payment of compensation by the Company to the Petitioner for wrongful dismissal.
Brian John Harris v Microfusion 2003-2 LLP & others – representing the C (being the representative of a group of investors in a Film Partnership LLP) in seeking permission to bring common law derivative claim against the operators of the LLP. Permission granted at first instance for 2/3 claims with issue to be considered by the CA in 2016
MTC (UK) Ltd v Sir Bradley Wiggins  – represented Sir Bradley in defending the claim brought by his former management company for alleged breach of contract in terminating the management agreement and an account of commissions/payments due.
Houlgrave v Houlgrave and Beaconsfield Footwear Limited -Mark acted as junior to Lesley Anderson QC representing the Claimant in 2012 (one of the largest claims to be heard on the Northern Circuit).The claim alleged that the Claimant was deceived by the Defendants to sell his shares at below market value thereby enabling the shares to be sold there-after for their true market value. The claim involved a consideration of the circumstances in which one shareholder/company can be a fiduciary to an excluded shareholder/director. The trial lasted 8 weeks (Norris J)before compromising.
Sikorski v Sikorski  EWHC 1613 –unfair prejudice petition and the circumstances in which a breach of a shareholders agreement could found such a petition and the circumstances in which relief other than a share-purchase order would be appropriate
Proactive Sports Management Ltd v Rooney & Others  EWHC 1807 (QB) (restraint of trade in the context of an agreement between football player and agent)
Proactive Sports Management Limited v Rooney  EWCA Civ 1444 - (acting for Wayne Rooney (lead by Paul Chaisty QC) in successfully upholding the first instance decision that his Image Rights Representation Agreement was an unreasonable restraint of trade).
Quinn v CC Automotive Group Ltd (t/a Carcraft)  EWCA Civ 1412 – apparent authority and the issue of the knowledge on the part of the person dealing with the apparent agent which will prevent them from relying upon the apparent authority
Office of Fair Trading v Miller  EWCA (Civ) 34 (committal proceedings in the context of breaches of Stop-Now Orders)
Nigel Fryer Joinery Services Limited v Ian Firth Hardware Limited  EWHC 767(Ch) (issues of repudiation and compensation entitlement under the Commercial Agents Regulations)
Forrest & Sons Limited v CGU Insurance Plc  Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 113(variation of risk, alterations, disclosure in relation to insurance contract)
First Quench Retailing Limited v Whitbread Plc  EWHC 366 (Ch)(rectification of commercial contract)
Fortman Holdings Ltd v Modem Holdings Ltd  EWCA Civ 1235 (construction of accelerated payment(s) clause)
Mark regularly provides advice and representation in relation to all issues arising out of corporate and personal insolvency with particular emphasis on (a) contentious proceedings in relation to allegations of misfeasance, transactions at an undervalue, preference and transactions to defraud creditors; (b) challenges to the appointments and/or decisions of office holders; (c) income payments orders in the context of personal bankruptcy and (d) suspension of discharge in the context of personal bankruptcy. This aspect of Mark’s practice also includes Company Director Disqualification and Public Interest Winding Up with him building on the experiences he had whilst acting for the Secretary of State for in excess of 12 years.
Darren Neil Masters v Barclays Bank Plc  EWHC 2166(Ch) -jurisdiction to hear a bankruptcy petition under the Insolvency Act1986s265(1)(c)(ii) in respect of a debtor ordinarily resident in Florida in connection with aircraft financing agreed within the jurisdiction.
AG (Manchester) Ltd (formerly Accident Group Ltd) (In Liquidation), Re  EWHC 64 (Ch); (acting for former Finance Director of the Accident Group in relation to Directors Disqualification Proceedings)
Secretary of State for Trade & Industry v Thornbury  BCC 768 (Crown Debts allegation in Directors Disqualification Proceedings)
Customs & Excise Commissioners v Anglo Overseas Ltd  EWHC (Ch) 2198 (disputed winding up petition in relation to unpaid excise duty claimed from innocent guarantor following "slaughtering" of consignments)
Secretary of State for Trade & Industry v Gill & others  BCC 725 (Directors Disqualification Proceedings arising out of insolvency of World of Leather and Uno)
Secretary of State for Trade & Industry v Gill & others  BCC 24 (amendments in Directors Disqualification Proceedings)
Mark has developed a leading practice in the area of partnership law (as recognised by his recommendation in this field in Chambers & Partners). His practice in this area involves advice and representation in relation to all aspects of partnership law (including the applicability of Equality Legislation in the context of partnership disputes) and he is a regular "port of call" for professional partnerships in the North West (or individual partners within such partnerships) when advice is needed in connection with partnership matters, in particular exclusion of partners, breakdown in relationships between partners and the protection of partnership assets consequential upon the same.
Mark has considerable experience of providing advice and representation to both Claimants and Insurers in relation to professional negligence claims involving solicitors, accountants, financial advisers, and surveyors. This practice involves a considerable amount of work concerning the mis-selling of financial, investment and tax-saving products and schemes including products such as alternative invest markets, unregulated collective investment schemes, film schemes, environmental/eco tax saving schemes, endowment purchase schemes etc.
Redstone Mortgages Ltd v B Legal Ltd  EWHC 3398– Mark has (together with Paul Chaisty QC) acted and provided advice to the Claimant I (where the Claimant was the transferor of sub-prime mortgages) in 4 x test professional negligence claims against the solicitors who were responsible for perfecting the security and who alleged that their obligations had been circumscribed by a course of dealing with the transferee and the presence of title insurance
As represented by his reported cases Mark has experience of property litigation in a variety of areas
Lavelle v Lavelle  EWCA Civ 223 (presumption of advancement)
Russell v Finn  EWCA Civ 399 (right of way and the construction of the extent of the dominant land)
Mulvaney v Gough  1 WLR 360 (CA) (easement - enjoyment of garden)
Halstead v Manchester City Council  1 All ER 33 (interest on CPO compensation)
Mark's Dispute Resolution Practice (see above) involves sports related disputes and his experience in this regard is illustrated by his representation of Sir Bradley Wiggins and (with Paul Chaisty QC) of Wayne Rooney in their disputes with their former management companies (see under Commercial Litigation). Mark's practice also encompasses providing advice and representation in relation to (a) proceedings before Sports Tribunals; (b) arbitrations; (c) challenges in the Courts to the disciplinary decisions of Sporting Bodies (including applications by disciplined clubs to be reinstated to competitions or leagues); and (d) contractual disputes between players and clubs etc.
Mark acted for Michael Turl in successfully opposing the appeal by the FA that challenged as unduly lenient the fine imposed on him by a Regulatory Commission following his admission that he breached Regulation 4.3 of the Owner and Director Test Regulations by providing a false declaration
Cardiff City v Barnes & others – currently acting for Carly Barnes in defending a claim brought against her in her capacity as a football agent arising out of the fall-out between Cardiff City and Malky Mackay and Iain Moody. Listed for trial in London Commercial Court in October
Bolton Wanderers FC v Middlesborough FC - Premier League Arbitration in relation to fees due following transfer of Michael Ricketts and construction of words "live Sky Games" in a transfer contract.
Hemmingborough Cricket Club v Yorkshire & District Senior Cricket League - acting on behalf of the League in opposing an application for an injunction and a claim for damages following the decision by the League to exclude the Club from the competition pursuant to the disciplinary procedures of the League.
Hunslett Warriors Amateur Rugby League Football Club v (1) National Conference League and (2) British Amateur Rugby League - acting on behalf of the Leagues in successfully opposing an application for an injunction by the club to be reinstated in the Leagues following their demotion pursuant to the disciplinary procedures of the Leagues.
A.J. Sullivan v St. Helens RFC -acted on behalf of the player in this contractual dispute with his club over an entitlement to a testimonial bonus.
Denis Betts v Wigan Rugby League Football Club - acted on behalf of the player/coach pre-litigation in a contractual dispute with his club.
Chancery Bar Association
Northern Chancery Bar Association
Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association
Buckingham Homes Ltd v Rutter & Others  EWHC 1760 (Ch) – successfully acted for the defendant directors in defending a claim that they had breached their statutory duties by selling a property as opposed to retaining and developing it
Re Audas Group Litd  EWHC 2304 (Ch) – successfully acted for the petitioner in establishing that he had been unfairly prejudiced as the majority shareholders had dismissed him when acting in bad faith and/or for improper purpose, had not offered him fair value for his shares and had managed the company post his exclusion without complying with the terms of the Shareholders Agreement
Zavarco Plc v Nasir  EWHC 2877 – requirement for subscriber shares of €36 million to be paid in cash and the interaction between sections 584, 593 and 594 CA 2006
Philbin v Davies  EWHC 3472 – setting aside a statutory demand presented on the basis of the alleged shortfall debt under a consumer loan where the agreement was subject to an unfair relationship challenge and there was a claim that the security had been sold at an undervalue.
Re Capital Funding One Limited (in Administration)  EWHC 3567 – issue as to what were the applicable repayment terms under a loan and therefore whether or not Administrators had been validly appointed
Utilise TDS Ltd v Neil Davies & others  EWHC 2127 – whether or not an implied term reserving the Cs’ rights to proceed with claims against other defendants was to be implied into a contract of settlement
“Can I have my deposit back please” (insolvency position where consumer deposits are used to fund insolvent companies)  6 CRI 225
“Fiduciary Duties owed to the excluded shareholder” (with Lesley Anderson QC) Law & Financial Market Review January 2013
Downing College, Cambridge – Law MA Hons (1989 – 1992)
Hardwicke Scholar (Lincoln’s Inn)
Legal 500, 2020
"Has excellent bedside manner with clients."
Chambers UK 2020
"He turns work around very quickly and considers all aspects of a case. He doesn't get lost in the minutiae and gets immediately to the crux of the matter. He's very quick, bright, easy to work with and his written work is excellent." "He's very personable and approachable."
"Harper gives very concise, clear and firm advice. He is not afraid to express his opinion and most importantly he inspires confidence in his clients." "He has a good style and a very good grasp of the law. He is strong in court, has a persuasive advocacy style and judges listen to him."
"A brilliant barrister who is great on his feet and very good with judges. He's user-friendly and extremely responsive."
"He is a good team player. Clients like him and he is an intelligent, brilliant lawyer." "His oral advocacy is very smooth, very sweet and very persuasive."
"He is extremely good on his feet and has very good analytical sense." "He is clear and authoritative, has good legal knowledge and, most importantly, he inspires confidence in his clients."
"He prepares well and very quickly, and he's very client-friendly. His advice is easily understandable." "He is very good at cutting through detail to provide practical advice and develop successful strategy."
Chambers UK 2018
"Mark is astute and commercial, as well as being dependable and widely admired."
"Very calm, level-headed, approachable and methodical. He's forceful without being aggressive."
"He has excellent commercial awareness and, having seen him in court, he is an exceptional advocate." "He is very organised, clear and a very nice chap."
"An impressive advocate who is highly approachable, very practical and structured in his thinking and gives sensible commercial advice with no waffle."
"He's very thorough, personable and incisive. An excellent advocate who focuses on the key issues."
Legal 500 2018
‘He has a great bedside manner with clients.’
Legal 500 2017
‘A team player throughout the litigation process.’
Chambers UK 2017
"The speed at which he can turn things round is incredible. He is a great advocate who is quick at thinking on his feet, and his way with the judiciary is great." "He is fantastic."
"His reputation is excellent and he gives a first-rate service to clients." "He is very pragmatic, very user-friendly and very good on his feet."
"He's always a very safe pair of hands - excellent and good with clients, he is short and succinct in his advice, which goes down well." "He's a class above most and very good on his feet before a judge."
"An excellent trial advocate who excels at tough cross-examination." "He's always a very safe pair of hands. He's excellent, good with clients, and short and succinct in his advice which goes down well."
Chambers UK 2016
"A safe pair of hands and very commercial."
Recent work: Represented Travel Counsellors against Barclays Bank in claims alleging the mis-selling of an interest swap product and the improper deduction of 'fees' from accounts.
"An extremely capable lawyer and a very hard worker. He leaves no stone unturned in seeking out the detail of a matter and is confident in his own abilities. He has the hallmark of quality."
"Forthright, exceptionally commercial and gets straight to the nub of the issue - exactly what the clients want."
Chambers UK 2015
"He's pragmatic and very user-friendly, and his advocacy is also excellent."
"When you see that you're against him your heart sinks." "He's an astute tactician. He doesn't sugar the pill, and clients certainly appreciate that."
"He is quietly and efficiently effective."
"He is very quick at spotting the issues and distilling them down into simple advice and action."
Chambers UK 2014
"He always gives a consistent performance in court. He is softly spoken, measured and always gets on with judges - that's how he wins cases."-
"He provides a superb all-round service, combining strong technical skills with a personable approach. He is regarded as one of the best in his field in commercial litigation."
"He is very bright and effective – I would not hesitate to instruct him."
Legal 500 2014
"A must-go-to junior counsel"
Chambers UK 2013
“Mark Harper is a barrister with a strong commercial chancery practice. He focuses largely on unfair prejudice petitions. According to one interviewee: "You can drop him into any situation and he will rise to the challenge."
“Mark Harper receives praise for his "strong advocacy skills." He is especially adept at cross-examination as "he is able to identify and exploit weaknesses in his opponents to great effect. "He has notable expertise in matters such as shareholder and commercial disputes, professional negligence cases and restraint of trade matters”
“Mark Harper who is sought out by instructing solicitors for his experience in the asset finance sector. He is recommended “
36 Young Street, Manchester, M3 3FT
DX: 718188 MCH 3
Direct Dial: 0161 832 9082
5 Park Square, Leeds, LS1 2NE
DX: 713113 LEEDS PARK SQ
Direct Dial: 0113 242 1123
Embassy House, 60 Church Street,
Birmingham, B3 2DJ
DX: 13023 BIRMINGHAM
Direct Dial: 0121 200 3570
Mark Harper QC was delighted to present yesterday to the Association of Partnership Practitioners, 'You gotta have faith - what does good faith mean?'.
Mark Harper QC was delighted to present yesterday at the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association Leeds Conference, 'A Northern Round Up'
Mark Harper QC and Eleanor Temple have been successful in an unfair prejudice petition
Winckworth Sherwood in conversation with Kings Chambers
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