Mark Harper QC


Insolvency

Manchester

36 Young Street, Manchester, M3 3FT
DX: 718188 MCH 3
Direct Dial: 0161 832 9082

Leeds

5 Park Square, Leeds, LS1 2NE
DX: 713113 LEEDS PARK SQ
Direct Dial: 0113 242 1123

Birmingham

Embassy House, 60 Church Street,
Birmingham, B3 2DJ
DX: 13023 BIRMINGHAM
Direct Dial: 0121 200 3570

Clerked by:
Gary Young
Harry Young


Insolvency

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.

Significant/Reported Cases

Darren Neil Masters v Barclays Bank Plc [2013] 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 [2008] 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 [2008] BCC 768 (Crown Debts allegation in Directors Disqualification Proceedings)

Customs & Excise Commissioners v Anglo Overseas Ltd [2004] 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 [2006] BCC 725 (Directors Disqualification Proceedings arising out of insolvency of World of Leather and Uno)

Secretary of State for Trade & Industry v Gill & others [2005] BCC 24 (amendments in Directors Disqualification Proceedings)

 

 


 

"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."

Chambers UK

Profile

Mark is a member of the Chancery and Commercial team in Chambers and has developed what is recognised as one of the leading litigation practices in these areas having in recent years been involved in some of the largest and most high profile cases to be heard in the Chancery and Mercantile Courts outside London including his representation (with Paul Chaisty QC) of Wayne Rooney in his successful restraint of trade challenge to this Image Rights Representation Agreement (see below) and his representation (in 2014) of Sir Bradley Wiggins in defending the claims brought by his former management company following his termination of their retainer.

His areas of specialism are Banking & Finance, Civil Fraud, Commercial Litigation, Company, Insolvency, Partnership, Professional Negligence and Sport.

As is evidenced by his “Recommendations” he is widely regarded (both by his peers and the solicitors’ profession) as one of the leading and most sought after juniors in his areas of practice.

He has been described as the “complete all-rounder” being equally adept at all aspects of the role of the advocate coupled with tactical and strategic acumen and an affable and approachable personality that commends him to his peers, solicitors and clients alike.

Year of Call: 1993

Year of Silk: 2016

Areas of Expertise

Banking & Finance

Banking & Finance

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 juniors 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 [1999] 1 WLR 1340 (unenforceable money-lending contracts)

Civil Fraud

Civil Fraud

Mark is regularly instructed on behalf of Claimants and Defendants in relation to claims based on fraud and in particular the recovery of assets or the proceeds thereof that have been misappropriated. In 2015 he led a team (instructed by US Insurers) in seeking to recover £1million worth of misappropriated funds/proceeds thereof from a former Finance Director, his wife and their various companies. In 2012 he defended the man dubbed (by the Press) the “Self Farmer” in proceedings brought by Norwich Union to recover £500,000 damages paid out to him as compensation for injuries suffered in a staged-accident

Significant Reported Cases

Glen Dimplex Home Appliances Limited v Smith & others [2011] EWHC 3392 – summary judgment application in relation to constructive trust and dishonest assistance claims arising out of misappropriation of funds by an employee

Company

Company

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.

Significant/Reported Cases

Zavarco Plc v Nasir [2017] EWHC 2877 – entitlement to forfeit shares allotted on incorporation

Acting on behalf of Sheffield United Plc in relation to their reduction of share capital.

Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

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.

Significant/Reported Cases

Wootliff v Rushton-Turner & others [2017] 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 [2014] – 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 [2012] 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 [2010] EWHC 1807 (QB) (restraint of trade in the context of an agreement between football player and agent)

Proactive Sports Management Limited v Rooney [2011] 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) [2010] 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 [2009] EWCA (Civ) 34 (committal proceedings in the context of breaches of Stop-Now Orders)

Nigel Fryer Joinery Services Limited v Ian Firth Hardware Limited [2008] EWHC 767(Ch) (issues of repudiation and compensation entitlement under the Commercial Agents Regulations)

Forrest & Sons Limited v CGU Insurance Plc [2006] Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 113(variation of risk, alterations, disclosure in relation to insurance contract)

First Quench Retailing Limited v Whitbread Plc [2004] EWHC 366 (Ch)(rectification of commercial contract)

Fortman Holdings Ltd v Modem Holdings Ltd [2001] EWCA Civ 1235 (construction of accelerated payment(s) clause)

Insolvency

Insolvency

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.

Significant/Reported Cases

Darren Neil Masters v Barclays Bank Plc [2013] 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 [2008] 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 [2008] BCC 768 (Crown Debts allegation in Directors Disqualification Proceedings)

Customs & Excise Commissioners v Anglo Overseas Ltd [2004] 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 [2006] BCC 725 (Directors Disqualification Proceedings arising out of insolvency of World of Leather and Uno)

Secretary of State for Trade & Industry v Gill & others [2005] BCC 24 (amendments in Directors Disqualification Proceedings)

 

 

 

Memberships

Chancery Bar Association

Northern Chancery Bar Association

Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association

Publications

“Can I have my deposit back please” (insolvency position where consumer deposits are used to fund insolvent companies) [2014] 6 CRI 225

“Fiduciary Duties owed to the excluded shareholder” (with Lesley Anderson QC) Law & Financial Market Review January 2013

Qualifications and Awards

Downing College, Cambridge – Law MA Hons (1989 – 1992)

Hardwicke Scholar (Lincoln’s Inn)

 

Recommendations

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

"Technically excellent."

"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 “

 

Chambers UK Logo 2018

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