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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers

Christopher Adams

Call
2014

Christopher’s practice has a focus on commercial and insurance work, group litigation and jurisdictional disputes, health & safety and inquests and property.

He regularly acts for parent companies defending claims brought in the UK by foreign claimants based on alleged breaches of English and foreign law, including being instructed as junior counsel for the Appellants in Vedanta Resources Plc v Lungowe [2019] UKSC 20, a landmark decision of the Supreme Court regarding parent company liability for acts of foreign subsidiaries. In the purely domestic context, he was instructed on behalf of the defendants in the Volkswagen NOx Emissions Group Litigation.

Christopher frequently acts both led and unled for corporate and individual defendants in health & safety, corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter investigations and prosecutions and at coroner’s inquests. He is a member of the committee of the Health & Safety Lawyers’ Association.

Christopher assisted Malcolm Sheehan KC in his Independent Review of the Regulation of BetIndex Limited on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury, which was published in September 2021.

He is also an accredited mediator.

He is currently instructed by the insurers of the Manchester Arena in matters relating to the 2017 terrorist bombing, and by an international oil company in relation to a foreign environmental claim.


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Expertise


Commercial, Insurance & Arbitration

Christopher has extensive experience of commercial litigation and arbitration, frequently with an international dimension, involving issues of contractual interpretation, misrepresentation, economic torts, conversion, unjust enrichment, conflict of laws, jurisdiction and foreign law. He represents clients such as insurers and investors in disputes relating to insolvency, bankruptcy, company law and insurance coverage, and his experience of enforcement proceedings includes applications for third party debt orders and equitable and legal charges over property.

Relevant instructions include:

Litigation

  • Acting for the successful claimants in an action for deceit, misrepresentation, breach of contract and unjust enrichment arising from investments in a business marketing and supplying novel air conditioning technology, including procedural aspects such as witness summons and notices to prove documents at trial.
  • Defending a claim for alleged conversion of goods.
  • Acting for a corporate claimant seeking damages and injunctive relief for breach of warranty/contract/restrictive covenant and restitution arising from the purchase of a shares in a company.
  • Acting for a freeholder in a claim against a corporate managing agent and its director for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
  • Acting on behalf of a supplier of pharmacovigilance services in a contractual dispute with a pharmaceutical company.
  • Acting for a highways authority in disputes with insurers, including in an appeal as to the legal effect of the non-attendance of an expert witness at trial.
  • Acting for the claimant insurer in a subrogated negligence claim arising from a fire at a farm.
  • Advising in relation to breach of a settlement agreement involving a Russian bank.
  • Advising as to the jurisdiction of the English courts in relation to a tortious claim for pure financial loss involving EU and non-EU companies.
  • Advising as to validity of service of English proceedings in the USA and Spain.
  • Advising in relation to a claim for breach of a finance agreement.
  • Acting on behalf of a provider of agronomy services defending a claim for breach of contract, professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty (as a junior).

Insurance

  • Advising an insurer on a £17m dispute arising from a voluntary food recall in the USA and Canada (as a junior).
  • Advising an insurer as to coverage in relation to an accident at work.
  • Advising an insurer as to the effect in UK domestic law of the CJEU ruling in Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav D.D. (C-162/13).
  • Advising a local authority in relation to historic insurance coverage for asbestos.

Insolvency and company

  • Acting for the joint liquidator of a travel company defending a claim under rule 14.8 of the Insolvency Rules 2016
  • Acting on behalf of a company in a claim against a former director for breaches of director’s duties.

Interim applications, appeals and enforcement

  • Applications for interim freezing injunctions, third party disclosure and third party debt orders.

Representative cases

grid list
  • LCIA Arbitration

    £23m arbitration arising from a contractual dispute between 4 corporate carry vehicles and a German bank, including applications to compel German witnesses to give evidence abroad (as a junior).

  • Little v Bloomsbury Law Solicitors [2022] 11 WLUK 351

    Acting for the respondent solicitors in an appeal in the High Court Chancery Division in proceedings arising from the sale of a residential property.

Mass Torts & Product Liability Group Litigation

Christopher acts for a wide range of multi-national corporate groups defending international group actions against companies domiciled in the UK, usually arising out of the operations of foreign subsidiaries, involving issues of alleged de facto control by the parent company and brought using the anchor defendant gateway, and alleging breaches of English and foreign law. The subject matter of the claims varies widely, including (to date) alleged environmental damage, breaches of human rights and gender-based violence. Defending the claims often involves a challenge to the jurisdiction of the English courts on the basis that this is not the appropriate jurisdiction for hearing the claims.

He is currently instructed by an international oil company in relation to a foreign environmental claim.

He was led by Charles Gibson KC and Geraint Webb KC in the Supreme Court in Vedanta Resources Plc & another v Lungowe & others [2019] UKSC 20, a landmark decision on parent company liability in the context of mass tort claims arising from the operation of a mine in Zambia.

In 2020-2021, led by Geraint Webb KC and Adam Heppinstall (now KC), and instructed by a team led by Heather Gagen and Stephanie Lee at Travers Smith, Christopher acted for Camellia plc and two of its English subsidiaries in defending parent company/human rights claims brought by Leigh Day arising from farming operations carried out by subsidiaries in Kenya and Malawi.  The claims were settled: the public announcement of the settlements are here.

In the purely domestic context, Christopher currently acts (as a junior) for the insurers of the Manchester Arena in matters relating to the 2017 terrorist bombing.

Christopher is also regularly instructed in group product liability claims. He acted as part of the team representing the defendants in the Volkswagen NOx Emissions Group Litigation. The claims were settled in May 2022.

He was also instructed by a German distributor of intraocular lenses defending multiple claims brought in the UK under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and in negligence (led by Geraint Webb KC).

Representative cases

grid list
  • Vedanta Resources Plc & another v Lungowe & others [2019] UKSC 20

    Appearing in the Supreme Court (as a junior to Charles Gibson KC and Geraint Webb KC) on a jurisdictional appeal relating to a mass torts claim against an English parent company arising from the operations of a Zambian copper mine

  • Crossley & Ors v Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft & Ors [2020] EWHC 783 (QB)

    Instructed as junior counsel on behalf of the Defendants in the UK’s biggest consumer group action arising out of the NOx emissions scandal.

Health & Safety, Inquests and Regulatory

Christopher regularly acts both led and unled for corporate and individual defendants in health & safety, corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter investigations and prosecutions. He is also regularly instructed to represent his clients’ interests at coronial inquests. His clients include public and private businesses and individuals working in the construction, tower crane hire, pier refurbishment, property development, education, restaurant, nightclub, transport, port, healthcare, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors. Before coming to the Bar he worked as a paralegal for a firm of solicitors advising and supporting clients, including drafting proofs of evidence and attending interviews with the HSE and local authorities.

He is a member of the committee of the Health & Safety Lawyers’ Association and is the author of the chapter on confined spaces in Tolley’s Health & Safety at Work Handbook.

He is currently instructed as a junior to Prashant Popat KC in a prosecution arising from a triple fatality caused by the collapse of a tower crane.

Christopher is also regularly instructed as a junior and in his own right in relation to various criminal and regulatory matters, including acting for National Highways during a police investigation into potential corporate manslaughter as a result of deaths on smart motorways; advising a charity providing sheltered housing in relation to potential liability under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005; advising as to the use of gross disproportion factors in devising mitigating measure during adverse weather in the rail industry, advising a property developer in relation to potential breaches of a bat mitigation licence, prohibition notices and council tax liability appeals, and the need for a special treatment licence for gym facilities in a residential housing development.

Representative cases

grid list
  • R (HSE) v Falcon Tower Crane Services (2024)
  • Re Holcroft (2024)
  • Re Dunckley (2024)
  • Re Smith (2024)

    3-day inquest arising from a fall outside a pub.

  • R (HSE) v Hoist Fencing & Timber Supplies Ltd (2024)

    Sentencing hearing arising from breaches of the HSWA, PUWER and COSHH.

  • R (HSE) v Materials Movement Ltd (2024)

Property

Christopher is regularly instructed in a range of landlord & tenant and real property disputes involving breaches of covenant, boundary disputes, rights of way, rights to light, proprietary estoppel, adverse possession, lease variations and statutory nuisance proceedings under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Instructions include:

  • Acting for the applicant in an application for a freezing injunction to restrain transfer of the proceeds of sale of a property to outside the jurisdiction.
  • Acting for the claimant in boundary dispute between two residential properties involving an alleged boundary agreement, proprietary estoppel and interference with right of way and right to light acquired by prescription.
  • Acting for the defendants to an additional claim by a construction company for sums due under a JCT Minor Works building contract.
  • Acting for 13 leaseholder respondents to an application by their landlord to the FTT (Property Chamber) to determine liability to pay service charges, vary leases and dispense with consultation requirements under the Landlord and Tenant Acts 1985 and 1987.
  • Advising in relation to the appointment of a fixed charge receiver over commercial property.
  • Acting for a freehold management company in a claim against a former director for breach of statutory duties.
  • Acting for a commercial tenant in an application for the grant of a new tenancy pursuant to s.24(1)(b) and Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.
  • Acting for a property developer in a contractual claim against the purchasers of two properties for funds due upon completion of the building works and a counterclaim for alleged defective premises.
  • Acting for the tenants of a residential property in a claim against the landlord pursuant to s.214 of the Housing Act 2004 for breach of the landlord’s duty to deal with the tenancy deposit in accordance with an authorised scheme.
  • Advising the owners of a residential property in relation to a professional negligence claim against an architectural firm arising from water ingress into a basement conversion.
  • Advising the owners of a residential property as to a claim against the property developer arising from breach of fire safety regulations.
  • Advising in relation to health & safety duties, building regulations and breach of freehold covenants in a dispute over the obstruction of a supermarket’s fire escape route over a neighbouring property.
  • Claims for possession of residential and commercial properties.
  • Advising a leaseholder in relation to a claim against the freeholder for unreasonably withheld consent to assignment of the property and mismanagement.
  • Acting for a party to a boundary dispute involving registered and non-registered land, including a claim for adverse possession.
  • Acting for the purchasers of a residential property in a claim against the sellers for misrepresentation and breach of contract arising from Japanese Knotweed.

Representative cases

grid list
  • Little v Bloomsbury Law Solicitors [2022] 11 WLUK 351

    Acting for the respondent solicitors in an appeal in the High Court Chancery Division in proceedings arising from the sale of a residential property.

Consumer

Christopher advises and acts for clients including lenders, financial advisors, insurers and individuals across a range of consumer law matters involving credit cards, loans, guarantees and hire purchase agreements. He wrote the settlement/termination chapter of Consumer Credit Law & Practice (to be published shortly by Sweet & Maxwell) and is a contributor to Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law.

Representative instructions include:

  • Acting for creditors in claims involving allegations of secret commission, half secret commission, breaches of CONC and DISP and unfair relationships, including in related appeals.
  • Acting for creditors defending claims for alleged misrepresentation or breach of contract under s.75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, including in relation to sales of bathrooms, education services and solar panels.
  • Strike out/summary judgment applications, including in relation to claims involving repossession of vehicles, loss of chance of a winning bet, alleged settlement of a hire purchase agreement through the provision of a promissory note and breaches of the Data Protection Act 2018.
  • Acting for lenders seeking possession of commercial property under the terms of a guarantee, involving issues as to alleged sham agreements and the applicability of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
  • Representing a creditor defending a claim for breach of a merchant services agreement involving issues under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
  • Debt claims.
  • Advising in relation to non-commercial agreements.

Personal Injury

Christopher acts on behalf of claimants and defendants in personal injury and fatal accident claims, including in the context of mass torts and product liability proceedings. He has particular experience of acting for German and Austrian defendants, including reviewing documents in German and liaising with experts on foreign law.

He is currently instructed by the insurers of the Manchester Arena in matters relating to the 2017 terrorist bombing, and by an international oil company in relation to a foreign environmental claim.

Representative instructions include:

  • Acting for National Highways (as a junior to Prashant Popat KC) defending a fatal accident claim arising from a death on a smart motorway.
  • Acting for Camellia plc and two of its English subsidiaries (as a junior to Geraint Webb KC) defending mass claims arising from the operations of farms in Kenya and Malawi.
  • Representing a German supplier of intraocular lenses (as a junior to Geraint Webb KC) defending multiple claims.
  • Advising a claimant in relation to quantum as a result of the 2015 rollercoaster accident at Alton Towers.
  • Acting for an Austrian company which built the ski-slope in proceedings brought by Beth Tweddle following her ski-jumping accident on the third series of The Jump in 2016.
  • Representing a former senior nurse in a claim against an NHS Trust for psychiatric injury as a result of bullying and harassment by his line manager.
  • Representing a claimant in a claim against a local authority arising from an accident at a crematorium.

Competition, EU & Human Rights

Christopher has experience in a range of competition, EU and human rights matters.

Instructions include:

  • Advising an EU Member State on alleged anti-competitive effects under EU law of an exclusive purchasing obligation in a biofuel supply contract.
  • Advising on the effects of the CJEU decision in Slovak Republic v Achmea BV on the enforceability of ICSID awards made pursuant to intra-EU arbitrations arising under the Energy Charter Treaty.
  • Advising on the scope and reach of the European Arrest Warrant system and Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition for judgments imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty.
  • Advising a foreign high net worth individual in relation to an application to the European Court of Human rights arising from infringement of his Article 6 rights during a criminal trial in Romania.

Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution

Christopher has appeared as junior counsel in international LCIA arbitration proceedings and represented parties at a number of successful mediations. He is also an accredited mediator.

 

Instructing Christopher Adams

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Appointments
  • Accredited Mediator
  • Committee Member of the Health & Safety Lawyers’ Association
Publications
  • Author of the settlement/termination chapter of Consumer Credit Law & Practice (Sweet & Maxwell, 2024)
  • Author of the Confined Spaces chapter of Tolley’s Health & Safety at Work Handbook, 2022
  • Report of the Independent Review of the Regulation of BetIndex Limited, September 2021
  • Contributor to the Journal of International Arbitration May 2019
  • Contributor to Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, March 2017
Memberships
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • Health & Safety Lawyers’ Association
Education
  • BA in English, Trinity College, Cambridge (Double First)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Singing, Distinction and DipRAM, Royal Academy of Music
  • KA Gesang (Singing), Distinction, Hochschule für Musik, Köln
  • CPE in Legal Studies, Distinction (1st in Year), London South Bank University
  • BPTC, BPP Law School
  • ADR Group Accredited Civil & Commercial Mediator
Regulatory Information

All members of Chambers are registered with the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales. For our standard contractual terms click here.

For more information about the way barristers at Henderson Chambers work, including our fee transparency statement and our complaints process, please click here.

Bar Council Number: 63295

VAT Registration Number: 248 8321 84

Legal Status: Barrister

Professional Insurance: All members of Chambers have professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd. Territorial coverage is world-wide and subject to the term of the Bar Mutual. Click here for details.

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board.

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