Called: 1983 Silk: 2017
Michael is an international lawyer, with a wide ranging practice in commercial, civil and international advocacy and advice in the courts, arbitral and regulatory tribunals of England and Wales and overseas. He regularly appears in the Commercial Court, Chancery Division and Queen’s Bench Division for a wide variety of domestic and international clients. Michael is admitted to practice in the British Virgin Islands (since 2008) and appears in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. He is also a Member of the State Bar of California (since 1990), and has appeared before the Gibraltar Courts and Financial Services Authority.
Michael has been described by clients in the Chambers UK and the Legal 500 legal directories as “phenomenal”, “incredibly knowledgeable and a tremendous advocate who is a very powerful person to have on your side” , “a thorough, knowledgeable and intelligent advocate”, “incredibly bright and hardworking, a real team player”, “a really powerful operator” with “complete control of the facts of a case” who “really thinks about things and then steamrollers the opposition”. He is said to have “real commercial intelligence and an easy client manner”, his advocacy is “effective and persuasive” and his “attention to detail prepares him for all eventualities in the course of litigation”.
Michael’s practice often includes complex and novel cross-border battles featuring jurisdiction and choice of law disputes, issues over the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and orders and the enforcement of English judgments abroad, forum non coveniens challenges, anti-suit and international asset freezing injunctions, as well as sovereign and other immunities from jurisdiction. His work covers a full range of activities and clients, including shipping and maritime claims, civil fraud, aviation; insurance, major cross-border injury claims, company and partnership law matters, including director’s liabilities, shareholder, partnership and joint venture actions, as well cross-border insolvency battles both in the UK and elsewhere. He has long comparative law experience. Many of his cases involve causes of action governed by foreign laws.
Michael is a recognised international law expert. He is the author of The Rome I Regulation on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (Oxford University Press, 2015), a leading textbook on private international law that is cited with approval by the Advocate-General in the European Court of Justice and by judges in the Commercial Court. “This is a marvellous book, an absolute must for anyone who is seriously concerned with the private international law of what we once called contracts…”; Michael’s research was “truly amazing” and his book is “… a magnificent achievement, for which all serious commercial lawyers will be in the author’s debt”: Prof. Adrian Briggs QC (Hons), LMCLQ, 2015, p. 597. In Germany, Michael’s book was reviewed as being “in the best tradition of English textbooks…the praise heaped upon the work so far is well deserved… ” and it displays “a very fine and sophisticated humour”: Prof. Peter Mankowski, Zeitschrift für das Privatrecht der Europäischen Union, GPR 5/ 2015, p. 259. In his foreword, The Hon. Mr Justice Teare describes it as ‘… a book which will be an essential addition to the library of the advisor, the advocate and the academic in their respective searches for the true meaning and effect of the Regulation...’.
Michael is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators, and appears as an arbitration advocate in LMAA, ICC, LCIA, CAS, and other tribunals. He also accepts instructions as an arbitrator.
Michael also regularly gives expert evidence on English and European law in US, European and elsewhere. Michael has acted as an independent adjudicator for the High Court of Singapore.
To all his cases, Michael brings an ability to find commercial solutions and a wealth of real trial and arbitration advocacy experience.
...“Michael has an unrivalled knowledge of international law issues and is a ferocious advocate… He is very straightforward, never afraid of a fight and incredibly incisive during cross-examinations… His advice is very easy to read, well structured and practical.”...(Chambers UK, 2017)
..."His encyclopaedic knowledge of EU legislation clearly impresses judges"...(Legal 500, 2016)
...“An excellent commercial junior ”...(The Legal 500, 2015)
...“His grasp of complicated matters is second to none and he has an impressive ability to make the complicated incredibly simple… He is incredibly knowledgeable and a tremendous advocate, who is a very powerful person to have on your side”...(Chambers UK, 2014)
...“Incredibly bright and hardworking, a real team player”...(The Legal 500, 2014)
...“A silk in a junior's disguise”...(The Legal 500, 2014)
...“Clients were full of praise for him... He's a really powerful operator. I would dread being opposite him as he has complete control over the facts of a case. He really thinks about things and then steamrollers the opposition”...(The Legal 500, 2014)
...“The most difficult opponent to be up against in court because he does the most superb job for his clients. A thorough, knowledgeable and intelligent advocate', he gets 'the best possible deal for his clients”...(Chambers UK, 2013)
...“He has real commercial intelligence and an easy client manner”...(The Legal 500, 2012)
Michael has a wide-ranging commercial practice, often in cases with international elements, civil fraud, and asset recovery. His reported cases include
The sale of goods and commodities: the sale of manganese ore (Westbrook Resources Ltd -v- Globe Metallurgical Inc  2 Lloyd's Rep. 224 (CA);  1 All. E.R. (Comm) 193 (first instance); the sale oil under an ELF 90 FOB contract (Totsa Total Oil Trading SA v. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd  EWHC 1641 (Comm)); the sale of televisions (DSG International Sourcing Ltd v. Universal Media Corp (Slovakia) SRO  I.L.Pr. 33; and the sale of medieval Burmese statutes of The Buddha (Techarungreungkit v Gotz  EWHC 58 (QB)).
Civil fraud and asset recovery, including tracing, subrogation, restitution and constructive trust claims, breach of fiduciary duty, emergency injunctive relief. Examples include Newcastle International Airport -v- Parkin & Friis (2008) (claim by an airport to recover multi-million bonuses paid to directors in alleged breach of fiduciary duty). In Knowlden -v- Simin Nafis Tehrani  EWHC 54 (Ch), which Henderson J. described as an “extraordinary case”, Michael acted for the successful claimant who had been defrauded out of several valuable properties and other assets, by individual defendant using an offshore trust as a vehicle and fraudulent multiple declarations of trust. In Breyer Group Plc -v- Austine & Saunders (2007) (Ch D), Michael acted for the defendant director at trial in alleged fraud / breach of fiduciary duty relating to bribes to obtain confidential information. After Michael's cross-examination undermined their case, the Claimant discontinued at closing speeches and agreed to pay the defendant's indemnity costs. See also Crystal Palace FC (2000) Ltd v Dowie  EWHC 1392 (QB);  I.R.L.R. 682 (fraudulent misrepresentation, deceit); Primlake Ltd (In Liquidation) v Matthews Associates  EWHC 1227 (Ch);  1 B.C.L.C. 666 (Constructive trustees; Directors; Fees; Fiduciary duty; Money had and received; Offshore companies; Payments; Unjust enrichment). Downie v Coe, CA (The Times, 28 November 1997), privilege against self-incrimination in asset freezing case.
Insurance: Michael has acted in cases under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930, including claims arising out of overseas judgments rendered against foreign insolvent assured under shipowner's liability insurance. Michael has given expert evidence on issues of English insurance law in a number of US Federal and State Courts. Michael appeared in insurance coverage disputes as diverse as Richards v. Francis (2005) on behalf of insurers resisting the opening of a 10 year old settlement, to J v. B v. Royal Sun Alliance (2002) acting for third party insurers resisting a claim arising out of brain injuries as a consequence of “shaken baby syndrome”, as well as related disputes, such as whether a bank assumed the duties of an insurance broker in a mortgage transaction: Frost v. James Finlay Bank  Lloyd's Rep IR 503 (C.A.).
Michael's work covers a wide-ranging of shipping, commodities and transport related issues, many of which are resolved privately in arbitration. Reported examples include
Michael has particular knowledge of ship financing and security, and has given expert evidence in a California Federal Court relating to the proper perfection of ship mortgages under English law in relation to a superyacht arrested in California: Capital Bank PLC -v- The M/Y Birgitta (2010). As the judgment in that case recorded, the defendant ultimately did not “dispute in any way the well documented legal proposition(s)” that came from Michael's evidence
Michael regularly appears in arbitrations before a wide-range of arbitral tribunals. These have included the London Maritime Arbitration Association (LMAA); the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Court of Arbitration For Sport (CAS); The UEFA Appeals Body; the Football Association and The Football League, as well as various ad hoc arbitral tribunals.
Michael is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and accepts instructions as an arbitrator.
Reported examples include:
Court related arbitration proceedings include
Michael is recommended for his expertise in the aviation field in Who’s Who Legal (2017). Recent examples of his work in this field include:
Michael's work in the aviation related disputes includes deaths and injury claims under the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions, as well as acting in corporate disputes relating to the operation of airlines and airports: e.g. Lonrho Africa -v- Norse Air & Avnit (2009) (British Virgin Islands), Newcastle International Airport Ltd v Parkin & Friis (2008) High Court, and aircraft lease disputes.
Michael has given expert evidence in the United States proceedings in in actions against Boeing in relation to the crash of BA 038 at Heathrow (Safford et al v The Boeing Corp, and to areotoxic poisoning on a flight from the UK to Florida (Sabatino v The Boeing Corp). His work also includes conflict of laws disputes involving air industry participants, such as the recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitral awards against airlines (e.g. Peninsula v Egypt Air Holdings (Comm Ct); and anti-suit injunctions on behalf of aviation underwriters (Simon Clapham / Lloyd's Syndicates 800 and 318 v Burlet, Thevenin & Others (Comm Ct). Michael also acts in professional negligence actions arising out of the conduct of Warsaw Convention cases, (such as the aftermath of the dismissal of the claimant's case in Phillips v Air New Zealand Ltd  2 Lloyd's Rep. 408 for failing to comply with the Warsaw Convention limitation period).
Michael is ranked in the top tier of practitioners in travel law in Chambers & Partner's guide.
Michael’s practice include major international injuries occurred abroad, which often include complex foreign law or conflicts of law issues.He acted for the successful claimant in Moore v Hotelplan Ltd (t/a Ingham Travel)  EWHC 276 (QB), where the claimant was paralysed in a ski-doo excursion in Italy. Michael also acted for the successful appellant in Harding v Wealands  2 A.C. 1 (House of Lords).
Recent cases have ranged from an elephant attack in Zambia, governed by Zambian law, a quadbike accident in Iceland, to recent road traffic accidents (including coach crash disasters) in Australia, France, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland, North Africa, and the United States.
Other cases have included Hickey, Petschi and Shaw v Granger Telecom (The Times, 4th June 2003), where he successfully acted against former employers for families of British Telecom workers who had been sent to Chechnya, kidnapped, held hostage and beheaded. In Sunil Eappen v Louise Woodward, US Federal District Court Massachusetts, 1999, Michael acted for the defendant in the civil action arising out of the Boston shaken-baby murder trial.
Described by The Sun's football writers as "soccer legal-eagle Michael McParland", Michael has an extensive sports law practice, with particular expertise in the football field where he has acted for a number of Premier League and Championship football clubs, managers, players and officials, but also acts in other sports, including Formula One, yachting, rugby and cycling.
Michael has appeared before the UEFA Appeals Body in Switzerland, and acted in Court of Arbitration for Sport proceedings, as well as appearing before FA and Football League Tribunals, and in sports related court and arbitration proceedings. These proceedings include employment, contract, tort and regulatory disputes in court and employment tribunals as well as in proceedings before sports bodies or appointed arbitral tribunals.
Michael is currently acting for the family of Jules Bianchi, who died after suffering injuries in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Other cases include:
Michael has nearly 30 years of experience in cross-border actions, and has been involved in a number of leading cases. He regularly advises how English courts and tribunals can properly exercise jurisdiction over foreign defendants, how to protect that jurisdiction by the use of anti-suit injunctions, or challenges English jurisdiction on behalf of overseas clients.
Obtaining anti-suit injunctions in support of English arbitration or jurisdiction clauses is a regular feature of Michael’s work. Recent examples have included obtaining Commercial Court orders against Indian defendants pursing claims in India in breach of English arbitration clauses, as well as orders against Chinese maritime insurance interests for pursuing Chinese proceedings in breach of English jurisdiction clauses.
Which law governs a claim is often the decisive factor in determining whether a claim is sustainable or, crucially, how much it is worth. Michael is the author of a leading text book on choice of law issues, “The Rome I Regulation on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations” (OUP 2015), and is regularly involved in choice of law disputes under both the Rome I and Rome II Regulations, as well as at common law and under statute.
Michael's private international law work, in the UK or the British Virgin Islands has involved considerable cross-border insolvency aspects for many years. His cases have included the UK statutory and common law approaches to foreign insolvencies and their effect of UK proceedings and on the realisation of security interests by foreign liquidators and administrators, as well as attempting to enforce UK orders abroad. His reported cases in these fields include the following.
Choice of Law Disputes
“Michael has an unrivalled knowledge of international law issues and is a ferocious advocate… He is very straightforward, never afraid of a fight and incredibly incisive during cross-examinations… His advice is very easy to read, well structured and practical.”(Chambers UK, 2017)
Attorney-at-Law, State Bar of California, since 1990.
Barrister of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, British Virgin Islands, since 2008.
Member of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators.
Admitted on a number of first instance cases in Gibraltar and before the Gibraltar Court of Appeals and the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.
The Rome I Regulation on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Co-author of chapter on Stays, Forum Non Conveniens and Anti-Suit Injunctions in Butterworths Commercial Court & Arbitration Pleadings (2005).
Various articles in major legal journals, including:
The Chancery Bar Association
London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association (LCLCBA)
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)
The State Bar of California
The British Institute of International and Comparative Law
Inner Temple Advocacy Prize
Inner Temple Yarborough-Anderson Scholarship
Inner Temple Entrance Scholarship