Practice Areas Print

UK & Cross Border Practice Areas

The firm's international and cross-border transactions are further enhanced by the dual experience of the principal members who qualified in both Africa and the United Kingdom. Further, the principal consultant and the sole principal are senior members of various international legal networks namely; Terralex (The principal consultant of the firm and African Vice Co-Chair of TerraLex is Mrs. A. Williams, SAN, whilst the sole principal of the firm, Mr. Akintunde Williams, IBA Fellow in International Legal Practice, Privy Council Agent, Solicitor of England and Wales, ACIarb is a senior member of the International Bar Association, London, UK and a member of the American Bar Association Africa Group Steering committee.) In addition, the firm consults directly with the relevant parastatals of various governments and private clients in the practice areas mentioned below.

Work done by practice area and description on the right.


 

EMPLOYMENT LAW

We represented clients on a wide range of employment matters, including;

  • redundancy, unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal
  • race discrimination claims
  • sexual harassment claims
  • disability discrimination
  • drafting compromise and conciliation agreements

Example of recent work;

  • Filing a claim on behalf of a probationary employee against her employer for ‘automatically unfair dismissal,’ and representing the employee at the Tribunal.
  • Acting on behalf of an employer in the private sector in relation to a claim for sex discrimination, breach of contract and personal injury and working with ACAS towards reaching a conciliated agreement.
  • Providing advice to an employee in public office in respect of discrimination claims against the employer.

In 2009

  • Providing advice and representation to a UK citizen who was seconded to the Nigerian subsidiary of a Belgian PLC Company from the UK regarding his severance and terminal benefits on the termination of his employment contract in Nigeria. Work done involved taking instructions as to his recollection of his original terms of contract of employment which could not be found, determining the issue of jurisdiction and choice of law, making applications for disclosure and the framing of an appropriate claim in the UK.
  • Advice on a compromise Agreement to a client who had developed agrophobia pending her employment and the terminal benefits he was entitled to as a result. Work involved the review of the Agreement and the Disability Discrimination Act.

 

SHIPPING LAW

The firm provided advice and representation on shipping law matters, including;

  • Bill of lading and charterparty disputes

Example of recent work;

  • Acting on behalf of client ship charterers in a shipping dispute involving the payment of overdue demurrage claims. This involved the interpretation of charterparty Agreements between the parties, the consideration of the ‘ejusdem generis’ rule in contract interpretation…

 

FAMILY LAW

We provided advice and representation in the following areas;

  • separation and judicial separation .
  • divorce petition grounds.
  • financial matters arising out of separation or divorce.
  • Review of tax and pensions matters.
  • International and jurisdictional issues.
  • Injunctions and restraining orders.
  • Cohabitation and premarital contracts.

Where children were involved, our areas of advice and assistance included:

  • Custody issues and maintenance payments towards the children.
  • Residency issues.
  • Contact order issues.
  • International Adoption advice.
  • International Wardship and guardianship issues.

 

FAMILY LAW CTD.

Example of recent work;

  • Acting on behalf of a private client involved in a cross border divorce petition in the Principal Registry of the Family Division. This involved our applications to vary a world wide freezing injunction, and to vary the order for payment of maintenance pending suit. We also had to provide advice and opinion on cross cultural marital laws and on the validity or otherwise of a subsequent marriage when there was still an existing marriage.
    • Additional work done included instructions to experts in respect of handwriting analysis reports to the court, Calderbank offers for settlement, instructions to the handwriting expert division of the international police force in the foreign jurisdiction, advice on appeal of the maintenance pending suit order and on stay of execution of the freezing order. The issue of Maintenance pending suit by the court was considered in view of the contest to the jurisdiction of the UK court.
    • Advising a client domiciled in Northern Ireland who had instituted divorce proceedings on the mode of registration and enforcement of both a maintenance order and ancillary relief orders in a foreign jurisdiction under the Foreign Judgments Reciprocal Enforcement Act 1958 vis a vis the Foreign Judgments Reciprocal Enforcement Ordinance 1922 and the impact of the laws on the procedure for the enforcement of the orders made by the Northern Ireland court in the foreign jurisdiction.
  • Acting on behalf of clients to enforce the terms of a consent order for the upkeep and maintenance of their children following the break down of the marriage and subsequent divorce. We made applications to court for third party debt orders, charging orders on the relevant properties and registered them with the land registry to enforce the arrears of maintenance payments accrued. Further applications were made to defend hardship order applications and for leave to enforce arrears of maintenance orders.
  • Notification of Home office and commencing cross border litigation to prevent child abduction from a foreign jurisdiction.

In 2009

  • Opinion to the Birmingham County Court on the implications of granting leave to a Nigerian father and German mother for the father to travel solely with the children to Nigeria. The UK based mother had a residency order in her favour. Work done involved the consideration of the possibility of Mirror orders and the potential rights of the mother under the Nigerian Child’s Rights Act as well as the provision of legal safeguards that the court could implement to ensure that the children were returned by their father to the UK.
  • Representation of the beneficiaries of a Nigerian will against trustees of the will who had failed to render proper accounts to the beneficiaries or to administer the provisions of the will in accordance with the wishes of the testator. Opinion and representation of Canadian clients in a will dispute. Work involved the filing of a caveat to prevent the administration of the estate pending the grant of probate and letters of administration and making representations to request for the will.
  • Representation and advice in a cross border divorce involving a Nigerian national and a Jamaican national who had both previously resided in the UK, South Africa, USA and Nigeria and had assets in several jurisdictions. Representing the Respondent in the Nigerian court and drafting a settlement Agreement. Working with law firms in South Africa and Jamaica to protect the marital assets. Providing advice successfully to client to prevent the dissipation of assets by the husband pending the proceedings.
  • Successfully defending a cross border divorce petition filed in Nigeria by the Petitioner husband against the Respondent wife who had already commenced proceedings in South Africa where they were resident.

 

WILLS & INTESTACY

We have represented and provided advice to international clients in matters involving contentious probate and intestacy disputes either directly or through our vast network of international law firms sometimes where the client could not travel overseas or where litigation had already been commenced against the client in the UK or overseas. In one instance, in the High Court at the Strand, we provided evidence of a mutual will which was not validly revoked by a testator to set aside a later will made by the testator which was not in favour of the testator's spouse. We have successfully "warned off" caveats filed against the applicants for letters of administration in overseas jurisdiction, conducted relevant searches at the Probate Registry, provided advice to clients on the resealing of grants of administration and successfully prevented a deceased's estate being being taken into receivership pending the grant of letters of administration. Clients include individuals and families from the UK, India, Nigeria & USA.


 

PERSONAL INJURY/ CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE

We dealt with a broad spectrum of claims including;

  • Road traffic incidents,
  • Industrial injury and accidents in the street or open spaces
  • Clinical negligence.

Example of recent work;

  • Instructed as Privy counsel agent to act on behalf of Respondent parents in a clinical negligence appeal involving psychiatric injury and nervous shock that resulted from the negligence of the Appellant Hospital who negligently caused the death of the Respondents’ child whilst the Respondents were present. The Appellants’ subsequent appeal in the Privy Council was based on the premise that the Respondent parents were not primary or secondary victims and it was not reasonably foreseeable that they would suffer damage for nervous shock even though they had not been informed that there was anything wrong with their child. The appeal was later withdrawn. We are presently negotiating a settlement with the Appellants on behalf of the Respondent parents.
  • Acting for claimant parents of a child born with holoprosencephaly that subsequently died after one month of birth and compensation for clinical Negligence arising from the failure of the hospital to detect the child’s condition.

 

INSOLVENCY

Advice to private clients on various aspects of Insolvency. Example of recent work;

  • Sucessfully acting on behalf of private clients in filing an application under s 375 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to set aside Cost Orders imposed on them by the representatives of the Trustee in Bankruptcy through section 366(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Costs of over £39,000.00 was awarded against the Trustee in bankruptcy in favour of our client.

 

CRIMINAL LAW

The firm advised and represented Defendants in all types of criminal prosecutions in Courts throughout the UK.Example of recent work;

  • Acting at the Criminal Court of Appeal on behalf of a defendant previously convicted of rape to attempt to lodge an application for leave to appeal on the basis that the complainants were not independent witnesses. Preparation of skeleton arguments, briefs, relevant transcripts of evidence and representation in court.
  • Acting on behalf of the defendant in a drink/driving offence to establish that his blood alcohol content was not in excess of the permitted limit. Instructing experts and making a section 8 CPIA 1996 application for disclosure of relevant prosecution material to confirm whether any procedural errors were possibly made by the prosecution’s medical examiner during the withdrawal of the blood sample and whether the subsequent chain of custody of the sample in the possession of the prosecution was broken.

In 2009

  • Watching brief in a criminal matter in Belgium involving the manufacture and possession of false credit cards by the defendant.
  • Opinion for a US Court on the reach and scope of jury trial in English Criminal Law.
  • Opinion to a lady who was being harassed by her boyfriend and had made a complaint to the police.

 

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY/ CONVEYANCING

We provided advice and representation to both landlords and tenants in respect of their rights in applications to acquire the freehold of leasehold houses and lease extensions of both flats and houses. We also advised property owners on short-term lettings for investment purposes and prospective tenants on the terms of tenancy agreements for occupation.Additional work done included;

  • Property conveyancing in England and Wales.
  • Cross border property trust litigation.
  • Remortgaging.
  • Advice on Cross border property finance.
  • Preparation of lease extensions.
  • Preparation of Licences to Assign.
  • Effecting Charge of property in the Land Registry.
  • A consideration of the effect of a freehold merger on existing underlease covenants and section 139 of the Law of Property Act 1925.

In 2009

  • Negotiating lease extensions and valuation of the extension on behalf of a freeholder. Providing advice to the freeholder on a continuing breach of the lease by a leaseholder who was required to carpet the premises and failed to obtain the freeholder’s consent to alter the flooring of the premises as required under the lease. Work involved the review of the lease , drafting appropriate licences to alter, and advice to the freeholder to prevent the assignment of the lease until the leaseholder had complied with the terms of the lease.
    Drafting and negotiating residential leases for a property development complex in Nigeria.

 

IMMIGRATION

We provided advice and representation on the following issues;

  • Preparation of work permit applications.
  • Rights of detainees in immigration matters .
  • Entry clearance for Highly Skilled Migrants, sole representatives of foreigncompanies, businessmen or those with self-employed status, self-employed writers, composers and artists, retired persons or independent means, investors and innovators, and students.
  • Advice in relation to the dependents of persons admitted under the above categories.
  • Advice as to rights of entry and leave to remain for spouses of British Citizens, EU Citizens and those settled in the UK.
  • Naturalisation.
  • Human rights applications.
  • EU issues.
  • Conduct of adjudicators and Tribunal appeals.
  • All tax, property and other issues arising out of immigration to the UK.

Other examples of recent work;

  • Applications for the highly skilled Migrant Programme.
  • Successful prosecution of Appeals of visa extension renewals by the Home Office and formulation of grounds of appeal.
  • Collaboration with a US specialist immigration law firm on the processing of US immigration visas for UK and African citizens and businesses that had been refused appropriate US B1/B2 visas or green card residency status by the US immigration authorities.

In 2009

  • Providing immigration advice to a foreign national who had a UK right of abode as to the best route to facilitate the right of his wife and children to become British Citizens and emigrate to the UK. Work done involved the review of the client’s family history and the mode of his acquisition of his right of abode through his mother who was a Commonwealth UK Citizen.

 

CORPORATE/COMMERCIAL

Our services included;

Commercial

  • Agency
  • General commercial matters.
  • Contract negotiation and drafting
  • Conditions of sale.
  • Franchises.
  • Joint ventures in the oil and gas industry.
  • Manufacturing agreements.
  • Marketing agreements.
  • Partnership Law disputes.

Corporate

  • Review of Articles and Memoranda ofAassociation.
  • Company law advice.
  • Company Formations in offshore jurisdictions.
  • Share issues, transfers and subscriptions.
  • Advice on Shareholder agreements.

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Example of recent work;

  • Acting on behalf of a private company to amend inadvertent errors filed in Companies House in respect of annual returns.
  • Acting on behalf of prospective claimants in dispute over Company ownership based on verbal agreement between parties.
  • Advising on a US$35million offer from a USA bank to a Nigerian Aluminium Company to enable the establishment and development of Aluminium billet export from Nigeria to Europe.
  • Trademark and patent applications for corporations.

 

ARBITRATION

Arbitration is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts.It is a proceeding in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator whose decision, the parties to the dispute have agreed will be final and binding. Arbitration is today, most commonly used for the resolution of commercial disputes, particularly in the context of international commercial transactions. Business dealings have become even more global, and threats can arise in the form of enforcement issues when dealing with other countries.Arbitration is a consensual process; parties will only ever arbitrate where they agree to do so. Such agreements generally provide that, if a dispute should arise, it will be resolved by arbitration. These agreements are normal contracts which contain an arbitration clause.

In 2009
Successful Registration and Enforcement of a Foreign Vietnamese Arbitration Award in the UK against a UK Commodity Trading Company on behalf of Tien Lien Co. , a Vietnamese Steel Trading Company. Work involved included the review of the Vietnamese arbitral process, obtaining appropriate certification from the Vietnamese Commercial Arbitration Court (VIAC), drafting and preparation of appropriate witness statements, court processes ,orders and compilation of documentation in the UK Commercial Court to facilitate registration and avoid the award being set aside in the UK on technical grounds.

Travel and Holiday Claims; Facilitation of advice and representation in a ship cruise dispute claim governed by UK law and in a time share holiday ownership interest revocation dispute governed by French law.

Facilitation of the Representation of a Nigerian Company in an ICC Arbitration matter involving a US$2million dispute dealing with the Nigerian ID card project.

Advantages of arbitration

Parties often seek to resolve their disputes through arbitration because of a number of perceived potential advantages over judicial proceedings:

  1. When the subject matter of the dispute is highly technical, arbitrators with an appropriate degree of expertise can be appointed.
  2. Arbitration is often faster than litigation in court.
  3. Arbitration can be cheaper.
  4. Arbitral proceedings and an arbitral award are generally private.
  5. The arbitral process enjoys a greater degree of flexibility than the courts.
  6. Because of the provisions of the New York Convention 1958, arbitration awards are generally easier to enforce abroad than court judgments.
  7. In most legal systems, there are limited avenues for appeal of an arbitral award, which can mean swifter enforcement and less scope for a party to delay matters.

 

 

Using arbitration as an alternative to litigation to resolve disputes can open up a number of opportunities. In addition to the enforcement advantage referred to above, arbitration offers commercial confidentiality not available in a public court and a venue that may be considered neutral by the parties involved.

Our Expertise

Given the advantages international arbitration offers over the alternatives in terms of enforceability of awards and the neutrality and flexibility of the procedure, it is no surprise that it has become the dispute resolution method of choice for those doing international business .Such disputes are most effectively handled by a firm with an international presence, which will give a thorough, cost effective and personalised resolution to disputes. By virtue of the fact that our principal is a senior member of the international Bar association, duly qualified in the UK and Africa, an associate of the Chartered institute of arbitrators and the fact that our firm has access to and agreements with leading law firms in the United States and Africa, we can guarantee high quality advice and representation using arbitration.

Issues for our clients

Arbitration does have distinct advantages over litigation in certain situations. However, it is imperative to consider the following issues to ensure the arbitration clause suits the needs of your dispute:

  • What type of arbitration procedure will best suit your transaction?
  • Would it be appropriate to have a “stepped” clause (e.g. negotiation, mediation, then arbitration) in your agreement?
  • Will you use an ad hoc procedure (creating your own procedural rules) or use those of an established institution?
  • Where will the arbitration take place and in what language?
  • How will the arbitrators be selected and how many arbitrators are required?
  • What law will govern the arbitration itself as opposed to governing the contract?

You must also consider whether your particular dispute (or possible future disputes) can be arbitrated in the country you have chosen. The national laws of several states specify what subject matter can be arbitrated and what disputes must be litigated. Russia, for example, insists that all disputes relating to Russian sub soil cannot be arbitrated outside Russia.

Although arbitration clauses can be inserted at any time, it is best to agree the form of the arbitration at the time that the contract is signed. Otherwise the form of arbitration can become a dispute in itself.

 


 

LITIGATION

We instructed counsel and represented clients in all the following courts;

  • County Court.
  • Commercial Court.
  • Magistrates Court.
  • Criminal Court of Appeal.
  • High Court.
  • Employment Tribunal.
  • Bankruptcy Court.
  • Privy Council.

In 2009

  • Successful recovery of monies owed by a US Bank to a foreign national . The monies had been left in the client’s bank account for several years as the client had a medical condition abroad. The Bank failed to recognize the appointment of the clients attorney to manage the account on his behalf. The Bank was successfully petitioned before the appropriate US regulatory authority. The petition was successful and the right of the attorney to manage the account was acknowledged by the Bank.
  • Facilitation of legal defence representation in Nigeria on behalf of a Fortune 500 US Company in an agency dispute with the local Nigerian representative as to the construction of the terms of a Power of Attorney provided to NAFDAC. Legal Representation and advice to a Nigerian Company and a French Company in a US$6million breach of contract dispute involving the Nigerian ID card project.

 

Human Rights;

Human beings cannot be deprived of the substance of their human rights as they are inalienable. In certain circumstances, some of these rights can be lawfully derogated from or limited by a state. The firm can assist with advice and representation involving fundamental rights issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of regional human rights instruments such as the European Convention for Human Rights ECHR, Inter American Human Rights Convention IAHCR and the African Charter on Human Rights. Where the obligations in these various regional instruments and treaties and the general principles on HR laws have been unlawfully limited, derogated from or inadequately implemented pacta sunt servanda by states, we can assist with the implementation of the relevant international human rights instruments either at the domestic level or internationally through the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) , 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Additional protocols of 1966 and 1989 and the 1969 Vienna Convention by making relevant submissions to the international bodies to seek redress for their unlawful violations.

In 2009

Providing advice and opinion to a family with respect to the incarceration of a UK oil worker in Libya. Dealing with the Foreign and Commonwealth office. Drafting instructions with a view to filing an appropriate human rights action in Libya on the basis that the Libyan Green Charter and the UN Declaration of human rights was being violated and that the right to liberty of the oil worker had been unlawfully breached contrary to Article 8 of the Declaration.

 


 

Commercial Practice & Sales of Goods;

This practice area involves the law which applies to domestic and international sale of goods, carriage arrangements, payment for and security for international transactions, agency agreements and the use of conventions for documentary credits. The firm can provide legal assistance to buyers or sellers of goods to facilitate the interpretation of and drafting of contracts in transactions and disputes as they arise from the sale of goods. Whilst the express terms of a standard form sales contract may appear to be exhaustive and convey the intention of the seller, complications may arise as a result of the interpretation the court may place on a contract between two parties depending on whether the contract is tailor made or a standard form contract between the buyer and the seller and the interpretation may prejudice either party. Where a marketing or agency agreement is entered into between parties and an agent is appointed, certain implied domestic legislation and EC competition law and other notices and directives apply which may make relevant clauses in the contract void and possibly even a criminal offence. It is important that appropriate advice is obtained in the preparation of and disputes arising from any sales contract, agency contract , distributorship or documentary credit.

In 2009

Due diligence on a magazine start up for an investor. Work involved included due diligence findings on the Company and the feasibility as well as the directors, prospective contracts.

 


 

Capital Markets and Loans;

International financial markets are a source of raising finance for individuals or corporations from the corporation itself, a bank, or the capital market. A. Williams & Co. can assist with providing advice and opinion on various types of loan agreements such as overdraft agreements, term sheets, revolving credits , syndicated loans agreements as well as the legal effects of each document when a corporation raises finance. We can also advise on the jurisdictional issues, choice of law and legal issues which apply to these loan agreements including terms relating to conditions precedents , payment issues, covenants, negotiating default, periods of grace, force majeure and collateral security. Bonds are also specific types of loan agreements which may be in temporary or permanent form. There are several legal documents involved in the issue of a bond such as a mandate letter, invitation and allotment telex/fax, subscription agreements, manager's agreement and the legal opinion. Relevant documentation which concern the bond itself after issue include the fiscal agency agreement, paying agency agreement, the trust deed and the terms and conditions of the bond itself. The firm can assist with advice and representation on all the various related issues.

 


 

Mergers and Acquisitions;

There are two different types of acquisitions which we can provide assistance with. The business acquisition and a share acquisition whether an existing company , individual or the management is acting as seller or buyer, . In any of the scenarios, we can review the basic structure involved in the acquisition and the documentation involved in each case. The five relevant stages we can provide advice and representation on are the pre-contract stage, contract stage, pre-completion stage, completion and post completion stage. We will also review the various express and implied terms of the deal as well as identify the potential liabilities of the client and look for ways to minimise them through the negotiation of the disclosures and warranties in the transaction. We can assist with the preparation and negotiation of the acquisition agreement in both types of acquisitions , preparing or responding to the pre acquisition questionnaire and noting the issues regarding the effect of taxation , employees, ongoing trade matters, litigation , environmental and regulatory issues.

 


 

Joint Ventures;

Joint ventures and strategic alliances are a viable option for Company expansion and entry into different markets but can be fraught with several problems including shared management, tax planning, capital and funding, regulatory issues, intellectual property rights, commercial goals and the procedure on termination. The firm can assist with the formation of domestic and international joint venture corporations and disputes arising out of similar alliances .We can provide advice and representation on the far reaching impact of the use of appropriate legal documentation including letters of intent, confidentiality agreements , shareholders agreements, deadlock, company constitutional documentation and the ancillary contracts associated with the alliance to ensure that the intention of the parties and their goals are adequately implemented and that the rights of either the parent companies or the minority shareholders are not marginalised.

In 2009
Organic Fertilizer Project; Work done involves negotiating Joint Venture Agreements with Skye Bank and the Nigerian State Government . Obtaining Nigerian immigration permits for technical partners to travel to Nigeria. Drafting agency Agreements with agricultural technical experts and machinery manufacturers. Reviewing lease and licensing Agreements, drafting MOU’s with the State Government Ministry and dealing with the Ministry of Justice, making presentations to the State Government regulatory bodies and presenting expert opinions for the project. Reviewing the promoter’s proposal and conducting due diligence on the JV and the Directors.

 


 

Intellectual Property;

IP rights include trademark, copyright, database right, design rights, patents and confidential information rights. Protection of relevant IP rights is crucial to the economic growth and development of businesses in all countries. The firm can assist to identify relevant IP rights and infringements associated with various rights to effect the protection and exploitation of the rights domestically and internationally and can assist to resolve disputes through negotiation or through the various specialist courts based on the applicable domestic legislation and treaties of the WTO and TRIPS.

Recent work done by our sister firm internationally involves ongoing international trademark work for a major tea company from Sri Lanka.

 


 

Speciality Practice;

Environmental Law Opinion And Advice

 

Company Formation And Representation

Project Finance

 

Energy- Environmental Oil & Gas

Civil, Criminal& Commercial Litigation

 

Energy - Community Development

International Company Representation

 

International Trade and Privatisation

Debt Collection

 

Property & Conveyancing

Fundamental Rights Applications

 

Immigration and International Trade

Media Law/Definition

 

Trademarks/ Intellectual Property

Medical Negligence

 

Parliamentary

Banking Negligence & Supervision

 

Matrimonial

Trust Probate , Wills And Tax Planning

 

Landlord And Tenant

Minority Shareholder Protection

 

Residential/Commercial

Litigation

 

Joint Ventures

Mergers & Acquisitions

 

Capital Markets & Loans

Human Rights Law & Practice

 

Intellectual Property Law

Arbitration

 

Commercial Practice & Sales of Goods