Shane Sibbel

Called to Bar:
Practice areas:
BA (Oxon) (Law), First Class (4th in year), BCL (Distinction)
French (working knowledge)


Shane has an extensive commercial practice. He is particularly experienced in large-scale and long running fraud litigation. He also has considerable experience of international arbitration practice and procedure.

Shane has acted in a wide range of complex commercial disputes in the High Court (in both the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division), as both sole and junior counsel. He has also appeared in the London Court of International Arbitration and the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Tribunal. He will shortly be appearing as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal.

Shane also regularly advises as sole counsel on high value contractual disputes, as well as on complex issues in tort, equity and intellectual property. He has co-authored the chapter on third party liability (dealing with economic torts and knowing receipt) in the new edition of Paul Goulding QC (ed.) Employee Competition (OUP, 2016), recently published an article on the first decision of the Financial List (PLC) and has presented on the law of penalties. Shane is a member of COMBAR.

As part of his commercial practice Shane acts frequently in disputes with an intellectual property dimension: see the Media and Entertainment practice area further below.

Current and recent work

Cases involving Civil Fraud

  • 2 LCIA International Arbitrations (2013 - )
    Claims under purported guarantees for loan facilities, involving a large-scale alleged fraud. The principal sum claimed is approximately $70m. The arbitrations have a long running procedural history involving 19 procedural decisions. Substantial evidential hearings have taken place over a six month period between 2015 and 2016. Junior counsel for the Defendant.
  • Bicester GP ltd & Ors v London & Metropolitan Ltd & Ors (Commercial Court, 2016 - )
    Claim concerning a series of invoicing frauds and the alleged liability of innocent recipients in unjust enrichment and under a constructive trust. Junior counsel for one of the defendants (led by Robert Howe QC).
  • Farrar v Miller (Chancery Division, 2015- )
    Claim in the Chancery Division concerning the alleged misappropriation of a development property in breach of fiduciary duties and/or duties owed under a constructive trust. Counsel for the Claimant.
  • Madoff Securities International Limited v Raven & ors [2013] EWHC 3147 (Comm)
    Litigation arising out of the notorious Ponzi scheme operated by Bernard Madoff. The claim concerned the alleged liability of the directors of the directors of an English company owned by Bernard Madoff and of recipients of payments from that company.
  • Standard Bank Plc v Just Group LLC & Erdenet Mining Corpn (Comm Court, 2013)
    Litigation concerning loans made by Standard Bank to a Mongolian corporation and the alleged fraudulent dissipation of the loaned monies. Jurisdiction challenge in July 2014. Junior counsel for one of the defendant companies.
  • Advised a potential defendant in relation to an investment agreement dispute concerning alleged breaches of fiduciary duties, misrepresentation and a proprietary claim based on a Pallant v Morgan type constructive trust.
  • Acted for the Defendant in a commercial dispute raising issues under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road and involving a counterclaim for fraudulent misrepresentation.

Other recent cases and advisory work

  • Khatau v Gander & White Shipping & Ors (Chancery Division, 2016)
    Claim for alleged liens over goods stored in a warehouse as security for a number of purported credit agreements governed by Swiss law. The liens were disputed as void for lack of formalities and by virtue of undue influence and duress between the parties. Junior counsel for the First and Second Defendants (led by Mark Vinall).
  • Acting for the Defendant in a case alleging the breach of a trade mark licence, trade mark infringement and passing off. The case raises further issues as regards the law relating to declarations, threats contrary to section 21 TMA 1994 and breach of contractual and fiduciary duties (junior counsel to Michael Bloch QC).
  • Penso City Vehicles v One80 Ltd (Chancery Division, 2014)
    Claim alleging breaches of a technology licence agreement and compromise agreement concerning the design and construction of luxury vehicles. Junior counsel for the Claimant (led by Robert Howe QC).
  • Shearman v Hunter Boot Ltd [2014] EWHC 47(QB)
    Dispute arising out of the termination of an agency agreement, raising preliminary issues as to the scope and effect of Regulation 17 of the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 under domestic and EU law. Junior counsel for the Defendant (led by Ian Mill QC).
  • Acted for the Defendant in a claim in the High Court brought by the former director, shareholder and employee of a law firm under an alleged agreement for the making of “guarantee payments”. 
  • Acted for the Defendant in a claim for agent’s remuneration owed under a purported contract for consultancy services in connection with the negotiation of a compensation claim against HS2.
  • Advised a company in relation to a potential High Court claim in contract, alternatively under the tortious duties owed by private carriers and/or bailees, in respect of the transportation of heavy machinery between company premises.
  • Rahimian v Tchenguiz (Chancery Division, 2012)
    Claim relating to a dispute between a well-known property tycoon and a former friend over sums claimed in relation to a variety of alleged trusts, partnership agreements, agency commission agreements and indemnities. Junior counsel for the Defendant (led by Tom Croxford).
  • CGF No. 9 v Holford (Mercantile Court, 2012)
    Acted for the Claimant in the Mercantile Court in a dispute concerning the enforceability of a personal guarantee over a number of lease agreements.
  • Latin American Investments Ltd and others v Maroil Trading Inc. (Commercial Court, 2012)
    Dispute arising out of an international joint venture for the transportation of oil. Junior counsel for the Defendant (led by Stephen Nathan QC).

Public Law and Human Rights

Shane is interested in all spheres of public law practice and acts for both Claimants and the Government. He is especially interested in cases where commercial issues overlap with public law principles. He also has considerable experience of acting pro bono in matters concerning terrorism, security and torture.

He was appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel) in 2015.

Prior to his call to the Bar, Shane interned as a caseworker with the AIRE (“Advice on Individual Rights in Europe”) Centre, drafting written submissions in a range of applications before the European Court of Human Rights, interviewing clients and also producing numerous advices on the rights of EU citizens under EU law. Shane is also the author of an article on “Universal Jurisdiction and the Terrorism Acts 2000 & 2006” (3(1) (2007) Cambridge Student Law Review 13).

Current and recent work

Pro bono and claimant work

  • Abdul Hakim Belhaj & others v Straw & others (Supreme Court, 2015)
    Civil claims against the security services, the former foreign secretary and others alleging their complicity in rendition and torture. The Supreme Court heard the Defendants’ appeal on preliminary issues concerning the foreign act of state doctrine and state immunity, with judgment pending. The appeal follows the success of the Claimants on the preliminary issues in the Court of Appeal: [2015] 2 WLR 1105. Junior counsel for the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Chair-Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention (in their first intervention in UK proceedings).
  • Duties owed by Local Authorities in respect of victims of human trafficking (2014)
    Advised pro bono on the obligations owed by local authorities to identify and support victims and potential victims of trafficking within the meaning of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, having regard to the EU Trafficking Directive, the ECHR and International law. 
  • Advised Freedom from Torture pro bono with Timothy Otty QC and Tristan Jones on recent international jurisprudence regarding the meaning of torture, state responsibility for torture and whether the definition of torture is context sensitive.
  • Advised in relation to a potential ECHR challenge to the system of legal aid in place in a crown dependency (junior counsel to Pushpinder Saini QC).
  • Advised pro bono on a potential challenge to changes to the Immigration Rules governing when adult dependent relatives who are non-EEA nationals can be brought into the UK (junior counsel to Naina Patel).
  • Advised pro bono on potential challenges to the new costs regime established by Schedule 7 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the Costs in Criminal Cases (General Amendment) Regulations 2012, which caps (and sometimes prevents altogether) the recovery by successful defendants in criminal proceedings of their legal costs from the Government.
  • Acted for the Claimant in a judicial review of the ongoing refusal of a local authority to accept that he is not a “ratepayer” for the purposes of section 43 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and the ongoing enforcement actions of that authority against the Claimant.
  • Advised on the merits of a constitutional challenge to an Act of Parliament or an exercise of the Royal Prerogative to alter the name of a University (junior counsel to Michael Beloff QC).

Government and regulatory work

  • Shane has advised as junior counsel, led by James Eadie QC (First Treasury Counsel to the Government), on a number of potential reforms to public infrastructure and pensions schemes, which raise overlapping commercial and public law questions.
  • Shane also regularly appears for the Crown in judicial review claims in the Upper Tribunal concerning immigration decisions, and has advised as sole counsel on the application of the Hardial Singh principles and Article 5 ECHR to an immigration detention decision.
  • Acted for one of the Defendants in a claim in tort and under the HRA concerning the scope of positive obligations on local authorities to prevent and investigate the criminal acts of private individuals (junior counsel to Monica Carss-Frisk QC).
  • Advised a large firm as sole counsel on the statutory basis for the contracting out of the provision of counter-fraud services to the NHS.
  • Advised the Office of Fair Trading in relation to a potential application for an enforcement order under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 in respect of a series of domestic and community infringements (junior counsel to Ben Jaffey).
  • (1) Kashif Chaudhry and (2) Seifelden Abdelkareem v Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Tribunal, 2012)
    Acted for the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (“QFCRA”) in the first challenge before the QFC Regulatory Tribunal by individuals to a decision notice of the QFCRA. The case concerned the respective roles of the claimants in communications between Al Mal Bank LLC and the QFCRA, and the Bank’s subsequent collapse. Junior counsel to Ben Jaffey.


Shane also practices in employment law and is particularly interested in matters where commercial, employment and/or public law principles intersect. He is shortly to appear as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning the application of implied terms to long term sickness insurance schemes. He has co-authored the chapter on third party liability (dealing with economic torts and knowing receipt) in the new edition of Paul Goulding QC (ed.) Employee Competition (OUP, 2016).

Shane is also very interested in discrimination law, and has acted in a variety of cases raising issues under the Equality Act 2010. He has presented on the circumstances in which the vocational arrangements of religious figures will be subject to jurisdiction of the courts under the Act, and the policy tensions underlying that legal question. He previously acted as a research assistant for the chapter on “Equality and Non-Discrimination” (for Prof. C. McCrudden) in D. Feldman, English Public Law (OUP, 2nd Ed, 2009). Shane is a member of ELBA.

Current and recent work

  • Acting in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning the scope and application of the implied term outlined in Scally v Southern Health and Social Services Board [1992] 1 AC 294 to an employee benefit scheme. Sole counsel for the Respondent. 
  • Acted in the EAT in relation to a claim brought under regulation 4 of TUPE for automatically unfair dismissal contrary to regulation 7(1) of TUPE. The case arises out of the administration of the Game Group in March 2012 and involves issues of burden under TUPE and the scope of ETOs following Spaceright Europe ltd v Ballavoine [2012] ICR 520. Sole counsel for the Appellant. The appeal was successful and the claim was remitted to the tribunal, whereupon it was upheld.  
  • Acted in the EAT in a case concerning the dismissal of an employee for gross misconduct following the receipt by staff members, governmental departments and high-profile public figures of a series of emails containing defamatory allegations. Sole counsel for the Respondent. The appeal was dismissed.
  • Acted for a Respondent religious organisation in relation to a claim alleging disability discrimination, and raising questions as to i) the jurisdiction of the ET under the Equality Act 2010 in respect the Respondent’s ministers and ii) whether the duty to make reasonable adjustments can be associative (junior counsel to Emma Dixon).
  • Advised a large charity in relation to the application of TUPE to the migration of outsourced healthcare contracts between the charity and an NHS trust.

Trial advocacy

Shane has gained substantial trial advocacy experience as sole counsel in a variety of substantive employment tribunal hearings:

  • Acted for the claimant in a week-long trial against an NHS Foundation Trust concerning allegations of unfair dismissal contrary to section 103A and 94 ERA 1996.
  • Appeared as sole counsel for a large supermarket chain in a number of tribunal claims, including:

- a four day hearing concerning the alleged unfair constructive dismissal of a manager and a claim for direct discrimination. All the claims were dismissed;

- a two day hearing concerning the alleged unfair dismissal of an employee following a long history of repeated short term absences. The claim was dismissed;

- a three-day hearing of a claim alleging constructive unfair dismissal, bullying and harassment. The proceedings included a dispute over whether the Claimant had forged a number of documents. All the claims were dismissed and costs were awarded against the Claimant; and

- a dispute involving allegations of unfair dismissal and race discrimination surrounding the summary dismissal of an employee for gross misconduct. The case was successfully struck out.

  • Acted in a three-day trial for a manufacturer of luxury jewellery in a claim alleging disability discrimination and unfair dismissal following the dismissal for long-term incapacity. All the claims were dismissed.
  • Acted for a claimant financial services executive against his firm in relation to a claim worth £900,000 alleging disability discrimination, whistleblowing and a sham redundancy exercise.
  • Acted for a large charity in relation to several separate claims brought against it by former employees alleging unfair dismissal, disability discrimination and breach of contract.
  • Acted for the Respondent in a case concerning allegations of constructive unfair dismissal and breach of contract. The case was withdrawn and the Respondent successfully obtained a costs order against the Claimant. 

Media and Entertainment

As part of his commercial practice Shane has been involved in a number of intellectual property cases within the sphere of Media and Entertainment. He has particular experience of litigation concerning mass online copyright infringement.

Current and recent work

  • Advising PRS on the application of the CDPA 1988 to the playing of music in hotel bedrooms (junior counsel to Pushpinder Saini QC).
  • Advising the owner of the copyright in a well-known musical composition in relation to the repeated infringement of its rights during an international advertising campaign.
  • Acting for the Defendant in a dispute between a provider of logistical support for festivals and the manager of a well-known disc jockey, recording artist and songwriter, concerning alleged breaches of contract and questions of agency.
  • Acted for the members of the BPI in obtaining orders under section 97A CDPA 1988 requiring ISPs to block access to 21 BitTorrent Indexing or MP3 Aggregating websites. The orders were successfully obtained.
  • EMI Records & others v British Sky Broadcasting & others [2013] Bus L.R. 884
    Acted for the Claimants, suing on behalf of themselves and as representatives of the members of BPI, in relation to three applications under s97A CDPA 1988 requiring ISPs to block access to the website, the website and the website (junior counsel in a team led by Ian Mill QC). The orders were successfully obtained. 
  • Advised on copyright law issues in relation to the planned publication within the music industry of a series of commemorative cartoons.
  • Advised the former manager of a well-known band in relation to potential claims for breach of a management agreement, breach of fiduciary duties and claims under the Partnership Act 1890.
  • Advised on copyright law and contractual issues in a dispute relating to the planned publication of an academic treatise.
  • Acted for the BPI as junior counsel in the preparation of an application for an injunction to prevent the Pirate Party UK from providing a proxy service on its website permitting internet users to circumvent the blocking orders over The Pirate Bay website granted in Dramatico Entertainment & others v British Sky Broadcasting & others [2012] EWHC 268 (Ch). The Pirate Party UK took down the proxy service in the face of imminent legal action.



Shane has acted in a range of cases involving sports regulators, clubs and agencies, including employment claims, commercial claims and appeals against disciplinary penalties. He is an avid rugby fan and regularly advises clubs on rugby disciplinary citations.

Current and recent work

  • Ashely Johnson ERC citation (2015)
    Represented Ashley Johnson the hearing of his citation under Law 10.4(i), concerning a tackle on David Kearney in the Wasps v Leinster ERCC Pool 2 match on 24 January 2015.
  • English Cricket Board v Barry (2014)
    Acted for the ECB in the first ever proceedings before the Cricket Discipline Commission of the England and Wales Cricket Board concerning the Players’ Agent Regulations. The case concerned the charging by a player’s agent of “finders fees” from clubs when negotiating player contracts.
  • Tevita Taumoepeau v Worcester RFC & Ors (2013)
    Acted for the Claimant in a claim alleging disability discrimination, age discrimination, whistleblowing and unfair dismissal arising out of an injury suffered by the Claimant in the course of playing for the Defendant Club and the treatment he alleges he received from the Club thereafter.
  • Hala’Ufia v RFU (2012)
    Acted for the Appellant, a London Irish RFC No. 8, in the RFU Disciplinary Appeal Panel and successfully appealed a first instance Panel decision that the Appellant had been guilty of a tip tackle offence contrary to Law 10.4(j). The Appeal Panel held that the first instance Panel had erred in law in failing to construe the elements of “lifting” and “dropping” within Law 10.4(j) offence in a manner consistent with their natural meaning and with the principle against doubtful penalization (junior counsel to Michael Beloff QC).

Other relevant experience

Prizes and Scholarships:

  • Pupil Advocacy Prize (Inner Temple, 2011)
  • Rawlinson Debating Cup: Winner (Inner Temple, 2010)
  • Thomas Finlay Intervarsity Moot: Finalist & Best Speaker (UCD Law Society, 2010)
  • Princess Royal Scholarship (Inner Temple, 2009 - 2010)
  • Freshfields Bruckhouse Deringer Scholarship (Oxford University, 2008)
  • Lincoln College Exhibitioner (Oxford University, 2005 – 2007)

Other Interests:

Music, Travel, Rugby, Photography.

Other Information:

VAT registration number: 120943145