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Mek Mesfin

Call 2014

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Mek is regularly instructed to advise on and appear in Court in commercial disputes and has experience of a wide range of commercial areas including, sale of goods, supply of services, agency, bailment, landlord & tenant, jurisdiction, conflict of laws and insolvency and restructuring.

Some recent examples of his instructions include:

Selected Cases

  • Covid-19: Mek is advising on contractual issues and generally in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, matters he has and continues to advise on include the performance of obligations, frustration, force majeure under a standard form contract, repudiatory breach of contract and termination, as well as advising on issues of strategy and reacting to non-binding government guidance.
  • Care Home v (1) Biomass Boiler Manufacturer and (2) Installer [2018 – 2019]: Mek is instructed as sole counsel advising a care home in a multi-million pound dispute against both (1) a supplier and (2) installer / maintenance contractor of boilers and peripheral equipment, for breach of contract and/or negligence. The case involved significant issues of contractual interpretation, exclusion clauses, fraudulent misrepresentation and was set against the backdrop of a government backed renewable energy scheme. The case has recently settled favourably for Mek’s client.
  • Printing Company v Manufacturer (1) Supplier (2) [2018 – ongoing]: Mek is instructed as sole counsel on a large claim for breach of contract/negligence in relation to defective paper which caused significant property damage and economic loss. Issues include exclusion/limitation clauses; technical evidence and jurisdictional and choice of law issues.
  • Breach of contract [2019 – ongoing]: Mek is advising on a significant claim for breach of contract in relation to the supply of equipment to an airport. The case raises issues of causation and the reasonableness of relying on expert evidence.
  • Freeholder Public Body v Contractor (1) and Leaseholder (2) [2019 – ongoing]: Mek is advising a freeholder as to alleged damage to a roof. The issue, which is pre-action, raises significant issues of the interpretation of the obligations pursuant to the lease, the building contract and warranties.
  • PFI/PPP arrangements: Mek has experience from a number of matters of the complex web of contractual arrangements and contractual provisions often found under long term PFI/PPP agreements. His experience extends to supply, leasing, operating, maintain provisions for the provision of a range of projects / long-term services including hospitals, prisons, power plants and medical services.
  • Graglia (1) Graglia (2) v Cumberland House (1) Cuttle Construction (2) [2018 – ongoing; London TCC]: Mek is instructed as sole counsel (the two other parties are represented by a QC and a senior junior respectively) in this matter for a construction company facing allegations of breach of contract and/or negligence that is said to have caused flooding to a property in Knightsbridge. The case involves significant issues of joint names insurance, and the consequences of a failure to obtain the same, pursuant to a JCT contract; the interpretation of provisions in a lease and their interaction with building works and technical issues relating to flooding. Mek is instructed to conduct the 7-day trial set down in the London TCC for January 2021.
  • Medical Equipment Supplier v NHS Public Body [2018 – 2019; Expert Determination by senior commercial QC]: Mek was instructed as sole counsel in a c.£650,000 termination dispute about a contract for the provision of primary care services. The matter was resolved through expert determination and involved issues of the validity of purported contractual termination, good faith clauses, exclusion clauses and remoteness, as well as technical issues relating to the fulfilment of obligations under the contract. The claims against Mek’s client, and the £650,000 claim against them, were dismissed in their entirety. Mek continues to advise.
  • Screeney v HCCI [2017 – ongoing; Commercial Court]: Mek is instructed as sole counsel in a c.£600k case relating to a guarantee / bond under a building contract progressing through the Commercial Court.
  • Rollins v Aston Martin (Edinburgh) [2018]: Mek was instructed by the Defendant throughout this claim for breach of contract and negligence. All of the key issues, the scope of duty, breach, causation and loss, were hotly contested, concluding in a 2-day Multi-Track in the Birmingham TCC, before HHJ Murdoch, in December 2018, in which Mek appeared and was successful in defeating the claim.
  • Individual v Individual [2018]: Instructed as sole counsel on a multi-day trail relating to a failed business venture; involving allegations of breach of contract / fiduciary duty and conversion.
  • Individual v Individual [2017]: Settling a Particulars of Claim for a claim relating to the theft of a cheque following the distribution of a residuary estate; included consideration of conversion, restitution and unjust enrichment.
  • Allegedly defective nitrogen generator [2017]: Advising and settled Particulars of Claim for a claim in contract / negligence for the supply and installation of an allegedly defective nitrogen generator fitted within a laser cutting machine. Mek’s client achieved a favourable settlement shortly after service of his Particulars of Claim.
  • Individual v Manufacturer [2018]: Advising on and settling Particulars of Claim against both a supplier and manufacturer of a defective heating system; involved issues of breach of contract, Sale of Goods Act 1979 and Consumer Protection Act 1987. The matter settled on favourable terms for Mek’s client.
  • Individual v Local Authority [2017]: Successfully representing a local authority in a claim brought for alleged negligence / breach of statutory duty by failing to maintain security around local authority properties. The Court accepted Mek’s submissions on causation / novus actus (a criminal act which broke the chain of causation) and dismissed the claim.
  • Individual v Foxtons [2017]: Successfully defending a national estate agent at the trial of a claim that it had acted in breach of contract; Mek was successful on all points, namely, establishing that there was no contract, even if there was there was no breach of it, and even if there was a breach the losses alleged to have been suffered were not, in law, recoverable.
  • Advising and drafting a Defence for an IT company on claims brought against it for alleged breaches of a supply and maintenance contract. Issues included contractual and common law termination, exclusion/limitation clauses, admissibility of evidence and entire agreement clauses.
  • Successfully appeared on behalf of a commercial landlord defending a claim by a tenant alleging various breaches of a lease over a number of years.
  • Advising on whether defects in the quality of aircrafts supplied to a national carried permitted common law or contractual termination and on the effect of the agreements limitation / exclusion clauses.
  • Successfully represented a garage against a claim made by a taxi driver regarding an allegedly defective service of a premium vehicle. Successful on both of the key issues, namely, breach and causation.
  • Represented an asbestos removal company in a claim made against them following the removal of asbestos ceilings from a domestic property; the award of quantum was reduced by a factor of 10 from the value of the original claim.
  • Advising on the recovery of various losses that flowed from termination of a partnering agreement following the insolvency of one of the parties.
  • Advising a government department on issues of limitation and whether the Isle of Man or England was the correct jurisdiction in which to bring proceedings.
  • Advising a purchaser on whether a shipyard was in repudiatory breach of an Option Agreement and Shipbuilding Contract for failing to provide a Refund Guarantee. Issues included collateral contracts, entire agreement clauses, repudiatory breach, common law / contractual termination and frustration.
  • CPA Terms: Advised on disputes relating to the Construction Plant Hire Association (CPA) terms, including issues of incorporation, exclusion / limitation clauses, vicarious liability and burdens of proof.
  • Credit Hire: Mek has appeared in several credit hire disputes in the County Court and has experience of all the main issues including need, period, rate, impecuniosity and intervention offers. He recently advised on the prospects of successfully defending an appeal on a novel question of impecuniosity and credit hire.
  • Mek conducted the first two days of a trial in behalf of an insurer relating to significant damage caused to a Highway; concerning no loss arguments and detailed quantum. The matter settled at the conclusion of Mek’s cross examination on favourable terms for his client.
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Awards


  • Best Memorandum (Honourable Mention), Willem C. Vis Moot (2014)
  • Monckton Chambers European Law Essay Prize, Finalist (2013)
  • Prince of Wales BPTC and Residential Scholar, Grays Inn (2013)
  • Bar Council Law Reform Essay Competition, Prize Winner (2012)
  • Herbert Smith/The Times Advocacy Competition, Prize Winner (2012)
  • David Karmel GDL Scholar, Gray’s Inn (2012)
  • One Essex Court / The Times Law Awards, Finalist (2012)
  • Oxford Law Society Essay Prize, Winner (2011)
  • Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize, Corpus Christi College, Oxford (2011)
  • Sharpston Scholarship, Corpus Christi College, Oxford (2010)
  • SSE Scholar, English Speaking Union (2009)

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Qualifications


  • Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School (2013 – 2014)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, City Law School (2012 – 2013)
  • BA (Hons), Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford (2009 – 2012)

Memberships


  • COMBAR
  • TECBAR
  • SCL
  • PIBA
  • PNBA
  • BILA
  • TECBAR Adjudicator
  • Member of Panel of Adjudicators for the Construction Plant Hire Association.

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