Michael O’Connell is partner in the Dispute Resolution department. He is a commercial litigator with a wide range of experience, including professional negligence, trust, contractual and commercial disputes. Michael has appeared in countless trials, both civil and criminal. He prosecutes on behalf of the Attorney General in Jersey.
Michael was most recently recommended by Chambers UK 2017 as a ´Notable Practitioner´ he is also recognised as a ´Senior Statesmen.´ Chambers UK 2016 sources said “by reputation he´s right up amongst the top tier.” He was named as a ´Leader in his Field´ by Chambers UK 2015 and in Chambers UK 2014 is singled out by market sources for his “great courtroom presence.” Chambers Global 2013 has ranked Michael as a ´Leading Individual.´ Chambers UK 2013 described Michael as a “seasoned practitioner” in the Jersey market and “widely regarded as a skilled litigator.” Chambers Global 2012 described Michael as ´one of the best around.” Michael was named as a ´Leader in his Field´ by Chambers UK 2012. He was also named as a ´Leader in his Field´ by Chambers Europe 2011 and 2010, and was recommended for dispute resolution in Legal 500 UK 2010 edition.
He was called to the Jersey Bar as an Advocate in 1987, and appointed Crown Advocate in 1999. He was made Partner of Appleby in 1990.
Michael is a member of the Jersey Law Society, Commercial Bar Association, Association of Contentious Trust and Estate Practitioners, International Bar Association, Institute of Directors and is a Grays Inn advocacy trainer.
Some recent examples of work include:
- Appearing for the defence in a complex trial where a locum gynaecologist was charged with gross negligence manslaughter after a patient died following a routine procedure. Such prosecutions are extremely rare and it raised substantial issues of expert evidence on gynaecological matters, vascular surgery and pathology issues. The defendant was acquitted after a four-week trial
- Appearing for the defence in the first contested extradition case to come before the Jersey Courts. The defendant was a chartered accountant whose extradition was being sought by the Australian Government on allegations of tax fraud conspiracy. This gave rise to complex argument on issues of fact and law. This case is still in the course of argument
- Gamlastaden Fastigheter AB v Baltic Partners  PC – successfully applying on behalf of the minority shareholder appellants to the Privy Council. The significant Privy Council decision developed the law both in England and Wales and in Jersey in drawing a clear distinction between the relief available on a winding-up and the remedy of unfair prejudice
- Advising the settlor and protector of a Jersey law trust in proceedings involving the issue as to whether a decision by the protector to appoint new trustees amounted to a fraud on the power in circumstances where US criminal charges were potentially going to lead to an application to confiscate the trust assets as being allegedly the proceeds of crime. The alleged criminality would amount to a crime under US law but not under English or Jersey law
- Appearing in the case of O´Brien v Marett and Others, reported in the Jersey Law Review. This big money matrimonial case raised important issues that were argued at first instance and on appeal in relation to matters which included: the applicable test in relation to recusal of judges; consent in contractual matters; whether allegedly inadequate legal representation at a court hearing can vitiate the effect of a consent order; and the circumstances in which Human Rights legislation can be said to impinge on contracts entered into between parties and how far courts that are requested to ratify consent orders should test the adequacy of the legal advice supplied to the parties in advance of making such orders
- Advising a manager of an investment fund and another of its directors in relation to an inspection initiated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission under the Collective Investment Funds (Jersey) Law. This was one of the largest and most wide-ranging inspections conducted under that legislation, coinciding with a parallel investigation being conducted by the Financial Services Authority in the UK
- Appearing for a subsidiary of a major UK plc in relation to a shareholders, dispute surrounding the ´Shard of Glass´ development in London. The dispute, which has featured prominently in the mainstream and specialist media, involved five parties and a wide range of issues, including the law of mistake, breach of trust, transactions at an undervalue and defences of laches and acquiescence
- Representing a consortium of Swedish banks that invested heavily in German commercial property via a complex project structure. The banks wanted to gain the courts’ recognition of their rights as minority shareholders
- Appearing for a leading offshore bank at the trial of proceedings brought by a UK public limited company alleging breach of mandate and negligence against a UK bank on the fraudulent diversion of some £25 million from the company’s account. The proceedings raised complex legal and factual issues, including a number of issues significant to banking practices and procedures in Jersey. The bank was successful in its defence of the negligence claim
University of Central England, Birmingham (England)
University of Nottingham (England)
“…by reputation [Michael] is right up amongst the top tier.”