Alex is a barrister called to both the English and Irish Bars and a US-qualified attorney admitted to the New York Bar. He is a specialist in international law and sanctions, with rare expertise in the law of international organisations (IOs). A Franco-British dual national fluent in French and Spanish, Alex is ranked in Chambers and Partners for Sanctions (Band 2) and Legal 500 for Business and Regulatory Crime (including global investigations) (Tier 3). In February 2023 he was elected Co-Chair of the New York State Bar Association International Section London Chapter.
He was appointed to the Attorney General’s London B Panel in 2019 and as Sanctions Officer (first-tier decision-maker) at the Caribbean Development Bank in 2020.
Alex’s core practice areas are: (i) business crime including global investigations and the debarment frameworks of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and International Financial Institutions (IFIs); (ii) sanctions and export control; (iii) international regulatory and disciplinary proceedings; and (iv) international administrative law and the institutional law of IOs including their immunities. Alex is one of few practitioners who have been instructed in LCIA arbitrations against IOs.
Alex litigates before international courts and tribunals, mostly in Washington DC, New York City, London and the regional hubs for IOs such as Geneva, Vienna, Jeddah and Addis Ababa. The cases he has been instructed in have involved more than 35 IOs. Between 2020 and 2023, Alex was successful before the International Administrative Tribunals of the World Bank, Organization of American States, Islamic Development Bank, African Union and UN (all reported).
His unusual practice often leads to instructions on cross-over (and cross-border) issues involving economic sanctions (in 2022 and 2023 he acted for the British Government on the sale of Chelsea FC and the proceeds thereof in light of the designation of its former owner under Russian sanctions), investigations, IOs and the anti-corruption regimes of MDBs/IFIs.
Alex authored the chapter on MDBs and their debarment systems in Lissack and Horlick on Bribery and Corruption (3rd ed., Lexis Nexis, 2020), co-authored the chapter on UK, UN & EU sanctions in Smith, Owen and Bodnar on Asset Recovery (Criminal Confiscation and Civil Recovery) (OUP, 2019), and was a contributing editor to White-Collar Criminal Prosecutions in the US and UK – A Comparative Treatise for Practitioners (American Bar Association, 2022). Alex sits on the Bar Council International Committee and is registered for direct access and qualified for litigation. Before starting at the Bar, Alex worked as an intern at the International Criminal Court in the Office of the Prosecutor in The Hague.
Alex is an international fraud and corruption specialist with an intricate understanding of MDBs/IFIs and their debarment systems. As Sanctions Officer at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), he issued the first decision of the CDB’s new debarment framework. His practice consists of advocacy (written and oral), litigation, investigations and advisory work. He has represented companies and individuals before both the World Bank’s Sanctions Board in Washington DC and the Asian Development Bank’s Integrity Oversight Committee in Manila. Between 2014 and 2017, he was instructed by the Integrity and Anticorruption Department of the African Development Bank in a case jointly investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
In 2019, Alex was instructed by a UN specialised agency to lead an investigation into allegations of fraud in its South-East Asia regional office. He has experience of negotiated resolution agreements, voluntary disclosure, and the redesign of integrity compliance programmes to make them compliant with IFIs’ Anti-Corruption Task Force guidelines. Alex represents consultants in audits and investigations conducted by MDBs and IFIs, and advises on criminal referrals to national authorities, cross-debarment under the Cross-Debarment Agreement, representation before Integrity Compliance Offices, and privileges and immunities.
Alex has lectured on the sanctions and debarment frameworks of MDBs/IFIs to the Brazilian Bar Association, British Chamber of Commerce, Korean Bar Association, Shanghai Bar Association, English Law Week in Mexico, and was a panelist at the 35th International Symposium on Economic Crime at Jesus College, Cambridge. His work on debarment has continued through his efforts with Transparency International’s Suspension and Debarment Taskforce and Oxford International Organizations (OUP) as a rapporteur.
In 2023, Alex, leading Sophie O’Sullivan, acted for the Claimant in the first s.38 SAMLA challenge to a UK sanctions designation in the Administrative Court (Synesis v Secretary of State for FCDA  EWHC 541 (Admin)). As a member of the UK Attorney General’s London B Panel, Alex is regularly instructed by HM Treasury and the FCDO to advise on sanctions matters, including in 2022 and 2023 on the sale of Chelsea FC and the proceeds thereof in light of the designation of its former owner under Russian sanctions. Alex was instructed in the Administrative Court in 2022 by the Government in the first challenge to OFSI and its alleged delay in issuing a licence. In 2022, Alex was instructed by the Attorney General of a Crown Dependency on a multibillion-dollar sanctions matter. Alex also advises companies on all aspects of sanctions law across the UN, EU, US and UK frameworks, particularly in the context of financial sanctions and export control.
Alex represents international civil servants accused of and investigated for sanctionable practices (e.g., fraud, corruption and collusion) and other misconduct including sexual offences throughout the investigatory framework of IOs. He has represented employees facing internal disciplinary proceedings before disciplinary committees at dozens of institutions including the World Bank Group, PAHO, UN, EPO, African Union, IFAD, IMF, EBRD and IMO.
Alex’s instructions include oral hearings before disciplinary tribunals as well as strategic advice and written advocacy. He also advises on referrals made from IOs to criminal and regulatory domestic bodies including the scope and potential impact thereof.
Alex regularly appears and litigates before International Administrative Tribunals (IATs) on behalf of both international civil servants (class actions, individuals seeking relief from administrative decisions, and whistleblowers who have been retaliated against for coming forward and shedding light on reprehensible practices) and IOs.
He has acted as counsel for the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank in Thessaloniki and the GWPO in Stockholm, and was previously instructed by the Commonwealth Secretariat before its Arbitral Tribunal in London. He has appeared before the following IATs:
Alex also represents victims of harassment and employees who find themselves in difficulties in field missions (in particular the UN). He has an interest in the rights of women having represented several victims of sexual harassment and maternity discrimination. In the wake of the investigations into a culture of impunity at the beginning of 2018, Alex represented Oxfam survivors and assisted journalists from the Guardian and New York Times in their investigations. Alex has worked with the charities Penal Reform International and Advocates for International Developments specifically on the rights of female abuse victims convicted of violent crime against their abusers.
Alex has lectured on international administrative law and the immunities of IOs at the universities of Exeter, City of London, Brasilia, Hong Kong, La Sorbonne, and King’s College, and on the application of international human rights law to IOs at the International Court of Justice and Stockholm Centre for International Law and Justice, as well as on the appeals systems of IOs at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
In 2019, Alex was instructed in three international arbitrations administered by the LCIA using the UNCITRAL Rules against one of the largest IOs in the UK. Alex’s experience is particularly sought after when it comes to issues touching on the cross-over between IOs and their immunities, international human rights law, and international arbitration. In 2020, he was instructed on behalf of the Respondent in an LCIA international commercial arbitration worth over £115 million. The dispute was between two parties in a former Soviet Republic involving high value commodities.
Alex is regularly instructed in mediations, conciliations and settlement negotiations with an international dimension. He is experienced in class action mediations having been instructed in a complex case against an MDB headquartered in the US. His 140 clients were employees from ten Regional Offices in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, and the mediation sessions were held in both Spanish and English.
Throughout 2018, Alex was instructed by the Staff Association of the EIB in Luxembourg to represent its interests on a Conciliation Board. He has also represented employees of European institutions before various panels, the sessions of which were held in both English and French.
Between May 2019 and December 2022, Alex was instructed as part of the evidence review team in the Dame Linda Dobbs Review. The Review was set up to investigate whether issues relating to HBOS Reading were investigated and appropriately reported to authorities following Lloyds Banking Group’s acquisition of HBOS.
Alex Haines is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.
"Alex is very professional, knowledgeable and helpful."
Sanctions, Chambers & Partners 2023
"His practice is growing in the market, he's very user-friendly and very clear in drafting and submissions."
Sanctions, Chambers & Partners 2023
"Alex is a first rate advocate with excellent client manner. He has particular expertise when it comes to tribunals in international institutions and is sought after for his experience in this area."
Business and Regulatory Crime, Legal 500 2023
To find out more, contact Sam Carter on +44 (0)203 989 6669 or Colin Bunyan on +44 (0)20 7427 4886 for a confidential discussion.
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