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BJ CUK 2017
BJ Global 2016
 

Benjamin John

Call 2002

bjohn@maitlandchambers.com

Ben is recognised in the directories as a leading junior in commercial and chancery litigation, with recommendations in Chambers UK, Legal 500 and Chambers Global in all areas of his practice. He is described by commentators as “an absolute star” and “a leading figure in years to come”. Praised as “one of the finest legal minds I have come across”, as “intellectually off the scale” and as having “analytical skills…in a class of their own”, Ben is also recognised as “a clever tactician” whose “judgement, even in the most difficult situations, is second to none”. He is “excellent on his feet” and “has the ability to produce results”; described as “a steel fist inside a velvet glove”, he “stands out for the volume and value of instructions in which he is unled”. In addition, Ben is “brilliant with clients”, “rolls up his sleeves”, “will run through brick walls for you in pursuit of a good result” and is “fun to work with”.

Practice

Ben’s work encompasses all manner of general commercial disputes (contractual or otherwise), civil fraud and asset tracing, banking and finance, company and partnership matters (including insolvency), claims against fiduciaries & trustees and property disputes. He has appeared in tribunals from the Supreme Court down and has wide advocacy experience, led and unled, in the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division, and in the Court of Appeal. Much of Ben’s work has a major international dimension and he has considerable experience of jurisdictional issues, worldwide freezing injunctions and associated relief, dealing with substantive foreign law points, advising in offshore jurisdictions, enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards in the UK and the management of proceedings in multiple jurisdictions. He is also an expert in litigation involving Sovereign states and issues of state immunity, having acted for the Republic of Argentina (in a leading case on state immunity in the Supreme Court) and acted against several African states.

Instructed in some of the most high profile and substantial matters litigated from London, irrespective of the subject matter or legal context, Ben is currently acting for one of the claimants in the Brexit: Article 50 Litigation (Miller & Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU). He is also acting, or has acted recently, in the Republic of Argentina’s long-running fight with hold-out hedge funds following the 2001 Argentinian economic collapse and bond defaults, the Nomura v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena case relating to the Alexandria Notes and associated derivative trades, the long-running Yukos Oil/Mikhail Khodorkovsky affair (in Yukos Capital Rosneft Oil Company), the Hong Kong litigation over the estate of Hong Kong billionaire in Mr Fok Ying Tung Henry, the Dar al Arkan v Al Refai & Bank Alkhair litigation (one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases for 2014 and 2015), the much-publicised battle between a major hedge fund and Zambia (Donegal International v The Republic of Zambia) in relation to restructured debt obligations of Zambia, and several of the largest scale commercial frauds to come before the English Court (including acting for Mr Ablyazov in the main proceedings in JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov; the litigation arising out of alleged corruption and bribery in contract procurement involving Bahraini aluminium giant Alba; Wirecard AG Scott, the Beijing Olympic ticket fraud case, and Cadogan Petroleum).

Education and Awards

Before coming to the Bar, Ben took a double First in Chemistry at Oxford. He then completed the Graduate Diploma in Law at City University in 2001, coming top of his year and winning the 3VB prize for best overall performance. He was a Duke of Edinburgh, a Major and then a Princess Royal Scholar of the Inner Temple and, at Bar School, was classed Outstanding and won the Barstow Prize Scholarship.

Notable and Reported Cases

Commercial disputes and business agreements

The Brexit: Article 50 Litigation – Miller & Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2016]: described as one of the most significant cases ever to come before the English Courts, this action concerns whether Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (the mechanism by which the UK would leave the EU following the EU referendum) can be invoked by the Prime Minister without the express approval of Parliament. It is to be tried, on an expedited basis, before a Divisional Court presided over by the Lord Chief Justice in October 2016 before a probable leapfrog appeal to the Supreme Court.

Ricci v Nomura International Plc [2016]: a substantial claim by a former employee of the bank relating to a number of substantial financial transactions.

Nomura International Plc v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA [2015]: a €3.5 billion dispute arising out of a series of complex derivative transactions.

Slocom Trading Limited v Tatik Inc & Sibir Energy Plc [2014] EWCA Civ 831; [2013] EWHC 1201 (Ch) and [2012] EWHC 3464 (Ch): Chancery Division action against the Russian energy giant arising out of various loan and security agreements relating to multi million euro French assets. Ben acted unled in the Court of Appeal (and for further argument in the Chancery Division) for the successful Claimant/Respondent Slocom.

Capital Markets Financial Services Inc. v Republic of Argentina [2013]: acting unled in relation to enforcement of judgments worth hundreds of millions of dollars of the courts of the Southern District of New York in Argentina’s long-running worldwide hedge fund litigations arising from bond defaults in the early 2000s.

Re: TourX Inc.: contractual and other claims by a major global music star in relation to concerts in Azerbaijan.

Blue Angel Capital I LLC v Republic of Argentina [2012] and Capital Ventures International v Republic of Argentina [2012]: acting unled in relation to claims by a variety of hedge funds in respect of defaulted debts of Argentina worth over a billion dollars.

NML Capital Limited v Republic of Argentina [2011] UKSC 31 (SC); [2010] 3 WLR 874 (CA); [2009] QB 579 (Comm): a $300m claim against Argentina in the UK courts raising novel issues relating to sovereign immunity in relation to the enforcement of foreign judgments against states. The case is now the leading authority on various aspects of sovereign immunity.

Yukos Capital S.a.r.l. v OJSC Rosneft Oil Company [2011] EWHC 1461 (Comm): part of the long running Yukos affair, these claims are to enforce arbitration awards worth nearly half a billion dollars which have been set aside by the supervisory courts in Russia. The case raises important issues on issue estoppel and the Act of State doctrine.

North Principal Investments Fund Ltd v Greenoak Renewable Energy Ltd [2009] EWHC 18 EWHC (Ch): a multi-million euro dispute over rights to own and develop a wind farm off the German/Danish coast.

Donegal International Ltd v Republic of Zambia [2007] EWHC 197 (Comm), [2007] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 397: high profile Commercial Court action involving extensive jurisdictional disputes and questions as to freezing relief against sovereign states.

Riyad Bank v Ahli United Bank (UK) plc [2006]: multi-million pound Commercial Court action relating to the scope of duty and other issues in respect of investments in equipment leases.

JSC Zestafoni G Nikoladze Ferralloy Plant v Ronly Holdings Ltd [2004] EWHC 245 (Comm), [2004] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 335: an arbitration claim in the Commercial Court challenging an Award (relating to contracts for supply and manufacture of ferroalloys at a plant in Georgia) under ss. 67 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.

Civil fraud

Terra Raf Trans Traiding Limited v Assaubayev [2015], [2014]: Ben is acting unled in these Commercial Court claims relating to an alleged fraud connected to sale of substantial oil & gas assets.

Dar al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & Bank Alkhair BSC v Al Refai & others [2014], [2013]: enormous conspiracy and blackmail claims in the Commercial Court worth billions.

Re D (in private) [2012] EWHC 1090 (Admin): An application in the Administrative Court for discharge of worldwide freezing relief and interim receivership orders worth billions of dollars (pursuant to the restraint order jurisdiction under the Criminal Justice Act 1988) in relation to alleged bribery and corrupt procurement of natural resources contracts in the Middle East.

JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and others [2011] EWCA 1588 (CA); [2011] EWHC 202 (Comm) and [2011] EWHC 1136 (Comm): the highest value series of actions ever brought in the English Court involving claims against the bank’s former owner and chairman alleging massive frauds and diversion of funds. The case raises a multiplicity of complicated and novel issues of law and fact (including in relation to the Act of State doctrine).

S v MH [2011]: a multi-million pound claim brought by several former shareholders of a major UK company alleging deceit, conspiracy and breach of duty by various former directors and their associates (and consequential tracing and proprietary claims).

Cadogan Petroleum plc v Tolley [2010]: fraud, conspiracy and constructive trust claims by a listed petroleum company against its former CEO and others for alleged bribery relating to the procurement of valuable plant contracts for gas exploitation in Ukraine.

Wirecard Bank v Scott and others [2010] EWHC 451 (QB): a high profile fraud case relating to the supply of tickets to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Banking and Finance

Ricci v Nomura International Plc [2016]: a substantial claim by a former employee of the bank relating to a number of substantial financial transactions.

Nomura International Plc v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA [2015]: a €3.5 billion dispute arising out of a series of complex derivative transactions.

Panagopoulos v Lloyds Bank Plc [2014]: a complex and valuable swaps alleged mis-selling claim.

Dar al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & Bank Alkhair BSC v Al Refai & others [2013]: claims in the Commercial Court engaging extensive allegations relating to finance transactions and banking regulation in the Middle East.

Proton Bank S.A. v Greenoak Renewable Energy [2011]: claims by a Greek bank in relation to various interlocking finance agreements, giving rise to various issues under Directive 2001/24/EC on the reorganisation and winding up of credit institutions.

Company, partnership and insolvency

Re F Plc [2016]: a derivative action/dispute relating to a substantial CIS mining venture.

Re RR [2015]: advising in relation to inter-partner liability issues arising from a professional negligence action worth over £150 million.

Re NIP [2015]: multi-billion € dispute involving a range of complex company law issues relating to breach of duty, authority and corporate attribution.

Re A B.S.C. [2013]: advising on various company law issues (in particular, the attribution of knowledge to a company) in relation to alleged bribery and corruption in contract procurement by a major industrial public company in the Middle East.

Cherrin v ETF Securities Limited [2012]: a dispute relating to share options in a global investment company.

Re U Ltd [2011]: a multi-million pound shareholder dispute in relation to the running of, and sale of shares in, a major UK energy company.

Tyte v MAG Limited: an unfair prejudice petition under s. 994 of the Companies Act 2006 relating to a planned management buy-out in a global design company.

Trustees and other fiduciaries

Re the Estate of Mr Fok Ying Tung Henry [2013]: a long-running dispute in the Hong Kong courts relating to the multi-billion HKD estate and the rights to development options in mainland China.

Re the M B Trust: advising as to the revocation of a major family trust pursuant to section 1 of the Variation of Trusts Act 1958.

WestLB AG v Yacub & another [2007]: a claim for breach of fiduciary duty and accessory liability in relation to the operations of the claimant bank, including issues as to the scope of fiduciary duties in Hong Kong law.

Re the Estate of Shaker Al Abood: complex claims against trustees relating to the administration of the English will and very substantial inter vivos and will trusts of Shaker Al Abood.

Real property

Re Land at HF [2014]: advising in relation to pre-emption and other rights arising in the context of development rights worth several millions.

Re L & L Properties Limited [2011]: claims arising out of a major land development in Aldershot.

Port of London Authority: acting over a number of years for the Port of London Authority in relation to various property issues along the River Thames at London.

Lord St Helens, Sherdley Estates & others v Northwest Development Agency & others [2009]: substantial claims relating to the development of land in Merseyside.

Re J Estates Limited: advising as to issues of access and occupation (including easement and restrictive covenant questions) of former industrial land in South Wales in connection with the proposed multi-million pound development of a new town.

Memberships
COMBAR
Chancery Bar Association
Financial Services Lawyers Association

Qualifications
MChem (Oxon)

What the directories say

Chambers UK

Commercial Dispute Resolution
"He is very responsive, bright and fun to work with, and he has great technical ability." "Ben has excellent judgement and a formidable intellect." (2017)

“An absolute star”, Ben is "extremely talented”. “He is fiercely intelligent, works well with clients, is excellent on his feet and his advice is thorough but to the point." (2016)

“He has the capacity to drill down and explain really difficult issues” and “his intellectual grasp of factual details is amazing.” (2016)

Ben has “a growing reputation for his intelligent approach to matters” (2016)

“A popular junior for all manner of commercial chancery cases. Sources particularly appreciate his high-quality written work” (2015)

"A hard-working, analytical team player" (2015)

"Intellectually off the scale, he will be a leading figure in years to come." Ben “has acted in several of the largest commercial disputes in recent times”. He “shows particular expertise in cases involving fraud claims and international questions”. (2014)

Ben “…has ‘excellent judgement and a formidable intellect.’ He is ‘a clever tactician’ who, solicitors say, ‘will run through brick walls for you’ in pursuit of a good result” (2013)

“…shines through as a rising star within the set” with “many work highlights” (2012)

Ben has "already earned a legion of admirers thanks to his ‘excellent judgement and formidable intellect’" (2011)

Legal 500 UK

Commercial Litigation

"Ben has 'an excellent reputation' and is 'somebody you can count on'” (2016)

“Ben is ‘excellent on his feet’; he is ‘extremely talented, but also human; he works well with clients.’” (2015)

"Incredibly bright and easy to get on with; a real star in the making." (2014)

Leading Junior (2013), (2012)

“Clients love Benjamin John”; he is “bright and inventive, and has the ability to produce results” (2011)

Leading Junior under 10 years call (2009)

Chambers UK

Chancery: Commercial
"He is phenomenally clever, a supreme tactician and someone much loved by clients." (2017)

Ben is “fiercely intelligent”, “works well with clients and is excellent on his feet” (2016)

He is “versatile” and “…will leave no stone unturned if the case demands it” (2016)

“His judgement even in the most difficult situations is second to none." (2016)

Ben’s “work often has an international flavour and takes in points relating to banking and company affairs, conflict of laws issues and fraud” (2016)

Ben is “brilliant with clients” and “is very professional” (2015)

“Often instructed on matters with considerable international components” Ben “maintains a diverse practice, and has noted expertise in fraud claims and asset tracing.” (2015)

“The demands of his impressive commercial chancery practice take him to numerous overseas jurisdictions, whilst he also has considerable experience in the higher domestic courts. He is an expert on trust and land law.” (2014)

"He is a very bright, considered senior junior. An excellent draftsman and tactician, he is professional and has strong client-handling skills." "He has excellent judgement and a formidable intellect." (2014)

Ben has acted in “an impressive array of cases” including “complex claims concerning a diverse mix of commercial and chancery issues” (2013)

“A strong advocate on his way up” and "fun to work with"; he is “particularly sought out for fraud and asset-tracing cases”; “For someone of his call he stands out for the volume and value of instructions in which he is unled” (2012)

Ben is "rapidly gaining the heightened respect of his peers, several of whom admire him for his assiduous approach" (2011)

Chambers UK

Fraud: Civil
"He has a sharp mind, is a lovely person to deal with and is a good team player." "He is an excellent draftsman and tactician." (2017)

"Ben is extremely talented – he is fiercely intelligent but also human” and is “esteemed by market sources for his intellectual ability” (2016)

He is “excellent on his feet” and “his judgement is second to none." (2016)

“He has one of the finest legal minds I have come across, and he can unravel the most complex legal knots. His analytical skills are in a class of their own.” (2015)

"He's a genius with a massive brain"

“An excellent draftsman and tactician”, Ben “has appeared both led and unled in a number of high-profile fraud cases” and “has experience in disputes from corporate fraud and insider dealing to government corruption claims” (2015)

Ben is "a very bright, considered leading junior. He's an excellent draftsman and tactician." “Solicitors value his user-friendliness and client-handling skills.” (2014)

Ben "’has definitely arrived’" according to interviewees, following his role in the massive international dust-up that was BTA Bank v Abylazov” (2013)

"...highly rated"; "'...promising eye for detail and sound written work'" (2012)

Legal 500 UK

Fraud: Civil

“He has a great grasp of detail and is also a delight to work with” (2016)

“Ben ‘is an up-and-coming star of the Bar’, with ‘a sharp intellect’ and ‘good judgement’” (2015)

"A super-bright barrister, who rolls up his sleeves and always brings fresh ideas." (2014)

"His professional style belies his user-friendly approach and client-handling skills" (2013)

"Ben is an excellent draftsman and tactician, and will go far" (2012)

"A steel fist inside a velvet glove" (2011)

"Exceptionally bright" (2010)

Leading Junior (2009), (2008)

Legal 500 UK

Company

"Ben is 'very responsive, bright and fun to work with'” (2016)

“Incredibly bright and easy to get on with – a real star in the making.” (2015)

Ben "always brings something fresh to the party" (2014)

Chambers UK

Real Estate

"...continues to build on his profile in this arena" (2010)

"One to watch for the future"; "clients favour him as he is 'hands-on when you need assistance'" (2009)

Chambers Global

Dispute Resolution -Commercial/Commercial Chancery
"He is fiercely intelligent but also human. He works well with clients, is excellent on his feet and his advice is always thorough and to the point. He will leave no stone unturned if the case demands it. His judgement even in the most difficult situations is second to none." (2017)
"Extremely talented. He is fiercely intelligent, works well with clients, is excellent on his feet and his advice is thorough but to the point." "He has the capacity to drill down and explain really difficult issues. His intellectual grasp of factual details is amazing." (2017)

“Excellent on his feet” (2016)

Ben is "extremely talented”, “works well with clients, and his advice is thorough but to the point." "He has the capacity to drill down and explain really difficult issues. His intellectual grasp of factual details is amazing." (2016)

“A versatile commercial chancery practitioner who…is fiercely intelligent but also human” (2016)

Ben will “leave no stone unturned if the case demands it” and “his judgement even in the most difficult situations is second to none." (2016)

"He is a very bright, considered senior junior." (2014)

"An excellent draftsman and tactician, he is professional and has strong client-handling skills." (2014)

"He has excellent judgement and a formidable intellect." (2014)

With “many work highlights”, “Benjamin John…shines through as a rising star” (2012)