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Benjamin John

Call: 2002

Overview

Ben is recognised in the directories as a leading junior in all aspects of commercial and chancery litigation (including civil fraud and company disputes), with recommendations in Chambers UK, Legal 500 and Chambers Global in all areas of his practice. He was shortlisted as Chancery Junior of the Year at the 2020 Chambers Bar Awards.

Ben is described by commentators as “an absolute star” and “like a silk in every respect”. 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 supreme tactician” whose “judgement, even in the most difficult situations, is second to none”. He is “an extremely charming and persuasive advocate” and “excellent on his feet”. “Judges respect him very highly indeed” and he “has the ability to produce results”.  Ben is described as “a steel fist inside a velvet glove”, and 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 “always really cheery” and “fun to work with”.

 

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), private client, trusts and claims against fiduciaries & trustees and commercial 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, including issues of state immunity, ‘Act of State’ and the ‘one voice’ doctrine, having acted for the Republic of Argentina (in a leading case on state immunity in the Supreme Court), for the Libyan Investment Authority (in the Court of Appeal), for the Russian state oil company Rosneft in the long-running Yukos Oil/Mikhail Khodorkovsky affair, and against several African, Asian and Middle Eastern states.

Instructed in some of the most high profile and substantial matters litigated from London, irrespective of the subject matter or legal context, Ben acted for one of the two main claimants in the Brexit: Article 50 Litigation (Miller & Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU), heard en banc by the Supreme Court in 2017.  Other current or recent major cases include the Libyan Investment Authority’s litigation before the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal flowing from the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in Libya (Ali Mahmoud Mohamed v Breish), Tugushev v Orlov, one of the largest commercial fraud cases currently before the English Courts, coming on for trial in 2022, various pieces of litigation in the Nomura v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena case relating to derivative trades in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis (one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases), the Dar al Arkan v Al Refai & Bank Alkhair litigation (one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases), and acting for Mr Ablyazov himself in the main proceedings in JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov, the $6 billion fraud claim arising out of the nationalisation of the Kazakh bank; the Hong Kong litigation over the estate of Hong Kong billionaire in Mr Fok Ying Tung Henry; and the litigation arising out of alleged corruption and bribery in contract procurement involving Bahraini aluminium giant Alba.

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, 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.

Terms of Business 

The clerks are happy to discuss the basis on which Ben will act in any given matter. In the absence of express written agreement otherwise, the terms under which Ben accepts instructions are The Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services By Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 (as updated from time to time) referred to in the BSB Handbook.

“Brilliant strategically and very good with clients, he delivers a great service." "He's tremendous fun, has great judgement and is very responsive.”

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“Extremely effective and very bright, he fits in seamlessly with the whole team and is like a silk in every respect.”

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“An extremely charming and persuasive advocate who rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck into cases.”

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

“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.”

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

Expertise

Overview

Ben is acting or has acted in several of the most high profile and substantial cases litigated from London in the last fifteen years (in tribunals from the Supreme Court down to the Commercial Court), including Miller - the Brexit Article 50 litigation, heard before a Supreme Court bench of 11 Justices. 

He has wide experience of running important commercial litigation from inception to conclusion,  developing strategy as well as doing the advocacy, domestic and international (including dealing with the challenges created by multiple proceedings running in tandem in different jurisdictions) and often with very high profile parties (which have included Sovereign states, sovereign wealth funds, major (often state owned) companies, major international banks, oligarchs and other ultra high net worth individuals).  Ben often leads a counsel team; and is also led both in and out of chambers by leading silks.  He is praised by commentators in the field of commercial litigation as “brilliant strategically” with “intellectual rigour second to none”; “client’s love” him and he has “great judgment”: overall “he delivers a great service”.

​Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Tugushev v Orlov [2021] EWHC 1514 (Comm); [2021] EWHC 926 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 2031 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 645 (Comm); [2018] EWHC 3471 (Comm): a “mega-money Russian dispute”, as it was described in the press, over the ownership of the vast international fishing business run by the Norebo Group, giving rise to global litigation in six jurisdictions.  Ben acts for Mr Orlov in the main proceedings before the Commercial Court in London, set down for trial in 2022.
  • JSC Karat-1 v Tugushev [2021] EWHC 743 (Comm): an $10m application to enforce the cross-undertaking in damages arising out of a discharged world-wide freezing injunction.  A new leading case in relation to the availability of security for costs in such an inquiry as to damages.
  • Re the Libyan Investment Authority: Ali Mahmoud Mohamed v Breish & others [2020] EWCA Civ 637; [2020] EWHC 696 Comm); [2019] EWHC 1765 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 786 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 306 (Comm): a dispute of unusual geo-political sensitivity about who is properly entitled to control the considerable UK assets of the sovereign wealth fund of Libya – the Libyan Investment Authority. Ben acts for Dr Mahmoud, successfully securing declarations from the English Court as to the identity of the government of Libya, as a matter of English law, following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011; and as to the validity of his appointment as Chairman of the LIA.
  • Ricci v Nomura International Plc: a very substantial claim by a former employee of the bank relating to a number of substantial financial transactions.
  • Pirtek Limited v Hosefast Limited: Ben acted unled in the trial of this franchise dispute involving complex contested factual and technical evidence and novel points of law in a franchise context.
  • The Brexit: Article 50 Litigation – Miller & Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2018] AC 61 ([2017] UKSC 5); [2017] 1 All ER 158 ([2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin)): 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 was tried, on an expedited basis, before a Divisional Court presided over by the Lord Chief Justice in October 2016, followed by a (then) unprecedented leapfrog appeal to the Supreme Court sitting en banc.
  • Nomura International Plc v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA: 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.
  • Blue Angel Capital I LLC v Republic of Argentina; Capital Ventures International v Republic of Argentina and Capital Markets Financial Services Inc. v Republic of Argentina: acting unled in relation to enforcement of judgments (worth well over a billion 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.
  • 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 Supreme Court 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 raised 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: 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.

Overview

Ben is regularly instructed in the largest scale and most high profile commercial frauds to come before the English Court, including acting in cases like Tugushev v Orlov; the litigation arising out of the Banca dei Monte Paschi di Siena scandal; for Mr Ablyazov himself in the main proceedings in JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov; in Wirecard AG Scott, the Beijing Olympic ticket fraud case; and in Cadogan Petroleum.

Also highly experienced in global litigation involving allegations of massive governmental corruption such as the Zambia vulture fund litigation and the Yukos-Rosneft litigation, and cases involving the application of the Patev v Mirza “illegality” doctrine, he is often consulted for his expertise in relation to fraud, corruption and committal angles in important litigation in other fields of law such as – recently – complex banking litigation, $100m employment proceedings, insurance claims and criminal confiscation proceedings.

Praised in this field as “an extremely charming and persuasive advocate”, he is often instructed unled in relation to major cases in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal, as well as being led by leaders of the Bar in and out of Chambers. 

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Tugushev v Orlov [2019] EWHC 2031 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 645 (Comm); [2018] EWHC 3471 (Comm): A $350m claim in conspiracy in relation to the ownership of a highly successful international fishing business, supplying household brands in the United Kingdom.  Ben is the junior lead for Mr Orlov in proceedings before the Commercial Court in London, in which worldwide freezing relief has been successfully discharged. The case continues to trial in 2022.
  • Supermax Offshore Holdings Limited v Malhotra [2017] EWHC 3246 (Comm): a major dispute between different shareholder/investor groups in Supermax, a major player the Indian razor market. Ben was instructed to advise and represent Mr Malhotra in relation to the committal aspects of this case.
  • Terra Raf Trans Traiding Limited v Assaubayev [2014] EWHC 4211 (Comm); [2013] EWHC 2824 (Comm): Ben acted 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 [2013] EWHC 3682 (Comm): conspiracy and blackmail claims in the Commercial Court worth billions.
  • Re D (in private) [2012] EWHC 1090 (Admin): A successful 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): then 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 raised a multiplicity of complicated and novel issues of law and fact (including in relation to the Act of State doctrine).
  • S v MH: 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: 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.

Overview

Ben has wide experience in the full range of company law proceedings, often of very high value and/or involving household names, including major shareholder disputes, breach of director’s duty claims, claims relating to reflective loss and derivative actions, and unfair prejudice petitions.  In this arena “his intellectual rigour and strategic thinking are second to none”.

Ben is also frequently instructed to provide specialist company law advice – or to provide company expertise on a wider legal team – both in heavy commercial litigation and in other fields, such as (recently) in a highly complex criminal matter. 

He has particular expertise in questions of attribution in the corporate context, having advised in several recent cases raising difficult questions of attribution and having been published on the topic in Civil Fraud: Law Practice and Procedure.

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Re C Holdings Ltd [2019]: a company law dispute involving alleged breaches of company law provisions on property acquisitions by directors and associated breaches of duty (and allied shareholder disputes) in relation to the business empire of a world-renowned designer and entrepreneur.
  • Re L M [2018]: A significant shareholder/unfair prejudice dispute arising out of the running of the company which owns a well-known publication.
  • Supermax Offshore Holdings Limited v Malhotra [2017] EWHC 3246 (Comm): a major shareholder dispute in relation to the Supermax Group, a major player the Indian razor market.
  • 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.

Overview

Ben is sought out for large scale swaps, derivative and other financial product mis-selling claims, claims involving LIBOR manipulation allegations, cases involving note and financial product construction and banking disputes arising out of counterparty defaults.  He is often instructed for his cross-disciplinary expertise in both banking/finance and other areas such as fraud or company law; and has spent much time in recent years on multiple different cases springing from the near collapse of the Italian bank Banca dei Monte Paschi di Siena, following the revelation of allegations that a number of very large derivative trades were entered into and structured so as to hide losses on the Bank’s books.

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Ricci v Nomura International Plc: a substantial on-going claim by a former employee of the bank relating to a number of substantial financial transactions.  Ben acts for the bank.
  • Bank Leumi v Akrill: Ben acted unled for the Bank in this case relating to enforcement of various rights and obligations arising out of derivative contracts.
  • Nomura International Plc v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA: a €3.5 billion dispute arising out of a series of complex derivative transactions.
  • Panagopoulos v Lloyds Bank Plc: a complex and valuable swaps alleged mis-selling claim.
  • Dar al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & Bank Alkhair BSC v Al Refai & others [2013] EWHC 3682 (Comm): 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: 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.

Overview

Ben has vast experience of international litigation and arbitration: the vast majority of his cases have a very significant international element, often involving major offshore proceedings, including in the Channel Islands, Cayman, the BVI and Hong Kong.

Accordingly, Ben is an expert in dealing with jurisdictional issues, worldwide freezing and proprietary relief and associated interlocutory proceedings and applications, enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards in the UK (under common law and under a number of the bi- or multi-lateral enforcement regimes), and dealing with litigation and arbitration where the substantive law is foreign (including, for example, the law of Russia, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Cayman, the BVI, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jersey, Dubai, Norway, France, Zambia, Italy and Congo). 

Ben has acted in, or advised in relation to, substantial offshore litigation in the major hubs in the Caribbean, Hong Kong and the Channel Islands, often including the management of such litigation in tandem with major proceedings in London and in the Court’s in other parts of the world.  Ben is experienced in dealing with the challenges presented by overlapping litigation and arbitration in a number of juris,dictions, including where there are concurrent criminal proceedings in other countries.

He is also an expert in litigation involving sovereign states, including issues of state immunity, ‘Act of State’ and the ‘one voice’ doctrine.  He has acted for or against states or major sovereign entities/interests in Argentina, Libya, Russia, Kazakhstan, Congo, Zambia and Saudi Arabia in the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Tugushev v Orlov: A global litigation and arbitration fight in relation to the ownership of a highly successful international fishing business, supplying household brands in the United Kingdom.  There is litigation in 6 jurisdictions, including major unfair prejudice proceedings in Hong Kong and concurrent applications in the Channel Islands.  The case involves all the features of international and offshore litigation, including an extensive 4 day jurisdiction challenge in the English Court, successfully discharging world-wide freezing relief granted in the UK, the Channel Islands and in Hong Kong, successfully resisting the domestication of interlocutory relief in Russia, and the management of the interaction between litigation in London and civil and criminal proceedings in Russia and Norway.  
  • Re the Libyan Investment Authority: Ali Mahmoud Mohamed v Breish & others: a dispute before the courts in the Cayman and the UK of great geo-political sensitivity.  The case involved receiverships of assets belonging to the sovereign wealth fund of Libya – the Libyan Investment Authority – pending resolution of who is properly entitled to control those assets following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.  Ben successfully secured declarations from the English Court as to the identity of the government of Libya (under the ‘one voice’ doctrine in relation to the recognition of sovereign states and governments by the United Kingdom); and as to the validity of his appointment as Chairman of the LIA under Libyan law (in tandem with proceedings in Libya); and acted unled for the LIA in discharging the receiverships at the end of 2020.
  • Re the Estate of Mr Fok Ying Tung Henry: a long-running dispute in the Hong Kong courts relating to the multi-billion HKD estate of Henry Fok, including valuable rights to development options in mainland China.
  • A v B: a dispute between a global insurance provider and a sovereign state in relation to very large liabilities in the United Kingdom: involving novel questions in relation to both state and diplomatic immunity.
  • Ricci v Nomura International Plc: a very substantial claim by a former employee of the bank relating to a number of substantial financial transactions, managed in tandem with extensive and on-going criminal and regulatory proceedings in Italy.
  • Re D: A successful application in the Administrative Court and in various offshore jurisdictions (the Channel Islands, Cayman and the BVI) 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.
  • Dar al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & Bank Alkhair BSC v Al Refai & others: conspiracy and blackmail claims under Dubai and Saudi law.
  • JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and others: litigation in a number of jurisdictions involving claims against the bank’s former owner and chairman alleging massive frauds and diversion of funds under Kazakh law. The case involved extensive interim proceedings – for freezing relief and the grant of interim receiverships – in the UK and the Channel Islands; and the main UK proceedings are a leading case under the Act of State doctrine.
  • NML Capital Limited v Republic of Argentina: a $300m claim against Argentina raising novel issues relating to sovereign immunity in relation to the enforcement of foreign judgments against states. The case is now the leading Supreme Court authority on various aspects of sovereign immunity.
  • Blue Angel Capital I LLC v Republic of Argentina; Capital Ventures International v Republic of Argentina and Capital Markets Financial Services Inc. v Republic of Argentina: acting unled for the Republic of Argentina in relation to enforcement of judgments (worth well over a billion 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.
  • Yukos Capital S.a.r.l. v OJSC Rosneft Oil Company: 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 raised important issues on the Act of State doctrine.
  • Donegal International Ltd v Republic of Zambia: high profile Commercial Court action against the Republic of Zambia involving extensive jurisdictional disputes and questions as to freezing relief against sovereign states.
  • JSC Zestafoni G Nikoladze Ferralloy Plant v Ronly Holdings Ltd: 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.

Overview

Praised as “phenomenally clever, a supreme tactician and someone much loved by clients”, Ben has wide experience of private client work both on and off shore, including in relation to very large value family settlements, along with the full gamut of fiduciary and trust litigation (in both a private client and family business context).

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Re C Holdings Ltd: Ben acts in relation to claims for breaches of fiduciary duty and company law provisions on property acquisitions by directors in relation to the business empire of a world-renowned designer and entrepreneur.
  • Re the Estate of Mr Fok Ying Tung Henry: 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: 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.

Directory quotes

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“Brilliant strategically and very good with clients, he delivers a great service." "He's tremendous fun, has great judgement and is very responsive.” (2021)

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“Extremely effective and very bright, he fits in seamlessly with the whole team and is like a silk in every respect.” (2020)

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“Ben's intellectual rigour is second to none, as is his strategic thinking.” (2019)

 

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“He is always really cheery" and "he really has a great eye for detail. Whatever you throw at him he can turn around, and he's quite voracious in dealing with work.” (2018)

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)

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“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)

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

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

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

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

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

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

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“A hard-working, analytical team player.” (2015)

Chambers UK
Commercial Dispute Resolution

“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)

Legal 500 UK
Commercial Litigation

“Thorough and detailed in approach; intellectually rigorous and gets to grips with the detail.” (2021)

Legal 500 UK
Commercial Litigation

“A very good court performer with bags of personality.” (2020)

Legal 500 UK
Commercial Litigation

“His intellectual rigour is second to none, as is his strategic thinking.” (2019)

Legal 500 UK
Commercial Litigation

“He is a delight to deal with, very versatile and really adds to the productivity of the team.” (2017)

Legal 500 UK
Commercial Litigation

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

Legal 500 UK
Commercial Litigation

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

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

“He is pleasant to deal with, very thorough, and exactly what you want from a barrister. He's also extremely hard-working.” (2021)

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

“A really excellent junior." "He is not a silk but he's like a silk in every other way. He's an extremely effective and very bright barrister who fits in seamlessly with the whole team.” (2020)

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

“Immensely clever. His attention to detail is exemplary, and judges respect him very highly indeed." "Very, very bright and meticulous, he doesn't leave any stone unturned and has a very nice way of expressing himself.” (2019)

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

“He does really big-ticket litigation and is very clever." "A potential superstar for the future, he's a pleasure to work with and works incredibly hard. He adds a lot to any case and I've never seen him in a bad mood.” (2018)

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

“He is phenomenally clever, a supreme tactician and someone much loved by clients.” (2017)

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

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

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

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

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

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

Chambers UK
Chancery: Commercial

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

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

“He is enthusiastic and has a personable advocacy style.” (2021)

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

“An extremely charming and persuasive advocate who rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck into cases.” (2020)

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

“Intellectual rigour and strategic thinking.” (2019)

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

“An excellent draughtsman and tactician." "A fantastic barrister with a very easy manner. He is a pleasure to work with.” (2018)

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)

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

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

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

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

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

“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)

Chambers UK
Fraud: Civil

“He's a genius with a massive brain.” (2015)

Legal 500 UK
Fraud: Civil

“Very clever and diligent – approachable and works well with different members of the team and of differing seniorities and experience.” (2021)

Legal 500 UK
Fraud: Civil

“A standout senior junior, he’s definitely got the talent, drive and ambition that you need to take silk.” (2020)

Legal 500 UK
Fraud: Civil

“Simplifies the drafting and gets our story out in a way which few other barristers manage.” (2019)

Legal 500 UK
Fraud: Civil

“He is very versatile and has some great ideas.” (2017)

Legal 500 UK
Fraud: Civil

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

Legal 500 UK
Fraud: Civil

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

Legal 500 UK
Company

“Very clever and diligent.” (2021)

Legal 500 UK
Company

“He is a delight to work with.” (2020)

Legal 500 UK
Company

“His intellectual rigour and strategic thinking are second to none.” (2019)

Legal 500 UK
Company

“Highly recommended for complex litigation.” (2017)

Legal 500 UK
Company

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

Legal 500 UK
Company

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

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“Extremely effective and very bright, he fits in seamlessly with the whole team and is like a silk in every respect.” (2020)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“A really excellent junior." "He is not a silk but he's like a silk in every other way. He's an extremely effective and very bright barrister who fits in seamlessly with the whole team.” (2020)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“Ben's intellectual rigour is second to none, as is his strategic thinking.” (2019)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“Immensely clever. His attention to detail is exemplary, and judges respect him very highly indeed." "Very, very bright and meticulous, he doesn't leave any stone unturned and has a very nice way of expressing himself.” (2019)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“He is phenomenally clever, a supreme tactician and someone much loved by clients.” (2018)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“He is very responsive, bright and fun to work with, and he has great technical ability." "Ben has excellent judgement and a formidable intellect.” (2018)

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)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“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)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“Excellent on his feet.” (2016)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“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)

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

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

Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: Commercial/Commercial Chancery

“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)

Awards 

  • Chambers UK Bar Awards 2020: Chancery Junior of the Year 2020 (shortlisted)
     

         Chambers_UK_Bar_Awards_2020_Shortlisted_5225x3188-(1).png

Memberships

  • COMBAR
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Financial Services Lawyers Association

Recent Publications 

Qualifications

  • MChem (Oxon)

 

 clerks@maitlandchambers.com                                                                  

  +44 (0)20 7406 1200

Benjamin John

Call: 2002

bjohn@maitlandchambers.com

“Brilliant strategically and very good with clients, he delivers a great service." "He's tremendous fun, has great judgement and is very responsive.”

Chambers UK

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Overview

Ben is recognised in the directories as a leading junior in all aspects of commercial and chancery litigation (including civil fraud and company disputes), with recommendations in Chambers UK, Legal 500 and Chambers Global in all areas of his practice. He was shortlisted as Chancery Junior of the Year at the 2020 Chambers Bar Awards.

Ben is described by commentators as “an absolute star” and “like a silk in every respect”. 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 supreme tactician” whose “judgement, even in the most difficult situations, is second to none”. He is “an extremely charming and persuasive advocate” and “excellent on his feet”. “Judges respect him very highly indeed” and he “has the ability to produce results”.  Ben is described as “a steel fist inside a velvet glove”, and 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 “always really cheery” and “fun to work with”.

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), private client, trusts and claims against fiduciaries & trustees and commercial 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, including issues of state immunity, ‘Act of State’ and the ‘one voice’ doctrine, having acted for the Republic of Argentina (in a leading case on state immunity in the Supreme Court), for the Libyan Investment Authority (in the Court of Appeal), for the Russian state oil company Rosneft in the long-running Yukos Oil/Mikhail Khodorkovsky affair, and against several African, Asian and Middle Eastern states.

Instructed in some of the most high profile and substantial matters litigated from London, irrespective of the subject matter or legal context, Ben acted for one of the two main claimants in the Brexit: Article 50 Litigation (Miller & Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU), heard en banc by the Supreme Court in 2017.  Other current or recent major cases include the Libyan Investment Authority’s litigation before the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal flowing from the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in Libya (Ali Mahmoud Mohamed v Breish), Tugushev v Orlov, one of the largest commercial fraud cases currently before the English Courts, coming on for trial in 2022, various pieces of litigation in the Nomura v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena case relating to derivative trades in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis (one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases), the Dar al Arkan v Al Refai & Bank Alkhair litigation (one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases), and acting for Mr Ablyazov himself in the main proceedings in JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov, the $6 billion fraud claim arising out of the nationalisation of the Kazakh bank; the Hong Kong litigation over the estate of Hong Kong billionaire in Mr Fok Ying Tung Henry; and the litigation arising out of alleged corruption and bribery in contract procurement involving Bahraini aluminium giant Alba.

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, 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.

Terms of Business 

The clerks are happy to discuss the basis on which Ben will act in any given matter. In the absence of express written agreement otherwise, the terms under which Ben accepts instructions are The Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services By Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 (as updated from time to time) referred to in the BSB Handbook.

Awards 

  • Chambers UK Bar Awards 2020: Chancery Junior of the Year 2020 (shortlisted)
     

         Chambers_UK_Bar_Awards_2020_Shortlisted_5225x3188-(1).png

Memberships

  • COMBAR
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Financial Services Lawyers Association

Recent Publications 

Qualifications

  • MChem (Oxon)

 

Commercial Disputes & Arbitration

Ben is acting or has acted in several of the most high profile and substantial cases litigated from London in the last fifteen years (in tribunals from the Supreme Court down to the Commercial Court), including Miller - the Brexit Article 50 litigation, heard before a Supreme Court bench of 11 Justices. 

He has wide experience of running important commercial litigation from inception to conclusion,  developing strategy as well as doing the advocacy, domestic and international (including dealing with the challenges created by multiple proceedings running in tandem in different jurisdictions) and often with very high profile parties (which have included Sovereign states, sovereign wealth funds, major (often state owned) companies, major international banks, oligarchs and other ultra high net worth individuals).  Ben often leads a counsel team; and is also led both in and out of chambers by leading silks.  He is praised by commentators in the field of commercial litigation as “brilliant strategically” with “intellectual rigour second to none”; “client’s love” him and he has “great judgment”: overall “he delivers a great service”.

​Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Tugushev v Orlov [2021] EWHC 1514 (Comm); [2021] EWHC 926 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 2031 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 645 (Comm); [2018] EWHC 3471 (Comm): a “mega-money Russian dispute”, as it was described in the press, over the ownership of the vast international fishing business run by the Norebo Group, giving rise to global litigation in six jurisdictions.  Ben acts for Mr Orlov in the main proceedings before the Commercial Court in London, set down for trial in 2022.
  • JSC Karat-1 v Tugushev [2021] EWHC 743 (Comm): an $10m application to enforce the cross-undertaking in damages arising out of a discharged world-wide freezing injunction.  A new leading case in relation to the availability of security for costs in such an inquiry as to damages.
  • Re the Libyan Investment Authority: Ali Mahmoud Mohamed v Breish & others [2020] EWCA Civ 637; [2020] EWHC 696 Comm); [2019] EWHC 1765 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 786 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 306 (Comm): a dispute of unusual geo-political sensitivity about who is properly entitled to control the considerable UK assets of the sovereign wealth fund of Libya – the Libyan Investment Authority. Ben acts for Dr Mahmoud, successfully securing declarations from the English Court as to the identity of the government of Libya, as a matter of English law, following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011; and as to the validity of his appointment as Chairman of the LIA.
  • Ricci v Nomura International Plc: a very substantial claim by a former employee of the bank relating to a number of substantial financial transactions.
  • Pirtek Limited v Hosefast Limited: Ben acted unled in the trial of this franchise dispute involving complex contested factual and technical evidence and novel points of law in a franchise context.
  • The Brexit: Article 50 Litigation – Miller & Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2018] AC 61 ([2017] UKSC 5); [2017] 1 All ER 158 ([2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin)): 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 was tried, on an expedited basis, before a Divisional Court presided over by the Lord Chief Justice in October 2016, followed by a (then) unprecedented leapfrog appeal to the Supreme Court sitting en banc.
  • Nomura International Plc v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA: 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.
  • Blue Angel Capital I LLC v Republic of Argentina; Capital Ventures International v Republic of Argentina and Capital Markets Financial Services Inc. v Republic of Argentina: acting unled in relation to enforcement of judgments (worth well over a billion 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.
  • 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 Supreme Court 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 raised 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: 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 & Asset Recovery

Ben is regularly instructed in the largest scale and most high profile commercial frauds to come before the English Court, including acting in cases like Tugushev v Orlov; the litigation arising out of the Banca dei Monte Paschi di Siena scandal; for Mr Ablyazov himself in the main proceedings in JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov; in Wirecard AG Scott, the Beijing Olympic ticket fraud case; and in Cadogan Petroleum.

Also highly experienced in global litigation involving allegations of massive governmental corruption such as the Zambia vulture fund litigation and the Yukos-Rosneft litigation, and cases involving the application of the Patev v Mirza “illegality” doctrine, he is often consulted for his expertise in relation to fraud, corruption and committal angles in important litigation in other fields of law such as – recently – complex banking litigation, $100m employment proceedings, insurance claims and criminal confiscation proceedings.

Praised in this field as “an extremely charming and persuasive advocate”, he is often instructed unled in relation to major cases in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal, as well as being led by leaders of the Bar in and out of Chambers. 

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Tugushev v Orlov [2019] EWHC 2031 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 645 (Comm); [2018] EWHC 3471 (Comm): A $350m claim in conspiracy in relation to the ownership of a highly successful international fishing business, supplying household brands in the United Kingdom.  Ben is the junior lead for Mr Orlov in proceedings before the Commercial Court in London, in which worldwide freezing relief has been successfully discharged. The case continues to trial in 2022.
  • Supermax Offshore Holdings Limited v Malhotra [2017] EWHC 3246 (Comm): a major dispute between different shareholder/investor groups in Supermax, a major player the Indian razor market. Ben was instructed to advise and represent Mr Malhotra in relation to the committal aspects of this case.
  • Terra Raf Trans Traiding Limited v Assaubayev [2014] EWHC 4211 (Comm); [2013] EWHC 2824 (Comm): Ben acted 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 [2013] EWHC 3682 (Comm): conspiracy and blackmail claims in the Commercial Court worth billions.
  • Re D (in private) [2012] EWHC 1090 (Admin): A successful 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): then 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 raised a multiplicity of complicated and novel issues of law and fact (including in relation to the Act of State doctrine).
  • S v MH: 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: 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.

Company, Partnerships & Insolvency

Ben has wide experience in the full range of company law proceedings, often of very high value and/or involving household names, including major shareholder disputes, breach of director’s duty claims, claims relating to reflective loss and derivative actions, and unfair prejudice petitions.  In this arena “his intellectual rigour and strategic thinking are second to none”.

Ben is also frequently instructed to provide specialist company law advice – or to provide company expertise on a wider legal team – both in heavy commercial litigation and in other fields, such as (recently) in a highly complex criminal matter. 

He has particular expertise in questions of attribution in the corporate context, having advised in several recent cases raising difficult questions of attribution and having been published on the topic in Civil Fraud: Law Practice and Procedure.

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Re C Holdings Ltd [2019]: a company law dispute involving alleged breaches of company law provisions on property acquisitions by directors and associated breaches of duty (and allied shareholder disputes) in relation to the business empire of a world-renowned designer and entrepreneur.
  • Re L M [2018]: A significant shareholder/unfair prejudice dispute arising out of the running of the company which owns a well-known publication.
  • Supermax Offshore Holdings Limited v Malhotra [2017] EWHC 3246 (Comm): a major shareholder dispute in relation to the Supermax Group, a major player the Indian razor market.
  • 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.

Banking & Financial Services

Ben is sought out for large scale swaps, derivative and other financial product mis-selling claims, claims involving LIBOR manipulation allegations, cases involving note and financial product construction and banking disputes arising out of counterparty defaults.  He is often instructed for his cross-disciplinary expertise in both banking/finance and other areas such as fraud or company law; and has spent much time in recent years on multiple different cases springing from the near collapse of the Italian bank Banca dei Monte Paschi di Siena, following the revelation of allegations that a number of very large derivative trades were entered into and structured so as to hide losses on the Bank’s books.

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Ricci v Nomura International Plc: a substantial on-going claim by a former employee of the bank relating to a number of substantial financial transactions.  Ben acts for the bank.
  • Bank Leumi v Akrill: Ben acted unled for the Bank in this case relating to enforcement of various rights and obligations arising out of derivative contracts.
  • Nomura International Plc v Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA: a €3.5 billion dispute arising out of a series of complex derivative transactions.
  • Panagopoulos v Lloyds Bank Plc: a complex and valuable swaps alleged mis-selling claim.
  • Dar al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & Bank Alkhair BSC v Al Refai & others [2013] EWHC 3682 (Comm): 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: 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.

International & Offshore

Ben has vast experience of international litigation and arbitration: the vast majority of his cases have a very significant international element, often involving major offshore proceedings, including in the Channel Islands, Cayman, the BVI and Hong Kong.

Accordingly, Ben is an expert in dealing with jurisdictional issues, worldwide freezing and proprietary relief and associated interlocutory proceedings and applications, enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards in the UK (under common law and under a number of the bi- or multi-lateral enforcement regimes), and dealing with litigation and arbitration where the substantive law is foreign (including, for example, the law of Russia, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Cayman, the BVI, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jersey, Dubai, Norway, France, Zambia, Italy and Congo). 

Ben has acted in, or advised in relation to, substantial offshore litigation in the major hubs in the Caribbean, Hong Kong and the Channel Islands, often including the management of such litigation in tandem with major proceedings in London and in the Court’s in other parts of the world.  Ben is experienced in dealing with the challenges presented by overlapping litigation and arbitration in a number of juris,dictions, including where there are concurrent criminal proceedings in other countries.

He is also an expert in litigation involving sovereign states, including issues of state immunity, ‘Act of State’ and the ‘one voice’ doctrine.  He has acted for or against states or major sovereign entities/interests in Argentina, Libya, Russia, Kazakhstan, Congo, Zambia and Saudi Arabia in the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Tugushev v Orlov: A global litigation and arbitration fight in relation to the ownership of a highly successful international fishing business, supplying household brands in the United Kingdom.  There is litigation in 6 jurisdictions, including major unfair prejudice proceedings in Hong Kong and concurrent applications in the Channel Islands.  The case involves all the features of international and offshore litigation, including an extensive 4 day jurisdiction challenge in the English Court, successfully discharging world-wide freezing relief granted in the UK, the Channel Islands and in Hong Kong, successfully resisting the domestication of interlocutory relief in Russia, and the management of the interaction between litigation in London and civil and criminal proceedings in Russia and Norway.  
  • Re the Libyan Investment Authority: Ali Mahmoud Mohamed v Breish & others: a dispute before the courts in the Cayman and the UK of great geo-political sensitivity.  The case involved receiverships of assets belonging to the sovereign wealth fund of Libya – the Libyan Investment Authority – pending resolution of who is properly entitled to control those assets following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.  Ben successfully secured declarations from the English Court as to the identity of the government of Libya (under the ‘one voice’ doctrine in relation to the recognition of sovereign states and governments by the United Kingdom); and as to the validity of his appointment as Chairman of the LIA under Libyan law (in tandem with proceedings in Libya); and acted unled for the LIA in discharging the receiverships at the end of 2020.
  • Re the Estate of Mr Fok Ying Tung Henry: a long-running dispute in the Hong Kong courts relating to the multi-billion HKD estate of Henry Fok, including valuable rights to development options in mainland China.
  • A v B: a dispute between a global insurance provider and a sovereign state in relation to very large liabilities in the United Kingdom: involving novel questions in relation to both state and diplomatic immunity.
  • Ricci v Nomura International Plc: a very substantial claim by a former employee of the bank relating to a number of substantial financial transactions, managed in tandem with extensive and on-going criminal and regulatory proceedings in Italy.
  • Re D: A successful application in the Administrative Court and in various offshore jurisdictions (the Channel Islands, Cayman and the BVI) 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.
  • Dar al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & Bank Alkhair BSC v Al Refai & others: conspiracy and blackmail claims under Dubai and Saudi law.
  • JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and others: litigation in a number of jurisdictions involving claims against the bank’s former owner and chairman alleging massive frauds and diversion of funds under Kazakh law. The case involved extensive interim proceedings – for freezing relief and the grant of interim receiverships – in the UK and the Channel Islands; and the main UK proceedings are a leading case under the Act of State doctrine.
  • NML Capital Limited v Republic of Argentina: a $300m claim against Argentina raising novel issues relating to sovereign immunity in relation to the enforcement of foreign judgments against states. The case is now the leading Supreme Court authority on various aspects of sovereign immunity.
  • Blue Angel Capital I LLC v Republic of Argentina; Capital Ventures International v Republic of Argentina and Capital Markets Financial Services Inc. v Republic of Argentina: acting unled for the Republic of Argentina in relation to enforcement of judgments (worth well over a billion 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.
  • Yukos Capital S.a.r.l. v OJSC Rosneft Oil Company: 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 raised important issues on the Act of State doctrine.
  • Donegal International Ltd v Republic of Zambia: high profile Commercial Court action against the Republic of Zambia involving extensive jurisdictional disputes and questions as to freezing relief against sovereign states.
  • JSC Zestafoni G Nikoladze Ferralloy Plant v Ronly Holdings Ltd: 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.

Private Client, Trustees & Other Fiduciaries

Praised as “phenomenally clever, a supreme tactician and someone much loved by clients”, Ben has wide experience of private client work both on and off shore, including in relation to very large value family settlements, along with the full gamut of fiduciary and trust litigation (in both a private client and family business context).

Ben's notable cases include: 

  • Re C Holdings Ltd: Ben acts in relation to claims for breaches of fiduciary duty and company law provisions on property acquisitions by directors in relation to the business empire of a world-renowned designer and entrepreneur.
  • Re the Estate of Mr Fok Ying Tung Henry: 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: 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.