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Practice Summary

Richard Gillis QC has a broad commercial practice, with a particular expertise in complex commercial cases where corporate issues arise in a litigation context. He particularly enjoys cases with a high expert evidence content and being involved in the early stage planning of litigation strategy.  Richard was appointed a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 2014 and a Legal Chair to the Financial Reporting Council in 2016.

Most recently (2017), he successfully defended HSBC against a $ 2billion professional negligence claim brought against subsidiary companies that provided administration and custody services to a feeder fund invested in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. After a four month trial in Cayman, which involved the examination or cross-examination of 10 factual and 17 expert witnesses, the claim was dismissed in full with costs.

He has extensive recent experience of defending multi-million dollar claims under syndicated finance agreements, on behalf of both alleged debtors and guarantors, including defending over a 3 year period a summary judgment application brought under an LMA loan agreement. On two occasions the claims were only resolved on appeal to the Court of Appeal.

His litigation experience extends over many sectors: from standard form NHS contracts, to logistical agreements for a major high street chain, to long- term LNG supply contracts.

He has been heavily involved in many of the large scale disputes arising from the privatisation of state assets in Russia and other CIS countries.  He acted for the Part 20 Defendants in the long running TadAZ litigation (relating to an aluminium smelter in Tajikistan), represented joint-venturers in a Russian oil and gas investment, and acted for Boris Berezovsky in his high profile multi-billion dollar claim against Roman Abramovich regarding Sibneft and Rusal. As a consequence he has frequently litigated claims under foreign laws – including Russian, Tajik and Kazakh.

Following the near-collapse of the Icelandic banking system, he has acted for the liquidators of Glitnir Bank and for creditors of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.  He is a veteran of the Barings litigation, where he acted for the liquidators on their professional negligence claims against the bank’s former auditors. He also acted for the liquidators of Barlow Clowes on a substantial accessory liability claim, culminating in a successful appeal to the Privy Council. 

In addition, Richard has substantial experience of financial services investigations and disciplinary proceedings.

As well as appearing in the Senior Courts in England and Wales, he has wide experience of litigating before many other tribunals, having appeared in the European Court of First Instance, the Courts of Gibraltar, Cayman and the Isle of Man, and LCIA and Stockholm Chamber of Commerce arbitrations.   

Consistently recommended by both the Legal 500 (Civil Fraud, Insolvency and International Arbitration) and Chambers & Partners directories (Chancery: Commercial and Civil Fraud), Richard Gillis QC ‘covers the full spectrum of commercial litigation and chancery matters’. 

"Has good experience of leading teams in large-scale litigation. He's very well prepared and has the patience of a saint when conducting cross-examination." Chambers UK 2018 - Commercial Dispute Resolution

'Razor sharp in his analysis.' 'Incredibly diligent, hard working and effective'. Chambers UK 2017 - Commercial Dispute Resolution

'He offers robust, independent advice that is honest about your weaknesses, which makes you confident in your position". Chambers UK 2016

One of the standout silks at One Essex Court. Legal 500 2014

‘an incredibly measured advocate who is very clear in his advice’ ‘Very experienced in complex cross-border fraud issues’. Chambers 2013

‘a fine grasp of black letter law’ and ‘an easy-going manner that allows him to swiftly develop a rapport with clients’. Chamber 2012

‘just brilliant. His advocacy skills are of the highest order’. Chambers 2011

‘effective courtroom manner and judges tend to perk up and listen when he presents’. Chambers 2010

‘excellent on paper and quick to get to grips with difficult points’. Chambers 2010

‘a tremendous advocate, with an acute analytical mind’. Legal 500 2009

‘calm and considered when thrown into the madness of litigation’. Chambers 2009

‘Clever, professional, with a wonderful, measured style’. Legal 500 2009

‘first class analysis and opinion and so well prepared that he leaves no room for nasty surprises’. Chambers 2008

He is a member of the Chancery Bar Association and COMBAR.