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Practice Summary

James Ruddell has a broad commercial practice.  He has experience in complex High Court litigation, from pre-action advice and interim injunctions through to trial and appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.  In arbitration, James has experience in disputes administered pursuant to LCIA, SIAC, UNCITRAL and ad hoc rules, and in bringing arbitration claims before the Commercial Court.  In addition to his work as part of a larger counsel team, he also acts as sole counsel in litigation/arbitration and has both trial and procedural/CMC advocacy experience.  

Prior to coming to the English bar, James practised for 2 years as a commercial litigation barrister and solicitor in New Zealand. 

Current and recent instructions include:

  • Skatteforvaltningen v Solo Capital Partners LLP (in administration) & Ors (Comm)
    Acting (with a team led by Michael Fealy QC) for the Danish Tax and Customs Administration in a claim brought against c.100 defendants. The claim is in respect of an alleged conspiracy involving fraudulent withholding tax reclaim applications in the sum of DKK 12 billion (approximately £1.5 billion). Worldwide freezing orders and proprietary injunctions were obtained and maintained against 35 respondents. James has appeared as sole advocate in interlocutory applications. The case has been described by Foxton J as "one of the largest and most complex pieces of litigation to be heard in the Commercial Court".
  • General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited v The State of Libya (Comm)
    Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC) for the claimant in proceedings to enforce an arbitral award against the defendant state. The claim gives rise to issues of state immunity and, in particular, as to the service requirements under section 12 of the State Immunity Act 1978. The claimant was successful in the Court of Appeal in 2019 and the Supreme Court heard the defendant's appeal in December 2020.
  • Maroil Trading Inc & Ors v Cally Shipholdings Inc & Ors (Comm)
    Acting (with Sonia Tolaney QC) for Burford Capital and Daniel Hall (the Third Parties) in complex and high profile proceedings for sums in excess of US$85 million said to be due as a result of an alleged breach of confidence.
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v Barclays & Ors (Comm)
    Acting (with Sonia Tolaney QC, Nehali Shah and Owain Draper) for Deutsche Bank in a claim brought by the FDIC against LIBOR panel banks and the British Bankers' Association for alleged anti-competitive behavior, deceit and conspiracy in connection with the "lowballing" of USD LIBOR during the global financial crisis. 
  • ABB Limited, Seoul v Myung Se Oh & Ors (Comm, QB, Ch)
    Acted as sole counsel for the claimant in proceedings to enforce a c. £42m South Korean judgment in England. The judgment was successfully enforced in Commercial Court proceedings and charging orders and orders for sale were subsequently obtained in the Queen’s Bench and Chancery Divisions. 
  • A v B (Channel Islands)
    Assisting local counsel for the claimant in professional negligence proceedings against a “Big 4” auditor for alleged negligence in failing to detect substantial fraud.  
  • Gens v Goldenberg & Ors (Comm)
    Acted (with Anneliese Day QC) for the claimants in two sets of related proceedings between high net worth Russian businessmen (and their corporate vehicles) seeking the repayment of c. US$150m alleged to be due under oral loan agreements. The proceedings were settled shortly before an inter partes hearing on jurisdiction. 

EXAMPLES OF RECENT CASES

  • Commercial Litigation

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    • Skatteforvaltningen v Solo Capital Partners LLP (in administration) & Ors (Comm)
      Acting (with a team led by Michael Fealy QC) for the Danish Tax and Customs Administration in a claim brought against c.100 defendants. The claim is in respect of an alleged conspiracy involving fraudulent withholding tax reclaim applications in the sum of DKK 12 billion (approximately £1.5 billion). Worldwide freezing orders and proprietary injunctions were obtained and maintained against 35 respondents. James has appeared as sole advocate in interlocutory applications. The case has been described by Foxton J as “one of the largest and most complex pieces of litigation to be heard in the Commercial Court”.
    • Maroil Trading Inc & Ors v Cally Shipholdings Inc & Ors (Comm)
      Acting (with Sonia Tolaney QC) for Burford Capital and Daniel Hall (the Third Parties) in complex and high profile proceedings for sums in excess of US$85 million said to be due as a result of an alleged breach of confidence.
    • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v Barclays & Ors (Comm)
      Acting (with Sonia Tolaney QC, Nehali Shah and Owain Draper) for Deutsche Bank in a claim brought by the FDIC against LIBOR panel banks and the British Bankers’ Association for alleged anti-competitive behaviour, deceit and conspiracy in connection with the alleged “lowballing” of USD LIBOR during the global financial crisis.
    • Kian Gwan (Thailand) Plc v Meyer (Comm)
      Acting as sole counsel for the claimants in proceedings brought for repayment of c. £2 million advanced by the claimants under alleged oral loan agreements.
    • ABB Limited, Seoul v Myung Se Oh & Ors (Comm, QB, Ch)
      Acted as sole counsel for the claimant in proceedings to enforce a c. £42m South Korean judgment in England. The judgment was successfully enforced in Commercial Court proceedings and charging orders and orders for sale were subsequently obtained in the Queen’s Bench and Chancery Divisions.
    • A v B (Channel Islands)
      Assisting local counsel for the claimant in professional negligence proceedings against a “Big 4” auditor for alleged negligence in failing to detect substantial fraud. 
    • Gens v Goldenberg & Ors (Comm)
      Acted (with Anneliese Day QC) for the claimants in two sets of related proceedings between high net worth Russian businessmen (and their corporate vehicles) seeking the repayment of c. US$150m alleged to be due under oral loan agreements. The proceedings were settled shortly before an inter partes hearing on jurisdiction.
    • Agrivert Renewables Ltd v Jones & Ors (Comm)
      Acted as sole counsel for the claimant in proceedings concerned with an investment in an organic waste treatment business.
    • Capreon (UK) Limited v Winnersh Holdings LP (Comm)
      Acted (with Edmund Nourse QC) for the defendants in a claim for alleged breach of exclusivity and reasonable endeavours obligations in a Heads of Terms regarding the sale and purchase of a business park in Reading. The proceedings were settled shortly before trial.
    • Deutsche Bank v Unitech (Comm)
      Acted (with Sonia Tolaney QC and Adam Sher) for Deutsche Bank in a claim to enforce a swap transaction, which is defended on the basis of alleged misrepresentations and/or implied terms as to suitability and LIBOR manipulation. 
    • Deutsche Bank v Banca Intermobiliare Di Investimenti E Gestioni SPA (Comm)
      Acted (with Orlando Gledhill QC) for the claimant bank in proceedings seeking payment of fees under an engagement letter.
    • Flyington Freighters Ltd v Airbus SAS & Ors (Comm)
      Acted (with Sonia Tolaney QC and Christopher Bond) for Airbus in a $50 million dispute with an Indian freight airline over a sale and purchase agreement for aircraft (settled on the eve of a four-week Commercial Court trial).
    • Sir Owen Glenn v Watson & Ors (ChD)
      Acted for the Third and Fourth Defendants (led by Anna Boase QC and later as sole counsel) in respect of claims brought in the Chancery Division arising out of a failed c. £125m joint investment venture.  The claims against the Third and Fourth Defendants were based on fraudulent misrepresentation, knowing receipt and tracing.
    • Tower Trading Group Ltd v Gaunt (QBD)
      Acted (with David Cavender QC) for the Claimant trading platform provider in claims against former employees and shareholders for breach of a shareholders’ agreement, obligations of confidence and restrictive covenants. James appeared unled at the first CCMC in which there were contested issues regarding disclosure, confidentiality, amendments and costs budgets. The case settled shortly thereafter.
    • Kintetsu World Express (UK) Ltd v Jeffery & Ors (QBD)
      Acted (with Jacques Algazy QC and Michael d’Arcy) for the Claimant in a claim against former employees and a competitor for breaches of confidence, contract and restrictive covenants, and for conspiracy following a team move.  (Settled shortly before a 7-day High Court Trial).
    • Acted as sole counsel in a claim for c. £800,000 due under a settlement agreement relating to the financing of a property development.
  • Banking and Financial Services

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    • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v Barclays & Ors (Comm)
      Acting (with Sonia Tolaney QC, Nehali Shah and Owain Draper) for Deutsche Bank in a claim brought by the FDIC against LIBOR panel banks and the British Bankers’ Association for alleged anti-competitive behaviour, deceit and conspiracy in connection with the alleged “lowballing” of USD LIBOR during the global financial crisis.
    • Deutsche Bank v Unitech (Comm)
      Acted (with Sonia Tolaney QC and Adam Sher) for Deutsche Bank in a claim to enforce a swap transaction, which is defended on the basis of alleged misrepresentations and/or implied terms as to suitability and LIBOR manipulation. 
    • Deutsche Bank v Banca Intermobiliare Di Investimenti E Gestioni SPA (Comm)
      Acted (with Orlando Gledhill QC) for the claimant bank in proceedings seeking payment of fees under an engagement letter.
    • Re Lehman Brothers International Europe (in Administration) (Ch)
      Acted (with Sonia Tolaney QC) for Barclays Capital Inc in an application in the LBIE administration regarding client money, statutory interest, set-off and currency issues (total value c. £350m). The matter settled on the morning of a 9-day trial.
  • Insurance and Reinsurance

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    • Pine v Norwich Union Linked Life Assurance Ltd & Anr (QB)
      Acted for the claimant in a High Court claim for payment under a life and critical illness mortgage protection policy. James appeared unled at the first CCMC in which there were contested issues regarding disclosure, limitation, joinder of parties, preliminary issues and costs budgets
  • Arbitration

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    • General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited v The State of Libya (Comm)
      Acting (with Daniel Toledano QC) for the claimant in proceedings to enforce an arbitral award against the defendant state. The claim gives rise to issues of state immunity and, in particular, as to the service requirements under section 12 of the State Immunity Act 1978. The claimant was successful in the Court of Appeal in 2019 and the Supreme Court heard the defendant’s appeal in December 2020.
    • SIAC Proceedings (Singapore seat)
      Acted (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and others) for an oil and gas company defending a claim for $5.5bn for alleged fraud and breach of warranty under an SPA.
    • UNCITRAL Proceedings (London seat)
      Acted (with Henry Forbes Smith) in an arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules concerning the validity and consequences of termination of a property management agreement.
    • LCIA Proceedings
      Acted as sole counsel for a claimant in arbitral proceedings seeking payment of fees due for telecommunication services provided in Iraq and sums due under a settlement agreement.
    • Ad Hoc Proceedings
      Assisted (during pupillage) Anna Boase in acting for the management committee of an unincorporated association and defending ad hoc arbitral proceedings brought by a member concerning changes to the association’s constitution.

     

  • Energy and Natural Resources

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    • SIAC Proceedings (Singapore seat)
      Acted (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC and others) for an oil and gas company defending a claim for $5.5bn for alleged fraud and breach of warranty under an SPA
    • Warren’s and Warren’s Ltd v Timis Mining Corporation Ltd
      Acted as sole counsel for the defendant mining company, defending a claim for sums due under a consultancy agreement relating to a mine in Sierra Leone. Successfully contested jurisdiction and had the claim struck out.
    • AL Challis Ltd v British Gas Trading Ltd
      Assisted (during pupillage) Orlando Gledhill with a 4-day Commercial Court trial defending a claim under an agreement for the distribution of energy-saving devices intended partially to fulfil an energy supplier’s CERT obligations.
    • Assisted (during pupillage) Anna Boase and John McCaughran QC with a claim to recover sums paid under a letter of credit and for damages for negligence against the operator of an offshore oil field in relation to the costs of decommissioning the field.

     

     

  • restitution

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    • Skatteforvaltningen v Solo Capital Partners LLP (in administration) & Ors (Comm)
      Acting (with a team led by Michael Fealy QC) for the Danish Tax and Customs Administration in a claim brought against c.100 defendants in respect of an alleged conspiracy involving fraudulent withholding tax reclaim applications in the sum of DKK 12 billion (approximately £1.5 billion). Involves proprietary/tracing and unjust enrichment claims.
    • Advised a utilities company in respect of potential liabilities in unjust enrichment/restitution for incorrect charging of customers. 
  • Company and Insolvency

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    • Re Lehman Brothers International Europe (in Administration) (Ch)
      Acted (with Sonia Tolaney QC) for Barclays Capital Inc in an application in the LBIE administration regarding client money, statutory interest, set-off and currency issues (total value c. £350m). The matter settled on the morning of a 9-day trial.
    • Advised and appeared on behalf of creditors and debtors in respect of applications to set aside statutory demands.
  • Restrictive Covenants, Non-Compete and Team Moves

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    • Tower Trading Group Ltd v Gaunt (QB)
      Acted (with David Cavender QC) for the Claimant trading platform provider  in claims against former employees and shareholders for breach of a shareholders’ agreement, obligations of confidence and restrictive covenants. James appeared unled at the first CCMC in which there were contested issues regarding disclosure, confidentiality, amendments and costs budgets.
    • Kintetsu World Express (UK) Ltd v Jeffery & Ors
      Acted for the Claimant (with Jacques Algazy QC and Michael D’Arcy) in a claim against former employees and a competitor for breaches of confidence, contract and restrictive covenants, and for conspiracy following a team move. The matter settled shortly before the start of what was listed as a 7 day High Court Trial.
    • Gamatronic v Hamilton
      Assisted (during pupillage) Anna Boase with a claim against former directors and shareholders for breach of directors’ duties, employment contracts and restrictive covenants, for rescission of a share purchase agreement and for restitution in relation to payments made to HMRC. Included assisting with the 7-day High Court trial, the PTR and an application for an unless order.
  • Recent Advocacy Appearances

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    James regularly acts as sole counsel in High Court and County Court litigation and has both trial and procedural/CMC advocacy experience.    

    • Skatteforvaltningen v Solo Capital Partners LLP (in administration) & Ors (Comm)
      Appeared as sole counsel for the claimant Danish Tax and Customs Administration in an application concerning c.£13.1m held in Court, which was subject to the claimant’s proprietary claim but which was sought by the lead defendant group for the payment of their legal expenses.
    • ABB Limited, Seoul v Myung Se Oh & Ors (Comm, QB, Ch)
      Acted as sole counsel for the claimant in proceedings to enforce a c. £42m South Korean judgment in England. The judgment was successfully enforced in Commercial Court proceedings and charging orders and orders for sale were subsequently obtained in the Queen’s Bench and Chancery Divisions.
    • Kian Gwan (Thailand) Plc v Meyer (Comm)
      Acting as sole counsel for the claimants in proceedings brought for repayment of c. £2 million advanced by the claimants under alleged oral loan agreements.
    • Stroud & Burley Consultancy (A Firm) v Court Properties Ltd (Jersey)
      Appeared as sole counsel for the claimant in a 2-day trial of a claim for the recovery of professional fees (design and associated works in respect of a proposed Marina in Surrey) and a counterclaim based on fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
    • Pine v Norwich Union Linked Life Assurance Ltd & Anr
      Appeared as sole counsel for a claimant seeking payment under a life and critical illness mortgage protection policy in the first CCMC in the Queen’s Bench Division. The disputed issues included matters relating to preliminary issues, limitation, joinder of parties, disclosure and costs budgets.
    • Tower Trading Group Ltd v Gaunt
      Appeared as sole counsel in a CCMC in the Queen’s Bench Division in a claim for breach of a shareholders’ agreement. The disputed issues included matters concerning disclosure, confidentiality and costs budgets
    • Procare Group Limited v Kintetsu World Express (UK) Limited
      Appeared as sole counsel for the successful defendant/Part 20 claimant in a trial concerning defective plumbing work which resulted in flooding of an office.
    • Warren’s and Warren’s Ltd v Timis Mining Corporation Ltd
      Appeared as sole counsel for a mining corporation successfully contesting jurisdiction and striking out a claim made for consultancy fees in relation to a Sierra Leone mine. 
    • Barrett & Thomson v Helbawe
      Acted as sole counsel for a firm of London solicitors in County Court proceedings, successfully striking out a defence to their claim for unpaid fees.
    • Knight v Bellway Homes Ltd
      Acted as sole counsel for a national house builder in a dispute concerning defective work in a new build property.

Education

  • University of Oxford: BCL (Distinction, first in year) (Restitution of Unjust Enrichment, Conflict of Laws, Commercial Remedies, Principles of Civil Procedure) [2013-2014]
  • University of Auckland: LLB(Hons) (Senior Scholar, first in year) [2012]
  • University of Auckland: BA (History and Politics) (Senior Scholar) [2012]

Academic Achievements

  • Vinerian Scholarship, University of Oxford (first in year in BCL examinations) [2014]
  • Peter Birks Prize in Restitution of Unjust Enrichment, University of Oxford [2014]
  • John Morris Prize in Conflict of Laws, University of Oxford [2014]
  • Law Faculty Price in Commercial Remedies, University of Oxford [2014]
  • FMB Reynolds Scholarship in Law [2013]
  • Banking and Financial Services Law Association Postgraduate Scholarship [2013]
  • Auckland District Law Society Prize, University of Auckland (first in year in LLB(Hons) degree) [2012]
  • Senior Scholar Awards in Arts and Law, University of Auckland [2012]

Professional Qualifcations and Experience

  • Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand [2013]
  • Commercial litigation solicitor at Bell Gully, New Zealand [2013, 2014-2015]

Publications

  • “Monetary Remedies for Wrongful Foreign Proceedings” [2015] 1 Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly pp.9–13
  • “Common Intention and Rectification for Common Mistake” [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly pp.48–75, cited with approval in FSHC Group Holdings Ltd v Glas Trust Corp Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 1361, [2020] Ch 365
  • “Statutory Interpretation, Parliamentary Intention and the General Anti-Avoidance Rule” (2013) 3 New Zealand Universities Law Review pp.497–521
  • “Deceit in the Transvaal? The Case of Burrows v Rhodes and Jameson” [2013] Auckland University Law Review pp.99–119
  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Auckland University Law Review [2012]