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Practice Summary

Richard Boulton QC practises across a broad range of general commercial litigation, with particular emphasis upon civil fraud claims, financial disputes and complex damages. 

He has significant advocacy experience, including leading (as a junior) a five week civil fraud trial in the Commercial Court (Noble Resources SA & Anor v Gross [2009] EWHC 1435 (Comm)).  He appears regularly as lead counsel in international arbitrations, with recent hearings in London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. He has particular expertise in matters involving expert witnesses, and has cross examined experts across a range of disciplines (engineering, banking, accountancy, environmental waste, shipping, share valuation).

Before coming to the bar, Richard spent 20 years at Arthur Andersen, including three years as the No. 2 executive worldwide. He has extensive experience as an accounting expert in both English and international commercial disputes and has led several major fraud investigations.

Richard was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011, eight years after being called to the Bar. He is ranked as a Leading Silk in Commercial Litigation and International Arbitration.  He has been described as “a formidable cross examiner”, "an exceptional talent" and "a huge asset in quantum cases".

"He represents clients extremely well in difficult accounting matters, and he cuts through them succinctly." "Always a good choice for a case with quantum issues, he's extremely nice to work with." (Chambers UK 2020: Commercial Dispute Resolution) 

"Did a superb job and his past career as an accountant pays dividends." (Legal 500 2019: Commercial Litigation) 

"An excellent cross-examiner, and the leading barrister on quantification of damages and forensic accounting issues." (Legal 500 2019: International Arbitrtion)

"He's brilliant at picking out the key issues and explaining them to all concerned." (Chambers UK 2019: Commercial Dispute Resolution)

'A real star across a wide range of commercial disputes. (Legal 500 2018: International Arbitration)

‘A practical barrister who provides both technical and legal advice.(Legal 500 2018: Commercial Litigation)

"Brings a calm and measured analysis to the most heated of disputes." "Stands out as one of the world's best experts for complex quantum issues." (Chambers UK 2018: Commercial Dispute Resolution)

"Recommended for his tenacity, hard work, unflagging good humour and willingness to roll up his sleeves." (Chambers UK 2017: Commercial Dispute Resolution)

"Very hard-working and an excellent cross-examiner. He's very easy to deal with and has a good manner in court". (Chambers UK 2016: Commercial Dispute Resolution)

“Richard Boulton QC is a “phenomenon”, respected for his work as a barrister in over 200 litigations, and for leading several major fraud investigations, as well as for his background as a chartered accountant. Described as “formidably bright”, he garnered votes from our sources around the globe.” (Who's Who Legal 2015)

"He is very easy-going and easy to work with, and is also very thorough." (Chambers & Partners 2014: Commercial Dispute Resolution)

‘Excellent to work with and a brilliant advocate.’ (Legal 500 2014: Commercial Litigation Counsel)


  • Banking and Financial Services

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    • Ian Hannam v Financial Conduct Authority [2014] UKUT 0233 (TCC)
      Richard appeared for the Financial Conduct Authority in a reference brought by Ian Hannam challenging a decision of the FSA to impose a penalty of £450,000 for market abuse. The decision of the Upper Tribunal provides the most extensive analysis to date by any judicial tribunal of the market abuse provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, including the definition of “inside information”.
    • The Co-Operative Bank Plc
      Richard is retained to advise the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation authority in connection with its ongoing investigations into Co-op Bank.
    • FSA v James Corr, Peter Miller, John Blake, Cattles plc and Welcome Financial Services Ltd
      Appeared on behalf of FSA Enforcement and Financial Crime in proceedings before the FSA's Regulatory Decisions Committee against Cattles plc, its major trading subsidiary (Welcome) and three senior officers of those two companies.
  • Tax and Revenue

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    • GDF Suez Teeside Ltd v The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs
      Appeared with Jonathan Peacock QC and Julian Ghosh QC for the Appellant in appeals before the First Tier Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.  
    • BNP Paribas, London Branch v The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs
      Acted for the Appellant in an appeal before the First Tier Tribunal.
    • Fidex Limited v Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs - First-tier Tribunal (Tax) [2013] UKFTT 212 (TC)
      Appeared for the successful appellant with Michael Flesch QC. Examination and cross examination of four expert accountants.
  • Arbitration

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    • Counsel in an arbitration goverened under the rules of the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association.  The dispute is in relation to the non-renewal of an automobile distribution agreement. 
    • Counsel for the Claimant at a PCA arbitration in The Hague in relation to the expropriation of real estate in Crimea. 
    • Sole arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration relating to the effect of fare changes on rail operators. 
    • Party appointend arbitrator in an ICSID arbitration.
    • Counsel in an LCIA arbitration in London relating to a contract to provide retail services in two airports.
    • Lead counsel on a $25 million insurance arbitration (UNCITRAL rules) arising out of employee fraud (Hong Kong law).  11 day hearing in Hong Kong 2014. 
    • Lead counsel in a $50 million UNCITRAL arbitration in Cairo (Egyptian law) arising out of the termination of a hotel management agreement. Seven day hearing in Dubai in May 2013.
    • Lead counsel on a US$5 million SIAC arbitration under the Singapore Arbitration Act relating to a dispute arising out of a coal transhipment agreement.
    • Lead counsel on an arbitration arising out of a professional partnership dispute (English law).  Several hearings in London. 
    • Drafting and conducting cross examination of forensic accountants and other expert witnesses in numerous international arbitrations, including ICSID and other BIT arbitrations.
    • Sole counsel in an arbitration in Singapore under ICC Rules relating to the functioning of an industrial boiler (Thai law). Three hearings in Singapore in 2011.
  • Civil Fraud and Investigations

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    • Noble Resources SA & Anor v Gross [2009] EWHC 1435 (Comm)
      Lead counsel for the claimant who was awarded $37 million in damages arising from deceit, conspiracy and breach of contract. The Defendant and his co-conspirator in Switzerland had taken a large unauthorised speculative trading position in aluminium futures, and concealed that from the Claimants' management by entering false transactions in the accounting records. The case involved approximately 20 contested hearings, a two day hearing in Switzerland pursuant to Letters of Request, and a five week trial in the Commercial Court.
    • Pell Frischmann Engineering v Bow Valley & Anor [2007] JRC 105
      Assisting Jersey counsel (with Ian Geering QC and Anthony de Garr Robinson QC) in a seven week civil fraud trial in the Royal Court of Jersey (2006), with primary responsibility for all aspects of the case on remedies (damages, account of profits, constructive trust).
    • Sole counsel for the defendant to a claim alleging fraud in connection with an investment fund (pro bono).
    • Counsel to one of the principal parties in a long drawn out and complex accounting dispute before the Supreme Court of the Bahamas (the parties are confidential).
    • Bank of Ireland v Pexxnet & Ors [2010] EWHC 1872 (Comm)
      Representing the only party seeking to defend proceedings brought by the Bank of Ireland alleging cheque fraud. Oral representation at hearings in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
  • Commercial Litigation

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    "Brings a calm and measured analysis to the most heated of disputes." "Stands out as one of the world's best experts for complex quantum issues." (Chambers UK 2018: Commercial Dispute Resolution)

    "Recommended for his tenacity, hard work, unflagging good humour and willingness to roll up his sleeves." (Chambers UK 2017: Commercial Dispute Resolution)

    "Very hard working and an excellent cross-examiner. He's very easy to deal with and has a good manner in court." (Chambers UK 2016)

    • Instructed in £200 million breach of accounting warranties claim on behalf of the former CEO and CFO of an international fleet and asset management company. 
    • Lead counsel for the Arcadia Group and 11 other retailers in proceedings with a total value of £450 million.  The case concerns the setting of interchange rates which form the largest part of the service charges levied on retailers in relation to MasterCard payment card transactions.
    • Counsel for the Claimant at a PCA arbitration in The Hague in relation to the expropriation of real estate in Crimea. 
    • Katsouris Fresh Foods v Katsouris Brothers Ltd
      Counsel in Commercial Court proceedings for breach of contracts (supply of salmonella-contaminated houmous), leading to nationwide product withdrawal.
  • injunctions (including freezing orders and search orders, and orders for disclosure of information)

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    • Sole counsel for the Applicant making an ex parte application for a freezing injunction in the sum of £17.8 million in support of an arbitration in the Phillippines. Sole counsel at the return hearing.
    • Sole counsel on a successful application to vary the terms of a worldwide interim injunction.
    • Sole counsel for a respondent to a worldwide freezing injunction brought by the Law Society alleging fraud by a firm of solicitors.
    • Sole counsel to the respondent to a worldwide freezing injunction.
    • Sole counsel for the Claimants at several hearings following the obtaining of a worldwide freezing injunction, concerning attempts by the Defendant to vary or discharge the terms of the order.
    • Advising on a freezing injunction obtained in the Netherlands.
    • Omega Group Holdings Limited & Others v Viktor Kozeny & Others
      Representing the sixth claimant (Pharos Finance Limited) in a successful application for permission for one of co-claimants to be separately represented and then to discontinue its claim. This case is a rare example of the circumstances in which the court may give leave that co-claimants should be separately represented following Lewis v Daily Telegraph (No. 2) [1964] 2 QB 601.
  • Professional Liability

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    • Advising on potential claims for professional negligence (accountants).
    • Quayle v Rothman Pantall & Co [2012] All ER (D) 45 (Jun)
      Represented the Claimant in a professional negligence claim versus a firm of chartered accountants in respect of negligent tax advice.Richard appeared on behalf of the Claimant at approximately six hearings in the first half of 2012, including a full day contested application for permission to amend (reported at [2012] All ER (D) 45 (Jun)).
  • Equity

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    • Determination (with reasons) as to the appropriate level of compensation payable under a distribution agreement.
    • Advising on various claims for Wrotham Park damages (damages calculated by reference to a notional sum that would have been paid by the defendant to be released from his contractual obligations).
    • Advising on quantum in numerous claims for breach of warranty and economic torts.
    • Advising on the cross examination of accounting and IT forensic experts in the High Court.
  • company, shareholder and joint venture disputes

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    • Acting, with Lord Grabiner QC, for Nord Anglia Education which is the subject company in a s.238 merger dispute in the Cayman Islands.  The primary issue is the fair value of the shares at the date of the merger.
    • Lead counsel for Zhaopin, which is the subject company in a s.238 merger dispute in the Cayman Islands.  Appeared in several hearings in Cayman. 
    • GBST Holdings Limited v Smith Hamilton Limited and others [2013] EWHC 1100 (Comm)
      Lead counsel in a claim for various breaches of accounting and other warranties arising out of the sale and purchase of Coexis, a company which provides software to customers operating in the global capital markets.
    • Augean Plc v James Hutton and Ors [2014] EWHC 2972 (Comm)
      Lead counsel for the successful claimant in a claim for breach of warranty arising out of the sale and purchase of a company providing environmental waste management services. Ten day trial in the High Court, including cross examination of eight factual witnesses and two experts. Consideration of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Special Waste Regulations 1996 (as amended), Criteria and Procedures for the Acceptance of Waste at Landfills (Scotland) Direction 2005 and the PPC Regulations 2000.
    • Teekay v DPIC (2014)
      Lead counsel for the claimant in an action arising out of the enforcement of a share pledge in the Chancery Division of the High Court. Significant expert issues relating to share valuation and shipping. Settled shortly before trial.
    • Pell Frischmann Engineering Ltd v Bow Valley Ltd
      Advising on remedies available for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, breach of confidence and fraud in the context of an oil and gas joint venture (assisting Jersey counsel (with Ian Geering QC and Anthony de Garr Robinson QC)).

Previous Professional Experience

Richard spent twenty years with Arthur Andersen (1981-2001), including eleven years as a partner. His experience at Andersen included:

  • Several global management positions, including number two executive worldwide.
  • Fifteen years’ client work as a consultant on financial and economic issues, particularly in the media and energy sectors.
  • Substantial experience as a financial expert in major commercial litigation.

Arthur Andersen - Management Positions

  • Global Managing Partner - Business Consulting (2000-2001), responsible for a business with revenues of $2 billion and 11,000 people.
  • Chief Information Officer (2000-2001), responsible for 2,000 technology personnel worldwide.
  • Global Managing Partner – Strategy (1997-2000), responsible for the firm’s four service categories (assurance, business consulting, corporate finance and tax) and for the CIO function.
  • UK Head of Business Consulting (1995-1997).
  • European Head of Litigation Services (1994-1997).
  • Partner (1990-2001).

Experience as an accounting expert

  • Quantification of damages in approximately 250 litigations, including many of the UK’s largest commercial disputes (e.g. Argyll v Guinness, Ferranti litigation, Yeoman v Warburgs & Linklaters, Trafalgar House v British Shipbuilders, BSkyB v EDS).
  • Oral expert testimony provided on over 50 occasions in the High Court and before various international arbitration tribunals.
  • Significant experience in intellectual property cases, including expert report and oral evidence on the account of profits enquiries in Hoechst Celanese Corporation v BP Chemicals Ltd [1999] RPC 203 and Hotel Cipriani SRL v Cipriani (Grosvenor Street) & Ors [2010] EWHC 628 (Ch); expert report and oral evidence in the High Court (Patents Court) in Gerber Garment Technology Inc v Lectra Systems Ltd [1995] RPC 383, Experience Hendrix & Anor v Times Newspapers Ltd [2010] EWHC 1986 (Ch) and 32 Red v William Hill [2013] EWHC 815 (Ch); expert report and oral evidence to the EC Commission DGIII and DGIV on the level of a reasonable royalty in connection with a complaint under Article 82 of the Treaty of Rome; and expert reports and oral evidence to the UK Copyright Tribunal relating to the level of a reasonable royalty in  BBC v EOS (2013), BPI v PRS (2006), BSkyB v PRS (1997), AIRC v PPL (1992), TV Listings (1990).
  • Instructed as an expert in two of the UK’s largest transfer pricing disputes.

Competition and regulatory experience

  • Economic advisor to the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) on economic aspects of the restructuring of the rail network, including track access charges and the facilitation of competition between train operators.
  • Expert reports on cases under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act and the Competition Act.

Fraud investigations

  • Led a major fraud investigation into BCCI on behalf of the majority shareholders (leading a team of 40 people). Richard conducted the oral examination of 19 members of the former management of the bank during over 100 formal interviews.
  • Led the investigation into the Bombay stock market scam (a $1.3 billion securities fraud) on behalf of a major international bank.
  • Expert reports for the underwriters on the financial position of a substantial shipping group in The Ikarian Reefer [1993] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 68.


MA Modern History, Oriel College, Oxford (1978-81)
Postgraduate Diploma in Law, College of Law, Guildford (Distinction) (2001-2)
Bar Vocational Course, BPP Law School (Outstanding) (Top of Year) (2002-3)

Other Academic Achievements

Fearon & Co. Prize for Land and Contract Law (College of Law, 2002)
Kershaw Mooting Cup (College of Law, 2002)
Runner up College of Law/Independent Essay Competition (2002)
Top of the Order of Merit and Highest Mark in Advocacy (BVC, BPP Law School, 2003)

Other Professional Qualifications

Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (FCA 1996, ACA 1986)
Fellow of the Academy of Experts (1994)