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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.

Recent high profile cases include;

Defending a major high street retailer during a 6 week ICC arbitration in 2019 against fraud and breach of warranty claims arising from the sale of a £4 billion subsidiary operation.

Primeo Fund (in official liquidation) -v- (1) Bank of Bermuda (Cayman) Limited (2) HSBC Securities Services (Luxembourg) SA (Cayman Grand Court and Court of Appeal), acting for HSBC in the successful defence of a US$2bn professional negligence claim arising out of the Madoff securities fraud. Claim dismissed following four-month trial in the Cayman Islands between November 2016 and February 2017. More recently appearing at the 10 day Appeal hearing in Cayman which took place in November/December 2018 which upheld the dismissal of the claim. This is the Leading case on function and duties of independent administrators and custodians to offshore hedge funds and one of few final judgments on claims against professional service providers to Madoff feeder funds. 

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 UK directories (Chancery: Commercial and Civil Fraud), Richard Gillis QC ‘covers the full spectrum of commercial litigation and chancery matters’. 

"Extremely easy to work with, willing to get involved in all areas of the case, and someone with a very good grasp of the detail." Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers UK 2020 

"He is tenacious and never stops looking for innovative ways to bolster the case." Civil Fraud, Legal 500 2019-2020

"An exceptionally user-friendly barrister who has the ear of the court." "Careful and precise, he adopts a civilised and determined approach to litigation and builds a great rapport with the judge." Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers UK 2019

 ‘Highly experienced in multi-jurisdictional fraud cases.’ Civil Fraud, Legal 500 2018-2019

"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

Other directory recommendations include;  'He offers robust, independent advice that is honest about your weaknesses, which makes you confident in your position',  'One of the standout silks at One Essex Court.', ‘an incredibly measured advocate who is very clear in his advice’., ‘Very experienced in complex cross-border fraud issues’., ‘a fine grasp of black letter law’ and ‘an easy-going manner that allows him to swiftly develop a rapport with clients’. ‘a tremendous advocate, with an acute analytical mind’., ‘Clever, professional, with a wonderful, measured style’., ‘first class analysis and opinion and so well prepared that he leaves no room for nasty surprises’. (Chambers UK & Legal 500) 

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