Ben Gardner

Called: 2010

Practice Overview

Ben practises primarily in shipping, commodities, insurance, conflict of laws, banking and aviation, within a broad commercial practice.  He is recommended as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners 2017 (Shipping & Commodities), where he is described as "very impressive""a great junior counsel and very user-friendly""solution driven, helps you make a decision and is very personable" and "very helpful, sensible and willing to get stuck in as much as required".

Ben appears regularly in the High Court, in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court as sole counsel and in a counsel team. He has acted on a number of recent, important cases including:

  • Fulton v Globalia (The New Flamenco), with Simon Croall QC: Ben acted for the Respondents on the appeal to the Supreme Court in November 2016 on what is likely to be a leading judgment on mitigation in the law of damages, relating to whether the benefit of selling a cruise ship two years early should be included in the assessment of damages.
  • Versloot Dredging v HDI Gerling (The DC Merwestone) [2016] WLR 543 (SC), with Colin Edelman QC: an important insurance case in which the Supreme Court overturned previous authority and held that there is no defence of fraudulent device in an insurance policy. 
  • Yemgas v Superior Pescadores (The Superior Pescadores) [2016] EWCA Civ 101 (CA), with David Goldstone QC: the leading authority on the interpretation of paramount clauses and the meaning of ‘Hague Rules as enacted’ in bills of lading and charterparties.
  • South West SHA v Bay Island Voyages (The Celtic Pioneer) [2015] Lloyd’s Rep. 652 (CA), with Simon Kverndal QC: an key recent decision by the Court of Appeal on the scope of the Athens Convention on Carriage of Passengers by Sea and the nature of the limitation defence.
  • MOL v Salgaocar [2015] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 518 (Commercial Court): Ben was successful at trial in obtaining judgment for US$14m in a claim under a guarantee that raised issues of enforceability of guarantees, the interaction between claims against a debtor and guarantor, and the calculation of damages for repudiation of a long-term time charter.

Much of Ben's practice takes place under the auspices of international arbitration and he is regularly instructed as sole and junior counsel in arbitration. Ben’s commodities work includes arbitrations under LMAA, LCIA and ICC Rules, and commodities trade bodies including GAFTA and FOSFA in particular, and also the RSA, the BCA and the FCC.

Ben regularly deals with freezing and anti-suit injunctions at short notice.  He has a particular interest in the delay defence to anti-suit injunctions, having recently dealt with a number of anti-suit injunctions raising this issue.  He also has specific experience of banking and guarantees, share purchase agreements, the sale of goods and the supply of services, intellectual property, trusts/equitable wrongs and fraud claims.

  • What the directories sayView More

    • ..."A "very impressive" junior with a broad practice covering commodities, shipping matters as well as insurance and conflict of laws."...

      Chambers & Partners 2017 (Shipping & Commodities)
    • ..."Very helpful, sensible and willing to get stuck in as much as required."...

      Chambers & Partners 2017 (Shipping & Commodities)
    • ..."He is a great junior counsel and very user-friendly. He is solution driven, helps you make a decision and is very personable."...

      Chambers & Partners 2017 (Shipping & Commodities)
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution K View More

    Ben undertakes a wide range of commercial litigation in Court and arbitration.  He has particular experience with freezing injunctions and anti-suit injunctions, and has recently worked with Simon Rainey QC on an anti-suit injunction appeal to the Court of Appeal.

    Most of Ben’s cases have a cross-border element, and he deals with jurisdiction and applicable law disputes on a regular basis, including providing advice to foreign courts on English law issues.

    Ben’s general commercial practice includes banking and guarantees, fraud, professional negligence, share purchase agreements, the sale of goods and the supply of services, breach of trust/equitable wrongs. 

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Mitsui OSK Lines v Salgaocar Mining Industries Pte Ltd [2015] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 518 (Eder J). Acted for the claimant shipowner in a Commercial Court trial of its claim for US$14m under a guarantee of a long-term time charter.
    • Evergreen Marine v Fast Shipping [2014] EWHC 4893 (Leggatt J): Ben acted for the successful applicant for an anti-suit injunction.  The Judge held that interim proceedings in support of an arbitration agreement must be brought in the English Court if the application could sensibly be in this jurisdiction
    • Bikam OOD v Adria Cable Sarl [2013] EWHC 1985 (Popplewell J) (with Chirag Karia QC): a three-week Commercial Court trial of a claim for the purchase price of a satellite television company, focussing on the alleged breach of the sellers' subscriber warranty. Ben acted for the successful sellers.
    • Bank of Baroda v Sandhu Successfully represented the claimant bank in a Commercial Court trial of its claim to enforce a US$1.4m Hong Kong judgment based on a director's guarantee.
    • Bankhaus Wolborn v China Construction Bank [2012] EWHC 3285 (Comm) (with David Goldstone QC): a jurisdiction challenge raising issues of illegality under foreign law.
  • Shipping & Maritime K View More

    Dry Shipping

    Dry shipping is one of Ben's core practice areas.  Much of his work involves bill of lading and charterparty disputes. 

    Ben acts regularly in cargo claims, from initial advices through to final hearings.  He has recently acted for the successfully respondent in a US$7m arbitration relating to cargo liquefaction and has experience of container instability and fire cases.  He acted for the defendant in a 2-day Commercial Court trial of a cargo claim in JP Klausen v MSC (The Sky Jupiter) [2013] EWHC 3254 (Comm).

    Ben is also familiar with charterparty cases of all stripes.  He regularly advises on repudiation issues and recently obtained judgment for US$14m under a guarantee in respect of a charterer's repudiation of a long-term time charter in Mitsui OSK Lines v Salgaocar Mining Industries Pte Ltd [2015] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 518 (Eder J).  The claim raised issues relating to the enforceability of guarantees and the proper assessment of damages where a long-term time charter is wrongfully repudiated.

    Wet Shipping

    Ben's practice encompasses general average, arrest, collision and salvage matters.  He is presently acting for salvors in on-going proceedings against a vessel and her P&I insurers in the Admiralty Court, including claims under the Bunkers Convention.

    He is currently instructed as sole counsel in a variety of collision, GA and salvage cases worth several million dollars.  Ben frequently advises on arrests and conflict of law issues in this area and has experience of limitation claims and constituting limitation funds.

    In South West SHA v Bay Island Voyages [2015] EWCA Civ 708 (CA). Ben acted with Simon Kverndal QC for the shipowners in relation to a claim for personal injury under the Athens Convention on Carriage of Passengers by Sea. This is the leading authority on the scope of the Convention.

  • International Trade & Commodities K View More

    Commodities / international trade is a core practice area for Ben. Ben undertakes a variety of commodities work, particularly arbitrations under the auspices of commodities trade bodies including GAFTA, FOSFA, RSA, BCA and the FCC as well as LMAA and LCIA disputes.

    Ben is currently acting with Simon Rainey QC in a US$460m LCIA commodities arbitration, as well as many GAFTA, FOSFA and RSA disputes relating to quality, delivery, detention, sanctions and other matters.

  • Insurance & Reinsurance K View More

    Ben is regularly instructed to advise and act in insurance and reinsurance matters in his own right and with leading counsel.  

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Versloot Dredging v HDI Gerling, The DC Merwestone [2016] 3 W.L.R. 543 (SC) (with Nigel Jacobs Q.C. and Colin Edelment Q.C.): A claim by shipowners on their hull and machinery policy following the partial flooding of the "DC Merwestone".  The underwriters raised defences relating to insured perils, fortuity and peril of seas as well as fraudulent presentation of the claim, on which they were ultimately successful at trial.  Ben acted for the underwriters at trial, on appeal to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court.  Ultimately, the Supreme Court rejected the existence of the fraudulent device defence, in a groundbreaking judgment.
    • A claim against the P&I insurers of a salved vessel under the Bunkers Convention.
    • A dispute relating to a fraudulent payment authority under an H&M policy.
    • The Tramontane (Commercial Court): Ben successfully obtained negative declaratory relief on behalf of insurers of the vessel in relation to a collision in France against third party claimants claiming directly under French statute.
    • Chubb v Fortis (with Peter MacDonald Eggers Q.C.): A claim by a reinsured in relation to German customs liability recoverable under a goods in transit policy raising questions about the proper construction of a follow clause.  The claim was amicably settled before trial.
  • Shipbuilding K View More

    Ben has experience in this key area of Chambers' work.  In particular, he has been involved in ship repair, pipeline and drill construction claims.  Ben is currently instructed on a semi-submersible rig construction arbitration worth several hundred million dollars, which involves substantial technical issues as well as issues about the construction of the standard form contract and issues of misrepresentation.

  • Aviation & Travel K View More

    Ben is frequently instructed to act in aviation and travel disputes.  He has extensive experience of claims under Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention, both on paper and in Court.  He has recently acted as sole counsel on an international aviation finance dispute worth US$2m and has experience of issues involving sale and mortgage of aircraft.

  • Insolvency & Restructuring K View More

    Ben deals with a range of Chancery work including corporate and individual insolvency, professional negligence, trusts and fraud.  Most recently, he has acted on cases involving cheque fraud, advised on the scope of solicitors' professional indemnity insurance and advised on the impact of insolvency in the shipping context.

  • Professional Negligence K View More

    Ben acts for claimants and defendants in a variety of professional negligence areas.  Ben is currently instructed on solicitors' and barristers' negligence cases and a construction case involving the collapse of a residential property.  He also has experience of coverage disputes under liability insurance policies.

  • Banking & Financial Services K View More

    Ben regularly accepts instructions from major banks in a broad range of commercial and consumer matters.  He has acted for banks in a series of payment protection insurance disputes and in a number of banking fraud (e.g. cheque and credit card fraud) matters.  He also has experience of cases involving ship finance, recently appearing with David Goldstone QC in Bankhaus Wolbern & Vision 93 v China Construction Bank [2012] EWHC 3285 (Comm), a refund guarantee dispute.

  • International Arbitration K View More

    Much of Ben's practice takes place under the auspices of international arbitration and he is regularly instructed as sole and junior counsel in arbitration. Illustrative cases include: 

    A US$460m LCIA commodities arbitration with Simon Rainey QC relating to a long-term coke sales contract;

    LMAA arbitrations, including a recent successful defence in a claim based on dangerously liquefying cargo, with Robert Thomas QC;

    GAFTA and FOSFA and other trade body arbitration disputes relating to quality, detention, sanctions and other matters;

    Court proceedings in support of arbitration, including an anti-suit injunction appeal with Simon Rainey Q.C. and Evergreen Marine v Fast Shipping [2014] EWHC 4893 (Leggatt J): Ben acted for the successful applicant for an anti-suit injunction.  The Judge held that interim proceedings in support of an arbitration agreement must be brought in the English Court if the application could sensibly be in this jurisdiction.

  • Conflicts of Law K View More

    Much of Ben's practice involves foreign parties and often raises questions of applicable law and jurisdiction.  Ben has a strong academic interest in the area, having studied conflict of laws at Cambridge and Harvard.  He regularly advises on conflicts of laws and is currently instructed on conflicts issues in charterparty, bill of lading, guarantee, CMR and insurance disputes.

    Bankhaus Wolbern & Vision 93 v China Construction Bank [2012] EWHC 3285 (Comm) Appearing with David Goldstone QC for the successful respondents in a dispute about the scope of forum non conveniens and case management stays where performance is said to be illegal pursuant to a foreign law.

  • CMR K View More

    Ben is regularly instructed to act in CMR and other road carriage and multi-modal transport matters at the drafting, advisory and trial stages.


..."A "very impressive" junior with a broad practice covering commodities, shipping matters as well as insurance and conflict of laws."..."He is a great junior counsel and very user-friendly. He is solution driven, helps you make a decision and is very personable."...

Chambers & Partners 2017 (Shipping & Commodities)

Academic


B.A. in Law, Cambridge (Double First, ranked 1st in Part I of Tripos); LL.M., Cambridge (First Class, ranked 2nd in the University); LL.M., Harvard Law School; B.V.C., BPP Law School (Outstanding).

Awards


Prizes
Vaughan Bevan Prize Emmanuel College Cambridge 2006 ; Clifford Chance David Gottlieb Prize Cambridge University 2006 ; Rodwell Prize Emmanuel College Cambridge 2007 ; Mancini Prize Harvard Law School 2009 ; Certificate of Honour Middle Temple 2010

Scholarships
Porter Scholarship Emmanuel College Cambridge 2006-2007 ; Bachelor Scholarship Emmanuel College Cambridge 2007-2008 ; Rebecca Flower Scholarship Cambridge University Cambridge 2007-2008 ; Research Scholarship A.H.R.C. 2007-2008 ; Herchel Smith Harvard Scholarship Emmanuel College Cambridge 2008-2009 ; Queen Mother Scholarship Middle Temple 2009-2010

Memberships


COMBAR; Chancery Bar Association; TECBAR; ICC Young Arbitrators Forum, LCIA Young International Arbitration Group.

Publications


Curaçao, the Netherlands Antilles and the Kingdom: A look through the Constitutional Prism, Ben Gardner and Jeremias Prassl
Submitted as a paper at Harvard Law School under the supervision of Professor Gráinne de Burca (2009)
Published by VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne, Willemstad, Curaçao (2009)
Delivered as a paper at the University of Groningen (2009)

Return to Barristers

Our barristers section has a Shortlist feature. You can use this to gather together the profiles of members that are of interest to you. Look out for the Ksymbol and click this to add to your shortlist. If you see this symbol next to a part of a profile you can click this to add just that part.

To view your shortlist please click the button above.