Ben Gardner

Called: 2010

Practice Overview

Ben practises primarily in shipping, commodities and international trade, energy, insurance and conflict of laws, within a broad commercial practice.  He is recommended as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 for his shipping and commodities work, where he is described as "Very clever and a very good advocate", "An excellent barrister, who is precise, commercial and practical in his focus and forceful and effective in his arguments""very impressive""A super-bright guy who is very accessible and easy to work with", "a great junior counsel and very user-friendly" and "mature beyond his years" .

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

  • Fulton v Globalia (The New Flamenco) [2017] 1 WLR 2581 (SC), with Simon Croall QC: Ben acted for the Respondents on the appeal to the Supreme Court an important judgment on the scope of mitigation in the law of damages, relating to whether the benefit of selling a cruise ship two years early is an act of mitigation.
  • Containerships Denizcilik v Shipowners' Mutual (The Yusuf Cepnioglu) (SC), with Chriag Karia QC: Ben acted for the insurers in an appeal to the Supreme Court which settled in October 2017 relating to the availability of anti-suit injunctions in support of an arbitration agreement against a direct action claimant.
  • Versloot Dredging v HDI Gerling (The DC Merwestone) [2017] AC 1 (SC), with Colin Edelman QC: an important insurance case in which the Supreme Court overturned settled authority and held that there is no defence of fraudulent device in an insurance policy.  Ben also acted in the trial and in the Court of Appeal. 
  • Yemgas v Superior Pescadores (The Superior Pescadores) [2016] All ER (Comm) 104 (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, SIAC and ICC Rules, and commodities trade bodies including GAFTA and FOSFA in particular, and also the RSA, the BCA and the FCC.  Examples of current arbitration work are:

  • A multi-billion dollar ICC gas supply dispute in the Hague in October 2017, with Simon Rainey QC.
  • A rig construction dispute worth over US$1 billion, which was settled in March 2017, with Richard Jacobs QC and Caroline Pounds.
  • A dispute relating to the operation of a coal and coke supply contract worth over US$300 million in May 2017, with Simon Rainey QC.
  • A one-week LMAA arbitration as sole counsel in July 2017 relating to an agency agreement, worth US$17 million.
  • A one-week LCIA commodities arbitration in December 2017 as sole counsel relating to the sale of steel.
  • A one-week SIAC commodities arbitration in Singapore in February 2018 as sole counsel relating to the sale of steel.

Ben regularly deals with urgent injunctions in the High Court, including successfully obtaining freezing injunctions, anti-suit injunctions and mandatory injunctions relating to the provision of security and the sale of goods.    

  • What the directories sayView More

    • ..."A super-bright guy who is very accessible and easy to work with."... "Very clever and a very good advocate. He’s mature beyond his years."...

      (Chambers UK, 2018 - Shipping & Commodities)
    • ..."Very able"...

      (The Legal 500, 2017)
    • ..."An excellent barrister, who is precise, commercial and practical in his focus and forceful and effective in his arguments"...

      (The Legal 500, 2017)
    • ..."A "very impressive" junior with a broad practice covering commodities, shipping matters as well as insurance and conflict of laws."...

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

      (Chambers UK, 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 UK, 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 and with Chirag Karia on an anti-suit injunction appeal to the Supreme Court.

    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:

    • The New Flamenco [2017] 1 WLR 2581 (SC). Ben appeared with Simon Croall QC on an important Supreme Court appeal on the nature of mitigation in the law of damages.
    • Versloot Dredging v HDI Gerling [2017] AC 1 (SC).  Ben appeared with Colin Edelman QC in a Supreme Court appeal on the fraudulent device defence in insurance contracts.
    • Mitsui OSK Lines v Salgaocar Mining Industries Pte Ltd [2015] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 518 (Eder J). Ben 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 particular experience of container instability and fire cases.  He acted for the defendant in a 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 advises on repudiation issues and 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 acted for salvors in 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 and international trade is a core practice area for Ben. Ben does a lot of soft commodities work including particularly arbitrations under the auspices of commodities trade bodies including GAFTA, FOSFA, RSA, BCA and the FCC.  He has a particular focus on GAFTA and FOSFA work and has acted on more than 50 GAFTA and FOSFA arbitrations.

    Ben also regularly handles sale of goods disputes relating to other commodities including particularly steel and its raw materials and oil.  He is acting in a variety of on-going Court and arbitration cases (including under LCIA, SIAC, HKIAC and LMAA rules) relating to international trade disputes, including a one-week arbitration in 2017 about sale of steel cargoes as sole counsel and a US$300m LCIA commodities arbitration relating to coke (with Simon Rainey QC) in May 2017, and multi-million dollar steel sale disputes in London in December 2017 under LCIA Rules and in Singapore in February 2018 under SIAC Rules.

  • 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 dispute relating to the construction of a cargo insurance policy in relation to goods that were never shipped, led by Luke Parsons Q.C.
    • A dispute relating to the construction of a hull and machinery policy excluding 'machinery damage', led by Luke Parsons Q.C.
    • 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 substantial experience in this key area of Chambers' work.  In particular, he has been involved in ship repair, pipeline and drill construction claims.  Ben recently acted 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.  This case settled shortly before a hearing in March 2017.  Ben was instructed on another large scale rig construction dispute in November 2017.

  • 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: 

    An ICC arbitration in the Hague with Simon Rainey QC relating to the sale of gas worth over US$10 billion;

    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.

  • Energy & Natural Resources K View More

    Ben has a busy energy practice.  He has been heavily involved in a multi-billion dollar ICC arbitration in the Hague relating to a long-term gas supply contract with Simon Rainey Q.C. in 2017 and he has worked extensively on two large semi-sub rig disputes in 2016 and 2017.  Ben’s energy practice also embraces disputes relating to supply, finance and storage, including an arbitration relating to an off-take agreement in an LCIA arbitration in May 2017. 

  • 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 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.  He is very familiar with anti-suit injunction issues, having obtained a number of these injunctions and worked on appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court on anti-suit injunction cases (The Kishore and The Yusuf Cepnioglu, both of which settled shortly before the hearing).

    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.  Most recently, he is working on a claim relating to Buchanan v Babco in the Commercial Court listed for November 2017.


..."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 UK, 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)

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