Ben has a busy commercial practice, focussing on shipping, commodities and international trade, energy, insurance and conflict of laws. He was shortlisted for 'Shipping Junior of the Year' at the 2018 Chambers Bar Awards and he is consistently ranked as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 for his shipping and commodities work. Recent comments include "very clever and a very good advocate", "very smart and focuses immediately on the issues", "an excellent barrister, who is precise, commercial and practical in his focus and forceful and effective in his arguments", "thorough, diligent and very personable", "incredibly fast at turning work around" and "mature beyond his years" .
Ben often appears in Court at all levels, both as sole counsel and as part of a counsel team. Recent cases include:
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, HKIAC, SIAC, UNCITRAL and ICC Rules, and commodities trade bodies including GAFTA and FOSFA in particular, and also the RSA, the BCA and the FCC. Examples of recent and current arbitration work are:
Ben regularly deals with urgent injunctions in the High Court, including successfully obtaining freezing injunctions, anti-suit injunctions and other forms of interim relief.
‘He is very smart and focuses immediately on the issues.’(Legal 500 2019)
‘An excellent barrister – commercial, practical, precise and always quick to respond.’(Legal 500 2019)
"He is incredibly fast at turning work around and the work is without fail of the highest standard."(Chambers UK, 2019 - Shipping & Commodities)
"Thorough, diligent and very personable. He has a great eye for detail."(Chambers UK, 2019 - Shipping & Commodities)
"Very bright and easy to work with."(Chambers UK, 2019 - Shipping & Commodities)
..."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)
..."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)
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:
Dry shipping is one of Ben's core practice areas. Much of his work involves bill of lading and charterparty disputes.
Ben is familiar with charterparty cases of all stripes. Currently, he acts for the charterers in The New Flamenco  1 WLR 2581 (SC), with Simon Croall QC, both in the Supreme Court and in the on-going arbitration in relation to the assessment of damages following repudiation of a time charter. 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  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.
Ben works 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)  EWHC 3254 (Comm).
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  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.
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.
Ben is regularly instructed to advise and act in insurance and reinsurance matters in his own right and with leading counsel.
Illustrative cases include:
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.
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 the last two years. 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.
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.
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.
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  EWHC 3285 (Comm), a refund guarantee dispute.
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  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.
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  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.
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 obtained judgment for the claimant in Philip Morris Products SA v Smidl SRO in November 2017 on the question of whether Buchanan v Babco remains good law.
"Very bright and easy to work with ... He is incredibly fast at turning work around and the work is without fail of the highest standard."(Chambers UK, 2019 - Shipping & Commodities)
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).
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
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
COMBAR; Chancery Bar Association; TECBAR; ICC Young Arbitrators Forum, LCIA Young International Arbitration Group.
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)