Professional practice

Legal 500 Leading Silk

Richard Millett KC is Joint Head of Chambers. He has a broad international commercial disputes practice covering a  variety of different specialist areas, most prominently in fraud and assets tracing, trusts disputes, hedge fund and private equity disputes, corporate finance and boardroom litigation, company law, shareholder and joint venture disputes, banking and financial markets, structured finance, and corporate insolvency with a cross-border flavour.  He appears in the London High Court and appellate courts and in international arbitrations worldwide.  He also sits as an arbitrator in international arbitrations, both as chair and as party-appointed.

Richard has developed a strong reputation for Offshore work, particularly in Cayman, the BVI and Bermuda.  Chambers & Partners researchers say that he “expertly handles the most complicated of commercial disputes” and clients describing him as a “hugely successful advocate” who “thinks quickly on his feet and presents clearly in court.” He has appeared frequently in the BVI, Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Nevis, The Seychelles and the Isle of Man over the years and is a permanently called member of the Bars of the British Virgin Islands and of Anguilla. He frequently gives expert evidence as to English law, BVI law and Cayman law in litigation in the US, Hong Kong and other jurisdictions.

He appears as lead Counsel in international arbitrations of all kinds and regularly sits as an arbitrator on ICC and LCIA arbitrations and as an ad hoc tribunal.

In April 2013 he was appointed a Deputy Judge of the High Court, Chancery Division. In 2014 he was appointed to the panel of Senior Decision Makers by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

Richard was shortlisted for International Arbitration Silk of the Year in The Legal 500 UK Awards 2017.

He is the co-author (with Dame Geraldine Andrews) of The Law of Guarantees (7th edn 2015), a new edition of which is due shortly.

He has been consistently recognised as a leading Silk by both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners across a number of practice areas and the recent market views reflect positive client comments such as: ‘incredibly enthusiastic and positive’; ‘very bright and fast-moving’, ‘a first- class intellect and provides tenacious and effective advocacy’, ‘always first on our list’ and ‘bright, lateral thinking and client-friendly’.

He is Lead Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry into the 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower in which 72 people lost their lives.  Between January 2020 and July 2022 he was on his feet almost daily in public examining hundreds of witnesses of fact and experts across a wide spectrum of disciplines.  He has run a counsel team of more than 40 other counsel across six teams grappling with hundreds of thousands of documents across more than three decades, in an inquiry with more than 500 core participants.  He is now one of the best-known advocates in the country.  With the end of the evidence hearings in July 2022 he has now returned full time to his commercial disputes practice.

 

What others say

Richard is consistently recognised as a leading Silk by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners across eight practice areas. Richard is listed as a “Band 1” Silk in Chancery: Commercial and Offshore, recent quotes include:

“He’s tough and fair.” “He’s fabulous.” “He has a good reputation and is very bright.”
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Offshore

“An outrageously good advocate.”
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Fraud: Civil

“A florid advocate who certainly fights his corner.”
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Chancery: Commercial

“He’s a big presence in arbitration market.”
Chambers & Partners 2022 – International Arbitration: General Commercial

“He is always on top of his brief.”
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Commercial Dispute Resolution

“He’s super professional, very detailed and has a methodical mind. His detail recall is incredible.”
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Inquests and Public Inquiries

“Richard really knows his stuff.” “He’s very user-friendly, responsive and willing to roll up his sleeves to get into the detail.”
Chambers & Partners 2022 – Banking & Finance

“He’s eloquent and persuasive.”
Chambers & Partners 2021 – Chancery: Commercial

“A very engaging and entertaining advocate who is a pleasure to work with.” “He is a smooth operator, very intelligent and has a massive reputation in the BVI.”
Chambers & Partners 2021 – Offshore

“Richard is a confident QC who handles cases with ease and doesn’t shy away from the complexities.” “He is very user-friendly, responsive and willing to roll up his sleeves to get into the detail.”
Chambers & Partners 2021 – Commercial Dispute Resolution

“He quickly grasps the complexities and sensitivities of difficult cases.” “He has a formidable reputation and has been involved in some of the most important cases in the field.”
Chambers & Partners 2021 – Fraud Civil

 “He has done a really impressive job in really difficult circumstances.” “He has been under enormous amounts of pressure but has always acted in a way that has earned respect.”
Chambers & Partners 2021 – Inquests and Public Inquiries

“Fantastic oral presentation.”
Chambers & Partners 2021 – International Arbitration

“Produces reliably well-prepared, persuasive submissions no matter the case.”
Legal 500 2020 – Commercial Litigation

“Urbane and charming, and very pleasant to work with.”
Legal 500 2020 – International Arbitration: Counsel

“His broad commercial practice includes BVI litigation.”
Legal 500 2020 – Offshore

“He has always been very responsive. Day or night he’s happy to pick up the phone or speak at awkward times.” “Richard is a hugely enthusiastic and energetic, can-do counsel.”
Chambers & Partners 2019 – Banking & Finance

A “very, very effective” KC with an excellent reputation for commercial chancery work. Sources praise him for his advocacy, as well as his technical and strategic ability. He has particular specialisation in hedge fund and private equity disputes, as well as energy-related matters.  “Bright, sharp, and engaged, he is always very impressive. He is the whole package in terms of his advocacy, client-handling skills, strategy, and command of the room.” “An absolutely brilliant communicator, who is very attuned to what the client wants to achieve. He is excellent at devising the best strategy for the client.”
Chambers & Partners 2019 – Chancery: Commercial

“Has a great manner with clients, and gives thoughtful and robust advice.” “He is very user-friendly, responsive and willing to roll up his sleeves to get into the detail.”
Chambers & Partners 2019 – Commercial Dispute Resolution 

“Dedicated, responsive and easy to work with.” “Very user-friendly and responsive.” “A really effective advocate.”
Chambers & Partners 2019 – Fraud: Civil 

“Very incisive and user-friendly. Clients warm to him.”
Chambers & Partners 2019 – International Arbitration

“Hugely experienced in BVI law, and particularly good on cases concerning frauds on trusts.” “A fantastic advocate who’s dedicated, responsive and easy to work with.”
Chambers & Partners 2019 – Offshore

“A fighter and someone you are always grateful to have on your side.”
Legal 500 2019 – Commercial Litigation

“A high-class silk and excellent with clients.”
Legal 500 2019 – International Arbitration

“He is instructed in BVI and Cayman cases.”
Legal 500 2019 – Offshore

 

Examples of recent cases

Current and recent cases of interest:

  • Currently acting for the Bermuda and Cayman-based liquidators of a US $ 3 billion fund owned by a charitable trust whose assets are under attack from US federal authorities .
  • Nord Anglia
    Acting for a large group of victorious US private equity houses and funds in Cayman, the most recent substantial merger dissent share valuation case under section 238 of the Cayman Companies Law (trial 2019, judgment 2020).  He also acted on the company side in Re Qihoo 360 and Re Shanda Games, (2017), also share valuation cases under s 238.
  • Acting for the receivers of the Cayman and Nevis-based XiO funds and the centre of a multi-billion dollar hedge fund fraud dispute in Hong Kong, Cayman, London and Nevis (2020).
  • Global Energy Horizons Corp v Gray [2019] EWHC 1260; [2021] EWCA Civ 123 (costs)
    Acting for the claimants in the long-running Global Energy Horizons dispute about the valuation of secret profits derived from breach of fiduciary duty in respect of design and supply of oil drilling equipment, and the scope of the duty to account for profits obtained in breach of fiduciary duty
  • Hu Lan v Sundale International Ltd, 2020
    Acting in the BVI in a family trust dispute, for a Chinese entrepreneur who fell out with her son over a half-billion dollar real estate investment in Shanghai, involving issues of the creation of express trusts over foreign land, and common intention constructive trusts (to March 2021).
  • Filatona Trading v Navigator Equities Ltd [2019] EWHC 1846
    Acting for a Russian billionaire in his defence of a claim to enforce an arbitration award, in relation to the consequences of variations of worldwide freezing orders against him.
  • Acting for British entrepreneur Dan Wagner in his personal bankruptcy proceedings over the collapse and sale of his PowaTag interests (2019).
Arbitration & related court applications
  • Acting for a Russian billionaire in his defence of a claim to enforce an arbitration award, in relation to the consequences of variations of worldwide freezing orders against him: Filatona Trading v Navigator Equities Ltd [2019] EWHC 1846
  • Currently appointed co-arbitrator on two commercial ad hoc arbitrations and sitting as president on two institutional arbitrations.
Civil fraud & asset recovery
  • Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority v Bestfort Development LLP [2018] WLR 1099 (Court of Appeal)
    Acting for the Government of an Emirati State in pursuing fraud claims and injunctions against a Georgian businessman. Court of Appeal decision on the principles on scope of asset capture under a worldwide freezing order, and the evidential hurdle for showing that the defendant has such assets.
  • PJSC Tatneft v Bogolyubov [2018] 4 WLR 14
    Acting for Russian oil interests in a US $330 million fraud claim against four Ukrainian businessmen. A decision on the scope of a dishonest scheme to misappropriate oil monies.  The case decided important points of principle on pleading fraud under foreign laws and the interplay between foreign limitations and the CPR.
  • Global Energy Horizons Corp v Gray [2019] EWHC 1260; [2021] EWCA Civ 123 (costs).
    Acting for the claimants in the long-running Global Energy Horizons dispute about the valuation of secret profits derived from breach of fiduciary duty in respect of design and supply of oil drilling equipment, and the scope of the duty to account for profits obtained in breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Acting for the receivers of the Cayman and Nevis-based XiO funds at the centre of a multi-billion dollar hedge fund fraud dispute in Hong Kong, Cayman, London and Nevis (2020). The case concerned the role of receivers of shares in a 50-50 joint venture fund and the duties owed to the court, and the scope of the receivers’ corporate governance powers.
  • Representing Quindell (now Watchstone) in its defence of a £637 million deceit claim, one of the largest ever brought before the English courts. (2017)

 

Commercial chancery disputes
  • Global Energy Horizons Corp v Gray [2019] EWHC 1260; [2021] EWCA Civ 123 (costs)
    Acting for the claimants in the long-running Global Energy Horizons dispute about the valuation of secret profits derived from breach of fiduciary duty in respect of design and supply of oil drilling equipment, and the scope of the duty to account for profits obtained in breach of fiduciary duty.
Hedge funds and private equity structure disputes
  • Currently acting for the Bermuda and Cayman-based liquidators of a US $ 3 billion fund owned by a charitable trust whose assets are under attack from US federal authorities.  The nature of the liquidation throws up many important issues on the status of a just and equitable winding up for the purposes of mutual recognition in other jurisdictions, the justiciability of foreign penal and revenue claims in Bermuda insolvency, and the interplay between voting rights and admission to proof.
  • Acting for a large group of victorious US private equity houses and funds in Re Nord Anglia case in Cayman, the most recent substantial merger dissent share valuation case under section 238 of the Cayman Companies Law (trial 2019, judgment 2020).
  • Other section 238 share valuation disputes in Cayman under section 238 on the company side in Re Qihoo 360 and Re Shanda Games, (2017).
  • The XiO Fund litigation.  Acting for the Nevis court-appointed receivers of the Cayman and Nevis-based XiO funds at the centre of a multi-billion dollar hedge fund fraud dispute in Hong Kong, Cayman, London and Nevis (2020).
Shareholder disputes
  • Hu Lan v Sundale International Ltd, 2020)Acting in the BVI in a family trust dispute, for a Chinese entrepreneur who fell out with her son over a half-billion dollar real estate investment in Shanghai involving  issues of the creation of express trusts over foreign land, and common intention constructive trusts (to March 2021).
  • Gray v LeddraRepresenting respondents to a substantial BVI unfair prejudice action in the BVI courts involving allegations of diversion of corporate assets, corporate governance and company valuation issues
  • Waddington v Chan Acting as expert on BVI law for the successful claimants in Hong Kong, an important case on multiple derivative actions, in which Richard Millett KC’s expert evidence was accepted without qualification.
  • Acting for successful Russian interests in the long-running Alfa -Cukurova multi-billion dispute about control of Turkey’s largest telecoms business (2016)
Career

2017                 Appointed Lead Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry

2014                 Appointed to the panel of Senior Decision Makers of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission

2013                 Deputy Judge in the Chancery Division of the High Court.

2010                 Appointed Civil Recorder (Chancery).

2010                 Called to St Kitts and Nevis Bar (specific case)

2009                 Called to Cayman Bar (for various cases)

2007                 Called to Anguilla Bar (permanent)

2006                 Called to Cayman Bar (for various cases)

2005                Called to BVI Bar (permanent)

2003                Silk

2000-03          Treasury Crown Counsel “A” Panel

1987-92           Panel Member, Counsel to the Department of Trade and Industry for directors’ disqualifications

1985                 Call: Lincoln’s Inn

Education

University of Michigan (1980)

BA (Classical Tripos Pt 1, Law Tripos Pts Ib and II) Trinity Hall, Cambridge University (BA 1984)

Inns of Court School of Law

 

Awards

Megarry Prize for Landlord and Tenant Law (1985)