Professional practice

Ruth den Besten is a senior junior practitioner with substantial expertise in heavy commercial litigation, civil fraud and insolvency. She has recently appeared in, amongst other cases, Tatneft PJSC v (1) Bogolyubov, (2) Kolomoisky & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1591, [2018] 4 WLR 14 and 22 June 2018 (Cockerill J., Comm Ct), Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority v Bestfort Development LLC [2016] EWCA Civ 1099 and Lehman Brothers – Waterfall I [2017] UKSC 38.

Ruth was shortlisted by Legal 500 as Commercial Litigation Junior of the Year 2018 and is recommended in Chancery: Commercial, Commercial Dispute Resolution, and Fraud: Civil (Chambers & Partners); Commercial Litigation, Company, Fraud: Civil, Insolvency and Professional Negligence (Legal 500) and UK, Dispute Resolution: Commercial Chancery (Chambers Global). She is described variously as ‘”Superwoman”, A tenacious advocate and a tremendous person to have in any complex litigation’, “excellent at cross-examination and in court generally” and ‘A wonderful talent – energetic and hugely enjoyable to work with’. It is also said that she “writes beautifully and with brevity”.

 

What Others Say

Chancery Commercial: “A decent, fair-minded and tenacious opponent.” “Her drafting of skeletons is superb; she just writes beautifully and with brevity.” (Chambers & Partners 2018)

Commercial Dispute Resolution: “Turns work around quickly, diligently and to the highest standard, and is brilliant on strategy.” (Chambers & Partners 2018)

Civil Fraud: “Level-headed under pressure. She cuts through complicated details to provide insightful analysis on the key points.” “Very responsive and bright. She tells it like it is.” (Chambers & Partners 2018)

Commercial Litigation: “One of the go-to juniors at the Bar.” (Legal 500 2017)

Civil Fraud: “Fantastic at getting stuck into the papers, producing pleadings in no time at all.” (Legal 500 2017)

Civil Fraud: “She’s superwoman” (Chambers & Partners 2015)

Insolvency: “Bright, incisive and approachable” (Legal 500 2015)

Company: “She’s a tough and tenacious litigator, who fights through to the end.” (Chambers & Partners 2015)

Professional Negligence: “Remarkably bright, always quick, and nothing fazes her.” (Chambers & Partners 2013)

Chancery Commercial: “Marries a quietly efficient approach with exceptional ability and creative vision.” (Chambers & Partners 2012)

Company: “Peers are unanimous in acknowledging that Ruth Holtham den Besten punches above her weight” (Chambers & Partners 2012)

 

Banking & financial services

Ruth has a strong banking and finance practice. As well as acting in the Lehman Brothers administration, she was engaged on behalf of JSC BTA Bank of Kazakhstan in the proceedings brought against its former chairman, Mukhtar Ablyazov, for the substantial misappropriation of monies.

Notable/recent cases include:

The Joint Administrators of LB Holdings Intermediate 2 Limited & Ors (Lehman Brothers – Waterfall I) [2017] UKSC 38. Successfully appeared for the administrators of Lehman Brothers Limited (“LBL”) in the Supreme Court in respect of directions relating to the obligation to pay statutory interest accrued during administration. Also acted for LBL in the Waterfall III proceedings, concerning whether a claim for contribution might in any event as a matter of fact lie against LBL including in respect of subordinated debt [2017] EWHC 2032 (Ch). Presently instructed in respect of further applications concerning the ranking of subordinated debt.

Edgar Lavarello & Adrian Hyde v Jyske Bank (Gibraltar) Limited. Instructed on behalf of Jyske Bank in respect of claims made in dishonest assistance and knowing receipt.

Cinque Ports & Ors v Federal Bank of the Middle East (FBME). Represented FBME in its application to set aside a default judgment obtained in the sum of £200m. and which could, if enforced, have had significant repercussions for the Cypriot banking system.

Belltrey v Newcote International Limited [2013] EWHC 3500 (Ch). Dispute concerning the grant of security to the principal funder of a substantial gaming company.

JSC BTA Bank v Mukhtar Ablyazov & Ors [2013] EWHC 510 (Comm). Successfully represented BTA Bank of Kazakhstan in proceedings brought to recover $1.5bn misappropriated by the Bank’s majority shareholder and chairman.

Bank of St Petersburg OJSC & Anor v Vitaly Arkhangelsky & Anor [2012] EWHC 2842 (Ch). Represented the Bank and its chairman in proceedings to recover over £50m. claimed to be due from a former Russian oligarch.

Re Coroin Limited; McKillen v Misland (Cyprus) Limited [2012] EWHC 2343 (Ch). Instructed in a dispute between shareholders of Coroin, the owner of Claridges, the Berkeley and the Connaught hotels, concerning, inter alia, the enforcement of a series of bank charges upon alleged default.

Civil fraud & asset tracing

Tatneft PJSC v (1) Bogolyubov, (2) Kolomoisky & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1581, [2018] 4 WLR 14 and 22 June 2018 (Cockerill J., Comm Ct). Acted for one of the defendants on a substantial set aside application of an order for service out and freezing relief obtained against Ukrainian oligarchs by a Russian oil company. More recently appeared in applications relating to the provision of asset disclosure and the terms of a confidentiality club.

Jill Jehan Barley v Graeme Muir [2018] EWHC 619 (QB), and John Bennington Sears v Minco Plc [2016] EWHC 433 (Ch). In each case appeared for the Claimant at trial in respect of claims for procurement of investment by alleged fraudulent misrepresentation.

Barclays Pharmaceutical v Antoine Mekni & Ors (Comm Court, 23 October 2017, Carr J.). Appeared on behalf of Barclays Pharmaceutical seeking worldwide freezing and ancillary orders in support of the enforcement of a judgment including as against third parties on the Chabra basis; decision also concerns the disclosure of legal funding information.

Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority v Bestfort Development LLC [2016] EWCA Civ 1099. Successfully obtained security for costs in ancillary freezing order proceedings brought by entities associated with the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In addition, in Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority v Bestfort v Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1014; [2018] 1 W.L.R. 1099 substantially resisted the grant of ancillary freezing and other relief.

Pugachev v Diligence LLC. Brought proceedings on behalf of Sergei Pugachev in respect of the perceived threat to his life and limb caused by the installation of tracking devices by investigators and claimed to have caused him to flee the jurisdiction.

Edgar Lavarello & Adrian Hyde v Jyske Bank (Gibraltar) Limited. Represented the bank pre-trial in respect of claims made in dishonest assistance and knowing receipt.

Ashman & Ors v Briers. Successfully obtained summary judgment against the chief executive of a charity who had misappropriated substantial funds for his own benefit, supported by freezing relief (Mann J, December 2015).

JSC BTA Bank v Mukhtar Ablyazov & Ors [2013] EWHC 510 (Comm.). Successfully represented BTA Bank of Kazakhstan in proceedings brought to recover $1.5bn misappropriated by Mukhtar Ablyazov, the Bank’s majority shareholder and chairman.

Bank of St Petersburg OJSC & Anor v Vitaly Arkhangelsky & Anor [2012] EWHC 2842 (Ch.). Represented the Bank and its chairman in proceedings to recover over £50m. claimed from a former Russian oligarch.

ELS International Lawyers LLP v Joe Ezaz; Stirling Mortimer Global Property Fund PCC v ELS International Lawyers LLP & Joe Ezaz. Represented individual defendant alleged to be responsible for loss of €9m held in escrow in a solicitor’s client account.

Lexi Holdings Plc [2009] 2 BCLC 1, [2008] 2 BCLC 725. Acted in this substantial case arising from the collapse of a bridging loan company, with £multi-million misappropriations having been made by its principal, Shaid Luqman (in the event, twice held to be in contempt of court). Decisions include the leading Court of Appeal authority dealing with the liability of company directors for their negligent failure to act to prevent the commission of fraud and company and Serious Fraud Office v Lexi Holdings Plc & Anor, TLR, 18 August 2008 (CA) (variation of restraint orders) and of the Court of Appeal in relation to the availability of unless orders [2007] EWCA Civ 1501. Also acted in substantial related professional negligence proceedings: Lexi Holdings Plc v Pannone & Partners [2009] 2 BCLC 1.

Commercial chancery disputes

Ruth has been engaged in numerous high value commercial disputes, including those which cross the threshold between traditional commercial and traditional chancery work. Notable examples include:

Tatneft PJSC v (1) Bogolyubov, (2) Kolomoisky & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1581, [2018] 4 WLR 14 and 22 June 2018 (Cockerill J., Comm Ct). Acting for one of the defendants in substantial proceedings in which it is alleged that monies due for the payment of oil were misappropriated.

Global Gaming Ventures (Group Ltd) v Global Gaming Ventures (Holdings) Ltd & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 68. Successfully represented a director/shareholder urgently seeking information in relation to the sale of shares by receivers for a nominal sum.

Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority v Bestfort Development LLC [2016] EWCA Civ 1099; [2017] EWCA Civ 1014; [2018] 1 W.L.R. 1099. Acted for a number of companies against which freezing and other injunctive relief was sought,

Bank of St Petersburg OJSC & Anor v Vitaly Arkhangelsky & Anor [2012] EWHC 2842 (Ch.). Represented the Bank and its chairman in proceedings to recover over £50m. claimed from a former Russian oligarch.

Orb ARL & Ors v Andrew Ruhan & Ors [2015] EWHC 262 (Comm.). Appeared in this substantial, multi-party, hearing relating to the amendment of proceedings to introduce breach of trust claims and in which substantial abuse of process was alleged.

Re Coroin Limited; McKillen v Misland (Cyprus) Limited [2012] EWHC 2343 (Ch.). Acted for Patrick McKillen in relation to a dispute over ownership and control of Claridges, the Berkeley and the Connaught hotels.

 

Commercial dispute resolution

Rosalina Investments Ltd v New Balance Athletic Shoes (UK) Ltd [2018] EWHC 1014 (QB). Acted on behalf of the companies owning Marouane Fellaini’s image rights in a dispute with New Balance concerning sponsorship for the 2016-2019 seasons.

Hill (In Liquidation) v KPMG Limited (Gibraltar). Acted for the Claimant liquidator in respect of the alleged negligent auditing of an insurance company which transpired to be entirely uncapitalised.

Cinque Ports & Ors v Federal Bank of the Middle East (FBME). Represented FBME in its application to set aside a default judgment obtained in the sum of £200m. which could, if enforced, have had significant repercussions for the Cypriot banking system.

Orb ARL & Ors v Andrew Ruhan & Ors [2015] EWHC 262 (Comm). Appeared in this substantial, multi-party, hearing relating to the amendment of proceedings to introduce breach of trust claims and in which substantial abuse of process was alleged.

Belltrey v Newcote International Limited [2013] EWHC 3500 (Ch). Acted in substantial dispute between the owners and management of “Bet Victor” concerning the grant of security to the principal funder of a substantial gaming company.

Re Coroin Limited; McKillen v Misland (Cyprus) Limited [2012] EWHC 2343 (Ch). Acted for Patrick McKillen in relation to a dispute over ownership and control of Claridges, the Berkeley and the Connaught hotels.

Karren Brady & West Ham FC Ltd v (1) PKF (UK) LLP, (2) Howard Hill and (3) Tottenham Hotspur Plc [2011] EWHC 3178 (QB). Represented PKF (UK) LLP in answer to an application for Norwich Pharmacal relief relating to the unauthorised obtaining, possession and disclosure of mobile telephone records during the phone hacking scandals.

Pink Floyd Music Ltd & Anor v EMI [2010] EWCA Civ 1429; [2011] 1 W.L.R. 770 Represented EMI in a dispute with Pink Floyd concerning the right to sell recordings online and payment of royalties for streaming.

Axa Insurance Limited v Composite Legal Services Limited [2010] 1 WLR 1662. Represented a number of solicitors insured by WR Berkley in the “TAG 2” Litigation, a 75 party action managed by the Commercial Court, including successfully before the Court of Appeal in a key decision on limitation in solicitors’ negligence cases.

Company Law

Ruth has a strong company law practice, having appeared in a number of Chancery proceedings raising particular points of company law, shareholder disputes, just and equitable winding up petitions and unfair prejudice petitions. Examples include:

Global Gaming Ventures (Group Ltd) v Global Gaming Ventures (Holdings) Ltd & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 68. Successfully represented a director/shareholder urgently seeking information in relation to the sale of shares by receivers for a nominal sum.

Rossano Ferretti v Santoro Acted on behalf of the Respondent to a wide-range of company law and other claims, including derivative claims, supported by an application for wide-ranging injunctive relief.

In Re Quiet Moments Limited [2013] EWHC 3806 (Ch). Shareholders’ dispute and winding up petition brought in respect of substantial property development company.

Belltrey v Newcote International Limited [2013] EWHC 3500 (Ch). Dispute concerning the grant of security to the principal funder of a substantial gaming company and a just and equitable winding up petition.

Re Coroin Limited; McKillen v Misland (Cyprus) Limited [2012] EWHC 2343 (Ch). Instructed in a dispute between shareholders of Coroin, the owner of Claridges, the Berkeley and the Connaught hotels, concerning, inter alia, the enforcement of a series of bank charges upon alleged default.

New Southgate Metals v Mitchell & Ors. Successfully represented a company alleged to have been stripped of its assets by its former directors by way of a purported sale and leaseback transaction.

Dimitri Iesini v Westrip Holdings & Ors [2009] EWHC 2526 (Ch). Leading authority on applications for permission to bring derivative actions.

Injunctive Relief

Ruth has extensive experience of both obtaining and resisting applications for injunctive relief be they freezing, search, anti-suit, confidentiality club, receivership or other orders, and whether made in support of proceedings in this jurisdiction or elsewhere. She also regularly advises on the mechanics and operation of such orders, and the availability of committal proceedings.

Examples of the injunctive cases in which Ruth has been instructed include:

Oberthur v Decatur Europe Ltd & Ors (June 2018, Knowles J). Represented the applicant for anti-suit injunctive relief in respect of proceedings commenced in Bangladesh claimed to be governed by an exclusive Swiss jurisdiction clause.

Barclays Pharmaceutical v Antoine Mekni & Ors (Comm Court, 23 October 2017, Carr J). Appeared on behalf of Barclays Pharmaceutical seeking worldwide freezing and ancillary orders in support of the enforcement of a judgment including as against third parties on the Chabra basis; decision also concerns the disclosure of legal funding information.

Tatneft PJSC v (1) Bogolyubov, (2) Kolomoisky & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1581, [2018] 4 WLR 14 and 22 June 2018 (Cockerill J, Comm Ct). Acted for one of the defendants on a substantial discharge application in respect of worldwide freezing relief. More recently appeared in applications relating to the question of whether asset disclosure might be limited in value and the terms of a confidentiality club.

Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority v Bestfort Development LLC [2016] EWCA Civ 1099. Successfully obtained security for costs in ancillary freezing order proceedings brought by entities associated with the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In addition, in Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority v Bestfort v Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1014; [2018] 1 W.L.R. 1099 substantially resisted the grant of ancillary freezing and other relief including novel orders proposed for the appointment of receivers.

JSC BTA Bank v Mukhtar Ablyazov & Ors [2013] EWHC 510 (Comm). Acted for BTA Bank of Kazakhstan in proceedings brought to recover $1.5bn misappropriated by the Bank’s majority shareholder and chairman supported by worldwide freezing orders.

Bank of St Petersburg OJSC & Anor v Vitaly Arkhangelsky & Anor [2012] EWHC 2842 (Ch). Represented the Bank and its chairman in proceedings to recover over £50m. with the claims supported by worldwide freezing orders and particular orders made for the cross-examination of the principal defendant in respect of the adequacy of his asset disclosure.

Ashman & Ors v Briers. Successfully obtained freezing relief against the chief executive of a charity who had misappropriated substantial funds for his own benefit (Mann J, December 2015).

Lexi Holdings Plc [2009] 2 BCLC 1, [2008] 2 BCLC 725. Acted in this substantial case arising from the collapse of a bridging loan company where the claims were supported by worldwide freezing order, passport orders and search orders, and two committal applications were successfully made against the principal defendant, Shaid Luqman.

Insolvency and Restructuring

The Joint Administrators of LB Holdings Intermediate 2 Limited & Ors (Lehman Brothers – Waterfall I) [2017] UKSC 38. Successfully appeared for the administrators of Lehman Brothers Limited (“LBL”) in the Supreme Court in respect of directions relating to the obligation to pay statutory interest accrued during administration and the circumstances in which a claim for contribution might arise under s.74 of the Insolvency Act. Also acted for LBL in the Waterfall III proceedings, concerning whether a claim for contribution might in any event as a matter of fact lie against LBL [2017] EWHC 2032 (Ch). Presently instructed in respect of further applications concerning the ranking of subordinated debt.

BHS Group Ltd (In Administration) v Retail Acquisitions Limited [2017] EWHC 1057 (Ch); [2017] 2 B.C.L.C. 472. Secured the winding up of Retail Acquisitions Limited, the company which purchased BHS for £1, on a disputed debt petition resisted by Dominic Chappell.

Cinque Ports & Ors v Federal Bank of the Middle East (FBME). Represented FBME in its application to set aside a default judgment obtained in the sum of £200m. and which could, if enforced, have had significant repercussions for the Cypriot banking system. The case raised multiple new points of cross-border insolvency.

Optima Worldwide Group Plc v Fox-Davies Capital (Jersey) Limited & Anor. Appeared on a disputed winding up petition in relation to the withholding of monies payable on a share purchase agreement. The petition raised important points as to the strength of cross-claims required to resist the application of the jurisdiction.

Professional negligence

Ruth has a very strong professional negligence practice. In addition to the cases below she regularly advises in relation to notified claims at the pre-action stage.

Notable/recent cases include:

Hill (In Liquidation) v KPMG Limited. Acted for the liquidator of Hill Insurance Company in a claim in respect of alleged negligent auditing of an insurance company which had not been capitalised.

GML (UK) (Saxby) v Pitmans LLP. Instructed in proceedings concerning the defendant firm’s allegedly negligent drafting of a pre-pack administration agreement for certain Burger King franchises.

Ghosh & Anor v Lewis Silken. Instructed in proceedings concerning a top city law firm’s alleged negligent performance of a retainer to sell an internet search company.

Ellis & Ors v Bristows (A Firm); Hetherington & Ors v Bristows (A Firm). Advised in relation to the allegedly negligent restructuring of offshore trust vehicles.

Rudyard Kipling Thorpe (acting as litigation friend) v Fellowes (A Firm) [2011] PNLR 13. Leading authority on the requirement of solicitors to obtain instructions from an elderly vendor prior to sale of a property.

Axa Insurance Limited v Composite Legal Services Limited [2010] 1 WLR 1662. Represented a number of solicitors insured by WR Berkley in the “TAG 2” Litigation, a 75 party action managed by the Commercial Court, including successfully before the Court of Appeal in a key decision on limitation in solicitors’ negligence cases.

Lexi Holdings v Pannone & Partners. Acted for the administrators on behalf of this substantial claim arising out of the collapse of a property bridging company.

Memberships

Commercial Bar Association; Chancery Bar Association

Education

1996-1999 BA Jesus College, Oxford (History, First Class);

2000 Dip Law, City University

Awards

Queen Mother’s Scholar, Fox Scholar (McCarthy Tétrault, Toronto, 2002-2003) and Harmsworth Exhibitioner (Middle Temple)

Sankey Scholar (Jesus College, Oxford)