Richard is an experienced litigator who appears in courts at all levels, in arbitrations, and before tribunals and professional bodies. Richard is particularly known for his expertise in all aspects of company law, partnership, business disputes, civil fraud and insolvency law. Approachable and equally at home taking the lead or working as part of a team.
Legal 500 2015 says that Richard is ‘a highly rated Chancery barrister‘ who ‘has a very good knowledge of the relevant law and gives crisp, practical opinions‘.
Chambers & Partners 2016 notes that he ‘has a very good attention to detail and deals with every point raised‘. Clients say that ‘he is certainly one of the best counsel we deal with relating to director disqualification cases’.
He is recommended in Chambers Global 2016 for restructuring/insolvency, which notes that ‘he has a very firm grasp of the law‘.
Richard has just finished (judgment Jan 2018) an 11 day trial of a partnership and company dispute. He has since taken part in a successful mediation of a S.339 Insolvency Act claim on behalf of different clients. Prior to that major trials have been first in November 2014 when Richard appeared for the claimant in a substantial unfair prejudice petition in the BVI which settled on confidential terms. Then in May 2015 he appeared for a director in disqualification proceedings in which the OR agreed to discontinue his claim after opening speeches.
Richard’s reported cases include: BBGP Managing General Partner Ltd v Babcock & Brown Global Partners  Ch 296 limited restructuring, disclosure and whether inequity exception applied, Hammonds v Danilunas  EWCA (Civ) 1400, a high profile partnership dispute concerning the recovery of over-drawings from former partners; O.R. v McKay  Ch 303, effect of withdrawal of proof of debt for the purposes of annulment on grounds of payment in full; Donaldson v O’Sullivan  1 WLR 924 court’s power to make block transfer orders of appointments in particular as trustee in bankruptcy and liquidator; Haine v Day re Compound Sections Ltd  2 BCLC 517 whether a protective award made after date company went into liquidation in respect of redundancies made prior to that date were provable debts; Oxus Gold Plc v Templeton Insurance  EWHC 864 (Comm); Sec of State v Frid  A.C. 506; Sec of State v Bell Davies Trading Ltd  1 BCLC 516, as well as a $100m Nigerian mobile telecommunications commercial arbitration.
Richard has experience litigating in other jurisdictions especially the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man.
Recent cases include: restrictive covernance on a former partner, construction of the partnership deeds and questions of general partnership law; resisting an application by the FSC in the BVI for the appointment of a liquidator and applying for the appointment of a Provisional Liquidator in the Cayman Islands. He has also recently advised a number of European Hedge Funds in relation to offshore claims, including clawback issues in the Madoff litigation.
Richard has appeared before the Insolvency Practitioners’ Tribunals and the Institute of Chartered Accountants
Areas of experience
Richard has experience of arbitration and cases in which aspects of arbitration feature. He acted for a party in an arbitration arising under a shareholders’ agreement before the International Court of Arbitration, concerning the running of a major Iraqi mobile telephone company.
- Banking and Financial Services
Richard has experience both in cases where the subject matter is concerned solely with financial services issues and cases in which those issues are combined with other issues, such as insolvency, company law and directors’ duties.
- Qatar Financial Commission Regulatory Tribunal. Richard Ritchie acted for the appellant in the first appeal to come before Tribunal. The appeal was against a decision of the QFC Regulatory Authority. The tribunal is drawn from eminent judges and lawyers from around the globe.
- Acted for Secretary of State in compulsory winding up proceedings where
– the company was alleged to have been running an unauthorised
– where the company was providing unauthorised insurance
– where the company was conducting an illegal lottery
- Advised clients as to their rights in relation to an Ombudsman’s inquiry into a financial advisor under PIA rules and FSMA
- Advised investors in film finance scheme
- Advised investors in collapsed hedge funds
- Advised investors in relation to their claims against financial advisors/intermediaries under common law and financial services legislation
- Advised a bank in connection with its role as custodian of investments by claimant which had asked bank to serve notices redeeming shares held by claimant in a hedge fund which had subsequently collapsed. Allegation that bank had negligently failed to issue notices in time which result that redemptions dates prior to collapse were missed.
- Advised managers of a hedge fund which had been wound up prematurely by investors anxious to recover the large amounts of uninvested cash held by the fund thereby depriving the managers of commission they had expected to earn managing the fund
- Civil Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery
Richard is experienced in civil fraud and asset tracing/recovery. In particular Richard has experience of
- freezing injunctions
- recovery and tracing claims including S.423 Insolvency Act
Rickard Metals v Cotton acting for client accused of fraud in relation to a metals trading contract against whom both a freezing injunction and summary judgment had been obtained. Successfully applied for freezing injunction to be discharged and summary judgment to be set aside. Case then settled.
BBGP Managing General Partner Ltd v Babcock & Brown Global Partners  EWHC (Ch) 2176 disclosure – whether fraud/iniquity exception applied
Acted for firm of stockbrokers who had purchased shares on behalf of a client who could not pay
Acted in claim against fraudulent architect who had undisclosed interest in building company carrying out project he was managing
- Commercial Litigation
Richard is experienced in dealing with general contractual disputes and disputes between businesses, both arising out of the provision of goods and services and as a result of joint venture and cooperation/investment agreements.
Many of Richard’s insolvency cases involve questions as to the ownership of assets and funds which fall to be determined under general contract law and trust (including breach of trust) principles. Examples of Richards work include:
- Advising on whether it was possible to recover money due to a client which had been recovered in a liquidation but then paid to someone else by mistake.
- Acting on a winding up petition which raised questions of ownership of funds held in solicitor’s client account where there were grounds for suspecting that the vendor of property might have been acting fraudulent.
- Acting in insolvencies of investment companies which have misapplied funds raised or have not applied them in accordance with the prospectus upon which they were raised; whether the funds were misapplied in breach of trust and/or contract and/or negligently.
Rickard Metals Inc v Cotton : a metals trading contract. Allegations of fraud. Richard appeared on behalf of defendants. Freezing injunction against defendants discharged for lack of risk of dissipation of assets. Allegations of fraud too insubstantial. Questions of material non-disclosure raised. Breadth of disclosure obligations and time within which to comply and fact that original application made ex parte also criticised.
Re a Joint Venture Dispute [2004-2006]: Commercial Arbitration concerning the operation and development of a mobile telephone network in Africa. Several US$100m are involved. Disputes were litigated in Africa, England and Denmark.
Oxus Gold Plc v Templeton Insurance  EWHC 864 (Comm): a dispute as to whether T was entitled to 5 million share warrants worth in excess of £2.5 million and whether T was obliged to perform and had performed certain obligations in order to be entitled to the warrants.
Prudential Assurance Co Ltd v Ayers  (AI) E.R, 1266 whether deed limiting liability assigned to restructuring assets meant assignee’s liability was subject to some limitation.
Other recent cases have involved:
- a dispute between two Polish shipping companies arising from their ownership of a joint venture company
- advising on a supply agreement concerning manufacture of certain pharmaceutical drugs
- an attempt to seize assets in a foreign jurisdiction by means of wrongfully trying to take control over an English holding company
- a dispute between a developer and builder relating to builder’s alleged refusal to authorise further sales
- the question of whether claims had been compromised by a compromise agreement following previous litigation
- claims under warranties in a share sale agreement involving the sale of a business
- advising in a dispute between a developer and funder over the sums owed to the funder and the funder’s rights.
Recommended in both Legal 500 and Chambers & Prs, Richard deals with all aspects of company law in particular directors duties, obligations and liabilities and shareholders rights and remedies. Legal 500 calls him “very approachable, technically strong and very easy to deal with” with “real silk quality on company matters“.
He is author of part of Blackstones Guide to the Companies Act 2006.
Recent cases include:
- shareholders’ dispute regarding a stockbroking firm. Richard acted for the prejudiced minority. The issues included: construction of articles, challenge to valuer’s report and estoppel by convention.
- advising on the company law aspects of a proposed tax structure involving Isle of Man companies.
- advising shareholders in connection with a dispute between the funding shareholder and the shareholder responsible for carrying out the works.
- a dispute concerning who owned assets in a trade union.
- advising the Secretary of State on directors disqualifications concerning questionable accounting practices.
- shareholders’ dispute over the question of rights under the shareholders’ agreement.
- Hedge Funds & Structured Investment Vehicles
Richard has put his company and insolvency law expertise to good use in developing a practice in hedge fund and structured investment vehicle work. His recent cases include:
- Advising investors concerning their rights and liabilities under term of formal documents, general law and insolvency law in relation to hedge funds in Cayman and BVI following Madoff collapse.
- Advising in relation to litigation between hedge fund and investors.
- Advised managers of a hedge fund which had been wound up prematurely by investors anxious to recover the large amounts of uninvested cash held by the fund thereby depriving the managers of commission they had expected to earn managing the fund.
Richard is a recognised expert in restructuring and insolvency law recommended in Legal 500 and Chambers & Prs (also for company law). Said to be “top quality counsel” Richard is extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of insolvency law, including administrations, voluntary arrangements, bankruptcy, company liquidation, directors’ disqualification, winding up petitions in the public interest and asset recovery whether under section 423 Insolvency Act or otherwise. Richard is frequently instructed to advise and represent Official Receivers in litigation and is also instructed by BIS on topical aspects of insolvency law and practice where legal advice is required in formulating policy and guidance. Richard has recently been advising overseas hedge funds, both as a result of the Madoff collapse and otherwise. Richard has appeared in a number of high profile cases in this area both in England & Wales and overseas in BVI, Cayman and Isle of Man. Recent reported cases include:
- O.R. v McKay  EWCA Civ 467, effect of withdrawal of proof of debt for the purposes of annulment on grounds of payment in full.
- Donaldson v O’Sullivan  EWCA Civ 879,  BPIR 1288 court’s power to make block transfer orders of appointments in particular as trustee in bankruptcy and liquidator.
- Haine v Day re Compound Sections Ltd  2 BCLC 517 whether a protective award made after date company went into liquidation in respect of redundancies made prior to that date was a provable debt.
- Pannell v OR  BPIR 629 the “use it or lose it” provisions relating to the bankrupt’s home introduced by the Enterprise Act 2002 do not apply to 1914 Act bankrupts.
- Sec of State v Frid  A.C. 506 (H.L.) Leap frog appeal to HL. Whether the Commissioners of Customs and Excise were entitled to set off a value-added tax refund due to a company before it went into liquidation against redundancy payments made by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to former employees of the company after its liquidation.
- Sec of State v Bell Davies Trading Ltd  1 BCLC 516 (C.A.)
- Bagnall v Official Receiver  1 W.L.R. 2832 (C.A.)
- Jeeves v Official Receiver  1 W.L.R 602 (C.A.)
Other recent cases include:
- defending a company in BVI against whom a winding up petition had been presented in the public interest.
- dispute over obligation to take a new lease following the insolvency of a tenant in the US.
- defending a company against a winding up petition presented by a debt factor who claimed to have been assigned various debts.
- advising the FSC (Isle of Man) and defending an application for special leave to appeal to the Privy Council from the Court of Staff Division.
- advising on whether it was possible to recover money due to a client which had been recovered in a liquidation but then paid to someone else by mistake.
Richard is a qualified mediator and has acted as a mediator and has also been involved as counsel in the mediation process.
He is an experienced litigator who appears in courts at all levels, in arbitrations, and before tribunals and professional bodies. Richard is particularly known for his expertise in all aspects of company law, partnership, business disputes, civil fraud and insolvency law. He is known as approachable and equally at home taking the lead or working as part of a team.
- Partnership and Joint Ventures
Richard has acted in a number of high profile partnership disputes including:
- Hammonds v Danilunas  EWCA (Civ) 1400 – acted for Hammonds claiming repayment from former partners of over-drawings taken on account of profits; also concerned questions of construction of partnership deed
- BBGP Managing General Partner Ltd v Babcock & Brown  EWHC (Ch) 2176 dispute between partnership formed under Limited Partnerships Act 1907 as investment vehicle and former managing general partner and its associates. Also concerned questions of disclosure and access to partnership documents and legal professional privilege as well as whether the fraud iniquity exception applied.
He is recommended in this area by Legal 500.
- Real Estate Litigation
Richard also has wide experience of general property related disputes.
- He acted as counsel in one of the first cases on S.2 Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989, Record v Bell  1 WLR 853.
- He acted as counsel and advised in other actions for specific performance of sales of land (GKN v Tyne Tees Fabrications Ltd (1985) 50 P & CR 403).
- He has acted as counsel and advised on landlord and tenant matters (Cairnplace Properties v CBL  1 WLR 696).
- He has recently been acted as counsel in a case concerning sale by a mortgagee under a forged mortgage, rectification of the register and compensation from the Land Registry Odogwu v Vastguide Ltd  EWHC 3565 (Ch).
- Richard has also advised on matters such as disputes between a property developer and a funder, mortgage claims, restrictive covenants and easements.
- Prudential Assurance Co Ltd v Ayers  (AI) E.R, 1266 whether deed limiting liability assigned to restructuring assets meant assignee’s liability was subject to some limitation.
Both Chambers & Partners 2016 and Legal 500 2015 recommend Richard for insolvency and company. Legal 500 also recommend him for partnership work.
Legal 500 2015 notes that Richard ‘has a very good knowledge of the relevant law and gives crisp, practical opinions‘. Clients recommend him as ‘a highly rated Chancery barrister with a strong reputation in partnership disputes‘ who ‘has a wealth of experience, so you know you are getting a reality check built into the advice‘.
Chambers & Partners says that ‘his opinions are comprehensive‘ and ‘very good attention to detail‘. Instructing solicitors say ‘we hardly ever have to go back and ask supplemental questions‘ and praise him as ‘one of the best counsel we deal with relating to director disqualification cases‘.
He is recommended in Chambers Global 2016 for restructuring/insolvency, which says ‘he has a very firm grasp of the law, as well as of the facts in any particular case‘.
- B.A Oxon
- Co-author of Blackstone’s Guide to the Companies Act 2006 (OUP)
- Standing Counsel to The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in Insolvency Matters
- Accredited Mediator
- Formerly Junior Counsel to the Crown (Member of Chancery A Panel)
- Public access accredited
- Chancery Bar Association
- Insolvency Lawyers Association
- Associate of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3)
- European Circuit
- Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court