Hefin Rees QC

Hefin Rees QC

Call: 1992 | Silk: 2013

"A formidable opponent in court – an extremely effective advocate with a keen eye for important detail."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

"His clarity of presentation of complex facts is impressive – a real asset in complex fraud cases."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

"A thoroughly prepared trial advocate who is knows what he is about in cross-examination."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

"Hefin is indefatigable. His rapport with clients is instant. He pursues cases up to and at trial with boundless enthusiasm and vigour. A charismatic, fearsome cross-examiner."

- Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

Practice Overview

Hefin Rees QC has very extensive experience of international disputes in the commercial, civil fraud, company, professional negligence, banking and financial services sectors. His international reputation attracts instructions in the most complex and high value cases around the world. His clients include governments, large multi-national companies, royal families, high-profile business people and entrepreneurs.

Hefin is regarded as a heavyweight practitioner with a significant cross-border practice, and his leading position means he is regularly instructed in the largest and most complex international commercial disputes involving lengthy trials that require skillful cross-examinations.

Hefin is highly recommended as a Leading  Silk  in  commercial  litigation  and  arbitration  in  The  Legal 500, as well as in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific Region. He is  ranked  as a  Tier 1  Leading Silk in  Offshore  Litigation (both in Legal 500 2022 and 2021), and is highly recommended by the directories as a Leading Silk in Professional Negligence (Legal 500 2022), and Civil Fraud (Legal 500 2022).

The feedback from independently researched legal directories conclude:

“Hefin is indefatigable. His rapport with clients is instant. He pursues cases up to and at trial with boundless enthusiasm and vigour. A charismatic, fearsome cross-examiner” (Legal 500, 2022);

“A formidable opponent in court – an extremely effective advocate with a keen eye for important detail. His clarity of presentation of complex facts is impressive – a real asset in complex cases” (Legal 500, 2022);

“A thoroughly prepared trial advocate who knows what he is about in cross-examination” (Legal 500, 2022);

He is charming, entertaining, commercially astute and frank” (Legal 500, 2021);

respected for his good humour and force as an advocate” (Legal 500, 2021);

Hefin throws himself in a case team with tremendous enthusiasm” (Legal 500, 2020);

great to work with and his enthusiasm is infectious. He is very client friendly and commercially minded in his approach” and “never sits on the fence” (Legal 500, 2020).

Since being appointed a QC 8 years ago, he has developed an outstanding litigation and arbitration practice in resolving disputes all over the world. Hefin is now called to the Bar of 5 different jurisdictions. He is a highly regarded advocate and trial lawyer representing clients in London, the BVI, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Jersey, the Isle of Man, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

As a trial advocate, he has a formidable reputation as a cross-examiner, particularly of technical experts. He is also highly sought after to lead the conduct of long and complex commercial trials having fought and won so many of these lengthy trials both in England and in many commonwealth jurisdictions and in arbitrations throughout the world over the last 10+ years. He is described as “incredibly bright”, “has a truly exceptional memory”, “is sensational on his feet”, “a true master in the art of cross- examination” and “dynamic”.

Hefin also has considerable appellate court experience before the Privy Council, the Court of Appeals of England & Wales, Grand Cayman Court of Appeal, and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.

Hefin’s client list extends across the entire globe. His past cases have been listed amongst The Lawyer’s “Top 20 Cases” in the UK. Many of his cases in the UK and internationally concern clients from the PRC, Russia or the CIS countries, the Far East, the Middle East and Africa.

Hefin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and receives appointments to sit as Arbitrator from (amongst others) the LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL as well as sitting as an Arbitrator in ad hoc arbitrations.

Hefin Rees QC is a leading commercial Silk in both domestic and international litigation. He enjoys a busy, extensive and diverse commercial practice. He has significant experience of leading counsel teams in very substantial and complex commercial disputes, often involving multiple jurisdictions.

He has considerable experience of multi-national fraud disputes, including: jurisdictional and choice of law issues; interim remedies including Worldwide Freezing Injunctions, Search Orders, Norwich Pharmacal and other Disclosure Orders, contempt of court and asset tracing.

He is also frequently instructed in company law disputes, particularly involving unfair prejudice petitions, breach of fiduciary duty claims against directors, and claims for piercing the corporate veil. His cases also include shareholder disputes, sale and purchase agreements, and indemnity claims by directors under a company’s articles of association.

Below are a few recent examples of Hefin’s experience in commercial cases:

  • Representing Sir Frederick Barclay and his daughter Amanda Barclay, in a very high-profile claim against other members of the Barclay family for invasion of privacy and breach of confidence. Over 1,000 separate private business conversations between Sir Frederick and his advisers were covertly recorded in the conservatory of The Ritz Hotel in London. Hefin appeared in 12 separate hearings in the High Court in London to obtain search orders against the 5 Defendants and various other disclosure orders. There was also a 2-day hearing in May 2020 (before Warby J) during which the Court held that none of the documents seized in the search orders were subject to legal privilege. Further hearings are listed to take place in 2021.
  • Representing 4 Respondents before the Privy Council (judgment delivered in November 2020, on appeal from BVI Court of Appeal) in an international bribery scheme where two senior Russian executives of Eurochem, one of the world’s largest manufacturer of mineral fertilizer, had received secret commission payments of US$45m incurring loss of profits to Eurochem of US$135m. There were five secret commission schemes around the world with different distributors and the bribes were paid to bank accounts in Cyprus and Singapore.
  • Representing the Claimant in a 6-day trial before the BVI Commercial Court (Adderley J) involving an oral contract for a 22% share interest in the newly founded Bank of Asia. This is the first bank to be licensed in the BVI for over 25 years. It will provide new offshore banking facilities to the 250,000 companies incorporated in the BVI held by interested parties in the PRC, Hong Kong and Singapore. Adderley J held that Hefin’s client, Chad Holm, who was formerly a senior executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was entitled to a 22% shareholding in the Bank of Asia.
  • Obtaining a worldwide freezing injunction before the BVI Commercial Court (Adderley J) for a US$70m claim, together with extensive disclosure orders.
  • Representing the Respondent successfully before the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (BVI) in dismissing an appeal against judgment on liability. This decision is now being appealed to the Privy Council where a hearing is due to take place in 2021.
  • 5 separate hearings in the Cayman Islands (including before the Grand Cayman Court of Appeal) on a US$150m fraud arising out of the collapse of The Axiom Fund, which was intended to provide litigation funding in the UK. The funds were misappropriated, by using fake companies, false invoicing, and money transfers through Swiss bank accounts. The case also involves interesting legal arguments as to the extent of a director’s indemnity within articles of association under the Cayman Court of Appeal case of Weavering. The case is due to be heard by the Privy Council in 2021.
  • 8-week commercial fraud trial in London before Zacaroli J where Hefin represented the Claimant in a case against 6 Defendants involving an unlawful means conspiracy to defraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, misfeasance in public office, and tracing remedies. Over 40 witnesses gave evidence at trial. Hefin cross-examined the Defendants over 14 days and achieved a successful outcome.
  • Representing BVI court-appointed Receivers at 6 different hearings (before Adderley J and Wallbank J) arising out of a complex fraud of US$70m against a Singaporean bank. Following a judgment from the Court of Appeal in Singapore, the BVI Receivers obtained court sanction from Wallbank J in November 2020 to remove the board of directors of a Japanese publicly listed company.
  • 7-week commercial fraud trial in London before Coulson J arising from the misappropriation of US$70m from a construction project in the Caribbean. Hefin had previously led a team of 12 lawyers in 4 different jurisdictions over 3 years, with him appearing at 14 hearings in Barbados, 9 hearings in St Vincent, and a 12-week Commercial Court trial in Dublin.
  • 4-week commercial fraud trial in London before Leggatt J where Hefin represented Sheikh Al-Nehayan (of the royal family of Abu Dhabi) arising from a joint venture agreement to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the hotel sector in the Eastern Mediterranean. The judgment has also been widely reported due to its development of the law on good faith in commercial contracts.
  • 4-week commercial fraud trial in London before Nicholas Strauss QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) involving the theft of 2.6 tonnes of silver flake from the UK’s largest photo-processing factory. The Defendant was an industrial chemist who had designed an electrolysis system to extract silver flake from the chemicals used to develop the photographs.
  • Representing the Claimants in a group action of 300 individuals – 175 UK investors plus a group of 125 Singaporean investors – in a class action brought both in London and in Singapore to recover US$70m of investments misappropriated in a property development in Brazil known as Eco-House.
  • Representing the Attorney General of the BVI in a request for information by the Russian Federation under the Criminal Justice (International Cooperation) Act to gather evidence into alleged criminal conduct in Russia. The judgment examines how international treaties between governments are to be properly regulated in the BVI, and how tests are to be rigorously applied before confidential documentation is handed over by authorities across borders.
  • Representing the Attorney General of the BVI and the International Tax Authority of the BVI in a case involving how the BVI should respond to requests for information from foreign Governments under the Tax Information Exchange Agreements.
  • Representing the Claimants in a misappropriation claim of US$70m from a construction project in the Caribbean. Hefin led a team of 12 lawyers in 4 different jurisdictions (London, Barbados, St Vincent, and Ireland) over 3 years, with him appearing at 14 hearings in Barbados, 9 hearings in St Vincent, a 12-week Commercial Court trial in Dublin, and a 7-week TCC trial in London (before Coulson J).
  • Represented 17 Claimants in a £29m dispute before the Chancery Division over the correct meaning of a legal charge on shares in the largest security company in the UK that prevented the need to sell the company and effect the employment of 15,000 people.
  • Represented the Canadian Government as a Fairness Adviser in the sale of its London Embassy in Grosvenor Square for £306m.
  • Advising on various commercial disputes arising from the Mirror Group Hacking Litigation.
  • Represented four minority shareholders in a £20m unfair prejudice dispute in the Chancery Division facing an aggressive takeover bid to force them off the board and to remove them as directors. Injunction obtained from The Chancellor to prevent precipitative action by the aggressive bidder to preserve the status quo until trial of the unfair prejudice petition.
  • Represented the Respondent in a 3-week Chancery Division trial in an unfair prejudice petition before Faulk J in 2019.
  • Represented an international mining company in a £25m shareholder dispute involving ownership of gold mines in Zimbabwe and South Africa.  The case was part of a wider global dispute over ownership of mines around the world worth circa US$200m.
  • A US$1bn dispute against the Government of Cuba regarding the enforcement of a Florida Federal Court judgment against assets held by the Cuban Government in Europe and the application of the State Immunity Act 1972.
  • Partnership dispute in the Chancery Division involving an estate agency in Belgravia with allegations of millions of pounds of secret profits made by one partner from various celebrity clients; whether a Search Order should have been granted; the rights against self-incrimination; and the obtaining of a worldwide Freezing Order.
  • Claim involving BAE Systems as to whether alleged bribes and political corruption in the UK and USA were relevant in a breach of contract claim that had allegedly been compromised at a value of £7.5m; the application of the Money Laundering Regulations; and whether an arbitration clause meant that no litigation proceedings could be pursued.
  • A multi-million pound claim successfully brought against Chelsea Football Club in a Chancery Division trial on behalf of a company seeking specific performance of a put and call option agreement of shares; and involving alleged breaches of directors’ duties by the former Board of Directors at Chelsea and the use of offshore companies and Swiss trusts through which agency payments were made.
  • International dispute involving US$2 billion dollars’ worth of IP Rights in a ground-breaking new technology patented in over 50 countries with multiple claims in the USA and in the UK concerning secured convertible promissory notes and the obligations owed to noteholders by a collateral agent. The case is an important English case authority under the Brussels Regulation deciding a point left open by the European Court of Justice.
  • Partnership dispute involving the importation of a large number of sports cars from Japan into the UK, allegations of misrepresentation, secret profits, and the avoidance of VAT.
  • A competition law claim brought both in the UK and in Europe against BAA regarding Park and Ride services to Stansted Airport alleging anti-competitive practices against BAA and breaches of Articles 81, and 82 of the EC Treaty.
  • A claim for an injunction for delivery up of automotive parts against a supplier where the continued production line of Bentley Motors was threatened at a daily value of £25m; and a counterclaim for breaches of intellectual property and claimed design rights.
  • Advising the directors of Leeds United Football Club during its administration in which HMRC threatened to intervene in order to seek to secure a better deal for the valuation of the Club and, therefore, a higher prospect of recovering more of the unpaid taxes owed by the Club.
  • A 3-week trial in the Commercial Court  considering whether a commercial agency agreement had been lawfully terminated; whether the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993  applied to the gas and electricity industry within the UK; and how to value the agency agreement when unlawfully terminate.

Hefin Rees QC has over 25 years of experience in civil fraud cases. His work in this area is truly international. He is used to leading large teams of lawyers in multi-jurisdictional fraud claims and in asset tracing around the world. He has obtained well over 150 Worldwide Freezing Injunctions in over 12 different countries, and has great experience in search orders, disclosure orders, and fraud investigations. Hefin is recognised as a Tier 1 Leading Silk in Offshore Litigation (Legal 500, 2022 and 2021), and as a Leading Silk in Civil Fraud (Legal 500, 2022).

Below are a few recent examples of Hefin’s civil fraud experience:

  • Representing 4 Respondents before the Privy Council (judgment delivered in November 2020, on appeal from BVI Court of Appeal) in an international bribery scheme where two senior Russian executives of Eurochem, one of the world’s largest manufacturer of mineral fertilizer, had received secret commission payments of US$45m incurring loss of profits to Eurochem of US$135m. There were five secret commission schemes around the world with different distributors and the bribes were paid to bank accounts in Cyprus and Singapore.
  • 8-week commercial fraud trial in London before Zacaroli J where Hefin represented the Claimant in a case against 6 Defendants involving an unlawful means conspiracy to defraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, misfeasance in public office, and tracing remedies. Over 40 witnesses gave evidence at trial. Hefin cross-examined the Defendants over 14 days and achieved a successful outcome.
  • 7-week commercial fraud trial in London before Coulson J arising from the misappropriation of US$70m from a construction project in the Caribbean. Hefin had previously led a team of 12 lawyers in 4 different jurisdictions over 3 years, with him appearing at 14 hearings in Barbados, 9 hearings in St Vincent, and a 12-week Commercial Court trial in Dublin.
  • 4-week commercial fraud trial in London before Leggatt J where Hefin represented Sheikh Al-Nehayan (of the royal family of Abu Dhabi) arising from a joint venture agreement to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the hotel sector in the Eastern Mediterranean. The judgment has also been widely reported due to its development of the law on good faith in commercial contracts.
  • 4-week commercial fraud trial in London before Nicholas Strauss QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) involving the theft of 2.6 tonnes of silver flake from the UK’s largest photo-processing factory. The Defendant was an industrial chemist who had designed an electrolysis system to extract silver flake from the chemicals used to develop the photographs.
  • 5 separate hearings in the Cayman Islands (including before the Grand Cayman Court of Appeal) on a US$150m fraud arising out of the collapse of The Axiom Fund, which was intended to provide litigation funding in the UK. The funds were misappropriated, by using fake companies, false invoicing, and money transfers through Swiss bank accounts. The case also involves interesting legal arguments as to the extent of a director’s indemnity within articles of association under the Cayman Court of Appeal case of Weavering.
  • Representing the Claimants in a group action of 300 individuals – 175 UK investors plus a group of 125 Singaporean investors – in a class action brought both in London and in Singapore to recover US$70m of investments misappropriated in a property development in Brazil known as Eco-House.
  • Claim involving BAE Systems as to whether alleged bribes and political corruption in the UK and USA were relevant in a breach of contract claim that had allegedly been compromised at a value of £7.5m; the application of the Money Laundering Regulations; and whether an arbitration clause meant that no litigation proceedings could be pursued.
  • Advising a major Caribbean bank in respect of a US$300m claim against its former directors and senior managers for breaches of fiduciary duty and negligence (relating to mismanagement of the bank’s loan book and regulatory breaches) and against its former auditors for professional negligence.
  • Representing in a case involving 6,000 UK investors with SIPP pension investments with a value of £300m that should have been invested in Caribbean resorts in Barbados, St Lucia, the Dominican Republic, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The case involved allegations that the Defendants were operating a Ponzi scheme and an unregulated collective investment scheme, which is also being investigated separately by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office in the UK.

Hefin is recognised as a Tier 1 Leading Silk in Offshore Litigation (Legal 500, 2022 and 2021). Hefin has been called to the Bar of 5 different jurisdictions. He has travelled to the Caribbean on well over 50 occasions to represent clients in many different cases over the last 12 years. He regularly appears before the courts in the BVI, Grand Cayman, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. He is developing a strong appellate practice with several cases presently before The Privy Council. His work also involves him travelling very frequently to Hong Kong and Singapore and advising clients in the PRC and throughout the Far East.

Below are a few recent examples of Hefin’s offshore experience:

  • Representing Chad Holm in a 6-day trial before the BVI Commercial Court (Adderley J) involving an oral contract for a 22% share interest in the newly founded Bank of Asia. This is the first bank to be licensed in the BVI for over 25 years. It will provide new offshore banking facilities to the 250,000 companies incorporated in the BVI held by interested parties in the PRC, Hong Kong and Singapore. Adderley J held that Hefin’s client, Chad Holm, who was formerly a senior executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was entitled to a 22% shareholding in the Bank of Asia.
  • Obtaining a worldwide freezing injunction before the BVI Commercial Court (Adderley J) for a US$70m claim, together with extensive disclosure orders.
  • Representing the Respondent successfully before the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (BVI) in dismissing an appeal against judgment on liability. This decision is now being appealed to the Privy Council where a hearing is due to take place in 2022.
  • Representing 4 Respondents before The Privy Council (judgment delivered in November 2020, on appeal from BVI Court of Appeal) in an international bribery scheme where two senior Russian executives of Eurochem, one of the world’s largest manufacturer of mineral fertilizer, had received secret commission payments of US$45m incurring loss of profits to Eurochem of US$135m. There were five secret commission schemes around the world with different distributors and the bribes were paid to bank accounts in Cyprus and Singapore.
  • 5 separate hearings in the Cayman Islands (including before the Grand Cayman Court of Appeal) on a US$150m fraud arising out of the collapse of The Axiom Fund, which was intended to provide litigation funding in the UK. The funds were misappropriated, by using fake companies, false invoicing, and money transfers through Swiss bank accounts. The case also involves interesting legal arguments as to the extent of a director’s indemnity within articles of association under the Cayman Court of Appeal case of Weavering. The case is due to be heard by the Privy Council in 2021.
  • Representing BVI court-appointed Receivers at 6 different hearings (before Adderley J and Wallbank J) arising out of a complex fraud of US$70m against a Singaporean bank. Following a judgment from the Court of Appeal in Singapore, the BVI Receivers obtained court sanction from Wallbank J in November 2020 to remove the board of directors of a Japanese publicly listed company. The case then went to the BVI Court of Appeal where Hefin won, and is now pending an appeal to The Privy Council in 2022.
  • Representing the Attorney General of the BVI in a request for information by the Russian Federation under the Criminal Justice (International Cooperation) Act to gather evidence into alleged criminal conduct in Russia. The judgment examines how international treaties between governments are to be properly regulated in the BVI, and how tests are to be rigorously applied before confidential documentation is handed over by authorities across borders.
  • Representing the Attorney General of the BVI and the International Tax Authority of the BVI in a case involving how the BVI should respond to requests for information from foreign Governments under the Tax Information Exchange Agreements.
  • Representing the Claimants in a misappropriation claim of US$70m from a construction project in the Caribbean. Hefin led a team of 12 lawyers in 4 different jurisdictions (London, Barbados, St Vincent, and Ireland) over 3 years, with him appearing at 14 hearings in Barbados, 9 hearings in St Vincent, a 12-week Commercial Court trial in Dublin, and a 7-week TCC trial in London (before Coulson J).
  • Representing the Claimants in a group action of 300 individuals – 175 UK investors plus a group of 125 Singaporean investors – in a class action brought both in London and in Singapore to recover US$70m of investments misappropriated in a property development in Brazil known as Eco-House.

Hefin Rees QC has extensive expertise in banking and finance, including in particular product mis-selling litigation. He also advised several victims in the HBOS Reading / Lloyd’s Banking Group scandal. Hefin has also given market leading advice on new products coming onto the UK market to check the accuracy of past mortgage interest calculations, which is likely to have a significant impact on the future of the banking mortgage sector in the UK.

  • Advising a major Caribbean bank in respect of a US$300m claim against its former directors and senior managers for breaches of fiduciary duty and negligence (relating to mismanagement of the bank’s loan book and regulatory breaches) and against its former auditors for professional negligence.
  • Representing a 22% shareholder in the newly founded Bank of Asia in the BVI in a trial on liability listed for 2-weeks which was heard in the Commercial Court of the BVI. This is the first licensed bank in the BVI for the last 20 years and will provide offshore banking facilities to the 250,000 companies incorporated in the BVI held by interested parties in the PRC, Hong Kong and Singapore. Adderley J held that Hefin’s client, Chad Holm, who was formerly a senior executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was entitled to a 22% shareholding in the Bank of Asia. The liability finding has since been upheld by the BVI Court of Appeal.
  • Advising several victims in the HBOS Reading / Lloyd’s Banking Group scandal. This was a very well-publicised dispute, where several bankers were actually imprisoned for their role in the scandal, which had an overall value of £245m. A compensation scheme was eventually established to compensate the victims.
  • Advising on a new software product in the UK known as Mortgage Checker, which is designed to calculate whether mortgage interest has been over-charged over the term of a mortgage, and the legal framework for establishing a large quantity of claims to recover those sums that were over-charged by banks and building socieities.
  • Representing the Defendants in a case involving 6,000 UK investors with SIPP pension investments with a value of £300m that should have been invested in Caribbean resorts in Barbados, St Lucia, the Dominican Republic, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The case involved allegations that the Defendants were operating a Ponzi scheme and an unregulated collective investment scheme, which is also being investigated separately by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office in the UK.
  • Representing three Defendants in a £60m dispute in the Chancery Division over the enforceability of English law personal guarantees given to the Habib Bank by a very prominent family in Pakistan for loan security to a company in Dubai.
  • Representing a claim against Barclaycard for the enforcement of a book of debts which included 40,000 UK credit card customers sold to a third party. The case involved issues surrounding the enforceability of such credit card debts under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
  • Representing British Telecom in a claim involving allegations of unlawful interference with 250,000 internet broadband service contracts and alleged breaches of the Consumer Protection Regulations and Business Protection Regulations.
  • Represented a trust company in £12m proceedings before the Royal Court in Jersey, and the Court of Appeal in Jersey, on the valuation of shares in trust companies in Jersey and Switzerland.
  • Advising on a financial investment by a consortium of businesses and banks in the Middle and Far East involving a US$750m investment into a country in East Africa with tie-in rights to the government income derived from the oil industry.

Hefin Rees QC is Head of 3VB’s Professional Negligence Team. He is recognised as a Leading silk in Professional Negligence by Legal 500, who describe him as: “Hefin is indefatigable. His rapport with clients is instant. He pursues cases up to and at trial with boundless enthusiasm and vigour. A charismatic, fearsome cross-examiner”; “A formidable opponent in court – an extremely effective advocate with a keen eye for important detail. His clarity of presentation of complex facts is impressive – a real asset in complex cases”; “A thoroughly prepared trial advocate who knows what he is about in cross-examination”.

Hefin has very significant experience of claims against banks, hedge fund managers, administrators, investment advisers, accountants, auditors, solicitors, valuers and brokers. Many of his cases involve the mis-selling of financial products, representing large group action claims of great complexity.

Below are a few recent examples of Hefin’s professional negligence experience:

  • Representing the Claimants in a 7-week trial against Wilkins Kennedy, a top-20 UK accountancy firm, for professional negligence and conflict of interest. The Lawyer Magazine listed the trial as one of its top 20 cases of the year. Coulson J awarded over £9m in damages [2017] 4 WLR 30.
  • Advising a major Caribbean bank in respect of a US$300m claim against its former directors and senior managers for breaches of fiduciary duty and negligence (relating to mismanagement of the bank’s loan book and regulatory breaches) and against its former auditors for professional negligence.
  • Representing the Claimants in a group action of 300 individuals – 175 UK investors plus a group of 125 Singaporean investors – in a class action brought both in London and in Singapore to recover US$70m of investments lost in a property development in Brazil known as Eco-House.
  • Representing the Defendants in a case involving 6,000 UK investors with SIPP pension investments with a value of £300m that should have been invested in Caribbean resorts in Barbados, St Lucia, the Dominican Republic, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The case involved allegations that the Defendants were operating a Ponzi scheme and an unregulated collective investment scheme, which is also being investigated separately by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office in the UK.
  • Representing the London Borough of Brent against PKF auditors for professional negligence arising out of a failure to identify a £3.6m fraud in a secondary school where the school’s senior management team were paying themselves unlawful bonuses over several years. The case involved a “super head”, who lost his knighthood after discovery of the fraud, with significant press attention. There was also an 8-week commercial fraud trial before Zacaroli J, where Hefin successfully led for the Claimant.
  • Representing Sir Frederick Barclay and his daughter Amanda Barclay, in a very high-profile claim against other members of the Barclay family for invasion of privacy and breach of confidence. Over 1,000 separate private business conversations between Sir Frederick and his advisers were covertly recorded in the conservatory of The Ritz Hotel in London. Hefin appeared in 12 separate hearings in the High Court in London to obtain search orders against the 5 Defendants and various other disclosure orders. There was also a 2-day hearing in May 2020 (before Warby J) during which the Court held that none of the documents seized in the search orders were subject to legal privilege. Further hearings are listed to take place in 2021. The case received widespread media coverage in all newspapers, BBC television and radio, Sky News, Bloomberg TV, Private Eye etc.
  • Advising Danielle Lloyd on the application by Heat Magazine of an exclusivity clause in a celebrity contract to the non-payment of fees in circumstances where a rival publisher, OK Magazine, had published a similar article.
  • Advising on how to successfully respond to an anonymous website hosted in Singapore that was libellous of a UK-registered company, and how to discover who was behind the anonymous website by the use of Norwich Pharmacal Orders in the UK courts, and have the website taken down in Singapore.
  • Advising the director of a company with very significant real estate assets throughout the Caribbean in a defamation claim which resulted in successfully getting The Observer to print a prominent apology.
  • Advising on various commercial disputes arising from the Mirror Group Hacking Litigation.
  • Advising the wife of the founder of Google who wished to bring injunction proceedings in California and England in relation to the publication of an article that was alleged to have libelled her.

Hefin Rees QC is ranked as a Leading Silk in Construction by Legal 500 (2017 – 2021). He is also a contributing author to the practitioner’s textbook Construction Contracts Law and Practice (Third Edition, Oxford University Press).

Much of Hefin’s construction work is undertaken through international arbitral proceedings (please see the International Arbitration section), but below are some examples of Hefin’s construction work in litigation before the TCC in London.

  • Representing the Claimants at a 7-week trial before Coulson J in the TCC, involving numerous disputes arising from a construction project in the Caribbean. The second week of the trial was spent on a site visit in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and in hearing local Vincentian witnesses. Hefin successfully cross-examined the Defendant’s Quantity Surveyor, resulting in a damages award of over £9m.
  • Representing a quarry owner before Ramsey J in a case involving a 230,000-tonne landslide which occurred due to the ingress of water from a nearby highway. The case involved complex issues of causation and loss with 10 experts in four different fields of expertise.
  • Representing the Employer in a dispute before Akenhead J over the construction of 3 Data Centres for use by Transport for London and several clearing banks with a value of £850m. The case involved a claim for an injunction to restrain the employer from continuing with the works and for delivery up of 2 Main-Intake Electrical Boards (each with a value of £1m) until the Employer had paid the outstanding 5 Adjudication Awards with a value of £37m.
  • Representing a sub-contractor on the Blackfriars Bridge Station extension project involving allegations of delay and disruption against Balfour Beatty. This case was recently considered by Waksman J as part of an exception to the Bresco rule in insolvent adjudications.
  • Successfully defended an Italian electrical engineering company alleged to have been responsible for an electrical fire caused by defective electrical compressors in a BAE Systems armaments factory in the UK.
  • Representing an Italian electrical engineering company alleged to have failed to design and programme a palletiser robot system for use in a Coca-Cola factory in the UK where the Programmable Logic Controller omitted various safety rungs. Case involved highly technical evidence of how the PLC software programme was designed, and the contributory effect of a Third Party undertaking a safety audit.
  • Representing HSBC bank in Jersey against a Contractor and a firm of structural engineers for failure to design and install a basement waterproofing system for the bank vaults of HSBC’s headquarters in St. Helier.  The defects in the basement waterproofing system were such that the whole membrane system had to be replaced.
  • Representing a famous pop musician in a complicated high value claim against a firm of architects for failures in design and inspection duties relating to the refurbishment of a large residential mansion in Primrose Hill, London.

Hefin Rees QC is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has appeared in a large number of international arbitrations around the world. Hefin has been called to the Bar in 5 different jurisdictions.

In addition to English law, Hefin has experience of various other applicable laws arising in international arbitration disputes, including those of: Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, BVI, California, Cyprus, France, Germany, Grand Cayman, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New York, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Turkey, Utah, Singapore, United Arab Emirates.

Some recent examples of his work as counsel in international arbitration include:

  • A US$40m ICC arbitration heard in Paris involving the ownership of IP Rights within the car manufacturing industry.  The dispute involved a new technology designed to harmlessly dissipate the energy involved in a high-speed crash by use of composite materials to save the lives of the car’s occupants and establishing the identity of who had first invented this exciting new technology.
  • A US$25m shareholder dispute in an international mining company registered in Hong Kong involving ownership of gold mines in Zimbabwe and South Africa.  The case was part of a wider global dispute over ownership of mines around the world worth circa US$200m.
  • Acted as counsel in a US$300m telecommunications dispute resulting in disputes over the enforcement of a SIAC arbitral award in Indonesia. The Indonesian Court refused to enforce the arbitral award from Singapore, and the case is now subject to appeal.
  • A LCIA Arbitration, subject to English law, involving an infrastructure project in Africa.
  • A LCIA Arbitration, with its seat in London, involving a commercial agent, based in Pakistan, with a claim of US$20m against a large international armaments’ manufacturer for non-payment of commission fees on high value sales of armaments to the Pakistan Navy. Case involved allegations of bribery and corruption, and the impact this has on the payment of commission fees.
  • A HKIAC Arbitration acting for the Claimant in a US$45m arbitration in Hong Kong in relation to a dispute over a share sale agreement.
  • A DIFC-LCIA Arbitration, subject to UAE law, involving disputes over a construction project in the Middle East with issues over extensions of time, prolongation costs and delay damages.
  • ICC arbitration, with its seat in London, involving a claim against a large international armaments manufacturer as to whether alleged bribes and political corruption in the UK and USA were relevant in a breach of contract claim that had allegedly been compromised at a value of £7.5m; the application of the Money Laundering Regulations; and whether an arbitration clause meant that no litigation proceedings could be pursued.
  • LCIA arbitration, subject to English law, involving a shareholders’ agreement for mining rights in Africa.

Hefin Rees QC has been appointed as arbitrator in disputes involving both Civil Law and Common Law jurisdictions and under major arbitration rules including HKIAC, ICC, LCIA, LMAA, SIAC, and UNCITRAL.

He sits as an arbitrator in a wide range of commercial disputes, including agency, banking and finance, company law, shareholder disputes, intellectual property, commercial fraud and insurance claims. He also has wide experience of international construction arbitrations, including energy disputes, pipelines, ports, roads, mining and mineral disputes.

In addition to English law, Hefin has experience of various other applicable laws arising in international arbitration disputes, including those of: Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, BVI, California, Cyprus, France, Germany, Grand Cayman, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New York, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Turkey, Utah, Singapore, United Arab Emirates.

Hefin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.