Hefin Rees QC

Year of call:
1992
Silk:
2013
Email:
hefin.rees@39essex.com

Clerks:
+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“He throws himself into his cases with tremendous enthusiasm and does not sit on the fence”: Legal 500 2017

Top_tier_firmsHefin Rees QC has extensive experience of domestic and international disputes in the commercial, construction, banking and financial services, fraud, property, professional liability, infrastructure and insurance sectors. He specialises in large-scale litigation and arbitration, particularly in cases of high value that are factually and legally complex.

He has a truly international practice, and as an advocate this has meant that in the last 3 years he has represented clients from many different countries, including: Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the BVI, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Jersey, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, St Vincent and the Grenadines, USA, and Zimbabwe.

He has been called to the Bar in several countries around the world, including the Irish Bar where, on taking Silk, he conducted an 8-week trial in the Commercial Court in Dublin. He also has an extensive practice in the Far East, and in the Caribbean.

He has been involved in many high profile cases, which have included parties such as Roman Abramovitch, Ken Bates, BAA, BAE Systems, Barclays Bank, Bentley Motors, British Telecom, the Canadian Government, the Cuban Government, Chelsea Football Club, Leeds United Football Club, and the Mirror Group Hacking Litigation.

Since 2008 he has been appointed to sit as a Recorder in civil and commercial cases. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and sits as an arbitrator. He is also regularly instructed to give expert evidence on English law in international arbitrations.

Commercial


  • Civil fraud claim of US$30m in the Caribbean leading a team of 12 international lawyers in 4 different jurisdictions; and successfully representing the Claimants at an 8-week Commercial Court trial. Called to the local Bars in the Eastern Caribbean, and called to the Bar in Ireland. Case involved worldwide freezing injunctions, search orders, and tracing remedies.
  • A US$67m dispute currently listed in the TCC for a 6-week trial against an English firm of accountants for breaches of fiduciary duties and conflicts of interest arising from a failure to monitor finances on a construction project in the Caribbean leading to a fraud by the contractor. Case involves serious issues of professional reputation and regulatory breaches.
  • Represented the largest photo processor in the UK in a 4-week High Court trial in London, and subsequently before the Master of the Rolls in the Court of Appeal, in a case involving a complex claim for theft of 2.6 tonnes of silver flake by an industrial chemist who had devised an electrolysis process to surreptitiously extract the silver from his employer.
  • 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 in 2014 for £306m.
  • Advising on various commercial disputes arising from the Mirror Group Hacking Litigation.
  • Represented 4 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 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 BE 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 terminated.

Construction


  • Representing a quarry owner 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 4 different fields of expertise.
  • Representing the Employer in a dispute 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 15 Adjudication Awards with a value of £37m.
  • Representing the Employer in a US$30m construction dispute in the Eastern Caribbean involving a 5-star resort and spa concerning delay and defective works, which will be heard in St Vincent and the Grenadines where Hefin has been called to the local Bar.
  • 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.
  • Representing a football club in a TCC claim of breach of contract for the wrongful avoidance of an insurance policy on the grounds of material non-disclosure following a devastating fire at a football ground.
  • Representing a sub-contractor in Adjudication proceedings brought in relation to a prolongation claim for delays in Mechanical & Electrical engineering works at a large, and high profile, construction project in Central London.
  • Hefin is a contributing author to the practitioner’s textbook Construction Contracts Law and Practice (Third Edition, 2014, Oxford University Press).

Banking & Finance


  • 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.
  • Representing 3 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 2008 and Business Protection Regulations 2008.
  • 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.

Arbitration


  • 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 £25m shareholder dispute in an international mining company involving ownership of particular 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • International fraud claim emanating from Russia involving an English company where £20m was stolen and transferred from bank accounts in Russia to accounts in Cyprus and the Caribbean. Hefin successfully acted in the recovery of the money from these bank accounts.

Media & Entertainment


  • 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, and have the website taken down.
  • 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 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.
  • Advising on various commercial disputes arising from the Mirror Group Hacking Litigation.

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

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