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Ruth Keating

Ruth Keating

Ruth Keating has a broad practice across all areas of chambers’ specialisms, with a particular interest in energy and construction disputes, commercial, environmental and public law.

She has acted as junior counsel in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and appears regularly as sole counsel in the High Court and County Court. In addition, she undertakes pleading and advisory work.

Ruth was a judicial assistant to Lady Arden and Lord Kitchin at the Supreme Court. During this time, she assisted on cases of the United Kingdom Supreme Court and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Before coming to the Bar, Ruth was a research assistant at the Law Commission of England and Wales. Prior to her time at the Law Commission, she was an associate at Ci, a company which organises global technology conferences.

Ruth has been called to the Bar of England and Wales (2017) and the Bar of Ireland (2019).

Areas of expertise


Ruth is an editor of the Environmental Law Bulletin (published by Sweet & Maxwell) and has co-authored, with Nigel Pleming KC, the chapter on Climate Change Litigation in the UK in ‘Climate Change Litigation: Global Perspectives’ (published in 2021).

Ruth is a member of the Environmental Law Foundation, through which she provides pro bono assistance. She has been invited to speak on environmental law issues including by Bristol University, the UK Association of Environmental law and the Joint Planning Law Conference. She is a committee member of ESG and Sustainability Group for the Society for Computers and Law.

Ruth is also a member of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law’s International Expert Group created to produce a ‘Global Toolbox on Corporate Climate Litigation’.

Cases of note

Her experience includes:

  • Junior Counsel representing the OEP in the Supreme Court in R (on the application of Finch on behalf of the Weald Action Group) (Appellant) v Surrey County Council and others (Respondents) – an appeal concerning the environmental impact assessment of Scope 3 emissions, i.e. greenhouse gas emissions from the use of fossil fuels extracted as the result of a project. (Led by Stephen Tromans KC.)
  • Junior counsel in R (on the application of Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) and others) (Respondents) v North Yorkshire County Council (Appellant) [2020] UKSC 3 – an appeal concerning the meaning of preserving “the openness of the Green Belt” in the context of mineral extraction. (Led by Peter Village KC, James Strachan KC and Ned Helme.)
  • Junior counsel in a judicial review challenging the grant of planning permission to two intensive meat poultry buildings – grounds included a failure to: assess the likely significant effects of ammonia emissions; the impacts of manure spreading and the impacts of the proposed development in terms of its contribution to climate change.
  • Advises large organisations on the impact of draft legislation including the draft provisions of the Environment Bill (as it then was) and the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill. 
  • Carried out a large scale review of the effectiveness of the environmental assessment regimes – EIA, SEA and HRA.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a judicial review regarding the Oil & Gas Authority’s strategy, concerning new net zero obligations.
  • Assisting as junior counsel in a judicial review challenge to the development of a third runway at Heathrow airport.
  • Sole counsel in a trial concerning the destruction of property under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.
  • While at the Supreme Court as a Judicial Assistant Ruth assisted with several cases relating to environmental law. Those cases included: R (on the application of Lancashire County Council); R (on the application of NHS Property Services Ltd) [2019] UKSC 58; R (on the application of Newby Foods Ltd) v Food Standards Agency [2019] UKSC 18 and London Borough of Lambeth v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and others [2019] UKSC 33.

Construction, Energy and Natural Resources

Ruth has worked on a wide variety of different of disputes, both litigation and arbitration – acting as both sole counsel and junior counsel in a larger team. She regularly acts in adjudication and adjudication enforcement proceedings, drafts pleadings, provides advice and appears at both interim applications and trials.

She provides regular training on relevant topics in these areas and is a contributing editor to the current edition of Wilmot-Smith on Construction Contracts (4th edition, 2021).

Cases of note

Recent experience includes:

  • Acting as junior counsel in respect of an ongoing dispute concerning a large football stadium. Ruth’s work on this case involves both adjudication and preparation for litigation.
  • Approved counsel for CERN to provide contract drafting and dispute resolution advice in respect of the building and infrastructure works at the CERN site in Switzerland and France, in particular in relation to FIDIC-based contracts.
  • The Rugby Football Union v FM Conway Limited [2023] EWCA Civ 418 – junior counsel at first instance and on appeal. Issues included the scope of the co-insurance defence under an “all risks” project policy, the means by which identified and unidentified parties participate in a project policy and a contractor’s insurable interest in the project property after the completion of its works. (Led by Karim Ghaly KC and Alexandra Bodnar.)
  • Instructed as junior counsel by a core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
  • Acting as junior counsel in an ongoing £60m defects and subsidence dispute.
  • Acted as junior counsel in an arbitration concerning a nuclear power plant in a delay and defects claim.
  • Advised on a claim and drafted pleadings in a claim against a contractor and geotechnical engineer for breach of contract and negligence. The claim also involved the scope of a public liability insurance policy, involving issues of double insurance.

Ruth regularly records a podcast with Camilla ter Haar on the construction industry and climate change issues. They are joined by industry guests to discuss the big topics facing the sector in reaching net zero.

Administrative and Public

Ruth regularly appears as both sole and junior counsel in judicial review challenges.

Cases of note

Her experience includes:

  • Junior counsel, led by Andrew Tabachnik KC, representing the Solicitors Regulation Authority (intervening) in the Supreme Court appeal in Competition and Markets Authority (Respondent) v Flynn Pharma Ltd and another (Appellants) [2022] UKSC 14.
  • Acted as junior counsel in several judicial review challenges concerning the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including: the priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination and vaccination for under-18s (led by Catherine Dobson and Ewan West). See for example R(on the application of AB (a child by her mother and litigation friend)) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2022] EWHC 1996 (Admin).
  • SM v Lord Chancellor [2021] EWHC 418 (Admin), acting as junior counsel, led by Catherine Dobson, in a case concerning access to legal advice under the Detained Duty Advice Scheme for immigration detainees held in prison.
  • Acting as junior counsel, led by Victoria Butler-Cole KC and Steve Broach, in a proposed challenge to the lack of a national framework for treatment prioritisation during the Covid-19 pandemic, if demand for life-sustaining treatment outstripped available resources.
  • Acting as junior counsel in judicial review proceedings regarding restrictions in the prison estate during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • Junior counsel in a judicial review claim concerning the remedies available for children making a discrimination claim in the First-tier Tribunal.
  • Instructed as junior counsel by a core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. 
  • While at the Supreme Court as a Judicial Assistant Ruth assisted with several cases relating to public law: In the matter of D (A Child) [2019] UKSC 42; KV (Sri Lanka) Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] UKSC 10; Konecny v District Court in Brno-Venkov, Czech Republic [2019] UKSC 8; AM (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 17; R (on the application of Hemmati and others) (AP) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] UKSC 56; RR (AP) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] UKSC 52 and Patel v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] UKSC 59.


Ruth has extensive experience in a wide range of commercial matters – both litigation and arbitration.

Cases of note

Her experience includes:

  • Instructed as junior counsel in a cross-border dispute which raised issues of jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.
  • Instructed as junior counsel in a large civil fraud matter, focusing on anti-money laundering.
  • Sole counsel in a successful High Court application for a Norwich Pharmacal order. The application related to substantive proceedings, in which Ruth was instructed as junior counsel, concerning an alleged Ponzi Scheme.
  • Ruth is currently instructed as a member of the legal team offering legal advice and support to the Foskett Panel. The Foskett Panel is reassessing the direct and consequential losses suffered by victims of the fraud committed at the HBOS Impaired Assets unit based at Reading and Bishopsgate.
  • Sole counsel representing a university alleged to have provided an inadequate course by a former student.
  • Acting an expert in the Irish High Court on enforcement of electronic signatures under English law.
  • While at the Supreme Court as a Judicial Assistant, Ruth assisted with several cases relating to commercial law. Those cases included: Sveriges Angfartygs Assurans Forening (The Swedish Club) and others v Connect Shipping Inc and another [2019] UKSC 29; Wells v Devani [2019] UKSC 4; X v Kuoni Travel Ltd [2019] UKSC 37; Volcafe Ltd and others v Compania Sud Americana De Vapores SA [2018] UKSC 61; Travelers Insurance Company Ltd v XYZ [2019] UKSC 48; and Computer Associates (UK) Ltd v The Software Incubator Ltd (UKSC 2018/0090).