Year of call: 1992
Silk: 2013
E: hrees@3vb.com

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

Hefin is highly recommended as a Leading Silk in commercial litigation and arbitration in The Legal 500 UK  as well as in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific Region.  Since taking Silk, he has developed a stellar court and arbitration practice in resolving disputes all over the world.

Hefin has very considerable trial advocacy experience gained over 25 years in practice. By way of example, in the last 3 years alone, his trial advocacy has included: a seven week Chancery trial in 2018;  a three week Commercial Court  trial in 2017;  two trials in the BVI in 2017;  a trial in Cayman in 2017;  a seven week TCC trial in 2016; an eight week Commercial Court  trial in Ireland in 2015;  and a four week trial in Barbados in 2015.  One of Hefin’s cases in 2016  was identified by The Lawyer as being in the Top 20 cases in the UK for that year.

He has a truly international practice, representing clients from many different jurisdictions, including: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the BVI, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Jersey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and USA.

Hefin has been called to the Bar of several countries, including: the Supreme Court  of the Eastern Caribbean (Virgin Islands), the Grand Court  of the Cayman Islands, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and the Irish Bar.

He has been involved in many high profile cases, which have included parties such as Roman Abramovitch, Chelsea Football Club, and a leading member of the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi. Hefin has also represented the Government of Canada and the Attorney General of the British Virgin Islands.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and has been appointed to sit as Arbitrator by the following institutions: the ICC, LCIA, and LMAA. He also receives appointments for ad hoc   arbitrations. For over 10 years he has sat as a Recorder in civil cases and, for the last 3 years, he has also sat as a Recorder in criminal cases.


“He throws himself into his cases with tremendous enthusiasm and does not sit on the fence.”

Legal 500 2017

  • Seven week Chancery trial in February to April 2018  (before Zacaroli J) involving an unlawful means conspiracy to defraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, misfeasance in public office, and tracing remedies.
  • Representing, at a trial in the BVI in October/November 2018,  a 22% shareholder in the newly formed Bank of Asia in the BVI.  This is the first bank in over 20 years to be established in the BVI and is to provide banking services to clients in Hong Kong, the PRC, and Singapore.
  • Four week Commercial Court  trial in November/December 2017 (before Leggatt J), where Hefin represented Sheikh Al-Nehayan (6th in line to the Royal Throne of Abu Dhabi) involving a joint venture: Judgment has been widely reported because of importance to development of law on good  faith in commercial contracts.
  • A US$120m claim before the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands where a hedge fund, known as the Axiom Fund,  was mismanaged to enable its directors to misappropriate US$120m. The case will be listed for a trial at the end of 2018 with a time estimate of four weeks. The case involves interesting legal arguments on the extent of a director’s indemnity within the company’s articles of association.  A trial of preliminary issues was heard by the Grand Court in Cayman in November 2017, at which Hefin represented the Claimant. A Judgment is due to be published in July 2018.
  • Representing the AG of the BVI in a commercial judicial review hearing in the BVI, in July 2017, involving a Letter of Request from the Russian Government for confidential information relating to a BVI-registered company, with allegations of corruption and bad faith by the Moscow authorities.
  • Representing an IFA in a claim brought by Sir Alan Shearer in 2016 for alleged breaches of duty to invest pension funds, whereby investments were made in trust funds in the Cayman Islands.
  • Representing, in 2016, a group 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 in a property development in Brazil known as EcoHouse.
  • Hefin has acted in a large volume of shareholder disputes, section 994 petitions and derivative actions. He has frequently advised on company claims against directors and other fiduciaries, and in corporate joint venture disputes.
  • Hefin has acted in a large number of fraud and conspiracy cases, and has very considerable experience of the forms of damages, restitutionary and proprietary claims to which such cases can give rise, including tracing claims made by way of ancillary proceedings in other jurisdictions.
  • Civil fraud claim of US$30m in the Caribbean leading a team of 12 international lawyers in four different jurisdictions; and successfully representing the Claimants at an eight 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 six 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 four 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 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 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.
  • Ranked as a Leading Silk in Construction by Legal 500 2017.
  • Representing the Claimants at a seven week trial in 2016/17 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.
  • Representing a sub-contractor on the Blackfriars Bridge Station extension project involving allegations of delay and disruption.
  • 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 four 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.
  • 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 to be heard in the Commercial Court of the BVI in October/November 2018.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

2017 – Called to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean (British Virgin Islands)

2016 – Called to the Bar of The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands

2015 – Recorder (Criminal)

2014 - 2015 – Member of the Executive Committee of The Inner Temple

2013 – Queen’s Counsel

2013 - 2015 – Member of the Scholarship Committee of The Inner Temple

2012 – Called to the Bar of Ireland

2011 – Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

2011 – Chairman of the Association of London Welsh Lawyers

2010 – Called to the Bar of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Eastern Caribbean.

2008 – Recorder (Civil)

2009 - 2017 – Trustee of the Bar Council of England & Wales’ Member Services Board

2008 - 2011 – Member of the Public Affairs Committee of the Bar Council

2007 - 2015 – Member of the General Council of the Bar (Inner Temple Representative)

2007 - 2009 – Member of the Access to the Bar Committee

  • The London Court of International Arbitration
  • International Bar Association
  • International Chamber of Commerce (UK)
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Hefin is a contributing author to the practitioner’s textbook Construction Contracts Law and Practice (Third Edition, 2014, Oxford University Press). 

Called to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean (British Virgin Islands) - 2017

Called to the Bar of The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands - 2016

Called to the Bar of Ireland - 2012

Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators - 2011

Called to the Bar of St Vincent and the Grenadines - 2010

Called to the Bar of England and Wales - 1992

Inns of Court School of Law, BVC - 1991-1992

University of Durham: BA (Hons) in Law (2:1) - 1988-1991