Rowan Pennington-Benton


Rowan practices in three principal areas: commercial/insolvency, common law and public law.

Many of his cases involve international elements (cross-border recognition and enforcement, off-shore work, Privy Council appeals, EU law and migration and human rights).

Commercial/ insolvency

Case work includes commercial and general contractual disputes, company and chancery matters, including trusts disputes, civil fraud, unfair prejudice petitions, and shareholder and partnership disputes.His contractual work often arises in the context of property and construction disputes, including on standard and amended JCT contracts. 

Insolvency work includes (both for and against the liquidator) claims against directors for breach of fiduciary duty, transactions at undervalue, unlawful dividends and misfeasance. He deals with a range of cases, and values. Examples include:

• Advising and appearing at all stages of a large MTIC fraud claim, including enforcement and recovery.

• Advising and acting in a JCT construction adjudication, in relation to an off-shore development.

•Appeared for the government with James Guthrie QC in Arawak Homes Ltd v Attorney General of the Bahamas [2016] UKPC 34; [2016] 1WLR 5214- a case concerning the compulsory acquisition of land for public use (housing and schools).

• Appearing with Howard Stevens QC in United Policyholders Group and others v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago [2016] UKPC 17, concerning claims arising out of the collapse of CLICO insurance during the 2009 financial crisis.

• On-going advisory work for several off-shore trustees (particularly in Gibraltar), including variation of trusts, trustee's disclosure and confidentiality obligations, and beneficiary-trustee disputes, and applications for directions under CPR Part 64.

• A claim against a well-known offshore bank and investment company seeking to unwind a trust on the basis of mistake as to the tax implications of the scheme, relying on the Supreme Court decision in Pitt v Holt [2013] UKSC 26.

• Advising, with John Restano QC, in a multi-million pound off-shore energy dispute regarding the provision of ad hoc energy supplies to the main grid.

• Advising as to the recognition of, and further steps relating to, UK insolvency proceedings abroad (and in particular the differing scope and application of the EC Regulation cf. UNCITRAL).

• Appeared with James Guthrie QC in Lesage v The Mauritius Commerical Bank [2012] UKPC 41, in a successful appeal against a finding of the Mauritius Supreme Court that Mr Lesage was the mastermind behind an £8m fraud perpetrated against the Bank.


Common law (including Privy Council)

Rowan practices in Chambers' core areas of common law work, including personal injury and travel law. Work includes:

• Claims for personal injury and illness under the Package Tour Regulations, Athens Convention claims (ships-cruises), and claims under the Montreal Convention for accidents relating to air carriage.

• Jurisdictional disputes and cases involving conflicts of law, cross-border disputes and enforcement of foreign judgments.

• General personal injury work, including complex injuries cases and those involving tricky issues of causation.

• Advising on the continuing application and constitutionality of crown immunity in Gibraltar, where it was relied upon to bar the personal injury claim of a woman employed by the Ministry of Defence: Alvarado v Secretary of State for Defence [2013] 5LRC 410 (Supreme Court); and [2013] 35 BHRC 428 (Court of Appeal).

• Appearing with Katherine Deal in Cleare v the Commission of the Police, an upcoming appeal to the Privy Council in a claim for damages in respect of alleged personal injury sustained whilst in Police custody.

R v Jogee; R v Ruddock [2016] UKSC 8- appeared alongside Howard Stevens QC, in an important joined Privy Council/Supreme Court case changing the law of joint enterprise for murder.

• Appeared, with James Guthrie QC, in Richard Brown v The Queen [2016] UKPC 6 (Privy Council, Jamaica) concerning an appeal against conviction and sentence primarily on the basis of the appellant's mental health at the time of the alleged offence.


Public law/ human rights and immigration

Rowan has an established practice in public law and human rights, regularly appearing in judicial review claims and appeals in the High Court and Upper Tribunal. His work includes planning, housing, elections, and immigration and asylum law. Work has included:

R v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

United Policyholders Group and others v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago [2016] UKPC 17. Appeared with Howard Stevens QC, in this important Privy Council case dealing with legitimate expectations said to have been engendered on government statements made during the financial crisis in 2009. Lord Carnwath reviews the state of the law in this area.

Brantley v Constituency Boundaries Commission [2015] UKPC 21; [2015] 1 WLR 2753 (Privy Council, Saint Christopher and Nevis), appearing along with Peter Knox QC and Tom Roe QC, for the appellants in a successful appeal challenging a last-minute attempt to change the constituency boundaries prior to the upcoming election.

 • R (Khan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (right of appeal – alternative remedy) [2015] UKUT 353 (now on appeal to the Court of Appeal).

•  UF v Secretary of Home Department (Court of Appeal) –  an upcoming appeal concerning the correct approach to the practice and procedure, and burden, where marriage of convenience allegations are made.

 R (Singh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] Imm. A.R. 16, with Thomas Roe QC, concerning the application of the new Rules to pre July 2012 cases.

Positions held

Judicial Assistant, Supreme Court / Privy Council

Rowan was seconded to the United Kingdom Supreme Court / Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as Judicial Assistant to Lady Hale. He provided research assistance to Lady Hale and other Justices as required on major Supreme Court and Privy Council cases.

Research Assistant, the Law Commission for England and Wales

Rowan worked at the Law Commission as a research assistant in the public law team working primarily on a project relating to adult social care law, but also on a project considering the award of damages in judicial review proceedings.


Rowan has taught administrative law / public law at the Queen Mary University, London and at the University of Essex where he previously taught contract law. He also taught criminal law at the London School of Economics.

Articles / publications

Rowan has had several articles published in the New Law Journal and other publications. For a time he was research assistant to Professor Paul Craig, QC author of the standard textbooks on EU law and administrative law.


Queen Mother Scholarship, Middle Temple (BVC);
Freshfields Bruckhaus Scholarship (BCL).


LLB (hons), (First Class), University of Essex;
BCL, (Distinction), St Edmund Hall, Oxford.