Rowan Pennington-Benton


‘Bright, enthusiastic and committed; a star in the making,’ (Legal 500), Rowan practises in two main areas – general commercial/civil law and public law. He has a busy domestic and international practice (including jurisdiction, conflicts and cross-border issues, international and EU law, advising and appearing in cases from a range of foreign jurisdictions, and appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council).

Rowan also accepts instruction on a direct access basis. For further information please contact our clerks.

Commercial/ Civil Law

Rowan advises and acts in a range of civil and commercial matters, including insolvency (breach of fiduciary duty, TUVs, preferences etc), commercial chancery, trusts, and construction. Recent work includes:

• Appearing for the claimant in Ansaldo’s Townhouse Ltd v Sharrock Shand Ltd (2017) (Gibraltar Supreme Court: enforceability of an adjudication clause in an amended JCT construction contract);
• Various on-going insolvency cases (both for and against trustees and liquidators, domestic and international work) – e.g. currently instructed by PWC pursuing claims for breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty in respect of the winding-up of a timeshare scheme;
• Appearing for the successful respondent in Arawak Homes Ltd v AG of the Bahamas [2016] 1WLR 5214 (Privy Council, with James Guthrie QC: compulsory acquisition of property / commercial valuation);
• Advising in a financial regulator’s intervention into a major offshore insurance company (primarily dealing with the solvency capital requirements imposed under the EC Solvency II Directive (2009/138/EC);
• Regular advisory work for trustees / trust management companies (including off-shore) on issues such as variation of trusts, trustee's disclosure and confidentiality obligations, and beneficiary-trustee disputes.
• Advising, with John Restano QC (also of 3 Hare Court), in a multi-million pound off-shore energy dispute regarding the provision of ad hoc energy supplies to the main grid.

Public Law

Rowan’s public law practice includes judicial review and constitutional adjudication on a range of issues including planning, local government law, human rights, and immigration and asylum. Recent work includes:

Kaur et all v SSHD (Court of Appeal, 2017, lead case challenging the legality and effectiveness of out-of-country appeals against Home Office removal decisions (TOIEC cases, alleged deception));
R (Khan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] 4 WLR 156 (sole counsel in successful appeal to the Court of Appeal dealing with alternative remedies and discretionary relief in judicial review proceedings);
R (Eisa) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKUT 261 (judicial review, concerning the scope of Article 17 of the Dublin Regulations – member state’s discretion to examine an asylum claim out-with the regulatory hierarchy).
• Resisting an appeal on behalf of the government in United Policyholders Group and others v The AG of Trinidad and Tobago [2016] 1 WLR 3383 (Privy Council, with Howard Stevens QC: judicial review, legitimate expectations and ‘promises’ made during a government bailout following the collapse of CLICO, one of the largest insurers in the Caribbean).
Brantley v Constituency Boundaries Commission [2015] 1 WLR 2753 (Privy Council, 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)
• Appeared with Katherine Deal in Cleare v the Commission of the Police, an appeal to the Privy Council concerning an allegation of serious physical abuse whilst in police custody.

Other international work/ cases of note:

R v Jogee; R v Ruddock [2016] UKSC 8; [2017] AC 387 appeared alongside Howard Stevens QC, in an important joined Privy Council/UKSC Supreme Court case changing the law of joint enterprise in murder cases.
Richard Brown v The Queen [2016] UKPC 6 (Privy Council, Jamaica); appeared, with James Guthrie QC, in an appeal against conviction and sentence primarily on the basis of the appellant's mental health at the time of the alleged offence.
• 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).

Legal Directories

Legal 500 2017

‘Bright, enthusiastic and committed; a star in the making.
Administrative and Public Law: Leading Junior

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.