Benjamin Wood specialises in commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on cases with a financial or fraud angle, especially those in the Chancery or professional liability fields.
Ben is rated in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 for his Professional Liability work. Described by recent editions as “a fearsome advocate, with a keen intellect”, “he is extremely intelligent and very easy to deal with. He is very quick in grasping the issues, and provides commercial advice”, “an incredibly safe pair of hands. Obviously hot on the law, but he sees it through the commercial prism”; “extremely sound on the law, brilliant on his feet in court and fantastically commercial”, “excellent – he provides a friendly service and is tenacious in court” and “a really good sounding board who provides very pragmatic advice”; “he thinks around a situation beautifully and comes up with well-crafted arguments and strategies”. In past years, he was noted as “brilliant in cross-examination” with “a real depth of knowledge in the area, which adds real value” and “very bright and user friendly, with an ability to get to grips with the key issues quickly”.
Ben has been appointed as a Deputy District Judge with a Business and Property authorisation and as a Recorder. He accepts instructions to act as an expert or arbitrator and has particular experience of determining disputes between insurers and policyholders regarding the conduct of a defence or coverage issues.
Ben also has experience of foreign jurisdictions and has acted as part of the offshore team.
Before coming to the Bar, Ben worked at Procter & Gamble and then joined NM Rothschild & Sons, where he worked as a corporate finance adviser. Whilst at Rothschild in the European Mergers and Acquisitions team, Ben was involved in numerous transactions, notably the £2bn Marks & Spencer restructuring and European store disposals and the ECJ determination of the Competition Commissioner’s prohibition of the takeover of Sidel by Tetra Laval.
Outside Chambers, Ben enjoys diving, skiing and sailing – at least when his (self-inflicted) dodgy knee permits.
Commercial advisory work and advocacy comprise the majority of Ben’s practice.
Ben has acted in a wide range of commercial disputes, including those arising from finance agreements, partnerships, tax schemes and SPAs, together with a variety of other contractual claims. They have covered numerous sectors, including banking and financial services, retail, consumer goods, manufacturing and professional services.
With a background in the commercial and financial sectors, including three years as a corporate financier at NM Rothschild & Sons, Ben is particularly sensitive to the issues arising out of commercial or corporate transactions. He aims to give practical and strategic advice, albeit with a keen eye on the legal realities of the case.
Ben’s cases involve a variety of commercial legal issues, including contractual matters, commercial fraud, interim relief, shareholder and partnership disputes, allegations of wrongdoing and negligence, breach of directors’ duties and breach of trust.
With his judicial experience, Ben has been instructed to act as an adjudicator or provide expert determinations in commercial and insurance matters. He is often instructed to represent clients at mediation and to advise on litigation strategy. Both at trial and beforehand, Ben is particularly adept at identifying and capitalising upon vulnerabilities in the other party’s case.
In addition to his work in the UK, Ben has also worked as part of an offshore team and is very happy to act either as the advocate or as support to the local expert team.
Featured Commercial Litigation cases
“Ben is my go-to senior junior for complex, thorny or unusual instructions. He drives litigation and is a real team player.” – Chambers & Partners
“Ben is unique in my view and standout. He lives and breathes the principles of active case management forged from a deep understanding of the workings of the court and his experience on both sides of the bench: a contribution that is, frankly invaluable and unrivalled, amongst his peers.” – Legal 500
“Absolutely brilliant with clients.” “Ben is excellent and strategy is a particular strength of his. He works collaboratively as part of the legal team and provides sound commercial advice.” – Chambers & Partners
“Strategy is a particular strength. Great on paper and excellent on his feet in Court.” – Legal 500
“Commercial, direct and frank, not just on the legal analysis, but importantly on strategic issues.” – Legal 500
“A fearsome advocate, with a keen intellect.”– Legal 500
“He is extremely intelligent and very easy to deal with. He is very quick in grasping the issues, and provides commercial advice.” “An incredibly safe pair of hands. Obviously hot on the law, but he sees it through the commercial prism.” – Chambers & Partners
“A really good sounding board who provides very pragmatic advice.” “Excellent – he provides a friendly service and is tenacious in court.” “He is brilliant in cross-examination.” “He has a real depth of knowledge in the area, which adds real value.” – Chambers & Partners
“He thinks around a situation beautifully and comes up with well-crafted arguments and strategies.” “He is extremely sound on the law, brilliant on his feet in court and fantastically commercial.” – Legal 500
Recognised by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as a Leading Junior in Professional Liability work, Ben acts for and against a wide range of professionals: solicitors, barristers, architects, surveyors, accountants, auditors, brokers, trustees, tax advisers and financial advisers.
Ben was formerly a co-editor of the Strategy & Tactics chapter of Simpson on Professional Liability.
Ben is often instructed to represent clients at mediation and to advise on litigation strategy, particularly where the opposing sides appear to have very different views of the merits of their cases. Both at trial and beforehand, Ben is particularly adept at identifying and capitalising upon evidential weaknesses in the other party’s case.
With his judicial experience, Ben has been instructed to act as an adjudicator or provide expert determinations in professional liability disputes, including disagreements between insurers and their insureds as to strategy and coverage disputes.
There is considerable overlap between Ben’s Chancery, commercial and professional liability practices and he tries to draw on his own experience in the commercial and financial sectors when advising and appearing on behalf of clients.
He particularly enjoys complex financial questions, whether they are at the heart of the dispute or required for a proper quantification of the claim.
Ben has wide experience in claims for and against lawyers, acting in the Court of Appeal, the High Court and in County Court claims.
His practice includes wasted costs and coverage work. Ben is instructed as sole advocate and as a junior and the range of cases spans solicitors, barristers and conveyancing executives, including claims against solicitors acting as trustees and executors.
Ben is recognised for his innovative strategic approach to claims, and in particular his identification of case management and procedural angles that benefit the case strategy.
Ben has a strong background in accountancy and audit claims and is able to call upon his financial experience at NM Rothschild & Son.
Ben enjoys the technical challenge presented by construction and engineering disputes.
Ben has wide experience of claims for and against valuers, land agents and estate agents. These often involve failed developments or overlapping disputes with legal or construction professionals. Ben has a particular eye for issues of reliance, causation and contributory fault.
Having spent 3 years as a corporate financier at NM Rothschild, Ben has both interest in and experience of the City and financial regulation. Since coming to the Bar, Ben’s caseload has covered a wide spectrum of financial services professionals, including tax advisers, IFAs, wealth managers and financial intermediaries.
Ben has considerable experience in insurance related disputes, including claims against brokers and those where the broker and the insurer are co-defending.
Ben advises and is instructed as an advocate in relation to issues arising on insurance policies, as well as in respect of insurance disputes.
Recent instructions include a coverage dispute between a financial institution and its crime tower arising out of losses sustained in the Madoff fraud and a claim by a metal brokerage on its cargo policy following a Far East warehouse fraud.
As well as being instructed to act on behalf of insurers, Ben has been instructed by claimants in a number of disputes where insurers have refused to pay following damage or to agree to indemnify their customers following a claim. He has also been instructed to conduct paper arbitrations between insurer and insured, arising out of the construction of the policy and/or the conduct of a claim/defence.
Ben is well placed to act in claims relating to the Covid-19 situation, having recently been instructed in relation to its contractual and financial consequences following the cancellation of a large public event.
Ben has advised on the coverage effect of policy wording in relation to professional indemnity and general insurance policies, in particular in relation to the provisions which deal with when a claim is first made and which of more than one possible insurance policy respond to the claim in question. He has experience of cases involving alleged non-disclosure or allegations of breaches of the duties of good faith and fair presentation. He has also advised in Legal Expenses Insurance disputes.
Ben is also instructed in relation to claims against insurance brokers and subrogated recovery claims.
Ben’s interest in this area comes from having completed part of his pupillage at a leading commercial Chancery set. He has encountered a wide range of cases, ranging from those before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal and the Adjudicator to the Land Registry to others involving negligent advice to pension trustees, rights of way and directors’ fraud.
Ben has established a reputation as a sought after junior in property work, and particularly claims involving mortgages. Reported cases include Thompson v. Foy  1 P&CR 16 (undue influence, proprietary estoppel, actual occupation, overriding interests). He has acted in numerous claims involving allegations of forgery and an appeal on the effect of the Human Rights Act 1998 on mortgage possession claims. More esoteric instructions have included advice and advocacy in respect of an injunction and a warrant of committal against a mortgagor with a parrot, a python and an assortment of exotic spiders.
Ben has experience of freezing injunctions and other forms of interim relief. He has been instructed several times on claims under Section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
Instructions in the traditional Chancery sphere
Ben’s practice covers all aspects of real property work including:
Ben was involved at an early stage of the North East Property Buyers’ litigation, which found its way to the Supreme Court. However, Ben secured a (successful) exit for his client at first instance.
Ben was the sole advocate for the successful bank in Thompson v. Foy  1 P&CR 16 (undue influence, proprietary estoppel, actual occupation, overriding interests) and has acted in numerous claims involving allegations of forgery and an appeal on the effect of the Human Rights Act 1998 on mortgage possession claims. More esoteric instructions have included advice and advocacy in respect of an injunction and a warrant of committal against a mortgagor with a parrot, a python and an assortment of exotic spiders.
Education – BA (Hons), Classics from St John’s College, Oxford; Graduate Diploma in Law, City University
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London, WC2A 3RJ
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