Ruth Kennedy

Professional Summary

Called 2015

Contact Details

E T +44 (0)20 7632 8500 Clerk Lee Cutler Clerk Victoria Eastwick E

Ruth specialises in all areas of commercial, employment, human rights and public law. Her cases frequently have an international focus in both private and public disputes, including regular involvement in high profile and complex litigation and public inquiries.

Ruth is recognised as “Up and Coming” and a “Rising Star” in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for her expertise in employment law and private international law. She has been described as “an up and coming star”“very commercial”, “a cerebral and hard-working junior” and “a pleasure to work with”. She was recently featured as one of Tomorrow’s Leaders in the International Employment Lawyer.

A member of both the Attorney General’s London C panel and specialist Public International C panel, Ruth has appeared in various courts and tribunals up to and including the Supreme Court. She has experience of acting in arbitrations under the LCIA, ICC and UNCITRAL rules. She is currently acting as junior counsel to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

Specialisms

Commercial

Ruth has substantial experience acting both led and unled in the Commercial Court and in arbitrations under the LCIA, ICC and UNCITRAL rules. She has particular expertise in cases involving private international law issues and those that involve state actors.

She has previously acted for clients in the financial services, former professional footballers, insurance companies, entrepreneurs and governments.

Recent and current cases include:

  • Acting for a leading car manufacturer in a vehicle emissions group claim (2021 – present)
  • M v N – acting for the Claimant in an arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules concerning an EU law and contractual claim for over £3million (2021)
  • X v Y –  acting for the Respondent insurers in an ad hoc arbitration defending a claim in excess of £100million for alleged business interruption losses caused by COVID-19 (2021 – present)
  • A v B – acting as sole counsel for the Respondent in an ICC arbitration advanced on the basis of the Commercial Agency Regulations (2021 – present)
  • Acting as sole counsel for the Claimant in London Circuit Commercial Court proceedings against the allegedly fraudulent former directors of a company (2021)
  • P v Q [2020] EWHC 1688 (Comm) – acted in s. 68 proceedings (challenge for procedural irregularity) in relation to an LCIA Arbitration concerning sale and supply of organic produce from Eastern Europe
  • Acting as sole counsel for an individual claimant in a high value claim for interest again a multinational investment bank (2019)
  • Advising on jurisdiction issues in a multi-million pound commercial fraud case (2019)
  • Re X Insurance – advising on the consequences of the insolvency of a foreign motor insurer in a claim worth circa £50 million (2018 – 2019)
  • Working as part of a team of junior counsel in a multi-million pound dispute over a joint venture (2018)
  • Aquinas v Miller and others [2018] EWHC 404 (QB) – acted as sole counsel for the First and Second Defendants resisting an application for a springboard injunction in the High Court

Employment

Ruth is an experienced employment practitioner who regularly appears in the Employment Tribunal, High Court and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. She has particular experience of acting in applications for injunctive relief including springboard injunctions.

She is recognised as “Up and Coming” in this area in Chambers & Partners 2021 and a “Rising Star” in Legal 500. She has been described as “a pleasure to work with: insightful and extremely responsive” and is “frequently instructed by governments, NHS trusts, universities, charities and clients in the financial services sector”.

Recent and current cases include:

  • X v Reverend Martyn Percy and Christ Church College – acted for the Claimant bringing allegations of sexual harassment against the former Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford University
  • RO v X (An NHS Trust) – acted for the Respondent NHS Trust in a complex race discrimination, victimisation and whistleblowing case (2020 – 2021)
  • Acting in numerous applications for interim relief in cases where it is alleged that a claimant was dismissed because of whistleblowing (2020 – present)
  • Acted for an internationally renowned firm specialising in the production of rankings for the legal industry defending disability discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal claims made by a former manager (2019 – 2020)
  • Advising and acting a number of complex cases concerning restrictive covenants in contracts of employment (2019 – present)
  • AB v X (An NHS Trust) – appeared in the Employment Appeal Tribunal on behalf of the Respondent NHS Trust appealing against a case management decision in an unfair dismissal claim involving alleged abuse and neglect of a patient (2019)
  • Acting for numerous claimants in a variety of disability discrimination claims against multinational investment banks (2019 – present)
  • Craig Hughes v Virgin Active Limited – acted for the Respondent in a complex age, race and sex discrimination, whistleblowing and unfair dismissal claim (2019)
  • X (a Professor) v Y (Russell Group University)  acting for the Claimant in an ongoing whistleblowing claim (2019 – present)
  • Government of Catalonia v Mataro – acted as sole counsel for the Government of Catalonia in successfully defending an unfair dismissal claim arising out of Spain’s invocation of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution in October 2017 (2018)
  • A v Ministry of Defence (2018 – ongoing) – acting as sole counsel for the Claimant in a claim against the Ministry of Defence for stress at work at an international military base
  • X v SSAFA – represented an international military charity in successfully defending an unusual claim for constructive unfair dismissal arising out of a child protection investigation in Cyprus (2018)
  • Aquinas v Miller and others [2018] EWHC 404 (QB) – sole counsel for the first and second defendants. Ruth successfully resisted an application for continuation of a springboard injunction.

Public Law and Human Rights

Ruth acts in judicial review and human rights claims and public inquiries. She is currently junior counsel to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

Recent and current cases include:

  • R (All the Citizens) v Minister for the Cabinet Office and others and R (Good Law Project) v The Prime Minister and others – acting for the Defendant government departments in these joined judicial reviews of the use of private communications systems, including WhatsApp, for government business
  • Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry – counsel to the Inquiry (2021 – present)
  • BA v Derby City Council  – acted for the intervening Secretary of State for Education in this case concerning Deprivation of Liberty orders made in respect of children ([2021] EWCA Civ 1867)
  • R (Salvato) v DWP – appeared in the Court of Appeal for the Department of Work and Pensions on question of whether payment of the childcare element of universal credit is discriminatory under the ECHR and/or irrational ([2021] EWCA Civ 1482)
  • Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – counsel to the Inquiry for the Lambeth strand
  • Nguyen v SSHD [2021] EWHC 254 (Admin) – acted for the Secretary of State for Home Office resisting an application for judicial review in a case concerning UK citizenship
  • Lungowe v Vedanta [2019] UKSC 20 – acted as part of the counsel team for the Claimants in this Supreme Court case relating to alleged human rights and environmental abuses in a mine in Zambia.
  • Kimathi v Foreign and Commonwealth Office – instructed by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to assist with the Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation, a case involving over 40,000 claimants alleging abuse arising out of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya during the 1950s
  • Darnley v Croydon NHS Health Trust [2018] UKSC 50 – acted for the defendant NHS trust in the Supreme Court on the scope of the duty of care owed by receptionists in A&E

Private International

Ruth has built a strong practice in conflicts of law disputes and is frequently instructed in complex disputes regarding jurisdiction or applicable law. She is recognised as a “Rising Star” in Legal 500 in Travel and Jurisdiction. She has particular expertise in cases where there is an overlap with public international law issues. She is a member of the Attorney General’s Public International C panel of Counsel.

Current and recent cases include:

  • Clarke v Generali (2020) – acted as sole counsel for the Defendant insurer in this High Court dispute arising out of a serious motorcycling accident in France (2020)
  • Lungowe v Vedanta Resources plc [2019] UKSC 20 – acted as part of the counsel team for the Claimants in this important Supreme Court case concerning issues of jurisdiction arising out of a mine in Zambia.
  • Re X Insurance – advising on the consequences of the insolvency of a foreign motor insurer in a claim worth circa £50 million (2018 – ongoing)
  • A v Ministry of Defence (2018 – 2021) – acted as sole counsel for the Claimant in a claim against the Ministry of Defence for stress at work at an international military base
  • Ministry of Defence v Iraqi Civilians [2016] UKSC 25 – a case involving claims made by more than 600 Iraqi civilians alleging maltreatment at the hands of the Ministry of Defence

Public International Law

Ruth has expertise in inter-state dispute and domestic disputes involving state actors. She is a member of the Attorney General’s specialist Public International panel of Counsel.

As a Research Assistant to Professor Philippe Sands QC she assisted with the Mauritius v United Kingdom arbitration concerning the application of the Law of the Sea to the Marine Protected Area surrounding the Chagos Islands. She also worked on Croatia v Serbia, a case where both sides were alleging genocide under the Genocide Convention 1948 before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Both cases involved collaborating as part of a large litigation team.

She has particular interest in cases involving decolonisation. She was previously instructed by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to assist with the Kenya Emergency Group Litigation, a case involving over 40,000 claimants alleging abuse arising out of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya during the 1950s.

Civil Fraud

Ruth is instructed in respect of all aspects of commercial fraud, including freezing and search orders and other without notice applications. From May to July 2019 Ruth was seconded to the Civil Fraud team at Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP. During this time she assisted with complex commercial fraud disputes.

Sport

Ruth accepts instructions from players, clubs and regulatory authorities with clients ranging from self-employed tennis coaches to the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association. She has a particular interest in employment and sponsorship disputes. She regularly appears in the High Court and Employment Tribunal.

Recommendations

“She is good at cross-examination and client management, and her presentation of a respondent’s case to the client is respectful of their experiences.”
Chambers UK 2022

“An up and coming star. Brilliant in everything she does, and so user friendly.”
“Ruth is very commercial and cuts through to the key issues for clients. Ruth is also incredibly personable.”
Legal 500 2022

“She’s a pleasure to work with: insightful and extremely responsive.”
“She is very calm, personable and thorough.”

Chambers UK 2021

A cerebral and hard-working junior with extensive expertise in issues of public and private international law.
Legal 500 2021

Appointments

Attorney General’s London C panel

Public International Law C panel

News, Articles and Publications

Conveyancing fraudsters – who picks up the bill after P&P & Dreamvar? Journal of Professional Negligence, December 2018

Pure omissions and public authorities, Personal Injury Law Journal, May 2018

Unlawful fees & Out of time claimsNew Law Journal, September 2017

Clarity provided for insurers aggregating claimsInsurance Day, August 2017

The Scope and Effect of PurdahJudicial Review, December 2017

Education, Scholarships and Awards

BA (Hons) Pembroke College, Oxford University
LLM (Distinction) University College London

Lord Justice Holker Award (Gray’s Inn)
Residential Scholarship (Gray’s Inn)
Lee Essay Prize (second place, Gray’s Inn)
Advocacy Scholarship (University of Law)
Monk Prize (Pembroke College)
Hogan Lovells Prize for Law (Pembroke College)
South Eastern Circuit Florida Bar Civil Advocacy Course

Memberships

COMBAR
Industrial Law Society
LawInSport
ELA

Additional Information

For the legal year 2016-2017 Ruth was Judicial Assistant to Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls. Prior to joining chambers, Ruth was a Research Assistant to Professor Philippe Sands QC working on public international law, ICSID Arbitrations and Court of Arbitration for Sport cases. She also previously worked as a Research Associate at UCL’s Judicial Institute and a Teaching Fellow in public law at UCL.

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Regulatory Information

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Professional title: Barrister

Full name (as registered with Bar Standards Board of England and Wales): Ruth Kennedy

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Legal Status: Sole Practitioner

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