Rowan Pennington-Benton


Rowan practises in two main areas – commercial/civil law and public law. He has a busy domestic and international practice. He appears in a variety of courts and tribunals (both foreign and domestic), as well as acting in arbitration and adjudication proceedings. He has a developing practice dealing with crypto-currency and other DLT advisory and litigation work.

Legal Directories

Legal 500 (2018)

  • ‘He has a brilliant and versatile legal mind and a real passion for his cases and his clients.’
  • Leading junior

Legal 500 (2017)

  • ‘Bright, enthusiastic and committed; a star in the making.’
  • Leading junior

Commercial and Civil Law


On-going high value commercial arbitration (LCIA, London), involving allegations of corruption and breach of contract in relation to off-shore development and investment scheme in the Caribbean. 

Appearing for the successful claimants in high value renewable energy arbitration (LCIA, London) (on-shore run of the river facility in Africa – payment dispute / breach of warranty / output performance).

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 in Gilbraltar. 

Crypto-Currency, Distributed Ledger Technology, Crowd-Funding and Investment Disputes

Update on new ESMA Guidance on ICOs and Crypto-Assets by Rowan and colleagues from Hassans, Gibraltar

Lederer v Allsop LLP [2018] EWHC 1425 (Ch) – order made against Lendy Ltd, for the disclosure of the names of over 4,000 underling lenders signed to Lendy’s crowdfunding platform; part of an on-going dispute concerning the draw-down of development funds under the facility. Thomas Roe QC and Rowan Pennington-Benton acting for the borrowers.

Claim against major Market Predictions Platform - loss in investment funds due to alleged leakage of coins, contrary to the vesting schedule. Questions include legal status of White Paper (and representations made therein), and of late amendments to vesting schedules prior to ICO.

Advising in crypto-currency payments system dispute –major credit card provider terminating its relationship with digital payment provider, resulting in deactivation of hundreds of thousands of pre-paid cryptocurrency cards (which allow customers to make payments and draw money from ATMs in fiat currency, but ultimately drawn from a Bitcoin or other decentralized currency source).

Other IT-related commercial disputes – e.g. MT Secure v EPG (Supreme Court, Gibraltar) – claim concerning integration of payment gateway services for major online casino (loss caused by fraudulent manipulation of URL payment parameters).

Rowan has established links with central hubs for crypto-currency and other DLT operations. In particular he works with John Restano QC and Darren Martinez of Hassans International Law Firm in Gibraltar (which has a dedicated FinTech /DLT team), and with Pantelis Christofides, partner in the commercial and regulatory team at L Papaphilippou & Co LLC, Cyprus. He also has links with legal teams in Malta and other common law jurisdictions.

Blockchain currencies and DLT delivered financial services are but two examples of a broader and developing framework of decentralised ‘technologies’ – of most relevance is the growing interest in crowd-funding, investment and lending.

Construction and Adjuciation

Ansaldo’s Townhouse Ltd v Sharrock Shand Ltd [2017] (Supreme Court, Gibraltar: enforceability of an adjudication clause in an amended JCT construction contract)

Hemery v Ramlogan [2017] UKPC 41: Appearing for the successful Respondent (Privy Council, Mauritius - construction contract payment dispute, amendments and fair trial issues)

Arawak Homes Ltd v AG of the Bahamas [2016] 1WLR 5214: Appearing for the successful respondent (Privy Council, with James Guthrie QC: compulsory acquisition of property/ commercial valuation)

Insolvency / Chancery

Various on-going advisory and trial work for and against IPs (unlawful dividends, breach of fiduciary duty, TUVs, breach of trust etc).

Reclaim Limited (In Liq) – acting for PWC (claims against ex-directors for breach of fiduciary duty; and against law firm third party trustees in Spain and for unlawful dissipation).

Advising and acting in a financial regulator’s intervention into a major offshore insurance company (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.

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.

Archie v Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago [2018] UKPC 23 – Privy Council appeal led by Chris Hamel-Smith SC. Judicial Committee upheld the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of a judicial review challenge seeking to supress the Law Association’s investigation into the conduct of the serving Chief Justice. See The Guardian news coverage of the case, here.

The Estate of Lewis Francis v HM Attorney General (Appeal No. 10 of 2017) – Court of Appeal for Gibraltar (judgment 16 July 2018). With John Restano QC, represented successful appellants in constitutional challenge to rent control legislation (right to property, proportionality/ legitimate aim). See GBC news coverage here.

Patel v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] 2 All E.R. 1093 (Court of Appeal – challenge, in light of Chavez-Vilchez, to the conventional and restricted understanding of the Zambrano test of being ‘compelled to leave’ the UK; permission granted to appeal to the UK Supreme Court).

Ahsan v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 2009; [2018] H.R.L.R. 5 (Court of Appeal - for the successful appellants in lead case challenging the legality and effectiveness of out-of-country appeals against Home Office removal decisions (TOIEC cases, alleged deception)). See useful FT article here. And Hansard debate on this issue (including this judgment), here.

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.

Successful 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.


R v Jogee; R v Ruddock [2016] UKSC 8; [2017] AC 387 - appeared alongside Howard Stevens QC, in an important joined Privy Council/ UK 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).

Public Access 

Rowan is Public Access trained and available for instruction on that basis (also known as direct access). This means that he can receive instructions, in appropriate cases, directly from members of the public or on behalf of companies, partnerships or other entities. Please speak with our clerks for further information. For guidance on Public Access please visit the Bar Council website.

Previous Positions

Judicial Assistant, Supreme Court and 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 acts as Legal Consultant, within the Partner Network, to Apereum Inc – U.S. based business development consultancy, specialising in new and disruptive technologies (P2P, Fin Tech, cryptocurrency, blockchain and other distributed ledger technology).

Articles, Publications, Talks and Lectures

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.

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)


  • ICBC


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