Richard Clayton KC

Richard is an experienced commercial litigator/arbitrator and undertakes a wide range of advisory and complex commercial disputes work. He is a specialist in all aspects of disputes but particularly in the areas of international (including offshore), data protection, civil fraud, breach of directors duties, insolvency, shareholder and general commercial contract disputes.  Richard focuses on commercial work with a state element such as cases where the state is a party or where there is a regulatory or statutory element eg healthcare, pharma-related regulatory or contractual matters; environmental issues or public international law, building on his strong public law experience.

Richard has extensively worked in other jurisdictions outside England, including the Caribbean (Anguilla, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman, St Vincent, Trinidad, Turks & Caicos), Canada, United States, Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong and Isle of Man.

Richard has been listed in both Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners directories and they describe him as “one of the finest minds at the Bar… an intellectual giant who is an asset to the Bar” Chambers and Partners (2019), “Richard is very thorough and well versed with judicial review applications” “bright, creative and wonderful to work with” Chambers and Partners (2022), “… a charming advocate and tackles difficult cases fearlessly.” Legal 500 (2021), “He’s willing to listen, tactically astute, knows a lot about core procedure and is good at identifying the key issues of a case.” Chambers and Partners (2020) and “A very knowledgeable silk” Legal 500 (2020).


Further information


  • Deputy High Court Judge (2012)
  • Recorder (Crown Court) (2006)
  • Kings Counsel (2002)
  • United Kingdom’s representative to Venice Commission (Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional law) (2011- 2019); Member of Executive and Chairman of Working Methods Sub-Commission
  • Bencher, Middle Temple (2009)
  • Visiting Professor, University College, London (2015 to date)
  • Chairman, Constitutional and Administrative Bar Association (2008-2010)
  • Associate Fellow, Centre for Public Law, University of Cambridge since 2001
  • Chairman, Bar Council Committee on Civil Legal Aid 2005-2012
  • Vice Chairman Bar Council Remuneration Committee 2006-2008
  • Bar Council Remuneration Committee 2005 to 2010
  • Bar Council Public Affairs Committee 2006-2007
  • Bar Council International Affairs Committee 2008-2010
  • Bar Council 2004-2007

Recent Publications/Papers


Richard has experience of all types of complex commercial disputes. He has particular expertise in contractual issues. Richard undertakes emergency injunction work such as freezing and seizure orders as well as arbitrations. He acts in cases concerning commercial contracts, civil fraud, breaches of directors’ duties, insolvency, restitution, shareholders’ rights, issues of statutory or contractual construction and public international law.

Recent cases include:

  • representing a claimant in a $US 150 m arbitration arising from Qatar, defending damages claim for conspiracy where a strike out/summary judgment claim is pending
  • acting as an arbitrator in a commercial dispute between a local authority and a private sector care provider
  • advising in relation to a £7m claim against two banks alleged to be jointly liable with financial advisors for fraud
  • advising various local authorities in relation to procurement issues
  • an allegedly unlawful cartel arrangements concerning several construction contracts in Trinidad , representing a former Minister
  • acting for defendants in a conspiracy claim alleging that he was unlawfully evading his company’s debts

Richard Clayton also has extensive experience in conducting Supreme Court and Privy Council appeals.

Supreme Court, House of Lords and Privy Council Appeals Cases include:

  • Responsible Development to Abaco v Rt Hon Perry Christie (2022) (PC)(Constitutional challenge to Bahamas’ security for costs orders in environmental cases)
  • AG of Anguilla v Lake (2022) (PC) (compulsory purchase compensation acting for AG)
  • Seepeersad v AG of Trinidad (2021) (PC decide important case on right to protection of law, holding that it is breached by detaining juveniles in adult prison)
  • Hapgood v AG of Anguilla (2021) (AG successfully persuades PC to refuse permission to appeal to alleged contempt is a “criminal cause”)
  • Seepersad v Ayers-Ceasar (2020) (PC) (whether detaining juveniles in adult prison breaches constitutional rights)
  • Maharaj v Petroleum Company of Trinidad (2019) (PC) (freedom of information)
  • Commissioner of Police for Trinidad v Singh (2019) (PC) (discrimination)
  • A-G of Trinidad v Petrotrin (2019) (PC) (freedom of information)
  • The Commissioner of Police for Trinidad v Singh (2019) (discrimination)
  • A-G of Trinidad v Maharaj (2018) (PC) (judicial appointments of Supreme Court judges)
  • Seepersad v Ayers-Ceasar (2018) (PC) (interim constitutional remedies)
  • Central Broadcasting Services v A-G of Trinidad (2018) (PC) (damages for breach of freedom of expression)
  • Mohammed v Public Service Commission of Trinidad (2017) (PC) (separation of powers)
  • Kennedy v Charity Commission (2014) (SC) (Freedom of Information, Art 10 and common law rights)
  • Suratt v A-G of Trinidad (No 2) (2009) PC) (damages for breaching constitutional right to protection of the law)
  • Panday v Virgil (2008) (PC) (representing former Prime Minister of Trinidad in abuse of process complaint following successful bias appeal before Trinidad Court of Appeal)
  • Suratt v A-G of Trinidad (2008) (PC) (anti-discrimination legislation constitutional, reversing Trinidad CA)
  • R (Huang) v SSHD (2007) (HL) (important case on proportionality principles)
  • Toussaint v A-G of St Vincent (2007) (PC) (right of access to the court and parliamentary privilege)
  • R (Greenfield) v SSHD (2005) (HL) (Human Rights Act damages)
  • R (Smith) v Parole Board (2005) (HL) (common law fairness, not Articles 5 and 6 ECHR requires oral hearing)
  • BACONGO v Department of Environment No 2 (2004) (PC) (adequacy of environmental impact assessment)
  • BACONGO v Department of Environment (2003) (PC) (jurisdiction of PC to grant interim injunction in pending appeal)
  • A-G v Blake (2001) (HL) (confiscation of advance of royalties on autobiography- common law human rights, restitutionary damages, account)
  • R v Chief Constable West Midlands Police (1994) (HL) (public interest immunity)

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