Photo of Ruth Kennedy

Ruth Kennedy

Call 2015

rkennedy@2tg.co.uk

+44 (0)20 7822 1200

“A cerebral and hard-working junior with extensive expertise in issues of public and private international law”

Legal 500 2021

Practice Overview

Ruth specialises in employment and commercial disputes. She has amassed a significant amount of experience across various sectors and areas of commercial law dealing with issues of liability, negligence, insurance and fraud relating to companies, individuals and products. 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.

Four highlights of her recent and current work include:

  • Acting as junior counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse for the Lambeth Investigation;
  • Lungowe v Vedanta, [2019] UKSC 20: acting as part of the counsel team in this landmark Supreme Court case concerning issues of jurisdiction and parent company liability;
  • Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust [2018] UKSC 50: led by Philip Havers QC and Bradley Martin QC in the Supreme Court in a case clarifying the scope of the duty of care in negligence actions;
  • Aquinas v Miller and others [2018] EWHC 404 (QB): acted as sole counsel for the first and second defendants (co-defending with Stuart Benzie) and successfully resisted an application for continuation of a springboard injunction;

Ruth is a member of the Attorney General’s C panel of Counsel.

For the legal year 2016-2017 Ruth was Judicial Assistant to Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls. Her experience during this time included Miller and others v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (“the Article 50 litigation”) [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin) and Pimlico Plumbers v Gary Smith [2017] EWCA Civ 51

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.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Ruth has extensive experience of acting for claimants and defendants in high value commercial disputes, particularly those with conflicts of laws issues, both led and unled.

During her time with the Master of the Rolls she worked on Banco Santander Totta SA v Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa SA and others [2016] EWCA Civ 1267, the first appeal from the Financial List.

Current and recent work:

  • Acting in a section 68 challenge to an arbitration award in a high value claim (2019 – present)
  • Advising and acting a number of complex cases concerning restrictive covenants in contracts of employment (2019 – present)
  • 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 (with Charles Dougherty QC) (2019)
  • Re X Insurance – advising on the consequences of the insolvency of a foreign motor insurer in a claim worth circa £50 million (2018 – ongoing)
  • 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 (co-defending with Stuart Benzie)
  • Advising on a challenge to jurisdiction in the TCC on the basis of an arbitration agreement (led by Charles Dougherty QC) (2017)
Employment

Ruth is an experienced employment practitioner who regularly appears in the Employment Tribunal, High Court and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. She has particular expertise in claims involving private or public international law elements. She has acted as sole counsel for claimants and respondents in numerous multi-day hearings in whistleblowing, discrimination, harassment and victimization claims. Her diverse client base includes venture capitalists, NHS Trusts, legal publishers, universities and university staff, individuals working the financial service industry and charities.

During her time with the Master of the Rolls Ruth worked on Pimlico Plumbers v Gary Smith [2017] EWCA Civ 51, the landmark case on the distinction between being self-employed and a “worker”. While she was a pupil Ruth also assisted Benjamin Browne QC, Roger Harris and Isabel Barter on Mohamud v Morrisons [2016] UKSC 11, one of the leading cases on vicarious liability.

Current and recent work:

  • 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)
  • Acted for the successful Respondent in an interim application for reinstatement in an ongoing whistleblowing dispute (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)
  • Y (a Manager) v Z (A Multinational Gym) acted for the Respondent in a complex age, race and sex discrimination, whistleblowing and unfair dismissal claim (2019, hearing lasting 8 days, judgment awaited)
  • X (a Professor) v Y (Russell Group University) acting for the Claimant in an ongoing whistleblowing claim (2019 – present)
  • JM v Y (London University) – successfully defended the Respondent university against claims of pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal (2019, hearing lasting 3 days)
  • 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 (co-defending with Stuart Benzie) Ruth successfully resisted an application for continuation of a springboard injunction.
Private International Law and Travel

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 frequently instructed as sole counsel against more senior opponents including silks. She has co-written a short introduction to Rome II with Charles Dougherty QC and Marie Louise Kinsler QC which is available here.

Current and recent work:

  • 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 (2018 – 2019) – acted part of the counsel team for the claimants in this important case concerning issues of jurisdiction arising out of a mine in Zambia [2019] UKSC 20.
  • 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 – 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
  • Ministry of Defence v Iraqi Civilians [2016] UKSC 25 – assisted Marie Louise Kinsler QC in a case involving claims made by more than 600 Iraqi civilians alleging maltreatment at the hands of the Ministry of Defence. It was a complex conflicts of law case which focused on the interpretation of the Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984.
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, with recent highlights including acting as sole counsel resisting an application for a springboard injunction in Aquinas v Miller and others [2018] EWHC 404 (QB).

Commercial 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. She has also co-written a Practical Guide to Freezing Orders with Charles Dougherty QC which is available here.

Public Law

Ruth is currently instructed as junior counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse for the Lambeth investigation. 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. She has been published in many leading public law texts including Judicial Review, with her article The Scope and Effect of Purdah, Judicial Review, December 2017.

During her time working for the Master of the Rolls she worked on Miller and others v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (“the Article 50 litigation”) [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin), the landmark case which considered whether Article 50 could be triggered by use of the royal prerogative or if an Act of Parliament was needed.

Public International Law

Ruth has expertise in inter-state disputes. 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.

Insurance

Ruth is instructed by insurers and claimants in coverage related disputes. During her time working for the Master of the Rolls her experience included UK Insurance Limited v R&S Pilling t/as Phoenix Engineering [2017] EWCA Civ 259 which concerned whether motor insurance cover extended to liability for damage to the property of third parties as a result of fire caused by repair work while the vehicle was immobilised.

Current and recent work:

  • Mohamud v Morrisons [2016] UKSC 11 – Ruth assisted Benjamin Browne QC, Roger Harris and Isabel Barter, one of the leading cases on vicarious liability.
  • Re X Insurance – Advising on the consequences of the insolvency of a foreign motor insurer in a claim worth circa £50 million (2018 – ongoing).
Professional Negligence

Ruth has an established professional negligence practice with clients including architects, solicitors and insurers. She was also instructed by the Government Legal Department to assist with ongoing litigation regarding the prescription of the anti-malarial drug Lariam to deployed troops. She accepts instructions as sole counsel or part of a larger team. Ruth has assisted Doré Green with a variety of high value professional negligence cases concerning construction and property damage.

She appeared in the Supreme Court in Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust (led by Philip Havers QC and Bradley Martin QC) [2018] UKSC 50, case concerning the duty of care on NHS receptionists to give accurate wait times.

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