Richard Keen QC is one of the UK’s leading silks, with broad expertise spanning Commercial, Public & Regulatory, Financial Services & Banking and International Law. From 2015-2020 Richard served as the Advocate General for Scotland.

Current and recent work includes:

  • Acting for a Chinese shipbuilder/creditor in opposing the recognition in UK under CIBR 2006 of insolvency proceedings initiated in the Singapore High Court of debtor companies with assets in the UK sector of the North Sea.
  • Acting for a major supermarket chain in an intellectual property dispute with an international drinks distributor.
  • Acting for the applicant in a data disclosure dispute with a US data processor regarding international online betting operations.
  • Acting for a party in a £200m+ claim arising out of a corporate disposal and allegations of fraudulent conspiracy involving advisors.
  • Advising a German company with respect to the expert determination of an engineering construction dispute arising out of contracts at Grangemouth refinery.
  • Instructed in litigation arising out of engineering construction contracts for the new Glasgow hospital.
  • Litigating for clients in India with respect to extensive assets in West Bengal, the title to which was registered with a Scottish company which had been in an India High Court administration for many years. 

Richard was appointed Advocate General for Scotland on 29 May 2015. For the last three months of David Cameron’s ministry he was in addition Minister of State for home affairs.

He was reappointed Advocate General by Theresa May and also appointed Lords Minister for the Ministry of Justice. He retained both appointments until his resignation in September 2020.

In the latter capacity Richard had responsibility for civil justice in England and Wales and for regulation of the legal profession. He chaired the Lord Chancellor’s advisory committee on private international law (alongside the Rt. Hon Lord Mance). He established (with Sir Geoffrey Vos) and was a member of the Lawtec Delivery Panel. 

During his time as Advocate General, Richard regularly appeared for the government in the UK Supreme Court; the CJEU and the grand chamber of ECTHR. Some highlights include (more information can be found below):

  • R  (Miller) v The Prime Minister and Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland (2019)
  • R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (2017)
  • Wightman and others v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (2018)

Richard was engaged in taking a number of major pieces of legislation through the House of Lords. These included the Scotland Act 2016 and the European Union (withdrawal) Act 2018.

Richard represented HMG at the council of justice ministers in Luxembourg.  He also represented HMG in respect of justice matters in discussions in China; Singapore; Australia; and USA.

Prior to his appointment as Advocate General, Richard Keen QC was regularly instructed in the Commercial Court; in the Inner House (the Court of Appeal in Scotland) and in the Supreme Court in a range of Commercial and Public Law cases. He is highly regarded for his advocacy particularly in complex commercial litigation and cases involving extensive expert evidence in areas including science, engineering and economics. He is also instructed in matters of insurance, company law and civil fraud.  He was instructed for the contractors insurance and reinsurance interest in respect of the Piper Alpha disaster. He led the defence of Lamin Fhimah at the trial of Megrahi and Fhimah in respect of the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing.  He also acted for Weir Group plc in the claims and prosecution arising out of breaches of the UN Iraq sanctions.

Experience

Shortlist

Commercial

Richard is considered to be a first choice of silk for complex commercial litigation. He is widely instructed in claims arising out of corporate takeovers and acquisitions. He is also instructed in shareholder claims, including s.994. He has considerable experience of litigation involving oil and gas licensing and exploitation. He is regularly involved in multi jurisdiction litigation involving interlocutory orders and issues of forum and jurisdiction. 

Highlights include:

Cases

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Financial Services

Richard is regularly instructed in litigation involving banks and other financial institutions. His work includes claims arising out of joint venture agreements, service agreements and guarantees.

Highlights include:

Cases

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Public & Regulatory

Richard is frequently instructed in matters of judicial review, including challenges to primary legislation of the Scottish Parliament. 

He has also advised a number of power companies in connection with OFGEM investigations with respect to supply contracts.

Richard advised on the issue of international spectrum allocation in connection with the 4G auction process.

Highlights include:

Cases

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Achievements

Education

LLB (Hons) University of Edinburgh

Memberships

• Member of the Faculty of Advocates

• Member of the Bar of England and Wales

• Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple

• Dean of Faculty 2007 - 2014


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