Ross Fentem

Year of call: 2003

"He is a strong advocate and is proactive." "He is definitely someone you want in your corner."       
Chambers UK 2018

Ross Ross

Ross is a commercial and property barrister, with particular expertise in all aspects of banking and finance law. He is recommended by Chambers UK (2013) as one of only 4 practitioners on the Western circuit for banking and finance work.

Commercial

Ross joined Guildhall Chambers in 2008 from Henderson Chambers in London, bringing a wealth of expertise in commercial dispute resolution and litigation with him. His client base ranges from large institutional bodies, including banks and governmental bodies, to individuals and sole traders. Over recent years he has developed a particular interest in and experience of matters involving information technology.

His expertise and experience includes:

  • Sale of goods and supply of services
  • Banking and finance
  • Commercial fraud
  • Agency
  • Franchising
  • Restrictive covenants and restraint of trade
  • Company / corporate and shareholders' disputes
  • Insurance coverage and claims
  • IT disputes

Although principally a litigator, Ross takes the view that many commercial disputes are susceptible to sensible resolution out of court, and often acts for his clients at mediations and round-table negotiations. Ross is happy to advise on and appear in arbitrations and associated arbitration claims relating to all the main subjects of Ross' commercial experience.

Significant Cases

  • General Asset Management Ltd v Halligan (September 2014): Successfully acting for the Claimant lender in a complex claim for the enforcement of security alleged to be affected by undue influence.  Issues included the nature of the evidential presumption of undue influence, the extent of the Claimant’s guidance with the Etridge protocol and the Shah v Shah estoppel in circumstances in which the mortgage deed was not signed in the presence of a witness.

  • Royal Bank of Scotland plc v Evans (May 2016): Successfully appearing for the Claimant bank in a claim to possession under a mortgage given as security for a guarantee.  Issues involved the extent and nature of the Claimant’s equitable duty towards the Defendants and the credibility of the Defendant’s key witness.

  • General Asset Management Ltd v Ramsden (June 2016): Successfully acting for the Claimant lender in a tricky mortgage claim involving allegations of common interest constructive trust, undue influence, overreaching, an overriding interest arising under a farm business tenancy and a TOLATA order for sale.  Ross’ cross-examination of the Defendants’ three witnesses enabled the Claimant to succeed notwithstanding that the court found a deed of postponement to be vitiated by undue influence.

  • Osteopathic Education and Research Ltd v Purfleet Office Systems Ltd (formerly NCS Management Ltd) [2010] EWHC 1801 (QB) - Ross represented the successful Claimant in a complex case involving a series of leasing agreements for photocopying equipment supplied by the Defendant to the Claimant and funded by asset finance agreements with leasing houses. The judge found the Defendant liable for breach of contract and misrepresentation, saying that its business insofar as it involved the Claimant was “fundamentally dishonest”.
  • Balmoral Group Ltd v Borealis (UK) Ltd [2006] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 629 - Sale of goods; breach of conditions as to quality and fitness for purpose in multi-million pound commercial contracts; construction of contract terms and incorporation of terms; unfair contract terms; meaning of “international supply contract”; damages, including wasted managerial time.
  • Walsh v Cambrian Boat Centre Ltd (2009), Mercantile Court, Cardiff District Registry - Sale of goods, claim by buyer to return of price, acquisition costs and consequential loss following purchase of allegedly defective boat, breach of condition as to satisfactory quality, rejection and affirmation, relevance of Part 5A of Sale of Goods Act 1979 to delay and rejection, effect of manufacturers’ warranties on rights and obligations of seller and buyer.
  • Successfully representing a client in a complex multi-million pound dispute concerning the development of a care home and an entitlement to share in the equity of a related corporate vehicle.
  • Successfully representing a range of lenders in claims concerning fraudulent equity-release schemes and allegations of overriding interests made by property occupiers.

Banking & Finance

Ross is one of only 4 practitioners recommended by Chambers UK (2013) for banking and finance work on the Western circuit. He undertakes advisory and litigation work across the whole spectrum of banking and finance practice, and has represented all of the major UK banks. His particular specialist knowledge and experience of the asset finance market and of consumer credit has consistently been noted in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 since 2010. He is often called upon to act for lenders and borrowers in complex security-realisation cases.

His expertise and experience includes:

  • Commercial credit and banking, including:
    • Enforcement of loans and other facilities
    • Guarantees and bond enforcement and coverage
    • Cheques, bills of exchange and other payment instruments
    • Regulation and authorization
    • Inter-bank disputes
    • Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
    • General debt recovery
  • Asset finance and leasing, including:
    • Commercial leasing and lease-purchasing
    • Default and enforcement
    • Contract drafting
    • Quality and fitness issues
    • Claims by and against financiers, customers and suppliers
    • Fraud
  • Consumer credit and finance, including:
    • Consumer credit and hire
    • Pre- and post- contractual obligations
    • Default and enforcement
    • Regulation and licensing / authorisation (including the new Financial Conduct Authority regime)
    • Unfair relationships and other Consumer Credit Act 1974 challenges
  • All aspects of mortgage and securities law, including:
    • Priorities and land registration
    • Subrogation
    • Appointment, powers and duties of receivers
    • Marshalling
    • Undue influence
    • Mortgage fraud
  • Financial services and advice and financial products, including claims by and against advisors
  • Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • Non-contentious business

Property & Estates

Ross is recommended for property work by the Legal 500 (2013). He advises and represents clients in all manner of property disputes, covering commercial and residential premises. He is particularly known for his specialist knowledge of land registration, and has often represented clients before the Adjudicator to the Land Registry (now the First Tier Tribunal).

His expertise and experience includes:

  • Sale of land
  • Mortgage disputes
  • Land registration
  • Boundary disputes
  • Rights of way and other easements
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Overage and development
  • Residential and commercial landlord and tenant

 

Significant Cases

Nobes v Lloyds Bank plc (Property Tribunal, May 2016): Successfully opposing a claim before the Property Tribunal for the reinstatement of two registered long leaseholds, whose removal enabled the Defendant lender to realise an unencumbered freehold interest.  Issues included the distinction between surrender and merger of leasehold estates and the extent to which a party’s intention was relevant to surrender.

Professional Negligence

Ross' professional negligence practice covers the range of his principal practice areas, and includes:

  • Claims involving financial advisors and lenders
  • Claims involving solicitors and other lawyers, particular in relation to property and corporate transactions
  • Claims involving mortgage fraud
  • Claims involving architects, surveyors and valuers

Technology & Construction

Ross provides advice and representation in disputes in the Technology and Construction Court and before arbitrators, and has particular expertise in matters which overlap with his other principal areas of practice. 

Recent cases and instructions include:

  • Representing an architectural practice in a multi-party professional negligence claim.
  • Advising on injunctive relief in support of a construction arbitration claim in order to prevent a beneficiary from making a call on a performance bond.
  • Representing an asset finance lessor in various claims concerning the performance and quality of funded office software.

Admin & Public Law

Ross has advised and represented clients in a wide range of challenges to administrative decisions including cases of significant complexity and importance. He has a particular interest in the overlap between commercial and public law, and in disputes involving the financial services industry. He is frequently involved at an early stage in consideration of challenges to decisions of the Financial Ombudsman Service. 

Reported Cases

  • R (Usk Valley Conservation Group) v Brecon Beacons National Park Authority [2010] EWHC 71 (Admin). An important and high-profile challenge to a long-standing planning permission involving a caravan park in the heart of the Brecon Beacons.
  • R (Hollis) v Association of Certified Chartered Accountants) [2014] EWHC 2572 (Admin). A challenge to the internal process of the ACCA's disciplinary process made by an insolvency practitioner, concerning the ambit of admissibility of evidence of judicial findings and comments in disciplinary proceedings.

Recommendations


CHAMBERS UK 2018

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Maintains a diverse banking litigation practice, and has particular expertise in cases concerning consumer credit, guarantees and securities disputes. He has particular knowledge of asset finance matters, and is adept at handling cases concerning leasing and lease-purchase facilities of all kinds. He is well versed in acting both for and against major banks.

Strengths: "He provides forensic legal analysis and clear advice. He is a strong advocate and is proactive." "He is definitely someone you want in your corner."

Recent work: Successfully represented General Asset Management in a farm mortgage claim involving issues of undue influence and overreaching.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leading Junior - Band 2

Primarily known for his work in finance and professional negligence cases. He has a particular focus in the asset finance sector, and is adept at handling cases that concern financed leasing and lease-purchased facilities.

Strengths: "He has a very forensic approach with a good handle on the detail. He's technically excellent and is committed to the case."

Recent work: Successfully acted for General Asset Management in a multi-day trial concerning a farm mortgage claim. The case involved claims of undue influence and overreaching.


LEGAL 500 2017

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading juniors

‘He specialises in asset finance work and consumer credit matters.’


CHAMBERS UK 2017

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Maintains a diverse banking litigation practice, and has particularly pronounced expertise in cases concerning consumer credit; guarantees and securities disputes. He is very well versed in acting both for and against major banks, and has often appeared as sole counsel.

Strengths: "He is unflappable. He's fantastically persuasive and very easy to get on with." "Exceptionally bright, very user-friendly and punches well above his weight for his year of call."

Recent work: Acted in General Asset Management v Halligan, a security dispute involving a claim under a mortgage securing various asset finance obligations.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leading Junior - Band 2

Primarily known for his work in finance and professional negligence. He is described by market sources as approachable and well respected.

Strengths: "His drafting is fantastically persuasive, he's very easy to get on with and his is unflappable." He's very responsive and good at identifying and dealing with key issues; he has a good eye for detail."

Recent work: Appeared for claimants Prom Chem, against Rohm & Hass/Dow Chemicals, alleging the breach of a data sharing agreement. This involved liasing with the European Chemicals Agency as well as a detailed examination of EU law and the regulations about the supply of biocidal products.


LEGAL 500 2016

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading juniors

'Recommended for finance disputes.' 


CHAMBERS UK 2016

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Continued to be recognised for the depth of his expertise in asset finance and consumer credit matters, and is particularly good and leasing and guarantee work. As part of a wider commercial practice, he also acts both for and against banks on related fraud and property cases. 

Strengths: "He's user-friendly, proactive, practical and thorough." " He is very decisive and turns work around quickly."

Recent work: Successfully acted for General Asset Management in a security dispute against Halligan relating to a claim under mortgage securing various asset finance obligations.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leading Junior - Band 2

Particularly strong in litigation involving the financial services sector, such as mis-selling and network agreements. He advises a loyal and growing client base on a variety of contractual disputes, and has considerable expertise in the tractor hire industry.

Strengths: "He is very practical, pragmatic and easy to engage with." "He is user-friendly, proactive, practical and thorough."


LEGAL 500 2015

Commercial, Banking & Insolvency

Leading juniors

'Extremely bright, thorough and good value for money'.


CHAMBERS UK 2015

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Skilled in complex consumer credit and asset finance litigation. He is praised by instructing solicitors for his commercial and decisive advice.

Expertise: "He's incredibly bright. He gets to the root of the problem incredibly quickly, he's very approachable and on his feet he's way ahead of the game." "He's bright and able to cut through complex cases and issues to summarise the points at the centre of the dispute. He's very easy to work with, even in a pressured timescale."

Recent work: Successfully acted for the claimant Osteopathic Education and Research in its dispute with Purfleet Office Systems regarding misrepresentation and breach of contract.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leading Junior - Band 2

Handles a range of commercial and property disputes. He frequently handles banking and finance matters, and has particular experience of the asset finance sector.

Expertise: "He's able to quickly grasp the full details of a case and get through to the commercial outcome with lightning speed. He's right at the end of the game before everyone else has got to square one."

Recent work: Successfully represented Osteopathic Education and Research in a dispute against Purfleet Office System relating to a series of asset finance agreements for office equipment.


LEGAL 500 2014

Commercial, Banking & Insolvency

Leading juniors

'Primarily focuses on banking and finance law'.


CHAMBERS UK 2014

Banking & Finance

Has significant commercial litigation experience and the capacity to handle complex consumer credit and financial services disputes. Has particular expertise in the asset finance sector.

Recent work: Successfully represented Osteopathic Education & Research in a substantial claim for misrepresentation and breach of contract arising out of numerous asset finance agreements.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Has focused his commercial disputes practice on issues concerning banking and credit work, the sale of goods and the supply of services. He is also noted for his asset finance expertise.

Expertise: "He is pragmatic, commercial and quick to get to the relevant issues."

Recent work: He advised a claimant charity whose claim arose out of numerous asset finance agreements for office equipment supplied by the defendant.


CHAMBERS UK 2013

Commercial Dispute Resolution

"pragmatic, commercial and quick to get to the relevant issues."

Banking & Finance

Recommended particularly for asset finance work.

One of 4 practitioners recommended on the Western circuit.


CHAMBERS UK 2012

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Ross Fentem is rapidly building a well-merited reputation as "an advocate who doesn't miss a point and always delivers precise analysis." His work encompasses banking, director, shareholder and corporate disputes. 


CHAMBERS UK 2010

Described as a "phenomenally clever" barrister who is "clearly going places", particularly strong on asset finance.


LEGAL 500 2013

Recommended for property.


LEGAL 500 2010

Described as "proving extremely popular at an early call".