“truly gifted and supremely able” – Legal 500
“a brilliant advocate and a real team player” – Chambers UK
“he assures judges that he is right”– Chambers Global
“Hermann … is a joy to deal with”– Chambers UK Bar
Hermann Boeddinghaus has over 25 years’ experience as a specialist in corporate, commercial and insolvency disputes. He appears in the Chancery Division, the Commercial Court, the BVI Commercial Court and international arbitrations, as well as before appellate courts. Many of his cases have an international or offshore element.
Hermann has represented Nigeria and Pakistan in major asset recovery claims against the families and associates of former rulers. Other clients have ranged from the world’s largest banks to small family firms and individual entrepreneurs. He has built a reputation as a tough and persuasive advocate, much liked by his clients.
Hermann is adept at getting to grips with matters of a highly technical nature. His particular interest is in complex financial fraud; but he is equally at home in handling high value commercial arbitrations (construction, leisure, oil & gas, shipping, online retail, etc). He has a strong academic background in science as well as law. Clients have repeatedly praised him for his rigorous attention to detail, tempered by a pragmatic, user-friendly approach.
Since taking silk Hermann has continued to represent clients at the highest levels, including most recently a $20bn claim in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and a complex shareholding dispute in the Privy Council.
- What the directories and judges say
For 15 years, Hermann was ranked as a leading junior in both of the principal legal directories, where he was described shortly before taking silk as “a very commercial and pragmatic barrister who is personable and easy to work with” (the Legal 500), as “extremely user-friendly; thorough, with an excellent grasp of complex detail” (the Legal 500), and as providing “well-thought-out advice, which is both strongly analytical and commercially focused” (Chambers UK Bar). Chambers UK Bar also described him as “a determined advocate [who] has a good gauge of how to approach issues in terms of winning favour with judges”, and as being “very approachable and thorough”; and commented on his “low-key, but tough and intellectually rigorous style … very much to the liking of his clients”. Chambers Global noted that he was “praised for approaching his cases with a very high level of attention to detail” and described him as being “brilliant on technical questions, with real skill in traditional and commercial chancery crossover issues”.
Hermann has now been ranked by the directories as a leading new silk in the fields of company law, insolvency law, chancery-commercial dispute resolution and offshore litigation. The most recent editions describe him as providing “commercial and first rate advice to clients” and as “an excellent advocate who never misses a detail” (the Legal 500 2023); as having “a very, very good bedside manner which is rare among counsel at his level” (Chambers Global 2023); and as “a strong advocate who always maintains very good credibility with the judge” (the Legal 500 Caribbean Guide 2023). “Hermann … is a joy to deal with, is always approachable, and has a razor-sharp intelligence” (Chambers UK Bar 2023). Previous editions described him as a silk who is “consistently impressive and helpful [with] a huge capacity to get to grips with large amounts of information quickly” (Chambers UK Bar 2022) and as “very pragmatic … excellent at identifying the correct approach to take with the judge” (the Legal 500 2022). “He’s fantastic and he makes his points firmly and fairly” (Chambers Global 2022); “clients like him because he’s quick to understand their goals and he communicates well” (Chambers UK Bar 2022).
- Cases of interest
- SAIC arbitration concerning alleged breach of confidence, claim for restitution and alleged loss of profits from proposed JV [2022-2023, ongoing];
- B & J Investments Ltd and others v IQ EQ Trustees (Guernsey) Ltd [ongoing] (joint venture agreement; loss of profits claim on sale of hotel business);
- Blue Ocean Creation Investment Hong Kong Ltd and another v Golden Meditech Stems Cells (BVI) Company Ltd (BVI Commercial Court) (disputed validity of share charges; validity of company meetings; alleged forgery; effect of concurrent Cayman Islands proceedings);
- PT Ventures SPGS SA v Vidatel Ltd  (Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal) (court unknowingly exceeding its substantive jurisdiction; court’s power to set aside its own earlier defective order);
- Kathryn Ma Wai Fong v Wong Kie Yik & another  (Privy Council) (unfair prejudice; whether dynastic family business gives rise to equitable considerations);
- PT Ventures SPGS SA v Vidatel Ltd  (BVI Commercial Court) (winding-up proceedings, contested on basis of applicant’s alleged frustration of respondent’s ability to discharge $450m arbitration debt);
- Sonatrach SpA v Medex Petroleum (North Africa) Ltd (BVI Commercial Court) ($1.8bn enforcement proceedings, understood to be the largest brought before the courts of the BVI);
- Re Michael Treichl, Rubin v Summit Trust (Cayman) Limited  (transactions defrauding creditors);
- Queen Anne Street Medical Centre Ltd v Medical Innovations Centre Ltd  (disputed retention of completion monies under asset sale agreement);
- Kathryn Ma Wai Fong v Incredible Power Ltd & others [2020, 2021 & 2022] (BVI Commercial Court) (first full-length BVI trial to be conducted via remote hearing; derivative claim for breach of duty, unjust enrichment, knowing assistance and knowing receipt; claim for account & inquiry);
- ICC arbitration concerning stay of share sale agreement to allow business rescue to take place, security for costs ;
- Re Home REIT plc  (investment company £225m capital restructuring – company investing in portfolio of homeless accommodation in the UK);
- Mirrorstoke Ltd v Lilac Ltd & another  (contractual interpretation, oral loan agreements collateral to hotel project documentation);
- Yong Chooi Lan v Golden Plus (BVI) Pte Ltd  (BVI Commercial Court) (parallel proceedings, anti-suit injunction);
- Kathryn Ma Wai Fong v Incredible Power Ltd & others  (BVI Commercial Court) (scope of BVI specific disclosure regime; jurisdiction to order provision of affidavit evidence on disclosure methodology);
- AIC Ltd v The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria  (jurisdiction to adjourn enforcement of $125m arbitral award where set-aside application before foreign court dismissed but appeal still pending; factors relevant to exercise of discretion; award of security as condition for adjournment);
- PT Ventures SGPS SA v Vidatel Limited  (BVI Commercial Court) (recognition and enforcement of ICC award; effect of central bank currency exchange restrictions on enforcement of costs orders);
- Re Successful Trend Investment Corporation  (Eastern Caribbean CA) (unfair prejudice: irretrievable breakdown of a quasi-partnership in the form of a family company, loss of substratum, breach of agreement and/or exclusion, improper purpose and breach of statute; issue of shares at discount; just & equitable winding up; destruction/loss of trust and confidence);
- Re Finnan Developments Ltd  (directors’ duties; company valuations; presumptions to be made against accounting party in absence of proper accounts and records);
- Re Evershine Travel Ltd (in liquidation)  (investigation of directors’ conduct; antecedent transactions);
- Canouan Resorts Development Ltd v CDCH Ltd  (meaning and effect of subscription and shareholders’ agreement; restrictions on ability to raise further equity capital);
- Thomas v Thomas  (discharge of injunction – material non-disclosure; effect of competing documents filed at Companies House);
- Thomas v Ritz Properties (2013) Limited  (ability to lift stay of proceedings);
- Re Tiso Blackstar Holdings plc  (cross-border merger; formation of a Societas Europaea by scheme of arrangement);
- Janus Capital Management LLC v Safeguard World International Ltd  (breach of fiduciary duties);
- LCIA arbitration concerning the control of a leading online retailer ;
- Aabar Block Sarl v Maud  (abuse of process: use of insolvency proceedings as an instrument in competitive commercial conduct);
- Energenics Holdings Pte Ltd v Hazarika and others  (directors’ duties);
- Re Casa Estates (UK) Limited  (CA) (meaning of balance sheet and cash flow insolvency);
- Re Michael Bernard McNamara  (suspension from discharge in one of the largest bankruptcies in English legal history);
- LCIA arbitration (jurisdiction dispute) for a major Japanese shipbuilding & engineering group concerning West African oil & gas industry ;
- Three LMAA arbitrations valued at $100m concerning three bulk carrier newbuilds on behalf of German owners, against a Chinese shipyard ;
- Kreissparkasse Esslingen-Nürtingen v Willi Balz and another  (€400m asset recovery exercise; freezing orders and ancillary relief);
- Seward (Wessex) Limited (in Administration) v Saunders and others  (claims against directors);
- Norbrook Laboratories Ltd and Lord Ballyedmond v Carr and others  (unincorporated associations; legal professional privilege);
- ICC arbitration arising out of a North Sea oil & gas production facility contract (the first case in which an emergency arbitrator was appointed under the new (2012) ICC Emergency Arbitrator Rules) ;
- Re MK Airlines Ltd  (liquidator’s remuneration and expenses; disclaimer; insolvency set-off; priorities under statutory charges);
- W v T  (Commercial Court application pending arbitral proceedings: conditions for an order for cross-examination following freezing order);
- Re Weston Group plc  (minority shareholder’s petition; company valuation; minority shareholder discount);
- Energenics Holdings Pte Ltd v Hazarika and others  (injunctive relief against respondent outside the jurisdiction against whom no cause of action asserted);
- Re Hollier (Carman v Letchford)  (CA) (transactions at an undervalue & preference payments);
- P v H  (business valuation of major hotel business; Commercial Court challenge of arbitration award on grounds of serious irregularity or bias);
- Cadogan Petroleum plc v Tolley and others  (fraud, conspiracy, constructive trust and dishonest assistance claims arising out of alleged bribes);
- Willets v Alvey and others  (variation of freezing order – change of circumstances);
- Re Knightsbridge Property Management Limited  (competing winding up and administration petitions);
- Validus Holdings Ltd v IPC Holdings Ltd  (Bermuda hostile takeover bid; contentious company scheme of arrangement);
- Re Oceanrose Investments Limited  (cross-border merger; members’ meetings);
- Cooper v PRG Powerhouse Ltd  (ability to consolidate bank accounts for tracing purposes; Quistclose-type trust);
- Expandable Ltd and another v Rubin  (CA) (reference to documents in evidence no automatic waiver of legal professional privilege);
- Lee v Osborne and others  (takeover; duties of independent directors; breach of City Code constituting illegality and barring claim to relief);
- Demick (Shipping) Limited v Gerald Edelman and others  (administrators’ personal liability for expenses; scope of administrators’ immunity against claim for conversion; effect of retention of title provisions in an administration);
- Re Transocean Equipment Manufacturing and Trading Ltd  (majority creditors exercising voting powers for collateral purposes; Court’s jurisdiction to restrain the removal of a liquidator);
- Re Paradise Bet Limited  (minority shareholder’s petition; requirements for an effective O’Neill v Phillips offer);
- Re Transocean Equipment Manufacturing and Trading Ltd  (directors’ duties; pooling scheme of arrangement between companies in liquidation; fraudulent trading);
- Flüshöh GmbH & Co KG v Ford Motor Company  (insolvency set-off);
- Re Yates  (transactions defrauding creditors);
- Joint Liquidators of BCCI v Bank of America  (multi $bn fraudulent trading claim);
- Republic of Pakistan v Zardari and others  (tracing);
- Federal Republic of Nigeria v Abacha and others  (general asset recovery; third party asset disclosure orders);
- MRW Technologies Limited v Charter plc  (contested M&A transaction; civil procedure);
- Re EuroFinance Group Limited  (minority shareholder’s petition);
- UPC v Deutsche Bank AG  (investment banker’s fiduciary duties; whether breach of confidence by investment banker giving rise to proprietary claims);
- Re Philip Alexander Securities & Futures Ltd  (creditors meetings; voting by proxy; court imposition of terms into an agreement for voluntary liquidation).
Contributing author to OUP’s Annotated Companies Acts.
Contributing author to OUP’s Annotated Companies Legislation.
Contributing author to Butterworths Practical Insolvency.
German and French.
- Career & appointments
Qualified as a solicitor in September 1996 (with Slaughter and May).
Called to the Bar of England and Wales in November 1996.
Called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands) in October 2017.
Queen’s Counsel 2021.
Member of the Chancery Bar Association and COMBAR.
- Foreign jurisdictions
Hermann is called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands) and has appeared regularly in the BVI High Court (Commercial Division) as well as in the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.
Throughout his career Hermann has worked closely with lawyers from leading firms in jurisdictions around the world, most notably the US, Germany, South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia.
- Education & awards
Hermann was educated at the Universities of Cape Town (BSc in Medicine) and Bonn, and at Magdalen College, Oxford (MA Jurisprudence, BCL).
In his final year at Oxford Hermann became a member of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, Germany’s most prestigious scholarship foundation. He stayed on to teach, as a tutor in Contract Law and Tort at Wadham College, Oxford, and at the same time trained as a solicitor with Slaughter and May. Later, he became a Kennedy Scholar of Lincoln’s Inn.