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Richard Farnhill



Farnhill Richard
Richard Farnhill



Richard specialises in litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution, with particular experience in complex contractual disputes and disputes involving structured financial products and derivatives. He continues to be regarded as a rising star in the field of insurance, particularly in relation to the energy and utilities and financial services sectors. He formerly taught the law of contract on a part-time basis at the University of London.  Richard is qualified in England and New York and has also spent time in Allen & Overy’s Hong Kong arbitration team.

Posts on Compact Contract a blog focused on English contract law and the most up to date news and cases.

Legal 500 2018 praises Richard’s “very inventive legal mind which finds solutions to problems that most others would overlook.”

Other noteworthy experience includes advising:

  • Atlantic Methanol Product Company, a multinational oil company, in proceedings before the English High Court which dismissed in favour of the US courts, resulting in the client making a full recovery of its property damage and business interruption coverage for losses suffered at a methanol plant in Equatorial Guinea.
  • A UK power company in achieving a 100% recovery on a property damage and business interruption claim against insurers for losses suffered to a twin-turbine closed cycle gas power station in the west of England. The claim totalled over GBP80m.
  • A client based in the Middle East on a successful recovery under its property damage and delay in start up insurance arising out of a turbine failure at a chemical plant.
  • A fixed income portfolio manager on claims of mismanagement made by a pension fund.
  • An international oil and gas major and its Indian joint venture partner in arbitration proceedings commenced against the Government of India under the UNCITRAL Rules.
  • The dispute arises from oil and gas production sharing contracts (PSCs) which are governed by Indian law. The dispute concerns the interpretation of the PSCs, including the ability of the operators to recover development costs. The sum in dispute potentially exceeds USD600m.

Experience highlights



Allen & Overy LLP
One Bishops Square
E1 6AD

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Admitted to the bar, State of New York, USA, 1999

Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 1999


LLB, Law, University of Bristol, 1995

BCL, University of Oxford, 1997


Pro-bono experience

  • The Board of Trustees of the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre, a charity in Tower Hamlets providing outdoor activities and training for people from the local area, along with a base for the local sailing and canoeing clubs.  Richard attended monthly Trustee meetings, as well as providing advice on legal questions involving contract, tort, trusts, charities and the fiduciary obligations of the Centre’s directors. 2005-2013.
  • Kigali in Rwanda giving training on English contract and commercial law to the local judiciary, Ministry of Justice and Commercial Bar Association.  As part of the process of reconstruction following the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has sought to align its economy and legal system more closely with those of its most important trading partners in East Africa, many of which have common law based systems.  This involved working with USAid, the US government agency responsible for overseas aid, to provide training to support that process.  The training was given in English and French. 2010 & 2011.
  • Richard is a legal advisor at the Royal Courts of Justice CAB, where unrepresented parties can come for free advice on all aspects of their claim, defence or appeal.

Published work

Richard Farnhill, 2018, “Don’t quote me on this”, Commercial Litigation Journal
Richard Farnhill, 2018, “Privileged upbringing”, Commercial Litigation Journal
Richard Farnhill, 2018, “The law’s great schism: privilege and the rules of attribution”, Butterworths Journal of International Banking & Financial Law
Richard Farnhill, 2018, “What divides us”, Commercial Litigation Journal

News & insights

City skyline

News: 02 DECEMBER 2020

A&O performs strongly in latest Adviser Rankings tables

A&O has maintained its top five position in the Adviser Rankings tables ranking third by number of FTSE 100 clients and fifth by number of FTSE 250 clients in the November 2020 tables.

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Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) Enforcement Actions Tracker

Publications: 30 NOVEMBER 2020

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) Enforcement Actions Trends and Tracker

The SFC published its annual report for 2019/2020 in June and has also published its quarterly report for Q2 2020.

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A busy road junction

Publications: 26 NOVEMBER 2020

National Security and Investment Bill: the impact on energy and infrastructure

On 11 November the UK Government published its ground-breaking National Security and Investment Bill. 

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Publications: 27 MARCH 2020

Covid-19 coronavirus: are you protected under your Business Interruption Policy?

Members of Allen & Overy’s Insurance and Litigation teams held a call to discuss the extent to which business interruption policies protect against losses arising from the Covid-19 coronavirus…

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