Recognised for two years running as one of the Legal 500’s “Top ten under eight years’ call” for Commercial Litigation, Clara maintains a broad practice, with a particular emphasis on private international law, civil fraud, insurance (including marine insurance), and shipping. Since joining Chambers in 2014, she has appeared in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court, as well as in the DIFC Courts and LCIA, SIAC, and LMAA arbitration. Clara is one of the most junior appointees to the Attorney General’s Panel, as a result of which she has also gained experience of public law and employment matters.
Currently, Clara is representing members of the Chubb Group in what is set to become the leading case on the governing law of arbitration agreements, ENKA v Chubb: the judgments of the Court of Appeal and High Court can be found here and here.
Clara’s recent work as sole counsel includes acting for the Marriott Group in a dispute relating to a luxury hotel in Antigua (instructed by Macfarlanes); obtaining substantial security for Bank of Cyprus in multi-million pound fraud litigation (the judgment can be found here) (instructed by Sidley Austin); and acting for the successful claimants in a two-day arbitration concerning an alleged variation to a contract for the supply of marine fuel (instructed by A&O). Recent led work includes defeating a jurisdictional challenge brought by two customers of the insolvent OW Bunker group (the judgment can be found here); defending Bank of Cyprus against a fraudulent claim based on a forged settlement agreement (the judgment can be found here); successfully defending a well-known commodities trader against a US$17 million sale of goods claim; and defeating a s.67 challenge to an arbitrator’s jurisdiction brought by a state-owned oil company.
Clara has acted in a number of high-profile cases, including the OW Bunker litigation (Supreme Court and Court of Appeal), described by Lloyd’s List as “the most spectacular shipping legal imbroglio so far this century”; Lakatamia v Nobu Su  EWHC 3611 (Comm), an US$80 million claim on an oral contract for the purchase of derivatives; and Al-Mojil v Protiviti, a US$450 million professional negligence claim in the DIFC Courts.
Clara takes a modern approach to her practice: she is responsive, approachable, and not afraid to roll up her sleeves to assist her team. She has already come to the attention of the directories in three separate practice areas – Commercial Litigation, Shipping, and Commodities – and wins particular praise for her strategic instincts, commerciality, and ability to build client relationships.
If you are interested in instructing Clara, please contact the clerks. Clara is happy to accept pro bono instructions in appropriate cases.
Clara has acted in a wide variety of shipping disputes, and particularly enjoys bill of lading and charterparty cases.
Clara particularly enjoys working on cases involving issues of private international law, having specialised in this area during the BCL.
Enka v Chubb: Supreme Court confirms the proper approach to determining the governing law of an arbitration agreement
ENKA v Chubb: Supreme Court grants permission to appeal and a stay of execution
7KBW team defend Chubb Group against anti-suit injunction: English Courts not the appropriate forum to determine whether Russian proceedings were brought in breach of London arbitration agreement
Siobán Healy Q.C. and Clara Benn defeat jurisdiction challenge in latest twist in the OW Bunker saga
Jawdat Khurshid QC and Clara Benn successfully defend Bank of Cyprus against fraudulent claim
2012 – 2013: Bachelor of Civil Law, University of Oxford (Distinction)
2011 – 2012: Bar Professional Training Course, BPP Law School (Outstanding, top of year)
2010 – 2011: Graduate Diploma in Law, City University (Distinction)
2005 – 2008: BA History, University of Oxford (First Class, top 3% of year)
In recent years, Clara has conducted interviews for admission onto the undergraduate Jurisprudence degree at Oxford.