Stephen Ruttle QC

Year of Call: 1971 Silk: 1997

Clerk: Kate Trott

Stephen Ruttle QC

Year of Call: 1971 Silk: 1997

Clerk: Kate Trott

“Singled out by sources as a first class Mediator who instils trust and confidence in parties”
- Chambers & Partners 2016

“He enjoys an excellent reputation for his ability in a broad range of disputes handling ‘case after case’ … sources point to his international expertise and praise his ‘amazing reputation and amazing job. I had no idea what he did but the outcome was extraordinary.”
- Chambers & Partners 2016


Stephen has been in practice at Brick Court Chambers since 1978.  He stopped practising as a barrister and QC in 2002 and since then has worked full time as a Commercial Mediator.  By April 2016 he had mediated over 1100 cases of nearly every legal type from both public and private sectors.  Most of these disputes have involved seven or eight figure sums; but Stephen regularly mediates larger cases where hundreds of millions and occasionally billions of pounds are at stake.  He practises mainly in London, but mediates regularly in other parts of the UK and Ireland and in many jurisdictions abroad.  For the last four years he has been one of Who’s Who Legal’s Top 10 most respected Commercial Mediators in the world.

The balance of his practice is as a Commercial Arbitrator. He now arbitrates primarily in international commercial disputes as well as in the insurance, reinsurance and general commercial fields regularly sitting as Sole Arbitrator or as the Chairman of the Panel. He has arbitrated many disputes subject to ICC and LCIA rules.

practice areas

Over 90% of Stephens time is spent working as a Commercial Mediator. In his experience mediation usually delivers more satisfactory outcomes to litigants than does an adversarial dispute resolution process. He mediates every type of legal dispute save only for those involving children and divorce or separation. The bulk of his work involves shipping, oil and gas/energy, banking, insurance and reinsurance, professional negligence of all types, construction, employment, corporate (shareholdings, mergers and acquisitions and financing) and general commercial disputes. Most cases are from the private sector but he has mediated a series of significant public sector disputes of high sensitivity and significance. 

The balance of his practice is as a Commercial Arbitrator. Over the last 15 years Stephen has arbitrated a large number of international commercial disputes many of which are on ICC and LCIA terms.


For the last 15 years Stephen has consistently featured as one of the Top 10 and Tier 1 Commercial Mediators practising in the United Kingdom.

Initially the bulk of the disputes that Stephen mediated stemmed from the shipping, insurance and reinsurance markets which were his areas of expertise as Counsel. He still mediates more maritime disputes than any other particular class of dispute and has probably mediated most of the larger shipping disputes that have come to mediation in London in the last ten years or so. However his practice as a mediator has spread very widely over the years and the disputes that he now mediates come from all areas of practice comprising all types of legal problems apart from technical family law disputes. In reality his expertise is now as a mediator rather than as a mediator of a particular sort of case. Typically he mediates two or three days a week; but save in exceptional circumstances will not mediate separate disputes“back-to-back”.

The sums of money in issue have ranged from a few thousand pounds to as much as £4 billion but are typically in the millions. A large proportion of the work he mediates is international in nature and many disputes involve parties who are not based in the UK. Most of his mediations take place in London, but he regularly mediates elsewhere in the United Kingdom and Ireland, has mediated in the United States, Greece, the Gulf, the Caribbean and Hong Kong and has been put forward as a mediator for disputes in many other world-wide jurisdictions. He has mediated a number of sensitive, high profile Governmental disputes. Along with many other Commercial

mediators he has noticed a trend in the last few years for an increasing proportion of those disputes that do settle (about 80% in his experience) to settle after the mediation day. This frequently involves extensive on-going contact between himself, the parties and their legal advisers.

In all larger disputes that he now mediates his strong preference is for an initial meeting between himself and the legal advisers at the very beginning of the mediation process in the course of which agreement can be reached about the “shape” of the mediation and the detailed process to be employed.

Stephen regularly speaks, presents and lectures on mediation both in the UK and worldwide. He has been involved as a trainer on mediation and mediation-awareness courses. Since about 2000 Stephen has also been heavily involved with community mediation. He is Chair of Trustees of Wandsworth Mediation Service (“WMS”) a registered charity that provides community mediation services in the London Borough of Wandsworth, training local people as mediators and developing initiatives to promote peace in the community. He is currently seeking to design a pilot project aimed at developing a national network of peace centres backed by panels of mediators competent to mediate different types of legal and non legal dispute. He delivered the 2013 Roebuck lecture for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in which he set out his ideas on the wider

social impact (and opportunities) of mediation under the title “Mediation: A Social Antibody?”.  In the last 5 years or so Stephen has mediated an increasing number of disputes within his faith group, the Church. He was on the planning committee for the 2013 Faith in Conflict conference at Coventry Cathedral and is an active member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s facilitation team. He is a member of a number of working parties and groups, including the recently established charity BIMA, the object of which is to promote mediation and peace-making initiatives more widely both within communities and within and between faith groups.


The balance of his practice is as a Commercial Arbitrator. He now arbitrates primarily in international commercial disputes as well as in the insurance, reinsurance and general commercial fields regularly sitting as Sole Arbitrator or as the Chairman of the Panel. He has arbitrated many disputes subject to ICC and LCIA rules.


Lecturer at numerous Insurance, Reinsurance and Mediation Seminars.

Co-Author of "Insurance Brokers" section in Professional Negligence and Liability, LLP 2000.

Contributor to Butterworths, "Mediators on Mediation, Leading Mediator Perspectives on the Practice of Commercial Mediation" 2005.

"ADR in Business". ICC publication; Kluwer 2000. Co-Author of Chapter 9; "Better Dispute Resolution - The Development and Practice of

Mediation in the United Kingdom between 1995 and 2005".

Contributor to “Good Disagreement?”.  Lion Hudson 2015.  Author of final chapter “Mediation and the Church’s Mission”

Education & Qualifications

Westminster School  Queen’s Scholar 1966-1971.

Queens’ College Cambridge 1971- 1975.  B.A.Honours Degree in English Literature/Law.

Bencher Gray's Inn 2004

Accredited and Registered by CEDR as a Mediator 1998

Member of the Civil Justice Council ADR Committee 2000-2006

Member of the Bar Council ADR Committee 2000 - 2007

Board Member of Mediation UK 2001- 2005 (Vice-Chair 2004 – 2005)

Founder Director and Chair of Trustees  Wandsworth Mediation Service 2002-

Independent Mediator Board Member of the Civil Mediation Council 2003-2005

Member: Panel of Independent Mediators (PIM) 2005

Accredited Mediator at Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre 2006-

Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators 2007-

Lieutenant-Bailiff Guernsey 2008-

Directory Quotes

"Stephen Ruttle is singled out by sources as a 'first class mediator' who 'instils trust and confidence' in parties. He brings to bear substantial expertise in shipping and reinsurance, and has additional capabilities in construction, banking, and professional negligence disputes." (Chambers & Partners 2016)

“The ‘highly-accomplished and well-regarded’ Stephen Ruttle QC at Brick Court Chambers is ‘among the best in the country’. Ruttle is noted for his particular expertise in shipping-related mediations, which account for around 30% of his workload, and is also recognised as an excellent choice for construction, banking, professional negligence, insurance, environmental and company disputes” (Legal 500 2015)

"Stephen Ruttle QC at Brick Court Chambers is ‘superb at focusing minds away from emotions to practicalities, and stays the course with all parties, but doesn ’t get tired or frustrated’. About a third of his workload covers shipping-related mediations, and he is considered to be ‘an incredibly astute mediator who cuts to the chase', ‘one of a select few who can be effective on complex international disputes ’." (The Legal 500 2014)

"Stephen Ruttle QC at Brick Court Chambers enjoys an excellent reputation. Clients commend him as being ‘well prepared and able to draw on his considerable experience of complex litigation’. ‘He lays out the ground very clearly at the start, and continues to help the parties after the mediation if it is not possible to reach a settlement on the day’. He is unrivalled for shipping-related mediations, which make up around 30% of his practice." (Legal 500 2013)

""An outstanding figure," observers note, Stephen Ruttle QC is praised for his strong track record for resolving marine, insurance and other commercial disputes. With great gravitas and the "weight of authority behind him," he authoritatively steers parties towards a settlement, say sources." (Chambers & Partners 2013)

Stephen Ruttle QC of Brick Court Chambers has built upon his strong background as a commercial barrister to develop a significant shipping, insurance and reinsurance mediation practice. Sources say: He gets to the heart of a problem quickly" and "remains affable whilst also challenging the parties' positions and expectations." " Chambers & Partners 2012)

"Considered by clients to be ‘very good indeed’. (Legal 500 2011)

"He is an outstandingly nice man who is also extremely commercial and able to drive parties towards successful resolutions," say market commentators. (Chambers & Partners 2011)

 "Stephen Ruttle QC of Brick Court Chambers has long been a senior figure in mediation, and one of the Brick Court triumvirate who dominate high-value and complex commercial mediation. Clients find him ‘quick, bright and on top of all the issues’. He projects an ‘air of authority’ but does so ‘without appearing aloof’. He has ‘great people skills’ and ‘a sincere commitment to the process’." (Chambers & Partners 2010)

“Stephen Ruttle QC  is in great demand for complex, cross-border and multi-party cases. He has the clout and gravitas of a high-end commercial silk, combined with great courtesy, people and communication skills”. (Legal 500 2010).

"Combines the kudos and acumen of a top commercial silk with strong people skills," "a good listener" with "great empathy" and "immense reserves of patience" Legal 500 (2008)

“For big, important disputes I always go to Ruttle. He has wonderful presence and is brilliant at narrowing down the issues quickly and getting parties to focus on their specific problems”. (Chambers & Partners 2008)

"the person for shipping and insurance" "an absolute natural mediator, it is clear he really does know his stuff" "immediately impresses, makes any party feel comfortable" "he always does a good job" Chambers & Partners (2007)

"His reputation for commercial mediation continues to rise. His "light touch", "robust charm" and sense of humour has found appeal outside his acknowledged specialist areas of insurance, reinsurance and marine work. Clients warm to his "facilitative negotiating style", "clear distillation of the issues" and ability to sustain dialogue against the odds. He "doesn't spent hours dancing around the daffodils" and instead "cuts to the chase", "baring his teeth where necessary". Legal 500 (2006)

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