Russell is Head of our highly awarded Employment Practice having joined the firm in 2003. Recognised by Chambers Asia Pacific as a “good technical lawyer” and a “safe pair of hands with regard to financial services clients”, Russell has extensive experience acting for both employers and employees across a wide range of sectors, with particular emphasis on high-value employment disputes in the financial sector, notably winning a landmark Hong Kong Court of Appeal judgment on employment law in 2020.
Russell advises on all aspects of employment law, termination entitlements, post-termination restrictions, bonuses, discrimination, harassment, drafting employment contracts, handbooks and other HR related policies and documentation. This includes all matters relating to contentious employment law and litigation in the Labour Tribunal, District Court and High Court. Russell also advises on immigration, health and safety and related criminal investigations and prosecutions. Russell also frequently advises on pro bono causes, specifically in relation to the protection of pregnant migrant workers.
Russell is involved in all aspects of litigation advice and procedures relating to proceedings to trial, summary judgment and seeking and opposing injunctive relief. This includes the enforcement of post-termination restrictions by injunctions, international jurisdictional disputes and Magistrate Court proceedings.
Russell acts for regulated individuals, brokerages, private equity funds, independent financial advisers and groups within the wider financial services and insurance industries on regulatory and compliance matters including licensing matters and dealing with and defending clients during Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) investigations and prosecutions. He advises clients on issues surrounding direct marketing of regulated financial products and instruments, Collective Investment Schemes (CIS), the facilitation of trades and on ‘naked’ or ‘uncovered’ short selling as regulated by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).
Russell has also been involved in the conduct of several successful mediations of employment disputes relating to disputed termination, discrimination and harassment claims and stock option entitlements.
- Acting for the successful plaintiff in landmark Court of Appeal decision as relates to payment of a sign-on bonus in Xu Yi Jun v GF Capital (Hong Kong) Ltd  HKCA 663
- Acting for a leading insurance loss adjusting services provider in relation to proceedings in the High Court seeking a springboard injunction and other relief relating to the removal of confidential information following a team departure.
- Advising a leading sportswear company in respect of provisions under the Employment Ordinance regarding the payment and calculation of wages as well as other statutory entitlements of the employees.
- Acting for a pregnant foreign domestic helper defending a claim of medical fees following termination of her employment in the District Court, following an illegal termination of employment (pro bono).
- Acting for financial services company in the conduct of an independent investigation of multiple sexual harassment complaints and in dealing with the related Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) investigation.
- Acting for former COO of a company under investigation by the SFC that had petitioned for winding-up against the company.
- Advised a former senior executive and licensee of a SFC-regulated entity who was requested to attend an interview with the SFC as a “person under investigation” in connection with possible misconduct by his former employer in relation to inadequate risk control.
- Acting for the employee in two of the few reported cases on bonuses/end-of-year payments, and on discretionary bonuses.
- Acting in two of the leading Hong Kong cases on post termination restrictions and injunctive relief.
- Successfully defending an SFC prosecution of a Collective Investment Scheme / Fund for breach of the SFO.
Chambers and Partners 2023 notes, “Russell is a great adviser. He’s realistic, reliable and totally practical.” Additionally, “Russell is one of the few employee-friendly lawyers in town. His advice is practical and covers all corners.” And, “Russell is a very experienced lawyer specialising in employment law.”
Legal 500 2023 states, “Russell Bennett always has a good view of the way to present a case.”
Who’s Who Legal 2022 lists Russell as a Global Leader stating, “Russell Bennett is a first-class practitioner who is highlighted as “an excellent lawyer for contentious matters”.
Chambers Asia Pacific 2021 notes: Russell Bennett wins praise as an “admirable” litigator with notable experience in employment matters. He is well placed to represent clients in disputes arising out of discrimination and harassment claims and contested terminations, with a focus on advising clients from the financial services and banking sectors.
Asia Pacific Legal 500 2021 notes: “Co-headed by Kim Boreham and Russell Bennett, the six-strong team has gained most acclaim in the market as a result of its work in the financial services space, including on employment-related disputes at the nexus with white-collar investigations/prosecutions.”
Chambers Asia Pacific 2020 notes: Russell Bennett is described by market sources as “very senior” and “very hard-working for clients.” He maintains a strong employment disputes practice, primarily advising on termination disputes and harassment claims, as well as pro bono employee defence work.
Doyle’s Guide 2020 selects Russell Bennett as a ‘Leading Lawyer’ in Hong Kong.
Who’s Who Legal has for many years recognised Russell as a Global Leader in their Labour & Employment and Pensions & Benefits rankings.
Asia Pacific Legal 500 2019 notes: The team is best-known for its contentious expertise, and in this respect the ‘very responsive’ Russell Bennett has ‘in-depth experience‘ and is appreciated by clients not only for his robust representation before the courts and tribunals but also his ‘willingness to explore options to settle out of court‘.
Chambers Asia Pacific 2019 notes: Russell Bennett is experienced in handling all aspects of employment disputes and litigation, from mediations relating to terminations and harassment claims to court proceedings and pro bono employee defence. Market commentators call him a “good technical lawyer” and a “safe pair of hands with regard to financial services clients.”
Russell is listed as a Leading Lawyer for Labour & Employment by the 2018 Edition of Asialaw Leading Lawyers.
Asia Pacific Legal 500 2018 notes: Russell handles a range of employment litigation within the financial services sector and as well as core work in relation to bonuses and termination entitlements, is also well versed in handling the increasing overlap between employment and financial services regulatory matters.
Chambers Asia Pacific 2018 notes: Russell is best known for his experience handling employment disputes in the financial sector, as well as advising on immigration, criminal investigations and termination entitlements. One client reports that he “endeavours to understand the client’s needs and find a fast and efficient way to achieve the client’s goals.”
Honourably mentioned as Most Responsive Firm of the Year by Asian-mena Counsel, magazine for the In-House Community 2017.
Chambers Asia Pacific 2017 notes: Russell is best known for advising employees and employers in the financial sector on major employment disputes. He is described by one peer as “very commercial and sensible. If he’s on your side, you know things can be resolved.”
Asia Pacific Legal 500 2017 notes that: “Russell Bennett advised a listed company on pregnancy rights and discrimination in the context of termination of employment”. The 2016 Guide notes: “Co-head Russell Bennett has impressive in-house financial services experience.”
Asialaw 2017 notes: “Russell offers great expertise and has a confident and calm approach to resolving issues”.
Russell is recommended in Chambers Asia Pacific 2016 as “a commercial lawyer with an excellent knowledge and experience.” They note that “his practice focuses on high-value disputes, but he also acts for businesses on employment restructuring, documentation drafting and compliance matters.” Russell is recognised as a Leading Individual.
- American Bar Association (ABA)
- The Lawyers International Network for Employees and Executives (LINEE)
- The Law Society of Hong Kong
- China Club
- Hong Kong Cricket Club
- Hong Kong Football Club