Shipping & Commodities - London (Bar)
This widely respected commercial dispute resolution set harbours a very strong contingent of shipping lawyers. It is particularly well known for its dry shipping and commodities work, and regularly handles charter party and contract of affreightment disputes, whether in court or by way of mediation and arbitration. A wide variety of talent is on offer here, especially at silk level, and the set continues to be "a definite market leader."
Client service: Sources highlight the efficient administration and attentive clerks at this set. Brian Lee, Neil Palmer and Mathew Kesbey head up one of the best clerking teams anywhere at the Bar, and are known for their flexibility and speed of response.
Duncan Matthews QC
Receives considerable market recognition for his adroit handling of shipping disputes, including vessel sale and purchase litigation as well as charter party matters. Highly impressive, he is also an accomplished and respected arbitrator.
Expertise: "A very effective and smooth advocate." "He is very much up to speed and very sharp." "He always has command of his facts, and has a calm and convincing courtroom manner."
Recent work: He was lead counsel on Parbulk II v PT Humpuss Intermoda Transportasi, a dispute concerning the termination of a charter party agreement.
Timothy Young QC
An international trade practitioner who applies his dispute resolution skills effectively to shipping matters. His key areas of practice include vessel sale and purchase disputes as well as charter party work.
Expertise: "He has extremely wide experience, so at the onset he is quite clear about the prospects of the case." "He can guide clients well, and is a good robust litigator and a tenacious cross-examiner."
Recent work: Acted in Golden Ocean v Salgaocar, a Court of Appeal dispute concerning a guarantee and an alleged breach of warranty of authority.
Michael Ashcroft QC
Praised by sources for the quality of his legal, advocacy and client service skills. His shipping practice takes him all the way to the Supreme Court on occasion, and he has advised on a number of hotly contested shipbuilding disputes in recent times.
Expertise: "He is hard-working, has excellent drafting skills, and is persuasive." "A young QC with a very sharp mind and a good reputation." "He is good under time pressure and very easy to work with."
Recent work: He was instructed on the Rainy Sky litigation before the Supreme Court, concerning contract interpretation and refund guarantees.
Andrew Baker QC
Regularly advises on dry shipping matters and is an expert on breach of contract cases. He is a popular choice due to his forceful and effective style in court.
Expertise: "He is really thorough, and a testing opponent as he looks into everything." "He is extremely intelligent and lucid in explaining his arguments."
Recent work: He was selected to advise on Bunge v Nidera, an appeal relating to treatment of cargo under Grain & Feed Trade Association (GAFTA) contracts.
Michael Coburn QC
A user-friendly, bright advocate who is known for deploying his superior strategic skills in dry disputes. His practice has long had a shipping flavour, and he is a popular choice of counsel for specialist maritime solicitors.
Expertise: "Combines intellect, attention to detail and helpfulness." "He is great on his feet, very thorough and very good on complex cases."
Recent work: He acted as lead counsel on Emeraldian v Wellmix Shipping before the High Court, a demurrage and safe berth dispute.
Philip Edey QC
Noted for his insurance expertise, he handles a number of shipping-related contractual disputes and is an expert on cargo claims. He is respected for his amiability and his eloquence in court.
Expertise: "He is very savvy, and brings the court or tribunal onside. He can lull a witness into complacency through his charm, before he delivers the killer blow." "A good man to have; he adds intellectual weight to any team."
Recent work: He advised on Bominflot v Petroplus, a High Court claim for cargo loss and deterioration during a voyage.
Charles Kimmins QC
A popular choice for both arbitration and court work connected with contracts of affreightment, as well as broader charter party disputes. He has also advised banking clients in the associated area of refund guarantees.
Expertise: "He is a very effective young QC." "He is incredibly easy to work with from a practitioner's point of view. He picks up all the issues with lightning speed, and exhibits good judgement."
Recent work: He had a lead role advising Vitol as intermediate sellers in the High Court case of Great Elephant v Trafigura, concerning the allegedly unlawful detention of a vessel and its cargo.
Iain Milligan QC
Head of the set, and a market-leading commercial litigation silk who applies his skills to contentious shipping work. The nature of his practice and his seniority mean that he is instructed on the most high-stakes shipping cases around.
Expertise: "He is an outstanding commercial silk, and a first choice for many." "He is enormously impressive as an advocate and rightly regarded as a leader at the Commercial Bar."
Recent work: He had a lead role in the Court of Appeal on Starlight Shipping v Allianz, a dispute concerning the total loss of the vessel 'Alexandros T'.
Christopher Hancock QC
His adroit command of insurance matters explains in large part the number of quality instructions he receives in the related area of shipping. Particularly strong on shipbuilding arbitrations, he has an impressive grasp of the technical details in a case.
Expertise: "He is a delight to work with, as he's incisive, extremely bright and human in his approach. He is extremely capable and exceptional value for money."
David Owen QC
An accomplished dry shipping practitioner. He regularly handles shipping-related arbitrations, and frequently sits as a mediator.
Expertise: "He continues to impress as a mediator, a role for which he is eminently suited."
Recent work: He was instructed as leading counsel in the Court of Appeal case of Soufflet Négoce v Bunge. The matter concerned interpretation of free on board (FOB) contracts.
Sara Masters QC
One of the newer silks in the market, she has made the adjustment from the junior ranks well. Her shipping work includes, inter alia, arbitrations, jurisdictional disputes and charter party matters.
Expertise: "I can't fault her. She is very feisty and can certainly give as good as she gets." "She's very approachable, efficient and responsive."
Michael Collett QC
A popular choice of junior due to his analytical approach and confident performance in shipping-related litigation and arbitration, including commodities and cargo disputes. His talents have been recognised at the highest levels, resulting in his taking silk in 2013.
Expertise: "He is extremely able and responds well under pressure." "He has a sound grip of legal principles, and is a calm and efficient advocate."
Recent work: He advised on Asia Golden Rice v PEC, a dispute alleging non-performance of a rice contract governed by GAFTA terms.
His clear and concise communication skills, allied to his superb command of the law, ensure he is frequently instructed on hotly contested disputes of the day, both in court and in arbitration. He is a noted shipping and insurance expert.
Expertise: "He works very hard and has good arguments which he explains well." "People instruct him when they need somebody smart."
Recent work: He was instructed by the owners of the 'Sea Orchid' in connection with a Section 68 arbitration application.
Wins plaudits for his pragmatic advice and convincing advocacy. Despite being a junior, he has great experience and frequently acts as lead counsel on dry disputes and shipbuilding cases.
Expertise: "He is one of the rising stars and destined for great things. He is very user-friendly, commercial in his approach and very bright." "Having much more senior people on the opposite side doesn't faze him."
Recent work: He was instructed as leading counsel on Yilport v Buxcliff, a dispute connected with the tariff for discharging damaged containers.
Has a dry shipping practice and regularly undertakes charter party disputes and refund guarantee cases. He is praised for his smooth and charming advocacy, and his commercially practical approach.
Expertise: "He pays great attention to detail." "In addition to having exceptional technical skills and intellect, he is commercially aware, user-friendly and a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: He advised the respondent in Navios International v Sangamon Transportation, a case looking at the requirement of tribunals to give further reasons for their decisions.
A reliable choice for matters relating to contracts of affreightment and the renunciation of time charters.
Expertise: "She has a good practice for her level of call."
Recent work: She was selected to appear as junior counsel in the high-profile Fiona Trust appeal, where she acted for a former director general of a Russian shipping company.
An up-and-coming barrister, with impressively well-honed skills for someone of his call.
Expertise: "He is so far ahead of his contemporaries that it is too easy to forget that he is a fairly junior barrister."
Recent work: In addition to acting on the Starlight Shipping v Allianz dispute, he was also instructed on Star Reefers v JFC, a case arising from termination of a time charter party.