Professional practice

Adam acts and advises as counsel in commercial litigation and international arbitration cases. He has a varied practice, with particular interests in civil fraud, energy, shipping, restitution and the conflict of laws. He is ranked by Legal 500 for 2021 in the shipping practice area, described as “clever” and “able to get to the heart of complex disputes”.

Adam is often instructed in high-value litigation as part of a counsel team. He has particular appellate work experience, and his recent cases include appeals to the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and Commercial Court. Adam also appears regularly in commercial cases, with his recent unled instructions including arbitration appeals, applications for freezing injunctions, interlocutory hearings, trials and arbitrations.

Adam is often instructed as counsel in international commercial arbitrations. He has experience in proceedings governed by the arbitration rules of the ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, LMAA, SIAC and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is also experienced in arbitration-related court proceedings, such as applications for interim relief in support of arbitrations and appeals and challenges to arbitral awards.

Adam’s cases usually involve an international element. He has experience acting for sovereign states and in cases involving foreign substantive and procedural laws. He has appeared in arbitration hearings in Singapore and has advised on matters of English law in connection with German court proceedings.

Adam is one of several members of Essex Court Chambers who volunteer to support the Social Mobility Foundation. He is also registered with ‘Advocate’ (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit).

 

Examples of Recent Cases

Led work (disputes)

Aspen Underwriting Ltd (& Ors) v. Credit Europe Bank NV, [2020] UKSC 11, [2018] EWCA Civ 2590. Adam successfully acted for the respondent bank in two related appeals concerned with the rules of jurisdiction applicable to assignees, matters relating to insurance, and restitution claims under the Brussels Re-Cast Regulation 1215/2012. The appeals were heard by a panel of 7 Justices of the Supreme Court in early November 2019, with judgment handed down in April 2020 in which the Bank prevailed on all issues decided. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC.

Jiangsu Guoxin Corporation Ltd v. Precious Shipping Public Co Ltd [2020] EWHC [2020] EWHC 1030 (Comm). Adam successfully acted for the respondent buyers in two related arbitration appeals on preliminary issues concerning the cancellation of shipbuilding contracts. The judgment of Butcher J. provides the latest guidance on the scope of the ‘permissible delay’, cancellation and notice requirements of the SAJ Form. Adam was led by Roderick Cordara QC.

Blackstar Advisors Ltd v. Cheyne Capital International Ltd (& Anor) [2018] EWHC 3496 (Comm). Adam was instructed on behalf of the hedge fund defendants in proceedings brought in the Commercial Court in connection with investor introduction fees. The claims were determined at a two-week trial and raised issues of contractual construction, estoppel, and French law. Adam also appeared at several interlocutory hearings prior to trial. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC.

SCF Tankers Ltd v. Privalov (& Ors) [2018] 1 WLR 5623 (CA), [2017] 2 All ER 570 (Comm). Adam was instructed for the applicant in a two-week Commercial Court trial of an inquiry into damages arising out of worldwide freezing orders and a security regime. The proceedings formed part of the complex Fiona Trust litigation. An award of damages of c.US$60m was upheld on appeal. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC and Nathan Pillow QC.

Pan Petroleum Aje Ltd v. Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum (& Ors) [2017] EWCA Civ 1525, [2017] EWHC 1102 (Comm). Adam was instructed in arbitration applications for interim injunctions and subsequent contempt of court proceedings, including an appeal on the issue of contempt to the Court of Appeal. The case concerned a joint venture dispute arising out of an agreement to operate a Nigerian oil field. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

HPOR Serviços de Consultoria v. Dryships Inc (& Anor) [2018] EWHC 3451 (Comm). Adam was instructed on behalf of the respondents to an appeal pursuant to s. 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996, which concerned the remedies of account of profits and equitable forfeiture. The issues arose in the context of claims brought by an agent who was in repudiatory breach of its fiduciary duties. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

International Arbitration (London, CI Arb Rules, 2012-2019). Adam was instructed on behalf of a sovereign state and its anti-corruption office in connection with a long-running, complex and high-value dispute with a Manx investment company. The dispute raised issues of foreign law and an application pursuant to s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996. Adam was led by Judith Gill QC and Sam Wordsworth QC (on liability) and by Mark Levy QC (on quantum). 

Unled work (disputes)

International Arbitration (London, LCIA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of the claimant in a dispute concerned with the exercise of rights of first refusal over shares in a mining investment company. The dispute raises issues of contractual construction and the legal principles relating to rights of first refusal.

M.T. “Cape Baxley” & M.T. “Cape Bellavista” (Commercial Court, 2020). Adam acted for the respondents to oppose the continuation of two worldwide freezing orders in connection with two ship sale and purchase agreements.

Instasol LLC v. EM Digital & Ors (Commercial Court, 2019). Adam acted for the claimant in proceedings to recover amounts due under a loan agreement, including successful applications for freezing injunctions and disclosure orders in support of claims pursuant to s. 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Philip Morris International v. Barrinho Transportes (London Circuit Commercial Court, 2019). Adam appeared on behalf of the defendant at the trial of claims concerning the cross-border carriage of goods by road governed by the Carriage of Goods by Road Act 1965 and the CMR Convention.

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of a shipbuilding and marine engineering yard in the far east in proceedings concerning the construction and installation of helicopter decks on board offshore drilling rigs.

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of a shipping pool and charterers in arbitration proceedings concerning the termination of several time charterparties.

Claims before Hamburg Regional Court (Germany, 2019). Adam was instructed to advise on issues of English law arising out of claims in Germany between parties in the shipping industry in connection with a share option agreement.

Hiscocks v. Pandya & Mangat (Leicester County Court, 2018). Adam successfully acted on behalf of the claimant in a four-day trial against two defendants involving allegations of fraudulently interfering with the identity of a classic car.

Advisory

Adam also has a busy advisory practice, with clients in the shipping, shipbuilding, energy, and other sectors. His recent instructions include work in the following areas: (i) the exercise of contractual rights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; (ii) applications for interim injunctive relief in support of arbitral proceedings and in connection with a joint operating agreement; (iii) allegations of illegal trading under foreign laws on claims arising out of long-term charterparties; and (iv) the construction and application of Himalaya clauses in bills of lading in relationg to potential cargo claims.

What Others Say

Legal 500 UK Bar 2021, Shipping:

“Clever and is able to get to the heart of complex disputes.”

Arbitration & related court applications

Adam is instructed as counsel in international arbitrations and arbitration-related court applications. The following are examples of Adam’s recent cases in this area:

Jiangsu Guoxin Corporation Ltd v. Precious Shipping Public Co Ltd [2020] EWHC 1030 (Comm). Adam successfully acted for the respondent buyers in two related arbitration appeals on preliminary issues concerning the cancellation of shipbuilding contracts. The judgment of Butcher J. provides the latest guidance on the scope of the ‘permissible delay’, cancellation and notice requirements of the SAJ Form. Adam was led by Roderick Cordara QC.

International Arbitration (London, LCIA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of the claimant in a dispute concerning the performance of long-term charterparties for the carriage of fish. The dispute raises issues of alleged illegality under foreign laws. Adam is led by Graham Dunning QC.

International Arbitration (London, LCIA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of the claimant in a dispute concerned with the exercise of rights of first refusal over shares in a mining investment company. The dispute raises issues of contractual construction and the legal principles relating to rights of first refusal.

International Arbitrations (London, LMAA Rules, 2016-2019). Adam was instructed for the purchasers of 14 Ultramax newbuilding vessels in a series of disputes against two shipyards in the far east. The arbitrations raised complex technical issues concerning the design and construction of the vessel’s propulsion systems and fuel consumption, as well as legal issues concerning contractual interpretation and the ‘prevention principle’. Adam was led by Roderick Cordara QC.

International Arbitration (London, CI Arb Rules, 2012-2019). Adam was instructed on behalf of a sovereign state and its anti-corruption office in connection with a long-running, complex and high-value dispute with a Manx investment company. The dispute raised issues of foreign law and an application pursuant to s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996. Adam was led by Judith Gill QC and Sam Wordsworth QC (on liability) and by Mark Levy QC (on quantum).

International Arbitrations (London, LMAA Rules, 2017-2018). Adam acted for the respondents in two concurrent arbitrations concerned with claims for commission pursuant to consultancy and advisory agreements. The legal issues included contractual interpretation, alleged oral agreements, and without prejudice privilege. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

International Arbitrations (London, LMAA Rules, 2017-2018). Adam acted for the respondents in two parallel arbitrations concerning claims for commission pursuant to agency and brokerage agreements in relation to drilling contracts. The legal issues concerned allegations of misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

International Arbitration (Singapore, UNCITRAL Rules, 2016). Adam acted on behalf of companies in the coal mining industry in a dispute concerning the sale and purchase of shares in Indonesian companies. The legal issues included matters of arbitral jurisdiction, contractual interpretation, and questions of Indonesian law. Adam was led by Graham Dunning QC.

Civil fraud & asset recovery

Adam has experience pursuing and defending civil claims involving allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and dishonesty. The following are recent examples of Adam’s cases in this area:

SCF Tankers Ltd v. Privalov (& Ors) [2018] 1 WLR 5623 (CA), [2017] 2 All ER 570 (Comm). Adam was instructed for the applicant in a two-week Commercial Court trial of an inquiry into damages arising out of worldwide freezing orders and a security regime. The proceedings formed part of the complex Fiona Trust litigation. An award of damages of c.US$60m was upheld on appeal. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC and Nathan Pillow QC.

Company (& Anor) v. Former Director (& Ors) (Commercial Court, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of the claimants in proceedings involving allegations of bribery and breach of fiduciary duty on the part of a former director during his employment. Adam is led by Paul Stanley QC.

HPOR Serviços de Consultoria v. Dryships Inc (& Anor) [2018] EWHC 3451 (Comm). Adam was instructed on behalf of the respondents to an appeal pursuant to s. 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996, which concerned the remedies of account of profits and equitable forfeiture. The issues arose in the context of claims brought by an agent who was in repudiatory breach of its fiduciary duties. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

Seaton Trustees v. Schneider Electric FZE (Commercial Court, 2014). Adam was instructed in a share purchase dispute which involved allegations of fraud, mismanagement and breaches of warranty. Adam was led by Stephen Houseman QC and James Collins QC.

Hiscocks v. Pandya & Mangat (Leicester County Court, 2018). Adam successfully acted on behalf of the claimant in a four-day trial against two defendants involving allegations of fraudulently interfering with the identity of a classic car.

Commercial dispute resolution

Adam acts and advises in connection with a wide range of commercial disputes. Examples of Adam’s recent cases, which are representative of his commercial practice, are as follows:

SCF Tankers Ltd v. Privalov (& Ors) [2018] 1 WLR 5623 (CA), [2017] 2 All ER 570 (Comm). Adam was instructed for the applicant in a two-week Commercial Court trial of an inquiry into damages arising out of worldwide freezing orders and a security regime. The proceedings formed part of the complex Fiona Trust litigation. An award of damages of c.US$60m was upheld on appeal. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC and Nathan Pillow QC.

Blackstar Advisors Ltd v. Cheyne Capital International Ltd (& Anor) [2018] EWHC 3496 (Comm). Adam was instructed on behalf of the hedge fund defendants in proceedings brought in the Commercial Court in connection with investor introduction fees. The claims were determined at a two-week trial and raised issues of contractual construction, estoppel, and French law. Adam also appeared at several interlocutory hearings prior to trial. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC.

International Arbitration (London, LCIA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of the claimant in a dispute concerned with the exercise of rights of first refusal over shares in a mining investment company. The dispute raises issues of contractual construction and the legal principles relating to rights of first refusal.

International Arbitrations (London, LMAA Rules, 2017-2018). Adam acted for the respondents in two parallel arbitrations concerning claims for commission pursuant to agency and brokerage agreements in relation to oil drilling contracts. The legal issues concerned allegations of misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

International Arbitration (Singapore, UNCITRAL Rules 2016). Adam acted on behalf of companies in the coal mining industry in a dispute concerning the sale and purchase of shares in Indonesian companies. The legal issues included matters of arbitral jurisdiction, contractual interpretation, and questions of Indonesian law. Adam was led by Graham Dunning QC.

Energy & natural resources

Adam’s practice also covers the energy and natural resources sectors, including disputes relating to oil and gas, mining, and renewable energy. The following are examples of Adam’s cases in this area:

BP Oil International Ltd v. Glencore Energy UK Ltd (Commecial Court). Adam is instructed on behalf of the Claimant in a dispute concerning the alleged contamination of a cargo of Russian export blend crude oil by organic chlorides. Adam is led by Steven Berry QC.

International Arbitration (London, LCIA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of the claimant in a dispute concerned with the exercise of rights of first refusal over shares in a mining investment company. The dispute raises issues of contractual construction and the legal principles relating to rights of first refusal.

Pan Petroleum Aje Ltd v. Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum (& Ors) [2017] EWCA Civ 1525, [2017] EWHC 1102 (Comm). Adam was instructed in arbitration applications for interim injunctions and subsequent contempt of court proceedings, including an appeal on the issue of contempt to the Court of Appeal. The case concerned a joint venture dispute arising out of an agreement to operate a Nigerian oil field. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

International Arbitrations (London, LMAA Rules, 2017-2018). Adam acted for the respondents in two parallel arbitrations concerning claims for commission pursuant to agency and brokerage agreements in relation to oil drilling contracts. The legal issues concerned allegations of misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

International Arbitration (Singapore, UNCITRAL Rules 2016). Adam acted on behalf of companies in the coal mining industry in a dispute concerning the sale and purchase of shares in Indonesian companies. The legal issues included matters of arbitral jurisdiction, contractual interpretation, and questions of Indonesian law. Adam was led by Graham Dunning QC.

International Arbitrations (Singapore, SIAC Rules, 2011-2012). Adam was instructed on behalf of the claimant in a series of arbitrations concerning the sale and purchase of photovoltaic solar cells for the manufacture of solar panels. Adam was led by Jern-Fei Ng (as he then was).

Insurance & reinsurance

Adam has experience acting in insurance cases, particularly clams relating to marine insurance. His recent cases include:

Aspen Underwriting Ltd (& Ors) v. Credit Europe Bank NV [2020] UKSC 11, [2018] EWCA Civ 2590. Adam successfully appeared for the respondent bank in two related appeals concerned with the rules of jurisdiction applicable to assignees, matters relating to insurance, and restitution claims pursuant to the Brussels Re-Cast Regulation 1215/2012. The decision of the Supreme Court is now the leading case in English law on the rules of jurisdiction applicable in matters relating to insurance within the EU frameworks. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC.

Navytrend Shipping Limited v. The Swedish Club (& Ors) (Commercial Court – 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of owners in a dispute concerning the measure of indemnity due under a policy of marine insurance arising out of a main engine breakdown.

Interim injunctions and freezing orders

Adam is often instructed in connection with applications for interim injunctions, freezing orders, and disclosure orders. He also has experience in ancillary applications related to injunctions, including: (i) committal applications for non-compliance with court orders; and (ii) applications for inquiries into damages for losses caused by interim injunctions. The following are recent examples of Adam’s cases involving interim injunctions:

Stokoe Partnership Solicitors v. Robinson & Ors (QBD, 2020). Adam acted for a firm of solicitors to obtain Norwich Pharmacal relief and interim mandatory injunctions to restrain attempts to access confidential information in connection with on-going litigation. Adam was led by Dan Oudkerk QC.

M.T. “Cape Baxley” & M.T. “Cape Bellavista” (Commercial Court, 2020). Adam acted for the respondents to oppose the continuation of two worldwide freezing orders in connection with two ship sale and purchase agreements.

Instasol LLC v. EM Digital & Ors (Commercial Court, 2019). Adam acted as sole counsel for the claimant in proceedings to recover amounts due under a loan agreement, including successful applications for freezing injunctions and related disclosure orders in support of claims pursuant to s. 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Delta Kanaris Special Maritime Enterprise v. Elemento Ltd [2019] EWHC 2875 (Comm). Adam acted for the respondent oil trading company at the return date of an application for worldwide freezing orders in support of English court proceedings. The issues included the extent to which the court should attribute weight to past allegations and conduct when considering whether a real risk of dissipation was established. Adam was led by Michael Coburn QC of 20 Essex Street. 

SCF Tankers Ltd v. Privalov (& Ors) [2018] 1 WLR 5623 (CA), [2017] 2 All ER 570 (Comm). Adam was instructed for the applicant in a two-week Commercial Court trial of an inquiry into damages arising out of worldwide freezing orders and a security regime. The proceedings formed part of the complex Fiona Trust litigation. An award of damages of c.US$60m was upheld on appeal. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC and Nathan Pillow QC.

VTB Commodities Trading v. JSC Antipinsky (& Anor) (Commercial Court, 2019). Adam was instructed on behalf of the intervener in connection with an application to set-aside worldwide freezing injunctions obtained by the claimant in a dispute concerning title to cargoes of oil on board a floating off-shore storage vessel in Russia. Adam was led by Edmund King QC.

Pan Petroleum Aje Ltd v. Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum (& Ors) [2017] EWCA Civ 1525, [2017] EWHC 1102 (Comm). Adam was instructed in arbitration applications for interim injunctions and subsequent contempt of court proceedings, including an appeal on the issue of contempt to the Court of Appeal. The case concerned a joint venture dispute arising out of an agreement to operate a Nigerian oil field. Adam was led by David Joseph QC.

Shipping & Shipbuilding Disputes

Shipping and international trade cases are at the heart of Adam’s practice. He is frequently instructed to advise and act for clients in shipping, shipbuilding and international trade disputes, including shipowners, charterers, shipyards, ship financiers, and marine insurers.

The following are representative examples of Adam’s shipping and international trade practice.

Shipping Disputes

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules 2017-2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of the charterers of a transshipment vessel used to process dry commodities in South America. The issues arising include question of contractual interpretation and estoppel in the context of cargo shortage claims. Adam is led by Stephen Houseman QC.

Delta Kanaris Special Maritime Enterprise v. Elemento Ltd [2019] EWHC 2875 (Comm). Adam acted for the respondent oil trading company in an action concerning demurrage and hull cleaning of two oil tankers detained in Venezuela. Adam was led by Michael Coburn QC of 20 Essex Street.

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of a shipping pool and charterers in arbitration proceedings concerning the termination of several time charterparties.

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules 2017-2018). Adam was instructed on behalf of shipowners in arbitral proceedings arising out of a cargo fire on board a bulk carrier vessel in UK waters. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC.

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules, 2016-17). Adam was instructed on behalf of the demise charterers of an oil products tanker in a tripartite dispute concerning the condition of the vessel at the time of delivery and re-delivery. Adam was led by Steven Berry QC.

Shipbuilding Disputes

Jiangsu Guoxin Corporation Ltd v. Precious Shipping Public Co Ltd [2020] EWHC 1030 (Comm). Adam successfully acted for the respondent buyers in two related arbitration appeals on preliminary issues concerning the cancellation of shipbuilding contracts. The judgment of Butcher J. provides the latest guidance on the scope of the ‘permissible delay’, cancellation and notice requirements of the SAJ Form. Adam was led by Roderick Cordara QC.

International Arbitrations (London, LMAA Rules, 2016-2019). Adam was instructed for the purchasers of 14 Ultramax newbuilding vessels in a series of disputes against two shipyards in the far east. The arbitrations raised complex technical issues concerning the design and construction of the vessel’s propulsion systems and fuel consumption, as well as legal issues concerning contractual interpretation and the ‘prevention principle’. Adam was led by Roderick Cordara QC.

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules, 2019). Adam is instructed on behalf of a Korean shipbuilding and marine engineering yard in arbitration proceedings concerning the construction and installation of helicopter decks on board offshore drilling rigs.

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules, 2013-2014). Adam was instructed for the buyers of a chemical tanker vessel in a delivery dispute. The arbitration raised issues relating to the construction and safety of the vessel, including the emergency fire suppression system. Adam was led by Simon Bryan QC (as he then was).

International Arbitration (London, LMAA Rules, 2012-2014). Adam was instructed to act on behalf of a shipyard in a delivery dispute concerning a 176,000 DWT cape size bulk carrier. The arbitration lasted six weeks and included allegations concerning the construction and testing of the vessel. Adam was led by Roderick Cordara QC and Jern-Fei Ng (as he then was).

Career

August 2014: SEC International Advanced Advocacy Course, Keble College, Oxford

April / May 2014: Bar Council Exchange Programme in Seoul, South Korea

October 2011: Tenancy at Essex Court Chambers

2010-2011: Pupillage at Essex Court Chambers

2010: Call, Lincolns Inn

Education

2009-2010: Bar Vocational Course, BPP Law School

2008-2009: LLM Commercial Law (First Class), Magdalene College, Cambridge University

2004-2008: BA Jurisprudence (English and French Law) (First Class) Magdalen College, University of Oxford

University of Paris ll (Panthéon-Assas) (ERASMUS, Diplôme en Droit Français) 2007

Awards

2009: Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn

2009: Scholarship and Academic Prize, Magdalene College, Cambridge University

2006: Scholarship, Magdalen College, University of Oxford