Professional practice

Chambers UK Bar 2019: Leading Barrister

Chris Smith has a broad based practice covering all aspects of domestic and international commercial work, with particular emphasis on wet and dry shipping, professional negligence and related areas such as marine and non marine insurance and reinsurance. Chris’ practice involves advisory work, mediation, arbitration in England and Wales and abroad, and litigation in the Court of Appeal and all divisions of the High Court. He also has extensive experience of acting as co Counsel in disputes involving litigation in more than one jurisdiction. Chris is a CEDR accredited mediator and also accepts appointments as arbitrator both on LMAA and ad hoc terms.

Chris has been one of the editors of Scrutton on Charterparties and Bills of Lading since 2008.

 

What others say

“His understanding of the subject matter was extremely good. Very user-friendly, approachable, bright and hard-working.” Shipping, Chambers & Partners 2017

‘Very experienced.’ Legal 500 2016 – Professional Negligence

‘Brilliant.’ Legal 500 2016 – Shipping

“I find him incredibly bright. He is persuasive on paper and in person, and is also practical and commercial.” Shipping and Commodities, Chambers & Partners 2016

A much-admired wet and dry shipping lawyer who expertly handles bill of lading disputes and issues arising from salvage and collisions. Additional areas of experience include safe port and safe berth casesShipping and Commodities, Chambers and Partners 2015

I find him incredibly bright. He is persuasive on paper and in person, and is also practical and commercial.Shipping and Commodities, Chambers and Partners 2015

Extremely knowledgeable and hardworking.Legal 500 2015

Hugely diligent, a good strategist, and good on his feet.” Legal 500 2014

‘Hardworking, very intelligent, with a very close attention to detail’ Legal 500 2014 – Shipping

‘Hardworking, very intelligent, very close attention to detail and sees all angles to a case’ Legal 500 2014 – Professional Negligence

Advises on both wet and dry matters, and is a highly effective advocate who is able to adjust his approach quickly and seamlessly ”

I praise him for his advocacy in particular; he is fabulous on his feet

Hes very good strategically and picks things out that haven’t even come onto the horizon” Chambers 2014 Shipping & Commodities

2013

The ‘bright, hardworking and very thorough’ Christopher Smith QC has a ‘razor-sharp mind’ and is an ‘excellent advocate/cross-examiner’. Legal 500 2013 – Shipping

The ‘capable and hardworking’ Christopher Smith QC at Essex Court Chambers is recommended, Legal 500 2013 – Professional Negligence

Peers state that Christopher Smith QC’s tremendous abilities and impressive caseload currently outstrip his reputation, and are keen to put right this wrong. “He’s not necessarily one of the names you hear bandied around, but he’s amongst the leading shipping silks in London,” As an advocate he is “very punchy, very commercial, and he really grabs hold of a case and doesn’t let go.Chambers 2013 Shipping & Commodities

2012

Christopher Smith QC is ‘a superb advocate and an excellent strategist’. Legal 500 2012 – Shipping

Recommended individuals at Essex Court Chambers include Christopher Smith QC……Legal 500 2012 – Professional Negligence

Arbitration & related court applications

Many of the cases in which Chris is instructed are resolved in arbitration, both in England and Wales and in other jurisdictions including Hong Kong, Korea, Norway, Singapore and Dubai. Chris has extensive experience of international arbitration work and also of related High Court proceedings including challenges to the jurisdiction of the arbitrators, appeals and applications for anti-suit injunctions and other interim remedies. Reported, and other significant arbitration cases in recent years, include:

L –v- H: Chris was instructed by the yard constructing 5 vessels in relation to disputes that arose after the 5 contracts were cancelled. The contracts were governed by English law with all disputes to be settled in Dubai subject to the rules of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.

The OB: Chris was instructed on behalf of the shipowners in relation to this casualty. Substantial issues arose as to whether the cargo claims could be pursued in Chile as opposed to by way of London Arbitration. Chris advised and acted in relation to the jurisdiction of the arbitrators and possible applications for anti-suit injunctions.

The RS: Chris was instructed by salvors who had rendered salvage services to a casualty and claimed remuneration from the owners of the ship, her cargo bunkers and stores. There was a dispute between the parties as to whether or not the services were provided pursuant to the terms of Lloyds Open Form of Salvage Agreement which was referred to the High Court by the (putative) arbitrator.

Spliethoff’s Bevrachtingskantoor BV v Bank of China [2015] EWHC 999 (Comm): Chris was instructed on behalf the buyer of two ships being constructed in China. He was originally instructed in relation to two arbitrations (one in relation to each vessel) concerning the construction of the vessels, but the builder and the seller subsequently commenced court proceedings in China. Chris was subsequently involved in four further, related arbitrations and in High Court proceedings in which his clients sought and obtained anti suit injunctions from the Commercial Court and the London Arbitrators.

Re 11 Hulls: Chris was instructed on behalf of the shipyard building 11 vessels for buyers controlled by the same ultimate interests. The buyers cancelled all 11 shipbuilding contracts and the disputes were referred to 11 arbitrations which were all heard together over a three week period. After the awards were published Chris advised in relation to the outcome which led to two of the awards being challenged in the Commercial Court and to a second hearing to determine quantum which was eventually settled.

B v K: Chris was instructed on behalf of three potential Claimants in respect of disputes which arose when the potential Respondents cancelled three long term charter parties. Chris’ clients wished to pursue their claims by way of arbitration in London but the potential Respondents were subject to Rehabilitation Proceedings in Korea. Chris advised throughout on liability, quantum and procedure and, in particular, in relation to the consequences of the rehabilitation on the arbitration.

Re D: Chris was instructed on behalf of the owners of this vessel which was arrested in Singapore to secure an alleged cargo claim. Chris’ clients commenced London arbitration proceedings for a declaration that the claim must be submitted to arbitration and for a declaration that they were not liable. The Singapore proceedings were stayed but subject to conditions.

The K: Chris was instructed on behalf of the charterers in this arbitration relating to a substantial investment made by the charterers towards the cost of refurbishing the chartered ship. Issues arose as to whether the claim could be pursued in London or had to be brought in the Ukraine. The arbitrator determined that he had jurisdiction in relation to all claims and the shipowners unsuccessfully sought to challenge his award in the High Court.

Stena –v- Westport: Chris was instructed by the Claimants in relation to this claim arising out of a joint venture agreement in which Chris’ clients had to make an opposed application to the Commercial Court for the appointment of an arbitrator in circumstances where the Respondents had wrongly commenced proceedings in the US. The claim (and a related claim for hire due under a charterparty covered by the joint venture agreement) was subsequently determined by the appointed arbitrator.

A v B: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimants in this Oslo arbitration involving futures trading on the International Maritime Exchange. The dispute was subject to English law but Norwegian procedural law.

Ssangyong Motor Distributors v Daewoo: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendants in this matter in which the High Court stayed English proceedings to await the outcome of a Korean arbitration. Chris was also instructed to appear in the Korean arbitration as co Counsel with Korean lawyers.

Azov v Baltic [1999] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 159; [1999] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 68; [1999] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 159: Chris acted for the Respondent in this arbitration application. The case was reported on 2 points of practice (relating to security for costs of arbitration applications and the nature of appeals against arbitrators’ decisions on jurisdiction) before the substantive application was decided by Colman J.

Vakis T [2002] 2 Lloyd’s 465: Chris was instructed on behalf of the shipowners in this matter which involved a successful appeal to the Commercial Court against an award of LMAA arbitrators in respect of a failed unsafe berth claim.

Moscliff Investment Limited v Philipanas Shell Petroleum Corporation [2005] 2 Lloyds 378: Chris was instructed by the ship owners in this arbitration in which both parties appealed to the Commercial Court against the arbitrator’s decision on 3 preliminary issues.

Through Transport v New India [2004] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 206. [2005] 2 Lloyds Rep 378 [2005] 1

Lloyd’s Rep 67: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant insurers in this case in which the Court of Appeal considered the question of the grant of anti-suit injunctions restraining proceedings in Lugano Convention States alleged to be in breach of an English Arbitration clause. Moore-Bick J. granted an injunction which was set aside by the Court of Appeal. The matter then came back before Moore-Bick J. on the Claimant’s application for the appointment of an arbitrator.

Commercial dispute resolution

Chris undertakes commercial litigation in the Commercial Court and also in the Chancery Division involving all aspects of his practice. He is also an experienced Court of Appeal advocate both on substantive appeals and applications for permission to appeal. Reported, and other significant cases in recent years, include:

Z v W: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimant’s liability insurers in relation to various applications to the High Court. The applications arose out of the fact that apparently inconsistent judgements had been handed down by different European Courts which the English Court was being asked to enforce.

C v C: Chris was instructed on behalf of the applicants in this matter, which involved an application to the High Court arising out of an order which had been made against the applicant pursuant to the Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Act 1975. Chris’ clients sought to set aside an order which had been made against them in relation to proceedings in Switzerland to which they were not parties.

St. Nicholas Trading Company v Tarquin Boat Company: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant in this long running commercial dispute arising out of a Distribution Agreement entered into between the parties for the distribution of luxury motor yachts. The dispute also concerned issues arising out of a Settlement Agreement by which earlier litigation had been settled.

Standard Life v DSS and GSH: Chris was instructed by the Second Defendant in this matter which arose out of the destruction by fire of a document storage warehouse owned by the Claimant. Chris’ clients were responsible for weekly testing of the sprinkler system which in the event failed to control the fire, which in turn may have been started deliberately. Substantial issues arose as to whether Chris’ clients had been negligent with subsidiary issues of remoteness and causation also arising.

H v O; Chris was instructed on behalf of the agent bank in relation to a syndicated ship financing loan. Numerous issues arose between the senior lenders and the junior lenders and between the banks and the borrower. Proceedings were commenced in England and also in Greece, before the borrower sought chapter 11 protection in the United States. Chris provided advice throughout the proceedings and also provided written evidence on English law to the US court.

Caterpillar Financial Services v SNC Passion [2004] 2 Lloyds Rep 99. Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant in this claim for repayment of monies advanced for the purchase of a high speed ferry.

Abu Dhabi Investment Company v H. Clarkson and Company [2006] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 381. Chris was instructed on behalf of the lending bank in this claim in which allegations of negligent misrepresentation were made arising out of the re-financing of a fleet of vessels.

ABP v Ferryways [2008] 2 Lloyds Rep 333. Chris was instructed on behalf of the 1st Defendant in relation to this claim for repudiatory breach of a long term contract to provide port services.

Riva Bella SA v Tamsen Yachts [2011] EWHC 1434 (Comm): Chris represented the Defendant (builder) at the trial of this Commercial Court claim concerning the construction and sale of a luxury motor yacht. Various technical issues arose as to the construction of the yacht, but the claim also involved complex contractual issues in relation to the role of the broker involved. The case was particularly sensitive because it appeared that a number of secret commissions had been paid. Nearly every aspect of the Buyer’s claim was rejected and the Builder’s counterclaim succeeded almost in full, leading to a net judgment in favour of the Builder. An application for permission to appeal was rejected by the trial Judge and the Court of Appeal.

Spliethoff’s Bevrachtingskantoor B.V. v Bank of China [2015] EWHC 999 (Comm): Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimant in this action in which his clients claimed payment under 2 guarantees provided by the Defendant. Complicated issues arose out of the fact that the principal debtor had obtained judgements against Chris’ clients in China in breach of a contractual arbitration agreement. The guarantor sought to rely on these judgements, which included findings of fraud against Chris’ clients, to justify not paying on the guarantees. The claim on the guarantees succeeded in full.

Insurance & reinsurance

Chris’ practice involves all aspects of insurance and reinsurance covering many different areas, but with particular emphasis on marine insurance. He acts for all parties to insurance and reinsurance disputes and also in related disputes such as claims against brokers. Reported, and other significant cases in recent years, include:

Re T: Chris is instructed to advise a bank in relation to possible insurance claims arising out of employee dishonesty.

The “D”: Chris was instructed by the owners of this yacht in relation to claims against the insurers who had declined to pay sums claimed when the yacht became a constructive total loss after she grounded. Insurers alleged that Chris’ clients had acted in breach of a warranty contained in the policy wording and issues arose as to the proper construction of the warranty in question.

Re G: Chris was instructed by solicitors defending a substantial professional negligence claim to advise in relation to issues that had arisen between the solicitors’ insurers for different policy years concerning notification and aggregation.

L v M: Chris was instructed on behalf of the shipowners in relation to this claim against the brokers who had arranged a bespoke loss of hire policy which, in the event, failed to respond to a significant claim.

H v H: Chris advised the Claimant in this matter in relation to claims for professional negligence against the brokers and sub brokers who were required to obtain reinsurance for the Claimant. In the event no binding cover was obtained, apparently due to the fraud of one or more persons claiming to act for the reinsurer. Difficult issues of causation arose as well as questions as to which broker (if any) was liable.

Re E: Chris was instructed on behalf of the shipowner’s successors in title in relation to this claim against the vessel’s P&I club. Issues arose as to the correct operation of the pay to be paid clause in the context of limitation.

C v H: Chris was instructed on behalf of this Respondent in this arbitration arising out of the alleged expropriation of the Claimants’ interest in a joint venture project in China. The dispute concerned the question of coverage under a political risks insurance policy.

Re N: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimants in this arbitration concerning claims under the vessel’s war risks insurance arising out of the prolonged detention of the vessel in St. Petersburg.

M v N: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimant Insurers in this arbitration in which Chris clients claimed a declaration that they were not liable to the Respondents who had commenced separate proceedings in France. The arbitrators determined (and declared) that they had jurisdiction to hear the claim.

Kyzuna Investments Ltd v Ocean Marine [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 505: Chris was instructed on behalf of the insured yacht owners in this dispute in which a decision of Thomas J. was reported on a preliminary issue as to whether or not a policy of insurance for a classic yacht was a valued or unvalued policy.

Irene EM [2014] Lloyds Report IR 243; [2014] Lloyds Report 349: Chris acted for the Defendants in this matter which concerned a claim by the shipowners against Hull and Machinery insurers and also her IV and ACR insurers. The Claimant alleged that when the vessel grounded she was rendered a total loss as a result of an insured peril. Both elements of the claim were denied.

Professional negligence

Chris has a varied professional negligence practice, much of which dove tails with his shipping practice and involves claims against ship managers, (marine) insurance and chartering brokers and solicitors involved in shipping litigation and transactions. In addition Chris is often instructed in professional negligence matters with no shipping aspect, including claims against solicitors and barristers, valuers and surveyors and non marine insurance brokers. Reported, and other significant cases in recent years, include:

Hawksford Trustees Jersey Limited –v- Halliwells: Chris is instructed on behalf of the Defendant solicitors in relation to appeals and cross appeals to be heard against the first instance judgment which allowed some heads of claim but not others.

Re G: Chris was instructed by solicitors defending a substantial professional negligence claim to advise in relation to issues that had arisen between the solicitors’ insurers for different policy years concerning notification and aggregation.

D –v- D: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant solicitors in relation to two claims arising out of failed real estate transactions in Dubai.

L v M: Chris was instructed on behalf of the shipowners in relation to this claim against the brokers who had arranged a bespoke loss of hire policy which, in the event, failed to respond to a significant claim.

H v H: Chris advised the Claimant in this matter in relation to claims for professional negligence against the brokers and sub brokers who were required to obtain reinsurance for the claimant. In the event no binding cover was obtained, apparently due to the fraud of one or more persons claiming to act for the reinsurer. Difficult issues of causation arose as well as questions as to which broker (if any) was liable.

TVR v C: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant, a leading International Law Firm, in relation to this matter. The matter was particularly complex because of the number of different jurisdictions involved in the underlying transactions in which Chris’ clients were involved. Chris represented his clients in proceedings which were commenced in this jurisdiction claiming a declaration that they were not liable in respect of any of the alleged claims. The Claimant subsequently commenced proceedings in Norway and Chris assisted in the preparation of the Defence in those proceedings and at all stages up to trial.

N v H: Chris was instructed on behalf of the potential Defendants in this matter. The Claimants alleged that Chris’ clients (their former solicitors) were negligent in not protecting time in respect of various claims arising under four shipbuilding contracts. Issues arose as to if and when the underlying claims became time barred, which were complicated by the fact that the case handler moved firms at a time when, at least arguably, the claims (or some of them) were not yet time barred.

Stapleton v Howard Kennedy: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant solicitors in this claim which came on for trial after the Claimant’s appeal against summary judgment entered for the Defendants was allowed. The claim was abandoned during the course of cross examination of the Claimant.

A & B v C & D: Chris acted for the Claimants in this action for professional negligence against the managers and administrators of an off shore company and the insurance brokers appointed by them. The claim arose out of the fact that the Claimants’ yacht was uninsured when lost by fire.

London & Regional v Lawrence Graham: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant solicitors in this professional negligence claim relating to a proposed joint venture agreement.

D.P. Mann v Egypt Re: Chris was instructed on behalf of the brokers in this substantial reinsurance dispute in which allegations of negligence were made against the brokers involved.

Banque Brussels Lambert SA v Eagle Star [1995] LRLR 17: Chris acted for one of the Defendant firms of valuers in this leading case on the proper quantum of damages.

Michael Gerson Investments v Haines Watts [2002] Lloyd’s P.N. 493: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant solicitors in this professional negligence claim involving 9 claims arising out of a failed tax avoidance scheme. Rimer J determined a preliminary issue in favour of the Claimants and the nine claims proceeded to trial. All of the claims were eventually settled and contribution proceedings were they pursued against other professional advisers involved in the scheme.

Gladman Commercial Properties v Fisher Hargreaves Proctor [2013] EWCA Civ 1466: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Third Defendant in this £30m+ claim which concerned the attempted sale of a plot of land for development as managed student accommodation. Chris’ client was one of the joint selling agents and was accused of having made fraudulent misrepresentations in relation to the site. The claim was struck out on various ground and an appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.

Shipping & admiralty

Shipping and Admiralty work makes up the largest single part of Chris’ practice. His extensive experience includes all aspects of both wet and dry work ranging from salvage, collisions and towage to charterparty and bill of lading disputes. Chris has significant experience of safe port and berth cases and is frequently instructed in relation to insurance and general average issues arising out of shipping casualties. In recent years Chris has been particularly involved in ship building and management cases acting for buyers and sellers as well as owners and managers. Reported, and other typical cases in recent years, include:

The “MS”: Chris was instructed on behalf of the contractors in relation to this claim for salvage in respect of services rendered to a container vessel which had suffered an explosion and fire on board.

M v I: Chris was instructed by the time charterer of two ships in relation to claims arising out of the collapse of the OW Bunkers group of companies.

L –v- H: Chris was instructed by the yard constructing 5 vessels for the same buyers subject to five different contracts. The claims arose when the buyers purported to cancel each contract (in turn) alleging late delivery.

The “NA”: Chris was instructed by the time charterers of this ro ro ferry to advise in relation to issues of liability and quantum which arose out of a fire on board. Numerous cargo and passenger claims were brought and issues also arose as to liability for the damage to the vessel herself.

“Y.C.”: Chris was instructed on behalf of the salvors in relation to this claim for SCOPIC remuneration in relation to services provided pursuant to a Lloyds Open Form salvage agreement to a grounded container ship.

The “V”: Chris was instructed on behalf of the builder of a river cruising vessel in relation to disputes which arose when the Contract was cancelled by the buyer (alleging delay) and the builder (for failure to pay).

The “Pisti”: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimants in relation to this collision claim in the Admiralty Court concerning the question of whether the Defendant vessel had passed too fast and too close to the Claimant’s vessel which was alongside at the time. Issues also arose as to the safety of the relevant berth.

The “OC”: Chris was instructed on behalf of the shipowners in relation to disputes which arose when the vessel grounded and required lengthy and costly salvage services.

M v J and V v J: Chris was instructed on behalf of the buyers in relation to various disputes arising in relation to the contracts for the construction of 2 sister ships.

S v C: Chris acted for the buyers of two ships being constructed in China and in relation to disputes that arise after the buyer cancelled both shipbuilding contracts for delay.

Re 3 Hulls: Chris was instructed by the shipyard constructing 3 identical vessels in relation disputes with 2 buyers. One buyer had cancelled its Contract and the other 2 buyers threatened to the do the same. Chris advised throughout and settled submissions in all three arbitrations which were eventually settled.

C v M: Chris acted for the salvors in this dispute as to whether or not a salvage contract in Lloyds for Open Form terms had been agreed between the parties. Chris also acted for the salvors on a subsequent claim for salvage against cargo interests.

M v D: Chris acted for the salvors in this dispute relating to salvage services provided pursuant to a Lloyds Open Form salvage agreement.

L v P: Chris advised the purchasers of 7 different ships being purchased for in excess of US$35m each in relation to their rights under the various shipbuilding contracts which they wished to terminate because of excessive delay by the sellers in the construction of all 7 ships. The original disputes were settled and Chris then advised in relation to disputes which arose under the settlement agreement.

V v E: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Respondents in this substantial claim relating to the management of a specialist support vessel classed for work involving Dynamic Positioning. A large number of technical issues arise both as to the state of the vessel and the level of management services provided.

“M.L.”: Chris was instructed on behalf of one of the time charterers in this dispute which concerned liability for grounding damage sustained by the vessel whilst berthing. The various claims were passed down a long chain of back to back time charterparties. Chris’ clients in fact sub chartered the vessel by way of a voyage charter which gave rise to the risk that they might not be able to pass on down the line any liabilities they were under up the line.

Sappi Paper Holding -v- Gearbulk AG: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendants in this Commercial Court action in which the Claimants claimed damages for losses suffered as a result of a fire on board his client’s vessel.

The V: Chris was instructed on behalf of the owners of a cruise vessel. She suffered a significant casualty at sea as a result of which a large number of passengers were injured. The Charterers alleged that she was unseaworthy and claimed damages and an indemnity in respect of the personal injury claims which they have settled.

MSC Napoli: Chris was instructed on behalf of one of the NVOCCs in this litigation arising out of the MSC Napoli casualty in January 2007.

Re E: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimant sellers in relation to this dispute which arose out of the sale of the vessel. The Respondents failed to complete the purchase of the vessel, alleging that she was not in every way physically ready for delivery. Issues arose as to the state of the vessel at various times and the defects alleged by the Respondents to have been present.

N A: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Charterers in this unsafe port claim arising out of the grounding of the vessel and a serious oil pollution incident in Venezuela.

European Vision: Chris was instructed on behalf of the lending bank in relation to this ship financing dispute relating to a cruise liner. The vessel was arrested in Barbados and Chris provided advice to the clients and to local lawyers, and also attended hearings before the Admiralty Court in Barbados.

The A: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimant charterers and bill of lading holders in this unseaworthiness arbitration in which the tribunal issued an interim award in Chris client’s favour in relation to the question of incorporation of the Hague Rules into the charterparty.

A v B: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant sellers in this dispute arising out of the sale of a Ro- Ro car ferry which suffered major engine damage shortly after delivery. The claim was withdrawn part way through the cross examination of the Claimant’s witnesses.

The River Gurara [1998] QB 610: Chris acted for the Defendant shipowners in this dispute concerning package limitation.

The “Pa Mar” [1999] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 338: Chris was instructed on behalf of cargo owners in this long running salvage dispute concerning the extent to which cargo was bound by the terms of an LOF salvage agreement entered into by shipowners. After determination of jurisdictional issues by the Admiralty Court, the remaining claim for salvage which Salvors were held to be entitled to pursue was eventually settled.

The “Tychy” [1999] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 11; The “Tychy No 2” [2001] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 403: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendants in this dispute arising out of a slot charterparty operated under the TACA conference agreement. An initial challenge to the jurisdiction of the Court was rejected by the Admiralty Court and the Court of Appeal. At trial the Claimants made a substantial recovery and the matter eventually settled after the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the trial Judge as to the proper identity of the contracting party.

Alimport v Soubert Shipping Co Ltd [2000] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 447: A decision of Timothy Walker J. on preliminary issues arising out of the ante dating of a bill of lading by time charterer’s agents and the extent to which this could affect the existence of a contract of carriage to which shipowners were a party.

The ‘Ruta’ [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 359: Chris acted for the wages Claimants (not Defendants as stated in the report) in this action in which David Steel J. declined to follow a supposed rule set out in a number of text books and instead applied the Admiralty Court’s wide equitable discretion so as to accord priority to the claims of unpaid crew members above the claims of the holders of damage maritime liens.

The Bumbesti [2000] QB 559: Chris acted for the Claimants in this dispute concerning the right of arrest to enforce arbitration awards.

Aktieselskabet Dampskibsselskabet Svendborg v Mobil North Sea [2001] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 127. Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimant owners in this dispute concerning the proper construction of the termination provisions of a Charterparty for the provision of oil rig anchor handling vessels in the North Sea. The claim was settled after the Court determined various preliminary issues of construction.

The “Sitarem” and the “Spirit” [2001] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 107. Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimants in this collision claim.

Domansa and others v Derin Shipping [2001] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 362: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant shipowners in this claim arising out of the death in service of three crew members. The Commercial Court determined a challenge to the jurisdiction in 2000, and the claim (which involved issues of construction of the deceased’ contracts of employment as well as more usual issues under the Fatal Accidents Act) subsequently settled.

The “Bow Cedar” [2005] 1 Lloyds Rep 275: Chris acted for the Claimant in this dispute concerning the quantum of damages recoverable for repudiatory breach in a voyage charter party.

Sun Cross v Rickmers Genoa [2010] EWHC 1949 (Admlty): Chris was instructed on behalf of the Owners of the Defendant vessel in this collision action. He advised on numerous different matters arising out of the collision (which resulted in the loss of Sun Cross and all but 2 of her crew) which were dealt with in a number of different jurisdictions including China, Korea and the United States. Chris represented the Defendants at the trial before the Admiralty Court of the claims arising out of the loss of the cargo on board Sun Cross.

“Maersk Neuchatel” [2014] EWHC 1643 (Comm): Chris acted for the charterers in this dispute concerning liability to contribute in general average and the proper constructions of the security provided.

Yachts & Small Craft

Chris has a particular interest and involvement in disputes concerning yachts of all sizes – both pleasure and commercial small craft. He was a member of the panel of specialist mediators and arbitrators maintained by the CIArb on behalf of the RYA and BMIF to deal with disputes relating to yachts and small craft. He has been involved in numerous cases involving the construction, sale, repair and management of yachts of all size and smaller craft, as well as insurance and surveying disputes, collisions and disputes arising out of the regulatory regimes relating to yachts and small craft. Reported and other significant cases include;

C v S: Chris was instructed on behalf of the yard which had taken over a project to construct a luxury motor yacht. Disputes had arisen between the original builder and the buyer and Chris’ clients took over the project when the yacht was part built. Chris advised the builder in relation to disputes which subsequently arose as to build quality, delays in construction and variation orders.

The “E”: Chris acted for the purchaser of this luxury motor yacht who claimed substantial damages as a result of the defective condition of the yacht on delivery and the builder’s failure to rectify warranty matters.

Waldman v Tarquin: Chris was instructed by the Defendant vendors in this dispute arising out of the construction and sale of a luxury motor yacht. Issues included the incidence of VAT and whether or not the yacht, which was CE marked and MCA coded, had been properly constructed in accordance with the Recreational Craft Directive.

Sea Hauler and United Star: Chris was substantially involved in the formal investigation arising out of the collision between these two small commercial craft. Issues included the respective fault of the two vessels but also the applicability of various regulatory and licensing regimes.

St. Nicholas Trading Company v Tarquin Boat Company: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendant in this long running commercial dispute arising out of a Distribution Agreement entered into between the parties for the distribution of luxury motor yachts. The dispute also concerned issues arising out of a Settlement Agreement by which earlier litigation had been settled.

A v B and A v C: Chris acted for the Claimant in these two related claims involving a commercial yacht used for corporate hospitality events. Chris’ Client was injured (and there were two fatalities) as a result of the casualty which led to claims against the owner/skipper and the organiser of the event. Issues arose in relation to the proper certification of the yacht and the applicability of the Small Commercial Craft Regulations.

Bodell v Salter Projects: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Defendants in this claim in which the Claimants alleged negligence in the performance of a survey of a large motor yacht.

A & B v C & D: Chris acted on behalf of the Claimants in this action for professional negligence against the managers and administrators of an off shore company and the insurance brokers appointed by them. The claim arose out of the fact that the Claimants’ yacht was uninsured when lost by fire.

Sweet v The Owners of the Blyth Lifeboat: Chris was instructed on behalf of the RNLI in this claim arising out of a collision in which the Admiralty Court determined preliminary issues concerning the relevant limitation period.

The A: Chris acted for the owners and managers of a large motor yacht in a claim against their insurers and brokers arising out of insurers’ refusal to indemnify the owners against a personal injury claim being pursued in the USA.

A v B: Chris acted for the vendors of a motor yacht which was destroyed by fire during the course of her pre-delivery inspections and trials. Issues arose as to the cause of the fire and the respective liabilities of the manufacturer, distributor and dealer.

A & B v C: Chris was instructed on behalf of the vendors of this sailing yacht which sank shortly after delivery to her buyers. Issues included the cause of the sinking and the extent of the Defendant’s contractual responsibilities.

The Shizelle [1992] 2 Lloyds Rep 444: Chris was instructed on behalf of the Claimant lenders in this case concerning mortgages of unregistered vessels. Chris’ client’s claim succeeded even though their mortgage had not been registered.

Kyzuna Investments Ltd v Ocean Marine [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 505: Chris was instructed by the claimant yacht owners. The case is reported as a result of a decision of Thomas J. on a preliminary issue as to whether or not a policy of insurance (which specified a “sum insured”) for a classic yacht was a valued or unvalued policy.

Riva Bella SA v Tamsen Yachts [2011] EWHC 1434 (Comm): Chris represented the Defendant (builder) at the trial of this Commercial Court claim concerning the construction and sale of a luxury motor yacht. Various technical issues arose as to the construction of the yacht but the claim also involved complex contractual issues in relation to the role of the broker involved. The case was particularly sensitive because it appeared that a number of secret commissions had been paid. Nearly every aspect of the Buyer’s claim was rejected and the Builder’s counterclaim succeeded almost in full, leading to a net judgment in favour of the Builder. An application for permission to appeal was rejected by the trial Judge and the Court of Appeal.

Career

1989    Call: Inner Temple

2009     Silk

Education

1987    LLB (First Class Hons), Southampton University

Awards

1988 Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship