David Joseph KC joined Essex Court Chambers in 1985, took silk in 2003. He acts as a barrister, advocate and arbitrator. He is a member of the Bars of England and Wales and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. He has also been called ad hoc to argue cases before the Court of Appeal in Singapore and the Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong.
He is well-recognised not only in the English courts but across the common law world as a leading authority in the twin fields of international arbitration and jurisdiction disputes. He is consistently recommended in the top tier of each of the UK, Singapore and global directories in the field of international arbitration. He is also recommended in commercial litigation, general insurance and aerospace. In 2013 he was chosen as Silk of the Year in International Commercial Arbitration by both Chambers Directory and the Legal 500. He was also short-listed by Chambers Directory in this category in 2012, 2017 and most recently in 2021.
As counsel he has appeared in a number of the leading cases in his fields of specialism up to and including the highest courts of England and Wales, Singapore and Hong Kong. A number of these cases are of major significance in the development of the law – e.g. Enka v Chubb before the UK Supreme Court; Xiamen Xinjingdi v Eton Property Group Limited before the Hong Kong Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal; First Media v Astro before both the Singapore Court of Appeal and the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal; Lee Kui Jak v Aerospatiale before the Privy Council; HPOR v DryShips Pan Petroleum Aje Limited v Yinka Folawiyo, and Etihad Airways v Air Berlin in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal. He has recently acted for Ukraine in Gilward v Ukraine (ICSID arbitration) and for a Cairn in Cairn v India (PCA Award) in the enforcement proceedings and challenge with regard to multi-billion dollar investment treaty claims.
He is the author of Jurisdiction and Arbitration Agreements and their Enforcement (Sweet & Maxwell, 3rd Ed December 2015) which in a short period of time has become a standard work of reference in this complex field and has been cited with approval by courts in England, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He is also an author and co-editor with David Foxton KC (now Mr Justice Foxton) of Singapore International Arbitration, Law and Practice 2nd Ed (Lexis- Nexis 2018).
He has acted and appeared as counsel in over 200 complex and lengthy LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL and other ad hoc arbitrations in most of the leading arbitral seats of the world including London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, New Delhi, Dubai, Stockholm and The Hague. In addition, he has acted as counsel in numerous LMAA arbitrations.
His arbitration practice covers a wide range of work from joint ventures, shareholder disputes, limited partnerships; all aspects of the mobile telephone industry, renewable energy including wind turbine, banking, structured finance, satellite television, ESG disputes; sports gaming rights; intellectual property licence agreements; insurance, reinsurance, combined cycle power plants; offshore oil and gas; gas pricing disputes; long term gas sale agreements; mobile drill rigs; mining, construction, shipbuilding and aerospace and satellites (including construction, launch delay and damage, insurance and transponder disputes). He has also advised and acted in a series of investment treaty disputes both ICSID and ad hoc including the enforcement of awards in courts.
In court, his practice also covers a broad range of commercial disputes before the Commercial Court most recently in business interruption insurance claims for the insured and he has appeared as Counsel in a number of fraud actions involving recovery of stolen property, Ponzi schemes, resolution of disputes between shareholders/ joint venturers, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious conspiracy, professional negligence, structured financial products including Islamic finance. He has also acted in a number of actions giving rise to complex issues as to the grant of interlocutory relief including anti-suit injunction and committal.
As arbitrator he has a growing practice which he very much enjoys. He has extensive experience sitting as Chair, co Arbitrator and Sole Arbitrator in commercial disputes under most of the world’s leading ad hoc and institutional rules.
Since August 2021 he is Chair of COMBAR (the Commercial Bar Association) and has committed to advancing the work of inclusivity and diversity at the Bar as well as access to justice; Co- Chair of the COMBAR India Committee; committee member of CLF ( working to support Access to Justice); Bencher of Middle Temple (sitting on the international and wine committees), a Court Member of the LCIA since 2019; since 2017 member of International Law Committee established by the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor; since 2019 member of Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law (Chaired by Lord Mance); and member of Bar Council Forward Relationship Working Group. He also lectures in his field of International Arbitration to undergraduate and post-graduate students.
Singapore: He has at one time or other been instructed by each of the leading Singapore law firms. He was one of the first in Chambers to take the lead in taking rooms in Singapore’s arbitration facility in Singapore, Maxwell Chambers before Essex Court Chambers Duxton (Singapore Group Practice) moved into a dedicated office at Duxton Hill.
Personal: David is married to Denise and they have three sons, living in London. He spent time in lockdown writing a wide-ranging history of his mother’s family who came from Austria which he is hoping to have published. In his spare time, he loves walking his scruffy Portuguese Water Dog (Oscar) and skiing in the Alps.
- What others say
Chambers UK Bar 2024, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance
“He knows how to work the tribunal so is a good advocate in arbitrations as well as someone I’m happy to put in front of clients to give honest, easily understood and straightforward advice.”
“He provides key insights into matters and is very astute at cutting through them to find the simplest of solutions to the most complex of disputes.”
Chambers UK Bar 2023, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance
“He’s a very charming opponent, and his legal analysis is spot on.”
“He has a deep understanding of how to work successfully over the long term with foreign lawyers, taking into account different cultures.”
Chambers UK Bar 2022, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance
“He is extremely experienced and well known. He is a great name for a difficult case.” “He’s very engaged and familiarises himself with the case well before a hearing.”
The Legal 500 2022, Commercial Litigation
“Extremely knowledgeable in the area of jurisdiction and also arbitration-related litigation; he really gets into the detail of a case. He is thoughtful, imaginative and full of energy and a highly persuasive advocate.”
The Legal 500 2022, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance
“Completely on top of the facts and his cross-examination was highly effective. His understanding of private international law is unmatched.”
The Legal 500 2021, Commercial Litigation
“Commercial and sensible, sound and practical judgment and a pleasure to work with”
The Legal 500 2021, International Arbitration: General
“Very detail-focused, sharp and proactive, and he is a real authority on private international law”
Chambers UK Bar 2018, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance
The Legal 500 2017, Commercial Litigation
‘A great team player and strategist.’
The Legal 500 2017, International Arbitration: Counsel
‘A great barrister and outstanding cross-examiner; he has a compelling presence.’
Chambers UK Bar 2016, International Arbitration, General Commercial & Insurance
‘I have a huge amount of time for him because he is hard-working, clever and a very good team player. His advocacy is very good. He has a very punchy style which works.’
The Legal 500 2015, Aviation
The Legal 500 2015, Commercial Litigation
‘A brilliant, clever, commercial advocate who impresses clients.’
The Legal 500 2015, Insurance and Reinsurance
‘Particularly strong in insurance arbitrations.’
The Legal 500 2015, International Arbitration: Counsel
‘A terrific team player with encyclopaedic knowledge of arbitration law.’
Chambers UK Bar 2015, International Arbitration
“He is very enthusiastic and hard-working; he’s strong on paper and he has got the ear of the judges.” – International Arbitration
Noted for his impressive practice in Singapore and Hong Kong, in addition to his work in London. Recent matters handled include fraud cases, major joint venture disputes in the energy field, and claims for intellectual property infringement.
Recent work: Acted for Astro All Asia Networks in a Singapore arbitration against PT First Media relating to the break-up of a joint venture.
Legal 500 2014
“A great team player with considerable energy and drive”
“A great advocate, who is commercially sensible”
“Provides great strategic direction”
“Excellent preparation and quick on his feet”
“A great advocate, who is commercially sensible”
Jurisdiction and Arbitration Agreements and their Enforcement 2nd Ed (November 2010) Sweet & Maxwell.
Chambers & Partners Directory:
Chambers & Partners Queen’s Counsel of the year 2013 in the category of International Arbitration
Legal 500 Queen’s Counsel of the year 2013 in the category of International Arbitration
Short listed by Chambers & Partners as Queen’s Counsel of the year in 2011 in the category of International Arbitration
Rated Leading Silk by both Chambers and Legal 500
Legal 500 2011
“David Joseph’s fierce intellect and commercial acumen are particularly commended”
Chambers and Partners Directory 2010
“David Joseph is an ‘outstanding advocate’ hailed for his ability to effectively deal with the most complex legal matters”
General Commercial & Insurance
Rated Leading Silk Band 1 International Arbitration.
Also rated as Leading silk in Commercial Litigation, Insurance and Aviation.
- Arbitration & related court applications
He has acted and appeared as Counsel and co–counsel in well over 100 complex and lengthy LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL, SIAC, KLIAC and other international ad hoc arbitrations in London, Paris and Singapore and in other major arbitration venues around the world. He has also acted in numerous disputes concerning the enforcement of awards around the world under the New York Convention. This work covers a wide range of disputes. A number of these disputes have involved claims in excess of a billion dollars and many of these claims are the largest of their type to have been brought in arbitration. In particular:
- A wide variety of joint venture disputes, buyout agreements, company valuation disputes; pre-emption rights; shareholder agreements; IPO obligations and disputes; exclusivity and restrictive covenants; breaches of warranty in sale of business/shares.
- Mobile telecoms (joint venture disputes, flotations and software and hardware disputes). He has acted for leading mobile telephone companies in Singapore, Malaysia and India.
- Satellite television, direct to home television tv and other joint venture disputes.
- Satellite procurement and launch contracts, ground satellite systems; transponder utilisation agreements; tax indemnity provisions, defence system technology and insurance disputes – see separate section below.
- A wide range of insurance coverage disputes, including Bermuda form disputes with particular reference to the US pharmaceutical industry, medical implants; credit default insurance, industrial explosions and savings and loans.
- Oil and gas – long term supply agreements; LNG and chemical supply contracts; farm out contracts, exploration agreements.
- Mining and energy sector – see separate section below
- Airline leases, engine manufacture, maintenance and booking systems.
- Long term licence and distribution agreements in particular in Europe, Far East and India. Internet retail and gaming.
- Construction, infrastructure and development projects (in particular hotels and power plants). Shipbuilding, and ship-repair. Disputes concerning breach of warranty/ fitness for purpose, liquidated damages, delayed delivery, application of extension of time provisions for delivery, application of indemnity provisions, indemnity claims against sub-contractors, disputed claims for misrepresentation and collateral contract, exemption clauses (Stewart Gill v Horatio Myers), termination provisions, repudiation, expert determination and provisional measures (see further below).
- Jack up rigs (AV1) semi-submersibles (Super Scorpio II), drill ships, off-shore storage vessels, traditional commercial shipbuilding disputes.
- All aspects of reinsurance and insurance broking.
- Investment treaty cases, has acted for a number of investors in the protection of their investment under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties.
In addition he has successfully acted in a series of arbitration applications for interim measures of protection before arbitrators including; anti suit injunctions; interim preservation of status of directors; preservation and production of e-disclosure.
He has also successfully acted in arbitrations determining the interface between matters properly the subject of expert determination and properly the subject of arbitration.
He has also acted as counsel in numerous LMAA arbitrations covering a wide range of, shipping and cargo related disputes and shipbuilding, ship-sale.
He has also acted as arbitrator (variously as sole, party appointed, and chairman) in a number of ICC, LCIA, LMAA and ad hoc arbitrations in London and other leading centres for international arbitration. He is listed on the major institutional panels such as ICC, LCIA and SIAC.
He is the author of Jurisdiction and Arbitration Agreements and their Enforcement (2nd Ed Sweet & Maxwell, November 2010). He has spoken at numerous seminars and conferences on many aspects of international arbitration practice but in particular the enforcement of awards and anti-suit injunction.
- Banking & financial services
He has acted (both for bank and for customer) in a series of complex high value and high profile banking disputes involving the enforcement of structured and securitised loans; guarantees, letters of credit, derivatives and put options. He has also acted against investment banks in relations to claims arising out of failed flotations and rights issues. Principal cases include Tenaga v UBS; BNP v Karageorgis; Proctor and Gamble v Bankers Trust; Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken vs APBS; and BNP v Jurong Shipyard; Menara Maxis vs AT & T and others).
David’s banking practice has also covered disputes involved allegations of negligent portfolio selection, allegations of negligent advice given to private clients; construction of complex derivatives, allegations of mis-selling / alleged duty to advise re suitability of instruments; and contractual waiver of duty of care. He has also acted in a number of cases involving restraint of draw down under letters of credit (e.g. Group Josi v Walbrook – successfully enforcing draw down of letters of credit in face of alleged fraud of underwriting agents); enforcement of performance bonds and corporate and governmental guarantee (Marubeni v Mongolia). He has also successfully acted in extensive and lengthy litigation for banks in recovery of assets in relation to large scale secured lending and project finance (Banque Paribas v Karageorgis and; Yukong v Rendsburg).
He is acting for the shareholders of Bank of Antigua with regard to the oversight and enforcement of emergency banking powers under the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Agreement in the light of the insolvency of Stanford International Bank Limited.
- Civil fraud & asset recovery
David Joseph has acted as Sole or Junior Counsel in a number of complex fraud actions involving inter alia complex interlocutory relief, recovery of stolen property, resolution of disputes between shareholders / partners, allegations of fraud and deceit, breach of fiduciary duty and restraint of use of performance bonds and letters of credit.
He is acting as counsel in England and in Antigua for Allen Stanford and a number of companies in the Stanford Group – see his successful challenge to liquidator’s attempt to invoke Cross Border Insolvency Regulation in Re Stanford International Bank Limited  EWHC 1441 (Lewison J) and dismissal of liquidator’s appeal in  EWCA Civ 692. He is also acting as counsel to Heritage Maritime in Parbulk v Heritage Maritime (2011) in relation to ancillary injunctive relief and the TSB v Chabra jurisdiction.
- Commercial dispute resolution
David Joseph’s commercial litigation practice is in line with the broad range of work undertaken in his international arbitration practice (see above).
He has also acted and appeared in actions concerning:
- Challenges to the jurisdiction of the English courts with particular reference to the Brussels I Regulation; exclusive jurisdiction agreements; provisional measures under Article 31; service out of the jurisdiction.
- Freezing; Search and Disclosure Orders.
- logistics supply contracts.
- Enforcement of judgments and awards
- Court supervision of arbitration
- shareholder/ joint venture disputes, share distribution agreements.
- in a number of cases involving disputes in the film industry; the art world and sports rights.
Reported cases include: Gill v Meyers (reasonableness and UCTA), Films Rover v Cannon Film Sales (test for grant of mandatory interlocutory injunction), Standard Chartered Bank v PNSC and others (for SGS); Mattis v Toussaint (acted for defendant in successfully resisting claim for finder’s fee in respect of stolen painting), Yukong Lines v Rendsburg – The Rialto (tortious conspiracy and ancillary injunctive relief against controller of corporation), REC v Thames Water (test for grant of interlocutory injunction in field of electricity supply), De Molestina and Others v Ponton (acted for defendant in successfully rescission of share distribution agreements), and Marubeni Corporation v Government of Mongolia (claim on state guarantee)
Reported cases on the enforcement of judgments and awards and court supervision of arbitration include: Astro v FM (in Singapore and in Hong Kong); Enercon v EIL (in English Commerical Court and India); Dow Chemicals v Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (English Commercial Court); BNP v Deloittes ( English Commercial Court); Parbulk v heritage Maritime (English Commercial Court).
- Energy & natural resources
David Joseph has acted as lead counsel in a series of complex arbitrations involving long term mining and exploration contracts in Australia, Indonesia, Middle East and Africa (coal, tantalum, oil, LNG, iron, steel, diamonds) including questions of force majeure, frustration, the valuation of mining rights; exercise of renewal and extension options and evaluation of seismic data. David has also successfully brought in arbitration claims concerning “conflict diamonds” in Africa and the operation of the Kimberley Process.
David Joseph has also acted as counsel in various arbitrations involving both wind and other renewable energy joint ventures particularly in India.
- Insurance & reinsurance
David Joseph has acted and appeared in a broad range of insurance and reinsurance litigation in the High Court and in arbitration. He has also acted for various insurers seeking recovery by way of group litigation for alleged stop loss mis-selling at Lloyd’s. He has appeared in a number of the leading reported cases in the field of reinsurance including – Suncorp v Milano (pool reinsurance); Group Josi v Walbrook (non-disclosure of agent’s fraud on assured) Baker & Black Sea and Baltic (recoverability of defence costs as implied term in proportional reinsurance), Aneco v Johnson & Higgins (reinsurance brokers’ negligence and measure of loss), King v Brandywine (Exxon Valdez reinsurance claims).
Liability Insurance and Bermuda Form
His practice in relation to liability insurance coverage has particularly focussed on Bermuda form and satellite insurance. He has experience acting for both insured and the major Bermuda Form insurers in a series of Bermuda Form arbitrations concerning the pharmaceutical industry; medical implants, industrial accidents/ explosions; savings and loans D & O liability) and credit default insurance.
- International trade, transport & commodities
Satellite procurement and launch contracts, ground satellite systems; transponder utilisation agreements; tax indemnity provisions, defence system technology and insurance disputes -see separate section below. David has also acted in satellite insurance coverage disputes arising out of the 702 type satellite failure. In aviation work includes arrest and seizure of aircraft; disputes arising under the sale or lease of aircraft, aircraft disasters (manufacturer’s liability), liability for stolen cargo, advisory work principally relating to the liability of operators and shippers under the Air Navigation Order. Reported cases include: Lee Kui Jak v Aerospatiale; Malca Amit v British Airways, and Quantum v Air France.
- Public international law
David Joseph successfully acted for the Claimant, in its judicial review of the Government of Antigua’s attempt to impose retrospective Undeveloped Land Tax – AVAL vs Government of Antigua and Barbuda (Judgment 29 April 2009) and his successful challenge to on behalf of Allen Stanford and various corporate entities by way of judicial review of the attempted compulsory acquisition of land conducted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda (Judgment May 2010).
- Shipping & admiralty
David Joseph has acted in a broad range of LMAA and High Court litigation arising out of shipbuilding and repair, charterparties, rig construction and repair, luxury yachts, bills of lading, contracts of affreightment and the sale of goods. See specific practice areas in arbitration above. Also disputes arising out of ship financing and valuation and surveyor’s negligence. Reported cases include: The Houda; The Seaflower, The Lloyd Pacifico; Smedvig v Elf Shipping, Standard Chartered Bank v PNSC (successfully defending SGS); Yukong Lines v Rendsburg – The Rialto. He has also acted in a number of cases in court and in arbitration with regard to P & I Club insurance coverage.
1985 Essex Court Chambers
1984 Call: Middle Temple
1984 Bar Finals London
1983 Law Society Finals, College of Law, Lancaster Gate
1982 BA (Hons) (Law), Pembroke College, University of Cambridge
1978 St Paul’s School, London