Professional practice

David has a broad commercial practice and he is particularly well-known for his work in insurance and reinsurance, shipping, international trade, commodities, energy, and shipbuilding /offshore construction disputes.

David has considerable experience as a trial advocate in the Commercial Court and in appeals. He also has broad experience as an advocate in international arbitration having acted in numerous arbitrations on ad hoc, ARIAS, FOSFA, GAFTA, HKIAC, ICC, LCIA, LMAA, and UNCITRAL terms.

He is ranked as a leading junior in the Legal 500 UK, Chambers UK, Chambers Global and the Legal 500 Asia Pacific directories. He has won praise in these directories from clients for combing intellectual rigour (“incredibly bright”, “super smart”, “always manages to make very complex cases easy to understand”) with skilful advocacy (“a forceful advocate, who seems to get the ear of the judge very well”, “unflappable”, “particularly noted for his skilful advocacy”) and client service (“Clients really like him”, “A very personable and approachable individual, who connects well with clients”, “really easy to engage with”, “responsive and user friendly”).

David was recognised as one of Legal Week’s Stars at the Bar in 2014 in its profile of the ten most promising junior barristers. In the piece, he was singled out for having “experience beyond his call”, for the fact that “his judgement is sound, and his advocacy measured and precise” and for possessing “quiet confidence and intellectual rigour that belie his young age”.

David also accepts appointments as arbitrator.

 

What Others Say

“Clients really like him. He’s super smart and really easy to engage with.” (Chambers UK, 2019)

“Brilliant both as arbitrator and counsel.” (Chambers UK, 2019)                              

“Proficient, efficient and client-friendly. He always grasps the key points in cases…Very thorough with close attention to detail.” (Chambers UK, 2019)

“He is thorough, responsive and user friendly.” (The Legal 500, 2018)

“Diligent, organised and approachable. One to watch.” “User-friendly, accessible and bright.” (Chambers UK, 2018)

“A hard-working barrister whose analysis of a case is as good as his judgement. His opinions are always well organised, well structured and polished.” (Chambers UK, 2018)

“He understands marine insurance as well as any other junior at the Bar and is the current go-to junior for that type of work.” (Chambers UK, 2018)

“A very personable and approachable individual, who connects well with clients” (The Legal 500, 2017)

“Very quick to understand what you want and very easy going about life”… “He displayed good advocacy skills and had a complete grasp of the issues.” (Chambers UK, 2017)

“Intelligent, proficient and efficient, with a sensible approach.” (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific)

“He always manages to make very complex cases easy to understand.” (The Legal 500, 2016)

“an ‘unflappable’ dry shipping junior who is particularly noted for his skilful advocacy”… “quite a forceful advocate, who seems to get the ear of the judge very well…he is making a name for himself and will go places” (Chambers UK, 2016)

“one to watch” “very confident and composed and does not take any nonsense” “incredibly bright and very easy to get on with” (Chambers UK, 2015)

“a rising star” ”a ‘go-to’ junior for marine insurance” (The Legal 500, 2014)

Insurance & reinsurance

“Brilliant…Clients really like him. He’s super smart and really easy to engage with.” (Chambers UK, 2019, Insurance)

David’s practice covers all aspects of insurance and reinsurance. He has particular experience of disputes under aviation, bankers bonds, business interruption, cargo, EAR, H&M, IV, K&R, liability, MII, political risk/violence, property, rig and XL policies. He had been involved in facultative and treaty reinsurance claims, disputes under open covers, binding authorities, and actions against brokers and claims handlers for professional negligence.

Since acting at the start of his career in the heavy and complex “WD FAIRWAY” litigation (one of the largest navigational CTL’s experienced by the London Market: see further below), David has taken a particular interest in the law of marine insurance. He has considerable experiences of coverage issues in H&M and cargo claims on policies incorporating the Institute Clauses and policies incorporating the Norwegian Marine Insurance Plan. He is currently editing the 11th edition of Chalmers’ Marine Insurance Act 1906 with Simon Rainey QC and Guy Blackwood.

In Legal Week’s Stars at the Bar feature, David was praised as having “experience beyond his call, especially in complex insurance and reinsurance disputes.” Clients noted that “in the field of marine insurance he is the go-to junior, building a level of expertise in this narrow but important sector that is unmatched by his peers. Other juniors dabble in marine insurance; David is fast becoming the genuine specialist of his generation.” He has also been described by The Legal 500 as a “rising star” in the field of Insurance and Reinsurance and as the current go-to junior” for marine insurance disputes.

During the early years of his practice, David also acquired market experience on the marine side during a placement with RSA’s Marine Hull Claims Team and on the aviation side during a placement with QBE Aviation Syndicate 5555.

Examples of cases in which David has been instructed include the following:

  • Azzouz & ors v United Commercial Assurance & ors: David is acting with Mark Templeman QC in this US$30m claim under a political violence policy. The claim arises out of the Syrian Civil War and damage to property in Aleppo. The assured claims that insurgents occupied their facilities and stole/damaged stock and equipment.
  • David is currently instructed with David Foxton QC in an XL reinsurance arbitration concerning aggregation of losses arises from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre.
  • Jordan Insurance v AIG Europe: David is acting as sole counsel in this dispute about whether the payment of an indemnity under a reinsurance contract will put AIG in breach of US sanctions against Syria. The underlying bankers bonds insurance provided cover to a bank in Syria, which had some $33m of currency stolen from its Damascus branch during the uprising.
  • Double Eight Marine SA v RSA & ors (The “PANAMAX TRADER”): David is instructed with Alistair Schaff QC for the London Market in this c. £30m ATL claim in the Commercial Court in which it is alleged that the vessel was lost by the wilful misconduct of the assured.
  • Lassan Holdings Limited v Generali & ors: He is currently instructed with John Lockey QC in a €20m claim under a property damage and business interruption policy in relation to pot-freeze and related damages sustained at an aluminium smelter.
  • David is currently instructed with Guy Blackwood QC in an XL reinsurance dispute – Bahrain law and arbitration – concerning losses related to market losses following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the Lockerbie bombing.
  • Atlas Navios-Navegação Lda v Navigators Insurance Co Ltd (The “B ATLANTIC”) [2016] Lloyd’s Rep 351: David acted for underwriters in relation to this claim under a war risks policy following the detention of vessel in Venezuela for drug smuggling. He successfully resisted an application by the assured to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Rak Africana Shipping Ltd v Al-Sagr National Insurance Company: David acted with Guy Blackwood QC in this CTL claim where a vessel was detained by pirates for a period of nearly 12 months. The claim was settled shortly before trial in 2016.
  • Involnert Management Inc v Aprilgrange Ltd & ors (The “GALATEA”) [2015] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 289, David successfully represented the London Market in this €13million claim for the CTL of a mega yacht. Underwriters were held to be entitled to avoid the policy for material non-disclosure of a valuation of the yacht and the non- disclosure of the fact that she was being marketed for sale at well below her insured value. Underwriters were also entitled to decline the H&M claim for the assured’s failure to comply with the policy requirement to file a sworn proof of loss within 90 days and for its failure to serve a timeous Notice of Abandonment. David was led by Alistair Schaff QC.
  • Acted as sole counsel in an ARIAS arbitration where US$19m was claimed under a Marine Cargo and Delay in Start-up policy. The claim was prompted by damage to diesel generators during a sea voyage, which were intended to be used in a power plant in Kenya. The principal issue was whether a delimiting warranty had been breached.
  • Allianz Risk Transfer AG Dubai Branch v Al Ain Ahlia: David assisted Guy Blackwood QC in this reinsurance action in in which the DIFC Court had to consider the nature of the “Arab Spring” in Egypt, and whether property damage had been caused by civil commotion amounting to popular rising. The case settled after full trial, which included factual evidence and expert geopolitical evidence.
  • Bernina Martime Inc v RSA & ors (The “LIQUID ERA”): David was led by Mark Templeman QC in this contested US$8million CTL claim in the Commercial Court, which was settled before trial.
  • Markerstudy Insurance Company Limited v Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited: David was instructed as part of a 6 strong counsel team in a substantial Commercial Court action concerning negligent claims handling across a number of books of business, which was set down for a 40 day trial before a settlement was reached.
  • Dornoch Ltd & ors v Westminster International BV & ors (The “WD FAIRWAY”) [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 191: David (led by Iain Milligan QC and Guy Blackwood) acted on behalf of the successful underwriters in this major marine insurance dispute following the constructive total loss of the “WD FAIRWAY”. Issues considered by the Court in phase one included abandonment and the extent of underwriters’ proprietary rights in a vessel on payment of a CTL and election.
  • Dornoch Ltd & ors v Westminster International BV & ors (The “WD FAIRWAY”) [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 420: phase two of this action the Court considered the impeachment of transactions defrauding creditors under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 in an insurance context. Again, David (led by Iain Milligan QC and Guy Blackwood) acted on behalf of the successful underwriters
Shipping & admiralty

“He is thorough, responsive and user friendly.” (Legal 500, 2018, Shipping)

Over the past decade, David has been involved in the full range of dry shipping disputes. He has particular experience of unsafe port claims, demurrage disputes, charterparty repudiations, termination/withdrawal/anti-technicality clauses, claims involving questions of unseaworthiness and due diligence, claims under the NYPE Inter-Club Agreement, delivery and redelivery obligations, speed and performance claims and casualties arising out of dangerous cargo incidents. David also has considerable experience of cargo claims involving the application of the Hague/Hague-Visby Rules and of General Average disputes.

Examples of cases in which David has been instructed include the following:

  • David is currently instructed in an LMAA arbitration claim for damages of c. US$250m arising out of the shipment of a dangerous cargo.
  • Arauco Navigation Ltd v Rudolf A Oetker & ors (The “CCNI ARAUCO”): David is currently acting with Luke Parsons QC in this US$30m charterparty dispute which arose after a dangerous cargo was loaded on to the vessel and not properly declared. Hot works were performed on the vessel near the cargo and it exploded causing massive physical damage to the vessel and economic loss.
  • Societa Italiana Assicurazioni e Riassicuranzioni PA & ors v Golden Spring Line Pte Ltd (The “GEMINI”): David is currently acting with Guy Blackwood QC in this Commercial Court dispute resulting from a piratical attack on the “GEMINI”. She was ultimately released by the pirates upon payment of a multi-million dollar ransom. It will deal with the legality of ransom payments under Singaporean law.
  • In August 2017 David acted as sole counsel in a 5-day HKIAC arbitration concerning whether the condition of a bulk carrier’s cranes was such as to amount to a repudiatory breach of the charterparty. David acted for the successful owners.
  • David recently acted with Simon Croall QC in a multi-party LMAA unsafe port arbitration, where substantial losses were sustained when a vessel broke free of her moorings in adverse weather conditions causing substantial damage to the berth in Brazil. The case settled shortly before the arbitration hearing was due to commence.
  • Imperator I Maritime Co v Bunge SA (The “CORAL SEAS”) [2016] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 293: David was instructed by the intermediate charterers in this section 69 appeal, which concerned an alleged breach of a continuing performance warranty where the underperformance was caused by bottom fouling arising from compliance with time charterer’s orders.
  • Contecon Guayquil SA & ors v Ikaria Maritime (The “CCNI ANTARTICO”): David was instructed with Luke Parsons QC in this substantial Admiralty Court action brought by the operators of a terminal at a port in Ecuador after the “CCNI ANTARTICO” caused damage when she berthed at excessive speed.
  • David acted with Simon Croall QC for the successful charterers in a Hong Kong arbitration where damages of over US$90m were claimed for breach of a long-term COA.
  • Instructed with Sean O’Sullivan QC in a 3-week LMAA arbitration between the owners of a vessel and two sets of bareboat charterers relating to the condition of the vessel on redelivery from one bareboat charterer and delivery to the next.
  • Instructed, with Simon Kverndal QC, in an LMAA arbitration where damages of c.US$60m were sought for breach of a long-term time charter.
  • David was instructed with Simon Croall QC in a substantial charterparty dispute involving the constructive total loss of a ship when calcium hypochlorite being carried on board exploded mid-voyage. The case settled before the arbitration hearing.
  • JP Klausen & Co A/S v MSC (The “SKY JUPITER”) [2013] EWHC 3254 (Comm): Acted for the successful cargo interests in this Commercial Court claim for damage to frozen fish being carried in reefer containers from New Zealand to Germany.
  • CHS Inc Iberica SL v Far East Marine SA (The “DEVON”) [2012] EWHC 3747 (Comm): David acted for the successful cargo interests in this claim against the owners of the “DEVON” for damage caused to a consignment of corn when the subject voyage took 59 days instead of 8 days because of a main engine breakdown. Issues considered by Mr Justice Cooke included unseaworthiness, due diligence and the obligation to proceed with reasonable dispatch.
  • Transpetrol Maritime Service Ltd v SJB (Marine Energy) BV (The “ROWAN”): David, led by Stephen Cogley QC, settled the application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court from the Court of Appeal’s decision at [2012] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 564. The case concerned the proper construction of an oil majors approval clause in a voyage charter.
  • Emeraldian Limited Partnership v Wellmix Shipping Company Limited & ors (The “VINE”) [2011] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 301: David was led by Lionel Persey QC in this demurrage / safe berth dispute and associated guarantee claim, which involved a number of conflict of laws issues and the application of Chinese law and exchange controls.
International trade, transport & commodities

“Proficient, efficient and client-friendly. He always grasps the key points in cases…Very thorough with close attention to detail.” (Chambers UK, 2019, Shipping & Commodities)

David’s commodities practice encompasses all aspects of international trade and futures, including oil trading, metals and foodstuffs. He has been involved with a number of GAFTA and FOSFA arbitrations (including appeals from those arbitrations) and has acted for many substantial trading houses in both the English courts and international arbitrations.

Examples of cases in which David has been instructed include the following:

  • BMCE Bank International v Phoenix Commodities & ors: David is acting as sole counsel for the bank seeking to recover a loan of US$5m to Phoenix in this Commercial Court action. Phoenix is resisting repaying the money on the basis that the bank did not properly handle the collateral for the loan – a cargo of steel billets, which went missing in Nigeria.
  • Zurcher Kantonalbank v Vincom Commodities Ltd: David is acting for the bank seeking to recover US$3m under various bills of exchange drawn to cover the sale of over 600mt of nickel strips. He is being led by Guy Blackwood QC.
  • David is currently advising and acting for a steel trader in respect of a number of claims on trade credit insurance policies, running into tens of millions of dollars, against various insurers in respect of suppliers that went insolvent.
  • David recently acted with Graham Dunning QC in a claim was for the refund of nearly US$50m of advance payments made for the purchase of emeralds from mines in Zambia.
  • David was recently instructed with Julian Kenny QC in an LCIA arbitration over commissions claimed by brokers in respect of sales of LNG into Egypt.
  • Taurus Petroleum v State Oil Ministry of Iraq [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 42: an important case concerning the extent of state immunity granted to Central Banks of oil producing countries, enforcement against debts owed under letters of credit, the proper law of letters of credit and the situs of the debt owed by the issuing bank. David recently acted with Guy Blackwood QC in relation to the appeal of this case to the Supreme Court.
  • ED&F Man Sugar Ltd v T&L Sugars Ltd & Ors: David was instructed with Simon Rainey QC in this commodities action in the Commercial Court where it was alleged that the defendants were part of an unlawful means conspiracy to induce a third party to break its contract with the claimant for the sale of sugar.
  • Garantibank v DRUM: David acted as sole counsel for Garantibank in this US$6m Commercial Court claim against DRUM, who were acting as collateral managers of coal being shipped into Turkey. Vast quantities of coal went missing and the bank is suing to recover the losses suffered in the form of lost security for debts.
  • Glencore v Total Kenya Limited: David was instructed (with Simon Croall QC) by Glencore in a Commercial Court action relating to the supply and storage of gasoil in Kenya.
Energy & natural resources

David regularly advises and acts in energy disputes relating to drilling and exploration projects. He deals with a broad variety of production, transportation and processing agreement matters, as well disputes relating to energy products and energy generation. His practice encompasses trading disputes, dispute relating to off-shore structures and mining claims.

Examples of cases in which David has been instructed include the following:

  • David was recently instructed with Julian Kenny QC in an LCIA arbitration concerning sales of LNG into Egypt.
  • He recently acted as sole counsel in a claim for commissions allegedly earned on the sale of industrial valves used in petrochemical projects. It was referred to an ICC arbitration in Paris seat with disputes being determined under an ‘equity clause’.
  • David recently acted for the successful yard in an arbitration concerning whether an amendment to a contract for the delivery of a heavy tender assist drilling barge was procured by economic duress.
  • David is currently acting as sole counsel in this US$15m claim for damage to a cargo of gasoil which was shipped from Rotterdam to West Africa.
  • David was led by Richard Southern QC in UNCITRAL arbitral proceedings between the operators of a drill ship against a state oil company.
  • David acted in a heavy LCIA arbitration involving disputes under a drilling contract, which involved hundreds of allegations of defects in the rig, allegations of deceit about the condition of the rig and allegations of misrepresentation about the time required for repairs.
Shipbuilding & offshore construction

Much of David’s work in recent years has involved shipbuilding and offshore construction disputes. He has particular experience of issues relating to deliverability, cancellation/termination, Class and Flag compliance issues, warranty claims, refund guarantees, performance bonds, and questions of illegality and economic duress in this area.

David often acts for clients at an early stage when issues first arise in the construction/delivery process and advises on the parties’ rights and assists with gathering and preparing the evidence required to fight the cases to a successful conclusion.

Examples of cases in which David has been instructed include the following:

  • David recently acted for the successful yard in an arbitration concerning whether an amendment to a contract for the delivery of a heavy tender assist drilling barge was procured by economic duress.
  • David was recently instructed by a yard in arbitrations relating to two shipbuilding disputes where issues have arisen as to the deliverability of the vessels, in particular whether the design and arrangement of the vessels’ stern tube bearing was compliant with the contractual specification.
  • Advising on disputes relating to four jack-up rigs where instalments have not been paid.
  • David was instructed with Simon Croall QC in an arbitration where the central issue was whether a buyer was entitled to terminate a shipbuilding contract for the failure of the yard to provide evidence of SAFE registration of a refund guarantee.
International Arbitration & Related Court Applications

David has experience of international arbitrations on ad hoc, ARIAS, FOSFA, GAFTA, HKIAC, ICC, LCIA, LMAA, and UNCITRAL terms. He has also been instructed in a number of arbitration claims in the Commercial Court (ss. 67, 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996).

Examples of cases in which David has been instructed include the following:

  • A v B , 23rd March 2017, David successfully resisted an application under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996. Ali Malek QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, held that an arbitrator’s determination of the position of a compacted buoy on the seabed, which he found had holed the owner’s vessel while berthing, in breach of a safe berth warranty, did not involve any serious irregularity causing substantial injustice.
  • He was recently instructed in an ICC arbitration with a Paris seat with disputes being determined under an ‘equity clause’. The claim was for commissions allegedly earned on the sale of valves used in petrochemical projects.
  • David has recently been acting in a substantial and heavy UNCITRAL arbitration involving claims under an offshore drilling contract. The case has involved numerous applications for interim measures and urgent relief.
  • Instructed by a national government in a major ICC arbitration concerning the construction and delivery of military submarines.
  • Lorand Shipping Ltd v Davof Trading (Africa) BV (The “OCEAN GLORY”) [2014] EWHC 3521 (Comm), a section 68 application in the Commercial Court challenging the decision of a tribunal to make a final rather than partial award.
  • Acted as sole counsel in a 2-day jurisdictional challenge under section 30 of the Arbitration Act 1996. Issues included whether there was intention to create the legal relationship of owner/charterer, authority and misrepresentation.
Aviation

David is regularly instructed by underwriters on coverage issues arising under aviation policies. He has also acted as counsel for underwriters in a number of high-profile inquests that have followed aviation disasters, including the following:

  • Appeared at the inquest into a death following amid-air collision near Leicester airport.
  • Instructed to appear at the inquest into a death following a mid-air collision at Shoreham airfield and is now instructed in the High Court litigation brought by the family of the deceased.
  • Instructed to appear at the inquest into two deaths at Rotherfield Greys, near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, which occurred when a bi-plane failed to recover from an aerobatic manoeuvre.
  • Instructed on behalf of the North West Parachute Centre at the inquest into two deaths following a mid-air collision between two light aircraft near Blithfield Reservoir, Staffordshire.
  • Instructed to appear at an inquest into two deaths following an air accident at Seething airfield, Norfolk.
Banking & financial services

Examples of cases in which David has been instructed include the following:

  • BMCE Bank International v Phoenix Commodities & ors: David is acting as sole counsel for the bank seeking to recover a loan of US$5m to Phoenix in this Commercial Court action. Phoenix is resisting repaying the money on the basis that the bank did not properly handle the collateral for the loan – a cargo of steel billets, which went missing in Nigeria.
  • Zurcher Kantonalbank v Vincom Commodities Ltd: David is acting for the bank seeking to recover US$3m under various bills of exchange drawn to cover the sale of over 600mt of nickel strips. He is being led by Guy Blackwood QC.
  • Garantibank v DRUM: David acted as sole counsel for Garantibank in this US$6m Commercial Court claim against DRUM, who were acting as collateral managers of coal being shipped into Turkey. Vast quantities of coal went missing and the bank is suing to recover the losses suffered in the form of lost security for debts
Civil Fraud

Examples of cases in which David has been instructed include the following:

  • JSC BTA Bank v Solodchenko: a case involving commercial fraud, freezing orders and sentencing for civil contempt. David acted as sole counsel settling an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against the 21 month custodial sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal on Mr Kythreotis.
Education

Keble College, Oxford, 2002-2005: BA, Jurisprudence

University College London, 2005-2006: LLM

Awards

Inner Temple: Exhibition Scholarship; Frank and Burris Gahan Prize; Duke of Edinburgh Entrance Scholarship

Publications

A chapter with Simon Rainey QC on Remedies for Fraudulent Claims under the Insurance Act 2015 in The Insurance Act 2015: A New Regime for Commercial and Marine Insurance Law (2016; Clarke & Soyer, eds)

Chalmers’ Marine Insurance Act 1906 (11th ed.) – forthcoming

Memberships

COMBAR, British Insurance Law Association, Association of Average Adjusters (subscriber), London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association, LCIA Young International Arbitration Group.