“Fabulous advocate” and “rising star of the Commercial Bar” Edmund King QC is particularly noted for his advocacy in international and domestic disputes and for his expertise across the full range of chancery and commercial matters. The width of his practice is shown by the unusually large number of categories in which he is recommended in the directories. The eight categories are: Banking & Finance; Chancery: Commercial; Fraud: Civil; International Commercial Arbitration; Commercial Dispute Resolution; Commodities; Shipping; and tax. His practice also includes oil and gas, sovereign immunity claims, and telecoms. Edmund has co-counselled in a number of arbitrations abroad, and has recently been instructed in a number of BVI cases. He is currently instructed in a case before the Singapore International Commercial Court.
His clients praise four characteristics:
(1) Analytical and strategic skills (“incredibly bright”; “very bright and very sure-footed. When you get a piece of work from him, you know you can rely on it”; “a fabulous black-letter lawyer who is also wonderfully creative and comes up with outside-the-box solutions”; “super bright”; “extremely bright”; “innovative, energetic and creative in his approach to unusual problems” “incredibly strategically minded”).
(2) Advocacy (“superb advocate”; “particularly good on his feet”; “tenacious and effective advocate with complete command of all the commercial and legal issues”; “excellent and pointed advocacy”; “fabulous advocate”; “first-rate”; “Impressive advocate”; “very impressive and a good cross-examiner”; “very robust and impressive advocate”; “fights his corner with passion and style”).
(3) Work ethic and enthusiasm (“bags of enthusiasm and drive”; “extremely hard-working”; “very hard-working”; “very enthusiastic”; “diligent, hard-working and incredibly reliable”; “very thorough, creative, hard-working and tactical” ).
(4) Teamwork (“an absolute delight to work with”; “very personable, very dedicated and very passionate about the cases that he handles”. “very easy to work with and very commercial.” “responsive and user-friendly” “very user-friendly and easy to work with”; “gets stuck in with the solicitor team with no airs and graces”).
- Examples of notable cases
Many of Edmund’s recent cases are in arbitration, in private or abroad, and hence not reported. Reported English cases include:
Claims Advisory Group v HMRC  UKFTT 512 Scope of the insurance Intermediary exemption.
Auden McKenzie (Pharma Division) Ltd & Ors v Patel & Ors  EWHC 1257 3 days summary judgment and reverse summary application. Many claims and counterclaims arising out of a share sale agreement of a pharmaceutical company. The claims concern money removed by former owners of the company under false invoices and the applicability of Re Duomatic / causation principles; liability for follow on damages following a Competition and Markets Authority investigation; and the application of the earn-out provisions of the share sale agreement. 3 week trial listed for 2020.
Lehman Brothers Finance AG v Klaus Tschira Stiftung  EWHC 379 (Ch). 3 week trial concerning the (in)validity of a Loss Calculation under an ISDA Master agreement following the Lehman Administration. €600m in dispute; Tschira’s case was fatally undermined on the facts as established in cross-examination.
Conway v Eze  EWCA Civ 88; appeal as to whether all agents are capable of being bribed.
Koshigi v Donna Union Foundation  EWHC 122 (Comm). Challenge to an award on the grounds of serious irregularity under s.68 Arbitration Act; discontinuance; indemnity costs.
Citibank NA, London Branch v Oceanwood Opportunities Master Fund  EWHC 448 (Ch) Expedited trial concerning the interpretation of provisions in a New York law loan indenture and majority noteholders to give enforcement instructions.
Citibank NA, London Branch v Oceanwood Opportunities Master Fund  EWHC 305(Ch) Application to challenge jurisdiction concerning the construction of the indenture and related intercreditor agreement with overlapping jurisdiction clauses.
P v Q  1 WLR 3800 Novel application for disclosure of arbitrators notes and deliberations in support of an application to remove arbitrators under section 24 Arbitration Act 1996.
Standard Chartered v HMRC  STC 41: entitlement to reclaim VAT paid by a VAT group after dissolution of the VAT Group.
Travis Coal Restructured Holdings LLC v Essar Global Fund Ltd  All ER (D) 240 (Jul): Enforcement of New York Arbitration Award under NY Convention; order for security in the full amount of the Award and interest, over $200m, within 5 working days of judgment.
Barclays v UniCredit Bank AG and UniCredit Bank Austria  2 Ll Rep 59;  1 BCLC 417, CA;  2 ll Rep 1;  1 BCLC 342 (Comm Ct): Early termination of guarantee designed to obtain RWA relief on €10bn portfolio of loans; meaning of “in a commercially reasonable manner”; effect of entire agreement and understanding clause; contractual estoppel and estoppel by deed.
MD Mezzanine v Saltri & JP Morgan  All ER (D) 93: Rights of Mezzanine Lenders on enforcement; fiduciary duties of Security Trustee; validity of restructuring and duties of mortgagor on disposal of assets. Earlier 2½ day disclosure application and test for control where employees work for different companies in same group is reported at  EWHC 2012.
Paymex v HMRC  UKFTT 350 (TC): Whether provision of IVA is an exempt financial service.
Strategic Value Master Fund v Ideal Standard  1 BCLC 475: Construction of equity cure provision in a Senior Facilities Agreement.
DCM (Optical Holdings) Ltd v HMRC (No 2)  UK FTT 393 (TC): Appropriateness of zoning in PSEM.
Vision Express (UK) Ltd v HMRC  All ER(D) 146 (Ch D): Validity of Special Method override notice and PESMs; scope of the medical care exemption.
Re Sigma Finance Corporation  All ER(D) 146 HL; (2009) BCC 393 (CA);  EWHC 2997 (Ch D): Construction of Security Trust Deed of insolvent SIV; whether pay-as-you-go or pari passu.
Law Debenture v Elektrim & Anr  All ER (D) 304: Approach to loss of a chance of a sum to be assessed by an expert determination; valuation; burden of proof; res judicata and issue estoppel; approach to construction of deeds and estoppels arising from pre-contractual negotiations.
Friendly Loans Ltd v HMRC UK FTT 247(TC): Scope of financial services exemption; loan brokers; intermediary services.
Ideal Shopping v HMRC UK FTT 104(TC): Validity of Default Surcharge Notices; whether capable of amendment if based on incorrect percentage.
Bank of Ireland v HMRC VTD 20824 Scope of insurance exemption – application to skewed insurance panels.
Stocznia Gdynia SA v Gearbulk Holdings Ltd  3 WLR 677 (CA)  2 Lloyds Rep 202 (first instance): Whether a contractual termination clause was a complete code; interpretation of exclusion clauses; whether a exercising a contractual right of termination precluded a subsequent claim for common law damages.
AIC v Marine Pilot Ltd  1 Lloyds Rep 597, The Times 22 April 2008 (Court of Appeal);  2 Lloyds Rep 101 (Comm Ct): Whether tender of contractual performance of contractual effect if not expected to be accepted and not accepted; whether Charterers warrant safety of port X by a term in a charter providing “1 safe port, port X“.
Vigdor Ltd (T/A Michael Jane) v HMRC VTD 20322, Executors of MJ Taylor v HMRC VTD 20323 Holland v HMRC VTD 20325: Scope of land exemption from VAT; single/multiple supply issues. Holland and Vigdor’s appeal to the High Court is reported at (2008) All ER (D) 302.
DCM (Optical Holdings) Ltd v HMRC VTD 19549: Appropriateness of a floor space partial exemption special method; scope of medical care exemption.
Callard v Pringle & Ors  2 BCLC 505: Interim Injunctions: Court of Appeal decision on whether requirement of a good arguable case must be shown; s.459 Companies Act injunction appeal; O’Neill v Phillips offers.
Law Debenture Trust Corporation Plc v Concord Trust and others  All ER (D) 149: Construction of bonds: obligations of trustees; entitlement to release of security; trustees rights of retention in respect of feared future litigation; Bondholders‘ rights to vote on resolutions entitling them to paid their expenses of litigation out of payment down in priority and out of payment to be made to all bondholders.
High Seas Venture Ltd Partnership v Sinom (Hong Kong) Ltd  All ER (D) 492: Demurrage trial: whether weather bad; whether anticipated bad weather within weather days exception; effect of signature on statement of facts.
Morpheus 2002 Ltd v HMRC VTD 19854: Scope of financial services exemption; application to remortgage conveyancing.
3DM Asia v 3DM Worldwide  All ER (D) 57: Formation of contract; whether intended to have legal effect on signature or on exchange of signatures; alleged condition precedent.
Baines & Ernst v HMRC  STC 1632 (CA);  STC 653 (Ch D): VAT; recovery of unlawfully levied “tax”; defence of unjust enrichment; passing on the burden of VAT and economic loss.
Miranos International Trading Inc v VOC Steel Services BV Lawtel 15 July 2005: s.68 and 69 Arbitration Act; arbitrator deciding case on point of his own without inviting submissions; whether minimum duration guarantee in a timecharter amounted to a minimum hire guarantee.
Voblo GmbH & Co KG v Firbank  All ER (D) 289: Guarantee; duress; ability of set off counterclaims against sums claimed under guarantee.
Fal Oil v Petronas  2 Lloyds Rep 282 (Court of Appeal): Shipping/sale of goods; burden of proof in contamination claims: demurrage in C&F sale contracts.
Kronos v Sempra  1 Lloyds Rep 260 (Court of Appeal), and  1 Lloyds Rep 378 (first instance): Shipping/sale of goods; the operation of demurrage in FOB sale contracts.
GMAC Commercial Credit Development v Sandhu  All ER (D) 589 (Comm Ct): Banking/guarantees: whether oral variation of a guarantee complies with Statute of Frauds 1607.
Brotherton v Colseguros  Lloyds Rep IR 746;  2 All ER (Comm) 298 (Court of Appeal): Reinsurance; reinsured’s duty to disclose allegations against the originally insured, even if subsequently found to be untrue.
AIC v Federal Government of Nigeria & Attorney General of Nigeria  All ER (D) 190  (QB): Banking/Public International Law; enforcement of foreign judgment against foreign state’s assets in the UK; sovereign immunity; scope of “commercial purposes” exception and Central Bank immunities under the State Immunity Act.
- Arbitration & related court applications
Acted for several years as co-counsel for the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq in a dispute over rights to gas fields in the KRI, in one of the largest-ever arbitrations in London.
Co-counsel in a major Nigerian telecoms shareholder dispute concerning pre-emption rights in shareholder agreements and their relationship with the articles of the company. Uncitral arbitration in Lagos; subsequent advice and assistance with novel enforcement strategies, including economic torts against related companies, in Europe.
Acted in a multi- billion dispute between investors in a Kazakh mine involving allegations of fraud, a hostile share dilution and breach of a shareholders’ agreement. The BVI unfair prejudice claim was heard in LCIA Arbitration. Subsequent novel enforcement strategies including conspiracy claims against related companies in the BVI Commercial Court.
Has also acted in: other Nigerian telecoms disputes over pre-emption rights; a Lehman-related shareholder dispute – a multi-billion dollar claim concerning the interplay between the shareholders’ agreement and the LBIE Prime Brokerage Agreement (LCIA); a dispute between two international drinks companies in Africa over a shareholders’ agreement (ICC); and a dispute over whether rights to a gas field have been forfeited as a result of non-payment of cash calls under an exploration contract (LCIA); as well as for a Russian oligarch defending multi- billion fraud claims in a LCIA arbitration (retained as lead advocate); and a multi-billion SIAC dispute. Was also instructed on the IPOC – LVFG dispute.
Experience of UNCITRAL, LCIA, ICC, SIAC, ICSID, LME, LMAA and ad hoc arbitrations.
Significant experience of applications under the Arbitration Act, including s.9 (stays), s.24 (removal for misconduct); 43 (obtaining evidence from third parties), s.44 (freezing orders; general injunctions; orders for delivery up of vessels; orders for production of documents; orders for deposing witnesses), s.68 (serious misconduct), s.69 (error of law); ss.101-3 (enforcement).
Has advised on the enforcement of ICSID awards against foreign government’s UK assets and the effect of the State Immunity Act.
Also acted for an African government in relation to an international investment arbitration under ICSID rules, and for a private individual to recover loans from a Middle Eastern Head of State.
Acted for another African Government in a jurisdiction challenge which was resolved shortly before trial in the High Court.
Acted for the family interests of a well-known billionaire in a LCIA arbitration over an alleged entitlement to commission arising out of an investment in Africa.
Recommended in Chambers and Partners. Recent quotes include “Very impressive and a good cross-examiner. A robust and strong advocate, who is very user-friendly and easy to work with”.
- Banking & financial services
Frequently acts and advises in relation to noteholder/bondholder issues.
Cyrus v Oceanwood. Acted for Oceanwood in a Financial List dispute that settled shortly before trial in September 2019. The case concerned Cyrus’ purported exercise of a Put Option, whether Cyrus had inside information under the Market Abuse Regulation, and various novel points under MAR in relation to insider dealing.
Acted for LBF in LBF v KTS. LBF successfully challenged the KTs Loss Calculation under the 1992 ISDA Master Agreement. The case turned on cross-examination and involved consideration of the 1992 ISDA Master close out provisions and calculation of Loss, contractual interpretation, and the extent of contractual discretion.
Acted for Majority Holders of Senior Notes in Norske Skog in an expedited trial in 2018. Proceedings started in January 2018; judgment was given in March 2018 after numerous interlocutory hearings.
Acted for UniCredit against Barclays in relation to the termination of guarantees designed to achieve RWA relief; and has a number of swap mis-selling / ISDA disputes.
Acted for convertible noteholders in a dispute over validity of conversion notices and damages for failure to convert bonds to shares.
Bond disputes: Acted for the Mezzanine Lenders against their Security Trustee as to their rights on enforcement by Senior Lenders; the Bondholders of Ideal Standard (concerning equity cure provisions); the Bondholders of the Viridian Group (Junior Lenders’ rights to prevent a disposal approved by Senior Lenders); Bondholders of the Vinashin Group in their application for summary judgment on the bonds and effect of cost-sharing provisions; the bondholders of Elektrim in their successful application for payment down of over €500m, and subsequent successful contingent payment/loss of a chance action. Also acted for the Bondholders of Kremikovtzi in their €500m summary judgment application.
Acted in a number of SIV cases, including Sigma Finance (the first SIV case to go to the Supreme Court)
In addition to reported cases, experience of claims against trading houses and banks (including disputes over alleged bribery, claims in bad faith, fraud, front running), claims to have traded in error, and overseas regulatory intervention into hedge funds operating out of London.
Instructed to defend South Africa’s largest bank from claims of front running and dishonesty; case settled successfully before trial with the Claimant publicly acknowledging the Bank’s integrity and making a payment towards its costs. Joint winner of Legal Business’ 2003 award for Litigation Team of the Year (with Allen & Overy, Bernard Eder QC & Brian Dye) for the work done on this case.
Recommended in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500; was shortlisted by Chambers and Partners for Banking Junior of the year in 2013. Recent comments include “he’s tenacious and his written work is excellent”; “a very strong, responsive and user-friendly lawyer, who gives clear, practical advice”.
Edmund has given various talks on bond-related issues and the duties of Noteholders’ trustees and security trustees.
- Civil fraud & asset recovery
Most of Edmund’s cases involve allegations of fraud; bribery; dishonesty / breach of fiduciary duty, tracing and he has considerable experience of injunctive relief.
Recommended in Chambers and Partners for fraud: “Impressive Advocate.” “He is innovative, energetic and creative in his approach to unusual problems”. “He’s approachable, intelligent and a quick thinker.”
- Commercial chancery disputes
The majority of Edmund’s work is chancery related, whether as a result of express private family trusts, bondholder trust disputes, fraud claims, claims against directors or other claims of fiduciary duty, restrictions on share transfers / pre-emption rights over shares and the equitable priority of options, and much of it is arbitration, as set out above.
Recommended in Chambers and Partners. Recent comments include “very popular with clients” and “very, very effective”.
- Commercial dispute resolution
Recommended in Chambers and Partners / Legal 500. See particular specialist areas within Commercial dispute resolution for more detail. Comments include “Extremely bright and hard-working. He’s also very enthusiastic”. “super-bright and an absolute delight to work with”.
- Company & insolvency law / corporate recovery
Experience of claims against directors; derivative actions; unfair prejudice and just and equitable winding up (including unfair prejudice relief under the BVI Companies Act in arbitration); liquidators’ directions applications; pre-emption rights over shares and restrictions on share transfers; and disputes over the validity of corporate restructurings.
- Energy & natural resources
A significant part of Edmund’s practice is oil and gas related. Acted for the KRG in a dispute in which damages claimed were a multiple of its GDP, and acted for one of the parties to a joint bidding agreement in Offshore Ghana.
Acted in numerous disputes over long term supplies of coal from Australia and Indonesia.
Experience of disputes over Indian Power plants; interests in a gas field following non-payment of cash-calls; acted in disputes over agreements for the supply of oil under long term contracts in
Africa, and similar claims in Romania; claims for royalties on oilfields; an alleged “mistaken trade” on the LME.
Advised in relation to the then largest ever Kyoto protocol carbon emissions offset trade (for some €500m) raising issues of assignment of burdens in contracts.
Acted for the administrators of one of the UK’s largest consumers of gas (accounting for 0.5% of national demand) in a dispute over the pricing of gas provided out of contract following termination on administration.
Edmund has given various talks on issues arising in long-term gas supply contracts. Comments in the Legal 500 include “A very strong advocate, who is especially good on the energy side”.
- Offshore litigation
Edmund was called to the Bar in the BVI in 2007. Since then he has been instructed in relation to numerous disputes offshore – in the BVI, Bahamas, Nevis and Jersey, often arising out of trust or company matters.
Recent matters include two applications to appoint liquidators over BVI companies and the trial of a derivative action that is currently part heard in the BVI; and he has also been instructed in two trust disputes in Jersey.
Edmund has also been registered as a foreign lawyer in Singapore and is currently instructed in a dispute before the Singapore International Commercial Court.
- Professional negligence
Various professional negligence actions, in particular in connection with mortgage fraud / negligent lending / valuations.
Defended reinsurance brokers against allegations of fraud in film finance.
Acted for reinsureds against brokers for failing to ensure proper cover obtained on placement. Acted for and against solicitors accused of negligence in respect of administration of trusts, tax advice, and preparation of wills. Experience of acting in claims arising out of negligent/fraudulent conveyancing transactions.
- Revenue law (including VAT, IPT, duties & excise)
Experience of single/multiple disputes, special methods for partial exemption, claims to compound interest, scope of the financial services exemption, scope of the insurance exemption, scope of the medical exemption, unjust enrichment, the land exemption, s.47 FA 1997 and the three year cap, the effect of s.85 agreements, face value vouchers, and dealing with the rewriting of transactions following a finding of abuse.
Recommended in the Legal 500. Comments include “”Articulate and technically very strong, with a good commercial approach to boot”.
- Shipping & admiralty
In addition to reported cases, experience of numerous MOA disputes (both NSF93 and 87), including disputes over which party was the principal of brokers in various ship sales including one where over $60m was claimed as damages, the measure of damages where there is no available market, brokers’ entitlement to commission.
Acted in a number of back-to-back long term commodity supply disputes raising such issues as frustration, force majeure, meaning of fairly evenly spread/evenly spread provisions regarding shipment windows, nomination obligations and implied terms.
Experience of a variety of safe port/safe berth disputes (including the leading Court of Appeal authority The Archimidis), bill of lading claims, cargo claims for contamination/short delivery, charterparty disputes (including claims for repudiation of long term timecharters on the basis of excessive noise and vibration), disputes between lines and their agents, demurrage disputes (including a modern rarity, a Commercial Court demurrage trial, as well as numerous construction issues in relation to demurrage provisions of sale contracts and whether they are freestanding or operate by way of indemnity), claims to general average and advice over a major pollution disaster.
Shipbuilding experience includes a long-running FPSO conversion arbitration, and has previous experience of numerous construction/conversion cases: including the leading Court of Appeal authority Stocznia Gdynia SA v Gearbulk Holdings SA  3 WLR 677 (whether contractual remedies are a complete code, interpretation of exclusion clauses, and effect of a contractual termination on common law rights). Was instructed for the yard in Latvian Shipping. Acted in various shipbuilding arbitrations (including for the buyers of two oil rigs regarding claims for over
$500m). Instructed on five superyacht construction cases by different billionaires/royal families, as well more minor yacht disputes. Experience of applications for injunctions for orders to transfer vessels to buyers before delivery is due under the shipbuilding contract.
Recommended in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. Comments include “He is phenomenally bright in a problem-solving kind of way.” “He is a really clever and striking advocate.”
2018 Appointed QC
1999 Essex Court Chambers
1998 Called to the Bar
1998 Lecturer in Constitutional Law at St Edmund Hall, Oxford
LLM, Harvard Law School
Kennedy Scholar; places first in Advanced Constitutional Law class
BA (Law) Balliol College, Oxford
Finals (Law): First Class
Mods (Philosophy & French): Distinction
University scholarship in French, university finals prize (placed first in two papers), various college scholarships and prizes
2013 listed in Chambers UK Top 100 barristers
2013 Shortlisted for Chambers UK Banking Junior of the Year
2003 Joint winner of Legal Business’ award for Litigation Team of the Year (with Allen & Overy, Bernard Eder QC & Brian Dye) for defence of a South African bank from fraud claims