Professional practice

Legal 500 Leading Junior

John specialises in commercial litigation, with a focus on disputes in the fields of banking and finance, civil fraud, and shipping. John was named one of the top 10 juniors for Commercial Litigation under eight years’ call in 2018 and is recommended by The Legal 500 UK for Banking & Finance and Shipping. Legal directories describe John as “incredibly hardworking and very bright”, “with an unparalleled ability to deal with difficult clients in highly-pressured situations”.

John frequently appears as sole counsel, and has acted in the Supreme Court, Privy Council and Court of Appeal, as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union and in arbitration. Most of his cases are in the Commercial Court or in arbitration.  He has considerable experience of interlocutory and procedural law, including freezing injunctions, jurisdiction disputes and disclosure-related applications.

Recent cases include:

  • Suppipat v Narongdej & ors: acting for the 11th & 13th defendants in a US$1-2 billion claim for conspiracy under Thai law, concerning dealings in the shares of a substantial Thai renewable energy company. 17-week trial commences October 2022. (Led by Ruth den Besten.)
  • E D & F Man Capital Markets Limited v Come Harvest Holdings Ltd & ors: acted for the Claimant in proceedings leading to a $284m judgment in deceit and conspiracy following a 5-week trial in 2021. The case arose out of forged warehouse receipts used in repo financing transactions, and led to jurisdiction battles in the High Court and Court of Appeal. (Led by Huw Davies KC.)
  • Premier Cruises Ltd v DLA Piper Rus Ltd & DLA Piper UK Ltd: acted for a cruise ship operator in a negligence claim against former solicitors, resulting from the handling of a shipbuilding contract and arbitration. Dispute settled after rejection of defendants’ application to stay the claims in favour of arbitration. (Led by Philippa Hopkins KC.)
  • Investec Trust (Guernsey) Limited v Glenalla Properties Limited: four-day hearing in the Privy Council, concerning the respective rights of trustees, beneficiaries and creditors of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust, after £180m claims were brought against the trustees by liquidators of SPVs formerly owned by the trustees.  (Led by Lord Goldsmith KC and Kathryn Purkis.)

John has a particular specialism in the law of guarantees.  He is co-author of the forthcoming (8th) edition of Andrews & Millett on Guarantees, and a co-author of the Guarantee and Indemnity title of Atkin’s Court Forms.

 

What others say

John is recommended by The Legal 500 UK for Banking & Finance and Shipping, and was named one of the top 10 juniors for Commercial Litigation under eight years’ call in 2018.

Comments include:

  • “John is incredibly hard working and always available. He is fiercely intelligent and is able to deliver perfectly reasoned and strategic advice quickly. His commerciality and understanding of what is important to his clients is excellent” (Banking & Finance, 2023)
  • “A powerhouse of an advocate” (Shipping, 2023)
  • Incredibly hardworking and very bright, with an unparalleled ability to deal with difficult clients in highly-pressured situations” (Banking & Finance, 2022)
  • A very thoughtful, calm junior with excellent communication and technical skills. He is an excellent team player” (Shipping, 2022)
  • Clever, tenacious, and hardworking” (Shipping, 2021)
  • Incredibly bright, hardworking, and able to produce top quality work whilst under a lot of pressure and maintaining his good humour throughout” (Banking & Finance, 2021)
  • Has an ability to quickly grasp technical issues” (Shipping, 2020)
  • a force to reckon with” (Shipping, 2019)
  • Fought our client’s corner ferociously, getting an excellent result” (Commercial Litigation, 2019).
  • Very client-focused” (Shipping, 2018)
  • Fantastic” (Shipping, 2017)
Examples of recent cases

E D & F Man Capital Markets Limited v Come Harvest Holdings Ltd & ors [2022] EWHC 229 (Comm).  Five-week fraud trial leading to $284m judgment in deceit and conspiracy, in a case concerning forged warehouse receipts used in repo financing transactions.  Earlier jurisdiction challenge in the High Court and Court of Appeal. (Led by Huw Davies KC.)

Suppipat v Narongdej & ors.  Acting for the 11th & 13th defendants in a US$1-2 billion claim for conspiracy under Thai law, concerning dealings in the shares of a substantial Thai renewable energy company. 17-week trial commences October 2022.  (Led by Ruth den Besten.)

Premier Cruises Ltd v DLA Piper Rus Ltd & DLA Piper UK Ltd.  Acted for a cruise ship operator in a negligence claim against former solicitors, resulting from the handling of a shipbuilding contract and arbitration.  Dispute settled after rejection of defendants’ application to stay the claims in favour of arbitration: [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 511.  (Led by Philippa Hopkins KC.)

Bayer CropScience AG v European Commission, CJEU Case C-499/18P.  Acted for the National Farmers’ Union, intervening in an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning the application of the precautionary principle in a decision to withdraw regulatory approval for the use of a pesticide.  (Led by Hugh Mercer KC.)

Al Farouqi v Ikon Finance Ltd & anor [2020] EWHC 1730 (QB). Acted as sole counsel for the second defendant, a foreign currency broker, on a successful summary judgment application against a £53m claim for fraud and breach of contract.

Times Trading Corp v National Bank of Fujairah [2020] EWHC 1078 (Comm), [2020] EWHC 1983 (Comm), [2020] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 211. Resisted anti-suit injunction application and obtained extension of time for commencing arbitration proceedings under s.12 of the Arbitration Act 1996. (Led by Steven Berry KC.)

Southern Route Maritime SA v Jiangsu BDH Oil Industrial Co Ltd [2020] EWHC 1040 (Comm). Obtained anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings in China brought in breach of an arbitration clause in a bill of lading. (Sole counsel.)

Rubicon Vantage International Pte Ltd v KrisEnergy Ltd [2019] EWHC 2012 (Comm). Led by Nigel Eaton KC in a 2-day Commercial Court trial in July 2019, defending a claim brought under a parent company guarantee.

R (oao Newby Foods Ltd) v Food Standards Agency [2019] UKSC 18, [2019] 3 CMLR 19. Acted as sole counsel for the National Farmers’ Union, intervening in support of an appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the interpretation of ‘Mechanically Separated Meat’ under European Union law, and the respective roles of national courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union where a question of law is referred to the CJEU.

Inter Export LLC v Townley [2018] EWCA Civ 2068. Acted as sole counsel in an appeal to the Court of Appeal against a finding of liability in deceit, in a case raising issues about the measure of damages where false representations are found to have been ‘continuing’.

Edgeworth Capital (Luxembourg) S.A.R.L v Aabar Investments PJS [2018] EWHC 1627. Led by Alain Choo Choy KC at the 3-week trial of a claim against a sovereign wealth fund for an injunction to restrain the exercise of security rights, based on an alleged oral agreement.

Investec Trust (Guernsey) Limited v Glenalla Properties Limited [2018] UKPC 7, [2019] AC 271. Led by Lord Goldsmith KC and Kathryn Purkis in a set of appeals from Guernsey. The case concerned the respective rights of trustees, beneficiaries and creditors of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust after claims in the total sum of approx. £180m were brought against the former trustees under intercompany loans by the liquidators of SPVs formerly owned by the TDT trustees.

Robert Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton UK LLP. Acted between August 2015 and June 2018 as junior counsel (led by Alain Choo Choy KC) in the interlocutory stages of a Commercial Court claim for damages for malicious prosecution, unlawful act conspiracy and unlawful interference, arising out of the defendants’ involvement in the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation of Robert Tchenguiz during 2009-2012.

Union Marine Classification Services LLC v The Government of the Union of Comoros [2017] EWHC 2364 (Comm), [2018] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 174; [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 608. Acted as sole counsel for the respondent government in arbitration proceedings and in successfully opposing a challenge under s.68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to the tribunal’s award. Acted (led by Richard Jacobs KC) in earlier related proceedings reported at [2015] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 49 (Eder J) and [2016] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 193 (Court of Appeal), a leading case on the scope of arbitrators’ powers to correct an award and on the relationship between s.67 and s.68 of the Arbitration Act where a tribunal is alleged to have exceeded its powers.

Sumati Shipping & Chartering Pte Ltd v TMNP Repairs Ltd & ors (2017). Acted as sole counsel in a series of applications in the Chancery Division for freezing orders and Norwich Pharmacal relief on behalf of the victim of a fraud. Freezing injunctions obtained against more than 50 respondents.

Arbitration & related court applications

John is regularly instructed in LMAA arbitrations, and has also acted in LCIA, SIAC and SCMA arbitrations. He has acted in challenges to arbitration awards under s.67, s.68 and s.69 of the Arbitration Act 1996, and in applications for anti-suit injunctions in favour of arbitration.

Premier Cruises Ltd v DLA Piper Rus Ltd & DLA Piper UK Ltd.  Opposed defendants’ application under s.9 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to stay the claims in favour of arbitration: [2021] EWHCC 151 (Comm), [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 511.  (Led by Philippa Hopkins KC.)

Southern Route Maritime SA v Jiangsu BDH Oil Industrial Co Ltd [2020] EWHC 1040 (Comm). Obtained anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings in China brought in breach of an arbitration clause in a bill of lading. (Sole counsel.)

Times Trading Corp v National Bank of Fujairah [2020] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 211, [2020] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 317.  Resisted anti-suit injunction application and obtained extension of time for commencing arbitration proceedings under s.12 of the Arbitration Act 1996. (Led by Steven Berry KC.)

Union Marine Classification Services LLC v The Government of the Union of Comoros [2017] EWHC 2364 (Comm), [2018] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 174; [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 608. Acted (as sole counsel) for the respondent government, successfully opposing a challenge to the arbitrator’s award under s.68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 and a related application under s.24 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to remove the arbitrator.

Union Marine Classification Society LLC v Government of the Union of Comoros [2015] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 49 (Eder J), [2016] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 193 (Court of Appeal). Led by Richard Jacobs KC, successfully resisting a challenge under s.67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to an arbitrator’s correction of an award. Leading case on the scope of arbitrators’ powers to correct an award, and on the relationship between s.67 and s.68 of the Arbitration Act where a tribunal is alleged to have exceeded its powers.

Banking & financial services

John is listed as a leading junior (band 4) for banking & financial services by The Legal 500 UK. John is a co-author of the 8th edition of Andrews & Millett on Guarantees (forthcoming), and co-author of Atkins Court Forms on Guarantees. He has written on finance-related topics for Practical Law Company and for the Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law.

Suppipat v Narongdej & ors. Acting for the CEO and for a non-executive director of a substantial Thai bank in a US$1-2 billion fraud claim brought under Thai law, listed for a 17-week trial commencing in October 2022.  (Led by Ruth den Besten.)

E D & F Man Capital Markets Limited v Come Harvest Holdings Ltd & ors [2022] EWHC 229 (Comm) Acted for the claimant, a financial brokerage firm, in Commercial Court proceedings leading to a five-week fraud trial and a $284m judgment arising out of the use of forged warehouse receipts in repo financing transactions.  (Led by Huw Davies KC.)

LMAA & SCMA arbitrations (2021 & 2022).  Acted for a financing bank and bill of lading holder in two 1-week trials of claims against shipowners for misdelivery of cargoes.  (Led by Steven Berry KC.)

Al Farouqi v Ikon Finance Ltd & anor [2020] EWHC 1730 (QB). Acted as sole counsel for the second defendant, a foreign currency broker, on a successful summary judgment application against a £53m claim for fraud and breach of contract.

Rubicon Vantage International Pte Ltd v KrisEnergy Ltd [2019] EWHC 2012 (Comm). Led by Nigel Eaton KC in a 2-day Commercial Court trial in July 2019, defending a claim brought under a parent company guarantee.

Frohnsdorff v Saerimnir & anor. Acted for claimant in a claim for repayment of £500,000 loan and enforcement of security in connection with a share purchase transaction. Claim settled following CCMC in London Circuit Commercial Court (2019).

Edgeworth Capital (Luxembourg) S.A.R.L v Aabar Investments PJS [2018] EWHC 1627. Led by Alain Choo Choy KC at the trial of a claim against a sovereign wealth fund for an injunction to restrain the exercise of security rights, based on an alleged oral agreement.

Investec Trust (Guernsey) Limited v Glenalla Properties Limited [2018] UKPC 7, [2019] AC 271. Led by Lord Goldsmith KC and Kathryn Purkis in 7 appeals to the Privy Council from proceedings in Guernsey concerning the respective rights of trustees, beneficiaries and creditors of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust after claims in the total sum of approx. £180m were brought against the former trustees under intercompany loans by former subsidiaries of the TDT.

Robert Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton UK LLP (2015-2018). Acted as junior counsel (led by Alain Choo Choy KC) in the interlocutory stages of a Commercial Court claim for damages for malicious prosecution, unlawful act conspiracy and unlawful interference, arising out of the defendants’ involvement in the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation of Robert Tchenguiz during 2009-2012.

Article, “Of loans and limitations: limitation and the enforcement of syndicated credit agreements”, published in 2017 32(2) Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, pp.75-79.

John has given (written) expert evidence in foreign proceedings on a question of English banking law.

 

Civil fraud & asset recovery

Much of John’s work is in the area of civil fraud, including claims for deceit, conspiracy, unjust enrichment, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance. John has experience of applications for freezing injunctions, disclosure (including Norwich Pharmacal relief) and committal for contempt.

E D & F Man Capital Markets Limited v Come Harvest Holdings Limited & ors [2022] EWHC 229 (Comm).  Acted for the claimant in 4-year litigation leading to a $284m judgment in deceit and conspiracy after a five-week trial. Leading judgment on the (un)availability of knowing receipt claims in respect of funds received before rescission of a fraudulently induced contract.  (Led by Huw Davies KC.)

Suppipat v Narongdej & ors. Acting for the 11th & 13th defendants in a US$1-2 billion claim for conspiracy under Thai law, concerning dealings in the shares of a substantial Thai renewable energy company. (Led by Ruth den Besten.)

Al Farouqi v Ikon Finance Ltd & anor [2020] EWHC 1730 (QB). Acted as sole counsel for the second defendant, a foreign currency broker, on a successful summary judgment application against a £53m claim for fraud and breach of contract.

Inter Export LLC v Townley [2018] EWCA Civ 2068. Acted as sole counsel in an appeal to the Court of Appeal against a finding of liability in deceit, in a case raising issues about the measure of damages where false representations are found to have been ‘continuing’.

Sumati Shipping & Chartering Pte Ltd v TMNP Repairs Ltd & ors. Acted as sole counsel in a series of applications in the Chancery Division during 2017-2018 for freezing orders and Norwich Pharmacal relief on behalf of the victim of a fraud.

Robert Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton UK LLP (2015-2018). Acted as junior counsel (led by Alain Choo Choy KC) in the interlocutory stages of a Commercial Court claim for damages for malicious prosecution, unlawful act conspiracy and unlawful interference, arising out of the defendants’ involvement in the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation of Robert Tchenguiz during 2009-2012. Listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases of 2018.

Tchenguiz v Serious Fraud Office (2014). Acted as junior counsel with Joe Smouha KC, Alex Bailin KC and Anton Dudnikov on behalf of Robert Tchenguiz in damages proceedings against the Serious Fraud Office, listed as one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2014. The case settled in July 2014, shortly before a 12-week Commercial Court trial.

 

Commercial chancery disputes

Investec Trust (Guernsey) Limited v Glenalla Properties Limited [2018] UKPC 7, [2019] AC 271. Led by Lord Goldsmith KC and Kathryn Purkis in 7 appeals to the Privy Council from proceedings in Guernsey concerning the respective rights of trustees, beneficiaries and creditors of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust after claims in the total sum of approx. £180m were brought against the former trustees under intercompany loans by former subsidiaries of the TDT. Leading case on trustees’ rights to indemnity, creditors’ subrogated rights against trust assets and choice of law treatment of statutory limitations of trustees’ liability.

BTI 2014 LLC v Sequana SA [2016] EWHC 1686 (Ch). Assisted a team of counsel led by Joe Smouha KC and Andrew Thompson KC at the 31-day trial of claims against the directors and parent company of an English company exposed to US environmental law liabilities. Held (by Rose J) that a €135m dividend paid by the company had been a transaction at an undervalue contrary to s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986; but that the defendants were not liable for breach of fiduciary duty or for non-compliance with Companies Act rules for payment of dividends.

Recent commercial chancery experience as sole counsel includes:

  • Acting for the defendants in Chancery Division proceedings for an account and declaratory relief, based on allegations of breach of trust in connection with a transaction for the purchase and resale of a property.
  • 2-day trial (June 2019) in the Central London County Court (Chancery List), successfully defending a claim for disclosure of documents brought by one alleged trustee / partner / joint venture partner against another.
  • Acting as sole counsel in the Commercial Circuit Court in a shareholder dispute between former business partners.
Commercial dispute resolution

John was named one of 10 leading junior barristers under eight years’ call for Commercial Litigation by The Legal 500 UK in 2018, where he was described as having “fought our client’s corner ferociously, getting an excellent result”.  He has since been described as “Incredibly hardworking and very bright, with an unparalleled ability to deal with difficult clients in highly-pressured situations”; and as “an excellent team player”.

Suppipat v Narongdej & ors. Acting for the 11th & 13th defendants in a US$1-2 billion claim for conspiracy under Thai law, concerning dealings in the shares of a substantial Thai renewable energy company. 17-week trial commences in October 2022. Listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases of 2022. (Led by Ruth den Besten.)

E D & F Man Capital Markets Limited v Come Harvest Holdings Ltd & ors [2022] EWHC 229 (Comm).  Acted for the claimant in 4-year proceedings leading to a five-week fraud trial and $284m judgment, in a case concerning forged warehouse receipts used in repo financing transactions.  (Led by Huw Davies KC.)

Robert Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton UK LLP (2015-2018). Acted as junior counsel (led by Alain Choo Choy KC) in the interlocutory stages of a Commercial Court claim for damages for malicious prosecution, unlawful act conspiracy and unlawful interference, arising out of the defendants’ involvement in the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation of Robert Tchenguiz during 2009-2012. Listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases of 2018.

Edgeworth Capital (Luxembourg) S.A.R.L v Aabar Investments PJS [2018] EWHC 1627. Led by Alain Choo Choy KC at the 3-week trial of a claim against a sovereign wealth fund for an injunction to restrain the exercise of security rights, based on an alleged oral agreement.

Blue Tropic Limited v Chkhartishvili [2015] EWHC 3640 (Ch). Assisted Joe Smouha KC and Watson Pringle at the trial of two companies’ claims for damages under the Georgian law of delict. The companies successfully argued that the Defendant had misappropriated their valuable real estate assets in Georgia.

Tchenguiz v Serious Fraud Office. Acted as junior counsel with Joe Smouha KC, Alex Bailin KC and Anton Dudnikov on behalf of Robert Tchenguiz in damages proceedings against the Serious Fraud Office, listed as one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2014. The case settled, after numerous interlocutory disputes, in July 2014, shortly before a 12-week Commercial Court trial.

John has experience in the Commercial Court of interlocutory disputes concerning jurisdiction, disclosure, security for costs, striking out and summary judgment, unless orders etc. He also has experience of applying for interim injunctions including freezing injunctions, and has been involved in proceedings in other jurisdictions including Singapore, Hong Kong and Guernsey.

Conflict of laws & private international law

Premier Cruises Ltd v DLA Piper Rus Ltd & DLA Piper UK Ltd.  Opposed defendants’ application under s.9 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to stay the claims in favour of arbitration: [2021] EWHCC 151 (Comm), [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 511.  (Led by Philippa Hopkins KC.)

Times Trading Corp v National Bank of Fujairah [2020] EWHC 1078 (Comm) [2020] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 317. Opposed anti-suit injunction, and succeeded in having the injunction granted only on terms that the applicant not take a time-bar point in London arbitration. (Led by Steven Berry KC.)

Southern Route Maritime SA v Jiangsu BDH Oil Industrial Co Ltd [2020] EWHC 1040 (Comm). Obtained anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings in China brought in breach of an arbitration clause in a bill of lading. (Sole counsel.)

E D & F Man Capital Markets Limited v Come Harvest Holdings Ltd & ors [2019] EWHC 1661 (Comm) [2019] ILPr 40 (first-instance), [2019] EWCA Civ 2073 [2020] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 14 (Court of Appeal). Led by Huw Davies KC, successfully resisted a jurisdiction challenge by the 10th Defendant. Issues included scope and application of Articles 4 and 10 of the Rome II Regulation to claims for unlawful means conspiracy and knowing receipt.

Investec Trust (Guernsey) Limited v Glenalla Properties Limited [2018] UKPC 7, [2019] AC 271. Led by Lord Goldsmith KC and Kathryn Purkis. Leading case on the conflict of laws treatment of article 32(1)(a) of the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984, which limits the liability of a trustee to a third party. Held (by a majority) that article 32(1)(a) was a rule about ‘status’, with the result that it should be applied to limit the liability of trustees under contracts governed by a law other than Jersey law.

Article entitled “Personhood and status of legal persons in private international law” published in (2019) 15:2 Journal of Private International Law, pp.288-314.

John has experience of applications to serve proceedings out of the jurisdiction and applications for anti-suit injunctions.

Energy & natural resources

John has a particular interest in the production, supply and regulation of renewable energy, and has lectured on litigation related to climate change. Previous matters in which John has acted or advised include:

Proposed judicial review. Acted for a feed-in-tariff generator in a proposed judicial review against Ofgem arising out of a Continuity of FIT Payments Direction issued after the insolvency of Solarplicity Supply Limited. Matter resolved without need for proceedings.

LCIA Arbitration. Assisted a counsel team led by Graham Dunning KC at the trial of a US$300m dispute relating to an interest in uranium mines.

Advice concerning the scheduling, storage and inventory management of LNG under an LNG Terminal Use Agreement.

European law & competition

John contributed to the EU Law chapter of the 6th edition of Supperstone on Judicial Review (2017). Many of his cases involve issues of EU law, particularly in the field of agricultural law. These include:

T-180/20 and T-184/20, Sharpston v Council, Conference & Court. Acted (pro bono) for Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston, seeking a determination as to whether the applicant’s mandate as Advocate General was automatically terminated under Article 50(3) TEU as a result of Brexit. (Led by Nicholas Forwood KC and Hugh Mercer KC.)

C-499/18 P, Bayer Cropscience AG and Bayer AG. Acted for the National Farmers’ Union, intervening in an appeal to the CJEU concerning the circumstances in which approval for an ‘active substance’ used to produce plant protection products can be reviewed and withdrawn or restricted, under the Plant Protection Products Regulation (Reg 1107/2009). Judgment of the CJEU delivered in May 2021. (Led by Hugh Mercer KC.)

R (oao Newby Foods Ltd) v Food Standards Agency [2019] UKSC 18, [2019] 3 CMLR 19. Acted as sole counsel for the National Farmers Union, intervening in support of an appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the interpretation of ‘Mechanically Separated Meat’ under European Union law, and the respective roles of national courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union where a question of law is referred to the CJEU.

The Queen (o.a.o. Stody Estate Limited) v The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2018] EWHC 378 (Admin), [2018] Env. L.R. 27. Acted as sole counsel for the NFU (intervening), in a case concerning the construction of a Regulation requiring reduction of subsidy payments for non-compliance with environmental law standards.

R (Friends of the Earth Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2015] EWHC 3283 (Admin). Led by Hugh Mercer KC, acting for the NFU (intervening), in a case concerning the construction of a Regulation authorising limited emergency derogations by Member States from EU prohibitions on the use of pesticides.

International trade, transport & commodities

Many of John’s cases involve international sale of goods, alongside his core practice areas of banking and shipping. Current and recent matters include:

LMAA & SCMA arbitrations (2021 & 2022).  Acted for a financing bank and bill of lading holder in two 1-week trials of claims against shipowners for misdelivery of cargoes of coal and grain.  (Led by Steven Berry KC.)

E D & F Man Capital Markets Limited v Come Harvest Holdings Ltd & ors [2022] EWHC 229 (Comm).  Substantial Commercial Court fraud proceedings involving fraudulent warehouse receipts, including market practice expert evidence about the use and authentication of warehouse receipts.

Advising re: effect of a retention of title clause, including conflicts-of-laws issues.

FOSFA Appeal (assisting Jeffrey Gruder KC), concerning the meaning of an arrival provision in a CIF contract.

Public & administrative law

R (oao Newby Foods Ltd) v Food Standards Agency [2019] UKSC 18, [2019] 3 CMLR 19. Acted as sole counsel for the National Farmers Union, intervening in support of an appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the interpretation of ‘Mechanically Separated Meat’ under European Union law, and the respective roles of national courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union where a question of law is referred to the CJEU.

The Queen (o.a.o. Stody Estate Limited) v The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2018] EWHC 378 (Admin), [2018] Env. L.R. 27. Acted as sole counsel for the National Farmers Union as intervenor in a challenge to the Secretary of State’s imposition of a subsidy-reduction penalty. The decision clarifies when a farmer’s SPS payment can (and cannot) be reduced owing to the criminal acts of an employee.

R (Friends of the Earth Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2015] EWHC 3283 (Admin). Acted (with Hugh Mercer KC) for the National Farmers Union as interested party, resisting a judicial review challenge to the authorisation of temporary and limited use of two neonicotinoid pesticides.

Shipping & admiralty

John is listed as a leading junior (band 3) for Shipping by The Legal 500 UK, which describes him as “A very thoughtful, calm junior with excellent communication and technical skills”, and “an excellent team player”.  He has previously been described as “clever, tenacious and hardworking” (2021); “able to quickly grasp technical issues” (2020); “a force to be reckoned with” (2019); “very client-focused” (2018); and “fantastic” (2017).  He is regularly instructed in charterparty disputes and other shipping-related matters, including shipbuilding and ship sale-and-purchase disputes.

LMAA & SCMA arbitrations (2021 & 2022).  Acted for a financing bank and bill of lading holder in two 1-week trials of claims against shipowners for misdelivery of cargoes, involving market practice evidence about discharge and delivery practices in Egypt and India.  (Led by Steven Berry KC.)

LMAA arbitration (2022).  Acted at a 5-day trial for the prospective buyer of a €32m superyacht, in a claim to have terminated the purchase agreement on grounds of COVID-related force majeure and defective repair works.  (Led by James Collins KC.)

LMAA arbitration (July 2021).  Acted, leading Lorraine Aboagye, at a 1-week trial of claims and counterclaims between a ship builder and a ship designer.

Premier Cruises Ltd v DLA Piper Rus Ltd & DLA Piper UK Ltd.  Acted for a cruise ship operator in a negligence claim against former solicitors, resulting from the handling of a shipbuilding contract and arbitration.  Dispute settled after rejection of defendants’ application to stay the claims in favour of arbitration: [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 511.  (Led by Philippa Hopkins KC.)

Southern Route Maritime SA v Jiangsu BDH Oil Industrial Co Ltd [2020] EWHC 1040 (Comm). Obtained anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings in China brought in breach of an arbitration clause in a bill of lading. (Sole counsel.)

Times Trading Corp v National Bank of Fujairah [2020] EWHC 1078 (Comm), [2020] EWHC 1983 (Comm), [2020] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 211. Successful application by defendant bank (and bill of lading holder) for an extension of time under s.12 of the Arbitration Act 1996, in order to bring a claim for misdelivery against a bareboat charterer. (Led by Steven Berry KC.)

LMAA arbitration. Acted as sole counsel for a defendant shipbuilder at a 2-day hearing in May 2020 of a claim for rectification of a provision in a shipbuilding contract.

Rubicon Vantage International Pte Ltd v KrisEnergy Ltd [2019] EWHC 2012 (Comm). Led by Nigel Eaton KC, acting for the guarantor of a bareboat charterer of a floating storage and offloading vessel (“FSO”), defending a claim for sums found to be due under a parent company guarantee as a result of engineering work carried out on the FSO prior to mobilisation.

“Amalie Essberger” Tankreederei GmbH & Co. KG v Marubeni Corporation [2019] EWHC 3402 (Comm) [2020] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 393. Acted for Charterers in a case concerning the interpretation of a time-bar provision for demurrage claims.

LMAA arbitration. Led by Philippa Hopkins KC at the 3-day trial (in November 2018) of a claim for lost chartering profits of $1.5 million, under a contractual indemnity in a ship sale agreement, following the vessel’s arrest in Nigeria.

LMAA Arbitration. Acted (as sole counsel) for Owners in a claim against Charterers for an indemnity under the BIMCO Ship to Ship Transfer Clause for Time Charter Parties, following injury to the vessel’s Second Officer during ship-to-ship transhipment of iron ore. Claim settled by mediation prior to hearing.

Union Marine Classification Services LLC v The Government of the Union of Comoros [2017] EWHC 2364 (Comm), [2018] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 174; [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 608. Dispute over termination by the Government of Comoros of a contract for the operation of a ship’s registry. Acted as sole counsel for the Government in a successful claim for an arbitration award finding that the contract had been validly terminated, then defended the award against a challenge under s.68 of the Arbitration Act 1996.

LMAA Arbitration. Led by Sara Cockerill KC in a 2-week shipbuilding dispute over the construction of a superyacht (October 2016).

LMAA Arbitration. Acted (as sole counsel) for Owners in a time charterparty balance-of-hire dispute concerning bunker contamination, engine damage and allegations of tampering with vessel logs. Dispute settled after a mediation in November 2015.

Ad-hoc arbitration (May 2015). Acted (with Sara Cockerill KC) in a dispute over the implementation of a settlement agreement, arising out of a longstanding joint venture chartering agreement.

Union Marine Classification Society LLC v Government of the Union of Comoros (3 day LMAA arbitration, July 2014). As sole counsel, defended a very substantial breach of contract claim for alleged wrongful termination of a concession agreement to operate the Comoros Open Registry.

SCMA Arbitrations. Acted (with James Collins KC) in 2 related shipbuilding arbitrations under the rules of the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration. Proceedings settled shortly before trial in September 2013.

John has been instructed as sole counsel in numerous other disputes under time and voyage charterparties, involving e.g. off-hire, speed and performance claims, liens, demurrage, late redelivery, unsafe ports, alleged bad bunkers, cargo claims, ice and tank-cleaning.  He is co-author, with Sir Bernard Eder, of Westlaw Insight articles on Charterparties and Bills of Lading.

Career

2012 Tenant at Essex Court Chambers, following completion of pupillage with James Collins KC

2011 Called to the Bar (Inner Temple)

2010 Law Clerk at Chang, Pistilli & Simmons (now Clifford Chance) in Sydney

Education

2010-2011 BPTC, City Law School (Outstanding)

2008-2009 BCL, Exeter College Oxford (Distinction)

2006-2008 BA (Hons) Law, King’s College Cambridge (First)

2004-2006 Classics ‘Part I’ (the first two years of a Cambridge BA). Starred First, ranked first in the year

Awards

2011 Winner of the Blackstone Mooting Competition (City Law School)

2010 Princess Royal Scholarship (Inner Temple)

2009 Joint winner of Holdsworth Society mooting competition (Oxford)

2009 HLA Hart prize for Jurisprudence and Political Theory (BCL)

2009 Arts and Humanities Research Council award to fund BCL studies

2008 Hurst Prize for Law (King’s College, Cambridge)

2007 Lovells Prize for Law (King’s College, Cambridge)

Publications
  • Co-author of the next (8th) edition of Andrews & Millett on Guarantees
  • Atkin’s Court Forms, GUARANTEE AND INDEMNITY — ACF 21(1) (2015 Issue) – co-editor with Richard Millett KC
  • Practical Law Company, author of practice note on “Co-Guarantors” (see attached)
  • Co-author of Westlaw Insight series of articles on Charterparties and Bills of Lading, with Sir Bernard Eder
  • Assistant Contributor to Supperstone, Goudie and Walker: Judicial Review (6th edition, 2018), Chapter 14: European Union Law
  • “Personhood and status of legal persons in private international law”, (2019) 15(2) Journal of Private International Law, pp.288-314