John Snider joined Essex Court Chambers and commenced practice as a barrister in 1992.
He has a broad-based commercial practice, which includes both advocacy and advisory work, particularly in Commercial Court and arbitration matters. Shipping cases are a core element of his practice. In recent years he has also acted in a number of very substantial cases involving the offshore oil and gas industry. Many of his cases involve jurisdictional matters. He is also experienced in cases involving allegations of civil fraud.
- What Others Say
“Thorough and easy to work with. A very experienced junior and good on paper.” (Legal 500 2023)
“He provides clear advice and is willing to express a strong view. Easy to work with, level-headed and calm.” (Legal 500 2022)
“An excellent and experienced junior for large cases.” (Legal 500 2021)
“A very clever lawyer and very good on paper” (Legal 500 2020)
“One of the best for producing clever pleadings” (Legal 500 2019)
“He is very hands-on” (Legal 500 2018)
“Extremely focused” (Legal 500 2017)
“He has a real eye for detail and presents arguments with incredible clarity” (Legal 500 2016)
- Examples of recent cases
TMF Trustee Ltd et al v. Fire Navigation Inc. et al  EWHC 2918 (Comm): acted for the owners of product tankers in a claim for damages for wrongful arrest against lenders. Owners succeeded in resisting an application by lenders for summary judgment by relying on the “prevention principle”.
Vetrica Navigation Co. v. Shebah Marine Services Ltd et al  EWHC 3735 (Comm): Acted for the owners of an oil tanker in obtaining summary judgment and worldwide freezing and disclosure orders against charterers.
Seadrill Ghana Operations v Tullow Ghana  EWHC 1640 (Comm): acted for Seadrill Ghana in a claim in which it recovered sums in excess of US$ 250 million under an offshore drilling agreement for the use of the deep water rig “West Leo”. The defendant unsuccessfully argued that the agreement had been terminated due to force majeure.
Eurobank Ergasias v Kalliroi Navigation  EWHC 2377 (Comm): acted successfully for Eurobank in a claim to recover freight and ship finance loans of about US$ 60 million involving allegations of fraud and illegality under foreign law and the interpretation of Article 9 of Rome 1.
Anapa Shipping v Hammoudeh Bros  EWHC 1691 (Comm): advising and acting for shipowners in a dispute relating to the carriage of a bulk cargo of maize and obtaining an order for the sale of the cargo.
SKNL v. Toll Global  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 115: acted for freight forwarders in a successful claim involving the application of the BIFA lien and anti set-off standard terms.
Acting for charterers of an offshore construction vessel in a dispute as to the vessel’s specification
Advising aircraft owners in a dispute with lessees concerning claims of force majeure arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Acting for owners of a vessel carrying a bulk cargo in a dispute with cargo interests arising out of a grounding.
Acting for operators of offshore rigs and drillships in a dispute under a shareholders’ agreement.
Acting for owners in LCIA and ad hoc arbitrations and associated appeal proceedings in a matter concerning misrepresentation and bribery in connection with contracts for the construction and use of a drillship.
Acting for shipowners in obtaining an anti-suit injunction restraining Russian proceedings and in a subsequent arbitration concerning a lien over an oil cargo.
Acting for freight forwarders in an arbitration concerning damage to a project cargo giving rise to issues as to the application of the Hague or Hague Visby Rules and claimed exclusion of liability.
Advising in relation to rights of rescission / termination of contracts for the construction of drillships.
Acting for owners of a tanker in a charterparty/ bill of lading dispute regarding the short loading of an oil cargo.
Acting for owners in an arbitration concerning the construction of the hire provisions of a long term NYPE charter and the non-payment of hire.
Advising as to the interpretation of the rules of mutual marine insurance companies.
Advising as to rights of termination of bareboat charters.
Acting in arbitrations concerning bill of lading claims in respect of the condition of bulk cargoes.
- Arbitration & related court applications
Appearing in arbitrations (ICC, LCIA, LMAA, LME, UNCITRAL and ad hoc) and applications to the Commercial Court under the Arbitration Act 1996 (e.g. anti-suit proceedings in support of English arbitration) and advising on appeal, enforcement and procedural and jurisdictional questions in relation to arbitration matters. Cases include:
Shackleton v. Al Shamsi  EWHC 304 (Comm): obtaining orders for the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards and associated costs orders.
HBC Hamburg Bulk Carriers v. Tangshan Haixing  1 AER (Comm) 1127: application for leave to appeal under s. 69 and application to remit under s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
Sembawang v. Pacific Ocean Shipping (The “Solitaire”) LTL 24.10.00: application for leave to appeal and appeal from interim declaratory award.
- Banking & financial services
Letters of credit; performance bonds; derivatives transactions under the ISDA documentation; guarantees; bills of exchange and cheques; banker-customer relations including bankers’ advice in relation to dual currency and hedge fund investments; FSA rules; consumer credit; mortgages; liens; assignments of receivables. Clients have included major financial institutions. Cases include:
TMF Trustee Ltd et al v. Fire Navigation Inc. et al  EWHC 2918 (Comm): effect of “no set-off” clause in loan agreement in relation to “prevention principle”.
Eurobank Ergasias SA v Kalliroi Navigation  EWHC 2377 (Comm): effect on loan agreements and guarantees of alleged fraud and illegality under foreign banking law.
National Westminster Bank v. Story  Lloyd’s Rep. Bank 261 (CA): applicability of Consumer Credit Act to advances made to customer.
Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland v. ECGD  1 Lloyd’s Rep.200  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 19 (CA): applicability of guarantees to forged bills of exchange; rescission of guarantees for misrepresentation; duties of creditor to surety; whether employer vicariously liable for tort in which its employee was a joint tortfeasor.
- Commercial dispute resolution
A wide variety of commercial litigation and arbitration including disputes in relation to agency agreements, joint ventures, wholesale distribution, financing agreements, directors’ duties, executive share options. Experience includes acting in cases involving expert finance/accounting evidence: e.g. breach of warranty in business and share sale agreement; valuation of loss of profits and valuation of options; valuation of restitutionary claims. Cases include:
Dean & Dean (A Firm) v. Grinina  EWHC 927: obtaining discharge of freezing order.
Kyrgyz Mobil Tel v. Fellowes International Holdings (No. 1)  EWHC 2280 (Comm): anti-suit injunction.
PFB Telecom v. British Meditrean (Com Ct 2005): dispute arising out the sale of shares in a group of telecommunications companies.
Dollfus Mieg v. CDW  I.L.Pr. 12, 232: operation of an international joint venture.
De Carle v. Erven : claim for breach of warranty in an agreement for the sale of shares in a book retailer.
Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica v. Broderick  1 AC 371: date for assessment of damages in tort.
Reda v. Flag  IRLR 747: lawfulness of termination of employment in order to exclude senior executives from share option plan.
Watson v. Dutton Forshaw et al LTL 17.8.99: alleged conspiracy to injure by unlawful means and unlawful interference with trade; limitation of actions.
- Conflict of laws & private international law
Jurisdiction and conflict of laws disputes. Cases include:
Eurobank Ergasias v Kalliroi Navigation  EWHC 2377 (Comm): effect of alleged illegality under foreign law.
Nursaw v. Dansk Jersey Eksport  I.L. Pr. 19: interpretation of Article 23 of Council Regulation on Jurisdiction;
Dollfus Mieg v. CDW  I.L.Pr. 12, 232: interpretation of Article 6.3 of Council Regulation on Jurisdiction;
Winter Maritime v. North End Oil  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 298: application of Articles 21 and 22 of Brussels Convention.
- Energy & natural resources
Seadrill Ghana Operations v Tullow Ghana  EWHC 1640 (Comm): whether a drilling moratorium arising out of a provisional measures order made by the ITLOS gave rise to a right to terminate a contract for the services of a deep water drilling unit under a force majeure clause.
Acting for operators of offshore rigs and drillships in a dispute under a shareholders’ agreement.
Acting for owners in LCIA and ad hoc arbitrations concerning misrepresentation and bribery in connection with contracts for the construction and use of a drillship.
Advising on the termination of FPSO bareboat charters.
Acting for a co-venturer in an ICC arbitration in respect of a dispute under a JOA in respect of an offshore concession.
- Insurance & reinsurance
Advising or acting for UK and overseas insurers or re-insurers in disputes relating to non- disclosure/misrepresentation; duties of re-insurance brokers; construction of English law policies including marine policies and P&I cover; double insurance; D&O cover; post contractual duties.
- International trade, transport & commodities
A large number of cases involving the international sale of goods e.g. arising in relation to commodity supply contracts and freight forwarding contracts. Arbitrations involving disputes about the sale of a variety of commodities including coal, copper, gasoline, maize, oil, rice, steel. Experience includes acting for multinationals in very substantial disputes relating to commodity options (oil and coal). Warsaw Convention cases concerning loss and damage to goods carried by air. Experience also includes acting for aircraft owners in High Court proceedings for the recovery of aircraft from lessees and in an arbitration concerning the maintenance of a fleet of aircraft and advising aircraft owners in a dispute with lessees concerning claims of force majeure arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.
SKNL (UK) v. Toll Global  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 115: acting for a freight forwarder in a dispute relating to the incorporation and application of the BIFA lien and anti set-off standard terms.
Poseidon Freight Forwarding v. Davies Turner Southern  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 388: whether freight forwarder’s standard terms applied to long term agency relationship so as to allow reliance on exclusion clause in mis-delivery claim.
- Shipping & admiralty
Charterparties (voyage, time and bareboat), bills of lading, MOAs, shipbuilding/ conversion/ repair, P&I Club and Hull cover, construction and charter of “super-yachts” and specialist vessels. See examples of recent cases above and the following:
TMF Trustee Ltd et al v. Fire Navigation Inc. et al  EWHC 2918 (Comm): acting for the owners of product tankers in a claim for damages for wrongful arrest against lenders and resisting lenders’ claim for summary judgment and security for costs.
Vetrica Navigation Co. v. Shebah Marine Services Ltd et al  EWHC 3735 (Comm): acting for the owners of an oil tanker in obtaining summary judgment and worldwide freezing and disclosure orders against charterers.
Eurobank Ergasias SA v Kalliroi Navigation  EWHC 2377 (Comm): acting for Eurobank in a claim to recover freight and loans made to finance the purchase of three bulk carriers.
Anapa Shipping Ltd v. Hammoudeh Bros  EWHC 1691 (Comm): acting for shipowners in a dispute concerning the sale and discharge of a cargo.
Dolphin Tankers SRL v. China Shipbuilding Trading Co.  EWHC 2216 (Comm): whether interim injunction should be granted for the testing of welds on a ship under construction.
HBC Hamburg Bulk Carriers v. Tangshan Haixing  1 AER (Comm) 1127: whether vessel off-hire during voyage for head-owners; whether 30 day off-hire/ cancellation provision of charterparty applied to time taken by voyage for head owners.
Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd v. Games Video Co (GVC) SA (“The “Game Boy”)  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 238: avoidance of marine insurance policy.
Ermis v. Goymer  All ER (D) 165: dispute re commission claims in relation to the purchase, financing and bareboat charter of two VLCCs and related disputes.
Bergen v. Dalmoreproduct  EWHC 482 (Comm): claim for delivery up and payment of hire in relation to a fleet of 14 “super-trawlers”; estoppel by convention; termination of bareboat charterparties; title to supplies and inventories; set-off; relief from forfeiture.
Bergen v. Dalmoreproduct LTL 2.10.2000: interim injunction restraining bareboat charterers from preventing owners from taking steps to reduce operating costs of 11 “super-trawlers” under arrest in South Korea.
Winter Maritime v. North End Oil  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 298: liability of owners to charterers’ bunker suppliers and consequences of arrest of vessel in support of maritime claim.
The “Solitaire” LTL 24.10.00: interpretation of termination provision in contract for conversion of a bulk carrier into a pipe laying vessel.
The “Pionier”  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 223: whether claim for damage to and short delivery of goods time barred under art. III r. 6 of the Hague Rules.
1992 Commenced practice at Essex Court Chambers
1988 Investec Bank, Johannesburg (to 1991)
1985 Hill Samuel Merchant Bank, Johannesburg (to 1986)
1982 Call: Middle Temple
1988 MBA, University of the Witwatersrand
1986 Higher Diploma in Tax Law, University of the Witwatersrand
1984 MA, Pembroke College, Oxford University
1981 Diploma in Law, City University
1980 BA (Hons) (Modern History), Pembroke College, Oxford University
1988 Dean’s Honours List, University of the Witwatersrand
1988 Finance Prize, University of the Witwatersrand