Richard Jacobs QC appears regularly as counsel in the English High Court and appellate courts and in international arbitrations conducted in London and abroad, and also sits as arbitrator, in a wide range of commercial disputes. He is co-Head of Essex Court Chambers.
In recent years, his court cases have included disputes relating to insurance and reinsurance, the ISDA Master Agreement, offshore oil exploration, arbitration and public international law issues arising from a satellite contract, and major accountant and insurance broker professional negligence actions. Between 1995 and 2008, he appeared, in the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal, in a large number of ‘Lloyd’s litigation’ cases. He has appeared at all levels of the English court system. He has acted as counsel in disciplinary proceedings in the insurance sector, has sat as a Recorder (part time judge) in criminal cases in the Crown Court for over 10 years, and is a panellist member of the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service where he sits as disciplinary tribunal chairman.
His recent arbitration cases as counsel include many ‘Bermuda Form’ liability insurance disputes; a reinsurance dispute involving New Zealand earthquakes; a partnership dispute relating to a Canadian oil-sands venture; a substantial business interruption claim arising from a US hurricane; ICC arbitrations relating to a power project in India, a pharmaceutical distribution agreement, and sale of goods disputes relating to steel manufacturing; shipbuilding contracts; contingency risk insurance; an Article 81 shipping industry competition case; as well as court applications relating to arbitration proceedings. He has also been involved in a number of disputes concerning expert determinations, particularly in relation to offshore oil and gas industry contracts.
He is the co-author of ‘Liability Insurance in International Arbitration: the Bermuda Form’ (2nd Edition published by Hart Publishing Ltd. in January 2011).
He has been appointed as arbitrator in LCIA, DIFC-LCIA, ICC, SIAC and ad hoc arbitrations. His recent experience as arbitrator includes matters relating to insurance and reinsurance (Bermuda Form, business interruption and other disputes), TV broadcasting rights, a hedge-fund partnership dispute, commodities, offshore oil production, shipbuilding, ship management, joint ventures, share sale agreements, power projects, aircraft leasing, distribution agreements, a Cayman Islands exempted limited partnership, the systems for a beef processing plant and container management. He also served as arbitrator on the Appeals Tribunal of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.
- What others say
Richard is currently ranked by Chambers and Partners in International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance; International Arbitration: Arbitrators; Commercial Dispute Resolution; Insurance; Energy & Natural Resources. He is ranked by Legal 500 in Insurance & Reinsurance; International Arbitration (Counsel); Energy; Shipping.
Directory comments include: ‘”A lawyer with a truly great intellect who is very good on the detail.” “He is a first-class advocate and knows how to get the legal high ground in a dispute.” “A highly experienced silk with significant experience of cases where energy and insurance law overlap.” “He did a wonderful job of bringing himself up to speed in the case and was a very effective advocate. He actually sits and listens and understands what clients are looking for.” “Very skilful in navigating complex legal technical issues.” “Personable, very hard-working, diligent and reliable.” (Chambers and Partners 2017).
“Organised, focused and precise in his preparation.” “Willing to roll up sleeves and get stuck into the detail.” “He is incisive, effective, calm and has a relaxed manner with the tribunal.” “User-friendly and calm under fire.” (Legal 500, 2016)
The 1st edition of “Liability Insurance in International Arbitration: the Bermuda Form” was described by the Court of Appeal in C v D as the ‘standard work’ on the Bermuda Form policy.
The 2nd edition was joint winner of the British Insurance Law Association book prize in 2012. Professor Robert Merkin described it as “a tour de force on the interaction of English procedural law and New York substantive law” (2012 Journal of Business Law, 161). A review in Global Arbitration Review in 2011 said: “For anyone who has been involved in Bermuda Form arbitration in the last six years in any capacity, this book needs no introduction. The first edition has been the practitioner’s bible on the workings on the Bermuda Form policy since its publication in 2004. It has assisted a generation of policyholders’ and insurers’ lawyers to formulate and debate the multifarious arguments to which the complex wording of the Bermuda Form excess liability insurance policy gives rise and has provided arbitrators with invaluable guidance in unpicking the policy’s complexities.”
- Examples of recent cases
Many of Richard’s cases are in arbitration and the details are confidential. Amongst the cases in 2013-2014 where he acted as counsel in arbitrations were disputes concerning: a partnership agreement relating to the Canadian oil sands; a reinsurance claim arising from the New Zealand earthquakes; a series of Bermuda Form claims by a major US pharmaceutical company; a professional liability claim by a major computer software company; a series of shipbuilding contracts.
Amongst the cases in 2014-2016 where he has acted as arbitrator were disputes concerning: contracts for the supply of biodiesel; a partnership dispute relating to a London hedge-fund; a dispute as to broadcasting rights for league soccer in Africa; disputes as to engine reserves and related matters upon termination of leases of commercial aircraft; a Cayman Islands exempted limited partnership; the construction of a power station in the Middle East; participation agreements in an offshore oil development; a number of Bermuda Form claims; a series of shipbuilding contracts; a contract for the installation of equipment in a South American beef processing plant
In the Commercial Court, Richard represented Aon in a major claim by a Lithuanian oil refinery concerning a business interruption insurance policy. The case was settled (for less than 5% of the sum claimed) after 11 days of trial in October 2014. In the Chancery Division, he is currently acting for a private equity firm in proceedings arising from the liquidation of a telecommunications company: Hosking v Apax Partners  EWHC 1986 (Ch).
Reported cases in recent years include: Union Marine Classification Services LLC v Government of the Union of Comoros  EWCA Civ 239 (power of arbitrator to correct award under s.57 of the Arbitration Act); Howden North America Inc. v Ace European Group  EWCA Civ 1624 and Faraday Reinsurance Co. Ltd. v Howden North America Inc.  EWCA Civ 980 (jurisdiction disputes relating to liability insurance contracts); Pioneer Freight Futures Co Ltd (In Liquidation) v Cosco Bulk Carrier Co Ltd.  EWHC 1692 (Comm);  EWCA Civ 419 (Freight Futures and the application of the termination provisions of the ISDA Master Agreement).
- Arbitration & related court applications
Richard has appeared as counsel, including as co-counsel with US, Canadian and Indian lawyers, in a wide variety of arbitration’s (ad hoc, LCIA, ICC, SIAC, commodity, maritime, insurance and reinsurance, Bermuda Form etc).
Recent experience in arbitration hearings include the following:
Various Bermuda Form claims by US pharmaceutical company.
Shipbuilding dispute concerning cancellation of semi-submersible rig
Shipbuilding dispute relating to guarantee regime in shipbuilding contract
Reinsurance dispute relating to life insurance policies
Partnership dispute relating to Canadian oil-sands.
Claims arising from a series of shipbuilding contracts concluded by Korean shipyard.
Reinsurance dispute relating to New Zealand earthquakes.
Professional liability insurance claim relating to provision of computer software system.
Business interruption insurance claim for damage to refinery and chemical plants by Hurricane Ike.
LMAA arbitrations concerning shipbuilding contracts for construction of vessels in China and Japan.
ICC arbitration concerning quality of steel products sent from India to Germany.
Bermuda Form disputes concerning pharmaceutical and petroleum products. LCIA arbitration concerning coal shipped on SCoTA terms.
ICC arbitration concerning distribution of pharmaceutical products in Far East.
ICC arbitration concerning power project in India.
Ad hoc arbitrations concerning ‘viatical’ contingency risks placed in the Lloyd’s market. Bermuda Form arbitration concerning petroleum products distributed in the USA.
Ad hoc arbitration concerning EC competition law relating to shipping pool. Bermuda Form reinsurance arbitration arising from pipeline explosion
Reinsurance arbitration in Bermuda concerning accountants’ professional indemnity risks. Bermuda Form arbitration concerning pharmaceuticals.
Shipbuilding arbitration concerning defects in a fast ferry.
Bermuda Form arbitrations concerning vehicle components and underfloor heating. Reinsurance arbitration concerning accountants’ professional indemnity risk.
Ad hoc arbitration concerning shipping pool.
He also appears as counsel in court applications relating to arbitration proceedings. Reported cases include: : Union Marine Classification Services LLC v Government of the Union of Comoros  EWCA Civ 239 (power of arbitrator to correct award under s.57 of the Arbitration Act) ;Republic of Serbia v Imagesat  EWHC 2853 (Comm) (jurisdiction issues arising from ICC arbitration); Noble Assurance Co. v Gerling  EWHC 253 (anti-suit injunction to restrain overseas proceedings following London arbitration); CR Sugar Trading v China National Sugar  EWHC 79 (arbitration appeal including issues concerning the Financial Services Act); M/s Alghanim Industries v Skandia  2 All ER (Comm) 30 (powers of arbitrators to tax costs following publication of award); Total Liban SA v Vitol  QB 643 (arbitration appeal).
He has been appointed as arbitrator (including sole arbitrator or chairman) in ICC, LCIA, DIFC- LCIA, SIAC and ad hoc arbitrations. Appointments include: Bermuda Form insurance claims; ICC arbitration relating to a Middle Eastern power plant; ICC and LCIA arbitrations relating to aircraft financing agreements; LCIA arbitrations relating to supply of biodiesel; DIFC-LCIA arbitrations relating to share sale agreements and a ship management contract; LCIA arbitration concerning Cayman Islands exempted limited partnership; business interruption insurance claim arising from Hurricane Katrina; ICC arbitration concerning US distribution agreement; shipbuilding and ship repair contracts; reinsurance disputes arising from workers compensation/ personal accident claims; insurance claims under business interruption, political risk and bank professional indemnity policies; commodities disputes; claim for termination of contracts of employment of attorneys; disputes relating to TV cricket and soccer rights; disputes under contracts relating to a power project, a UK government contract, and joint ventures.
He also served as arbitrator on the Appeals Tribunal of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, and was a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, lecturing on arbitration law.
- Banking & financial services
Letters of credit, swaps, derivatives, loan agreements, performance bonds etc; including; Pioneer Freight Futures Co Ltd (In Liquidation) v Cosco Bulk Carrier Co Ltd.  EWHC 1692 (Comm)  EWCA Civ 419 (Freight Futures and the application of the termination provisions of the ISDA Master Agreement); Zelouf v Republic Bank of New York  CLC 1227 (margin requirements for currency and other trading); Shearson Lehman v Unexim (currency swap
contract on ISDA form; settled prior to judgment); Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo & ors v Gold Coast Ltd.  EWCA Civ 1586 (shipbuilding, claim on refund guarantee).
- Commercial dispute resolution
During his career, he has appeared regularly in commercial cases, in particular in the Commercial Court.
Recent reported cases include:
Hosking v Apax Partners  EWHC 1986 (Ch); Howden North America Inc. v Ace European Group  EWCA Civ 1624 and Faraday Reinsurance Co. Ltd. v Howden North America Inc.  EWCA Civ 980 (jurisdiction disputes relating to liability insurance contracts); Pioneer Freight Futures Co Ltd (In Liquidation) v Cosco Bulk Carrier Co Ltd.  EWHC 1692 (Comm);  EWCA Civ 419 (Freight Futures and the application of the termination provisions of the ISDA Master Agreement); Silver Queen Maritime Ltd v Persia Petroleum Services Plc  EWHC 2867 (QB) (whether binding settlement concluded between parties, and in particular (i) whether deed relating to settlement was revocable, and (ii) whether any duty of disclosure existed); Seadrill v OAO Gazprom  EWCA Civ 69;  EWHC 1530 (Comm) (casualty to rig performing oil exploration drilling contract, involving issues of interpretation of standard form drilling contract and general principles relating to repudiation); Republic of Serbia v Imagesat  EWHC 2853 (Comm) (arbitration jurisdiction application involving issues of justiciability and public international law);
Harris v Society of Lloyd’s  EWHC 1433 (Comm) and  EWHC 2177 (Comm) (strike- out of fraud claim for abuse of process, and subsequent application for extended civil restraint orders against Lloyd’s names); Chantrey Vellacott v The Convergence Group PLC  EWHC 1774 (Ch) (Accountants’ negligence case brought by company following failed equity fund- raising for telecommunications project, resulting in s.51 order against controlling director of claimant company).
Other cases which have not reached judgment include, in recent years: products liability claims arising from sale of contaminated petrol in the UK; disputes under freight futures contracts on the ISDA Master Agreement form; reinsurance dispute arising from Paddington rail crash involving ‘follow the settlement’ issues (settled after trial but before judgment); dispute between shareholders of joint venture power project in Pakistan.
Between 1995 and 2008, he appeared, in the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal, in a large number of ‘Lloyd’s litigation’ cases, including Marchant and Eliot v Higgins (pay now sue later in agents’ agreement); Society of Lloyd’s v Clementson (Article 85 of the EC Treaty);
various cases concerning the Equitas premium, including Society of Lloyd’s v Leighs and Society of Lloyd’s v Fraser; Society of Lloyd’s v Jaffray (lengthy trial and appeal concerning allegations of fraud against Lloyd’s); Harris v Society of Lloyd’s (above).
- Conflict of laws & private international law
All types of jurisdictional, private international law and applicable law disputes. Reported cases include: Howden North America Inc. v Ace European Group  EWCA Civ 1624 and Faraday Reinsurance Co. Ltd. v Howden North America Inc.  EWCA Civ 980 (jurisdiction disputes relating to liability insurance contracts); Republic of Serbia v Imagesat  EWHC 2853 (Comm) (justiciability and public international law issues arising from satellite contract); Noble Assurance Co. v Gerling  EWHC 253 (anti-suit injunction to restrain US proceedings following London arbitration); Society of Lloyd’s v Crotty  EWHC 2178 (jurisdiction relating to cash calls on Lloyd’s names); White Sea & Omega Shipping v International Transport Workers Federation (The Amur 2528)  1 Lloyd’s Rep 421 (injunction against English trade union in relation to conduct abroad; law applicable to the tort); Denby v Hellenic Mediterranean Lines  1 Lloyd’s Rep 320 and Charman v WOC Offshore  1 Lloyd’s Rep 378 (jurisdiction in relation to marine insurance claims); The International Tin Council litigation  2 AC 418 (justiciability and state immunity).
- Energy & natural resources
Recent experience includes arbitration (as counsel) in partnership dispute under Alberta law concerning Canadian oil sands; advising UK company in relation to various disputes concerning participation in North Sea development; acting in Commercial Court proceedings for oil major in dispute relating to termination of long-term crude supply contract; advising in relation to expert determinations arising from participation agreements.
Reported cases include: Total Liban v Vitol  QB 643 (claim for defective petrol); Total v ARCO  2 Lloyd’s Rep 209 (HL) (gas take or pay contract); Britoil v Hunt Overseas Oil  CLC 561 (rectification of North Sea joint venture agreement).
He has also advised in connection with products liability claims arising from sale of contaminated petrol in the UK in 2007, and in relation to the Buncefield litigation, and has arbitrated a large number of insurance claims relating to the oil industry.
Experience in relation to other commodities include GAFTA, LME, RSA, SAL and SCoTA contracts, and reported cases include CR Sugar Trading Ltd. v China National Sugar and Alcohol Group  EWHC 79 (application of Financial Services Act to commodity transactions).
- Insurance & reinsurance
Co-author of ‘Liability Insurance in International Arbitration: The Bermuda Form’ (2004; 2nd edition 2011) and various articles on the Bermuda Form; many disputes in arbitration; Lloyd’s litigation; (see generally above). Expert witness in Singapore High Court (reinsurance dispute) and New York arbitration (contingency insurance).
Reported cases include Howden North America Inc. v Ace European Group  EWCA Civ 1624 and Faraday Reinsurance Co. Ltd. v Howden North America Inc.  EWCA Civ 980 (jurisdiction disputes relating to liability insurance contracts); Noble Assurance Co. v Gerling  EWHC 253 (arbitration application relating to Bermuda Form reinsurance dispute); Svenska Handelsbanken v Sun Alliance  2 Lloyd’s Rep 84 and  1 Lloyd’s Rep 519 (common interest privilege between insurers and reinsurers, and trial of claim under mortgage indemnity policy). PCW Syndicates v PCW Reinsurers  1 WLR 1136 (agents and avoidance of policies); Lark v Outhwaite  2 Lloyd’s Rep 132 (run-off policies).
Generally, his experience includes claims on Bermuda Form policies, run-off policies, E&O insurance, D&O insurance, property damage and business interruption policies; ATE insurance, contingency risks, film finance insurance and reinsurance and Lloyd’s disciplinary proceedings. It also includes claims against insurance brokers relating to commercial insurance, including acting for Aon in a claim arising from a business interruption policy.
- Professional negligence
Richard has acted in a number of heavy professional negligence actions. In 2014, he represented Aon in a very substantial claim in the Commercial Court by a Lithuanian oil refinery concerning a business interruption insurance policy. The case was settled (for less than 5% of the sum claimed) after 11 days of trial in October 2014.
Other cases include Chantrey Vellacott v Convergence Group  EWHC 1774 (Ch). (Accountants sued for negligence in relation to a failed equity fund-raising for telecommunications project. The failure of the claim resulted in an order for costs against the controlling director of the company which had sued).
He has also acted on accountants claims relating to audits (including the Barings litigation), pre and post-acquisition reports, and share valuations.
In 2003, he successfully defended a solicitors firm, and insurance brokers, in two different Commercial Court actions where the claims were abandoned after cross-examination of the claimant’s principal witness.
Other professional negligence experience includes claims involving ship fund managers ( Red Sea Tankers v Papachristidis  2 Lloyd’s Rep 547), investment managers on a venture capital investment, a city firm of solicitors on a public company takeover, Lloyd’s agents, banks and insurance brokers.
- Shipping & admiralty
During the course of his career, Richard has acted in many charterparty, bill of lading, ship sale and shipbuilding disputes. In recent years, Richard’s practice in this area has focused on shipbuilding contracts (including contracts for the construction of rigs). He has acted for buyers (including an oil major, a publicly quoted rig owner, and a major containership owner) and shipyards (including major Singaporean and Korean yards) in various disputes. He has also acted as arbitrator in a number of shipbuilding disputes.
Reported cases include: Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo & ors v Gold Coast Ltd  EWCA Civ 1586 (shipbuilding, claim on refund guarantee); The Eurus  1 Lloyd’s Rep 351 (indemnities, causation and remoteness); The Gudermes  1 Lloyd’s Rep 456 (failure to heat cargo); Lauritzen v Wijsmuller, The Super Servant 2  1 Lloyd’s Rep 1; The Anangel Glory  1 Lloyd’s Rep 45 (lien on subfreights).
Co-Head of Essex Court Chambers 2013 to date Recorder 2003
Essex Court Chambers 1980
Supervisor in Law, Pembroke and St. John’s Colleges, University of Cambridge 1979—81 Call: Middle Temple 1979
MA, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge 1990
Inns of Court School of Law 1979
BA (First Class Hons), Pembroke College, University of Cambridge 1978
Harmsworth Scholarship 1979
Entrance Scholarship 1975