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Leading Silks

David Bailey QC7 King’s Bench WalkHe has a stiletto-like ability to make killer points against his opponents, without ever upsetting the tribunal.
Elizabeth Blackburn QC - The 36 GroupA thorough, fair, careful and professional advocate. She masters the detail.
Robert Bright QC7 King’s Bench WalkHe has a comprehensive understanding of charters and contract law, coupled with a clear analytical approach. Excellent at judging how to manage the tribunal/court, remaining calm and focused at all times.
Simon Croall QC - Quadrant ChambersA very well-known and experienced silk with all the legal knowledge that brings with it. He is at the top of his game.
Dominic Kendrick QC7 King’s Bench WalkDominic is an outstanding lawyer – he has an unerring ability to identify the correct legal issue and articulate a compelling answer to the problem it raises; his judgment is always reliable.
Luke Parsons QC - Quadrant ChambersA master strategist in litigation with an unparalleled insight into the ways commercial judges and arbitrators think. Highly persuasive.
Lionel Persey QC - Quadrant ChambersExtremely knowledgeable of all matters salvage-related. Understands precisely what is required, what will work and importantly what won’t work.
Simon Rainey QC - Quadrant ChambersUndoubtedly one of the top shipping barristers in London. Phenomenal on his feet and a barrister you can 100% rely on.
Alistair Schaff QC7 King’s Bench WalkVery knowledgeable, bright and incisive. Almost always our first choice when it comes to insurance coverage issues.
Peter MacDonald Eggers QC7 King’s Bench WalkHis written advice is beautifully expressed, his drafting well-crafted and precise. His apparent ease of manner conceals a steely advocate.
Timothy Hill QC - Twenty EssexVery commercial and very quick to understand the clients perspective. He has a good grasp of technical issues.
Nigel Jacobs QC - Quadrant ChambersA pleasure to work with. Nigel is a good communicator and throughout the process gives clear direction to the case. Nigel’s advice has been pragmatic.
Richard Lord QC - Brick Court ChambersOpen minded and ready to listen, he provides excellent pleadings written and oral advocacy. A very safe pair of hands.
Duncan Matthews QC - Twenty EssexA big game player. He is incredibly effective on his feet, with an imposing presence. I don't think there is a better cross-examiner at the Bar.
Jeffrey Gruder QC - Essex Court ChambersUnrivalled in giving very prompt and accurate advice on complex legal issues, including those of huge significance to clients.
Stephen Hofmeyr QC7 King’s Bench WalkAuthoritative, personable, and extremely intelligent.
Charles Kimmins QC - Twenty EssexVery able and clever with has a great ability to put across difficult legal concepts in simple terms for both solicitors' and clients' benefit.
David Lewis QC - Twenty EssexIt is always a pleasure to work with David. He is extraordinarily bright, has an extensive knowledge of shipping law and wider commercial law, and is someone you want in your team on big cases.
Sean O’Sullivan QC - 4 Pump CourtUser-friendly and unflappable, even when in the middle of a difficult case with unexpected things happening. He sees the big issues early and is always thinking.
Nathan Pillow QC - Essex Court ChambersVery robust advocate and personable to deal with. Very reliable.
John Russell QC - Quadrant ChambersFantastic on his feet and very analytical. He grasps the technical issues of a matter and can then translate that into incredibly effective cross examination.
Vasanti Selvaratnam QC - The 36 GroupVery clever, very hardworking, tenacious, and when acting as counsel, a top rank performer on her feet with great skills as an advocate.
Christopher Smith QC - Essex Court ChambersHe has the ability to cut through complex contractual arrangements with ease. Good presentation of evidence and issues - clear and concise.
Richard Waller QC7 King’s Bench WalkA superb advocate and someone you really want on your team. A top choice for the biggest cases.
Michael Coburn QC - Twenty EssexA very clever and a very effective advocate. He gives careful thought to presenting his written arguments.
Michael Collett QC - Twenty EssexA clever lawyer who thinks of nuances and is able to grasp the legal and commercial points at play. He is responsive and very user friendly.
Michael Davey QC - Quadrant ChambersVery strong on fishing regulations. He is able to cut through the complexities of the case to focus on the core issues.
Siobán Healy QC7 King’s Bench WalkCalm under pressure and highly knowledgeable. An engaging advocate with clear presentation skills. Succinct and sticks to the point.
John Kimbell QC - Quadrant ChambersApproachable, good with clients, and gives clear positive advice.
James Leabeater QC - 4 Pump CourtHe combines excellent technical ability with sensible, pragmatic advice. He is also shrewd and astute.
John Passmore QC - Quadrant ChambersOne of the sharpest brains I have ever come across. Extremely intelligent together with an ability to translate the most complex of arguments into a structured, succinct and flawless explanation.
James Turner QC - Quadrant ChambersWhat James does not know about shipbuilding disputes is not worth knowing - he really is a master in that field. He is eminently user-friendly, fantastic with clients and on his feet.
Adam Constable QC - Keating ChambersVery good in large complex disputes involving technical and legal arguments.
Roderick Cordara QC - Essex Court ChambersA pleasure to work with and a persuasive advocate.
Nigel Eaton QC - Essex Court ChambersOne of the leading QCs in the fields of shipping and commodities. Very strong analytically and an incisive and persuasive advocate.
Alexander Gunning QC - One Essex CourtA polished court performer who really does go the extra mile when needed and is excellent at getting a handle on the issues.
Philippa Hopkins QC - Essex Court ChambersVery bright and user-friendly. A good advocate.
Chirag Karia QC - Quadrant ChambersA strong black-letter Silk who, importantly, is also very commercial. This attribute combined with his legal acumen is extremely valuable in furthering clients’ best interests.
Julian Kenny QCTwenty EssexClever, charming and engaging, with a superb turn of phrase; on his feet capable of holding the attention of his listeners, and creates written submissions with elegant prose which readers enjoy rather than endure.
Yash Kulkarni QC - Quadrant ChambersExcellent in every sense, not just technically. A robust but polite advocate and a pleasure to work with.
Sara Masters QC - Twenty EssexVery knowledgeable and has a keen appreciation for the commercial background to any situation, which ensures that her advice is tailored for the particular situation and/or client.
Poonam Melwani QCQuadrant ChambersShe brings a high level of energy to her work and drives things through. She leaves no stone unturned. She is very good on strategy and coming up with killer points.
Michael Nolan QC - Quadrant ChambersVery attentive, easy to work with, with deep knowledge of law issues. He understands the factual matrix of the case and is always there to offer assistance when in need.
Thomas Raphael QC - Twenty EssexA very intelligent barrister. His work is very carefully prepared. He puts across his arguments in a calm but very effective manner in oral submissions. He is also a very pleasant person and easy to work with.
Christopher Smith QC - Quadrant ChambersExtremely bright and able to get to the point of a case very quickly. Dealing with colleagues or instructing solicitors Chris is open, friendly, and pleasant to work with, but insistent when needing to be.

2020 Silks

Henry Byam-Cook QC - Twenty EssexThe quality that really sets Henry apart from other QCs is that he is truly a team player, in addition to all the attributes that go without saying. I trust Henry to both challenge me and to be receptive to challenge in return.

2021 Silks

Michael Holmes QC7 King’s Bench WalkTireless and a joy to work with.
Nichola Warrender QC - Quadrant ChambersShe has a fantastic eye for detail, is extremely approachable and is very knowledgeable. Nichola delivers every time.

2022 Silks

Jeremy Brier QC - Essex Court ChambersAn excellent advocate, calm and unflappable in hearings. Very clear advice given. Strongly recommended.
Neil Hart QC - Essex Court ChambersVery easy and enjoyable to work with. Neil appreciates the commercial and costs issues facing clients and tailors the legal advice provided accordingly.
Alexander Wright QC - 4 Pump CourtA very bright and committed barrister, with good knowledge of the area and great attention to detail.

Leading Juniors

Ravi Aswani - The 36 GroupHe has an excellent manner combined with outstanding academic qualities and superb commercial acumen. Intelligent and able to spot and exploit the key point in any case.
Daniel Bovensiepen - Twenty EssexA junior at the very top of his game. His written work is absolutely top-notch. Dedicated and very hard working with fantastic judgment.
Marcus Mander7 King’s Bench WalkGreat attention to detail and responsiveness. Extremely able and very good on the use of the law in a commercial context.
Nevil Phillips - Quadrant ChambersA diligent and dedicated barrister with a logical, cogent, coherent and rational intellect. He is an excellent advocate who is able to persuade, not only through the strength of his arguments but also expressed with charm and wit.
Caroline Pounds - Quadrant ChambersHighly intelligent, thorough with an incredible eye for detail and yet commercial, quick and very approachable.
Charles Priday7 King’s Bench WalkHe deserves recognition as one of the leading shipping barristers in the market. Extremely experienced in all areas of shipping and a barrister whose advice you can always rely on.
Richard Sarll7 King’s Bench WalkHe manages to combine superb technical knowledge with sound, sensible, practical advice. He responds promptly, works extremely hard and is a pleasure to work with.
Rachel Toney - The 36 GroupAn excellent counsel. Rachel's detailed knowledge of the shipping industry has been invaluable to the cases and her ability to get to grips with new areas of law is first class.
Koye Akoni - Quadrant ChambersHe has great presence and confidence and the ability to get very quickly to the heart of a matter, focus on the core issues of importance, and deal with them effectively and intelligently.
Tom Bird - Quadrant ChambersHis precision and economy of language is impressive. He is able to break down even the most complex legal and shipping concepts into simple language. His mastery of the detail, and ability to cut through it is a real strength.
Oliver Caplin - Twenty EssexAlways calm and affable. He never appears stressed or off his stride whoever he is up against. Oliver is a senior junior who can be easily pitted against QCs and can prevail.
Benjamin Coffer - Quadrant ChambersHe is able to get to grips with the key issues and produce work very quickly. He is strong in all areas, with excellent drafting and advocacy skills.
Charles Debattista - The 36 GroupHe has extensive academic expertise combined with great commercial acumen. Extremely eloquent and intelligent. A pleasure to work with.
Ben Gardner - Quadrant ChambersThorough, well-researched and provides well-written, reliable advice. He has a sound grip on the commercial issues of any given matter.
Colleen Hanley - Twenty EssexBright, responsive, and thorough in her consideration of the relevant legal issues. She is a reassuring presence in front of clients, and a pleasure to work with.
Sandra Healy7 King’s Bench WalkCalm under pressure and highly knowledgeable. An engaging advocate with clear presentation skills – succinct and sticks to the point.
Ruth Hosking - Quadrant ChambersA great all-round lawyer. She has a great grasp of shipping, and marries well her knowledge of the law with practical and technical aspects of any case.
Mark Jones - The 36 GroupIncredibly sharp. Gets immediately to the crucial issues that will determine the case and provides clear and firm advice on those issues. His legal analysis is unrivalled.
Gemma Morgan - Quadrant ChambersShe is able to lead cases whether acting as sole counsel or led by a QC. Despite being a natural leader, she is also a superb team member and genuinely galvanises the team in terms of lawyers, experts and witnesses.
Benjamin Parker7 King’s Bench WalkA brilliant junior who has an excellent and well-earned reputation. His written work is absolutely top level and just as good as most silks.
Luke Pearce - Twenty EssexHe is excellent, very clear and approachable. Extremely user friendly and very good on his written work.
Matthew Reeve - Quadrant ChambersAn insightful and tenacious barrister - advocacy is a particular strength as is attention to detail. Matthew has a bullish charm to get the job done.
James ShirleyThe 36 GroupPerceptive, strategic and unflappable under pressure. His advocacy is first class and the easy manner he adopts in making submissions finds favour with arbitrators and judges alike.
Paul Toms - Quadrant ChambersHe has a keen, probing intellect. He is very pleasant to work with and is quick to cut to the chase.
Adam Turner7 King’s Bench WalkReally exceptional, with an ability to get to grips with the issues of any case and provide practical, clear advice which is unparalleled among his peers at the Bar.
David Walsh - Essex Court ChambersHe is prepared to roll his sleeves up and get into the weeds of the documents when necessary but always has an eye on the bigger commercial picture and a mind to what will make clients’ lives easier.
James Watthey - 4 Pump CourtI am very confident when I work with him that I will get the best advice, not just on the law but also the commercial realities as well. Impressive both on paper and in person.
Sushma Ananda7 King’s Bench WalkVery thorough and on-point advice which clearly demonstrated an understanding of the relevant business and in-depth knowledge of the applicable legal framework.
Clara Benn7 King’s Bench WalkA real superstar: exceedingly bright, hard-working and great fun to work with.
Adam Board - Essex Court ChambersA very sharp and clear thinker. Highly effective, highly efficient and highly recommended.
Thomas Corby - Twenty EssexIncredibly hard-working, spectacularly clever, always polite whatever the provocation, and above all a pleasure to work with.
Stephen Du7 King’s Bench WalkA rising star. Incredibly quick at distilling complex cases to clear legal principles. Unparalleled drafting skills and particularly effective at presenting oral arguments.
Henry Ellis - Quadrant ChambersVery user-friendly and responsive, both on substantive advices but also as a sounding board and sanity check on a more ad hoc basis.
James Hatt - 4 Pump CourtVery thorough, pragmatic, commercial and easy to work with..
Neil Henderson - 4 Pump CourtThorough and thoughtful. He is incredibly easy to work with, very efficient and totally reliable.
Paul Henton - Quadrant ChambersHis handling of arbitration hearings is expertly done and his cross-examination is incredibly impressive, demonstrating an ability to think quickly on his feet.
Malcolm Jarvis - Twenty EssexExcellent legal knowledge and experience on maritime law and contracts. A strong ability to extract only the relevant arguments and focus the case on those.
Christopher Jay - Quadrant ChambersFiercely intelligent, hugely diligent, hard-working, free thinking, and prompt. His work is thorough and comprehensive, and he will always go the extra mile.
Andrew Leung - Quadrant ChambersHe makes very cogent and compelling sense in drafting and is very practical.
Sarah Martin7 King’s Bench WalkIncredibly responsive, commercially minded and legally strong. Sarah’s ability to turn around multiple complex pieces of time-sensitive work never ceases to amaze me.
Natalie Moore - Quadrant ChambersVery bright, approachable and good to work with. Commercial and strategic in her advice..
Rani Noakes - 4 Pump CourtThe best written advocate I have worked with. Her written submissions are clear, well-structured and highly persuasive.
Saira Paruk - Quadrant ChambersTop-notch, always approachable and on hand to assist, and is measured and commercial in her approach.
John Robb - Essex Court ChambersA very thoughtful, calm junior with excellent communication and technical skills. He is an excellent team player.
Jason Robinson7 King’s Bench WalkResponsive, direct, and to the point. Jason is also tenacious, which is particularly important in commercial litigation which often takes years and involves a lot being thrown at you.
John Snider - Essex Court ChambersHe provides clear advice and is willing to express a strong view. Easy to work with, level-headed and calm.
Andrew Stevens - 4 Pump CourtExceptional on the details and reassuringly careful when it comes to making sure that all points have been covered.
Peter Stevenson - Quadrant ChambersExtremely user-friendly, very clear and concise both in writing and orally, always prompt, and thinks outside of the box with a view to finding a solution to problems, as opposed to just highlighting the problems.
Thomas Steward  - 4 Pump Court  ‘A delight to work with. His oral and written advocacy are excellent, and he is a wonderful team player. He is also incredibly hard working.
Mark Stiggelbout - Quadrant ChambersHe has a fantastic eye for the detail. Mark has always managed to identify and grasp the fundamental issues in dispute and provide helpful advice whenever needed.
Charlotte Tan - Brick Court ChambersVery thorough and accessible, with great attention to detail.
Alex Carless - Twenty EssexVery capable, reasoned and with excellent writing skills. He is also a good cross examiner and advocate.
Josephine Davies - Twenty EssexNo one can beat Josephine on detail. If you have a difficult problem to solve, especially where you need to consider complex data to understand the legal position, Josephine is the barrister to go to.
Tim Jenns7 King’s Bench WalkUser-friendly and turns advice around quickly and to a high standard.
Ed Jones - 4 Pump CourtHe has an excellent ability to get the nub of an issue quickly and provides clear, practical, and pragmatic advice. The quality of his drafting is first-rate.
Susannah Jones - Twenty EssexVery thorough and provides outstandingly clear analysis. Extremely clever and capable, her pleadings are really excellent. A first class senior junior.
Elizabeth Lindesay7 King’s Bench WalkShe offers clients intelligence, dedication and thoroughness.
Emily McWilliams - Quadrant ChambersVery meticulous, good with the black-letter law, responsive and sensible, quick on her feet, and comes more than very well prepared.
David Semark - Quadrant ChambersSharp, strong academically but simultaneously practical and commercial. His former life as a solicitor means he really understands the clients' perspective too.

Rising Stars

Max Davidson - Quadrant ChambersPhenomenally bright, quick to turn around the work, excellent on paper and very good on his feet.
Andrew Dinsmore - Twenty EssexHard-working, creative and pro-active.
Stephen Donnelly - Essex Court ChambersFirst rate and very hard working. He is also a good team player with the ability to fit in and get on with a wide spread of individuals. Incredible attention to detail, wise beyond his years and an intellectual powerhouse.
Richard Greenberg - Twenty EssexVery responsive, attentive and is quickly able to digest issues and identify a path forward which is both legally and commercially sound. The advice given is also practical and Richard has helped us to navigate a number of difficult procedural issues in addition to legal issues.
Michal Hain - Twenty EssexSuperbly gifted and a pleasure to work with.
Jamie Hamblen - Quadrant ChambersFerociously bright and very hard working. Definitely a star of the future.
Matthew McGhee - Twenty EssexA honed analytical mind with knowledge beyond his years. Extremely user friendly with excellent communication skills. Thoroughly recommended.
Tom Nixon - Quadrant ChambersEasy to work with, user-friendly and responsive. A team player who makes clever use of legal arguments.
Andrew Pearson7 King’s Bench WalkVery thorough and gets to the issues fast. Keen to go beyond the routine appointment and offer guidance and advice on the bigger picture of the claim.
Michael Proctor - Quadrant ChambersAn exceptionally talented and astute barrister with expertise beyond his years. He is excellent on his feet and argues cases with clarity and persuasion in both written and oral submissions.
Robert Scrivener - 4 Pump CourtHe has an unmatchable ability to become a natural extension of the legal team on every dispute. His ability to quickly link the facts together and produce detailed and thoughtful pieces of legal work never ceases to amaze me.
Alexander Thompson - Twenty EssexIncredibly bright.

Shipping in London Bar

4 Pump Court

With 'an excellent depth of juniors, senior juniors and QCs', 4 Pump Court's members are involved in some of the most complex shipping cases to come before the English courts. In one highlight, James Leabeater QC led Rani Noakes in The Tai Prize, a Court of Appeal case relating to the liability of charterers to shipowners for errors in bills of lading; Alexander Wright QC is appearing on the other side. Wright also appeared before the Commercial Court in the Eternal Bliss; which hinges on the extent to which charterers are liable for damages in addition to demurrage in the event of delays. elsewhere, Sean O’Sullivan QC and Ed Jones remain active in arbitration, handling a number of high-value disputes with international aspects in areas such as shipbuilding.



‘A brilliant set and our go-to for shipping work.’

‘4 Pump Court has an excellent depth of juniors, senior juniors and QCs.’

‘One of the leading sets for shipping, insurance and international trade.’

‘This is an exceptional set of individuals for shipping, trade and energy/ insurance work.’

‘A very approachable set.’


‘Good, friendly and flexible. A pleasure to work with.’

‘The clerks are in my view good, willing to be commercial when required, and responsive when issues arise.’

‘The clerk’s room provides a good prompt service. James Tanner is particularly helpful.’

‘An excellent set – their clerks are commercial and always work hard to come up with sensible, cost-efficient proposals. Carl Wall, their senior clerk, is the best in the business.’

‘They are all top notch when it comes to dealing with solicitors. They know the pressures we are under and they are very supportive.’

Quadrant Chambers

Quadrant Chambers continues to act on some of the highest-profile shipping cases in the market, with its silks and juniors handling the full range of shipping litigation. A highlight of the year was the firm's involvement in matters before the Supreme Court. Simon Rainey QC and Nigel Jacobs QC successfully represented the appellants in Evergreen Marine v Nautical Challenge, the first collision case to reach the highest court in almost half a century,  and in July 2021 John Russell QC and Benjamin Coffer appeared before the same court in Alize 1954 v Allianz Elementar Versicherungs AG (The “CMA CGM LIBRA”), a matter concerning if deficiencies in a route determined prior to departure rendered a ship unseaworthy. Rainey will also appear before the Court of Appeals in October in Priminds Shipping v K Line Ltd, with Tom Bird also involved in this much-discussed case concerning if a shipowner can claim for damages in addition to demurrage if a charterer fails to load and discharge the vessel within the agreed laytime. Other juniors to note include Koye Akoni, who continues to act for clients in the Admiralty and Commercial Courts as well as in arbitration, and Ben Gardner, who handles a varied caseload including matters involving cargo misdelivery, ship arrests, and groundings. The set's strong bench of QCs was boosted in 2021 as Nichola Warrender QC took silk.



‘Forward thinking, commercially astute and user friendly. They have embraced technology leaving others far behind. The quad cast series is accessible, personable and entertaining – even my children watch it.’

‘Quadrant is a first class set. There is always a counsel to offer help even at short notice. They are all brilliant. Their webinars are also very interesting, dealing with modern topics.’

‘The set is clearly the leading set when it comes to shipping disputes. They do however do a lot else very well and I have instructed them on many non-shipping matters. They always seem to have someone at the right level.’

‘Quadrant Chambers tends to be my go-to Chambers. The clerks room is second to none and they make huge efforts to assist with identifying the right barrister for the particular matter/client. Service is at the top of their agenda. Clerks and barristers alike are there to make solicitors’ and clients’ lives easier. They are alive to changes in the market and consequently seeking to adapt whilst ensuring that that professional and academic excellence remains outstanding.’

‘Quadrant is the leading set in my view for shipping and shipbuilding disputes. The juniors are superb, and are led by some of the top QCs in the market. The more junior level is coming through now too with some really good juniors at the bottom end. One key feature of most Quadrant barristers I have worked with is the team mentality – the barristers are unstuffy and team players however senior.’


‘Gary Ventura is the best clerk in the City.’

‘The clerking team offer excellent service. I often rely on the guidance and recommendations of the senior clerking team when I am looking for the right counsel to help on a case.’

‘Very good, probably the best overall service of the clerking teams I work with. Daniel Westerman, Billy Beckett and John Walker very helpful. Also fees are realistic and reasonable.’

‘The assistance from the Quadrant Chambers clerks’ room is always first class. Gary Ventura will always make sure that your needs are immediately and properly catered for. Daniel Westerman, Paul Bloxham and John Walker are always ready to help and have good knowledge about the Quadrant team.’

‘The clerks room is second to none and they make huge efforts to assist with identifying the right barrister for the particular matter/client. Service is at the top of their agenda. Clerks and barristers alike are there to make solicitors’ and clients’ lives easier. Daniel Westerman, in particular, is outstanding.’

7 King's Bench Walk

7 King’s Bench Walk is praised by clients for its ‘excellent strength in depth for shipping, insurance and shipbuilding’, with the sets’ silks and juniors engaged in high-profile matters in court and arbitration. Robert Bright QC continues to act at the highest level on matters such as CMA CGM Libra, a Supreme Court case concerning the test for seaworthiness in which he and Richard Sarll represented the International Group of P&I Clubs as interveners. Elsewhere, Stephen Hofmeyr QC was instructed on Argentum Exploration Limited v Silver, a case relating to silver recovered from the wreck of the SS Tilawa. The set is also active on marine insurance cases, including Psara Energy vs Lancashire Insurance, a disputed war risks claim which saw Peter MacDonald Eggers QC leading Marcus Mander and Benjamin Parker, with Hofmeyr QC and Alexander MacDonald on the opposing side. Sushma Ananda also had a strong year, acting in a number of dry shipping disputes.



‘7KBW is an excellent set. Over the years I have dealt with many barristers from 7KBW and the overwhelming majority have been of an impressive standard and very helpful and responsive. I have dealt with both silks and juniors from 7KBW and the quality is generally apparent throughout the set.’

‘They are one of the pre-eminent shipping sets because they have very good strength in depth throughout all levels of call.’

‘One of the – if not the – top set for shipping/shipping insurance. Top quality barristers at all levels.’

‘7KBW have a broad spectrum of top-end barristers on shipping cases. Definitiely our go-to set from baby juniors to silks.’

‘Excellent strength in depth for shipping, insurance and shipbuilding. Top class across the board.’


‘I have always found the clerks at 7KBW helpful and easy to deal with. In particular, Gary Rose is very responsive, approachable and always willing to assist.’

‘Over the years I have found the clerks at 7KBW to be extremely helpful, friendly and responsive. I have dealt with Gary Rose more than others and consider him to be a clerk of very high quality. I believe we have developed a very good relationship over the years.’

‘Greg Leyden is a pleasure to deal with.

‘The clerks are very helpful and deal with matters in a very practical way. When faced with difficult and pressing problems this is of great assistance. Bernie Hyatt, Greg Leyden, Gary Rose, Eddie Johns and Joe Clayton are all in this category and very approachable.’

‘An excellent set of clerks. Joe Clayton, Gary Rose and Sean Hulbert all responsive and helpful.’

Essex Court Chambers

'A leading commercial set with a strong shipping practice', the barristers at Essex Court Chambers are frequently instructed on wet and dry shipping disputes, in court and in arbitration. Christopher Smith QC had another strong year, handling complex litigation including the CCNI Arauco, a case in the wake of an explosion on a ship caused by a dangerous cargo of paint thinner.  In this he led Stephen Donnelly, and acted opposite David Walsh; one of a number of cases in 2020 in which Walsh acted as sole counsel against silks. 2018 silk Philippa Hopkins QC continues to act on dry and wet shipping matters both in English courts and in arbitration. Elsewhere, Steven Berry QC and John Robb acted together on several cases, including the bills of lading dispute FIMBank plc. v Polaris Bulkship SA, and Halis Holdings v Revelry Limited, which involved issues of force majeure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. David Davies QC is a 2021 Silk appointment.



‘A leading commercial set with a strong shipping practice.’

‘A very highly respected Chambers for shipping, with some of the top barristers in this area.’

‘An excellent set. I have used them, almost exclusively, for more than 40 years.’

‘Essex Court Chambers has incredible pedigree in commodities and shipping work with a host of names you would want to turn to for high-value, heavy and contentious disputes.’

‘Essex Court has very good strength in depth for shipping disputes mainly for higher value disputes. Because there are so many experienced senior counsel they are always able to offer someone who you know is good.’


‘Refreshingly clear and straightforward.’

‘The clerks are among the best in the business. Jack Wood always goes the extra mile.’

‘Clerks are very efficient and professional.’

‘Flexible and helpful.’

‘Joe Ferrigno is very good.’

Twenty Essex

Fielding 'great strength in depth across all levels of call', Twenty Essex offers clients silks and juniors of 'excellent quality'. Michael Ashcroft QC remains active on many of the largest cases in the shipping Bar. In 2020, he appeared several times before the Commercial Court, and has recently been instructed by Evergreen Marine to advise on matters related to the grounding of the Ever Given in March 2021, which blocked the Suez Canal for six days. Timothy Hill QC also had a strong year, handling CMA CGM Libra in the Court of Appeal; permission has been granted to appeal this case to the Supreme Court, where it will be heard in 2021. This dispute is the first time in almost 60 years that the highest court in the United Kingdom (and the first ever under the Supreme Court name) has considered the legal test for seaworthiness, in particular the extent to which a shipowner is obligated to exercise due diligence to make a ship seaworthy. Elsewhere, Christopher Hancock QC's handled CCNI Arauco in the Commercial Court, and Michael Collett QC appeared several times in the same court including in Sea Master Shipping Inc v Arab Bank (Switzerland) Ltd & Anor, a dispute involving the question of liabilities under bills of lading. On the junior end, Colleen Hanley acts as sole counsel, including against silks, in matters ranging from charterparty chain disputes to ship arrests.



‘Twenty Essex is one of our go to sets for shipping and insurance work. The barristers we have worked with their are, without exception, of excellent quality.’

‘I particularly favour Twenty Essex because they are receptive to new ideas and actively help us to find the right barristers for the work at hand. I have for example discussed diversity with them and been satisfied that they are taking active steps to support a range of juniors and to arrange meet ups for them with our team.’

‘One of the pre-eminent sets for shipping work. Great strength in depth across all levels of call.’

‘The Chambers is one of the strongest in the commercial/maritime and international trade field, one of the first choices to instruct in these sectors.’

‘Twenty Essex is probably our go to set for shipping and commodities work. The strength in depth, at both silk and junior level, is what sets them apart.’


‘There are two clerks who I consider to be particularly strong/forward thinking. These are Rachael Osborne and Robert Wheeler. They both work with us with a team attitude. Robert always provides me with clear and helpful information about costs in particular, it never feels like a fight to get to a sensible position, and I always understand why he is making a proposal. I am able to just forward on his proposal to the client, confident that it is reasonable and detailed. Rachael and I have discussed ways that we can work with different barristers, that do not place us as solicitors at risk.’

‘I have found both George Bennett and Sam McDowall to be very responsive and helpful.’

‘Always a high quality service with quick response times, and helpful suggestions where preferred counsel is not available.’

‘Generally excellent. Chris Theobald and Arron Zitver are both brilliant to deal with.’

‘Tara Shah was very responsive and helpful during my most recent instruction.’

The 36 Group

Excellent advocates in dry and wet shipping’, the members at 36 Stone (part of The 36 Group) are involved in some of the most complex and prominent shipping matters to come before the courts. In October 2020, Vasanti Selvaratnam QC and James Shirley acted in the Supreme Court case Nautical Challenge v Evergreen Marine (UK) Ltd, the first vessel collision case to reach the top level of UK courts system since 1976. Elsewhere, Rachel Toney represented a number of Bangladeshi shipbreakers in cases against ship management companies including Begum v Maran UK, a High Court case placing further focus on safety and environmental issues in the ship recycling industry. Charles Debattisti is also active in the High Court, while Elizabeth Blackburn QC and Ravi Aswani continue to handle complex arbitrations.



‘Excellent advocates for dry and wet shipping – they understand the issues and get stuck in to disputes and focus on the end goals right from the start.’

‘There are some excellent junior barristers at this set. Always able to take instructions at short notice and provide counsel of an appropriate level to handle matters of any value.’

‘Good strength in shipping matters.’

‘Excellent service, focusing on quality.’

‘They have a good number of excellent advocates in marine.’


‘It is reassuring to know Counsel at this set know their specialism and are backed up by a sound clerking team. They are commercial on rates and always go the extra mile.’

‘They are very responsive and commercial. Mike Wright and Paul Martenstyn are excellent and very user friendly.’

‘The clerking is very good. The team as a whole cannot do enough to make dealing with Counsel and the Courts smooth and stress-free. Mike Wright is always available and is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Mike Wright is very pro-active and responsive – he doesn’t require chasing and he will stay on top of things.’

‘Mike Wright has been very responsive and helpful.’