Commodities disputes in London

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has 'a very strong international trade practice and its dispute resolution team is solution-orientated, practical and experienced in the field'. The practice has specialists in hard and soft commodities, oil, gas, LNG and power, as well as carbon trading and commodity derivatives. It frequently acts for clients, including major trading houses, in international arbitrations and investment disputes, as well as matters under the rules of The Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA), the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA), the Refined Sugar Association, British Coffee Boards, International Cotton Association and the London Metal Exchange. Marko Kraljevic, who focuses on petroleum products and oil trading, and Michael Swangard, who handles softs and metals cases, lead the practice. Among the standout practitioners are Clare Hatcher, among whose clients are state-owned and private energy companies; trading disputes specialist John Whittaker; marine international trade partner Hatty Sumption; and shipping and commodities litigator Eurof Lloyd-Lewis. Legal director Tara Smith is one to watch.

Testimonials

‘The firm has a very strong international trade practice and expertise in other practice areas when we need it.’

‘The Clyde & Co dispute resolution team we use is solution-orientated, practical, experienced in the field and has great levels of availability and team support. They are led by a great strategic litigator in Michael Swangard, who does not, unlike some of his peers, confuse aggression with competence. He is supported by a good team at all levels.’

‘Throughout the team they are always ready to look for a practical outcome whilst pressing our case to the utmost. Their advice is clear, easy to understand and to the point and always delivered in a client-friendly and approachable manner. They are a valuable resource to have in your corner and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Michael Swangard is a great strategic thinker but with an ability to delve into the detail when required. He is always available and great to work with, and he appreciates that for clients it is value added they look to reward not hours on the clock.’

‘Tara Smith is very strong technically with an unparalleled knowledge of trading. She is extremely good and empathetic with the traders as well as the in-house legal team. She is able to present at the highest level.’

‘They are responsive and very knowledgeable about all aspects of commodities disputes. The team operates very smoothly and ensures full coverage during absences.’

Key clients

Louis Dreyfus Company

Duferco

Stemcor

Liberty

HFW

HFW has 'experienced practitioners with a good sense of clients' requirements'. The commodities practice represent 14 of the 16 largest commodity trading firms worldwide, as well as four of the six energy supermajors globally. The London practice led by Alistair Feeney, who frequently acts for national and international energy companies and commodity trading houses, works in close partnership with sector experts across the firm's global network, which includes offices in major trading hubs such as Dubai, Paris, Brussels, Geneva and Singapore. Among its key areas of expertise are crude oil and oil products, coal, grain, LNG, sugar, metals, cotton, cement and biofuels. Damian Honey, Brian Perrott, 'queen of the sugar market' Judith Prior and energy specialist Sarah Taylor are all highly recommended. Senior associates Clare Chyb and Michael Buffham are making their mark in both transactional matters and disputes. Partners Chris Swart and Katie Pritchard moved to Squire Patton Boggs but the firm has successfully hired at associate level to maintain a busy caseload.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Feeney

Testimonials

‘The firm has experienced practitioners with a good sense of clients’ requirements.’

‘It has experience in our core areas of the commodity business and we recommend Sarah Taylor, Alistair Feeney and Clare Chyb in the London team.’

‘Damian Honey, Andrew Williams and their team are genuinely solution-oriented, commercially-focused lawyers. They don’t waste time pushing expensive or unrealistic options and seek to achieve commercial outcomes at all times.’

‘Damien Honey is extremely knowledgeable, practical, commercial, down to earth and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Andrew Williams is good-humoured, solution-oriented and great to work with.’

Key clients

Vitol SA

GarantiBank International

BP Oil International Limited

Tintrade Ltd

Ifaco Feed Company S.A.

Marubeni Corporation

Ikon Finance Limited

Harvest Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Vitol in a $22.5m dispute in the Commercial Court in London that concerns a contract with Genser Energy, Ghana, for the sale of 12 cargoes of LPG, on which the latter defaulted.
  • Representing GarantiBank in an $8m High Court claim against Drum Risk Management arising from a large-scale misappropriation of coal from storage facilities in Turkey.
  • Acting for BP Oil International Limited in a claim in the London Commercial Court against Vega Petroleum and Dover Investments seeking restitution of prepayments made by BP for 211,387 barrels of Gulf of Suez Mix crude oil which Vega and Dover have failed to deliver.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP is best known for its work in soft commodities cases involving grains, seeds, pulses, edible oils, fertilisers and cocoa, but the firm continues to expand its offering in the energy and metals sectors. 'It is a "go-to" firm for anything commodities-related,' remarks one client. The practice led by Jeff Isaacs, who is arguably the leading cotton lawyer in London and a longstanding adviser to the sugar industry, is highly active in the major trade association arbitral fora, including the Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA) and the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA), and before the High Court. Fred Konynenburg, whose 'dedication and work ethos are hard to beat', Andrew Buchmann who is dual-qualified in England and South Africa, the 'incredibly hardworking, commercial and user-friendly' Paul Taylor and Darren Wall (who is 'at the top of the list for commodities disputes') are also recommended. Paul Sinnott's in-depth knowledge of the energy and metals markets is also a key pillar of the disputes practice. Experienced associate Olga Newman joined from Reed Smith LLP in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Jeff Isaacs

Testimonials

‘It is a “go-to” firm for anything commodities-related.’

‘Darren Wall is at the top of the list for commodities disputes and Paul Taylor is at the top of the list for insurance disputes.’

‘The team is very practical and flexible. We don’t have to battle internally to use them as outside counsel, even though we are a very large company. We trust them and rely on them, and they focus on us as a client and are very responsive.’

‘The firm has a commercially-minded and down-to-earth approach to dispute resolution. We like to work in collaboration with our external lawyers and look to our lawyers to provide pragmatic and reasoned solutions. The lawyers we work with are accessible and are not afraid to provide a measured opinion.’

‘Paul Taylor is incredibly hardworking, commercial and user-friendly. He is never intimidated by opponents and is adaptable in difficult situations. A good team player.’

‘Fred Konynenburg and his team have in-depth knowledge of the commodities world and its sales and chartering contracts. Their growing team is testimony to their success. Fred’s dedication and work ethos are hard to beat.’

‘The team has been always reactive to our needs whether in French or English and constructive in finding appropriated solutions to our problems. It is more reactive compared to other law firms and is always available even during non-working hours or holidays periods.’

‘They are close to our worries, and find facilities in negotiating amicable settlements. They provide prompt and detailed advice.’

‘What impresses me, is that the individuals work as a team very well together and cases are well distributed between them to guarantee a quick response to the client, particularly when time matters. Each member of the team has a very strong legal knowledge of GAFTA/FOSFA contracts and arbitration subject to English law. The members of the team do not focus only on litigation but consider also the approach of a commercial settlement.’

‘The individuals I worked with are Andrew Buchmann, Fred Konynenburg and Darren Wall. Andrew is user-friendly and responsive. He has extensive trade experience and is technically strong on law. Also importantly, he has an excellent understanding of trade and adopts a commercial approach to cases. He does not focus only on litigation aspects but considers also amicable settlements when appropriate. He gives an honest and realistic prospect of success. Andrew drafts all his own submissions. His drafting is technical, focused and persuasive and does not drift into irrelevant side issues and evidence. The deadlines set to deliver a response or submission are generally kept bearing in mind the usual slippage that occurs in arbitration.’

‘As marine cargo underwriters, with a specialty in commodities, we appreciate the excellent knowledge of the products and the commodities trade in its whole. Hill Dickinson also works for some of our large clients on non-insurance matters, so they know some of our clients well, which is an advantage. Not to forget their legal capacities, both in cargo as in insurance matters. They also provide excellent assistance in commercial matters, when these have to be handled in the course of a cargo claim.’

‘Fred Konynenburg is an excellent lawyer both in cargo and in insurance matters. He provides good and clear advice and proactive handling of matters, and he is open, reliable, straightforward and honest.’

‘The Hill Dickinson commodities team demonstrates genuine strength in depth. The partners appear to be supportive of one another and collegiate. The team is responsive, professional and delivers a very high quality of service and expertise. In my 18 years within the commodities sector, this Hill Dickinson commodities team has delivered by far the best in terms of work product and turnaround times compared to other firms I have used.’

‘Darren Wall is very personable and always available. He has a strong grasp of the details of a case. He is strategic and very tactically astute.’

‘Andrew Buchmann is a very intelligent and insightful lawyer. He has an excellent understanding of both the business and legal aspects of a case. He has an impressive written style, is very persuasive and presents brilliant arguments before trade tribunals.’

‘They are extremely able lawyers. They know the business very well and are very responsive and able.’

‘Jeff Isaacs and Fred Konynenburg are excellent lawyers.’

Key clients

Addax

ADM

ADNOC L&S

Alliance Grain Traders

BP

Bunge

Cargill

COFCO

Czarnikow

Gerald Metals

Gunvor

HDI Global

MS Amlin

Nibulon SA

Phoenix Global DMCC

Tate & Lyle

The International Cotton Association

The Sugar Association of London

Wilmar

Work highlights

  • Successfully upholding an anti-suit injunction on vexatious and oppressive grounds against shipowners with a third-party claim for a $16m indemnity.
  • Successfully resisted a US$5m gasoil contract pricing claim in the English High Court.
  • Acting on behalf of a trade finance bank in a case concerning the financing of a ghost cargo of oil said to have been loaded on board a vessel in the Arabia Gulf.

Reed Smith LLP

The energy and natural resources group at Reed Smith LLP has in-depth knowledge of a wide range of commodities, notably oil and oil products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), metals, coal, grains and edible oils, sugar, coffee, cotton and biofuels. Clients praise the group as 'very diligent, efficient and willing to adapt to challenges'. Prajakt Samant leads the energy and natural resources group, which counts the world's leading trading houses, major energy companies and end users among its clients. Its dispute resolution practice handles matters in many fora, including the Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA), the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA), the International Compliance Association (ICA), RSA, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), as well as ad hoc arbitrations. Key to their international caseload is the firm's strong global network of commodities lawyers. Among the star litigators are senior partner Richard Swinburn; the 'cool, calm and collected' Andrew Meads; disputes and transactional partner Vassia Payiataki; Paul Skeet; and up-and-coming partner Elizabeth Farrell. New promotions include partner Karen Ellison and counsel Frances Furness, who is 'diligent, efficient and very bright'.

Testimonials

‘Reed Smith’s commodities team really hit the ground running with our matter. They were very diligent and efficient throughout.’

‘Andrew Meads is an exceptional lawyer who provides clear, quick and commercial advice. He is a genuine pleasure to work with. He is always cool, calm and collected, even when the pressure really is on.’

‘Frances Furness is diligent, efficient and very bright.’

‘The team is extremely polite and educated. It understands clients’ needs and is flexible enough to adjust. It has strong expertise and knowhow, and its style is objective and straight to the point. It is willing to adapt to challenges and the lawyers are fast learners.’

‘The team is time-efficient and well organised.’

‘The firm has an A+ team. It is easy to work with and sensitive about clients’ policies and their ways of working. They are keen to learn about clients’ business and follow their instructions. They are clearly team players.’

‘The firm is very proactive , efficient  and close to the trade.’

‘Vassia Payiataki is a brilliant lawyer with excellent understanding of commodity trade.’

‘This is an exceptional team. Excellent across the board. They are technically expert, extremely responsive and diligent, and deliver exactly what clients need.’

‘Elizabeth Farrell, Richard Swinburn and Vassia Payiataki are all truly excellent lawyers and a fantastic team.’

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood is 'always resourceful and very knowledgeable in this area', note clients who remark that 'the team is well informed, very accessible and understands its clients' needs'. Supported by the firm's strong finance, shipping, corporate and regulatory teams, the litigators are experienced in matters relating to the full commodities cycle from the extraction of raw materials all the way through to end use. Focusing predominantly on petroleum products, metals and coal, the firm has been active in a growing number of liquefied natural gas (LNG) disputes. It acts for energy majors and trading companies such as Stemcor and Mercuria. Practice head Haris Zografakis, Jonathan Spearing (who is 'a hugely committed lawyer with a sharp intellect') and Peter Bennett (who 'has a wealth of experience of commodities disputes and is a highly diligent lawyer') are leading lights in a growing practice. Emerging talent Emma Skakle joined as a partner from Clyde & Co LLP. Partners Cristan Evans and Ingolf Kaiser are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Haris Zografakis

Testimonials

‘The team is always resourceful and provides fit-for-purpose advice and timely responses. Peter Bennett and Jonathan Spearing are very knowledgeable in their area of practice.’

‘The firm provides detailed attention and understanding of clients’ needs.’

‘Peter Bennett and Jonathan Spearing are hardworking and dedicated to finding solutions.’

‘The team is well informed, very accessible and understands its clients’ needs.’

‘Peter Bennett and Jonathan Spearing are very good on detail and provide early response times.’

‘The team boasts some highly experienced commodities lawyers, especially in the metals, coal and oil trading sectors.’

‘Peter Bennett has a wealth of experience of commodities disputes and is a highly diligent lawyer, and he has a very good manner with clients.’

‘Jonathan Spearing is a hugely committed lawyer with a sharp intellect and is extremely experienced in metals disputes.’

‘Quick responses, deep knowledge of the market and high legal standing. The firm is great in advising the client. They show availability even by a short notice.’

‘Peter Bennett has profound experience and skill, especially in strategy and tactics. He shows full comprehension on customer’s needs.’

Key clients

Mercuria

Vedanta Resources and subsidiaries/related companies

Stemcor

Moorgate Industries

Macquarie

E.ON and Uniper

Steag

PDVSA

BASF Intertrade

Galana Petroleum

Socar Trading

Repsol

Natixis

Chevron

ADNOC

Work highlights

  • Acted for PDVSA in the defence of claims for alleged unpaid hire and other sums made by Sovcomflot group companies in 14 ongoing LMAA arbitrations.
  • Acted for Natixis bank in a claim against Marex Financial and Access World relating to repo transactions tainted by a fraud affecting nickel stocks warehoused in South Korea and Malaysia.
  • Advising Mercuria in relation to a $20m claim it has brought against Deutsche Bank in the English Commercial Court arising out of the Qingdao warehousing fraud in 2014.

Ince

Ince has a disputes group that is 'aggressive, informed, technically proficient and a pleasure to work with'. The bulk of its contentious commodities work stems from the oil and gas sector, though it has a growing caseload in  soft commodities and metals. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is also a key area of specialist expertise. Will Marshall, who leads the global commodities practice, 'has a very sharp intellect and is very hands-on'. Key partner Carl Walker represents some of the world’s largest trading houses in physical commodity trading disputes, particularly matters concerning oil and gas trading. Jeremy Biggs handles large commodities matters for the likes of Trafigura. Rory Macfarlane's practice focuses on disputes in Asian markets, most notably Japan. William Blagbrough is an emerging presence in the London market having relocated from Hong Kong in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Will Marshall

Testimonials

‘Will Marshall is an excellent commodities lawyer. He has a very sharp intellect and is very hands-on in all his cases.’

‘Will Marshall is the standout commodities lawyers at Ince.’

‘Superb on all aspects of international trade. Very responsive.’

‘Will Marshall is top-drawer for legal knowledge. He usually has the answers right there without the need to go and research even complex issues.’

‘The team I work with is Will Blagbrough, Carl Walker, Rory MacFarlane and Jeremy Biggs. They are aggressive, informed, technically proficient and a pleasure to work with.’

‘I worked closely with Will Blagbrough in preparing witnesses for ten days of hearings in the US proceedings, coordinated with him and offshore counsel in the related other arbitrations, jointly drafted pleadings and papers and worked on every detail of enormously complex matters, all of which we won convincingly.’

‘Will Blagbrough is not only a skilled practitioner, but also a delight to work with.’

‘The team draws on its considerable experience of high-value cases to deliver first-class results.’

‘The firm has highly capable individuals with terrific experience in their fields.’

‘Will Marshall is superb on commodities.’

Key clients

Unipec (China United International Petroleum & Chemicals Co Ltd)

Glencore Energy

Trafigura

OceanConnect Marine Ltd

Fertisa, Fertilizantes, Terminales I Servicios C.L.

Invicta Food Group

Petroineos

Work highlights

  • Successfully pursued a recovery of substantial damages following the failure of a counterpart in Ghana to perform a contract for the sale and purchase of fuel oil.
  • Providing Venezuelan and COSCO sanctions advice to two trading companies following the imposition of sanctions by the US on Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA and on China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO).

Mills & Co

Mills & Co in Newcastle upon Tyne is 'a brilliant firm that punches above its weight and pops up a lot in commodities disputes'. One client notes that it is 'a medium-sized regional firm that competes with the biggest London firms in the commodities area, which makes it unique in my experience'. A specialist maritime and international trade firm, it frequently competes with London-based firms for a role in Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA) and Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA) arbitrations. Neville Hopper leads the practice, which acts for numerous multinational trading houses, and he has 'excellent industry experience, coupled with a practical and highly responsive approach'. Clients also recommend Jonathan Green who has vast experience in trade arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Neville Hopper

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Green

Testimonials

‘Mills & Co is a medium-sized regional firm that competes with the biggest London firms in the commodities area, which makes it unique in my experience. There is a real strength and breadth to Mills, notwithstanding its modest size, and several of the partners are excellent lawyers and commercially minded.’

‘The two standouts from Mills & Co for me are Jonathan Green and Neville Hopper. They are both very astute lawyers, and have a good strategic approach to commodities arbitration.’

‘Neville Hopper has excellent industry experience, coupled with a practical and highly responsive approach.’

‘Neville Hopper is punctual, available, deeply professional and a listener.’

‘Quick and prompt advice is an essential element for us, as it enables us to avoid huge damages and expenses. The team is very available and always has an intelligent strategy to propose.’

‘A brilliant firm that punches above its weight and pops up a lot in commodities disputes.’

‘Mills & Co has a wide breadth of shipping knowledge but the lawyers are also well versed in all you need in respect of commodities expertise.’

‘Neville Hopper is really excellent for sound advice, whether contentious or non-contentious. He is very responsive, practical and calm. His experience is up there with the best of them. They have equivalent expertise for incredible value for money compared to their London-based competitors.’

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is 'a top-end disputes firm with the capability to handle a difficult case', according to one client. It is a key adviser to clients across the commodities supply chain, among which are financial institutions, commodity trading houses, and both national and international mining and energy companies. The firm advises on the production, shipping, transportation and warehousing of commodities, alongside physical supply contracts, collateral management and insurance, trade and commodity financing, hedging, derivatives and futures documentation. Peter Scott leads the EMEA litigation group, Michael Godden is head of banking and finance disputes and Neil Miller leads the energy, infrastructure, trade and transport disputes team. Miller, who has 30 years' experience in disputes in the energy sector, and Holly Stebbing, who frequently handles energy and natural resources disputes in Africa, are recommended.

Testimonials

‘Norton Rose Fulbright LLP’s commodities disputes practice is very strong. They have been involved in some of the highest profile cases in this area and have excellent lawyers at every level. They are extremely nice people to work with.’

‘Antony Corsi is also extremely well respected in this field and has a very good sense of strategy.’

‘Rachel McDonnell is an excellent associate – she is technically very capable and also has lots of commercial common sense.’

‘A top-end disputes firm with the capability to handle a difficult case.’

‘Radford Goodman is a very shrewd and able litigation partner.’

‘Tal Geron is a heavy-hitting senior associate.’

‘Senior associate Alex Shattock is a very strong technical lawyer with excellent ability to grip a case.’

‘The firm has an excellent all-round practice with high-quality individuals who are well organised, hardworking, very clever and a pleasure to work with.’

‘It is a top-drawer firm for dispute resolution. Top marks go to Ruth Cowley who is tough, realistic and has a natural aptitude for what she does. The partners are supported by a highly motivated, very hardworking, highly able team of younger associates. They are a formidable package.’

‘The team acts for high-profile players in the sector, due to its high level of commercial knowledge and experience of litigating tough and complicated disputes.’

Key clients

Citibank N.A. and Citigroup Global Markets Limited

Mercuria Energy Group

Barrick Gold Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acting for Citi in a $285m Commercial Court proceeding concerning financing transactions with Mercuria in respect of aluminium and copper supposedly warehoused in China.
  • Advising Mercuria Energy Group on restructuring and related litigation in connection with a $380m borrowing base financing provided to Aegean Marine.
  • Advised Barrick Gold Corporation in relation to disputes between the Government of Tanzania and Acacia Mining plc concerning mining and the export of minerals, with the value of claims exceeding $190bn.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Formed in 2019 through the merger of Penningtons Manches and shipping and trade specialist Thomas Cooper, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has built an international trade and commodities group that acts for clients across the supply chain including producers, trading companies, banks and end users. It remains heavily involved in matters under the rules of the Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA), the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA), the Sugar Association of London, the Refined Sugar Association (RSA) and the British Coffee Association. Practice heads George Mingay (who has 'a level-headed approach to litigation and arbitration') and Mark Sachs, along with key partner Lisa Hillary, work closely with the firm's shipping and trade finance groups, as well as specialists in the firm's offices in Singapore, Paris and Madrid. Their work covers soft commodities, metals, mining and oil and gas matters, with Mingay particularly prominent in sugar disputes.

Practice head(s):

George Mingay; Mark Sachs

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Hillary

Testimonials

‘I have worked primarily with partner George Mingay at Penningtons, formerly Thomas Cooper. He works in a number of different commodity sectors including sugar, grains and metals and is an excellent analytical lawyer who approaches all his cases with his clients’ commercial objectives firmly at the forefront of his mind. His hard work and level-headed approach to litigation and arbitration leads to great results.’

‘The team is very ready to roll up their sleeves and get into the detail. It is adept at handling technically complex problems and developing pragmatic solutions. It has a very thorough understanding of the commodities business.’

‘George Mingay is an excellent lawyer – technically adept and always pragmatic.’

‘From our experience working with Penningtons, they have always been readily available, extremely knowledgeable about the matters at hand and have anticipated issues excellently. The guidance and expert opinion we have received has always meant we have felt comfortable that we are in safe hands.’

‘We have worked predominately with George Mingay on a recent matter. George has always been fully engaged, always available and anticipated issues excellently, as well as clearly being extremely knowledgeable in all matters of the process. George is excellent at explaining detailed legal process in a very accessible way.’

Key clients

Czarnikow Group Limited

British Coffee Association

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is a specialist litigation boutique that has developed a strong presence in the commodities arena under the guidance of Ted Greeno, who leads the energy litigation practice and is co-managing partner of the London office. The firm frequently acts for commodity trading houses and mineral extraction companies, so much of its litigation work involves oil and gas, metals and mining, and it focuses on high-value cases rather than a high volume of work in the commodities space. Greeno frequently acts as lead partner in the higher English courts in disputes ranging from general contract and tort claims to public law matters. Of counsel Jenni Lajzerowicz specialises in large-scale, international and multi-jurisdictional disputes in the energy and natural resources sectors, including matters concerning physical commodity sales, transportation and storage, as well as derivatives cases involving hedging and repos.

Practice head(s):

Ted Greeno

Other key lawyers:

Jenni Lajzerowicz

Key clients

Gerald Metals SA

Work highlights

  • Retained by Gerald Metals – a commodities broker dealer in Switzerland – to act against mining magnate Frank Timis and in an LCIA arbitration against his family trust.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

The commodities practice at Watson Farley & Williams LLP focuses predominantly on finance and investment matters, so frequently acts for banks, private equity funds and other financial institutions. It also has a strong track record in high-profile commercial litigation involving energy and natural resources companies, and it is a strong player in shipping disputes, including cargo claims. In 2019, the firm was busy not only with disputes in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, but also cases involving metals and cotton trading. Andrew Ward and Rebecca Williams lead a dispute resolution group in which Andrew Hutcheon and Rob Fidoe are known for their work in the commodities field. Hutcheon focuses on commercial and financial litigation in the offshore oil and gas, energy, natural resources and shipping sectors. Fidoe's broad litigation practice sees him act for corporate clients in the energy, infrastructure and international trade sectors.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Ward; Rebecca Williams

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Hutcheon; Rob Fidoe

Key clients

PTT Public Company Limited

KrisEnergy

Work highlights

  • A combined team from London and Bangkok continues to represent PTT Public Company Limited, the Thai state-owned SET listed oil and gas company in a dispute concerning the design and implementation of a Trading Risk Management system for its global commodity trades.
  • Advised OMV Gas Marketing and Trading GmbH in relation to transactional matters such as Master Sale and Purchase Agreements for LNG sales with Traders and Oil companies and have also advised in relation to operational issues including one significant trading dispute which successfully settled.

DWF

The shipping and commodities practice at DWF is 'solutions-driven and extremely efficient'. Drawing on its strengths in shipping and insurance, the firm has a large following among insurers, charterers and international trading companies, for which it recently handled large disputes concerning piracy, theft or detention of cargo. Among its clients are Trafigura, Shandong Steel and Sahara Energy. 'His views are always respected by fellow professionals and clients,' says a client of practice head Jonathan Moss who leads a four-partner group. Moss and Antony Woodhouse are often chosen to advise commodities companies involved in disputes involving insurance considerations, notably in the onshore and offshore energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Moss

Other key lawyers:

Antony Woodhouse; Peter Olymbios

Testimonials

‘Jonathan Moss is a very meticulous lawyer who ensures that no stone is left unturned. His views are always respected by fellow professionals and clients.’

‘I can highly recommend Jonathan Moss. He is very knowledgeable and pleasant to work with.’

‘The team is solutions-driven and extremely efficient.’

‘Jonathan Moss is knowledgeable, efficient and solutions-driven.’

‘Senior associate Peter Olymbios is conscientious and amiable and is a fountain of information.’

Key clients

Trafigura Beheer BV

HDI Gerling Verzekeringen NV

Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL) Ltd

Shandong Steel

MS Amlin Marine

Travelers Marine

Willis Marine International Trade & Logistics

Cronimet Eesti Metall

Van Dalen Metals Recycling & Trading

Nimex Petroleum

Impala Terminals

Vallis Commodities

Vallis Group Limited

Targray

Sahara Energy

Trailstone

Chaucer Syndicates

Berkshire Hathaway

PS Maritime

Towergate

GP Global

Thomas Miller

MOK Petroenergy

Work highlights

  • Representing a large commodities company in a claim involving the theft of a large amount of metals from a warehouse in Morocco, North Africa.
  • Acting for Fusion Insurance Services Ltd to pursue a recovery action against a large shipping company following the damage of goods during an international transit.
  • Acting in a dispute which involves the longstanding litigation between the Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto and Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz, accusing him of stealing one of the world’s largest untapped iron ore reserves with a scheme that breached US laws against organised crime.

Gateley Plc

'The team is well known for its skills in the commodities sector and it is very reliable when dealing with complex and high-calibre matters,' remarks a client of Gateley Plc. The firm has a strong shipping practice, led by Paul Dickie, but is frequently called upon to handle Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA) and Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA) arbitrations. It also has extensive experience in disputes under other arbitration rules including RSA, London Metal Exchange (LME), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). Its work covers disputes arising not only from contracts of sale, but also insurance issues, demurrage and other charterparty matters. Key partner Nicholas Walser is 'rigorous and reliable, and he knows perfectly how to handle commodities proceedings'. Brian Taylor is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Paul Dickie

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Walser; Brian Taylor

Testimonials

‘The firm has recognised experience in and knowledge of commodities disputes, in particular GAFTA arbitration.’

‘Nicholas Walser is rigorous and reliable, and he knows perfectly how to handle commodities proceedings.’

‘The team is well known for its skills in the commodities sector and it is very reliable when dealing with complex and high-calibre matters.’

Linklaters LLP

The commodities practice at Linklaters LLP works as one group across the firm's global network. It focuses on regulatory, transactional and contentious matters, notably in the energy market. It has highly regarded energy, natural resource and mining practices with expertise in London, New York and Singapore, as well as other key financial centres such as Beijing, Dubai, Moscow, Paris and Tokyo. Jeremy Gewirtz leads the energy and infrastructure group, which counts energy majors and trading companies among its clients. The firm handles contentious matters relating to physical and financial commodity transactions for corporates, banks, funds and governments.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Gewirtz

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP

The litigation practice at McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP has a reputation for taking on larger firms in complex, high-value disputes with an international element. Its recent work features disputes involving a myriad of jurisdictions, among them the UK, Switzerland, Romania, Gambia, Qatar, Australia, Denmark and South Africa. Much of its work derives from the energy sector and it includes cross-border disputes under the Energy Charter Treaty. Andrew Savage has a practice that covers fraud, commodities, shipping, construction and IT, and he leads the three-partner group.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Savage

Key clients

Petrochemical Holdings GmbH

Conapro Dena-BMS SAL

Lehman Brothers Finance A.G. (In Liquidation)

Work highlights

  • Represented Conapro in relation to its Commercial Court claim against The Ministry of Petroleum, The Republic of The Gambia, for loss of profit under an oil sales contract.
  • Representing Petrochemical Holdings GmbH in ICSID arbitration proceedings against Romania, brought under the Energy Charter Treaty.

Wikborg Rein

Wikborg Rein is active in projects, finance and shipping, which brings it frequently into the commodities space. Acting for major trading houses and key players in the energy market, among which is Noble Corp, the firm also has a strong following among clients based in Norway, its country of origin. Managing partner Chris Grieveson leads the practice in London, in which Jonathan Goldfarb leads on oil and gas transactional matters and Renaud Barbier-Emery handles matters in the offshore and liquefied natural gas (LNG) sectors. Specialist counsel Eleanor Midwinter is an international trade, dry shipping and marine insurance lawyer with significant litigation and international enforcement experience.

Practice head(s):

Chris Grieveson

Testimonials

‘From junior to senior members, they are steeped in the commercial and legal aspects of commodities claims, many of them having spent considerable periods of time on secondment at major players in the industry. They also cover the full range of commodities disputes from soft commodities to the more complex oil and gas fields.’

‘Eleanor Midwinter is a partner in waiting. She is a brilliant technical lawyer, but also has a finely tuned commercial sense and is excellent with clients.’

‘Chris Grieveson is one of the go-to names for disputes in this field. He has an enviable track record and his wealth of experience means he can spot subtle points in complex cases.’

Key clients

BW LNG

Gard AS

GasLog

Golar LNG

Höegh LNG Ltd

Noble Corp

Yara

Elkem ASA

Met Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for Naftogaz to secure payment of a $2.5bn arbitration award, in so doing obtaining the largest freezing injunction seen by the UK High Court.
  • Acting for BW in matters arising from a $1bn project of national importance to El Salvador, which is expected to supply 30% of the country’s energy demand in future.