Nicholas Woo > Birketts LLP > Ipswich, England > Lawyer Profile

Birketts LLP
Providence House
141-145 Princes Street

Work Department





Nicholas is a Partner in our Shipping and International Trade Team and an accredited CEDR (Council of Effective Dispute Resolution) Mediator.

Nicholas grew up in Singapore, obtained his LLB in England and was called to the Bar here in 1986. He qualified in Singapore as an Advocate and Solicitor the following year and practised in Singapore as a shipping litigator for five years. He then moved in-house working for a COSCO Singapore subsidiary where he gained valuable commercial experience. London beckoned and Nicholas qualified as an English solicitor in 1996. He was made a Partner in 2001, the first ethnic Chinese to be appointed as a partner in a major shipping law firm in London. Nicholas is now Head of Birketts’ Shipping and International Trade Team and has helped it grow from two fee-earners when he joined in 2004 to eleven fee-earners today.

Nicholas is a specialist in all areas of ‘dry’ shipping litigation with particular knowledge of shipping in Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. He also has some contacts with the Indian and Japanese shipping industry. He makes regular visits to these countries every year. Working for COSCO Shipping and spending many years representing other Chinese clients has helped Nicholas develop his ability to take instructions, give advice and lecture on English shipping law in fluent Mandarin.




Nicholas sits on the Supporting Members Liaison Committee of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association. He has also previously undertaken a number of key roles in the industry, including chairing the time charterparty and cargo claims seminars organised by the Lloyds Maritime Academy in London and representing the Singapore Shipping Association at the Maritime Law Committee of the International Chamber of Shipping. Nicholas is a past President of the Singapore Business Group, a Singapore-British business networking group in London under the patronage of the Singapore High Commissioner to London.  He has recently been appointed as an Advisor to the Chinese Shipping Association in London supported by the Baltic Exchange.

Lawyer Rankings

London > Transport > Shipping

(Leading individuals)

Nicholas WooBirketts LLP

With an ‘outstanding shipping team’, Birketts LLP counts arbitration proceedings, charterparties, marine insurance, and matters pertaining to bills of lading to its designated areas of expertise, though the practice covers all major issues arising out of shipping work. ‘Brilliant lawyer’ Henry Adams, litigator Alex Davey, dry shipping dispute specialist Nicholas Woo, and Tom Hodges, who focuses on international trade as well as dry shipping work, jointly lead the Ipswich-based team. The firm bolstered its ranks with the hire of a team from Ince & Co in September 2023, led by Daniel Crockford.

East Anglia > Transport > Transport and shipping

(Leading individuals)

Nicholas WooBirketts LLP

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is home to a transport and shipping practice from which ‘the service from is professional, friendly and pragmatic‘. The firm assists shipping and logistics clients with the full spectrum of matters, including commercial, contractual, customs and duty issues. Practice co-head Henry Adams has broad expertise in dry shipping; Alex Davey leads the litigation practice, often acting in cargo disputes; and head of regulatory and corporate defence Matthew Gowen frequently advises operators and trade bodies. Davey and newly promoted partner Tom Hodges have a ‘straightforward, no nonsense approach’. Mediator and dry shipping litigation specialist Nicholas Woo and senior associate Sarah Holsgrove also play pivotal roles in the practice.