Mr John Ashley Kimbell KC > Chambers of Poonam Melwani KC > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of Poonam Melwani KC
Quadrant Chambers


John Kimbell QC is a maritime and aviation law specialist. He is instructed on a regular basis to appear in the Admiralty Court, the Commercial Court and arbitrations in London (LCIA, ICC and LMAA) and in Hamburg (GMAA). His shipping work encompasses both ‘wet’ collision and other Admiralty Court matters and ‘dry’ bill of lading and charterparty disputes. He was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in September 2018 and is chair of the Admiralty Bar Group.

John has acted on a number of leading cases in the shipping arena over recent years including advising a number of Owners and Charterers in relation to proceedings arising from the insolvency of OW Bunkers – see e.g. Stena Bulk AB v Copley [2015] Lloyd’s Rep Plus 5. He further acted on Stolt Kestrel BV v Sener Petrol Denizcilik Ticaret AS; and CDE S.A. v Sure Wind Marine Ltd – [2015] All ER (D) 146 (Oct) two cases concerning collision actions in the Admiralty court, the claimant ship owners had been refused an extension of time for issuing their actions in personam. He was involved in the first West-African piracy case to be litigated in the High Court (“CAPE BIRD”). John also advises clients on jurisdictional, private international law and foreign law aspects to disputes. He successfully represented Thomas Cook in the Court of Appeal and in the Supreme Court in Stott v Thomas Cook [2014] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 207 on the exclusivity of the Montreal Convention. John is rare in the marketplace as a barrister who is fluent in, and accepts instructions in German. Since 2001 he has been qualified to practice as a lawyer (‘Rechtsanwalt’) in Germany. He uses his knowledge of German law to provide a specialist service not only to German, Austrian and Swiss clients but more generally to clients from civil law countries. He recently acted for in German insurer in Woodford v AIG [2018] EWHC 358 (QB) and for a German ship manager in Harms Bergung, Transport & Heavylift GmbH & Co KG v Harms Offshore AHT ‘Uranus’ GmbH & Co KG and others – [2015] All ER (D) 72 (May). He acts as an arbitrator in London and Hamburg. He is the joint editor (with Nigel Meeson QC) of Admiralty Jurisdiction & Practice (5th edition, 2017) Informa and one of the authors (with Michael Howard QC and John Knott) of Foreign Currency: claims, judgments and damages (2016) Routledge.


Called 1995 (Inner Temple); Called to the German Bar (Rechtsanwalt) 2001. QC 2015; Deputy High Court Judge (2018).


Fluent German.


COMBAR; supporting member LMAA; British-German Jurists’ Association; TechBar; Chancery Bar Association (Honorary); GRUR.


Isleworth and Syon School; Emmanuel College, Cambridge (1990 BA Hons 1st; 1991 M Phil); Harvard University; Brasenose College, Oxford (BCL).


Walking Waldo (his GSP), film, theatre and opera.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Shipping

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 5

John Kimbell KCQuadrant Chambers ‘Eminently sensible and very easy to work with.’

London Bar > Aviation

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

John Kimbell KCQuadrant Chambers ‘Excellent advocate, clear, confident and persuasive. A team player and easy to get along with.’

Quadrant Chambers acts for a number of flagship airlines including British Airways and Etihad Airlines in addition to being instructed in major aviation casualties. It is considered to be ‘one of the best sets and certainly the best for all round aviation capability’. John Kimbell KC handles a range of disputes from aircraft sale and leasing to fatal accidents while Matthew Reeve acts for the family of footballer Emiliano Sala, who was killed when the Piper Malibu he was travelling in to his first training session at Cardiff City FC crashed near Alderney. Koye Akoni ‘s practice focuses on contractual disputes arising in the aviation leasing context.

London Bar > Travel law (including jurisdictional issues)

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 2

John Kimbell KCQuadrant ChambersAn excellent advocate: clear, confident and persuasive, a team player and easy to get along with.’