Philippa Hopkins KC KC > Essex Court Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Essex Court Chambers


Advises and acts in a wide range of commercial disputes, both in court and arbitration. Specialises in particular in dry shipping and commodities/international trade and in insurance/reinsurance disputes, but is also involved in more general commercial disputes and in aviation, professional negligence, sale of goods and associated matters (including commodities contracts, letter of credit disputes, commercial agency disputes and computer/information technology disputes) and banking matters. Has a particular interest in private international law issues. Also sits as an arbitrator. Publications: co-author, Colman, Lyon and Hopkins’ ‘The Practice and Procedure of the Commercial Court’ (6th ed); was also contributing editor to 17th edn of ‘Arnould on Marine Insurance’.


Called 1994, Middle Temple.


COMBAR; London Maritime Arbitrators Association (supporting member); LCIA.


Merton College, Oxford (BA jurisprudence; joint winner of the Martin Wronker prize for best performance in Final Honour Schools; BCL with distinction); Eldon Scholar, University of Oxford; Queen Mother’s Scholar of the Middle Temple.


Family, walking, cooking, poetry, theatre, gardening.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Commodities

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 5

Philippa Hopkins KCEssex Court ChambersVery hands-on and approachable, she is a source of commercial and pragmatic advice.

London Bar > Energy

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 4

Philippa Hopkins KCEssex Court ChambersShe is an excellent cross-examiner, and her advice is clear and to the point.

London Bar > Shipping

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 5

Philippa Hopkins KCEssex Court ChambersVery bright and user-friendly. A good advocate.

‘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 KC 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 KC continues to act on dry and wet shipping matters both in English courts and in arbitration. Elsewhere, Steven Berry KC 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 KC is a 2021 Silk appointment.

London Bar > Insurance and reinsurance

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 5

Philippa Hopkins KCEssex Court ChambersHighly intelligent and with great knowledge of her field, allied with a practical and down-to-earth application of what will work. A real pleasure to work with, she always adds value, while both managing expectations and getting the best possible result.

London Bar > International arbitration: counsel

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 4

Philippa Hopkins KCEssex Court ChambersExtremely impressive – she is very hands-on and approachable, and gives very commercial and pragmatic advice. She also has a very good advocacy style which is very engaging with the arbitrators.