Neil Hart KC > Essex Court Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Essex Court Chambers
Neil Hart KC photo


Specialises in the fields of insurance and reinsurance, shipping (dry and wet) and other commercial disputes, principally in arbitration and in litigation before the courts in London. Considerable experience of working alone or as part of a team of counsel and solicitors on factually and legally complex areas of foreign law. Although the bulk of his work is in the context of confidential arbitration proceedings, reported cases include Aziz v Aziz (Sultan of Brunei Intervening) [2008] 2 All ER 501 (claim to diplomatic inviolability by serving head of state); Allianz Marine Aviation (France) v GE Frankona Reinsurance Ltd London (‘The Treasure Bay’) [2005] EWHC 101, [2005] 1 Lloyd’s Rep IR 437 (application of deductible in follow settlements clause); King v Brandywine Reinsurance Co [2005] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 655 (CA) (construction of reinsurance policy covering loss arising from Exxon Valdez disaster, effect of arbitration and service of suit clause); Vrinera Marine Co Ltd v Eastern Rich Operations Inc (‘The Vakis T’) [2004] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 465 (whether costs of arbitration recoverable as damages); Fyffes Group Ltd v Templeman [2000] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 643 (accessory liability at common law).


Called 1998, Gray’s Inn.




Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR); London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association; London Maritime Arbitrators Association.


Magdalen College, Oxford (BA Hons, congratulatory first class); City University, London (Dipl Law); Fudan University, Shanghai (Dipl Mandarin Chinese).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Shipping

(2022 Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Neil Hart KCEssex Court Chambers

Fielding ‘high-level professional services’, Essex Court Chambers is known for its strong barristers on both junior and silk level.  The set handles disputes, arbitration, and litigation on the full spectrum of maritime matters. Christopher Smith KC appeared for the South African government in Argentum v The Silver – the case, concerning the recovery of silver bars from a 1942 shipwreck, was the first to consider the State Immunity Act in relation to an in rem claim. Sanctions were  a central part of OCM Nile and OCM Kama v Courage and Amethyst, in which Graham Dunning KC led for the defendants. Philippa Hopkins KC regularly appears in various courts and arbitration fora in relation to ship arrests, shipbuilding, and marine insurance. 2021 was another strong year for David Walsh, who was involved in the charterparty claim Container Schiffahrts-Gmbh & Co. KG MS “MSC Flaminia” v MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. about an onboard explosion caused by cargo. Jeremy Brier KC and Neil Hart KC are both 2022 Silk appointments.