James Watthey > 4 Pump Court (Sean Brannigan KC and Rachel Ansell KC) > London, England > Lawyer Profile

4 Pump Court (Sean Brannigan KC and Rachel Ansell KC)
4 Pump Court


An experienced commercial barrister handling heavyweight international arbitration and litigation. In addition to LMAA, LCIA, SIAC, ICC and other institutional and ad hoc arbitrations all around the world, he also frequently handles disputes in the Mercantile Court, the Commercial Court and the Admiralty Court, as well as other divisions of the High Court. He also has experience in mediation and as an arbitrator and expert in English law in foreign proceedings. His arbitration practice includes both substantive proceedings and challenges under the Arbitration Act 1996, on grounds such as want of jurisdiction, apparent bias, serious irregularity and errors of law. Particular specialist expertise in shipping and commodities; shipbuilding, offshore construction and energy; insurance and reinsurance; professional negligence; general commercial dispute resolution.
Reported cases include: QUEEN B SPEED” LTL 2/10/2020; [2020] 9 WLUK 353; “STORM EMMA” limitation claim [2020] EWHC 1750 (Admlty); Crowther v Crowther [2020] EWHC 1037 (Fam) and [2020] EWCA Civ 762; AIG Europe Ltd v Royal & Sun Alliance Plc & ors [2020] EWHC 943 (TCC); “REJOICE” [2020] Lloyd’s Rep. Plus 21; “OCEAN WIND 8” [2019] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 510; “ALHANI” [2018] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 563; A v B (arbitration claim – contractual terms – foreign language) [2018] EWHC 1370 (Comm); “MARCO POLO” [2017] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 575; Vitol v Beta [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 338; Bank of Baroda v Nawany Marine Shipping FZE [2016] EWHC 3089 (Comm); Austen v Pearl Motor Yachts Ltd [2014] EWHC 3544 (Comm); “IMME” [2014] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 386; “CONTI CARTAGENA” [2014] EWHC 1064 (Comm) and [2015] EWHC 3922 (QB); “BERIL 1” [2014] EWHC 398 (Comm); “SNOW BUNTING” [2012] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 647; F&M Bunkering Services Ltd v Bulgarian River Shipping [2012] EWHC B26 (Comm); “TE HSING” [2012] EWHC B16 (Comm); Lombard Marine Finance v Hussein LTL 7/3/2011; “BON AMI” [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 356.


Called 2000, Gray’s Inn. Formerly insurance and reinsurance litigator at Lovells. Chairman, Gray’s Inn Barristers’ Committee. Tenant at Hardwicke Building, Lincoln’s Inn (2002-March 2014). Tenant at 4 Pump Court from April 2014.


Supporting member of the LMAA; member of the LCIA Users’ Council; BILA; COMBAR; London Shipping Law Centre; founder committee member Young Maritime Professionals; Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.


Ashcroft High School; Luton VIth Form College; Christ’s College, Cambridge (1998, MA (Cantab) (Law); Christ Church, Oxford (1999, BCL).


Family, food, cycling (London Dynamo) and sailing (Bar Yacht Club, RORC).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Shipping

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 2

James Watthey4 Pump Court ‘He is personable and a stickler for detail – in a good way. He is also very good with clients in that he engages with them. That also translates to his advocacy.’

With a deep bench of practitioners, 4 Pump Court remains a go-to set for clients in the shipping sector and handles disputes in the Commercial and High Court as well as in arbitration. . James Leabeater KC and Rani Noakes acted on behalf of the appellant disponent owners and Alexander Wright KC, who took silk in 2022, was instructed by the respondent voyage charterers in The Tai Prize, where the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision that voyage charterers are not liable towards owners for losses caused by an inaccurate bill of lading. Whether a marina as a whole could be defined as a dock for the purposes of limitation was the central question in Holyhead Marina Ltd v Farrer and Others, in which James Watthey acted on behalf of insurers and owners of damaged vessels. Sean O’Sullivan KC continues his involvement in a number of high-profile cases, including CV Stealth about a vessel that was detained in Venezuela after an attempt to export oil from the country, which the government alleges was a breach of local law. Thomas Steward, whose practice encompasses international arbitration and commercial litigation in shipping and shipbuilding, joined the set from The 36 Group in 2022, while Neil Henderson left for an in-house position at Gard AS the same year.

London Bar > Commodities

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 3

James Watthey 4 Pump Court ‘He is personable, a stickler for detail, and he always seems to get the judge on-side.’