John A. Kimbell QC

Called: 1995 Silk: 2015

Practice Overview

John Kimbell Q.C. specializes in aviation, shipping law and energy law. He represents a wide range of international clients in these areas as well as in general commercial litigation and arbitration (including ICC, LCIA, LMAA and GMAA arbitrations).

In the aviation field he has handled a wide range of disputes from aircraft financing and security disputes to fatal accidents (in the UK and abroad). John specializes in advising clients on jurisdictional, private international law and foreign law aspects to aviation disputes. He has been retained in relation to the loss of Egyptair Flight 804,  the shooting down of Malaysian Air MH17 over the Ukraine and the Shoreham Air Show crash.

His shipping work encompasses both ‘wet’ collision and other Admiralty Court matters and 'dry' bill of lading and charterparty disputes. He regularly appears in the Commercial and Admiralty Court as well as in maritime (LMAA) arbitrations in London and in Hamburg (GMAA).  He has recently appeared in the Court of Appeal in CDE v Sure Wind [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep and FSL-9 PTE v The Norwegian Hull Club [2016] 2 All ER (Comm). He is the joint editor of Admiralty Jurisdiction & Practice (5th edition, 2017) Informa and the chair of the Admiralty Bar Group www.admiraltybar.org

John is fluent in German 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 and German law to provide a specialist service to German, Austrian and Swiss clients. He is presently representing AIG in a directors’ and officers’ insurance coverage dispute.

He is one of the authors of Foreign Currency: Claims, Judgments and Damages (2016) Informa and a contributor to Palmer on Baliment (3rd edition). 

John is recommended in the current editions of The Legal 500 and Chambers UK as a leading silk in the fields of  Aviation, Shipping and Travel.

  • What the directories sayView More

    • ‘Fiercely intelligent, formidable and a master strategist.’

      (Legal 500, 2017)
    • "Very approachable and organised."..."Always a joy to work with. One of the most solicitor-friendly barristers at the Commercial Bar. His advice is always based on sound legal knowledge."

      (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • ‘Smart, pragmatic, approachable and helpful.’

      (Legal 500, 2017)
    • "A very clever, tough and tactically shrewd advocate" “Absolutely brilliant, he is a very robust litigator. Wonderful with clients”. “Has the drive to deliver successful strategies." “A commanding presence and precise intellect when it comes to complex, multi-jurisdictional matters"

      (Chambers UK, 2016)
    • "He is quick-thinking, pragmatic in responses, eloquent in making points, and he’s a great person to have on a claim, because he’s a really straight-line thinker."

      (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • "Can deal with cases of the highest magnitude, very personable and human with it."

      (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • "He’s very good academically and has strong experience of the higher courts and European courts."

      (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • "Very approachable, easy to talk to, very practical and excellent at drafting."

      (Legal 500, 2017)
    • "Intelligent, fearless and a superlative tactician in court"

      (Legal 500, 2016)
    • a 'top-flight lawyer who comes with the whole kit'; "Peers were quick to praise his 'diligence, persuasiveness in court and excellent eye for detail'" ; 'he brings much added value to all of his instructions'; 'a very capable court performer'

      (Chambers UK 2014)
    • “Absolutely brilliant, he is a very robust litigator. Wonderful with clients, he will not get browbeaten when people bring in formidable barristers against him”

      Chambers 2014)
    • "John Kimbell has a 'commanding presence and precise intellect when it comes to complex, multi-jurisdictional matters'; 'smooth and polished'; 'a very tenacious, forthright litigator'"

      (Chambers UK, 2011)
  • Aviation & Travel K View More

    Band 1 (Chambers UK, 2017)

    Tier 1 (Legal 500, 2017)

    John is recommended by the legal directories as a leading silk in the fields of Aviation and Travel. He is instructed in a broad range of disputes especially those involving jurisdictional points, foreign law and the application of international conventions. John has recently been instructed in, amongst others, the following matters:

    • Vandeputte v Egyptair [2017] QBD – jurisdiction dispute under Montreal Convention and Warsaw-Hauge Conventions arising out of crash of Egyptair Flight 804
    • Airbus 380 Redelivery dispute for flag carrier (2017)
    • Hogg v Qatar Airways [2017] QBD – accident allegedly on flight from Doha to Cape Town
    • Gregg v Philpott [2017] hang-glider crash in France
    • Reeves v Cranfield Hunter (Shoreham Air Crash) 2017
    • Holland v Eurocopter [2016] helicopter crash in England
    • Atherton v Carnival [2016] – death on a cruise ship
    • Augusta Westland 139 [2015] Helicopter crash Norfolk
    • Stott v Thomas Cook [2014] UK SC 15 [2014] AC 1347 [2014] 2 WLR 521; [2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep 207: on appeal from Hook & Stott v. British Airways & Thomas Cook [2012] [EWCA] Civ 66, [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep 386 – The first case in which the Supreme C°ourt has considered the Montreal Convention 1999. The issue was the relationship between EC Regulation 1107/2006 and the Montreal Convention 1999. The Supreme Court upheld the airline’s case that the Montreal Convention is the exclusive source of damages claims for claims arising out of carriage by air and refused to refer this issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
    • Rogers v Hoyle [2014] EWCA Civ 257 [2014] 3 WLR 148 : [2014] 3 All ER 550 – a test case in which the Court of Appeal held that air accident investigation reports produced the Department of Transport are admissible in civil proceedings outside of the provisions of CPR Part 35.
    • Donkers v Storm Aviation and Lufthansa Cityline [2015] 1 All ER (Comm) 282 – a High Court claim arising out of an accident during ground handling at Manchester Airport involving issues of German law, EU social security law and the law applicable to IATA ground handling agreements.
    • Graham v Thomas Cook [2012] EWCA Civ 1355. A Court of Appeal case on the remedies available under EU Regulation 261/2004.
    • Coakley v. Air France SA [2012] QBD - A claim arising out of the loss of AF447 on 1 June 2009 in the Atlantic Ocean en route to Paris from Brazil.
    • Blue Sky One Limited and Others v. Mahan Air and Others [2011] EWCA Civ 544 & 771; [2009] EWHC 3314 (Comm) ("Phase 1") and [2010] EWHC 631 (Comm) ("Phase 2"): Heavy Commercial Court dispute concerning ownership and aircraft mortgage rights in three 747 aircraft being operated in Iran involving issues of US sanctions laws, private international law, Iranian and Dutch property law.
  • Shipping & Maritime K View More

    John Kimbell is a popular choice for shipping solicitors in London. He has appeared in a wide range of cases including charterparty and bill of lading disputes both in court and in arbitrations. He has appeared in the following litigation:

    • FONARUN NAREE” (2017) bulk cargo explosion ICA claim arising out of cargo claim in Kenya
    • “GRUMANT” (2017) £50 million damage to gas pipeline in the North Sea
    • LMAA arbitration (2017) concerning contaminated bunkers causing engine damage
    • A LMAA arbitration (2017) concerning a fire on a large container vessel off the French coast
    • A LMAA arbitration (2017) on an alleged unsafe port in the United States involving damage to a gas terminal
    • CDE v Sure Wind [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Reports 586 – Court of Appeal case concerning the time limit for bringing collision claims
    • FSL-9 PTE v The Norwegian Hull Club [2016] 2 All ER (Comm) – construction of an LOU for security
    • An LMAA (2016) arbitration representing German owners and their insurers in a claim arising out of bunker oil contamination at a Canadian port
    • An LMAA arbitration (2016) arising out of an explosion during loading of an oil cargo in Malaysia
    • The “Uranus” and The “Magnus” [2015] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 175 – jurisdiction dispute involving arbitration proceedings in Hamburg and in rem claims in London
    • Stena Bulk v Copley & Others [2015] Lloyd’s Rep Plus 5 and related interpleader arising out of the insolvency of OW Bunkers
    • “MACEDON” [2016] QBD (Com Court) hull insurance dispute
    • “TOMBARRA” [2016] QBD (Admlty Court) defending shipowner in a claim arising from death of a crewmember
    • “CAPE BIRD” (2013) Com Court. Vessel seized by pirates off West Africa. Loss of cargo.

     

    Wet Shipping

    'Leading Silk' (Chambers UK, 2017) 'Leading Silk' (Legal 500, 2017)

    John regularly appears in the Admiralty Court and marine arbitrations in London and Hamburg. He has particular experience in collision cases. He is the joint editor (with Nigel Meeson QC) of Admiralty Jurisdiction & Practice (5th ed. 2017) Informa. He has recently appeared in:

    • GRUMANT [2017] Admiralty Court – snagging of anchor on oil pipeline causing US$50 million loss and damage
    • MARITIME MAISIE v GRAVITY HIGHWAY – [2017] QBD Admlty Court collision between a gas carrier and a new build VLCC off South Korea
    • MARITIME MAISIE v GRAVITY HIGHWAY [2017]  Admiralty Court collision off south Korea
    • DAHAB v MAERSK TEXAS (2014) Admiralty Court (ongoing)
    • TOMBARRA [2014] Admiralty Court – a fatal accident on a car carrier in port involving issues of foreign law pursuant to the Rome II Regulation.
    • MIOM 1 LTD v SEA ECHO ENE (No.2) [2011] EWHC 2715 - a case on the 'single liability principle' in collision cases and the application of s.190 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 to counterclaims.
    • MIOM 1 LTD v SEA ECHO ENE (No. 1) [2010] EWHC 3180 - collision between two vessels in the river Mersey.
    • A LMAA arbitration (2009-2010) - Collision between two cruise vessels in Norway.
  • International Arbitration K View More

    A large proportion of John's wide ranging arbitration practice features an international element. He regularly appears before a variety of institutional arbitral tribunals such as the ICC and LCIA as well as a variety of ad hoc panels.

    John has extensive experience in dealing with arbitrations outside London including significant involvement in arbitrations with their seats in Hamburg, New York, Frankfurt and Zurich. He has acted as an arbitrator in London and Hamburg.

  • Shipbuilding K View More

    John advises in relation to Shipbuilding disputes concerning both the market standard vessel sale and purchase forms (such as Saleform) and also custom drafted MOAs.

    John is also instructed to advise on non-contentious matters relating to the drafting of MOAs and other commercial agreements. He has recently been instructed in the following related matters:

    • LMAA arbitrations (2016 – 2017) a series of arbitrations acting for German companies concerning the cancellation shipbuilding contracts for vessels built in China on the ground of delay.
    • An arbitration (2016) concerning propeller problems arising from the modification of a cruise ship
    • A LCIA arbitration (2013) concerning major structural errors in the construction of a car carrier.
    • A LMAA arbitration (2012) arising out of the sale of cargo vessel in which owners claimed US2 million in damages.
    • An LMAA arbitration [2011] concerning the construction of a series of vessels in China and rights of cancellation for delay in construction and the enforceability of supporting bank guarantees.
    • An ICC arbitration [2010] concerning a contract for the supply of pumping equipment in Libya.
    • A LMAA arbitration [2010] concerning a contract for a supply vessel to the oil industry off the West African coast.

‘Fiercely intelligent, formidable and a master strategist.’

(Legal 500, 2017)

Academic


B.A. (Hons.) (Cantab); M.Phil (Cantab); BCL (Oxon)

Awards


Princess Royal Scholarship (Inner Temple)

Other Qualifications


Rechtsanwalt (Hamburg, Germany) since 2001 -  quallified to practice as a lawyer in Germany.

Languages


German fluent.

Memberships


Combar; LMAA (supporting member); GMAA (German Maritime Arbitration Association); DVIS (German Association for International Sea Law); BGJA (British-German Jurists Association. Admiralty Bar Group (Chairman).

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