Luke Parsons QC

Called: 1985 Silk: 2003

Practice Overview

Luke is Head of Quadrant Chambers and a Commercial and Admiralty silk whose practice encompasses insurance and reinsurance, international trade, energy, sale of goods, banking, commercial contracts, and shipping. Shipping Silk of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards, 2014, Luke is ranked by Chambers UK. Legal 500 UK, Chambers Global and the Legal 500 Asia Pacific legal directories. He has been described by the directories as: “…an excellent team leader and team player…who gives pragmatic, sound, commercial advice…” Legal 500 2014 and “very persuasive in advocacy, down-to-earth and easy to work with…..he has the ability to boil down different issues into a few important points that are easy for clients to understand.” Chambers UK 2016.

Luke is often called in to handle the highest value, most complex claims, involving coordinating large teams of experts and has acted on many precedent-setting cases in the High Court, and Court of Appeal.

Given the frequently international dimension of his practice, Luke has extensive experience in dealing with foreign law and multi-jurisdictional disputes.  In particular he frequently acts in arbitrations with a cross-border element and is experienced in making applications to the High Court in support of English arbitrations and also in support of foreign arbitrations in the English courts and advises on the enforcement of awards under the New York Convention.

Before coming to the Bar, Luke worked with a firm of international Lloyd’s brokers and then with a multi-national underwriting company. This experience in the London and International Markets assists with his practical and commercial approach to disputes whilst maintaining the intellectual rigour for which he is well-known.

  • What the directories sayView More

    • "...Very clever." "Very competent..."

      (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • "...He’s very good, down to earth and practical in his approach..."

      (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • "...Luke Parsons is exceptional. He is very commercially minded and will go the extra mile." "Super-smart and hard-working...."

      (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • "...He is robust and takes no prisoners when dealing with his opponents...."

      (Legal 500, 2017)
    • "...He has an excellent style for international arbitration and tribunals listens to what he says..."

      (Legal 500, 2017)
    • "...He is active in arbitration proceedings and also has an advisory practice..."

      (Legal 500, 2017)
    • "...He gets straight to the heart of the matter and is authoritative and persuasive in court..."

      (Legal 500, 2017)
    • "...He is down to earth and pitches his cross-examination very well...."

      (Legal 500, 2017)
    • ‘...probably the most user-friendly silk at the commercial Bar....’; "...if there is a case where you need a counsel team, he is a great captain of the ship..."

      (Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2017)
    • "...he's very hands on, shows impressive attention to detail and really engages with the case. A lawyer who tells it like it is without sugar coating it, he's involved from the start and can talk on a level playing field with the experts. In his advocacy he integrates excellent legal knowledge with an element of humour...";

      (Chambers UK, 2017)
    • "...he's charming but at the same time incisive. He really drills down to the bottom of points...”; "...exceptionally bright and very good on his feet. He is a master of getting the tone and the content of his delivery just right no matter the audience..."; "...a real street fighter, he fights the points and wins even if it starts off looking difficult..."

      (Chambers UK, 2017)
    • “…A tenacious and effective advocate, who works tirelessly…”;”…Very bright, easy and accessible, he works hard but has a light touch…”;”…A highly skilled advocate, who is very practical and down to earth…”

      (The Legal 500, 2016)
    • "...very persuasive in advocacy, down-to-earth and easy to work with." "He has the ability to boil down different issues into a few important points that are easy for clients to understand..."; "...he has a way of cross-examining people that means they think he is being a friend - but he has a bigger plan, and 45 minutes in they realise they have dug themselves a hole." "He has a brain the size of the moon..."

      (Chambers UK, 2016)
    • “...is liked by judges and is strong in his oral advocacy and persuasive style...”; “...very persuasive; a very able advocate...”;  “...he is extremely clever and down to earth, and has an excellent grasp of offshore matters...”; “...a tenacious and effective advocate who works tirelessly...”; "...easy to work with...”; “...100% reliable and user-friendly...”

      (The Legal 500, 2015)
    • "…a very measured and smooth advocate who handles judges very well…"

      (Chambers UK 2015)
    • “…both an excellent team leader and team player…” ; “…gives pragmatic, sound, commercial advice…”

      (Legal 500 2014)
    • Shipping Silk of the Year

      (Chambers UK Bar Awards, 2014)
    • "...he processes complex ideas very quickly, provides authoritative and clear advice and has a collaborative approach rather than an isolated one."; "...very much seen as a 'go-to' silk for anything complicated or where really intricate and clever arguments are needed." "He's good to work with. If he disagrees he listens to your view, and then very nicely tells you why you are wrong...."

      (Chambers UK, 2014)
    • "...a first-class strategist..."; "...commercially shrewd" and "quick on his feet..."

      (The Legal 500, 2013)
    • "...he's such a hugely tough, but pleasant and very fair opponent that its always a pleasure to do battle with him..."; “...thoroughly engaging and easy to work with, with a superb legal brain...”; “...has a magical ability to take difficult issues of law and simplify them down to the real bare issues...”; “...makes it easy for judges to go with him...”;  “...great at coming up with new and creative arguments...”

      (Chambers UK, 2013)
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution K View More

    Luke represents clients before a wide range of Tribunals including commercial arbitrations, the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. As well as trial and advisory work, Luke is also frequently instructed to appear before the Commercial Court on pre-emptive strike applications with a particular emphasis on freezing orders and anti-suit injunctions.Illustrative cases include:

    • Shagang Shipping v HNA Airlines (2016). A case which involves alleged bribery, contractual arguments, allegations of torture by Chinese authorities and legal questions regarding accelerated receipt, all of which have been dealt with for the first time in detail by the UK Commercial Court.
    • BHP Billiton v TMT Asia (Ongoing). A Commercial Court dispute regarding US$100 million derivative trading in energy transportation agreements. The case involves allegations of market control, fraud and anti-competitive behaviour.
    • Berezovsky & Anor v Edminston & Company [2011] EWCA 431. Successfully appearing for Mr Berezovsky in the Court of Appeal in the brokerage dispute arising out of the sale of his US$300 million superyacht;
    • Mamidoil-Jetoil Greek Petroleum Co. SA v Okta Crude Oil Refinery AD [2003] 2 Lloyds Rep 635 Court of Appeal. A complex series of disputes arising out of the privatisation of the oil refinery in Macedonia.
    • Vitol SA v Capri Marine Ltd [2010] EWHC 458 (Comm): International arrests and piercing the corporate veil.
    • Warenhandelsgeselschaft Corinth MbH v Liffe: Acting for Liffe in the Commercial Court in the first commercial action to challenge its rights to exercise emergency powers to regulate the market.
  • Energy & Natural Resources K View More

    Luke has a strong reputation in the field of energy and natural resources and off and on shore construction. He has been instructed on behalf of employers, contractors, insurers and consortiums of international energy companies in relation to a wide range of disputes including those arising from the termination of EPC Contracts. He has extensive experience in arbitrations involving the construction and maintenance of oil rigs, exploration platforms, floating storage platforms and pipelines.

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Patrick Kelly v. Timan Oil & Gas. Acting for Patrick Kelly on this dispute in the Chancery Division regarding a minority shareholders right in forced takeover of substantial oil exploration company in Kazakhstan.
    • Blohm & Voss v Enquest Heather Limited & Enquest Britain Limited. Acting for FPSO operators in an ad hoc arbitration involving a US$ 350 million dispute regarding  a North Sea Services and Production Agreement in two oil fields: a highly complex and detailed technical dispute involving design, operation and metocean issues;
    • Commercial Court claim for €300m in respect of sums payable under a contract for repair and upgrade works to an FPSO: complex technical dispute on scope and quality of works;
    • A dispute on the construction and delivery of floating oil production platform, involving design, construction, project planning and quality assurance issues together with complex accountancy evidence on loss of profits;
    • ICC arbitration on behalf of the owners of a national oil refinery and pipeline regarding claims of force majeure following infiltration of Al Qaeda into the country: issues involving security and terrorism expertise; and
    • Acted for Exxon in the £1 billion insurance claim arising out of the "Exxon Valdez" spill.
  • International Arbitration K View More

    The majority of Luke’s arbitration practice has an international element. He is regularly instructed in arbitrations with a cross-border element and is experienced in making applications to the High Court in support of English arbitrations and also in support of foreign arbitrations in the English courts. He has sat as arbitrator in Singapore SIAC arbitrations and appeared in arbitration proceedings in Tokyo. Luke also has extensive experience in challenging arbitration awards in the English Courts and advises on the enforcement of awards under the New York Convention.

    Luke also acts as an arbitrator and was appointed as an arbitrator in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre - the arbitration concerned an oil exploration dispute and consideration of the effect of sanctions against Iran and how it impacted on obligations to explore for oil. He has also acted as party arbitrator in ICC arbitration on case involving motorway construction in Poland.

    Luke has also been involved in some of the leading cases concerning the Arbitration Act 1996, especially where those cases have an international element. Illustrative cases include:

    • W Ltd v M Sdn Bhd [2016] EWHC 422 (Comm). Luke successfully (leading Caroline Pounds) resisted a s. 68 challenge to an arbitration award on the grounds of alleged apparent bias on the part of the arbitrator, notwithstanding that the conflict in question fell within the Non-Waivable Red List of the IBA Guidelines.
    • LMAA Arbitration: Acting for Owners in an arbitration involving the total loss of the "Bulk Jupiter" at sea due to suspected liquefaction of a cargo of bauxite. Listed for 3-week trial in 2016. 
    • E D and F Man Sugar Ltd v Unicargo Transportgesellschaft GmbH [2013] EWCA Civ 1449: The leading case in Court of Appeal on remission of awards for further findings of fact.
    • LCIA arbitration involving a joint venture between Asian and American companies for the development of new oil and gas fields in Iraq.
    • Itochu Corporation v Johann MK Blumenthal GmbH & Co & Ors [2012] Civ 999: Leading case on the interpretation of default provision on appointment of an arbitrator and the power of the Court of Appeal to review Commercial Court decisions.
    • Tomac Arbitration: Appearing before arbitrators in Toyko on large multi-million dollar contractual dispute.
  • Shipping & Maritime K View More

    Luke is extensively instructed in cases concerning dry shipping and commodities and has appeared in many of the leading cases in the field. He has a wealth of experience in dealing with disputes under Charterparties, Contracts of Affreightment and Bills of Lading as well as in connection with disputes concerning the GAFTA, FOSFA and other commodities standard forms. Illustrative cases include:

    • Borco v Phillips 66: ‘Cape Bari’ (2016). This case involves an oil tanker, the Cape Bari, which was in the Grand Bahamas and crashed into and substantially demolished the main jetty. The issues centre on contracting out of the right to limit liability under the Limitation Convention. The case is currently before the Privy Council and will be the leading case on contracting out of the international limitation tonnage convention.
    • Shagang Shipping v HNA Airlines (2016). A case which involves alleged bribery, contractual arguments, allegations of torture by Chinese authorities and legal questions regarding accelerated receipt, all of which have been dealt with for the first time in detail by the UK Commercial Court.
    • E D and F Man Sugar Ltd v Unicargo Transportgesellscaft GmbH [2013] EWCA Civ 1449: Leading case in Court of Appeal on meaning and effect of mechanical breakdown in charterparties.
    • Cosco Bulk Carrier Co Ltd & Anor v MV Saldanha [2010] EWHC 1340: The leading case on responsibility for loss of time and damages caused by Piracy attacks.
    • Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA v. Trafigura Beheer BV & Anor (The "MSC Amsterdam") [2007] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 622 (CA) and [2007] EWHC 944 (Comm): The leading case on mis-delivery, conversion and the application of the Hague-Visby Rules in respect of fraudulent bills of lading.
  • Shipbuilding K View More

    Luke has extensive experience in ship sale and ship building disputes. Over a number of years he has acted for both Far East shipyards and shipowners in numerous high value arbitration claims in respect of shipbuilding and ship conversion disputes raising complex legal, factual and technical issues.

    He was involved in London's longest running ship building arbitration covering issues such as project management, computer aided design, quality control and assurance and state of the art computer project modelling.

    Luke has extensive experience in arbitrations involving the construction and maintenance of oil rigs, exploration platforms, floating storage platforms and pipelines.

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Patrick Kelly v. Timan Oil & Gas. Acting in the Chancery Division for minority shareholders in a forced takeover of a substantial oil exploration company in Kazakhstan.
    • An LCIA Arbitration involving a joint venture dispute between Asian and American Companies for development of new oil fields in Iraq.
    • Bloehm & Vos v Enquest Britain: 2014. A US$ 300 million dispute regarding an FPSO conversion.
    • A dispute involving a long-term sale and leaseback of an oil rig worth US$100 millions of dollars.
    • A London arbitration for large Korean firm: involving cross indemnities for multi-million dollar damage to an oil pipe-line.
  • Insurance & Reinsurance K View More

    Luke has practical experience of the London and International market gained from his experience working in the insurance field before coming to the bar, firstly with a firm of international Lloyds' brokers and thereafter with a multi-national underwriting company. He has a broad insurance practice and has acted on a number of complex and high-profile matters. Examples of illustrative cases include:

    • Acting for Exxon in the £1 billion insurance claim arising out of the "Exxon Valdez" spill and for P&O in the insurance claim relating to the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster.
    • San Evans Maritime Inc v Aigaion Insurance Co SA [2014] EWHC (Comm). A dispute on the scope of leading underwriter and follow settlement clauses.
    • A US$250 million International arbitration regarding the reinsurance on a fleet of aircraft.
    • A claim under an insurance policy for damage to the world's largest electrical transformers for the hydroelectric project in India. Luke represented the successful Insurers.
    • Shell UK Limited v CLM Engineering [2001] 1 Lloyds Rep 612: Contractors all risk insurance and design liability insurance in respect of the construction of a North Sea gas line.
  • International Trade & Commodities K View More

    Luke is extensively instructed in cases concerning commodities and has a wealth of experience in disputes concerning the GAFTA, FOSFA and other commodities standard forms. He has appeared in many of the leading cases in the field including:

    • ED and F Man Sugar Ltd v Unicargi Transportgeselschaft GmbH [2013] EWCA 1449 a case that related to a Court of Appeal decision on jurisdiction to remit an arbitration award for further findings of fact and concerned a clause in a charterparty (the Sugar Charter Party 1999 Form).
    • BHP Billiton v TMT Asia. A Commercial Court dispute regarding US$ 100 million derivative trading in energy transportation agreements. The case involves allegations of market control, fraud and anti-competitive behaviour.
    • Vitol SA v Capri Marine Ltd [2010] EWHC 458 (Comm): International arrests and piercing the corporate veil.
  • Banking & Financial Services K View More

    Luke is instructed in a wide range of disputes relating to banking and finance (including asset finance) and appears before arbitration tribunals, the High Court and appellate courts in cases concerning a variety of financial instruments.

    An example of illustrative cases include:

    • JSC Bank v Solodchenko [2011] EWCA 1241. Acting for one of the parties in the US$ 4 billion Kazakhstan banking fraud dispute.
    • Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oterreich AG v. China Marine Bunker (Petrochina) Co Ltd [2008] 1 Lloyd's Rep. Plus 18 (Comm. Ct). An application in the Commercial Court concerning the proper construction of an irrevocable payment undertakings in the international oil trade and the application of the doctrine of consideration to banking obligations.
    • Anton Durbeck GmbH v. Den Norske Bank ASA [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 93 (Comm. Ct). Acting for the Bank in resisting a claim for wrongful interference with goods by cargo interests against the Bank seeking to enforce its mortgage over the vessel under either Panamanian or English law.
    • Den Norske Bank ASA v. Acemex Management Company Ltd [2004] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 1 (CA) and [2003] EWHC 326 (Comm). Acting for the Bank in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal in a successful application for under guarantee and indemnity.
    • Canara Bank v Standard Bank [2002] EWHC 1032 A cross indemnity dispute arising out of a US$500 million tin mining fraud.
  • Aviation & Travel K View More

    Luke was leading Counsel to the Nimrod Review into the loss of the Nimrod MR2 aircraft XV230 in Afghanistan on 2nd September 2006. The Review's terms of reference require consideration of large volumes of technical aeronautical evidence and examining numerous expert witnesses.

    Arbitrations include US$300 million aviation reinsurance dispute concerning total loss of a fleet of aircraft due to foreclosure action.

  • Sports Law K View More

    • Acting for Formula 1 team in ICC arbitration regarding the Formula 1 Concorde Agreement and disputed television rights.
    • Acting for a premiership football club in dispute arising out of a player loan agreement.

"...exceptionally bright and very good on his feet. He is a master of getting the tone and the content of his delivery just right no matter the audience..."

(Chambers UK 2017)

Academic


LLB Bristol

Awards


Inner Temple Major Examination Scholarship

Publications


Steel and Parsons; Admiralty and Commercial Court Forms and Precedents (2nd Edition, Thomson Reuters) with David Steel QC (now Mr. Justice Steel)

Memberships


COMBAR

Appointments


Before coming to the Bar, Luke Parsons QC worked with a firm of international Lloyd’s brokers and then with a multi-national underwriting company on Hull & Machinery. This experience in the London and International Markets assures his clients of a practical and commercial approach to their disputes.

Personal


Married. 5 sons.

Pro Bono


Founder Ethics Academy: helping children, particularly from underprivileged backgrounds to reach their full potential.

Acted pro bono in Core v HFEA: 2008: Judicial Review of decision to create human-animal admixed Embryos.

Also acted pro bono obtaining an injunction against a school who had expelled a boy for refusing to play for his rugby team.

Interests


Hill Walking. Charlton Athletic Football Club. Theatre. Classical Music. Skiing.

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