Nevil Phillips

Called: 1992

Practice Overview

Nevil Phillips has been listed for many years as a Leading Junior in Shipping, Commodities, and Trade & Customs by The Legal 500, Chambers UK, Chambers Asia-Pacific, and Who's Who Legal, and Best Lawyers where he has been variously cited as "an outstanding advocate, incredibly fast thinking and a real problem solver", and "a very polished advocate, who gets results through his preparation and through his clear and compelling presentation of the client's case". Nevil was Acquisition International's "Best Shipping Barrister – UK" in their 2015 Legal Awards.

He has featured as successful counsel in a number of recent high-profile commercial and shipping cases. These include SBT Star Bulk and Tankers (Germany) GmbH Co KG v Cosmotrade SA (The Wehr Trave) [2016] EWHC 583 (Comm) (the leading case regarding the scope of charterers' rights under a time charter trip), Spar Shipping AS v Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co Ltd [2015] EWHC 718 (Comm) (the leading case regarding renunciation under time charters and whether payment of timely advance hire is a condition), and Libyan Navigator Ltd v Lamda Maritime Holdings Sp. z. o. O [2014] EWHC 1399 (Comm) (the leading case regarding the interpleader procedure in the context of liened sub-hires and sub-freights.

Nevil's practice envelops all aspects of commercial and shipping advisory and advocacy work, encompassing the broadest spectrum of contractual, international trade, commodities, shipping, maritime, energy, insurance, reinsurance, banking, and jurisdictional disputes and associated areas and remedies. He appears regularly in commercial arbitration (both domestic and international, with experience before a wide variety of arbitral institutions, bodies and trade associations, including LMAA, GMAA, LCIA, ICC and associated bodies), the Commercial Court, and the appellate courts.

He has substantial experience as an arbitrator, and has also given expert evidence on English law to courts in other jurisdictions. He has also written and/or contributed to a number of leading text books in his fields, including his own authoritative work on "The Merchant Shipping Act 1995 – An Annotated Guide".

Nevil is a popular and regular choice as a presenter/speaker at legal and corporate functions, seminars and lecture

  • What the directories sayView More

    • ..."Engaging and user-friendly"...

      (Legal 500, 2016)
    • ..."he is very commercial, highly pragmatic, excellent on his feet and regularly available when you need him"... 

      (Chambers UK, 2016)
    • ..."he strikes the right balance between being easy to work with and being thorough technically" "He gives very clear and cogent advice"...

      (Chambers UK, 2015)
    • ..."an outstanding advocate, incredibly fast thinking and a real problem solver"...

      (The Legal 500, 2014)
    • ..."a very polished advocate, who gets results through his preparation and through his clear and compelling presentation of the client's case...he is always prepared to do that little bit extra to assist instructing solicitors and to provide us with the best possible advice"...

      (Chambers UK, 2013)
    • ..."the kind of advocate that you want on your side - he is full of charm and wit, but also incisive and hard-hitting when necessary"...

      (Chambers UK, 2012)
  • Shipping & Maritime K View More

    "He knows marine and international trade upside down and inside out. He brings a light, insightful and humorous touch to proceedings and is known for his "quick thinking."  (Chambers UK, 2014)

    Nevil’s experience encompasses the entire spectrum of shipping disputes, and reflects his extensive knowledge and expertise with respect to both the contractual and practical trade/technical aspects of disputes. He is especially highly regarded for his experience and knowledge in relation to charterparty and bill of lading disputes (especially dangerous cargo cases), claims arising in relation to domestic and international contracts of sale, and matters relating to the carriage of goods by road (domestic and international (CMR)) and storage (on ad hoc and institutional terms (NAWK, BIFA, RHA).

    Dry shipping

    Illustrative cases include:

    Before the English courts

    • The Wehr Trave (SBT Star Bulk and Tankers (Germany) GmbH Co KG v Cosmotrade SA) [2016] EWHC 583 (Comm): regarding the scope of charterers' rights under a time charter trip.
    • Spar Shipping AS v Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co Ltd [2015] EWHC 718 (Comm): regarding renunciation under time charters and whether payment of timely advance hire is a condition.
    • Libyan Navigator Ltd v Lamda Maritime Holdings Sp. z. o. O [2014] (Comm. Ct.): a multi-million dollar dispute concerning the right of and scope for interpleader relief in the context of a lien exercised over sub-freights in a charterparty chain.
    • The Ladytramp (ED&F Man Sugar Ltd v Unicargo Transportgesellschaft GmbH) [2013] EWCA Civ 1449 (CA): a dispute concerning the previously un-determined meaning and effect of the exception of "mechanical breakdown" under Clause 28 of the Sugar Charterparty form.
    • The Port Russel (Trafigura Beheer BV v Ravennavi SpA) [2013] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 57 (Comm. Ct.): a dispute concerning the approach to construction of a provision regarding the means of tender of an NOR in Clause 19(a) of BPVOY 3 charterparty form.
    • The North Prince (Glory Wealth Shipping Pte Ltd v North China Shipping Ltd) [2011] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 641 (Comm. Ct.): a multi-million dollar dispute concerning the measure of damages in the case of consecutive premature redelivery under time charterparties.

    In arbitration

    Representing the charterers in a legally and technically complex charterparty dispute (in which the relief claimed total over US$30,000,000) regarding the loss of a bulk carrier and all but one of the crew, alleged to be due to the liquefaction of a cargo of bauxite.

    Representing the charterers/disponent owners in a complex back-to-back charterparty dispute (in which the relief claimed total over US$110,000,000) raising difficult questions of vessel identity, and claims in deceit.

    Representing the owners of a container ship in a challenging charterparty dispute (in which the relief claimed total over US$20,000,000) regarding an explosion and resulting fire, alleged to be due to a dangerous containerised cargo.

    Representing the charterers and owners in a variety of high-value cargo contamination claims.

    Wet Shipping

    Nevil has a long-standing reputation for the quality of his advisory and advocacy work in the field of wet shipping. He has acted and advised in a very significant number of salvage matters, towage disputes, unsafe port and berth cases, collision actions, and associated Admiralty disputes. Many of these have been high-profile matters, including the Sea Empress litigation (in which he represented one of the Oil Majors involved in the dispute), The Marchioness (in which he represented the owners of The Marchioness at the Formal Inquiry), and The Napoli. Nevil also has experience of handling of other pure Admiralty matters such as claims for crew wages, claims under ship mortgages, and matters arising in relation to rights of arrest.

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Advising the owners of a vessel alleged to be liable for a "putting by" incident in the Suez Canal.
    • Representing the charterers of a tug in a dispute under the Supply time 89 form regarding the transfer of an FPSO from Tunisia to Malaysia via the Cape of Good Hope.
    • Advising the charterers of a number of off-shore ice tugs in relation to a multi-million dollar dispute concerning ice damage to the tugs and liability under the Supplytime 89 form.
    • Advising the owners and operators of a tug involved in a major construction project in a dispute concerning the death of an operative on another tug involved in a collision incident, raising issues of corporate manslaughter, navigation, and contractual liability under the Towcon form.
    • Representing the owners of a number of vessels in arbitral disputes relating to unsafe ports, berths, channels and anchorages, particularly with regard to passages through rivers in South America (involving questions of liquid mud, silting and "fluff").
    • The Sea Empress (2000-2003) (Adm. Ct.): casualty in Milford Haven; recovery from Oil Pollution Compensation Fund; economic loss; public nuisance
    • The Marchioness (2000): Counsel to owners of "The Marchioness" in Formal Investigation before Clarke L.J.
  • Shipbuilding K View More

    Nevil has a wealth of experience and involvement in disputes concerning energy, shipbuilding and construction. Almost all of his experience has been in arbitration and, hence, is largely unreported.

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Advising the charterers of a number of off-shore ice tugs in relation to a multi-million dollar dispute concerning ice damage to the tugs and liability under the Supplytime 89 form.
    • Advising in relation to a significant number of shipbuilding contracts, as regards a variety of issues including rights in relation to the enforceability of guarantees, quality disputes, critical path disputes, breaches of warranty, sovereign immunity, and restitution and unjust enrichment.
    • Advising the owners and operators of a tug involved in a major construction project in a dispute concerning the death of an operative on another tug involved in an allision incident, raising issues of corporate manslaughter, navigation, and contractual liability under the Towcon form.
    • Wilhelm Finance Inc v Ente Administrador Del Astillero Rio Santiago [2009] 1 C.L.C. 867 (Comm. Ct.): a dispute concerning the alleged sovereign immunity of a state-owned Argentinian shipyard in a complex shipbuilding dispute.
    • Addax v Arcadia [2000] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 493 (Com. Ct.): a dispute concerning a contract of carriage of oil, giving rise to questions as to the measure of damages and the effect of hedging.
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution K View More

    Nevil is a popular choice as Counsel for large-scale commercial litigation. His experience encompasses a wide range of commercial disputes, and he has a wealth of expertise concerning substantive and interlocutory relief before the Commercial Court.

    In the latter regard, Nevil is experienced in obtaining Freezing Orders, Anti-Suit Injunctions, Orders for the Sale, and associated injunctive and other security relief. He is also well-known for his knowledge and expertise with respect to jurisdictional issues.

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Appearing in the Court of Appeal for a party seeking orders for payment-in of unpaid multi-million dollar judgment sums, and for security for the costs of an appeal.
    • Advising upon the enforceability and effect of guarantees issued by foreign entities (especially in China); and also advising upon the effect and enforceability of foreign judgments, and associated issues of res judicata/estoppel and beneficial multi-jurisdictional litigation and injunctive strategies.
    • Representing one of the world's largest commodity trading houses in a high-value claim involving the theft of oil commodities, and associated freezing order relief, jurisdictional issues, and associated litigation strategies.
    • Representing a substantial Indian trading entity in multiple high-value commercial disputes arising in relation to the international sale and purchase of bulk commodities, and associated issues of financing, foreign exchange control legislation, frustration and force majeure.
    • Advising a significant Iranian entity with regard to the recovery of sums due by way of an admitted debt from a major international insurance broker in circumstances where, despite approval for payment from HM Treasury (for the purposes of EU and UK sanctions), the broker's clearing bank declined to make payment to any Iranian entity.
    • Advising a substantial UK freight forwarder as to its rights of lien and stoppage in transit (and their interaction with rights claimed by administrators/receivers/insolvency practitioners) over goods in possession following the collapse into insolvency of a number of well-known high street retailers.
  • International Arbitration K View More

    Nevil has exceptional experience in this area, particularly as regards London maritime and institutional arbitration – both as counsel and as arbitrator.

    His experience extends to almost all forms of arbitration, with regular appearance in LMAA and LCIA disputes, and significant experience in other fora (including ICC, GMAA and others).

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Representing one of the world's largest commodity trading houses in a high-value LCIA claim involving the theft of oil commodities, and associated freezing order relief, jurisdictional issues, and associated litigation strategies.
    • Representing a substantial Indian trading entity in multiple high-value commercial LCIA disputes arising in relation to the international sale and purchase of bulk commodities, and associated issues of financing, foreign exchange control legislation, frustration and force majeure.
    • Representing a substantial Swiss oil and gas commodity trading entity in multiple high-value commercial LCIA disputes arising in relation to the international sale and purchase of oil commodities, and associated issues of force majeure and arbitral jurisdiction.
    • Representing the charterers/disponent owners in a complex back-to-back charterparty dispute (in which the relief claimed total over US$110,000,000) raising difficult questions of vessel identity, and claims in deceit.
    • Representing the owners of a number of vessels time chartered to a Chinese entity which defaulted on its hire obligations (to the extent of approximately US$30,000,000 in total) and then sought insolvency protection under the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations. The owners initially sought recovery from the charterer, and then sought recovery under letters of guarantee issued by the charterer's Chinese parent company. The claims under the letters of guarantee give rise to questions relating to the nature and enforceability of the guarantee as a matter of English and Chinese law.
    • The VOC Gallant (Bulk & Metal Transport (UK) LLP v Voc Bulk Ultra Handymax Pool LLC) [2009] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 377; [2009] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 418 (Comm. Ct.): a dispute concerning the requirements for the valid commencement of arbitration under the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Civil Fraud K View More

    Nevil has considerable experience with regard to advising and representing clients in cases involving aspects of commercial fraud.

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Representing the owners of a number of vessels let on time charter to a defaulting overseas charterer, in a dispute giving rise to delicate questions of service, jurisdiction, and fraud.
    • Acting for a well-known national and international carrier by road with respect to a large-scale dispute with an area sub-contractor, raising issues of fraud, breach of contract, and the measure of loss.
    • Representing the charterers/disponent owners in a complex back-to-back charterparty dispute (in which the relief claimed total over US$110,000,000) raising difficult questions of vessel identity, and claims in deceit.
    • Advising a major overseas shipowner as to the possibility of piercing the corporate veil and pursuing the alleged alter ego of a failed corporate charterer following the obtaining of an arbitration award against the latter.
  • Insurance & Reinsurance K View More

    Nevil has a wealth of experience with regard to matters of insurance and reinsurance, especially on the marine side. His knowledge and expertise extends to cover on many of the standard forms, and includes corporate, mutual and Lloyd's Market syndicated cover.

    Over the last 20 years Nevil has dealt with a huge variety of insurance disputes, involving a multitude of issues, including matters of scope of cover, co-insurance, commission and the obligations of an assured under the Marine Insurance Act 1906. He is the co-author of Butterworths Commercial Court & Arbitration Pleadings (Chapter 5, Marine Insurance).

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Advising an assured upon a multi-million dollar dispute as to the true and proper construction and effect of a deductible provision in an Offshore Construction Insurance Policy.
    • Advising the charterers of a number of off-shore ice tugs in relation to a multi-million dollar dispute concerning the effect of co-insurance provisions as regards ice damage to the tugs and liability under the Supplytime 89 form.
    • Advising a well-known ship finance bank upon the effect of its rights as a co-insured under a ship finance agreement and associated contracts.
    • Bayview v Mitsui [2003] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 131 (CA): marine insurance; Institute Cargo Clauses; exception of "seizure".
    • The Lydia Flag (Martin Maritime Ltd v Provident Capital Indemnity Fund Ltd)[1998] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 652 (Comm. Ct.): unseaworthiness in marine insurance.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution K View More

    Nevil has significant mediation experience, having assisted in the preparation for, and having attended, a large number of formal mediations. His expertise extends to the preparation of formal mediation position statements; advising on merits, quantum, strategy, and tactics; attendance and presentation of a client's position at mediation; attendance and presentation of a client's position at closed sessions within mediation; and negotiation.

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Attendance and presentation of a client's position at a substantial tri-partite formal mediation before Stephen Ruttle QC in relation to a multi-party charterparty dispute.
    • Preparation of mediation position statements in a number of high-value commercial disputes.
    • Advising on quantum, strategy, tactics and settlement offers in a large number of Commercial Court and arbitration claims.
  • Banking & Financial Services K View More

    Nevil is well regarded for his experience and expertise in the area of ship and marine finance. Over the past two decades he has acted for a number of the world's leading marine finance houses and lenders and for mortgagor shipowners in disputes relating to marine and ship finance. His experience extends to a detailed knowledge of the law of assignment and related contractual and insurance issues, including the effect of sanctions. He also has a wealth of experience of associated insolvency issues, especially under the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations, often having worked in tandem with specialist insolvency and/or tax/regulation Counsel.

    Illustrative cases include:

    • Advising a significant Iranian entity with regard to the recovery of sums due by way of an admitted debt from a major international insurance broker in circumstances where, despite approval for payment from HM Treasury (for the purposes of EU and UK sanctions), the broker's clearing bank declined to make payment to any Iranian entity.
    • Advising a substantial UK freight forwarder as to its rights of lien and stoppage in transit (and their interaction with rights claimed by administrators/receivers/insolvency practitioners) over goods in possession following the collapse into insolvency of a number of well-known high street retailers.
    • Acting as an expert witness in insolvency proceedings before a foreign court on the issue of the nature and effect (under English law) of contracts of indemnity and guarantee.
    • Acting for a well-known private bank in a multi-million Euro dispute concerning the funding of a superyacht, raising complex issues of jurisdiction and liability.
    • Arbuthnot Latham & Co Ltd v M3 Marine Ltd [2014] 1 W.L.R. 190; [2013] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 307 (Comm. Ct.): multi-million Euro dispute concerning the funding of a superyacht, raising complex issues of jurisdiction and liability; time of seisin under Judgments Convention
  • Practice, procedure, jurisdiction and conflict of laws K View More

    Nevil has a wealth of experience with regard to matters of practice and procedure, and is well-known for the depth of his knowledge and expertise of the Civil Procedure Rules and associated issues of litigation and arbitral procedure, especially as regards interlocutory relief and allied questions of jurisdiction, service, and judgment.

    In the latter regard, Nevil is very experienced in obtaining Freezing Orders, Anti-Suit Injunctions, Orders for the Sale, and associated injunctive relief. He is also well-regarded for his knowledge and expertise with respect to jurisdictional and sovereign immunity issues.

    Nevil's recent work includes:

    • Appearing in the Court of Appeal for a party seeking orders for payment-in of unpaid multi-million dollar judgment sums, and for security for the costs of an appeal.
    • Devising a workable and effective default-judgment procedure in the context of a claim for interpleader relief.
    • Advising in a variety of cases upon complex litigation and/or arbitral strategies in order to achieve effective outcomes with a minimum of delay and expense.
    • Advising in relation to the interaction between the CPR provisions relating to acknowledgment of service, challenging jurisdiction, default judgment, and the service of Particulars of Claim in a multi-million dollar charterparty dispute.
    • Advising in relation to applicable procedures for the obtaining of judgment in default in a multi-million dollar charterparty dispute.
    • Advising a well-known private bank as to the effect of the Arrest Convention 1952 and its interaction with the Judgments Convention for the purposes of establishing priority of jurisdiction (and associated questions of service and jurisdiction) in relation to a ship finance dispute relating to a superyacht.

...“one of the best juniors around and brilliant on his feet...great intellect and excellent commercial judgment...a man of the street who can get on with anyone"...

(Chambers UK, 2010)

Academic


B.A. (Hons), Dip. Law., LL.M, of Gray's Inn and The Middle Temple, Barrister

Languages


Able to accept instructions in French.

Publications


Merchant Shipping Act 1995: An Annotated Guide, Informa Professional, 1st and 2nd Ed.

Butterworths Commercial Court & Arbitration Pleadings (Chapter 5, Marine Insurance).

The Law of Tug and Tow and of Allied Contracts (1st Ed. & 2nd Ed., contributor: Towage and Salvage).

Serial Premature Redelivery Under a Time Charterparty: The Approach to Damages in an Available Market (S. & T.I. 2011, 8(3), 8-13)

Recent Authority Of Particular Relevance In The Fields Of International Trade And Transport: Dangerous Cargo (International Trade and Transport Law Newsletter, December 2009)

Memberships


COMBAR
LMAA Supporting Member
LAAA

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