Nichola is an experienced junior who enjoys a broad commercial litigation and arbitration practice with particular emphasis on shipping, carriage of goods, commodities, shipbuilding, energy and construction and related insurance and finance disputes.
Nichola undertakes drafting and advisory work in all of her practice areas. She regularly appears as an advocate in the High Court and in arbitration, as sole counsel and as a junior. She has a good balance between led and non-led work and is frequently recommended as a junior by those with whom she has previously worked.
Nichola is a meticulous and persuasive advocate with a wide range of experience within her fields of specialism and in more general commercial disputes. Many of her cases involve issues of jurisdiction, private international law or require careful analysis of complex factual, expert and technical or legal issues. She has experience in various forms of pre-emptive remedies such as freezing orders, anti-suit injunctive and other pre-action relief and has obtained or resisted most forms of pre-trial applications.
Nichola adopts a modern, efficient and user-friendly approach to her work. She is a team player who works well with others to efficiently manage and prepare a case for trial/arbitration. Nichola believes in combining a good command of the issues and commercial understanding of her clients’ needs with sound intellectual legal analysis and practical advice. She aims to deliver thorough, well-prepared and effective presentation of the case both on paper and in person to achieve the best results for her clients.
Nichola is happy to be instructed on urgent matters and at short notice when available.
"Responsive, helpful and thorough"(The Legal 500, 2013)
'Leading Junior' (The Legal 500, 2013)
Dry shipping, commodities and transport form a substantial part of Nichola’s practice. As a result, she has developed a wealth of experience in these fields. Her most recent recommendation has described her as a junior who is “responsive, helpful and thorough." (The Legal 500, 2013).
Nichola is frequently instructed in disputes under charterparties, long term contracts of affreightment and bills of lading. She has acted for owners, disponent owners, charterers (demise, time and voyage) and receivers in a variety of claims associated with such contracts. Her experience includes disputes with the added complications of litigating/arbitrating in multi-party and/or multi-jurisdictions or governing laws.
Her extensive experience of cargo claims includes claims for misdelivery, claims for damage including alternative liability in tort and bailment, claims for declarations of non-liability by owners, cases involving the effect of the Hague, Hague-Visby and Hamburg Rules and claims for apportionment for cargo damage between owners and charterers under the NYPE Inter-Club agreements.
Other dry shipping cases in which Nichola has been instructed have raised legal issues of misrepresentation, charterparty construction, frustration, force majeure and wrongful termination/ cancellation/repudiation. She has also been instructed in a cases which have raised a variety of factual and technical expert issues such as unseaworthiness, proper stowage and carriage techniques, manning and crew training and as to the causes of the particular types of cargo damage.
In addition to the above, Nichola has undertaken other shipping- related work, ranging from claims for indemnity arising out of the UK Standard Towage Conditions to claims brought by crew members against their employers/owners. She also has experience of tort and contract claims brought by and against port and harbour authorities, marinas and ship yards and repairers.
Recent and current dry shipping cases have included the following types of disputes:-
In terms of led work, a selection of her most recent dry shipping cases includes the following:-
Nichola has advised on the validity and effect of assignments on ongoing LMAA arbitral proceedings and arbitral awards and been instructed in upholding and making challenges to LMAA arbitration awards pursuant to sections 67, 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
Although most of her dry shipping work is in arbitration, Nichola’s reported cases in the field of shipping include:
Nichola was recommended as a junior in this field in The Legal 500, 2013. She has advised on GAFTA and FOSFA disputes and has also been instructed in cases concerning long-term commercial contracts for the sale and supply of other commodities suas oil, coal and aluminium, other metals and related storage agreements. Her more recent cases include successfully defending a scrap metal claim in an LCIA arbitration in which the claimant was alleging fraud, misrepresentation and breach of contract in relation to the quality of the scrap provided.
Nichola has experience of disputes in carriage of goods by road (domestic and CMR) including a number involving high-value thefts of goods. She has also advised on freight forwarding, other transportation agreements and in warehousing disputes involving UKWA terms.
Nichola acts in a number of disputes which fall within the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court.
In addition to those appearing below, she has been instructed in admiralty claims concerning ownership of a vessel, ship mortgages (including seeking application for sale), for personal injury and crew wages and claims in respect of goods and materials supplied to a ship. Nichola also has experience of ship arrests and judicial sale (particularly to enforce mortgagee's rights).
Nichola has been instructed in a number of collision cases and is familiar with the procedural, jurisdiction and limitation issues that arise in connection therewith.
A selection of the collision cases in which she has been involved include:-
Nichola has advised on towage contracts including TOWCON and contracts on the UK Standard Towage Conditions or similar terms in foreign jurisdictions but subject to English law.
Nichola was junior to Jeremy Russell QC on claim for indemnities for loss of vessel and personal injury claims under the UK Standard Towage Conditions following the sinking of the Flying Phantom tug in the River Clyde. The dispute raises issues of seaworthiness of the tug, pilotage and navigation of the tow and allegations of negligence of the port authority’s practices and procedures. The case settled before trial.
Nichola was second junior instructed on behalf of Milford Haven Port Authority following the Sea Empress grounding in the claim brought by the IOPCF raising issues of pilot training, oil pollution and as to the liability of the port for the economic and physical consequences of the oil spill.
Insurance is an expanding area of work for Nichola, particularly in the field of marine insurance which complements her shipping practice. She is experienced in advising on and appearing as an advocate in policy disputes with issues of misrepresentation or non-disclosure, policy construction and breach of warranties. Much of her insurance work concerns hull and machinery cover or additional war risk cover but she also deals with other types of marine insurance such as P&I, cargo, general average, professional indemnity and other non-marine insurance.
Examples of the sorts of disputes in which Nichola has been instructed include:-
Recent reported cases include:
Nichola’s practice in the areas of energy, construction and shipbuilding has expanded in recent years.
Construction & Shipbuilding
Nichola has been instructed as junior counsel in a number of substantial high-value shipbuilding disputes on behalf of a number of Chinese yards. She has also advised and has acted solely for the purchasers in other cases. Collectively, these disputes have given Nichola experience of the full-range of legal and technical issues which can arise including issues with design, delay, contractual cancellation, rescission and repudiation, defective construction, defaults by purchasers in payment, quantification of damages and associated refund guarantee liabilities.
Cases in which Nichola has been led include:-
In addition to high value shipbuilding disputes, Nichola has been instructed in disputes arising from construction of barges and yachts and associated purchases and related professional negligence valuation and survey claims. She has also handled second-hand tonnage ship sale and yacht sale disputes including those on the Norwegian Sale Form.
Nichola has a varied practice in the field of energy and has been instructed by clients involved in a number of different energy projects at home and abroad.
Her more recent cases include obtaining an injunction on behalf of Dong Energy to enable them to perform the necessary pre-construction survey work for a wind farm project off the Norfolk coast without interference.
Nichola has advised on domestic gas storage cavern and pipeline projects in the North East including on the rights affected by the laying of the necessary cabling and pipe work and the availability of injunctive relief to enable the projects to proceed without interruption by vessels.
Nichola has been led by David Goldstone QC in a LCIA arbitration dispute worth $3.6 million for works carried by one consortium member on an intended construction/ installation of oil refining/ petrochemical plant project. She has also advised together with David Goldstone QC on the construction of an oil exploration joint operating agreement and licence for a project in Nigeria.
Nichola has advised solely in other oil disputes arising from foreign on-shore oil storage and handling agreements in the UAE and in other joint venture oil exploration and co-operation agreements in foreign jurisdictions but which are subject to English law.
As to alternative energy projects, Nichola has advised on claims for damage to wind turbines during transportation for sea trials.
In addition to her more specific practice areas Nichola advises and represents clients in a wide range of commercial disputes. These have included contractual disputes under agency and distribution agreements, joint venture/operating agreements and international and domestic sales contracts.
A few examples of her work in the area of commercial litigation include:
As a member of the Attorney General’s Panel, Nichola has also appeared in a number of director’s disqualification proceedings and acted in a range of insolvency actions including company winding up petitions, disputed company insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings and has experience of employment litigation.
A significant amount of Nichola’s practice comprises cases dealt with by way of arbitration which have an international element and she is fully familiar with applications to the High Court in support of English arbitrations from commencement of the arbitration through to challenges to arbitration awards under sections 67, 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
A selection of her international arbitration work includes:-
Nichola has been instructed to draft mediation position papers, advise her clients on preparation for the mediation meeting and has represented at mediations and settlement meetings.
Some examples of the types of dispute with which Nichola has been involved that have gone to mediation and settled there or shortly thereafter include:-
Multi-party hire disputes under a time charterparty including cross-claims for damages.
High-value claim brought by IOPCF against harbour authority.
Professional negligence claims brought against a ship surveyor by purchaser of a vessel.
Multi-claimant bills of lading claim against the owners of a vessel arising out of the same incident.
Marine insurance dispute defended on the grounds of misrepresentation/non-disclosure and breach of warranty.
Nichola advises and has appeared in a number of professional negligence disputes.
Due to the development of her practice in the field of shipping most of her recent cases in this field of professional negligence are associated with shipping. She has been instructed in claims against solicitors involved in shipping litigation, ship surveyors, ship valuers and shipbuilders or repairers. These have included issues of missed litigation or arbitration time-limits, negligent advice or conduct of cases, negligence in relation to carrying out surveys for sale/purchase and/or valuation of the ships and negligence in identifying and rectifying defects or the supervision of such work.
Recent examples include:-
In addition, Nichola has a background of far wider experience in solicitors’ negligence claims generally. She has been instructed in disputes concerning allegations of negligence in the provision of transaction services and in the conduct of general litigation. Nichola was instructed as a junior on behalf of professional indemnity insurers to investigate and identify fraud and misappropriation of client and beneficiary monies in a large-scale potential claim.
Nichola also has some experience in professional negligence claims against healthcare providers both privately and publicly funded and has in the past acted for the MOD in several cases where allegations of medical malpractice have been made.
Nichola has some experience of most types of travel disputes.
In the early years of her career at the Bar, she acted on behalf of several major domestic tour operators and travel agents in contractual and personal injury claims brought by purchasers of package holidays. More recently she has advised on conflicts of laws and jurisdictional issues arising out of international travel.
Nichola appeared on behalf of the claimant in Tantera v Moore  EWCA Civ 1393, CA when an excursion operator who was a defendant to a CPR Part 20 claim sought to be legally represented in the main action brought against the tour operator for injuries sustained whilst undertaking a snowmobile excursion on a package holiday.
In the context of domestic and international travel by passengers on board ships, Nichola’s experience includes advising on the applicability and effect of international conventions on this type of claims.
Nichola advises and represents international clients on various banking and finance issues including the construction and enforceability of performance bonds, guarantees and P&I Club letters of undertaking, disputes under irrevocable payment undertakings and letters of credit and ship mortgages including enforcement proceedings by arrest and sale of the vessel.
Nichola also has experience of claims brought by and against banks.
She was junior counsel to Luke Parsons QC representing a bank in successfully defending a claim by cargo owners for wrongful interference with performance of a bill of lading contract under either English or Panamanian law against the ship mortgagee bank seeking to enforce its mortgage Anton Durbeck GmbH v Den Norske Bank ASA (The Tropical Reefer)  1 Lloyds Rep 93.
She has acted for major domestic retail banks in claims against individuals and companies under guarantees, loans, mortgages and relating to the provision of other financial services which have included defending allegations of fraud, duress and undue influence.
Nichola has also been instructed in asset financing disputes.
"Responsive, helpful and thorough"(The Legal 500, 2013)
Euro LLB Bristol / Hanover (1st Class Hons)
Member of New York Bar (October 2008)
German (working knowledge)
Contributor to Commercial Court & Arbitration Pleadings (2005)
LMAA summary of arbitration decisions (2006-2007)
Nichola has delivered a number of external lectures/seminars to solicitors and others on a variety of topics relating to her areas of practice. Recent talks have included: "Time Charters: the Basics", "Additional Claims: CPR Part 20 in Practice", "An Introduction to Arbitration", "Arbitration in Practice: Time Limits, Appointments & Costs", "Update on Demurrage Claims" and “Charterparty Withdrawals and Cancellations”.
COMBAR, LCLCBA, PNBA.
In the course of her career, Nichola has undertaken short-term placements in several well-known and major city law firms. She also worked as part of the government team assisting in the Marchioness/Bowbelle formal investigation and non-statutory inquiry.
In the early part of her career at the Bar Nichola undertook number of pro-bono cases for a London Law Centre advising on general civil matters and appearing pro-bono before employment tribunals.
Travel, books, theatre, food and wine.