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David Walsh

David Walsh

Contact information

Quadrant House
10 Fleet Street
London EC4Y 1AU

  • Tel. +44 20 7583 4444
  • Fax +44 20 7583 4455

DX 292 London
Chancery Lane

  • Academic

    Keble College, Oxford, 2002-2005: BA, Jurisprudence

    University College London, 2005-2006: LLM


  • Academic Prizes / Scholarships

    Inner Temple: Exhibition Scholarship; Frank and Burris Gahan Prize; Duke of Edinburgh Entrance Scholarship


  • Publications

    Chalmers' Marine Insurance Act 1906 (11th ed.) - forthcoming


  • Memberships

    COMBAR, British Insurance Law Association, Association of Average Adjusters (subscriber), London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association, LCIA Young International Arbitration Group, LSLC YMP (committee member).

  • In-house experience

    Placement at a leading London shipping law firm (February 2012)
    Placement, RSA's Marine Hull Claims Team (May 2010)
    Placement at a leading London shipping law firm (November 2008)
    Placement, QBE syndicate 5555 (September 2008)
    Paralegal, Commercial Litigation, Herbert Smith LLP (Summer 2007)


  • Lectures delivered

    David is always happy to deliver lectures, seminars and presentations on topics related to his practice areas. Recent examples include:

    Hull Insurance and CTL claims
    Insurance Law Reform
    Piercing the Corporate Veil
    Marine Insurance Update
    An Introduction to Tanker Charterparties
    Bunker Claims: Back to Basics
    An Introduction to Cargo Insurance


  • Called: 2007
  • Inner Temple

David has a broad commercial practice specialising in insurance and reinsurance, dry shipping, commodities, energy and aviation disputes.

He is a popular choice both as sole counsel and as a junior to leaders in heavyweight cases. David is recommended by The Legal 500, 2013 as a "rising star" in the fields of Insurance and Reinsurance who is "a 'go-to' junior for marine insurance".

He is known for his commitment to his clients and cases, his user-friendly style, his calm and composed manner, and his tenacious advocacy. He enjoys finding solutions for his clients to difficult legal problems and is clear, commercial and pragmatic in his advice.

David has particular experience of heavy and technically complex cases, including a number of disputes involving foreign systems of law. He frequently advises and represents clients at short notice and on an urgent basis, in particular in applications for interim relief in the Commercial Court (freezing orders and anti-suit injunctions).

Full details of David's experience in his various practice areas can be found below.

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Practice areas

Insurance & Reinsurance

David's practice covers all aspects of insurance and reinsurance, including claims under contracts for facultative and treaty reinsurance, open covers, binding authorities, and actions against brokers and claims handlers for professional negligence. He also has experience of competition law issues in an insurance context and advises on regulatory matters.

David has acted in claims involving most classes of marine and non-marine insurance and reinsurance, including aviation, business interruption, cargo and hull, EAR, K&R, liability (including P&I and freight liability), MII, political risk, property, rig and XL.

Since acting at the start of his career in the heavy and complex "WD FAIRWAY" litigation (one of the largest navigational CTL's experienced by the London Market: see further below), David has had a particular interest in the law of marine insurance. He is currently writing the 11th edition of Chalmers' Marine Insurance Act 1906 with Simon Rainey QC and Guy Blackwood.

He is recommended by The Legal 500, 2013 as a "rising star" in the field of Insurance and Reinsurance who is "a 'go-to' junior for marine insurance".

David has had market experience on the marine side during a placement with RSA's Marine Hull Claims Team and on the aviation side during a placement with QBE Aviation Syndicate 5555.

Recent cases include:

  • Acted as sole counsel for the assured in an ARIAS arbitration where US$19m was claimed under a Marine Cargo and Delay in Start-up policy. The claim was prompted by damage to diesel generators during a sea voyage, which were intended to be used in a power plant in Kenya. The principal issue was whether a delimiting warranty had been breached.
  • Tawuniya Insurance Company v Ma'aden Aluminium Company & ors, a multi-million dollar Commercial Court BI insurance and reinsurance claim following a pot freeze at an aluminium plant in Saudi Arabia, with Guy Blackwood QC.
  • Advising the London market with Simon Rainey QC on the long-running Alexandros T litigation.
  • Norwegian Hull Club v Marsh, a Commercial Court action to recover unpaid premium from brokers under section 53(1) of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 which is resisted on the basis that paying premium would put Marsh in breach of various laws imposing sanctions on Iran.
  • Danson Consultants v Carroll Insurance, a claim for breach of a consultancy agreement.
  • Mentoras Ltd v VSK & ors, a brokers' negligence dispute in the Commercial Court, which was recently settled.
  • Involnert Management Inc v Aprilgrange Ltd & ors (The "GALATEA"), led by Mark Templeman QC: an on-going, contested US$13million CTL claim in the Commercial Court, raising issues of material non-disclosure, misrepresentation and involving claims against brokers.
  • Bernina Martime Inc v RSA & ors (The "LIQUID ERA"), again led by Mark Templeman QC: another contested US$8million CTL claim in the Commercial Court, which was settled.
  • Addax v IEI & ors, a US$16m claim against insurers and reinsurers following the escape of gas during the drilling of an underwater well off the coast of Nigeria.
  • Al Sagr National Insurance Company v Generali Romania, David acted with Guy Blackwood in this claim by insurers for payment of claims under 16 contracts of H&M facultative reinsurance.
  • Throughout 2011, David was instructed as part of a 6 strong counsel team in Markerstudy Insurance Company Limited v Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited, a substantial Commercial Court action concerning negligent claims handling across a number of books of business, which was set down for a 40 day trial before a settlement in late 2011.
  • In March 2011, David acted as sole counsel for underwriters in Donkin v Aviva Insurance Limited where liability was successfully resisted under a freight liability policy.
  • Dornoch Ltd & ors v Westminster International BV & ors (The "WD FAIRWAY") [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 191: David (led by Iain Milligan QC and Guy Blackwood) acted on behalf of the successful underwriters in this major marine insurance dispute following the constructive total loss of the "WD FAIRWAY". Issues considered by the Court in phase one included abandonment and the extent of underwriters' proprietary rights in a vessel on payment of a CTL and election.
  • Dornoch Ltd & ors v Westminster International BV & ors (The "WD FAIRWAY") [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 420: in phase two of this action the Court considered the impeachment of transactions defrauding creditors under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 in an insurance context. Again, David (led by Iain Milligan QC and Guy Blackwood) acted on behalf of the successful underwriters.
  • In early 2010 David also acted (led by Bernard Eder QC, as he then was, and Guy Blackwood) in a third trial concerning the CTL of the "WD FAIRWAY", raising questions regarding an assured's entitlement to interest for the late payment of an indemnity, which was settled during final speeches.

Dry Shipping, Commodities & Transport

David has a busy dry shipping and commodities practice.

On the dry shipping side he has particular experience of unsafe port claims, demurrage disputes, termination/withdrawal/anti-technicality clauses, issues of illegality, unseaworthiness, the NYPE Inter-Club Agreement, delivery/redelivery obligations, cancellation clauses, performance claims and casualties arising out of dangerous cargo incidents. David regularly advises and acts in Hague and Hague-Visby Rules cases and has been involved in a substantial number of cargo claims.

His commodities practice encompasses all aspects of international trade and futures, including oil trading, metals and foodstuffs.

David also has experience of a number of cases involving the carriage of goods by road, involving the applicaiton of the CMR, BIFA, RHA and UKWA terms.

Recent cases include:

  • Contecon Guayquil SA & ors v Ikaria Maritime: David was instructed with Luke Parsons QC in this substantial Admiralty Court action brought by the operators of a terminal at a port in Ecuador after The "CCNI ANTARTICO" caused damage when it berthed at excessive speed.
  • JP Klausen & Co A/S v MSC (The "SKY JUPITER") [2013] EWHC 3254 (Comm): he acted for the successful cargo interests in this Commercial Court claim for damage to frozen fish being carried in reefer containers from New Zealand to Germany.
  • CHS Inc Iberica SL v Far East Marine SA (The "DEVON") [2012] EWHC 3747 (Comm): David acted for the successful cargo interests in this claim against the owners of the "DEVON" for damage caused to a consignment of corn when the subject voyage took 59 days instead of 8 days because of a main engine breakdown. Issues considered by Mr Justice Cooke included unseaworthiness, due diligence and the obligation to proceed with reasonable despatch.
  • Transpetrol Maritime Service Ltd v SJB (Marine Energy) BV (The "ROWAN"): David, led by Stephen Cogley QC, settled the application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court from the Court of Appeal's decision at [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 564. The case concerned the proper construction of an oil majors approval clause in a voyage charter.
  • Emeraldian Limited Partnership v Wellmix Shipping Company Limited & ors (The "VINE") [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 301: David was led by Lionel Persey QC in this demurrage / safe berth dispute and associated guarantee claim, which involved a number of conflict of laws issues and the application of Chinese law and exchange controls.

Much of David's work in this area is in arbitration.

Recent arbitrations include:

  • David is currently instructed, with Simon Croall QC in a Hong Kong arbitration where substantial damages are claimed for breach of a long-term COA.
  • David is currently instructed, with Simon Kverndal QC, in an LMAA arbitration where damages of c.US$60m are sought for breach of a long-term time charter. The issues include whether the decision in The "ASTRA" on whether the obligation to pay hire is a condition or innominate term is correct.
  • He is also currently instructed in a significant LMAA arbitration between the owners of a vessel and two sets of bareboat charterers relating to the condition of the vessel on redelivery from one bareboat charterer and delivery to the next. 
  • In April 2014, David acted as sole counsel for the successful claimants in an HKIAC arbitration concerning a US$1.3m claim for breach of a COA.
  • In July 2013, he acted (led by Simon Croall QC) for the successful owners in a safe berth dispute before an LMAA tribunal.
  • In September 2011, David was instructed as sole counsel in c.US$2m charterparty dispute set down for 5 days, which settled shortly before opening speeches. The case involved, among other things, allegations of unseaworthiness and a dispute over a deviation to take a pilot.
  • In November / December 2010, David appeared as junior counsel (led by Simon Croall QC) in an arbitration involving a c.US$20m claim for breach of two COAs for the carriage of bauxite. Issues considered included the application of without prejudice privilege and renunciation.


Commercial Litigation

David has been instructed in a range of commercial cases; recent examples include:

  • He recently acted as sole counsel in the JSC BTA Bank v Solodchenko litigation (a case involving commercial fraud, freezing orders and sentencing for civil contempt), settling an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against the 21 month custodial sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal on Mr Kythreotis (see [2012] 1 WLR 350).
  • David was instructed as sole counsel in Industrial Flavours & Colours Limited v Robertet (UK) Limited, a multi-million dollar Commercial Court claim for the alleged breach of a contract for the exclusive distribution of perfumes and fragrances in Nigeria. 

David also has particular experience of jurisdictional and other conflict of laws issues in a commercial context:

  • Emeraldian Limited Partnership v Wellmix Shipping Company Limited & ors (The "VINE") [2011] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 301: which concerned the law applicable to guarantees and the consequences of illegality under foreign systems of law.
  • Dornoch Ltd & ors v Westminster International BV & ors (The "WD FAIRWAY") [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 191 (phase one) and [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 420 (phase two): these cases considered, among other things, renvoi, the situs of a registered vessel and various issues of Dutch, Thai and Nigerian law.

David regularly appears in the Commercial Court in applications relating to security for costs, freezing orders and enforcement proceedings. Recently, with Poonam Melwani QC, he also obtained two urgent, ex-parte anti-suit injunctions in out-of-hours hearings before Commercial Court judges by telephone.


International Arbitration

David has experience of arbitrations on ICC, FOSFA, GAFTA, LCIA and HKIAC terms. Confidentiality prevents the naming of particular disputes.

He has also been instructed in a number of arbitration claims in the Commercial Court (ss. 67, 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996), as well as an application to strike out an arbitration appeal for want of prosecution.


Energy, Shipbuilding & Construction

David regularly advises and acts in a variety of offshore and energy disputes. He has acted in disputes relating to drilling and exploration projects and, particularly, in relation to casualties due to failures of equipment or negligent operation. He has advised on a number of disputes on the BIMCO Supplytime form. Recent cases include the following:

  • He was recently instructed, with Simon Croall QC, in Glencore Energy (UK) Limited v Total Kenya Limited, a c.US$7m claim in the Commercial Court relating to the supply of gasoil to a Kenyan storage facility. The case concerned, among other things, Kenyan law relating to the delivery of gasoil from or in commingled storage tanks. 
  • David was also recently instructed in an ICC arbitration claim for damages of c.US$30million under an off-shore supply contract, brought by the operator of a jack-up drilling rig, which was to be used for the exploration of blocks off the coast of Cameroon.
  • He was instructed in arbitration claim relating to modifications to a cable-laying vessel, which was being used to create infrastructure to support off-shore wind farms in the North Sea.
  • David was instructed in arbitration claim concerning the sale of an offshore supply vessel under the Norwegian Saleform 1987. Issues included expert evidence on the volatile, project-driven nature of the market for supply vessels.

He also has experience of shipbuilding disputes and is currently instructed in a number of on-going arbitrations:

  • In January 2013, David acted with Simon Croall QC in a shipbuilding arbitration concerning the proper construction of a contractual requirement to supply evidence of registration of refund guarantees. The arbitration considered, among other things, changes in Chinese law on exchange controls.
  • He also appeared as junior counsel in an arbitration concerning an application by a buyer to perform certain non-destructive tests on the welds of a vessel prior to delivery.


Aviation & Travel

David is instructed by the major airlines in Convention claims and those under EC Regulation 261/2004 and has dealt with a number of claims resulting from the closure of airspace due to the volcanic ash cloud in April 2010.

He was instructed, led by Robert Lawson QC, in All Nippon Airways v Thai Airways, a US$20m Commercial Court claim for alleged negligent aircraft maintenance, which settled shortly before trial.

David has also acted as counsel in a number of high-profile inquests that have followed aviation disasters:

  • In October 2013, David appeared at the inquest into a death following a mid-air collision near Leicester airport.
  • In October 2012, he was instructed to appear at the inquest into a death following a mid-air collision at Shoreham airfield and is now instructed in the High Court litigation brought by the family of the deceased.
  • In November 2011, David was instructed to appear at the inquest into two deaths at Rotherfield Greys, near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, which occurred when a bi-plane failed to recover from an aerobatic manoeuvre.
  • In October 2009, he was instructed on behalf of the North West Parachute Centre at the inquest into two deaths following a mid-air collision between two light aircraft near Blithfield Reservoir, Staffordshire.
  • In September 2009, David was instructed to appear at an inquest into two deaths following an air accident at Seething airfield, Norfolk.


Banking & Finance

David regularly appears on behalf of major clearing banks and other lenders and financial institutions in both trials and interlocutory applications. He also undertakes advisory work in relation to commercial and consumer banking matters. David has experience of insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings.

He appeared in Dornoch Ltd & ors v Westminster International BV & ors (The "WD FAIRWAY") [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 420, which considered, among other things, the impeachment of transactions defrauding creditors under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986.


Full detail on selected areas will be included in the downloadable PDF.


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