Emily McWilliams

Called: 2011

Practice Overview

Emily has a broad commercial practice with a particular emphasis on shipping and aviation related disputes. She is recommended as a leading junior in the fields of Shipping, Aviation and Travel Law by The Legal 500.

Emily regularly appears as sole and junior counsel in both court and arbitration. She is experienced in shipping disputes of all kinds, and has acted in a wide range of aviation matters, including commercial disputes and claims under the Carriage by Air Conventions. Emily’s cases frequently involve important issues of principle, such as the meaning and effect of industry standard contractual terms.

  • What the directories sayView More

    • "She is a real aviation specialist; her knowledge in this area is invaluable."

      (Legal 500, 2020)
    • "She is astute, composed and prepared."

      (Legal 500, 2020)
    • "Down-to-earth, prompt, and manages expectations well."

      (Legal 500, 2020)
  • Shipping & Maritime K View More

    Emily has been involved in a broad range of shipping disputes, both in court and arbitration. She is regularly instructed in claims arising under charterparties and bills of lading, including those concerning off-hire, laytime and demurrage, unsafe ports, unseaworthiness and cargo claims. Emily’s recent work includes:

    • Acting as junior counsel in a claim arising out of the detention of a vessel by the Liberian port authorities following a ship-to-ship transfer operation.
    • A case concerning the meaning of the words ‘liberty to apply’ in a letter of undertaking, and whether they enabled owners to apply to the court to require the defendant P&I Club to increase the amount of the security available (FSL-9 PTE Ltd v. Norwegian Hull Club [2016] 2 All. E.R. (Comm) 576 – led by John Kimbell QC).
    • Acting for the owners and operators of a wind farm in relation to a dispute arising out of a collision between a vessel and a turbine.
    • Appearing as junior counsel in a case concerning damage to a chemical tanker following over-pressurisation of the cargo tanks on loading, raising issues as to whether the port was unsafe (LMAA Arbitration, 2016).
    • Acting as sole counsel for owners in a Commercial Court claim for US$5m of unpaid hire.
    • Drafting submissions in relation to a preliminary issue to determine whether a claim for demurrage was time barred (LMAA Arbitration, 2017).
    • Acting as sole counsel for managers in respect of claims made under 8 ship management agreements on the BIMCO SHIPMAN 2009 form, in a case which raises questions as to the compatibility of industry practice with the industry standard form (LMAA Arbitrations, 2017).
    • Acting for voyage charterers in a claim arising out of the contamination of a cargo of ShellSol (LMAA Arbitration, 2017).
    • Representing owners in Singapore arbitration proceedings to recover unpaid demurrage. The case turned on the nature and extent of shipbroker’s usual or ostensible authority when purporting to enter into a contract on charterers’ behalf.
    • Acting for the claimant shipowners in an arbitration arising out of charterers’ rejection of a vessel on the grounds that she was legally unfit to carry a cargo of fishmeal. The claim raised novel questions as to the correct approach to the quantification of damages for repudiatory breach of a voyage charter, and the extent to which the normal ‘Smith v. M’Guire’ measure could be departed from (LMAA Arbitration 2018).
  • Shipbuilding K View More

    Emily has also experience of variety of shipbuilding disputes, as well as cases involving ship repair, and has:

    • Appeared as junior counsel for the successful yard in a two-week arbitration arising out of the buyer’s wrongful failure to pay sums due under a contract for the construction of a luxury motor yacht (purportedly as a result of delays in its construction).
    • Acted for a boatyard in a claim in respect of its unpaid invoices for repair, maintenance and refurbishment work on a vessel, raising issues of delay, quality of workmanship, and the vessel’s fitness for purpose.
    • Acted as junior counsel in a case raising issues as to the appropriate measure and quantum of damages where a luxury motor yacht suffered a major engine failure (The ‘IL SOLE’ [2014] EWHC 2711 (Comm)).
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution K View More

    Emily has experience of a broad range of commercial disputes. Her recent work includes:

    • Acting as junior counsel in an application for a freezing order in support of foreign proceedings.
    • Appearing as counsel for the claimant in an application to set aside permission to serve documents out of the jurisdiction (Scomi OilTools Africa Ltd v Rouze [2016] EWHC 863 (Comm)).
    • Acting as junior counsel in an urgent ex parte application for an anti-suit injunction to restrain claims being brought in the Dominican Republic.
    • Appearing as junior counsel in a three-week Commercial Court trial of a claim relating to the purchase of a satellite television company, concerning alleged breaches of warranties, validity of a net-debt assessment and complex accounting and valuation issues (Bikam OOD v Adria Cable S.a.r.l. [2013] EWHC 1985 (Comm)).
    • Appearing for the claimant at the hearing of a summary judgment application at which the defendant made an out of time application for permission to rely on evidence in response, and as junior counsel for the respondent (led by Tim Marland) in the Court of Appeal (Gama Aviation (UK) Ltd v. Taleveras Petroleum Trading DMCC [2009] EWCA Civ 119). The appeal raised novel questions as to the appropriateness of making a conditional order and the proportionality of the sanction imposed.
  • Aviation & Travel K View More

    Emily regularly acts on behalf of leading airlines, and has experience of a wide range of aviation disputes, including commercial disputes, fatal accidents, claims under the Carriage by Air Conventions, and Regulation 261/2004. Emily’s cases frequently involve important issues of principle for the airline involved, such as the meaning and effect of industry standard contractual terms, and the validity of the assignment of passengers’ claims for fixed compensation.

    Emily’s work includes:         

    • Acting for the claimants in three related sets of proceedings in the Circuit Commercial Court to recover approximately USD 3 million said to be due under a block charter agreement, an aircraft management agreement, and five aircraft leaving agreements.
    • Appearing for the claimant in Gama Aviation (UK) Ltd v. Taleveras Petroleum Trading DMCC at a summary judgment application at which the defendant made an out of time application for permission to rely on evidence in response, and as junior counsel for the respondent (led by Tim Marland) in the Court of Appeal ([2009] EWCA Civ 119). The appeal raised novel questions as to the appropriateness of making a conditional order and the proportionality of the sanction imposed.
    • Acting for an airline in a Commercial Court claim in relation to a dispute with the defendant ground handlers following a collision between an airport vehicle operated by the defendant, and one of the claimant’s aircraft. The central issues in dispute included the meaning of consequential loss and damage in the context of the IATA SGHA, and whether the damage to the aircraft was caused “recklessly and with the knowledge that damage … would probably result”.
    • Fatal accident claims, including advising on quantum and representing clients at mediation and infant settlement approval hearings.
    • Appearing as junior counsel in Foster v Action Aviation Ltd [2013] EWHC 2930 (QB) & [2013] EWHC 2439 (Comm), a case concerning the sale of a private jet, raising issues of fraudulent misrepresentation, construction of a buy-back guarantee and agency. 
  • Professional Negligence K View More

    Emily has acted in a wide range of professional negligence claims, including in claims against marine surveyors, solicitors and commercial property agents. Emily’s work has included:

    • Acting for a boatyard in a claim for allegedly negligent refurbishment work on a barge, which raised issues as to the standard to which the structural work on the vessel had to adhere.
    • Advising as to a prospective claim against a marine surveyor, relating to a pre-purchase survey of a vessel which suffered serious engine problems shortly after the sale completed.
    • Acting as junior counsel in a claim against solicitors instructed by the purchaser of a super yacht in relation to their failure to secure a personal guarantee (The ‘IL SOLE’ [2014] EWHC 2711 (Comm)).
    • Appearing as junior counsel both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal in a claim against commercial property agents for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in relation to the sale of a cattle market. The case raised questions as to vicarious liability of co-partners and s.10 of the Partnership Act (Northampton Regional Livestock Centre Co Ltd v Cowling [2015] EWCA Civ 651).
  • Carriage of Goods by Road K View More

    Emily is regularly instructed in cases concerning both domestic and international carriage of goods by road. Recent work includes:

    • Advising as to the effect of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on the BIFA terms.
    • Acting in proceedings concerning the theft of goods, involving jurisdictional issues and allegations of wilful misconduct.

"She is astute, composed and prepared."

(Legal 500 2020)

Academic


M.A. (Law), Jesus College, Cambridge University.
BPTC, BPP Law School, Outstanding.

Other Qualifications


Inner Temple Award for Outstanding Achievement in the BPTC, 2011.

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