Gemma is a popular choice with instructing solicitors and lay clients in a range of commercial disputes particularly in the fields of shipping, commodities, energy/offshore and construction (shipbuilding). She provides an efficient and thorough service and combines accurate legal analysis and advice with practical commercial and tactical awareness. She has extensive experience of heavy and technically-complex cases, in particular those in the shipping and energy sectors, and enjoys working well as part of a team.
Gemma is identified by Legal Week as one of its ten Stars at the Bar for 2016 in a profile piece on the most promising young barristers. Gemma received the following praise from clients:
Gemma is consistently recommended by Chambers UK as a 'Leading Junior' in the fields of Commercial Dispute Resolution and Shipping. She has been identified as “a junior to play close attention to” (Chambers UK 2014) and is "especially noted for handling complex shipbuilding cases and matters of a highly technical nature" (Chambers UK 2016).
"Very clever and thoughtful - one of the first names on any list of who to instruct."(Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2020)
"Gemma is razor-sharp in cutting through voluminous documents."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"Her drafting is excellent, she's very easy to deal with, clients love her and she's very good on the technical side."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"She is a go-to junior for shipbuilding work."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"Extremely bright and diligent, she is a clear future star in this field."(Legal 500, 2020, International Arbitration)
"She is very clever and focussed, with a really strong commercial approach."(Legal 500, 2020)
"She can easily hold her own against QCs on paper and in hearings."(Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2019)
"She is commercially aware and is technically excellent."(Legal 500 2019)
"She is led by top silks in challenging shipbuilding cases."(Legal 500 2019)
..."A delight to work with. Clear, insightful and thorough."... "Very bright, efficient and adaptable. A real shipping specialist."...(Chambers UK 2019)
"Very bright and very capable." "Very sharp."(Chambers UK 2018, Shipping & Commodities)
"She is intelligent, very easy to work with, efficient, practical and does not over complicate things."(Legal 500, 2017 - Shipping)
"An outstanding junior with an excellent eye for detail.”(Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017)
"Good on her feet, nice to work with and easily fits in as part of the team"(Chambers UK 2017, Shipping & Commodities)
"Decisive, smart and user-friendly."(Chambers UK 2017, Shipping & Commodities)
"Always approachable and pragmatic"(Legal 500, 2016 - Shipping Leading junior)
"...excellent on her feet."(Chambers UK 2016, Shipping & Commodities)
"Very bright and very hard-working."(Chambers UK 2016, Shipping & Commodities)
"Deals with tricky points well and gets good results."Chambers UK 2016, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
“... noted for her commercial expertise..."(Chambers UK 2015, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
“She is very able, and one would have confidence instructing her on almost any matter"(Chambers UK 2014, Shipping & Commodities)
“She has a very strong intellect, and this is demonstrated in her legal analysis"(Chambers UK 2014, Shipping & Commodities)
"She is very switched-on and really approachable. She's pleasant to work with"(Chambers UK 2014, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
An “extremely hard-working, conscientious and bright lawyer”(Chambers UK 2013, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
She has "command of the detail of a case"(Chambers UK 2013, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
"Able to advise "confidently and strongly on strategy"(Chambers UK 2013, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
Gemma is frequently instructed in technically demanding, complex energy and offshore work, both as sole and junior counsel. Gemma has acted this year in two major commercial disputes in the oil and gas sector. Gemma is regularly instructed to act for and to advise clients both in respect of technical disputes and in claims arising out of issues of contractual construction and recoverability of sums paid under terminated contracts. She has extensive experience of drafting detailed pleadings in complex cases as well as advising in relation to a full spectrum of legal and technical issues arising out of energy and offshore contracts.
Current and recent notable cases that Gemma is or has been instructed on include:
Gemma is frequently instructed in her own right and as junior in general commercial disputes, usually in those with significant contractual or jurisdictional issues, and has a well-established international arbitration practice.
Gemma has considerable experience of seeking interim relief in the Commercial Court, with a focus on applications for worldwide freezing orders and anti-suit injunctions and the particular complexities that such types of relief involve.
Examples of ongoing and important instructions include:
Gemma is recommended by Chambers UK as a Leading Junior for Shipping & Commodities.
A core area of Gemma’s practice, she handles a full range of dry shipping, commodities and international carriage of goods work and advises owners, charterers, carriers and cargo interests. As a result of the international flavour of her work Gemma has particular experience in jurisdictional and conflicts of law issues. Much of Gemma’s instructions are in respect of arbitrations on LMAA and LCIA terms, amongst others, and in both the ordinary format and on a documents-alone basis.
Examples of Gemma's recent and current instructions in this area include:
Gemma regularly acts for both yards and buyers and deals with all types of contractual claims arising out of the common standard forms, e.g. guarantee claims, late delivery claims, repudiatory breach claims and claims involving the prevention principle. She has significant experience of drafting detailed pleadings in complex shipbuilding cases and advising in relation to a full spectrum of legal and technical issues arising out of shipbuilding contracts. Gemma also has experience of superyacht construction disputes.
Current and recent notable cases that Gemma has acted on include:
Gemma is recommended as a leading junior for internaitonal arbitration: "Extremely bright and diligent, she is a clear future star in this field." (Legal 500 2020)
International arbitration is a mainstay of Gemma’s practice. She appears most regularly in LCIA and LMAA arbitrations as well before ICC and specialist commodities tribunals. Gemma has particular experience of and interest in advising clients about appropriate forms of interlocutory relief and in circumstances where a dispute involves multiple jurisdictions.
Gemma is regularly instructed on s.44 applications to the Court for interim relief and s.68 and s.69 appeals.
Examples of ongoing and recent instructions include:
Gemma is regularly instructed in both marine and non-marine insurance matters. She advises and undertakes drafting in a full range of policy issues, including misrepresentation, non-disclosure and fraud.
An example of a recent important instruction in this area is Ace European Group Ltd v Chartis Insurance UK Ltd ( Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 485;  2 Lloyd's Rep. 117) in which Gemma acted as junior counsel both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal (to Guy Blackwood and Simon Rainey Q.C.) for the defendant insurer in this dispute between major insurers in dispute as to liabilities arising out of construction project of waste-to-energy plant.
Gemma has gained considerable General Aviation experience, acting frequently for the major airlines in carriage matters involving the full range issues under the Conventions and EC Regulation 261/2004. In addition Gemma has acted in a number of personal injury matters arising out of accidents both in aircraft and at airports, as well as several aircraft repair and leasing disputes.
Gemma appeared as junior counsel for the Defendant (to Michael Crane Q.C. and John Kimbell Q.C.) in Blue Sky One Ltd v Mahan Air  EWHC 631 (Comm.) and  EWHC 3314 (Comm.), two related trials on behalf of the defendant which concerned ownership and aircraft mortgage rights of aircraft being operated in Iran.
Gemma is gaining significant wet shipping experience, acting in collision and salvage matters. She has also been instructed in a number of disputes concerning ports, harbours and pollution issues.
In the ‘ATLANTIC POLARIS’ Gemma is instructed as sole counsel by Owners in this High Court Claim brought by owners and insurers of an oil terminal against the Owners of a vessel for damage to the oil terminal jetty caused by allision of the vessel with it. The case raises issues of navigation, safety oil terminal operating procedures, Colombian law and the defence of compulsory pilotage.
Gemma (as junior to Simon Rainey Q.C.) represented Owners of the RED JASMINE in the High Court action arising out of the girting and sinking of the tug FLYING PHANTOM on the Clyde in thick fog in December 2007. The contractual claim brought by the tugowner was based on the 1986 United Kingdom Standard Conditions.
Gemma was junior counsel (to Jeremy Russell Q.C.) in the collision action The ‘WESTERN NEPTUNE’  1 Lloyd's Rep. 158 which arose out of the between a seismic streamer vessel and a container ship.
..."A delight to work with. Clear, insightful and thorough"...(Chambers UK 2019)
M.A. (Law) (Double First) – Queens’ College, Cambridge.
B.C.L. – Brasenose College, Oxford.
2006 - Queen Mother Scholarship, Middle Temple; Caroline Lester Prize for Mooting, Middle Temple.
2004 - Lucas-Smith Prize for best performance in Law finals, Queens’ College, Cambridge.
2003 - Elected Foundation Scholar, Queens’ College; College Prize for Law, Queens’s College.
2005-07 - Tutor in Contract Law, Queens’ and Gonville & Caius Colleges, Cambridge.
2005-06 - Tutor and Examiner in Private Law, Department of Land Economy, Cambridge.
Gemma has undertaken secondments at in the shipping departments of leading London firms.