Called: 1995 Silk: 2015
John Kimbell QC specializes in aviation, shipping law and international personal injury law. In September 2018, he was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge (sitting in both the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions). In addition to his work in the High Court, he represents a wide range of clients in commercial arbitration (LMAA, GMAA, ICC, LCIA and DIS).
In the aviation field he has handled a wide range of disputes from aircraft sale, leasing and security disputes to fatal accidents (in the UK and abroad). John specializes in advising clients in multi-jurisdictional disputes with foreign law aspects. He has been retained in relation to the loss of Egyptair Flight 804 and Air France Flight 447, the shooting down of Malaysian Air MH17 and the Shoreham Air Show crash. He also has extensive experience in dealing with helicopter, light aircraft crashes including attendance at inquests.
His shipping work encompasses both ‘wet’ collision and other Admiralty Court matters and ‘dry’ bill of lading and charterparty disputes. He regularly appears in the Commercial and Admiralty Court as well as in maritime (LMAA) arbitrations in London and in Hamburg (GMAA). He is the joint editor of Admiralty Jurisdiction & Practice (2017), and has recently taken over joint editorship of Marsden on Collisions at Sea. He is chair of the Admiralty Bar Group www.admiraltybar.org.
John is fluent in German and accepts instructions in that language. Since 2001 he has been qualified to practice as a lawyer (‘Rechtsanwalt’) in Germany. He uses his knowledge of German and German law to provide a specialist service to German, Austrian and Swiss commercial clients involved in London court or arbitration proceedings. He recently represented AIG Europe in Woodford v AIG (Europe)  EWHC 358 (QB), a directors’ and officers’ insurance coverage dispute.
He is a co-author of Foreign Currency: Claims, Judgments and Damages (2016) Informa and a contributor to Palmer on Bailment (3rd edition).
John is recommended in the current editions of The Legal 500 and Chambers UK as a leading silk in the fields of Aviation, Shipping and Travel.
"Friendly, communicative, enthusiastic and bullish."(Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2020)
"Solution-orientated and able to identify risks across different jurisdictions, he gets the best result for the client quickly. He's excellent with clients and measured and considered in his advice."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He's perceptive, quick and combative."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He is always very thoughtful and academic but also pragmatic and practical, which is a great combination."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"A clever lawyer whose advocacy is understated, calm and logical."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"Has an excellent grip on the detail and is always ready to roll up his sleeves and assist in all aspects of a case."(Legal 500, 2020)
"He is approachable and impressive with clients."(Legal 500, 2020)
"He's very smart, very pragmatic, very practical in his suggestions and in mediation and advice. He's able to get to the nub of the issue very quickly."... "A very good lawyer who does a heck of a lot of aviation."(Chambers UK, 2019)
"Very good on his feet. A safe pair of hands." ..."He has a good bedside manner and he is very sensible. He understands the commercial realities and he expresses himself clearly."(Chambers UK, 2019)
‘Very client friendly and has exceptional skill.’(Legal 500 2019)
"Absolutely brilliant; he works well in a team and takes on-board views other than his own."(Legal 500 2019)
"Very approachable and organised."..."Always a joy to work with. One of the most solicitor-friendly barristers at the Commercial Bar. His advice is always based on sound legal knowledge."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"He is quick-thinking, pragmatic in responses, eloquent in making points, and he's a great person to have on a claim, because he's a really straight-line thinker."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"Can deal with cases of the highest magnitude, very personable and human with it."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"He’s very good academically and has strong experience of the higher courts and European courts."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"Smart, pragmatic, approachable and helpful."(Legal 500, 2017)
"Fiercely intelligent, formidable and a master strategist."(Legal 500, 2017)
"Very approachable, easy to talk to, very practical and excellent at drafting."(Legal 500, 2017)
"A very clever, tough and tactically shrewd advocate" “Absolutely brilliant, he is a very robust litigator. Wonderful with clients”. “Has the drive to deliver successful strategies." “A commanding presence and precise intellect when it comes to complex, multi-jurisdictional matters"(Chambers UK, 2016)
"Intelligent, fearless and a superlative tactician in court"(Legal 500, 2016)
"a top-flight lawyer who comes with the whole kit"; "Peers were quick to praise his 'diligence, persuasiveness in court and excellent eye for detail'" ; "he brings much added value to all of his instructions"; "a very capable court performer"(Chambers UK, 2014)
“Absolutely brilliant, he is a very robust litigator. Wonderful with clients, he will not get browbeaten when people bring in formidable barristers against him”(Chambers UK, 2014)
"John Kimbell has a 'commanding presence and precise intellect when it comes to complex, multi-jurisdictional matters'; 'smooth and polished'; 'a very tenacious, forthright litigator'"(Chambers UK, 2011)
Leading Silk Band 2 (Chambers UK, 2019)
Leading Silk Tier 2 (Legal 500, 2018)
John is recommended by the legal directories as a leading silk in the fields of Aviation and Travel. He is instructed in a broad range of disputes especially those involving jurisdictional points, foreign law and the application of international conventions. John has recently been instructed in, amongst others, the following matters:
Leading Silk (band 4) (Chambers UK, 2019)
‘Leading Silk’ (tier 4) (Legal 500, 2018)
John Kimbell QC has a flourishing commercial practice encompassing wet and dry shipping work. He routinely acts in LMAA arbitrations and in the Commercial and Admiralty Courts. He enjoys a substantial following among clients in Germany, where he is a qualified lawyer. He also sits as a GMAA arbitrator. He has appeared in the following:
John regularly appears in the Admiralty Court and marine arbitrations in London and Hamburg. He has particular experience in collision cases. He is the joint editor (with Nigel Meeson QC) of Admiralty Jurisdiction & Practice (5th ed. 2017) Informa and in 2018 one of the two new joint editors of Marsden on Collisions at Sea. He has recently appeared in:
A large proportion of John’s wide-ranging arbitration practice features an international element. He regularly appears before a variety of institutional arbitral tribunals such as the ICC and LCIA as well as a variety of ad hoc panels.
John has extensive experience in dealing with arbitrations outside London including significant involvement in arbitrations with their seats in Hamburg, New York, Frankfurt and Zurich. He has acted as an arbitrator in London and Hamburg.
John advises in relation to Shipbuilding disputes concerning both the market standard vessel sale and purchase forms (such as Saleform) and also custom drafted MOAs.
John is also instructed to advise on non-contentious matters relating to the drafting of MOAs and other commercial agreements. He has recently been instructed in the following related matters:
"He's very smart, very pragmatic, very practical in his suggestions and in mediation and advice. He's able to get to the nub of the issue very quickly."(Chambers UK 2019)
B.A. (Hons.) (Cantab); M.Phil (Cantab); BCL (Oxon)
Princess Royal Scholarship (Inner Temple)
Rechtsanwalt (Hamburg, Germany) since 2001 - quallified to practice as a lawyer in Germany.
COMBAR; LMAA (supporting member); GMAA (German Maritime Arbitration Association); DVIS (German Association for International Sea Law); BGJA (British-German Jurists Association, DIS (German International Arbitrators Association), GRUR (German Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property), Admiralty Bar Group (Chairman). Chancery Bar Association (Honorary Member)