Called: 1993 Silk: 2014
John is an experienced and determined commercial advocate and has acted as lead Counsel in numerous Commercial Court trials, international and marine arbitrations and appellate cases, including two successful appearances in the Supreme Court, including the landmark shipping decision in Volcafe v CSAV. He has also appeared as counsel in inquests and public enquiries.
He relishes both detailed legal argument and cross-examination of lay and expert witnesses. He will always ensure that a client's case is presented in the most persuasive manner possible, both in writing and orally.
John provides advice to a wide range of clients. He combines first rate technical legal analysis with a pragmatic, commercial, problem solving approach to cases.
John accepts instructions in many fields of commercial dispute resolution with a particular focus on shipping, commodities, international trade, marine insurance, aviation and travel.
John has been named Shipping Silk of the Year for the Legal 500 UK Awards 2020. He was also shortlisted for Shipping Silk of the Year for the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards 2019. He is ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners in Shipping, Commodities and Travel.
John also takes appointments as an arbitrator in the fields in which he practices.
"He makes matters seem so easy and simple by being clear, precise and straight to the point. On his feet he is cool under pressure and well organised."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He's fantastic on all dry shipping matters, very calm and effective with judges."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"Exceptionally commercial and pragmatic and skilled in cross-examinations, he is excellent on his feet."(Legal 500, 2020)
"He has a great knack of analysing difficult legal issues and coming up with the right answer in a way that is clear to clients."(Legal 500, 2020)
"He is very strong on complex cases."(Legal 500, 2020)
"...clear precise and unflappable..."(The Legal 500)
“An excellent advocate whose assessment of cases is invaluable”(Chambers UK 2019)
"He is very thorough and provides good insights into cases."(Chambers UK 2019)
"Very easy to work with and a very good litigator." ..."An excellent advocate whose assessment of cases is invaluable."(Chambers UK 2019)
"He always picks up the key points of the case."(Legal 500 2019)
"He is an experienced and determined advocate who specialises in international and marine arbitrations."(Legal 500, 2019)
"A smart and user-friendly advocate with a growing focus on commodities."(Legal 500 2019)
"He hides a lot of intelligence and practical skill behind being a nice guy!"(Who's Who Legal, 2018)
"He’s incredibly impressive, and is someone who always comes up with points that are insightful. He’s incredibly impressive, excellent on his feet and a joy to work with."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"Super. He is very straightforward and has an appealing way of presenting his cases." "Very friendly and good at what he does."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"...He comes up with the right legal answer in difficult cases and provides commercial advice..."(Legal 500, 2017)
"..Known for his work in aviation..."(Legal 500, 2017)
"...Particularly highly rated, he has a sharp mind and provides clear advice...."(Legal 500, 2017)
"The kind of barrister you would want to have on your side. He's not afraid to challenge anyone on anything." "He's bright, commercial, user-friendly and he delivers when you need it."(Chambers & Partners UK 2017)
"He's commercial, effective and knows how to win." "John is very well known in the aviation field."(Chambers & Partners UK 2017)
"...A pleasure to work with, he brings a sharp mind to clear and concise advocacy..."(The Legal 500, 2016)
"He has a down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach, and knows when to settle and when to fight"(Chambers UK, 2014)
"He is fearsome, as an opponent" ; "He's got bags of charm but a rapier-like intelligence. You've got to watch out because behind the smile..."(Chambers UK)
"...an excellent commercially astute senior junior whose legal input is always spot-on..."(Chambers UK)
"...wins plaudits for his "effective" advice..."(Chambers UK)
"...a tough, capable and level-headed practitioner..."(Chambers UK)
"...his preparation and case analysis are second to none..."(Chambers UK)
"...immensely responsive, easy to work with and highly analytical..."(Chambers UK)
"...knows how to win..."(Chambers UK)
"...effective and eloquent..."(The Legal 500)
John is recommended in the Shipping & Commodities section of Chambers & Partners, which praises him for his deep legal and commercial know-how, impressive advocacy, and his keen client service ethic.
He is also recommended in the Shipping section of the Legal 500.
John has wide experience of all aspects of dry shipping and related insurance cases dealing with cases arising from bills of lading, time and voyage charters and long term COAs.
Recent and continuing cases include, by way of example:
John has a particular specialism in cargo claims, acting for both cargo and carrier interests. He was instructed in the large group actions arising out of the “Napoli” and the “Rena” container ship casualties and has handled claims arising out of a very wide range of goods including: dangerous goods, petroleum products, chemicals, minerals and ores, scrap metals, soft commodities, bananas and other fruit, reefer cargoes and break bulk.
John has recently appeared successfully in the Supreme Court in Volcafe v CSAV, in the Court of Appeal in The “Pacific Voyager” and in the Admiralty Court in The “CMA CGM Libra”.
Following the decision in The “CMA CGM Libra” John is currently instructed, for both owners and cargo interests, in numerous cases involving unseaworthiness allegations arising from passage planning issues.
John is also regularly instructed in yacht and superyacht claims and related insurance disputes. Cases in which John has been instructed include:
John regularly appears in the Admiralty court dealing with all aspects of in rem claims, arrests, orders for sale and related matters, and limitation claims.
He has experience of a number of collision claims, particularly involving yachts, and some salvage experience
John has developed a very strong commodities practice. He has extensive experience of FOSFA and GAFTA arbitrations, including appeals from Board of Appeal Awards to court, in LME arbitrations, and commodities disputes on LCIA and ICC terms. A recent highlight was securing an award of US$45million in a dispute involving Chilean iron ore. John has also been involved in numerous GAFTA cases arising out of the prohibition / quota system in respect of grain exports from Ukraine in 2010.
He has been instructed in numerous force majeure claims arising out of recent natural disasters.
John has also been instructed in numerous fraud cases in the commodities sector, including payment frauds, warehousing frauds, and he appeared in the multi-jurisdictional bribery dispute between Eurochem and Dreymoor.
He is currently instructed in a dispute arising out of a multi-billion dollar contract for long term supply of cereal products.
John also handles high value freight forwarding, road transport, and warehousing claims, and been involved in numerous cases involving CMR, BIFA, RHA and NAWK / UKWA terms.
John has wide experience of shipbuilding and energy disputes.
Current, recent and reported cases include:
John has experience in disputes relating to platforms and onshore/offshore oil and gas facilities, as well as damages to undersea pipelines.
He was recently instructed in a major ICC arbitration involving the transfer of offshore assets in West Africa.
John appears regularly in LMAA, LCIA and ICC arbitrations involving shipping, commodities and general commercial disputes. He also advises in relation to GAFTA, FOSFA and other commodities arbitrations. He has extensive experience of disputes as to arbitral jurisdiction (including the incorporation and scope of arbitration clauses). John also acts regularly in court on s67/s68/s69 challenges to arbitral awards and has also undertaken court cases concerning the enforceability of awards.
John in increasingly receiving appointments as an arbitrator and is currently instructed in a variety of LCIA and ad hoc references.
Recent and ongoing cases include (for shipping disputes, please see the shipping section of this CV):
John has wide experience of marine and non-marine insurance claims, advising and appearing regularly in relation to policy wordings, coverage disputes, claims disputes (including fraudulent claims) and claims concerning brokers.
Reported claims include:
John handles many domestic and international sale of goods cases (both long term contracts and individual sales, distribution agreements, claims arising out of letters of credit, and related banking and financing matters.
John has recently been involved in numerous civil fraud claims, including payment frauds, warehousing frauds and the Eurochem bribery scandal.
Recent and ongoing cases include:
John was originally a tenant at 5 Bell Yard, the then leading aviation set. He is regularly instructed in all aspects of aviation work, including carriers’ liability, fatal accidents, aircraft leases and financing.
John is instructed by the leading tour operators and cruise ship owners/ operators and their insurers, in particular in relation to large scale group litigation and recovery/ indemnity claims against hoteliers. He has particular experience of costs capping and other costs issues arising in such case.
A significant part of John’s practice has involved appearing at inquests and other public enquiries. These have included inquests arising out of light aircraft and balloon crashes, holiday accidents, and a major public enquiry into the secure hospital sector.
John is also instructed in relation to personal injury claims in the maritime sector, with cases including injuries to crewmembers on commercial vessels, crew and passenger claims on cruise ships and charter yachts, and injuries on sailing yachts, small motor boats, jet skis and during other leisure activities.
Recent and reported cases include:
“An excellent advocate whose assessment of cases is invaluable”
Campbell College, Belfast;
St John's College, Oxford (Law)
Middle Temple Scholarship
Numerous papers and lectures on issues relating to carriage of goods, shipping, litigation and arbitration.
Sailing, sport, food, wine