Paul has a broad commercial practice with an emphasis on international trade and commodities, energy, shipbuilding, charterparty disputes, banking, aviation, and insurance related issues.
For several years he has been recommended as a leading practitioner in the leading independent guides to the market. The fields in which Paul holds recommendations are Shipping & Commodities (Chambers UK); Shipping, Commodities and Aviation (Legal 500); and International Trade & Commodities (Who’s Who Legal). Over the years he has been variously described as “a highly regarded junior praised for his advocacy skills”, "personable and commercially minded", "phenomenally hard-working, phenomenally bright and phenomenally nice", “a standout junior”, “[having] brainpower and knowledge way ahead of his experience or years", who is "unstinting in his energy and intellectually rigorous in his approach". Further recommendations from the directories are included in the relevant section below.
Paul appears led and unled, or as part of a team where he leads a more junior barrister. In recent years he has increasingly appeared unled against silks, including in final hearings and appeals. He has acted as counsel in courts at all levels of the English legal system, including a number of landmark cases such as The “Cape Bari”  UKPC 20,  Lloyd’s Rep Plus 69 (the first appellate case since 1897 to directly consider the issue of “contracting out” of an owner’s statutory right to limit his liability by reference to the tonnage of the Vessel); S v A  1 Lloyd’s Rep 604 (the latest word on extensions of time to challenge arbitral awards under s. 80(5) of the Arbitration Act 1996, notable for its confirmation of the continued applicability to post-1996 Act cases of Hobhouse J’s guidance in the Faith  2 Lloyd's Rep. 408 in cases where the statutory time-limit is missed due to delays in collecting/paying for the Award); The “Astipalaia”  EWHC 120 (Admlty) (on assessment of damages in cases involving loss of primary trading markets such as trading for oil majors); Taurus Petroleum Ltd v Oil Marketing Company of Iraq (“SOMO”)  1 Lloyd's Rep. 432 (on third party debt orders and the situs of debts under letters of credit); Vitol SA v Sterling Oil Trading Ltd  EWHC 3108 (Comm) (on the construction of entire agreement clauses in commercial supply contracts); and The “Cenk Kapitanoglu”  1 Lloyd's Rep 501 (The first reported example of a commercial agreement being set aside for “lawful act” economic duress).
Much of Paul's practice is in arbitration where he has significant international expertise. Specific details of individual cases cannot be provided although recent matters include acting for the designers of an oil rig which lost station-keeping in the North Sea at a three week arbitration in which over US$150 million was in dispute; for insurers in a US$1.6 billion patent infringement liability insurance tower dispute; for the operators of a lubricant base oils hydrocracker plant in Bahrain in a heavy arbitration under UNCITRAL rules; and for the operators of a rig in a heavy LCIA arbitration arising under an FPSO conversion contract which has become heavily delayed and over-budget.
‘Excellent advocate.’(Legal 500 2019)
'Bright and commercial, he is very responsive and goes out of his way to help.’(Legal 500 2019)
‘He has a strong intellect.’(Legal 500 2019)
‘His work covers shipping and commodities.’(Legal 500 2019)
"An excellent member of the team. He gets to grips with the technical issues quickly and is level-headed under pressure. His written work is excellent."(Chamber UK, 2019)
..."Enthusiastic and easy to work with." "Very bright and good on his feet in court."...(Chamber UK, 2018)
..."Very clever and a good choice as a junior for admiralty matters"...(Legal 500, 2017)
..."Great at "head on the block" advice, he always gives 100%"...(Legal 500, 2017)
..."His intellect, commercial acumen and attention to detail are impressive"...(Legal 500, 2017)
..."His work product is excellent, he is very hard-working and very user-friendly. I see him as a rising star."...(Chambers UK, 2017)
..."Extremely bright, diligent and reliable."...(Chambers UK, 2017)
...“An experienced junior with capability in a range of Commercial Court and arbitration actions.”...(Chambers UK, 2017)
Recommended – International Trade & Commodities(Who’s Who Legal 2017)
..."Popular with leading solicitors and commodity trading houses for his dependable advocacy"...(Legal 500, 2016)
..."He applies good drafting skills and excellent application"...(Legal 500, 2016)
...“A highly regarded junior praised for his advocacy skills”….."He always makes time, and is personable and commercially minded"….."Phenomenally hard-working, phenomenally bright and phenomenally nice"...(Chambers UK, 2016)
...“A standout junior”..."A reliable advocate, popular with solicitors and commodity trading houses”...(The Legal 500, 2015)
...“An expert in matters relating to the sale of aircraft, lease disputes and cases arising from the maintenance of aircraft”...(Chambers UK, 2015)
..."Has brainpower and knowledge way ahead of his experience or years"……"He's very technically minded and quick to draw out the pertinent commercial issues"...(Chambers UK, 2014)
..."Unstinting in his energy and intellectually rigorous in his approach"...(Chambers UK, 2013)
Paul is recommended for his shipping practice in Chambers UK, the Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal. He has been recommended in the directories for several years. The latest edition of Chambers UK notes in this area that: "His work product is excellent, he is very hard-working and very user-friendly”. He is described as "Extremely bright, diligent and reliable", with one solicitor commenting that “I see him as a rising star". In the latest Legal 500 in this area he is praised for his ‘good drafting skills and excellent application.’ Previous editions of the directories have commented that Paul is “A highly regarded junior praised for his advocacy skills”…..", noting that “He always makes time, and is personable and commercially minded" and is "Phenomenally hard-working, phenomenally bright and phenomenally nice" (Chambers UK, 2016 (Shipping & Commodities)) and “A standout junior” (Legal 500, 2015 (Shipping))
Paul’s practice in this area has a particular emphasis on dry shipping matters arising under Charterparties and bills of lading. His practice spans the full gamut of issues which arise in these fields, including for example unseaworthiness, dangerous cargoes, port safety, off-hire, withdrawal and termination, anti-technicality clauses, bunker disputes, laytime and demurrage, delivery/redelivery obligations, speed and performance disputes, claims under Hague/Hague-Visby Rules, claims under the NYPE Inter-Club Agreement, and much more.
In addition, Paul has considerable experience in "wet" cases (i.e., those involving collisions, salvage, general average, etc.), as well as urgent cases concerning disputed ownership of vessels, delivery-up applications and the like.
He is also frequently instructed in urgent interlocutory applications in shipping matters, such as arrest proceedings; applications to place surveyors onboard vessels ("Vasso orders"); applications for the preservation or sampling of cargo; Mareva (i.e. asset-freezing) injunctions; Angel Bell relief, and applications for mandatory injunctions to specifically enforce receivers' obligations to take delivery of cargo.
Some illustrative shipping and maritime cases include:
Paul has a strong commodities and international trade practice, and is frequently instructed both by the leading solicitors in this area and by well-known commodities trading houses. His practice encompasses all aspects of international trade and commodities, including international sales (CIF, FOB, CFR etc), futures, hedging, and involvement at all levels in arbitrations (and related appeals) under institutional rules such as GAFTA, FOSFA and many more.
Paul is recommended for his commodities practice by the directories, where he is variously described as “Popular with leading solicitors and commodity trading houses for his dependable advocacy” (Legal 500, 2016 (Commodities)), and as “A highly regarded junior praised for his advocacy skills”….. who "always makes time, and is personable and commercially minded"…..and is "Phenomenally hard-working, phenomenally bright and phenomenally nice" (Chambers UK, 2016 (Shipping & Commodities)). In the latest Chambers UK (2017), it is noted that "His work product is excellent, he is very hard-working and very user-friendly”, and he is described as "Extremely bright, diligent and reliable", with one solicitor commenting that “I see him as a rising star". Paul is also recommended for International Trade and Commodities in the 2017 edition of Who’s Who Legal.
Illustrative cases in this area include:
Paul has a busy insurance and reinsurance practice encompassing both marine and non-marine matters. His experience spans the full range of issues which arise in these areas including (for example) CTL/ATL, fraud/fraudulent devices, breach of warranty defences, misrepresentation, non-disclosure, claims co-operation provisions, valued/non-valued claims, follow clauses and much more.
Some Illustrative cases include:-
Paul has developed a high-level of experience in this field, having acted in substantial disputes relating to: the construction, maintenance and repair of rigs/FPSOs, exploration platforms, support vessels, pipelines; the exploration for and extraction of natural resources (including drilling contracts, long-term supply contracts, joint venture agreements and the like); the international sale and carriage of hydrocarbons; the sale and purchase of FPSOs and support vessels (ultra-deep-water drilling vessels, pipe laying vessels.) Disputes under the full range of specialised forms for the chartering and tug/tow of FPSOs and offshore equipment; disputes under related agreements in respect of finance, insurance and reinsurance of the above; and related issues in respect of jurisdiction and applicable law, including where Sovereign Immunity is asserted by overseas suppliers and contractors.
Illustrative cases include:
Much of Paul's practice is in arbitration (in particular, LMAA, LCIA, ICC, and commodities arbitrations) - invariably having an international dimension. In recent years he has had particular experience of truly international arbitrations seated outside London and governed by non-English procedural or substantive law. In this connection he has worked closely with lawyers from numerous jurisdictions including Chile, Israel, France, the US (various states), Singapore, Morocco, Algeria, China and elsewhere.
Paul is also frequently instructed in connection with challenges to domestic arbitration awards under s. 67, 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996, applications for urgent interlocutory relief under s. 44 of the Act, and for costs assessments under s. 63 of the Act. Paul conducts documents-only arbitrations, and also appears led and unled in larger arbitrations which go to final hearings.
Some illustrative cases include:
Paul is frequently instructed in shipbuilding disputes as well as related matters such as refurbishment/repair, ship sale/MOA disputes, ship management disputes and similar. He is familiar with all the standard forms in these areas including the SAJ, AWES and NSF forms. Recent matters have included:
Paul acts on behalf of airlines, airports and providers of services to the aviation industry. His aviation practice has a particular focus on aviation disputes in a commercial context, including cases involving aircraft leases, aircraft and engine maintenance agreements, contracts for the sale of aircraft and related commission agreements, and disputes involving aircraft liens / powers of sale and arrest. Paul has also appeared in numerous trials and other hearings in relation to claims under the Montreal Convention and its predecessors (in particular, cargo claims and baggage disputes).
He has been recommended in the legal directories for his aviation practice for several years, where he has been described as “an expert in matters relating to the sale of aircraft, lease disputes and cases arising from the maintenance of aircraft” (Legal 500 2015 (Aviation)) and as “[having] brainpower and knowledge way ahead of his experience or years" and being “very technically minded and quick to draw out the pertinent commercial issues" (Chambers UK 2015 (Aviation), and "unstinting in his energy and intellectually rigorous in his approach"(Chambers UK 2014 (Aviation)). In the latest edition of the Legal 500, he is described in this field as “Very bright”.
Recent illustrative examples in this field include:
Paul has experience of acting for banks and financial institutions, including for example disputes in relation to ship-finance, aircraft finance, trade finance, cheques, letters of credit, investment advice, account fraud and breach of mandate claims. He has conducted commodities arbitrations at final hearing where the issues included disputes as to trade finance. Some illustrative examples in this field have included:
In addition to the specific practice areas referred to elsewhere, Paul acts in a range of commercial and contractual disputes. Some illustrative examples include:
Paul is an advocate of mediation in appropriate cases. He has acted as mediation advocate in several successful (and one or two unsuccessful) mediations. For example, he recently acted for Buyers at the mediation of a high-value shipbuilding dispute, for a bank at the mediation of £multi-million Chancery Division proceedings, and for industrial machine strippers at a mediation relating to the dismantling and stowage of industrial printing presses.
Paul is also conscious of the benefits of obtaining suitable mediation directions and/or Ungley Orders in appropriate cases. He is often called upon to advise on the extent to which mediation or similar mechanisms should form part of the pre-trial strategy in a given case. He frequently drafts position papers for mediations to be conducted without his attendance.
Paul is regularly instructed in connection with jurisdictional disputes, both under the EC Regulation 44/2001 and at common law, as well as challenges to the jurisdiction of arbitral Tribunals. Several of Paul’s cases in this area have involved allegations of State Immunity. Paul is available to advise clients strategically in cases where a number of potential jurisdictions might be available.
Examples of recent instructions:
"His work product is excellent, he is very hard-working and very user-friendly. I see him as a rising star."(Chambers UK, 2017)
LLM (Cantab.) (1st class)
Harlequins RFC; food; wine; travel - the usual.
Together with Emmet Coldrick, Paul publishes a regular summary of recent arbitration awards for the LMAA's quarterly newsletter.
In addition, Paul has published a number of articles relevant to his practice areas
Paul regularly gives presentations relevant to his practice. Some examples include: