Paul Henton

Called: 2004

Practice Overview

Paul has a broad commercial practice with an emphasis on shipping and commodities, international trade, energy, banking, aviation, and insurance.  Within these fields his work covers the full range of disputes from charterparties to international sales to shipbuilding and FPSO construction/conversion disputes to banking/trade finance to insurance and reinsurance towers to State Immunity disputes to multi-million dollar international arbitrations and much more. 

For several years he has been recommended as a leading practitioner in the leading independent guides to the market.  He holds recommendations in Chambers UK, Chambers Global, Who’s Who Legal, Legal 500 UK, Legal 500 Asia Pacific.  He is recommended in a number of fields comprising Shipping, Commodities, International Trade and Aviation.  The most recent (2019) described him as follows: "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." (Chambers UK/ Global); “"Very responsive, articulate and clear, he thinks commercially rather than in a legal vacuum"(Legal 500 Asia Pacific); “Bright and commercial, he is very responsive and goes out of his way to help” (Legal 500 UK)

Paul appears led and unled, or as part of a team where he leads more junior barristers. He has appeared at all levels of the Court system, including the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council. His first instance Court work is primarily in the Commercial and Admiralty divisions; but he also appears in the Chancery Division, Companies Court and Mercantile Courts.  He also acts in related interlocutory matters such as jurisdictional challenges, freezing orders and anti-suit injunctions and in appeals from/challenges to arbitration awards.  Paul’s practice has a strong international flavour and in recent years his work has taken him to Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Bahrain, Trondheim, Piraeus, Geneva, Jersey, and (ahem) Liverpool

Paul’s largest cases (by value) typically arise in international arbitration. His recent instructions include:

  • ICC arbitration (2018): Paul appeared unled at the final hearing for a commodities giant in an ICC arbitration under a services agreement for exploitation of minerals in Southern Africa;
  • LCIA arbitration (2018): Paul appeared unled at the final hearing of an arbitration relating to oversized/heavylift cargoes of separation equipment and convection boxes for use in oil processing;
  • FPSO dispute (LCIA- ongoing): Acting for the operators of an FPSO in a c. US$250 million ongoing rig refurbishment arbitration under LCIA Rules;
  • Unsafe port dispute (ongoing): Acting (led by Luke Parsons QC) for the owners in a c. US$50 million unsafe port dispute relating to a grounding at an upriver port in South America affected by El Nino / La Nina events. Set down for final hearing in 2020;
  • Joint venture arbitration (Uncitral): Appearing for the operators of a hydrocracker unit in the Middle East in a c. US$300 million joint venture arbitration under UNCITRAL Rules;
  • LNG terminal dispute (ICC- Paris) Acting for the operators of an LNG terminal in a Paris-seated ICC arbitration arising out of the termination of a contract for tug assistance to LNG carriers following acts of terrorism
  • FPSO dispute (3-week arbitration): 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;
  • $1.6 bn insurance tower dispute: Appearing for insurers in a US$1.6 billion patent infringement liability insurance tower dispute (led by Christopher Butcher QC- now Butcher J);
  • Reinsurance arbitration: Acting for primary insurers in reinsurance arbitration relating to alleged bad faith settlement of US$240 million property damage and business interruption claim relating to a tunnel collapse at a hydro-electric power station in Chile;

Paul’s notable and reported Court cases include:

  • First City Monument Bank Plc v Zumax Nigeria Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 294 (CA)- on the imposition of trusts/equitable obligations in the context of international bank transfers involving correspondent banks. Paul appeared on appeal as part of an entirely new legal team (led by Poonam Melwani QC), successfully overturning the judgment entered against the bank prior to his involvement, in a claim pleaded at over US$210 million.
  • Nautical Challenge Ltd (“Alexandra 1”) v Evergreen Marine (UK) Ltd (“Ever Smart”) [2019] EWHC 163 (Admlty) (Baker J)- on the assessment of damages in cases involving alleged inability to finance repairs/profitable trading following a collision.  Led by Nigel Jacobs QC, Paul’s team resisted claims pleaded at c. US$50 million; net judgment ultimately entered for c. US$8 million. Paul presented the arguments on discrete issues regarding debarring of claims/arguments for non-compliance with an unless order.
  • The “Cape Bari” [2017] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 189; [2016] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 469 (PC) - 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.  Paul acted for the successful appellant in the Privy Council (led by Luke Parsons QC ); and was thereafter instructed in the Bahamian liability trial on remission;
  • S v A [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 604 – Paul acted unled for the successful claimant in a commodities arbitration (blast-furnace grade coking coal, and successfully resisted challenges to the Award under s. 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.  The case confirms the principles applicable where the statutory time-limit is missed due to delays in collecting/paying for the Award;
  • The “Astipalaia” [2014] 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”) [2014] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 432 - on State Immunity in cases involving third party debt orders over receivables under letters of credit.  The matter subsequently went to the Supreme Court but not on the points which Paul assisted in defeating at first instance;
  • Vitol SA v Sterling Oil Trading Ltd [2012] EWHC 3108 (Comm) - On the construction of entire agreement clauses in commercial supply contracts;
  • The “Cenk Kapitanoglu” [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep 501 - The first reported example of a commercial agreement being set aside for “lawful act” economic duress.  Paul acted for the successful Charterers in arbitration and on appeal;
  • The "Princess 7" [2011] EWHC 3940 (Comm)- Marine insurance; jurisdiction; conflict of laws;
  •  Invertec v de Mol Holdings [2009] EWHC 2471 - Share sale; fraudulent misrepresentation;
  •  appeal from "Casanna" [2009] EWHC 1074 - Shipbuilding; jurisdiction; State Immunity;
  • Natwest v King [2008] 2 WLR 1279 - Banking; jurisdiction; and
  • "Remmar" [2007] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 302 - Ship sale; misrepresentation.
  • What the directories sayView More

    • "Very responsive, articulate and clear, he thinks commercially rather than in a legal vacuum."

      (Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2019)
    • ‘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)
    • "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)
    • ..."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)
  • Shipping & Maritime K View More

    Paul is recommended for his shipping practice in Chambers UK, Chambers Global, the Legal 500 UK, Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Who’s Who Legal.  He has been recommended in the directories for several years. 

    Paul’s 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:

    • The “Cape Bari” [2017] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 189; [2016] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 469 (PC) - Acted (with Luke Parsons QC) for owners, as part of a team of English and Bahamian lawyers, in proceedings arising out of damage to an oil refining terminal, in which c. US$26.8 million was claimed. Paul was instructed in the liability proceedings in the Bahamas, as well as in related limitation proceedings which reached the Privy Council on a second appeal.  This was 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.  The decision will now become the leading authority on contracting out of tonnage limitation regimes, and is also of wider importance for the guidance it offers on the question of contracting out of legal and statutory entitlements more generally
    • Nautical Challenge Ltd (“Alexandra 1”) v Evergreen Marine (UK) Ltd (“Ever Smart”) [2019] EWHC 163 (Admlty) (Baker J)- quantum proceedings arising out of a collision with the tanker “Alexandra 1” in the narrow channel off Jebel Ali.  The issues included the recoverability of heads of loss allegedly exacerbated by inability to finance repairs/profitable trading following a collision.  Led by Nigel Jacobs QC, Paul’s team resisted claims pleaded at c. US$50 million; net judgment ultimately entered for c. US$8 million. Paul presented the arguments to the Court on discrete issues regarding debarring of claims/arguments for non-compliance with an unless order.
    • Safe port arbitration (ongoing)  – Acting (with Luke Parsons Q.C.) for Owners in a c. US$50 million unsafe port dispute relating to a grounding at an upriver port in South America affected by El Nino / La Nina events.  Issues include whether up to date bathymetric data was made available, whether incident avoidable with good navigation and seamanship, and whether adequate security provided as a matter of Colombian law. Set down for final hearing in 2020
    • “MSC Flaminia” – Acting for time charterers/disponent owners in English High Court proceedings arising out of a catastrophic fire and explosion during a laden voyage, causing one death and property damage to the Vessel and containerised cargo.  Proceedings worldwide arising out of the incident valued at c. US$250 million.
    • Dangerous cargo arbitration- Acting for owners in arbitration proceedings arising out of an explosion onboard emanating from containers of dangerous calcium hypochlorite which were misdeclared as harmless and stowed under-deck.
    • LMAA arbitration (ongoing)- Solely instructed for owners in a dispute over the loss of a substantial parcel of urea/ammonium nitrate fertiliser, during loading operations in Estonia.  Issues include whether loss occurred during tank to tank transfer at the terminal, or by discharge through an open line in to the sea following tank washing.  Set down for final hearing in late 2019
    • Commercial Court proceedings (ongoing): Acting for cargo interests in c. US$5m dispute in respect of non-performed carriage of livestock due to be shipped from Australia to Israel, in which the cargo was ultimately diverted for urgent sale in Vietnam, and the Vessel repaired at Singapore. Set down for trial in December 2019
    • Concurrent arbitrations- Acting (solely) for head owners of the Vessel in multi-party arbitration concerning cargo of soya beans which was contaminated with field fungus and refused entry into the Egyptian discharge ports to which it was destined.
    • LMAA arbitration (ongoing)- Acting (solely) for owners of the Vessel in Charterparty reference arising out of sulphur damage to tanks following carriage of yellow sulphur.  Water ingress detected following redelivery, necessitating abandonment of voyage and urgent deviation for repairs. 
    • Limitation test case (2016-7) –  Acted in admiralty proceedings involving a superyacht, a megayacht, a gigayacht, and an open decked rigid inflatable tender.  The facts were that the tender was returning to the Claimant yacht, when control was lost, throwing both her crew into the sea, before colliding with two further yachts. The key issues include whether the tonnage for limitation purposes should be that of the tender or of the much larger yacht which she was serving. 
    • The "Astipalaia" [2014] EWHC 120 (Admlty) – Acted (with Andrew Baker QC, now Mr Justice Baker) for successful claimants in Commercial Court proceedings relating to the correct approach to quantification of damages for loss of profit following an inability to trade on primary spot markets due to loss of oil major approval. Judgment achieved for appx. US$4.5 million.
    • The “FRONT VANGUARD” and the “ANNA PC”: acted (with Simon Rainey QC) for tanker owners Front Ace in a complex collision / putting by arbitration concerning errors in navigation in a Suez Canal convoy, leading to a major casualty and oil pollution. The case involved involving seven categories of expert evidence, and claims totalling c. US$30 million, and led to an interim award on an important question of the recovery of pure economic loss and the so-called “Greystoke Castle” exception in shipping cases. Paul has since been instructed in a further arbitration involving similar facts, where a vessel ran aground in the Suez creating a situation of danger for the following vessel.
    • The “Zagora” – Acted (with Poonam Melwani Q.C.) for intermediate party in Commercial Court proceedings under a series of back-to-back LOIs, involving cargo discharged and delivered in China to a non-paying receiver.
    • The "Clipper Monarch" (May 2013) (Popplewell J) - Paul acted (with Luke Parsons QC) for intermediate charterers/ lienholders obtaining order for sale of distressed cargo onboard vessel drifting outside Chinese waters.
    • The “Cenk Kapitanoglu” [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep 501 – Acting for the successful Charterers both in the arbitration on appeal to the Commercial Court, setting aside a variation of the Charterparty for economic duress when the Owners refused to deliver the nominated performing vessel into the fixture.
    • Arrest proceedings - Appeared at a series of hearings before Teare J which considered the standing of a number of in rem claimants, their claims for judgment, relative priorities, and applications for payment out of court. Also acted in related Companies Court proceedings in the liquidation of the Vessel Owning entity.
    • "REMMAR" [2007] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 302 – A dispute relating to misrepresentations in connection with the sale of an ice-classed tug.  Award successfully remitted for serious irregularity under s68 Arbitration Act 1996.
  • International Trade & Commodities K View More

    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, RSA and many more.

    Paul is recommended for his international trade and commodities practice by the directories, including Chambers UK, Chambers Global, Legal 500, Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Who’s Who Legal.

    Illustrative cases in this area include:

    • ICC arbitration (November 2018)- Acted (solely) in a one-week arbitration between one of the largest mining companies in the world, and the providers of operational support services to a coal handling and processing plant in Mozambique. 
    • S v A [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 604 – Represented successful buyers in US$1.6 million commodities arbitration relating to supply of blast-furnace grade coking coal; and successfully resisted the Sellers’ applications to the Commercial Court to challenge / appeal the Award under s. 68 and 69, and for an extension of time to bring such applications under s. 80(5), of the Arbitration Act 1996.  The Judgment confirms the continued applicability to post-1996 Act cases of Hobhouse J’s guidance in the Faith (1993) in cases where the statutory time-limit is missed due to delays in collecting/paying for the Award.
    • Hong Kong arbitrations- Acted for FOB buyers/ DES sellers under swap contracts relating to term-sales of LPG and propane cargoes. Advising in relation to issues including (i) validity of termination of sub-contracts and (ii) economic tort claims against the FOB sellers/DES buyers, their directors and corporate affiliates in Hong Kong.
    • GAFTA arbitration (2016) - Acting for buyers in connection with ongoing GAFTA proceedings relating to FOB sale of wheat on Gafta 38 and Gafta 125 clauses, where the issues include the proper construction of Gafta “rye clauses” and the applicability of Gafta sampling procedure
    • Vitol SA v Sterling Oil Trading Ltd & others [2012] EWHC 3108 (Comm) – Acted (with Simon Rainey QC) for the sellers in proceedings under a long-term oil supply contract and related financing agreements. The decision of Cooke J concerned the interpretation of the entire agreement provisions in the oil supply contract. Paul's clients successfully resisted summary judgment in respect of Vitol's main claim valued at appx. US$16 million. The case then settled.
    • FOSFA Appeal/s. 68 proceedings - Paul acted (with Simon Rainey QC) for buyers in connection with an appeal to the Commercial Court from a FOSFA Board of Appeal Award made following a first remission by the High Court (reported at [2013] 2 C.L.C. 920).  The disputes in the second set of proceedings concerned the construction of price allowance provisions occurring in a number of standard CIF forms (including forms published by FOSFA and GAFTA), and questions of how the assessment of damages is affected by the precautionary principle following a break in the supply chain.  Most recently, Paul has been consulted in connection with related cargo insurance recovery proceedings.
    • GAFTA arbitrations– Acted (with Simon Rainey QC) for the successful sellers in respect of a series of claims for non-acceptance of grain cargoes.  The disputes were determined by aa GAFTA Tribunal which issued a series of Awards in favour of Paul’s clients totalling around US$20 million.  Separately, Paul acted in connection with related Commercial Court applications including a worldwide freezing injunction and a successful application to commit the Buyer to prison for contempt of Court.
    • Hedging dispute – Acted for sellers in three concurrent Sugar Association of London (SAL) arbitrations relating to hedging and price-fixing provisions under contracts for the sale and purchase of Brazilian raw cane sugar, under which price to be fixed on the issuing of Sellers’ Executable Orders (“SEOs”).  Around US$11 million claimed by the buyers in respect of market differentials as against the prices fixed on issuing the SEOs
    • Commodities arbitration - Instructed on behalf of the owners of a cargo of yellow soybeans under a CIF sale contract, in which the issues include whether the buyers were obliged to pay to take up the documents in circumstances where the condition of the cargo was known and/or the carriage contract likely to be frustrated.
  • Insurance & Reinsurance K View More

    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:-

    • US$1.6bn liability insurance tower arbitration: Acted (with Christopher Butcher QC, now Butcher J) for insurers in a heavy arbitration under a very large (US$1.6 billion) pharmaceutical patent infringement liability insurance tower.  After a two-day hearing of a preliminary issue as to the applicable law of two policies within the tower, the case settled shortly prior to the final hearing.
    • Reinsurance arbitration: Acted (with Christopher Butcher QC of 7 King’s Bench Walk) for insurers/reinsured in relation to alleged bad faith settlement of US$240 million property damage and business interruption claim relating to a tunnel collapse at a hydro-electric power station in Chile.
    • Marine Insurance dispute (Commercial Court) –Instructed solely for the assured in a c. US$1 million primary insurance claim under a hull and machinery policy arising out of an engine breakdown at sea, in which the defences included breach of maintenance/ISM warranties and fraud/fraudulent devices in connection with the claims presentation.
    • Aviation Insurance dispute (Commercial Court)- Aviation insurance/ re-insurance dispute concerning alleged total loss of Boeing 737 aircraft whose pilot was under the influence of alcohol and allegedly incompetent.  C. US$5.5 million claimed. 
    • Piracy/CTL claim – Acted (with Christopher Butcher QC of 7 King’s Bench Walk) for insurers in connection with c. US$70 million constructive total loss dispute proceeding in the Commercial Court. The case concerned the taking of a Vessel by Somali pirates, and raised issues as to the correct construction of deemed deprivation clauses in war risks policies.
    • Fraudulent devices trial - Successfully defended an insurance claim at a full trial in which Paul was solely instructed by a Lloyd's Syndicate, on the basis that the claim was fraudulent.
    • “PRINCESS 7” [2011] EWHC 3940 - Marine insurance dispute raising issues of   construction of claims settlement clause and jurisdictional provisions.
  • Energy & Natural Resources K View More

    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:

    • FPSO arbitration (LCIA- ongoing)– Acting (with Luke Parsons QC) for the operators under a contract for the conversion of an FPSO at a Dutch yard for use on an oilfield off Brazil – who allege that the conversion project is heavily delayed and over-budget, resulting in disputes valued at c. US$250 million. 
    • LCIA arbitration (2018): Paul appeared unled at the final hearing of an arbitration relating to oversized/heavylift cargoes of separation equipment and convection boxes for use in oil processing;
    • ICC arbitration (2018): Paul appeared unled at the final hearing of an ICC arbitration under a services agreement for exploitation of minerals in Southern Africa;
    • Base oil terminal JV arbitration (Uncitral) – Acted (with Lionel Persey QC) for the claimants in a US$ multi-million arbitration arising out of a joint venture between Finnish and Bahraini interests for the production and marketing of lubricant base oils at a hydrocracker plant in Bahrain.
    • LNG Terminal arbitration (ICC Paris): Acted (with Simon Rainey QC) for the operators of an LNG terminal seeking damages for repudiatory breach of long term  contract for the supply of offshore assistance services to LNG carriers at the terminal, worth c. US$50 million. The dispute concerned the allocation of responsibility for terrorist and insurgent activities at the LNG terminal. The case settled shortly before the start of a two-week trial listed for January 2016.
    • FPSO arbitration: Paul acted (with Luke Parsons QC) for the operators of a rig/FPSO stationed in the UK Continental Shelf, in a complex arbitration arising out of the failing of the fixed catenary mooring system of the rig and consequent loss of station-keeping.  The Claimants were the license holders for the relevant oil fields.  The dispute related to the allocation of responsibility for the costs of upgrades to the FPSO and mooring system required to resume production. The case went to a three week arbitration in which over US$150 million was in dispute.
    • Well drilling arbitration – Acted (with Simon Rainey QC) in a US$30 million energy dispute arising under a contract for the drilling and testing of deviated wells from an off-shore platform off the Ivory Coast.
    • Rig refurbishment arbitrations - Paul acted (with Simon Rainey QC) for the operators of a rig/FPSO in a complex c. US$30 million arbitration under a contract for the repair and refurbishment of the rig at a vanilla quay, where the refurbishment contract was terminated early for contractor default.  Subsequently Paul has been instructed in connection with a dispute over milestone payments allegedly falling due under a similar rig refurbishment agreement.
    • LNG boil off warranty dispute - Acting solely for owners of newbuild LNG tanker in series of disputes concerning LNG boil off warranties following pressurisation at an LNG terminal.
  • International Arbitration K View More

    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:

    • ICC arbitration (2018): Paul appeared unled at the final hearing for a commodities giant in an ICC arbitration under a services agreement for exploitation of minerals in Southern Africa;
    • LCIA arbitration (2018): Paul appeared unled at the final hearing of an arbitration relating to oversized/heavylift cargoes of separation equipment and convection boxes for use in oil processing;
    • FPSO dispute (LCIA- ongoing): Acting for the operators of an FPSO in a c. US$250 million ongoing rig refurbishment arbitration under LCIA Rules. The disputes came to a head when the contractors unlawfully brought proceedings in Rotterdam, in breach of the London arbitration clause, which were subsequently abandoned, with the yard being ordered to pay substantial damages to Paul’s clients.
    • Unsafe port dispute (ongoing): Acting (led by Luke Parsons QC) for the owners in a c. US$50 million unsafe port dispute relating to a grounding at an upriver port in South America affected by El Nino / La Nina events. Set down for final hearing in 2020;
    • Joint venture arbitration (Uncitral): Appearing for the operators of a hydrocracker unit in the Middle East in a c. US$300 million joint venture arbitration under UNCITRAL Rules;
    • LNG terminal dispute (ICC- Paris, English law) Acting for the operators of an LNG terminal in a Paris-seated ICC arbitration seated in Paris but subject to English law.  The case involved close liaison with French practitioners in relation to French procedural provisions and interim remedies.
    • FPSO dispute (3-week arbitration): 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;
    • $1.6 bn insurance tower dispute (London seat, Israeli law): Appearing for insurers in a US$1.6 billion patent infringement liability insurance tower dispute (led by Christopher Butcher QC- now Butcher J). After a two-day hearing of a preliminary issue as to the applicable law of two policies within the tower, the case settled shortly prior to the 2-week final hearing listed for June 2015. The case involved close liaison with Israeli lawyers and US patent attorneys.
    • Reinsurance arbitration (London seat, English and Chilean law): Acting for insurer/reinsured in ad hoc arbitration seated in London, relating to alleged bad faith settlement of US$240 million property damage and business interruption claim relating to a tunnel collapse at a hydro-electric power station in Chile.  The primary claims were adjusted and settled according to Chilean law, which was accordingly incorporated into any aspects of the reinsurance claim which needed to be proven from the ground up.
    • Joint venture arbitration: Acted for Algerian state interests in a series of disputes arising out of an abortive joint venture with Jordanian investors.  Disputes in London and ICC (Paris) under various contracts connected to the joint venture including charterparties, a partnership agreement and a share sale agreement.  Numerous Awards totalling c. US$20 million obtained in favour of Paul's clients.  Enforcement proceedings also underway in Greece and Malaysia (amongst others). 
    • S. 68/69 applications - Paul has acted in numerous challenges to London-seated arbitrations before the Commercial Court.  Reported examples of unled instructions in this field include OAO Northern Shipping Co v Remolcadores de Marin SL [2007] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 302 (s. 68); the “Cenk Kapitanoglu” [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep 501 (s. 69), and S v A & B [2016] EWHC 846 (Comm) (s. 80(5), 68 and 69).
  • Shipbuilding K View More

    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:

    • Sister ship arbitrations - Acted (solely) for the buyers of 3 vessels, successfully resisting applications for anti-suit injunctions, and obtaining orders for security in the region of US$37 million per Vessel.
    • Luxury yacht arbitration – Acting for buyer of luxury “superyacht" sold for appx. €17 million.  The disputes included allocation of responsibility for delay and the application of the “prevention principle” to shipbuilding disputes.
    • SAJ Form arbitration - Solely instructed for a shipyard in an arbitration in which Buyers claim appx. US$13 million for repudiatory breach of a shipbuilding contract on an amended SAJ form.
    • Consolidated ICC arbitrations – Acting  (with James Turner QC) for a Chinese yard in four consolidated ICC arbitrations relating to disputed terminations in relation to a series of contracts for the construction of split hopper barges.  C. US$50 million in dispute.
    • Instructed on the appeal from the decision in “CASANNA” [2009] EWHC 1074 (Comm), a shipbuilding dispute in which jurisdiction was resisted on grounds of State immunity
    • Ship Management arbitration – Acting for owners in a heavy arbitration under a ship management agreement in which c. US$10 million is claimed in respect of (inter alia) loss of oil major approval, earning potential and diminution in resale value of a tanker.
  • Aviation & Travel K View More

    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.

    Recent illustrative examples in this field include:

    • Aviation Insurance dispute (Commercial Court)- Aviation insurance/ re-insurance dispute concerning alleged total loss of Boeing 737 aircraft whose pilot was under the influence of alcohol and allegedly incompetent.  C. US$5.5 million claimed. 
    • Atlantic Airlines Ltd v MPI Aviation Ltd (Commercial Court) – Commercial Court proceedings in which Paul acted (with Robert Lawson QC) for owners of aircraft which suffered an implosion as a result of intervention by fuel tank leak repair specialists. Claim for US$ several million. Now settled.
    • Turkish Airlines Technic v White Airways (Commercial Court) – Acting for a provider of aircraft maintenance services in Commercial Court proceedings relating to agreements for the supply of technical services and the loan of Auxiliary Power Units (“APU”s) during servicing.
    • EGI Holdings v Aviance UK  Ltd (Commercial Court) – Acted for groundhandlers in US$8 million Commercial Court proceedings arising out of a collision between aircraft under tow; a case which involved close liaison with experts relating to aircraft valuation and charter rates (and others).
    • Marsden v Crumplin (Commercial Court) – Instructed (solely) in Commercial Court proceedings arising out of a collision between a 1967 Westland Wasp helicopter and a 2008 Stolp Starduster bi-plane
    • Aircraft total loss dispute (PRC proceedings) – Instructed by the operators of an aircraft to provide expert evidence to Chinese Courts in connection with a total loss claim concerning pitting corrosion damage arising out of defective paint-stripping and repainting of fuselage, and/or ineffective application of filiform corrosion resistant wash primer.
    • Lien / right of sale - Paul acted for a small private airport asserting a lien and right of sale over an aircraft.
    • Injunction proceedings - Successfully overturned an injunction and indemnity costs order obtained against an airline.
  • Banking & Financial Services K View More

    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:

    • First City Monument Bank Plc v Zumax Nigeria Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 294 (CA)- Leading case on the imposition of trusts/equitable obligations in the context of international bank transfers involving correspondent banks. Paul appeared on appeal as part of an entirely new legal team (led by Poonam Melwani QC), successfully overturning the judgment entered against the bank prior to his involvement, in a claim pleaded at over US$210 million. 
    • DNB Bank ASA v Braverus Maritime Inc (Commercial Court) – Paul acted for the lender in a ship finance dispute, obtaining judgment in favour of his clients in the sum of US$14.5 million.
    • Re NITC (Commercial Court) - Paul acted in a US$565 million banking / ship-finance dispute, on behalf of the owners of a fleet of newbuild tankers seeking injunctive relief to prevent foreclosure under finance agreements affected by changes to international sanctions regimes.
    • Taurus Petroleum Ltd v Oil Marketing Company of Iraq (SOMO) [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 432 Acting for judgment creditors seeking enforcement of a c. US$9m judgment by attaching debts under letters of credit.  The issues included the situs of debts under letters of credit.
    • Property development dispute (Ch.D) - Dispute between bank and a corporate borrower / property developer; £6m in dispute. Paul acted (solely) for the lender.
    • Letter of credit dispute (Ch.D) - Paul acted for the successful lender at a 1-day summary judgment hearing in a claim involving the establishment of a letter of credit as finance for the sale of bagged rice.
    • Appeal in relation to factoring agreement - Paul acted for the successful assignee of invoices under a factoring arrangement on appeal.
    • National Westminster Bank Plc v King [2008] 2 WLR 1279 – Paul acted for the successful bank in a dispute over allocation of jurisdiction in proprietary proceedings.
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution K View More

    In addition to the specific practice areas referred to elsewhere, Paul acts in a range of commercial and contractual disputes. Some illustrative examples include:

    • First City Monument Bank Plc v Zumax Nigeria Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 294 (CA)- Leading case on the imposition of trusts/equitable obligations in the context of international bank transfers involving correspondent banks. Paul appeared on appeal as part of an entirely new legal team (led by Poonam Melwani QC), successfully overturning the judgment entered against the bank prior to his involvement, in a claim pleaded at over US$210 million. 
    • Progress Bulk Carriers Ltd v Tube City IMS LLC [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep 501- Commercial Court proceedings in which the Court upheld finding that a settlement agreement was voidable for economic duress, by virtue of a combination of an actual unaccepted repudiatory breach together with threats to commit further unconscionable (but lawful) acts. Paul acted for the successful respondent.
    • Invertec Ltd v de Mol Holdings BV [2009] EWHC 2471 (Ch - Arnold J) - Paul acted (with Stephen Cogley Q.C.) for the sellers in a US$4.5 million share sale dispute involving  allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation.
    • Mining joint venture dispute – Acting for a mineral exporter in dispute with its partner in relation to a joint venture for the exploitation of Sierra Leonean mining licenses.
    • WFO/Contempt proceedings (Commercial Court) – Acted (with Simon Rainey QC) for the successful applicant obtaining worldwide freezing order in support of a US$20 million commodities arbitration, and subsequently made a successful application to commit the Buyer to prison for contempt of Court.
    • Representing a company whose business included the sourcing and supply of medical professionals to hospital authorities, at several hearings during the course of interpleader proceedings which it commenced between a self-employed surgeon and a provider of medical payment services.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution K View More

    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.

  • Jurisdictional Disputes and Conflicts of Laws K View More

    Paul is regularly instructed in connection with jurisdictional disputes, 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:

    • Heiser v Iran- Challenge to enforcement of judgments on grounds of State Immunity. Preliminary issues listed for June 2019
    • Confidential arbitration jurisdictional challenges  - Acting for buyers seeking to challenge the jurisdiction of a London Tribunal against a well-known fuel supplier, where the relevant contractual documents purport to incorporate by reference the arbitration provisions from two different standard form contracts.  In a separate ongoing reference, Paul is instructed to resist a challenge to the Tribunal’s jurisdiction inter alia on grounds that an agreement by exchange of written submissions asserting the existence of an arbitration agreement not denied by the counter-party, within the meaning of s. 5(5) of the 1996 Act.
    • Taurus Petroleum Ltd v Oil Marketing Company of Iraq ("SOMO")[[2014] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 432 - Acted for buyers in multi-day jurisdictional challenge in Commercial Court proceedings arising out of an oil supply contract; Sellers resisting enforcement of a c. US$9 million judgment on grounds of State Immunity.
    • Wilhelm Finance Inc v Ente Administrador Del Astillero Rio – Paul acted for the respondent buyers in connection with an appeal to the Court of Appeal from a decision in their favour in proceedings where the yard resisted jurisdiction on grounds of State Immunity.  The first instance decision is reported at [2009] EWHC 1074 (Comm).
    • Aizkir Navigation Inc. v Al Wathba National Insurance Co. [2011] EWHC 3940 (Comm) - Marine insurance; jurisdictional dispute; conflict of laws; construction of claims settlement clause and jurisdictional provisions. Paul acted (solely) for the owners in relation to a jurisdictional challenge in a US$2 million marine insurance dispute.
    • High Court jurisdictional challenge - Paul acted (solely) for the successful applicant in an international trade / commodities dispute proceeding in the High Court and said to be worth c. £1 million.

"His work product is excellent, he is very hard-working and very user-friendly. I see him as a rising star."

(Chambers UK, 2017)

Academic


LLB (Lond.)
LLM (Cantab.) (1st class)
BVC (outstanding)

Memberships


COMBAR, LMAA, Supporting Member, LSLC, LCLCBA

Interests


Harlequins RFC; food; wine; travel; spending time with the family.

Publications


For several years Paul co-published (with Emmet Coldrick) a regular summary of recent arbitration awards for the LMAA's quarterly newsletter.  Paul has also published a number of articles relevant to his practice areas. 

Presentations


Paul regularly gives presentations relevant to his practice. Some examples include:

  • "Leave means leave" - Exiting contractual obligations post-Phones4U Ltd v EE Ltd 
  • An Introduction to Litigating in England & Wales 
  • Warranty claims- remedy v rectification and (non)recoverability of damages post-Star Polaris 
  • “I know my rights”- Contracting out of Statutory Limitation Regimes 
  • Cargo Description Conundrums 
  • Frustration and force majeure 
  • CIF and C&F hybrid contracts 
  • Introduction to tanker chartering 
  • Drafting arbitration submissions 
  • Introduction to marine cargo insurance 
  • Asset freezing and disclosure orders 
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