Called: 1982 Silk: 2002
Simon Kverndal QC specialises in all aspects of maritime litigation and arbitration. He is particularly well-known for his experience and expertise in maritime commercial arbitrations (particularly LMAA) and maritime casualty cases. Consistently ranked by the leading legal directories, with Chambers UK noting that "he is top flight in arbitration matters”. While his work typically involves detailed consideration of the many and varied technical issues which arise in the field of maritime transport, he is further praised for "his ability to identify key issues and hurdles and give clear guidance on how to overcome them."
Simon is frequently instructed to advise and appear as counsel in shipbuilding and shipsale disputes and on related refund guarantee issues. He is a leading specialist in marine casualty claims, under charterparties (unsafe port, fire, cargo damage), LOF salvage and collision actions. Recently he has been particularly involved in offshore disputes, particularly the hire or sale or construction of rigs, support vessels and supply vessels. Though shipping is his main area of practice he was heavily involved in 2013/2014 defending a leading Russian businessman facing committal for contempt of court.
Simon is an accredited mediator and member of ADR chambers. In November 2006 he joined the panel of Lloyds (LOF) salvage arbitrators (re-appointed 2009 and 2014); and is also frequently appointed as arbitrator in charterparty and shipbuilding/shiprepair cases.
He has also been instructed and appeared in other jurisdictions as an expert in English law and is often brought in by domestic and international law firms when heavyweight knowledge is required on international issues and for expert opinions; Simon has also been instructed and appeared in other jurisdictions as an expert in English law and much of his work is by way of direct instruction from abroad.
‘Very experienced and knowledgeable.’(Legal 500, 2019)
"Affable, courteous, likeable and approachable."(Chambers UK, 2019)
‘His knowledge of shipping law is excellent – he provides prompt responses on complex issues.’Legal 500, 2019
..."Extremely efficient and very good on his feet. He has a very good manner with clients and his drafting is to a very high standard"...(Chambers UK, 2018)
..."Tactically excellent"...(Legal 500, 2017)
..."A very attractive style of advocacy and pleasant to work with." "Very thorough, thinks outside the box."...(Chambers UK, 2017)
..."He is very technically able in relation to ship construction" … [As arbitrator] "He set the tone of the arbitration very well, striking the right balance between proactivity and permissiveness"...(Chambers UK, 2017)
..."Bright, effective and flexible"...(The Legal 500, 2016)
...“A sensible and practical arbitrator with a high sense of integrity”...(Legal 500, 2016)
..."As well as having in-depth knowledge of the law, he is responsive, reliable and easy to talk to"...(Legal 500, 2015)
..."Particularly well-regarded ... natural ability to extricate good points in complex matters ... regularly instructed for his 'solutions-focused' approach"...(Who's Who Legal UK Bar 2015)
..."He effortlessly fuses remarkable legal proficiency with commercial mindedness and pragmatism" "He is exceptionally able and knows how to present the case best according to the court in which he has to operate"...(Chambers UK, 2015)
...“Really knows his stuff”...(The Legal 500, 2014)
..."Thinks outside the box, but in a logical and calm manner"...(The Legal 500, 2013)
..."a very approachable silk who has good commercial sense"…"excellent on practical matters of seamanship, and so is a great choice for admiralty matters."...(Chambers & Partners, 2013)
...“extremely intelligent, and commercially astute”...(The Legal 500, 2012)
Simon Kverndal is one of the leading advocates in London maritime arbitration and has argued all types of charterparty cases and appeared in many commodities arbitrations. In the eight or so years following the collapse of the shipping markets in 2008 he argued many arbitrations involving early termination of time charters and COAs, giving rise to interesting and various damages issues; in the same period he appeared in a wide variety of shipbuilding disputes. In 2015/2016 the focus shifted offshore and he has been heavily involved advising and appearing in arbitration cases involving the hire, sale or construction of rigs, support vessels and supply vessels (having for many years lectured for BIMCO on the Supplytime charter). Recent examples include:
He continues to be regularly instructed in accident driven dry shipping work, particularly unsafe port cases and fires, as ongoing examples:
Other leading cases include -
As one of the panel of LOF arbitrators, Simon is one of the leaders in the salvage field and as counsel in major salvage cases; he also has a wealth of experience in collision actions in the High Court and has been involved in recent years in a number of Wreck Removal cases. Examples in the last 2-3 years include:
International Arbitration is Simon’s core area of practice as counsel, particularly in LMAA charterparty arbitrations but also LCIA and ICC.
He has been heavily involved recently advising and appearing in arbitration cases on the offshore side involving in particular contract termination, sale or construction of rigs, support vessels and supply vessels (Simon is an expert on Supplytime 2005, having lectured on this charter for many years for BIMCO).
As arbitrator Simon has been on the LOF salvage arbitrator panel since 2006 (c.100 appointments) and he is also regularly appointed as arbitrator in shipping and offshore disputes, often as sole (in particular under Wreckhire, Wreckfix, Wreckstage and private submissions). In February 2020 he is due to sit as party appointed arbitrator in a 4 day SIAC case in Singapore.
Recent illustrative cases as arbitrator include:
Other recent cases (in addition to several LOF awards) include:
• LMAA award in 2018 following 4 day hearing for charterparty claims for delays in cargo loading; party appointed, sitting with two LMAA Full Members
• A week long hearing in June 2015 as sole under Wreckhire leading to awards totalling some US$17m.
Simon has wide experience in shipbuilding disputes, having acted for both yards and buyers; since 2009 he has been particularly active in this field and with related refund guarantee issues.
Illustrative cases include:
Simon Kverndal has a growing following amongst maritime solicitors as a favourite choice to mediate shipping disputes. He brings to his role as mediator a range of skills and qualities which go well beyond those which have made him a successful shipping and commercial QC. He combines an unusual degree of commercial acumen and astuteness with a kind and charming personality and his style, though firm and forthright, is relaxed and friendly.
Simon is a well-regarded and experienced (some 40 appointments) alternative to the usual mediators and has a high success rate.
..."A very attractive style of advocacy and pleasant to work with." "Very thorough, thinks outside the box"...(Chambers UK, 2017)
Haileybury, Sidney Sussex College Cambridge (MA)
Open Scholar, Sidney Sussex College
Astbury Scholar, Middle Temple
Panel Member of Lloyd’s Open Form salvage arbitrators (2006)
Bencher, Middle Temple (2015)
Fifth Warden, Worshipful Company of Shipwrights (2016)
Simon Kverndal is often invited to speak at important conferences, most recently at North Sea Operators Claims Conference 2015, ICMA XIX 2015, BIMCO seminars on the Supplytime 2005 charter (Paris, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Singapore, Ulsteinvik and Aberdeen), at Swansea University IISTL(Maritime Law Colloquium 2006 and September 2014), at Informa's Salvage Conferences in 2010, 2011 and 2012, at Informa’s Offshore Supply Vessels’ Contract Management seminars in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and at the London Shipping Law Centre ("The Ocean Victory and the test of abnormal occurrence", April 2015, "Spent Bills of Lading" June 2014, "WP privilege and pre-termination communications, April 2014).
Contributor to Ship Building, Sale and Finance ed Tettenborn & Soyer (Informa 2015)
Contributor to Liability Regimes in Contemporary Maritime Law ed. Prof D. Rhidian Thomas (Informa, 2007)
Worshipful Company of Shipwrights (Fifth Warden), LSLC (Member of Council and active member of the Events sub-committee), LMAA, BMLA, Maritime London, COMBAR, LCLCBA, LCIA, SCMA.
In 2005 acted for Greenpeace (R v Ayliffe & Ors) and continues to provide Greenpeace with occasional pro bono advice.
Simon Kverndal comes from a family, originally from Norway, which has been involved for many generations in the shipping industry and in particular in maritime claims. He is married with 2 teenage sons.
An enthusiastic sportsman (particularly Real Tennis and Rackets), opera lover and wine taster. Member of the Garrick Club, Queen’s and MCC.