Called: 1982 Silk: 2000
Simon Rainey QC is one of the best-known and most highly regarded practitioners at the Commercial Bar with a high reputation for his intellect, advocacy skills, commercial pragmatism and commitment to client care. He has established a broad commercial advisory and advocacy practice spanning substantial commercial contractual disputes, international trade and commodities, shipping and maritime law in all its aspects, energy and natural resources and insurance and reinsurance. He appears in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal and also the Supreme Court. He has extensive experience of arbitration, regularly appearing before all of the main domestic and international arbitral bodies and trade associations. He particularly relishes complicated legal disputes and also cross-examination, especially in cases involving heavy expert evidence, of both technical disciplines and foreign law. He is well-known as a cheerful and easy to work with team player who rolls his sleeves up in long and complex trials and arbitrations.
He is frequently appointed as arbitrator (LCIA, ICC, LMAA, SIAC, UNCITRAL and ad hoc, sitting both sole and as co-arbitrator) and has given expert evidence of English law to courts in several countries. He also sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court and as a Deputy High Court Judge (Queen’s Bench and Commercial Court).
He has been cited for many years as a Leading Silk in the areas of Shipping, Commodities, Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Energy and Natural Resources, and Insurance and Reinsurance by Chambers & Partners and/or Legal 500. Simon was named (for the third time) one of the Top 10 Maritime Lawyers of 2019 by Lloyd's List. He was also recognised in 2017 by Lloyds List for the second time running. Simon was named International Arbitration Silk of the Year at the the Legal 500 UK Awards 2020, where he was also shortlisted for Shipping Silk of the Year. He was previously shortlisted for both International Arbitration Silk of the Year and Shipping Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 UK awards 2019 and for Shipping Silk of the Year at the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards 2018.
"Simon is considered a legendary figure by the entire shipping world."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He is a proper brainbox! His ability to second-guess what a tribunal will decide is frankly eerie."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He has it all under complete control, and he reads the court, his opponents and the direction of the case perfectly."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"Extremely easy to work with and down to earth. He's very on the ball and knowledgeable."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He remains brilliant. His cross-examination is excruciatingly superb."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He is a true star."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He has a very good ability to make a clear case."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"His cross-examination is second to none. He's extremely clever and lovely to work with."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"He has the ability to take the most complex of cases, drill them down to half a dozen propositions and drive them home."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"A very smooth advocate who is adept in putting forward a persuasive argument."(Chambers UK, 2020)
"Truly a super silk - devastatingly sharp and exceptional on his feet."(Legal 500, 2020)
"Always superb - a brilliant lawyer and cross-examiner who hones in on the key issues with amazing focus."(Legal 500, 2020)
"Oh the top of his game and clients love him - he is as good as his reputation suggests."(Legal 500, 2020)
"Remains brilliant - his cross-examination was excrutiatingly superb."(Legal 500, 2020)
"He is incredibly knowledgeable, very practical and pragmatic; he manages to make the complex seem simple."(Legal 500, 2020)
..."A superstar with very solid and reliable mind for very complicated legal and factual issues"...(Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2019)
"An accomplished advocate whose main strength is that he inspires confidence with clients"(Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2019)
"Brilliant and user-friendly, he is a stunning advocate and a top-level academic able to understand the most complex of expert evidence"(Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2019)
‘Absolutely charming and probably the best cross-examiner I’ve ever seen.’(Legal 500 2019)
‘A senior QC with gravitas and an ability to provide crystal clear advice that gets to the bottom line.’(Legal 500 2019)
‘A class act who’s proved himself to be a stellar performer; he’s fighting at the top of his game.’(Legal 500 2019)
‘One of the best commodities barristers – diligent and responsive, he is an excellent example of the modern QC.’(Legal 500 2019)
‘He is a gift to the Bar – he can always think a few steps ahead and understands both the legal and commercial perspectives.’(Legal 500 2019)
‘A first-choice QC for the very complicated cases.’(Legal 500 2019)
"A fantastically intelligent and tactically astute barrister who is immensely erudite."(Chambers UK 2019)
"A pleasure to work with. Fantastically intelligent and tactically astute." ..."Personable and intellectually brilliant. He has the ability to sift through numerous documents and turn arguments into razor-sharp points that get straight to the core issues."(Chambers UK 2019)
"Simon is just brilliant at conveying the meaning of agreements and making complex things simple and persuasive."... "He's a very fluent advocate and a very good cross-examiner."(Chambers UK 2019)
"a very fluent advocate" who "is fiendishly bright and always has the answer"(Who's Who Legal, 2018)
"has the ability to calm the most troubled of water"..."highly experienced and knowledgeable"(Who's Who Legal, 2018)
"...One of the best shipping silks around. He thinks very quickly on his feet, has fantastic analytical skills and is capable of communicating complex issues with ease. Furthermore, he is lovely to work with...."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"He has strong credentials in the oil trading field, combined with an agile mind, and is not afraid to push the boundaries of the law." "Exceptional for really complex energy cases," his particular skill lies in reducing the complicated to the elegantly simple."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"A delight to work with, he’s authoritative and someone whom the tribunal will listen to." "He has a very good, polished style of advocacy and is very persuasive."(Chambers UK, 2018)
"He provides prompt, very practical advice, and clients love him"(Legal 500, 2017)
"A mixture of brilliance and brevity, his written submissions are like poetry"(Legal 500, 2017)
"An absolute star, who is commercial, bright and always provides clear advice."(Legal 500, 2017)
"Clearly now one of the top commercial silks and a delight to work with."(Legal 500, 2017)
"Very impressive and focused - he thinks fast on his feet. He is fantastic both on the technical law and also as an advocate. He is easy to work with and charming, and remains calm and collected under pressure"; He is stellar. He has the brain the size of a planet"(Chambers UK, 2017)
"An extremely accomplished advocate"; "He has always been first-class. He has a specialism in internatrional trade and dleivers top-quality work"(Chambers UK, 2017)
"Exceptionally bright, he has a really wonderful mind. He is commercial and upfront"; "He is slick friendly and someome who really gets to the heart of any given matter"(Chambers UK, 2017)
"He's quite outstandig as he is meticulous and just never misses an argument. He's always one step ahead of everybody"(Chambers UK, 2017)
"...an outstanding counsel, who is intellectually superb but also commercially aware..."(Legal 500, 2016)
"...very friendly, diligent and responsive..."; "...he is highly approachable, easy to work with and he does things right the first time..."Chambers UK 2016)
"...very concise and insightful. He impresses with his mastery of the brief..."; "...exceptionally gifted, he has the strong confidence of his clients, and is an excellent presenter of complex material...."(Chambers UK 2016)
“...a towering intellect, he ranks among the very top QCs and is at the top of his game...”(Legal 500 2015)
"...a strong player" who "doesn't sit on the fence. He takes a view and justifies it with ease..."(Chambers UK 2015)
"...he is one of those super silk guys who has judges eating out of his hands." "He has the gift of going straight to the problem..."(Chambers UK 2015)
"...very intellectually rigorous, he provides clear and accessible advice. He is also extremely knowledgeable in offshore matters..."(Chambers UK 2015)
“...a first-class brain; he listens to and respects clients’ concerns, and his advocacy is very effective, concise and clear...”(Legal 500, 2014)
“A star, who has great analytical ability and great advocacy skills.”(Legal 500, 2014)
"Simon is very commercial, and a fantastic cross-examiner who writes brilliant skeletons." "His ability to craft arguments is really something everybody could learn from."(Chambers UK, 2014)
"...he is very commercial, a fantastic cross-examiner and has achieved fantastic results." "He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law..."Chambers UK, 2014)
"...a ferociously intelligent, calm advocate who is imbued with great authority." He is "fast approaching super silk level," and such are his abilities that sources believe "he can go into bat confidently against anyone at the Commercial Bar."(Chambers UK, 2013)
"...leading commodities and dry shipping expert, [he] has drawn on his broader commercial experience to develop a notable international arbitration practice. Sources note that he is "hard-working, diligent and rapier-like in cross-examination..."(Chambers UK, 2013)
"...an "excellent advocate," who has developed a thriving energy practice. He regularly acts on major disputes involving complex legal and technical issues..."(Chambers UK, 2013)
"...the "client-friendly" Simon Rainey QC wins the admiration of instructing solicitors as a result of his "ability to synthesise complex areas of law into digestible pieces with absolute clarity and sophistication..."(Chambers UK, 2013)
Simon Rainey QC is "probably the premier QC in London for sugar matters"(Legal 500, 2013)
"Simon Rainey QC is "excellent on his feet, and his written advice is clear and to the point"".(Legal 500, 2013)
"...heralded as "a super silk" due to the strength of his shipping and commodities practice. Peers rave about his "assured way of dealing with the court" and his "incisive ability to distil complex arguments into something more simple..."(Chambers UK, 2012)
"...has established a sterling practice in general commercial litigation alongside his formidable reputation for shipping and commodities work..."(Chambers UK, 2012)
"Simon Rainey QC is a "first rate advocate""(Legal 500, 2012)
"the "eminent" Simon Rainey QC"" who "makes life easy for a solicitor""(Legal 500, 2012)
"...there can be fewer more celebrated shipping silks than Simon Rainey QC. He is famous throughout the market for being "an excellent practitioner who is particularly adept at extremely complicated and technical matters." His qualities make him many a firm's "first choice on most things shipping and trade-related," and he maintains a thriving practice..."(Chambers UK, 2011)
"Thoroughness and intellectual clout"...none .. possess these qualities more so than the "extremely wise and charming" Simon Rainey QC. Rainey's supreme technical intellect has earned him the moniker "Brainy Rainey," and led to his appearance in a number of key matters."(Chambers UK, 2011)
"...top class in all respects: team leadership, knowledge, advocacy and drafting and he is a delight to work with..."(Legal 500, 2011)
"...is "brilliant on his feet, with the amazing ability to assimilate extremely complicated matters and present them in a way that instantly explains the real issues...""(Legal 500, 2010)
"Quadrant Chambers' "absolutely superb" Simon Rainey QC is "to the point, very persuasive, and very effective"(Legal 500 2010)
Simon Rainey appears frequently as advocate in arbitrations under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce; the London Court of International Arbitration and other arbitration tribunals under other rules (such as UNCITRAL) in relation to all manner of trading and financial disputes.
He is also regularly appointed as arbitrator by the ICC, LCIA. SIAC and under UNCITRAL Rules and under wide variety of ad hoc appointments.
Simon was named International Arbitration Silk of the Year 2020 at the Legal 500 Bar Awards.
Simon is a member of the ICC United Kingdom Arbitration & ADR Committee.
A selection of recent and continuing arbitrations and Commercial Court related arbitration applications shows the range and diversity of his work in this field.
His shipbuilding expertise has lead to regular instruction in rig and offshore construction matters, (starting in 2000 on taking silk with the massive "Maersk Vinlander" dispute between Global and Triton) and an example of which is his recently handling for Grupo R of a major dispute with the leading Korean yard Daewoo over the building of Grupo R's sixth generation semisubmersible drilling rig "La Muralla IV".
In the area of shipbuilding, Simon Rainey is constantly in demand, whether for builder or buyer, and has been heavily engaged over the last few years with the consequences of the credit crunch for the heavy book of orders placed in the boom times as well as with quality and guarantee issues, for example, in relation to the VALE BEIJING, in connection with the casualty affecting the first of the new "Valemax" super sized bulk carriers "VALE BEIJING" on her maiden voyage. He also handles superyacht construction cases, recently instructed in relation a dispute concerning the "richest woman in the world's" superyacht.
Some recent or current matters:
Reported cases of shipbuilding arbitration appeals under sect. 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996:
Simon Rainey's extensive commercial litigation practice developed with his expansion into this field from shipping and commodities, where he has long been an acknowledged market leader. He regularly handles substantial and high value commercial disputes arising out of widely differing commercial contracts and contexts, usually with an international aspect and often involving pre-emptive applications such as worldwide freezing orders or anti-suit injunctions and complex issues relating to jurisdiction, conflicts of law and enforcement (: see e.g. Archer Daniels Midland v Tarif Akhras  EWHC 1392 (Comm). Many of his cases concern commercial fraud (see separate section).
He was heavily involved in the long running Antonio Gramsci litigation (in which led a Quadrant Chambers team ) concerning a massive alleged fraud by the management of Latvian state owned companies and, in particular, by a number of leading Latvian politicians. The cases led to a number of hard fought jurisdiction hearings and a consideration of entirely new principles of 'piercing the corporate veil', developed by him and successfully advanced for the first time in this case. The issue of nature and effect of lifting the corporate veil and the 'Gramsci Point' has given rise to a rash of copycat cases and differing views in the Commercial Court and Chancery Division and its relevance from the jurisdictional point of view is currently the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court in VTB v Nutritek.
A selection of some recent matters shows the variety of high-value commercial litigation cases handled by Simon Rainey.
See also International Arbitration for many examples of commercial disputes in this context.
One of the leading silks at the shipping bar, specialising in all aspects of dry shipping and charterparty disputes, with particular emphasis in recent years on complex cases involving all of the main large casualties arising out of dangerous cargo incidents, representing variously owners and charterers, and safe port disputes as well as appeals to the Commercial Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords on the major dry shipping cases raising major points of principle. He is consistently singled out, and has been over many years, in both Legal 500 and Chambers UK as one of the leading practitioners in shipping, being ranked in the elite first division of shipping silks, and noted for his considerable legal abilities as well as his litigation and cross-examination skills.
Current trends in his practice are safe port cases such as the "Ocean Victory"; dangerous cargo cases in which he has long specialised (e.g. involving the IMDG Code and the BC Code and from the "DG Harmony" and the "Contship France" to the "Hanjin Pennsylvania” and The "Aconcagua" (Compania Sud Americana De Vapores SA v Sinochem Tianjin Import & Export Corporation  I Lloyd's Rep. 683; charterparty liabilities arising out of major casualties such as the "MSC Napoli" (where he represented cargo interests) the "Rena" , the “Hoegh Osaka”; the many cases following the Lehman collapse and the credit crunch both in terms of charterparty cancellation and terminations of shipbuilding contracts, especially newbuildings and proposed newbuildings from Chinese yards (see also under Energy, Construction and Shipbuilding); and in numerous cases following of the collapse of OW Bunkers in 2014.
He is a highly regarded adviser and advocate in Hague and Hague-Visby Rules cases and has appeared in all of the leading recent cases on the Rules from the Commercial Court to the House of Lords (these are listed separately below). He is currently a member of the Consultative Committee established by the Department for Transport to consider the impact of the Rotterdam Rules in the United Kingdom.
He is the author of the leading work on towage and offshore service contracts and charterparties, now in its third edition: "The Law of Tug and Tow and Offshore Contracts" (2012, Informa and a frequent writer and speaker on maritime and commodity law subjects.
A selection of some recent and current matters demonstrates the typical breadth of the shipping cases handled by Simon Rainey.
Hague and Hague-Visby Rules cases:
Simon Rainey is regularly instructed in disputes which fall within the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court. His practice concentrates particularly on collisions at sea, problems arising under towage and offshore contracts (on which he is the author of the acknowledged leading text "Tug and Tow and Offshore Contracts" (3rd Edn, 2012, Informa), claims arising out of oil or other pollution incidents (following his involvement in the "Sea Empress" casualty for the IOPF) and investigations into the competence of seafarers and pilotage matters.
He appeared in the only recent leading case on the assessment of collision damages, The "Front Ace" / "Vicky I" in the Court of Appeal. He was asked to speak on the Arrest Convention 1952 at the Belgian Maritime Law Association's seminar "The Arrest Convention - 60 years on" in Antwerp in May 2012 and has made a special study of "what is a ship?" (paper published at  LMCLQ 145) 2013). He is a contributor to "Pollution at Sea: Law and Liability" (ed. Prof Baris Soyer, 2012, Informa).
Examples from Simon Rainey's "wet" shipping practice
Simon Rainey is one of the most highly regarded and leading practitioners in commodity work, and his practice covers all aspects of international trade and commodities / futures, including oil trading, metals and all forms of soft commodities. He has acted for all of the world’s big trade houses including ED&F Man; Tate and Lyle; Glencore; Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill and ICOF both in arbitration before specialist tribunals (FOSFA, GAFTA, RSA; SAL) and in Court on Arbitration Act challenges to awards. He handles a large number of GAFTA and FOSFA arbitrations, and has been involved in many of the section 69 Arbitration Act appeals from (and other challenges to) such GAFTA and FOSFA awards. He successfully represented Bunge SA in the recent landmark section 69 appeal before the Supreme Court, Bunge SA v Nidera BV  UKSC 49on the GAFTA Default Clause and the application of The Golden Victory to damages in sale of goods cases.
He is particularly known for his expertise in sugar trades and sugar futures and he has had considerable experience in biofuel quality disputes. He has handled virtually all of the major sugar arbitrations in the last ten years (:"probably the premier QC in London for sugar matters": Legal 500 2013), including all of the long running ones arising out of the biggest ever physical delivery of sugar from the futures market in May 2007 raising complex issues of law concerning interpretation of Liffe No. 5 Sugar Contract. He is regularly instructed in all manner of disputes ranging from alleged unlawful means conspiracy by one major sugar trade house against another to the problems caused by containerised sugar shipments used for drugs smuggling. He is a regular speaker at commodity events and at Sugar Association and Refined Sugar Association seminars.
A selection of some recent and current matters illustrates the types of case on commodities and international trade work which Simon Rainey typically handles.
Simon Rainey's extensive commercial practice involves a steady diet of high profile and high value commercial fraud cases, typically involving heavy interlocutory stages centred around pre-emptive strike applications such as worldwide freezing injunctions and anti-suit and other injunctive relief.
Of particular note, he has recently been heavily involved in the Antonio Gramsci litigation (in which he Simon leads Robert Thomas QC and Natalie Moore also from Quadrant Chambers) concerning a massive alleged fraud by the management of Latvian state owned companies and, in particular, by a number of leading Latvian politicians. The cases have led to a number of hard fought jurisdiction hearings and a consideration of entirely new principles of "piercing the corporate veil", developed by him and successfully advanced for the first time in this case. The issue of nature and effect of lifting the corporate veil and the "Gramsci Point" has given rise to a rash of copycat cases and differing views in the Commercial Court and Chancery Division and its relevance from the jurisdictional point of view is currently the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court in VTB v Nutritek.
A selection of some recent matters shows the range of commercial fraud cases handled by Simon Rainey.
Antonio Gramsci Shipping Corp v Recoletos Ltdand Lembergs  EWHC 1887 (Comm): Represented the Claimants in the application to Mr Lembergs (one of the Latvian politicians alleged to have been involved as "controlling mind") of the jurisdictional result achieved against another such politician (Mr Stepanovs) reported at  1 Ll Rep 647 (see below). Application of the "Gramsci Point" on piercing the veil and independent argument on Article 23 of the EU Judgments Regulation. The issue of nature and effect of lifting the corporate veil and its relevance from the jurisdictional point of view is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court.
Antonio Gramsci Shipping Corp v Recoletos Ltd and Stepanovs  1 Lloyd's Rep 647: This ground-breaking decision concerned the scope and application of the Brussels Regulation in the context of lifting the corporate veil. Successfully argued for a new extension of Gilford v Horne, Trustor v Smallbone etc principles to make the controlling mind behind a company's fraudulent contract party to the contract and its jurisdiction clause.
Energy Venture Partners v. Malabu Oil & Gas  EWHC 853 (Comm) and  EWHC 2215 (Comm). Representing JP Morgan Chase in dispute worth US1.3 Billion (making it one of the biggest Commercial Court cases of all times in money value terms) arising out of a dispute between parties to an agreement relating to oil prospecting licences in Nigeria. Acted for J P Morgan in this complex and high value litigation The sum of US$1.3 billion was paid into an account with the bank, held to the order of the Federal Government of Nigeria.The case raised major issues of principle in relation to freezing orders and the position of third party banks and the effect of sovereign immunity.. The case was described by Steel J as "extraordinary" and one which the Court approached with "a long spoon".
Georgian Copper v J.S.C. Madneuli (2013): Representing the former Georgian state owned copper producing combine in dispute (one of the biggest copper producers in the world) involving an alleged long term supply contract for copper and copper concentrate products. Raised issues of illegality, fraud and validity of contract in a claim made for US$ 75,000,000 and complicated questions of the interaction of Georgian law, Swiss law and English law and conflicts of law principles and jurisdiction.
Simon has a depth of experience across most of the industry sectors, with particular expertise in complex treaty disputes dating back to the long running SAIL v Farex / Farex v St Paul saga and major marine insurance claims. He has made a particular study of aggregation provisions both as advocate and arbitrator, grappling with difficult problems such as civil disorder in multiple incidents (advising in Mann v Lexington) and similar issues in the operation of war perils (representing insurers in Kuwait Airways v Kuwait Insurance Co). He was part of the team for the assured in the mammoth Glencore v Alpina litigation in 2003-2005 arising out of the theft and conversion of oil at the Metro floating storage with claims in excess of US$300 million. He has advised in many of the recent piracy cases and represented insurers in the recent Venezuelan confiscation case Atlas-Navios Navegacao v Navigators Insurance (The B Atlantic)  EWHC 4133 (Comm).He regularly advises P&I Clubs on coverage and Rules issues.
He is regularly called upon given his knowledge and expertise in insurance law to act as an expert witness on English insurance law in foreign proceedings. He is co-author (with Guy Blackwood QC and David Walsh of Quadrant Chambers) of the forthcoming edition of Chalmers on the Marine Insurance Act and has lectured at BILA on the new changes to insurance law.
Examples of recent cases
Selection of leading reported cases:
"A pleasure to work with. Fantastically intelligent and tactically astute." ..."Personable and intellectually brilliant. He has the ability to sift through numerous documents and turn arguments into razor-sharp points that get straight to the core issues."(Chambers UK 2019)
BA (Cantab.) (1st Class Hons., Law) 1980, MA 1984; Licence en Droit Européen (Bruxelles) (Plus grande distinction) 1982.
Exhibitioner (Corpus Christi College, Cantab). Squire scholarships (Cantab); Lazard scholarship (Corpus Christi College); Wiener-Anspach scholarship (Cantab - Bruxelles); Denning Scholar; Scarman Scholar, Ver Heyden, Buchanan and Lord Morton of Henryton Prizes (Lincoln's Inn).
Recorder (Crown Court), 2000; Recorder (County Court), 2004
Deputy High Court Judge (2008).
Visiting Fellow of Institute of International Trade and Shipping Law, University of Swansea (2010).
Honorary Professor in the College of Business, Economics and Law, University of Swansea (2013)
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (2013)
French (fluent); Italian (passive)
ICC United Kingdom Arbitration & ADR Committee
Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR)
London Maritime Arbitrators' Association (Supporting Member)
London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association (LCLCBA)
London Court of International Arbitration
Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (Panel)
Member Bar Pro Bono Unit
See e.g. Leonard v Byrt  EWCA (Civ) 20.
Skiing, walking, military and naval history, chamber music, print-collecting.