Andrew Guy Blackwood QC
Andrew Guy Blackwood KC
Called: 1997
Silk: 2014
"Guy is a standout KC - he turns around advice impressively quickly, will always see the key issues, and is very client friendly, both in his manner and the work product he delivers." 
(Legal 500, 2024)
'Guy is a top trial advocate. His overall legal advice, written work and presentation skills are exceptional.'
(Chambers UK, 2023)
‘A very intelligent and creative barrister who is an excellent advocate.’
(Legal 500, 2023)
“A particularly delightful counsel to work with as he’s modest, intellectual and someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of the law.”
(Chambers UK, 2022)
"Guy has a top class legal brain combined with an unbelievable ability to assimilate the facts of a case. He is a master cross-examiner and has a huge work ethic."
(Legal 500, 2022)

Guy has a comprehensive commercial practice, which includes insurance & reinsurance, large contractual disputes, international and investment treaty arbitration, banking & finance, civil fraud, energy & utilities, commodities and shipping, shipbuilding and offshore construction. 

Guy particularly enjoys oral advocacy, in which Guy has a track record in the Commercial and Appellate Courts. The breadth of Guy's practice is demonstrated by his instructions in: 

  • Aercap v. AIG (multi-billion dollar claims for alleged detainment of hundreds of aircraft in the Russian Federation);
  • Taurus v SOMO [2018] AC 690 (Supreme Court, enforcement, sovereign immunity, Guy represented the successful arbitral creditor);
  • The B Atlantic [2019] AC 136 (Supreme Court, war risks insurance, Guy represented the successful insurers); 
  • Herculito Maritime v. Gunvor [2023] (Supreme Court, October and November 2023, judgment awaited. Piracy, code of insurance, incorporation, Guy represented the successful underwriters in the Court of Appeal);
  • Piraeus Bank v. Antares [2022] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 1 (Commercial Court, MII insurance, Guy represented the successful MII insurers).

Guy was previously named one of The Lawyer’s Hot 100, a reflection of a “fantastic” year which Guy had in 2015, involving major victories in Court and in arbitration.

Guy is listed as a leading silk in the leading directories in commercial litigation, insurance and reinsurance, commodities and international arbitration. 
 

What the directories say
  • "A superb KC. He is very sharp and among the premier performers in shipping and trading matters." (Legal 500, 2024)
  • "Guy is an excellent barrister who is user-friendly and has a solid commercial approach." (Legal 500, 2024)
  • "Guy is a standout KC - he turns around advice impressively quickly, will always see the key issues, and is very client friendly, both in his manner and the work product he delivers." (Legal 500, 2024)
  • "Guy is one of the leading silks in the market on the subject of marine insurance and, when the KC level is needed, he is a first choice. He is very user-friendly, and turns around prompt and commercial advice." (Legal 500, 2024)
  • "He is particularly effective in cross-examination - he has a good tone both from the perspective of the witness and the tribunal, and he is smart at pitching things in the right way." (Chambers UK, 2024)
  • "Guy is prepared to think hard about cases and produce a shorter, more precise product. He deals with matters in a calm and measure while also being able to demystify arcane bits of law." (Chambers UK, 2024)
  • "He is a very approachable, affable silk who has encyclopaedic knowledge of insurance law, and is an expert on cross border issues relating to the sector." (Chambers UK, 2024)
  • "Andrew is a good tactical thinker, who brings a very commercial approach to his cases." (Chambers UK, 2023)
  • "Guy is a top trial advocate. His overall legal advice, written work and presentation skills are exceptional." (Chambers UK, 2023)
  • "He is particularly effective in cross-examination - he has a good tone both from perspective of the witness and the tribunal, and he is smart at pitching things in the right way." (Chambers UK, 2023)
  • "He is very strong on insurance matters." (Chambers UK, 2023)
  • "Guy examines cases from every angle and provides a first-class service. His advocacy is razor-sharp and impressive." (Chambers UK, 2023)
  • "He is extremely bright with excellent advocacy skills on complex matters of insurance." (Chambers UK, 2023)
  • "He is a skilful and top class advocate. He knows the facts back to front." (Legal 500, 2023)
  • "A very intelligent and creative barrister who is an excellent advocate." (Legal 500, 2023)
  • "Very good on the law, commercial and very good with clients." (Legal 500, 2023)
  • “A particularly delightful counsel to work with as he’s modest, intellectual and someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of the law.” (Chambers UK, 2022)
  • “He is down to earth and good on tactics and strategy. He has a great brain and is an eloquent practitioner. He is very commercial.” (Chambers UK, 2022)
  • "Guy has a top class legal brain combined with an unbelievable ability to assimilate the facts of a case. He is a master cross-examiner and has a huge work ethic." (Legal 500, 2022)
  • "He quickly gets to the heart of the issues and provides good strategic advice." (Legal 500, 2022)
  • "He identifies how to win a case and how to neutralise any weaknesses. He advises on difficult areas and how to overcome them so there are no surprise, and has experience of the Dubai International Financial Centre courts and its judges." (Legal 500 EMEA, 2021)
  • "He is very approachable and an excellent technician." (Chambers UK, 2021)
  • “He’s a very high-level operator and he’s very popular with clients too.” (Chambers UK, 2021)
  • “He’s hugely capable, very enjoyable to work with and inspires an awful lot of confidence.” (Chambers UK, 2021)
  • “He’s able to digest things very quickly and come up with a considered opinion.” (Chambers UK, 2021)
  • "Excellent analytical skills, solid cross-examination, and readily available." (Legal 500, 2021)
  • "Very thorough, excellent at cross-examination, an analytical legal mind, gets to the heart of the matter in a very succinct way." (Legal 500, 2021)
  • "Has a talent for making complicated concepts easy to understand, and communicates clearly and in a way that is accessible to lawyers and clients alike." (Legal 500, 2021)
  • "He is great on his feet and can bring judges with him, and he puts his head on the block with clear advice." (Legal 500, 2021)
  • "An excellent barrister with a good commercial approach who is user-friendly." (Chambers UK, 2020)
  • "He has a formidable level of knowledge and offers good, creative advice." (Chambers UK, 2020)
  • "An absolute legend when it comes to insurance law; he is calm and composed." (Legal 500, 2020)
  • "His cross-examination is forensic, his submissions are persuasive and he is one of the hardest working QCs in the market." (Legal 500, 2020)
  • "Recommended for metals and mining matters, he is trusted with GAFTA appeals." (Legal 500, 2020)
  • "Works incredibly hard and his written and oral advocacy are of the highest order." (Legal 500, 2019)
  • "Very user friendly and always available, my go-to silk on insurance/reinsurance related matters." (Legal 500, 2019)
  • "Produces high-quality advice, displaying enthusiasm for the issues involved and a level of creative problem solving that is seldom found in others." (Chambers UK, 2019)
  • "Very impressive. He has a very strong courtroom presence." (Chambers UK, 2019)
  • ..."Tremendously successful"..."he has a very laid-back advocacy style, which judges and tribunals find attractive."... (Who's Who Legal, 2018)
  • ..."A very hard-working QC who is willing to go the extra mile for his clients. He is also an excellent cross-examiner"... (Chambers UK, 2018)
  • ..."He knows how to pitch his cross-examination to impress the judge or arbitrator"... (Legal 500, 2017)
  • ..."A superb QC, very sharp and among the premier performers in shipping and trading matters"... (Legal 500, 2017)
  • ..."He is quiet and modest despite very obviously being an intellectual powerhouse. He is exceptionally ethical, courageous on his feet and someone who has a charming manner with the bench." "Excellent, and very good particularly when on the offensive"... (Chambers UK, 2016)
  • ..."he is very helpful and an extremely diligent and thorough advocate. He is a truly professional performer whose hard work pays off in excellent results for our clients"... (Chambers UK, 2014)
Commercial Dispute Resolution

'Leading Silk' (Chambers UK, 2022 and Legal 500 2023)


Guy is involved in a wide range of commercial litigation, much of which is related to or involves contractual disputes, investment disputes, civil fraud, banking & finance, private equity, loan note valuation, derivatives, energy, insurance, mining and EU law concerning illegal state aid.  
 

Recent cases include:

Commercial litigation:

  • Herculito Maritime Limited v Gunvor International BV (The Polar), Supreme Court, judgment awaited, 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 375 (Court of Appeal, piracy, general average, whether charterparty contained a complete code of insurance, incorporation of charterparty terms into bills of lading, K&R, H&M and cargo insurance). Guy represented the successful underwriters in the Court of Appeal. The oral hearing in the Supreme Court took place in October 2023.
  • Guy is currently involved in large Peruvian, Chilean and Brazilian mining disputes (copper and manganese, confidential arbitrations)
  • Integral Petroleum v. Petrogat (and others) [2019] 1 WLR 574 - establishing jurisdiction to serve out on de facto directors for contempt of Court. Guy acted for the successfully Applicant in this ground-breaking decision. 
  • Subsequent committal [2020] EWHC 558 (Comm) and sentencing [2020] EWHC (Comm) hearings followed (Foxton J in both).
  • Taurus Petroleum v State Oil Ministry of Iraq, [2018] AC 690 (Supreme Court), [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 42 (Court of Appeal), [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 432 (Commercial Court). A case concerning the extent of state immunity granted to Central Banks of oil producing countries, enforcement against debts owed under letters of credit, the proper law of letters of credit and the situs of the debt owed by the issuing bank. Guy acted Taurus together with Gordon Pollock QC in the Supreme Court.
  • Bilta and others v. SVS Securities and others, Financial List, alleged dishonest assistance in the carbon trading market
  • Talos Capital v. JCS Investment [2014] EWHC 3977 (Comm). Guy acted as lead counsel for the well-known hedge fund Talos in this dispute with a number of Irish Investors, who sued Talos in New York claiming US$100 million. Guy successfully obtained summary judgment and a permanent anti-suit injunction for Talos before Flaux J in the Commercial Court restraining the New York proceedings, which were brought to a halt.
  • Energy Venture Partners v. Malabu Oil & Gas [2012] EWHC 853 (Comm) - Cooke J. Guy acted for J P Morgan in its successful application for costs incurred by reason of a freezing injunction and in resisting successfully allegations of contempt of Court which were levelled at the bank.
  • Energy Venture Partners v. Malabu Oil & Gas [2011] EWHC 2215 (Comm) - Steel J. Guy acted for J P Morgan. 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. Issues included the effect of a Mareva injunction on those moneys and sovereign immunity. 
  • The case was described by Steel J as "extraordinary" and one which the Court approached with "a long spoon". The case has recently been re-vivified in the context of the Quincecare duty.
  • The Secretary of State for Justice v. Topland Group PLC, Andrew Smith and others [2012] EWHC 1280 (QB). A claim brought by the Secretary of State for Justice against the Topland Group.
  • BTA Bank v. Abylazov. Allegations of dishonest assistance in connection with the alleged misappropriation of US$300 million worth of "AAA" rated securities.
  • Allen v. Miles Smith PLC [2011] All ER (D) 149 (Dec). A claim was advanced for ownership of a portfolio on the basis of facts which were found to be untrue. The case also involved several allegations of forgery.
  • Dornoch v. Westminster [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 191 (phase 1); [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 420  (phase 2). Impeachment of transactions defrauding creditors under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986, conflicts of law and renvoi, the situs of a registered vessel, abandonment, the extent of underwriters' proprietary rights in a vessel on payment of CTL and election (equitable lien, trust).
  • International Finance Corporation v. Chevron [2007] 2 All ER (Comm) 305 - equitable purchaser's lien in topside modules, Guy represented the World Bank.
  • International Finance Corporation v. DSNL and others [2005] EWHC 534 (Comm) - worldwide freezing injunction, contempt, committal, sentencing in absentia.
  • International Finance Corporation v. DSNL and others 21.03.05 - revolving loan and guarantee agreement, summary judgment for US$20 million.
     

Commercial enforcement

Guy one of the more experienced practitioners in commercial enforcement at the Bar. He has experience of garnishment (third party debt orders), appointing receivers by way of equitable execution and writs of fi fa among other means of satisfying judgments and arbitral awards.

Reported cases of note in which Guy has appeared in this field include the following:

  • Taurus Petroleum v. State Oil Ministry of Iraq, [2018] AC 690 (Supreme Court) [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 42 (Court of Appeal), [2014] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 432 (Commercial Court), on appeal to the Supreme Court. Issuance of third party debt orders and receiver by way of equitable execution over debt owed by issuing bank under letters of credit.
  • International Finance Corporation v. Chevron [2007] 2 All ER (Comm) 305 – writ of fi fa issued over topside modules; equitable purchaser’s lien; priorities.

 

Commercial injunctions

Guy has long standing experience of obtaining and of setting aside freezing injunctions. Over the past 25 years, Guy has been involved in 2 or 3 freezing injunctions every year and in that time has seen most variations of order that can be made. Guy also has extensive experience of anti-suit injunctions, in both arbitration and in court.

For an example of an unusual circumstance in which a freezing injunction was ordered, Guy was involved in Archer Daniels Midland v Tarif Akhras [2014] EWHC 1392 (Comm), which concerned the inter-relationship between UN sanctions over the family of President Assad of Syria and the jurisdiction to grant a worldwide freezing injunction.

Guy also has experience of more exotic forms of injunction, including orders made under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986, see Dornoch v. Westminster [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 191 (phase 1); [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 420 (phase 2).

International Arbitration

'Leading Silk' (Chambers, 2022, Legal 500 2023)

The majority of Guy's practice involves disputes under contracts which contain arbitration agreements and almost all of these disputes are international in nature. Most of the arbitral disputes in which Guy is involved are very high value in nature.

Almost all of Guy's reinsurance and much of his direct insurance practice is in arbitration (he has recently been instructed in surplus treaty, excess of loss treaty, quota share, political risks and energy disputes). He is also one of the few counsel with experience of satellite in orbit insurance & reinsurance. Arbitral confidentiality prevents the naming of individual disputes in which Guy has been instructed.

Insurance & reinsurance arbitrations in which Guy has led or is leading include claims arising in connection with COVID 19, other BI, credit risk, aviation, energy treaty reinsurance, political risks (CNED, contract frustration, currency inconvertibility) and satellite in orbit.  Guy is one of the few counsel with experience of satellite in orbit reinsurance (BSS 702 series).

Guy also regularly appears as an advocate in Bermuda Form references and in arbitrations under the JELC clauses. 

Recent reinsurance arbitrations include: 

(1)    An arbitration in Bahrain under Bahraini law concerning aviation retrocession and the allocation of UN payments from the Kuwaiti reparations fund.
(2)    Cession of risks to a treaty after ‘compression’ by purchase of fac. X/L protection prior to cession, alleged material non-disclosure 

Herculito Maritime Limited v Gunvor International BV (The “Polar”) 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 375 (Court of Appeal); piracy, general average, whether charterparty contained a complete code of insurance, incorporation of charterparty terms into bills of lading, K&R, H&M and cargo insurance). This was a commercial arbitration, appealed to the Commercial Court under s. 69 of the 1996 Act, appealed further to the CA, now on appeal to the Supreme Court, judgment awaited.
 

Much of Guy's time recent years has been taken up acting as lead advocate for the Hellenic Republic in a series of ICC and ICSID (ARB/16/20) arbitrations, the "Greek Submarines Arbitrations", which have been widely reported on in publications such as Global Arbitration Review. The following overview is taken from Global Arbitration Review:


ICC:

“The [Greek Submarines] dispute is already playing out in two ICC arbitrations, before tribunals chaired by Spain’s Juan Fernández-Armesto, in which the amount in dispute is thought to exceed €1 billion. Privinvest and Hellenic Shipyards first filed an ICC claim against Greece in 2013. In addition to Fernández-Armesto, the case is being heard by French arbitrator Laurent Aynès and Greek arbitrator Panayiotis Kornilakis. Greece filed a counterclaim against Privinvest and a number of other companies a year later, requesting compensation for the alleged breaches in the agreement for construction and delivery of the submarines. The panel hearing that case includes Swiss arbitrator Bernard Meyer and Austrian arbitrator Andreas Reiner.”


ICSID:

“A Lebanese investor has filed an ICSID claim against recession-struck Greece after its navy took over one of the country’s largest ship yards and the construction of submarines ordered by the state. Iskandar Safa, who co-owns Beirut-based shipbuilder Privinvest, submitted a request for arbitration on 13 June under the Lebanon-Greece bilateral investment treaty. The case has yet to be registered by ICSID but Safa issued a press release with details of the claim today (22 June). The claim relates to the Skaramangas commercial shipyard and naval base just outside Athens, which was created in 1937 to build warships. Privinvest acquired a 75 per cent stake in the yard’s operator Hellenic Shipyards in 2010, under a set of contracts to which the Greek government was also a party. Safa alleges that Greece took effective control of the shipyard four years later, after passing a law allowing its navy to complete the construction of Type 214 submarines it had ordered. The submarines were completed at the yard using Hellenic Shipyard employees at no cost to the government.”

Insurance

'Leading Silk' (Chambers, 2022, Legal 500 2023)

He has experience of most classes of business, both direct and reinsurance and a significant proportion of his work involves related issues of professional negligence. 

Guy has been instructed as leading advocate for disputes including the following classes of insurance: energy, marine, MII, non-marine, BI, mining, aviation, satellite (in orbit, BSS702 series), contingency, political risks (CNED, CF, currency inconvertibility), fire, specie & fine art, commodity & cargo, Bermuda Form, liability generally, tax liability. 

  • Aercap v. AIG (and others), currently in the Commercial Court, jurisdictional challenges, multi-billion dollar claims for alleged detainment of hundreds of aircraft in the Russian Federation. Guy acts as leading counsel for the Hull All Risks insurance markets on the operator policies, lead by AIG, Global Aerospace and Lancashire Syndicate 3010.
  • Piraeus Bank v. Antares (The “Zou Zou”) [2022] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 1, alleged oil smuggling in Venezuela, detainment of vessel, avoidance of war risks policy, claim on MII policy. Guy acted for the successful MII underwriters. The Bank’s application for permission to appeal was refused in August 2022. 
  • Ongoing vessel detainment claims in Mexico, Venezuela, West Africa and Indonesia.
  • Atlas Navios-Navegação Lda v. Navigators Insurance Co Ltd and others (The “B Atlantic”) [2019] AC 136 (Supreme Court), [2017] 1 W.L.R. 1303 (Court of Appeal), [2015] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 117, Flaux J. War risks, detainment of vessel in Venezuela for drug smuggling. Guy acted for the successful war risks underwriters in the Supreme Court. 
  • AXA Versicherung AG (successor to Albingia) v. Arab Insurance Group (B.S.C.) [2017] Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 216 (Court of Appeal); [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. Insurance & Reinsurance 1, Commercial Court, Males J. Guy acted for the successful reassured under a first loss energy construction treaty. Christopher Clarke LJ giving the leading judgment,  gives guidance on what needs to be pleaded and proved by an assured when challenging inducement.

Recent reinsurance arbitrations include: 

(1)    An arbitration in Bahrain under Bahraini law concerning aviation retrocession and the allocation of UN payments from the Kuwaiti reparations fund.
(2)    Cession of risks to a treaty after ‘compression’ by purchase of fac. X/L protection prior to cession, alleged material non-disclosure 

Allianz v. Al Ain Ahlia, in which the DIFC Court had to consider the nature of the "Arab Spring" in Egypt, and whether property damage had been caused by civil commotion amounting to popular rising. 

Dornoch v. Westminster [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 191 (phase 1); [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 420  (phase 2). Conflicts of law and renvoi, the situs of a registered vessel, abandonment, the extent of underwriters' proprietary rights in a vessel on payment of CTL and election (equitable lien, trust) and impeachment of transactions defrauding creditors under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
 

Fraud

Guy has been instructed many large commercial fraud cases, many of which have been in international arbitration.

Examples of Court cases include:

  • Bilta and others v. SVS Securities and others, Financial List, alleged dishonest assistance in the carbon trading market.
  • The Secretary of State for Justice v. Topland Group PLC, Andrew Smith and others [2012] EWHC 1280 (QB). Guy acted for one of the defendants in a large claim brought by the Secretary of State for Justice.
  • BTA Bank v. Abylazov, allegations of dishonest assistance were made in connection with the alleged misappropriation of US$300 million worth of "AAA" rated securities.
  • Allen v. Miles Smith PLC [2011] All ER (D) 149 (Dec). A claim was advanced for ownership of a portfolio on the basis of facts which were found to be untrue. The case involved several allegations of forgery.
Banking

Guy has substantial experience in acting for investment banks, private equity firms and trading firms in a wide variety of proceedings. He has particular recent experience of complex finance arrangements, of construing the ISDA Master agreement, of equity loan note valuation and of derivatives.

  • Bilta and others v. SVS Securities and others, Financial List, alleged dishonest assistance in the carbon trading market 
  • Talos Capital v. JCS Investment [2014] EWHC 3977 (Comm). US$100 million claim. Guy obtained summary judgment and a permanent anti-suit injunction for Talos before Flaux J in the Commercial Court, bringing New York proceedings to a swift close.
  • Taurus Petroleum v State Oil Ministry of Iraq, [2018] AC 690 (Supreme Court), [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 42 (Court of Appeal), [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 432 (Commercial Court). A case concerning the extent of state immunity granted to Central Banks of oil producing countries, enforcement against debts owed under letters of credit, the proper law of letters of credit and the situs of the debt owed by the issuing bank. Guy acted Taurus together with Gordon Pollock QC in the Supreme Court.
  • Energy Venture Partners v. Malabu Oil & Gas [2011] EWHC 2215 (Comm) - Steel J. Guy acted for J P Morgan. 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 was described by Steel J as "extraordinary" and one which the Court approached with "a long spoon". The case has recently been re-vivified in the context of the ‘Quincecare’ duty.
  • Energy Venture Partners v. Malabu Oil & Gas [2012] EWHC 853 (Comm) - Cooke J. Guy acted for J P Morgan in its successful application for costs incurred by reason of a freezing injunction and in resisting successfully allegations of contempt of Court which were levelled at the bank. 
  • Dornoch v. Westminster [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 420  (phase 2) - impeachment of transactions defrauding creditors under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986
  • International Finance Corporation v. Chevron [2007] 2 All ER (Comm) 305 - Guy acted for the World Bank in this dispute concerning equitable purchaser's lien in topside modules
  • Oliver v. Dubai Bank Kenya [2007] EWHC 2165 - standby letter of credit, whether terms of documentary credit repugnant to UCP 500
  • International Finance Corporation v. DSNL and others [2005] EWHC 534 (Comm) - worldwide freezing injunction, contempt, committal, sentencing in absentia
  • International Finance Corporation v. DSNL and others 21.03.05 - revolving loan and guarantee agreement, summary judgment for US$20 million.
     
Investment Treaty Arbitration

Guy's practice includes an increasing amount of investment treaty arbitration and Guy has considerable experience of the law of sovereign immunity. 

Much of Guy's time in recent years has been taken up acting as lead advocate for the Hellenic Republic in a series of ICC and ICSID (ARB/16/20) arbitrations, the "Greek Submarines Arbitrations", which have been widely reported on in publications such as Global Arbitration Review. The following overview is taken from Global Arbitration Review:

ICC:
“The [Greek Submarines] dispute is already playing out in two ICC arbitrations, before tribunals chaired by Spain’s Juan Fernández-Armesto, in which the amount in dispute is thought to exceed €1 billion. Privinvest and Hellenic Shipyards first filed an ICC claim against Greece in 2013. In addition to Fernández-Armesto, the case is being heard by French arbitrator Laurent Aynès and Greek arbitrator Panayiotis Kornilakis. Greece filed a counterclaim against Privinvest and a number of other companies a year later, requesting compensation for the alleged breaches in the agreement for construction and delivery of the submarines. The panel hearing that case includes Swiss arbitrator Bernard Meyer and Austrian arbitrator Andreas Reiner.”

ICSID:
“A Lebanese investor has filed an ICSID claim against recession-struck Greece after its navy took over one of the country’s largest ship yards and the construction of submarines ordered by the state. Iskandar Safa, who co-owns Beirut-based shipbuilder Privinvest, submitted a request for arbitration on 13 June under the Lebanon-Greece bilateral investment treaty. The case has yet to be registered by ICSID but Safa issued a press release with details of the claim today (22 June). The claim relates to the Skaramangas commercial shipyard and naval base just outside Athens, which was created in 1937 to build warships. Privinvest acquired a 75 per cent stake in the yard’s operator Hellenic Shipyards in 2010, under a set of contracts to which the Greek government was also a party. Safa alleges that Greece took effective control of the shipyard four years later, after passing a law allowing its navy to complete the construction of Type 214 submarines it had ordered. The submarines were completed at the yard using Hellenic Shipyard employees at no cost to the government.”

Taurus Petroleum v State Oil Ministry of Iraq [2018] AC 690 (Supreme Court), [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 42 (Court of Appeal), [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 432 (Commercial Court). A case concerning the extent of state immunity granted to Central Banks of oil producing countries, enforcement against debts owed under letters of credit, the proper law of letters of credit and the situs of the debt owed by the issuing bank. Guy acted Taurus together with Gordon Pollock QC in the Supreme Court.

Guy’s present instructions include on behalf of investors claiming against States in the Middle East in relation to alleged expropriation of residential and hotel properties.

Commodities & International Trade

'Leading Silk' (Commodities, Legal 500, 2023)

The majority of Guy's commodities practice is in arbitration. Guy has acted in GAFTA arbitrations (unusually for the Bar), LME arbitrations (copper and aluminium), RSA arbitrations and LIFFE disputes, whilst on the dry shipping side, his practice is varied and includes charterparty and shipbuilding/ offshore construction disputes of many varieties. Court cases are few and far between in this field, because disputes are subject to confidential arbitration.

Court cases in which Guy has been involved include:

  • Archer Daniels Midland v Tarif Akhras [2014] EWHC 1392 (Comm), major GAFTA trading dispute, inter-relationship between UN sanctions over the family of President Assad of Syria and the jurisdiction to grant a worldwide freezing injunction.
  • Bilta and others v SVS Securities and others, Financial List,  alleged dishonest assistance in the carbon trading market. Guy acts as lead advocate for the first three defendants.
  • Dornoch v Westminster [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 191 (phase 1); [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 420  (phase 2)
  • Antiparos v SK Shipping [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 237.  Construction of clause 4(c) of the Asbatankvoy form.
  • Andromeda Marine v OW Bunker & Trading ("The Mana") [2006] 2 Lloyd's Rep 319.  Jurisdiction, negative declaratory relief, Brussels Convention, Article 17.
  • Fast Ferries One SA v Ferries Australia Pty Ltd. [2000] 1 Lloyd`s Rep. 534. Shipbuilding contract - termination.
  • The mv Derbyshire (2000). Re-opened formal investigation in the loss of the mv Derbyshire.
Energy

Guy has experience in energy disputes, especially in international arbitration. He has considerable experience in the mining sector, in carbon trading, licensing disputes and insurance claims.

Guy also has experience of the following:

Expropriation of offshore assets, Licensing disputes, Contractual disputes (take or pay and joint venture agreements), Carbon trading disputes in the spot, futures and electricity markets, Telecoms, Share warranty claims in the oil and gas industry, Design defects in offshore structures and claims for CTLs, The operation of pipelines.

Shipbuilding

Guy has been involved in a number of large offshore and ship construction cases in the last decade, which have been in arbitration. Guy also has in depth experience of related financial instruments, such as refund guarantees.

The ICC arbitration in the Greek Submarines dispute is now moving to a new phase to consider alleged defects in the construction of the Archimedes Fleet of Submarines 

Guy is presently involved in a dispute concerning the alleged defects in welds holding together the structure of an offshore mega-dredger (ICC arbitration).