Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012

UK Bar: International Trade & Commodities 2016

This year 70 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Leading Silks
Timothy Young QC 20 Essex Street
Simon Croall QC Quadrant Chambers
Andrew Baker QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
Sean O’Sullivan QC 4 Pump Court
Philip Edey QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
Richard Lord QC Brick Court Chambers
Michael Ashcroft QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
Leading Juniors
Charles Priday 7 King's Bench Walk
Alexander Wright 4 Pump Court
Henry Byam-Cook 20 Essex Street Chambers
Luke Pearce 20 Essex Street
Stewart Buckingham Quadrant Chambers
Philippa Hopkins Essex Court Chambers


Quadrant Chambers leads the way in our research with 14 silks recognised in this chapter. Simon Croall QC is a “highly sought-after advocate”. He has a “truly global practice”, including “extensive experience” working with Chinese and south east Asian clients. Simon Rainey QC is “one of the best-known and most highly regarded practitioners at the commercial bar”, described as “an incredible legal strategist”. Head of Quadrant Chambers, Luke Parsons QC, is “beyond impressive”. He has “regularly deals with foreign law and multi-jurisdictional disputes” and is praised for his “client-centred approach”. Robert Thomas QC is known for his “fantastic work ethic”. With a “busy and broad” practice in this area, he “takes on all aspects of dry shipping and commodities”. Nigel Cooper QC’s “eminent practice” comprises “most aspects of international trade and the carriage of goods” and includes charterparty disputes, international sales disputes and all forms of bill of lading. David Goldstone QC is “incredibly knowledgeable and articulate.” He is known to be “a calm and unflappable advocate” with particular experience working with lawyers from other jurisdictions including, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, various parts of Europe, New York, and Gibralta. The “wonderful” Lionel Persey QC has “impressively strong analytical skills” and “high level of commercial insight”. Michael Nolan QC is praised by clients and peers for his “phenomenal level of skill” and “ability to get to the heart of the matter”. The “fantastic” Andrew Guy Blackwood QC has been described as “the barrister of choice” for many due to his “straight talking” and “imaginative approach” to clients’ most difficult problems. John Russell QC has a reputation for being “one of the leading figures in the industry”, built on an “outstanding record of excellence”. Clients and peers describe it being “a pleasure” to work with John Kimbell QC, who combines “a friendly and accessible approach” with his “formidable intellect”. Simon Kverndal QC continues to impress with his “fantastic understanding of the industry” and ensuing “ability to effectively tailor advice to their business needs”. Jeremy Russell QC is a “tenacious advocate” who “always remains in control of the argument”. James Turner QC has a “stellar reputation” for his “extraordinary advocacy skills” and “commercial pragmatism”.

20 Essex Street has an impressive 12 silks highlighted for their outstanding contribution to the practice area. Timothy Young QC is “in a class of his own”. With a reputation for being “a trailblazer”, he is the most highly regarded barrister in this chapter according to our research. Andrew Baker QC is a “thoroughly impressive” barrister who features prominently in our research for his “exceptional client manner” and “adroit advice”. The “brilliant” Philip Edey QC stands out for his “tireless commitment and energy” when perusing a case, and is also known for his “versatile thinking”. Michael Ashcroft QC is highly recommended for his ability to pay “close attention to the detail whilst never losing sight of the bigger picture.” Julian Kenny QC is known to be a “persuasive and confident advocate”, with an “exemplary reputation in the market”. Clients say they “couldn’t wish for a more skilled advocate” than Michael Coburn QC, who is a “renowned authority” on international trade and commodities law and praised for his “phenomenal level of skill”. Christopher Hancock QC draws universal commendation for his “authoritative practice” and is recommended for his “ability to get straight to the point”. Michael Collett QC “provides unique insight” into complex matters is praised for “keenly protecting the best interests of clients”. Duncan Matthews QC offers “expert advice” to his “impressive range of high-profile clients.” The “intuitive” Charles Kimmins QC earns recognition for his “phenomenal level of technical ability”. David Lewis QC is “a very safe pair of hands”, highly praised by clients and peers for his “practical and commercial approach”. Sara Masters QC is “a first-class advocate”, recommended particularly for “inspiring confidence in clients”.

7 King’s Bench Walk is home to 12 top practitioners. Alistair Schaff QC is “highly experienced” and renown for his “thorough track record of excellence”. Dominic Kendrick QC is known for his “lucidity in the courtroom” coupled with “an effective, clear and strategic approach to complicated issues”. Stephen Hofmeyr QC has been involved in many of the recent high-profile international trade and commodities cases, from which he has obtained “wide-ranging experience”. Jonathan Gaisman QC is “a consummate professional”, known for his “inventive arguments” and for bringing “vision and foresight” to a case. Robert Bright QC is “a force to be reckoned with” in the courtroom, due to his “meticulous approach” and “sound commercial reasoning”. Stephen Kenny QC is “exceptionally talented” as practitioner with almost 30 years’ experience, who “continues to impress” with his “high level of technical precision”. Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC stands “head and shoulders above the competition”. Clients particularly value her “hands-on and friendly approach”. Richard Southern QC is an “acclaimed” practitioner with “considerable” expertise in international trade and commodities law. The “excellent” Siobán Healy QC has an “international reputation” in the field, built on her “expert advice” and “sharp mind.” Richard Waller QC impresses with his “exceptional legal and factual analysis skills” allowing him to provide “a high-quality service.” David Allen QC is a “distinguished expert”, notable for his “considerable depth of experience”. Julia Dias QC is described by clients as an “exceptionally skilled” and “insightful” adviser.

Five silks are identified by our research at Essex Court Chambers. Steven Berry QC is “extremely capable” as a barrister and “a certain inclusion” in our research. His practice comprises a wide range of international trade disputes including oil trading and commodities, as well as all kinds of interlocutory and jurisdiction disputes including stays of proceedings, anti-suit injunctions, proper law disputes and freezing orders. The “tenacious” Claire Blanchard QC is singled out for her “superior knowledge” of the sector and “incredible cross examination skills.” David Foxton QC has a “great courtroom presence”, and is particularly commended for his “spot-on gut instincts”. Nigel Eaton QC is praised by clients and peers for being an “absolute market-leader”.  As an established commercial silk he has “broad experience” in complex international trade and commodities matters concerning a wide variety of goods, including oil, coal, ore, and grains and other foodstuffs. His practice comprises disputes concerning title, quality and rejection, price and price adjustment, frustration, and the impact of sanctions, and covers long-term and instalment contracts as well as one-off sales. Simon Bryan QC is “tremendously clever barrister”, and a “very popular silk” among clients.  He is “frequently instructed in high value, multi-jurisdictional disputes” including having “appeared in some of the highest profile cases in the Commercial Court over the last 20 years”.

At Stone Court Chambers Vasanti Selvaratnam QC is known for her “strong attention to accuracy”. With “huge amounts of experience” in all areas of international trade, she regularly handles force majeure disputes, jurisdiction issues and all forms of interim urgent relief, including freezing orders and anti-suit injunctions. Timothy Hill QC is “always a good fighter”, well known for his “ability quickly to master complex and technical cases.” Elizabeth Blackburn QC is a well-reputed name in the industry for her “dedication and enthusiasm”, and her particular “ability to identify the flaws in a case.”

From 4 Pump Court Sean O’Sullivan QC is “not afraid to take on a difficult case”. He is “very popular” with clients for being a “silk of the highest calibre”. His practice includes the full range of dry shipping disputes concerning charter parties, bill of lading contracts, and more general commodities/sale of goods disputes.

Richard Lord QC at Brick Court Chambers brings “considerable experience to the table” with over 25 years of practice behind him; he has made “a leading contribution to the industry”.

Joseph Hage Aaronson is home to Steven Gee QC, “an absolute superstar” of a barrister. Known for being a “brilliant performer and absolute professional”, he impresses clients with his “tactical astuteness”.

From 39 Essex Chambers Timothy Lyons QC, boasts a “sterling reputation” for being a “first rate orator”. He is held in “very high esteem” by both peers and instructing solicitors for his ability to “approach a case at a unique angle”.


Stone Chambers is home to a strong bench of juniors with four names singled out for their expertise and experience in international trade and commodities matters. Rachel Toney specialises in shipping and commodities law and is praised for her “affable manner” which makes her a “pleasure to work with”. Tom Whitehead concentrates on disputes arising under charter parties and bills of lading, ship sale and purchase, shipbuilding contracts, collisions and salvage. He is particularly well known for his “stellar work” on matters concerning conflict of laws and “employs a forensic approach to cases”. The “diligent” Ravi Aswani advises on contentious and non-contentious trade and shipping matters and is “articulate in his arguments” and “extremely thorough”. Peter Stevenson’s practice focuses on shipping, marine insurance and commercial injunctions. He is “very sharp” and “particularly good on his feet”.

Quadrant Chambers sees four of its juniors highly recommended. Nevil Phillips has 20 years in practice and is very active in disputes work relating to international trade, commodities and shipping law. He has an “excellent eye for detail” and a “quick turnaround” which win him great favour with clients. Stewart Buckingham is lauded for his “strong advocacy skills” and “easy manner”. He concentrates his practice on commercial shipping disputes, shipbuilding and ship finance, marine insurance and commodities matters, among others. Peter Ferrer is a “standout name” in the sector who is frequently instructed as sole counsel against leading counsel. He undertakes a wide range of shipping advocacy, drafting and advisory work. Paul Toms regularly appears before arbitral tribunals and the high court in marine and international trade disputes. Peers praise him as being “very bright” and possessing the “ability to put clients at ease”.

At 7 King’s Bench Walk, three juniors are featured. Charles Priday is a “superb junior whose expertise is second to none”. He undertakes advisory work and appears as an advocate in arbitrations, the high court, the court of appeal and the Supreme Court. In addition, he accepts appointments as arbitrator. Sandra Healy is noted for her “astute legal mind” and “experience beyond her years of call”. She is involved in proceedings in the commercial court and before arbitral tribunals, and acts as sole advocate as well as alongside leading counsel. Benjamin Parker is a “notable talent” in the market whose “appellate experience is impressive” having appeared in the House of Lords and Court of Appeal and undertaken a case before the Supreme Court.

20 Essex Street Chambers is also home to two leading juniors. Luke Pearce is a “highly ranked junior” who impresses with his “breadth of expertise and experience” and “commercial acumen”. Henry Byam-Cook provides “comprehensive and practical advice” in a “user-friendly manner”.

Essex Court Chambers sees Philippa Hopkins singled out for her “impressive depth of expertise in shipping law”. She is a “talented advocate” who is “in high demand”.  Alongside her, Edmund King is noted for his “charming manner” and for being a “tough opponent”. He is active in commodities and shipping matters.

At 4 Pump Court, Alexander Wright is “incredibly efficient and responsive”. He regularly appears before the commercial court and arbitral hearings, in which he appears as a sole advocate or junior counsel. James Leabeater at the same chambers is recognised for his experience in shipping law and is a “highly effective” counsel.

Edmond McGovern is singled out for his “intrinsic abilities” and his “superior knowledge” of trade regulation and trade defence law.

At 3 Verulam Buildings, Nicholas Craig stands out for his experience in conflict of laws and jurisdictional issues. He is recommended for his shipping and commodities work and is “extremely smart and robust” according to peers.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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