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UK Bar: International Trade & Commodities 2017

We highlight 63 leading barristers for a range of international trade and commodities matters, representing clients before the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal, as well as the GAFTA, FOSFA and other commodities standard forms.

Most Highly Regarded
Sean O’Sullivan QC 4 Pump Court
Michael Ashcroft QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
Philip Edey QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
Timothy Young QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
Steven Berry QC Essex Court Chambers
Simon Rainey QC Quadrant Chambers
Charles Priday 7 King’s Bench Walk
Philippa Hopkins Essex Court Chambers


Renowned for its outstanding commercial and shipping expertise, QUADRANT CHAMBERS maintains its leading position as the foremost set in this chapter. Its commodities practice focuses on litigation and arbitration proceedings arising from international sale contract disputes. Over half of the set’s Queen’s Counsel are recognised in this field; we highlight some of the most highly regarded below.
Simon Rainey QC boasts a great reputation as a “heavy-hitting and inspirational silk”. An observer reports, “Simon is a tremendously smooth and polished advocate, who utterly charmed the tribunal.” He is often engaged in the big-ticket energy cases.
Head of chambers Luke Parsons QC is described as “a first-class silk” who is “very easy-going and terribly easy to work with”. He is often engaged in the highest-profile mandates before the Commercial Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, as well as the GAFTA, FOSFA and other commodities standard forms.
Lionel Persey QC is known for being “very good under fire”. As a source notes, “He does not lose his cool at all when in a tight corner, which is impressive.”
Simon Croall QC is “phenomenally creative and imaginative”. He is renowned for his “rigorous approach”; as one source claims, “He never stops analysing a case.”
Michael Nolan QC is “a wise, masterly advocate”. He is regularly engaged in the sale of goods, primarily in the fields of oil and grain.
David Goldstone QC is a leading shipping and commodity barrister, who also handles claims arising out of the carriage and sale of oil. One peer remarks, “He is a sophisticated advocate, ordered and efficient.”
Chirag Karia QC has a very strong focus on commodities disputes, especially in relation to oil.
James Turner QC ranks strongly as a junior silk in shipping and commodities disputes. He is known to be “very strong on the technical side of things” and excels when it comes to litigation management.
John Russell QC has a strong focus on the area, regularly appearing in FOSFA and GAFTA arbitrations. One source remarks, “He has a very effective and persuasive advocacy style.”

Eleven leading silks at 20 ESSEX STREET are listed this year. The set has expertise in matters relating to carriage and international sale of goods, offering advisory through to contentious services.
Joint head of chambers Christopher Hancock QC is regarded as one of the top silks in relation to the sales of goods and international trade matters. He is also “an absolute pleasure to work with”.
Timothy Young QC has a “first-class and innovative legal brain”. Peers consider him a “tenacious”, “astute” and “very user-friendly” silk.
Philip Edey QC is highlighted for his “razor-sharp analysis”. He is extensively experienced in sale, purchase and carriage of a range of goods, including grains, steel and oil.
Michael Ashcroft QC is regarded as “the go-to choice for big energy disputes”, with sources citing his “extraordinary intelligence” and “incredible diligence”.
Michael Coburn QC is also very highly regarded. Sources describe him as “cerebral; thoughtful and analytical in his approach; and pleasant to work with”, and “certainly prominent in big cases”.
Julian Kenny QC comes highly recommended. Sources cite his huge experience, calmness under pressure and strategic nous.  
Charles Kimmins QC commands a great deal of respect as an advocate and counsel, in court and before arbitral tribunals. One peer remarks that “he is a smooth operator”.
Michael Collett QC is particularly active in commodities matters, both in advisory and contentious capacities.  One source notes, “Many barristers I know respect him because he is disciplined, technically very strong and an attractive advocate.”
The “top-notch” David Lewis QC is rated highly, particularly regarding the supply and sale of goods in coal and oil.

7 KING’S BENCH WALK is a leading set in the field of commodities disputes. Its members regularly act in big ticket court cases and arbitrations: 10 silks, over a third of the set’s Queen’s Counsel, are highlighted for their exceptional work representing both buyers and sellers.
“Razor-sharp” Dominic Kendrick QC is noted for his wealth of experience in shipping disputes. Respondents describe him as “an astonishingly bright man” who “possesses a creative way of analysing things.”
Alistair Schaff QC is widely regarded as “a very clear, compelling and highly intelligent advocate”. He is extensively experienced and a premier silk for shipping and international trade disputes.
The “meticulous” Stephen Hofmeyr QC is “a very thorough and hard-working advocate”. He is acknowledged by clients for “his ability to combine calm practicality with seamless professionalism”.
Richard Southern QC acts in a wide range of litigation and arbitration in relation to shipping, energy, commodities and international trade disputes. According to a respondent, “He is a very knowledgeable and well-thought of silk in the field.”
Robert Bright QC is experienced in all forms of arbitration and litigation in relation to a wide range of commodities disputes, especially in relation to oil, mineral ore and coal. One source notes, “As an advocate he is mild and measured yet deadly.”
Jonathan Gaisman QC is widely regarded as one of the commercial Bar’s superstars and maintains a strong practice in relation to shipping and oil disputes. 

ESSEX COURT CHAMBERS, as a large commercial set, runs a strong commodities practice, particularly in disputes based around the energy and shipping industries. Five silks at the set are recognised.
Steven Berry QC ranks very highly in our research. He impresses commentators who describe him as “a very clever and persuasive advocate” and “charming and user-friendly before clients”. He is frequently instructed on court cases and arbitrations on international trade disputes.
Claire Blanchard QC is active in a broad range of commercial disputes particularly in matters relating to international trade. One source claims, “Claire is a strong advocate who fights her client’s corner ardently and effectively.”
David Foxton QC stands out for his “tremendous intellect” and “great commercial understanding”.  He has a broad commercial practice accepting instructions in numerous court and arbitration hearings involving international sale and carriage of goods.

At 4 PUMP COURT, Sean O’Sullivan QC is described by sources as “an outstanding advocate”. He is “wonderfully fluent and relaxed before a tribunal”. He is highlighted for his practice in dry shipping disputes including commodities disputes, as well as sale and purchase of goods in the oil and gas sector. 


Six leading juniors at QUADRANT CHAMBERS are listed this year, ensuring that it is the most widely recognised set in our research for this field.
Stewart Buckingham is described in glowing terms as “one of the very best senior juniors” in the field. He is very active before the courts and in arbitral tribunals, including LMAA, ICC, GAFTA, FOSFA and the ICA, covering a wide array of goods carried by sea and land.
Paul Henton is considered “a rising star” in international trade and commodities disputes, covering all aspects of the field.
Caroline Pounds is regarded as “a strong drafter” and “a fine advocate”. One senior peer summarises, “She is an excellent choice of junior counsel in tough disputes.”

7 KING’S BENCH WALK has five nominated juniors.
The “fantastic” Charles Priday is rated by a number of respondents as the best at the junior Bar for this area. As one source notes, “He is in effect a silk in every sense but the title.”
Gavin Geary is a very experienced senior junior, appearing in a broad range of international trade disputes. One peer is particularly in praise of his practice: “He marshals the facts of the case superbly and really operates on the level of a QC.”
Benjamin Parker is also highlighted for his commercial practice. He is a leading choice of junior counsel in commodity litigation and arbitration.

Four juniors at ST PHILIPS STONE CHAMBERS achieve listings in this chapter.
Charles Debattista is a leading expert in dry shipping and international trade disputes. A peer notes, “He has built up a very good practice and one should view him as being like a QC for all his years of experience. “
Tom Whitehead is praised for his “excellent practice”. Sources describe him as “a wise, sensible head on young shoulders.”
Philippa Hopkins at ESSEX COURT CHAMBERS is exceedingly well regarded among peers, who consider her “a very calm, measured and clear advocate”.
She is joined by the “supremely effective” Neil Hart who, according to respondents, “is not one to be underestimated”.  

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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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