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Charles Kimmins QC

Charles Kimmins QC specialises in all areas of commercial law, in particular international arbitration, civil fraud, energy, banking and financial services, commodities, conflicts of laws, insurance and reinsurance, and shipping. Born in 1971, he took a first in law at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was called to the bar in 1994. Since then he has practiced at 20 Essex Street. He appears regularly both in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. He has represented clients in a broad range of disputes before arbitral tribunals, including LCIA, ICC, GAFTA, FOSFA, LMAA, IPE, RSA, LME and the City Disputes Panel. He took silk in 2010 at the age of 38.

He is ranked as a leading silk in six categories in the 2015 legal directories. (Chambers, Legal 500)

  • Banking and financial
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • International arbitration
  • General commercial and insurance
  • Energy
  • Shipping and commodities.

 

He also accepts appointments as an arbitrator in all kinds of commercial disputes.

Specialisations: 

International Arbitration

He regularly appears in high value international commercial arbitrations, involving a great range of issues, and before a great variety of arbitral tribunals (in particular LCIA, ICC and LMAA).

He also accepts appointments as arbitrator. For example, recently he has been party appointed on an LCIA dispute regarding a $500m loan agreement.

As a junior he was twice nominated for Chambers International Arbitration Junior Counsel of the Year (2008 / 2009), and continues to be highly recommended in the same discipline as a silk in all the relevant directories.

He has lectured on the Arbitration Act 1996, in particular on appeals under s.68 and s.69. He has extensive experience of settling applications for permission to appeal, and has acted in numerous appeals under s.67, s.68 and s.69. Those appeals include:

Cameroon Airlines v Transnet [2004] EWHC 1829, Langley J.

Louis Dreyfus v Reliance Trading [2004] 2 Lloyd's Rep.243, Andrew Smith J.

Swissmarine Corp v Frontier Shipping [2004] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 390, Nigel Teare QC.

Continental Enterprises v Shandong Zhucheng, [2005] EWHC 92, Steel J.

Miranos International Trading v VOC Steel [2006], Cooke J.

Gulf Import & Export v Bunge [2008] 1 Lloyd's Rep 316, Flaux J.

Cobelfret v Smissmarine [2010] 1 Lloyd's Rep 317, Beatson J.

Louis Dreyfus v Carboex [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 177, Field J. and C/A.

Cottonex v Patriot [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 615, Hamblen J.

Geden v Dry Bulk [2014] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 66, Popplewell J.

Glencore International v PT Tera Logistic Indonesia [2016] EWHC 82 (Comm), Knowles J.

Recent cases in 2016 include, for example, resisting an application under s.68 brought on the grounds of apparent bias on the part of an LCIA arbitrator, and resisting enforcement in England and Wales of an LCIA award for US$1.2 billion (under s.66).

Other reported cases on issues of arbitration law include, for example, X v Y [2013] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 230 on obtaining security for costs and a payment in as a condition of an appeal under s.67Downing v Al Tameer [2002] 2 All ER (Comm) 545 (C/A), [2002] BLR 323 on the repudiation of arbitration agreements, and Evergos Naftiki v Cargill [1997] 1 Lloyd's Rep.35 on time limits for commencing arbitration.

Directories on International Arbitration

2015

Recommended as a leading silk in Chambers UK 2015, he is a "well regarded international counsel and arbitrator, "he is calm, not easily flustered and he doesn't rise to the bait". 

Also recommended as a leading silk in international arbitration in the Legal 500 2015: 'He is beautiful and mellifluous in his approach to the court - it is a pleasure to hear his arguments.'

2014

Recommended as a 'Leading Silk' in Chambers UK 2014, client feedback included the following: "He is a very intelligent, smooth and measured advocate who is very persuasive and has just the right touch with witnesses" and "He is always a joy to work with and is generally streets ahead of any opponent."

He was also recommended as a 'Leading Silk' in The Legal 500 2014 where he is described as a 'fantastic advocate and a real superstar, with high emotional intelligence.’

2013

He is recommended as a 'Leading Silk' in Chambers UK 2013, which states: 'The "outstanding" Charles Kimmins QC is "on his way up as an arbitration specialist" and is a noted expert in appeals and related litigation. He is "immensely thorough and personable - he is going places".'

2012

He was recommended as a 'Leading Silk' in Chambers UK 2012, which states: 'Charles Kimmins QC has maintained an impressive practice since taking silk in 2010. Praised for his "great market insight," he has particular expertise in appeals under Sections 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996, and recently successfully defended an appeal under Section 69 relating to the incorporation of terms into a charter party recap.'

He was also recommended as a 'Leading Silk' by The Legal 500, who described him as 'top class; a really good advocate and cross-examiner who is totally on top of the detail'.

2011

He was one of 3 individuals recommended in the New Silks category in Chambers 2011 which states that he "impresses with his focused and clear advocacy". He was also one of a handful of silks recommended in the New Silks category in the Legal 500.

Civil Fraud

He has extensive experience in civil fraud cases.  He has particular experience of cases involving fraud in the banking and shipping sectors. He also has extensive experience of applications for urgent relief arising out of fraud claims.  He has lectured on Chabra freezing injunctions. 

He is member for the Fraud Lawyers Association (FLA)

Recent cases between 2013 and 2016 include the following:

  • Acting for a defendant in a Commercial Court claim by a sovereign wealth fund for the misappropriation/loss of US$80 million by a hedge fund (FM Capital v Marino and Bessot, see The Times, 20/6/16)
  • Acting for the defendant in a Commercial Court claim for the misappropriation of US$400 million under a forex trading platform (Ikon Finance Ltd)
  • Advising a defendant to bribery allegations in relation to production orders and other disclosure issues.
  • Advising a defendant in relation to claims for US$245 million by regulators for market misconduct.
  • Acting for the liquidators of a hedge fund in a High Court claim for the fraudulent misappropriation of US$50 million under a Ponzi scheme.
  • Acting for the defendant in a Commercial Court claim for US$15 million for conspiracy arising out of the conduct of arbitration proceedings.
  • Acting for the claimant in a Commercial Court claim for conspiracy relating to the payment of charter commission to brokers.
  • Acting for a defendant in an arbitration involving allegations that bills of lading were fraudulently issued.
Banking, company law and financial services

He has been involved in numerous cases involving banking, company law and financial services (including regulatory issues).

Recent cases

Recent cases between 2013 and 2016 include the following:

  • Advising a bank in relation to the liability of sponsors to creditors under a bible of documents including a sponsor support deed.
  • Acting for various major banks in claims against Italian local authorities for declarations relating to the validity of interest rate swaps, currency swaps and credit default swaps.
  • Advising a defendant in relation to substantial claims by regulators for market misconduct.
  • Acting for claimants in a claim for various remedies under a bible of documents centred around a defeased tax lease.
  • Acting for a bank in successfully seeking declarations that a refund guarantee was void for illegality.
  • Acting for a hedge fund in an investment dispute relating to a portfolio of sub-prime Polish debt.
  • Advising liquidators of a hedge fund in relation to the misappropriation of funds under a Ponzi scheme.
  • Advising liquidators of a hedge fund as to remedies against directors for disposing of assets at an undervalue.
  • Advising a bank as to the applicable law of claims under various financial instruments.
  • Advising various entities on the construction of put, tag and drag options in joint venture agreements.
  • Advising a venture capital entity on debt subordination and associated issues.
  • Acting for the OPEC Fund for International Development in an arbitration claim under a put option for the sale of shares.

 

Derivatives

He has particular experience in derivatives on which he has lectured.  He has been involved in many of the leading cases raising questions as to the construction of ISDA 92.  He represented the successful claimants in Pioneer Freight Futures v TMT (No.1) [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 96 (Gloster J), and in Pioneer Freight Futures v TMT (No.2) [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep 565 (Gloster J).  These cases involved the construction of the Loss and netting provisions under ISDA 92.

He also represented the successful appellants in the Court of Appeal in the leading case on ISDA 92 involving Lehmans and numerous other parties: Lomas v Firth Rixson [2012] 2 lloyd's Rep 548. The case concerned the construction of s.2(a)(iii), and various other provisions under ISDA 92.

Recently he has advised on numerous issues arising under ISDA 92 relating to FFAs in the OW Bunkers litigation.

Other experience in derivatives includes representing traders in an important dispute involving when a derivatives contract is concluded when parties are screen trading, and a dispute as to what constitutes a netting agreement, and the application of the anti-deprivation principle (Armada v FMG, Steel J).  He has also acted for several major banks in claims for declarations against Italian local authorities as to the validity of various swaps.

Other banking experience

He has experience in regulatory disputes, and has recently advised a defendant in relation to claims by regulators for market misconduct (including issues relating to the “fraud on the market” principle). He has appeared before the City Disputes Panel in a case involving allegations of breach of duty by a company in the provision of investment services, and has acted for a large financial institution in defending allegations of market manipulation on the IPE.

Other examples include advising in cases involving the liability of directors for knowing assistance in a breach of trust, and cases involving tracing remedies available to a company following breaches of trust. He has advised a global banking institution following the misappropriation of funds by a rogue trader, and has advised a major multi-national following the fraudulent misappropriation of share certificates.

He has acted in numerous cases involving futures and options, in particular arising out of the assessment of damages in commodities transactions, and has also represented a major city institution in a dispute as to the terms of a contract on a futures exchange.

He has also been involved in numerous cases involving guarantees, including Golden Ocean v Salgaocar [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep 542.

Directories on Banking

2015

Recommended as a leading silk in Chambers UK 2015: "he's excellent - up and coming...punches above his call. Absolutely first rate and amazingly calm".

2014

He was recommended as a 'Leading Silk' in Chambers UK 2014, with clients commenting that he "[h]as an agile mind and adopts a ferociously determined approach."

2013

He was recommended as a 'Leading Silk' in Chambers UK 2013, which states that he has proved himself to be "absolutely on top of his game" and has established himself as "a strong name in derivatives disputes".

Commodities

He has acted in many arbitrations and court disputes involving commodities.

He has acted in numerous disputes arising out of the collapse of the markets in late 2008, and many of the cases have involved issues relating to damages and hedging.

He has been involved in cases involving most commodities (including, e.g., crude oil, VGO, LPG, gas, copper, aluminium, sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, cotton, sugar, soybeans etc), and he has particular experience in cases involving petroleum products.

Reported cases include:

Cottonex v Patriot [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 615, Hamblen J.

Great Elephant v Trafigura [2012] 2 Lloyd's Rep 503, (Teare J.), [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 1 (C/A)

Continental Enterprises v Shandong Zhucheng [2005] EWHC 92, Steel J.

Louis Dreyfus v Reliance Trading [2004] 2 Lloyd's Rep.243, Andrew Smith J.

North Sea Energy Holdings v Petroleum Authority of Thailand [1997] 2 Lloyd's Rep.418, [1999] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 483 (C/A).

 

Directories on Commodities

2015

Listed as a leading silk in commodities and shipping: "We have always found him to be exceptionally proactive, and very quick to grasp what the good cases are." "He has an instant command of cases. He is a joy to work with and always gives a good performance in court."

Also listed in The Legal 500 2015 as a leading silk for commodities: 'A skilled and polished advocate; a first choice for commodity disputes.'

2014

He is listed as a "leading silk" for commodities by The Legal 500 2014, which describes him as a "genuine specialist with a superb intellect and remarkable commercial insight."

He was also recommended by Chambers UK 2014 as a 'leading silk' for Shipping & Commodities, clients comment that "He is incredibly easy to work with from a practitioner's point of view. He picks up all the issues with lightning speed, and exhibits good judgement."

2013

He is recommended as a 'Leading Silk' in Chambers UK 2013 which describes him as "a true specialist in this area," and "an excellent advocate, who is extremely approachable and ready at all times to respond to queries however small and seemingly innocuous they may be."

2012

He was listed as 'Leading Silk' in this field by Chambers UK 2012 which reported that 'Another of 20 Essex Street's exceptional young silks is Charles Kimmins QC, who "stands out because he has done high quality commodities work and has developed a market insight that is rare for barristers in this area." He is further applauded for being "extremely hard-working both on his feet and on paper."

The Legal 500 also listed him as a 'Leading Silk' stating that "Charles Kimmins QC is 'a great advocate, especially good at cross-examination and totally on top of the detail'."

Conflicts of laws

He regularly advises on issues of jurisdiction arising in all areas of commercial law (including banking, reinsurance, shipping, commodities etc). He has particular experience in advising on the effects of jurisdiction and arbitration clauses, and has obtained and advised upon the availability of anti-suit injunctions in the Commercial Court on the basis of such clauses.

Recent experience includes acting for the successful applicants in CH Offshore v PDVM [2015] EWHC 1939, which considered the conflict between jurisdiction clauses and the “necessary and proper party” regime.

Cases involving anti-suit injunctions include Star Reefers v JFC No1 [2010] EWHC 3003, [2012] EWCA Civ 14. He has also obtained anti-anti-suit injunctions. In addition he successfully resisted a jurisdiction challenge in Star Reefers v JFC No2 [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep.215 (Andrew Smith J). He also appeared in Golden Ocean v SMI [2011] EWHC 56, [2012] EWCA Civ 265, involving jurisdiction issues relating to a contract of guarantee.

Other reported cases include Import Export Metro v CSAV [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep.11 on forum non conveniens and non-exclusive jurisdiction clauses in bills of lading.

 

Insurance and reinsurance

He has acted for the insured or insurers in many insurance and reinsurance disputes.

Recent cases

He recently appeared for reinsurers in Axa v ARIG [2015] EWHC 1939, involving non-disclosure to treaty reinsurers of historic loss statistics, and the effect of delay on the right to avoid.

Other recent cases between 2013 and 2016 include the following:

  • Acting for claimants in a US$65 million claim for claims leakage in relation to a book of Italian medical liability insurance.
  • Acting for insurers in a dispute relating to what constitutes a partial or temporary repair with the meaning of the Marine Insurance Act.
  • Acting for reinsurers in relation to claims under a QS treaty, and whether the reinsured was in breach of a net retention warranty.
  • Acting for the insured in relation to a claim under credit default insurance for charter hire, and whether the policy could be avoided for non-disclosure.
  • Acting for insurers relating to a claim for the total loss of a rig in Russian waters.
  • Acting for liquidators in relation to a claim against insurers under the Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act.

He acted for reinsurers in the film finance litigation. He has extensive experience of cases arising out of facultative obligatory cover, and in particular cases involving allegations of non-disclosure (of claims history/moral hazard etc), affirmation/waiver and breaches of warranty. He has also acted in cases involving the practice of net underwriting, double insurance, and cases involving follow the leader and follow the settlements clauses. He has also been involved in a number of disputes involving brokers. Commercial Court trials include Brockbank v Reliance (Steel J.) raising questions of the legal nature of lineslips, and NIGC v Russell Tudor Price [1999] Lloyd's Rep. IR 249 involving allegations of negligent broking.

Other commercial court trials include American International Marine v Dandridge [2005] EWHC 829 (Comm) [2005] Lloyd's Rep I.R 643, and see Insurance Law Monthly, January 2006, Volume 18, involving the incorporation of terms into a reinsurance contract, and a six week trial between Axa v New Hampshire (Morison J.) involving numerous issues including the effect under a reinsurance contract of a foreign judgment on the liability of the original assured. He appeared in Talbot v NHM [2006] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 195, in which the Court of Appeal considered the question of who was covered under a BAR policy, and considered the question of whether an undisclosed principal could intervene in the contract.

He also appeared at 1st instance and in the Court of Appeal in Limit No.2 Limited v Axa Versicherung AG [2008] Lloyd's Rep IR 330, which involved allegations that the re-assured had misrepresented its intentions and current underwriting practice, and raised issues as to how risks were ceded to a fac/oblig treaty.

Energy and natural resources

He has appeared in numerous cases involving energy and natural resources, and has particular experience in the petroleum and natural gas industries. 

Recent cases between 2013 and 2016 include the following:

  • Acting for drill rig owners in a US$80 million claim for stand-by costs.
  • Acting for BP in a case involving a JV agreement relating to the import of LNG into the UK.
  • Acting for the claimant in a US$120 million claim for an agency fee relating to the sale of a Nigerian offshore oil concession.
  • Acting for a South African claimant in a US$20 million dispute under a JV relating to aNigerian oil operating licence, and the effect of governmental interference.
  • Acting for a Nigerian claimant in a high value dispute under a JV relating to the development of an oil terminal in Nigeria.            
  • Acting for sellers in a dispute arising out of delays caused by governmental intervention inthe loading of crude at a Nigerian port (Great Elephant v Trafigura [2013] EWCA 905).
  • Acting for buyers in a dispute relating to the contamination of a cargo of HSFO at Gibraltar.
  • Acting for buyers in a dispute arising out of sellers’ failure to deliver various shipments of Australian coal.
  • Acting for various entities in various multi-million dollar disputes relating to the charter of various offshore platforms/rigs (e.g., CH Offshore v PDVM [2015] EWHC 1939).
  • Acting for buyers in a US$20 million dispute relating to the contamination of zinc, lead and bulk concentrates, causing production problems at an Indian smelter.
  • Acting for sellers in a dispute relating to the alleged contamination of sulphuric acid produced by an Indian smelter.
  • Acting for various shipowners in claims against various Indian charterers for failure to ship numerous shipments of coal under long-term COAs.

 

Directories 2015

Listed as a leading silk in energy in the Legal 500 2015: ‘Consistently outstanding and intellectually streets ahead of others.’

 

Shipping

He has extensive experience in all kinds of shipping disputes, including numerous disputes under charterparties, bills of lading and MOA's.

Recent examples in 2016 include a two week arbitration relating to a tank rupture on a vessel calling at an Indonesian port.  He has also been heavily involved in the OW Bunkers litigation.

Recent reported cases include FSL-9 PTE Ltd v Norwegian Hull Club [2016] EWHC 1091 on the meaning of a liberty to apply provision in an LOI, Glencore International v PT Tera Logistics [2016] EWHC 82 on time bars under floating crane contracts, CH Offshore v PDVM [2015] EWHC 1939 on long term COAs, Geden v Dry Bulk [2014] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 66 on the effects of refusing to follow charterers’ orders (and piracy issues), and Great Elephant v Trafigura [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 1 (C/A) on force majeure clauses.

Other cases include Waterfront Shipping v Trafigura [2008] 1 Lloyd's Rep 286 on demurrage time bars, and he represented charterers in "The Silver Constellation" arbitration, which subsequently went to appeal and is reported at [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep 440. He acted for charterers in Cobelfret v Swissmarine [2010] 1 Lloyd's Rep 317 (Beatson J.) relating to the incorporation of terms into a charterparty recap, and in Golden Ocean v SMI [2011] EWHC 56, Christopher Clarke J., involving the liability of guarantors to a charterparty. He successfully represented charterers in an appeal relating to a strike clause in an AMWELSH charter: Louis Dreyfus v Carboex [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep.177. He also represented the claimants in the Star Reefers litigation, involving substantial claims under two contracts of guarantees. Judgments in that litigation include Star Reefers v JFC No1 [2010] EWHC 3003 (Teare J), Star Reefers v JFC No2 [2011] 2 Lloyd's Rep.215 (Andrew Smith J), Star Reefers v JFC No3 [2011] EWHC 1166 (Burton J), and Star Reefers v JFC No4 [2011] EWHC 2204 (HH Judge Chambers QC).

Other cases include The Berge Sisar (2002) All ER (D) 138 on the carriage of LPG, Stocznia Gdanska v Latvian Shipping Co [2001] 1 Lloyd's Rep.537 arising out of a contract for the construction of six ships and involving allegations of conspiracy and inducing a breach of contract, Southampton Container Terminals v Hansa [1999] 2 Lloyd's Rep.491 involving the assessment of damages following damage to a crane, Fyffes Group v Reefer Express Lines [1996] 2 Lloyd's Rep.171 raising issues of seaworthiness and damages, Swissmarine Corp. v Frontier Shipping [2004] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 390 on strike clauses, and Miranos International Trading v VOC Steel (Cooke J.) on damages for early redelivery.

 

 

Directories on Shipping

2015

Listed as a leading silk in Chambers UK 2015 for commodities and shipping:  "We have always found him to be exceptionally proactive, and very quick to grasp what the good cases are." "He has an instant command of cases. He is a joy to work with and always gives a good performance in court."

Also listed in the Legal 500 2015 as a leading silk in shipping: ‘Very able and intelligent.’

2014

Listed in Chambers UK 2014 as a 'leading silk' for Shipping & Commodities, clients comment that "He is incredibly easy to work with from a practitioner's point of view. He picks up all the issues with lightning speed, and exhibits good judgement." The Legal 500 2014 also recommends him as "outstanding".

2013

He was recommended as a 'Leading Silk' in Chambers UK 2013, which describes him as "a true specialist in this area," and "an excellent advocate, who is extremely approachable and ready at all times to respond to queries however small and seemingly innocuous they may be."

2012

He was listed as Leading Silk by Chambers UK 2012 which reported that 'Another of 20 Essex Street's exceptional young silks is Charles Kimmins QC, who "stands out because he has done high quality commodities work and has developed a market insight that is rare for barristers in this area." He is further applauded for being " extremely hard-working both on his feet and on paper".' The Legal 500 2012 also recommends "the 'extremely hardworking' Charles Kimmins QC" as a 'Leading Silk' in this field.

 

General commercial litigation

In addition to advising upon the specialised areas of commercial law identified above, he has acted in many disputes involving general principles of commercial law. He is regularly recommended in directories as a leading barrister in this category; comments include that he is  "deeply analytical", "highly polished" and a silk who "can be parachuted into a difficult case to argue attractively and skilfully".

Examples include:

Representing various entities in a number of JV disputes, including several cases involving put, tag and drag options. Other JV disputes include a dispute arising out of a JV for the supply of goods and services in Afghanistan, and a JV for the development of a port in Nigeria.

Successfully defending a US$2.7 billion claim for breach of an alleged agreement to develop an innovative oil spill recovery technique, and acting for a major international airline in a case arising out of a substantial contract alleged to have been procured by bribery. Other examples include a claim for an indemnity under a "knock for knock" clause in an agreement for the supply of personnel for offshore platform work.

Advising on a large pollution claim in the Ivory Coast and on issues arising out of the Stone + Rolls litigation. Recently he has been involved in a number of high value claims involving Nigerian offshore oil concessions. He has also recently advised on an accountant's negligence claim worth several billion pounds.

Representing the claimants in the Factortame litigation over the course of 2-3 years, appearing in R v Secretary of State for Transport ex parte Factortame [2001] 1 WLR 942 in which the Court considered the nature of a breach of EC law for the purposes of limitation, and in R v Secretary of State for Transport ex parte Factortame [2000] All ER (D) 1174 on the practice of making Part 36 offers.

He also has experience in civil fraud cases. Recent experience includes a multi-jurisdictional claim for conspiracy arising out of arbitration proceedings, and a claim for fraudulent misappropriation of funds from a hedge fund (involving a Ponzi scheme).

He also has extensive experience of obtaining interim relief, including freezing injunctions, interim injunctions, anti-suit injunctions, and anti-anti-suit injunctions.

Directories on commercial dispute resolution

2016

Listed in Chambers UK 2016 as a leading silk in commercial dispute resolution "Astonishing. He is phenomenally good, has excellent commercial knowledge and is very hands on." "A go-to barrister."

2015

Listed in Chambers UK 2015 as a leading silk in commercial dispute resolution “He is extremely bright, very hands-on and very much a team player”.